TUTORIAL: Solar Flare Bag (free crochet pattern)


This project started out more than 2 years ago when the presence of raffia yarn came to my knowledge. I was mindblown. I have been a long-time fan of vintage straw bags and wicker bags, so the thought of being able to create my very own straw bag made me paralysed with excitement.

I had the idea of making a basic, round-bottomed bag originally. I casted on and began to work on it slowly. But as time went by, I began to realise that I was really struggling with the project. It was my first time working with raffia yarn and I needed some time to get used to the texture and how it moves on the crochet hook. I was also using the wrong hook size, which resulted in crinkly, tight stitches and a sore right hand. Little by little, I lost interest in the project and it got chucked away in my box of UFOs.

Fast forward to the end of 2019, I finally got inspired to pick up the project again. I decided that my original inspiration was no longer the design that I wanted. Instead, I came across the Corallina Fringed Raffia Tote and fell in love! And after working on it for many months…, I finally finished it in May of 2020.

This project really took a lot longer than I initially anticipated. I ran out of yarn, ordered some more, then realised I bought the wrong colour, then ordered some more of the right colour. Other than having to wait for the yarn order, I also spent a lot of time handsewing the hard, interfaced lining to the bag. Honestly, the process of crocheting took a much shorter time than the process of sewing the bag lining in place. But hey, that’s what I had to do for the bag to last a long long time.

some snaps from my IG stories during the process of making this bag

So here it is! Before we get into the steps, I also want to say that I didn’t start out thinking I would be sharing a tutorial so this isn’t a deep, step-by-step process. I’m not doing pattern-writing professionally (yet) so this is what I can offer for now. Now that I have laid that out, here’s a how-to for you to make your own too >>>


Finished dimensions: 8″ (W) x 8.5″ (H) x 10.5″ (L)
Yarn used: Raffia yarn, held double
Yardage: approx 800m
Hook: 5.00mm
Gauge: 15 sts x 15 rows = 4″ x 4″
Other notions: magnetic buttons, a pair of handles, fabric and heavy-weight interfacing (if you want to make a lining for the bag


(Pattern is made flat and worked in rows)

Make foundation row of 40 chain stitches – then add an extra 1 sc before turning for the next row

[BAG FRONT – 32 rows in total]
Step 1: Make 40 sc
Step 2: Repeat Step 1 for 31 more rows
*Again, remember to add 1 sc before turning for the next row to make your edge straight*

[BAG BASE – 24 rows in total]
Step 3: To make the flat piece “fold” to create the base of the bag, insert hook into back stitch for this row. Make 40 sc.
Step 4: Switch back to inserting hook into both front and back of each stitch. Make 23 more rows.

[BAG BACK – 32 rows in total]
Step 5: To make the flat piece “fold”, insert hook into back stitch for this row. Make 40 sc.
Step 6: Switch back to inserting hook into both front and back of each stitch. Make 31 more rows.
Step 7: Break yarn and fasten off

[BAG SIDES – 32 rows by 24 stitches for each side]
Step 8: Pick up and make 24 sc on short edge of the bag base. Do this by inserting your crochet hook into the back of all stitches to create the “fold”
Step 9: Switch back to inserting hook into both front and back of each stitch. Make 31 more rows, then break yarn and fasten off.
Step 10: Repeat for the other side of the bag

Step 11: Using a tapestry needle and the raffia yarn (single strand this time will do), stitch the edges of the bag together to create a 3D bag. You may also wish to use yarn tail from fastening off in previous steps to do this. Weave ends in.

Note: You may wish to skip this section if you do not want a lining with a magnetic clasp

Step 12: Sew bag lining with magnetic closure into bag following the measured dimensions of the crocheted raffia bag

Step 13: Using the same yarn and hook, crochet the handle onto the bag
– insert hook into the 14th stitch from the right of the bag
– make 1 sl st
– place the yarn in front of the bag and the handle behind the yarn
– make another sc by inserting the hook into the next stitch and wrapping the yarn over the handle
– continue to make 13 sc using the same method (i.e. 14th sis for the handle)
– make a sl st, break yarn and fasten off

Step 14: Tie short lengths of raffia along the edge of the bag to make the fringe
– Cut raffia yarn pieces of about 8.5cm long. You will need a lot, a lot of it!
– Using a tapestry needle, insert each 2 pieces into a stitch right next to the edge of the bag
– Make a simple tie
– Do this for 2 columns (i.e., up and down on each corner / edge of the bag, TWICE).
– Unravel the raffia a little to “fluff” up the fringe aka create volume

And that’s it!

I hope you like this pattern and if you want to share this with everyone on Pinterest, please feel free to use the Pinterest image above.

