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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 Sew To Grow Meridan Knit Dress

 

Happy New Year! I do hope that you are all feeling rested after the Christmas break and are ready for everything that 2019 will bring.

My January make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is The Meridan Knit Dress    from Sew To Grow. It’s a cute knit dress with an elasticated waist which I chose to wear on Christmas day, and I couldn’t have been more comfortable.

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Roomy pockets are essential and you can make a feature out of them by using a contrasting fabric.

The fabric I chose is this dramatic scuba as I was really drawn toward the colours and liked the irregular stripes.  I know that I have lots of striped dresses with elasticated waists, but there’s always room for another!

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I particularly like the shape of the neckline at the back, and although I wore it with a cardigan on Christmas day, I can’t wait to wear it when the weather warms up during the Spring so that the back neckline is visible. It’s cute right?

As always the full review is over on the Blogger Network, so I look forward to seeing you all over there. As always many thanks to Minerva Crafts for all the lovely supplies that I used for my Meridan Knit Dress.

If you like this style of easy to wear ‘throw over your head’ dress, then you might want to take a peek at another Sew To Grow dress that I reviewed back in July 2017, The Flatter Me Frock.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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My Striped Peak T-shirt Dress

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Wendy Ward recently released her third book – A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics. I was really impressed with all of the reviews that I had read, and was overjoyed to win myself a copy as a competition prize ran by the lovely guys at Girl Charlee UK.

The book contains the pattern pieces to make 20 versions of six basic patterns. There are three pages of pattern sheets, and you need to trace off the specific pattern pieces you require as the colour coded patterns overlap and are printed on both sides of the sheets. On page 23 of the book there is a helpful guide to using the paper patterns including a check list to make sure that you know all the pieces that you need for your chosen project.

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The moment I saw the book, I was really interested in the blue and white striped t-shirt dress that is shown on the cover. One of my favourite Summer dresses is a very old blue and white striped ‘ready to wear’ t-shirt dress which has an elasticated waist just like this. It is now sadly too big for me since I have lost a little weight since I bought it, and anyhow I have worn it so often it is pretty much worn out. This cover dress was always going to be my first make from this book, and I really wanted to get one sewn up so that I could enjoy it this as soon as possible.

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The Peak T-shirt is a basic crew neck t-shirt, and you lengthen it to make it into a dress. To do this, Wendy tells you that you need to extend the t-shirt pattern body pieces by 40cm. No problems with this. You effectively then have a long t-shirt which you will gather at the waist with elastic.

The old RTW dress that I mentioned earlier had a bright yellow waistband, this is one of the things I loved about it most. The dress that I was making from this book doesn’t have a separate waistband piece, but I decided that I could introduce a contrasting piece of plain jersey on the neck band piece instead. I might add a coloured waistband piece in a future make, as this would be quite simple and a way to re-create my beloved dress exactly!

I really would have liked to have used a plain primary colour, but didn’t have any scraps of this in my stash – what I did have was a tiny piece of leftover plain grey interlock jersey from Fabworks Online. I had used this back in April, to make up some baby sleepsuits (which I don’t think I ever blogged about) but if you head on over to my Instagram you will find them back in April.

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I wasn’t sure that this was going to work, as the striped fabric and the grey fabric felt like that they weren’t the same weight, but having decided that even if it meant unpicking it if it didn’t work, it would be worth a try. Surprisingly, the neckband went in lovely, and lays nice and flat. I was so pleased, and love the little pop of colour that it gives to the garment. By the way, the striped fabric is just some cheap t-shirt weight jersey bought from Leicester market for £1 per metre! Although a smidge lightweight for this project , it’s a surprisingly nice quality and has a lovely slub texture to it which you might be able to make out in some of the images.

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I chose the short sleeves, as this is a Summer dress, but there is the option to use long sleeves and you can add a cuff to these too if you like.

