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The Maple Dress from Cocowawa Crafts.

Pattern testing is something that I really enjoy. I have worked with Ana from Cocowawa Crafts a few times now, and it is always my pleasure to help her out.

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Hello to The Maple Dress, , the brand new pattern from Cocowawa Crafts.

This relaxed fitting double breasted dress features a notched collar, a swishy quarter circle skirt in your choice of length, inseam pockets (hooray)! and your choice of sleeve lengths. You can also add a ruffle around the edge of the collar or perhaps some piping.

I chose to make the short sleeved version with the keyhole detail and ties – Cocowawa certainly knows how to rock a good pattern with ties/ribbons, and I went for the shorter length skirt.

My fabric choice is this amazing viscose twill from  Fabric Godmother. I picked the navy blue option – but there are other colour choices on this fabric. It had the perfect amount of weight and drape to suit this design perfectly. The quality is exceptional and my fabric arrived really quickly. At £6 per metre, it’s reasonably priced too.

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The pattern is designed to have a natural relaxed fit, but looking at the finished garment sizing, I decided to size down a little so that the dress fitted me a little more closely. I also wanted the waistline slightly higher, so shortened the bodice by 2.5cm.

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I really enjoyed sewing the notched collar. I have recently made Butterick 5926 which is a jacket with the same collar type, so I had a good idea (still fresh in my mind) on how the collar is constructed. No need to worry, the instructions and excellent pattern markings make fitting the collar a breeze. If you still have any reservations about it, why not head on over to watch Ana on her YouTube channel where she will take you through all the important construction details on The Maple. I love having something like this to refer to when I’m sewing – it’s like sewing with a friend!

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My buttonholes created a couple of little pulls in the threads of the fabric. This could be that I needed to use a sharper or finer needle in my machine.

You will need 4 buttons for this dress. These pretty brown buttons I picked up from Hobbycraft I think, and they look like they are made from coconut shells.

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The sleeves are one of my favourite parts of the pattern. Ana is the Queen of all things ribbons, ties and ruffles and I LOVE all of those things. I made some bias tape from leftover fabric, but you could just as easily use ready made bias if you prefer, and used it to edge and tie the keyhole short sleeves. So cute.

As the pattern is brand new and has only released today, you might be interested to know that there is a lovely page on the Cocowawa blog featuring all the Maple Dresses that have been made by the pattern testers. Head on over here for some awesome Maple Dress inspiration. They are really really fabulous.

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I hope that this have given you some Spring/Summer sewing inspiration. That being said – the long sleeved version with or without a polo neck underneath will see you through the colder months too!

Huge thanks to Ana, such a creative and truly lovely lady, for trusting me with your latest creation. I had the best time making it and cannot wait to see lots of Maple’s cropping up all over the internet!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Another Cocowawa Chestnut Sweater – with interchangeable ribbons!

 

O.k, I know that you have seen this sweatshirt before LOADS of times, but this one’s different ..

This month on my Minerva Crafts Blogger Network make I wanted to make a comfy sweatshirt and this wonderful claret ponte roma caught my eye. Available in a whopping 27 colours it was a pretty difficult choice to select which one I wanted to use.

The next difficult choice (it’s a hard life, I know), was which ribbon to pair it up with. Luckily for me, the lovely Vicki from Minerva kindly sent me two ribbon choices for me to make my mind up with at home with the fabric in front of me. After a great deal of procrastination, I finally realised that I simply couldn’t choose between the two and worked out a way that I could adapt the pattern so that I can add whatever ribbon I feel like!

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It was simple to add these gold coloured eyelets to the opening of the neck slit, and doing this gives me a neat way of changing my ribbon choice as the mood takes me!

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Immediately after making this I proudly showed my husband this genius pattern hack, to which he promptly informed me that I had hammered them in ‘the wrong way up’.  Ho hum! Let’s not loose too much sleep over that one shall we, I still love it! Don’t worry if you don’t have eyelets, you could just as easily sew buttonhole openings here instead.

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My full post, showing this in more detail is over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network this month, I’ll see you over there..

 

 

Huge thanks as always to Minerva Crafts for sending me the supplies in exchange for an honest review on their Blogger Nework page.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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My Cocowawa Crafts Pumpkin Dress

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Last Thursday saw the release of the new Pumpkin Cardigan and Cardi Dress from Cocowawa Crafts, and it could not have been timed better. The Pumpkin Cardigan and Dress is a comfortable cosy pattern for knit fabrics, and offers you the choice to make a cardigan or dress using your choice of necklines, sleeves and pockets. You can also add a simple hem or add a ruffle!

