The Agnes Top by Tilly and the Buttons!

Agnes Top

I sew a lot of jersey for my toddler but was still worried about embarking on the Agnes top by Tilly and the Buttons. Not least because of handling a lot more notoriously stretchy (and sometimes slippery) Jersey fabric, but also because I decided to splurge on an adorably beautiful jersey fabric from Liberty!

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It all began when I decided to head out to central London on a whim. It was a beautifully sunny morning and perfect for catching the clipper to enjoy the sights from the river. Bonus points for entertaining a toddler too when you can sing “London Bridge” while pointing out the actual bridge. It drizzled at one point and I decided to nip into  Liberty for some cover.

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It’s easy enough to find jersey fabric, but the range tends to be either plain, or in stripes or polka dots design. So when I chanced upon this vibrant Marble Hearts dufour jersey, I had to have it and the Agnes Top immediately came to mind espeicially as it’s become such an indie cult classic in the sewing world.

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The great thing about indie patterns is that instructions are just so straightforward and easy to follow. It was also such a delight to have a little booklet pop out instead of an A3 instruction sheet to open out and find the space to read and absorb.

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I decided to do the long sleeved version without the ruching. I wanted something quick and easy, as I was rather nervous about ruining more than 30 GBP worth of fabric!

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I had a little accident during the cutting, but oh well, no pain no gain.

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The pattern calls for a stabilizer for the back shoulder seams, which was easily done with a ribbon.

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And then it’s straightforward stitching back shoulder seams to front seams.

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A little tricky inserting the neckline, but nothing too complex.

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Once done, it’s down to serging the side seams and sleeve seams, hemming, and then trying it on.

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I am extremely pleased with my top. It fit perfectly and is so very, very comfortable. I did this top in a day, as I was a bundle of excited nerves and there is nothing like that sort of sewing Adrenalin to keep you going.

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I will definitely be making this top again. The pattern is drafted to end at the hips, and this is perfect for a mum on the run who needs to sit on the floor at playgroups and doesn’t want her bits and pieces poking out. It also allows unrestricted movement of your arms, and this is crucial for running about and picking up an energetic toddler. A fabulous pattern from Tilly and the Buttons!

You can also read about a sewing hack from Lauren Guthrie of Guthrie and Ghani.  In this tutorial, Lauren shows how to adapt the pattern into a maternity top.

Agnes Top

I look forward to sewing the ruched sleeve version next to welcome summer. Perhaps with another fun print!

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GBSB 3 Hour Slouchy Cardigan, Done and Dusted!

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It is finished! As we move into Spring in London, I thought I’d better get down to finishing the 3 hour slouchy cardi from the GBSB Fashion with Fabric book.

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I used Jersey to sew this up with a stretch needle. The longest part of this project, so to speak, was tracing the pattern out from the pattern pack.

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I’ve always found tracing patterns really tedious and almost gave up as a result. But I had blogged about doing this earlier and so got down to it.

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Once done, everything came together quite easily. It’s a ‘forgiving’ pattern so even if the cutting was’nt perfect at some points, it didn’t really make a difference when sewing it together.

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I used a zig zag stitch with black thread for the shoulders and side seams.

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The shoulder pleats were done with a straight stitch. I know the pattern calls for a twin needle to be used for this on aesthetic grounds but I thought a single stretch needle would be equally effective.

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And there we are!

The only changes I made to the pattern was to use bias binding for the back neckline. The pattern called for interfacing to stabilise this but I thought bias binding would work better as I had some polyester pink binding on hand. As polyester is lighter than cotten it helps stabilise the jersey while not dragging it down as cotton bias binding would.

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Final thoughts on this pattern? It’s very easy to sew but I’m just not really convinced jersey fabric is the way to go for this one as it seems ‘over-drapey” (if there is such a word!). Something done with fleece, for example, provides a little bit more shape to this but yet maintains the integrity of the original pattern. Still, I look forward to using this when out on our terrace playing with my son this Spring.

Making the 3 Hour Slouchy Cardi

Where has the time gone!?

I’ve still been sewing but just never found the time to write about it, reason being that my baby suddenly exploded into a boisterous toddler all of a sudden. These days I can’t even sit and type on my laptop as he’ll run over and want to sit on my lap and play with the mouse. He is having his nap now so I thought I’d better get round to my blog.

I’ve been sewing mostly children’s clothes over the last few months for the simply reason that it’s easier to trace the patterns (only one sheet usually required) and much faster too. I’ve mostly made jersey t-shirts for G with fun prints like the one below.


