All posts by caroline

Jenna elastic back Dirndl skirt

Back in February I made the Lemony Libby blouse by Sew Over It. In preparation of my planned Cruise holiday in May I always intended to make a coordinating skirt so that they could be worn together with the look of a dress or with other separates. Now that the holiday has been cancelled the incentive to get the outfit completed was no longer there but I have decided to use this time of home isolation to finish all those UFO (unfinished objects) so that I can then enjoy new makes with some of the beautiful fabrics in my stash.

According to Seamwork magazine separates can add great variety to any wardrobe, and a simple gathered skirt like Jenna effortlessly marries cute style and comfortable fit. Jenna’s elastic-back waistband and in-seam pockets make this skirt as practical as it is stylish. This seemed to me to be the perfect accompaniment to my Libby blouse.

Jenna skirt front view
Jenna skirt back view

I downloaded the pdf pattern and cut out my fabric. The only alteration was to change the pocket pattern to my standard that is stitched into the waistline seam and extend the length of the skirt by 3 inches.

The construction was so simple I cannot understand why it has taken me so long to make this style of skirt. The pieces went together easily, the only change during sewing was to reduce the length of the petastretch elastic in the back waistband by a couple of inches.

Squeezy lemon Jenna Skirt & Lemony Libby blouse

I am delighted with the finished skirt which I can wear with the coordinating Libby blouse, at least two different belts (or none at all) and a variety of plain tops. Now that it is completed I may add some belt loops for when I wear a narrow plaited leather belt.

Now onto the next project which is a Cerise Pink Jenna (same name, different garment!) cropped cardigan.

Blush Pink Fuller Cardigan

As a change to the Jenna cropped cardigan I was pleased to see the Fuller Cardigan by Cashmerette. This design features raglan sleeves, comes with fold back button band and facings.The Fuller cardigan also has neckline, sleeve and length variations.

Fuller Cardigan by Cashmerette

Whilst I had planned to make the cardigan in a Ponte Roma, I made a mistake. I found exactly the right colour on Cheryl’s website ‘Stitchy Bee’ but this is infact a 95% cotton high quality jersey. I bought 1½ metres at £4.95 per half metre.

Blush Pink Jersey

Cheryl’s description is thus:- “We’ve sourced the perfect jersey! Ideal for baseball tees, summer t-shirts and tops. A beautiful high quality fabric”. I have no disagreement with the colour and quality of the fabric – just wish that I had read the description properly and used the material to make a different garment! But there we are, I shall live and learn.

For this ‘wearable toile’ of the Fuller I checked my measurements against the instructions and cut a size 20 for a 48” bust C/D cup. I melded the two styles by using the neckline of View A (V-neckline) and the length of View B (cropped) with long sleeves from View A.

I cut the pattern pieces and interfaced then placed the project complete with thread, pre-would bobbin and instructions into a poly bag to take to the Sewcial Retreat.

Having completed the Jenna in Mint Green in record time, I felt that I was ‘on a roll’ and gaily started stitching the Fuller. Unfortunately I was not able to complete the garment on the Retreat as I had missed out the front facing piece!

Everything was placed back into the poly bag and since returning home I have finally managed to finish the cardigan. I used two Pink KAM snaps for the fastening though I doubt that I will ever wear the cardigan closed up.

Fuller by Cashmerette
cropped cardigan made in Blush Pink Cotton Jersey

In the final analysis I would say that this combination has not worked particularly well so next time I will make View B exactly as per the line drawing, possibly size up to a 22 and make sure that the fabric I use is a Ponte Roma!

completed 19th March 2020

Mint Green Jenna Cropped Cardigan

I was so pleased with my Old Gold Ponte Roma version of View A with long sleeves that I made another!

Textured Ponte Roma from Minerva

I bought a pretty textured Ponte Roma from Minerva.com at the bargain price of £2.99/metre. Prior to attending the Dorset Meet Up Sewing Day at Franklins in Salisbury I prepared two projects. One of them was a Jenna cardigan in the textured Ponte Roma.

The preparation took the form of cutting out all the pieces of fabric, marking notches and applying fusible interfacing. On the day, I managed to complete only the Lemony Libby Blouse and so the Jenna cardigan project was set aside ready for the Sewcial Retreat held at the VOCO Oxford Thames hotel.

