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The Persephone Pants and a Freya Top

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Hi all, this week you have ‘two for the price of one’ as I am talking about tops AND trousers today.

The Persephone Pants from Anna Allen Clothing are something that I have had my eye on since the Summer. Almost on a daily basis I have been swooning over all the fabulous versions of these trousers popping up on my Instagram feed until I just couldn’t resist any longer.

They are a wide leg, high waisted trousers (or shorts) pattern, and have a button fly and front waist in-seam pockets. There is no outer seam on the trouser legs as each leg is cut from one piece of fabric which wraps around your leg. It’s a pretty cute design right?

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My measurements told me to cut a size 8, I decided to make up a toile in this size as a starting point and make any adjustments and changes based on how this turned out.

I couldn’t be happier with the finished toile. I was fully expecting to have to mess about with it no end to make it fit, but that wasn’t the case. Apart from the leg length (I’m only 5’2″) being understandably too long, it was wonderful. Talk about ‘over the moon’!

My fabric choice is this gorgeous teal rayon linen which I purchased from Like Sew Amazing. I think this particular colour might not still be available, but other colours are, so do head on over and check them out. I am so in love with the feel and quality of the fabric, and the weight is perfect for these trousers.

The pattern in incredibly well drafted, and the attention to detail is impressive. I really enjoyed every aspect of the making up of this pattern, it truly was a joy to sew. The written instructions are thorough and have clear black and white illustrations to accompany them. Everything fitted together perfectly, and no swear words were used in the making of this garment!!!!

Just watch out for the differing seam allowances on this pattern. It uses a mixture of 1/2″ and 3/8″ seam allowances, but clearly states in the step by step instructions what you need to use as you go along.

The waist in-seam pockets are very clever. I did wonder if I wanted to leave them out as I was concerned about fabric bulk in this area, but glad that I kept them, as they are a great feature. Although they look fairly small they are plenty big enough for your phone.

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To reduce any bulk, for the pocket linings I used a wonderful hand printed fat quarter from Zara Emily that I had kindly been given at the Stitch Room Sewcial get-together earlier on in the year. It is the perfect match for the trouser fabric and who doesn’t want starfish, sea horses and lobsters lining their pockets?

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I did have concerns about the button fly, having never sewn trousers with a fly before. No worries though, it was easy and resulted in a nice neat fastening.

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I had noticed on other Persephone Pant reviews that a line of stitching sewn between the button holes helps keep the facing in place so added that too. It works a treat.

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The horizotal stitching lines between the buttonholes are tricky to see, but they are definitely worth sewing in.

I had also read on a social media comment, that Anna Allen had recommended sewing the fly buttons right along the edge, near to the stitching (shown below), as this allows the fly to lay neatly too. It does!

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The pattern has a straight waistband, again this was something that I had in mind that I would need to alter to a curved waistband. But I think because they are super high waisted, the straight waistband was great and I have no gaping issues at all. Happy days.

I wonder if in the future if I would add welt pockets or something at the back. Due to the high waisted design and my large bottom, I feel like the back view needs something to break it up. We’ll see.

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This pattern is a top stitchers dream. The double lines of top stitching along the seams give it a really professional finish, and little burst of bar tacks at the bottom of the fly and the top of the belt loops are a great addition too.

As mentioned earlier, the only adjustment I made was to the leg length. Before cutting them out I shortened the leg pattern piece by 4″.

I love them so much. Initially I had concerns that they might not suit my short curvy shape – my hips are quite large compared to my waist size. I also wasn’t sure if this style would swamp my short legs too. I’m super happy with them though, and am now a true trouser convert. Watch out for many more of these to come!!

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I paired this with the perfect jersey top – The Freya Top- which is a pattern from the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch! sewing book. I have made the Freya Dress before and absolutely loved it, but this is the first top version that I have sewn, and as expected, it is a dream of a pattern.

I have seen so many great versions of the Freya Top online (I’m looking at you Joy!), so I knew I would love it, and true to my expectations I do!

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I used this adorable teal striped cotton jersey which again was from Like Sew Amazing, and it was perfect. I usually make 3/4 length sleeves, but to keep cosy I kept the sleeves long. They’re lovely. Excuse me now whilst I make Freya tops in all the colours.

