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A Cosy Sweatshirt Mashup.

Today’s blog is not a moment too soon. It’s Baltic outside at the moment and I need all the layers I can get – especially if they are soft and warm like this!

Let’s talk about the fabric first, as this was partially gifted to me by byGraziela. I fell in love with the Leaf sweatshirt fabric in the Berry colour way, so bold and pretty, and was very kindly sent this to use to make a garment of my choice. To contrast with this I purchased plain jersey for the hood lining and cuff fabric in smoky blue. I love how these colours work so nicely together. The main fabric has a large retro soft dusky pink leaf design on a stunning berry/raspberry coloured background. A random heart can be spotted on some of the leaves which is a really sweet touch. Also, the sweatshirt fabric is brushed on the reverse so is super soft and cosy.

Keep reading to find out about how you can enter a giveaway to win some fabric from byGraziela and a necklace from my shop which I’ll give you details about at the end of this post…

The pattern that I chose to make is a mash-up of two sweatshirt patterns. The Stella Hoodie from the Stretch! book by Tilly Walnes (from Tilly and the Buttons), and the Jarrah sweatshirt pattern (view A) from Megan Nielsen.

I basically used the Stella hoodie pattern from the top down to the underarm seam, and from that point down I used the Jarrah pattern. The reason for this was because the Stella has a long, feminine, more fitted shape to it’s body, and I was after a loose boxy shorter version. I used the Stella in a size 4, and the Jarrah in a size 8. For reference my measurements are 35-29-38 and I am 5’2″.

I have made the Stella Hoodie before, and as I have found with all of Tilly’s patterns, an absolute pleasure to sew. I have also sewn the Jarrah Sweatshirt, but not this version, so was looking forward to seeing them hacked together.

The quality of the fabric is superb, without doubt one of the best quality sweatshirt fabrics that I have ever used. As always when working with knit fabric, I used my walking foot to make sure that both layers of fabric were being fed through the machine without any stretching. I love how colourful the finished sweatshirt is. It’s a happy hoodie for sure!

The final touch is the flat cotton tape which is threaded through the buttonholes at either side of the neck. Don’t be like me and try to feed them through the machine after turning them under( I should know better), they are just too thick. Hand stitch or use another method of finishing.

Today I decided to accessorise with my silver acrylic button necklace. Cute.

It’s been lovely to collaborate with byGraziela on this post, and to celebrate byGraziela and myself are offering some goodies as part of a giveaway over on my Instagram account. You have the opportunity to win 1.5 metres of fabric from ByGraziela and an item of jewellery from my shop! The giveaway will run for three days from the date of this post, so don’t hang around and head on over to my Instagram to find out all the details of how you can enter! Good luck!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Although this post is in collaboration with byGraziela, please know that as always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

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My first knitted jumper – The Posy Sweater from Darling Jadore.

I’m starting the year off with a ‘first’ from me. It’s a blog post sharing with you my very first knitted jumper! Woo hoo!

Now I’m definitely not an expert by any means, quite the opposite, so don’t expect anything too technical – I just want to tell you about this pattern from a beginner’s view point, because as a novice knitter it’s a little daunting to know where to start when you want to move on to bigger projects.

The pattern that I chose to make is The Posy Sweater from Darling Jadore.

I received the pattern and supplies to make it for my Christmas present last year, and at that time I received the ‘premium pattern package’ version which gave me the basic pattern and also included bonus video tutorials to help me through the ‘tricky’ parts of the pattern. Looking at the pattern on the website today, it looks like the pattern just comes with the video tutorials as standard now. Excellent. The video tutorials were an absolute essential for me as up until this point I had only ever knitted a scarf and a simple tea cosy, so I referred to the videos quite a bit throughout the project. They covered every part of the jumper making process that I might have ‘scratched my head’ about and considering I really know very little about knitting, I think it turned out alright.

The best part about this jumper in my opinion and the reason why I chose this pattern to make is the keyhole feature at the back neckline with the ribbon tie. You’ll see from my sewing posts that tie back neckline details on dresses and tops are my absolute fave so why wouldn’t I choose a knitting pattern that has this too?!

