Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Sewing

Sew Over It Kitty Dress

So I’m soooo pleased to announce I have been selected out of over 600 applicants (wahhtttt!) to be a Pattern Insider for Sew Over It. Lisa Comfort and the team have developed a huge range of patterns, for a stylish, modern wardrobe, drawing inspiration from vintage silhouettes. It’s fair to say, I am a big Sew Over It fan, I have made many of their patterns in the past, EveCoco, Chloe and The City Break Capsuale Wardrobe, so this is a great opportunity for me to work with a brand that I already love. The role of a Pattern Insider, is simply to make up the pattern ahead of the release and to share photos of your make, so the sewing community can see the pattern made up on a range of ages, races and body shapes. Honestly, I was blown away when I got introduced to other ladies in the group who are all making from all across the globe. This is the first project I took on, The Kitty Dress.


The Kitty Dress comes with two views, a princess seam bodice, with a panelled skirt (this is the version I went for) or a short sleeve bodice with a gathered skirt. Of course, there is also the option to mix and match. To me, this dress is timeless, perfect for a day at Wimbledon or swanning around on the French Riveira..! I wish! Or just great for a summer’s day and smart enough for an office with the buttons. It really reminds me of the 50’s fashion in the film Brooklyn, which I loved and honestly where I wear it, I definitely feel like Ellis Lacey when she returns to rural Ireland, feeling very glam.

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I deliberated over the fabric choice for a while, initially I thought of the Lisa Comfort ElderPress Cotton Lawn in Navy Blue, in the end I opted for this white linen and viscose blend with black dots on, from The Fabric Rooms so it would be timeless.

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The bodice comes with the option to self line, or to use facings. Honestly, I hate facings and much prefer a finished garment when it has been lined, so it is always worth the extra work. I was a bit worried that the fabric would be sheer, I lined the bodice in the same fabric and thankfully the unlined skirt is fine. The pattern calls for a lot of fabric, 3M, of course you can choose to line in another fabric. I paired the linen with wooden buttons from my local haberdashery.


The bodice is fitted with a princess seam, the first time I made something with a princess seam I was a bit intimidated by the term, but my advice is just to pin, pin, pin as you ease the fabric on the curve. I didn’t stripe match, that would require some dedicated pattern placement and cutting. There is a lot of ease and room around the armhole, which you can see in this picture. If were to do it again, I would maybe take some off, but the ease around the armholes makes it comfortable to wear and it’s not too fitted around the bust.


I cut and made a straight size 14 based on my measurements. I’m smaller on top, than the bottom, so I could have got away with grading between 12/14 but I wanted a relaxed fit to match the linen.  The waistband came up a bit short, so my advice would be to cut a larger size, then trim off the excess when folding and constructing the waistband.


The waistband construction took a bit of head scratching, it’s similiar to that of the Camille jumpsuit, but it creates a really neat finish inside, so persevere with it. The skirt has eight panels, so keep your pattern pieces attached to the cut out fabric as you want to ensure you match the right seam. As I was piecing it together I laid out the skirt in a circle to help me keep track. The skirt hangs and moves beautifully, it feels very elegant.


Oh and did I mention it has pockets.


I love this dress, it’s definatley doing to be a classic in my summer wardrobe, worn with my cropped RTW denim jacket throughout spring.  I’m looking forward to taking on more projects over the coming months so eyes peeled for more Sew Over It pattern releases.


All from me,

Claire & Co



Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Sewing

Sew Over It. City Break E Book. My Capsule Wardrobe.

It’s all well and good making posh frocks, I am guilty of this, Etta and Eve dresses hang proudly in my wardrobe. Sadly my lifestyle calls for these to be worn only on the odd occasion, and considering the investment per wear, I set about making an everyday, wearable wardrobe. My starting point was The Sew Over It City Break Capsule Wardrobe E-book, which included five patterns with multiple variations. As the title suggests, it is designed to dress you for all occasions during a city break. All the pieces are designed to go together, and crucially are practical, designed for everyday and transcend all seasons. What drew me to the capsule collection is that it would challenge my beginner skills  with a button down shirt, a pair of jeans and the requirement to use jersey for the first time.

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Molly Top and Dress

I started with the Molly Top, a simple jersey top, with dropped shoulder sleeves, a neck band and a curved hem. Using jersey for the first time, I opted for a stable Ponte Di Roma in navy and white, as modelled in the photos of the book. The stripes created a new challenge of stripe matching and I used advice from Tilly and the Buttons. A lot of beginners, myself included, are put off from using jersey fabric because there is a misconception that jersey can only be sewn on an overlocker. However, this is not true and I made this top entirely on my sewing machine with a zig zag stitch. I struggled putting the neck band in and there are a few puckers. I used the zig zag stitch to top stitch the neckband in place, which did the job fine, but I prefer the finish of a twin-needle and since then I have invested in a jersey twin needle .

