IMG_3649Peggy Top with long sleeves

Peggy top 1 square
Peggy Top with hemmed short sleeves

Peggy Top with short elasticated sleeves

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 fabric, pattern templates, instructions, a piece of elastic, interfacing and a self cover button all packed up in a recycled kraft bag with handles. Yummy!


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. If you need to make adjustments to the pattern, check out the tutorials such as Adjusting a Bust dart.


Seam allowance is 1cm (3/8″), however if you prefer to use a 1.5cm (5/8″), then just add 5mm to the outer edges (except for those which are ‘Place on fold’).

Finish raw edges with a zigzag stitch or an overlocker. IMG_0076

You may like to use a contrast colour thread for the topstitching, as I did with the long top to get that ‘jeans’ stitch detail. You don’t need a special topstitch thread in particular, just a colour that will show up).

CUTTING GUIDE – are all shown in the instructions booklet.


ScanOn 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.2Fold the dart so that the RST(right sides together) and the dart raw edges are aligned. Mark your stitch line using a ruler and pencil which runs 1cm parallel to the cutting line.

Sew along the ‘stitch’ line, leaving long thread ends which are tied together and trimmed. Press the darts downwards.

1Finish the raw edges of the centre back. Sew the back pieces together with the right sides together, leaving the top section unstitched. 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!

All text and images are subject to copyright by Fiona Hesford. Please ask permission if you wish to use any content.



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

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 all of which I have in stock on my Etsy shop.

betty 2

Linen is available to buy from the shop.

Here’s 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

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

BETTY HACK- heres how


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

To save on fabric, cut the Bodice Back as two pieces, so instead of normally placing the pattern against the fold, add a 1cm to the centre back edge and 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.

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


IMG_3435skirt cropped


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 it’s done.

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


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 (4cm 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) and a separate piece of spotty cotton poplin for the pockets. 

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.


Size guide 8-20


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 (template 1)– Cut two on the fold of the fabric. 

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

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

Pocket (template 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. With the fabric right sides facing together, pin one pocket piece at each side edge 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



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

3a right side

                                                                            PLEAT-Fabric right side                                                                3b wrong side                                                                    PLEAT- Fabric wrong side 3c                                                                                Skirt Front right side 

CLOSE UP OF THE REVERSE SIDE. Stitch across the top edge within the seam allowance to secure the pleats. Now go to step 4.

4a. For an alternative to pleating- Gathering up the Front top edge instead. 5GATHERING (if you prefer instead of front pleats)

Instead of pleats, why not gather up the front piece. To do this, set your sew machine to the maximum stitch length (usually 4 or 5) and sew a line 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

WAISTBAND  Here is a video link about doing the elastic bit 


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!


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!


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



You can make a cushion from all sorts of fabric. Ive made these ones in Ankara fabric, commonly known as African Dutch wax, which I think look great in simple patchwork squares and triangles. With their bold clashing patterns and vibrant colours they cheer up any room up no end!

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.

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, it’s 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.


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 **

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.

Pop inside a round cushion pad and give it a squidge!

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



IMG_5716 croppedSo ta dah!  here she is! …. 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 8oz soft denim (see above), needlecord (see below), linen and a linen mix. Here is a link to my Etsy shop where I have stock of 8oz indigo denim and linen to buy as bundles.


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 didn’t topstitch my Mildred (pictured), I was worried about wobbly lines, but you could easily do so with either a 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.

Lets talk about INTERFACING! – I know -its a boring subject but it has to be said that the Mildred pattern asks you to interface the facings (essential) and also the pockets and straps (not so essential). Ive made this pattern up in a gorgeous linen viscose mix which was quite ‘floppy’ and I found it needed the pockets and strap to be interfaced to give them more body. However when it came to making it in denim and linen, all I interfaced was the facings. I found that the pockets didn’t need it.


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 pattern?

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 Pinafore dress 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

Seam allowance is 1cm (3/8″), however if you would prefer to use a 1.5cm (5/8″) then cut 5mm away from the edges all around (except the edges indicated ‘Place on Fold’).



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.

Hand stitch the facing on the inside at the side seams with a few stitches to secure it down more, or ironing on some wonderweb really helps.

POCKETS Fold over the hem at the slanted edge (front pocket) or top edge (back pocket), press. Stitch. Fold over 1cm at each remaining edge. Pin to the front (front pocket), or back (back pocket) in the  position as shown on the template. Hand tack. Topstitch.

