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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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My Colette Patterns Moneta #monetaparty dress

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I was so excited in January when I first read about the #monetaparty challenge. I had owned this pattern for a while and it was certainly very high up on my ‘things to make’ list, but this gave me the nudge that I needed to start planning a very special dress. The party is hosted by Colette Patterns with the fabulous trio of talented sewing bloggers who are Elle from Sew Positivity , Rachel from Rach against the Sewing Machine and Abigail from Sew Abigail I know the girls have been working on this for months and must have put in so much hard work for this to be the success that it is.

Initially I wanted to make the dress using some fabric already in my stash to get an idea of its construction before I started on my competition entry. I knew it was going to be a lovely dress to make as I had read so many positive reviews on it and I wasn’t disappointed. I made this trial dress up using some scuba fabric that I already owned – I wrote a blog on this Moneta dress here .  Although the scuba  was slightly heavier than a regular jersey ( and this meant I had to shorten the length of the finished dress by quite a bit), I was thrilled with the result and it will definitely be a dress I will wear all the time!

Back to the #monetaparty dress. I cannot tell you how long I have spent on the internet researching the perfect jersey for this dress. Literally hours… It had to be right. Eventually I found the PERFECT party jersey. It is an adorable nude jersey with a black lace design. Oh my goodness I could have cried. There’s more.. the black lace design is flocked with glitter. Yes flocking and glitter. I need to sit down.

 

It was really hard to show you the glittery gorgeousness of the fabric in the still photos so hopefully this video will give you a better idea!

Fabric pre-washed and glitter still intact thankfully, I set about making up the dress. Although I had made it before I was nervous to cut into such a pretty fabric, you sewists will know exactly what I mean. No need to have worried of course, it came together beautifully. This pattern is perfect for a beginner, lots of help, advice and information online. It sews up quickly – especially if you have an overlocker, but this is not essential, you can use your regular sewing machine with no problems if you prefer. I love gathering the waist using the elasticated shirring technique and will use this method for sure in the future for gathers. It also has pockets. Say no more.

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Shirring the waist with elastic ensures neat and even gathers every time!
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Love the low back neckline. The neckline edge is simply turned over and stitched using a twin needle, simple – no need for facing or bias on this design.

 

The  pattern was true to size, and needed no alterations at all.

I am a massive jersey fan now, so easy to work with – no fraying has got to be a winner. It’s so comfortable to wear and doesn’t need ironing. Happy days.

 

As I publish this post the entries for the #monetaparty are still being added and I am thoroughly enjoying seeing so many versions of such a pretty dress. The sewing community is such a talented and friendly group to be part of and it’s a pleasure to be a part of this wonderful challenge. I must confess to being a little bit in love with this pattern, hope you don’t mind it taking over my blog this month!

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Thanks also to Mr Sew Dainty, dragged out during #stormdoris to take pictures, and then on at least two other occasions until I was happy with the photos. Oh dear.

Do let me know your thoughts on the Moneta dress. Are you taking part in the party? Good luck!

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Easy Single Fold Continuous Bias Binding Tape Tutorial

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I love a bit of handmade bias. I have made lots and lots of it over the years. Up until recently they were all for dressmaking and accessories. But last week I used some handmade bias to bind the edge of my first handmade quilt – blog to follow. Whilst it is fairly easy to make by just cutting diagonal strips of fabric and sewing them all together, there is an easy way to make a long continuous strip simply with just two seams of sewing and a bit of clever marking out and cutting. Let me show you how!

Firstly, for this method to work, your fabric piece must be perfectly square. So measure carefully as if you are just a little out it just won’t work. My starting square of fabric measured 20″ square. Next step is to make a little mark on each of the four edges of the square. Just a teeny tiny mark that is so small it will stay inside the seam allowances when sewn. I marked a little ‘A’ on both the vertical edges, and a little ‘B’ on the top and bottom horizontal edges.

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Next, cut your square diagonally making 2 triangles.

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This is where you are glad that you have marked your fabric edges. Place both ‘A’ edges right sides together and pin in place. As always when using triangular pieces you will have a triangular point sticking out at each corner edge. Just place your fabric centrally on top of each other and don’t worry about these little sticky out points (technical term right there).

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Take your fabric to your sewing machine and sew along this edge using a small seam allowance of approx 1/4″. Press this seam open.

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You should now have what my 12 year old son reliably informs me is a parallelogram shape!

Now to decide on how wide you want your binding strip to be. I want to finish up with 1″ single fold bias binding. Therefore I will need to my strip to measure twice this (2″) when first cut.

