Named Esme Cardigan Pattern Review 


I downloaded and printed the Named Esme cardigan pattern a few months ago to make with some beautiful Fabworks double faced wool. I actually ended up buying two lots of this fabric as I didn’t have enough the first time I tried to cut it out. The #cosycardichallenge on Instagram motivated me and I finally got round to making it last week. From cutting to finishing the last stitch it took me about four hours. 

There are not many pattern pieces to stick together for the PDF version but you do have to trace off the sleeve and button band as they overlap the other pieces. 

I modified the pattern a bit to suit me. The original length was almost down to my ankles so I reduced the length by about 8 inches. I also decided not to add the cuff or buttons as I liked the look without them.

As the wool is double faced, I could have used either side for the cuffs and neckband. I decided I preferred to keep it one colour and just use the contrast for the pocket. It breaks up the block colour and adds a bit of interest. This did lead to a bit of brain gymnastics as I had to work out which was the right and wrong side for attaching the pockets. 

Next time I would also reduce the length in the top of the front bodice as well as the pockets are a little low for my liking and I definitely can’t reach to the bottom of them easily! They are lovely deep pockets though.


A word about the fabric – the above photo is a product shot from Fabworks mill. I met some friends at GBSB Live who said they never buy fabric online after disappointments, but I have found the sample service from Fabworks very good and the quality and value of their fabrics is amazing. I originally bought this fabric for £5 a metre during their Fabric of the Week offer but at £10 a metre it is still a bargain. I prewashed it on a wool setting on my machine and it came out perfect. It is also soft, non itchy and very sturdy with no sign of pilling. It was easy to sew and overlock as well. I have enough left to make a Finlayson sweater for my husband too, although I will use the navy side so we don’t end up twinning! 

All in all, I’m really pleased with this project and I’m sure it will get lots of use. Despite being a fairly simple sew it has the ‘did you make that?’ factor! It’s so useful and the type of garment that would be £££ in the shops. 

Waterfall Raglan Dress and Top

I managed to send off both my giveaway packages this week, thanks to everyone who took part on Instagram. I made this patchwork pouch out of a stack of my favourite Anna Maria Horner prints using the In Color Order Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial . It took a bit of time as I haven’t done any patchwork in a long time but I really enjoyed the process and love the result.

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I used a pink and red striped Tula Pink print for the top of the bag which I think complements the colours nicely. I hope its new owner enjoys using it, and I’m thinking of making another one for myself.

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I’ve been meaning to share this top for a little while, its the Waterfall Raglan by Chalk and Notch patterns. I made both the top and dress versions for my daughter.

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I used a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics knit for this. The fabric is from the Fleet and Flourish collection  by Maureen Cracknell and is called Swifting Flora Fond.

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I cut a size 5 for my daughter and it fits her well with some room to grow (she is just over 4 but quite tall).

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The loose style of the top looks great over trousers. She doesn’t have many tops at the moment so I am planning to make a few more using this pattern.

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I made the dress using a jersey which is overlaid with a cream corded lace which I bought from Simply Fabrics in Brixton.

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At first I thought the fabric would be fine to use as it has a jersey base but when I did the stretch test I found that it only had about 20% stretch due to the lace which is bonded on to the jersey. When I initially sewed the sleeves they were a bit tight so I unpicked and sewed them again using a 1/4 inch seam instead, which gave a bit of extra room.

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I also  used a thinner fabric to make the facing for the neckline and turned that inwards which made the neckhole a bit bigger. waterfall3

It’s a great dress for twirling in and the fabric makes it special. I also bought some velvet as I have seen some beautiful velvet versions online too.

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Akita Top

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I just subscribed to Seamwork which is a brilliant sewing magazine. The best thing about it that you get two downloadable pattern credits a month, and all the patterns are designed to be quick to make. I have seen lots of these beautiful tops on Instagram and had looked at the link before but didn’t want to pay for the individual pattern. I used one of my credits to get this pattern and the second for the Moji trousers pattern. This is a link to subscribe to Seamwork which will give you the first month for half price, which makes it an even more amazing bargain!

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The fabric is organic cotton voile from the Palos Verdes collection, Cloud 9 fabrics. It is much lighter than most of the clothes I wear but is nice as a layer under a cardigan or for wearing at home instead of a t-shirt.

