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A Colette Jasmine Top

Hi all, I’m just jumping on here to let you know that my latest make for the Sewisfaction Blog is now up and it’s my review of the Jasmine top from Colette Patterns.

As usual with blog posts that I write for others, I will include a link here so that you can read the full review, but I thought I would share a couple of pics so that you can see what I’ve been up to.

The Jasmine is a pretty little top which has a cute little neck tie. You can choose what size neck bow to make and also there are two different sleeve options.

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My fabric choice was this stunning grey and mustard Dashwood rayon, and as you would expect from a Dashwood fabric, it’s totally lovely.

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This make wasn’t entirely without errors unfortunately, but I’ll let you head on over to the Sewisfaction blog to see where my rush in cutting it out meant that I ended up with a slightly larger top than I was expecting!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Black Velvet By Hand London Anna Dress

Last week was the second Dressmakers Ball, held in my home city of Leicester. The event is wonderfully organised by the lovely Sarah and Freya from The Crafty Sew and So.

 

I didn’t attend the first Dressmakers Ball (which was held in 2017 I believe), but remember thinking how much fun it looked at the time. So when the ticket sale was announced last year, despite feeling a little nervous as I always do about social gatherings, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a ticket. I am so glad that I did.

Choosing the right dress took a great deal of deliberation. Despite having lots of ideas initially about fancy big petticoats (which I would love to go for another time), I kept on coming back to The Anna Dress from By Hand London.

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It’s a beautifully classic dress which can be made in a midi or maxi length, with kimono sleeves, double pleats below the bust and a great swishy panelled skirt featuring an optional thigh split. This was definitely the dress for me and when my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas, this is the pattern that I asked for.

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My fabric choice was a rich black cotton velvet (no stretch). I mean, everybody needs a little black dress in their lives don’t they? This is the first time that I have sewn with velvet and so I was careful to read up as many blogs and articles about sewing with velvet that I could find before cutting into this precious fabric. Before I did this, I also made up a quick toile, and I absolutely loved it! I was slightly concerned that the high neckline might be too high and unflattering on me, but quite the opposite – I really loved how the neckline looked.

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When I made the toile, I found that I had a gaping back neckline. Not to worry though, By Hand London have got your back. On their website there are sew-alongs for the patterns and I had read on the Anna sew-along that this is a common problem with this dress. There are a couple of different ways that I could correct this when making my velvet version and I opted to head on over (using their link) to a great blog post from Ginger Makes which tells you how to adapt your back bodice and back facing so that you completely remove any cheeky gaping at the back neckline. It worked a treat, and was really simple! I needed to alter my neckline by 1.5cm.

So briefly some of the things that I did when cutting and sewing my dress. I made sure that I decided which way I wanted the nap of the fabric to run and made sure that all my pattern pieces were cut in the same direction.  I also cut it out in a single layer on the hall floor as this is a nice big tiled space that I could lay out my fabric without it hanging over a table and pulling and stretching the fabric. The fact that it is a tiled floor turns out to be very important to me too, as let me tell you, velvet sheds A LOT of fluff. It was everywhere. I actually read to keep the vacuum cleaner to hand when you are cutting and this was a great tip! I used a fresh blade on my rotary cutter. In fact – I bought a new rotary cutter as mine has been terrible for a long time, but a new blade is really important – I did use a cutting mat too! A walking foot was crucial I think, and after testing on a scrap of velvet to see that it wouldn’t flatten the pile, I decided to use a longer stitch length than normal too ( I think I used stitch length 3).

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Although it was slightly tricky to sew with, and made a fluffy mess everywhere, it turned out really great in the end. I wasn’t sure if the invisible zip would be possible with the velvet as I had concerns that the pile would get caught in the zip, but I still went with it and just didn’t sew the zip in as close to the teeth as I normally would and it was fine.

The length of the skirt was always going to be long for me (I’m only 5’2″), so I shortened the pattern pieces by 10″ before cutting out. I also lined the skirt. I wasn’t going to, but didn’t realise how much static there would be in this fabric so luckily I had some black lining in my stash to do this. I will admit that I didn’t really have quite enough, so the lining is a few inches shorter than the hem, but never mind.

