Author Archives: louise

About louise

Hi, Im in my early thirties living in France. I like to design and make stuff, from jewellery to pots to items with wool or fabric, basically anything crafty i can get my hands on.

The Refashioners 2016, Yoyo dress from old jeans.

Yoyo dress

Yoyo dress

I Made it. I knew I had ages to join in with this challenge, but guess what, I left it to the last minute! The Refashioners 2016 is a challenge run by Portia at This years challenge was to make something new out of old jeans.

Trying to cut the pattern pieces from my old jeans, also paying attention to the grain lines.

Trying to cut the pattern pieces from my old jeans, also paying attention to the grain lines.

Eventually I decided to try and sew a Yoyo dress from my old jeans. The biggest challenge was to try and cut out the pattern pieces from the jeans that I had. Its way easier if you’ve have got BIG jeans. I actually got the lighter colour pair from a second hand market stall for a few euros, the other darker pairs I acquired from a friend and what I already had. I used three different pairs to make my dress. The bodice, front and back was cut from the back bottom area of the jeans and actually the back skirt from this area too. I unpicked all the pockets as they were not really in the right places which has left some pretty cool pocket outlines on my shoulders and bottom.  The front skirt was cut from the lower legs. This has meant I have got an extra seam line on the front that kinda sticks out a bit at the bottom but I can live with this.





My first time using a Papercut pattern and therefore my first attempt sewing the Yoyo dress. It was a really pleasant sew, zero stress, good instructions, loved the rolling of the bodice to sew the arm holes to the facing technique. First time for this one. It was like magic pulling it through the right way. Also loved the facing that gets sewn all around the dress even the lower edge. Great as hemming isn’t my favourite.

Back of my yoyo dress

Back of my yoyo dress

The fit has worked out well. I took the bodice in around the bust as I knew I might as I cut the pattern out based on my waist and hip measurements. I cut a size L. When I make the Yoyo dress again I will cut a smaller bodice and grade it into the waist.

I’m really glad I joined in with the refashioning challenge. It wasn’t the first time I had refashioned a pair of jeans, remember those skirts with the little triangle sewn in to make up the skirt?! This challenge has helped me to look past that teenage make and it’s been so inspiring.  There have been some great makes I’ve been keeping an eye on on Portia’s blog and on instagram. Just search with the tags #therefashioners2016 or #jeanius.

And I love my finished result from a few pairs of jeans! Best thing is I’m going to get to wear my new Yoyo dress in nice weather and in the winter with a long sleeve T and boots. All seasons dress. I love sewing!


My most favourite dress of this summer 2016. Bennett dress pattern by Marilla Walker

The weather has all of a sudden overnight turned to what feels pretty much like Autumn. Im kinda ok with this as we have had the most amazing summer with just the best weather. I can’t believe how good its been this year. I live near Carcassonne in the South of France and normally you get a patchy few weeks at some point but no, this year, just constant sun. Its actually ok weather now too just a lot cooler especially in the morning and night.

So I’m wondering if I can get any more wear out of my favourite dress this season. I dont think it can venture into autumn. I might get to wear it out for dinner this weekend. Mmmm… Im going to take that opportunity.

Bennett dress love

Bennett dress love

My Bennett dress, pattern by Marilla Walker is just so comfortable, feminine, colourful, fun to wear, great to dance in, and I get the most compliments. I think basically the shape just really suits me. I used a floaty viscose crepe in the most beautiful colour with little birds all over. Fabric bought in Carcasssone from Comptoir des Tisseurs. 25 Rue de la Republique. Pattern and instructions as ever just brilliant. The only alterations to the pattern were to lengthen it to make the dress a maxi with a wee slit at the back for movement. The bodice was perfect on me as you can cinch it in with the ties, great for fat days! I took it in a little bit on the back seam. The back has a gorgeous deep v. You know this is just my fave! I wonder if I can use the same pattern to produce an equally great dress for the winter?

Bennett dress selfie

Bennett dress selfie

Seamwork magazine Adelaide

I have worn these two dresses to death this summer! I love them and I’m sure I will make some more. Maybe even one for this coming colder season to wear with a long sleeve t, tights and boots?


Adelaide Perfect summer dress!!!

If I remember rightly I got a little discount when I downloaded the Adelaide pattern from the Seamwork/Colette pattern shop. Might have been a persuading factor! I also downloaded the Moneta but as yet this is not made. Just havent found the right fabric yet.

