Finished: good basic skirt pattern for my body shape

My body shape is that of a goblet:

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vesthandsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest
The under carriage of a goblet has “a case of the no’s”: no waist, no buttocks, no hips, no thighs. So a straight shape suits best, with a flare at the bottom to match the “flare” a goblet has at the top (yes, I mean breasts/shoulders):

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vesthandsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

The lower back is very swayed. I put in a yoke, in double fabric: handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

Only the back has these flaring pattern parts. The front is one piece, straight down. With pockets. The flare of the back facilitates walking: handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vesthandsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

Some details: pockets. In this one I made one continuous pocket running from one side to the other:

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest The inner side is not from the shell fabric but from an old pillow case. The underside of the pocket is shell fabric. The skirt has a zipper. My sewing teacher taught me the blind zipper. It went all very well until the very last, when I folded down the waist band to sew in the ditch from the right side. I was afraid I would not catch the inner side of it so I took a larger SA on the outside then the inside. I forgot I had already determined where the SA from the outside should be when I attached the zipper. Secondly I did not match the folding of the waist band from the front panel to the back panel, around the zipper: handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest
Oh well. It really was the last 30 minutes of sewing when I made these mistakes. The rest is good, both inside and out.

I learned how to attach a lining:
handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest (again, the only thing not so nice here is how the waist band is folded down and sewed)

So gorgeous:

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

I’m very glad to have a good basic pattern now. I’ll trace the parts on sturdy carton and it will be a go to pattern.

This one is in sturdy canvas so I can use it a lot and use it hard.


Forging an iron seam stiletto sewing help.

Yesterday I forged an iron knive and a tool to help with sewing:
Mes smeden ijzersmeden workshop Veghel Phoenix Cultuur NoordkadeMes smeden ijzersmeden workshop Veghel Phoenix Cultuur Noordkade
It was a one day workshop with a real black smith.

In a well equiped black smith forgery in Veghel. It’s situated in an old factory that’s repurposed to dozens of studios, skilled craft working places, food courts, cinema and the best chips/fries of the country. Phoenix Cultuur offers many courses and workshops there.

The smith is Niek Eikelenboom from Black Oak forgery in Schijndel:

In the Netherland you’re not allowed to carry a knive in the street. That’s why sewing a leather holder is part of the workshop. Again natural materials: leather, waxed thread, steel needles. Love it!

Blacksmithing is amazing! You can make your own tools, exactly to your own requirements! The knive is made to the width of your own hand which makes it ergonomic. The forgery was fool of tools that were customized. My hand got twitchy just thinking about the possibilities! Scissors, pliers, grabby tools, stabby tools, melting pots, cooking tools, poking tools. Useful things!

That’s why yesterday, for our extra project, I made a sewing tool, a seam stiletto or rather a tool to help with keeping the fabric and threads at the right place while I sew over them. It’s the part I use my seam ripper most for during a sewing project:

handforged iron sewing tool

All beginners were deemed good enough to make a bottle opener, with two slightly curved flat bits at the end and a round twisty bit in the middle. I just changed one end into a sharp and flat end and now I’ve got a new sewing tool:
handforged iron sewing tool
handforged iron sewing tool

It’s called a seam stiletto I believe. It’s a good orifice hook for spinning too. And I can probably also open bottles with it.

emerging love for quilting with a disappearing nine patch block of love.

We were making a comfort blanket for my friend and I decided to do my first quilt thing ever. It was a disappearing nine patch block because I saw a whole quilt of it at her home this Summer and I loved her work instantly.
quilt strip for comfort blanket
I chose to quilt inside each square because that’s what she had done, instead of in the seam/ditch, and I love this look myself too.

