Friday, 31 August 2018

August Indie Pattern Update!



August was another incredibly busy month in the indie sewing community! As well as endless beautiful new releases there have been some great sew-alongs running and lots to look forward to as well. I'm not quite ready to let go of summer here in the UK yet and partly because I feel like I barely made a dent in my summer sewing plans! I guess its about time I started sewing for the colder weather and put those projects on hold until next year but its difficult as I always feel much more inspired to sew for sunshine! I do love planning projects though so hopefully a sit down with my pattern and fabric stash will get me motivated. Just putting together this update has made me feel more creative and optimistic about the changing season.


New Pattern Companies


  • Not new this month but new fairly recently and definitely worth drawing your attention to are patterns from Elbe Textiles. Lauren has launched with a gorgeous wearable collection of PDF patterns for both men and women including a number of free downloads! I can see myself using a lot of the mens patterns actually and love the little backpack too.
  • Athina Kakou released her very first solo pattern this month. The Sheona Dress & Top is a shift style designed for knit fabrics with five variations including various sizes of hem and sleeve ruffles. I've been spotting some gorgeous tester versions popping up in my Instagram feed.
  • Pearson and Pope launched with a collection of classic and versatile pieces perfect for a working wardrobe. The collection includes three blouses, a dress and two skirts; my personal favourite is the Catherine Blouse which has a beautifully cut collar and removable neck tie which can we worn in a number of ways.


