Simplicity blogger challenge – A clash of Scotland and Uganda


Yes yes yes – if there is a band wagon to join I’ll generally jump on it. The challenge is I normally don’t find the wagon til about 2 years after everyone. So the fact that I’m hitting this target before the deadline is frankly miraculous.

So yes, I joined in Simplicity’s Star Sewist competition. Given I’ve only been sewing for 4 years I’m under no illusions of my skill level however I fancied the challenge of going off-piste. Going off-piste is something that I tend to avoid in sewing. I normally like rules and a sewing pattern is a wonderful set of rules for me that I can get creative within the confines of.

So to the challenge. I entered the Vintage pattern challenge. I already had the dress pattern and have made a couple from it so that didn’t seem challenging. Also I’m apparently too experienced to enter the novice competition (arf arf!).

The vintage pattern challenge uses Simplicity 1364 and the rules are…..THERE ARE NO RULES. DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNN!! 


My toile for View A was awful. I mean terrible. Yucky yucky. It’s not the pattern’s fault – its my shape. I’m clearly not a classic vintage shape.

What followed was half an hour of standing in front of the mirror pinning various things. My original plans to make an asymmetric jacket got thrown out pretty quickly. Instead I was looking at a classic box jacket – a bit of a Jackie O’ jacket. Of course when I showed my husband he said it looked like an army mess jacket – from a trawl online it does indeed look a bit like the Royal Logistic Corps Mess jacket. Who knew?

Royal logistic corps mess dressThe fabric comes from Uganda. Its classic waxed batik fabric I bought off a stall for about £3 in this village perched on the hillstop just outside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Its a truly amazing part of the world. Its unlikely that I’ll be heading back to that part of the world again any time soon so I wanted to make sure whatever I made with the fabric was worth it.

I’ve also been inspired by some of the amazing modern designs being created using African fabrics. For example Stella Jean has some amazing pieces in her last couple of collections. Its my aspiration to bring African fabrics back from my travels and use it for classic tailoring that suits my peely wally Scottish colouring. Hopefully this jacket fits that remit?

So the the original pattern was reduced in length by about 8 cm front and back. I then I significantly reduced the neck width by pinching out about 8cm down the centre back seam. Next I made a facing and interfaced it with stiff iron-on interfacing. Next I added a bright yellow lining using left over fabric from my staff. Finally I added some cuffs to the sleeves copying the cuffs on one of my husbands dress shirts. I lined the sleeves with the fish fabric and hand stitched the cuffs into the lining to give it a neat finish.

2015-05-17 17.09.29

Here’s an ugly picture of the innards and below are the pics of the finished article.

IMG_6328   IMG_6323   IMG_6329   IMG_6348  IMG_6350IMG_6338


Note to those that are still interested: In the background is the gorgeous Roslin Chapel. Made famous in the Da Vinci code book and then the film its become a major tourist attraction since the book. Before the film it had a few thousand visitors a year but since the book and film were published it gets up to 150,000 visitors a year. I’m lucky enough to live in the village and therefore get a free pass to the chapel. We’re not allowed to take photos inside but take a look at the photos on the chapel website to see why its such a special little place.

This was the first time I’ve taken photos of my sewing creations anywhere other than my livingroom or the backgarden. I figured I could ham it up at the Chapel without getting too many odd looks though.


26 thoughts on “Simplicity blogger challenge – A clash of Scotland and Uganda

  1. How fab. I would never have thought to turn that pattern into a jacket. It looks great and is a fabulous fit. Love the African fabric, it is a great design and the colours suit you, peely-wally or not. I was lucky enough to be gifted some waxcloth after my friend went home for a visit. The colour combinations are really vivid Also finally got my pattern so it’s all hands on deck for the next couple of weeks. Happy sewing. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and yes I think the colours were right for me. I do have to stop myself getting too carried away with African fabrics because whilst they look fabulous on others they can seriously suck on someone as peely waly (wally? hmmm spelling Scots words can be tricky) as me


  2. This is gorgeous – what a great idea turning it into a jacket! I love the fabric too and especially that you got it from a place in an Impenetrable National Park – makes you sound like Dr Livingstone! Good luck with the competition!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It truly is an Impenetrable park – one of the last places to see Mountain gorilla. Of course I didn’t see them because a) it was work b) i couldn’t afford $600 for the permit and c) apparently the gorillas went crop raiding 5 minutes from where I was doing interviews but we couldn’t see them because of all the impenetrable trees! Boooo!


    1. Thank you we’re very lucky to live somewhere so pretty. Despite the embarrassment of hamming it up in public my husband now thinks we should do all my photos at local landmarks. We’ll see!


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