Friday Pattern Company Sagebrush Blouse

I have had my eye on the Friday Pattern Company Sagebrush since it was first released, having recently purchased some lovely cotton gauze (a fabric I haven’t sewn with before) so I finally relented and sent off for the pattern confident that it would be the perfect pattern/fabric match.

Double gauze naturally crinkles; after prewashing my fabric (yes this is something I always do – I don’t want to risk shrinkage after all my hard work sewing up a garment) I dried it off and then gave it an iron to smooth out some but not all of the crinkles for the look I wanted. I picked up this fabric from my local shop – if you have read my previous blogs you will know my excitement at finally having a fabric shop right on my doorstep.

https://www.sewwithholly.co.uk/

This was my first time using a Friday Pattern Company pattern; I purchased the paper copy which comes nicely packaged. The pattern comes on tissue paper which isn’t my preference; I always have a real problem folding the sheets back up the same way they arrived. Anyway it was easy enough to trace off with only 7 pattern pieces. The instruction booklet is well written and includes all the information you need with step by step written instructions and clear illustrations.

The body size guide put me at small bust, large waist and meduim hips but from the finished measurements I could see there was plenty of ease so I cut out the small bust and just graded to the medium on the hips and waist.

This is definitely one of those patterns that looks way more complicated than it is – I promise you that this is a really easy enjoyable sew. The front section is made up of a yoke and front body with a ruffle which gets sandwiched in between. The ruffle piece needs to be folded in half length ways and then gathering to make it the same length as the yoke and the front body piece is slightly gathered as well. Once all the pieces measure the same length they are sewn together with the ruffle sandwiched in the middle. The gauze sewed up really well on my sewing machine; it does fray quite a bit so the seams will need finishing off. I used my overlocker to finish off some areas like the ruffle but with a 5/8″ seam allowance I was able to finish off with French Seams so it is pretty on the inside too.

The hardest stage for me was adding the bias binding which finishes the neckline but also becomes the tie at the back. It wasn’t really hard just time consuming. The strip of bias binding needs to be folded in half and pressed before attaching one of the raw edges to the neckline. It then needs to be folded around the raw edge and the fabric I was using didn’t stay folded very well so I ended up working at the ironing board and pressing as I pinned (I actually used wonderclips not pins) to keep it all in place.

The sides are sewn up before adding the sleeves which are inset and gathered around the sleeve head to give a dramatic puffed sleeve; you then add elastic around the sleeve hem to complete the effect – I love how they look.

The top has a huge hem; I was very hesitant at first because I thought the top would end up too short. You turn up a full 10cm (5cm then another 5cm). I tested it out pinned first and then decided I should go for it because the length looked about right. I did question the necessity of such a big hem (fabric waste?) but actually think that it probably gives the hem some weight and helps it sit nicely. This is a pattern I can imagine getting a lot of use out of; more tops are definitely in the pipeline and I also fancy having a go at a dress hack.

Anyway I certainly feel ‘Pretty in Pink’; it isn’t a colour I usually go for but this is what I would describe as a darker dusky pink and I think it suits my skin tone; the fabric also feels really soft so I will be looking for more double gauze to use in the future.

Thread Theory, the Fairfield shirt and the collar puzzle.

Over the last few years I have made a few shirts for my husband. Most have been from the Gentleman’s Wardrobe book and much as I like the design I have never been quite happy that although the shirt fits the collar is a little too small and the top button can’t be fastened. My husband has never seen this as a problem because he never tends to fasten the top button but when my son requested a shirt I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out another pattern.

I am a big fan of indie patterns rather than the big 4 but men’s sewing patterns aren’t so easy to find; I had however been aware of Thread Theory for quite some time and they had a shirt that fitted the bill so I sent off for it.

One thing I will note straight away is the sizing which seems to come up fairly small. According to the body measurement chart the extra small should have been ample big enough for my son but knowing that he normally buys small or medium I decided to check the pattern pieces against a shop bought shirt and this confirmed my thought that I should go up a size so I cut out the small size.

The fabric that I purchased was a check cotton which frayed terribly so that wasn’t a good start and you couldn’t really distinguish between the front and back of the fabric which due to perhaps my lack of concentration at some times caused its own problems.

I should say at this stage that I found the instructions very clear to follow although I did find some of the methods a little unusual.

