Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress

Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress

I know I'm meant to be focusing on nightwear this month, but I enjoyed the summer dresses #wardrobebuilder theme so much I made more than I could blog about in one month! The Lilou dress is from Tilly and the Buttons Love at First Stitch. I've been toying with the idea for this dress for a while, having the fabric and the pattern to hand then found the perfect accessory during a massive wardrobe clear out. I discovered a lot of pretty features to this dress that really make it a wardrobe staple.
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Tilly and the Buttons Fifi pyjamas in Liberty print

Tilly and the Buttons Fifi pattern for the #wardrobebuilder project

Seeing as this month's special offer is for the Fifi pattern, I felt I really had to have a go! I've always liked this cami set but never really got past all the dresses to properly look into it. That's why I'm particularly glad that this month's #wardrobebuilder project is sleepwear! This set is made up of shorts with a delicate camisole top and is a fun make. Working on intricate details requires some slightly more advanced skills, but is also incredibly satisfying. It's been one of my most enjoyable projects to date. Today's photos are modelled on Lady Penelope (my dressform) for obvious reasons!

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Luxurious Liberty Pyjamas

Liberty print pyjama set with piping

Confession - I actually made these a while ago and never shared them on the blog. Seeing as the #wardrobebuilder doesn't have to be all about new makes I think it's totally okay to share them now!
* * *
Inspired by an email full of beautiful Liberty nightwear I decided to have a go at creating my own. I already had a beautiful Liberty cotton lawn sitting in my fabric stash and a pattern that could be customised to emulate the real deal.  I had just attended a class on buttonholes and piping so this seemed like the ideal project to test these skills out on. Really, how hard could it be to add some piping? For me, very. That said, I have ended up with one of my most prized clothing items ever, at a fraction of the cost that it would be to buy ready to wear pyjamas.

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the #wardrobebuilder project - nightwear

the #wardrobebuilder project - nightwear

Will this be the comfiest month of the #wardrobebuilder project? Does everyone love cosying up and chilling out in their pyjamas? or are you a seamstress who loves a little more luxe in your nightwear? This month it's all about pyjamas, slips, dressing robes and beautiful boudoir sets. There's a special discount from Tilly and the Buttons on the Fifi pattern, and another discount from Sew Essential so you can buy the perfect fabric for your makes.
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The Orla affair

Orla dress

July was all about summer dresses here at the petite passions because of the #wardrobebuilder project. It was also the month of 'the Orla affair', hosted by Maddie Made This, Maker Style, Anna-Zoe and (my favourite sewing blogger) Allie J. The idea was incredibly simple - take one free downloadable pattern and invite everyone's take on it. I loved seeing everyone else's creations and managed to squeeze in my own Orla hack....
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When sewing gets sticky - problem solvers

Yes, weirdly there are times when a needle and thread won't cut it on their own. I thought a sewing machine was all I would be needing when I started dressmaking....and then I discovered fabrics didn't always behave themselves! Here's a few of my 'get out of jail' finds that have made life a lot easier for me. If you've got some add them in the comments...the more advice the better!
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Sew Over It Eve Dress

I have been waiting to get my hands on this pattern for so long! Sew Over It schedule their patterns as classes and then eventually bring them to wider scale production as patterns or pdfs. I saw this dress over a year ago and have been patiently waiting for it to be available. I was so excited I even went to the release party in April! And then...waiting a little longer to keep in theme with the #wardrobebuilder project. It's totally been worth the wait.

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La Maison Victor lands in the UK

La Maison Victor World Blog Tour 2017 - celebrating the launch of the English version of the magazine, and a pattern review / maxi dress hack

It's the last day of the UK leg of the blogger tour celebrating the launch of the English language version of La Maison Victor magazine....and I'm hosting today! Previously La Maison Victor has only been available in Belgium, France, Holland and Germany, but now we can get hold of it in the UK, USA and Australia. I was sent a copy of the magazine to review and used the Malia top pattern to create a floaty summer maxi dress ready for the holidays. Having given all of La Maison Victor (in print and online) a good old look, I think it's really exciting that we can get our hands on an English language version now.

