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JLH Holiday Hours!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


 

The end of 2020 is nigh, and that means it's time to take a breath and a break.


I will be away from emails and the shop from today and will be back regularly answering emails from Monday 4th January (NZDT).


The shop is still open - all digital patterns will be emailed directly to you once you've checked out, and paper patterns will be processed and sent upon my return.


If you have anything urgent over that time, I will try to get to you ASAP, but I'll have no email access until the 30th December, so will be unable to help out until after that time. I thank you for your patience and understanding and I hope you are able to take a little break over this time to reflect, refocus and reenergise. And maybe plan a little sewing along...


See you next year,


xx

J

Fabric & Sewing Tools - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Tuesday, December 22, 2020


 

Welcome to the first official post in the Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along


Although the Sew Along doesn't officially start until January 18th, I wanted to pop this post up a bit earlier so that you could start thinking about the kind of fabrics you might want to use for your final coat. I say 'final' because of course, I recommend making a quick toile of your coat first. Which leads me too...


Fabric Options


Toile Fabric:


While you can use calico (muslin) to make a toile of your coat - as this is traditionally what is used when making toile's for other garments -  you do need to be careful about over fitting in a fabric like this.


Generally, your outer coat fabric is going to be much heavier/thicker than calico, and it can be easy to think your coat may be too big/bagging in places it shouldn't etc when in fact, once it's fully interfaced, constructed and lined, then put over the top of any garments you might be wearing underneath, you may find it just right. 


So, if you can, finding a cheaper fabric that is slightly heavier for your toile is recommended, but, realistically, you'll have lighter/cheaper fabric laying around that you'll probably want to use instead. So, just keep in mind that it's really important you don't over fit your toile in a fabric like that.


A close up of the woven marle-effect wool blend outer fabric and rayon lining used in my (Jen) Willa Wrap Coat Sample.



Main Outer Coat Fabric:


There are so many beautiful coat options out there! I love a traditional melton wool (which is essentially a felted wool, used in Kyla's Cream Willa Wrap Coat sample) as well as herringbone, tweed and boucle.


You're looking for a fabric that is mid-weight with drape and some body to keep that collar looking crisp, whether it's buttoned up in the funnel neck style or the collar is left wide open.


Opting for a wool blend will give your coat warmth and drape while also keeping it light and easy to construct.  The fabric I used for my sample (blue) has texture woven into it using strands of blue and white wool/polyester blend threads. It's silky to the touch and the weave pattern gives an interesting look to the fabric, along with a marle effect with the two colours intertwined.


Quilted fabrics would also be a great option and give your coat some beautiful texture - just watch out that the finished fabric isn't too thick/heavy. There are some beautiful quilted denims around, as well as velvets, linen and metallics.


And for a much lighter weight coat, you could try using a mammoth flannel, it's thicker than normal PJ flannel, giving you a super lightweight coat, while also still being snuggly warm and easy to wash and wear.  In this instance, you could also consider adding an additional layer between your outer and lining fabrics. I would suggest using any additional fabric as an interlining paired with your outer coat pattern pieces. You essentially cut your outer coat and interlining fabric together and treat each piece as one, keeping your lining separate.


And finally, you could also opt for a sweatshirt knit - these have a slight stretch to them and tend to be a bit lighter in weight than traditional coat fabrics. They are floppier in their structure, but if you use a good interfacing, you'll get the hold at the front you need for a crisp collar.


Here are a few links to some lovely fabrics from your favourite local haunts:



There are so many more lovely Willa appropriate fabrics available from other JLH Stockists as well, find your local options here.



Lining Fabric:


I opted to use rayon for all of my linings - it's relatively inexpensive (unlike silk), comes in a huge range of colours and prints and is still light-weight and silky. It also doesn't fray as easily as many polyester fabrics and also breathes much better. Viscose is also another great, pocket-friendly, option.


If budget is not a priority, you can opt to splash out on silk, just watch it around any steamy/hot irons, and make sure you finish all of the seams to keep it in tip-top shape for a coat that will last you many years. 