I liked the method for the button and buttonhole plackets which involved folding over the front edges; the shirts I have made for my husband have used a method where the edge of the shirt is cut before adding a separate placket and I have always found this a very nervous stage. The explanation for how to fold was very clearly explained so that all went smoothly.

I got myself into a bit of a mess when I added the breast pocket (I obviously wasn’t concentrating enough). Firstly I managed to sew the pocket onto the reverse of the right front piece. I then realised that the pattern of the pocket didn’t run the same way as the shirt. This should have made me realise my mistake because both pieces had been cut out with the fabric wrong side up. Anyway to remedy this I unpicked the pocket and then turned the pocket inside out before sewing it back on. It wasn’t until I came to join the front pieces to the back that I realised what I had done! More unpicking and then I had to cut out a new pocket piece because I don’t think the original piece would have stood up to more manoeuvring.

Once this was sorted things went very well until I got to the collar (I will explain that one below). Like I mentioned before I found some of the techniques unusual. When you attach the sleeves to the shirt the instructions say to fold over the sleeve head and then pin the folded edge to the shirt – this is something I have never done before; I am used to lining up raw edges. Likewise the side seams are offset so you have a larger seam allowance on the shirt and sleeve front than you have on the back and you pin with wrong sides together. Although I was hesitant about using this method I must say it worked really well and all turned out neatly.

Now to explain this strange collar fitting. I followed the instructions to attach the collar stand to the neckline of the shirt. As expected the instructions said that the collar stand should overhang the shirt neckline by 1/4″ on both ends. My collar stand was 1″ short on either end making a grand total of 2.5 inches? I unpinned it all and tried again but there was no way that the collar was going to fit. I checked the pattern pieces thinking that I must have traced the piece incorrectly but that wasn’t the case. After more puzzling I even messaged a couple of ladies who I know on Instagram to see if they had any problems when they had made it but neither had. I eventually ended up tracing the extra large collar stand and collar and attaching those so I have an extra large collar attached to a small shirt and have absolutely no idea what went wrong?

Anyway this wasn’t the easiest or most enjoyable of sews but my son now has a shirt that fits and the collar looks fine so that one will have to remain a mystery!

I will make it again once I have recovered from this make and will check my pocket attachment thoroughly next time.

Tilly and the Buttons Ruffle Sleeve Agnes

The sewing community really is a lovely place. I have made a few online sewing friends over on Instagram through my love of sewing. One in particular is a lovely lady called Agnes. We haven’t met in real life – she lives in Scotland and I am in England so quite a distance but we first got to know each other through or mutual love of cats and sewing and keep in touch on Instagram.

A few months ago she posted a picture of some fabric she had purchased from Flamingo Fabrics it was a gorgeous jersey called ‘Fashion Girls’. I commented on how lovely it was and the next thing I knew she had purchased 2 metres for me – what a lovely random act of kindness. Anyway the fabric promptly arrived and it was just as beautiful in real life.

I took my time over deciding what to make, I wanted something that would do the print the justice it deserved but also something that I could get plenty of wear out of. Initially I did consider making a dress but it’s just not something that I am wearing much lately. With the on going Social Distancing in England I am spending an awful lot of time at home so my go to outfits tend to be very much casual wear.

The Agnes pattern is one of the first jersey tops that I sewed and it seemed so appropriate to use the pattern with the name of my sewing friend. I have only recently tried out this pattern again. The first Agnes top I sewed was a bit of a disaster – I hadn’t been sewing very long at the time and had no idea that different jersey fabrics could be so different to work with and give such varying finishes. When I sewed my first Agnes I used some jersey with very little stretch and sewed a size too small so the finish wasn’t flattering at all, in fact I never wore it and felt very unsure about using the pattern again.

It’s probably been a couple of years or more since my first attempt at this pattern but recently I bought some lovely cotton jersey with good stretch and I wanted a basic tee shirt so decided the time was right to give it another go. This time round the top was a success and my fear of using the pattern vanished.

So onto this Agnes, I decided to change it up a little and add some ruffles. I got my inspiration for this from Chantelle (@i_seam_sew_happy) again over on Instagram. Chantelle had made the Tilly and the Buttons Freya top and added a ruffle sleeve and it was so lovely that I knew I needed some ruffles in my wardrobe.