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I am not a huge fan of bias tape especially as I had to make it myself, but it didn’t actually take a terribly long time. I misunderstood the instructions and had to unpick the seam and the bias tape seams on one side which slowed me right down. I plan to make a couple more of these as I have a lot of one and two yard pieces of fabric in my stash. It is possible to make the top out of one yard of fabric by seaming at the shoulders.

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This is a straightforward pattern and I’m sure my second attempt will be quicker. I’m looking forward to trying more Seamwork patterns soon.

 

Winter Coat patterns + Simply Fabrics Brixton

I have been thinking about making a wool coat for my daughter and saw some beautiful ones  at the Hand made Fair last weekend. I don’t think I could ever justify spending nearly £200 on a child’s coat no matter how beautiful so have been looking at patterns and fabrics online. I also went to Simply Fabrics a few years ago and remembered they had a selection of coat material so thought it would be worth going on a little outing.

The shop (or rather two shops on the same road) has been mentioned on a few blogs, including on Tilly and the Buttons, so is not such a well kept secret any more but is a great place to pick up something unusual at a good price.

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photo 2 There are some beautiful wools and unusual technical fabrics, including Japanese wools and coated silks. I spied some lovely delicate Roland Mouret silks and a shelf of Liberty silks, lawns and wool blend fabrics. They also had dupion silk, linens, jersey and faux fur fabrics. In the end I came away with a piece of faux fur to make my daughter a gilet for the winter and some Liberty Lifestyle Garnett fabric in a colourway which I’m fairly sure is sold out elsewhere. The prices are amazing also – all the Liberty fabric is £12/m, and most of the other fabrics are much cheaper.

I also wandered into the Brixton market which was a real surprise – quirky shops and wonderful places to eat. We stopped at French and Grace where we enjoyed a delicious mezze plate before heading back home

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As for children’s coat patterns, here are a few that are in the running:

Make it Perfect Serendipity coat

I made this last year for my daughter so of course I could reuse the pattern. I do love this coat and it was adorable, so will definitely consider it if I don’t find anything I love more.

Sydney by C’est Dimanche

This version is stunning but I’m not sure my French is up to the challenge! The Volga pattern is also lovely. I like that you can add on variations to the patterns to change the look, but they start from age 4 so think I’ll have to save these until she is older.

Stylish Double breasted coat by Dear My Kids

Another double breasted coat – can you see a theme? I do like classic shapes on young children!

The Bubblegum Coat by See Kate Sew

I love this pink version, it has a more modern look, maybe a bit more sixties because of the big buttons.

Cecily by Citronille

Another classic coat, this time by French company Citronille – again a little deterred by it being in French but could give it a go with the help of Google Translate!

School Days Jacket by Oliver + S

This is a different style with a practical hood and nice finishing details, but also looks a little more challenging.

Of course, I haven’t had a chance to look at the Simplicity etc pattern books and I’m sure they will also have some great patterns. For now I will start thinking about fabrics and colours and hope to get going before the cold sets in.

Giveaway winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, especially all of you who now follow my blog! The winners are below:

1) Winner of the Fat 1/8th set of Andalucia fabrics:

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MoeWest – congratulations!

2) Winner of the 2nd fat 1/8th set

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Kelly Williams

3) Winner of the Aurifil thread set Image

The final  winner is Beezus.

I will be in touch with you all so I can send you your prize! Thank you again to all those who entered, and I am planning to host more giveaways in the new year.

Ramadan Calendar + Tutorial

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I had the idea of making a Ramadan calendar for my son about a month ago, and while looking around for tutorials I remembered I had bought some ‘1001 Peeps’ fabric last year, with no particular project in mind. After looking at several advent calendar designs, I came up with this design of my own. There is a step by step at the end of this post. 

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It did take a bit of time to complete so wasn’t done by the beginning of Ramadan, but I’m hoping it will be used for many years! The fabric with its minarets, lamps, stars, and turbanned characters is perfect and I am especially glad I managed to use up some of my stash for the backing and background fabrics. You could also use up scrap fabric as the squares are quite small. 

I decided to patchwork some of the squares and fussy cut the center shapes before adding the border fabrics (either square in square or log cabin style). I then cut the pieces to be the same size as the other squares. 

