The #aweekofturias Charity Challenge: Will You Help Me?

I want to raise money for my friend’s cancer charity and I need your help!

3 Pairs of Turia dungarees - pattern by Pauline Alice Patterns.
3 Pairs of Turia dungarees – pattern by Pauline Alice Patterns.

I’ve been making the Turia Dungarees pattern by Pauline Alice Patterns recently – it was a natural progression from all my jumpsuit making!

Leopard print Turias - you can see how my Turias are getting a little crazier as the weeks go on! And I'm wearing them with snake skin shoes - scandalous!
Leopard print Turias – my Turias are getting a little crazier as the weeks go on LOL! And I’m wearing them with snake skin shoes – scandalous! Well it was Jungle January!

Anyway, I’ve been wearing my Turias a lot and following the posting of a pic of my third pair on Instagram, a bit of online banter with Kirsty (who’s as ‘top notch’ in person as her blog name BTW) made me decide, it’d be fun to make a pair for every day of the week.

Then I thought, it’d be even better if I could turn my Turia challenge into a fundraising drive for my friend Irfon Williams, who’s being treated for cancer, and his charity to support the mental health of cancer patients.

So the plan was hatched.

The #aweekofturias Challenge

The plan is simple. I’ve already made three pairs of Turias and I’m pledging to make four more by February 28th. I’ve made on average, a pair per week so far, so hopefully this is manageable.

I’ll post the completed pairs on the blog each week as I finish them and I’ll put some progress pics on Instagram – you can find me @yosamicontact.

On Monday March 2nd, I’ll hold an online auction of the final pair on Instagram (more details nearer the time) – don’t worry if you’re not on there, you can also leave a bid in the comments section of the blog post. The Turias will be in Pauline Alice Patterns size 38 and will be in a yet-to-be-determined style and fabric – I’ll try to keep them as interesting as I possibly can!

How Can You Help?

You can help to spur me onto the finish line by donating to the #teamirfon registered charity on the JustGiving website and by joining the online bidding for the final pair.

I’d also love to have company making Turias, so let me know if you’d like to join me in the comments below. Also if you’d like to donate some unloved makes or surplus sewing supplies to the online auction, that’d be awesome too.

I thank you in advance for your help, it’s so appreciated and I know that it’ll make Irfon happy!

Now let the Turia making begin!

Happy sewing,




How to Find the Best Sleeveless Jumpsuit Pattern.

As the jumpsuit trend continues in ready to wear, more jumpsuit sewing patterns are springing up on the market, but with so much choice, it’s difficult to know which one to buy.

The good news is, I’m a ‘jumpsuit-a-holic’ and I’ve done a lot of the researching leg-work for you. Here’s my roundup of three of the best sleeveless jumpsuit patterns available at the moment, I hope they give you some jumpsuit ‘food for thought’!

The Patterns:

You’ll notice that Simplicity 1325 isn’t strictly a jumpsuit pattern, at least Simplicity doesn’t market it as one, but, trust me, it has the ‘bones’ of a jumpsuit. (Skip to the end of this post to find out how to make this).

Now grab yourself a cuppa’, get yourself comfy and let’s get on with this ‘jumpsuit-athon’.

Pattern Similarities

1. Style – all make a sleeveless v-necked jumpsuit and produce a similar looking silhouette.

2. Fabric – all can be made in a variety of fabrics.

3. Sizing – all available in a variety of sizes.

4. All are fairly easy to make.

Pattern Differences

1. Paper vs. Digital Download patterns – Simplicity 1325 and McCall’s M6083 are traditional paper patterns, by established pattern companies, that need cutting out or tracing and both include 1.5cm seam allowances.

Ralph Pink RP070 is by an independent pattern designer, that’s available as a digital download PDF that needs printing out, taping together and cutting out or tracing. Or you can pay a professional printer to print out the ‘copy shop’ version of the pattern for you. This pattern includes one centimetre seam allowances.

2. Price – McCall’s M6083 $11.95 plus postage;

Simplicity 1325 $10.75 plus postage;

Ralph Pink RP070 9.99 British pounds.

