Monday, 4 May 2015

Me Made May: Day 4 Astoria Cropped Sweater Review

Me Made May looks busier than ever this year.  Looking at the tag #mmmay15 on Instagram I've already noticed a lot more knit tops and dresses than previous years which shows the growth in knit/jersey patterns and the increased availability of good quality jersey fabric.  In Seamwork the new online magazine from the people behind Colette, there was a love crop jersey top design called Astoria.  I printed it out on Friday, taped and cut it out on Saturday and sewed it together yesterday!

The Seamwork patterns are all straightforward beginner frinedly projects with the claim that they can be made in an hour.  I timed myself.  It took me two hours to sew.  I am not a fan of encouraging people to sew very quickly- it often ends in tears!  Here are the details.
  • I cut size XS grading to S at the waist.  I cut view 2, long sleeved version.
  • I narrowed the neck band width by ½" having seen Lauren's version  on Instagram which had a narrower neck band.  I also ended up shortening the band by 1" and I cut it on the bias to get the diagonal stripes.
  • I stabilised the back shoulder seams with knit stay tape.
  • I removed 1¾" from hem of the sleeve and added bias cut cuffs, 1 ¾" x 7"instead.
  • I straightened the angle of seam at the shoulders- this shaves off approx ⅛" at the neck edge and stops gaping at the neck if you are skinny in this area.  'Hollow chested' is the usual phrase used, nice!
  • I used an interlock jersey which is a very stable fabric to work with.  It lies flat, is easy to pin into place and is relatively thick.  Thicker knit fabrics are recommended.  These fabrics are either interlock or sweatshirt with sufficient stretch and should all work for this top.
I am pleased with the result.  I am wearing it will my Gabriola skirt  It's a great fit and the fabric ended up as a great choice.  The sleeves are a little close fitting on the lower part of my arm so I will increase this a little on future versions and I think I will lengthen the body by 1" to reduce the crop by just a little.  The instructions are a little variable  They do vary from being aimed at the total beginner e.g. "the right side of fabric will show on a finished garment; the wrong side will be on the inside" and then lack detail on trickier areas like attaching the neck band or which way to press seams.  The pattern does take a lot of paper too but it tapes together without problems.  I bought the pattern as a one off subscription so it was great value and the pattern is available by itself here.   Rachel of House of Pinheiro wrote a helpful review which you can read here

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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Me Made May 2015

It's that time again!  The weather is on the up and a sewer's thoughts turn to dress making.  Me Made May starts tomorrow so there's still time to make your pledge at So Zo Don't You Know where Zoe is your delightful host.  She explains everything you need to know about pledging.  The emphasis is on making a pledge that is suitable for you.  I didn't quite know what to pledge.  I usually where me made clothes most of the time, I buy very little commercially made clothing and every month I add something to my wardrobe that I have sewn.  Fundamentally, I look forward to this month as a celebration and inspiration of garment sewing as well as a chance to make new connections and friendships via the hash tag #mmmay15 on Instagram.   Here are some of my plans- not all for May, just for optimistic Spring and Summer sewing in an ideal world.  As my Grandpa used to say when I was a child, my eyes are bigger than my belly.

On a recent visit to Preston to see relatives, I found some wonderful fabric at the Flag market from a trader who I have bought from many times over the years. Everything I bought was £7/metre or less. His fabrics are famous names- Ralph Lauren, Liberty,  great quality and bargain prices.  Above, Ralph Lauren pink floral linen/cotton.  The blue denim was an ebay bargain.  Possible plans for these include some 1970s style wide leg trousers with white top stitching and a semi fitted top, by Liesl Gibson for Butterick B6183.

This beauty is another rumoured-to-be Ralph Lauren linen/cotton.  I've seen this fabric on a few garment sewer Instagram pics and I could not resist it.  I bought 3 metres at a ridiculously good price and if there had been more money in my purse, I'd have bought the bolt.  The quality is excellent.  I plan to make the Lisette dress, B6168, but maxi length.

And finally this generous nautical print (which I can't find on the ebay store, guessing it has sold out)  Another linen/cotton.  With the scale of this print I wanted a simple dress without cut outs on the bodice so Christine Hayne's Emery dress is perfect.  I might make the skirt very full for this one.  
The fabrics can also be found on ebay but the prices are higher to allow for ebay charges/paypal I guess.  Everything I've bought from this seller has been excellent.   On the stall there was also a large range Liberty seconds in lawn, poplin, cotton/silk, cotton/wool, jersey and a lycra swimwear style blend.  If you are in Preston, I recommend the Flag market just for this stall if nothing else- I was there on a Wednesday. 

