Jennifer Lauren Handmade Ivy Pinafore

I received this pattern from Jen when it was out for testing. It came out with the Gable top, of which I made two of at the time. These are still in constant wear and I love them. At the time the pinafore only came in a flared version which wasn’t for me. When the patterns were released Jen generously forwarded a copy of both the Gable top and the Ivy pinafore, which then came as a more fitted version. Forward a few years to lockdown here in NZ, and my mind has been constantly thinking of what can I make now, what do I need, what fabric is in my stash. Having seen a few pinafores on social media I suddenly decided I needed one in my life! I’ve not worn a pinafore for around 40 years, why would I wear one now? You may well ask, well I actually really like this version!

The Ivy pinafore is made from woven fabrics and comes in two silhouettes, a A-line flared version and a slim-line version. It has a yoke with button down straps which can be functional or just for show. It also has pockets and these are awesome pockets of a great size with room for all sorts of rubbish! It is also lined, but it’s possible to make it unlined. I made the slim-line version (view 2), lined with non-functional straps.

My fabric, I think, came from Stitchcraft in Richmond when I was over there for a work trip. It’s a tie dyed denim with cut-outs showing in red. The underside of the fabric is purple, a mix of the red and blue. I originally bought it intending to make a jacket, then lockdown made me think more laterally. The pattern suggests light-weight woven fabrics to line or anti-static linings, I ended up using a cotton voile which is a shot-purple colour leftover from another project. It matched the underside of the main fabric. I like the cotton since it breathes better, but a lining fabric would have been better since it currently clings to tights and I need to wear a half slip! Oh well, I’m definitely warm with all those layers!

The fit is really good. A lot of the time I need to lower bust darts, but these were in the perfect position. I wasn’t sure how the fit would be since this is one of the few JLH patterns without bust sizing. This is a size 18 based on my full bust measurement and it may be a wee bit big from these photos, but it doesn’t feel big and it’s great to wear. Initially I added 4” to the length, I ended up removing 3 of those when I eventually hemmed it!

Instructions as always from Jen are really clear and easy to follow. I may have shifted things round slightly to save changing threads so much in my machine, but otherwise, I actually used them! I didn’t experience any issues. Attaching the yoke is a bit fiddly and then top stitching around this, but it gives a really nice finish.

I decided once I’d sewn it that I didn’t need to make the buttons functional, so I just stitched the buttons through both layers. Looking at them now, I’ve stitched them the wrong way around with the front sitting on top of the back straps. Oh well!

The front centre seam is stitched with a flat felled seam, all other seams I finished using my overlocker. I decided the denim might be too thick folded multiple times for the hem, so I decided to use hug snug to finish the hem.

The deets
Fabric:  Denim with cutouts from Stitchcraft in Richmond. Purple cotton voile for lining from stash
Notions:  Interfacing for the yoke, two large buttons from stash.
Pattern:  Jennifer Lauren Handmade Ivy Pinafore, view 2, size 18
Changes made:  Lengthened by 1″.

Another one/recommendations:  If you want a pinafore which is easy to make this is great. I didn’t want a bib type pinafore, so this is perfect for me. No zip or other closures either.

Papercut Fjord Cardi

Lockdown has changed my clothing needs slightly and my Make Nine plans have kinda gone a bit off piste, but looking at what’s left, I reckon they will be made. I work from home around 50% of the time, so it’s not been so much of a baptism of fire for me as for others.

I had this sudden need for another cardi, preferably with pockets. So rather than make something I’ve made before I thought I’d try something else I had in my pattern collection. Enter the Papercut Fjord Cardi. Yes, another Papercut pattern, which knowing my love for them, probably isn’t a surprise!

The seam lines on this cardigan are really interesting. The angled pockets are on a completely separate side panel which forms the lower part of the armscye. It has raglan sleeves  and is topped off by a wide neckband. There are also two length options, a cropped version and a longer hip length.

