Month: April 2018

Tilly & The Buttons Rainbow Frankie Tee

Tilly and the Buttons Frankie baseball tee with rainbow striped sleeves
Rainbow sleeves!

My second Frankie baseball top from the book Stretch!

This was a super fast make, using white jersey from Fabricland Bristol, and rainbow striped jersey from Stoff & Stil Copenhagen – picked up on my trip there earlier this year. Its the loveliest jersey I have sewn with. So soft yet stable.

I only had 0.5 meters of the stripes, so had to position the sleeves carefully when cutting out. I wanted to squeeze as much as possible out the fabric length, which is why the sleeves are a non-standard length.

I posted this top on Instagram and was very excited when Tilly & The Buttons shared it in their stories feed!

Tilly and the Buttons Frankie baseball tshirt
Such a comfy pattern

This tshirt accidentally went through a wash with some newish jeans… and is no longer crisp white >.<

Tilly & The Buttons Cleo Review

Denim Tilly and The buttons Cleo pinafore dress
This dress took nearly a year to make!

I cut this dress out in September 2017 and didn’t complete it until summer 2018! When I cut it out, and began assembling it, I though how simple and easy it was… I was sure I’d complete it in a weekend… and then the problems began!

My dear sewing machine, the Janome 7025, handled the denim beautifully to begin with. It handled two layers with no problems but when it came to going over other seams, with three, four or maybe five layers it just couldn’t do it. It also protested greatly at using the the thicker top stitching thread.

I unpicked so many stitches and tried re-stitching but it just wouldn’t do it. I was so sad because I was very excited to wear this. The project was packed away until I eventually bought a second hand New Home semi-industrial sewing machine off eBay. This brute of a machine will power through layers of denim and has no issues with top stitching thread!

The only issue with the new (old) machine is it only has one speed which is fast, so stitching the pocket in place had to be done by manually turning the wheel to keep it under control.

Denim top stitching in Cleo pinafore dress
Top stitching the Cleo pocket in place
Topstitching on denim pocket
Slightly wonky stitches

I think this is a good pattern, but my enjoyment sewing it has been impacted by sewing machine woes – I have only worn this once because it brings back so many memories of being frustrated and upset my sewing machine was on its last legs. Sadly the 7025 is currently not working at all, and I have a new machine, the Pfaff Ambition Essential for most sewing. I will get the 7025 fixed soon. I’ve had it over ten years and I can’t imagine not having it forever!

I have started another Cleo using some Cath Kidston canvas fabric, however it creases dreadfully and now its half made, I doubt it will be wearable. I really need to learn to pick fabrics I can easily sew and care for don’t I?!

March-April 2018 Sewing Magazines Roundup

Sewing magazines

Yet another sewing magazine haul – I can’t help myself

I’m a real sucker for sewing magazines. No matter how many patterns I have in my collection (hoard might be a better word for it), I still want more. I know I can buy all these patterns individually, however there is something nice about getting a magazine with some more information and ideas about the pattern – different looks etc.

Although I work for a publishing company and get a lot of free craft magazines, I still manage to buy more… I made the mistake of going to WHSmiths yesterday and got excited by the spring and summer patterns and came out with three more mags. Here is what tempted me!

Love Sewing, Issue 51 – comes with Butterick B6380 (a Gretchen Hirsch pattern). The dress is a 1940’s style tea dress with sweetheart neckline and fitted bodice. The photo of Gertie on the front of the pattern makes it look comfortable and fun. However, since having a closer look at the pattern line drawings on the back, plus reading some reviews, I don’t think this pattern will work for me without an awful lot of adjustments. I’d have to do an FBA and make the neckline a bit higher as reviews have said its too low for everyday wear, and I’m just not comfortable showing that sort of bust line. I’m not even sure how to attempt an FBA on a bodice that doesn’t have darts – this one has gathers. Perhaps it might be a good learning experience, but I’m not sure I want to go through so much fitting faff. Oh well!

Sewing pattern

Free Butterick B6380 Gertie dress pattern

La Maison Victor, Issue 1 March 2018 – comes with eight patterns (these are printed sheets within the magazine. I think this is the first proper issue done in English rather than a special edition. This is a beautiful magazine! So different to the ones we are used to in the UK which often feel cheap and old fashioned. This is very modern and has a lovely design as well as having practical patterns for families, not just womenswear.

La Maison Victor magazine

The first English issue of La Maison Victor

I picked this up mainly for the Barbara Dress – a simple sleeveless button up dress with a tie waist. It is just the sort of dress I would love to be wearing this summer, so I definitely want to try it in some cotton lawn or viscose. The number of buttons on it are a bit intimidating, but it will force me to master them! The Joy jersey dress (similar to the Colette Moneta) also appeals, however on closer inspection I doubt my bust would fit it – it looks very straight and not designed for curves.


