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The Ivy Pinafore Dress Pattern - Coming Soon

Friday, September 30, 2016

Hello everyone!

Just a quick post to let you know that the Ivy Pinafore will be here next week! BUT, if you sign up to the newsletter before Monday night (GMT +12), you'll not only get early bird access to the pattern the next morning, you'll also receive the limited-time, subscriber only discount that comes with it.

Sign up here and see you next week... exciting!

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Ask Jen, Episode 1 - The Name Change

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I've been thinking about doing an 'Ask Jen' series for a little while now - answering questions on sewing, sewing techniques, designing and, well, anything I blog about really. And since making my last two videos, I realised how easily the video format works for a series like this. AND, wouldn't ya know, I had an email from Sarah sitting in my inbox, begging to be turned into the first video for the series.

Sarah had emailed me to ask about when/why I changed my name (surprise! I changed my name from Jennifer Lauren Vintage to Jennifer Lauren Handmade in the middle of this year) so, for those of you who are interested, I delve a little into the depths of when I first started blogging and about that time I accidentally became an Indie Sewing Pattern Designer.

If you have a question you'd like answered in an upcoming 'Ask Jen' episode, flick me an email (jen at, I'd love to hear from you. And while you're at it, why not subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss an episode.

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The Gable Top Tutorial Series - A 3/4 or Bracelet Length Sleeve Adjustment

Sunday, September 25, 2016

This is probably just about the easiest adjustment you could make to your Gable Top (besides doing nothing at all, of course). Bracelet or 3/4 length sleeves will give you an even more elegant look for work and evening wear, plus, if you're a vintage gal, they'll also fit rather nicely into your wardrobe. They also work well for transitioning into different seasons - long enough to keep you warm, short enough to keep you cool.

Bracelet length sleeves are slightly longer than 3/4 sleeves - they tend to sit just above the wrist, whereas 3/4 sleeves will sit about half-way up your forearm (like they do on me in the pictures above). You could also opt to make your 3/4 sleeve shorter, by having it stop just after your elbow.

These are subtle variations, but you'd be surprised at how different they can make your finished garment look, so make sure you pop on a long sleeved Gable and play with the different lengths by rolling your sleeves up to different heights. That'll give you a good idea of how much sleeve you might want to remove. Once you've decided, make a note of that measurement.

Now, let's get adjusting!

You'll need -
Steps -

1. Decide where you'd like your finished sleeve to sit - if you'd like a slightly shorter 3/4 sleeve (finishing on your forearm, just after the elbow), you can easily use the sleeve pattern piece from View 3 with no adjustments. Simply leave the cuff off and hem using the seam allowance included in the pattern piece.

If you'd like a longer 3/4 or bracelet length sleeve, use the long sleeve pattern piece from View 2.

2. I went for a standard 3/4 sleeve on the samples above, so used the View 2 sleeve pattern piece. I measured up 15.5cm from the bottom sleeve hem on a size 10 to get the sleeve length pictured.

Once you've decided on a length, add your 1cm hem seam allowance to the bottom of that and draw in your new hem line (in pink below). My line was drawn in at 14.5cm up from the bottom to include the seam allowance.

3. Cut your pattern piece along the line you drew in step 2.

4. The last thing we want to do for a perfect pattern piece is to shape the hem seam allowance for a snug fit when folded back into the sleeve. To do this, fold your seam allowance up.

Take your scrap paper and at either side of the seam allowance, use the paper to increase the sides of your seam so that they match up with the angle of the sleeve (the little pink triangles on the photo below). Your hem seam allowance will then fit perfectly back into your sleeve when turned up.

5. Stitch in place using the steps in your Gable Top instruction booklet, and TA DA! Cute little 3/4 sleeves. Now, where are my circle skirts?

If you make a 3/4 or bracelet sleeve Gable, I'd love to see them. Leave me a comment, send me an email or tag me on instagram!


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ps) The Ivy Pinafore dress pattern is nearly here! Yay!! Make sure you sign up to my newsletter to be the first to find out when it's released and for your subscriber only discount.

A Gable Top Round Up

Monday, September 19, 2016
There have been some amazing Gable Tops popping up around the internet lately, and today I wanted to share some of the ones I've found. There are lots of stripes (naturally!) and some jaw-dropping creativity - I'm forever amazed at the never ending interpretations the Sewing Community comes up with to make a pattern their own.

Bianca @ Vintage on Tap
Bianca made the short-sleeved version of Gable and then went off to sip wine while looking effortlessly chic in her Gable top. She even made a little video talking about her experiences with the pattern, so if you want to see the top in action, make sure you check it out!

Abi read my mind when she turned The Gable Top into a dress! There's a little expansion pack for that coming, BUT, doesn't she look gorgeous? She also went for a 3/4 sleeve option for her top and slightly lengthened the short sleeves on the dress - love the retro-vibe of these little adjustments.

Bex made the most amazing Gable Top using Loretta Young's Bleeding Heart top as inspiration - when I first saw this, my jaw dropped. I have a plain black Gable that I'm seriously considering giving a make over a` la Bex, it's such an easy way to make a unique garment.

Emma @ Miss Maude
Emma went for casual elegance and graded up her Gable Top for a more relaxed fit. Perfect for the lazy days of summer ahead that we're both looking forward to. I need a breezy Gable in my life I think - it'd be perfect for a spot of gardening. And that beautiful little shell button to mark the back? Genius.