I have the print version of this pattern which was good, there’s a fair few pattern pieces, for information the PDF version has 31 pages of A4 size. I also found it difficult to find the right fabric. It suggests 2.3m of 114cm wide and even though they often over estimate, so many of my knit fabrics I wanted to use I could not get to work, even with lots of pattern tetris! I ended up using this dark teal and black stripe, which I think came from Fabric-a-Brac some time ago. I cut a size L, based on the finished measurements, not my own measurements. Since this is a loosely woven knit I knew there would be more ease than the pattern states. I managed to squeeze this out of 1.5m of 150cm wide, the pattern suggests 1.8m. It took a wee bit of tetris, and there is absolutely none left! Those sleeves are big!

Unfortunately it’s actually a little lightweight and unstructured for this pattern. The pattern recommends medium weight knits. I think I would also recommend something which isn’t loosely woven, particularly if you’re looking for the same look and fit as the sample photos. Anyway, I went ahead with it – why not? 🙂

I didn’t have any issues making this up. I did follow the instructions to get the construction correct, mainly due to the different seam lines and the pockets, plus that wide neckband is doubled over. Most of the construction was on my overlocker, so was a pretty quick make.

The only change I made was to take in the sleeves and shorten them, which also meant making the cuffs smaller. This is standard practice with a lot of long sleeved patterns. I have short arms and with knitwear I like my cuffs relatively fitted.

The pocket top edge is just finished and folded over, it’s not stitched down. With my lightweight fabric I’ve found the pockets don’t sit so well and certainly I won’t be putting much more than a tissue in them. They’re actually not as large as I expected either. I definitely wouldn’t recommend sticking a phone in them.

I think the other problem I have due to my fabric choice is that it doesn’t sit that well on my shoulders and I often find it sits back away from my neck dragging down the back. Saying that, since I made this a couple of weeks ago, I have worn this a lot and it’s been a welcome addition.

The deets
Fabric:  An unknown loose woven knit, I think from Fabric-a-Brac. It’s been in my stash some time.
Notions:  Thread
Pattern:  Papercut Fjord Cardi, size L
Changes made:  Shortened the sleeves by around 4-5 cm and also took them in by around 4cm at the cuff.
Another one/recommendations:  I like this cardigan, but if you’re making this, I would definitely recommend fabric with less drape and more stability than the fabric I used. Mine works and I wear it, but it definitely does not look like the samples on the website. I’m tempted to try making another in a more stable knit, but that’s not going to happen just yet until I can get to pet and feel fabrics in shops, samples often aren’t big enough.

It’s a great pattern with some interesting seaming, so it won’t look like other cardigans. The instructions are easy to follow. There was nothing that I looked at and needed to read a number of times for it to make sense.

Papercut Axis Dress

For those regular readers of these ramblings, it’s no secret, I love Papercut Patterns. I bought this as soon as it was released, but I needed that “perfect” fabric! Cue this most beautiful linen viscose from Fabric Drop (an NZ online fabric store) before they shut down at the end of last year. I love linen anyway, but the viscose just makes the linen drape in the most lushous way. So with an NZ designed pattern and fabric from an NZ shop, I’m very happy I’ve kept this fully local.

The Axis dress is described as an ode to Audrey Hepburn with a straight neckline and ties which can be tied at the back or brought round to the front and tied there. There is also the option of a pencil skirt with front split or an A-line skirt.

It took me a while to get this pattern started. I thought I would need to make some changes, an FBA, possibly widening the front straps, lowering the front neckline, possibly lengthening the bodice. All the things you’ll have seen me mention on here before. I tend to muslin all Papercut patterns. I’m a very different shape from the Papercut slim B-cupped model. My first muslin was a size 6 and gaped badly around the armholes. I know this means to do an FBA, which I was expecting anyway. I ended up doing a 2.5cm FBA and actually cutting a size 5 grading out to a 6 at the waist. Since I made such a large FBA, I also created bust darts, the large waist darts don’t look good.

