TALLULAH TEA DRESS with a round neck, gathered empire bust line, long sleeves with elasticated cuffs, centre back zip and frill in two lengths making it either midi or maxi lengths.

This slimline dress is not only elegant but a comfortable fit and very on trend, designed to be worn everyday or on special occasions.

Tallulah dress is simple to make with extra help on the blog when inserting the zip and also a FREE add-on template to make a V-neck option. Just go to menu and click on the TALLULAH HACK page below the Tallulah page. Enter the password which you will find written on the pattern inside back page. On the Tallulah hack page you will find the downloadable pattern which you can print off at home or copy shop on to four A4 pages. Stick these together to make the new Front and Front V-neck facing template. Simple and easy! On the Tallulah Hack page you will also find step by step instructions about how to make a V-neck version.


Here is information about sizing, finished garment details and fabric requirements.

This blogpost shows a condensed version of the instructions which go into more detail in the instruction booklet.


I advise making a toile or sample garment of this dress in cheap fabric (or an old sheet) beforehand to check the fit . You may require some adjustments to the pattern.

The most common adjustment with an empire line pattern is at the bust line, so I have added some tips at the bottom of this page to help you get the right fit with your Tallulah pattern.

Scroll down to the end of this blogpost to see details.



Adjusting a bust in an empire line pattern is slightly different to a normal pattern with a dart. There are two issues to consider: Bodice length and Bust size.


So you have made a toile or sample garment and you are finding that the bustline is coming a bit high. It is a common fact that, as we age, our bustline is lower than when we were younger. Having said that, some people may have inherited a longer or shorter bodice than the norm (whatever that maybe!). So for whatever reason you may need to lower (or raise) the bodice bustline. This is how we do it…..


Adjust the Bodice Back in the same way as the Front. Trim along the horizontal lengthen lines. Separate the two pieces to the same measurement as the Bodice Front. Place paper underneath. Stick in position.

You may need to adjust at the outer side edge to align the two pieces. NB ensure that the centre back edges and grainlines are aligned.


One last thing worth pointing out when lengthening/shortening the bodice is that the overall dress length will also be shorter/longer. To compensate you may choose to shorten the Skirt Front and Back accordingly, using the lengthen lines on the pattern template. To do this, use the same method as with the Bodice Front and Back.


Bodice front needs more room to accommodate a larger cup size? or maybe you want to make the bust smaller?

Fear not ….its so easy to adjust.

Draw two lines from the notches at the lower curved edge, to the armhole edge, approx a quarter of the way up.

Then draw a line centrally between the two lines just drawn. Cut along this centre line, but stop just before (5mm) from the armhole edge. This allows you to splay open or together. Obviously splaying apart the two lines makes the bust bigger and overlapping makes it smaller.

The pattern is designed for a bust cup size B, so if you need to enlarge to a size C then add 1cm between the two lines. Then each size requires a further 1cm. To reduce the bust to A cup- reduce by -1cm.

A= -1cm

B= 0cm

C= +1cm

D= +2cm

DD= +3cm…..

When you have made the correct adjustment, place a piece of paper behind the pattern and tape it down.

Continue as normal with the pattern. You will have a little extra fabric between the notches to gather up for an enlarged bust and a little less to gather up for a decreased bust size. Whichever way, the notches still match up with the Skirt Front and the armhole measurement remains the same. Happy days.

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Bibi Quilted Jacket is a timeless garment that you will want to make again and again in lots of different fabrics. It is edged with binding and has curved side edges, two easy quilted pockets and button up fastening.

I’ve made this jacket in a lightweight denim with an African fabric lining (as shown in the top right picture) and another in a mustard cotton in an Ikat design for the outer fabric with a plain cotton lining (top left pic).

BIBI HACK The bottom picture is a Bibi HACK in a batik cotton made with a V-neck alteration and added ties instead of buttons and no binding. Scroll down to see how I did it.

Bibi is a very comfortable relaxed garment suitable for all seasons. It’s a simple make and oh so snuggly to wear.

Here are some measurements and info you will need to know from the back of the pattern.

Making the Bibi Jacket involves some simple quilting. You can choose from sewing tramlines or criss-cross quilt lines its up to you, both are marked out on the pattern. Of course, you could make your own style of quilting lines- or even go freestyle, or why not make a jacket from a piece of patched fabric? Maybe you were going to make a quilt but never quite made it that far. Why not use it for something to wear?

curved side hem detail
quilted pockets give protection
Five nice chunky buttons or use snap fasteners if preferred.
If you own a walking foot attachment for your machine its helpful to use when quilting fabric
….just sayin!


