Adventure Springs Granville

Hello, everyone. I hope you've all had a good week. I'm here with a quick post for the first of my makes from my recent sewcation. After the mixed success of my first sleeveless Granville, I knew that another one would be needed. I love this pattern and wanted a wearable sleeveless version to hand while I waited to fix the side seams of the Remember Me version (I'm hoping to do this before the end of the month, but we'll see). 

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The fabric is Adventure Springs by Art Gallery Fabrics. I was drawn to the jewel tones and then the white arrows. I thought it would make a great top and snapped up 1.5m from misformake. For this version, I made a couple of tiny alterations - raising the arm holes by 1.5cm to help with the gaping in this area and reducing the shoulder seams by 0.5cm. The pieces were cut out at a sewing day with Vaire Gwir and Hannah. It took a little while to do this, partly because I wanted the arrows to line up as much as possible, but mainly because Vaire had her eye on the fabric and would have stolen it if I had left it unaccompanied for too long! Thankfully, making it sleeveless ensures that this beauty remains mine! 

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I didn't have enough fabric to get the two yokes, so used some pale green cotton from my stash for the inside. The arms are finished with a pretty floral bias binding. As this is my third version, I don't have anything new to say on the construction. What I love most about shirts, are the details. For this version, I chose topstitching. And lots of it! Every flat felled seam has two rows of stitching, the width of the seam apart and I did the same with the hem. The button placket and collar have two narrows rows either side. Despite the amount of top stitching, it remains subtle as the thread is only one shade lighter than the green. 

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I've worn this shirt a couple of times and it feels good. It is just loose enough for warm days and fits well underneath a cardigan or jacket. The arm holes no longer bother me. It works with jeans for a casual look or with a pair of smart trousers or a black skirt for work. Overall, a useful and versatile make. I think I will be putting this pattern away for a short time - three versions seems enough (here's the first in case you haven't seen it) although I'm sure that another sleeved version will pop up during the winter. 

Vintage Shirt Dress

Over the past year I have watched many shirt dresses pop up in my blog reader. The almost constant supply of inspiration made me want to join in but I didn't go looking for a pattern. Then the Vintage Shirt Dress from Sew Over It appeared and landed in my letterbox a few days after it had been released.

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I hatched a plan to use this gorgeous white eyelet that has been sat in my stash for a few years. I bought it on my first visit to the Birmingham Rag Market. It was a piece that I was happy to let sit there as I knew that the perfect pattern would eventually come along. I'm sure the eyelet is polycotton as it didn't take well to a hot iron which caused a few problems getting the facings and the collar to sit properly. Underlining was essential for modesty. As the eyelet is fairly thick I chose a lightweight cotton in a bright blue from Minerva to add a fun element to the dress. The two fabrics work well together and I hope that you can see the glimpses of blue through the squares. 

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I was surprised by the amount of ease in this pattern. It's not a bad thing, just that I like my clothes to be a little more fitted. I went down a size or two and then did a 2cm FBA, sharing the additional fabric between the pleats and the gathering at the shoulders to ensure the pleats weren't too deep and noticeable. I made no other changes to the pattern, although I'm starting to think that I should have lowered the armholes by a centimetre - they feel a little too high but are comfortable enough to wear. The hem is the suggested 4cm and it hits higher than my normal hem level which is perfect for summer. I would lengthen it for an autumnal/winter version. 

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Stitching this was an enjoyable experience. The dress goes together very well and I didn't find any of the steps too complicated - a beginner willing to tackle buttonholes should be able to get through this as the instructions are very clear. I had to seriously grade the facings and collar seam allowances to reduce the bulk from the eyelet. The button holes took some figuring out as I needed to avoid the bulky squares as much as possible - my test samples showed the needle struggled a little. To prevent fraying I used Fray Stopper from Hemline and it is only of those products that I should have used many projects ago. The finished result is very neat. I'm also happy that the rows are continuous across the buttons. The buttons are pale blue to allow them to blend with the dress.

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I love the little details of the pattern - the gentle gathering at the shoulders, how the shoulder seam is towards the front and the pleats. It is a simple, classic pattern and I hoped that my plan would stay true to design. I'm delighted with how this dress turned out. I was worried that the eyelet wouldn't work as well as it did and it took until hemming for me to realise that I was adding a nice and much needed dress to my limited summer wardrobe. What's on your sewing table, please? 

Remember Me Granville

When you stand in front of your wardrobe is there a thought that goes through your mind often? When I reach for a pair of trousers or a skirt, I am always thinking "I really must make more separates". I just don't seem to have many tops that I like and those I do are on constant repeat and therefore beginning to look a little old. Recently I have been trying to resolve this regular morning conundrum. Let's say it is an interesting experience - more on that in future posts. 

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After my fairly successful first attempt at a shirt, I thought making another Granville would be a perfect place to start. This time I wanted a more casual version. Something I could wear with my jeans, skirts or shorts in the summer. Sleeveless sprung to mind. Cotton lawn too. A plan was being formed. I had picked up 1.5m of Atelier Brunette's Remember Me in the M is for Make sale. I highly recommend this cambric - it is bliss to work with. It's a little different to what I normally wear but I just couldn't resist the stars. Thankfully, the light taupe works perfectly with my separates. 

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I didn't make any changes to the fit except to raise the arm holes a little. I forgot to change to the top and as a result the shoulders come a little too far. The most annoying thing is the arm holes stretched slightly in the making and I can feel the excess when I'm wearing the top. I should really take it in a little but I'm rather proud of my flat felled seams and I don't want to unpick them. Talk about lazy!

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Can you spot something out of my comfort zone? I added pockets! I wanted a little more interest to the shirt and pockets seemed like the right thing. They sit very well and don't bother me now. I say now because it took me a full day of wearing this top to like it. The arm holes really bothered me as did the pockets - they made me feel rather self conscious but that disappeared as the hours went on.

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I'm very pleased with how this turned out. My edge stitching is so much better on this version. This is mainly because the cotton is more stable than the silk, and I was stitching at a reasonable hour of the day. I finished the arm holes with bias binding and stitched it in place to continue the flat felled look. All in all, a nice little make to see me through the summer. 

Another go at Simplicity 2442

The last couple of months have been defined by repeating patterns. I have been known to repeat but not as frequently as I currently am. Given my lack of time and energy, I've been turning to patterns that are easy to make and only need a few tweaks. Today I have my second version of Simplicity 2442 to share. 

