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Self Drafted Christmas PJ’s for Toddlers

Warning: This post contains some seriously cute photos!

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Hello everyone, so Christmas! Christmas Christmas Christmas, it’s now totally fine to talk about it now that Halloween and Bonfire Night have passed and we have officially entered what marketers call the ‘golden quarter’. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Christmas, but let’s admit, it’s all got a little bit out of hand. The gluttony, the expense, the consumerism. For some years now I seem to have moved away from buying gifts and try to make them instead, or as many as I can. I usually start this about September, which I suppose is annoyingly organised, but I need this much time to fit it all in. Right now I feel a little overwhelmed by all the handmade gifts I have mounting up, on top of preparing for a craft fair I’m having a stall at in December.

If you’re in Leeds you should come down to the Slung Low Christmas Fayre, a true festive treat with carols, storytelling and a glass of mulled wine or three. They let all the crafters have a stall for free, just because they are awesome, and want to support creative individuals.

I wanted to get these pyjamas out of the way before the manic Christmas crafting starts. Evan’s been having a bit of a growth spurt, and I needed to make him something warm and cosy for winter months. As Christmas clothing is all the rage now, I thought I’d have a go at self drafting my own Christmas Pyjama pattern. My requirements were to use a sublimely soft fabric, and keep them traditional and festive. They also needed to be extra roomy to allow for lots of moving about, both whilst sleeping and the mandatory pre-sleep jump on the bed session.

Christmas Toddler Pyjama sewing

Project Stats

Fabric: 100% brushed cotton tartan from B&M Fabrics in Leeds Market
Cost: I used just under 1.5m, which cost me £7.50
Pattern: Self drafted – to be released on my blog as a free download soon
Time: 6 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Christmas Toddler Pyjamas Sewing

The pattern was pretty easy to put together, just a basic trouser and shirt pattern. I modified some of my work for my toddler shirt pattern, but added extra ease, and created a rounded collar.
Toddler Christmas Pyjama Sewing

Materials

The brushed cotton sold itself to me as soon as I felt it. It actually is soft as a babies skin, so perfect for little ones sleepwear. It was beautiful to work with, and all I could think about was how I needed more to make myself a festive dress. Unfortunately it’s sold out now, which is probably a good thing, as I’d buy it all. I also used some interfacing on the collar pieces and the facings.

The buttons were a lucky find from my button jar. I think the colour works perfectly, and they are large enough for Evan to try and do himself, but small enough to suit the garment.

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Garment Assembly

I used a mixture of my overlocker and sewing machine to make these pyjamas, which meant I whipped them up in no time at all.

Trouser construction

Just a matter of sewing up the side seams, and then joining up the inside legs and crotch in one fell swoop. Nice and easy. I then attached some elastic to the waistband using the overlocker with the knife dis-engaged. I folded the elastic inside the waistband twice, and using the sewing machine did a double row of topstitching to secure it in place. I then hemmed the trouser legs.
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Top construction

To begin with I added a pocket to the front of the shirt. I decided to cut this on the bias, to give a contrasting effect on the pattern. After topstitching the pocket in place, I prepared and attached the facings at centre front, and finished with some decorative topstitching. It was then a pretty standard process to complete the top. I joined the back and front pieces at the shoulders, and then attached the sleeves before sewing up at the sides. I hemmed the sleeve cuffs and then moved on to adding the collar. I kind of muddled my though this, but was happy with how tidy it came out. I’ll attempt putting it on to words when I get the pattern and tutorial uploaded to the blog. Yes you heard right, I am planning to give you this pattern for free. Call it a Christmas present :) I sewed the buttonholes, attached the buttons, and finished off with the hem.
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General happiness rating

:smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: – I rate this make 5 smileys. Top smiley points!
I adore these pyjamas on Evan, and I love knowing that they will keep him cosy and warm this winter. He doesn’t wear a lot of red, but it really suits him, so it’s nice to see him in a different colour. He clearly enjoys wearing them, and I’ll say that joy is contagious. I think this might be my first make I’ve rated 5 smileys, well tis’ the season to be jolly!
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Do look out for this pattern and tutorial, which I’ll upload to the blog as soon as I can (My computer is broken again so it’ll take longer than I hoped it to). It’ll be free as usual, and available in three sizes, 1-2, 2-3, and 3-4 years.
I’d love to hear about your Christmas to do lists, what are you all making?
Until the next time, tidings of comfort and joy!
Amy x
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The Schnittchen Malu Coat

