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The Persephone Pants and a Freya Top

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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The horizotal stitching lines between the buttonholes are tricky to see, but they are definitely worth sewing in.

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!

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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.

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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!!

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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!

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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..

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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A Festive Tilly and the Buttons Frankie Baseball T-Shirt

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With the Festive season just around the corner, I am getting in the spirit of things by entering a fun competition that has been arranged by Tilly and the Buttons. The ‘Sew A Xmas Sweater’ challenge is to sew up and decorate any Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern to wear during the holiday season. If you would like more details about the competition then you can find out all about it here.

It was tricky to choose which pattern to make. As you can see from previous blog posts, I am a huge Tilly fan, and have made lots of her patterns, but eventually I decided that I would make another Frankie baseball t-shirt. I have blogged about this t-shirt here, so you can check that out if you are new to this pattern, but this post is going to concentrate on how I embellished it.

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My fabric choice is a lovely cotton interlock jersey which I picked up from eBay. It’s full-on festive red and green, but if you wanted to tone it down a bit you could choose a white or cream fabric for the main body and just have red and green for the sleeves and neckband.

I wanted the embellishment to be Christmassy, but not too ‘in your face’, so have opted for this fairly subtle ‘cutie-pie’ design. Let me take you through how I made it…

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To make the mince pie, I used a machine applique technique using Bondaweb iron-on transfer fabric that I had been taught when attending an applique class at the Leicestershire Craft Centre back in January.

I searched out an image of a mince pie that I liked on the internet, printed it off, and traced out the key shapes using tracing paper. I then traced out these shapes on to the smooth side of some Bondaweb fabric and cut around these shapes roughly. Iron these roughly cut out shapes onto the wrong side of your chosen fabric (or in my case, felt), and then cut around the outline carefully and neatly. You are left with the perfect shapes to create your layered design that now have the Bondaweb applied to the back.

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As you can see, I also had some cream ric rac tape which has a gold thread running through it which I thought would make the perfect pie crust, so I cut a strip of this too.

An important thing to mention is that it is crucial to apply any applique on to your top bodice before the underarm and side seams have been sewn. This way you are sewing on the flat and it makes your life much simpler! Tilly actually recommends doing this in her ‘Stretch’! book (page 91), and she also runs through exactly the procedure that I am using here too. So I carried out the whole of this applique procedure before I started any sewing on my t-shirt.

The placement  of your applique is also very important. Luckily I have already made the Frankie t-shirt before, so I simply popped it on, worked out where I wanted my design to sit, and pinned it carefully in place. I was then able to work out exactly where to position it on my festive version. As I am embroidering some wording on the top, I also pinned that in position – but I’ll talk about the embroidered wording later in the post.

As you can see from the image below, I was originally going to use scrap fabric pieces for the mince pie, but finally decided to use felt.

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I removed the peel-off backing from the back of my shapes and ironed them into place.

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I’m pretty sure that I have read somewhere that this is enough to hold your design in place just as it is, but I wanted to add a machine blanket stitch around the edges to make super sure that it stays in place and also to add to the decoration. At this point I cut some Stitch-n-Tear and pinned it to the wrong side of my fabric to give it some support and stop it from puckering or stretching when I was machine stitching it. I cut it large enough that it would also be in place ready for when I hand embroidered the wording above the mince pie. In the image above you can see the back of the pins that are holding the stitch-n-tear in place behind the design.

After testing out your stitch size on a scrap of spare fabric, I used a machine blanket stitch around all the edges. This is such fun, take your time with it – it’s worth it. I also cut the ric rac to the correct length, applied some Fray Check to the raw ends, and stitched that in place too.

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Below shows what it looks like on the wrong side after stitching. You might notice that I hand stitched the red berries.

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I hope that how I have written this will make some sense. There are lots of video tutorials on the internet when you search ‘machine applique’ if you need some visual guidance.

Next to apply the wording. I remember that I had watched a great tutorial from Sophia from JessalliHandmade on YouTube a few months ago. I followed this tutorial exactly to create the wording that I wanted and I am really pleased with how it turned out. In brief, you print out whatever wording you want in several different sizes and when you are happy with the font and size, you trace it out on some more stitch-n-tear. As you can see I was torn between making it a sweetie-pie or a cutie-pie slogan!

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Place the stitch-n-tear with your traced design where you want it, and pin it into place.

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Then, using a simple back stitch and embroidery thread, sew over your wording and carefully peel it away when you are finished. Simple!

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There you have it! At this point I just made the t-shirt according to the instructions as normal, and the finished result is really satisfying.

Ooh, and don’t forget the finishing touches!

