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The Indigo Add-On Pattern

It’s no secret that I love the Indigo smock dress and top pattern from Tilly and the Buttons.  So last week when they released this add-on pack I was all over it!

It is designed to be used with the original Indigo pattern, and enables you to add short sleeves (with or without a ruffle), a gathered tier at the bottom of the dress making it into a swishy midi dress, and, my personal favourite, the option to give it a button back – how dreamy! The above two pictures are from the Tilly and the Buttons website.

Sew up your dream combination using a mixture of the old pattern and the new to create your perfect dress/top. All in all, using both patterns, you have a total of 48 versions that you can create!

I knew in a heartbeat that I wanted to make the button back version. I also wanted to try those pretty ruffled short sleeves. I kept the skirt length as the regular original length, and also gathered the skirt in the standard way rather than using the exposed ruffle as I thought this might be too fussy with the ruffled sleeves.

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My fabric choice is this pretty ‘Beautiful Botanicals’ viscose from Material Girl Laura. It is a stunning print featuring green, cream and lilac leaves and flowers on a dark navy (almost black)  background, and at a very reasonable £3.99 per half metre. I particularly loved how the lilac flowers perfectly matched my acrylic scissors necklace. I know it’s difficult to see here and due to the bright sunshine those tiny flowers look a little grey but they are a soft lilac irl.

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Lilac acrylic necklace is available in my shop here.

I enjoyed sewing the pattern up immensely. As always with Tilly patterns, it was simple to sew, and the written instructions and pictures were spot on!

I couldn’t wait to make the button back bodice. Although it is an ‘over the head’ dress, I still decided to stitch and sew proper button holes – you could easily just sew on the buttons creating a fake button placket if you liked. They don’t need to be functional. I must admit I think I may have sewn my buttonholes a smidge too far in from the edge, and to make sure it lay nice and neat I actually ran a line of top stitching along that edge to hold it down, which actually makes the whole time spent sewing the button holes a bit of a waste but hey ho! it’s all good fun!

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Check out the new sleeve design too – short sleeves with a gentle (optional) ruffle. They’re so cute!

Of course there are pockets, nice deep ones too! My standard pocket adjustment on this dress is to raise the height of the pocket by 2″.

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There’s very little more to say about this beautiful pattern that hasn’t already been said! I wrote a blog post about my original version here  if you want to take a peek, and have made 3 or 4 versions of it since then.

This pattern was very kindly gifted to me, with no obligations to share in any way, but I wanted to show you how lovely it is and of course all opinions on the pattern are very much my own.

Look after yourselves, stay safe, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Jarrah Sweater from Megan Nielsen Patterns.

The Jarrah  is a great basic sweatshirt pattern with a little bit extra. It is a loose fitting, drop shoulder sweater featuring a crew or funnel neck, two sleeve options and four different hemlines.

As soon as this pattern was released last year, I was desperate to make view C, which has the tie feature at the waist.

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The supplies for this sweater were bought a few months ago during a visit to The Sewing Cafe. I spotted the pattern on the shelf and grabbed it straight away, along with this gorgeous mustard modal jersey and cute blue striped ribbing. I absolutely love this jersey, the quality is exceptional and it was a dream to sew with.

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Dark grey acrylic scissors necklace available from my shop x

Although this is an intentionally loose fitting sweater, I noticed that the sizing chart on the back of the pattern showed a large amount of ease (approx 8″ size difference on the actual bust measurement to that of the finished garment), although this felt like quite a lot, I made the size according to my bust measurement (size 10), and although roomy, it’s still fine I think.

I did make some adjustments, as I could see that I needed to make some changes to the pattern pieces before cutting out. I almost always need to shorten sleeves, and found that I wanted to with this pattern too. I shortened the sleeve length by 2″. There were no ‘lengthen/shorten’ markings on the sleeve pattern piece that I was using (for view A and C), so I just drew my own!

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I knew that the cuffs weren’t going to be tight enough for me either ( I have small wrists), so I also adjusted them by 1″ and tapered the sleeve pattern piece accordingly.