Don’t forget to use #SolarFlareBag and tag me on Instagram (@gwenstella.made) if you are making this bag! I’d love to see your version. x

PATTERN HACK: Workwear Inspired Overalls (Burnside Bibs)

Hello hello! I’m back with another addition to my Burnside Bibs sewing series. Wow, I just looked it up and it seems like the Burnside Bibs was released in 2017. Is it relevant in 2020!? A classic style like these bibs is timeless, my friend. BTW, not sponsored, haha.

I made my first version of the Burnside Bibs in late 2019 using a black and white, vertical striped fabric. The fabric choice was a deviation from my usual preference of bright colours and pretty prints because it was meant to be a bibs devoted for wearing to my 9-to-5 job. 

My second version of the Burnside Bibs is a better representation of my usual go-to style aesthetic – a vintage 1940’s inspired short summer version with ruffles on the shoulder straps and scalloped hem, made with a pink 1930’s inspired ditsy floral fabric. I know it’s a mish-mash of decades, but I’m not a purist. There’s a photo tutorial on this blog for making the modifications and for anyone who’s a video learner, there’s also a video tutorial

front and back

Now let’s get to my third (and probably not final) version of the Burnside Bibs! Watching Land Girls (BBC 2009 – 2011 TV Series) has gotten me inspired to start making vintage-inspired workwear. But dedicating time and effort into making a whole set of WW1-inspired workwear made up of army green knitted sweater and tan bibs seems like a huge commitment to me right now, so I decided with something more modern – the camouflage print. 

This pink, medium-weight cotton canvas caught my eye when I was out just casually window-shopping at Chinatown one day and I decided that it would be a great fabric to use for my workwear inspired bibs! I really love the shade of dusty pink which gives it a look that is different from all the other usual camouflage prints. 

Here’s a summary of the additional / modified design elements for this version of the Burnside Bibs and my reasons for them:

  • Ankle length: For wearing boots over them, which will be very helpful when doing really dirty work and keeping myself warm in winter
  • Cuffed pants: To show off the plain fabric on the underside and provide a contrast in design
  • Button closure for shoulder straps replacing the need for ties: To avoid the fuss of working with the ties while working hard in the garden! Also, medium-weight cotton canvas isn’t meant for making itty-bitty string ties.
  • Bodice with a square top: This design is available as an option in the original bibs pattern (as opposed to the other slightly scooped bib design). I chose this to give it a stronger vintage 1940’s workwear vibe.
  • Thicker straps: I figured thicker straps would also give stronger workwear vibes but after making it up I think they are probably a tad too thick. The photos are there, you be the judge!
  • Square pocket: To go with the bodice with the square top 
  • Side lapped zipper with a metal zipper: For strength and durability, similar to vintage jeans zipper closure
  • Little button tab at the end of the zipper closure: This last-minute addition helps prevent the zipper from opening up when I bend over. I chose a flower button to represent peace and to oppose what camouflage print usually symbolises. 

There were a few other design elements that I had in mind originally but didn’t include in the final design – either I forgot about them or decided I didn’t have the headspace for them. Specifically, I wanted to add a couple of loops / tabs / pen pockets etc to give it a Grease Monkey look as well but I decided it was too much. Besides, I have no idea what I need because I haven’t gotten to the stage where I’m going to be a working in a yard on a daily basis. So yeah, this will do for now!

From a dressmaking point of view, here are the details for this version of the pattern (compared to the original pattern pieces). As a reference, I based the changes off size 00:

  • Length: 26” inseam (final measurement with cuffed hem), an increase of 1″ from the original pattern
  • Crotch length: Increased 1” from original pattern for ease in movement
  • Ties: Original pattern used ties and I completely omitted this
  • Side lapped zipper: Original pattern suggested invisible zipper, which wouldn’t work well with medium-weight cotton canvas
  • Square front pocket: Original pattern has rounded patch pocket. I drafted mine by squaring off the edge of the original pattern (see photo below)
  • Front bib square pocket: Not in the original pattern. I made mine by shortening the back pocket pattern piece from the original pattern for this
  • Front waistband: Added 6/8” on long edge to match back waistband height (see photo below)
  • Front pants: Shaved off ½” on each side (side seam and centre-front seam), starting from the waist edge and tapering to the original width for the rest of the pant leg for a more fitted waist (see photo below)
  • Back pants: Shaved off 3/8” on each side of the centre-back seam, starting from the waist edge and tapering to the original width for the rest of the pant length for a more fitted waist
  • Mini button tab for zipper closure: Not in the original pattern. I made this 6.5cm long and 2.0cm wide (final measurement) for 1.2cm wide button, sewn into the front waistband facing (see photo below)
Front pants: Shaved off ½” on each side (side seam and centre-front seam), starting from the waist edge and tapering to the original width for the rest of the pant leg for a more fitted waist
Square front pocket: Original pattern has rounded patch pocket. I drafted mine by squaring off the edge of the original pattern
Front waistband: Added 6/8” on long edge to match back waistband height
Mini button tab for zipper closure: Not in the original pattern. I made this 6.5cm long and 2.0cm wide (final measurement) for 1.2cm wide button, sewn into the front waistband facing

