Tag Archives: make it perfect

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 ūüėČ ), 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


An easy breezy summer top you’ll never want to take off

Shearwater Kaftan by Make It Perfect // Behind the HedgerowMake this pattern if: you want an easy-to-sew, easy-to-wear top that will take you nicely from summer into autumn.

Don’t make this pattern if: you’re looking for something with precise tailoring and structure.

My only regret with this top is that I didn’t make it earlier in the summer in order to get more wear out of it. ¬†The style and fit make it¬†so easy to wear and the double gauze with slightly metallic dots gives it a touch of luxury that’s always welcome for something that’s so effortless to wear.

Shearwater Kaftan by Make It Perfect // Behind the Hedgerow

The Pattern

With a pattern company name like Make It Perfect, Toni really has given herself a lot to live up to! ¬†This is my first project from Toni’s patterns but I have been an admirer for a while. ¬†Her A+ Skirt even made it into one of my Top Ten lists. ¬†When I received the pattern in the post I admit to being a teeny bit disappointed when I saw that the pattern pieces still needed to be traced and cut (I’ve been doing lots of printing, taping and cutting of patterns as of late). ¬†But fear not, there are only four large pattern sheets to deal with and it wasn’t nearly as painful as I imagined.

After discussing the fit with others who had made this pattern I decided to make a size medium even though my measurements fell in the small category.  Perhaps the small would have worked too but I like the easy comfort of my version.

Shearwater Kaftan by Make It Perfect // Behind the Hedgerow

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s just a pair of frisky wood pigeons doing a mating display!

 The Fabric

Ooooh, the fabric! ¬†Rachael (imagine gnats) kindly gifted me this fabric and all I can say is that I wish I had a whole bolt of it! ¬†The colour is olive and those dots have a slight metallic sheen to them. ¬†This exact fabric is no longer available in her shop but I would quite happily make and wear versions in this¬†(for a subtle sophisticated look), this¬†(for a burst of colour) or this¬†(if you’re feeling a little outrageous). ¬†Double gauze is easy to work with and is great for anything that will end up directly on the skin – like these baby comfort blankets and these three quilts.

The little bursts of red are from some leftover baby-cord that I used to make this red riding cape.

Shearwater Kaftan by Make It Perfect // Behind the Hedgerow

The Construction

This top is a straightforward sew and I’d say suitable for an ambitious beginner. ¬†You do have to make your own bias tape (really not that hard, just a bit time-consuming) but you could always use ready-made if you prefer (I think making your own in the same fabric as the top gives a more professional finish but, hey!, that’s just me).

Shearwater Kaftan by Make It Perfect // Behind the Hedgerow

A couple of other tips/observations/alterations:

  • Since the inside seam can be seen when you roll up the sleeves I did French seams. ¬†The only downside of this was that I wasn’t able to do the side vents.

Shearwater Kaftan by Make It Perfect // Behind the Hedgerow

  • The sleeves are a great feature. ¬†They can be worn long or rolled up and buttoned in place. ¬†In case you’re in any doubt about how to do the sleeve roll, it goes something like this ūüėČ

Shearwater Kaftan by Make It Perfect // Behind the Hedgerow

  • The neckline. ¬†I would advise you to consider the length of the placket you want to use carefully before cutting (you have a long and a short option. ¬†Long = a deep V; Short = a not-so-deep V). ¬†I assumed I would want the long version but found it was much too low for wearing the top without anything underneath. ¬†To fix this for the final version I did three things:
  1. I cut the short option from the pattern (duh!).
  2. I added interfacing to the placket to give it a bit more structure (it still flops open but I’ve decided I like it this way).
  3. I extended the bias binding that goes around the neck in order to make ties that can be closed (for those days I’m feeling more modest ūüėČ ). ¬†Abby did something similar in her beautiful version.

Shearwater Kaftan by Make It Perfect // Behind the HedgerowSo, “what’s the result?” I hear you asking. ¬†Did Toni in fact Make It Perfect? ¬†Well, for this style of top, with this fabric, for my lifestyle, I’d say that it’s a resounding YES! ¬†If I haven’t done enough to convince you to give these patterns a go then check out what everyone else on the parade has been up to.

The Make It Perfect Pattern Parade Virtual Catwalk introduces…


A huge thank you to Toni for having me. ¬†It’s been great! ¬†And thanks to you for reading.

Laura x

Top 10 Autumn selfish sewing patterns

Top 10 - Autumn Selfish Sewing Patterns

Vintage sewing machine image courtesy of Elisandra Illustrations (http://elisandra.com/)

I love writing these lists because it forces me to deviate from my well-trodden internet browsing paths and to seek out something new. ¬†By the time my list is compiled, I always end up with a few more inspiring blogs in my Bloglovin’ feed and often chat with some of the creators. ¬†This makes the whole process very fulfilling. ¬†Now for the really fun part – sharing it all with you.

With Selfish Sewing Week nearly upon us, I thought now would be a good time to share some of my favourite seasonal sewing ideas. ¬†I won’t possibly be able to sew them all myself (oh, if only I had the time!!) but I find them all drool-worthy and would love to see what variations you all come up with. ¬†And, as always, let me know if I’m missing something fabulous.

10. Simplicity 1882

I was originally drawn to this pattern when Karen from Did you make that? was giving a copy away on her blog. ¬†Sadly I didn’t win the pattern but I couldn’t get it out of my head so picked one up from Jo-Ann’s in the States.

I think you’ll agree that Karen’s version is fantastic (especially with those shoes!!). ¬†The thing I love most about hers is the simplicity of the design. ¬†I am usually a sucker for piping and contrast but I actually prefer this dress with just one well-chosen fabric (and boy are those tulips well-chosen!).