When sewing the initial block I had to pay attention to contrast and to direction of the plant swirls:
quilt dissapearing 9 nine block

These are the tutorials I used:

I played around with the placement of the blocks:
quilt dissapearing 9 nine blockquilt dissapearing 9 nine blockquilt dissapearing 9 nine blockquilt dissapearing 9 nine block

I chose one and sewed it onto the backing, effectively quilting for the first time ever. I thought myself clever by tying the threads from the inside while quilting this block:
quilt strip for comfort blanket
It only works partially though because you have to quilt the pieces furthest apart first and you can’t get into tight spaces. It breaks the flow of working. Not so clever haha

A second block was made with the linen my friend Lieneke from handdyed with me. This fabric is scrap-put-together, as I learned from when I made that needle case.
I put all blocks on one continiously piece of backing: ecological cotton handdyed by yet another friend of ours: Moonwise.
Here I am quilting the indigo linen block onto the back, again within each piece instead of stitching in the ditch:
scrap quilt first quilt ever
I’m using different coloured thread for the front and the back. The front is done with white thread for the white parts and indigo dyed thread for the blue parts. The indigo thread is the thread I used to bind the fabric shibori style for dyeing:
scrap quilt first quilt ever

The back is light pink because I did not have enough indigo thread and the white was too much contrast. This cotton has pink and purple tints so I think it worked:
scrap quilt first quilt ever

My strip was going to be part of a blanket made from several strips including some knitted ones. I needed to add a border so the friend sewing the blanket together could pick up stitches and knit the strips together:
quilt strip for comfort blanket
I attached a cotton yarn to a piece of non-stretching satin band, using the zig zag stitch on my machine for the first time.
This is my third block with the border attached and already stitches picked up because that was quite a job that I didn’t want to burden my knitter friend with.

The fabric is from a small vendor at the market in Doetinchem, near my cabin, who specializes in African wax prints.
quilt strip for comfort blanket
The blue band on the top is a ready made band with loops for easy picking up stitches.  I used it in my first summer dresses. Here I am attaching it, it’s easy bias band. So much easier than that self made satin band!
quilt strip for comfort blanket
My sewing accessory is a fast make-shift pincushion that I needed asap when I started this quilt. It’s just a piece of felted pullover rolled up and stitched together, with lush silk handspun because I may be thrifty and efficient, I’m also snobby when it comes to materials.

Using my new glass head pins, all white, which are extra long. Glass. Like.

This is the fourth block, a piece of a silk scarf that is very dear to me and that I have never used apart from sewing a little WIP bag for ChristaV:
quilt strip for comfort blanket
I quilted this one sparcely, just through the flower stem:
quilt strip for comfort blanket

Because I found out I like things quilted with a bit of room between them, so the resulting blanket remains pliable and souple and the batting gets a chance to fluff up a bit and be warm. The first blocks are quilted much more dense:
quilt strip for comfort blanket

The flowery block has my favourite ratio I think.
quilt strip for comfort blanket

It was difficult to make these shapes with a regular sewing foot. A free motion foot was recommended but they are crazy expensive and you need to guide the fabric for speed (length stitch) too and that is just a bit too much. I don’t have those skills yet. Also I don’t love quilts with little scribbles and rounds particularly so have not invested in this.

I do have bought a walking foot but it seems to have gone missing between here and China.

Here’s my whole strip:
quilt strip for comfort blanket

Here’s the whole blanket:

We went visit my friend and delivered it at the facility where’s she’s healing. She likes it 🙂
In fact she loves it! And we love her. And now she has a tactical reminder of that love.

(And I have started my first full size quilt yesterday. Which has all begun at her home, with that lovely disappearing nine patch quilt.)

finished: gnome dress

Self drafted, with plenty of ease so it can be slipped on without a zipper and can be worn over winter underwear.

Made from sturdy rasberry coloured cotton canvas with a slight stretch. Still I cut the pattern pieces with about 0,5 cm extra width for wearing ease. This is too much. Should have done only at the side seams, not the princess seams. Or not so much. 0,5 cm at the side seams, 0,2 mm at the princess seams.

Accent fabric is a thin cotton with print of gnomes in vans:
gnome dress volkswagen van<
I’ve bought this combination years ago, to put together.

Lined it with cupro or Bremsilk which nearly cotton, I think?

Pockets in the sideseam. Lined with gnome fabric.

I put in some irregular knives pleats for walking ease:
gnome dress volkswagen van

I have been wanting to make this dress for years now. A block dress with the gnomes-in-vans down the middle. I didn’t know how to sew a square neckline though. With lining. And princess seams. I made muslins through the years but lacked the sewing skills to pull it off.

Now I did, thanks to my sewing lessons.

