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Felt Mince Pie Bunting Tutorial

Let’s talk about mince pies. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without them would it? Today I am sharing a little tutorial with you on how I made these cute felt mince pies, just in case you are mince pie lovers like we are in our house!

The reason that I wanted to make something different this year, was mainly because I have been using the same handmade bunting for a few years now and wanted a change. Way back in December 2016 I posted a tutorial on this blog for some Christmas Tree Bunting and this is actually my most viewed post ever!! But this year I felt that it was time for something different.

You will need

  • Felt in different colours
  • Bondaweb (or something similar) – not completely necessary, but makes things much easier! The packet shown in the image below contained just a little leftover from a previous project. For this I needed to buy some more and I did this by buying it off the roll at Hobbycraft.
  • White embroidery floss
  • Ric rac tape
  • Bunting tape
  • Usual sewing equipment such as scissors, needle and thread, iron and ironing board and a sewing machine.

 

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Please forgive the shadows on the picture – the sun was out when I took this!

To start off with I printed out a template of a mince pie and also some holly leaves. There are lots of free templates and images online so just find one that you like and print it off to the size that you need. (My mince pies measure 9cm in width and 7.5cm in height – not including the leaves).

I then traced out the various different shapes that I would need onto some tracing paper, and cut them out – but not using my fabric scissors that for some reason I have shown here!!!! Oh no!! Definitely using paper scissors!!!

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Take your cut traced shapes and place them with the right side facing down onto the smooth side of the Bondaweb and trace around them. I did this in bulk to save time. Roughly cut around the Bondaweb shapes and place them (glue side down) onto your chosen felt colours and iron them on. You can then cut carefully around your shape which leaves you with the perfect shapes ready to layer and sew.

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This shows the Bondaweb shapes have been ironed to the felt and then carefully cut out. I left some arrow markings on some of the pieces in case they needed to be placed on the right way up – but you could just work this out as you go along.

Notice that the ‘backing’ shape (which I chose to use dark brown for) does not need Bondaweb (or any interfacing either), so is just cut out straight from the felt ready for the other shapes to be attached to. Word of warning here – make a good choice when deciding what type of marker to use when tracing out your shapes – I just used regular biro and ended up with quite a mess on my iron and ironing board. I’m guessing that a heat dissolving marker like a Frixion pen or something similar might be less messy!!

Now time to layer up your pieces and get sewing! Take your backing piece and lay it down. The first layer is the light brown oval ‘crust’ and the mid brown ‘pie base’. Peel the Bondaweb papers from these shapes and place them glue side down onto the backing shape.

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Gently iron them into place using a medium setting on your iron (you might want to test the heat on a scrap of felt). Below is what it should look like. You can just see some of the dark brown backing showing on this around the edges so  quickly trim around the edge to neaten it up.

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Apply the smaller dark brown ‘mincemeat’ oval on top of the larger light brown oval ‘crust’ piece in the same way and iron that into place too.

Take this to your sewing machine and sew around the edges shown using a decorative stitch. I used a lovely blanket stitch to give it that hand sewn look.

This is what it should look like now.

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Repeat this for the rest of the layers. Next add the light brown ‘pastry star’, iron into position and sew around the edges.

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I find it easier to add the different layers and then sew them into place as I go along, step- by-step rather than ironing them all into place in one go and doing the sewing all in one go.

Next, the holly leaves and finally the berries.

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With the berries, I just ironed them into place and added a little french knot using some white embroidery floss.

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Nearly there now. Finally I added a piece of sparkly cream ric rac to simulate the crust (sewn on using a straight stitch on the machine) and you are done!

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Repeat this as many times as you like and hand sew on to a piece of bunting tape at regular intervals ( I used this wonderful jute plaited ribbon from Hobbycraft, but you can use any tape or ribbon that you have to hand). You don’t necessarily need to add them to bunting – why not add a little loop to the back of them and use them as gift decorations or individual tree ornaments?

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Just for fun, I made up some using  crazy colours, and I just love these too!

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Hang them wherever you like (but not over an open fire) and enjoy them for now and years to come! Although our Christmas tree isn’t up yet, I quite like the idea of using them as tree garlands and for the time being I have placed them on this plant in the hallway.

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This method can be applied to any simple design that you like, do let me know if you try it and what sort of bunting that you made. I will admit that they are not the quick make that I was hoping for, but enjoyable none the less and very addictive once you get started!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ivy Pinafore from Jennifer Lauren Handmade.

