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The Pattern of the Month - The Auden Men's Cardigan

Wednesday, November 15, 2017



I don't want to freak you all out, but did you realise that Christmas is slightly less than 6 weeks away now...?

I know that making something for the men in your life (husbands, brothers, partners, fathers, sons etc) can be a daunting task. It's hard to know what exactly they might like — enter the Auden Cardigan.

If you have someone in your life that likes a touch of the vintage mixed with everything modern, then the Auden Cardigan might just be up your alley.

It's faster and easier to make than you might think (no bust adjustments necessary!), it has lovely details that you can incorporate for a subtle or bold look (saddle shoulders, optional elbow patches and the choice of an incorporated neckline or a contrast one) and it's super snuggly and warm made up in easy-to-sew sweatshirt knits — mmmmmm, fleecy goodness.

Auden was the latest in my Pattern of the Month series, and so if you'd like to read a bit more about the pattern and how others have found stitching up the Auden Cardigan for their loved ones (or themselves!!) then please read on...


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It might be spring in New Zealand but it's still cold! Kristina went for Auden View 2 and used a leftover piece of 'dandy linen' from Miss Maude (that I've actually had my eye on...) for the contrast band and elbow patches.

I can't wait for the already cut out purple version with black denim elbow patches and an additional band around the bottom (per the model's request, and a mighty fine one at that!).


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When I originally sent Auden out to testers, the number of them who requested a version for themselves was what inspired me make the ladies version, Juniper. However, a number of those testers actually made an Auden for themselves, so when Nadine put her hand up to make one for herself, how could I resist?

A few things to think about if you're a lady who might want to make Auden — it's going to be a grandpa cardigan on you, but an oh-so-snuggly one and Nadine's is no exception. Check out the sleeve length (noted in the Final Garment Measurements) and keep in mind that the cuff is deliberately chunky, so feel free to shorten it for a slightly more delicate look.


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More tweedy-contrast bands on Jen's Auden Cardigan! I love this colour combination too — it's really the perfect cardigan for a stroll in the countryside in autumn, don't you think?


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Erica's Auden Cardigan is a great example of how you can modernise Auden using plain fabrics in contrasting colours. The saddle shoulder is subtle when the sleeves and body are made in the same colour but the neckline pops in contrast.

I can also tell that it's been made in a really nice mid- to heavy-weight sweatshirting — it's holding its shape really nicely through the neckline and looking very snazzy (if I do say so myself!).


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Jillayne's cardigan is yet another example of a modern take on Auden and with a few little tweaks to round two, I think Jillayne will have the perfect fit.

The sleeves are deliberately longer on Auden than most men's clothing — David always has 'short sleeve syndrome' and so I thought it would be nice to make a pattern that already has longer sleeves for the lengthy-armed men out there.

Jillayne thinks she added about 1" too much length, but I think it's probably quite a novelty to have sleeves that are too long (David thinks that would be the best day ever) and luckily, you can roll sleeves back easily or just leave them as is on those cold days.


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I love this quilted knit sweat shirting so much! It almost looks like Auden has been turned into a coat for those extra cold days (which is something I think I need to do). The saddle shoulder detail still stands out, while not taking over the quilted motif.

And that colour!


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Auden + a wool-rayon double knit = cosy perfection. Also, another example of how you can keep the look subtle by sticking to one colour and using the incorporated button band (View 2) with some slightly contrasty buttons to finish off the look. 

Marilyn is planning to slim down the cuffs a touch in her next version, but otherwise, I think this looks amazing!


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Dappled and dapper! The first purple Auden I've seen (but not the last, according to Plum Kitchen above!). Rhonda originally tried sizing down and doing a Full Belly Adjustment but then decided to stick with the straight XXL as the fit across the shoulders and back was spot on.

She does bring up an interesting point about how great it would be if there were different body pieces within a mens pattern to cater for different shapes (like I've done with the multiple bust cups in Laneway & Mayberry). It's something I will definitely look into — thanks for the idea Rhonda!


