Author Archives: laurabehindthehedgerow

About laurabehindthehedgerow

Born in London (UK), raised in Florida (USA) and currently living in Brussels (Belgium)...but with a heart firmly rooted in the English countryside. I'm passionate about sewing and here's where I share the things I make. Have a look around and feel free to join in the sewing conversation. So nice of you to stop by! behindthehedgerowblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Blog tour and GIVEAWAY – #parissewsocial

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Today is a fun day!  Not only do I get to share with you something I’ve made using fabric and a pattern given to me by the generous sponsors of #parissewsocial, but all the other bloggers from the trip (and competition winners) are doing the same!  This means you get to check out 14 different creations (see the grid below) AND you get the chance to enter 14 different GIVEAWAYS to win some of these patterns!

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the HedgerowThis dress is the Pinafore dress from the Japanese sewing book Sew Chic Kids by Ruriko Yamada (translated into English).  I’m pleased to say it was much more of a success than the first item I sewed from this book (see this post).

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

This is such a perfect summer dress – just throw it on and go!  As with all Japanese sewing patterns, you need to pay careful attention to all the illustrations but, if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a dress that comes together quickly and looks very professional.  I made it even easier for myself by omitting the buttonholes and just sewing the buttons directly on to the dress (the neck is wide enough to go on and off without unfastening them).

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The mustard tank you can see peeking out under the dress is the new Twisted Tank pattern by Titchy Threads.  This tank has had so much wear since I made it that I need to sew at least four more!

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The fabric!  Yes, let’s talk about the fabric!  I am in love with this Petit Pan fabric and wish I had more to make a skirt for myself.  Of course you can’t reach out and touch this dress but let me assure you, the quality of this cotton is just as stunning as the pattern.  It’s lovely to work with – not quite as light as, say, a Liberty Tana Lawn, but with beautiful drape and it’s so well-behaved when being pressed and stitched.

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The fabric came from the online fabric shop Telaria.  This is a wonderful shop and one that I’ve only recently discovered.  It has a lovely, curated selection of high quality fabrics and the owner, Maria, does a great job of giving lots of information about each fabric (composition, pattern repeat, lots of photos, etc) for people who are still a bit wary of buying fabric online.  The shop is based in Spain so is ideal for European sewists (the site is in both Spanish and English).

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

I’ll keep this post nice and short – since I’m sure you’re going to want to click, click, click on these images below to see what everyone else has been making!

And now for the GIVEAWAY!  Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to be in with a chance to win a PDF sewing pattern of your choice from designer Paisley Roots.  Karly’s patterns are classical, yet relaxed.  I’m really digging her All Spice Dress (look at the lovely extended placket!).  I’m dying to find the time to sew up a colour-blocked version.  The competition is open until 10th July.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Liberty and Mustard – version 2

Japanese LIberty top and mustard leggings // Behind the HedgerowI told you l liked this fabric combination!  A couple of weeks ago I shared this outfit which combined this muted yet elegant Liberty of London called Mitsi in nougat (which was a generous gift from the online fabric shop Cousette) with some organic mustard jersey from Nosh.

Japanese LIberty top and mustard leggings // Behind the Hedgerow

But I didn’t stop at just one outfit.  Here is the second instalment – a top made from this Japanese sewing book.

In fact, it’s this top here on the left.

And leggings from the Go To Leggings pattern by Go To Patterns.

 

Pin-Tucked Blouse

I’ve made a few things from Japanese patterns before and, even though they can sometimes be a labour of love, I have always liked the end result.  I’ve got three new Japanese sewing books in my collection so thought it was time to crack on and get something sewn up.  These are the other two books I picked up in Japantown in San Francisco – I think I’ll make something for ME next!

… Finally decided on these two. #japanesesewingpatterns

A post shared by Laura Fisher (@behindhedgerow) on

Japanese LIberty top and mustard leggings // Behind the Hedgerow

This book was gift from Tuttle publishing as part of the Blogger’s Paris Meet Up #parissewsocial, back in April.  I chose to sew this pattern because I wanted something light and floaty that would work well with the Tana Lawn and I also needed to be careful with fabric quantity.  I only had a total of one metre of this Liberty and after making this skirt I didn’t have too much to work with.  I just about managed to cut out the pattern pieces (and that was after cutting one of the sleeves incorrectly!).

Japanese LIberty top and mustard leggings // Behind the Hedgerow

As is customary with Japanese sewing patterns, the written instructions were minimal with only illustrations to help you along.  With a simple blouse like this I didn’t think this would be a problem, however, this project was not without its complications.

  • The biggest issue I had was with the sizing.  I made the size 6 for my 7-year-old.  Of course the fit is meant to be loose and easy but the neckline ended up being way too big and sloppy.  Here it is before alteration.

Japanese LIberty top and mustard leggings // Behind the Hedgerow

  • The whole blouse (including the neckline facing) was finished by the time I made this realisation so I wasn’t sure what to do.  I ended up unpicking part of the back neckline facing and making a big inverted pleat in the back to bring the whole neckline in.  It’s not the perfect solution because if effects the fit around the arms but for something this loose it will work.