Oh the colour! I'm not quite sure what Jen chose to make her Gable Top with, but I'm imagining it being a perfectly squishy and soft merino. And I'm so very much wishing I could get away with wearing a turban with fruit on it - a perfectly subtle nod to Carmen Miranda and such a lovely way to style Gable, casual yet elegant with a cherry on top.

Lauren is the first person I've seen make View 3 with the long cuffs and I absolutely adore the contrast fabric she used here. If you're not into the retro-look, Lauren's Gable Top just goes to show how easily you can make it instantly modern.

Akram @ Akram's Ideas
Doesn't Akram look so happy in her Gable Top!? Maybe that's because she looks adorable, especially teamed with that skirt. She reminds me a little bit of Sandy at the beginning of Grease, right?

Nikki was one of my lovely testers who also opted to go with a 3/4 sleeve adjustment. And just look at those lovely ribbon markers peeking out of her necklines. Ribbons are a lovely little detail to add to your Gable so that you know which way is which when you're stumbling around getting dressed in the wee hours of the morning, hehe :)

Ashley @ Sewn by Ashley
Ashley went for classic navy and short sleeves for her Gable Top. A perfect mid-season transitional piece that you can wear during the warm end-of-summer days and then layered with a cardigan for those cool nights. And let's face it, navy goes with everything, so there's always something comfy yet classic to wear.

I've made a fair few striped Gable tops in my time, but I love the stripes on the fabric Shanni used for her's. Then, simply pair your striped Gable with some distressed denim and converse and you're good to go for a casual afternoon stroll .

Barbara Jane @ Barbara Jane Made
Barbara was another of my amazing testers, and again, we have stripes. No one can resist! And Barbara's Gable is another great example of how easy the pattern is to modernise if you're not a vintage girl - a classic red and grey striped fabric is all you need.

Phew, so many great Gable Tops, right? If you like to be included in future JLH Pattern Round Up's, just flick me an email or tag me on instagram!

Coming up next, how to make that easy little 3/4 sleeve adjustment to your Gable Top.

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Video! Adjusting the Neckline of your Gable Top

Monday, September 12, 2016
Hey everyone!

So, er, I really liked making and sharing my first video with you guys last week, to the point that I made a second one showing you how to adjust the neckline of your Gable Top (hint: it's really easy). It's so much easier to show you in video format than a series of pictures, so, here you go...

Notes -
  • I forgot to mention that after I eased in my seam allowance and pinned down my neckline (and then turned off the camera!) that you should press your neckline at this stage before stitching down. It'll really help to make sure your neckline is smooth. I did do this after I turned the camera off.
  • If you do pop a basting stitch into your neckline to gather the excess ease, you'll want to take it out once your neckline has been stitched down. 
Let me know what you think and if you have any questions :)


ps) Sign up to my newsletter to keep up with new videos AND for sneaky peeks at my newest pattern, coming soon!

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Video! Let's Talk About Gable Knits...

Monday, September 5, 2016
Soooo... I've gotten over my fear and recorded a video for you guys all about recommended knit fabrics for The Gable Top - eek!

Please don't count the number of times I say 'um...' because I had a Monty-Cat on my lap being all claw-y and purry and sore with those sharp little nails of his trying to get my attention.

So, why a video? Well, I did quite a bit of in-depth talking about knits when when I did The Bronte Top Sew-along, and since Gable is drafted for the same type of fabric, I didn't want to re-hash the same stuff in another wordy blog post. Also, since I have such limited time these days, I've found that I'm keeping up with the online world much more through videos and podcasts now - listening to interviews and presentations while sewing or drafting has definitely become my new routine, so, I thought I'd change it up a little and give it a go myself, just in case any one who reads this little spot on the internet is leaning the same way.

Also, hearing someone speak is so much more personal, isn't it? I feel like I know the people I listen too, even though I've never met them before. I still love reading blogs when I have the time, but I definitely find that I'm usually using them as a source of information and inspiration rather than a personal connection with the person behind the blog, like I used too.

I'm not sure if videos are the way of the future for me, I'll have to get much better at letting there be silence while I'm gathering my thoughts, rather than um-ing or ah-ing, but I guess that'll come with time and practice, and maybe a cat-ban during recording, huh?

  • I fact checked my 'sheep' numbers and there are actually 6 sheep per person in NZ now, it used to be 20!!!
  • 190GSM works out to be roughly 5.60oz per square yard.
  • When I said a '10cm ruler' er, I meant just a normal ruler with a 10cm length of fabric.
Obviously there are lots and lots of places to buy knits, the ones I covered in the video are just off the top of my head and are places that I've bought fabric from or brands I've used and have found are good quality.

Also, like I mentioned in the video, there are all kinds of knits and for the sake of not waffling on for an hour (can you imagine?!), I only covered my two favourite types. These are the ones that I use about 95% of the time.

Where to buy Merino Knit Fabric - 

Where to buy cotton/lyrca (spandex/elastane) knits - 
Cotton/Lycra (spandex/elastane) brands mentioned - 

I mention Emma at Miss Maude in the video as well, and while she doesn't stock the two types of fabric I mention, she has a lovely range of fabric that you should peruse anyway! Caitlan at Indie Stitches in Australia also stocks a small range of cotton/lycra as well.

So, um (!), let me know if you have any questions, otherwise, talk soon...

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