3. Pattern Instruction Languages – Simplicity 1325 and McCall’s M6083 pattern instructions are available in various languages whereas RP070 is only available in English.

4. Pattern Construction – Simplicity 1325 and M6083 have separate bodice and pants pieces whereas RP070 consists of four long main jumpsuit pieces – two front and two back. The upper back yoke is faced.

The separate bodice and pants pieces of the Simplicity 1325 and M6083 offer you more flexibility and freedom to design because for example you can use different fabrics for the bodice and the pants.

With RP070 on the other hand, the options to use contrasting fabric are limited to just the neck band, back bodice yoke and belt which limits the design possibilities.

5. Pockets – McCall’s M6083 has side front pockets in the pants, whereas Simplicity 1325 and RP070 don’t have any pockets.

6. Bodice Finishings – Simplicity 1325 has a lined, fitted bodice with a neck facing.

I also lined the pants by cutting the bodice and pants pieces out of my lining fabric and sewed them together in the same way as I did with the main wool fabric pieces. I then sewed the lining jumpsuit and the wool jumpsuit together, with right sides facing at the neck and arm openings. Then I turned the lining to the inside and under stitched it. I then treated the two layers as one and sewed the zip on top of the lining on the inside of the back of the bodice.

M6083 has an unlined bodice with neck facings and narrow hemmed armholes. RP070 isn’t lined and has a neck band (tutorial for how to make this neck band in a fabric with a directional print – coming soon) and armhole facings.

7. Waistlines –  Simplicity 1325 has a fitted high waist where the bodice joins the pants. The bodice and pants have darts front and back. This makes a fitted bodice so I suggest making a muslim to check the fit before you cut into your fashion fabric. I had to reduce the seam allowances on the side seams slightly at this point to get a good fit.

McCall’s has an elastic casing along the seam where the bodice joins the pants at the high waist point. I omitted this elastic casing and use the self fabric belt instead to highlight the waist. Next time I make this, I’ll also lengthen the bodice pieces by a couple of centimetres to allow a more relaxed blouson effect of the mock-wrap front bodice.

RP070 drapes and gapes open at the front and is closed with a button fly (I used press studs instead) and a belt but the pattern has no waistline seam. The pattern pieces do narrow at the waist though which gives some waistline shaping.

8. Suitable fabrics – RP070 and McCall’s M6083 are designed for lightweight fabrics – I used shirt-weight cotton for both and a linen/cotton mix fabric for my second RP070.

Simplicity 1325 is more suitable for medium weight fabrics – I used a trouser-weight wool with a viscose lining.

9. Style – RP070 and Simplicity 1325 produce jumpsuits with deep v-necks that need something worn underneath.

McCall’s M6083 has a high cut v-neck which I can get away with wearing on its own.

All of the jumpsuits have fairly wide legs although RP070 has possibly the slimmest leg width of the three patterns.

10. Sizing –  Simplicity 1325 and McCall’s M6083 have multi-sized tiled patterns, meaning all the sizes are on one pattern sheet, which makes grading between sizes easier. Plus the more generous 1.5cm seam allowances give you a bit more freedom to let out or take in seams to improve fit.

RP070 is also multisized but once you’ve chosen which pattern most closely fits your measurements, you print out the corresponding sized pattern and you only have one size on each pattern printout. This makes grading between sizes more difficult with RP070 and the smaller 1cm seam allowances don’t give you much room to make fit adjustments either.

I chose the pattern sizes which most closely matched my body measurements for all of the jumpsuits and found them to be fairly true to size.


I recommend all of these patterns and have happily worn my versions of all of them – a lot!

McCall’s M6083 is a good summer jumpsuit because it can be worn as a stand alone piece and can also be made from jersey – the only pattern of the three which can. The pockets are useful and the design is flattering.

Simplicity 1325 offers the best value for money because you get almost a whole wardrobe of pattern possibilities in one package – a jacket, pants, skirt, dress, long-sleeved top and an unofficial jumpsuit.

The deep v-necked front bodice is flattering and the design is closest to one of my favourite designer jumpsuits – this Luciano Soprani one below. It’s a pity Simplicity 1325 doesn’t have pockets though!

