Saturday, 9 June 2018

Tania versus Kelly

After I made my Grainline Studios Moss skirt, I did indeed fall down a denim skirt rabbit hole, and have made both Megan Nielsen's Tania Culottes and Kelly Skirt.  Here are my thoughts on both.

Both worn with a good old Tilly And The Buttons Agnes Top

Tania Culottes

These are made from a chambray fabric I bought on ebay.  I made version 2 (knee length) in a size small, but used the length from size extra small.  The pattern calls for 2.6m of fabric, I had 2.5m and cut this out by the skin of my teeth.  The pattern says 2.6m for all sizes on version 2, but it might be a bit tricky with the larger sizes, so 3 metres might be safer.

The most important thing I found was to label all the pattern pieces with front and back, as they all look so similar.  Also, I marked right and wrong sides as my fabric was the same on both. These came together really quickly, the instructions are brilliant, and the sizing is as on the pattern. 

The hem is supposed to be turned and pressed under twice, but as it's about 5 metres long, I didn't fancy that and used bias tape instead. 

Kelly Skirt

Again these are made from some chambray from ebay, and I made a size small.  The sizing is as on the pattern.  

This is a lovely pattern, and my favourite thing is the pockets.  They are the perfect size, and the instructions for sewing them are brilliant.  The pleats give the skirt a lovely shape, and are easy to sew.  

The instructions have interfacing the button placket as a guideline, rather than something that has to be done.  But I would always interface where I'm going to cut a buttonhole, so that's what I did.


I love both garments, but I surprised myself by liking Tania better.  This is because Kelly has a rectangle waistband that sits in the middle of the natural waist, and Tania has a contoured waistband, with the top of the waistband sitting at the natural waist.  I have always found contoured waistbands a bit more comfortable as I have a short torso, so Tania is my winner.

I thought these culottes might lose some volume as I couldn't wear a net petticoat under them, but the pleat at the front and back give them loads of movement.

They are basically a circle skirt, but culottes, so no worries about the hem being caught in a gust of wind - as beautifully demonstrated in the photo above!!

In fact, I loved Tania so much, I've already made a second pair from some linen/rayon fabric from Like Sew Amazing.  As it's linen it has slightly lose weave, and is slightly see-through, so I underlined it with some black cotton voile.  And clearly I need to make some more Agnes tops...

Have a great weekend!


Friday, 25 May 2018

New Look 6301 - 2018 Make Nine. #sewtogetherforsummer

This is New Look 6301, and is number six in my 2018 Make Nine and also my #sewtogetherforsummer entry.


This is a mock wrap dress with pleats on the bodice, and a straight or flared skirt.  It was reader Elaine Willis who put me onto this pattern, and this version was inspired by this amazing version by Mimi G that I came across when I googled the pattern number. 

My fabric is some poly jersey from The Textile Centre, and I made the sleeveless bodice of View D with the skirt from Views A and B, but lengthened the skirt to maxi length.  Also, I left off the waist tie.

The sizing had me scratching my head, as I should be a size 12, but when I compared the bodice pattern pieces with Vogue 8379 (which I made here in size 12), they pretty much matched with the size 8 - so that's what I went with.  I shortened the bodice by 3/4", and took Elaine's advice in the comments in this post, and raised the neckline to the size 18 line.  Thank you Elaine - this worked perfectly!

Having read a few pattern reviews, the general opinion was that the neckband piece was too long; so I cut it for size 8, and then pinned it while stretching the neckband piece out slightly.  If you've made the Tilly And The Buttons Agnes Top, this is how it's done.  It worked perfectly, and I then twin-needled the edge down.

The waist has a channel sewn into the waist seam for 1/4" elastic, and I love how the bodice pleats look. 

I wasn't really sure I would like this as I was making it, but it did that magical sewing thing of turning itself into something fabulous when I tried it on!  

Have a great weekend,


Saturday, 12 May 2018

#HandMadeSummerDress dress! And #northernirelandsews #belfastsews

Isn't it funny how sewing inspiration strikes?  I'd had this red flowery viscose in my stash since last summer, but didn't have a plan for it.  

