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How to make a knitting ornament.

Ok guys, guess what? I have just finished knitting my very first sweater! I’ll probably blog about it here next week. In the meantime, to celebrate my new found love, I give you …..a knitting inspired hanging tree decoration!!

It turned out super cute (I think so anyway), and it honestly takes no time at all to make. I might have been a little bit inspired by the knitting themed jewellery in my shop here and here 😉

Just in case you can’t work out how I made it, I took a few pics as I went along..

You will need the following… yarn, a bauble (or something similar and lightweight like a polystyrene ball), clear glue or a glue gun, a bamboo skewer, and two beads or pom poms for the ends of the knitting needles.

First off you will need to start wrapping your yarn randomly around your bauble or lightweight ball. I am using a clear ‘fillable’ craft bauble that I had left over from last year when I made these crochet baubles. But you could just take any old bauble as you are only going to cover it.

You can see that I used two different yarns in similar colours to give it a more pizazz. Nothing wrong with using one though of course!

A good tip here it to use a tiny bit of sellotape or glue to attach the ends of the yarn securely to the bauble before you start wrapping to stop it slipping. Stick with me kids… get it?! Ha!

My bauble already has a plastic hanging loop (and twine to thread through it), but if you are using something that doesn’t already have a hanging loop, just create one of your own with your yarn as you wrap.

When you feel you have wrapped enough (it doesn’t take long), cut your yarn and use some glue to stick the ends to the bottom of the bauble where it won’t be seen. You can also take individual strands that look like they might come loose and carefully place a ‘blob’ of glue underneath them to hold them in place securely.

Nearly there! Next I took a bamboo kebab stick and cut it in half. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I asked my husband to cut it in half for me as I knew he would make a neater job of it than me. I estimated that very conveniently half a bamboo stick might be just the right length. He also sanded down the end of the other half of the stick so that they were both pointed like real needles. You can leave it like this or you can have a rummage for two items that you can pop onto the end of the needles to make them look much more realistic! I used two wooden beads from my stash, but you could use those small ready made pom poms from the craft store if you have them (they’re the pink fluffy things in the pic below) or dried peas… you name it. Either glue these on to the ends or go with the hubby’s idea to carefully shave the blunt ends of the needles too, just enough so that you can squeeze the beads on snugly.

Finally, slide the pins through your ‘ball of yarn’ however you like and voila! you’re done. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Ooh, be careful if you have children or pets that might hurt themselves on this won’t you x

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Roscoe Blouse from True Bias

I was so lucky to receive this stunning Liberty fabric from Minerva recently and decided to use it to make a really pretty Roscoe Blouse from True Bias.

The fabric was an absolute dream to sew with, the quality is outstanding as you would expect from Liberty, and it pairs really beautifully with the Roscoe pattern.

I received this fabric from Minerva in exchange for a review/blog post on their site, so if you would like to read more about this fabric or pattern, then do head on over to my page at Minerva here.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Fibre Mood Elodie

Issue 12 of the latest Fibre Mood magazine is out today, and I was lucky enough to take a peek at the patterns that it contains a few weeks ago, and choose one to share with you on launch day today *

It wasn’t an easy choice, there are lots to choose from, I think that there are twelve, including three children’s patterns.

In the end I opted for The Elodie Dress, which looks deceptively simple, but actually features some lovely details when you look a little closer.

The basic dress is a simple round necked bodice with a centre back zip and an a-line skirt. Add to that the long puffed sleeves with statement cuffs, optional ruffle at the hem of the skirt and waist casing with tie belt and you really have something special.

The pattern calls for the fabric to have ‘fluid drape’, so I chose this floral viscose from Sewisfaction. I was drawn to it because of it’s olive coloured base, and I adore how it is absolutely covered with pink and blue flowers.

I chose to make a size 10. Looking at the size chart, it puts me in a size 12 bust, and 10 hips and waist. Then checking the finished garment sizes with ease, went for a straight size 10 as it looked like this would be spot on. The finished fit of the dress feels good. My measurements are 36-29-38.

Before cutting out, I had a good look at the pattern design to check if I might need to make any changes to the paper pattern before I cut into my gorgeous fabric.

