Wednesday 28 March 2018

Denim Pinafore with Embroidery

This project has been a while in the making. I bought the dark denim from Plush Addict at least six months ago. It's quite heavy, like a sturdy pair of jeans and it's heavily dyed so I prewashed it a couple of times and it still made my fingers blue when working with it. It stayed in my stash until I gradually formed a plan with a vintage pinafore dress pattern, an embroidery book and a Cotton + Chalk Sunday set pattern...

I started with the embroidery and a large chunk of denim that could be trimmed down for a pocket.  The pattern is from Zakka Embroidery by Yumiko Higuchi. It is a genuinely inspiring book, there's such incredible beauty and simplicity in her designs. I traced the outlines on to Sticky Fabric Solvy which I've mentioned before.  You can see the process from stitching to dissolving to the finished design.
The bib, straps, waistband and pockets were cut from the Cotton+Chalk Sunday Set pattern. This was a freebie with Simply Sewing magazine and given to me by a friend. I made a size S and it is generously sized. I did make a quick waistband before cutting the other pieces out but it still came out larger than I planned so I tightened it a little with an extra bit of overlap on the waistband clip. The skirt was from a Woman's Realm vintage pattern. It's a long triangle shaped A line with a few gathers at the waist and I chose the longer view on the right which without the frill is a long midi. I did make a trial of the bodice of this pattern originally but it was way off in size with lots of fullness in the front. The Cotton+Chalk pattern is a circle skirt with gathers which is a bit full a bulky for the look I wanted. 

The side pockets were sewn using an 'Out of sight' feature in the March issue of Threads magazine. It was one of those technique articles that they do so well and it created the best finish on the inside as well as the out. Threads is one of the few magazines where I cut and keep the features.  The top stitching was done using Gutermann's top stitching thread from a denim thread box. I used theGutermann's standard sew-all thread shade 339 in the bobbin and the top stitching thread on top with a Superior Threads 100 Top stitching needle.  I've tried various ways of doing this and a large top stitching needle makes a big difference to keeping the thicker thread tension even.

My daughter described this look as 'Scandi Kindergarten teacher' and said I looked like I was ready to whip up a stack of flower crowns out of twigs and wild flowers.  She knows me well.  Thanks to her for taking these pics on one of our regular beach walking trips.  It was a genuinely slow stitch project with a fast ending and it has already been much worn in the last week. 


Sunday 25 March 2018

March at Eternal Maker, Plush Addict and Village Haberdashery

Easter holidays are coming up so I thought I'd squeeze my monthly selection from my long-time sponsors so you've time to order before they start!  

  1. Outback Wife 2, Anna in Teal, Barkcloth.  Kathy's second Outback Wife collection is just as beautiful as the first.  Suitable for garments, decor, bags and quilts. Other prints are here.
  2. Kinder, Heather Ross for Windham.  Anna has seven prints available from Heather's latest collection.  See a bundle here, or individually here. 
  3. Blue Paint Stripe on Viscose.  Drapey dressmaking fabric, wide width (57"/150cm). Ideal for warmer weather garments!

  1. Makower Beach Comber.  Blue and British maritime imagery, 11 FQS! Free bag pattern designed for this collection here, and quilt pattern designed by Lynne Goldsworthy here.
  2. Liberty County Garden in Pink.  Liberty's latest quilting cotton collection, there are individual prints and a bundle in the blue colourway too
  3. Merryn, a debut collection by Diane Rooney for Makower.  According to the Makower website, Merryn is an ancient girl's name meaning "born of the sea".

  1. Sunprint 2018 by Alison Glass for Andover: Build a bundle  Saturated colour selection 
  2. Rainbow Stretch Jersey.  Cotton with 5% elastane for a great recovery!  Gorgeous bright stripes.
  3. Printed Cotton Denim-lightweight. Cute, small-scale (less than 1cm/3/8" tall) anchor motif and a fabric weight that will work in dresses, shirts, trousers and more. 

Wednesday 14 March 2018

I AM Patterns Zebre Sweatshirt Review

The belated cold snap in the UK has lead me to wear my various me-made sweatshirts on heavy rotation. I have multiple Linden tops and I'm always on the lookout for another reliable sweatshirt pattern so when I saw a few versions of I AM Patterns Zebre sweatshirt popping up on Instagram, I thought I'd give it a go. It has flared bell style sleeves that end with a long shaped cuff. One shoulder is finished with a placket opening and snaps.

I bought the PDF, two-in-one Zebre with a full sleeve at the cuff and Lion which has a puff shoulder. The body shape is the same, it's just the sleeve shape that varies.  I made a test garment first (pics are on my IG @verykerryberry) using the Lion pattern but reducing the puff to a standard shoulder using other jersey tops to sketch the curve. The text version was size 38 which matched my body measurements but came out at quite a generous fit, although still very wearable; it has been already been worn a lot!
The Zebre version uses quite a lot of fabric as the sleeve pieces are wide. I used the most wonderful, drapey french terry from Eternal Maker.  It's produced by Lady McElroy and has around 20% stretch so enough for bands and ease and is a lighter weight than many sweatshirt fabrics, so perfect for the extra fullness at the cuff. I cut a size 36 with no size alterations. For reference,  I'm just over 32" bust and 36" hip, 5' 5" height.

The pattern came with English and French instructions.  The English instructions include imperial measurements and the seam allowance is 3/16"- easier understood as either a scant 1/4" or 5mm. This is for an overlock sewn version, I adjusted my seam width to fit so no trimming was needed as I overlocked the seams. If you wish to use a sewing machine throughout, the instructions suggest that the seam allowances are increased when you cut out/trace the pattern. Otherwise, construction is straightforward and pretty basic. Hems are finished with bands. My only addition was to add stabilising tape on the sewn shoulder and fusible interfacing on the placket shoulder. The placket construction is very easy, just folded over fabric- no separate pieces are added. I'm really happy with the finished top, it works well with long skirts and the sleeve finish adds a little extra drama and style to a warm, cosy sweatshirt. It is a quick make, I could stitch one up in two or three of hours and I am not a fast sewer! Definitely one to repeat.  If you prefer a paper pattern version, Alice is selling this style at Backstitch.

Saturday 3 March 2018

Simple Folk Month One

I signed up to Sarah Fielke's 2018 Simple Folk BOM so I thought I'd share my progress in a regular monthly post; this one is for January's blocks.  I love folk art motifs and I wanted to improve my applique so this seemed like the perfect project. Each month a set of patterns and videos are released and Sarah shares all her techniques and tips. If you've experienced her Craftsy Big Techniques for Small Scraps class, you'll be familiar with her silver pen, template and finger pressing methods. I'm trying all the things she suggests and then adapting to other techniques where it feels comfortable.

It is quite challenging stuff but I'm happy so far. The only real issue I had was the applique block fraying around the edges.  Usually, I would cut a larger background block and then trim back but these are already cut and corners added, so I followed a great tip from the facebook group and machine sewed 1/8" from the edge, worked a treat!

It's been a strange week.  The weather has been exceptionally cold and snowy for the time of year and from Thursday afternoon, everything ground to a standstill, no traffic could move and it was too cold to do more than the shortest walk outside. Our little dog Lottie had a heart scan which has shown up some advanced issues which are very common in Cavaliers. She's fortunate that she's 10 1/2yrs old and this is only recently starting to affect her, even if it has been building for some time.  She's now on lots of meds but the benefits will only be short term.  We're making the days count. She is still a happy, spirited little dog. She has struggled in the cold and her very brief trips outside. But, it's starting to thaw and we cannot wait to get onto grass again and wrap her up for a trip to the beach.