A dress for all seasons; the Rushbrook Dress and Top Blog Tour

A few months ago, in the height of the English summer, I had the pleasure of testing the Rushbrook Top and Dress by Titchy Threads.  The dress was simply perfect for the balmy weather – a classic sleeveless dress with a swing style which made it loose and comfortable and my daughter feel instantly in love with it.

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The problem with the English summer is it never quite lasts that long and now October has arrived we are most definitely in autumn.  Whilst this usually means filing away my summer patterns until next year and returning to hoodies and joggers, this was not necessarily the case with the Rushbrook, and so, here I present my autumnal Rushbrook dress.

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The loose swing style – seen beautifully in this shot, which also shows the full freedom of movement this classic dress allows – makes it perfect for layering over sweaters and tights.Photo 15-10-2017, 16 10 46

I opted to make my autumnal Rushbrook in worsted wool to add extra warmth.  The dress can be made in a range of woven fabrics but you need to consider the effect the type and thickness of fabric will have on the French seams as described in the pattern.  One of the key features of Titchy Threads patterns is the highly professional finish the patterns allow you to achieve through well explained professional techniques; French seams is one such technique described in the Rushbrook pattern.   Worsted wool is actually not that much thicker than some quilting cottons so I  did not make any modifications to the pattern; which was lucky because I really love the clean look of French seams.  Should the fabric you use be an issue, and make your French seams too bulky, the pattern does describe how you could use a regular seam finish.

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Whilst we are discussing highly professional finishing techniques, I feel I have to mention the hem facing – I really love this hem finish because it adds a clean finish to the hemline in the same way the French seam adds a clean finish to the seams.  It also enables you to add a nice pop of colour or contrast or special ‘secret’ fabric you get a little glimpse of every time the breeze catches the skirt.Photo 15-10-2017, 16 18 02

The Rushbrook has a feature placket which you can leave simple, like I have in my autumnal Rushbrook, or add a ruffle piece to (as I did in my summer version).  You can similarly leave the sleeve edge simple or add a flutter ruffle to it.  I have to say, of all the plackets I have attempted, I felt this was one of the most simple and straightforward.Photo 15-10-2017, 16 23 10

The dress also has optional patch pockets.  I daren’t present my daughter with anything that doesn’t have pockets – she is forever collecting little trinkets and ‘treasures’ – and the little patch pockets on this dress are a very practical size for a young collector.  I choose to create my pockets in the same fabric I used for my dress (in contrast to my summer version where I used a contrasting fabric), because of this, I choose to cut my pockets on the bias.  I did this for two reasons, firstly it changes the direction of the directional print and makes the pocket more of an interesting feature, secondly, it’s a lazy seamstresses way of avoiding pattern matching!

Photo 15-10-2017, 16 17 49It’s safe to say my daughter loves her autumnal Rushbrook as much as her summery version and it’s a lovely contrast to the hoodies and pants that make up most of her autumn and winter wardrobe.Photo 15-10-2017, 16 16 07

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The Rushbrook dress and top is most definitely a pattern for every season.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog post.  Be sure to visit the other hosts on the Rushbrook Dress and Top Blog tour for more inspiring ideas.  Rushbrook Dress and Top Blog Tour

My Cozy Co

While she was sleeping

Made by Sara

Pear Berry Lane

Buzzmills

Fairies, Bubbles & Co

It’s Liesel

{Spools + Oodles} of fun

S is for Sewing

Giddy Ants

La Foile sewing booth

Many thanks to Laura, of Titchy Threads and the Craftstorming Blog, for allowing me to join all these other talented seamstresses.

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Pickle Toes Patterns Back to School Blog Tour: A new way with the Adorabelle

Hi!  I’m thrilled to be the next stop on the Pickle Toes Patterns “Back to School” blog tour and today I’m sharing a new take on the Adorabelle pattern.

