Baggy trousers are surprisingly flattering and I’m a total convert. I don’t wear tight jeans…..ever! I actually hate them. Dont get me wrong, I like a pair of jeggings under a tunic but jeans yuk…. I find them way too uncomfortable. These beauties however, are my go to trews for lounging about it or when I want to feel like a Hoxton Hipster !  : ) They also look great with sandals or flatties. Wear with short or long tees.  You don’t have to tuck in your tee either, cover any lumps and bumps (we all have them!) with a tee or a tie belt (I love a tie belt).

Remember Elsie can be also made in a floppy viscose or polyester fabric for a ‘Palazzo Pants’ style which are perfect for holidays. Imagine lounging around the pool on a hot evening, sipping cocktails in your palazzos …… (well a girl can dream cant she!).

Elsie has front pleats on to the waistband and an elasticated back waistband (yippee!) so no zips just pull em on! There are also two rather lovely inset side pockets and an optional tie belt…..did I mention that already?

Heres a picture of Matilda wearing a longer version of Elsie made in a polyester print.

Tilly in elsie jpg

The pattern comes in two lengths – cropped or full length so if you can check the size chart for more details about the finished measurements and fabric quantities.

My cropped Elsie trousers (pattern cover picture) measured 22cm from the bottom of the hem to the ground, you may like to use this measurement as a guide as to how long your cropped trousers should be on you. Some of us have longer legs than others, so you can adapt the length to suit your body if needed.

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What are the fabrics suitable to make Elsie trousers in:  linen, linen mixes or 6 oz denim (make sure its really nice and soft and has some drape to it).  Then viscose, polyester drapey fabrics. Try to avoid anything too lightweight and nothing see through (no VPL s please!).

For Cutting instructions and Layplans see the paper pattern. You also need a half metre of 4cm elastic (soft variety) and 20cm of fusible light/med weight interfacing.

Here is an edited down version of the pattern instructions to give you an idea about whats involved.

Seam allowance is 1cm.



Sew the fronts together RST at the centre front edge.  Do the same with the back pieces at the centre back edges. Finish the seam allowances together.



Pin the pleats as shown on the template on the front only. pleat LHS

Two on the left hand side of the centre seam.pleat RHSTwo on the right hand side of the centre seam.3So it looks like this. Machine tack stitch the pleats to hold in position along the top edge so you can remove the pins and the pleats are held in position.


9Pin a pocket lining to the outer curved edge with the RST. (right sides together). Sew along curved edge. Fold over and press to the reverse side. Pin then top stitch close to the curved edge.

Repeat for the other side and other pocket lining piece.



Add the pocket piece to the outer curved edge of the pocket lining with the RST.


Finish the raw edges and pin then machine tack to the trouser top and side edges. Machine tack. Repeat for the other pocket.

17Sew the front to the back at the side edges with the RST. Finish the raw edges.18

Sew the trousers together at the inner leg edges again with the RST. Finish the raw edges.

Now to the……drum roll please!


First make your tabs for the belt, or omit this if you are not having a belt.


Fold over the tab long sides 1cm to the wrong side. Press. Fold again in half. Pin, topstitch close to each long side.

Press over 1cm at one short side. Place to one side. Repeat for the other three tab pieces.


If you have an over locker you could insert the waistband this quick way…for an alternative way see the following section -Method 2.

19Interface the front waistband only. Pin and sew RST at the short sides. Press the seam allowances open. 20Fold in half so the WST (wrong sides are together), match the raw edges.Screen Shot 2019-05-13 at 15.31.00Pin the elastic at the side seams and extend across at the Back section.22Machine tack close to the raw edges, making sure you don’t sew in any elastic. Finish the raw edge, also on the trousers front and back top edge.


25Pin the waistband piece to the trousers top edge, align front and back, match up the side seams. Insert the tab piece short end under the waistband before you stitch, align with the outer pleats and insert two tabs in the same way under the back waistband. Hand tack stitch. Sew all around pushing the elastic beyond the (dropped down) needle as you go, careful not to sew the elastic so push it away from the seam edge or pin it in position.

Press the waistband upwards, seam allowance downwards on the reverse side.


