Category Archives: LSA Blog Squad

2018 – My Year in Review

I genuinely don’t think I have ever had a year as eventful as 2018. So many things have happened, and fortunately most for the positive!

January

I started the year by becoming part of the Sew My Style leadership team. I was delighted to be picked for this and really enjoyed working behind the scenes to decide on patterns and liaise with the indie pattern designers and sponsors for each month. It was lovely to see how many people embraced the challenge and I ended up with a gorgeous little capsule wardrobe too!

I was also asked to be an ambassador for the SMYLY (sewing makes you love yourself) challenge, organised by Athina, Lisa and Hattie. This involved making a garment that made me feel good about myself and sharing my story about how sewing helps me with body positivity and mental health. I was really proud to be an advocate for this challenge as I truly believe sewing has so many more benefits than just making pretty new clothes.

February

I was asked to be part of the blogger tour to celebrate the launch of Melissa Fehr’s Sew Your Own Activewear book. I made the yoga leggings from the book and wore them to Melissa’s book launch party in central London!

During a sewing meet up in London, I got myself a sewing wife! The gorgeous Jen from Gingerthread Girl and I decided to get Stitched (!) whilst at Liberty!

March

I joined the Simple Sew Blogger team as I thought it would be fun to give some of their patterns a try and it was also lovely to work with such a great group of sewing bloggers. Unfortunately, I only managed to make a couple of garments for them as the rest of my year got very busy!

I took part in the MIYMarch18 photo challenge, which involved daily prompts related to sewing. I do love a good photo challenge as it helps me think creatively about my instagram feed and is also a great way to discover new sewists.

I took a week long pattern cutting course at Bath College to help me get a better understanding of pattern drafting and how to create and alter patterns. I really enjoyed it and would definitely like to continue to study this in the future.

April

April was a huge month for me. After months of planning and deliberating, I left my corporate job that was making me pretty miserable and launched my own business! I had been contemplating making a career switch for a while and decided to make the leap and start my own online fabric shop.

The shop launched on 7th April and I was absolutely thrilled with the response. The sewing community is so supportive and I couldn’t have dreamed how well it was received.

Along with the Stitch Sisters and Jen from Gingerella, we began planning a Bristol sewing event that would become the Sewcialite Soiree. We really wanted to put Bristol on the sewing map and organise an event for the sewing community of the South West. The tickets sold in in just a couple of days too so we were really pleased with the response!

I put a call out for what would become the LSABlogSquad – a team of sewing bloggers to help me review fabrics and patterns for my shop. I was overwhelmed with the response and had such a difficult decision choosing the team but I am so pleased with the final line up. They have all helped me to create wonderful content for my blog, so a massive thank you to all the Jennys, Emily, Susie, Stef and Bianca!

May

It wouldn’t be May without Me Made May – a photo challenge, run by the lovely Zoe from So Zoe… I love how you can make the challenge your own and pledge to take part in a way that suits you. I decided to use this challenge to help me identify gaps in my new non-corporate working wardrobe.

June

I was thrilled to be asked to be an ambassador for this year’s Big Stitch Campaign, run by the British Heart Foundation. Along with a few of my gorgeous fellow sewing bloggers, Gabby, Alex and Rosa, we had a lovely photoshoot for the campaign which involved getting our hair and make up professionally done, by none other than Love Island’s Alexandra Cane! It was quite a surreal experience seeing my face pop up on Facebook as promotion for the campaign and I had so many messages from friends asking if it was me!

I attended the blogging conference Blogtacular with a group of sewing blogger friends. It was quite an interesting event, as it wasn’t sewing related. I definitely learnt a lot from it and made some great new contacts.

I was approached by a patch making company about working with them to create some “how to” videos for the products. We had a great time filming and I also worked with Aspinline to create my own range of patches, which I was really pleased with.

I was super excited to be invited to be interviewed on the Stitchers Brew podcast. My episode was all about the world of pattern testing.

I was asked by the lovely Ana from Cocowawa Crafts to take part in a sewing day as part of the launch of her Honeycomb pattern. A group of us headed down to the Village Haberdashery for the day and all made our version of Ana’s pattern.

Later that same day, I went along to the New Craft House Summer Party with some other sewing friends. It was great fun and a chance to meet up with some familiar faces! The theme of the evening was Tropical, so I gave my flamingo dungarees a good outing!

July

July was a busy month as I was prepping for a pop up shop in Bristol. I had had a lot of feedback that people wanted to be able to come and see the fabric in real life so we tested the waters with our first pop up shop. It went so well and we were absolutely rushed off our feet all day!