However, I already had two fabulous fabrics I could use for the Adelaide. I set too and made a quick muslin. I didn’t really need to make any alterations and sewed up a straight size 16 in my colourful fabric. I lowered the darts very slightly. Also moved the shoulder line forwards a little for my forwards shoulders! The arm holes and neck are all finished with bias which I love doing and I also prefer when it comes to washing and ironing! And this dress honestly only took a couple of hours to sew. With a nervous half hour of hammering in the poppers. I was so worried I would miss place one or they wouldn’t line up properly when together. However all was well!

These dresses are so fab to wear, really comfy and I feel quite feminine with the little cinch at the waist with the tie belt. And another really good thing, when you go swimming and put your swimmy’s on underneath all you have to do is pop all your poppers open! Would make a fab beach dress.

Adelaide number 2

Adelaide number 2

This is my second Adelaide. As I write this I’m thinking I could transition it into autumn with a card and tights. Mmmm…

Love this pattern! And love my summer dresses.

Adelaide number 2

Adelaide number 2

A little shot of the back, Adelaide number 2

A little shot of the back, Adelaide number 2

The Top D! Marilla Walker, The Roberts collection

The Top D, a top pattern from The Roberts collection by Marilla Walker. The Roberts Collection is of course much more than a top pattern, its a pattern you could make a whole wardrobe of clothes from. A dungaree dress, dungarees, jumpsuit, top. Probably more!

Oh, how I love a simple garment. With that often come a simple sew. What could be better?

The V-neck on this pattern is perfection for me, not too low or too high and it has that lovely soft v shape.

My silk v neck tunic

I do not feel as if i have done this pattern justice as i didn’t add in the gorgeous upside down v design bit on the back. I realised I just wanted a simple straight down v neck for some silk that i had bought from Ditto last year. it sometimes takes me a while of looking and touching a fabric to work out what to make with it especially if its a favourite piece. I was originally going to make a blouse with a gathered detail on the shoulders. So glad I didn’t as I absolutely love how this turned out. I ignored the design bit on the back by sticking the pattern pieces together taking away the seam allowances on that bit. I lengthened the whole length as much as the fabric i had available and also extended the sleeves by an inch or so. The colours are perfect for me, lovely drape and feels gorgeous, cool in the heat. Just love it!!!

Top summer dress

Top summer dress

And then theres my number 2 version of Top D. Another piece fabric that I had been picking up and wondering about for ages, a remnant of heavy linen, with good drape. What to sew with it? I am often drawn to the aesthetics of Elizabeth Suzann, her use of simple colours and simple designs and her use of gorgeous silk and linen. So with this inspiration I thought why not try to make a top out of my linen.

Linen v neck tunic

Linen v neck tunic

I was a bit worried that it was going to be a bit heavy. As always I hate waste and I’m unlikely to want two garments out of the same fabric so I made the top as long as the remnant I had and cut the facings out of a liberty scrap I had. For this reason I own a lot of tunics! The linen would have been too thick for facings anyway.

This Linen version has turned out a little bit short, fine with leggings I think. It will be fine to knock about the house and pool without leggings.


Top D in a knit So, I also tried Top D in a knit fabric. It has already been worn to death with denim shorts. I found the fabric, a floaty viscose with tie dye pattern from my favourite fabric shop in the center of Carcassonne. I didn’t alter what I did from the other two tops apart from make it a bit shorter so it became a comfy T-shirt. Its not really pretty on the inside as I still have to fight with my coverstitch machine. Its the newer Janome coverstitch and although I love what it does enabling me to finish off my knit hems properly I always have a fight with it missing stitches. I might try some different needles and see if that makes a difference. But still, my T-shirt is a hit.

Top D t-shirt

Top D t-shirt

Whats up next? Im thinking of joining in with the refashioners organised by Portia at Makery. The challenge is to make something you would wear from and old pair of jeans. I’m thinking a dungaree dress hack from The Roberts collection. Luckily we’ve got until the end of september which is great for me as I can get it done once school starts again. I will have to find some jeans from somewhere, I Marie Kondoed last year! Most of my extra jeans that didn’t give me joy went out. I’ll have to see if there are any lurking. I’m actually thinking of having another clear out. I dont get the bit where you do it only once. I’ve had nearly another year of accumulating and not sorting as I go!

Anyway, rambling off, I love the wardrobe possibilities that can result from sewing using the Roberts Collection and I love top D.



Motivate Me!

