Posted on 2 Comments

A classic brown knee length Jenny Skirt

Today’s blog post is special, because I am trying my first pattern from the lovely Nicola and Susan at Homer and Howells.

Homer and Howells are an exciting new pattern company based in Scotland and as I write this post, there are two sewing patterns in their shop – the Jenny , and the Cissy. I know they have a few more patterns up their sleeves, so I can’t wait to see what comes next…

The Jenny is a classic skirt. Choose either midi length (with a front split), or keep it short like I did (I cut my length at where the top of the split is marked). Patch pockets on the front of the skirt are optional, and the centre front zip fly was really good fun to sew.

 

JENNY_Specification+Sheet

I have chosen to make my version in a dark brown cotton drill. I can’t quite remember where I bought this fabric from – it might even have been something that I picked up in a fabric swap – but I had just enough to make the knee length version. Turns out that dark brown is REALLY hard to photograph, and despite two photo ‘sessions’ (one indoors and one outdoors), I don’t think we were able to really pick out the details of the skirt very well after all. Let’s hope you can get some sort of idea with the shots that we did get.

IMG_6169
Oh by the way, my top is the original Tessuti Fabrics Mandy Boat Tee (free pattern) using the ‘one size’ pattern before they introduced different sizes on this pattern, and the lilac acrylic scissors necklace is from my shop! x

I have kept the front of the skirt nice and simple by leaving off the patch pockets. I did however add some pockets to the back of the skirt (not part of this pattern), but more about that later!

I wanted the skirt to feel really casual, a bit like a denim skirt, so I went for the topstitching big time! I used a matching dark brown topstitching thread and used it on the waistband, the centre front and back seams, the curve of the fly zip, and the back pockets that I added.

It’s important to try and make that curved line of stitching on the outside of the fly zip as neat as possible as it is so visible, so to help me I used a tracing wheel and some dressmaking carbon paper to trace the stitching line onto my fabric. It takes all the guess work out of where to stitch, and you end up with it exactly where you want it.

thumbnail_43751D07-6A7B-45CD-A0BE-35C685259022

I have only put in a fly zip once before and that was a long time ago, so I did wonder how tricky it would be, but the instructions were really great – I followed them to the letter and everything just fell into place perfectly!

The curved waistband has a snug comfortable fit with no gaping at the back of course, and fastens above the zip with a hook and bar. I made a size 12 at the waist and graded out to a 14 at the hips by the way.

So finally, I wanted to add  ‘jeans’ pockets at the back seeing as how I wanted it to have a casual feel. I simply cut out two jeans pocket pieces and traced out the stitching design that I wanted using the tracing wheel and carbon paper again, stitched out that design onto the pocket with the topstitching thread again and placed it on the back of the skirt where I wanted them, again attaching with topstitching. Can you tell that I love topstitching things! Take a shot each time I say topstitching! Ha ha!

I must say that positioning the pockets was a lengthy process! Pinning and adjusting pockets on the back of a skirt by yourself is tricky, and having not made jeans before I’m not quite sure what the tricks are for the perfect pocket placements, but I don’t think they’ve ended up too bad.

thumbnail_2E7A003C-AB7A-42C0-91A5-93556C7A6097

 

thumbnail_4D2270BE-5ECC-4643-91D2-43D8754B8001

IMG_6292

I’ve ended up with a really lovely skirt, and one that I know I will wear lots and lots. It fits well, I love the length and the neutral colour means that I can have fun wearing it with all my favourite coloured tights.

thumbnail_ADFCD720-9EA2-4AC4-804A-890CB02975F2

Thank you so much to the girls at Homer and Howells, who very kindly gifted me this pattern with no obligations. I am happy to share with you though because I really like it and hope you do too!

What’s your ‘go-to’ simple skirt pattern? I’d love to know.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

Posted on 2 Comments

A Spring inspired Selkie Patterns London Skirt

I love this skirt.

This is the first Selkie patterns  garment that I have made and it’s a good one. Selkie Patterns are an exciting independent pattern and fabric design company which was founded a couple of years ago by two wonderful empowering women – Alexandra Bruce and Caroline Akselson. Their passion is sewing and design, with a strong belief in sustainability.

The London  is a 3 in 1 pattern, and features a blouse, skirt or dress.

Screen-Shot-2018-12-09-at-12.32.49-600x853

Although I’m very much in love with the dress version, I’m going to wait until warmer weather arrives for that, so in the meantime, I got stuck into the skirt.