Ok, so you can buy pre-quilted fabric, but its so much more fun to create your own. You can use just about any type of medium/lightweight fabric for the outer and lining. Remember that it doesn’t want to be too heavy- think light!

Here are some examples of wadding that Ive used….

  1. Vilene H640/H630 fusible Fleece (loft)- its fusible, made of polyester, very practical because you can just iron it on, but it is on the pricey side, as its not very wide (36″). You would probably need about three metres depending on size. You can get this from Empress Mills.
  2. 2oz Polyester wadding– cheap as chips and a good alternative- use spray textile glue to fix in place or lots of tacking, with a wide width (54″). You would probably need a couple of metres of this depending on size. You can get from Empress Mills .
  3. Quilting batting such as a basic ‘warm & white’ polyester one is a great alternative as its usually very wide you wont need as much. This one ‘Soft & Bright’ available from Empress Mills is 90″ wide so probably 1.5m would suffice depending on size. This one is much thicker and heavier than the other two and not so easy to work with but still makes a good jacket.
Vilene H640 or 630
2oz Polyester wadding



First cut out the fabric pieces from the pattern templates. Mark out the quilt lines with chalk or a fabric marker. Fuse the wadding or fusible fleece to the reverse side of each piece (Fronts, Back, Sleeves and Pockets).

Stitch along the lines with a longer stitch length (2.8mm). Stitch on the right side of the fabric to secure the two layers together. Quilt all the pieces backed with wadding.


Mark out the quilting lines with tailors chalk or an invisible marker pen.


Lay the pocket lining together with the pocket, right sides facing together. Sew all around, leaving an opening on the short side edge of approx 4cm (1 1/2″). Trim across the seam allowance corners. Nick the curved seam allowances. Turn inside out through the opening. Press, pushing out all the edges from the inside with a poking tool. Hand sew up the side opening.

Repeat with the second pocket and lining.

Pin the pocket to the jacket front. See the Pocket position on the template.

Topstitch the Pocket 1cm away from the outer edge all around leaving the top edge open. Press. Repeat with the other Pocket.

Join the shoulder edges with the right sides together. Press the seam allowances towards the back. Topstitch.

Join the side edges of the front and back below the armhole to the notch. Press the seam allowances open.


Fold the Sleeve piece in half aligning the long vertical raw edges. Pin. Sew. Press the seam allowances open.

With the right sides facing together, insert the sleeve to the armhole, aligning the raw edges and the back and front sections. Pin. Hand tack. Sew.

Topstitch the sleeve seam. Repeat with the other sleeve.




Machine tack around the raw edges to secure the three layers together.


Mark out the buttonholes in position as shown on the template. Sew the five buttonholes. Tip: make a ‘practise’ buttonhole with a leftover piece of the three layer fabric. When you are happy with the size compared to the buttons, use this to mark out the starting point each of the buttonhole positions so that its centre aligns with the jacket centre (as shown by the notch at the neck centre front). Sew the buttonhole away from the centre front raw edge.


Using a binding tape maker tool, fold over the edges of the binding. Use pre-made binding if preferred. Pin the binding to the raw edge, starting at the shoulder seam. Sew all around. Fold the binding over to the reverse side. Press. Pin. Hand tacking really helps to secure the edge before hand stitching all around. Sew the binding edge by hand on the reverse side with small over-stitches to secure the edge all around.

Tip: When you reach the side seam, trim the binding with a small fold under at the far end, then start again on the back with a new binding piece, folding it under at each side seam.

Attach the cuff binding to the cuff edges in the same way as before.

Sew on the five buttons.

And off you go!


Make Bibi with a V-neck, gives your jacket has a ‘Kantha’ feel about it. With this hack I adjusted the pattern for a V-neck, omitted the buttons and added ties, and stitched in the lining without any binding attached except just around the cuffs. I think it looks great and certainly easier if you fear making buttonholes and binding.


On pattern piece 1, mark a point 1cm above the button position on the far left hand edge.
Using a ruler, draw a line from this point to the neckline approx 10cm from the shoulder line so it joins up.
Fold over the pattern along the line.
There you now have a V-neck option.

Now trim the V-neck from the front pieces of the outer piece and the lining, using the new template.


Make two ties (one each side) by cutting a 70cm long piece of binding from the binding template. Sew down one long raw edge and across the two short edges with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a small 2cm opening at the centre . Turn the tie inside out through the opening. Push out the corners. Press. Cut into two equal pieces of 35cm.

