Tag Archives: Colette patterns

wren-feature

Colette Patterns Wren dress

Well hello everyone!  Here is a dress I made yonks ago but have only just got round to taking some pics.  It’s the Wren dress by Colette Patterns.

wren dressMost definitely designed for knits, this cute pattern has been on my making list for a while as you know I could live in knits quite easily and just love to sew with jersey.  This pattern has a wrap bodice and a more scooped back neckline than is usual with your average knit dress bodice.   There are two skirt options – a gored skirt & a gathered skirt.   I was lucky enough to be sent a promotional copy of this pattern when it was released last year so never had the special long sleeve bonus pattern, although I can see it is available as a download here, But I didn’t check back, I therefore chose to make it with the short sleeves thinking that it would make a good style for autumn, especially in this beautifully black floral jersey from Girl Charlee UK (which incidentally was also given to me to review I am a lucky bunny, thank you!)  It is still available – hoorah!

wren dress

I have been wearing this dress a lot as it is easy to wear – of course!  Pop it on with a pair of black tights & a cardi & it’s perfect for this time of year, especially working in quite a toasty office.

wren dressIt has really pretty gathers at the shoulders.

So what sewing observations have I about the Wren dress and the fabric? Well, it is worth knowing that the bodice is actually a very short bodice and actually is more empire line than you might think.  All very good to hide the fairy cakes and fish and chips, but bear in mind that it doesn’t hit your natural waist as it is.

wren dress

All of Colette Patterns are known for their clarity of instructions so they are easy to follow.  This is a nice pattern and relatively easy to sew.  I added a step to the making however.  At the neckline (both the front straight edges and the back neck edge) I used clear elastic to strengthen and support the edges as I wasn’t sure whether the edges actually needed a slight bit of tension to prevent them stretching out of shape.  I did this by attaching clear elastic to the wrong side right up to the edge of the fabric, then turning that edge to the wrong side as the hem, with the elastic now sandwiched in between.   This is explained here in video on Maria Denmark’s blog.

wren dress

Everything else was pretty unremarkable (as I said I made this a while ago and nothing else has stuck in my memory!)

wren dressI haven’t straightened the skirt out here – it has twisted a bit through being worn all day.

Now the fabric is delightful – it is a cotton blend jersey and is pretty light weight but nice & drapey with it.  And who doesn’t love a traditional rose print?  As with all other fabric I have bought from Girl Charlee UK, the quality is superb.  Buying knits online can always be a bit of a gamble, especially if there is little information about percentage stretch and the term ‘mid weight’ or ‘lightweight’ can encompass so many different jersey experiences.  I know I have made miscalculations in the past.  Always worth getting a sample I think.  Which I did.  But quality is always high I have found with Girl Charlee UK and I am not just saying that because this was a freebie – if I didn’t think it was true I would not write it.

Mark from Girl Charlee UK

Mark from Girl Charlee UK

Wearing it above with my Wembley cardigan, one of my busiest wardrobe staples.

But if you ever contact Girl Charlee in the UK you could well be replied to by the lovely Mark.  Now I have been corresponding with him for well over a year now & he is such a warm friendly enthusiastic person to do business with & how amazing was it to meet him in real life last weekend at the West Country Patchwork and Textile Show (more on that another time).  It felt like I had always known him when we had a good ol’ chin wag about the usual sewing things that us sewists and bloggers talk about.  And of course I bought some more fabric to take home with me – it’s irresistible – a shop that sells just beautiful knits?  Oh I am so there!!!  I have cut out a couple of things already 🙂

wrenJust a note on the photos- I took them in the evening so the light was not as good, but it felt like I had to strike whilst wearing it otherwise how long would it be until I could blog about it?

So there we are.  My blogging pile up has just reduced by one.  I have also passed another landmark and switched my blog host which appeared as such a massive headache to me and caused me all sorts of delays getting round to it, but I have to say that it was actually a lot easier than I conceived it to be.  I feel so relieved to have moved over to a UK based wordpress managed host which is going to save me a lot of ££s now.  And it has reinvigorated my feeling towards the blog – it’s like a blogging weight off my shoulders.  So apologies if there was a slight hiccup over the weekend with the last post appearing twice.  And I have not replied to all the comments yet as I wasn’t sure how that would get affected.   Not bad in the grand scheme of things.   I’ll catch up, promise. Hoorah for the second time.