New Patterns


  • The two new patterns with Seamwork Magazine this month were the Adria Top and Christina Skirt which look great together in a minimalist scan-chic two piece kind of fashion! The member bonus this month for the fitted pencil skirt includes side and rear welt pockets and a traditional vent.
  • Named released Anni to celebrate their fifth anniversary. I am totally in love with this 'building block' pattern which provides you with a variety of blocks you can mix match to create up to 36 different garments! The bodice pattern has three necklines and four sleeves (including sleeveless) and it comes with a skirt, trousers or shorts. My favourite of the three samples is that amazing blue jumpsuit with keyhole neckline.
  • New on Free Sewing is the Sandy Circle Skirt. As with all the patterns from Joost this comes with a fantastic range of options to make the design your own and also achieve your ideal fit. Plus its free to download!
  • New from Style Arc is the Como Outfit which consists of three patterns that can be bought in a bundle at a discounted price. The Como Cardigan is long-line and features an all-in-one dropped shoulder, the Knit Top is an appealing minimalist modern design with v-neck and slight grown on sleeves and the Knit Pant has wide legs, an elasticated waist and the option to make full length of cropped. They also released the trio of Sutton styles which include a woven top, cami and skirt all with feature buttons. I think my favourite is the top. One of the freebies for the month was also new. Perry is a sleeveless swing top with asymmetrical hemline.
  • Amongst the new free downloadable patterns released by Mood Fabrics this month were the Ulmus Dress, Ursinia Dress, Vanda Dress, Willow Cardigan, Xryis Dress and Victoria Tee which features a fun pleated back to make use of their range of pre-pleated fabrics. They also released the Woodsia Shorts for men, a classic cargo style.
  • Opian released the Pilatus Swimsuit. I'm more of a two piece girl but if I make a one piece its going to be this one! I love the cut outs and bow front combined with high waist.
  • By Hand London released the Eloise Dress - a mix and match pattern with on trend ruffles and statement sleeves. I can definitely see myself making multiple variations of this one and wearing them to death, someone point me in the direction of some beautiful viscose prints!
  • I turns out I wasn't very on the ball last month with the update and the next few are patterns released in July but which I wanted to make sure you got to see! First up the Magnuson Vest by Straight Stitch Designs; a fashionable twist on a military vest with large patch pockets, button placket and stand collar and a drawstring waist.
  • Muse Patterns released the Manuka Dress & Top last month too which has a breezy fit, dropped shoulder and the option to use a flutter or long voluminous sleeve.
  • Also launched in July was the new Breeze Shirt from Twig and Tale. A pullover top with mandarin collar and the option for long sleeves with optional tabs or short flounce sleeves. There is also a men's version available.
  • DG Patterns released the Ursula, Renata and Adele Tops & Dresses in August. Renata is a woven style with slight cocoon shape and gathered detail along the sleeve. Adele is a simple summer style with drawstring waist and optional shoulder ties. Ursula is a knit design with keyhole neckline and cold shoulder.
  • Orange Lingerie released the Lansdowne Bra pattern which is a cleavage enhancing plunge design with a two piece seamed cut and underwires. Every time Norma releases a pattern I say that this is going to be the one to start me sewing lingerie but I still haven't got my act and all the supplies together! 
  • Sew Over It released their Carrie Trousers pattern (previously only available as part of the trousers e-course) as a PDF! A relaxed style perfect for those new to sewing trousers these are a loose fitting tapered style with an elasticated back waist. 
  • New from Tessuti is the Soho Coat. With a classic cut this features a turn back collar, slightly dropped shoulders and side pockets. I love their suggestion of making this up in a heavy linen.
  • Wardrobe By Me released a new pattern for Mens Chino Pants. These have a slim and modern fit and include all the classic design details such as welt pockets, belt loops, fly front and slanted front pockets. Very tempted by these for some un-selfish sewing. 
  • The Relaxed Raglan Short Sleeve Knit Top and Easy Construct Maxi Knit Skirt are both new from Hourglass Patterns. This pattern company are new to me and I'm intrigued to find out more. The patterns are drafted to accommodate a larger bust and more muscular bicep and shoulder.
  • Laela Jeyne Patterns released the Emily T-Shirt which is a versatile tee pattern with numerous variations to play with. It can be made up as a mini dress, classic tee or with a peplum and includes two shapes of neckline and three sleeve styles.
  • Sew House Seven launched the Montavilla Muumuu in PDF format. Perfect for the heat much of the northern hemisphere has been experiencing over the last few months this is a long dress with hem vents, a ruffle at the armhole cleverly created by gathering the shoulder dart and large deep pockets. The also released a free downloadable pattern for a cross body Micropurse last month. I might make myself a few of these in fun prints as they'd be really useful on set at work!
  • Kommatia Patterns released Piper, a nineties inspired tube top, and Rommy, a quick to sew, loose fitting pair of trousers with a tapered leg. Ideal to add to the wardrobe as we move towards cooler weather. I'm loving their new illustrations and they've also been working hard to improve their sizing and add features like layers to their PDFs.
  • New from Pin-Up Girls Patterns at Bra-Makers Supply is the Sapphire Partial Band Bra. This is an underwired, foam bra which is cut to give a rounded push up effect. I can't even imagine making lingerie so structured yet bet I'm hoping to work up to it!
  • Wearable Studio released the Canary Cami, a simple yet clever design with small grown on fluted sleeves and princess seams for a flattering fit.
  • New from Itch to Stitch is the Dana Point Top. I love the clever flattering shape of this design with pleats at the waist creating flare over the hips and the combination of v neck and slightly exposed shoulder is subtle yet gorgeous.
  • Both Carmen Bouchard of French Sewing Bee fame and Maire Poisson have released pattern books with publisher Editions la Plage this month. Le Manteau de Carmen is a classic tailored coat with notched collar and Le Body de Marie is a bodysuit with two variations including a cute wrap style with sleeves. Both are currently available in French only from both the publisher and via Amazon.
  • The Maker's Atelier released the latest pattern in their design studio line, working in collaboration with students at Brighton University. The Madeline Robertson Jumpsuit and Dress is a dramatic yet elegant design with butterfly sleeves and a drawstring waist. They also released the second edition of the Maker's Atelier Magazine - 48 pages of inspiration for your autumn sewing! The pattern included with this issue is a simple but versatile pleated skirt inspired by Frida Kahlo.
  • New from Designer Stitch is the Gemma Twist Tops pattern. The pattern comes with pieces for both a top with a feature twist back and front. Designed for jersey knits I think this would look great made up in directional prints to emphasise the twist.
  • Create Space Adelaide released a new pattern in the form of How To Sew Leather. The pattern is for a simple zip clutch and the instructions take leather newbies through all the steps including lots of tips for sewing leather on a domestic machine. I'm definitely going to be trying this one as leather is one of the fabrics I haven't quite mastered yet.
  • I'm really excited about the new My Capsule Wardrobe: Work to Weekend ebook from Sew Over It! I'm a big fan of the patterns from their first ebook and these look just as good. Wearable, well-drafted, timeless styles. It contains five patterns, with twelve variations between them. I like the boat neck of Edie, the split skirt of Kate but my favourite is either the Camille Jumpsuit or classy Anna Coat.
  • Maven Patterns released the Barcelona Dress in PDF format; a classic fit a flare style that looks great made up in stripes. My favourite feature of this is that elegant boat neck with dart tucks that can be sewn with a v-neck or high neck at the back.
  • Emily from In The Folds has designed a new free pattern download for Peppermint Magazine. The Button Up Dress is a great wardrobe staple with a nineties vibe. I wish the summer would stick around here longer so I could make it up in lovely linens. 
  • Love Notions just released the Duet Pants which are a classic trouser with a straight or tapered leg and mid rise that can be made in wovens or stable knits.
  • 5 out of 4 Patterns released the Virginia Tank & Maxi which is a knit design with a whole heap of interesting features. You can make it up as a separate tank and skirt with yoga waistband in two lengths or as a dress. The tank has an optional built in bra and pattern pieces for a fuller bust as well as a maternity option! There's also a girls version of the pattern.
  • The new So Classic Sundress from Patterns for Pirates is a beauty for those of your heading into warmer months. It features a classic fitted bodice with shirred back and sweetheart neckline, a button up front and various skirt lengths. There are some truly gorgeous tester versions on the product page.
  • Hot Patterns released the HP 1237 Plain & Simple Favourite Shirt, Tunic & Shirtdress. An elevated basic with revere collar and lots of classic shirt details I think this would be a gorgeous and somewhat challenging sew in billowy lightweight silks.