So back to Pledging.

" I, Kerry Green from, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2015.  I will endeavour to wear one or more me-made item each day for the duration of May and to sew any new garments from existing stash fabrics and patterns."

More than anything I plan to enjoy it.  Post outfit pics as and when I feel like it on IG and enjoy seeing what everyone else gets up to.  The Friday themes that come via the Flickr group are always fun. 

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Monday, 27 April 2015

April at Eternal Maker

It's time for my April visit to Eternal Maker and I'm starting with some of their newest arrivals  First up is Acorn Trail by Teagan White for Birch fabrics.  This is a nature themed range, all on organic cotton- Birch fabrics are beautiful quality.  I love the colour palette and there is a great balance of feature prints and tonal fabrics.   It's a strong collection and lots of the fabrics appealed to me.

 Bugs in Gold

Peonies Blue, love this print!

On the website, a lot of the images are digital rather than photographs of the actual fabric but you can see the difference with these pictures from Eternal Maker's Facebook page, the colours are deeper and richer.  
Seersucker is a quintessential summer fabric and there is a great choice of Robert Kaufman seersucker fabrics from ginghams like this one in hot pink, to stripes- this is lemon. 

and then it moves up a notch to Flamingos embroidered on seersucker

and the cutest whales (perfect for this pattern)

All the seer suckers are 57"/145cm wide and a 55% combed cotton 45% poly blend.  Personally, I would love to see the Lobsters as the Grainline Alder dress- Grainline patterns have just arrived at Eternal Maker.

To finish with, I like to keep an eye on the Japanese import fabrics in stock and I found this cute cat metallic print that I hadn't seen before.


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Sunday, 26 April 2015

A Very Dapper Fox

I went to the Southwest Quilt festival a few weeks ago and a kit caught my eye and gave me an idea.    Cool Crafting had a stall packed full of well presented toy kits for dolls,  rabbits and foxes plus their accessories.  This is from the Reynard the fox kit; the cravat and waistcoat were my own addition. 

The construction is well explained and with the exception of the ears, sewn by hand.  

The kit includes buttons for joints, thread-  I found the black embroidery floss was rather weak so substituted with some perle cotton.  It also included stuffing but I ran out near then end so I dipped into my own supplies.
 The Liberty feet in Arrow B were my own addition, as was the linen waistcoat, a self drafted pattern and lined with a pink floral Liberty lawn and co-ordinating cravat.  

He's ready to be given.  A gift for my granny's birthday.  He's ready to join Miss Maggie Rabbit and a Christmas rag doll that are sitting in a sunny spot waiting for him.   Now to wrap him...

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Bra Making/lingerie Supplies Destash

I bought huge amount of bra making supplies at the beginning of this year, more than I can possibly use so I need to get rational and destash some.  They are specialist fabrics and almost all of these fabrics were from 
Any questions please ask in comments or email me.  Postage in the UK is £2.80 per selection.  If you buy more than one selection, I can combine items often at no extra postage cost.  Overseas postage is expensive so I am thinking of UK readers, but if you are overseas and prepared to pay I am happy to sell.  Email me if you are interested in buying any of these selections.  

Two larger pieces of slinky poly/lycra lingerie fabric.  Smooth and stretchy.  The mint floral on the left is 150cm wide, 75cm long and the charcoal blue/grey with pink flowers is 150cm wide, 50 cm long.  Good for knicker, camisoles or covering bra cups. £10 plus postage.

Nice fabric pieces in cream and white: mix of cotton jersey,  nylon/lycra, nylon/lycra jacquard, polymide spandex. £5 plus postage.

Eleven fabric pieces: mix of cotton jersey, rayon jersey, nylon/lycra, nylon/lycra jacquard, polymide spandex.  £5 plus postage

Specialist padding and lining fabrics.  From top left- rigid heavy cream tricot, suitable for cradle or cups 50 x 75cm, bra lining fleece, plush on one side for softness or when you want a thicker layer but no padding for cups or cradle- two pieces of this in white, each measuring 60 x 78cm,  bra cup foam padding in cream, light weight 63 x 72cm.  £10 plus postage. 

