Vintage Vogue 9126 Pattern Hack

My blog has been shamefully neglected recently, but I have something extra exciting to share with you today – my first magazine feature!  I was asked months ago (it’s been torture keeping this to myself!) whether I’d like to be involved with a pattern hacking feature for Sew Style Vintage.  You know I love pattern hacking and refashioning and the like, so I jumped at the chance.

I won’t into my usual detail on here, as it’s all in the feature, but I wanted to share this exciting news and some photos of my finished hack 🙂  I was very kindly sent the Vogue 9126 pattern and a lovely viscose fabric with a vintage rose print.  The feature also shows off a beautiful hack by Abi over at Crafty Pinup – how lovely is her 50s frock?

The magazine is available in WH Smith stores at the moment, or you can buy a copy here if you like.  It’s a very pretty magazine, definitely one to keep, and it includes both Vogue patterns used by myself and Abi, as well as the pattern for the blue spotty dress you can see on the cover – 20 projects in total, so it’s well worth its £9.99 price tag.

Thank you so much to Sew Style Vintage for asking me to take part and printing my hack!  It’s been a real pleasure, and I’m so happy to be included in such a beautiful publication 🙂

#OWOP16 – Bettine no. 7

Right, it’s time for some real experimenting now.  A couple of weeks ago, I spotted a hack of Bettine on Instagram that was just the skirt.  It had been re-jigged it somehow so that it had a waistband, and it looked really great.  ‘Who is this genius?’ I hear you saying.  Her name is Helen, and she can be found on Instagram at @helenmenzies – please go check out her makes.  I asked how Helen had done it and she was kind enough to share, so I owe this project entirely to her – it’s not something I would ever have thought to do myself.  Here is Helen’s lovely, sophisticated Bettine skirt.


My skirt on the other hand is more on the outrageous side, as you can see.

You’ll have to forgive me for camouflaging in the photos.  Unfortunately everywhere around my house is green.  Well, not unfortunately, usually I don’t mind that at all, but it did make getting photos of this skirt problematic.

The fabric: a slightly outrageous choice, no?  I have a gorgeous brocade-style fabric that I think would be perfect for this skirt, but learning from my disastrous Bettine top hack, I decided not to plunge straight in with the perfect fabric.  Now, this green stuff has been sat in my stash for a while now.  I got it from Resourceful Restoration, a vintage and antiques furniture shop.  Every now and then there’s some fabric up for grabs and I managed to snap up 2.5 metres of this for £20.  I think it’s quite an old fabric, as it’s only 90 centimetres wide.  I was drawn in by the colour and print – I love greens, and I love florals.  The thing about this fabric is that it’s textured.  It has a flocked/velvety/velour feel to it – I guess it was originally some sort of furnishing fabric – so I wasn’t sure what sort of project it would be suited to.  Eventually, I just decided that if it wouldn’t work for a simple skirt it probably wouldn’t work for anything at all.  I decided I’d try for a wearable toile, but I’m not sure how wearable it is.  Thoughts?  Is it too weird?  Anyway,  I do like the shape of the skirt, and this hack has been far more successful than the last one, so I’m going to go ahead and try with my brocade fabric (if I have enough…).

The pattern: a mash up of Bettine and Delphine (even the names sound like they belong together!), both from Tilly and the Buttons.  Delphine is from Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch (which is brilliant, by the way – highly recommend) and you can see my non-hacked Delphines here.

Modifications: yes, I had to make quite a few.  Firstly, I needed to figure out how to make the two patterns work together and redraft them. Additionally, I added a side zip and a waistband.  I didn’t put pockets in this one – I didn’t think they’d work with the fabric.  I’m going to put a tutorial (of sorts) of this hack at the bottom of this post, so scroll down if you want more detail 🙂

The cost: just the fabric, at £20.  I have some left though, but I’m back to wondering what I could make from it…  I used a zip that was given to me and I already had the thread.

Although I’m unsure on my fabric choice, I’m really happy with how this turned out.  In the right fabric it would be beautiful.  It’s like a tulip-meets-pencil skirt in shape, and I think it would be lovely in woolen fabrics for winter.  We’ve hit September so I’m all over the winter sewing now!

