Tops

Selfish Sewing Week: Belcarra Blouse

Argh! Selfish Sewing Week was last week – yes I realise! I did sew this top last week, I just couldn’t manage to get it photographed and blogged until today.

It’s the Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse – a pretty straightforward raglan sleeve top for woven fabrics. I used rayon for this version – I’m a big rayon fan, it’s not difficult to sew with, feels nice to wear and is easy to look after.

Belcarra 2

Belcarra 4

I made a few small changes to the pattern. I left off the sleeve cuff that comes with the pattern and instead used my narrow hem foot to finish. The pattern calls for a deep hem, but given my height (5’10”), I used a smaller 2cm hem. I also added about 3cms in length to the pattern when I cut it out – just to make sure it wouldn’t be too short.

This is a size 8 graded out to a 10 at the hips. I could have gone more fitted than this and I may do in future, especially for work tops. The floral fabric in this top makes it casual or dressy, so I think the looser fit is ok. There is a great sew-along on the Sewaholic website, including options to narrow the neckline if you don’t want to be worrying about your bra straps peeping out. If I was making this top purely for work, I think I would definitely go that route.

Belcarra 1

Belcarra 3

I love this fabric sooooo much! In fact I may have gone back to the fabric store and bought the rest of the bolt (another 3.5m). A whole wardrobe of floral on navy….. why not??!

Some outtakes with my trusty assistant.

Belcarra 7

Belcarra 5

 

Did you manage to blitz Selfish Sewing Week? I hope yours was more productive than mine!

Willow and Co. Persimmon Tunic

I’m sure you’ve seen that the ladies at Willow and Co. are running a Back to School sewing competition. It finishes today…. I seem to be good at being motivated by deadlines 😉

I still have a couple of Willow and Co patterns from their first collection that I am yet to blog. One of these is the Persimmon Dress and Tunic – honestly, I was waiting for the weather to improve here before making this super summery pattern. You could say I got a little excited with the lovely spring-like weather we had this past week, winter was all but forgotten as we swapped coats for tees. Unfortunately it was a little hasty as the rain has returned – bleuh. So please excuse the indoor photos, I’m seriously a novice at indoor pics.

IMG_9995

 

IMG_0003

I’m loving this pattern – it’s by the super talented Hayley of Welcome to the Mouse House. I made a size 4 tunic length for my just turned 3 year old. She is broad in the chest and I was also hoping to make something that will fit through summer. There are options for a facing or full lining. I chose a full lining, using plain white cotton, as the navy fabric is a bit see-through. The only change I made to the pattern was to make the straps a continuous piece, instead of having them tie at the shoulders.

IMG_9996

IMG_9997

This was one of those project where I readily wasn’t sure that this fabric combination was going to work. I had my doubts right up until the end – but now it’s finished, I really like it. The bird fabric is “Wing Song” Garden Wall Collection by Laura Gunn for Michael Miller. I happened to come by some small pieces of this fabric – none more than 40cms wide. There was not enough for any garment that required cutting on the fold, but the Persimmon’s design is perfect for using up smaller pieces of your special fabrics. The navy spot was left over from the Mara blouse I made recently.

IMG_9986

IMG_9992

Phew, just made another deadline.

There are some beautiful creations already entered into the competition, you can check them out here. I hear the Willow and Co. ladies are working on a new collection – so right there is my motivation to get the rest of the collection sewn up already.

How about you, are you a deadline driven person like me?

 

A Polka Dot Mara Blouse

Hi all. Today I’m over at Compagnie M as part of the Mara Blog Action Tour. Compagnie M is a Belgian pattern company/sewing blog, run by the super talented Marte (she’s about to compete in the next season of Project Run and Play!!). Marte’s Mara Blouse pattern has been a super successful and very highly regarded pattern, but for some unknown reason, I hadn’t gotten around to sewing one until now.

IMG_9774

Come on over to Compagnie M to read more and see more photos of my winter version of the Mara.

A Foxglove Tank in Indonesia

Sewing time has been at an absolute premium lately. We’re getting used to some big work and family changes at home, all positive and exciting, but it has meant that the sewing machine has not been getting much love 😦 Having said that, nothing was going to get in the way of me sewing up a Foxglove tank to wear on our recent family holiday.

