Wednesday, 12 December 2018

All You Need to Know About Pattern Trace/Swedish Paper + Discount Code!

I've been sent a roll of Creative Industry Patterntrace Swedish Tracing Paper to review.  It's actually something I've used for years when tracing clothing patterns!  I used to buy it from various obscure online sellers who knew it's secret powers and I think it was shipped from Canada then.  At times, supplies were hard to find and deliveries could be delayed for months.  In 2014, Clare devised a business idea having watched Sewing Bee and heard about the wonders of Swedish Paper and managed to find a UK manufacturer, she's been selling it ever since.  So, I thought I'd share with you what it is and why I like to use it, plus there's a discount code coming up...

Patterntrace is a lightweight translucent tracing paper that is ideal for tracing garment patterns.   Swedish paper doesn't really feel like paper- it's much softer and more forgiving to handle, it even has a little drape to it!  Instead, it feels similar to a very fine, nonwoven interfacing but much smoother and although it is thin, it's got some resistance to tearing.  I've traced many of my favourite tried-and-tested patterns with it and they have stood the test of time.  It has a wide width at 1m so there's no need to tape sheets of paper together and I save the offcuts for tracing smaller pattern pieces like pockets and facings.  I like to use a soft pencil when I'm tracing, preferably a Sewline Ceramic pencil as it glides over the surface and can also be erased if I trace the wrong line or notch!  You can see my other tracing tools- a quilt ruler (whichever I grab first), and pattern weights (the mini irons).

So why trace in the first place?  I don't trace every pattern, but when I make a garment with bodice pieces, I know that usually needs several alterations and by tracing, I'll retain the original pattern as a reference if I mess anything up!  I also use it if I'm making a garment in more than one size, e.g. one for me and one for my daughter.  At other times, I trace particular elements, especially sleeves so I can have a short, mid-length and long variations.   I've tried greaseproof paper, dot and cross paper and brown paper and they can be awkward to handle as well, hard to see through, as well as creasing and folding when I don't want them too and generally irritate me when I'm using them in large pieces.  Because Patterntrace is soft, the pattern pieces can be pinned and draped on the body so I can get an early idea on fit.  The softness is also more forgiving when working in a small space as it will gently crumple rather than tear and easily flattens.  I sometimes iron swedish paper pattern pieces I've used before that have been stuffed in ziploc folders and the storage creases come out easily.  It takes up less room up than standard paper when the pattern pieces are folded up.

 I also trace when I want to experiment with an alteration.  In the example below, I'm tracing The Assembly Line Apron dress which I'm going to lengthen by 2 inches using a slash and spread method.  I want to keep the original pattern intact so I can still make a shorter summer version.  I trace the front dress and back skirt and add a horizontal line to each, the same distance up from the hem.  This is then cut and pulled apart so there's a 2" parallel back between the two pieces.  This is a rare occasion when I'm quite happy to use fabric scissors or paper scissors as I don't find Swedish Paper blunts the blades, it cuts easily too!  I use an invisible tape (like Scotch Magic Tape) when I'm altering pattern pieces.  It lies very flat and it can be drawn on (although avoid the iron!).

Ultimately for me, Patterntrace makes tracing a more pleasurable experience.  The resulting pattern pieces are easier to handle, I can try the pattern pieces on and it takes pins much more easily than standard paper - what's not to like?
You can get a 10% 0ff all orders including Patterntrace with the code Verykerry
Pattern Trace is available as a 10m roll (1m width), or you can try a mini sample piece.
Check my Instagram @verykerryberry for a Patterntrace giveaway...

Thursday, 6 December 2018

December at Plush Addict and Eternal Maker

I wanted to get my monthly sponsor post in early in December so there was still time to order and receive items for Christmas. I've chosen a mix of quick gifts you might want to make,  quilting and dressmaking suggestions that you might like as a gift, or make for yourself (or others), plus some fabric that you just might need to have!

Plush Addict

  1. Dashwood Geo Forest 7 FQ Bundle.  Lovely colour palette and a mix of geometric and woodland designs. 
  2. Tilly and the Buttons Nora Top Pattern.  A relaxed fit jersey top with lots of variations from T-shirt to sweatshirt style, with and without a neckband.  This Ponte fabric would give you a more structured long sleeved Nora with neckband and is quite a stable stretch fabric so an easier knit to cut and sew.  This Cherry pattern cotton/elastane jersey would be good for a softer long or short sleeved Nora.
  3. Quantum 28 FQ Bundle (also available as individual yardage).  All the saturated colours from Giucy Giuce, geometric patterns galore! 

