Simple Sew Blogging Network


Tips & Tricks

The Fabric Wrangler’s Keira Skirt

This Kiera Skirt is going to be really useful.  I don’t know about you but I don’t have a huge mid-season wardrobe.  I have plenty of summer/ winter clothes but a very compact Spring Autumn wardrobe.  It’s something I have issues with every year but never get round to organising.  Well, thanks to the Simple sew blogger net work I’m going to grow that part of my wardrobe.
Being given the chance to use some of the lovely chambray from White Tree fabrics I thought of that transitional wardrobe.  I could wear it with Flipflops or boots depending on what the British weather has to throw at me. This chambray is a lovely weight, quite light so it’ll flow but enough body to hold it’s shape.  The Kiera is normally lined but I didn’t feel the fabric needed another layer.  If I feel it’s a bit drafty then I’ll put on a slip.
The Kiera skirt is a short affair but I wanted a longer version so when cutting out I drew in the extra length with tailors chalk.
It’s nice and easy to put the pleats together but I always like to keep the paper pattern close by so that I get them pleating in the same direction.  I pin and then stay stitch in place to hold them down.
I put a pocket on the side without the zip.  It’s possible to do in the zip seam but I didn’t have a whole bunch of time to play.  Maybe next time.
I drew up a pattern to make sure I could match up to the sides of the skirt.  I then put the pocket in.  I’ve a tutorial for side/ in-seam pockets on my blog if you’d like a few pointers.
You put the waistband on before you put the zip in with this skirt.  I left the waist band open on the inside so that I could make the inside nice and neat after the zip had gone in.  I’d advise a 10” or 25cm zip to give yourself room as I still could have done with a little extra wriggle room to get in even though it’s a full skirt.
I wanted to wear it before the weather changed so I machined the hem.  This is becoming a habit.  It tool a week or two to get the photos due to life happening but it did mean we had a lovely crisp autumn day for it.  Boots at the ready…
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So, there you have it.  A new mid season addition to the wardrobe, well I’ve made a start.  Does anyone else have a problem with their mid season wardrobe?
Keep up to date with all of my latest makes at

The Wardrobe Architect’s Ruby Dress

I have loved the Ruby dress pattern by Simple Sew since it was first released, it is such a classic style and so flattering.

I decided to fully line the bodice rather than use the facings, to get a neat finish on the inside.

To do this, I cut the bodice pieces out of the lining fabric as well as the main fabric. I then sewed up essentially two separate bodices, one out of the lining fabric and one out of the main fabric.

To attach the main bodice to the lining, I put one on top of the other, right sides together and sewed around the neckline and arm holes.


I then notched all around the curves to enable it to sit flat when turned the right way.


After this point, fold the bodice back so that the right side of the fabric is facing out. Give the seams a good press, rolling the fabric between your fingers at the edges to get a crisp edge.


To sew the side seams together, I just folded the bodice so that the right sides of the main fabric are against the right sides of the main fabric (front piece against back piece) and the same for the lining. This feels a little strange initially, but it all makes sense!



I then attached the skirt to the main fabric bodice as in the instructions and inserted the zip as normal.


I decided to slip stitch the lining to the zip by hand as I wanted to sit down in front of the TV and do it, but you can use the machine for this bit and it is much quicker.

The final step was to attach the lining to the skirt. I pressed under a 1cm seam allowance at the bottom edge of the bodice lining and slip stitched it down to the skirt. This creates a really clean finish because all the seams are concealed within the bodice lining.


I really love my Ruby dress. I think with the fully lined option it could work well for a winter wedding or Christmas party. The lining enables more fabric options, maybe something like a brocade that you would not necessarily want against your skin. I might try this out, I’ll keep you posted!

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Photos from Simple Sew Blogger Team Photoshoot by Dominic Crolla


A sneak preview of some more from that photoshoot – lots to come…


Sewing Adventures In The Attic’s Zoe Top/Dress – How to add a central panel

How to Add a Central Panel to Zoe Top and Dress

I thought I would be fun to share with you how I made my Zoe top special by adding a central panel in the centre front seam. You can use this to add a panel in your top,  dress in the back or front. It all depends on what you fancy.

I got my pattern from the first issue of Sew Now magazine  that was launched in October 2016. I you can no longer purchase the magazine you can buy the pattern from Simple Sew PatternsThe Zoe dress and top.  I used fabric I already had in my stash (navy linen and yellow cotton), which I purchased from Abakhan.


I wanted for mine to add a bit of court into my centre from seam.  To make this top I used the pattern and  about 1m of main fabric and some scrap fabric for the sleeve cuffs, central  panel and facings. (You don’t need to do the same, it was just a personal preference for me). Basically you need enough scrap fabric to make the central panel. I suggest you use a similar weight fabric for your panel as your main fabric.

To make the panel you will need tools as in the picture:


STEP1: Start by measuring your centre front seam. Mine was about 21” (53.5cm). This is because I decided to lengthen the top by 2” (5cm).

zoe3-measure-centre-front-seamSTEP2: Decide how wide you want to make your central panel.  Remember you need to include your seam allowances on each side which are 1.5cm. To that I added 0.5 cm so my piece will be 4cm wide and 53.5 cm long.  

The next steps you can do directly on your scrap fabric or you can make yourself a paper pattern. When working on the scrap fabric also remember to work on the straight of grain.

STEP3: Draw a rectangle with your measurements. For me this was 4cm x 53.5 cm. Cut that in paper or draw it on your fabric.



STEP4: Pin your paper pattern on the fabric and  cut your fabric piece.


Now you are ready to start making your top/dress.


STEP5:  Before pin the band to the centre once of the front pieces, right sides together, mark the centre of the piece by folding the stripe of fabric lengthwise. Stitch it in place, using a 1cm seam allowance.


STEP6: Pin the other side and repeat.


STEP7: Press seams toward the side seams.


I prefer to finish my seams once they are sewn up. So if you want to finish the raw edges now is the time. You  can use an overlocker, zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine. Or just leave them as they are.


STEP8: Mark on your seam allowance of your main fabric (1.5cm) a line of 5cm. This will be the line you will stitch through both layers. Basically you are making a pleat on the centre front. Just try to make sure the fabric of the scrap fabric is out the way, so you do not catch it in the seam.  


Match the mark you made on the inserted piece with the centre of the seam you just made, this will created a little pleat.

STEP9:  Press the pleat in place . To make it a bit more crisp, I prefer to add some topstitching. However you do not need to do this if you do not want to.


If you fancy using see through fabric, I suggest you add a couple of stitches to keep the newly inserted fabric in place in your bust area so you do not show too much skin.

zoe15-front-panel-detailNow that you finished the front panel you can continue with the rest of the construction as per your instructions.

Hope you found this helpful and are inspired to further customise your Zoe Dress and Tops. And, don’t forget  to share your Zoe tops and dresses with us on Twitter : @ssewpaterns FaceBook: Simple Sew Patterns @simplesewpatterns Instagram: @simplesewpatterns. We love seeing your versions of our patterns.

Happy Sewing!


Sewing Adventures in the Attick

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