So here we are at last…..a long awaited top!!! Yaaay!

This one is so chic and versatile too, you can dress it up or wear in a relaxed weekend sort of way. I’ve made the short version in a cool cotton voile and the long sleeved version in a snuggly cotton/linen denim look twill which is lovely and soft. Both these fabrics (and Peggy top pattern) are normally stocked on my ETSY SHOP subject to availability.

Peggy top can be made in two different sleeve lengths, long or short. You can either just hem the sleeve edge, as shown in the above left picture or add an elasticated channel as shown in the right hand picture to make a lovely subtle puff sleeve effect. It also has a nice side slit opening, so its very comfortable to wear.


The top pattern kit looks like this and comes with pattern templates, instructions, a piece of elastic, interfacing and a self cover button all packed up in a recycled kraft bag with handles.


Suitable fabrics are: light/med weight cotton, viscose, polyester, cotton/linen mixes, fleece back cotton jersey.

So let me talk you through this easy to make top. Well, its round necked, boxy shape with bust darts and a rather nice back neck loop and button opening (see below).IMG_3622

Peggy front sticker

Peggy top is suitable for adventurous beginners, so maybe you’ve cut your teeth on cushions and bag projects and would like to try some simple dressmaking, well this would be a perfect starter pattern as its really quite a straightforward make. Why not take a look at this condensed tutorial blogpost and it will give you an idea about whats involved.

Here are some measurements for you to check over. The pattern is good for sizes 8-20 by the way.


Seam allowance is 1cm. Finish raw edges with a zigzag stitch or an overlocker. IMG_0076

You may like to use a contrast thread for the topstitching, as I did with the long top to get that ‘jeans’ stitch detail.

CUTTING GUIDE – are all shown in the instructions booklet.


Insert the darts, sew together at the raw edges.
Press the darts downwards.
Finish the raw edges of the centre back. Sew the back pieces together with the right sides together. Press.
Join the front to back at the shoulder edges. Finish the raw edges. Press them towards the back, then topstitch on the right side. Stay stitch around the neck edge (a line of stitching within the seam allowance to stop the curved section from stretching).
Join the facing pieces at the short edges. Press the seam allowances open. Finish the outer edge only.
Pin the facing to the neck raw edge. Sew
Nick the seam allowance with small V’s. Careful not to snip your stitching!
Press the facing away from the body.
You’ve prepared your rouleau as described in the instructions. Pin to the back neck opening just below the seam as shown above. You will need to adjust it to fit your button. Tack stitch to secure.
Fold back the facing at the short sides and stitch down the opening edges to secure the rouleau underneath. Trim your seam allowance corners and any excess rouleau ends.
Turn the facing to the reverse side, pushing out the corners with a poking tool. Out pops your lovely loop!
Pin the front to back at the side edges below the armhole. Finish the raw edges. Press.

SHORT ELASTICATED SLEEVES (For long sleeves scroll down to the next section….)

Pin the sleeve together at the side raw edges. Sew. Finish the raw edge. Press. Repeat for the other sleeve. Now make either just a simple hem at the edge or if you prefer an elasticated cuff, continue to the next section and follow the instructions below.
Pin the Elastic channel piece together at the short edges. Press the seam allowances open.
Pin the longest edge to the sleeve cuff edge with the right sides together.
Press away from the sleeve.
Fold back the elastic channel so that the seam line is aligned with the fold. NB. If you don’t have an overlocker you could turn under a small hem to neaten the edge. Pin. Sew close to the edge leaving a 4cm opening at the side seam section.
Feed in the elastic (cut to size) with a safety pin. Sew together at the ends when you are happy with the fit.
Sew up the opening. Ease the elastic evenly.


Fold over 1cm then again 3cm at the cuff edge, press. Stitch all around, leaving a 3cm opening. Stitch again 3mm from the far outer edge ensuring you have left a 25mm space for the elastic.
You can see here there are two lines of stitching one to secure the hem at the outer edge and one just inside the outer cuff edge.
Insert the elastic (cut to size) into the hem with a safety pin, adjust to fit comfortably. Sew the elastic ends together securely.  Sew up the opening.
Pin then hand tack the sleeve to the armhole, making sure you align the back section of the sleeve head (as indicated by two notches on the pattern) to the back. Sew. Finish the raw edge.  Repeat for the other sleeve.
Press the seam allowance towards the sleeve and topstitch.
Hem the lower edge.
Topstitch around the side slits to finish them off nicely.


Self cover buttons… (who doesn’t love a covered button? )

For a 15mm button, cut a piece of fabric approx 25-30mm in diametre. Sew a line of running stitches around the outer edge, pull the threads to gather up the fabric. With the button back placed to one side, pop your button head into the crater and pull the threads some more so that it tightens around the shank. Tuck the raw edges under the claws. Insert the button back on over the shank and push firmly until you hear it snap together.
Sew your lovely button on to the back neck opening opposite the loop.
IMG_3670 cropped
I’m very chuffed with my new Peggy top!

Hand Screen printed panel projects

Screen printed panel pack by Sewgirl
contains 6 squares to cut up and sew


Expertly Printed by Mark!


Cut them up and make all sorts of things…..
spotty cushion pink
Like a Patchwork cushion
or make charming lavender bags with gingham backs…..
or bunting ……
zip purses…..
or even pockets for girl’s skirts!

Heres four files for you to download to show you how to make the projects shown above. Happy sewing!


LAVENDER BAG instructions




Sew on the pockets, hem the sleeves as shown above. Make the optional belt and tabs.


Here she is! A long time coming, but we finally got there. The very fabulous Betty dress pattern ta dah!