After mentioning how much I would love to be a pattern tester for Tilly and Buttons on the Stitchers Brew podcast, I was delighted to receive an email from them asking me to test their next two patterns. It was hard keeping them secret for the weeks between testing and release but I think we can all agree, the Ness and Nora patterns are gorgeous!

August

With August, came the much anticipated Sewing Weekender event in Cambridge. I was lucky enough to get a ticket again this year and just had the best time hanging out with all my sewing friends. It was lovely that we managed to get nearly all of the blog squad in the same place at the same time! I can’t wait for next year!

September

Following the success of the event in July, we held another pop up shop in September. We had more space and managed to get our processes much smoother this time around so it was a far calmer affair for Jenny and I to run. It was around this time that we had started to look for properties to start a bricks and mortar incarnation of Like Sew Amazing. We found the perfect space but then had several months of waiting ahead of us while the solicitors etc did their thing!

Once we had found the right space, we knew we would need help to get it up together, so I launched a crowdfunding initiative on kickstarter. I was so overwhelmed with the response and how supportive everyone was. I used my marketing background to get as much publicity as possible and managed to get us in the local paper, and on the local radio and retweeted by our local MP! We hit the target and secured funding so then it was just a waiting game until we could get the keys. 

October

What’s been lovely about launching a sewing business is being able to support the various events within the sewing community. I sponsored lots of great challenges towards the end of this year, including the Little Red Dress Project, the Cosi Cardy Challenge and the Refashioners.

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to attend Sew Brum this year, as I was very busy at the time, but I’m so glad I did. We had a lovely day of fabric browsing/buying, a big old trip to pizza express and a lot of talking about sewing!

November

In November, I partnered with Husqvarna Viking as a brand ambassador. I am delighted to be working with them and they are going to be providing lots of amazing machines for the shop. We will also be a reseller for Husqvarna, once we are up and running.

We held the Sewcialite Soiree in November. It took months of organising but I was so pleased with how the event turned out. We held an afternoon tea beforehand so that people could get to know each other in a quieter setting and then we held the party at a lovely hotel in the city centre. We had good food, good music and lots of dancing! I made a Carrie Bradshaw/ballerina inspired outfit for the event, which was a real labour of love and kept me busy for a couple of weeks!

I hit the magic 10,000 followers on Instagram in November, which was so lovely. I am extremely grateful for the amazing, supportive community that we have and am so pleased that my business is resonating with people.

December

So despite being plagued with a never ending cold, December was perhaps the most exciting month of all, as I finally signed contracts and got the keys to the shop! Such a fab Christmas present! We’ve already been in and had a big clean up in there with some wonderful friends who gave up their time to help. We’ve started decorating and getting it all up together and the current plan is to be open by the end of January!

I’m so excited for the shop to open. There will of course be a launch party, which I hope lots of you can make. We will also publish our workshop schedule very soon so we can start taking bookings.

I am so eternally grateful for the support I have received from my partner, family and lovely friends in the sewing community. Particular shout out goes to Jenny, who I am so excited to be working with.

It has been a year of real surprises and I would never have thought I would be where I am now, if you had asked me a year ago! It has definitely been a year of being brave and jumping in and long may that continue!

There is a lot of hard work ahead to get ready for opening but I am so excited at the prospect of whats to come in 2019.

I really hope you can all come and visit!

Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy New Year.

Love Sarah x

Jenny’s Lucida Dress

Jenny from Wardrobe Architect has shared her latest LSA Blog Squad make and it is the perfect Christmas dress!

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I decided to take part in The Little Red Dress project this year, and found this beautiful deep red stretch velvet that I thought would be really festive. I have recently purchased the Friday Pattern Company Lucida dress and thought it would be the perfect match for this fabric.

The velvet has quite a short pile, which makes it easier to work with. It has a good amount of stretch and a really decent recovery. The colour is beautiful, really rich and jewel toned.

I didn’t really do anything differently when working with this fabric, I just treated it like a normal jersey. It is a little bit more slinky, but when the right sides are together they stick to each other, meaning it doesn’t shift around.

I cut the pieces out with the fabric folded, right sides together. I bought 2 metres of fabric but managed to get the dress out of 1.5 metres. I lengthened the bodice and the skirt by an inch each and the sleeves by 3 inches. The pieces need to be cut out all facing the same way as the velvet has a nap, I chose to have the nap running down so that the dress feels smooth when you run your hand from top to bottom.

This was my first time sewing up a pattern by Friday Pattern company and I was really impressed. It’s such a simple dress, but the instructions are clear and thorough, it’s definitely beginner friendly. The ruching on the front bodice is created by threading ties through channels and it can be adjusted to suit your figure / style. I think it is so flattering and very effective for such a simple approach.