I’ve made RP070 three times and worn them year round. The layering possibilities of Simplicity 1325 and RP070 offer good year round wearing options.

The Simplicity 1325 jumpsuit is simple to make. Here’s how:- Sew the bodice and pants pieces together following the pattern instructions for the jumper/dress C/D by substituting the skirt pieces for the pants pieces. Then put a zip in the back of the bodice long enough to extend from the neck edge of the bodice down into the pants (for me the zip extends 17cm into the pants. Measure your back bodice piece and add on 15cm or so to calculate the length of zip you’ll need). Then hey presto, you have a jumpsuit!

Simplicity 1325 back zip.
Simplicity 1325 back zip.

If you’ve made any of these jumpsuits or if you make the Simplicity 1325 jumpsuit Franken-pattern, please leave a link in the comments below, I’d love to see them.

Happy sewing,


If you enjoyed this blogpost and would like to receive more sewing tips and resources, sign up for the YoSaMi newsletter for updates (they’re free) – the link is at the top of the sidebar.

Disclaimer: The unbiased views expressed in these reviews are my own. I didn’t receive any of these patterns for free and have no affiliation to any of these pattern companies nor to John Smedley Knitwear (although John Smedley, if you happen to read this, I’d happily wax lyrical about your knits in exchange for a few pullis because I LOVE your knitwear!)

3 Tips for Making a Denim Jumpsuit You’ll Love

Happy 2015, I hope the year’s treating you well and you’re sewing up a storm!

I’ve completed a few projects already and although it’s soo last year, I’m still making jumpsuits and LOVING them!

I’ve made 11 in the last 18 months. #jumpsuitobsessed

Here’s my latest denim one.

Burdastyle Easy S/S 14 jumpsuit in organic cotton 6oz denim.
Burdastyle Easy S/S 14 jumpsuit in organic cotton 6oz denim.

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that jumpsuits give you all the fun of a dress in a ready-for-action form, and are comfortable and practical to wear.

So from all this jumpsuit-making action, here are my three tips for making a denim jumpsuit you’ll love.

1. Choose A Fabric That’s Easy To Move In. 

A denim jumpsuit is a suit you should be able to jump for joy in, so when you’re choosing your fabric, do the ‘star-jump test’. If you can imagine star-jumping comfortably in it, then the fabric’s probably suitable. (This is an unofficial test obviously, strictly for YoSaMi followers only, LOL!)

Organic cotton 6oz denim.
Organic cotton 6oz denim.

To make a full length long sleeved jumpsuit like mine, I’d recommend using a lightweight shirt-weight denim. I used an organic 6oz cotton denim (98% cotton, 2% elastane) which has some drape to it and a little stretch and is soft and comfortable to wear. A regular jeans weight 12oz denim would be too heavy to wear all over and wouldn’t be so nimble in the ‘star-jump test’.

A linen twill or linen mix would also give you a ‘denim’ look and be comfortable to wear and be reasonably hard wearing.

2. Choose Practical and Functional Details.

I’d recommend a front opening with a zip or buttons that extends down into the pants. I’ve found this is the easiest opening to get in and out of.

Adding elements such as zips, are also opportunities to soften and feminise the look of your jumpsuit and take it out of ‘boiler-suit’ territory. I used a gold zip for a bit of bling.

Front zip opening and adjustable waist band.
Front zip opening and adjustable waist band.

For the ultimate casual slouchy look, pockets for me are essential in a denim jumpsuit. This Burdastyle Easy S/S 14 jumpsuit pattern is packed with pockets. There are front welt pockets on the top and front pockets on the pants and back welt pockets on the pants.

Back welt pockets.
Back welt pockets.

The adjustable waist is also a winning feature of this jumpsuit and is relatively simple to do and a refreshing alternative to an elasticated waist. You could alternatively make a tie belt or finish the belt with a buckle or press studs.

