New Sewing Pattern – the Elliot Sweater & Tee by Helen’s Closet – tester make and finalised versions!

There’s a new sewing pattern launching today – you’ve probably seen – the Elliot Sweater & Tee from Helen’s Closet. I jumped at the chance to test this pattern for Helen; as again it has all the hallmarks of a closet staple; warm but not too warm – perfect as a layering piece for the transition into the colder months.

The raglan sleeved Elliot comes in three views; View A which I’ve made, features a high neck and has a high-low hem which frankly I love; it means I can pair it with leggings without feeling I’m revealing too much backside! That side slit also makes sticking your hands in your pockets easier and provides forgiveness around the hip. View B is somewhat cropped (great for high waisted bottoms) and View C is your everyday comfort tee. There’s 20% off during the launch week too! Read More

Pattern Testing the Avery Leggings by Helen’s Closet

Leggings sewing patternHi all! You’ll have, in all likelihood, seen that Helen of Helen’s Closet has just released the brand new Avery leggings pattern? (And yes, these are the leggings I hinted at in my #2018MakeNine plans post!) They have a smoothing doubled waistband, a gusset for mobility and no side seam meaning this pattern would make a great base layer, yoga pants or your everyday leggings. I love pattern testing for Helen (see my Suki Kimono here); her ethos and work methodology rocks – she really does want to produce Patterns for everyday essentials drafted so they’re accessible for all both in terms of sizing and sewing skill set. Plus the other sewists in her pattern testing team are fabulous…I’m guaranteed to learn something from their collective wisdom and feedback in the testing process. So, yes! Spoiler alert : Read More

Make your own footwear

Make your own Espadrilles: How I made Slippers to match my Suki Kimono!

Make your own footwear

Hi again!

If you’ve read my last post, you will have seen that I was fortunate enough to be a pattern tester for the brand new pattern release from Helen’s Closet; the Suki Kimono.

Well, I couldn’t very well make the robe of my dreams and then pair it with my battered ol’ slippers could I?! So I tossed them out in the trash and made my own Matchy Matchy pair using the Prym Espadrilles kit sent to me for review by Minerva Crafts.  You can read my review and demo of how I made these slip on’s using the same floaty lightweight viscose fabric I made the robe in over on Minerva’s Blog now. Clue: they’re the easiest things ever!!

Put it this way, I feel like a kid playing dress-up in this – not a bad way to start the day! I’ll be making a pair to match every robe I make!

Prym Espadrilles tutorial
I just keep thinking of Pinhead from Hellraiser!

Until next time, happy summer sewing!

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Suki helens closet

Pattern Testing the Suki Kimono by Helen’s Closet!

 

Helen's closet kimono

Hi Sewing Friends!

I’m so excited to be part of the launch of the stunning new pattern released by Helen’s Closet  – it’s the Suki Kimono – aka the ultimate in loungewear. Trust me on this, you need this robe in your life! There’s 20% off in the launch week too! 

The making of this Kimono started and ended with a happy dance. When I received the email from Helen asking if I wanted to pattern test Suki, I literally jumped up and down for a whole five minutes with glee. Fortuitously, the email came through on a Friday evening, so I was able to celebrate by cracking open the wine! Y’see, not only did I already know I love Helen’s drafting (see her Blackwood cardi I made here and her Winslow culottes I made here); I’d also been coveting a kimono for a while.

Suki kimono

I’d seen a few Kimono-type patterns popping up across social media recently which certainly got the idea of sewing one up germinating in my little mind – but none of them ticked all the boxes for me; mostly as they were designed as outerwear pieces. As someone who practically lives in PJ’s/loungewear, I knew I wanted a long-length robe with full on Kimono sleeves, cuff and neck bands, long (preferably anchored) waist ties and, of course, pockets. The Suki has all of these plus the addition of an inner tie to keep things nicely secure and the added little touch of a hanging loop.

