Shiny summer Sureau

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I used the leftover brushed satin from my République du Chiffon Viviane dress to make a Deer & Doe Sureau dress wearable muslin.

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Only modification I made was an SBA following my method. Next time I’ll bring the whole thing up a bit by taking out some excess fabric at the shoulder seams as it gapes a bit.

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I really like the dress but while it is a wearable muslin in terms of fit and how it looks, in terms of how it feels I’m not going to be wearing cheap brushed satin against my skin anytime soon, at least not in the summer heat. Also, probably why I’m not rushing to wear the Viviane I made either.

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I’d wanted to make this pattern for a while after admiring other versions online and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s simple yet really well cut and teaches you about gathering if you’ve not dipped your toe in that pond much before. My gathering is decidedly dodgy in places.

Next up, a version with sleeves, maybe in chambray, hmmm?

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Hope everyone is having a happy summer! I’m off to Scotland to see my family tomorrow! Celebratory roof dance!

Pattern review: Liola patterns Sparrow top (and giveaway!)

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Recently I was contacted by Nicole, the maker and creator behind new indie pattern outfit Liola Patterns. She asked me if I would like to review one of her patterns and I gladly accepted the challenge! I also asked Nicole to answer a few questions in return so we could find out more about her and her patterns. You can read the interview after my review.

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I chose the Sparrow top as it looked like the kind of item lacking in my wardrobe (I also really liked the cool sparrow fabric on the example model). Unfortunately I didn’t make it up in such cool fabric: I used an old pillowcase! But I like the resulting top a lot!
Thumbs up for pillowcases that turn into tops.
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I really liked the collar detail on the original pattern but you’ll notice that I didn’t add the collar pieces (sorry, Nicole!). I did cut them out but as I used the same fabric and not a contrasting fabric I just didn’t think it was going to add anything for this particular garment and I didn’t really have any other fabric that would go with the stripy pillowcase. Next time!

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So would I recommend this pattern?
Yes! The last time I made a similar type of top was the Colette Sorbetto top so it was nice to make a different type of tank top. If you don’t already have a go-to tank top pattern then you could give this one a try. It is well drafted and the collar detail makes it more interesting than just a standard top (if you use it of course!). I think a pattern like this is really useful as you can be quite creative and make it your own, and at the same time it is a relatively simple make. I really like the shape of the hem.
If you already have a tank top that works for you or if you are a more experienced sewer/drafter who would probably just draft one yourself then it might not be the pattern for you.

The instructions?
Very clear and easy to follow with plenty of detail. My one, tiny, really-not-that-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things-criticism would be that there is a full explanation of how to do French seams without using the term ‘French seams’ (it does say that you use French seams in the intro but if you don’t know what they are it might be handy to flag up so people know ‘ok this is the French seams moment’!). I would recommend having a line in the instructions that simply says something like ‘Sew side seams using French seams (see instructions below)’, with the full explanation on how to do French seams in a separate box. This would break up the flow and pace of the
instructions a bit and would mean those who want to read the full instructions can and those who already know how to do them can press on. But that really is just a tiny detail!

Fitting issues?
I sewed the XS size and it fits perfectly. It is an easy top to fit as it is quite loose so you shouldn’t have any problems. Although, as with anything you never know until you sew so make a muslin if you are unsure. I’m eternally curious about sizing and drafting and whether an SBA is necessary so I asked Nicole for her view on high bust measurements (see the interview below). My fabric is fairly sturdy, so it would be nice to make it up in something more flowing or even in a jersey to see how different the fit would be.

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Now to find out more about Nicole and Liola patterns!

Hello, Nicole! Welcome! Can you introduce yourself and Liola patterns please?

Hi, I am Nicole, the maker and created behind Liola Patterns. I am anAussie and have been living in the Netherlands for the past 3 years with my Dutch husband and our soon to be daughter (due in one week!)

The idea of Liola Patterns came up about a year ago and has slowly developed into my first 4 patterns. I aim to create patterns that can be used time and time again. The patterns are clean cut and versatile, allowing the sewer to be as creative as they like. 

How long have you been sewing/pattern making for and how did you get into it?

I started sewing when I was about 8. I took over my Mum’s sewing machine and started making clothes for my dolls. I continued sewing bits and pieces until I think I was about 11. Then I was creating very sad attempts at clothing for myself.

My last two years of high school I concentrated on Fashion Design subjects and went on to study pattern making and garment construction for the next two years. Although I moved on to a medical career path after this I have never stopped sewing. 

What made you want to draft and share your own patterns?

I have never been one to follow a pattern and despite both my mother and grandmother being wonderful sewers I was mostly self taught in the beginning. I wanted to figure it out for my self and do it my own way. I think this is why I enjoy the challenges of pattern making so much. After realising that I very rarely buy new patterns and rather create my own I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my designs with other sewing enthusiasts. 

What are your plans for Liola patterns?

I have lots of dreams for Liola Patterns! As I am very new into the exploding world of Indie Patterns firstly I aim at getting my name out there and Liola Patterns known. I also have plans for more pattern releases this year. I have my next pattern coming out at the end of August!

