More Christmas Presents!

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Burda #134 03/2004

I decided it would be a bit of an overload if I included these projects in the previous post of pyjama gifts.  Sometimes less is more.  This time I’m showing a couple of tops I’ve made for my Mum.  The pattern is one that has been used so very many times, I honestly can say I have lost count of how many versions of this top have been made for her.  It’s #134 from the March 2004 issue of Burda magazine.

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The magazine version is made with raw edges on neckline, sleeves and hem.  They’ve also got bias cut strips sewn diagonally across the front.  Now, mum is even less interested in “fluff” on her clothes than I am, so these bias strips have never seen the light of day on one of her tops.  She’s also not into raw edges.  So I’ve added 1.5cm hems to the sleeves and hem which are double turned and topstitched to keep everything nice and neat.

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There are only three main pattern pieces, front, back and sleeves.  It’s cut on the bias, but even so you don’t need an awful lot of fabric for this garment, just 1.2m of 150cm wide fabric will do the trick.  For finishing off  the neckline I add a 4cm wide bias strip, sewn with a 1cm allowance.  Sometimes it’s double folded and turned to the inside, sometimes it’s folded up and exposed, as you would a jersey neckband.  All depends on how I feel doing it at the time!  French seams have been used throughout, it makes for such a neat finish.  I’ve also straightened the point at the neck to make it more of an angle than a curve.

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The fabrics for these two tops came from Truro Fabrics in September.  The red is a cotton voile, that I only realised had flaws after I’d cut out the pieces.  Unfortunately they were placed on the fabric so that I wouldn’t have had a chance of avoiding them even if I had noticed them in time.  They aren’t obvious and shouldn’t be too weak, but just incase, I reinforced the back of those areas with some fine sheer polyester fusible interfacing.

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The blue shell fabric is a lovely crisp cotton lawn, I love the dramatic colour contrast and I hope Mum will too!  These will make a good adition to her summer wardrobe, the blue shell top might even make it to winter, to be worn under a cardi or light jumper.  It never really gets that cold on the coast where they live.  Not like the snow and -7C temperatures we’ve had here in the last few days!  But I’m not complaining, I love snow!

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For Dad I chose to crochet a throw/lap blanket.  Before my local wool shop and haberdashery closes forever on Chrismas eve, I grapped a load of wool on the cheap and proceeded to get busy with the crochet hook.  The blanket is about 1m wide and 1.2m long, so big enough as a cover while watching the telly in the winter.  I chose dark grey, teal, oatmeal and a lime for a bit of pop and make a few versions of a couple of different granny squares, trying to make the colours as varied as possible.  Some of the squares I used can be found on this list.

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Crochet throw/lap blanket

It’s lovely to give handmade items as Christmas gifts, but you do have to plan in advance, because if you wait for the beginning of December to wake up, you’ll have to make really quick and easy projects!  I might just do this again next year, starting my making in October seems to be about right.

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Sewing PJs for Christmas

A confession – I don’t sew things that often for Christmas.  In fact, it’s really rare for me to give sewn goodies for Christmas!  But this year I thought a change was due.  This was mostly brought on by the purchase (in October!!) of a superking size brushed cotton duvet set from my local Aldi.  The minute I saw it I knew it would be fabulous for some Christmas pjs.

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It seems I was infected with a pj making bug for a while.  Using Closet Case Patterns Carolyn pjs, I traced the 8 and the 10 and made 3 pairs of pants in those sizes, one each for my girls and one for a friend.  Each pair has a different trim detail on the cuffs and different topstitching.  I can only show you Daughter No2’s set, the others were packed up and sent off!  Then Daughter No1 asked nicely if I could make a pair of men’s pj pants for her partner, and a full set of pjs for his nephew.  I must have been feeling generous, because I said yes!

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A little trim on the cuffs instead of traditional piping. Each pair is different.
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I used different topstitching details on each pair of pj pants too. Just because they’re from the same fabric, doesn’t mean they all have to look exactly the same!

For Nephew’s pjs, I dug through my collection of vintage, retro and oop patterns, eventually finding an 80s Burda kids pj pattern, 4222.  I made the 10 year old size, pants and top.  It came together really quickly, buttons, coloured threads and elastic all from the stash.  I love the round Peter Pan collar and grey buttons, I used a mustard thread for sewing on the buttons, and for some of the topstitching.  It just adds a little bit of something different.  Those grey buttons came off the suit I took apart for The Refashioners project, reused and recycled!