I went along for a reflexology session this morning. I dont really know why, I just felt like it as I hadn’t had a session for a while. Nothing was really aching or troubling me. However, since and during I have discovered I really needed it. I am now sitting at my kitchen table with a mug of hot water and lemon, really achy shoulders, elbow, back, neck. A lot of areas that I hold my tension. I feel so much better, like I’ve woken up and need to get on with stuff.

Its nearly halfway through the year. At the beginning of the year I had so many plans to get on with and I do not feel as though I have acheived very much at all and I am being hard on myself.

What has this got to do with my making and sewing? Well, I am still making but wondering if I am hiding behind what I am making. I am not putting myself out there enough and sharing. Where can I find a bag of confidence?!

Well I feel bloomin tired after my session of reflexology but ready to get cracking. So, how can I keep this motivation. I know what I’m like, it might last the rest of today or a few days but then I’ll just start poddling along again with time whizzing by and then telling myself off for not getting on.

Firstly I’m writing this and I’ve written a few words to stick up in my kitchen. I’m not sure if it will help but worth a try.

Motivate Me!

Move, to danse more, to do more exercise like everyday including strength and stretching

Music, my 5 year old is wanting to listen to music and I’ve found I need to do this more too!

Do it now, well why wait till later, get on with it!

Be Thankful, sometimes I forget!

Be inspired, inspiration is a big one for me, keep my eyes open!

Think Happy, get out of that little grump and


What do you reckon?

Might think of something else to add.

Anyway, off to get on with something!!!!!

Inari Tee Dress, Named patterns

Inari Tee dress by Named

my inari tee dress
After a long while with lots of time spent gazing at everyone else’s lovely Inari’s I decided to go for it myself! I don’t know what was stopping me, maybe because I thought it was too simple or maybe I didn’t like the styling so much on the model. Well anyway, Heather at closet case files  Charlie at noble and daughter and also Sasha at secondopiano in particular all have amazing versions of this dress that I would have liked to make. There are lots of other brilliant versions I’ve seen also on instagram. And to be honest I like wearing this kind of loose comfy dress.

inari tee

Instant pdf pattern printing it was!. I’m sure I’d sew less and less variety if pdf patterns weren’t available. Apart form the sticking together bit I love em!

For this make the pattern actually came first and then with a shopping opportunity to Carcassonne I found this funky colourful soft viscose. Hoping this fabric will carry me through the seasons, worn with tights or leggings in winter and maybe bare legs in summer if I’m brave enough. Might be a bit short.

Inari tee dress

Fit wise I think its ok, might look into some sort of shoulder adjustment for the next one as it drops back across my shoulders a bit. Yes, I think I will make another. I feel good in it, I wasn’t sure of the shape to start with but I like it. Very comfy too!

inari tee dress

Still a bit chilly here!

Fancy neck facing detail!

I’ve taken a few nerdy neck facing shots for you too. After Lauren at Baste and Gather mentioned on instagram how she finished off her facings I thought I’d have a go. I must admit I don’t really like my facings with the overlocked edge. I mean its ok if I’m doing a quick make and not in the mood but this method that Lauren talked about I hadn’t even thought about. It gives a much neater finish on the inside and feels nicer.

Sew right sides of facings together at shoulders.

Sew right sides of facings together at shoulders.

You are basically sewing your facing together at the shoulder seams, doing the same with the interfacing. Do not iron your interfacing onto the facing yet!!

sew around the outside edge of facing right sides together

sew around the outside edge of facing right sides together

Then sew all around the outside edge, right sides together of the facing and interfacing (sticky side on the outside!).

Clip and trip around the edges

Clip and trim around the edges

Clip the edges, then turn through. try and press it all flat with your fingers before you iron it all flat together. And there you have it, a really neat facing to then be sewn onto your neckline.

Sew facing to the neckline.

Neat facing sewn onto the neckline right sides together, turned over and pressed.

Love this technique! Thanks Lauren!

And Thanks to Named for a dress pattern that will be worn lots and made again! The Inari Tee.

inari tee

Emery Dress

It has taken me nearly the whole month of January to sew something, I don’t know what has happened, maybe I’ve lost some of my sewjo! I’m sure it will be back, I’m building a list of wanna be sews!

My first emery dress, pattern by Christine Haynes. Here she is!