La Maison Victor Malia top Maxi dress

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Top summer dress sewing patterns for beginners

This post first appeared as a guest post on the Penguin and Pear dressmaking blog. I throughly recommend that you check it out!

Now that the sun is finally present a little more, and as the holiday season really gets underway, it is the perfect time to put together a cute summer dress. If you are a more experienced sewer looking for a quick make, or a beginner looking for a pattern that is easy to understand and assemble then this is the top 5 for you! Plenty of these have found their way on to my dressmaking Pinterest board as there are so many awesome variations already out there for inspiration!

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The #wardrobebuilder project - Summer dresses with a Splendid Stitch voucher to be won!

As a dressmaker who is addicted to sewing dresses particularly, I have been really looking forward to this month. Summery dresses are my favourite patterns and I have a cupboard full of them, waiting to be made. This month there's also a brilliant giveaway from The Splendid Stitch - a £20 voucher to spend in their online store. They've just moved and are going to have some fabulous summer fabrics coming!

July #wardrobebuilder - summer dresses

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My June #wardrobebuilder makes - a trio of vests

June's #wardrobebuilder project; a trio of vests

I was determined to use a free pattern for this month’s #wardrobebuilder project. If you look around you can find a couple of vests and camis available to download. Given that Colette have recently re-released their Sorbetto, I thought I would give this one a try. Whilst looking around on their site I also dipped into a couple of Seamwork patterns. I do subscribe to the magazine so used some of my credits for the Aurora tank and the Gretta vest. I've ended up with three quite different tops....read on to find out more about each of them. (Be warned, it's a long post!)
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Visiting New York City for the first time....part 1

Visiting New York City for the first time; essential travel tips for your New York trip

If you are planning your first trip to New York City you need to read this! Although we were able to plan quite a lot ahead, there were things we discovered along the way that would have been helpful to know to start with. In this two part post I'll guide you through what went well and what could've gone better for us so that you can smash your first visit.
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The #wardrobebuilder project - Vests, shorts and playsuits

What was I thinking back in January?! Each of these should have their own month! I think I was of the opinion then that I might not need something from each of these categories, but that at this time of year many of us are planning to make at least one of these for the summer.

the #wardrobebuilder project June

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#wardrobebuilder skirt 3 - the Delphine

Delphine skirt from Tilly and the Buttons

Another lined skirt! Actually this is an older make - one of my first and one I posted a very long time

ago. However, I never really reviewed the pattern properly, or took photos. Whilst looking at skirts for the #wardrobebuilder I returned to this one and it really is quite a solid pattern!

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#wardrobebuilder skirt 2 - Clemence skirt

My first skirt for this project was a mixed success. I think it turned out really well, but I'm not totally convinced it will be something that I will wear very often (which is the point of the project!). So I've had a look around and come up with a second project - the Clemence skirt from Tilly and the Buttons' book 'Love at First Stitch'. This is a 'no pattern' skirt that you can make just using your measurements, and is quite a quick make. I'm glad I did because I think this skirt will get a lot of regular wear in the summer.
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#wardrobebuilder Skirt number 1 - Lined Pencil Skirt

This month I have really struggled to choose what to make. I have looked at so many patterns but haven't been able to really choose something I could wear a lot. I do wear a few pencil skirts for work, so this is my attempt at making a pencil skirt for non-work wear.

Pencil skirt with a waistband and lined kick pleat

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Feast on London Lunch at the Landmark hotel

Throughout April there have been some fabulous deals if you are looking to eat out in London. Most take the form of a set menu with a cocktail or glass of bubbles for a good price. We happened to have an evening event planned in the middle of April so I had a look around on Bookatable for something that would guarantee a good meal. One of our party has a fairly limited choice available so we looked at lot and lots of menus and found that the one offered by the Landmark suited us all.

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The #wardrobebuilder project - Skirts with a free pattern bundle from Sew Over It

The #wardrobebuilder project - Skirts with a free pattern bundle from Sew Over It

I included skirts in the #wardrobebuilder project back in January because I thought they are a key separate. However, now I look at my wardrobe I can see that I hardly wear them. So this month I am going to experiment with a few different skirt shapes to discover if there is more of a place for them in my collection.

