Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Closet Case Patterns: Clare Coat

Pattern: the Clare Coat by Closet Case Patterns
Size made: 14
View B
Fabric used: Wool Coating from Minerva Crafts

This is the project I have been looking forward to and dreading in equal measure. I still find coats quite intimidating even though I have made 2 duffles for my daughters, 2 asymmetrical zipper coats, and numerous lined hooded jackets. There is still a fear.

This is the first time I have used a Closet Case pattern, despite owning the Ginger jeans (I'm still building up to those) and I found the pattern a delight to use. The instructions are plentiful yet clear and I didn't struggle over any of the steps. I did follow the sewalong because it would have been silly not to use such a valuable resource.

The sewalong even has pre-sewing steps where you can read up on style inspiration and fabric choices before you decide or buy any supplies. That is brilliant information, and all in one place making it easy to flick back to.

So, my coat, as you see is the view B option. This is a shorter length, ending at the hip, double breasted with inseam pockets, full length sleeves and a deep funnel neck collar.

When prepping this pattern, it seems like there are a billion pieces to cut out. This is because the sleeve is divided into front and back pieces, then there are side panels, front pieces, inner front facings, lining, interfacing etc etc..... 
It took me quite a while and I had to be quite thorough about labelling everything incase I forgot which piece was which.

The way the sleeve is cut though, is beautiful. It has great shaping and you have a little dart on the inner elbow. I don't mind plodding through lots of little preparation steps when you end up with something that feels as nice as this to wear at the end.

I love the collar! It is sturdy enough to stand up on its own around the back even when the collar is folded open at the front and it is so nice to keep that wind out.

I can't help feeling a bit 'Sherlock' with the collar framing my face.

I sourced the large sew in snaps on Ebay. I went for the 30mm size which are quite large, but look great. They click in with a solid audible snap, so I am confident this coat will stay put when worn.

The snaps are situated mid collar opening and just below the collar-body seam. It keeps the closure nice and tight around your neck. And, yes, as you can see below, it is good for hiding in!

My lining is a slippery acetate and it slides on and off beautifully. I am really happy with how it came together. In hindsight, I wish I had made one side of the pocket bags from the coating fabric because I would have preferred the feel of a softer, more solid fabric in there.

 Another thing I need to note, for myself, is that the back piece should be fully interfaced next time, rather than just at the shoulders and hem. I am probably the only one who will notice, but I can tell that the finish is a little different on the surface of the fabric where the interfacing has bonded. Next time I will cut a whole piece out.

It may be Spring, but I think I will be wearing this coat for a while longer yet. As we say around these parts, I am a bit nesh and feel the cold. So it is staying on the peg for as long as possible!

Saturday, 17 March 2018

My Brief History of Oliver and S Sewing

Over at Oliver and S, the team are celebrating their 10 year anniversary, as well as the release of pattern number 50

I have been sewing with these patterns since my eldest was 4 years old and they are an integral part of why my love of sewing has developed over the years. 
If you have never sewn with an Oliver and S pattern, there are some free ones to give you a taster on the website. You will soon see how clever the patterns are and how easy the instructions are to follow. 

Liesl is capturing lots of memories in her anniversary blog posts, and that got me thinking about all the times I have used the patterns in the past few years. I browsed my photo library and then started grouping the patterns together to see how many times I have used them. It is safe to say that my girls have grown up wearing Oliver and S and will continue to do so for many years to come!

Some of the clothes were made for specific reasons, be that a play or a dress up day at school. Some for special birthdays (well, all birthdays are special, but you know what I mean), some for gifts. Looking at the photographs for me bring back so many evocative memories. If you will indulge me, I wanted to share them with you.

Grab a cuppa, this is a long post! So here goes....

Firefly Jacket

One of the singles patterns. Only made once but it looks lovely on.

Art Gallery

This is one of those sewing memories. I made the waistcoat and trousers for my eldest when she starred as Willy Wonka for a school production. I didn't own the pattern before but knew when I got my costume requirements, that I needed it!

 Lullaby Layette

If you know someone who is expecting a baby, this is an absolute must-buy! These pants were made for a school friend who had a baby boy and while I didn't make the jacket from the pattern, I knitted up a tiny sweater to go with them. I may be using this pattern again in the near future as a few friends are expecting, and I can't wait to make the full set.

 Family Reunion

My daughters first true love! She wore the purple version constantly. Whenever it was clean. Sometimes when it wasn't!

 After School

One of my all time favourite patterns are the After School Pants. There is testimony to that on the Oliver and S blog, where I was honoured to be asked to write about them in the Favorite Patterns series. They make fantastic jeans and are very hardwearing with all those sturdy side seams, yet girly enough for my two with the optional ruffles.

School Days Coat 

Something I never dreamt I could make was a proper warm coat. This pattern held my hand all the way through and I jumped with joy when the project was completed!

Music Class

Ahh the beautiful Music Class blouse makes me smile everytime. The sweet peter pan collar and girly pleats make this a sew to be proud of. Both the skirt and blouse are part of my core school uniform sewing patterns. I have made more versions of this that I can count.

Music Box Jumper

Another staple for school uniform in our house. I have never made this as a regular dress and probably should before my time runs out.

Bubble Dress

Two of these dresses were gifted. I have made it with or without the elastic in the hem and made a themed fox version for the Gingerbread Man play my little girl took part in at nursery. My favourite was the blue dress in the centre photo. 

