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Become a Pattern Reviewer! The Pattern of the Month...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thank you so much everyone!! Sign ups are now closed.

Edited to add - the number of people who don't blog anymore was a little bigger than I had anticipated! In this case, if you have a public FB page, you could post a review there OR you could set up an account on Pattern Review and review the pattern there. I just need somewhere to link to so people can read your review and see your photos.

So, I've decided to trial something a little different for the next 6 months...

This idea might be a little crazy, but I also think it's an important step in sharing my patterns with a wider audience. It's definitely time to step up and give this a proper go, so, er, here goes...

Have you ever wanted to make one of my patterns but weren't sure if it was for you because:

a) You haven't seen it on a body shape that relates to you?
b) You're worried it's out of your skill zone?
c) It's a bit different to what you'd usually wear and so even though you like it, you're worried you won't once it's on?
d) You've never tried one of my patterns, so, what if it's just downright awful?


Well, how about I just a gift a pattern to you?


A little crazy?

Since releasing The Laneway Dress and having such amazing feedback (from both my testers and other seamstresses who have since purchased and used the pattern) about the addition of multiple bust cup sizes as well as my tweaked pattern blocks, I'm really feeling ready to try and actively broaden the number of people who have heard about my patterns.

I have many, many wonderful testers for my patterns, but I've realised that because I don't require them to have a blog or social media presence (and they are under no obligation to blog or share their makes at the end of the testing experience even if they do), this has left me in a bit of a conundrum -


How do I share what my patterns look like on lots of different, everyday figures, made by people with varying skill levels? How do I share people's experiences with my patterns, good and constructive, so that others can try my patterns with confidence?


I give them away, that's how!

I know I am a very small fish in a big ocean of amazing indie pattern designers, and it's just really not in my nature to talk myself up. (Not exactly the best kind of personality to have if you're trying to share your work with people; shrinking violet over here says 'Hi!!')

BUT I also really do believe in what I am producing. I work hard on getting an impeccable fit with spot-on drafting. I work hard on producing instructions that are clear and concise. I work hard on producing patterns that aren't stock-standard — it's all in the details and the details are where I shine.

And I want to share that.

My testers and their feedback are, erm, a testament to that, and now I just need to share my work way more than I do. I need to learn how to talk about my work, because I believe in it. I know it speaks for itself for the many who have tried one of my patterns, but, geez Jen, just talk about your work a bit more won't you?

So, I need your help.


I'm not always the best at asking for help, I tend to muddle through by myself a lot. It comes from a place of both wanting to do everything myself ('cause you know, I can do all-the-things thank you very much!) and also from a place of not wanting to impose on anyone else, because you all have your own lives to live.

To that end, approaching a popular blogger or social media darling to review your goods (or services) is hardly a new concept, but I want to try something new. To give YOU, my audience, a chance to review a pattern and for me, in turn, to be able to share those makes with the rest of my audience.

So, what am I asking you to do?


If you have an active blog and social media channels (FB, Instagram, Pinterest etc), can take a decent photo of your handmades and then spend some time writing about your experiences with some kind of thoughtful coherence, then why not become a JLH Pattern Reviewer?

You must have a public blog or YouTube channel that you post on regularly (1-2 times a month) to share your written/spoken review on, as well as an active social media channel (or more) to share photos etc on. Alternatively, if you don't have a blog, you can post your review to your public FB page OR set up an account on Pattern Review.

These can be any number of channels from my favourite, Instagram, to Facebook or Pinterest.

How it will work:
  • Every month will feature a new pattern & a new group of reviewers for the 'Pattern of the Month'.
  • You'll receive an email telling you which pattern will be being featured as well as the date your review must be up by. You can reply back if you're interested and have the time to review the pattern.
  • I'll pick a small selection of different sizes, figures and skill levels (approximately 10 people per month) and will send you the pattern for free, as well as few questions you might want to consider for your review while you're making the pattern.
  • You'll get approximately one month to make the pattern, take some nice photos and post your review on your blog (public FB account OR Pattern Review) and social media channels.
  • I'll then do a round up of the reviews on my blog (linking back to you of course!) as well as adding them to my Pinterest boards and showcasing some of them on my Instagram account + FB.

These are reviews though! 

So don't feel like you have to gush because you got a free pattern. This is your opportunity to make one of my patterns and share what you liked and what you didn't like, what you changed and what you might do differently next time (if anything).

Hopefully a month is plenty of time for you to make a muslin, take some pretty photos of your final make and then write a thoughtful review of the pattern.

** Sign ups are now closed**

Thank you SO MUCH in advance, I can't wait to hear from you.

xx
J
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The Juniper Cardigan Sew Along - Attaching Pockets with FREE Pocket Pattern Pieces

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's pocket time!!

I love a good pocket - they are handy things to have on every single garment, and so today, I'm giving you all 2 free patch pocket patterns that will fit beautifully onto your Juniper Cardigans.

The 'square' one (as shown) is designed for the Long-line cardigan and the rounded one is designed for the Cropped version.



You'll need -


Optional -

  • Interfacing for both pockets


Steps - long-line cardigan pocket:

1. If you are wanting to interface your pockets (maybe you have an extra light fabric & want to give your pockets some more stability?) do this now, on the wrong side, making sure to test your interfacing on a scrap of fabric first.

2. Finish the raw edge of the angled side of the pocket, removing as little fabric as possible. Right sides together, fold over the angled pocket edge and stitch down each side using a 1cm (3/8") seam allowance. Finish remaining pocket raw edges, removing as little fabric as possible.


2. Clip corners and flip the angled edge of the pocket to the wrong side. This will turn your top and side edge under to the wrong side with a 1cm (3/8") seam allowance. Press, then secure the angled edge by placing a line of top-stitching as close to the pocket finished edge as possible.

3. Press remaining pocket edges in by 1cm (3/8").
 4. Wrong side down, place your pocket onto your cardigan, above the hip band and in from the button band. Where you would like to place your pocket within this area is completely up to you - try pinning your pocket on and adjust from there.

Back tacking at each end, secure pocket to cardigan by top-stitching around the sides, leaving the angled section of the pocket open, using a 3mm (1/8") seam allowance.


Steps - Cropped cardigan pocket:

1. If you are wanting to interface your pockets (maybe you have an extra light fabric & want to give your pockets some more stability?) do this now, on the wrong side, making sure to test your interfacing on a scrap of fabric first.

2. Right sides together, fold your pocket in half lengthwise. Press.

3. Stitch down both sides, leaving a gap at the bottom, make sure to back-tack on either side of this gap.
4. Trim down seam allowance (leaving a little extra at the bottom opening) and notch corners and curves. Turn pocket right sides out through the bottom opening and press, tucking the remaining seam allowance into the pocket. 

Optional Step:

4a. If wanting to add functional buttons to your pocket, place a button hole into the top of the pocket before attaching to your cardigan in the next step.

5. Pick a right side, then place pocket wrong side down onto your cardigan - up from the hip band and in from the button band.  Where you would like to place your pocket within this area is completely up to you - try pinning your pocket on and adjust from there.

Back tacking at each end, secure pocket to cardigan by top-stitching around the sides and bottom of the pocket using a 3mm (1/8") seam allowance.


6. Leave pockets as they are, add non-functional decorative buttons to the top of the pocket or stitch buttons to the cardigan, matching up with the buttonholes added in step 4a. Press and enjoy!




xx
J
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The Juniper Cardigan Sew Along - All about Buttons

Monday, July 10, 2017

Just a little post today all about adding buttons to your Juniper Cardigan - long story short, there isn't really much that can go wrong...

Number of buttons:

Use all-the-buttons or none at all, it's entirely up to you. In fact, I think that the long-line Juniper lends itself beautifully to being transformed into a button-less cardigan (though it also looks amazing buttoned all the way down too).



I personally like to use two on my long-line cardigan (which is the only reason why I use that as the suggestion on the pattern), and a full set of 6 on my cropped versions (even though my blue cardigan sample only has 5 buttons because one went missing...).

Button Type:

What kind of button should you use? A button-button? A shank button? A popper button?

Again, it's really up to you! I've used various different buttons for my Juniper Cardigans - for this sew along sample I've opted for pearly-white shank buttons.



