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The Witch’s Friends Autumn and Halloween Felt Wreath from ThreadED

Something a little different from me to you today… now that we have waved goodbye to Summer and said hello to Autumn this seems like the perfect time to celebrate the change of Seasons and share this absolutely darling felt wreath from ThreadED.

At approx 40cm diameter this fun door hanging is absolutely bursting with charm and features black cats, toadstools, a toad and a witch’s broomstick. There is also a witch’s hat which you can move around and place on the cats or the toad (or used as a separate decoration as I have). All of this is laid upon a generous bed of Autumn leaves in a soft and gentle colour palette which in turn is mounted on to the stuffed felt ring that is also handmade as part of this project. Phew!

The designer behind this lovely wreath (and others) is Claire Knight. Based in the UK and clearly a very talented lady, she has grown her business during the Covid Pandemic, and let’s face it we have all needed something to take our minds away from this dreadful situation over the past few months. Craft projects like this have been a source of comfort and distraction at a time when we have most craved it. Clarie’s patterns can be purchased in the form of paper patterns, PDF download patterns, or kits where you can choose between 100% wool felt or a blended wool felt.

This is not a quick project, but then you wouldn’t expect it to be, and what you have created will have been a source of pleasure to make, and potentially an heirloom piece that you can enjoy bringing out year after year. A textile wreath is a truly sustainable decoration, and whilst you can already find other designs in her Etsy shop listed above, I’m pretty sure there will be more to come in the future!

I would like to say right from the start that this kit was gifted to me from Claire in exchange for an honest blog post. As soon as I saw her designs I absolutely jumped at this lovely offer, and of course you know that you can always expect my honest opinions when I review anything that has been kindly sent to me.

I have made the wreath using the premium kit containing the 100% wool felt. The quality of this soft wool felt is very obvious right from the start and a real pleasure to work with – lovely and soft on your hands. An A5 colour instruction booklet contains written step by step instructions and colour photographs, and the full size templates are included ready for you to trace off. Top quality DMC embroidery floss, velvet hanging ribbon, roving wool, a felting and embroidery needle are just some of the contents that you will find in addition to the felt and all that you need to add yourself is the stuffing, freezer paper, and lots of tea and biscuits (optional). The kit arrives with you all beautifully packaged within a handy cotton drawstring bag – useful to keep all your bits and bobs together as you are making it, and also making it perfect for sending as a gift too!

The wreath base is where you start, and the attention to detail is apparent right from the beginning. The front and back wreath piece is sewn together with the inclusion of ricrac around the outer and inner edges, so that whilst your base ring should not be visible after decoration, if there is a little glimpse of it you will only see the pretty ricrac detail. It also means that your wreath looks cute from the back. The hanging ribbon is velvet (which feels very luxurious) and includes enough to not only to hang it, but to feature a sweet bow at the back where the ribbon attatches to the wreath. It’s also good that the wreath backing is made from felt too as you are safe in the knowledge that this will not damage or scratch your door.

Next are the cats. We have a stretching cat and a winking cat sitting on a broom. So cute, and actually contain rather a lot of different skills to make them – so lots of fun! The cats are traced and sewn around on the machine (although you can hand stitch them if you don’t have a sewing machine) and stuffed, you then have your first go at needle felting to add a fluffy pink inner ear detail. Embroidery stitches used on this include blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch and french knots! They’re actually quite detailed aren’t they? Instead of the black french knots to make the centre of the cat’s eyes, I used a small black bead to give it a little shiny detail. That’s the joy of handmade don’t you think – you can add or swap little details to put your own ‘stamp’ on it. Be very careful with your pattern placement on the black felt before cutting out if you are using the kit. You will need the black felt for the cats and the witch’s hat. Make sure you place your cat pieces on the felt really carefully allowing room for the hat too, otherwise you will end up digging around for extra black felt in your stash for the hat later on (like I did… whoops)

The toad is made in a very similar way. I’ve never used freezer paper before, but it’s really good, and I loved the challenge of sewing around the outside line of the shapes on the paper before carefully tearing it off. Once again place your toad carefully to make sure that you have as much leftover green felt as possible as you will use these leftovers later for leaves.

Toadstools are next and these were my favourite part of the process. Once again, every detail is considered as you have a selection of different coloured felts for the toadstool tops. Same for the stalks and frills. Light beige and brown roving wool is included for the dots on top, and the underside ‘gills’ are created with embroidery thread. I found that the perfect ‘gill width distance’ is appox 6 or 7 mm, and whilst I sewed some with lots more gill stitches, I think they look better spaced out a bit more (and also you might run out of thread if you sewed them all with the tighter stitch width). I should also say that the toadstool tops are a range of different shapes and sizes too. Nice one. The felted dots were a fun challenge on the toadstool tops, I have only tried felting once before years ago, so am not sure if the finish is exactly right, and I used an old knitting needle size guide to use as a template to give me nice round dots in various sizes. I also used some thick foam underneath when felting the dots.

