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A Seamwork Astoria and a self-drafted midi skirt

I’m as guilty as the next person for grabbing a great pattern and then not getting around to sewing it for AGES! The same applies to fabric I guess, and whilst I don’t have a huge fabric stash, some of it has been there for a while!

 

The Seamwork Astoria Top  has been in my PDF drawer for what must be a couple of years now, and at last I can finally see what all the love is about.

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It’s a simple cropped round necked top, and is just lovely. Fabric suggestions for this top are medium weight knits and I went for this blush ponte that I bought from Sewisfaction last time I was down in Wokingham. The textured finish on the fabric gives it a scuba vibe, and the dusky blush colour is super pretty (and also matches my favourite shade of lipstick at the moment which, of course, makes me very happy).

For those remotely interested (because I always like to know these things), my fave lipstick combo is NYX soft matte lip cream in 14 (Zurich) and Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Pillow Talk dabbed on top. You’re welcome.

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I cut a straight size medium and this was just right for me. When I sewed in the neckband, it turned out a little too long and saggy. So out came the unpicker and I shortened it by 2″.  If I’m being picky, it could probably have done with a little more shaved off- but I was too lazy to unpick the neckband again!

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All the usual tools etc were used – a walking foot, a ball point machine needle and ball twin needle for finishing the neckband and sleeves. I also used the twin needle on the waistband – I get carried away when the twin needle comes out! The sleeves are a little long. Not sure why I cut this length when I always prefer 3/4 sleeves, but hey ho! it’s alright isn’t it?

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I totally love it. As someone who wears a lot of skirts and dresses,  I know it will fit well in my wardrobe especially at this time of the year when it can still be a little chilly. I am making more of an effort to sew using plain/solid colours and this pattern is perfect for this as it will pair nicely with my crazy printed skirts and dresses. More of these will definitely be sewn!

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Not gonna lie – I do love a good Instagram challenge, and three gorgeous sewists over on Instagram have started a fun challenge each month this year with the general tag of #sewingpatternsandprints . This months friendly theme is animals and can be searched by looking for the tag #sewinganimalapril .Do head on over and check out the lovely three organisers who are TamlynSamantha, and Kealy, for more information!

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I chose to make a self-drafted midi skirt using this gorgeous animal print stretch cotton sateen that I bought from the lovely Sarah at Like Sew Amazing when I was down in Bristol a few months ago for her shop launch.

It’s a straightforward sew – just gathered rectangles really! I didn’t want the gather to be too full as the fabric already has some structure, so instead of going for double the width, I probably went for about 1.5 times the width in terms of how much gather I wanted. I added a 2″ waistband which I measured nice and snugly – (I’ve been caught with stretch fabrics on the waistband feeling too loose before), and this one is sooo comfortable.

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It simply has to have pockets doesn’t it. No arguments there. My trusty pocket piece that I always have close to hand in case I need to add it was called upon, and add an 8 or 9″ invisible zip from my stash and presto! One quick and easy skirt!

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I went for a midi length, which is not my usual length, as I wasn’t sure if I could carry it off at only 5’2″. But I really like it and certainly intend to make more cute gathered skirts this length in the future!

So all in all, two quick and easy makes which I can mix and match with existing items in my wardrobe. Win Win!

Thanks for stopping by, take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Sewing for my boys – the Jalie Nico Raglan Tee.

Before I start, I must mention that I am limited with the number of photos that I have to share with you of this project. I did wonder whether or not to even include this as a blog post due to the lack of images, but have decided to go ahead in the hope that despite this, the written post itself might be helpful if you are in the market for a good boys/mens baseball t-shirt pattern.

The reason for the lack of photos is that I made these three t-shirts for my husband and two boys as Christmas presents. Despite being super organised and buying the pattern aaaages ago from Sewessential, in order that I wouldn’t have a last minute rush to make them, I still ended up making them all in the last couple of days before Christmas when everybody was in the house and I was creeping around trying not to get found out. I had no opportunity to photograph them full length without someone spotting me, and as I don’t really think it is fair to pop photos of my family on here, we are just left with a quick little shot that I took of them on the kitchen table before wrapping them up.

It is also worth sticking with this post until the end so that you can see what happened when I washed one of them the first time – despite pre-washing .. oh dear ..

