Making A Copy Of A Boden Tee

red stripe tee

When I was recently sorting though my fabrics I found I still had a piece of red and white stripe jersey left over from making a skater dress a couple of years ago. Just enough to make a tee shirt. Since I gave up the RTW Fast last September I have bought 3 long sleeve and one short sleeve Breton tees from Boden. I really like the fit of these as they are slightly relaxed and not too skinny.

So instead of reaching for my Sewaholic Renfrew pattern I thought I’d take a pattern from the short sleeve version.

I measured the original tee across the shoulders, bust, waist and hem, noting the depth of the armhole and the front and back neck scoops. To make sure I got the shape of the sleeve head and armhole correct I used wax paper and tracing wheel.

red striped tee pattern (1824 x 1368)

striped tee sleeve pattern (1824 x 1368)

Using wax paper and tracing wheel to get the shape of the sleeve head correct.


It’s a simple tee but made with methods I hadn’t used before. The back and front necklines are finished separately. The back has a 1cm wide non stretch herringbone tape and the front is finished with a 1cm self fabric binding. Once these are done the shoulder seams are then sewn together.

neck binding for stripy tee (1824 x 1368)

the front neckline with 1cm wide self fabric binding  – you can see where I am using the wonder tape to hold the fabric in position before sewing.


The body and sleeve hems are sewn with a twin needle. I hadn’t done this for a while as I find the results can be a bit hit and miss, this is why I like the Renfrew with the banded hems.

Before I started sewing this I read thought my copy of ‘The Colette Guide To Sewing Knits’ to pick up some tips. The book recommends using ‘Collins washaway wonder tape’ to stabilise areas before sewing. It is a bit like double sided sticky tape and you can sew through it without it gumming up your needle and it disappears at the first wash. I bought a roll of it on eBay.

I used it at both the front and back neck and the sleeve hems. It really helped and would recommend it.

I didn’t run this up on the overlocker like a would a normal tee. The shoulders needed sewing together really carefully to make sure the seams met perfectly at the neck edge and that the chevrons created at the shoulder seam with the stripes matched. So I used the stretch stitch on the machine and used the overlocker just for finishing the seams. I forgot how slow going and noisy the stretch stitch on a normal machine was!

shoulder seam

Accuracy required for the shoulder seams. Arrgh! just spotted an untrimmed thread at the neck edge.


The twin needle stitching for the hems didn’t give me as much trouble as I was expecting. I used the wonder tape on the sleeve hems but decided against it on the body hem as I thought I’d give it a go without wasting a metre of tape. It worked out fine.

Even though it’s just a tee I was really pleased with the results, it fits just like the RTW one and there is something about the pitch of the sleeves I really like.

Unfortunately this did take me weeks to make. I started towards the end of May. Seriously, I would pin the shoulders one evening, then a few days later tack the seams, then sew them an on an on for 6 weeks! I was going away with work for 10 days in June and thought I’d have it done in time but I just couldn’t get my act together. Then I got back and slumped in to a Brexit gloom made worse by being overloaded in the day job and coming home and instead of sewing having to get out the work laptop. But anyway, this week I tackled it and got the tee finished.

My next project is a denim dress I’ve been wanting to make for months, I just need to get back into the swing of things.🙂

Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Number 2

A couple of months ago I made my first Carme blouse using a Pauline Alice pattern. I made the mistake of not tracing the pattern correctly and ended up with a slightly distorted front body pattern and wondering why the pin-tucked yoke didn’t fit correctly. It’s still wearable but I was annoyed with myself for making a silly mistake. I had a second piece of fabric that I wanted to use for this style. Again it was a Rose and Hubble lightweight cotton, this time a grey bird print on a white background.

Carme blouse bird print

Pauline Alice Carme Blouse

Before I started I made sure the front pattern piece was correct and I also moved the position of the dart. On my first make I found it a bit high. To get a better position I did think I’d have to make a toile but I took an easy way by wearing the original blouse and then pinning the pattern to myself. I knew I needed to pinch out 4.5cm for the dart at the side seam so I pinned it lower with more of a slant up to the bust point.

pauline alice dart

I’ve highlighted the position of the darts on each of these blouses. You can see on the red blouse it is much too high for me.

I also lengthened the sleeves by 3cm, I find the original length barely long enough and at 5’3″ I’d say I would have shorter than average length arms.

For the construction the only thing I did differently this time was to flat fell the underarm seams. I realised with my first make that I didn’t like the look of the overlocked seam when wearing the sleeves rolled up.

It’s quite an easy garment to sew up but I seemed to drag it out longer than necessary. I slightly lost my mojo with this, mainly due to my work life encroaching on my time in the evenings. I need to get my creativity back!  But this evening I’m going to catch up with episode 2 of the Great British Sewing Bee.




