Sunday, 19 October 2014

Cute-ness overload!

Remember the quilt I made for Friend who is pregnant?  Well, I made these wee cardigans too.
I can't get over just how cute they are!  The pattern for the green one is called Baby Kina (Ravelry link), and it can be made with short or long sleeves.  The sizes are for 3, 6, 12 and 18 months; I think I made the 3 months size.  The green colour is very washed out in these photos, and is much brighter in real life.

 

I love the neckline on this, it's made by increasing into the front and back of one stitch to create the ripple effect across the row.  I think it gives a look a bit like pleats, which reminds me a bit of my Manu cardigan.


The pattern for the lilac cardigan is called Puerperium Cardigan (Ravelry link), which is a free pattern, and again can be made with short or long sleeves.  The size on it is for newborns, but there is another version with larger sizes.


I made both cardigans with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.  The green cardigan used three skeins, and the lilac cardgian used two.


I'm also going to attempt to knit a blanket using the double knitting technique.  I first came across this technique on Kate Davies' blog on the Funchal Moebius cowl.  You can see in the photo below how the colours are reversed on one side of the cowl.  It's all cleverly knitted in one piece on two needles.  I think it's very interesting, and would love to give it a go.

Source
Friend and I had a great idea for a blanket with a Harry Potter theme, as we are both total Potterheads - in fact she was the one who put me onto the Harry Potter books.  I found this chart of the Hogwarts crest on Ravelry, and thought it would look really well in Gryffindor colours (red and yellow).  Friend would like Slytherin colours (green and silver) but I think that's bad karma!  I just need to learn how to do double knitting first, so if anybody knows of any good websites/youtube videos etc, I'd be very grateful.


And finally, I've been plugging away at the little hats for The Big Knit.  I try and make one hat a week, but have got terribly behind, and there has been some last minute panic knitting recently.  Thankfully this year's date to have the hats in for is 12th December, so I should be able to make 52 hats by then.  Here's what I've made so far:


Have a great week, and please let me know if you have great tips or advice on double knitting.  Thank you!

Lynne

Friday, 3 October 2014

A Tilly Trio

As I mentioned in my pattern drafting post, drafting is pretty time consuming, and also brain power zapping, so in the middle of it all I took some breaks to make some easy projects.  All of them happen to be patterns from Tilly And The Buttons, and I thought it would be a good idea to put them all into one post. 
 
First of all is the Picnic Blanket Skirt.  This is my third version (I have previously made one for me, and one for my sister).  I made this at the end of July when the weather was really hot.  The temperature was in the high 20s C, which I appreciate is lovely for most folks, but I struggle a bit in that heat, and it was lovely to have such a loose, cool skirt to wear. 


I used some lovely light denim chambray from Calico Laine.  This fabric is gorgeous, and I will definately be buying some more for next summer.  I used some leftover fabric from my Belladolly dress for the waist band facing and pockets.  The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that I put the buttonholes on the right hand side of the placket instead of the left - I didn't notice for ages! 


I love the brown wooden buttons that I got on ebay, and also my very neat triple-stitch topstitching, which I also did around the waistband.  That cavalier use of thread lead to a problem with the last two buttonholes, as I was running out of thread fast!  Naturally I wanted to finish my skirt right then, and didn't want to have to go and buy more thread, so I used cream thread in the bobbin, and it doesn't show through on the top at all.  Result!

Next is the Margot pyjama bottoms from Love At First Stitch.  I didn't buy this book when it came out because I have so many crafting books that I thought I didn't need another one.  Turns out I was wrong!  This book is brilliant, and I wish it had been around when I first started sewing.  Also, all the patterns are lovely, and I want to make every one of them.


The pattern says to use a woven fabric, but I went all renegade and used a knit; it's some ponte roma that I bought on ebay.  I had planned to make another Coco top with it (another Tilly pattern - I'm spotting a theme!), but I stupidly didn't read the listing properly, and thought the fabric was black and white.  There was a very disappointed face when I opened the parcel and saw that the fabric was black and pink, because I'm not fond of pink.  I said to Andrew, "this looks like jammies!", and he said, "well, made jammies with it then"...

I also added a pocket on the back, because why not!  My Mum and Dad called at my house when I was taking these photos, and I happened to be wearing these jammie bottoms at the time.  Mummy said they were lovely, and Daddy asked me when I was getting out of prison!  Dad jokes: sigh!


Finally, I made the Clemence Skirt.  There's isn't a pattern for this in the book, instead it tells you how to make the pattern from your measurements.  It's really easy, one big rectangle for the front, two smaller ones for the back, and two waistbands.  I didn't even bother making a paper pattern, I just marked it out on the fabric.


