A few months ago MinervaCrafts and Quadrille offered me an opportunity to review a sewing book that would be released in November. I eagerly signed up along with 4 other bloggers to make something from the book, write a review and of course take pictures.
As soon as I received the book I was immediately taken by at least 6 patterns so selecting what to make for the MinervaCrafts blog was challenging! In the end, I used the logic of sewing for the weather I am in right now. Plus the coat pattern is called Halla kinda loosely alliterates with Hila. Hila’s Halla sounded fun. My fate was sealed :-).
If you’d like to read my 800 word review of the book then please click on the link here: Hila’s Halla Coat which will take you to the post. You can check out the other makes from the book posted by the bloggers over there.
I love (lurve) the colours of the boiled wool! I have my eye on the mustards and the emerald green….
Have you also got Breaking the Pattern; A Modern Way to Sew?
Thanks so much for stopping by! Until next time Happy Sewing!
Peace and love,
NB: Quadrille Publishing provided the book. Minervacrafts provided the materials. I did all the hard work of tracing, sewing, taking pictures and writing up a post. So yeah – all opinions are 100% my own. I was under zero obligation to proceed with the review if I didn’t want to.
This is the fifth garment that I made for the SWAP2017 capsule – an endeavour which started in 2016! I did finish this in time for the April 2017 deadline but for some reason its taken its time to get to the blog.
The capsule plan was to have one statement-y dress.
There was a limit on how many patterns you could use – the max was 8 patterns for 11 garments. I used the Anna dress because it could be easily modified.
The trick was to find a fabric that I loved but that could go with all the other pieces. After much searching, I eventually landed on the Frida y Catarina fabric in a blue background on EBay. To say I fell for this fabric is an understatement. I freaking love this fabric and consequently the dress.
I have made the Anna dress three times before. I have not made it using a medium weight quilting cotton like this Alexander Henry fabric. Ruth’s Core Couture tutorial was a godsend. She shows with well-detailed instruction and rationale how to prevent neckline gaping that can be an issue with wide V necklines. You can check out the tutorial here – a must-read for anyone who has ever been exasperated with a neckline that won’t lay flat.
The results more than speak for themselves. I have since used that same approach on many more projects with great results.
When we went to the US last year for my FIL’s 70th birthday celebrations I took it along. Its one of what I like to call “The Magnificent 3” dresses. Whenever I wear any of those 3, I get a lot of compliments. I will probably write up a post about them and why I think they get so many compliments – advance spoiler – it is not about the dress per se. Anyway, I digress pictures.
The fabric is a border print and I was not keen to cut into the print. I cut the bodice on the cross grain so that the Frida print was only at the hem. The skirt pieces are rectangles with darts added. The darts matched up with the bodice darts. That created the A line shape of the skirt. I contemplated adding pockets but decided that the design lines were more important. My problem is that I do actually use my pockets heavily and there are some styles that look and feel odd to me when the pocket is in use.
The hem is exactly at the selvedge edge. I wanted the maximum length I could get. It used 3 meters of fabric with very little scraps. The benefit of quilting cottons like the Alexander Henry ones is that they do wash and keep the colours well. I imagine that in time, with more washes, the fabric will get softer. The thought brings a smile to my face as I hope to be wearing this dress for decades.
Last week on Saturday I went to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit in London – I believe that’s what prompted me to finally write about this dress on the blog. I am still processing my thoughts on the experience and will be writing a post about it soon.
Back to the SWAP2017 – I still have more of the garments to write about and those posts should be ready…..soonish :-).
In the meantime, I do have a video on my YouTube channel if you’d like to see this dress in motion.
Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.
One of my favourite dresses on the planet is finally on the blog! Whoop! Its a Moneta dress – number 8! Will there ever be a number 10? How many more can I make? Only time will tell. In the meantime this is a pictures post :-)..
Once I had selected the pattern the next challenge was finding the bright red yarn colour. Someone on Ravelry recommended Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton DK yarn. The yarn has a lovely lustre to it and it had a lipstick red shade that looked promising. I ordered several balls of different reds from various brands but this was the one that nailed it. Luckily they also had the black and white of the same yarn.
