This 'n' That

Please vote!

Hello, lovely readers. I’m writing this post from my sofa while I rest my leg: I’m on crutches for at least 10 weeks, as I ruptured my Achilles tendon playing in a badminton match last Friday – owie! – though on the plus side, my pink cast is rather fabulous!

Anyway, I’m absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for Dressmaker of the Year Readers Choice Award!

It’s for a shirt I made for my wonderful hubby using gorgeous green Liberty fabric.

It would be brilliant if you’d kindly vote for me. Here’s the link:

https://acevillepublications.typeform.com/to/X60XZT

And if you feel like sharing and encouraging your friends to vote as well, that’d be very much appreciated too.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get myself rigged up with a leg rest in my sewing room soon, as I’ve got lots of plans for new makes, so watch this space.

Thanks SEW (sorry!) much, Daphne xx

Pattern Reviews

Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers Review

I made trousers! And they fit!

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I really struggle with trousers, as I have a small waist and sway back, but rather large ‘athletic’ hips and thighs (a fair description; I’m very sporty. Although not right now, as I partially ruptured my achilles last night at a badminton match!). So finding ready-to-wear trousers that fit is nigh on impossible: when they fit my hips they swamp my waist, but I can’t get ones that’d fit my waist over my thighs!

However, the Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers are designed for a pear shape (they would also fit a less-curvy shape) as they have an adjustment at the centre back, which is the last thing you alter to get your perfect fit.

I shortened them by 10cm at the shorten/lengthen line, and still had quite a bit to turn up at the hem, so they are really long! I’m 5’4″ for reference. After checking the sizing chart, measuring the pattern pieces, and comparing them to my new trouser block (I’d been on a course the week before I attempted these), I made them in a size 6 at the waist and hips (I measure 28″ waist and 39″ hips), however they’re meant to be rather flared, but I feel that style doesn’t suit me, so I made them more straight-legged.

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The construction of the pockets went well, although I realised afterwards that I’d attached the facings the wrong side up on the front ones, but hey-ho, that’s not a major problem as no-one else sees them (well, apart from you reading this blog, but I bet you wouldn’t’ve noticed if I hadn’t told you!) and certainly wasn’t worth getting my seam ripper out for.

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I found most of the written instructions straightforward, but I discovered a fabulous sew-along from Lauren on Lladybird.com which I followed practically to the letter – especially for the welt pockets on the back, which I hadn’t made before.

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I was so engrossed in Lauren’s sew-along (and chuckling away at her quirky turn of phrase) that I completely ignored the written instructions for sewing the fly! Anyway, it turned out perfectly.

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After I’d sewn the fronts to the backs and attached the waist band, the one-before-last stage was adjusting the centre back seam. When you’re sewing the backs together, you have to deliberately leave a good few inches open ready for this step. As you can see from my (sideways-on) photo, I took it in a few times to get THE perfect fit.

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I’d not made belt loops before, but they were easier than I expected, and you machine them on, rather than hand-sew them, so that’s a win in my opinion.

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The fabric I’ve used is a speckled wool mix from Fabworks and the facings are made with left-over fabric that I had from when I made the Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse that I’m also wearing here. I can’t wait to make a summery version of the trousers in a cotton fabric. This is definitely a pattern I’ll re-use again and again.

So, here I am showing off my derriere in these fabulous trousers; it’s wonderful being able to wear a belt purely for decoration, rather than to hold them up!

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Pattern Reviews · Uncategorized

Sew Over It Chloe Coat Review – Daphne

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I was SO excited when SOI finally released their Chloe Coat pattern. I saw it this time last year when it was released as a London class, then I’d heard a rumour that it was coming out early this year, so I’d already bought my petrol blue lightweight boiled wool jersey and gorgeous Avoca satin lining from Fabworks, plus the tailoring interfacing and ice wool from SOI. And, after MUCH hunting (why aren’t there any lovely-coloured open-ended zips here in the UK?), I found THE perfect petrol blue open-ended metal zip and had it shipped from the USA (more on that later).

So, first up: pattern measurements. One of my bugbears about Big 4 patterns is that they always end up far too big for me if I go by the body measurements. Thankfully, I usually find Sew Over It measurements much more accurate. According to the Body Measurements chart I need a 12-14 for my 38” bust, a 10 for my 28” waist, and a 10-12 for my 39” hips. I’m rather hourglassy, so always find it necessary to grade between sizes.

My shoulder to shoulder is 15”, so a size 12, which would give me a 41” finished bust -plenty of room – but even the smallest size 8 would be 12” too big at my waist and 6” too big at my hips. I appreciate this coat’s supposed to be a looser, straighter fit, with 4” of ease, but I don’t really want 12” of extra fabric around my waist. So, after chatting with the lovely SewNeedy, who’d already basted and tried on a 12, I decided to go for a 10 at the shoulders, arms, and bust (dropping the top of the bust dart by 3cm as per the full bust instructions, to allow a bit of extra room there), and then grade it to an 8 at the waist and hips. Before cutting it all out, I also measured all of the pattern pieces and deducted the seam allowances to make sure they’d fit me.