I went for an ankle-grazing length in the end, as I absolutely love my animal print sandals and wanted these to be seen. The thigh split is optional too, but, well, who could resist.

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The Dressmakers Ball itself was incredible, and I will leave this blog purely as a dress review because I know there are already lots of vlogs and blogs with all the details of the Ball itself. I would like to give a big shout out to my two best sewing buddies though for making the night so special. Kate and Vena had me crying with laughter all night, they truly are the best!

It was such a thrill to bump into so many sewing friends, some that I had met before and some that I was excited to meet for the first time. It was quite overwhelming to see everybody in all their stunning dresses enjoying themselves dancing and chatting, it was a night to remember. The photo below is of myself, Kate and Vena taken by a lovely professional photographer, Tara, who was busy all night snapping away!

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I couldn’t resist wearing my acrylic scissors necklace from my shop. It’s such a fun necklace and I was made up to see so many others wearing theirs!

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To sum up, I can see lots more Anna Dresses in my life. The panelled skirt is such fun to sew and the flattering bust pleats and fitted bodice is so pretty. I love it!

I spotted several other Anna Dresses at the ball, it was a popular pattern and I can see why. Dress it up in velvet or silk, or make it as a pretty day time dress – you choose.

Ooh I nearly forgot, to use up some of the leftover velvet, I decided to make a little zipper clutch to match my dress. I used the Pleated Zipper Pouch online tutorial from The Stitch Sisters (which was a pattern that was gifted to me), and whilst it was made using the most inappropriate fabric for this pattern (this pattern calls for nice crisp woven fabrics), it still came out pretty well I think. I also used a small amount of animal print cotton sateen purchased from the lovely Sarah at Like Sew Amazing. It kind of matched my shoes!

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Maple Dress from Cocowawa Crafts.

Pattern testing is something that I really enjoy. I have worked with Ana from Cocowawa Crafts a few times now, and it is always my pleasure to help her out.

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Hello to The Maple Dress, , the brand new pattern from Cocowawa Crafts.

This relaxed fitting double breasted dress features a notched collar, a swishy quarter circle skirt in your choice of length, inseam pockets (hooray)! and your choice of sleeve lengths. You can also add a ruffle around the edge of the collar or perhaps some piping.

I chose to make the short sleeved version with the keyhole detail and ties – Cocowawa certainly knows how to rock a good pattern with ties/ribbons, and I went for the shorter length skirt.

My fabric choice is this amazing viscose twill from  Fabric Godmother. I picked the navy blue option – but there are other colour choices on this fabric. It had the perfect amount of weight and drape to suit this design perfectly. The quality is exceptional and my fabric arrived really quickly. At £6 per metre, it’s reasonably priced too.

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The pattern is designed to have a natural relaxed fit, but looking at the finished garment sizing, I decided to size down a little so that the dress fitted me a little more closely. I also wanted the waistline slightly higher, so shortened the bodice by 2.5cm.

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I really enjoyed sewing the notched collar. I have recently made Butterick 5926 which is a jacket with the same collar type, so I had a good idea (still fresh in my mind) on how the collar is constructed. No need to worry, the instructions and excellent pattern markings make fitting the collar a breeze. If you still have any reservations about it, why not head on over to watch Ana on her YouTube channel where she will take you through all the important construction details on The Maple. I love having something like this to refer to when I’m sewing – it’s like sewing with a friend!

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My buttonholes created a couple of little pulls in the threads of the fabric. This could be that I needed to use a sharper or finer needle in my machine.

You will need 4 buttons for this dress. These pretty brown buttons I picked up from Hobbycraft I think, and they look like they are made from coconut shells.

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The sleeves are one of my favourite parts of the pattern. Ana is the Queen of all things ribbons, ties and ruffles and I LOVE all of those things. I made some bias tape from leftover fabric, but you could just as easily use ready made bias if you prefer, and used it to edge and tie the keyhole short sleeves. So cute.

As the pattern is brand new and has only released today, you might be interested to know that there is a lovely page on the Cocowawa blog featuring all the Maple Dresses that have been made by the pattern testers. Head on over here for some awesome Maple Dress inspiration. They are really really fabulous.

