Sunday, 27 September 2015

It's moving time

It may have become evident that I fell out of love with this blog a while ago.

Fell out of love might be a bit strong. I still have warm feelings towards it. But the excitement is gone. Creating new posts has lost its appeal.

Mostly it's about associations. This blog is for me strongly associated with the vintage-y, girly look I was into when I first started it. That feeling is in the very name of it. That has changed rather a lot since.

With my aesthetic changing it is only natural for my blog to do too. But rather than changing this space, I've decided to move. Find me at stitchesandotherstories.blogspot.co.uk.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Me Made May 2015 pledge

Ok, I'm a bit late to take the Me Made May pledge on here. I've done it over at Zoe's blog, but for the sake of completeness, here goes:

I, Danka of thepeppermintstore.co.uk, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear one handmade item of clothing each day for the duration of May 2015.


(For non-sewers, it's a challenge/opportunity to wear handmade items throughout May. The frequency can vary, but as you see above, I'm hoping to be able to do it every day.)

Practicalities: I'm planning to post daily photos on Instagram and perhaps do weekly round-ups on here. I'm really struggling to find time to blog regularly, so until then, find me on Instagram which I update annoyingly often.

Back to the fun: It's my first MMM, and to be honest, I am slightly nervous. Do I have enough me mades? Are they smart enough for work? Should I panic-order ALL THE FABRIC?

Deep breaths.

This has already been useful for self-insights. It's confirming that I'm very much the kind of person who gets anxious by not knowing. In this case not knowing what me mades are already in my arsenal and what is missing. So I've made a spreadsheet (yes, I am that nerdy, another self-insight) of items I have made this year, items in progress, items made in previous years that might work, items I should make. It's quite a beauty actually!

Now, if only I spent more time sewing and less time perfecting the spreadsheet.

I know the idea isn't to panic make things, but I'm treating it as an opportunity to identify gaps in my handmade wardrobe and fill them as I go along. Making cake, not icing for a month.

In summary, I'm planning to get through a month of wearing handmade clothes with a lot of basic separates. A lot of little blouses that can be either casual (weekend) or smart (Mon-Fri) depending on how they are styled. What I'm missing is a good cardigan or jacket that can be thrown over a RTW outfit when I get those days where I hate everything I've made. So the release of the Morris blazer pattern and the bank holiday weekend could not have been better timed.

On that note, I should probably get out of my dressing gown and get sewing. Let's do this! xxx


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sewing: Sewaholic Oakridge blouse for Victoria

Over the last year I have made a very special friend. An office-BFF, a partner in crime on nights out, a fellow food junkie and just a generally awesome person!

Her birthday was coming up in March and I knew I wanted to gift her something special. For really special gifts to really special people in my life there is only one option - to make something.


(Now, if you are reading this and haven't received anything handmade by me, it doesn't mean you are not special to me, it just means that I'm a master procrastinator.)

So I kind of observed her style. Cuts, colours, materials. Button ups feature consistently in her wardrobe, and aside from a ton of burgundy stuff, she dresses a lot in the classic colours white, black, grey, navy.

I showed her a picture of the Oakridge blouse, said I was thinking of making myself a sleeveless version (I lied) and asked her what she thinks. She liked it. Good.


Next step. Fabric. We were in London together a few weeks before her birthday, so that was a perfect opportunity. First I took her to Liberty, but I pretty quickly got the feeling that was not her cup of tea. Then we went to MacCullough & Wallis. I was genuinely looking for a wide range of fabrics, only one of which would be her birthday fabric. She liked this grey/white cotton lawn, so I got it.




Finally, obtaining her measurements. I told her I was making a spreadsheet of my own and my friends' measurements to keep for any current and future projects and asked to take hers. (I do actually intend to do this, see above point about procrastination.) I asked her this a few days before her birthday, so how she didn't figure out what I was up to, I don't know.

Squeezed this out of 1 m of 150 cm width fabric. I had to compromise slightly and cut the bow band not exactly on the bias, but to be honest, I made another version after and cut it on the bias and I can't really see that it makes a difference.

Gifted her with it on the next working day after her birthday and turned out it fit and she liked it. Excellent!



However, by then I liked it so much I kind of wanted to keep it. So I had no option but to start an Oakridge for myself immediately after. Stay tuned for a post on it.