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The Adorabelle is a top and dress pattern designed for knit fabric.  The pattern covers an enormous size range of 12 months to 16 years and has a range of sleeve lengths and options, hood styles and skirt style options, so, in itself, represents incredible value for money.  I wanted to share with you some slight modifications to the original pattern that will give you some more options and enable you to build a mini back to school capsule wardrobe for your young lady from just this one pattern.

Essential to any capsule wardrobe, and particularly a wardrobe suitable to a changeable weather climate such as the one my daughter and I experience living here in the UK,  is a jacket or cardigan.   This was one of the garments I created from the Adorabelle pattern.  I also chose to use the pattern to create a separate skirt and top (the top option is already provided in the pattern).  As much as my daughter and I love dresses, separates are always preferred on days my daughter has P.E. (physical education) or gym classes as they are easier for her to get changed into or out of independently.  Separates obviously work particularly well for a capsule wardrobe as the separate pieces can be mixed and matched with other garments.

The Adorabelle Hooded Cardigan

The first thing to mention about my modifications, or ‘hacks’, is that they require no alterations to any pattern pieces, just an additional piece.  In order to create the cardigan front you simply do not cut the front pattern pieces required to be cut on the fold on the fold.  This will mean you have two separate front bodice pieces which are mirror images of each other.  You do this whether you choose to use the solid front option or the front and side panel option (required if you would like to do pockets).  As I was adding a band piece to the centre front of my cardigan to form the placket I did not add any seam allowance to the centre front – I was already making the front piece slightly wider in adding a band.  IMG_9901

If you are adding pockets, as I did, you also need to cut two separate pocket pieces (mirror images) as opposed to one piece on the fold (again no additional seam allowance on the centre front so that it fits perfectly on the front bodice piece).  Follow the instructions in the pattern to complete you bodice (steps 1-10).

Adding a peplum

If you wish to add a peplum to your cardigan, as I have, you will need to do this before attaching the hood and band since the peplum forms part of the bodice length measurement required for the band calculation (below).  You need to cut the front peplum in the same way as the front bodice (and pockets), as two separate pieces and not on the fold.  Attach the peplum skirt as outlined in the instructions (23-25).

You can make the cardigan longer or shorter by using more or less skirt pieces or omitting them altogether (if you omit the skirt pieces remember to hem the cardigan prior to measuring the bodice for your band piece).

 Attaching the hood and the band

You will be creating a single layer banded hood for this cardigan so you will only need to cut two hood pieces (mirror images)

  1.  Pin the hood pieces right side together and sew the centre seam.
  2.  Turn the hood right side out and pin it along the neckline right sides together matching the centre seam to the centre of the bodice back and the ends to the centre front of the bodice.  Sew the hood to the neckline.
  3.  Create your band piece.  First, measure the distance from the bottom of your cardigan to the neckline (where you attached the hood). Add this to the measurement given in the pattern for the hood band and add 3/4 of an inch seam allowance (3/8th inch seam allowance for either raw end of the band) – this gives you the total length of the band.  My band width was 2.5 inches, as advised in the pattern.  You will need to add two marks, or notches, on your band piece to indicate where you band should meet the hood on either side – this is because you want the band piece to lay flat without stretching along the bodice but stretched slightly along the hood (as required in the pattern itself and to form the shape of the hood) – the notches or marks will indicate where you need to stretch.
  4. Cut out your band.  The grainline of the fabric needs to run across the width so that you have stretch running the length of the band to enable you to stretch it around the hood.
  5. Fold the band in half across it’s width, right sides together, wrong sides facing out (picture 1).  Sew the short ends at either end using a 3/8ths of an inch seam allowance to close the ends of the band.  Turn the band right side out, folded in half across it’s width, with wrong sides together,  right sides facing out (picture 2)

     

  6. Attach the band in the same way described in the instructions:  Pin the band along the centre front around the hood and down the other side of the centre front, right sides together (matching the raw edges) – be sure to pay attention to your marks/notches and only stretch around the hood.  Sew the band to the front and hood.IMG_9913

Adding the band completes the Adorabelle hooded cardigan.