The next challenge was how to prevent bleeding. From the many posts that I read where people had knitted with red and white or black and white – there was a bleeding issue when the garment was washed. After ruminating on the issue for a while I thought that maybe I could try pre-washing the yarn before knitting to reduce any bleeding potential in the same way we prewash fabric for sewing.
Luckily the yarn comes in skeins. My first attempt was a bit of a travesty because I didnt do anything to prevent the yarn from tangling. On my second attempt, I loosely tied the skein at 4 different points so that I could easily reconstitute the skein.
The prewashing process involved filling the sink with hot water and soaking for about an hour, gently wringing the water out and repeating until the water ran clear. For the red this took approximately 4 soakings, the black took 6 soakings to run clear. I also did the white twice because I needed it to have a similar texture to the black and red.
After drying out the skeins I then had to wind them into yarn balls. There were a lot of online tutorials to help. I used a kitchen roll tube and spent several hours balling up the skein. It was tedious but I think it was worth it in the end.
I swatched with 3.75, then 3,5 but it was 3,25 that got the correct stitch gauge. I should have done some mods since the pattern calls for fingering 4 ply but my yarn was DK. However, I still do not understand these things so I went on ahead with the proviso that I would be trying it along the way to see what I need to change. On the whole this worked, I think I managed to get away with it :-).
This pattern knits up quite quick since it all stokinette stitch. It was also a great opportunity for me improve my Portuguese knitting skills. I think the fit is quite good. Yarn feels comfy against my skin.
The prewashing seems to have worked. When I washed this there was no bleeding.
And here I am wearing it last year.
The pattern instructions were very clear and well written. I learnt some new techniques like the saddle stitch for the raglan sleeve. It may not be the best but I had a great time knitting this. I’d have liked to do add in a HILA motif on the white section but my skills are not yet there. I am still very happy with this jumper.
Finally, I used just under 5 skeins of red and less than 1 skein each of black and white. The total cost of the yarn was £50.48. Not bad considering the inspiration retails at £300. Win!
Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internets. Until next time, happy knitting!
Peace and love,
Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.
Today I have something a little different to my usual style. In an effort to move out of my comfort zone, I decided to make this cocoon dress. The pattern came for free with Issue 8 of Sew Now magazine. Here is the pattern envelope with the line drawings.
Simple Sew Patterns – The Cocoon Dress
The style is very simple. AT the time that it came on to my radar, I was preparing for a family holiday to USA where we going to be at the beach in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. I knew that it got very hot and humid, I wanted something that wouldn’t be too formfitting.
I sewed the first make with a linen chambray type fabric that I bought from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds Market. Sewing it up really is very easy. No zips. No buttonholes. I eliminated the center front seam but cutting the front piece on a fold (I can’t recall why I did this but it worked out).
I staystitched the neckline and used stay tape to keep it from gaping. If there ever was an hour project then this surely is. By the time I made my second one – it was less than one hour from cutting to snipping the final thread.
The sizing was accurate. My bust measurement is between their size 8 and 10. I opted to cut size 10 which was just right. The pockets are nice and deep.
I confess a part of me was worried that this might look like a sack of potatoes on me. By the time I tried it on for fitting I got a bit more excited. It is so comfortable and quite stylish. I made a video immediately after I had been wearing it for a day because the number of compliments on the dress I received that day was astounding.
My personal philosophy about making my clothes is that I make and wear what makes me happy. When I am putting together an outfit – my concern isn’t primarily on how I look to others who see me. It is on how I feel and whether I like it. Of course its lovely when I get compliments on my outfits. But, when I have left my comfort zone and I receive compliments – its an even nicer feeling. I digress….
And my YouTube review..
The second one was made using some fabric that I had been very precious about for a long time. The fabric was won in an Instagram competition wherein 2 meters of Nani Iro triple gauze fabric turned up on my doorstep – FREE!!!
I have oohed and aahed over this fabric for years. I thought it might work well with the Cocoon dress. Cutting was hard! There was plenty of wincing and bottom lip biting. But cut it, I did. It was a point of importance that I sewed it up straightaway in order to avoid buyers remorse so to speak.
A note on sewing with triple gauze…..triple gauze is made of 3 layers of gauze that are loosely woven together. Its about twice the thickness of double gauze. Being 100% cotton the fabric is breathable and incredibly soft. Sewing it however was not fun. The thickness created by the 4 layers of gauze added up. Though I have never quilted – I imagine that it was like sewing a quilt. After sewing one seam it was clear I had to use the walking foot which made things a bit easier.
