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A Lined Faux Roman Blind Tutorial

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It’s been a couple of years since we moved to our house, and bit by bit we are working our way through all the usual home improvements that will finally make it the home we are after. Painting has been our main focus lately, and we have just finished painting the dreaded hall, stairs and landing followed by the kitchen and utility room. Of course when I say ‘we’ I mostly mean my husband! Haha!

Our utility room had a nasty old (dust gathering) venetian blind, and when this was removed during painting, I decided to crack on with replacing it with something much more lovely to look at.

It’s only a small window, and not one which needs a functioning blind – it is at the back of our house and is not overlooked at all. I had my heart set on a false Roman Blind made from a piece of special Orla Kiely upholstery fabric from Dunelm. It’s a little pricey at £18 per metre, but decided that I might be able to get away with just a half metre as the fabric was plenty wide enough to cover the width of the window and as it wasn’t necessary to be a working blind, I could simply fold it where I liked to make the drop work. So a half metre of this fabric cost me just £9, which I didn’t think was too bad.

The most important thing with this project is to be very precise with your measurements. I wanted this blind to sit just above the window recess, with a few cm ‘overhang’ either side. The window recess measurements are 58cm width and 112cm drop.

I decided that I wanted the finished flat blind measurement to be 66cm in width ( that is the 58cm width of the window plus a 4cm ‘overhang’ each side of the recess). The drop length of the blind is 50cm ( i.e the half metre length that I purchased).

To measure how wide to cut the Orla fabric, I knew I needed the width to be 66cm (width of the finished blind), plus a 1cm seam allowance each side = 68cm. I then wanted there to be a narrow vertical ‘border’ of the Orla fabric on each side of the reverse of the blind where it attaches to the lining fabric. This ‘border’ measures 2cm each side, so the total width that I needed to cut of the Orla fabric was 72cm.

The lining fabric then needed to be cut. I just used some cream curtain lining that I had in my stash, but I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t be too expensive if you had to buy a small amount.

The lining needs to be measured to be slightly narrower than the Orla fabric, as this will allow the Orla fabric to create that lovely ‘border’ on the reverse of the blind that I mentioned previously. So, the lining is calculated as the finished width of the blind (66cm) minus the 2 lots of 2cm borders =62cm, plus 2 lots of 1cm seam allowances = 64cm.

So, to clarify, I cut the Orla fabric at 72cm width, and the lining at 64cm width. This way ensures that when they are sewn together that a nice grey border will run down each side of the wrong side of the blind.

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This shows the cut lining and how it is a little narrower than the grey Orla fabric beneath it.

With such precise measurements, it is essential to press your fabric before cutting. I trimmed off the smallest amount of fraying fabric at the top and bottom of my blind (where the fabric had been cut), and I also positioned the design so that the centre line of one of the stem rows would be running down the exact centre of the blind.

Now to get sewing! Firstly, with the right sides together, I pinned and sewed both side seams.

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Because the Orla fabric is wider than the lining,  you will have a little extra ‘lump’ of fabric when you pin the sides.

When you have sewn down either side of the blind, smooth that ‘lump’ of Orla fabric so that the vertical seams on the back of the blind are evenly 2cm from the edge of the blind. Don’t iron it yet. Before you turn it right side out, pin along the bottom edge and sew this up. Again I used a 1cm seam allowance to preserve what little length I had.

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Apologies for the lighting. It was a sunny day when I took these pictures, but I hope that you can still see what I am trying to show you!

You can then trim this seam allowance, clip the corners and turn the blind right side out again. Use a point turner or something similar to ensure the corners are nice and sharp and give it a good press.

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More sun and shadows – whoops!

You can see from the image above that I then pinned the open top edge together. I neated these edges together with the overlocker.

Next it’s time to attach the velcro strip to the top of the blind. The velcro strip that I used is 2cm wide, so I turned over the top edge by 3cm, pressed it, and pinned and sewed the fluffy side of the velcro along the middle of this turn-over.

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Next, it is time to pleat your blind. This is done purely on your personal preference. I wanted 2 or 3 folds, and I also wanted to pattern match the stem design too. Take into consideration the height that you will attach the wooden batten to the top of the window too.

