Polka dot Coco dress and she’s risking it with lace…

Ok, so she’s been a fair time in the making…but my Tilly and The Buttons Coco dress is finally completed and had her first outing yesterday, just in time for Easter…

The rain finally subsided and the sun came out, as did my daughter and the camera! My Coco took a bit longer than planned, largely, as always, due to time restraints…with my three children and their after school/evening activities and my work plus all the other stuff that gets in the way of sewing time…it’s grabbing minutes here and there! I had to re-draft some of the pattern to allow for the different top and bottom sizes! also made a few boobs which involved unpicking and starting again, and had a bit of a challenge getting my sleeves to fit…but I did it and am rather pleased with the result! I sourced a great large polka dot knit with minimal stretch from Ditto fabrics in Brighton, which I’m lucky to live not far away from! I knew nothing about knit fabric (well, I didn’t, but I do now!) and the fabric I chose was not quite what I thought it would be. It feels like it’s mainly a poly knit? soft on the inside but a tad in danger of being a bit shiny on the outside perhaps…..but then it doesn’t need ironing so that helps!

I’m totally new to knits and never sewn with them before and this pattern is aimed at people just like me so win, win!

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I was pleased with how I managed to lengthen the pattern with little difficulty and it worked!
Next came the tape for the shoulder seams…I didn’t have the proper elastic stay tape so used some ribbon I had instead as suggested in the pattern as an alternative.

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Tilly suggests attaching the funnel collar with the collar seam lined up with one of the shoulder seams on the dress. However, I decided to line up the collar seam so it was at the back of the dress, centrally…make sense?? to me, that was aesthetically more pleasing and avoided more bulk as the shoulder seam with the ribbon tape in the shoulder seams felt a little too bulky attaching the collar seam here. It worked well and when the funnel collar is folded over as you wear it, you can’t really see the seam.

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I have found that the collar does sort of ‘flop’ a bit when I’m wearing it…I’d possibly consider putting in interfacing in future to keep it more stiff and ‘standing’….it could be the fabric is a little too floppy or too heavy…hmmm…not sure, but I saw a Coco that Karen made and she used interfacing, although not for the same reason, but it gave me the idea that this could work to keep the collar stiffer.

I didn’t do the pockets because ideally I really wanted them in a contrast colour but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for so,rather than halt the make by having to find from another source, I left them out. Instead, I decided to experiment with some lovely chartreuse green stretch elastic I had in my stash…

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Does it work? well, getting it attached was the first hurdle…a stretch elastic to a stretch knit…challenge!!! but I did it! With the help and advice from some lovely sewists blogging friends (they’ll know who they are!) I attached using a zig zag for attaching elastic to fabric…I had a few practice runs and didn’t quite have the perfect match thread but it doesn’t look too bad! First I was going to trim the sleeve cuffs and then went the whole hog and decided to trim the hem of the skirt too! Not sure if the hem is too much…haven’t decided yet if I should keep or take it off, what do you think? but the overall effect is certainly different and that’s what I wanted!

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I think this is a lovely dress and pretty straightforward to make. I was SO pleased with my sleeves…it’s the first time I’ve made something with sleeves and probably a baptism by fire using a knit fabric for my first time! Putting them in did require a few attempts at re-pinning…I cut the same size sleeves as bodice but seemed to have too much ease on the bodice and not enough of the cap? of the sleeve to fit! despite all my notches matching! careful re-pinning using a lot of pins and gently easing and stretching the sleeve as I went, and bingo! The finished result was smooth and flat with not puckering and a perfect fit…wey hey!!!!

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I’m not sure if this dress is quite right for me…it’s so comfortable and warm and although I cut a size smaller for the bodice and graduated at the waist to the next size up for the skirt section, it still feels a little big around the bust…I’m not sure I was quite ready to manage altering the bust again with a knit yet, so left it. The dress looks so lovely on so many people I’ve seen post pics and I’m still trying to find the style and fit of a dress that suits me best…I think I prefer a more fitted bodice and fuller skirt for a dress, but that is my personal preference for my short waist and tubby middle! This is a lovey dress pattern and I love the whole 60’s A-line dress look, but perhaps not so much on me…

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This was a dress and make that taught me some new skills…

* I lengthened a dress pattern for the first time by adding an extra 2 inches as apparently this dress does come up quite short
* I re-drafted the bodice to waist to skirt size to fit me
* My first ever sleeves….panic over!!!!
* Sewing a stretch lace to a stretch knit fabric
* Sewing with a knit fabric

All in all I’m chuffed to bits with my achievement…and if you’re new to sewing with knits and considering it, then give this dress a go! Tilly’s accompanying pattern booklet and instructions are brilliant and super easy to understand…as always, with great pictures for guidance. I didn’t use her blog this time for help but honestly felt the tips and instructions in the booklet were ace and I didn’t need to refer to her blog; but it’s there if you need it.

And at the end of the day of her first outing, I rounded it off in true Easter style with some great chocolate Easter cake and a cup of tea…..

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Thanks for stopping by. It’d be great to hear what you think of my polka dot Coco!!

Kate x

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My Colette ‘Laurel’ dress pattern has arrived and it’s looking good!!!