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I love my first version but sadly it isn't suitable for the office. As I'm still struggling for clothes I can wear in a warm office during the summer, I decided to make another version. To make this suitable, I raised the neckline by 1.5cm. The fit is good, it less revealing and I'm much more comfortable wearing it without a slip or cami underneath the bodice. I think I need to raise it a smidge more for me to be fully comfortable and this is something I'll bear in mind if I make a third. 

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Style wise, I left out the gathers at the waist. This is mainly because I squeezed the dress out of 2m. I also felt it would be more flattering in black. The fabric is a viscose from The Cheap Shop in Essex. It was easy to sew with although it frayed a lot. The bodice is lined in a black poly lining from my stash. I didn't have enough to line the skirt so I'm relying on a half slip to maintain my dignity - the viscose is a little sheer. I chose a lapped zip rather than an invisible one. Lapped zips are quickly becoming my favourite zip insertion - they look so clean and neat. 

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I've worn this dress twice since completion, and both on warm days. The dress is surprisingly cool, very comfortable and feels flattering even after a 14 hour work day. Win! I'm sure that with tights and a cardi, I will be able to wear this dress all year round. Double win! I think this pattern may just become a TNT and it is a great feeling that I'm developing a shortlist of trusted patterns. 

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The repeats continue as I'll be sharing another soon from a different pattern I've recently finished stitching. Do you find repeat makes boring or inspiring? 

Sew Over It Betty Dress

How are you all? I hope you're all enjoying your weekend. May has been an impossibly long and busy month for me with many evenings curled on the sofa trying to regain some energy for the next day. This culminated in a big event a few days ago that also left me on the sofa, almost unable to walk as I strained my ankles running around so much. Needless to say I'm very, very pleased to see what back of this month! I did, however, have the energy to make a dress. 

This is a dress that started with the fabric. I've long adored the Betty dress by Sew Over It and finally scooped it up a couple of months ago when my By Hand London fabric arrived. I had ordered an extra metre from the girls to make sure I could fit a Betty out of this gorgeous design. The fabric is Sweet Female Attitude in pale grey and pink and I just love how they work together. 

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Before launching into the construction details, can I start with what makes me sad about this dress please? I was so excited when the fabric arrived. It was beautifully presented with my other goodies (I've not been parted with my mug while sewing since it entered the house). It washed and pressed very well, and has a good hand, like a lot of high quality cottons I've used in the past. I had high hopes for it but they were dashed a little. You see, this cotton is a little unforgiving. Pins left marks and I have permanent lines where I ripped out poorly sewn lines or removed basting stitches. These permanent lines are now white and glare at me constantly. No one else seems to notice it though. Despite these issues, I'm still very pleased that I paired this fabric to this pattern and I hope you will agree. 

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I was first drawn to Betty by her feminine style and back neckline shaping and she hasn't disappointed. We did have a little argument though over the bodice. I had to make a series of alterations: lowered the armholes by 1.5cm, hollow chest adjustment of 2cm, moved the back darts closer to my centre, and pinched out about 2cm from the back neckline. My second toile fitted perfectly so I merrily cut out and during a sewing day with VG, stitched until the bodice was attached to the skirt. I got home, delighted with my progress, only to find that she didn't fit. The centre back seam didn't meet. Fabric was thrown and a few tears were shed. I'm still not fully certain what happened but I suspect I took too much out the paper pattern when I altered the pieces from my toile. Thankfully I had enough left over fabric to recut the entire bodice at the original size and just pinched out the excess at the back before inserting the zip. 

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The skirt isn't as full as I had originally envisaged. I struggled to get the full skirt width out of the fabric so removed about 10cm of width from each piece. I also shortened it by 3.5cm to ensure the white borders of the fabric were hidden. I rather like the effect. The cotton hangs beautifully and I love how it flows over my hips. It seems that there is the right amount of fulness for this fabric. Construction was easy. I love that the facings are all in one even if I got a little confused on how to finish the shoulder seams cleanly. Turns out it very easy in practice, not so easy to describe in words! 

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Despite our rocky start, Betty and I have made it up completely. She is a very welcome addition to my wardrobe and I love how versatile she is. I can wear her as a summer day dress or dress her up for smarter events and thankfully I have enough accessories to match her subtle colours. Except shoes, I need to buy shoes - now that's a hardship isn't it? How about you, do have an item that you fell out with at the beginning but wouldn't be without now? 

A Robson Summer Jacket

Are you full steam ahead in your current seasonal sewing? I'm certainly am! This make is in anticipation of cool mornings and evenings in spring and summer that the UK is so prone to. It also fills a gaping hole in my wardrobe: a lightweight summer jacket.

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It's no secret that I absolutely adore my Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat. It is one of my most worn items due to the shape, fit and fabric so it was pretty clear which pattern I would use for this jacket.

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I made a number of changes this time. The most obvious is changing the length so it finishes around my hips. The second is stripping away a lot of the features: the front storm flaps, epaulettes and sleeve tabs were all discarded. I took out 2cm from the back - regular exercise is definitely changing my shape! I decided to keep the back storm flap as I really like this part of a classic trench. Instead of cutting two and securing them with a button, I used one and top stitched the turned seam allowance. Shortening the length meant the pockets needed to move upwards. They are as high up as I could make them while maintaining comfort and practicality. 

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As you would expect, there is a lot of top stitching in this jacket. Every seam on the main part of the jacket is top stitched either side and including the sleeves. The stitching is even throughout and this makes me smile a lot. The stitching that lets the side down though is the bar tacks. I definitely need more practice to neaten them but at least each belt loop is very secure. Forgive the collar in the next photo - I should have straightened it out.  

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The fabric is a cotton drill from Plush Addict and a Christmas present from Adam's Grandpa. It is of great quality even if it crumples as soon as you touch it. It was fun and forgiving to work with. I managed to squeeze the jacket out of 2.5m - not bad when you want a fabric hungry belt. Shall we talk about the bright pink lining? Yes, that's right, I was far too lazy to want to deal with all the bias binding that I created a lining. Somehow cutting additional pieces, stitching and overlooking the seams seemed much a more attractive use of time than lining up and stitching perfect binding. More practically, the drill would stick to my clothes making it hard to pull the jacket on. I debated for a while on how to finish the lining ( a cotton silk I bought on Goldhawk Road) and in the end chose to bag it. I would recommend top stitching the outer shell before you bag as it is very easy to catch the lining in the stitches. 

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This has already become a staple of my wardrobe as it has had a lot of wear since completion. I just love it. The top stitching, fit and the happy colour are the major reasons for this. Although I love the purple, I'm tempted to make another in a more muted colour so I have all occasions covered but I'm not sure I yet justify another version. Do you have a pattern that you want to make over and over? 

