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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, 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 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 (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.

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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!

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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?

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