G in shirt

I also do some personalisation on onesies in the odd moment or two when my hands feel itchy but not itchy enough to put something together 🙂

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And to get me off to a good sewing start in 2016 I’ve picked the 3 hour slouchy cardigan from the Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric book.I’m quite excited about this one as spring is around the corner (although the papers say snow is too!).

cardi project

I’m sufficiently confident these days about sewing with jersey so I’m quite excited to be making this project! Now to trace the pattern out 🙂

Jumping Into June with the Great British Sewing Bee Jumpsuit

Jumpsuits for June in the sewing world’s calendar and I jumped right into it after reading about it here. HandmadeChris promptly listed all who dared jump into this challenge and there was no ignoring it after the post! 🙂

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So Wikipedia tells me that none other than Yves Saint Laurent invented the jumpsuit. I have never sewn a jumpsuit before but have had 2 in my closet after catching Samantha in a gorgeous flowy white jumpsuit in SATC. I like the jumpsuit for its comfort and wear-ability, and most of all for being able to accommodate and visually slim down my thunder thighs.

I chose the Great British Sewing Bee : Fashion with Fabric pattern. I must confess that Simplicity 1355 came very close in the pattern stakes but after considering the number of boxes left to pack I decided to go with the #GBSB pattern. I had also previously sewn the #GBSB camisole top and was curious to see it in jumpsuit form.

After toying with a red gingham fabric (yes what was I thinking!), I went with a cotton floral print. The process itself starts off with making the pants first and that was easily done within an evening.

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I did a couple of things differently with the top this time. A rolled hem instead of pin hemming for the frill.

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I also skipped inserting a facing and sewed it directly on to the main body. Sorry! Facings can be such a pain and I didn’t think the fabric needed it :p

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Finally, pants were joined to the camisole with bias binding and elastic.

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And voila! In its jumpsuit glory. Not quite the sort Mick Jagger prances dances around in, not quite the sort Lewis Hamilton crashes races around in, but just what it is, my very own #handmade jumpsuit!

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So what happened when I Jumped into June with this Jumpsuit?

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There was a huge amount of trepidation when it came down to the fitting crunch as this is a no-zip-no-button jumpsuit. But not too bad! The fit was essentially fine but I was too generous with the length of the straps and the frill was quite a disaster from the back as I didn’t match it properly.

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My favorite bit of this jumpsuit? The rolled hem in gorgeous blue thread that makes it so fun and flirty!

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Paired with a nice silver glittery shoe and you have a perfect party outfit. I prefer jumpsuits with a wider flare at the ankles but I suppose the #GBSB pattern was drafted this way because of the various hacks you can sew off it. In all honesty, without a pair of heels this jumpsuit can look a little frumpy if you have a long torso with short legs like me!

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And here we have Milo wanting to join in the camera fun together with Boop 🙂

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So there you have it, #jumpingintojune with all its fun and laughter. Here’s to a wonderful month ahead 🙂

Now what are we sewing for July!? 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Flying Ducks craft kit from The Makery

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This craft kit looked like a box full of absolute fun when I first spotted it in the John Lewis store at Oxford Street. Kitsch and classic at the same time, using a sewing machine? Sold!!

I confess it was a little daunting at first as I saw the pattern sheet before the instructions when I opened the box. A quick glance through the instructions, however, revealed that as long you can trace patterns and sew seams, the ducks are relatively easy to put together.  The instructions itself were clear, and I started off with the largest duck on The Makery’s advice that it would be the least fiddly. The tracing was slightly tedious as there are many parts, but once you match up the material and stuff in the wadding, it all becomes smooth sailing and in fact you don’t really need to refer to the instructions as everything falls into place logically.

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There is some hand sewing involved along the top of the duck when you sew in the wings. The kit comes with a needle and thread for this, as well as the flowery fabric that you see for the duck, as well as felt material for the beak and legs.

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The kit also contains a polka dot material to differentiate the front from the back of the duck. It’ a nice effect.

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You can hang the ducks up on a wall and the kit comes with an aid for this. However, I discovered that the size and shape of the duck is actually perfect for Boop – just the right size for him to grab and play with, with a lot more surface area for him to grab and throw around than say, a teddy bear.

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(Yes that’s my dog lying in front of him watching duck playtime).

wpid-20150528_195250.jpgThe beauty of this craft kit from The Makery is that it taught me how to put together a soft toy and/or 3D craft project. I’ve made dog pillows before with wadding, but it just never struck me that if I pushed myself that bit more, I could create something as beautiful as this flying duck that my baby is having so much fun with (and which is helping him develop his fine motor skills!).  For some reason, I just thought that making soft toys like ducks and other animals were just hugely complicated and so I never really bothered to see if I could make them.

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I’m now scouring the internet as well as Pinterest for crafting patterns to put together. There are some fun ones, like a giant squid sleeping bolster in the shape of Cthulhu. I have yet to put together the remaining two flying ducks, partly because I’m still relishing the creative experience and partly because I’m in the midst of moving halfway across the world to London.

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I would encourage anyone to reach out for a kit by The Makery (and no, this is not a sponsored post). The beauty of these kits, is that it not only teaches you new skills, but also piques your innate creativity to encourage you to go beyond the project itself, to explore the world of sewing and craft. So go on!  And make something today 🙂 #MakeryMakes.