A treat for Treacle! Personalised Dog Coat - McCalls M6544

March 2017 being the strangest of months, I haven't really had a chance to make much lately hence silence on the blog however I thought I would share this fun project!

I made my sister's dog Treacle (yes she does have her own Insta), a lovely little coat using left-over brushed cotton from my Carolyn Pyjamas. The fabric was perfect for this project - she looked so smart!

The pattern is M6455 - full coat View D. It is made for varying sizes of dog however Treacle is small and....round. I just had to use the pattern as a template the best I could to get the size right. Starting with neck to tail and then making a few adjustments along the way to get the neck and middle belts nice and comfortable. We did the fittings by post so it took a while to complete!

The instructions were quite easy to follow and the bias bound edges really give it a great finish! I was impressed that the soft side of the Velcro faced dog-wards so not to irritate them if there was any belt overlap on the straps. The coat looks like this laid flat:

The pattern calls for fabric and lining so I used the same soft PJ fabric for both of these. It's not quilted but for really cold weather I guess you could sandwich batting in the layers and quilt it in there for a snugglier coat!

And for that personal touch in case you haven't spotted it - a little embroidered name on the hind!

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A Sointu for Springtime - Named Patterns

Starting "Spring" (it's still only 5 degrees) off with a nautical little number from Named! This is the Sointu Kimono Tee - a loose fitting tee, with kimono sleeves and a wrap around belt. Love the beauty in simplicity...

This top is a beautiful alternative to a plain t-shirt and adds a bit of interest to an outfit with some lovely little details. The fabric is a lovely quality ponte from Minerva Crafts. I cut size 40/42 at the bust and waist grading out to a 44/46 at the hips. (As the pattern is loose fitting it comes in size-pairs). I found the sizing to be very accurate, hanging and draping well where it was supposed to.

Alterations I made were to lengthen by a few inches giving it more of a 'tunic' feel - and accidentally only cutting 1 length of the belt. The belt turned out to be absolutely fine on its own however I realise in the pattern its supposed to wrap around the body twice!

As the pattern itself is simple in its shape, I really tried to make an effort with the construction and pattern matched those stripes like a beast! There's a nice rounded v-neck to this as well which was a little tricky to lay flat but got there in the end. I just cut a strip of fabric and used it as the neckline binding.
Top of Sleeve

Another enjoyable and quick make - I hope the weather improves soon so it can get some wear! I feel like this might become a wardrobe staple...whack on some sunnies and sandals and good to go!

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Ebony Tee I love you - Heather Lou this one's for you

Oh Heather Lou - you went and did it again. Yet another class act of a pattern.


I picked this pattern out on a bit of a whim because I had acquired some rather dazzling ombre fabric from Girl Charlee which turned out to be wayyyy thinner than originally thought and planned for a dress. Not a huge issue as it is gorgeously drapey and perfect for the Ebony T-Shirt!

Admittedly I did hesitate at first because big flowy shirts can be a bit 'maternity' - however they can also be ludicrously comfortable and versatile so I threw my faith into the Closet Case Patterns drafting abilities once more and was not disappointed. Forgive the massively over exposed photos - its still dark in the daytime here...

Given the cut of the shirt I went with bust measurement and that was it - size 10 all round did the job just nicely! If you are of sensitive stomach you may not wish to read on otherwise prepare for some serious gushing...

Ebony Tee let me count the ways in which I love thee so....

  • 3 patterns in one and you can mix and match - woop
  • It made me happy (and anything that does that is just fine in my book)
  • The drafting is outstanding - that is a flattering cut despite the voluminous billows
  • It takes about an hour - cutting, sewing, done. Instant gratification
  • NO HEMMING! (Its jersey, I just didn't want to. AND THAT'S OK)
  • The best fitting neckband in the world
  • Pure definition of comfort
  • Err - can I wear leggings with this? yessssssssssssssss
  • I  repeat - IT MADE ME HAPPY
  • I mean look at it!

As a self-proclaimed lover of Black Milk crazy leggings (of which I stand by the fact there is no age limit upon), I feel like I have hit upon the holy grail of tunic tops to go over them. I've forever been looking for a simple black top that covers appropriately for such leggings but that has some style about it - BINGO. I now instantly need to order some black jersey....