Japanese LIberty top and mustard leggings // Behind the Hedgerow

  • Another issue was the order of construction.  It instructs you to attach the sleeves before finishing the neckline in the back.  This would leave you with an exposed raw edge where the front sleeve seam meets the neckline so I had to juggle the order of things.
  • I omitted the elastic sleeve cuff and just did a quick rolled hem on the sleeves.

Japanese LIberty top and mustard leggings // Behind the Hedgerow

I do love the look of all the clothes in this book and I will definitely not be put off by these minor issues.  If you’re interested in reading and seeing more about this book then there are some really stunning garments out there.  I love this dress from Alida Makes.  And I’m pretty sure this dress by Gioia (Dotta) will be the next one I make.

Go To Leggings

There’s not a great deal to say about these leggings.  This is the pattern that I always use for leggings and it’s never let me down.  You can whip these up in no time and I’ve always found the fit spot on.  I made the capri length this time.  In this picture you can really appreciate the knobbly, textured nature of the fabric.  It’s wonderful stuff!

Japanese LIberty top and mustard leggings // Behind the HedgerowSo, that’s two summer outfits to add to the wardrobe.  Not bad for just one metre of each of these fabrics!  I only wish I had more to make the same outfits for myself!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

 

The Titchy Threads Twisted Tuesday Tour

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

Have you been following the Twisted Tuesdays Tour to mark the launch of the new Titchy Threads patterns?  Laura, the designer behind these fabulous new patterns, has rounded up a brilliant group of bloggers (myself included 😉 ) to help showcase the style and versatility of the Twisted Trousers and Twisted Tank.  We’re into week four right now.  You can catch up with weeks one, two and three here.

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

Twisted Trousers

Fabric

The main fabric for the trousers is some lush navy linen that I’ve had in my stash for ages.  They keep these trousers light and breezy for springtime (although I must stay, I’m a little concerned about how quickly they could have holes in the knees!!).  The contrasting back pockets are Kona Cotton in Pickle (I adore this colour!) from The Village Haberdashery.  The piping I picked up in Belgium and it’s been waiting for the perfect project.  The fact that I had the right amount of piping – down to the last inch!! – is proof to me that it’s the perfect project!  The waistband is some stripey ribbing.

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

Options

I chose to make the non-reversible version with the un-piped back pockets and I omitted the grommets from the waistband.  To be honest, I would have liked to have added them but I chickened out a little bit!  I also thought about adding knee patches (Manu is incredibly hard on his clothes!) but I just wasn’t convinced that I’d like the way they’d look.  Maybe next time.

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

Size

Manu is five and a half and a little on the small side.  Based on his measurements I made a size 4 for the trousers, extending them to size 5 for the length.  [Note: because of the twisted nature of the trousers you can’t just add length to the bottom – pay attention to where the pattern instructs you to lengthen them.]  This wasn’t difficult to do and I’m so glad I did – he’ll get much more wear out of them.

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

Tips, observations, thoughts, insights and what-not

It was no surprise to me that these trousers were a joy to sew.  Laura explains each step in the perfect amount of detail.  She even takes the time to add a ‘cheat sheet’ for those who just want a basic version of instructions – you know, for when you’re making your sixth pair (because this pattern just begs to be made again and again with different features).

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

Much about the pattern has been discussed on this tour so let me just throw my two-cents-worth in there:

  • Pay careful attention to the grainline on the pattern pieces.  Because the trousers are ‘twisted’ the pattern pieces are at odd angles and you really need that grainline marking to keep everything lined up.
  • For the back pockets (I did the version without piping) I used a technique that I learned Figgy’s Banyan Trousers pattern to help get really sharp corners.  1. Take your pocket pattern piece and measure in 2.5cm from the top and 1cm from all the side edges.  2. Fold along those edges.  3. Cut out a cardboard template to this size.  4. Centre this template on your fabric leaving 2.5cm on the top and 1cm around the edges.  5. Double fold the top edge, press and sew.  6. Use your template to press the remaining edges.  This will give you get nice crisp corners.

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

  • Wonder tape.  The pattern suggests that you use wonder tape to hold the back pockets and coin pocket in place before stitching.  This is genius and I’m going to be using this tip for lots of different things.  This means you don’t have to pin the pocket which can often lead to crooked and imperfect sewing.
  • I didn’t have any technical trouble with the pattern.  The only time I struggled a bit was sewing the waistband to the top of the trousers.  I had to be really careful not to trap the elastic that was inside the waistband in the stitching.  So, be careful!

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

 

(Un)Twisted Tank

Fabric

I love this tank!  The viking fabric is a Lillestoff print and it’s just perfect.  This tank really doesn’t use much fabric so I’m hoping to make a few more as gifts.  The orange ribbing was from my stash.

Options

Well, as you can see, my tank’s not twisted!  With this patterned fabric it wouldn’t have worked.  But I’m dying to try the sewing technique to make it twisted – I need more stripes and solid jersey in my life!

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

Size

As with the trousers, I made a size four extending it to size five in the length.  I’m completely happy with the fit.

Tips, observations, thoughts, insights and what-not

Laura’s twisted tank is a clever pattern.  On one level it can be a straight forward go-to pattern for summer tank (like I’ve done here today and also in this version).  Alternatively you can make it more special by incorporating the twisted elements and contrasting pockets.