3. Choose a Pattern With Options.

I recommend the Burdastyle Easy S/S 2014 jumpsuit pattern that I used because it offers lots of customising options, such as choice of pockets, sleeve and leg lengths, neckline finishes and waist fastenings. It’s useful to have the flexibility to remake it and alter the style to suit changing seasons. This pattern for instance has a cute sleeveless shorts version.

Denim jumpsuit that can be worn with layers.
Denim jumpsuit that can be worn with layers.

I’ve been wearing this long sleeved version layered up this winter, as you can see in the above photo. You can also make the pattern as a separate jacket and pants.

Alternatively you could experiment by putting a top pattern and a pants pattern that you like the style and fit of together and create a custom-made jumpsuit.

Top joined to pants with waistband.
Top joined to pants with waistband.

You can join the top section of the jumpsuit to the pants with a waistband as mine is. To do this, cut two rectangular pieces of fabric the length of the circumference of the waist section of your top and pants pieces, and the width you’d like your waistband to be, plus seam allowances.

Then with right sides facing, sew one piece of the waistband to the outer/right side of the pants. Turn the piece down and press the seam allowance towards the waistband. Then press the seam allowance of the waistband piece to the inside of the waistband and sew – hand stitch or stitch-in-the-ditch to the top. Repeat for the other waistband piece on the inner/wrong side of the top. Then hand stitch or stitch-in-the-ditch the waistband to the pants.

In my next jumpsuit pattern review, I’ll tell you how I made this tartan jumpsuit below. It’s a Simplicity pattern mash-up.

Simplicity pattern tartan jumpsuit mash-up.
Simplicity pattern tartan jumpsuit mash-up.

I hope these tips are helpful and if you’ve got any more I’d love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, sign up for email updates with the YoSaMi newsletter (they’re free!) by leaving your email in the box and clicking on the button at the top of the sidebar.

Happy sewing,


Pretty in Pink: 3 Reasons to Love Ralph Pink’s Kimono Tabard Shirt Pattern.

My pattern reviewing has been scant lately so let’s dive back in with the reasons why I love this kimono-sleeved shirt pattern from Ralph Pink.

Ralph Pink Kimono Tabard shirt in silk crepe de chine and Burdastyle shorts in cotton/linen.
Ralph Pink Kimono Tabard shirt in silk crepe de chine and Burdastyle shorts in cotton/linen.

1) Easy to Make –  The pattern instructions are easy to follow, even for beginners and ‘tired’ sewers like me, with pictures to guide you through every sewing step. The most ‘challenging’ part is the front button band, but even this isn’t difficult. If you’re anxious about doing buttonholes, you could use poppers or press studs instead.

I’d recommend using softly draping fabrics such as silk or viscose to keep the overall shirt shape fluid and relaxed.

Covered buttons and sleeve tabs.
Covered buttons and sleeve tabs.

2) Easy to Wear – Ralph Pink calls this pattern a ‘really nice breezy shirt’ and I think that’s spot on. I’ve worn this lots in the half year since I made it. It’s an everyday classic that can be dressed up or down.

Easy breezy style for traveling.
Easy breezy style perfect for traveling.

3) Versatile – This shirt is good for year-round wear. It was cool and relaxed in summer with shorts and over my bikini on holiday. It’s perfect for travel because it packs down so small. I also wore it open over T’s and vest tops like a kimono jacket.

ralph pink 6

Since the weather cooled off, I’ve been layering it under sweaters and wearing it with my jeans.

Ralph Pink blouse and John Smedley jumper.
Ralph Pink blouse x John Smedley jumper.

Overall, this has been one of my favourite 2014 makes. I highly recommend it!

Pattern Summary: Made size 8; used silk crepe de chine; made no changes to pattern; did fabric covered buttons; did French seams throughout including sleeves and a narrow hem; PDF download pattern available from

In other news:

Here’s a sneak peak of another of my favourite makes this year. I’ll reveal all in my next post.

jumpsuit 1

And I finally made it to the hairdressers! I’m giving mid-length hair a tryout for a change.

Photo on 14-12-14 at 12.00 #2

What’s been your favourite make this year?

Happy sewing,



Sustainable Textiles – Revealed: The Shocking Toxic Truth about Children’s Clothing.