I’m so glad that I used this blue striped ribbing for the neck band and cuffs. I love how this colour works with the mustard and also with my jeans, which if I’m honest is probably what I will always wear this top with!

The ties were a little fiddly to sew, I must admit, and I really took my time on this part to make sure I made it as neatly as I could. The fabric pressed really nicely and this helped a lot – as did the use of lots of pins!

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There’s a really handy blog post on the Megan Nielsen site which give you lots of tips when sewing the tie hem on view C. There are a couple of different ways of sewing the tie ends, and I opted to follow their instructions to make the tie with the mitered/mitred (how do you spell that)?!  corners.

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I should say that these pictures show the sweater a little creased. We took these (outside) photos after a 1 hour car ride, and I think that sitting with the seatbelt over me for that amount of time and then wearing a cross body bag have meant that it’s not quite as smooth as it looked when I finished sewing it and was admiring it on my dressform. Hope you can see past the creases!

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Love the dropped shoulders

So all in all a great top. I have seen lots of lovely versions over on Instagram. Search #MNjarrah for inspiration. I’m planning to make the regular simple sweatshirt (view A) next as I have heard that this turns out really well.

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Do you have a favourite ‘go-to’ sweatshirt pattern?

 

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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A pair of cosy Margot Pyjamas

Despite having made all sorts of grand plans to get lots of sewing done over the Christmas break, it didn’t really happen.

I think a mixture of tiredness after such a hectic couple of months really caught up with me and that combined with a nasty dose of coughs and colds in our house made the last two or three weeks a bit slow to say the least!

One item that I did manage to whip up though was a pair of Tilly and the Buttons Margot Pyjamas. These are a pyjama trouser pattern from Tilly’s first dressmaking book Love at First Stitch.

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I have made several patterns from this book before, but never these pyjamas, and boy! am I going to make up for it from now on!

They are the simplest pattern to sew, only having two pattern pieces, so they are very quick to make and I am really really chuffed with how they have turned out. I absolutely love cosy pyjamas in the Winter months so these are certainly something that I will LIVE in and I couldn’t be happier!

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The fabric that I used is a brushed cotton which I bought from Barry’s in Birmingham a couple of years ago. I adore the tropical print on the navy background and this design makes a lovely change from the traditional tartan/plaid pattern or novelty prints that you can find more readily in  brushed cottons. (That being said, I am desperate now for a plaid pair).

The instructions are brilliant and accompanied by superb photographs, so even an absolute beginner could easily manage this project. Basically you are just sewing up the leg seams, folding over at the waist to create a casing for your drawstring, hemming  and you’re done! I decided that I wanted to have an elasticated waist, so simply added some elastic into the drawstring channel instead of a drawstring cord. I still wanted to have a pretty bow at the front to replicate the drawstring look, so I grabbed the brightest ribbon from my stash and quickly stitched it in place at the centre front for decoration. I’m glad I did this as it really finishes off the trousers and gives them a pop of colour.

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Faux ribbon drawstring attachment and don’t forget to add a garment label if you have one!

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The only adjustment that I made to the pattern was to shorten the leg length. I’m 5’2″ so this is usually something that I have to do. I took 4.5 inches off the leg length. On reflection this might have been a tad too much as when it came to shortening them I only used the teeny tiniest hem (after overlocking the raw edge), so I think that I might add a little back next time so that I have more to play with when I am hemming them. I like the idea of adding piping to the bottom of the trouser legs another time too…

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Rainbow overlocking achieved by using 4 different Autumnal thread colours

So despite a slow start to the new year in terms of sewing, this one’s a goodie and will be a much worn part of my wardrobe for the next 3 or 4 months until the weather warms up!

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Papercut Patterns Sigma Skirt

The run up to Christmas this year has been particularly busy, which I’m so grateful for as a small business. But there’s always something in the back of my head which tells me that I still want to sew a new dress for Christmas day. I kind of ruled out the dress this year and decided that if I made a skirt it would be quicker to make and easier to fit, so a skirt is what I have gone for.