Pin the folded tab end at the top secure with a small stitched rectangle end encasing the raw tab edge.

WAISTBAND – Method 2 (alternative method) where you encase the raw edges in the waistband.

So just like the previous method you sew the waistband together at the short sides with the RST.19

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Sew the elastic to the side seams, extend over the the back section.28Fold over and press 1cm to the wrong side all around one long raw edge of the waistband.

29Pin the waistband unfolded edge to the trousers top edge., match up the side seams and align the back and front. Sew all around. Insert the tabs as in Method 1.30Fold the waistband up. Press at the seamline.

31Fold over to the reverse side of the waistband encasing all the raw edges, keep passing the fabric along the elastic so you are always working with a flat piece of waistband.

Pin all around then either ‘stitch in the ditch’ or hand sew all around with a small slip stitch to secure the waistband edge. Press.

TIE BELT (optional)1Join the tie pieces with the RST. Press the seam allowances open.2

Fold the tie in half lengthways align the raw edges. Pin. Sew along one long edge and down each slanted edge leaving a 4cm approx opening at the centre join section. Leave a long end for turning. Trim the seam allowances to 5mm.3

Tie the thread end on to a blunt ended chunky needle and pass in between the tie folds and out through the opening. Pull gently to turn inside out. Push out the pointed ends with a poking tool or tease out with a strong needle. Press so the fold is in line with the seam.


Top stitch all around which will close up the opening at the same time. Job done!IMG_1286

Insert through your little tabs and tie in a lovely bow. Esme would be proud. (this won’t make much sense if you don’t watch The Great British Sewing Bee!).

Lastly make a 2cm hem on the lower edge of your trousers.


Ta dah!





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SIZES 8-20

Suitable for beginners.

This is a loose fitting hip length kimono which looks great in all seasons, either for a special occasion or as a loose fitting cardigan. With a wide front band, two optional patch pockets, and french seams on the inside, its an easy, fun and quick to make.

I made this kimono in this beautiful Liberty pure silk satin, shown above,  other suitable fabrics include viscose fabric, cotton, linen or any fabric that has a fluid drape quality.

It can also be made in thicker fabrics for colder days as a kind of jacket, which gives a completely different look.

Suki was demonstrated on The Sewing Quarter TV channel on 23rd April 2019 so if you fancy watching me make it here is a You tube link. Just scroll up to 3:00 to watch the one hour show.


Suki Kimono is sized from 8-20 (scroll down to see the finished measurements chart)

You can adjust the size and length.


For a guide to how to size up the pattern, I have uploaded a link to a Youtube tutorial below to show you how to do this.  Please note that you may need extra fabric when sizing up and layout may have to be adjusted, so check first before buying your fabric that you have enough fabric to fit all your adjusted pieces.



You can make the kimono longer by using the larger sizes length lines and still be within 1.5m fabric. (Of course you can make as long as you like but you will need to buy extra fabric in this case.)  Make sure if you do lengthen to another size that you also cut the band pieces in the same size too, so for example, if you make a size 12 kimono but a size 20 in length, then cut out two size 20 band pieces….simple!

One other thing is that you can also lengthen a further 2cm by making a smaller hem on the lower edge, instead of 4cm as specified on the pattern. Important! remember to add on an extra 2cm to the band length to accommodate the extra length in the body in this case.

So the maximum length for 1.5m fabric, using the size 20 length line and a 2cm lower edge hem is 69cm approx. 

The pattern is available to buy on the website, click on the link below for details.


Scroll down for a photo step-by-step tutorial showing how to make up Suki Kimono.


Tips for sewing silk/satin/ viscose:
When sewing silk use a finer thread and insert a ballpoint needle in your machine.
Use sharp pins and pin in the seam allowance to avoid leaving holes in the fabric. 
Make sure scissors are also sharp and nick free. 
Try not to handle the material unnecessarily which can cause it to fray. 
Adjust your iron to a ‘silk’ setting and take care with steaming, it can cause water marks. 
Lay a sheet, old blanket or duvet underneath your fabric when cutting out to prevent it moving about.

