Monday, 12 February 2018

By Hand London Rumana Coat: 2018 Make Nine

This pattern needs no introduction, as it's taken the sewing world by storm, and I bought it immediately on it's realise on Christmas Eve.  It's a PDF only pattern which I don't mind, and I happily stuck together all the coat pieces.  I lost the will though with the lining pages, and got it printed by Net Printer.


My fabric is a lovely wool/viscose coating fabric from Montreux Fabrics, and my lining is some black lining fabric with red flowers which might have been from ebay, but I can't remember.

I'm not going to lie, I had a two issues with this pattern.  First was the lack of lengthen/shorten lines.   The waist, bust and hips are also not marked, so this created a lot of extra work to find a single markable point on each pattern piece to be able to shorten each piece at the same point.  This was an issue for me, as not only did I need to shorten the overall length, but also shorten the bodice and sleeves.  This was my biggest problem, and has made me quite ragey during the making of this coat - please feel sorry for Andrew having to listen to me!  But I am trying to be constructive, and not just go off on a stabby rant!

The second issue was the 10mm seam allowance on the collar, and also the scant instructions on sewing the collar.  I found sewing the curved outer edges of the collar stand to the collar to be very tricky with the smaller seam allowance, and the one illustration on the instructions wasn't helpful.  I've noticed a few other people have had issues with this too.

Also the smaller seam allowance made it difficult to attach the collar and facing to the coat.  This bit was pretty frustrating. The instructions say to use the 10mm seam allowance at the neckline, but don't give a seam allowance for the coat front.  I used 15mm at the coat front, and then 10mm across the neckline.  No idea if that was right though. 

I found the 10mm seam allowance at the armhole/sleeve head to be odd - I've never seen this before on an armhole.  So I added 5mm to both seams, and set my sleeves in using the bias strip method that I used on my black coat.   


I also noticed that the metric measurements on the printed out instructions don't match up with the imperial measurements, but they do on the By Hand London website.  

Me, being me, couldn't leave the pattern as it is, and made two mods.  I made bound buttonholes using the welt method in Karen from Did You Make That's ebook.

Also, I added vents to the sleeves using a tutorial from a Craftsy class called "Classic Tailoring: The Blazer".  I didn't do any buttonholes though, and just sewed the buttons on through both layers.  My buttons are from ebay.

I'm delighted with the top stitching, and ended up using my 1/4" foot for it.  It was very easy to do by putting the little guide into the seam.  I couldn't find a top stitching foot for my Elna; maybe they don't have one.  

I don't love my hem, and this is because of the lining which is a bit of a mess.  Due to the lack of aforementioned lengthen/shorten lines, my lining ended being too short.  By that stage I was pretty fed up, and just winged it with sewing it in, and it's really not my best work.  Maybe I'll re-line it a some stage, but right now I couldn't be bothered.  That said, I saw a coat in the window of a fancy shop in Belfast today, and the hem was a bit dodgy on it too.

This dress is Kwik Sew 3489 which you can read about here.
Even though this wasn't the easiest of makes, I like how my coat has turned out, and please don't let my complaints put you off making this pattern, as I obviously got there in the end!  


I would say that if you haven't made a coat before, maybe try something else as a first pattern especially if you need to adjust the length significantly, as the instructions really aren't comprehensive enough.  I would hate to think of someone feeling that they couldn't ever make a coat because they couldn't work this one out.  

And finally (and well done if you got to the end!), this is my third finished item for my 2018 Make Nine; I just haven't blogged the first two yet, but they're for another post.

Have a great week,


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Sew Over It 1940s Wrap Dress

This is my second christmas holiday make, and was supposed to be the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress, which is for stretch fabric.  This reason it's the 1940s Wrap Dress is because I have no memory!

In my head this fabric was a stretch fabric; turned out it isn't!  It is, in fact, some viscose twill from The Textile Centre for the princely sum of £3.99 per metre.  I lifted it out of the stretch fabrics box, and was momentarily disappointed - until I eyeballed the 1940s Wrap Dress pattern lying on the sewing room floor.

I made a combination of both views - the longer sleeves from version 1 (which I shortened a bit), and the shorter skirt from version 2.  And, you might want to sit down for this, I didn't make a toile!  I know!!  The Sew Over It Eve Dress fitted me well, so I compaired the bodice and sleeve pieces, and as expected, they are pretty similar.  Also, a wrap dress is a bit more forgiving in fit.

The pattern recommends 2.8 metres long of 1.40 metre wide fabric for version 2 (that's for Size 10), but I only had 2 metres, so had to do a bit of pattern tetrising.   Totally worked though!  I'd already cut out the two front skirt pieces, and the skirt facing, from the bottom of the fabric when I took this photo.