Polyester linings are inexpensive and a great option for if you're just wanting to see whether coat-making is your jam, without making it an expensive exercise. You can always re-line your coat later if it becomes a staple in your wardrobe and you're wanting something with a bit more breathability.


Kyla's cream flecked melton wool Willa Wrap Coat with a spotty honey coloured rayon lining.


Interfacing:


I recommend using a light- to mid-weight iron on interfacing.  The one I purchased also had a slight stretch to it (it's a knit interfacing) which is great if working with fabrics like wool coatings and sweat-shirting or a fabric that has texture woven into it (like boucle), as it gives body and structure without effecting the drape and movement of the fabric.  The shop I purchased from has since sold out of what I bought but it was similar to this.


If you're using something more stable like a quilted cotton or denim, then a plain interfacing is perfect here.


As a side note, in the instructions, the Centre Front Coat (pattern piece A) isn't interfaced around the collar/front because most of the time, the outer coat fabric that people will probably choose for a style like this means that adding additional thickness makes sewing hard (and isn't necessary). 


However, if you choose a lighter/floppier outer fabric (like mammoth flannel or sweatshirting) then interfacing the centre front coat at the front/collar is a good idea. It will provide the additional structure that your fabric can't and will give you a lovely collar that will hold it's shape during wear.  Use pattern piece F (Front Coat Facing) as a template, it doesn't fit exactly, but does the job!


While it can be tempting to interface your front facing when using a thicker/heavier fabric, some machines will struggle with the additional layer, especially if you're choosing to add buttonholes. So, keep that in mind, and perhaps do a test run on some scraps to see what your machine can handle.



Buttons/Snaps:


Buttons/belt loops/closures of any kind are completely optional for Willa. You can leave the coat open as is and it still looks beautiful. You can just use the belt to keep it closed and it works, but if you want extra hold at the waist and want to have the option of the cosy Funnel Neck style, then buttons or snaps are your friends here.


I recommend 2cm diametre buttons because they're an easy size to find and they tend to make a statement. You can opt for smaller or larger buttons here though. They can be shank buttons (copper jeans buttons would look amazing!) or flat round buttons, it's up to you!


If you don't want to insert buttonholes, you can use snap buttons. Just make sure that once your coat is fully constructed, that you can insert them into all of the layers you need too. That's 2 outer coat layers, one of which is interfaced (and possibly 2 if you're needing that additional structure) - so, I recommend testing this senario out first.


Lastly, if you don't want to add any buttons or snaps and prefer a cleaner front coat, you can opt for larger dress/skirt hooks that are sewn invisibly between the front wrap of the coat OR opt for a decorative shawl pin.



For this Sew Along, I'm using a beautiful forest green wool coating (80% wool with 20% polyester) and a rayon, with a slightly tropical vibe, as the lining. I haven't decided on buttons yet...



Useful Sewing Tools




Sewing Machine Needles: 


Make sure you pick up a packet of heavy duty machine needles. If your machine is struggling (skipping stitches etc) and isn't improving after re-threading your machine, try either changing your needle to a new sharp one OR go up a needle size.



Tailor's Ham: 


Tailor's hams are such useful pressing tools for all kinds of projects, not just coat sewing. If you don't have one, I have a free pattern for you to make your own here. Use your ham to gently press in curves from darts and sleeve heads in your set in sleeves. If you don't have a sleeve sausage, the ham can take it's place in many instances.



Press Cloths and Steamy Irons: 


To stop any shine getting onto your lovely coat fabric when pressing/steaming seams (and to protect the plate on your iron!), make sure you use a press cloth. It doesn't have to be fancy - I use an old cotton sheet - just make sure it's light weight and made of a natural fabric (cotton is perfect). 


And of course, an iron that gets nice and hot and provides lots of steam for setting seams will make your coat look professional as well as making it easier to construct.