Slim Leg Trousers Adapted From the Jeans Pattern


Last week I posted on how I altered my Jeans pattern to make a pair of smart trousers. Sewing up without the  yoke and contrast top stitching makes for an easier construction. I still had some challenging moments though.

slim leg trousers

In this photo the leg lengths look slightly different but I promise you that they are the same length.


I had sampled the welt pocket complete with pocket bag and it worked out fine but when it came to the real thing I cocked up! For some silly reason I cut the patch of fabric used to make the welts way too small and didn’t realise this until I had sewn them on and cut the pocket opening,  on both back pieces, gah! There was nothing else to do except set to work with the task light and unpicker. Luckily I’d interfaced the opening on the main body piece which gave it stability and finally I stitched the pocket opening closed with a zig-zag  and started again.

unpicking the welts

carefully unpicking the welts…..


welt pocket fixing

stitching the opening up like Frankenstein’s forehead. I had to make the welts bigger the second time to cover all the stitching holes.


Second time I had much more success but instead of a double welt I opted for a single welt. For making the welts I follow the same method as for a bound buttonhole – when having a double welt but a single welt was just the case of folding it differently. I also checked out the tutorial on the Thread Theory website for help with the pocket bag.

slim leg trousers from back

I chose not to put a button on my welts but next time I think I will do as the opening does pull downwards slightly, this is why you definitely need a self fabric facing inside.


I spent a while looking for suitable fabrics online. I was after chino type fabric but with stretch, I couldn’t find exactly what I was after, if anyone knows a source please pass on.

The fabric I used was from I chose a cotton satin stretch (97% cotton 3% spandex) which has a bit of a sheen and was slightly lighter than I anticipated. This was £12.95 per metre. There is quite a wide choice of fabric on this website but it’s not the cheapest and I find the £4.80 postage a bit steep. But since ordering I have received an e-mail for £8 off my next order if I spend £25. They also have a stretch twill which I got a sample of and it is heavier than the satin so this would be my choice if I were to make another pair – this could be the chino type fabric I was originally looking for.

Creating this pattern from the Jeans pattern has worked well and again with the shaped waistband I’m getting a really good fit with no gaping at the back. But I think I could add a little bit of width into the thighs.

front trouser open

I used a lightweight cotton gingham for the pocket bags and I bound the lower edge of the waistband with a contrast bias binding.


After years of not attempting to make trousers I’m really pleased with what I’m stitching up. I felt quite satisfied hanging these up in the wardrobe. The only issue is that I haven’t worn them yet, with cycling to work I’m finding that my trousers all have a horseshoe shaped faded saddle mark on the bottom, which I don’t mind too much on jeans but I wouldn’t want on these. I suppose the best thing would be to change into them when I get to work ….and I just need to be bothered to do that.

Is there anything that you have put off sewing but then found that with a bit of research and a lot of patience you got there in the end?🙂



Adjusting The Jeans Pattern Into Smart Trousers

I’ve been wanting to make some smart trousers for a while now, I bought Simplicity 1696 Perfect fit about 18 months ago. Every so often I take the pattern out then decided it all looks too complicated and put it back.

After I finished my black jeans I re-traced the pattern and was left with the pieced together and scribbled on original pattern. Instead of throwing it away I thought I’d have a go at changing it into a pair of smart trousers.

I started with the back pieces and trimmed the seam allowance from the lower edge of the yoke and the top edge of the main back piece.

pattern back 1 (1824 x 1368)

To join the two edges together I needed to cut and open the yoke in 3 places. This gave me 3 small darts which in total measured 2.2cm.

I turned this into 2 darts. The position of the welt pocket followed the line of the top of the original pocket position.

pattern back 2(1824 x 1368)

Then on to the front. All that needed doing here was to draw on the new pocket shaping. I started by adding back in the pocket corner then drawing on a slanted pocket opening, new shape pocket corner, pocket bag and a facing for the pocket opening. Then traced the new pieces off adding seam allowances.

pattern front (1824 x 1368)

Finally I made a mock up of the back welt pocket with the darts above it to make sure it was going to work.

test welt pocket (1824 x 1368)

Test welt pocket

I didn’t make pattern pieces for the welt pocket and bag and just cut the shapes when I needed them.

It was a really easy process to alter the pattern. I’ve now made up the trousers and will do a separate post on sewing up🙂


Girl’s ‘Renfrew Style’ Cowl Neck Tee

A few weeks back when I was sewing the orange striped Sewaholic Renfrew my 8 year daughter saw the fabric and expressed an interest. I had fab some of the single jersey fabric left over so I said I’d make her a top and to which she added ‘with that neck bit’.

girls renfrew.jpg

Girls Renfrew style top using the Girl Skater Dress pattern


For the pattern I used the Kitschy coo girl skater dress as a base. I’ve made two of these dresses for my daughter, long sleeved in this great Russian doll print and a red spotted short sleeve one. The pattern only goes up to age 7/8 which is the size I used to make the dresses. The width of the dresses are still fine but I did add an extra 1cm to the width and dropped the underarm by 1cm. The bodice pattern for the dress only goes to the waist so I needed to add length. With the sleeve pattern I needed to drop the underarm point to match the changes to the bodice and add length.

adjusting pattern

Pattern adjustments


For the cowl pattern piece I measured the front and back neck and added together. For the depth of the cowl I made it 2/3 of the adult pattern piece and followed the shaping of the bottom edge.