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Carolyn Pyjamas/Pajamas - Closet Case Files Wins again!

No joke I feel like these PJs need a briefcase and cigar - talk about smart nightwear!

I absolutely adore Closet Case Patterns - Heather's designs seem to reflect modern style, great fit but classic comfort all in one go - plus her drafting just seems to suit my body shape. I feel comfortable buying one of her patterns and making it up, knowing there's not too much alteration to be done. I mean her Sallie Jumpsuit just fit right out of the pack - when does that ever happen! (::immediately remembers the maxi dress version and notes it down on the to do list::)

These are 'tailored pajamas for chic lounging' and I would agree with this description! The detail is incredible, even in the version I made without any of the cuffs and piping. For a start, these are far from your average baggy PJ bottoms, they are flatteringly cut, straight leg bottoms, with diagonal pockets and even a faux fly front for detail - ie. a suit. It feels a shame just sleeping in them. They would suit floating around a wintery log fire with a glass of red in hand.

In fact if I'm working from home does this count as formal attire?

The top is beautiful, to the point where I'm considering making one in floatier fabric and wearing as a shirt for day wear. Again the top pocket detail, gentle shaping and lapel construction make it a bit of a work of art.

 Getting into the technicals - I cut a size 10 for the top, grading out to 12 at the waist/hip. The mistake I did make was to cut the bottoms as a 14/16 - I have no idea why,  must have read the chart wrong as even my skinny fit Ginger Jeans were a 12.  It wasn't until I inserted the elastic that I realised there was way too much fabric bunching occurring and it looked a bit off. Pinching out the excess about an inch needed removing from the waist and hip - which transferred to the pattern piece took it to a size 10 again. They were wearable and cosy - but not chic like the pattern intended. So they were made again :) The 10's were just about right but a 12 would have been better.

The fabric is a luxuriously soft brushed cotton 'mulicoloured plaid' from Fabworks Online. It needed 4 meters!!

The only think I found challenging was the lapel -  I had absolutely no clue how the collar and facings went together so just placed blind faith in the instructions and a bit of googling and trial and error - but it worked! Surprisingly well....

2 minor alterations were that next time I'll shorten the sleeves about 1.5 inches - and on this version I had to take 3 inches from the length. I'm 5 ft 7 and found them looonnngggg. But I'd rather that than find they are too short.

At this point I was coming down with an awful cold and really just wanted to be in the PJs rather than making them - so I cheated and didn't put button holes in. I just sewed buttons on through both layers, they are not functional, just decorative - the top easily goes over the head so I just didn't fancy the extra effort on these ones. And strangely my wooden galaxy space buttons seemed to colour coordinate and they got used! I think it makes an interesting extra detail :)

I will absolutely be making these again. The possibilities are endless - all that novelty fabric in my stash might actually get a use! Short sleeve/shorts version will definitely be on the cards for summer. I've even bought this beautiful fabric from Gutherie and Ghani to make another pair - MAYBE I'll attempt some piping :-/

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A Lark for Lounging...

A quick project today which is of course.....the Lark Tee! In a break from the norm I actually printed and tried out the V-neck version this time. Man am I getting value for money out of this Grainline Studio beauty.

The main reason for this make was that I impulse purchased some of this gorgeous Atelier Brunette soft and cosy french terry sweatshirt fabric from Gutherie & Ghani.

Midnight blue/black 'twinkle night'.

Soft, stretchy, sweatshirt......sold. That's all it took. I'm not really a 'dots' kind of gal so the print was really secondary to the promise of more winter loungewear. That's where my brain is right now - in bed hibernating, much like Clyde. COME ON SPRINGTIME.

So what do you want in good loungewear? - Comfort, warmth and you guessed it - the ability to wear over leggings!

So modifications this time were to lengthen the v-neck pattern by 5 inches at the hem for a tunic style. I also made a little step-hem side split thing which although not particularly neat, did work.