Foxglove 2

IMG_9358

The Foxglove Tank is the latest pattern release from Lauren of Selvage Designs. I’ve previously sewn her Soleil Dress pattern for my daughter and was super happy to hear she has started designing for women too – hurrah!!

Foxglove 3

The Foxglove is a super quick and fun project. I whipped this tank up the night before we flew to Indonesia, when I should have been packing. I trusted that the pattern would live up to my previous experience of sewing one of Lauren’s patterns, and I’m happy to report that it has. Her attention to detail is excellent and the instructions will walk you through the pattern step by step. Lauren advises that the pattern is designed for a 5’6″ woman and gives clear lengthening/shortening lines on the pattern to take the guesswork out of making these changes. As I’m closer to 5’10”, I added approx. 5cms to the length of the front pattern piece. The tank has a hi-low hem, so the hem on mine has a much more subtle change in length than the original pattern (because I didn’t add length to the back). Adding length is the only change I made to the pattern.

Foxglove 4

The fabric is a super thin mystery knit with not much stretch. It wasn’t too difficult to sew with, except for the hem. The print on the knit kept causing the sewing machine to eat the fabric and so due to my time constraints, I decided to leave the hem raw.

This was my first attempt at the Foxglove and even thought the fit feels great, I can see some creasing at the bust in these pics. So I think I’ll add a little width next time. I’m loving that this pattern can be used for both knit and woven fabrics and Lauren gives 8 different options for ways to make up the pattern including different seam finishes. Given the number of options included and how comfortable this tank is to wear, I can see this tank becoming a wardrobe staple come summer.

Foxglove 1

You can find Lauren’s pattern shop here and if you’re interesting in seeing some more Foxgloves, I’m really loving these versions from Monica, Heidi and Teresa.

And now we’re home, the Foxglove will be back in the closet for the next few months. Back to some cooler weather sewing!

Willow and Co. Hawthorn Sweatshirt

My Willow & Co. love affair is continuing. I’m not going to stop until I’ve sewn all 9 of these awesome patterns. Check out the snug and stylish Hawthorn Sweatshirt (snug as in snuggly, not tight fitting).

Hawthorn 6

Hawthorn 8

Hawthorn 1

 

This pattern was designed by Laura of Titchy Threads and Craftstorming. I’ve read many great reviews of her previous pattern, the Small Fry Skinny Jeans, commenting on her thorough instructions and impeccable drafting. I have to say that both are true for this pattern. Some of the techniques in this pattern are tricky – particularly getting the half zip and facings to sit neatly – but Laura’s instructions are great, she goes into plenty of detail and there are great photos.

Hawthorn 9

Hawthorn 4

 

As well as the half-zip version shown here there is also a full zip option. The split side seam (seen above) is also an option and is finished professionally with bias tape. The facing provides some opportunity to have some fun with the pattern – I used a blue and white stripe knit for the facing as well as for the pockets.

Hawthorn 7

This pattern is not quick to sew and certainly took me longer than I initially expected. However, the level of professionalism in the finished product is at a level that I am surprised I was able to achieve. In my opinion, it really is worth the investment of time. I’m really thrilled with the outcome and I know that the more of these I make the quicker I will get.

The only change I made to the pattern was to omit the ribbing on the sleeve cuffs – only because I couldn’t find any to match. I extended the sleeve pattern piece to what I thought was about the right length – they may be a touch too long, but good for keeping hands warm on cold days. This is the size 6, made for my newly 6 year old and I’m happy that this size will be roomy enough to get him through our current winter.

Overall: I love the overall result. I’ve leaned new techniques and pushed myself as a sewer. Each new Willow & Co pattern I sew becomes my new favourite. The Hawthorn is not a quick sew, but totally worth the investment of time in my opinion.

What about you – which Willow and Co. pattern are you sewing up next?

Pattern Tour: Matinee Dress and Top and a Giveaway

You guys remember how I was a guest blogger for the most recent season of Kids Clothes Week? Yeh, well one of the co-guest bloggers with me was Jenn of A Jennuine Life. Jenn is super talented and she’s just released her first girl’s dress and top pattern, the Matinee.

