Just a brief one today guys. Things have been a bit crazy here over the last couple of weeks, and not much sewing has been taking place. I’ve been a little tied up with a new item of sewing themed jewellery going live in the shop, but more about that later..
The only piece of sewing that I did manage to make is another version of the Hinterland Dress. I loved the last one that I made so much I wanted to make another one, but this time with short sleeves and a narrow waist tie.
I am so lucky to be part of theMinerva Brand Ambassador team, and knew that the latest fabric that they had kindly sent me would make the perfect Summer version of this pretty dress. This stunning lilac striped lined cotton blend is beautifully soft and comfortable to wear and I know it’s going to be perfect when warm weather eventually arrives!
If you head on over to the Minerva site here you can see more detailed pics of the dress, and the full review that I wrote for them, in exchange for this beautiful fabric.
Sooooo, the other thing that has been keeping me busy is the arrival of the latest member of the #sewdaintyjewellery family.
This silver thimble necklace is the perfect treat to yourself of gift to a loved one who is a fan of dressmaking, quilting and all things sewing related and you can find them over in my shop right here.
Oh and I purchased these adorable resin buttons from Ethel and Joan a while back. Don’t the gorgeous flecks in these handmade buttons look adorable with the lilac fabric!
The Adrienne Blouse from Friday Pattern Company is (described in their words) ‘a knit top with billowy statement sleeves that are gathered up at the shoulders and hems with elastic. The length is slightly cropped with the hem hitting just below your bellybutton’. Very nice.
I’ve been sitting on the fence about this pattern for a while. I wasn’t sure that the style was very ‘me’ if I’m honest, and I was worried that the voluminous sleeves might swamp me as I’m only 5’2″, (thinking that the impression of excess width might make me look smaller).
It wasn’t until I read a blog post by lovely Sarah here that I realised that the pattern has adjustment markings on the sleeve piece that enables you to alter the fullness of the sleeve easily before cutting it out! When I realised how easy it was, i was ON IT!
I slimmed the sleeve down by 4″. This has resulted in the perfect sleeve width for me and now I am asking myself why I held back in the first place – I really like it! I feel like the sleeves are still statement – just not shouting as loudly!
The pattern was really quick to cut out ( such a chore don’t you think – especially when you are matching stripes), as there are only three pattern pieces – the bodice ( same piece for both the front and the back), the sleeve and the neck band. I used the same fabric for the neckline band, but it would be super lovely cut from ribbing fabric.
My measurements are 34-29-38 and I cut the size medium.
I liked the construction of the blouse – especially how the sleeves are gathered at the top with elastic before they are attached to the bodice. The pattern gives you recommended elastic length suggestions, but I actually sized down my elastic lengths (for the sleeve head and the cuffs) and cut the ‘small’ length in the elastic for both. For me this is just right!
Something that confuses me a little is how different the neckline looks on different people’s makes. When searching the hashtag #adrienneblouse on Instagram, I noticed that some of the necklines seem to sit higher (like mine) and some are really much lower. The sample used for the pattern itself also shows it as being much lower cut than my version. I can only guess that this might be due to the amount of stretch in your neckband piece?
The cuff openings are generous (even when using the ‘small’ size recommended length), however I’m glad that I didn’t just measure my wrists and make my own length as I would have been tempted to cut the elastic smaller, and this opening as it is allows the sleeve to slide up and down your arms easily when reaching out for things. One of my pet hates is feeling restricted by tight cuffs when you lift your arms up.
Oh, I also would not consider this a cropped length at all on little old me. I cut the pattern length as it is, and it feels neither short nor long. Kind of t-shirt length if that makes any sense!
The fabric that I used was a lovely jersey knit which I picked up from a #sewbrum sewing meet-up a couple of years ago, from the fabric swap table. Thank you so much to whoever dropped this generous length into the swap because in additon to making this blouse it has also made the Tilly and the Buttons Tabitha dress that I blogged about here.
And there’s more…
You know that cheeky little half metre of so of jersey that you always seem to have left but is not enough to make another garment? Well what about cutting it into strips to make t-shirt yarn and crocheting yourself a little basket?
Initially I wasn’t quite sure how to make my leftover KNIT fabric into continuous strips of t-shirt yarn ( I really didn’t want to have joins in it if at all possible), and despite knowing how to do this with woven fabric to make bias binding, I knew it would be slightly different with a knit fabric. Luckily I came across this youTube tutorial here and it worked! Thank you @thediymommy
Whilst I was over on youTube I came across this tutorial by GratiaProject which shows how you can use the ‘cross stitch single crochet’ stitch to make a basket using t-shirt yarn. I have never even heard of this stitch so I was ALL OVER IT! Let’s learn something new why not? Turns out the tutorial is fabulous, the stitch is really easy, and even though the stripes in the fabric make the stitch quite hard to make out I hope that you can kind of see the pretty cross pattern that it made. Thank you @gratiaproject_crochet and when I get a chance I would love to make another in a plain knit fabric yarn so that the stitches are easier to see.