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

The tank comes together really quickly which is always very satisfying!  And even with a simple pattern like this Laura offers tips that will improve your sewing for future projects – like how to evenly distribute the neckband onto the neckline.  I usually just divide each into quarters and then stretch to fit.  This never works perfectly because you have slightly more fabric on the front of the top than the back (because the neckline dips deeper in the front).  The pattern explains how to get this distributed perfectly.  It’s the little things!  I love ’em!

Manu loves his new outfit!  It’s been a while since I’ve sewn for my boys so it felt great giving him some new duds!  I’ve already got another pair of trousers and a Rowan tee planned for George.  Now all I need to more time!

Happy sewing and thanks for reading,

Laura x

Twisted trousers + tank by Titchy Threads // Behind the Hedgerow

 

A new summer outfit – it couldn’t be easier!

Liberty skirt and mustard Twisted Tank // Behind the HedgerowThese days I am still mainly existing under a pile of fabric and patterns from our blogger’s #parissewsocial trip to Paris.  This combination of fabrics immediately jumped out of the pile at me so I knew it had to be my first make.  In fact, I was able to make TWO outfits from these two fabrics – more on that later.

Liberty skirt and mustard Twisted Tank // Behind the Hedgerow

For the first ensemble I wanted something quick and simple for two reasons (and one of them is NOT just because I’m lazy! 😉 ).

  • First, I was so anxious to see these fabrics on Margot that I couldn’t be spending days making something elaborate.
  • Second, the fabrics are so gorgeous as they are that I didn’t think they needed too much messing around with.

…or maybe I’m just lazy!

Liberty skirt and mustard Twisted Tank // Behind the Hedgerow

OK, where shall we start.  Everyone loves a Liberty print…

The Skirt

This Liberty of London fabric is one of my all-time favourites.  It’s called Mitsi in nougat and was a generous gift from the online fabric shop Cousette.  It’s beautiful and understated yet still has a bit of pazazz in the form of the sparkly gold dots in the centre of the flowers.  This same fabric was given to all the #parissewsocial bloggers so keep your eyes open and I’m sure you’ll see some beautiful creations popping up.

Liberty of London // Behind the Hedgerow

Cousette not only stocks Liberty of London (new season as well as vintage) but also a large selection of Petit Pan, Atelier Brunette, Nani Iro, and Kokka, amongst others.  If you’re looking for fabric inspiration then look no further!

Liberty skirt and mustard Twisted Tank // Behind the Hedgerow

The skirt itself is as simple as can be – basically one large rectangle sewed into a circle with french seams and then gathered and attached to the neon elastic waistband (bought years ago at Purl Soho).  I loosely followed this tutorial on Purl Bee.

Liberty skirt and mustard Twisted Tank // Behind the Hedgerow

For the hem I finally got around to doing a rolled hem on my serger.  Well, that was easy – not sure why I put that off for so long.

Liberty skirt and mustard Twisted Tank // Behind the HedgerowI’m pretty sure Margot will live in this skirt this summer – so light and breezy and easy to throw on!

The (Un)Twisted Tank

This mustard jersey was also a gift – this time from the Finnish online shop, Nosh.  Nosh is new to me but I can’t tell you how excited I am to order some more of their amazing organic jerseys.  They sell ready-to-wear clothes as well – for those times when sewing something yourself just isn’t going to happen!  As you’d expect from anything Scandinavian, the aesthetic is minimal, oh-so chic with a splash of playfulness.  Seriously, who could resist these tigers?!

Liberty skirt and mustard Twisted Tank // Behind the Hedgerow

The pattern for this tank is the Twisted Tank by Laura of Titchy Threads.  I have always loved Laura’s patterns, both for their design and instructions.  I will be sharing more about the Twisted Tank (and Laura’s new Twisted Trousers pattern) next week as part of the Twisted Tuesdays Tour so will save all the details until then.  For now, just know that this little tank is the perfect summer garment for boys and girls!  It’s a quick sew but, even with something so simple, Laura manages to teach a few tricks along the way – and I just love the fit!  Love the fit!!

Liberty skirt and mustard Twisted Tank // Behind the Hedgerow

Like I’ve already said, I love this combination of fabrics.  Check back in the coming days to see another creation…

Thanks for reading – hope you’re all enjoying sunshine, sewing, and…climbing trees!

Laura x

Liberty skirt and mustard Twisted Tank // Behind the Hedgerow

 

#parissewsocial (+ GIVEAWAY)

#parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

Just before Christmas I received an email from Annika (Naeh Connection) and Gioia (Dotta) with the subject: Invitation to a wonderful meeting of kid sewing bloggers in Paris.  This email almost got buried due to pre-Christmas chaos, but it resurfaced in January and my mind started mulling over what a fabulous opportunity this would be to meet some of my favourite sewists and bloggers in real life!

Well, I say ‘fabulous’ but what I really mean is ‘fabulous with side of scary.’  Stepping out from behind a computer screen to meet ‘strangers’ in a foreign country felt a little daunting.  But the thrill and excitement outweighed the fear so I organised the kids, dog and husband and signed up!

#parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

And I wasn’t the only one excited by the prospect of a sewing-centric weekend in Paris!  In total, we were 14:

#parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

Gaining Momentum

In the months, weeks and days leading up to our trip there were countless messages about logistics (lots of logistics – organising 14 people in a capital city is no mean feat!), sponsor details, what we all going to sew/wear, how excited we all were (lots of excited messages!), etc.