As I had stitched the Jenna previously I was confident enough to get straight on with stitching this version. The fabric was more lightweight than I had anticipated but it worked well with this pattern. Construction was straightforward using my sewing machine and within an hour I had completed the cardigan with the exception of the front fastenings which I would apply when I got home.

Once I had returned home I gave the cardigan a good steam press and applied six pairs of KAM snaps.

Jenna #2 in lightweight Ponte Roma

Isn’t it just the way though? I had deliberately ordered this particular colour of Ponte Roma but now I can’t think why or what I had planned for the fabric. Even after I finished this project I have sufficient fabric left for another project. The cardigan does not ‘go’ with any of my current cotton print Spring/Summer dresses! Oh well, I will have to shop my stash and make a new dress……watch this space.

completed Monday 16th March 2020.

Sewcial Retreat March 2020

I recently attended a Sewcial Retreat arranged by Viv of Purple Stitches, a Patchwork & Quilting store based in Basingstoke. This is the second time that I have attended the Retreat which is held at a the VOCO Oxford Thames hotel on the outskirts of the city.

VOCO Oxford Thames
VOCO Oxford Thames

This time I was joined on the retreat by my good friend Pat so was able to share the journey and accommodation.

Fun, Laughter and Shared Sewing

One of the activities is a Secret Sister gift making and sharing. This time the project was a pin cushion and having checked out the instagram feed of my selected partner I made the pin cushion in her favourite colour and featuring her favourite pet – a cat.

Pin Cushion for Jackie

Jackie was delighted with her gift as was I with my reversible Bicornu pin cushion.

Reversible Bicornu Pin Cushion
Reversible Bicornu Pin Cushion

Whilst at the retreat I was able to make three garments and undertake a new technique – ‘Quilt as You Go’ more posts later…..

Wrap Dress with Ruffles

Sometime ago Sian of Kittenish Behaviour filmed a ‘sewalong’ for this dress. I was inspired and purchased the pattern. However, the pattern sat in my stash for a long time before I finally got around to making a ‘wearable toile’ of the design.

Butterick B6554

For the fabric I used a new Superking sized cotton/polyester duvet cover bought during a sale at Dunelm, Salisbury branch last year. I made view B with the additional bodice ruffle as featured in View C.

As shown by Sian, I cut the ruffles in two layers and thus avoided having to make narrow rolled hems and also where the ‘wrong’ side showed, it was the same fabric as the ‘right’ side. There was insufficient fabric to make the ruffles in the same print as the main dress but I felt the use of the reverse of the duvet cover would be a good compromise.

I checked the pattern measurements and sizing and cut the largest size – 22. I decided to ignore the centre seam of the butterfly sleeves and taped the front and back pattern pieces together (overlapped by the seam allowance). I also reduced the sleeve length by 1½ inches. I added concealed side seam pockets to my usual pattern and although I was a little unsure about the lengths of the bodice and skirt, left them according to the original pattern.

As my overlocker was still threaded with dark thread, I stitched all the seams with French seams. I also used Sian’s method of finishing the edges of the skirt with self bias binding. Thus, the dress is beautiful both inside and out. Unfortunately it does not fit very well!

Butterick B6554 using a Superking Duvet Cover

The crossover of the wrap bodice is very low so I will have to wear a camisole/vest underneath and the wrap on the skirt is almost indecent so I will need to wear an underskirt of some description (probably my vintage cotton with eyelet frilled hem). Having to wear additional underwear rather defeats the object of a light and floaty summer dress!

Butterick B6554 Wrap Dress with Ruffles

I love the design of this dress and will certainly make again but next time I think I will draft from my own using my TNT bodice and skirt blocks to ensure that I have sufficient wrap on the top and skirt. I will certainly be adding circular ruffles to this and other dressmaking projects in the future as I just love them!

Completed 8th March 2020.

Lemony Libby Shirt

Libby by Sew Over It

I recently attended a ‘Sewing day’ at Franklins’, Salisbury that had been organised by #Dorset Meet Up’ on instagram. In anticipation of a whole day’s sewing – well at least 5 hours (!) I prepared two dressmaking projects. The first was a Libby shirt by Sew Over It and the second was a Jenna cardigan from Muse patterns.

Preparation took the form of cutting out, interfacing where required and winding bobbins so that once I settled down at a Juki sewing machine I could power ahead and get stitching.

