Tag Archives: wool

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

Oliver+s Forest Path Cape – KCW Winter 2014 – Day Five

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

Day five?!  Where did day four go??  This week of Kid’s Clothes Week, winter 2014 is speeding along like no other.  I write to you this evening from a very cosy B&B in the heart of the Kent countryside.  I’m with a very snuggly 6-year-old on a quest to find our perfect home.  Today’s viewing of a 15th century Grade I listed farmhouse wasn’t bad!

Amongst the last-minute upheaval, sewing still seems to be getting done!  Today’s project is Oliver+s’s Forest Path Cape.  Wow folks – this one is a WINNER!

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

What did you make?

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

The Oliver+s Forest Path Cape is a digital pattern for downloading and printing at home.  I usually despise this process but this one has minimal pieces and, since it’s for a kid, it’s not too large.  The pattern is rated ‘one scissor’ by Oliver+s and , let me tell you, I can’t remember the last time I had such an easy pattern make such a big impact.

Size and fabric?

I made a size 6 which is perfect.

The fabric is one of the best parts of this make.  The outside is the softest, most touchable wool/polyester mix from Minerva Crafts.  This fabric would make a fantastic winter coat and, with the chevrons, the whole look is interesting yet remains neutral.  Next year I’d like to push myself and try to make this coat or this one.

Although the pattern recommends a lovely, soft, slippery lining fabric, I went for a fuzzy neutral flannel for added warmth.  This undoubtedly makes the whole sewing process easier as well since both fabrics were happy to stay put while sewing.

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

Did you enjoy making it?

This project really is a breeze!  If you’re new to sewing and just figuring it all out then please start your sewing adventure here!  This pattern will not disappoint!  Plus, I feel that by sewing outerwear you get more bang for your buck – it’s on show more and therefore there are more opportunities for everyone to see and admire your awesome sewing skillz.

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

Favourite part of finished garment?

The overall shape of the cape is perfect – easy to throw on but with enough shaping that I think of it more as a cardigan than a cape.  Also, you can take this pattern in so many directions with your choice of fabric and buttons (I had to restrain myself to keep it neutral).

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

The part that made you swear the most?

No swearing took place – just some general frustration with my machine and buttonholes.  When I sew buttonholes with different threads on top and bottom they always end up looking like this – with the dark coloured thread showing through to the light side.

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

I’m wondering if this just a fact of sewing buttonholes or a quirk of my particular machine.  Thoughts??

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

Music you were listening to?

Have you guys heard of Cats on Trees – a French musical duo from Toulouse??  I’m loving their song Sirens Call.

Sum them up in 10 words or less?

Easy to sew, easy to wear (just a bit of a pain when layering under a coat).  Sorry – more than 10 words…

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

Would you make them again?  What would you do differently?

I will surely be making this pattern again.  The best part about it is that there’s an adult version of the pattern available as well!  And, guess what?  I have enough of the same fabric to make one for myself.  Matching mother and daughter here we come!

Happy Friday and, of course, happy sewing!

Thanks for reading.

Laura x

Oliver+s cape // Behind the Hedgerow

Minerva Craft Blogger Network – Vogue 8794, Ladies Jacket

vogue 8794 - collar up

When Minerva Crafts contacted me to be part of their Blogger Network I had one of those moments of looking over my shoulder, sure they were speaking to the blogger behind me.  Their goal with this network is to break down some people’s sewing barriers and inhibitions by having bloggers make clothing using their patterns and fabrics to show how it can all come together in a much more stylish, inspiring and practical way than the pattern envelopes usually depict.  It’s a great idea and I love seeing what everyone makes!

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

When given this challenge I felt a little bit like Clyde in the children’s book Cowardly Clyde.  Do you know the one?  Basically, Clyde was a warhorse – he was meant to be fearless and strong, but, in reality, was a coward.  He decided that even if he’s wasn’t half brave enough to do something then he would pretend to be brave.  So, here I am pretending to be ‘that’ blogger who can help breakdown some sewing barriers.

