All posts by Sarah

Ness Skirt Inspiration

The latest skirt pattern release from Tilly and the Buttons is the perfect addition to your Autumn/Winter wardrobe.

The Ness skirt is a classic fly front skirt in either a mini or below the knee length.

It is aimed at Improvers – ie, anyone who wants to up their sewing game a little. You will practice top stitching, a fly front and mock felled seams.

The Ness really needs a structured fabric to work well, so I have put together a list of my fabric suggestions for you.

Corduroy

I was very honoured to pattern test the Ness skirt and my first thought was that it would be perfect in a chunky corduroy. I made my test version out of our rich burgundy corduroy and I absolutely love it!

Purple fans will love this beautifully soft corduroy.

Perfect for Autumn, our bottle green chunky cord would make a fab skirt.

Denim

What better than a classic denim skirt for your handmade wardrobe? We have some beautiful deep indigo denim that would be perfect for the Ness.

Or why not try our reversible grey/charcoal denim?

Stretch cotton

The Ness would also work well in a structured stretch cotton – the ones below are the perfect weight for this skirt.

Jessie stretch cotton drill has a lovely slub texture and would make a really interesting skirt for those not a fan of plain denims!

Samantha stretch cotton has bold vibrant blooms.

Mustard fans will love this Ochre stretch cotton sateen.

I love this stretch cotton cheetah print and think it would make a super chic Ness skirt – especially when worn with black tights and a black Freya top!

You can get 10% off all of the fabrics featured here until Midnight GMT on Sunday 21st October. Just use the code NESS10

Sew My Style – How to line the Portsmith Tote

We chose a selection of the Klum House bags for October’s Sew My Style patterns. There are a few different options to chose from with varying skill levels/materials required for each.

The bag I was most drawn to of the three was the Portsmith Tote – nice and simple and perfect for the second bag that we all seem to use to cart all of our stuff around nowadays!

I didn’t particularly like the way it was finished though and was worried that you would see the tops of the side seams from the outside of the bag. I tried to get my head around how to line it with the current construction method but just couldn’t make it work that way. 

Instead, I decided that if you sewed the side seams first before the fold over top, not only would it look neater, but you could attach a lining and make it all neat.

These are the changes I made:

Step 1:

Cut out the main body and base as usual. I used this black wax canvas from Fabric UK for the base and some indigo denim from my store for the main body.

Step 2:

Mark a line 1/2 an inch up from the second Fold To marks on the pattern piece for the main body. Draw a line across both marks to join them up and fold the pattern piece to that line.

Step 3:

Cut out the lining fabric on the fold using the new pattern piece. I used this lovely Cotton and Steel fabric for my lining.

Step 4: 

Attach the base to the main body as per the instructions. I would also baste the base and main body together at the sides using a 1/4 inch seam allowance to make sure they don’t shift about during the rest of the construction.

Step 5:

This is where we deviate from the pattern. Ignore the section about folding the top of the bag down and topstitching it down for now. Instead, move on to sewing the side seams. Simply match up the side seams and pin them. Use the instructions for advice on how to do the envelope fold at the bottom. Sew down each side. 

Step 6:

Construct the bag lining in the same way as Step 5. You will need to measure up 6 inches from the bottom of the fold and use that as your marker point for the envelope fold. Leave a three inch gap in the middle of one of the side seams to enable you to turn the bag through later on.

Step 7:

Turn over 1/2 an inch from the top of the main bag and press wrong sides together. Press another 2.5 inches down again – this will match with the fold lines from the pattern and enable you to fold the bag correctly once the lining is attached.

Step 8:

Turn the main bag right sides out and turn the lining wrong sides out. Slip the main bag inside the lining and pin the top edges together, matching the side seams. Sew these together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Step 9:

Pull the main bag and lining through the gap in the lining of the side seam. This may be a bit tricky if your fabric is bulky but persevere gently!

Step 10:

Find the fold that you pressed in 2.5 inches down and pin the main fabric in place. Sew a line of topstitching around the top of your bag at 2.25 inches down.

Step 11:

Either hand slip stitch or machine topstitch the gap in the lining fabric closed.

Step 12:

Attach the handles as per the instructions.

Ta da!! You’ve made your own lined tote bag!

You can, of course, add a zipped section to the lining but you would need to do this before adding it to the main bag. 

