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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

 

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The Jarrah Sweater from Megan Nielsen Patterns.

The Jarrah  is a great basic sweatshirt pattern with a little bit extra. It is a loose fitting, drop shoulder sweater featuring a crew or funnel neck, two sleeve options and four different hemlines.

As soon as this pattern was released last year, I was desperate to make view C, which has the tie feature at the waist.

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The supplies for this sweater were bought a few months ago during a visit to The Sewing Cafe. I spotted the pattern on the shelf and grabbed it straight away, along with this gorgeous mustard modal jersey and cute blue striped ribbing. I absolutely love this jersey, the quality is exceptional and it was a dream to sew with.

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Dark grey acrylic scissors necklace available from my shop x

Although this is an intentionally loose fitting sweater, I noticed that the sizing chart on the back of the pattern showed a large amount of ease (approx 8″ size difference on the actual bust measurement to that of the finished garment), although this felt like quite a lot, I made the size according to my bust measurement (size 10), and although roomy, it’s still fine I think.

I did make some adjustments, as I could see that I needed to make some changes to the pattern pieces before cutting out. I almost always need to shorten sleeves, and found that I wanted to with this pattern too. I shortened the sleeve length by 2″. There were no ‘lengthen/shorten’ markings on the sleeve pattern piece that I was using (for view A and C), so I just drew my own!

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I knew that the cuffs weren’t going to be tight enough for me either ( I have small wrists), so I also adjusted them by 1″ and tapered the sleeve pattern piece accordingly.

I’m so glad that I used this blue striped ribbing for the neck band and cuffs. I love how this colour works with the mustard and also with my jeans, which if I’m honest is probably what I will always wear this top with!

The ties were a little fiddly to sew, I must admit, and I really took my time on this part to make sure I made it as neatly as I could. The fabric pressed really nicely and this helped a lot – as did the use of lots of pins!

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There’s a really handy blog post on the Megan Nielsen site which give you lots of tips when sewing the tie hem on view C. There are a couple of different ways of sewing the tie ends, and I opted to follow their instructions to make the tie with the mitered/mitred (how do you spell that)?!  corners.

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I should say that these pictures show the sweater a little creased. We took these (outside) photos after a 1 hour car ride, and I think that sitting with the seatbelt over me for that amount of time and then wearing a cross body bag have meant that it’s not quite as smooth as it looked when I finished sewing it and was admiring it on my dressform. Hope you can see past the creases!

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Love the dropped shoulders

So all in all a great top. I have seen lots of lovely versions over on Instagram. Search #MNjarrah for inspiration. I’m planning to make the regular simple sweatshirt (view A) next as I have heard that this turns out really well.

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Do you have a favourite ‘go-to’ sweatshirt pattern?

 

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Crochet Teardrop Plant Hanger

Something a little different from me this week – some crochet!

Whilst browsing on Pinterest just recently, I spotted a few images of cute crochet plant hangers, and instantly knew that I wanted to make some. I have a bit of a thing for plant hangers – below are a couple of types that I have made previously – a cute little pair of fabric ones using a free pattern from Jennifer Jangles, and a macrame hanger which I followed a youTube tutorial to make.

 

So after a little research, I decided on the pattern that I wanted to try. It’s this pattern here  from an Etsy seller called Crochet Affair. The pattern was only £3.44, and the images from the seller and also those uploaded by satisfied customers made this the pattern that I wanted to go for.

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This is the pattern image that I fell in love with from the Crochet Affair pattern available on Etsy.

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I’m happy to say that the pattern is super easy to follow, (I’m a beginner crocheter),and is simply printed out on 2 pages.  I did have to look up the single crochet decrease stitch – although there is a written explanation on how to achieve this stitch – but a quick look on youTube confirmed that I was doing it right!

The first version that I tried was using some James C Brett ‘Noodles’ yarn that I picked up in my local wool shop. It was the perfect neutral shade (N8), lovely and soft to work with and stitched up perfectly using a 6mm hook.

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It was a little smaller than I was expecting, measuring approx 12cm from the top of the hanging hoop to the bottom, but actually this is exactly the measurements that the designer describes, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by it’s size at all..

The pattern is designed to display an air plant – but you can fill it with whatever you like! For my original version I popped in this small artificial succulent, but will look out for an air plant when I’m out and about, as I think this would be so pretty.

After this, I wanted to try a larger size. For this I used some hoooked zpaghetti yarn left over from a previous project. I can’t remember which shade as I don’t have the label any more, but it’s another neutral shade. To accommodate this thicker yarn I used a large 10mm hook.

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Again, no worries when stitching up, and it came up nice and large compared to the fairly small original. This one measures approx 30 cm from the top of the hanging loop to the bottom. I haven’t settled on a final hanging place for this one, but will probably ask my husband to fit a hook to the ceiling and will hang it in the same way as I did with the macrame plant hanger pictured earlier.

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The only small thing that I found was that my stitch count on round 10 was different to the stitch count on the pattern. This won’t mean anything if you don’t have the pattern, but according to the pattern after round 10 you should have 46 stitches. I had 41. Not sure where the mistake is, but despite this difference, my work looked great and there were no obvious mistakes, I am really pleased with the teardrop shape of this cute plant  holder.

So, to round up, a great pattern suitable for all. It takes about an hour to stitch up so not long at all, and I think it’s pretty cute. I also tried a small version with a mixture of two yarn colours and this worked out really pretty.

Hope you like this crochet review and that it makes a change from the usual sewing talk, take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A pair of cosy Margot Pyjamas

Despite having made all sorts of grand plans to get lots of sewing done over the Christmas break, it didn’t really happen.