I have made the Libby blouse twice before and on both occasions experienced some problems with the construction of the collar. I really need to review the instructions on the Sew Over It website to ensure that I follow the directions exactly. The only changes to the pattern which were cut as a size 20 were to extend the length by 3 inches. I think that next time I will extend by 4 inches as it is still a little shorter than I like.

I used French seams for the yoke and then set about making the collar. Yet again it took some finagling but I eventually achieved a good result. I think that another time I will have to change the collar or at least write my own instructions to include in the pattern envelope. Once the collar and stand has been constructed I have to admit it sits very nicely and is comfortable to wear.

I stitched French seams for the side seams which turned out to be a mistake as I should have attached the sleeve cuff as a loop. By following the instructions, I have seam allowance on the OUTside of the cuff. A good press and with the seam allowance under the armpit it is OK but I will have to remember for next time.

Libby shirt in Lemon print cotton

I am particularly pleased with how fresh this print looks and know that I have sufficient fabric to make a coordinating skirt so that when worn together it gives the illusion of a dress.

Libby shirt back view

I have had to interrupt my usual dressmaking plans to prepare for a talk and demonstration that I am giving to a local patchwork and quilting group but then I will be back to stitching in preparation for my holiday. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Coronavirus does not interfere with my travel plans!

completed 1st March 2020

‘Polly’ Shirt Dress #2

In November last year I made my first ‘Polly’ dress which is a play on the Penny dress by Sew Over It. I love the Penny dress and have made several versions including a hack of the pattern into a blouse. However, there were a couple of things that I wanted to change. I found that the extended yoke/bodice did not sit very well under cardigans and the narrow button band has never had working buttonholes!

Rather than ‘play around’ with the original Sew Over It pattern I decided to adapt my TNT Bodice block into something similar. I wanted to have a bodice that gathered into a yoke, sleeveless with bias bound armholes and a fully-functioning button band.

First I cut a yoke section from the front and back bodices. I overlapped at the shoulder seams to redraw a full yoke pattern. On the bodice front I removed the bust dart and transferred the fullness into gathers into the yoke. I did the same for the body darts on the back bodice before adding seam allowance to the shoulder where the bodice attaches to the new yoke. I checked the measurements of the bodice pieces at the waistline to ensure that the half-circle skirt of the Penny dress would fit.

Close up of Bodice of ‘Polly’ dress #2

You may have a sense of ‘deja vue’ of the print of this version as it is the same as Polly #1 but in a different colourway. This fabric came from New Threads Quilt Shop sale where I picked up 4 metres at just £4/metre – a bargain!! The fabric was duly laundered and has been sitting in my ’roundtuit’ pile for a while. As it was only 42 inches wide it meant that I had to cut the Sew Over It skirt pattern in half, add seam allowance and then cut 4 panels. I was fortunate that the pattern is non-directional. By having side seams this has enabled me to include some concealed side seam pockets using my TNT pattern where the top of the pocket is attached to the waist seam thus preventing it from flapping about..

Seams of the bodice are French seamed but the skirt panels are overlocked. The armholes are finished with self-bias binding (as per Sian of Kittenish Behaviour) and the skirt has a narrow double turned and machine stitched hem. There is a casing for narrow elastic at the waistline so that I can wear the dress with or without a belt.

‘Polly’ dress #2

This dress was long overdue in the making and half-way through I became disenchanted as I kept being interrupted (hence the change from French seams to overlocking!). However, after a concentrated session of a couple of hours it is all finished and goes so well with the Old Gold Jenna Cardigan and wide Navy belt that I can’t wait to wear the combination.

‘Polly’ dress #2 worn with’Jenna’ cardigan

Completed 25th February 2020

Two Paola Tops

In the past I have made many, many Paola Turtle Neck tops. Just lately however, not so many. However, today I busted my stash and made two Paola tops from a 2 metre length of fine viscose jersey that I purchased at least twelve months ago from Girl Charlee.

Paola Top by Named Patterns

I had in my pattern stash a copy of the Paola cut to my size and also another copy cut to my sister’s size. I cut both tops from the length of fabric and still have a fair sized remnant that can be used for neck bindings and cuffs. The alterations to my version were to reduce the sleeve length and also the height of the turtle neck. For Catherine’s version I had to lengthen the body by 3 inches as she is much taller than me!