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I am so thrilled to be part of the pattern testing team for Cocowawa, and when I saw this pattern for the first time I knew that I would like to make the dress version. I had recently spotted this gorgeous loop backed jersey in the online fabric shop Material Girl Laura. it is the perfect weight for this project, the quality is excellent and I have since noticed that Laura is now stocking other colours ( check out the ‘sage’ colourway – it’s lush).

I teamed it up with a beautiful blue ribbed jersey from Material Magic in Leicester. The colour is a perfect pairing with the dark blue dove in the main fabric and I was thrilled to find such a great match.

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I went for the scoop neckline, and chose to keep things cosy and make the sleeved version (with cuffs). I also opted for inseam pockets (my favourites), but also love that there is the choice for bound pockets too if that is your preference. Finally I wanted to keep the hem of the dress simple and went for a simple band at the bottom – but a ruffle here is definitely something I will make in the future as it is too cute.

Fitting on the dress is easy, although I did make a toile before this finished version, as I always do when pattern testing,to make sure that I had the right size. For me, with this dress, as long as I have the bust measurement correct then the a-line shape of the dress just falls into place perfectly. The result is the most comfortable, cosy dress you could dream of. Pair it with warm tights and flats or boots and you are good to go and Autumn ready!

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I know that I have already mentioned the pockets, but, well.. they’re essential right?

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I love that Ana from Cocowawa provides you with the support of a YouTube video for this pattern. So if you feeling nervous about any of the construction techniques or you simply want a pal to sew-along with, then head on over to the video which I have linked above. Having said that, the written instructions are great and super clear and are accompanied by excellent illustrations, but this video certainly provides that little bit extra for those amongst us who like visual explanations.

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There are quite a few buttons required for this pattern whether you choose the dress or cardi version. You can use regular buttons and buttonholes, add snaps, or like me simply sew your buttons right through all your layers because you discovered that you can easily pull it off and on over your head.

Of course, this is only one version of the Pumpkin, and I was blown away when I saw all the other versions that the rest of the pattern testers had produced. It really does highlight the variations in the pattern when you see them all together so I will pop a link in here if you would like to have a browse through for some Pumpkin inspiration.

Huge thanks to Ana for allowing me to be a small part of this pattern journey with her. As always, the whole process was a joy, and I am thrilled to share the result with you. I can’t wait to see Pumpkins popping up all over the place now, and look forward to seeing your fabric choices and whether the cardi or the dress is your preference.

Don’t forget that the Instagram challenge #cosycardichallenge is running at the moment until the end of November and the Pumpkin Cardi would be just perfect for this don’t you think?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My Cocowawa Crafts Honeycomb Dress

This is an exciting blog post to share today – my review of the brand new sewing pattern from Cocowawa Crafts.

I’m incredibly flattered to have been chosen as one of the pattern testers for the Honeycomb and when the design details came through I could not have been more delighted. It’s right up my street!

 

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I’m sure that most of you will be aware of the wonderful range of adorable patterns available over at Cocowawa Crafts, but if you haven’t nipped on over before, then I would certainly encourage you to check out this lovely independent pattern company which has the sweetest range of sewing patterns for women and children, available in English or Spanish, in your choice of printed pattern or PDF. Their website (linked above) allows you to access the Cocowawa blog where you can check out tutorials, sew-along’s and all round sewing inspiration.

It doesn’t stop there! The delightful Ana who is the owner and designer behind the brand can also be found regularly posting videos on her YouTube channel where you can find a mix of sewing tutorials, hauls and sewing chats! Most excitingly there is a brand new video especially taking you through every step of the construction of the Honeycomb Shirt and Dress!  For those of us who love visual instructions and sew-along’s, this is soooo helpful! It’s impossible not to be bowled over with Ana’s kind, sweet nature and this is totally reflected in her cute but wearable designs.

Ooh, one last thing here, Ana hosts a friendly sewing chat over on her Instagram page every Wednesday where you can join in with fellow sewists to discuss a sewing related question each week. Affectionately called the #sewinghourchat it’s a lovely way to connect with like minded members of the sewing community.

So, some of the features of The Honeycomb are a pretty Mandarin stand-up collar, front button placket, and pretty ties at the side panels to make fitting nice and simple. The shirt version comes with a cute gathered peplum and the dress option has a gently gathered midi length skirt. Four sleeve options give you the choice of sleeveless, short, regular long or long with bows. I can never get enough bows so it was always going to be the long sleeve version with bows that I made first, but no doubt further versions that I make will use different sleeve lengths.