In the end, I had a lovely deliciously comfortable dress, albeit that looks a bit like pyjamas. I love it. Its bright, lively and vibrant! It is the kind of dress that makes me feel obliged to project the energy it embodies.
Verdict: Highly recommended! Another thing I love about this dress is that I can go braless without any obvious issues. Win!
Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, Happy Sewing!
At some time in December last year, I came across a French pattern company on Instagram, DP Studio Fashion. The company ethos is to keep abreast of the latest fashion news to find out about new shapes, volumes and shades. They sell a collection of ready-to-use patterns through their online boutique. I was quite taken by the designs which are so unique and fashion forward. There had so many patterns I wanted to buy, however, I limited myself to two. Here is the first one – a skirt:
Le 406 is an asymmetric skirt constructed in one piece and has no waistband. The pleats on the right side create volume that is then added to a frill sewn on the true bias creating a front ruffle of full volume and effect.
This is the picture that got me
Postage and Service
The ordering process was very simple. The online website has pages for english and french language users. Postage was incredibly efficient with the patterns arriving within four days via courier. I was impressed.
I knew I wanted to make my Christmas outfit using this pattern. Looking through my stash I considered using a denim and very nearly cut it out in denim but at the last minute remembered some tartan fabric that I believed would be more festive.
A note on the pattern – it has one of the largest pattern pieces I have ever worked with! The main front piece has two pieces that have to be taped together. The 2 pieces were not aligning perfectly along the grainline points. I emailed DP Studio Fashion and they responded within a couple of hours saying that this was a problem they were aware of – an error in the printing. I had to tape it along the right side seam and draw in the hem curve. It’s a simple enough thing to do – I don’t know if subsequent batches of the pattern will have this error. This picture shows what I mean – it really is a minor issue.
All the pieces are cut single layer so this pattern requires a lot of fabric. I failed with pattern matching the side seams but I figured it could be a design feature.
As an intermediate level seamstress, I found the instructions clear and well written. There is a picture tutorial available on the website.
Sizing was spot on. I chose the pattern size based on the provided grid and it was perfectly right for me.
I made no changes to the pattern. The waistband is supposed to have a facing but I opted for a Petersham ribbon. Two reasons: it is quicker and more comfortable.
I managed to finish the skirt in the nick of time on Christmas Eve and was able to wear it on Christmas morning paired with my black BurdaStyle roll neck top. A fetching combo that I felt good in.
After a couple of hours I noticed that the side where the flounce is anchored tended to ‘drop’ creating an asymmetric waist look. My assessment is that the waistband needs to be snugger to keep both sides at the same level. But then again it might just be this particular fabric which has a slightly loose weave that seems to let out over time and tightens when washed.
Verdict: I love this skirt! I felt edgy when I was wearing it. The swish factor is a definite plus for me. It is a skirt made for striding forward towards…something! My sister in law said it had a Vivienne Westwood punk rock vibe. I was pleased beyond reason with that compliment :-).
I am looking forward to making another version of this skirt. It has much potential when using different fabrics. There are more patterns from DP Studio Fashion that I have my eye on.
Thanks for stopping by and until then, Happy Sewing!
Last year I was working full steam on a SWAP2017 wardrobe. You can read some of the previous SWAP2017 posts here <link here>:
For my lower, I had the Hollyburn skirt which was to be made in an orange bright orange fabric.
I bought the fabric from Fabworks. It’s a cotton twill weave which also has a geometric pattern. It has spandex it with some (about 3% stretch on the cross grain).
Instead of a facing, I used Petersham ribbon on the waistband. Pink satin bias binding on outside
Sewaholic Granville modified –
The fabric is linen dyed a navy blue using Dylon washing machine dye. This was one of the few successful results from my experiments with dyeing fabric.
The embroidery is from Kate N Rose patterns which I had bought over 3 years ago but hadnt ever bothered with it. It’s called Faraway Garden. When Kate was helping me with inspiration pictures I remembered that I had it somewhere in my digital files. Unfortunately marking dark fabric was challenging. Chalk faded away easily and my Frixion pens were not very easily visible. Patience is not one of my strong virtues and eventually, I reached a point which I just wasn’t bothered. But that’s ok – I realised that I am not yet at the beautiful intricate embroidery stage. That’s okay.