But first, let's chat a bit about the pattern itself and my alterations.
  • Firstly, there was a serious sizing issue, but I will discuss that in detail in my next Oakridge post.
  • Interfacing. I interfaced the whole button band, as instructed in the pattern. But after I sewed the first button band in place it was clear that even with light interfacing it was way too stiff for my otherwise soft lawn. So for the other button band I did like the Grainline instructions for the Archer shirt instructed, i.e. interfacing only one half of the button band. Result: so much better!
  • I didn't quite get how to attach the neck tie. I read some reviews of this patterns, and noticed that I wasn't alone in that. I fished a RTW pussy bow blouse out of my wardrobe and studied how that was done, then I did the same. So I only followed the instructions up until the bow band met the button band. Then I turned it right way up, pressed, folded in the seam allowance of the inside of the bow band with about 2 mm hanging over the seam of where the outside side of the bow band had been joined with the front and back pieces, pressed, and "stitched in the ditch" from the outside. Or attempted to. Because the fabric was so fine the "ditch" didn't conceal the stitches, so I moved up 1 mm or so onto the bow band and just did really neat top stitching. No regrets, it looks fine.
  • One alteration: I decided to make this sleeveless, so I shaved off a few cm at the shoulders and finished the armholes with bias binding. Easy peasy.
Right, expect my other (selfish) Oakridge on the blog next week. Until then, have a great week!

Me and Victoria in a wine bar in London. Photo stolen from Victoria's Instagram.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Sewing: Pattern Runway kimono dress in royal blue polyester crepe

It's the last day of March (hurray!) and therefore the last day of winter (double hurray!) as far as I'm concerned. I've started my spring sewing and have two finished items to show, so I figured I better finish my winter projects blogging today.

My last item sewn this winter is this Pattern Runway kimono dress. I'm afraid that the below is the only photo I have of it as I don't really want to take any more photos. I want to start photographing spring clothes and I just feel such a reluctance to take any photos of this.



Another reason is that I'm not sure I like it. I really do like the pattern. But my fabric is funny. It looks lovely in dim light, making it perfect for evening events, but in daylight it just looks strange, out of place, uncomfortable.

It's a polyester crepe. I got it to make a muslin initially, and was planning to make the dress in crepe the chine, but I ended up leaving myself too little time to make the real dress that I ended up wearing the muslin to a ballet performance I was seeing in London in February.

I got it from Croft Mill and while it is a good visual imitation of crepe de chine and feels quite nice against the skin, it is a rather stiff and coarse fabric. It was tough to cut, even for sharp scissors. Near on impossible to press. The interfaced facings feel really uncomfortable on such an already stiff fabric. It's great for a muslin, but I honestly don't see this dress getting a lot of wear.

I am very keen to make the crepe de chine version though!

Although it might not be until next winter as I already have a long queue of spring/summer sewing to do.

Speaking of, I'll start blogging my DIY spring wardrobe next week. Until then, I leave you with a photo of the beautiful Royal Opera House stage/curtains/part of the ceiling.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Knitting: Green rib knit scarf

My second knitting project this year - another scarf! This time for dad's birthday.

With the arrival of spring in the UK it might seem strange to be gifting somebody a scarf, but I Skyped with my family yesterday and they've got snow on the ground in Sweden. Luckily nobody in my immediate family has a birthday during the spring and summer aside from me, so I won't be tempted to give anybody any unseasonal knitted presents. My brother is next in September and while that is borderline summer/autumn he has actually requested a scarf, so there you go!

Anyways. For this scarf I chose a dark green Rowan worsted yarn with specks of red (colour Hawthorn). It has a lovely tweed look about it. Very interesting, yet understated. I used 3 skeins for the scarf and knitted it with 4.5 mm bamboo needles.




There's nothing much to say about this scarf really. It was a simple repetition of knit 2, purl 2 and therefore a perfect train commute project.

It took a while because the ribbing made it very dense, so each row contained something like 60 stitches, even though it doesn't look very wide. That means that as I was approaching the end this scarf was really heavy. And I was getting quite fed up with scarves and started itching to make something else. 

