V9275 – A comedy of errors

I had never heard of this pattern until I saw it on The Fold Line’s blog and I really like Kate’s finished garment. A long line bomber jacket, how perfect ! Then I saw Karen’s version and that clinched it. A must have.

I had been thinking about it for a couple of weeks when I came across this fabric from My Fabrics.co.uk

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It’s sweatshirt fabric with a bright geometric print on the outside and a long pile fleece interior. My idea was to make the jacket but to simplify it by not lining it and having the fleece side as the interior.  As it turns out this was a very BAD idea.

The fabric when it arrived was lovely, a bit thicker than I had anticipated but not a problem to use in an unlined garment. I cut out the pattern pieces a size smaller than normal as I had read from both Karen and Kate that the garment came up very large, and I also took 2.5cm off each shoulder. I attempted to match the pattern but it didn’t fit exactly across the pattern pieces ( I did my best), I also made facings for the fronts and back neck in lieu of the lining.

I made the pockets using two layers of the main fabric rather than one layer of fabric and one of lining, using the fleece sides inside the pockets for warmth


and attached them as instructed to the side seams. Due to the two layers of thick fabric the pockets then dragged downwards pulling the sides a bit out of shape. In order to resolve this I sewed the pockets carefully to the front piece to hold them up which worked well. It was the apparent that I would need to finish the edges of the fabric somehow as it was shedding fleece everywhere. My overlocker took violent exception to the fabric and jammed and shredded and made a horrible mess so I gave up with that and had the bright idea of doing Hong Kong seams…well that ended up looking like this…


absolutely awful, lumpy, bumpy and wiggly. I left the garment alone for a few days  and eventually realised that I could never live with a garment with such a horrible interior. I decided to line it after all. I’d sewn quite a lot of bias tape on by this time and my initial thought was to sacrifice my lovely fleecy interior on the altar of my own incompetence and line over the top of it, no one would ever know.

I ordered some chocolate brown stretch lining from Minerva crafts and stupidly didn’t check it when it arrived, when I unpacked it this is what I had purchased, a diaphanous lining that wouldn’t hide even a microscopic bit of orange bias tape.


So, there was nothing for it but to remove all the tape I had applied up to that point. It took AGES.


I then cut out the lining pieces and set about sewing in the shoulder darts, but no…my machine was having none of it. After a fruitless hour of trying different tensions, changing needles (stretch, ballpoint, fine, universal), stitch lengths, varying the presser foot pressure, nothing, not a stitch would stick.

By now I was beginning to have a sense of humour failure but every time I looked at the fabric I would love the pattern on it a little bit more and I hate admitting defeat.

I am making this jacket as part of #SWAP18 and I had also purchased a lot of oatmeal jersey for the same project which I decided to use as an alternative to the slippery brown stuff for a lining. This worked a lot better and I was even able to use my original facings.


it was incredibly difficult to sew bits of this as the two layers of fleece plus two layers of jersey were so thick that even my supposedly ‘heavy duty’ machine had trouble sewing the hem but I got it done in the end. I had finished. As I triumphantly tried on my garment I realised that I had twisted the left arm lining and sewn it in 360 degrees from where it should have been, aargh !. More unpicking but finally…finally…Success ! With the sweatshirting, the fleece and the jersey lining this is a very warm and snuggly garment. If it hadn’t been for the successive disasters with the interior this would have been quite a straightforward make but overall I’m pleased I persevered and I still love the pattern on this fabric.

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Swoon patterns India boho bag

I have a box where I keep leftover fabric pieces which are smaller than 1m length but too big to throw away and it’s full. The patchwork bedcover I made earlier in the year gave me a temporary respite but the scraps are fighting back ! I need to find something to do with them so as a test I decided to have a go at the Swoon patterns India Boho bag. The pattern comes in two sizes, large and small and I decided to make the small one with a corduroy outer lined with linen. It’s a straightforward make with the only complication being two pocket zips. I used two 5in zips instead of the 7in ones specified, only because I had lots left from an eBay purchase a while ago.

This is the bag I had intended to make but actually I prefer the reverse side

So this is the way round I’m using it. I didn’t expect the bag to be fully reversible but it is. I’ll do this one again..

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Designin’ December Part 2…The Dress

Well at the end of Designin’ December Part 1. The pattern….I noted that I had not sewn with velvet before and now that I have I won’t be rushing to do it again in a hurry…

To recap, I decided to take part in Linda Maki’s Designin’ December, the point of which is to ‘copy’ a designer garment that you like but wouldn’t actually buy for whatever reason. In my case the price tag of this dress at £500 is the line in the sand that I cannot cross..


I purchased 4 metres of woven viscose velvet in a colour called Bordeaux from Stof and Stil and after much research I also ordered 100 silky tassels from a Chinese website on eBay as ordering them in the UK would have meant that just the cost of the tassels would have been over £100 as against Chinese price of under £20.

The fabric arrived pretty quickly and once I had got the pattern sorted out (see previous post) I was able to cut out the dress body from M6959 and my self drafted raglan sleeve amendment. I also lengthened the skirt and flared it out slightly at the bottom.