With the modifications that I made to the pant legs, especially with shaving small inches off the sides for a more fitted waist, I am able to avoid having ties around the waist and yet achieve a fairly fitted look. My instinct is usually to go for a tight, high-waisted look so I really had to stop myself from shaving too much of the sides off since I still want this to be a comfortable workwear! Check out the photo at the end of this post to see how much movement the bibs allow despite having a more fitted waist 😉

Last but not least, let’s talk about the buttons! What’s up with the 3 buttons on the sides of the pants? They serve the purposes of both design and function! I thought having a regular back button placement for the shoulder straps was a bit boring so I wanted to change it up and use a front button placement. But having just 1 lonely button on the front side hip didn’t look so good to me so I added 2 more on each side. Here’s a bonus – the last button is the button I use when wearing this overalls with the bib down! It’s not 100% what I had in mind but considering that I basically winged it from the get-go, I think it’s a pretty cool, alternative look for the Burnside Bibs. What do you think?

An alternative way to wear my workwear style overalls!
criss-crossed straps across the back for this look

Well, I didn’t think this post would end up being this long but I really enjoyed going into the detail of my design decisions and my dressmaking modifications. I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini series of Burnside Bibs modification. I’m in the process of planning to hack the bibs into a pair of shorts. Keep your eyes peeled because I think I will be posting it up as a sewing vlog on my Youtube channel! If you enjoy my makes and want to hear / watch me do more crafty stuff, do subscribe to my channel! 🙂

Have you sewn the Burnside Bibs and made modifications to the pattern too? I’d love to hear about your hacks (for this or any other sewing patterns)!

Keep well and stay safe, everyone! x

TUTORIAL: Sew your own cushion cover (of any size)

How is everyone doing? I am currently into my third week of working from home.

So far, I am enjoying sleeping in (since I don’t have to spend 1 hour commuting to work), making foods for myself, and having lo-fi beats playing in the background as I work. However, I haven’t found a sudden surge in energy to create, because the pandemic is a constant source of worry for me.

Regardless, I try my best to continue working on my projects at a steady pace, and to keep doing what gives me joy. I have been able to make time in between to sew some fabric masks for my friends and families and I have also just finished my third version of the Burnside Bibs.

Now that I am spending more time at home, I also find myself spending more time organising my space. Having a neat and tidy home / work environment makes such a big difference! While sitting on my hard barstool and working on my laptop the other day, I also had the idea of using a seat cushion that I have had with me for a while. When I dug it out from the closet, I suddenly remembered why I haven’t been using it in such a long time – it’s in a shade of grey that doesn’t go with anything else in my home!

And then, I also suddenly remembered my forgotten idea of sewing a coordinating cover for the seat cushion. So, I whipped one up last weekend and I am so happy with the way it looks with the rest of my cushions now!

If you’re looking into sprucing up your home and making new cushion covers, here’s how you can make yours.

Step 1

Step 1: Using a long ruler or a measuring tape, measure the length and breadth of the cushion. For accurate measurements, do this along the side seams rather than across the cushion. We will be cutting the fabric for making the cover using a couple of simple math formulas so make sure you refer to the photos for the symbols!

Breadth = A

Length = B

In this project, my measurements are as follows:

A = 15″ 

B = 15″

Step 2

Step 2: Cut the front fabric for the cushion cover. This is made up of 1 fabric piece. Follow this formula:

A1 = (A – 1″) + (2 x seam allowance)

B1 = (B – 1″) + (2 x seam allowance)

We are taking away 1″ so that the cushion cover sits snugly on the cushion. Because seam allowance is needed for both top / bottom and left / right of the fabric, we need to multiply the seam allowance by 2. You can use anything width between 1/4″ to 5/8″ for seam allowance. Choose a smaller width if you are confident of sewing with small widths and you want to save a bit of yardage 😉

I used 0.5″ seam allowance for my project.

For clarity, my measurements for this piece of fabric are as follows:

A1 = (A – 1″) + (2 x 0.5″ seam allowance)

A1 = (15″ – 1″) + 1″ seam allowance

A1 = 15″


B1 = (B – 1″) + (2 x 0.5″ seam allowance)

B1 = (15″ – 1″) + 1″ seam allowance

B1 = 15″

Step 3

Step 3: Cut the back fabric for the cushion cover. This is made up of 2 fabric pieces. Follow this formula:

A2 = (A1 / 2) + overlap + (2 x seam allowance)

B2 = B1

For this cushion cover design, I have the opening located right in the middle of the finished cover, so you want to start by dividing the A1 in half. Also, as I was trying to save a bit of yardage, I used 0.5″ seam allowance for the top of the cushion cover (as per A1) but only used 1/4″ seam allowance for the overlapping section of the cushion cover. You may also choose to have a 2″ overlap if your cushion is puffier, but anything beyond 3″ is probably too much.

