Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:58

As part of my plan to blog my way around Europe in my Mobile Makery (ah yes - that's my next plan!) I'm developing a collection of very simple-to-sew clothes that you can put together without a pattern. The idea is that you can make them as you travel (with or without a sewing machine) out of fabric you snap up along the way.

I've bought a wonderful vintage hand-crank Singer sewing machine on e-bay so that I can stitch on the go - no electricity needed. You could sew by hand of course, but having a machine just speeds things up a bit.


Here's the machine being put through it's paces by my brothers - they're making paper heart bunting!

Anyway - let's get back to the sew-on-the-go clothes!

The first thing I tried was this Doctor Who dress - so-called as it's made from an old Doctor Who quilt cover that I found in a charity shop up in Scotland.

You can wear the dress loose which would make it a great beach or camping cover-up or belt it like this to create more shape.

doctor who dress.jpg


You simply measure your bust and hips and add a little extra for ease and seams. The dress will be made to skim over your widest part - for me that's my hips - so that's my key measurement for this dress.

Then measure along your shoulders to see where you want your sleeves to finish and where to position your neckline.

You can shape the neckline however you wish - just make sure there's enough room to poke your head through (you don't want to be messing around with zips and such like when you've only got your basic sewing kit with you out on the road).

Once you have these basic measurements you fold your fabric in half right sides together and cut out two shapes like this.


Sew up the sides seams and the shoulders and then use bias binding along the neckline and sleeve edges.


Here I've teamed the dress with a collar/necklace from my book 'Chic on a Shoestring' and put a little tuck in the top of the sleeve to create more shape.

Once you have your basic pattern you can make a variety of different clothes.

Here's a top made in exactly the same way using a vintage pillowcase that I bought for a euro in France.

This time it's the bust measurement that's important - although remember that you want the top to sit nicely over your tummy too.


The bow detail makes all the difference I think. No tuck in these sleeves.

It's simple but it works, and the fabric is lovely and soft as it's been washed so often.


 Next up I tried adding a gathered section to the bottom of the top shape pictured above to create a loose waisted dress.

Again, belted, you get a fitted style.

This dress was made out of another Scottish charity shop sheet.

Team it with a fabulous 50's dressing gown from a vintage shop in Canada and you 've created a catwalk-worthy bargain outfit!


Remember, it's the detail that counts. I used check bias binding and added little gathered pockets.


It's sew-on-the-go!

Go on - have a go yourself!




Welcome to mary jane makes. Writer, maker, and hat-making adventurer.