The Christmas countdown… only 3 weeks to go!

Just a gentle reminder that Christmas is only 3 weeks away.

This, infact, sends me into a flat panic as I have to make and post all my presents to the UK, so my deadline is sooner than most. ¬†So far I have managed to make 3 items which I am super pleased about. ¬†There’s nothing like making sweatshirts for a UK winter in 30 degree heat!

Sweatshirts aren’t exactly what’s needed for our Sydney summer, but if you are looking for a present then a ‘Sewing with Kate’ gift certificate could be the answer. ¬†Has your favourite person¬†always wanted to sew? ¬†Is your partner always looking for the perfect gift for you? A new years resolution perhaps? If so, this could be the perfect gift.

Learn how¬†to use a sewing machine or make your own clothes or even learn some mending techniques. ¬†Sewing¬†is lifelong skill, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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The gift certificate doubles as this cute sewing kit with some cotton, pins, needles and a button, there is also space to write a little message.  It is wrapped in a festive felt envelope and tied together with a sewing charm.  There are lots of colours and charms to choose from.

Just drop me a message through the¬†contact page¬†or¬†Facebook¬†and I will get back to you ‚Äėtout suite‚Äô.

How can you resist it? x

Christmas is only 4 weeks away….

Just a gentle reminder that Christmas is only 4 weeks away. ¬†This, infact, sends me into a flat panic as I have to make and post all my presents to the UK and I have barely started. ¬†Oh well, ‘daughter/sister/aunty/niece of the year’ award goes to me again!

But if (unlike me) you like to get things organised, then a ‘Sewing with Kate’ gift certificate could be the answer. ¬†Has your favourite person¬†always wanted to sew? ¬†Is your partner always looking for the perfect gift for you? A new years resolution perhaps? If so, this could be the perfect gift.

Learn how¬†to use a sewing machine or make your own clothes or even learn some mending techniques. ¬†Sewing¬†is lifelong skill, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

The gift certificate doubles as this cute sewing kit with some cotton, pin and needles and buttons, there is also space to write a little message.  It is wrapped in this festive felt envelope and tied together with a sewing charm.

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Just drop me a message through the contact page¬†or¬†Facebook and I will get back to you ‘tout suite’.

How can you resist it? x

The Henry Dress + a little hack = The Henry Skirt

Back in July I was invited to join the Henry Dress blog tour by the lovely Erin of Brooklyn Pattern Company. It was my first ever tour so I was super excited and made these cute little frocks.

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Not long after I made my¬†first ‘Henry Skirt’ hack. ¬†I wanted to make a gift, I had a few pieces left over, but not enough for a dress, so the idea of the skirt was hatched. My dresses were a hit, but I wasn‚Äôt sure about the skirt.

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My first Henry Skirt hack

Do pattern designers mind when you hack up a pattern that they have spent months working on? Is this politically correct?

I have worked with many creatives over the years in advertising and design so I know that messing with creative can be a tricky business. ¬†But I bit the bullet and sent it to Erin, she hi5‚Äôd me and posted it on her Facebook page. ¬†She loved it, so much it seemed, that she asked me to write a little ‚Äėhow to‚Äô tutorial.

How could I refuse, you know I love all things Henry!

It‚Äôs very easy to do, especially if you love the aesthetic¬†of the dress but don‚Äôt have quite enough fabric or if you are a newbie and are a little nervous about neck facing and setting in sleeves. So, let’s get started…

PREP THE PATTERN:

Prepare the Henry Dress pattern pdf as per instructions.  We will be using pieces 1 Р6 only.  I am cutting a size 4, but this hack works with all sizes.

The best way to draw up the skirt hack, I find, is to grab a coloured marker (I used red) and mark up the skirt onto your dress pattern. Before I do this, I want you to know that I experiment as I have no conventional training.  Newbies will thank me as I speak their language, experienced sewers will probably raise the odd eyebrow.