I knew that the length of the dress would be too long for me. So that I could get a rough idea of the length I pinned the front bodice, waist casing, skirt and ruffle together and held it up to me in a full length mirror to see how long it looked. This only gives me a rough idea of course, but it told me that I definitely needed to take some length from the skirt. (the bodice length looked roughly ok). So before cutting out I shortened the length of the skirt pattern piece by 10cm. (I’m 5’2″ for reference).

The bodice of the dress is very simple. It has a high round neckline which is finished with bias binding. I had enough fabric left over to make my own bias tape from the dress fabric. An 8″/20cm invisible zipper sits at the centre back neckline and the bodice is fairly loose and relaxed meaning that no bust darts are required.

Gold mirror acrylic button necklace from my shop here x

The sleeves. Take a moment to appreciate. They are magnificent don’t you think? Nicely gathered at the front, top and back ensures they have volume to say the least, but somehow they’re not ‘over the top’ which was what I was worried about. They feel like they should be on this dress, and it would be a shame if they weren’t.

On the original pattern the sleeves finish with an exaggerated long open cuff finished with a button and rouleau loop. Whilst some would say that this is the main feature of this pattern, I just knew that I could not get on with a long open cuff, it would drive me crazy, so I just made a simple adjustment to the cuff pattern piece and cut out a basic rectangle (which needed 2 x buttons and rouleau loops per cuff), and I felt that this would be a more practical cuff for my everyday life.

I did hit a few problems here. Whilst I used the length of the original cuff pattern to ensure I had the same length cuff as the original, once they were sewed on I found that the cuff openings weren’t big enough to allow the sleeve to slide up my arms when I raised my hands above my head. I couldn’t lift my arms up! So I had to unpick these cuffs and make them longer in length (an extra 4.5cm in my case), giving them a wider opening when finished so that they gave me unrestricted movement when I raised my arms. It’s safe to say that my arms are not restricted now in any way! The depth of my cuff pattern piece was 8cm by the way.

Although they blend into the background, I self covered my buttons, which looks so pretty. Admittedly they are rather camouflaged so maybe a contrast button might have been a better ( and simpler) choice!

Camouflaged buttons!

The pattern doesn’t come with pockets in the skirt, so I added simple in-seam pockets to my version.

I like how the waist casing is made and attached to the bodice pieces and the skirt pieces. It’s clever how this is used as a casing for elastic and a faux tie is attached through the buttonholes in the casing where the elastic has been threaded through, to make it look like the tie belt is gathering the waist. Clever. Gotta love an elasticated dress right?

When the dress was finished I think I hit the jackpot in terms of getting the length just right. I certainly would have been sorry if I had shortened the skirt pieces by any more – phew!

* Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted my choice of the Elodie pattern by Fibre Mood to sew and share. As always my review is honest and all opinions are entirely my own. This post contains some affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you click through and purchase something that I have linked to. Thank you.

I’ve ended up with a fantastic dress despite a few hiccups with the cuff sizing! It certainly took me longer to sew that I originally thought it would, so is not a quick make, but the style is very ‘me’ and I have no doubts that I will be returning to sew this pattern again and again.

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

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A Burda Style pintuck pleated smock dress.

Well this dress was a long time coming. It’s dress number 106 from Burda Style magazine issue December 2019!

I first noticed this when the lovely Jay Jay from The Camden Stitch mentioned it in one of her Christmas Vlogs last year – this one in fact! She flicked through it whilst having a coffee at St Pancras Station and when she paused to look at this dress I instantly decided that I needed that issue of the magazine too.

It’s been years since I bought a Burda magazine, and turns out they’re really good value. This was £5.99 for 221 patterns apparently! Not quite sure how work out 221 patterns, they must be including each size of each pattern I reckon, but there certainly are quite a few. In fact now that I have made this one I might get around to making another pattern that I also really liked in the same magazine..

Don’t worry if you don’t have the magazine, but still like this dress. I’ve got your back. It’s available as a individual pattern purchase here. You are welcome! Ha!

Line drawing from Burdastyle.com

The dress is a smock style pleated dress. I have called it a pintuck dress, not sure if this is exactly right as I imagine pintucks to be really tiny, and these are fairly wide. But hey ho, whatever you call it it’s pretty cute right?

Alongside the pleats/pintucks it has a fantastic tie at the back of the neck – you know how I am a sucker for a tie back! It also has an unusual flounce insert at the bottom of the back of the dress, which I actually left out because I wasn’t that keen on it. Simple long sleeves complete the look.

