Sewing With Gingham {Nerida Hansen Fabric}

I’m just starting off with the disclaimer that Nerida asked if she could send me some of her new gingham in exchange for an honest review of the fabric (you can see the range here). Of course I said yes, even though there’s eleven million other things I should be doing first. But I can’t resist me a bit of Nerida Hansen fabric, it always feels amazing. So here we go….


Gingham. It’s quite divisive, isn’t it? Love it or hate it? I quite like it, but I sewed with some in my very early dress making days and a pattern company shared my photo and there was a couple of comments roasting me for my lack of pattern matching. And because I was so new to it all, I was like ‘pattern what-ching?’. Of course, now I know better but those little burns have stuck with me. And I just want to say, you don’t have to pattern match if you don’t want to! I will absolutely not judge. It’s hard and one of those sewing things that has eluded me. Hence me being cautious to jump back into the gingham pool.


Plus there’s been other gingham negativity I’ve read lately like:

– Looks like a picnic blanket.


– Makes plus sized people look bigger than they are.


– You look like you’re getting ready to feed the chooks/milk the cows/collect eggs/run through fields

(IF THAT’S WRONG THEN I DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT, STEVE. Besides, have you heard of cottagecore?).

(Thanks to my gingham loving mate for that one, yes she’s had that comment before).


It’s ok my lovely Ru, don’t let the weight of other people’s expectations get you down.

Moving on.

Let’s talk about the fabric itself. You can grab it in three bases: cotton sateen (lightweight, drapey, beautiful), mid weight cotton (um mid weight, more structure, also lovely) and cotton/linen (I didn’t get any of this one but I have used it in the past. Also a lovely mid weight, less drape, more loosely woven). Nerida mentioned that she wanted honest feedback because they’ve had issues in the past with the fabric being printed off grain. I’m not a particularly fussy person with grain lines etc, unless it’s super obvious or I’m cutting something on the bias. So I made sure I was taking note with this fabric and you know, once you fold it in half length ways, it is pretty obvious if it’s off grain because the checks are quite a decent size. So far, all the fabric I’ve used has been good, but I did notice some warping of the print towards the very edge, before they hit the selvedges. I just made sure I didn’t use those edges if I didn’t have to.


The first dress I made was this little red and pink number from mid weight cotton. It turned out very well and I’m super happy with it. The bodice and sleeves are self drafted, with the top part of the skirt from Simplicity 8248 and a ruffle added. Most pieces are cut pretty straight and that’s why it works. I used the smaller scale checks for the bodice, larger for the skirt and a bit of a mixture of what was left for the ruffle. I like how the red strips between the checks form a bit of a faux waistband on the dress. Pockets are slightly off, but close enough for me. Now because the sides of the skirt are cut at an angle, I didn’t bother trying to match them exactly, but did try and at least get the horizontal lines in line with each other. Does that make sense?


It didn’t match up super well, but I can live with it, you know? The ruffle pieces matched up well, but they’re very nice even rectangles, so it was easy.

And because it was easy and turned out so well, I got a bit cocky, didn’t I?

Yes I did.

I used the brand new Closet Core Patterns Elodie wrap and the sateen for this one. A match made in heaven, really. The Elodie is a beautiful pattern and the sateen has the loveliest drape for it. But I chose the wrong gingham, friends. I thought I was being edgy, I had a niggly voice in the back of my mind but as always, I ignored that sucker. Mostly ignoring him works, but this time it didn’t.

The Elodie pattern has a lot of curves and following the grain lines on the pattern pieces meant that the checks are cut off an angles instead of in straight lines. I did my best to match the horizontal lines again on the skirt pieces, but I completely forgot about the shoulders. I wanted to match the front and back in the same colour, but didn’t have enough fabric. Also, the waistband sits off the end of the bodice pieces, which I didn’t realise, so my careful matching was a fail there.


In hindsight, I wish I’d cut the skirt pieces in the opposite direction because I’m not a fan of the red around my hips. Someone mentioned it looks like an apron and it totally does and that’s why I’m not feeling it. Separately, excellent pattern and excellent fabric, together – not so much. I think this particular print would be better in tiers.


To add insult to injury, I decided to add inseam pockets at the last minute (not part of the pattern) and went fossicking through my scraps for some pieces to use AND ACCIDENTALLY grabbed a back bodice piece and cut a pocket out of it. I nearly cried at that point. Such a stupid mistake. I didn’t have enough fabric to cut another back piece the same, so patched it together. You can barely tell because I did it down one of the vertical lines, but still. I know it’s there.


