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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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I Am Patterns Perle ruffle dress

One small benefit of being on lockdown and on a reduced income in our household like many others, is using this time to work through my fabric stash. I can’t really justify spending on fabric at the moment when I have a few pieces at home already.

Whilst rummaging through it last week, I found this lovely soft linen. I’ve had it so long I cannot remember where I bought it from, but I really wanted to use it to make a dress, especially as linen is so comfortable to wear during this warm spell that we are having at the moment.

The pattern that immediately sprung to mind was the I Am Patterns Perle. Isn’t it a pretty pattern? It’s one that I’ve had for a little while now, and luckily I had *just* enough fabric for it. How satisfying to have exactly the right amount of fabric with zero leftover!

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It’s a simple classic wrap dress with a belt tie and ruffles around the neckline/dress front edge and cuffs. I absolutely love this design.

It really is very simple to sew, and if you like gathering then this is a dream! I don’t, but I absolutely LOVE ruffles, so it’s a necessary evil! The most time consuming part of making the dress by far, is evenly gathering the ruffle piece that runs around the neckline and down the front edge of the dress. This strip is about 3.5 metres long (before gathering) and so I sectioned up the dress and the strip and gathered it up in sections to make sure they would be as even as possible. It was totally worth all the effort!

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I finished the edges of the ruffle pieces by using the rolled hem setting on my overlocker. Perhaps not the best thread colour match, maybe a tad too pale, but at times like these you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got, yes? The neat finish of the finished edge was just what I wanted, and I quite enjoyed using my over locker for something different than I usually use it for. For this finish I needed to lower the blade and use 3 threads rather than the usual 4.

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So that’s all well and good, but as this is the first time that I had sewn this pattern I needed to make a few adjustments for me which I will use the next time I make it. Take a deep breath – there are a few ..

Firstly, the sleeves were a little too wide at the cuff for my liking. Luckily I pinned these and tried on before sewing so I was able to taper the sleeve seam from the underarm to the cuff. Nothing major there. I might make them a little shorter next time too.

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I just love this dainty cuff.

The main problem that I found after sewing was the position of the belt ties. This is probably something to do with the fact that I am only 5’2″ but they were WAY too low for me. I understand that the design of the dress wants you to tie the dress with a ‘tucked’ look, but let me show you how low the position was on me ..

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The position of the waist ties needed to be raised by about 6 or 7 inches. Now ideally I would have shortened the pattern at some point above the position of the waist ties before cutting out, but as this was effectively my ‘toile’ it was too late. So to make it fit I had to take drastic measures. I cut off  both the belts and saved the longer belt piece to make a separate loose belt. I sewed up the small openings in the side seams where the original belt would have been threaded through and attached slim ribbons inside that tied the dress from the inside securely before the final wrap and belt. These stop the inside front of the dress from dropping down below the outside cross over, Does that make sense – you know the sort of ribbons you often find inside your dressing gown.

By raising the position of the ‘waistline’ it has meant that the ‘skirt’ section of the dress is very much longer now. Again factor in my height, but I kind of like this length anyway. This of course would have been easy to shorten if I had wanted to.

Whilst not ideal, it fixed the problem, and like I say, I will make adjustments to the pattern piece before cutting next time. The only small thing now is the edge of the front wrap ruffle on the ‘skirt’ where the belt was originally attached is slightly shaped, rather than hanging precisely vertically,  but this is barely noticeable and doesn’t bother me. You might be able to see that slightly shaped ruffle edge on the above mirror photo.

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To stop the v-neck from gaping, I sewed a short length of stitching along the row of existing stitching to keep this neatly in place. I can still pop this on over my head.  You could also use a press stud or something similar.

Necklace layering accessories are the gold mirror acrylic scissors from my shop  and gold roman coin necklace from Missoma.

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Last but not least, the finishing touch for any Lockdown sewing project, are these stunning ‘made in self-isewlation’ labels from the lovely Sally at Modista Sewing  who is selling these cuties with all profits donated to the National Emergencies Trust. She has already raised over £1000!

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I look forward to making more of these beautiful dresses in the future (when I can face all that gathering again)!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Zadie Jumpsuit from Paper Theory

I love a good bandwagon, and although I am a little late to this party – at least I turned up!