The Morning Granville Shirt

This post feels like it has been a long time in the making. Do you remember when you helped me decide that Sewaholic's Granville shirt would form the basis of my sew before work experiment? Here it is, after 22 days of stitching, in all its glory.

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You were right: a shirt is the perfect project to stitch when you have limited time as it breaks down into small enough steps. I often completed a couple of steps during the morning. I posted my progress on Instagram each morning and if you missed it you can catch up by visiting my feed. I have to come clean though and say I didn't complete this solely in the mornings before work. As I had very limited silk to work with, I checked I could get the pieces out of the fabric and also reduced the sleeve length in the evenings. Messing up these steps would have made the project impossible! Like many others, I had to reduce the length of the sleeves. I think I took off 7cm. I also pretreated the fabric and unpicked a few seams in daylight to reduce the possibility of snagging the fabric. Still, all of the actual stitching took place between 6.15-7am.

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This is shirt is made from handmade Thai silk which Debbie sent me in the Spring Swap last year. I fell in love with it as soon as I opened it. The purple is amazingly vibrant and the floral print was one that I could actually see myself wearing regularly. It sat in my stash for so long because it measured 97cm wide and 2.3m long. The inside cuffs, inside collar stand and lower collar are from some random black fabric I was given as part of a fabric haul. I think it is a polyester. I wouldn't use it for an actual item but it works for the shirt as it complements the drape and weight of the silk. 

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Given the hour of sewing, stabilising the silk was vital. After seeing how gelatine had changed the hand of one of Hannah's silk blouses, I decided to give it a go. It worked beautifully. The silk became crisp, lost its slippery nature and was like a cotton lawn. This made stitching flat felled seams so much easier. It also slowed the fraying. The gelatine came out very easily at the end and hasn't damaged the silk in any way - it has regained its drape, soft hand and it feels amazing to wear. If you want to know more about using gelatine, check out Hannah's post. I will definitely be using this technique again. 

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This is the first time I have made a shirt and I found the process to be rather satisfying. There is a lot of precision sewing but I got through that by going at a slower pace. My stitching isn't perfect in many places, especially the sleeve plackets and the collar stand but I doubt anyone will notice. I found the sleeve plackets the trickiest part. Getting a clean point while turning under a small amount of fabric is fiddly. I chose to baste the point in place before stitching the placket to the sleeve. It worked reasonably well and didn't get in the way of adding the placket. We all know that pressing can take a make to the next level and this has never been more true than when making a shirt. I found it fascinating to see the difference. Here's a goofy picture of me but one that shows off the shirt well. 

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While this make is no where near perfect, I do love it. It is a great feeling to have a shirt that fits well, is comfortable all day and is worry free - there's no gaping here! While this shirt was made to go with black trousers or a skirt for the office, I think it works well with jeans. I'm seriously tempted to make several more of these for the office and more casually. Will there be another sewing before work challenge, I hear you ask? Not just yet. This isn't because I don't have the energy or the project but because I am about to start a mindfulness course which will take up the spare time I have in the mornings. 

Vintage Pledge: Butterick 4795

It has been a while since I joined in with a sewalong but I couldn't resist joining in with the Vintage Pledge this year. My pledge is make three patterns over the course of year. I know two of the three I will make and want to share the first today. 

A couple of years ago, Hazel sent me Butterick 4795 as part of the Spring Swap. I loved the silhouette and the front panel. The pattern is cut but complete and comes with a previous owner's handwritten note on the front detailing how she planned to make version B. 

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The reason this pattern sat so long in my increasing pattern collection is the fabric. I needed to wait for the perfect combination. I knew I wanted a contrast front panel but it had to compliment the rest of the dress. Eventually I found this combination in the M is for Make spring sale. The main fabric is Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer in Mist, a 55% linen 45% rayon mix. It feels and behave like linen but the rayon gives it more drape. The panel is Feathers Mineral cotton voile by Charley Harper of Birch Fabrics. Both fabrics are of really good quality and were wonderful to work with. 

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I originally graded up the pattern as my waist measurements were well off those of the pattern. This turned out to be a waste of time as it came out as an enormous sack! Adam and I started to pinch out the fabric to see what alterations were actually needed and it turned out none were. I threw out the toile and retraced the pattern while making a mental note to more carefully measure the pattern next time. I'm pretty happy with the fit from the packet although the neckline is high and it can have a chocking effect when I lean far forward. There is also a lot of excess fabric across my chest but overall it fits well. 

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The dress is incredibly easy to make except for the sharp points at the top of the front panel. I carefully transferred the markings from the pattern and traced in the seam lines before stitching slowly. I'm really thrilled with how they turned out. I added a lapped zip as the only the zip I had to hand was a normal one but in the wrong shade of green. It would have looked ridiculous on show so I tried a new technique. I followed Sunni's free zip class on Craftsy and was delighted with the result.

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The dress is designed not to be lined. I'm trying to get into the habit of lining all of my dresses and added one here. I skipped the front panel by mashing the front pieces together and adding bust darts. The lining is a peach poly lining that I bought at the Birmingham Rag Market for £1m. I was surprised by the quality for the price - it doesn't have many of those annoying features you normally expect with poly lining. 

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I absolutely adore this dress and have worn it to the office every week since completing it. I can see it being worn all year round as it will be easy to layer with tights and a cardi in the winter. Have you joined the Vintage Pledge? If so, how are you getting on?

Simplicity 2442: the determination dress

Hello, everyone! Today I have a dress to share with you. With the sun starting to shine a little more frequently I have fully turned my attention to spring sewing. Spring sewing means one thing to me - dresses! I adore summer dresses especially as they don't (always) need tights. 

This dress is Simplicity 2442 and I came very close to not sharing it as I made it in the depths of my mind fog of March when I was trying to get back some of my self confidence and needless to say it isn't one of my best but I figured the outside looks good enough to share! 

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I debated about this pattern for a while - I was sure that I could see some promise in the line drawings but couldn't quite get past the awful pale blue satin the model is wearing. The final push came when Simplicity got in touch about their blogging circle and offered me a pattern. Despite the satin, I chose to continue the pale blue theme and used the sky blue and white polka dot nylon that I picked up in Croatia a couple of years ago. I say it nylon tentatively as the burn test was inconclusive. The fabric is quite crisp, creases fairly easily and is a major static generator but it was easy to work with despite some fraying and permanent pin holes. I chose to fully line the dress (the pattern only calls for the bodice to be lined) with a white cotton silk from Goldhawk Road for the lining. 