I’m kicking off my new ‘Sustainable Textiles’ blog series with shocking breaking news from Europe.

Recent testing by the Greenpeace Detox campaign of children’s and teen’s clothing and footwear from German, Austrian and Swiss supermarkets and other retailers, revealed numerous products containing dangerous levels of toxic chemicals, potentially harmful to our children’s health.

Aldi rainboots
These boots contain toxins that may hinder my children from having children!

Among the worst offending products were plastic items such as these boots above that I bought for my daughters from Aldi. I can’t tell you how disappointed, sickened and just plain upset this makes me.

I’m careful when I buy for my children and often go out of my way to get organic products, but with two children to clothe and a limited budget, price is a major factor.

The word on the street in southern Germany is that Aldi products are good quality and good value for money and many textile products they sell carry the ‘confidence in textiles’ label (I’ll be covering textile labels in my next post). It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security. When my kids needed rain boots for Kindergarten, I was seduced by Aldi’s bargain prices and snaffled up a pair each for my girls. To then find out, these boots may be harming my children’s health is alarming.

Is it too much to ask that kid’s products are produced free from harmful chemicals regardless of how much they cost? Should cheap clothing carry health warning labels like cigarettes? ‘Warning: Wearing these plastic clogs may make you or the people who made them infertile’ for instance! You could almost laugh at that if there wasn’t a sad element of truth to it!

Don’t be fooled by price though, you don’t necessarily get what you pay for when it comes to nasty chemicals in your textiles. Greenpeace has shown that not only discount retailers are selling toxic products, luxury high-end branded textile goods have also been outed in their ongoing fashion Detox campaign.

Fortunately, a leader has emerged in Germany from this summer’s Greenpeace investigation. Tchibo has stepped forward in a landmark move, to lead the discount retail sector in detoxification of its products and set a new standard for the big retail stores.

‘The company is taking responsibility for the entire life-cycle of its products, working to minimise its environmental impact from the materials to the factory floor, from the products themselves to what happens to them after they are thrown away.’ (

Let’s hope more companies follow suit! I don’t want to think I stretched my body out of all proportion and pushed for seven hours without pain relief TWICE, to have the enjoyment and health of future generations of my genes derailed by irresponsible clothing manufacturers out to make a quick buck! We all deserve better than that, don’t we?

I’m interested to hear from you. What most influences you when you buy textiles or clothing? Price, quality, labels, brands? How does this news affect you? Let me know in the comments below.

In my next post, I’ll be looking at organic textile labelling and subscribers to my newsletter will receive news of upcoming organic fashion events.

If you want to receive updates (they’re free!) and more info about sustainable textiles, sign up for the YoSaMi newsletter.

Now that’s off my chest, I’ll get back to some relaxing sewing!

Enjoy the rest of the week,


Update: Want to know if your bought textiles contain toxins? Check out and expect an answer within 45 days.

Also to find retailers of organic, fair and transparently produced textile goods, enter your postcode in this online database:





Who Else Wants To Grab a Sewing Pattern Bargain?

‘That’s your fault,’ my husband teased after hearing this:

The Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren in stretch organic cotton jersey and the Julia cardigan by Mouse House Creations in cotton interlock.
The Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren in stretch organic cotton jersey and the Julia cardigan by Mouse House Creations in cotton interlock.


The European economy has registered a new decline of the consumer propensity to buy indicator, according to the market research institute Gfk.” (from Sportswear International.)

Ok so I’m probably not completely responsible for the economic downturn, but I may’ve contributed to it by making my own clothes. I hardly buy any R.T.W. (ready to wear) anymore. Once upon a time I did, but those extravagant D.I.N.K. (Double Income No Kids) times are long gone! These days, with five mouthes to feed (including our little dog!) and clothe, etc, we’re all about economising and bargain hunting.

Now I think about it, instead of sewing, I should probably take up metal-detecting, head back to Britain, roam the Scottish highlands, and unearth ancient treasures! That’d be a more lucrative use of my time, at least it has been for this guy.

Julia cardigan back - covers lower back so nice and warm.
Julia cardigan back – covers lower back so nice and warm.