The #wardrobebuilder project - Skirts with a free pattern bundle from Sew Over ItThis month there is also an awesome Sew Over It pattern bundle to be won. One lucky reader can win a Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt along with two patterns of their choice. To be in with a chance of winning this pattern bundle all you need to do is link up on social media! This month if you tweet about the project and follow on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest then you could win this brilliant package.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Skirts I really want to add to my wardrobe this year

Burda 6880 - I love the floaty nature of this skirt. I have to admit I'm also wishing that I could style this just like the pattern envelope! (first picture above)
Vanessa Pouzet Fatale Sister skirt - This pencil skirt has a zip along the entire length of the centre back (middle picture above), tres chic!
Hot Patterns 1132 Deco Vibe Deceptively Skinny patchwork skirt
Clemence skirt from Tilly and the Buttons' Love at First Stitch
Named Patterns also have quite a few skirt patterns that I particularly like. Unfortunately not all of them are available anymore! However, I like the slim and sleek look of the skirts here.
I'm also interested in finding out more about using a knit fabric for a simple skirt. I'm combing through my sewing magazines which have some tutorials so if I do make something successful with these I will share!

Fabrics I'm loving right now for this project

So, I'm still trying to work through my fabric stash so I've got a linen lined up that would look beautiful in a pencil skirt. 
Other than that I'm not so sure.....denims and chambrays work well for casual skirts. There are also a lot of medium weight cottons that normally aren't appropriate for the dresses I like to make that will be fine for skirts.
I've also been looking more at thicker knit fabrics such as ponte roma and scuba for a pencil or tulip style of skirt.

I have a feeling this is going to be a tricky month for me! Please add your makes to the link up and to Pinterest - I need your ideas!

An InLinkz Link-up

One entry that was a little later than the link up close was this skirt from the Seamracer blog. Still worth checking out!

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Floral chiffon Alex shirt dress from Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break ebook

Floral chiffon Alex shirt dress from Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break ebook

My second dress for this month's #wardrobebuilder took a lot longer to make than my first, but was definitely worth the effort. I've had this fabric sitting and waiting to be used for a while, not being able to decide on a project. Do you ever have a fabric that you love so much you can't bear to cut into it? This was one of those. All I needed was some inspiration which I found in ready to wear fashions.
I had seen floral chiffon dresses online and in stores that I liked the look of, and in typical dressmaker's style thought to myself 'I can make that!'. So, I've made myself a dress for a summer's evening - perhaps I'm wanderlusting for a holiday and some balmy evenings after a sunny day? As I was making this the Shirt Dress Challenge was also launched so this is my submission for that too!

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Beginner's guide to sewing your first dress

Thinking of making your first dress but not sure where to start? This post is for you!

Beginner's guide to sewing your first dress

'How do I make a dress?' ranks pretty high in sewing questions asked on Google because it's often the aspirational starting point for those taking up sewing and garment making. It can seem somewhat daunting at first but there are some simple choices that will help lead to a successful first project. Knowing what to pick appears obvious to most people, but it didn't to me as a beginner. I had literally no clue about what to pick for my fabrics and it's taken a while to understand what will really work. These are the main questions I had that made a difference and can help get you going quickly towards successful first dressmaking projects.

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Alex Shirt from Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break eBook

Alex Shirt from Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break eBook

As you all know I'm a Sew Over It addict. Last year I bought the My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break eBook and have made a Molly top, a Molly dress and a pair of Mia jeans. I did want to make an Alex shirt for my February #wardrobebuilder, but never was able to get around to it then, but had a lovely weekend of sewing that meant I could really get on with this long awaited project. This is also a toile of sorts as I'm hoping to make a shirt dress for April's #wardrobebuilder too.

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If it's good enough for Kate Moss...#wardrobebuilder Day Dress

Day Dress by the Avid Seamstress

As I said in the monthly #wardrobebuilder feature post, I was already pretty set on the Day Dress pattern by The Avid Seamstress for at least one of this month's make. I could see that I would be able to make either an evening dress with sleeves or a nice work dress from this pattern, depending on fabric choices. It has a fitted bodice, short sleeves and a gathered skirt with pockets. I suppose that in the end I've created something that actually could do both evening and work wear, but I'm intending to keep this Day Dress for evenings.