So I decided on...another scarf. You see, I really want to learn to knit cables, and when looking for a project I fell for the Brooklyn Tweed Kirkwood scarf. And well, when you fall for something you fall for something. At least I've got aaaages as this scarf is for myself and I have no intentions of wearing it before next winter. That means that there probably won't be any knitting projects on the blog for a good few months. Instead, bring on spring/summer sewing!




Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Sewing: A little pastel quilt from Josh's shirts

So Josh and I had a huge argument and I cut up a bunch of his shirts and made a quilt from them to get back at him.

Just kidding. Imagine what a time-consuming revenge plan. Ain't nobody got time for that.

No, Josh and I are just fine. But I did cut up a bunch of his shirts and made a quilt from them, that bit is true.


Basically, when we moved into the house we currently lived in both of us went through our wardrobes and ruthlessly culled items we no longer wear. He perhaps more ruthlessly than me. I've got an emotional bond with a lot of my clothes after all.

Among the things he no longer wanted were a couple of beautiful cotton shirts in pastel tones and a couple white ones. Being the hoarder that I am I 'saved' these shirts and added them to my stash of pieces of fabric that might one day become a quilt. That was August. I finished the quilt last weekend.

Once I started cutting the up shirts it became clear that I would need a fabric to bind the pastel tones together, otherwise it would just look like a quilt made up of old shirts. So I ordered this lovely rose print on a mint green background cotton from Truro fabrics. Love it.

I didn't make the socks (I wish!), acquiring that kind of skill is more of a long term plan.

I finished the quilt top just before Christmas and was thinking about what to use for the back. Around that time a lovely friend of mine gifted me some beautiful mint green quilting cotton with a small floral pattern. Perfect! How she knew I'll never know, but oh boy was I happy!


The actual quilting took me ages because I find it just the dullest job ever. Actually, scratch that. I find sewing (by hand!) the binding on the dullest job ever. Quilting is the second dullest. I'm not good at it. My machine is not good at it (by hand? are you kidding me?). I might outsource it with my next quilt. 

But the quilt is finally done! It's only a little quilt, but I'm enjoying sitting wrapped in it with a cup of tea at hand writing this. (I can't tell you that it's exactly relaxing, because I'm having a nightmare with Blogger, but that's a rant for another day.)






Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sewing: Blue cotton chambray Grainline Archer shirt

If you had to choose one outfit to wear for the rest of your life, a uniform say, what would you choose?

For me the answer is easy, it would be a loose fitting shirt and skinny jeans. I can think of a variation of these two garments for almost any occasion.

  • Black jeans, crisp cotton poplin shirt and high heeled pumps for the office.
  • Black jeans, silk shirt, high heeled sandals, red lips and big earrings for dinner out or cocktails.
  • Blue jeans and a chambray shirt with ankle boots or plimsoles for running errands.
  • Oversized flannel shirt and knitted socks for spending a rainy Sunday in bed reading books or binge-watching shows on Netflix.

And so on....



So naturally it was just a matter of time before I made myself an Archer shirt. It is the perfect loose fitting shirt. Sufficiently androgynous for my taste.

I finally bought the Archer pattern during the Grainline Black Friday sale. I waited until Christmas to make it because I didn't want to rush. This pattern had the potential to become my new favourite pattern and I wanted to do it justice.

These photos were taken during Archer's first outing -  a little trip to Morocco. Lucky Archer.

I planned it so meticulously. I ordered my fabric, a light blue chambray from Stone Fabrics, weeks before Christmas, washed it, ironed it and folded it away nicely. I made sure I had interfacing and buttons at home. I kept my diary completely empty between Jan 1 and Jan 6 and planned to do one or two steps each day, starting with a muslin of course. Not for the fit, but to nail the techniques before attempting them with my nice chambray.

Day 1, Jan 1, I got to work. Taped the pattern and cut it out. This was such long, dull work that I gave up for the rest of the day. Jan 2 I cut the fabric. And decided to skip the muslin and get to work straight away. And it was so much fun I couldn't stop! I left the sewing machine at 8 at night having only the collar and buttons left.


And...well, it didn't turn out quite as terrible as I feared. In fact, not terrible at all. Sure, the topstitching could be better and I had to unpick one sleeve placket and both sides of the collar stand, leaving the fabric at those spots a bit damaged, but these are details and the overall look is great!



The blue chambray was so easy to work with! I couldn't have asked for a more well-behaved fabric for my first shirt.