It was a really simple hack. I sewed my usual size top which is a size 4 bust grading to a 5 on the waist. This jersey is less stretchy than some so with the knowledge that I have gained over the last few years I knew not to use the 5/8″ seam allowance throughout. I used this seam allowance for joining the shoulders and adding the neck band but I reduced the seam allowance to 3/8″ for the side seams. I decided to use a plain black jersey for the neckline and the ruffles.

For the sleeves I increased the length of the short sleeve by 3.5″ so that the main sleeve would sit under my elbows. For the ruffle I measured the length of the sleeve hem and then doubled it so for my ruffles I cut out a rectangle that measured 20″ wide and 4.75″ long. I ran a couple of rows of gathering stitch along one of the long sides of the ruffle piece and then pulled it in to fit the sleeve hem making sure the gathers were evenly spaced. I then attached the ruffles to the sleeve wrong sides together before attaching them to the bodice. Initially I just ran some lightening stitch along to join the pieces and then I slipped it on to make sure I was happy with the position of the ruffle on my arms before overlocking it all.

Once I was happy with this it was simply a case of following the pattern instructions – joining the sleeves to the bodice and sewing up the side seams.

I am really happy with how it turned out and will be adding more ruffles to sleeves in the future, I think it adds that extra bit of interest to a basic top.

The Stylish Dress Book

I have been trying to expand my sewing lately. I have a whole shelf full of patterns and books which I have yet to use and therefore decided I need to start trying some of them out rather than sticking with the same tried and tested patterns.

I purchased the Stylish Dress Book – Wear With Freedom in January and I love the loose fitting style of the clothes in neutral colours that are displayed throughout the book. I had 2 patterns in particular in mind when I purchased this book (Dress E and Blouse O) and I recently picked up a light weight linen blend from Material Girl Laura which I thought would work well for the blouse.

The pattern is a fairly simple style with gathering on the neckline and elastic just under the bust which creates the shape. As mentioned the fabric I chose is fairly lightweight and I was worried that it may be a little sheer without lining so I decided to have a go at interlining using some white lightweight cotton voile. The pattern consists of just 5 pieces – front and back piece, with sleeves, neck binding and elastic casing (which I didn’t use and will explain why later) so I just interlined the front and back pieces leaving the sleeves unlined. One thing that should be noted before tracing off is that the pattern pieces do not have the seam allowance added.

I haven’t tried interlining before but it is pretty simple. I cut the front and back pieces twice – once in my main fabric and once using the cotton voile lining and then to make it easy to work with them I lined them up wrong sides together (front piece main fabric on top of the front piece lining fabric and likewise with the back pattern peices) and then overlocked them together. I was then able to work with the pattern as if each was just one piece of fabric.

It is a fairly straightforward sew which is a good thing because the instructions are very basic – just nine short steps for this pattern. The book very much assumes you know most sewing techniques. Fortunately with a few years experience behind me I am a fairly competent sewer so I didn’t have any great problems understanding what do do but a beginner may struggle with some parts.

The instructions suggest a 1cm seam allowance but I actually traced the pieces adding a 1.5cm seam which enabled me to sew French seams. The first step was joining the back and front piece together at the shoulders I sewed wrong sides together at .5cm and then gave it a good press and sewed right sides together at 1cm to create my French seams.

The front neckline is gathered before being finished off with binding. The instructions suggest cutting the neck binding from the fabric you are using but I had some lovely animal print bias binding in my stash which I thought would make a nice contrast. I had traced the neckline of the pattern with a narrower seam allowance to enable me to use the bias binding.

After sewing the side seams together which I again French seamed the instructions tell you to add a casing for some elastic – I actually decided to use shirring elastic instead. I used this method for the Dayo dress which I made recently.

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/1048

I found shearing a really nice technique so hoped that it would work instead of the recommended elastic. The pattern using narrow elastic (just .7cm wide) so I just ran 3 rows of shearing elastic around the marked position keeping the rows close together, in order to keep my rows straight I drew a line around the bodice with some tailors chalk for the first line, I was then able to use my first row of stitching as a guide. If you are planning to have a go at shearing I would recommend always having a practice run first using the same material as your project just to make sure the tension is right. I adjusted my tension down to 3 and used a longer stitch length of 4 on my Brother machine. A good steam after sewing and I am pleased with how it turned out.