wembley cardigan

Seamwork Wembley Cardigan

Hello all!  This one is a short & sweet one – reflecting the short & sweetness of the sewing!  And the photos …. forgive me…. you may not learn a great deal about the garment I am talking about because, well, it just doesn’t show up much in them!  Is there any point ?  Well bear with me, you can get the gist plus I have not edited the cat out of some of them & I know there are a few cat lovers out there.  What more reason do you need to read on?

wembley cardigan

I have made me the perfect summer cardigan.  Even though I love round neck cardigans (Muse Jenna cardigan is my ultimate fave) sometimes you need a v neck or a straight edge cardigan to wear with some of those shirt dresses or just on top of t-shirts.

wembley cardigan

I did not consciously aim to make a straight edge cardigan when I got my precious black wool jersey out & played around with the patterns I already had.  However, I also had the Wembley Cardigan, a Colette Patterns Seamwork magazine pattern, printed out ready to sew.  I’d recently made my Sew Over It Vintage shirt dress and thought it was an idea pairing.

Wembley cardigan

Zoom.  There is not that much sewing to the Wembley cardigan – shoulder seams, sleeves to set in with cuffs, waist & neck bindings.  That’s all.

And I have to say that this is a really useful style for spring/ summer.  I’ve been pulling it out of the cupboard a lot & it is very mixable with trousers & skirts & dresses.  What a winner!  Has anyone else come to the same conclusion about the Wembley cardigan?

And if you got this far you might be interested to know that that massive bush of a hairdo has been tamed now.  No more grandma bouffant.  That makes me feel better already!

phoebe feature

Phoebe in blue (& a discount!)

I had no immediate urge to sew the Phoebe dress when it was released by Colette Patterns.  I liked the look of it, & thought the styling was cute, but I did not fall over myself to acquire it & make it.  It was not one of those love at first sight patterns, I’ll admit.  But there is something about sewing a Colette pattern that still feels like a total treat – the spa experience of sewing.  Relax, sink into new depths of peace whilst you focus on the detail as guided in the signature little instruction booklet.  You know you are sewing something stylish.  You know it will be a quality garment.    You don’t have to print out reams of A4 sheets depleting your ink & then tape together on the rug in front of the TV.  You pop the envelope, reach inside for the crisp tissue paper folded as it will never ever be again & unwrap your next sewing adventure.  There is something very experiential.  It’s worth taking your time over.

phoebe dress

Phoebe dress is described by Colette Patterns as

A modern A line sheath dress with a customizable style. The lined bodice shaped with princess seams makes Phoebe incredibly easy to fit. Angled waist darts create a flattering shape that is echoed by the lightly flared skirt.

There are two versions – a straight plain fronted dress & a double breasted dress with buttons. I chose the latter as why not get some button interest going?!Phoebe is a modern A-line sheath dress with a customizable style. The lined bodice shaped by princess seams makes Phoebe incredibly easy to fit. Angled waist darts create a flattering shape that is echoed by the lightly flared skirt. Phoebe is a modern A-line sheath dress with a customizable style. The lined bodice shaped by princess seams makes Phoebe incredibly easy to fit. Angled waist darts create a flattering shape that is echoed by the lightly flared skirt. Phoebe is a modern A-line sheath dress with a customizable style. The lined bodice shaped by princess seams makes Phoebe incredibly easy to fit. Angled waist darts create a flattering shape that is echoed by the lightly flared skirt.

phoebe dress

Sew Essential provided me with the Phoebe sewing pattern (they stock so many of the Independent pattern companies’ sewing patterns now along with all of the bigger brands) and some fabric to make it up in.  I was taken by the crepe dress making fabric, & figured a royal blue Phoebe would be super playfully chic if I made it as a pinafore.  Yes, I can wear pinafores, it doesn’t have to be something for the youngsters.  I felt could make it work.

I am not the standard Colette Patterns bodice shape so I had to make a toile, then another, then another.  I think back on that afternoon & remember I was watching episode after episode of the Great Interior Design Challenge on iPlayer through this experience.  Do you remember things like that?  What you were listening to/ watching when you sew something?  For my Joan dress, for example it was the new series of the X Files…..the Rhys Darby episode particularly sticks in my mind.

Pattern

My version is the white paper – the original is tissue paper behind

So the bodice took some work to get it to fit my (clearly odd ) non standard shape.  It was an effort, as always, because the area that was so wrong for me was behind me.  I pinched out the excess as best as I could & then kept making new versions up with each set of adjustments until I came as close as I was prepared to.  Comparing the original piece with the ‘badger body’ back bodice I was surprised to see that it was in the upper shoulder area – my adjustments to the Laurel dress have a much smaller adjustment taken off at the back shoulder, but the rest of the dress fitted much more easily.  Just interesting.  And I felt I was toiling like a pro when I was transferring the adjustments to the pattern pieces & then remembering to make compensatory adjustments to the armsyce.  Gosh I have learnt so much from the online sewing community.