Ok, so here in the UK the news would have you believe we are heading for a freak artic freeze this winter, the coldest in 100 years … or we’re not, depending on which publication you read. Perhaps horrendous weather headlines sell as many papers as photos of Kim Kardashians bottom? People are seemingly enthralled by extremes, be it derrières or climate conditions. If it is true and winter intends to do it’s worst, I’d advise Mrs. Kardashian West to sew herself a wooly winter coat, and perhaps work out how to do a full butt adjustment. She doesn’t want to be parading about all bare cheeked, tipsy on champers and ill-prepared once we hit sub zero. Don’t you know our extremities are the first to go love, I’d look after your ‘ass’ets!

Me however, I’m ready. Winter do your worst! I introduce to you, the first coat I’ve made, The Schnittchen Malu coat, and it wasn’t nearly as scary as I’d thought.

SchnittchenMaluCoat13

Project Stats

Fabric: 3m of mystery mix fabric from the Abakhan sale back in the summer, cotton for the lining, and some curly faux fur the inside hood
Cost: £7 for the main fabric, £8 for the lining, £6 buttons and £12 for the faux fur. All in £33
Pattern: The Schnittchen Malu Coat
Time: 2 days of sewing
Difficulty: Surprisingly easy!

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The Pattern

The Malu Coat is a relaxed fit coat in two lengths, to the hips or the knees. It features kimono sleeves, hem cuffs, and optional welt pockets/hood. You can choose between zip or button fastening.

Schnittchen are a small German pattern company, started by Silke a couple of years ago. I really like their youthful and simple style, and I have another Schnittchen pattern in the pipeline. Many (although not all, I want this beauty!) are available in English, and they supply printed or PDF patterns. For Malu I worked from a PDF pattern, which involved 72 pages of cutting and sticking together. For me this was the most tedious part of the whole process, and the final sheet was huge!

The directions with the PDF pattern aren’t the greatest, and I don’t think you’d be able to sew the garment from these instructions alone. Luckily after reading Ruth’s post, I noticed that there was an online photo tutorial for sewing Malu on the Schnittchen site. It’s in German, but my browser did an ok job of translating it, and this together with the PDF instructions finally made much better sense. It did take awhile for me to figure out the process, but once I had it was plain sailing. Nonetheless, I would have preferred clearer and more detailed instructions from the get go.

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Materials

I managed to swipe just enough of the main coat fabric back in the Abakhan 70% of sale back in August, which is a great place to go for bargains. Trouble is you never know exactly the fiber content so it’s pot luck really. I’m guessing it’s some kind of wool mix. To touch it feels a lot like a wool which has been felted. As soon as I found it I had visions of some kind of oversized coat, like the kind your granddad would wear, (not sure when this became a good thing fashion wise by my book??). I love the green and red flecks on the navy fabric, it just adds a bit of interest. It turned out to be a joy to sew with. It behaved well, and pressed beautifully when just a little seam was applied. I’m usually not a fan of pressing, but I did enjoy this process when working with the wool mix.

I chose a plain green 100% cotton to line the coat with. Before making this jacket I found a great PDF article about lining coats which helped me decide which fabric to pick. Having never made a coat before, I really wasn’t sure what to go for. Should I go for something breathable? Slippery so it would glide on and off easy? Insulating for the cold winter months? All I was certain of was that I wanted the lining to be bright, and offset the flecks of colour in the main fabric. I decided to go for cotton as it was a natural medium weight fiber, breathable, absorbent and easy to care for. It also wasn’t going to break the bank.

As it was a winter coat, and I hate being cold, I thought it would be a nice touch to line the inside of the hood with some faux fur. Again I wanted to go with something a bit different and stick to green to match the lining. I’ve also got green eyes, and for some reason I always think wearing green brings out their colour.

If you’re looking for faux furs, the best selection I’ve found online was at Mohair Bear Making Supplies, and I found out that the top quality stuff is called Tissavel. When I realised I’d be spending more on a small piece of hood lining than the rest of the jacket, I decided to try and find something cheaper, and ordered this curly emerald green faux fur from eBay. I can’t help regretting this decision, as the fur I used, as nice as it looks, just doesn’t feel as soft as I’d imagined. I wanted to feel like my head was nestled in a polar bears armpit (a friendly one like Iorek Byrnison in the ‘Dark Materials’ trilogy). I think I’ll splash out and try some Tissavel next time I sew up a project like this, or at least get a sample and test the stroke-factor.