I used 2 metres of African wax cotton from ebay.  This cotton is quite stiff, so makes the skirt sit well, I think it's going to crease easily though.  All the instructions in the book are simple to follow, and I loved the tip on making the gathers.  Instead of sewing the gathering stitches at the normal thread tension, you turn the tension down low.  Now, maybe everybody else already knew this; but I didn't, and I tell you what, it was a revelation!  See the pink thread loops in the photo below (sorry for the blurred photo), they are from the bobbin thread.  This made forming the gathers the work of a moment;

and here's what the gathers looked like.  Again, sorry for the blurred photo; I'll get the hang of using my camera one of these days!  Once the waistband was attached it was really easy to pull the gathering stitches out.  I love a gathered waistband, but have never loved unpicking the gathering stitches.


I also added some pockets in the side seams.  I used this tutorial on making french seams with side seam pockets, and this tutorial on french seams below an invisible zip.  Both worked perfectly.  

In other news, Ruth from Core Couture contacted me to see if I would be interested in a Belfast crafting meet-up.  Naturally I said yes - no dates have been arranged yet, but Ruth and I are both asking on our blogs if anybody would be interested in meeting.  You don't have to be a blogger or a sewist, any kind of crafting is in.  If you are interested, please email me - click on the About/Contact Me tab at the top for my email, or click on the email symbol at the top right.  You can also contact Ruth through her blog here.

Have a great weekend,

Lynne

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Notionally Speaking

I was thrilled when the lovely Claire from I Want To Be A Turtle contacted me to ask me if I wanted to take part in her great series Notionally Speaking, where various bloggers are given one sewing related word, and asked to write a post on it.  Of course I said yes, and my word is Stash.  So click on over to Claire's blog to see what I have to say on this topic, and to boggle at the photo of my Granny's yarn stash...


Friday, 12 September 2014

Craftsy - Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper

Here's my latest make:

 

You're probably thinking that it looks like an Elisalex, and you'd be right.  But the difference with this one is that I drafted the bodice myself!
 
Back in July, when I was getting frustrated with trying (and failing) to fit the back of Butterick B5748, I again found myself wishing that I could draft my own patterns because I always have to make so many pattern alterations -
  • smaller size at the shoulders, grading to a larger size at the waist
  • full bust adjustment
  • shortening the bodice length
  • lowering the neckline at the front and back
  • sway back adjustment
  • sometimes having to take some width from the centre back

I'm exhausted just reading that list!  Actually doing the alterations is both time consuming and frustrating; which is why, once I have the fit right, I tend to sew the same pattern several times.  There are plenty of times that I've thought that it would be quicker and easier to draft the pattern myself, and I have enjoyed the bit of pattern hacking that I've already done.

I live in the crafting backwater that is Northern Ireland, where fabric shops and sewing classes are thin on the ground, so there was no way that I could find a local pattern drafting class, as they just don't exist.  I know this for a fact - I've looked out for drafting classes on several occasions.  Enter the wonder that is Craftsy*.

* Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Craftsy, I just think it's brilliant, and bought this class with my own cold, hard cash!

These have been my constant companions lately!
Somewhere at the back of my brain, I remembered that there was a pattern drafting class on Craftsy.  I looked it up, and it's called Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper, and it happened to be on offer at £25.50 at the time, so I did the sensible thing and bought it.

What the class teaches -
  • How to take your measures.  It definitely helps to have someone to give you a hand with this.  Andrew was the lucky person who got to help me, and if he can do it, then any non-sewist can.  But, let me tell you, never has the length of a shoulder been so hotly debated!!
  • How to calculate the measurements to make a moulage, which is a skin tight fitting bodice.
  • How to draft the moulage, and make it up in fabric.
  • Fitting the moulage, and altering the draft.
  • Adding ease to turn it into a sloper. This is all for a woven fabric sloper, but it also shows how to make it into a knits fabric sloper.
This is my finish moulage
I'm not going to lie, there is a lot of work in this class.  I think it took me about a month from start to finish, but I really enjoyed it.  But, goodness me, this class is amazing.  The instructor, Suzy Furrer, is great and explains everything very clearly.  As Craftsy is an American website, all the calculations are in inches.  I'm ok with working in inches, but not calculating - all the 8s and 16s were a bit to much for my un-mathematical brain!  So I converted all my measurements to metric, and calculated with that.  It was easy to do, and there is a metric conversion chart in the class materials.

And these are my finished woven slopers.  The paper I used for these is from Ikea.  It's childrens' drawing paper called Mala, it's 3 metres long, and is £3 a roll.