Regrettably I have not reinforced the centre panel enough, even though the gnome cotton is interfaced. I will adjust it. It also thought me I like firm fabrics, with not a lot of drape. Where shaping comes from the seams and pattern pieces. Will investigate that road further.

And the princess seams are a bit too pointy and roomy at the apex. Will resew that seam.

It sits really comfortably. The wearing ease makes it nice to wear, over maillot and long sleeves. So happy with the pockets!
Will use this pattern again. I have already amended it to a round neckline. Love a square neck though…. problem is the front panel cannot be a rectangle as it rises above my bust and needs to come in a bit. Shoulder straps move away from CF. They can’t be less wide because I like my back to be covered for the whole width. Ahh it’s a puzzle.

Love the bow at the back. It’s from Bleuet dress from Deer & Doe.

After these pictures I made some amendments.

  • the front panel collapses at the top. I have inserted fortifying rows of stitching in the lining and underlining.
  • made the curve at the apex (bust points) less curvy. I had room to spare there.
  • added topstitching at the front princess seams. They help tack down the seam allowance and make the seam sit pretty from the right side. Edge was treated with pinking scissors.
  • made the sideseams more curvy. But not too much so I still can put this dress over my head.

hand sewn dress
hand sewn dresshand sewn dress
hand sewn dress

finished: taupe wriggle dress in stretch cotton

Princess seams in front and back. A pleated fanshaped vent in the back, two in fact in each of the princess seams.

Straight front panel with handspun silk detail which returns in the patch pocket.

details of sewing:

The princess seam at the side front panel does not match the straight front panel. I sew a shape into the front panel and it doesn’t show in the finished project. Will amend pattern:

Reinforcing the front top with unstretable band:

Treating the seam allowances: stitch, trim so they are neat, fold under, press, sew:

Clip at ridiculous curvy bits:

Armholes are finished with biais band. Pin in place

Stitch (from the RS, right in the fold):

Clip and trim:

Redo parts that looked wonky from the RS. The curve in the armhole is very steep, it’s difficult to sew without catching some fabric here or there. Note how the band is folded at the start, this will fold inside neatly:

Baste in place. I used my machine with a long stitch and low foot pressure:

Pick with the hand. At the steep curve I have to bring the stitches closer to the edge, all the way to the basting line. The biais band just won’t stretch enough to let the fabric lie flat.

Pocket: treat top first, then use a carton mold to press the shape around (using a gathering stitch):

I added a detail with handspun Mulberry silk. Also to sew the folded under top in place and to prevent stretching. This edge was not reinforced with non-stretching tape or band:


a few tweaks to the pattern of the green flowery wriggle dress:
– make front panel straight. 19 cm from top to bottom. This means:
– subtract 2 cm from the side panel princess seams. This gives too much curve at the waist line. The fabric won’t be able to attend to it. I middle the curve with the front panel:
– at the waist line of the front panel there’s a slight shaping of 0,5 cm.
– it needs 2 x 0,5 cm more room at the apex. Given this at the sideseams.
– vent at the back princess seams, not at the side seams.
– lower the back neck line. It creases on the back torso in the green dress, even after we took out some of the length.
– pockets….

– handpicked binding at the arm hole and neck line.
– stay tape at the top of the front panel
– the arm hole is good. Good as a base for a dress shirt. Nice and close to the body, giving maximum range of motion.

The idea is that this too will be a try out dress. To get to the perfect basic dress pattern.

– treated seam allowances by folding them under and stitching. They were too scratchy if I’d overlocked them or sewn a zigzag. Looking forward to giving this pattern a lining.
– bias band at the armholes, unstretchable tape at the front and the neck line
– patch pocket, using <a href=””>this tutorial from inseamstudios</a> and<a href=””>this tutorial</a>
– handsewn details at front panel and pocket, from handspun mulberry silk.

Conclusions after sewing:
– armhole curves too steep  for bias binding, this shape benefits from facing. Teacher says to deepen the hole for future dresses. I’m holding hope that a sleeve will fit in there. (but now I see my previous shirts in my minds eye and I know that that’s probably not the case.)
– after wearing it a while I can say that upper legs have enough space for free movement. This is good.
– use same pattern pieces for a (medium weight) tricot/ jersey. Sew same pattern pieces with 1 cm SA instead of 1,5 cm for wovens plus lining. And a long sleeve? Would be ideal for winter.
– ease the curve at the back, towards the shoulder seam, a bit.

