Thursday, 31 December 2015

Roll On 2016!

Hey friends, it's time for the ubiquitous 'New Year' post! SO! How did I do with all those resolutions from last year...

"Take more time to properly fit garments (yes -that means toile making!!)something I often skip then later regret. 

Get a handle on my outrageous sweet tooth and get back into good cooking habits."

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my outrageous sweet tooth is still in existence, so scratch #2. As for #1 I haven't really done as much garment making as I'd like to have, but I can honestly say that I have made a more concerted effort to check and improve the fit of the one's I have made, so a small win there -I'll take it!

I didn't do particularly well with lingerie this year -namely due to the faff of finding and ordering supplies. I loved my first Watson bra so shame on me for not cracking on with several more! Back on the list for this year.

So that's enough of 2015. Looking ahead to 2016 I have some VERY exciting news. I am moving (virtual) home and would LOVE you all to join me over at 'SEWN' where I will be blogging as of the new year.

I'm launching an online sewing pattern store which I am beyond excited about. More details on that post launch but I can say that I have a hoard of authentic vintage patterns and some pretty fantastic indie designers lined up to boot!

If you'd like to stay in the loop then head over to the Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter. I'll see you there! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Gold Scout Tee // Hand Knitted Hat

My goodness it's been a hectic few weeks in the run up to our birthday trip to Vienna. We leave tomorrow afternoon. The bonus of having birthdays in the same calendar week is that my other half and I often get to spend both of them on holiday together.

Unfortunately illness has struck and I've spent the last fortnight in a fairly useless germ-ridden state! I've managed very little sewing whatsoever (the sewing I attempted on my second 'Bruyere' shirt was a disaster so saving it for when my brain is more up to the task!).

I do however have a second 'Scout Tee' (by Grainline Studio) to share, this time in golden yellow poly crepe.

This fabric was not nearly as forgiving as the monochrome viscose used in number one and so whilst I'm really happy with the overall fit -the finish could certainly be improved. At some point I'll unpick the narrow hems and adjust the stitch length/feed to reduce the puckering (truth is I'll probably be lazy and leave it).

Knitting requiring less energy / brain power has been firmly on the agenda of late. You can see from the pictures (taken by my pal Hannah of Donuts & Bolts -delicious vegan food!) that I've finished a second hat complete with bobble and am very nearly done with another pair of fingerless mitts to match. Not bad for a knitting newb!

Packing time, hurrah! See you on the other side...

Friday, 20 November 2015

Quilted Christmas Stocking

...Or 'Sock-ing' if you will!

After putting together some new Christmas themed 'Hexie' English Paper Piecing (EPP) packs and totally falling in love with the small scale festive prints by Riley Blake I decided to whip up a new Christmas Stocking to show them off with a bit of a traditional sock design.

The base is a solid red with fusible fleece onto which I quilted a grid. I think the hexie embellishment adds an extra special touch to an otherwise pretty simple make. I simply topstitched them into place before assembling.

I decided to utilise some scraps and instead of adding a contrast cuff chose some sweet scrappy binding instead which I hand stitched in place. Above you can see the ladder stitch which is then pulled taut for an invisible finish.

It's so jolly looking! Gloomy day pictures don't really do it justice.

I had intended to place it on sale alongside the kits at 'Make & Do' but my other half has taken a liking to it so it may be gifted instead! Not long now till the 'big C', I'd better get back to stitching!!

Want to give English Paper Piecing a try? Check out the tutorial here.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Ravelry / Knitting Update

Howdy folks! I'm mid-cutting my second 'Bruyere' blouse at the mo. I'm taking my time with it as I'm making it with a snuggly warm plaid which requires quite a lot of thought regarding placement and pattern matching so I thought in the meantime I'd share a quick knitting progress report! The images are all pulled from my Instagram feed.

I've recently discovered the website / online community 'Ravelry'. If you knit / crochet maybe this is old news but Ravelry is bloomin' great for yarn based projects! If you're buying a pattern you can see other people's reviews, finished projects and get construction tips etc. There's also a project search function including thousands of free online patterns.