Attaching the elastic, gave me all sorts of headaches! For some reason I always seem to struggle when attaching regular elastic to garments in this manner. It should be so easy – simply measure the elastic to fit your waist, join the ends to make a loop and add it to the skirt, using a zig zag stitch stretching the elastic as you go using 4 measured points on the elastic matching up to four points on the dress. I have no problems when doing this with clear elastic, but for some reason when using regular elastic (this pattern calls for 1cm wide regular elastic), it just doesn’t seem to form a neat gather when I release the stretched elastic after stitching. It kind of stays stretched in some areas? Anyhow, I unpicked the first effort, and the second time it was much better, but still not perfect. Rather than unpicking it again, and risk damaging the dress, I will settle for this, but might use my favourite clear elastic next time. By the way, this is just a technique I need to perfect, not a fault with the pattern at all!

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Another tip which I really should have used would be to use a walking foot (if you have one) when sewing knits – especially those with stripes.  For some unknown reason, I didn’t use mine, and despite using an obscene amount of pins when sewing the side seams, the stripes have slipped a little when sewing up and unfortunately are not quite perfectly matched. There was no way I was going to do any more unpicking on this dress so I am going to ignore this little detail and hope no-one notices… ssshhhhh!

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So, lessons have been learned, and I basically need to slow down and take my time to avoid unnecessary mistakes. I will be making LOTS more of these dresses, they are just lovely. The basic t-shirt pattern is also something I will give a go.

There are plenty of other great projects in the book, I really like the look of the Monsal lounge pants too – the perfect tapered leg cuffed jersey trousers. Who doesn’t love a bit of lounge wear? Look forward to whipping a pair of these up during the Autumn.

I am also over the moon that, in my quest to sew nine patterns from independent sewing pattern designers that I have never used before as part of my #2018makenine sewing challenge to myself, this is now the 8th garment that I have completed! Whoopeee!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Another Pattydoo Chloe Dress.

I am a huge fan of this sewing pattern, and have made several versions before (using scuba), which I have blogged about on previous posts. The reason that I am sharing another one with you, is that I am celebrating the launch of a new online knit fabrics boutique, Pin and Sew , by making up my favourite dress pattern using fabric from her brand new store.

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I was recently approached by Aga, who is the owner of Pin and Sew. She explained that she was launching her new venture soon, and wondered if I would be interested in taking a look at the website and perhaps trying out some of her fabric. Her website specializes in knit fabrics, and as I love sewing with knits, it was good to take look at what she has to offer – but not so easy to choose my favourite out of them all!

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Over on the Pin and Sew site, you will find a good selection of jerseys, French Terry, Ponte and Sweatshirt fabrics. Patterned and plain, there is something for everyone. I opted for this wonderful  green French Terry which has a floral design (honeysuckle I think), and Cranes. It is also available in a blue colour way. I have never sewn with a French Terry before and was keen to try out this type of knit. It is rather like a sweatshirting fabric, with a small loop back on the wrong side, but more light weight.

There is also a great selection of adults and children’s sewing patterns for sale too, all geared towards sewing with knits.

The fabric arrived in next to no time, and I was delighted to see it arrive in plastic free wrapping. The strong brown paper bags used by Pin and Sew will still protect your fabric in transit, but are totally environmentally friendly. The fabric was also accompanied by an information card giving me care instructions for my fabric. Over on the Pin and Sew website, you can learn all about their concern for the environment  and how this is reflected in their packaging.

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Back to the Pattydoo pattern. Another reason for writing about the Chloe Dress again is to mention that a pattern written in another language can still be made up with very little problems. Pattydoo is a German pattern company and has a large range of reasonably priced PDF patterns for adults and children, as well as some free patterns too. I recently made their free shopping bag (the Milly bag) and plan to blog about this shortly too.