The V-neck instructions were easy to follow - but I did find the band piece too small for the neck, and also too narrow - which resulted in some fiddly application as the terry also rolled at the edges making it difficult to wrangle into a straight line. So basically the neck is rubbish because bits of it missed entirely and there are tiny portions of raw edge poking through. The V also has a slight wrinkle in it which I just couldn't be bothered to resolve. I kept some fabric strips back in case I decide to replace it at some point!! Here's a pic of the good bit:

I would also note that the sleeves on this are also very narrow - making it next time I would widen the sleeve piece. It could be the fabric itself which although stretchy, is quite thick however I did find the same sleeve issue with a yet un-blogged project I was working on that is also a Grainline pattern.

 All in all a really quick make - with a lot of flaws. Its not quite as I had intended however as a top for lounging at home watching movies its fine - its even acceptable for those times when you have to leave the house wearing loungewear too so that's a win. Time will tell how much wear I actually get out of it though as the flaws tend to bug me....

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Norwich Sewcials News

It has been six months since myself and The Fabric Wrangler decided to team up and create Norwich Sewcials - a little gathering of like minded folks in the area, a place to chat and swap ideas and generally get excitable about all things sew related...as we do.

Since its inception we've gained a little group of regulars and those who pop in now and again when able and I sincerley appreciate that. It has been an absolute pleasure meeting everyone and getting to know people better each time.

We've had pattern swaps, festive champers and plenty of chatter plus we have an upcoming demonstration on how to do accurate body measurements. We're hoping this will be useful as pattern sizing seems to be a common issue - I am to be the guinea pig for measurements and I know for sure that I span at least 4 sizes on a patterm - far from a standard so hopefully a god example of why gading and fittng is required!

We are  also very excited to announce our first Sew Day! To be held on 4th March 2017 at The Willow Centre in Norwich - we have taken a bit of a gamble and rented a lovely bright spacious hall where anyone who wants to can come for the whole day to cut, sew, chat and create in company. Needless to say I am really excited about this - firstly because - sew day. I mean a full day of doing what you want is luxury right. Secondly - its quite an exciting little venture to try this out! I'm not one for patting myself on the back much, but for some reason this time I do feel a little proud we have done this. There's been a lot of love and work gone into it .As I say - its a gamble, and we can't be certain many people will come, or that we cover costs, or any of those variables.... but we are doing it!

As Pippa is the resident expert on hand for tips and tuition, I feel I need to make myself an apron for my duty as tea lady....

And last but by no means least - we were invited to Makers' Month at The Forum in Norwich! All month the Forum will be taken over by crafts and creations of all types from right across East Anglia. People can come and try there hand at pretty much anything - and Norwich Sewicals will be there on 10th Feb with a stand! We'll be just near the door as a sort os 'sewing tourist information' centre - loads of news and info on Indie patterns, a table full of magazines for a coffee and browse and Pippa will even be busting out the sewing machine for demos.

 If you're in the area and fancy joining us - come on down!
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Les Fleurs Folk Birds Mini Skirt

So its mini because I was tight and only bought 1 meter of this amazing fabric. Fortunately not so mini that its scandalous but it will require tights...or minimal bending...

This beautiful fabric is Rifle Paper Co. 'Les Fleurs - Folk Birds' by Cotton + Steel bought from the lovely Crafty Mastermind during their advent sale. It's quite heavy weight for clothing, a linen canvas, but works well as a skirt and holds it's shape.

 I modified the Simple Sew Duo of Skirts by chopping off some length to fit the fabric I had and omitting the back walking slit. The best bit is that it is lined....mmmm yes it is, with soft gold satin! (Stash busting at its best). Nice and silky and hopefully won't stick to tights when walking - this has yet to be tested.

It's the first make of 2017 and whilst not perfect, I like it :) The best bit is the lovely button at the back. I think I have inherited this from my late nan/late mum's stash of buttons but can't be sure - but its a pearl button with an amazing floral design painted on top. So determined to use this button I tried to make a button hole 4 times...threads shredded, holes were made, unpicking of the highest order took place....before I gave up and called The Fabric Wrangler in a hissy fit because it wouldn't work. 'Too thick it is' came the oracle's reply. 'Hook and Eye you need....'.

On it went easy as that...the button is just stitched on as decoration. Must remember not to just shove this in the washing machine!!

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