Sewing Friends are the Best

All friends are good, great even.  But sewing friends, those who know exactly what you (don’t) need to add to your stash of fabric or patterns, or even notions – those are the best of friends.  You don’t even have to know those sewing friends IRL.  That’s just how good they are!

This next make comes courtesy of a sewing friend in America.  We’ve never met, but a chance enounter in Blogland has lead to this, an exchange of fabrics, patterns and ideas.  Del from Curls and Skirls has the opposite dilemma to mine.  She loves prints and patterns and has relatively few plain, solid colours of fabric with which to fill her handmade wardrobe.  I, on the other hand, live in solids (with the execption of some stripes or spots).  My idea of colour blocking is to have one colour on the bottom half and a contrasting one on the top!

So, I said we have the same problem, we should swap!  She agreed and what followed was a very good dig through our collective stashes to find the right fabrics.  You know, the ones you’re prepared to give away, no matter how long you’ve had them, what you originally intended them for etc.  I chose some beautiful linens that I just haven’t got round to using that were the right weight and colour and a couple of cottons.  One piece of linen was possibly not the right shade for Del, but then I’d bought it to dye anyway, not liking the colour, but having fallen for the fabric itself.  I also added a couple of metres of South African Shweshwe print in the most decilious pumpkin orange.

The tricky thing when swapping, is finding the right sorts of things to swap.  My colours run to blues and greys while Del prefers brighter tones.  But I think I had enough stuff in the postbag when I finally sent it!

What I got in return was pretty nice, I can tell you!  Although there weren’t as many items in Del’s stash that would suit me personally, I knew I could use some stuff for the girls.  They can wear anything and any colour and look great!  So, quite a few weeks late in the showing, here’s what Del kindly sent my way.

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Goodies from Del

I’d fallen heavily for the blue and white cotton lawn immediately, so it was MINE!  The red and white print viscose crepe and the plain red viscose I will use for the girls, the cream linen with orange floral print will be a vintage style dress for my best friend and the “nautical” print hasn’t been allocated a pattern just yet, but I’m thinking of PJs….  I’ll make the Papercut Patterns Pnuma Tank for the girls for their work-out gear.  So, I have a print (or two) in my stash pile that isn’t a stripe or spot!

I couldn’t wait to make something from the blue stuff, so in between making little girl’s clothes for a friend, I used a pattern I’d been sent a couple of years ago to test, the Kyoto Kimono from Elise Patterns.  I’d used the short version in the testing for Daughter No2 but decided on the long, robe version for me.  I couldn’t find a link to the pattern anywhere online, so I’m not sure if it’s even still available.

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Elise Patterns Kyoto Kimono

Any issues I had with the pattern are down to it’s being in test mode, so I cannot really review the pattern as I’d like to.  I had a PDF A4 version which needed to be unfolded and retaped where it had come apart after being in storage for 2 years.  I traced the extra large…  The pieces are wide! I’d forgotten how wide they were and was worried that it wouldn’t fit the fabric, but I just made it!  Originally I thought I’d go with the longer sleeves, but there wasn’t enough fabric.

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Elise Patterns Kyoto Kimono Robe

I used the overlocker to run the robe up, so much quicker than fiddling with French seams!  I made sure the pattern was lined up on the side seams, the rows all line up, but any further pattern matching was impossible due to the size of the pieces and restriction of width.  I made the robe in an afternoon, it really is quick.

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The short cuffs finish off the sleeves nicely.

So now I have a fabulous new robe for lounging in, just need lounging pants and top to go with it! Or new pjs.  That may mean buying more fabric, and as we all know, that’s off the cards until the new year.  So I’ll sit tight with this one unless I find something buried in the stash.  This is my first make in the new wardrobe challenge on the Sew Alongs and Contests Facebook group.  We’re to make at least 6 items of sleepwear related goodies.  I do have other items planned, not all for me but I have a very special make to finish first.

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So Del, what do you think? Have I done the fabric justice?  Thanks so much for swapping with me, it’s been great to have different fabrics to pat!  🙂

Pattern Testing – The Kyoto Kimono

Kyoto Kimono by Elise Patterns
Kyoto Kimono by Elise Patterns

I was a very busy sewist last month, I volunteered to be a pattern tester for 3 indie pattern companies, and I got the most amazing stuff to test!  This kimono is by a brand new company, Elise Patterns.  Elise Patterns is owned by Freya from Handmade by Freya.  She has set out to create pretty lingerie patterns that are uncomplicated to make, and fabulous to wear!  Her first two patterns are available now, and this is one of them.

DSC08543-1The jacket, or robe, is available in two lengths, this short version and a more lingerie type mid-thigh length.  There are also two sleeve choices.  I decided to go with the shorter version, knowing Daughter No2 would probably want it more for day wear than lingerie!  I ferreted around in my stash until I found this pretty cotton floral lawn.  I’ve had it for ages, but once I saw the line drawings of Freya’s pattern, I pictured it in this with contrast bands.  They’re cut from some black cotton lawn, also from the stash.

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The pattern itself is really easy to follow and make.  I would certainly recommend it to anyone from beginner level up.  I chose to French seam the inners, and the contrast bands have had their seams all tucked away too, so when this flips open in the breeze, it’s just as pretty on the inside as on the out.

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Daughter No2 loves it – she wore it out to a friend’s barbeque the day I made it (see photo above) with her chopped off jeans and came home with orders!!!  Ha!  This selfish seamstress isn’t about to do that, but now the pattern is available, I shall be sending her mates to the website & including a note to come to one of my sewing classes to make it up!  She has decided it is perfect for festival wear and I know it has pride of honour at the top of her list of things to pack for the Reading & Leeds Festival later this summer.

DSC08540-1It really is a great pattern, there are only two main pieces, the front & back, and the band strips.  If you were to make it for lingerie, consider cutting the sleeve bands on the bias and then finishing with a scalloped edge using a fancy stitch on your sewing machine.  There are so many ways you could customise this kimono, I think the varieties could look amazing!

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I’m looking forward to seeing this pattern pop up all over Blogland, it has great potential!