The sewing process for the shoulders, with the easing, was clear and straight forward. Once I’d pinned the side seams, I found the 8 was, as predicted, rather swampy on me, so I took them in there by about 1”. I also found the back of the coat to be a bit swampy (I like that word!) around the back of my waist, so I graded it in there by about 0.5”.

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When it came to trimming down the left-hand front and right-hand facing for the zip, I must admit I got a bit confused. I’m a grown woman and know my left from my right, but watching the video and working out which way up the fabrics were and on which side flummoxed me somewhat. I was even more bamboozled with it all and things just didn’t seem right… until I realised that my zip – y’know, THE perfect one I’d bought from The US of A – fastened with the zip pull on the RIGHT! ARGH! If only I’d realised, I would’ve cut the right-hand front and left-hand facing (I think?!) and had it fastening the opposite way. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I had a 30-mile round trip (I live in the sticks) to buy a navy plastic and insert that instead. Not my lovely petrol blue metal one shown on the left. So I compromised there – such is sewing life.

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The sleeve heads were a bit tricky, as they have quite a bit of ease, but thankfully my boiled wool had a bit of stretch, so that helped. I don’t normally hand tack anything (life’s too short!) but in this instance I did as I was told and actually it really helped and the sleeves went in a treat. Phew! The ice wool went in nicely at the sleeve heads and totally makes a difference to the way the shoulders sit. They look much more professional, so if you’re thinking about not bothering with it, then change your mind now!

My satin lining went together really well, even though it’s slippery, and the only slight annoyance was that I had a couple of tiny puckers in the sleeve head, but Lisa said in the video tutorial that that’s okay with her, so it’s okay with me!

Attaching the facing to the lining was straight forward. At that stage, I remembered to sew my Daphne label to the neck facing. I think a label is a nice way to finish things off when you’re making by hand, even as an amateur. (In case you’re wondering, Daphne was my wonderful nannie. She passed away several years ago, so never knew about me taking up sewing, but I know she’d be proud of me. I remember digging through her button box when I was little.) Attaching the facing to the coat at the neck and sides, then under stitching, was also fine after I’d watched that particular tutorial a couple of times.

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I’ve not bagged out a lining before, so this was all completely new and I needed to have my hand held.

When it came to attaching the lining to the sleeve hems, I wasn’t sure which bit to fold back and by how much. The close up in the video was too fleeting for me to catch what was going on and unfortunately Lisa’s hand was in the way, so I couldn’t see what to do. In the end I guessed and simply slotted the lining over the outer fabric and sewed the raw edges with the right sides together. Thankfully, it worked.

I found sewing the coat hem frustrating and lost count how many times I watched that final lesson. I understood about rolling the facing back up slightly so it didn’t hang below the front of the coat. Then Lisa ‘popped her hand inside and pulled it round’, but unfortunately the fabric was in the way, so I couldn’t see what was happening. She then ‘popped it back in’ to check that it was right on where she wanted to sew, but I couldn’t see where she wanted to sew, so couldn’t tell where I needed to sew! In the end, SewNeedy kindly did a video for me, as she’d done something similar before, and, with a few photos going backwards and forwards between us, I finally got it sussed.

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Once I’d sewed the bottom hem, leaving the gaps at either end, I wasn’t sure why the lining was attached lower at the bottom of the facing, but on looking at others’ Chloe Coats I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.

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The final stage was the top stitching and I used my walking foot rather than my zip foot, as I didn’t want any of the fabric layers to move. I also added a popper right at the top to hold the flap nice and flat.

So that’s it, all done, hurrah!

It’s definitely an intermediate pattern for which you need to already have a fair bit of sewing experience. It’s a fantastic coat and I’ll definitely make another, lighter-weight one for the summer. In the meantime, I can’t wait to flash this gorgeous pink lining to everyone!

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Pattern Reviews · Uncategorized

Sew Over It Chloe Coat Review – SewNeedy

 

I won’t go into great detail about this online coat sewing course because it has been reviewed in depth on Daphne.

I needed a coat for a Spring wedding in April. I wanted it to go with this lovely Francoise Dress, a Tilly and the Buttons patternIMG_0396

I decided I’d have the outfit as a matching two piece using this Viscose Linen mix, also from Sew Over It

I consider myself an enthusiastic beginner when it comes to sewing and I found the online course to be fairly straightforward, except for when I deviated from the pattern, more on that in a mo.

The coat needed to be the same length as the dress and as such I only did a 3 cm hem instead of the 5 cm, as instructed in the course. I cut the lining after making up the main fabric, so noted that I would need to lengthen it by 2 cm. I think the need for a 5cm hem is obviously for a reason because after making up the coat I had a rippled hem. Luckily the instagram sewing community, came to the rescue and after undoing the hem and sewing in horse braid it is now a nice crisp hem.

The only alteration I made was to curve the back seam in by a few centimetres. The change is subtle but I feel the coat now follows the contour of the back, rather than falling straight  down  (The middle picture is my basted, before alteration- apologies for poor lighting). Oh and I also did the adjustment for a full bust.

The pattern instructions state that you don’t need to add any fasteners. which is what I have done. I have found that because the coat isn’t truly edge to edge, the neckline does seem to flap about a bit. I will therefore be adding snap fasteners.

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