The sample in the book was made up in a viscose which is probably my absolute fave fabric to sew with, so I used a pretty mustard floral viscose from my stash that I bought from Like Sew Amazing during the Summer. Sadly this particular fabric looks like it might be sold out now, but there are plenty of other beautiful alternatives over in her lovely shop.

Before I even start we need to address the reason why a lot of people are hesitant to use patterns from the Burda magazine. It’s the tracing. The magazine comes with one pattern sheet containing the all the pattern markings for every pattern in the book. It’s completely crazy. Take your time to read through what you need and where to look for them and don’t do what I did which is start to trace out late afternoon when the light is starting to go. Big mistake. To make it a little easier for myself I used a Frixion highlighter pen to draw over the lines that I needed to trace off before placing the tracing paper on top. This makes it much easier to follow the correct line when tracing and not be distracted by the others. Seam and hem allowances are not included in these magazine patterns by the way, so don’t forget to add these in before cutting out.

I made up the size 40 (with no adjustments), and my measurements are 36-29-38

The pattern was super easy to sew up actually. The main thing that I was concerned about was keeping the pleats nice and neat when I was sewing them as I thought the viscose might be too soft. Turns out they were no problem at all, they pressed nicely when I pinned them in place and stayed put when I sewed them in. Winner winner. I’m very surprised with how nicely they turned out (I was not expecting that)! It’s a shame the pattern on the fabric makes them really difficult to see from a distance. This would be a super dress using a chambray or lightweight linen so that you could really work on showing off those tucks.!

Silver button acrylic necklace available from my shop here

I also love love LOVE the tie at the back of the neckline. Sadly once again this kinda disappears into the pattern of the fabric but I hope you can get the idea. The ties are really long which is super cute I think.

Finally as I mentioned before, the dress has a flounce that is added to the bottom of the dress back. I didn’t particularly like this so when I cut the pattern out, so I just made the front and back dress pieces the same length and ignored the flounce piece.

I must be honest, the back view is not very flattering. I mean, I guess a smock is never going to be. I’ll add a pic here. Hmmm I did wonder if it would look better a little shorter. We’ll see. I can always go back to that. Or maybe I could add a belt?

The finished result has really pleased me, I wasn’t expecting to love it as I do. I was wearing a navy cardigan with it before we took the pics and that looked really nice – I should have taken some pics of it as that is definitely how I would wear it at the moment. With thick coloured tights and shoe boots or trainers. It’s a yes from me!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Lotta Dress from Tilly and the Buttons.

If you are looking for a swishy dress sewing pattern, then you have certainly come to the right place.

The Lotta Dress from Tilly and the Buttons is one of the easiest dresses that I have ever sewn. Whilst this makes it an enjoyable sewing project for any ability, it is one of the most perfect patterns to introduce dressmaking to a total beginner.

The loose fitting bodice (no darts), elasticated waist and grown-on sleeves make it an absolute doddle to sew, and your choice of swishy skirt length and sleeves mean that you can have your perfect dress sewn up in no time at all.

Image from Tilly and the Buttons

Optional large patch pockets are a cute feature and what’s pretty amazing about this pattern is that it is suitable for woven fabrics or stretchy jersey!

The two versions that I am showing you here are both made with viscose fabric that I purchased from Minerva. I made the bracelet length sleeved midi-length dress in a dark navy and white irregular spot, and the knee length short sleeved version in a red, blue and gold floral.

A huge bonus of this style dress is that it is so easy to fit. I made both of these dresses quite a while back now as these were my pattern tester samples for Tilly and the Buttons. Since then I have lost a little weight and probably come down a good couple of sizes, but the dresses still fit and feel great.

Apart from being no fuss to sew, the grown-on sleeves give you that lovely dropped shoulder feature when you add the sleeves on to them. I love that. My sleeves are admittedly a little long – their intention is to be bracelet length – but of course the length can be whatever you choose.

I like the idea of having elasticated sleeve wrists, and might add these to a future Lotta.

The neckline is finished with a neat facing in the woven version. Adding, understitching and pressing a neckband facing is one of my favourite parts of sewing a woven dress.

I love how the thin elastic at the waist is comfortable to wear and also cinches you in. It also means that you can slip this dress on and off over your head without the need for any fastenings and (more importantly) eat lots of cake without feeling uncomfortable! Ha!

