Keeping up with Gillian’s themes here is a reflective post on my worst makes of 2017. Pleasingly there are fewer diabolical makes this year. My misses are mostly down to unflattering styles chosen rather than rubbish sewing. Means I’m definately getting better at sewing even if I sometimes make questionable choices in patterns. 
Red culottes 

I’ve wanted red culottes for AGES. Absolutely bloody ages. I tried last year with a burdastyle pattern but they made me look pregnant as the pleats were in the wrong place. Undeterred I tried again this year with a Butterick pattern. And instead ended up with a really dodgy crotch. They had flappy side pockets that wafted up in a weird way when I sat down. 

Sadly they went in the bin after 1 wear.

Simplicity sewing challenge

I’m not going to lie to you I did a cracking job of the bodice. For once I did a proper toile... [read more]

This is the first of a new blog series that I'd like to call "Archive Posts". I have a few things and pieces that never got blogged due to my long blogging hiatus, and this is my way of finally getting them here.

Today, I'll show you these lovely potholders & matching kitchen accessories I made for my boyfriend's mom 3 years ago as a Christmas gift. I am currently in the process of making her a new Christmas-themed set, as these potholders got badly burned on her stove after just 3 weeks in service. She still has the tea towel and tea pot cozy, though.

All materials and patterns came from Stof&Stil. The pattern is 90197, a kitchen essentials set including 2 styles of potholders, a bread basket and a tea pot cozy. I changed the pattern a bit by eliminating all the patch-work and by changing the shape of the potholders to have a round top, as I wanted a... [read more]
African wax prints are fun to work with especially if they're colours you love and prints you find interesting.
I think this might be the last of the prints I bought this year, but then a new print might pop up in a couple of months time.
I've used the Deer and Doe Belladone basic bodice and drafted a V neckline.
On closer view, you can see the waistband follows the eye print.
There's no matching at the back.
The back fit is however smooth and there's a small back hem split.
I've used my basic pencil skirt pattern and used the pockets from the Belladone.
The print is so bold, you can't really tell where the pockets are.
I bought this print from the LA fabric district two years ago so this is the best holiday souvenir.

Burda #134 03/2004

I decided it would be a bit of an overload if I included these projects in the previous post of pyjama gifts.  Sometimes less is more.  This time I’m showing a couple of tops I’ve made for my Mum.  The pattern is one that has been used so very many times, I honestly can say I have lost count of how many versions of this top have been made for her.  It’s #134 from the March 2004 issue of Burda magazine.


The magazine version is made with raw edges on neckline, sleeves and hem.  They’ve also got bias cut strips sewn diagonally across the front.  Now, mum is even less interested in “fluff” on her clothes than I am, so these bias strips have never seen the light of day on one of her tops.  She’s also not into raw edges.  So I’ve added 1.5cm hems to the sleeves and hem which are double turned and topstitched to keep everything nice and neat.


SWAP 2018 planning again

I’ve narrowed the pattern choices down, and started allocating fabrics.  I really want to try to do this from stash, but the majority of my stash  is not nice new cut lengths, but raggedy random remnants!

Here’s a pic of the chosen black fabrics- which look grey here, but without the tweak you wouldn’t see anything!  Interestingly, I’ve ended up with more ‘dressy’ black fabric than casual, let’s see what transpires.  I’d forgotten about that lovely textures stuff on the left, it has a dull sheen, and is very drapey.  Not a huge piece though.  I have pulled out the first steampunk skirt I made too- it’s a lightweight black taffeta, doesn’t work with anything I made later, and has a lot of fabric- I want to see if I can recut and re-purpose.

In black:

StyleArc Daisy wide leg trousers [possibly linen, possibly the... [read more]

Whose idea was it to ‘quilt’ the lining onto the underlining?  Hmmm?  And whose idea was it to do diagonal lines…along the bias in other words…on already slippery fabric?

You guessed it.


