Sapporo Coat

A quick post about my Sapporo coats! I really loved the pattern as soon as I saw it popping up on Instagram and bought it soon afterwards. It is an oversized cocoon shaped coat with slanted pockets by Papercut patterns and is available as a PDF or paper pattern. I made a ‘coatigan’ to begin with, using a diamond pattern textured wool fabric from my stash. I bought this fabric a couple of years ago on eBay, with the intention of making a coat but realised it was quite soft and prone to pilling which put me off using it. I almost didn’t finish making it but I was persuaded by the good people of Instagram! It worked really well as an unlined soft jacket . I overlocked all the seams which made it very quick, and hand stitched the hems for a neat finish.

I made the smallest size and reduced the length by about 2-3 inches but didn’t make any other major modifications. As predicted, it has bobbled quite a lot but is still wearable and I’m glad I finished it.

Next I was ready to tackle the real thing. I used a teal and black wool boucle from Fabworks. It has a subtle grid pattern and is thick and warm. I made the smallest size again, and modified the shell by reducing about an inch at the dropped shoulder seam and a similar amount from the whole sleeve seam and the side seam. I did not reduce the length this time.

I really liked the lining fabric pattern which is a pretty lilac and blue flower print on a black background from Stone Fabrics. Stone Fabrics is in Devon but they have an excellent mail order service where you can telephone your order through to the shop and pay for it by card.

I found inserting the lining a bit tricky, partly because I had modified the pattern and also because I had never bagged a lining before. I watched a couple of videos on YouTube which helped me to understand the process and it worked out eventually!

I wore it for our anniversary day out and it was really comfortable and warm. The fabric does tend to catch on things, it’s a bit like Velcro!

I really enjoyed making this coat and it has given me more confidence to try other coat and jacket patterns. I’d love to make a bright wool coat for next year and have spied some great patterns such as the Rumana coat by By Hand London and the Sew Over It Cocoon coat (available with Lisa Comfort magazine). Do you have any coat patterns you would recommend?

2017 in review

This year feels like it has been a turning point for me as I finally feel connected to a global community of makers and creative people through Instagram. I started the year with the aim of developing my sewing and photography skills and decided to do a Makelight course. I have posted about the course before, as it really helped me to understand what I needed to do to improve my lighting, composition, and focus on the colours and themes I find inspirational. Despite having lots of ideas I hadn’t been able to put them across in the way I wanted and wasn’t connected with a wider community, which was frustrating as I have been blogging for a long time now.

This is a review of most of the things I have made this year and some thoughts on what I’d like to achieve in the next year.

Sewing for Me

From top left: Jenna Jumpsuit, I am Cassiopee, Aime Comme Magellan, Kyoto Tee, Named Ninni culottes, I Am Cassiopee dress, Sapporo Coat, Named Kielo dress, Named Esme cardigan

From top left: Named Esme cardigan, Sapporo coat in black wool, Named Helmi shirtdress, Seamwork Almada robe, Kyoto Tee sweater in teal wool jersey and Sew Over It Lizzie skirt, Grainline Studio Driftless cardigan and Sew over it Ultimate Shift dress, Named Helmi shirt in mint cotton voile, Sewaholic fraser, Grainline Scout Tee

Grainline Studio Driftless With Hemlock tee, McCalls blouse, Grainline Farrow dress, Sew Over It Molly top, Colette Moneta dress, Named Imari dress, Sew Kate Sew dress, Grainline Studio Scout Tee, Anna Maria Horner painted portrait dress in Liberty print

What I learned: I got much more comfortable with sewing with jersey and heavier knits. I also used some lightweight fabrics like the silk sari I used for the Seamwork Almada, which was challenging to work with. I finally worked out that I need to do a narrow shoulder adjustment on most garments with a set in sleeve, and have had a go at doing them but need to practise more. I made trousers (not shown, the Tilly and the Buttons Marigold trousers and Hudson pants), and a coat (the Sapporo coat by Papercut patterns). Using Netprinter to print A0 patterns has been a gamechanger as I don’t enjoy sticking together PDFs.

Most worn: I wear my Driftless cardigan all the time as its a great layering piece. The fabric is a lightweight jersey which is warm but doesn’t take up much space. I also wear my I Am Cassiopee dresses constantly. Both my Esme cardigans have also been worn a lot this Winter.

Sewing plans for next year: I will be sewing with some favourite prints I have had stashed for a while, as well as trying some more trouser and coat patterns. I have bought the Jeans course from Closet Case Patterns so I need to have a go at those too. I’d like to make some bags and zip purses as well, and be more confident with setting zips and buttonholes. I am happy that I have managed to sew quite a lot of items that I wear regularly and will be making more basic cardigans and tops.

