Like many of you, I was introduced to new indie pattern company - Named - back in August by Rachel, who always has her finger on the pulse with these kind of things. Designed by Finnish sisters Saara and Laura Huhta, the patterns are very sleek and modern - admittedly a departure from my usual style, but I found their online styling and colour choices irresistible.

Seriously lacking in quality sewing time at the moment, I opted to give the Laurie Striped Tee a go...because it looked nice and easy and because I can do with more casual tops in my wardrobe. I was particularly drawn to the horizontal tucks which create a striped effect and I had the perfect lightweight jersey in my stash. I bought a random 1.5m piece of it for about £1 from a guy on Leicester market!

A few things to note about Named patterns:
  • They're only available as PDFs at the moment, in UK sizes 6 - 16. 
  • Each PDF comes in just two sizes (6 & 8 / 10 & 12 / 14 & 16), so chose wisely.
  • They're a little like Burda patterns in the sense that pattern pieces are overlapped and must be traced. This is where having only two sizes per PDF, despite being restrictive in some ways, makes life a lot easier. It also saves on printing paper. 
  • They're delightfully easy to assemble once printed, with less pages than usual and handy page numbers on the bottom right hand side of each sheet.
  • They only come with written instructions, which are rather basic. This could be a hindrance to less confident stitchers, even when attempting a simple pattern like this one.

Fortunately for me, I'm relatively experienced in terms of sewing with knits, so I found the Laurie Striped Tee a breeze to sew up. For the tucks I snipped a notch either side of each line and then used a ruler to join them up with a marker pen on the wrong side of the fabric. The neckline is finished with a neat band and the sleeves and hem are just turned under and stitched. I must say though, that this method for finishing sleeves in jersey always results in them rolling up for me, so I much prefer sleeve bands.

I can't speak for other Named patterns, but this one has a fair bit of ease as it's not meant to be a fitted T-shirt. I made mine up in a UK 12, pinched a couple of centimetres out of the shoulder width and shortened the length by a couple of inches. I really like the result as it's comfortable and easy to wear both with jeans and skirts - seen here in an unlikely, but pleasant pairing with my first Miette skirt. Next time though, I think I'll lower the neckline a bit and make it up in a UK 10 instead.

Have you tried your hand at any Named patterns yet? If not, are any on your wishlist? I certainly have my eye on quite a few more...

Last year I shared some ideas for using up your fabric scraps, but what about the scraps that are awkward shapes or not quite big enough to use up in any meaningful way? If you're like me, you'll still begrudge throwing them away, because it just seems so wrong to put fabric in the bin...right?

As a result of fairly regular trips to my local charity shop recently - in a desperate attempt to de-clutter before moving into our new house - I found out that they can get money for recycling unsellable clothes. Items that arrive in terrible condition are stored up until they have enough and then they are sold on for recycling or upcycling. And guess what?!? They don't care what size the pieces are or whether they're long as it's all fabric!

Ever since finding out, I keep a bag next to my sewing room bin and put every last scrap of fabric in it. You won't believe how good it feels to stuff that bag as full as I possible can - this can take some time to be fair - knowing it won't end up in a landfill and that it will help raise money for a good cause.

Is this something you already do? If not, are you tempted to find out if your local charity shop will take your scrappy fabric scraps off your hands?

I'm sure by now you've all heard that our beloved Colette Patterns are nominated in the Martha Stewart American Made awards, celebrating crafty goods and companies in the US. Admirably, if they win the $10,000 grand prize, they intend on giving the money directly to their employees to thank them for their hard work! Imagine the productivity and creativity that gratitude will produce, all of which we'll be the ultimate beneficiaries of course!

Currently, Colette Patterns are in second place in the Craft category...about 11k votes behind a scrapbooking company...can you believe that?!?

The good news is, you can vote 6 times a day until 22 September so there's plenty of time left for Colette Patterns to catch up...and you don't even have to live in the US to vote. If you're forgetful like me though, you can even sign up to the Colette Street Team for daily voting reminders. Finally, you can also add a button to your blog like I've done to encourage fellow stitchers to vote.

We wanna beat the scrabookers, right? Surely our sewing community is bigger and better?!? Let's help Colette Patterns win and show everyone who's boss ;o)

**This post was not masterminded to offend crafty types of any particular persuasion, my sincere apologies if it does! I'm merely trying to evoke some camaraderie among sewing aficionados.** 
Anna stole the hearts of many this summer and now the latest By Hand London pattern has stolen my heart too! I had grand plans for a slinky, thigh-split maxi...but summer just ran away from me. No worries though - I already have my maxi fabric ready, and in the meantime, I'm overjoyed with my Autumn Anna!

These top two photos crack my boyfriend up...he says I look like a Meerkat...hehe!

My autumn Anna plan was hatched when I came across this burnt-orange, Liberty cotton-viscose at Leicester market. It was just £6 a metre (or maybe £8) due to a slight print flaw, but you honestly can't even tell with such a busy print. Anyway, it's buttery soft with a beautiful print that complements the pattern's distinctly 1940s characteristics. One of these are the unusual front bodice pleats which make a welcome change from darts and create a very feminine and flattering silhouette. 

I cut a size 10 for the neckline and sleeves and a size 12 for the rest. I shortened the bodice by my usual inch and next time, I probably need to pinch a little ease out of the back neckline - lucky for me though, Sonja from Ginger Makes has just posted a nifty tutorial on this! 