How hard was it to learn about digitising patterns?

I found the process of digitising patterns surprisingly easy. In saying that I still have so much more to learn. The biggest challenge was learning to use Illustrator. I am a paper and pen girl so this took a little to get used to. The more patterns I digitise the easier it is getting and the more I am learning.

For Liola patterns, what is the difference between the high bust and bust measurement?

This depends on the type of garment I have designed. This value will vary slightly depending on whether the bodice is really fitted or a more relaxed fit. Like a lot of aspects of pattern making this is tricky as you are creating a
pattern in a certain size but for so many different body shapes. Unfortunately one pattern will never fit every body, but that is the best thing about sewing, you can customise
the garment to fit you!

Thanks, Nicole! And good luck for the arrival of your daughter!

Nicole has offered to give away a copy of the Sparrow top. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me where you would fly to if you could (like a sparrow, get it)? I’ll pick a winner at random and announce it on 12th August.

White Tree Fabrics – on the blog team!

Some exciting news!


I’m now a member of the White Tree Fabrics blog team! Whoo!

Blog Team White tree

What is White Tree Fabrics?
White Tree Fabrics is a wholesale fashion fabric company that has been around since 1946 and has recently moved into online retailing. They are based in the East Midlands in England.

What is the Blog team?

If you are familiar with the concepts behind the Mood Sewing Network and the Minerva Blogger Network, then you’ll understand the idea. It’s a simple concept: White Tree Fabrics supply the bloggers with sewing patterns, fabric, and notions etc. free of charge, and in exchange the bloggers must create a garment and feature it on their blog as a way of bringing the fabric and patterns on offer in their shop ‘to life’, which could help other sewers looking for inspiration. 

I’m looking forward to the challenge of sewing non-indie patterns as I’ve hardly ever used a pattern from the so-called ‘Big 4’.

For my first challenge I’ve chosen this Very Easy Vogue top/dress and I plan to make view C. I chose this red ponti roma. I’m hoping this will be a nice garment for when autumn makes its welcome return, worn with chunky tights, boots and falling leaves. Swoon for autumn. Yes, I’m a weirdo who looks forward to autumn in the middle of summer, it’s just so hot!

Check out all the bloggers on the team and follow White Tree Fabrics on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest posts from the bloggers.

The matching shorts that were not to be

Last month when I made my Flora dress I made a wearable muslin first from a weird huge kaftan thing bought in the fleamarket.
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And with the leftover fabric I decided to make another (hopefully) wearable muslin for the Maritme shorts from Grainline Studio. i.e. a MATCHING shorts and dress combination. YES PLEASE.

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“Can’t wait for my matching shorts!”

However, while the dress muslin is perfectly wearable, sadly the shorts muslin is not so wearable: they just don’t fit at all, far too small! So it’s back to the pattern for some adjustments and a second attempt (at some point).

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Despite the fact that they don’t fit the sewing itself went well and it was really interesting to sew a totally different garment than what I am used to and try and decipher the instructions for new techniques. And at least now I know how to sew a fly!

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“Booo, no matching shorts just yet!”

When Lilou met Anna

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This is the result of combining the bodice of the Lilou pattern from Tilly’s book and the skirt of the Anna dress from By Hand London.

I liked the Lilou dress when I saw it but I’d kind of had enough of pleated skirts for a while after my Flora dress escapade. I wanted something simpler, and then I remembered making the Anna dress a while back and how much I liked the paneled skirt.
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With some strategic folding and measuring of pattern pieces it was relatively easy to match the skirt to the bodice. I just wanted to make sure that the back darts matched up with the seams of the skirt panel pieces and that everything matched at the side seams.
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I carried out an SBA on the Lilou bodice which worked fine, although I think I could have taken a wee bit more out, but I can live with it.

Fabric is a medium-weight cotton that drapes quite nicely. From, you guessed it, Goldhawk Road. (Luckily I’m going back to London in July so I’ll be able to replenish my Goldhawk Road section of the fabric stash as it is going down fast.)
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All in all I really like this dress, it is really comfortable and simple and I think I’ll wear it a lot. And I love the print.

Some detail shots of the inside (check out the overlocked edges, swooon!):
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And I want to highlight two great posts from superstar Belgian bloggers that helped enormously with the dress:

  • Hanne’s post about low/high bust adjustments was perfectly timed for me with this project as I read it just before I started to modify the Lilou bodice. It is such a good piece of knowledge – I’m going to check all patterns for this from now on!
  • And Lieke’s recent post on the merits of moving the zipper over to the side seam was also food for thought before making this dress. See Lieke’s great tutorial here.

Last Saturday was a also a mini Belgian sewing blogger meetup in lovely Leuven.
It was lots of fun, especially as we got to say ‘Proficiat’ to Sew it Up champion Anneke in person!

And…I visited Pauli Stoffen for the first time. Seriously one of the nicest fabric shops I’ve ever been to! Not only is the shop well-stocked, aesthetically pleasing, and friendly but they wrap the fabric you buy in nice brown paper so when you take it home it feels like you have lots of presents to open  – yes, presents you bought yourself but presents all the same.

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