10h00 Tunique Deuxième arrondissement

I wish I had discovered Deuxieme Arrondissement  much earlier in my pregnancy. They are a French company producing sewing patterns for trendy pregnant women. They have 10 lovely styles on their site that are very fashionable and had I not been that late in my pregnancy I would have loved to make all of them. I have chosen one though, which is the 10h00 Tunique

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The pattern comes in two versions, long and short. I went for the short one. I liked the shirt style of it with a more relaxed flowy shape to accommodate for the bump. This particular version is half refashion, half new. The khaki part is one of my fiancé’s old shirts that no longer fit. I salvaged this from a bag meant for charity, as I liked the colour.

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However, as it wasn’t one of the really large ones, there wasn’t enough fabric for the whole project, so searching for a suitable fabric to pair it with, I came across this lovely moss quilting cotton from The Village Haberdashery . Great opportunity to experiment with my favourite colour blocking.

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I kept the original pockets of the shirt on both sides as well as the button holes panel (hurrah no need to make any buttonholes) but did some fabric buttons in the moss colour for coherence. The collar ended up much better than any others I have made.

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For the back I used the back of the original shirt, but cut it to my size.

So much I liked this pattern that I made a second version this weekend.

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This time it was a complete refashion of a shirt, bigger in size, so more fabric and  one of my old jumpers which I was saving for something like this. And my belly, hasn’t grown bigger between the two versions, which were photographed on the same day but there was a little bit of breeze playing games with it.

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The front and sleeves are part of the shirt and have kept again the button holes. I replaced the original buttons with these fuchsia mother of pearl buttons from my stash. The collar was made out of the jumper. Because of lack of interfacing and the fabric being much softer it stands upright, creating a nice collar effect. Check out my Little Prince earrings, hehe!

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Again I used the sleeve cuffs from the original jumper on this version.

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The back of the shirt is my favourite part, as I wanted something like this for ages. I have kept again the original buttonholes, which I think combined with the jumper fabric create a nice style.DSC_0433

And since my new sewing machine comes with decorative stitches, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to try them on the hem. I was quite pleased with the outcome.

I cut the medium size for both versions and made no adjustments, perhaps I need to make a couple but at this stage the minor imperfections don’t seem worth dealing with. Pregnancy has made me a bit lazy. The instructions were adequate but all in French. I don’t think you need to speak the language though to figure out what’s going on. I highly recommend the patterns to any pregnant ladies out there. I will definitely be wearing this even after birth, as a relaxed spring tunic.

Have you made any pleasant sewing discoveries lately?

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A diaper bag attempt

I think I have reached that point where I won’t be making any clothes for the time being, unless of course I manage to finish a UFO and a crochet knit that’s half way done.

I’ve been looking at these really stylish diaper bags on Pinterest that are way out of my budget, or the amount of money I’m willing to spend on any of them and I decided to give it a go at making my own.

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As a base for my bag, I used this tutorial from A Mingled Yarn, which I found through a Pinterest search. It seems I turn to Pinterest for everything lately, haha. My aim was for my bag to resemble more the stylish ones, so instead of fabric I used some faux leather which I purchased from eBay. The outside pockets and general measurements are the same as on the tutorial, but then I made the front flap much shorter and omited the strap, that is permanently attached to the bag.

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I added instead a metallic loop on each side to be able to use a strap I already have from another bag, which matches the colour of this one, so I can either wear it sideways or on my shoulder using the handles.

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The front and side pockets are as per the tutorial but they fasten with magnetic clips instead of velcro.

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I lined the inside with a light shade of blue oilcloth, which I thought was a good idea in case there is a spillage of some sort. It will be much easier to clean.

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I also managed to make some compartments in it, admittedly not extremely successfully but they will do the trick and they will serve as dividers in the mayhem that diaper bags apparently are. I should have made them a bit higher …

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There is an extra pocket at the back of the bag, which went a bit wrong in my case, but it is very useable and will come handy despite its shortcomings haha.

The whole project looks slightly wonky but this is mostly down to the fact I have photographed it empty which doesn’t help with holding the shape of the bag. I would have loved to have a picture of it with me carrying it, but it was so cold in the garden that the thought of posing there with the tripod really put me off.