As mentioned before, my red and blue floral version is knee-length and has the short sleeves. The only other difference is that I added in-seam pockets to this version as that was my preference. (Forgot to take close up pics of this – oops). As always, I just used any pocket pattern and added them in the usual way when sewing up the side seams of the dress.

I’m currently working on a jersey version of this pattern which I hope to finish and share with you on Instagram next week. Now that the weather is turning colder I imagine that a jersey Lotta dress will come in very useful.

For more inspiration on this dress search the tag #sewinglotta

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Witch’s Friends Autumn and Halloween Felt Wreath from ThreadED

Something a little different from me to you today… now that we have waved goodbye to Summer and said hello to Autumn this seems like the perfect time to celebrate the change of Seasons and share this absolutely darling felt wreath from ThreadED.

At approx 40cm diameter this fun door hanging is absolutely bursting with charm and features black cats, toadstools, a toad and a witch’s broomstick. There is also a witch’s hat which you can move around and place on the cats or the toad (or used as a separate decoration as I have). All of this is laid upon a generous bed of Autumn leaves in a soft and gentle colour palette which in turn is mounted on to the stuffed felt ring that is also handmade as part of this project. Phew!

The designer behind this lovely wreath (and others) is Claire Knight. Based in the UK and clearly a very talented lady, she has grown her business during the Covid Pandemic, and let’s face it we have all needed something to take our minds away from this dreadful situation over the past few months. Craft projects like this have been a source of comfort and distraction at a time when we have most craved it. Clarie’s patterns can be purchased in the form of paper patterns, PDF download patterns, or kits where you can choose between 100% wool felt or a blended wool felt.

This is not a quick project, but then you wouldn’t expect it to be, and what you have created will have been a source of pleasure to make, and potentially an heirloom piece that you can enjoy bringing out year after year. A textile wreath is a truly sustainable decoration, and whilst you can already find other designs in her Etsy shop listed above, I’m pretty sure there will be more to come in the future!

I would like to say right from the start that this kit was gifted to me from Claire in exchange for an honest blog post. As soon as I saw her designs I absolutely jumped at this lovely offer, and of course you know that you can always expect my honest opinions when I review anything that has been kindly sent to me.

I have made the wreath using the premium kit containing the 100% wool felt. The quality of this soft wool felt is very obvious right from the start and a real pleasure to work with – lovely and soft on your hands. An A5 colour instruction booklet contains written step by step instructions and colour photographs, and the full size templates are included ready for you to trace off. Top quality DMC embroidery floss, velvet hanging ribbon, roving wool, a felting and embroidery needle are just some of the contents that you will find in addition to the felt and all that you need to add yourself is the stuffing, freezer paper, and lots of tea and biscuits (optional). The kit arrives with you all beautifully packaged within a handy cotton drawstring bag – useful to keep all your bits and bobs together as you are making it, and also making it perfect for sending as a gift too!

The wreath base is where you start, and the attention to detail is apparent right from the beginning. The front and back wreath piece is sewn together with the inclusion of ricrac around the outer and inner edges, so that whilst your base ring should not be visible after decoration, if there is a little glimpse of it you will only see the pretty ricrac detail. It also means that your wreath looks cute from the back. The hanging ribbon is velvet (which feels very luxurious) and includes enough to not only to hang it, but to feature a sweet bow at the back where the ribbon attatches to the wreath. It’s also good that the wreath backing is made from felt too as you are safe in the knowledge that this will not damage or scratch your door.

Next are the cats. We have a stretching cat and a winking cat sitting on a broom. So cute, and actually contain rather a lot of different skills to make them – so lots of fun! The cats are traced and sewn around on the machine (although you can hand stitch them if you don’t have a sewing machine) and stuffed, you then have your first go at needle felting to add a fluffy pink inner ear detail. Embroidery stitches used on this include blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch and french knots! They’re actually quite detailed aren’t they? Instead of the black french knots to make the centre of the cat’s eyes, I used a small black bead to give it a little shiny detail. That’s the joy of handmade don’t you think – you can add or swap little details to put your own ‘stamp’ on it. Be very careful with your pattern placement on the black felt before cutting out if you are using the kit. You will need the black felt for the cats and the witch’s hat. Make sure you place your cat pieces on the felt really carefully allowing room for the hat too, otherwise you will end up digging around for extra black felt in your stash for the hat later on (like I did… whoops)

The toad is made in a very similar way. I’ve never used freezer paper before, but it’s really good, and I loved the challenge of sewing around the outside line of the shapes on the paper before carefully tearing it off. Once again place your toad carefully to make sure that you have as much leftover green felt as possible as you will use these leftovers later for leaves.