And with this, I come to the end of #OWOP16!  What a great idea One Week One Pattern is – it’s great for showing off a pattern’s versatility and encouraging sewists to be abit more adventurous with hacks.  I’ve loved seeing everyone’s creations, and I’ve added about fifty patterns to my wish list.  I huge thank you to Cinderellis Sews for hosting it this year – it’s been a blast!
How I did it


  1. I traced off the front skirt piece of Bettine onto some new tracing paper.
  2. I drew a line 1.5 centimetres down from my Bettine waistline – the waist seam on Bettine is 3 centimetres, and Delphine’s is 1.5, so I needed to even it out somewhere.  This would be my new waistline for Bettine.  I think I could have started further down if I wanted to, as long as the side seams met up somewhere.  Helen’s skirt looks shorter than mine, and I wonder if that’s why – but it could also be that I’m only 5’2″.img_2451
  3. Then I needed to trace off the top part of the Delphine side seam onto my new Bettine piece.  I already had Delphine cut out, so I placed that pattern piece on top of my new Bettine piece, lining the top centre fold corner with the corner of my new waistline.  I traced the Delphine waistline and side seam until it met up with Bettine, as pictured.img_2453If you have not already cut Delphine, I guess you could place the new Bettine piece over the top of Delphine (1.5 centimetres above the Delphine waistline) and trace it off from underneath, if that makes sense?
  4. I trued up the new curve where the two patterns met with my dressmaking ruler – as you can see from the above picture they met at a slightly funny angle.img_2454
  5. Finally, I cut it out and labelled it properly so I’ll know what the heck it is next time I’m rifling though my Bettine envelope.img_2457

And then I sewed it up using this new pattern piece for both the front and the back and the Delphine front waistband piece.  I mashed up the Delphine and Bettine instructions.  I used the Delphine instructions for the waistband and zip (except that I put the zip in the side instead of the back, because I’d omitted the entire back seam), and I followed the Bettine instructions for the hem.  I think next time I sew this it will be super-quick.  Even with all the technical stuff it only took me a few hours, so next time I’ll whiz through it 😀

Me-Made-May Round Up

How amazing was Me-Made-May?  I loved seeing everyone’s makes and I’m more determined than ever to get myself to the me-made everyday stage 🙂

I vowed to wear three me-made or refashioned items per week throughout May, which I decided was 14 or 15 days out of 31.  I’m happy to say I beat my target!  I wore 16 different me-made garments in total, but I did get a second wear out of some of them too, so I think I spent two thirds of May in self-made clothing.  How cool is that?  Here’s a round up from my Instagram.


Clockwise from the top left to the centre, the patterns are: Coco, Darling Ranges Shirt, the Makery Pyjamas (I don’t think the pattern is available to buy, I’m afraid – it came free with a magazine), Agnes and my refashioned sailor jeans, Miette, Silk Cami, hand-knitted socks (gifted to me by a friend), Silk Cami again, refashioned dress, Madeleine, Attic 24 Cosy Stripe blanket, Lauren Guthrie’s Simple Sleeveless Top (from her book, Learn to Sew with Lauren), Vianne, Cressida, refashioned 70s mini, and my Quilting Bee dress.  Phew!

Huge thanks are in order for Zoe over at So, Zo…  for organising Me-Made-May once again!  What I love about it is that there’s absolutely no pressure.  You set your own goal that is attainable for you, whether it’s wearing one handmade garment a week or one every day.  So thank you, Zoe, for making my May much more interesting!  I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did, and I’ll see you there again next year!  🙂

Refashioned 70s Skirt

A few months ago, my friends and I found a vintage 1970s dress in a vintage shop in Sunderland (i’m very sorry, I don’t remember which shop).  It didn’t quite fit me right 😦  So I made (yes, made!) my friend try it.  That fabric – I didn’t want to let it go.  It fitted Rachel perfectly, but we both agreed the fabric was a bit over the top for a maxi dress.  A plan was hatched – Rachel would shorten the dress to just above the knee and I would get the leftovers and attempt to make a skirt.


I didn’t have very much fabric to work with, so it’s a very simple mini (as mini as I’d ever go to be honest), but I think the style works really well with the print.  I actually love it, despite it bordering on indecent 🙂

The pattern: from Fashion with Fabric (from the Great British Sewing Bee).  It’s the lace pencil skirt hacked into an a-line mini.  You take the pencil skirt pattern, shorten it a little and taper out the sides.  It was super quick and easy, so it gets a massive thumbs up from me.  I’ll definitely use it again (but I’ll probably make it a little longer).

Modifications: facing/lining the skirt instead of binding the top.  Basically, I cut out the exact pattern again (a little shorter) to make a lining, sewed them right sides together, turned them out and gave everything a really good press – a lining and facing all in one.  I don;t know whether this is strictly a recommended technique, but it seems to have worked.  Also, the vintage dress had a seam down the back that I had to work with, so I went ahead and inserted my zip in the back seam instead of at the side (and of course, I had to adjust my paper pattern accordingly for cutting my fabric).