The only area where I had problems was drafting the armsyces, but I was able so contact the instructor through Craftsy; and after quite a few messages and photos, I got them sorted out.  They still need a bit of tweaking, but I know I'll get there with it.

When I made up my first test bodice, I couldn't get over the fit.  It was amazing!  The front upper chest is perfect - no gaping!  The bust fits perfectly, and the waist darts fitted perfectly too!  And the back: oh, the back.  I honestly don't think that I've even had a bodice back that fitted so well.  As you can probably tell, I was absolutely delighted.

 

I couldn't wait to make my first garment, and decided to draft a princess seam bodice, as this is covered in the class.  I wanted to make something that I knew what it was supposed to look like when it was finished.  Also, I had been wanting to make a purple Elisalex for winter, as my first purple Elisalex has definately seen better days! 

 

I bought this purple gabardine in The Spinning Wheel in Belfast a few weeks ago, it was £10 a metre, and as it is 60" wide, I used just over one metre (yey for having short legs!).  I don't really love this gabardine though.  It puckered badly at the zip, as you can see in the photos, and it wrinkles like nobody's business.  The lining is some poly-something from the sale rail in Sew N Sew in Belfast - it is physically impossible for me to walk past that rail without stopping!  I love the ribbon I used on the hem, it was from Dunelm Mill.


But I don't really care about the gabardine because I'm so pleased with my first ever drafted bodice.  The one and only fitting issue is the area under the bust.  It's a bit roomy, but this would explain why I had to shorten the front pleats on the skirt.  I'm going to un-pick it a bit and fix it.

 

My head is now bursting with drafting ideas, and I have been stalking Craftsy to see if any of the other drafting classes are on sale (I don't want to pay full price if I don't have to!).  I'm currently working my way through Creative Darts and Seam Lines and Creative Necklines.  I have so much more to talk about with these classes, but this has turned into a very wordy post, so I'll leave it for another time.

Have a great crafting weekend!

Lynne

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Russian Dolly Dress

After the surprising success of my first circle skirt dress, I made another one! This time I used my modifed Butterick B5603 bodice.


Oh, and new glasses!!  I would have loads of glasses if it weren't for my stupidly poor eye sight, and therefore stupidly expensive prescription.  Grrr... 

 

Yes, this fabric does have Russian dolls on it, so naturally it was calling my name from across the shop.   The shop in question is Sew N Sew in Belfast, the fabric is cotton poplin and was £5.99 per metre.  I bought 3 metres, but used about 2 because it's 60 inches wide.

 

I tried to match the fabric at the bodice seams, but didn't do a great job.  It's not too bad on the front, but rubbish on the back, I can live with it though.



I did another lapped zip on the back, and am delighted with it.  Again I used this tutorial from Lauren at Lladybird.  I also used my new narrow zipper foot which I mentioned ordering in this post.  It fits my Elna 520 perfectly and is a million times easier to use than the wide zipper foot. This was the first time I used this foot, and it was so easy that I did most of it while I was waiting for my hair dye to develop.

The skirt was cut with the dolls being horizontal at the centre front and back because it was the only way the pattern would fit onto the fabric.  I also added some pockets to the side seams. 


Again I used the By Hand London tutorial for heming a circle skirt, and it worked perfectly.


I love this dress.  It's a bit ridiculous, but the Russian dolls are so bright and cheery and make me smile, and it's that what it's all about!

Have a great week,

Lynne

Monday, 25 August 2014

Blog Hop

You may have seen the Blog Hop on some of the blogs, and Louise from Thread Carefully very kindly nominated me to take part!  I love reading Louise's blog, she makes gorgeous dresses that I would love to pinch, but it wouldn't do me any good because she's so much taller than me!  

What's a blog hop?  Amy from Almond Rock describes it as a blogging conga line, which I love the sound of!   One blogger answers four questions, then nominates two bloggers to do the same.  I have nominated Claire from I Want To Be A Turtle, and Lara from Dreaming of Avonlea.  
 


So here are my answers:


Why do I write? 

I love reading other blogs, at tea break and lunchtime I'm the person in work with my phone stuck to my hand reading and commenting on blogs on Bloglovin'.  I thought that since I enjoyed reading other blogs, maybe somebody out there might be interested in reading mine.

I enjoy the process of documenting my makes, and tend to use my blog as a reference for myself on how I fixed a certain issue, or changes that I made on a pattern.

I also love the crafting blog community.  I know it's been said before, but everybody is just so friendly and helpful.  It really does restore my faith in the human race!   If I'm having a problem with a techique, I know I can just google it, and somebody out there will have had the same issue, and posted a solution.  It's lovely to meet so many people who share the same interests as me, and make some on-line friends.  I yet to meet any bloggers in person though.



