Tag Archives: piping

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 ūüėČ ) 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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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

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!


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

My Favourite Things GIVEAWAY

My Favourite Things Giveaway // Behind the Hedgerow

You can call it a Thank You to all you truly wonderful readers who have been part of this blogging adventure with me for the past 15 months; you can call it a celebration of a change in life and an update of blog; or you could simply call it AN AWESOME GIVEAWAY!

A natural love of the English countryside has always drawn me to the classic designs of English tailoring, epitomised by the patterns of Merchant and Mills and even better when sewn with Liberty of London fabric.

My time in Brussels has allowed me the chance to get to know some of the innovative pattern designers who incorporate their sense of Belgian flair in their work.

I feel that my own sewing is now lodged somewhere in between these two realms – and that’s a lovely place to be!

So, is this post just about me, me, me?! ¬†Mais, non! ¬†There’s something in for you as well! ¬†If you’re a reader here and like what you see and what I do then I assume you too have impeccable taste ūüėČ and deserve to win some of these delights!

The Giveaway

There are 12 prizes to be won (by three winners) which pretty much some up my favourite things about sewing. ¬†These have been generously donated and I can’t thank those individuals and businesses enough. ¬†Let’s have a little wander down Prize-Winning Alley…

Straightgrain Patterns

An, the creative force behind Straightgrain, designs patterns for babies and girls that are modern and elegant.  Her natural style and flair for matching patterns and fabrics comes out in all her creations.

To be won: three digital sewing patterns of your choice.  You can get drooling over all her patterns here.

Straightgrain's Hanami Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Zonen 09 Patterns

Sharon has been one of my sewing inspirations ever since I met her at Maakdag, Gent’s sewing extravaganza, that she¬†organised. ¬†I’ve waxed lyrical about the Jacob Trousers enough times for you all to be sick of hearing it! ¬†Her newest pattern, The Lars¬†Jacket¬†(only available in Dutch at the moment) just blows my mind!

Jacob Trousers // Behind the Hedgerow

To be won: three digital sewing patterns of your choice. ¬†At the moment she has three patterns in English. ¬†Should you win you can choose one of these or, if you’re patient, wait until the others are released in English. ¬†Check out all the patterns here.

Compagnie M. Patterns


CompagnieM logo

I’ve worked closely with Marte on some of her patterns. ¬†She’s exacting and prolific (which is even more admirable considering she’s the mother of twin toddlers) and her patterns just keep ¬†geting better and better! ¬†The Mara blouse and Lotta dress are both wardrobe staples in this house.



To be won: three digital sewing patterns of your choice. ¬†Even if you don’t win, you’ll enjoy perusing these beauties.

Merchant and Mills

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Merchant and Mills¬†embodies everything I love and aspire to be as a home sewist. ¬†I even wrote an entire post on this shop. ¬†If you have a moment (and even if you think you don’t) please read this – it might change your life (or at least your life as a sewist) like it did mine!

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

To be won: one¬†digital sewing pattern of your choice. ¬†I can personally recommend the Factory Dress (in fact, I’m wearing it as I type!) but the others are equally irresistible! ¬†I have the Camber Dress pattern just waiting for the perfect fabric. ¬†Have a look at all the patterns available.



A trip to London is never complete without a visit to Ray-Stitch. ¬†They stock all the usual on-trend quilting cottons as well as a wide yet artfully curated range of home deco weight, Liberty lawn, jersey and corduroy, buttons, patterns and tools. ¬†Oh, and there’s a gorgeous little caf√© too! ¬†A little slice of heaven if you ask me!

Green Bee Pattern's Mug Rug // Behind the Hedgerow

TUTORIAL - Liberty Baby Comfort Blanket // Behind the Hedgerow

To be won:  One bundle of worn and washed Liberty fabrics.  Talk about heaven, these little bundles offer 35 pieces of Liberty fabric.  Yes they are small but they are perfect for adding just a touch Liberty to a project Рand with Liberty, a little goes a long way!

de Stoffenkamer

A gem of a fabric shop alongside a picturesque canal in Gent.  When I visit this shop I head straight for the jersey, ribbing and the most gorgeous display of piping!  They stock a huge range of delicious colours including some fabulous metallic silver and gold, polka dots and jersey!  Adding piping to projects can really transform them and make them your own.

Oliver+s bucket hats // Behind the Hedgerow

You can see more of this piping in action here, here and here.

Piping - de Stoffenkamer, Gent, Belgium

To be won: 10 meters of assorted piping (including some metallic).