Matinee 5

IMG_9152

IMG_9122

The design is beautiful – I had such a great time planning and scheming this top. I splurged on some beautiful Amy Butler (Queen Anne Butterflies) from my local quilting shop. I have had my eye on this fabric after seeing Abbey’s gorgeous Miette skirt. I bought quite a bit, so hopefully there may be something for me from this fabric too…. However, I’m digressing, let’s get back to the pattern.

matinee 3

I don’t always enjoy each and every sewing experience – but I have to say this one I LOVED. Jenn’s pattern is excellently written, great instructions and lots of options to keep me from getting bored. The Matinee is at the perfect level for my current sewing ability, it’s not complicated, but the challenge for me is in creating a beautiful professional finish. The bodice has a full lining which always gets a big tick when you like the insides to look as nice as the outside. Obviously, this is the peplum version, but extend the peplum and it’s a sweet little dress.

matinee 2

Let me explain the chocolate face. It’s winter in the southern hemisphere and really a bit too chilly to be prancing around outside in short sleeves. To appease my mum guilt at asking Miss A to do just that, I gave her a hot chocolate. Of course I should not have been surprised that there was chocolate on her Matinee top even before I could start shooting. Ho hum, and so it goes to keep the 2yo model on side.

matinee 4

I followed the pattern, except for the sash at the back. The pattern has the sash going around the mid-section and joining at the back with buttons. I didn’t want the butterfly pattern to be broken up, so I just added the sash at the back. Instead of joining with buttons, the sash is secured with a hook and eye on the inside. Maybe not the perfect solution, but it works ok.

And now to the important information. Jenn is generously offering 20% off her pattern for the duration of the tour with the code matineetour20 – click here to visit her shop. And there’s more!! A mega giveaway – hurrah!!

Matinee Giveaway Collage
a Rafflecopter giveaway

^^here is the giveaway link.

Thanks so much Jenn for the invitation to be part of the Matinee tour. I can’t wait to see what you design next!

 

 

 

 

Ojai Wrap Pattern Tour

Ojai Wrap 4

Hi all, here’s a new pattern you may not have seen yet. It’s the very simple-to-sew Ojai Wrap from Justine Marie Patterns. I’m a bit partial to easy to throw on layers that add interest to an outfit and this wrap top fits the bill perfectly.

IMG_8758

IMG_8743

If you think you haven’t heard of Justine Marie Patterns, trust me, you know Justine – she is the very clever lady behind the Sew Country Chick blog and Sewing Rabbit contributor. This is her debut for sale pattern, but Justine has some amazing experience behind her – amongst other things, she designs and sews theatre costumes – seriously clever lady!

For the wrap I found a really light and flowy knit fabric in a local op-shop (thrift store). It’s definitely the lightest knit I’ve ever been brave enough to sew with. The sewing went very smoothly as this is a pretty straightforward top to sew. I was a little nervous about hemming such fine fabric, but I just went slowly with my double needle and it’s honestly one of the neatest hems I’ve ever done (high-five self). I finished the top in an afternoon and I’m definitely not the speediest sewer out there.

IMG_8756

In a size small, my top was a little bunchy around the arms. I’m always between sizes as I have small shoulders and bust in relation to my waist and hips. I sewed a small based on my bust measurement, however, a medium sleeve fitted me better. The great thing with this design is that because there are no set sleeves, taking the sleeve band off, widening the armhole a little and attaching a new sleeve band is no biggie.

Here’s an action shot – see, the perfect top for playing aeroplanes!

IMG_8750

Justine made a great version for colder weather and as we’re about to hit winter here in Australia – I’ll be sewing up a heavier knit version next. How snug does this look?!

cardigantitle1-682x1024

Image courtesy of The Sewing Rabbit.

So there you have it. A really simple and cute top which will be a great addition to my wardrobe. This pattern would be a really good place to start if you’re learning to sew with knit – however, definitely choose fabric that is heavier than mine. Light knit fabric is NOT a good place to start if you want to keep your frustration levels down 😉

There is a pattern tour going on this week, so be sure to check over with Justine at Sew Country Chick to see some other inspiring versions of the Ojai Wrap (and I think you’ll find a giveaway there too). Thanks so much for having me on the tour Justine!