During the evolution of the toile I was able to see where the bodice waist seam was going to fall – it is higher than my natural waist.  I had the opportunity to lower the waist if I wanted, but as you can see, I was happy with the higher waist (good camouflage for those bloaty days) but could squeeze a sway back adjustment into the final version.

I was confident that I could make adjustments to the skirt in progress & not toile it.  It seems fitting that the bulk of the content in this write up is devoted to the bodice as that is where it felt that all the time went!  Once I had got to my final bodice I could not wait to get sewing.  It is a lined bodice, but I also lined the skirt as well.  The instructions of course are clear & carefully take you through the sewing process, including the bodice lining.  I opted to sew my skirt lining into waist seam & hand sew the bodice at the waist over the top.  I wanted the weight of the skirt to pull the bodice ever so slightly as it fitted better like that!

phoebe

The Phoebe dress doesn’t have to have a centre back invisible zip but that’s what I chose.  If there is a faux double breasted front, let’s hide the real opening I thought.  (The instructions suggest using a regular zip).  Onto that double breasting.  Yes it is faux in that it doesn’t function as a way in/ out of the dress.  But it is made up of two separate overlapping lined bodice fronts so if you played with the skirt, you could make this into a suit dress hack with buttons going all the way down the skirt front too.   Hmm.  That could look pretty cool – pinstripe maybe over a plain white shirt?

phoebe dress

Back to this version though.  Call me lazy (but not too loud!) but I was not going to sew buttonholes just for the sake of it.  There are 10 buttons after all & with buttonholes, mo matter how careful you are, there are always stray tufts sticking out.  You could of course go full on & sew bound buttonholes making this rather a showcase of skill.  But not me, not this time.  I sewed the buttons onto the markings through all bodice layers.  This keeps the bodice where it needs to be & with the bonus of buttons.  I like royal blue & black so hunted out a couple of options.  Here are the two choices I gave myself – both plastic-  flowers & faceted jet-like buttons.  I had the fortune of a second opinion via my sewing guru (my Mum) & we concurred – flowers were more fun.

Here it is in action, photos courtesy of my very own David Bailey  father.  I took Phoebe with me on my last visit, handsewing still to be completed, but knowing that my family photographer loves to be called on for a photoshoot with a willing idiot….

phoebe dress

One thing I will say.  The fit feels good, the bodice has less ease due to it being kind of tailored.  The front is easy to fit with princess seams, but the back is where my problems were…never easy when you sew solo.

phoebe dress

If I was to wear this without a top underneath my bra straps show.  That could be down to my armsyce adjustments (pride comes before a fall afterall) or maybe they are more scooped.  Anyone else made Phoebe who can comment?

phoebe dress

Anyway, the gorgeous crepe dressmaking fabric  that I used is available from Sew Essential – lots of colours available  & this is an Orla top, made from the cream crepe, isn’t it fine?  You can get the Phoebe dress sewing pattern at Sew Essential too …and until the 29th March 2016 there is a 10% discount if you use the code BADGER10!  Tempted?

Astoria

Double Astoria

Happy Saturday people!  Fancy a weekend project?  You can’t go wrong with the wide selection of Seamwork patterns – all wardrobe builders, downloadable to suit your whim, and sewable in under 3 hours.  Here are two versions of the Astoria cropped sweater.

Astoria

It shall be mainly photos this post.

Astoria

Because they sort of tell the story.

Astoria

It’s an elegantly shaped cropped sweater, that can be made out of knits of all types.

Astoria

I’ve made two versions – one in a sweater knit – this purple I had left over from my Oslo cardigan (another Seamwork pattern)

Astoria

And some lovely jersey left after I made my Moneta dress (another Colette Pattern!).  The jersey, a teal interlock from Plus Addict  has worn so well whilst being soft & lovely to wear.

Astoria Because I am prone to feeling draughts I recommend a full slip or long camisole as a base layer 😉

Astoria

The pattern itself was indeed a straightforward easy sew…..& I made it (last year) camping sewing without my overlocker, so I used a narrow zig zag & hey, I survived!!  And seriously when I am wearing them I forget that these tops are not finished my usual way, that’s how easy it is to sew knits even if you don’t have an overlocker!