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Burda Kid’s pjs

I added cuffs at the sleeves and on the trouser hems, because we all know how quickly boys can grow!  I’m quite chuffed with how these turned out, and I bet I’m going to be asked for more next Christmas!

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A little mustard thread on the buttons

The men’s pj pattern is 143 from Burda 12/2010, available as a download here.  I added inseam pockets to this pair, I think pockets are a must, even in pj pants.  I used orange thread for contrast on this pair, the fly and hem are nice and bright!  It’s a quick and easy pattern to run up, even with the addition of hidden inseam pockets.  They have already had the thumbs up, both this pair and Daughter No1’s have been approved as being comfy and cosy, so job done!  Anyone else have matching pjs?

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Men’s pj pants, Burda #134 12/2010

I have to confess to having to buy a second duvet set, turns out that even though there’s a lot of fabric in a superking size duvet, there’s not enough length for all the pjs I had to make!  However, Daughter No2’s boyfriend recently moved house and required new goodies all round, so I was able to resize the second duvet set to a double cover and give it to him, with the remaining pillow cases.  I even used the little drawstring bags the duvet sets originally came in, they made good pj bags!

 

Hopping on the Bandwagon

So, last year, or it could have been earlier this year, my Instagram feed was chocca block with sewists singing the praises of the Toaster Sweater and the Saunio Cardigan.  It seemed every second person was sewing either one or both of these patterns.  I didn’t get it, and made a Talvikki instead!  However, I’m here to set things right.  The Toaster pattern eventually made its way into my pattern collection and now that I’ve finally made it up, I know what all the fuss was about!

There are a lot of pieces, which means it needs a little more fabric than it would if, for instance there was no separate hem band and double folded cuffs.  But it still only just needs 1.5m (all depending on how good you are at pattern piece tetris).  And it’s quick to make.  I start by pinning everything together that I can, the cuff seams, hem band side seam, back seam in the neck band and all the raglan shoulder seams, and feed them through the overlocker in a single long line.  After that it’s quick to turn things the right way out, fold along foldlines and pin in place.  It probably takes 2 hours, from starting to cut to the last finished stitch, quicker if you don’t topstitch the seams!

The reason why I reached for this pattern was a little post by Lesley (@sew_sleep_deprived) on Instagram.  She’d just purchased two fleece throws from Asda, and was going to make Toaster sweaters with them.  Good idea thinks me, quickly looking at Asda’s online offering of fleece throws.  They have Christmas fleece throws – CHRISTMAS JUMPERS!!  It took all of 2 seconds for me to decide I was going to follow her excellent example and get me some Christmas fleece throws!  Daughter No1 is addicted to anything Christmassy and the iconic Christmas jumper is right up her street!

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Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater

After hustling myself to the nearest Asda, I came away with a pack of two throws, one red with white dear and one plain cream.  After ripping out all of the coverstitch hemming all round the red throw I started looking at the off grain pattern and wonky cut edges.  Nothing lined up!  I decided to sacrifice the pattern being straight for the straight grain and proceeded to lay out my pieces.  It just all fits on, and that was the smallest size!

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All seams are topstitched with a twin needle

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But it’s so cute!  And warm!  It must be said that these fleece throws are 100% polyester and should be kept well away from open flames, Christmas candles etc!  Of course when Daughter No2 saw the finished result, she wanted one too.  She was happy to have the plain cream fleece, not being quite as wacky a dresser as her older sister!

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dsc_0006-01495468675.jpegAgain, the grain and the edges of the throw did not line up, but it wasn’t as bad as the red one so it was easier to get everything on and cut out.  She’s really happy with her new sweater, and I didn’t even need to lengthen the sleeves, a first, let me tell you!  She has asked me to make it slightly less baggy in the back for the next time, it might just be the fabric though.