One thing to keep in mind when choosing a button type is that if you're using an extra thick fabric or if you've added grosgrain ribbon on top interfacing and a good fabric, you may notice that your band is now extra thick. Using a shank button might be a good idea here as it will cope much better when done up than a standard button will with the additional thickness.

Adding Buttons:

On the right hand side (as if you were wearing it) insert your buttonholes using the instructions that come with your sewing machine (or popper button packet) and then hand-sew buttons onto the left hand side, matching your button holes, and voila!

Let's pop some pockets on next, shall we?

xx
J
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The Juniper Cardigan Sew Along - Attaching Grosgrain Ribbon: Why, When & How + A Fell Stitch Tutorial

Friday, June 30, 2017

Have you ever noticed that sometimes there is a ribbon of some description running along the underside of both sides of the button band of your RTW cardigans? Or maybe you have noticed people talking about adding grosgrain ribbon to the button bands of their hand knits?

Why is it there?

Ribbon is sometimes added to knit button bands to help prevent the band from stretching out. The structure of a knit fabric (hand knitted & machine-made) means that there is much more give compared to woven fabric, whether it's a stretch knit or not.

Combine that with the fact that a button band is under a lot of stress due to pulling & tugging in that area from use, as well as the opposite directions the band is being pulled by the body when worn - adding in something a little extra is not a bad idea to stop any potential drooping, and to help it keep its shape for as long as possible.

Having said all of that, I personally have never used any extra reinforcements (like grosgrain) on any of my Juniper Cardigan button bands. This is mostly because I haven't deviated from my recommended fabric suggestions and have always used an interfacing on the button section of the neckband, so I've never felt the need to add any extra stability to this area.

When should I use a grosgrain ribbon backing?

Keep in mind that you do need to be careful about adding grosgrain ribbon on top of a good fabric choice and interfacing, because adding too much bulk can also cause your button band to wave and not sit flat against the body.

If you've used the recommended fabric, but perhaps forgot/didn't have/ or didn't feel like adding in interfacing, you may wish to add that stability back in by using grosgrain ribbon.

Or

If you've used a particularly light weight and stretchy/droopy fabric, this may also be a time where you might want to add some more stability for a longer lasting garment.

Hand-stitch or Machine stitch?

Honestly, I would always recommend hand-stitching over machine stitching when adding grosgrain ribbon. Hand stitching will make your ribbon completely invisible on the outside and will give your ribbon and button band a little more 'give' when worn. I am using a beautiful (and easy) little hand stitch in this tutorial called a Fell Stitch, though you can use what ever hand stitch you like.

You can absolutely use a machine stitch if you prefer, just keep in mind that you will see this stitching on the outside since you'll be stitching down both sides of the ribbon to secure. You can always turn this into a design feature though - try a contrast thread or fancy stitch setting.

You'll Need:

  • Your Juniper Cardigan
  • A length* of 12mm or 1/2" wide (max) grosgrain ribbon
  • Needle and thread
  • pins

* The length depends on which view you are making and how many buttons you are using. If you're making the long line cardigan for example, but are only adding in 1 button at the top, you'll only need enough to cover that section, 5cm or 2" will be plenty. If you want to button down the whole long line button band, you'll need enough to go all the way down plus a little extra for each end.

Steps:

1. Cut a length of grosgrain ribbon that measures at least the length of the button band that will be in use (i.e you'll be adding buttons/button holes to it) plus an extra 5cm/2" or so.

For this tutorial I used a cropped cardigan and cut a full length of ribbon from the top button notch all the way down to the bottom plus an extra 5-8cm (2-3") to be safe.


2. Pick a 'wrong' side to your ribbon and fold down approximately 1cm from the top to the wrong side.


3. Wrong side facing down, place your grosgrain ribbon on the underside of your button band, lining the top a little higher than your first button notch (or where ever your first button will be). Pin in place.


4. Continue pinning the rest of your ribbon down until you have covered the section of button band you'll be using.


5. If you have any extra length of ribbon, trim it off leaving approximately 1cm extra at the end. Fold this extra under and pin in place.





The Fell Stitch:

Now we get to start our hand-stitches. The Fell Stitch is a lovely stitch that is easy to learn and quick to do. You can use a matching colour to your grosgrain, but for this tutorial I have used a contrast thread so that you can see it.

Since your button band is a double layer, make sure to only stitch to the under layer so that your stitches are invisible to the outside.

You can watch the video or read on for the tutorial:


1. Start at one of your folded ribbon ends, using a single thread with a knot at the end. Place your needle into the fold of your ribbon and pull your thread through to your knot, this will anchor your stitches and start your fell stitch.


2. Place your needle into the button band right next to where your thread came out of your ribbon fold, then angle your needle so that it comes down and out of your band and catches the very edge of the ribbon, approximately 1cm down.



3. Repeat by placing your needle into your button band, right next to where your last stitch came out, angling down through the button band and catching the edge of the ribbon, approximately 1cm down.

Continue this stitch all the way around your button band.


Once you get back around to the top, stitch into your button band twice, then double knot and you're done.

xx
J
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The Juniper Cardigan Sew Along - Making and Attaching the Sleeve Cuffs

Monday, June 26, 2017

We are officially on the home-stretch of the sew along, yay! Today we're making and attaching our sleeve cuffs...

You'll Need:
  • Your Juniper Cardigan bodice (well, it's pretty much a cardigan now, huh?)
  • Your Sleeve Cuffs
  • Pins & a sewing machine

Steps:
1. Take your sleeve cuff and fold in half, right sides together, matching double notches.



2. Stitch down to secure, then trim down seam allowances and press seam open.



3. Wrong sides together, fold your cuff in half, turning it into a tube by matching single notches and each end of the seam from step 2 together so that the right sides are now showing. Pin and press.



4. Pin your cuff to your sleeve, matching raw edges and lining up seams and notches on the sleeve and cuff. Pin in place.




5. Stitch down to secure around the cuff and press seam allowance up. Marvel at your sleeve cuff before repeating the above for your other cuff.



You may wish to go one step further by top-stitching around your cuff using a longer straight stitch, on the sleeve side, 3mm or 1/8" away from the cuff stitching line. 

Oh my, what a beautiful sleeve!

Next we'll be talking about when, why and how to add grosgrain ribbon on to your button bands,

xx
J
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The Juniper Cardigan Sew Along - Attaching the Neck Band

Friday, June 23, 2017

Today we are attaching the neckband to our Juniper Cardigan. I like to attach my neckband one side at a time starting from the centre back, so that's what I'll be showing you today. If you like to attach your neckband from the bottom of one side, making your way around to the other side, please feel free to do this.

Also keep in mind that the neckband has several notches along it that match to various sections of the cardigan neckline, some of those sections are eased in, and others aren't.

You'll Need:


Steps:

1. Starting from the centre back, right sides together, match the centre seam of the neckband to the centre back of your cardigan neckline. Pin in place.



2. On the neckband, match the notch next to the centre seam to the shoulder line seam that sits to the front of the cardigan.



3. Now you'll see that the cardigan neckline between these two pins is too big to fit into the neckband, this is the first section you'll need to ease in aka - STRETCH!

Yes, you'll need to stretch that section of the neckband until the cardigan neckline fits into it. This section will require quite a bit of stretching, hence the need for a stretchy fabric.

Pin in place.




4. The next section of the cardigan also requires easing in.  Match the next notch along your neckband to the 'first button notch' marked on your pattern (aka, the first notch you'll get to after your shoulder line). Ease this in as you did above and pin in place.


5. Now we are up to the section that requires no easing of the cardigan. The 'under bust notch' will match to the second to last notch on the neckband and the final notch on your neckband will match to the hip seam line. The bottom of both the band and the neckline should then match up perfectly at the bottom. Pin in place.


6. Repeat steps 2-5 for the other side of the cardigan neckline. Stitch in place working from one end to the other, remembering to ease in the neckband as you go. Press the neckband around to the front, pressing the seam allowance pointing to the sides of the cardigan.


Optional Step -

7. Using a longer straight stitch on the cardigan side, starting from one end and working your way to the other, top-stitch around your neckline 3mm or 1/8" away from the neckband stitching line.

Note: While the above is optional, I do recommend doing the additional top-stitching as a way to make your cardigan look more finished and to help prevent the neckline flipping around in the future.



We're nearly there! See you next time when we'll be attaching our sleeve cuffs.

xx
J
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