13 grey new14 grey new

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.

11a close up

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 SHOP.

Happy sewing!




Patterns that have a Bodice Front with darts, such as Cecily Dress by Sewgirl, are for a bust size B. As with most patterns of this type, they are designed for a 20 year old with a B-cup size bust. Obviously as we get older, our bodies change, so the pattern dart size and position are intended as a guide which can be altered easily to suit your size and shape.

So, for example, you may need to move the dart position up or down (Step 1), or increase or decrease the bust size to say a bra cup size C or D (Step 2). This blog post, shows you how to alter both the position of the dart and alter the cup size.

First of all you will need to find your Apex* point and mark it on your pattern.

So what exactly is the Apex*? Well, it is the middle of the fullest point of the bust (aka nipple!). To find this, (wearing your normal bra) just measure across from one apex to the other, so with me for example its 18cm that means its 9cm each side of the centre line. Then you need to measure how far down it is situated, so measure from the top shoulder to your Apex* (it usually helps to wear something with a shoulder seam and measure from there). Mine measures 33cm, so I mark on my pattern an X – 33cm down and 9cm away from the centre line of the bodice front. Now a quick way to check its correct, is to place the pattern up against you, and see where your apex* is situated. If it matches with the one you’ve marked then you are all good to go to the next stage i.e to move the dart position or do a bust size alteration (or both).


To tell whether your dart is too high or low, you need to see if the line that runs right through the middle of the dart hits the apex point. You can see from this diagram that it is too high, so it will need to be lowered.

bust 1

It needs to line up as shown in the diagram below…..the angle is not important.Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 16.34.42To move a dart position up or down you can do by one of two methods:

  1. Slight Adjustment – if you just need just a slight adjustment, you can do this by changing the angle of the dart. So, firstly outline your size dart   triangle in red pen, so that you can see it really clearly. Then change the angle and redraw the dart so that it points towards the new apex point. NB. The dart tip needs to be at least 2.5cm (1 “) away from the apex.bust copy

2. Larger Adjustment To adjust the dart position more than a centimetre or so, you will need to use a cut and paste method. So, as in the previous method, outline your dart in red pen so that you can see it more clearly.

To maintain the angle of the dart, draw a box around the dart and cut out the box. Move it to the required position, then secure with sticky tape. Fill in the cut out section with paper and tape. NB make sure you keep your box straight and not slanted when you move it. bust copy



Measuring for your bra cup size- you will need to take two measurements of your bust – High Bust and Full Bust. Then subtract the high bust measurement from the full bust measurement (see the diagram A).


If you are:

less than 2.5cm /1″ then you are bra cup size AA

2.5cm /1″ then you are bra cup size A

5cm /2″ then you are bra cup size B

7.5cm / 3″ then you are bra cup size C

10cm / 4″ then you are bra cup size D

12.5cm / 5″ then you are bra cup size DD

15cm / 6″ then you are bra cup size DDD or UK size E

18cm / 7″ then you are bra cup size DDDD or UK size F

20.5cm / 8″ then you are bra cup size G/H or UK size FF

23cm / 9″ then you are bra cup size I or UK size G

25.5cm / 10″ then you are bra cup size J or UK size GG

The pattern is normally drafted to a size B, so you will need to reduce/increase each dart by the following measurements:

AA cup= reduce by 1cm on the

A cup= reduce by 1.25mm/ 1/2″

B cup = NO CHANGE  

C cup= add  1.25cm / 1/2″

D cup = add 2.5cm/ 1″

DD cup= add 3.75cm/ 1 1/2″

DDD cup (UK E) = add 5cm / 2″

DDDD cup (UK F) = add 6.25cm / 2 1/2″

G/H cup (UK FF) = add 7.5cm / 3″

I cup (UK G) = add 8.75cm / 3 1/2″

J cup (UK GG) = add 10cm / 4″


1. Firstly, 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. NB. Keep the pattern pieces together at the lower side, you don’t want to add on extra width at the bottom edge.

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. You will need to adjust the side line to match your lower pattern piece if necessary.


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 opening out the sections A, B and C you will need to close them, overlapping the pattern as shown below.

dart 2 A
dart 2 B
dart 2 C

The dart is adjusted in exactly the same way as increasing the dart but in reverse. Secure the overlap sections with sticky tape.