The front neckline was too high for me, my head sits forward and I needed to lower it, so I lowered it by 1.5cm and added the extra to the straps. (I think this may have changed again when I made the final dress a I kept trying it on the whole time and left attaching these until the last possible minute!)

The skirt… As much as I love a front split on a skirt, I have a skirt with one already and I have to be very careful now and again. So, I cut the front skirt on the fold and added a back slit instead and made up a facing to give it more strength. It’s not perfect from the inside, but from the outside, it works perfectly! I also decided to hem the skirt by hand, I didn’t want to spoil the hem by machine sewing it.

The skirt is fastened with an invisible zip in the centre back and as an option in the pattern you can just make the skirt up.

What a lot of changes – yes, maybe, but they’re standard for me for Papercut Patterns and if I end up with a dress like this…

There is a gap left in the side seam so that when crossing the ties over the back, they sit flat and then tie at the front. I think this is my favourite way of fastening the dress at the moment.

The other option is to tie them at the back, give a deep back and a beautiful tie hanging down. I love this option, but prefer the ties at the front.

The deets
Fabric:  Linen viscose “Flavio” from Fabric Drop, November 2019.
Notions:  Interfacing, zip and thread
Pattern:  Papercut Patterns Axis dress, size 5
Changes made:  A 2.5cm FBA. Lowered the front neckline by 1.5cm, possibly lengthened the straps. Cut the front skirt on the fold. Added a back split with a facing to strengthen it.

Another one/recommendations:  I love this dress. I finished it just before we went into lockdown here in NZ and so it’s not had an outing at all, except to my garden! So I decided it would be perfect for #virtualfrocktails (an international instagram frocktails party). It’s now also getting to autumn here in NZ, so a sleeveless dress with a plunging back is not the warmest, but my black shrug works wonders and I think this dress will see me through the year. I can’t wait to wear it again. I love it! Don’t know if I’ll make another – it deserves the perfect fabric. 🙂


And because I love this dress so much, here’s another photo! So worth the changes and getting that bodice to fit.

Lekala 4664

I’ve a few Lekala patterns in my collection now. I only really discovered them about two years ago. I like their designs and the patterns are inexpensive. I think this is my third make and there are a couple more not yet blogged.

  There are a number of different options when buying their patterns. Their PDF patterns can be delivered in one of eight standard sizes or you can add your own measurements and get a pattern drafted to fit you. An additional option is to have seam allowances added. I always get the patterns using my measurements and with the seam allowances (I’m useless at adding seam allowances.) This is blouse pattern number 4664. It has pleats at the neckline, a pleated front and short sleeves.

The fabric is an Atelier Brunette cotton gauze “Terrazo Night” which I bought from Miss Maude at Fabric-a-Brac in Carterton a couple of years ago. It was a remnant, but it’s such a beautiful fabric and I couldn’t resist it.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if there would be enough to make this top. Lekala patterns have no fabric requirements, so you basically have to play around with the fabric of choice to see if it fits.

The line drawing for this pattern has a centre tuck, very similar to the Colette Sorbetto, but strangely, it doesn’t match up like a tuck and I could not work out how to stitch that front tuck without the stitches showing on the front, so in the end I just set it like a pleat and then added the other pleats at the side. This is why the front looks different to the line drawing.

Apart from the issue with the front tuck, I didn’t make any changes. The instructions for Lekala patterns are very basic, so I just took a quick glance through the half page of instructions and left it at that!

The deets
Fabric:  Atelier Brunette cotton gauze “Terrazo Night” from Miss Maude at Fabric-a-Brac Carterton, Wairarapa July 2018
Notions:  Interfacing for the neck facing and thread
Pattern:  Lekala blouse 4664, sized to fit me
Changes made:  I removed the front tuck because I couldn’t work out how the tuck would stay in the fabric without being stitched. Apart from that, no changes were made.
Another one/recommendations:  I have worn this blouse so much. The fit isn’t great over the top of the arms and if that front tuck was there it would fit a whole lot better in the front, but it doesn’t mean I wear it any less.