I eliminated the center front button placket. The front is sewn together with a flap for snaps of some sort (am yetto do this). I made it sleeveless by raising the armscye by 1/2″ and narrowing the shoulder by 3/4″. This makes it have a closer fit around the armhole. I bias bound the armholes using same linen fabric.
The idea was to have further embroidery on the front and back but seriously, it’s not my thing. I should have got appliques and in future, this is what I will do. As far as embroidery goes – I need to walk before I can run :-).
I am very happy with these 2 garments, more so because they are 2 of my most beloved patterns that I have made more than a dozen of collectively. Pictures….be warned the orange is really bright :-). Pictures were taken in May 2017.
Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.
I am super, quite possibly uber, excited to finally be able to share this project. This is a pattern review I wrote for Sew Now magazine (Issue 8 circa May 2017) – a publication I really enjoy as it is a mix of sewing and fashion. For the review, I sewed up Named Patterns Anneli Tee Shirt dress in a delicious green jersey. Enjoy!
Everyone loves tee shirt dresses and I am not an exception. Named’s latest offering from their SS17 Playground collection is the Anneli double front dress. The pattern includes two variations: a straight, ankle-length jersey dress, and a casual T-shirt.
The packaging screams exclusive brand and you certainly get what you pay for with this incredibly well drafted pattern. The instructions and sizing are excellent. This is achievable as a first time project. All the seams lined up beautifully – even the neckband snaps perfectly flat against my body. Super quick to sew up, it took only 1.5 hours from start to finish with no alterations at all. The double-layered front which creates an interesting wrap effect gives it a uniqueness and a point of difference,making it perfect for the warmer days of spring and summer.
If I had to pick a word to describe the Milano jersey fabric – delicious! Verdant in colour and lush in texture, this gorgeous fabric is reminiscent of 2017 Pantone’s Colour of the year ‘Greenery’. It feels soft and luxurious next to the skin.
I love this casual and easy to wear dress.Minimalist witha directional edge, Anneli is effortlessly stylish. I paired my Anneli dress with hoop earrings, chunky bracelet and a pair of thong sandals— and I was all set! I love that I can stay warm with an oversized baggy sweater. Or get sporty with a denim jacket and trainers, or bohemia with a statement necklace and a floppy hat or throw on some cute flats for a more polished look…..endless possibilities.
I have to say that Named understand the appeal of the tee shirt dress. They are comfortable and when we feel comfortable, we feel confident. Anneli ticks many boxes for me; it is fashionable AND feels good to wear AND delivers on comfort AND is quick to sew. A new favourite!
Thanks so much for stopping by and until next time – Happy Sewing!!!!
Peace and love,
PS. It was a really windy day when we did the photoshoot so apologies for my VPL – it couldnt be helped!
July is Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch. Its a month set aside for celebrating indie patterns. I always the challenges set by Kat and Mel and this year is no exception. Week 1 is dresses and I made yet another Giselle maxi dress using fabric bought from my first Yorkshire Spoolette meet up in Feb 2016 <link here>. Tangentially, I have used all but 1 of the fabrics I bought then and that’s great for me :-). I digress, lets get to it ……..
Can I just start off by saying that I love this dress! OK. So when Kat and Mel announced the themes I was pleased to see that dresses were in Week 1. It didn’t take me long at all to decide on which indie pattern dress to make – Giselle by Kate and Rose Patterns.
I have made 3 of them ( here and here) before but none in a rayon challis fabric. The fabric is irresistibly soft and I very nearly made pyjamas with it. It also gets double points for stash busting as it has been in the stash since Feb 2016 :-).
Since I have sewn this before fitting was not an issue. I made the version with the under bust yoke but sleeveless. The sleeves and neckline were finished with cotton bias binding.
This is a quick dress to sew up. The skirt panels are basically rectangles that are gathered and sewn together. I always add in seam pockets to this pattern as it comes without pockets and that’s my only complaint (a very minor one 🙂). I finished my seams with the overlocker.
Its a loose fit easy to wear dress. Very swishy and its one of those dresses that always has me on my best posture. You know the sort of dress you feel like you are letting it down if you slouch or don’t stand proud :-).
