Craftee_Welsh_One’s Sewing Exploits – Darling Dress – Floral Chambray

Megan Neilson Darling Dress – Floral Chambray


The first time I visited TrixieLixie, I stroked this fabric [White Floral Printed Chambray] and knew I had to have it, though did not walk away with it that day – big mistake. All I could think about was how nice it would be once made into a dress. I knew exactly which dress pattern I wanted to use too. For weeks all I could think about was getting my hands on this fabric.
My birthday was around the corner and I knew that was the perfect excuse for another visit to get some. I had a plan…. a pattern in mind and the fabric – that’s not normally how it goes, I normally pick a fabric because it’s beautiful and worry about what I will make with it later!

I choose to make the Megan Neilson Darling Ranges dress. I just knew the pattern and fabric were meant to be together. The pattern is so lovely, it’s an easily adaptable modern shirt dress. It has a v-neck, button front, high waistline, multiple sleeve lengths, large pockets and ties at the back to allow it to be worn in a fitted or loose style. Suits me down to the ground.

While there, I spotted some gorgeous buttons that jumped out at me. They are absolutely stunning – I knew they would look amazing on my dress so added them to my pile of goodies. I also picked up the amazing Prym magnetic pin caddy, with it being my birthday, I had to treat myself!

The fabric was amazing to work with and behaved really well – making it a really enjoyable project. It’s nice and light which makes it awesome for the lovely Welsh summer that we have [occasionally!].

I already have my eye on some other fabrics to make different versions!
Until next time…



Craftee_Welsh_One’s Sewing Exploits – Liberty Dominique.

Hi guys! I’m new here, so let me introduce myself. My name is Tee and I live in a little Welsh Valley approximately 30 minutes away from Cardiff.

When I came across TrixieLixie – I was over the moon to find that there was a fabric shop that catered for my needs (and wants) so close to home! The fact that it stocked lots of independent patterns really excited me! The fabric selection goes without saying…. It is absolutely amazing. The colours, the variety, the amount, just absolutely glorious! I have visited the shop a few times now, and am always filled with the little excited butterflies in my tummy, that’s without stepping foot through the door, it’s just from seeing the shop front and window display! When I go inside, it’s a different feeling altogether, I get so excited I start squealing, literally, with delight. The shop is so quirky and colourful, it will make anyone smile just because everything is set out so beautifully. It’s the little sewing machines on display that totally got me. You really need to visit the shop to see what I mean about how it can make you feel.

I went with the plan of getting some fabric just to have a play with – I had no project in mind really, but took a look at some of the Tilly and the Buttons patterns there and fell in love with Dominique. That went on the table – I used the table as my little basket so I had my hands free the whole time to do plenty of stroking!

I absolutely love the colour pink and really thought I would go for something along those colours, but I went completely a different way and ended up purchasing some of the gorgeous Liberty fabric that I knew would be perfect. It has little speckles of orange and green in it, on a navy and white base with little birdcages as the main design. I fell in love with the print and that was that – it went on the table – along with some other bits and bobs – which I will leave to chat about another time – nothing like keeping you in suspense is there haha!

I thought the fabric would be amazing to work with as the quality is beautiful – I was right, it behaved so well and was so easy to work with. I love it when you get a nice fabric that behaves – it makes the process and end result that little bit more rewarding – it made me do the whole ‘swishing and twirling’ whilst wearing it!

Tilly’s patterns are so lovely to work with – she talks you through everything in lots of detail – the Dominique is a lovely pattern – especially for beginners and is really a nice add on to your wardrobe. It can be dressed up or down and is lovely and cool for the warmer weather. Each time you make it, it will look totally different, depending on what fabric you go for.

I will most definitely be sewing with some of the Liberty fabric from TrixieLixie in future!

Until next time….   Tee

You can follow Tee on instagram @The_Craftee_Welsh_One

30 days of dresses

Wearing dresses for 30 days is not that hard for me, I love dresses and although I haven’t got 30 yet I am well on my way! I think I have over 20 but some of them were too wintery to wear in July!

I didn’t manage to photograph myself everyday but these were the dresses that I was wearing throughout July. A combination of Made by Rae Washi dresses, By Hand London Anna dresses, a couple of Merchant & Mills Camber set shift dresses, a Deer & Doe Myosotis dress and Bleuet dress and Colette Wren and Moneta dress. All the fabric is from TrixieLixie.

This was my favourite day in July, I had worn this dress for 2 days in a row but it was all worth it when my daughter eventually gave birth to Bea Eliza! As you can see I am over the moon to be a grannie, expect lots of little girls outfits in my future posts!!!