Whether I make another one, I’m not sure yet. If I could suss out that front tuck, then maybe I’d give it another go. But hey, I have a blouse in my wardrobe which I love to wear.

Ready to Sew Jilly Top

This is actually a make from this year, but, it’s not on my Make Nine. Pfft, that doesn’t matter, it’s only March, still ages to go to finish that list!

We have had a warm summer this year and I really wanted something tank top style to wear. I have umpteen dresses and also my Ogden camis, but I was looking for something with a bit more cover. Cue the Ready to Sew Jilly Top. To be honest, I can’t remember how I found this, but I think I was just browsing for recommended tank patterns in Google and this was on a blog post recommending. I’d not heard of the company or the top before, so thought I’d do a bit of digging around. There are not many in the wild and those that are are mainly the tie front versions, which I didn’t want. Oh well, let’s go for it, the mad part of my brain said!

The company, Ready to Sew, is French, but they have instructions in English too. There may be a couple of phrases which seem strange, but nothing completely untoward. The pattern is described as a “cropped tie-front top. Jilly is fitted at the shoulders and falls into a relaxed fit below the bust. Wear it during the day paired with high-waisted jeans or make it in a beautiful crepe for an elegant evening out.”

Perfect for what I needed. I had a crepe remnant which I wanted to use and thought it would work a treat. I decided to use some scrap fabric to make up a muslin and that is where it all turned to custard… I wasn’t happy with the muslin, the darts were all wrong and there was gaping around the armscye, so I decided to do an FBA. I happily did everything I normally do and the whole thing just drowned me! What a complete disaster! I know it says relaxed fit, but quite honestly this was about six sizes too big. I ended up curving the side seams slightly, and taking them in by about 3-4 inches total at the hips.

I’d lengthened it slightly and due to the lack of fabric, I ended up having to piece the hem band lining. Fortunately I had enough to ensure at least one side of the hem band wasn’t in multiple pieces.

The facings for the neck and armholes are all in one piece. I’m not completely happy with how these sit and I think to be honest I’d have been better with a neck facing and finishing the armholes with bias binding. They just don’t lay flat and also I find they are really obvious with this fabric.

I ended up unpicking so many seams on this top. It just took way longer than it should have done and now quite frankly, I’m not completely happy with it, probably due to the problems I had. I don’t think the fit is still that great either. It’s quite low under the arms and it’s still too big, but then it might be different in a more structured fabric, such as a linen. For a relatively simple tank top, it took far too long to make up. I unpicked and restitched so many seams. It’s had a reasonable amount of wear since I made it about a month ago, mainly because it’s useful and it’s cool for hot days. It also works under cardigans and looks relatively nice for work, but I definitely won’t be rushing to make another.

The deets
Fabric:  Sky blue viscose crepe, a remnant from the Fabric Warehouse in 2018.
Notions:  Thread and interfacing
Pattern:  Ready to Sew Jilly Top, size 44. Version 1 without the hem tie.
Changes made:  I did a 1” FBA, then took in the pattern by around 4” at the hip. I also lengthened the top by around an inch, I think

Another one/recommendations:  Mm, I like the hem band which adds a bit of interest. But I’m not over the moon about this top. It will get wear, since it’s a great colour and is cool for hot weather, but quite frankly after the hassle I had making it up, I’m not interested in making another just yet. I’d rather try another tank top which I don’t have to alter so much. Perhaps I may feel better by next summer when I’ve had a break from it.

New old makes

So in the interests of posting makes which I’ve made but haven’t been blogged, I have a couple of makes which I made last year.

Southport Dress – Fungi version
Ha ha, no kidding! This fabric was called Fungi or something like it. It came from a shop called Jet in Greytown. I bought it after the last Wairarapa Fabric a Brac in Carterton, the same time as I bought Les Fleurs quilting cotton which I made this dress in.