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The ‘Sew a Xmas Sweater’ contest is open until December 9th, so there is still plenty of time to get sewing if you feel like giving it a go and having a bit of fun. Do head over to the blog post on the Tilly website that I linked at the start of this blog and it will give you all the terms and conditions as well as a look at the FAB prizes that are up for grabs too!

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I am looking to seeing lots of fun sweaters cropping up on Instagram over the next couple of weeks (the hashtag to look out for is #SewingXmasSweater).

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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A Tilly and the Buttons Delphine Skirt – the first of many.

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It’s taken me way too long to make this Delphine skirt! I have had the book Love at First Stitch on my bookshelf for such a long time and whilst I have good intentions of making up all of the patterns, I clearly keep on getting distracted with other garments!

This week it’s my turn to write a post as one of the Sewisfaction Blogger Team, and so whilst I won’t go into great detail here, I will leave a link  to my full review on the Sewisfaction blog so that you can hop over there and read all about it.

I so love the fabric that I chose to make the skirt. It’s a medium weight Japanese cotton canvas fabric, and has a bold retro floral design set against a dark blue background.

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Other than shortening the length, I only made one change to the pattern, and that was to swap the invisible zip for an exposed one. I’m really loving these exposed metal toothed zips at the moment and want to add them to everything!

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So I’ll let you head on over to Sewisfaction if you would like to know more, and in the meantime, as the weather is freezing here at the moment, I shall be reaching for my cosy tights so that I can continue to wear my Delphine despite the temperature.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Stella Hoodie from Tilly and the Buttons.

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O.K, Summer might be over now,  but here’s a way to eek out those tropical vibes for the cooler months courtesy of the Tilly and the Buttons Stella Hoodie and this super cosy Jungle Flowers sweatshirt fabric which was very kindly sent to me to review from the online knit fabrics boutique Pin and Sew.

This is the third project that I have made from Tilly’s book Stretch! and after seeing so many other fantastic versions online, the Stella was always going to be high up on my list of sewing projects when the weather got cooler. It’s an easy-fitting sweatshirt with a 3 piece lined hood with drawstring.

To add a pop of colour to the sweatshirt, I decided to use this pretty pink viscose jersey which picks up some of the pink colours in the tropical flowers perfectly. I also continued that theme with the drawstring cord too.

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The hoodie is really easy to sew, and I made it up in a day. As always with Tilly and the Button patterns, clear written instructions and helpful tips are accompanied by great step by step photographs. You really can’t go wrong.

Instead of using buttonholes for the drawstring cord, I decided to pop in some eyelets from my stash. They are quick and easy to apply and I love how they look. I positioned them right in the centre of the buttonhole marking (shown below), and I hope you can also see the soft fleece on the reverse side of the fabric too.

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I swapped between pink and black thread throughout this make, and when I was stitching the hood lining to the hood to create the channel for the drawstring to run through, I used pink thread in my top spool, and black in the bobbin so that the stitching on both sides would match.

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Another addition that I made was to use some toggles from my stash to finish the ends of my drawstring tape. I ordered this tape online, and whilst the colour is a perfect match for the pink hood lining, the weight of the tape was much lighter than I was expecting. These cord ends therefore, give the tape some weight and they look pretty great too!

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The only alteration that I would make another time would be to shorten the sleeve length. I can’t believe that I just went right ahead and kept these the same as the pattern, as sleeves are always too long for me. Not to worry, I plan to wear this as a layering piece so I might be glad of the extra length after all …

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Finally I added a kangaroo pocket. Because this is an addition to the pattern, it is discussed in a separate section of the book, and I forgot to add it at the correct stage of construction – which is before the side seams have been sewn. Adding it at the end like I did is a little awkward, but not impossible, and next time I make a Stella I will definitely make life easier for myself and sew it in at the correct time!

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Thank you again to Aga for this great sweatshirting fabric. I am sure to be nice and cosy this Autumn/Winter with this in my wardrobe. Have you made a Stella yet? I plan to make the Stella joggers soon too for head-to-toe Tilly comfort!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My Tilly and the Buttons Freya Dress

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Oh my goodness me, you know when you make something and are instantly planning your next. This is it. Although the warmer weather may have thrown a big spanner in the works now and delay me from making more until it turns cooler again as this is certainly a dress for when the temperatures aren’t so great in my opinion – especially made in scuba!

So this is The Freya and it’s my second make from Tilly’s amazing Stretch! book. If you want to check out The Frankie Baseball T-Shirt that I made last month you can do so here. The Freya is a close fitting A-line dress (I feel we all know that Tilly is the Queen of all things A-line), and can be made up as a sweater or a dress. There are a ton of variations that you can make using the book including sleeves, necklines and ruffles but I kept things simple and made the classic dress with 3/4 sleeves.