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I hope that this have given you some Spring/Summer sewing inspiration. That being said – the long sleeved version with or without a polo neck underneath will see you through the colder months too!

Huge thanks to Ana, such a creative and truly lovely lady, for trusting me with your latest creation. I had the best time making it and cannot wait to see lots of Maple’s cropping up all over the internet!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Another Cocowawa Chestnut Sweater – with interchangeable ribbons!

 

O.k, I know that you have seen this sweatshirt before LOADS of times, but this one’s different ..

This month on my Minerva Crafts Blogger Network make I wanted to make a comfy sweatshirt and this wonderful claret ponte roma caught my eye. Available in a whopping 27 colours it was a pretty difficult choice to select which one I wanted to use.

The next difficult choice (it’s a hard life, I know), was which ribbon to pair it up with. Luckily for me, the lovely Vicki from Minerva kindly sent me two ribbon choices for me to make my mind up with at home with the fabric in front of me. After a great deal of procrastination, I finally realised that I simply couldn’t choose between the two and worked out a way that I could adapt the pattern so that I can add whatever ribbon I feel like!

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It was simple to add these gold coloured eyelets to the opening of the neck slit, and doing this gives me a neat way of changing my ribbon choice as the mood takes me!

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Immediately after making this I proudly showed my husband this genius pattern hack, to which he promptly informed me that I had hammered them in ‘the wrong way up’.  Ho hum! Let’s not loose too much sleep over that one shall we, I still love it! Don’t worry if you don’t have eyelets, you could just as easily sew buttonhole openings here instead.

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My full post, showing this in more detail is over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network this month, I’ll see you over there..

 

 

Huge thanks as always to Minerva Crafts for sending me the supplies in exchange for an honest review on their Blogger Nework page.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Butterick 5926

 

Many years ago, I spotted a lady wearing a jacket like this when I was out shopping. It was a warm day and she was wearing it with skinny jeans, the sleeves pushed up and sunglasses on her head. She looked lovely. It’s funny what you remember isn’t it? So several years later, I have finally made one for myself. I have used a heavyweight double jersey from Minerva Crafts and this was very kindly gifted to me as part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.

The pattern is Butterick B5926, and I already had this in my stash – it was the free pattern from an edition of Love Sewing magazine a few months back.

My full review (all opinions are my own) can be found over at Minerva Crafts, so I’ll see you over there if you would like to find out more about this lovely little unlined blazer. We just need the temperature to rise by a few degrees now so that I can start getting some wear out of it!

Take care, and I’ll see you soon,

Kathy x

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A Reversible Box Tote Knitting Bag

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Just before Christmas, my Aunt very kindly sat with me one afternoon and taught me the basics of knitting. Oh my, how I wish we had done this years ago. I have instantly fallen in love with this new hobby, and now grab every opportunity I can to sneak in a few rows ( I’m knitting a scarf, of course), and I’m a little obsessed, I admit.

Of course sewing is my first love, and thinking of how I could combine both these I decided that I wanted to sew up a bag to keep my knitting tidy as it was currently sitting in a pile on the coffee table in everybody’s way.

As with every new project idea, I searched the internet for free sewing patterns that might be ideal, and finally narrowed it down to two that I liked. The one that I chose is the Reversible Box Tote which is a free download from Very Shannon. I loved the shape of this bag, the pockets, and the fact that it is reversible. Another great free pattern that I loved is the Knitting Bag Project from The Sewing Directory. This bucket style bag is quilted and I’m certain that I will come back to this another time as it’s really cute and one knitting bag will not be enough for me I’m sure!

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I was over the moon with this pattern. The instructions are clear and thorough, and it doesn’t take very long to sew up. I made it in a morning. The fabric is a pretty floral cotton on a navy background which I picked up from Hobbycraft and I chose a coordinating pale blue for the lining.

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I decided to cut two pockets (these are both lined) and placed both of them on the inside of the bag. Although this bag is reversible, I cannot see that I would ever use it with the plain side out, so although the pattern gives you the option to have an outside pocket too, I didn’t. What I did do though was keep one of the pockets open and add a pale pink Kam snap on the other pocket, just in case I wanted a pocket that was more secure. Sadly I caught some of the pale blue fabric in the snap tool when I was squeezing the snap in place and this has left a little oily mark above the pocket. Grrrrrrr.

