OWOP guest post: Claire

Hi guys! Today I’ve got another corking guest post: Claire from I Want to be a Turtle. I’m lucky enough to know Claire in person as well as in the blogosphere – she’s really been an inspiration for all my sewing plans and is always happy to bounce ideas around with me! Thanks Claire! 

All hail the tried ‘n’ true patterns!

I watched the previous OWOP’s take place without participating because I didn’t have a tried ‘n’ true pattern. At that point, it was rare for me to make a pattern more than once. Then you, Granville, entered my life. You came through the front door – sleek in your envelope. You came full of promise to end my battle with ready to wear fitting issues, the offer to teach me some new techniques and skills and, perhaps most importantly, fill a major gap in my wardrobe. 
The early signs were positive. A few alterations were need to get a better fit, some tutorials were watched and read for those tricky sleeve plackets and getting a neat finish on the collar. The collars are now a breeze but achieving nice sleeve plackets still eludes me. Despite this, we’ve become very good friends. You fit almost perfectly. Our first make together was fabulous and remains a much loved piece. So much so, it has been joined by others. 

some of Claire’s brilliant Granville shirts!

Each make is an improvement on the other. Small tweaks, added details, a change of fabric, the odd hack and you look so very different from the original. I’ve become a fan of sleeveless shirts and top stitching. I’m constantly buying buttons in multiple colours for when we get together again. The effect you’ve had on my wardrobe has been profound. You are stylish but practical, fun but formal when needed. You have the ability to constantly adapt and provide me with countless options for future versions. You’ve stopped the embarrassment of a gaping front button placket for which I am eternally grateful. All of this keeps me coming back.

Some of my other favourite repeat patterns: Sewaholic’s Gabriola; Sew Over It’s Vintage Shirt Dress and Betty Dress; Tilly and the Buttons Fifi pyjamas.

Our relationship spurred me on to see if this might be possible with other patterns. Suddenly making multiple versions became fun, time efficient, a way to get good fitting wardrobe staples as well a way to end wardrobe orphans. Not a single repeat has gathered dust since completion. Your inspiration has spread to other separates as well as pretty dresses. I now have options for all occasions without having to think too hard about the outfit and this is in a large part down to you. Such is the power of a practical pattern repeated until perfect, fun to stitch and offers some much versatility. All hail the tried ‘n’ true!


OWOP… Ideas and prizes!!!

Hi guys!

I’ve just come back from the most epic time at the sewing weekender, organised by the brilliant ladies at the Foldline. It was great to have a whole weekend to talk about sewing, fabric and garment construction!

Today I’ve got some more ideas about what you could use for your OWOP challenge, as well as a rundown of the awesome prizes that will be up for grabs EVERY DAY during OWOP.

Jane had some great suggestions for how to plan for OWOP here in her guest post here: do you still need convincing? Read on for some more ideas!

1) Using a dress pattern for separates:

In some patterns this is easy! You could just shorten a shift dress like the Colette Laurel or Sew Over It Ultimate Shift dress to be a cute woven t-shirt. Here’s my hacked Laurel top:


Last autumn, I used Butterick 6582 to make a top and pencil skirt set by cutting the pattern at the waist, adding length and then sewing them up separately. (Below is a picture of the toile for this – I failed to get good photos of the final outfit, and after my last move, I put it somewhere “very safe”. AKA I have no idea where it is to take more photos!)

Ok thought – how about a top+ pencil skirt (separated where you can see the fold)

A post shared by Hannah E (@cinderellissews) on

(If anyone wants a tutorial for this, just let me know in the comments!)

2) Use the the different views for work and play

I use my navy stripe laurel for work, but my stripe & floral one is definitely for play!

3) Hack those patterns!  Lengthen a summery pattern into a maxi dress, use a knit to make yourself some really chic secret pjs or if you want to keep things simple, just use that favourite fabric in your stash to whip up another version of that top that is in constant use!

Now, the prizes!! There are some really great prizes available to OWOP participants! One prize will be randomly drawn per day from everyone who has signed up on the original post. Thank you to all the brilliant suppliers who have so generously offered up a prize.