You know, I’m not sure about it? My dress that is, not the pattern! It seems fairly comfy although I’m not entirely sure if its a perfect fit. The back tends to desend lower than the front after a bit of wearing. I do always feel a little uncomfortable in a woven garment with sleeves where there is a little bit of restriction. My fabric choice perhaps is not great, (although it is now out of the stash!) it drapes well but its too synthetic. Even with a slip the skirt wants to stick to my bottom. Possibly I could try a cotton slip. I’m also not sure it’s a great shape for me to wear with a gathered skirt around my waist. I’ve made a few lilou dresses before and the sureau from deer and doe. I love them but I always feel slightly erm… frumpy and not as confident when I’m wearing them. Maybe I’m learning something about myself here!!

emery 2

I do like my new Emery dress but I’m not sure it gives me joy! Anyone else read the Marie Kondo book and cleared out their wardrobe?

Anyway, I’ll stop my unsatisfied going on. I loved the pattern and the making process. The pockets in particular, so easy and so satisfying. I might try another one in the summer in a pretty cotton and make it sleeveless, just for the pocket making! I made a straight size 14 with no alterations. There is probably scope for a bit of tweeking next time. Love the little dart on the shoulder, perfect for me as often the back zip gapes away for my neck and always requires alteration. The instructions were very good and I think a confident beginner with a few garments under their belt could probably tackle this dress. As I’m sure many have! Thank You Christine Haynes for a fab pattern.

A dodgy back shot!

A dodgy back shot!


Birkin Flares!

The pattern is out. Its being released today! I feel I have been seeing these jeans everywhere already! They have been well tested! A pair of flares that seems to suit everybody, honestly every pair I’ve seen look great  on their wearer. There are some great looking Birkin bottoms out there! The Birkin Flares from Baste and Gather

Luckily Lauren let me in on the second round of testing which made me very happy. I feel like it took me nearly a whole week of thinking and sewing and obsessing over them. Well worth it! And I’ve met a new gang of jean making girls!

My testing went a bit like this. It ended up being a roller coaster of emotions, will they fit won’t they fit. Are they going to look like this when the waistband is on, are they going to be right in the crotch, all of this going on.
One night I was feeling tired and felt despondent and not so happy with them, and then the next day I tried them on with the waistband it was like Happy Days! I couldn’t wait to finish them. I knew they were only a tester pair but I so wanted them to work so I would wear them and feel good in them. I had great expectations for my first pair of jeans!

I made very few adjustments, for example I took out an inch in length before I cut my fabric but also took them up another good Inch or so. I took them in down the sides and a little at the crotch. The next pair I make I’m actually going to go down a size. If you make these do feel confident with your sizing and don’t go up a size like I did. Laurens measurements seem to be quite true. There is a good amount of negative ease and I want to make more use of this. I’m also going to make the crotch a bit shorter for me. Around the bottom is fine but I need less length in the front and I’d like the waistband to sit a bit lower. I’m going to have a go at her next version, The Kendall skinnies!

I loved all the topstitching, thank goodness I had my mums old machine back from the menders. It did beautiful topstitching , even though I had to hand crank on some of the belt loops. You even get to play with a hammer to bash your seams down, bit of fun and for the Button and rivets. I still haven’t found rivets and to be honest I’m not too bothered, they still look like jeans!  The hardest part I think is the topstitching around the fly, can only get better with practice. The Best thing about this pattern is the instructions. They are very good, in fact I feel spoilt they were so good, with diagrams for each stage. And I bet there will be lots of help from Lauren online with her fab videos.

My fabric came from Ditto in Brighton. I’m quite happy with it, good weight and quality. I’ve ordered some more denim from them in different colours to have a play with. My friend Sue brings it back to France for me from Brighton to save on shipping, Thanks Sue. Great service from them by the way! Ha ha, Sue and Ditto!


The opportunity to test this pattern has encouraged me to make jeans. Thanks Lauren. I was a bit flippant about making jeans before as my shop bought  jeans did their job. I am so glad I have had a go and I now completely understand the excitement of making your own jeans. Pretty magic.


If you are tempted by this pattern, go get it, you won’t regret it!

Lauren at Baste and Gather has a discount on its release, $2 off the pattern if you use birkinrelease as the discount code and also her other patterns are half price.



Bishy Barnababes

I had the opportunity to test this fab little pattern for Vikki Ward Hibbins of Bishy Barnababes.

bunny purse

bunny purse

Its the cutest little purse with a choice of animals which also turns into a little puppet. Theres a bear, a cat, a piggy , a mouse and maybe others.  Its very quick to sew, a great stash buster and makes a brilliant gift for any child. My boy loves the little bunny purse that I made. Although the next one a make I will use some velcro to ensure a better closure as he likes to fill it to the brim with change!

bunny purse, you can see the opening at the back where a little ones hand can transform the purse into a puppet.

bunny purse, you can see the opening at the back where a little ones hand can transform the purse into a puppet.