For clarity, my measurements for this piece of fabric are as follows:

A2 = (A1 / 2) + 1″ overlap + 0.5″ allowance on the top + 0.25″ seam allowance for the section of the overlap

A2 = (15″ / 2) + 1.75″ = 7.5″ + 1.75″

A2 = 9.25″


B2 = 15″

Step 4

Step 4: Using your sewing machine, sew zig-zag stitches along 1 of the long edge of each of the back fabric piece.

Step 5

Step 5: Fold and pin the seam allowance of the zig-zag edge down, then sew straight stitches along the edge. Sew approximately 1/8″ from the folded edge. In this project, I am using 0.25″ seam allowance for this edge.

Step 6

Step 6: With wrong sides together, pin the front and back pieces together. Make sure that the edges (B2) sewn in Step 5 are the edges that are overlapping one another.

Step 7

Backstitch where the fabric overlap

Step 7: Using straight stitches, sew around the edges of the cushion cover. I am using 0.5″ seam allowance in this project. Reinforce the overlapped section by making a few backstitches. TIP: To make the pointed corners, try to make 1-2 diagonal stitches when turning at the corners (rather than making stitches with a 90 deg turn). See the next step for a close-up photo.

Step 8: Clip the corners. You may wish to trim the excessive seam allowance off as well if you find that the excess fabric from the seam allowance shows up on your cushion. Sew zig-zag stitches all around the raw edges to prevent the fabric from fraying.

And that’s it! I hope the math formulas aren’t too hard to follow. I decided to write the pattern down as a formula because I want to show everyone how easy it is to modify this project to fit all cushions of any size!

Have fun with making your own cushion cover! I am happy to answer any questions in the comments section 🙂

Gwen x


PATTERN HACK: Vintage 1940’s Inspired Pinafore (Burnside Bibs)

My personal mantra for the year 2020 is: use what you have. I am trying to apply this to my sewing projects as well. This means using my fabric stash and doing more pattern hacking. Besides, hacking the patterns that I already will help me to save money, reduce clutter (both tangible and digital), and improve my pattern drafting knowledge!

After making my first monochrome Burnside Bibs (pattern by Sew House Seven) in 2019 as an exclusive work-wear attire, I immediately made plans to make more versions of this pattern. I had bought this LECIEN floral fabric (on impulse, oops) when it was on sale because I knew I wanted to make a summer, weekend version of these bibs. Considering that my weekend wardrobe is usually vintage-inspired, it’s no surprise that I decided to take a retro spin on this version of the Burnside Bibs!

My inspiration for adding the ruffles came from the numerous vintage sewing pattern envelopes illustrations from the 1940s. Vintage sewing pattern envelopes are basically my version of the Sears catalog – they are such a great resource for studying vintage trends and fashion!

Vogue 8680, circa 1942

Du Barry 5630 – circa 1943

I found that pinafores and overalls seem to be very popular in the 1940s. Wait, are they the same thing? Anyway, many designs feature ruffles over the shoulders. I love the fun, feminine look they give, so I decided to give that a go.


Whilst I was quick to decide on adding ruffles to the shoulder straps, deciding on whether to add the scalloped hem took a lot longer. I was afraid that the scalloped hem would make the entire look too cute-sy. At the end of the day, I said to myself, “heck, go big or go home”. And so, I added the scalloped hem as well. The verdict? I LOVE IT.

In summary, here are the changes I made for this retro floral version:

  • Crotch length increased by 1” (as I previously talked about in the first version)
  • Shorts with finished measurement of 3” inseam
  • Ruffles on straps
  • Scalloped hem

And here’s how you can hack the Burnside Bibs by Sew House Seven too!

  1. Increasing the crotch length
    • Cut the front and back pants pattern pieces by following the horizontal crotch marking on the original paper pattern
    • Spread the pattern pieces by 1” to increase the crotch length
  2. Making the short length
    • Mark 5” inseam length for both front and back pants pattern pieces
    • Cut fabric with the 5” inseam length
  3. Adding ruffles to shoulder strap
    • Cut fabric for shoulder straps and ties according to original pattern
    • Cut 2 pieces of rectangular strips measuring 3” by (~2 x the length of your should straps)”. I made the 00 size and the length of the shoulder straps for this size is ~24”. So, I cut 2 rectangular strips of fabric measuring 3” by 50”.
    • Fold one of the strips in half, WS together. Using a tailor’s chalk, mark 5/8” from one of the corners. Then, using a pair of scissors, cut a gentle curve from the marked point to the long edge of the fabric strip. Repeat this for the other end of the fabric strip.

      Marking and cutting the soft curve

    • With the help of an iron, fold and press 1/8” of the curved edge and long edge of the fabric. Then, fold and press 1/8” length again to create a double-fold edge. Pin the double-fold edge in place.

      Pinning a double-fold edge along the curve and long edge of the fabric strip

    • Edgestitch the double-fold edge in place.

