My handmade wardrobe – bewitched – October 2015

This month I was busy creating a family of Halloween costumes, this time including mummy and daddy!!

The theme was The Wizard of Oz, you can read all about how this came about in my kids wardrobe blog post published earlier this week. Anyway, I was to be the wicked witch of the East. For a long time I had fancied creating the ruby slippers. The whole theme worked around these shoes, but worked perfectly for all of us.


The shoes although a totally decadent make actually only cost around £20 in materials but much more in time! Nevertheless they satisfied my desire to make crazy over the top shoes!


When it came to the dress, I didn’t really want to make something that I would never wear again so I chose to make the Mortmain dress by Gather. I made a toile for this style several months ago but I hadn’t got round to making one. I earmarked some special fabric for this style so it seemed a good idea to do a trial run in some inexpensive plain black dress weight fabric. Although the dress is not designed to be lined I have decided recently that I prefer all my dresses lined.



I wasn’t sure how the exposed zip would work with the lining. I did a small test run on a piece of scrap and it worked. I decided to omit the cuff detail on this one and line the sleeves. I am very happy with the finish inside and out!


It made a perfect wicked witch dress! and a perfect wearable final toile. I have already cut out the next version of this style, this time in a print.

SWNOV15 001

This month Sewing world magazine published my voile evening blouse project.

SWNOV15 031

The style has a deep angled inverted pleat at the centre front neck and soft fluted cap sleeves.


When I develop a new garment style I always do a fair bit of testing to check fit and proportion. When I feel happy I am close to a good result I make a mock up in my size. Sometimes I do this more than once. In this case I had some same weight fabric to do a final test run in which I felt was quite important because of the type of fabric being soft and quite drapey. I found this piece of bog standard poly cotton in my box of tricks and decided to run my first ‘nearly there’ test on this despite it being less drapey than the real fabric.

It actually went together really easily and worked well. A happy surprise addition to my wardrobe.


Lastly with winter approaching and no plans to swap the sewing machine for knitting needles at the moment I have been thinking about solutions for winter woolies that I can sew.

I made a new version of the raglan sleeve slouch sweater pattern that I made last year or earlier this year. I reduced the body width and lengthened it, added rib cuffs and hem band for a simple easy casual sweatshirt!

As we approach the end of 2015 I am feeling really pleased that I haven’t bought one single item of ready made clothing in nearly two years – the length of time that I have been writing this blog. I have no plans to start buying in 2016!



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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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