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Penny Dress by Sew Over It

Pattern: Penny Dress by Sew Over It
Fabric: Viscose from C&H (on sale for £8/m!)
Little Bits: 100m Gutermann sew all thread

Size: 8
Version: NA
Mods: No buttons. Chose to sew the button band shut instead. Hand stitched down each row of existing button band stitching to attach the 2 bands together.

The pattern

I chose to purchase the PDF pattern for this one. I hadn’t done that before and I was intrigued to see what that process was like. I’m not sure how it is elsewhere but buying PDF patterns from Sew Over It was very easy. Plus the download link in the orders section never expires. That’s a massive plus so I don’t have to worry about not being able to get it again should I lose my file.

My original intention was to print it myself and then piece it together but then I realised it was 40-some pages. While some people find this stage to be therapeutic, I’m a bit impatient and if I have time to sew I want to spend it sewing. Decision made, I ordered my printed version from NetPrinter (https://netprinter.co.uk). It was reasonably priced and the patterns came quickly, printed on lovely thick paper.

The pattern itself is very easy to understand although I did struggle with a few bits. I don’t want to blame the pattern because maybe it was me but I had a few fights with the collar section. It just seemed a bit too short and didn’t want to fit along the neckline edge nicely. I finally settled on a few little tucks being sewn into the seam as the collar was going to be hiding it anyway.

The fabric

I’m sorry to say I don’t have much information about this fabric. It was in a C&H shop, and when I felt how drapey it was I snapped it up for my Penny. At the time I did check the fabric to make sure it was a suitable material, I just can’t remember now. If I had to guess I think it is a viscose because it feels very similar to my Pirate Kalle material. I can remember that it was on sale for £8/metre which made my 3.2m purchase a very reasonable expense! It washed well and after drying can see it doesn’t really crease which is brilliant. For the dress style I want it for anyways!

It was a bit tricky to cut out. As is any slippery fabric. I finally got it into place to cut the large skirt piece and it far overlapped my cutting mat. I didn’t want to move it about, even if I pinned it, so I used my scissors to cut around the skirt portion that wasn’t over the cutting mat. Then I finished the rest with my rotary cutter.

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Belcarra by Sewaholic

Front detail

Pattern: Belcarra by Sewaholic
Fabric: Cotton Gauze “Terrazzo Night by Atelier Brunette” from Guthrie & Ghani
Little Bits: 100m Gutermann sew all thread

Size: 8/8/2 (Graded from size 8 down to 2 between waist and hips)
Version: View B
Mods: None!

The Pattern

It’s a light and airy easy to wear top. The length of the top is spot on however the neckline is a bit wide for me. I prefer a neckline slightly more scooped downwards rather than wide across the shoulder. I think I would make a variation of this top again, however, I would make that alteration to the neckline. Just bringing the neckline in a tad.

The Fabric

This was lovely fabric to work with. Not slippery at all, or thick, just a nice light but still stable material to work with. I would definitely like to use cotton gauze again. I am also interested to see how another cotton gauze compares to this one. It wasn’t a cheap fabric and while I love the print on the shirt I think the fabric was deserving of a more intricate or beautiful pattern rather than the more basic tee-shirt shape I chose to make.

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Stella Hoodie by Tilly and the Buttons

Pattern: Stella Hoodie by Tilly and the Buttons
Fabric: Marble Effect Teal Loopback Cotton Jersey Fabric (1.8m) + Teal Loopback Cotton Jersey Fabric (0.6m) from Guthrie & Ghani
Little Bits: 100m Gutermann sew all thread

Size: 8
Version: N/A
Mods: Lengthed 5cm + FBA of 6.4cm (1.6cm per side)

I have so much love for this project. Both the pattern and the material are absolutely wonderful. I bought the ‘Stretch’ book from Tilly and the Buttons because comfy cozy snuggly clothes? Yes please! Before you carry on reading I should point out I’ve not received any sort of payment or commission for this post. I’m gushing on for ages about it purely based on my enjoyment of sewing this!

The pattern

Firstly, it is such a well-written pattern. The instructions are incredibly clear and the pictures are beautiful! Each step is laid out in easy to understand terms and anything that could be a bit tricky is explained in even greater detail. It’s so nice to just be able to confidently follow the next step, not wondering if you’re about to ruin your project. It’s also printed on lovely thick paper so you don’t have to worry about it disintegrating into shreds of tissue paper after opening it a few times!