So what are you waiting for?! ¬†Are you ready to enter? ¬†The giveaway is open to ALL readers – everything can be sent internationally!! ¬†I wish you all luck. ¬†The giveaway will close next Thursday 12th June and 13.00 CET and I’ll announce the winners on Friday 13th (which won’t be unlucky for three of you!!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again for all your support and encouragement over the past 15 months. ¬†Long live home sewing…and photographing…and writing…and sharing!

Laura x

Selfish Sewing Week – a wardrobe essential

Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations // Behind the HedgerowI’ve stitched up a something fun for spring that I’m sharing over at imagine gnats for Selfish Sewing Week. ¬†It’s something we all need in our wardrobes and I honestly have worn it every day since making it!

Also, there’s a GIVEAWAY! ¬†A BIG GIVEAWAY!! ¬†This is a good one, folks! ¬†Head over to imagine gnats for your chance to win one of these amazing indie patterns. ¬†Can you guess which one I’ve sewn here?

Rose Hip Tights from Seamster Patterns
The Perri Pullover from CaliFaye
Mia Tunic from Tessuti
Archer from Grainline
Lane Raglan from Hey June Handmade
Cooper from Colette Patterns
Lola from Victory Patterns
The Penny Pinafore from KitschyCoo
The Riding Peplum from April Rhodes
Julia Cardigan from Mouse House Creations
Ballet Dress from Dixie DIY
Out and About Dress from Sew Caroline
Sally Shirtdress from Serendipity Studio
Roza Blouse from Kate & Rose
Swoon from Thimble Blossoms
The Necessary Clutch from Emmaline Bags
Betty Bowler from Swoon Patterns
Olivia from Chris W Designs
The Bess Top from Imagine Gnats
Cozy Morning Mitts from Nerdy Gerdy
Bonny from Tin Can Knits
Thicket from Brooklyn Tweed
Waterfall Blouse from Make It Perfect
Thurlow Trousers from Sewaholic
Emery Dress from Christine Haynes
Belladone Dress from Deer and Doe

Also, a group of featured stitchers will be sewing up these patterns all week to give you more inspiration!  Make sure you check them out.

milkybeer · Behind the Hedgerow · jm_subrn · Sew What, Sherlock?
Lladybird · sew Amy sew · the Brodrick Design Studio · adirondack inspired
The Crooked Banana · Sewbon · Idle Fancy · girl like the sea
oona aloona · Lauren Dahl · verypurpleperson · la inglesita
Groovybaby…and mama · Buzzmills · La Pantigana · sew a straight line
Dandelion Drift · JustMeJay · B Yazoo · Disaster In A Dress
the quirky peach · Fishsticks Designs · Seamstress Erin · a happy stitch
Casa Crafty · Sarah Jane Sews · YoSaMi · Call Ajaire · miss matatabi

So, what have you been making for Selfish Sewing Week? ¬†Don’t forget to share on Kollabora¬†(you can read more on how to do that here) and/or use the hashtag #ssw #selfishsewing or #selfishsewingweek on Instagram or Twitter.

Hope you all have a few new additions to your wardrobes by the end of the week!

Laura x

Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations // Behind the Hedgerow

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2 – Hanami Dress

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

Kid’s Clothes Week is rapidly coming to an end and I’m afraid I haven’t done nearly as much sewing as I anticipated. ¬†The kids have been off school, the sun’s been shining, there’s been al fresco dining, walks in the woods, visits to local attractions and even a day trip to Paris, but, alas, not enough sewing.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

I did manage, however, to get this dress done for Perfect Pattern Parcel (read more about PPP here) – and I am so glad I did! ¬†The pattern, the fabric, the whole process in fact just confirmed my love of sewing. ¬†I sew a lot – some projects tick along as you would expect, some are unmitigated disasters, and others go above and beyond your expectations. ¬†I’m so pleased to say that sewing this dress was firmly in the final category.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

The details

This is the Hanami Dress and Top by An of Straightgrain Patterns. ¬†It’s a great versatile pattern that includes options for the neckline (collar or no collar), sleeves (flutter or tulip), length (top or dress), and back closure (zip or cross-over). ¬†With so many options you could easily make this multiple times and it would still look fresh. ¬†Also, it comes in a huge range of sizes from 12 months to 10 years.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

What I did

To choose which size to make for this dress you have to do things a bit differently. ¬†Instead of comparing your kid’s measurements to a chart, you only have the finished garment measurements to work with. ¬†This stumped me at first (I even emailed An asking for my ‘missing’ chart) but now that I get it I think it’s a great idea. ¬†Basically, An wants you to decide how fitted or loose the bodice should be so you simply compare the measurements of an existing dress to the chart and make your decision that way. ¬†Perhaps not ideal if you’re making this for a gift but I do think they pretty much run to what you would expect – I made a size 6 for my 6-year-old and the fit is perfect.

