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The Lotta Dress from Tilly and the Buttons.

If you are looking for a swishy dress sewing pattern, then you have certainly come to the right place.

The Lotta Dress from Tilly and the Buttons is one of the easiest dresses that I have ever sewn. Whilst this makes it an enjoyable sewing project for any ability, it is one of the most perfect patterns to introduce dressmaking to a total beginner.

The loose fitting bodice (no darts), elasticated waist and grown-on sleeves make it an absolute doddle to sew, and your choice of swishy skirt length and sleeves mean that you can have your perfect dress sewn up in no time at all.

Image from Tilly and the Buttons

Optional large patch pockets are a cute feature and what’s pretty amazing about this pattern is that it is suitable for woven fabrics or stretchy jersey!

The two versions that I am showing you here are both made with viscose fabric that I purchased from Minerva. I made the bracelet length sleeved midi-length dress in a dark navy and white irregular spot, and the knee length short sleeved version in a red, blue and gold floral.

A huge bonus of this style dress is that it is so easy to fit. I made both of these dresses quite a while back now as these were my pattern tester samples for Tilly and the Buttons. Since then I have lost a little weight and probably come down a good couple of sizes, but the dresses still fit and feel great.

Apart from being no fuss to sew, the grown-on sleeves give you that lovely dropped shoulder feature when you add the sleeves on to them. I love that. My sleeves are admittedly a little long – their intention is to be bracelet length – but of course the length can be whatever you choose.

I like the idea of having elasticated sleeve wrists, and might add these to a future Lotta.

The neckline is finished with a neat facing in the woven version. Adding, understitching and pressing a neckband facing is one of my favourite parts of sewing a woven dress.

I love how the thin elastic at the waist is comfortable to wear and also cinches you in. It also means that you can slip this dress on and off over your head without the need for any fastenings and (more importantly) eat lots of cake without feeling uncomfortable! Ha!

As mentioned before, my red and blue floral version is knee-length and has the short sleeves. The only other difference is that I added in-seam pockets to this version as that was my preference. (Forgot to take close up pics of this – oops). As always, I just used any pocket pattern and added them in the usual way when sewing up the side seams of the dress.

I’m currently working on a jersey version of this pattern which I hope to finish and share with you on Instagram next week. Now that the weather is turning colder I imagine that a jersey Lotta dress will come in very useful.

For more inspiration on this dress search the tag #sewinglotta

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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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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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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