To add to this excitement, we were fortunate enough to have the kindest sponsors who helped us out with everything from accommodation (St Christopher’s Inn, Gare du Nord, Paris), to meals out (Bernina), to sightseeing passes (Paris Office du Tourisme), to (of course!) lots of fabric and patterns.  [You could lock me in my sewing room now and let me out again in 2017 and I’d still be sewing through all the fabric and patterns I have in my stash!]

logos_gesamt

Bernina, Lillestoff, Cousette, Nosh, FabFab, Telaria, Alles für Selbermacher, Supercut, Imagine Gnats, Nutta, Mon Depot, Tuttle, Aurifil, Snaply, Joyfits, Ottobre, Compagnie M., Do Guincho, Titchy Threads, Made It, Kid Approved, Schneidermeistern , Delia Creates, Willow&Co, Mouse House Creations, Sofilantjes, Sewpony, LBG Studio, Loubee Clothing, Straightgrain, Elegance&Elephants, Hey June, Paisley Roots, St. Christopher’s Inns & Paris Office du Tourisme

And, not only were these sponsors kind to us but they’ve been kind to you too!!  Keep reading for details of the #parissewsocial GIVEAWAY!

The Weekend

#parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

The weekend itself was just as magical as I imagined!  We all arrived at different times via different modes of transport and I think we did a remarkable job of keeping everyone together – not an easy task!  Each person I met truly felt like meeting up with an old friend!  I met An at the station as our trains arrived at similar times and we did our best to find the hostel while at the same time chatting non-stop.

By the end of Friday night we were all together enjoying some of the great Parisian food and drink.

#parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

Saturday involved more meeting up, shopping (Anna Ka Bazaar was a particular highlight for all of us!), eating, and sightseeing.  I spent a beautiful afternoon in the Rodin Museum Gardens with Laura (Craftstorming) just, you know, checking out The Thinker and discussing seam finishes, photography techniques, and pattern drafting…as you do!

 

#parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

Saturday night’s dinner was sponsored by Bernina – a tiny restaurant, an eccentric host, and delicious food.

By the end of the weekend we had all talked and walked ourselves into exhaustion!  We all went home with full suitcases as well as hearts!

Reflections

#parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

As I sat in the Eurostar lounge awaiting my train back to England, I had time to reflect on the weekend and what it meant to me.

  • The internet as a force for good.  As a parent of children growing up in the digital age, I am all too aware of the risks and dangers of unlimited and unmonitored internet access.  It’s something I think about often and I’m eager to teach my kids about how to use this technology to their advantage without it taking over their lives or putting them in any danger.  This trip has reminded me that this technology can also be a huge force for good.  Without the internet, Facebook, Instagram, blogs and the like, this trip could have never happened and I never would have been able to take so much satisfaction from meeting like-minded friends.
  • It’s exhilarating to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.  I don’t think there was one of us on this trip that didn’t feel some anxiety about meeting 13 ‘strangers’ in Paris!  What if we didn’t get on?  What if there were awkward silences?  What if the person you thought you knew online wasn’t anything like the real life version?  We all had these fears and, at least for me, they were dashed within the first moments of meeting everyone.  We came as strangers and left as friends – this would have never happened had we all not taken a step away from what feels comfortable and easy and exposed ourselves to something new and challenging.
  • Happiness comes through shared experiences not material gain.  I recently read an article outlining the reasons why you should spend your money on experiences, not things.  It rang true at the time of reading but it became even more relevant after our weekend in Paris.  Although the free fabric, patterns, and notions were great (reeeeeally, reeeeeeally great!) it was the whole experience of being with friends and having a shared experience that brought me the most happiness.

#parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

And finally, a big thank you to Annika and Gioia for coming up with the idea of this meet up and for meticulously planning all the details to ensure its success.  So, where are we all going in 2016?!  I vote for a pilgrimage to Merchant and Mills!

#parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

The Giveaway

Not only were all these sponsors generous to us, but they’ve also donated fabulous prizes for our giveaway…that YOU could win!  Here are the three prizes for you to drool over.  To be in with a chance just enter by the Rafflecopter below.

prize1The first prize includes jerseys from Lillestoff (the rose print sponsored by Lillestoff, the ABC print sponsored by joy fits), a Andrea Lauren bag filled with goodies from Alles für Selbermacher, an Ottobre magazin, a 15$ voucher for Imagine Gnats Shop and a sewing magazine from Stoffe.de.
prize2

The second prize includes a jersey with roses from lillestoff, a fun dinosaur fabric sponsored by mon depot, some pink ribbing from Nosh, a lace zipper from Snaply, nice spools from Aurifil, a paper pattern by Compagnie M. and a sewing magazine from Stoffe.de.
prize3

The third prize includes a flowery popeline from Lillestoff, white jersey from Nosh, blue Lycra (?) with Cupcakes from mon depot, a paper pattern from Compagnie M., spools from Aurifil and a sewing magazine from stoffe.de.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
   

In addition to this the winners will get the chance to participate in a blog tour in June/July for which we all will sew something using the wonderful fabrics and patterns that we got (the winners don’t have to, but can participate!!!). The giveaway is open to international entries, void where prohibited by law. The giveaway runs until Monday May 11th 2015, 12am CET.  The more of our social media channels you follow, the higher your chance to win one of the three prizes.