I don’t tend to go for novelty prints at Christmas, but may be inclined to make something a bit more dressy, or at least a garment made in festive colours, but this year I simply wanted to make something using fabric and a pattern from my stash, and something that I could enjoy wearing on any day of the year!

My fabric choice is a wonderful green floral cotton twill that I bought from Sew Me Sunshine  quite a while ago. I only had 1 metre, so it was always going to be a skirt – but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go for another Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt, which would have been amazing in this fabric, or step away from that and make something different. I went for something different. This fabric might be out of stock by now, but if so, then I’m sure that Harriet has lots of pretty alternatives.

The pattern that I went for is the Sigma skirt/dress from Papercut Patterns. I have made this pattern once before, but made the dress version. I blogged about it here  and this was a blog post that I wrote for Minerva back in 2017. This pattern makes a skirt or a dress with optional skirt gathers

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The skirt was a breeze to make. I made a straighforward size medium with no adjustments other than to lengthen the skirt by 8cm (exactly what I had to do with the dress when I made it) – as it’s really quite a short skirt/dress. (I’m 5’2″ for reference).

Shaping for the skirt is provided by waist darts at the back, and sweet little gathers at either side at the front waist. This almost gives it a subtle tulip shape and this is one of my favourite silhouettes. Also it has pockets! This fabric has the perfect amount of weight/structure to show that gathered feature beautifully, and I used the same fabric for the pocket bags rather than opting for a lighter weight fabric and there is no bulk. Happy days.

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I love that this fabric has a little bit of two way stretch, which means that the fitted waistband is always comfortable and hopefully will accommodate lots of cheese and cracker eating on Christmas day!

It has a simple invisible/concealed zip at the back as you might expect.

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I’m looking forward to wearing this at Christmas and beyond. For the photos I kept it simple with a plain white long sleeved tee, but the vibrant colours work well with some of the brightly coloured jumpers and cardigans that I have in my wardrobe, which should make me reach for it lots.

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  • Mint green cotton reel necklace is from my shop.
  • White long sleeved tee is an old RTW
  • Trainers are Converse.

As we approach the end of the year, I would like to wish you all the best for the New Year. Happy Christmas if this is something that you celebrate, and thank you for sticking with me over here on the blog. I realise that I have posted a little less frequently whilst I have been concentrating on getting my jewellery business up and running, so thank you for your patience ( and for those of you that have kindly placed an order), and I look forward to seeing you here on the blog a little more regularly in the New Year!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Felt Mince Pie Bunting Tutorial

Let’s talk about mince pies. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without them would it? Today I am sharing a little tutorial with you on how I made these cute felt mince pies, just in case you are mince pie lovers like we are in our house!

The reason that I wanted to make something different this year, was mainly because I have been using the same handmade bunting for a few years now and wanted a change. Way back in December 2016 I posted a tutorial on this blog for some Christmas Tree Bunting and this is actually my most viewed post ever!! But this year I felt that it was time for something different.

You will need

  • Felt in different colours
  • Bondaweb (or something similar) – not completely necessary, but makes things much easier! The packet shown in the image below contained just a little leftover from a previous project. For this I needed to buy some more and I did this by buying it off the roll at Hobbycraft.
  • White embroidery floss
  • Ric rac tape
  • Bunting tape
  • Usual sewing equipment such as scissors, needle and thread, iron and ironing board and a sewing machine.

 

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Please forgive the shadows on the picture – the sun was out when I took this!

To start off with I printed out a template of a mince pie and also some holly leaves. There are lots of free templates and images online so just find one that you like and print it off to the size that you need. (My mince pies measure 9cm in width and 7.5cm in height – not including the leaves).

I then traced out the various different shapes that I would need onto some tracing paper, and cut them out – but not using my fabric scissors that for some reason I have shown here!!!! Oh no!! Definitely using paper scissors!!!

