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My Butterick B6380 ‘patterns by Gertie’ Tea Dress pattern review and photo shoot with Love Sewing Magazine.



Ok, today’s blog post is a little different. I’m going to give you my pattern review of Butterick B6380, which is the free pattern in this month’s Love Sewing magazine. This time however, I am also sharing with you my pics from the photo shoot that I had with Love Sewing, as I was thrilled to be asked to write a review on the pattern as a feature in the magazine. Somebody pinch me.

So although I have made many Butterick patterns before, this is the first time that I have made a ‘patterns by Gertie’ design and I was super excited to try it. I love the vintage style of the dress and have admired many of Gertie’s makes that I have seen made up by other sewists.

B6380_aThe great thing about the pattern that you receive in Love Sewing magazine is that it covers the whole size range (6-22) in one pattern. You can see that it is a vintage inspired tea dress with a close fitted bodice, and a shaped panel at the waistline with gathers above front and back. It has a sweetheart neckline which is cleverly formed by two small tabs, and has more delicate gathers at the shoulders. It fastens with a zip down the centre back seam.


I had so much fun selecting the fabric for this dress. I wanted a floral fabric ( you know me – no surprises there)! but didn’t want a full-on vintage design, so chose this wonderful crepe from Fabric Godmother.  It has grey flowers on a sage green background and as soon as I saw it I fell in love. I’m hoping it gives the dress design a modern twist, I think it works really well. The fabric has a beautiful drape and was very well behaved and easy to sew with!

After making a toile, I realised that I wanted to make some adjustments. In terms of sizing, I found that I needed to make the bodice in a size 12 and grade out to a size 14 at the waist. This was very simple to do.

I also wanted to take out some of the volume in the puff sleeves – they had a little too much height for me so I gently shaped the sleeve head to make a softer curve. Again this was nice and simple and now the sleeve head shape and gathers are just how I like them!

I also decided to pop in an invisible zip. The pattern calls for a lapped regular zip, but my preference is for an invisible fastening and this was no problem to swap over to.


Finally I felt that the neckline was a little too low for me. So simply raised it by extending the seam at the centre front by 3cm. I took the opportunity to use this extra seam length to add three little self covered buttons as a decorative nod to the vintage style of the dress.



The dress is fully lined by the way, and this involves basically sewing another dress using lining fabric. If this is something that you haven’t done before – don’t be put off, as the Butterick instructions are extremely simple to follow. It’s not a quick dress to make, but your time and patience will be rewarded. The style of this dress is so feminine and the fact that it is fully lined makes it feel super special to wear.


I’m going to take this opportunity now to share with you my day at the Love Sewing photo shoot. Quite simply I was spoilt rotten, pampered and fussed over from start to finish!

I took the train up to the studios in Stockport and was warmly welcomed by Amy,   the editor of Love Sewing magazine. I had met Amy briefly a couple of times before, and knew that I would enjoy spending the day chatting with her and getting to know her better. She is perfectly adorable, and could not have made me feel more relaxed.

This is the first time I have ever had my make-up applied by a professional make-up artist and it was fabulous! Quite frankly I could have taken Nina home with me. To top it all she styled my hair, and basically pampered me throughout. What a sweetie.

Accessories and shoes were all lined up to choose from, talk about ‘kid in a sweet shop’!



The stunning photographs were taken by Renata. Her studio set is wonderful, and I could have squealed when I saw the famous Love Sewing white panelled back drop.

Renata quickly relaxed me and took me through lots of suggestions to get a great variety of shots. I must admit I had felt quite anxious about this, as having my photo taken is the thing that I enjoy the very least about this whole sewing malarkey. However, it was so much fun and the whole team worked together to produce these fantastic photos and a day that I will treasure.

Although I could witter on about this experience all day, I will end with my personal highlight. The page 3 shot with Amy. As a regular reader of Love Sewing, I enjoy the personal feel that Amy gives the magazine and always enjoy seeing the picture of the reader reviewer with Amy on page 3. Total fan-girl moment. I could cry.


I cannot thank everybody mentioned here for making this whole experience so special. It was unforgettable.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x


Issue 51






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My #sewtogetherforsummer #vintagepledge Shirtdress.


A couple of months ago there was a flurry of excitement as 3 beauties that I follow on Instagram announced that they were launching a Summer shirtdress sewing challenge.

Sarah from @sewsarahsmith, Suzy from @sewing_in_spain and Monika from @rocco.sienna had decided to come together to share their love of shirtdresses and host a friendly challenge to sew a shirtdress in time for Summer.

I loved that it aimed to encourage all to have a go. The whole point of this sewing challenge is for everybody to have some fun. Prizes are not to be awarded to the ‘best dress’, but given across the board to recognise the enjoyment of participating and sharing with others in the sewing community. For those not aware, the sewing community is the BEST there is and this is a whopping example of why – friendly, kind and helpful interaction between sewists of all abilities, ages and sizes all having a bit of fun together! I’m in!

More shirtdress inspiration can be found at #sewtogetherforsummer over on Instagram.

It also gave me the opportunity to make my first #vintagepledge make which is hosted by the lovely Marie from A Stitching Odyssey. I have written a separate blog post on this here  if you would like more information on this fun challenge too! Again this is another amazing way to bring wonderful and creative sewists together and I believe there may be the opportunity to win prizes in this challenge too! Woohoo! Again – do check out the hashtag on Instagram for some breathtaking makes!


