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Louise's Cosy Skirt

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 15:09:36 Europe/London

You'd be forgiven for thinking that skirts are just for Spring and Summer. However, when it comes to denim, these skirts can be worn all year round! Just add some warm tights and you're good to go. Take a look at Louise's latest make for the WhiteTree blog team.


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0 Comments | Posted in WhiteTree Blog Team Bloggers Creations By Lisa Washington

Jane's Fabric fear challenge: LACE

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:34:02 Europe/London

It must be time for a new blog post! We've had some fantastic projects turned into us recently, so this is the first of many wonderful makes and even better, it's from one of our fantastic guest bloggers Jane of Handmade Jane. We absolutely love this one and we're so pleased to share it with you. Over to Jane!

Handmade Jane

What's the scariest thing you can think of? For me it's clowns, dolls coming to life and ventriloquists dummies.... I also can't stand anything round my neck, or thinking I can't breath…. or one particular scene in The Woman in Black (the old BBC version, not the Daniel Radcliffe film). If you've seen it, you'll know exactly which bit I'm talking about - TERRIFYING.  I'm a bit of a wuss generally and news of this must have made its way across the ocean, as I was asked to be a participant in this year's Fear Fabric Challenge, hosted by Beth at 110 Creations.  WOOOOOOOOO!!

For the challenge I had to choose a scary fabric and conquer my fear of it by sewing something fabulous. Now there isn't actually a fabric that scares the bejesus out of me in the same way as a talking doll or The Woman in Black would, but there are a few I've managed to avoid like the plague. One of them is silk, which I'm still giving a wide berth, the other one is lace. Ah lace, lace, lacey, lacey, lace, so pretty, but with such a dreadful reputation, all those holes! It was only after seeing a Joseph dress worn by my lovely friend Rose that I was truly inspired to give lace a go myself.

I thought a whole dress would be a bit much to tackle on my first attempt, but liked the idea of a smart top that could be worn with fitted trousers. A bit like the Luxurious Lace Top from Boden. For fabric I used some All Over Flower Lace in navy from White Tree Fabrics. I recently joined their blogging team as an occasional guest blogger, so the lace, satin lining fabric and bias binding for finishing was kindly sent to me free of charge - thank you White Tree Fabrics! There was an almost overwhelmingly large selection of lace to choose from, so I ordered a few samples first. I'd highly recommend doing this as the samples are generously cut and you can drape them over your arm to see what they look like as sleeves.  I didn't want to go with a very expensive lace, just in case I totally bodged it, and although the lace I used was fine, with hindsight I should have taken the risk and gone for a higher quality fabric. I think it would have given the top more of a fancy finish.

Handmade Jane

The pattern I used was the Colette Laurel. What appealed to me about the pattern was the lack of zips or buttons - the top version can just be pulled over your head. Shaping is created with bust darts and back contour darts, which I was hoping would be enough. I actually made a muslin beforehand (gasp!) and cut a size 8 with a ½" FBA (full bust adjustment). Although it fitted well across the bust, it was still a little boxy for my liking, so I added contour darts to the front, checking I could still get it over my head before sewing them! I also took in the side seams a smidgen too. The only other change to the pattern was to extend the length of the sleeves from elbow length to wrist length (about six inches).

Handmade Jane


Lace is very 'on trend' (as Gok would say), which was handy as there were plenty of examples in the shops for me to inspect at close quarters. I was initially thinking of underlining the lace, but my secret lurking revealed that the majority were made with a full lining. So a full lining it was. I used a solid navy satin lining, which was actually far more of a pain in the arse to work with than the lace. It was slippery to cut out and frayed like nobody's business as soon as you even looked in its general direction. I used the shiniest side against the skin so that the top could slide on and off easily, with the duller side against the lace to give less of a bling effect. By comparison, the lace was as good as gold: it washed and dried like a dream, didn't fray and behaved itself perfectly when I was cutting it out.  Nothing scary about this fabric at all.
Working with it is time consuming though - it's almost impossible to mark lace pattern pieces in the usual way, so I used tailors tacks to mark out all the darts and notches (thank you Louise at Thread Carefully for showing me the light on that one!) Marking up the pattern pieces took ages, but it was good discipline. As the bodice is fully lined, most seams are hidden from view, for the ones that are on view (such as the sleeve seams), I used French seams. I also used this brilliant tutorial - inserting un-lined sleeves in a lined bodice - to achieve a lovely clean finish around the sleeves and armholes.

handmade Jane

I didn't actually refer to the instructions much as I fully lined my top, which meant a lot of them were redundant (along with the bias binding). There's a lot more you can do with this pattern though: as well as the top, there are three dress options included in the pattern itself and the option to download an E-Booklet with a further nine variations.