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I prefer the Molly Dress and haven’t really taken it off since I made it. It’s comfortable, easy to wear, doesn’t require any ironing and still feels put together. I wore the navy and white version so much that I made it again in black and white ponte di roma. I’m looking for a bottle green and white ponte to make a third version for autumn, so it has since become a tried and tasted pattern. I like it in stripes, to accentuate the dropped shoulder and leave room to play with direction of the stripes on the contrast neck band.

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Alex Shirt Dress

Next, I made the Alex Shirt Dress. I love a shirt dress, because they can be worn for almost any occasion. The pattern is relatively easy, with a soft collar and without any cuffs. Inserting the yoke required a bit of head scratching, I used the Sew Over It Tutorial which helped me through it. The pattern calls for some drapey fabric, like viscose, but because I had been given some mid-wash, mid-weight denim I took a chance. The waist tie creates the silhouette and it sits on the knee. The sleeves are turned up, which suits me because thats how I usually wear shirt dresses. The fabric is a little structured, but it doesn’t cause too many problems. In the future I’d like to make a black tencel version for winter and a linen version for summer.

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Mia Jeans

The slim fitted, mid rise jeans, with back pockets are a great addition to this collection. They are a great beginner jeans pattern and I wrote a whole other post on learning to make jeans, but I did want to show how they work in the collection.

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Erin Skirt

Erin is a button down skirt with darts in the back and a waist band, and with the option of above or below the knee with a slit. I opted for above the knee, knowing I’d wear this mostly with tights. I was unsure about this pattern, I decided to go with a faux suede I bought from Fabric Land in a camel colour, so it would be classic. The fabric was a bit disappointing, but it was cheap and I was unsure if this style would suit me. I didn’t want to invest too much, so I see this as more of a wearable toile. In hindsight, this skirt calls for something with a bit more structure like, denim or corduroy. The Molly top looks great tucked in to this skirt, this variation is a little short on me, but I do like the button down style. Next time I’d make a bottle green version for autumn, but with a length to sit on the knee.

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The e-book comes with a Lola Coat, which is a waterfall style jacket. It’s really not my style and since I recently made the Chloe Coat,  my wardrobe didn’t need another coat. What I like about all these patterns are that they work with tights or bare legs and are very wearable wardrobe staples. A great collection of patterns, great to take confident beginners onto tackling more complicated garments. I know The Molly Dress and Alex Shirt dress will become tried and tested patterns for me.

All for now.

Claire & Co.






Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe

Minerva Crafts Blog: Lurex Coating Coco Jacket

I’m proud to say I’m working with Minerva Crafts and my makes will be found every month over on their Blog.  I’m an advocate of fabric shopping online, this might feel counterintuitive to some, but when I dream up a project I am quite set on what type, colour and weight of fabric I’m looking for (check my guide to choosing fabric to help translate the terminology) . With such strict parametres, it’s easier to search online rather then rummage in shops. Minerva Crafts have a huge, I mean really huge, range and choice of fabric so i’m looking forward to showing you some great projects over the coming months. The first project went live today and I wanted to give you a sneak peek.

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Being part of the Minerva Craft Blog Team has encouraged me to use new fabrics and this fabric made me step out of my comfort zone, but it fits in perfectly with my wardrobe. It has stripes, shades of blue, flecks of gold and is nothing like I’ve seen on the high street.

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Pattern: Sew Over It Coco Jacket
Fabric: Lurex Coating Fabric
Notions: Interfacing to match the weight of your fabric for the front two panels, more if you chose a light weight fabric.
Modifications: None. Cut straight from the pattern
Fit: About an inch too short on me, but I’m quite tall (5’7”)
Difficulty: Advanced beginner. Great choice for a first time jacket, there are no fastenings.
Watch out for: Turning the jacket inside out, I used the Sew Over It Chloe Coat Class as a refresher.
Make Again?: Definitely, in a Navy/ Black Wool for smarter occasions or a brilliant geometric jacquared fabric.

Read the full review here.

Happy making

Claire & Co.



Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links


Dressmaking, Handmade Wardrobe, Sewing

Sewing A Winter Coat

After spending hours making the Etta Dress, shamefully I have only worn it once. Even though I loved wearing it, knowing that I’d made it myself, it got me thinking about making a more wearable everyday handmade wardrobe. Before launching into buying loads of fabric and patterns, I spent some time thinking about what makes up my day to day wardrobe. I also defined my style and read around the concept of capsule wardrobes. With winter coming up, I knew I wanted to make a coat to get as many wears out of my make as possible.

