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A quick and easy elasticated skirt

I’m keeping it simple this week.

After a few busy weeks, I decided that I wanted to make a really easy, quick project that didn’t require much concentration. A bit of a palate cleanser.

Turns out this was great timing too, as I chose this as the simpler of the two projects that I wanted to make during the recent #sewingweekender and this one was the only one that I finished that weekend, as I was crazy busy!

Who doesn’t love the comfort of an elasticated skirt, right? Especially when you can show off the vibrant print of a pretty fabric.

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Gold mirror acrylic scissors necklace from my shop.

Talking of the Sewing Weekender, this skirt has been in my mind for a year. At last year’s Sewing Weekender in Cambridge, one of the guest speakers was Juliet Uzor. In case you don’t know, she was the winner of the 2019 Great British Sewing Bee, and as you can imagine we were all crazy excited for her presentation.

Her talk was fun, happy and really enjoyable, (she’s absolutely lovely by the way), and all the time I could not stop admiring her skirt. She was wearing a knee length wax print skirt, I think it was pleated though (not gathered like this one), and it was just beautiful.

Fast forward a year and I thought I would use this cheap, but colourful wax print that I had in my stash to make something similar, and guess what my friends, the gorgeous Juliet just so happens to have a youTube video with a cheeky little tutorial on how to make a skirt with exposed elastic! This is the video that has helped me attach the elastic like this and you can check it out here.

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This fantastic rainbow elastic is again something from my stash. I think it might have been an eBay purchase at some point. I have found it quite tricky to find really wide colourful elastic like this, do you have any suggestions of some good wide elastic retailers? I’d really like some wide striped for more skirts like this.

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The fabric, although pretty is very low quality. I was really disappointed with it. There is definitely some polyester in this, but it’s ok for something like this. I guess you get what you pay for .. However the softness of this particular fabric allowed me to make a softly gathered skirt like this and I shall enjoy using a much better quality wax print fabric to make a more structured pleated skirt another time.

Don’t forget to pop in some simple inseam pockets using any pocket template from an existing pattern or drafting your own. You can skip this of course if you are a beginner and want a more simple version.

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I was undecided about what length I wanted, so opted to cut a midi length, and I can always shorten it. I kind of like this length though, so will leave it like this for now.

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Hope that you are all keeping safe and well, and finding time for a little sewing here and there.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Cocowawa Plum Dress

O.k, we all know that I love a pretty dress and a good ruffle. Throw in a button back and I’m 100% on board!

This is the Plum Dress  from Cocowawa Crafts. It’s a cute little baby-doll dress which has a relaxed fit, choice of lengths, and options to make the sleeveless ruffled version or the 3/4 length sleeves.

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Image from the Cocowawa website

I clearly went for the sleeveless ruffles, and glad that I did, because I have hardly any sleeveless dresses, although to be fair with the lovely dropped shoulder and ruffles they kind of look like little sleeves, which is great for someone like me that prefers to keep their bingo wings covered!

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In terms of sizing, the pattern is designed to be loose fitting. What I was after was something a little less relaxed. So after checking the finished garment measurements and also after reading beautiful Amy’s really helpful review here,  where she also was aiming for this kind of fit, I opted to jump in and make the size 2 bodice and size 1 skirt. My measurements at this time are 36-30-40 (they change all the time – up and down like a yo-yo)!

This worked incredibly well, although it’s very slightly tight around sleeve opening, which will need adjusting next time, but apart from that the bodice fit and the gently gathered skirt is just what I was after.

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The neckline sits a little too high for me, so would also lower that for future makes, probably by a couple of inches. Whilst we are on the subject of the neckline, this is beautifully finished off on the inside with bias binding. I have lots and lots of home made bias binding that I have made with leftover cottons and picked a ditsy pink floral for this dress. I know you can’t see it, but it’s a pretty detail that I will enjoy each time I put it on. Of course you can always use shop bought bias tape too.

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This beautiful cotton poplin is from Crafty Sew and So  and has been in my stash for a few months whilst I waited for the warm weather and the perfect pattern. The fabric combines gorgeous lilacs, lime greens and chestnut browns, and whilst this pic and was taken in the shade (it was a very hot day), I think you can get the idea of how sweet it is.

