Category Archives: Easy beginner pattern

Warm, Cosy and Reversible Neckwarmer

Many things in sewing (and knitting too) are far cheaper to buy in the shops than make yourself. This is not one of them.

Reversible Cowl b

Spotted in a fancy country life type of shop, the type that sells quilted jackets and expensive wellies, was a neck warmer. Tweed on the outside, fleece on the inside. I did a bit more investigation of these items, undoing the buttons and fully expecting a shape I’d have to make multiple iterations of to re-create at home, I was pleasantly surprised that it was a simple rectangle.

Reversible Cowl d

My pleasant surprise turned to mild elation when I looked at the £75 price tag. £75 seriously? I tried to keep my face expressionless when the tweed suit-clad assistant/shop owner sidled over to me explaining that there were 5 colours but they had been so popular there were only 3 available now. “Very nice” I muttered approvingly then nonchalantly executed my exit of the shop.

Reversible Cowl c

I have to hand it to them, the shop owner certainly knows her/his target market with that price tag. Now, I don’t want to rip off small businesses (it is an independent shop after all) and I’m all for handmade items including a fair wage for the time taken to make the item…but I am not the £75 for a neckwarmer target market.

I seized remnants of coating, cotton lawn, 4 buttons from my stash so my only cost outlay were 3 press studs to make my own version. Also because I used press studs instead of button holes, mine is reversible!

Reversible Cowl a

Sewing the Basics: Scoop Top

Sometimes we just need to sew the basics…right?

Peach Scoop Top c

Plain t-shirt from stashed peach one-way stretch jersey (previously seen here).

Peach Scoop Top b

Scoop top pattern (free woohoo!) by Skirt as Top (previously seen here, worn with this skirt).

Peach Scoop Top a

Stripe Maxi and Annual Kirstin Kimono

It’s about time to sew another Kirsten Kimmono Tee…

kirsten kimono tee

I’m back to red again this year having made bright red in 2013 and burn-out white in 2014, I opted for maroon this year. It’s the same Ditto Fabric jersey used for a Renfrew and for leggings so I got 3 garments from 3 meters and I really should learn to buy just 1 or 2 meters in future.

stabilised shoulders

There isn’t much to add to my previous comments about the pattern and I didn’t make further alterations. I did however, dabble with an alternative stabiliser for the shoulder seams. Lacking twill tape, organza ribbon and clear elastic (I have previously used all three to successfully stabilise shoulder seams – my preference being organza ribbon) I tested the possibility of fold-over-elastic (FOE). Have I just lost your sewing respect with that admission? Well, let me defend myself. It’s flexible like organza ribbon, has the same elastic return as clear elastic and is thinner than twill tape. I was careful to line it up against the cutting blade of my overlocker so that no FOE was cut, just jersey. Lengthwise, I cut it slightly too short so that folding over the sleeve edges to finish them was easy with just a single layer of FOE and it’s zebra print! Me… conservative me, matching facings me in a shock contrast notions scandal!

On to the other half of this outfit.

Stripe Maxi Skirt a

Do you recognise this fabric from my recent top ten tips post? I’m really into navy stripe fabric at the moment and ‘needed’ another maxi skirt! I used my self-drafted maxi skirt pattern (previously used here and here) and pinned matched stripes a lot!

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A bit of a jersey fabric overdose but a ‘quick to sew’ outfit of versatile wardrobe staples.

stripe maxi skirt kirsten kimono tee

The same but better leggings

Remember the brightly patterned leggings with far too much pink, that were fine at first but the fabric lacked the stamina? Well, I’ve made more leggings but this time they are better.

Burgundy Leggings Front

I made no changes to the pattern but this time used a  fabric with good stretch, slightly thicker and importantly great recovery.

Burgundy Leggings Side

The stash diet seems to have permanently changed my habits. This fabric was left over from my Renfrew and no sooner had it returned to the fabric pile than it was back out of the cupboard and cut out for these leggings.

Burgundy Leggings Back

I know it doesn’t make for varied blog posts sewing twice on the trot with the same fabric but much better on my bank balance and newly slender stash.

Feeling the chill

During the hottest Halloween on record in the UK, I was browsing the fabric stores of Brighton for the perfect shade of camel coating. Finally finding the right shade in a shop that was crammed full of fabrics from floor to ceiling. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the shop.

Prima Patterns Feb 2014 Camel Coat a

Back home, the weather took a turn for winter so I pulled out the patiently waiting pattern to get started. The pattern is Prima Magazine pattern from February 2014. Claire posts the Prima Patterns monthly on her blog Sew Incidentally so you don’t have to flick through the magazine in a newsagents. Thanks Claire! This coat pattern is very basic, no lining, no facings and not much in the way of fitting. All I added to the pattern was a little bit of waist shaping. The pattern comes in sizes 10-20. Size 10 was running a bit big compared to my measurements but I went for it anyway so that I could wear over thick jumpers.