In summer I made use of the Sew Over It 20% off Sale and bought the Chloe Coat Pattern and the online class: an introduction into sewing coats.  When I first saw the Chloe Coat pattern I loved the classic collarless cut and loved the idea of making multiple coats in different weights of fabric to see me through the seaons. It was the first time I’d bought an online class and I can really recommend it, as it gives you confidence to tackle trickier projects, holds your hand through more complex steps and allows you to go at your own pace. I dilligently watched all the steps even before buying any fabric, so I knew what I was letting myself in for. I kept the laptop to the side of the sewing machine to refer back to the videos, I must have watched the lining video about six times!


Contructing the pattern was a big task, with separate elements for the coat, interfacing and lining. Chloe is a 72 page PDF, so it was an evening’s work and I recommend making floor space and doing it all in one go so you don’t get mixed up.

Buying coating fabric can feel a bit daunting as it is more expensive. I watched a timely vlog by Gutherie and Ghani on the arrival of their autumn fabric, where Lauren explains the difference between coating fabrics in detail.  Like most people, I always thought the thicker a coat fabric, the warmer it would be, but the properties of a warm coat come from the composition of the fabric. In general, the higher the wool content, the warmer the coat. A cashmere wool coating, which can feel thin to touch, will be warmer than a chunky polyblend.

I set about looking for some fabric. I had a few projects in mind when I first saw the chloe coat; a plain black wool coat with a black and white stripey lining, a navy or colbalt coat with a gold lining and a geometric print in a lighter weight fabric.  I have had this gemoetric print coat saved on my pinterest board for years and I’m still searching for the perfect patterned fabric for a lightweight version.

In the end I settled for a Navy Twill Wool Blend Fabric from Minerva Crafts that I spotted in the sale for £7.99/m, a safe bet that I knew would go with plenty of my day to day clothes. Additionally I could put it on without thinking about what I was wearing underneath and it was not a huge investement if it all went pear shaped. It has a 60% wool content and 40% Polymaide content, if I was honest I was worried that just 60% of wool it wouldn’t be warm enough. But after looking at the labels of my current high street coat I was suprised to see just how much wool content I’d been able to buy just for just £7.99/m and I love how warm it is. It really proves the value of natural fibres, and next time I make a coat I would definitely invest in 100% wool now I can call myself a confident coat maker.


To prepare the fabric, instead of prewashing, you need to steam the wool. When pressing the seams, it’s recommended you use a tailor’s clapper and ham. I invested in a tailor’s ham because I thought it would be handy for pressing sleeves on other projects, but I made a DIY clapper from some wood offcuts and stuck them together with gorilla glue. Wool takes a bit of extra pressing, the best analogy I read likens the ironing of the fabric, to using curling irons on your hair. The longer you leave the heat on, the better set the curl, and the longer you press the heat in with the clapper, the flatter the seam.

Tailors Ham

I made a toille to check the fitting, I have broad shoulders so following the instructions, I cut the size to fit my shoulders and was able to take in the side seams. The style of the coat is unstructued and oversized, so the fit wasn’t too complicated. There is about 6 inches of ease which allows plenty of space for woolly jumpers. I didn’t construct the toille in full, because I knew how labour intensive the project was going to be, and this navy wool fabric wasn’t crazy expensive. I actually saw the navy version as a wearable toille itself.


The construction was straightforward, the class introduces the tailoring technique of using ice wool under the shoulders, which involved some hand sewing, but it is not tricky. It was the first time I inserted an invisible zip and again it was really straight forward, I just had to triple check when I was cutting down the zip placket to make sure I didn’t get my right and left mixed up. I really like the colbalt blue zip as it adds a playful detail.


The patch pockets are lined, very practical and large enough for a set of keys when running out of the door.


Constructing the the lining was straightforward, but hemming the lining and turning it inside out was a bit tricky. When you reach the hem the end is in sight, so it’s tempting to hurry along, but it’s worth just taking your time and coming back to it with fresh eyes. I chose this gold lining from my local fabric store Abakhan  in Altrincham to add a bit of interest to the relatively plain coat.



I am so pleased with the end result, it was a time intensive project, but it was so satisfying seeing it all come together and worth the investment as I have worn it nearly everyday since finishing it. I have pulled it on over my trainers and leggings and jumper when walking the dog, and with a dress and tights or worn with jeans and boots.


I would make this pattern again, but recently I started to consider the enviromental cost of fabric production and over consumption following watching Stacy Dooley’s recent BBC documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secret. So for now, this navy coat works well with my autumn and winter wardrobe and I don’t really need any more coats. So I have neatly packed the pattern away to dig out at a later date, the timeless cut of the coat means it won’t go out of fashion and I look forward to experimenting with a geometric print fabric. I’ll no doubt be wearing this coat for more than half the year, let’s be honest it does always rain in Manchester, proudly knowing that I made it with my own hands.

All for now.

Claire & co.