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Short & Sweet - February Days

Thursday, February 23, 2017










Knitting - Winter mitts while I wait for another ball of wool to arrive so I can finish off my Owls. Rookie mistake = not ordering enough wool.

Sewing - All the Juniper cardigans.

Cooking - meatballs. On the way home from playgroup last week, I asked Oscar what he wanted for lunch, he said meatballs. Meatballs it is, dude.

Drinking - white wine spritzers and pretending summer is here.

Learning - Alternate Cable Cast-On, it's so pretty!

Hoping - Oscar gets better soon. He's been sick since the weekend and while the cuddles are lovely, I want that happy little boy back.

Wanting - all the indie yarn. Seriously, just all of it. Thanks.

Deciding - what to knit next? What to sew next?

Enjoying - the sunshine & impromptu walks down to see the diggers at the bottom of our street.

Collecting - avocado pits. Natural dye, here I come.

Listening - to bees buzzing while we dig in the sandpit and make sand castles.

Watching - Land Girls. Those 40's overalls.

Smelling - summer roses in the garden.

Wearing - Ivy pinafores. I don't think I've worn much else these past few rainy weeks.

Wondering - which sewing pattern designs to work on next.

Admiring - how much talent this creative community has and how willing people are to share and give advice.

Grateful - for lovely emails from friends, even though we've never met. Both new, out-of-the-blue notes as well as ones from old friends.

Loving - quiet evenings.

Feeling - all over the place.

Buying - more wool.

Baking - zucchini bread (with half the sugar & how ever many cups 2 grated zucchini's yield - don't squeeze out the water!) with zucchini picked fresh from the garden.

xx
J
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A Handmade Day Podcast, Ep5 - Knitting Failures & Successes

Friday, February 10, 2017
I know, I'm a little late to the par-tay, but the first A Handmade Day podcast episode is up for the year!

It's mostly about knitting, but if you'd like to get a peek at the Gable Dress in real-time, you can check it out right at the start. You can also hear about some of my favourite sewing gadgets towards the end in the Ask Jen segment.

Unfortunately, I realised a little too late that a lot of my knitting from last year was coming out yuge due to the fact that I was knitting at a really loose tension for some reason. Like, really loose. I've since remedied this, perhaps a little too much on my first finished project for the year (Oscar's Owlet), but at least this one is wearable. If not for two winters, at least for one.


The times for individual segments are below in case you want to skip to particular sections...

0.01 - Happy New Year!! *contains spectacular celebrations*
0.54 - Baking of the Episode - Barb's Chocolate Brownie
1.57 - Wearing - The Gable Dress (not ironed. What's new?)
5.37 - Other sewing? Not so much... except for The Juniper Cardigan (coming soon!)
8.00 - On with the knitting failures, first up, The Belfast Cardigan
12.14 - The Anouk Cardigan
16.47 - My first finished project of the year and a big success, Owlets for Oscar
20.43 - The beginning of my very own Owls (hopefully another success. TBA)
24.11 - The beginnings of some future knitting plans...
25.06 - Ask Jen! Carole wanted to know what some of my favourite sewing gadgets are, so behold -
  • 25.26 - A wrist pin cushion (I got mine from Miss Maude)
  • 27.39 - A good sewing machine (& my thoughts on computerised machines vs manual machines). I have a Janome My Excel 18w and if you're looking for a reliable workhorse that does everything, I highly recommend it.
  • 34.40 - A Tailor's Ham (and I just happen to have a free pattern here in case you want to make one of your own).
xx
J
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* or not...

Become a JLH Pattern Tester!

Friday, February 3, 2017

THANK YOU!! 
The list is now closed, but check back in the future for other openings.

Yesterday, I deleted my very first tester database *gulp* but it was time.

I started that database all the way back in August 2014. Over the years, people have naturally dropped off and those that were on it, became confident seamstresses, ready to tackle anything. So this week, I emailed that amazing group of people, told them that the list was being deleted and that if they still had time and wanted too, they could sign up to the new Pattern Tester list.

And now, you can too!

For a limited time I'm opening up the list to new people who might fancy testing a future pattern for me - oh, and the Juniper Cardigan will be ready next week! May as well hit the ground running right?

Please take a moment to read the updated FAQ's below so that you know what you're getting into before you sign up...

1) Do I get paid to pattern test?
Unfortunately not, but you do get a (hopefully) cute pattern! Once all feedback is collated and any changes are made, I'll also send you a final copy of the updated pattern as a thank you.