There is little to say about this pattern that hasn’t been said before on many, many reviews, except to say that is is the best fitting, quick and easy top pattern that is out there. The Stretch! sewing book is a total gem and something that I would be lost without!

What is your ‘go-to’ top pattern, I’d love to know..

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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A Lined Faux Roman Blind Tutorial

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It’s been a couple of years since we moved to our house, and bit by bit we are working our way through all the usual home improvements that will finally make it the home we are after. Painting has been our main focus lately, and we have just finished painting the dreaded hall, stairs and landing followed by the kitchen and utility room. Of course when I say ‘we’ I mostly mean my husband! Haha!

Our utility room had a nasty old (dust gathering) venetian blind, and when this was removed during painting, I decided to crack on with replacing it with something much more lovely to look at.

It’s only a small window, and not one which needs a functioning blind – it is at the back of our house and is not overlooked at all. I had my heart set on a false Roman Blind made from a piece of special Orla Kiely upholstery fabric from Dunelm. It’s a little pricey at £18 per metre, but decided that I might be able to get away with just a half metre as the fabric was plenty wide enough to cover the width of the window and as it wasn’t necessary to be a working blind, I could simply fold it where I liked to make the drop work. So a half metre of this fabric cost me just £9, which I didn’t think was too bad.

The most important thing with this project is to be very precise with your measurements. I wanted this blind to sit just above the window recess, with a few cm ‘overhang’ either side. The window recess measurements are 58cm width and 112cm drop.

I decided that I wanted the finished flat blind measurement to be 66cm in width ( that is the 58cm width of the window plus a 4cm ‘overhang’ each side of the recess). The drop length of the blind is 50cm ( i.e the half metre length that I purchased).

To measure how wide to cut the Orla fabric, I knew I needed the width to be 66cm (width of the finished blind), plus a 1cm seam allowance each side = 68cm. I then wanted there to be a narrow vertical ‘border’ of the Orla fabric on each side of the reverse of the blind where it attaches to the lining fabric. This ‘border’ measures 2cm each side, so the total width that I needed to cut of the Orla fabric was 72cm.

The lining fabric then needed to be cut. I just used some cream curtain lining that I had in my stash, but I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t be too expensive if you had to buy a small amount.

The lining needs to be measured to be slightly narrower than the Orla fabric, as this will allow the Orla fabric to create that lovely ‘border’ on the reverse of the blind that I mentioned previously. So, the lining is calculated as the finished width of the blind (66cm) minus the 2 lots of 2cm borders =62cm, plus 2 lots of 1cm seam allowances = 64cm.

So, to clarify, I cut the Orla fabric at 72cm width, and the lining at 64cm width. This way ensures that when they are sewn together that a nice grey border will run down each side of the wrong side of the blind.

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This shows the cut lining and how it is a little narrower than the grey Orla fabric beneath it.

With such precise measurements, it is essential to press your fabric before cutting. I trimmed off the smallest amount of fraying fabric at the top and bottom of my blind (where the fabric had been cut), and I also positioned the design so that the centre line of one of the stem rows would be running down the exact centre of the blind.

Now to get sewing! Firstly, with the right sides together, I pinned and sewed both side seams.

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Because the Orla fabric is wider than the lining,  you will have a little extra ‘lump’ of fabric when you pin the sides.

When you have sewn down either side of the blind, smooth that ‘lump’ of Orla fabric so that the vertical seams on the back of the blind are evenly 2cm from the edge of the blind. Don’t iron it yet. Before you turn it right side out, pin along the bottom edge and sew this up. Again I used a 1cm seam allowance to preserve what little length I had.

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Apologies for the lighting. It was a sunny day when I took these pictures, but I hope that you can still see what I am trying to show you!

You can then trim this seam allowance, clip the corners and turn the blind right side out again. Use a point turner or something similar to ensure the corners are nice and sharp and give it a good press.

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More sun and shadows – whoops!

You can see from the image above that I then pinned the open top edge together. I neated these edges together with the overlocker.