I was looking for something a bit different to make up another Southport dress and this fits the bill perfectly. It’s a beautiful soft cotton and works well for this dress. Casting my mind back… I made the same changes to the bodice as last time:

  • raised the front neckline by around an inch
  • also raised the underarm by around half inch
  • lengthened the bodice by around 1.5 inches
  • omitted the buttonholes and stitched the buttons through both plackets

Even though this is the short version, I ended up lengthening the short skirt, probably by around a couple of inches. I also made exactly the same change to the waist as before, attaching a casing to the inside waist and then inserting elastic. Again, the front skirt is cut on the fold, no need for a seam here.

One thing I am going to mention is the pockets in this beauty. They deserve a mention. The dress comes with pockets and what fantastic pockets they are! They are the perfect size to put all sorts of rubbish in. 😉

The deets
Fabric:  Pink fungi patterned fabric from Jet in Greytown. Buttons from stash.
Notions:  Thread, buttons, interfacing and elastic
Pattern:  True Bias Southport dress, size 14
Changes made:  Raised the front neckline, shortened the armscye to make the underarm higher, lengthened the bodice, shortened the skirt, omitted the button holes, moved the waist casing to the inside and inserted elastic, cut the front skirt on the fold.

Another one/recommendations:  Well, I don’t know if I’ll make another, but I have practically lived in this dress this summer. I made it at the end of last summer, so it didn’t get lots of wear, but this year, I have worn it, washed it, worn it, washed it! The colour means that it doesn’t show every bit of dirt, so I’ve worn it for gardening as well as meeting up with friends. We went camping at New Year and it was perfect for that. The fabric didn’t crease screwed up and I had something comfy to throw on in the mornings. I think it’s pretty easy to say, I love this dress, but as we know often the fabric makes the pattern!

Papercut Sapporo – the quiet version 🙂
Nice and subtle colours this one! I love my other Sapporo with the liquorice allsorts lining, but it’s quite lightweight so I thought why not make another for the cooler weather.

This lovely bright pink wool came from the Fabric Warehouse in Wellington, I think around three years ago. It’s been maturing in stash waiting for it to suddenly shout out for the perfect pattern. The lining is a beautiful hand printed silk which I bought in Thailand in 2013, so even longer ago!

The Sapporo coat has had a lot of bad press. I’m not saying what is wrong and what is right, I’m not qualified to do so. What I will say is that I have now made two of these and am very happy with both. The oversize style means that a pleat which you would often find in a coat lining is not necessary. I’ve not noticed any problems with how the pattern is put together or pattern pieces not lining up.

For my first version, I used the main coat fabric for lining the sleeves. For this wool version, I cut the sleeve linings. For a couple of inches at the cuffs, I used the main pink wool. For the rest of the lining, I used my lining material to reduce bulk. It worked a treat and has gone together really easily.

My front mitred corners are perfect. Just check this out!

The deets
Fabric:  Bright pink wool coating from The Fabric Warehouse prob 2015 (I used around 1.8m of 150cm wide). Hand printed silk for the lining from Thailand in 2013 (Being hand printed, I actually only had 2m of 100cm wide, the pattern recommends 2.3m of 114cm)
Notions:  Thread and interfacing
Pattern:  Papercut Sapporo Coat, size S/M, my measurements put me in a L/XL with Papercut, so this is an indication of how oversized this is.
Changes made:  I cut the sleeve linings in two, so that I could make a cuff from the outer fabric and use lining for the rest of it.

Another one/recommendations:  I’m not sure on another of these. I have two which now cover most seasons, so this may be enough. I got away with less than the fabric recommendations simply because I used lining for the sleeve linings. Those sleeve pattern pieces are not small, so need quite a bit of fabric. If you intend to line the sleeve with lining fabric, remember you’ll need more than the pattern states. The pattern has now been re-released and also includes a cropped version which is quite cute…

I love both Sapporo coats. This pink version I made at the end of the winter, so it’s not had masses of wear yet, but I just know it’s going to get some wear and being so bright, it’s going to be great on a gloomy winter’s day. It’s got room to layer up under it and once I have a nice warm scarf wrapped around me, I’m going to be so snug in this coat!