Fancy Tools that are fun (but not necessary):


Walking Foot: 


I cannot find a walking foot that will fit my Janome (though I'm sure they must have one...) so this isn't essential BUT can make thick coat sewing much easier on your machine. Since your machine only has feed dogs at the bottom, sometimes this can make the top layer of fabric not feed through the machine evenly. A walking foot effectively works as a feed dog from the top, making the fabric feed through the machine evenly at both the top and bottom.



Wooden Clapper: 


A wooden clapper is a tailor's tool that is essentially a block of smooth, polished wood. Once you've steamed a seam, pop the clapper on top and press down until the fabric has cooled. It will give you a lovely flat and crisp seam allowance (or hem etc).  


Again, I don't have one and have happily constructed all of my Willa Coats up until now without one, BUT I have since put in a request to my wood-working husband to make me one. Maybe it'll be ready in time for the start of the Sew Along...



Sleeve Sausage: 


Like a Tailor's ham but long and slender, like, erm, a sausage. Pop it into your sleeve and press your long sleeve seam(s) open like a pro.



Hammer (not fancy, but definitely fun!): 


If you don't have a wooden clapper, and you have a particularly thick section of coat (I'm looking at you front corners!) you can try steaming your seam with an iron, then gently hammering it into submission. Trust me, it works!



If you have any questions about fabric or tools, just send me an email - I can't wait to see what fabric combinations you've come up with come January!


You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat sewing pattern directly from my shop here.


xx

J

The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along!

Thursday, December 17, 2020


If you're wanting to try your hand at sewing your own Willa Wrap Coat, but are feeling hesitant or overwhelmed at the thought of fitting, sewing and finishing a coat, then you've come to the right place.


This Sew Along will hold your hand through all of the steps of sewing your Willa Wrap Coat. It includes detailed posts on fitting & common pattern adjustments, step by step instructions on constructing your coat (with detailed photos and/or video content), as well as additional ideas/suggestions on how you might want to adjust the pattern to suit your personal preferences.


The Sew Along has officially started! Click the live links below for the current published posts - unlinked posts are listed in the order they will be live. The Sew Along will conclude in early March.




Pattern Adjustment Week:





Pocket Week:



This Sew Along is going to be pretty in depth and will finish early March - good timing to keep you occupied over the end of Winter if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, and if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, perfect for you to have a finished coat ready for the cool weather to settle in.


I hope the Sew Along will fill you with the confidence you might need to tackle sewing a fully lined coat. I promise you can do it! Plus, you'll come out of it hopefully having learnt a few new techniques that you'll be able to take with you into your future sewing projects.


You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat digital pattern here. Let's get sewing!!


xx

J

The Willa Wrap Coat - New Pattern Release!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020






Snuggle in and let Willa take you from chilly morning walks to glamorous evenings, all with a single fasten of a button...



The Willa Wrap Coat has been loooong time in the making and I'm beyond thrilled to finally be able to release it into the world today, in both Original and Curve sizing!


I started designing Willa during the winter I was pregnant with Rowan (mid-2018, YIKES!). I wasn't feeling well, it was cold and I just wanted to rug up in a blanket every time I had to head out the door.


The only thing was, I didn't want it to look like I was wearing a blanket, you know? I wanted a stylish blanket, one that kept me snuggly warm while still looking somewhat like I made a little effort (even though I didn't).


I like to think of Willa as a perfectly tailored blanket...


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



Pattern Details


Leave Willa tied or buttoned at the waist for the full dramatic effect of the wide collar design, perfect for an evening out, or button it at the top for a cosy funnel-neck styled collar to keep the cold at bay (a bit like an in-built scarf!).


Semi-fitted through the back and shoulders for a sleek silhouette when viewed from behind, Willa is deceptively easy to fit around the front due to the easy wrap-style, darted front princess seam and multiple bust cups (Willa comes with A to F cup sizes!).


Willa also sports patch pockets to carry all of your essentials and belt loops to keep your belt where is should be, perfectly cinched at the waist.


With enough ease to make light layering underneath easy and stress free, Willa is fully lined and is designed to fully cover and sit just below your bum (gotta keep that warm, huh?!).