The options I chose for my version were:

  • Dress length – I did hem it slightly more than instructed as I liked the shorter look and can always let it down as she grows.
  • Cross-over back – I’d never tried this cross-over technique so decided to give this a go (plus I love the pop of neon with the button holes).
  • No collar – as much as I LOVE the collar, it’s not possible to combine it with the cross-over back so I left it off. ¬†It’s going on next time though!
  • Tulip sleeves – just because they are lovely!

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

The one only other changes I made were adding neon piping to the sleeve edges and waistline. ¬†It’s no secret that I’m nutty for piping and this neon version has had me fall in love all over again. ¬†I know I’m a little late to this fluoro¬†party (and, tbh, I thought I wouldn’t join it at all) but I think this flash of colour is just perfect! ¬†In my head I’m adding it to every new project! ¬†Do you ever do that – learn a new technique or find a new notion that you just can’t stop using?? ¬†I was the same with fabric covered buttons a couple of years ago…and bias-binding before that. ¬†What’s your go-to notion to personalise your sewing? ¬†Sorry, I’m getting off track…

The fabric is from Ditto – a treasure trove of a fabric shop that I stumbled upon in Brighton, UK a few months ago. ¬†It’s one of those shops where the beauty doesn’t necessarily jump out at you (like it does at Ray Stitch, ¬†The Village Haberdashery or de Stoffenkamer, for example) – you have to shuffle and re-arrange a bit to find a gem…but when you do it really is like finding treasure. ¬†This fabric was in a tiny room upstairs – rolled up and almost out of sight. ¬†My only regret is that I didn’t buy more!

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

The piping I found locally in Belgium – at the chain store Veritas that sells everything from sewing supplies, to tights and underpants, to handbags, hair clips, and knitting supplies. ¬†It’s a strange concept for a shop but ask any Belgian sewist – you also couldn’t live without it for the essentials.

The construction

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this pattern. ¬†With so many options available there is a tiny pain barrier to get through in terms of choosing which bit of the pattern and instructions are relevant to your project but, hey!, that’s a small price to pay for all this versatility. ¬†With its combination of photos and illustrations the whole process went smoothly and, dare I say it?, effortlessly. ¬†My only added tip or trick would be to use dental floss when gathering the sleeves and waistline for more glide (but pay attention to An’s tips for getting that waistband gathered evenly). ¬†Check out this photo for a visual of how dental floss helps with gathering.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow


This is one pattern that I’m sure to make again! ¬†What about you – have you tried the Hanami yet? ¬†Have you purchased your Perfect Pattern Parcel so you can get this as well as four other fabulous girl patterns?? ¬†I’ve gotta try those Hosh Pants. ¬†With Kid’s Clothes Week and Perfect Pattern Parcel in full swing – the inspiration is almost overwhelming! ¬†Once we all come down from that, who’s gonna join me in Selfish Sewing Week and Me Made May?? ¬†I just wish there were more hours in the day…

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow



Mr Green Jeans – KCW Fall 2013

Banyan trousers photo collage

If you are reading this and are interested in sewing for children then I’m sure you’re already aware that we’re in the throes of Kids Clothes Week Fall 2013…day two to be precise. ¬†I’m working away on many projects and trying to squeeze them all into this one little week. ¬†I find that the sewing is manageable – it’s the photographing, editing and writing that sucks away all the time.

green banyan trousers - title image

So, in the interest of high sewing productivity, this post will be short and sweet.

green banyan trousers - back view

green banyan trousers - side view

These jeans are made from Figgy’s Banyan Pants pattern. ¬†I’ve made the shorts version once before – you can read the full pattern review here¬†(and I’d forgotten until now just how detailed it is!). ¬†Just for a point of comparison and to give you an idea of the different direction this pattern can go in, here is a pic of the shorts version.

banyan shorts - t-shirt and shoesThe construction of the trousers was identical to the shorts so there’s not much to add to the pattern review. ¬†Here are the particulars of this version.

green banyan trousers - hanging

  • Size. ¬†My son is almost 9 and very, very skinny…like green bean skinny…I guess these trousers are rather appropriate! ¬†I made a size 6/7 for the trousers but extended it to the length of size 8/9. ¬†This worked well for trousers (so glad I didn’t go any bigger) but they’re still a teeny tiny bit too short. ¬†He can wear them for now but I’m going to have a think about how to lengthen them – with the cuff at the bottom it’s not as simple as just letting down the hem.