I do love a pinafore, and Jennifer Lauren Handmade has delivered a stunning pattern in The Ivy Pinafore. It’s been on my radar for a couple of years and finally after purchasing the pattern using a discount code earlier on in the year, the temperatures are cool enough to actually get around to sewing it.

The last Jennifer Lauren pinafore that I made was The Pippi Pinafore which is a slightly more fitted design with a bib. Another beautiful pattern from JLH. I also enjoy my Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dresses and have linked one of them here for you to look at too.

The Ivy Pinafore is a simple but beautiful dress which can be made in two different styles. I made the slim fitting version which features a very gentle A-line silhouette, and you also have the choice of making a more full tent style dress on this pattern too.

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I love lots about this pattern but was really drawn to that pretty curved yoke (front and back), and the wide shoulder straps with large button fastening.

On this version I made no adjustments to the pattern on a straight size 12. I was hoping that this ‘toile’ would be wearable and it definitely is!IMG_5005

The fabric that I chose is a brown corduroy from Birmingham Rag Market which I bought during the SewBrum sewing meet up last month. I can’t remember how much I paid for it now, but don’t imagine that it would have been more than £5 per metre.

I’ve paired it with one of my numerous Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Tops. Funnily enough I think this was made (2 or 3 years ago) using fabric from the rag market too. I must give a huge shout out to the lovely Leanne ( @threadyforit on Instagram) who inspired the styling of this make with her gorgeous brown cord pinafore combo here Her stunning outfit features a York Pinafore (it’s on my Christmas list)! and as soon as I saw this outfit paired with her red and white striped top I was determined to make my Ivy with a brown cord, and also wear it with my red and white striped top too. Now that I’m typing this out it sounds a bit weird. Eek!

Anyhow back to the pattern. A couple of other things that I should mention are that it is fully lined. This is so useful, but if you are nervous about the difficulty of this don’t worry, the great instructions will guide you through everything and it’s no problem at all. I don’t ever envisage wearing this without thick tights in the Winter months so a lined version was just what I was looking for. I think Jennifer Lauren has a blog post on how to make it up as an unlined dress too if this is something that you might be wanting help with.

Also pockets. Nice big pockets that are at the perfect height for me too! I used some scraps of this gorgeous cotton lawn from Sewessential that I had leftover from a previous project as it’s super pretty and I didn’t want bulky corduroy pockets. I could have used some of the lining fabric of course, but love using pretty leftovers for my pockets as many of us do.

The front and back dress pieces are joined together using a flat-felled seam. Unfortunately the lovely detail of this gets a little lost in the wales of the corduroy, but you get the idea! The best way to appreciate this detail is by using a non-textured fabric and maybe show it off with a contrasting top stitching thread. Something I’m sure I will rustle up soon!

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The curved yoke detail which is a feature on the front and back is so pretty too. Everything just fits together perfectly, it was such a pleasure to sew. It’s not the quickest garment I have ever sewn, especially as you have the lining to construct too, but it is really rewarding and I can’t wait to make another.

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Secret Pyjamas Brooch can be found in my shop.

I also went for jeans buttons. I like how they look and really love the hammering process! The button size recommendation is for buttons that are approx 4cm (1 5/8″) or smaller. When placing a 4cm button in place to get a feel for what size I wanted, I felt that this was too big for me and opted for these 2cm lovelies instead. I did sew the buttonholes too, but you don’t really need to as it is a ‘pull over the head’ dress so you don’t actually need them to be functioning if you don’t want.

What else can I say except it’s lovely and more will follow. Oh by the way, whilst the corduroy is lovely, it is a fluff generator, so expect to get it everywhere! Totally worth it though I think.

Who else is loving Autumn? Today I am wearing this with thick plum coloured tights and clogs for a cosy vibe. Later I’m off to the Post Office and will pair it with my wellies and be equally comfortable.

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What’s your favourite pinafore pattern? I’d love more suggestions ..

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My Britannia Airways cabin crew uniform from the 80’s and 90’s

Something a little different from me today. A few weeks ago, whilst searching through boxes in the attic to find old family photographs to share with my brother who was visiting from Australia, I came across a box of my old cabin crew uniforms.

Whilst I realise that this is a sewing blog, I can’t deny that fashion and style is all part of what I love, and I wondered if you would like to take a peek at some of the various different uniforms that I wore for the 11 years that I flew for Britannia Airways from 1987 – 1998. If this isn’t your interest then don’t worry, normal sewing blogs will resume as usual after this one.

Our uniforms were always made up of a ‘Summer uniform’ which was worn from May to October and a ‘Winter uniform’ to be worn from November to April.