While I’m waiting to strike gold, I’ll content myself with nabbing sewing bargains, such as Pattern Parcel #6. You can choose how much you pay for this bumper pack of five patterns (six if you pay over $32). Perfect for those of us on a tight budget!

I’ve milked this pattern parcel for all it’s worth. These are the final two of the four garments I’ve made from it so far.

This combo is the Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren and Julia cardigan by Mouse House Creations, both good basic staples, which have been welcomed into my autumn wardrobe with open arms.

The Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren and the Julia cardigan by Mouse House Creations.
The Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren and the Julia cardigan by Mouse House Creations.

Both patterns were straightforward to make and didn’t need any altering. I went with sizes that most closely matched my body measurements and found the sizing for both true to size.

The cotton interlock jersey fabric I used for the Julia cardigan is heavy and stable and more of a jacket weight so it gives the cardigan a structured blazer-like look. It doesn’t drape as well as a soft jersey would. Matching the stripes was headache inducing and due to the curvature of the collar, wasn’t possible all the way round the garment – at least not for me anyway!

I made the cream stretch organic jersey Bronte top to wear underneath and I like the flattering, collar-bone skimming neckline.

The pattern instructions for both were easy to follow and beginner friendly.

Pattern Parcel #6 is only available till Friday so don’t hang about, head over to Pattern Parcel and buy it now.

buy it buttonAre you planning to make the Bronte top or Julia cardigan? What fabric will you use? Let me know in the comments below.

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Happy sewing


Trendwatch: Get with the active wear trend with the Hudson Pants pattern.

It’s official. Active wear is trendy and will be around for at least another year.

hudson pants 1
Hudson Pants by True Bias in navy blue Roma knit fabric.

It’s become everyday wear and I say, it’s about time! Fashion reflects what’s going on in society and when we’re all putting our best health foot forward, then our clothes follow suit. Sporty clothing is comfortable and versatile so it’s not surprising that it’s ended up in everyday fashion and even designer collections.

hudson 2
Hudson pants by True Bias and self drafted tank top in organic cotton jersey.

Sewing pattern companies are catching on and patterns such as the Hudson pants by True Bias allow us to get in on the ‘active’ action and make our own sporty gear. Fortunately for us the Hudson pants pattern is currently on special offer (for a limited time only) as part of Pattern Parcel #6.

pattern parcel 6

I made my Hudsons up in a Roma ponte jersey knit which if you haven’t fondled before, is a very stable knit that’s easy to sew with – although I needed to lower the settings on my iron as ponte has a high synthetic content that doesn’t like hot irons.

hudson 3

I made a size six according to my body measurements and found the pattern true to size, I didn’t need to make any alterations.

The instructions had helpful illustrations and were easy to follow and concise at only eight pages, which I appreciated. The pants came together easily and swiftly.

I particularly like the wide waistband which sits comfortably and securely on my hips.

hudson 5

While wearing this outfit last weekend, I received the highest accolade I believe a home sewer can hope for. The best unintentional compliment I’ve ever received. Our visitor said, ‘I’ve heard you make your own clothes so why don’t you wear them?’ Only my shirt and shoes were shop bought, the rest were self created.

Active wear – embrace it and have fun. Get Pattern Parcel #6 now and get trendy!

buy it button

I’ll be back at the weekend with my final instalment from this Pattern Parcel bundle.

If you enjoyed this post, sign up for updates with the YoSaMi newsletter, they’re free. The sign up box is at the top of the page on the right.

Happy sewing,


How to beat the sewing blues with Pattern Parcel #6.

zsalya top 18‘I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I told everybody. No one even answered.

Next week, I said, I’m going to Australia.’  

This sums up how I’ve been feeling lately and explains my blogging and sewing hiatus!

Sometimes being a parent sucks! Sometimes being a parent in a foreign country SUCKS! Sometimes being a parent in a foreign country that doesn’t speak your language REALLY SUCKS!

To top it all, I saw my eye doctor yesterday. He complimented me on my improved complexion. After six years of discomfort and unsightly acne, my rosacea is finally clearing up – wrinkles, greying hair and spots weren’t the best combo. My doctor then told me, I now need glasses.