Like so many before me have already said, Anna really is a breeze to sew up. The lack of darts and easy kimono sleeves mean the bodice comes together super fast. The skirt too is very simple to sew with its straight lines and lack of gathers - it does have 7 pattern pieces though, so I really would recommend you mark and snip all your notches thoroughly to avoid confusion.

Anna even requires a simple invisible zip insertion, another speedy feature. I'm really happy with how neat and indeed, invisible, my zip turned out...but you see the ugly zip bits sticking out of the top? Yeah, well...would you believe it took me around two hours to get this zip in? It was a comedy of errors from the start which resulted in me unpicking more times than I care to remember. When I finally got it right, I realised the top was sticking out, but I couldn't give a flying monkey by then! I mainly wear my hair down, so I'm ok with that, but I may re-insert the zip at another time. 

Having said all this, invisible zips are usually pretty easy to insert so please don't be put off. There are loads of good tutorials out there, this one being one of my favourites. My main advice to you would be: don't over iron the zip open before inserting! That's the mistake I made and I kept ending up sewing too close to the teeth...tres frustrating!

I know I've waxed lyrical about this pattern so far, but Anna has a dirty little secret. When combined with viscose, she's a tubby-tummy-hugger! It's not Anna's fault that I have a tubby-tummy in the first place, but she's not particularly forgiving in this department due to the slimline nature of the skirt. So consider yourself warned if you plan on using slinky or 'unstable' fabric. I was sucking my gut in as much as I could in the photos below, but to no avail. Maybe it's a dress for 'thin' days!

I'm not going to hold Anna's tubby-tummy-hugging ways against her though. She's far too beautiful for that and far too agreeable to sew up. I'm glad I French seamed the insides for a neat finish and I even added some Petersham ribbon as a waist stay, because viscose has the tendency to loose its shape.

Anna is definitely another triumph from the sassy By Hand London girls. If you haven't tried this delightful pattern out yet, consider yourself lucky because there's a sewalong kicking off on Monday 16 September! I definitely intend to cheer myself up this winter with a maxi-version all ready for next summer. In the meantime, I'll enjoy feeling ladylike in my vintage-inspired Autumn Anna...

I'm super excited today because I'm a castaway! Not in the Tom Hanks sense of the word mind you, but in the Desert Island Sewing sense of the word - the awesome series from Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time! It was so much fun pretending to be on a beautiful island with all the time in the world to sew...isn't that just the ultimate daydream?

Anyway, if you want to know what eight patterns and other luxuries I would take with me, please do pop on over here.
Wowzers! I can't believe it took us two years to revisit One Pattern, Seven Bloggers, yet it's over so fast! As you can see from my finished Macaron, I hadn't actually started it when I wrote my inspiration post last week...hope you don't hold that against me. In fact, the only thing I stuck to was my beautiful fabric, courtesy of Minerva Crafts - you really should check out their excellent fabric selection!

I decided against the Named-inspired collar because there was already a lot going on here. I was also unable to recreate Dixie's asymmetrical circle skirt, because I didn't have enough fabric and the front would have ended up indecently short. But, I did still want an 'interesting' circle skirt, so I settled on a high-low hem - high at the sides and low at the front and back. Not quite as good as Dixie's, but interesting nonetheless.  

Overall, I'm not blown away by this dress, mainly due to two errors on my part. One: It's a lot more empire-line than I expected. I shortened the bodice by my usual inch - I do this adjustment for every single pattern - but this time it came up way to short. The waistband sits too close to my under-bust, so it's not possible to get the nipped in waist as I would have liked. Two: I made a poor choice in fabric. Despite its good looks, my main fabric was too bulky (think very pretty wetsuit) for this dress, making the skirt stick out at the side seams. Also, I don't think cotton poplin was a great idea for the yoke either...something a bit softer or with some drape would have pressed and looked better. 
Having said all this, I do love the Macaron and I can't believe it's taken me this long to try it. Apart from getting the bodice length wrong, I'm really happy with how it fits across the chest, shoulders and back...which is no mean feat! And, I love the sweet little sleeves! They're cleverly constructed, have a lovely shape and the perfect amount of gathers. All in all, I'd love to sew this up again in a more casual fabric, as I think it would make a cute little day-to-evening dress.

Please don't forget to check out my other partners in blogging crime - they've each made rather beautiful Macarons:

Rachel - My Messings

I also want to say a HUGE thanks again to our wonderful sponsors and to congratulate our giveaway winners, who are listed below and will be contacted via email:

Lil - 1 x Macaron Pattern thanks to Colette Patterns 

Josephine - 1 x Macaron Pattern thanks to Guthrie & Ghanie 

MaciNic - 1 x Macaron Pattern thanks to Stitch 56

Elizabeth - 1 x Pattern of your choice thanks to Sew Squirrel

Kathleen S - 1 x Colette Pattern of your choice thanks to Indie Stitches 

Joanne - 1 x Colette Pattern of your choice thanks to The Haby Goddess

Amy - 1 x $20 gift voucher thanks to Fabric Worm 

Sew Charleston - 1 x $30 gift voucher thanks to A Fashionable Stitch

Finally, I want to thank all of you for showing such interest in our fun little challenge...I know all seven of us were overwhelmed by your response!

I'm now signing off with my best peacock impression...