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The Adrienne Blouse from Friday Pattern Company.

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.

Line drawing from Friday Pattern Company.

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?

Ta dah!!

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? šŸ™‚

Do search #adrienneblouse on social media if you are looking for more inspiration.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Sagebrush Top from Friday Pattern Company

The Sagebrush Top from Friday Pattern Company is the sweetest little top that I have seen for a long time. Once again this pattern purchase was heavily inspired by Instagram, where it’s ruffled front, back neck tie, and oversized puffy sleeves totally won me over. If you are over on Instagram search #sagebrushtop for some inspo.

My fabric choice is this sweet floral print cotton poplin from Sew Me Sunshine. I love a ditsy floral (as you probably know), and the mix or reds, blues, greens and gold really caught my eye. Having just taken a peek at the Sew Me Sunshine website it looks like it might sold out now, but there are PLENTY of other gorgeous fabrics which would make perfect Sagebrush Tops. Cotton poplin has a fair amount of ‘body’ compared to other cottons, so it holds it’s shape quite well. For this reason the intentionally puffy sleeves really do make their presence known using a fabric like this! A more drapey fabric would give a much softer overall finish and I think for my next version I will choose a viscose for this reason.

I cut a straight size medium. My measurements are 36-29-39, and my height is about 5’2″. The fit is just right. Although I made a couple of small alterations…

I felt that the length of the sleeves sat much too long for me, so I took 3″ from their length. I made no adjustment to the sleeve volume, although this might be considered because they are very gathered, with the majority of the gathers concentrated at the shoulder to give maximum volume!

I also found the length of the top very long, maybe I am short bodied, but I hadn’t particularly noticed this on the versions that I had previously seen from others. So I took 5″ from the length of the top before hemming it. I might have left this had I used a drapier fabric, but the poplin I felt might look better untucked and so I made the cut!

Other than that I stuck to the pattern. The details are really pretty. I absolutely adore the ruffle that runs across the top along the front yoke/bodice front seam. It’s a dainty width and has the perfect amount of gathers. Underneath this ruffle in the centre front there is a gentle section of gathers which give you some shape in the absence of any bust darts. Nice.

The neckline edge is finished with a long strip of bias. This not only finishes the neckline but extends beyond the end of the neckline opening to give you cute tie straps at the back of the neck.

I enjoyed making this one. The pattern instructions and illustrations were extremely clear which made it really fun to sew. Perhaps this will push me to make the Wilder gown or top – another massively popular pattern by Friday Pattern Co. which I have, but just haven’t sewn yet.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My #2018makenine makes.

Happy Monday!

Time for another blog post, and this week I am sharing with you my completed #2018makenine makes. For those not familiar, the yearly ‘make nine’ challenge is a friendly and gentle challenge to yourself to create a list of nine items that you would like toĀ  make during the year. They can be sewn, knitted or created however you like, and you can share your progress with others over on good old Instagram using the hashtag #2018makenine

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This fun event is hosted by the lovely Rochelle fromĀ Home Row Fiber Co and I will link to her ‘make nine’ postĀ hereĀ where she explains everything that you need to know about the challenge. It is not a race, it is not a competition, it doesn’t matter if you complete it or not, it’s all completely relaxed, but at the same time very inspiring and will definitely allow you to access some inspiring creators and new pattern, fabric and yarn ideas.

My own personal challenge to myself this year was to support nine independent pattern companies that I have never used before, and sew a garment using one of their patterns. I did it! Here’s what I made..

 

1. The Mandy Boat Tee fromĀ Ā Tessuti Fabrics

Such a great pattern, and it’s free! I made this in February and blogged about itĀ here.

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2. The Fringe DressĀ fromĀ Chalk and Notch

I made this dress last June as a make for theĀ SewisfactionĀ blogger team. You can find a link to the review that I wrote by clicking on my postĀ here.Ā I am currently in the process of making another as part of this month’sĀ  #sewmystyle challenge.

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3. The Ogden CamiĀ fromĀ True Bias

Another make during June, during the UK heatwave, and promptly followed by another two straight away. They have been a lifesaver this Summer and I plan to make a hundred more in the future, particularly in plain fabrics as wardrobe staples. I haven’t as yet blogged these tops, but here is a look at one of them, made from a delightful crepe fabric picked up at a recent fabric swap.

