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The Lisbon Cardigan from Itch To Stitch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘The Blouse’ from The Avid Seamstress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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An Autumn inspired Brumby Skirt

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

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

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

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

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Paola Turtleneck Tee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My Cocowawa Crafts Pumpkin Dress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Stella Hoodie from Tilly and the Buttons.

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O.K, Summer might be over now,  but here’s a way to eek out those tropical vibes for the cooler months courtesy of the Tilly and the Buttons Stella Hoodie and this super cosy Jungle Flowers sweatshirt fabric which was very kindly sent to me to review from the online knit fabrics boutique Pin and Sew.

This is the third project that I have made from Tilly’s book Stretch! and after seeing so many other fantastic versions online, the Stella was always going to be high up on my list of sewing projects when the weather got cooler. It’s an easy-fitting sweatshirt with a 3 piece lined hood with drawstring.

To add a pop of colour to the sweatshirt, I decided to use this pretty pink viscose jersey which picks up some of the pink colours in the tropical flowers perfectly. I also continued that theme with the drawstring cord too.

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The hoodie is really easy to sew, and I made it up in a day. As always with Tilly and the Button patterns, clear written instructions and helpful tips are accompanied by great step by step photographs. You really can’t go wrong.

Instead of using buttonholes for the drawstring cord, I decided to pop in some eyelets from my stash. They are quick and easy to apply and I love how they look. I positioned them right in the centre of the buttonhole marking (shown below), and I hope you can also see the soft fleece on the reverse side of the fabric too.

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I swapped between pink and black thread throughout this make, and when I was stitching the hood lining to the hood to create the channel for the drawstring to run through, I used pink thread in my top spool, and black in the bobbin so that the stitching on both sides would match.

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Another addition that I made was to use some toggles from my stash to finish the ends of my drawstring tape. I ordered this tape online, and whilst the colour is a perfect match for the pink hood lining, the weight of the tape was much lighter than I was expecting. These cord ends therefore, give the tape some weight and they look pretty great too!

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The only alteration that I would make another time would be to shorten the sleeve length. I can’t believe that I just went right ahead and kept these the same as the pattern, as sleeves are always too long for me. Not to worry, I plan to wear this as a layering piece so I might be glad of the extra length after all …

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Finally I added a kangaroo pocket. Because this is an addition to the pattern, it is discussed in a separate section of the book, and I forgot to add it at the correct stage of construction – which is before the side seams have been sewn. Adding it at the end like I did is a little awkward, but not impossible, and next time I make a Stella I will definitely make life easier for myself and sew it in at the correct time!

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Thank you again to Aga for this great sweatshirting fabric. I am sure to be nice and cosy this Autumn/Winter with this in my wardrobe. Have you made a Stella yet? I plan to make the Stella joggers soon too for head-to-toe Tilly comfort!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Fabulous Floral Bomber Jacket – McCall’s M7100

How is it October already?  The first Monday of the month means that it is my turn to post a review on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, and this month I am happy to share with you a make that is a little different for me.

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It’s the McCall’s M7100 bomber jacket (I might mention here that Minerva have 40% off McCall’s patterns at the time of writing this), and I made it up in this incredible red floral Ponte Roma fabric which is also currently on sale at £5.99 per metre at the moment.

I won’t say too much over on my blog here, as you can read all about it over on the Blogger Network  but I really enjoyed making this one and it is an incredibly quick and fun pattern to make – perfect for this time of the year!

Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to seeing you over at Minerva Crafts.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Bea Blouse from Simply Sewing Magazine.

 

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I’m a little behind with this review. Originally made and photographed back in May, I had quite forgotten that I hadn’t got around to writing a blog post about it.

This is the Bea Blouse, and it was the free pattern in issue 38 of Love Sewing Magazine, which I think was the January 2018 issue. It’s a vintage style pussybow blouse with a choice of two sleeve lengths. I had been eyeing up the Sew Over It Pussybow Blouse, and hoped that this might be a way of trying this style top on me.

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My fabric choice was a vibrant floral viscose that I purchased from Sewisfaction. This is no longer in stock unfortunately (as I purchased it about 6 months ago), but lots of pretty alternatives are available. I love the drape of a viscose and think this is a great fabric type for this style of blouse.

I chose to make the elbow length sleeve, but on reflection I think i might have preferred the short sleeve – something that I can change another time if I really want to. I also noticed that it looked fairly short in the body length, so before I cut it out I added 10cm to the length. Perhaps this has made the length too long now? Again this can be easily fixed if I feel like it.