It’s arrived!! I’ve taken the plunge after reading so many glorious reviews for the ‘Laurel’ dress by Colette, I decided to buy it and make my own………

The Laurel dress by Colette

The Laurel dress by Colette

It’s not just the dress that looks to be a gorgeous design…oh no, the pattern and instruction booklet is a work of art in itself and like nothing I’ve seen before!! Just look at what you get…….

Pattern book back page

Pattern book back page

For those of you new to Colette patterns (like me), I’ll explain why I’m so impressed……I had no idea how the pattern was packaged and presented….imagine my surprise when I opened the package and out popped this wonderful ‘booklet’ style pattern instructions and paper pattern (you can get downloadable versions I understand). Being a total newbie to independent pattern designers and companies, this was such a welcome change. Having recently decided to start sewing again, clothes I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time lately pouring over what patterns are out there….usually in a shop and looking at Burda, McCalls and Simplicity for example. I was quite shocked at how much these patterns cost now…..£8.00 plus!! I don’t always feel the choice is that great and find that a lot of these patterns have at times, quite a lot of unhelpful information in them, sometimes, not greatly proof read either! However, these are not to be scoffed at as there’s some fab designs out there. Yet, I can find it quite frustrating the way they’re laid out or can use sewing terms I’m not familiar with! (such as with an American pattern) I like simple, I like well laid out…something a lot of these patterns are not, and that just means I’m thinking ‘complicated’ before I’ve even picked up a pair of scissors!!

Enter Colette patterns!! Presented in the lovely booklet form, with well laid out instructions, tips and definitions of terms used etc…. like this….

Laurel pattern 'tips' example page

Laurel pattern ‘tips’ example page

and this…..

Laurel pattern 'definition' example page

Laurel pattern ‘definition’ example page

An example of how the pattern helps you with some of the terminology used…. How about that then heh?? There’s even a ‘notes’ section at the back of the booklet for making your own, well, notes!! see…….

'Notes' page in the Laurel pattern booklet

‘Notes’ page in the Laurel pattern booklet

I think that is so thoughtful and even more useful! and the pattern itself is tucked in it’s own back pocket as you can see from the pic above.

There’s help on customising your own fit……

Custom fit guide in the Laurel pattern booklet

Custom fit guide in the Laurel pattern booklet

Now you can see why I think this pattern is so lovely? I had no idea! Clearly I still have to make the dress but as a beginner/advanced beginner (lapsed), it makes a huge difference if I feel more confident after looking at a pattern rather than…err, what was the word?? that’s it…confused!!

To top this off (as if it really could be topped off), the lovely Susan from http://www.sewbox.co.uk/ is including a free gift with all pattern orders in June AND entry to a prize draw for a copy of the Great British Sewing Bee book! and this was MY free gift……

Turquoise heart buttons from Sewbox

Turquoise heart buttons from Sewbox

Aren’t they divine?? turquoise heart buttons. I love collecting buttons….what would you use these for I wonder??

I’ll keep you posted with progress on my dress!

Hope you all enjoy a glorious sunny weekend whatever you’re up to??!!
Kate x

Introducing the ‘Myrtle’ granny square :: Bobble-shell edging

Hello! This is a short shortish post today…..

If you read my post yesterday you might remember I was talking about and showed a piccy of a granny square I was experimenting with some new colours I had (some of which were a small stash donated by my lovely friend, Jen, my crochet guru and tutor, love her). Anyway, today I had another sneaky hour of crochet and came up with this…………..

‘Myrtle’ granny square

ImageIt took a bit of practice to get the numbers right, but I got there eventually (and I actually wrote it down in ‘The Notebook’ so I wouldn’t forget what I’d done! and I’m really quite pleased with the end result…what do you think? I know the colour layout is not exactly in the traditional style of the granny square but I loved the blue/green centre piece and was going to do the whole square in one block colour, but then changed my mind, but I’m looking forward to trying different colour combinations and patterns.

Bobble-shell edging

ImageNow, because I was playing around I then fancied adding an edging to it…again, this is probably not going to be something you would do if you were doing lots of these with the intention of putting together for a blanket or a cushion cover, as the edging would get in the way I guess (??) anyone ever tried doing this? I guess it could be done….so I had a little peruse on  Pinterest for edging, and boy were there a lot, and so much beautiful choice! in the end I chose the bobble-shell edging from Lucy at Attic24 as not only was it very pretty but her tutorials are exceptionally easy to follow, thanks Lucy! I hope she’d like what I’ve done with it.

ImageAs I’ve written down the instructions for this I was thinking if I might dare actually put a tutorial for it on my blog…what do you think?? When I took up crocheting a year ago, I found very detailed (photos) yet simple tutorials invaluable. It’s quite a thing to get it right, but I feel I’d like to take my experiences of trying out tutorials as a newbie and write my own. Granny squares were what I just couldn’t get enough of at the time…the thrill of making these little squares of colour having just learnt to crochet, was huge! I’m not sure if I’ve got the courage to do it but then again, it’s a great way of getting feedback on the tutorial style and content. Hmm….I shall see what opinions might be on this and think about it. In the meantime, I plan to do more of these squares, make a pile  and maybe actually use them to make something! And the name? well, a granny square is a granny square I guess, but my darling little Myrtle (baby bunny) was lying stretched out in the sun by my feet whilst I was making this, and as I do so love my greys (and my Myrtle)  I thought I’d name it after her…sad case that I am!

Thank you my fellow bloggers for taking the time to read this. Until the next time, Kx