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4. The Out and About DressĀ fromĀ Sew Caroline

One of the most comfortable ‘throw over the head’ dress I have. This was my July make for the Minerva Crafts blogger Network. There were a couple of little things that I need to change next time I make it, which I have mentioned in the link on my blog postĀ here, but it’s one I will return to for sure.

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5.Ā The Paola TurtleneckĀ fromĀ Named Clothing.

I’ve just realised that I did not blog about this make.. whoops.. but now is the time of year to be reaching for tops like these. Will get around to blogging this top shortly .. in the meantime forgive the rather last minute snap of this project, better photographs to follow along with the blog post!

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6. The Sunday Dress fromĀ Friday Pattern Company.

Heavily hacked into something that I would find more wearable, and blogged about here, I made this back in January as part of the #sewmystyle challenge. I think I may shorten this at some point into a shorter knee length dress, as I feel I would get more wear out of it in this length.

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7. The Mayfair Dress fromĀ Nina Lee

I was lucky enough to have been part of the pattern testing team for Nina on this pattern back in June. It’s a lovely jersey dress pattern that is so comfortable and a great everyday pattern, read about my thoughts on the MayfairĀ here.

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8. The Peak T-Shirt Dress fromĀ Wendy Ward.

Love this dress. I was so lucky to have won a copy of Wendy’s book ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’ and instantly knew that this would be the first project I would make from it. Adding a grey neckband gives it a little bit of interest and who doesn’t need a striped t-shirt dress in their wardrobe? My blog post written in July can be foundĀ here.

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9. The Franki Top fromĀ The Wearable Studio.

The Wearable Studio is a fairly new independent pattern company, and as soon as I saw the ruffled hem and tie sleeves on this top I wanted it! I have madeĀ two versions of this top, and still cannot decide which one I like the best.

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Phew! That’s all of them. A huge thanks to Rochelle for pulling together this challenge again, I have had such a great time exploring and trying out patterns from these inspiring independent companies, and hope that you have enjoyed seeing what I made with them. I have tried to include links to the patterns and blog posts where possible.

Have a great week, take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My #sewmystyle2018 entry – The Sunny Dress by Friday Pattern Co.

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I’m not really a fan of New Year resolutions, but this year as part of my #2018makenine list I am going to try to sew more patterns using independent pattern companies – especially those I have never tried before. The perfect opportunity to get this off and running is theĀ  January project from the #sewmystyle2018 challenge.Ā  Two birds with one stone and all that. For those who are unfamiliar with the #sewmystyle2018 sewing challenge I will link the website for Jessica who is organising it this yearĀ hereĀ and you can head on over to read all about it if you are interested. Basically it is pretty much a monthly sewing challenge which enables you to connect with the sewing community and have a bit of fun sewing up a different pattern each month.

The January pattern is The Sunny Dress/Top pattern fromĀ Friday Pattern Co.

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It’s a reversible dress ( and by that I mean it can be worn with the scoop neckline at the front or back) for knit fabrics, with set in sleeves and a scalloped hemline. I don’t know very much about The Friday Pattern Co. but do like the fact that they support a rotating collection of the top-ranked charities in the world. For purchases of this pattern they donate 5% to The Against Malaria Foundation.

Originally I was all for making the dress just as it was with no planned alterations, but when it came to making it I decided that in all honesty I probably wouldn’t wear this body skimming shape so I decided to alter it to a design that would be more wearable to me. I was really pleased to read a post on Facebook (I think) that Jessica had written where she mentioned that this design was really a blank canvas that you could adjust in so many ways, and so I went for it!

My fabric choice was a floral print stretch jersey fromĀ Minerva Crafts. It’s super pretty with a good stretch andĀ  a nice medium weight.

Before I started I had noticed comments from others that the dress seemed to come out a little on the small size, so although I probably am a size medium, I cut it to between a medium and large. I feel that this left it a little on the large size, and would stick to a medium if I were to make it again.