The instructions continue to guide you through making the broomstick and witch’s hat until finally you reach the part where you make all the leaves. I used back stitch for the veins on the leaves, and used two strands of thread (rather than the three strands recommended in the instructions) as I wanted a ‘finer’line. Advice is given in the instructions as to how you can mark the hand stitching lines on your felt, such as the leaf veins. I actually chose to freehand draw the leaf veins on the felt with a heat erasable pens which disappear after a quick run over with the iron (after stitching). If you are going to choose this method however please do check on a scrap of felt that the lines you are drawing in will disappear leaving no damage/marking to the felt after ironing.

Just going back to the witch’s hat quickly … this is not secured to any of the characters and can be moved around to sit on any of the animals. It can also be added anywhere in the wreath as a decorative piece in it’s own right, which is just as well because guess who got a bit carried away with the glue gun and stuck all the back of the animal heads on to the wreath so well that the hat wouldn’t slip over the back of any of them. *raises hand*. Anyway, good job I like how it looks as an extra decoration and now you can see the pretty faces of all of the animals in all their glory!

The best bit is assembling the wreath once you have all your parts made up. A glue gun made this job significantly easier although they can of course be sewn on by hand. Claire recommends hanging your wreath and pinning your trimmings on first to check for balance and any leaf gaps before you start glueing/sewing them in place. Great tip.

I have really loved the whole process of making this wreath. It’s an enjoyable make that you can pick up and put down as you please. Hand sew in front of the TV, take it to work and sew some stitches in your lunch break, it’s up to you how quickly or slowly you make it. The important thing to remember is that you should enjoy the whole process. Before you start I would recommend that you take the time to read through the pattern and familiarize yourself with the kit contents so that you fully understand what’s coming up.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Claire from ThreadED for this wonderful door hanging which I shall treasure for many years to come, and also for the relaxing hours that it has given me in the whole making process. Why not jump onto your broomstick and check out Claire’s Etsy shop which is listed in the first paragraph of this post, and if you fancy giving this wreath a go why not enter the giveaway on my Instagram page where there is a chance to win a copy of the PDF pattern download! This giveaway will close at 9pm UK on Sunday 4th October 2020.

*edit – this giveaway is now closed*

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Sagebrush Top from Friday Pattern Company

The Sagebrush Top from Friday Pattern Company is the sweetest little top that I have seen for a long time. Once again this pattern purchase was heavily inspired by Instagram, where it’s ruffled front, back neck tie, and oversized puffy sleeves totally won me over. If you are over on Instagram search #sagebrushtop for some inspo.

My fabric choice is this sweet floral print cotton poplin from Sew Me Sunshine. I love a ditsy floral (as you probably know), and the mix or reds, blues, greens and gold really caught my eye. Having just taken a peek at the Sew Me Sunshine website it looks like it might sold out now, but there are PLENTY of other gorgeous fabrics which would make perfect Sagebrush Tops. Cotton poplin has a fair amount of ‘body’ compared to other cottons, so it holds it’s shape quite well. For this reason the intentionally puffy sleeves really do make their presence known using a fabric like this! A more drapey fabric would give a much softer overall finish and I think for my next version I will choose a viscose for this reason.

I cut a straight size medium. My measurements are 36-29-39, and my height is about 5’2″. The fit is just right. Although I made a couple of small alterations…

I felt that the length of the sleeves sat much too long for me, so I took 3″ from their length. I made no adjustment to the sleeve volume, although this might be considered because they are very gathered, with the majority of the gathers concentrated at the shoulder to give maximum volume!

I also found the length of the top very long, maybe I am short bodied, but I hadn’t particularly noticed this on the versions that I had previously seen from others. So I took 5″ from the length of the top before hemming it. I might have left this had I used a drapier fabric, but the poplin I felt might look better untucked and so I made the cut!

Other than that I stuck to the pattern. The details are really pretty. I absolutely adore the ruffle that runs across the top along the front yoke/bodice front seam. It’s a dainty width and has the perfect amount of gathers. Underneath this ruffle in the centre front there is a gentle section of gathers which give you some shape in the absence of any bust darts. Nice.

The neckline edge is finished with a long strip of bias. This not only finishes the neckline but extends beyond the end of the neckline opening to give you cute tie straps at the back of the neck.