How to sew a FRENCH SEAM *Sew seams using a french seam. This is a technique used to conceal seams which are visible by stitching twice, once with the wrong sides of the fabric facing, then again with the right sides of the fabric facing. Its an ideal technique for fabrics that are light and prone to fraying and garments where the inside seam  is exposed. To make a french seam, firstly pin, then sew a 5mm seam with the WRONG SIDES  together.  Next, fold your fabric pieces so the RIGHT SIDES are together and press and pin so that the seam is aligned to the fold. Stitch again, this time with a 1cm seam allowance, encasing the raw edges inside. Finally, press your french seam to one side.

FABRIC REQUIREMENTS: See the chart below for fabric requirements.

You will also need: thread, an iron, pins, a hand sewing needle, a poker (a chunky knitting needle is good or a chopstick).

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Pattern pieces for FRONT (1), BACK (2), SLEEVE (3), FRONT BAND (4), POCKET (5)

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Here we go!


Using the Layplans above as a guide, cut out the following pieces:

FRONT (1)– Cut two.

BACK (2) – Cut one on the fold.

FRONT BAND (4) –  Cut cut two pieces.

POCKET (5)– Cut two pieces.

SLEEVE (3)– Cut two pieces on the fold of the fabric.




Pin the front pieces to the back at the shoulder seams with the right sides together. Sew. Finish the raw edges with a zig zag or overlock to prevent fraying. Press the seam allowances flat towards the back piece. Topstitch on the right side. 7Now pin your sleeve piece to the body at the armhole edge, sew.

Press the seam allowance towards the sleeve. Top stitch. Repeat for the other sleeve.


Pin the front to back at the side edges with the WRONG sides together. Sew a 5mm seam.

Turn inside out so the RIGHT sides are together, press with the seam aligned with the fold.  Pin. Sew another 1cm seam encasing all the raw edges. Press.




On the lower edge all around, fold over and press to the wrong side 1cm then again 3cm. Pin. Sew

Make the same hem on the sleeve raw edge.




Join the front band pieces at one short side to make one long strip with a 1cm seam allowance. Press the seam allowances open. Topstitch either side of the seamline.


Fold over and press 1cm all along one long side of band.


Starting at the centre of the back neck and with the right sides facing together, pin the unfolded long side of the band to the back neck and front at each side, pin all around to the front sides either side, aligning the raw edges as you go and make sure to leave 1cm of band fabric extending beyond the body front lower edge on each side. 


Stitch a 1cm seam allowance all around from front left side to front right.

Press the band away from the body with the seam allowance pressed towards the band on the reverse side. Top stitch on the band right side.

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At the far ends of the front band at each side, fold the strip ends in half widthways with the right sides together and the raw edges matching, opening out the 1cm fold a little at each end. Pin, then stitch across in line with the body front lower edge up to the fold line.

Trim the seam allowance to 5mm, cut across the corners of the seam allowance then turn inside out to right side, pushing out the corners gently with a poker.201.jpg


Press the band over to the wrong side all around so that all raw edges are encased inside. Pin, then hand stitch the band at the folded edge all around with small slip stitches. Its a good idea to line up the fold of the band to the line of stitching previously made. Make sure your stitching is as neat as possible. If  you would like to have front ties** on your kimono scroll to the bottom of this page for instructions to make and insert before sewing the band.


Finally press your kimono.


POCKETS (optional)

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Finish the raw edges of two longer sides and one short side of the pocket pieces.

On the unfinished side, fold over to the wrong side 1cm, press then again 2cm. Press. Stitch.

Fold over and press 1cm on the 3 un-hemmed sides to the wrong side.

Place in position on to the kimono. Pin. Top stitch all around, reinforcing the top corners.

**FRONT TIES (optional)

Cut two pieces 60cm x 4cm.

Fold over 1cm to the wrong side each long side and press. Fold the piece over again in half so you have a piece 60cm x 1cm. Tuck under one raw end. Tip: secure the folded short end with a small piece of quilting tape or wondaweb. Stitch close to the folded edge. Press.

Insert your ties raw edge under the band approx 1cm s cure with a few hand stitches before hand stitching your front band.



This easy quilted clutch purse makes a lovely addition to a kimono for a special event. With its optional loop handle, useful for carrying lipstick, powder compact, money and keys.