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Thursday, 23 April 2015

April at Plush Addict

A timely visit to Plush Addict today as there is a flash sale, 20% off all quilt cotton fabrics and plush ending at midnight tonight as part of Real Nappy Week.  No need for codes, the discount has already been applied.  Let's see what's new in store and what is catching my eye:

Riley Blake 'Roots and Wings' is a new arrival and has some bright lively floral prints.  The bundle also includes some co-ordinating Kona cotton solids. 

 I especially like the Garden coral fabric, available separate from the bundle, a lovely blush colour.

I've mentioned Sweetwater's new Feed Company range as part of the Fat Quarter Shop blogger bundle that I put together for April.  Plush Addict have a Feed Company bundle which includes a selection of the Sweetwater fabrics along with some solids.  

It includes my favourite print from this collection, Church Cookbook Recipes in multi (top of the bundle stack) and I've already bought some of this!

Wanderer is April Rhodes latest collection for Art Gallery and her best yet.  Stunning colours and a mix of geometrics, photographs and delicate nature themed prints, it really is a fantastic range.  Plus Art Gallery cottons are super quality, finer and smoother than standard quilting cottons and great for dressmaking too.

Linen Closet is a traditional low volume collection of delicate pale prints from Makower. I have a lot of these prints- I think it was Lynne who first put me on to them.  They are great background fabrics and work well with modern prints as well as traditional.  I am using some of these in my Bring Me Flowers quilt at the moment. 

Blossom stripe is the stand out print for me but they are all good!

Great for skirts, bags, dresses, cushions as well as quilting and what a print!  All other Echino prints are included in the flash sale- check out the others here.

With some products, the discount appears once the item is in your basket.  If any products look like their discount hasn't been applies,  Email Kellie if in doubt.  Do you follow Plush Addict on twitter?  Even if you are not a great fan of tweeting it is worth following their feed to catch the latest discounts and flash sales.

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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Grainline Floral Linden Sweatshirt

You've probably seen this sweatshirt somewhere before?  Linden sweatshirts have been all over the sewing blogs the last few months.  It's a Grainline pattern designed by Jen Beeman.  I've made her Alder dress,  actually I made two and it was one of my favourite patterns of last summer.

The sweatshirt is all cotton, fleece backed with only a little stretch.  I bought it from Guthrie and Ghani.  It's not listed as Liberty fleece but the pattern looks to me like it is.  A few other bloggers have used the same irresistible fabric/pattern combo including Lauren of G&G and Karyn of Make Something

So what is it about this pattern that makes it so popular?  There are cheaper similar patterns from the big pattern houses like Simplicity, why not choose one of these?   I swear Jen has a magic touch for designing modern classic casual clothes that suit many shapes sizes and ages.  I am not really a big sweatshirt wearer.  I find most sweatshirts are too boxy and just make me look saggy and shapeless and I had a sneaky feeling that the Simplicity one would do just that. This one felt just right.  I did make a test garment out of an old cotton jersey duvet cover, just to check sizing.  I find that indie patterns for knit jersey designs take into account jersey sewing techniques such as smaller seam allowance, using double needles for hems, adding a flat sleeve rather than insertion into an armscye etc. and the big pattern houses don't always do the same. All the pattern details are below:

  • Size 2 based on bust size 33" which is my bust size
  • Because of lack of stretch in this knit, I cut the cuffs on the bias (as recommended by Jen and also used by Karyn) in cut them slightly bigger at a size 4.  The alternative is to use ribbing.
  • The next binding is also cut on the bias butI cut a much larger size band to allow for reduced stretch, I cut between size 14/16
  • The hem band is cut on the straight, I used a slightly bigger size 4 to make up the lack of stretch
  • Seam allowances are narrow at ¼".  You could always add a little extra to make for a bigger seam allowance if that is more comfortable for you.
  • I used my overlocker/serger throughout.  I did baste the the neck binding with long machine straight stitch and top stitched this area too.
  • Paper Pattern from Village Haberdashery, or PDF version from Grainline
Picture from

It is a quick and rewarding make and a pattern that will last me well over the years.  The instructions are clear and the diagrams neat and informative as usual.   I have worn this version many times at home and in pilates and yoga classes.  I bought the paper pattern from Village Haberdashery and it is well worth the investment, I'll make it again for me and I'm guessing the daughter will want one too- I've got her coming along to pilates too.  I probably owe her for taking my photographs...

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