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I didn't alter the pattern much except for grading out for the waist and taking off a whopping 7cm from the hem. My toile did reveal another alteration I should have made but I completely forgot about it when it came to make the real thing as I was absolutely set on making a finished item that I didn't really care how it turned out. I should have raised the neckline by a centimeter or two and stabilised it with twill tape. At the moment is too low and floppy and the first time I work I pinned it to my bra it ensure it didn't move! It looks ok in the photos but I'm very conscious of this area while I'm wearing the dress. 

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While there are a lot of pattern pieces and a bit of preparation, this dress comes together fairly easily and quickly. I threw this pattern together in a haphazard way (the inside backs up this statement) and I still found it ok. The hardest part is the gathering of the midriff. Getting a even gather across the three pieces is tricky. Each piece has three or four stitching lines to help bring the fabric together. The ones near the seam line are easy to work with while the ones in the middle are more difficult. I also had a little trouble with inserting the invisible zip with the bulk the gathering brings but I managed to get it to line up perfectly. 

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Despite its flaws, I quite like this dress. Overall, the fit is spot on and it definitely speaks to the arrival of spring. I'm very tempted to try this pattern again, complete with alterations and a pretty inside, in a more soft and floaty fabric. What do you think?

Disclaimer: the pattern was provided by Simplicity free of charge as part of their Sewing Blogger Circle but all opinions are my own. 

Burda Editorial Trousers

Can you get excited about office wear, specifically basics? I generally can’t and as a result this post is long overdue. I was forced into this make by going down to one pair of trousers suitable for the office and this was problematic in terms of laundry logistics but also in maintaining interest in my outfits. 

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I’ve delayed making trousers because I knew getting the fit right would be a hard task due to my narrow hips and larger waist. Thankfully I was saved from a long headache by attending a trouser fitting session with KellyHannah and Vairë Gwîr. We spent a few hours around the house of the lady who taught me how to pattern draft and all came out with a pattern that fitted or a block that to use in the future. It really did feel like something magical happened that day - I suddenly understood a lot more about my lower body as well as which parts of a trouser pattern I need to pay attention to. I’m now on the hunt for a couple of tried and tested patterns to fall back on. 

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This pattern is the Editorial Pants from Burda 08/2013. I chose them as they are similar in style to my remaining work pair and it is a shape that I love. The main difference is this pattern has front pockets. To get the right fit, I cut the largest size to match my waist measurements and then pinched out the excess at side seams on the front around my hips. The other alteration needed was along the crotch line. I added a small amount to the centre back seam and remove a small amount towards the end of the curve. This worked well as I can comfortably sit and stand. The result is a pair of trousers that fit perfectly in the waist but I'm not sure about the rest of the fit. 

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I should have made another toile to check the changes before committing to finishing this pair. The £2pm poly suiting in my stash persuaded me that a wearable toile would be acceptable - if something went wrong I would be unlikely to cry over lost fabric. The pockets and inside waistband are made from the leftover peacock cotton that Minerva sent me to create my peacock dress. Building in colour and interest somewhere was a necessity to balance all of that black! Anyway, back to the fit. The fit issues I have noticed is a ripple across the front just below the fly, some wrinkling around the back and I wonder if the legs are a little to wide. All things to work on for my next pair. I hope you can see what I'm referring to - photographing black indoors is always tricky! 

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To my surprise, I enjoyed making these. I was convinced that sewing basics, particularly in dark colours, would be dull and uninspiring. Add Burda’s reputation for unclear instructions and welt pockets and that feeling grew stronger. As expected, the instructions were not as clear as you would like them to be. I could, though, follow their instructions for the welt pockets but the text on inserting the fly and adding the waistband was confusing. To make life easier, I followed the instructions from the Thurlow pattern to insert the fly which went in perfectly first time. I added the waistband in the most logical way I could think of. After the welts behaved following an initial hiccough, the rest of the construction was relatively simple. Being a wearable toile, I took a few short cuts. The waistband closes with a large popper as I was too lazy to add a button. All pieces were overlocked or have zigzag stitches within the seam allowance as the fabrics are prone to substantial fraying. As a result the inside isn’t as nice I would normally like but no one but me will know - except of course for everyone reading this post! 

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Even though the fit isn’t right, I’m convinced these will get a lot of wear through necessity if nothing else. I’m now on the hunt for some fabric for another version (after a couple of additional toiles no doubt!) and ideally these won’t be black or another dark colour. Strangely, I seem to be only comfortable wearing dark trousers in the office. I’d love to know if this make sense to you or do you wear brighter colours?

Quart Coat Part Two: Completion

Have you ever worked on a project that seems to take forever to prepare that you swear it will take you weeks to finish and then all of a sudden you have a finished item? My Quart Coat is one of those projects. 

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As with any big project, it takes a long time to prepare the fabric, cut out the pieces, transfer your markings before you even get to your machine. Add in a large PDF pattern to assemble and I think I spent about five-six hours just preparing to sew. I chose the immediacy of the PDF pattern just in case winter planned to leave early and therefore not giving me much time to enjoy the finished item. I shouldn't have worried - winter is still definitely here! The pattern lines up beautifully when you're taping it together. It is actually perfect and that's really important when a pattern checks in at a whopping 50 pages! 

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Size wise, this coat fits very well. Other than my standard grading out for the waist and back in at the hips, I didn't make any alterations. There is enough ease in the sleeves to have a 40 minute phone call without your blood circulation being cut off. The collar is perhaps a little high and would sit better if I shaved off about a centimetre but that's a very minor detail. I wasn't sure about the length as my other winter coats are longer. It fine though - my legs don't get that cold and my skirts are no longer getting caught on the lining. 

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This pattern calls for a lot detailed and precise sewing. I chose to make bound button holes which are my preferred button hole on jackets and coats. I needed some guiding through this part as I was a little rusty on the technique. I followed Karen's ebook and it is absolutely fantastic. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to make these for the first time - I ended up with four perfect button holes. I would recommend creating the facing side of the button holes before you stitch the facing to the coat as indicated in the directions. This will save you pushing a large amount of fabric through the machine and the constant fear that the weight of the fabric might stretch it. Other areas that need precision include the zipped sleeves and the epaulettes. Marking my seam lines really helped with creating a neat finish. 

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Perhaps the most pleasing detail of the Quart is the side pleats. They are very easy to create and I left my hand basting in place until the coat was finished to ensure a clean finish. Creating in them in silk was harder though, for all of the reasons you would expect. A note on the amount of fabric you need for the lining - I got everything out of 3m with 80cm width. I didn't use the silk for the zipped sleeves or under the epaulettes but I would have had enough to. The colour contrast was just too strong and I used some black poly lining scraps.  

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Hand stitching makes several appearances. You need to stitch the lining to the zips on the sleeves and, of course, to add the buttons. Pauline provides two options for attaching the lining to the exterior. You can either bag it or hand stitch in place. I chose to hand stitch using the fell stitch as it gives you much more control. I found this part very satisfying as my stitches are almost invisible.  

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So the verdict after wearing it for a week? Without doubt, I love it! It is super toasty on frosty mornings and this alone justifies the price of the boiled wool. While I would rather have sunshine and bright days, I'm now okay if winter decides to stick around for longer! 

Quart Coat Part One: Fabric

I'll open today's post with a question. Do you like seeing a project split over posts? I certainly hope so, as that's what I'm doing for this project. I recently decided that I desperately needed a new winter coat and was planning to buy one. However the retail world has conspired against me this year and I couldn't find a coat that had any shaping and didn't cost an absolute fortune. I prefer a bit of definition around my waist but it is a straight style that seems to be in vogue at the moment. Not even charity shops could help - the beautiful £8 black coat was a size too small (goes to cry in the corner).

Buoyed on by a few Twitter friends, I hatched a plan to create my own. It was the only option open to me, right? I chose the beautiful Quart Coat by Pauline Alice. Now, I'm going to make you wait to the next post to see the finished item. Detailing the fabrics, construction, and final thoughts about the coat would have made one epic post and as I'm sure you would get bored, today I'm focussing on the fabrics and my tips for working with them. I'll break it up by adding photos of the construction.

Pauline Alice Quart Coat.jpeg

I knew immediately that this coat would be made from boiled wool, as long as the pleats would hold. I wanted to lose some of the fabric regret I've been carrying for a year since I passed up a gorgeous purple boiled wool at John Lewis, but the main reasons were practical. 

First, I was making a coat at the wrong end of winter. I wanted it to be a reasonably quick make (well, as quick as a coat can be) and therefore chose boiled wool because it doesn't need finishing nor does it require any interlining - it is that warm. I ordered samples from Stone Fabrics and Dragonfly Fabrics and they taught me that not all boiled wool is made even. There was an evident difference in the quality and thickness of the wool, made all the more noticeable by similar price tags. After extensive consulting, including the boyfriend test (watching Adam's face as he flips through the option), I chose the plum wool from Dragonfly Fabrics. It's absolutely gorgeous and well worth the £30 per meter price tag.
 

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This was my first time working with boiled wool so I did some research. Here's what I found out and what I discovered while working with it:

  • Boiled wool is both stable and dense. While it is at its best in an item with few pattern pieces and simple lines, it can work with slightly more involved designs 
  • It has residual shrinkage and it is wise to pre treat it. Like Jane, I stood for a long time at the ironing board steaming the piece ensuring that the iron didn't touch the fabric. Allow the area to cool before moving to the next piece as this avoids stretching the wool. Claire Shaffeur recommends buying an extra 1/4 yard to allow for the shrinkage
  • Be careful of the heat. Boiled wool doesn't like the iron, especially at high temperatures. I pressed with a low heat and then finger pressed the seams. I also found that it can take a mediumish temperature when protected by a silk organza press cloth (a lifesaver for attaching the interfacing)
  • Boiled wool is a double faced fabric meaning it looks very similar on both sides. Make sure you mark the wrong side (I chalked a "W" onto each piece)
  • Use a slightly longer stitch (2.5-3mm). After a few tests, I settled on 2.8mm. I also used a ballpoint needle following the advice over at Handmade Jane.
  • I managed to get three layers of the wool through my machine without a walking foot. Any more than this and I would have wanted extra help

Lining: silk

I've learnt the hard way that a lining can make or break a project. After splashing out on the wool, I knew that the lining needed to be of good quality. I came across this light green silk in Darn It and Stitch, priced at £8 per meter in their sale. I love silk and am becoming more and more confident working with it. Given that I will be dry cleaning this coat in future, pre washing wasn't strictly necessary but instinct told me to hand wash it. I'm glad I did as the water turned a bright blue in a matter of minutes and it did shrink slightly. 

Silk has a well earned reputation for being difficult, it slips a lot, requires a lot of pins and requires tonnes of patience. Turns out this piece of silk wanted to surprise me - it was fairly easy to work with. It only slipped when cutting out and making the pleats, otherwise it was behaved itself. 

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My tips for working with silk:

  • Test the heat of your iron on a swatch. Pure silk can take a higher heat than your iron would indicate. This took a medium-high setting, without a press cloth, very well
  • Remember to pin in the seam allowance to avoid seeing holes. This is especially important if, like me, you're too lazy to switch to silk pins
  • Don't be afraid to hand baste seams together. I appreciate this takes a little more time but it ensures the curves of princess seams or arm holes go through the machine smoothly first time. It also prevents your hands suffering the long, slow torture that lots of pins are famed for. Silk or embroidery thread are good options
  • While French Seams are beautiful and work perfectly for silk, they aren't your only option. Try putting a scrap through your overlocker - it worked well for this project and didn't damage the fabric (told you I was aiming for a quick make)
  • If you're cutting on a table, put weights on the pattern piece and gently lift the excess fabric as you cut it. This prevents the fabric moving too much and while you might get the odd wobbly line, it generally works. I like this method as it saves back ache from cutting on the floor
  • Be careful when transferring your markings and always test on a scrap first. My chalk pen (pink) stained the silk so I used tailor tacks and small snips in the seam allowance
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PS. You'll have gathered that I'm now on Instagram - you can find me at iwanttobeaturtle. I'm still new to this platform and figuring out how to use it effectively, so please bear with me. For some reason my iPad photos wouldn't work for this post so I had to embed them from Instagram - not my favourite way to share photos but better than none at all!

Star gazing Bruyere

Did this project start with the pattern or the fabric? I'm not really sure but I knew that they were a perfect match. Perhaps it is because most of the Bruyere shirts I love seem to be or feature blue? Some of my favourites: the original by Deer and Doe, TillyAnna, and Lauren. I adore the feminine feel of this pattern - the box pleats and the gentle gathering at the cuffs. 

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My feelings toward this project have been mixed. It started out with excitement as my toile revealed I needed only one minor change - removing 1.5cm from the bottom skirt. This shirt is seriously long! As construction progressed I feel out of love - symptomatic of the way I was feeling in December and going on several dates with my seam ripper didn't help. However, that is all forgotten and after a couple of wears, I'm rather pleased with the way it came out. 