Toadstools are next and these were my favourite part of the process. Once again, every detail is considered as you have a selection of different coloured felts for the toadstool tops. Same for the stalks and frills. Light beige and brown roving wool is included for the dots on top, and the underside ‘gills’ are created with embroidery thread. I found that the perfect ‘gill width distance’ is appox 6 or 7 mm, and whilst I sewed some with lots more gill stitches, I think they look better spaced out a bit more (and also you might run out of thread if you sewed them all with the tighter stitch width). I should also say that the toadstool tops are a range of different shapes and sizes too. Nice one. The felted dots were a fun challenge on the toadstool tops, I have only tried felting once before years ago, so am not sure if the finish is exactly right, and I used an old knitting needle size guide to use as a template to give me nice round dots in various sizes. I also used some thick foam underneath when felting the dots.

The instructions continue to guide you through making the broomstick and witch’s hat until finally you reach the part where you make all the leaves. I used back stitch for the veins on the leaves, and used two strands of thread (rather than the three strands recommended in the instructions) as I wanted a ‘finer’line. Advice is given in the instructions as to how you can mark the hand stitching lines on your felt, such as the leaf veins. I actually chose to freehand draw the leaf veins on the felt with a heat erasable pens which disappear after a quick run over with the iron (after stitching). If you are going to choose this method however please do check on a scrap of felt that the lines you are drawing in will disappear leaving no damage/marking to the felt after ironing.

Just going back to the witch’s hat quickly … this is not secured to any of the characters and can be moved around to sit on any of the animals. It can also be added anywhere in the wreath as a decorative piece in it’s own right, which is just as well because guess who got a bit carried away with the glue gun and stuck all the back of the animal heads on to the wreath so well that the hat wouldn’t slip over the back of any of them. *raises hand*. Anyway, good job I like how it looks as an extra decoration and now you can see the pretty faces of all of the animals in all their glory!

The best bit is assembling the wreath once you have all your parts made up. A glue gun made this job significantly easier although they can of course be sewn on by hand. Claire recommends hanging your wreath and pinning your trimmings on first to check for balance and any leaf gaps before you start glueing/sewing them in place. Great tip.

I have really loved the whole process of making this wreath. It’s an enjoyable make that you can pick up and put down as you please. Hand sew in front of the TV, take it to work and sew some stitches in your lunch break, it’s up to you how quickly or slowly you make it. The important thing to remember is that you should enjoy the whole process. Before you start I would recommend that you take the time to read through the pattern and familiarize yourself with the kit contents so that you fully understand what’s coming up.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Claire from ThreadED for this wonderful door hanging which I shall treasure for many years to come, and also for the relaxing hours that it has given me in the whole making process. Why not jump onto your broomstick and check out Claire’s Etsy shop which is listed in the first paragraph of this post, and if you fancy giving this wreath a go why not enter the giveaway on my Instagram page where there is a chance to win a copy of the PDF pattern download! This giveaway will close at 9pm UK on Sunday 4th October 2020.

*edit – this giveaway is now closed*

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Sagebrush Top from Friday Pattern Company

The Sagebrush Top from Friday Pattern Company is the sweetest little top that I have seen for a long time. Once again this pattern purchase was heavily inspired by Instagram, where it’s ruffled front, back neck tie, and oversized puffy sleeves totally won me over. If you are over on Instagram search #sagebrushtop for some inspo.

My fabric choice is this sweet floral print cotton poplin from Sew Me Sunshine. I love a ditsy floral (as you probably know), and the mix or reds, blues, greens and gold really caught my eye. Having just taken a peek at the Sew Me Sunshine website it looks like it might sold out now, but there are PLENTY of other gorgeous fabrics which would make perfect Sagebrush Tops. Cotton poplin has a fair amount of ‘body’ compared to other cottons, so it holds it’s shape quite well. For this reason the intentionally puffy sleeves really do make their presence known using a fabric like this! A more drapey fabric would give a much softer overall finish and I think for my next version I will choose a viscose for this reason.

