Jennifer Lauren Vintage.+Add.Feed Info1000FOLLOWERS
Hello! I’m Jen and I design fun modern sewing patterns that give a nod to classic vintage attire, with beautiful detail and clean drafting for a gorgeous fit. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced seamstress, my patterns and tutorials will help you through the steps of building a form-flattering wardrobe that is fun, bright and uniquely you.
The latest pattern in my little pattern review experiment was the Mayberry Dress! A twist on the classic shirtwaist dress with a comfy drawstring waistband, asymmetrical button band with three sleeve options and multiple bust cups (from A to D).
It's always so exciting and inspiring to see how others interpret a pattern, so without further ado...
Leigh is definitely not a clueless seamstress in her beautifully soft & drapey Mayberry (thanks to her choice of the viscose twill - even if it was a nightmare to work with!).
Like a few others I've seen, Leigh opted to make a channel in the sleeve and insert elastic (Mayberry is drafted with a narrow cuff). I think this is a brilliant idea and makes the dress even more secretly comfortable. Add some little white buttons and you've got the perfect wintery dress.
I'm a huge fan of using multiple fabrics in one garment. It makes it completely unique to you and your handmade wardrobe, and means that you can use some of those smaller bits of fabric to mix and match to your heart's content.
This is exactly what Rebecca did. Cutting the front and sleeves in plain black really makes the bright bird fabric pop. Rebecca also opted to use elastic for her waistband - an easy adjustment to make by replacing the drawstring.
Well, I might be biased, but I do think Mayberry makes a great Christmas dress (dressy yet casual, and you can let it out at the end of the day when you might need a little extra waist room) and Argryo's Mayberry is no exception.
I love her use of a thin cord as the drawstring and the colour is perfect, off set with light blue buttons.
Amy opted to omit the button band for a completely different look to her Mayberry dress, which I love!
The neckline is plenty wide enough to do this without having to adjust the current neckline. So if button holes aren't your thing, you can either copy Amy and omit the buttons completely or top-stitch the neckline down as-is and add buttons for a faux-functional button band.
Add short sleeves and a gorgeous drapey floral fabric and you're ready for spring (or summer!).
A beauty in blue! If you want to see Mayberry in action, make sure you watch Akram's video (linked in her post) where she talks about stitching up Mayberry. This was Akram's last make of 2017 and I'm so excited to see she has a second one cut out already.
Akram used a beautiful floaty fabric, and even though it was a little hard to cut (slippery fabrics are gorgeous to look at, but can be immensely annoying to work with!), I think we can all agree that the results are gorgeous.
Rhonda is a lady after my own heart with that gorgeous 3/4 sleeved cat dress!
I was so happy to get an email from Rhonda telling me she had made two Mayberry's in quick succession. She didn't receive Mayberry as a review copy, but after making and wearing them, she wanted to let me know I could add her versions to the round up (thanks Rhonda!).
As well as her cat-dress, Rhonda also made a breezy short sleeve version - and after the weather we've been having over the last few days, a summer Mayberry dress is definitely in need over here.
Another stunning fabric choice with a Mayberry in long sleeves, and a set of teal coloured buttons setting off the bodice.
Aude used a slightly thicker viscose fabric, so she altered the side seams and decreased the seam allowance to make her arm holes fit more comfortably. Other than that, the dress is made as is and it really is gorgeous.
One of my goals this year is to stash bust - I think I do a pretty good job in general, but Lori has definitely inspired me with her stash-buster Mayberry Dress.
Lori made the bulk of the dress from some rayon she already had, the contrast cuffs & piping from an old Ikea curtain (!!), facings from an old bedsheet and then topped it off with buttons from her Mum's stash. You'd definitely be forgiven for thinking it was all planned and bought specifically for making her Mayberry.
Suzy is wearing 70s perfection! Isn't it so amazing how different a dress can look when you make it in something completely unexpected. With plain black buttons so that you can still see the asymmetrical button band, this dress subtle while at the same time completely mesmerising.
Sylvia is looking super cool and cosy in her linen blend Mayberry! And you guys all know how much I love little details - I can't resist pointing out her handmade floral bias binding drawstring. I have that fabric in the blue colour way (that I used to make a Hunter Tank) and it's such a pretty fabric.