Next it’s time to attach the velcro strip to the top of the blind. The velcro strip that I used is 2cm wide, so I turned over the top edge by 3cm, pressed it, and pinned and sewed the fluffy side of the velcro along the middle of this turn-over.

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Next, it is time to pleat your blind. This is done purely on your personal preference. I wanted 2 or 3 folds, and I also wanted to pattern match the stem design too. Take into consideration the height that you will attach the wooden batten to the top of the window too.

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When you are happy with the finished folded blind, give it a good press. In addition to pinning it in place, it is a good idea to run some temporary lines of tacking along the folds so that it doesn’t droop whilst you are finishing it off. I also permanently hand stitched the folds at each side of the blind, and also at various intervals along the folds at the back of the blind. Remove your tacking stitches.

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The wooden batten that we used to attach the blind to the wall was just a leftover that we had in the garage. Again, when I say we, I mean my husband! He cut it to just short of the 66cm blind width – probably approx 64cm – so that it wouldn’t show at all when the blind was in position. He then stapled the prickly part of the velcro to it, and screwed it to the wall a few centimetres above the top of the window recess.

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The blind simply sticks to the batten now, with the velcro, and there you have it! Easy!

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I do hope that this might help you if a false Roman Blind is something that you are planning.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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A Winter Floral Sew Over It Tulip Skirt

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Happy December everyone! The beginning of the month means that it is time to show you what I have been making over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.

This month I have made the Sew Over It Tulip Skirt. Rather than choose something smart and fancy for the Festive season, I opted for a skirt that I can use all Winter long. This stretch cotton twill is pretty, practical and very comfortable to wear, and it’s weight makes it ideal to hold the shape of the pretty pleats which are a feature at the front of the skirt.

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I won’t say too much over here, but for all the details on this quick pretty skirt, please do head on over to my blog post on the Blogger Network at Minerva Crafts.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Festive Tilly and the Buttons Frankie Baseball T-Shirt

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With the Festive season just around the corner, I am getting in the spirit of things by entering a fun competition that has been arranged by Tilly and the Buttons. The ‘Sew A Xmas Sweater’ challenge is to sew up and decorate any Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern to wear during the holiday season. If you would like more details about the competition then you can find out all about it here.

It was tricky to choose which pattern to make. As you can see from previous blog posts, I am a huge Tilly fan, and have made lots of her patterns, but eventually I decided that I would make another Frankie baseball t-shirt. I have blogged about this t-shirt here, so you can check that out if you are new to this pattern, but this post is going to concentrate on how I embellished it.

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My fabric choice is a lovely cotton interlock jersey which I picked up from eBay. It’s full-on festive red and green, but if you wanted to tone it down a bit you could choose a white or cream fabric for the main body and just have red and green for the sleeves and neckband.

I wanted the embellishment to be Christmassy, but not too ‘in your face’, so have opted for this fairly subtle ‘cutie-pie’ design. Let me take you through how I made it…

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To make the mince pie, I used a machine applique technique using Bondaweb iron-on transfer fabric that I had been taught when attending an applique class at the Leicestershire Craft Centre back in January.

I searched out an image of a mince pie that I liked on the internet, printed it off, and traced out the key shapes using tracing paper. I then traced out these shapes on to the smooth side of some Bondaweb fabric and cut around these shapes roughly. Iron these roughly cut out shapes onto the wrong side of your chosen fabric (or in my case, felt), and then cut around the outline carefully and neatly. You are left with the perfect shapes to create your layered design that now have the Bondaweb applied to the back.

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As you can see, I also had some cream ric rac tape which has a gold thread running through it which I thought would make the perfect pie crust, so I cut a strip of this too.

An important thing to mention is that it is crucial to apply any applique on to your top bodice before the underarm and side seams have been sewn. This way you are sewing on the flat and it makes your life much simpler! Tilly actually recommends doing this in her ‘Stretch’! book (page 91), and she also runs through exactly the procedure that I am using here too. So I carried out the whole of this applique procedure before I started any sewing on my t-shirt.

The placement  of your applique is also very important. Luckily I have already made the Frankie t-shirt before, so I simply popped it on, worked out where I wanted my design to sit, and pinned it carefully in place. I was then able to work out exactly where to position it on my festive version. As I am embroidering some wording on the top, I also pinned that in position – but I’ll talk about the embroidered wording later in the post.