The neck band of this jumper is knitted double height and then folded over creating a channel to thread your ribbon through. This way if you want to swap out your ribbon and change it to a different colour for example, you just slip one out and feed the new one through!

The jumper is knitted in the round using circular needles from the top down. The raglan sleeves are added after the body has been knitted by picking up stitches around the armhole that you have kept safe by threading a scrap of yarn through them earlier on.

The worry that I had about being a beginner knitter and making up a big project like this is that it’s all very well when everything is going smoothly, but I have no idea how to correct a mistake if I make one going along. Luckily there are plenty of YouTube videos that are really helpful, but one piece of advice that I received from a friend when I was starting this was to use a ‘lifeline’. This involves threading a scrap piece of yarn through your work, and if you go wrong you can just pull your needles out and tear back to where the lifeline row is. Tricky to explain but it gives you a little peace of mind that if you do go wrong, it’s not the end of the world.

The pattern took me a year to knit just about, and whilst I am a slow knitter some of this is due to the fact that I didn’t pick it up very much at all during the warmer months.

Oh I should perhaps tell you what sort of yarn I used to make it! It’s Knit Craft yarn from Hobbycraft, and it’s called ‘Leader of the Pac’ Aran in the colour charcoal, although looking at the website this colour might be out of stock now.

I did feel a little bit concerned when it came to knitting the cuffs. Because you are knitting in the round, and the cuffs are so tiny, you need to switch over to double pointed needles or use the magic loop technique. Hmm, both methods looked a little scary to me. Double pointed needles look like little chopsticks and I felt worried that I would drop my stitches, I felt that it was too much to try to learn how to use these, so I used the magic loop method (after searching on YouTube of course), and even though I was a bit terrified of ruining the jumper at this final stage, somehow it worked! The video that helped me with this technique was this one here.

The final stage of the project is the blocking. I have no idea what blocking is, but I did it anyway. Ha! Actually I really didn’t know what blocking was until I got to that part of the pattern, so had to look it up. Apparently it enables you to shape your finished garment (whilst wet), into the correct shape and evens up stitch tension and the look of the finished garment – among other things. I soaked my jumper gently in a wool detergent, and very gently pressed it between towels to get most of the water out and then blocked it using long pins on a dry towel on a sunny spot on the floor. I was careful to use a tape measure to makes sure everything was kept to the correct length.

You know me, I have to accessorize with some jewellery. Now that I feel like a grown up knitter I am wearing my knitting jewellery with pride (not that it stopped me before). You can take a peek at my knitting themed brooch and necklace in my shop here and here.

The finishing touch as we all know is the addition of a cute garment label. As this is my cosiest make yet, I had to choose these labels that I purchased from Crafty Pinup.

I hope that these thoughts have been of some use to those of you who are beginners like me. My lovely Aunt who helped me to get going with the scarf and tea cosy always says to me that knitting is easy – it’s just a combination of two stitches really – the knit stitch and the purl stitch. It’s what you do with them that creates the magic.

I fully intend to carry on with this new-found hobby of mine. I have a beret pattern that I would like to give a try, and a couple of cardigans too. So whilst it has been fun talking to you about knitting today, my regular content of mainly sewing will now resume, and I’ll keep you posted every now and again if I knit anything else.

Do you have any beginner jumper pattern recommendations for any newbie knitters out there like me? Please do leave them in the comments so that we can all see them.

Wishing you all a happy, safe and peaceful New Year …

take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Roscoe Blouse from True Bias

I was so lucky to receive this stunning Liberty fabric from Minerva recently and decided to use it to make a really pretty Roscoe Blouse from True Bias.

The fabric was an absolute dream to sew with, the quality is outstanding as you would expect from Liberty, and it pairs really beautifully with the Roscoe pattern.

I received this fabric from Minerva in exchange for a review/blog post on their site, so if you would like to read more about this fabric or pattern, then do head on over to my page at Minerva here.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Burda Style pintuck pleated smock dress.

Well this dress was a long time coming. It’s dress number 106 from Burda Style magazine issue December 2019!