Ah well, I plodded on.  And on.  I found that I needed to hold the fabric taut at 45 degrees to my sewing [ie on the straight grain] and judge the speed just so.  The snaggy fray-y brocade lining was face down of course, as I chalked my guidelines on the poly cotton backing, so I had to be careful no to rush and bugger it up.  It actually went quite well- the only snag was when doing the long diagonals on the back piece, but fortunately something alerted me to stop and check the right side partway through, and I had made a pleat/tuck in the very middle.  Just as well I checked, I only had to remove two lines of stitching rather than the whole lot!

[read more]

Have you noticed the wonderful velvet garments that are everywhere this season? I have been crushing on them and knew it was time to add a velvet garment to my wardrobe.  As the new Nature's Fabrics brand ambassador, I thought my first project for them was the perfect chance to satisfy my infatuation with this luscious fabric. 

They have many colors and prints of crushed velvet and I was on the fence about which one to choose.

      Peach Flowers on Black Polyester/Spandex Crushed VelvetNavy Polyester/Spandex Crushed VelvetPink Polyester/Spandex Crushed Velvet
      Silver Polyester/Spandex Crushed VelvetPink Flowers on Black Polyester/Spandex Crushed VelvetMist Green Polyester/Spandex Crushed Velvet

In the end, I choose the crushed velvet in Taupe, a perfect compliment to my skin and it reminded me of champagne.

If you have been here before, you know I like simple styles that let the fabric shine. I chose to use Vogue 9251 in view B with the sleeves of view A.
                   Image result for vogue 9251 pattern review
I love the drama of a maxi dress and one that that features side seam pockets is a bonus. 

I was completely taken in by the... [read more]
It’s officially the holiday season! Let’s celebrate all month long at Craftsy with site events. Check out the promotional details below. The Twelve Days of Craftsy are back – now through December 12th! Until then, you will see a brand new deal on Craftsy each day, on classes and supplies. Celebrate with Craftsy the holiday …

Continue reading Celebrate with Craftsy the holiday season!

2.5 years ago, I accidentally removed a video from YouTube I didn’t have a backup, so ever since the “boxers from scratch” series missed the first episode (the one that was suspiciously popular, perhaps because I take off my pants in it).
Yesterday, someone emailed my their backup, and now it’s back 🙏😁 The internet is truly never forgets!

This is what I thought the pattern was.

This is the setting I use for knit stitching.

Tell tale shoulder seam is not a vertical seam feature
This is what I ended up with.

Kids, get a good night's rest. Sewing is not a race! Don't make jokes about the Kessel run on Instagram and then sew tired!

Don't be ME.

So we go back to the shirt that works.

Turn it inside out.

No, it's not the right one. This is the pattern for teen boy.

It's 1/4 inch too small at all the seams.

So we trace another pattern off the one that works.

There's paper and pencils and a straight edge

I'm only going to trace half the sleeve

So I'm going to mark the center line extra nicely.

And to trace the seam edge on the top of the sleeve, I'm using a tip from KD King's playbook and use a wheel and tracing paper..

Place the waxy tracing paper between the item and the paper.

Use the wheel to... [read more]
Today I want to announce that I will be taking part in the 2018 Goodbye Valentino Ready-to-Wear Fast! This means no purchasing clothing from January 1st to December 31st, 2018. Last time she ran this event was 2014 and I didn't feel confident enough in my sewing back then to commit... but this year, having made jeans, coats, bathing suits, underwear, and even a wedding dress, I am really excited to say I've signed up! Here are the rules, from Sarah's blog:

What exactly is the Ready To Wear Fast?

The Ready to Wear Fast is a vow to abstain from buying clothes for one year. You will give up buying clothes from January 1 – December 31, 2018.  You may sew anything, and you may fabric shop as much as you would like!  The purpose is to Save Money and Improve Your Sewing Skills, but believe me, the rewards of the commitment will exceed your expectations.