green banyan trousers - cuff detail

  • The fabric is a green denim that I bought from Jo-Ann’s while I was in the States this past summer. ¬†This was my first time sewing jeans. ¬†I used a jeans sewing needle (that sucker is thick!) and, for the most part, it was no more difficult than quilting-weight cotton.

green banyan trousers - stylin'

  • Since discovering flocking (read all about it here), I want to add it to everything. ¬†George liked the idea of a lightning bolt so we worked out that part together and added it to the back pocket. ¬†It’s very hard not to get carried away with it!

green banyan trousers - back pocket detail

  • And finally, I added petrol blue piping to the slanted pocket seam. ¬†I think it’s subtle enough for a 8-year-old boy to get away with and still satisfies my craving for adding details.

green banyan trousers - piping pocket detail

I’m happy to tick this off my sewing list (it’s been on there since buying the fabric in July). ¬†George is happy with his new pair of trousers and, if we’re lucky, he can wear them a full week before he grows another three inches and they sit in my ‘repairs and alterations’ box patiently waiting for some length to be added!

green banyan trousers - sitting

Onwards and upwards!  Next up РOliver +s Book Report Dress and Go To Patterns Leggings.

Hope you’re all enjoying this week of frantic kid sewing – all the photos in the KCW Flickr pool and on the KCW blog and beyond inspiring – I literally have to drag myself away from the computer and into my sewing room!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

GIVEAWAY – Mara Blouse Pattern (and Project Run and Play Signature Style)

mara blouse and jacob trousers - title image

This is one jam-packed post!! ¬†We’ve got Liberty print, we’ve got a pattern tour, we’ve got signature style, and, best of all, we’ve got a GIVEAWAY! ¬†Way-hey!

Mara Blouse

mara blouse and jacob trousers - top wearing

Before we get started with the pattern itself, I just want to mention the fabric. ¬†Yes it’s Liberty, yes it’s Tana Lawn and yes, it’s covered with quirky, cool animals (complete with giraffes wearing sneakers/trainers and elephants carrying satchels). ¬†This is quite possibly my most perfect fabric ever! ¬†It even has okapis on it! ¬†Who can resist an okapi?! (Did you know an okapi can wash its eyelids and ears with its unbelievably long tongue?!).

mara blouse and jacob trousers - top hanging

The pattern that had the honour of being used with this fabric is the newly-released Mara blouse pattern from Compagnie M.  This is the second day of an awesome pattern tour for this top and it promises to be full of innovation and inspiration (you can check out the full line-up here).  Marte has designed a beautiful and functional top which, I think, suits Liberty fabric beautifully.  I chose to make a top with long sleeves but you could also choose Рflutter sleeves, cap sleeves or even a dress or tunic version (like Marta from doguincho posted yesterday).

With lots going on at the moment (and yesterday being my son’s fourth birthday) I almost didn’t join the pattern tour. ¬†But, boy, would have I been kicking myself if I missed out on this! ¬†Here’s what I love about the Mara blouse:

  • This is one of those patterns that not only guides you smoothly along the path to a well-sewn and beautiful garment (it even goes so far as to give you the exact measurements for perfectly spaced buttonholes), but also teaches you a few things along the way that will help increase your general sewing knowledge. ¬†In particular, this pattern teaches you how to make your own bias, apply piping, and finish a long sleeve with a beautiful elastic cuff. ¬†And, as if this weren’t enough, Marte has also posted some free tutorials to help with each aspect of this top.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - sleeve cuff

  • With so many stylistic options available this top is suitable for all seasons and can be changed in so many ways that it will always seem fresh. ¬†In other words, you can sew this for siblings or close friends without them thinking they’re wearing the exact same thing. ¬†Next time I want to try a contrast fabric for the yoke.
  • I’m in love small pleats/pin tucks under the yoke – a subtle detail that adds sophistication (just sew slowly when attaching the yoke to the this section – with the sharp curve and the pleats it’s easy to misalign the yoke and end up with the whole piece off-centre). ¬†(And of course I love the piping – surely that goes without saying?!).

mara blouse and jacob trousers - yoke detail

  • This pattern ranges in size from 1 – 10 years. ¬†I really appreciate this! ¬†I see a fair few of these being made for Chritmas gifts!