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The fabric is a quality cotton and I was drawn to the little stars and dots. I think it was Victoria who brought it to the Sew Brum swap and I snapped it up as soon as I saw it. As you would expect, it was very easy to work with. It's reasonably soft but still has some crispness to it which makes it delightful to wear. Sadly I didn't have enough to cut the facings which are a pale pink cotton from my stash. I quite like the subtle pop of colour around the front neckline. 

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This pattern is marked as advanced and I think that is because there are a couple of tricky techniques but with some patience and careful stitching most people will be able to complete this. Creating the sleeve plackets was a new experience for me. They have come out ok but I would suggest a practice run if you've not done them before so you can get a feel for the precision needed. I was convinced that my stitching was dramatically off, but it turns out its not so bad. I love the way the button plackets and facings are finished - it looks so neat and clean. I found the pictures a little confusing but got there with the help of the sewalong. Essentially, the placket is pressed in half, opened and then the raw edges taken into the centre so they are encased. The facings are placed under the placket before being stitched down.

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A nice design detail of this pattern is the top stitching. I struggled to find a thread that worked well as white was too stark for the amount needed. In the end I went without and hand stitched the button plackets in place. The buttons are those I saved from Adam's old work shirts and I added two smaller ones to each cuff.

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I'm rather pleased with how this shirt fits. Generally I have a hate relationship with rtw shirts as I always get the dreaded gaps between buttons. Not on this shirt and hopefully never again! I don't think this shirt is quite right though. You'll notice that I have the bottom button undone and this is because the shirt feels too tight across my legs if it is done it. This suggests the shirt is still too long and I'm very tempted to take it up and lose the bottom button hole. What do you think? Should I add this to my small list of items to take up? 

Self drafted pencil skirt

I recently stated that I hoped pattern drafting would feature more this year. Well, there's nothing like starting as you mean to go on! Here's my first completely self drafted item. I drafted my cocktail dress on a course but this was completed without any guidance from a teacher. 

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I decided to start simply and tackle the pencil skirt that I wanted to create from the leftover fabric from my jewel jacket. Buoyed by the strong support for it, I pulled out Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich to create my skirt block. I was given the book about six months ago but it's the first time I've really looked at it. I've seen this book referenced quite a lot recently and it seems a good one to start your pattern drafting journey. 

The block was quite quick to create. I think it took me about 90 minutes with a quick toile to check the fit. Thankfully it fitted very well and I didn't need to make any alterations. 

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This pattern is a very simple one. It is essentially the block with a waistband and a vent. Keeping it simple was a good idea as it not only led to a quick win, therefore boosting my drafting confidence, but also gave me the classic style pencil skirt for the office that I had been wanting. I adore the shape of pencil skirts but struggled with RTW ones as fabric pools around my narrow hips. It feels great to have a one that fits very well. 

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The waistband was easy to draft. I traced off the top 5cm from the front and back blocks with the darts closed, creating three pieces that join together. Tracing from the top of the block ensured that the skirt sat at my natural waistline. Adding the vent to the shell was also fairly simple. 

I extended the hem line of the back block out by about 3cm and then drew a line up to where I wanted the vent to stop, allowing for a 45 degree line to join them. 

Self drafted pencil skirt.jpg

I wanted to try a new technique and decided to create a lined vent. I used this tutorial by Sunni to draft the lining. I didn't get this quite right as there is some bulk at the top of the vent. It doesn't add strain to the seam line and I can sit comfortably so I'm not too bothered. I worried about using an invisible zip as I thought the fabric might be too thick but it has worked ok.

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While it isn't perfect, I love this skirt. This is mainly because it fits so well. It is also extremely comfortable when I'm sitting which is a major bonus. The one thing I would change is my choice of lining fabric which I picked up at the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham. While it is soft, has a good drape and is quite easy to handle, it is also incredibly static and sticks to my tights a little thus moving the vent into an odd shape at times. Annoying as static is, it won't stop me wearing this skirt and I suspect it will be in rotation fairly frequently but I will need to find some more tops to wear with it - it's a wardrobe orphan at the moment. I'll have to make sure I prioritise the tops over the other skirt ideas that are circulating in my mind now.  

A Jewel Jacket: B6105 by Gertie

Here's a project I didn't expect to share so quickly. I knew I wanted something new to wear around Christmas but didn't want to create something that was limited to one month of the year. This focussed an idea that had been slowly forming in the back of my mind over the past few months but only took a day and a half to complete. 

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The idea started with the fabric. I picked up this gorgeous teal with a black velour print while I was in Barcelona on holiday in August. I kept returning to it and knew I would leave with fabric regret if I didn't buy any. Of course I obliged by getting three metres as I wasn't sure what I was going to create. Slowly but surely my mind settled on B6105, the wrap around jacket designed by Gertie. What if I paired the fabric with a silky black contrast? It seemed like a win in my book so I set to it. 

I made a toile to check the fit across my shoulders and discovered that the sleeves were too wide. There is a lot of ease in them. I took out 5cm from the cuff, tapering to nothing at the sleeve cap, on the upper sleeve. This was the only alteration I made, although I probably should have moved the arm hole seam in a bit as I forgot this pattern was drafted for shoulder pads - which I didn't include. 

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I recommend reading through the instructions before starting this pattern and getting familiar with all of the markings on the pieces. You will trace a lot of small circles to help the pieces match up and sew between as well as reinforcing lines and darts. Construction is logical and easy to follow but there is a lot going on. As the jacket is fully lined, you will follow nearly every step twice as you create two jackets. It is possible to jump ahead of the instructions and complete all of the stitching for the shell and then the lining before bringing them both together. This saved me a lot of time as I didn't have to switch needles and thread as much as I might have. 

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I found stitching the collar particularly tricky. I find the technique of clipping to a point, stitching three sides of a square and reinforcing the corners difficult and haven't yet managed to perfect it. It is better on one side of the jacket than the other but I'm hopeful no one will notice! Be prepared for some hand stitching if you choose to make this. The lining is closed at the waist seam which requires slip stitching the entire width of the jacket. I also hand stitched the sleeve hems in place. We all know pressing is important in a project; but it is particularly important at two stages for this jacket. The contrast collar and lower front lining are only pressed into place and it is helpful if you take your time to press it very well. Under stitching would have been a useful addition but I didn't have matching thread for either (how do you run out of black thread?!)