Finished size: 23cm x 16cm approx



Here are some pattern weights that I made myself and I find really useful when using a more sturdy paper pattern. I use them instead of pins which not only saves time but also keeps the pattern flat as you cut.


I make them out of scraps of fabric but actually this fabric was printed with squares in exactly the right size, but you could use anything you like. Its fun to use all one type of fabric, like Liberty fabric if you are a fan or just mix up your favourites from your stash.

i like to put something like corduroy on the bottom because I think it makes them a bit sturdier underneath but its not essential.

The weights measure approx 5cm x 5cm but you could make bigger ones if you prefer.

I also put a bit of good old poly stuffing in mine so I can stick my pins in them as I work which is pretty good.w4

What you need:

Square metal washers 5cm x 5cm which you can get at any good hardware store or online here . Screwfix also do packs of 10 for a fiver which are slightly bigger.

Cut out two pieces of fabric 6cm x 6cm for each weight. (or add 1cm to the widths each side if you are making ones in a different size).

Polyester stuffing or scraps of wadding are good.



This is what the metal washers look like.W3

Sew your pieces with the right sides together with a 5mm seam allowance. Clip the corners and turn inside out. Poke the corners out or tease out with a needle.


Insert your metal washer. Add some wadding under the top section only.


Turn under the raw edges of the opening and hand stitch. i sometimes do a fancy bit of blanket stitch here with some embroidery thread to make a feature of it.


There you have it. Also good for needles , don’t want them to feel left out!


Ta dah!

I also like to make a simple little zip bag to put them all in. But thats another post for another day.



This is one of my favourite dresses….Cecily! About and about in Brighton near where I live. 

IMG_1503Notice that I lengthened the sleeve by 4cm on the dress on the right hand side.




When I wear Cecily dress, I feel amazing, like I’m making a real statement about who I am, so I tend to make it in bold prints but it also looks great in more subtle fabrics such as this Kaufman railroad denim (shown above).

So this is a time to show yourself off….. you are amazing….. as we all are!

You can make this frock with or without the tie belt, but I prefer it with one (I just love a tie belt). This pattern has cap sleeves but you could lengthen them easily. For future editions I am going to add on another slightly longer length sleeve of approx + 4cm, so if you don’t have this edition, its very easy just to extend the lower line of the sleeve by 4cm.

Cecily is designed to be loose fitting on the waist so its more comfortable to wear, it has a side concealed zip too, but I can pop mine on without undoing the zip, so if you feel that inserting a concealed zip is beyond your skill level, try making it without. Of course, having a side zipper does make it easier to get on and off, and inserting a concealed zip is for some people easier than a standard zip. I have popped a concealed zip tutorial link below, so have a peek to see what you think or why not have a go, you will never look back if you conquer this technique.


Its a good idea to check your measurements against that on the pattern. If you are like me, a bit top heavy, go for the larger size that fits your bust measurements, you can always adjust to fit afterwards. The pattern is suited to a bust cup size B. If you need further bust adjustments see this useful video tutorial:


You may also need to lengthen the shoulder to waist length so measure your body from these points and adjust accordingly. Its a good idea (especially if you are using expensive fabric) to make up the bodice section in cheap fabric or calico first to see how it fits and to determine whether the pattern needs adjusting. It doesn’t take long to do and like that you can feel more confident, secure in the knowledge that the fit will be right. I want you to make lots of Cecilys (like I have), so tweaking it at the outset will give better results in the long run.Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 21.08.54

You will also need a 30cm concealed zip and 20cm of lightweight fusible interfacing

Seam allowance is 1cm.

Finish all raw edges with an overlocker or zigzag stitch.

Here is an over view of the pattern instructions included in the pack with a few extra tips, it will give you a taster of how to make this charming frock:

Start by inserting the darts.



Sew the upper back pieces together.1b

Join to the upper front at the shoulders. Press seam allowances towards the back. 2a


Neck facings

Block press your facing pieces on to fusible interfacing3

Join at the sides. Press. Finish the outer edge.