My first Summer uniform, worn when I started flying in 1987 was a red white and blue pleated blouse with a double row of red buttons which ran down into the pleated skirt. This was worn with a red belt with the Britannia Airways logo and a skinny neck tie. Shoes were navy heeled court shoes for outdoor, to be changed into flat cabin shoes once the aircraft doors were closed. If you were really feeling fancy you could wear red heeled court shoes with this Summer uniform (at your own expense) how very 1980’s!

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The tabard is quite awful isn’t it, but certainly tied in with the whole red white and blue Britannia theme. No expense was clearly spared with the dymo name badge and rather scruffy sew on badge! Oh dear!

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The Winter uniform was another similar red, white and blue blouse- slightly different print to the Summer fabric design, and a big old neck bow which I thought was fabulous at the time. A navy blue skirt with inverted pleat and single breasted jacket completed this look. Navy tights could be worn with the Winter uniform.

 

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The hat. What can I say about this hat. I hated it and always felt that it was too small for me. Oh well. Hats were worn at all times with uniform and could only be removed once all passengers were on board and the doors closed.

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Forgive the ‘grainy’ quality of this. I was only 19 here, fresh out of training school in 1987.
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The class of April 1987. I’m front row, 5th from the left.

After quite a short while flying with the airline, probably only a year or two, the uniform changed, and the company went away from the traditional red white and blue and brought in some more neutral colours. The Summer uniform was a striped blouse with matching pleated skirt and a neutral belt. A floppy neck bow in matching fabric was affectionately referred to as the ‘dead bat’ and I remember the white collar was a magnet for foundation make-up stains.

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The tabard was a little better (as far as tabard’s go – I mean, is a tabard ever going to look nice)? You could remove your ‘dead bat’ if you wanted to when wearing your tabard.

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Rear galley en-route to the Falkland Islands in 1990 or 1991. Such a privilege to visit these beautiful islands (and Ascension Island on the way there and back). For a short while during the ‘original’ Gulf War, our civilian airline was used to transport the regular change-over of military personnel between the UK and the lower risk Falkland Islands whilst the usual military personnel aircraft used for transporting troops on this route were being used in the dangerous Gulf zones.

The Winter uniform was made up with the same blouse and paired with a slim navy blue skirt and a military style jacket with button details. It also had a reversible belt.

The hat was an improvement on the last one!

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I remember this well. This was taken in Singapore on Christmas Eve. We were just about to fly to Cairns,Australia, landing on Christmas Day. I had never been away from my family at Christmas before this and whilst the Australia trips were very much sought after because they were well paid and involved several days off in the Middle East, Singapore and various places in Australia, I missed my family so much on this trip.

Roll on a few more years and the next uniform was a dramatic change in colours when the company introduced a vibrant yellow into the mix.

Sadly I don’t seem to have my Summer uniform. This was a double breasted mock wrap dress made from the same yellow patterned fabric as the Winter blouse shown below.

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The Winter uniform consisted of this yellow blouse, a matching drapey neck scarf, and pencil skirt with off centre button detail. The jacket featured this pleated ‘wrap’ detail meeting with three off centre buttons. A red hat this time.

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Again the tabard. Hmmmm. *shakes head*

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The final uniform that I wore I don’t have any more. This was a uniform that was designed by Elizabeth Emmanuel (Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer is her claim to fame) and was much hyped and quite expensive by all accounts. Thus when I finished flying in 1998 and left to have a baby, everything had to be returned. Sad times, but I will pop a photo below to give you an idea.

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I hope that you have enjoyed taking a peek at some of my old uniforms. I definitely look back at my flying career with fondness now. Some good times, some bad, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Well maybe those tabards .. Ha!

Take care, doors to manual, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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How to customise a top for Halloween using heat transfer vinyl

I’m very new to this whole iron-on heat transfer vinyl thing, but can totally see what all the fuss is about now that I have given it a go.

A couple of weeks ago I attended The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. I was actually quite restrained in terms of what I bought that day I think, but something that I did treat myself to was a special show pack kit of vinyls from Happy Fabric

The kit contains 6 sheets of different vinyls (including one sheet of  pre-cut shapes), and I thought that this would be a great way to test out a new craft.

Before I started this project I had a little ‘try out’ of one of the pre-cut designs on my work apron which you can see here. As this turned out so well, I was buzzing to try something else and when Happy Fabric reached 5K followers on Instagram and launched a little Halloween/Autumn giveaway to celebrate, this seemed like the perfect opportunity (excuse -ha!) to get creative.

