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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Sew Lisette Top B6183

Lisette sewing patterns have always had a massively stylish appeal. The old ones under the Simplicity label were all really popular - I confess to having bought most of them. The instructions are good and the added tips make you feel like your garment looks more professional. 

There are four newly released Lisette patterns with Butterick that are awesome! When a pattern sale came up I scooped them all up. I love all the different pieces, they cover all bases and I can see myself making each one.


I decided to start with the princess seamed top from pattern B6183. It is the type of thing that I could wear everyday, dressed up or casual.

(Now, let me just add, I cannot use the self timer on a camera and be in the right place ie: completely in shot. So apologies, this is the best I could do.)

I did the sensible thing and made up a test fit of this top first. 

I have realised a very important thing with regards to my sewing output for myself. I have lots of patterns to try, but am afraid of wasting fabric that I have lovingly hoarded, incase it doesn't work out. So they don't get made. I know, I know... this is why you make muslins. For a long time I have been putting off doing the routine of test fit, alter, then make up item. Don't ask me why, but after doing this one properly, I found that I really enjoyed the process of making a rough draft. It put my mind at ease about cutting into the good fabric. 
I want to do more sewing for myself so I need to get over the fear of it not fitting first time. 


There wasn't much to alter on this pattern anyway. I found that the sleeves on the muslin were too restrictive so I used a 1/2" seam allowance on the underarm seam instead of 5/8" and that gave me more ease of movement. I lengthened the bottom hem by 2" as the original was hitting my waistline before it was hemmed and it would have been way too short. This worked out to be a perfect length for me and I am really happy with it.

The details are what make this pattern so much fun. The exposed zip gives a bit of interest to the back, I especially like the look of the metal in contrast to the soft chambray. The instructions on how to install the zip were superb and I especially liked the added information on how to shorten the metal zip and finish it all off.


The yoke is self lined and the finish looks clean and professional. The neck facings cut on the bias sit beautifully and the scoop neck is just the right shape.

I really enjoyed the process of making this one, the hand sewing to finish the hems was time well spent as it looks lovely from the outside. I hope to try this again and would like to see how it looks in a ponte. That would be very comfy! 

The other part of this pattern is the trousers/pants and my daughter thinks I should try the cropped versions for summer. I need more convincing but if we have a hot summer they might be just the things to stock up with. I don't work in an office so if I make them up they will be more casual than smart. They would look great in linen.

There is a sewalong going on over on the Lisette blog and over the next few weeks there will be 3 patterns to choose from. The Moto Jacket is up first and I can't wait to give that a try.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Oliver and S Carousel Dress


This is the Carousel Dress by Oliver and S. 
It has been patiently waiting on my shelf for me to get around to it, even having fabric sitting underneath for good measure. I wanted to try this for my youngest daughter who hasn't started school yet but is in nursery a couple of days a week. It looked like a good dress style to play in, but at the same time not too shabby to take her out afterwards.

I ended up making two versions of the pattern due to the sizing. I know that she fits (an O+S) size 3 for her upper body and a size 2 for her lower half. I got away with a size 3 Bubble Dress so thought I would be okay. Wrong! 


In terms of photo's I have picked the best of the bunch but the dress swamps her. It is quite roomy around the shoulders, the sleeves look quite billowy and the lower half has too much spare fabric for her frame. BUT... better too big than too small! Seeing as how I enjoyed making it up and loved the finished article, I pulled out the pattern sheet and traced off the size 2.


The fit of the dress is quite relaxed through the waist and hips and the raglan sleeves are shaped with a shoulder dart which makes it sit really nicely.


Over in the flickr group there is an absolutely gorgeous version of the Carousel by Wagyu Burger that is a shorter style. Leaving off the bottom hem gives you the perfect length for a top. So using that version for inspiration I cut out some brushed cotton check, cut the pockets on the bias and added some crochet lace trim over the sleeve hem seams.


If I am honest, I think I love this length even more! It is incredibly versatile, looks so cute with a pair of jeans or leggings and will probably get pulled out of the drawer more often.


This is the very last of a scrap of fabric I saved over from this Ottobre dress. Being a heavy brushed cotton, it suits our current climate better than my first version. I don't usually sew up things in advance but the dress will be perfect in summer as it is nice and light. So that is one for the warmer weather wardrobe and one for now!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Popover Poncho


This seemed a risky purchase. For me it is one of those patterns that catches your eye, and you see some versions that you like but something keeps you from committing to buying. But after dithering for a few weeks, I finally went for it. I needed another coat option for the cold weather, something a bit different. 
This fit the bill and I am happy to say, I really like it.


It was the word 'poncho' that made me stall, but I am fine with it all now. This is proving to be a very handy item to have in my wardrobe. It is easy to throw on, great for layering and keeps me nice and warm.


