Archive for category Dressmaking Projects

My Zero Waste Pattern Experience

I noticed a zero waste pattern for sale online last week and, despite the fact I’ve ignored all other temptations as far as fabric and dressmaking patterns go for a while, this time I succumbed.

I was drawn to the concept because I’m often horrified by the amount of fabric left over after a dressmaking project and, excited by the fact it only used 36 inches/90cm of fabric, I ordered the PDF and found some linen in my stash that I thought would be suitable.

There are no pattern pieces to print out – thereby saving paper too – and the idea is you use the whole width of the fabric and then cut it to the required length.  Then you draw the shapes directly on to the fabric according to the measurements given in the instructions – it’s a one size pattern but you can adjust within the limits of the width of fabric you’re working with.   Any gaps between, in this case a triangular section between the two fronts and a rectangular piece between the sleeves, are cut out and utilised in the construction so that there is almost no waste.

In this drawing you can see by the dotted lines where these ‘surplus’ pieces are added to the inside as facings and top stitched to make, I assume, a design feature on the back of the shirt.

Drawing showing the topstitched facing pieces from the right side of the shirt back.

The triangular pieces are used to face the side seams which I did because, although I’d overlocked the seams so they looked pretty neat already, these pieces did finish them off quite nicely.

Inside view of faced side seam

The purpose of the rectangular piece I couldn’t fathom and left it off although there is a hack to cut that rectangle in half and make two patch pockets for the front which at least makes sense rather than use it for a ‘back hem facing’ which, to me, didn’t make much sense at all.  I suppose, to be called a zero waste pattern, it is necessary to use all the pieces you cut out somewhere on the garment whether it needs them or not.

Unfortunately, I did waste a bit more fabric than intended because the linen I used was a nightmare to cut in a straight line.  Something wobbly in the weave caused it to shift off grain and I ended up having to cut off a bit more than planned just to straighten it up again.

Maybe the wobbly grain worked to my advantage for the button band though as it needed to go around the neck and a more stable fabric, cut as this was, might not have behaved as nicely around the curve.

Even though I’m only 5’3″, this is quite cropped on me but that is down to having to straighten up the shifting fabric and not a problem with the pattern.

You can’t make out the top stitching on the triangles at the side seams which is probably a good thing as I did it from the inside and the bobbin thread never looks as neat as the top thread.  I don’t think adding the rectangular piece would have brought anything to this particular party.

So, I think I made a wearable cropped shirt although I have to remember not to reach up …

……unless I wear something underneath as nobody wants to see my midriff revealed.

I might consider making this again to see what it would be like in more drapey (stash) fabric and I’d put a couple more inches on the hem.  Also, there is a gathered sleeve hack which might look quite good.  I have plenty of stash fabric to work with.

Coincidentally, I was working on this zero waste project at the same time as my good blogging friend Kate was working on one .  Unfortunately, Kate made a dress which didn’t work out so well.  We have a few followers in common so you’ve probably seen her post but, if you haven’t, you can read about it here for another take on these sorts of patterns.

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ScrapHappy January 2021

I was determined to join in with Scraphappy this month, having missed some due to the move.

Even though we’ve downsized massively and I affectionately refer to our new home as ‘the dolls’ house’ I’ve always found dolls creepy – I’m more of a teddy bear girl myself.  However, a request for dolls’ clothes was made and scraps were dug out.

A scrappy bit of fleecy stuff found lurking amongst Mr. Tialys’s rolls of leather got turned into mini Ugg style boots.

Some thin, stretchy fabric left over from a dress and a bit of French terry from who knows where got made into a t-shirt and trousers.  This fiddliness prompted a successful search for my rotary cutter and unpicker in the depths of my still disorganised sewing room so that was good at least.

*shudder*

Be grateful I forgot to take a photo of the heart patterned boxer shorts.

With that I shall remark only on how I marvel at people who can make detailed teeny, tiny things for all sorts of dollies and softies without harbouring any wish to join them.  If I’m going to make a pair of jeans with a fly front, belt loops, contrast top stitching and decorated back pockets I want to be able to wear them myself.

oOo

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaire,
JeanJon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette and Ann

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #26

I think my dressmaking mojo has returned with a vengeance………

………….. ‘just’ the waistband and rivets and buttons to go now

………and if I haven’t done too much of this during lockdown,

Photo by Anton Belashov on Unsplash

I might actually be able to wear them soon.

 

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Stockpiling Summer Dresses in Lockdown

Just before the lockdown started and I lost my dressmaking mojo I completed this Cheyenne Tunic from Hey June Patterns.

If you think it looks familiar and you follow Love Lucie, you are right.  She made a monkey one too in a sort of burnt orange colour and, although I admired it and had already made the pattern up once myself in a double gauze fabric, I had no plans to add monkeys to my wardrobe.

Then I went shopping in Toulouse – aah, those were the days – and saw the same fabric in both this golden yellow colour and a dusky pink.  So, despite the fact that I probably wouldn’t have paid it much attention in the normal course of events, I recalled Lucie’s lovely version and felt it was fate and had to buy some.  My friend advised against the pink as she said it didn’t do me any favours.  She was actually more specific than that but suffice it to say it was enough to make me decide on the yellow and feel vaguely depressed about my complexion.

Shortly after I’d finished it we went into lockdown and it just sat forlornly on the mannequin.  Well, as forlornly as something yellow covered in monkeys can look.   So I lost my dressmaking mojo.   The only thing I thought I might do, as I had the pattern, denim and all the trimmings already purchased, was make another pair of jeans.  Luckily, this idea was superceded which is just as well as any jeans I make now will, hopefully, be too big for me when Mr. Tialys is able to go back to work in the U.K. and leave me to resume the minimal feeding/drinking/baking I usually employ when left alone and don’t have a six foot four male to take into consideration.

Last year I made a clutch of summer dresses and don’t need any more.  In fact, I instructed Mr. Tialys, and anybody else who will allow me to give them instructions, not to let me make any more summer dresses.

There was a pattern that caught my eye though.  It had 20% off.  I knew I already had some fabric that would be perfect for it.  I often ignore instructions even when I’ve asked for them.  So, I bought the pattern even though that same honest friend told me the style probably wouldn’t suit my shape as it has a fitted bust and high waistline so would make me look ‘all bosom’.   This time, I didn’t let her sway me although I decided to make the dress a size bigger than usual forgetting that, when I do that, it usually fits me round the bust but is too big everywhere else and I lowered the waistline forgetting that I have quite a short waist so a high waist drafted for a normally waisted person is not high on me. So then, I had to do alterations which I hate with a passion.

I took the shoulder seam up which hoiked the waist up but also the darts so I had to shorten them.  Then I had to alter the sleeve armscyes so they would match up.  Then, there was too much ease in the back because, a) there should be ties on the back of the dress which I don’t like so didn’t add which meant the ease was sitting there not being used and b) I’d made it too big for me anyway.  So, I added darts in the back.  It’s practically a whole different dress!

Love the pockets!

Having faffed about with the pattern to make it both fit and suit me, I thought I might as well make another one and, this time, I would finally get around to learning how to do an FBA (full bust adjustment) so that I could make the smaller size I need but accommodate my embonpoint as the French so delicately put it.  This is yet another valuable skill I now have thanks to lockdown.  Some of the others are choosing really bad films to watch on Netflix and not realising how bad they are until halfway through, becoming very discerning about how dark dark chocolate needs to be before I will eat it and how to avoid cooking/dog walking/shopping whilst having somebody else in the house who will do it instead.

Anyway, with FBA skills now in hand, I proceeded to make a sleeveless version of Megan Nielsen’s Darling Range dress – for that is the pattern of which I speak – in some other fabric I already had and, although it is pink, it is brighter and has a lot of black in it so will not hopefully have the same effect as the pink monkeys.

I still added back darts rather than use a tie on this version .  The sleeveless hack requires some bias facing which I did in the same fabric.

Some restrictions are supposed to be lifted here in France as of tomorrow.  At the very least we are not going to need a permission slip – filled in and signed by ourselves 🙄 – to leave the house and, although the ‘ladies that lunch’ lifestyle that a lot of people fondly imagine I enjoy, won’t be resuming any time soon, at least I’ll have dresses for when it does.

And monkeys of course.

 

Have you used your time in lockdown to learn any new skills?

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Mostly Shirts And Sharks But Also Some Foldy Things

A Happy New Year to all and, in case you were wondering why, on my last post just before Christmas, I broke my usual habit of answering all comments, I apologise and have no excuse apart from the impending visitation of my daughters and the barely contained panic of trying to get last minute presents made before the big day.  I promise I won’t do it again – well, I might but will apologise again if I do.

Despite having the most beautiful weather over Christmas with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures, I was really lazy and mostly passed dog walking duties over to Mr. Tialys as he was home and it was nice to have a break from it if I’m honest.  Also, Zumba and Pilates classes had stopped over the holidays and I’m far too undisciplined to work out on my own at home.  Still, it’s back to normal today and it turns out I haven’t been that lazy because I do seem to have a few makes to show you.

Firstly, I finished the second ‘All Day Shirt’ for Mr. T just in the nick of time for Christmas.  I fell behind with it because I wanted to attach the sleeves differently but got in a muddle so ended up doing them the way the pattern said after all.  I used Liberty tana lawn again as I had a length of this tiny floral in my stash so that’s used up a bit more ‘excess’ fabric.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of him wearing it on Boxing Day so a close up front of folded shirt (please note the contrast fabric – also Liberty – on collar facing, inside yoke and it’s also inside cuffs) and a back view worn by my antique male mannequin will have to do for the moment.  Anyway, you get the drift.

After seeing the Cheyenne Tunic pattern by Hey June on another blog, I thought it would make a nice, relaxed top to wear over leggings or jeans and I had some double gauze with gold spots on which I thought would give a sparkly touch for Christmas.

You can see the gold dots more clearly if you click on the photo and they did make the top a bit more ‘festive’ but it meant the construction was more difficult than it needed to be as pressing the fabric had to be done very carefully in case of gold dot meltage (possibly a made up word).  I like the pattern and the only alteration I made was to make the sleeves slightly bell shaped as I didn’t want the turn back sleeves with tabs or the long sleeves with cuffs on this occasion.  I was going to gather the ends of the sleeves at the wrist but decided against that in the end (I told you I was lazy).  I will make it again in a different fabric as I like the neck and placket closure and the general overall shape.

So, both daughters were home for Christmas and Mlle. Tialys the Elder and I were keen to make ourselves a pair of workout leggings from a new pattern I’d bought – Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielsen – for a bit of mother daughter bonding while we weren’t watching Christmas films, playing board games, scoffing festive food or arguing with our sister (!).  Obviously that last one was not me as my sisters weren’t here although, if they had been, I probably would have argued with them.

Unfortunately, this is not me either.

Shark Pants

I did make myself some of these too but, trust me, this is probably the photo you would rather see.

The fabric, bought online,  came as a bit of a shock – I thought the sharks were going to be tiny and barely recognisable as sharks but, as you can see, that wasn’t the case.  However, in a way, it’s better because you don’t get that many full sharks to the leg (a sentence I have probably never said before in my life and probably won’t ever again).   Certainly it’s true in my case as I’m short and also I cropped the legs of my pair to mid calf length.  We did try to be careful not to get a shark disappearing up front or back crotch piece.   Anyway, the fabric was a bargain and I bought it so we could try out the pattern for size and I’m grateful to Mlle. T. the Elder for so thoroughly testing them out for me so that at least I know my seams should contain me during a squat, or worse, a down dog.

I saw, on Anne’s blog, that she had been doing some book folding and, as often happens with me, I was immediately inspired to rush off and try it out. I decided to re-purpose a couple of very old, never looked at books into Christmas trees – one was a cookery book for ice cream dishes (never going to happen in this house) and the other had a lot of very nice vintage style black and white illustrations from which I made the one on the right below and another one as a gift.  There was a fourth one too that I made as a last minute present for a friend on Boxing Day  – and so I also got to be a dab hand at five pointed origami stars.

Folded Book Christmas Trees

Of course I had to investigate further and ended up nearly ruining my hands for all time by folding an old paperback into an angel as one does.

This may have been a step too far as it took me ages and, in a search for a suitable angelic topping, I stumbled across a ball of gold tinsel yarn I bought at some time for who knows what and made a pompom for her head.  She sheds little gold sprinkles wherever she goes so I might think about a different head next time I unpack the Christmas decorations.  However, that will be the first and the last angel body I’m ever making out of a paperback.

I also did a lot of crochet work on the border of my Nature’s Walk CAL blanket but obviously not enough or I’d be showing it to you now.  The deep border seems to be never ending but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worth it in the end.  Lots of the other people who did the CAL enjoyed it so much they started on another one straight away – that is probably (definitely?) not going to happen in my case.

So, not too lazy really and I have also started a new hobby in a fit of madness but mainly in a quest to get Mlle. Tialys the Younger interested in some sort of craft.  Progress (or lack of)  will be revealed next time.

In the meantime, against all the odds, let’s hope 2020 will prove to be a good one for everybody, everywhere.

 

 

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A Christmas Dilemma

Yesterday I went to a Christmas craft fair and had my first vin chaud (literally ‘hot wine’) of the year so now I’m starting to feel a bit festive and realised I haven’t posted for a while so here’s a quick catch up.

It’s difficult, when you make things yourself, to buy things at a craft fair.  It’s easy to think ‘well, I could make that’ and some people actually say it and, having done a couple of craft fairs myself, I can tell you that it’s one of the most annoying things to hear.  I want to say, ‘yes, but will you?’  ‘Do you have the equipment you need to make it and, if not, are you going to go out and buy it just to make one thing?’ ( whilst smiling politely and saying worse things under my breath).

Anyway, I managed to buy a couple of things that I won’t make myself even though I could.

Firstly, this lovely wreath made out of loads and loads of pieces of Christmassy fabric.

I don’t have much festive fabric in my stash and, if I did, I wouldn’t be cutting it up into hundreds of pieces.  Sometimes, there are people with more patience than you and, since I know the lady who makes these, I was glad to support her.

One hobby I started but didn’t finish is needle felting but I really would like to give it another go one day.  So, I couldn’t resist this little mouse, complete with appropriate French attire who will go on my tree as I always like to buy at least one new tree decoration each year.

I usually harvest some mistletoe from a small tree at the top of our garden but, this year, it doesn’t seem to have appeared so this seemed a good excuse for another felty festive purchase.

Last time I tried needle felting, I couldn’t even make a round bead properly so I’ll be on the lookout for a workshop or something next year and maybe, next Christmas, I’ll be able to say ‘I could make that’ – though not out loud of course.

Anyway, back to what I have made myself.  Having dislodged the cats from my Nature’s Walk crochet squares which were laid out on the dining room table for ease of joining, they are now all joined and the first two rows that set up the edge for the fancy border have been done.  I think I’ll do the rest on my lap when the cats are outside.

They have now found another work in progress to impede so I still have another two sides of my F2F quilt to bind.  Look at that face – would you have the courage to move her off?

At least that’s forced me to try to finish the new shirt I’m making for Mr. Tialys’s Christmas present.  Despite having made this same pattern recently, I’m having trouble with the sleeves.  Last time, I set them in and finished the inside seam on the overlocker/serger.  This time I wanted to do a felled seam as it looks more professional.  The sleeve cap is quite large on this shirt, compared to the armscye, so it’s quite difficult to set it in without puckers anyway, let alone trying to fell the seams too, so it’s causing me some problems and I keep finding other things to do to put off tackling it.

(edit:  nothing wrong with the pattern sizing at all – it was me, matching the wrong notches!!)