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Take your cut traced shapes and place them with the right side facing down onto the smooth side of the Bondaweb and trace around them. I did this in bulk to save time. Roughly cut around the Bondaweb shapes and place them (glue side down) onto your chosen felt colours and iron them on. You can then cut carefully around your shape which leaves you with the perfect shapes ready to layer and sew.

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This shows the Bondaweb shapes have been ironed to the felt and then carefully cut out. I left some arrow markings on some of the pieces in case they needed to be placed on the right way up – but you could just work this out as you go along.

Notice that the ‘backing’ shape (which I chose to use dark brown for) does not need Bondaweb (or any interfacing either), so is just cut out straight from the felt ready for the other shapes to be attached to. Word of warning here – make a good choice when deciding what type of marker to use when tracing out your shapes – I just used regular biro and ended up with quite a mess on my iron and ironing board. I’m guessing that a heat dissolving marker like a Frixion pen or something similar might be less messy!!

Now time to layer up your pieces and get sewing! Take your backing piece and lay it down. The first layer is the light brown oval ‘crust’ and the mid brown ‘pie base’. Peel the Bondaweb papers from these shapes and place them glue side down onto the backing shape.

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Gently iron them into place using a medium setting on your iron (you might want to test the heat on a scrap of felt). Below is what it should look like. You can just see some of the dark brown backing showing on this around the edges so  quickly trim around the edge to neaten it up.

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Apply the smaller dark brown ‘mincemeat’ oval on top of the larger light brown oval ‘crust’ piece in the same way and iron that into place too.

Take this to your sewing machine and sew around the edges shown using a decorative stitch. I used a lovely blanket stitch to give it that hand sewn look.

This is what it should look like now.

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Repeat this for the rest of the layers. Next add the light brown ‘pastry star’, iron into position and sew around the edges.

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I find it easier to add the different layers and then sew them into place as I go along, step- by-step rather than ironing them all into place in one go and doing the sewing all in one go.

Next, the holly leaves and finally the berries.

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With the berries, I just ironed them into place and added a little french knot using some white embroidery floss.

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Nearly there now. Finally I added a piece of sparkly cream ric rac to simulate the crust (sewn on using a straight stitch on the machine) and you are done!

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Repeat this as many times as you like and hand sew on to a piece of bunting tape at regular intervals ( I used this wonderful jute plaited ribbon from Hobbycraft, but you can use any tape or ribbon that you have to hand). You don’t necessarily need to add them to bunting – why not add a little loop to the back of them and use them as gift decorations or individual tree ornaments?

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Just for fun, I made up some using  crazy colours, and I just love these too!

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Hang them wherever you like (but not over an open fire) and enjoy them for now and years to come! Although our Christmas tree isn’t up yet, I quite like the idea of using them as tree garlands and for the time being I have placed them on this plant in the hallway.

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This method can be applied to any simple design that you like, do let me know if you try it and what sort of bunting that you made. I will admit that they are not the quick make that I was hoping for, but enjoyable none the less and very addictive once you get started!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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Simplicity 8554 Trench Coat

This garment has been a long time coming. I have actually had this pattern cut out for over a year and have now finally got around to stitching it together. I had planned to have this sewn up in time for Autumn 2018, but time ran away with me and as it really isn’t the best wardrobe choice for the very cold Winter months, I thought it would be a good project to save and make in the Spring. Turns out in the run up to Spring I completely forgot about it, and so here we are, Autumn 2019, and I’ve made it at last.

Simplicity 8554 is a great little pattern for an unlined trench coat, with various choice options for you including the jacket length, sleeve style, side slits, pockets and belt. I chose to make View B which is the mid-thigh/knee length version – shown in blue at the top left of the pattern envelope below.

 

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This jacket features side slits, which I really didn’t want, so I simply sewed these right up when sewing up the side seams. It has some really nice details including storm flaps either side at the front,  gently rounded collar and lapels, good pockets and a lovely belt tie with soft points at each end.