The button up ‘Barbara’ dress

Make it Today! Dressmaker, Issue 32 March 2018. This issue comes with two pattern packs: the New Look K6022 easy dress and drawstring bag, and the Simplicity K1355 easy to sew jumpsuit, plus four pull out skirt patterns. Plus! There are other patterns that can be downloaded from their website, including the Tilly and The Buttons Frankie baseball tshirt (which I have already made).

Simplicity jumpsuit sewing pattern

Simplicity K1355 – lovely summer jumpsuit

The jumpsuit – its just what I want to make for a summer holiday. I love that it has a full trouser length to it, as I am so pale I do not like to get burnt and need to be covered up most of the time. It looks so comfy and easy to wear – especially because the straps are wide enough to conceal bra straps. I want it to be summer already!

Tilly and The Buttons Frankie Baseball Tshirt Review

Green baseball top

Completed Frankie Baseball top + awkward expression!

This pattern is from Tilly’s book ‘Stretch’ and was the one that really made me excited about my preordered book arriving. I’m a bit in love with raglan tops recently: I like how colour blocking the arms make them look sporty and they have a  nostalgic, 70’s vibe that appeals to me.

There were a few things that made me nervous about sewing this for the first time:

  1. I have a large bust, and the sort of fit this top has could easily make a tent below my bust – something that is really annoying to wear as cold air gets in under the loose fabric!
  2. Sewing the neck in place: easing in the neckline along four seams (instead of the two that I am used to doing) made me worry I would stretch or pucker the neckline.

I’d bought some beautiful jersey to make the top from, however because of my concerns I picked up some super cheap poly jersey from Fabricland in Bristol for £2.99 a meter to use as a toile. Its surprisingly nice to wear and sew with – I’d have thought a polyester jersey would be rank (too hot, itchy etc) but its really not too bad. Anyway, down to the sewing:

I cut out the size 5, and made no changes to the pattern at all. It sewed up very quickly, just with a few smallish niggles. First of all, when I attached the sleeves, I realised how much wear the raglan seams would need to take. One row of zig zag stitches to hold them on seemed to be a little light, well that’s what I convinced myself, so I decided to top stitch them using a twin needle. This also captured the seam allowance in place either side of the seam, rather than in one direction – which could cause bulk. I really love this finish and will definitely do it on the next Frankies I have planned. I love sewing with twin needles so its any excuse really!

Top stitching on neckline and sleeves

Twin needle top stitching on the neckline & raglan seams

The neckline was a wee bit tricky: the neckband seemed very small and I wondered how on earth it would fit, to the point where I almost recut it longer. Glad I didn’t and I trusted the pattern as its fine. My neckline does appear to be higher than the one on the model in the book. I don’t know why – perhaps its the fabric? There is a bit of light puckering around the front of the neckband which I think I could get rid of with a bit more pressing.

Selfie photo of raglan top with puckering on neckline

Fresh off the sewing machine with no pressing: puckering on the neckline

The instructions were straightforward and easy to follow, and there are only four pattern pieces so its quick to trace and cut out too. The curves in the pattern are designed for women’s bodies, plus it sews up true to the size it says it will (if only all patterns were like this!).

Sewing toiles is really boring and something I never want to do – but – I think doing this one has made me a bit more likely to bother in future – it took a load of pressure off knowing it was cheap fabric, and that it was just a test run. The garment itself is wearable, and it has made me sure I do want to use precious fabric on another version. Next time I am going to lengthen the bodice by about an inch as the hips sit closer to my waist and are a bit flappy, and I’ll try the 3/4 sleeves.

All in all, another great and wearable pattern from Tilly!


Stoff & Stil lion toy

I picked up this Stoff & Stil toy lion kit on my trip to Copenhagen last month because the design really caught my eye, and I thought it would make a cute gift for Alex (my other half)’s niece:

Pre printed fabric with lion toy design

Pre printed lion toy to cut out and sew: doesn’t it have a kind face?

The kit consists of a length of fabric, with a printed lion design on it, with cutting lines around the outside. The fabric is quite heavy and has a visible texture to it. The design of the lion is loose and sketchy which is what appealed to me: its not too fancy and perfect so it already looks well loved.

Pre printed fabric with lion toy design

The printed pattern

After unfolding the pattern I was surprised to find there were absolutely no instructions included! I had expected to find something on the card insert that the fabric was wrapped around, but no, there was nothing. The pattern is clearly very simple, however I was hoping for some instructions about the best place to leave open to turn the toy from the wrong side to the right side.

Scissors cutting out printed toy

Cutting out the pattern pieces

Because the fabric was quite thick, I found it hard to see if my stitching was falling within the coloured part of the design (I didn’t want to see the white polka dot fabric once I had turned the lion inside out). I found I could check this by holding the sewing up to the light – the design showed through against the stitches, like in the photo below:

Sewing held up to window light to see stitches

Checking stitches using the light from a window

Partially stuffed toy lion

Finishing off

Stoff & Stil Lion toy

Completed lion!

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