The Foldline Billie top – and a little of life lately…



Hello and happy December! Things have been busy and up and down here, but I’m so excited that Advent is upon us and holidays are comin’, holidays are comin’… I said in my last post that I wouldn’t bore you all with my tales of recent work, stress and occasionally snatched play, so let it suffice to say that at the end of last week, following a minor health scare (all sorted now), I rather snapped and have taken the past few days off for almost solid sewing. As well as a super-cute pattern test, I finally got around to making up this Billie top, from The Foldline Tribe Patterns’ first collection. Rachel and Kate very kindly sent me a copy of the pattern upon its release and I’d been wanting to tackle the top ever since, knowing I had finally found exactly the right use for the leftovers from my election-day skirt.

I’m going to say upfront that the Billie pattern isn’t my normal style, but one of the (less obvious) reasons I love being sent patterns to test or review is because sometimes they take one out of one’s style comfort zone. The square neckline, shoulders and armhole darts were all intriguing to me. The peplum however was love at first sight – I adore peplums, cute waist-enhancing, upper-bottom-concealers that they are.

The gorgeous fabric (I think it would be worth going back to Vietnam just to get more of the stuff) found its match in some scraps of blue silk leftover from a client’s skirt – I have such a hard time getting rid of scraps and now my hoarding tendencies have been validated!


The top is a cinch to sew; a little trickier in my case to fit. I ended up with excess fabric pooling around my upper chest; I partially resolved this by slightly deepening and lengthening the waist darts but their points are now closer to the side dart tips than ideal.  I also deepened and lengthened the back darts because there was some excess in the upper back too.

The pattern provides instructions for a fully exposed zipper; I felt this would look too heavy on my floral fabric so opted for a semi-exposed (no idea of the proper term!) insertion. Unfortunately, the zip is really too heavy for my fabric and, not helped by my short and overly curved back, waves up and down and wrinkles the back bodice. I’m even tempted to remove it and replace it with a concealed zip,  but let’s be frank here – I’m more likely to just wear the top and grow indulgently fond of it, imperfections and all. Plus, if I let my hair down it will cover most of the back!



I’ve realised now I have my hands on my hips in almost all of these photos – but it was so cold outside I barely knew what to do with myself! Winter has done with coming, and is well and truly here now. It feels so good to have finally made a few items for myself after an autumn of sewing for others. Back in September I made an Anna dress for my beautiful friend on her Italian honeymoon…

Then I made a capsule holiday wardrobe for my mother’s trip to Borneo and Singapore…

One copied skirt, one self-drafted pair of trousers, one pair of Sew Over It Carrie Trousers and four self-drafted box tops…

Then it was an evening skirt and top commission, made with divine Indian silk that I had to completely underline…

How I love zip guards!

All sewing is pleasurable, but sometimes you just need to carve out a bit of space for a few selfish sews. And so I hope you’re all managing to squeeze in a little selfishness this week… x

* This pattern was provided to me free of charge, but all opinions are my own. Believe me, I wouldn’t have stood out bare-armed in the freezing cold just to pretend to like it 😉 *




5 crafty ways to keep warm at work

Ooh, I was a bit down in the dumps in my last post, wasn’t I?! I’ve been a bit all over the place recently, but the change of seasons and approach of another birthday usually do that to me, not to mention the looming upheaval of leaving my job… I find it hard to stay grumpy for long though. Not once I have party dresses high on my sewing list!

This isn’t a post about party dresses however (I’ve got to actually make some first…). It’s rather triggered by one of the (several) points I was moaning about last time, which was the lack of daylight and dry weather available for photographing outfits. This can only mean that winter has well and truly arrived! We’ve had hailstones, and galeforce winds, and storms so big they get proper names (a new thing for the UK – previously they were just ‘very big storms’; now they’re Abigail, and Barney…). Admittedly, it’s not very cold here in London (yet), but the thing with me is – I’m always cold. It’s like Narnia in here.

It’s easy enough to stay warm inside your own home, but because not everyone feels the cold to the same extent I’ve pulled together a few ideas for ways to keep warm in the respectable, communal environment of the office that also happen to be ways to fulfil some of those crafting urges. Continue reading