What am I working on?

I try not to have too many projects on the go at once, because I just find that overwhelming.  I usually have one knitting and one sewing project that I'm working on.  My current knitting project is a baby cardigan for my friend who is pregnant.  My sewing project is the pyjama bottoms from Love At First Stitch, but I am also working on a pattern drafting class from Craftsy. 
  

How does it differ from others of its genre?

Honestly, I don't think my blog differs much from other crafting blogs.  I would love to be able to design a beautiful blog, but I just don't know enough about it to know where to start.  I know I could learn, but that would take up valuable crafting time!  In fact, I am constantly astonished that my blog actually works; I don't have a good track record with technology - I managed to break a photocopier and a sat nav cable in work last week.  Eep!


How does my writing process work?

It usually starts when I finish whatever make I've been working on.  I'll find myself composing paragraphs in my head but don't ever write them down, so I will start a post and jot down heading or a sentence about certain things I want to talk about.  I won't always write the whole post straight away, but I find it really helps to have those heading saved so I can remember what I want to say!

I generally tend to be a week or two behind on my blog, so a make can have been finished for a while before I blog about it.  It can be difficult to get the photos taken for a post due to our not so great British weather!  Although I can't complain this summer, the weather has been lovely.  

I will sometimes write two or three posts at a time, but it might not be the whole post in one go.  I try to devote a couple of hours to writing, because I find that's works better for me that short bursts of writing. 

 

I hope you enjoyed my stop on the blog hop, and thank you to Louise for nominating me.  Don't forget to check out Claire and Lara's posts next Monday.

Have a great week,

Lynne

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Baby Charm Quilt

I have something a bit different to show you today, and it's some unselfish sewing too.  This is a baby quilt for my friend who is pregnant.


When I found out, my first reaction was, "I'm going to make all the things!".  Well, actually, that was my second reaction; my first was "congratulations!".  I'm also knitting a baby cardigan, and have another one planned.  I'm not the only person on crafting duty though, Friend's Mum is getting to make the curtains and bedding for the baby's bedroom.  I dodged a bullet there!  I hate making curtains, ever since I volunteered to make six pairs of curtains for my sister when she moved into her apartment.  Shudder.

I'd had this notion to try a bit more quilting after the success of my OXO mat, so suggested a quilt, and Friend said yes.  Being a very novice quilter, I knew it had to be something easy, and I finally settled on the Baby Charm Quilt Pattern from Craftsy.


As I say, I am a novice quilter, and this pattern was perfect for me.  The instructions were nothing short of fantastic.  Everything was explained clearly, and there were even diagrams for the tricky bits like the binding.  I only disregarded the instructions once, and that was on finishing the binding.  The instructions said to hand-stitch the binding down, but of course I couldn't be bothered with that!  So I machined it - aaand it looked like a dog's dinner.  So I unpicked it, and sewed it by hand.

 
 
I made this in just over a week when I was off on leave at the end of July, and I'm so glad that I had that block of time to make it, otherwise I think I would have felt like it would never be finished.  I'm guessing it took about 40 hours to make altogther, and I loved making it, but I think it will be my first and last quilt.  I have always been in awe of the amazing quilts that quilters make, but I'm even more in awe of their patience now.

 

The pattern says to use pre-cut Charm Packs for the squares, but I couldn't get those, so I bought fabric and cut it into squares with my rotary cutter.  The fabric and 100% cotton batting is all from a quilting shop in Belfast called The Quilters' Quest.  The baby's bedroom theme is jungle animals, so I was delighted when I spotted this print,

 

then about five seconds later I spotted this one,

 

and these two followed quickly after.

 
 
 

Once I had each square and it's cream corners put together, I had to decide on the layout.  I layed some squares out and took a photo on my photo, then tried another layout and took a photo.  I couldn't decide which looked nicer, so emailed them to my sister and Friend.  Both liked the second layout, so that's what I made.

  


I bought some extra of the red fabric for the border, and I was pretty sure the backing wouldn't be wide enough (which it wasn't), so I also bought enough to add this red strip across the back.

 

For the actual quilting, I went with the Stitch In The Ditch technique, and used cream thread to match the backing.  I used a red bobbin thread for the bit where the backing is red, and whilst it was a faff to sew, I think it was worth it.  The finished quilt is about 46" square.


I used my walking foot throughout, and it was magic!  This foot is just great, I'm so glad I bought it.

Friend absolutely loves it, and I'm pretty pleased with it myself!  I delighted with how well the squares lined up.  Should I ever decide to make another quilt though, I will re-read this post to remind me how long it took, and hopefully that will talk me out of it!


Have a great week!

Lynne