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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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A review of ‘Sewing Your Dream Wardrobe’ by Athina Kakou.

If ‘Me Made May’ has taught me anything, it is that my handmade wardrobe is huge, lovely, but isn’t very well planned and often doesn’t work together. For those not familiar, #mmmay18 is an Instagram challenge which offers you the opportunity to wear handmade clothes during the month and possibly use it as a chance to evaluate your me-made wardrobe during this time to see how it can be improved.

As if by magic, during this month the lovely Athina Kakou approached me and asked if I would be interested in taking a look at her e-book ‘Sewing Your Dream Wardrobe – a guide to creating a handmade wardrobe you’ll love’. The timing could not have been better. Athina’s book basically takes you through the process of creating a wardrobe that works for you, your lifestyle, and that you will love! I’m hoping that sometime soon I will be able to throw open my wardrobe doors and find a whole collection of pieces that I can mix and match and eliminate that ‘head scratching’ dilemma that I have ‘nothing to wear’.

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The e-book contains 5 simple chapters taking you through ways to curate your closet, putting those ideas into place, lots of helpful tips and tricks for better and mindful sewing, and some examples of how Athina has put together wardrobe collections for herself using this guide. There is also a chapter dedicated to your maternity wardrobe which has been written by Athina’s great friend and business partner Hattie van der Krohn.

 

Chapter 1 and 2 made me realise that I have a ton of pretty clothes that I have made, but am really lacking in basic staples – the foundation that we can build a more wearable wardrobe from. I struggle to buy simple solid colours (as I am like a magpie and am always distracted by pretty patterns – usually florals), but have recognised that in order to tie my wardrobe together, particularly with my separates, I need to focus a little on this area. I am determined to try to do this.

The e-book also comes with a workbook which I used to help me when sorting out my wardrobe. Take a breath before I show you below what I have cleared out of my RTW wardrobe, a mixture of charity donations and maybe eBay listings will be the result of this clear out.

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Eek! This lot has got to go!

Using the workbook allowed me to identify why I didn’t need these items anymore, to try to identify my personal style and gather inspiration for more wearable replacements. It’s genius! After I have finished with my RTW wardrobe I will then move on to my handmade wardrobe and do the same thing.

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I loved chapter 3. This is packed full of tips and tricks to make your sewing process simpler, more cost effective and a better experience all round. There is a great deal to be said for slowing down and enjoying the process, and combining this with saving money and making the most of what you’ve got is a recipe for success.

The book is an easy read, Athina’s writing style is fun and encouraging and has certainly motivated me to change my sewing habits. It’s a book that you can pick up and put down whenever you like, and the colourful photographs throughout make it colourful and enjoyable to look at. Reading it felt like I was having a conversation with a sewing friend who knew exactly how to gently guide me through a more organised sewing situation.

I am very lucky to be able to offer you a discount code on the ‘Sewing Your Dream Wardrobe’ e-book. Athina is offering my readers a 20% discount on the book by using the code SEWDAINTY and this is valid for one week from today. The usual price is 15 euros, so with this discount you will be able to purchase it for 12 euros. If you head on over to Athina’s website, you can find the link in her shop.

I’m quite sure that many of you will know of Athina, as she is an incredibly busy lady! Also available on her website is her PDF download – ‘My Sewing Planner’ which is an incredibly useful planner in it’s own right, but something that I have been using alongside the e-book. I am going to be SO organised from now on you wouldn’t believe it!

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Athina is also a co-host of the #smyly2018 challenge which she ran with Hattie and Lisa, which was hugely successful and has now lead on to the release of the smyly magazine! There is no stopping this talented lady and her sewing friends!

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I hope that this review has been helpful to you. I think that especially now as we transition into Summer it is the perfect time to take a look at your wardrobe, sewing habits and how they can be improved. Thank you so very much to Athina for sending me the PDF downloads, I feel that my sewing journey will be a great deal more organised and relevant in the future!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x