The cost: actually, this ended up costing me very little.  Rachel was kind enough to give me the bottom of the dress for free (though it cost her £15).  I had to buy a zip and a small amount of lining fabric – I’d guess that I parted with no more than £5.  Bargain!  😀

So there you go – another unwanted garment rescued.  Sadly, I don’t have a picture of Rachel’s dress, so you’ll have to settle for an outtake from my photos.  It’s hard taking photos when it’s windy.  I think my face says it all…

Re-loved shopping

Last week Rachael and I took an entire afternoon off work to scour the vintage and charity shops of Durham to see what we could find.

The rules were very simple.

  1. We were only allowed to visit vintage and charity shops (with the exception of the obligatory coffee and cake stop, obviously).
  2. We had a budget of £50 for the entire day.
  3. With our new sewing skills in mind, each of us had to buy at least one thing that we could customise/re-fashion in some way.

We succeeded on all three counts, spending less than £25 each.  So, what did we get?  Well, I won’t share everything because we both ended up getting quite a bit, but I will tell you what we plan to re-fashion.  I got this black and white wool-look skirt, which is my size, but is a really unflattering length on me and my little legs (it falls just below mid-shin – not a good look for my barely-taller-than-five-feet self).  However, I really like the fabric and the pleat detail on the front, so I decided I’d buy it and take off some of the length.  Plus, it only cost me 50 pence!  50 pence + a bit of black thread + a little bit of my time = one absolutely bargainous skirt.  Rachael got a grey jumper because it was so soft (like, seriously, the softest jumper known to man).  We think this jumper started out as menswear, but Rachael happens to quite like the fit of it and has plans to add some sort of lace embellishment.

Let me share my favourite purchases with you too – a green dress and some green shoes.  Obviously I liked green last week.  What am I saying?  I always like green.  I don’t know where this dress came from (I don’t recognise the name on the label), but I love it!  I love that it’s got a bit of a 20s-60s fusion thing going on.  It’s really just a fitted shift dress, I suppose, but the beads give it a flapper feel.  Ah, it’s just beautiful!  I’m so looking forward to wearing it – a steal at £7.  I’ve already worn my new brogues 🙂  I’ve worn them a lot.  I couldn’t believe my luck when I spotted them. They weren’t even on the shelf yet, they were just being unpacked.  “I’ll have those too, please!”  They must have been only worn once or twice (possibly never!) – even the creases you can see in these pictures weren’t there until after I’d already worn them.  They are a Clark’s creation and only set me back £4.50.  They’re possibly the catch of the day, actually.

Following on from our shopping trip, I went to Barnard Castle over the weekend and found another skirt that I hope to re-fashion.  This one is pretty much a full on kilt, with a wraparound design on the front and heavily pleated on the back.  I was originally drawn to this because of the colour – green (what a shocker).  However, it’s quite a bit too big for me, and as with the other skirt I got, the length won’t work on me.  In the end I bought it, simply because the fabric is very decent.  It’s 100% wool and it also has these leather buckles on it, which I’m hoping to re-purpose as well.  I’m going to have a go at giving this skirt a complete.  I’m going to attempt to get the waistband off and get the pleats out with a wash and some serious pressing (I’m hoping they’ll come out with enough effort), and then essentially start from scratch, treating it as a brand new piece of fabric.  I’ll try to incorporate the buckles and wraparound feature, but I don’t know what I’ll end up with.  How adventurous of me! I’ll let you know what I end up doing 😀

I think I’ve picked up some right gems that can now be loved for that little while longer – by me!  I’ll definitely be doing this again at some point – there are so many clothes that have life in them yet.

A glutton for buttons

Whilst visiting family this weekend, I was presented with a large biscuit tin filled to the brim with buttons and told to help myself to whatever I wanted!  How exciting is that?  I mean, everyone loves buttons, right? *

Of course, I was straight in there, tipping the contents out, rummaging, sorting, squirrelling.  I commandeered the dining room table for a good couple of hours.

I managed to restrain myself quite well and only came away with a small selection for myself.  I’m really pleased with my haul, and can’t wait to upcycle my new old buttons and put to use once more!  I came away with entire sets of some buttons.  Some of them are probably old enough to be called ‘vintage’.  Just look at how beautiful some of them are!

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I certainly know where to go first whenever I need buttons.

Ooh, and while we’re talking of buttons, did I ever show off the cute anchor buttons on my Madeleine skirt?


I got them from Textile Garden, who stock every button you could ever dream of.  It’s the little details like this that make sewing so fun!

* Actually, I know that to be wrong.  I have a friend who is scared of buttons, and apparently she’s not alone in suffering this tragic affliction!  Can you imagine?  My research tells me that if you have a fear of buttons, you have – prepare yourselves, now – koumpounophobia.  Rumour has it that Steve Jobs’ fear of buttons was so severe that it led to the invention of the small object we now call the iPhone (other smartphones are available!).  Don’t believe me?   Look it up and amaze yourselves.  😀