• Jackets and coats

    Speckled Colette Anise

    Hi everyone! Since the weather matches my blogging schedule (sporadic) I thought I’d share a long overdue finished jacket. As some of you will know from my social media posts I have around 40 unblogged makes. Thankfully five of them have been photographed but I still need to find some blogging time which is proving difficult. Let’s crack on then shall we!

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    If you’ve considered making a jacket as a step into tailoring I heartedly recommend the Colette Patterns Anise Jacket. It has enough new techniques for someone wanting to learn outerwear but not too many that you can get overwhelmed. I in fact made my first version when I was very much an adventurous beginner, in 2013! I copied my favourite blue coat and was pretty chuffed with the results… see my fabulously grainy photo below if you don’t have time to click through. I thought given all those years of experience I’ve managed to accumulate it would be interesting to see how I found the pattern four years later (yep this jacket is a year old people).

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    Let’s start by saying the sewalong for this jacket is superb. The welt pockets and bound button hole tutorials are excellent and work on many other garments. Probably doesn’t need to be said but welt pockets are super lovely to make but not great for putting your hands in on a bitter English day. The way the back seams curve to match the sleeve seams at the armhole is also my sign of a superior coat. It drives me crazy when they’re close but intentionally not aligned! Also having made several coats since this I realise how special it is to have a separate pattern piece for interfacing the the roll line. The collar is kind of a pain in that it refuses to neatly meet at the centre front due to the way the buttons strain and move. It still comes together pretty nicely and the clean finish you get by hand sewing everything closed at the armholes and hem is very neat inside.

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    Finding the right interfacing is a mission though and I’m less happy with the boucle version compared to my melton. I was trying to find something that would keep the boucle weave secure but offer the right support and I think I went too stiff. It’s most noticeable to me at the collar where I can feel it sitting slightly unhappily but I think it looks fine. There’s not a lot of help out there for picking interfacing (no magic unicorn saying you must buy this specific weight and brand) because it all depends on your chosen fabric. The only tip I can offer here is that you’re looking to support not harden the fabric or add too much weight. And remember cheap fusible interfacing isn’t built to last and will bubble and unstick itself over time, so if you’re keen to keep your jacket or coat around, invest in the branded stuff!

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    Let me share two bits of wisdom I learnt from making both coats. Number one – don’t use covered buttons, no matter how confident you are that the wool is safely enclosed inside. Years later, your buttons will pop apart from the strain and embarrass you in front of your peers. Not pretty. Number two – If you’re not a delicate dresser, use a lining with a tiny amount of stretch. I’m not talking a super spandex mix fabric, but just something with a little give. I always pop the armhole seams on my lining by wrestling myself in and out of my jackets without care. The jackets were I’ve used stretch satin have faired much better. Last tidbit – ALWAYS ADD A HANGING LOOP.

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    My wool was picked up at an excellent open day at Beyond Measure. Grace had sourced small remnants from a Lancashire mill; Offcuts and end bolts, plus colour coordinated bundles. I succumbed to this smooth soft and almost glossy boucle wool with flecks of bright yellow and blue running through. It was £30 for a 1.6m piece, enough for the jacket with nothing to spare! The lining was chosen to match the yellow flecks as good old B&M Fabrics on Kirkgate outside the market. Every time I see it the super flash of gold makes me giddy. Last but not least those fancy polished metal buttons were from Totally Buttons, an excellent online shop.

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    It’s a great little jacket and fun pattern to follow. I’m also super grateful past-Amy taped together the PDF and worked out all the fit kinks so I could just crack on and sew the new version!! I’m pleased I finally got to share it with you. I’ll try not to wait so long to post again, but while I’m gone maybe have a read of these lovely Anise jackets.

    I love Nicole’s choice of wool, removable faux fur collar anyone?, and let’s swoon at some minty perfection. Visit the sewalong pinterest board for more inspiration!

  • Other stuff

    The Sweetheart Dress (oh don’t get all soppy on me)


    Last week I showed you a dress I hadn’t blogged about but it went down quite well so I here are the details.

    I wanted to make the Colette Truffle bodice into my go-to dress bodice block as it was so close to being perfect on my Christmas party dress.


    I made a rub off pattern from a lace dress I love and then combined this with the Truffle pattern to make what should have been a perfect fit. It’s sooo close to perfect but not quite as the neck gapes a little, though it seems to suit Beryl.