I have a small amount of yarn left, to crochet into a little project another time, but I feel that using almost every scrap of this fabric has been so satisfying, especially as it was ‘donated’ in the first place. I’m chuffed with my new blouse and basket, and the sun is shining as I type this. What more could you ask for? 🙂
Do search #adrienneblouse on social media if you are looking for more inspiration.
I have a few Simple Sew Patterns in my stash, but have never got around to making any of them up until now. I love a pleated skirt or dress, and have finally got around to making the skirt version of this pattern.
Although I love a dress, I really wanted to make the pleated skirt as I have seen several versions online- especially on the lovely Becky @notes_from_the_sewing_room. Becky has made several stunning Grace Skirts and each time I see them it reminds me that I want one too!
I used a fantasic striped medium weight cotton, it almost has a kind of brushed texture – a bit like pyjamas brushed cotton – but not as soft. It has the perfect structure to hold the pleats and was an absolute bargain from Milton Keynes market last year some time. I still have some left and am hoping I have enough for a dress!
I noticed that the back of the pattern envelope doesn’t give you the fabric requirements for the skirts only. Just the dresses. This didn’t matter to me, as I was using fabric from my stash that I had lots of, but might be disappointing if you were purchasing specifically for this pattern. I’m annoyed that I didn’t measure how much I used, but if you are unsure just lay the pattern pieces out on the floor and measure the length that you would need.
I also see that in the notions, the length of the skirt zip isn’t specified either, just the zip length needed for the dress. I have a bag of old recycled (ripped out of old clothes)! zips and just grabbed an 8 or 9″ that was the best match. It isn’t an invisible zipper, but that doesn’t matter to me.
My teething problems with this pattern continued as I followed their method of inserting the in-seam pockets. I have never come across this method and didn’t get on with it. I unpicked and started again using the standard method that I always use. I decided to cut the stripes of the pocket in a vertical direction to save me from having to pattern match those stripes!
Unfortunately the pocket placement is far too low for me, but to be fair this is a usual adjustment that I have to make – I don’t know why I didn’t check this before stitching. Tut tut.
On the plus side, the design of the skirt is lovely. The pleats are really great and the fit on the waist is spot on. I wonder if the amount of ‘ poufiness’ that the pleats add to my hip width is a little unflattering on my pear shape, the jury is still out on that one. Anyhow, it is a skirt that I will wear in warm weather and cold.
Is it even a new make if you haven’t had a swish in it?
So, all in all, a few teething problems with this one, but nothing that couldn’t be sorted, and there’s no denying that there are some lovely versions of the skirts and dresses online.
I’m quite enjoying sewing through my stash at the moment, are you doing the same? If I’m honest, I just can’t afford new fabric at the moment, luckily I have a quite a few fabrics that will keep me going for a while.
One fabric that has been knocking around in my cupboard for a year or two is this wonderful lilac and brown wide striped knit. As with quite a few things that I have been sewing lately, this too was a great find from a fabric swap. I *think* I might have picked it up at the Sewing Weekender. Thank you to whoever donated it! The moment I saw it I always intended it to be a Linden.
The Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio is a classic pattern that most of us will be familiar with. I have made a couple of versions in the past which I wear a great deal around the house, and as they are on their last legs I thought it was about time that I made another. Also I don’t think I have ever written a blog post on this great pattern, so it’s about time.
For those unfamiliar the pattern gives you the choice of two versions. View A is a classic sweatshirt with long sleeves and ribbing at the neckline, cuffs and hem. View B is slightly shorter in the body, it has short sleeves too and only requires ribbing at the neckband.
I made view A and didn’t use ribbing as I didn’t have any in my stash that was the right colour, so just went right ahead and used the main fabric as it had a nice amount of stretch in it. Due to the width of the stripes I was able to ‘fussy cut’ these pieces to make sure they were all solid brown.
Talking about stripes, although the long side/arm seams are easy to stripe match, the curved shape of the sleeve head means that stripes along the armhole seam won’t often match. On this seam I always try to match at least one of the most prominent stripes and let the rest do what they want! In the case of my sweatshirt, I chose to match up one of the brown stripes. As it has turned out, that brown stripe is matched up perfectly along the bottom edge of the stripe, leaving a ‘step’ in the matching along the top edge. On reflection I perhaps should have matched up the top edge of the stripe for it to look a little better, but not to worry, I’m not going to lose sleep over it! What is your opinion on pattern matching guys? ‘Team perfection’ or ‘Team whatever’?