I am very pleased with it but I have to say it was a nightmare to sew, really thick at parts, which resulted in about five broken needles, it even broke the one that was meant for leather. I also need a proper walking foot for the Singer, as the one I had from my brother doesn’t fit. That would have made my job much easier. In any case, I’m planning to use the bag, which hopefully will not disappoint me.

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January hibernation

I don’t know what it is about January and whether it happens to other people too, but for me the month is synonym to hibernation. Is it the darkness, the cold, the realisation that the next natural holiday isn’t until Easter, the fact that the month is endless and pay day so far away? January as the beginning of the new year fills me with optimism and a need to get going with new projects on the one hand, but on the other hand the motivation to fulfil them is just not there. All I want to do is sleep, haha! I did start a few things this month, sadly none of which is finished.

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What I really wanted to show you today was this Burda jacket, which I had hoped to have finished by now, but halfway through sewing this, I managed to sew my finger on the garment. Not literally on the garment, but the needle went through it, so I ended up with this. I wasn’t very keen on using my sewing machine after the accident.

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However, I haven’t come empty handed.

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I’ve always wanted to make a mobile but it was one of those things I never got round to doing it. The baby though is a good excuse for projects like this. I love hot air balloons.

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The hot air balloons and the clouds are made from felt leftovers, from my more crafty days. It’s based on this tutorial that I found on Pinterest. As you can see the tutorial uses a more professional approach to mine, where the hanger of the mobile is made by wood. It does look great.

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Since I didn’t have any wood and wood craft isn’t one I will be trying anytime soon, I used a different tutorial, found also on Pinterest to make my hanger. This one uses fabric cut into circles of three different sizes and filled with toy stuffing. When put together, they create this fabric cloud. Again the fabric was leftovers from other projects, something that filled me with joy as I don’t know what to do with some of my smaller scraps, sometimes.

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I’m quite pleased with my hot air balloons as they are now hanging on the nursery room-to-be wall. It was a fun project that didn’t involve the sewing machine at all.😉

And how is January treating you? I’ve seen some very creative beginnings in the inter webs.

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Handmade Presents

Hello everyone, hope you all had a great Christmas and you have recovered from eating comas, while the eating,  isn’t over yet. At least we carry on in this household.

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While my blog feed is populated by the hit and misses of the sewing inter webs of 2015 and since I only managed to sew 13 items this year (moving house I curse you) I thought I’d show you some of the Christmas presents I made, there were not that many. First I decided not to use any paper wrapping and went mad with sewing these little bags and envelops for some of my presents. I thought it could be something that the recipients could use for storing shoes or other things, plus they looked more like Santa’s sack. In my usual habit of making everything last minute these were no exception and had I planned ahead, I would have probably made a better job of them. Despite that, they were very well received.

IMG_6536I’ve been meaning to make a fur scarf ever since I found these grey lace remnants at Simply Fabrics in Brixton, a present for myself. Well when I came round to actually doing it, I thought that my friend would probably like it, so I packed it for her. The fur is from weaverdee .

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Literally, last minute, the night before we left London, I decided that I had time to make one more thing, which was this fur cape/capelet for my boyfriend’s sister. It’s something I thought she might wear at some point, if not there’s always Halloween. The pattern was one of the projects with patterns on Burda Style website. It’s meant to be longer but I thought it was a bit too much with the fur, so I chopped it for a more wearable version.

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Finally, I made this jenna cardi for my sister, hoping it will at least fit her, there’s good chance she may not like it haha. I used two different fabrics, one I bought in Beijing, but since I knew there wasn’t enough, I bought a similar colour knit from e-bay. I really like how it turned out but it wasn’t without problems, one of them being the fact that the overlocker ate some of the fabric on the top-half creating a massive hole. This resulted in the waist band being much wider than the pattern commands.

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I was quite pleased with the neck band which looks much better than my own unblogged version but not so pleased with that top buttonhole. Still getting used to one step buttonholes on my new sewing machine.