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There are two versions of the pattern. View A is a jacket and View B is a knee length coat. I was tempted to go all out and make B but sadly I didn't have enough lining. The lining is silk that I bought on Goldhawk Road while Lauren was in town. It is very smooth and a hell of lot easier to work with than my last lot! It shifted a little while cutting out but it withstood going through the machine with ease. I'm not fully certain what the teal fabric is. I'm starting to wonder if it is some form of knit. It is very stable, has some stretch on the cross grain and doesn't need finishing. Normal needles couldn't cope with it so I switched to a jeans needle (the only other one I had to hand) and it worked perfectly once I had lowered the tension a little. 

Gertie's Butterick 6105.jpg

I'm delighted with how the jacket turned out. I had a strong idea of how I wanted it to look and was praying it would throughout construction. Thankfully it has mostly lived up to expectations (the collar being the exception). It feels like a little treat to wear this and I think this is down to how well the fabrics work together. It's reasonably warm too. I didn't get too cold while the photos were being taken - despite the look on my face in the photo above! I couldn't leave that photo out as it the one that most realistically captures the teal. I'm looking forward to wearing this more over the next couple of weeks and then to finding other occasions in the new year. I also need to decide what to make with the left over metre and a bit. I'm tempted by a pencil skirt, or a similar shape. What do you think? 

Simplicity can be difficult - a silk Belcarra

I finished this project this morning, after starting it in July! The Belcarra was supposed to fill a gap in my summer work wardrobe. I wanted something simple, cool but stylish. Sounds easy, right? I mean the pattern isn't a difficult one to stitch and it should have been completed in a day or so. 

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Why did it take me five months to complete? The fabric. I choose this delicious red silk with white stars. I picked it up in Zadar, Croatia on holiday last year. It is lightweight, drapes beautifully and feels like air next to the skin. Needless to say, it is incredibly delicate and this makes it difficult to sew with. You can't put much pressure or tension on it otherwise you're left with pulls throughout the fabric. 

I tried everything I could think of when putting this together. I cut the fabric single layered on the carpet which provided more grip and stopped the fabric moving. I 

used small needles and tissue paper over and under the fabric to protect it from the feed dogs and needle. Gently hand stitched the hem and neckline in an attempt to ensure that the stitches are invisible. Unpicking is extremely difficult as the fabric retains the original stitch marks. All of this required patience, which I only had in small quantities for this project. Thankfully there aren't too many pulls in the fabric but those that are there are along the neckline and the sleeve bands. 

Sewaholic Silk Belcarra.jpg

Construction of the Belcarra is relatively simple. I used French seams throughout as it provides such a delightful finish but this would look just as good if you used another method. Attaching the band to the sleeves was the most difficult part as the silk wasn't stable enough. In addition, I don't really like the method of leaving 1.5cm open at the edges as I find it hard to match up the seam lines neatly. I didn't make any changes to the pattern, except my usual grading between sizes although I probably should have moved the neckline inwards by a couple of centimetres so it doesn't slip to one side and reveal the strap of my cami. 

While I missed the option of wearing this during the summer, the colours lend themselves very well to Christmas, don't you think? This was the impetus behind finally getting this top finished. I will definitely be wearing this a few times this month as the party season gets into full swing but 

I'll be honest - I'm not sure how long it will last. The seam lines and hem are causing some concern due to the pulls but still, it will be fun to wear it even if it is only a few times! 

Are you stitching anything fun for the party season? 

Pattern hack: The Afternoon Bolero

What do you wear to a wedding? The age old question for us sewists is do I make a dress? We were invited to a wedding at the end of July and I didn't have time to create a new dress. Thankfully I had a few lovely RTW ones that I could pull out. Still, I wanted to have something handmade and I was missing a suitable jacket. 

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I had come across a beautiful 1950s bolero on Pinterest. It had kimono sleeves and buttoned up at the front with a round neckline. Sound familiar? 

Of course, it is exactly like the rounded neckline Afternoon Blouse.

I pulled out the pattern and began a very simple hack. To fix the gapping neckline I had on my previous versions (here and here) I went down a size at the shoulders. To get the desired shape of the bolero, I drew a straight line from the end of the curve on the neckline to the lengthen/shorten line. For the back, I used the lengthen/shorten line as the hemline. I then trued the side seams to ensure they were the same length. 

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The fabric is white crepe which was part of a large fabric stash I was given a few months ago. It was great to work with, and is stable although there were a few indentations from the iron when I pressed it with a too hot an iron. These were covered fully with silver bias binding. I really wanted to get robin egg blue or mint binding but couldn't find them in a satin finish locally. It had to be satin to smarten it up! 

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The bolero is self-lined, meaning I cut two sets of the front pieces and the back. This allows the pattern to be reversible, providing your happy to restitch the button or find another way to close it. The button is wooden button with a pink flower. The whole project took a few hours to finish and was very satisfying to make. 

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The photos were taken recently as unfortunately I didn't get any photos at the wedding where I matched the bolero with a peach 50s style dress with a full skirt. It was overcast with a little rain in the morning and by the time it brightened up, we were having so much fun I completely forgot to get the camera out. It was definitely one of the best weddings I have been to! 

An experimental White Russian

Thanks for all of your comments on my last post. It seems that many of you have one or two sewing projects on the go at any one time, or have a knitting project alongside a sewing project. This seems much more manageable and reasonable to me and I’m glad that I have cleared most of my projects now – just four more to finish and three of them are very nearly at the end.

Moving on, here is another of my recent makes. There was a gaping hole in my winter wardrobe – a cosy sweatshirt for those cold days when all you want is something casual. I also completed a 5k which meant I got to buy a few patterns, including the White Russian from Capital Chic.

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The fabric is bright aqua green sweatshirt which I got in a fabric swap in Leeds. Amy brought so much of it that I went halves with Ruth. I just cannot resist this colour – it is practically the same as my fitted winter fleece. It’s such a happy colour for mid winter. I couldn’t be bothered decided not to try and find ribbing that matched so went with the self fabric option for the cuffs, waist band and neckline. I had to squeeze all of the pieces out – reducing the seam allowance to 5mm in most pieces. I was slightly surprised how small these patterns are – I’m hitting right at the higher end of the sizing rather than my normal middling sizes. It isn’t a problem, just sometime to be aware of if you use these patterns.

I don’t have a lot to say on the construction as it is a simple and quick make. If you can get the tension right on your overlocker, I’m sure you could whip this up in an afternoon or less from start to finish. I struggled to get the tension right and it took a little longer than an afternoon. I used my twin needle on my machine for the first time on the neckline and waistband to hold the seam allowance in place although in the pictures it is only on the waistband for reasons that will become clearer later.

I wanted to keep the sweatshirt fairly simple with just a touch of detail. So what did I add? A turtle, of course! I used carbon paper to trace a copy of the turtle in my banner that my brother drew for me and then used a very narrow zigzag stitch. It is a long way from perfect but you can definitely see what it is meant to be!