Measure out your desired width (in my case 2″) and draw lines of this width along the long edge of the parallelogram. Make sure you are doing this on the wrong side of the fabric. See picture below. You will be able to get several rows out of one piece of fabric. Almost certainly you will be left with an excess strip which is not quite wide enough (seen at the bottom of the photo below). This will be a small amount of waste that can’t be used.

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Turn your fabric over now and place the two edges marked ‘B’ together. At this point all the lines should match up perfectly. But not for long!

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Right, this is the tricky bit. You will need to shift your fabric pieces so that the the rows are offset by one. Please refer to the photo below to help you. Basically you will have a sticking out piece of fabric at the top and bottom of your piece now. It doesn’t lay flat nicely now but don’t worry about it – although it feels wrong it is right!

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Pin these two edges right sides together. You are going to sew along this edge using a small 1/4″ seam allowance again so make sure that your lines will still match up when this seam has been sewn. A good way to check if your lines will match up when sewn is to pop a pin in the line on one side at 1/4″ from the edge and see if it come through the line on the other side.

Take it to the sewing machine and sew along your pinned edge using your 1/4″ seam allowance. This can be quite tricky as the fabric will not lay flat, it just feels wrong. Stick with it, it will be o.k!

After you have sewn the seam you will notice that your fabric will lay flat again. Take it to the iron and press the seam open as you did before.

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Now the fun bit! Here you will see why it was important to offset your drawn lines by one. You will now cut along the lines you have drawn in order to get one long continuous piece of bias tape. Take care to only cut one layer of fabric as you go – it’s easy to cut the fabric underneath by mistake.

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Hopefully you can see that shifting your fabric you almost get a spiral effect as you are cutting it. Had you left your lines all matching up and not offset by one you would have just ended up with lots of loops when you cut it out. I hope this makes sense it is a little difficult to explain. I really think the photographs should help more than my waffle!

Out of the 20″ square that I started with I managed to get 200 inches of 2″ wide tape! You could leave it like this of course, or follow the next step to make it into pressed single fold tape.

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In order to make it into 1″ single fold bias tape I ran it through my bias tape maker with the iron and there you have it!

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I hope that you will have a go at making this. Do let me know how you get on! After making this tape I used it to finish off my #2017sve gift. Look out later in the month for a tutorial on the secret handmade gift that I made using this bias!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

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Grainline Hemlock Tee Pattern Review

It’s so cold here at the moment, I must admit that although I am a skirt and dress girl all the way, the temperature has forced me into my jeans and jumpers rather more than usual.

Bored with always wearing the same tops I decided to make a much overdue pattern that I have wanted to sew for ages. It’s the Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studios. Better still it’s absolutely free – the lovely guys at Grainline will kindly send you a free download if you sign up to receive the newsletters on their website here . It’s a cute slouchy long sleeved tee, one size fits all, designed to be worn loose and perfect for  drapey knit fabrics.

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The PDF printed out beautifully, lovely clear instructions, measurements, cutting layouts and tips for sewing with knits accompany the simple pattern pieces themselves. The pattern itself only consists of a front piece, a back piece, a sleeve and a neck band. Simple. I also had fun cutting this one out when I rediscovered a forgotten guillotine that my husband has in the office. I will definitely use this again when cutting out my PDF’s.

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Because of the slippery, stretchy nature of the jersey knit I was using I decided to use my rotary cutter and mat to cut out the pattern pieces. This is nice and quick and I love how neat the fabric cuts out using this technique. Also just to mention as this is a one size only pattern there is no pattern tracing to your size necessary- again a time saving winner!

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I found that using lots of pins to keep things in place helped me lots with this project. Jersey is notoriously stretchy and also the cut edges have a tendency to curl over a little so use as many pins as you can to help you keep things secure. I chose to use my ball  point pins so that there would be no damage to the fibres of the jersey.

This top was a dream to sew. So quick to make I couldn’t believe it. I did refer to the Grainline Studios tutorial before I started here and one thing in particular from this that I found helpful and used in my make were the tips regarding the neckband. I think I might have struggled if I hadn’t used the techniques recommended in this tutorial.

I used my overlocker/serger throughout this project. Again such a timesaver, and I love any excuse to use it! It coped with the jersey wonderfully. No stretching, nothing.

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To finish off the neck band, sleeves and bottom hem I used my fancy new twin needle (ball point) on my regular sewing machine. Again I was so pleased with the result, although I was a little unclear as to whether the twin line of stitching should sit below the neck band seam or whether to stitch is so that the twin lines of stitching ‘straddled’ the neck band seam. In the end I opted to sew just below the seam line and I’m happy with how neat and finished this makes the neck line look. I don’t think it would have mattered if I had chosen the other option either. Just a preference I guess. Any way this gives a really professional finish to your work.