So what's the verdict? Well, my verdict on working with lace is a pleasant surprise. Yes, it's time consuming to work with, but the fact that it's relatively easy to prepare and sew more than makes up for this. I'm still not convinced the shape of the Laurel pattern is that flattering for my shape - I made this before taking my pattern cutting course, so if I made it again, I would tweak it accordingly. I also think my decision to fully line it has made it a bit bulkier than I'd prefer. It's perfect for wearing with jeans and heels to the pub though, and in that respect, it's a super useful addition to my wardrobe. I would like to work with lace again, but I think next time I'll choose a different colour.

handmade jane

We think this is a stunning blouse, perfect for any occasion but it would work especially for the upcoming party season. Fancy having a go at this yourself? Here's your shopping list:

Get the lace ► here. 11 colours to choose from.
Lining fabric is ► here. 39 colours to choose from.
Find the perfect sewing pattern for your shape and figure ► here


Comments | Posted in WhiteTree Blog Team By Lisa Washington

Meet our Bloggers - Louise

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 11:35:00 Europe/London

WhiteTree fabrics are delighted to welcome Louise to the WhiteTree blogging team!


Louise is originally from the North of England but has lived in London, Brighton, San Francisco and now Liverpool. She works full time and has two children so sewing is squeezed in around the edges!

Louise learned to sew with her mum who used to make a lot of clothes for Louise and her brother and later, Louise took needlework at school - she has a grade C 'O' level!

When Louise was a student, she used to make a lot of her own clothes but after she started work, she had more money to buy clothes and gradually stopped sewing.

Many years later she came across the world of sewing blogs when Karen of Didyoumakethat was writing for the Guardian. Louise bought a second hand sewing machine, a pattern for a skirt and some fabric and got started. She's learned a lot over the last year and is aiming to make a wardrobe of handmade clothes that she loves!

Louise says; "When I started a year ago I didnt imagine anyone would  actually read my blog so I am really excited to be joining the White Tree blog team!"

You can follow Louise's sewing adventures over at her blog.

Not so Simple

Comments | Posted in WhiteTree Blog Team By Lisa Washington

Skye's Tees part 2

Friday, 8 August 2014 12:32:05 Europe/London

Following on from this post, Skye has successfully completed her 'trio of tees'. Here's the final one, as promised at the end of the first blog entry!

Skye's Tee

For my next White Tree Fabrics Project, I chose this incredible warm jersey in grey. I intended to make the long sleeved top from the V8879 pattern, but after making the blue version, I knew that this fabric needed something different. 

Enter the FREE Hemlock Tee from Grainline. This pattern has been sat in my downloads folder for far too long, and I knew its time had come. 
This pattern is amazing - I can't believe it's free! Jen clearly knows her stuff, and the hundreds of versions of the top you can find online by other sewers is testament to that. I can't wait to make tons more, especially proper tshirt versions and not jumpers! (If White Tree Fabrics start stocking stripy jerseys then I'm in real trouble!) 

Anyway, the fabric is amazing and exactly what I'm looking for in a knit fabric. It's soft, cosy, has a subtle marl effect and was so nice to work with. Basically, I can't sing its praises enough! 
I was a little worried about using a heavier knit for the hemlock pattern, but I love the finished result and it came together so quickly. 

All in all this has been a winning combination for me, and I'm pretty excited to see this jumper become a part of my everyday wardrobe; thank you White Tree Fabrics and Jen :)

jersey t-shirt

Skye t-shirts

1 Comments | Posted in Bloggers Creations By Lisa Washington

Erin's snuggly hoodie

Monday, 30 June 2014 12:59:33 Europe/London

If you've already spied our warm jersey in our shop and you're wondering what you might be able to make with it, Seamstress Erin has got a pretty good idea as she created the perfect lightweight (but very snuggly) hoodie with it.  