Don’t forget that we are hosting the first ever Fancy Frocks sewing meet up in Cardiff in October, there are still tickets available here – Fancy Frocks Tickets – and you can find out more about the event on the Fancy Frocks Facebook page, hope to see you there!

Fancy frocks at the museum

If you are thinking of coming to Fancy frocks in October to meet up with lots of likeminded people here is some information for you.

Guide to Staying in Cardiff

Remember that Cardiff is a small city. You can easily walk from one side of the city centre to the other. It is also blessed with plenty of public transport options.

If you are coming by train to Cardiff Central Train Station, it really is a short walk or a quick Taxi to the Museum. From the main bus stops in Sophia Gardens it is a nice meander through Bute Park and Arboretum.

The main hotels in the centre may not be that cheap [where are they ever?], but there are plenty of other options a short distance away.

There are plenty of the budget hotels, slightly further out, but still an easy taxi journey.

There are three Ibis Hotels in or around Cardiff, which seem like good value.

Holiday Inns have lots of options including the Holiday Inn Express in Cardiff Bay

Premier Inns have plenty too, including the budget ZIP by Premier Inn Cardiff

Those on a tighter budget could opt for the backpacker hotels, several of which [NosDa and The River House] are very close to the city centre over the River Taff from the Principality Stadium.

There is a also a nice YHA close to the centre and the Urdd City Sleepover down in the Millennium Centre in the Bay

We found all these on Google Maps

Finally there are there are thousands of places to stay at

Almost forgot….. Our favourite and most secret accommodation place, is situated in the beautiful parkland close to the heart of the city; Cardiff Caravan Park for Caravans, Campers and Tents.

If you need a tourist map, we found these at [a very good website to look around]

Maps of Cardiff

Re-made May

During #MeMadeMay2019 I realised that almost all my lush Amy Butler pattern Barcelona skirts that I had made over the years no longer fit me! This is due to the weight gain that I have had during the perimenopause. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with my changing shape although I could do without the aches and pains that seem to have taken over my body and the hot sweats, the brain fog and the emotional roller coaster that I have been on for the past 5 years (when does it end?).

BUT these skirts are made from gorgeous fabrics that I am not ready to get rid of!!! What to do? Well join in with #RemadeMay of course! So I took 4 of the skirts and completely unpicked them to re-use the fabric! Barcelona skirts became Sew Serendipity panel skirts almost overnight! (well not quite overnight, it probably took me almost the whole of May to do 3)

These are the original skirts that I had to work with, so far I have re-made 3 of them.

This is my Grayson Perry skirt – the original skirt fabric is a Grayson Perry design for Liberty Fabrics that features images of his childhood teddy bear – Alan Measles. I had enough of the lovely fabric to do the main front and back panels and 2 patch pockets, the rest is some grey shirt fabric that I had in my stash.

This is another of the 3, this is a combination of 2 of the old skirts sewn together in panels to make one that fits me! you can see how the skirt is made up from panels in these pictures.

Finally I converted this one from a Barcelona skirt into a panel skirt but I was really lucky with this one as I still had enough of the original material left in my stash to completely re-make it in the same fabric!

I still have a couple of skirts that I have unpicked and have in a pile ready to be transformed so watch this space. I am also looking at ways to make my wardrobe full of By Hand London Anna dresses fit me again – that will be another blog post!

Fancy Frocks at The Museum

We are delighted to announce that the first ever Fancy Frocks evening will take place on Saturday October 5th at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. It’s going to be a wonderful evening of dancing and socialising with food and drink – and the opportunity to catch up with old sewing friends and make new ones!

Tickets cost £55 per person, but there is a special early bird discount – £50 until June 1st 2019. Fancy Frocks will take place at the National Museum in central Cardiff, a beautiful building (perfect for Instagramming selfies in your me-made frock!) The evening starts at 7pm, and ends at midnight.

Your ticket entitles you to a welcome glass of Prosecco on arrival, a goodie bag full of sewing and crafting goodies, a finger buffet, great music and also entry into the raffle. We have some fab raffle prizes so far, and more are being added every day. We hope this will be the first of many Fancy Frocks evenings (or FfrogiauFfansi if you are Welsh-speaking!)

We will do a follow up blog post in a few weeks time with all the information you need for visiting Cardiff, where to stay, where to shop (Sewing shopping of course) and highlights of the City.

We can’t wait to see everyone!!!