Astoria

I particularly like the effect of a cropped sweater like this with the silhouette of a circle skirt.  I’m getting more into circle skirts & am visioning a tartan one ….but this circle skirt was another really quick project (especially because I did not hem it!!)

Happy weekend everyone!  If you are at a loss for a sewing project maybe I have given you some idea about where to look, what do you think? x

feature

Seamwork Oslo cardigan

I finally got round to making up one of the patterns from the very first Seamwork magazine, from Colette Patterns.

oslo

Yes, my Dad took these photos!

This is the Oslo cardigan in red. This is some kind of a sweater knit that I had in my stash (cheap from Abakhan once upon a time). It has a loose knit & a degree of cotton in the fibres. But anymore than that I do not know. It appeared to be prone to unravelling more than your usual knit, so I was prepared to treat the cut edges with care & as always  make sure everything was finished with my overlocker.

oslo 2

Anyway, the Oslo is a cosy cardigan, well suited to snuggling when made in something warm, but I made it up in this light weight knit with great swing, as a summer knit. I rushed it in time for my Cornish Whitsun week away as my other red cardigan has suffered from a traumatic visit to the vet’s & the lacerations caused by poor Merlin’s razor sharp claws (& you should have seen the dress & my skin underneath!) have rendered it rather scruffy….

oslo 3

Armed with the knowledge that this wardrobe building pattern is a quick make – this is the premise for the Seamwork patterns- I took to making it up in time for my holiday. And I wasn’t disappointed. It is simple to make – as with most knit tops sleeves are inserted flat, then the side seams & sleeve seams sewn in one operation. The sleeves are finished with cuffs & the cardigan’s hem is stitched before attaching the long collar along the front & neck edges in one long go.

oslo 4

I love the long collar.

oslo 5

Ooops, eyes closed!

Are you interested in a hem sewing tip for loose knits that are more likely to flute out at their edges? I find that using some kind of hemming tape that dissolves after the first wash (like this but mine was something different) is a great way to control the hem edge where you want it, much more thoroughly than pressing it would achieve.

oslo 6

I’ve really enjoyed having a cardigan like this to wear. I haven’t added any fastenings to it, but it is so very arm-huggingly-wrappable – that pose that often gets assumed by the seaside, to keep the sea breeze at bay!

oslo 7

The cuffs are vvveeerrrryyyy long too, so they can be folded to keep your wrists warm, or unfolded to snuggle chilly hands.  This is the pattern I will use for at least one of my purple cardigans– for my Mum.  She wants a cardi with 3/4 or even 1/2 length sleeves.  She’s a layering lady!

And following on from its original week away by the sea, it is a great casual cardi, worn with the ‘more casual’ side of my wardrobe.  At the moment I am sat writing wearing it with a white vest top & my Floral Hudsons.  It’s getting worked!

Moneta feature

Moneta Monday?

It’s exactly a week since my last Moneta post, and here I am with another one to show you- a Moneta dress (by Colette Patterns) made using some lovely teal interlock from Plush Addict.(Disclaimer I received this fabric free from Plush Addict to review)

Moneta

Now remember,  Moneta is Colette Pattern’s pattern of the month.  And  there is a 20%. discount if you want to buy it this month too- marvelloso! Follow that link!

Moneta

Now it’s only recently that I became aware of what interlock actually is, & ask me a couple of months ago what it was, & I would only be able to suggest that it was some kind of jersey, but I had no more knowledge than that.  It all changed when I read the article in Seamwork about doubleknits by Alyson Clair & discovered What you clever folk will doubtless already know, that interlock is a kind of double knit (or double knit is a kind of interlock hahaha).  She writes, “Interlock jersey is in fact a double jersey, with a smooth surface on each side. The wales of the fabric on each side are alternated, with the back loops knitted together. This means both sides of an interlock will look the same”.  And the penny dropped.  This interlock is indeed more structured than the Liberty jersey I made my last Moneta out of.  It has less drape & it’s one of those knits whose edges behave & don’t curl up.  It’s easy to work with, & as you’ll see it gathers easily, so it’s not that thick, in fact it feels like quality t-shirts from M&S that your Mum rates highly.  It has less stretch & recovery though, so I would reckon it’s not such a good choice for leggings & truly figure hugging things.

Moneta

I chose it based on its colour, with a Moneta in mind.  I LOVE teal.  But it’s one of those colours that are sometimes hard to find, which is why I snap them up when I do find them (& why you might be under the illusion that they are common place based on how often I make things up in teal!).