The Zadie Jumpsuit  is a pattern that I picked up a few months ago from The Fold Line. I’m pretty sure that most of you will be familiar with it, as it has been everywhere recently, but let’s run through the design ..

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It’s a very relaxed fitting jumpsuit which fastens by wrapping those ties around your body and doesn’t need any zips or buttons. Large slant pockets look great and are practical, and the flattering wrap design allows you to tie it as loose or tight as you like. I made the sleeveless version, but you can add sleeves if you like and the length of the leg is up to you!

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This pattern has quite a bit of ease built into it. On the ‘body measurement’ chart, I come up as a size 12, but noticed that the ‘finished garment measurements’ were really quite a bit bigger. I have read other reviews mention that they made one or two sizes smaller than the chart suggested, so I made a quick toile in a size 12 to see for myself what it would look like. It was really big, so after assessing the fit, I opted to size down 2 sizes and made the size 8. This feels so much better. I also noticed on my toile that the crotch length was too low, so shortened the rise by 1″ on this version.

This is the first Paper Theory pattern that I have sewn. I enjoyed the instructions and drawings, and found the pattern very easy to follow. I did, however, make a couple of small changes. One thing that I did was to stabilise the neck edge as soon as I had cut it out by ironing on this wonderful iron on bias tape from Sewessential. This magic tape does the same job as stay stitching, but I think is less tedious ( I hate stay stitching – it’s SO boring). The pattern calls for you to stay stitch the neckline after you have already sewn quite a few other seams, and I felt that due to the weight of the fabric, mine might have already stretched out by this stage with that much handling, so to be safe I secured that neckline edge with tape as soon as I had cut it out.

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The pockets are massive and I love them!

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Ooh I should mention that I’m not sure exactly what the fabric is. It was a £5 per metre bargain from the Birmingham Rag Market, and is a kind of linen blend I think.

The jumpsuit has small darts at the front and rear on both the bodice and the trousers. At first, when joining the bodice to the trousers, I didn’t think my pleats were lining up, but take care to line up your side seams and the centre front pattern marking and you will find that they match up perfectly.

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The wrap ties are nice and long – perfect for giving you a good shape at your waist. I like how one of the ties feeds through a slit in the side seam, this ensures a secure close fit to your boody.

Just a small point, but it might be worth mentioning…  on step 3C in the pattern instructions it tells you to sew the side seams, press them open, and then neaten them (with the overlocker or otherwise). I found that it was much less fiddly to neaten my edges before sewing the seams, then I could press my seams open with the raw edges already finished.

The bias trim around the edge of the neckline gives this jumpsuit a really neat and lovely finish I think. I used my trusty bias tape gadget to turn my strips into folded tape, but this isn’t necessary and you can easily make your own bias tape without.

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The trick when applying the tape is to pin it like crazy!  Especially around the curved lengths ( I used wonder clips in these areas).  Any wibbles and wobbles might be noticeable, so stitch into place slowly and carefully.

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For modesty, I added a tiny press stud to where the wrap crosses over just to keep it in place where I wanted it.

It’s incredibly comfortable to wear, and I feel that the 1″ rise shortening adjustment was right for me. It probably wouldn’t have hurt to have shortened the length of the bodice by a little too, however, I love it and feel it fits me quite nicely. Something for me to consider next time perhaps.

Of course, at 5’2″, I know I will always need to adjust the length of the legs. According to the ‘fitting notes’ in the instructions this is done by shortening the length at the hem (no shorten/lengthen markings), so this is what I did. To achieve this cropped length, I needed to turn up the length by 5.5″

I thoroughly enjoyed making up this pattern, and have already purchased a gorgeous chocolate brown linen ready for my next pair.

It’s a thumbs up from me. Stylish, comfortable and a lovely project to sew. There will be more!

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Persephone Pants and a Freya Top

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Hi all, this week you have ‘two for the price of one’ as I am talking about tops AND trousers today.

The Persephone Pants from Anna Allen Clothing are something that I have had my eye on since the Summer. Almost on a daily basis I have been swooning over all the fabulous versions of these trousers popping up on my Instagram feed until I just couldn’t resist any longer.