I have to say just how amazing the sew along is. I have been terrified of making cuffs and a collar, but with the sew along it was kind of easy! In fact, there was nothing difficult about the construction of this shirt. And I have no comments on the pattern, it is a delight to sew.

The fit is a little bit off on me. But it's off all over, which makes me think I need to go down a size. That's annoying, because while I'm itching to make another Archer I can't face printing, taping and cutting another one. I should have measured more carefully.

Overall, I'd call this a success! I probably should have done the toile, but let's call this a very wearable toile. I feel so ready to make many more Archers! In fact, I have to. I managed to stain this one so badly and so extensively that it is no more.

So now that I have the perfect pattern for the top half of my perfect outfit I have my eyes on this Indian indigo blue cotton and this Irish linen from Merchant & Mills for my next Archers.


All photos by Josh.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

On not getting along with any sewing projects

I lost my sewing mojo. I think it's very slowly coming back, but for a while, everything I touched turned out terrible.

First, I sewed up the Megan Nielsen Kelly skirt, which I started ages ago, and the fit is disasterously bad. Which is such a fail on my part because with a flared skirt like that it's really not hard to get the fit right. I'm not even liking the fabric I made it in, so I have no motivation to try to fix it.

Then, I tried to make another Salme camisole. This time in lovely, luxurious silk. I don't even know where I went wrong, but literally everything about it is wrong. The fit is wrong. The drape is wrong. The construction is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Butchered silk. Unforgivable.

Finally, before giving up, I attempted to make a replacement for my first Salme skirt which I had worn to death. Should be easy enough, right? Two pattern pieces plus waistband and zipper. Plus I've made it before and been so happy with it I've literally worn it to pieces. Yet it went wrong. While cutting it out I accidentally cut the waistband in half. And of course I don't have any large enough pieces of the fabric left to cut out another waistband. I've since made a patchwork waistband, but I can't face finishing the skirt. Also, the fabric I've chosen is a bit whacky, so different from anything I'd normally go for, that it needs lining, but I don't have enough lining fabric. I suspect I'll hate the fabric and hence the skirt when it's finished, but I find it so hard to leave things unfinished.

I've been telling myself that I just have to finish the skirt, not even finish it well, and then I can move on to other sewing. But all that's resulted in is me avoiding any kind of sewing altogether.

Instead I've been spending my time with friends who are new to sewing but very happy and enthusiastic. And it's been so good! It's been a very pleasant reminder that sewing is meant to be fun! I can buy clothes if I want functional, flawless items. I sew clothes because I enjoy it. Flawless would be great, but I'm not a seamstress, I'm a (very!) amateur sewer.

So I went back to basics. And picked up this quilt again. Just straight lines. I'm going to finish the binding by hand and then I'll blog it. So should be a week or two. But in summary it's a bunch of Josh's old shirts cut up and mixed with some floral fabric for some pastel perfection.


That made me feel good about sewing again. So good that I ordered some dress fabric.



Both of these are from Croft Mill. The red is a viscose..something blend. I think cotton but might be wrong. I'm saving it for the spring, and then I will make the Deer & Doe Belladone dress with it.

The blue is a polyester crepe. I'm going to the ballet later this week and I planned to make a simple crepe de chine dress. These plans were formed before I turned into Edward Scissorhands around pretty fabrics. Since then however I realised I probably don't want to have more ruined silk on my conscience, so I ordered the polyester crepe to make a muslin first.


And this is the dress. Pattern Runway kimono dress. I made the muslin and didn't leave enough time to make the 'real' dress, so looks like I'll be wearing the muslin to the ballet.

So...some improvement, but I sure hope my sewing mojo returns soon.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Knitting: My first (well, kind of) scarf

One of my resolutions for 2015 was to learn to knit properly once and for all. I've tried on a few previous occasions and gotten as a far as knitting squares, using only the knit stitch. I've found you you can make a surprising amount of things with just squares, but after a while even I decided that it's time to stop being lazy.



I'm dreaming about chunky oversized cardigans and shockingly colourful fluffy socks. Ideally I'd wear these two together over pyjamas and spend the whole winter in bed this way, binge-watching Netflix and drinking my body weight in tea.

Now that I've painted this rather compelling picture I'm sure you get why I am so.very.keen to learn!