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See how wonky that top buttonhole is compared to the rest of them? In an attempt to cover the overlocking I decided to sew some handmade bias tape around the neckline, button band and waist. The latter wasn’t a great idea, as adding non-stretch fabric to stretch, turns it unfortunately into non-stretch, so now it’s a bit tight but I think it will be ok for my sister. This isn’t her only present either, so if she doesn’t like it, it will not be the end of the world.

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This is my own Jenna Cardi, the test version, so you can see more of the wonkiness here. I’m planning to make another one in 2016, hopefully with better results than this.

I enjoyed making these presents and was pleased that they were received well, or that people at least pretended to like them haha, but I don’t think I will be making a habit of it, it’s great though making little things for family and loved ones.

If you don’t see me back here later, I will take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy new year and happy sewing in 2016.

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Burda Style 7320

Hello everybody. Going to work lately has been a struggle, probably because Christmas approaches and all I can think of is holidays. I should be getting ready for the office right now but in an attempt to pretend I don’t really have to go anywhere, I thought I’d type this post.

One of the garments I sewed in October was another not so interesting but yet quite functional garment. Burda Style 7320. A proper maternity dress this time. 7320-front-envelope_1

What I liked most about this dress was the front pleat, which yes it is there for a reason but adds a nice element to the garment. I also fell in love with the shiny grey fabric on this pic, but went for a plain grey as I wanted to be able to wear it at work as well.

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I made version A of the pattern, without the cap sleeves. I have only worn it with a jacket or cardigan, so I didn’t see the need for sleeves, especially ones that don’t really cover my arms.

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I used a lovely ponte knit for it and although it’s not exactly the right fabric, as it holds the shape really well but at the same time it has no dare. I thought I looked huge just by putting it on, haha. In any case, it was a great fabric to sew with.

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The best thing about it was the absence of a zipper, hurrah. It is meant to be much longer but I kept chopping the hem to level it, so I ended up with a shorter version in the end. I prefer it this way.

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I’d still like to sew a more glamorous version of it but have so many other things to finish, I may never get to it anytime soon. I suppose though that it would make a lovely dress in a smaller size, when I won’t need maternity clothes anymore. I haven’t got anything else to add, the instructions and the drafting were great. Until next time…

Pictures are again courtesy of the camera on crate.

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Tent dress, Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 1105

Having a house with a garden makes things so much easier when it comes to taking pictures for your blog, it’s an easy outside location. When however you have no tripod because your boyfriend took it to a show to shoot some videos and no one else to take your pictures, you have to improvise and hope for the best. I don’t like using the timer but I have no remote control for my camera and since there was no tripod, I had to teach it some acrobatics and balancing on a crate on top of a table, hoping the wind will not blow as hard as to drop it on the ground.

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I made this dress back in October when most of my clothes had started feeling a bit too tight to be comfortable and I needed something that would allow me to move freely and also survive a whole day of meetings without suffering in my clothes. I’ve always liked tent dresses but always feared they would make me look really big. And they do, I’m not going to lie but they are also very accommodating for a growing bump. Don’t ask me what it is I’m looking at this picture, I blame the timer.

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The outside comes with cold lately, so every so often I had to pop in to restore my blood temperature. You know I don’t like cold. I cut a size 10, which was the smallest one on the pattern and didn’t make any adjustments. The fabric is a cotton sateen from Minerva Crafts 

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The dress ties at the back with a big bow that I particularly like.You can see how much excess there is in terms of fabric.

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Another great photo, where I’m looking at the sky, a pigeon coming closer, a plane about to land in our garden. I dreamt of this dress with something golden, like a  card in a nice lightweight fabric. I saw this lightweight jersey I guess, during a random visit at Simply Fabrics in Brixton. It winked at me the second I entered. The Julia Cardi was the only cardi pattern I had at that point. The style and length of the card doesn’t really go with the dress and I didn’t wear them together, but I ended up with another version of this great pattern. My other Julia 

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I don’t have anything else to add about the dress, it’s very easy to make as it doesn’t have a lot of pieces. For the neck binding I used the same fabric but then for the armholes, I used shop bought bias tape as at that point I wanted to get it done.

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As you can see, I’ve done a better job with the pictures I took of the mannequin, she doesn’t even have to look awkwardly at something else.

How do you have your blog pics taken? Do you use a tripod, timer, or photographer?

That’s it from me for now. Have a nice week everyone.

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It’s a coat. Burda round coat 10/2013 #102

It’s been ages since I last posted here, but I’m glad to be back in the land of the interwebs. After spending three months in a short term let, without proper internet connection, we have finally moved to the house we’ve been trying to buy since the end of August. It’ll be a work in progress for a while but at least, we won’t be going anywhere else anytime soon and I can finally unpack all my sewing madness into a new room, haha! This room however, may be converted into a nursery in a few months, as I’m having a baby and a growing belly at the moment. Don’t be scared, I’m not going to bore you with my maternity stuff, after all we are here for the sewing, which despite the inconvenience and lack of actual space in the previous flat, I haven’t stopped doing. You may see some non-garment related sewing  though but that’ll be it.

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One of my very recent sewing endeavours has been my first ever coat. Burda 10/2013 is a pattern I had been stalking for a while and finally got round to making. The cocoon style is a bit unusual for me as I like my coats fitted rather than loose, but I wanted something you can wrap into and this coat is perfect for this purpose.

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The fabric is 100% wool (yes sorry I haven’t been very ethical here, but it had to be something warm) from Truro Fabrics. I really liked this shop, which I discovered while looking around for wool, particularly because you can get samples before committing to an expensive fabric like wool. Of course, when I purchased it, I didn’t think of the stripes and got only 2.5metres, which was enough for making the coat but not for matching all the stripes. Front and back are ok though. I decided to use the stripe vertically for the lower pieces of the coat to avoid tmatching them and to give a different perspective to it.

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As you can see there’s no pattern matching on the sides or the sleeves, but that’s something I can live with.

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As far as the construction is concerned, once you decipher the pattern that not only comes with the typical almost non-existent  Burda instructions, but also with some extra pieces for a different coat, it’s pretty straightforward. I did make two muslins but it was worth it.DSC_0256

The thing that I found most buffling was the self-facing bands. I must have stalked every version of this coat on the internet trying to figure out how you put them together, but I got there in the end. Way of the Wool‘s was a great help and directed me also to Grainline‘s tutorial on bagging a jacket lining. I love this version here, which was equally helpful, despite it being in a language I don’t speak. Great colour too. The lining is also from Truro Fabrics.

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I raised the pockets a bit as they were so low that my short hands couldn’t reach them and what’s the point of having warm pockets if they are too far away from you? I used the wool for them which made them a bit chunky but definitely warm. I also purchased some fake fur for the lower pieces but decided against it, as I feared it would make the coat too gimmicky. I really like it as it is. The pattern asks for four fasteners, but I used six giant ones. Anything to keep the cold outside.

That was it from, I will be back sooner rather than later, with some other things I’ve sewn in the last couple of months. Until then, have a great week.

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Posing like a professional model.

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Beijing Fabric Market

Sometimes work takes me to great places, one of them being Beijing, where I spent a week at the end of August. A lot of people find Beijing chaotic and exhausting, I find it fascinating and every time I go I try to do something new or different from visiting the usual touristic sites. Luckily this year, before I left, I came across Megan’s of Pigeon Wishes post about a fabric market in Beijing, which was music to my ears and which I decided to visit on my day off.

I had looked it up on the map and using Megan’s links, I managed to get some information on how to get there, luckily in Chinese too. I explained at my hotel where I wanted to go and they said that if I showed the directions to the taxi driver he would take me there. Excellent I thought and jumped in a taxi. Hardly any taxi driver speaks or understands English and mine was no exception.