Now I have to admit, I don’t normally do pretty pink, I’m normally a practical blue kinda girl, but I do think this colour shows up the detail of the dress quite well, so thats what I went with.

So what can I say about Betty…. well, she is very easy to make, oh so comfortable to wear and well, just lovely really. She’s V-neck, button down (more about that later) with a gathered skirt section on to quite a loose fitting slightly dropped waistline, a curved detail on the side hem is a bit like a shirt style, rolled back sleeves and two patch pockets. The tie belt is optional of course, below shows you a photo of one I wear with a rather smart leather belt (link to where you can buy one at the end of this post.

Now lets talk about buttonholes. There are some people who may be put off by them or don’t want to be bothered with these small but ever so terrifying things, but fear not! Betty can be made without them quite easily. You can pop Betty on with just stitched on buttons. Do you see the blue version below? well that’s exactly what I did with this one, I wanted to live with it first before committing to them, but I’m not sure I will ever get around to doing them but hey whose going to notice!

Or, my friends, you may like to make a Betty Hack ! Its Oh so easy and I think I love this version even more than the button down version.

betty hack 5 x 7

So this hack is even easier to make, Its got no buttons on the skirt, just on the bodice and Ive shortened it a bit too by taking  2cm off the bodice lower edge and 2cm off the top edge of the skirt. Ive popped a little tutorial at the bottom of this post so just scroll down and you will find it.

So Betty is great in all sorts of patterned and plain medium weight cotton fabrics, linen and linen mix fabrics and soft lightweight denims. Here are some links to fabric companies who stock suitable fabrics.



betty 2

The linen shown above is available to buy from the Etsy shop.

Heres the very lovely Amy Scarr, ex- editor of Love Sewing magazine, in her printed cotton lawn versions of Betty dress, which look just great. You can follow her sewing adventures on Instagram @almondrock_sews or

Fabrics courtesy of Atelier Brunette (pic 1) and Lady McElroy (pic 2).

You can similar find fabrics at  FABRIC HQ or FABRIC GODMOTHER IMG_3287


Here is all the info about sizes, finished measurements and fabric requirements.BETTY BACK STICKER A6


Seam allowance is 1cm. RST= Right Sides Together.

Before you start here are some pattern cutting tips.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 11.34.12

Making adjustments to Betty

You may want to make the bodice or skirt section shorter or longer.

So, if this is the case, firstly, measure for your size according to the pattern size info (shown above). Then you need to measure yourself for the desired bodice length from top of the shoulder to the desired length. Now add on 2cm to this measurement for the seam allowances.  Next, compare this length to the pattern and you may find that you require a shorter/longer length from one of the other sizes. I prefer to fold back my pattern to the desired line to keep it intact, but if you are drafting your pattern, you just trace the required line.

If you adjust the bodice length, remember its going to make the dress shorter or longer so check that measurement is good and you are happy with the adjustment. If you need to make the skirt section shorter or longer do so at the top edge of the skirt section. Its gathered at the top edge so any extra width will be lost in the gathering.

Finally adjust the button positions accordingly.




Joining the shoulder seams. Finish the raw edges, pressing towards the back. Topstitching.2


Sew the front to back at the side edges with the RST. Finish the raw edges.3

Sew the skirt together at the side edges with the RST. Press. 4

Gather up the fabric at the top edge of the skirt section.56

Attach to the bodice with the RST. Press the seam allowance upwards. Topstitch on the bodice side.

FACINGS1112Join the facings front and back at the short edges with the RST. Press open. Finish the outer edge.13Pin to the centre front and back neck edge. Sew. Press the facing away from the body. Understitch.IMG_3215

Fold back the facing at the centre lower edge with the RST. Stitch across 1cm up from the lower edge. Trim across the corner, then turn inside out, pushing out the corners with a poking tool.

1415Press the facing to the reverse side all around. Pin. Hand tack. Top stitch on the reverse side close to the outer edge to secure the facing.


Make your pockets by hemming the top edge and finishing the outer 3 edges. Press over 1cm at these 3 edges.1819

Pin to the body. Hand tack stitch. Topstitch close to the edge.


Fold over a 4cm hem at the sleeve edge. Press. Pin. Stitch.20a

Fold back 2cm. Press. Secure with a few hand stitches at the underarm cross seam to secure if required.21

Make your buttonholes, use the position on the template as a guide.22

Make your 3 tabs by pressing inwards 1cm each long side, then fold in half. Press, stitch down each long side. Fold up 1cm each short end. Pin to the dress at the sides and centre back. Stitch across the top and lower edge to secure.


Join the belt pieces together at the short sides with the RST. Press the seam allowances open.


Fold in half so the long edges are matching with the RST. Press. Stitch down one long raw side and across the short diagonal sides, leaving approx 4cm opening at the centre point for turning inside out. Trim the seam allowance to 5mm.


Turn inside out through the opening. These loop turner tools are really useful for this.



Press. Topstitch all around the outer edge, which seals up the opening at the same time. Tie in a lovely big bow and woo hoo…..ready to go!

BETTY FRONT bow detail

Or attach a nice leather belt .

BETTY HACK- heres how


To make the dress with no buttons on the skirt section is really easy. Just cut a back skirt piece (on the fold) instead of the two front pieces, so you just have two back skirt pieces altogether.

Cut two bodice Back pieces, instead of placing the pattern against the fold, adding a 1cm to the back seam. Sew the Back pieces together. Finish the raw edge.

Shorten the facing piece to make it the same as the bodice in length. Follow the pattern as above, but gather the back and front together in one piece and attach to the bodice, making sure the front section is crossed over correctly beforehand. Here is a summary of how to do it.