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The great thing about this pattern is that the many sleeve options allow it to become a dress for all seasons, choose a sleeveless version made in a lightweight cotton fabric for those warm summer months and step up to a long sleeved version (with or without bows) made in a cosy corduroy, velvet or denim for when the temperature is cooler. I chose to make my tester version using a wonderful viscose from Material Magic in Leicester. I love the colour warmth of the browns and burnt oranges and well, you know me, I am never far from a floral print!

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The dress is finished really nicely on the inside, with the yoke and facing being neatly attached using the ‘burrito’ technique, ensuring that all of your raw edges are hidden inside the yoke. Don’t worry if you are new to this method, it is fully explained in the instructions or simply head on over to the YouTube video mentioned above if you would like some visual assistance with this.

I love that the Honeycomb has a Mandarin collar. It’s simplicity is what makes it so special and I must admit I am pretty pleased with how mine turned out. Again great instructions with illustrations will help you through this part as will the YouTube video. How did we ever manage before YouTube! Equally pretty worn buttoned or unbuttoned, the choice is yours.

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Construction of the bodice before the sleeves were added.

Even though we are moving in to Summer here in the U.K I could not resist making the long sleeved version with the bows. I really like the length of the ties – when they are tied into a bow, they are the perfect length and you will NOT find the ends dangling into your food!

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The side bows are not only sweet to look at but allow you to adjust an intentionally loose bodice to get a closer fit. Pretty and functional too!

The skirt of the dress has in-seam pockets. Yeeeeeessssssss!!!! So happy about this! Gentle gathers give the dress just the right amount of fullness without being too much.

This pattern offers the opportunity for some of us to try some new sewing techniques. Lots of lovely features such as princess seams, darts, plackets, burrito technique, buttons and button holes, mandarin collar and those ties offer the chance to try out new skills (or perfect old ones)! and whilst it’s not the quickest sewing project that there is, taking it slowly step by step will provide you with a very satisfying garment at the end. I will certainly wear my Honeycomb Dress with pride and will reach for this pattern again as I know one will not be enough!

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I know as the weeks progress we will all be able to access lots of Honeycomb inspiration on social media by searching for #cwhoneycombshirt #cwhoneycombdress #honeycombshirt #honeycombdress and #cocowawapatterns and in the meantime I would like to share a link on the Cocowawa website which shows all the wonderful pattern tester versions where you can find shirts, dresses and various sleeve lengths. I was certainly in good company when making up this dress and am very inspired by all these lovely creations!

How lovely is this mustard linen dress that Ana has made?

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Not forgetting the shirt! All the heart eyes for this one too!

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I had great fun making up this dress, and it was such a privilege to work with Ana and alongside all the other talented sewists involved with this project. I look forward to admiring lots of lovely Honeycomb shirts and dresses popping up on social media over the coming weeks and can’t wait to see everybody’s makes.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Another Cocowawa Chestnut Sweater, with added bows!

 

IMG_4308It’s no secret that I absolutely love this sewing pattern. Almost as soon as Cocowawa Crafts released this pattern last Autumn I had snapped it up,  downloaded the PDF and whipped up a couple of versions which you can take a look at here. 

During the #sewbrum sewing meet up last October, I decided that along with some fabric purchases from the rag market,  I wanted to save some of my precious fabric spending money on a special purchase of some fabric from Guthrie and Ghani, as this was where we would be ending up the day. My special purchase was this Rose Pink Marl Fleeceback Jersey. It’s just beautiful. Immediately I knew it would end up as another Chestnut Sweater.

I love bows and ribbons, and decided that with this version I would add bows at each cuff. Why not? I already had some grey ribbon in my stash which would be perfect for the bow at the back of the neck and just needed to purchase some narrower ribbon for the cuff bows. Oh by the way, I have chosen to make view A again, which has the ribbon at the centre back neck.

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So my plan was to insert the cuff ribbons through two openings in the cuff piece. The cuff piece is basically a rectangle of fabric which is folded in half lengthwise and attached to the sleeve. Before I attached it to the sleeve I  needed to work out where I wanted the openings (as I wanted them to only be on the outer layer of the cuff). I folded the cuff, pinned it to the sleeve and carefully tried it on to work out where I wanted the centre of the bow to sit. I marked this point on each sleeve.

After unpinning the cuff pieces again, I measured each one to make sure the point where I wanted the centre of the ribbon to sit was evenly matched on each cuff and adjusted them very slightly so that they matched perfectly. I then worked out how far apart I wanted the openings to be – in my case 4.5cm, and also marked these positions on each cuff.

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So there are a couple of different ways that you can make the openings for the ribbon. I chose to use eyelets. These come as a kit with the tool itself included. You can select different metal colours and I chose a gold finish. There are also different sizes and I used the 5.5mm size.