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The pattern is the Jalie Nico Raglan Tee. This is the second time I have sewn a Jalie sewing pattern – last year I made the Cocoon Cardigan as my entry into the Cosy Cardi Challenge, and this is a cardigan that I reach for all the time.  Jalie patterns have an impressive range of sizes on their patterns, 27 on this one in fact, and one of the reasons that I chose this pattern to make for my boys was that I only needed to purchase one pattern to cover the sizing of my 14 yr old, my 20 yr old and my husband. (In fact the smallest size on the pattern is age 2)!

I chose to use some wonderfully soft cotton interlock jersey that I picked up from eBay. I had purchased some recently when I made my Christmas Tilly and the Buttons Frankie t-shirt, and was so impressed with how soft and lovely it was that I returned to the seller to buy some more for these projects. I wanted to keep the main body pieces on all of them white, and then mix and match the colours of the sleeve and neckband pieces.

The pattern gives you three sleeve lengths to pick, and a choice of either a straight or curved hem. I kept all the hems straight, and chose long sleeves (in grey) for my youngest son, and short sleeves (in khaki and brown) for my eldest and husband.

As you might expect with such a large range of sizes, there is a huge measurement chart to go through. I had to grade between sizes for a couple of my tees, but it didn’t take long before long I had three sets of traced out pattern pieces, all with their names scribbled on them so that I didn’t get confused. I also sketched out three little drawings and coloured them in, so that I had a reference on what pieces needed cutting in which colour and for whom!

Although I cut them out all in one session, and they were all ready to go in three neat piles, I made a deliberate decision to only make one at a time, otherwise I knew that I would get muddled up. Time was now limited and I really didn’t need to be unpicking silly mistakes.

The pattern was really easy to follow, and they were a quick make thankfully! Of course I didn’t have to opportunity to check them for size, but kept my fingers crossed that they would fit. To find out what size I needed to cut, I told my husband I was measuring him to get a rough idea for a top that I was going to make for my eldest (they are fairly similar in size) and measured my eldest telling him that I was making a secret top for my husband. Sneaky. I already had my youngest sons measurements from some recent school uniform purchases.

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For some reason, despite the absolute lack of time before Christmas, I still wanted to make handmade gift tags, and made up these little tags to add an even more personal touch. I’m pretty sure this was a waste of time, but I enjoyed making them.

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I’m happy to say that all t-shirts worked out really well and I was really pleased with how they fitted. I would have no problems recommending this pattern, a winner all round!

My husband pointed out that in the 21 years that we have been married, this is the first thing I have ever sewn for him! No need to rush these things hey?

So a great Christmas day was had by all. Hubby made the roasted brussels sprouts with garlic, bacon, pecans and blue cheese and swiftly splattered oil down the front of his t-shirt but no worries, it’ll all be alright when I throw it through the wash. Or will it..

Fast forward to Boxing Day. The light coloured washing goes in, including my husbands grease splattered t-shirt. All good. One hour 15 mins later, the washing comes out a very pretty shade of pink. Eek! Despite pre-washing all my fabrics, the brown sleeves of his new t-shirt ran and ruined the whole wash – his white work shirts and everything! I vaguely remember noticing during the pre-wash on the brown fabric that the water was a bit pink but didn’t think anything of it.

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My beloved pale grey kitty Cocowawa Chestnut Sweater is now also pale pink. Sad times.

So lesson learned guys, sometimes one pre-wash just isn’t enough, and maybe for particularly dark fabrics like this brown one, take a good look at the colour of the water in your machine during the pre-wash and if you do spot any colour, run it through again just to be sure.

Not to worry, I’m pretty sure that with my track record it’ll only be another 21 years before I sew him another, so he won’t have to wait too long..

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sew To Grow Meridan Knit Dress

 

Happy New Year! I do hope that you are all feeling rested after the Christmas break and are ready for everything that 2019 will bring.

My January make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is The Meridan Knit Dress    from Sew To Grow. It’s a cute knit dress with an elasticated waist which I chose to wear on Christmas day, and I couldn’t have been more comfortable.

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Roomy pockets are essential and you can make a feature out of them by using a contrasting fabric.

The fabric I chose is this dramatic scuba as I was really drawn toward the colours and liked the irregular stripes.  I know that I have lots of striped dresses with elasticated waists, but there’s always room for another!

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I particularly like the shape of the neckline at the back, and although I wore it with a cardigan on Christmas day, I can’t wait to wear it when the weather warms up during the Spring so that the back neckline is visible. It’s cute right?