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Sizing / modifications

Perhaps recklessly I didn’t make a muslin for this jacket. Any similar fabric I could have bought would have probably cost me more than the fabric I was using, so I just decided to go for it and hope for the best. It’s not a fitted style, and any extra room can only be a good thing when it’s extra cold and you want to wear a jumper underneath. I cut a size 42, which is a UK size 14. I think next time a 40 (size 12) would fit me a lot better, as it is a little roomy and I think the arms are slightly too long. It does feel kind of massive! There also seems to be a lot of extra space around the armpits and chest area. I’m unsure if I’ll have another go at this coat and make the adjustments needed, although I’m sure they would be straightforward to do so.

Garment Assembly

I’ve been managing to fit more sewing in than usual over the past few weeks, and it took me two days to sew up the coat (not including cutting out). This was also whilst I looked after the wee one, so it wasn’t two full days of sewing, just when I got a spare moment and in the evenings. The fact that the sleeves are Kimono style I imagine make it a lot faster than dealing with separate sleeve pieces, so it’s mainly just a few long, wavy seams to sew for the main jacket and the lining.

Welt Pockets

This was my first attempt at welt pockets, and the process is a slightly daunting prospect if you’ve not had a go at one. It involves cutting a slit in to your main pattern pieces, and then pulling the pocket through to the back of the garment. The photo instructions on Schnittchen site were very helpful here. I really should have had a practice, because once you’ve cut in to your piece there is no going back, and I had no spare fabric. Luckily though, the pockets came out perfect, so that’s another box ticked. I did two rows of stitching around the pocket edge, just to give them some extra strength.

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Furry hood lining

The fur wasn’t the easiest to sew, but with lots of pins and making sure the pile sat where I wanted it to with my fingers, it turned out fine. It felt a bit odd working with a novelty fabric, but I’m pleased with the final result and think it suits the coat.

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Coat lining

The lining was sewn up in a similar fashion to the main fabric, but it includes two pleats at the centre seam, which I think provide a little bit of extra space and ease for wearing. This is then attached to some facings, and to the jacket at the hood and hemline. It’s all sewn on the sewing machine, and to finish you pull the coat through a gap left in the lining to turn it the right way out. I love that the lining is such a bright green.

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General happiness rating

:smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: – I rate this make 4 smileys

Firstly, I am actually over the moon that I made a coat and found it so straightforward. I wore it all of last week, and have had so many nice comments about it, and someone has even asked me to make one for them! The biggest niggle for me is that it does rather look like a dressing gown, but I’m coming round to thinking that is also a plus point. Most mornings I’ve left the house by 6.20am for work, and at that time I’d much rather be in my pyjamas than leaving the house. Luckily with this coat, I still get to feel like I’m in my dressing gown. The worst part of being so warm and comfortable for my dark early morning drives is that it takes more effort to stay awake than normal!

This make has been a wonderful entry in to coat making terrain, and I’d fully recommend the pattern as a great, simple, easy to sew jacket. I’ve got the bug now, I love working with heavy wool mixes, and I feel a quest to sew the perfect jacket might be on the horizon.

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Other bloggers who’ve made this pattern

Here are my three favourite Malu coats which are all very different, and show off the versatility of the pattern.

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I think I’ll leave it there for this week, but first I need to warn you of a full on cuteness alert for my next post. I made Evan some Christmas PJ’s and we did a jumping on the bed photo shoot earlier on today. So it’ll be a super bouncy post next time. It would be great to hear what you think of my jacket, and I’d like to know if you have made or are planning any outwear garments recently? Are they as contagiously fun as I’ve found it?

Happy sewing everyone, ta ra!

Lace insert cropped jacket make for White Tree Fabrics

White Tree Bloggers Lace Jacket
Wow, am I happy to bring you this project! It’s my first make as part of the White Tree blogging team, and it’s taken me four months from receiving the materials to completion. I did intend to have it finished earlier, as it’s really a jacket with more of a summer feel. But hey, sometimes life has other plans for us and there is no point worrying about not finishing projects as quickly as we’d like to. Apart from life getting in the way, it was a time consuming make for a number of reasons. The first was that I self drafted the pattern, and it took awhile to get it right. I also then wanted to create a prototype before cutting in to the gorgeous Tilda cotton. My practice garment was my tape cassette jacket, which I wore to Bestival festival. When I was happy with my basic pattern I hacked about with it a bit to allow for the lace insert. It was inserting the lace that made me feel nervous, and I needed to be in the right frame of mind to tackle this part of the project. (i.e not mind boggingly tired and driven crazy by a toddler who wants to watch Thomas the Tank Engine on repeat). I haven’t worked with lace before, yet alone such a stunning, special and expensive guipure lace. I really didn’t want to mess this part up. I had a vivid image of how I wanted this jacket to turn out, and I spent a long time working out how to achieve it. In the end I think I had to compromise my vision with what I could practically achieve. There were a few moments in this make that I wished for instructions to follow, but eventually my instinct got me there.