FREQUENTLY ASKED... [read more]

Hello there sew folk,

Sorry it’s been so long, but I’m delighted I’ve been able to catch you before festive mayhem ensues.
Yesterday we put up the tree at FOB HQ, so it’s hard for this post not to be draped in a little tinsel.
Here’s our masterpiece…slightly too big to fit in the space, but big enough to fit on our C3PO,  pink poodle, can of diet coke and Tutankhamen amongst other ornaments.

Other festive actives have included mince pie baking and christmas card making…

So somewhere along the way whilst listening to Christmas Fm, I managed to sew up a lovely Kochi Kimono from Papercut Patterns.

I have been desperately into velvet this autumn and rather unintentionally I have curated a collection of outfits that make me look like a victorian child in her christmas party dress. Wanting to be released from the Secret Garden, but still keen to... [read more]

It’s probably a good thing that I don’t go into a daily office job right now because then there would be people (other than my husband) to notice that I’m wearing this dress a lot this winter. Like, a lot a lot. It’s comfortable as all get-out, it’s warm, it’s my exact winter palette, it works great with leggings (I’m working on a leggings pattern and I’ve gotta make sure the samples are comfortable to wear!), and did I mention how comfortable it is?

I drafted the pattern myself off of my t-shirt block (all it takes is a few vertical slits from hem to bust that are spread evenly) but the Closet Case Patterns Ebony is obviously pretty similar if you don’t want to do any drafting yourself. I wanted to have a swoopy hem with some interesting shape to it, but the underside of the scuba is white and I didn’t want it so visible so I left the hem straight. I wouldn’t be... [read more]

I am in love with trench coats... this is my second one this year!

I'm not sure how I managed without a trench coat all of these years, it is just such a versatile garment. As a maker, I am enamored with all of the functional, beautiful details. 

That isn't to say that I don't LOVE my first trench, the Burberry Inspired Trench. I was wearing it constantly this fall, and enjoying it immensely. 

However, the Burberry-esque trench doesn't quite satisfy all of my trench desires. For one, it is rather heavy due to all of the tailoring details, the quality of the twill, the full lining, and the length. This isn't really a problem... in fact, it gives it a sense of substantiality that feels luxurious. It is also warm, which is great for the cool climate that I live in. I noticed this sense of weight with my handmade winter coat too, and I think that in an... [read more]

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

Hoorah, I finally made it back to my blog. A little more on that below, but first a finished knitted garment; the Malachi Vest from Purl Alpaca Designs.

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

I bought the yarn and pattern for this vest as a kit from Purl Alpaca Designs at Yarnporium over a year ago. This make was a case of falling in love with the product photo. I still want to recreate the whole look, as the model looks sooo good. I used the recommended yarn, Purl Alpaca’s 100% pure alpaca medium yarn in colours Alpaca Earth and Champagne.

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

In typical fashion I started knitting this last January, but didn’t finish it until April when it was too warm to wear. I was very happy to pack this vest for a recent trip to Rome and Paris, where I finally got chance to wear it, and where these photos were taken. I’m still figuring out what to wear it with, and (thanks to the product... [read more]

Hi Readers!

Today, I have a pattern review and a first look at my most luxurious dress of the year — a silk velvet 1930’s dress!

Pattern Name: Simplicity 8504

Size Range: 12-20

What size did you make?  Graded up to about a 26/28

What are your…..

Measurements: 48-41-52
Body Shape: Pear-ish/Spoon
Height: 5’8
Bra size: 44D


What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?

I had to grade this pattern up as it only goes up to a size 20 (bust 42″).  This is a very curve friendly dress, so I’m not sure why they couldn’t expand the sizing up to at least a 24 (I mean, seriously…. WTF Simplicity?!).  It’s very difficult to find re-issued 1930’s patterns in plus sizes and I fell in love with this pattern as soon as it was released, so I resized it to fit me.  I’ve been grading up patterns for a long time, so this alteration didn’t take me much time at all.