I had read quite a lot about sewing with velvet before I started and used my walking foot together with lots of pins in the seam allowances but the fabric STILL slipped all over the place, how is that even possible ? I also hated not being able to press the seams. I hadn’t realised quite how much I use the iron for pressing my projects. Steaming and finger pressing the seams just doesn’t cut it for me.

I also took advice from The Closet Case on wrap dress construction and added 2 poppers on the wrap section of the top for modesty. I also lined the skirt to give it some weight although with the tassels on the hem this probably wasn’t necessary.

After a month the tassels hadn’t turned up so I researched an alternative trim which was a feathery lace and was resigned to using that when LO ! A  small parcel arrived from China, surely it didn’t contain the 100 tassels I had ordered ? but actually yes, they were all present and correct. Each tassel is enclosed in its own little tube and expands massively once released. They are nice and silky and actually exceeded expectations.

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I then started attaching them to the dress, it quickly became apparent that I couldn’t get them to lie in the orientation of my inspiration picture as they have a natural inclination to hang downwards which I guess is gravity doing its work. I decided not to try and defy gravity and instead attach them the way they wanted to hang.


I din’t quite need all 100 that I had estimated but only used 63, each attached with a french tack stitch to keep them mobile.

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So this is the finished garment. I think it’s not far off the designer original I set out to copy. However with me not being 5’9″ and tiny size the worn effect on me is rather more Oscar Wilde Dowager but that’s fine. I shall sit in the corner at the works party tsking at the antics of the younger generation occasionally saying….A HA..NDBAG ?!?! What larks !

I’ve really enjoyed the challenge, researching patterns, selecting the fabric, sourcing the tassels, adapting the sleeve pattern, but will probably avoid sewing with viscose velvet for….forever !!




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Christmas Jumpers

This week I have been forging ahead with my Christmas gifts and making jumpers for Christmas gifts.

The first one is a Schnittchen patterns Catrin which I have made twice before and with which I have really struggled to get the loose fit shown on the pattern sleeve. However forewarned is forearmed and this time I made the hem band REALLY big and hoorah ! I have now got it looking just like the pattern picture. If anyone else wants to give this a go you need to make the hem band pattern piece at least 8cm longer than whatever size you are making. I am making a size 36 and had to make a band longer than that for a size 44.

Anyway as it is supposed to be a Christmas surprise here it is on my dress form


The cute doggie fabric is from Stoff and Stil

The second one I’ve made is a Bethouia from Elle Puls this is a pattern I’ve used 5 times before so I am really familiar with it and it takes less than an hour to make. This one is in gorgeously vibrant mustard wool boucle from Stone Fabrics unfortunately the picture doesn’t really do this fabric justice as its much brighter in real life


and then, as I had the pattern out I made myself a Bethiouia too. This time I altered the neck to make it warmer


The fabric is a toasty quilted sweatshirting also from Stone Fabrics and I have been wearing this one a LOT. That’s 7 Bethiouias so far and I have one more to make for my boss…better be extra careful with that one…


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Designin’ December Part 1. The pattern….

Designin’ December…sounded like such fun when I saw it on Linda of Nice Dress Thanks I made it site. Find a designer garment that you like but wouldn’t buy and COPY IT !!

Well I quite quickly found a dress on Matches Fashion that I really liked, the Jagger tassel trimmed dress


What I particularly liked about this dress was the raglan sleeves, the wrap front, the velvet, the tassels and the general bathrobe glamour, but at £500, way out of my league.

So, how to set about it. The style looks quite straightforward so I thought it would be easy to find a pattern to use to make my copy. Well, no….There are lots of patterns out there with one or more elements but none with all of them. I even made a spreadsheet…IMG_8604

But nothing ticked all the boxes. In the end I decided to use two patterns, McCall’s 6959 for the fact that it is a true wrap dress and it’s fitted into the waist

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..and V8825 for the raglan and balloon sleeves

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I was pretty pleased with myself and this pattern combination until I came to cut out the Vogue pattern. The sleeve is actually a two part sleeve with the front being raglan and the back being a wide kimono. I really don’t think this would work with my velvet as the nap on the back sleeve would be running in two different directions and additionally I do not want a seam running the length of the sleeve. Very disappointing. I should have examined the back of the pattern envelope a bit more carefully but even then I’m not sure I would have spotted these specific problems.

Back to the drawing board quite literally. Taking the straight sleeve from the McCall’s  pattern as a block and Winifred Aldrich’s metric pattern cutting book for direction I made a single piece raglan sleeve adaptation.


So now I had a narrow raglan sleeve. Again using the same book I followed the instructions for widening the sleeve and came up with this..


..which I made a pattern piece from and then made toile of the bodice. Unfortunately this method of spreading the sleeve resulted in there being too much fabric at the shoulder making me look like Superman. I have reverted to the original narrow raglan sleeve but just widened it by 8cm either side of the bottom of the sleeve and drawing a straight line from there to the armpit which has resulted in a silhouette much nearer to that of the original Jagger dress.