Pattern updates and expansions


  • Cashmerette released the Lenox Shirtdress Expansion Pack. This add on to their best selling pattern provides a full bicep version of the short sleeve, a new long sleeve in standard and full bicep sizes and a sleeveless bodice in their range of cup sizes. 
  • Wardrobe By Me have given their Piper Boho Tunic a makeover and as well as extending the size range have added on loads more design options giving you a huge 27 variations to choose from. New features include a kaftan length, new sleeves styles and necklines.


Sew-alongs, Tutorials and Online Courses




Upcoming!


  • Colette have two new patterns coming out next month. I am clueless as to what they will be but if you are a Seamwork Magazine member you'll be able to buy them with just one credit as you now can any pattern in the Colette line.
  • There's a new pattern company coming soon! The kick-starter campaign for Selkie Patterns will be launching next month and you can follow along with the progress of the patterns on their YouTube channel.
  • The Avid Seamstress has a new pattern coming soon. All I have been able to gather from Instagram sneak peaks is that it features button closures and promise to be a year round wardrobe staple.
  • Pipe Dream Patterns are working on the Brooke Cami Dress. I'm loving the detail in the close up of the hem pictured on their website hem page at the moment.
  • Sarah Kirsten is set to release the Clematis Tote which is a clean and simple bag with no lining or pockets, constructed with french seams for a clean and strong finish. 
  • Louis Antoinette have a selection of new patterns coming out in September.
  • Jennifer Lauren Handmade will soon be releasing the Quincy Dress, the sister pattern to the Mayberry Dress. Each pattern piece is interchangeable between the two designs, giving you a design freedom.
  • Thread Theory put out a call for testers for their next pattern and have specifically asked for people with experience sewing trousers. I'm looking forward to this one!
  • I AM Patterns have collaborated with French magazine Modes & Travaux to release sx new designs. For those of us in the UK English versions of the pattern will be released on their site on 21st October. 
  • Ensemble Patterns are testing the Parasol Jumpsuit which looks really cute! Wide legs and a sleeveless wrap bodice.


As always feel free to share the indie pattern love and add anything I've missed into the comments (I'm sure there's plenty!). Here's your monthly dose of indie sewing inspiration to get your September sewing started:



  • Rosie drew this Yorkshire Dales image, had it printed onto fabric and turned it into a Claudia Dress. AMAZING.
  • I absolutely love Jade's striped Celeste bikini. A great fabric choice and beautifully sewn. Swim Style patterns are a new discovery for me thanks to Jade and the cut of this one in particular is gorgeous.
  • Marie made my favourite Kew Dress yet. Her fabric choice is beautiful and the fit is amazing!
  • I love a little black dress at any time of year and Kelli's black linen Ariana Dress is perfect for summer. I think this will look great layered in winter too.
  • Emanuelle's testve rsion of the new Sheona Dress is a stunner. A classic little black dress and I absolutely love her choice to do the little hem and cuff ruffles in a chiffon. What a gorgeous detail.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

A Trio of Blackwood Cardigans

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Teal Merino from The Fabric Store