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Start with the SIDE FRONT (2) measure 1″ up from the centre of the pocket placement dot (size 4 dot in my case). Square across. This gives you the skirt waistline.
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Mark out the remaining part of the piece, (the coloured pen really helps). Now, trace off the SIDE FRONT SKIRT pattern piece.
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Flip your SIDE FRONT SKIRT pattern tracing onto the FRONT (1), match the single notch and mark off the waistline.
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Mark out the remaining part of the piece and trace off.
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Place the traced off SIDE FRONT SKIRT pattern piece onto the SIDE BACK (4), matching the single notch (left side) and marking off the waistline.
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Mark out the remaining part of the piece and trace off.
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Flip your SIDE BACK SKIRT pattern tracing onto the BACK (3), match the double notches and mark off the waistline.
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Mark out the remaining part of the piece and trace off.

Trace off the POCKET (6) and POCKET FACING (5), no alterations are needed here.

Finally, you’ll need to draw a WAISTBAND pattern piece, we will be inserting a 1 inch elastic into the casing, but of course you can use any size elastic, just change the formula to fit! Measure the waistline (drawn in red) on pieces 1, 2, 3 & 4, the measurements are marked in green (based on size 4).

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Photo top left¬†– FRONT = 2¬Ĺ inches x 2 (note: it’s on the fold!) = 5 inches, then remove seam allowance (¬Ĺ an inch off the 2¬†edges) = 4 inches

Photo top right¬†– BACK = 2¬Ĺ inches x 2 (note: it’s on the fold!) = 5 inches, then remove seam allowance (¬Ĺ an inch off the 2¬†edges) = 4 inches

Photo bottom¬†left –¬†SIDE FRONT = 5¬Ĺ inches x 2 (note: left & right sides!) = 11 inches, then remove seam allowance (¬Ĺ an inch off the 4 edges) =¬†9 inches

Photo bottom¬†right –¬†SIDE BACK =¬†¬†5¬Ĺ inches x 2 (note: left & right sides!) =¬†11 inches, then remove seam allowance (¬Ĺ an inch off the 4 edges) =¬†9 inches

Add them all together – 4+4+9+9 =¬†26 inches, now add back in a¬†¬Ĺ inch¬†seam allowance on each edge (there are 2 edges)¬†= 27 inches

The waistband depth is 3 inches¬†(1 inch for each side of the casing¬†and an extra ¬Ĺ inch on each edge (there are 2 edges) for seam allowance)

The pattern piece should be 27 inches x 3 inches.  Draw this out to create a pattern piece.

FABRIC

This pattern works really well with pretty much any cotton fabric. I have made the skirt in both heavy and light fabrics and they both work, but I do think a bit of weight helps the drape. So for the main body of the skirt, I am using an old faithful!  This is a medium weight cotton drill in sea green, found in the charity shop for a dollar a metre.  This skirt will be my fourth and final project from this fabric, it has worked as a pair of adventure pants,  a gilet and a pair of parsley pants!

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I am more excited about the pocket fabric though. This is a bag I have had for a while, a little retro piece gifted to me from my sister. ¬†While it’s cute, it’s very small and not user friendly¬†but as pockets it will work a treat!

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It’s made of sturdy stuff, it’s a heavy cotton drill, in the most beautiful shades of green and blue.¬†I have already patched my jeans in it.

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I digress….

CONSTRUCTION:

Get your Henry Dress instructions at the ready! Lay out your pattern pieces as per page 2, pin & cut.

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BACK (page 5) Рwith right sides together pin one SIDE BACK SKIRT piece to the centre BACK, matching the double notches. Stitch & serge. Repeat for the second side. That’s the back piece finished!
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POCKETS (page 6 & 7) Рfollow the instructions for construction of the pockets and attachment to the SIDE FRONT SKIRT. FRONT (page 7) Рwith right sides together pin one SIDE FRONT SKIRT piece to FRONT centre, matching notches. Stitch & serge. Repeat for the second side. That’s the front finished!
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With right sides together, pin the FRONT & BACK together at the side seams. Stitch & serge.
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WAISTBAND – with right sides together pin the short edge with a 1/2 inch seam & sew, press seam open.
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Press a ¬Ĺ inch seam on the bottom edge of the waistband. With right sides together attach the un-pressed edge to the skirt waistline. I always place the waistband seam in the centre back but you decide what looks best! Stitch in place.
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That’s the waistband attached!
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Fold over the waistband casing and pin into place, leave a gap to thread the elastic at the back. Stitch the waistband in place.
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Turn it to the right side and then stitch on the skirt, just under the waistband, to catch the back of the casing this is known as ‘stitch in the ditch’. ¬†There is a really good YouTube¬†clip on how to do this if you are unfamiliar with the term (see below).
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Thread the elastic and hand or machine stitch the gap closed. (Yes, that is blue thread, I ran out of green at the eleventh hour!) Use a non-roll elastic, something quite sturdy, if you are using a heavy cotton fabric.
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HEM (page 9) – follow the instructions to finish your skirt. I used a green cotton on the main skirt and cream on the pockets. I just like the more subtle colour on the pocket fabric. Hand stitching the hem would also work really well here.
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DONE!
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Thanks Roxy for modelling my skirt!