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Only the cuffs, hem band and neck band were stitched on this version

So now it seems I have another TNT pattern, and have made another for Daughter No2 using a quilted navy jersey!  It was run up on Sunday at my sewing group.  This time, to make it less baggy I took in the side seams and made a very slight sway back adjustment.  We’ll have to see if it worked.  I love the fabric, again it’s 100% polyester though, but good colour!  I just hope it doesn’t pill.  I had hoped to cut two from the 2m length, but it wasn’t to be, so there’s enough for something else.  Maybe the padded neckline sweater from the previous post…

I love finding patterns I like the finished look of, and like to make!  It makes things quicker and I can almost picture my fabric in the pattern because I’ve used it so often!  I have a few TNT patterns, from trousers to jackets to tops, and if this post and the previous one are anything to go by, the Talvikki, Toaster and that padded neckline Burda top have joined the list!  I imagine it won’t be too long before she’s visiting from uni to collect the next instalment of additions to her winter wardrobe, there’s a coat toile waiting to be fitted…

 

A Plethora of Sweaters

I undertook a major sweater-making endeavour in October.  I’d ordered 2m each of black fleece lined sweatshirting and pale grey ponte from Fabworks Online for myself at the beginning of the month and decided not to let them enter my stash.  This was the start of a whole heap of sweaters!

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Named Talvikki Sweater in black sweatshirting

I started with the black sweatshirt fabric, having decided it would make a very nice new Talvikki.  Following the first one I made back in the beginning of the year, I knew I needed to widen the neck.  It’s always been a “little” snug getting on over my head!  And I didn’t think I had a big head…  So I made the darts in the front neckline narrower and widened the facing accordingly, making it 1.5cm wider overall.  What a difference it made!  Easy peasy to get on now.  The only other adjustment I made was to shorten the length of the slit on the sides, lengthening the seams themselves by 5cm.

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It’s those radiating darts that make this pattern so great!

But – now I had left-over black sweatshirt fabric that had nowhere to go but into the stash.  This was not ideal.  I really didn’t want it sitting around, so had a browse through some of this year’s Burda magazines.  August’s issue came up trumps (I didn’t have to go too far back!) with a cropped square-cut top, pattern number 112.  So I traced the two smallest sizes, confirmed with daughter no 2 that she liked the idea of a black cropped sweater and went for it.  There was just enough fabric in all the right sizes and shapes for the pieces.

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Burda Cropped Top

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The padded neckline is supposed to be stuffed with wadding – which I don’t have.  So I cut a length of the sweatshirting and rolled it up instead, worked a dream!  Dead easy and very quick to make, this top is a doddle.  It does need a sturdy fabric to hold the shape nicely.  When daughter no2 finally came home she approved, big time!  Maybe her only request for the next time would be to make the sleeves a little narrower, keep the cold out!

Next up was the third version of a Burdastyle top from 2015, using the pale grey ponte.  While I love the style lines of this top, it’s actually been slightly disappointing in the execution.  It’s too square, too baggy, and the lines get lost.  But – it’s great to wear anyway and comfy too.  I was hoping this fabric would work better than the previous two, but nope. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.  I’m wearing it anyway!  But I may be calling time on this one, I don’t think I’ll be making another – for me anyway.

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I really love the seam detailing on this top

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Left: Back seam detail and square armholes with back sleeve seam; Right top: Front slit; Right bottom: Dart and seam intersecting details on the front and side.

However, once again, I have left over fabric.  I really do wish Fabworks would make it easier to buy half metres, this only having whole metres on offer unless you email and ask nicely is a pain in the wotsit.  So this time I decided to make a top for daughter no1!  Same pattern as the black top for daughter no2, but in the smallest size.  Being a thinner fabric than the sweatshirting, the finished top has a different look to the first one, but was received just as well!  By the way, daughter no1 got her sweaters first.

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So, four sweaters and 4m of fabric!  NO WASTE!  Well, what there was has gone in the rag bag for textile recycling, but nothing has gone in the stash, result!  However, while I was happily using up these fabrics, I was eyeing out more…  Daughter no2 wondered if I could make her another sweater with sweatshirting fabric.  And I was looking for coat fabric.  So I ended up back on the Fabworks website, putting 2m of racing green sweatshirt fabric and 3m of Autumn Maple lambswool into my basket.  I mean, you can’t just spend £5 on postage for only £10 of fabric! It has to be worthwhile…  And that wool is just divine!!  (coat to follow soon-ish)

I decided this time to make her a Talvikki sweater and traced the 8/10.  It was whipped up in an afternoon, but of course, it left a fair bit of fabric behind – again!  I wondered if she wanted something else with the green, another of any of the other sweaters, but nope, she didn’t want another green one.  Then daughter no1 came to visit and collect the other things I’d made (some still to be blogged).