There is no way that you cannot smile when you put something like that on. I can't wait to see the long sleeved flannel version she has planned for winter.
This Mayberry reminds me of a warm red wine (stay with me here)... If you could wear red wine, this is what it would look like. Soft, floaty and the colour of autumn. Yes?
What you may not have noticed (and what makes the dress absolutely amazing - it's all in the details!) is Susan's use of toggles to draw the waistband in. Isn't that genius?! I can't believe I never thought of this - next Mayberry, I'm doing this.
We're over a week into 2018 and I still haven't quite found the words for my first post of 2018.
I'm not sure what it is, but the words aren't really flowing. I can't think of anything remotely inspirational or wisdom-filled.
Maybe it's because I'm in the middle of a myriad of instructional words (I've been batch drafting several patterns and now I'm at the write all the instructions phase) or it could be because I'm really trying to stick to my Word of the Year, which just happens to be Content.
I often find myself reaching for the next thing, rather than enjoying the current thing. Whether that's in my business, or personal sewing/knitting projects, or the house & garden etc. I always find myself wondering, what's next?!
And I guess that's part of life - nothing is ever done until it's done - but it's nice to bask in the things that you enjoy, in the moment, rather than overlook it while waiting for the next one. Which is where Content comes in.
Being content with what I have, where I am, what I am doing. Not constantly wanting or wondering or wringing my hands because I haven't done something I told myself I was going to do (like write the first blog post of 2018). Being happy that I've done what I could in the time I had, that not everything is going to go to plan (and nor should it, really) and that at the end of the day, I am just incredibly lucky to do what I do and have what I have and it's really up to me to take the time to enjoy it.
So, rambling (slightly incoherent) blog post aside, I hope you all had a lovey break and are looking forward to a great year. I have some fun things up my sleeves that I've been happily working away on, so while I might not have any words of wisdom for you, I'm content with the fact that I'll make up for it over the coming year.
With their delicate overlapped side curves, The Nixie Briefs are cute, playful and feminine, all while keeping your bum happily covered at all times.
Undies are something I've been meaning to make for a very long time and the design for Nixie has been in my head for equally as long. I wanted my undies to be super comfy (like a big warm hug for your bum), while still being a little flirty and something a bit different with those fun design lines I love adding into all of my patterns.
Plus, it just seemed like the perfect time to release a little scrap-busting pattern to sign out the year with. If you've made a Gable, Bronte or Juniper, I'm sure you'll have plenty of lovely little scraps just begging to be turned into your very own Nixie Briefs - they were designed with the same fabrics in mind, just for that very purpose.
The Nixie Briefs are a step above your standard underwear fare - with a higher rise at the back and full bum coverage, they're your new everyday knickers with a fun twist.
Choose from a hipster or high-waisted brief, then get adventurous with those knit fabric scraps, mixing and matching to your heart's content. Instructions are included for finishing with fold over elastic (FOE) as well as lingerie elastic, and you can choose to overlap either the front or the back on both variations, making them a quick, satisfying and unique make.
Update your undie drawer, safe in the knowledge that plumber's crack, hungry bum and drab undies are a thing of the past.
Nixie are the perfect undie pattern for confident beginners. Take your time with the side curves and use a tricot (or wide zigzag) stitch around the elastic - you'll have the prettiest and comfiest pair of knickers you've ever worn.
The Nixie Briefs should be made with stable knit fabrics that have a good amount of stretch across the grain. A minimum of 30% stretch is recommended for best results as Nixie has built-in negative ease. A fabric with 4-way stretch is the best choice for maximum comfort.
Cotton/lycra (spandex/elastane) combinations work well for light-weight, breathable briefs, but other options include stretch lace/mesh, stretch rayon knits, power mesh etc.
The Nixie Briefs were drafted using a 95% cotton 5% lycra spandex knit with a weight of 180GSM (grams per square metre).
I recommend using a breathable natural fabric like stretch cotton or bamboo for the gusset liner.
The Layers Function
Your Print-at-Home Nixie Brief pattern now includes the Layers Function!