A day out in Stockport

If, like me, you love scrolling through Instagram looking at pics of fabric and frocks and patterns etc, then you may have noticed the appearance of the hashtag #sewover50. It started last summer after a blog post by @susanyoungsewing talking about how older women are under-represented on pattern covers, magazine covers, advertisements etc. This lead to a lively debate from many who felt the same. @judithrosalind created the Instagram account @sewover50 and soon women and men, all around the world were using the hashtag to show that sewing is not just for the bright young things!Susan then contacted Love Sewing magazine and asked if they would be interested in a feature and photo shoot for the mag. Love Sewing said yes and so Judith and Susan put out the call for some like-minded sewists willing to take part,and after mentioning it to my husband, who said ‘go for it’  I put my hand up!

Which is how I came to travel to Stockport, on a very grey and damp November day, with some me-made items in a case, for a photoshoot for a national magazine! There were ten of us, from as far away as Edinburgh and Port Talbot. Some women had been sewing all their lives, some earned their living from sewing and teaching sewing, and some, like me, were home sewists who enjoyed making their own clothes. To be honest, I felt like a terrible imposter. Here I was in a room with people who had so much more experience than me, who had forgotten more than I would ever know. In the weeks before, we had set up an online group chat, so by the time we arrived, it felt like seeing old friends.

There had been much discussion about what to wear for the pics. In the end, I took my rose and spot patterned Joni dress, fabric from TrixieLixie, it’s a dress that makes me feel good when I am wearing it – and surely that’s the measure of a good dress!  Amy Thomas, editor of Love Sewing was there to greet us, with hair and make-up artists too! Amy was so friendly, making us feel at ease and putting us in groups for various photos. Have you ever seen that episode of Friends, where Monica and Chandler have their engagement photos taken, and Chandler can’t smile, and ends up gurning at the camera? Well that was me! Who knew it was so hard to look at the lens, stand up straight and smile all at the same time? It was such a fun day, and since then we have kept in touch, and are hoping to meet up again. I came away inspired to improve my sewing, and with lots of ideas for new makes, new designers to try but more importantly I felt good from spending time with a group of wonderful women. I felt that a conversation had been started, and there was no going back, it was time for designers and publishers to reflect the makers of all ages and sizes. 

If you would like to see these fabulous women and read their thoughts on sewing and life, then get yourself a copy of issue 64 of Love Sewing magazine, it’s in the shops now. And do keep an eye on the #sewover50 hashtag on Instagram, there’s more to come from all of us over50s, all over the world!

You can follow Sara on instagram @saraknitsandsews

2019 aims, goals, objectives.

I have not got a great record for sticking to my New Years Resolutions and I often make plans for sewing projects that fall by the wayside so I have stopped writing lists of what I am going to make, instead I have decided to do 3 things this year that I think are achievable so that I won’t be too disappointed at the end of the year when I look back at what I have done.

Firstly I am going to ‘shop’ my wardrobe, rather than rush to make or buy something to wear all the time I am going to revisit the huge number of (mostly) me-made garments that are already in my wardrobe!

As you can see the rail is straining under the weight of all my clothes!

There are also my Ginger jeans, Boyfriend jeans, numerous tops, blouses and shirts, I cannot stress enough how full my wardrobe is!

My second goal is to finish my ‘works in progress’ (WIPS) I have numerous piles of WIPS in various degrees of ‘progress’, this could be garments that I have washed and prepared the fabric for, possibly even cut out ready to start, or way more often, started but not finished! it would be too embarrassing to show you them all, these are just the ones that I have cut out but not actually started yet!

Has anyone else got this many?

Finally I have decided to try and work my way through my stash rather than buy new fabric for every project – how many other people have got this as a goal for 2019? If I can reduce my pile of boxes to 3 I think that will be a great achievement!

Five boxes in my sewing room alone!

Well there we have it, my aims for 2019, it shouldn’t be too difficult should it?

Fade to Grey

Fade to Grey

Hello sewing friends. Thanks for all the love for the Jonis in my last blog. Despite my moans about the neckband, they have had a lot of wear already. And so, onto my latest make – yes, it is me, you didn’t recognise me in a plain dress, did you? Plain grey? Me? No print, no flowers or purple swirls, no feathers or spots or stripes!! And yes, I am a little out of my comfort zone!!

The pattern is the Fringe dress by Chalk & Notch. It’s a dress I hadn’t heard of until I saw the version made by my Instagram pal @like_my_granny. It is a downloadable PDF of many pages, which means it needs time and space to stick it together and trace it out.

I made view A, with the button placket. View B has a notch neckline. My grey fabric is a cotton chambrey from TrixieLixie, its light and drapey and I needed to pay attention to the right and wrong sides, as it was easy to muddle them up. Compared to some of my recent makes, the Fringe dress was a little more complicated, with more pattern pieces and more stages, but it was quite soothing to lose myself in the process of making it. That’s part of the joy of making our own garments, isn’t it? The making is nearly as important as wearing!