So the skirt in a nutshell is knee length and features stunning box pleats front and back, the most adorable shaped waistband feature and a centre back zip fastening. Box pleats are my absolute fave and this is what drew me to this pattern in the first place.

thumbnail_F3C3D925-1118-426E-B62E-AFFCDDC8A6E0

It is super easy to make. Just two pattern pieces are used, how great is that? I did have to shorten the length (as always)! and I think I took out about 10cm at the shorten/lengthen marking on the pattern before cutting out. I’m 5’2″ , so this is quite a normal adjustment for me.

I also decided to omit the sweet little gathers that should sit at the top of each side seam where it meets the waistband. I felt I wanted to keep this simple so simply pinched the excess (what would have been gathered) and graded out the side seam accordingly

thumbnail_F02AEFFA-3708-4135-94FF-F99BEC24509C

I realise that this fabric is very fussy, so a little difficult to show you all the details. The fabric by the way is something that I picked up at a fabric swap a long time ago. I think it’s a quilting weight cotton, which I think is not normally the best choice for dressmaking, but for a skirt with box pleats I thought the extra structure that this type of fabric has would be fab. I also love the busy floral print which is bright and happy.

Sizing, by the way, was spot on. Using the size chart and the finished garment measurements I worked out what size I wanted and it fits like a dream.

The instructions are really good. Beautiful hand drawn illustrations (in the style of the pattern cover), accompany thorough written descriptions and there is a helpful zip guide at the back to walk you through the steps needed to insert a regular zip.

thumbnail_4DF9ECDA-3D52-46A1-AF3E-E11AD0972021

The waistband has a flap which fastens with a hook and eye.

Let’s just have a minute to talk about the dipped waistband. It’s lovely isn’t it? Sadly covered up by a big old jumper when we took our outside shots for this skirt, it is worth taking your time to get that shape just right. I actually drew my stitching line on the fabric before sewing so that the finished curve would be accurate.

thumbnail_0BEE1D6B-C0BA-4A26-8C2D-1191DFCD1379

I really enjoyed making this skirt and have loved wearing it too. I already have the fabric and zip for my next version, so expect to see lots more London’s to come!

london2

london3

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

Posted on 4 Comments

Crochet Teardrop Plant Hanger

Something a little different from me this week – some crochet!

Whilst browsing on Pinterest just recently, I spotted a few images of cute crochet plant hangers, and instantly knew that I wanted to make some. I have a bit of a thing for plant hangers – below are a couple of types that I have made previously – a cute little pair of fabric ones using a free pattern from Jennifer Jangles, and a macrame hanger which I followed a youTube tutorial to make.

 

So after a little research, I decided on the pattern that I wanted to try. It’s this pattern here  from an Etsy seller called Crochet Affair. The pattern was only £3.44, and the images from the seller and also those uploaded by satisfied customers made this the pattern that I wanted to go for.

il_794xN.1853807330_bqxk
This is the pattern image that I fell in love with from the Crochet Affair pattern available on Etsy.

thumbnail_11707D81-DC5D-4810-8406-33590CD03325

I’m happy to say that the pattern is super easy to follow, (I’m a beginner crocheter),and is simply printed out on 2 pages.  I did have to look up the single crochet decrease stitch – although there is a written explanation on how to achieve this stitch – but a quick look on youTube confirmed that I was doing it right!

The first version that I tried was using some James C Brett ‘Noodles’ yarn that I picked up in my local wool shop. It was the perfect neutral shade (N8), lovely and soft to work with and stitched up perfectly using a 6mm hook.

thumbnail_C6E58503-D6D2-4AD7-A4F0-69355FD0B330

It was a little smaller than I was expecting, measuring approx 12cm from the top of the hanging hoop to the bottom, but actually this is exactly the measurements that the designer describes, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by it’s size at all..

The pattern is designed to display an air plant – but you can fill it with whatever you like! For my original version I popped in this small artificial succulent, but will look out for an air plant when I’m out and about, as I think this would be so pretty.