Since I’ve been home I’ve been sewing up lots of clothes/ with my new fabrics and patterns.  I hope to be sharing some of these next week.  Here’s a sneak peek of what’s on my cutting table this evening. #parissewsocial // Behind the Hedgerow

Thanks for reading and good luck with the giveaway,

Laura x

New for spring…and a call-out for San Francisco local knowledge

A+ skirt with Julia cardigan // Behind the HedgerowInspired by an upcoming blogger’s weekend in Paris (more on that very soon 😉 ), I decided to make a spring ensemble to rival the sunniest day!

Early tomorrow morning we’re off to San Francisco (eek!!!) – and right now it’s 10.30pm – and I haven’t packed yet – so this will be a brief post filled with brightly coloured pictures and me looking a bit awkward in front of the camera (out of practice!!).

A+ skirt with Julia cardigan // Behind the Hedgerow

The Skirt…

…is the A+ skirt by Make it Perfect patterns.  It’s a classic a-line shape with a top yoke and different versions to include pockets, button placket, or ribbon detail.  Overall the pattern is well-drafted and clearly explained.  Just a few things to note:

  • The top yoke is unlined.  I thought this wouldn’t have enough structure so I added a facing using the same pattern piece as for the yoke itself.  I also used some fusible interfacing on the facing piece.  A quick fix for a more structured waist.
  • I lined the skirt.  I attached it to the seam line of the yoke/skirt (wrong sides together) and this worked well.
  • My measurements were in between a small and medium and I made the medium.  Now that I try it on I think it’s a bit too big.  With a skirt like this you want it to be pretty snug so it stays in place.
  • I love the pockets on the skirt but I find them a little too low.
  • I do love an a-line shape in skirts but, for me, this one is a bit too flared.  I’m being really picky because it’s only marginally wider than I would like.
  • The zip insertion and instructions are great.  I almost always do an invisible zip but I think I now might be a convert to the lapped zip!

A+ skirt with Julia cardigan // Behind the Hedgerow

To make this my perfect a-line skirt, next time I would use the facing and lining as described above, make the yoke piece slightly narrower which would bring the pockets up a bit higher, size down to small, and make the a-line shape a little less pronounced.

The cardigan…

A+ skirt with Julia cardigan // Behind the Hedgerow

…is the Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations.  This is the second time I’ve sewn this pattern.  This is the first version I made.

julia-cardi-title-image-21This is one of my most-warn cardigans (and that’s saying a lot considering it doesn’t even have pockets!!).  You can read a full pattern review here.

With such a love for this pattern, I didn’t change much in this version.  In fact, the only thing I changed was the sleeve length (long sleeves to 3/4 length sleeves).  The fabric itself is much thinner so it drapes a bit differently but I think I’ll love this one just as much.

Overall, I love my new cheery spring outfit.  I can see many sunny days sipping cocktails in the sun…

A+ skirt with Julia cardigan // Behind the Hedgerow

And now onto our holiday…

Yup, we’re off to San Francisco.  I’m American, I live in England, and everyone I meet here assumes I know San Francisco like the back of my hand.  The truth is I’ve never been to California at all!  We’re visiting some dear friends but that’s not to say I won’t have plenty of time for fabric and haberdashery shopping!  So, do any of you out there have any not-to-be-missed suggestions (fabric or otherwise)?!  Where to get the best Japanese food?  Is Alcatraz worth doing?  Any good day trip ideas with kids?  If you want to follow any of our shenanigans and discoveries make sure to follow on Instagram.

A+ skirt with Julia cardigan // Behind the Hedgerow

Thanks to you all for reading and here’s hoping that spring and sunshine will be filling your days!

Laura x

 

Winter into spring linen dress

mara dress linen - title imageMargot needed a new dress.  As a home sewist with a little girl, this is not something that’s said very often; dresses are the most tempting item to sew and consequently Margot usually has plenty to choose from.  But, due to my lack of sewing (discussed in my last post) and the fact that my kids now wear school uniforms, the dresses are suddenly in short supply!

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Planning the dress

I knew exactly the kind of dress I wanted – something that could be worn now (with layers as it’s still quite cold here), but was equally suitable for hot summer days.

I knew exactly the overall feel I wanted – dusty pink, muted Liberty fabric…a nod to springtime without turning Margot into a pastel easter egg!

All I had to do now was figure out how to sew what was in my head!

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

One of my goals for 2015 is to be more deliberate and thoughtful about the clothes I make in order to achieve my own vision for a garment – rather than just following a pattern, unthinking.  To help me with this I’ve started to be more disciplined about using two tools:

  • An online mood board.  By putting all my inspiration into one collage-like view I was able to get a clearer idea of what I wanted for the dress.
  • [Question: This mood board was thrown together quickly in Photoshop – does anyone know of a good mood board app?  Pinterest is the obvious one but I want something that allows you present it all collage-style.]

  • A fashionary sketchbook.  This is a great place to write down all the planning stages of a garment.  The book has very faint outlines of people on the pages so you can sketch the clothes – or feel free to just write over them if necessary.  The first few pages are an excellent reference tool for everything from pattern and garment shapes, to body measurements and sizes, to typography, to online colour generators!