I cut a straight size medium. My measurements are 36-29-39, and my height is about 5’2″. The fit is just right. Although I made a couple of small alterations…

I felt that the length of the sleeves sat much too long for me, so I took 3″ from their length. I made no adjustment to the sleeve volume, although this might be considered because they are very gathered, with the majority of the gathers concentrated at the shoulder to give maximum volume!

I also found the length of the top very long, maybe I am short bodied, but I hadn’t particularly noticed this on the versions that I had previously seen from others. So I took 5″ from the length of the top before hemming it. I might have left this had I used a drapier fabric, but the poplin I felt might look better untucked and so I made the cut!

Other than that I stuck to the pattern. The details are really pretty. I absolutely adore the ruffle that runs across the top along the front yoke/bodice front seam. It’s a dainty width and has the perfect amount of gathers. Underneath this ruffle in the centre front there is a gentle section of gathers which give you some shape in the absence of any bust darts. Nice.

The neckline edge is finished with a long strip of bias. This not only finishes the neckline but extends beyond the end of the neckline opening to give you cute tie straps at the back of the neck.

I enjoyed making this one. The pattern instructions and illustrations were extremely clear which made it really fun to sew. Perhaps this will push me to make the Wilder gown or top – another massively popular pattern by Friday Pattern Co. which I have, but just haven’t sewn yet.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Cassie Dress from Emporia Sewing Patterns

The Cassie Dress is a pattern that I have had my eyes on for quite some time. I first spotted it when I met Clair and Charlotte from Emporia Patterns on their stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show late last year. By that point in the day I had entirely spent out on lots of sewing goodies, but made a mental note that the Cassie looked like a pattern that would be right up my street and would probably look to purchase another time.

Fast forward a few months and I recently noticed lovely Becky from The Sewing Cafe wearing a couple of gorgeous versions and that was it, it had to be mine! By the way I bought my pattern from The Sewing Cafe.

The Cassie Dress is a fairly relaxed fitting tiered Summer dress. It has a simple t-shirt style bodice with bust darts, and to that you can add on your choice of two or three skirt tiers. You can also choose to make it with tie straps at the shoulders too. It has no fastenings at all as it is a ‘pull on and off over the head dress’ which make it super easy and quick to sew too!

The pattern pieces are printed on high quality paper and have different coloured size markings which make tracing or cutting your size really easy. It’s definitely a beginner friendly sewing pattern – but just don’t forget to finish your seams in your chosen way as you are sewing it, as I don’t think this is mentioned in the instruction booklet.

I had a feeling that as much as I like maxi dresses, the three tier version might drown me a bit, so I went for the two tiered option. I also went for the classic t-shirt top rather that the tie straps, because, well, bingo wings…

However I didn’t know where the two tiered length would hit me, and if I would need to alter the depth of those two tiers, so the easiest thing was to pin the pattern pieces together at their (1cm) seam allowance and kind of hold it against me to give me a rough idea. Imagine my surprise when it looked like it would hit my knee at exactly the right place without any alteration!!!!!!

By the way I’m 5’2″ tall and I cut a straight size 12.

My measurements are 36-29-39.

My fabric choice was this gorgeous black Swiss Dot cotton poplin from Fabworks, it has the cutest tufted burgundy dots which just break up the severity of the colour a little.

One thing that I did differently from the pattern was to interface my neck facing pieces. I also ‘stitched in the ditch’ down the shoulder seams to keep them in place.

I really enjoy pockets in a dress so I also added my own inseam pockets using an inseam pocket template from another pattern. The placement on them (for me) means that they sit perfectly within that top tier.

The neckline is just right – not to low, not too high, and the short sleeves are ‘grown-on’ so no separate sleeve piece to ease in too. Happy days! It’s very comfortable to wear and I feel really great when I have it on.

I found the fit to be spot on. Comfortably relaxed and easy to pull on and off over your head, but not so loose that you feel swamped by it. It’s a really fantastic pattern all round that I know I will sew again and again (I already have some fabric in my stash earmarked for another Cassie), and would work well with cute trainers – which is probably how I will more often that not style it myself – and equally wearable in the colder months with opaque tights and boots.

I’m very impressed with this pattern. I like it A LOT. Do head on over to Emporia (linked above) and check out their adult and children’s sewing patterns, and whilst you are there they have a pretty cute selection of fabrics too.