After this, I wanted to try a larger size. For this I used some hoooked zpaghetti yarn left over from a previous project. I can’t remember which shade as I don’t have the label any more, but it’s another neutral shade. To accommodate this thicker yarn I used a large 10mm hook.

thumbnail_98886315-D17F-4A9A-9091-080297401871

Again, no worries when stitching up, and it came up nice and large compared to the fairly small original. This one measures approx 30 cm from the top of the hanging loop to the bottom. I haven’t settled on a final hanging place for this one, but will probably ask my husband to fit a hook to the ceiling and will hang it in the same way as I did with the macrame plant hanger pictured earlier.

thumbnail_E3DBED8E-990A-467F-817E-B4E49766F5BA

The only small thing that I found was that my stitch count on round 10 was different to the stitch count on the pattern. This won’t mean anything if you don’t have the pattern, but according to the pattern after round 10 you should have 46 stitches. I had 41. Not sure where the mistake is, but despite this difference, my work looked great and there were no obvious mistakes, I am really pleased with the teardrop shape of this cute plant  holder.

So, to round up, a great pattern suitable for all. It takes about an hour to stitch up so not long at all, and I think it’s pretty cute. I also tried a small version with a mixture of two yarn colours and this worked out really pretty.

Hope you like this crochet review and that it makes a change from the usual sewing talk, take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Posted on 2 Comments

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.

Love_At_First_Stitch_cover_grande

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!

IMG_5606

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.

thumbnail_659830D6-9F6F-4797-B4F6-F71FCC8A97BE
Faux ribbon drawstring attachment and don’t forget to add a garment label if you have one!

IMG_5667

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…

thumbnail_5B61BBE4-C9C2-48B2-92DD-867C35543F80
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

IMG_5598

Posted on Leave a comment

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

IMG_7382

Sigma_l

 

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.

IMG_5269

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.

IMG_5274

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.

IMG_5226

  • 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

 

Posted on 8 Comments

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 ..

1e31ae_354d20f5f0334fbdb5c5c13c63338e1dmv2_d_1500_1500_s_2_360x

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!

IMG_4527

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.

thumbnail_9B2BF84B-4137-4C25-9398-BD1F98FAFCA6

thumbnail_AA3576D6-883F-4573-9F2B-FDB945BCD0DA

The pockets are massive and I love them!

IMG_4547

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.

IMG_4556

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.

thumbnail_5E6FAB5B-C196-4313-BECF-A705BD3C5172

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.

IMG_4538

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!

IMG_4439

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on 7 Comments

The Yanta Overalls from Helen’s Closet

I’m pretty sure that you have seen these overalls popping up all over the place since their release about a month ago.

The Yanta Overalls from Helen’s Closet are the cutest relaxed fitting dungarees you have ever seen. They feature a classic v-shaped back and button strap fastenings and have an optional size zip. Patch pockets on the front, back and bib are yours to choose from and there is an option for full/cropped length or a Summery shorts version.

The size range is incredible on this too . Sizes 0-30 are accommodated in with this pattern – how awesome is that? I cut a size 10 at the bib grading out to a 12 at the hips.

This is actually the first time that I have sewn a Helen’s Closet pattern and going on what I had already heard regarding her patterns, I knew that it would be an enjoyable process.

 

As expected, her instructions are clearly written and helpful. Helen describes this as an intermediate pattern and I would agree with that.

My fabric choice is the Ikea Lenda fabric – not the best fabric in the world, but at £5 per metre, it was perfect for trying out this pattern. I think if I made it again I would go for a slightly more lightweight fabric as I feel this looks a little too crisp for the look that I was going for.

IMG_3877

Before I cut out the fabric, I adjusted the length. This pattern is drafted for a 5’6″ body, and as I am only 5’2″, I needed to remove 2″ from the length (that is the 4″ difference divided by 2). This worked out perfectly in terms of leg length, but I think I might need to shorten the crotch length next time I make them as it is a little baggy there.

I loved the wording and illustrations in the instructions – especially the little tips giving explanations regarding why some of the techniques were being used.

I left out interfacing my straps as I felt they had enough structure anyway, and they were fine without.

IMG_3944
The scissors necklace is available for purchase from my website.

The waist at the front and back is nipped in with small darts. This is such a great feature as whilst they are still loose, you have a certain amount of shaping there which is very useful I think – especially when your waist to hip measurement difference is quite big like mine.

IMG_3825

A 5″ invisible zipper is also an option although not always necessary. I could have just about slipped these over my hips without it, but decided to add a zip just to make things easier. I didn’t have an invisible zip of that length, so just used a regular zip here instead.

IMG_3956

The patch pockets on the front and back are cute and whilst I used them on the back of the overalls, I wasn’t sure that I wanted them on the front. I decided that I would insert in-seam pockets instead. After inserting the zip (which I didn’t think that I would want initially), I realised that the in-seam pockets wouldn’t now fit on that side now, but still kept it on the other side. I mean, a girl needs pockets. Not sure if this feels a bit odd just having it on one side, so may try the patch pockets on the front next time if I still need to use the zip.