And, although not quite as detailed (or outlandish!!) as the drawings above, I used my book to map out what I wanted for this project.

linen Mara dress notes // Behind the Hedgerow

Making the dress

 

Now, with all this inspiration floating around it was time to actually make the dress.  Not wanting to buy any new books or patterns, I limited myself to what I had on hand.

linen Mara dress // Behind the HedgerowThe top part of the dress is a sleeveless version of the Mara blouse by Compagnie M.  I wanted the yoke to be more of a square shape (similar to the Tova top) but, due to time limitations, I decided to leave it as it was.

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The skirt shape and length, as well as the pockets are from the Oliver+s Jump Rope Dress (view B).

The main fabric is a gorgeous shade of dusty pink that my husband bought for me from Purl Soho when he was in NYC in 2012!  If you ever want to know if your husband/partner truly loves you then send him/her to NYC (while on a business trip if you want to add even more pressure!) with a list of fabric shops and tell him to “just pick out some things I’d like”!  He chose really well!!

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The pockets and piping are Liberty print – from my stash.

mara dress linen - pocket detail 2

Once all these details were decided upon, the actual sewing was quite straightforward.  As I’ve made both patterns before I was comfortable with all the processes and it came together pretty quickly!  The only time-consuming part was making the bias binding as well as the piping.

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So, we’re almost into April and Margot has one new dress.  It’s a start but I need to get a move on before the really warm weather comes!

What is your planning/sewing process for a new project?  What are your go-to patterns for customising?  And finally, what dress should I make next?  I feel I’m on a bit of a roll now!

Hope you’re all sewing up something lovely on this sunny spring day!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Baby steps back to blogging…and another flipped pea coat

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the HedgerowHave you ever had a friend move away – a very dear and close friend who you were sure you’d always keep in touch with?  And then, as time passed, maintaining that level of contact became more difficult.  And then, the longer you left it to send that email/make that phone call/post that letter, the harder it became.  Each passing day was filled with more news that needed to be relayed which meant the email/call/letter needed to be even longer and in-depth.

But she’s was good friend – a great one, in fact – and you didn’t want to let the friendship go so, at some point, you just had to take the plunge.  And even if it wasn’t as complete and thorough as you would have liked, at least it was contact and at least you knew you aren’t going to lose this friend forever.

It turns out that, for me, this ‘friend’ is my blog.  I never intended to step away from blogging and I most certainly didn’t intend to take a break from sewing.  But, for various reasons that is exactly what happened.  Almost daily I have tried to jump back into the blogging world, but then another day passes making the whole process of re-insertion fractionally more difficult.

This post has been a long time coming – the culmination of thoughts, ideas, motivations – sprinkled with some deeper soul-searching, complete with the realisation of my somewhat difficult and contradictory relationship with social media (which could easily be the subject of another post entirely).

My unplanned path down the road to a blogging break

When I posted about my flipped Pea Coat back in November, I didn’t know it would be my last post for 4 months!!  (My jaw still drops when I write that!).  It’s only now, with enough space for reflection that I can really understand why this happened.  This is sort of the path I went down…

  • As some of you already know, my family and I moved from Belgium to the UK last summer.  Since then my entire life-style changed – moving from city to country, getting a dog, more commitments with kids’ schooling, trying to make friends and integrate in a new country, etc.  These changes meant that my normal ‘routine’ of sewing, photographing and blogging was dramatically disturbed.  Not necessarily in a bad way mind you…
  • This reshuffle shook things up enough that some interests other than sewing started to resurface (yup, I have interests other than sewing – shocking, I know!).  I found myself filling my free time with long walks, enjoying our local forests, getting back into an exercise routine, reading books, and cooking up meals with all our local produce.  I even tried crocheting a hot water bottle cover (which I never finished).  It’s not that I consciously didn’t want to sew – it was just that other things were taking priority in a way that they hadn’t since I started this blog in February 2012.  And it felt good!!
  • Well, it felt good for a while.  Once I decided to try to get back on track I made the mistake of checking back in with the online sewing community.  I say ‘mistake’ because what I found there was more pace, passion, commitment, energy and general lightning speed creations that I felt that I could cope with.  This, in turn, lead to a bit of a crisis in confidence culminating in a state of not believing my own sewing hype.  And this is a dangerous place to be as a blogger!!
  • Once you lose a bit of the love for the work you create, it becomes almost impossible (for me at least) to shout from the rooftops social media outlets, telling everyone to come have a look.  And isn’t that what having a sewing blog is all about – sharing your sewing?!
  • So I spent a long time not knowing how to proceed – I was in a state of limbo – not contributing to my blog but not wanting to let it go either.

Regaining focus

So how does one exit this drifting state of blogger/non-blogger, sewist/non-sewist?  It turns out that the answer was simple!  To make me feel like I was back in the game, I realised that all I needed to do was to start sewing again!!  Sew something, sew anything, just sew!  For about two months I spent time in my sewing studio just milling around being a bit pathetic.  I would pick up a pattern here, some fabric there, contemplate making something, decide the pattern/fabric wasn’t right and then move on to something else.  Or I would convince myself that I just didn’t have enough time or energy (I used to think nothing of starting a sewing project at 10pm but now I was wanting to curl up in bed with my book).  I made a few gifts along the way but nothing that I would consider serious sewing.  I even made napkins; yup, napkins – and two sides were already hemmed!  Nothing says ‘sewing funk’ like some straight line stitching (although I do love the napkins!).