I have ordered the leather strap kit from Klum House and as soon as that is delivered, I will be able to show you the finished result!

 

 

Suzie’s Toaster Sweater

This week, Suzie from Threadquarters has shared her latest LSABlogSquad make – the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater, that she made from this lovely Double Faced Dobby fabric. She has really shown off the fabric by using the reverse of it to show the cuff details.

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Hello everyone! I’m back on the Like Sew Amazing blog today to share the perfect instant gratification project. Maybe you are short on time, have lost your SewJo a bit or just need a quick sewing fix – the Toaster Sweater is perfect! Plus, with the weather starting to cool down a bit, it’s a great addition to your Autumn/Winter wardrobe.

I’ve made up my sweater in this fantastic double sided black and white dobby fabric. I knew I had to play with this unique feature so as you can see I’ve swapped the ‘right’ sides for the body and cuffs and I just LOVE the result! I would caution that you have to have your wits about you when you are sewing it together – no watching Netflix or listening to Love To Sew while you are doing this or you might forget which side you decided was the ‘right’ side for each piece!

This fabric is really quite stretchy, even though it’s not technically a ponte, it does have a similar thickness. Do note that the stretch is parallel to the selvedge though, so, like me, you may want to line up your pattern pieces with the grainline perpendicular to the selvedges (rather than the usual parallel). This will mean you have the stretch running around the body rather than up and down the body.

As for the Toaster. I picked my trusty view 1 and made it up in my usual size L. However, I actually prefer a closer fit so I ended up taking it in quite a lot along the sleeves and body. I think what I really need to do is just retrace a size S and try making it up in that size rather than keep taking it in every time! It’s a really easy make though, if you have yet to try it, especially if you have an overlocker. But it can just as easily be made on a regular sewing machine of course. I absolutely love the oversized cuffs and hem band, both for their look and also how neat it makes the finish.

Sarah has got some gorgeous jerseys in her shop that would be perfect for a Toaster. These Burgundy or Dark Green Sweatshirtings would be super soft and snuggly. Or how about making one similar to me and swapping the colours of some of the pieces, with this Double Faced Grey/Black Ponte Roma?

P.S. Did you spot my little pop of red? Love my Pink Coat Club Seam

stress pin!! Sarah has some of those in her shop too 😉

Becca’s Arielle Skirt

This week we have another guest blogger, Becca from RedW Sews. She made the Arielle skirt by Tilly and the Buttons from our Bottle Green Corduroy and it is giving us all the Autumn vibes!

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Hi there!

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be one of the attendees at this year’s Sewing Weekender in Cambridge. I’m still pulling together my thoughts on the weekend (organised by The Fold Line and English Girl at Home) in general, but today I’d like to share with you one of the projects I made during the weekend.

This project is the first of my autumnal makes for this year, and it came about through the generosity of Sarah (www.likesewamazing.com), who contacted me a few weeks before the event asking whether I’d like to do a guest blog and use some of her supplies for my Sewing Weekender project.

Well obviously I wasn’t going to say no to this lovely offer, as Sarah has some amazing fabrics in her shop, but I was a little stumped as to what to make.  The problem I had was that I knew that it was time to switch to autumnal makes, but Sarah got in touch literally as we were queuing up to board the plane to Italy, about to spend 2 weeks in ridiculously high temperatures. My brain just couldn’t handle autumn sewing plans, so I asked for some suggestions.

I am so glad I did! Sarah suggested that some chunky bottle green cord she had in would work well with my colouring, and might make a really good Cleo or Arielle (both Tilly patterns). I was originally thinking Cleo but then, when it arrived, it just had to be a skirt somehow.

Enter Arielle. I’ve actually had this pattern in my stash for a couple of years and I don’t quite know why it hasn’t got to the top of the queue? I love its asymmetric front fastening detail and all those lovely buttons.

Because I hadn’t made it before, I did a quick toile in the week before the Weekender. I graded between a 4 on the waist and a 5 on the hips and I’m really glad I went to the effort of toiling.  The toile showed that, as drafted, the skirt would be too tight on the hips, loose on the waist and the hem wouldn’t be level at the back.

To fix all of these problems, I made a few changes.

  • I increased the size of the back waist darts to bring the waistline in to the small of my back whilst making sure the side seams remained vertical
  • I reduced the seam allowance to 3/8″ instead of 5/8″
  • I added 2″ to the length all over (again, when Tilly says short, she means short!)
  • I added 2cm to the centre back seam.