As always the full review is over on the Blogger Network, so I look forward to seeing you all over there. As always many thanks to Minerva Crafts for all the lovely supplies that I used for my Meridan Knit Dress.

If you like this style of easy to wear ‘throw over your head’ dress, then you might want to take a peek at another Sew To Grow dress that I reviewed back in July 2017, The Flatter Me Frock.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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The Adele Dress

Happy February everyone! A new month means a new Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post, and this time I am reviewing The Adele Dress which was the free pattern in issue 34 of Simply Sewing Magazine.

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I’m just giving you a little sneak peek here, but if you would like to read my full review with lots more pics, and also take a little look at the fabric and notions that I used, then you can hop on over to the Blogger Network post here.

I’ve seen lots of lovely versions of this dress popping up on Social Media since it came out in the magazine. I chose to use a navy blue linen look polyester crepe but I would really love to make a floral version next time inspired by some that I have seen – watch this space!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Breton striped Tilly and The Buttons Coco dress.

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When browsing back through the archives on my blog I realised that it has been a year since I last made a Coco dress  . My final thoughts after my last Coco were that I would like to make it in a striped ponte fabric. Voila!

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I have had this navy and white striped ponte roma in my stash for a long time now, I can’t remember when I bought it but I have a feeling it came from Leicester market. It is incredibly similar to the ponte that I used to make one of my recent Chestnut sweaters.

As before, I wanted to make the dress version (there is a top also). I traced out the pattern (as I needed a smaller size than what I made before), and was pleased to remember that there are only 3 pattern pieces for this dress. How simple! If you were to choose the funnel neck, cuffs or pockets then of course there would be more. For me though I wanted to keep it super simple.

To give my stripes the best possible chance of matching up I cut the dress pieces out on a single layer of fabric rather than on the fold. This way I have total control over my pattern placement. I always do this with stripes.

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As most of you will know, Tilly and the Buttons pattern instructions are superb. Colour photographs and great written instructions guide you through the whole process, this would be a great beginners project. It takes next to no time to sew. For best results I used ball point pins and machine needles, ( I used a ball point twin needle to finish off the neckline, hem and cuffs). I used both the regular sewing machine and the overlocker for this project.

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The sleeve width feels a little wide. If I were a little more clever I would have looked back at my last review before I made this one and taken note that I mentioned that the sleeves needed narrowing down next time I were to make it. Lesson learned. It’s not a problem. I can always alter them if I really wanted to.

The length is just right for me. I needed to make no alterations on it at all.

 

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I am so pleased with how it has turned out. I have my eye on this gorgeous red and white striped fabric  on the Tilly website and think that this would make a beautiful version for the Spring.

All in all it’s a super little dress which is so comfy and easy to throw on. I am going to love wearing this one.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Chestnut Sweater by Cocowawa Crafts.

A few weeks ago I noticed that Cocowawa Crafts  had released a new sewing pattern. Several sewing bloggers that I love to follow on Instagram were sharing their pattern testing makes of this sweater and I knew that I really wanted one too!

Now I am normally a dress kinda girl, but will admit to wearing jeans more than usual just lately. I have noticed that I have a distinct lack of handmade tops to wear with them and decided that this Winter I would do something about that. Enter The Chestnut Sweater.

The pattern is a PDF download, and it is THE most adorable cozy Sweater and Top sewing pattern that you ever did see!

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So there are lots of options available here. Firstly you need to choose if you would like to make the Sweater or the Top. The Sweater version seems to be a more relaxed fit which is slightly shorter in length than the top. It has a waistband and cuffs and the choice of 3/4 or long sleeves. The Top is more fitted in the body, is a longer length and has a high-low hem with little side slits.

Both versions have three different bow fastenings to choose from – a single bow fastening at the centre back neckline, a single bow fastening with slit vent at the shoulder or a line of four bows running down the length of the centre back. All totally adorable.

The PDF was straightforward to print off (at home) and after cutting and sticking together (the worst part of PDF’s don’t you think), it was so quick to cut out and sew up. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and there is a ton of helpful information on the Cocowawa website where Ana has been hosting a sew-along this month so do head on over here to check out everything you need to know about The Chestnut!

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I decided to go for the Sweater version as I wanted the relaxed fit, and I knew that I NEEDED version A which has the circular opening at the back neckline finished with a single bow at the centre back neck. I had some cute cat print fleece backed jersey in my stash that I had bought from Sewisfaction last month and although I had originally planned to make a Linden sweatshirt out of it, I could not resist using it for this sweater.

