Sunday, 5 October 2014

Blog Hop

Thank you to Charlene at and Rachael at for my nominations for the Blog Hop!  What does it involve? Answer a couple of questions and off you go!

Why do I write?

I started blogging (with great encouragement from the #sewcialists on Twitter!) to mostly share my disasters in the hope of finding solutions.  However I'd say my blog has developed to show the best of  my pride and joy when things go right now!
I LOVE clothes and sadly don't have the time to blog as much as I'd like but I do really enjoy reading others blogs for inspiration.  So many inspiring sewers out there!

What am I working on?

At the moment Papercut Patterns Coppelia.  I'm most definitely an Indie pattern designer kinda gal.
 Those boring photos on the packets of the mainstream patterns do absolutely nothing for me (you could say I lack imagination!).  I also prefer an up-to-date high street kinda look.  I've also been hard at work on Closet Case Patterns Nettie over the summer - blog to follow and I've just bought the Named Clothing pattern Nascha skirt, can't wait to get started!

How does if differ from others of it's genre?

I'm not here to be a professional blogger, simply to share.  Easy!

How does my writing process work?

Hmm, as and when I have the time and also getting hold of a photographer.  Quite difficult to take back shots by oneself! I'm a sporadic blogger!  I also gain lots of knowledge and inspiration from Twitter and Instagram, you can find me @notchesnnotions and sewingsarah01 Instagram.

Now I'd like to nominate Stephanie at because she's a new mum and still manages to sew none stop! Super mum!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Darling Ranges Dress

The Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges Dress

Here's my summer version.  I didn't change a thing with the pattern.  I cut the smallest size, which seems to fit well - perhaps the waist could be taken in a little but overall it feels great.  I was a little concerned that a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) would be required as I have a large bust (ahem!) and usually struggle to get dresses to fit due to this, but no problemo at all!

I originally added ties at the back (as Megan suggests in the pattern) but the gathers on the skirt felt just too poofy! So I took them off and opted for the belted look instead, which feels much better as I'm not too comfortable with the "sack" feel.

It really was a joy making this.  I downloaded the pattern as a PDF and of all patterns I have downloaded this was the cutest instruction booklet!  Megan gives a vast variety of options (which are not evident on the pattern brief-definitely getting your money's worth!) of styles to play with.  The instructions are super clear.  I've always struggled making my own bias binding but I'll be following Megan's instructions from now on as it was soooo simple and worked a dream!
I used a cotton lawn fabric, which I also loved working with, but I think I overstretched it a little on the neck and the back neckline isn't quite sitting right but hey ho!  I've had heaps of positive comments on this dress and people seem genuinely suprised it's not a ready-made!
I also added the pockets into this which are great, you can actually fit your mobile phone into them, roomy!  When reading around on this pattern I saw a few people having problems with pointy darts - I'm fortunate enough to have not had that problem with this.  I think it may be due to the type of fabric?  The cotton lawn is so easy to press giving a nice crisp finish.

Unfortunately I cut a little too much off the length than I actually wanted but it's still wearable and I'll just adjust the pattern for the next one!  There are some great tutorials on Megan's website for this dress.  I've already started drafting a round neck for the next one!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Polka Moss Skirt

Hello there.  I recently finished my third Grainline Mini Moss Skirt, although I consider this to be my first really as it's the one that I'm truly happy with.  It's a blatant copy of Jen's Moss (I loved her so much it had to be done!).

I had a total disaster with the zip and having to re-insert one -not to the colour of my liking - the fit is not too bad at all!  For my previous Moss skirts the waist has been too big and the waistband too short.  This time I graded the yokes in by a total of 1 inch which then seemed to make the waistband fit perfectly.

I've never graded before and I'm desperate the increase my skills in this area.  I did lots of reading around but couldn't find anything on grading yokes for skirts.  So I had a BIG think and my brain produced this...

(yes there are three lines on the left, one was drawn in error, oopsy!)

After checking fitting on my previous Moss I measured two 1/4 inch darts onto the yoke.  I then folded the darts in.  By the power of maths the combined yokes then reduce the fit in by 1 inch.  I got such a better fit, although I still need to grade down a size at the waist.

The button was fun to put on too!  A delve into the tool box for a hammer, much excitement!

Fabric- Ikea

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Stripey Slouchy Tee

Here she is.  Slouchy Tee number two.

This one took me a hell of a lot longer than the spotty version.  First of all I cut the first piece with the stripes in the wrong direction, argh!  Then I just couldn't get the neck right.  Technically it should have been cut on the bias but the stretch was none existent, the fabric was super stretchy (like super stretchy!!) in the horizontal direction of the stripe.

Anyhow, I did manage far less tucks around the neck this time (woo- high five!) and I even put the seam for the neck running adjacent to the shoulder seam (that big seam on the spotty slouchy tee neck was just driving me crazy!)

Looks so much better (although the mis-matched stripe and tuck on the neck will bug me, but hey!).

Check out the pattern matching - what - where's that seam you ask...oh yeah, sewn like a boss!

So to get these sleeves I took what I had learnt from sewing the Archer shirts, why bother with all that faffy sleeve ease when you could simply attach the sleeve in one straight piece like this... 

Then simply fold back over and pin right side to right side at the seams and sew as one big lot, side and sleeve together, easy peasy! No fiddling about with trying to make the sleeve band fit into the sleeve hole!

I have also been trying out various ways of finishing the overlocked seam.  I tried this...

