Madrid Dress Tour

It’s (lucky) day 7 of the Coffee + Thread Madrid Dress Tour! Have you been following as one spectacular version after another is shared?

The inspiration for my take on the Madrid pattern comes from a ready to wear blouse.

rtw inspiration

rtw inspiration

my version

my version


Madrid, as designed, is a faux wrap with side seam zipper. Changing it to a functional wrap top just took a few simple modifications. The front needs 2 skirt portions, cut not on fold. I added a few inches (~3) to the width, though, so the skirts would be gently gathered when attached to the bodice. One of the glorious things about the scalloped edge on the eyelet, is that it’s finished! No need for the neckline facing here. Since I omitted the front facings, I finished the back neckline with a simple bias binding.


With a gathered detail on the sleeve hem, I widened/straighten the sleeve shape while shortening the sleeves 4” to 3/4 length. A simple casing holds 1/2” elastic to complete the look.


Ribbon ties (at the right front edge and left side seam) secure the wrap.


I also added a button inside the right side seam to keep the left side closed under the right. A serger thread chain left after joining the skirt at the waist became the loop.


I love this feminine top and am calling this a #sewrtwstyle win!


I’m sorry to report this premium eyelet from LA Finch Fabrics is sold out.


Thank you, Claudia, for organizing and inviting me to participate!

I sewed a size 6. (I measure 34” high bust, 35” full bust, 28” waist, 37” hips. 5’5”.)

Receive 25% off any and all the Coffee + Thread patterns using coupon code ‘madridtour’ throughout the tour.

Lugu Fabrics Blog Tour!

From the moment there was Lugu fabric in my hands, it seemed I was making something with it!


I sewed Jessica Swift (you know, the DESIGNER) a dress for the lookbook. That’s Jessica in her rayon Charlie Caftan on pages 12 and 13!

But first, I sewed myself a (modified) Willamette.


Then some Lugu found its way into the Redwood Tote I tested.


Internet stranger turned sewing friend Gwyn’s visit in late March coincided with the week just before our tour dates. Somehow….things got out of hand. (A coincidence that things got ridiculous when Gwyn arrived? #ithinknot)

It started with a single top for my first daughter and a matching one for her little sister. Of course the 4 year old didn’t approve of my fabric choice because she suddenly coveted her sister’s top, so a third top was in order.

That makes 3 tops. Which felt like a good amount. I thought I was done sewing.


I used the Glass Onion pattern by Shwin Designs. I’ve sewn it countless times and am certainly not tired of it yet. She sews up quite quickly, though I do deviate from the pattern slightly, lining the front bodice. This alternative construction, sans facing, calls for both sandwiching and burrito-ing but the finish is quite lovely. #andnowimhungry

The back of the Glass Onion features crossover panels reminiscent of moth wings, don’t you think? That’s what drew me to use this pattern, like a moth to a flame. (I just couldn’t not.)


And then I got the idea to make a button up.

Another Shwin pattern,  Maxwell !

Another Shwin pattern, Maxwell!

Another kid needed a dress. (Why it couldn’t be another Glass Onion top is a long story. Maybe Gwyn wants to explain it again, but I pieced the moth for that look, and Gwyn sewed the dress.)


So, if you’re keeping count, that’s Lugu looks for 5 children.


(NOT ALL OF THEM ARE MINE, so you know. I own 3 total. That’s plenty.)


It was pretty much pure chaos aka SEW MUCH FUN!

Those kids made us work pretty hard for the group shots which sadly are pretty low res.


But they are a cute bunch in some great outfits.


I’m probably biased, but the “baby” is pretty adorable.

The boots were her idea.

The boots were her idea.


The moths were all foundation paper pieced using lillyella’s free moth charm blocks. (Scaled to 150% for the larger sizes.)





And then Gwyn made me make a leather Ida clutch (with some yummy metallic gold leather she picked out for me). I admittedly was pretty tired of paper piecing at this point so I did a simple reverse applique of sorts using the outline of one of the moths.



Thankfully Gwyn knows how to operate a camera, so we got a few other good shots.


All the Lugu Fabrics Blog Tour stops are linked in Jessica’s post here. I’ve been continually flabbergasted by the creativity and range on display, and we’re only on day 7, with several more weeks of awesome to go!

Thanks for sharing your fabric with me, Jessica! It’s always a pleasure to work with your designs.



Lace Bib Issie

We're right in the middle of sewpony's Issie tour and it's my turn to share. I'm glad Suz asked me to join in the fun. It's a great line-up of creatives-

Issie has quite a multitude of style options included and comes in children's and teen/women's sizing.

