All posts by caroline

Audrey by Sew Over It

I bought the Audrey pattern by Sew Over It not long after it was released and have been wanting to make it up for some time.

Audrey line drawings

The Audrey Top is a vintage-inspired knit top straight out of Midge Maisel’s wardrobe! A t-shirt with a difference, Audrey’s ready to give any outfit a touch of elegance. The flattering wide neckline shows off its deep neckband, which comes complete with three options. Choose from a standard flat neckband, add a cute little tie, or go big with a showstopping bow. Audrey has raglan sleeves, making sewing sleeves a dream – in fact the whole thing comes together in just a few hours! Depending on the season, choose from short, 3/4 or full length sleeves.

Designed to be sewn in light to medium weight knits, Audrey looks beautiful in cable knits and Ponte Romas for cooler weather, but sews up equally well in cotton jerseys for when the sun comes out.

The Audrey Top is an advanced beginner level sewing pattern, ideal for those who have sewn a few garments before. It’s a great pattern for those new to sewing knits.

For the Audrey Top we recommend using light to medium weight knit fabrics with some structure, such as cotton jersey, interlock knits, Ponte Roma, cable knits and stretch velvet.

I had Pink thread on the overlocker and scouted around for some Pink jersey fabric. I found 1½ metres of this pretty floral print loop back modal that I had bought from Stitchy Bee.

Loop back Modal from Stitchy Bee

Ignoring the fabric recommendations, which turned out to be a little bit of a mistake. From my 1½ metres I cut out view 1 with the bow tie and ¾ length sleeves in a size 22. This was pretty good as the instructions state that between 2.4 and 2.5 metres is required.

Construction was straightforward but due to additional stretch in the fabric I had to down-size to an 18/20 and the finished garment is not perfect. The instructions were very good and I now feel able to adapt the neckline and tie to use on other jersey tops. The changes that I made to this version were to add 3 inch double cuffs to the ¾ length sleeves and turn up 1½ inches for the hem.

Audrey in Pink Floral print Modal jersey

Conclusion: Next time use a more stable fabric such as a ponte or the cable knit jersey as shown in Lisa’s photograph. Cut a straight size 20. Reduce bodice length by 1 inch and slim down the sleeves.

Audrey in Cable Knit Ponte

This top is really comfortable to wear due to the softness and stretch of the fabric. I will definitely be making this top again.

completed Friday 3rd April 2020

Long-sleeved Pussy Bow Blouse

With the overlocker still threaded with Pink I had a quick ‘rummage’ in my fabrics to find some more fabric that would need the same colour stitching. I uncovered this Micro Satin that I bought a couple of months ago from C&H fabrics in Winchester. This fabric print fits right into my colour theme and 1.5 metres for £8.25 represents a real bargain.

Micro Satin Polyester

As the fabric is so wonderfully soft (and slippery!) I thought it would be great made up as a Pussy Bow Blouse with long full sleeves into a cuff. I retrieved my personal drafted pattern and combined it with the long sleeves used on a recent shirtwaister dress.

Fortunately there was sufficient fabric to cut out the blouse in the desired length with shaped hemline and also to have the full sleeves with gathered sleeve heads and gathered into a button cuff.

Long full sleeve gathered into button cuff

I used French Seams throughout (so did not need to use the pink threaded overlocker after all!) and machined 5 buttonholes down the front. The buttons on the cuffs are slightly different to those at the front but I think it is OK. The pussy bow tie is maybe a little narrower than I would have liked but it still makes a statement. Making the continuous lap placket in the sleeves was ‘fun’ due to the slippery nature of the fabric but I am delighted with the finished result.