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When you are happy with the finished folded blind, give it a good press. In addition to pinning it in place, it is a good idea to run some temporary lines of tacking along the folds so that it doesn’t droop whilst you are finishing it off. I also permanently hand stitched the folds at each side of the blind, and also at various intervals along the folds at the back of the blind. Remove your tacking stitches.

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The wooden batten that we used to attach the blind to the wall was just a leftover that we had in the garage. Again, when I say we, I mean my husband! He cut it to just short of the 66cm blind width – probably approx 64cm – so that it wouldn’t show at all when the blind was in position. He then stapled the prickly part of the velcro to it, and screwed it to the wall a few centimetres above the top of the window recess.

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The blind simply sticks to the batten now, with the velcro, and there you have it! Easy!

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I do hope that this might help you if a false Roman Blind is something that you are planning.

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 #cosycardichallenge entry – The Cocoon Cardigan by Jalie Patterns

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You know me, I can’t resist a good old Instagram sewing challenge. I just can’t help myself, and when I noticed that Amanda, Nikki and Rachel were hosting a cosy cardi challenge this Autumn I simply could not ignore it!

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The pattern I chose to use is The Cocoon Cardigan by Canadian pattern company Jalie Patterns. I have had my eye on it for a long time and this sewing challenge was all that I needed to give me that push to purchase it. I chose it from the huge range of sewing patterns at Sewessential.

The packaging of the pattern is a little different from regular sewing patterns. Whereas most sewing patterns have the instructions and pattern pieces contained within an envelope, this is a large folded sheet of paper on which the pattern pieces are printed, along with the cutting layout, instructions and measurements. The size of the document is slightly larger than an A4 piece of paper.

It has an impressive range of 27 sizes!! From children’s through to plus sizes, and if you pop on over to the Jalie website you can print off the sewing instructions on 3 sheets of paper. The instructions are contained within the paper pattern, but they are difficult to use as they are on such a large folded sheet of paper and much easier to handle when printed off on regular paper. Another advantage of having the instructions available for printing on the website is that you can browse these even before you buy the pattern to see if it is something you are happy with making.

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I was so happy with my fabric choice. It is a soft brushed texture stretch jersey knit from Minerva Crafts, and is a neutral grey marl colour. It behaves very well when cut – doesn’t fray or curl, and is super soft and very very cosy. I did try to link it for you but cannot find it anymore, maybe it has sold out? However there are plenty of alternatives to choose from.

It could not be easier to make. The pattern comprises of a front piece, back piece, neck band and cuffs.  There are no separate sleeve pieces, they are part of the top rather like a kimono and there are no buttons or other fastenings or pockets. Super simple.

Because of it’s simplicity I decided that this was the perfect sewing make to take along with me to my recent sewing day with my friends at Sewisfaction – see my blog post about this here. I knew that there would possibly be more chatting and tea drinking than actual sewing so wanted to take something really easy that didn’t require much concentration. This was all well and good until I noticed halfway through sewing it that I must have dropped one of my cut fabric pieces at home as I was packing my sewing bag so couldn’t complete it whilst I was there. How annoying! Sure enough when I got back home that evening there was the missing neck band piece, but never mind it took next to no time to finish it off.

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So the construction of the cardigan couldn’t be simpler. You are basically attaching the front pieces to the back, adding the cuffs and finishing with the neck band all around the edge. The result is a loose fitting, open fronted cardigan, and is really wonderful now that the weather in England is starting to feel colder.

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The sizing was good for me – no problems with that, although I wonder if I might shorten it next time I make it. I made no adjustments to the pattern for this make, but there are the usual lengthen/shorten markings on the pattern and I think I will use these to shorten my next cardi. It is described as ‘drapey and loose-fitting’ on the website which I love, but I may also size down a fraction next time too. What do you think?

Overall a very enjoyable make. You will be seeing more of these for sure!

Thank you to Amanda, Nikki and Rachel for hosting such a fun challenge. Do head on over to Instagram to search for more #cosycardichallenge inspiration. There is still plenty of time to submit an entry as the closing date is not until the end of the month, and you could be in with a chance to win one of the awesome prizes on offer!

Do let me know if you are taking part and what cardigan pattern are you sewing up?

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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