Whilst there is no getting away from the fact that wonderful cutting machines (such as a Cricut) will certainly make using the vinyls a great deal quicker and much more accurate, there’s no reason why you can’t go right ahead without it.

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For my sweatshirt project I needed

  • A plain sweatshirt
  • Happy Fabric vinyls
  • Free Halloween style font, downloaded and printed out in different sizes
  • craft scissors
  • bat shaped paper punch
  • craft knife and cutting mat
  • iron and baking parchment

Firstly I searched for free Halloween themed fonts. When I found a style I liked, I  downloaded it and printed out the wording that I wanted in a couple of different sizes.

After cutting out the letters, I placed them in different places on the sweatshirt to see where I liked them, and what size I wanted. I also cut out some paper bat shapes with the paper punch to see what the additional bat shapes would look like with the lettering sizes too.

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When I had decided which size lettering to go with, I cut the letters out. For this I used regular paper scissors around the edge and used a nice sharp craft knife and cutting mat to cut out the fiddly bits inside the letters. I was then left with a ‘stencil’ for each letter that I needed.

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Next I flipped the letter stencils over and traced them on the underside (the surface that will adhere to the fabric) of the vinyl. I used the HappyFlock yellow vinyl for this, as I was interested to see how this flock texture would look.

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Carefully cutting out the shapes didn’t take too long actually, and using the craft knife and cutting mat for the fiddly inside bits certainly helped too. When cutting out, make sure that you cut inside the pen lines.

Once cut out, flip the lettering over the right way around again and you are almost ready to get started. First things first though, you need to iron your sweatshirt. Pop the letters on and have a bit of a play around with their placement to make sure they’re exactly where you want them.

Once you are sure you have them where you want them, carefully place some baking parchment/greaseproof paper over the top and place the iron (with the heat setting on   two dots) over the top for about 15 seconds. Keep the iron still as moving it around might disturb your letters.

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Remove the baking parchment and wait for your design to go cold. Once cold you can peel away the shiny carrier sheet. So satisfying..

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I tried to get a close-up of the flock finish, but it was quite subtle and not sure if you can see this very well, but it’s pretty cute!

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I was bursting to try the next part, which was cutting out bat shapes using a regular paper punch, using the most FABULOUS HappyFashion vinyl in ‘multi’. It’s a sheet of rainbow striped holographic vinyl and is completely glorious. After cutting out a row of these, which gives you lots of different colours, they are applied in the same way to wherever you want them, and once again covered with the baking parchment and this time under the iron for about 10 seconds. ‘Peel to reveal’ again when cold.

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Et voila! How easy was that!

Turns out that I have more holographic bats than I needed so in order not to waste them (any excuse), I made a little bow tie collar attachment for the cat! I quickly cut out a small rectange of scrap felt from my stash and applied the bats to it in exactly the same way as above. I pinched it in the middle and wrapped a thin strip of felt around and stitched in place. A little bit of velcro attached to the back and there you have it – a little Happy Fabric collar attachment. Pretty cute. Don’t worry I didn’t leave it on for very long.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Simplicity 8554 Trench Coat

This garment has been a long time coming. I have actually had this pattern cut out for over a year and have now finally got around to stitching it together. I had planned to have this sewn up in time for Autumn 2018, but time ran away with me and as it really isn’t the best wardrobe choice for the very cold Winter months, I thought it would be a good project to save and make in the Spring. Turns out in the run up to Spring I completely forgot about it, and so here we are, Autumn 2019, and I’ve made it at last.

Simplicity 8554 is a great little pattern for an unlined trench coat, with various choice options for you including the jacket length, sleeve style, side slits, pockets and belt. I chose to make View B which is the mid-thigh/knee length version – shown in blue at the top left of the pattern envelope below.

 

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This jacket features side slits, which I really didn’t want, so I simply sewed these right up when sewing up the side seams. It has some really nice details including storm flaps either side at the front,  gently rounded collar and lapels, good pockets and a lovely belt tie with soft points at each end.

I don’t know exactly what the fabric composition is unfortunately. It was a bargain purchase from Milton Keynes market a couple of years ago, and is a beautiful deep navy blue colour with the perfect amount of weight and drape for a trench coat like this. The quality is outstanding and I’m really happy with it.  I’m afraid that a dark colour like this is sometimes tricky to photograph, particularly when inside.

 

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As mentioned, the jacket is unlined. To finish off the edges of the facings inside, I used a length of handmade floral bias tape that I had made some time ago with the remnants from a previous project.

