Monthly Archives: May 2014

I just don’t know lovely people, I just don’t know!

I’m truly a complete kid at heart so part of me LOVES this dress, the other part of me (probably the boring grown up part) feels a bit clown-like…

so…. I made another loose-fittting A-line shift dress (how did you guess?!)




It’s funny how in the photos the green in the dress looks entirely different. In the pictures it looks like a faded blue-green, but in real life it’s more of a bright grass green or kelly green (which I much prefer). I’m just not really in the mood to fuss with colours in photoshop…sorry! Another time perhaps!




My mum bought me the fabric for this dress on a visit to my flat and I feel for it immediately: The glorious green shade and the stylized daisies, it was “cute” in fabric form!

The print on the fabric also has this big black and white swirly detail (pretty cool), but I felt unsure about having a big hairy looking swirl on the front of my dress, so I decided to cut the front out as two pieces, thereby avoiding the black part of the print (and adding a center front seam), it’s still featured on the back anyway ;).

I covered the CF seam with a navy blue drill strip- I could go on about nitty gritty sewing stuff, only I’m not sure how exciting it is to read. Do you want to know about my strip positioning technique? yikes! that sounded sort of wrong/odd didn’t it?

I lined the entire dress with a thin cotton, just like I did with my Tulip Dress. I was happy that I hemmed the dress and the lining pieces individually before attaching the lining to the dress. Must remember that in future!

I felt like the dress needed something so I decided to add decorative buttons.

I umed and erred over the buttons (trying different ones/colours) and I’m not sure how well it turned out. As you can see I covered some buttons with swirl motif portion of the fabric so now it kind of looks like a mish mash of disjointed lines so…. yeah…….TOTALLY intentional 😉

I altered the pattern a bit since the last time I used it, basically just letting out the shoulder seams, making the darts nicer etc, all the boring, but necessary stuff.

You know what? I think I’m game enough to rock this dress, I have always been a crazy dresser. One woman’s costume is another woman’s casual dress?!

side note: I have started to post my sewing work-in-progress photos on my instagram: my handle is @kathborup if you want to follow me 🙂





mmmay02‘Me-Made-May’ outfits

A. Bold blue summer dress    B. Orange penguin dress    C. Chevron 60’s dress    D. Mod tulip dress    E. Re-fashioned skirt (not blogged)    F. Magnified dot shift dress    G. Black and white chevron dress    H. Easy leopard skirt


I really don’t know why I haven’t done ‘Me-made-may‘ before! It has seriously given me perspective on wearing handmade and what works for my wardrobe!

Going to make a confession here-….even though I sew, I usually don’t wear handmade things every single day, especially when the weather is colder (but this has to change, jumper and jeans everyday can get boring). I tend to sew summer pieces, so it has been a fun challenge working some of my summer makes into cold-weather outfits! Me-made-may really makes you asses the kind of outfits you wear day-to day, what pieces suit your lifestyle and what handmade pieces you love to wear!

Here are some lessons I have learnt:

1. Layering collared shirts under shift dresses is awesome– This was a brilliant styling revelation to me (for some reason). I love anything with a collar (especially dresses) and it can give your shift dresses a fun new look!

2. I really need to make more skirts and solid coloured separates! When you have a solid skirt you can mix and match seamlessly with almost anything and but it’s often way more fun/less standard than jeans!  I’m so attracted to prints, but for that very reason I really need more solid coloured items in my wardrobe! Natalie Jane of ‘Natalie Jane Handmade’  has this fabulous pink pencil skirt I have been seriously coveting (Btw- this girl really knows how to dress LOVE her MMMay outfits!).

3. Find cardigan alternatives I find cardigans to be a necessary evil in the colder weather.  So cute on other people, but a bit frumpy on me…hmm what to do….I need something to layer over dresses and tops.Something that is not too long or bulky (making all my short sleeved dresses wearable, while adding warmth)….I mentioned this in my last post and the lovely Ginger of ‘Ginger Makes’ mentioned she was thinking of making blazers in heavy knits. Ah, Of course! Blazers! Brilliant!  I have yet to make my own, but I sneakily bought some inexpensive cropped ponti ones and they are brilliant! Now I can show off my handmade skirts and dresses, but still look ‘put together’. I think it’s about time I tackle/sew a cropped jacket or some smart cold weather-layering pieces!

I’d love to follow more sewists on instagram! I’m @kathborup, is that how you write it? I’m a bit of a social media noob 😉

Till next time, keep sewing 🙂




Note: click on images to enlarge them! My wordpress template makes them small -but not for much longer hopefully…;)

So for the past month or so I have found myself a little too hooked on pinning 60s fashion/style “sewing inspiration” (on pinterest)!

I decided that finding a shift dress pattern that was as simple as possible (A line, loose fit, just bust darts etc) was my no 1 sewing priority. I absolutely adore bold prints, so I figured once I had found a simple shift dress pattern, I could finally make TONS of simple dresses in statement prints!

I am such a ‘print’ person! I love the vibrancy, energy, colours and emotions they can evoke, so much so that when they do the print challenge on project runway and someone who only wears black inevitably says ‘I don’t DO prints’ I sort start to really dislike them! (it’s OK I mean ‘TV-dislike’, not real dislike 😉 )



Sorry if this is TMI-I wear short shorts under my mega short shifts-that way I don’t worry about flashing anyone or looking indecent. It’s just when the silhouette is very loose I seem to end up making my dress much shorter.

When I studied fashion design many years ago (quit before the end of first year) and the subject I did best in was textile printing. I LOVED designing prints more than anything else! I still have some orange twill I printed with a geometric rubylith design from back then. When I find it i’ll make a dress out of it, because I think I’ve found the pattern to use for it!