I lengthened the sleeves as I’m self-conscious about my upper arms (I don’t think I’m alone in this!) and I just cut a line 3 inches lower than the pattern piece when I was cutting out the fabric.

My overlocker is currently being fixed so I sewed this up completely on my sewing machine. One thing that is worth mentioning is that the bodice is self lined, so in places the seam allowances get quite bulky (with 6 layers of velvet) so it is worth grading them so that they sit well.

Overall I’m really pleased with this and can’t wait to wear it out! It’s ridiculously soft and comfy to wear but I still feel dressed up! I think that’s the perfect combination for Christmas party wear!

Harriet’s Freya Top

Hello! Today, we have a guest blog post from none other than Harriet from The Little Dressmaker!

Harriet used one of our gorgeous Albstoffe organic jerseys to make herself a Tilly and the Buttons Freya top and she looks cute as a button in it!

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Today I’m writing about a lovely little Freya top I’ve made from the Mono Flower Jersey fabric in peach, from the German manufacturer Albstoffe. As I’m sure everyone will understand, all I want to do when the weather gets a little bit nippier is wear jersey from head to toe – and this organic cotton-spandex mix is the perfect fabric! 

I’m a big fan of using sustainable fabrics for as many of my makes as possible (my life goal is to live a life that means David Attenborough would be proud of me), and this jersey is GOTS-certified, which is a real badge of honour in the way of sustainability. Not only that, the quality of the jersey is incredible! It’s a t-shirt weight, and just feels expensive, you know what I mean? 

Originally, my plan had been to make the Tilly and the Buttons Stella Joggers – I’d bought the ‘Cuff me College’ (also Albstoffe and GOTS certified) in a light grey with coral and red pink bands, which I was going to use for the waistband and ankle cuffs of the joggers. In the end, I decided to use the peach floral jersey to make the Tilly and the Buttons Freya top instead, because I, like most sewists, am a very impatient maker and always want to wear my newest make right away  – and I feel like I might’ve had to wait until spring to wear the joggers! 

I’m really pleased that I changed my mind and went for the Freya top instead; it’s so versatile! I didn’t include the ruffle this time because I knew that I’d want to use it as a layering piece, so the ruffle wouldn’t have been seen most of the time anyway and would just end up adding unnecessary bulk. I’ve been wearing it underneath my dungarees, Kew dresses and Francoise dresses so far as an extra layer of warmth, but I’ll definitely be wearing it with the grey Stella joggers with the Albstoffe cuffs I mentioned earlier, because the peachy/coral colour matches perfectly. 

Emily’s Simplicity 1325 Jacket

This week on the blog, Emily has shared her stunning Simplicity 1325 blazer that she made from our Rose Gold Metallic Jacquard. I love how chic it looks!

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Today’s post is on a little blazer I’ve made using the Simplicity 1325 pattern. This project is a little out of season as it’s getting colder and colder here but sometimes it’s nice to just make something a little bit different!

I was sent some gorgeous striped jacquard from Like Sew Amazing – it has a pure white background with pink and blue stripe running across it and even has some rose gold metallic threads running through it. It’s a beautiful fabric!

I really liked the idea of turning it into a simple blazer. I was feeling a bit Chanel inspired at the time!

I chose to use the Simplicity 1325 pattern mostly because I already had it. I’d used it to make this and this a couple of years ago but hadn’t used any of the pattern’s other views. I liked the simple fitted shape of the collarless blazer. It looked classic!

Sewing up the blazer was nice and simple. I chose to underline the front, back and sleeve of the jacket rather than try to make a full lining. It’s the first time I’ve tried doing it this way and I think it was quite successful!

To do this, I cut out the front and back in both the main fabric and lining fabric. In this case I used a lovely smooth cotton lawn that I got from Sea Salt. After sewing in the bodice darts I laid them over each other wrong sides together and essentially treated each piece as one.

The sleeve was a little trickier as I wanted to get a nicer finish on the hem. Here, I trimmed 1.5cm from the edge of the sleeve of the lawn lining pieces only. I then sewed the sleeve seam on each of the fabric and lining pieces. Right sides together I stitched the sleeve hem then turned the lining to the inside. After that I matched up the seam and sleeve head to treat this as one! Simple, no? 🤣

(It does need to be pressed a little. I hadn’t realised how wrinkled it looked from the back!!)

If I made it again, I’d do a narrow shoulder adjustment. I don’t feel like it’s sitting as snugly there as it should. Apart from that, I like it! I’m a fan of the cropped length which is flattering on my shape.

All in all, it’s a cute little jacket. A little light for the weather but it’s summer somewhere right? 😆

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

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…

 

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

Stef’s BHL Anna Dress

This week’s LSA Blog Squad post is brought to you by the lovely Stef from Stef Makes. She’s made the By Hand London Anna dress from our Libby viscose and it is just so pretty!