I think a mixture of tiredness after such a hectic couple of months really caught up with me and that combined with a nasty dose of coughs and colds in our house made the last two or three weeks a bit slow to say the least!

One item that I did manage to whip up though was a pair of Tilly and the Buttons Margot Pyjamas. These are a pyjama trouser pattern from Tilly’s first dressmaking book Love at First Stitch.

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I have made several patterns from this book before, but never these pyjamas, and boy! am I going to make up for it from now on!

They are the simplest pattern to sew, only having two pattern pieces, so they are very quick to make and I am really really chuffed with how they have turned out. I absolutely love cosy pyjamas in the Winter months so these are certainly something that I will LIVE in and I couldn’t be happier!

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The fabric that I used is a brushed cotton which I bought from Barry’s in Birmingham a couple of years ago. I adore the tropical print on the navy background and this design makes a lovely change from the traditional tartan/plaid pattern or novelty prints that you can find more readily in  brushed cottons. (That being said, I am desperate now for a plaid pair).

The instructions are brilliant and accompanied by superb photographs, so even an absolute beginner could easily manage this project. Basically you are just sewing up the leg seams, folding over at the waist to create a casing for your drawstring, hemming  and you’re done! I decided that I wanted to have an elasticated waist, so simply added some elastic into the drawstring channel instead of a drawstring cord. I still wanted to have a pretty bow at the front to replicate the drawstring look, so I grabbed the brightest ribbon from my stash and quickly stitched it in place at the centre front for decoration. I’m glad I did this as it really finishes off the trousers and gives them a pop of colour.

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Faux ribbon drawstring attachment and don’t forget to add a garment label if you have one!

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The only adjustment that I made to the pattern was to shorten the leg length. I’m 5’2″ so this is usually something that I have to do. I took 4.5 inches off the leg length. On reflection this might have been a tad too much as when it came to shortening them I only used the teeny tiniest hem (after overlocking the raw edge), so I think that I might add a little back next time so that I have more to play with when I am hemming them. I like the idea of adding piping to the bottom of the trouser legs another time too…

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Rainbow overlocking achieved by using 4 different Autumnal thread colours

So despite a slow start to the new year in terms of sewing, this one’s a goodie and will be a much worn part of my wardrobe for the next 3 or 4 months until the weather warms up!

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Papercut Patterns Sigma Skirt

The run up to Christmas this year has been particularly busy, which I’m so grateful for as a small business. But there’s always something in the back of my head which tells me that I still want to sew a new dress for Christmas day. I kind of ruled out the dress this year and decided that if I made a skirt it would be quicker to make and easier to fit, so a skirt is what I have gone for.

I don’t tend to go for novelty prints at Christmas, but may be inclined to make something a bit more dressy, or at least a garment made in festive colours, but this year I simply wanted to make something using fabric and a pattern from my stash, and something that I could enjoy wearing on any day of the year!

My fabric choice is a wonderful green floral cotton twill that I bought from Sew Me Sunshine  quite a while ago. I only had 1 metre, so it was always going to be a skirt – but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go for another Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt, which would have been amazing in this fabric, or step away from that and make something different. I went for something different. This fabric might be out of stock by now, but if so, then I’m sure that Harriet has lots of pretty alternatives.

The pattern that I went for is the Sigma skirt/dress from Papercut Patterns. I have made this pattern once before, but made the dress version. I blogged about it here  and this was a blog post that I wrote for Minerva back in 2017. This pattern makes a skirt or a dress with optional skirt gathers

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The skirt was a breeze to make. I made a straighforward size medium with no adjustments other than to lengthen the skirt by 8cm (exactly what I had to do with the dress when I made it) – as it’s really quite a short skirt/dress. (I’m 5’2″ for reference).

Shaping for the skirt is provided by waist darts at the back, and sweet little gathers at either side at the front waist. This almost gives it a subtle tulip shape and this is one of my favourite silhouettes. Also it has pockets! This fabric has the perfect amount of weight/structure to show that gathered feature beautifully, and I used the same fabric for the pocket bags rather than opting for a lighter weight fabric and there is no bulk. Happy days.

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I love that this fabric has a little bit of two way stretch, which means that the fitted waistband is always comfortable and hopefully will accommodate lots of cheese and cracker eating on Christmas day!

It has a simple invisible/concealed zip at the back as you might expect.

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I’m looking forward to wearing this at Christmas and beyond. For the photos I kept it simple with a plain white long sleeved tee, but the vibrant colours work well with some of the brightly coloured jumpers and cardigans that I have in my wardrobe, which should make me reach for it lots.

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  • Mint green cotton reel necklace is from my shop.
  • White long sleeved tee is an old RTW
  • Trainers are Converse.

As we approach the end of the year, I would like to wish you all the best for the New Year. Happy Christmas if this is something that you celebrate, and thank you for sticking with me over here on the blog. I realise that I have posted a little less frequently whilst I have been concentrating on getting my jewellery business up and running, so thank you for your patience ( and for those of you that have kindly placed an order), and I look forward to seeing you here on the blog a little more regularly in the New Year!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Felt Mince Pie Bunting Tutorial

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

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

You will need

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what it should look like now.

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

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

Next, the holly leaves and finally the berries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ivy Pinafore from Jennifer Lauren Handmade.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Secret Pyjamas Brooch can be found in my shop.

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

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

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

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

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The hat was an improvement on the last one!

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

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

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

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

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Again the tabard. Hmmmm. *shakes head*

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

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

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

Kathy x

 

 

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How to customise a top for Halloween using heat transfer vinyl

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

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

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

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

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

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For my sweatshirt project I needed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Et voila! How easy was that!

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

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x