As you can see from the image below, I was originally going to use scrap fabric pieces for the mince pie, but finally decided to use felt.

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I removed the peel-off backing from the back of my shapes and ironed them into place.

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I’m pretty sure that I have read somewhere that this is enough to hold your design in place just as it is, but I wanted to add a machine blanket stitch around the edges to make super sure that it stays in place and also to add to the decoration. At this point I cut some Stitch-n-Tear and pinned it to the wrong side of my fabric to give it some support and stop it from puckering or stretching when I was machine stitching it. I cut it large enough that it would also be in place ready for when I hand embroidered the wording above the mince pie. In the image above you can see the back of the pins that are holding the stitch-n-tear in place behind the design.

After testing out your stitch size on a scrap of spare fabric, I used a machine blanket stitch around all the edges. This is such fun, take your time with it – it’s worth it. I also cut the ric rac to the correct length, applied some Fray Check to the raw ends, and stitched that in place too.

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Below shows what it looks like on the wrong side after stitching. You might notice that I hand stitched the red berries.

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I hope that how I have written this will make some sense. There are lots of video tutorials on the internet when you search ‘machine applique’ if you need some visual guidance.

Next to apply the wording. I remember that I had watched a great tutorial from Sophia from JessalliHandmade on YouTube a few months ago. I followed this tutorial exactly to create the wording that I wanted and I am really pleased with how it turned out. In brief, you print out whatever wording you want in several different sizes and when you are happy with the font and size, you trace it out on some more stitch-n-tear. As you can see I was torn between making it a sweetie-pie or a cutie-pie slogan!

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Place the stitch-n-tear with your traced design where you want it, and pin it into place.

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Then, using a simple back stitch and embroidery thread, sew over your wording and carefully peel it away when you are finished. Simple!

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There you have it! At this point I just made the t-shirt according to the instructions as normal, and the finished result is really satisfying.

Ooh, and don’t forget the finishing touches!

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The ‘Sew a Xmas Sweater’ contest is open until December 9th, so there is still plenty of time to get sewing if you feel like giving it a go and having a bit of fun. Do head over to the blog post on the Tilly website that I linked at the start of this blog and it will give you all the terms and conditions as well as a look at the FAB prizes that are up for grabs too!

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I am looking to seeing lots of fun sweaters cropping up on Instagram over the next couple of weeks (the hashtag to look out for is #SewingXmasSweater).

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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The Lisbon Cardigan from Itch To Stitch.

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So, November has rolled around again and that must mean that it is time to share with you my entry into the Instagram challenge the #cosycardichallenge

The #cosycardichallenge is a fun annual event over on Instagram hosted by Amanda from I Sew Alot and Rachel and Nikki from The Stitch Sisters. To enter, you simply make a cardigan and share a picture of your finished garment to be in with a chance of winning a super prize!

This year I have chosen to make The Lisbon Cardigan from Itch to Stitch. It’s quite different from the The Cocoon Cardigan by Jalie Patterns which was my entry last year. This time I wanted a more fitted, cropped cardigan that I could wear with skirts and dresses.

It is the first time that I have sewn an Itch to Stitch pattern, although I have had The Marbella Dress for ages and just haven’t got around to making it yet.

The only little problem that I came across was when it came to sticking my PDF pattern sheets together. Usually I slice off the right hand vertical edge and the bottom horizontal edge of each sheet of every page, and then stick them together with tape. I found that with this pattern that in order for the cutting lines to match up that I needed to then place these sheets together edge-to-edge (with no paper overlap at all). Perhaps there is something that I have missed, although I can see no special ‘cutting and sticking guidance’ in the instructions. Anyhow, apart from it being a little fiddly, it all came together in the end.

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The cardigan is easily adapted to your preference, as there is a choice on sleeve and body length. I chose to make the cropped bodice with 3/4 length sleeves. I particularly love the round neck on this pattern. I think a round neck suits me better, and whilst there seems to be lots of v-neck cardigan sewing patterns, I have found fewer round neck cardigan patterns available, so I was excited to try it.

