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A Tabitha T-shirt Dress

I know I’m not the only one who has been really excited to start making things from Tilly’s  new book, so today I’m super pleased to share my first make from it. This is the third book that Tilly Walnes ( the founder of Tilly and the Buttons ) has released and as I have the other two and have used them SO much, I knew that this one would be right up my street too.

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Make It Simple  is a collection of six basic sewing patterns which can be sewn as they are, or adjusted to make them slightly different. I chose to make the Tabitha t-shirt first. This is a classic t-shirt with round neck and your choice of short, 3/4 or long sleeves. The book helps you if you want to make this pattern into a dress like I did. You are also shown how to make it into a ringer tee with cuffs using this pattern, and there are also instructions on how to decorate it using heat transfer vinyl if you want to add a cute design too.

My fabric choice was this beautiful striped knit that I was lucky enough to  choose from the fabric swap table at last years #SewBrum meet-up. Thank you very much to whoever donated this generous amount of fabric! The stripe matching at the seams was a bit of a faff I must admit, as you can see the stripes are quite narrow, and those side seams on this fairly long skirt took quite a while to pin. Although I used my walking foot to avoid any shifting of the fabric, one side was better matched than the other side, and so reluctantly I did decide to unpick that side ( not fun) and re-sew it.

I used some black ribbing for the neckband from my stash.

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Red mirror acrylic scissors necklace from my shop x

The t-shirt is turned into a dress by drafting a simple skirt pattern to your measurements. The book takes you through this process step by step so that you can create your perfect skirt pattern piece. Just something to note – there is a small error on the diagram of the skirt pattern on page 88 where the ‘place on fold’ marking is shown on the wrong edge of the pattern piece, just make sure the ‘place on fold’ marking is running along the long straight edge of your pattern piece.

The drawstring cord is threaded through a waistband channel to give the waist a nice gather. The drawstring holes can be made using eyelets (as I did), or simple small buttonholes. I chose to use some striped cord from my stash for the drawstring, but the book also shows you how to use a strip of your dress fabric, curling it into a tube by running it through your fingers.

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These brass coloured plastic ‘cord ends’ were the perfect finishing touch for the drawstring. Beads are an alternative or just leave them plain!

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The end result is a super comfortable dress (secret pyjamas – sshhhh), and one that I will certainly make again. I think a short sleeved version with a knee length skirt would be perfect in the warmer months.

The book is really beautiful. Each sewing step is broken down into chunks with an estimated completion time for each step, especially useful if you only have a few minutes spare to sew at any given time. There’s also something for everyone in this book – trousers, dresses, t-shirts, pyjamas and a cardigan. Do search the #makeitsimplebook hashtag for some inspiration!

I do hope that you and your loved ones are all keeping well wherever you are and that sewing is offering you some comfort and distraction through these worrying times.

Take care, look after yourselves and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A classic brown knee length Jenny Skirt

Today’s blog post is special, because I am trying my first pattern from the lovely Nicola and Susan at Homer and Howells.

Homer and Howells are an exciting new pattern company based in Scotland and as I write this post, there are two sewing patterns in their shop – the Jenny , and the Cissy. I know they have a few more patterns up their sleeves, so I can’t wait to see what comes next…

The Jenny is a classic skirt. Choose either midi length (with a front split), or keep it short like I did (I cut my length at where the top of the split is marked). Patch pockets on the front of the skirt are optional, and the centre front zip fly was really good fun to sew.

 

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I have chosen to make my version in a dark brown cotton drill. I can’t quite remember where I bought this fabric from – it might even have been something that I picked up in a fabric swap – but I had just enough to make the knee length version. Turns out that dark brown is REALLY hard to photograph, and despite two photo ‘sessions’ (one indoors and one outdoors), I don’t think we were able to really pick out the details of the skirt very well after all. Let’s hope you can get some sort of idea with the shots that we did get.

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Oh by the way, my top is the original Tessuti Fabrics Mandy Boat Tee (free pattern) using the ‘one size’ pattern before they introduced different sizes on this pattern, and the lilac acrylic scissors necklace is from my shop! x

I have kept the front of the skirt nice and simple by leaving off the patch pockets. I did however add some pockets to the back of the skirt (not part of this pattern), but more about that later!

I wanted the skirt to feel really casual, a bit like a denim skirt, so I went for the topstitching big time! I used a matching dark brown topstitching thread and used it on the waistband, the centre front and back seams, the curve of the fly zip, and the back pockets that I added.

It’s important to try and make that curved line of stitching on the outside of the fly zip as neat as possible as it is so visible, so to help me I used a tracing wheel and some dressmaking carbon paper to trace the stitching line onto my fabric. It takes all the guess work out of where to stitch, and you end up with it exactly where you want it.

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I have only put in a fly zip once before and that was a long time ago, so I did wonder how tricky it would be, but the instructions were really great – I followed them to the letter and everything just fell into place perfectly!

The curved waistband has a snug comfortable fit with no gaping at the back of course, and fastens above the zip with a hook and bar. I made a size 12 at the waist and graded out to a 14 at the hips by the way.