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I made my hooded cardigan in cotton lycra but you could also make this in french terry, or looped back sweatshirting, (with good stretch and good recovery)  for a slightly warmer cardigan. As there is 2 inches of ease in the Adorabelle pattern, I wouldn’t think you would need to size up if using a slightly thicker fabric like french terry, but, as always, I would recommend making a muslin using a fabric of similar qualities first.

The Adorabelle Skirt

The only additional piece required for the skirt is a waistband to which you attach the skirt pieces to as opposed to the bodice (steps 23-25).  To calculate the waistband length I took my daughter’s ‘preferred waist’ size and deducted 3 inches (the ‘preferred waist’ measurement refers to the measurement taken at the place my daughter usually wears her waistbands as opposed to her natural waist) and then adding on 3/4 inch seam allowance.  Depending on the stretch of your particular waistband fabric you may need to deduct between 2-5 inches from your preferred waist size,  I would recommend checking the fit of the waistband before attaching the skirt pieces.  The width of my waistband was 8 inches – as the waistband was folded in half, wrong sides together, in a similar way to create the hood band or neckband, this made me waistband 4 inches wide less the seam allowance) when finished.  Continue attaching the waistband to the skirt as you would a neckband – divide the skirt (all layers together if creating a layered/ruffled skirt) and the waistband into quarters and match the quarters.  I found it easier to gather the skirt (using a gathering stitch) between the quarters rather than stretching the waistband to catch multiple layers of skirt pieces/ruffles. If using multiple layers of ruffles, as I did, I would recommend adding clear elastic to the seam when attaching the waistband to the skirt as the skirt can become quite heavy and will distort the seam.

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Completing my Outfit

I used the original Adorabelle pattern to create a simple short sleeved top using the pieces and instructions provided in the pattern.

My daughter absolutely loved her out-of-this-world, twirly, ruffle-tastic outfit, and, as they are all separates, the individual garments looked equally good on their own as well as together and can be used in multiple ways across a school week.

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IMG_9665IMG_9802If you are inspired to create your own mini capsule wardrobe using the Adorabelle pattern you can purchase the pattern with 25% discount using the code SEWAMY.  The code can be used against any purchase on the Pickle Toes Patterns website with a minimum spend of $7.50 and is valid until the end of the Pickle Toes ‘Back to School’ blog tour on 31st August 2017.  Remember to share your creations in the Facebook group.

Don’t forget to visit all the other hosts of the Pickle Toes Patterns “Back to School” blog tour for more inspirational ideas to help you create the DREAM back to school wardrobe.  The associated giveaway offers you the opportunity to win Pickle Toes Patterns Store Credit.

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Twig and Tale Cosy Toes Tour; Hubby and Me

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Twig and Tale Cosy Toes blog tour, with so many incredible footwear patterns available in the Twig and Tale shop including the newly released adult Tie Backs, this is guaranteed to be an exciting tour full of lots of different designs and ideas.

I was thrilled to discover that Twig and Tale were extending the size range of the popular tie back boots to fit adults; I have been a big fan of the children’s boots, a very straightforward and rewarding sew with a professional finish, for a long time. The development of the pattern has also seen developments to the instructions in the form of a full video tutorial making the pattern even more accessible to all levels of sewing experience.

My inspiration behind my boots was my husband, my soul mate, with whom I’ve recently celebrated a significant anniversary with.  The tie back boot pattern is suitable for both women and men and covers ladies sizes 5-12 and mens sizes 8.5-15, so is perfect for couples – hubby and me – sets; with very few patterns available for men’s footwear this is somewhat of an unusual and exciting opportunity.  I decided to create a ‘union’ in the form of footwear by upcycling our clothing to create each others boots – we would literally be each others ‘sole’ mates!  I felt this would serve t+o create a sense of closeness to each other when we were apart; I could see this concept working so well for other relationships and not just couples, using your own or grandparents clothing to create first boots for newborns for example, or upcycling the clothing of distant or absent relatives to form boots to bridge the distance.

