Pattern Review: TATB Safiya Dungarees/Playsuit hack

Here is my third pattern review from the Make it Simple book – this time, I have combined two variations in the book for the Safiya trousers.


  • Name: Safiya
  • Variation: Dungarees for bodice/straps, playsuit for shorts
  • Design House: Tilly and the Buttons / Tilly Walnes’ book Make it Simple
  • Size I made: 4


I wasn’t sure how this mash up would turn out, so to be on the safe side, I found something in my stash.  I ended up using an old curtain, which was easy to sew up.


There are no tricky fastenings and the darts were simple to construct.  My main issue was checking the fit and making sure I read the correct instructions for each part as I was using part of the playsuit instructions and part of the dungarees.


The instructions are clear, but there is not much guidance on how to create this hack as it is just suggestion in the book.  However, if you put markers in the book to ensure you follow the right section at the right time, you should be okay!

Design and Fit

I am surprised at how fitted they have ended up considering the design is loose fit.  There is not much wiggle room for putting them on when they go past your hips.  My measurements are fairly standard, but if you do vary quite a bit and want a fitted finish, you may need to consider adding a zip.

I was torn between adding the tie and not having elastic or just going with the elastic.  As you can see, I went with the elasticated waist.  I decided to go with it in part because I would have had to remove the excess length on the shorts, but also felt it would be easier to wear with the elastic.

Sadly, the shorts are too short to incorporate the in-seam pocket.

Time Taken

It’s tricky to gauge how long it took me, as I went wrong a few times and I spent about an hour or so turning out those narrow straps!  I made it over a few days, but it probably equates to about two days.


Making this version has made me more tempted to make a longer dungaree version of the Safiya.  Living in the UK, I’m not sure how many short versions I would wear, but it’s definitely a fun addition to the wardrobe, and a good way to re-purpose an old curtain.

You can watch my related video on the vlog below:

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Pattern Review: TATB Shortie PJs

Here is my pattern review for the shortie PJs from the Make it Simple book!


  • Name: Juno PJs
  • Variation: Shorts and short sleeved – with cuffs from Tabitha variation
  • Design House: Tilly and the Buttons / Tilly Walnes’ book Make it Simple
  • Size I made: 4


I used up some yellow ponte fabric which I originally used for my yellow Kinder cardigan for the shorts.  The top was made from a nice single knit fabric I found in my local Trago shop.  The yellow ribbing was from My Fabrics.


I found this a nice simple make overall and would recommend to confident beginners.  The only bit which may be tricky is the neckband as it may need adjusting.  I followed the practice I learned from another pattern where you machine tack the neckband on to begin with to check it isn’t too baggy before going for it with a smaller stitch or overlocker!  It turned out I didn’t need to adjust it but it is good to be safe.

The waistband on the shorts is made in a similar fashion to the neckband.  I was concerned that I might find this a bit tricky as it can be easy to stretch elastic inconsistently, but it turned out to be fine.

For the shorts, you must adjust the trouser pattern from the trouser version, but the instructions on how to do this are really clear and I found this very easy to do.


For the shorts, I followed the longhand instructions.  For the top, I followed the checklist instructions, but referred to the longhand version as required.  Both sets of directions were clear.

Design and Fit

I’m happy with the fit.  As it is made from a knit fabric, I didn’t worry about adjusting it.  There are clear instructions on how to measure out the elastic for the waistband.

You decide how long the shorts are, so I opted for and inside leg seam of 12cm, which I think is about double the version shown.  This length is just right for me; not too short and not too long.

I think the ribbed cuffs on the top are a nice addition and complements the shorts.

Time Taken

The book suggests 50 minutes to cut out and 2 hours to make.  I took 1 hour 30 minutes to cut out and 3 hours to make.

I couldn’t cut my shorts on the fold as I was using a remnant, and I added the cuffs to the sleeves, which probably added a bit of time onto the total.  However, I think I am just a slower sewist than those that helped create the guide times!


I’m happy with the end result and I might made the Tabitha t-shirt on its own one day as it would go under dungarees or a pinafore nicely.  It is like the Peak t-shirt by Wendy Ward in that you can embellish it and adapt it to your own style.  I think I will add a bit of embroidery on the top soon to give it a bit more character.

You can watch my related video below:

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Pattern Review: Bertha Cardigan

Recently, I received the latest Tilly and the Buttons book – Make it Simple – as a gift.  here is my first make from it!


Pattern Details:

  • Name: Bertha
  • Variation: Original without additions/hacks
  • Pattern House: Tilly and the Buttons
  • Size I made: 4


This red drapey single knit fabric is from my stash and was meant for my nan’s Kinder cardigna, but I cut into the wrong fabric for that.  It has a clear right and wrong side.  It was tricky to cut out as it was hard to lay out on the table to cut.  I had to cut a couple of pieces twice as I hadn’t laid the fabric out straight first time.  However, the fabric feels nice and looks smart.


The pattern is straight forward and simple.  It’s suitable for a beginner but has a few pattern pieces and is in knit fabric.  I made mine completely on the overlocker – minus the final stage where you secure the neckband hem to the hem band.  I followed the batching checklist which is designed to be a faster method of working but looked at the more detailed instructions when I needed clarification on any point.


I didn’t struggle with any aspect of the instructions and found the checklist worked well with how I like to work.

Design and Fit

As intended, Bertha is loose fit in style to avoid excessive time on adjusting it to fit.  I would consider lengthening the sleeves next time as I’m only just comfortable with this length on me – but this is personal preference (technically they are long enough!)

I chose to avoid pockets on this occasion as I felt this fabric would look nicer without and made it look smarter if used for work.

