Monthly Archives: April 2016

Kimono Jacket – Simplicity 1318


I shall be tutoring a workshop for this very”on trend” kimono-style jacket on Saturday 30th April, 2016, so this week had to make a sample.

The suggested fabrics on the pattern envelope are silky lightweight woven fabrics with drape such as batiks, charmeuse, cotton types, crepe de chine, double georgette, linen types, silky types and for view C also border prints. For a first make of this pattern I would suggest that one avoids fabric with too much drape and silkiness.

I used two different prints of fabulous linen blend fabric from New Threads, Weyhill Fairground to make view B in a size L which is equivalent to 18-20. The drape on the fabric was just right and I hope that my students may choose something similar.

As the garment is very loose-fitting this time I did not pre-wash the fabric. There will be no problem if the jacket should happen to shrink when first laundered.

The jacket has only 3 main pieces, a back, two fronts and two sleeves. Additionally there is a back neck band & facing, sleeve hem bands and two front bands & facings. I cut the main pieces from the Red print, the facings and bands were cut from the contrast Beige fabric.

I recently re-visited the Hong Kong seam finishing method (the wraparound skirt) and as the jacket is unlined decided to repeat this technique for all the seam allowances plus the hem. It took 4 packs of Light Sage Green bias binding and quite a long time to complete this aspect of the construction but I feel that it was worth it. However, as this method does add considerably to the construction time, I will not be repeating it to the students on Saturday. Most of the seams can be finished with over-locking or zig-zag and for those that are a little more confident they can use French seams to enclose the raw edges.

Apart from the Hong Kong seam finishing the most time-consuming part of the construction was the application of the neck bands and facings. The stitching of a convex curve to a concave curve takes a little time and manipulation so that is something that I will be concentrating on in my tutorial.

Although a kimono-style jacket is not within my usual style profile I think that I will enjoy wearing the jacket with denim jeans and a shell top.


Simplicity 1318 Front View B                                        Back View B


Close Up of Hong Kong Hem & Seam finish

New Look 6340 – 2nd version – Blue/Grey Linen Blend

6340 pattern envelope

Using some fabulous Blue/Grey fine spot linen blend fabric donated by Meg at New Threads, Weyhill Fairground, I have made my second version of this versatile shift/trapeze dress. Due to the high level of linen content, for once, I pre-washed the fabric before deciding which particular version of the dress to cut out. I had intended to make view D with the short sleeves but changing the neckline to a shallow scoop (similar to the Pucci-esque dress previously posted) but unfortunately due to my miscalculation on yardage, there was insufficient fabric. So back to the drawing board and I therefore made the view B.

Again I have lined the dress, this time with a Pale Cream anti-static lining the hem of which I finished with some cream lace from my stash. Alterations/adjustments were simple: Dropped the bust dart by 1/2 inch, made a sway back adjustment and made the facings for the neckline and armholes all-in-one. You may notice the new “Carousel” label in the back neckline facing.

As this is the second time around for making the dress it was very straightforward, with the plain back neckline – no need for a fastening as this neckline is wide enough to go over the head.

This is a very versatile style dress as it can be worn over a polo neck sweater with opaque tights when the weather is cold, a blouse when it is slightly warmer and finally on its own when we eventually have a Summer!

           new look 6340 front view   new look 6340 rear view

              New Look 6340 Front View          New Look 6340 Back View

Wraparound Skirt Workshop

Saturday 16th April at New Threads, Weyhill Fairground found me and three ladies enjoying a  a fun and busy day as we I tackled a wraparound skirt.

We used a pattern that I had drafted from an original grid drawing dated 1976. The fact that this style is still current with the major pattern design companies just goes to show how enduring and versatile this design of skirt can be. Gemma 1, Gemma 2, and Yafit were all enthusiastic about finishing the seam allowances with Hong Kong finish – that is until they realised just how long it takes to apply 7.5 metres of bias binding with 2 rows of stitching. But the finished result looks so good and it was excellent practice for straight machining!

Pictured below is Yafit with a lovely smile BEFORE tackling the Hong Kong finish, together with another picture of my skirt. This was completed after the workshop as I to took the time to bind seam allowances and the hem in a contrasting Red bias binding. I also included side seam pockets which I  find so useful.

Yafit  my wrapover skirt

The fabric came from my stash of Fabricland cotton prints (when I was enjoying a cherry print phase!) and should be very versatile as it goes well with Navy, Red, Green and White. I still have some remnant of the fabric which I think is sufficient to make a sleeveless top or camisole but in the meantime I am finishing off another version of the New Look 6340  trapeze dress in a linen  cotton blend. I also need to make the sample kimono jacket to Simplicity 1318 so had better knuckle down and get stitching.

Carousel Tote Bag Workshop

Bag making Workshop Saturday 9th April, 2016

For the first workshop now that I am back having recovered from hip replacement surgery we tackled the Carousel Tote bag.

There were four ladies, two of which had previously attended one of my workshops (gluttons for punishment?) all eager to get started on making a new tote bag.

Eleanor, Jean, Yvonne and Helen each had a very different fabric from which to make their bag and each fabric seemed to present its own unique challenges.

Helen's bag

Helen’s Bag using thick upholstery fabric

However, we all enjoyed our day cosseted in the warmth of New Threads, Weyhill Fairground whilst the weather threw hailstones and pouring rain outside.

Personally, I had an “Oops!” moment when for the first time, I made an error when cutting the squares for the “Sugar Bag Bottom”. I cut those squares from the TOP of the bag, instead of the bottom. Oh “Rats!” but all is not lost, I simply have a bag with slightly different dimensions. This now measures only 11 inches long x 12 inches wide x 3 inches deep.

Maybe, in view of the BOLD print used (which you may recognise from the Pucci-esque dress), that is not such a bad thing. What do you think?

pucci-esque bag front

My “Oops” Pucci-esque bag

Springtime Tangerine Dream Shirtdress

I thought Spring was on its way so rushed to make up this charming Tangerine printed cotton from New Threads “Sale” bin.

I used a TNT pattern to make a shirtdress. The bodice is a hack from McCalls 6438 using the shawl collar design but with changes to the sleeves. The originals are 2-part sleeves with a shaped hem which I have converted to a classic sleeve pattern but incorporated the shaping to the sleeve hem to reflect the shaping of the rever on the collar.

I used two widths of the fabric to provide for a nice full skirt which is slightly tapered to reduce fullness at the waist seam and included my standard side-seam pockets. The waistline is elasticated with ¼ inch elastic.

I have sufficient fabric to send away to Harlequin for them to make a co-ordinating belt but meantime I shall wear the dress with the “gold” plaited belt shown in the photograph.

I said at the beginning of this post that I thought Spring was on its way – yesterday we were treated to several hailstorms so perhaps it will be a few more weeks before this Springtime dress gets its airing!

  tangerine dream 02