The sleeves are added once the side seams are done and require a little bit of easing (this isn’t mentioned in the instructions). Initially I did think about gathering the sleeve cuffs but when I tried it out I didn’t like how it looked so I unpicked it and then just duplicated the bias binding around the open cuff to tie in with the neck finish. I also finished the seams of the sleeves using the same bias binding so my top is just as neat on the inside.

I am happy with how it as turned out, it is a little bit warm to wear at the moment but I think I will get plenty wear once the weather is cooler and plan to wear it either with jeans or my black leggings and boots.

Total Cost: £15.50

Fleur Striped Cotton Linen £6 per metre (used 2 metres) £12
Guttermann Thread £1.95
Bias Binding £1.45

A New Fabric Shop in town (My other hobby is Fabric Shopping!)

I took up sewing as an hobby about 4 years ago now, at nearly 50 I was pretty late to the wonderful world of sewing. My only previous experience was at school which didn’t really inspire me but I have always been interested in creative arts. I have spent time drawing, painting and making my own jewellery in the past and probably got my inspiration to give sewing a go through watching the Great British Sewing Bee.

I think many sewists would agree that another hobby that sits nicely along side sewing is fabric shopping. Whenever we visit a new place I love to have a quick google beforehand to see if there are any sewing shops that I can visit (I have a very patient and understanding husband). Unfortunately this year has meant no travelling – what a crazy year 2020 is turning out to be, hopefully things will change very soon and the whole world can get back to a bit of normality. Luckily last year we did more travelling than normal and I found some fantastic shops in both Poland and Hungary, you can check out those posts below if you wish.

https://jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/2019/10/23/fabric-shopping-in-beautiful-krakow/

https://jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/budapest-fabric-shopping/

I do buy fabric online and have found a few trusted and reliable online shops that I am confident I can rely on for good quality fabrics but there is nothing quite like being able to see and feel the fabric in real life. It is very difficult to know how a fabric is going to drape or work for a particular project when you can’t actually feel it so online shopping can sometimes it is a bit of a gamble.

Sewing Classes

When I decided I wanted to have a go at sewing I bought myself a cheap machine off Ebay and signed up for a local sewing class. Sew With Holly is in my hometown and Holly the owner has been running sewing classes in Stourbridge High Street since 2015. I signed up for the Complete Intro to Sewing class and made bunting, a tote bag and a make-up roll bag. Holly is a lovely patient teacher and her love of sewing shines through in her classes, I think if sewing at school had been more like this my hobby would of started long ago. Anyway if you have been reading my blogs for a while or follow me on Instagram then you will know that I am now pretty much hooked on sewing.

Since my first steps into the world of sewing I have taken a couple of other specific classes and I also attend a weekly sewing group where Holly is always on hand to help out anyone who needs help but we basically bring our own sewing projects and have a good natter and drink tea and yes we do get some sewing done. The sewing classes have been on hold since March when everything locked down here in the UK but hopefully all is on schedule for us so start back in early September.

I miss my sewing buddies but we have a WhatsApp group so everyone can keep up to date with all of the sewing chat and this is where Holly recently announced to us that she was moving to a premises across the road from the original studio and also she would be selling fabric and haberdashery, I can’t tell you how excited I was at this news, a fabric shop that I can walk to!

https://www.sewwithholly.co.uk/

This weekend was the grand opening so obviously I had to pay a visit. The shop is set in a lovely paved alleyway called Victoria Passage, this is just off the High Street and is a quaint little row with independent shops so the setting is perfect. Downstairs Holly will be selling some beautiful fabrics alongside the everyday essentials such as needles, scissors and thread. It’s so annoying when you want to finish a project and your needle breaks or you run out of thread, no more waiting for the postman for me – now I can just pop into town.

There is a lovely spacious room upstairs where the sewing classes will take place. At the previous site the room was fairly small so we had 6 tables all pushed together so we faced each other around a large area. All this has had to change due to Covid but luckily the new room has the space to place all the tables individually and then there is a large cutting table and ironing station at the back of the room and the walls are adorned with hanging mannequins wearing the projects for the classes that are available. It all looks lovely and I can’t wait to get back.

I was very restrained in my fabric buying today, after all it is just down the road now so I can buy things as I need them. I did buy a couple of plain jersey fabrics to sew some tee-shirts for my youngest son, this pale blue is so soft I am tempted to keep it for myself.