Time Taken

I was very interested to track the time it took as the book does give guidance on this.

For cutting time it advises it will take around 40 minutes, but it took me about an hour – but I did go wrong and I am a slow cutter.

For sewing/construction time, it advises 1 hour 35 minutes.  It look me 2 hours 20 minutes.

The guide times are like those you get in a recipe book where it is just a guide and it may be that you are faster second time round.  I do think I may have been a bit speedier if I had been a bit more organised though!


A very fast make, and definitely possible to make in an afternoon.  I’m very happy with it and can’t wait to try out more patterns from the book.

You can watch my related video on this make below:

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Mend it! Adding a blind hem to a dress

One of my 2020 goals is to get through my mending pile and fix items as I go along.  I finally got round to my first project, which was to mend a tunic dress I bought years ago.  The hem stitching had come away on the majority of it so I had not worn it for a while.  It was time to resolve the issue.


  • Garment: Tunic dress (shop bought)
  • Fabric type: Knit (quite stable)
  • Problem: hem needs restitching
  • Solution: Blind hem to match original hem appearance
  • Resources required: Blind hem foot (optional), matching thread

On my machine (Toyota Super Jeans 34) the stitch to use for stretch blind hems is stitch 9.  If I wanted a blind hem, I would use stitch 7 instead.  Both stitches allow you to create a hem which is still machine sewn but avoids an obvious line of stitching, which is great for certain projects where this line of stitching would spoil the appearance.

This is the first time I have tried out this hemming method, and I was impressed with the result.  Fortunately, this fabric is so busy that it is very forgiving, but I will need to be much more careful and accurate on a less forgiving one!


I’m really pleased I finally mended this dress as I learned a new way to hem along the way.

You can watch more about this mending project and how to create your own blind hem on the vlog:

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5 Ideas for quick sewing gifts (all free patterns/tutorials)

I love to make a gift for my nearest and dearest, and while I start with huge ambitious plans, I’m normally grappling with time.  Here are a few ideas if you find yourself wanting to make gifts but needing some faster options.

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Make a mini Christmas Brooch!

Fancy something to wear to get in the festive spirit but need something that will go with your pinafore or is less obvious than a festive jumper?  A little Christmas brooch may be the answer.

What you need:

  • Download the template for this make here
  • Cardboard for the middle section (to improve the structure, but you could leave this out if not available)
  • Felt scraps in the colours of your choice
  • Embroidery thread in the colours of your choice
  • Brooch back
  • Scrap length of yarn if making the bauble design
  • Double sided tape
  • Bondaweb scrap (optional)
  • Interfacing (optional)
  • Paper scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Darning needle
  • Sewing machine if you want to add decoration on the sewing machine

1. Draw out the main pieces of your design onto the interfacing if using and attach to the felt (or draw directly onto the felt if not using interfacing) and cut out

For the stocking design, you will need to ensure that you cut one on the reverse side if using the interfacing.

Attach to the interfacing by placing the shiny side of the interfacing on the felt so that the non-shiny side is facing upwards.  Press with an iron until it attaches.

If you are not using interfacing, you can trace the design straight onto the fabric and then cut out.

If you want to embellish on the machine, do this before cutting the shape out of felt as it will be much easier!

2. Attach the bauble top or stocking brim

I used interfacing to trace the shape and then attach to the main front piece, but you could just place on top and then sew in place.

Here, my partner used a straight running stitch to attach the bottom of the brim of the stocking, but you could choose a hand embroidery stitch of your choice.  I used back stitch.

3. If you are adding any embellishment using hand embroidery, add this now to the front piece

On the blue bauble I made, I added some cross stitch shapes and running stitch to add a bit of detail in both orange and white thread.  I used two strands of embroidery thread doubled (4 in total) – see the video for more about this.

4. Add the brooch attachment to the back piece

Secure the brooch piece on the back piece in the top third of the shape securely with some thread.

5. Add the cardboard middle, if using

I like using the cardboard middle to give the brooch a firmer shape and used some packaging rubbish for this.

Trace the shape of the middle piece onto the cardboard and cut it out.  Next, attach right in the middle of the wrong side of the front piece with some of the double sided tape.  This will help prevent it from moving when you stitch around the edges.  Attach the back piece in the same way with double sided tape, by placing the piece over the front piece, wrong sides together.

6. Stitch around the edge - and add a yarn loop to the bauble design

You can choose your preferred stitch for the border.  In the video below, Phill and I both used blanket stitch, but in the one I made with free machine embroidery decoration, I used chain stitch.

Finally, for the bauble design, I secured a small length of yarn in the desired colour to the top back of the shape.

Watch it on the Vlog!

You can watch Phill and I make these in the video below:

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Birthday card: Dog themed

Recently, I shared a birthday card where a ginger tabby cat was the theme of the image.  This time, I’m sharing a dog themed birthday card – a Jack Russell themes one to be precise.

I was fortunate to find many real life dog photos of Jack Russells being dressed up for the birthday spirit, so it wasn’t difficult for me to picture one with a birthday hat and a party horn!  Based off these photos, I drew the outline of the illustration.

For this design, I used an air erasable pen to trace my design onto the calico I was using as the base.  I used black thread to create all the outlines as well as the facial features.  For the hat, I used a simple orange for the circles, and a multi-coloured thread for the background hat colour.  The party horn was coloured in blue.

For the markings on the dog, I used a brown thread and kept using a straight stitch.  However, I moved the fabric faster to create larger stitches to create a fur-like shading.

Finally, I attached to the card template with spray mount.

Watch it on the Vlog!

I made a timelapse of stitching this card which you can view in the video below:

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