Rainy Day Cardie

This is a toile for a pattern I’ve had my eye on for ages. Apologies for the ropey indoor pics. It just wouldn’t stop raining!

ETA: I realised this morning that I made a mistake while sewing this. See sections in bold italics below!

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In a Nutshell:

I’m considering this casual cardie a success for a toile, even if it hasn’t had any wear just yet… It’s also a proper multitasker as it qualifies as my make for the following 2017 pattern challenges:

#wardrobebuilder: January: Jumpers and Sweaters

#dressmakingbloggerchallenge: January, Keep it Cosy

#2017MakeNine: cardie

Pattern:

The Wembley Cardigan by Seamwork. It’s a relaxed fit, cropped cardigan without any fastenings to worry about, so a really quick and simple sew as all Seamwork¬†patterns are intended to be. I cut a straight size small based on my bust measurement, reasoning there was really no need to grade this out to a medium at the hips as it’s such a relaxed style. Continue reading “Rainy Day Cardie”

Happy New Year! And a rainbow mini skirt…

Happy New Year everyone! May 2017 be a fabulous year for you ūüėÄ

This is the first of my two remaining 2016 makes to blog. Not lagging too badly here as I completed this project back in September. That was just in time to wear to a convention for writers and readers of GLBTQ romance, hence the six colour Pride rainbow.

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Oh look, I polished my boots in your honour!

In a Nutshell:

This is a skirt I’ve been planning to make for years, and while I’m really happy I’ve finally got it done, it’s not exactly how I envisaged. It’s an awful lot shorter, for starters…

Pattern:

Self drafted. Actually, I didn’t even draft a pattern–I just fitted it to me as I went. It’s a straight skirt with two back panels and two front panels (does that make it a four gore skirt?), and an invisible zip in the centre back. There’s no waistband, just a grosgrain ribbon facing. It sits a couple of inches below my natural waist, and I decided not to go for darts for shaping as I didn’t like the idea of them breaking into the next layer down of the rainbow. All shaping is done in the seams.

Fabric:

Scraps of needlecord from my stash, left over from my doll-making days. It’s a really high quality, 100% cotton British-made corduroy from Brisbane Moss¬†(I believe it might have been their 16 wale Chiltern). Unfortunately they only supply to trade, so I’ve no idea where I’ll get my corduroy in the future. Good thing I’ve still got lots left… Continue reading “Happy New Year! And a rainbow mini skirt…”

Red Mini skirt

I made this skirt back in August out of a very small piece of fabric from my stash, hence the length! It was only ever intended as a (hopefully) wearable toile to test out a skirt pattern’s fit and learn some new techniques. It’s been a mixed success…

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This is my best “I’m not sure about this skirt” face

Pattern:

On Safari Skirt by So Sew Easy. I bought this pattern a while back after¬†searching for a pattern with the features of my favourite ready-to-wear denim skirt. I thought this would not only give me a great skirt I’d love to wear, but would also allow me to practice some of the techniques needed for making jeans as I intend to make a pair at some point in the next year or so. Continue reading “Red Mini skirt”

Osaka skirt

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In a nutshell:

A terrific little corduroy wrap skirt that very nearly went horribly wrong… And there’s nothing Halloweeny about this post, unless you count the autumnal colours I used.

Pattern:

The¬†Osaka Skirt from Seamwork Patterns. This is a reversible wrap skirt with a cute asymmetric hem at the front. There are three panels (back, left front, right front) and each panel is broken into an upper and lower section. Here’s the line art: Continue reading “Osaka skirt”

Craftysticks: monthly it is, then!

It would appear I can’t manage a blog post more often than monthly, although to be fair, it was the summer holidays and I did have a book deadline. Maybe things will be different in future… Yeah, I doubt it!

