Pattern Review: The Bibi Pinafore!

Today I am pleased to share with you the positive outcome of cutting into the wrong fabric last Christmas… it’s the bibi pinafore!


  • Pattern name: Bibi
  • Variation/Style: Pinafore
  • Design House: Tilly and the Buttons / Tilly Walnes book Stretch!
  • Size I made: 4


I used the leftover fabric from the Kinder cardigan I made my nan for Christmas.  As I have mentioned in that pattern review, I accidentally got two fabrics mixed up (downside to having a huge stash) and ended up cutting lovely thick ponte from a fabric shop in Tiverton which I was saving for a dress.  However, it has worked out beautifully for this make so I feel a lot better than I did at the time!  It is a lovely dark red and a nice quality.  I probably would not have made it from this if the meterage had not decreased as you do not need much fabric to make this pinafore.


The Bibi skirt is the first pattern in the Stretch! book because it is the easiest and made with the most stable knit fabric.  It lived up to expectation and was a nice simple make.

The pinafore variation was not much harder – the bib and straps are provided on the pattern sheet and the instructions were clear on how to add these.

The only challenge I found was getting the straps attached in the right place.  I ended up adjusting them a couple of times to get it right.


I feel a bit like I always say this, but Tilly and the Buttons patterns are beginner friendly and feel as though you are being guided step by step.  

Design and Fit

When I first got the book, I didn’t want to make the Bibi skirt.  Firstly, I don’t wear a lot of skirts, and secondly, I didn’t think the shape would suit me.

When I saw the pinafore variation, I was smitten.  I have a soft spot for pinafores and this one was no different!  The great thing about this pinafore is that depending on your fabric choice, it can be smart enough to use as part of your work wardrobe!

The fit is perfect but I would like to make a note of caution – it has no zip or fastening so you need adequate stretch/strong machine stitching on the waistband to get it over your hips!

Time Taken

This was a really fast make which I made in a day.


I am really impressed with this pattern and it works really well with the fabric.  I may even be tempted to make a regular Bibi skirt in the future!  Being in a knit fabric, it’s very comfy and would see you through both a day off or working day.

You can watch my video review below:

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Pattern Review: The TATB Bow Blouse

Today I’m sharing a pattern review of one of my #2018makenine projects!  I added it to my make nine list as it’s something I began in 2017 and then abandoned when I got confused with it.  However, I am so glad I persevered as it wasn’t so bad after all and it certainly stands out in my wardrobe.

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The £2.50 Dress

I went to my mum’s house with the intention of making a pattern from an old dress I have of hers (which is at risk of disintegrating as it’s been worn so many times!) but I ended up nabbing one of her most recent charity shop pattern purchases and cutting out the pieces to make a dress!

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#sewmystyle – April – Bridgetown dress

Once again, I found myself blundering out of another month without a completed project for #sewmystyle.  My flaw in April was that I completely forgot to prewash the fabric until the day I chose to cut out the pieces.  I ended up washing it while I cut out pieces for another project on my list, and then with other deadlines appearing, April came and went!

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The Walkley Dress


While on a bit of a dressmaking roll, I decided to delve back into the realm of knit fabrics.  Having only made one successful garment with knit, I decided that I wanted to keep the pattern as simple as possible.

The simple question for this project was The Walkley Dress by Wendy Ward MIY.

This pattern requires two pieces to be cut out of your fabric, and they come from the same template.  If you’re lucky enough to have 150cm wide fabric, you only need a metre!  In this instance, I already had some fabric ready and waiting – a remnant from a fabric shop!

Setting up the machine proved the most difficult part.  It’s been about six months since I last tried a stretch pattern, and it was a challenge to set up my machine.  Following the advice from the pattern, I opted for the small zigzag stitch for the seams, and the three stitch zigzag for the hems.  In addition, I attached a walking foot to my machine and loosened the pressure of the presser foot; without these adjustments, my machine did not want to stitch!

Originally, I planned to try a twin needle on the hems, but I managed to break my stretch needle one a while ago and haven’t replaced it yet.  It turns out that I keep loosening the needle whenever I attach the walking foot to my machine!

I didn’t colour match the thread for this garment as I had recently acquired a set of threads in different colours (none of which were a perfect match) and I didn’t want to go out and buy more supplies on this occasion.  The downside to this is that the hemming is a lot more noticeable than it would have been.