Pin one tie (or two) to the left hand centre front vertical edge aligning the raw edges. Tack stitch within the seam allowance.

Pin the second tie to the opposite side but this time 4cm from the edge with the tie extended leftwards. Sew across the raw edge end, then fold over and stitch again so that the tie end raw edges are encased and hidden.


With the right sides facing together and the ties extended inwards away from the edge, pin the outer and lining together aligning the shoulder and side seams and all around the outer edge. Sew a 5mm (1/4″) seam allowance all around. Snip into the curved seam allowances and also cut into the V at the sides as far as you can go without cutting the stitching to minimise it bunching up.

Bag out the jacket either through one sleeve or through an opening made in the side seam with a stitch ripper. Give it a good press. Pin all around the outer edge so that no lining is visible from the front side. Topstitch all around.

Attach binding to the cuff in the same way as specified in the pattern. Alternatively, if you have an overlocker and want a quick hemming method, just overlock the cuff and cuff lining raw edges together, then turn under once and stitch down. Personally I think it looks better to bind it.

So there you have it!- A lovely Bibi jacket V-neck style with ties. Please comment below to have your say.

All images and text are subject to copyright by Sewgirl. Please ask permission if you wish to use any of the images.


The first Unisex top pattern by Sewgirl and here we are… Mr and Mrs Sewgirl…. wearing our lovely tops! The red canvas one features the Kangaroo pocket feature and the denim blue has a patch pocket version- both pockets are included in the pattern which is sized from Small to 2XL( see size guide for details).

We named this top pattern after one of our favourite places in Cornwall -St Ives- a fishing village on the South West tip of England. It’s famous for its artistic heritage, home to Tate St Ives and many artists who flock to the bay for its amazing quality of light.

We love visiting the sculptress, Barbara Hepworth’s house and garden, it’s also where the artist Alfred Wallis and celebrated ceramicist Bernard Leach lived and worked. Many other artists are connected to this wonderful place nestling on the Cornish coast. Its our homage to a special place.

This is a straightforward pattern, loose fitting artists style top suitable for working in, gardening, pottery, sailing or just day to day living. Practical, comfortable and fun to make. Hopefully, like me, you will want to make one for all the family.

Suitable fabrics to make the St Ives top are soft cotton canvas, denim, needlecord, medium weight cotton.

Here are some step by step images which show you how the top is made. More info is written in the pattern. To purchase the pattern click this link will take you to the Etsy Shop.


Prepare the Loop.


Pin to the Front piece.Sew all around, leaving the hem section unstitched.


Fold over the top edge of the patch pockets. Stitch. Fold over and press the remaining three edges.

Pin to the Front piece. Sew, leaving the top hemmed edges unstitched.
All images are copyright Fiona Hesford. Please ask prior permission if you wish to use any of the content of this post. Thank you.


Agnes Top with short sleeves in viscose fabric.
Dress with Tie Belt and gathered elasticated cuffs

May I present Agnes? Another fabulous dressmaking pattern from the House of Sewgirl (fanfare please!).

This is a wonderfully simple yet versatile sewing pattern to make top, tunic or dress which can be made in a variety of fabrics and style options, in sizes 8 to 22.

Agnes has a gathered elasticated neckline which you can adjust to suit you, easy insert raglan style sleeves and a loose fit, so its extremely comfortable and flattering to wear. I imagine this would be an ideal holiday item of clothing, however its also great for everyday wear.

The dress (version C) (with an optional tie belt) can be made to look very chic, depending on the fabric you choose. I made the blue version in a linen/viscose stretch fabric (available from the Sewgirl Etsy shop), it also works well with medium or lightweight cotton, viscose fabric (see the Top version A pic), lightweight linen or denim chambray.

Agnes top is great worn with jeans and the tunic with jeggings is a winning team, or if you want a cool summer look pop on the tunic dress with tights or bare legs and a pair of sandals and off you go.

Two lengths of sleeves allow you to mix and match with each style and the long sleeves can be made with elasticated cuffs or left just hemmed. The tunic (version B) version has side pockets which you could also have on the dress if you like.

Agnes sewing pattern by Sewgirl

Here is some info about sizes, finished garment measurements and fabric requirements.

PLEASE NOTE: that if you are making a Dress version with fabric 140cm wide and don’t mind having a back seam on your Tie belt, then you can save at least 50cm on the fabric requirements by cutting two belt pieces across the width of the fabric following the 140cm wide Layplan. Join the Tie belt pieces together at the short edges to make one long piece.