Tilda jacket stats

Fabric: Tilda Jane Blue Grey Cotton, Random flower guipure, A pink poly-cotton for the lining, Cotton elastane ribbing for collars/cuffs
Cost: The Tilda cotton and Flower Guipure was kindly donated to me by White Tree Fabrics, The poly cotton was £3.50 from Leeds Market, and the Cotton elastane ribbing was from Plush Addict and left over from a previous project
Pattern: Self drafted cropped jacket. My first version is the tape cassette jacket blogged here
Time: Could be completed in a day
Difficulty: Medium, because it involved some intricate hand sewing

Materials

Tilda Cotton Guipure Lace

Tilda Jane Blue Grey Cotton

I hadn’t heard or used Tilda fabric before, but as soon as I had it in my hand you could tell it was a premium quality cotton, which is soft and buttery to the touch. Tilda is a craft brand founded by Norwegian designer Tone Finnanger in 1999, best known for its whimsical and naive characters in the form of animals and dolls. The prints are delicate, with a county cottage / shabby chic style feel. They feature quaint floral designs, polka dots, stripes and are typically very feminine and pretty. Now this isn’t my signature style, but I thought I’d branch out a little. I can see the Tilda range of fabrics really lending themselves to a lot of home furnishing, toy clothing and dressmaking style projects.

Random Flower Guipure

Guipure lace is a firm, stiff lace, without a net background. The shapes in guipure are typically large patterns, that are held together by large connecting stitches. It’s perfect for garment cut outs because it has enough structure to hold its shape nicely. It cuts really easily without falling apart, and I’ve heard, but not tested that it also dyes well.

The Pattern

Did I already mention this pattern was self drafted? I did? Oh well, high fives anyway! It consists of a standard bodice back, front and sleeve pieces with rectangular strips used for the cuffs, neckline and hem. To create the lace insert I cut out the desired shape in the back bodice piece, which left a big hole to fill in later! When creating it I was certain I wanted to make a garment with a lace insert (White Tree have a great selection of fancy laces, and I couldn’t resist giving one a try) but I was toying between two ideas. The first was an elegant blazer, with a see through lace back, and the second was a more sporty jacket with a feminine lacy twist, like a mix mash of sporty and baby spice in one. Probably difficult to put in to words my vision but there you have it. I decided on the sporty option because I was intrigued if it would work or not.

My pattern was a cropped bomber style jacket, fully lined, zip fastened, with a narrow ribbing neckline, and ribbing cuffs and hem.

My pattern was a cropped bomber style jacket, fully lined, zip fastened, with a thin ribbing neckline, and ribbing cuffs and hem.

Initially I didn’t want any lining behind the lace at the back of the garments, so that you could see through to skin. I couldn’t quite work out how to sew it like this though, and on reflection I would probably always wear something underneath it, so just decided to fully line it. I hope the lining I chose compliments and contrasts the lace successfully.
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Garment Assembly

Guipure Lace Insert

This was the trickiest and scariest part. I couldn’t afford to make a mistake. I made myself a super charged vegan iced coffee (do ask if you’re interested) and got to work with a caffeine fueled bravado. You can see on the image below how at the selvedges the lace has beautiful teardrop shaped lobes. I wanted to incorporate these in to my triangular panel at the edges, but to do so would be a challenge that involved cutting in to the fabric and sewing back together again.
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I took a long hard look at the lace and tried to visualise if I could cut it in a way that I would be able to sew up again, without it looking too obvious. This was the result:
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I then delicately sat and hand sewed the two pieces together as invisibly as I could, trimming off any excess lace as I went along. I held my breath, without daring to think about what could go wrong. Luckily I seemed to be pulling this off, and ended up with one piece I was really happy with.
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I needed to tidy up the teardrops at the point of the triangle, and had slight concerns about how it would fit with my other pieces along the neckline, but I’d winged it so far hadn’t I. Someone or something was on my side.

