During the many meandering months of lockdown, I threw myself into attempting to master my ancient sewing machine.  I bought it as an enthusiastic newly-wed, along with a food processor and a steam iron.  For about 6 weeks I flirted briefly with the notion of being a domestic goddess and then lost the manuals to all three and reverted to living on take-out food, buying all my clothes and then wearing them lightly-creased.  My new husband breathed an audible sigh of relief, and life returned to normal.

12yrs on, I muscled the sewing machine out from the cellar, blew dust from its many complicated parts, and looked online for a pattern I could practice on.  Moments later I fell down the rabbit-hole known as the Sagebrush Top.  It turns out the pattern is a trending cult icon (who knew sewing patterns had such fame?!), with stitchers everywhere adapting the pattern and customising it in a myriad of exciting ways, posting the pictures all over Instagram and Pinterest.  I was captivated, not least by the sign that said EASY/BEGINNER on the packet.

I made my top using this gorgeous dragonfly fabric in a lightweight cotton lawn, and it was finished within a day, even allowing for plentiful seam-ripping and re-dos.  I was so delighted that I raided my fabric stash and made a second version; this one more cropped, with more bouffant sleeves and splashy bursts of colour.  When wearing it I look like a cross between Little Bo Peep and a childrens’ entertainer, but I like to think I rock the look 🙂

One of the lovely things about the pattern is that even as a very amateur sewer, you can adapt it in many ways; I shortened the sleeves for example to be cap sleeves, and switched out the elasticated cuffs for a plain hem.  I shortened the body, tweaked the ruffle and changed the tie-back to a popper on one top…

….the possibilities are endless, as is the online inspiration from others (if you’re tempted, use the hashtag sagebrushtop on Insta and be amazed!).

So now I’m looking for advice please and suggestions on other patterns to try; I’d love to make a summer dress, or a tote bag, or a cape…. something deceptively easy that I can have some fun with.  Do you have a pattern you’d recommend for a novice just losing her training wheels?  I’d love to hear!

Have a great weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re upto.  We’re having dinner outside with friends (at last!), and I’m planning to sow a mini herb garden for summer salads, thereby igniting the annual Kate vs Nature war in our garden.  I swear all the rabbits perk up the moment they hear me rattling the seed packets…