I also bought some cotton gauze to make the Friday Pattern Company Sagebrush top, I have seen several lovely versions in this type of fabric and it is a fabric I haven’t used before so thought it would be a good opportunity to give it a go, all I need now is the pattern – can I wait till my birthday in November?

Last but not least I was tempted by a pattern, there is a lovely dress on display in the window (you can see it in the photo above) which is the Style Arc Astoria Dress – I love a tie waist as it hides a multitude of sins. The dress looks lovely in the mustard coloured fabric which I was also tempted by, I love the colour but am not completely sure it would suit my skin tone so will have to think about what colour would be best.

Anyway it is a lovely shop and I wish Holly all the luck in the world, I will definitely be a regular customer and will always support my local store whenever possible for all my sewing needs.

Favourite Closet Core Pattern?

If you haven’t noticed already then Closet Case Patterns have changed their name to Closet Core Patterns. They made the change back in July, I think it was a pretty brave decision to change their branding from what was already a well know name in the sewing community but I am sure the success of the patterns will continue.

Anyway to promote the name change they are currently running a mid summer challenge with 3 winners receiving $100 gift certificates. The challenge is running for a few more days at my time of writing (4th August 2020) and you simply need to use the hashtag #closetcorepatterns and share a post of your make. This got me thinking about which is my favourite Closet Core pattern? If I’m honest I can’t choose a single favourite because I love them all for different reasons.

I currently only own 4 of their patterns but there are many more I can see myself purchasing in the future.

First up is the Kalle shirt, this is the first shirt pattern I sewed for myself (I had previously made my husband a shirt from the Gentleman’s Wardrobe Book).

https://jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/feeling-sew-achieved/

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/142022226/posts/612

I have 3 Kalle shirts now and they are pretty much a staple of my wardrobe with one of them getting worn at least once each week.

The one above is the first one that I made and the colours still look great despite the fact it has been through the wash no end of times.

Next up are the Jenny Overalls and Trousers, I started out with the trousers and have recently gone on to make the Overalls which I talk about in a blog post that I recently wrote for Crafty Sew and So. If you have read any of my previous blogs or follow me on Instagram then you are probably well aware of my dungaree obsession!

https://craftysewandso.com/blogs/news/crafty-bloggers-club-jennys-jenny-overalls

I love how the same pattern can look so different with the use of different fabrics. The trousers above are made in a fairly heavy weight ramie linen whereas the dungarees are made in lightweight viscose/linen blend.

Next we have the Sienna Makers Jacket, this went straight to the top of my make list pretty much as soon as the pattern was released. One thing I have come to love about the Closet Core patterns are their excellent instructions and they often have sewalongs over on their blog page which give great detail on the more complicated areas of sewing.

Below is a picture of me in a #poselikethepatternmodel stance which was taken when I entered a @sewover50 challenge on Instagram to promote pattern companies that use older models (yes Closet Core do). I actually won a prize in the challenge – the Wendy Ward ‘Sewing Basics for Everyone’ book. If you would like to know more I wrote about it here:

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/142022226/posts/886

Last but not least of the Closet Core patterns that I have used are the Ginger Jeans, if anyone had said to me 4 years ago that I would be making my own jeans then I really don’t think I would of believed them. I bought both the pattern and fabric as a kit from Sewisfaction and then put it to one side for about 6 months because surely sewing jeans is scary and complicated? I finally took the plunge at the end of last year and am so glad that I did, again the instructions were very detailed and they have a great sewalong. I think the look on my face says all there is to say about my thoughts on this pattern.

I love the style of the Closet Core patterns and the ones I have made to date just seem to fit my body shape without any complicated alterations so that’s a big plus. I currently have my eye on a couple of their other patterns namely the Blanca Flight Suit pattern and the Sophie swimsuit pattern, if I can make jeans then surely I can make my own swimwear, you will have to stay tuned to see if I succeed.

Burnside Shorts

So I made some shorts, it is one of the things I am missing in my me made wardrobe and with the forecast looking good in the UK for the next few days I decided it was something I needed. I didn’t want to buy a new pattern so decided to work with what I had got.