Long sleeved Pussy Bow Blouse in Micro Satin Polyester

The blouse will coordinate very well with my several pairs of trousers and I am now inspired to make a plain Teal skirt as well. First though I have some Pink floral modal jersey cut out to make an Audrey top (Sew Over It) and I am really looking forward to making that.

completed 2nd April 2020

‘Mona’ stashbuster tee

Hot on the heels of the Pink Jenna cardigan and whilst the overlocker was still threaded up with Pink, I scouted around looking for more fabrics that could be sewn with pink. This very short length of floral Ponte Roma (remnant from a Sewaholic Fraser top) was displayed on my mannequin at the neckline of the Jenna cardigan. I whipped it off the mannequin and placed on the cutting board. Hmm there was not quite enough to make a top. Wait, I have a solid Pink tee shirt that I bought from Sainsburys’ and never wore as it didn’t fit very well – I used that to cut the sleeves of my ‘Mona’ tee which is a hack from the Moneta dress.

As I stitched up the tee I discovered that the back bodice was a little shorter than the front but no matter, a simple band of the plain pink jersey and problem solved. It may look a little strange but it is behind me so I don’t care!

Back view of ‘Mona’ tee showing contrast hem band

I hemmed the short sleeves by folding up one inch and overlocking so that it looks like a hem band. The hem on the body of the tee is stitched with jersey twin needles.

‘Mona’ stashbuster tee in Ponte Roma with cotton jersey sleeves

Once cut out this top takes just one hour to sew, mostly on the overlocker and is a great addition to my Spring/Summer wardrobe.

Now what other fabrics do I have that can be stitched in Pink?

completed 29th March 2020

Jenna cropped cardigan #3

I have been very pleased with the two Jenna cardigans that I have made so far and when I found this short length (1.2M) of Pink Ponte Roma in my stash I knew exactly what I wanted to make. This colour will go perfectly with my latest Polly dress #3 that I made whilst on the Sewcial Retreat in March.

Due to minimal amount of fabric available, I had to make the sleeves slightly shorter but apart from that no alterations were made to my now-refined pattern (shortened centre back slightly for sway back).

Jenna cardigan in Bold Pink Ponte Roma #3

The cardigan is a delight to wear as the fabric is so soft, I only wish I knew from where I purchased it!

completed 28th March 2020

Quilt as you Go panel

Quilt as you go panel
A new technique

On the final day of the Sewcial Retreat we had a demonstration by Susan from Canada who talked about QAYGO – Quilt as you Go. Whilst I have made quilts using QAYGO in the past I was interested in learning about Susan’s technique.

Basically you use a random Log Cabin method and quilt each piece as it is laid down on the wadding. As I had completed all my projects and had a large bag of scraps available I spent a very happy time making this panel using Blue-themed cotton prints. The piece is large enough to make a cushion front or tote bag panel. As soon as I have a ‘gap’ in my dressmaking I will make up the panel into something as a memory of a lovely weekend.

partially completed 15th March 2020

‘Polly’ dress #3

It is now over two weeks since I returned from the fabulous Sewcial Retreat organised by Viv of Purple Stitches and held in an Oxford hotel. Now that the restrictions of self-isolation are keeping me at home it is about time that I updated my blog with details of the other projects sewn.

Most of the Saturday at the Retreat was spent making this pretty Shirtwaister dress using my TNT pattern and fabric from my stash. This was a pretty pink floral on Grey background 100% cotton that I had bought sometime last year from Fabricland, Salisbury branch.

In preparation of the Sewcial I had already cut out the fabric pattern pieces and applied a woven fusible interfacing where required to the collar and front facings. Once at the Retreat and having already stitched two cropped cardigans I re-threaded the sewing machine (the overlocker was being serviced) with Grey thread and set to with my favourite dress pattern.

There were no complications with the construction – mostly sewn using French seams, including the concealed side seam pockets. The top collar was cut on the bias and I was particularly pleased with the motif placement of posies of roses. I made a double folded very narrow hem on the 4-panel skirt and hand stitched the double bias binding on the wrong side of the armholes.

Polly dress #3 in Floral print cotton from Fabriccland.
Back view of Polly #3

This dress is one of my favourites in this style and is now complemented by the Pink Jenna cropped cardigan that was made last week.

Dress completed 14th March 2020

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 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…..