9. Roxanne Top (Victory Patterns)

I’ve been reading lots about Victory patterns at the moment and they all look pretty enticing. ¬†I think this one is my favourite though. ¬†I’m aiming to make the long sleeve version with the AMAZING collar. ¬†Anna’s version is pretty much perfection for me.

It’s so lovely I had to share two photos – I just want you to appreciate that collar.

8. Vogue 8805

Now that I’m conquering my fear of knits, I’m starting to think of knit dresses for myself. ¬†I’ve had my eye on this lovely, simple Breton knit dress from Toast and I think that this pattern could be adapted to make something similar.

In fact, I think this pattern has a lot of potential for customisation plus the construction is quite simple – win, win.

7. Leggings – self-drafting tutorial

With all these tops, tunics and dresses we all need a good, well-fitted pair of leggings, right? ¬†I recently discovered how easy and satisfying it is to make children’s leggings¬†(if you’re interested, check out the Go To Leggings pattern). ¬†That got me thinking that it couldn’t be tooooo hard to do the same for adults…but then I thought, no way!, as simple as they are to sew I had visions of saggy¬†knees, pulling in the wrong places, etc.

Well, fear not! ¬†Etsy has come to the rescue. ¬†This Etsy tutorial walks you through all the measurements you need to take to get the perfect fit (and there are LOTS of measurements needed…more than you would think…but that reassures me and makes me think they’ll fit well). ¬†It’s possible that this could be the most useful pattern of the season (and I love getting out the ruler and doing some technical drawings!).

6. Butterick 5639

“Why is she including a summer dress pattern?”, I hear you ask. ¬†Yes, indeed this is intended as a summer frock but then I came across this version.

It’s made from linen but you could get the same look with a light-weight wool. ¬†With a long-sleeved shirt underneath, a cardigan, some tights and boots and you’ll be kicking up fallen leaves and warming your hands by a fire before you know it!

5. Wong-Singh-Jones Mandalay Jacket (Hot Patterns 1131)

Hot Patterns are new to me….which is surprising because they have an awful lot of styles out there. ¬†Have any of you sewed from them? ¬†I like the shape and placement of the pockets on this jacket. ¬†I’m envisioning a tweed version and I may even go as far as adding leather or suede patches on the elbows…oh, and with a funky, bright lining. ¬†I’m loving the idea of this more and more as I type. ¬†This is a good starting point for overall style.

4. Elisalex Dress (By Hand London)

A beautiful dress for a special Autumn outing.  I adore those pleats in the skirt and, when made with the right fabric, it hangs so beautifully.

To read a full review, and to see some more Elisalex eye candy, check out the review by the fabulous oonaballoona.

Oh, and the patterns come is such loverly packaging…

3. Archer Shirt (Grainline Studio)

Now, here’s a solid wardrobe basic for you. ¬†With two versions possible, you can make it a quite conservative button-up shirt or go for the gathered lower back detail.

There’s also been an Archer Sewalong which is a great resource in case you get stuck on anything.

There are oodles of wonderful versions of this shirt around (do a search – you’ll see what I mean). ¬†My current favourite is¬†Emily’s version¬†– I’m in love with the fabric and expert finishes.

2. A+ Skirt (Make it Perfect)

Maybe all of you out there already have a go-to a-line skirt pattern (if you do, please tell!), but I always struggle to find a good, basic skirt pattern. ¬†This one looks like a winner – instant download (I know, I know, printing, taping and cutting – but there can’t be too many pieces…), lots of variations, clear instructions. ¬†I also like that it’s quite narrow through the hip.

1. Sol Hoodie (Jamie Christina Patterns)

I fell in love with this pattern instantly. ¬†Just recently I came across Heidi and Finn’s¬†Slouchy Cardigan sewing pattern¬†(for children) and a lightbulb went off in my head – I can make knitwear¬†without¬†actually knitting anything! ¬†I can sew it! ¬†Genius!

Now that this proverbial pin has dropped, I envision many more ‘knitted’ garments on my sewing table.

Bonus!! Blair Batwing Shirt (Named)

I just couldn’t leave this one out! ¬†Named is a new independent pattern company by Finnish sisters Saara and Laura Huhta. ¬†It’s sleek and modern…in fact, so sleek and modern that I’m not sure how (if at all!) it fits into my lifestyle. ¬†That’s not to say, however, that I don’t appreciate the beautiful silhouettes and the obvious dedication it’s taken to create this collection.

The Blair Batwing Shirt jumped out at me as something I would love to wear.

And here’s a peak at the whole collection – for those of you who live sleeker, more modern lives than myself!

And, if you like what you see here you can read an interview with the designer sisters Saara and Laura Huhta at House of Pinheiro.

Another bonus!! Thread Theory

Thread Theory

Yup, another bonus…consider yourselves spoiled…although this time it’s not selfish. ¬†If you feel ambitious enough to sew something for the man (men!?) in your life, why not have a look at Thread Theory with their choice of fine men’s sewing patterns. ¬†Choose from Newcastle cardigan, ¬†Strathcona Henley and T-Shirt, or Jedediah Pants and Shorts. ¬†If you choose the Jedediah pants or shorts then check out the sewalong for help along the way.

So what are you waiting for?! ¬†Go on – get excited and make things…

Image courtesy of Elisandra Illustrations

…and then tell me all about it.

So the Top 10 is a Top 12 today.  What takes your fancy?  Have you already made some of these?  What am I missing?  Come on Рjoin in the conversation.

Thanks for reading,

Laura x