The pastel pink acrylic button necklace is available from my shop x

As mentioned I absolutely love button-back garments, and this is such a pretty feature on The Plum. I used these cute wooden buttons and lime green thread. After I sewed all the button holes, I realised that I only needed the top two to allow the dress to slip on and off over my head, so the top two are the only working buttonholes, the rest are just buttons sewn on over the top of the uncut buttonholes right through all the layers.

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On to the adorable ruffle sleeves. When I first gathered and attached them, I felt that they were a smidge too wide for me, especially with the poplin having that extra bit of body to it, so I narrowed them down by about 1.5 inches. I simply did this by trimming the long curved edge of the sleeve ruffle by that amount.

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Ooh, I also kept the hem of the skirt horizontal – the actual pattern has a little shaping to the hem.

Not forgetting the pockets of course!

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These pics were taken in the grounds at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. It’s the first time that we have ventured out doing anything like this since lockdown began, and whilst I still feel a little nervous around others, the numbers were strictly controlled by a ticket booking system.

Finally, a bit of fun. When you realise your husband is in the shot too! Ha!

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Fibre Mood Lola

The latest edition of Fibre Mood magazine is available from today (issue 10), and I was lucky enough to receive a preview of the patterns and had the opportunity to choose my favourite and sew it up in time for the launch. *

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Whilst all of the patterns for issue 10 are contained in the magazine, they are available to purchase individually too.

This is the Lola, a dreamy ruffled sleeveless top, with an open back and neck ties, and as soon as I saw the selection for issue 10, this was the one that I was drawn to (although it was a difficult choice….) Regular readers will know that I have this thing for ruffles and ties, and this ticked both boxes!

 

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My fabric choice is the sweetest embroidered floral cotton from Lucky Fashions, and I couldn’t be happier with it. Excellent customer service from them by the way.

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I used the A4 print at home option of the PDF, and foolishly printed it out in it’s original format. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, you will end up with every size, including the cutting lines and stitching lines of each size. As you can imagine this was quite ‘busy’ to look at and pick out the cutting lines that I wanted to trace off, so I highlighted the lines I needed before I traced out my size. If only I had followed the Fibre Mood guidance video here.

The pattern consists of 9 pieces, and is rated by Fibre Mood as a 3/5 in terms of difficulty. This project isn’t for the faint at heart, and is quite challenging to sew, and a fair bit of sewing experience under your belt is necessary I feel. The written instructions and illustrations are good, but sometimes I needed to bring in a bit of my own knowledge to fully understand them. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed sewing this blouse, and was delighted how well it came together.

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The only addition I made was to top stitch above the ruffle, catching in the seam allowance just to make sure that the ruffles behaved themselves and lay nice and flat. I mean, nobody has time for badly behaved ruffles do they! Ha!

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If you think that the blouse is pretty from the front – check out the back! How sweet is the elasticated open back and the neck tie?

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I made a straight size 38, and I think next time that I make this I will need to make a gaping neckline adjustment to the two back pieces where they attach to the neck ties (to allow those pattern pieces to lay more flat). A gaping neckline adjustment is something that I often have to do, and I feel that this would improve the fit for me at the back greatly.

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I hope that you like it as much as I do, it’s the perfect cool top on hot Summer days…

To celebrate each magazine launch, the Fibre Mood website showcases all of the garments that have been made in advance by bloggers from that issue. This is called a Link Party. The link party for this new magazine issue is called Link Party #14 and you can see my blouse along with lots of other inspiring makes from the latest magazine here.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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*This pattern was very kindly gifted to me to sew and share my honest opinions with you today, and this blog post contains affiliate links x

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I Am Patterns Perle ruffle dress

One small benefit of being on lockdown and on a reduced income in our household like many others, is using this time to work through my fabric stash. I can’t really justify spending on fabric at the moment when I have a few pieces at home already.

Whilst rummaging through it last week, I found this lovely soft linen. I’ve had it so long I cannot remember where I bought it from, but I really wanted to use it to make a dress, especially as linen is so comfortable to wear during this warm spell that we are having at the moment.

