The Anna Skirt


I was recently given the opportunity to choose a pattern from the DIBY Club to review. For me, it was an easy decision. As soon as I saw the Anna Skirt, I knew it was for me. There are many different options with this skirt, including 4 lengths, the option of high waisted or mid waisted, and options like pockets and belt loops.

(Note: The pattern was gifted, but all options are my own)

This was my first time using the DIBY Club website and their sewing patterns. I was really impressed with the amount of information offered both in their pattern and on their blog. There are tutorials for a variety of different sewing challenges, including how to fit pants correctly and how to install an invisible zipper. I even found that my go-to guide for serger tension (that I have used many times and even saved on my phone for quick reference) is originally from the DIBY Club blog. ( You can find it here ) Their tension troubleshooting comparison chart has saved me many headaches!



Putting the pdf pattern together was straightforward. The instruction package was thorough, however, I did find that sometimes it was easy to get lost in all of the content. Everything is clearly outlined in the table of contents, but when scrolling through the steps, I sometimes lost my place or my rhythm because I stopped to read about different seam finishes or I couldn’t quickly find the number of buttons I needed.

Before cutting into my fabric, I made a quick muslin (in the mini length) to check the fit. With the topstitching on the skirt, it would have been harder to take in the seams after the fact if it didn’t fit correctly. It ended up fitting perfectly except for having extra fabric at my lower back. Following the instructions provided in the pattern, I did a sway back adjustment and it worked out perfectly.

Skirt Details

Size: 14 graded down to a 10 at the hip

Waistband: High Waisted

Length: Midi (I used 6 buttons on the skirt, instead of the suggested 8)

Adjustments needed: 1″ sway back adjustment

Fabric: Famous Maker Deep Rose Mauve Baby Corduroy from LA Finch Fabrics

Tack Buttons: Minerva

Changes made:

  • Moved buttons further apart on the waistband (so that they weren’t touching)
  • Added a second row of stitching at the hem to resemble a double needle


What I love most about the finished skirt are the details. The top stitching on the seams waistband, as well as the tack buttons, give it a really professional look. I used a quilting presser foot on my machine to make sure that the topstitching was in a nice, straight line. 

Final Thoughts

The Anna Skirt is a well made pattern that can be used again and again with many different looks. The panels of the skirt give you good control of fit, and the explanations for alterations are clear and helpful. There are also so many hacking possibilities for this skirt!

Will I make this skirt again? Yes. I plan on making the mini length in a leopard poplin for fall (to wear with opaque black tights and boots), although I will add in-seam pockets. 

I would recommend the DIBY Club to beginners and more experienced sewists alike, as the instructions are clear, but I learned something new too (that was my first sway back adjustment on a skirt and my first time using tack buttons. I used their YouTube tutorial for help with that.)

I am really happy with my Anna Skirt. I will be able to wear it to work, and wear it more causally with a t-shirt and runners. I am looking forward to trying more DIYB Club patterns in the future.


The Tamzin Dress

By Hand London

The tricky part about pattern testing is that you’re not always guaranteed a dress that you’ll end up loving and wearing afterwards. Sometimes the fit isn’t exactly your style, other times you make it in a fabric you’re not in love with just in case it doesn’t work out, but then new projects pop up and you never get around to making it in your dream fabric. 

Other times you make the pattern up and it instantly becomes your favourite new dress that you want to wear every single day. That was the case with the new Tamzin Dress from By Hand London. 



The Tamzin is described as a folk dress with a square neckline, 3/4 sleeves and a gathered skirt (both with tuck details) and 2 different waist tie options.  The neckline has an external facing so that you can have fun with different embroidery or beading techniques. As with all of By Hand London’s new designs, the dress has the option of either the standard B cup or the new D cup size band (just note that the D cup band starts with a US size 12)

I really like the way that By Hand London patterns are organized. I find it easy to reference the information such as yardage and notions needed and see the layouts (even if I don’t use them). The tucks were surprisingly easy to do and gave a really nice (and original) look to the dress. And that neckline is beautiful! There are so many embellishing opportunities with this dress.