Go ahead and check out vikki’s colourful blog and delightful purse pattern. The cost of the pattern is just over £3 around $5 I think. She has an etsy shop.

Purse open, you can see puppet mouth.

Purse open, you can see puppet mouth.

Since I tested the pattern and managed to blog about it Vikki has also released a pudsey bear and a flower version. There are stacks of creative ways to make a cutie purse!


New pattern alert!



Another new pattern from Marisa of mlmpatrons.

I was so happy I was asked to test another one of Marisas patterns. This one is called L’impatiente. Its a quick and easy sew! Love wearing it with slim or skinny jeans. I don’t have to worry about holding my tummy in! Its turned into bit of a weekend top for me, cosy and comfy but I feel a bit more dressed and tidy that if i was just wearing a t-shirt.

Sewing wise it is fairly simple, perhaps not for a beginner but I think most would cope with the gathers and the setting of the sleeves. Talking of sleeves you can have them any length you want, I went for long and actually just roll them up. You really need a soft supple flowing fabric for this top so that it skims over you rather than sticking out over your bust!

L'impatiente, photo bombed by boy and blue balloon!

L’impatiente, photo bombed by boy and blue balloon!

I think I will make more of this pattern when I come across more fabric and I can see perhaps some summer tops next year! By the way its a pdf and just 5 euros! Bargain!

Its a lovely pattern and if anyone fancies a go and needs help to decipher the french instructions (that are good by the way) into English give me a shout!

My second L’audacieuse!

Seems like ages ago now, I think just a couple of weeks.  I made a another skirt from mlm patrons, the Audacieuse. I already had the piece of wool remnant in my stash and immediately  I came across it I knew it was destined to be another little button down skirt. My first tester skirt was made of dotty needle cord.

l'audacieuse number 2

l’audacieuse number 2

I think Marisa (mlmpatrons)  had altered the pattern slightly from the original that i tested, i decided to go down a size this time to match my measurements better. I did still take it in a little at the sides. Other than that it was a straight forward make. I might if I get round to it put in a little lining as sometimes it the fabric gets stuck on my tights or leggings.


Ooo, and also i used a walking foot for the first time because the wool was stretching out. it made a massive difference. I don’t know if you can see on this picture or not, the right side was the walking foot!

walking foot used on one side, normal on the other

walking foot used on one side, normal on the other

I am happy with the result and i reckon it will get lots of wear. Theres a little stripe of blue in the fabric that i can match my top half to. Happy!

This pattern is in French but if anyone fancies trying it I can help you translate the instructions!


Recently I saw on Instagram that Marisa of MLM Patrons was looking for a pattern tester for her bigger size! “That matches me” I thought “and I haven’t pattern tested before. Im going to email her!” EEk! It was all in French too! I was having a confident day obviously.


The pattern that she emailed me was right up my street, a cute little button down skirt with pockets (my fav!) and if you fancied, a little geometric twist for the bottom of the skirt mirroring the pockets. Lots of design options here, including colour blocking and piping. I wanted to play it safe for my first skirt and chose to leave it plain. I already had a dark blue grey needlecord fabric in my stash ready for a moss skirt (grainline studios). Sorry Moss skirt i’ll have to make you again another time!
The pdf pattern is slightly different to what I’m used to in that there are no printed printer borders which means no cutting off edges, you can just line up the pages and stick them with tape. Seemed to work well and after sticking you draw in the missing lines where the printer didn’t print. Does that make sense?


After a little toile test I was away with my needlecord. The instructions are clear in French! I’m not sure if Marisa will produce some in English or not? Could always try a bit of google translate, diagrams are clear! I’ll have to ask her if shes going to translate them.



Sewing up the skirt is all fairly quick especially if you are not planning piping or triangle bits. Pockets are straight forward as is the waistband. Unusually I really enjoyed sewing my button holes and this was even after a having needle and thread breaking crisis! Love my orange buttons!


Off out and about!

Off out and about!

I’m glad Marisa let me pattern test as it turned out to be a very rewarding experience. Im quite proud of myself for the testing bit, the sewing bit and the french bit (even though my written french results may have been a bit rough round the edges!) Great pattern resulting in a very comfortable, versatile chic skirt to wear! Im wearing it today in honour of Marisa releasing the pattern! There is already some fabric set aside for my second Audacieuse!