Anyway, I’ve done a wee bit of sewing over the summer. Having a deadline of wanting to get skirts ready for the UK Meet (GLBTQ+ writing convention) helped. Here’s what I got up to:

Sewing:

I actually finished two corduroy mini-skirts. Woohoo! One is a Seamwork Osaka wrap skirt which I started at the Sewn Bristol Sewcial. It’s in brown needlecord with a red polka dot lining. I know the Osaka is meant to be colour blocked and reversible, but I’m just a born rebel ūüėõ

I also appear to be a rebel when following the instructions as I made a major mistake which meant I never did manage to finish it at the Sewcial. Ah well, I learnt an important lesson about reading things properly before cutting out, and the finished skirt still looks great. I expect there’ll be pics and a blog post at some point. Oh, okay, here’s a really rubbish selfie I took in the (dirty, smeared) mirror while deciding what I needed to pack for the convention. Yes, I am now that person who takes photos of her outfits to decide what goes with what, and so she can remember it when she gets there…

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The second mini skirt is a fab self-drafted rainbow corduroy number which I’ve been planning to make for years, but never got round to until now. Admittedly it’s a bit shorter than anticipated (the perils of winging it and not accounting for seam allowances!) but it will be great in the winter with tights or leggings. Or in the summer with bare legs if I’m feeling really brave and especially tanned. Here’s a sneak pic, and a full blog post will follow at some point. Possibly. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.

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I’ve also finished another self-drafted school dress for Daisy. One left to go, but only the collar and hems to finish off. I’m really pleased with these and she seems to find them really comfortable. Here’s a pic of her in the first dress–full post to follow with the standard disclaimer. Hey, I’m busy, all right?!

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Crochet:

I’m still slowly working on the Rebel Lace Cardie. I’ve now completed the lower bodice rows as specified in the pattern, but I think I’m going to need to work a few more as it’s coming in above the waist, whereas it needs to sit directly on the natural waist. It might be ready for next summer…

Cooking:

I set myself the task of having a go at perfecting some really simple dishes over the summer holidays: mayonnaise, steak and scrambled eggs. Admittedly I only had a go at mayo and steak the once, but it was the best steak I’ve ever tasted (disclaimer: I’d only had steak four times in my life up to that point!). The mayo was less successful as I used olive oil. Although it was the light olive oil it still tasted way too olivey for my liking. Still, at least I got it to the right consistency, even if I did have to add a second egg yolk to stop it curdling. I think in future I’ll have to try a different oil. The idea was to get away from PUFAs and go for the healthier MUFAs, so perhaps I’ll try avocado oil next time. If I can afford it… (contemplates taking out second mortgage or selling a kidney)

I’ve been doing really well with the scrambled eggs, though. I always thought I didn’t like them but it turns out that what I didn’t like were my mum’s overcooked scrambled eggs. Done perfectly with cream, chives and Parmesan, the humble scrambled egg is a thing of beauty. Particularly when served with smoked salmon. Yum!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Better make use of this time and get on with some real sewing. As of Monday¬†I’m going to devote Gabriel’s naptimes to writing, and will only be able to sew once I’ve written 1000 words. I’m hoping that might spur me on to be more productive with the writing. Here’s hoping!

What have you all been up to? Anyone else making stuff? ūüôā

#2016MakeNine summer sewing plans

So, at the moment I’m a bit strapped for cash, what with all the recent expense of moving house and the fact it’s been a while since I’ve had a new book out. However, at the same time I’m facing a need for new summer clothing, including things I can’t make myself¬†like sandals. I’ve given it some thought and have decided the best way to proceed is to curb my impulses to buy ALL the fabric and ALL the patterns, and shop my stash instead, thus saving my small amount of cash for some splendid footwear. Or not-so-splendid footwear, as the case may be. We’ll just have to see what I can find in my budget…

Anyway, here’s my plans for nine summery things I can make from my stash:

 

 

Me Made May (23) (Copy)Plantain tee

I’ve already made a three-quarter¬†sleeve version, and I want more! There’s plenty of jersey in the stash. I’m thinking a short sleeved one to begin with, and possibly adapt it into a tank. Continue reading “#2016MakeNine summer sewing plans”

Ottobre 6/2011 sleepsuit

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For some reason I adore this picture. What an expression!