You might have noticed, especially if you follow me on Instagram, that I am loving scuba fabric just lately. This absolute beauty is the Chaffinch Bough Old Gold luxury scuba which I purchased on a recent visit to Sewisfaction.  I think it is stunning and as you can see has a rich gold background covered in brighly coloured florals with pretty Chaffinch birds set amongst them.

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I had not seen any versions of the Freya in scuba, so was concerned that the pattern might not suit this fabric choice, but after referring to the fabric suggestions for this pattern (which calls for knits with at least 25% crosswise stretch) I felt I should go for it.

It’s so quick to cut out, my version requires only 4 pattern pieces – less time cutting/tracing and more time sewing! Happy days!

The mock neckband fitted like a dream. Tilly had mentioned in her instructions that it needs to stretch quite a bit in order to get it over your head and this is true! I was careful not to use too short a stitch when attaching and finishing the neckband for this reason. Does anybody else love a bit of twin needle sewing? The neckband is of course finished with the twin needle, as are the cuffs and hem.

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I really wanted to make the version with the ruffle, but felt that this might be too much with such a busy fabric choice. I am determined to make a ruffle dress later on in the year though and may choose a solid colour for that version. Shocking I know, as I have discovered whilst taking part in #mmmay18 that virtually none of my handmade wardrobe is made from a plain solid fabric! Have you checked out the hashtag #sewingfreya yet? It’s a great source of Freya inspiration.

I am happy with the length but does come up fairly short-ish.  I am 5’2″ and as you can see it sits just above my (knobbly) knees.

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There is very little that hasn’t already been said on this dress, it’s wonderful in every way. Quick, easy and very wearable, I’m a fan.  Mic drop.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My #sewmystyle2018 April entry – the Marigold trousers from Tilly and the Buttons.

So this blog post contains something completely different from me -trousers!

The #sewmystyle2018 challenge is run by Jessica and it encourages you to make 12 garments in 12 months. Of course you don’t have to make all of them – I personally am dipping in and out of this challenge only choosing the items that I feel will wear often. This months make is the Marigold jumpsuit and trousers pattern from Tilly and the Buttons.

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I quite liked the idea of making the jumpsuit, but finally settled on making the trousers because:

  1. I never make trousers, so why not do something about this and these do look super cute and comfy for Summer.
  2. I can’t be doing with the whole stripping off to visit the toilet situation that you get with a jumpsuit!

I wondered if getting the fit of the trousers right would be tricky, so made up a toile first and was really glad that I did as I found that the crotch sat really low on me and I needed to raise this by 2″ to ensure a better fit. There is a great piece on how to fit your Marigold trousers on the Tilly website here.

Don’t forget that if you are raising your crotch height like me (using the adjustment lines on the pattern) that you need to shorten your pocket pieces by the same amount.

I did wonder if I should shorten the length of the legs too but I like the way they settle around my ankles so left them as they were.

 

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The trousers have a peg shaped leg tapering in to the ankles, and I am pleasantly surprised with how much I like how they have turned out. They have a gathered waist all the way around and are also shaped with small pleats and darts at the waist front and back. I think I quite like them! I am a huge fan of Tilly patterns and this did not disappoint.

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The fabric that I chose to make up this version in is a black geometric print viscose from Minerva Crafts. It was a very reasonable £4.99 per metre and I think it is perfect for these Marigolds.

I did have my concerns that the elasticated waist all the way around would look unflattering on my shape, but I don’t feel this to be the case. I also really like the deep pockets. Essential.

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So all in all I am really chuffed with them. I think you may have to choose your fabric wisely so as not to look like you have stepped out in your pyjamas, but I really love this black and white geometric print – they remind me on the time that I used to work for Monsoon/Accessorize and I wore these type of trousers alot during the Summer as my work uniform.

Do head on over to Instagram and check out the hashtag #sewmystyle2018 and #sewmystyle for more Marigold inspiration this month.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Tilly and The Buttons Frankie Baseball T-Shirt pattern review.

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I’m quite sure that this isn’t the first Frankie baseball t-shirt that you’ve seen, and it probably won’t be the last. There was huge excitement in the sewing world when Tilly Walnes released ‘Stretch!’ in February, it is Tilly’s second book (her first is called ‘Love At First Stitch’), and this time she is writing about sewing with knit fabrics.