So, with a bit of know how, you can see its easy to make adjustments to your pattern. It pays to spend a little time prior to making your garment to get the fit just right. After adjusting your pattern, why not make a test garment out of cheaper fabric, or make up just a section of the garment beforehand such as just the Bodice Front and Back, It will allow you to relax in the knowledge that, being tried and tested, your project fit will fit correctly and will be a joy to wear. And, of course, after you have made your pattern adjustments, you can use the pattern piece again and again.

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


IMG_2415Long version front view in wool mix jacquard.


Long version back view.

IMG_2406Short jacket version in boiled wool

Ursula linen etsyUrsula adopts a ‘duster coat’ style when made in linen as shown above.


This a simple hack, made from the Ursula pattern in a reversible boiled wool, a fabric that looks exactly the same on both sides. This gives it a more relaxed oversized look (this hack is not possible if your fabric isn’t reversible). In a nutshell I left the back belt off, no hems, no facings or front folded edge just a simple rectangle piece added on to the back neck. For full details about how to make the hack version, scroll down to the end of this blogpost.

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



Ursula coatigan, inspired by a bygone era, and her namesake Ursula Andress….what a woman!

This 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 the 1960s.

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. Or, what about making a wrap shawl out of any leftovers like this one.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for the Wrap Shawl step by step instructions.



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!



IMG_2838 a

In a nutshell, this hack version is where the front band is left unfolded, no hems at all on the lower edge or cuffs with a back collar piece added to to make a rever fold back collar. It makes for a more relaxed Japanese feel. The pockets are stitched as normal.

So you may have seen my show on the Sewing Street where I demonstrated my Ursula Coatigan. You can catch up here on the YOUTUBE link. Scroll on to the fourth hour for the Ursula demo. I’ll also be doing a demo of this hack version on October 14th 2021. I’ll upload a Youtube link when its ready.

So, the lovely folk at Sewing Street sent me some boiled wool to make up a sample and use to demonstrate on the show. When it arrived, I have to say, I was a little bit worried, because it was significantly thicker than other boiled wools I’ve used before. Well, I gave it a go and found that if you used a walking foot (recommended anyway for any bulky fabric), a good strong 90 needle, and made  single fold hems on the band and lower hem and cuffs, instead of double fold hems, then you’d be fine.

IMG_0709The SS boiled wool was like felt, it didn’t fray at the edges at all, so I thought leave them be. This 100% wool fabric was, I thought, a bargain price and would keep you nice and toastie, and no nasty synthetics! Wonderful!

Well I stitched the pockets, and the side edges, inserted the sleeves and all looked good. At this stage, I didn’t hem the lower edge, nor the sleeve cuffs.

img_0706-2Then to the facing bit. I popped the body on to a mannequin and started to look at Ursula in a new way. The pre-facing, waterfall neckline looked quite interesting, and it gave me an idea.

IMG_0684So I left the facings off, and the back belt, I didn’t fold back the centre front either. I just left it un-hemmed and I thought it looked very Japanese in style. Then I thought- what about if I stitched on a simple rectangle of fabric at the back neck to make a collar? oooo ….nice!IMG_0720So heres a diagram to show what I did. (please excuse the rather primitive drawing btw).


These are measurements you need to cut the rectangle for your size:

Size 8= 9cm x 49cm (3 1/2″ x 19 1/4″)

Size 10= 9.5cm x 50cm (3 3/4″ x 19 3/4″)

Size 12= 10cm x 51.5cm (4″ x 20 3/8″)

Size 14= 10.5cm x 53cm (4 1/4″ x 20 7/8″)

Size 16= 11cm x 54cm (4 3/8″ x 21 3/8″)

Size 18= 11.5 x 55cm (4 1/2 x 21 3/4″)

Size 20= 12cm x 56.5cm (4 3/4″ x 22 1/4″)

The rectangle is pinned to the wrong side of the garment at the neck edge, aligning the centre points of the back neck to the centre point of the rectangle. Then sew it on with a 5mm (1/4″) seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance down if you think it needs it. Then, fold the rectangle back which then covers the seam. To balance out the raw edges, I decided to leave the sleeve cuff edges raw and the lower edge too. I think it looked good like that. The overall style is now quite oversized and relaxed and I really love it! In fact, I haven’t taken it off since I made it!IMG_2838 a