Sewing together

I hand sewed the lace piece to the back bodice, and then machine stitched the neckline piece to the top of the lace. At some point, my back bodice piece had become a little distorted, where the shoulders were different widths, and didn’t fit well with the front bodice piece when sewing together at the shoulders. To rectify this, I had to sew at the shoulders a little lower, and then re-shape the armholes by cutting in to the fabric, to replace the lost height at the shoulders. Oh golly, it all sounds a bit drastic, and it was, but I had no spare fabric so I did what I could.

On reflection – a better option would have been to complete the lace panel first, before cutting out any of the back panel pieces. This would have meant I could have cut out the exact sized shape, rather than try to fit my lace in to a hole that was too large and left the rest of the garment mis-shapen.

I continued to sew up the garment. The sleeves were tricky because I had *reshaped* the armholes and the set in sleeves didn’t fit properly. You can see on the photos there are a couple of puckers, but nothing so awful it would stop me from wearing it. Once it was together, I tried it on, and it didn’t look half bad. Hells bells. I then went ahead and put together the lining in a similar fashion.

Ribbing

I knew that the general rule of thumb is to cut ribbing 2/3 to 3/4 of the length of the piece it’s being applied to, depending on how much you want it to hug that area. With this in mind I worked out the dimensions for my rectangles and cut out shapes for the neckline, cuffs and waistline.

For the neckline ribbing I used a 1.5cm high strip

For the neckline ribbing I used a 1.5cm high strip.

Zip

I attached the zip using my zipper foot, and sewed through both the lining and main fabric, so that you could see the stitching from the front. I then hand tacked the back of the zip to the lining of the garment to keep it flat.
Jacket8

General Happiness Rating

:smile: :smile: :smile: – I rate this make 3 smileys
Jacket2
Do I have something that looks handmade? Probably yes. But do I have something with an awesome hand-sewn guipure lace panel that I can be proud of? Hell yeah! I must admit I think it’s a slightly odd garment, that doesn’t match most of my wardrobe. Did I pull it off? What do you all think? When I wear it however, I feel proud, and that equates to lots of happiness in my book. It was a challenge to make, and one that I acquired some new skills and learnt from. What more could I want?
erm … easy! More beautiful guipure lace please.

Have you seen the other amazing creations from fellow White Tree Bloggers?

Jo’s chiffon red wedding guest dress

jo Jo made this stunning red number for her friends wedding. I love how she modified the pattern to add an elasticated waistband and beaded embroidery. She looks stunning.
See Jo’s dress here

Louise’s Red lace dress

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Well what can I say? Louise is an inspiration and she has really taken it to another level with this dress. The scarlet red really appeals to me and it’s a bold masterpiece of sewing.
See Louise’s dress here

Lucie’s honeymoon holdall bag

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Hey, I’ve just realised all my top picks are wedding themed! Blimey, weddings really bring out our creativity huh. Lucie recently got married and made this bag to take on her honeymoon. It uses White Tree Fabrics bonded lace, which looks like a really interesting fabric to work with. Hope you are having a good honeymoon Lucie!
See Lucie’s bag here

Please visit me again and lets hook up on twitter, bloglovin or instagram. I hope to be telling you all about the super cosy winter coat I’ve just finished making.

Happy sewing everyone,
Amy x

Oh, and the reason there are no pictures of me in this post is that someone took my tripod walkabouts … normal exhibitionism to return in due course.

Western style toddler boys shirt sewing pattern

Toddler boy shirt sewing pattern free

This is a free sewing pattern for a cute little boys shirt. It’s a short sleeved casual shirt, featuring a western style yoke at the back, collar and button panel facings, and coordinating sleeves.

What you’ll need

  • 2 different types of fabric (see below)
  • Your sewing machine and basic sewing kit
  • 6 buttons
  • light – medium weight interfacing for strengthening facings/collar

Suggested Fabrics

The pattern uses 2 different fabrics, one for the main shirt body, and one for the contrasting yoke and sleeve cuffs. You’ll need 1 metre of the main fabric and 0.25 metres of contrasting. Use a suitable shirt fabric, something light-medium weight like cotton, chambray, broadcloth, linen, poplin or a denim. The denim I used in this example was a little heavy, and it didn’t really turn out as tidy as other versions I’ve made in cotton and linen. You may get away with not interfacing if opting for a more heavyweight fabric like I did.