Pin to the neck edge of the upper front and back.5

4Hand tack.6

Nick the curved seam allowance. Tip: reduce the bulk of the side cross seam allowances.7

Press over to the wrong side. Pin.8

Hand tack.9

Stitch evenly all around. careful as this stitch line will be seen on the right side so it’d better be good!10


Mark out your pleat position with pins on the front and back skirt section at the top edge.11

Fold the box pleats.12

Hers a diagram to help you.

diag 1 copy

Machine tack stitch1314

Sew to the upper front bodice with the right sides together.

diag 3b

Press. Tip: why not top stitch on the right side close to the seam on the bodice side.15


Pin to the left side of the skirt (see template for the position). NB if you are left- handed you may prefer to insert the pocket on the opposite side.16a

Press away from the skirt. Top stitch.16b

Insert the side concealed zipper here. Tutorial about how to insert a concealed zip with a standard zip foot Sew the seam together below and above the zipper.


Join the front to back at the side edges from underarm to lower hem all around pocket.18


Sew the sleeves together at the sides. Press. 19

Hem the lower edge.20

Pin to the armhole, align the back section of the sleeve to the back body. Hand tack.21

Sew, make sure you have no puckers!22


Fold over and press 1cm to the wrong side of each long side.23

Stitch along each long side close to the edge. Press over 1cm each short side.24

Pin to the body 2cm in from each side. Stitch down with a small rectangle at each far end.25


Join the tie pieces at the short sides with the right sides together. Press seam allowances open.26

Fold the tie piece in half with the right sides together. Stitch down the long side and at a 45 degree angle at each far end to make a point, leave an opening of 4cm approx at the centre point. Trim the seam allowance to 5mm and Nick the corner point. Turn inside out through the opening.


Press. Topstitch all around which should close up the opening at the same time.28

Tie a big Esme tie at the front on your lovely dress.29

There you are!

fiona in cecily worthing beach

Now time to pose!



I absolutely adore wearing this tunic, its stylish, light and airy, roomy due to its pleat at the front neckline and has two gigantic pockets at the side. Its a perfect holiday tunic or perfect for just about any occasion. Oh and its also very easy to make!

I made Hilda in hand block printed Indian Indigo cotton, which I think works so well. Hilda suits fabrics such as linen, viscose challis, lightweight cotton or any medium to lightweight fabric that drapes nicely. Hilda Tunic is sized 8-18 but some people have kindly asked for information about sizing up the pattern, so here is a link to a You tube video which I think is really clear and helpful on this subject.

Prior to making please check the finished garment measurements. If you make a lower hem of 2cm you can lengthen your tunic to a maximum of 97cm with 2m of fabric if required.


You can purchase HILDA dress pattern here:

BUY PATTERNScreen Shot 2018-07-16 at 16.47.18


Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 21.03.07

You will also require 20cm of

light/med weight fusible interfacing

Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 17.15.31


Firstly iron all your fabric pieces.

Tip: Its a good idea to trace off the pattern pieces on to dressmaking pattern paper, newsprint or wide baking paper, keeping it intact so you can pattern share. The pattern templates are printed on sturdy paper so I would advise ironing the pattern pieces after cutting them out with a cool iron (no steam!).

Cut out the following pieces using the above Layplans above as a guide:

FRONT (1): Cut one piece with pattern lined up to the fold of the fabric.

BACK (2): Cut two (align pattern to the vertical grain of the fabric)

FRONT FACING (3) & BACK FACING (4): Cut one piece with pattern lined up to the fold of the fabric. Interface both pieces with fusible interfacing to the reverse side.

SLEEVE (5): Cut two on fold of fabric.

POCKET (6): Cut four (two pairs)


Seam allowance is 1cm which is included on the pattern.

Finish all raw edges with an overlocker or zig zag stitch. 

Press in between stages of sewing to obtain a better finish.

RST= Right sides together. WST= Wrong sides together. 

  1. MAKING THE FRONT PLEATIMG_9639Make an inverted box pleat at the centre front neckline as shown on the template. Stay stitch all around 5mm from the raw edge to secure the pleats. Here is a diagram to help you….

diag 1

2. POCKETSIMG_9643Next pin your pockets at each side of front and back with the RST in position as shown on the template.IMG_9645Sew down each straight side of the pockets (NB seam allowance is 1cm).