So, as I mentioned, I didn’t use the cutting layout for the dress. I rarely do, but in this case I definitely didn’t want to. I have to admit, I absolutely hate cutting out rayon. I love the way it looks and the way it feels on and you can always find the most amazing prints, but it is slippery and it hates to stay in one place when you’re cutting it. You lay it out flat, and then if you breathe too hard you find that you need to start all over again. I figured that if I tried to cut on the fold and the layers slipped, it would be really obvious since there is a very clear grid on my fabric. So, using it to my advantage, I cut everything out flat and used the lines on the fabric to line up the pieces instead of measuring to the selvedge. 

Dress Details

Size: US 12 / D-Cup

View Made: Variation 1: Front Ties

Adjustments Needed: I shortened the sleeves by 1.5″. I also shortened the skirt (See comment in changes made)

 Fabric: Rayon from Tania Textiles (Quebec City)

Changes Made: I (unintentionally) changed the size of the tucks in the skirt. I miscalculated how much to shorten the skirt by, and when I tried it on, I found that I didn’t love the length (I had shortened it to just above the knee). So, I decided that I loved the dress too much to not to fix it and resewed the tucks at 1″ instead of 1.5″. That ended up giving me back 3″ of length and I love how that turned out. 




I love how easy it is to throw on the Tamzin and go. I have found in the past that dresses with no structure and no zips or other closures drown me in fabric, especially because I am a big fan of sleeves (less chance of getting a sunburn) and midi-length skirts. I usually find it helps to add a belt or some sort of tie. This dress has the tie included which makes it so much easier to get ready. It’s also helpful for this post (mid) quarantine time where we have gotten used to wearing things a little comfier and a lot more forgiving. This dress is the ultimate secret pyjamas that just look so nice!



Final Thoughts

I love this dress. It is one of my new favourites and I can’t wait to make more versions of it. I think it would look really nice is a fall weight fabric (like a lightweight wool), in some sort of houndstooth or herringbone print with with a contrasting collar and also with hacked sleeves that are more of a puffed shape (by adding elastic into the sleeve hem). I also love the addition of the D-cup band in By Hand London patterns. With the time I save from doing an FBA, I can work on other fun hacks to the patterns.


The Norma Blouse

Fibre Mood

Every time I have scrolled through my Instagram feed lately, I’ve come across at least one picture of the Fibre Mood Norma blouse.

Fibre Mood offered this pattern for free the week of their sewalong, and I’m so glad I picked it up then. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch their sale, no worries. You can still buy the pattern here.

The Norma blouse is a short, V-neck top with balloon sleeves. It can be made from a variety of fabrics for different looks. 



I made the Norma Blouse in a size 10 and graded to a 12 through the bust, waist and hip. I suggest looking at the final garment measurements to see how you would like the blouse to fit before cutting out a size. My measurements put me at a size 14, but I decided that I wanted to the top to be more fitted than the pattern suggested. I did end up making a couple of small changes to the pattern.


First of all, I lengthened the pattern by 3″. The Norma is intended to be cropped, and I wanted the option of tucking it in.


I raised the centre front by 1.5″

To do this, I drew a straight line 1.5″ up from the original pattern piece and used my french curve ruler to redraw a line from the edge of the shoulder to the dot.


I redrew the facing piece to match the new curve of the neckline.





I raised the armscye by 1″ on both the front and back pieces. Again, this was an easy fix. To raise the armhole, just draw a line 1″ up from the original. Then use a curved ruler to connect the new marking to the original armhole. Don’t forget to transfer any notches!

Because I raised the armscye of the front and back body pieces, I needed to also raise the sleeve the same amount. (1″)

Again, I drew a line straight up from the original and then used my curved ruler to true the line. 






Even though my front and back pieces were graded (10 at the underarm point up to a 12 at the bust), the muslin was slightly too bulky for me. I ended up folding over .5″ on the side seams at the from the underarm through the bust area (and then having it meet up with the original pattern piece around the waist area.