All buttons/closures are optional - Willa looks equally lovely left completely open at the front.


Willa is all about style mixed with absolute comfort and warmth, with just a sprinkling of drama. It's a blanket in disguise, with just the right amount of tailoring to look effortlessly put together.


Keep the cold at bay with Willa, the dramatic yet modern coat of your dreams.



Skill Level


Willa is designed for advanced seamstresses or intermediate seamstresses looking to up skill.


But why not sew along...?


If you're feeling the urge to sew your first coat but are a little nervous, a full Sew Along - starting in January - will hold your hand through all of the steps of the process, if you're up for the challenge!



Sizing


The Willa Wrap Coat includes both the Original and Curve sizes, ranging from 6 to 34 with cups A to F. You can read about the new sizing here.


If you're worried about fitting a coat and choosing a size, I've also included a whole bunch of additional Finished Garment Measurements - from armscye and bicep circumference to shoulder width and more!


Simply compare these measurements to a coat you already like the fit of (or one you know you'd like to alter) and you'll be surprised at how much of the hard stuff is already done.


Multiple Bust Cups: A to F


Due to the relaxed nature of the wrap style, two cup sizes are integrated per front bodice - A+B and C+D Original Pattern, and C+D and E+F Curve Pattern. This gives a total of 4 front coat pattern pieces to choose from (rather than 8 separated cups).


If you fall into the smaller cup size, you may find there is a touch more fullness at the bust, but this should not effect the overall relaxed fit and feel of the coat.



Fabric Options


The Willa Wrap Coat is suitable for mid-weight woven fabrics with body and some drape.


Melton, boucle, herringbone and tweed, suitings, corduroy and light quilted fabrics would make a lovely coat.


Lining should be light-weight - cotton voile or lawn, rayon, polyester or silk linings work best to keep bulky seams to a minimum.



Meet the Models


In the Meet the Models section, you can find model information like their measurements, the size and block (Original or Curve) they are wearing as well as any pattern adjustments made to suit their individual bodies.


A huge thank you to Kyla (who also happens to be my neighbour - very handy for late-night fittings!) for modelling the new Curve 20C+D bodice.


You can find out all about us (and any particular quirks) on the listing page here.



Digital Release Only


You will receive both pattern size ranges delivered instantly to your inbox!


From there, you can choose my easy-to-assemble print-at-home file or you can send theA0 file to a print shop and have them print it for you.


The Layers Function is included in all pattern files, so you can turn on and off any number/combinations of sizes your heat desires.


There will be no paper patterns available for Willa at this stage.




Purchase Willa


You can purchase your copy of the Willa Wrap Coat here!


Make sure you tag me on Instagram or use the hashtags #JLHWillaWrapCoat or #JLHCurve so I can see and share your makes!


xx

J

SALE 30% Off Store-wide!

Friday, November 27, 2020

It's somehow that time of year again...  



I know it's been an incredibly tough/weird/strange year for everyone - huge ups, huge downs - but honestly, THANK YOU for all of the support this year.  I truely appreciate it - I absolutely couldn't keep running this little business without you. 


So, like every year for the last few years, I'm running my biggest sale again, as a little thank you for your support and encouragement. 


Use the code THANKS2020 to get 30% off store-wide until 8pm Monday 31st November NZDT



Next week I'll be releasing the final JLH Pattern for the 2020 year,  The Willa Wrap Coat, so if you'd like to know when that's ready, make sure you sign up to the newsletter here.


xx

J


* Sale ends 8pm Monday 31st November NZDT

The Willa Wrap Coat - New Pattern Coming Soon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

 The last pattern of 2020 is going to be released NEXT WEEK!


The Willa Wrap Coat is finally on its way, a pattern I've been working on for a VERY LONG TIME now. It comes with both the Original pattern sizing (6 to 24 A to D cups) as well as the new extended Curve Sizing (16 to 34, C to F cups).


If you'd like to be the first to see it (and access the Subscriber-only discount) you can sign up to the Newsletter here.