I like to finish the raw side edges at this point, but you could do this after the side seams are sewn together if you prefer.

Press the pocket away from the tunic. Top stitch the seam line 3mm approx on the pocket side.IMG_9646IMG_96473. SEWING THE FRONT AND BACK TOGETHER

Now, pin, then sew, the front to the back at the shoulder edges with the RST. Finish the raw edges and press them towards the back.IMG_9650IMG_9648below shows the reverse side view …IMG_9649

4. MAKING THE NECK FACINGIMG_9652 With both facing pieces interfaced on the reverse side, pin then sew them together at the short sides with the RST. Press the seam allowances open.IMG_9654Finish the raw outer edge only all around. If you don’t have an overlocker you could fold under and press the outer edge 5mm approx and sew all around, it makes it look much neater. Or for a quicker job just overlock it.

Here is a picture of a neck facing in another colour with an edge turned under 5mm approx. to show you what it should look like.

IMG_1034IMG_9656Pin the neck facing to the neck raw edge with the RST, aligning the cross seams at each shoulder. Sew all around. IMG_9660Nick the seam allowance at the curved edges with small V’s and reduce the bulky side seam allowances to 5mm. I also trim the cross seam allowances at the side seams to 5mm to make it less lumpy.IMG_9664

Turn the neck facing to the reverse side and press so that the fold is aligned with the seam line all around.

Now, its not written on the pattern, but sometimes I like to Understitch the neck facing. So, you sew a line of stitching all around the neck facing, a few millimetres from the seam on the facing side, this helps to hold the facing in place, its not essential, I have left this out on many occasion, but with some fabrics it helps to keep the facing in place.

IMG_9661Secure each side of the neck facing at the shoulder seam allowance with a few hand stitches to secure in position. Now heres a tip: if you have some wondaweb why not sandwich a few pieces here and there underneath all around and press to secure the facing a little more in position, especially at the centre front and back.

5. SEWING THE SLEEVESIMG_9665Pin the sleeve curved edge to the body at sleeve edge with the RST aligning the centre point to the shoulder seam. Sew. Finish the raw edge. Repeat for the other sleeve.IMG_9666Press the seam allowance towards the sleeve.

Top stitch on the right side, 3mm from the seam line on the sleeve side.


IMG_9669With RST, pin the front to back at the sides, under arms and all around pockets. Sew. Finish the raw edges. Press.IMG_9673 Just a couple of snips under the arm at the seam allowance will prevent it bunching up.IMG_9670

Fold over 1cm then make a nice big 3 or 4cm hem at the sleeve edge.

Sew approx. 3mm in from the inner fold.IMG_9671

Fold over 1cm then make a 2cm hem at the lower edge and stitch as before or hem to the desired length. If you would like to keep the tunic as long as possible you could hem it using bias seam binding or make just a small 1cm hem.

Finally give your tunic a good press.

Ta daH!!!!   There you have it! Heres one I made earlier in lovely black linen for that holier than tho look!

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 21.44.42




Leave the sleeves off for a cap sleeved version is pretty nice. Ideal for popping on under a cardi and as you see in the pic Ive made a matching mini bag too. This is made in a crisp African Dutch Wax cotton fabric which Im a big fan of!



So heres a lovely quick accessory to make out of the scraps you would probably just chuck away. Suitable for floppy viscose fabrics which make great scarves, probably not for more medium weight fabrics but hey give it a go.


So first cut two equal strips of fabric the longest and widest length possible from whats left.IMG_0994

Join them together at the short sides. Press.


Fold in half width ways aligning long raw edges. Pin. Fold over at a right angle triangle at each far end and press.


With a 1cm seam allowance, sew along one long edge and across the triangle end, using the foldline as a guide. Trim the excess fabric. Remember to leave an opening at the centre for turning inside out.




Turn inside out through the opening. Push out the corners. Press so the seam is in line with the fold.


Finally stitch up the opening by hand with a small slip stitch.

Ta dah! There you have it!

Simple but oh so lovely.




All images and text are the copyright of Fiona Hesford. Please do not copy without prior permission. Contact info@sewgirl.co.uk for details.




Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 20.52.06

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 00.12.17When I was asked to make a dress for the Baftas award ceremony, I must say my initial reaction was one of trepidation. But when I found out it was for my friend Jane’s niece, Daisy May Cooper, one half of the uber talented ‘This Country’ BBC 3 comedy duo, well I just couldn’t resist.


For anyone familiar with the award winning mockumentary, Daisy aka Kerry Mucklowe and her cousin Kurtan (real life brother and writing partner Charlie) are a hapless pair of yoofs getting up to all sorts of trouble in a quiet Cotswold village. The series is up for several awards, namely Best Scripted Comedy and Daisy is also nominated for the Best Comedy Actress. Not only that, together they have been chosen to present the ‘Best Soap’ award, one of the highlights of the evening, so to say that I was feeling the pressure would be an understatement, but equally over the moon to be involved in this amazing opportunity.

Daisy’s original dress

Daisy had recently found a gown which had inspired her to commission a dress made in the style of her character’s favourite attire- a Swindon Town football club shirt….a genius idea! The trapeze shaped dress was made in a black silky fabric, edged with silver sequinned fabric all around the hem, neckline and cuffs.  Although short in length at the front, the hemline swept gracefully almost to the floor at the back and the neckline featured an interesting double band of sequin trim. Its potential was obvious to see. If  copied in red fabric with white trim, it would accentuate the spirit of a football shirt, albeit a glamorous one.Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 10.42.49 copy

Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 10.47.15

Firstly, we had to find a suitable fabric. A polyester crepe fabric from Minerva Craft seemed to fit the bill, I had used it a while back for a Sew magazine project and I thought would be ideal, being lightweight, possessing wonderful drape and the perfect shade of ‘Swindon Town FC’ red colour that we were looking for. After ordering some swatches, 3.5m of bright red fabric was winging its way to me along with five metres of white sequin elasticated trim. Gulp! there was no going back now!

WP_20180423_16_56_47_ProDrafting a pattern from an existing dress is something I do quite often and as it fitted Daisy well, there weren’t any adjustments to make, it seemed quite straight forward. To make things easier, I removed the sleeve of the dress to make a pattern from it. After cutting out, and stitching up, the dress was ready for its first fitting.

WP_20180424_16_42_04_ProAt this stage, I’d just pinned on the sequin trim as we weren’t too sure how much to use. I was worried that edging the entire hem risked the dress resembling a Father Xmas outfit!IMG_9219Lettering was traced off onto bonding web and felt which was pinned temporarily to the front and back. My son Alfie, an avid football fan and graphic designer had found the perfect football typeface to use for the word ‘Swindon’ on the front and ‘Mucklowe’ on the back. We had also retrieved a badge and the number 1 from a bought football shirt to give it an authentic feel. It was all coming together nicely.IMG_9211The biggest hiccup was that the dress fell too short. At the fitting it was decided to omit the sequin trim around the hemline, thus not having any weight to anchor it down, so after a bit of wangling, another 15cm or was added on, ensuring a nice border all around the edge that now skimmed just above the knee. Daisy is quite tall at 5ft 9 and she would be wearing high heels so the extra length was definitely called for. Fortunately the extra hem panel added a detail enhancing the style of the dress.

Our measuring tool!


IMG_9223With all the letters securely fixed, it was then a question of laboriously hand stitching on the sequin trim which took several sessions over a couple of days. I had visions of them falling off in mid speech Theresa May style, so I made sure they were stitched on securely.

IMG_9213Making sure the dress was kept clean was paramount, so handling it was kept to a minimum. Finally came the pressing bit which was a very stressful affair. Laying a sheet underneath the ironing board helped, I kept the iron on a low setting, worried that I would burn a hole in the fabric last minute and ruin everything. A cool iron with a protective cloth and lots of steam later the dress was finally finished.

What a relief!

IG square


IMG_9288As an afterthought I had an idea to make a matching quilted purse with a loop handle so Daisy could sign autographs and carry her belongings. So after quilting the fabric with wadding and stiffening it with fusible interfacing to give it stability, I made a simple clutch bag with a magnetic clasp, slipping in the loop last minute. I was dead pleased with the result.