Eternal Maker

  1. Robert Kaufman Navy Plaid Tahoe Flannel. Thick brushed cotton flannel.  This would make a super snuggly check shirt like the Grainline Archer), dressing gown or pj pants.  Or a simple scarf or pillowcase.  Also available in a lighter Cream Olive Plaid colourway.
  2. Perfect Rainbow Kona Bundle (15Fqs).  Always have the perfect Kona colour to hand!
  3. Sweet Ton of Tags Kit.  Baby blankie tag kit, easy-to-sew kit to make a baby's first Christmas present.
  4. The Bear Necessities Cute animal print by Como Tex, hard to resist those bears...

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Assembly Line V-Neck Dress in Chambray

As promised, here's my second The Assembly Line make: the V-neck Dress.  I was 
 attracted to this style by the narrowness of the V-neck and the back neck collar, plus I knew I'd enjoy working through the collar construction. I used some Robert Kaufmann medium weight Chambray Dobbies Hash that I've had for three years waiting for the right project and it turned out to be a winning combination!

The standard seam allowance on Assembly line patterns is 1cm (3/8") so I made a rough toile of the top part of the dress to test the depth of the V and fit around the sleeves.  I went for quite a close fit and ended up raising the V point by around 1/2" which also brings the neckline in slightly and added a rounded back/shoulder alteration which is standard for me.  Fitting for this style is all about the neck, shoulders and bust; getting those areas to fit well avoids the sack-like potential that can easily happen on a dress with optional waist definition.   

 My other alterations were to move the end of the bust dart upwards by 1/2" and redraw the dart,  and I also extended the dress hem by a couple of inches. Otherwise, I cut the pattern in size XS and the combination of the fabric and instructions meant the construction was a joy.  I love it when details like exactly when to overlock on a trickier section are included as it makes for such a neat finish.

The tie belt has an interfaced centre section so there's a little extra body against your back and I think it helps it to stay in place too.

If I'm working at home, I take the belt off.  It's a relaxed fit but not voluminous.  I'm really happy with it!  It's quite a quick make so I'm planning my next version,  I've got some lovely Intermix chambray from Plush Addict which is a soft woven in a medium weight and I'd like to try the sleeves at full length and add a little extra length in the lower skirt.  The boots are Sanita Puk, I sold a few bits and pieces and bought myself these and I love them!  There's nothing like the sound of clog boots. 

It's such an easy elegant style to wear, another win from The Assembly Line.  The Apron Dress is next...

V-Neck Dress Pattern: Draper's Daughter, or go to The Assembly Line Shop
 Fabric suggestions: Quotes Chambray at Eternal Maker

Friday, 30 November 2018

A Very Vintage Christmas Sew Along: Vintage Pinwheel

Welcome to my second post for the A Very Vintage Christmas Sew-along! with Fat Quarter Shop and Lori Holt.  Catch up with all the SAL info including the schedule here.  

You can read my book review and Gingerbread house block post here.
As with my first block, I turned to the Vintage Christmas Projects section of the book which includes a tablerunner, place mat, two pillows and a Merry Mug mat.   The mug mat uses a 6" block with a little extra fabric for sashing and the side pocket- perfect for a cake fork or a small pair of scissors!

I made two: one for me and one as a gift for my daughter so she can get into the Christmas spirit with her uni friends- they have already started on flat decorations!  It's a quick make and an ideal gift if you are making presents for friends or sewing swaps.  Each year,  I find that part of getting into the mood for this time of year is making a few extra Christmas themed items and Vintage Christmas is perfect for this.  

Fabrics Used
Aqua, Robin, Cherry Christmas by Aneela Hoey for Moda
Pink, Little Joys, Elea Lutz, Penny Rose Fabrics for Riley Blake
Green (pocket), Little Joys, Elea Lutz, Penny Rose Fabrics for Riley Blake 
Binding, Color Theory Selection, V and Co for Moda- Ta Dot in Ceda by Michael Miller

Vintage Christmas is available at The Fat Quarter Shop (USA)
In the UK, stock has arrived  but is selling quickly. It's due to arrive back into stock here at Patchwork Dreamer.  Currently sold out at Sew Hot maybe contact them to see if more are due?

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Assembly Line: Cap Sleeve Top in Manchester / Double Gauze

I first saw The Assembly Line shop patterns on Instagram a few months ago and was instantly smitten.  They are a Swedish pattern company and shop and Karen from Draper's Daughter was quick to stock their patterns.  Initially, they were only available as single size paper patterns, this has recently changed to multi-size which is great news as they are at the upper price end.  I started with the easiest pattern, The Cuff Top.

I was almost embarrassed to spend so much on something so simple and I did fear it may be too boxy but actually, it worked really well and it's a basic that I will make multiple versions of so well worth it.  I traced the pattern and made a toile version in a very lightweight linen.  I am very flat on my upper bust area so I ended up reducing the extra fabric below the front neck by pinning darts in the excess and then taking these alterations to the pattern with scissors and washi tape.  The first version was made in Manchester yarn-dyed cotton (now sold out at Eternal Maker, but there are lots of colours available at M is for Make.   This fabric is soft with a bit of drape and works well for this style.  I omitted the centre seam and cut front and back on the fold. I also fed elastic through the casing rather than sewing it directly to the fabric, I found this much easier to do!