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I also used my bias foot on the sewing machine to ensure neat and even stitching, and for the whole this worked great. Although, despite adjusting the foot to allow the needle to fall exactly where you want it to, you do need to keep you eye on what’s going on when you’re feeding it through – as it’s easy to allow the edge of the facing to ‘slip’ out of the bias if you’re not careful.

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Aside from sewing up the side slits, the only other adjustments that I made were to shorten the length of the jacket by 1″, and the sleeves by 2″.

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There is a small mistake on the pattern instructions. To achieve the belt width shown on the pattern envelope you need to use all 4 belt pieces that you will have already cut out. Step 27 of the instructions appears to ask you to sew just two pieces together and then fold them in half lengthwise which would in fact give you a belt which is half the width to that pictured.

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The pattern is described as an ‘easy to sew’ project according to the wording on the envelope, and I would agree to a certain extent. It was fairly straightforward to sew, but I feel that you might need a little sewing experience to give you some confidence. The collar went in neatly with no problems at all, and the jacket has no buttons or other fastenings – it simply wraps around and is kept in place with the belt.

As is often the case with ‘The Big 4’ sewing pattern companies, there is a generous amount of ease built in, and I would probably size down at least one size if I were to make this again.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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The Knitting and Stitching Show 2019

Last week I was incredibly excited to attend my very first Knitting and Stitching Show. It is the ultimate event regarding all textile based crafts, and I have been desperate to see what it is all about for quite some time now.

I am very grateful to The Knitting and Stitching Show for supplying me with a Press Pass so that I could go and see for myself what the show is all about, and in turn I can now share with you a little of what I saw on the day that I visited.

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The show ran from 10th – 13th October this year and it was held at the beautiful Alexandra Palace in North London. I attended with my good friend Vena, and made arrangements to also meet up with a few more friends when inside.

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Beautiful London skyline

The show is an incredible mix of crafty demonstrations, advice, workshops, fashion shows, exhibitions and an enormous gathering of knitting and stitching related retailers for you to shop until you drop (which was almost the situation in our case)!

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The Palm Court Foyer

There is so much to see and take in, we really didn’t know where to start. I decided to travel in by train. By the time that I had then caught the Underground and jumped on the bus up to Ally Pally, most of the morning had gone, so on reflection next time I will probably drive down, as it would take me less than 2 hours, and I understand that there is free parking. Either that or set off MUCH earlier!

So we set off and started weaving up and down the aisles so as to try to not miss anything. It was really really busy, and initially I found it tricky to have a good look at anything just due to the crowds, but after lunchtime things seemed to settle down and it definitely became easier to wander around and see what there was to see.

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The Great Hall – overlooked by the beautiful ‘Rose Window’

If we had been a little more organised then we would have definitely considered taking a workshop. They’re a good excuse to have a short break from the shopping, rest your weary feet and learn a new skill. Workshops range from between 1-2 hours and run throughout the day teaching such skills as macrame, embroidery, knitting and needle felting to name just a few.

After a super short sit down for something to eat, we had a little time left to mooch around some more stands, but honestly, we didn’t get around everyone. Whilst we stopped for something to eat, a lady told us that she travelled down and stayed in a local hotel for a couple of nights so that she could attend the show over 2 or 3 days, and I can see why this would be a good idea if your finances/time off would allow. It was a brilliant but very tiring day out, and I can only imaging how the exhibitors must feel after 4 days – they must be exhausted!

Highlights of the day for me were meeting some of the people that I admire online. Particularly those that I have worked with on sewing projects but never actually met. I was so delighted to meet the lovely Lisa from The Avid Seamstress, as I have worked a little with her in the past and you all know how much I love ‘The Day Dress’ and ‘The Blouse’. Lovely Lisa is everything that I hoped she would be – warm, welcoming, friendly and a great hugger!

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Photo credit – The Avid Seamstress (regretfully my shyness prevented me from asking for a pic)

Also, this, what can I say. I was always going to wear my new Tilly and the Buttons Indigo Dress, and to meet Tilly was a real thrill. * Happy sigh*

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Thanks for taking and forwarding this pic to me Sheona! x

I was quite restrained with my shopping I think. The reason being that I had attended the ‘SewBrum’ meet up the previous week and had spent a fair bit on that day out.. but I did treat myself to a few goodies.

Firstly this starter kit from Happy Fabric. I have been desperate to try out their heat transfer vinyls since seeing them in action at the Sewisfaction Summer Party this year, and will now be embellishing everything in sight!