Charlie (aka Kurtan) came to pick up the dress with his mum as Daisy was on holiday which was a surreal experience having a celeb at your home but he was totally adorable and their Mum was charming too. they loved the dress and I was delighted how it had come together.

Daisy was over the moon with the finished article.  And they bought home two awards at the Baftas! It all went crazy on social media but I wasn’t surprised. What a result!

Well done Daisy and Charlie!

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Click a link to listen to these interviews with Fiona about THE Dress!

Radio Wiltshire Fiona interviewed by Ben Prater       scroll to 1:58

BBC radio live drive Fiona interview with Rachel Bland      scroll to 2:25



I love this dress. I mean I REALLY love it!

I love its swingy shape, I love its retro trim, useful pockets, Ive made myself so many of these Ive lost count.

I named it Orla because Im a big fan of Orla Kiely and also 1950’s vintage aprons, you know the ones that are edged with glorious bias binding in contrast colours. Well this pattern is my homage to them both.

Its easy to make, trapeze shape, darts, its got great side pockets and an optional front placket with 3 buttons, bias trim edged neckline and short sleeves.

Hope Ive sold it to you! Theres other Orla variations at the bottom of this page to tempt you.

Available in sizes S/M/L/XL


Heres a guide to sizes/ fabric requirements etc.

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Remember the seam allowance is 1cm.

This is how to make it….

Cut out your size dress pieces. You should have front, back, sleeve, front placket (an optional front and back facing if required). Alternatively you can use bias binding as shown in these pictures to achieve that retro look.

This is what you do:

Sew back pieces together. Leave the top section open as shown on the pattern or insert a zipper into the seam. If you want a tutorial on how to insert a zip see my A-line skirt post.


Sew the darts. Shown here on a different fabric. 1

On the placket piece, edge with bias binding with the RS of the binding facing the RS of the placket piece. Stitch. Fold the binding over to the reverse side. Press.


Place on to the dress front, make sure its dead centre. Then stitch in the ditch around the outside of the bias trim. You can also stitch around the outside edge but I like to leave it like a little flap.

Stay stitch around the neckline (front and back) at this point close to the edge (5mm approx).


Now sew the front to the back at shoulder seams. RS facing. Finish the raw edges. Press shoulder seam towards the back.

Now you can see that I have left the back seam open but you might have put in a zip which is also good.


Attach the top neckline edge with seam binding. Pin to the RS then sew. Fold over to the WS. Press. Pin. Stitch by hand (best in my opinion) or machine stitch to secure.


Try to match the width of the neckline binding with the front placket.


Don’t forget the pockets! Stitch at each side RST with pocket facing inwards. One for each side. Be careful to make sure they are aligned. Then fold outwards and top stitch close to the seam line on the pocket side.

IMG_4779Now you can pin and sew your front to back. All along from under arm to bottom hem on both sides. Don’t forget to finish the raw edges!

IMG_4792Now to the sleeve bit. Fold over the sleeve pieces RS facing. Pin then sew at the side edge.

Finish the raw edges. Tack stitch at the sleeve head.


Pin the sleeve to the armhole. Make sure you have your back section to the back of the dress. If in doubt check the pattern.

IMG_4794Tack stitch all around.


Sew on the machine then finish the raw edges.


All you have to do now is attach your binding to the sleeve edge and hem the lower edge.

Oh and sew on your three buttons.


If the back seam is open at the top, I insert a hook and eye or a chain stitch loop and tiny button.

One last thing. As the hem edge is very flared due to the trapeze shape its best to hem with seam binding its also easier to sew….just saying! remember to ease the binding into a curve before attaching.

You can also make some variations. Here for example I edged the neckline with same fabric bias binding that I made myself and sat it behind the neckline edge. This is fab Echino linen mix fabric. I love this print.

ORLA with sleeves jpg

I also made a longer version in this stretch poplin.

Mid calf Orla

Then why not make a sleeveless version like this one which I made from a fabulous vintage curtain. Ain’t it fab!

I also edged the hem too with binding.

ORLA sleeveless

This one I added a neck facing which is included on the pattern. I like this print, its so Scandi. I often wear this one with jeggings and pumps.


Anyway thats all for now.

Why not make yourself an Orla for Spring/Summer or to take on holiday ?