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The #wardrobebuilder project - Dresses with a pattern giveaway!

April #wardrobebuilder project dresses

I think dresses are my favourite sewing project. I am constantly drawn to fabrics and patterns that I think will look fabulous as a dress. However, I don't end up wearing them very often. In fact I have made dresses that have almost, or actually, never been worn. I even swore to Rachael (my fellow sewing addict) that I would leave off them for a while, such is my addiction! For me, the challenge this month is to make dresses that I will wear, and that fill a gap in my wardrobe, rather than be guided just by what I want to create.

(Notice 'dresses not 'dress'. Taking full advantage of this month's theme to indulge).

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Mid Rise Skinny Ginger Jeans in Black; March's #wardrobuilder part 2

Mid rise skinny Ginger jeans in black

Last week I posted my progress on my project for this month's #wardrobebuilder. It's not often that I spread my make over two posts, but it seemed appropriate given the amount of prep work that was going into trying to make sure that these jeans turned out really well. You can also see that I've been heavily researching successful jeans making from my '5 tips for sewing your first pair of jeans'. I've been taking it slow and steady and am pretty pleased with what I've ended up with now.
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Mid Rise Ginger Skinny Jeans for March's #wardrobebuilder: Part 1

Ginger Jeans Sewalong | Closet Case Patterns

For March's #wardrobebuilder I set myself the challenge of making a pair of jeans. There really are a lot of patterns to choose from but I felt that I had to give the Ginger pattern from Closet Case Patterns a go. I've envied many a pair that other sewist have made and thought that the Closet Case website had a lot of help in their sewalong (always welcome). And so, I join the Ginger Jeans tribe...I'm currently working my way through my masterpiece so you'll have to wait another week to see the finished article but here they are so far.

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5 tips for sewing your first pair of jeans

5 tips for sewing your first pair of jeans

Making a pair of jeans feels like one of those milestone steps in learning to sew for me. The sense of achievement I had with my first successfully completed pair was the same as I had with my first cushion, my first skirt and first dress. There are a lot of posts with great advice for sewing with denim and making jeans which I'll link to; however, I always think that the first time you make anything there are things that you especially need to know before you start. These are my top 5 tips for first time jeans makers.

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The #wardrobebuilderproject - Jeans and a T-Shirt with pattern giveaway!

This month you could be the lucky winner of a Morgan Boyfriend Jeans pattern courtesy of

All you have to do is add your make or tutorial to the link up below. The winner will be chosen at random at the end of the month, so there is plenty of time to get your jeans made!

Closet Case Jeans: Morgan Boyfriend, Ginger Flared and Ginger Skinny

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Exciting #wardrobebuilder News

As of next month the #wardrobebuilder project will be featuring every month in Sew Now magazine!

I'll be sharing your makes and tips from each month in a regular column, so don't forget to add them to the monthly link ups! 

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Thread Theory Camas Blouse; knit and woven

Thread Theory Camas Blouse pattern review and altering for woven fabrics

For this month's #wardrobebuilder project I decided to try to make two blouses from one pattern (stash busting featuring strongly in this decision). I came across the Thread Theory Camas Blouse whilst I was doing one of my mammoth searches for a specific type of pattern. What I was looking for was a blouse or top that some kind of yoke detailing but that wasn't a buttoned shirt. I had bought a beautiful flowered chiffon fabric that I thought would make a nice 'going out' top, especially with some contrast features. The Camas blouse ticked most of my key design features, with the added bonus that it could be made out of knit and woven fabrics. At the moment I'm also trying to enhance my casual wardrobe so working this blouse in a knit was an appealing idea.
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A Valentine's Special and #thelittlereddressproject

A while ago I came across #thelittlereddressproject, a project tag which lots of sewing bloggers and vloggers have taken up. The aim was to create a red dress for the festive period and share these on December 21st. Unusually I immediately had an idea of what I wanted to make so signed myself up. I didn't quite get it finished for December 21st, but did manage to wear it on Christmas Day. I have to say though I've been even slower in getting it photographed, which is why this post is appearing so much later after the challenge. However, seeing as Valentine's Day is around the corner thought this was still timely!