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I’m pleased with the length of the sleeves on me. Although as is often the case with me the cuff bands are slightly too big. Something for me to adjust next time I make it.

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The knit fabric was a gift from my friend Kate, so I’m not sure exactly what it is. It’s lovely and soft though, and I would describe it as a medium weight. It took me ages to decide the direction of the fabric when I was cutting it out and it the end I just gave up trying to decide which was best and cut it out anyway. I figure if it is impossible to work out which way up it is, then it really doesn’t matter.

By the way, my skirt is The Tulip Skirt from Sew Over It.

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The pattern contains several pieces. Along with the bodice you need sleeves, cuffs, the bottom band, neck band and the button bands. Also knit interfacing to reinforce the button bands.

It was a lovely pattern to sew up. I thoroughly enjoyed making it. The written instructions were very good and there are plenty of step by step black and white illustrations to guide you through the process.

Instead of using buttons and buttonholes, I decided to use my Kam Snaps. I have seen lovely Amanda use this technique quite a bit on her cardigans and inspired by her gave it a go on this make. The trick with these seems to be that when you are installing them, you need to squeeze the pliers together as hard as you can, (like until you knuckles turn white – ha!), and then they will snap together and work perfectly.

I could not have been happier with the colour match too – the chocolatey brown colour snaps that I had in my little snap collection were perfect!

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I kind of like it worn on it’s own like this with a skirt, buttoned up, and look forward to making it in some plain fabrics so that it will sit nicely with some of my patterned dresses too.

I feel like this design could work really well as an edge-to-edge jacket too. Choose a heavier weight knit and omit the buttons/snaps and you have yourself a cute jacket right?

I would love to know your go-to cardigan patterns. Are you taking part in the #cosycardichallenge this year?

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon, Kathy x

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‘The Blouse’ from The Avid Seamstress.

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The latest release from The Avid Seamstress is another winner. I have previously enjoyed making her Shift Dress and Day Dress, and I knew from my experience with these that The Blouse was going to be a beauty to sew up. I was right.

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It is a simple classic design, and as you can see from the line drawings above is loose fitting, without darts, and features a pretty Mandarin collar, button placket, and elasticated 3/4 length sleeves.

I have been on the hunt for a great blouse pattern for a while. I have one or two that I have in mind to sew up over the next few months, but as soon as I saw this new release it jumped the queue big time and I hopped on and purchased the PDF so that I could make it straight away. I just could not wait.

My first version was made using this pretty blue patterned viscose from The Frugal Fabric Shop. Unfortunately I believe this has sold out now, but do head on over to check out Kate’s shop. I know at the moment she has some other fab viscose fabrics (at bargain prices) that would be equally as lovely as this.

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If you have never sewn an Avid Seamstress pattern before, then you are in for a treat. I would thoroughly recommend that you take your time to read through the instructions (rather than skip through them in a rush – as I often do with sewing patterns), as they are jam packed with helpful and clever tips to help you. I guarantee this will save you time in the long-run and give you a much more enjoyable sewing experience.

For example, I love that she advises you to overlock/finish your edges before you start. Also you are told exactly which edges do not need to be overlocked too. Brilliant. You are taken through how to block fuse one of your collar pieces to ensure a neat crisp collar, and maybe to cut the collar just before you need it if you are using fabric which is prone to fraying. All great tips.

I chose to make a size 2. I fall between a size 2 and 3 as far as my bust measurements go, and looking at the finished garment measurements I decided that the size 2 would be the fit I was going for. It’s perfect. Not too loose, not too tight.

The minute I finished my first version I was planning my next. I recently attended the #sewbrum sewing meetup in Birmingham and one of my fabric purchases there was this gorgeous green viscose with pink flowers. As soon as I clocked it, I knew what I was going to make with it.

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Taking your time will really pay off. The button plackets are interfaced and will lay nice and neat if you are accurate with your measurements. For this version I wanted to use self covered buttons for a change. They are quick and fun to make, and I tried to cover them with carefully picked pieces of fabric, so that when the blouse is buttoned up, they would match the placket that lays over the top of them.

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I particularly love the sleeves. Three quarter length sleeves are perfect for me, I made no adjustment on the length, but I did need to cut a shorter length of elastic than the guidelines suggested, so do measure your arm where the elastic is going to sit to make sure it is going to be the correct size for you.