On a plus note, the back arm seams match wonderfully!! Ha! Maybe I should wear it backwards!
The neckline is a soft scoop, and is a little wider than a lot of my rtw sweatshirts. I like the fit, but I have heard others mention that the neck opening is too wide for their liking.
I left the length of the sleeves as they were – which is something that I rarely do, as my arms aren’t very long. I like this length of sleeve on a cosy sweatshirt, and I also like the sleeve width – not too tight, not too loose.
Lilac is still such a hot colour, and whilst it isn’t a shade that everybody can wear, I feel that the brown stripes are so complimentary. How could I not accessorize this top withmy original lilac scissors necklace, available in my shop.
So whilst it’s great to talk about all the new and exciting patterns out there, it’s also good to re-visit the oldies but goldies like this. Classic wardrobe staples that you can go back to time and time again are great aren’t they?
I know I’m not the only one who has been really excited to start making things from Tilly’s new book, so today I’m super pleased to share my first make from it. This is the third book that Tilly Walnes ( the founder of Tilly and the Buttons ) has released and as I have the other two and have used them SO much, I knew that this one would be right up my street too.
Make It Simple is a collection of six basic sewing patterns which can be sewn as they are, or adjusted to make them slightly different. I chose to make the Tabitha t-shirt first. This is a classic t-shirt with round neck and your choice of short, 3/4 or long sleeves. The book helps you if you want to make this pattern into a dress like I did. You are also shown how to make it into a ringer tee with cuffs using this pattern, and there are also instructions on how to decorate it using heat transfer vinyl if you want to add a cute design too.
My fabric choice was this beautiful striped knit that I was lucky enough to choose from the fabric swap table at last years #SewBrum meet-up. Thank you very much to whoever donated this generous amount of fabric! The stripe matching at the seams was a bit of a faff I must admit, as you can see the stripes are quite narrow, and those side seams on this fairly long skirt took quite a while to pin. Although I used my walking foot to avoid any shifting of the fabric, one side was better matched than the other side, and so reluctantly I did decide to unpick that side ( not fun) and re-sew it.
I used some black ribbing for the neckband from my stash.
The t-shirt is turned into a dress by drafting a simple skirt pattern to your measurements. The book takes you through this process step by step so that you can create your perfect skirt pattern piece. Just something to note – there is a small error on the diagram of the skirt pattern on page 88 where the ‘place on fold’ marking is shown on the wrong edge of the pattern piece, just make sure the ‘place on fold’ marking is running along the long straight edge of your pattern piece.
The drawstring cord is threaded through a waistband channel to give the waist a nice gather. The drawstring holes can be made using eyelets (as I did), or simple small buttonholes. I chose to use some striped cord from my stash for the drawstring, but the book also shows you how to use a strip of your dress fabric, curling it into a tube by running it through your fingers.
The end result is a super comfortable dress (secret pyjamas – sshhhh), and one that I will certainly make again. I think a short sleeved version with a knee length skirt would be perfect in the warmer months.
The book is really beautiful. Each sewing step is broken down into chunks with an estimated completion time for each step, especially useful if you only have a few minutes spare to sew at any given time. There’s also something for everyone in this book – trousers, dresses, t-shirts, pyjamas and a cardigan. Do search the #makeitsimplebook hashtag for some inspiration!
I do hope that you and your loved ones are all keeping well wherever you are and that sewing is offering you some comfort and distraction through these worrying times.
Take care, look after yourselves and I’ll be back soon,
Many years ago, I spotted a lady wearing a jacket like this when I was out shopping. It was a warm day and she was wearing it with skinny jeans, the sleeves pushed up and sunglasses on her head. She looked lovely. It’s funny what you remember isn’t it? So several years later, I have finally made one for myself. I have used a heavyweight double jersey from Minerva Crafts and this was very kindly gifted to me as part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.
The pattern is Butterick B5926, and I already had this in my stash – it was the free pattern from an edition of Love Sewing magazine a few months back.
My full review (all opinions are my own) can be found over at Minerva Crafts, so I’ll see you over there if you would like to find out more about this lovely little unlined blazer. We just need the temperature to rise by a few degrees now so that I can start getting some wear out of it!
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!
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!
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!
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..