Moneta

I have already peeled on about how I have found making the Moneta (easy).  I took some photos this time of the elastic waist shirring process.

Fun hey?!  Then there was the collar.  More on that in a minute, but look what happened.

Blade needs changing

This is the ugly mess that results in the overlocker blade not being able to cope with the thickness of fabrics.  YUK.  It persuaded me to get my screwdriver out & replace the blade.  Only, when I came to swap the old for the spare (provided at time of purchase), they were different sizes, so I had to put the old one back in.  SOB.  At least I tried.  I won’t be so scared next time.

 

So, let’s talk about the collar.  Once again, I opted for a collar, not wanting the plain turned under neckline.  I wanted to make the roll collar, which has been designed with a two piece back.  But I just couldn’t shake off the desire to make it without a break in the back, and using the roll back that is used for the tie collar.  I am sure there is a practical reason for making both these neckline options split either in the front (the tie) or the back (the roll collar), but perversely I had to find out for myself & potentially make the mistake, ignoring the styles provided & cobbling together the roll collar front & the tie collar back.  Nothing special needed for this, since the bodice & neckline shape does not vary, so the collars all fit & are therefore potentially interchangeable.  I was preparing myself for a fall however.

 

Shall I tell you now?  Did I make a boo boo?  Well I don’t think so….as far as I could guess, the practical reasons for the collar being split in the original designs could be either to make the collar sit down at the back/ front & not flip up.  There is a slight tendency for my collar to be a bit perky, but once under a cardigan it gets flattened into submission.  The other reason is to tell which is the front & which is the back!  Hahaha.  I need to sew a ribbon or something into the back as the only way I can tell is to look at the shoulders to see which way the seams are facing!

Moneta

So that’s my teal Moneta dress.  I have three Monetas now, & they are so easy to wear – extremely comfy for working at home too.  I could see a sleeveless version in my summer future (with a collar of some description) – but for now, I think three “semi wintry” versions that will also see me into Spring is enough for now- so no Moneta next Monday- promise!  Have you see the tips for Moneta month – especially how to bind the edges?  I like the sound of that!

Moneta feature

Liberty Moneta

Time for something lovely.  And that should be loverly with a capital L for Liberty!  Yes, here is my Liberty jersey Moneta, promised after making my polka dot Moneta earlier this year.

Moneta

And what good timing as the Moneta is Colette Pattern’s pattern of the month.  And apparently there is a 20% discount if you want to buy it this month too- excellente! Follow that link!

Moneta

OK Kilburn Rose Liberty Jersey is one of my high hitting fabrics this year.  Bought in Shaukat when I visited last year, this was the most expensive length of fabric I have ever bought for a dress.  (But you know I am a bargain sniffer, it’ll take a big shift to change me into a quality gal) .  But this is so worth it.  The fabric is just *amazing*.  Its drape, the colours, the beautiful roses (designed by Tamsin Greig don’t you know – read about it here).

Moneta

Having made Moneta once, I knew what was in store.  I shortened the bodice slightly & think I got it just right.  This therefore impacted on the overall length of the skirt too, making it a tad shorter which is a good thing.  I also opted for the tie neck, because, *of course!*  It’s a tie & a collar & as well as looking dreamy & classic & vintage to suit the beautiful fabric, I also did not like the neck just turned under, which is how the basic Moneta is designed.

Moneta-003

The back of the neck scoops & has a scooped collar, which I love, although, currently wearing under cardigans squooshes it up a bit at the back.

Moneta

I don’t think I made any other changes to how it was put together – I really like the gathered skirt, I love the way it swings & feels super girly.  I kept the sleeves at elbow length which I also think is very feminine & surprisingly doesn’t bring me out in goosebumps with my wrists only covered by cardigan at the moment.

Moneta

 

I am really into wearing dresses, tights & boots & this dress is getting worn a lot.  It is yet another of my dresses that is super easy to care for – no ironing people!  Just wash, dry naturally & wear again.  Score!

I tell you what.  Spending more on fabric, to make less really does create some amazing clothes that become firm favorites.

Moneta

Like….der!

 

It’s clearly obvious, that if you spend at the very top end of your budget, your spending decision is going to be far more sound & long lasting than bulk buying because it’s a bargain.  I am learning.  Honest!

Laurel feature

The Laurel pinafore

The Laurel dress by Colette Patterns has to be one of my staples.  I have made *quite a few* with the last one showcasing how well it works with a lining as my LBD.