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Sewing shirts tutorials and workshops

I always have a keen eye out on tips for beginners - I'm only new to dressmaking myself and need a fair amount of help. I know some of you are also just starting out too so here are the most helpful things I've found. If you want a step by step guide with videos to teach you every step you need as a beginner then this month's featured offer could be a good start - the Learn to Sew Your Own Shirt or Shirtdress online class from Tilly and the Buttons. If you use the code WARDROBEBUILDER in February you can get a discount of 15%. This class includes the Rosa shirt pattern and guides you through all the construction details including the fiddly bits like collars and buttonholes.

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the #wardrobebuilder project - Shirts and blouses


Shirts and blouses really are a wardrobe staple for me. They can be formal or casual, worn all year round, and it gives an opportunity to use a huge range of fabrics. Obviously pattern choice makes a big difference in whether a shirt looks best for work or for casual wear but I'm tempted to make the same pattern in two different fabrics to try and achieve two different looks. I wear shirts and blouses a lot for work all through the year and now I'm looking to make something more formal for this part of my wardrobe. I'd like to add to the casual section as well though seeing are so many ways of styling the same pattern, varying fabrics and details. I have a feeling this month I might end up making more than one item for my wardrobe.

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Seamwork Astoria Sweater

Seamwork Astoria Jumper

Here is my #wardrobebuilder project for January; the Seamwork Astoria. I decided to try to make a sweater that edged more towards formal than full on slouch fest. The Astoria is shorter than most patterns which I think adds to the more formal look, and I've made it in a silky jersey that works well for evening wear. The plan was to make something that I can wear out in the winter, and now that I've made it I'm looking forward to next December as I think it's quite festive!

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Favourite tips for sewing knit fabrics for beginners

Hello everyone. I'm right in the middle of my January #wardrobebuilder project...all cut out and getting ready to sew this weekend. I've seen some speedy seamstresses are already adding their makes to the link up, but thought I'd share something for anyone yet to start their first knit project. I've met a few people who are put off by working with knit fabrics as they aren't sure what to do with them or think you have to have an overlocker - the same was true for me. However, help is on hand on the internet. Here is what I have found really useful as a beginner.

Sew Essential have recently posted this handy video on attaching a neckband to a jersey top...this took me ages first time around!

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Summer bodies are made in the winter

That's what Gemma at work likes to say.  And she does have a point. Every single year I say to myself that I won't overdo it over the holidays, and every year I give in to temptation and thoroughly enjoy all the foodie treats over Christmas and New Year. What with it being cold and wearing jumpers all the time a little extra 'insulation' is easier to overlook. Which means that from January 2nd, some major restorative work is usually needed to get myself back on track, feeling fit and like myself again.

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the #wardrobebuilder project - Jumpers and Sweaters

So, here is the first wardrobe essential for the 2017 handmade wardrobe- Jumpers and Sweaters. What else could we all be looking to make in the middle of winter, after all those mince pies? I know I definitely feel like having something warm and comfortable to wear and snuggle up in. I am torn a bit between the 'smart' option  (the one where you can go out to lunch with friends and still feel stylish) and the full on comfort option (if I had a log fire this is what I would wear sitting in front of it as I cradle a hot chocolate).

This month's Link Up is at the bottom...share your makes, inspiration and ideas with us. Or add them to the group Pinterest board; the #wardrobebuilder project.

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The Wardrobe Builder Project

Time to get involved....

One thing I love about sewing is the amazing social networks. Seamstresses are great at sharing and celebrating their own and other's makes. Since I started sewing I've also come across a lot of sewing challenges and tags that are fun to get involved in. I want to take part in them all, and I've linked up to a few so far (always featured in sidebar links if there's an image). Up until now I've been dipping my toe in the water, trying to develop my novice skills and see what's out there. I've made some things that I've worn again and again, along with others that I haven't worn (or finished!) at all. Now, for 2017 I'm trying to achieve something a little different, and gain a little more balance, hence the #wardrobebuilder project.
One garment a month, over the course of one year, building up a handmade collection of wardrobe essentials. 

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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking and delicious food.

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This month's #wardrobebuilder giveaway

This month's #wardrobebuilder giveaway
Check out the feature post for details of how to claim pattern and fabric discounts

the #wardrobebuilder project

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