Apologies for the lack of photos on this blog – turns out photographing a BLACK dress in sunny/cloudy/sunny/cloudy weather plays havoc with how the pics turn out!

Hope you’re all keeping safe and well and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Photos taken at Coombe Abbey near Coventry.

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A Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Add-on Gathered Dress

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with The Stevie  tunic and top pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. Did you notice last month that an add-on pattern had been released? This  gives you the option to use the original pattern to add longer sleeves or a gathered skirt transforming it into an oversized smock dress whilst still retaining those classic and recognizable Stevie features.

Tilly and the Buttons Stevie top and dress add-on 1

The new dress version could not have appealed to me more! It’s right up my street! Gathered skirt – yes please. Tie back – of course. Swishability – 100%.

IMG_0986

This dress is made using the original Stevie pattern plus the Add-on pattern. A bundle of both patterns together is also available here.

*polite/shy cough* I was beyond flattered to be asked by Tilly and the Buttons to model the pattern images for this new add-on pattern and, trust me, I’m still pinching myself.

The sample of the dress that I modelled for Tilly is made up in this beautiful linen/cotton stripe from Lamazi Fabrics and is gorgeous. Immediately that I saw it I desperately wanted to make my version in a linen stripe too and have a bit of fun copying those playful stripe directions.

Tilly and the Buttons Stevie top and dress add-on 14

The fabric that I purchased for my version is a viscose linen from Material Girl Laura. Unfortunately this is out of stock now, but it’s a beautiful mid blue with a narrow white stripe.

IMG_0926
Can you see the little dots of rain on the fabric!  Typical British Summer hey?

The acrylic pastel blue knitting necklace with gold plated chain is available from my shop.

As I needed to be very careful cutting this out to make sure that the stripe was running the correct way on each pattern piece, I drew out a rough sketch of the dress (front and back) and drew the stripes in so that I knew which way to lay each piece on the fabric. This was also important as I knew that I would only have just enough fabric to do this. Guess who despite this still cut out the back bodice piece (the piece below the back yoke) with the stripes in the wrong direction!? Yep, me..

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This resulted in some rude words, and some intense pattern repositioning on the remaining pieces and I finally managed to squeeze out that back bodice piece by cutting it as two separate pieces (rather than on the fold) so now there is a little vertical seam running down the centre now. Never mind, you can barely see it ( I hope) and at least the stripes are running in the direction that I wanted.

Oh I also had to cut the sleeve cuffs with the stripe running in the wrong direction as a result of this, as this was the only way I could get them out of the fabric leftovers now, but you really wouldn’t notice this either.

So after all that self-inflicted stress cutting out, I was excited to get started sewing. (I am a straight Tilly size 4 by the way, but for this dress I wanted it a little less oversized so I cut a size 4 in the top grading it in to a size 2 at the waist, and a size 2 skirt). My measurements are 36-30-40 btw and I am 5’2″.

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It’s a dream to sew, as are all of Tilly’s patterns, and I really enjoyed seeing it come together especially with all of those fun directional stripes. After adding the cuffs I decided to hand stitch them in place all the way around rather than just using some discreet stitches at the shoulder and side seam. I was trying to avoid the chance of them becoming a bit unturned whilst wearing them, if you know what I mean. Now that I have hand stitched them I feel that they look a bit flat and realise that they would look much better stitched in a couple of places as instructed, so I think I’ll whiz back to them, unpick that stitching and finish them as I should have done in the first place!

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One of the things that I love about this dress is the large pocket. It’s fab isn’t it? Sadly I had to reduce the size of the pocket because of my pattern placing error that I mentioned earlier. I simply couldn’t get it out of the fabric with the stripe in the correct direction at it’s original size. So whilst the width of my pocket is the same as the pattern, I had to make it about 4cm shorter. It’s only a little bit smaller than the original and still super cute.

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I also placed the pocket so that it’s side edges lay exactly parallel to those vertical stripes on the skirt. The placement markings for the pocket actually means that the pocket side edges are parallel to the side seams (not the fold line/centre front of the skirt) so technically this means that my pocket is actually stitched on a little bit wonky, but it looks straight, because of the vertical lines of the skirt… Gosh does this make any sense? One last thing,  I also raised the height of the pocket by about 4cm.