This is of course, the Popover Poncho by April Rhodes. It was very quick to sew up, only a couple of afternoons worth of sewing and voila! The fabric is a very soft and drapey mystery something. I bought it from a local shop with a Minoru Jacket in mind but never got around to it. It is a knit fabric but feels like melton. I have no idea! But it is very warm and the cowl neck feels lovely.


Some reviewers of this poncho said they wish they had added length and I am in agreement. Another couple of  inches would have suited my height better and since I like to wear a few layers underneath, the extra length would have covered my cardigan and wrapped around my hips to keep me warmer when my hands are in the pocket. There is a tiny bit of a draft up the sides as it is. I made the large size and am 5 7".


It is a great item to wear with skinny jeans and boots and it was nice to tuck my hands into the large kangaroo pocket at the front as I walked. In fact I wouldn't like it half as much if I had nowhere to put my hands.


This has turned out to be one of those items I will be glad to see when the winter weather starts to bite. It feels like a warm blanket and I am glad I bit the bullet and bought the pattern!

Friday, 30 January 2015

School Lunchbag


Ever since starting back in Year Two my daughter has been having school dinners and for the most part enjoying them. Queuing up, choosing her meals, which mostly end with cake and custard, biscuit and custard, rice krispie cake.... and custard. No I am not kidding. Sounds disgusting right?

Well, recently information has filtered through about the portion sizes the children are getting and together with the way my daughter devours her post-school snack and then asks how long dinner will be, we decided to try packing sandwiches again. I am glad of the choice that we have with regards to the hot dinners. The options are good, don't get me wrong. But my daughter has a healthy appetite and I want her to be able to concentrate during afternoon lessons and not be grumpy when she gets home. She can't do either if she is hungry. So we have come to an agreement that she can have the school meals she likes such as Fish and Chips on a Friday (why wouldn't you love that) and she likes her pasta day on a Tuesday. Other days I have said she can have a packed lunch.


I was also really happy to have an excuse to make up this lunchbag pattern. This is the Love Your Lunch Box PDF from Gingercake Sews. It is the perfect size for a school packed lunch and will keep her sandwiches and juice nice and cool until midday thanks to the thermal insulated batting it is interlined with.

The main exterior fabric is made from a quilting weight cotton and I chose two beautiful prints from Anna Maria Horner that I just love. The main exterior is Field Study Cell Structure and the contrast on the sides is Hugs & Kisses in Candy.


Inside the bag is lined with laminated cotton. This makes it easy to wipe any spills.

I won't lie, it was a nightmare to sew through all the layers of cotton, interfacing, insulated batting and laminated cotton. My machine was put to the test around those corners. Like Virginia says in her instructions though, the finished result is worth a bit of sweat and tears. I love the sturdiness of the bag and the capacity of the main pocket is perfect.


Either side of the bag are slim pockets that would fit a snack bar or some tissues.


We will give it a first run on Monday but for today L was happy to have her lunch in it and model it for me.


Trouble is she will now lay claim to it and cry if she sees it going into Boo's school bag. If it works out then I will make another one for when she starts in September. (Can't believe she starts this year, that has come around so fast!)


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Some Pattern Busting and a Sew-along



I took part in my first sew-along! Something I have attempted (or tried to plan for) several times but for some reason or another, never managed. This time was a success!

Oliver and S hosted a sew-along on January 6th for the culottes either from the Lunchbox pattern for kids, or the Girl Friday version for women. I have already made one version of the Lunchbox culottes for my youngest, and fell head-over-heels for the pattern. It is wonderful.


My fabric is a floral needlecord bought at Croft Mill. I always wanted to make Boo a skirt from it but had the 2+2 in mind. I am glad I couldn't get around to it straight away because when the Lunchbox pattern was released I instantly knew it would be perfect.


The box pleats disguise the fact that they are shorts and make the skirt luxuriously full. She gave them a big thumbs up for comfort and the side seam pockets are very roomy. I think these will be perfect for school. Expect some grey ones very soon.

I did take 2" off the length because I prefer them to hit the knee rather than below.

While the pattern was out on my table, I traced off the long sleeved tee as well. This view has concealed pockets to the front, similar to the Book Report Dress. They are so clever.


I made the tee as per the pattern but next time will be adding some length to the arms and hem. My girl definitely needs it and it is such a great pattern that I am looking forward to making a few more for both girls. I really like the sleeve cuffs on the other version too.


The Field Trip Cargoes have been on my list (and in my stash) for a very long time. I even had the size 6 traced off but never got time to make them. Another great O+S pattern that I will make again. At least I will have the 6T ready for L when she is older!

These are the size 8 and I opted for the larger size so they would fit her for a while. One thing I have learned about making pants for Boo, is that she grows upwards fast. Too fast. The legs are quite roomy on her now but she will still be wearing them in the summer, I hope. 

This is Robert Kaufman chambray in Indigo. A gorgeous fabric to work with and a January sale treat to myself. 


