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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 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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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

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McCalls M7561 stripe knit dress pattern review

 

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It’s the beginning of the month again which means that it’s time to share with you my latest make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network and this month it’s this gorgeous knit dress – McCalls M7561.

Do head on over to Minerva Crafts using the link above to see lots more pics and read all about this delightful pattern!

See you over there!

Kathy x