20 mile charity night hike

I may have less time to do sewing for the next few weeks as I’ll be in training for a 20 mile night hike in London on Friday 16th September. I do walk everyday, but a half a mile here, a mile there to get the tube, or getting off the bus a few stops early, isn’t great preparation for 20 miles..

So why am I doing this walk?? …. It’s a new challenge, chance to do something different and raise some cash for a fantastic charity.

“The Maggie’s and Open House London Night Hike is a 10 or 20 mile adventure through late night London. With exclusive access to iconic buildings we’ll show you a side of London you’ve never seen before. And with food and entertainment at each of our featured buildings we’ll make sure you have a fabulous Friday night and are looked after every step of the way”

Our fundraising will assist Maggie’s cancer care centres
“Maggie’s Centres are for anyone affected by cancer. They are places where people are welcome whenever they need us – from just being diagnosed, or undergoing treatment, to post-treatment, recurrence, end of life or in bereavement.”


I am currently feeling slightly under prepared, having only confirmed my participation earlier this week and registered our team yesterday !
Even though this activity has nothing to do with my sewing adventures, it will become quite a big part of my life for the next few weeks with some serious long walks after work and on the weekends.

Reversible Skirt – Tutorial

I have been thinking about making a reversible elastic waist skirt for several months as I like the idea of 2 skirts in one …. perfect for travelling or simply to wear when you think you might change your mind half way through the day!

I initially got the idea for this skirt from http://verypurpleperson.com/2009/12/easy-full-skirt-and-little-tutorial.html. I have made a few changes, along with making the skirt reversible.

I’ve put together a tutorial of how I made my skirt; however this may not be the best nor the preferred way to make the skirt -but it worked for me 🙂

1. Take 2 lengths of fabric approx 50cm wide by 115cm wide. I have chosen to use a blue fabric with white spots, and an African print with blue and green colours – it also has some spots, so I think it will complement the blue and white fabric

measure 2 lengths of contrasting fabric
measure 2 lengths of contrasting fabric

2. With each piece of fabric separately put right sides together and join each fabric together along the 50cm length – this is now the back seam

sew back seam
sew back seam
back seam of spotty material
back seam of spotty material

3. Put right side together of both fabric match the back seams, and flatten out material

matching back seams
match the back seams - right sides together

4. Keep the back seams matched and with right sides together, pin together the 2 contrasting materials at the hem (bottom of fabric at 115cm edge). Sew the fabric together with a 1.5cm seam.

sewing the hem

5. Iron fabric at hem to give a neat finish. Turn fabric to have right side facing out. Measure from the hem to the waistband (approx 47cm) and fold over the top fabric, continue around the top of the skirt.Then fold over the contrasting fabric to hide the rough edges. Pin both layers together

waistband measurement
measuring to mark top of ruffle on waistband

6. Stitch the 2 layers together close to the edge of the fabric.

stitching top of waistband
top stitching of waistband

8. Add 2 more rows of stitching going through both layers of fabric. First row of stitching approx 3cm from the top (if you want a bigger ruffle make this 4-5cm from the top). The next row of stitching is to hold the elastic…. mine is 2cm wide.

top ruffle and elastic stitching
top ruffle and elastic stitching

9. Lastly, at the back of the skirt, I unpicked a few stitches on the back seam, so i could thread the elastic through the waistband. I measured, cut, threaded and stitched the elastic before handstitching closed the small opening I made.

threading the elastic
threading the elastic through the back seam

The finished product!!

blue spots reversible cotton skirt
blue spots reversible cotton skirt
reversible skirt african print
reversible skirt african print





I love this skirt – the colours work really well, and it’s nice to see the contrasting fabric on the inside of the ruffle.
If I was to make the skirt again I would leave a probably do the waistband first, thread the elastic, and then do the hem – it might be easier.

Check out my blogpost for the reversible skirt I have for sale on Etsy

“Party Playsuit”

Simplicity pattern 5981
Simplicity pattern 5981

I used this retro pattern I borrowed from my mum’s sewing cupboard to make this cute little playsuit/jumpsuit (View 2).

I was busy sewing this garment the evening before I wanted to wear it, so  I was rather pleased that the pattern was really easy to follow, and total construction time was less than 3 hours !

I wore the playsuit to a friends farewell “summer party”. The fabric print is bright and cheerful, and the playsuit design reminds me  of carefree childhood summers.

Link to previous blogpost with a picture of “Party Pant” and my “Party Playsuit”

After the initial wear of the playsuit, I decided to made a couple of changes to make the playsuit bodice fit more securely – this did include unpicking the back section, cutting and restitching.

back of pattern modifications
View 2 - back of pattern modifications

Changes made are:
– lowered the back
– added 2 rows of elastic on the back

I am really pleased with the finished garment, and hope that I get another chance to wear it.

New project – tailored “Party Pant”

mum's sewing cupboard
mum's sewing cupboard

When I was visiting my family in Australia last month  I spent couple of days back in my country town of Walcha. My home in Walcha fills me with very fond memories and this little impromptu visit gave me a chance to affectionately rummage through my mum’s sewing cupboard and see if there was anything I could “borrow” and add to my own “sewing studio” in London.

What I love most about this cupboard is the vast array zippers  and fabric of all lengths and colours, patterns and bits and bobs carefully packed into the small shelves and drawers.  I can remember clothing being made for me out of the fabric still in here. My mum didn’t like to throw any fabric away, believing it could be used later in another garment. I didn’t borrow any fabric, though I did find a few patterns which I liked the look of.

retro tailored trousers and shorts
retro tailored trousers and shorts

Here is one of the patterns that I have borrowed. It may have been purchased in the 80’s, though I’m unable to find a specific date on the pattern- I  just love the shorts with long socks look – very much a 70’s- 80’s style

I’ll be using this pattern as a starting point for my new project –  tailored  “Party Pant”.

Green “Party Pant” for sale

I have just completed my second pair of “Party Pant” for my Esty shop !

green yellow pink party pant
green yellow pink African print "party pant"

This unique pair of casual unisex trousers, referred to as “Party Pant” have been made out African wax print cotton fabric with pink and yellow geometric shapes on a green background.

Made with an elastic waist and drawstring, 2 front pockets and French seams throughout for additional strength.  The fabric has been pre-washed to prevent shrinkage and colour run.

pocket drawstring green pink yellow pant
pocket and drawstring

These are for perfect festivals, lounging around the house and everywhere in between !

Size – M

Price – GBP 15 plus postage. 1 currently available (unless a made to size order is placed)
waist (unstretched): 71cm (28inches)
waist (stretched):  102cm (40inches)
top of waist to hem: 107cm (42inches)
width of pant at hem: 55cm (21.5inches)

I would like to hear your comments either via my blog or my Esty page. http://www.etsy.com/shop/naomikay Thanks