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

And then a couple of weeks ago I got entirely fed up with myself!  I sat down and made lots of lists and resolutions (sewing and otherwise) and generally gave myself the proverbial kick up the backside that I needed.  Since then I’ve made this coat, a skater dress, some new baby bunting, a spring skirt for me, a Liberty and linen dress for Margot, and a Named batwing shirt.  And, now, I think I can safely say that the doubtful sewing demons have been banished! *poof* And since I now, again, believe my own hype, blog posts on all these outstanding creations will be coming soon 😉 .

Moving in the right direction

It would be a shame to let all this time spent self-reflecting go to waste so I have used this period of uncertainty to figure out what it is I want from my sewing and blogging going forward.  I’m hoping these will make me a happier and better blogger.

  • My biggest motivations for blogging have always been to make connections with other like-minded sewists and to create further opportunities in this field.  I have always seen blogging as a journey as opposed to a destination and, in this respect, nothing has changed since day one.
  • I have learned that I’m not as single-minded about sewing and blogging as I thought I was!!  Shock!  Horror!  This is the realisation that surprised me the most.  It is not to say that I enjoy sewing any less than I did before, it’s just that I’m not willing to make it my entire life.  I feel happier and more well-rounded when I’m also pursuing my other interests.  Perhaps this will be a detriment to my long-term blogging goals but if a happy blogger = a good blogger then this is the way it has to be.
  • The lightning pace of blogging – particularly in the sewing/DIY genre – is something that’s always jarred with my approach to sewing.  I want to take my time over a project.  I want to hand-finish that hem even though it would delay the blog post; I want to take time to learn a new skill properly, not just a quick-fix to get the thing done; I want to share projects that inspire a true desire to sew, not just slap something together for the nearest holiday season.
  • Leading on from this, I want to make 2015 the year that I increase my core sewing skills.  I want to push myself to master new techniques which will open up new possibilities in my sewing.  It’s my hope I can share some of these with you.
  • Finally, I want my sewing and blogging to be a reflection of my dedication to sustainable fashion.  With Fashion Revolution Day quickly approaching, I think we could all spare a thought for those who make our ready-to-wear clothes in factories all over the world – many of which with far few worker’s rights than we would accept.

So, dear friends, I am sorry I have been out of touch but now at least I hope you see the reasons why.  I promise I won’t let it drift so long again.

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Now!  Enough introspection – let’s get on to the sewing!!

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

Today I’m sharing a new coat I made for the littlest member of our family.  Aptly enough, the starting point for this coat is the Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Pea Coat – the same pattern I flipped in my previous post waaaaaay back in November (yikes!)

This pattern is a perfect starting point for lots of personalisation.  Sewing outerwear is great as it makes such a big impact.  This one’s a double-win because it’s also easy to sew.  For this version I played it much closer to the printed pattern than I did the first time round.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

Here’s the nitty-gritty:

  • I made size 4 for my 5-year-old.  It came up a bit wider and shorter than I imagined but he wears it happily so this isn’t really a complaint.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I changed up the method of closing.  This came about because when he tried it on (minus the buttonholes) it naturally came together like this and I liked it!  Plus, it meant far fewer buttonholes to be sewn – which is always a good thing on thick fabric like this.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

  • The exterior fabric is wool (the green – left over from Christmas stockings a few years ago) and boiled wool (the sleeves and pockets – left over from this Oliver+s cape).
  • The interior fabric is a light-weight quilted cotton for the sleeves and faux sheep skin for the rest.
  • I added patch pockets – lined with the same striped orange ribbing as the cuffs.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

  • In a similar fashion to my previous version, I added wrist cuffs with thumb holes.
  • The buttons are actually pebbles that have been drilled to make them into buttons (courtesy of my jeweller mother, Molly Sharp!).

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the HedgerowThis is a really useful coat that didn’t take an eternity to make.  Of course Spring is nearly upon us and I suppose most of you are turning your sewing efforts to warmer weather makes but it’s worth book-marking this pattern to bring out when you’re looking for something warm and cozy for your little one.

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Whew – this post has been such a long time coming that it feels great to finally have it out there.  Thanks for sticking with me until the end – I promise there will be more sewing and less self-analysis in the future!!

As a sewist and/or a blogger, have you ever encountered any of these stumbling blocks on your journey?  I’d love to hear.

As ever, thanks for reading,

Laura x

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

The Pixie Dust Pea Coat (full post)

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

In case you missed it on Monday, I’m bringing home my Flip This Pattern for the DMK Pea Coat.  It’s a busy time of year and I’m sure you’re all stitching your hearts out for the upcoming festivities but, if you have a spare moment I’d love it if you could support Frances Suzanne’s Flip This Pattern series by heading over and voting for your favourite flip.  It is truly amazing to see one pattern taken in so many directions – princess seams, lots of zips, faux leather, a Christmas dress – if you haven’t been following along go immediately and check out what you’ve missed!