Finished: linen skirt with pockets and godets.

skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewingskirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing

All the linen was handdyed, with indigo, by Lieneke from Wolop Wool Studio. I used shibori techniques to make the patterns.

Nice pockets and shaped waist band:
skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing

Yoke and princess lines to serve my sway back: skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing

skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing

Making the front panel with the pockets. Seen from the WS:
skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing

I took the pattern from the lilac linen trousers (haven’t shown it yet. It’s a remake of these failed trousers which I took to my first sewing lessons and my teacher rescued them) and converted it: – deepened the pockets. I want 7 cm deep from where the lower opening hits the side seam. – took in front by 3 cm (twice) with darts which I folded away, opening up the bottom and giving it a flare. – took in CB by 0,5 cm (twice) but only in the waistband. – cut backpanel in two and flared the bottom, just like the lowest panel on this picture:

Cut precise.

Pattern pieces:

  1. front panel
  2. pocket top side (2)
  3. pocket under side (2)
  4. back panel (2)
  5. side panel back (2)
  6. zip protector
  7. waist band front (2)
  8. waist band back (2)
  9. yoke back (2)
  10. zipper
  11. interfacing for waist band

Thinking about interfacing waist band, I’m no hero with iron on interfacing…


    1. press non stretch band (naadband) onto pocket inside 1,5 cm from the edge (middle of seam)
    2. pin inside pocket onto front-panel, RS together. Sew over naadband, fold, press, topstitch.
    3. attach underside pocket onto innerpocket. sew to inner pocket, treat raw edge. Secure top onto front panel and make sure the top line does not shift.
    4. sew back panels together, press, topstitch, treat raw edge.
    5. sandwich back panel in between yokes. Sew, press, grade seams (keep outer seam the longest because of the top stitching), take triangles out of the longest seam. Topstitch the yoke.
    6. sew the long side seams. Start under where the zipper will be. Fit as is, inside out. Make adjustments if needed.
    7. Reinforce where the pocket opening meets the side seam. Insert zipper. Treat raw seam edges. Topstitch.
    8. give waist bands interfacing. I added plain weave cotton and ran my machine over it in a zig zag fashion. attach inner of waist band to front and back panels. Or perhaps first make one continuous button band (close side seams) and try to fit it to the panels.

    Cutting the godets: skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing

    Fortifying the yoke with unstretchable band. I chose a particular nice piece of linen for the yoke. It was shibori dyed with indigo in a wood grain pattern called Mokume shibori:
    skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing


  1. Grading the inside of the yoke: skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing 
  2. Pockets are part of one continuous piece to strengthen the horizontal part of the skirt, as to prevent dragging across the pockets from side seam to side seam: skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewingPart of this fabric will be visible from the right side, right at the pocket openings: skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing
  3. Here I should have seen what became apparent when the skirt was finished the first time: it’s see through. I had to take the skirt apart and add a lining. These are two white pieces I added to the front to prevent see through: skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing 
  4. All in all a very nice skirt, from my own fabric. And another base pattern to use again and again. I have already altered this pattern to a version with flaring back panels instead of godets.

Do have to find a solution for waist bands though. I just cannot marry non-fusible interfacing with a shaped waist band AND understand the sequence of montage.

Finished: green wriggle dress in stretch cotton.

I have sewing lessons now. And they help me with keeping track of a project; with not minding to rip out a seam and with all the tricks and practises of sewing a project. I’m a weird case: I know about pattern drafting but I lack experience sewing.

Thanks to the lessons I now have perfected the pattern for a fitted dress, with princess seams in the front and back.

This is the try-out, in stretch cotton:
green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing
green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

It wears really comfortable! Not tight at all. We reduced the most obvious gaping and buckling and found real good princess seams and side seams.
Neckline and arm holes have a facing from bias band. They were sewn with the machine from the wrong side and then stitched in place by hand from the right side.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

For walking ease I tried to put in two vents at the side seam but they are not good yet:
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

The frontpanel has a straight neckline. We put in staytape to prevent it from wobbling.
We put a lot of attention to the connection of this part to the sidepanels. I had to grade the seams considerably, to prevent bulk.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

Also seams I had resewn, in a better line, she told me to take out the previous stitching. Just to prevent unnecessary stiffness.