Firstly, this PDF pattern was 3 Euros. Can you believe it! I am still stunned by the low price of this. After printing out the pattern and instructions, I realised that I would need some help from Google Translate. This helped a little, especially with the fabric requirements and cutting instructions, but what really is the game changer for this company is that they have a YouTube channel where you can follow a complete video sew-along for the construction of the dress. Whilst this is still spoken in German (I don’t speak a word of German), the visual aspect of it is so good (along with seam allowance measurements being flashed up on the screen), that you barely need anything else – it is really excellent! I would still recommend that you make up a toile in this situation before cutting into precious fabric, just in case you have missed something important along the way!

Another thing to bear in mind with the video guide is that she is showing you how to make the child’s dress, so if you are making an adult version, you just need to remember to sew in the bust darts at the appropriate time and also add some elastic to the centre back waistline to give it some shape there too. Guidance on these steps are found in the pattern’s written instructions.

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The pattern has a choice of sleeve lengths, and the neck can be finished with a neckline facing or you can add a neckband. I chose to make the short sleeved version, and as you can see I used a neckband to finish the neckline, as I love this finish. This cotton French Terry is wonderful to sew with, soft and breathable, and is a perfect weight for this dress. I am also imagining this fabric made up into a Grainline Studios Linden Sweatshirt  – how dreamy..

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Yes, this pattern has pockets. It doesn’t get any better. Although I feel I may have accidentally stretched out the pocket edges when I top stitched them, despite using a walking foot, so will take extra care with this step next time. It also pays to be extra careful to trim down your seam allowances where they are bulky to avoid any lumps which I have in a couple of places. I need to remember more haste and less speed.

Aside from the walking foot if you have one, it is also a good idea to use ball point pins or wonder clips, and stretch/jersey or ball point needles on your machine when sewing knit fabrics. I always test on a scrap of leftover fabric before I start sewing on my main project just to check that I am happy with the stitch.

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Because I have made the dress so many times before, I knew the alterations that I needed to make, and already have the adjusted pattern pieces ready to use. I must be honest – I have lost weight since I made these measurements, so could probably do with adjusting  them again, but basically I lengthened the bodice (unusually for me), by 2cm and added 3.5cm to the skirt length.

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I am super pleased with how the dress has turned out. I am often on the look-out for green floral fabric and it’s not always that easy to find, so I was really chuffed to have had the opportunity to make this dress with this wonderful fabric. Thank you so very much to Aga, for giving me the opportunity to work with her during this exciting launch, and providing me with such pretty fabric.

As well as the website linked above, you can also find Pin and Sew over on Instagram and facebook.

I would love to hear if any of you have any more tips on sewing patterns that are printed in a different language to your own. Do share any of your tips in the comment section below.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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The Mayfair Dress from Nina Lee and a pattern giveaway

Pattern testing is becoming something that I have really been enjoying just lately, and I was more than thrilled to be accepted as part of the pattern testing team for Nina Lee recently. Nina Lee is an independent pattern company based in London, and has an impressive range of patterns including dresses, tops, trousers and pyjamas which I would encourage you to check out if you are unfamiliar with her designs. Nina is a friendly and inspiring young designer who is incredibly talented and hard working and I look forward to working with her again.

So, let me introduce you to The Mayfair Dress.

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This is a jersey dress designed to take you from day to night and is suitable for all occasions. It is incredibly comfortable, super flattering, and with the choice of skirt lengths and sleeve options you are bound to find a combination to make the dress of your dreams! It has a tie belt which can be tied at the front or the back, depending on your mood.

The dress is available in UK sizes 6-20, and you will need to use a knit fabric with a 25% crosswise stretch with a good drape.

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I chose to use a viscose jersey, and opted for this stunning blush pink and navy fabric from The Sewing Cafe in Hinckley. It’s so pretty, and works with this pattern perfectly I think.

The pattern is really quite simple, and has no fastenings. The collar facing is attached to the dress using the ‘burrito’ method, which is such fun and ensures a beautiful clean finish with no raw edges to neaten. Don’t worry if you have never used this technique before, the instructions are really great – in their wording and with the use of clear illustrations.