 

 

 

 

Willow and Co. Aster Cardigan

Aster 1

If you’re a fan of Project Run and Play, as I am, you may remember a few seasons ago when Vanessa from LBG Studio competed. Do you remember this amazing outfit?

Image

 

Image courtesy of LBG Studio.

I’ve been dreaming of that perfect cardi ever since. How lucky we all are that Vanessa, as part of the first Willow & Co. pattern collective, has released a pattern based on this cardigan. You can bet that as soon as the pattern collection was released the Aster was the first on my radar.

IMG_8661

Image

There is not a whole lot to say except – I LOVE THIS PATTERN and I’m going to make 10 more!! It’s really straightforward to sew – unless, like me, you have a very temperamental automatic buttonhole function on your machine, grrrrr. Other than issues with my machine, the cardigan came together really quickly. It hardly takes any fabric, only 70cms for the smaller sizes.

IMG_8657

I made Miss A a size 3. This is a cropped and fitted cardigan, but I think I might make a size 4 width next time. She is quite broad chested – her measurements are almost the same as her 5 year old brother. I only had one of the navy and white striped buttons in my stash, so one button it was. Ha, and if I’d had to do more than one buttonhole I might have thrown my sewing machine out the window. I don’t really understand what its problem is – it sewed the test buttonholes on the scrap fabric perfectly, then on the cardigan it kept doing random things like sewing one side only…..

Are you on the Willow & Co. bandwagon? I certainly am! I tested the Ash Jumpsuit last month (catch that post here if you missed it) but now we’re heading into winter I’m thinking that some snuggly Hawthorn jumpers in fleece will be welcome additions to the kids wardrobes. If you haven’t seen the Willow & Co. Wunderlust collection, check out all the patterns here.

Have you got your Willow & Co. yet?

IMG_8694

Thanks fans

IMG_8643

 

Ash Jumpsuit: Willow & Co.

If you read sewing blogs at all, you will have seen plenty of tester photos and blog posts appearing over the past two days previewing the debut children’s pattern collection from Willow & Co. There is now only a week or so to wait until the Wanderlust Collection is released on April 22nd. Today, I’m showing my version of the Ash Jumpsuit, a pattern designed by Celina Bailey of Petit a Petit and family. This pattern is part of a collection of 10 for both boys and girls, you can read more about the patterns over on the Willow & Co blog.

Image

IMG_8078

IMG_8083

Such a fun pattern!! As you can see, there is a separate pants and top version, as well as a jumpsuit. This is very helpful should you have a little one who is toilet training or who likes the independence of self-dressing. This is a simple to sew pattern, yet looks fantastic – I think it’s a nice alternative to a dress and can showcase some fabulous fabrics as well. Light woven fabrics work best such as voile or lawn. I used a very light denim for the pants which I wasn’t totally sure would be successful, but they turned out great. The voile I used for the top is up-cycled from a top I made myself when I first started sewing and didn’t really wear much. I also used the voile to line the pockets which are an optional feature.

IMG_8105

 

I made the pattern as directed and had no trouble following Celina’s clear and thoughtful instructions. This is a size 3 with size 2 length – according to the inseam leg measurements my 2.5 year old has short legs in relation to her height, something I never knew about her until now 🙂 I was a little concerned before making up the top, that the elastic might cut in around the back and shoulders, but this is not the case at all. The elastic measurements provided worked out perfectly for Miss. A, but you can easily adjust the elastic length to suit different frames.

The good: great fit, easy to sew.

The bad: ummm, I always like to offer constructive criticism when reviewing a pattern, as just saying everything is fabulous all the time doesn’t help anyone but I’m actually struggling to come up with anything. I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed in this pattern.

Will I sew this again: Yeh for sure – we’re heading into winter here in Australia, but I’ll be making this again come spring.

No doubt you will be seeing many more versions of the Ash Jumpsuit popping up on the internet – we had such a great time in our Facebook tester group. Go and check out the 3 great versions made by Tone (from Norway) here and another version with fabulous fabric by Lucy (from UK) here. Not enough jumpsuit goodness? Well there’s more, here and here.

I can honestly say that I like this pattern more than I thought I was going to in the beginning. I love it when that happens!! Can’t wait to get my hand on the rest of the collection, is it April 22 yet?