Sizing

The garment comes in 3 sizes. To check the right size measure the childs chest measurement and check the sizing guide below:

Size Chest PDF pages
Age 2-3 55 cm 3-14
Age 3-4 57 cm 15-26
Age 4-5 59 cm 27-38

Download the Toddler Shirt Sewing Pattern

Here is the link to the Toddler Shirt Sewing Pattern. Have a great time sewing and please let me know how you get on, as well as sharing any pictures of your makes with me on pinterest barmybeetroot or twitter @barmy_beetroot.

How to make the toddler shirt – Tutorial

1. Prepare and assemble the pattern

All 3 sizes are included in the pattern and on separate pages. Each size spans twelve A4 sheets, so you’ll need to identify what pages you need to print, and then if you don’t want to print out the whole document, print those pages only. Remember to print one sided only and not to ‘fit to page’ or scale.

Once printed you’ll need to stick your pattern pieces together. The pattern features a horizontal and vertical dashed line on each page which you match up on each sheet to align the pattern pieces. Cut alongside this line so that you can match up exactly with the corresponding pattern piece.

Cut alongside the dashed line to match up pattern pieces

Cut alongside the dashed line to match up pattern pieces

When the lines are matched, used Sellotape to paste the pieces together. Repeat until all the pattern pieces are joined together and then cut out.

Sellotape together at line

Sellotape together at line

n.b a 1/2 inch seam allowance has been added to each pattern piece.

2. Prepare and cut out the fabric

Prepare your fabric by washing and ironing it prior to cutting. Here are my pattern pieces laid out ready to cut:

Cutting out the main pattern pieces - layout guide

Cutting out the main pattern pieces – layout guide


cutting out the yoke and sleeve cuffs on the contrasting fabric

cutting out the yoke and sleeve cuffs on the contrasting fabric – not obvious here as I used the reverse side of the denim

Points worth noting:

  • You may also want to cut out a pocket piece. It’s not included in the pattern but it can be a nice touch
  • If using a fabric that needs it interface the collar and facing pieces. (mine didn’t for this demo piece as it was fairly hefty denim)

Right that’s it, grab your shears, cut out and we can start sewing…

3. Stay stitch the neckline

Stay stitching the neckline stops it from stretching and distorting. Run a line of stitching along the neckline on the front pattern pieces and the back yoke. The seam allowance for this project is 0.5 inches and we’ll want to stitch just inside of this at about 3/8 inch.

Stay stitch the neckline

Stay stitch the neckline – sorry the stitching doesn’t show up too well on these photos.

4. Attach the back yoke and the shirt back pieces

Here are the two pieces we’ll be sewing together.
western_yoke_shirt8
We’re going to pin them together and sew a curved seam. It can be tricky pinning these shapes together, and also sewing a neat angle at the centre point. A tip that I found helped me was to draw with a water soluble fabric marker along the seam line, which I followed with my needle. At the centre point you can shorten your stitch length a couple of stitches before to make sure you hit it bang on with your needle (if you need to), and then lift the pressure foot and turn the fabric before beginning to sew the other half of the seam. Go slowly, and keep the fabric as flat as you can to avoid puckering.

Here is what that seam looks like pinned together

Here is what that seam looks like pinned together


Once pinned go ahead and sew this seam.

The end result

The end result


I’ve not done a fab job here, it was a bit tricky on the denim. Notice the puckers on the right and the point isn’t as sharp as I’d like it to be. I’m sure yours will be better, but it should improve with pressing and some topstitching.
Give it a good press. I chose to pink the seam which will also help the fabric to move along the curve and sit flatter. You can cut a few notches if you prefer.
Press the seam and finish seam

Press the seam open and finish seam


We’re going to topstich a line of stitching along the back yoke. I chose about 1/8 inch from the seam but go with what you think looks best.
western_yoke_shirt12
We have a back panel!

5. Sew a pocket

I haven’t included a pocket pattern because it was a bit of an after thought when I put this demo piece together. You can try sketching out a shape you like and remember to add the seam allowance. Here is mine:

I used water soluble market to drawer a line on the pocket I would topstitch over

I used water soluble market to drawer a line on the pocket to try to make my topstitching even and tidy

Once your pocket has been put together pin in to the front shirt panel and sew around the edges.

6. Prepare facings

We have two facing pieces that are attached along the centre seam of the two front pieces. Before we attach these to the main garment we are going to finish some of the facing edges. I used an overlocker, but a zigzag stitch or pinking would work equally as well.