Because I reduced the side seam, I had to also take the same amount out of the sleeve so that it would still fit. I wanted to keep the fullness at the sleeve cap, so took the .5″ out of each side between the seam and the first notch. 

I also wanted to keep the fullness at the cuff, so I folded the pattern piece so that it removed the .5″ at the sleeve cap, but opened up again leaving the original circumference of the hem.



Final Thoughts

I am so happy with the way this top turned out. I love the fit and the statement sleeves. This pattern is at the very top of my ‘make again’ list. I would love to make it in a flowy rayon for a different look. I have also seen some Normas hacked into dresses, so that’s something I would love to add to my closet.

It is a quick sew and is very wearable. It was my first time working with a Fibre Mood pattern, and now I’m interested in trying more. 


The Zadie Jumpsuit

Paper Theory Patterns

Last year I responded to a post on Instagram from someone who was looking for sewing friends. I was fairly new to the Instagram sewing community, so I jumped at the chance. A handful of people responded and we decided that it would be a fun idea to choose one pattern and all sew a version of it by a certain date. From there, our group of international sewing friends decided our first project was going to be the Zadie Jumpsuit and we were going to have it done by November 1st, 2019. Did we all get it done by the deadline? No. Did we all get it done at all? Also no. But I don’t think that was ever really the point. 

Our group choose a pattern that I would never have chosen for myself. I assumed that as a short, busty sewist, a jumpsuit wouldn’t be flattering on me, especially a jumpsuit that is known for having a little bit of extra ease. However, knowing that my new group of sewing friends were going to see it, or at least ask me about it, was a great motivator to take the time to make a muslin before diving into the real thing. 

I chose a linen (or linen blend?) from Tania Textiles for the jumpsuit. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but when I found a bolt of it in the back I knew it was perfect. I could not be happier. The short-sleeved version takes just shy of 3 metres. Fortunately, I already had the thread to match. When does that ever happen?



Since this was not my usual style, I decided to read a few blogs about the fit of the Zadie. Most of them said the same thing; size down. So I did. Quite a bit! Here are more details about the changes I made:


  • I made a size 12, even though my measurements put me at a 16 bust, 18 waist and 14 hip (For reference, I am 41″ / 35″ / 41″). Keep that finished measurement chart in mind when choosing your size.
  • I reduced both the front and back rises by  1″.
  • I slimmed the front and back leg pieces by 1″ (I did this by reducing the outside leg seam so that it came down almost straight from the hip. This meant that I also had to reduce the side of the pocket the same amount)
  • I hemmed my pants at a 20″ inseam. I thought long and hard about where I wanted to hem these pants. I love the look of pants that end at the ankle bone, but if I don’t wear them with high heels, it tends to look like my pants are just a little too short for me. 

When I make it again, I think I will move the shoulder seam back by about half an inch to an inch. I feel like my shoulders slope forward when I wear it. . 

Final Thoughts

I am so glad that this pattern was the one chosen by my group. I would love to make some more versions of this in the future. I think my closet is missing one Zadie in a flowier fabric, and a Zadie wrap dress. I saw so many dress versions while looking through Instagram and blog inspiration. I have never been able to find a wrap dress that fits properly, so this might fit the bill.

The Eilidh Dress

Pipe Dream Patterns


Is it too early to have already decided on my favourite make of 2020? Because I have, and this is it! This is the Eilidh Dress by Pipe Dream Patterns. I had the absolute pleasure of testing it this January. It comes in two different styles; one with a twist in the front and the other with a twist at the back. This dress is still in the testing phase, but Joann was nice enough to let me share these makes before the pattern is released. Make sure you follow Pipe Dream Patterns onInstagramor check the websitefor more information about this pattern’s release.




View 1

View 1 of the Eilidh Dress features a twist front. The dress can be made in a solid colour, or colour blocked with each side a different colour. It also has the option of a high back (which I made) or a low back.

I made my version in a solid crepe scuba knit from Fabricville.