It comes in two lengths, long like mine or a shorter length, perfect for a poolside Kimono! It has a reasonably close fit at the shoulders and upper back, a flattering but relaxed fit at the waist and flares out more at the hip. Perfect loungewear! You can see why the email from Helen just felt so serendipitous – it was everything I’d been looking for!

Helen's closet

And I’d got the perfect fabric for it! Three metres of this floaty vibrant red floral viscose challis; it seemed to be begging to be made into a ‘Kimono’! I did contemplate doing the bands and ties in a contrasting solid black but decided against it; though I’m sure to try that on another version.

The pattern itself is aimed at ‘Adventurous Beginners’, however Helen has cleverly thrown in a couple of optional touches to raise it to ‘Intermediate’ should you wish. I’d say, if you want to keep it simple, lengthen the front band (especially if you’re not using a contrasting fabric) and keep your inner front and sleeve band seams exposed. I did the short version of the front bands even though I wasn’t using a contrast, as part of the testing process, and then topstitched my band seams – I wanted that topstitching detail. You have plenty of wiggle room in determining where your inner and outer ties go so they sit at your natural waist. In fact the only alteration I made was to take out a couple of inches from the overall length of the robe – it’s drafted for a woman of 5.6″. I love how it turned out!

Suki helens closet

Make your own footwear

I quickly realised that I’d sewn the robe of my dreams … which looked absolutely and totally ridiculous paired with the tatty old slippers I generally shuffle around in! No, that simply wouldn’t do! And talk about serendipity again; Minerva Crafts had offered me the Prym Espadrilles kits to test so, an hour and a bit later, I’d got the perfect pair of matching slip-ons! Now I can look put-together even when I’ve just got up in search of that first cup of coffee. At that time of day I can still barely open the one eye and with my hair sticking out at various forty-five degree angles, I definitely don’t look too much like a screen siren but, believe me, wearing this robe makes me feel like one and that’s half the battle…right!?

Helen's closet
Matching slip-ons!
Helen's closet Suki kimono
Deep pockets – perfect for stashing your ‘phone! Or, y’know, biscuits 😉

So a huge thank you to Helen for inviting me to join her pattern tester group – it has been such a fun experience and has certainly given me a full appreciation of the dedication and meticulous level of detailing that goes in to producing such a great pattern.  I ‘knew’ a few other members of the tester group already but, happily, I’ve  also now discovered some previously unknown to me (I’d clearly been living under a rock!)  Do check out either Helen’s launch blog post, if you haven’t already, to get your discounted copy of the pattern and/or check out her Tester roundup blog post to see and be inspired by all the other amazing tester versions!

Until next time, I’m still doing the happy dance!

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Sewing kimono

 

Sew Sarah smith

The Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet – a perfect layering piece! #MCBN

Sew Sarah smith

Hi again!

Long term readers of this ol’ blog may well remember me waxing lyrical about my experience sewing the first garment pattern out of Helen’s Closet, the Winslow Culottes. Well Helen’s only gone and done it again with this, the Blackwood Cardigan – it’s such an incredibly wearable, transitional, piece of clothing!

I made mine out of a gorgeously soft, classic houndstooth Ponte sent to me by Minerva Crafts; if you want to read about its construction, see more pics and find the links to this high quality fabric and all the other products I used, head over to my Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post (click HERE) – it’s basically an ‘Ode to the Sleeve’! I have washed and worn this Cardigan non stop since I made it!

There will be many, many more of these appearing in my wardrobe. I really want a burgundy one like the one Helen’s wearing above and a lightweight ribbed grey one, probably a black one too…mmm, I reckon, to be on the safe side, I’ll need a cream as well…

Anyhoo, moving on from my reverie, and not forgetting that Helen is also one of the #sewtogetherforsummer Sponsors, let me remind you that she is kindly offering a fortunate #sewtogetherforsummer 2017 participant a free copy of the Blackwood pattern! I can’t wait to see what she designs next!

Until next time, (when I’ll hopefully surface with a well fitting pair of Pedal Pushers or a new and improved McCalls M6696 Shirtdress).

Thanks for reading!

Sew Sarah smith

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