The last adjustment was winging it slightly; I’d not seen this done on a skirt piece before, but I reasoned that the unlevel hem was for the same reason my trouser waistbands normally dip in the middle; my bum’s quite large! And thankfully, it seems to have worked!

The cord fabric is absolutely beautiful; the colour is gloriously rich, and the hand is great.  As it’s cord it needs to be cut out as you would for a directional print; to cut efficiently, instead of cutting the back piece on the fold, I simply created a pattern piece for the whole back skirt and then was able to lay everything out carefully on the single layer piece of fabric.  I managed quite easily to get everything out of the 1.2m of fabric Sarah sent me, transferring the marks with tailor’s chalk.

Because this is definitely a cold weather skirt, I went for a full lining; I chose a plain poly lining in black.  I didn’t get chance to cut this out beforehand, but cutting it on the floor in Cambridge didn’t take long at all.

Despite the ample distractions of the Weekender (i.e. all the lovely people I was sitting with and the chance to chat about sewing and life in general whilst actually sewing), I made pretty good progress and by Sunday morning I just had the buttonholes, buttons and hem to finish.

Oh, those buttonholes! With hindsight, I should have realised that my fairly temperamental machine and 6 buttonholes were perhaps not the greatest combination known to man! However, with rather a lot of swearing and several instances of unpicking and starting again, I ended up with 6 pretty even, very presentable buttonholes and a machined hem by mid morning. At which point, I decided to call it quits and sew the buttons on by hand at home.

I’m pretty delighted with the finished skirt and so grateful to Sarah.  Without her prompting I would possibly not have gone for this very beautiful, very wearable plain coloured cord and I definitely wouldn’t have thought of the neglected Arielle pattern waiting in my stash. And yet together, they’ve combined to create a garment which is totally me and which will definitely see a lot of wear over the coming months.

So the moral of the story is, if in doubt, ask Sarah what you should make; her impeccable taste is clearly the magic ingredient here!

Thanks very much Sarah; and autumn, I’m ready for you!

Becca

Sew My Style – Fringe dress review

Honesty time, I have to admit, I was a little unsure about the Fringe dress. I thought it was very similar to both the Honeycomb and Myosotis dress that I have recently made and I didn’t think there were any gaps in my wardrobe for this pattern.

Had it not been for Sew My Style, this pattern would have passed me by, but being on the leadership team, and my need to complete tasks meant that I  jumped right in this weekend and got it made!

Having seen some beautiful versions on Instagram using Cotton and Steel rayons, I decided that it would pair perfectly with the new Juliet Rose rayon from the Rifle Paper Co collection. There is a cream colourway, but I chose to use the navy so that I can carry on wearing it in the winter with tights. Having made an Ogden cami from one of the other Cotton and Steel rayons, I had no qualms about using it as it is such a dream to work with – none of the usual slipperiness that rayons are known for and it washes and presses beautifully. And as a special offer, you can save 10% off both the cream and navy versions of this fabric until Friday 14th Sept by entering the code ROMEO at checkout!

I decided to take a little of version A and a little of version B. Having made the Myosotis, I thought the buttons of version A were too similar so I opted for the shaped front of version B instead but I kept the sleeve tabs and added some little green buttons on the shouders.

I added the waist ties as I do prefer a more cinched in silhouette, but I chose to use a matching pink grosgrain ribbon to add some pretty detail. I added mine into the front darts (such a clever idea) and I think it work really nicely.

Construction-wise, it is all pretty easy. Perhaps a less well behaved rayon wouldn’t cope so well with having the neckline facing being topstitched down, as it tends to shift, but this worked really well.

I obviously added the pockets to mine – surely that is a given by now! I also liked the unhemmed length when I tried it on, so I chose to finish the hem with bias binding, which meant I didn’t have to turn it up so much.

I also really like that the dipped hem means you can see a little flash of the pink trim on the sides as you move!

Overall, I am so pleased that I did take the plunge and make this dress. I can see it becoming one of my favourites to wear out and about – it is a joyful riot of colour and I really love the shape.

 

Stef’s Eve Dress

For this week’s blog post, Stef from Stef Makes has made a beautiful Sew Over It Eve dress from our Scarlet Cluster Georgette.

I got to see it first hand at the Sewing Weekender and it is every bit as gorgeous in real life!

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A couple of weeks back I had the good fortune of attending The Sewing Weekender, organised by three lovely ladies; Kate and Rachel from The Fold Line and Charlotte from An English Girl at Home. What can I say – I had a ball! I was lucky enough to get tickets for the second year in a row and both times have been, without fail, an incredibly enjoyable event. Over the two days we were presented with a cracking line up of inspirational talks and workshops, as well as an opportunity to work on a sewing project whilst nattering (A LOT) with a lovely bunch of seamstresses.

This year my chosen project was the Sew Over It, Eve Dress. I picked this pattern as I had already made it up the week before so 1) knew that it was an easy project and 2) the instructions were fresh in my mind. As many have recommended, and from my experience last year, the easier the project the better; allowing for maximum talking time and requiring little concentration. I had cut out and overlocked all of my pattern pieces beforehand which also helped to make it super easy on the weekend itself.

I did make some changes to this version though, in the form of a ruffle hack…

Adaptations for the addition of the ruffles as follows:

  1. Shortening of skirt significantly (I knew the addition of the ruffles would make it longer and wanted to end up with something around the knee length mark).
  2. Cut multiple straight strips of fabric to become the ruffle (10cm in width and length as long as my remaining scraps of fabric would allow).
  3. Added ruffle from the waist of the wrap all the way around the hem and back up the other side, by calculating the total length and multiplying it by 1.5. I think this gave the perfect volume of ‘ruffle-ness’. (I was able to get away with only needing to have seams in the ruffles at the sides and centre back so it worked out perfectly).

And so a word about the fabric…

I used Scarlet Cluster Georgette from Like Sew Amazing and it worked perfectly. I wouldn’t usually have gone for such a bold colour as this shade of red but I’m so glad that Sarah convinced me to give it a try. What’s more, I have just returned from a holiday in Spain (literally writing this post on the plane) where the whole ruffle/red vibe felt rather appropriate for the occasion.

The fabric, by nature, is sheer, however I was reluctant to add a lining given that it was intended to be a light-weight, floaty holiday dress. I got around it by wearing a camisole underneath though, which did just the job.

I was especially pleased that I managed to finish my dress on the first day of the Weekender and was able to wear it on the second. It was raining and not at all weather appropriate but I didn’t care!

*For those with eagle eyes you’ll see that I am also sporting a Pink Coat Club, ‘It Has Pockets’ Pin badge – which I love!*

All in all, I’m really happy with my new dress and glad that I was able to whip it up in time to get a couple of wears out of it on the right side of Summer.

And on the Weekender front, a HUGE thank you once again to Rachel, Kate and Charlotte for such a lovely weekend and to all those who delivered talks and workshops for being so inspiring!

Now on to planning my Autumn/Winter wardrobe…

 

The Handmade Fair – Special Offer

It’s that time of year again – the Handmade Fair is coming back to Hampton court and I have a very exciting offer to share with you all!

The lovely people at The Handmade Fair have given me a discount code for anyone who wants to go.

This is the fifth year that the event has been running and it will return to The Green at Hampton Court Palace from the 14th-16th of September.

It is such a wonderfully inspiring event and I always make sure I try out lots of crafts outside of sewing to see what else I might like!

I’ll be there on the Friday this year and would love to organise a little meet up on the day!

Ticket Offer:

Ticket Type Full Price Saving Offer Price
Entry Only £16 Save £4 £12.00*
Full Experience £33 Save £5 £28.00*
VIP £95 Save £10 £85.00*

 

Book at thehandmadefair.com quoting SEWAMAZING

 

Hope to see you there!

Sarah x

Jenny’s Moneta Dress

Jenny from The Wardrobe Architect has shared her latest LSABlogSquad make today! She made the Moneta dress out of our Albstoffe organic jersey. I was lucky enough to see the real thing (and the lovely Jenny) in person and it is just beautiful! She did a great job!

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I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Sewing Weekender at the end of August and wanted a project that would be simple enough to sew whilst chatting. I picked this lovely coral/red clover print jersey from the new Albstoffe fabrics and thought it would be perfect for a Colette Moneta dress.

I had not made the Moneta before but have seen a huge amount of lovely versions around, it’s a popular pattern for a reason! It was very simple to sew and a really satisfying make.