I was particularly drawn to the curved bib feature.


And I instantly knew I wanted to use lace for the bib.


I paired crochet lace with a modal brushed french terry, both from La Finch Fabrics. (I have so much love for their famous maker offerings!)


I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I absolutely love wearing it.

I chose to make size 8 AUS based on the finished measurements chart with my chest measurement of 36". Having sized down, the overall fit is trim. It's very comfortable and I particularly like the long sleeve cuffs.


It's a rather easy modification (if it even qualifies as such!) from the original pattern-

Use the curved ruffle template to transfer the bib shape to the front bodice. Add 1/4" seam allowance here. Also add a 1/4" seam allowance to the bib template. Notch the centers. Voila! Two new pattern pieces to color-block (or should I say lace-block?) your Issie tops.

(I must admit I had a couple pictures to illustrate this process, but I think I missed adding the seam allowance to the front bodice and my head is still spinning trying to reason how and why I goofed. Thankfully knits are a bit forgiving!)


There's a 10% discount off all sewpony patterns with code WOMENSISSIE10 for the duration of the tour (through Monday, September 3rd).

What do you think, should I make an Issie to twin with my daughter next? She's wearing one made during testing last year. She's got some spunk!

Thanks for having me, Suz.

2018 Lotte Martens Blog Tour


It's been quite a delight working with some unique textiles from Lotte Martens again. I wrote a little bit more about Lotte Martens in my previous post.

This year, Lotte Martens sent one panel of this exquisite metallic gold printed viscose/poly twill, Vurdoorn/FIREPLACE 019 and another new treat (I'll get to that in a bit). 


I was able to make the best use of the 24" x 58" panel and its asymmetric print by pairing it with a Cloud9 glimmer solid.


The neckline, armholes, and hem were finished with gold raindrop bias. I've never regretted spending the extra time and effort on finishing a garment with bias.


I absolutely love it. It's an easy to wear yet very dressy top. I just need to drop some hints to the hubby that it's about time he took me out on the town.


I had just picked up the necklace in Columbus this past weekend from a little boutique, Red Giraffe Designs. It turned out to be the perfect accessory for this tank.


While the Foxglove has a bit of a racer-back cut, the straps are wide enough that you don't necessarily need a special cut for any undergarments.


Lotte Martens textiles are currently only sold in stores located Belgium and Europe so I'll keep rooting for a US vendor to partner with them.

For lots of other inspiring designs and general eye candy, check out the #lottemartens tag on Instagram.

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As I mentioned back at the top, the package I received also contained something else exciting, one of Lotte Martens' DIY kits. I'm pleased to get to pass this on to a reader in the US. (Enter via the rafflecopter that follows. Ends April 1st.)


Lotte Martens Blog Tour

When the opportunity to get to work with some luscious and otherwise rather elusive fabrics presented itself, I had to pinch myself. Is this real? Lotte Martens wanted me to participate in a blog tour for their textiles and they would send me the materials. It seemed too good to be true. Well, of course, you're reading this because I accepted that offer and now I can finally share a couple of incredible projects.

If you're in the US like me, you may not have heard of Lotte Martens. It's a small Belgium-based design and textile printing operation with a heart of gold. Their site explains, "No pre-bought prints, no child labour in foreign countries: every step in the production process, from the first design to the final touch, is completed with the greatest care... Because our fabrics are printed by hand, they are all slightly different and thus unique." More about Lotte and the team here. And If you're lucky enough to live in or visit Europe, you can find Lotte Martens in these stores


With that introduction and background out of the way, I can start gushing about the fabric. I knew immediately that I wanted to work with the Cypris. The full panel I received is shown below. It's a poly/viscose twill in a nice medium blue hue. Do you see that band of copper flecks? I mean you can't miss it, but please note it speaks right to my soul. I had to hang it up and share it on IG right away, so apologies for the indoor pic. #sorrynotsorry


And I used essentially every bit of it. I'm serious when I say I've never been so careful about my cutting layout. Usually I throw most of what little caution I have to the wind. But handling such luxurious fabric calls for quite a bit more prudence.

Only this little scrap of selvage was left when I was done cutting.

Only this little scrap of selvage was left when I was done cutting.

The Cypris became a zippered, fold-over tote (Senna Tote by LBG Studio), with navy cork for the bottom and handles. This bag was a first for me on a couple accounts- first time sewing this specific bag pattern and my first time working with cork. Fabulous experience all around! 


The bag has an interlining of canvas which gives it just enough body to stand on its own.


I had just enough Cypris to make a matching zippered pouch, (The Double Zip Pouch by LBG Studio). I participated in testing for this pattern. More in a previous post, here.