Laurel dress

Upon my last expedition to Goldhawk Road with Jane, a blatant copy of sorts was afoot, when she happily showed me where she bought the teal  crepe she used to make her Francoise dress.  After hearing how it worked well with thermal tights (we are such goddesses) I felt that it could well be possible to wear a cute dress – above the knee- in winter- & still be warm enough.

Laurel dress

But somewhere along the way between deciding I would buy a length of this fabric (£12.99 per metre) & asking for a proper amount, I sort of, er, didn’t ask for enough.  In my head I thought a metre would be plenty, as this fabric was pretty wide.  Yes,  I can get a shift dress out of a metre of fabric, but not the sleeves.  Doh!

Laurel dress

Anyway, I discovered this when venturing forth to cut out my Laurel.  Sleeves, even short sleeves, were out of the equation.  Some mad brain computing later churned out the alternative Laurel – the pinafore (or jumper?) in teal with purple lining.

Laurel

Now when I made my LBD I sewed this in an evening.  Exactly, or almost exactly the same.  Not so this time.  I attempted to add pockets – which I lined – but were nothing beyond the pockets provided by the pattern.  Apart from that, I did nothing different.  I used the same tutorials as they are pretty darn excellent, for lining a sleeveless dress by machine.   Although, the final time I inserted the zip (yes there is a story here) I attached it by hand.

Laurel

So what’s the story?  Firstly the crepe is more of a challenging fabric to sew if a crisp finish is desired.  I am not 100% pleased with the pockets – they look decidedly amateur & I didn’t achieve brilliantly square edges.  But that is the fabric I am sure.  It’s reasonably thick & bouncy.  Doesn’t hold a firm fold.

Laurel dress

The zip though?  I usually tend to opt for lapped zippers, & was anticipating this not being straight forward so I remembered to interface the zipper  seam edges (ie centre back) before attaching the zip.  Despite this look how it has a tendency to bulge through sewing.  I even basted the zip with perpendicular pins to counter this fabric jokery.

But this is not the reason why I had to unpick the zip more than once (I think I took two attempts to get it this far).  Sadly I was all ready to try the dress on to hem it, when I discovered that one of the shoulders had twisted.  Aaaargh!

SO I had to unpick & start again.  On a positive note the zip went in a lot better.

Laurel

I also forget that some of Colette Patterns dresses are a bit short – this is no exception.  But hey ho.  I should maybe add a note to my pattern piece for future memory lapses.

Laurel dress

I’ve only been wearing it with jersey long sleeves, but really do need to see whether it works with a button-up shirt.  I will have to report back to you if it’s a goer.  Anyone else a fan of the sleeveless dress= pinafore/jumper?  Could an aging badger pull it off, or would the collar be just a little bit too Lolita?

Anise jacket

Anise jacket

Apologies in advance for repeating this post- but through all my laptop debacle & having to use the WordPress app on the iPad I have inadvertently deleted some of my recent posts.  I am trying to put it right, but I’m sorry I lost all of the lovely comments you all left me.  I need to keep a record of this jacket on my blog though, so here it is again.  Hopefully word for word.  If you missed it the first time around, hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

So here it is, the most proud moment of my sewing history I think I can say. I am reporting back on my Anise jacket and I am stoked. It’s lined, it has welt pockets and bound buttonholes. It has the cutest Peter Pan collar that sits with such a lovely roll over the neckline. It fits me like a glove, with enough room for a cardigan or sweater. I feel a little je ne sais quoi in it, when I wear my beret and leather gloves. It’s cute, cosy, but most of all, I feel I have done a really good job. You might be like me with the things you make – the first one to point out the flaws when someone offers you a compliment? Well, that is my default position too. However for this jacket there is only one slight 80 degree corner at the inner lining I would hastily show you if you said, “nice jacket”. And for me that is a record. I see just one flaw, & if you see any others, please keep them to yourself & maintain my illusion!!

Anise jacket 1

 

I have made a couple of more complex semi-tailored items before, with my Vintage Vogue jacket, my Spearmint coat and more recently my Andy coat, so anticipated a lot of groundwork & preparation and quite a lot of nerve-wracking techniques in making this jacket. You have to be patient with a make like this. I would suggest it will not be completed in a day unless you are pretty pro or don’t sleep.