Everything comes together perfectly and the fit is spot on. I don’t think there was even a single point of frustration while making this top. This is easily my favourite hoody now!

The fabric

I used a gorgeous marble effect jersey for the main body of the sweater and this really lovely matching teal jersey for the sleeves and hood lining. For the hoody ties, I used a strip of the accent colour.

Will there be another?

There might already be one in the works.. so yes! I intend to have a pile of these made in all sorts of soft and fluffy fabrics. If you haven’t made one yet I highly recommend it. Although I’m sure you have realised that by now!

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Pirate Kalle

Pattern: Kalle by Closet Case
Fabric: Lost At Sea Navy Blue Viscose Fabric from Guthrie & Ghani (1.2m)
Little Bits: 100m Gutermann sew all thread, interfacing, buttons

Size: 8
Version: View A
Mods: Lengthed front & back of view A by 10cm

I absolutely LOVE my first Kalle and before I’d barely even worn it I was already making plans for this one.

When I saw this fabric on Guthrie & Ghani I immediately knew it needed to be a Kalle. A lovely, billowy Kalle with pirate ships on it! Ok, so maybe they are just supposed to be normal ships but I always think pirate ships when I see them…

Pirate Kalle - Fabric
Pirate Kalle – Fabric

Like a good sewer, I prewashed my fabric and interfacing. The latter I slightly regretted because I remembered to do it AFTER I’d cut out all the dried fabric pieces and had to wait until the interfacing had dried to iron it on for step 1! I suppose it’s better, in the long run, to make sure the interfacing won’t shrink. It’s so frustrating when you just want to jump on the sewing machine!

Initially, I lay my pieces out as suggested by the pattern. I then sit and rearrange them until I’ve made the absolute best use of fabric I can think of. It’s a nice little sense of achievement to end up with a single larger piece leftover rather than scraps. I did start to wonder, what am I going to do with all these leftovers that are piling up… So I thought, hey, I’ll be clever and order less this time. Turns out 1.2m for a lengthened view A (which calls for 1.8m before my extension) is a wee bit of a stretch.

Pirate Kalle - Pieces cut out
Pirate Kalle – Pieces cut out

Somehow I managed to make it work with the scariest, smallest amount of leftovers I’ve ever had. I needed to ditch the full collar I’d originally planned and swapped in the band collar but I still managed my full hidden button placket! My hidden button placket was the last piece to cut out and I was fully mentally prepared to somehow cut it using two pieces of fabric and sew them together but my last piece ended up being EXACTLY the length it needed. No joke, I didn’t need to trim any off the top or bottom, it was the perfect length.

Would I try this again with 1.2m, probably not no… maybe 1.3m or 1.4m 🙂 That’s another thing I love about buying from Guthrie & Ghani, they sell in 10cm increments so you aren’t forced to buy a full metre when you don’t need it.

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Save your knitting! How to easily add lifelines

What are lifelines? They allow you to safely and easily go back to a previous line of knitting.

If you’ve dropped stitches you can’t recover, or if you realise the item is not the right size you’ll be grateful for them. It provides a nice little safety net that you can rip back to.

Typically this is done by threading a contrasting bit of yarn through a row. It can be difficult to stop knitting to thread a lifeline through. I knew a lifeline provided a safety net but I still seem to put it off for ages. I’d rather just be knitting!

The quicker, easier, minimal effort way?

If you use interchangeable needles you already have a very handy tool at your disposal. You can add lifelines almost effortlessly while still knitting!

Grab yourself a second interchangeable cable, the same length as the one you’ve been using, and a couple of cable end caps. Twist one of the needles off the live cable and pop an end cap on. Make sure the cap goes on the side with the end of the row.

Put that needle on your new cable with the second end cap to save your stitches from falling off the other side. You now have two cables, each with a needle on one end and an end cap on the other. Using the new empty cable knit across your next row, leaving the original cable in place. When you are done the row transfer the second needle to your new cable and pop its end cap on the original cable.

Now you have a lifeline built in and ready to be pulled out later. Or otherwise, it’s ready to have the needles just popped back on the end should you have to rip back!