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To ensure that the collars are evenly sewn, I followed the tip to lightly draw the seam allowance (1cm) on the curved edge before sewing. It’s all about making life easier for yourself, right? It is finished off with a neat line of edge stitching.

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I’m pretty sure I will be reaching for this classic pattern for years to come. I’m imagining it in a classic white cotton – I haven’t got a classic white shirt ….yet…. or perhaps in a stunning jewel coloured silk. Divine.

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I’d love to hear what your favourite classic shirt/blouse pattern is. Do share it with us all in the comments below.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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An Autumn inspired Brumby Skirt

I have a bit of a thing for knee length skirts at the moment. Whilst I love them in warmer temperatures with bare legs, I also adore styling them with thick coloured tights when there’s a nip in the air.

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My latest make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is The Brumby Skirt from Megan Nielsen. It’s the prettiest gathered skirt, which you can make in different lengths and has wonderful deep pockets and the cutest exposed zip feature at the back.

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I won’t say too much on my blog here, as you can read the full review over at Minerva Crafts, but I enjoyed making this skirt, and I especially love this vibrant floral needlecord. Unfortunately, I understand that this fabric is now sold out, but I know that they have a great range of alternatives.

So for me today, it has been paired with some aubergine tights and I’m Autumn ready.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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A Tilly and the Buttons Delphine Skirt – the first of many.

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It’s taken me way too long to make this Delphine skirt! I have had the book Love at First Stitch on my bookshelf for such a long time and whilst I have good intentions of making up all of the patterns, I clearly keep on getting distracted with other garments!

This week it’s my turn to write a post as one of the Sewisfaction Blogger Team, and so whilst I won’t go into great detail here, I will leave a link  to my full review on the Sewisfaction blog so that you can hop over there and read all about it.

I so love the fabric that I chose to make the skirt. It’s a medium weight Japanese cotton canvas fabric, and has a bold retro floral design set against a dark blue background.

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Other than shortening the length, I only made one change to the pattern, and that was to swap the invisible zip for an exposed one. I’m really loving these exposed metal toothed zips at the moment and want to add them to everything!

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So I’ll let you head on over to Sewisfaction if you would like to know more, and in the meantime, as the weather is freezing here at the moment, I shall be reaching for my cosy tights so that I can continue to wear my Delphine despite the temperature.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Paola Turtleneck Tee.

Although the wonderful Summer that we were treated to may be over now, let’s face it, Autumn brings with it all sorts of loveliness – namely the opportunity to dig out your favourite comfy knits and snuggle up.

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This is The Paola Turtleneck Tee from Named.  It’s a semi-fitted turtleneck, and an essential wardrobe builder. I made my first back in March this year, as part of the #2018makenine challenge and then promptly forgot to blog about it.

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I used a medium weight knit fabric which was the end of a bolt from Material Magic in Leicester. It has irregular grey stripes on a cream background and it is soft and warm. I did wonder if this fabric would be slightly too heavy for a Paola, and this reflects in the fact that the neck piece is not terribly ‘slouchy’. As it turns out, I do like the structured finish of the neck and it is a super cosy top to wear on a cold day.

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It’s the quickest, easiest top to rustle up, and I had mine cut out and sewn up in an afternoon. I enjoyed the instructions (this is my first Named make), which were accompanied by black and white drawings. The finished garment measurements were accurate and I had no fitting issues – the joys of working with jersey!

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To stabilise the shoulder seams, I used some ribbon instead of the suggested clear elastic. This works for me, as I have lots of ribbon and like to save my elastic for other projects! Small point – it does mention in the instructions to press the shoulder seam allowances towards the front, but I pressed them towards the back. What a rebel!

I used a combination of the overlocker and regular sewing machine for this top. For the shoulder and side seams I used the overlocker, and for the collar I used a regular sewing machine (I find I have more control with jersey neckband attachments like this), and then finished off with the overlocker. The hem and sleeves are turned under with a twin needle again on the regular sewing machine.