      Edgestitching the ruffle strips

    • Using the longest stitch on your sewing machine, sew basting stitches (i.e. a continuous length of straight stitches) on the fabric strips, 2/8” and 5/8” from the raw edge.
    • Create ruffles by gently pulling only 1 thread from each row of basting stitches. The final length of the ruffles should measure no more than the finished length of the shoulder straps. (Note: My ruffles are the exact length of the shoulder straps. You may wish to make your ruffles shoulder shorter if you like. If I could do this again, I would probably make the ruffles shorter.)

      Basting and creating the ruffles

    • Prepare shoulder straps and tie according to instructions in the original pattern using the FOLD METHOD (i.e. fold and press 3/8″ for one of the long edge of the shoulder strap + tie combination).

      Preparing the shoulder strap + tie for sewing

    • With RS of the shoulder straps and RS of the ruffles together, pin the ruffles to the shoulder straps with the curved edge. Make sure to align one end of the ruffle to the start of the shoulder strap and the other end of the ruffle to seam between the shoulder strap and the tie (or shorter if you don’t want your ruffles to be too long).
    • Sew the shoulder strap and ruffle together using a 3/8″ allowance. You may want to press the ruffles flat before sewing to make sewing easier.

      Sewing the ruffle to the shoulder strap

    • Fold the shoulder strap and tie in half lengthwise and edgestitch in place as per original pattern.
    • Attach the shoulder straps with ruffles to the bib as per original pattern. Make sure both ruffled straps are mirror image of one another!
    • Don’t forget to remove the basting stitches at the end as well.

      Making sure that the ruffles WS up before sewing the shoulder straps to the bib


  4. Sewing the scallop-edge hem
    • Using your sewing machine, sew zig-zag stitch all along the raw edge of the hem. You may also wish to use a serger if you have one.
    • Fold 2″ of the hem outwards to make the WS together. Pin and press in place.
    • Mark out the scallops of your desired width, making sure that the bottom edge of the scallop is 3/8″ from the fold. If you wish to have scallops deeper than 1.5″, you will need to include a longer hem allowance for your shorts.
    • For reference, my scallops are 1.5″ deep and 3″ wide.

      Marking out the scallop pattern

    • Sew along the marking for the scallop pattern. To ensure that the sharp point where 2 scallops meet fold out nicely when you turn the scallops inside out, make sure that you sew a single horizontal stitch at the sharp point where 2 scallops meet.

      ATTENTION!!!: Sew a single horizontal stitch at the sharp point where 2 scallops meet

    • Trim and cut the scallop, leaving ~1/8 to 2/8″ from the stitches.

      Trim the scallops

  5. Fold the scallop inside out, then edgestitch all around it.

    Edgestitching to make it look pretty

And that’s it! I hope you find this pattern hack tutorial easy to follow. Actually, these methods of adding ruffles and scalloped hem can be modified really easily. You can do this to any overalls/dress/shorts pattern you have!

Hope you’re staying safe and healthy wherever you are. xx Gwen


Images of vintage sewing pattern envelopes are from: https://vintagepatterns.fandom.com/



I don’t think I have ever talked about my #Gwerkclothes project here but here’s a short summary to bring everyone up to speed on this series of refashioned projects: in 2019, I needed work-appropriate clothes badly and was too stingy to buy new ones so I decided to refashion my mum’s unwanted clothes. With that, the #Gwerkclothes series was born.

There was a handful of clothes that I refashioned, but 1 polka dot top and 1 navy striped top appealed to me most and I decided to document those 2 projects on my Instagram (search #Gwerkclothes). Now that I have completed my 3rd and final version of refashioning for this series, it’s time for a recap and a reveal of the grand finale!


My mum is about 2 dress sizes bigger than me so the first time I worked on the clothes, all I did was altering the clothes to make them fit my petite frame better.


After wearing them consistently for several months, I got sick of their shapeless silhouette and decided that it was time for me to run them through my sewing machine again. This time round, I experimented with creating shape using elastics. The new look worked well for me for another cycle of several months. And then, I found another job position and decided to start anew!

These refashioned tops were no longer relevant when I quit the job I started this #Gwerkclothes series for. The navy striped blouse was used to make a muslin for a sewing project in the end while the polka dot top laid low in my wardrobe for a while

Mind you, these mass-produced high street pieces weren’t made to last. By the end of the peak of version 2, the fabrics were starting to pile badly with the constant washing. But I still hung on to the polka dot piece because I knew I would get an itching to create something from it again someday.


After transitioning into my new position, I decided that it was time for me to work on the polka dot top again. Considering the damage that had occurred to the fabric, I decided that making small accessories that would go with my current work capsule wardrobe would be the best choice.

