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

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The Paro Cardigan by Itch to Stitch : Not my Finest Hour!

Mmmm, probably the less said the better, huh?!

Well it had to happen didn’t it. I’ve had a pretty good run with my sewing lately so Sod’s Law dictates I was due a Fail. This, my friends, is it; the Itch to Stitch ‘Paro Cardigan’.

In fairness, a lot of it probably is my fault. I blithely cut into to my fabric, which was stretchier than recommended, without making all of the adjustments I knew were probably necessary. I did size down to account for the extra stretch in the fabric but, looking at the finished measurements I knew I should probably grade and size down further in the waist and hip and I didn’t. I did go ‘as far’ as reducing the sleeve length but I also didn’t take anything out of the length of the bodice. Why? Well, I’m going to blame my momentary lapse in common sense on the onset of flu and the fact that I totally underestimated how much unflattering bulk those pleats would add.

Sew Sarah smith
It kind of looks Ok on Dummy doesn’t it?

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it’s enormous. I feel like a Matronly Battleaxe from another era in it; the kind I imagine gossiping over the garden fence whilst brandishing a rolling pin. It’s such a shame really as the fabric I used is truly lovely, a really soft drapey knitted poly blend which I’ve used before.


Anyhoo, you can read the full sorry saga over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, especially if you want to avoid the pitfalls I made (there’s a decent cardigan in the Paro I’m sure!) or, y’know, if you just fancy a giggle!

Until next time



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sew over it Anderson blouse

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse Pattern Review

Sew over it Anderson blouse sewing pattern review

I’ve got a whole bunch of Sew Over It patterns in my stash; a Christmas gift last year but none, prior to this make, that I’ve sewn up yet. I’d had my eye on this one for a while but it was a PDF pattern which put me off. The nanosecond it was released as a kit with a printed pattern I snapped it up.

So it was with excitement and, yes, some trepidation, that I embarked on this one. I love the way this blouse looks on Lisa Comfort and, of course, I’m all over the ‘Gillian Anderson’ inspiration behind it. However my major concern was, given the amount of ease and fabric involved, it would merely translate in a garment that swamped me – there’s no way I’m ‘willowy’ enough to wear it as drafted! Hence the trepidation. So, I embarked on a muslin, going down a size to account for the amount of ease, fabric and drape.

sew over it anderson blouse

Much as I’m always tempted to just ‘dive in’, making a muslin of a new pattern proved again to be a worthwhile step. With the partly-constructed blouse now in my hands, for example, the wording of the instructions stumped me momentarily in a couple of places, i.e. in relation to the grown on facings and neck binding.  To clarify, there’s nothing remotely complicated in terms of actual construction here – it’s a simple process – it’s just that I had to mentally re-word the instructions in those places. The black and white photographs weren’t always as demonstratively clear as I would have liked either. Or maybe I was just being a bit ‘slow on the uptake’ that day! I enjoyed the little bit of hand stitching involved (slip stitching the neck binding and cuffs down) as this always makes me slow down and constructively contemplative.

The whole thing came together reasonably quickly.  Draping the now finished muslin on my dummy I stepped away from it for a few days. Coming back to it I decided whilst at least wanting the option of wearing the blouse untucked, I didn’t want to incorporate the drawstring. Aiming to further reduce bulk in the area (I’m narrower in the hip) I also decided to remove a further 3″ or so from the circumference of the hem, by taking out approximately 1.5 cm from each side, as roughly demonstrated here:

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse

Whilst the quality and beautiful drape of the fabric supplied by Sew Over It in the kit undoubtedly further aided the hang of the hem without the drawstring, I decided that without it the hem needed ‘substantiating’ somehow as the fabric was just sooo floaty and fluid! Too floaty for my liking really. I initially sewed in transparent (swimwear) elastic within the hem allowance in an attempt to to do this and to also try and recreate the soft pulled-in ruche effect the drawstring would have brought to the hem, but without adding back the unwanted bulk. This was only marginally successful. I think it would have worked perfectly if I’d stretched the elastic out more as I sewed it in but I ended unpicking the whole thing, sewing a hem casing and simply inserting the least bulky elastic I had in my stash. And it works.

sew over it Anderson blouse

sew over it Anderson blouse

I’d do a few things differently if I sew this up again; I’d perhaps reinforce the sleeve cuffs with some very lightweight woven interfacing – I think I’d like a tad more rigidity there given how light the fabric is, to further emphasise the cut and pooling of the sleeves; a feature of the pattern I really like. As regards gaping at the front crossover, you will need to secure it here, as recommended in the pattern, with a couple of hand stitches to prevent it falling/blowing open, especially if you’re using such a lightweight drapy fabric. It will also help the folded facings stay turned to the inside. Next time, I’d use a slightly weightier fabric and cross it over further than the pattern suggests. If I’d drafted this pattern I would have had the front panels meeting the side seams, with the hem seam allowance sewed to the inside of the two front pieces, if you know what I mean, whilst shaped to still allow for the nicely draped cleavage.

sew over it Anderson blouse

In short, I am pleased with how it’s turned out. There are elements of the pattern I really like such as the gathers at the shoulder which create a beautiful drape across the chest yet the back neck and shoulders fit flush; I adore the cuffs, the pooling of the sleeve and the shoulder slope. However, that said, I don’t reach for it as often as I’d hoped; I find it such a faff having to press the grown-on facings just so in order for the blouse to hang properly in the wear. If you’re planning to make this and only wear it tucked in, I’d say go for it. However, I can’t 100% get behind the hem/drawstring finish.

Until next time…the awkward selfie!

Sarah x

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SewSarahSmith finished the Sew Over It Anderson Blouse