The pattern that immediately sprung to mind was the I Am Patterns Perle. Isn’t it a pretty pattern? It’s one that I’ve had for a little while now, and luckily I had *just* enough fabric for it. How satisfying to have exactly the right amount of fabric with zero leftover!

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It’s a simple classic wrap dress with a belt tie and ruffles around the neckline/dress front edge and cuffs. I absolutely love this design.

It really is very simple to sew, and if you like gathering then this is a dream! I don’t, but I absolutely LOVE ruffles, so it’s a necessary evil! The most time consuming part of making the dress by far, is evenly gathering the ruffle piece that runs around the neckline and down the front edge of the dress. This strip is about 3.5 metres long (before gathering) and so I sectioned up the dress and the strip and gathered it up in sections to make sure they would be as even as possible. It was totally worth all the effort!

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I finished the edges of the ruffle pieces by using the rolled hem setting on my overlocker. Perhaps not the best thread colour match, maybe a tad too pale, but at times like these you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got, yes? The neat finish of the finished edge was just what I wanted, and I quite enjoyed using my over locker for something different than I usually use it for. For this finish I needed to lower the blade and use 3 threads rather than the usual 4.

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So that’s all well and good, but as this is the first time that I had sewn this pattern I needed to make a few adjustments for me which I will use the next time I make it. Take a deep breath – there are a few ..

Firstly, the sleeves were a little too wide at the cuff for my liking. Luckily I pinned these and tried on before sewing so I was able to taper the sleeve seam from the underarm to the cuff. Nothing major there. I might make them a little shorter next time too.

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I just love this dainty cuff.

The main problem that I found after sewing was the position of the belt ties. This is probably something to do with the fact that I am only 5’2″ but they were WAY too low for me. I understand that the design of the dress wants you to tie the dress with a ‘tucked’ look, but let me show you how low the position was on me ..

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The position of the waist ties needed to be raised by about 6 or 7 inches. Now ideally I would have shortened the pattern at some point above the position of the waist ties before cutting out, but as this was effectively my ‘toile’ it was too late. So to make it fit I had to take drastic measures. I cut off  both the belts and saved the longer belt piece to make a separate loose belt. I sewed up the small openings in the side seams where the original belt would have been threaded through and attached slim ribbons inside that tied the dress from the inside securely before the final wrap and belt. These stop the inside front of the dress from dropping down below the outside cross over, Does that make sense – you know the sort of ribbons you often find inside your dressing gown.

By raising the position of the ‘waistline’ it has meant that the ‘skirt’ section of the dress is very much longer now. Again factor in my height, but I kind of like this length anyway. This of course would have been easy to shorten if I had wanted to.

Whilst not ideal, it fixed the problem, and like I say, I will make adjustments to the pattern piece before cutting next time. The only small thing now is the edge of the front wrap ruffle on the ‘skirt’ where the belt was originally attached is slightly shaped, rather than hanging precisely vertically,  but this is barely noticeable and doesn’t bother me. You might be able to see that slightly shaped ruffle edge on the above mirror photo.

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To stop the v-neck from gaping, I sewed a short length of stitching along the row of existing stitching to keep this neatly in place. I can still pop this on over my head.  You could also use a press stud or something similar.

Necklace layering accessories are the gold mirror acrylic scissors from my shop  and gold roman coin necklace from Missoma.

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Last but not least, the finishing touch for any Lockdown sewing project, are these stunning ‘made in self-isewlation’ labels from the lovely Sally at Modista Sewing  who is selling these cuties with all profits donated to the National Emergencies Trust. She has already raised over £1000!

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I look forward to making more of these beautiful dresses in the future (when I can face all that gathering again)!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Grace Skirt from Simple Sew

I have a few Simple Sew Patterns in my stash, but have never got around to making any of them up until now. I love a pleated skirt or dress, and have finally got around to making the skirt version of this pattern.

The Grace Dress and Skirts pattern  is a combination of dress tops and skirts that can be mixed together or simply made as a gathered or pleated skirt.

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Although I love a dress, I really wanted to make the pleated skirt as I have seen several versions online- especially on the lovely Becky @notes_from_the_sewing_room. Becky has made several stunning Grace Skirts and each time I see them it reminds me that I want one too!

