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 Tunic version with long sleeves and side pockets in African Wax cotton fabric.
Agnes Top with short sleeves in viscose fabric.
Dress with Tie Belt and gathered elasticated cuffs

May I present Agnes? The latest 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!

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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


On Worthing beach in Maisie dress (with hood and side pockets).
In fleece back sweat fabric with side pockets and hood
Maisie top (with side pockets and neckband).
Maisie dress in sweat shirting fabric (with neckband and patch pockets).

So….at last! a Sewgirl beginners stretch jersey project- its been a long time coming. A nice and snuggly garment inspired by my trips to the beach and wanting to feel cosy when I go for my sea swims (yes you heard right!) I’m planning on swimming through the winter….hmm! We will see if that happens.

So what can I say about Maisie? Its comfy, cosy, oversized so lots of room for lumps and bumps (and I have my fair share of those!). Its got easy peasy raglan sleeves -yay! This pattern gives you options to make it in a choice of two lengths -a dress or top, with either side or patch pockets and a hood or high neckband, lots of choices on offer with this one. I popped a choice of pockets because I LOVE POCKETS! There- I said it.

Fabrics suitable for this garment: Stretch! So think sweatshirt fabric, terry or loop back jersey is perfect too. Medium weight stripy jersey is also fab, but make sure its not too lightweight, you need something with a bit of structure to it. Try sourcing one from The Cornish Haberdashery -they have some nice coloured jersey knit stripes. Any knit fabric is good too, for the orange jumper top I used a cable knit fabric by and its great!

So here is a chart with all the info you need about sizing, finished garment measurements and fabric requirements.

This is how to make Maisie Top or Dress.

Tips: I find it really helpful when sewing bulky fabrics to use a Walking Foot. This is not a ramble whilst you sew – ha ha! Its an attachment for your machine which has a rolling mechanism under the foot to help move the fabric along and it looks like this one, but don’t worry, if you haven’t got one.

A walking foot attachment

Also its a good idea to pop a jersey or ballpoint needle on your machine. It prevents snagging the elastane fibres in the fabric. You can get these from or your local sewing store.

Ballpoint needle

First prepare the PATCH POCKETS, if you are doing side pockets go to the next step.

Pin one pocket piece straight edge at each side edge of the Front and Back. Press away from the body. Topstitch on the pocket side.
Pin one sleeve (front edge) to the Front each side.
Press the sleeves away from the body
Join the sleeves (back edges) to the Back. Press.
With the RST, join the Front to Back at the side edges. Finish the raw edges together.

NECKBAND (for Hood version go to ‘HOOD’ section)

Pin the short edges together with the RST (right sides together). By the way, if you prefer to make a narrower neckband, just cut a neckband piece half the width and with a straight short edge and follow the same instructions.
Fold the neckband in half with the wrong sides together, then pin to the neck edge all around, aligning the notches to the shoulder seams. Hand tack.
Sew. Finish the raw edge. Press the neckband upwards and the seam allowance downwards. Topstitch around the neckline on the right side of the garment.
Pin the cuff hem. Single fold if you have an overlocker, double fold (1cm then 2cm) if you dont. Alternatively you may prefer to add a cuff. If so here is a how to printed tutorial about how to do so.
Sew the cuff hem.
Pin then sew the lower hem.
Topstitch the pocket all around. Sew on the wrong side, following the previous line of stitching around the pocket.


Pic 1. Pin the two Hood pieces at the outer curved edge with the right sides of the fabric facing together. Sew. Finish the raw edge. Pic 2. Fold back the straight edge 1cm then again 2cm. Press, pin then stitch.
Pin to the neck edge all around with the RST. Finish the raw edges together.
Press the Hood upwards and the seam allowance downwards on the reverse side. Press. Pin, then top stitch all around.
Lovely hooded top with side pockets ready to go!

All content is copyrighted by Fiona Hesford please ask prior permission if you would like to use any of the text or images.