So if you are interested to know where the name Agnes came from…. well……… when I lived in Paris (back with the dinosaurs), a designer called Agnes B hit the French fashion world, changing it forever. We all fell in love with her simple understated, yet very Parisian chic style. She became one of my fashion heroines. I loved the name so much that I gave it to my daughter as her middle name. And now Agnes has joined the Sewgirl family.

Agnes B


The seam allowance is 1.5cm (5/8″).

First, sew together the back pieces.

Sew the front sleeve to the front piece at each side edge. Press outwards.

Repeat for the back sleeve with the back piece.

You should now have both sleeves now joined to the dress front and back. Finish the raw edges. Press them towards the Sleeve.

POCKETS (Tunic B version)

Finish the outer raw edges of the pockets if you have an overlocker- if you don’t have one – no worries! just leave the edge finishing bit until the end.

Pin one pocket at each side edge with the right sides of the fabric facing together. Sew. Press the pocket outwards, away from the body. Topstitch.

Pin the front to back at the side edges. Sew.

For the TUNIC only, sew around the pockets as you go.

Finish the edges together.

If making the DRESS, you will need to leave the lower side edge below the notch on each side open at this stage. See ‘SEWING THE SIDE SLIT’ section below for instructions.


METHOD 1-(if you don’t have an overlocker)

Join the neckband short edges with the fabric right sides facing together. Press the seam allowance open. Topstitch either side of the seam line. Trim off the excess seam allowance.

Fold over and press 1cm on one long raw edge of the neckband all around.

Pin the neckband, at the raw unfolded edge, to the raw neck edge all around, with the seam at the centre back. NB if you fancy making a drawstring version, position the seam line at the centre front instead. Sew. Trim off 1cm from the seam allowance all around.

Press the folded edge over to the reverse side. Pin so that the edge is just covering the previous line of stitching. Hand tack. ‘Stitch in the Ditch’ * on the right side of the neckband, ensuring the neckband is stitched on the back of the fabric. NB make sure that there is a 1.5cm channel for the elastic.

  • *’Stitch in the Ditch’ is when you stitch into the seam line on the right side, so that the stitches aren’t visible. Make sure that you are sewing the neckband edge on the reverse side. Its easy to miss it which is why hand tacking first is helpful.

Remove the tacking. Press. Now go to ‘INSERTING THE ELASTIC ‘

METHOD 2-(if you have an overlocker).

This method 2 is by far quicker and easier but only looks good if you have an overlocker.

So, first you fold the neckband in half with the fabric wrong sides facing together. Press. Unfold. Sew the neckband short edges together (with the fabric right side facing together this time) to make a ‘ring’

Press the seam allowances open, topstitch either side of the seam line. Trim the seam allowance to 5mm.

Fold the neckband over all around again so that the raw edges are matching and the fabric wrong sides are together. Pin to the neck edge with the seam at the centre back. NB if you fancy making a drawstring version have the seam line at the centre front. Sew all around. Finish the raw edges all around. Press the neckband upwards. Topstitch approx 3-4mm away from the seam on the dress side.


Attach a safety pin to one end of the cut length of elastic. Tip: cut the elastic piece approx 5cm longer allowing you to adjust it to your requirements. Nick one stitch on the inside back neckband seam enough to insert the safety pin/elastic. Feed the elastic through the channel, easing up the gathers as you go. Push out the same entrance hole. Pin together. Try on for size. Adjust if required. Sew the elastic ends together. Sew up the opening with a few hand stitches. Ease the neckline gathers evenly all around.

PATTERN HACK ALERT! Front drawstring neckband alternative.

Its quite a nice idea to try this hack as a change from the elastic. It allows you to adjust the gathers according to your mood. Who doesn’t love an off the shoulder neckline? This drawstring alternative allows you to do that.

So follow the pattern as you would normally except when attaching the neckband, position the side seam at the centre front instead of the back.

Make a drawstring tie – cut out a 4cm x 112cm wide (or longer if you prefer) across the width of the fabric. Follow the same sewing steps as with the Tie Belt. Turn inside out through the opening at the centre. Tip- use a loop turner to help you.

Loop turner

Nick one of the stitches of the neckband side seam. Attach a safety pin attached to one end of the tie and feed into and out of the opening. Ease the gathers, adjust to fit.


The Dress (C) version has a slit at each lower side edge. You can also put a small one in the Tunic (version B) if you fancy it or just sew the side seam up as normal, ignoring the seam allowance extension.