I was of course desperate to own it, and was completely blown away when the publishers Quadrille Craft sent me a copy as a prize in a competition they were running a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to get started on it and as I happened to be travelling to London a couple of days after receiving it, I quickly decided what would be the first project that I wanted to make from the book and made a note of the fabric I needed so that I could purchase a little something from the Goldhawk road whilst I was down there.

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So I knew that I wanted to make the Frankie first, and picked up this wonderfully soft cotton jersey. The ‘white’ is kind of an off white pinkish toned white which works really well with the dark cornflower blue. It’s a little bit similar to the colours worn by the model in the book except for that version has a pink neckband – which is totally awesome and I would probably add in another colour for the neckband next time too.

The fit is described as relaxed – which is neither too tight or too loose, so I opted to make a straight size 5. It’s relaxed and comfortable, but you could totally cut a size or two smaller if you prefer a more fitted style. I chose to make the 3/4 length sleeves and love them. Hopefully the weather will start to warm up now and this will be the sleeve length that I will get the most wear out in the coming months.

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The instructions and information provided by the book are second to none. If you are familiar with Tilly and the Buttons patterns already, you will know that they are extremely well written and easy to follow and this book is the same – and then some. It is packed full of tips and tricks regarding sewing with knit fabrics and addresses any concerns that you might have.

The Frankie is a great pattern to get started with, I love the raglan sleeves and how quick and easy they are to sew into place. The neckband is possible the only slightly fiddly part, but using the ‘quartering technique’ which I always do with stretch neckbands ensures an even stretch – although I felt that I really had to stretch my neckband quite a lot – nevertheless it went in great and lays lovely and flat which is the result that you are looking for. Changing your needle to a twin needle can be a bit of a chore, but I love the result that it gives, so finished my neckband, sleeves and hem with the double needle.

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I cannot tell you how much I look forward to making EVERY other item that is in the book. There are 5 other patterns included, not to mention several variations and hacks to make them exactly how you like, and am currently working my way through reading it, as it is crammed full of information I know I will find useful.

Congratulations to Tilly for such an inspiring read, I thoroughly enjoyed this make, and as it uses so little fabric, it could definitely become a stashbuster pattern for those leftover pieces of fabric that you are not sure what to do with.

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Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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A classic striped Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress with a twist of lime.

Happy April everybody!

As ever, the beginning of the month means that it’s time to share my latest make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.

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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.

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Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you over at Minerva!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Breton striped Tilly and The Buttons Coco dress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Kathy x

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A Spotty Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress

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It is very much ‘that’ time of the year now in England when there is no denying that Autumn is well and truly here. It’s cold, I want the heating on and most of my fabric shopping now is now cosy corduroys, soft jerseys and snuggly sweatshirting.

My Tilly and the Buttons Cleo pattern is also something that I reach for in the Autumn/Winter. Whilst I have seen many Summer appropriate versions of this – for me it is all about snuggly thicker fabrics teamed with long sleeved jersey tops.

My fabric choice for this Cleo is this stunning navy spotty corduroy.  It was very kindly sent to me by My Fabrics, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. There are so many colour choices with this spotty corduroy, but as I kind of knew that I probably wanted to pair it with my red striped Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top, I went ahead and opted for the navy blue. Along with the huge choice of spotty cords, there are several other patterned designs and a wide range of the thickness of cord – from jumbo down to baby cord.

I would describe it as a light weight corduroy, beautifully soft, but certainly with enough structure to make the perfect Cleo.

As with all my Tilly patterns I cut a size 4, and I made no alterations other than shortening the length of the straps by 2″

I added a pocket on the bib front, but chose not to place the optional pockets on the back of the dress as I didn’t want any attention drawn to that area!!

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This is the first time that I have used dungaree clips as a fastening for a Cleo. I always  opt for a button option, but I have had these clips in my sewing basket for a while now and thought that I would give them a go this time.

They are really easy and straightforward to use, really nothing to them at all – you will need a hammer however. Fortunately my husband was able to provide me with that!

To attach the clips, carefully mark out exactly where you want to place them.

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Pierce a small hole using an awl or other sharp point.

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Place the pointed part of the rivet through the hole from the back, and line up the button over the top. Make sure if your button has a design on it, that it is the right way up, as it is impossible  to twist it once in place.

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Gently hammer into place!

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Ta Da! That’s all there is to it, such fun and the good news is that you get to do it all over again on the other side!

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I hope you like the outcome as much as I do. I really like the pairing of spots and stripes together, also love the red and blue combo too!

Thank you very much to My Fabrics for providing the fabric for this post. This is something I am going to love wearing this season. I certainly have my eye on some of the other patterned cords at My Fabrics and you may well be seeing more of this again soon!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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