Finish the seams down the long sides of each facing piece

Finish the seams down the long sides of each facing piece

Turn under the finished edge and stitch down like pictured below. The more angular edge is not turned under, just leave it as it is.
western_yoke_shirt16

That’s it. Our facings are prepped.

7. Attach facings to shirt front

Right sides together pin the facing to the shirt as pictured below:
western_yoke_shirt17
Sew down the longest straight edge only. Repeat for other side. Fold under and press so it looks like the images below:

From the right side

From the right side

from the wrong side

From the wrong side

We’re going to leave this here now, and start work on the sleeves.

8. Attach cuffs to sleeves

The sleeves have a tabbed strip in contrasting fabric at the botom sleeve edge. Pin the fabric right sides together like pictured below and sew.
western_yoke_shirt21

Press the seam open, and turn under towards the wrong side the bottom edge of the sleeve tab. Press this edge also. The picture below shows this step more clearly.
western_yoke_shirt22

Then fold this edge up to align with the middle of the pressed open seam. From the right side stitch down as shown below:
western_yoke_shirt23

9. Sew back and front shirt pieces at shoulders

With front and back right sides together match up at shoulder seams, pin and sew on both sides.
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Press the seams. You’ll be left with something that resembles this:
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At this stage I also added some topstitching at the shoulders.
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10. Attach sleeves

Now it’s time to attach the sleeves. With right sides together, match and pin curved edges as pictured below:
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Open out and press seam.
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Add some more decorative topstitching if you wish.We’ve now got a nice line of stitching inside the yoke.
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11. Sew side seams including sleeves

With right sides together pin up side and under arm seams and sew.
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Clipping the fabric where the underarm seam meets the side seam will help ease the fabric around the tight corner. Give the seams a good press.
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12. Make and attach the collar

To make the collar sew as shown below with right sides together. Leave one long edge open, and turn right side out and press, taking time to poke into and get sharp corners.
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We are going to sandwich the collar between the main garment neckline and the facings, right side together. Here is what it looks from one side and the other:
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Sew all the way along from one edge of the facing to the other. Press seam. This should encapsulate the collar and also sew up the rest of the facing seam. This is a bit of a rough and ready way of attaching a collar. I used a strip of bias to cover the raw edge left inside the garment. It looks a bit daft in green but it’s what I had to hand and you can’t tell from the outside.
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13. Button holes

Layout the buttons on to the shirt and make sure you have them equally spaced. I measured my buttons so I knew how long to sew my button holes. My buttons were 1/2 inch wide and I wanted my buttons 6cm apart.
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I measured up and made some marks on the fabric in tailors chalk.
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Then sewed the buttonholes using the button hole machine foot.
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Here they are all done. You can see on the 5th button hole down from the top I made a mistake and sewed it too high, so do take care. Occupational hazards of sewing late in to the night!
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14. Final topstitching

Look again at the picture above and notice that I also marked a ‘Y’ shape line that corresponds with the shape of the facing on the reverse. We are going to topstitch this line, which will not only keep the facing attached but also add a decorative touch to the front. I also topstitched along the centre edge of each shirt front piece. This is how that stitching looks:

Hope you can make out the topstitching on this image, the blue on blue isn't the clearest to see.

Hope you can make out the topstitching on this image, the blue on blue isn’t the clearest to see.

15. Attach the buttons

I sewed the buttons on by hand. A good excuse to sit with a cup of tea.
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16. Finish the hem

To hem, I just overlocked the bottom edge, turned under, pressed and stitched in place. This worked well because my fabric was so thick. With a thinner cotton you could always turn under, press and turn again, and then stitch, or choose a method you prefer. As this is a demo piece I left the red thread in my overlocker, but it would have been much nicer in a matching colour, because you do sometimes get a glimpse of it when it’s on.
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So here it is, put your hands together for the finished shirt!
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Show me your creations!

How could I resist showing you it on my gorgeous model? I sewed a size too big for Evan, so he’ll have room to grow in to it. He already has a couple of these shirts in his wardrobe so I’m planning ahead.
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So there you have it. I hope you enjoy making my shirt pattern. Please do get in contact with any questions, improvements, observations or just to say hello. I’d love for you to share photos with me of your makes, it’s great to see you all bring my patterns to life.