2) Do I need to blog about it once the pattern is released?
Absolutely not! In fact, I have testers who don't even have blogs or an internet presence. What I need from testers is honest feedback about the pattern, and then should you wish, you are more than welcome to blog about your experience with the pattern (good or bad) once released, but there is no small print stating that you have to blog about it (though obviously, I'd welcome it!).

3) Do I need a blog or web presence to test?
Again, absolutely not, see above answer.

4) How do you pick who get's to test?
Once I have the next pattern ready, I'll email the entire database to let you know. From there, testers will be chosen on a first in per size email basis. If the first 10 people signing up are all a size 14, obviously I need a range of sizes to test for me, and sending the pattern to a large group who are all sewing up the same size isn't going to give me a good idea of how the pattern works across all sizes. So in that instance, the first few in that size group will get to test.

5) What do I have to do?
Once you've received my email with a description of what the next pattern is, if you want to test it, all you have to do is let me know. If I receive your email before the testing group is full, I'll email you the pattern with a list of questions I'd like to know about.

After you've made the pattern, you'll need to email me back with the answers to my questions and any other comments you think might be useful for me to put into the pattern (whether it's fit, typos, missing information, instructions that are hard to understand etc). This usually needs to happen with a 2-3 week turn around.

6) What if I'm too busy to test a pattern with a 2 week turn around?
I'll always let you know what you're in for before you commit to testing a pattern. If you think there's no way you'll be able to provide feed back in that time (sometimes sooner!) then I'd appreciate it if you'd pass on testing that time and let someone else do it.

Don't worry, just because you pass this time, doesn't mean you get a black mark next to your name for next time :)

7) Is the pattern going to be in pdf? Do I need a printer? I hate pdf's by the way...
Yes, at this stage all my patterns are in a digital pdf format. So, yes, you'll need a printer. My patterns work for both A4 and US Letter sized paper.

I think 'hate' is a rather strong word, but I understand the difficulties of working with pdf patterns. However, if you're yet to try one of my PDF patterns, I hope I'll curb some of that dislike. My pdf's are laid out in a way that you don't end up needing to rearrange your entire living room to tape together one big blob of paper. You get to print out only the version you want to make, and you'll save a bunch of paper and time doing it my way :)

I've also just added A0 Print Shop versions to all patterns and I will send you both layouts when testing.

8) What if I don't like the style of the pattern on me?
I'll hopefully describe the pattern to you as best I can without actually showing everyone what the pattern looks like (cause that'd be giving it away!). Based on that information, you'll need to decide if you think it's something you'd like to make, and then fingers crossed you like it.

If you end up hating the style, I'd still need your feedback but I guess you'll just need to look at the pattern objectively (rather than emotionally) so you can let me know any issues with it.

9) What if I'm a beginner seamstress?
Great! I will be releasing patterns that suit different levels of sewing experience. If I've stated in an email that a pattern is intermediate or advanced but it sounds like something you'd like to have a go at making, then please feel free to sign up. You never know, while I think it's an advanced pattern, you might think it's super easy, which would then mean I'd need to re-think my classification of the pattern anyway.

10) If I sign up and give you my email address, will you use it for other spammy 
purposes, or give it to spammy people who will send me spam?
No way! Your email address will specifically go onto my testers database, and you'll only ever get an email from me if it's about pattern testing (unless you'd like other emails of course! You can sign up to my actual newsletter here). And I'll never give your email address to spammy people either, don't you worry.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Does that sound like something you'd be up for? If so, you can...

Sign up here! I'd love to have you.

Make sure you get in quickly as I'm not going to be leaving the list open for too long, having a massive tester database doesn't actually help as much as you think it might - people inevitably get disappointed if they don't make the sign up in time when a new pattern is ready, and unfortunately, there's not too much I can do about that.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Otherwise, thank you so much for all of your support! And here's to testing Juniper next week (gin optional).

xx
J
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All Patterns Now Available in A0 Print Shop Format!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Good morning, good morning,

Over Christmas, I sat down and re-laid all of my patterns into A0 Print Shop format and while they've actually been available for almost all of January, I'm only just getting around to officially announcing it. So, er...


If you purchased a pattern from me during January, you should already have the new format in your chosen design, however, if you purchased earlier than that, you won't. SO, if you'd like the A0 Print Shop format of your pattern(s) please forward your receipt (either your JLH, Etsy or Paypal receipts) to jen at jenniferlaurenhandmade dot com and I'll forward you the relevant files.