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This adorable Dropcloth Samplers pincushion kit which I picked up from Beyond Measure (her stall was amazing and it was almost impossible to pick just one treat from here)!

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Finally, some English Paper Piecing essentials from Barnyards. Not that exciting to look at but I needed some Bottom Line Superior Thread and a thimble for trying hand quilting with. I haven’t always got on with thimbles, but with something like hand quilting I need some protection for my poor sore needle pushing finger!

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More dates for Knitting and Stitching shows this year are – Dublin from 7th-10th November, and Harrogate from 28th Nov – 1st Dec.

Thank you so much to The Knitting and Stitching Show for such a great day out. What a show!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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My Tilly and the Buttons Indigo Smock Dress

Ok, this is special. It’s quite unusual for me to purchase a pattern full price – I almost always wait for sales to come around as far as patterns are concerned, but when The Indigo came along, I just couldn’t wait.

It’s right up my street – a breezy smock dress or top, with a choice of sleeves, exposed frill seams if you like, and that dreamy floaty gently gathered skirt – I could not resist it. I kept the sleeves simple so that I could wear it underneath jackets and cardigans with no bulk, and added a ruffle on the skirt hem – but more about that later!

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My fabric choice was this pretty green and orange floral print Javanaise viscose from Abakhan online. I can’t seem to find this exact fabric anymore, but have linked the search for similar fabrics as there are plenty more in other gorgeous Autumn colours. I must admit it’s a fairly lightweight floaty fabric (which is what I wanted), but it does mean that it’s a little slippery to work with. This is definitely a fabric that I needed to hang to let the hem drop, despite it not being cut on the bias – as there was certainly a risk when cutting out that the fabric wasn’t lying perfectly straight! I hung this dress twice – once before I added the hem ruffle, and also after adding the hem ruffle before the final hemming.

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I knew that I would need to shorten the sleeves to ensure that they were a lovely bracelet length, but completely forgot to adjust the pattern before cutting out. As a result I needed to take off 7cm from the finished sleeve before finishing with a small hem.

The gently curved waistline shaping is pretty and flattering. I have chosen to gather my skirt and attach it to the bodice in the regular way, but I’m sure you’ve seen all the lovely versions that are popping up all over the internet at the moment with the pretty exposed frill seam. Such a cute feature and definitely a version that I will try in the future.

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This Summer I have been loving wearing my midi length ruffle skirts and so I wanted to incorporate a nice wide ruffle at the hem of this dress. I also really like the design of ‘that Zara dress’ and think this is not a bad dupe for it. At the time of writing this Sister Mintaka has some glorious spotty black and white viscose if you want to go full-on copy!

The ruffle on the bottom of the dress was easy. No maths required in this case! I tried the dress on (I made the dress length exactly as it came), and decided how deep I wanted the frill/how long I wanted the dress to be. In my case I wanted an extra 6″, so simply cut two x 6″ strips the entire width of the fabric that I had left over after cutting. After some gentle gathering and joining them to form a loop, one strip would sit at the front of the skirt and one at the back with the side seams of the frill matching up with the side seams of the dress. The fulness of this gather happens to be just right for me,  but you could definitely work out your perfect gather percentage if you want to be more mathematically correct!

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Just when you thought this dress couldn’t get any better – it has pockets!

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To be honest, these sit a little low for me, so I will probably position them a couple of inches higher up for my next one.

The dress bodice has a simple round neck, with bust darts, and what again makes this design so brilliant is that there are no fastenings – on and off over the head – hooray!

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These photos were taken on a blustery October day, what better way could I have shown you how floaty this gorgeous dress is …

 

All in all, it’s the perfect smock dress that I was after. Easy and comfortable to wear, and perfect in a variety of fabrics for any season. Ten out of ten!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Acrylic Pastel Pink Acrylic Button Necklace and Pastel Mint Green Acrylic Cotton Reel Brooch available from my shop.

Denim jacket is Calvin Klein from TK Maxx years ago.

Red trainers from Primark (current).

 

 

 

 

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My EPP Hexie Fully lined Zipper Pouch

I may have mentioned before that one of my resolutions for this year was to try my hand at English Paper Piecing. I want to improve my hand sewing skills, use up more fabric scraps, and also learn a new craft.

The fact that English Paper Piecing (EPP) is a portable craft and you can do it anywhere makes it extra appealing. To do some research, I headed on over to good old youTube. I know that Nikki from The Stitch Sisters loves a bit of patchwork, and I remembered that some time ago she released a video showing the basics of EPP. It’s really helpful, and it is this that helped me get started.