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This version is definitely a wearable toile. I wore the finished item for a full day travelling up to Sheffield and wandering around the city. It was a good test for the fit and I found a couple of things I didn’t like. First, it was way too big at the bottom and instead of staying warm I got rather cold at times. I also hated the neckband. The width of it is just too big for me and felt like it was creeping too far up my neck. I unpicked it, reduced the width by half and it feels much better to wear. I also took in the side seams by 2-3cm on each side to solve the shock of cold draughts. It has worked very well and the change in warmth was immediately noticeable. I'm also a lot happier with the neckline and don't notice it at all. I will stitch the neckband with my twin needle but that will need to wait while my machine is serviced (I'm missing it already and it has only been 24 hours!) 

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So, not one of my best makes but it is a useful addition to my wardrobe and I think it will get a reasonable amount of wear, especially in the evenings when you want to change in your pjs as soon as you get home. I’m now on the lookout for more fabric to make another version. Any fabric suggestions?

The Buchanan dressing gown

The Fall Essentials Sew Along has certainly got me back on the sewing wagon as I have another finished make to talk about. I’ve wanted a new dressing gown for the mornings for some time. I have a lovely fluffy fleece one for mid winter but it is too warm for autumn. I was deliberating about the kimono in the Liberty sewing book but then Gather released the Buchanan. It looked perfect, and I wouldn’t have to draft the pattern - a bonus when you’re feeling a little lazy. 

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Another bonus is this gown cost only my time. I was lucky enough to win the pattern in the SewBrum raffle, got the main fabric in the SewBrum swap and the black satin is left over from my magpie outfits. The main fabric is from Merry May Fabrics but I can’t find the fabric’s name. Victoria brought along two meters and it was the perfect amount for this project. I was drawn to the colours and print, which has a mystical, moody feel and reminds me of the Andes and my time travelling in Ecuador. It might be stretching it but there’s a black shape against the, um, not really sure what the object is, that reminds me of a condor. I’m not sure what bird the one against the sun is though. You can see both of these across my shoulder blades in the photo below. 

Gather Kits Buchanan Dressing Gown.jpg

This was a quick make as it is mostly long, reasonably straight lines. As I wanted a clean finish throughout, and to stop the fraying edges escaping, I used French seams. Unfortunately not all of the seams were completed this way. I did remember to switch the sides to get a clean finish on the cuffs but completely forgot to do this for the neckband and only realised once I had trimmed the seam allowance. Never mind, overlocker to the rescue! Slip stitching the black satin belt closed was a little difficult in the evening light. Note to self, only sew black in natural daylight where possible. Unsurprisingly I chose to leave out the pockets. I’ve never used them on previous dressing gowns and didn’t see the point in the extra cutting and stitching. 

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The Buchanan is described as a relaxed dressing gown and I would have to agree. I’ve worn this for most mornings and I love it. The poly fabrics are just the right weight and drape for a dressing gown. It is warm enough for these reasonably warm autumnal mornings without any heating (plus I’m a stickler for holding out as long as possible without putting the heating on. Generally early November). The front wrap is big enough to ensure you’re fully covered without the feeling of drowning in fabric. The gown doesn’t have any inside ties and closes on the outside with the belt. I haven’t had a problem with unintentional revealing which has been a problem with RTW ones in the past. I didn’t make any alternations to the pattern, mainly because it is a loose fit, and it is designed for someone my height. It hits a little above my knee which is fine. I might add a little extra if I was to make this again and I’m tempted to make another but floor length as it would be quite easy to extend.

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Have you made a dressing gown before? And how long do you leave it before the heating goes on?

The Cressida Skirt

Have you seen the Cressida Skirt, the latest pattern from Jennifer Lauren? I was lucky enough to be selected as a pattern tester. 

Cressida is a half circle skirt with two versions. View 1 is a double breasted button up. View 2 has a single button placket and button waist tabs. Both versions have in seam pockets. I knew immediately that the second version would be a perfect addition to my autumnal work wardrobe. I love the more simpler, elegant lines of this version. 

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To test the pattern I originally used lightweight cotton as I anticipated I would need to make alterations (as I do with most patterns). The test garment came together very well - the skirt drapes well in lightweight cotton. However, for my final version I used a grey suiting fabric I got from The Man Outside Sainsbury's at Walthamstow Market for about £6m. It has a beautiful drape, is wonderfully soft (even after washing) and was a delight to handle. 

I made just two alterations. I added a little extra to the front parts of the skirt, a reasonably common alteration for me. I also moved the waistband tabs to make them a little more central as they were coming up at the sides. This is something that Jen has altered for the final version. 

Jennifer Lauren Cressida Skirt 4.jpg

The skirt is pretty easy to construct and Jen's instructions are clear. It is designed for all levels and anyone can tackle this as long as you're ok with, or willing to try and tackle, button holes. It is a perfect project for dipping into over a week or is easily completed over a weekend at a leisurely pace. 

As this is an autumnal item, I chose to fully line the skirt to prevent the skirt sticking to my tights when the cold weather really bites. Lining the skirt is not included in the instructions. I cut the skirt pieces only and added them when I stitched on the button plackets. Incorporating the lining here gives for a really lovely finish. If you need to length or shorten the skirt, you can do so by adding or taking away from the hem. I didn't chance the length at all. 

I used a 1.5cm hem on the outer fabric.

Jennifer Lauren Cressida Skirt.jpg

Amazingly, I kept the pockets! Regular readers will know I'm not a fan of pockets in skirts and dresses. I was pleasantly surprised by these though. They had the potential to stick out slightly and give that ugly shaping at the hips. Nope, none of that. Jen really took care with the width of the skirt to ensure they lay flat. Once I saw this, I just couldn't resist them.   

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The biggest problem I had was getting buttons to complete the skirt. I picked up these light blue and grey buttons with flowers on them at Hobbycraft but they didn't have enough to complete the project. I put out a call for help on Twitter and Vicki Kate came to the rescue. I love the sewing community! 

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In short, I absolutely love this skirt. It is flattering and feminine while being practical. It drapes very well from the waist and I don't feel like my small hips are drowning in a huge amount of fabric. I paired the skirt with an unblogged cotton Alma blouse. I really hope that this isn't my last version - I could definitely find a place for an everyday version in my wardrobe. As a bonus, this counts as my second piece for the Fall Essentials Sewing Along. How is your autumn sewing coming along? 

In the interests of transparency, I did receive a copy of the final pattern in return for testing. All views are my own - I was under no obligation to post my version.