Ever since I made my first Longley Cardigan in silver grey merino about 18 months ago I haven't felt the need to add another cardigan pattern to my handmade arsenal. That cardigan and the subsequent maroon patterned version I made work with my entire handmade wardrobe and are ideal to throw at any time of year. It is a fantastic pattern and really fun to put together. I didn't think any other cardigan could steal my affection until I met the Blackwood Cardigan from Helen's Closet. A pattern I liked so much on first sewing that a month later I owned three!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Teal Merino from The Fabric Store

I started looking at cardigan patterns because I got the idea into my head that I wanted to sew a dramatic maxi length cardigan for wearing over simple jeans and tee combos. Lengthening the Longley wouldn't work as that waterfall front would overwhelm me with fabric. I looked at the I AM Patterns Artemis for a while before deciding that the cocoon shape wasn't quite right and I wanted something a little more slimline and lightweight. I can't remember who but I spotted a slightly lengthened version of the Blackwood (which comes with both hip and thigh length variations already) on Instagram, liked the neat look of the close fitting shoulder and thought it would definitely suit being lengthened all the way down to the ground.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Teal Merino from The Fabric Store

In the end my cardigan doesn't quite reach the ground as I was restricted by the amount of fabric I had. But its a much more practical length now, who wants to drag beautiful merino in the London dirt?! I settled on adding 38cm to the length as it was long as I could go while still having just enough fabric to squeeze out another Nikko Top. I would have needed more fabric to make it any longer anyway as I cut the Nikko around the cardigan pieces to fit it all on. I had two metres of this deep teal premium merino from The Fabric Store. If you're making a longer version of this cardigan don't forget to add the extra length to the front band pattern piece too. I almost forgot which would have been a disaster as I was using every scrap for my Nikko!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Rose Pink Merino from The Fabric Store

I cut the size small from shoulder to waist and then graded out to a medium at the hip continuing with that size down to the hem. I did think as the cardigan is designed to be worn open I could get away without changing size but it is a fairly close fitting style I didn't want it too tight across the bum. I added the extra length to the hem of the front and back pattern pieces just above the hem band and made sure to draw the lines straight down at the side seams rather than following any flare so that the hem band would still be the right size. I'm really happy with the fit even the sleeves which I am usually quite particular about. I wasn't sure I would like the 'extra long sleeves' but I do and they are nice and slim.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Black Merino from The Fabric Store

So my first try with this pattern was in fact a hack; but a straightforward one that turned out just as I had hoped! Making this highlighted the careful design choices of this seemingly simple cardigan and I realised a shorter version would definitely be of use to me. Along with the teal I'd ordered a couple of metres of black in the same premium mid-weight (because lets face it, that is ALWAYS going to be useful) and I decided to use some of it for a practical black cardigan. I got this little black number, using the hip length view A, out of just 90cm of fabric. That counts as a stash buster to me, especially considering that the Longley needs 2m to accommodate those big pieces required for the waterfall front.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Black Merino from The Fabric Store

Knowing how little fabric was needed next time I ordered from The Fabric Store a metre of the rose pink ended up in may cart and my third version of the Blackwood was born. I've never been much of a pink wearer but current trends must be infiltrating my subconscious. I think I placed the order around the same time as I made my blush pink Ogden and rust orange Erin combo and was firmly on board that colour palette train. This pink has actually ended up being my favourite of the three! It is surprising how well this colour works with the majority of my wardrobe. I'm almost treating it as a neutral.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Rose Pink Merino from The Fabric Store

I think part of the reason I made so many in quick succession is that it is such a speedy sew. I've had a really busy summer at work and the gratification of being able to make something useful for my wardrobe in under two hours proved impossible to resist. As always the merino was a dream to work with too. No unexpected nasty surprises slowing down my speed sewing there. As the construction of this cardigan results in three layers of fabric at a lot of the seams (along the front and hem bands as well as the cuffs) a fairly lightweight knit such as the merino is a great choice to stop things getting bulky. It also presses beautifully so the cardigan hangs well and those seam allowances stay where they're supposed to be. When choosing fabric for this pattern make sure to pay attention to the stretch requirements too. There's negative ease to achieve the close fit around the shoulders so it needs a good amount of stretch.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Rose Pink Merino from The Fabric Store

It was my first time sewing with a Helen's Closet pattern and I was impressed. So impressed I bought the Winslow Culottes pattern soon after. Her instructions are well thought out and leave little room for error and the drafting was spot on for me, although obviously a knit cardigan doesn't test the sizing as well as a more fitted garment. She has a complete sew-along posted over on her blog if you want any additional guidance.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Teal Merino from The Fabric Store