After sewing several hexagons together, I wanted to use them to make something. I wasn’t ready to sew something as large as a quilt at this stage (at any rate, I didn’t have that much fabric), so decided to have a look on the internet for a free zipper bag pattern. It needed to be lined to hide the wrong side of the patchwork. There are loads of patterns and tutorials as you can imagine, but I eventually decided on this Fully Lined Front Zippered Pouch  tutorial which I found on the Projects By Jane blog. I liked how the zip was inserted part way down the front of the bag rather than along the top edge.

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Love the pretty floral lining

If you get a chance, I would definitely recommend that you head on over to the Projects By Jane blog linked above, she has all sorts to look through including bag patterns, tutorials and applique advice.

The tutorial was good and easy to follow with lots of pictures to help you along. I admit that using slightly bulky patchwork was probably not the best choice of fabrics, as it was hard to push out those corners into neat sharp points despite trimming my seam allowances and corners, but it’s pretty close and that’s good enough for me! This pattern does come with instructions to add a strap, but I didn’t want this.

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View from the back

My reason for sewing a bag is that I am saving up for a fancy sewing machine. There’s actually nothing wrong with my current Janome ( the Janome DC3050 ), but, you know, I can’t help lusting after all the lovely Janome Atelier machines that I keep seeing EVERYWHERE!!  There is no way that I will ever be able to afford one of these machines if I don’t start saving, so here it is – my official saving fund for my fancy new Atelier.

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Just for fun, and to use up more scraps, I have made a fun quilted luggage tag using this tutorial on youTube (of course) by The Crafty Gemini.  I probably won’t leave this tag on the bag in the long run, but as I still had some scraps left over in this fabric I thought it would be fun to make something that matched. Once again if you’re in the market for some crafty inspiration then Vanessa from The Crafty Gemini has hundreds of youTube tutorials.

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The only alteration that I made to the tag was the addition of an eyelet to run the ribbon through. The original tutorial shows you how to sew in an elastic loop to hang your tag with.

I have definitely become a little addicted to EPP, and my next project is  this little quilt sampler which I thought might be a good way to try out EPP using some different shapes.

Eventually when I feel confident enough with the basics, I plan to make a big project like a quilt or picnic blanket using this Tales of Cloth heart pattern.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Boho Button Bag

Whoops – better late than never – I actually made this bag several months ago and then completely forgot to blog about it. Which is a shame because its such a great bag, I think you need to know about it! I wore it to the first day of the Sewing Weekender last Saturday and had lots of questions about it, so here you go!

The pattern/online class is The Boho Button Bag from The Stitch Sisters.

It’s a slouchy cross body shoulder bag which is fully lined and features a magnetic snap fastening. It’s an online class and after purchase, the pattern templates are downloadable and you receive several video tutorials which walk you through the whole sewing process step-by-step regardless of your sewing ability. This is a great way of sewing for those who prefer a visual method of instruction.

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I absolutely love that fabric that I chose to make this bag. You will need a medium to heavy weight fabric for this project and I went for this sassy animal print velboa fabric from Minerva. This has a good structure which is perfect for holding the shape of the bag. Also, you only need half a metre! I have never sewn with this type of fabric before, it has texture and a low nap, but it didn’t give me any problems. I don’t remember using a special needle, but did need to take my time in certain areas.

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You will also need a fusible fleece, which I fortunately had left over from a previous project, and some lining fabric. For the lining it was important for me to have a light coloured fabric so that it would be easy for me to find things inside the bag. I just used a cheap plain poly cotton which is a beige/peach colour and this worked out just great.

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Inside the bag I just added the open pocket as suggested. This one has a line of fancy decorative stitching along the top edge (which is quite difficult to see here), but I might make a zipper pocket next time – you can certainly customize your bag inside to how you like it. A little KAM snap might be a nice fastening to add to the pocket inside also .. or you could add a cord/ribbon to keep your keys safe?

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The pleats on the bag which give it it’s pretty ‘pinched in’ shape can be folded in whatever direction you like, so you can have a play around with that before sewing to  help you decide which way you like them best.

The magnetic fastening is secure and really easy to fit. I think I used this antique gold 18mm Clover bag fastening. I also like how easy it is to get the strap  to the right length for you before sewing. All these things are superbly explained in the videos.