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Well, hello there flipped pattern enthusiasts!  I’m Laura from Behind the Hedgerow and I’m here to confess that I have spent far too much time, energy and all-consuming thought on this flipped version of the Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Pea Coat.  My kids are unwashed and hungry, there is not a single pair of clean underpants in the house, and my own family members have given up having a meaningful conversation with me and, the worst part of all, I don’t regret a single moment!  This coat has truly been stitched with love and I’m thrilled to share all the details with you like-minded creative sewists.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

I had two main inspirations for this coat.  The first was the 1940s – 1960s children’s book series Pookie by Ivy Wallace.  The story focuses on Pookie, a little white rabbit with wings and his adventures in the world.  They were read to me as a child and the whimsical illustrations have always stayed with me.  I can imagine Margot playing with Pookie in the forest while wearing this coat.

The second starting point for this project was function!  Margot needed a versatile, stylish and warm coat for the winter (her coat from last year is one of the many things that mysteriously disappeared during our house move in the summer).  So this project had to work out and it had to be something that could be worn for longer than a single photo shoot!

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

 

Margot and I sat down over a mug of marshmallow-laden hot chocolate and chatted about her coat needs.  We decided that the Ultimate Winter Coat needed:

  • a good fit but with still enough room for layering underneath.
  • a generous hood so a snug hat could be worn with the hood still up.
  • a hood that is NOT detachable – that’s just asking for it to be taken off and discarded somewhere never to be seen again.
  • to be able to get on and off easily and independently.
  • at least one secret pocket.
  • generously sized side pockets.
  • wrist cuffs with thumb holes (the thumb holes were the biggest selling point for Margot!) to stop the wind blowing straight up the sleeves.
  • a cosy lining for extra warmth.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

Whew – that’s a lot of elements!  The Dear My Kids pea coat is a fantastic starting point for all of these things.  It’s a solid pattern that leaves lots of room for personalisation.  As is evident from the photos, I kept this coat a coat with the following changes in order to fill the above brief for the Ultimate Winter Coat.

  • I extended and accentuated the a-line of the shape of the coat.  This made it more like a swing coat and meant it would be warmer.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I cut the back section as one piece (instead of 2 as stated in the pattern) and added 4cm to the width so I could add a 2cm inverted pleat.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I added a hood (with handmade piping!  Can’t believe that I haven’t made my own piping until now.  It’s really quick and easy and I used this brief tutorial if you’re interested).  Sadly, this meant I had to get rid of the collar.  I wanted to have both but in my muslin I couldn’t get them both to work together.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I modified the neckline slightly so it was a bit lower.
  • I added side welt pockets.  I love these pockets!  I think they really give a professional look to a garment.  The best tutorial for doing these is Kristin’s (Skirt as Top) tutorial on the Oliver+s blog.  Seriously, it is fail-proof!

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • To fulfil Margot’s desire for a secret pocket I added another welt pocket to the inside.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I shortened the sleeve length slightly and added wrist cuffs with thumb holes.  I love this feature most of all!  They make the coat unique while serving a really important function.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I omitted with wrist bands from the pattern.
  • I added a facing to the lining which, again, gives it a more polished, professional finish.
  • This facing was the perfect place to add the hand-embroidered name tag (no doubts about who this coat belongs to!) and hanging hook.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

The fabric choices for this coat came together beautifully.  I originally wanted the outer coat to be made from Harris Tweed wool but when I saw this aqua wool blend from The Sewing Shop in Canterbury I was in love.  Stumbling upon this Liberty jersey remnant for the hood and cuffs quickly brought the whole look together.  The yellow fabric for the piping was leftover from this dress and matches the buttons perfectly.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

I always knew I’d use the faux sheepskin for the lining and I had plenty in my stash from Minerva Crafts.  Although I didn’t get a decent picture of it, the arms are lined with a quilted jersey which gives added warmth but without being as bulky as they would have been with the sheepskin.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

I won’t lie.  The entire process of making this coat took forever!  Each changed element required additional thought and consideration (how wide should the thumb hole in the cuff be?, where exactly should the welt pockets be placed?, will a stretchy jersey work for the hood lining?, etc) but I have loved every step…and it fits!…and Margot loves it!  And, most miraculously, there were no catastrophic disasters along the way…almost as if the entire project were sprinkled with pixie dust!

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

The Pixie Dust Pea Coat – I flipped the Dear My Kids Pea Coat pattern!

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

Oh boy am I excited to share today’s post!  Months ago I got involved with Emily and Ashley’s (from Frances Suzanne blog) Flip This Pattern series and today’s I’m sharing my interpretation of the Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Pea Coat.  You can read the full post HERE.

The idea behind the series is pretty straightforward – you’re given a pattern and you have to flip, alter, change, or re-work it in any way you see fit.  You can make minor or major changes just as long as you use the original pattern as your starting point.  If you haven’t been following along it’s worth having a trawl back through some of the entries for different patterns – they’re full of inspiration.

This month the patterns was the Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Pea Coat.  This is what the original pattern looks like.  I had such a great time changing and adapting this pattern to exactly what I wanted.  It reminded me of why I sew – to see something that has existed only in my mind turn into an actual, physical, touchable garment in front of my eyes!  It’s so immensely satisfying!

I would love for you to have a look at all the fun changes I made and details I added!  They’ll be four different versions of this pattern presented by four different bloggers this week so keep checking back on the Frances Suzanne site to see them all – there is some series talent in this group and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!  On Friday you can vote for your favourite.

Thanks for reading!

Laura x