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Named Clothing Talvikki Sweater

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Let’s just say that green Talvikki went home with her and I had to make another, likkity split!!  I had a day between daughter no1 going back to her home and daughter no2 arriving at mine for her reading week, to replace the original one.  But this time I had been warned to widen the neck, just as I’d had to do for my own.  Even daughter no1, whose head isn’t exactly large, had a problem in getting the Talvikki on over her head.   I wonder if that’s something other people have had an issue with with their Talvikki sweaters?  Have you made one and had trouble pulling it over your head,or is it just us??

I made the same adjustments for the second green sweater as I’d made for my own and it all seemed to work out fine.  I was pretty glad there was enough of the racing green sweatshirting to run up another sweater, but the girls need to make sure they discuss outfits before they meet up anywhere!

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So that covers some of the sweaters I’ve made in the last few weeks, but it’s not all of them!  Stay tuned for my first adventures with the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater that everyone and their best friend was sewing earlier this year.

Stashbusting Trousers

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There’s a lot of sewing to catch up on, so here goes.  Two years ago I made a purchase of two pieces of grey wool (amongst other things – of course) from Croft Mill Fabrics.  One of the pieces of wool is a suiting weight blend of viscose and mohair, and really wasn’t what I’d expected when it turned up!  I pictured something thicker and warmer – snuggly…  This was fine, had a sheen and was rather fluid.  So it went into the stash until I could come up with something.

Eventually, after making this pair of Burda trousers earlier in the year, I decided to reuse the pattern and finally make up the silver grey fabric.  Go stashbusting!  I opted for the longer length view and the mini turn ups, leaving off the welt pockets at the back.  I don’t use the ones on the other trousers at all, and it’s just annoying to have to iron the darn things flat each time.

I used the same fitting alterations as the last time, but didn’t shorten the pattern at all! There is no stretch in this fabric at all, and it’s shown that I probably need to make a chunky calf adjustment.  It wasn’t a problem with the last pair because of the stretch content.  Because the fabric is so thin and fine I decided to add a little something and raided my linings bag for something suitable to line the trousers.  I picked out a green viscose lining and used it to half line the fronts.

There are no contrast fabrics anywhere else, the waistband and pockets are all in the main fabric.  I’m really happy with the result, although I can see that they may not make it all the way through winter, being so thin.  But they’re surprisingly warm(-ish).  I love the mini turn-ups, and the finished length is perfect for wearing with heels or my silver brouges.  Definitely making another sometime.  I’ve worn them once a week since I made them, which is a good sign!

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Details
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Love these little cuffs!

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More catching up to come, although it won’t be stashbusting…

 

Morgan Jeans

In between playing with ricocheting sequins and vintage patterns, I decided to make (finally) a pair of Morgan Boyfriend Jeans.  I bought the pattern earlier this year and got the non-stretch denim from Croft Mill Fabrics at the same time.  It’s one of the few pieces of fabric I have bought this year, and I’m chuffed that it’s been used!  No stash building here.

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Morgan Boyfriend Jeans

I started the project back in April with very careful measuring!  The instructions are pretty clear that as the fabric will be stiff and has no give, that you might have to go up a size.  Added to that, it’s supposed to be snug on the hip and if you happen to be between sizes, the advice is to pick the bigger size.  So I really wanted it to be right!  Being so used to my Birkin Flares with their fabulous stretch and fit, I was wary of jeans that wouldn’t have that give!

On the measurement chart, I was between the 18 & 20 on the waist, and between the 14 & 16 on the hip!  So, deciding that I didn’t mind a slightly slouchier fit on the hip, and thinking that I might just need that with the heavier fabric, I picked the 18 to trace.  I toiled, following all the instructions to the “T” as it’s the first time I was using this pattern.

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I had a rather fetching heavyweight brocade ex-curtain from the charity shop for my toiles.  The instructions are pretty good, illustrations to accompany the instructions and I had no problems there at all.  The first toile was excitedly put on, just in time for me to be disappointed.  It was far too big!  It literally fell down around my knees once I’d let go of the pinned waistband.  The fit across the hip was too loose, length far too long (although I expected that) and everything just too roomy.  I started by taking it in and then realised I really just needed a different size all over.

I went down a size, retoiled and swapped the fly opening to the opposite side and shortened the leg length.  Better this time, but still really roomy across the hip and on the upper thigh.  Given that it’s supposed to be fitted in those areas, I started to wonder if this was the pattern for me.  It was all put aside while I grumped for a bit got on with other projects.