They are a wide leg, high waisted trousers (or shorts) pattern, and have a button fly and front waist in-seam pockets. There is no outer seam on the trouser legs as each leg is cut from one piece of fabric which wraps around your leg. It’s a pretty cute design right?

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My measurements told me to cut a size 8, I decided to make up a toile in this size as a starting point and make any adjustments and changes based on how this turned out.

I couldn’t be happier with the finished toile. I was fully expecting to have to mess about with it no end to make it fit, but that wasn’t the case. Apart from the leg length (I’m only 5’2″) being understandably too long, it was wonderful. Talk about ‘over the moon’!

My fabric choice is this gorgeous teal rayon linen which I purchased from Like Sew Amazing. I think this particular colour might not still be available, but other colours are, so do head on over and check them out. I am so in love with the feel and quality of the fabric, and the weight is perfect for these trousers.

The pattern in incredibly well drafted, and the attention to detail is impressive. I really enjoyed every aspect of the making up of this pattern, it truly was a joy to sew. The written instructions are thorough and have clear black and white illustrations to accompany them. Everything fitted together perfectly, and no swear words were used in the making of this garment!!!!

Just watch out for the differing seam allowances on this pattern. It uses a mixture of 1/2″ and 3/8″ seam allowances, but clearly states in the step by step instructions what you need to use as you go along.

The waist in-seam pockets are very clever. I did wonder if I wanted to leave them out as I was concerned about fabric bulk in this area, but glad that I kept them, as they are a great feature. Although they look fairly small they are plenty big enough for your phone.

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To reduce any bulk, for the pocket linings I used a wonderful hand printed fat quarter from Zara Emily that I had kindly been given at the Stitch Room Sewcial get-together earlier on in the year. It is the perfect match for the trouser fabric and who doesn’t want starfish, sea horses and lobsters lining their pockets?

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I did have concerns about the button fly, having never sewn trousers with a fly before. No worries though, it was easy and resulted in a nice neat fastening.

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I had noticed on other Persephone Pant reviews that a line of stitching sewn between the button holes helps keep the facing in place so added that too. It works a treat.

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The horizotal stitching lines between the buttonholes are tricky to see, but they are definitely worth sewing in.

I had also read on a social media comment, that Anna Allen had recommended sewing the fly buttons right along the edge, near to the stitching (shown below), as this allows the fly to lay neatly too. It does!

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The pattern has a straight waistband, again this was something that I had in mind that I would need to alter to a curved waistband. But I think because they are super high waisted, the straight waistband was great and I have no gaping issues at all. Happy days.

I wonder if in the future if I would add welt pockets or something at the back. Due to the high waisted design and my large bottom, I feel like the back view needs something to break it up. We’ll see.

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This pattern is a top stitchers dream. The double lines of top stitching along the seams give it a really professional finish, and little burst of bar tacks at the bottom of the fly and the top of the belt loops are a great addition too.

As mentioned earlier, the only adjustment I made was to the leg length. Before cutting them out I shortened the leg pattern piece by 4″.

I love them so much. Initially I had concerns that they might not suit my short curvy shape – my hips are quite large compared to my waist size. I also wasn’t sure if this style would swamp my short legs too. I’m super happy with them though, and am now a true trouser convert. Watch out for many more of these to come!!

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I paired this with the perfect jersey top – The Freya Top- which is a pattern from the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch! sewing book. I have made the Freya Dress before and absolutely loved it, but this is the first top version that I have sewn, and as expected, it is a dream of a pattern.

I have seen so many great versions of the Freya Top online (I’m looking at you Joy!), so I knew I would love it, and true to my expectations I do!

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I used this adorable teal striped cotton jersey which again was from Like Sew Amazing, and it was perfect. I usually make 3/4 length sleeves, but to keep cosy I kept the sleeves long. They’re lovely. Excuse me now whilst I make Freya tops in all the colours.

There is little to say about this pattern that hasn’t been said before on many, many reviews, except to say that is is the best fitting, quick and easy top pattern that is out there. The Stretch! sewing book is a total gem and something that I would be lost without!

What is your ‘go-to’ top pattern, I’d love to know..

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x