For the pocket bag I used the same floral fabric that I used for the front and back facings.

IMG_3969

 

I like the shape of the bib pocket. It has a upward triangular shape to the top edge and I enjoyed the placement of it and all the top stitching details. Top stitching is part of sewing that I really enjoy and this pattern has plenty of it! I particularly like the stitching details on the back strap too.

IMG_3964

I think if I’m honest when I sewed the back of the bodice to the facing with the straps enclosed inside, I didn’t make the best job of it. I think I got a little confused with the two different seam allowances (3/8″ and 5/8″) for this step and may have gone a little wobbly. Luckily this seemed to look alright from the right side, but my facing on the inside has a little ripple in it. Nobody will see this and you’re not going to tell anybody are you? Ha!

thumbnail_09FF7E1D-5C64-40C4-93B3-06E41E794EF3

The length of the straps are trimmed when you have finished the garment, and I needed to cut approx 4″ from each strap.

I didn’t finish the legs of the overalls apart from overlocking them, as I know that I will always wear them turned up a couple of times.

I cannot recommend this pattern highly enough if you are considering this style of make in the future. It’s cute, fun to sew, and super comfortable to wear. What’s not to love!

 

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

IMG_3805

 

 

 

 

Posted on 4 Comments

The Maple Dress from Cocowawa Crafts.

Pattern testing is something that I really enjoy. I have worked with Ana from Cocowawa Crafts a few times now, and it is always my pleasure to help her out.

Maple-dress-sewing-pattern-instructions-cover-English-CocoWawa-Crafts-570x789

Hello to The Maple Dress, , the brand new pattern from Cocowawa Crafts.

This relaxed fitting double breasted dress features a notched collar, a swishy quarter circle skirt in your choice of length, inseam pockets (hooray)! and your choice of sleeve lengths. You can also add a ruffle around the edge of the collar or perhaps some piping.

I chose to make the short sleeved version with the keyhole detail and ties – Cocowawa certainly knows how to rock a good pattern with ties/ribbons, and I went for the shorter length skirt.

My fabric choice is this amazing viscose twill from  Fabric Godmother. I picked the navy blue option – but there are other colour choices on this fabric. It had the perfect amount of weight and drape to suit this design perfectly. The quality is exceptional and my fabric arrived really quickly. At £6 per metre, it’s reasonably priced too.

IMG_2087

 

The pattern is designed to have a natural relaxed fit, but looking at the finished garment sizing, I decided to size down a little so that the dress fitted me a little more closely. I also wanted the waistline slightly higher, so shortened the bodice by 2.5cm.

IMG_2281

I really enjoyed sewing the notched collar. I have recently made Butterick 5926 which is a jacket with the same collar type, so I had a good idea (still fresh in my mind) on how the collar is constructed. No need to worry, the instructions and excellent pattern markings make fitting the collar a breeze. If you still have any reservations about it, why not head on over to watch Ana on her YouTube channel where she will take you through all the important construction details on The Maple. I love having something like this to refer to when I’m sewing – it’s like sewing with a friend!

IMG_2282
My buttonholes created a couple of little pulls in the threads of the fabric. This could be that I needed to use a sharper or finer needle in my machine.

You will need 4 buttons for this dress. These pretty brown buttons I picked up from Hobbycraft I think, and they look like they are made from coconut shells.

IMG_2285

The sleeves are one of my favourite parts of the pattern. Ana is the Queen of all things ribbons, ties and ruffles and I LOVE all of those things. I made some bias tape from leftover fabric, but you could just as easily use ready made bias if you prefer, and used it to edge and tie the keyhole short sleeves. So cute.

As the pattern is brand new and has only released today, you might be interested to know that there is a lovely page on the Cocowawa blog featuring all the Maple Dresses that have been made by the pattern testers. Head on over here for some awesome Maple Dress inspiration. They are really really fabulous.

IMG_2087

I hope that this have given you some Spring/Summer sewing inspiration. That being said – the long sleeved version with or without a polo neck underneath will see you through the colder months too!