That was until I saw these two lovely makes from Sarah from Like Sew Amazing, and Abi from The Crafty Pin Up.  Sarah made a tea dress from the same fabric, and Abi made a Sew Over It Doris dress, so I though it would be a nice idea to combine the two.

I'd been swapping over my winter and summer clothes and this dress  has been a favourite, so I thought I'd re-use the pattern.

This time I added a proper button placket, and had grand plans for adding the same capped sleeves.  Stupidly I cut out the wrong ones, and didn't have enough fabric to re-cut as I had used the leftovers to made bias tape.  Oh well.

The skirt is my good old half circle skirt, and the fabric is some viscose from Cotton Reel Studio.  They don't have it anymore, but I know I've seen it at Like Sew Amazing.  The fabric was stablised with some spray starch, which helped a lot.

The neckline and armholes are finished with the aforementioned bias tape, and it has side seam pockets and a centre back invisible zip.

I got a rolled hem foot with my Elna 680 when I bought it a two and a half years ago, but had never used it (you can't rush these things...).  So I thought I'd finally give it a go,  and it turned out not to be as difficult as I thought. This Singer video was very helpful.

This is also my entry for the #handmadesummerdress challenge.  Thanks to my pal Suzie for putting me onto this.  This is being run by Lisa from And Sew On, and Andréanne from The Minimal Approach.  And, it is actually sunny here in Belfast today!

And finally, if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I'm in this month's Love Sewing magazine, which is very exciting!  There a piece by the fabulous Angeline Murphy who is chatting about sewing in Northern Ireland.  I get a mention along with Suzie from Threadquarters, Christine from Colour and Cloth, and Susanne from Sew Custom.  If your from Northern Ireland and you sew, then hop on over to Instagram and use the hashtags #northernirelandsews or #belfastsews to find more of us, because we're out there!


Have a great weekend,


Friday, 4 May 2018

Tilly And The Buttons Stella Hoodie/Zippy

Just like the rest of the sewing world, I was all over Tilly And The Buttons Stretch book when it was recently released.  My favourite patterns are the Frankie T-shirt - I've already made one, and have more planned - and also the Freya top/dress. 


But I surprised myself by also loving the Stella Hoodie.  Of course, me being me, I couldn't leave the pattern as it was, and hacked it into a Zippy (this is what my sister calls a hoodie with a zip!). 


This was really easy to do, all I did was to add a 15mm seam allowance to the centre front, and cut it out as two pieces instead of one piece on the fold.  I added a separating zip, and that was that!



It meant that the hood/neckline seam was more exposed, so I trimmed it down, and covered it with some twill tape.  I didn't do the hood tie because I didn't have anything to use for it.

I blinking love this hood!  It's good and big, and is perfect for keeping the rain off my glasses going in and out of the gym. 

The pockets are the Stella pattern pockets, and as with the centre front, I added a 15mm seam allowance to the cut on the fold edge, and cut it out as two pieces. 


It looks like I've sewn this on with a twin needle, but I didn't.  I had initially sewed them on with the stitching line further from the edge, but decided they would look better with two rows of stitches, so just stitched another row nearer the edge. 

I also added a band at the hem.  To do this, I measured the body pieces hem, and took off the side seam seam allowances.  Then cut out a rectangle this length and 18 cm deep.  The top of the band was then overlocked to the bottom of the body, and I also overlocked the bottom of the band.  Then I folded it back on itself to the inside, and twin-needled it in place.

I did the same thing with the cuffs, and ended up having to use my Elna Supermatic to sew the two rows of stitches to keep the cuff in place, as the little cuffs won't fit around the arm of my modern machine.

All the seams were sewn on my overlocker, including the hood, and as usual Tilly's instructions are brilliant.  I shortened the sleeves a bit, but made the body the length on the pattern, plus the band.

This awesome cat fabric is some fleece backed sweatshirt fabric from ebay, which is lovely and soft.  It was 165cm wide, and I got 2 metres, so had enough left to cut two rectangles for blankets for my cats!  

Have a great weekend,