Jump Rope Dress

Every summer dress for school has been made using both versions of this pattern. The pockets are roomy and hold many treasures (or sometimes just tissues). The instructions were the first placket instructions I ever tackled and I just wanted to shout 'Yes!' from the rooftops once it was finished. Such a beautiful pattern and one that has become a firm favourite for many people.

Fairytale Dress

The Birthday Dress! How could this not be the most perfect pattern for birthday parties and celebrations. I thought I had made more of these, and am shocked that I have only ever sewn it once. I have pulled out the instructions countless times for the invisible zipper installation, because it makes perfect sense of a tricky sewing step. Maybe that is why I think there should be more dresses!

Class Picnic

I came to this pattern quite late on and bought it on the basis of the gorgeous shorts that kept popping up in the Flickr group. The shorts are so satisfying to make and the top is one of those things that I didn't think I needed in my life, but once I had made it, I realised it was an absolute gem.

Field Trip

I simply must make some more of these cargoes! They are quite time consuming but all those small steps make a fantastic pair of pants. The tee I have made up a few times, even using sweatshirt fleece as a quick sweater for Scouts camp when I discovered we needed one the night before.

Tea Party

The first of the original designs and one of the prettiest sundresses to boot. The pink one with its matching dolly sized dress, was a birthday gift to a school friend and the cream Kokka print was the first dress I ever sewed L as a toddler.


I use the dress view as a nightgown and the skort as school uniform. I have only sewn the top up once and it makes a lovely summer vest. The shorts can be sewn on their own without the skirt and they are nice and simple for pairing with summer tops.


I love the girly-ness of this skirt. It is fully lined, making the finish look professional, and the waistband casing is genius.
The top I have only ever made once, but absolutely loved it. It has gone off to warmer climates now so it has a second life. I ran out of time to make more of these because the pattern sadly only goes up to age 5, but like the Puppet Show shorts, it look so cute on young children, so my advice is, make it while you still can!

Hide and Seek Dress

We don't have a lot of warm weather over here and to find a dress pattern with longer sleeves, that looks as smart as this one does, is a pure joy. The girls look lovely in both of these versions and I always get compliments whenever they are worn.

Lunchbox Tee and Culottes

The lunchbox tee has become the go-to top in our house. We wear the short sleeved versions ALL THE TIME! (Boo and I are both in the Bento tee - the adult version - now) I have made the long sleeved tee into a dress as well (but couldn't find my photo).
The culottes have been made twice for school, below are the wool pair that kept her snuggly last winter. The black pair were made from velveteen and the flowery pair from baby needlecord.

Nature Walk Pants

The ultimate comfy chilling out pants! The grey pair were made from fleece backed sweatshirting as joggers. The other pair were made as pyjama bottoms out of a cotton jersey. I did a lettuce hem on them to match the vest top. They were a big hit!

Puppet Show

My first ever make was the plain pink tunic top. It was a great introduction to the brand and I took my time learning all the different steps and remember really enjoying myself as I tried out new techniques. 
I made the red shorts next and they went on our beach holiday where she ran into the sea fully clothed on the first day!
I dressed her up as Alice in Wonderland for World Book Day and used 2 plain blue pillowcases to make the dress version, which was worn with a little white apron and long white socks

The shorts are fantastic. They are so versatile and look very sweet on. When I made the flowery pair with matching Bucket Hat, I lined them completely so they looked perfect on the inside. This set was a birthday present for a school friend.


My most traced off pattern! The skirt, trousers and top all got worn without complaint. The striped top is my favourite.


I use the 2+2 skirt as school uniform a lot. It is just so easy to wear. 

Sunday Brunch

The jacket to this pattern is absolutely gorgeous! Mine was made from a baby needlecord and the attention to detail on the inside is a sewing lesson in itself. This one will test your binding skills.
I loved the little printed skirt and it reminds me of a day out in the Peak District eating Bakewell tarts whenever I see the photos.


I just love this skirt and will make many more for L. The pockets are very cleverly constructed and the placket makes it stand out. Not just your average skirt!

The yellow top was my first attempt at knit fabrics using a large womens tee as practice. I soon got the hang of it and the girls wear the tee's and the longer dresses all the time. 

Seashore Dress

How gorgeous is this pattern? This is one I am so glad I made. I love the cut of the dress and the pockets at the bottom. 
I used a mish-mash of patterns to make a Queen Elsa dress. I used the bodice of the Seashore and attatched it to a Heidi and Finn Tee (the Tulip Tee) which has an all-in-one upper bodice, making the two patterns attach perfectly. 

Playtime Dress

I haven't made enough of these by far. It looks lovely on and the leggings that go with the pattern are a really good fit. The horse print one was a present for my niece, and the spotty version was Boo's Christmas Day dress one year.

Ice Cream

The strawberry print version was the first one I made (and the only dress version, that I can remember making) The tops are easy to make and wear. The one in the center is a Liberty print that we bought on a weekend trip to London and is so light and soft to wear. 


My little scamp loved wearing her robot dress! I have packed that one away and will keep it safe. Such a great pattern.


As soon as I saw this pattern, I knew I wanted to make a gingham version. I have a soft spot for that little top with its lace trim. I must put the gathered skirt version on my to-do list as it is the one that attracted me to the pattern and I haven't made it yet!

Phew! If you have made it this far, well done!

I think spending some time going over my makes has done me some good. I remember why I made some clothes and how I wanted to go back and make some of the other versions. I still have some unused patterns to make as well. Hopefully, this will give me the boost to crack the envelopes open!

As you can see, Oliver and S patterns have been part of my life for so many years now, where would I be without them! So Happy 10th Anniversary to Liesl, Todd and team and long may it continue!