If you are interested in buying a Betty dress pattern, here is a link to the Etsy shop listing. I’ve got lots of other patterns too which you may like to check out.

Follow me on Instagram @fionahesford_sewgirl  or Facebook @sewgirluk


Copyright Fiona Hesford. 2020. Please do not copy any images from this post without prior consent. Thank you.


IMG_3435skirt croppedIMG_3345

orange skirt

So here it is! …..drumroll please…….Cecily Skirt. Ta dah!

Not a day goes by, when I’m wearing this skirt, when people don’t say ‘Wow! where did you get that skirt! ‘ and I can smugly reply those immortal words…. ‘I made it myself!

What I love about this skirt, is how easy and quick it is to run up, and how comfortable it is to wear. With its elasticated back waistband, you can pretty much eat what you like, without the waistband feeling tight, (something I absolutely hate, being someone who loves their grub!).

So also, you will be delighted to hear, its got pockets! ….and two of em! There are also no zips, thanks to Mr Elastico. Having said that, the skirt isn’t bulky at the front because of its flattering front pleats or gathers if you are making with the blue ink spot fabric. Whats not to love?

Cecily skirt is quite long in length, with a maximum length of approx 75cm, but of course you could make it shorter. I love to wear mine with leggings or pedal pushers and a tee or a boxy top. If you fancy adding a belt and some tabs like this…. scroll down to the waistband section where it will tell you how its done.IMG_1464

Here is the Sewgirl African fabric kit all packed up in a fab recycled bag, but it can also be purchased as the pattern only, which includes instructions, interfacing and elastic for you to use your own fabric.


African pleated skirt kit
‘Inkspot’ Voile skirt kit


So… Ive made up a kit for this skirt for sizes 8-20 and here is a list of its contents:

A large format template paper pattern for sizes 8-20

50cm of elastic (4mm wide) cut to size as follows:

Size 8=25cm, Size 10=28cm, Size 12=31cm, Size 14=34cm,

Size 16=37cm, Size 18 =40cm, Size 20=43cm 

A piece of fusible interfacing (enough for the front waistband)

One French hair barrette 

and if you have the complete kit with fabric it comes with 1.8m (2 yards) of fabulous genuine African Dutch wax fabric – lovely and soft, 100% cotton with really zingy colours. (Its 112cm wide by the way) 

French barrette

Im popping one in your kit in case you fancy making a matching hair accessory either like this, or the little one with a button.

You can find a tutorial for making one of these at the bottom of the page.



Screen Shot 2020-07-04 at 15.19.43


So you have 4 paper pattern pieces: Front & Back (1), Front Waistband (2), Back Waistband (3), Pocket (4).

You’ve ironed your fabric and folded it, so that the selvedges are aligned with the RST (Right Sides Together) and laid it out nicely on a table or floor.  Pin the pieces as shown on the Layplans in the pattern.


You will need to cut:

Front & Back (1)– Cut two on the fold of the fabric. With ‘Inkspot’ cotton voile fabric for sizes 16-20, cut to the width of the fabric (which is 108cm wide).

Front Waistband (2)– Cut one *Iron fusible interfacing to the reverse side of the Front waistband only.

Back Waistband (3)– Cut one on the fold of the fabric.

Pocket (4)– Cut four (two pairs).

Optional tie belt tabs (x 2) : Cut two pieces 5cm x 8cm. Fold inwards 1cm towards the centre each long side. Press, then fold in half lengthways. You should have a folded piece measuring 1.5cm x 8cm. Stitch down each long side. Repeat for other tab. Place to one side.

Mark the pleat positions at the top edge with a marking pen or small nick within the seam allowance on the Front piece only. Now to the sewing bit (the best bit).

Remember the seam allowance is 1cm!


  1. Pin one pocket piece on each side of the Front and Back pieces in position as shown on the template. Sew down the straight vertical side edge.


2. Press the pocket away from the Front and Back piece. Topstitch on the pocket side. IMG_3384

Now if you have an African skirt kit make with pleats at the front top edge as shown below.

If you have an indian voile kit like this one…I would advise gathering the front instead of putting pleats in. Miss out the pleat section and continue at step 4a.



3. On the Front piece ONLY, pin the pleats in the marked positions as shown on the template.


diag 1 copy

Stitch across the top edge within the seam allowance to secure the pleats. Now go to step 4.



GATHERING (if you prefer instead of front pleats)

4a. 5

Instead of pleats , voile fabric can take soft gathers as its needs more cover being light in weight. So to do this set your sew machine to the maximum stitch length (usually 4 or 5) and sew a line one approx 1cm from the top edge. Its a good idea to finish your top raw edge first and remember you are only doing gathering on the front section, the back will be gathered by the elastic we are inserting later.

So after sewing your line of long stitches pull the top thread only to gather up or ‘ease’ as we call this technique in the trade. Its a bit like gathering up the top of curtains if ever you’ve had this wondrous experience! Gather up the fabric to the same width as the front waistband. You can go to the next stage and adjust your gathers later.


4. With the RST, pin the Front piece to the Back piece at the side edges. Sew from the top of the side edge, all around the pocket to the lower edge. Repeat for the other side. IMG_3392

5. Finish the raw edges together. Press. Finish the top raw edge of the Front & Back all around.IMG_3393



6. So with the Front Waistband interfaced and with the RST, pin then sew the waistband pieces together at the short edges. Press the seam allowances open.

