Journal, Sewing Plans

Posh Frocks Pattern Picks

So wedding seasons is nearly upon us, just like Glastonbury Festival, we’re having a fallow year for weddings, we hit it pretty hard last year, two in one week, one of them being our own. There are a few on the horizon for 2020 and I’ve already started to think about what to wear in 2020,  for me, half of the pleasure of sewing is in the planning of the projects, finding perfect patterns paired with the perfect pattern.  I made my first dress, to wear as a wedding guest last year, The Tilly And the Buttons Etta and I loved wearing it.So here’s my suggestions for posh frocks patterns to be the best dressed guest.

Named Clothing Elizabeth Gown

For a special occasion, it’s a good excuse to use a fabric that has been savoured. I found this emerald green midi-length dress on Pinterest  and I love the simplicity of it, it’s very elegant. I searched high and dry for a pattern that is similiar and the Named Clothing Elizabeth Gown is a great starting point. The thin straps and deep neckline at the back are a near perfect match. The bodice is lined with a V neck which could easily be hacked into a straight neckline. The Elizabeth Gown is maxi length with a high slit, with extra length to accomade being worn with high heels,  alterations would need to be made for a midi length and maybe some extra room in the skirt is the slit would be emmited. The pattern calls for well draping, light- to medium weight fabrics. The sample is made of silk crepe. This Bambo Silk from Ray Stitch is the goldy yellow or cornflower blue would be a great choice.

A Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers and Coco Jacket Trouser Suit

It’s not just Men who wear suits to weddings, there has been a growning number of floral trouer suits on the high street, many of the jackets make a nod to the 70’s with long line, oversized blazer. This style is not really for me, so I would love to make a Sew Over It Coco Jacket with Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers with the high waist hack, into a trouser suit. The advantage of making a suit, is that the pieces can be worn seperatley or together for the full effect. The Coco Jacket looks great in a brocade fabric and is luxurious for a special occasion. For me, this outfit is really driven by the fabric choice so over the coming months i’ll keep my eyes peeled for fabric. I like florals on a dark background, but I spotted this lighter colourway which would be ideal for summer from Minerva Crafts.

Vogue 9075 Jumpsuit

Finally, but by no means least, is a jumpsuit. This Vogue 9075 has been doing the rounds amongst the sewing community, rightfully so, as it is a beautiful pattern and very practical, looks like a skirt, but is actually culottes.  This version here by Sharadha is stunning, read review over on her blog. I like the view with sleeveless on the bodice and the added detail of a belt really finnishes it off. For fabric, I love this yellow taken from the inspiration photo, and the pattern calls for a medium-light fabric, with enough structure to maintain the pleats but enough drape to be move freely. I’d like to try a Yellow Tencel Fabric, again, I haven’t found the perfect fabric but this yellow gold tencel is a good start.

I hope you found inspirations from my suggestions for best posh frock (or jumpsuit or trousers) for a special occasion or well, just any occasion.

Until next time.

Claire & Co


Journal, Sewing Plans

Spring Sewing Plans

It’s the first day of spring, and it’s time for some (as always) over ambitious sewing plans for the new season. I’m big into the concept of a capsule wardrobe. I don’t want to start from scratch and sew a whole new wardrobe, but instead I want to create a few new pieces that I hope to wear time and time again. I wanted to share my patterns and fabric for my up and coming projects. And this time, if you’re short of time or if you’re not a sewer yourself, I have included some ready to wear alternatives to put a spring in your step.

Trench Coat

A trench coat is a spring staple,  but I want to make a twist on this classic with this colourful fabric. I’ve been dreaming up this yellow trench coat since last autumn when I finished my first coat, which is featured on my make nine and it’s still not made. I’ve been put off by all the pieces, but I have cleared a week in my diary to give it my undivided attention. I’m using the Named Clothing Isla Trench Coat Pattern and have this glorious Mustard Robert Kaufman Twill from Sew Me Sunshine, that I bought with some vouchers I got for my birthday in October. I have my eyes on some polka dot lining and bold black buttons. It was hard to find a mustard trench on the high street, that’s the beauty of making your own, but the Whitstable Trench in navy or beige is a good alternative especially with the burst of colour provided by the lining.