Also, I commute a total of 3-4 h a day. Imagine if I spent that time knitting. I'd have all my home-made Xmas presents done by April!

In other words, all the signs are there, I have to learn to knit!

I was very lucky around Xmas time because one of my bestest friends from Sweden came to visit. She started knitting not long ago and has become supergood superfast. I didn't let her leave until she showed me a few tips and tricks and after I waved her off at the train station I went pretty much straight to the yarn shop.

The plan is to start with some simple scarfs, then work up my skills with a slightly more complicated shawl and eventually have a go at a simple-looking cardi. But starting with the scarf. I had found a very simple pattern online, making a beautiful herringbone pattern using only knit and purl stitches.



My mom's birthday is coming up and I thought I'd make it for her. She loves everything purple so I bought three skeins of this gorgeous deep violet baby alpaca wool from the Oxford Yarn Store. It is the softest thing ever!

It took me forever to knit it though. It was my first time following a pattern and I had no idea how long it would take. In hindsight it was a good 40 hours, if not more. Sure made my commute fly by!

So am I hooked? Yes, I think so. It is so incredibly calming doing such a repetitive action and working that soft yarn with light and smooth bamboo needles. You know how they say that stroking an animal is calming? I'm sure the tactile sensation of knitting is somewhere on the same level. After a long day in the office spending some time on the train home listening to music and knitting is pure therapy!

On to the next scarf!


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Sewing: Salme patterns buttonless shirt dress in monochrome viscose

Recently I posted my spring sewing plan and today's post is about the ticking off of the first item of that list. This Salme buttonless shirtdress.


I made a blouse version of this pattern just before Christmas and I think this look is just so versatile. Also perfect for layering!


I made the blouse in a light cotton lawn which just about worked, but it became obvious to me that for a dress something with a lot more drape would be required. So I picked up this viscose from Goldhawk Road in the days between Christmas and New Years, while the rest of the population of the UK were hunting the sales in neighbouring Westfield.


I've realised that one of the reasons I don't wear my handmade things as much as I'd wish is that I often make them in colourful fabrics. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm happier wearing neutrals with just the occasional pop of colour. So I'm trying to bear this in mind while fabric shopping this year. This black/white/graphite grey viscose caught my eye and I managed to get a meter for a fiver! With a 150 cm width I didn't require more to cut out my size. Note though that I a) cut the dress shorter than the pattern indicates as that's the length I prefer; b) didn't sew the belt and belt loops included in the pattern, as I prefer actual belts. So if you are thinking of sewing this dress and want to make it longer than mine and with the belt, maybe get a bit more than 1 meter.


No comments on the sewing really. This pattern is marked 'Beginner/Intermediate' and I think that it spot on. The collar is what moves this somewhat into intermediate territory, otherwise it's all very simple and suitable for beginners.

I messed up the collar on my blouse, mostly due to impatience and not reading the pattern properly, but now that I have an Archer behind me (which I still haven't blogged, it's coming, I promise!) this little collar was a breeze!

I also didn't interface the neckline opening, because I forgot. After I sewed it and realised I decided that I couldn't be bothered. It's very floppy, but I don't have an issue with it.


The viscose, being viscose, was trying to cause me some trouble. But I was prepared! Instead of working on the smooth wooden surface I usually work on I mostly worked on the floor where the pile of the carpet kind of kept the fabric in place. I will have to go over the carpet with a lint roller after I finish writing this, but those are the sacrifices made for drapey fabrics.



Overall, I'm very happy with this dress! I'll see how it holds up after a few weeks of wearing and washing before I decide whether the viscose was a good purchase or if it falls apart and I will need to make another one.


On another note: I am really, really going to try hard this year to improve my flash photography so I don't have to rely on daylight for good photos. For this shoot I used one external flash in addition to the flash built into the camera. 

It was good, but I really struggled with focus. When I set the autotimer the camera focuses on what is in view, so when I step into the frame I am suddenly in front of the point it focused on and thus blurry. I tried to fix this by focusing and then moving the tripod which did bring some improvements, but I'm thinking that I might treat myself to a remote soon. 