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We all need a little black cardigan, right? With Amanda's carefully fitted cuffs, this is definitely a dressy Auden look, even worn over a t-shirt. I also love the buttons Amanda has chosen here — the shine makes them pop just enough (and not too much!) against the plain black knit.


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This is David's pick of the bunch; Annie's choice of soft buffalo plaid reminds him of the classic NZ Swanndri workshirt (albeit less scratchy), with the addition of beautiful plain black cuffs. Annie didn't use buttons here, as her model prefers to wear his cardigans open, and I have to say I love the look. 


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And there you have it! Lots of lovely Audens — are you inspired to make one?

Plus, here are some previously published Auden Cardigan Tutorials (just in case you're interested!):



xx
J
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The Secret to the Perfect Buttonhole

Friday, November 10, 2017


Tailor's Tacks.

I know... you thought I was going to give you a Harry Potter magic buttonhole spell. Or, a brilliant sewing-machine-settings-sequence that works for every single sewing machine and fabric combination.

However, I think the fear around buttonholes is not the putting in of the buttonholes themselves, but more about the making sure they're evenly spaced, and, you know, straight.

Unfortunately, you can't get away with not testing how your sewing machine and particular fabric are going to play together - you will need to test and adjust your buttonhole settings each time, BUT, you can make it infinitely easier on yourself by marking out your buttonhole placement accurately so that when it comes time to put them in, you don't have to think about it and your buttonholes will come out perfectly spaced and non-wonky, every single time.

Enter, the humble Tailor's Tack.

If your pattern has buttons, it should come with the buttonhole placement marked somewhere. For Mayberry, I put them on the facing so that when it comes time to take your tacks out, if you accidentally get a little bit of brightly coloured thread fluff caught in the seam, it doesn't matter because you won't see it (and it happens to all of us at one point or another).

Steps:

1. Take a length of high-contrast thread and thread a needle - there is no need to knot the ends and it's totally up to you whether you use a double or single thread.



2. On the right side, thread your needle from one end of the buttonhole marking through to the other, piercing the underside of your fabric and coming back through at the other end of your buttonhole marking. Leave a long tail.



3. Make a loop of thread by going back through your already threaded sections, leave a long tail and snip your needle off.



4. Repeat for remaining button holes.


5. Take a pair of scissors and snip the loop in half.


6. Remove your pattern piece and assemble your pattern as per the instructions. Your tailor's tack's are pretty sturdy, and as long as you've left decent tail lengths, they should remain in place until you're ready to sew in your buttonholes.

To sew your buttonholes in, start at one end of the tailor's tack and stitch in a straight line to the other side. Remove your tack with a pair of tweezers.


See! Now there is no need to be scared of buttonholes any more.

xx
J
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The Pattern of the Month - The Afternoon Blouse & Shift Dress

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's time for the second Pattern of the Month Reviewer Round Up, The Afternoon Blouse & Shift Dress - as voted by the Reviewers themselves.

It's an oldie but a goodie, and it was incredibly heart-warming to know that people still love the pattern and want to stitch it up all these years later. 

Did you know it was the first pattern I ever released, 3.5 years ago? Two years after the initial release, I extended the pattern and released the shift dress - definitely the best decision ever.

To read each individual review, click their name at the top to be taken straight through - enjoy!

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Chloe's gorgeous Afternoon Shift dress looks perfect strolling the streets of France. Throw on a pair of stockings and some lovely flats, and it's the perfect, comfortable autumn outfit.

Chloe chose the back box-pleat variation for shaping the back.


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Why make one when you can make three? It is called The Afternoon Blouse & Shift for a reason... it's quick! You should be able to whip one up in an afternoon.

Rhonda made two shift dress versions and a blouse and I think you'll agree that they look beautiful. And in such a fun array of fabrics — perfect for an up-coming Australian summer.