Day 1: Colette Patterns pattern of winner’s choice (open worldwide)

Day 2: Maud’s fabric finds 2x 1.5m jersey fabric (open worldwide)

Day 3: The Village Haberdashery £25 voucher (UK and Europe only)

Day 4: Sew Over It Pattern bundle, the Vintage dress collection PDF patterns (open worldwide)

Day 5: M is for Make 2m dressmaking fabric (excluding Liberty fabrics. UK and Europe only)

Day 6: Minerva crafts: £50 fabric bundle (open worldwide)

Day 7: White Tree Fabrics Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress kit, including pattern, fabric and notions. (UK only)

Don’t forget to sign up for a chance to win!

OWOP Guest post – Jane from Handmade Jane!

Hi everyone! As I mentioned in my last post, there are some exciting guest posts to come for OWOP… I’ve really admired Jane’s amazing makes since I first found her blog, and here she tells us a bit about how she makes such great garments: 

Hello! I’m Jane from Handmade Jane and I’m delighted to be a guest blogger for this series of OWOP posts.

Choosing patterns to fit into a handmade wardrobe

We all have special patterns that seem to work for us, but what is it about them that make us want to sew them again and again? The patterns I tend to repeat sew are the ones that fill gaps in my handmade wardrobe. They’re not necessarily the most exciting patterns, but they’re definitely the ones that work the hardest! As we all know, sewing time is precious, so there are three key factors I take into consideration when deciding whether to sew a pattern again: fit, style and how easy it is to sew up.


Trying to achieve a better fit was one of the reasons I first started sewing my own clothes. If you’re lucky enough to find a pattern that fits perfectly straight from the envelope, great! Hang onto it! Generally though, patterns take a bit of tweaking to fit the way you want. It’s quite an investment of time and effort, but definitely worth it to perfect the fit. And once you’ve managed to nail the fit, the whole process is a lot quicker the next time round!


My Sewaholic Granville blouses – a pain to fit to my proportions but I couldn’t be happier with the results!


This is the main factor that draws me to a pattern and one or two unusual design features are often all it takes to lure me in. This could be something as simple as a cute collar, a bow at the neck or even a strategically placed dart. Or sometimes the way a pattern is drafted just happens to be a style that flatters my particular shape.

I think learning to choose patterns that suit you and your shape and style is key. For example I love wide legged trousers and have made several pairs over the years, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that they generally look better on somebody a foot taller than me! However well fitting they are, they just make me look even shorter than I already am, so it’s slim legged trousers from now on.



Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers – the slim fitting style is a good match for my shape.

How easy is it to sew?

If sewing a pattern makes you feel like you’ve endured 10 rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson, you’re unlikely to want to put yourself through it again. It isn’t always about the number of pattern pieces or complicated sewing techniques either. Some intermediate patterns are a pleasure to sew because they’re well drafted and come with clear instructions. There are also beginner patterns that put me right off sewing them again if the drafting and instructions are poor.

For the last OWOP challenge in 2014, I chose a pattern that made me happy on all three points. It was vintage Simplicity 4238 and I’ve sewn it up five times and counting! At first glance it seems like a standard button up sleeveless shirt, but when you look more closely you’ll see it includes a whopping 12 darts which gives it the fitted vintage look I love. Yes, the darts are a pain to mark up, but they’re not difficult to sew and provide awesome shaping around the waist. It’s also sleeveless, which means it’s not just confined to summer as it can be worn with a cardigan.


I’ve made it twice in polka dots, once in gingham, once in a Liberty floral and once in a solid white. This allows for every conceivable pairing of bottom halves! Will I make it again? Probably! I think a couple more solid coloured versions would come in mighty useful!


I think the biggest challenge for this year’s One Week, One Pattern will be finding a pattern that works as well as this one! Thanks so much Hannah for inviting me to contribute, I can’t wait to participate in September!

Thanks Jane!! I’m excited to see your OWOP garments!

I’ll be posting more about OWOP, including details of the fab prizes, next week 🙂