Saturday, 31 October 2015

Named Blair batwing jacket

Oooh, I sewed something...and it's not one of my patterns!!!

This here is my new favourite top pattern. It's not a new pattern, but rather new to me, the Blair batwing shirt by Named clothing. It's really simple and I've seen it made up on the internets before, but was eventually lured in to buy when they had a flash sale a couple of weeks ago. I need new pyjamas or house clothes and thought this made the perfect top for lounging. I was right because I immediately made a jersey version and have basically worn it everyday since! I plan to make more in jersey, but first had to give it a try in a woven and this is the result...

 I went on a fabulously fun and fabric filled day out to London this week to meet-up with the gorgeous Jo, Jenna and Jane (notice I'm the odd one out as the non 'J' name). One of the many fabrics I bought was this scrumptious quilted silk velvet. I only bought 1.5metres because that's all there was in this colour. The quantity definitely presented a challenge seeing's as it was very narrow, but I had in my head a bed jacket type thing. I have a vintage pink silk handmade bed jacket stashed away somewhere, which was the inspiration behind my final collection at uni, so this is a long standing love affair with the 'bed jacket'. There are some very cute quilted jacket patterns out there like this RDC one or this Grainline one, but I wanted a different shape and a bit more room. You must all know by now that I favour roomy silhouettes ;-)

 I didn't make a woven toile, but going from my jersey version (which has a relatively stable quality) I raised the neckline on the paper pattern pieces by 2cm at the front and the shoulders blending into the back, took 4cm off the hem and added 2cm to the centre front (plus seam allowance) for an overlap and to give me the option of adding a front fastening. I don't think I will add any front closure things, but it's nice to have options!

Construction was simple. I made an outer shell and lining shell and sewed the two together (rigt sides together) around the neck, centre fronts and bottom hem, but left a hole in the bottom hem so I could turn it back through. I machined the sleeve hems together before closing up the hole for minimal hand stitching. I did however under stitch the entire jacket by hand as silk velvet can be a tad tricksy and the less stressful and easier to control option was to do this by hand. I am pretty used to sewing with velvet from making plenty of curtains out of the stuff, so know how I want to handle it. Also the hand stitching gives a nice vintage feel to the whole thing!

The finished jacket is very light weight and soft and really easy to wear. I hope to wear it frequently rather than for special occasions. Silk velvet can seem a bit dressy or special, but it's too soft and scrummy to put away somewhere. I'm actually wearing it now and have been cuddling my snotty kids in it, doing the dishes etc... and it certainly makes me feel a bit like the queen of my house today!

Here I am wearing it with my Roberts dress and previously a Roberts jumpsuit made from some gorgeous Paul Smith shirting (sorry, but the Roberts pattern is officially my uniform). I want to wear the jacket with my PJ's, on the school run, to weddings and anywhere else I can possibly think of.

Look at those big sleeves!

I love this fabric so much, but it's impossible to convey it's texture and colour in a photo. Basically everyone should have some of this in their lives and roll around on it!

I didn't photograph this very well, but I did have to join in a small segment of fabric on the sleeve back because of the narrow fabric, but it is right under the arm and barely noticeable. 

This amazing lining is a fabulous viscose crepe from Regency rags and is also very vintage in feel as it is light and silky. The perfect marriage!

I really wanted to wait a while before blogging this to see if it is a 'real' hit, but I'm too excited and I think the fact that I'm already wearing it signals it must be. Do you find it's hard to tell sometimes? I often feel really excited after making something new, but then I can only really tell if it's really successful if I continue to reach for it.

Next up? I don't quite know yet. I'm not in desperate need of anything as I made a few Lindens last year that should come back into play now, as well as some Freemantle knits, which along with all my latest Roberts samples has kind of set me up for winter. PJ bottoms are NEEDED and I am going to use the Tilly and the Buttons pattern from her book, but other than that it's more sampling and maybe some selfless sewing. I'll be back soon I hope! x

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Roberts pattern - view C midi length

Hello, me again so soon!

Here is the midi length version of view C from my new Roberts pattern (link to pattern in side bar).

As I mentioned in the previous post I made some pattern modifications to this when I was sewing up the sample. Basically I had sewn this dress a gazillion times (no exaggeration) and I threw a sewing wobbly and flat out refused to make the front pockets from the pattern. I have two versions of this dress in this fabric already at the shorter length, 1 final and 1 before the final pattern changes, so this is the outcome of my rebellion.

I have omitted the side popper fastening completely as it goes over the head really easily and like I just mentioned I have sewn a plain skirt front with no side pockets. A dress with no pockets is not very practical though, so I instead added some slanted patch pockets. Not mega changes really, but it was enough to quench my thirst to sew something different.

I really like this length and can see it going really well with thick tights and ankle boots with maybe a striped t-shirt or thin jumper underneath.

Damn that twisted strap!!! I can't believe I didn't notice that!