When given free rein to choose anything from Minerva’s vast (and I mean VAST) selection of patterns and fabrics I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of choice and needed a strategy to help me narrow things down.  The things I knew I wanted:  a coat or jacket made in a wool that felt very English (I will soon be living ‘behind the hedgerow’ in England, don’t cha know?!).  The fabric came first – a poly/wool blend with an olive-y, tweed-y feel.  Now to match that to a pattern.  Originally I was thinking of blazer-style jacket but  when I saw this pattern, Vogue 8794, the collar sealed the deal.  It can behave by lying down nicely out of the way or it can stand up, wrap itself around you and function almost as a scarf.

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

Now, as you might imagine, I did spent an awful lot of time trying to conquer the sewing of this jacket so, as a consequence I have quite a bit to say!  If you’re considering making your first outerwear garment then I hope this will help.  I’ve added lots of headings and bold throughout so feel free to skim and take away what you need.  Oh, and one other treat, you get to see pictures that are NOT taken in front of my white garden wall!  We actually made it to the forest for some photos.

The Details

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

Pattern:  Vogue 8794, Ladies Jacket from the Very Easy Vogue Patterns range.  “Loose-fitting, unlined jacket [with] collar, extended shoulders, front bands, flaps, pockets, back pleat, stitched hems and snap closing, topstitching.”  I made view A (the yellow one in the pic above).

Exterior Fabric:  Ex Barbour Olive Green Check Wool/Poly Suiting Designer Dress Fabric.  “Gorgeous quality Ex Barbour 78% Wool, 22% Polyester blend suiting fabric. Beautifully soft, with a lovely drape and body. Suiting fabrics are perfect for jackets, trousers, skirts, waistcoats and more!”.

Lining Fabric: 60″ Wide Anti-Static Dress Lining Fabric, Ginger.

Size: 14.  This is a nice, generous fit (easy to wear with layers underneath).

vogue 8794  Behind the HedgerowWhat I did (in brief)

  • Followed instructions for overall construction but,
  • Omitted patch pockets
  • Added two single welt pockets
  • Added a lining
  • Added a fabric tab for hanging

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

General tips for Vogue 8794

  • It is true that non-indie patterns don’t teach you as they go but, having said that, this jacket is surprisingly easy to sew if you follow the instructions as stated.  There are no complicated closures (zips, buttonholes, etc), the fit is quite forgiving, and the instructions are clear.
  • Choose your fabric carefully.  If you’re not lining your jacket then you want to make sure your fabric has enough structure to stand up as a jacket and not become all floppy.  Also, consider the pattern on the fabric.  About half way through this make I started wondering if I should try to match the plaid and/or cut some sections on the bias for added interest.  I decided against both (time restraints more than anything) but I suppose I could have taken the time to consider all of this from the start.
  • Take your time to transfer all your markings.  Like all patterns, these markings will save you time in the end.  For this pattern, make sure to transfer your snap placements carefully (and that they don’t rub off – like they did on my muslin version).
  • Give yourself enough time for the hand-stitching.  The downside of no buttonholes to sew or zips to insert is that you have to hand-sew all those snaps in place!  It takes longer than you might think.  Also, it took some time to stitch the collar onto the neckline.  None of it was difficult, just time-consuming.

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

Adding single welt pockets

The first thing to say here is welt pockets are NOT difficult!  I promise, they really aren’t!  What is difficult however is figuring out the correct size and placement for your particular garment.  In other words, if welt pockets are already included in your pattern then more than half the battle is done!  Yes, there is that fear factor of cutting a big slash in your fabric for your pocket opening but once you get past that it’s just some straight stitches.

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

I wrote a whole post on pockets (including welt pockets) and I still stand by what I said there.  I have, however, discovered even more information.  The most useful tutorial I found for the actual sewing of the pocket was from Kristin’s (Skirt as Top) guest post for the Oliver+s blog.  Her words and photos do an excellent job of explaining each step.  I managed to do pockets on both the muslin and real version without a single mistake!  *big sigh of relief*

The only change I made from her tutorial was the shape of the pocket bag.  Since my pockets are at an angle I didn’t want rectangular pocket bags but more oval, hand-shaped bags.  Does that makes sense?  As a reader suggested I simply traced generously around my hand and used that as the basis for a template.