7. Finish the raw outer edges of the band each side. Its easier to do this at this stage than later…..just saying!

Join the waistband pieces together at the short sides

With the wrong sides together, fold the waistband piece in half aligning the long raw edges all around. Press.IMG_1427IMG_3396

8. Unfold the band. Cut your elastic piece in length according to your size as follows:

Size 8=25cm, Size 10=28cm, Size 12=31cm, Size 14=34cm,

Size 16=37cm, Size 18 =40cm, Size 20=43cm 

Now, take your elastic piece which has been cut in the length according to your size and pin the elastic to the side seams. Aligning the top of the elastic with the waistband centre fold and approx 1.5cm away from the lower raw edge, laying it across the back waistband. Sew along the side seam each side to secure the elastic.IMG_1429


9. Fold back the waistband piece. Pin along the lower edge. Machine tack stitch all around, as before, easing the fabric beyond the elastic as you go. Heres that video link again to show you how in case you missed it   video about putting in the elastic


Optional tabs: at this stage you might like to add the belt tabs and make a tie belt. Instructions for making up the tab pieces is in the cutting guide. Place each tab unfolded short raw edge at the waistband raw edge at each side seam with the tab hanging downwards towards the skirt. Machine tack within the seam allowance to hold. Continue…


10. Pin the waistband to the skirt top edge. Sew. Tip: ease the gathers of the fabric past the (dropped down) needle as you go, so you are always sewing flat fabric.IMG_3400IMG_3402

11. Press the seam allowance downwards, topstitch on the skirt side all around to secure in place.

Optional tab: Fold up the tab piece that has been stitched into the waistband seam. Press over 1cm at the raw edge, pin at the top of the waistband edge, then topstitch it to secure.




Close up of tab at the top edge


12. Hem the raw lower edge of the Front & Back piece all around. Fold over and press a 2cm hem at the lower edge or length as required. Pin. Sew close to the edge. Press.


Pop it on and admire your handiwork!IMG_3410


Cut two pieces of fabric 10cm x 100cm. Join them together at the short edges with the RST. Press the seam allowance open. Fold the tie in half lengthways. Press. Pin. Sew down the two short edges and one long raw edge with a 1cm seam allowance but leave an opening at the centre join of around 4cm. Trim the seam allowance to 5mm and trim across the seam allowance corners. Turn the tie inside out through the opening, pushing out the corners with a poking tool. press so that the seam line is in line with the fold. Topstitch all around approx 3mm from the edge, thus closing up the opening. Feed through the tabs and Voila! Now who doesn’t love a bow tie!C skirt 1 copy




Using your French hair barrette as a base, cut (or tear) long thin strips of fabric approx 1cm wide. Cut the long strips into 10 pieces approx 10-12cm long. d299aaba-5427-5a9b-8606-a75d8083334a_5f8e7408-8806-4ed4-aa52-82704f4bae5e

Tie a strip of fabric on to the top metal bar on the barrette with one tight knot, leave a long end. Repeat with the other strips, pushing them up tightly, squashing them together as much as possible. Trim the fabric ends or leave as long as you like. Trim with pinking shears if you have a pair for added jagged edges. There you have it!

Or using a small barrette make a charming little rosette with a centre button to adorn your hair.

Pull tight and sew a few stitches to secure, then add a button to cover the raw edges




Happy Sewing!



TOTE BAG and matching tissue holder


Home made bags are a thing of beauty! They are also very addictive, once you’ve made one, you’ll be coming back for more, because they can be simple to make, quick and don’t take a lot of fabric so, like this one, they make great beginners projects.

And why not make a matching tissue holder like this one. It makes the perfect gift too.IMG_3173

So here is how you make the Tote bag and matching tissue holder. The finished Tote bag measures 39cm x 35cm with long handles measuring 100cm and an inner pocket.

TOTE BAG and tissue holder

You will need:

50 cm* of outer fabric, lining fabric and iron on medium or heavy interfacing.               (*if your fabric has a one way direction you will need 60cm x 112cm of outer fabric). ETSY SHOP AFRICAN FABRIC HALF METRE LISTING  as seen below 

A reel of thread.


LAYPLANScreen Shot 2020-04-24 at 19.13.06

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

Outer fabric

Cut two pieces 42cm x 36cm (Bag Front and Back)

Cut two pieces 36cm x 8cm (Bag inner top band)

Cut two pieces 7 cm x 100cm (Bag straps)

Cut three pieces 10cm x 15cm (tissue holder)

Lining fabric

Cut two pieces 36cm x 36cm (Bag lining)

Cut one piece 16cm x 14cm (inner bag pocket)

Cut one piece 10cm x 15cm (tissue holder)

This is what you do:

MAKE THE STRAPS Fold the straps in 1cm each long side, press. Then fold in half so the folded edges are aligned. Pin. Stitch down each long side, close the edge. Press. Place to one side.1

TOP INNER BAND With the RST* (right sides together) pin the top band to the lining at the longest edge. Sew a 1 cm seam allowance. Press the seam allowance upwards towards the band. Top stitch on the right side a few millimetres from the seam line on the band side. Press.


Now pin the handles to the top edge of the inner band 12cm apart, positioned centrally (ie leave a gap 6cm either side of the centre point before the strap). See how they are hanging downwards, These handles are short, if yours are longer then tie them to keep them from getting in the way. 4aStitch across the straps at the top, 5mm from the top edge, to secure them in place, so you can remove the pins

POCKET  Make a small hem at the top edge of the pocket by folding over 1cm press, then fold again 1cm, press. Sew.

Fold over 1cm at the remaining un-hemmed sides. Pin to the lining approx 2cm down from the inner band positioned centrally. Topstitch around the three folded edge sides close (3mm) to the outer edge of the pocket. Press.