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The tie back boots, both adult and child, are a fully lined boot meaning there are no exposed raw seams, not only does this give the boots a highly professional finish but it also makes them much more comfortable.  For my outer boot I choose to upcycle old jeans.  Jeans are one of my most favourite things to upcycle as denim is very easy to work with and also jeans tend to have more interesting features like exposed stitching and stitching patterns and patch pockets which I love to incorporate in my projects to add extra interesting details without any extra work for me!  I’m very envious of my husband’s boots as the patch pockets on my old jeans were the perfect size for the front toe pieces of his boots – how perfect is that little pocket for a handwarmer mini heat pad!?!

The belt loops off my husbands jeans were the perfect size and length for the tabs on my boots saving me a job but also adding a decorative feature to my boots.

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For my lining I used brushed cotton shirts.

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The pattern itself, like all Twig and Tale patterns, gives detailed guidance and ideas about upcycling clothing for these boots, this includes a guide to felting woollen sweaters.  Since the boots can be made with a wide range of different materials – albeit giving a slightly different look depending on the material chosen – you will find you have plenty of options when it comes to upcycling.

The pattern has two boot height options; I choose regular height but there is an option for a longer boot, sizing wise my husband measured an 11.5 and I measured a 7, although this is true to our ‘real world’ sizing, I would always recommend checking measurements.  To get a more accurate measurement place you heel against a solid wall and stand straight before measuring, I found it easier to stand on a piece of paper and mark a line at the end of my foot and measure that – this was particularly helpful when measuring myself.  The pattern does advice that this boot has a generous fit and that should you want a tighter fit to go down.  The fit of my boots enabled me to wear the boots with thicker woollen socks on.

In terms of fabric usage, my size 7 boots only required half of my husband’s jeans for my outer boot, my husband’s boots required the majority of my jeans.

In the past, I have used several slipper patterns from a range of designers, one of the things I love about this pattern in particular compared to many others is the seam allowance included in the pattern.  At the Twig and Tale standard 3/8th inch (1 cm), I find this seam allowance so much easier to work with, and much more forgiving, than some of the much smaller seam allowances I have encountered in other patterns.  This is one of the reasons I think this pattern is as suitable for novice sewers as it is for more experienced ones.  The other reason I consider this pattern suitable for all levels of sewer is the tutorial, with full colour pictures and non-technical language, it is very easy to follow.  The accompanying video tutorial also supports more visual learners.

Construction was very straightforward.  In most cases, when sewing with fabrics made of natural materials I would use a sharp needle, for these boots I opted to use a denim needle for the outer boot because of my use of original jeans features making the boots thicker in parts – denim needles are angled to reduce tension when going through layers – this worked fine.

My husband and I were very pleased with our boots.  Our worn jean fabric gives the boot a slightly more slouchier appearance than you would achieve with ‘new’ denim or wool.  I really love how the irregular fading and original jean features add interesting details to the boots.

The adult tie back boots pattern is on sale until Midnight (pst) Friday 9th June 2017, the price is already discounted on the site so no code is needed.  As part of the Cosy Toes tour you can save an additional 15% of the adult tie back boots pattern, and any other footwear pattern, using the code COSYTOES.

Be sure to stopover at the other Blog Tour hosts to discover the entire range of Twig and Tale footwear patterns.

Toady you will find inspiring posts from Fleigfederfrei, Createnic and Sew Snippet.

Tomorrow you will want to visit Sew Shelley Sew, She who Sews , Life in Our Busy Household and Naeh Connection.

Thursday be sure to check out Skirt Fixation, Sprouting Jube Jube , Needle and Ted and Just Add Fabric.