The cargoes are a bit time consuming with all the pockets and top stitching but they are so worth the effort. I kept the contrast stitching to a minimum as I want these to go with most of her wardrobe. But I did sneak a pink butterfly onto one of the leg pockets as I knew it would make her smile.


I had the cargoes and this Bimaa Sweater cut out at the same time. We are a bit low on warm sweaters at the moment and this pattern comes highly recommended. I can see why, I am really pleased with it. The Bimaa pattern itself comes with 3 different neckline options, a hood, a shawl collar and a cowl neck. I can't wait to try the cowl version.


This is actually an Ikea blanket bought for the purpose of being cut up into something warm. It doesn't have quite as much stretch as the pattern dictates so I sized up and made a 10. The hem band is a wee bit snug on her but it still works.

The hood is nice and deep and comes up around her face and under her chin like a warm shield against the wind. I lined my hood with some interlock jersey to make it extra soft and snuggly.


All those clothes have been readily accepted into her wardrobe but I lucked out with the last piece I am showing you. Which is very disappointing because I happens to be my favourite. The Firefly Jacket

I made this up for a Christmas present and although she loves the fabric, she says it makes her look 'daft'. She doesn't love how short it is. You can't win them all I guess.


The plain side is a navy linen and although it is impossible to get a decent shot of such a dark fabric, trust me it gathered beautifully and looks really smart.


The other side is a creamy butterfly print. I prefer the navy side as it goes with more but I adore these little butterflies.


The pleat on the back of this jacket make it so beautiful to look at and the construction of the sleeves is genius.

I think my clothes sewing is done and dusted for January but it has started well for the year.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Girl Friday/Lunch Box Culottes Sew-along







This sew-along kicks off today and I am busy tracing for it.

I am participating with a pair of Lunch Box Culottes.


Who is with me?!




Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 Sewing Review

I recently sat down to make a few notes on projects that have been buzzing around my head. I have done very well in prioritizing which sewing patterns to tackle first, even making sure I had the fabric and haberdashery bits and bobs in place to do them, but I have fallen short on time. Not anticipating how busy Christmas time can become has left me a bit behind.

I haven't fully completed a project yet and it has been 5 weeks since my last one. Not a sewing rutt, more a time rutt. But I have lots of plans so to give myself a bit of inspiration I put together some collages of my work over the last year. It is always surprising to look back over my sewing and see what I achieved in terms of output, what new skills and techniques I have learnt, and how the activities of the year have influenced the projects I chose.



I did more sewing for L this year. I have enjoyed using the smaller size ranges on some favourite patterns and indulging in some new ones just for her.

I made the O+S Tea Party Dress and the O+S Swingset Tunic with glee, my big girl is out of those size ranges. The Swingset is one of my favourite makes over the last few months.


Thanks to a pattern swap by the lovely Jenna of Just Sew Jenna, I tried out the Green Bee Sally Romper which I must try again next year.


I went with all the blues for my Oliver + S sewing for Boo.


Some of these definitely seem like more than a few months ago!

Boo's most worn item was the plain blue Seashore Dress. The bodice is just getting too tight for her now, but it has been worn constantly.

I also made the obligatory Queen Elsa dress (unblogged) using the bodice shape of the O+S Seashore Dress, skirt of the O+S Fairytale Dress and the top yoke of the Heidi & Finn Tulip Top. It was a big hit and worn to most parties.


I tested out a variety of trouser/pant patterns for Boo and still haven't decided on the right version for her everyday play ones. 

She was in the top size for the LouBee Hosh pants so is out of them now. The Clever Charlotte Raven pants were great but need tweaking to fit her better. I will try adding a zip fly next time and sizing down.

I can't say enough good things about the Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern. We absolutely love them! Best fitting trousers of the year!


I made the Figgys Banyan shorts which were a perfect fit, but didn't get round to making the trousers for her. They are on my to-do list!


For me, it was all skirts and dresses. Summer rolled around and I had a big gap in my wardrobe. I love my red sundress and my Liesl & Co Lazy Days skirts.

I am wearing my Portfolio Top today and it serves as a reminder to make another. It is a great piece for layering in the cooler weather.


I didn't get a whole lot of knitting done. Only two finished projects and one which is still ongoing. The cable yoke cardigan will get picked up again soon when I have taken a deep breath, picked up the stitches for the sleeve and divided them up over my dreaded double pin needles. I need to master the Magic Loop method, I loathe using DPN's!

So that is my recap. It helps me think about all the things I missed out and need to get started on. First up is a new school dress for Boo. I am making her another Music Box Jumper, this time in a light grey needlecord. It should last the majority of the cold season.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! The new year is less than two days away and we are having a quiet one as per usual. Our tradition is to order a Chinese takeaway and once it is collected, open a bottle of bubbly and chill out. To be honest, we rarely last until midnight. The fireworks may filter through our dreams but our Happy New Years wishes wait until the next morning. Old age I guess!

See you all in 2015! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Katy xx