Please note - I'm expecting a huge number of requests, so it may take a few days to receive your file. If you don't hear from me within a week of emailing, please email again, just in case!!

xx
J

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The Gable Dress Expansion Pack - NOW AVAILABLE!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

One of the things I most love about sewing is the ability to make what ever you want. You can make things that never existed before. You can re-imagine loved garments. You can mould the rules to suit different fabrics and shapes. You can extend the life of loved sewing patterns.

And so here we are today, reinventing one of my most popular patterns, The Gable Top, and turning it into one of the most comfortable and flattering dresses in your wardrobe...

With pleated and gathered skirt options, The Gable Dress Expansion Pack includes new bodice, pocket and skirt pattern pieces, making this one of the most versatile patterns in your stash.

Use any of your three original Gable Top sleeve patterns (or this tutorial for 3/4 or bracelet length sleeves) and you'll have tops and dresses sorted from spring to winter.

Keeping the original classic 50s-inspired slash neckline and comfortable knit fabric construction, The Gable Dress is the perfect quick make. It can be made up using any of the recommended fabrics from your original Gable Top pattern — from cotton lycra to snuggly merino knit, the choice is yours.


The Gable Dress Expansion Pack is now available from my shop for just $3.50. It includes my recently introduced A0 Print Shop files as well as the standard A4 Letter files. You will receive all new bodice, skirt and pocket pieces as well as detailed instructions on how to construct the dress.

This is an expansion pack though, so you will need your Gable Top pattern to complete the dress!


If you haven't already purchased Gable, not to worry. You can purchase The Gable Bundle, which includes the original Gable Top and the new Gable Dress Expansion Pack. Usually $14.50 when purchased separately, you can buy them in bundle form for just $14.

I'd love to see your Gable Dresses, so why not share them with me by either tagging me directly, or using the hashtag #GableDress.

xx
J

ps) If you'd ever like to be the first to find out about new patterns AND receive the exclusive subscriber-only discount when they're released, make sure you sign up to the newsletter!

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Gable Dress Expansion Pack - Coming Soon!

Friday, January 20, 2017

I'm sure it's quite easy from my 'sneak peek' above to guess what one of the views for the new Gable Dress Expansion Pack is (pleats and pockets, oh my!).

But, if you'd like to be the first to know when it's available and take advantage of the subscriber-only discount, then why not sign up to the newsletter?

You'll need to sign up by 8pm on Monday 23rd January NZDT to make sure you're on the list.

See you next week,

xx
J
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Narrow or Bulky Arm Adjustment - The Auden Cardigan Tutorial Series

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Another simple adjustment you can make to The Auden Cardigan for a more personalised fit is to adjust the sleeve for narrow or bulky arms.

The sleeve on Auden is lightly shaped, but sometimes you need more shaping and sometimes you need less, depending on the person the cardigan is being made for and what you're planning to wear underneath.

Note - These alterations should be made without a seam allowance and after a muslin has been made so that you can get a gauge on how much you need to adjust your sleeve by.

You'll need - 
  • The Auden Cardigan sleeve & cuff pattern pieces (for either view)
  • Ruler (a french curve would be very helpful but isn't strictly necessary)
  • Pen
  • Scrap paper
  • Measuring tape

Narrow Arm Adjustment
A narrow arm adjustment removes excess sleeve width, resulting in a slimmer fit sleeve over all.

Using the diagram above, pinch out any excess from the bottom of the sleeve up to where the bicep sits at the top of the sleeve.

Note - make sure you're wearing what you will most likely wear underneath your cardigan to make sure you aren't taking out too much.

Dividing your excess up evenly on both sides of the sleeve, transfer these new points onto your sleeve pattern, then draw a gentle inward curve from your wrist up to the underarm of your sleeve. Adjust your cuff to match your new sleeve wrist width.


Bulky Arm Adjustment

A bulky arm adjustment adds width to the sleeve to accomodate a wider arm. Wear what you plan to wear underneath your cardigan and using the diagram above, measure the wrist and bicep, making sure to take into account wearing ease.

Place your pattern onto scrap paper and adding width evenly on both sides of the sleeve, transfer your new markings. Draw a gentle outward curve from your wrist up to the underarm of your sleeve. Adjust your cuff to match your new sleeve wrist width.

These are simple but effective adjustments to make to your Auden Cardigan (or any long sleeve pattern for that matter). 

xx
J
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