I don’t know exactly what the fabric composition is unfortunately. It was a bargain purchase from Milton Keynes market a couple of years ago, and is a beautiful deep navy blue colour with the perfect amount of weight and drape for a trench coat like this. The quality is outstanding and I’m really happy with it.  I’m afraid that a dark colour like this is sometimes tricky to photograph, particularly when inside.

 

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As mentioned, the jacket is unlined. To finish off the edges of the facings inside, I used a length of handmade floral bias tape that I had made some time ago with the remnants from a previous project.

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I also used my bias foot on the sewing machine to ensure neat and even stitching, and for the whole this worked great. Although, despite adjusting the foot to allow the needle to fall exactly where you want it to, you do need to keep you eye on what’s going on when you’re feeding it through – as it’s easy to allow the edge of the facing to ‘slip’ out of the bias if you’re not careful.

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Aside from sewing up the side slits, the only other adjustments that I made were to shorten the length of the jacket by 1″, and the sleeves by 2″.

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There is a small mistake on the pattern instructions. To achieve the belt width shown on the pattern envelope you need to use all 4 belt pieces that you will have already cut out. Step 27 of the instructions appears to ask you to sew just two pieces together and then fold them in half lengthwise which would in fact give you a belt which is half the width to that pictured.

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The pattern is described as an ‘easy to sew’ project according to the wording on the envelope, and I would agree to a certain extent. It was fairly straightforward to sew, but I feel that you might need a little sewing experience to give you some confidence. The collar went in neatly with no problems at all, and the jacket has no buttons or other fastenings – it simply wraps around and is kept in place with the belt.

As is often the case with ‘The Big 4’ sewing pattern companies, there is a generous amount of ease built in, and I would probably size down at least one size if I were to make this again.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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My Tilly and the Buttons Indigo Smock Dress

Ok, this is special. It’s quite unusual for me to purchase a pattern full price – I almost always wait for sales to come around as far as patterns are concerned, but when The Indigo came along, I just couldn’t wait.

It’s right up my street – a breezy smock dress or top, with a choice of sleeves, exposed frill seams if you like, and that dreamy floaty gently gathered skirt – I could not resist it. I kept the sleeves simple so that I could wear it underneath jackets and cardigans with no bulk, and added a ruffle on the skirt hem – but more about that later!

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My fabric choice was this pretty green and orange floral print Javanaise viscose from Abakhan online. I can’t seem to find this exact fabric anymore, but have linked the search for similar fabrics as there are plenty more in other gorgeous Autumn colours. I must admit it’s a fairly lightweight floaty fabric (which is what I wanted), but it does mean that it’s a little slippery to work with. This is definitely a fabric that I needed to hang to let the hem drop, despite it not being cut on the bias – as there was certainly a risk when cutting out that the fabric wasn’t lying perfectly straight! I hung this dress twice – once before I added the hem ruffle, and also after adding the hem ruffle before the final hemming.

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I knew that I would need to shorten the sleeves to ensure that they were a lovely bracelet length, but completely forgot to adjust the pattern before cutting out. As a result I needed to take off 7cm from the finished sleeve before finishing with a small hem.

The gently curved waistline shaping is pretty and flattering. I have chosen to gather my skirt and attach it to the bodice in the regular way, but I’m sure you’ve seen all the lovely versions that are popping up all over the internet at the moment with the pretty exposed frill seam. Such a cute feature and definitely a version that I will try in the future.

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This Summer I have been loving wearing my midi length ruffle skirts and so I wanted to incorporate a nice wide ruffle at the hem of this dress. I also really like the design of ‘that Zara dress’ and think this is not a bad dupe for it. At the time of writing this Sister Mintaka has some glorious spotty black and white viscose if you want to go full-on copy!

