Linden sweatshirt by Grainline Studios

Some time ago whilst scrolling through social media I came across the Linden sweatshirt by Grainline Studios.

I thought it was going to be difficult sewing with jersey and stretch fabrics so avoided it. Then last year after speaking with other sewers that had made it, I bit the bullet and purchased the pattern. I got it as part of a kit from Guthrie and Ghani at the knitting and Stitching show in London. They tend to only do the kits at shows so I thought why not?

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The fabric in the kit was too nice to cut straight into, so I used some jersey fabric I purchased from the Birmingham Rag market.

This was a baptism of fire in my sewing journey and being dyslexic. I didn’t read the pattern properly and only cut out one piece for the hemband. I couldn’t workout why the whole sweatshirt wouldn’t fit until I re-read the pattern. So I unpicked this toile quite a few times. Unpicking was horrible as I had been using a zigzag stitch, which is recommended when sewing with stretch fabric.

I finally made the sweatshirt look like a wearable garment, but I still wasn’t ready to cut the fabric from the kit.

Instead, I used more fabric purchased from the Birmingham Rag market.

I used my overlocker on my second Linden attempt. This gave the opportunity to tidy the inside of the garment. I struggled with the neckband on both attempts, so started researching what others had done. The majority had made the neckband longer, either sizing up by one or adding 1.5cm.

Another visit to Guthrie and Ghani brought some purchases of their cosy colours bolt ends. I thought there would be enough to make a two tone version but not quite. I got creative and asked some dear friends for help. This was all I needed to start sewing my ‘sunshine’ sweatshirt.

I am so pleased with this sweatshirt and have received lots of positive feedback online and in person.

Full of confidence I was ready to cut the fabric from the kit. Then disaster strikes! I broke my thumb shielding my face from a ball whilst officiating a basketball game. Gutted was an understatement, as I couldn’t sew for just over six weeks.

I have been lucky and my thumb healed really well. So I thought I’d just go for it and cut into the kit fabric.

I didn’t feel this fabric needed the insides overlocking or a zigzag stitch, so I didn’t bother. All of a sudden I now have 4 Linden sweatshirts.

I find this pattern doesn’t use up much fabric so I cut the body from the scraps of another project to start Linden sweatshirt number five.

This latest sweatshirt has been made from scraps in my fabric stash. I am really happy with how it has turned out.

If any novice or nervous sewers are thinking about making this pattern, just do it. It’s a great pattern to introduce you stretch and jersey fabric.

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The Story of Two Yards of Fabric

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After being introduced to the African fabric stall at the indoor market in Birmingham. I went back to get some fabric to use as headscarves.

They charged £3 for 1 yard pieces and had lots to choose from. So I chose two different pieces.

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When I got home I fell in love with the patterns on the fabric wished that I had bigger amounts.

Anyway I looked at the direction of the pattern on the fabric squeezed out a Sorbetto top.

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I love this top.

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Then I kept seeing videos on YouTube talking satin sheets or pillowcases to protect your afro hair. Then I looked at videos on how to make a satin bonnet.

This is what happened.

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Poppybead Creative blog

I didn’t follow one particular pattern. The satin was purchased from a stall in the rag market. Two nights in and it hasn’t fallen off my head and my hair isn’t so dry.

So there was my story of two yards of fabric.

Colette Sorbetto Top Pattern

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I was introduced to the Sorbetto pattern by a friend nearly 7 years ago. I could sew and follow a pattern but had never used a pdf pattern before. The Sorbetto pattern has been redesigned recently, but all the following tops were made using the old version.

This first photo shows my first version. I found the length of the top quite short.

The fabric was purchased from the indoor market in Birmingham. I still wear it now.

This is the second version of the Sorbetto and my first attempt at making matching bias binding. I lengthened the top and have worn this top to death. The fabric was purchased from the outdoor market in Birmingham.

I move onto my third top and I started to hack the pattern. This was a inverted Sorbetto, due to the amount of fabric I had. Which wasn’t a lot and the direction of the pattern on the fabric. I had to scrape together all of the scraps to make bias binding. This fabric was purchased from House of Fraser or Rackhams to the people of Birmingham.

This Sorbetto is actually a inverted dress hack. I took inspiration from Pinterest. The fabric was purchased from Nest in Crouch End, London with contrasting bias binding from Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley.

My next Sorbetto is another dress hack or maybe a tunic. The fabric was from IKEA many moons ago.

I bought more fabric from House of Fraser and hacked the pattern again. This time I omitted the front pleat and added covered buttons. The buttons were difficult but I liked how they looked.

The Sorbetto above is true to the pattern, but I did add some length to the body. The fabric was from the outdoor market in Birmingham and the bias binding was from Guthrie and Ghani.

Last year I was on another planet and thought I could finish a Sorbetto in less than a day including matching bias binding. I was going to the IgersBirmingham summer social with friends and was determined to make a new top. I was late meeting my friends but I had finished the top and had a lovely evening. I can’t remember exactly where I got the fabric from.

Now we are up to date with my Sorbetto top journey. On a recent fabric buying meetup I was told about a stall at the indoor market in Birmingham. They sell African fabric and I was looking for fabric to cover my hair at night. I chose this blue fabric and a bold green pattern.

I fell in love with these balloons and decided I want to make a top. With some careful cutting I managed to get both pieces out in the right direction. I got some black bias binding but didn’t like it on the outside. I unpicked it and stitched it inside instead. I am really happy with the outcome.

I will give the new version a go at some point, but for now I will enjoy the balloon Sorbetto top.

Be Brave – Birmingham Fabric Shopping Meet-up

Back in January I was scrolling through Instagram as I do most days, and I came across this post.

I follow quite a few sewers and haven’t been able to make some of the previous meet-ups. So when this came up and I was available, I thought I would go along.

I do get rather anxious in some social settings. But I still put myself into those situations as deep down I know it will be fine. I got to John Lewis as Bianca and Victoria arrived so there was no awkward sitting around. We recognised each other from our Instagram feeds.

Others arrived and I recognised some others from Instagram and their YouTube videos.

We started off by heading to the haberdashery in John Lewis, who still had fabric on sale. I bought some bias binding a stretch twin needle.

Then we headed off to the markets. This was my first purchase jersey fabric and it was calling for me to buy it. Going fabric shopping with other sewers means you are surrounded by enablers, including myself.

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Throughout the morning the sewing conversations were flowing and I asked washing fabric and everyone washed their fabric before sewing with it.

As a novice sewer and being a newbie to overlockers, sewing with jersey fabric and putting in sleeves. I also asked what others did. Lesley mentioned she did French seams instead and also put sleeves in flat.

Here are the other fabric I got from the market.

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Poppybead Creative blog

As the day went on my knee started to hurt and so I cut my day short, made a flying visit to Barry’s Fabrics and stopped off for lunch.

Once I got home all of my purchases were washed and ready to sew with. Thank you for a lovely experience and Lesley thank for the advice to be brave.

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Photo credit @dibsmaxwell