If you have read any of my blogs before then you will know that the Burnside Bibs by Sew House 7 are a firm favourite so I decided to use this as my base. I already own a full length and a 3/4 length pair.

It was a very simple alteration. I simply tried on my standard bibs and got my husband to measure from the bottom of the waistband to just above my knee – this was 18 inches. I then added on the seam allowance and the hem and marked this position on my original pattern and this is where I cut the trouser front and back pattern pieces. I also altered the pockets, making them slightly shorter (about 3 inches) just because I thought they would look more balanced on the shorter trouser length.

I managed to cut the pattern pieces out of 1.5 metres of fabric. I did have to play about with the pattern placement a little bit to get everything to fit. I cut the bib lining as 2 separate pieces (remembering to add a seam allowance) rather than cutting on the fold and I had to take 4 inches off the straps in order to fit the fabric but this wasn’t a problem because the are long straps anyway.

The fabric I used was some lovely linen from Sew Me Sunshine. I have a long pair in some linen from the same place and they have washed and worn beautifully The colour is called Sea Foam but there is an excellent choice of colours so it is well worth taking a look if you are looking for good quality linen.

https://sewmesunshine.co.uk/

The only other alteration I made was a genius little tip that I read the other week on an Instagram post by @sewsew_everyday – this was to sew a seam across the centre of the button loops in order to make 2 separate channels for the straps. I really simple but effective little tip which I would never thought of myself but will definitely be using in the future. In face I may go back and do it on my other 2 pairs because it makes the straps sit much more neatly. The bibs don’t need buttons but I tend to add them anyway purely for show.

Seafoam Green – Enzyme Washer Linen £20.25, Gutermann Thread 331 £1.95

Total Cost of make : £22.20

Closet Core (Closet Case) Jenny Dungarees

I was recently gifted some fabric from Crafty Sew and So in return for a blog post on their Crafty Bloggers Club.

I picked this lovely linen viscose blend and anyone who reads my blog or follows me on Instagram won’t be at all surprised to learn that I decided to make dungarees.  If you would like to learn more then follow the link below for all the details:

https://craftysewandso.com/blogs/news/crafty-bloggers-club-jennys-jenny-overalls

Pattern Preacher – Olivia Dress

Back in April I was contacted by a new to me pattern company called The Pattern Preacher and they offered to send me a free pattern in return for some photos over on my Instagram page:

https://www.instagram.com/jennylovestosew/?hl=en

I was happy to say yes, I love discovering new pattern companies and who doesn’t love a free pattern. They currently have 6 patterns available; 3 dresses, a jacket, some trousers and a pinafore. I particularly liked the look of the Grace Pinafore dress, in these strange times I haven’t really had so much occasion to wear dresses so have been looking more towards comfy everyday wear to add to my wardrobe and thought the Grace pinafore would be a good addition.

https://thepatternpreacher.com/

Things didn’t get off to a good start when they sent me the wrong pattern and instead of the one I requested I received the Olivia dress. I did contact them and tell them about the error but in the end decided to go ahead and make the Olivia instead. At first glace I wasn’t sure it was a style I would like – it has an elasticated waist in the form of shirring which is something I have always shied away from thinking that it wouldn’t be very flattering. I am happy to say that my mind was totally changed after making this dress. I had never attempted shirring before but it went surprisingly smoothly and wasn’t nearly as difficult as I imagined it would be. That said I would strongly recommend a practice run first on the same material to make sure that the tension of the elastic is going to work before proceeding with your lovely garment.

The shirring on the waist works really well and I am now converted to the idea of using it and have since gone on to make the Dayo Dress by Sewing Patterns By Masin which is probably one of the favourite dresses in my wardrobe:

https://jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/2020/06/15/sewing-weekender-and-the-dayo-dress/

Anyway I digress so back onto the Olivia. The pattern comes in good quality packaging and the pattern pieces are printed on heavy weight paper and are easy to trace off. It’s a personal preference but I am a big fan of quality paper patterns as opposed to the ones you get on tissue paper.

The dress has some nice features, I particularly like the neckline and the floaty sleeves and there is some gathering on the shoulders to give a nice fit over the bust. The seams are also finished using French seams which gives a nice finish on the inside which is something I have really started to appreciate and look for when making new garments.

