I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head …

I have a love/hate relationship with knitting. I love the process of knitting but I find it frustrating when I can’t read the patterns properly or I mess up my stitches and I can’t fix them.

I’ve started a few knitting projects but only ever finished 2.

The first was a cardigan for Emily which she wore once and I was worried she’d spit up on it so I took it off!

The other was a snood which I knitted up in an evening.

I started making this mustard cardigan but I didn’t like how obvious the decreases in the sleeve are so I just gave up on it!? I knitted the full body and 3/4 sleeve before I just put it down.

These pictures are exactly a year apart!

I got confused with the instructions for the hat and put it down unsure about what I was supposed to do. I picked it up again recently and it’s doubled in size in 2 days!

I’m growing in confidence with knitting I’m just so slow and I get bored easily. Hopefully I’ll actually finish this hat this time!? I might even dig that cardigan out…

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Morgan jeans

As soon as I finished my coat I knew I didn’t want a simple project. I wanted to finally make the Morgan jeans.

You’d think after sewing the same thing for over a month I’d be keen to knock some quick projects out but I’m starting to really enjoy the process of sewing and breaking each step down and doing a little bit here and there. I find with small quick projects I try to rush and finish quickly.

I have some topshop mom style jeans but they have so many (fashionable) holes in that they’re really cold to wear! I love the fit and colour of them so fancied replicating the style. The fabric is from empress mills and Gary bought me the denim and pattern for my birthday.

I loved every minute of making these. Heather’s instructions are clear and concise. I ummed and aahed about the size for a little while. One of the many reasons my gingers didn’t work out was because I cut them 2 sizes too big!

I decided on a 10 based on my measurements (32,28,39). Whilst I was making the front I thought they looked tiny and was really worried about them fitting but they fit like a glove!

I basted together and then decided to leave them instead of unpicking and resewing. Turns out if you do this then you can’t topstitch the inseam! Duh 🙄.

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took out a large wedge from the back seam to account for my swayback and that was the only adjustment needed. They were super tight when I tried them on but over the course of the day they’ve loosened up (just like Heather said they would).

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ne thing I would say is when sewing the waistband is measure the band to check it’s the right width. Mine gets wider at the end for some reason. Also if you mark the corners when topstitching you know when to pivot.

I’ve got a bit of gaping on the fly because I was worried they’d be too tight so moved the button further towards the middle of the fly. If I’d followed the instructions they wouldn’t gape!

They don’t look perfect in the photos but trust me in real life they’re a great fit.

All in all I’m incredibly happy with them! I’ve wanted some handmade jeans for ages and these fit even better than all those Levi’s I have. Even better is they only took a week to make and cost less than £20. Win!

Cascade duffle coat

I hope you’re comfy and have a cup of tea because this is a long post! I did it! I finally made my red duffle coat 😍

I’ve been wanting to make this coat for a good year now but I couldn’t find the exact shade of red that I wanted. I was being quite picky in that I wanted pillarbox red, 100% wool with a slight texture to the coating. I looked in every online shop I could think of but no luck. Either they were the wrong shade or outrageously expensive! In the end I found the perfect fabric from Leeds market at one of the stalls – Jacks? The one at the bottom anyway. It’s not quite 100% wool I think it was 85/90% but I was over the moon to find exactly what I wanted! 


The bemburg lining came from Calico Lane and the brushed cotton plaid was in my stash. Simply Solids ordered the pattern in for me as there was no way I was going to print a PDF for a coat! The zip came from eBay and I bought the Prym toggles on dark blue from Minerva Crafts. It took a while to gather all the supplies which was fine, I was building up confidence to finally tackle the coat I’ve been wanting for a long time! 


Tips on sewing a coat:

  • When grading the seam allowances I found the seam flattened easier when grading the “inside” seam shorter. 
  • A tailors clapper is your best friend. I got mine from eBay and it was £25. By far and away worth every penny! 
  • Clear your sewing room and desk. There’s loads of pieces and it’s a massive pain to go routing through a pile every time you’re looking for one. It’s easier to have a pile for the body, sleeves, hood etc. 
  • Don’t be scared! It’s not difficult just lots of steps to follow 


Problems I encountered:

  • My zipper was too short for the zipper band which is too short for the front band. I don’t know if the zipper band is meant to reach the bottom of the band as on everyone’s version B it’s much shorter but in the instructions it says it should reach the bottom. 
  • The front band was too short for the length of the coat. Jen issued an errata which I only knew about from someone else’s post – I couldn’t find it searching her website. On her errata it’s too long?
  • The arm syce was too high, I trimmed it slightly to accommodate my arms
  • I cut a size 4 grading to a 6 at the hips, the sleeves are also a 4 but are barely roomy enough to wear a thick jumper underneath
  • My interfacing kept unsticking from the wool! 
  • The hood facing was too short and the lining much too big for the hood. When I checked the sewalong Jen mentions that the lining will pleat at the edges of the hood but there’s no mention of this in the instructions. 
  • The hem facing was too short by 3 inches and I had to patch it to make it fit 

I emailed Grainline about this and checked other blog posts. No one else seems to have any issues and I think I decided to grade from a 4 to a 6 for some extra hip room. Trouble is as I was cutting it out over a few nights there’s a possibility I forgot to grade some pieces 🙈


I debated interlining as well as the brushed cotton but as I’d never made a coat before I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I’m hoping that the wool plus lining will be warm enough. 


Modifications:

  • Omitted the join on view B and just overlapped the pattern pieces by the seam allowance
  • Topstitched the hood facing as the lining was peeking out of the hood 
  • Added 4 toggles instead of 3
  • Added sleeve head but decided against shoulder pads 
  • I added a coat hook between the hood and body of the coat


Labels from Dutch Label shop (not sponsored) but be warned the iron in labels don’t stay sticky for long. 


Before the sleeve head:

There was some weird bunching at the back where the sleeve was collapsing in on itself. Luckily didyoumakethat published a post on this very topic otherwise I would not have had a clue how to fix it! I ordered some sleeve heads and shoulder pads from English couture company but omitted the shoulder pads. It helped the sleeve to sit better but I wasn’t keen on the silhouette it gave me. 

With sleeve head:


Much better! This is the one where I also put in the shoulder pad but you can see it makes it really bulky so I took it out. 


Overall the coat took me a month to sew. A week of this I was sick so really it was 3 weeks. Also bear in mind I only ever sew 2/3 evenings a week. It took another week to complete the hand stitching (took half an hour 🙄). Apart from the pieces not fitting it wasn’t a hard sew at all. None of it was complicated, even bagging the lining wasn’t difficult. Jen’s instructions were clear and easy to follow.


Don’t let my list of problems put you off, some (but not all) were definitely my fault!