I like the way the cardigan is put together. The only construction technique I was a little unsure about was topstitching along the front neck band seam allowance to finish. I was concerned I wouldn't like the look of it and worried about keeping it neat but it has turned out beautifully and doesn't bother me at all on the finished garment. Make sure to be careful not to stretch anything out as you sew this though as you don't want to end up with a wavy front. Another area to be careful about is matching up the bottom edge of the front band correctly at the hem as it will be very visible if you end up with the step there. I'm a couple of millimetres out on some of mine and it bugs the perfectionist in me!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Rose Pink Merino from The Fabric Store

This is a very different cardigan pattern to the MIY Collection Longley. I think in the winter I'll still be reaching for the Longley more often as you can wrap that waterfall front around you for extra warmth and cosiness! I slightly miss being able to do that with the Blackwood which is purposefully cut to sit open at the front but I really like this feature over summer dresses, cami tops and tees as it feels less cumbersome but still provides enough coverage when there's a chill in the air. I think could be a great combined with the mock turtleneck of the True Bias Nikko Top or Dress in winter. I've now got a contemporary twist on a twinset of these two patterns in the teal! Overall there is a place for both styles of cardigan in my wardrobe and I now feel well and truly kitted out for the onset of cooler weather. Well until I spot another shade of merino I can't resist that is...

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Merino from The Fabric Store

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Checked Linen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Ogden Cami

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

I don't know how popular Pinterest is any more but I still use it ALL the time for collecting images to inspire my sewing along with tutorials and tips. It's good for giving my sewing ideas some focus as I can see what I'm drawn to but whilst I'm very good at collecting the images I'm not so good at translating the images into reality. This outfit is finally some sort of recreation of the image below which I've returned to a number of times over the past few summers but have never been able to find quite the fabric I need. I love the combination of slightly relaxed fit, texture and monochrome print. They look chic and somewhat tailored but still comfortable and cool.

Click image for source

The Fabric Store listed a number of yarn dyed striped and checked linens along with a few prints a few months back and despite still being in the depths of winter here in London they made me instantly think of the above image. I was finally going to have the slouchy pair of patterned shorts of my dreams! It was a hard choice between the beautiful selection and I almost plumped for this Herringbone Stripe to match my inspiration but was ultimately drawn to this Yarn Dyed Slubby Linen Check. I'll admit that when I had it sewn up I was concerned the project slightly resembled a pair of mens boxer shorts but I have been reassured that the scale of the check avoids that misfortune!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

The Megan Nielsen Flint Pants were a staple of my wardrobe last summer. They are breezy and cool and have exactly the tailored yet relaxed shape around the waist and hips that I was after. I hadn't yet tried the shorts but had every confidence that they were just the pattern to choose. Plus I love that little tie detail at the side of the waist! I cut the size small as I have done for my previous two versions. The measurements for the small are a fraction larger than my own but I do find they run a bit on the large side anyway. I have rectified this in every previous iteration by moving the button over a little to tighten them up as I've been very happy with the width through the hip and leg. I did the same with these rather than going down a size as I really dislike shorts which are too tight around the thigh which is a problem I often find with RTW.

The check in this fabric has highlighted the problem with moving the button for a snugger fit though...the centre back seam ends up sitting slightly off centre. I din't notice it until I saw the photos of this one from behind as you can't feel it when you're wearing it but the check runs into the centre back in an obvious way which really highlights the squiffy placement. It doesn't bother me though as it's not me looking at it!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

When it came to cutting the shorts out and I thought about pattern matching I slightly wished I'd stuck with a stripe! It took some extra thought to deal with the check but I took my time, cut everything in a single layer and resorted to my usual tactic of drawing the lines of the check on the edges of the pattern pieces themselves so I can use that as a guide for cutting the second piece. I generally choose a notch to align which one of the lines in the print as that is easy to match up on the adjoining piece. I'm really proud of how the matching turned out on these, even in the pockets!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

This linen a dream to work with. It has a very fine slubby texture and I love that the check is slightly ill-defined because it is created in the weave of the fabric rather than printed and the colour has a natural fleck to it. It is lightweight but tightly woven so nice and opaque and has this wonderful crisp finish which gives the shorts great structure. They do of course rumble up quite terribly throughout the day but I love that look. I pressed up the hem to match the turn up of the inspiration image but also because I felt the length of the short was a fraction long and unflattering on me as it was. The linen presses so well that I don't even need a stitch to keep the turn up in place.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

The top I haven't got an awful lot to say about. I'm sure many of you recognise it as the True Bias Ogden Cami and another favourite of mine last summer, it is either my fourth or fifth version...I've lost count! I mixed it up a little bit with this one and decided to add a faux button placket to the centre front for added interest. This was really easy to do. I just cut a strip of fabric the width of my placket plus seam allowance on either side. I pressed the seam allowance under, pinned it in place down the centre of my front pattern piece and topstitched down either side. I trimmed down the ends to match the pattern piece and sewed my buttonholes while the piece was still flat and unassembled. The button holes are left closed and a button sewn on top to give the impression of a button front without any of the hassle! I've had these buttons in my stash for a long time, they were a gift from my Mum, and I'm pleased they've found their match.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

The fabric for this is also from The Fabric Store and in a rare turn of events I bought it simply because I loved it without a specific project in mind. It is this Embroidered Cotton Voile Stripe. The stripes are a little wider in reality than I first envisioned so I'm pleased I didn't buy it for something specific. I love that it is a white neutral but with a bit of interest in the form of those delicate embroidered stripes.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

I cut the size 4 as I have done previously and am generally happy with the fit apart from the fact that I think I shortened the straps too much this time as it cuts in a little under the arms. I should have looked back at my old blog post and noted that I cut off two inches last time, this time it was at least three. In this crisper fabric it also pokes out a but under the bust, perhaps I could have done with a slight FBA as this pattern is drafted for a B cup I believe. Its not noticeable in a fabric with more drape. The only change I made to the pattern itself was to do a full lining in cotton lawn rather than just a facing. My embroidered cotton is a little sheer which I don't mind unlined for a top but I didn't like the idea of the facing being visible through the top and weird line running across my chest where it ended.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

Looking back at my inspiration photo the top in that was some sort of crepe or fabric with much more drape than my crisp cotton but I loved the idea of the top having a bit of texture in the fabric too. As it is lined it does feel a little bulky tucked in to the shorts and I think I'd like to make a slinkier top to pair with them too but I love this look overall and both garments have been invaluable to me whilst working during the heatwave Britain is currently having. I'm loving getting some real wear out of my handmade summer wardrobe so fingers crossed we've got a lot more summer to come!

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

July Indie Pattern Update



It's been a slightly quiet month here on the old blog for which I apologise; work has taken over yet again! I'm determined not to let it in August as I have some really exciting projects lined up which I can't wait to make. First up has to be a Fiona Sundress! I've been busy taking a few photos of recent projects though so should have some review posts up for you to read soon. We've been having quite an extraordinary summer here in the UK and all the heat and sunshine has been really inspiring me to sew! I love the hot weather and never have I had such a need for all the summer dresses! Speaking of which, there are some gorgeous dress designs among the new releases this month...


New Patterns


  • Pauline Alice released the Vera Shirt which is oversized with a dropped hem and notched collar, and also the Romero Trousers which are a gorgeous wide legged sailor style with button drop front fastening.
  • Style Arc launched the Eme Dress which is a cocoon shaped easy to wear style with no fastenings and in-seam pockets.  They also released the Meghan Markle inspired Sussex Cape Dress pattern which is a simple shift with optional lined shoulder cape. One of their free patterns with any purchase this month was also new; the Melody Tunic which features on trend 3/4 length sleeves with elasticated cuffs.
  • Sew This Pattern released the Sienna Dress; a cute a-line shift style with ruffles around the armholes which are cleverly set into the princess seams of the bodice. Great for a beginner looking to advance.
  • New from Sew Liberated is the Hinterland Dress. The perfect showcase for a beautiful linen with clean lines, a loose fit and a button front. I also missed a new release of theirs at the end of last month; the Gypsum Skirt is a simple and comfortable style with the option for crescent shaped or side seam pockets.
  • Another release late last month which I missed was the Summer Bikini from Evie La Luve. There have been some fantastic swimwear patterns released of late and this one may have queue jumped a few I already had my eye on!
  • The two new patterns with Seamwork Magazine in July were Ariel and Lucy. A chic column style shift dress with straps and a practical and comfortable knit jumpsuit. 
  • Afternoon pattern company released the Sparrow Wrap Dress which has really caught my eye as one of those timeless yet contemporary styles. I love the effortless combo of low back and wrap front for summer.
  • Studio Costura released the Mia Panties which are a Brazilian cut. I particularly like the second variation included with the pattern which is designed to show off a scallop edged lace.
  • There was a free skirt pattern launched by Ready To Sew. Justine is a super wearable midi skirt with button front and optional patch pockets. I love the use of a border print for the sample. 
  • New from Cali Faye Collection is Dress 47. I adore this with its cheeky tie front bodice which gives a flash of flesh combined with the full skirt.
  • The new Melbourne Trench Coat from Tessuti is a classic single breasted style with inverted back pleat, curved patch pockets, button front and detachable hood. Following their detailed instructions and construction methods is sure to give you a wardrobe staple that will never age.
  • The second pattern from the Thrifty Stitcher is the Alex PJ Set. Aimed at beginners it consists of a cute cami top and simple pull on trousers.
  • The new releases from DG Patterns in July included the April Top and Callie Dress which works for both knits and wovens and combines a lovely cut out neckline with flounce skirt.
  • HalfMoon Atelier launched the Well's Bay Basic Bikini and Tofo Summer Jumpsuit. I've got one of these cut out and ready to sew but to be honest it was a tough choice for which to make first! Such effortless, yet interesting design.
  • New from Jennifer Lauren Handmade is the Raine Dress which is a classic fit and flare style with two neckline options. The pattern includes multiple cup sizes and provides an opportunity to flex those sewing skills with a curved waistband and all in one facing.
  • Louis Antoinette released the Jade Dress. Super chic in solid black, this design is a shift style and features a dropped waist with ruffle hem plus a deep v-back with horizontal strap detail.
  • The Plitvice Top and Chirripo Top are the latest releases from Itch to Stitch. The former has an elegant cowl neckline and the latter a square neck, relaxed fit and optional flutter sleeves.
  • Charlotte Kan released the Parsec Leggings which are a basic style with not side seam. The ideal blank canvas for fun printed lycra or getting creative with your one style lines or colour blocking.
  • Amongst the new releases from Mood this month were the Sequoia Shorts, Thalia Blouse, Torenia BlouseElnath Cosplay, Ursi Ensemble (consisting of wide-legged trousers and a button up crop top) and Thyme Bodysuit which makes the most of their selection of stretch laces.
  • Daughters of Style released the Mulligan Skirt which is a full length a-line style with drawstrings along the side seams which you can tighten or loosen to create a unique draped effect. 
  • Our Lady of Leisure released the Margarita Dress, a figure hugging off the shoulder style with wide wrap around the bust. I also missed the release of their Sangria Jumpsuit last month. With palazzo legs and a deep scoop neck this is a great choice for the hot summer.
  • The new collection from Republique du Chiffon consists for the Anita Top with fun tie back, Paula Top with fun tie front and Florence Dress which is a pinafore style with full skirt and deep pockets.
  • The Havana Dress and Top is new from Greenstyle Creations. A flowing maxi style for woven fabrics. Great to show off a big bold print.
  • Sew Over It's PDF launch for July is the Marguerite Dress. A classic flattering everyday dress with fitted waist, reasonably full skirt and little grown on sleeves. Fun to sew and fun to wear!
  • Nina Lee London released their capsule collection of Summer Essentials. Available for download only these patterns are juts £2.50 each or £7 for all three. All three designs (the Effra Skirt, Fleet Top and Moselle Top & Dress) are speedy to sew, handy if you've found your handmade summer wardrobe a little lacking for the recent heat!
  • I can see the new Felix Dress from Grainline Studio being hugely popular in the sewing community as it is so effortlessly wearable and will look great in a variety of fabrics for all seasons.
  • Thread Theory released the Eastwood Pyjamas. A great starting point if you're tempted to try sewing gifts for men any time soon; you can make these really basic or add in extra details such as a button or mock fly for a more challenging sew.
  • New from Sew Different is the Moon Pocket Maxi. It's a-line shape is created by the inverted v shape panels reaching up into the bodice and the pockets are concealed within that diagonal seam line. The pockets can be emphasised with circular topstitching.
  • Smyly magazine launched their next design. The Lisa Dress has an a-line shape and optional shoulder ties or little cap sleeves.
  • Schnittchen released the next design by a winner of their Maker's Wish competition. The Trine Dress is designed by Trine Schroeder from Groovy Baby and Mama and is a chic cocoon shape with rounded hem and pockets set in a diagonal seam line.
  • Allie from Indie Sew launched her next pattern. The Kila Tank is designed for rib knits and is a close fitting tank with a lovely cut. The combination of slight racer back and scooped neckline is really flattering.
  • To celebrate her birthday Amy Nicole created the Krissa Crop pattern which is free to download for newsletter subscribers (the only way to get your hands on the pattern! It is a boxy sleeveless style with split back and button closure.
  • The new SBCC Patterns Flora Blouse is a great little wardrobe basic, perfect for layering. It has small grown on sleeves and a lightly gathered neckline.
  • Cocowawa Crafts released the Cherry Culottes & Shorts. Ideal for beginners these have a relaxed straight cut and elasticated waistband.
  • I was very excited to discover that DP Studio launched a collection of slightly more simple patterns. I adore many of their patterns but the designs are in general a little out there for my day to day style. I'd wear all of these 9 patterns in a heartbeat and am currently trying to resist an impulse purchase! My initial favourite is the Panel Dress.
  • The new Shakti Jersey Pants pattern from Designer Stitch includes a huge number of elements which you can combine in multiple ways to create your ultimate pair of trousers. Choose from three waistbands including a yoga or ruched style and 4 leg styles plus optional pockets.


Pattern updates and expansions


  • Pauline Alice updated her Cami Dress pattern. The new version includes the two extra sizes that the rest of her patterns now include and also a new variation! View B is a more relaxed shirt dress without bodice darts and a slightly more empire line waist as well as a full buttoning front.
  • The Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes pattern is back in print and now includes pockets and an extended size range! I made a couple of pairs of these years ago and may need to revisit them in the longer length...
  • The York Pinafore Expansion Pack turns the new Helen's Closet pinafore pattern into a cute cross-back apron with a new back pattern piece and two pocket options. 
  • Ready To Sew updated their Jazz Jumpsuit Expansion Pack to include even more options. There are now 30 different views to choose from including a front button closure.


Sew-alongs, Tutorials and Online Courses




Upcoming!


  • Gertie's forthcoming Night and Day Dress for Charm Patterns gives you enough variations to make a whopping 72 dresses! A whopper of a sewing pattern which is available for pre-order now.
  • The Wearable Studio are currently testing the Canary Cami.
  • Past winner of Cousu Main (the French Sewing Bee) Carmen is launching a sewing pattern on August 23rd. It is a beautiful classic single breasted coat with a hooded option and a variety of pockets.
  • Named are releasing a pattern to celebrate their fifth anniversary tomorrow! We haven't seen a pattern from them for a while whilst they've been working on their book so I can't wait to see the appropriately named Anni!
  • Sew Over It have a new ebook of patterns coming next month! I'm a huge fan of their first 'City Break' capsule wardrobe ebook after making three of the five patterns included so I'm really looking forward to seeing what this one has in store.


Other Exciting News


  • Sew Over It released their Penny Dress in paper format which is their best-selling PDF pattern. The paper pattern includes a hand illustrated instruction booklet as with all their patterns and has been updated to be an inch longer in the bodice due to customer feedback. If you already own the paper version you can download the update for free.
  • Maternity Sewing is a brand new website which launched this month. The shop includes over 70 maternity, nursing and postpartum appropriate patterns from indie designers. The perfect one stop shop if you are expecting or would like to sew for someone who is.
  • Made by Rae has retired her bag patterns to focus more on clothing. If you've had your eye on one and are ready this on 31st July you might still be able to snap one up quick at a special discounted rate!
  • The Deer and Doe Chataigne Shorts are now available in PDF format.


Despite my lack of time at the machine you guys have been keeping my sewjo going and filling me to the brim with inspiration for future projects and sewing challenges to set myself. Here are a handful to get you motivated to sew your way through August!



  • Bianca looks absolutely stunning in her Gia Dress from Russian pattern company Viki Sews. She has really inspired me to give some Russian sewing patterns a try. Watch this space!
  • Dixie has given me some serious practical summer sewing inspiration with her black denim Lander shorts. Get me on my machine pronto!
  • April lengthened the Seamwork Adelaide Dress to maxi length for her ikat version and I just love it! This and the mustard cropped top she made from the same pattern have made me reconsider not purchasing it!
  • I love this Nina Lee Kew Dress from Nicole! It looks so different in a crisp and bold contemporary print. I'm really taken with the monochrome look.
  • I'm still can't decided what fabric to make my first Fiona Sundress from but Erica is absolutely killing it in her white denim version! What a great look on her.