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I love how Katherine has styled her Little Black Shift. It really shows the versatility of the pattern and what a great piece it is for transitioning between seasons. 

Katherine also made the shift with the back box-pleat for shaping, but she decorated it with one of the buttons she used on the front. I can't believe I've never thought of doing this — it's such a sweet detail.


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The Stitch Sisters both made Afternoon Shift Dresses — Nikki made the pointed neckline (blue) and Rachel made the rounded neckline (tartan). And again, more beautiful autumn styling!

Head on over to their YouTube Channel to see their dresses in action!


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One of my favourite features of the Afternoon Blouse & Shift Dress is that the neckline is such a great way to showcase special/novelty/statement buttons, and Kristina's Kitty button is a choice after my own heart.


Kristina styled her crisp cotton poplin blouse with jeans and clogs and opted for a stunning silk/linen blend for the shift dress, showing that both types of fabric work a treat.

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Nadine made two different blouse versions, both in stunning pops of colour with more statement buttons.

Using a fabric with no print can really show off the neckline if you want to make a real feature of it, as Nadine has done. And I love how crisp and clean her versions look — a perfect blend of vintage-inspired and modern.


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Accacia also took the opportunity to make multiple garments from the pattern, and when I started getting the reviews in for the Afternoon Blouse & Shift Dress pattern, it became rather apparent just how many reviewers were making multiple variations.

Accacia put a dart into the bust of both of her versions after doing a FBA, and I think the fit looks beautiful on her! Head over to her blog to read more about her process. The blouse is her toile (and a damn fine wearable one at that!) and the shift dress her final make.

Oh, and let's not forget the cat getting into the action in the background. And up a tree no less.


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Another 'why make one when you can make three?' moment.

Sandra has gone above and beyond and showcased the pattern in such a lovely array of fabrics — from cotton voile, to a medium weight crisp cotton to a slinky polyester.

Sandra made no adjustments to the pattern and I think it looks amazing on her straight out of the packet!


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Jo's breezy rayon fabric choice is such a winner here. It highlights the kimono sleeves perfectly and just takes the over all vibe of the blouse up ten notches.

And I can't not mention the styling here — the boots, the skinny jeans and the roof-top garden deck — what's not to like?!


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Sylvia shows just how versatile one Afternoon Blouse can be.  From office-wear paired with the ultimate black wiggle skirt, to casual weekend wear in a pair of fitted pants.

Plus, the colour she chose is amazing, and I adore that teeny little button she chose for the neckline. While a statement button works beautifully, I love seeing the smaller button nestled perfectly in place.


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Tracey has the winter styling for The Afternoon Shift Dress perfected! Layered with a fitted long sleeve top, some tights and a pair of boots, all you need is a cardi and you're out the the door.

I also think that Tracey is one of the only reviewers to top-stitch her neckline down. There is plenty of room for your head if you also prefer this option (and I've done it for most of mine as well — it provides more security, especially when you have a grabby toddler). It can also be made a feature of by using contrasting thread.


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Another amazing statement button but this time it's on a Little Grey Dress! Sarah went with the rounded neckline and also opted for the back-box pleat shaping - a popular choice among the reviewers, it seems!


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Suzy



Suzy went for a bright summer / autumnal fabric here, and it looks ready for either sunshine or layering up. I especially appreciate the pop of colour in her statement button, and the mirrored flower-and-petal pattern makes a striking contrast to the pattern's neckline. 


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Marian Serenity




Marian's fabric is a stunning broiderie anglaise and it makes such a stunning dress. 

Can I also point out the gathered shaping at the back? This is the other option that is included for shaping the back if box-pleats aren't your thing. It's cinched in with elastic, making it incredibly comfortable.


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Such a fun, bright and inspiring bunch of makes - thank you so much reviewers! 

You can also check out some tutorials I've done for the pattern below:


xx
J
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