Material notes:

I bought this fabric from spotlight for a steal many years ago. Happily I still have more of it! The lining is just cheap poly cotton. Gutterman thread of course! Heres a link to the pattern I used. I got mine from a burdastyle magazine (3/2010 style 104). The dress is actually a “wedding dress” go figure…then again if I did get married (which I highly doubt), it would not be in a traditional wedding gown either!

Fitting/Alteration notes:

I have gone back to making a muslin/test-garment before I make a dress. In this case it worked out well! I only made one test garment, Luckily I didn’t overfit this time, as this dress is supposed to be loose. If I make it again I think I will let out the shoulder seams and possibly the top of the side seams as it is a smidge too tight there.

I cut out the pattern in the smallest size size 10 (a europen 36) I took it in slightly on the side seams, lowered the neckline a little, altered the shoulders and added small darts to the back (for just a bit a bit of shaping).

I was so in love with camelias and crinoline’s version of this dress! She mentioned she cut the back of the dress lower- eliminating the need for any fastenings on this dress. I did this too and it turned out to be a BRILLIANT idea! I love a dress you can just slip over your head!


Construction notes:

I decided to avoid facings or bias binding. I fully lined the dress, with no hand sewing! I used the same technique that I have used for bodices, when I made a lot of fit and flare style dresses and it worked a treat!

Would anyone be interested in a tutorial on how to line a sleeveless shift dress completely by machine? You get a nice clean finish!

The lining helps to add weight to the dress, which also means it doesn’t crease as easily.

While I was finishing the dress (about to hem it) and after 7+ hrs making it/lining it nicely, I noticed a little hole in the back of the dress! I was so bummed and at that point I couldn’t even be bothered changing the colour cotton I used, when repairing the hole! Moral of the story: Be careful with your clippers and always check for faults in your fabric!


I did the biggest/widest hem of all time on this dress (its a long story). I used a blind hem foot to finish the hem. I actually like the treatment of the hem because it helps the dress stand out/hold it’s shape.


I’m even going to show you the insides, because I am actually kind of proud of them…


No zip needed, I just love that!

So in conclusion: Yay! Don’t be surprised if from this point onwards, all I make is printed shift dresses! I have finally found a simple pattern and I have so many fabrics that want to be shifts (sorry if that sounded slightly crazy heh)



Despite the fact that I never pledged to join, I decided on a whim to be part of the proceedings, even if it was somewhat unoffical.

Zoe has been running “me made may” (where you post pictures of youself wearing your handmade duds) for a long time… I have always enjoyed seeing all you lovely sewing bloggers wear and celebrate the things you make.

I don’t know why I never participated before, but now that I have a fancy new phone, its relativley quick to snap what I’m wearing, even if that means filling instagram up with WAY too many selfies.

It’s really interesting to see which items I have made that I actually find useful and enjoy wearing, it really does give you a new perspective. I am so inspired by the sewing community, it’s filled with friendly lovely people!


2nd of May (Me-made-item: Pleated cotton skirt) I do love a pleated skirt! Here is the blog post for this make I don’t normally wear my skirts this long. I love the print, but I did feel a little ‘frumpy dumpy’ when I went grocery shopping. I had to wear sandals, stockings and I carry a granny trolley because I use it for food shopping, here’s the full look just for laughs…

My style is always cute and sweet rather than sexy. I think it tends to work better for summer clothing. In winter it takes it to a bit of a daggy place?



3rd of May (Me-made-item: Peter pan collar dress) I made this dress back in 2012 (blogged here). A lot of the dresses I made back then are too big for me now, but I’m hanging onto them in-case I go up a size or two. That’s another challenge of sewing for yourself, everyone’s body changes over time and so do our tastes, but this lovely dress is still 100% me. The dress ended up shrinking in the wash, so now it fits me again. I’m not actually a massive fan of cardigans. I like them on other people, just not on me. But whats a girl to do when its cold out and she wants to wear her dress?



4th of May (Me-made-item: Refashioned skirt) Not the most exciting look. But I do love the skirt. It’s the kind of skirt that would look much better with a fitted top or summery crop top, but its COLD, so I opted for a jumper that was a bit boring/conservative! This skirt was a re-fashion. I didn’t blog about it here, because I never blog refashions. I probably should, but I always forget to take a before photo. Anyway this skirt used to be an empire line sundress, I wore it that way too, then one day I chopped off the bodice, added a new zip and hand-stitched it at the waistband. I do love seersucker!



5th of May  (Me-made-item: floral sheath dress)This was the outfit I felt happiest/most stylish in, but I think that has more to do with the leather jacket than the ‘me made’ element of the outfit. The dress is handmade I blogged about it here. I had to layer it under a jumper of course. I never seem to make winter clothing. I don’t like cold weather much. At first I get excited about wearing layers, but it’s not long before I dream of being in a sundress again!


6th of May  (Me-made-item: red denim skirt) Today was my mums birthday so I wore red in her honor! The red skirt I wore is one I made some time ago blogged here. I quite like the button details on the skirt and the sturdy denim It’s made from. But I feel like it’s almost TOO A-line….It was a new look  pattern so I adjusted the crap out of it. This probably accounts for the weird shape!



7th of May (Me-made-item: black blouse)  I had one of those “Blah” days we all have sometimes (terrible hair etc)! I didn’t feel like dressing up (which unlike me, I usually live for dressing up). I am sort of cheating with this one. I did not make the sweater , but I did make the black shirt with the rounded collar, you can see peaking out from under my sweater. I never blogged it, because I made it way before I started blogging. I think I may have been in my teens/early 20s when I made it. The pattern was from a burda magazine.

I gotta say I love all this dressing up, styling outfits etc. I am a total girl at heart and I spend a bit too much  time thinking about clothing and personal style!