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The instructions on the back of the packet are a little vague, so I resorted to good old YouTube for some visual help with how they work, and found a good video which helped me work out how to fix them. You’ll need a hammer, and my advice would be to hit it REALLY hard, this way you get a good strong finish and it won’t come apart at a later date. This is something that really needs at least a couple of practice attempts on a scrap of fabric. It’s good fun though!

If you don’t have eyelets,  you could always sew little button holes to make the openings. Or perhaps take the ribbons, tie them in a bow and knot them tightly and just sew the knotted bow on the cuff where you want it.

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I was able to then attach the cuffs to the sleeves, and thread the ribbons through after they were attached using a large blunt darning needle.  They are super cute and I am really pleased with how they have turned out.

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I warn you now, this is not the last Chestnut Sweater. You will be seeing more – I just love them!

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Chestnut Sweater by Cocowawa Crafts.

A few weeks ago I noticed that Cocowawa Crafts  had released a new sewing pattern. Several sewing bloggers that I love to follow on Instagram were sharing their pattern testing makes of this sweater and I knew that I really wanted one too!

Now I am normally a dress kinda girl, but will admit to wearing jeans more than usual just lately. I have noticed that I have a distinct lack of handmade tops to wear with them and decided that this Winter I would do something about that. Enter The Chestnut Sweater.

The pattern is a PDF download, and it is THE most adorable cozy Sweater and Top sewing pattern that you ever did see!

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So there are lots of options available here. Firstly you need to choose if you would like to make the Sweater or the Top. The Sweater version seems to be a more relaxed fit which is slightly shorter in length than the top. It has a waistband and cuffs and the choice of 3/4 or long sleeves. The Top is more fitted in the body, is a longer length and has a high-low hem with little side slits.

Both versions have three different bow fastenings to choose from – a single bow fastening at the centre back neckline, a single bow fastening with slit vent at the shoulder or a line of four bows running down the length of the centre back. All totally adorable.

The PDF was straightforward to print off (at home) and after cutting and sticking together (the worst part of PDF’s don’t you think), it was so quick to cut out and sew up. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and there is a ton of helpful information on the Cocowawa website where Ana has been hosting a sew-along this month so do head on over here to check out everything you need to know about The Chestnut!

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I decided to go for the Sweater version as I wanted the relaxed fit, and I knew that I NEEDED version A which has the circular opening at the back neckline finished with a single bow at the centre back neck. I had some cute cat print fleece backed jersey in my stash that I had bought from Sewisfaction last month and although I had originally planned to make a Linden sweatshirt out of it, I could not resist using it for this sweater.

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I finished this Sweater with some wide black ribbon that I also already had in my ribbon stash and hey presto! it was done. Just to mention that to stop the ribbon fraying I quickly ran a flame along the cut edge which seals the end of the ribbon. Take care if doing this though – you only need to run it past the flame quickly – please be careful. You could use pinking shears too.

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I totally love this top. I made the long sleeved version and if I had to make any comment it was that the sleeves were a little too long for me. Not a big deal at all though – it is still totally beautifully wearable and I am besotted with it. Next time I will shorten the sleeve length of the long sleeves by 5cm. (or make the 3/4 length sleeves – but I do like a long sleeve).

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O.K I admit – I couldn’t wait to make another – THE FOLLOWING DAY!

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This time using a navy and white striped ponte again from Sewisfaction and it’s gorgeous. I still wanted long sleeves so shortened the long sleeve pattern piece by 5cm and it’s now the perfect length for me. For the bow I used some white grosgrain ribbon again from my stash and ‘easy peasy’ – it was made in next to no time.

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Ooh I should mention that I did just add a tiny little row of stitching at the back neckline opening just to keep the facing in place. Just my preference, not really essential but saves me from faffing around making sure it’s tucked in.

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I feel I should confess that I purchased a lovely fleece backed jersey from Guthrie and Ghani when I was at #sewbrum a couple of weeks ago and this will more than likely end up turning into another Chestnut Sweater. I just can’t help myself…

There is lots of Chestnut inspiration over on Instagram. Just search the hashtags #chestnutsweater #chestnuttop or #chestnutsewalong and you find yourself all ‘heart-eyed’ at what you discover!

This is the first Cocowawa pattern that I have ever tried and it has been a great experience for me. I also own the Marshmallow dress and have been meaning to try that too. Maybe in the Spring?

Have you tried the Chestnut Sweater or Top, or made other patterns from Cocowawa? I would love to hear what you think. Have you taken part in the #chestnutsewalong ?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x