Paper Bag Stripe Trousers

The McCalls 7661 pattern came with the Love Sewing Magazine. When it landed on my door step, the pattern encouraged me to experiment with paper bag waist trousers for the first time. I was always a bit adverse to creating any extra bulk with the layers of fabric around my waist and hip area, so I’ll be making a toile to test the silhouette on my figure. If all goes to plan, I want to keep it classic with this navy and white stripe Gutermann fabric. I spotted this blue and white pair of linen and cotton blend trousers on the high street that create a relaxed, tailored look.

Breton Top

Finally, I want to add, yes another, breton top to my wardrobe. This time I want to make it in a sunshine yellow colour to bring a bit of joy, even if I have to pair it with jeans, a jacket and umbrella (let’s be honest, it does always rain in Manchester). I was given the Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top from a friend of Rob’s whose sewing career was sadly short lived, so it will be my first time using this pattern. I bought some yellow and white cotton jersey from Sew Me Sunshine. The yellow is a bit on the lemon end of the scale and I prefer more mustard tones, but I searched fabric shops online looking for the perfect yellow and white mustard breton jersey and it was nowhere to be found. It was hard to find a ready to wear duplicate, instead I found this colourful breton long sleeved jersey top that would be a great colourful addition to any spring wardrobe.


Now that’s enough to keep me occupied over the coming months. First up, I’m making  the trench coat so keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks for a full detailed review of the pattern and construction.  I hope you’re enjoying the first signs of spring and I’d love to know what’s on your spring sewing table.

Claire & Co.













Journal, Sewing Plans

The Wardrobe Architect

Making your own clothes gives new value to your wardrobe, because of the time, effort and investment that went into making them. The Wardrobe Architect Series on The Collete Blog back from 2014 was especially designed to help sewists construct their handmade wardrobe. The blog series provides a set of prompts to force yourself to define your core style. I wanted to share my consolidated answers as a way of cementing what it means to make my style, which ultimately will inform my decisions on future projects. So here it goes…

Making Style More Personal

How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalise? Have they changed over the years, and why?

My style cemented from when I was around 20, I was interning in London so wore a lot of tailored men’s shirts, blouses, skinny jeans and loafers and the occasional shift dress and blazer. I was hugely infleunced by Alexa Chung during this time. Now I don’t work in an office my style is more relaxed and got lost along the way. Now I want to feel more feminine, colourful and creative. For the past few years I was wearing alot of leggings and baggy jumpers during the day, but it took me a bit of time to realise that spending a bit more time getting dressed for the day helps me feel more together, plus getting dressed is way more fun when you’ve made your own clothes.

How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?

I hate waste, pride quality over quantity and try to buy from sustainable and ethical sources. I really want my stuff to last and I want to wear it often. I grew up around a lot of wool and was constantly reminded of the value of a ‘wool jersey’.

How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?

I’m involved in the yoga community and some classes can feel more like a fashion show, but my favourite teachers tend to wear one colour, so slowly I’ve stepped away from the patterned leggings. I’m also involved in the sewing community and it’s made me realise that it’s great to show off what you’ve made. Generally I’m at home, so things need to be comfortable. It does always rain in Manchester, so things have to be warm and waterproof. 

In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?

Generally I never wear anything above the knee unless it’s paired with black tights. I like camisoles that show my collar bones in summer, jeans that make my legs look longer and I like things that follow an hourglass shape. I don’t like to wear anything too baggy or tent like.

Defining A Core Style


When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel? 

 Confident, colourful, classic, comfortable.

When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?

I hate pulling stuff down if it’s too short or worrying about lack of waist line definition if something is too baggy or boxy.

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

I like the tailored items Alexa Chung wears, and love how she still makes her look feminine. I adore how timeless Indes De La Fressange is. I appreciate how classic Emma Stone is in La-La Land, even her dressed down outfits are well put-together. Finally, I love the French style of Francoise Hardy.

What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?

Polished, Crisp and clean lines, everything I wear endeds up crumbled!


Exploring Shapes

You’re asked to consider shapes of garments you prefer. Here are some of the main elements that contribute to a garment’s shape; ease (tight or loose), length, neckline, waistline position, sleeve length, fullness. I rated my preference of each element of garments from 0-10, to help determine my signature silhouettes. You can read the answers in Style Lines PDF.



Proportions and Silhouettes

From here you’re asked to review how you’d pair these shapes together for outfits, for instance I like slim fitted trousers and an oversized shirt.