You can choose to turn on and off any number and combination of pattern sizes to suit your personal needs and preferences. Check out page 3 of your Nixie instructions for a full step by step tutorial on using this handy little function.
The links to your Nixie Brief pattern will be emailed directly to you where you'll be able to choose from the easy-to-assemble A4/Letter version - with included Layers Function - OR the A0/Print Shop version (or both!).
I'd love to hear how you're getting along making your very own Nixie Briefs, so why not tag me on Instagram or use the hashtag #NixieBriefs so I can see your pants (not necessarily on... hehe).
A little bit vintage. A little bit flirty. A lot of comfort and not a plumber's crack in sight... Oh, hey there Nixie!
I know that most of us probably have a little bit o' buyer's fatigue right now, especially after all those Black Friday sales. But I am squeezing in one eeny weeny, teeny tiny pattern release before the end of the year...
The Nixie Briefs (undies, knickers, pants - what ever you'd like to call them...) were designed for maximum comfort with a little bit of edge - hungry bum and plumbers crack will be a thing of the past.
With your choice of a high waist or hipster and instructions for fold over or lingerie elastic, you'll say goodbye to all those random knit fabric scraps and hello to some fabulous new knickers.
If you'd like to be the first to get the Nixie Brief sewing pattern, as well as have access to the subscriber-only discount, make sure you sign up to the newsletter before 8pmMonday 4th December NZDT.
This is the only public sale I do each year (unless you're a newsletter subscriber, then you get exclusive discounts on all new pattern releases, so er, maybe you'd like to sign up?) so now is the time to stock up.
I don't want to freak you all out, but did you realise that Christmas is slightly less than 6 weeks away now...?
I know that making something for the men in your life (husbands, brothers, partners, fathers, sons etc) can be a daunting task. It's hard to know what exactly they might like — enter the Auden Cardigan.
If you have someone in your life that likes a touch of the vintage mixed with everything modern, then the Auden Cardigan might just be up your alley.
It's faster and easier to make than you might think (no bust adjustments necessary!), it has lovely details that you can incorporate for a subtle or bold look (saddle shoulders, optional elbow patches and the choice of an incorporated neckline or a contrast one) and it's super snuggly and warm made up in easy-to-sew sweatshirt knits — mmmmmm, fleecy goodness.
Auden was the latest in my Pattern of the Month series, and so if you'd like to read a bit more about the pattern and how others have found stitching up the Auden Cardigan for their loved ones (or themselves!!) then please read on...
It might be spring in New Zealand but it's still cold! Kristina went for Auden View 2 and used a leftover piece of 'dandy linen' from Miss Maude (that I've actually had my eye on...) for the contrast band and elbow patches.
I can't wait for the already cut out purple version with black denim elbow patches and an additional band around the bottom (per the model's request, and a mighty fine one at that!).
When I originally sent Auden out to testers, the number of them who requested a version for themselves was what inspired me make the ladies version, Juniper. However, a number of those testers actually made an Auden for themselves, so when Nadine put her hand up to make one for herself, how could I resist?
A few things to think about if you're a lady who might want to make Auden — it's going to be a grandpa cardigan on you, but an oh-so-snuggly one and Nadine's is no exception. Check out the sleeve length (noted in the Final Garment Measurements) and keep in mind that the cuff is deliberately chunky, so feel free to shorten it for a slightly more delicate look.
Erica's Auden Cardigan is a great example of how you can modernise Auden using plain fabrics in contrasting colours. The saddle shoulder is subtle when the sleeves and body are made in the same colour but the neckline pops in contrast.
I can also tell that it's been made in a really nice mid- to heavy-weight sweatshirting — it's holding its shape really nicely through the neckline and looking very snazzy (if I do say so myself!).
Jillayne's cardigan is yet another example of a modern take on Auden and with a few little tweaks to round two, I think Jillayne will have the perfect fit.
The sleeves are deliberately longer on Auden than most men's clothing — David always has 'short sleeve syndrome' and so I thought it would be nice to make a pattern that already has longer sleeves for the lengthy-armed men out there.
Jillayne thinks she added about 1" too much length, but I think it's probably quite a novelty to have sleeves that are too long (David thinks that would be the best day ever) and luckily, you can roll sleeves back easily or just leave them as is on those cold days.