I made this after buying the pattern during the 12 days of Christmas sale. It was a bargain at £5. Here is the line drawing.
My thoughts are that it is very quick to sew up and took one sitting to finish. The sleeves are very straight forward and there is no easing involved. The most challenging part for the beginner might be the mitred corners. The sizing was spot on and I didn’t make any alterations at all.
Personally I feel like the side vent is too high for a winter garment given that its supposed to keep me warm and cosy. With my poor circulation I would feel this gap acutely. In winter I wore it layered over thermal sweater underneath. The fabric is a wool jersey that I bought form Fabworks. It washes in the machine and I tumble dry it on low – that seems just fine. I have since washed this about 5 times now with no problems.
This past winter I caught a bit of the Coco bug. It’s an easy super quick make – I totally blame SewChet for her beautiful stag print Coco <link here> which reminded me of the versatility of this pattern :-).
I have had this quilted ponte for a long while now (bought from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds Market) and its one I had set aside on the “sew or donate within 1 month” pile. Luckily it got sewn. The thing with this fabric is that it’s a workhorse – I have made my girls sweater dresses <link here> and they got washed loads over the 15 months my girls wore them. Despite all the laundering the fabric didn’t bobble or pil horribly so I knew that this will be a good workhorse dress.
To add to the sixties vibe I was getting off the fabric I interfaced the collar band so it would stand tall and proud in a contrasting black ponte.
I have much love for this dress and its been worn loads this past winter.
For this post I am looking at the pink fitted shirt and the yellow maxi skirt.
Sewaholic Granville and I got back a long way. See here <link>. Its a tried and true patterns that I love.
I had already seen the shocking pink fabric at the Shuttle in Shipley before deciding on the SWAP colours. Once my colours were settled, I was forced to go back to The Shuttle (I want to be clear on this – I did NOT want to go to a fabric shop but in the spirit of SWAP I had to – I was a reluctant fabric shopper – those other fabrics followed me home – I was reluctant but I am so proud of myself for my restraint). Luckily it was still there when I went back and I bought 3 meters of it. Its a stretch cotton sateen that was interesting to work with.
I cant say its been my best sewing experience ever. I found that the sateen had a strong needle memory and I couldn’t unpick the fabric without creating a visual disturbance. I quickly caught on though and started using wonder clips instead of pins where necessary. I also needed to use a walking foot to prevent it stretching out as I sewed. It also why I opted not to topsticth the button placket.
Because of the stretch nature of the fabric it is very comfortable. Pictures do not do this fabric justice. Its is very bright pink. As in incredibly in your face unapologetic pink. It makes me happy.
Yellow Maxi Skirt
For the maxi skirt I used the skirt portion of the Anna dress. I love this pattern and have made it several times already. The fabric was hard to come by. I wanted a really bright sunshine yellow. I did something I haven’t done before – ordering loads of swatches. I must say that made me feel very grown up indeed. I eventually found the right colour and weight from an Ebay shop called (apologies in advance to any brexiters reading this) EuroFabrics. Its a very beautiful high quality stretchy crepe with viscose fabric that has a micro texture. It has a bit of give on the cross grain which makes for a very comfortable wear.
I sewed up the skirt but while checking fit I realised that I wanted pockets. I try to add pockets where I can in a way that doesn’t interfere too much with the design lines. Because this skirt is close fitting at the hip, in seam pockets would not have worked. So I decided to draft quasi-patch pockets that attach at the princess seams. I felt like this was the most sympathetic addition of pockets.
I still have the option of cutting out the thigh slit but as yet am undecided. I quite like it as is for now. Initially the plan was to add a narrow waistband but I didnt like after the initial basting – it made it even more high waisted that I was envisioning. So it was Petersham ribbon to the rescue!!! The only fly in the ointment , however is that I did think it needed lining but when I wore it for pictures – I could see my panty lines – as I grow older I get less keen on VPLs on my own self. I have since bought some lining to add which is an easy fix. I will only line the upper third of the skirt. The other option is to go commando when in this skirt and……. mmm……..again as I get older I am less keen on the whole going commando thing 🙂
So here we are reader, the first 2 of my 11 SWAP2017 blogged. Whats next? The orange skirt I think….
Thanks so much for stopping my little corner of the interwebs. Until next time,