Hot! Purple Patch

The Facts

Fabric:  2 metres 100% purple cotton bought on the East Anglian Fabric Trail

Pattern:  New Look from stash (can’t remember the number but Judy has it on her blog at sewblessedmaw)

Year:  2011

Notions:  Thread and interfacing from stash, bought zip.

Time To Complete:  6 hours

Total Cost:  £11.40 including zip

First Worn:  In these photos.

Wear Again:  Yes, with all the patterned things I’ve made.



I’m a bit late with this because of all the Jubilee celebrations in the UK, as well as a bit of a crisis, involving me following an ambulance up the A1 – all is well now thank goodness. I really don’t ‘do’ driving, mainly limiting it to surrounding villages, so that was a bit of an ordeal for me.  Here I am serenely enjoying a very leisurely, English cup of tea.  I’m also having a little break from prints because I desperately need some plain things to match all the patterned stuff I’ve made.  This will go with at least two of the skirts I have, one of which I’m wearing and as well as being something I can use for casual wear on holiday, it should also look good for work.  Judy has a great red polka dotted version of this top on her blog at SewBlessedMaw.  Mine is in 100% plain cotton which should be nice and cool. Rather than any member of the Royal Family in particular, I was originally inspired by the regal colour of purple.  Though I’ve since found that Elizabeth I used the term ‘purple patch’ in print in 1598, to describe a particularly florid piece of prose.

I think I must have been admiring Frances’ outfit on our recent East Anglian Fabric trail with Charlotte.  She had made a lovely purple top and skirt (but I didn’t get to see the jacket which she left in the car because it was so hot).  Anyway, I found that I subconsciously came away with some purple fabric from King’s Lynn.  So thanks for the purple indoctrination Frances!  It was like a holiday when we all met on the fabric trail.  It was boiling hot  – we aren’t getting many of those days in the UK this year and it was lovely to just be out and about, escaping from the usual routine for the day to do something special and unique!

‘Purple patch’ can also mean, ‘a period of good fortune or creativity’, and in the 1960’s ‘Hendrix Purple’ began to be recognised as a shade of dye in the fashion industry.  I found all this information at  I also have the book, ‘Mauveine’ by Simon Garfield, which delves into the history of how ‘purple’ was first discovered – entirely by accident – by William Henry Perkin, when he was looking for a malaria cure. In Victorian times, it was known as, ‘Perkin’s purple’. I saw a display about all this when I was last at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.


















It’s funny but I never used to be keen on purple as a colour, though it’s kind of grown on me and it is supposed to be one of ‘my’ colours.  I think I’ll keep it in my colour palette from now on …



Diane has sewn all through life but gave things a serious go at the beginning of 2011 and during the year took part in 50 Sew Weekly challenges. She now wants to expand her knowledge and learn new techniques in each project she completes, as well as develop a style of her own and a sense of quality over quantity. She studied print design some years ago and a love of unusual prints and colours underpins her work. Currently, she works full time dealing with copyright issues and previously, she managed photographic sales for a leading fine art museum. Diane is so grateful for the friendship, support and encouragement she has received from the Sew Weekly community.


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  1. Very sweet. It looks gorgeous with that skirt.

  2. Diane, I love this blouse.Looks beautiful on you.. Isn’t this a fantastic pattern? Love it..
    I too need to do some solid colors to go with things, I have made.. Happy sewing.

    • Yes it is a fantastic pattern – the neck construction looked a bit complicated at first but it’s easy peasy now and I’m keen to make another. Happy sewing to you too!

  3. The color does flatter you! Definitely use it more. Purple prose? That made me laugh!

  4. Funny about the purple! It’s my (passionately!) most favorite color along with blacketyblack. So, my first thought on seeing this post was, “That’s really pretty!”

  5. Hi Diane, how interesting to learn about the color purple. I think the color is very flattering on you and a good staple for the wardrobe. Thank you for sharing.

  6. What a nice complementary colored blouse to match your pretty skirt! Well done!

  7. I can totally sympathise with you about the drive….I used to stick to my favoured routes in Yorkshire & Shropshire, the thought of having to keep up with an ambulance on the A1 would totally rattle my nerves…I hope it’s occupant is ok now. The purple is lovely, and thanks for info. On its discovery, will have to read up more on that it sounds fascinating. Love that bow on the neckline.

    • Hi Tempest. I’ve just never had to do any distance driving before. East Anglia is kind of self contained and doesn’t have any motorways etc, but I’ve overcome that now – I had to! Everything’s fine now thanks with nothing to worry about. That book I mentioned is a good one – very readable – published by Faber.

  8. This is a bewautiful colour on you and matches your skirt perfectly. I wish I had been able to meet you all on that day too. Maybe again soon.

  9. Hope you’re taking it easy Diane! The colour purple really suits you and I love the bow detail! Informative post too – I wonder what the Victorians thought of purple – I know they embraced aniline dyes. The dress in the photo is lurid isn’t it!

    • Yes, I’ve come back down to earth now thanks Trish. I like the bow too. There were six different tops in the pattern and I bought it just because of the bow … I think the Victorians were a surprising bunch really. Some of the farics I’ve seen from around that time are quite vivid – Turkey Red etc. Yes, the dress is a bit lurid!

  10. I love that sweet bow! And the collar — so nice with that lovely floral. I find that I like purple so much better if I call it other things: violet, lilac, amethyst! Now, isn’t that much nicer??

  11. Well don’t you look regal? The blouse is very pretty and really suits you. Hope everything is ok with you xxxx

    • Hi Charlotee. Everything’s fine now thanks – just a bit of a scare that’s all over now. Anyway, thanks and hope all’s well with you. I think we experienced ‘summer’ on that day out didn’t we!

  12. It’s purple. AND, there’s a bow? Too damn cute!

  13. I love purple! Thanks for all the background info! Great job on your top, it’s very sweet.

  14. Purple!!! You look damn dashing in purple Diane. Beautiful.

  15. cute cute cute. Love the bow Diane.