Highlands Wrap dress

img_8946I have just completed theAllie Olsen Highlands Wrap dress .Following my production line sewing of Scout Tees and Akita tops this was a welcome change – and a lot more involved.

Fabric choice was a John Kaldor lightweight linen/ cotton type fabric picked up from Rosenbergs at a Knitting & Stitching Show in  February 2019 for £8 ( for 2 metres- an absolute bargain)


The first thing to note  is that there are a lot of pages to print out with this pdf . ( Husband noted that the printer cartridge had almost run out yesterday – I wonder why?).

Sticking  together was not too bad though as all the lines seemed to match up well ( some pdfs do seem to be better than others for this).

I have made a sleeved midi version. Whilst I love the sleeveless version – and will definitely make it in the future – I wanted sleeves for my holiday due to information that they are more culturally acceptable in Sri Lanka.


Its worth noting that seam allowances are unusually only 3/8 inch .

I adjusted bodice length slightly to shorten , and reduced length of the skirt ( I’m a petite 5’ 2” so standard adjustments for me).

Due to my fabric being lightweight and with a tendency to fray, I followed the suggestion to interface the front facings, and used my overlocker heavily to prevent fraying.

For some reason I had a bit of trouble getting my head around the waist / tie construction with the button packets. After a bit of pinning and looking I worked it out – I tend not to follow instructions very closely and had missed that one of the button packets is placed on the inside, and one on the outside.


My final change to the pattern was that I have not used elastic in the back waist section. The size of the waist seemed to fit me anyway, so no requirement to use elastic to pull it in. I also read in some other reviews that this could lead to a tendency to pull the side seams to the back slightly. Finally I had a dress in the 80s which had a very similar back waistband with skirt and bodice gathered in to it and a looser tie front which I loved so felt I would like a flat back waist and better.


Have you ever used a soldering iron in a a sewing project? Or My Allie Olsen Monarch Jacket


This jacket popped up on my Bloglovin feed when it was launched recently and I loved some of the versions sewn. It seemed to have a good balance between casual and well put together, and I thought it might provide a solution to a lightweight throw on jacket for layering.

With  this in mind I wanted to make the jacket in a fabric that didn’t crease badly (yes, I’m guilty of stuffing jackets in a rucksack when delayering). I already had a couple of pieces of scuba type fabric in my stash. These were bought in Abakhans in 2018 ( definitely another #offwithherstash ) with the intention of making something like a bomber jacket with contrasting sleeves / body.

Whilst  the fabrics look different colours in the above photos, the navy blues actually match perfectly in real life! The flower pattern fabric is quite unusual as it is textured, with the flowers being slightly raised.

Finally, with the thought of warmth I decided to line the jacket. The pattern itself does not include a lining. However I have added linings to garments before ( it isn’t much more complicated than making a second version of the garment ) and I found a YouTube vlog by Lifting Pins and needles very useful in showing the steps

The key thing is to cut the front lining narrower to allow for the turn back facing from the front of the jacket – whilst also allowing a seam allowance at this point to join the two together,


For a bit of extra warmth I chose to use some left over sweatshirt fabric to line the jacket. As I didn’t quite have enough , I “cheated” by joining some of the fabric in the sleeve.( well you cant see it) . Unlike the You Tube vlog I also chose to line all the way down to the cuff.


Of course, one of the benefits of lining is a lovely internal finish.


The finished jacket was all bagged out through a side seam( into which I also inserted a handmade label before closing by hand.)7BAE63E4-1590-4370-A5DD-8BD8C7240745


I did my best to line up the flowers when laying out pattern pieces, or at least to get them looking reasonably placed. This was something I hadn’t thought about when choosing a pattern for the main body as lining up the add on bottom band was not entirely possible

The whole jacket came together pretty easily with the help of my overlocker. Two elements too a bit of time – ensuring he collar was inserted neatly and making sure the bottom band depth was identical on both fronts of the front so they matched when fastened.


And now for my single biggest tip from this project. Inserting the popper closures. Now I ( well actually I get my husband to do this as he is much more adept with hammers and tools) have done this before – but with woven fabrics. The scuba  fabric presented a challenge as it is a totally different thing to pierce. And that’s where husband came up with a brilliant idea. The position for the poppers were marked and then he used a SO!DERING IRON to burn a small hole through he fabric.


It also seals the fabric edges nicely. You do have to do this quickly, but it works. I have had to also insert some firm backing ( denim scraps) at the point where the popper is bashed through to strengthen the area and prevent the popper pulling through the fabric.


And finally here is a rare picture of me in glasses wearing the jacket. This was at the Cotton Club where I sew, andhowever much I love contact lenses for daily wear and sport, close up sight for Sewing is miso much better with my varifocal glasses