SELF COVER BUTTONS (3 x 29mm)  So I made up the four large self cover buttons, which to be honest, with this fabric, were quite a challenge. Of course you could use normal large buttons or none at all. Anyway, I did get there in the end, heres a few tips which hopefully may make it easier for you:

  1. Flatten your disc of fabric as much as possible with a steam iron, bash with a hammer or pull it apart so its as thin as possible.
  2. Push your fabric under the claws as much as possible, I used a tool like this one (below), which really helped, but you could use the end of a screw driver or old scissors.
  3. Then, getting the metal button backing disc on was tricky, brute force is needed, but if you really cant get it on then I recommend covering the back with a small disc of fabric with a small slit in the centre for the wire loop then, sewing the button fabric together underneath to hold it together, then stick the disc over the top with fabric glue. In a lot of ways I think this is actually better than getting the metal back on because then you don’t see any metal on the back at all.  s-l640

Snap fasteners: Then I stitched on the poppers, to match the buttons. You could always use bought buttons rather than self cover ones or have no buttons at all.

One last thing…..

Pilling: By the way, if you are getting pilling with your boiled wool, I’ve read that it helps to spray the fabric with hairspray- I haven’t tried it myself but I’m going to give it a go.

Boiled Wool Washing Instructions – Manufacturer says: A gentle cold-to-lukewarm bath (an actual bath would be good where it can spread out and not need moving about much) with a specific wool wash. Avoid agitation or wringing. Carefully rinse and roll and press in a towel to remove excess water. We strongly recommend testing a small piece first to be sure.



This wrap shawl is perfect for boiled wool. Suitable for beginners, it needs about a half metre of double sided boiled wool fabric (or anything for that matter). With a nifty threading system through a line of holes or buttonholes, you can gather up the folds to make a waterfall effect wrap shawl. DIAG 1

WRAP SHAWL (unlined)
50cm x 150cm of fabric such as boiled wool. A reel of thread
(If overlocking the raw edges use matching coloured threads).


Use a 90-100 jersey or ballpoint machine needle when sewing knitted or stretch fabrics

Overlocker (optional)
Invisible marker pen/ masking tape
Stitch unpick
Seam allowance is 1cm unless otherwise stated.cutting guide

CUTTING OUT Lay out your 50cm x 150cm fabric rectangle, wrong side up on a table. Mark a point 26cm in from one long side. Draw a line from this point to the lower left and right corner points. Cut along this line.


Mark a point 30 cm in from the lower left corner. Draw a vertical line upwards with chalk or invisible marker pen. This line marks the centre line for your buttonholes or just cut holes (if using boiled wool).

Buttonholes are 4cm wide and run horizontally to the long lower edge. Mark out the six buttonholes positions (each one is 40mm wide) starting with the first at 4cm up from the lower (long) side, then another five buttonholes with a gap of 8cm in between each one.


SEWING THE BUTTONHOLES Cut open using a stitch unpick then trim any ragged edges and loose thread ends with small scissors NB take care not to cut your buttonhole end bar tacks.

Alternatively, if using boiled wool fabric that doesn’t fray,  just cut the 4cm holes with an 8cm gap in between and leave unfinished.

FINISHING THE OUTER EDGE if your fabric doesn’t fray you could leave your shawl outer edges unfinished alternatively finish them off with an overlocker with matching colour threads or make a small hem all around the outer edge.

Option 1Using an overlocker. With matching overlocker threads, starting with the two long sides at the widest point, finish the raw edges. Finally finish the raw short edge. Sew in all the thread ends.

Option 2 Hemming. Trim off the pointed corner so the end tip is 1cm across. Fold over a minimum hem (5mm approx.) to the reverse side. Commencing at the widest end, sew a small hem at the two long sides. Repeat for the shortest side. Using your thread end, hand stitch the corners to close up the open seams.


HOW TO WEAR THE SHAWL Thread the point of the shawl through the first hole near the longest edge, then in and out of each hole. Leave the pointed end extended.

There you have it! Very chic!



Scroll up to hour 4


Lottie 2Lottie 1IMG_2186

Lottie jacket short jacket version EtsyLottie Duster, a coat or jacket depending on which length line 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 an intermediate, its an enjoyable make which really isn’t too challenging.

Make Lottie coat in lovely linen, delightful denim or a cotton canvas. On the Sewgirl Etsy shop there are listings for a fabulous quality 8 oz denim in medium and dark indigo and an extensive range of beautiful linen fabric that would be perfect for making this fabulous jacket.