Make sure there is plenty of overlocked stitch available before lining up the seam then pull the loose stitching under the foot.  Make sure it's pulled fairly tightly and lined up to be stitched over and this will secure the starting stitches.  To finish the stitches I used a large eyed needle and by hand pulled the loose stitches back through the existing stitches to secure it.

You can see this here.  This was my first attempted hence the bulk at the end but after practise I had this nailed!

Fabric: Guthrie-Ghani cotton jersey

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Slouchy Tee

Here comes the sun...

Here's my first ever T-Shirt ready for the summer.  In true Sewing Sarah style I'm going to make an army of these.  I find that I'm only getting near to happy with my results after a good few attempts with the same pattern.  I learn as I'm going along.

I got the free pattern from icandy's self drafted pdf (someone on twitter recommended this for me- so sorry I've lost the tweet to give you a name check and I've a terrible memory!).  Hers is designed for a shoulder insert but I didn't want this so just stuck the shoulder inserts to the front to make a full front pattern piece and hey presto!

I love the cute little sleeve bands.  Ignore the mis-matching dots, hey it's a slouchy tee after all!  My priority was in getting that slippy jersey nailed not perfect pattern matching.

I cut the neck band on the bias as apparently that gives a little more stretch.  The neck band is always cut shorter and stretched to fit when sewn in.  I was terrified of overstretching it but I think it worked out ok.  There are a few little tucks around the back and front right but for my first attempt I'm pretty pleased!

I overlocked/serged everything, everything!  I wanted to do a faux cover stitch hem but opted for a stretch stitch instead.  I'm learning so much about my overlocker.  Can you believe I've only just realised you can opt not to have the knife cutting! *note to self-read the instruction book!*

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Topshop Gingham Archer Shirt

The cotton gingham hidden button placket Archer shirt I copied from Topshop (sorry Topshop!)

Left: Topshop
Right: Me made Archer!

I saw this shirt in Topshop and immediately thought Archer!  I'm so in love with this pattern that this is now Archer number IIII!  I used a light cotton gingham in a large and small check.  I found this hidden button placket tutorial on Youtube, which was pretty simple to do and hey presto!

For the yoke and collar I used the small check gingham cotton again.  I'm still struggling with Jen's video on the sewalong tutorial for the collar.  I can't seem to get it neat and tidy at the front where the button hole is, I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong there but apart from that I've pretty much nailed the Archer now.

The cotton is so light that it barely needs ironing when it comes out of the wash!  I can pretty much just throw it on!

This time for the sleeve plackets lovely Carolyn pointed me in the direction of this tutorial.  It worked a dream and was so easy to follow, and I didn't have any issues with lining up the button holes either!  Fab.

I used my new overlocker (the overlord as it shall now be known as, thank you Claudia! #GBSB) for the inside seams and I'm soooo pleased with the results I could actually wear it inside out!  Georgina was asking me about it, just for you lady here's a pic - it's awesome get one!  It works by stitching over the edges to prevent seams from fraying.  As you can see I'm still getting used to it as I'm a little way off the main seam stitch.  I aim to get closer for a neater finish!  The overlocker (sorry overlord :-)) works by cutting the fabric as you feed it in and stitches as it goes.

I've done so many Archers now I think it's time for a new challenge.  My next projects will hopefully be some jersey t-shirts for the summer.  I've got my fabric just searching for the perfect pattern (I'm so fussy when it comes to style!).  I'd also like to make a paperbag skirt - can anyone recommend a pattern?  I have been looking at Salme on Etsy - are they any good?
I've been lucky enough to have been gifted these fabulous fabrics and can't wait to play!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Things I want to sew

Things I want to sew. . .

I'm thinking about summer.  I'm all about tees and jersey at the moment, hard to resist with Maria's free pattern.  I'd also like to knock up another Moss skirt, a shorter length this time. And as I'm currently working with gingham I love this little scrunchie (hello 1990s!) from topshop, what a fab idea for left over scraps!

Sunday, 2 February 2014


Se w i n g   N e e d s...

Large Left: Pattern, Named -Blair Bat Wing Shirt €9.00
Bottom Right: Backstitch Fox Ed Emberley Quilting Cotton £3.50 per quarter metre


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Archer II and III

 Hello Archer number 3 in giant plaid.

Fabric: Plaid pattern farbic from Ikea, heavy cotton.  Black plain cotton from Ikea.

I matched the plaid pattern with the help of  Lladybird's tutorial (couldn't have done it without you!).  It took the second attempt to get it right after cutting and matching everything except the front, epic sewing fail. (It does match now trust me, in my excitement to blog I quick some quick snap shots!)  


I cut off the left button band and replaced it with the plain black cotton and added the same for the right button band.  I kinda copied this from a shirt I'd seen on the high street.  I think the black collar and button band really adds emphasis and breaks up the giant plaid pattern.

The yoke is cut on the bias as most tutorials advise to break up the plaid.

I decided to keep the cuffs in the plaid and not add pockets, I don't think it needs them.

I haven't been able to post for a while as I'm in the middle of some pretty intense study but I have also managed to knock up Archer number 2 as well.  This is a just a simple version I wear for work.  It's not my best, there are a lot of errors but it's wearable.  I'm totally nailing topstitching now, the key is a denim needle and make sure your machine is threaded properly (another sewing fail here). Here she is...

As with my first Archer the only adjustment I made is the length.  I'm a tall gal and like a good length so lengthened it by a good 4 inches.  I adore this pattern so much and it's so easy to make.  As I've mentioned before Jen's (Grainline) tutorial is a lifesaver!

I'm already onto Archer number 4 and it's gonna be amazeballs! But I'll leave you with this for now.

PS- Happy Bloggerversary to me, I'm one year old!