I used a fantasic striped medium weight cotton, it almost has a kind of brushed texture – a bit like pyjamas brushed cotton – but not as soft. It has the perfect structure to hold the pleats and was an absolute bargain from Milton Keynes market last year some time. I still have some left and am hoping I have enough for a dress!

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I noticed that the back of the pattern envelope doesn’t give you the fabric requirements for the skirts only. Just the dresses. This didn’t matter to me, as I was using fabric from my stash that I had lots of, but might be disappointing if you were purchasing specifically for this pattern. I’m annoyed that I didn’t measure how much I used, but if you are unsure just lay the pattern pieces out on the floor and measure the length that you would need.

I also see that in the notions, the length of the skirt zip isn’t specified either, just the zip length needed for the dress. I have a bag of old recycled (ripped out of old clothes)! zips and just grabbed an 8 or 9″ that was the best match. It isn’t an invisible zipper, but that doesn’t matter to me.

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My teething problems with this pattern continued as I followed their method of inserting the in-seam pockets. I have never come across this method and didn’t get on with it. I unpicked and started again using the standard method that I always use. I decided to cut the stripes of the pocket in a vertical direction to save me from having to pattern match those stripes!

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Unfortunately the pocket placement is far too low for me, but to be fair this is a usual adjustment that I have to make – I don’t know why I didn’t check this before stitching. Tut tut.

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On the plus side, the design of the skirt is lovely. The pleats are really great and the fit on the waist is spot on. I wonder if the amount of ‘ poufiness’ that the pleats add to my hip width is a little unflattering on my pear shape, the jury is still out on that one. Anyhow, it is a skirt that I will wear in warm weather and cold.

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Is it even a new make if you haven’t had a swish in it?

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So, all in all, a few teething problems with this one, but nothing that couldn’t be sorted, and there’s no denying that there are some lovely versions of the skirts and dresses online.

Oh by the way, the red acrylic heart button necklace is available in my shop (also available in blue)! x

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A classic Linden Sweatshirt

I’m quite enjoying sewing through my stash at the moment, are you doing the same? If I’m honest, I just can’t afford new fabric at the moment, luckily I have a quite a few fabrics that will keep me going for a while.

One fabric that has been knocking around in my cupboard for a year or two is this wonderful lilac and brown wide striped knit. As with quite a few things that I have been sewing lately, this too was a great find from a fabric swap. I *think* I might have picked it up at the Sewing Weekender. Thank you to whoever donated it! The moment I saw it I always intended it to be a Linden.

The Linden Sweatshirt  from Grainline Studio is a classic pattern that most of us will be familiar with. I have made a couple of versions in the past which I wear a great deal around the house, and as they are on their last legs I thought it was about time that I made another. Also I don’t think I have ever written a blog post on this great pattern, so it’s about time.

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This image is from http://www.grainlinestudio.com

For those unfamiliar the pattern gives you the choice of two versions. View A is a classic sweatshirt with long sleeves and ribbing at the neckline, cuffs and hem. View B is slightly shorter in the body, it has short sleeves too and only requires ribbing at the neckband.

I made view A and didn’t use ribbing as I didn’t have any in my stash that was the right colour, so just went right ahead and used the main fabric as it had a nice amount of stretch in it. Due to the width of the stripes I was able to ‘fussy cut’ these pieces to make sure they were all solid brown.

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Talking about stripes, although the long side/arm seams are easy to stripe match, the curved shape of the sleeve head means that stripes along the armhole seam won’t often match. On this seam I always try to match at least one of the most prominent stripes and let the rest do what they want! In the case of my sweatshirt, I chose to match up one of the brown stripes. As it has turned out, that brown stripe is matched up perfectly along the bottom edge of the stripe, leaving a ‘step’ in the matching along the top edge. On reflection I perhaps should have matched up the top edge of the stripe for it to look a little better, but not to worry, I’m not going to lose sleep over it! What is your opinion on  pattern matching guys? ‘Team perfection’ or ‘Team whatever’?

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On a plus note, the back arm seams match wonderfully!! Ha! Maybe I should wear it backwards!