And so, I made a scarf/belt AND flower brooch with the fabric! Wearing accessories is such a great way to change up an outfit. Here’s 6 different looks that I created with the same white dress and these 2 refashioned accessories:

Look 1: Brooch on dress

Look 1: Brooch on dress

Look 2: Brooch pinned on fabric headband

Look 2: Brooch pinned on fabric headband

Look 3: Scarf tied around the head

Look 3: Scarf tied around the head

Look 4: Scarf worn around the neck and tied with a pussy bow style

Look 4: Scarf worn around the neck and tied with a pussy bow style

Look 5: Scarf worn as a belt

Look 5: Scarf worn as a belt

Look 6: Scarf worn around the head with the excess length placed over the shoulder

Look 6: Scarf worn around the head with the excess length placed over the shoulder

With these photos, I proudly conclude the short but interesting #Gwerkclothes series. If you’re interested in seeing how I transformed the top into these 2 accessories, hop over to my Instagram to watch the tutorial via my IGTV channel (via @gwenstella.made).

Stay safe and wash your hands, everyone! x

MAKE DO & MEND: Freddies of Pinewood Jeanie Jeans

I bought these Jeanie Jeans from Freddies of Pinewood back in 2015 when they were on sale with a known zipper flaw. The risk of a zipper malfunction didn’t deter me from buying them. I just wanted to have them so bad at a good price!

The zipper worked fine for a while. Then, during my trip to Colorado in 2017, it tore. Fortunately, the tear was close to the bottom of the zipper and I could stop the zipper from unhinging from the teeth on one of the sides by handsewing the tear shut with just a needle and some thread.

The tear slowly got larger over time and at some point I was even wearing the jeans as they were. That means that I had to physically insert the teeth back into the zipper head after every trip to the bathroom. Of course, that didn’t last long.

My Jeanie Jeans went into hibernation for about a year. The last time it appeared on my Instagram feed was in October 2018. This year, I decided to shake the dust off these jeans and finally got around to fixing the broken zipper!

Here are the specific materials I used for this mending project:

  • New zipper with gold metal teeth in the same length as original
  • Dark brown jeans topstitching thread
  • Navy thread in the bobbin
  • Zipper foot on the machine
  • Jeans sewing needle in the machine

To be honest, sewing jeans isn’t easy on the home sewing machine. I am using a secondhand Husqvarna E20 with needles specific for sewing jeans and I had to physically hand-crank the machine to get the needle to go through.

Good news, I got the job done after unpick the stitches twice and broke 0 needles in the process! I’m so glad to have my Jeanie Jeans back. The stitching is not perfect but hey, it’s functional and that’s all that’s important.  x


RESTYLED: Shortened Black Gingham Shorts (2010 make)

How long is the longest relationship you have with your handmade garment?

To me, having a change of heart with my handmade garments is only natural. I don’t expect my figure and my style to stay the same forever, but I sure would like to extend the relationship I have with my handmade garments for as long as I can. Last year, I restyled / refashioned one of my 2011 sewing projects into something that fits my current style better.

And just last weekend, I decided it was time my black gingham bermudas from 2010 get a brand new look. This is the first pair of pants I have ever made and the one & only time I have ever sewn a fly zipper. Well, I’m not saying that I won’t ever sew a fly zipper again but for some reason I have been able to avoid it for the last 9 years…

Back in 2010, I wanted to make a pair of bermudas because I thought they would give a great 50’s look. As it turned out, I have always felt awkward in them because of the length. I guess I’m just not a bermuda kind of gal!

So, to give my neglected black gingham bermudas a new lease of life, I decided to shorten them and turn them into a pair of true shorts. If you are interested in learning how to shorten the length of shorts and make a double fold hem, here’s how you can do it!

  • pins
  • fabric scissors
  • straight ruler
  • fabric marker
  • thread
  • sewing machine

  1. Fold each leg of the shorts in half, lengthwise by aligning the side seams of the shorts with the inseams. Pin in place.
  2. Using a straight ruler and fabric marker, measure and mark 5″ from the crotch. Cut along the marked line.
  3. Make a double-fold hem: fold 0.5″ towards the wrong side of fabric, then fold another 0.5” with the folded edge facing the wrong side. Using a hot iron, press the double fold hem.
  4. Sew approx. 1/8 ” from the uppermost edge of the double-fold hem on the sewing machine. 

It’s that easy! Cutting the excess length off and making a simple double fold hem work well for pants that are not tight-fitting or tapered towards the knee. Be sure to make that this is the case for the pants you want to work on, to avoid ending up with hems that are too tight on your thighs.

TUTORIAL: Hue Are Cool sweater (FREE PATTERN)

Happy 2020! How is everyone doing in the new year so far? I’m excited to be back here and today I am sharing some photos of a matching sweater and beret that I made for a friend for Xmas.

I started knitting the sweater in late November 2019 and slowly worked on the projects until the beginning of January 2020. Obviously, it’s not quite a Xmas anymore since it’s about 1 month past Xmas. But hey, better late than ever right?