It's a stunning set, if I don't say so myself. 


Stop for a moment and draw your attention from the fabric and focus on the hardware. Truth be told, I was going to use an antique gold zipper I had in my stash for this bag. Well, my sewing buddy and google wiz friend, Gwyn wouldn't have it. She found the perfect copper zipper and coordinating hardware on the Sallie Tomato site. She's clever, that gal, and she was so right to nag me about getting the right hardware.

Even the magnetic snaps are copper to complement the Cypris!

Even the magnetic snaps are copper to complement the Cypris!

Ok. Let's get back to drooling over the fabric.

Back with large pocket

Back with large pocket

I also received 1 meter of Grus crepe. I used the Coram Top pattern here. While Coram is designed to be sewn with all woven material, I didn't quite have enough of the Grus for that. Instead of resigning to use a different pattern, I found something in my stash to coordinate with the Grus. This Art Gallery knit became the sleeves and neckband. The gold in it matches the gold in the pale mint Grus so incredibly well, don't you think? 


The Grus was fabulous for this style, a better choice than the lawn I used for my muslin. It drapes rather nicely and has an airy quality about it. (Just watch that side slit on this pattern! I'm wearing a tank folded up to the top of my mid-rise jeans for reference as to where the slit starts on my 5'5" frame. Since I typically wear tanks under my tops, I don't mind the slit as is. Alternatively, one could lower the vent or wear high-waisted bottoms.)


After working with these fabrics, I can't stop dreaming about getting more to work with. I'm hoping as Lotte Martens expands we'll get a fabric shop (read: enabler) in the US to carry these unique and stunning textiles.

So, thanks for stopping by! I love it when my readers leave comments or ask questions, so please do so if you feel inclined. Just head back up to the top of the post so your remarks get added to this post and not the one below. It's backwards, I know!

I'm just gonna leave a few other swatches here. #sorrynotsorry



Corax Jersey

Corax Jersey

Niyona Print

Niyona Print

Thanks again, Lotte Martens, for inviting me to participate in your intenational tour.

Cosmo Tour

I couldn't pass up the opportunity when Suz of sewpony put a call out for folks looking to contribute to a blog tour for her new girls' dress pattern, Cosmo. While I didn't test the pattern, it's currently August and Cosmo suddenly spoke to me as being a great option for school uniforms. Lucky for me (as I discussed here), our school has a somewhat relaxed uniform policy. 

I had to reign in my initial enthusiasm a tad when I started thinking about how I was going to pull off the pattern matching of our school plaid with those lovely pockets and side panels.


Possibly the best approach to difficult-to-match patterns is simply to throw the idea of matching across seams out the window completely. I decided to go with the most simple silhouette (the third view above) and cut the side panels on the bias.

Now, maybe you noticed that view doesn't have the awesome pockets that are one of the main design features. I know. I know. ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY LEAVE OFF THE POCKETS. But since I'm a plaid-matching wimp, I opted to do inseam pockets instead. I just borrowed the pockets from another sewpony pattern, Juliette. Actually, this is one of the awesome features of the Cosmo pattern- many of the options (sleeves, collars) from other sewpony patterns will fit. Suddenly Cosmo has even more design options.


I could not be happier with how it all came together! I mean, is it even possible to be in love with a school uniform?! Well, I'm in love with this one.

She found a little slug in the grass. I tried to get his mug shot.

I loved sneaking some little bird silhouette fabric in with the lining on the flutter sleeves and inside the pockets. It's a sweet touch for a little girl whose mum loves birds and a detail you wouldn't get on a store bought uniform. I also used the same accent fabric to finish the armscyes and neckline with bias. The Cosmo pattern comes with facings for a quick, clean finish. 

Inseam pockets

Inseam pockets

The piping detail is one of the things that initially turned me on to sewpony patterns. Sure, you could always add this detail to any pattern you're working with, but Suz's designs incorporate piping beautifully and her instructions will help you achieve the look if you haven't done it before.

Back features an exposed zipper with optional zip guard.

Back features an exposed zipper with optional zip guard.

I think the flutter sleeves are charming and will work with a long sleeve tee layered under as we head in to the colder months. 

We've got the first day of school outfit nailed, don't you think? Thanks for another splendid pattern, Suz!

Suz is offering a 15% off the Cosmo Dress PDF pattern with code- COSMOTOUR. (Valid now through midnight Australian Eastern Standard Time on Friday, September 1st.)

Sofie (WenSJewat) and Alex (giddyants) also have posts for the tour today and you can see the full line up of participants below. Thanks for stopping by.