Fabric/pattern stash: I’d really really like to reduce my stash as it is ridiculous at the moment! I can easily make 30-40 items from fabric I love, so it doesn’t make sense to keep buying more at this stage. There are a couple of prints I would like but I am trying to hold out at least until my birthday… I have plenty of patterns too so am hoping not to buy more of those either.

I haven’t made as much for my daughter as I have done in previous years but I did make her some pretty dresses and clothes that have been worn regularly. Now she is at school there aren’t as many occasions to wear nice dresses! I will be making more for her and the other children this year. I’d like to make her a good wool coat for next winter.

A few other makes here, including some knitting and baking, as well as clothes for my boys. I didn’t knit as much as I’d have liked because I got stuck on the Find Your Fade shawl! Next year I’d like to make at least one sweater for me, and more accessories for the children.

I have really enjoyed styling homegrown flowers and telling stories through pictures on Instagram in the past year. I have grown flowers for a few years now but I enjoy planning and taking pictures and have missed not having any in the garden over the winter! This is one area in which I’d like to improve, as I’m not always satisfied with the quality of my pictures yet. I am considering learning Lightroom or some other editing software to help with this, but at the same time I’m aware that I don’t really have lots of time to spend on this at this time.

It’s also important for us as a family to do things together and I want to focus more of my time and energy on getting the basics right, like being organised, healthy and using my time well. I would like to use all the resources I already have rather than spending more time and money acquiring more in the next year, which is why I am intending to have a low spend year. It would be unrealistic for me to say I will spend nothing but I will try my best to consume less and be more mindful with my spending. I hope you all have a wonderful start to the new year!

 

Kyoto Tee Review

I bought the Kyoto Tee pattern by Papercute Patterns a while ago and have made two of them so far. I really liked the ruffle on the sleeve which is very on trend at the moment. I now get most of my patterns printed at A0 size at Netprinter so I was able to cut out the pieces quickly and get started. There are only a few pieces – front, back, sleeve, ruffle and hem and sleeve bands.

I made my first one in a teal boiled wool jersey from Fabworks. It didn’t have a great deal of stretch but as the fit is quite loose it worked well. The fabric was easy to sew with and doesn’t fray as it is boiled wool.

I made the small size, it was quite long so I shortened it by about two inches. I had planned to leave off the hem band but I ended up cutting it a bit shorter than I wanted so I ended up using the hem band but making it narrower and longer so it didn’t pull in as much at the waist. I hemmed the sleeves without the band as well.

I made my second Kyoto in a mustard yellow jersey from Fabrics Galore which I bought at Great British Sewing Bee Live. It was another quick make, finished in a couple of easy evenings after work. I’ve been wearing this quite a lot as it is so comfortable as a layering piece. The fabric is great quality cotton/elastane blend and washes well.

I’ve seen some short sleeved tops and ones made without the ruffle as well so plan to give those versions a try as well. It’s a very versatile pattern!

Named Esme Cardigan Pattern Review 


I downloaded and printed the Named Esme cardigan pattern a few months ago to make with some beautiful Fabworks double faced wool. I actually ended up buying two lots of this fabric as I didn’t have enough the first time I tried to cut it out. The #cosycardichallenge on Instagram motivated me and I finally got round to making it last week. From cutting to finishing the last stitch it took me about four hours. 

There are not many pattern pieces to stick together for the PDF version but you do have to trace off the sleeve and button band as they overlap the other pieces. 

I modified the pattern a bit to suit me. The original length was almost down to my ankles so I reduced the length by about 8 inches. I also decided not to add the cuff or buttons as I liked the look without them.

As the wool is double faced, I could have used either side for the cuffs and neckband. I decided I preferred to keep it one colour and just use the contrast for the pocket. It breaks up the block colour and adds a bit of interest. This did lead to a bit of brain gymnastics as I had to work out which was the right and wrong side for attaching the pockets. 

Next time I would also reduce the length in the top of the front bodice as well as the pockets are a little low for my liking and I definitely can’t reach to the bottom of them easily! They are lovely deep pockets though.


A word about the fabric – the above photo is a product shot from Fabworks mill. I met some friends at GBSB Live who said they never buy fabric online after disappointments, but I have found the sample service from Fabworks very good and the quality and value of their fabrics is amazing. I originally bought this fabric for £5 a metre during their Fabric of the Week offer but at £10 a metre it is still a bargain. I prewashed it on a wool setting on my machine and it came out perfect. It is also soft, non itchy and very sturdy with no sign of pilling. It was easy to sew and overlock as well. I have enough left to make a Finlayson sweater for my husband too, although I will use the navy side so we don’t end up twinning! 

All in all, I’m really pleased with this project and I’m sure it will get lots of use. Despite being a fairly simple sew it has the ‘did you make that?’ factor! It’s so useful and the type of garment that would be £££ in the shops. 