Jennifer Lauren Handmade Sorrel Dress

This cute shirt dress pattern from Jennifer Lauren Handmade was released in December 2018 as part of a Kickstarter campaign to produce paper patterns. I received the paper pattern in June 2019 by the time the Kickstarter had finished and all the patterns went to print. I was determined to make this from the paper pattern to give that first pattern a good test. It’s been a while since I’ve made one of Jen’s patterns, but all those I’ve made so far have been a great fit and style.

Off I went to shop my stash, well then I couldn’t find the perfect fabric in my stash. Of course! So why not plagiarise in the best possible way, I went to the Miss Maude website and purchased some of the beautiful Atelier Brunette cotton double gauze. This is Stardust Amarante, the two sample versions on the JLH website are in different colourways, so not completely copying, but imitation in its sincerest form 🙂 It is the most beautiful fabric to sew with. Well worth the cost!

This pattern comes in a great size range and I’ve seen versions on many sizes which is great. It also offers cup sizes, so the bust sizing ranges from a 6A (bust size 74cm or 29″) all the way to a 24D (bust 126.5cm or 48 3/4″). There are also two different versions, one with a grown on placket and the other with a separate button placket. It also has pockets! 🙂

I chose to make the version with the grown on placket which is view 2. No reason behind this really. It could have been a bit of laziness, in not wanting to cut out more pieces! I’ve also managed to just about hide the Atelier Brunette bows under the plackets, but they’re still visible if necessary.

I didn’t have any problems making up this pattern. I made up a size 16 D cup, based on my bust and waist measurements, also based on the finished measurements too.

I lengthened the bodice by half inch, which is pretty standard for me for many patterns. The best thing is, this pattern has pockets! They’re also a great size. Plenty of room for all sorts of rubbish in these pockets!

I love how the grown on cap sleeves fit. I’ve some other patterns with grown on sleeves, but they just don’t fit as well, these have a great fit.

The buttons, I didn’t follow the button diagram on the pattern. I noted where my bust line lay and then used my SimFlex sewing gauge to give the positions of the other buttons, ensuring one is also at the waist. The buttons themselves look expensive, but these actually came from Pete’s Emporium in Lower Hutt. Their button wall is one of my fave places to look for buttons! I think I originally looked at five different buttons, whittling it down to two and bought them both finally deciding to use these gold buttons!

The deets
Fabric:  Atelier Brunette cotton gauze, Stardust Amarante colour from Miss Maude NZ
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and buttons
Pattern:  Jennifer Lauren Handmade Sorrel dress, view 2, size 16D.
Changes made/recommendations:  This is a lovely dress. The fit is great. It may be a bit loose in the waist, but actually it doesn’t need a tight waist. I put a belt on this once and never again. Sacks of potatoes done up in the middle spring to mind! I love the fold out collar giving a great V neck. I think this pattern would look great made up in a viscose giving more drape. If I was to make this up in a viscose I would definitely take the waist in more. Actually looking at these photos, it looks like there’s excess in the back bodice, perhaps I might do with going down a back size to the 14?

The paper patterns from JLH have very fine tissue. There’s quite a lot with this pattern with the different bust sizes. The JLH fantastic instructions which we’ve got to know are in a booklet. The layout of the booklet is great, there’s no trying to fit lots on a page to save paper, etc. As usual the instructions from Jen are clear and easy to follow. They’re broken up into sections with headers. The booklet also includes a glossary and space to write your own notes in the back. The pattern is then in an envelope about the same size as a big 4 envelope, so it will fit with all your other printed patterns in storage.

The Atelier Brunette fabric is also fantastic. It was lovely to cut and sew with. Very well behaved fabric, beautiful to the touch and works perfectly for this pattern.