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A classic brown knee length Jenny Skirt

Today’s blog post is special, because I am trying my first pattern from the lovely Nicola and Susan at Homer and Howells.

Homer and Howells are an exciting new pattern company based in Scotland and as I write this post, there are two sewing patterns in their shop – the Jenny , and the Cissy. I know they have a few more patterns up their sleeves, so I can’t wait to see what comes next…

The Jenny is a classic skirt. Choose either midi length (with a front split), or keep it short like I did (I cut my length at where the top of the split is marked). Patch pockets on the front of the skirt are optional, and the centre front zip fly was really good fun to sew.

 

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I have chosen to make my version in a dark brown cotton drill. I can’t quite remember where I bought this fabric from – it might even have been something that I picked up in a fabric swap – but I had just enough to make the knee length version. Turns out that dark brown is REALLY hard to photograph, and despite two photo ‘sessions’ (one indoors and one outdoors), I don’t think we were able to really pick out the details of the skirt very well after all. Let’s hope you can get some sort of idea with the shots that we did get.

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Oh by the way, my top is the original Tessuti Fabrics Mandy Boat Tee (free pattern) using the ‘one size’ pattern before they introduced different sizes on this pattern, and the lilac acrylic scissors necklace is from my shop! x

I have kept the front of the skirt nice and simple by leaving off the patch pockets. I did however add some pockets to the back of the skirt (not part of this pattern), but more about that later!

I wanted the skirt to feel really casual, a bit like a denim skirt, so I went for the topstitching big time! I used a matching dark brown topstitching thread and used it on the waistband, the centre front and back seams, the curve of the fly zip, and the back pockets that I added.

It’s important to try and make that curved line of stitching on the outside of the fly zip as neat as possible as it is so visible, so to help me I used a tracing wheel and some dressmaking carbon paper to trace the stitching line onto my fabric. It takes all the guess work out of where to stitch, and you end up with it exactly where you want it.

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I have only put in a fly zip once before and that was a long time ago, so I did wonder how tricky it would be, but the instructions were really great – I followed them to the letter and everything just fell into place perfectly!

The curved waistband has a snug comfortable fit with no gaping at the back of course, and fastens above the zip with a hook and bar. I made a size 12 at the waist and graded out to a 14 at the hips by the way.

So finally, I wanted to add  ‘jeans’ pockets at the back seeing as how I wanted it to have a casual feel. I simply cut out two jeans pocket pieces and traced out the stitching design that I wanted using the tracing wheel and carbon paper again, stitched out that design onto the pocket with the topstitching thread again and placed it on the back of the skirt where I wanted them, again attaching with topstitching. Can you tell that I love topstitching things! Take a shot each time I say topstitching! Ha ha!

I must say that positioning the pockets was a lengthy process! Pinning and adjusting pockets on the back of a skirt by yourself is tricky, and having not made jeans before I’m not quite sure what the tricks are for the perfect pocket placements, but I don’t think they’ve ended up too bad.

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I’ve ended up with a really lovely skirt, and one that I know I will wear lots and lots. It fits well, I love the length and the neutral colour means that I can have fun wearing it with all my favourite coloured tights.

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Thank you so much to the girls at Homer and Howells, who very kindly gifted me this pattern with no obligations. I am happy to share with you though because I really like it and hope you do too!

What’s your ‘go-to’ simple skirt pattern? I’d love to know.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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The Ivy Pinafore from Jennifer Lauren Handmade.

I do love a pinafore, and Jennifer Lauren Handmade has delivered a stunning pattern in The Ivy Pinafore. It’s been on my radar for a couple of years and finally after purchasing the pattern using a discount code earlier on in the year, the temperatures are cool enough to actually get around to sewing it.

The last Jennifer Lauren pinafore that I made was The Pippi Pinafore which is a slightly more fitted design with a bib. Another beautiful pattern from JLH. I also enjoy my Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dresses and have linked one of them here for you to look at too.

The Ivy Pinafore is a simple but beautiful dress which can be made in two different styles. I made the slim fitting version which features a very gentle A-line silhouette, and you also have the choice of making a more full tent style dress on this pattern too.

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I love lots about this pattern but was really drawn to that pretty curved yoke (front and back), and the wide shoulder straps with large button fastening.

On this version I made no adjustments to the pattern on a straight size 12. I was hoping that this ‘toile’ would be wearable and it definitely is!IMG_5005

The fabric that I chose is a brown corduroy from Birmingham Rag Market which I bought during the SewBrum sewing meet up last month. I can’t remember how much I paid for it now, but don’t imagine that it would have been more than £5 per metre.

I’ve paired it with one of my numerous Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Tops. Funnily enough I think this was made (2 or 3 years ago) using fabric from the rag market too. I must give a huge shout out to the lovely Leanne ( @threadyforit on Instagram) who inspired the styling of this make with her gorgeous brown cord pinafore combo here Her stunning outfit features a York Pinafore (it’s on my Christmas list)! and as soon as I saw this outfit paired with her red and white striped top I was determined to make my Ivy with a brown cord, and also wear it with my red and white striped top too. Now that I’m typing this out it sounds a bit weird. Eek!

Anyhow back to the pattern. A couple of other things that I should mention are that it is fully lined. This is so useful, but if you are nervous about the difficulty of this don’t worry, the great instructions will guide you through everything and it’s no problem at all. I don’t ever envisage wearing this without thick tights in the Winter months so a lined version was just what I was looking for. I think Jennifer Lauren has a blog post on how to make it up as an unlined dress too if this is something that you might be wanting help with.

Also pockets. Nice big pockets that are at the perfect height for me too! I used some scraps of this gorgeous cotton lawn from Sewessential that I had leftover from a previous project as it’s super pretty and I didn’t want bulky corduroy pockets. I could have used some of the lining fabric of course, but love using pretty leftovers for my pockets as many of us do.

The front and back dress pieces are joined together using a flat-felled seam. Unfortunately the lovely detail of this gets a little lost in the wales of the corduroy, but you get the idea! The best way to appreciate this detail is by using a non-textured fabric and maybe show it off with a contrasting top stitching thread. Something I’m sure I will rustle up soon!

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The curved yoke detail which is a feature on the front and back is so pretty too. Everything just fits together perfectly, it was such a pleasure to sew. It’s not the quickest garment I have ever sewn, especially as you have the lining to construct too, but it is really rewarding and I can’t wait to make another.

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Secret Pyjamas Brooch can be found in my shop.

I also went for jeans buttons. I like how they look and really love the hammering process! The button size recommendation is for buttons that are approx 4cm (1 5/8″) or smaller. When placing a 4cm button in place to get a feel for what size I wanted, I felt that this was too big for me and opted for these 2cm lovelies instead. I did sew the buttonholes too, but you don’t really need to as it is a ‘pull over the head’ dress so you don’t actually need them to be functioning if you don’t want.

What else can I say except it’s lovely and more will follow. Oh by the way, whilst the corduroy is lovely, it is a fluff generator, so expect to get it everywhere! Totally worth it though I think.

Who else is loving Autumn? Today I am wearing this with thick plum coloured tights and clogs for a cosy vibe. Later I’m off to the Post Office and will pair it with my wellies and be equally comfortable.

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What’s your favourite pinafore pattern? I’d love more suggestions ..

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x