New Look 6483 – I saw this and thought of you

IMG_2068Browsing in the magazine aisle of my local superstore I saw someone that I recognised but couldn’t quite place.  They were well out of context you see.  You know the feeling.  You’re at frozen foods before you realise that the person that you have just waved cheerily to was in fact the nurse who conducted your last smear test and the reason that she didn’t respond in kind is that she probably doesn’t recognise your face.

Where were we?  Oh yes, who did I see in magazines if it wasn’t the Practice Nurse?  In the crowd of crafty periodicals I spotted my old friend New Look 6483.  New Look 6483 is to be found free alongside the latest edition of Sew Style & Home.  I enjoyed sewing New Look 6483 and I haven’t yet told you that, so I’m here to correct my omission in the hope that if it takes your fancy you might avail yourself of a copy.

Here’s my first bash, View D in a leftover of grey slubby silky something:

New Look 6483 View D

New Look 6483 View D

Size 8 at the top grading to size 10 at the bottom, finished with bias binding rather than facing.

I admit to being searingly underwhelmed when the last stray thread had been snipped but, on reflection, this has been a stalwart separate.

Looking at the fit of the grey I figured that a nip and a tuck from the back neck would be required should there be a Mark II… Which there was:

New Look 6483 View C

New Look 6483 View C

View C in Liberty Tana Lawn, using facing not binding.

Do you see improvement in the fit at the back neck?  I think that I do.  I also think that I was at one time in search of a sleeveless shell.  I’m not sure that I need to look elsewhere.  New Look 6483 has several neckline options and asks for a metre of fabric*.  What more might I want?!

Finally, much thanks to my kind neighbour who, when clearing out, found this pattern and though of me.

*I got away with less, but I have a lackadaisical attitude to layout and I often thumb my nose at pattern matching


Posted in New Look 6483, Sewing | 8 Comments

Pattern and Pieces

Growing up, time spent with my grandparents, my Nanny*, my Great Aunt and her mother, my Nan, always meant games.
Mostly these games required pen and paper, packs of cards or empty paper cake cases. However, if my Great Aunt was involved, the games would always be elaborate affairs.  There were rules, explanations and very often a performance.  I’m resplendent with sepia-toned memories** of the hours spent building rickety towers from cake cases or discussing character motivation in the freezing hallway prior to a group charade.

One of my favourite games was The Tray Game – the one where you endeavour to remember all of the items under the tatty tea-towel after desperately eyeballing them for a meagre 30 seconds.

Here’s a sewing version what I have invented.

Here are some pattern pieces.  On a tray.





Three pattern pieces. Three patterns:


To which pattern do each of these pieces belong?

That’s it!  #HoursOfFun.

*My Dad’s Mum, it wasn’t that sort of childhood

**It was the 1970s

Posted in Advance American Pattern A106, New Look 6111, Sewing, Simplicity 9192 | 6 Comments

Advance American Pattern A106 #VintagePledge

Tick, tock, another equinox and in the needlepoint of the native British hedgerow spring has started with the bright white stars of the blackthorn blossom.


Misleadingly there’s still a fair nip in the air so I’ve been working on a long-sleeved thing. A long-sleeved, vintage thing. How much work in a long-sleeved shirt? A lot. A lot of work in a long-sleeved shirt. Collar. Cuffs. Button holes. Buttons.  Darty tucks (tucky darts? Tarty ducks?)


Is it worth the work?  With this pattern I’m thinking yes.


I’m very much Team Raglan when it comes to sleeves. I find them (relatively) easy to insert and something about the way that they lie suits my square shoulders.

IMG_9667What else to relay?  This might just be the oldest pattern that I have worked with.  The pattern paraphernalia is undated and the briefest of brief searches gives me a date range of between 1933 and 1966.   The pattern pieces were marked with perforations rather than print and the envelope is not an envelope, it’s a piece of paper folded into three.

Also.  Sheer fabric that frays freely = lots of seam finishing decisions.  I’m thinking hard about those tricky, tricky decisions in at least one of these photos:

Small print

This is my third #VintagePledge

The Purple Ponte Pants of Pride were my second.

We started the year with a Zebra Jacket.

I have no clue what is to come but I’m excited to find out.