Huge thanks to Ana, such a creative and truly lovely lady, for trusting me with your latest creation. I had the best time making it and cannot wait to see lots of Maple’s cropping up all over the internet!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Posted on 8 Comments

A Reversible Box Tote Knitting Bag

img_1367

Just before Christmas, my Aunt very kindly sat with me one afternoon and taught me the basics of knitting. Oh my, how I wish we had done this years ago. I have instantly fallen in love with this new hobby, and now grab every opportunity I can to sneak in a few rows ( I’m knitting a scarf, of course), and I’m a little obsessed, I admit.

Of course sewing is my first love, and thinking of how I could combine both these I decided that I wanted to sew up a bag to keep my knitting tidy as it was currently sitting in a pile on the coffee table in everybody’s way.

As with every new project idea, I searched the internet for free sewing patterns that might be ideal, and finally narrowed it down to two that I liked. The one that I chose is the Reversible Box Tote which is a free download from Very Shannon. I loved the shape of this bag, the pockets, and the fact that it is reversible. Another great free pattern that I loved is the Knitting Bag Project from The Sewing Directory. This bucket style bag is quilted and I’m certain that I will come back to this another time as it’s really cute and one knitting bag will not be enough for me I’m sure!

thumbnail_4fcafac7-addf-4d54-8e41-9adfdd408708

I was over the moon with this pattern. The instructions are clear and thorough, and it doesn’t take very long to sew up. I made it in a morning. The fabric is a pretty floral cotton on a navy background which I picked up from Hobbycraft and I chose a coordinating pale blue for the lining.

thumbnail_f965adb7-f190-426d-b1dd-5fa65d2f62b4

I decided to cut two pockets (these are both lined) and placed both of them on the inside of the bag. Although this bag is reversible, I cannot see that I would ever use it with the plain side out, so although the pattern gives you the option to have an outside pocket too, I didn’t. What I did do though was keep one of the pockets open and add a pale pink Kam snap on the other pocket, just in case I wanted a pocket that was more secure. Sadly I caught some of the pale blue fabric in the snap tool when I was squeezing the snap in place and this has left a little oily mark above the pocket. Grrrrrrr.

thumbnail_1c9b24cf-a351-43eb-b234-11ed1784eb89

thumbnail_46664f66-b2b4-4eb4-baf2-3ced532a6bf7
The pale pink snap is such a lovely colour match you can barely see it.

The bag is 14″ high (from the top of the handle), and is 17″ wide, so there is plenty of room for large knitting projects, your pattern, and all the other bits and pieces that are handy to have close by. I have used my pockets to store a tape measure, stitch markers, a row counter, yarn needle and my glasses. The scarf pattern that I am knitting is the Wheat Scarf from Tin Can Knits. It is part of their Simple Collection, which is a range of free beginner knitting patterns, with step by step tutorials if you get stuck.

 

thumbnail_d8c091cd-d7f1-4d80-9304-cd2ae70ec404

thumbnail_a6f217f7-eb93-4a3a-9e0d-bde04e798b99
The knitting needles are precious to me as they used to belong to my Mother. I’m so thankful that I still have them, along with lots more in different sizes.

The only thing that I would advise with this pattern is to use the fusible fleece that is listed in the supplies needed for this bag. I didn’t have the Pellon fusible fleece that was recommended, just regular quilt wadding, and because I didn’t have the patience to quilt it in place on the fabric, I chose to use some firm iron-on interfacing that I had in my stash. Whilst this has done an o.k job, it’s not ideal and long term I think this bag will sag. Bad choice there and I would definitely recommend using the correct materials for the best result guys!

The fiddliest and most time consuming part of the make is attaching the outer bag to the lining. Because this is a reversible bag the raw edges on both the outer bag and lining bag have to be pressed under 1/4″ and pinned into place before stitching to each other. Usually with a lined bag you can quickly machine stitch the two bags together and simply pull it right side out through a little gap that you have left in the lining. Not in this case. However sometimes it is good to slow down and take your time to ensure a nice neat finish. Careful measuring, cutting and accurate seam allowances gave me a really great result on this bag. Instead of pins, I found it easier to use Wonder Clips for this part of the bag construction.

thumbnail_5b40df6c-be61-45d4-a5ff-b48b8ed2ca5a

Finally the really clever thing about the bag is that you can just hook it through your arm and knit on the go -pure genius!

img_1348

Not forgetting some essential accessories..

‘Me Made’ pin badge from Pink Coat Club.

‘Love Knitting’ pin badge from Crafty Pin Up Shop.

img_1376

Huge thanks to Very Shannon for this very generous free PDF download. Are you #teamknit or #teamsew ?

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

Posted on 2 Comments

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.

pic 3

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!

pic 4

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