Do you choose the fabric for the pattern or pattern for fabric?

Camo set ♥ Needle and Ted I saw the fabric, I liked it, 100% cotton, medium weight, modern camouflage, just the right colour, £7 a meter, that’ll do nicely, thank you very much.

I missed out the bit where I had a long in depth conversation with my sister about the perfect balance of camouflage squiggle, colour, modernity and authenticity, but that would have changed the whole style of my opening sentence. Continue reading

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

cuff detail

I’m not keen on things that are too fussy or over designed. I find beauty in simple things. Simple things with a little detail or a quirky element. But I have just sewn an outfit that has it all (well not all, but a quite a lot). And guess what? Continue reading

The ‘must have’ kids dress for this summer

Introducing Charlie by Mingo & Grace

Charlie dress ♥ Needle and Ted

When I first saw Charlie I liked her, I thought she was charming, uncomplicated and chic. She was bound to have style coming from Farrah of Mingo & Grace. If you check out her blog you’ll see what I mean. Great photography, clean typography and lots of elegant white space. A woman after my own heart. Charlie was everything you might expect from a woman who I’m sure agrees ‘there is beauty in simplicity’.

I thought Charlie would be a doddle to sew, in many ways she was, but when it came to finishing the neckline and arm holes, I went through bias binding hell and back and I’m not afraid to admit it.

Continue reading

20 reasons to panic

When Jenn of A Jennuine Life invited me on her Pattern Tour I accepted without even seeing the pattern. Crazy me! What if I didn’t like it, what if it was full of ruffles and frills (are ruffles and frills the same thing?) and so sugary sweet that it would make me want to vomit?

Luckily it wasn’t, phew! It was in fact the Matinée Dress and Peplum Top which features a pseudo bateau neckline with a plunging open back. So I had nothing to worry about, or did I? Jenn’s instructions were to “adjust or enhance the pattern however you see fit”. Argh!!! Panic. This was going to take some thinking about.

Matinee Blog Tour

I looked at the list of other blogs on the tour… Heidi & Finn (OMG! I’ve bought a few Heidi & Finn patterns, she definitely knows about style), Charming Doodle (What! she designed the ingenious knight hoodie, she’s one talented lady), Nearest the Pin (Stop it! Have you seen that Ash Jumpsuit? totally awesome!), La gang à Nat (Are you serious? EVERYTHING she makes is amazing), The Crazy Tailor (crazy indeed, she never swims with the tide, she adapts patterns as a general rule) and the list goes on. I can not even imagine what delights all the other participants will have in store? Amongst 20 experienced and talented ladies I had my work cut out. I didn’t want my matinée dress to stick out like a sore thumb, time to really panic.

I checked my ever growing collection of fabric to see if there was anything suitable. I’m certainly a fabriholic, but recognition is a step closer to cure. I found a yellow and black stripe cotton that I’d bought from John Lewis. Two colours that go extremely well together, any bumble bee will tell you. Coincidentally I had a plain yellow cotton that matched the yellow stripe, how lucky was that? So in a light bulb moment I decided that the skirt would bee be in the stripes and the bodice in the plain yellow.

With the fabric decided for the matinée dress, it was time to shake it up, give it a little Needle and Ted spin and spit it out. I wasn’t keen on the sash running through the front of the bodice, so I decided against it on my version. Also as much as I like low cut backs for adults I’m not sure it’s appropriate for children, but I was willing to give it a go. 

So what was I to do to shake things up? I considered shorts instead of the gathered skirt, but with such a fitted bodice I wasn’t sure it was going to work. What I wanted to achieve was a casual, dressed down version of the matinée dress. I chose a bubble skirt but a subtle bubble so that it can be more of an everyday dress (weather permitting), not a party dress.

So here it is, my version of the matinée…

matinee dress ♥ Needle and Ted  matinee dress ♥ Needle and Tedmatinee dress ♥ Needle and Ted

Jenn’s instructions were well written and her illustrations were easy to follow, so it didn’t take me long to get the dress sewn up. I’m delighted with the end result, even the inside is admirable. What’s more, I’m glad Scout didn’t end up looking too much like a bumble bee. I’m also convinced that the low back in the matinée dress is suitable for children, it’s what makes the dress unique, in fact hiding it with a bow is not doing it justice, it doesn’t slip off the shoulders without it, so I’m tempted to remove it (less is more and all that).

matinee dress ♥ Needle and Ted

I’m normally one of those people who allows growing room when choosing which size to sew, much to the annoyance of some designers. But on this occasion I didn’t size up because I didn’t want any gapes around the back. The result, a perfect fit.

matinee dress ♥ Needle and Ted

If you would like to make your own version of the matinée dress, head on over to A Jennuine Life and you will receive 20% off your purchase during the tour with the code “matineetour20″. This is the last day of the tour, so hurry.

If you actually got to the end of this rather long post, then you could be in for a treat

Jenn has organised nine marvellous prizes to be given away.

Matinee Giveaway Collage

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed.