Category Archives: Resources

Book: No Patterns Needed

After posting my #SewDots dress I thought I would share a little review of Rosie Martin’s book No Patterns Needed. I was going to post this a couple of days ago but my computer is on its last legs and wasn’t cooperating all weekend.

no-patterns-needed-1I had hoped to have something made from the book, but I haven’t had time yet. Also I just counted and I have almost 50 patterns (!) so it might be a while until I get around to making one of the garments from this book!

It’s split into 3 sections: rectangles, circles and triangles – and each section is colour coded. The rectangles section is pink.


The way the book works is that she gives you instructions for how to make each garment – there aren’t any patterns: hence the name! She also gives you a page to fill in with your measurements to make it easy to calculate the dimensions for drafting the ‘patterns’.



Each sample garment is made in the colour-coded fabric, but then she shows you other versions on other people, of different shapes and sizes. This is the part I particularly like – it shows you how you can make each thing fit your style. I love this dress version of the cape sleeved top.

no-patterns-needed-6I like this shirt dress too.


And then both of the other versions look different and both of them are cool – and seem to fit their styles. Also love the pink hair!


I like the circles section – it definitely helps that blue is my favourite colour!


The segment dress is one of my favourite things in the book – I love the easy swingy shape.


I think this might be the first thing I make – as I’ll probably get around to making something next Summer! I think I’ll leave off the ruffle too, like these versions.


There’s a circular wrap skirt in this section too, which is pretty cool, though it seems the dress is the only thing I photographed for the circles! So onto the triangles, in green.


I like the kimono top – especially the pink version and the way it’s been styled. I basically want to just copy this whole outfit!


This is my other favourite garment from the book – the four slice sweater – which is also the thing Rosie made for the #sewdots initiative.


Again I really like the other versions and they way they’ve been styled – and the fabrics they’ve used. I love the monochrome one with the culottes and I love the blue with the flowery fabric – it’s a great combo which I probably wouldn’t have thought to put together.


The last set of instructions in the book is for this triangle dress. I love the cheeky cut-out!


And I like the colour-blocked version, and the different skirt lengths.


Have you got this book? Are you tempted to self-draft items to sew? I’m a bit scared to be honest, but it seems like I’d have a better chance of getting something that fits well if I draft it to my own measurements!




Fashion History: 1970s

The 1970s seems to be still in fashion at the moment – it feels like it’s been around for most of this year – so I thought I’d take a look at the decade’s fashion. As I started to research this and look for photos, I started to feel a little overwhelmed! There were soooo many different trends and styles! I’m just going to cover what I think are the main ones.

The main common thread (haha, see what I did there?) is tight tops and loose bottoms.

Also large collars and awesome turban-type hats!

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I love that these girls have embraces ALL THE STRIPES!! (I wish I could see it in colour, though I suspect they’re shades of brown and orange – it was the 70s!)

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I love the high-waisted flares – they made the crop tops more flattering. These ladies all look amazing. And I’m digging the Charlie’s Angels pose!

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And speaking of Charlie’s Angels…….here are Farah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith showing the best of the Disco fashions that were also popular in the 70s. Think studio 54, sequins, silk and platforms! Jumpsuits were also huge in this decade. And a sequined jumpsuit? Even better!

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More jumpsuits! I love the cut outs and the colour blocking – they’re both chic. I think with slightly narrower legs/ trousers, these could work today and not look dated/ costumey.

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I didn’t feel I could talk about disco without mentioning John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. The platforms, white suit and black shirt with giant collar are soooo iconic!

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I’m not really sure if ABBA count as disco – anyone know? I wanted to include this picture, though, to show the men’s outfits – make jumpsuits and dungarees were a thing. I like the skin-tight dungarees particularly!

1970s-disco-abbaI think my favourite part of 70s fashion is the glamourous end of things. For some reason I always have this idea that the weather was always hot in the 70s so people didn’t have to worry about freezing to death and could wear unbelievably glamourous outfits! Like this one worn by Angelica Houston. I love the bob too!

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I know this isn’t a period photo, but the clothes in American Hustle are to die for! The women’s cloths anyway – not sure about a beige suit tbh.

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Ah Jerry Hall. She still looks pretty amazing now and I love the Grecian style dress she’s wearing here – it seems so effortless and so glamourous.

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I also kind of love this crazy Paco Rabanne dress. I recently saw that Mood in New York has started stocking super long fringe so I reckon this would be easy to recreate if you were so inclined.

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This is a polaroid of Liza Minelli taken by Andy Warhol. They were both regulars of Studio 54 so I assume that’s where they met? I like the hood – this also feels quite 70s.

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In a total antithesis to the glamourous photos above, I give you punk. The whole point was to be anti-establishment and anti-materialistic. Like the short-lived Glam Rock fashion (and others) the punk style grew out of the music.

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Can’t really talk about punk without mentioning Vivienne Westwood. She made clothes for Malcolm McLaren’s shop on the King’s Road, SEX. He managed The Sex Pistols so they were able to bring together the fashions and the music. Swastikas were apparently a popular motif used on punk clothing. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

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Another famous blonde of the 70s – Debbie Harry. She seems to have been a bit more mainstream punk – if such a thing exists?

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One of the most enduring fashions of the 70s – and possible the one most people would think of first – is the Hippie style. It’s what modern ‘boho’ style is referencing – ethnic-type fabrics, headbands, peasant blouses and mixing prints.

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I couldn’t find too many photos from the actual 70s of the hippie fashions which I found a bit odd considering it must have been a fairly widespread trend. Maybe they didn’t have cameras?

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Now here – just for the lols – is a hilarious photo of Robert Redford. He might be my favourite actor of the 70s and I enjoyed searching for these photos of him to give an idea of men’s fashion in the 70s.

He looks so pissed off with the outfit, it’s amazing! It’s from The Electric Horseman so it might be that his character is pissed off at this moment.

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Moustaches, flares, aviators and long hair. Nuff said.

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Light denim is definitely a fabric I associate with the 70s.

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In a change to my previous Fashion History posts, I thought I would include some patterns that could allow you to recreate some of the 70s most iconic garments.

Dungarees seem definitely to have been huge in the 70s. It feels like the 70s references the 40s sometimes and it seems to be the case with dungarees and overalls/ jumpsuits.

Marilla Walker – Roberts Collection

pattern-roberts-collection-dungareesPauline Alice – Turia Dungarees


Alongside dungarees is the pinafore dress:

Marilla Walker – Roberts Collection

pattern-roberts-collection-pinafore-dressTilly and the Buttons has been teasing her next pattern, Cleo, which looks to be a pinafore dress pattern!


And, of course, no pattern run-down would be complete without some jumpsuits:

By Hand London – Holly Jumpsuit

pattern-holly-jumpsuitCloset Case Files – Sallie Jumpsuit


If you want a 70s shaped dress, I have found 2 great options:

By Hand London – Alix Dress

Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity – Simplicity 1801

pattern-simplicity-cynthia-rowley-1801And if you’re feeling brave, you could try making your own flares!

Baste and Gather – Birkin Flares

pattern-birkin-flaresCloset Case Files – Ginger Jeans Flares (you’ll  have to buy the original skinny jeans pattern too)


Do you have any other suggestions for 70s style patterns? Or indeed any great vintage patterns actually from the 70s?







Style Crush: Ginnifer Goodwin

So I recently discovered Once Upon a Time on Netflix and I’m a little obsessed! It’s a series about fairytale and story book characters being banished to our world by the evil Queen (who else!) with no memory of their previous selves/lives. It sounds terrible, and the CGI certainly is a bit ropey in places, but I find myself loving it anyway.

One of the stars is Ginnifer Goodwin, who I’ve liked ever since she was in Ed – a little-known series about a lawyer who practiced in a bowling alley, starring (among others) pre-Modern Family Julie Bowen and pre-Mad Men John Slattery. I also thought Ginnifer was good in I Walk The Line and most other things I’ve seen her in – even in chick flicks of questionable quality. (Don’t get me wrong, I love a good rom com but some of them are better than others!) She has long been a hair inspiration for my pixie cuts because:

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I might take the middle photo next time I go to get my hair trimmed as I feel like I want something a bit edgier – though, obviously, she has a professional stylist so I probably wouldn’t be able to make it look nice! If anyone has any tips on styling short hair, I would gladly listen!

Anyway, since getting obsessed with Once Upon A Time, I’ve realised I really like Ginnifer’s style, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite looks with you to see if you like her too 🙂 They’re in a slightly random order I’m afraid.

I’m not sure about the bag here (or the sleek hair tbh) but I like the top and jacket, with the puffy shoulders. I love a bit of yellow, and it works particularly well with grey I think.

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I like this green gown – and her hair and make-up. This was at the Met Gala in 2011 but I can’t seem to find out who the designer was. I like the cut outs and the ruching/pleat details. Also cool shoes.

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I like her daytime style as much as her red carper style – this makes me want to sew all the shirtdresses. And get some saltwater sandals!

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Also she can pull off a leather dress as well as a shirtdress! I love her hair and bag here too. I basically always love her hair, so you can take that as a given 🙂 Should I make myself a leather/ pleather dress do you think? Not sure I could pull it off……

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I think this simple look could work well for my new smart work wardrobe. I like the (I think) beaded collar, it make what could be a basic shirt a bit more interesting.

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I love a good jumpsuit – I definitely need to make some, though I’m not sure my work would think it was appropriate, so it will probably have to take a backseat until I’ve made a few more work-appropriate items. I love how she’s paired it with this jacket – I would imagine the proportions of the jacket have to be carefully matched to the proportions of the jumpsuit.

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I really like this dress – and I liked it even more when I realised it was part of an ethical collection created by H&M. She wore it to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2012 and it only cost $299! Awesome, huh? I like how this movement has carried on, with actresses like Emma Watson highlighting the sustainability of fashion.

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I think this is one of my absolute favourites of her looks – the make-up and hair are particularly cool. This is another look from the Met Gala, when the theme was punk. The gown is by Tory Burch and I love it – it’s not really my colours, but I love the combination of the gold sequins and the (I think) leather strips, and the gradation to back at the bottom.

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It’s interesting how she can go from so edgy, above, to quite sweet and cute, below. But I like the look below almost as much – I like the shade of pink and I like the look of a jumper with a skirt the cinches it in at the waist. I also like the length of the skirt, though I’m not sure I can pull that length off.

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I had to include this photo because it’s so 60s and if you’ve read by blog before, you’ll know how much I like the 60s. She even has bottom eyelashes drawn on with eyeliner, so she was definitely embracing the 60s here – from the colour to the collar to the make-up, I like it.

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The last photo I want to share is partly because I like this all-white outfit – especially the 2 different patterns of lace – but because I love her house. This is her house. The photos are apparently of her great-aunt who was a Vaudville star. Kind of cool. I’m obsessing over all things house at the moment as (I can’t remember if I mentioned this in my last post), The Boyfriend and I have a flat lined up and yesterday we got the final confirmation that we get the keys on Monday! Yay! We spent some of today ordering a bed and a sofa – all super exciting!

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So do you like Ginnifer Goodwin’s style? Does she inspire you to go for a pixie crop (if you don’t have one already?)?




Style Crush - Emma Watson Style Crush - Tilda Swinton Style Crush - Michelle Williams

Fabric Inspiration: Wool

After the (modest) success of remaking my wool skirt into a cape, I’m hankering after making more things from wool……perfect time of the year, right!?

In looking for photos as research for this post, it occurs to me that wool is a really versatile fabric. You can make all of the below things from wool – skirts (pencil, pleated and circle), dresses (wiggle, fit and flare, and maxi) and, of course, coats and jackets.

I like this skirt because of the fabric – I like the black lines that perfectly line up with the pleats.
Wool Circle Skirt(image source)I can’t resist anything blue pretty much, so I love this one!

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This skirt is from the 60s (which I think is why I was drawn to it) so it shows that wool is also hard-wearing, and lasts a long time. As long as the moths don’t get it!

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I like how this one has the pleats starting lower down so it’s smoother over the hips, which I assume is slimming.

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When I was first thinking of a post about wool, I assumed it would all be black, brown and other dark colours, but I was wrong! Electric blue, olive, turquoise and pink. Lovely.

Pink Wool Pleated Skirt(image source)

The pencil skirt is a classic garment to make with wool. I particularly like this grey one – I think it’s the styling (and the model’s legs) that makes it particularly awesome! If only I could wear heels for more than 5 minutes at a time……

Grey Wool Pencil Skirt(image source)

Wool Pencil Skirt(image source)

We can add mustard yellow to the colours of wool available!

Mustard Yellow Wool Pencil Skirt(image source)

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I like masculine, boxy styles (as well as 60s styles), so I love this grey wool coat/jacket.

Grey Boxy Wool Jacket
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More mustard yellow!