Anise jacket 2

 

I chose this grey flannel fabric for the outer and polka dot satin for the lining. I also used calico (muslin) for underlining. It took me about four sittings to make this (quite long stints- between 4 and six hours). It was my post Christmas – pre New year make. Something to lavish attention on having sewn like a whirling dervish as I made Christmas presents for friends and family in every spare moment.

The Anise jacket pattern by Colette patterns, has a supplementary instruction booklet you can buy if you need more help, but I have to say that the instructions were extremely clear in the pattern alone. Maybe though I have a few coat makes under my belt and so have those experiences to build on.

It’s funny that there is a whole lot of work that you have to do for a jacket like this before you start constructing the jacket itself, eg attaching the underlining, thread tracing the pattern markings.

If you opt for bound buttonholes you need to make them as one of the first steps, which feels odd since buttonholes and buttons are usually one of the finishing touches for a shirt or skirt. You can make this jacket with regular buttonholes, but I was always going to make bound buttonholes, and can never make bound buttonholes any other way than without followingKaren’s e-book. It is my bound buttonhole bible! And I think they look pretty smart this time.

Anise jacket 3

 

So having completed the buttons, you then get on to engineering the collar. It’s cut with two pieces- an upper collar and the undercollar. The undercollar is cut on the bias. There is also an extra piece of interfacing, with its own special pattern piece that looks like a stretched sliver of a crescent moon. This is for reinforcing the collar roll, and I am convinced it’s what adds to the collar behaving itself beautifully, with enough loft before, yes, rolling as it folds. When I mentioned this to my Mum, conversation went along these lines,

Anise jacket 4

 

ME:”There’s even an extra piece of interfacing like a crescent along the collar at the neckline”

MUM (matter of fact) :”Yes, I know”

ME: (In my head) “How come you know all this stuff – there is nothing you don’t seem to already know! I wish I could know as much about sewing as you do!” You see I can remember my Mum going to evening classes in the 70s, when classes like “tailoring” were run up & down the country at local technical colleges, even in Somerset! Sigh. OK back to the story, the Anise story.

Anise jacket5

 

I can’t remember if I made the welt pockets before or after the collar. But what a joy they were to make too, but you feel more practised having four bound buttonholes under your belt – welt pockets follow similar principles, with that nerve inducing & very final slashing through the centre of the rectangle you’ve just sewn in the actual front of your jacket, for the pocket linings & welts to get manipulated within.

Anise jacket 6

I’m afraid I have no drama to recount about putting the jacket pieces together to make a 3D garment.  The sleeves are cut in two pieces & set in with some gathering stitches at the sleeve head.  This fabric by the way sucks up gathers like a sponge, absorbing the tucks into its wonderful dense self.  And it is like a blanket.  I love it!  The jacket lining has special pieces for the front & back, but uses the same sleeve pieces (but with a shorter hem).  The centre back is designed for a massive expansion pleat.

Anise jacket 7

Attaching the lining to the jacket- this time I made the decision not to bag the lining.  That was quite a biggie for me as it is how I have done it before, & you know me, I try to machine as much as I can.  This time, however, I followed the instructions in the pattern – attaching the sleeves to the lining at their hems, then handsewing the lining sleevehead into the lining body.   The main hem is handsewn – first the jacket’s hem itself, then the lining’s hem is handstitched but hidden under the lining’s hem fold.

Anise jacket

My most fiddly bit is the front facing corners where the lining at hem & facing meet to form a right angle.  One side is better than the other, hence one side being 80 degrees & a bit squirched.

So, I promised to share the trials & tribulations with making this jacket, & I have to say they fall mainly into the whoop whoop department.  And working with this flannel was a joy – it was easy to press underneath a silk organza cloth, with steam.  I had no problems with it at all.  And it is very forgiving, handstitching just disappears within its dense fibres.

Sewing this jacket has helped me decide that I need more makes like this in my projects, so that some at least of my future handmade wardrobe is invested with risk & learning (as set out here).  I don’t need to always make fast clothes!

ANise jacket 9

A big thank you to my Dad who took the on location photos.  Aren’t they so much better than my usual! And I’m wearing my new Miette skirt..

Moneta dress

Polka dot Moneta : #polkadotjanuary

Hello!  It’s almost the end of January and if I am to blog about what I’ve made in time for the two awesome January themes I’d better get cracking.  Today it is  my polka dot Moneta dress just in time for the Sewcialists’ Polka Dot January.  Tomorrow it shall be my contribution to Jungle January!  (Bad planning on my behalf – two blog posts on consecutive days, but hey.  So I am not a blog planner.)