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I commented on Kate’s post today about gift giving- although I sort of went off topic – and would be interested to know your thoughts on something.  I love giving hand made gifts to friends and family it gives me a lot of pleasure (and hopefully them) and also gives me a good excuse to make more things.  None of my family live nearby and most don’t appreciate hand made items anyway – with the exception of my daughters who are already drowning in blankets and quilts – so it’s generally friends who end up with the results of my efforts.  However, some (non-crafting) friends I usually go for a pre-Christmas lunch with have a ‘no gifts’ policy and have asked me not to surprise them with anything this year.  I only ever give them hand made things – not shop bought – and I’ve explained before that I don’t expect, or even want, anything in return. I try to give them useful things too – crocheted cloths or cleansing pads, fabric baskets, make up bags, last year it was knitted cowls, as I know not everybody wants blankets or cushions or even quilts.  This year I was going to give them little fabric baskets filled with foodie things – home made lemon curd, chutney, quince spread and bombay nuts.  But now I’m not 😞  I sort of understand that they might feel they have to reciprocate but, in previous years, I’ve been very insistent that they don’t.  Now I feel sort of offended.

What do you think?  I’d be interested to hear if  you think I’m being over sensitive.

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #20

After the success of ‘the Constellation shirt’ you knew it wouldn’t be long before I got another one on the cutting table didn’t you.

Having discovered the last Liberty fabric design was actually called ‘Kevin’ and not ‘Constellation’, I was relieved to find that this one, which has long been lurking in my stash,  is called ‘Pepper’ – aah, that’s better.

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The Liberty Constellation Shirt

Warning:  This post contains very slightly derogatory remarks about the name ‘Kevin’.

 

Remember I told you I was making a shirt for Mr. Tialys – using the Liesl & Co. All Day Shirt pattern and some beautiful Liberty of London tana lawn fabric?

Well, it’s done and I’m as chuffed as a chuffed thing  with it.

It was such a pleasure to make this.  The pattern instructions are clear and thorough so the collar went together easily and I only had a slight wobble with the cuffs – even though they were made in the same way as the collar. It also helped that the tana lawn is so lovely to handle and sew.

I took it step by step.  I’ve now tackled faux felled seams again, plus collar stiffener pockets, a two piece sleeve placket and already want to make this pattern again plus, possibly, the ladies’ version.

Here’s Mr. Tialys doing rather a good job of headless modelling.

He’s 6’4″ and quite broad so I made the XL size and didn’t make any adjustments.  The only thing I’d change next time is to do felled seams around the armholes instead of finishing them on the overlocker as I did this time because the inside of the side seams look very professional and I wish I’d done the same with the armhole seams.  Also, there’s a tiny bit of fullness at shoulder level that I could work on next time.  Other than that, he’s very happy with it and took it off to the U.K. to wear to work this week.

I’d been calling this Liberty fabric design ‘Constellation’ but decided to search for the correct name.

It turned out to be Kevin!

 Apologies to anybody (including my cousin) who is called Kevin but it’s one of those names that have fallen out of favour (in Europe at least) and is usually given to characters on T.V. who are definitely not the hero in the plot if you get my drift.  More than that, however, it just seems a very prosaic name for a beautiful design.

This is what Liberty had to say about it on their website.

    Kevin Liberty London fabric was based on the celestial ceiling art in the hallway at Mount Stuart in Scotland. The constellations in the print were hand drawn in white and grey chalks on black paper to create a conversational starry night.

Yes, that’s all very well but were those constellations drawn by somebody called Kevin? I need more information.   In any case, it will always be known to me as ‘the constellation fabric’.

Just a close up of my collar complete with stiffeners – remember I showed you the ones I made using a cut up Liberty store card? – and my sleeve placket and cuff.

Mr. T. is so pleased with it he has asked for another one .

I’m not telling him the fabric design is called Kevin – he need never know.

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Late Summer Sirocco

The last summer visitors have left.

They ate and drunk impossible amounts, lay in until mid-morning, had to be driven everywhere, used my beautiful new bathroom and didn’t clean it afterwards, broke a couple of things and generally behaved as beloved offspring do when back in the parental home.  (Edited in case my daughter reads this – I’ve just gone in to clean the bathroom and, actually, they’ve left it in pretty good order so I take it back.  Haven’t been in her bedroom yet though)

  I’ll miss them until the next time and so will the dogs.