Posted in #vintagepledge, Advance American Pattern A106, Sewing | 2 Comments

Purple Ponte Pants of Pride #VintagePledge 2016

These pants got me thinking about pride.  Well, these pants and this set of morality plays.  You see, when I tiddled about in the rockery in what I imagined was an era-appropriate pair of pigtails, I did not get a set of photos that made me feel proud of the pants that I had just made.


These pants:


although wide of leg are slim of hip.  Bless the drafter, the crotch is dropped enough to avoid one set of fitting woes but another emerged in the photos.  My belly bulge.  In particular, the way my belly bulges over the ridge of my (unplanned) caesarean scar.

You probably can’t see it because I deleted a googolplex of images before I settled on the hand-picked few that would be allowed a public airing.  Such pride, such vanity.  I feel that it begs a question or five…

Am I proud that I have grown children in that belly?  Yes.

Do I like how my belly looks under certain clothing?  No.

Am I going to spend the rest of my life doing The Plank for two hours a day?  No.

Do I need to get used to an older, lumpier version of myself?  Yes.

Have I lost the point of this post?  Yes.

Pride, let me make it a force for good. Encouraging me to work precisely for a fit and finish of which I can be proud.  Ladies and gentlemen, these are The Purple Pants of Pride.

Small print :  This is my second #VintagePledge 2016.  Here’s my first.  Squee (very excited noise), this might be the next one:






Posted in #vintagepledge, Butterick 3581, Sewing | 11 Comments

My #VintagePledge 2016

Do you do vintage?   If yes, you have my full permission to skip this paragraph.  If no…  What if I tell you that patterns from the 90s can be included in your #VintagePledge?  Or that workers of yarn, needle and hook are also welcome, would that sway you?  Shall I tell you a little about what I have planned before you decide?

*Takes visible deep breath as she is preparing to make an announcement.*

I’m planning to make and blog one vintage pattern a month.  That doesn’t look much like a pledge.  Let’s try:

I, Penny, pledge to make one vintage pattern a month.

That looks a little more pledge-like.  Now.  One a month.  Is that a little or a lot?  For me it represents A LOT.  I’ve just had a quick tot-up of the makes that made me blog last year.   By my reckoning there were 14 finished makes with a direct 50:50 split between ‘vintage’ and ‘other’.




There was a definite shift towards vintage towards the close of 2015 and that has carried on into 2016 with a vintage jungle jacket

and a little something with flare from Butterick 3581 in progress.


What do you think?  Were you already firmly in Camp Vintage* or have you found yourself swayed?  No matter, whether you are Camp Vintage, swayed, swaying or indeed, totally un-swayed –  travel here or here to find out more.

* totally ought to be the name of a shop or specialist website

Posted in #vintagepledge | 8 Comments

My jungle also has raccoons

Raccoons, raccoons, raccoons.  Raccoons everywhere!  I love them.  To my mind, they are slightly sassy lady raccoons.  Out for a good time.  In a forest of maracas.


Have you ever sewn with fabric that has faces?  Lots of faces?  I don’t have a lot of experience in this particular field, there were the lilo ladies but they didn’t fret me anywhere near as much as these nocturnal naughties.  I did not want to cut up or sew through anyone’s face.  Or anyone’s tail come to that.  Any road, with 1.90 meters of narrowness and a brutal attitude to the truncation of tails and the bifurcation of faces I fashioned a PJ top and some sleep shorts.

I could fit the left over fabric into the teeny-tiny top pocket that you can’t see because of all the furry, sassy faces.

Talking of tops, this top is Pajama Top 12/2014 #133 which was free in the BurdaStyle Advent Calendar (new to me, loved it!)

IMG_80881, 2, 3 pockets in the front and my first ever attempt at piping.  A nice finishing touch but goodness I found it fiddly.


Back vent.  Drafty!

As fer the sleep shorts.  They are Darcy Boxer Shorts, another freebie pattern.  I am a pursuer of PDFs, a paper-piecer a…  nah I’m all alliterated out.

IMG_8086I chose to make the fly front faux rather than functional.

A little thing that I did notice whilst magic taping these together:

Burda Top – 36 sheets of A4 paper.  One side of A4 cutting and sewing instructions.  Not a full side either and not a diagram or illustration to be found.

Darcy Boxers – 13 sheets of A4 paper, 5 sides of sewing instructions, diagrams and all.

To end.  Pixelated phone photos of me in me jim-jams and a HUGE  thank you to Anne for hosting Jungle January!