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If I’m honest, I’m not altogether sure that this works for me very well. The shoulder seams seem to sit too far forward for my liking, and it doesn’t feel too comfortable to wear.

The collar/bow also gives me a headache! Firstly the length of the bow tie is too short to tie in a bow (in my opinion), so I would extend this by a few inches next time I make it. It is, however, a great length if you just want to tie it in a double knot.

I just can’t seem to make the collar sit right. If I have the collar standing up, it looks wrong and if I have the collar folded down (shown below) it still doesn’t lay right (even after about 15 minutes of messing around with it). Hmmm…

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I think I need to have a little play around with this pattern and make a few more adjustments to make it work for me – I have seen some really pretty versions from others online so will probably give it another go sometime, although I do have the Colette Patterns Jasmine Top in my pattern stash, so will possibly give this one a try first, as I think the slim bow on this might suit me better.

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So the jury is out on this one. Have you made the Bea Blouse? Did you come across any of these issues too?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My #2018makenine makes.

Happy Monday!

Time for another blog post, and this week I am sharing with you my completed #2018makenine makes. For those not familiar, the yearly ‘make nine’ challenge is a friendly and gentle challenge to yourself to create a list of nine items that you would like to  make during the year. They can be sewn, knitted or created however you like, and you can share your progress with others over on good old Instagram using the hashtag #2018makenine

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This fun event is hosted by the lovely Rochelle from Home Row Fiber Co and I will link to her ‘make nine’ post here where she explains everything that you need to know about the challenge. It is not a race, it is not a competition, it doesn’t matter if you complete it or not, it’s all completely relaxed, but at the same time very inspiring and will definitely allow you to access some inspiring creators and new pattern, fabric and yarn ideas.

My own personal challenge to myself this year was to support nine independent pattern companies that I have never used before, and sew a garment using one of their patterns. I did it! Here’s what I made..

 

1. The Mandy Boat Tee from  Tessuti Fabrics

Such a great pattern, and it’s free! I made this in February and blogged about it here.

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2. The Fringe Dress from Chalk and Notch

I made this dress last June as a make for the Sewisfaction blogger team. You can find a link to the review that I wrote by clicking on my post here. I am currently in the process of making another as part of this month’s  #sewmystyle challenge.

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3. The Ogden Cami from True Bias

Another make during June, during the UK heatwave, and promptly followed by another two straight away. They have been a lifesaver this Summer and I plan to make a hundred more in the future, particularly in plain fabrics as wardrobe staples. I haven’t as yet blogged these tops, but here is a look at one of them, made from a delightful crepe fabric picked up at a recent fabric swap.

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4. The Out and About Dress from Sew Caroline

One of the most comfortable ‘throw over the head’ dress I have. This was my July make for the Minerva Crafts blogger Network. There were a couple of little things that I need to change next time I make it, which I have mentioned in the link on my blog post here, but it’s one I will return to for sure.

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5. The Paola Turtleneck from Named Clothing.

I’ve just realised that I did not blog about this make.. whoops.. but now is the time of year to be reaching for tops like these. Will get around to blogging this top shortly .. in the meantime forgive the rather last minute snap of this project, better photographs to follow along with the blog post!

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6. The Sunday Dress from Friday Pattern Company.

Heavily hacked into something that I would find more wearable, and blogged about here, I made this back in January as part of the #sewmystyle challenge. I think I may shorten this at some point into a shorter knee length dress, as I feel I would get more wear out of it in this length.

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7. The Mayfair Dress from Nina Lee

I was lucky enough to have been part of the pattern testing team for Nina on this pattern back in June. It’s a lovely jersey dress pattern that is so comfortable and a great everyday pattern, read about my thoughts on the Mayfair here.

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8. The Peak T-Shirt Dress from Wendy Ward.

Love this dress. I was so lucky to have won a copy of Wendy’s book ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’ and instantly knew that this would be the first project I would make from it. Adding a grey neckband gives it a little bit of interest and who doesn’t need a striped t-shirt dress in their wardrobe? My blog post written in July can be found here.

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9. The Franki Top from The Wearable Studio.

The Wearable Studio is a fairly new independent pattern company, and as soon as I saw the ruffled hem and tie sleeves on this top I wanted it! I have made two versions of this top, and still cannot decide which one I like the best.

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Phew! That’s all of them. A huge thanks to Rochelle for pulling together this challenge again, I have had such a great time exploring and trying out patterns from these inspiring independent companies, and hope that you have enjoyed seeing what I made with them. I have tried to include links to the patterns and blog posts where possible.

Have a great week, take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x