Ok, I'm updating the post because that twisty strap is driving me crazy! Here's my non twisted strap and outfit of the day today!

I made a straight size 3 for this sample when I have previously graded out to a 4 at my thighs, but I think I will grade out to a 4 again for future versions. This is comfy and a nice fit, but I think I'd prefer a smidge more fabric there.

My measurements are:
bust - 94cm 37"
waist - 76cm 30"
hips - 99cm 39", but then the widest part of the top of my legs is actually 109cm 43". I don't much like admitting that bit!

If you want to get rid of the front pockets too then all you need to do is lay your pocket facing piece underneath the skirt front at the pocket opening, line up the notches and pin together to form an uninterrupted skirt front.


I'm not sure how visible this is, but I really like this over locked finish on the selvedges. More so on the trousers, but I threaded the needle threads in white and the other two threads in a coral colour. It looks nice when the trouser legs are turned up! Another nice finish for turn ups if your don't have an over locker is to bind the raw edges with a narrow binding.

In other news, the next issue of Love sewing magazine is out this week and I have a pattern in there!

It is an update to my free sailors top. The garment is no longer just made up of rectangles and triangles, the underarm gussets have gone completely and it is graded to more sizes. The sleeves are wider and although written for jersey is roomy enough to be made in a woven. I need to make up a woven version myself so that I can share it on here, but I love the sample in the magazine. It is made from a girl Charlee jersey, but I did not keep it as I made up a small size for the magazine. There was enough left over to whip up a top for me though and the colour of the stripes is gorgeous!

The free version is still available on my blog for any international sewists and I am wearing it in my little profile pic, but it is obviously a bit different! A great exercise in how you can make a pattern from the most simple of shapes!!!!

Friday, 9 October 2015


It's here, it's here!!!

I may not have been blogging much lately, but I sure have been sewing up a storm. Let me introduce you all to my latest pattern, the Roberts collection!

I am not going to hold back. I really love this pattern and have been living in all the variations. The luxury of working for myself means that I can design what I want to wear, which is never more true than with this pattern. It is everything I never knew I was looking for.

There are four and a half options to choose from (view C has two different skirt lengths, so I'm calling that a half) and all are really easy to wear. I have sewn the jumpsuit, dungarees and dungaree dress all up in denim and they are total jeans substitutes. I love the look of jeans, but I'm not a fan of waistbands. I also love the idea of jumpsuits, but have never found 'the one'...until now!

Make no mistake, this style is oversized and baggy with a very roomy leg in the trouser options, but if that's your thing then go for it!


This is the style that kick started the pattern and if I was forced to pick a favourite then this would be it. The v-neckline has a sweet curved shaping that is really flattering and an over all loose, straight, baggy fit. Going by my actual measurements I made an overall size 3 that is graded out to a size 4 just at the pocket opening. My hips fit into the size 3 range, but my thighs don't!!!

I am tempted to go one or two sizes bigger with cropped leg for a really cool baggy fit. If I am tempted then I'll probably do it, so I'll keep you posted ;-)


This style is drafted from the same trousers as view A, but with a separate bib pattern piece that tapers in at the waist to pull it in a bit. The straps are slim for a contemporary streamlined look and can be made as a full outfit with view D.


All the same top half as view C in the back shaping, bib and straps, but with a separate A-line skirt. The silhouette is much closer to the body than the previous two options and is a really lovely addition to the pattern. Everyone loves a dungaree dress right? There is also a midi skirt length included in the pattern. I shall share my version with you all either tomorrow or early next week, as my version has some really simple modifications that I want to share.

A really simple adaption of the jumpsuit bodice in view A, this woven t-shirt has a plain V-neck, slightly A-line side seams and back seam detail.

The pattern can be purchased here.

I really hope you guys love this pattern as much as I do. I'm sure not everyone will (it's not humanly possible), but I have tried hard to offer as much as I can from one pattern as well as making it easy to use. I want to have more of a play and try out some more ideas that of course I'll share, but in the mean time I think there's plenty to be getting on with.

Fabric info - I used this medium weight denim here. It has a medium weight, but is soft to work with and has a nice drape. It says it has a slight stretch, but I would say it's very slight/not stretchy at all (not the same with their black colourway, that is stretchy)! If you were to buy this too then I would definitely recommend a couple of pre-washes, as the colour transfer is quite bad without!

Fabric suggestions for the pattern are as follows, but similar weights to those recommended would also be suitable.

VIEW A - Light to medium weight denim, cotton twill, linen, viscose, medium weight cotton
VIEW B - Light to medium weight denim, cotton twill, linen, corduroy
VIEW C - Light to medium weight denim, cotton twill, linen, corduroy
VIEW D - Cotton, linen, viscose, silk, rayon

I shall leave you with these outdoor pictures that I took in the eternal hunt for good natural light!


Have a good weekend everyone! xxx