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THERE’S MORE….

As Erin at Brooklyn Pattern Company is a complete gem, she is offering a Henry Dress pattern to one of my lucky readers.  So, not only could you own my favourite girls dress pattern, you can also make the skirt hack too. Eeek!

All you have¬†to do is tell me¬†“Who’s your favourite Henry?” in the comments section below and Erin will choose a winner on 1st December.

Good luck!

Craft for a chilly day!

Hard to believe for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, but it’s FREEZING here! ¬†Well not exactly freezing, but as most of us don’t have decent heating and insulation, it feels baltic on a chilly day. ¬† It’s holiday time here and the boys requested a day at home (wonder how long that will last) we are at 11am and so far Archie and I are rocking’ some craft. I thought I should share this one, it’s super easy and a great way of getting a non-sewer into sewing.

I saw this particularly craft demonstrated on the MyRapid¬†TV, that’s the Kuala Lumpur train system TV on the way from Sentral to the Airport. ¬†Strange, but true!!

All you need is a canvas of any size and this selection of goodies; some tracing paper or greaseproof paper, a needle, some embroidery thread or wool, a pencil and ruler, some masking tape, a pair of scissors and a seam ripper. 10

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Step 1 – decide upon an image, it is best to choose something quite angular, Archie decided on a star as it’s graphically quite striking. Draw the image on tracing paper and then draw dots on the high and low points.
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Step 2 – Tape your image to the canvas and use the sharp point of the seam ripper to make holes through the dots into the canvas.
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Step 3 – Your canvas should look like this. Thread your needle and start to stitch.
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Step 4 – It should start to make sense after a few lines have been stitched. Archie used this turquoise thread to outline the edges of the star.
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Step 5 – Now it’s time to design the centre and experiment with the shape and the coloured threads.
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Finished!

Archie used 4 different coloured threads and this is how it came out. The only thing I helped him with was threading the needle. He is super proud of it, now we just need to hang it on the wall (and get through the next 8 hours…)

Pillowcase tutorial

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I was given this rockin’ fabric by my friend Henke, such a great vintage piece and in my favourite emerald green. As I am in the midst of a renovation of the kids room, I realised that this would work perfectly as pillowcases for them.

I had a quick look at some pillowcases I had at home and worked out that they would be pretty simple to construct.¬† So here is a simple tutorial of how to do make a pillowcase. I don’t think I will be buying pillowcases again!

Pillowcase tutorial
1. Cut a piece of fabric to 160cm x 50cm (the finished size is 69cm x 48cm)
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2. Serger/overlock or zigzag stitch along each of the 50cm ends
3. Fold one end to 6cm and straight stitch close to overlocked edge
3. Fold one end to 6cm and straight stitch as close to the overlocked edge as you can
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4. With right sides together fold the top to 69cm, the bottom piece should be 85cm
5. Stitch along the long edges to 69cm
5. Stitch along the long edges to 69cm
6. Fold the 89cm bottom piece over the top of the 69cm piece - it feels wrong as it completely enclosing the pillowcase
6. Fold the 85cm bottom piece over the top of the 69cm piece – it feels wrong as it completely enclosing the pillowcase
7. Pin in place
7. Pin in place
8. Stitch along the pinned edges
8. Stitch along the pinned edges
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9. Turn the top over, it will look like this. Then turn inside out and you are DONE!
Pillowcase tutorial
JOB DONE!