Also, I stretched the hem a bit while stitching (I did the hem before the neck and armholes).  I didn’t have any stay tape or stabiliser, which could have helped to prevent this, but I did adjust my stitching technique to decrease the amount of stretching after noticing the issue on the hem.

The neckline is quite wide (though this could be in part due to my stitching ability!) but it’s really comfy and it is definitely a pattern which provides you with fast results which are satisfying!  It’s a brilliant ‘first knit’ pattern too as there aren’t too many steps or seams to stitch which means you can focus on working carefully with the knit medium.

I think next time I use this pattern, I will definitely try out some knit stay tape to ensure that the garment lasts a long time.  Also, I think I may opt for a patterned material.

I think I will give this pattern another go with the lessons learnt from this occasion in mind!  As it only requires a metre of fabric to create a whole dress, and can be made in less time than a lot of the other patterns I have, I think another one will be made!  As the pattern says, this make is versatile for all seasons as you can layer it for the winter or wear it as it is for the summer.


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When I took part in the #miymarch16 instagram challenge, I put down this dungarees pattern as my sewing ambition (new Burda 3779).  I bought the pattern from a charity shop for £2 just over a year ago because I loved the idea of making some, and bought some denim shortly after.  However, the amount of pieces in the pattern felt overwhelming, and I couldn’t get started.

A couple of months ago, I asked my mum if I could bring along the pattern and fabric when I visited her to see if she could encourage me to get started.  Over the weekend, I managed to trace the pattern, pin it onto the fabric, and then cut it out.

One of my main worries was altering the pattern to my size.  However, we decided that as it was designed to be very loose fitting, I could cut it a size smaller than usual, which would ensure that the bottom half would not be too baggy!

I didn’t manage to pick it up again for about a month after this visit!  Feeling that I still needed a boost, I went back to my mum’s for a crafty retreat to get the pattern finished.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  When I attached the bib section to the shorts, it didn’t provide a completely sealed finish, but I think I might have misread it.  I would plan to take steps to create a better finish next time.  Also, the inner sides of the bib are tacked in place and then secured by edge stitching and top stitching.  However, I decided to slip stitch it in place by hand to secure it before the two rows of machine stitching.

The braces were simple to attach.  The buttons have to be hammered on, but in my view, this is much easier than stitching button holes and working out where to place the buttons on the straps!  There’s the added benefit that you can adjust it to size.


The pleats on the front were also a worry, but turned out to be really simple to complete.  They were more like tucks.  The denim material is so sturdy that it was easy to tack in place and press well at every step.

I think these may become my ‘uniform’ for craft days!  I think I will have to make a trouser version for the winter though (I’m already imagining some navy polka dot material which could be used for the second pair…)IMG_20160829_164019Harry did become jealous of the sewing project during its production, and kept sitting or laying on the instructions.  When I moved the instructions out of the way so he couldn’t make any further holes in it with his claws, he decided to settle on the garment instead!

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Comic Strip Stitched

Recently I decided to revisit my doodles through free motion stitching.

Doodling can happen in all sorts of circumstances.  You could be on hold chasing up an order over the phone (or in the case of my first job, being the advisor on the other side of the line), waiting for a meeting to commence, sitting in the audience of a presentation or passing the time on the train.  Sometimes the doodling is abstract, and sometimes it turns into a miniature piece of artwork.

Many of the doodles I made when I worked as a customer advisor in a call centre focused on the more abstract sketches of wiggly lines and rough shading, punctuated by the odd cartoon cat.  We had green paper to use to make notes while we were on the phone, which we had to throw away as confidential waste at the end of our shift, so I don’t have any of those scribbles anymore, and I doubt there were many of interest from that job either!


However, I have kept some of the sketches I’ve made over the years.  I decided to use these to practise my free machine embroidery.

I used a water soluble fabric pen to trace the whole design onto my scrap piece of calico.  However, I found that once I got a gauge of the letter sizing, I began to ignore the template.  I was concerned about writing with stitch so small, but it worked out well in the end.  I probably wouldn’t attempt it when I’m tired though!

finished office crafting

Overall, it was an interesting stitch.  I find that I prefer joining up letters when I stitch, whereas I found it difficult to allow the writing to be joined up, possibly due to the style  and format you normally see comics portrayed in!

I have some more comic strip ideas drafted, including a short series based on being a graduate and job interviews, which I will use to practise my machine embroidery skills with as well!

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