Adding a lining to a jacket

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

Requisite flasher photo

I took lots of advice on this part of the project and did lots of reading/watching online.  As with most things, there are many (sometimes conflicting) versions of how this should be done.  Here is what worked for me.

I used the original pattern pieces to cut sleeves, front and back (taping the yokes on to the front and back pieces before cutting out).  I then constructed them by sewing shoulder seams, attaching sleeves and sewing sleeve and side seams.  This meant I had a kind of jacket made out of lining fabric.

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

The most difficult part was figuring out the best way to attach it to the jacket.  After much consideration, I sewed the front raw edges of the lining to the raw edge of the front band of the jacket, right-sides together, before turning it right-side out and top-stitching the front band in place.  I then basted the lining neckline to the neckline of the jacket.  This raw seam was enclosed by the hand-stitching of the collar.

For the bottom and sleeve hems I simply folded the hem of the lining of the wrong side and slipped it into the fold of the hem before stitching it in place (making sure to leave a little bit of extra length on the lining for ease).

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

Sounds ok, right?  Well, I did make one glaring error.   When I cut the back lining piece I omitted the back pleat because I decided I didn’t need any more ease (based on the fit of the muslin).  Buuuuut, by omitting that pleat it meant that I didn’t have enough lining fabric along the bottom to do the hemming.  I swore and shouted for a while and then started thinking about a solution.

In the end I had to keep the back pleat closed (I top-stitched it down so it looked slightly less weird) and then just attached the lining as stated above.  I know this is less-than-ideal and it does change the look of the back but luckily the sizing was generous enough that it didn’t impact the overall fit.  I *may* even prefer it less flared (or perhaps I’m just convincing myself!).

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

Lesson learned – mistakes don’t have to be disasters that ruin a project completely.

Top tips for making a jacket

  • Make a muslin.  Yes, you’ve probably read that about all sewing patterns but I think that for something like a coat or jacket you will be glad you did.  Jackets and coats get a lot more wear than a top and any small imperfection in construction or fit can drive your crazy after a while.  I made mine a wearable muslin so now I kinda have two of the same jacket!  Anyone want a jacket for Christmas?!
  • Choose a simple pattern to start with.  I got lucky with this one –  I didn’t know it was part of the Very Easy Vogue range until it arrived.
  • Don’t get too hung up on how the jacket looks on the pattern envelope.  Fabric choice and personal touches make all the difference to the finished look.  I find it much more useful to look at the technical drawings of the pattern.

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

Summary and next time

The sewing of this jacket has been a journey and I honestly think my sewing has improved because of it.  Yes, it’s taken much longer than I anticipated (especially with all that Christmas sewing just staring up at me waiting patiently for my attention) but I am so pleased I tackled in the considered way that I did.

I already have my next version planned!  I want to make a navy boiled wool jacket, going down a size for a more streamlined look.  This photo doesn’t do it justice but I think this would be divine!  (And to read more about the virtues of a boiled wool jacket then check out this post at Flossie Teacakes).

This time I would not line it but enclose the seam allowances with Liberty print bias binding.  Something like this.

I think this would be the perfect Christmas present to myself, if I could just find the time!

I hope this post has inspired you to try your hand at making some outerwear or has at least encouraged you to stretch yourself and try something new.  If you like exactly what you see here then you can buy the whole kit – pattern, fabrics, snaps, thread – over at Minerva Crafts.  And, if you do take the plunge, please don’t be shy about coming forward with any questions or comments as you sew.  I’d love to help!

This particular sewing journey of mine is over and, again, like Clyde, I feel more able and confident at the end.  I may not have had a part in the demise of a monstrous ogre but by getting on and pretending to be an established, capable sewing blogger, I feel that I am now on the road to achieving it.

vogue 8794  Behind the Hedgerow

Had to squeeze in one picture of the wall!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

A couple of fun announcements and some technical questions


Good morning and Happy Monday!  I didn’t intend to be so quiet on the blogging front last week but a combination of holidays, house guests and head lice effectively pulled me away from my sewing machine, camera and laptop.  But now it’s a new week, I feel much more on top of things and I’m raring to go!