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The pale pink snap is such a lovely colour match you can barely see it.

The bag is 14″ high (from the top of the handle), and is 17″ wide, so there is plenty of room for large knitting projects, your pattern, and all the other bits and pieces that are handy to have close by. I have used my pockets to store a tape measure, stitch markers, a row counter, yarn needle and my glasses. The scarf pattern that I am knitting is the Wheat Scarf from Tin Can Knits. It is part of their Simple Collection, which is a range of free beginner knitting patterns, with step by step tutorials if you get stuck.

 

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The knitting needles are precious to me as they used to belong to my Mother. I’m so thankful that I still have them, along with lots more in different sizes.

The only thing that I would advise with this pattern is to use the fusible fleece that is listed in the supplies needed for this bag. I didn’t have the Pellon fusible fleece that was recommended, just regular quilt wadding, and because I didn’t have the patience to quilt it in place on the fabric, I chose to use some firm iron-on interfacing that I had in my stash. Whilst this has done an o.k job, it’s not ideal and long term I think this bag will sag. Bad choice there and I would definitely recommend using the correct materials for the best result guys!

The fiddliest and most time consuming part of the make is attaching the outer bag to the lining. Because this is a reversible bag the raw edges on both the outer bag and lining bag have to be pressed under 1/4″ and pinned into place before stitching to each other. Usually with a lined bag you can quickly machine stitch the two bags together and simply pull it right side out through a little gap that you have left in the lining. Not in this case. However sometimes it is good to slow down and take your time to ensure a nice neat finish. Careful measuring, cutting and accurate seam allowances gave me a really great result on this bag. Instead of pins, I found it easier to use Wonder Clips for this part of the bag construction.

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Finally the really clever thing about the bag is that you can just hook it through your arm and knit on the go -pure genius!

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Not forgetting some essential accessories..

‘Me Made’ pin badge from Pink Coat Club.

‘Love Knitting’ pin badge from Crafty Pin Up Shop.

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Huge thanks to Very Shannon for this very generous free PDF download. Are you #teamknit or #teamsew ?

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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Sewing for my boys – the Jalie Nico Raglan Tee.

Before I start, I must mention that I am limited with the number of photos that I have to share with you of this project. I did wonder whether or not to even include this as a blog post due to the lack of images, but have decided to go ahead in the hope that despite this, the written post itself might be helpful if you are in the market for a good boys/mens baseball t-shirt pattern.

The reason for the lack of photos is that I made these three t-shirts for my husband and two boys as Christmas presents. Despite being super organised and buying the pattern aaaages ago from Sewessential, in order that I wouldn’t have a last minute rush to make them, I still ended up making them all in the last couple of days before Christmas when everybody was in the house and I was creeping around trying not to get found out. I had no opportunity to photograph them full length without someone spotting me, and as I don’t really think it is fair to pop photos of my family on here, we are just left with a quick little shot that I took of them on the kitchen table before wrapping them up.

It is also worth sticking with this post until the end so that you can see what happened when I washed one of them the first time – despite pre-washing .. oh dear ..

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The pattern is the Jalie Nico Raglan Tee. This is the second time I have sewn a Jalie sewing pattern – last year I made the Cocoon Cardigan as my entry into the Cosy Cardi Challenge, and this is a cardigan that I reach for all the time.  Jalie patterns have an impressive range of sizes on their patterns, 27 on this one in fact, and one of the reasons that I chose this pattern to make for my boys was that I only needed to purchase one pattern to cover the sizing of my 14 yr old, my 20 yr old and my husband. (In fact the smallest size on the pattern is age 2)!

I chose to use some wonderfully soft cotton interlock jersey that I picked up from eBay. I had purchased some recently when I made my Christmas Tilly and the Buttons Frankie t-shirt, and was so impressed with how soft and lovely it was that I returned to the seller to buy some more for these projects. I wanted to keep the main body pieces on all of them white, and then mix and match the colours of the sleeve and neckband pieces.