I did find the instructions rather vague in places. I have a few years of sewing experience under my belt now so was able to sew it up without too much trouble using my prior knowledge but the pattern is aimed at ‘Adventurous Beginners’ and some new sewers may struggle. For example the dress has a concealed zip fitted to the back bodice and the instructions don’t go into too much detail, I have sewn a number of zips now but still like to check instructions for the process – for this dress I ended up digging out the instructions from the Experimental Space Rosalee Dress which gives a clear step by step zip fitting guide.

https://jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/2019/07/

Overall I really like the style of the dress, I think the dress looks good and it is a very flattering silhouette despite the fact that the fabric I used wasn’t the best quality, it was some budget fabric that I picked up from Birmingham Rag Market last year and only cost £1 per metre. I think some better fabric would make a really nice dress and I will probably give it another go at some stage when there is more chance for me to wear dresses again.

Unfortunately I think what really let the pattern down was the number of mistakes I found in the instructions. There were some minor errors like spelling mistakes but also some pretty major ones – The Front Bodice was labelled C when it should of been marked A, there were conflicting seam allowances between the French seam instructions and the seam allowance that was listed to be used on the seams and the Body Measurement chart was exactly the same as the Finished Garment Measurements? There was also a QR code on the back of the pattern envelope which didn’t work – I have checked it again today (about 3 months since making the dress) and it now appears to be working ok and takes you to an online tutorial so hopefully they are ironing out all the errors and future copies of the pattern will have all the mistakes corrected. I just think it is a shame that all this wasn’t done before the pattern was released to the public.

I have done a few pattern tests before and this is usually where mistakes like these get corrected so I am not sure if they used pattern testing as part of their process before releasing the patterns. This may just be a one off on the Olivia Dress and their other patterns are hopefully error free but there are a lot of pattern companies out there so people need a reason to want to return and buy more from the same company and unfortunately for me mistakes like these can be a little off putting and I would be hesitant to purchase one of their other patterns without being sure that they have taken more care to get things right.

Sewing Safiya

Ok so it’s official I am addicted to dungarees. I can’t believe that just over 12 months ago they were an item I shied away from and now I simply can’t get enough of them. In this current climate with staying at home so much more and lockdown only just beginning to lift here in the UK it is great to have a comfy go to outfit and dungarees certainly fit the bill perfectly. They are much more comfortable than jeans but are casual enough for everyday wear, they have definitely become my secret pyjamas.

So this is my 4th pair of dungarees, to date I have sewn 2 pairs of Burnside Bibs (still a firm favourite), 1 pair of Jenny Dungarees and now the Tilly and the Buttons Safiya Dungarees.

I purchased Tilly’s ‘Make it Simple’ book pretty much as soon as it came out – I have probably said this before but I am a big Tilly fan and her patterns just seem to fit my body shape really well without much need for alterations.

This book is all about sewing things up quickly and each project gives an estimated time for how long it will take. Now we all like a quick sew but I am more about finish lately so I wasn’t too bothered about speeding through the project and chose it purely because I like dungarees (did I mention that already!)

There are several patterns in the book that I fancy having a go at and each one includes various variations. The safiya can be made as trousers, dungarees or a playsuit and then you can play around with the length to make short versions so lots of patterns for your money.

The fabric I chose was purchased online from India just before Christmas and as been sat on my shelf patiently waiting for the perfect pattern since then. I purchased it from Itokri? and it is well worth checking out, they have a good selection to choose from and I bought a lovely Ikat fabric at the same time which I am planning to turn into the Suki dress (also in the book).

https://www.itokri.com/

Size wise I went with my body measurements and cut the size 4 on my bust and graded to the 5 on my waist and hips although technically I could of graded back into the 4 on my hips.

The bib uses facing but I wanted what I consider to be a more professional looking finish on the inside so I fully lined the bib. This was easy enough to do I just cut out another bib front and back in a lining fabric. The lining is added in the same way as you would attach the facing. I then just turned under the seam allowance a the bottom of the bib and hand stitched this edge to the waistline along the seam so no stitched show on the front.

Pockets are another option that you can choose if you wish, to me pockets are a must and these ones are nice and deep and are added at the side seams.

I also added a belt because I prefer to have the clinched in waist. Overall it was an easy sew and although it probably took me longer than than the 2 hours 30 minutes sewing suggested in the book I still finished them over a weekend and will no doubt be making some more in the future.