‘It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

My mom says some days are like that.

Even in Australia.’

Extract from ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ by Judith Viorst.

Thankfully Jill (Made with Moxie and Pattern Parcel), threw me a sewing lifeline.

pattern parcel 6

Pattern Parcel #6

Pattern Parcel #6 is a collection of five über cool, easy breezy indie patterns that you get to name the price for. Plus a sixth bonus pattern, if you pay over $32. That’s only $5 a pattern.

Pattern Parcel #6 is a perfect mix of sporty, practical, cute and fancy patterns – separates and dresses. In a week, I’ve already made four of the six patterns! If you put your mind to it, I’m sure you could whip up at least half of these in a weekend – albeit a sewing retreat type weekend, sans distractions!

Zsalya top by Kate and Rose Patterns in cotton lace.
Zsalya top by Kate and Rose Patterns in cotton lace.

Zsalya Top by Kate and Rose Patterns Review

First up, my review of the Zsalya top by Kate and Rose Patterns. With this pattern you can make a dress or a top with bracelet-length or short sleeves. I went with the longer sleeved top in a size small based on my body measurements.


In keeping with the folksy vibe of the pattern, I used a black cotton lace fabric with a cotton/cupro lining on the body and sleeve cuffs.

Cotton/cupro lining on bodice and sleeve cuffs.
Cotton/cupro lining on bodice and sleeve cuffs.


The pattern instructions are straightforward and easy to understand with illustrations and written explanations for each sewing step which made sewing the top up using the ‘clean and fancy method’, a breeze.

zsalya 33

Key Design Features

For me, the winning features of this pattern are the curved front and back yokes and the crossover ‘faux wrap’ neckline on the front bodice. There’s no wrap gaping and it’s got a nice high v-neck.

Curved back yoke.
Curved back yoke.

The sleeve edge detail is cute too.

Sleeve detail.
Sleeve detail.

Modifications for next time

This was my first go at this pattern but next time, I’ll reduce the width at the side seams a smidgeon. I think the pattern is fairly true to size but it is a loose fit so if like me you prefer a more svelte look, then you may want to reduce the width a touch.

The sleeves are really comfortable and practical for the cooler months ahead but I’d like to try a short sleeved version of this. I think shorter sleeves would help reduce the voluminous look of the top.

buy it button

Don’t miss out on these patterns, the sale ends October 31st so go buy them now. Name your price and how much you want to give to the educational charity.

Thanks so much Jill and Danny (@Pattern Parcel) for giving me the chance to try out these patterns. They got me out of my sewing rut for sure! Also thanks to my helpful neighbour and fellow sewing blogger Alex for taking some of the pics.

If you liked this post, sign up for my newsletter updates – they’re free!

Have fun sewing,





Holidaying in Europe.

As I mentioned in my last post, we’ve just returned from a family trip to Italy.

Next week my older daughter starts school and we were happily spending her final weeks of freedom doing summery things in Germany, when the weather took a turn for the worse. We couldn’t accept such an abrupt end to our carefree sunny days so we decided to head south in search of summer.

The view of the mountains from the olive farm we stayed at.
The view of the mountains from the olive farm we stayed at.

When we travel to Italy, we like to stay in agriturismo – Italian farm stays. We’ve had many positive experiences with these over the years and they usually offer warm hospitality and accommodation that’s good value for money. Plus great food and scenery, not to mention, interesting encounters with other farm guests!

Positive encounters for all the kid (even the furry ones!) on the farm.

The only draw back for last-minuters like us, is that for the most part, you need to enquire about availability via email or phone to the farm directly, you can’t just book your accommodation online and go.

cinque terre 2

The farm owners are generally quick to respond, but it’s a time consuming process. Most of the places we contacted were already fully booked because ‘duhh’ it was August and nearly all Italians were holidaying and everywhere where the was sun was shining, especially on the coast, had no room left at the inn!