Posted in Burda, Burdastyle, Jungle January IV, Sewing | 11 Comments

Jungle January IV – my jungle has a zebra

Zebra Facts

Weighing up to 350 kilos…

Vogue 7433 in a dense polyester and elastane scuba-style knit.





Zebra Habitat

The vast plains and semi-arid grasslands of…

While most at home foraging for information along vast rows of shelving or through the labyrinthine corridors of the Internet, in the winter this creature is a frequent visitor to suburban gardens.


Easily startled, a good picture will take plenty of patience.


Zebra Range

Seen in the plains and plateaus of southwestern Africa…

Well, you know.  The garden, the kitchen, dare I take her to work?

Interesting Facts

  1. You can identify the different species of zebra by the stripe patterns on their:



2. Lord Rothschild had a zebra carriage


3.  This foal has a reeaally fluffy tail.


Fine Print

My love-affair with vintage patterns continues un-abated.  This jacket has shoulder darts, bust darts and a single sleeve piece.

My zebra not-hide was from Stone Fabrics but it’s no longer available, this at Ditto Fabrics looks to be the same.


Hands-down my favourite event of the sewing blogoverse, thanks Anne for hosting another Jungle extravaganza. May all your (animal) print matching be flawless.


Posted in Jungle January IV, scuba, Sewing, Vintage, Vogue 7433 | 12 Comments

Jungle Bells

Jungle bells, jungle bells,

Jungle all the way.

Oh what fun it is to sew for Jungle January.





Jungle January IV

This year, my jungle will feature at least one zebra.



Possibly in jacket form:


How about you?



Posted in Jungle January IV, scuba, Sewing, Vogue 7433 | 12 Comments

Vintage Jacket – the collar that caught my eye



One of those idioms that I until I come to type it I don’t question.  I’m now imagining the literal act of someone catching my eye.  Under what circumstances has my eye become free of its socket?  Am I grateful that someone has caught it?  !Imagination!  If you could just stop right there.  Things are getting a little too Lear for my liking.

Let us start afresh.

A 1964 jacket pattern with a cover image to intrigue.


I can see inside the collar.  How the heck is that constructed?  Sealed envelope.  Darn.  I’ll have to hand some coinage to the man at the seafront  ‘Antiques & Craft Centre’.

So that’s it.  Captured by collar construction.  It’s a puzzling affair of a bias strip folded in upon itself.

I took some pics whilst putting it together, with you guys in mind.  You’re most welcome.  If I didn’t lose you at Lear, have a look at this, it’s fascinating:

First you fold the short end in and then you fold the entire collar in half lengthways.  There is only one collar piece and no interfacing.  Naturally I cut two collar pieces because.  Because where’s the fun in stressing over too little fabric when you can cut two long, long pattern pieces on the bias from a double layer only to find out later that the collar is constructed from a single piece of cloth.  I’m not at all bothered by having done that.

On the hanger:

And on me:



Cold winter light long shot:


This is probably my final #vintagepledge:  Thanks guys.  After this I will be pledging my allegiance to all things animal:  Jungle January IV.  Roar!

Posted in #vintagepledge, Sewing | 4 Comments

Midnight Jungle

A three-hander.  Sequel to My Jungle has Birds and Butterflies.


Cast List

Agent Velvet Black :  Velvet has always been in the shadow of her brighter and more popular colleagues: Intense Violet, Bahama Blue-eyes and of course the fiery red-head – Burlesque.  But not this time, this time Agent Black will truly make a difference.

Pattern Patsy (A.K.A. Style 4844):  She’s just passed the big 4-0 and Pattern Patsy’s future is unclear.  Is she destined for stardom?  Will her name ever be Up In Blog Titles all over the Internet or will she end up forgotten?  One in a long line of patterns that just don’t make the Big Time.

The Mystery Maker:  Just what is this dame’s role in the whole shebang?  Was she just in the wrong place at the wrong time or did she mastermind the whole affair.  We may never know.

Plot Synopsis

They meet.  They mix.  Things get a little tangled and a lot messy.  In the end Pattern Patsy is hung out to dry.



The Moral of This Tale

It’ll all come out in the wash.  Probably all over your best M&S undies.



Posted in Jungle January, Sewing, Style 4844, Vintage | 9 Comments