I chose to make the knee length version with short sleeves. I love the depth of the flattering v-neck- it’s just right. Pleats are created at the back of the collar and softly create a lovely drape down towards the bust on the front bodice.

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The pleats are created at the centre back neck seam.

I love how the fabric tie nips you in at the waist. This is attached at the centre front seam of the dress over your gathering stitches and secured along the upper and lower edges with two lines of top stitching. The length of the tie is perfect, and is long enough for you to choose if you want to tie it at the back or bring it round again and make a feature of the tie at the front of the dress.

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The sleeves went in nicely with no puckering or gathers, and are fitted as one of the final steps before the dress is sewn up at each side in one continuous line from the end of your sleeves to the underarm point and continuing down to the hem.

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I really enjoyed making this dress. I made absolutely NO changes to the pattern at all, and it fits like a glove. I have since made another version of this dress, which I had photographed during a recent sewing get-together which I blogged about here, and once I get the photographs back from the photo session there, I will add them to this blog post so that you can see another version.

Addition on 21st September 2018 – as promised in the paragraph above, here is another version of the Mayfair dress:

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Do you fancy making a version of this dress yourself? To celebrate the launch of this new pattern, I have one copy of this dress pattern (paper version), to be won, as I am hosting a giveaway over on my Instagram page. It’s really simple, you just need to head on over to my Instagram page and follow, like and comment on my post (pictured above), and a random winner will be chosen on Sunday 15th July 2018 at 3pm U.K time. This giveaway is open worldwide so, good luck everyone!

*This giveaway is now closed*

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Happy sewing, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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The Out and About Dress from Sew Caroline

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I admit it, I cannot resist a blue floral dress fabric. But really, this fabric could not be ignored could it? It’s a medium weight stretch jersey knit with the most incredible bright orange and pink flowers. It’s hard to see the true beauty of the blue colour – but it’s somewhere between a navy and royal blue, so is really special. Currently at £4.99 per metre, it’s a bit of a bargain too!

This is The Out and About Dress from Sew Caroline Patterns and it is my latest make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. If you use this link you will be able to access my full review and all of the supplies that I used for it.

I’ll keep it brief today, as I always do with my Minerva Crafts blog posts, but do head on over to get all the details on how I love this dress, and also what I would do differently next time I make one.

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This dress is also another make ticked off my #2018makenine list, so I am pretty pleased about that too! This year I am trying to make nine items using nine independent pattern designers that I haven’t used before, and this dress is make no. 6 – let’s hope I can keep this up and tick them all off by the end of December.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Simplicity New Look 6533 babydoll dress pattern review.

I am so very lucky to have been gifted a couple of sewing patterns recently from Simplicity New Look and this is my review of the second. (the other review is for New Look 6449 and can be found here).  I first spotted this pattern last October during the #sewbrum meet up when a lady next to me won it as one of the prizes in the raffle. I quickly took a picture of it to remind me of the pattern number and when this opportunity came along recently I jumped at the chance to choose and sew a pattern that I have been interested in making for a little while now.

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So as you can see from the image, New Look 6533 is a babydoll dress or tunic, for knit fabrics, with different sleeve options and length choices. It also has a legging pattern included.

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I chose to make view D, but with a couple of small adjustments. I didn’t want the side slits so just went right ahead and sewed the side seams as a normal skirt. I also added my own in-seam pockets as this pattern does not include them. As usual I just used my favourite pocket piece from another pattern and measured where I wanted them to be placed, and added them at the time of sewing up the side seam as normal. I decided to reduce any risk of bulk by using a scrap of chiffon type silky fabric that I had in my stash. It has a geometric design, and thought it would be a fun pocket fabric for this make.

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I also didn’t want the hi/lo hem that this pattern features. So I simply cut 2 skirt front pieces (rather than use the longer skirt back piece) ensuring a regular even hem.