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Unfortunately I didn’t get great photos before I left the house so I apologise for the blurry shots! 

Tutorial for Ramadan Calendar

You will need: 

Fat quarters of 6 or more different fabrics (or various scraps at least 5×5″)

1 1/2 yards fabric for backing and pocket linings

1 yard plain fabric for background

1 yard wadding/batting 

1/2 yard fabric for making bias binding, or premade bias tape 3 yards 

Embroidery thread (optional)

Bondaweb for applique (optional)

Bias tape maker 

Instructions

1. Cut out 30 5×5″ squares from your chosen fabric. 

2. Cut out 30 x 5×5″ squares from your backing fabric.

3. Place each fabric square together with a backing fabric square, right sides together. Make pockets by sewing all the way round each square using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a 1.5-2 inch gap at the bottom of each square.

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4. Snip the corners of each square (so you get a nice sharp point after turning right side out), then turn the square right side out and push out the corners using a pointed tool or pair of scissors. Press each square, folding the fabric into the gap at the bottom to get a neat square. 

5. Cut out your backing fabric, wadding and background fabric (approx 34×40″). You will trim down the edges later after sewing down your pockets. Make a quilt sandwich by laying down your backing fabric right side down, then the wadding and finally your background fabric right side up. 

6. Arrange your squares in rows, starting about 6″ from the top. Place five squares in each row with a roughly 3/4 inch gap between each row and column. Pin into place. (I did this one row at a time to make it easier to sew)

7. Sew around each of the pockets from the left top corner down, across the bottom and up to the right top corner. Backstitch at each end to secure your pocket.

 

8. Once you’ve finished all of your pockets, you can either trim all around the edges to neaten and simply finish the edges as in step 11, or you can embroider and applique a design at the top. 

9. To applique – find a design you like (I used this and shrank the image on the photocopier to fit). Cut out the shapes from paper. Iron your bondaweb to the wrong side of your chosen fabric, then pin your paper shape to the fabric and cut out. Place the fabric shapes on your calendar, arrange as you like and iron into place. Sew using either a straight stitch or a zigzag around the inside edge of each shape. 

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10. To embroider – I copied the Arabic writing into Microsoft Word and enlarged it to fit across a page of A4 (landscape). I traced the design onto the background fabric by laying the paper under the fabric and using a disappearing fabric ink pen to mark the design. I then embroidered using 3 strands of cotton floss with a back stitch. Alternatively you could use satin stitch to fill in the writing. 

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Your calendar will look like this:

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11. Make 2.5″ bias tape using a bias tape maker or use ready made bias tape. Attach to the edge of your calendar and sew (for beginners, there are many tutorials online, e.g. here)

12. Make 3 tabs to hang your quilt. I used the instructions here (has photos for guidance) – Cut 3 6×3″ pieces of fabric to match your binding. Iron a 1/4″ hem at each short edge, fold your rectangle in half then sew down the long side of each folded piece. Turn the resulting tube right side out and press. Fold your tab in half and sandwich the quilt in the middle of each tab at the edge. Sew one at each end of the top of your calendar, and one in the middle using a straight stitch. 

13. Cut a piece of dowelling/cane the width of your calendar and insert through the tabs. 

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

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I have a couple of great items to give away as part of the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day 2013!

ImageMy first item is the very popular (and sold out) Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. This is the Spring 2013 edition and has the stunning Marcelle Medallion quilt pattern from Liberty Love. There is currently a quilt along for this pattern so you can join in with other bloggers!

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You will receive a brand new unopened copy of the magazine which includes a free Nicki Trench mini book with 60 quilting tips (the photos shown are from my own copy). I also love this pattern:Image

 

There are several other quilting and patchwork projects in the magazine too, as well as features on new fabrics and techniques. 

I also have a gorgeous Wonderland by Momo Charm pack to give away. This is a lovely whimsical collection which was hugely popular before it sold out! 

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To enter, simply leave a comment – it can be about anything but I would love to know what projects you have planned for the spring! Also feedback on the blog and what I could do to improve it is always welcome. 

If you follow my blog using Bloglovin, you get a bonus entry! Just let me know you have followed my blog in a separate comment to qualify. 

This competition closes on May 10th and I will get in touch with you by May 12th – don’t forget to leave your email address or make sure I can find it! International entries welcome.