I added a neckband to mine, which was an easy addition. The pattern instructions say to turn under and topstitch the neckline, but I had read some reviews that said it gaped a little doing that method. I cut a length of fabric for the neckband and stretched it around the neckline with my fingers to determine the length. I then stitched it along the short edges, wrong sides together, to form a loop and pinned it to the neck edge to fit.

It has raised the neckline doing a neckband, but I like the additional security!

I was a bit worried about doing the clear elastic gathering for the waistband of the skirt, as I had previously messed that up on my Colette Wren dress. However, i followed the instructions and it turned out to be perfect first time. I think it is actually a really good method of gathering the skirt and it feels really secure to wear.

In terms of fit, I cut the pattern out about 2 years ago when I was quite a bit thinner, so it is a little tight across the bodice! The fabric has a really good recovery though and can handle the extra stretching really well!

The fabric is AMAZING! It got a lot of compliments at the Sewing Weekender because it is so soft and stretchy and the colours are so vivid! It was really easy to sew with, the print is perfectly on grain and it feels lovely to work with. I think the weight of the jersey is perfect for the Moneta, it has enough structure to hold the shape of the skirt and is super stretchy for the bodice.

I can’t believe I haven’t made the Moneta dress before, I definitely want to make more very soon! There are a lot of other jerseys in the Like Sew Amazing shop that I think would be perfect, as well as a couple more Albstoffe ones.

This project turned out so well, I’m really pleased with it and I think it is the perfect pattern and fabric combination!

Jenny x

A guide to remnants

As I was listing some new remnants on the site, I started thinking about creative ways to use smaller pieces of fabric so I’ve put together some ideas.

I’ve broken them down into rough sizes for ease.

2+ metres

Yay, jackpot! You’ve probably got enough to make a garment – maybe even a dress. There are lots of options available to you, it will just be a case of finding the right pattern.

1+ metre

With some careful cutting, you should be able to make a top. You may need to shorten the sleeve length and might be better off cutting on the flat, rather than the fold to allow more options.

For jersey, the Agnes and Astoria tops can usually be squeezed out of a metre.

For woven, the Ogden cami is always a good bet. Ignore the cutting guide though as you should just be able to fold both sides of fabric into the centre. and cut on both folds.

If the fabric is a bottom weight, you may be able to make a simple A-line skirt out of a metre (size dependent)

50cm +

Patterns with panels are your friend here! The Bibi skirt from the Stretch book is perfect, as you can make it from really small scraps!

I also did a hack of the Agnes top into a panelled vest and that is a great stashbuster too!

You may be able to make children’s clothes out of half a metre or more, especially if it is a wide fabric.

Under 50cm

I usually include contrasting pockets and facings in my handmade garments – I love having special details like that.

If you are a quilter, you can utilise smaller pieces that way or you can also make smaller items such as make up bags. You can google Fat Quarter projects and will be inundated with project ideas!

If all else fails though, who can resist an outfit for your pet?!

Please let me know if you have any other great ideas and I will add them in!

 

Sew My Style – Halifax Hoodie review

I was really excited to make the Halifax Hoodie by Hey June as I wear hoodies all the time and hadn’t made one yet. I love how many variations there are with this pattern. I chose to make version a, which is a longer length with a kangaroo pocket and hood.

I used this gorgeously soft and cosy fleece backed French Terry for the main garment, and teamed it with the matching ribbing for the cuffs and hem band. I then used this pretty linen/viscose knit for the hood lining and pocket bindings. Even though it took me ages to finally decide on a combination, I’m glad I took the time to get it right as I couldn’t be more pleased with how well the fabrics go together.

The construction of the sweater was pretty straightforward and didn’t take long at all. I did note the lack of notches and I think that this pattern is not particularly beginner friendly because of this. The instructions for variations such as lining the hood are quite sparse, so would require some sewing knowledge too.

Having struggled through creating buttonholes on knit fabrics before, I noted that my machine has a stretch buttonhole option and I was delighted to find that this worked perfectly! I used some bootlaces for the drawstring – a length of 140cm works well.

The only thing I found a bit odd is the placement of the buttonholes for the drawstring – they seem far too high up on the hood.

I think the sizing is pretty spot on and I would definitely make this pattern again. I would love to make one of the funnel neck versions next.

The only thing I found a bit odd is the placement of the buttonholes for the drawstring – they seem far too high up on the hood.