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A Late Spring Garden Interlude

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Filmed over a few days at the end of November, here is that little garden interlude I mentioned in the last episode of my podcast. Bees are buzzing, chooks are scratching, toddlers are foraging for strawberries and kitties are happy.


Warning: Contains wild & unruly grass - David literally did the lawns the day after I had finished shooting the final videos for this. But, if it had been mown, I wouldn't have got that amazing shot of the bee buzzing over the daisies at the very start, so, there's always something to be said for a bit of imperfection and unkempt-ness. Especially where gardens are concerned.

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PS) I quietly, and finally, launched my very own storefront yesterday. It's been a work in progress for sometime now, and while it still needs a bit of finessing, it works and I'm so happy with it. Won't you take a look?

A Handmade Day Podcast, Episode 4 - Tea & Books

Friday, December 2, 2016
Hello everyone,

A new episode of A Handmade Day is now live. Tea & biscuits feature heavily in this episode, along with a healthy dose of reading with the introduction of a new segment, Oscar's Bookshop.

Each episode, I'll be sharing one or two of our favourite books that we've been reading with Oscar lately, the first book is a beautiful mixture of art, ABC's & the heartwarming (and at times heartbreaking) world of homesteading.

Of course, the usual handmade-goodness is peppered throughout, with knitting & sewing plans afoot.

Below you'll find the start times of each thing, in case you want to skip ahead...

0.01 - Introductions & chatter

4.20 - Baking of the episode: Bluebells Cakery Vol 1, Chocolate Chip Biscuits

9.51 - What I'm Wearing: An Ivy Pinafore, with weather and earthquake updates, er... naturally?

13.34 - WIP's from last episode & some new ones:
* The Belfast Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge
* The Anouk Cardigan by Andi Satterlund

21.36 - Making Plans:
* Owls & Owlets by Kate Davies
* A Christmas Felicity Dress by Me
* Easy Peasy Baby Pants by Climbing the Willow

~ Tea & Cookie Interlude ~ 28.17

* An Heirloom Quilt

33.46 - Oscar's Bookshop:
* The ABC's of Homesteading by McKenzie Elizabeth Ditter

I hope you like this episode, thanks so much for watching and if you'd like to make sure you never miss an episode, do subscribe to my channel.

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How To: Flat-felled Seams, An Ivy Pinafore Tutorial

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I love flat-felled seams. They're strong and sturdy and are great for seams that require a less-bulky finish when using medium/heavy-weight fabrics. You can make them a feature by using a contrast thread, or have them blend into the background with a matching thread.

The Ivy Pinafore has flat-felled seams down the centre front and centre back where the pattern pieces are joined. In this tutorial, I'll be taking you through how easy they are to make.

Note - The steps in this tutorial are referring to the Ivy Pinafore specifically, but it is the same technique no matter what you're using a flat-felled seam for.

You'll Need -

Steps -

1. Wrong sides together, stitch your centre seam closed, back tacking at both ends. Press seam open.

2. Trim down one of the seam allowances to less than half its width.

3. Fold the remaining seam allowance down and then fold in half, tucking the raw edge under. Press.

4. Secure with a line of top stitching 3mm or 1/4" away from the folded edge.

Yeah, that was easy peasy right? Repeat the same steps for the centre back seam and you'll be away laughing!

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Cyber Monday Sale - 30% OFF!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy nearly Cyber Monday everyone!

Let's get started a little early with this sale then, shall we? 

From now until the end of Monday* you can get 30% every single pattern in my little shop! Woohoo! Just use the code MONDAY at the check out to have your discount applied.

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* Well, Tuesday for those of us in the southern hemisphere - so, let's make it 8pm Tuesday 29th November NZDT.

What is Fabric Nap? An Ivy Pinafore Tutorial

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hello everyone!

Today I'm going to be talking a little bit about some of the different options you might want to consider when deciding on fabric to make up your Ivy Pinafore, mostly though, this post is about nap.

More specifically - what even is nap?

Some fabrics, like velvet and corduroy (and faux fur for that matter - not that you're going to be making a faux fur Ivy... probably...) have what is called a 'nap'.

Fabrics with a nap are made up of a flat base layer that have little fibres sticking up from it - a bit like the hair on your head (with your skin being the base layer). The nap is basically the direction those little fibres on the base layer want to face. There will be a 'wrong' way and a 'right' way and that usually aligns with the grainline of the fabric.