Take a look at her teriffic make in full below.  

vogue v8951 purple tunic hoodie

The highlight of the last couple weeks of my life? Not getting a subwoofer for my car. Not my brother's 30th birthday. Not even buying a wedding band for my fiancé. It's the fact that I can finally wear my leggings in public!! Okay, maybe that's a bit of hyperbole, but I've pretty much worn only this tunic since finishing it!

vogue v8951 tunic
I used Vogue 8951. The cover art didn't do much for me (frankly it looked a little boring and, well, middle-aged). But I love hoodies as comfy clothes and it is tunic length (a must since leggings are not pants) and I figured I'd give it a shot. And I'm so glad I did! (It wasn't until after I sewed it up that I remembered my friend Shams of Communing with Fabric had made a great version although, since she has the opposite body shape as I do, the final effect is different.) The pattern and delicious aubergine knit were sent to me by White Tree Fabrics. As I said, the pattern is functional but oh my do I luuurve this fabric! It's so snuggly and a great color and the perfect weight for just about year-round West Coast wearing. They call it a "warm jersey" which is a pretty good description - it's just a bit warmer and fuzzier than a normal t-shirt weight jersey.

And let me say it one more time - it's so snuggly!

side slits on purple tunic vogue 8951
The pattern calls for a mullet hem which is NOT my preference, so I lengthened the front to match the back. I could have made the top shorter as it's closer to a dress length than a tunic length, but I think leaving the slits on the side makes it wear as a top. I graded the top out for my hips, narrowed the shoulder by 1", and added some height to the sleeve cap so that the sleeve shape was less of a drop shoulder and more fitted although you can see that with the large neck slit and the weight of the hood, the shoulders droop down.
stitched neck facing hoodie vogue 8951
The front slit is finished with a facing and the hood seam is covered with a back facing. I really didn't want the top-stitching visible on the front of the tunic as the pattern instructs, so I tried to wear it with only the back facing stitched down. It didn't work. The front facing kept flipping up. So I caved and topstitched the front facing down and, surprisingly, it totally doesn't even bother me when wearing it. interfaced back neck seam
The pattern called for the entire front and back facing to be interfaced, but I didn't want to add too much structure since I wanted a drapey comfy top (and, honestly, I didn't have any more than scraps of knit interfacing on hand) so I went ahead and only interfaced the seam of the back neck. I also added interfacing to the seam of the shoulder seams to give them a bit of reinforcement (a tip I learned watching Craftsy's 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know).
purple hoodie knit
Like I said, I've been wearing this tunic over and over. To the point I may actually make a second one as soon I get moved. Have I mentioned that I'm moving? Yeah, I know, I can't stop talking about it (especially on Twitter. Sorry tweeps!) The moving truck comes tomorrow, I just ran out of boxes, and there's a ton to do. And Adam is gone for work for the weekend. I'm kinda freaking out right now! purple tunic in wind
Thanks again to White Tree Fabrics for sending me this delicious knit fabric! aubergine tunic hoodie vogue 8951

We absolutely love seeing our fabrics turned into something so fantastic and handmade.  We think Erin made a wonderful job of working with our jersey and we can't wait to see what she chooses for her next project with us!

Comments | Posted in Bloggers Creations By Lisa Washington

Sewing with lace

Monday, 30 June 2014 10:51:46 Europe/London

If you've never really sewn with lace before but want to give it a try, we wholeheartedly recommend it! Lace has so many uses  - lingerie, vintage dresses, tops, skirts, jackets....and so much more. Printed cotton is lovely but lace is beautiful, feminine, delicate, summery and forever in fashion. Don't be afraid of it....give it a try on your new sewing project! We have made it easy by giving you an inspiring selection of over 700 laces to choose from, along with some great sewing patterns.

lace dress


Take a look at this how-to video which is a great guide for sewing with lace.


If you make something, we'd love to see.  Contact us to show us what you made and receive an exclusive discount coupon.

Happy Sewing!

Comments | Posted in Tutorials & how-to guides By Lisa Washington
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