Organise Your Colours

You’re invited to find key colours in your wardrobe and what you graviate towards, from here you’re invited to organise them into neutrals, nearly neutrals and statment colours.

colour palette

organised colours_2

Exploring Solids and Prints

From your most worn clothing, calculate what percentage is prints. For me it’s between 10-15% and of those, the prints are stripes and geometric patterns. What can I say, I love a Breton stripe.


It can be both liberating and overwhelming when faced with so much choice when making your own clothes. However making items that compliment each other is part of the magic of making your own wardrobe. Going through these steps helps me filter some of the endless choices, and I now find myself instinctively drawn to items within my style. From here, the Wardrobe Architect series goes into detail about how to build and plan a seasonal wardrobe, but that is a whole other post. Keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks for more on capsule wardrobes and how I plan my up and coming makes for the season ahead. Let me know if you have tried the Wardrobe Architect Challenge and if you found it useful?

All for now

Claire & co.





Journal, Sewing Plans

Make Nine 2019

Hi Makers, the #makenine challenge is doing the rounds on Instagram, challenging makers to share nine projects they want to complete for the up and coming year. As a first timer I’m pretty excited about these new additions to my wardrobe, bringing new challenges and sharing my plans with you. So here it goes…

make nine 2019

1. Named Isla Trench Coat

I made my first coat last year and I love it, firstly because it gave me the confidence to sew absolutely anything and secondly I get so much wear out of it. I want to make this Isla Trench Coat for spring, I already have the fabric from Sew Me Sunshine, the pattern is an overlaid PDF with over 100 pages, so I want to send it off to be printed, then clear some time to focus on such an involved project. I spotted Anne Hathaway wearing this yellow trench coat and the pattern and fabric is nearly a perfect match.

2. Liberty Sew Over It Ultimate Shirt

The first time I went into Liberty I fell in love with the classic blouses made up in the signature print, but sadly not the price tag. I don’t wear florals often, but I’ll make the exception for a classic liberty shirt for spring. I made a man’s shirt last year and now it’s my turn to make one for me, I picked up a gorgeous blue liberty print in the sale in Abakhan and I think this pattern will really show it off.

3. Carolyn Pyjamas

I think there is nothing more luxurious than a pair of classic pyjamas and freshly washed sheets, so this pattern will soon become my Sunday night pyjamas that are more special than regular brushed cotton versions. This classic pattern from Closet Case Patterns deserved to be made up in some silky fabric.

4. Underwear

I want the challenge of sewing underwear, I’m undecided on the pattern but I want to find inspiration from La Perla and make my own version without the eye watering price tag. I’m looking for a workshop or an online class to help me with the fit.

5. Wear Lemonade Mona Jacket

I love the style of Wear Lemonade Patterns but I haven’t tried any of their patterns yet, I was put off by the instructions being in French and the requirement to add a seam allowance. However, Mona is worth taking the challenge and I’d like to make this in a navy suede.

6. Sophie Swimsuit and High Waisted Bikini

Buying ready to wear swimwear is always painful, I usually trawl the internet looking for a high waisted bikini because of the flattering line, so when I came across the Closet Case Sophie Swimsuit that comes with a one-piece and a high waisted bikini, I knew it was the pattern for me. It will be a make that tests my skills and hopefully the online class will hold my hand through the tricky steps and fitting.

7. Gold Sneaker Kit Trainers

This year I pledged that if I could make something myself, I would leave it in the shops and instead make it myself. I’ve had my eye on a pair of Gold Superga trainers for a while, but when I discovered the Sneaker Kit website I thought I could make own and find the perfect gold leather to make these trainers to treasure.

8. Jeans

Last year I made the Sew Over It Mia Jeans and they were a satifying make, but the fit wasn’t perfect. So this year I want to take the trouser fitting class with Ministry of Craft and explore lots of styles of jeans. Usually I wear skinny jeans with pleny of stretch but I want to branch out to straight jeans or even draft my own pattern.

9. Wear Lemonade India Jumpsuit

Last but no means least I want to make the Wear Lemonade India Jumpsuit, I haven’t made a jumpsuit yet, but I think the India Jumpsuit with it’s wrap front, will feel like my style and making it from denim or chambray will make it wearable in the day or suitable as a dressed up going out outfit.

At the moment this list feels pretty daunting probably because I love all the patterns and want to wear them straight away, but sewing has taught me a lot about patience and slowing down. Hopefully all these projects will challenge my skills, fill gaps in my wardrobe and result in items that I’ll treasure forever.

What’s on your #makenine2019?