Before I get on to sharing lots of selfish (yay!!) sewing makes, I just wanted to let you know about two other places you can find me this month.

First is an announcement that I’m particularly excited about because it’s pushing me waaaaay outside my comfort zone – a journey that is always in equal parts anxiety-provoking and rewarding.

I’ve been asked to join the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network (with the likes of sewing/blogging superstars Anna from ::paunnet and Rachel from House of Pinheiro).  Once a month for three months I will be sharing something I’ve made using patterns and supplies from the outstanding selection at Minerva Crafts.

Why is this pushing me outside my comfort zone?  Well, I still consider myself a novice sewist.  Like many of us, I’ve learned what I know mostly through the internet and, I must admit, I’m an indie pattern junkie!  I rely on the patterns of the likes of Megan Nielsen, Jamie Christina, Tasia from Sewaholic, and Liesl from Oliver+s to not only ensure that I have a wearable garment at the end but also to hold my hand and teach me along the way.  Aside from a couple of Simplicity patterns, I’ve never sewn with Vogue, McCalls, Butterick or Burda.

So, with the Minerva Blogger Network I’ve chosen patterns from the big companies and I’m using fabrics that are totally new to me.  So, what ever could go wrong?!

I hope you’ll follow my journey through this learning process and, with any luck, I’ll come out unscathed, I’ll have some new clothes, and I may even be able to pass on a tip or trick or two that I learn along the way.

My first item will be posted next week and, to whet your appetite, here’s what I’m up to:

It’s Vogue 8794 Ladies Jacket (I’m still trying to see beyond unstylish pattern envelope covers)

and I’m making it out of some gorgeous Barbour Olive Green Poly/Wool blend.

My vision and inspiration is to make a jacket that I can wear traipsing around the English countryside looking stylish, comfortable and warm…think wellies and a chunky knitted scarf.  The reality is that I may end up looking like an old man more at home smoking a pipe in front of a fire.  Only time will tell!  Either way, I hope to learn something and to pass that on in any way I can.

I could even attempt a matching hat…

…ok, maybe not.

If I do manage to pull it out of the bag and it’s a success, you can actually go straight to the Minerva Crafts website and buy a kit for this make – it will include the pattern, fabric and all notions you will need to make your own!  Then we should all meet up for a lovely country walk!

Two technical issues with this sew that some of you may be able to help me with:

  • I want to add single welt pockets (instead of the patch pockets).  I have done this before but this time I want to have the pockets at an angle so my hands will slide in easily.  My question is – how do I construct the pocket bag so that it hangs nicely on the inside?  I want them to look something like this from the outside:

  • I also want to add a lining (which isn’t included in the instructions).  Any tips on how to attach it to the coat?

 

My second announcement will help to get the holiday spirit going!   Sew, Mama, Sew is hosting its annual Handmade Holidays party over on their blog.  If you haven’t already been checking this out then you need to head over there immediately for lots of holiday sewing inspiration!  Each day for the month of November they are featuring a different blogger who has curated a list of fresh and fun tutorials covering a different theme.  I’ll be sharing my list of on the 26th November so make sure you check it out!  My theme will help those of you who have a long list of people to sew for – it’s all about gifts that can be made for multiple recipients or sewn in ‘batches’ or assembly line style so you’ll be sure it have time to fit in sewing for everyone.  In the meantime, subscribe to their feed, follow them on Bloglovin’ or just remember to check back each day for a new list tutorials and ideas for some fantastic homemade gifts.

OK, writing about all of this, especially the jacket, is kind of freaking me out – I’m still on the muslin version – so I will say farewell for now and try to get some sewing done!

Now that Halloween is over, what is everyone sewing?  Starting to get in the Christmas sewing spirit yet??

Thanks for reading,

Laura x