Lekela 5098 – the finished blouse

A couple of weeks ago we had a family gathering for Chinese food and I was determined to finish this blouse to wear for it.  Armed with lots of tea, plenty of episodes of The Archers on download, and the spirit of the Great British Sewing Bee, I set to.

Lekela 5098 1

I made it and despite my reservations about the pattern, I’m really delighted with the finished blouse.

We’ll ignore the fact that I’m larger than the average bear at the moment, and the hedge is in dire need of a trim, shall we?!

Oh, and the creases…I’ve been wearing this all day, including a couple of hours in the car driving to and fro!

The Fabric

This fabric was a lucky find in one of the offcuts bins at Abakhan.  It’s polyester but if you don’t look to closely it could just about pass for silk. It’s got a great drape and because they sold it by weight, it cost me about £3.  So the whole blouse, including the pattern, came in at under a fiver.

On the subject of polyester…I know it gets a bad rap, but some of my favourite RTW blouse are lightweight poly, and I have to say they suit my lifestyle perfectly. So whilst I’m still always going to love a good quality cotton, I’m not going to turn my nose up at a cute poly, especially when the result is this good.

So, what do I think of the pattern?

Well, I covered this in some detail in my previous post, but, despite the issues I had with the actual pattern, I’m really rather pleased with the results.

The instructions are hilarious.  They’ve obviously been run through an online translation and as such make Burda instructions look like War & Peace.  I had no idea what they intended me to do with the sleeves and initially sewed both marked pleats in place, only to find that I couldn’t move my arm.

10 minutes with a stitch-unpick and that issue was solved!

I should also point out that I straightened the seam-line of the sleeve to reduce some of the fullness at the cuff.

You can see where the second pleat has been released.

You can see where the second pleat has been released.

These patterns have the direct opposite of the clear and lovely instructions of such independents as Cake, Colette or Oliver + S.  So I pretty much made it up as I went along.

Bias binding for the neck opening and neckline. A bit rough and ready but I was up against the clock and not completely convinced this blouse was going to be wearable.  You only notice when you get really, really up close and personal, and The Husband is never going to criticise my stitching ;-)

Lekela 5098_3

And a quick bias cuff with the bottom of the sleeve gathered slightly to fit.

Lekela 5098_4

Would I make this again?

It might surprise you, but absolutely yes!  I got many compliments on our night out, most along the line of “wow…love your blouse…where did you buy it”.  I’ll take those, thank you very much!

I really need to learn some new poses!

I really need to learn some new poses!

I’ve some beautiful lightweight cotton with a divine polka dot that I’ve been hoarding since November last year (6 metres of it…an anniversary gift from The Husband.  Reason to love him #762!)

I’m planning to add some shirring to the centre back to add a little more shaping, and to the bottom of the sleeve instead of a cuff.  I’ll probably just gather the sleeve next time although I do like the pleat, but I’m contemplating adding some pintucks to the front and moving the opening to the back with a wee button.

It’ll have to wait a little bit though.  A certain young lady has commandeered some red denim in my stash and dragged me to the sewing shop today to buy lining and notions for her own version of the Spring Showers Jacket.  Hey…it’s cheaper than a bike!

Like riding a bike!

It’s time for a certain little miss to lose the stabilisers on her bike.

Initial wobbles….

Bike 1

….followed by lots of concentration and encouragement…

Bike 2

…resulted in triumph.

Bike 3

She’s nearly as proud of herself as we are.

We have lots of practice ahead of us, but she’ll soon be flying solo.

And obviously the best outfit for learning to ride a bike is a tutu and hot pink accessories!

ps…we’ve promised her a new bike when she’s mastered it.  When did she get so tall?


It being half term, and the house being ripped apart in the name of safe electrics, the kids and I took the opportunity to visit Alice-who-isn’t-a-cat in her new home in Devon.

Be warned…this is a picture heavy post.

Alice & the adorable Huggie
Alice & the adorable Huggie

devon 2Devon 3 Devon 4

Devon 5

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Devon 7

Travelling in style in Gertie.  Absolutely the highlight of their trip.

Travelling in style in Gertie. Absolutely the highlight of their trip.

Devon 9

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Devon 10

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and so to bed!

and so to bed!

This is the kind of holiday childhood memories are made of.

Elegance & Elephants Spring Showers Jacket – Pattern Review

I had the good fortune this week to be asked to test again for Elegance & Elephants.

You already know how much I love Heidi’s patterns.  You’ve seen them often enough here.

This time it was Boy’s turn to be my muse for Heidi’s latest delightful offering, the Spring Showers Jacket.

E&E jacket

The Pattern

This is a really cute unisex jacket in sizes 2 – 12. I made the size 4/5.  The PDF comes together really quickly and easily and each size is nicely nested to enable you to cut or trace your required size without having to squint! The instructions are well written with clear photos holding your hand every step of the way. The pattern has some sweet touches like the patch pockets with flaps:

Spring Showers Jacket 2

and a cute visor on the hood!

Spring Showers Jacket 3The Fabric

I chose this fabulous navy camo cotton drill  from Minerva Fabrics for the outer shell and a plain cotton, also from Minerva for the lining.  I lined the sleeves in a matching poly to make the jacket easier to slip on and off.

Spring Showers Jacket 5

What do I think?

No surprises… I love this pattern.  Heidi has done it again.  This is going to be a firm favourite Chez Stitches.

Spring Showers Jacket 1

I’m thrilled with this jacket.  This is the sort of garment I’d happily spend good money on, but am even happier to have made myself.

My little man is 5 but small for his age.

Spring Showers Jacket 7

This means he’s got lots of room to put a sweater underneath on cooler days, and will also get lots of wear out of this.

He loves it too.

Spring Showers Jacket 8


Spring Showers Jacket 6_edited-1

The pattern is available now.  If you’ve got small people I can really recommend this pattern.  I’ve got a feeling it won’t be too long before I’m making a pink or red version for a certain little lady.  She’s dropping huge hints to that effect. And who am I to argue?

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this pattern in return for my testing of the pattern and subsequent feedback.  All opinions are, however, entirely my own.  

Men at work


To be more precise, it’s one man, working hard to get this little blog transferred to it’s own domain.

So if things are a wee bit hinky over the next few days, please bear with us him.

At times like this I’m very glad I’ve got my own one man tech support team.

By Hand London – Kickstarter

I can’t believe I haven’t made a By Hand London pattern yet.  I must be the only kid on the block who hasn’t.  But I was intrigued to hear that they have a Kickstarter project underway at the moment to fun an amazing fabric on demand service.

As well as offering a tightly curated gallery of exclusive designs, working closely with and championing emerging designers and students, you guys will also be able to upload and print your very own, completely unique, custom fabrics.

Oh my stars and godfathers!

How cool is that?

They are nearly halfway to the funding pledges they need to make this happen. If you’d like to know more, and pledge your support, click here.

I’m in.  Are you?