So we live and learn (or maybe we don’t, because I’m super tempted to make it again with one of the other more plain ginghams).

Anyway, onto the third and final dress that I made for this little flame haired angel. I used Simplicity 8661, all pretty standard except I added the ruffle because she’s a tall angel. The black and white gingham is mid weight cotton with the large and small checks, just like the red and pink colourway.

I don’t have much to say about this one. I love it, it worked well and I’d make her 10 more in a heartbeat. Now allow me to spam you with photos of her.

Alright, well done for making it all the way down here. I’ll just recap a little with my top tips for sewing with gingham:

  1. Patterns with relatively straight pieces work well. Curvy bits are more challenging to match.
  2. Let go of some of your high expectations, not all the bits will match unless you’re some kind of magical gingham queen.
  3. The checks can warp close to the selvedge so keep that in mind.
  4. I found it easier to cut pattern pieces individually, rather than on the fold – that way you can make sure everything is square.
  5. Once you’ve cut one of your (say) skirt pieces, you can maneuver it around on the fabric to make sure the horizontal rows match up with the second piece. Same with the sleeves and bodice backs.
  6. Buy more than you think you’ll need, to account for pattern matching and also colourway/check size matching.
  7. Have a think about what scale checks you want on what part of your body. Same with the different colourways (no apron hips if that’s not your jam!).
  8. Don’t cut into your bloody pattern pieces for pockets. I know you won’t though.
  9. Wear gingham if you like gingham. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
  10. Breathe. Make a cup of tea. Eat some chocolate. Sewing is supposed to be fun!

Ok, has that helped? I hope it helps!


10 thoughts on “Sewing With Gingham {Nerida Hansen Fabric}

  1. Stuff people and their stupid comments!
    The dresses look awesome. I didnt notice the red hip bit until you pointed it out but it still looks groovey i think. Maybe you could make aprons cool again? 🙂
    I have missed your blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t believe people have said those things… I don’t buy into that kind of stuff… I laugh when I hear people say wear stripes one way or the other or a big shirt thinking it makes them look slimmer. It doesn’t make much difference. I love the red dress in particular and your daughter’s dress. I am wearing my hi-low wrap purple gingham skirt right now… picnic anyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, im so glad you used the Elodie as i have it on my cutting table to make up a toile.
    I think your dress looks fabulous! Very 40s Claire McCardell vibe. The colours are so Chic! I wish i could do so well.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You look fabulous. Lil miss looks fabulous. You both are rocking these outfits.
    Small scale gingham here in Barbados as fashion is divisive as we wear uniforms with this size from nursery/ preschool straight through to end of secondary/high school. So many aren’t a fan after wearing it every day for 14 years.
    But larger scale gingham usually gets a pass. Not the red though, seems many people have picnic blanket issues lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just say, “Please send me a picture of you, so I may critique you as well!” I think you have many fans of your makes. (not that it matters) Your daughter has the most lovely hair!


  6. I actually loved the print placement on the wrap dress and didn’t think apron at all. Love the style of your first dress especially, and the gingham is so cool. I have also missed your blog. I may be in the minority, but I’m finding I like blogs better than other social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey – aprons are cool!

    I once made a skirt which I loved to death, until my friend told me “oh, you’ve left your apron on”. I nearly died, and never wore the skirt again.

    I’m going to go look for that skirt, and wear it every single day, and maybe even do a personal parade out the front of her house.

    Not usually a gingham fan. But these look great!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These are gorgeous makes!! I’ve always loved gingham and nothing is cuter than gingham underwear. Totally love this fabric and I love the mixed colours (wasn’t thinking apron, just thinking super cool!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First off – RASPBERRIES to anyone who doesn’t think these are fabulous! I couldn’t wear gingham for ages, because gingham with Peter Pan collars was our infants through primary school uniform (followed by tartan with Peter Pan collars for high school!) but now I’m such a fan – especially when it looks so utterly, effortlessly stylish and summer cool as you’ve made it look here.

    Thanks for the specific tips on the fabric being printed slightly off grain, I’ll watch for that. And that Eloise dress? Just. Looks. Awesome. The red and pink has absolutely NO picnic blanket-ness about it, and your little red headed woodland sprite seems to be able to carry off anything with just as much style and panache as you. Love love love love !


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