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I am so in love with the fabric that I used for this project. I’m quite keen to introduce more grey tones into my wardrobe and this pretty jersey has been in my stash for a few months now waiting for the perfect pattern! It’s a cotton jersey from Girl Charlee UK and has 5% spandex. I’ve had a quick look at their website to see if I can link it for you, and have found this gorgeous almond colourway . How pretty is this colour? – so tempting!! I’m not sure if the grey is still available, or maybe I have just missed it..

Take good care when choosing your size for this pattern. My finished garment measurements put me down as an XS size! ( which I would definitely not describe myself as – I am a UK size 12 ish). As you can see, the finished dress is still quite roomy, I probably would have sized down even more if I could, but I get that this relaxed fit is part of the babydoll style and I think it’s cute.

To complete the dress you need to add some clear elastic at the waist seam. (the skirt is already gathered before attaching to the bodice), and whilst I felt I definitely still needed this elastic, I wanted the bodice at the front to lie smooth and flat and didn’t want the elastic at the front to produce any gathers on the bodice, so I just added the elastic at the waist seam at the back of the dress as this seemed to be where is especially needed cinching in, and this worked for me.

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I have made several jersey dresses in a similar style to this, but this one is a little different in that the waist seam sits higher due to the babydoll style. I like the different options that there are on the pattern – the tunic style with slits and leggings may be something that I could try as this is different to what I would normally go for, and I also think the elastic cuffed long sleeves shown in view B are cute and I will definitely use these another time.

The pattern comes with your standard tissue pattern pieces and step-by-step instructions accompanied with black and white illustrations. It was nice and easy to make (although the clear elastic may require some care if you are new to this method), and it was a quick and rewarding project which is always a winner! You can definitely play around with the pattern as I have, adding pockets, adjusting the side slits and sleeves. Patch pocket would be cute on this dress too don’t you think? Maybe ruffles on the sleeves…

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I was happy with the neckline, it’s always a relief when these lay nice and flat, and as always I finished this off with the twin stretch needle, along with the sleeves and skirt hem.

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Thank you to Simplicity New Look for gifting me this pattern to review. I had great fun making it and it gave me the perfect opportunity to pair it with this wonderful fabric that I had been waiting to use for so long.

Take care. and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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My #sewmystyle2018 April entry – the Marigold trousers from Tilly and the Buttons.

So this blog post contains something completely different from me -trousers!

The #sewmystyle2018 challenge is run by Jessica and it encourages you to make 12 garments in 12 months. Of course you don’t have to make all of them – I personally am dipping in and out of this challenge only choosing the items that I feel will wear often. This months make is the Marigold jumpsuit and trousers pattern from Tilly and the Buttons.

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I quite liked the idea of making the jumpsuit, but finally settled on making the trousers because:

  1. I never make trousers, so why not do something about this and these do look super cute and comfy for Summer.
  2. I can’t be doing with the whole stripping off to visit the toilet situation that you get with a jumpsuit!

I wondered if getting the fit of the trousers right would be tricky, so made up a toile first and was really glad that I did as I found that the crotch sat really low on me and I needed to raise this by 2″ to ensure a better fit. There is a great piece on how to fit your Marigold trousers on the Tilly website here.

Don’t forget that if you are raising your crotch height like me (using the adjustment lines on the pattern) that you need to shorten your pocket pieces by the same amount.

I did wonder if I should shorten the length of the legs too but I like the way they settle around my ankles so left them as they were.

 

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The trousers have a peg shaped leg tapering in to the ankles, and I am pleasantly surprised with how much I like how they have turned out. They have a gathered waist all the way around and are also shaped with small pleats and darts at the waist front and back. I think I quite like them! I am a huge fan of Tilly patterns and this did not disappoint.