Although the dress looks complicated, it was surprisingly easy to accomplish. The instructions are clear and Joann even included scaled down pattern pieces so that you can try the twist on scrap pieces before cutting into your good fabric. I made a couple of small changes to the pattern. One was to add an extra 3 inches to the length, and the other was to shorten the sleeves by 1.5 inches.

After I had completed the dress, I realized that I should have done a sway back adjustment. I will have to do that on my next version.



View 2

View 2 has a high neckline, short sleeves and a low back with a twist. The neckline is finished with a band which is then topstitched to keep it in place.  This view must be made with a just one fabric (unlike view 1)


I made this version in a Liverpool Knit from Club Tissus.




Out of the two dresses, I found the twist on view 2 a little more complicated. I’m not sure if it’s because I used a lighter material, or because it doesn’t really take shape until the dress is constructed (and there is a body in it). After taking my time, and reading (and rereading) the instructions, I was able to do the twist. Instead of matching letters together, I used coloured pins. So, when constructing the twist, I needed to match the two pink headed pins together, then the two yellow. And the rest of the dress comes together really quickly. Again, the only change I made to the pattern was to add 3 inches to the length.

Final Thoughts

There are so many things I like about this pattern. First of all, you have some options when making it, including changing the sleeve lengths up or sewing up the slit in the twist front dress to different lengths. Also, even though both dresses contain a twist, I find that the two dress views look quite different from each other. That’s really nice when buying a new pattern. It is also laid out very clearly and has helpful diagrams to follow when constructing the dress. Finally, it does not require a lot of fabric. Even with adding an additional 3 inches to the front and back pattern piece, I was still able to get view 2 of the dress out of about 1.5 metres. 

The Nina Dress

Sewing for your Life


Introducing my favourite make of 2019! 

In December, I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for this dress. I will admit, I had never heard of the pattern company Sewing for your Life before their tester call went out, but when I saw the sample of the dress, I knew it was something I wanted to make. Sandra’s designs have a vintage feel, and are available on her Etsy shop.


The Pattern

The Nina Dress is a vintage-style dress inspired by the TV show The Collection. It features a Hepburn collar, elbow-length sleeves and a beautiful (and twirly) skirt. The fabric recommendation is for a woven fabric with a small amount of stretch. I made mine from a polka dot stretch cotton sateen that I bought from my local fabric shop. This dress requires 4.5 metres of fabric which, according to the size I made, had to be at least 140 cm wide. I think that the dress could be made from a non-stretch fabric without any problems.



My Changes

I was very happy with the drafting of the bodice, as I found that both the bust and the waist fit perfectly. I only had to do my usual adjustment of widening the centre of the bust dart to remove extra fabric bulk from under the bust.

I did find the sleeves to be a little roomier than I’d like, so I tapered the sleeve seam down. I reduced the hem of the sleeve by 2″, but kept the underarm seam unchanged. 


The instructions for the Nina Dress were, for the most part, clear. Sandra added a few details about why things are done the way they are, which was a fun touch.

There were a few new skills that I learned when sewing this dress. First of all, I had never sewn a Hepburn collar before. The result is super flattering and I can see myself adding it to other garments in the future. I especially love the back view of the collar. It looks a lot more complicated than it is in reality.

It was also the first time that I had hemmed a circle skirt with bias tape. And I’m so glad that I had this option. The final skirt was 9 metres to hem (but isn’t it beautiful!). The pattern suggested completing it by hand, but I think it looks just fine done by machine.Finally I decided to add a belt. After looking at some tutorials, I set off to Fabricville to get what I needed. I think the belt helps the dress look finished, and it was fun creating something new. (The belt buckle came in a two-pack, so you can expect a belt on another project soon ;))

The result and Final Thoughts

I cannot say enough good things about this dress. The construction was straightforward, however, it still taught me some new skills that I will be able to use in many of my future projects. I wore this dress to my work Christmas party and was asked many times where I bought it.  This may not be the reason I sew, but it doesn’t hurt either. 

I have plans to make another Nina dress, this time in a solid colour, with a contrasting colour for the collar, belt, and turned up cuffs on the sleeve.

You can find this pattern, and Sandra’s other patterns here.