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After attaching the skirt I realised that the weight of the skirt had pulled the waist seam down to lower than I wanted ( something that Tilly mentions might happen in her instructions).  I felt that I needed to raise the waist seam by about 4.5cm along the front bodice from side seam to side seam. The back bodice didn’t need reducing all the way around, I just needed grade this 4.5cm reduction down to nothing for about 12cm from each side seam in towards the centre back.

There are some helpful and interesting posts on the Tilly and the Buttons blog herehere and here.  So do check those out if you need any fitting help or inspiration.

I would also like to say that the add-on pattern was gifted to me when the pattern was released. This was with no obligations or conditions to share in any way. The thoughts in this post, as always, are entirely my own. The original Stevie pattern that is also needed to make this dress was purchased by myself.

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The By Hand London Hannah Dress

Instagram definitely made me do this!

So many beautiful examples of this gorgeous wrap dress have been popping into my feed over the last few months I could only resist for so long … and boy! she was worth the wait!

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Image from By Hand London.

The Hannah Dress  from By Hand London is a pretty wrap dress/blouse which has three different sleeve variations. Bishop sleeves (shown above), tulip sleeves and short sleeves which is the version that I made. It has a size range of UK 6-24, and I cut a size 10

 

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As is almost always the case with me, the in-seam pockets (yes, it has pockets)! were too low. I raised the height of the pockets by 2″ and now they are the perfect height. For reference I’m 5’2″.

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Another adjustment that I made, was to alter the neckine on the bodice to make it a little more modest. It is a fairly low cut design and there is a brilliant tutorial on the By Hand London blog here  to show you how to adjust the bodice to give you a little more coverage! I adjusted my pattern piece by adding 1″ to the shoulder seam and I feel much more comfortable with the result. (This blog post also shows you how to correct a gaping neckline if you need to).

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I very rarely sew anything pink, I don’t know why, and now I have dipped into it, I feel I might add more of this colour to my handmade wardrobe. The fabric that I used is this adorable dusky pink floral cotton poplin from the lovely Sophia at Sew Jessalli.

Big shout out and thanks to Sophia for her patience and help when I realised that I needed more fabric than I had actually ordered, and adjusting my order before it was dispatched. What a gem! I hope these pics give you some idea of the pretty colour of the fabric as these pictures have come out a tiny bit washed out for some reason.

The By Hand London patterns are lovely to follow. Nicely illustrated and worded so that they are easy to understand, they are a pleasure to sew.

I lowered the bust darts by 3.5cm on this dress, and not sure that I have this quite right – I think I need one of Elisalex’s bodice fitting classes! – but I feel comfortable in it and might play around with this on my next version.

Some lovely features of this dress include the use of bias binding all the way around the neck edge. I have lots and lots of handmade bias that I make using cotton leftovers so this was a good opportunity to use some of the pretty ditsy pink floral that I had in my bias stash!

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The front left skirt piece is intentionally left ungathered, to avoid any bulk as it sits underneath the outer right hand skirt piece when worn. Thumbs up.

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There are four belt ties to make for this dress. Two that are visible on the outside and two that secure the dress underneath. I made the two belt tie pieces that are not visible when worn, from the fabric selvedge just for fun (but mostly so that I don’t have to turn 4 belt ties through to the right side after sewing, only two)! Ha! By the way, I sewed my ties using a 3/8″ seam allowance rather than the 5/8″ that is used throughout the rest of the pattern to make it easier for myself when turning it through. The result is very slightly wider ties, but nothing drastically different.

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The length of the dress is your preference. I did cut it full length to the pattern as originally I really wanted that midi length/ballet dress vibe (see final pic ha ha). When I tried it on before hemming however I felt I would wear it more at this ‘just below the knee’ length. This resulted in a bit of annoying fabric wastage which I normally try to avoid, but all’s well that end’s well and those offcuts have made some very pretty face masks here.

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I was really pleased with how the short sleeves eased in perfectly (with a little patience and lots of pins), but have to say it feels a little restrictive when you lift your arms. I might try the tulip sleeves next time to see if that gives me less restriction.

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The gold acrylic mirror scissors necklace (which is a little blurry in these pics unfortunately) is available from my shop here.

 

 

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I used to wear wrap styles all the time a few years back, and have slowly evolved into loving a round neck mostly now, but this has reignited my love for the wrap style for sure.

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When your new dress gives you those ballet vibes that you were hoping for!…

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I also couldn’t resist painting a little peg doll …

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x