The pattern gives you three sleeve lengths to pick, and a choice of either a straight or curved hem. I kept all the hems straight, and chose long sleeves (in grey) for my youngest son, and short sleeves (in khaki and brown) for my eldest and husband.

As you might expect with such a large range of sizes, there is a huge measurement chart to go through. I had to grade between sizes for a couple of my tees, but it didn’t take long before long I had three sets of traced out pattern pieces, all with their names scribbled on them so that I didn’t get confused. I also sketched out three little drawings and coloured them in, so that I had a reference on what pieces needed cutting in which colour and for whom!

Although I cut them out all in one session, and they were all ready to go in three neat piles, I made a deliberate decision to only make one at a time, otherwise I knew that I would get muddled up. Time was now limited and I really didn’t need to be unpicking silly mistakes.

The pattern was really easy to follow, and they were a quick make thankfully! Of course I didn’t have to opportunity to check them for size, but kept my fingers crossed that they would fit. To find out what size I needed to cut, I told my husband I was measuring him to get a rough idea for a top that I was going to make for my eldest (they are fairly similar in size) and measured my eldest telling him that I was making a secret top for my husband. Sneaky. I already had my youngest sons measurements from some recent school uniform purchases.

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For some reason, despite the absolute lack of time before Christmas, I still wanted to make handmade gift tags, and made up these little tags to add an even more personal touch. I’m pretty sure this was a waste of time, but I enjoyed making them.

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I’m happy to say that all t-shirts worked out really well and I was really pleased with how they fitted. I would have no problems recommending this pattern, a winner all round!

My husband pointed out that in the 21 years that we have been married, this is the first thing I have ever sewn for him! No need to rush these things hey?

So a great Christmas day was had by all. Hubby made the roasted brussels sprouts with garlic, bacon, pecans and blue cheese and swiftly splattered oil down the front of his t-shirt but no worries, it’ll all be alright when I throw it through the wash. Or will it..

Fast forward to Boxing Day. The light coloured washing goes in, including my husbands grease splattered t-shirt. All good. One hour 15 mins later, the washing comes out a very pretty shade of pink. Eek! Despite pre-washing all my fabrics, the brown sleeves of his new t-shirt ran and ruined the whole wash – his white work shirts and everything! I vaguely remember noticing during the pre-wash on the brown fabric that the water was a bit pink but didn’t think anything of it.

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My beloved pale grey kitty Cocowawa Chestnut Sweater is now also pale pink. Sad times.

So lesson learned guys, sometimes one pre-wash just isn’t enough, and maybe for particularly dark fabrics like this brown one, take a good look at the colour of the water in your machine during the pre-wash and if you do spot any colour, run it through again just to be sure.

Not to worry, I’m pretty sure that with my track record it’ll only be another 21 years before I sew him another, so he won’t have to wait too long..

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sew To Grow Meridan Knit Dress

 

Happy New Year! I do hope that you are all feeling rested after the Christmas break and are ready for everything that 2019 will bring.

My January make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is The Meridan Knit Dress    from Sew To Grow. It’s a cute knit dress with an elasticated waist which I chose to wear on Christmas day, and I couldn’t have been more comfortable.

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Roomy pockets are essential and you can make a feature out of them by using a contrasting fabric.

The fabric I chose is this dramatic scuba as I was really drawn toward the colours and liked the irregular stripes.  I know that I have lots of striped dresses with elasticated waists, but there’s always room for another!

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I particularly like the shape of the neckline at the back, and although I wore it with a cardigan on Christmas day, I can’t wait to wear it when the weather warms up during the Spring so that the back neckline is visible. It’s cute right?

As always the full review is over on the Blogger Network, so I look forward to seeing you all over there. As always many thanks to Minerva Crafts for all the lovely supplies that I used for my Meridan Knit Dress.

If you like this style of easy to wear ‘throw over your head’ dress, then you might want to take a peek at another Sew To Grow dress that I reviewed back in July 2017, The Flatter Me Frock.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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The Persephone Pants and a Freya Top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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A Lined Faux Roman Blind Tutorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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More sun and shadows – whoops!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x