I first noticed this when the lovely Jay Jay from The Camden Stitch mentioned it in one of her Christmas Vlogs last year – this one in fact! She flicked through it whilst having a coffee at St Pancras Station and when she paused to look at this dress I instantly decided that I needed that issue of the magazine too.

It’s been years since I bought a Burda magazine, and turns out they’re really good value. This was £5.99 for 221 patterns apparently! Not quite sure how work out 221 patterns, they must be including each size of each pattern I reckon, but there certainly are quite a few. In fact now that I have made this one I might get around to making another pattern that I also really liked in the same magazine..

Don’t worry if you don’t have the magazine, but still like this dress. I’ve got your back. It’s available as a individual pattern purchase here. You are welcome! Ha!

Line drawing from Burdastyle.com

The dress is a smock style pleated dress. I have called it a pintuck dress, not sure if this is exactly right as I imagine pintucks to be really tiny, and these are fairly wide. But hey ho, whatever you call it it’s pretty cute right?

Alongside the pleats/pintucks it has a fantastic tie at the back of the neck – you know how I am a sucker for a tie back! It also has an unusual flounce insert at the bottom of the back of the dress, which I actually left out because I wasn’t that keen on it. Simple long sleeves complete the look.

The sample in the book was made up in a viscose which is probably my absolute fave fabric to sew with, so I used a pretty mustard floral viscose from my stash that I bought from Like Sew Amazing during the Summer. Sadly this particular fabric looks like it might be sold out now, but there are plenty of other beautiful alternatives over in her lovely shop.

Before I even start we need to address the reason why a lot of people are hesitant to use patterns from the Burda magazine. It’s the tracing. The magazine comes with one pattern sheet containing the all the pattern markings for every pattern in the book. It’s completely crazy. Take your time to read through what you need and where to look for them and don’t do what I did which is start to trace out late afternoon when the light is starting to go. Big mistake. To make it a little easier for myself I used a Frixion highlighter pen to draw over the lines that I needed to trace off before placing the tracing paper on top. This makes it much easier to follow the correct line when tracing and not be distracted by the others. Seam and hem allowances are not included in these magazine patterns by the way, so don’t forget to add these in before cutting out.

I made up the size 40 (with no adjustments), and my measurements are 36-29-38

The pattern was super easy to sew up actually. The main thing that I was concerned about was keeping the pleats nice and neat when I was sewing them as I thought the viscose might be too soft. Turns out they were no problem at all, they pressed nicely when I pinned them in place and stayed put when I sewed them in. Winner winner. I’m very surprised with how nicely they turned out (I was not expecting that)! It’s a shame the pattern on the fabric makes them really difficult to see from a distance. This would be a super dress using a chambray or lightweight linen so that you could really work on showing off those tucks.!

Silver button acrylic necklace available from my shop here

I also love love LOVE the tie at the back of the neckline. Sadly once again this kinda disappears into the pattern of the fabric but I hope you can get the idea. The ties are really long which is super cute I think.

Finally as I mentioned before, the dress has a flounce that is added to the bottom of the dress back. I didn’t particularly like this so when I cut the pattern out, so I just made the front and back dress pieces the same length and ignored the flounce piece.

I must be honest, the back view is not very flattering. I mean, I guess a smock is never going to be. I’ll add a pic here. Hmmm I did wonder if it would look better a little shorter. We’ll see. I can always go back to that. Or maybe I could add a belt?

The finished result has really pleased me, I wasn’t expecting to love it as I do. I was wearing a navy cardigan with it before we took the pics and that looked really nice – I should have taken some pics of it as that is definitely how I would wear it at the moment. With thick coloured tights and shoe boots or trainers. It’s a yes from me!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Add-on Gathered Dress

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with The Stevie  tunic and top pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. Did you notice last month that an add-on pattern had been released? This  gives you the option to use the original pattern to add longer sleeves or a gathered skirt transforming it into an oversized smock dress whilst still retaining those classic and recognizable Stevie features.

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The new dress version could not have appealed to me more! It’s right up my street! Gathered skirt – yes please. Tie back – of course. Swishability – 100%.

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This dress is made using the original Stevie pattern plus the Add-on pattern. A bundle of both patterns together is also available here.

*polite/shy cough* I was beyond flattered to be asked by Tilly and the Buttons to model the pattern images for this new add-on pattern and, trust me, I’m still pinching myself.

The sample of the dress that I modelled for Tilly is made up in this beautiful linen/cotton stripe from Lamazi Fabrics and is gorgeous. Immediately that I saw it I desperately wanted to make my version in a linen stripe too and have a bit of fun copying those playful stripe directions.

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The fabric that I purchased for my version is a viscose linen from Material Girl Laura. Unfortunately this is out of stock now, but it’s a beautiful mid blue with a narrow white stripe.

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Can you see the little dots of rain on the fabric!  Typical British Summer hey?

The acrylic pastel blue knitting necklace with gold plated chain is available from my shop.

As I needed to be very careful cutting this out to make sure that the stripe was running the correct way on each pattern piece, I drew out a rough sketch of the dress (front and back) and drew the stripes in so that I knew which way to lay each piece on the fabric. This was also important as I knew that I would only have just enough fabric to do this. Guess who despite this still cut out the back bodice piece (the piece below the back yoke) with the stripes in the wrong direction!? Yep, me..

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This resulted in some rude words, and some intense pattern repositioning on the remaining pieces and I finally managed to squeeze out that back bodice piece by cutting it as two separate pieces (rather than on the fold) so now there is a little vertical seam running down the centre now. Never mind, you can barely see it ( I hope) and at least the stripes are running in the direction that I wanted.

Oh I also had to cut the sleeve cuffs with the stripe running in the wrong direction as a result of this, as this was the only way I could get them out of the fabric leftovers now, but you really wouldn’t notice this either.

So after all that self-inflicted stress cutting out, I was excited to get started sewing. (I am a straight Tilly size 4 by the way, but for this dress I wanted it a little less oversized so I cut a size 4 in the top grading it in to a size 2 at the waist, and a size 2 skirt). My measurements are 36-30-40 btw and I am 5’2″.

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It’s a dream to sew, as are all of Tilly’s patterns, and I really enjoyed seeing it come together especially with all of those fun directional stripes. After adding the cuffs I decided to hand stitch them in place all the way around rather than just using some discreet stitches at the shoulder and side seam. I was trying to avoid the chance of them becoming a bit unturned whilst wearing them, if you know what I mean. Now that I have hand stitched them I feel that they look a bit flat and realise that they would look much better stitched in a couple of places as instructed, so I think I’ll whiz back to them, unpick that stitching and finish them as I should have done in the first place!

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One of the things that I love about this dress is the large pocket. It’s fab isn’t it? Sadly I had to reduce the size of the pocket because of my pattern placing error that I mentioned earlier. I simply couldn’t get it out of the fabric with the stripe in the correct direction at it’s original size. So whilst the width of my pocket is the same as the pattern, I had to make it about 4cm shorter. It’s only a little bit smaller than the original and still super cute.

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I also placed the pocket so that it’s side edges lay exactly parallel to those vertical stripes on the skirt. The placement markings for the pocket actually means that the pocket side edges are parallel to the side seams (not the fold line/centre front of the skirt) so technically this means that my pocket is actually stitched on a little bit wonky, but it looks straight, because of the vertical lines of the skirt… Gosh does this make any sense? One last thing,  I also raised the height of the pocket by about 4cm.

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After attaching the skirt I realised that the weight of the skirt had pulled the waist seam down to lower than I wanted ( something that Tilly mentions might happen in her instructions).  I felt that I needed to raise the waist seam by about 4.5cm along the front bodice from side seam to side seam. The back bodice didn’t need reducing all the way around, I just needed grade this 4.5cm reduction down to nothing for about 12cm from each side seam in towards the centre back.

There are some helpful and interesting posts on the Tilly and the Buttons blog herehere and here.  So do check those out if you need any fitting help or inspiration.

I would also like to say that the add-on pattern was gifted to me when the pattern was released. This was with no obligations or conditions to share in any way. The thoughts in this post, as always, are entirely my own. The original Stevie pattern that is also needed to make this dress was purchased by myself.

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Take care, 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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A Seamwork Astoria and a self-drafted midi skirt

I’m as guilty as the next person for grabbing a great pattern and then not getting around to sewing it for AGES! The same applies to fabric I guess, and whilst I don’t have a huge fabric stash, some of it has been there for a while!

 

The Seamwork Astoria Top  has been in my PDF drawer for what must be a couple of years now, and at last I can finally see what all the love is about.

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It’s a simple cropped round necked top, and is just lovely. Fabric suggestions for this top are medium weight knits and I went for this blush ponte that I bought from Sewisfaction last time I was down in Wokingham. The textured finish on the fabric gives it a scuba vibe, and the dusky blush colour is super pretty (and also matches my favourite shade of lipstick at the moment which, of course, makes me very happy).

For those remotely interested (because I always like to know these things), my fave lipstick combo is NYX soft matte lip cream in 14 (Zurich) and Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Pillow Talk dabbed on top. You’re welcome.

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I cut a straight size medium and this was just right for me. When I sewed in the neckband, it turned out a little too long and saggy. So out came the unpicker and I shortened it by 2″.  If I’m being picky, it could probably have done with a little more shaved off- but I was too lazy to unpick the neckband again!

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All the usual tools etc were used – a walking foot, a ball point machine needle and ball twin needle for finishing the neckband and sleeves. I also used the twin needle on the waistband – I get carried away when the twin needle comes out! The sleeves are a little long. Not sure why I cut this length when I always prefer 3/4 sleeves, but hey ho! it’s alright isn’t it?

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I totally love it. As someone who wears a lot of skirts and dresses,  I know it will fit well in my wardrobe especially at this time of the year when it can still be a little chilly. I am making more of an effort to sew using plain/solid colours and this pattern is perfect for this as it will pair nicely with my crazy printed skirts and dresses. More of these will definitely be sewn!

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Not gonna lie – I do love a good Instagram challenge, and three gorgeous sewists over on Instagram have started a fun challenge each month this year with the general tag of #sewingpatternsandprints . This months friendly theme is animals and can be searched by looking for the tag #sewinganimalapril .Do head on over and check out the lovely three organisers who are TamlynSamantha, and Kealy, for more information!

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I chose to make a self-drafted midi skirt using this gorgeous animal print stretch cotton sateen that I bought from the lovely Sarah at Like Sew Amazing when I was down in Bristol a few months ago for her shop launch.

It’s a straightforward sew – just gathered rectangles really! I didn’t want the gather to be too full as the fabric already has some structure, so instead of going for double the width, I probably went for about 1.5 times the width in terms of how much gather I wanted. I added a 2″ waistband which I measured nice and snugly – (I’ve been caught with stretch fabrics on the waistband feeling too loose before), and this one is sooo comfortable.

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It simply has to have pockets doesn’t it. No arguments there. My trusty pocket piece that I always have close to hand in case I need to add it was called upon, and add an 8 or 9″ invisible zip from my stash and presto! One quick and easy skirt!

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I went for a midi length, which is not my usual length, as I wasn’t sure if I could carry it off at only 5’2″. But I really like it and certainly intend to make more cute gathered skirts this length in the future!

So all in all, two quick and easy makes which I can mix and match with existing items in my wardrobe. Win Win!

Thanks for stopping by, take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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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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Butterick 5926

 

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

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

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

Take care, and I’ll see you soon,

Kathy x

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My latest Minerva Crafts Blogger Network make – a cosy Burda 7148 sweatshirt dress.

Hi everyone and Happy New Year to you all!

I just wanted to let you know that my latest post as part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is now up on their  website.   It’s the Burda 7148 sweatshirt dress and is perfect for this cold start to 2018. I used a gorgeous loop-back sweatshirt fabric for this one and it was perfect for this pattern.

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I needed to make several adjustments to make this dress work for me, but it all turned out great in the end. I will leave a link here to the full review over on the Minerva Blogger Network page, where I talk  through all the alterations that I made and there are lots more photos too.

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Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you over at Minerva!

Take care, and I’l be back soon,

Kathy x