After driving for about 25 minutes, during which time I thought we had left Beijing, it was that far out from where I was, he got really excited and started saying “Now, now!” so I figured we were getting there. He drove inside something that looked like a private yard at the end of which there was a building with a sign reading “International Conference Centre.”  Now I have seen a lot of weird things in Beijing but that didn’t look like a fabric market to me and definitely didn’t look like the pictures I had seen on Megan’s post. There was a security guy a few metres further, so with my phone at hand and the Chinese directions on the screen I asked him if I where at the right place, “No, no” he said and started shouting at the taxi driver who was still in the yard to take me back in to the place I wanted. So back in the taxi, I thought he was taking me there this time, but no, he drove around 200 metres and dumped me again in front of the international bus station. I knew it was around there and as I was getting fed up with the driver, I paid and got off. I walked a bit until I found a building that looked like a complex of shops selling bed linen and blankets. Wandered around for a bit until I found a young girl, who I thought might speak English. I showed her my phone and immediately she took out her phone typed something and showed it to me. “Go out and turn right,” it read. Oh great she’s going to give me directions I thought and got prepared to write down the rest of it. “Ok and then?” I asked her, but there was no then, that’s all she told me, so got out and turned right. I’m not going to bore you any more, the fabric market wasn’t on the right but was pointed to the right direction by two other girls who spoke better English and knew the area. And I can tell you it was worth all the trouble.

The fabric market is a wholesale market with endless rows of fabric shops.

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All types of denim

All types of denim

Or Gingham

Or Gingham

All the cotton in the world

All the cotton in the world

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And of course silk

And of course silk

Most of these shops have a box or chair outside where they stack their remnants which using the method of the eye I would say are between 1 and 3 metres maximum, some are badly cut but in general one can find some gems if they are prepared to spend a lot of time going through these boxes and this is exactly what I did.

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Beijing Fabric Market

Except of fabrics there is also a big variety of trimmings and beads all in wholesale quantities. I wishes I had some project in mind so that I could buy some trimmings as they were dead cheap. DSC_0141

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I spent a log time, going from shop to shop and box to box but had some goodies in my bag and ready to go when I decided to cross over the road and see what’s on the other side. My eyes couldn’t believe it when I saw another set of rows of fabrics just as big as the one I had been, mostly cotton and linens.

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Beijing Fabric Market

But also buttons, plenty of buttons.DSC_0164

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I could have spent days in the market but it was time to go. I got some cotton from there and headed back to the hotel, where I emptied my bag on the bed and admired all the lovely fabric I had bought. That was 160RMb which is around 16GBP, bargain! Now I wish I had bought more.

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I will leave you with a pictures of these beauties that were modelling the fabric. Have a nice week everyone!!

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Beijing Fabric market

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Made Up Initiative: Simplicity K1665 Trousers

When Karen of Did You Make That launched the Made Up Initiative, I didn’t even think about contributing and pledging to make something. Being part of the publishing industry, it was an automatic reaction to support something that promoted literacy. Of course, I would have supported any other cause as well.

My pledge was to make a proper pair of trousers and that for me meant, woven fabric and one zipper at least. For this reason I chose Simplicity K1665, which came as a freebie with a sewing magazine. I finished it before 10th September but taking pics and blogging took a bit longer, so I missed the prize draw deadline, not that I had any hopes of winning anything haha.

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For my version I used some sort of suiting fabric that I bought from the amazing fabric market in Beijing. 2 metres for a mere 1.5GBP. But more about that on a different post. I still haven’t decided whether it is blue and red or black and red.

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I cut a size 12 for the waist and graded it to size 14 for the hips. It was quite straightforward to make and I didn’t think it was particularly difficult, even for someone with no experience in making this type of trousers.

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I don’t know if the creasing on the front is normal but it doesn’t annoy me too much.

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There’s a bit of sagging in the back but I think if I had made it tighter it would have been uncomfortable while sitting.

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The pattern calls for a lapped zipper at the back but I went for a regular one. I think it looks ok but there’s definitely room for improvement. Apart from the zipper, there are two darts on the front and two at the back.

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I’m not exactly crazy about the style of the trousers on my but maybe I will grow to like them, once I find the right outfit combination. I definitely enjoyed making them.

Although the goal for the Made Up Initiative has been reached and exceeded, it’s never late to give some more, if you haven’t done so already. https://www.justgiving.com/made-up

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And the winner of the Emery Dress is…

Thank you to every one participating with your comments and your lovely stories of garments that didn’t exactly go smoothly first time round.

So without further delay the winner of this wonderful pattern is…..

Beth of Afterdarksewing Beth please send me your details on delightfullypeculiar@gmail.com so that I can post you the Emery Dress pattern. I hope you end up loving it as much as your Clemence skirts.

 

Winner

 

Thank you all again.

xxx

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