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The fabric that I chose to make up this version in is a black geometric print viscose from Minerva Crafts. It was a very reasonable £4.99 per metre and I think it is perfect for these Marigolds.

I did have my concerns that the elasticated waist all the way around would look unflattering on my shape, but I don’t feel this to be the case. I also really like the deep pockets. Essential.

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So all in all I am really chuffed with them. I think you may have to choose your fabric wisely so as not to look like you have stepped out in your pyjamas, but I really love this black and white geometric print – they remind me on the time that I used to work for Monsoon/Accessorize and I wore these type of trousers alot during the Summer as my work uniform.

Do head on over to Instagram and check out the hashtag #sewmystyle2018 and #sewmystyle for more Marigold inspiration this month.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Tilly and The Buttons Frankie Baseball T-Shirt pattern review.

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I’m quite sure that this isn’t the first Frankie baseball t-shirt that you’ve seen, and it probably won’t be the last. There was huge excitement in the sewing world when Tilly Walnes released ‘Stretch!’ in February, it is Tilly’s second book (her first is called ‘Love At First Stitch’), and this time she is writing about sewing with knit fabrics.

I was of course desperate to own it, and was completely blown away when the publishers Quadrille Craft sent me a copy as a prize in a competition they were running a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to get started on it and as I happened to be travelling to London a couple of days after receiving it, I quickly decided what would be the first project that I wanted to make from the book and made a note of the fabric I needed so that I could purchase a little something from the Goldhawk road whilst I was down there.

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So I knew that I wanted to make the Frankie first, and picked up this wonderfully soft cotton jersey. The ‘white’ is kind of an off white pinkish toned white which works really well with the dark cornflower blue. It’s a little bit similar to the colours worn by the model in the book except for that version has a pink neckband – which is totally awesome and I would probably add in another colour for the neckband next time too.

The fit is described as relaxed – which is neither too tight or too loose, so I opted to make a straight size 5. It’s relaxed and comfortable, but you could totally cut a size or two smaller if you prefer a more fitted style. I chose to make the 3/4 length sleeves and love them. Hopefully the weather will start to warm up now and this will be the sleeve length that I will get the most wear out in the coming months.

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The instructions and information provided by the book are second to none. If you are familiar with Tilly and the Buttons patterns already, you will know that they are extremely well written and easy to follow and this book is the same – and then some. It is packed full of tips and tricks regarding sewing with knit fabrics and addresses any concerns that you might have.

The Frankie is a great pattern to get started with, I love the raglan sleeves and how quick and easy they are to sew into place. The neckband is possible the only slightly fiddly part, but using the ‘quartering technique’ which I always do with stretch neckbands ensures an even stretch – although I felt that I really had to stretch my neckband quite a lot – nevertheless it went in great and lays lovely and flat which is the result that you are looking for. Changing your needle to a twin needle can be a bit of a chore, but I love the result that it gives, so finished my neckband, sleeves and hem with the double needle.

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I cannot tell you how much I look forward to making EVERY other item that is in the book. There are 5 other patterns included, not to mention several variations and hacks to make them exactly how you like, and am currently working my way through reading it, as it is crammed full of information I know I will find useful.

Congratulations to Tilly for such an inspiring read, I thoroughly enjoyed this make, and as it uses so little fabric, it could definitely become a stashbuster pattern for those leftover pieces of fabric that you are not sure what to do with.

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Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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A classic striped Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress with a twist of lime.

Happy April everybody!

As ever, the beginning of the month means that it’s time to share my latest make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.

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I already have 2 or 3 Coco’s , but really wanted a classic black and white striped version. On looking through the ponte roma fabrics on the Minerva Crafts website I came across this black, white and lime green striped fabric. I needed to look no further! The lime gives it a pop of colour and whilst it still doesn’t feel very Spring-like outside, I’m feeling it with this fabric!

My full review is over on the Blogger Network now, and you can also see how I added a decorative lacy zip at the back for more lime loveliness.

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

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x