As home sewists we are all spoilt for choice with so many amazing indie patterns available at the moment. ¬†The bar keeps rising higher and higher in terms of how much we get from a pattern (fully photographed instructions, multiple style options, corresponding online information, step-by-step sewalongs, instantly downloadable, etc). ¬†The Mara Blouse is competing at such a high level and really does deliver on every point. ¬†I know Marte has worked her socks off to get this pattern right. ¬†If you’re looking for something stylish, achievable (although not completely simple), and easily personalised for your daughter, grand-daughter, niece or friend then I highly recommend giving this pattern a go.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - top with bunting

Signature Style

mara blouse and jacob trousers - trousers

Project Run and Play is in its final week (how did that happen?!). ¬†I participated in week one (pattern remix) but weeks two and three managed to slip by without my attention (I blame Selfish Sewing Week for getting in the way!). ¬†Anyway, I’m back for the final week – signature style.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - on knees

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know my weakness for piping, Liberty print fabrics and Belgian pattern designers. ¬†I’m pleased to say that this signature style outfit has all three…twice!

  • Piping has been added to the Mara blouse – subtle green rope-like piping around the yoke of the top – and also to the pockets of the trousers.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - button and pockets

  • In addition to the scrumptious Liberty zoo print, I also added some Liberty scraps to the inside of the pockets.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - inside pocket

  • And, in addition to the fabulous Mara blouse, the trousers are a pattern from Sharon at Zonen 09 (you can see another version and read the full pattern review¬†here). ¬†The fabric is a wool blend (I’m guessing here – I bought the fabric years ago in Bristol). ¬†It has a bit of stretch in it which I didn’t realise until I started sewing. ¬†I even fully lined them – a new first for me.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - mid-view

This outfit is perfect for my daughter because, as much as I love all her sweet dresses, I think it’s just as important to have wardrobe basics that will see her through winter in comfort and style. ¬†I just wish both patterns were made for adults as well!


If my waxing lyrical about the Mara Blouse ¬†isn’t enough to convince you to try it, how about a giveaway?!

back view

If you’d like a chance to win an instantly downloadable PDF pattern of the Mara Blouse, leave a comment below telling me the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Belgium!! ¬†Let’s celebrate the best of Belgium! ¬†(And if you indeed are Belgian then perhaps you could tell me one great/cool/little-known fact about your country or city). ¬†The competition ends at midnight (GMT +1) on Saturday 5th October. ¬†I’ll choose a winner at random.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - top with elephantmara blouse and jacob trousers - mid view with buntingThanks for reading and good luck with the competition – I wish I could give a copy to each of you!

Laura x

Tova Dress (Selfish Sewing Week – day 3)

Tova dress - full front with scarf

Today’s selfish sewing contribution is the ever-popular (and rightly so!) Tova dress (and top) by Wiksten.

Tova dress - hanging

This is the second time I’ve made this dress (the first was a gift) and I have this fabric ear-marked for a top (cutting the yoke fabric on the bias).

Tova top fabricThis is not a new pattern – more like one of the indie pattern staples. ¬†It’s been very popular with sewing bloggers and if you do a little searching you’ll find endless inspiration – try here, here and here for a start. ¬†Or just hop over to the Wiksten Flickr group and lose yourself in all the beauties there!

Most recently I came across this dress version made by Emily at Seymour which I love for three reasons:

  • Well, it’s gorgeous
  • The colour-blocking at the bottom is perfect – it brings the whole dress together (wish I’d thought of that! ūüôā ).
  • Short sleeves. ¬†As Emily explains, 3/4 length sleeves are a nightmare for layering and I couldn’t agree more!

The Pattern

The pattern is well-drafted and well-written. ¬†It’s easy to follow and doesn’t require too much technical knowledge – I’d say it’s a perfect ambitious beginner project. ¬†Just a few things to note:

  • The trickiest part is sewing around the corners of the yoke. ¬†Take your time and be careful here.

selfish sewing sneak peak 2

  • The yoke falls open at the front, revealing the inside of your fabric so choose wisely (my fabric is the same on both sides – a lucky break for me!).

Tova dress - yoke detail (wearing)

  • I added piping around the yoke (Liberty print).
  • I added in-seam pockets in a contrasting green fabric (picking out the green in the piping). ¬†I like them but next time might go for patch pockets for a different effect. (Sorry, didn’t get photos of these).

Tova dress - full front

This is a relatively quick and very satisfying sew. ¬†It’s perfect for Autumn weather – a dress to wear while marching through fallen leaves then to curl up with a bowl of warm soup!

Tova dress - cozy with scarf

I hope I can find time soon to make the top (once Selfish Sewing Week ends I think I’m duty-bound to do some sewing¬†other than just for me!).

Have any of you made a Tova?  Is it a wardrobe staple for you as well?

Tomorrow I’m guest posting at Imagine Gnats for Selfish Sewing Week! ¬†I’m excited (and a bit nervous!). ¬†I hope you’ll check back in and have a read.

Happy Wednesday and happy sewing!

Laura x