Also, I'm still underexposing. I had to sort this out in post-processing. I need to be braver with those flashes. Thanks for bearing with me during my rather slow learning curve!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Fabric: December purchases

At the very end of December, in those lazy days between Christmas and New Years I went down to London with a friend, in search of yarn. Yes, yarn. See, my friend is a knitter and with her help I'm slowly trying to fulfil my new years resolution of becoming one too.

But one doesn't just go to London without doing some fabric shopping! So we got off at Shepherd's Bush and walked down to Goldhawk Road. Mostly because I hadn't been since the summer and because there is always a bargain to be had on this promising street of fabric vendors.

Indeed! I picked up three fabrics. I know, very restrained! These are the lucky three:


From the bottom of the picture up they are a gorgeous heavy cotton, a medium-weight drapey viscose and a silky and cheap as peanuts polyester.


First up, the cotton. The strands seen in the photos are woven and the texture of this is just lush. The blue is deep and refreshing against the black and white fibers. And there is such a sheen to this fabric! I'm massively in love!

I'm thinking that later on in spring I'll try to make a Chanel style jacket from it. I only bought 1 meter and my thoughts are to make the body in this fabric and the sleeves in a heavy black ponte jersey. I have yet to find the perfect pattern. If anybody knows of any good ones, give me a shout.


The next fabric is this viscose. I love this dark grey/black pattern on white. It looks like ink lines with smudged ink all over to me. But the best thing about this is the drape! It makes perfect dress fabric! In fact, I made a dress from it yesterday which I'm hoping to have up on the blog in the next few days. Stay tuned!


Finally, there is this polyester. It was £4/meter but I expect great things from it. Firstly, it is light and silky to the touch. Secondly, it didn't fray too bad during the wash, so it might be ok to work with. Finally, that pattern! Those nude and coral red geometric shapes on the charcoal grey background. Perfect!

The plan it so make it into a Colette Laurel. I'm going to treat it as a wearable (hopefully!) muslin and underline the body in a very light Indian cotton. I think the Laurel dress has potential to become a wardrobe staple for me, so a cheap and cheerful polyester will be perfect to test it in!

On that note, I'm off to attend to the laborious task of taping the pattern together. 

I hope you are all having a lovely Sunday! xx

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Spring sewing projects

Today is the last day of my 2.5 weeks off from work. It has been brilliant, but I'm itching with restlessness and quite looking forward to get back in the swing of things, morning commute and all (no, I didn't bang my head on anything). However, I woke up at 2 this morning coughing and not being able to breathe through my nose. A cold. Great. So today will be about absolute laziness. Pot after pot of tea, lots of rest, wrapping up in blankets and doing very little. All in an effort to recover as quickly as I fell ill.

So I am on my second pot of tea, spending the morning going through every indie pattern designer I can think of and pinning my favourite pieces on my sewing planning Pinterest boards. Although I am under no illusions that winter is ending, I want to get a head start on making my spring items.

In my 2014 summary I mentioned that in 2015 I want to make more practical items. The first thing I sewed this year was the Grainline Studio Archer shirt (yet to be blogged), and completing that filled me with confidence to make more things that I want to wear on a daily basis. Items I can wear both to the office and on the weekend.

Starting with the dresses, these four are my spring must haves:


From left to right: Salme sleeveless dress, Colette Laurel, Colette Moneta and Named Clothing Wenona shirtdress.

For the Salme dress and the Laurel I already have both the patterns and the fabric, so it's really just about getting to work!

And these are the separates. All shirts and pussy bow blouses, at the moment I'm not having much skirt/trousers inspiration.


I can't tell you for how long I've wanted to make the Mathilde blouse, but for some reason I have never gone for it. But this spring it is a must. I have the perfect rayon in mind and I can just imagine how great it will look with skinny jeans, wedge sandals and a pair of sunnies.

The Archer I've made a head start on by making a very wearable muslin. But I want many, many more. I have found my perfect shirt pattern.

The Sew Over It and Sewaholic pussy bow blouses will be the perfect additions to my work wardrobe. I like them both too much to go for just one, so I think I'll have to make both.

Given my love for the Archer I think I simply must try the Alder. I'm tempted to make it blouse length instead of dress length, in a very light lawn or voile. Hmm, will think about this one some more.

Finally, the Liola Designs Natalie blouse looks like the perfect casual chic pattern. I'll take one in every colour!

Right, let's get sewing!