Fold over the side edge below the notch by 1cm. Press, then fold the seam allowance back to make a side hem on each side. Pin. Sew close to the hem edge on each side.


Fold over and pin the lower edge of the dress, tunic or top. Sew. Press.

Make a small hem on the sleeve cuff edge in the same way. For the Dress (C) version, insert elastic into the cuff hem in the same way as with the neckband.


The Tie Belt on the dress is optional, it gives the dress more shape and a different look. You could also put a Tie belt on the tunic if you fancy it.

Tunic with optional tie belt

Fold over the Tie belt piece in half widthways. Pin then sew down the raw edge sides leaving a 4cm section unstitched at the centre of the long side. Snip the seam allowance to 5mm. Turn the belt inside out, push out the corners. Press, sew up the opening or Topstitch all around -which sews up the opening at the same time.

And there you have it! Ready to rock!

All text and images are subject to copyright. Please ask prior permission if you would like to use any of the content.








backpack version
shoulder messenger bag version
in African fabric and denim
in faux leather and wool mix check fabric

Making bags is one of my passions. Shoulder bags, back packs, cosmetic or baguette purses, I love them all! What a great way to get pattern into your daily life in a practical way. There are three bag patterns in the Sewgirl range: BROMPTON, which is both a Backpack and Shoulder messenger bag in one pattern, PORTOBELLO which is a ‘girl about town’ smaller shoulder bag and a BOHO bag which is a casual zip purse/bag.

All patterns come with actual size templates and a step by step illustrated booklet showing you every step of your bag making journey.

Brompton bag comes as a kit which contains fabric, lining, pattern with templates,
metal bits and leather buckle.

Get funky with denim and a funky wild cotton print lining!
African fabric can look stunning with denim for spring/summer
Twist lock fastenings are great to use, available as an add on with the Portobello bag pattern.

Here is a good Noodle Head YouTube tutorial about inserting a Twist-lock (otherwise known as a Turn Lock) that may help you when inserting this type of fastening.

And a choice of metal sliders and rectangles in chrome or antique brass can be added to your pattern order.
BOHO BAG also comes with a kit including fabric, pattern and templates, metal bits, zip, pack of tissues, thread and Sewgirl label. Would that make a fab present? I think so!



PATTERN ERRATA: please note that the seam allowance is 1cm and the lining should be cut to the measurements specified and not traced using the outer as a template.


To purchase a bag pattern or kit please visit the Etsy shop (link button below).

All images and text are copyright Fiona Hesford.

Please ask permission if you would like to use any of the images in this blogpost.



Sewgirl dollies

Sewgirl Doll is a fashion doll made from a unique printed cotton panel. She features a watch, daisy tattoo, little natty boots and cute spotty undies.

Cut out the pieces, sew her up, stuff her, add hair and make her clothes from the templates that you can download for free from this page.

Instructions about making the doll are also available to print from this blog page.

You can embroider or paint in her eyes, lips and nails with marker pens or embroidery thread and just add detail as you wish. She is canvas for your creativity.

Heres my daughter Tilly enjoying hours of fashion fun!
This unique cotton printed panel- just cut out the pieces and sew up following the downloadable instructions below.
Sewgirl has even got a watch and a tattoo and natty little boots.
Funky style- she loves to dress up
Make her clothes from downloadable templates- dress, jeans, tunic top, knitted jumper, a pair of glasses to cut out from felt and stitch on.
Copyright Fiona Hesford
All rights reserved.


A lovely pair of comfortable pyjamas In organic stretch jersey with contrast bands

What a fab beginners bedtime project and such to fun make!, with its matching drawstring bag to keep them in. Actually, this pattern is SO much more than just pyjamas! you could make the top as an everyday garment and the bottoms as sweat or jogging pants, so its pretty versatile practical pattern that you will make again and again.

Using stretch jersey is very forgiving, making it a great beginners fabric choice, just pop a ‘stretch’ or ‘ballpoint’ needle on your machine and off you go. And by the way, don’t worry if you don’t own an overlocker, most cotton stretch jersey fabrics don’t tend to fray anyway, so why not just leave your edges raw.

This blogpost gives you an overview of how the Pyjamas are made, to give you an idea about whats involved before you buy.
Sleep mask download below

Also If you fancy making a Sleep Mask why not download this free pattern and template. Just make sure to print off the template at 100%.


All images and text are subject to copyright. Please ask prior permission if you would like to use any of the contents of this blogpost