I used the same banding technique for the cuffs and hem as the adults style.

It’s a great little top and I’m amazed that I got the two garments out of 1.8mts of fabric!

My only issue is that it is more polo neck than cowl neck. I left the front neck line as the original girl skater dress but to get a better cowl I should have scooped out the front neck more. It could have been a little bit longer in the body but I was limited by the  amount of fabric available. So a few pattern adjustments and it should be spot on for next time.

Just to add…we will not be wearing our tops at the same time in the same place, I’d think she’d like to but it’s not going to be happening!

‘Dorothy’ For World Book Day

For World Book Day last Thursday my 8 year old chose to go as Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz. In the end I gave myself two evenings to make up this outfit but luckily it was quite straightforward.

dorothy (1368 x 1824)

I started with a plain white tee shirt. I was hoping to use some narrow stretch lace for the blue trimming but I’d left it too late to order any online so I was left with the choice from my local fancy dress / haberdashery shop. I got some ric-rac braid to use around the cuffs but the neck line needed something stretchy. There was nothing suitable then it came to me, use a machine stitch in contrast thread. I chose one of the stretch stitches and stitched around the neck seam.

2016-02-28 11.56.55

The pinafore isn’t completely accurate. The real Dorothy dress had a back with straps cut on the bias which came across the front and buttoned at the waistband. Time wasn’t on my side so I made a basic pinafore but did cut the waistband on the bais to break up the gingham.

dorothy 2 (1368 x 1824)

It turned out fine and teacher was impressed with my sewing skills!

Black Jeans – No Belt Required!

These are the 3rd pair of jeans I’ve made for myself using the pattern I made from following the Craftsy Jeanius course. I was really pleased with the make up of my second pair but the fit was not what I was hoping for, they were looser around the bottom and thigh than the first pair and I still had gaping at the back waist even after changing to a shaped waistband.

jeans front

Unfortunately black doesn’t photograph well and you can’t see much detail


I found that I had too much ease on the back leg creating horizontal wrinkles at the back of the thighs. I adjusted the pattern by cutting and slashing horizontally from the outer edge to the inner edge and taking out the excess, I did this in two places and took out around 2cm. I also took out another 1.5cm from the top edge of the waistband pattern – 3cm in total. I took this out from the back of the waistband only as that was where I needed the extra shaping.

jeans side

Before I cut the fabric I measured the pattern against the Levis I had originally copied. I found I needed to shave some of the width of the hips and thighs.

So the result-  I have finally made a pair of jeans with a great fit around the waist – no belt needed, perfect fit around the bottom and thighs and no stupid mistakes like cutting the inside leg just that tiny bit too short.

back waist on jeans

No gaping at the back waist!


After sewing up the inside leg seams I tacked the outer legs using a contrast thread and big machine stitch. They were very tight and I nearly wavered and let them out but I held firm knowing that they would loosen up.

I gave them the ultimate test and cycled to work in them and they were slightly tight on the front thigh when cycling  which was to be expected but other than that no problems.

I seemed to have the usual topstitching stresses, thread getting tangled at the start of stitching & tension problems but black on black is harder to unpick than orange on blue denim! I used the Gutermann extra strong as usual as even though the thread would be colour matched I wanted the thicker raised look. On this pair I only flat felled the back rise seam which I think is a must with cycling.

I found the fly slightly hard work this time. With the black sometimes I couldn’t see what was what.

fly openiing

slightly creased as I have been wearing a couple of days and just took them off to photo. The jeans zipper is from eBay, I’m not too impressed of it’s quality and will stick to the YKK ones in the future


The fabric was from eBay and was just the right weight at 10z. 98% cotton with 2% lycra at £6.99 metre.

I’m wearing it with a new Sewaholic Renfrew with a cowl neck which is exactly the same as this one I made last year but with a brighter stripe. The fabric was £4.95 a metre from Leon’s in Chorlton. It’s a straightforward easy make with all seams sewn on the overlocker.

My next make is for World Book Day, 3rd March. Luckily this year the school gave us a months notice to which I said to my children “don’t go telling me the week before that you want to be ….”. My daughter settled on Dorothy straight away and it’s me who’s been slow at doing anything. All items have arrived from eBay for the Dorothy outfit so I just need to get cracking and have it ready for next Thursday.

dorothy world book day

My 4 year old couldn’t make up his mind and rejected all my suggestions. So it’ll be Harry from ‘Harry and His Bucketful of Dinosaurs’ (again). We have a small bucket and we have dinosaurs.

Harry and his bucketful of  dinosaurs