The book contains the pattern pieces to make 20 versions of six basic patterns. There are three pages of pattern sheets, and you need to trace off the specific pattern pieces you require as the colour coded patterns overlap and are printed on both sides of the sheets. On page 23 of the book there is a helpful guide to using the paper patterns including a check list to make sure that you know all the pieces that you need for your chosen project.
The moment I saw the book, I was really interested in the blue and white striped t-shirt dress that is shown on the cover. One of my favourite Summer dresses is a very old blue and white striped ‘ready to wear’ t-shirt dress which has an elasticated waist just like this. It is now sadly too big for me since I have lost a little weight since I bought it, and anyhow I have worn it so often it is pretty much worn out. This cover dress was always going to be my first make from this book, and I really wanted to get one sewn up so that I could enjoy it this as soon as possible.
The Peak T-shirt is a basic crew neck t-shirt, and you lengthen it to make it into a dress. To do this, Wendy tells you that you need to extend the t-shirt pattern body pieces by 40cm. No problems with this. You effectively then have a long t-shirt which you will gather at the waist with elastic.
The old RTW dress that I mentioned earlier had a bright yellow waistband, this is one of the things I loved about it most. The dress that I was making from this book doesn’t have a separate waistband piece, but I decided that I could introduce a contrasting piece of plain jersey on the neck band piece instead. I might add a coloured waistband piece in a future make, as this would be quite simple and a way to re-create my beloved dress exactly!
I really would have liked to have used a plain primary colour, but didn’t have any scraps of this in my stash – what I did have was a tiny piece of leftover plain grey interlock jersey from Fabworks Online. I had used this back in April, to make up some baby sleepsuits (which I don’t think I ever blogged about) but if you head on over to my Instagram you will find them back in April.
I wasn’t sure that this was going to work, as the striped fabric and the grey fabric felt like that they weren’t the same weight, but having decided that even if it meant unpicking it if it didn’t work, it would be worth a try. Surprisingly, the neckband went in lovely, and lays nice and flat. I was so pleased, and love the little pop of colour that it gives to the garment. By the way, the striped fabric is just some cheap t-shirt weight jersey bought from Leicester market for £1 per metre! Although a smidge lightweight for this project , it’s a surprisingly nice quality and has a lovely slub texture to it which you might be able to make out in some of the images.
I chose the short sleeves, as this is a Summer dress, but there is the option to use long sleeves and you can add a cuff to these too if you like.
Attaching the elastic, gave me all sorts of headaches! For some reason I always seem to struggle when attaching regular elastic to garments in this manner. It should be so easy – simply measure the elastic to fit your waist, join the ends to make a loop and add it to the skirt, using a zig zag stitch stretching the elastic as you go using 4 measured points on the elastic matching up to four points on the dress. I have no problems when doing this with clear elastic, but for some reason when using regular elastic (this pattern calls for 1cm wide regular elastic), it just doesn’t seem to form a neat gather when I release the stretched elastic after stitching. It kind of stays stretched in some areas? Anyhow, I unpicked the first effort, and the second time it was much better, but still not perfect. Rather than unpicking it again, and risk damaging the dress, I will settle for this, but might use my favourite clear elastic next time. By the way, this is just a technique I need to perfect, not a fault with the pattern at all!
Another tip which I really should have used would be to use a walking foot (if you have one) when sewing knits – especially those with stripes. For some unknown reason, I didn’t use mine, and despite using an obscene amount of pins when sewing the side seams, the stripes have slipped a little when sewing up and unfortunately are not quite perfectly matched. There was no way I was going to do any more unpicking on this dress so I am going to ignore this little detail and hope no-one notices… ssshhhhh!
So, lessons have been learned, and I basically need to slow down and take my time to avoid unnecessary mistakes. I will be making LOTS more of these dresses, they are just lovely. The basic t-shirt pattern is also something I will give a go.
There are plenty of other great projects in the book, I really like the look of the Monsal lounge pants too – the perfect tapered leg cuffed jersey trousers. Who doesn’t love a bit of lounge wear? Look forward to whipping a pair of these up during the Autumn.
I am also over the moon that, in my quest to sew nine patterns from independent sewing pattern designers that I have never used before as part of my #2018makenine sewing challenge to myself, this is now the 8th garment that I have completed! Whoopeee!
I already have 2 or 3 Coco’s , but really wanted a classic black and white striped version. On looking through the ponte roma fabrics on the Minerva Crafts website I came across this black, white and lime green striped fabric. I needed to look no further! The lime gives it a pop of colour and whilst it still doesn’t feel very Spring-like outside, I’m feeling it with this fabric!
My full review is over on the Blogger Network now, and you can also see how I added a decorative lacy zip at the back for more lime loveliness.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you over at Minerva!