Now pin one outer bag front piece on top of the inner band and lining piece at the top edge with the RST. Sew across with a 1cm seam allowance. Press the seam allowance flat open. Top stitch on the band edge close to the seam line. You can see that the handle is encased in the seam and is now secure.

Repeat for the other outer bag back and inner band/lining pieces.

CONSTRUCTING THE BAG so now place one bag piece open flat on a table with the right side facing up. Place the second bag piece on top with the RST. Align the lining to lining and bag outer pieces, align the raw side and lower edges all around making sure the cross seams match up. Pin all around. 6a

Now sew all around the bag with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a 10cm opening in the bottom of the lining. Trim across the seam allowance corners.8Now turn your bag inside out through the opening in the lining.

Push the lining into the bag, pushing out the corners inside with a pokey tool (knit needle/ chopstick or a blunt pencil that kind of thing).  Press. And there, my friends, you have a lovely bag. Pat your self on the back!

TISSUE HOLDER Fold and press in half two tissue holder outer pieces with the long sides matching and the wrong sides together. Lay one tissue holder lining piece and one outer piece on top with the wrong sides together. Lay the folded pieces on top of the outer piece with the folded edges at the centre. Pin all around. Sew all around with a 1cm seam allowance. Finish the raw edge with a zig zag stitch. Trim across the seam allowance corners to reduce the bulk. Turn inside out, pushing out the corners. Press. Pop a pack of tissues inside and voila! All done.


Copyright Fiona Hesford. All rights Reserved. Please contact me if you wish to use the text or photographs. 


Cushions how we love them!

Square ones, round ones, plain, multicoloured they support the backs of the world! They give a colour pop to our sofas, garden furniture and beds, like pieces of art brightening up our homes.

A cushion is a wonderful thing. As my husband put it “what is it with women and cushions?” Well, he’s the first one to bolster himself up with a morning cuppa in bed, so I think that men secretly love them just as much as we do!

Anyway down to business…..


Here is a tutorial about how to make an envelope cushion. To make a 16″ square envelope cushion you will need:

50cm of main fabric, a reel of thread, two 25mm buttons (optional) and a cushion pad inner (polyester or feather).

You can get pads here on ebay


s-l1600You can make a cushion from all sorts of fabric, but if you fancy making in African fabric you can see my selection via my ETSY SHOP where I have half metres available and patchwork packs. Here is a selection of some of them.

By the way, I also have a small video on Facebook  and Instagram showing you my fabrics in my Funky Kitchen and Lounging around showing you my cushions in situ. Just saying!

So you have a good pair of scissors and a ruler, you need get cutting out the pieces. IMG_7764

For a 16″ cushion you need to:

Cut out one piece 43cm x 43cm (front) and two pieces 43cm x 35cm (back).

*With the two back pieces, fold over and press 1cm then again 2cm at one long edge on each piece. IMG_7762Pin, then sew close to the inner fold to make two back pieces with hemmed finished edges.IMG_7765If you would like to insert a buttonhole and button fastening, do so at this stage after making the back hems. IMG_7770

You may have a one step buttonhole attachment – see below for the different types.

Here are links to You tube video tutorials about how to make a one or four step buttonholes:

How to make a one step buttonhole 

How to make a four step buttonhole

Not sure which one you have with your machine? Well if you have an attachment like this in pic 1 its a four step:


Or a one step buttonhole attachment looks like this:


if you don’t have either, its possible your machine doesn’t buttonhole, in which case, leave your cushion opening open on the back, thats no big deal!

So place one or two buttonholes on the back, I like to place one centrally on the hem or two approx 15cm apart. The buttons are stitched on at the end.

If you don’t want to add buttons, just skip this stage.

Now to sew the cushion together.

With the right sides of the fabric together, matching the raw three sides, place one back piece at each side on top of the front piece so that the hemmed sides overlap at the centre. Pin all around.Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 11.46.46

Sew all around the outer edge with a 1cm seam allowance, drop the needle into the fabric at the corners when pivoting at the corner to avoid losing your place.

Zig zag the raw edge all around to stop fraying.

Trim across the seam allowance corners, this reduces the bulk and makes the corners more pointy.

Turn inside out and push out the corners with a poking tool, a knitting needle, chopstick or scissors end are all good but take care not to poke a hole in your corner! (been there done that!).

Press and insert a cushion pad. Let your cushion relax into its pad and then mark the button position through the centre of each buttonhole. Sew on the buttons in position.

Enjoy! **


Now who fancies making a patchwork cushion? Heres an 18″ one I made from African fabric.

IMG_3188I have some fabric packs in stock on my Etsy shop so check them out there.

IMG_3217 (1)

To make a patched front (I like to have a plain linen back) but you could also patch the back too.

To make an 18″ patch cushion you will need to cut:

FRONT PIECE: 9 squares of different fabric  16 cm x 16cm (6 1/4″)

BACKING: one piece 47cm x 47cm (18.5″ x 18.5″) (linen, cotton fabric is good) if you are putting a zip in or two pieces 47cm x 35cm for an envelope style backing. Repeat in Batting* if you would like to quilt your fabric

BATTING*: use a bamboo one for eco friendliness heres a good one, Polyester or cotton thin batting would also work. EBAY BATTING SUPPLIER s-l640


Arrange your squares in the formation you require and in 3 rows of 3.

With the right sides of the fabric together and the raw edges aligned, pin pieces 1 & 2 together and sew with a 1/4″ (6mm) seam allowance. Then sew piece 3 to the piece 2 you have just sewn. Press the seam allowance to one side. Repeat for the remaining 2 sets of three squares so you have 3 sets of 3 altogether. Tip: press your seam allowances in opposite directions on each band. 