Moneta dress

 

So what’s the story with this one?  I resisted such a long time getting the Moneta dress by Colette Patterns since I had the Lady Skater dress which is such an awesome pattern.  How could I justify it?  They seemed so similar, plus I knew that the Lady Skater fitted me out of the packet AND had plentiful sleeve options.  But I did like those purty collar / neckline options offered by the Moneta.  And I kept returning to ogle at them.  Also @naomimolly (on Instagram) has to be the most prolific Moneta maker ever beguiling me with dresses of beauty (& clearly practical comfort).

Moneta dress

 

So there was some kind of special discount offered by Colette Patterns last year & I jumped in for the digital download.  And then prevaricated some more as I have the most wonderful Liberty jersey that I feel is destined to become a Moneta, but clearly, I was not going to test sizing & fit on the length of jersey that had costed me the most I’d ever paid for a length of jersey.  Eventually this black & white polka dot, residing in my stash, volunteered itself.  It’s cheap & cheerful, although has more body that I expected so is actually quite warm to be wearing at this time of year (win!).  The polka dots are the kind that are “painted on”- almost literally it feels- resulting in the underside of the fabric looking like polka dot seersucker with its puckers.   Close up the white dots thinly cover the black background & look distinctly cheap.  From a distance less of an issue?!

Moneta dress

I remember trying to be smart printing out the pdf, but not realising that I had printed out the sleeveless bodiced version & had to hunt around for the longer sleeves that I required.  Such is the luck of the pdf experience.  I decided I would make the plainest longest sleeved version to see how it fit & how it works for then deciding on what options to take advantage of for the Liberty jersey.

Moneta dress

I expected a simple sew & I was not disappointed.  All on my overlocker apart from some of the hems (neck edge, sleeves and skirt hem) that I used my coverstitch for.

Interesting construction to note:  the neck edge in this version is just meant to be a turned edge.  (The Lady Skater has a separate neck band).  I was a little uneasy about this, concerned that it might gape or stretch, so I zig zagged some woven elastic around the wrong side of the neck edge before turning it over and coverstitching through all layers.  It certainly feels more robust, but even then, I could have got a slightly better tension as there is still some slight gaping which I would wish to avoid next time.

Moneta dress

Other interesting construction note: the skirt gathering.  Described as “shirring” in the pattern, you are meant to cut elastic (clear elastic) to a required length (I seem to remember it is based on your waist measurement) & then attach to the skirt like you would elastic to knickers (ie quartering, then stretching the elastic to fit in between whilst zig-zagging to the fabric).  This results in 1. a nicely gathered skirt and 2. a reinforced waist to stop sagging/ drooping.  I found my elastic was at its maximum stretch  when I was doing this, which was fun!

Moneta dress

I also put pockets in, as they come with the pattern, and are part of the design.  But I am not convinced by in seam pockets in knit skirts.  They are never quite as flat lying as I would like.  Next time I will miss them out I think.

Moneta dress

How does the Moneta compare then to the Lady Skater?  Have I wasted my money?  The differences I see, create the following distinctions – Lady Skater versus Moneta ballet dancer.

  • Both graceful scoop necks, although the Lady Skater has a neckband finish, whilst Moneta has a turned edge (not my favorite finish) but there are additional collars which are heavenly;
  • Sleeves – they both have different sleeve options – which are different to each other!  Lady Skater has long from wrist, 3/4 length and short.  Moneta has 3/4 length, short & sleeveless;
  • Skirts- the Lady Skater is a half circle skirt (I think) with no gathering.  Moneta is a gathered dirndl – with pockets.

I enjoy wearing both of them.  This Moneta is nice & warm (but then so is my Lady Skater as I made it out of sweater knit & it has long snugly sleeves).  You can see the fit of my Moneta doesn’t quite hit my waistline- something I could alter next time.  I would also consider a shorter skirt- I lazily turned up the hem allowance without trying it on 😉 But if I shorten the bodice, maybe I won’t need to.

Moneta dress

Lady Skater has more of a casual edge than the Moneta, which is just a tad more classically styled.  But then isn’t that what both Kitschy Koo and Colette Patterns are known for, respectively?  For me, the joy of a decent knit dress is the style, comfort & practicality, therefore I have room for both of these in my wardrobe.  Hurrah!  Now, when can I make my Liberty jersey up & just what neckline option shall I go for?  (I am veering towards the tie neck- surprise surprise).  If you want to see what my Liberty pattern is, it’s the same (but jersey) as Jane’s lining to her boiled wool coat , Kilburn Rose.