The pattern instructions are great, and there is also a sewalong on the Sew Over It blog.  I stablised the front neckline with some seam binding, as suggested on the sewalong.  It was a good idea with this fabric, as being viscose, it was a bit shifty.  Also, I stabilised the shoulder seams with seam binding, but do this on any garment.

Black seam binding on wrong side of front neckline.

I understitched the outside edge of the under collars, as it just made sense to get the collar seam to roll under slightly.

If I made this again I might add 1/4" to the width of the neckline binding, as I found it wee bit neat to fold under on the fronts.  But this could have been the front neckline seam binding adding a little bit of bulk, as it was easier to work with along the back neck.

I also machine stitched the binding in place, because I couldn't be bothered to hand sew it.  I moved the collar out of the way so the stitches don't show on the front, but wasn't able to get right up to where the collar joins the shoulder seams, so that bit is hand sewn. 

Love the pleats at the shoulders.

The waistband isn't the easiest thing to sew, but the sewalong post is very helpful, and I only had to unpick the pointed end twice!  A thing I noticed once the skirt was attached was that my bodice and skirt gathers didn't match up as on the pattern illustration on the print out instructions, which I had in front of me.

I didn't think to look at any photos of the finished dress, and thought I must have marked the waist gather incorrectly.  So I unpicked most of the skirt front, and moved the skirt gathers to line up under the bodice gathers.  But when I did look at the finished dress photos, I see that I was right the first time.  I just wanted to point that out in case anybody uses my dress as a reference.  

I cheated a bit by machine stitching the bottom of the waistband down instead of hand sewing it as in the instructions.  So instead of pressing the bottom inside of the waistband under by 5/8", I pressed it by 1/2", then stitched it along the point where it joins the skirt from the outside (stitching in the ditch).

There was a bit of head scratching when I tried it on, as the wrap sections didn't meet at the side seams!  That was when I thought to look at the finished dress photos, and I could see that they aren't supposed to.  If you take a look at the dress photos on Sew Over It, you'll see what I mean.  In the photo below I've marked the skirt side seam with a white pin.


I used snap fasteners to close the dress, and had a bit of a disaster!  I wasn't happy with one on the left front, and cut it off to move it over, but stupidly cut a hole in the waistband!!  It's on the front that is against the skin, so after calming down a bit, I went over it with a zig zag stitch, and it's grand.

I love how this dress turned out, and seem to be a bit obsessed with wrap dresses, as I have made another one, and am half way through a second!

Have a great week,


Sunday, 14 January 2018

Clara Pinafore Dress

This is the first of my christmas holidays makes, and was inspired by a dress worn by Clara in Doctor Who in an episode called "The Name Of The Doctor".  Here's my version which I'm wearing with a Tilly And The Buttons Agnes top:

and here is Clara's original.

It's a bit difficult to see in that photo because she has her arms folded, but I really like how the front sides stop just above the bust, then go at a right angle into the armhole.  I considered doing this, but didn't fancy the idea of having to negotiate that corner, and it would have been really obvious if I made a mess of it.  Clara's dress also seems to have welt pockets, but welt pockets and I will never be friends, so I ditched them too.  Also, I made my dress a bit longer!

My fabric is some polyviscose tartan from Oh Sew Crafty, and I used my same self-drafted pattern that I used for my cord pinafore dress.  This time, I didn't add a separate top to the pocket, and instead made the lower front side in one piece.  As this piece is cut on the bias, I stablised the inside with a strip of interfacing.

I'm very pleased with how I matched the tartan above the top of the pocket.
All the seams are top-stitched down on either side.  On the cord dress, I've found it tricky to get the seams to lay flat on the skirt.  This has helped a bit, and I might go back and do it on the cord dress.

This dress isn't lined, because I didn't think it was necessary, and the neckline and armholes are faced with bias tape.  Also, because the front and back side pieces are cut on the bias, I stay stitched around all the edges to stop them stretching.

My favourite bit is the exposed zip, which came from ebay.  I'm delighted with how it turned out, and used this great tutorial from Papercut Patterns.  This was a million times easier that the zip I did on the needle cord dress; the difference is that the stitches are visible on this one.  The centre back edges are interfaced where the zip goes, and I basted the zip in before sewing.  It worked first time, and no unpicking - result!

I found this New Look pattern, 6299, which I think is very similar.  The neckline is a bit higher, but it would be easy to lower it a bit, and I love the collar in Views A and B.

New Look 6299
I love how this dress turned out, and my unashamed current obsession with Doctor Who continues.  Didn't really love the Christmas special though, except for the end when the new Doctor showed up!  

Have a great week,


Saturday, 6 January 2018

Butterick B6285 - I made an outfit!

This outfit was finished just before Christmas, and nobody is more surprised about this make than me.  There I was, going about my business with the knit fabrics, when I clocked this gorgeous wrap top made by Abi from The Crafty Pin-Up.

It's from Butterick B6285, and I had to order the pattern immediately.  Turns out I loved the skirt too, so ended up making both.

The skirt fabric is Greek Key Suiting at £2.99 from The Textile Centre.  It was easy to make, and the instructions are great.  The seam allowances are pretty big though, which is something to look out for if you're like me, and only glance at the instructions!  Thankfully I read through them before starting.  The only mods I made were to shorten it by 4", and machine the inside of the waistband down by stitching in the ditch where the waistband meets the skirt.

Because of the width of the skirt front, the pattern pieces are cut on the cross grain.  I absolutely love the double pleats, they makes for a lovely, swishy, skirt.  


I made the top exactly as it is on the pattern, and used some jersey viscose from Ebay.  It's a bit short though.  Turns out Tasha from By Gum, By Golly had the same problem, and has already worked out how to lengthen the top and posted about it here. Then, for good measure, wrote this post about turning it into a surplice top. She's a genius, and I will definately be trying these out.  Serves me right for not googling it before sewing it!

This hasn't stopped me wearing my top though, and I wore the whole outfit on Christmas Day.  I also think it will be nice over a dress instead of a cardigan.

I was off for two weeks' at Christmas, which was brilliant, and spent much of the time sewing, so have some more makes to share.


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

2018 Make Nine

I've been doing a lot of sewing over the holidays, but that's for a few other posts.  Today I want to talk about 2018 Make Nine.  I haven't tried this before, but love the idea trying to keep focused on my sewing plans.  So, everything I have planned has been a match of stashed pattern to stashed fabric, and there are quite a few things that I've wanted to make for a while.  

Here's the break-down:

Like just about every other sewist, I adored this coat on sight, and I already had the perfect fabric in my stash.  It's this dark red wool/viscose from Montreux Fabrics.  The lining is either going to be this cat fabric from The Textile Centre, or this black and red flowery fabric.

Sadly, this pattern has now been discontinued, which is a shame as I think it's lovely.  I made it before here, and that coat has definitely seen better days, so clearly I need another one!  I'm going to make it with this black fabric and grey lining that both came from The Spinning Wheel in Belfast.  I want to change the sleeves to two piece sleeves, and remove the fullness from the sleeve head.
Both fabrics are pretty tricky to photograph.  The main fabric on the left is much nicer in real life, and the lining will be nicer when I iron it!

Yep, this is coat number three!  It's a Vogue version of a Chanel jacket, and I didn't realise I needed one until I saw a gorgeous one on television last year.  I'm going to go with View B (bottom right), and I'll be using the Craftsy Iconic Tweed Jacket class to make it.  My fabric is some black and white Boucle from ebay, and some red and silver faux silk lining from Sew N Sew in Belfast.

The lining is red on one side, and silver on the other.  I'm going to use the red side.
After all those coats, the next three are all going to be stretch fabrics makes, as I'm still all over my newly aquired overlocking skills. 

4.  Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

I've already made a version of this, but the fabric was rubbish.  So I'm going to try it again in this heavy jersey from The Textile Centre, this will probably be my first make.  


5. Vogue V8379 Dress

I'm going with View B - long sleeves and collar, and am going to use this fantastic gold keys fabric from The Textile Centre.


6.  New Look 6301

I have to thank reader Elaine Willis for putting me onto this pattern, and I'm going to follow her example on the bodice front as mentioned in the comments on this post.  A bit of googling found this amazing version by Mimi G, so I'm going to try the sleeveless version with the full skirt, but maxi length using this black and white jersey, again from the good old Textile Centre.


7.  Charm Patterns Rita Blouse dress hack

I've already made this top, which hasn't made it to the blog yet as I want to re-do the zip, but I have been thinking about a hack to a dress - maybe with long sleeves with a gathered cuff.  The fabric will be this black viscose with white anchors which came from ebay.

This purse is something a bit different to my normal makes, and I've wanted to make it for ages.  Sian from Kittenish Behaviour will soon be doing a sewalong, and I have plenty of fabric scraps to work with.

9.  1940s style dress

No photos for this one, as it's going to be self-drafted.  I do have a Pinterest board full of inspiration though, and plenty of lovely viscose fabrics to choose from.


Hopefully that should keep me out of mischief for a while!  I've enjoyed seeing all the other 2018 Make Nines plans, and good luck if you're taking part, I'll look forward to seeing everybody's makes.