This sweater is designed with a faux turtleneck, 3/4 sleeves and a positive ease. It is knitted in the round, top-down and best of all, is seamless! I am sharing my pattern for free with everyone in the post. You can also download the PDF version via my Ravelry page here.

Download the PDF version of the free knitting pattern

Hue Are Cool – sweater

Finished size:
Fits UK 6 – 8 best
Chest = max 34”
Length = 22.5”
Sleeve length (from shoulder) = 16”

Yarn used:
Cake ball by Lanas Stop OR any long-strand, self-striping yarn in aran weight

approx. 530yds

18 sts to 4” with 5.00mm needles

5.00mm 16” circular needles
5.00mm 24” circular needles
4.50mm DPNs / 9” or 16” circular needles
4.00mm DPNs / 9” or 16” circular needles

Other notions:
2 stitch holders


CO 100 sts on 5.00mm needles (16” circular)

Join in round and place stitch marker at the beginning of the round

Round 1: Begin K1, P1 rib st until work measures 5” from CO

Round 2: (K1, P1, K1, Pfb)* rep until end – 125 sts

Round 3: (K1, P1, K1, P2)* rep until end. Repeat 2 more times.

Round 4: (K1, Pfb, K1, P2)* rep until end – 150 sts

Round 5: (K1, P2, K1, P2)* rep until end. Repeat round 2 more times.

Round 6: (K1, P1, Pfb)* until end – 200 sts

Round 7: (K1, P3)* rep until end. Repeat round 2 more times.

Round 8: (K1, P1, Pfb, P1)* until end – 250 sts

Round 9: (K1, P4)* until end

Continue until piece measures 11.5” from beginning OR lengthen according to your upper chest body length


(Place 52 sts on stitch holder, CO 5 sts right needle, knit 73 sts)*rep until end


Switch to 5.00mm 24” circular needles for more comfortable knitting

Continue knitting in the round until piece measures 9.5” from underarms, OR lengthen as desired.

Switch to 4.50mm needles, knit (K1, P1) ribbing for 1.5”

Bind off with stretchy BO


Work on 1 sleeve at a time

Place sts on stitch holder on 5.00mm needles, then pick up 10 sts from underarm gap

*place stitch marker between 5thand 6thstitches picked up to mark the middle of the underarms

Knit in the round for 5cm, then start decrease rounds

Dec round 1: (K1, K2tog)* rep until 3 sts remain, sl 1, K1, psso, K1

Rep dec round until sleeve measures 10” from underarms – 56 sts

Dec round 2: (K5, K2tog)* rep 8 times

Dec round 3: (K1, P1, K1, P1, K2tog, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2tog)* rep until end of round

Switch to 4.00mm needles, continue (K1, P1) ribbing for 3 rounds with the magic loop method

Switch to 3.50mm needles, continue same ribbing until ribbed portion measures 1.5”

Bind off with stretchy BO

Repeat for the other sleeve


The beret made to go with the sweater is knitted using another free pattern available on Ravelry here. For these projects, I only used 2 balls of the ‘Cake Ball’ yarn by Lanas Stop with a teeny tiny ball of yarn left to spare at the end. I am now working on a pink version of the sweater for myself, with some modifications to fit my style better.

I hope you find this pattern useful! If you decide to make your own version, please share your sweater with my via #HueAreCoolsweater so I can check out all your wonderful work! x

SEWN: Two versions of pink floral Fifi Pyjamas

The facts

Version 1: no bust adjustment, error in cutting cup, worn with little foam pads under the cups to fill the cups out

Version 2: SBA done, no foam pads under the cups in photos

The Fifi Pyjamas is part of my 2019 Make Nine plans. I bought this sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons during their Black Friday sale last year with the initial plan of using the leftover hemp-silk from making my wedding dress to make a set of luxurious pjs for myself. But of course, before I cut into the hemp silk, I wanted to make a wearable muslin to make sure that the pattern fits me right.

On top of that, I have also recently realised that my last 2 me-made pyjamas (aka Cath Kidston inspired blue floral pjs and 1950’s style Baby Doll pjs) are really starting to wear out after the constant wear in the last 2 years. It’s not surprising how easy it is for pjs to get worn out considering that I roll on the bed in them almost every day and wash them once a week!

The fabric (and other materials)

Version 1

Version 2

I decided to go with a cotton flannelette for this wearable muslin because it’s easy to sew and the fabric just screams “bedtime!!” to me. These 2 sweet, pink floral cotton flannelette prints from Spotlight Stores were an obvious choice for this project because they go so well with the other colours and prints that I used for my other handmade pjs! I just love seeing my handmade pieces go together.