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So now that we are into October I was keen to make the top again, but in a more lightweight fabric. I am so glad that I did. Check out this adorable floral  jersey from Girl Charlee UK that I have had in my stash for a few months now. At the time of writing this I can see that their website shows that they only have 5 metres left, but there are loads of pretty alternatives. It’s adorable and has purple, red, blue and peach flowers set against an ivory background. It’s a rayon blend jersey, which I notice is the fabric type that Named have used for the sample on their website, and it’s perfect!

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It’s no secret that I am a huge floral fan, and I am so looking forward to wearing this with jeans, skirts, culottes and pinafores this Autumn/Winter. It’s super soft against the skin and the collar is soft and drapey.

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I think this pattern has worked well with both fabric weights, each having their own different look, and there is a place for both in my wardrobe.

At some point I do plan to make a Freya Top from my Tilly and the Buttons ‘Stretch’! book. I like the funnel neckline on the Freya and since I made the  Freya Dress I have been meaning to make the top version. I’ll let you know when I do.

Another funnel neck top pattern that I have made a couple of versions of is the Christine Haynes Piper Top.

So, to round up, the Paola is a super little pattern. I love these tops. They are quick to make, super simple and use very little fabric (less than 1.5 metres of wide fabric).

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My Cocowawa Crafts Pumpkin Dress

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Last Thursday saw the release of the new Pumpkin Cardigan and Cardi Dress from Cocowawa Crafts, and it could not have been timed better. The Pumpkin Cardigan and Dress is a comfortable cosy pattern for knit fabrics, and offers you the choice to make a cardigan or dress using your choice of necklines, sleeves and pockets. You can also add a simple hem or add a ruffle!

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I am so thrilled to be part of the pattern testing team for Cocowawa, and when I saw this pattern for the first time I knew that I would like to make the dress version. I had recently spotted this gorgeous loop backed jersey in the online fabric shop Material Girl Laura. it is the perfect weight for this project, the quality is excellent and I have since noticed that Laura is now stocking other colours ( check out the ‘sage’ colourway – it’s lush).

I teamed it up with a beautiful blue ribbed jersey from Material Magic in Leicester. The colour is a perfect pairing with the dark blue dove in the main fabric and I was thrilled to find such a great match.

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I went for the scoop neckline, and chose to keep things cosy and make the sleeved version (with cuffs). I also opted for inseam pockets (my favourites), but also love that there is the choice for bound pockets too if that is your preference. Finally I wanted to keep the hem of the dress simple and went for a simple band at the bottom – but a ruffle here is definitely something I will make in the future as it is too cute.

Fitting on the dress is easy, although I did make a toile before this finished version, as I always do when pattern testing,to make sure that I had the right size. For me, with this dress, as long as I have the bust measurement correct then the a-line shape of the dress just falls into place perfectly. The result is the most comfortable, cosy dress you could dream of. Pair it with warm tights and flats or boots and you are good to go and Autumn ready!

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I know that I have already mentioned the pockets, but, well.. they’re essential right?

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I love that Ana from Cocowawa provides you with the support of a YouTube video for this pattern. So if you feeling nervous about any of the construction techniques or you simply want a pal to sew-along with, then head on over to the video which I have linked above. Having said that, the written instructions are great and super clear and are accompanied by excellent illustrations, but this video certainly provides that little bit extra for those amongst us who like visual explanations.

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There are quite a few buttons required for this pattern whether you choose the dress or cardi version. You can use regular buttons and buttonholes, add snaps, or like me simply sew your buttons right through all your layers because you discovered that you can easily pull it off and on over your head.

Of course, this is only one version of the Pumpkin, and I was blown away when I saw all the other versions that the rest of the pattern testers had produced. It really does highlight the variations in the pattern when you see them all together so I will pop a link in here if you would like to have a browse through for some Pumpkin inspiration.

Huge thanks to Ana for allowing me to be a small part of this pattern journey with her. As always, the whole process was a joy, and I am thrilled to share the result with you. I can’t wait to see Pumpkins popping up all over the place now, and look forward to seeing your fabric choices and whether the cardi or the dress is your preference.

Don’t forget that the Instagram challenge #cosycardichallenge is running at the moment until the end of November and the Pumpkin Cardi would be just perfect for this don’t you think?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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