I made this back in February, but was inspired to finally get my arse in gear and post about it this week after watching the Great British Sewing Bee contestants grapple with making babygrows.

One of the contestants was asked if she’d ever made babygrows for her kids and her incredulous “no way” (or words to that effect) was pretty much the way I felt about making such a fiddly item of clothing for a rapidly growing baby. But then I had a boy¬†who threw off all his blankets, but who hated being in sleeping bags. He was just starting to stand and cruise¬†so he¬†hated the constriction, I’m guessing. He needed something to keep him warm at night, but with legs built in. I didn’t wanted a footed sleepsuit, though, as at the time with our hard flooring downstairs he would slip around all over the place. It was bare feet or babygrows/socks with those little grippy dots on the bottom at the time.¬†I also wanted¬†it to be made out of a breathable, natural fabric for his comfort.

I looked around the shops but the only thermal¬†sleepsuits I could find all had feet built in (without the grippy dots!), and were quilted with polyester wadding. They seemed pricey too, especially considering they weren’t what I really wanted. Snowsuits generally looked better, but they all had hoods so weren’t suitable for sleeping in–and possibly too warm as well. I didn’t want Gabriel to overheat. So I gradually came around to the idea of making one. How hard can it be, right? Continue reading “Ottobre 6/2011 sleepsuit”

Nursing dress – Simplicity 1469

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I’ve made a fair few dresses in my time, but this particular dress marks a turning point. This is the first dress I’ve ever made that I’ve worn regularly. And when I say regularly, I mean I grab it every time it’s out of the laundry! So what makes this dress so special? I believe it’s largely down to the knit fabric, which is beautifully soft and drapey. It’s the same viscose are used to sew the top version of this pattern (Simplicity 1469), And it presented the same challenges to work with. However, I learnt a lot making the top so it was much easier this time around.

For the top I used clear elastic to stabilise the neckline but I was never happy with the result. I didn’t like the zig-zag topstitching or the way the neckline of the inner bodice kept wanting to pull outwards:

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This time I buckled down, faced my fears, and made a proper knit binding for the neckline and armholes. Why was I so worried? It was the easiest thing in the world, and the results look brilliant. I didn’t even need to topstitch down the seam allowance as I used my over locker to attach the binding. In fact I did try topstitching and it looks rubbish, so that saved me some work. I even remembered to trim a little off the edges before binding them, so as not to add any width to the edges. Continue reading “Nursing dress – Simplicity 1469”

Simplicity 1469 – Nursing top by Megan Nielsen

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I made this top a couple of months ago but it’s taken me a while to make the time to blog about it. Summer holidays are impossible for finding any computer time! This is designed as a maternity/nursing top or dress, and you can find it here with the original artwork:¬†http://www.simplicitynewlook.com/1469/¬†It’s a simple empire line knit top with an outer bodice you can stretch down, with an inner bodice that has cut outs for nursing access. It would be pretty easy to make it without that access, though, if you had no need for it.

I cut a size S, although my measurements put me more towards the M sizing, as I’ve learnt that Big 4 pattern sizing is always too generous for my liking. As I was seaming with my overlocker I did, however, taper out to the edge of the seam allowance over the hips, adding in just a touch more ease for my pear shape figure.

I used a lightweight maroon viscose jersey originally purchased from Ditto Fabrics last summer, along with the same fabric in a black and white polka dot print for the contrast pieces. It doesn’t look like they still have my colours¬†in stock, but I think this one might be from the same original selection:¬†https://www.dittofabrics.co.uk/plain-and-printed-jersey-fabric/plain-jersey-fabric. It’s an incredibly slinky fabric which drapes beautifully, but is a complete bugger to sew. I made a t-shirt from it last year and nearly tore my hair out trying to deal with its shifty shenanigans, but it is wonderful to wear so I persevered. I wish I’d chosen something easier for my first two knit patterns, but at least everything I encounter in future should seem easy in comparison ūüôā Continue reading “Simplicity 1469 – Nursing top by Megan Nielsen”

Friday update: Bra-making shenanigans

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Apologies for my feet. Have to download some photo editing software!