The ruffle on the bottom of the dress was easy. No maths required in this case! I tried the dress on (I made the dress length exactly as it came), and decided how deep I wanted the frill/how long I wanted the dress to be. In my case I wanted an extra 6″, so simply cut two x 6″ strips the entire width of the fabric that I had left over after cutting. After some gentle gathering and joining them to form a loop, one strip would sit at the front of the skirt and one at the back with the side seams of the frill matching up with the side seams of the dress. The fulness of this gather happens to be just right for me,  but you could definitely work out your perfect gather percentage if you want to be more mathematically correct!

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Just when you thought this dress couldn’t get any better – it has pockets!

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To be honest, these sit a little low for me, so I will probably position them a couple of inches higher up for my next one.

The dress bodice has a simple round neck, with bust darts, and what again makes this design so brilliant is that there are no fastenings – on and off over the head – hooray!

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These photos were taken on a blustery October day, what better way could I have shown you how floaty this gorgeous dress is …

 

All in all, it’s the perfect smock dress that I was after. Easy and comfortable to wear, and perfect in a variety of fabrics for any season. Ten out of ten!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Acrylic Pastel Pink Acrylic Button Necklace and Pastel Mint Green Acrylic Cotton Reel Brooch available from my shop.

Denim jacket is Calvin Klein from TK Maxx years ago.

Red trainers from Primark (current).

 

 

 

 

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My EPP Hexie Fully lined Zipper Pouch

I may have mentioned before that one of my resolutions for this year was to try my hand at English Paper Piecing. I want to improve my hand sewing skills, use up more fabric scraps, and also learn a new craft.

The fact that English Paper Piecing (EPP) is a portable craft and you can do it anywhere makes it extra appealing. To do some research, I headed on over to good old youTube. I know that Nikki from The Stitch Sisters loves a bit of patchwork, and I remembered that some time ago she released a video showing the basics of EPP. It’s really helpful, and it is this that helped me get started.

After sewing several hexagons together, I wanted to use them to make something. I wasn’t ready to sew something as large as a quilt at this stage (at any rate, I didn’t have that much fabric), so decided to have a look on the internet for a free zipper bag pattern. It needed to be lined to hide the wrong side of the patchwork. There are loads of patterns and tutorials as you can imagine, but I eventually decided on this Fully Lined Front Zippered Pouch  tutorial which I found on the Projects By Jane blog. I liked how the zip was inserted part way down the front of the bag rather than along the top edge.

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Love the pretty floral lining

If you get a chance, I would definitely recommend that you head on over to the Projects By Jane blog linked above, she has all sorts to look through including bag patterns, tutorials and applique advice.

The tutorial was good and easy to follow with lots of pictures to help you along. I admit that using slightly bulky patchwork was probably not the best choice of fabrics, as it was hard to push out those corners into neat sharp points despite trimming my seam allowances and corners, but it’s pretty close and that’s good enough for me! This pattern does come with instructions to add a strap, but I didn’t want this.

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View from the back

My reason for sewing a bag is that I am saving up for a fancy sewing machine. There’s actually nothing wrong with my current Janome ( the Janome DC3050 ), but, you know, I can’t help lusting after all the lovely Janome Atelier machines that I keep seeing EVERYWHERE!!  There is no way that I will ever be able to afford one of these machines if I don’t start saving, so here it is – my official saving fund for my fancy new Atelier.

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Just for fun, and to use up more scraps, I have made a fun quilted luggage tag using this tutorial on youTube (of course) by The Crafty Gemini.  I probably won’t leave this tag on the bag in the long run, but as I still had some scraps left over in this fabric I thought it would be fun to make something that matched. Once again if you’re in the market for some crafty inspiration then Vanessa from The Crafty Gemini has hundreds of youTube tutorials.

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The only alteration that I made to the tag was the addition of an eyelet to run the ribbon through. The original tutorial shows you how to sew in an elastic loop to hang your tag with.

I have definitely become a little addicted to EPP, and my next project is  this little quilt sampler which I thought might be a good way to try out EPP using some different shapes.

Eventually when I feel confident enough with the basics, I plan to make a big project like a quilt or picnic blanket using this Tales of Cloth heart pattern.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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