Lottie coat has a four button closure, raglan sleeves, revere collar, optional tie belt and flap detail pockets (or sew standard patch pockets as I have done in the short jacket version)…….Its a classic!



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


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 SLITS (the short jacket doesn’t have side slits but you could add them in, just leave 12cm open up from the bottom hem at each side and single fold hem along the side edge, or stitch on a small 4cm x 12cm strip to make a binding at each edge to allow a double fold). IMG_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.

CLASSIC POCKET STYLE: if you would prefer classic pockets without the flap, cut your pocket straight at the top edge, at the fold line. Sew all around, turn inside out after nicking and trimming the corners. Topstitch across the top edge. Pin to the front, hand tack. Make a double line of topstitching around the side and lower edge.

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



Lottie low res


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All the best X Fiona



SQ tunic sampleEdith – An artists smock style loose fitting tunic for everyday wear. Straightforward to make with easy sew long sleeves, a deep round neck, lots of cross seams and topstitching (oh yes I do love topstitching!) and two inset pockets. Edith has an open loop and button back neck detail so its easy to get on and off. Theres lots of room in this tunic to move, eat and do what you will!

The finished length is on the knee or just above. See below for the finished garment measurements.

Please note that the horizontal pocket seam is designed to sit approx 5cm (2″) below the waistline. EDITH BACK NEW-1You can sew a single or double line of topstitching as you prefer.IMG_7976Heres a close up of those nifty inset pockets which are hidden within the seam line. Before you start, its a good idea to measure where the pocket seam line will be on you. If you need to make any adjustments to the length of the upper and lower body sections, you can do this before you cut out. by tracing off the pattern and making alterations. Just extend or shorten the lower edge of the upper front and back by sliding the pattern down or up, then match up at the sides. Repeat for the lower section.

The Back neck opening with a rouleau loop, shown below, is such a good technique to get under your sewing belt.IMG_7983

Or you could also make a sleeveless smock top version like this one:

Edith topI made it 12cm shorter on the lower front and back section only. I didn’t attach the sleeves, just turned under a small 1cm hem and stitched a double row of topstitching.

To shorten the pattern just mark out the length up from the lower edge, then slide the pattern down and redraw the lower curved edge.

I also tried topstitched above the pocket seam which is an alternative method which also looks good.

Please note: For a shorter Smock Top version you will need 50cm less fabric than the pattern states for your size. 

A Note about Topstitching. If  you prefer to have contrast colour top stitching, use a different coloured thread in the needle and the background colour in the bobbin. You don’t have to use a special topstitch thread, which gives a more defined line of stitching like you get on jeans. I used a quilting thread which worked well, but an upholstery thread could also be good. 

If using a thread that is the same colour as the background for the topstitching, select one that is slightly darker in colour, you will find that your stitching looks so much better.

The pattern states to topstitch as you go, but if you are using a contrast thread, try to group several stages of topstitching together to avoid having to constantly change your needle thread colour. Better still, you could thread up another sewing machine (if you have one) with the contrast thread.

Extend your stitch length to 2.6 – 2.8mm and sew approx 5mm from the seamline. Sew one or two lines of stitching if you prefer. I like to pop my machine settings on needle position to the far left (there is a setting for this on most machines) and line up the seamline to the centre line on the presser foot which really helps to keep straight and even. When topstitching the front pocket edge, move your needle position to the far left, align the side of the foot to the seamline and sew 5mm approx from the pocket seamline.

Why not try inserting a ‘Stitch in the ditch’ foot attachment (or otherwise known as a. ‘Edge stitch foot’ ) if you have one to help as a guide for topstitching. It looks like this…… download


There is information about the cutting guide and layplans in the pattern which you can purchase here:


I love making Edith in floppy linen mix fabrics or denim. Here is a link to the Etsy shop where you will find an 8oz denim in dark or medium and an extensive color range of linen fabrics, perfect for making Edith Tunic.


This is what you do….

First sew your upper back pieces together. Finish off the seams. Press.2Then repeat with the upper front pieces and the lower back pieces.3Finish the outer 3 sides of the pockets.4Pin the pockets to the upper front and lower front in position as shown on the template.5Press downwards on the upper front and upwards on the lower front. Topstitch along the top edge of the 4 pockets in non contrast thread.6Pin the upper front to the lower front with the RST (right sides together). Sew across all around the pockets. Press.78Join the front to back at the shoulder seams. Press the seam allowance towards the back. Topstitch.