    I also drafted an A-line gathered skirt by using the hem and drop measurements from the lace dress and after eyeballing the amount of waist gathering figured out the waist length I’d need. I like A-line gathered skirts more than dirndl because a lot of waist gathering makes me look too wide there. Plus you still get a good twirly skirt from them!


    The fabric was from Fletcher’s Fabrics in York and was a birthday present from Mr AR. It’s a popular quilting cotton which has been in stock for years and comes in a variety of colourways.


    I did my new trick of encasing the zip with bias tape and I lined the bodice in cream poly lining but didn’t line the skirt… that was my major mistake.

    Unlined cotton dresses stick to your tights and I hate this. But I convinced myself otherwise! Now this dress rides up when I wear it. Even when I wear a half slip for goodness sake! I live the dress so I think I’ll retroactively fit a lining. I just need to mull over how….

    **Please remember**

    You have one day left to enter the giveaway.

    Entries must be received by Midnight BST Friday 10th May!

  • Other stuff


    Small ones, medium ones, giant ones.

    So it’s not surprising I bought 5 types of polka dot fabric at the Birmingham meet up!

    This is what I did with my three metres of black and white large polka dot satin fabric.

    First up I wanted to make a Colette Truffle dress. I made FOUR toiles trying to get the fit right.

    2012-12-03 23.24.04

    I got the bodice fitted after two toiles because I used a TNT pattern to get the sizing and darts placement right.

    I just could not for the life of me, get the skirt to fit. So I gave up.

    I desperately wanted the flounce but settled for a gathered skirt that I drafted myself.

    2012-12-05 20.18.45

    I teamed the dress with gold glittery shoes and a black glitter headband.

    I’m pleased with the fit in the back. I usually have a lot of gaping around the upper back but nailed it this time and my zipper is pretty neat.

    There is a little bit of gaping around the neckline but think that’s because it’s a touch too low for me combined with such a drapey fabric. Also I normally love gathered waist dresses but after a few too many cakes lately I’m not sure it’s as flattering as it could have been. I’m too ashamed of my handstitching to show you inside I’m afraid.

    And then because I didn’t need the extra fabric I’d bought for the flounce I made I had a metre left over!

    Hello New Look 6808!


    The best bit about making another one of these tops is that I knew I could fix the sleeves. I did this in two ways. I altered my pattern pieces to lower the bottom of the armhole on both pieces but increase the armhole curve on the back piece by a few millimetres.

    Then I sewed the sleeves in flat! This was a revelation!!

    I knew you could sew sleeves into jersey tops/dresses in flat but I wasn’t sure about woven garments.

    A quick rummage around my google reader unearthed Sunni’s confirmation that you can!


    I made the gathers a bit more pleat like on this version. Though it’s hard to see in this photo.

    The top fits like a dream with room for a big fat dinner.

    I’m soooo making 50 more of these.

  • Other stuff

    Truffle Progress

    After the death of my plaid top I wanted to bounce back into action and work on my Colette Truffle dress.

    Super exciting as it’ll be my Xmas party dress yaaay!!

    I’m using a gorgeous black and white polka dot satin I got at the Birmingham meet up.

    The dots are so cute and large and the satin feels great.

    After 3 muslins I got the darts in the right place and think the sizing is “spot on” for the bodice.

    So I’ve cut it out:

    And with some kick ass purple lining:

    But all my skirt muslins were atrocious. I can’t make the hip curve fit, or the darts work or match up with the bodice darts!!!

    Bah humbug*

    (*hey we’re almost at Christmas).

    So I’ve been debating leaving the Truffle unconquered for now. Well at least the bottom half.

    If I add another style of skirt on the bottom I don’t think I can call it a Truffle can I?

    I’m thinking possibly a TNT gathered skirt as I have them on most my dresses. Probably from my V8723 as it’s a good length.

    Or something new and exciting like a half circle skirt. Though my maths skills are a little rusty.

    Neeno used this tutorial for some of her half circle skirts.

    Hmmm if I’m going to change the skirt up and lose that wonderful talking-point flounce, maybe I should add some other feature?

    There’s even a tutorial  from the Selfish Seamstress to help me on my way.

    Though I’d have to re-cut the back bodice and move the zip to the size. Oh my gosh this is getting complicated.

    Any other suggestions to jazz up the dress without crazily redesigning everything?

    Maybe just lowering the back into a nice v would be enough excitement.

    Eeeeep!! I’m so excited to get this dress together but know I need to make some decisions.

    I’ve got until Dec 7th to sew it up but not a lot of free time before then.

    Best do some long hard thinking about this!!