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I really enjoyed making this bag. It’s not the first Stitch Sisters online course that I have made, you might remember that I blogged about The Pleated Zipper Pouch a few months back which is another great little project from Nikki and Rachel. It might be worth a little look at the Stitch Sisters website if you are not familiar, because not only do they have online classes to make things, there are also classes available to help you with certain sewing techniques or equipment.

Sometimes it’s good to have a break from garment making, but to try something a little different. Bag making is a fun way of using your dressmaking skills – but without any of the problems such as fit issues that can often occur when sewing clothing. This is also potentially a project that you could use scraps of leftover fabrics for.

I like the idea of sewing this up in a denim with some pretty embroidery, or perhaps a PU pleather might be fun. So many ideas ..

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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The Zadie Jumpsuit from Paper Theory

I love a good bandwagon, and although I am a little late to this party – at least I turned up!

The Zadie Jumpsuit  is a pattern that I picked up a few months ago from The Fold Line. I’m pretty sure that most of you will be familiar with it, as it has been everywhere recently, but let’s run through the design ..

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It’s a very relaxed fitting jumpsuit which fastens by wrapping those ties around your body and doesn’t need any zips or buttons. Large slant pockets look great and are practical, and the flattering wrap design allows you to tie it as loose or tight as you like. I made the sleeveless version, but you can add sleeves if you like and the length of the leg is up to you!

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This pattern has quite a bit of ease built into it. On the ‘body measurement’ chart, I come up as a size 12, but noticed that the ‘finished garment measurements’ were really quite a bit bigger. I have read other reviews mention that they made one or two sizes smaller than the chart suggested, so I made a quick toile in a size 12 to see for myself what it would look like. It was really big, so after assessing the fit, I opted to size down 2 sizes and made the size 8. This feels so much better. I also noticed on my toile that the crotch length was too low, so shortened the rise by 1″ on this version.

This is the first Paper Theory pattern that I have sewn. I enjoyed the instructions and drawings, and found the pattern very easy to follow. I did, however, make a couple of small changes. One thing that I did was to stabilise the neck edge as soon as I had cut it out by ironing on this wonderful iron on bias tape from Sewessential. This magic tape does the same job as stay stitching, but I think is less tedious ( I hate stay stitching – it’s SO boring). The pattern calls for you to stay stitch the neckline after you have already sewn quite a few other seams, and I felt that due to the weight of the fabric, mine might have already stretched out by this stage with that much handling, so to be safe I secured that neckline edge with tape as soon as I had cut it out.

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The pockets are massive and I love them!

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Ooh I should mention that I’m not sure exactly what the fabric is. It was a £5 per metre bargain from the Birmingham Rag Market, and is a kind of linen blend I think.

The jumpsuit has small darts at the front and rear on both the bodice and the trousers. At first, when joining the bodice to the trousers, I didn’t think my pleats were lining up, but take care to line up your side seams and the centre front pattern marking and you will find that they match up perfectly.

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The wrap ties are nice and long – perfect for giving you a good shape at your waist. I like how one of the ties feeds through a slit in the side seam, this ensures a secure close fit to your boody.

Just a small point, but it might be worth mentioning…  on step 3C in the pattern instructions it tells you to sew the side seams, press them open, and then neaten them (with the overlocker or otherwise). I found that it was much less fiddly to neaten my edges before sewing the seams, then I could press my seams open with the raw edges already finished.

The bias trim around the edge of the neckline gives this jumpsuit a really neat and lovely finish I think. I used my trusty bias tape gadget to turn my strips into folded tape, but this isn’t necessary and you can easily make your own bias tape without.

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The trick when applying the tape is to pin it like crazy!  Especially around the curved lengths ( I used wonder clips in these areas).  Any wibbles and wobbles might be noticeable, so stitch into place slowly and carefully.

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For modesty, I added a tiny press stud to where the wrap crosses over just to keep it in place where I wanted it.

It’s incredibly comfortable to wear, and I feel that the 1″ rise shortening adjustment was right for me. It probably wouldn’t have hurt to have shortened the length of the bodice by a little too, however, I love it and feel it fits me quite nicely. Something for me to consider next time perhaps.

Of course, at 5’2″, I know I will always need to adjust the length of the legs. According to the ‘fitting notes’ in the instructions this is done by shortening the length at the hem (no shorten/lengthen markings), so this is what I did. To achieve this cropped length, I needed to turn up the length by 5.5″

I thoroughly enjoyed making up this pattern, and have already purchased a gorgeous chocolate brown linen ready for my next pair.

It’s a thumbs up from me. Stylish, comfortable and a lovely project to sew. There will be more!

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x