Make sure you sign up before 8pm Monday 31st December NZDT, so you can be sure you're on the list before it's scheduled to be sent out. 


xx

J

The Dulcie Pinafore - Tutorial: Hemming the Skirt

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


In today's little tutorial, I'm going to be going through how to hem the Dulcie Pinafore! Again, it's one of these things that looks more complicated than it is. So, here we go...


You'll need:

  • Your Dulcie Pinafore, constructed up to hemming the skirt (using the included instructions)
  • Pins + iron


Steps:

1. Open out the skirt facing and press the raw edge of the entire skirt hem up by 5mm (3/16").





2. Flip the skirt facing around so that it is now right-sides together with the main skirt front (keeping your baby hem pressed up from the first step). Pin in place.



3. Stitch your facing hem in place using a 1.5cm (5/8") seam allowance, back-tacking at each end.


4. Trim out the seam allowance from the inner front corner, leaving a centimetre or 2 (3/8" - 3/4") of the facing remaining at the outer edge.


5. Turn your facing back around so it is now right sides facing out.  Press the corner of the skirt out gently with something pointy (a knitting needle or a point turner can be handy here!).


6. When you turn your facing out to the right side, it will naturally bring up the rest of the skirt hem with it. Press the remaining skirt hem up evenly (1.5cm or 5/8") and pin in place. 

Remember, your baby 5mm (1/4") hem from step one should still be folded in place!





7. Leaving long thread tails at each end, stitch your hem in place right at the edge of the baby hem folded up in step 1. Pull thread tails to the back and knot securely before trimming.


And you're done! Easy, huh? And such a lovely clean hem and skirt corner :)

You can purchase your Dulcie Pinafore Dress pattern here.

xx
J

The Dulcie Pinafore - Tutorial: Finishing the Waistband

Wednesday, October 21, 2020


The Dulcie Pinafore is aimed at Intermediate seamstresses mostly because there are some time-consuming parts (hello button holes!) and some bits that are a bit fiddly. If you're a confident beginner looking to sew up Dulcie,  this tutorial will help put you at ease when tackling the construction of the waistband, especially if you're a visual learner like me! 


It's pretty straight forward, but it can seem confusing until you do it... 


Steps:


1. Assemble your bodice and attach your waistband pieces to the finished bodice as per the instructions.




2. Open out your waistband, then right sides together, line up the interfaced waistband (the one that sits on the outside of the garment) along the skirt waistline. The waistband should stick out 1.5cm (5/8") on each end. 

Due to the curve of the skirt, it may feel like it doesn't fit, but it does! Just line up your notches and ease the waistband in.



3. Back-tacking at each end, stitch your waistband to your skirt. Trim down the seam allowance along the waistline leaving 1cm (3/8"). 



4. Draw the interfaced waistband down, bringing the bodice with it, so that it is now wrong side down (or right side up!). 






5. The non-interfaced waistband will now sitting on 'top' with the bodice sandwiched between.  The two waistbands will now technically be right sides together along the length. Pin the waistband seam allowance together at each end along the 1.5cm (5/8") seam allowance, being careful not to catch the bodice or skirt.




6. Back-tacking at each end, stitch the waistband closed at the ends, being careful not to catch your bodice/skirt.

Tip - you can use a zipper foot to get close to this seam without catching your bodice. AND, once you've got past the edge where the bodice is attached, you can fold it out of the way.




7. Trim down the side seam allowance and notch the corner.



8. Pull the non-interfaced waistband down so that right sides of the waistband are now facing out and the bodice and skirt are pulled out.






9. Press the non-interfaced waistband down.




10. Tuck the raw edge of the waistband up to the wrong side by 1.5cm (5/8"). Pin in place.




12. Stitch in place around the entire waistband, 3mm (1/8") away from the outer edge of the waistband.


And you're done! Like any 'tricky' step when sewing, just take your time, you can do it!!


You can purchase your Dulcie Pinafore pattern here, it includes both the Original pattern (6-24, A to D cups) AND the Curve pattern (16-34, C to F cups).


Happy sewing, 


xx

J

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