I love this quilted knit sweat shirting so much! It almost looks like Auden has been turned into a coat for those extra cold days (which is something I think I need to do). The saddle shoulder detail still stands out, while not taking over the quilted motif.
Auden + a wool-rayon double knit = cosy perfection. Also, another example of how you can keep the look subtle by sticking to one colour and using the incorporated button band (View 2) with some slightly contrasty buttons to finish off the look.
Marilyn is planning to slim down the cuffs a touch in her next version, but otherwise, I think this looks amazing!
Dappled and dapper! The first purple Auden I've seen (but not the last, according to Plum Kitchen above!). Rhonda originally tried sizing down and doing a Full Belly Adjustment but then decided to stick with the straight XXL as the fit across the shoulders and back was spot on.
She does bring up an interesting point about how great it would be if there were different body pieces within a mens pattern to cater for different shapes (like I've done with the multiple bust cups in Laneway & Mayberry). It's something I will definitely look into — thanks for the idea Rhonda!
We all need a little black cardigan, right? With Amanda's carefully fitted cuffs, this is definitely a dressy Auden look, even worn over a t-shirt. I also love the buttons Amanda has chosen here — the shine makes them pop just enough (and not too much!) against the plain black knit.
This is David's pick of the bunch; Annie's choice of soft buffalo plaid reminds him of the classic NZ Swanndri workshirt (albeit less scratchy), with the addition of beautiful plain black cuffs. Annie didn't use buttons here, as her model prefers to wear his cardigans open, and I have to say I love the look.
I know... you thought I was going to give you a Harry Potter magic buttonhole spell. Or, a brilliant sewing-machine-settings-sequence that works for every single sewing machine and fabric combination.
However, I think the fear around buttonholes is not the putting in of the buttonholes themselves, but more about the making sure they're evenly spaced, and, you know, straight.
Unfortunately, you can't get away with not testing how your sewing machine and particular fabric are going to play together - you will need to test and adjust your buttonhole settings each time, BUT, you can make it infinitely easier on yourself by marking out your buttonhole placement accurately so that when it comes time to put them in, you don't have to think about it and your buttonholes will come out perfectly spaced and non-wonky, every single time.
Enter, the humble Tailor's Tack.
If your pattern has buttons, it should come with the buttonhole placement marked somewhere. For Mayberry, I put them on the facing so that when it comes time to take your tacks out, if you accidentally get a little bit of brightly coloured thread fluff caught in the seam, it doesn't matter because you won't see it (and it happens to all of us at one point or another).
1. Take a length of high-contrast thread and thread a needle - there is no need to knot the ends and it's totally up to you whether you use a double or single thread.
2. On the right side, thread your needle from one end of the buttonhole marking through to the other, piercing the underside of your fabric and coming back through at the other end of your buttonhole marking. Leave a long tail.
3. Make a loop of thread by going back through your already threaded sections, leave a long tail and snip your needle off.
4. Repeat for remaining button holes.
5. Take a pair of scissors and snip the loop in half.
6. Remove your pattern piece and assemble your pattern as per the instructions. Your tailor's tack's are pretty sturdy, and as long as you've left decent tail lengths, they should remain in place until you're ready to sew in your buttonholes.
To sew your buttonholes in, start at one end of the tailor's tack and stitch in a straight line to the other side. Remove your tack with a pair of tweezers.
See! Now there is no need to be scared of buttonholes any more.
I love how Katherine has styled her Little Black Shift. It really shows the versatility of the pattern and what a great piece it is for transitioning between seasons.
Katherine also made the shift with the back box-pleat for shaping, but she decorated it with one of the buttons she used on the front. I can't believe I've never thought of doing this — it's such a sweet detail.
One of my favourite features of the Afternoon Blouse & Shift Dress is that the neckline is such a great way to showcase special/novelty/statement buttons, and Kristina's Kitty button is a choice after my own heart.
Kristina styled her crisp cotton poplin blouse with jeans and clogs and opted for a stunning silk/linen blend for the shift dress, showing that both types of fabric work a treat.
Nadine made two different blouse versions, both in stunning pops of colour with more statement buttons.