When you have completed three strips of 3 squares, join the first band to the second and then the second to the third, again with the right sides of the fabric together and raw edges aligned.

If you would like to quilt your front piece this is the stage to lay your batting to the reverse side of your front piece and back piece(s). Pin or fuse with fabric spray glue if you have it.

Quilt the front piece (and back too if you would like more stitch detailing) as required, you may need to insert a walking foot on your machine to ease the flow of the fabric.

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 16.10.38 copy Press. Now continue with the instructions for constructing the cushion same as the envelope cushion above * to **IMG_3188

Now, if you would like to make a cushion with half triangle squares (its the one shown above at the back) just cut out 9 slightly larger squares 6 1/2″ (16.5cm). Make your triangles by following this video tutorial…


When you have your 9 half triangle squares completed,  patch them together as shown in the previous tutorial for the patchwork cushion.

Then follow the instructions as before for making the envelope cushion as from * to **

Now to make a circular cushion with segments like this one


To make a cushion like this one you will need to download and print off two copies of this file for the template, make sure you print at 100% scale and check the 5cm measure on the file:

Cushion Segment Template download 

You need 6 pieces of different fabric prints 25cm x 25cm (10″  x 10″), backing fabric 50cm x 50cm, two 25mm-30mm buttons, one round 18″ cushion pad. Ebay cushion pad shop.

From the constructed template cut out one piece each in the different fabrics. Sew two pieces together with the long sides aligned and the right sides of the fabric together*.  Press. Then sew on the third segment to the two part piece so you have two pieces of 3 joined segments.

Then sew the two semi circle pieces of 3 segments together, aligning the longest edges with the RST* Press. You can add batting to the reverse side if you would like.

Finally with the RST, pin the circle piece to the square backing piece. Stitch all around the curved outer edge 1cm from the edge but leave one section unstitched for inserting the cushion. Insert the cushion. Stitch up the opening with a small slip stitch. Sew on the buttons at the centre either side, passing the needle from one side to the other and pulling tight so that it pulls the cushion in at the centre and covers the corner bits.

MAKING A CO ORDINATING LAMPSHADElampshade 2From a half metre length of fabric you can cover a lampshade like this one. You need one 30cm diametre lampshade kit from:


It comes with full instructions and theres also a video here that helps in the making:


Hope you enjoy making lounge accessories and they light up your life.


Copyright Fiona Hesford. All rights reserved. Please consult me if you would like to use any of the images/text shown on this blog.



So finally she’s here…. Mildred!


As you can see from the pictures above, Mildred is A-line shape, in a choice of short or long lengths.  She’s got adjustable shoulder straps attached with buttons, one large front pocket, two cheeky back pockets and bags of practical style. Whats not to love.

I wear this pinafore a lot. I’ve made it in 8 oz soft denim (see above), needlecord (see below), linen and a linen mix. Here is a link to a company that sells wonderful denims that I would heartily recommend.

The Denim Company 

And if you would like to use linen theres always these guys…..

Fabric Inspirations 

To say this dress is quick to make is an understatement. An afternoon’s sewing and you are done. I couldn’t wait to try it on and was very reluctant to take it off! Its very roomy because I wanted to be able to wear a jumper underneath in Winter and a tee in Summer. I really love the big front pocket, a great place for plonking glasses, ideal for me as I’m someone who spends half her life looking for them…. groan! Sometimes I sew a vertical line down the centre of the front pocket to divide it up, or split the pocket pattern and make two front pockets instead of one.  The back pockets are just the right size too. Mildred was inspired by an apron style so is a practical for sewers to keep their equipment whilst on the job!

By the way, lets talk about topstitching. I didnt topstitch my Mildred (pictured), I was worried about wobbly lines but you could easily do so with either some contrast colour  thread and lengthen the stitch, or use a special top stitch thread for a more defined line. Or why not do a double line of stitching around the pockets.


I always find using my walking foot a fantastic help when topstitching because it helps glide over those bulky seams that can sometimes obstruct the flow of the stitching. If you’ve got one I would recommend popping it on, if you haven’t just lengthen your stitch when it comes to this bit.

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 16.10.38 copy

A walking foot


What else is there to say about this beauty? Well you may wonder why it’s called Mildred? Well, when I was courting my husband (or was it the other way around? hmm) we enjoyed hanging out at a place called Mildred’s cafe in London’s Soho, I think it was one of the first Vegan cafes in London, anyway its a fab place and still going strong. I really loved the name ever since.mildreds-soho_place-800x571

Mildred can be made in a shorter length, I made a shorter one in printed needlecord. It looks great with knee high boots and woolly tights in Winter.MILDRED 1

Here is all the info you need to know about Mildred.



please note the text above the layplan should read:

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 12.09.00

Here are a few step by step photos to give you an idea about….


Firstly the straps are sewn down each long side and one short side with the right sides together (RST), trim the seam allowances to 5mm. Nick across the corners at the straight ends.IMG_5634 Then, turn them inside out.


These loop turners are quite good tools for doing this. If you haven’t got one, get one! They are cheap to buy and I’m sure you will find them really really useful.


Press them, then top stitch like so…IMG_5643

Join the back pieces RST, Press the seam allowances open. Topstitch. By the way, its a good idea to finish your raw vertical edges beforehand either with an overlocker, zig zag stitch or pinking shears.


Now there are no pics here about the pockets, but I would advise attaching them at this stage. In the pattern it leaves this bit to the end, which allows you to re-position them to suit you if you want to, but if you are happy with the position as shown on the template, its a lot easier to sew them on before you sew the front and back together. Just saying!

Next pin, tack stitch the straps at the slanted edge at the back.