After sewing the darts with the waist ties, and the sleeve cuffs with the button tabs, and the inseam pockets, and gathering the skirt and attaching it to the bodice I tried it on. Oh dear, I know it is supposed to be a relaxed fit, but this was enormous.  I couldn’t put my hands in the side pockets, as they were so far down my thighs that they were almost on my knees!! This poor dress needed some serious structural alterations.


I took the skirt off, opened the front bodice darts, took out the waist ties. I chopped a whopping two and a half inches off the bodice and an inch off the skirt. I resewed the waist darts making them an inch wider before reattaching the skirt. Finally, I had a dress that fitted – it still has a relaxed fit, but at least now it doesn’t look like I am a toddler wearing a grown up’s borrowed clothes. I sewed the button placket closed as the buttonholes don’t need to open – despite them being the best buttonholes I have ever managed on my old machine.

I wasn’t sure what buttons to use and asked for votes on my Instagram account. My button options were bright red, pearly red ones, pearly purple, bright blue or grey metal ones. Metal won the day, making my grey dress even more grey! Despite being a cotton dress, I think I will get some winter wear out of it, with tights and boots.


I am already thinking of another, view B with the notch neckline, perhaps in a blue and white ikat print. So, my foray into plain fabrics didn’t last long, did it? Whether you are sewing a plain or a printed fabric, happy sewing to you.

You can follow Sara on instagram @saraknitsandsews


The Tale of Two Joni dresses

“Hello, this is Joanie, I’m sorry, but I’m not home,

But if you leave me, your name and number,

I promise, soon as I get in I’ll phone”

Hello there, sewing friends, who remembers that little tune? It got to number 6 in the UK charts in 1978? It’s a catchy little song about a chap whose girlfriend (yes, Joanie) is killed in a car crash and he is so keen to hear her voice he calls her landline to hear her answer phone message.  This may sound odd, but in 1978 having an answer machine was a big deal, trust me!

Anyway, as I sewed the first Joni dress I had that song going around my head, not just because it is catchy, but because I feared the dress would be a bit of a wreck too! The pattern is from the latest book Stretch by Tilly and the Buttons, it contains seven patterns all designed for stretch fabrics, starting with a simple tube skirt and ending with the trickiest pattern – Joni, a dress with a twist in the bodice.  I sewed it in a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics cotton jersey from TrixieLixie, it’s a lovely dark navy with a white feather pattern on it [Petal and Plume Panache Profundo – Jersey].


The patterns in the book come on thick white paper, so I traced it using greaseproof paper. Once my fabric was cut I started to add the clear elastic to stabilise the shoulders and waist of the bodice pieces, and this, dear readers, is where my troubles began.


My overlocker just chewed it all up (don’t worry, this was a test piece!) so I ended up having to use my regular sewing machine, with a jersey needle and zig-zag stitch. I found leaving a long tail of elastic helped to keep it in place when starting to sew.

Once the bodice is twisted, the neckband needs to be attached. This is where the tears (and swearing!) really started. Now, I usually find the instructions of Tilly patterns clear, well-illustrated and easy to follow. But I really struggled with this stage. I scoured the internet for reviews and tutorials and got lots of tips from friends on Instagram. I managed to get the neckband on, but it’s not perfect and it was a bit of a fudge! There was a gap between the end of the band and the top of the twist, on both sides, which I folded in and hand-stitched down. The rest of the dress came together easily – I love it when you seam the sleeves, bodice and skirt all in one go. My first Joni was finished, and I do like it, honestly I do, it’s a great shape on me, with a swishy skirt. But some of the seams felt bulky, and that neckband finish irked me, and it all felt less well-made than garments I have made from woven fabrics. So (and I am sure you will understand this, sewing friends) what did I do? I jumped straight back on the Joni horse and cut out another. This is another fabric from TrixieLixie, a lighter jersey with a spots and flowers pattern [Bromley Jersey]. I bought it during our recent #WalesSews meet-up, and I know it was really popular. (Those of you who were there, I am looking forward to seeing what you all make with it!)

This time I used regular white elastic instead of clear at the waist, and ribbon to stabilise the shoulders (much less bulky) and I added the neckband so it is visible, with a zig-zag topstitch. I lengthened it by about 2 cms, and joined it at the centre, which gave me a V above the twist, but I don’t mind. It’s still a neater finish than the first dress.



And here ends the story of my two Jonis, thankfully with a cheerier ending than that catchy song. Neither are perfect, but I will wear them happily because I like the shape on me and I like the swishy skirt. Now, if I could only get that song off repeat in my head…!

You can follow Sara on instagram @saraknitsandsews