Rachel Top

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There’s been a bit of a blogging hiatus again! Ramadan was busy and then we had the usual end of term madness. You may have seen some of my makes over on Instagram but I will try and catch up here as I’ve made quite a few new things recently that I want to share.

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This is the Rachel top by See Kate Sew. I really liked the shape of the sleeves and the exposed zip at the back.

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Ruffled sleeves are a big trend this summer and they are everywhere at the moment! It was actually very easy to add the ruffle.

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I added a pink exposed zip which pops against the dark blue Art Gallery print fabric. This is a cotton voile from the Katarina Roccella collection.

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I wore it with some pink Biden Richmond trousers and an Inayah collection sleeveless crepe jacket. I also have quite a lot of aqua in my wardrobe so it coordinates well with other items. It is a little short for my preference and has a bit of a maternity look to it because of the gathers above the bust so I’m not sure I’ll make it again but I learned a lot doing this project and will use the skills again.

Waterfall Raglan Dress and Top

I managed to send off both my giveaway packages this week, thanks to everyone who took part on Instagram. I made this patchwork pouch out of a stack of my favourite Anna Maria Horner prints using the In Color Order Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial . It took a bit of time as I haven’t done any patchwork in a long time but I really enjoyed the process and love the result.

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I used a pink and red striped Tula Pink print for the top of the bag which I think complements the colours nicely. I hope its new owner enjoys using it, and I’m thinking of making another one for myself.

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I’ve been meaning to share this top for a little while, its the Waterfall Raglan by Chalk and Notch patterns. I made both the top and dress versions for my daughter.

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I used a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics knit for this. The fabric is from the Fleet and Flourish collection  by Maureen Cracknell and is called Swifting Flora Fond.

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I cut a size 5 for my daughter and it fits her well with some room to grow (she is just over 4 but quite tall).

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The loose style of the top looks great over trousers. She doesn’t have many tops at the moment so I am planning to make a few more using this pattern.

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I made the dress using a jersey which is overlaid with a cream corded lace which I bought from Simply Fabrics in Brixton.

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At first I thought the fabric would be fine to use as it has a jersey base but when I did the stretch test I found that it only had about 20% stretch due to the lace which is bonded on to the jersey. When I initially sewed the sleeves they were a bit tight so I unpicked and sewed them again using a 1/4 inch seam instead, which gave a bit of extra room.

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I also  used a thinner fabric to make the facing for the neckline and turned that inwards which made the neckhole a bit bigger. waterfall3

It’s a great dress for twirling in and the fabric makes it special. I also bought some velvet as I have seen some beautiful velvet versions online too.

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Grainline Wardrobe Basics

I bought a few Grainline Studio patterns in the Black Friday sale – the Scout Tee, Lark Tee and Driftless cardigan. I have been planning a handmade wardrobe for a while and want to get ahead so I can join in with Me Made May later in the year. I have a few dresses and tops now but not that many basic every day tops. I also prefer to wear fine gauge cardigans and have realised that I’m not really going to be able to knit my own ones so why not try sewing them instead?

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This Scout Tee is made with Observer fabric in Speck Stardust Metallic print. I made a size 4, grading the waist to a size 6. I looked at the garment measurements afterwards and realised that the grading was probably not necessary as there is a lot of ease in the pattern anyway.

dsc_0818I’ve tried to move away from making clothes in quilting cotton as it feels quite stiff and crisp even after washing, but this print was so pretty with the metallic splashes that I decided to make an exception. It feels quite comfortable on, although I usually wear a thin layer underneath.

dsc_0813This top is made with an Indonesian lawn I bought on holiday in Dubai. The fabric is very soft and light. It says Liberty on the selvedge. Although it does not appear to be genuine, the fabric is comparable to tana lawn.

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I was planning to make this a toile but I love the print now I’ve made it up and have worn it a few times already. This weight is ideal for the pattern as it drapes well and is comfortable.

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Finally, this is my Driftless cardigan. This pattern was more of a challenge, with 11 pieces to cut out. Unfortunately I forgot to cut out the lower hem bands and threw the remaining fabric away before I realised, so improvised by slip stitching the hem. It is not really noticeable and gives a reasonably neat finish.

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The fabric is a featherweight jersey from Fabworks  which has now sold out. It was a bit slippery so a challenge to cut out, but easier than expected to sew. I am planning another in their amazing felted wool jersey. The teal has sold out but there is some navy and black left if you’re quick.

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I’ve got a few more projects ready to blog about so am looking forward to sharing those with you as well! In the meantime, I am also planning for Edinburgh Yarn Festival, my first visit there and first trip away on my own since I can remember!