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My Pattydoo Milly reversible shopping bag

My love for all things Pattydoo continues. Not only do they have a super range of sewing patterns, some written in English and some in German only, but they also have some great free patterns and this is one of them! Fortunately this is one of the patterns that you can print out in English too, so it’s a winner all round.

 

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So, this free pattern is for a reversible grocery bag. It is available in a small (children’s) size, and a larger adult sized version and you can choose to make it with webbing handles or fabric throughout, as I did. Because it is reversible, it is effectively lined so this makes it nice and strong too.

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I’ve been on the lookout for a pretty shopping bag for a while, and wanted something different to a regular tote bag. I wanted a bag that I could carry in my hands or in the crook of my elbow (not a shoulder bag) rather like a regular 5p plastic carrier bag, and I also wanted it to be reasonably sized so that I could fill it with plenty of shopping.

I was totally taken with the shape of this bag, in particular the pleats, and I knew that I had some pretty quilting cotton in my stash that I had been saving for a project like this.

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I could tell from the images that I had seen on the internet that the handles were going to be a little bit too long for the style that I was after, so I shortened them by 7cm. As mentioned before I wanted it to be ‘carrier bag style’. I simply printed out the pattern, cut it out and shortened the handle by 7cm before cutting it out. The width of my fabric was quite narrow, and I didn’t follow the cutting layout that Pattydoo had suggested. I folded both my selvedge’s into the centre to give myself two folded edges, and jiggled the pieces to make it fit. It worked out fine though and I managed to get each bag cut out with no problems. Take care if you have a directional print to make sure that your pieces are laying in the correct direction before you cut it out.

Along with the inverted pleats which I think are so cute, I love the way the boxed corners are sewn. I think they’re really pretty and give an interesting finished result.

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There are no written instructions to make up this bag included in the PDF, instead you are directed to a great Video tutorial which takes you through the whole step-by-step process of making it. Although this is spoken in German (I don’t speak German), it is really good and clear and is a great way to follow along with the sewing process.

The fabric that I have used is a quilting cotton from a range by Tanya Whelan. It was purchased from a small independent fabric shop which is no longer in business, but I will leave a link here for one alternative source of this fabric from this range that I have found. It also gives you a good idea of the coordinating colours and designs available in this collection. I really recommend quilting cotton or something of similar weight/strength for this project as the finished result is a really strong and sturdy bag.

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It’s a quick sewing project, and I am so happy with how it turned out. I am definitely keeping this for myself, but it would make a great gift idea too I think. I have a little fabric left over and when I get a chance will make a small pouch to keep it tidy inside my handbag so that I have it with me at all times.

I am on the lookout to replace my big shopping bags sometime soon. You know the large jute shopping bags that look like this:

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Our jute bags are on their last legs and I would like to make a set of bags like this using upholstery fabric probably and webbing handles, but cannot seem to find a good sewing pattern (it doesn’t have to be free) that looks similar to this design. If anybody has any good pattern suggestions for something like this, I would love it if you could leave a comment below and I can check it out. Thank you so much!

Let me know if you have a go at the Pattydoo pattern, I would love to see your makes!

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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My #smyly2018 dress – another Pattydoo Chloe dress!

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O.K, I know. Another Pattydoo Chloe dress. I just can’t help it, I love it so much!

I recently made this as part of a contest entry over on the Pattern Review website and decided to mention it here as part of the #smyly2018 challenge.

The idea of the #smyly2018 challenge is to make a garment that makes you feel good and helps the sewing community talk about positive body image and mental health issues.

Whilst I have been incredibly touched with reading and listening to so many situations that other sewists have found themselves dealing with, I feel that it is still too difficult to share with you my struggles with overwhelming shyness and other issues that affect my mental health.

I will say however that I agree with everyone that has taken part, in that sewing definitely makes a huge difference to me and I am constantly amazed by the support I have from fellow sewists, and that which I see shown to others. It is always important to remember that we all have struggles that we are dealing with, often unseen, and these affect us all to varying extents,  but kindness costs nothing and patience with others is always something to aim for as we can never truly know what others are dealing with.

I have talked before about how I love the style and comfort of this dress, and if you would like to read a couple of my previous reviews on this dress you can do so here and here. I have made others, but not blogged them.

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I have used a moss green scuba fabric which I picked up from The Rag Market in Birmingham last year. It has a bold floral design with the addition of berries, butterflies and bees.

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… and pockets and pleats. Yay!

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Thank you to HattieAthina, and Lisa for setting up this friendly challenge. I am going to try to leave this dress pattern for a while as I think I have enough versions of this for now …

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy xx

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My By Hand London Elisalex Dress

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Happy December everyone! The start of a new month means that it’s time for my monthly post on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.

With the party season in mind, I have gone all fancy and used this stunning bottle green brocade to make this wonderful Elisalex Dress from By Hand London.

Not only is it fancy on the outside, it’s fancy on the inside too, so do head on over to my post to read all about how I made it super special.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x