If you run your hand against the grain, you'll find that, just like with your own hair (or your pet's hair, especially if it's short) you'll get resistance - this is the wrong way. Whereas, if you run your hand along the grain, it'll go down smoothly, or the right way.

I recommend making sure you cut your pattern pieces with the fabric nap running down towards the ground, unless you're doing the opposite as a design decision. This is mostly a gravity thing really, it's more comfortable to have the nap running down because that's how our arms hang.

Make sure you cut all of your pattern pieces with the nap running the same way - if you cut two pattern pieces with naps running in opposite direction to each other (or even slightly off), you'll notice in the final garment because the fibres will catch the light differently. One piece will end up looking lighter and the other, darker.

So, what fabrics work with Ivy?

I recommend making Ivy up in a medium weight, woven fabric that has some drape. My favourite's are pin-whale cord and denim, but jacquard and wool are equally lovely and cosy.

Be careful about making the slim-fit Ivy in a fabric that has too much bulk though, as you could run into some issues with making the bust dart lay flat (though you can trim the dart excess out to see if that helps if you're running into this issue).

And although Ivy was designed to be made in slightly heavier fabrics for the cooler months, now that you know how to make an unlined version, you could certainly make it in lighter fabrics. The full version of Ivy in a soft, flow-y fabric would be beautiful and cool in the summer and would make a perfect dress for throwing on over your swimsuit at the beach, or riding your bike down the lane with your dress billowing daintily behind you (we can all dream...).

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Get 'em Before They're Gone... $2 World Wide Shipping!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hello, hello!

I took a mini internet break last week to focus on getting the Gable Dress Expansion Pack out to my lovely testers.  Now that it's away, I can finish up the Ivy Pinafore Tutorial Series and get another podcast up :)

But before I do that, I wanted to let you know that I have $2 world-wide shipping* on my Bronte Top Paper pattern and I only have a very small handful left, and once they're gone, they are gone! 

Unfortunately at this stage, paper patterns haven't really made much sense for me. I'm too far away to offer competitive shipping, and the cost of getting paper patterns printed down here has proven to be exceptionally high. That means, I won't be doing any more in the foreseeable future - so, er, if you want one, now's your chance - get in quick!

These would make lovely christmas gifts for your sewing buddies, and if you buy them now, they should be on your doorstep before Christmas. I'll get them posted asap anyway.

If you're on my newsletter list, you got first dibs, so if you're not, make sure you sign up so that you not only get special discounts on new patterns, but also get access to subscriber-only sales.

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*USD and while stocks last.

A Handmade Day Podcast, Episode 3 - Whatcha been up to?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Hey all,

I have another podcast for you today - I'm sharing some of the makes that haven't made it to the blog this year (for one reason or another). There's some knitting, some sewing and a little bonus bees wax wrap in there (you can use them in place of plastic wrap in the kitchen!). I'll do a proper post on those soon if you want to see how I made them.

This podcast is a long-ish one, well, for me anyway, so I've listed the start times below (as well as links to the things mentioned in the post) so that you can skip along if you're not interested in some of the other things I'm talking about.

Before you begin though, huge apologies for the occasional random auto-focus/buzzy noise issues in this episode. I had no idea that was happening until I went to edit the video, sigh... I've figured out the issue though, so it shouldn't be a problem in the future.

0.01 - Introductions & chatter (baking of the episode - Nigella's Chocolate Stout Cake)
3.43 - The Auden Cardigan
6.11 - The Ivy Pinafore (How to make an unlined Ivy tutorial is here!)
8.28 - The Gumnut Hat - by A Makers Burrow
16.34 - Knitted Dishies - by Very Pink Knits
20.37 - The Belfast Cardigan - by Carrie Bostick Hoge
28.13 - Easy Peasy Baby Pants - by Climbing the Willow
36.07 - Roman Blinds
41.48 - Bees Wax Wraps

If you'd like to be friends on Ravelry, you can find me here.

I've had lots of questions for 'Ask Jen' already, but keep sending them in if there's something you'd like answered. I'm hoping to get to one or two in the next episode.

Speaking of the next episode, I'll be sharing some of my new personal making plans - knitting features heavily, funnily enough, and a Christmas dress of course...

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