So I am now ready to cut out my velvet. I haven’t sewn with velvet before so I have been watching lots of tutorials and gleaning tips where I can. My tassels are still in transit from China. 1 month and counting so I may have to go with a plan B on those.

Wish me luck !

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Great Granny’s Skirt

When I first met OH way back in 1980 I also met his grandmother Gladys, who, as we became parents became known simply as Great Granny. She was born in 1900 so was elderly even when I first met her although she was very lively, loved a half pint of bitter and had to have her bicycle confiscated when she insisted on cycling to the shops via the route she had always used even though the road had become an extremely busy dual carriageway. She always wore carefully matched ensembles which invariably included a perfectly colour coordinated hat. When she finally had to go into sheltered accommodation in 1996 my father-in-law gave me a cardboard box of ‘stuff’ from her house clearance that he thought might be of interest to me. Having several very young children at the time I put the box to one side and didn’t really pay it much attention and it was only several years later that I investigated and found some of her school books and sewing practice pieces.


Buttonhole practice, pin tucking, hand smocking, drawn thread work…They don’t make many teenagers do homework like this now !



Anyway to get to the point, there was also a bit of fabric in the box, 93 cms ( 1yard !) of blanket weight wool, camel coloured with a check pattern. I’ve known it was there for ages but today I decided to actually USE it. With such a small piece of fabric I decided to make a little straight skirt.


I’ve used this pattern before and like the yoke waistband and the fact that there is a nice little pleat at the back and a side zip. (None of which is immediately obvious from the pattern envelope)

I tried quite hard to match the checks when I was cutting out but didn’t factor in the curves of the waistband and sideseams of which more later.


The checks match up quite well between the skirt front and the yoke.


..but not so well on the back as I had forgotten to take the back darts into account.


This is the nice back pleat and I have also fully lined the skirt.

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Its turned out really nicely and I think Great Granny would have been happy that the fabric has been put to good use.

Posted in dressmaking, Handmade, New Look 6057, Sewing, Skirt, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Woollen trousers

Eldest daughter has a beloved pair of jeans, bought from a charity shop that are at the end of their life, the original fabric having worn through on the seat and crotch. She asked whether I had the skills to replicate the jeans as they are a very particular shape, think 1980’s Duran Duran, high waisted, pleated front, wide in the hip with a tapered leg. Such an optimist my daughter !

Well I do like a challenge and am always willing to have a go, regardless of my actual skill level.

First of all I drew around the original jeans, adding width to take account of the front pleats and ended up with some very strange shaped pattern pieces. My tutor Gail at Topstitchwas able to advise ways of ‘normalising’ these (Mainly straightening out the waist which had become very curved with use), she also advised on cutting the pockets which sit behind the front pleats so do not conventionally mirror the front fabric pieces.

I then made up a pair of trousers using pieces of a wool crepe left over from a previous project (when I say pieces I really do mean pieces, each leg being made of 4 separate fabric scraps) and sent them off to her. Surprisingly they fitted, I am never quite sure with her living a long way away and not being able to fit to her in person. She asked that the pockets be made wider and deeper and the hem taken in a little but that’s it. Go me..

I then received a parcel in the post from Merchant and Mills with 1.5m of soft, leaf green lightweight woven wool which daughter wanted a proper pair of trousers made out of.


The first issue I could see with this is that the fabric, whilst lovely, is not robust enough to make trousers with, not without some sort of lining or reinforcement anyway. As the fabric had been quite costly for her I offered some potential lining fabrics from my stash and she chose the fine cotton/silk I bought in Spring 2016 from Ditto Fabrics that I had used previously to line my Dropje vest.


Now, making your own trouser pattern is all very well but when you come to make then up there are no instructions for the construction stages ! I couldn’t work out in my head how to attach a lining around the zip so decided to sew the lining to the front and back fabric leg pieces and then make up the trousers as if I were using  a single layer of fabric. I’m not sure whether this is an actual proper way to do things and it certainly wouldn’t work with thicker fabrics but with these two fabrics it was fine.  I constructed the pockets and the front pleats first before attaching the fabric and lining together so the pockets are completely invisible from inside the garment.

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Sewing the lining and fabric pieces together by overlocking them has resulted in very neat seams inside the trousers and the trousers now feel robust and warm.


As the wool fabric has the potential to be quite itchy I made the waistband with the green wool on the outside and the cotton lining on the inside to avoid any discomfort during wear.

I think they LOOK nice and are definitely the same shape as the jeans. I have despatched them to daughter and wait to see what she says. Fingers crossed…



..and just as I was hand sewing the hems the repairers rang to say that my sewing machine was now fixed and is on its way back to me. I’ve got quite used to the basic Janome now and it’s buttonhole function is certainly much better than the Husky so I’ll probably use the two in tandem from now on.

I have also cobbled together a repair for the original jeans by sewing giant floral patches inside and out to reinforce the elderly fabric but don’t hold out much hope for their continued longevity.

Posted in beginner's luck, dressmaking, Handmade, Sewing, Trousers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment