Button Back Blouse, It’s winning me around!

 

Although I was going to label this a sewing fail, I am being won over!  I made this Tilly and the Buttons button back blouse from an issue of love sewing over a year ago.  It is well finished with French seams, but I never wore it when it was newly finished.  Lets have a look at the details to find out why!

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I believe this is quite similar to the TATB Mathilde Blouse, just without the pin tucks if you want to be able to recreate it. It has a yoke seam, which I very carefully added piping into.

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So why have I not been wearing it?  I think it comes down to two things- personal style and fit.  Those puffed sleeves are cute, but don’t fit with my usual style because I can’t wear a cardigan.  In terms of fit, the key problem is at the back.

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I think I have a quite narrow upper back.  I often have to take in quite a bit at the centre back and by the time I realised there was a problem in this top the button placket was finished and it seemed too fiddly.  It also feels like the shoulder seam is slightly in the wrong place.  This may also be because I need a full bust adjustment, and this is pulling the back and shoulder seam out of place.

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So why, when I wore it out for these pictures did I start reconsidering my plans to take it to the charity shop.  I think it is a combination of the style being perfect for the current weather, and a great combination of fabric and pattern!  Some of the things that I didn’t like about the pattern, are actually what is making it so perfect.  The longer sleeves keep it breezy and cool, but mean that I don’t need a cardigan, even into the evening.  The fabric (sadly no longer available at Minerva Crafts) is a lovely cotton chambray and just a fantastic weight and drape.  The contrast piping and buttons lighten it up and the splash of coral is great for spring.

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Perhaps I will have to give this a second chance!

Simple skirt in the sunshine! Meet Clemence.

I love wearing skirts in the summer, so this simple gathered cotton skirt seemed perfect for visiting the bluebells for an evening picnic.  The skirt is another from Tilly and the Buttons’ first book, Love at first Stitch and is a very beginner friendly gathered rectangle skirt called Clemence.  The book guides you though drafting this basic pattern for yourself, which is a good place to start with pattern drafting and alterations, because Tilly’s instructions are as always excellent.

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This is actually the second of these skirts that I made, and is actually another early make.  For this second skirt I got a little more ambitious and drafted an un-gathered lining, made from an old sheet because the main fabric is a little transparent!

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As always, I also needed pockets.  The book talks you through making changes to the all the patterns, like including pockets in the or restyling the patterns to get a couple of different looks.

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I also decided to experiment with some of the decorative stitches on my machine to create an attractive pattern at the hem.

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It even has an concealed zip.  I keep returning to Tilly’s instructions for reassurance when I need to insert one still!  This one is actually pretty invisible and well matched.

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While this skirt has been in my wardrobe for over two years now, and my skills have undoubtedly improved, I still enjoy wearing these earlier makes.  I enjoy seeing how much I have learned and developed, but also it is satisfying to know that I am contributing to a clothing ethic that doesn’t view an item of clothing as something to wear once and discard.  For every year that I keep wearing these simple early makes I can sit happy knowing that I am reducing my impact on the planet and the disposable fast fashion culture.

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As a little bonus, I did also manage to find a picture of my first Clemence skirt from Me Made May Last year!  It is made in a mint green chambray from Calico Laine I think.  This one did have a couple of issues including being a bit big at the waist.  Fortunately/unfortunately the zip broke pretty quickly, so when I replaced it, I also sorted out the waist sizing, so this one is also in spring/summer wardrobe rotation.

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Lane Raglan

Coming into spring, I am definitely feeling the need for candy colours and for some more t-shirts.  I am experimenting with a lot of new patterns at the moment. This one, the Lane Raglan by Hey June was popping up all over the place and it looked so pretty that I couldn’t resist!  I already have a couple of t-shirt patterns (see my Tilly and the Buttons Agnes here and Sew Over It Molly Top here) but I don’t want to be wearing the same one all the time, and while I can make some changes to these patterns, the Lane Raglan is different enough that I wanted to give it a try.

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The three patterns listed above all have different ways of dealing with the sleeve.  In the Agnes Top, there is a set in sleeve which I have found fits me particularly well.  The Molly Top has a cut on Kimono style sleeve, but I haven’t had much luck with the longer sleeved version. Lane is a raglan sleeve and this simple shape makes it perfect for colour blocking.  It also means that the body and sleeves are perfect for smaller fabric remnants.

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Having made quite a few t-shirts now, I didn’t really have any trouble with cutting or sewing this up.  I was a little surprised though that there were no notches in the pattern at all to help get everything lined up.  It didn’t cause me any issues, but might be worth bearing in mind if this is the first time you have made something like this.

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Hey June patterns are pretty cool because they have different pieces included with a full bust adjustment (FBA). My measurements put me slightly above the size XS (with the FBA) but the advice in the pattern is to size down if you are between sizes.  It has turned out fairly roomy and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to size up. I’m not totally sure about the fit around the arm, but I’m not sure if that is just how the raglan sleeve fits or if there is something I can do to improve it.

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I made this top with fabrics from Girl Charlee and they are just perfect t-shirt weight.  Both are cotton spandex blends so they should have good recovery and are a plain coral and a beautiful floral for contrast.  Both fabrics have sewn up well, but I have noticed that the white backing does sometimes show through the print on the floral if it gets stretched sewing.  This top does not have the neatest insides because for some reason my overlocker did not seem to like the plain coral fabric! It kept ending up with little ripples and tucks, thought they aren’t really visible on the outside.

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I’m pretty happy with how this has turned out and it is a nice change from my other t-shirt patterns.  There are several variations in this pattern including a hem band and a hood to make it into a sweater/hoodie and I’m keen to give that a try at some point.  I have a selection of other Girl Charlee prints waiting to become t-shirts so I think there will be a few more raglans in my wardrobe soon!

 

My second Moneta

Having had a chance to test out the Moneta pattern by Colette a couple of months ago when writing my guest post for Minerva crafts, and having seen some awesome variations in Instagram as part of the Moneta Party, I thought that I would have another go.  This time I made a few little changes, including shortening the sleeves for spring!

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Once again, pockets seem to be an essential feature of everything that I make!

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They are just so perfect for sticking your hands in on a spring evening.

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My previous Moneta dress fit pretty well, but I have taken in a little at the waist, and this time I have adapted my altered pattern pieces from before so that all the seam allowances are the same now.  Once again, I used the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top to modify the bodice pattern so that it fit me better.

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The only other real change was to switch the gathers on the skirt for pleats.  To do this I measured the difference between the bodice measurement and the top of the skirt. I divided this by 4 (for the 4 pleats- two at the front and two at the back), and then divided by two again (to work out how much fabric I needed to take in at each side of each pleat).  This sounds very complicated when writing it down, but in reality is very simple.  I did add clear elastic to the waist seam, even though I wasn’t gathering onto elastic, to avoid the seam from stretching out in the future.

 

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Surprisingly difficult to see the pleats in this fabric, but I do like the flat front that it gives to the waist.

 

This fabric came from Ebay and can be found here still.  It is a printed Ponte Roma and like my previous Moneta is a nice weight, but still drapes well in the skirt.  I love the deep hems on the skirt and sleeves.

 

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Perfect drape for a bit of swishy-ness

 

I’m sure there well be more of these dresses in my wardrobe at some point.  It is just so versatile- can be dressed up or down, can be worn layered or on it’s own.  It is a great pattern for adding options to your wardrobe.

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Grainline Moss- An Everyday Skirt

Yay for clothes that get worn everyday!  This skirt got hemmed then put on immediately and has hardly been taken back off since.  This is the Grainline Studio Moss Skirt, and I made the mini length in size 4 with no pattern changes.  The fabric is a larger scale corduroy from an eBay seller and can be found here.  I bought the zip, jeans buttons and lining cotton locally at Trago.

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I decided to make this skirt for two main reasons: One, it reminds me of a ready to wear skirt that I have had forever and wear all the time, and two, I am hoping to make a pair of jeans this year (having signed up the Closet Case Patterns online jeans making workshop) and wanted to have a first attempt at a front fly zip insertion.

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I feel like it has been a great success in both counts.  My zip went in really well, and the instructions in the pattern and the Grainline tutorial were fantastic.  Each step was explained simply and added up to a new skill mastered.  You would never know that this was my first attempt!

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The little details in the pattern are great too.  You may already have noticed that I like patterns with pockets and the pockets on the Moss Skirt are especially good.  They have a little extra space included to make them perfect for sticking your hands into, and have a clever facing that allows you to use a pretty lining fabric with no chance for it to peek out.

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The only changes that I made to the pattern were fairly minor.  I didn’t cut my fabric very well and ended up without enough to cut the waistband facing so I decided to cut it from my lining instead.  I also changed the construction order of the waistband because I was feeling too lazy to hand stitch down the facing so I switched to the instructions for adding a waistband from Tilly and the Buttons book Love at First Stitch.  This just meant that it was easy to ‘stitch in the ditch’ on my machine instead of pesky hand sewing.

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In a slight quirk, I set my jeans button in using the marks on the pattern without checking that it lined up properly.  This meant that it didn’t sit very well and the waistband was a little loose.  As a quick fix, rather than trying to remove it, I just added another button in the right place. Now you would never know once I am wearing it!

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This skirt is a little shorter than I would usually wear, but I love it’s casual vibes.  I’m sure I will make another at some point and perhaps lengthen it a couple of inches.  The pattern does include a knee length version with a hem band, but I think I prefer the clean look of the skirt as it and will probably just lengthen the pattern piece instead.

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Agnes Top

I wear so many long-sleeved or 3/4 sleeved tops under jumpers and dresses in the winter, so this Agnes Top by  Tilly and the Buttons has become a staple for me.  I have 2 different versions, using all the pattern variations, which include elastic and gathering options for the sleeve and neckline.

I love that this pattern is well fitted to my shape.  I have cut a size 3 in two different fabrics, but both have worked well.  One is in the same teal stripe from Girl Charlee as my Molly Top from a couple of weeks ago, another is in a cheap polyester jersey from Trago.  The trago fabric was lovely and simple to work with because there was no need for stripe matching, but I did find that if overstretched the white backing shows through which is a shame.

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With basics there is not really a huge amount to say.  This pattern has fantastically simple instructions and illustrations.  Tilly really does have a way with creating beginner friendly patterns.  If working with jersey fabrics is intimidating to you, she offers an online workshop for this pattern too. I haven’t used it myself, but if it is like her written explanations, I’m sure that it is a great way of learning to use these sometimes scary fabrics!

As I said the fit is great, and if you have already seen my guest post for Minerva Crafts you will know that I used this pattern to modify the fit of the Colette Moneta dress too.  I’m sure I will be using this and other Tilly and the Buttons patterns again in the future.

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Back to the beginning- Delphine Skirt

Today I thought I would go back to the beginning of my journey sewing clothes to the first item of clothing I made- a Tilly and the Buttons Delphine Skirt.  I made this skirt about 2 years ago and it is amazing to think of all the things I have learned since then!

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This skirt is so many firsts for me- a first concealed zip, first use of a paper pattern, first following of pattern instructions, and I’m so glad that this is the project I chose to try these things out on!  Tilly gives such clear instructions, and Love at First Stitch is an amazing book for a new dressmaker- it explains why you should do something, not just how.

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So then, back to the pattern.  Delphine is a simple A-line skirt, with a waistband and centre back zip.  I added belt loops though I never use them, and the fabric is a corduroy from Trago.

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This is such a beginner friendly pattern.  There are not too many pattern pieces, and the fit is very forgiving.  Provided your waist fits, the rest should be fine. As you can tell from these pictures, it is a lovely skirt for being active in- not too restrictive!

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I have made another Delphine since and that one I lined, but even that did not really add too much complexity because Tilly has a lovely tutorial on how to do it on her blog too.

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It was just so lovely to be out in the springlike sunshine to take these pictures!

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So, if you have been reading, please let me know what sorts of posts you would like to see in the future.  I have some more recent makes that I am planning to finish up and photograph soon, and also have a few thoughts on non-finished garment posts that I might share.  There are also lots of things in my wardrobe already that could be written up.  What would you like to see?  Pretty spring dresses? Some of my early makes (some more successful than others). Comment below, and I will look forward to seeing what you think.

Cleo and Astoria

Two makes to share today. Firstly a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dungaree Dress.  I made this one shortly before Christmas and already I have had a lot of wear out of it.  I wanted to be able to wear it with as many different things as possible, so I made it in this medium whale grey corduroy bought from eBay (sadly no longer available but they have it in red).

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I made version 1 the mini length with a front chest pocket and rear patch pockets.  The instructions give the option for contrast top-stitching but I kept it pretty neutral, so that I can wear this with as many things as possible.

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I made a straight size size 2, even though it doesn’t quite match my measurements (my hips are a little bigger than that) but thought I could get away without grading as it is not a particularly closely fitted style.  The sizing is spot on.  It is a little bit of a wiggle to get it on over my hips, but once it it on it fits fine.  Length is great with tights, and while loose fitting over the hips, even with a short t-shirt you don’t feel like you underwear might end up on show at the cut out sides!

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As you might be able to spot above, I didn’t get around to top stitching down the facing.  This was for two reasons- one, I was impatient and wanted to get on installing my buttons then realised afterwards that I had made top stitching tricky/impossible, and two because I liked the clean finish.  I have tacked it down at the side seam and haven’t had any problems with it flipping out of place.

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I love wearing this with tights and boots.  Today I am wearing it with another new make- my Seamwork Astoria.  This is my second attempt as this pattern.  The first was far too tight and was a nightmare to get on and off- just not enough stretch in the fabric.  This one is better though still not quite right.  The fabric is a stash sweater fleece with a bit of stretch.  Probably still not the 20% recommended by the pattern which is why I think it is pulling a bit in some of the pictures.

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Astoria is a very easy make. It came together very easily on the overlocker, with a bit of twin needle stitching to keep some of the hems from flipping out of place.

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I made a couple of little changes- my fabric wasn’t quite big enough to cut out the full length sleeve so I added a cuff.  The cuff I kept a fraction wider than the original sleeve piece too as I found it quite narrow the first time I made it.

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Still not quite perfect, but a very wearable sweater now that the weather has got properly wintry again!  I’m sure there will be more around- possibly lengthening the pattern to a less cropped style.