A shirtdress is something I had not considered before. I don’t believe that a collar suits me – hence why it is very rare that I ever make anything with one! Whilst there are plenty of sewing patterns out there with collarless options, I decided to choose a collared version just because it was a little ‘out of my comfort zone’.

Rather than buying a new pattern for this I had a hunt through my pattern stash and came across this wonderful vintage Style pattern from the 1970’s I think. (A charity shop bargain at 50p).



I knew that I would need a few adjustments. I wanted to keep it as close to the original design as possible, but it also needed to be something that I would want to wear, so some alterations were necessary.

I was delighted to find that all the pattern pieces were present, along with the instruction sheet. The pattern was already neatly cut out and had pin holes where the previous owner had used it. I can’t help wonder who it belonged to before and what her dress turned out like. So off I set, using an old duvet cover as my toile fabric. I am so pleased that I made a toile, because on this dress I made a TON of alterations!

The pattern pieces are incredibly detailed. Seam lines are shown on all seams, there are more than enough dots and notches and plenty of written instruction on the pattern pieces as well.

Such thorough pattern markings!

The instruction sheet is just one piece of paper which has the cutting layouts on one side and written instructions on the other. However it was more than adequate. I had no ‘scratching my head’ moments, and whilst it was much more time consuming to make up that most things I have made lately, I must admit that it was thoroughly enjoyable.


I used a light/medium weight cotton chambray from my stash purchased at Barry’s in Birmingham earlier on in the year. I had been saving this for something special and I am really please I used it for this project.

I cannot quite decide if I like the buttons undone or done up – but I must admit I don’t mind the collar despite my reservations as to whether it would suit me. It was easy to make and feels soft and comfortable – no interfacing required.



Although I shortened the length of the sleeves, they remain fairly gathered at the sleeve head, maybe my next version would be less gathered at the top here. I can live with this though. My absolute favourite part are the double pleats at either side of the centre front and back. The gathers were pretty on my toile but I just wanted pleats and am so happy I did. Love them.

I did remove some of the fullness of the skirt, it really was much too flared for my liking. I feel that it has the perfect amount of fullness now.


The original pattern calls for a 55cm zip down the centre back of the dress. When making my toile I found that it could be easily put on and taken off over the head without using the zip, so my finished version has no zip and I cut the bodice back on the fold removing the seam allowance that would have been there had I been using a zip.


In brief, otherwise we will be here all day, the alterations I made on view 3 were:

  • I cut the toile skirt to the length (using view 3), where the ruffle started thinking this would be a perfect length for me – in fact it was slightly too short and I ended up adding 4cm to the length in my final dress.
  • I omitted the back zip and cut the back bodice on the fold instead. It is perfectly easy to put on and take off over the head without the zip.
  • I cut the sleeve to a short sleeve length. I could not live with those poofy sleeves!
  • I took out the fullness of the skirt quite a bit, it was much too ‘flared’ for my liking.
  • I chose to make double pleats rather than gathers either side of the centre front and back and I just LOVE that – it’s my favourite part of the dress!!
  • I decided to add an extra button on the bodice band – just because I thought it looked more finished.

So all in all this has been a great experience. I have ended up with a dress that I will wear alot.

It has been quite a surprise that I love this shirtdress so much, given my collar reservations, but I am now browsing t’internet to gain inspiration for another! Who would’ve thought!


I have also massively enjoyed using a vintage pattern and taking part in my first #vintagepledge challenge. Last night at 2am I was still browsing through the vintage pattern selection on eBay – very inspiring! Although quite pricey sometimes – I would recommend charity shops and car boot sales for some great bargains on vintage patterns.

Thank you to Sarah, Suzy, Monika and Marie for organising these challenges, and allowing us to share our own makes and enjoy the inspiration that we gain from seeing others.

Thanks for reading, take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x






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My #VintagePledge 2017



A couple of months back now, the lovely Marie from A Stitching Odyssey wrote a blog post about the #vintagepledge 2017 challenge which she organises every year. She has also talked about it in one of her youTube videos.  The idea is to encourage sewists to use their vintage patterns more regularly, and post pics showing their makes. It’s a fun join-along and another great way to gain inspiration from so many talented and creative sewists.

I don’t have many vintage patterns in my pattern stash. Probably about half a dozen. However this month I am taking part in the #sewtogetherforsummer shirtdress challenge (I love me a good hashtag challenge)! and whilst rummaging through my pattern stash to see if I had a shirtdress pattern I could use, came across this vintage pattern that I thought would be perfect.


I have to say that making this dress was a joy. Although it was one of my most challenging makes in terms of SO many alterations and adjustments to my toile, the satisfaction of the end result was really rewarding.

I will be writing a blog post on this particular vintage dress in the next few days, so look out for that if you are interested in seeing how it turned out.

I have been wanting to join in with the vintage pledge challenge this year, but up until now simply hadn’t taken the plunge. Now that I have made this dress, I’m hooked, and don’t know why it has taken me so long. Other patterns in my stash include some from the ’90’s which I believe are technically ‘vintage’ with them being over 20 years old.


My favourites though, are the dresses. I believe these are from the 60’s and 70’s, and I adore them. I may or may not have also just bought another 60’s dress pattern from eBay which I am waiting to be delivered.


So my #vintagepledge 2017 is to make at least 3 items from vintage patterns this year.

I will, of course, share all my makes with you here.

Thank you Marie for bringing all this together, I would strongly recommend that you hop over to her blog and video linked above and check it out, and I hope this may give you the nudge to have a go yourselves!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x