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I finished this Sweater with some wide black ribbon that I also already had in my ribbon stash and hey presto! it was done. Just to mention that to stop the ribbon fraying I quickly ran a flame along the cut edge which seals the end of the ribbon. Take care if doing this though – you only need to run it past the flame quickly – please be careful. You could use pinking shears too.

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I totally love this top. I made the long sleeved version and if I had to make any comment it was that the sleeves were a little too long for me. Not a big deal at all though – it is still totally beautifully wearable and I am besotted with it. Next time I will shorten the sleeve length of the long sleeves by 5cm. (or make the 3/4 length sleeves – but I do like a long sleeve).

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O.K I admit – I couldn’t wait to make another – THE FOLLOWING DAY!

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This time using a navy and white striped ponte again from Sewisfaction and it’s gorgeous. I still wanted long sleeves so shortened the long sleeve pattern piece by 5cm and it’s now the perfect length for me. For the bow I used some white grosgrain ribbon again from my stash and ‘easy peasy’ – it was made in next to no time.

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Ooh I should mention that I did just add a tiny little row of stitching at the back neckline opening just to keep the facing in place. Just my preference, not really essential but saves me from faffing around making sure it’s tucked in.

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I feel I should confess that I purchased a lovely fleece backed jersey from Guthrie and Ghani when I was at #sewbrum a couple of weeks ago and this will more than likely end up turning into another Chestnut Sweater. I just can’t help myself…

There is lots of Chestnut inspiration over on Instagram. Just search the hashtags #chestnutsweater #chestnuttop or #chestnutsewalong and you find yourself all ‘heart-eyed’ at what you discover!

This is the first Cocowawa pattern that I have ever tried and it has been a great experience for me. I also own the Marshmallow dress and have been meaning to try that too. Maybe in the Spring?

Have you tried the Chestnut Sweater or Top, or made other patterns from Cocowawa? I would love to hear what you think. Have you taken part in the #chestnutsewalong ?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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The DR308 Cami Slip Dress by Kommatia Patterns

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Today I am so happy to share with you another pattern testing project that I have been working on with Kommatia Patterns. Today is launch day, and you can find the pattern available to purchase in PDF format here.. It is available in sizes XS – XL.

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It’s the DR308 – Cami Slip Dress and it is a knee length Summer dress with a cocoon silhouette. It calls for a silky draping fabric such as crepe, challis or silk, and it also has adjustable straps which need bra rings and sliders.

The pattern is rated as an intermediate project, and this may be because the recommended fabrics are slippery and can be tricky to handle. A slim, sharp Microtex needle is suggested to help sew this type of fabric. My fabric choice is a viscose challis from Stuart’s Fabrics on Leicester Market, it’s really pretty and has a Liberty feel to it I think!

I have sewn Kommatia patterns before and find their instructions to be thorough and easy to understand. This is a quick pattern to sew and only needs 1.25m or 1.5yds of fabric. Kommatia are a Canadian company so instructions are in English and French. The step by step written instructions are also backed up by drawings of each stage which I found really helpful.

The back of the dress is where it’s all happening! Slim shoulder straps are adjusted by using bra rings and sliders. This is the first time I have used these and love them! Apart from being entirely practical in that you can achieve the perfect strap length, I think they give such a professional finish to the dress. The narrow width of the straps are a little fiddly to turn ‘right side out’, but I have a ‘loop turner’ which definitely made this job quicker. If you don’t own a loop turner Kommatia have helpful written instructions to guide you through this stage using a needle and thread!

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The back of the dress also has a horizontal strap running across the top of a v-back which is practical and pretty. It also has a slit at the centre back hem for ease of movement. Cute.

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The dress that I am showing you is my final pattern testing version. Although there have been a couple of ‘tweaks’ made to the pattern since I made this, I feel they are so small that you can still get a great idea of what the pattern is from this version. I will definitely be making another, so of course will share with you when I do.

I should mention that it comes together really quickly, an easy dress to make in a day.

I look forward to more pattern testing with Kommatia in the future, and when I do – you will be sure to hear about it!

You might also wish to take a look over at my fellow pattern testers Instagram accounts. They are SaschaAdeline and Christine.

If you would like to read about my last Kommatia pattern testing project which is a super  v-neck jersey top, you can click here.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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