Join the interfaced facing pieces at the sides with the RST. Press. Finish the raw outer edge.IMG_5647

Join the front to the back at the side edges.


Insert the facing. pin, matching up the cross seams. Hand tack.IMG_5650

Sew! Nick the seam allowances, trim across the corners. IMG_5651

Turn it to the RS, push out the edges. Press. Topstitch along the upper edge.

sometimes I hand stitch the facing on the inside with a few stitches at the facing side seams to secure it more.

Finally, attach a button on each strap and buttonholes on the top of the front bib if you want to be able to undo it. If you don’t want to bother with buttonholes, just sew the strap and button on together so that it’s fixed. Tip: try it on first and adjust the strap to the correct length first, pin then sew.

Here is a handy link to making buttonholes.IMG_5653 a

Ta dah! Easy peasy pattern don’t you think?

Front LRES

This is the back view. Some great pockets with a little bit slanted on the corners.Back LRES

If you would like to make your own Mildred Pinafore Dress from a pattern, here is a link to my ETSY SHOP  

Happy sewing!



Patterns such as Cecily Dress by Sewgirl, are usually made for a bust size B, so if you need to increase the size, you will need to make an adjustment known as a full bust adjustment (FBA). You will need to add on the following according to your bust cup size:

Size Guide:

AA cup= reduce by 1cm. A cup= reduce by 6mm. B cup= NO CHANGE.  

C cup= add  1cm. D cup = add 1.9cm. DD cup= add 3.2cm.

1. Draw three lines as shown by the red in the picture A, B and C (below)

Line A extends from the Apex point* vertically to the lower edge.

Line B extends from the Apex point to a point a third of the way up on the lower armhole.

Line C extends from the Apex point to the side seam through the middle of the leg of the dart.Dart 1

2. Cut the lines as follows:

Line A cut from the apex to the lower edge.

Line B cut from the apex to the armhole edge but stop a few millimetres before the edge.

Line C cut from the side seam to the apex but stop a few millimetres before the apex. dart 2

3. Spread the pieces apart adding on extra, according to your cup size shown above in the size guide.

dart 4Cut a line across perpendicular to the line A, move so the pattern is aligned at the lower edge. Place a piece of paper behind each open section and tape in position. dart 5

This is now an increased bust dart.


For cup sizes AA and A, you will need to reduce the size of the dart according to the measurements in the Size guide above. Instead of open the sections A, B and C you will need to close them, overlapping the pattern as shown below.

dart 2 1


IMG_2415Long version front view in wool mix jacquard.

IMG_2419Long version back view.

IMG_2406Short jacket version in boiled wool

You can buy a pattern via my website, click on the link below


A stylish unlined duster coat/coatigan, round neck in two lengths; long or jacket length, with rounded pocket details, three or four covered buttons with large snap fasteners and the three quarter length sleeves gives an air of a bygone era.

Make in woollens such as wool mix jacquards and checks or plain boiled wool in vibrant colours for Autumn/Winter or Linen and Linen mix fabrics for Spring/Summer. Its a versatile pattern for all seasons! Here is a link to some wonderful British wool fabrics at reasonable prices.


        Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 11.12.45


Why not team up with jeggings, jeans, long skirts and a polo neck top for a sixties look.


Here is the measurements guide:

URSULA COATIGAN BACK A6Sew 1cm seam allowance unless otherwise specified. Finish raw edges with an overlocker or zigzag stitch. Topstitching –sew 4mm approx. from seam with a straight stitch length at 2.8mm. Stay stitching- a line of straight stitch to prevent stretching

WORKING WITH BOILED WOOL TIP: pop a walking foot on your machine and use a ballpoint needle no.90 which helps give a better sewing experience

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 16.10.38 copy


SEWING THE BACK BELTIMG_2220The Back belt is optional but I think its nice feature to the rear angle! Stitch down each side, then turn inside out. Press.IMG_2221Top stitch down each side.IMG_2242Pin the back belt to the back piece at each side. Machine tack within the seam allowance.



Sew the (interfaced) facing pieces RST. Press the seam allowances open. Finish the outer edge.


IMG_2225Finish the outer edge of the pockets and pocket lining pieces. Pin the pocket piece at each side matching the curved edge. Sew. Clip the seam allowances.

IMG_2229Turn to the WS and topstitch 1cm away from the edge..IMG_2230Pin the pocket lining piece to the pocket at the outer edge. Sew.IMG_2234Tack stitch at the sections above the pocket curve to secure.

SEWING THE FRONT TO BACKIMG_2236Pin, then sew the front to back at the shoulder edges. Finish the raw edges together. Press towards the back. Top stitch on the right side. Staystitch around the neck edge.

Sew the front to back at the side edges. Finish the raw edge. Hem the lower edge of the front and back piece.IMG_2238Pin the facing to the Front at the top side edge. Sew. Press the seam allowances open.

IMG_2239Pin the neck facing to the neck edge, match up the cross seams. Hand tack stitch all around the neck edge. Sew.IMG_2241Nick the seam allowance all around.IMG_2244Fold over to the reverse side. Hand tack stitch around the neck facing. Fold over 1cm at the centre front edge. Press. Hand tack stitch down the front to secure.IMG_2245

Stitch around the neck facing and down each long centre front band.

SLEEVESIMG_2243Pin the sleeves RST at the long side edges. Sew. Finish the raw edge. Press. Turn under the cuff hem, press, pin. Stitch.

IMG_2247Pin the sleeve to the body, align the back of the sleeve head (see template) to the back. Sew. Finish the raw edge. Press. Topstitch on the RS.IMG_2246Pin, hand tack the pocket to the body. On the reverse side, stitch around the pocket with a longer stitch length. This will define the pocket on the RS. Like this……




IMG_2251Cover the buttons then stitch on some large snap fasteners in the position as shown on the template.