I... [read more]

So I have to be honest, I have only worn my first Kalle Shirt once. I think it just wasn’t totally my style – the collar choice wasn’t great and the fabric I used (a tencel twill) made the shirt drag down I felt. It was also just way too long. But even before I […]

The post Kalle Shirt + Sleeve Extension | Me Made Monday appeared first on Handmade by Lara Liz.

best online shops for knit fabrics in Canada

Hi! Last week I wrote a post mentioning my favourite online shops for buying knits in Canada… and you told me about even more in the comments!

I’ve added 9 more shops to the post now, so go check it out! The additions are at the end of the post.

And now, I’m going to go drool over fabric!


If the man capable of sewing this jawdropping zebra jacket for the Refashioners offered to draft you a custom pattern, would you drop everything and shout “YES!”? Because that’s what Joost is doing!

Joost is one of the original founders of the Sewcialists, and runs and the Firehose blog aggregator. He is a brilliant sewist, and also a talented coder, and he has combined those passions in It’s an update of his previous site,

So what is It’s a pattern generator that lets you input measurements and generate a custom-fit pattern, for free! There are patterns for tees, hoodies, vests, trousers, ties, hats and more. Because all the patterns are made-to-measure and can be drafted for a bust or no bust, they are inclusive of men and women who like a masculine style, and a wide range of... [read more]

Belle Citadel!  Here is her Designer Original from Marc Jacobs in Nordstrom’s ($995.00) …   and her Designer me-made Copy.     Belle Citadel made a few changes to her pattern to achieve the look she needed.  Click on over to her blog here to find out how!   Have you got a favourite designer? […]

Hey June Kensington dress


Proving that a sewing project doesn’t have to be complicated to tick all the boxes; the Kensington Dress by Hey June Patterns is as close to a perfect ‘everyday’ girls dress as you can get. Covering an age range of 18 mths to 10 years with optional neck placket or as a simple pullover and with two sleeve variations, this pattern will work year round. For years. It also comes as a tee.

Kensington Dress by Hey June patterns

You can find the pattern HERE.

I made the long sleeve version so as to carry my Pixie Princess through the winter months. The sleeve tabs are actually her favourite feature of the dress:

Hey June Kensington Dress Sewing Pattern review
The long sleeve button tab

I made it in an absolutely gorgeous hearts and stars jersey fabric from Minerva Crafts in the pink marl colourway and it’s beautifully soft and cooperative. Head over to the Minerva Craft Blogger Network to read my post all... [read more]


20171210_115320This dress came about for several reasons. Initially I happened to spot a wonderful Marc Jacobs dress in Nordstrom. I occasionally pop up to the designer floor to check out the sewing on some of the garments and get a little inspiration. I’ve never been a designer clothes wearer, but I thought the design on this $995 dress (below left) was really sharp and interesting, and the velvet was of beautiful quality. I wouldn’t have really noticed it in a picture, but in real life the dress just sort of glowed. Of course, it was also hitting those three big A/W fashion trends of red, velvet and shoulders/sleeves, which would normally put me off in all honesty, but it just so happens that I rather like red anyway, so… YES!

Anyway, I didn’t think much more about the dress until three things happened around the same time. We got an... [read more]

I love a sewing-themed Christmas gift guide, but I thought it might be equally interesting to share some places you can currently donate/pledge to support sewing-themed campaigns. Four ways to show your support, and receive a little something in return too!

♥ Stitch in Time

Royal Shakespeare Company Costume Department

The Royal Shakespeare Company is currently raising money to restore and redevelop their dedicated costume department in Stratford-upon-Avon. I was lucky enough to visit the Costume Department last year – you can read about my visit in an article I wrote for Seamwork magazine or on my blog.

The Stitch in Time campaign aims to allow the RSC to maintain and develop what is the largest in-house costume making department of any British theatre. Supporters (£30+) will receive invites to events about the project and costume making. Find out more or donate here.

[read more]

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