Catherine and Me Paola Tops

For an hour in the morning and a couple in the afternoon I batch sewed the two tops. I added narrow double cuffs to the sleeves and twin needle stitched the hems on the bodies. A good press and Catherine’s version is now ready to pack and post along with a hand-knitted scarf in complimentary colours. I am wearing my top with a beautiful Amber bead necklace.

Paola top and Amber necklace

I have now completed 13 projects which means that I can allow myself to buy some new fabric. I have ordered some Blush Pink Ponte Roma from Stitchy Bee to make another cropped cardigan and meantime have already cut out my next project which is a cotton print dress. This will be my version of the Penny Dress by Sew Over It, which I shall call ‘Polly’.

Completed 18th February 2020.

Old Gold Ponte Roma ‘Jenna’ Cardigan

I have had the pdf pattern for the Jenna cardigan by Muse patterns on my computer for a long time. Finally, I have printed it off so that I can make a cropped cardigan to go with my full-skirted dresses.

Jenna View A with long sleeves
Jenna line drawings

I copy from the website the description of this versatile pattern:-

Jenna is a fitted, round neck, button-up cardigan with two length options (hip or waist length), three sleeve options (long, 3/4, or short), and optional shoulder yoke detailing.

The waist-length version is designed to go well over skirts and dresses, coming down over waistbands and then letting skirts flare out unimpeded.  A wide hem band harks back to cardigan and jumper styles of the 1940’s and 1950’s.

The hip-length version is great over shift dresses and trousers, and includes a hem band to help it hang well whether worn open or closed.

Variation A has plain shoulders for a classic cardigan style. Variation B gathers gently into curved front shoulder yokes for a subtle 1940’s touch.

Full length and 3/4 length sleeves are finished with cuffs, while short sleeves are finished with a simple hem. Full length straight sleeves come down past the wrist and are designed to be wide enough to sit comfortably over the lower part of your hand.

Mix-and-match length, sleeve, and shoulder options to create up to 12 different styles.

I chose to make View A with long sleeves using just 1.20 metres of 150cms wide Old Gold-coloured Ponte Roma purchased from Girl Charlee Fabrics’ sale a couple of years ago.

I made the size 48 as that seemed to correspond exactly to my measurements. I made the entire cardigan on my sewing machine as the overlocker is still threaded with Black in anticipation of the next dress to be made! Nevertheless the cardigan came together very quickly.

During the construction I made a couple of alterations and have noted some changes for the next iteration. I found the shoulders very wide and have trimmed a good ½ inch from the width and reduced the sleeve cap to correspond. The sleeves were shortened and next time I will slim them down at the wrist and/or make the sleeve cuff narrower so that they fit closer to my wrists.

Like many of the photographs on Pinterest, I have added KAM snaps as fastenings although I very rarely button up my cardigans, the snaps do finish off the button bands nicely.

Jenna cardigan in Old Gold Ponte Roma

The colour of this Ponte Roma coordinates really well with several of my dresses. Now that I know what to expect from this pattern I will order some more fabric in other colours to make cardigans to go with dresses in my wardrobe.

Completed 17th February 2020.

Cobra Corsage Jersey Crepe ‘Gerry’ dress

This is yet another version of my ‘Gerry’ dress which is a hack of the Dartmouth Wrap top by Cashmerette into a dress with a variety of skirt options. Once again I used the half circle skirt from the Penny dress by Sew Over It.

Cobra Corsage on Black Double Crepe

The fabric is from my stash and is another Cobra Corsage print, this time on a fine viscose jersey 4-way-stretch-double-crepe. There were 3 metres in the stash – enough to make my favourite version of ‘Gerry’.

Cutting out was a trial as the fabric is so fine and slippery. It stretches every which way so in an effort to gain control I pinned the layers to my corrugated cardboard cutting out board.

Construction was straightforward as usual. I may have to go back and put some form of stabiliser in the waist seam as the weight of the skirt is stretching out the length of the bodice. The v neckline may end up at my waist and I will definitely need to wear a camisole underneath!

GERRY dress in Cobra Corsage on Black Jersey Crepe

I have just one more length of this fabulous print left in my stash – an ivory background cotton lawn. I will retrieve that later this month and hope there is sufficient to make a long sleeved blouse.

Ivory Background Cobra Corsage in Cotton Lawn

Completed 16th February 2020