Staystitch around the neck edge all around. This is a line of stitching within the seam allowance all around to prevent stretching.9


10Interface the reverse side of the neck facing pieces. Join together at the short sides. Press the seam allowances open. Finish the outer raw edge all around.11Pin to the neck edge. Hand tack stitch all around .12Snip!  Clip the curved seam allowances to allow it to sit flat when its turned to the right side. Don’t forget to trim across the corners too.13Press to the reverse side. Align the seam line to the fold all around.

MAKE THE ROULEAU15aFold the loop piece in half lengthways, press. Stitch down one long side at the raw edges leaving a long thread end. Use a loop turner to turn it inside out or if you don’t have one, use a blunt ended needle tied with the thread end, pass through the tube, pulling gently through and out the other end. Press. Et voila!15cInsert the loop between the neck facing and upper back. Pin, adjust the length according to your button. Sew down the short edge. Trim off any excess loop ends.15dTurn to the RS. Oop la! one rouleau loop! Snazzy!14Hand tack stitch the facing all around to secure it.14aMachine stitch 4cm from the neck edge all around.15Pin the sleeve to the body. Sew. Finish the raw edge. Press away from the body. Topstitch. Easy peasy!16Pin then sew the front to back at the side edges with the RST.17Clip the curved seam allowances at the underarm section.

18Hem the sleeve edge with a contrast thread. Hem the lower edge with the background colour thread. 19

Of course finish off with a lovely button.

Ta dah!Fiona in Edith tunic

All images and text are copyrighted by Fiona Hesford. Please ask prior permission if you would like to use any of the content.


12Invisible zips are nice to look at, they give a professional finish to your garment and with a bit of practise are actually not difficult to insert when you know how.

This is what a concealed zip looks like…..



You will need to insert on your machine a concealed zip foot or just a standard zip foot will do (actually I prefer it!)

A  concealed zip foot looks like the first image but make sure its one thats compatible with your machine. The second one is a standard zip foot.

This is what it looks like when its been inserted.12You can see that also the cross seams are matched up perfectly, if you read on, you will learn how to achieve the same perfect finish. 2Before you start, take a look at the back of your invisible zipper. See how the coils of the zipper curl toward the back? This is what makes the zipper less visible than a normal zipper. You will need to uncurl those coils by gently ironing the zipper flat first with the tip of a warm iron. This lets you stitch much closer to the coils.

Lay your zipper wrong side up, with the zipper open. Set your iron on warm (or the synthetic setting). Use your fingers to uncurl the teeth of the zipper while pressing it flat with the tip of your iron. Do this on both sides.6

3Lay your garment right side up, facing you.

Place one side of the open zipper face down on the fabric and lined up one zip outside edge with one side of the fabric raw edge. NB there is a 1cm seam allowance with Cecily dress, however, if you have a 1.5cm seam allowance, then place with a 5mm space between the zip and the outside edge. Pin in position, with Cecily dress start just below the dart. If you have a cross seam (at the waistline for example) then mark the back of your zip each side so that you ensure your cross seams match up after sewing in your zipper. Hand tack.4

Now instead of hand tacking, you could use quilters 1/4″ tape to temporarily adhere the zip to the fabric side edge before you sew it in. It saves loads of time and great if you hate hand sewing (unlike me…bring it on I say!).135Stick a piece either side of the back of the zip. Place in position on the garment with the right sides of the zip facing the right side of the dress.

8Having inserted the invisible zipper foot into your machine, lower the foot down onto the zipper. Make sure that the zipper coil is in the left groove of the foot. If you don’t have an invisible zip foot, use a standard zip foot and nudge the needle over so it lines up with the coil underneath or as near to the teeth as possible.


Make sure your cross seams are aligned.9Sew slowly as far as you can and (if you are using a standard foot, as close to the teeth as you can without sewing over the teeth). Stop when you reach the end of the zipper. Backstitch. Repeat for the other side of the zip.

Close the zipper up. Pin together the fabric below the zip and sew a 1cm seam sewing from the previous line of stitching to the end of the fabric. Do the same at the section above the zip.

10Press the seams open on the back and press the zip on the right and wrong sides so that the coils spring back into action.

11There you have now mastered the art of the concealed zip!