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The neckline is a soft scoop, and is a little wider than a lot of my rtw sweatshirts. I like the fit, but I have heard others mention that the neck opening is too wide for their liking.

I left the length of the sleeves as they were – which is something that I rarely do, as my arms aren’t very long. I like this length of sleeve on a cosy sweatshirt, and I also like the sleeve width – not too tight, not too loose.

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Lilac is still such a hot colour, and whilst it isn’t a shade that everybody can wear, I feel that the brown stripes are so complimentary. How could I not accessorize this top with my original lilac scissors necklace, available in my shop.

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So whilst it’s great to talk about all the new and exciting patterns out there, it’s also good to re-visit the oldies but goldies like this. Classic wardrobe staples that you can go back to time and time again are great aren’t they?

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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My super comfy Safiya Trousers

My second make from the latest Tilly Walnes book Make it Simple  are the most lovely pair of wide legged cropped trousers, and I think if I had to choose a favourite pattern from the book right now it would be these.

The trousers are made just using two pattern pieces and don’t need any fastenings such as zips or buttons because the waistband is elasticated ..Oh joy .. and it’s cleverly designed to have a flat fronted waistband (aint nobody need any bulk in that area)!  with the gathers at the sides and back. They are super easy to make and a fairly quick sew too – you could have these whipped up in a morning or an afternoon.

The book also includes the extra pattern pieces and instructions on how to make them into a jumpsuit or a wrap top playsuit too!

 

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At the moment I am sewing just using fabric from my stash, and I think if I remember right that this was a purchase from Barry’s in Birmingham. I would describe it a a navy blue linen look polyester – so not the nicest composition I suppose – but the drape and texture is lovely and as long as it isn’t a boiling hot day, where this fabric wouldn’t be the most comfortable to wear,  I feel for the most part it’s a lovely pairing with this pattern.

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I really enjoyed making this last week as part of a sew-along with Tilly over on her Instagram.  Whilst we are all staying safe at home it’s a lovely thing to join in with a sew-along, and this pattern was broken down into 5 easy parts for you to sew along with each day all week. She used a beautiful soft lilac linen for her version.

The only change that I made to the pattern before cutting out was to shorten the length of the leg by 4cm. I knew I would need them to be shorter and this was a starting guess. At 5’2″ I always have to shorten the leg on trousers and even with this alteration I still needed to shorten the length of the finished trousers by a further 7cm to give me the cropped length that I was after, whilst still retaining the 2.5cm allowance for turning up.

Lets talk pockets. The optional pockets on these trousers are massive and brilliant. They are in-seam pockets which are sewn in the normal way and then the top edge of the pocket is caught in when you turn and sew the top of the trousers down to form the waistband. Very clever. I chose to use a leftover piece of bottle green floral viscose to use for the pocket pieces as this always gives a nice pop of colour.

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Look how deep they are!

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Finally I quickly made up a fabric belt and belt loops for a bit of extra pazazz! This is not in the pattern, and you could easily draw this rectangular shape out yourself,  but I just used the template for the belt from another pattern ( my Stylearc Clare Pant pattern).

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There are so many fantastic versions to gain inspiration from online, check out the hashtag #sewingsafiya to have a drool.

What more can I say about these lovely trousers that hasn’t already been said? Ten out of ten.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Red mirror acrylic scissors necklace with Swarovski crystal available from my shop.  x

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The Indigo Add-On Pattern

It’s no secret that I love the Indigo smock dress and top pattern from Tilly and the Buttons.  So last week when they released this add-on pack I was all over it!

It is designed to be used with the original Indigo pattern, and enables you to add short sleeves (with or without a ruffle), a gathered tier at the bottom of the dress making it into a swishy midi dress, and, my personal favourite, the option to give it a button back – how dreamy! The above two pictures are from the Tilly and the Buttons website.

Sew up your dream combination using a mixture of the old pattern and the new to create your perfect dress/top. All in all, using both patterns, you have a total of 48 versions that you can create!

I knew in a heartbeat that I wanted to make the button back version. I also wanted to try those pretty ruffled short sleeves. I kept the skirt length as the regular original length, and also gathered the skirt in the standard way rather than using the exposed ruffle as I thought this might be too fussy with the ruffled sleeves.