For finishing the raw edges I used her serger/ overlock machine. This fabric frays so it was a good call.
The hem is just turned under and sewn with a straight stitch on the longest length.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

I now have a base pattern for stretch cotton dresses. I already have a second one cut which will improve on this one with staystitching, vents at the back and non-stretching band at the neckline. And a pocket.

After that I hope to venture this pattern into a thick knit fabric and into a lined version, for Winter.

needle case from scrap fabric

With this new machine it’s so easy to thread the needle, sew a seam and cut the thread. I’m playing around making fabric out of scraps and trying to sew a needle case. It’s a try out for a swap on Ravelry, at the Dutch Karma Swap Group.

I came across a marvelous blog which promotes playing with fabric and the sewing machine:
So that’s what I did, early this morning, just 15 minutes of playing with scraps I took from the bin.

scrap fabric quilt 15minutesofplay indigo dyed linnen
Wonderful! I’ve never done a thing like this. Nothing remotely “quilt-y”. I like doing this! It’s not very neat but I was assured on the blog that it didn’t need to be. It’s bound to neaten up a but when pressed with the iron, these seams were pressed open with fingers.

The fabric is indigo dyed linen. It was dyed during a workshop from and I’m using the fabrics for a fitted skirt at the moment.

Now I’m looking to use this little craze scrappy fabric as a front for a needle book for myself. Using this tutorial from for the general idea: and glancing at these two for binding the edges or making them beautiful with piping. Both are from So Sew Easy which seems to be another site that promotes the fun and the skills in sewing.

Binding edges tutorial

Piping tutorial

I’ll update this page as I progress.

I’ve got the shell fabric, the batting and the lining (plain linen):

I sew in the wrong order and have caught the batting in between the right sided fabrics, in the small stitch that I used for this seam:

I turn the project right side out anyways. The batting is not caught everywhere, I had cut it a bit smaller than the fabric. I’ll try and rip or cut it free:

sewing a needle case

Reasonable succes. The edges are a bit “hairy” here and there but I can live with it. Rather than ripping the fine stitches seam.

Topstitching with a longer stitch. I chose a pale grey instead of the white working thread, just so it would not demand too much attention.

Oh. I forgot to add the closure elastic when I sewed the layers together. Have to think up another closure.

I’ve got some cotton that was dyed when we were dyeing the indigo. We were doing shibori and that requires thread. I’ll use that and make a braid:

new machine: Janome 423S

I entered the present time:

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I brought my retro ’70 machine to Rijkers Naaimachines in Veghel and they explained it really is beyond salvage. It only sews backwards. For a reason. It’s busted and slammed stuck in reverse. It cannot be repaired. Bye bye cute retro Senwa:

If I wanted they had the modern equivalent of this to sell to me. The Janome 423S.

The 423S is mechanical machine, not a computerized Diva with sensitivity issues. And one with more features than a more basic type, this one can do button holes, has an adjustable pressure foot and a whole extra series of stitches.

The ladies at the drafting pattern lessons will be so proud, they’ve insisted for two years now I get myself a machine with at least a zig zag stitch.

The saleswoman gave me an extended explanation until she was sure I could take it home and play around with it without frustration. She suggested I make a drawstring bag for the foot peddle. An easy project that invites me to explore the machine. A wonderful suggestion!  🙂

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I got to learn threading the needle, filling a bobbin, various stitch widths and foots. It’s a free arm machine.

There are special stitches on there, I used a decorative one to sew down the edges: Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

The Janome 423S has a whole set of extra stitches and one of them is a straight line that is sewn threefold. Nice and sturdy! I tried it out to reinforce the draw string opening:
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I don’t know yet what to do with the loose threads. Just cut them? I am having sewing lessons now and will ask tomorrow. The machine has all kinds of nifty things. How about a thread-through-the-needle-putter?

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I installed us in the upstairs room. I feel sewing!
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel