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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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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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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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The Clare Pant from Stylearc

This time I have something a little different to share – I made trousers!

Being part of the Sewisfaction blogger team, I am lucky enough to regularly have access to their beautiful range of stunning fabrics, and am able to take my pick of something fabulous to make and share.

This time I opted for the most perfect Robert Kaufmann chambray in this completely wonderful grey/blue shade. It’s comfortable to wear, simple to sew with and the neutral colour is just so easy to wear with t-shirts and trainers or with a dressier top and shoes if you like.

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The pattern that I chose is The Clare Pant from Stylearc. It ticks all the boxes that I was looking for in a wide leg cropped trouser pattern and as this is a blog post that I have written for Sewisfaction, the full review including lots more photos can be found over on their blog here.

Huge thanks to Sheona at Sewisfaction for her generosity in sending me this fabric to work with, and I hope that you love them as much as I do!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Yanta Overalls from Helen’s Closet

I’m pretty sure that you have seen these overalls popping up all over the place since their release about a month ago.

The Yanta Overalls from Helen’s Closet are the cutest relaxed fitting dungarees you have ever seen. They feature a classic v-shaped back and button strap fastenings and have an optional size zip. Patch pockets on the front, back and bib are yours to choose from and there is an option for full/cropped length or a Summery shorts version.

The size range is incredible on this too . Sizes 0-30 are accommodated in with this pattern – how awesome is that? I cut a size 10 at the bib grading out to a 12 at the hips.

This is actually the first time that I have sewn a Helen’s Closet pattern and going on what I had already heard regarding her patterns, I knew that it would be an enjoyable process.

 

As expected, her instructions are clearly written and helpful. Helen describes this as an intermediate pattern and I would agree with that.

My fabric choice is the Ikea Lenda fabric – not the best fabric in the world, but at £5 per metre, it was perfect for trying out this pattern. I think if I made it again I would go for a slightly more lightweight fabric as I feel this looks a little too crisp for the look that I was going for.

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Before I cut out the fabric, I adjusted the length. This pattern is drafted for a 5’6″ body, and as I am only 5’2″, I needed to remove 2″ from the length (that is the 4″ difference divided by 2). This worked out perfectly in terms of leg length, but I think I might need to shorten the crotch length next time I make them as it is a little baggy there.

I loved the wording and illustrations in the instructions – especially the little tips giving explanations regarding why some of the techniques were being used.

I left out interfacing my straps as I felt they had enough structure anyway, and they were fine without.

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The scissors necklace is available for purchase from my website.

The waist at the front and back is nipped in with small darts. This is such a great feature as whilst they are still loose, you have a certain amount of shaping there which is very useful I think – especially when your waist to hip measurement difference is quite big like mine.

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A 5″ invisible zipper is also an option although not always necessary. I could have just about slipped these over my hips without it, but decided to add a zip just to make things easier. I didn’t have an invisible zip of that length, so just used a regular zip here instead.

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The patch pockets on the front and back are cute and whilst I used them on the back of the overalls, I wasn’t sure that I wanted them on the front. I decided that I would insert in-seam pockets instead. After inserting the zip (which I didn’t think that I would want initially), I realised that the in-seam pockets wouldn’t now fit on that side now, but still kept it on the other side. I mean, a girl needs pockets. Not sure if this feels a bit odd just having it on one side, so may try the patch pockets on the front next time if I still need to use the zip.

For the pocket bag I used the same floral fabric that I used for the front and back facings.

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I like the shape of the bib pocket. It has a upward triangular shape to the top edge and I enjoyed the placement of it and all the top stitching details. Top stitching is part of sewing that I really enjoy and this pattern has plenty of it! I particularly like the stitching details on the back strap too.

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I think if I’m honest when I sewed the back of the bodice to the facing with the straps enclosed inside, I didn’t make the best job of it. I think I got a little confused with the two different seam allowances (3/8″ and 5/8″) for this step and may have gone a little wobbly. Luckily this seemed to look alright from the right side, but my facing on the inside has a little ripple in it. Nobody will see this and you’re not going to tell anybody are you? Ha!

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The length of the straps are trimmed when you have finished the garment, and I needed to cut approx 4″ from each strap.

I didn’t finish the legs of the overalls apart from overlocking them, as I know that I will always wear them turned up a couple of times.

I cannot recommend this pattern highly enough if you are considering this style of make in the future. It’s cute, fun to sew, and super comfortable to wear. What’s not to love!

 

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network #MCBN

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Just a quick ‘heads up’ that my latest blog for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is now up and features one of my favourite sewing patterns – the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress.

Do head on over to the Minerva Craft Blogger Network  where you can read my full review and check out my pics!

A huge thank you as always to Minerva Crafts for the supplies given for this project. Isn’t this ladies print viscose  fabric adorable!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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