We spent a few nail-biting days wondering whether we could go or not.

italian coast

Finally we got a ‘yes’, and were off.

italian beach 2

After so much anticipation and expectation, not to mention, – let’s call it, a ‘character-building’ drive down in the car with the kids and dog for several hours that I don’t want to repeat again anytime soon –

moneglia 2

– we did finally find summer again!


Was it all worth it, you’re wondering?

Sestri Levante

Most definitely, yes!

me on beach

But in very different ways than on our pre-children trips.

cinque terre 4

These days, with kids and a pet, I find we have to grab our moments of joy and happiness where we can!


Although I can now give you a very detailed report on the location and quality of all of the public conveniences within a ten metre radius of every bus and train stop and car park that we passed through, including every cafe and restaurant.


Plus a taste comparison of most of the take-away pizza and gelato establishments.


And most importantly, where you have to stuff your small dog into your day bag to smuggle her onto beaches that she isn’t officially allowed onto.

Italian beach

The Italian northern coast though is beautiful! Full of life and a riot of colour in summer.


Our trip was hot, exhausting, exhilarating but most of all, a lot of fun!

paradise gulf

I’m glad we made the effort to go, even if it does take me the rest of the year to recover from it!


Now it’s back to reality, sewing, blogposts and school days.

I’ll be back soon with some more holiday outfit reviews and a report from Munich Fabric Start.

Wishing you sunny days,


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Revealed: The Shocking Truth About the Ralph Pink Coverup.

I’m talking about the Ralph Pink RP088 beach coverup and the shocking truth is, I love this sewing pattern!!

Ralph Pink Beach Coverup in cotton/silk.
Ralph Pink Beach Coverup in cotton/silk.

It’s tempting to rave about every shiny new thing you make, but the ultimate test of a good sewing pattern is whether the finished garment suits you, how often you wear it, and how long it stays in your wardrobe.

ralph pink coverup 7

This is where this pattern excels.

Back view
Back view

Beach coverups are classic, timeless and suit most body shapes. This Ralph Pink one is well designed with a faux pocket on the front, a fringed hem, a belt for shaping and seams which work well with this border print fabric.

Design details - faux welt pocket on front yoke seam.
Design details – faux welt pocket on front yoke seam.

But beach coverups aren’t just decorative, they’re also really useful.

ralph pink coverup 9

I’ve just got back from a family trip to the Italian Riviera and my beach wrap was invaluable. It boosted my confidence to have something to throw on that made me feel chic, instead of self conscious about my body, when I was in my swimmers.

It was also a relief to be able to wander into town or a restaurant directly from the beach without breaking dress codes or raising too many eyebrows!

Swingy viscose fringe trim.
Swingy viscose fringe trim.
Ralph Pink RP088 Beach Coverup Pattern.
Ralph Pink RP088 Beach Coverup Pattern.

If you’re looking for a chic and easy beach wrap pattern, then Ralph Pink’s got you covered!

Pattern Description: Ralph Pink RP088 Beach Coverup PDF digital download pattern available from Ralph Pink Patterns.

Fabric Used: I used about 3 metres of cotton/silk batiste from my stash and 3 metres of 20cm long viscose fringe trim from B.L.Trimmings in London online store.

Pattern Sizing: I cut the smallest size XS and didn’t change anything.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes they were easy and clear.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the fringe trim but it was awkward to sew on with my sewing machine and the sewing steps which come after you’ve sewn this on were also tricky because of the added weight of the trim pulling on the fabric as you sew. I’d advise hand sewing the fringing.

Ralph describes this as a beginner level sewing pattern which I’d agree with but I’d advise caution when you’re sewing on the fringe trim.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did 2 bound buttonholes using the patch method on either side of the front of the wrap for the belt holes. Instructions for how to do these weren’t included in the pattern instructions. To make belt holes with a finished length of 4.5cm for my 4cm wide belt, I cut a patch of my fabric 5cm wide and 7cm long (2.5cm longer than the buttonhole).

I also did French seams which weren’t included in the pattern instructions but I thought were more suitable for this silky fabric.

Would you sew it again? Yes, I’d like to make a cotton batiste one.

Would you recommend it to others? YES.

ralph pink coverup 12

Happy sewing,


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