Variations on the shirt pattern

You could try to:

  • Add some pockets
  • Try a different shaped collar
  • Add some embroidery
  • Shape the hem to a dipped hem

Happy Sewing

If you like my pattern please follow me on twitter at @barmy_beetroot and follow me on bloglovin. I hope to keep making free patterns for you all to enjoy and have a kids pyjama pattern in the pipeline. Bye for now, Amy xx

The Marian Cowl

Let knitting be thy medicine

Marain Jane Richmond Cowl

Mmm, so snuggly

I’ve been poorly. I think I’ve been over exerting myself recently, what with 4 day parties (see Bestival post), new exercise regimes and beginning a late night physical shift at work. No surprise really I found myself reduced to a good for nothing crumpled sofa dweller existing on hot toddies alone. I felt rough, and knew I had to take it easy for the next few days. Knitting felt like a productive way to pass the downtime, and really made the last few days enjoyable. Knitting just seems right in the autumn time. Everything in my garden is slowing down, and getting ready for its winter hibernation. I felt like this, huddled in wool, relaxed and thinking about the cold months ahead. I thought about a lot things, old friends, sewing plans, and other general life stuff. It felt really therapeutic, and guess what, I knitted 4 scarfs in 3 days!
Four cowls in Sidar Super Chunky

Four cowls in Sidar Super Chunky

Project Stats

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Yarn: Sirdar Big Softie Super Chunky and Sirdar Kiko Super Chunky in a variety of colorways
Cost:I bought loads of this yarn super cheap in the Black Sheep Wools January sales at the beginning of the year
Pattern:  Jane Richmond Marian Cowl – a free download
Time: 3-4 hours each cowl
Difficulty: Easy

The Pattern

Marian Cowl Knit scarf

Marain cowl in Sidar Kiko Super Chunky, shade 415 Duffle


This was one of the first knitting projects I embarked on, back when I taught myself to knit in 2011. The pattern is called Marian by knitwear designer Jane Richmond, and it’s available free on her website or via Ravelry. Marian is a mock-mobius cowl and can be worn several different ways depending on style and the weather. It’s also very quick to knit. I made a few of them back in 2011. One for myself and some for presents. I wear my Marian all the time, and love how it’s a scarf without the dangly bits. This has completely revolutionised my winter wear. It just stays put, keeps you cosy, looks great and you don’t get the hassle of one scarf end longer than the other, what shoulder to flick your scarf end over or running the risk of it falling in an icy puddle. It’s nice to wear inside also, when you are a bit chilly but too tight to put the heating on.

Materials

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The pattern calls for Super Bulky weight, and having used Sidar Big Softie before I knew it was a great yarn to work with. I stocked up on loads when it was cheap, with plans to turn them all in to winter gifts for friends, and perhaps sell a few. Sidar Big Softie is 51% wool and 49% acrylic and is sumptuously snug and cushiony. I chose some bright bold colours, some earthy tones, and some flecked varieties. The variegated yarn is Sirdar Kiko Super Chunky, which is also 51% wool and 49% acrylic but a fraction less fluffy than the softie. It more than makes up for this with it’s playful shades though, which is incredibly exciting to knit up!

Technique and required skills

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If you can knit one, purl one, you can make this pattern! Knitting in this sequence is what creates the bumpy effect called moss stitch. You also need to be able to knit in the round on circular needles, which if you haven’t tried before is super easy, and makes life so much easier when knitting tubular projects. I’d recommend this pattern to any beginner. Using super chunky wool on big needles is a really excellent way of honing your knitting technique without it feeling too fiddly. Once you’ve got your rhythm down, you can move on to smaller more delicate knits with confidence.

Other musings

You can choose whether or not to put a mobius twist in to this pattern. Doing so makes it look pretty stylish on, but I find that leaving it out means you can wear the cowl in more ways. It’s personal preference really, I like it both ways!

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It felt really good to knit these scarves. My current main knitting wip is complicated and takes some concentration, but this pattern is the opposite. You can knit it up without thinking, which is so relaxing and meditative. Knitting these kind of projects really calms me, and it was just what was needed.

You can really hide away in these cowls if you want to. Instant red riding hood!

You can really hide away in these cowls if you want to. Instant red riding hood!


I’m feeling much better now, the knitting therapy worked, along with some help from my pal Mr. Whiskey. Being ill isn’t that bad, especially if you get some of your Christmas gifts sorted! It’s been nice to bring you a knitting post for a change, I hope you enjoyed it. Please keep in touch and let me know if your crafty plans have taken a seasonal turn?

Happy Autumn everyone! How are you winding down and how are your projects reflecting this?

Happy Autumn everyone! Keep warm, well fed and cosy :)


Amy xx