The second version was sewn from a gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze remnant, bought from Eternal Maker's excellent destash account.  It's one of Naomi Ito's older Fuwari Fuwari prints; there's a hint of metallic and I love the colourway.  It's soft but less drapey so creates a different effect.  You can find other Nani Iro double gauze prints here.
The neck is finished with a facing and the instructions recommend using the woven label that's included in the pattern to help secure the back.  I find labels a bit scratchy so used bits of soft cotton tape from my stash and I like adding this sort of personal detail.  I made an XS and for sizing reference, my upper bust is 32" and full bust 33".  I've also bought the V-neck dress pattern and The Apron Dress so Assembly Line patterns are making up the majority of new winter wardrobe additions.  As I get closer to 50, I'm aware my style is changing and I really like how their aesthetic works for me.   It reminds me of Toast, maybe a little softer in style.  The instructions are straightforward- each pattern comes with an A4 size black/white booklet with clear diagrams.  The fabric requirements have been very accurate so far too, so much less wastage.  Seam allowances are generally 1cm or smaller for areas like necklines.  I'll share the V-neck dress next.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Black Friday Round Up!

Here's a round-up of the Black Friday 2018 offers from my sponsors...

Plush Addict is offering a range of discounts plus free goodies when you spend over a set amount from Friday to Monday inclusive.  Find the offers now on this page!
  1. Kam Press Bundle - Press, Die (size 20 only) - 500 snaps (5 x 100 sets in colours) - £115.50 reduced to £85.50.
  2. Gutermann Thread Kits - 20% off
  3. Queen Wadding - HL90 was £27.25, now £19.99
  4. Rose Gold Thimble Desk Tidy was £10.20, now £7.20
  5. Four Tier Cantilever Sewing Box was £88.99, now £58.99
Free Gifts*
  1. Free Madeira Thread Snips worth £3.99 with all orders over £25
  2. Free 21cm universal Fiskars scissors (in a choice of design) worth £14.95  on all orders over £100
*If you spend over £100 you get both free gifts

Eternal Maker is running a mega Instagram destash on Friday (follow @eternalmaker_destash to keep up to date and read how it works) and look out for Black Friday offers on the shop website.

Amy and Angela at My Sewing Box are offering 20% off all orders under £50, and 25% off orders over £50 plus free delivery over £50.  You'll need codes for these at the check out: BLACKFRIDAY20 for the 20% off, BLACKFRIDAY25 for the 25% off over £50.  They've got quilting, dressmaking and of course their sewing boxes packed with gifts and notions to chose from.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Sew Over It Dana Dress In Double Gauze

Back in September, I bought the Sew Over It e-Book, Work to Weekend and made the Dana dress, as we are heading towards December, I thought it was time I shared it!  It was still warm when I sewed it up and I made it for my birthday at the end of September.  I'm guessing next time I wear this it will be late spring.  The pattern fabric recommendations all feature drape - viscose and rayon wovens, crepe, georgette.  I find crepe and georgette a bit impractical for my everyday wear so I used a soft cotton double gauze, very similar to the fabric used for this dress which I wore repeatedly during the summer.  I picked it up as an end of roll from Stitch Fabrics at Festival of Quilts so I only had 2 metres (wide width) and had to cut very creatively.  This included piecing strips to make the belt, to squeeze the dress out of what I had and there were only tiny scraps left over.  This fabric has more drape than a Nani Iro/Kokka double gauze and is very soft.

I made a straight size 8, no changes.  I usually find I am a size 8 in less fitted SOI patterns and a size 10 in those with less ease.   The fit is good apart from the V which is too low for my small bust- too much rib revealed!  It's a relatively straightforward make with added interest from the covered button placket.  I hadn't sewn one of these before and this fabric was a little bouncy for creating the extra pleat that lies over the fastenings, but I made it work. 

As the V-neck is generous, the dress fits over my head without needing to unfasten any buttons so I omitted the button holes and stitched shell buttons through the placket layers.  I hand stitched the V where the front pieces crossover to secure it.

My only addition was a belt loop at each side seam.

It's a very informal style to wear- I really liked the patch pockets, especially in this fabric and the sleeve length is flattering.  I also liked the tie belt- I cannot bear anything restricting around the waist at the moment.  However, the belt also has a touch of dressing gown about it which makes me wonder whether this style has staying power in my wardrobe.  I'll have to see how much wear it gets next year, maybe it was a bit of an Indian summer fling!