Prima Patterns Feb 2014 Camel Coat b

The bound edges… I hate contrast/customization choices and rarely am I satisfied with my pairings. The options here were leather, braid or bias binding. Braid was ruled out because I prefer clean lines. Faux leather was ruled out because I couldn’t be bothered with the potential stress of it sticking to the presser foot and being a pain to sew. Bias binding would work perfectly well… only which colour to choose? Black, chocolate or navy? I almost talked myself out of making a coat at all all these design decisions!

Prima Patterns Feb 2014 Camel Coat c

Navy won in the end but I honestly think it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d chosen one of the other two options I considered. The insides are fairly similar to the outside – camel with navy bound edges. But just in case I don’t want to flash the insides while strutting down the high street, I made a matching belt.

Prima Patterns Feb 2014 Camel Coat d

I used just under 15m of binding for the coat and belt so my investment in a bias binding foot has already been well worth it.

Prima Patterns Feb 2014 Camel Coat e

An everyday dress for winter

When a 2.5m length of teal drapey wool-mix reached the top of my stash pile, I toyed with two of possible patterns. A smart New Look 6000 – sleeveless with collar for layering? Or a daywear April Rhodes Staple Dress?

Teal Wool Staple Dress

The decision was made by the lack of casual, day wear dresses in my wardrobe suitable for winter (with some influence that sewing time is limited at the moment so a quick make would be more satisfying).

Teal Staple Dress

When I constructed the pockets I cut into the dress back seam allowances and finished the pocket and front side seam allowances together. This has made such a difference to keeping the pockets to the front compared to my previous Staple Dress make. Of course, a wool-blend fabric isn’t going to hang well with French seams, no matter how drapey it is, so I went old skool with a zig zag stitch – I was loving that my thread was such a great match, I didn’t want to switch to my overlocker with limited thread colour options.

Teal Wool Staple Dress Bias

In the spirit of stash dieting, I used bias binding as a facing at the neckline and armholes. I kinda like the flash of spotty binding there… a bit of a departure from my usual sensible/boring pairings.

Bright-on Leggings

It was fitting that these brightly patterned leggings were ready just in time for a city break to Brighton. Seriously, anything goes in this city so in my outfit I felt I was verging on bland, whereas in my home town, I’d probably attract ‘what is she wearing’ staring eyes. Bright-on Leggings

I’ve been keen to draft leggings to wear under dresses and tunics for autumn and winter. There are plenty of tutorials for this but I mostly followed this one which was part of the Stretch Yourself series.

Bright-on Leggings 2

I wasn’t too precious over the fabric. I have already made my intended make, so the remainder was surplus to requirements, there to be used for experimental sewing (a good thing for stash dieting) and the proportion of pink seemed to be growing each time I looked at it (a bad thing for a pink-a-phobe). The fit was pretty good initially but the fabric stretch out with increasingly poor recovery. By the end of the day, I had bandy knees and a saggy bottom. Nevertheless, the self-drafted pattern has been stored carefully ready for the right fabric with no recovery issues.

Out damn spot

I’ve been coveting McCalls 6751  since Ange posted her striped version and it finally made it into my stash to meet the minimum spend for free delivery from Jaycotts.

McCalls 6751 View A Side

I squeezed the pattern pieces of view A into the oddly shaped remaining piece of spotty cotton in my stash (previously seen here, here and here) and set to work French seaming the sides and shoulders.

McCalls 6751 View A Back

I half followed the advice of other bloggers in making this top: narrowing the front piece to reduce some of the billowy, boxy shape worked very well. I should have heeded the advice to bind the continuous raw edge instead of narrow hemming because I’m not happy with the neckline (hot off the ironing board it looks great but put on straight out of a suitcase and I’m not so keen to admit I made it!).

McCalls 6751 View A Front

Nevertheless, I vowed to make at least one other view from this pattern before holidaying and even removed the seam allowances there and then as a reminder to me to bind the raw edges!

Stash Delve: Strapless Sunbathing Top

If there’s one thing that came out of the half-way weigh-in for Stash Diet 2014, it’s that my scraps box needs more attention. You can’t get much more attention that two stash delve posts on the trot!

Strapless Sunbathing Top

Attempting the sultry… but looking miserable!

Using the remaining blue jersey from my sporty top I cut out two rectangles with some waist shaping. I made a hem band out of self-fabric and a bust band out of leftover waistband (already cut and folded) from my graffiti maxi. A quick blast on the overlocker and I’d created a strapless sunbathing top.

Useful for holidays and stash busting but really I’m just putting off starting that bikini. The thought of wrestling with elastic is zapped any motivation I had. What are you putting off… and why?

Stash Delve: Travel Pillow

I’ve made a nice dent in the scrap fabric box with this make.

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On my first flick through the June Burda I hastily passed over the travel pillow but on a more leisurely page turning session I had second thoughts. I don’t own a travel pillow because I hate the noise of the polystyrene balls moving so close to my ear. If I made my own, I could stuff it with regular pillow filling…

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…and I could make a pillow case for it so that I could wash out the funky aeroplane smell afterwards. Brilliant.

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And everything used was from the stash so no purchases required.

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It does zip up by the way… I was merely demonstrating the pillow case capabilities and forgot to take a photo of the back of it zipped up!!!