Midi Dress
Maxi Dress
Sleeveless top version. Fabric by
For a tutorial about how to adjust the armhole for a sleeveless version scroll to the bottom of the page

There are two neckline fastenings to choose from…..

Frida dress named after the one and only Frida Khalo of course. A woman known for her fashion style as well as her work as a remarkable artist.

Frida can be made into a top, dress or maxi dress as shown in the pictures above. It has one (top version) or two frill tiers (dress version), with a keyhole neckline with either ties or a loop and button fastening at the neckline. There are two side pockets and sleeves which are three quarter length elasticated for the dress or short fold back cuffs for the top. Please see the chart below for the finished garment measurements.

This is an easy pattern for beginners with some previous sewing experience. Techniques involved are gathering up the frills, inserting ties, a facing, I think theres nothing too difficult involved – its a really fun project to sew. If you feel a bit daunted by the tie/loop insertion, take a peek at the video tutorial that I have linked to this blogpost.

Fabrics suitable for making Frida are cotton (African fabrics are great), denim chambray, ramie, viscose and lightweight linen. Please see the chart below for fabric requirements.

Please note that you will also need 30cm of med fusible interfacing, 50cm of elastic (10mm wide) and for the top one button (10-20mm).
This is a calf length dress however you can make a shorter dress by using two (A) tiers which will make it on the knee length (shown on a 5ft 7″ height person).

The pattern instruction booklet will show you the pieces to cut out according to your fabric width, using the layplans as a guide.


Here are some of the stages of making up Frida to show you how its done.




On the pattern you can see lots of lines for each Dart size. Each size has two lines: one (outer line) is the ‘cutting’ line and one (inner line) which is the ‘stitch’ line. See the diagram below, Ive marked size 8 Dart lines in yellow (cutting line) and pink (stitch line), to show you more clearly. Its a good idea to mark the required two lines as I have done on your pattern to make them easier to see.






Top (Sleeveless Version A) Leave the sleeves off and edge with bias binding.
Fabric by Slubbed Prints


To reduce the armhole, making it less gapey, I recommend pinning in approx 1cm at each side seam, from the top of the armhole to the dart. Also make a small dart at the back section of the armhole about a third of the way up. I made mine approx 1cm (ie 2cm when folded) but you may need more or less.

Try the top on and see how it looks and feels, remember theres going to be a further 1cm taken off by the seam allowance of the binding. If you are happy with the fit, sew the dart and side seam adjustment. Press.
Now make your bias binding. Cut two strips of fabric approx 5cm wide and length to accommodate each armhole.
Fold each strip in half so that the raw edges are matching and the wrong sides facing together. Press.
Starting from the underarm side seam, aligning the raw edges of the binding and armhole, stitch the binding to the armhole, overlapping a little where they meet. I find you don’t need to pin it first, but you do need to ease or stretch it slightly as you sew.
Press the binding away from the armhole with the seam allowance pressed towards the top.
Fold the binding to the reverse side. Press. Pin then hand tack all around. This makes it so much easier when sewing on the machine.
Stitch all around on the machine, then remove all tacking stitches. Press.
There you have it!
Dress (Version B)
Maxi Dress (Version C)

All photos and text are subject to copyright by Fiona Hesford T/A Sewgirl .

Please ask permission before copying any imagery prior to use. Thank you.


Orla with simple neck facing (option B) and long sleeves

Orla dress is a style that I designed quite a while ago and it proved such a classic style, I decided it just had to join the Sewgirl collection.

So let me describe this dress, so as well as being insanely stylish, it is also a very easy relaxed dress to wear. Its trapeze shape allows you lots of movement, so you can eat what you like without feeling constricted. With two side pockets (who doesnt love a sidey) and a choice of two dress lengths and two sleeve lengths, the Option A has a buttoned placket detail at the neckline, edged with bias binding to give it a retro feel or Option B has an alternative simple neck facing.

Both options have a back neck opening. Option A has a hand chain stitch loop, and Option B version you can use the rouleau loop method.

