Pattern Review: TATB Freya Cowl Neck Dress

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Details

  • Pattern name: Freya
  • Variation/Style: Dress – Cowl Neck
  • Design House: Tilly and the Buttons / Tilly Walnes book Stretch!
  • Size I made: 4

Fabric

This owl knit fabric is quite stretch but very cosy.  I originally bought it from Fabricland UK a few years ago but I can’t remember which one!

Difficulty

I found this a simple make.  The cowl neck was easy to do and might even be easier than the mock neckline that is featured in the other variations in the book.  I think it is easier to add than a neckband in my own experience.  Apart from that, it was very similar to the Coco Dress (also by Tilly and the Buttons) to make up.

Clarity

I feel a bit like a parrot on this point, as I keep gushing over the Tilly and the Buttons pattern instructions and how it feels like someone is holding your hand, guiding you through the process!  I don’t remember encountering any issues with the instructions.  The book guides you nicely through all the steps.

Design and Fit

It is shorter than I would normally wear – similar length to the length of the Coco Dress – but as I would wear this with tights it is not too much of an issue.

It feels a bit snug on the bust so next time I may need to grade out a bit on this section – or it may be that I accidentally moved the fabric when cutting it out, reducing the width.

I really like the cowl neck and feel it adds a stylish yet simple addition to the pattern.  It would look great in a plain fabric as well.

Time Taken

You can make up this garment within a day.  However, I did leave the garment to rest a couple of days before I hemmed it,as I felt that the fabric needed this.

Conclusion

My conclusion is that I would recommend the pattern and this particular variation.  However, I would like to make the mock neck style as a sweater next time.  As I get warm easily and where I live is fairly mild (or shall we say muggy?) I don’t feel like I need many of these in my wardrobe, however.

You can watch my video review below:

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Pattern Review: The Bibi Pinafore!

Today I am pleased to share with you the positive outcome of cutting into the wrong fabric last Christmas… it’s the bibi pinafore!

Details

  • Pattern name: Bibi
  • Variation/Style: Pinafore
  • Design House: Tilly and the Buttons / Tilly Walnes book Stretch!
  • Size I made: 4

Fabric

I used the leftover fabric from the Kinder cardigan I made my nan for Christmas.  As I have mentioned in that pattern review, I accidentally got two fabrics mixed up (downside to having a huge stash) and ended up cutting lovely thick ponte from a fabric shop in Tiverton which I was saving for a dress.  However, it has worked out beautifully for this make so I feel a lot better than I did at the time!  It is a lovely dark red and a nice quality.  I probably would not have made it from this if the meterage had not decreased as you do not need much fabric to make this pinafore.

Difficulty

The Bibi skirt is the first pattern in the Stretch! book because it is the easiest and made with the most stable knit fabric.  It lived up to expectation and was a nice simple make.

The pinafore variation was not much harder – the bib and straps are provided on the pattern sheet and the instructions were clear on how to add these.

The only challenge I found was getting the straps attached in the right place.  I ended up adjusting them a couple of times to get it right.

Clarity

I feel a bit like I always say this, but Tilly and the Buttons patterns are beginner friendly and feel as though you are being guided step by step.  

Design and Fit

When I first got the book, I didn’t want to make the Bibi skirt.  Firstly, I don’t wear a lot of skirts, and secondly, I didn’t think the shape would suit me.

When I saw the pinafore variation, I was smitten.  I have a soft spot for pinafores and this one was no different!  The great thing about this pinafore is that depending on your fabric choice, it can be smart enough to use as part of your work wardrobe!

The fit is perfect but I would like to make a note of caution – it has no zip or fastening so you need adequate stretch/strong machine stitching on the waistband to get it over your hips!

Time Taken

This was a really fast make which I made in a day.

Conclusion

I am really impressed with this pattern and it works really well with the fabric.  I may even be tempted to make a regular Bibi skirt in the future!  Being in a knit fabric, it’s very comfy and would see you through both a day off or working day.

You can watch my video review below:

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Pattern Review: The Joni Dress

I am gradually getting through the book Stretch! which came out last year!  Most recently, I made the Joni Dress.

Details

  • Pattern name: Joni
  • Variation/Style: Flared short sleeves
  • Design House: Tilly and the Buttons/Tilly Walnes book Stretch!
  • Size I made: 4

Fabric

I have used a simple two colour floral fabric from a local haberdashery a year or two ago.  It is quite thin but substantial and opaque and as a result the skirt section hangs well.

Difficulty

It is a bit more challenging than a simple knit dress, but I think it looks more complicated than it is to actually make it.  I’d say it is suitable for confident beginners who have had a go with knit fabrics before.

Clarity

Like all the other TATB patterns I have tried out, the guidance is very clear.  However, I did follow Sewisfaction’s video tutorial on making the front bodice twist rather than use the book instructions.  Next time, I might try out the original instructions just to see how much difference it makes.

Design and Fit

The design of this dress is great.  The twist detail adds interest and the volume in the skirt section along with the subtle dipped hem makes this dress look more complex than it is.

As it is a knit dress, I found that I didn’t make any adjustments.  My bust size was a bit bigger than the guide for the size 4, but with this fabric it did not matter and fits fine.  As it has a dipped hem, and it has more of an empire waistline, I did not bother to adjust for my sway back.

Time Taken

This was a relatively quick make or a slightly more detailed knit dress.  I took a bit of extra time drafting the flared sleeves and choosing the sleeve length but this was still fairly fast as the instructions are clear.

Conclusion

I love this dress!  It’s so comfy and easy to chuck on for the day.  I definitely want to attempt making one with stripes soon.

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Making your own beach towel poncho from two towels

I’m excited to share with you something I made with my mum a few months ago – the beach towel poncho!

Pictured above is my mum showcasing our efforts on the beach!

If you fancy making a similar poncho, you will need two towels measuring 100cm by 150cm and a small amount of bias binding.

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Crafting with a chronic illness: my experience with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Crafting with a chronic illness can be a bit of a roller coaster for some.  One day, your hobby is a lifeline, providing you with a focus and keeping your mind in the present, the next it is exacerbating your symptoms.

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Non-Radiographic Ankylosing Spondylitis (which I will refer to as AS from now on).  At the time, it was almost a triumph because it had been a long year of visit various health professionals and being able to put a name to the symptoms provides a grounding in a way.  That is, of course, until you have to acknowledge that it is something that is not going to go away and will affect you for the rest of you life.

I thought it might be useful to share what I have found helpful for my circumstance in case it is also useful for someone else.  Everyone is different though, so you must keep problem solving until you find your own strategies.

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