I enjoyed making this one. The pattern instructions and illustrations were extremely clear which made it really fun to sew. Perhaps this will push me to make the Wilder gown or top – another massively popular pattern by Friday Pattern Co. which I have, but just haven’t sewn yet.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Add-on Gathered Dress

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with The Stevie  tunic and top pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. Did you notice last month that an add-on pattern had been released? This  gives you the option to use the original pattern to add longer sleeves or a gathered skirt transforming it into an oversized smock dress whilst still retaining those classic and recognizable Stevie features.

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The new dress version could not have appealed to me more! It’s right up my street! Gathered skirt – yes please. Tie back – of course. Swishability – 100%.

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This dress is made using the original Stevie pattern plus the Add-on pattern. A bundle of both patterns together is also available here.

*polite/shy cough* I was beyond flattered to be asked by Tilly and the Buttons to model the pattern images for this new add-on pattern and, trust me, I’m still pinching myself.

The sample of the dress that I modelled for Tilly is made up in this beautiful linen/cotton stripe from Lamazi Fabrics and is gorgeous. Immediately that I saw it I desperately wanted to make my version in a linen stripe too and have a bit of fun copying those playful stripe directions.

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The fabric that I purchased for my version is a viscose linen from Material Girl Laura. Unfortunately this is out of stock now, but it’s a beautiful mid blue with a narrow white stripe.

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Can you see the little dots of rain on the fabric!  Typical British Summer hey?

The acrylic pastel blue knitting necklace with gold plated chain is available from my shop.

As I needed to be very careful cutting this out to make sure that the stripe was running the correct way on each pattern piece, I drew out a rough sketch of the dress (front and back) and drew the stripes in so that I knew which way to lay each piece on the fabric. This was also important as I knew that I would only have just enough fabric to do this. Guess who despite this still cut out the back bodice piece (the piece below the back yoke) with the stripes in the wrong direction!? Yep, me..

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This resulted in some rude words, and some intense pattern repositioning on the remaining pieces and I finally managed to squeeze out that back bodice piece by cutting it as two separate pieces (rather than on the fold) so now there is a little vertical seam running down the centre now. Never mind, you can barely see it ( I hope) and at least the stripes are running in the direction that I wanted.

Oh I also had to cut the sleeve cuffs with the stripe running in the wrong direction as a result of this, as this was the only way I could get them out of the fabric leftovers now, but you really wouldn’t notice this either.

So after all that self-inflicted stress cutting out, I was excited to get started sewing. (I am a straight Tilly size 4 by the way, but for this dress I wanted it a little less oversized so I cut a size 4 in the top grading it in to a size 2 at the waist, and a size 2 skirt). My measurements are 36-30-40 btw and I am 5’2″.

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It’s a dream to sew, as are all of Tilly’s patterns, and I really enjoyed seeing it come together especially with all of those fun directional stripes. After adding the cuffs I decided to hand stitch them in place all the way around rather than just using some discreet stitches at the shoulder and side seam. I was trying to avoid the chance of them becoming a bit unturned whilst wearing them, if you know what I mean. Now that I have hand stitched them I feel that they look a bit flat and realise that they would look much better stitched in a couple of places as instructed, so I think I’ll whiz back to them, unpick that stitching and finish them as I should have done in the first place!

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One of the things that I love about this dress is the large pocket. It’s fab isn’t it? Sadly I had to reduce the size of the pocket because of my pattern placing error that I mentioned earlier. I simply couldn’t get it out of the fabric with the stripe in the correct direction at it’s original size. So whilst the width of my pocket is the same as the pattern, I had to make it about 4cm shorter. It’s only a little bit smaller than the original and still super cute.

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I also placed the pocket so that it’s side edges lay exactly parallel to those vertical stripes on the skirt. The placement markings for the pocket actually means that the pocket side edges are parallel to the side seams (not the fold line/centre front of the skirt) so technically this means that my pocket is actually stitched on a little bit wonky, but it looks straight, because of the vertical lines of the skirt… Gosh does this make any sense? One last thing,  I also raised the height of the pocket by about 4cm.

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After attaching the skirt I realised that the weight of the skirt had pulled the waist seam down to lower than I wanted ( something that Tilly mentions might happen in her instructions).  I felt that I needed to raise the waist seam by about 4.5cm along the front bodice from side seam to side seam. The back bodice didn’t need reducing all the way around, I just needed grade this 4.5cm reduction down to nothing for about 12cm from each side seam in towards the centre back.

There are some helpful and interesting posts on the Tilly and the Buttons blog herehere and here.  So do check those out if you need any fitting help or inspiration.

I would also like to say that the add-on pattern was gifted to me when the pattern was released. This was with no obligations or conditions to share in any way. The thoughts in this post, as always, are entirely my own. The original Stevie pattern that is also needed to make this dress was purchased by myself.

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3D Face Mask/Covering with nose wire and filter pocket.

Before I start I want to check in on you guys. I hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well. You don’t need me to tell you that times are difficult in many ways right now, and I hope that sewing is allowing you a few essential moments of peace and calm.

It’s important to say that I am no expert on face masks/coverings. What I am talking about here is a handmade face mask/covering and how I have adapted a great free pattern/tutorial  (linked below) in a way that I feel a little more protected when I wear it. This is by no means a medical grade mask, but a face covering to offer you some protection when you are out and about in low risk areas, whilst still maintaining social distancing rules and washing your hands. I would encourage you to do your own research to decide if this is the type of mask that suits your needs.

Like many of us, I had (half-heartedly) tried a couple of mask patterns over the last few weeks, and not been terribly impressed with the results for many reasons. A couple of weeks ago I saw that Marie aka @stitchodyssey  had posted a picture of a 3d face mask saying how great it was compared to others that she had tried. As tighter rules have come into effect now regarding the wearing of face masks/coverings, this was the perfect opportunity to give the pattern a go.

The free mask ‘pattern’ is from a lady called Romilda Dias ( @romildadps  on Instagram). I say ‘pattern’ – there is not actually pattern pieces that you download or print out, you cut the template yourself – don’t worry though it’s really straightforward. She has a YouTube channel  where she shows a tutorial on how to make it. Although visually easy to follow, it is spoken in Portuguese, and Marie has kindly shared a video on her Instagram TV here  where she takes you through the template cutting and sewing process. (This blog post is NOT a tutorial on how to sew the mask, just how I amended it to my personal taste). It might be worth you heading over to watch the tutorial before you jump into my amendments so that you have a better understanding of what I am talking about.

The finished result of the original mask even without any changes is really good in my opinion. This clever design, gives you separate nose and chin coverage and the fit feels really good right from the get go. The mouth section is comfortably ‘roomy’, making it feel easier to breathe, and not so tight around the mouth like others I have tried.

After making a couple of samples, I felt that I wanted to make two tiny changes. I wanted to add a nose wire to give an even closer fit over the nose, and I also wanted to make the mask lining piece with an opening so that I could add a disposable filter, in addition to the two layers of fabric.

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Such a nice fit around the top, sides and underneath of the mask.

Adding the nose wire was not rocket science! I had picked up some aluminium wire mask strips from eBay. They were reasonably priced and have smooth rounded tips for comfort. Because the aluminium won’t rust I don’t need to remove it each time I wash the mask so I simply measured the centre point of the folded nose piece, the centre point of the aluminium strip and went right ahead and sewed around it. Simple.

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Sorry that the stitching is so difficult to see x

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As mentioned I also wanted to make an opening in the lining to allow me to use a disposable filter. This means drawing up another template with a rectangle measuring 22cm x 12cm ( 1cm deeper than the original 22cm x 11cm). Fold and cut the corners exactly as you did with your original piece.

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To make one mask with a filter opening you will need to use three fabric pieces using the original template and one fabric piece using the larger template (rather than 4 of the original template).

After cutting out your fabric, measure the halfway point down each side, draw a cutting line and cut the piece into two along this line.

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Place right sides together and pin along that straight edge. What you are going to do is sew from each edge in towards the centre using a 0.5cm seam allowance just for a few centimetres and then stop, leaving a gap in the centre unstitched. I hope you can see below I have pinned along the straight edge and placed double pins where I wanted my stitching to stop. I chose to stitch 7cm from each edge, giving me an 8cm unstitched opening in the middle, but you can choose how big you would like your filter opening to be and make it bigger or smaller as necessary.

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Press the seam open, which will reveal the gap in the centre of the seam, and topstitch along both sides of that seam (including along the open edges).

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You should now be left with a piece that is the same size as the other 3 regular pieces that you have cut, and these 4 pieces (along with 2 small rectangles that you have cut for the elastic casings) will now fit together to make your mask.

For the filter fabric I purchased some filter material from Sewing Sanctuary  As said before, I am no expert on this, and would strongly encourage you to do your own research on mask filters. Do share in the comments if you have found other good filter fabrics and where they are from please!

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Not forgetting that there is the flap underneath the chin too. I probably should have raised my head a little higher here, trust me – it’s a nice fit!

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The mask fabric that I have used is a super pretty pink floral cotton poplin from Sew Jessalli  It’s the leftovers from a new dress that I have just finished and will no doubt blog about next week x

The dress that you can get a glimpse of here is the Nina Lee Mayfair Dress  using viscose jersey from The Sewing Cafe.

Dark grey and glitter acrylic scissors necklace available from my shop.

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I used 3mm soft white elastic cord to make the ear straps.

Oh, and the ‘with love from a sewcial distance’ labels are from Modista Sewing. They’re a pretty cute finishing touch right?

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As always take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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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