Option B back neck opening

This is an easy pattern to make up, however, the placket detail is probably a little more tricky, so if you have had some experience attaching bias binding you should be ok.

I would say this dress really suits bold prints but it also looks great in plain linens or viscose/linen mixes or the blue and white one (with red trim below) is a voile that I bought from who have a wonderful collection of hand block print cotton fabrics from India. You can really play around with matching up one of the colours in your print or using a complete contrast colour binding as I have done here.

Some other versions of Orla that Ive made in bold prints.

Here are details about fabric requirements, size info and finished garment details.

So you will also need some equipment like a loop turner or a large eye blunt ended needle, tacking thread and needle, an iron, a good pair of dressmaking scissors and a stitch ripper for any back tracking you may need to make!


Here are some pictures and text to give you an idea about how this dress is made before you buy.


Just one tip before you start cutting out your fabric pieces on a narrower width fabric, if you are cutting out sizes 20+ you may not have the width at the lower edge, my advise would be to add a square of fabric extension on the lower selvedge edge to compensate.

So the back pieces are joined together and seams pressed open, the top section is left unstitched for the back neck opening.

The Front and Back are joined at the shoulder seams and topstitched.

Side pockets are added each side and topstitched.
Small darts, which are marked on the pattern, are stitched each side and pressed downwards. These give the upper armscye more shape. Then its on to the bias binding bit for Option A only. For Option B see below.


The pattern gives you lots more details about how to do the binding.

Bias Binding
Pin then stitch one side of the bias binding to the outer edge of the Placket.
First, trim off 1.5cm from around the neck edge. Pin the placket to the dress at the centre top neck edge. Stitch all around close to the binding outer edge.
Then pin the seam binding and stitch to the neck raw edge all around.
Sew three buttons on to the placket and attach a hook and eye at the back neck.
Pin the front to back at the side edges, align the pockets. Now sew all around from the underarm, all around the pockets to the lower edge. Finish the raw edge with a zig zag stitch or use your trusty overlocker if you have one.
Pin the sleeve together at the side edges with the right sides matching.
Pin the sleeve head to the armhole, be careful to match the back section of the sleeve head (as marked on the pattern) to the Back section of the armhole.
Hand tack stitching really helps to ease your sleeve head in nicely to the armhole, it may need a little coaxing so be firm and show it whose the boss!
Stitch all around then finish the raw edges. Don’t forget to remove the tacking stitches and sometimes I like to nick at the cross seam allowance to allow a bit more movement. Press the sleeve head. I like to use a Tailors ham like this one, they are SO helpful when pressing sleeve heads (and hats for that matter). I have them available to buy in my Haberdashery listing on my Etsy shop.
A Tailors Ham
You can topstitch the sleeve head or leave it without, its up to you. Hem your sleeve edge.
Bold prints certainly give the wow factor. This one is by Echino its a linen and cotton mix and a super duper print design that I love!
I have made myself many Orla dresses as you can see because I just love bold prints.

ORLA DRESS VERSION B (with a simple neck facing)

So with Option B you don’t insert a placket or use bias binding around the neckline like you do with Version A. I thought that some people would like to try it without the binding, so here are a few illustrations to give you an idea about how its done.

Sew the (interfaced) Front Facing to the Back Facing (with the right sides together), at the shoulder edges. Press the seam allowances open. You can make a small hem around the outer edge or just finish it all around with an overlocked or zig zag edge.
Nick the seam allowance all around. Before you stitch down the short edges, insert the loop.
Pop the loop under the back neck facing at the top edge, then sandwich it between the facing short edges and the back. and stitch down.
Trim off excess loop, seam allowance corners then turn it inside out and poke out the corners. Press. Pin the facing all around and stitch down.
Sew on a button to match the loop and voila!
The finished article. Stylish, modern and practical and a great addition to your wardrobe for all seasons.

All images and text are subject to copyright. Please do not use any images without prior permission.
Not for commercial use.