So finally, I wanted to add  ‘jeans’ pockets at the back seeing as how I wanted it to have a casual feel. I simply cut out two jeans pocket pieces and traced out the stitching design that I wanted using the tracing wheel and carbon paper again, stitched out that design onto the pocket with the topstitching thread again and placed it on the back of the skirt where I wanted them, again attaching with topstitching. Can you tell that I love topstitching things! Take a shot each time I say topstitching! Ha ha!

I must say that positioning the pockets was a lengthy process! Pinning and adjusting pockets on the back of a skirt by yourself is tricky, and having not made jeans before I’m not quite sure what the tricks are for the perfect pocket placements, but I don’t think they’ve ended up too bad.

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I’ve ended up with a really lovely skirt, and one that I know I will wear lots and lots. It fits well, I love the length and the neutral colour means that I can have fun wearing it with all my favourite coloured tights.

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Thank you so much to the girls at Homer and Howells, who very kindly gifted me this pattern with no obligations. I am happy to share with you though because I really like it and hope you do too!

What’s your ‘go-to’ simple skirt pattern? I’d love to know.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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Crochet Basket Kit from Stitching Me Softly.

I don’t know about you, but during the colder months I become a lot more interested in crochet and knitting.

Today’s blog post is a little different from the usual sewing related posts, as I am talking about this lovely crochet basket kit from Stitching Me Softly.

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I was lucky enough to grab this kit a few weeks ago at an introductory price before it launched, and could not wait to get started on it when it arrived.

The kit contains everything that you need to crochet two baskets…

  • 2 x colour choices of yarn
  • 1 x bamboo crochet hook
  • 1 x stitch marker
  • Instructions and information leaflets

There are currently six yarn colour choices available in this kit – almost impossible to choose two because they are all stunning, but I went for mustard and teracotta.

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They really are very simple to make. A basic knowledge of crochet might help, but the instructions are thorough and the stitch guide gives some ‘how to crochet’ advice along with nice clear photographs.

I have never crocheted with such chunky yarn before (its 100% recycled cotton btw), and it takes a little getting used to, but once you get through the first round or two I became used to how if felt.

The finished result are super cute I think. I love the chunky texture, and am totally in love with the colours. The double crochet stitch is so pretty, and how nice does the row of slip stitches around the top look? It finishes off the baskets perfectly.

You have enough yarn to make the small basket with either a straight edge or a hanging loop, and the large basket with a straight edge. If you want to make the large basket with the hanging loop (like I did), you just need to omit one of the height rows to enable you to have enough yarn.

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I am thrilled now to have the pattern so that I can make up lots more. The Stitching Me Softly website does sell replacement cord in a multitude of colours, so it’s easy to create lots more of these pretty baskets. You might be interested in the other craft kits that Emma sells there too.

To finish off my baskets I added my new faux leather tags from Etsy. I’m thrilled to bits with them, and I can’t wait to add them to all my knitting and crochet projects from now on. They were very reasonably priced I think, and I love that my logo have been added to them too.

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I hope that you have enjoyed something a little different from me today. I really enjoy such a large range of crafts that every now and again something other than sewing might pop up on here.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Spring inspired Selkie Patterns London Skirt

I love this skirt.

This is the first Selkie patterns  garment that I have made and it’s a good one. Selkie Patterns are an exciting independent pattern and fabric design company which was founded a couple of years ago by two wonderful empowering women – Alexandra Bruce and Caroline Akselson. Their passion is sewing and design, with a strong belief in sustainability.

The London  is a 3 in 1 pattern, and features a blouse, skirt or dress.

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Although I’m very much in love with the dress version, I’m going to wait until warmer weather arrives for that, so in the meantime, I got stuck into the skirt.

So the skirt in a nutshell is knee length and features stunning box pleats front and back, the most adorable shaped waistband feature and a centre back zip fastening. Box pleats are my absolute fave and this is what drew me to this pattern in the first place.

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It is super easy to make. Just two pattern pieces are used, how great is that? I did have to shorten the length (as always)! and I think I took out about 10cm at the shorten/lengthen marking on the pattern before cutting out. I’m 5’2″ , so this is quite a normal adjustment for me.

I also decided to omit the sweet little gathers that should sit at the top of each side seam where it meets the waistband. I felt I wanted to keep this simple so simply pinched the excess (what would have been gathered) and graded out the side seam accordingly

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I realise that this fabric is very fussy, so a little difficult to show you all the details. The fabric by the way is something that I picked up at a fabric swap a long time ago. I think it’s a quilting weight cotton, which I think is not normally the best choice for dressmaking, but for a skirt with box pleats I thought the extra structure that this type of fabric has would be fab. I also love the busy floral print which is bright and happy.

Sizing, by the way, was spot on. Using the size chart and the finished garment measurements I worked out what size I wanted and it fits like a dream.

The instructions are really good. Beautiful hand drawn illustrations (in the style of the pattern cover), accompany thorough written descriptions and there is a helpful zip guide at the back to walk you through the steps needed to insert a regular zip.

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The waistband has a flap which fastens with a hook and eye.

Let’s just have a minute to talk about the dipped waistband. It’s lovely isn’t it? Sadly covered up by a big old jumper when we took our outside shots for this skirt, it is worth taking your time to get that shape just right. I actually drew my stitching line on the fabric before sewing so that the finished curve would be accurate.

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I really enjoyed making this skirt and have loved wearing it too. I already have the fabric and zip for my next version, so expect to see lots more London’s to come!

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x