There you have it!












Lottie Duster Coat low resLottie Duster, a coat or dress depending on what fabric you use. Pop it on as an extra layer in Autumn or Spring, its a useful addition to your wardrobe. Easy to make, suitable for adventurous beginners. If you are fazed by the buttonholes just leave them out, personally, I wear Lottie open most of the time anyway.

Make Lottie duster coat in lovely linen, delightful denim or for a dress version a medium weight viscose fabric. Here is a link to a great linen supplier, the one above is made in a Linen Union 55% linen, 45% cotton in colour Windsor Blue, but there are lots of other beautiful colours in the range.


Lottie Duster has a four button closure, raglan sleeves, revere collar, optional tie belt and flap detail pockets…….Its a classic!

Lottie is available as a hard copy pattern and also as a digital download here…IMG_2009BUY LOTTIE PATTERN 

Here are some essential size and fabric requirements information…..


You can watch my demonstration on The Sewing Quarter (Wednesday 18th Sept 2019) at 9am and 11am.


Getting started

Working with linen is a joy but it does crease rather, so I usually have my bottle of spray starch at the ready.


Firstly iron your fabric, I like to pop a blanket on my work surface and iron my fabric in situ, I find it a lot easier. I use paper weights to keep the larger pieces stable and pin just the smaller pieces. Once you have cut out the all pieces you just need to interface the back neck facing. I don’t interface any other piece because I think the facing needs to be kept soft and fluid.

Here are pictures of the step by step stages of making Lottie coat with edited text from the pattern with a few extra tips, so you can see if its something you might like to make before you buy.


If you are the smaller end of your size i.e. a size 8/12/16/20 then you could sew a 1.5cm seam allowance to compensate.

Use an overlocker to finish the raw edges or sew a zig zag stitch or pink with pinking shears.


COLLARIMG_2062IMG_2069The collar is made by sewing the outer curved edge without the notches then after nicking and trimming the seam allowance its turned inside out, pressed then top stitched. Then tack stitch along the raw edge to hold together. Place to one side.

FACINGSIMG_2063IMG_2064After interfacing the back facing, pin to the front facing at the shoulders. Stitch. Press the seam allowances open.

IMG_2070Turn under the outer edge 1cm and press. Then stitch. Turn under the lower edge of the facing 1cm and stitch.

JOINING THE SLEEVES IMG_2067Sew the front sleeve to the front at the slanted edge. Join to the back sleeve. Join the back sleeve to the back. Finish the raw edges. Press. Repeat for the other side.

IMG_2073Join the front to back at the side seams, leave the lower section open for the side slits. Finish the raw edges above the slit section. Press.

SIDE SLITSIMG_2077IMG_2078Nick the seam allowance just above the slit section to open the seam at the lower section.  Fold over the side slits at the raw edge 1cm then again 2cm. Press. Sew.

IMG_2075Press under the hem at the lower front edge 1cm then again 2cm. Sew.

COLLAR & FACINGSIMG_2079Starting at the centre of the back neck, pin the collar at the centre point to the neck edge matching up the notches to the sleeve seams.IMG_2083Starting at the back neck, pin the facing piece at the centre of the back facing with the RS together to the collar.IMG_2084

Pin the facing all the way down the front edge at each side.IMG_2085With the lower edge of the facing turned under and stitched 1cm, align at the lower edge.IMG_2086IMG_2087Hand Tack!IMG_2092You might like to mark the curved stitch line with an invisible pen to help you as it is important that both sides are the same.


IMG_2094Nick the curved seam allowances. Trim the seam allowance to 5mm.IMG_2096Pin to the reverse side and press so that the seam line is aligned with the fold. Push out the collar with a poking tool to get the curves.

IMG_2097Pin the facing all around.

IMG_2100Top stitch all around 1cm from the edge.

IMG_2099Make a hem at the sleeve raw edge. Fold over 1cm then again 3cm. Press. Pin. Stitch.

POCKETS IMG_2103Pin the pockets RS together. Stitch all around leaving a small opening at one side for turning. Trim the seam allowance to 5mm. Nick the curved corners.IMG_2111Turn inside out, push out the corners with a poking tool. Press well, aligning the seam line to the fold. Top stitch all around. Press over the flap section as shown on the template. IMG_2114Pin to the coat in position as shown on the pattern. Tack stitch to hold. Sew all around a second line of stitching close to the outer edge and parallel to the top stitching. Reinforce the corners at the top just below the flap fold. Sew on a button at each pocket or leave without.

TIE BELT (optional)IMG_2104Pin the tie belt pieces RS together. Sew all around, leave a small opening at the centre for turning. Trim the seam allowance and nick the curved corners. IMG_2105Turn the tie inside out and push out the curved ends with a poking tool. Press well so that the seam line is in line with the fold all around.

IMG_2110Topstitch all around the outer edge.


Fold the loop piece in half then fold in 1cm each long side. Press. Fold again in half. Press.IMG_2113

Top stitch down each long side. Cut into two equal pieces. Press over 1cm at each end. IMG_2116Attach to the coat at each side in position as shown on the template with a box stitch.IMG_2118Sew your buttonholes. Use the template as a guide to the position.IMG_2120One last thing, you may like to insert small pieces of wondaweb under the facing to secure the facing in place. You could also stitch a few stitches at the shoulder seam to secure the neck facing.

One last thing….why not make a gorgeous neck tie scarf like the one below, with just a half metre of hand woven indian cotton fabric from


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