The fit (and other modifications)

As the first version (larger floral print) was supposed to be a wearable muslin, I made no modifications to the pattern initially. I cut the pieces according to size 1 (UK 6, EU34), but unfortunately made a mistake with cutting the little centre-facing pointy bits of the 2 cups. I got confused with all the different lines indicating the different sizes and nipped a little bit more of the fabric than I should. As I continued sewing, I also realised that there was too much ease around the underbust and waist, and had to take the stitches out to take in a few centimetres off the side seams. Obviously, I should have just checked the finished measurements and made some modifications right from the start! *slaps own forehead*

I also ended up cutting extra pieces for making the bias tape, so I decided to make my pjs a little different with crossback straps. The cups are also definitely too big for me, and when taking these photos, I had to place some little foam cups just so the modelled photos look better. I don’t mind wearing them at home but I just want the modelled photos to look better, heh.

For the second version (smaller floral print), I followed a tutorial on the Tilly and the Buttons website for a small bust adjustment (aka SBA) and the fit turned out PERFECT! I also made the straps go closer to the centre around the back because I didn’t want the straps falling off my shoulders too easily.

Final thoughts

I am so happy that I made a second version of the Fifi Pyjamas and didn’t just walk away from the pattern after sewing it once. I have been sewing for many years but I still find it hard to sit down and do a proper muslin / fit test with my sewing patterns. But lately, I am really starting to find the value of spending a little bit more time sewing a mock-up of a sewing project, making modifications and learning things along the way.

Version 2

This is such a fun pattern to work with. I really enjoyed working with French seams. I feel that this pattern even has the potential to become a casual wear top or a night-on-the-town top with the right fabric and trimmings.

Which version do you like more? Have you made the Fifi pjs or do you have this on your to-sew list?

SEWN: Monochrome B&W Striped Burnside Bibs

Hello world, here’s my first Burnside Bibs!
The facts
I bought this pattern by Sew House 7 when the #sewtogetherforsummer hashtag on Instagram was in full swing. Unfortunately, other projects came along the way and took priority instead. Fast forward a few months later, this sewing project jumped to the front of the sewing queue when I got a new job and needed a boost in my work wardrobe!
The fabric
I made this jumpsuit using a light-weight woven cotton in vertical b&w stripes for the main colour and a light-weight woven cotton in black for the contrasting colour. As the weave of my MC fabric of the cotton is not the finest (being factory second), I decided to add a lining to the pants using a light-weight white tencel. The same white tencel was also used for the back pants facing as well as the front bib facing. Here’s a breakdown of the fabrics I used:
B&W vertical striped cotton (MC): all pieces except the ones cut with CC1 and CC2
Black cotton (CC 1): ties, pockets
White tencel: bib facing, back pants facing, pants lining
The fit
I made version #1 of the pattern (i.e. the version with a more fitted look) because of a few reasons: i. I wanted to save fabric so I could potentially make a Jailhouse Rock inspired blouse with the rest of this fabric, ii) I know the medium-weight fabric won’t look too good with a baggy look, iii) I don’t like the baggy look. Being a pretty loose-fitting garment, I knew I wouldn’t have too much issues with the horizontal fit. I checked the finished garment measurement and was happy with a 3-5″ difference to my waist, and went along with my size without making any changes to waist size.
The first and only change I made to the original pattern is the length of the pants. I am quite petite and stand at just 157cm tall, so I knew I had to take a couple of inches off the length of the pants. I took off 2 inches off the cropped version of the pattern to get this length on me. Is this considered cropped on me? I don’t even know… In any case, I am also experimenting with wearing the bibs with the legs rolled up a little bit more for a different look.
When I make the bibs again, I will be lengthening the crotch to raise the waistline up. I’m a true high-waist kind of gal and LOVE having everything on my natural waist. The current pattern is sitting on my natural waist but I think I will have more room for big movements and stay more comfortable with prolonged wear IN ALL KINDS OF POSITION (haha) with a longer rise… if you know what I mean…
Final thoughts
I have been following the Burnside Bibs hashtag on Instagram for a while and it seems like this pattern works really well in a solid colour and linen fabric. There are so many versions of this jumpsuit in different colours! I haven’t seen one made with thick vertical stripes like mine and I think that the stripe print definitely gives it a kooky look. To be honest, I didn’t start out planning on making it kooky – it just turned out that way and it’s kinda fun that it did!
This is definitely not the one and only Burnside Bibs I am going to sew in my life time. I have plans to make more versions with the following modifications in mind (on top of lengthening the rise as I mentioned above)
1. Medium-weight canvas / cotton in pink camo print
– for everyday yard work in the future
– no lining
– full length
– rectangular patched pocket
2. Light-weight cotton in pink floral print
– for everyday hanging out in the summer
– no lining
– shorts (i.e. just about 2 inches inseam)
– smaller patch pockets OR the regular round side pocket
I actually already have the fabric for the option / version 2 above but I think I will focusing on my Halloween dress and Xmas dress for the rest of the month and the following month.. so we’ll see when I get to start making the second version of my bibs.
Have you made the Burnside Bibs or have the pattern in your queue?
x Gwen