So when I was looking for a break from all the sequins, I thought of the jeans again.  Going back to the toile I took in the outside leg seams up to the hip line, inside legseams, took a wedge out of the centre back, changed the crotch line, shortened the crotch depth and shortened the leg.  Phew!!  The toile was better, but as always, it’s the proper fabric that will tell if you’ve done the right job or not.  So I figured I’d best just get on with it.

 

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The fabric was difficult to work with purely because of the stiffness.  My old Bernina had no problem with the bulk and I used a jeans twin needle for all the double lines of topstitching.  I chose two different colours for the topstitching just for fun.  In the areas where just one line was needed I used the colour that had been closest to the edges.

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Dual tone top-stitching & non-regulation jeans buttons!

Buttons came from the stash, and are definitely not jeans buttons!  But hey, I wasn’t going to use rivets either, so why not use non-jeans buttons…

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The fit is much better than the first and second toile, but I wonder if there’s still too much ease in the thigh area.  I’m not 100% happy with the fit under the butt either and feel I need a belt to keep them in place on my hip.  Length is good, comfortably worn rolled up or not.  And the pockets are perfect!  Easy to get your hands into, and the back pockets are the right size to take a phone and not lose it!  Good sized pockets are important.

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So here’s the dilemma,  are my issues with the “fit” just issues with wearing a stiff fabric in a pattern that has way more ease than what I’m used to?  I have loads of baggy linen trousers, but they’re soft and drapey, not stiff and bulky, so the feel is very different.  I’ve looked for people online who’ve made this size in the Morgans and found nothing clear.  Are there any sewists out there who’ve made the bigger sizes, and by that I mean the last two or three???

I’m happy with what I’ve produced, don’t get me wrong, but there are niggles.  Not that they’re stopping me wearing the jeans!  They came in very hand during our week in Cornwall last week. (Why is our week always the wet and windy one?)  I might pop them in the tumble drier to soften the fabric a bit, apparently that’ll help.

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Now that we’re back from holiday and I’ve got a couple of traced coat patterns, I need to get on.  Daughter No2 goes back to uni next week and I – in my completely sane mind – thought September would be good for a coat making month.  It’s half way through (almost) already and all I have are two toiles and 3 traced patterns.  Best I pull up my socks!

 

Shout to the Top

Take a bag of fabric scraps and a simple pattern, no small amount of time and fiddling and you’re rewarded with a pretty unique item of clothing.  I’d wanted to make a tee from the different white and blue pieces of jersey in the scrapbag for ages, inspired by a tee from a Burda magazine from a couple of years ago.

I decided to make the Lark Tee, traced the 4 with slightly widened shoulders, moving to the 2 at the waist and then out to the 6 for the hip.  This was to be for a friend.  I started by tracing the outline of the tee from the pattern art/line drawings and playing around with placement of the different prints.

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Trying out different pattern placements

It needed to be done hand in hand with checking the actual amounts of the different fabrics, no point in deciding to do a large panel and finding out later there was only enough for a neckband!  Once I decided I’d have enough of each of the pieces to do the required panels, I started blocking off the traced pattern, making sure each piece had a grainline and was labelled with the intended fabric.  I also marked the top and bottom of each piece.  The fronts and backs were cut separately.  There were two types of blue and white stripe, a solid navy blue and a piece of navy blue with randomly placed white blocks.  As each piece was cut I pinned and sewed, making a full front and back.

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On the left are the pieces for the back, front pieces on the right with the sleeve in the middle and the neckband on the top front panel

I’d have liked to have been able to have more of the solid blue, but as I told myself I was only using what I had this is the result.  I’m pretty chuffed with it, for a pretty much free tee, can it get better?  Afterall, I’ve used the narrow stripe on 3 other tees, and the solid  blue on two.  That pile of stuff on the right of the above photo is what was left once I’d finished cutting!  Not too shabby!!

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The finished tee, modeled by Betty.

I haven’t been able to persuade my friend to show it off herself yet, so Betty will have to do.  It’s a little baggy on her as she hasn’t the same shape.

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Neckline detail
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Left side with the wide stripes running round from front to back
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Right side with narrow stripes matching
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Last, but not least, the back!

Now that this has turned out so well, I’m keen to make another – but for me this time!  It’ll join the sewing queue, so it might be a while before I’m showing it off! I have just finished my Morgan Jeans today, so perhaps their blog post will be ready mid September…

What’s on your sewing table for the weekend?