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I do know that I will be sewing this top again for sure! The grey marl fabric that I used was only £2 from Stuarts Fabrics on Leicester Market, and what with the pattern being free this was a real bargain top!

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Love the relaxed fit and the dropped shoulders.

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Just to mention a couple of things that I found useful for this project:

  • Ball point pins
  • Gutermann polyester thread, great for knits
  • Ball point twin needle

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And before I go, here’s one for the cat lovers amongst you!img_1007

I love, love, love this top and can’t wait to make more. I would thoroughly recommend it to any beginner because of its simplicity and also how quickly it comes together.

I look forward to making the Scout Tee by Grainline Studios which I recently purchased but as this is a short sleeve I may wait until the weather warms up a bit. I must admit I like the look of the Moss skirt too – am definitely interested in sewing more Grainline projects soon!

Have you made the Hemlock Tee or any other Grainline patterns that you would recommend? I’d love to hear your thoughts..

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Quilted Fabric Thread Catcher Tutorial

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I’m so pleased to share this make with you all. Such a pretty little fabric basket that could be used for a number of other uses, and as usual with me – fairly quick to make using small pieces of fabric.

You will need:

  • 2  coordinating pieces of  fabric. Out of each piece of fabric you will cut 2 rectangles measuring 8″ x 10″
  • Quilting wadding (batting), or medium to heavy weight interfacing. From this you will cut 2 rectangles measuring 8″ x 10″
  • Pins
  • Fabric scissors or a rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen (not essential you could use an ordinary pen or pencil if you are careful).
  • Ruler
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board

Before you start it is always a good idea to iron your fabric. This ensures that your fabric pieces are going to be nice and neat and a perfect size.

Cut out the 2 pieces of fabric which you have chosen to be your outer bag, the 2 pieces of fabric which you have chosen for your lining fabric and the 2 pieces of wadding or interfacing.

To make your quilting stitches neat, you will need to take your 2 pieces of wadding and mark out a diagonal grid pattern. I started by marking this out using a vanishing fabric marker pen, however my lines disappeared more quickly than I wanted so I decided to use a regular pen for this. Take care if you choose this method that your pen lines will not visible through the fabric.

You will also notice that I marked out these lines using an 45 degree angle. Do not just draw them corner to corner as this will result in uneven and wonky diamond shapes when you stitch it. I marked one line first and then used the width of my ruler to make even parallel rows of lines thereafter.

If you are using iron on interfacing, you will not need to do this. Simply iron your interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric pieces which are going to be the outer bag pieces.

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Take one of the wadding pieces and place it on top of the wrong side of one of the fabric pieces which will be the outside bag. Pin in place. Repeat for the other wadding piece and outside bag piece.

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Take these pieces to your machine and stitch along all of these lines. Take care not to miss any out!

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Continuing with these pieces, place them right sides together and stitch around both sides and along the bottom edge (leaving the top edge open). I used a 3/8″ seam allowance. Take care if you are using a directional fabric that you are sewing it the right way up!

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Press the seams open as well as you can. This is a bit awkward and I used my tailors ham/sleeve pressing roll for this. Next you need to pinch the bottom corners in order to make your bag stand up nicely. Pinch each bottom corner to make a triangular shape and pin. Measure 1.5″ from the point and draw a line across at this point. Repeat this for the other corner. This is hard to explain, I hope the photographs help you to understand this.

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Take to the sewing machine and sew along the lines you have marked. Cut away the excess, leaving a small seam allowance.

 

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Great! Then you can turn the bag right sides out.

To make the lining bag, place the two lining pieces right sides together and sew along both sides and along the bottom edge – but this time leave a gap of approximately 3″ along the bottom edge. This gap should be large enough for you to pull your bag through at the end. Again be careful if your fabric is directional – think about how it will lay when it is made up and which way up it will sit when the lining is rolled over to the outside, and choose what will be your top edge and bottom edge accordingly. If your fabric has no directional print you don’t need to worry about this.

When you have done this you need to pinch both bottom corners just like you did with the outer bag, pin, stitch and trim excess. Again if you can press the seams open at this stage it will look neater when it is finished.

Place the outer bag inside the lining bag. The right sides of each bag should be facing each other. Pin all the way around the top edge and take it to the machine and stitch all the way around this edge.

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Turn the bag over and you will see the 3″ gap that you left open when you made the lining bag. Gently turn the bag ‘right side out’ by pulling the outer bag through this hole.

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Now it’s time to close the opening in the lining bag. Pin the opening closed and either machine stitch the opening as close to the edge as you can, or hand sew it closed. I chose to machine sew it because I was feeling lazy however this will create a little ‘ridge’ along where you have sewn. It is not particularly noticeable but if you want a neater finish I would suggest you hand sew it using a ladder/slip stitch.

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Push the lining bag inside the outer bag now and you’re almost there. Pin all the way around the top edge and machine stitch all around this edge. This will stop your outer or inner bag slipping and looking messy. This is the finishing touch and as well as serving a purpose it really gives the bag a professional finish.

There you go, you’re all done! You can leave it as it is or roll the top over to expose the pretty lining fabric which is what I will do with mine.

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I made this basket from 2 fat quarters. There is enough left to make another basket, so if you were using 2 fat quarters maybe you could make one for yourself and one for a friend – after all it doesn’t have to be used for threads only!

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Thanks for reading! I would love to know if you are going to have a go at making one of these, and what you are going to use it for.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Lovely Day out at the Leicester Dressmakers Meet-Up

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I was so chuffed when I heard that Sarah and Freya from Crafty Sew and So in Leicester were going to arrange a meet-up, I have been counting the sleeps! Leicester is my home turf so naturally I was all over it.

The day started with an informal gathering at Kai Kitchen Cafe in St Martins Square. This is very conveniently situated just over the way from the Crafty Sew and So shop. I’ll be honest, this was the most difficult and nerve wracking part of the day for me as I’m pretty shy, and walking through the door to meet a group of strangers was a little difficult for me to say the least.

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However I was very warmly greeted by Freya, and a large gathering of very friendly sewists, many of whom were also there on their own, and before long the room was buzzing with laughter and excited conversations. It was the perfect opportunity to break the ice and get to know some very lovely people. Delicious food and drinks were consumed, and after an hour or so we were ready to hit the fabric shops.

The weather was a little cold unfortunately, but never mind at least the rain held off. We headed off and were first shown The City Rooms where the upcoming Dressmakers Ball will be held in May. From there it is just a short walk to the market where our shopping began.

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Stuart’s Fabrics in Leicester market
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Ash Fabrics in Leicester market

Time to move on, and next we were taken through to Odeon Arcade which is the home to  Material Magic. Lots more purchases were made before wandering over to a lovely little haberdashery shop called Button Boutique, in Malcolm Arcade. This really is a great place to stock up on all your sewing notions and it has the best choice of loose buttons of anywhere I know.dressmakers-meetup-5

Finally it was time to move on and walk back round to St Martins Square and the warmth of the Crafty Sew and So shop. We were welcomed with tea and very delicious looking home made cakes (what a shame I’m on a diet), and given the chance to take advantage of a generous discount off all items in store.

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Such a welcoming window display

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This place really is a little Aladdin’s Cave of all things sewing. An extensive range of sewing supplies, fabulous range of independent sewing patterns, fabrics, machines, fabrics and a sewing workshop to boot. The team there were friendly and helpful and it really was a pleasant way to spend some time with your friends.

A little while later and it was time to gather to enjoy a talk by Charlotte from https://englishgirlathome.com/ What a delight! This was an informative and funny talk through the world of blogging and vlogging from Charlotte’s perspective and I really enjoyed it.

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon. Many thanks to Sarah, Freya and all the team involved with arranging this get together. I was so happy to meet up with so many like-minded sewists and have the opportunity to chat about sewing to our hearts content all afternoon!

I may have made a few cheeky purchases, none of them needed of course, but, well you know…dressmakers-meetup-8

Thanks to all for a very lovely Saturday.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon.

Kathy x

 

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Getting to know your Overlocker/Serger

This year for my birthday, my husband scored some serious brownie points when he bought me a Janome overlocker. What a gem! It is a Janome 9200D and I had wanted one for a very long time.  Over the course of the following couple of weeks Mr Sew Dainty asked why I hadn’t used it yet and honestly .. although I had wanted one for so long I had no idea how to use it, how to thread it or what to do! I was baffled and didn’t know where to start.

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I am very much a visual learner, so the idea of sitting and reading a book about it was not appealing. I turned to good old YouTube and whilst a lot of the videos were helpful, I still found the thought of using my machine intimidating.

Whilst searching the internet for inspiration I recalled that a little fabric shop not that far from me held workshops and decided to look into it. The Sewing Cafe in Hinckley is a gorgeous haberdashery shop with a great range of workshops and machine hire by the hour. Imagine my delight when I found that they were very conveniently running an ‘introduction to the Overlocker’ workshop that very weekend (£40) and they had one space left. Needless to say I reserved that place immediately. I’m so pleased I did.