Using a fabric with no print can really show off the neckline if you want to make a real feature of it, as Nadine has done. And I love how crisp and clean her versions look — a perfect blend of vintage-inspired and modern.
Accacia also took the opportunity to make multiple garments from the pattern, and when I started getting the reviews in for the Afternoon Blouse & Shift Dress pattern, it became rather apparent just how many reviewers were making multiple variations.
Accacia put a dart into the bust of both of her versions after doing a FBA, and I think the fit looks beautiful on her! Head over to her blog to read more about her process. The blouse is her toile (and a damn fine wearable one at that!) and the shift dress her final make.
Oh, and let's not forget the cat getting into the action in the background. And up a tree no less.
Sylvia shows just how versatile one Afternoon Blouse can be. From office-wear paired with the ultimate black wiggle skirt, to casual weekend wear in a pair of fitted pants.
Plus, the colour she chose is amazing, and I adore that teeny little button she chose for the neckline. While a statement button works beautifully, I love seeing the smaller button nestled perfectly in place.
Tracey has the winter styling for The Afternoon Shift Dress perfected! Layered with a fitted long sleeve top, some tights and a pair of boots, all you need is a cardi and you're out the the door.
I also think that Tracey is one of the only reviewers to top-stitch her neckline down. There is plenty of room for your head if you also prefer this option (and I've done it for most of mine as well — it provides more security, especially when you have a grabby toddler). It can also be made a feature of by using contrasting thread.
Another amazing statement button but this time it's on a Little Grey Dress! Sarah went with the rounded neckline and also opted for the back-box pleat shaping - a popular choice among the reviewers, it seems!
Suzy went for a bright summer / autumnal fabric here, and it looks ready for either sunshine or layering up. I especially appreciate the pop of colour in her statement button, and the mirrored flower-and-petal pattern makes a striking contrast to the pattern's neckline.
Marian's fabric is a stunning broiderie anglaise and it makes such a stunning dress.
Can I also point out the gathered shaping at the back? This is the other option that is included for shaping the back if box-pleats aren't your thing. It's cinched in with elastic, making it incredibly comfortable.
Sometimes, a pattern calls for a specific seam allowance that may not be already marked on your sewing machine, and if you're planning on making the Mayberry Dress, this might just be one of those patterns.
When attaching the bodice to the skirt, Mayberry needs a 2.5cm (1") seam allowance, and the majority of sewing machines, mine included, only have guides going up to 2cm (3/4").
Here's a picture of my well loved sewing machine - you can see it only goes up to 2cm (or 20mm), but there's an easy fix...
Take a ruler or measuring tape and measure out your new seam allowance. For Mayberry, I need to add on an extra 5mm or 1/4" (the pink line indicated below).
Take some washi tape (or electrical tape or even some clear tape with a straight line of brightly coloured thread stuck to the bottom of it) and pop it onto your sewing machine, lining it up with your new seam allowance measurement.
Double check you've placed your tape at the correct measurement all the way up - adjust as needed.
Now you can line up your sewing with your new seam allowance guide and stitch away. It's as easy as that.
I've lost count of the number of emails and messages I get asking about when I'll be stocking paper patterns. So, in the lead up to Christmas (yes, I said the C word!) I've been dipping my toes into some research, but I need a little help from you lot.
Which JLH patterns would you like to see in paper first?
The truth is, I'd love to to be able to provide all of my patterns in paper form, but it all comes down to cost and my location. Living in New Zealand has meant that it's been tough trying to source the components that go into a paper pattern at a comparable price to my fellow northern hemisphere Designers. I also need to make sure sending patterns out to customers doesn't cost the earth and finding the specialty printers and paper needed to keep things lightweight and good quality has been interesting.
BUT... I think I've finally settled on a solution. It does mean that I can't get all of my patterns printed on paper at once though, so I'd really like to know which patterns you'd like to see in paper first.
If you'd like to have your say, simply head on over to my little poll here, where you can vote for your 1st through to 5th pattern choice.
It'll help me out a lot and should only take a minute or two of your time.
Thanks so much in advance!
ps) If you'd like to know how you can get your hands on paper patterns first, make sure you sign up to my newsletter. There are more exciting details to follow...