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My fabric choice is this pretty ‘Beautiful Botanicals’ viscose from Material Girl Laura. It is a stunning print featuring green, cream and lilac leaves and flowers on a dark navy (almost black)  background, and at a very reasonable £3.99 per half metre. I particularly loved how the lilac flowers perfectly matched my acrylic scissors necklace. I know it’s difficult to see here and due to the bright sunshine those tiny flowers look a little grey but they are a soft lilac irl.

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Lilac acrylic necklace is available in my shop here.

I enjoyed sewing the pattern up immensely. As always with Tilly patterns, it was simple to sew, and the written instructions and pictures were spot on!

I couldn’t wait to make the button back bodice. Although it is an ‘over the head’ dress, I still decided to stitch and sew proper button holes – you could easily just sew on the buttons creating a fake button placket if you liked. They don’t need to be functional. I must admit I think I may have sewn my buttonholes a smidge too far in from the edge, and to make sure it lay nice and neat I actually ran a line of top stitching along that edge to hold it down, which actually makes the whole time spent sewing the button holes a bit of a waste but hey ho! it’s all good fun!

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Check out the new sleeve design too – short sleeves with a gentle (optional) ruffle. They’re so cute!

Of course there are pockets, nice deep ones too! My standard pocket adjustment on this dress is to raise the height of the pocket by 2″.

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There’s very little more to say about this beautiful pattern that hasn’t already been said! I wrote a blog post about my original version here  if you want to take a peek, and have made 3 or 4 versions of it since then.

This pattern was very kindly gifted to me, with no obligations to share in any way, but I wanted to show you how lovely it is and of course all opinions on the pattern are very much my own.

Look after yourselves, stay safe, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Floral Coconut Pyjamas

Did you notice that Cocowawa Crafts  launched a new pyjama pattern last week?

The Coconut Pjs  are a sweet pyjama set, and I am loving them!

I will say from the start that I had the thrill of pattern testing this sewing pattern, but all thoughts on this blog post are my own and I am under no obligation to share anything, but I really wanted to!

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The feminine design gives you lots of variations. There are neckline options, as well as sleeve and leg choices. Decisions decisions ..

For my version I chose to use this beautiful floral rayon challis  in the navy blue colourway. It really is stunning, but did shrink a little as this fabric type usually does. The colours are super vibrant and you know that I absolutely love florals!

As always with Cocowawa the pattern was easy to follow and fun to make. For this version I made the gathered/ruffled neckline. This is achieved by simply sewing in a casing to the inside of the neckline and running some elastic through it to create your desired amount of gather. I used a slim satin ribbon for my casing and clear elastic to give it a nice soft gather, but whatever elastic you have is absolutely fine and if you don’t have ribbon you can use bias binding. How lovely would it be to make your own bias binding from any leftover matching fabric?

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The sleeves (short or long) are also elasticated in the same way.

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For the matching trousers I chose to make the longer length version. I needed to shorten them a little ( which I always have to do with trousers as I am only 5’2″), but the good news is they have pockets! Hooray!

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If you don’t have enough fabric in your stash to make a matching set, then you could also just whip up just the trousers and wear them to bed with a t-shirt. I did this with a small length of viscose that I have had for ages, and I love having an extra spare pair of pyjama trousers for when this set is in the wash. Imagine making these as summer ‘daywear’ trousers too in a cool natural fabric worn with flip flops when the weather gets hotter…

There’s nothing to stop you from wearing the top as a blouse too of course. Again using a leftover from my stash I have made the long sleeved version which I will wear as a blouse – I must get some photos of this and will share over on my Instagram  when I do.

I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to make these pyjamas as they feel so special to wear. I have discovered that nice pj’s are something that make me feel happy and so I expect to be making many more of these (whether for pj’s or day wear).

Thank you to Ana from Cocowawa for another super cute design, and you might be interested to know that at the time of writing this she is having a big sale over on her website (linked earlier).

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Take care sewing friends, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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A Tabitha T-shirt Dress

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

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

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

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

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Red mirror acrylic scissors necklace from my shop x

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathy x

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