In my head I wanted to create a simple dress with a gathered skirt – rather likeĀ The Moneta Dress by Colette Patterns. In order to achieve this I cut the top version out (view B), but cut it straight across the bottom hem edge as I didn’t need the scalloped shaping.

The pattern is basic. No pattern markings such as notches were indicated, which was a little unusual, but not actually necessary, as it was a pretty straightforward shape to sew. The instructions are simple, but were perfectly adequate for what it was asking you to do. I decided to set my sleeves in to the bodice sleeve edge before sewing the side seams together to make a ‘tube’. This worked well and I simply sewed up my sleeves at the same time I sewed my side seams in one long seam. I must admit that I was disappointed by how loose the sleeves are and will certainly take in quite a bit next time. I shortened the length of the sleeves by 1″.

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There are a couple of ways to finish the neckline. You can simply turn it under and stitch in place, or make a neckbandĀ  which is my preferred method. The Friday Pattern Co. provides a link to a tutorial on how to do this if this is your first time doing so.

As my fabric was really quite stretchy I chose to make my neckband 20% smaller than my neckline opening, and this worked out just right.

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O.K, when I got to this point it was time to decide how much I needed to take off the length of the bodice. To do this I simply tried it on and marked it. In my case I needed to take off 6.5″ from the bottom of the bodice. I also pinned my skirt pieces on roughly to see that they looked about right. This also gave me the opportunity to mark out on the skirt pieces where I wanted to place my in-seam pockets – let’s talk about the skirt and pockets…

So to make the skirt I simply used two rectangles of fabric that were left over after I had cut out the top. I didn’t calculate how wide/gathered I wanted it to be – it was simply going to be as gathered as the width of the fabric allowed! As I had a fair bit of length left I realised that it could possibly be long enough for a maxi dress – we’d have to see when it was finished. So I left the length as long as I could, as it could easily be shortened to knee length if necessary later on. Originally I was just going to sew my remaining fabric into a ‘loop’ which would make a skirt with a vertical seam down the back of the dress, but could not bring myself to make a skirt without in-seam pockets so needed to cut the remaining fabric into 2 rectangles to create a side seam either side that I could insert pockets into.

The pattern does not come with a pocket piece ( I would not expect it to with it being such a close fitting style), so as always I fell back on my trusty favourite pocket pattern template that I always use when adding my own in-seam pockets, which is from my Colette Peony dress – but any in-seam pocket pattern piece would do – I added them to each side seam of the ‘skirt’ at the point I had marked out earlier when trying on. Next it was time to gather the ‘skirt’. There are several ways to do this, but I chose to measure my waist, cut some clear elastic to that length, and stretch and sew it to the top of the skirt. This gathers the skirt evenly and it can then simply be stitched to the bodice.

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So, some things to note if I try this again… The weight of the skirt when added, pulled down the bodice piece more than I expected it to, so if I were to make this alteration again, I would probably raise the waist by at least another inch (especially if the fabric has the same weight as this one).

As mentioned, the sleeves were far to wide , so these would be narrowed down next time. I would also cut a size medium as I didn’t find that it came out small on me as others had.

Also another thing to hold my hand up to is the unfinished nature of these photographs. I finished this dress the same morning that my husband was taking photos of a couple of other projects that I have made recently. I knew that he wouldn’t be available for another good few days to take photos of this dress, by the time this challenge would have been finished, so please excuse the hastily ironed neckline, the complete lack of sleeve hem ironing (that twin needling is crying out for a good press), and the fact that the skirt hem is unfinished because I wanted to leave it on myĀ dressform to hang for a couple of days. I’m pleased to say that it has dropped nicely now to a perfect floor length and my job this afternoon will be to finally hem it.

All in all I am super pleased with the outcome. I didn’t imagine it turning into a maxi dress originally, but that is the wonderful thing about sewing that you can do just whatever you like.

Thank you to Jessica and all her team of assistants for putting this challenge together – do head on over to social media and search #sewmystyle2018 for tons more inspiration on this dress pattern and the project in general. Thank you also to the Friday Pattern Company for generously giving all participants of this challenge a discount code for their pattern purchase.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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