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Ok, so I made another floral number. I find something happens when the weather heats up and the impulse to wear flowery things on repeat sets in… just me? Well anyway, to add to my collection I now have a new By Hand London, Anna Dress in Libby Viscose from Like Sew Amazing. Not only am I in flower power heaven with this one, I think I’m actually in love.

So a little more about it…

I made an Anna Dress back in December last year for a friend’s wedding and so was not entirely unfamiliar with the pattern. Because of this I was able to make a couple of tweaks second time around to improve upon the fit even further.

The most notable adjustment this time was in making the neckline smaller. I have quite narrow shoulders and find that with the original version I am confined to wearing a strapless bra as the shoulder seams start quite a way over. This worked well for a statement evening gown but for a chuck-it-on Summer dress, I wanted to make it a bit more ‘everyday wearable’ (with any underwear I like!).

I made the neckline narrower by using the cut and slash method. From memory, I think I ended up taking around 4cm out of the circumference of the neck hole (i.e. 1cm on each of the front and back pattern pieces).

In addition to the neckline adjustment I took the bodice in at the back by a further 1.5cm. I chose to line the bodice (instead of making a facing) and found that the main fabric had a little more give than the lining. It didn’t cause an issue, just goes to show that fit will vary from fabric to fabric.

And so a word about this Viscose. What can I say, it’s gorgeous. The pattern is non-directional which meant I could be much more economical with the pattern piece placement at the cutting out stage (I am most grateful for this given that the skirt for the Anna has 7 panels!). Overall I managed to get the whole thing out of 2.5 metres. That said, I wouldn’t have had a scrap left to make any facings – lucky I chose to line the bodice instead!

The drape of the fabric also gets a thumbs up from me. It has all the lovely qualities of Viscose and makes the perfect Summer dress. Light and floaty (perfect for this hot weather) but substantial enough not to have to wear a slip underneath.

This version of the Anna is quite the contrast to my Winter wedding version from last year. It really is a versatile pattern and can be adapted for all seasons and occasions simply by changing the fabric and the cut. Hats off By Hand London! I will be making many more of these – especially now I have nailed the fit.

Speaking of style change… The last notable adjustment was the length. I realised that there is a gap in my wardrobe for dresses with skirts inbetween midi and full length and had bookmarked several versions of the Anna on Instagram where people have opted for a length that is somewhere between the two versions on the pattern packet. Not only does this fill a gap in my wardrobe, it fits the bill for a classic Summer dress; complementing style, drape and print for this version in particular.

So all things said and done I am really (really!) pleased with my new Anna. I am in the process of packing my bags for a Summer break and this little number with very definitely securing a spot.

Stef x

Stevie dress – pattern review

Having already made the Seren dress, I also wanted to try out the other new release from Tilly and the Buttons – the Stevie.

I wasn’t as immediately taken with this one as I am not that much of a fan of boxy silhouettes on me – being petite, I think it is easy to get drowned by them. I had seen lots of lovely versions on Instagram though and when this lovely Poppy Array cotton poplin came in to the shop, I knew it would be the perfect fabric. It is structured enough to hold it’s shape but still has some movement to it.

I have never regretted putting pockets into a dress but I definitely have regretted not adding pockets so I added some side seam pockets to my Stevie. To do this, I used the pocket pattern piece from the Myosotis dress as it was the nearest one to hand, and measured down 6cm from the waist notch and marked that as the placement for the top of each pocket piece on the front and back pieces.

I also added the top pocket as I wanted to add one of these gorgeous flower buttons as is goes so nicely with the fabric. I just created a buttonhole before I attached the pocket to the front of the dress.

I decided to add some matching ribbon for the tie as I thought ties in the same fabric might be a bit too stiff. I’m really pleased that I did as I think it gives it a lovely pop of colour.

I really love how the facings are topstitched down – this prevents them from flapping about and getting in the way!

I also decided to run a line of topstitching around the edges of the cuffs to keep them in place and prevent the overlocking showing.

I was worried about it being too short but I think it comes out at just the right length on me – had I not been 5’2, I would have added a couple of inches on to the length.

My measurements put me between the size 1 and 2 but I decided to go for the size 2 – I could comfortably make it in the size 1 next time though as there is lots of ease.

All in all, it was a pretty quick make – it only took 2 hours to sew up.

Even though the shape is very loose on me, I think it is great for hot summer days and it can also be synched in with a belt if I feel like it. I love the combination of the simple shape with the print of the fabric and I’m really pleased with my embellishments.

I am actually keen to make a Stevie top in a rayon or maybe this lovely Cupro to see how it looks in a drapier fabric.