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!
Just lately I have been making an effort to sew more tops. Whilst I am a dress girl through and through, there is no getting away from the fact that it is freezing here (literally – the snow is falling as I type) and I just want to layer up in separates.
Inspired by the lovely Nikki and Rachel from The Stitch Sisters, who made an amazing YouTube video all about free top sewing patterns, I picked up this FREE pattern from Tessuti Fabrics– The Mandy Boat Tee. I mean, who doesn’t love a free pattern?
It’s a ‘one size fits all’ oversized boxy top, with a boat neck and 3/4 length fitted sleeved with drop shoulders. I have chosen to make it in this gorgeous brown and grey striped cotton jersey blend knit fabric from Girl Charlee but it would look equally fabulous in a cotton or viscose fabric too don’t you think? On the YouTube video Nikki had made this top in a stripe jersey from Girl Charlee too and I totally wanted something just like hers!
I picked up the fabric during the Black Friday sales, and I was lucky enough to choose it using a voucher which was kindly given to me by Ana from Cocowawa Crafts as a prize for a competition she ran just before Christmas for making her Chestnut Sweater. I have written a couple of blogs about these sweaters which you can catch up with here and here. Lucky me! I also chose a couple more fabrics at the same time which I haven’t cut into yet but I have plans!
So the pattern is a free download, but is available in printed format for 12 Australian dollars if you prefer. It was simple to download and print out at home. I must admit the pattern pieces look a little basic – they look hand drawn and the writing on them is hand written, but they are a good shape and I found that they fit together nicely. The instructions are also fairly basic looking but are accompanied by clear photographs and in fact they are actually very well written and to the point. I liked how the neckline was the first step of the process, also the sleeves are added before the side seams are sewn which is always good, and the final step to neaten the boat neckline is the finishing touch and really gives it a neat finish.
I adore the drop shoulders. They are very similar to the Molly Top I feel from Sew Over it, although that top is not so boxy and oversized.
I must admit I had my concerns that it would be too large in the body and whilst it kind of is, I actually quite like it and will not hesitate to wear it. I think the slim sleeves work to balance it out nicely. Perhaps I might slim it down in the body very slightly next time I make it, I’m not sure. I will definitely make more and probably in a stripe fabric again as those drop shoulders in a stripe are amazing I think.
Just to mention the boat neck is quite wide and you might get a glimpse of your bra strap if you’re not careful, but hey, it’s not the end of the world!
I am chuffed that this is now the second make of my #2018makenine list, where I am trying to make nine items from independent pattern companies that I have never used before. So far so good.
I would thoroughly recommend this pattern. It’s a useful everyday top and is quick and easy to sew. Thank you for the freebie Tessuti Fabrics!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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,