So, after making sure I set aside at least 20 minutes a day to do some sewing, I’ve finally made decent headway on my bra project, and have something that looks like a bra. Actually, it looks even more like a bra than in the picture, as I’ve now attached the bottom band elastic and the top elastic on one side. And that’s why I’ve now stalled. After the nightmare of sewing the centre front seam on the powernet I thought it would now be plain sailing, but I managed to totally bollox up the side elastic. Admittedly, having all those layers of the double nursing cups wasn’t helping. And then I had a moment of madness and trimmed¬†the excess wire casing so it was out of the way. But I trimmed too much, so now it doesn’t reach the top on that side. Gah!

This isn’t really too much of a problem as this bra won’t have underwires, so the casing is there more to neaten things up than serve a structural function, but still, I was discouraged by having done something so reckless and decided to put the project aside for a little while so I can come back to it with a fresh, positive mindset. Continue reading “Friday update: Bra-making shenanigans”

Life is crazy. Join the club.

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He steals my sleep and time, but I forgive him!

So, I haven’t posted for a while simply because it’s so hard to find time to sit at the computer when there’s a new baby to look after. It didn’t help that Gabriel had to go into hospital for a hernia operation (all healed and he’s perfectly well, but I’m sure I have a few new grey hairs as a result). It’s also been really hard for me to get into my sewing room–and not only because the clothes airer now resides in there, hogging most of the available floor space.

I’ve made most progress in knitting and crochet, and have actually managed to complete a couple of projects: the¬†Short and Sweet Bolero and some¬†Gruffalo Booties for Gabriel. I’ll be blogging about those shortly, I promise!

Here, then, are the projects I’m currently working on:

Bra (Kwik Sew 3594)

This is the first time I’ve ever attempted a bra and it’s a steep learning curve, but I have the fabulous Beverly Johnson to hold my hand in her online Craftsy Class: Sewing Bras: Construction and Fit. I’m making a Kwik Sew pattern in plain black cotton which I’m adapting for nursing use by adding clips and a second cup layer with peephole detail (!). Here’s hoping all those extra layers of interlock fabric don’t cause problems when attaching the cups to the cradle…

No picture yet, as I’ve only managed to partially assemble the cups so far.

Feb 15 106Tank top for Daisy

This is my first go at knitting in the round with my fancy Knit Pro circular needles, using some cotton yarn I’ve had in my stash for yonks. It’s a summery, lavender yarn and I can’t decide whether it’s a boucle or slub. It’s uneven, anyway, and it starts to make my fingers feel rough after handling it for a while. This is one of those mindless stockinette projects I can work on autopilot. I’m using a free pattern as a jumping off point, and adapting it as I go. You can see my progress on Ravelry.

Feb 15 153Cabled Turban

I love Stitch Diva patterns and appreciate their complexity as a chance to advance my skills. I have made¬†quite a few of their crochet projects, but this is my first knit one by them from the Timeless Knitted Hats patterns. It is also my first time knitting cables and to be honest, I think I should have picked an easier project and yarn to begin with. It’s all getting complicated and this is going to be one of those projects I don’t finish for months on end, I can tell. You can see my latest progress on my Ravelry page.

March 15 002Cardigan for Gabriel

This is a project from the possibly misnamed pattern book: One-Skein Wonders. I’ve used three skeins already so I think some of the authors cheated by using giant balls of yarn. However, it’s a great stashbuster as I’m using some yarn I originally bought to make a baby cardie for Daisy. And she’s nine now. Yeah, I’m speedy like that. You can check my progress on Ravelry.

There will¬†be a separate post about all my UFOs to follow, as¬†I’ve been through the sewing room and chucked out everything from the mending and UFO baskets that I have no intention of finishing in the next year or so. Life is too short to have them all hanging around, making me feel guilty! Plus I have to move house in two¬†weeks (sigh). Not much sewing on the horizon, methinks, but perhaps I can finish that bra before I have to pack up the sewing room…