Mustard Yellow Wool Coat
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Coral is definitely a colour that is one of my new favourite colours, and it seems to be in several high street shops at the moment, so it’s obviously one of the colours randomly picked for this season. Anyway, I like the combination of a sort of girly colour and a masculine shape of coat.

Coral Wool Boxy Coat
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The wiggle dress is a classic to be made of wool – they make me think of Joan from Mad Men.

Grey Wool Wiggle Dress(image source)

Blue Wool Wiggle Dress(image source)

Since I like the 60s, I do enjoy a black dress with a white collar and cuffs. The babydoll style is obviously a classic of the 60s and it’s starting to grow on me.

Black Wool Babydoll Dress
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Ah, Pierre Cardin. Lovely!

1960s Pierre Cardin Wool Dress(image source)

I love this lime green cocoon-y dress with the blossom embroidery. It looks so Springy! It’s making me want the weather to finally warm up.

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I like this wool, the black with speckles on. And the shape makes the wool look really modern.

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Who knew you could make a maxi dress from wool!

Green Wool Maxi Dress
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This is a great green too, and I actually like the bow – normally I don’t like things that are too fussy, but I’ll make an exception for this one!

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When I do next sew with wool, I really have to make a coat for The Boyfriend. I promised to in January, but then we decided to move and now it’s almost Spring so it seems like a silly time of year to make a Winter coat! Have you sewn with wool? Outerwear or ‘inner’ wear?




Fabric Inspiration - Lace Tartan Skirt to Cape Pink-Francoise-thumb 2



Style Crush: Emma Watson

Sorry for the radio silence recently! I moved house a couple of weeks ago (last Monday to be exact). We decided we had had enough of London so made the move to Gloucestershire, temporarily living with The Boyfriend’s parents. It took about a week to settle in but now I have my own little sewing area set up and have been sewing and cutting out things for the last few days, so hopefully soon I will have some finished things to show you. And a new backdrop for my photos!

My Style Crush today is Emma Watson – of course, of Harry Potter fame. More recently though, as I’m sure you’re aware, she has become somewhat of a spokesperson for feminism and gender equality, through her work on the He for She Campaign as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. She has recently announced that she will take a year off from acting to focus on this work and to read books and learn stuff. She has set up a feminist bookclub on Goodreads if you’re interested, too.

She also has called on the fashion industry to help affect change towards gender equality as they have such a powerful voice, particularly in terms of how women are perceived and represented in the media. You can watch a video where she talks to some of fashion’s biggest names here:

It may seem a little frivolous now to talk about how I like the clothes that she wears, but the thing about fashion and style is that it is one of the ways people can express themselves and it can make you feel confident or powerful or sexy or however you want to feel in any given situation.

For her recent speeches and things she seems to have mostly worn monochrome, well tailored things. And lots of skinny jeans/ trousers, which I’m a sucker for!

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I especially love this outfit – I don’t think it’s a silhouette I would have gone for, but I love how she looks comfortable and stylish. Maybe some wide-legged cropped trousers/ culottes are in my future?!

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Still mostly in monochrome, I love the next 3 red carpet looks. They’re a bit out of the ordinary and make her look much cooler than wearing a gown or boring dress would. Maybe I should copy this lace top and skirt with my lace!? Maybe not wedding appropriate though…….

I definitely need to make a leather jacket though. I’m not sure I could really pull it off, but I really really want one!

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I love this jumpsuit! I’m being more and more drawn to jumpsuits and dungarees lately. I already have the BHL Holly Jumpsuit and Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection in my stash, so I think they’re going to move up the queue as the weather warms up.

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I love this outfit mainly for the skirt!

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I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know I loved it when she chopped all her hair off! I thought it made her look super cool and a bit more grown up than she had before – the below picture was at the penultimate Harry Potter premiere. I also love the lave dress. Maybe some more inspiration for my lace!

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Another little lace dress, but this time in a brilliant shade of pink. I think she looks nice in colour, so it’s almost a shame she wears black and white so much, though it is incredibly chic.

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You can’t beat a dress with a contrast colour with a pixie cut. Very 60s!

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As you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram, I’m a big fan of this Dior outfit she wore to the Golden Globes in 2014. I love the colour (though not on me!), the fact that it looks like a normal dress from the front, and the blue shoes! I kinda want to make a copycat version, maybe in more of a pink than red, but I would never have an occasion to wear it. Do you ever sew things for the fun of it even though you know you won’t wear the finished product?

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