Stripy shirt

My lovely friend Karen gave me three pieces of fabric from a neighbour who had given up sewing. I took a bit of time to decide what to make with them and the first project is a stripy shirt. The colours are bright and clean, the stripes vary in width and are asymmetric, meaning they won’t match across the shoulders, but the dominant stripe, the blue, should be lined up where most visible.


An old Vogue pattern, with a nice vintage look and a peplum was ideal. Laying the fabric carefully on ensuring the pattern is laid exactly on the stripes is essential to ensure a well made look. The fabric was great to handle with a nice drape, so hopefully the peplum will drape over the hips – rather than protrude like elephant’s ears!


The cutting out took time, but it was nice not to rush and I listened on the iPlayer to some Elizabeth Jane Howard short stories at the same time. I’ve found more success by not setting time targets when sewing.

I used a lightweight fusible Vilene to interface, again to ensure drape and a nice settling round the neckline/collar. When cutting the peplum I was careful that the stripes down the front of the peplum corresponded to those on the front of the bodice at the opening.

The project was interrupted by an ‘emergency’ pencil skirt (the Charlotte skirt by Hand Made of London) for my daughter for a job interview. But when I re-commenced I had special buttons, a plan to finish the shirt by only hand sewing and was pleased with the result.


Learning points: Take time – and when it doesn’t go quite right – have a break so your mind has time to think of a way round the problem. Don’t rush the finishing – those are the details that make your garment a one-off, lovely buttons and a hand finished hem – so the ‘finishing’ can take as long as making the garment.

Sewing My Dog Coats

Hurrah! The dog coats are finished. The fabulous material made it a joy to design the coats. It was tempting to make them too cute with little Peter Pan collars and a little bow belt round the middle – but my daughter saw the outer fabric and said it was just too ‘heritage’ to be overly fussed over . So it was more a case of would it pass the Bloomsbury set’s high standards – and it did. The fleece is beautiful, soft, flexible, and very warm.


So this is what I did.

I measured the dogs using this template.


A – base of neck to bottom of spine.

B – centre of back to bottom of shoulder.

C – centre of back to bottom of hip.

I then made a toile from some scrap fabric and tried it on for size and comfort, and then made any adjustments to ensure a good fit and transferred these to the paper patterns.

Both the outer and inner fabric are cut to the pattern and laid together, wrong side to wrong side and then joined by basting.


The raw edges were enclosed by bias binding in a colour to complement the outer fabric. To finish the bias binding I machine stitched on the top side.


The buttons were chosen, not just for their lovely design and colour, but they were on a shank which makes them easier to button up when putting the coats in moving dogs. I made a strong buttonhole on the sewing machine with a gimp thread running through the opening to strengthen it.

I then used the herringbone tape from Offset Warehouse to add another design feature, strengthening the tape by doubling it and joining the two layers with a machine embroidery stitch in a leaf design to reflect the design on the outer fabric.

I then added a loop at the base of each coat, in the same tape and embroidery. Very useful for hanging up the dog coats with the human coats in the porch.