Anyway, do you remember I bought a pattern for a jumpsuit from the French pattern company Deer and Doe?  Nobody can accuse me of not trying to be ‘on trend’.  If you recall, we had lots of discussion about needing a wee at inopportune moments and having to struggle out of it.

So, I made it.

It turned out really well but then it hung from a shelf in my workroom for ages as I couldn’t get up the enthusiasm to hem those legs which were, of course, too long on me.

So, when Mlle. Tialys the Elder was here she tried it on.

The décolleté which I was a bit concerned about for a woman of my vintage, didn’t worry her in the least.

So she’ll probably take off that press stud and decorative button I’d added to give me a bit more coverage.

How I love those pockets!

All in all though, I was really pleased with how this turned out.  I enjoyed making it and it was a very good pattern as I have found to be the norm with Deer and Doe.

As for the wearing of it though, I’ll leave it to the super confident and the stronger bladders.

On an entirely unrelated note – because that’s the way my mind works –  those coleus in the background have been the terrace potted plant success of the summer this year.  Gorgeous splashes of colour going on and on and still going.  Next year we’ll get even more.

O.K. Autumn, bring it on.

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Stashbusting for Summer – The Final Part

Although I can’t say I have used up all (or much) of my dressmaking fabric stash, at least I’ve had a go this year and here are two more dresses which at least are more useful than metres of fabric in a cupboard.

I didn’t like the ‘Stevie’ dress pattern from Tilly & the Buttons when I first saw it as it’s a boxy sort of shape with a high neck (both things I don’t like on me) but, when there was a 20% off sale, I suddenly felt more drawn to the fact that it is quite a quick make with no zips or buttons and ‘grown on’ sleeves – i.e. no fiddly setting in of sleeves into armholes.

I also really like that back yoke detail.  You can swap the bow out for a button and loop if you want.

So, I made two.

The first one is made from some double gauze fabric which I’ve never sewn with before and, despite being made from two thin layers of fabric stitched together – double gauze fabric, not the dress – it is very light and comfortable to wear.

 

 

The hem was an abomination and I have re-done it since these photos were taken.  I blame the nature of the fabric because I can’t possibly blame myself.

Double gauze is quite a ‘floppy’ fabric so the bow feature on the back works quite well here.

I made the second version using some fabric which has a sort of linen texture to it – or maybe barkcloth? – and also has a bit of stretch although it’s very stable and I think I bought it to make some trousers.  Ask me why.  I don’t know because I’m not really a ‘flowered trousers’ type of person but I think it was when I was experimenting with trouser making and fancied something with a bit of a summery feel.  Anyway, I came to my senses and used it for this dress instead.

Being less drapey it gives the dress more shape which is fine because it looks very different from the first version.

However, in this fabric, the boxy shape is more apparent and the bow isn’t as floppy as I’d like so I probably should have used the loop and button for this one.

So I tried it on back to front in an unintentional pattern hack which did away with the high neck I’m not overly keen on

and it appears to fit exactly the same

which is strange but I’m not complaining.

On the other hand I might have to have a word with my photographer as he has included dogs, dead plants, parasol poles and all sorts in these photos.  I did disturb him whilst he was having a quiet moment with a glass of some home brew (also in the photo!)  so I suppose I shouldn’t complain.

That will be all my summer makes for this year now using stash fabric.  I’ve made ‘a little top’ by hacking that old favourite the ‘Sorbetto’ but it’s not been photographed yet and, anyway, I did buy a metre of something called ‘dobby’ to make that so it doesn’t count as a stashbuster.

Look! It’s covered in the constellations.

I’ve cut out a shirt for Mr. Tialys in some Liberty tana lawn (above) and will concentrate on that next, going slowly, step by step, because I’m using a ‘new to me’ pattern from Liesl & Co called the ‘All Day Shirt’ and I’m determined it will be gorgeous enough – and fit him well enough – to wear to the office without shame or embarrassment.

Hopefully, it (if not he) will look something like this

I’ll let you know how I get on.

 

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