The course ran on a Saturday afternoon in September for 2.5 hours, and was held in a lovely little workshop at the back of the store. Greeted with smiles, tea and biscuits, we were asked to select our favourite jersey fabric from the shop before we got started as we would be making a jersey snood/infinity scarf on the overlocker at the end of the session to take home with us.

The course was taken by Lucy who was incredibly calm, friendly and understanding of our individual needs and abilities. We were given a really thorough explanation of the machine, learned how to thread it and how the dials worked and affected the stitch, and I gained so much confidence by being show in such a relaxed environment. Oh! Also a little touch that I thought was superb was that the lovely staff at the shop asked what model machine I had at home so that they could match me with a similar machine on the day. Brilliant!

After more tea we set about making up our jersey snoods. I chose a grey jersey with a pretty turquoise polka dot, so cute. It didn’t take long to put all our new skills to the test and we were all pleased to have something to take home with us – who doesn’t love that?

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Since the workshop I have used my overlocker to make 2 dresses and thoroughly love the professional finish it gives not to mention the time saving element of it. I am no longer nervous about using the overlocker – in fact I can’t wait to use it again – it is definitely a case of how did I ever get by without it! I really love this machine which is not a surprise really as I already own a Janome sewing machine and it’s awesome too!

So a little bit about this machine. It can be used with 3 or 4 thread options, has wide, narrow and rolled hem functions, and a colour coded threading guide. Other features are differential feed and adjustable stitch lengths and widths. It comes complete with a comprehensive instruction book, DVD, and accessories which include spare needles, tweezers and screwdrivers.

I would thoroughly recommend this machine as a beginner, it is REALLY simple to use despite my concerns and it now has a very important place alongside my Janome DC3050 sewing machine. They make a perfect duo when it comes to my dressmaking needs.

 

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So pleased with the professional finish I can now get.

There are so many different ways to learn new skills now, reading, internet research and ‘hands on’ but this is a real  winner for me. If you are within a reasonable travelling distance of Hinckley, Leicestershire then I would recommend a visit to the Sewing Cafe.  They have a fabulous range of fabrics and haberdashery, indie sewing patterns and machines and you really should check out their workshop classes – you will be tempted by several I bet!

www.thesewingcafe.co.uk

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This is the snood I made at the workshop, perfect now the weather is turning cold.

I do hope that this might encourage you in some way to try something different. I am the worst at giving up before I even try, but stepping out to be shown something new has worked in a really positive way for me and it will you too! Do have a look at what courses and workshops the fabric shops have on offer in your area. Have you already tried something new recently? Have you recently started using an overlocker? I would love to hear about it.

Be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress Pattern Review

This is a special dress. It is the only dress that I have ever made more than one of, and I don’t plan on stopping yet – there are many more ‘Bettine’s’ still to come, that’s for sure.

  • It’s very easy – no tricky fastenings like zips or buttons. No darts or setting in sleeves.
  • It’s quick to make up – I love seeing it coming together so quickly.
  • It’s comfortable – who doesn’t love an elasticated waist?
  • Pockets. Yes please. Enough said.

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I chose to make it in a navy patterned viscose. It has a lovely drape and a little stretch (not necessary for this dress though), and although I love the fabric it is quite lightweight and sheer. Upon reflection it may have been wise to have lined it. Still great though and very wearable. I also chose to make the version without pockets. I must have taken leave of my senses- my first Bettine was made with pockets and I love it. Note to self – all future Bettine’s to have pockets. I also decided to make the sleeves without the tabs and keep them plain, I prefer the sleeves like this.

It’s a dream to make. Excellent instructions are written so well and accompanied by great pictures take you through the whole process, and if you need extra help then head on over to www.tillyandthebuttons.com where there is lots more help and inspiration with suggestions on fabric choices, pattern hacks etc. It is also worth mentioning that I found the dress is true to size when made up.

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Did I make any alterations to the pattern? No, however I may take in some of the fabric from the hips next time. The skirt piece is cut with a lovely shapely curve which is ideal for my shape, but just a fraction too much so I will taper this in on my next Bettine. The final step of the instructions calls for a 4cm hem. As the unfinished length of the dress was perfect for me, I decided to just turn up a teeny tiny hem on this occasion.

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Would I make it again? Definitely! Two Bettine dresses are not enough! I may try it in a lovely jersey next time as I noticed on the Tilly website that there are some good tips and advice for making it up in jersey.

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Finishing touches.

 

 

It’s a super little ‘throw over the head’ dress, and a real winner in my eyes, so easy to see why this dress is so loved by so many!

 

 

 

I would love to know if you have made a Bettine, let me know your thoughts I would love to hear from you!

Be back soon, Kathy x