So I've now completed two proper projects and have a third in progress! The first was a ribbed hat using a cheap acrylic yarn I've had hanging about the house for some time.

The next project I tackled was slightly fiddlier. I used double pointed needles to make some wrist warmers for Kirsten's birthday. The yarn used is Wendy 'Celeste' and has tiny sparkly sequins interspersed purchased from 'Get Knitted' in Brislington, Bristol.

Neither of these are perfect but as a recent 'non-knitter' I'm feeling rather pleased with myself!!

...Now back to good ol' 'Bernie' and some pattern matching!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Handmade Hand Warmers -Very First Knit Project

'Look Ma, I can knit! ...a little'

No really, this is photographic evidence for my mother to show that the hours spent painstakingly trying to teach me to knit as a youth were not in vain (eventually!).

I really did try several times but never had the patience to practise and persevere with knitting. I ended up with miscellaneous holes, accidental increases / decreases and it never quite grew quickly enough to keep me inspired.

We had a couple of days away in Lyme Regis on the south coast last week to recuperate after a particularly grueling few weeks so I thought I'd make the most of some down time to finally get to grips with knitting with the help of several videos on 'Creativebug'.

If you've not come across it before it's a subscription based website full of video tutorials for all sorts of crafts -yarn based, sewing, paper, cake decorating, you name it. There's currently a free trial offer! I'd recommend it if you're looking to dip your toe into a new craft but I personally found many of the sewing based options quite basic.

I watched several videos by Debbie Stoller of Stitch Nation including 'Knitting and Purling' and 'Knitting Cast Ons' to remind me of the basics then I set to practising. I love Debbie's warm and fun manner in her videos which are really clear and helpful. She's not at all stuffy!

' put on your big girl panties and get ready for some purl on purl action!'

My hand warmers are just a basic 40 stitch square swatch started with 6 rows of knit / purl ribbing, followed by striped stockinette rows then 9 rows of knit 2 / purl 2 ribbing to finish.

I say hand warmers, strictly speaking it's just the one... can you spot the rookie error?

Noooo! I counted 4 rows instead of 6 so one's too short darnit! Whether I'll get around to unraveling or knitting up a fresh one I'm not sure but I'm super pleased with the first! It's the furthest I've got to date!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Monochrome Grainline 'Scout' Tee

Hello! I'm on the tail end of a grueling few weeks. It's been totally non-stop so I'm extremely thankful to have finally had a little down time to get back to some sewing and generally recharge the batteries!

Enter the Grainline Studios 'Scout' tee. It's a woven t-shirt pattern by Chicago based indie designer Jen and it's been on my sewing agenda for, goodness, forever! I've finally made number one and number two is already in progress!

(Excuse the rubbish pre-work early morning photos. With my current track record better to just get it done than wait for better light).

I wanted a few more 'Non-Knits' in my wardrobe for teaching when I want to feel a little more put together. This one was made using a monochrome viscose from Fabricland. It's really soft and drapey and even better it was only £3.99 for a metre which is all I purchased (the envelope suggests more but for fabric economy I tend to cut flat rather than on the fold).

The pattern is super simple -no darts or fastenings, just 3 pieces with a bias bound neckline so it came together really swiftly. I opted for a size 2 and didn't make a single alteration as I was feeling lazy and in desperate need of something straightforward to get stuck in to. Double thumbs up! It's a little wide in the shoulders as the seam sits slightly off the shoulder (less noticeable here with the print) but totally wearable. Super pleased.

The fabric is a little shifty but handles ok and presses like a dream. I applied the neckline binding at super speed with barely any pins and it lays totally flat and smooth. I'm trying to take more care with the internal finish of garments so used french seams (aside from the armholes which are overlocked).

I can see many more of these in my future not least of all as they're so quick and satisfying to make (much like pants!!). Definitely recommend it... Now back to Scout number 2! Watch this space.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

'Chemise Bruyere' by Deer & Doe

This post has been a long time coming! In fact I've washed and worn this garment about 5 times over now but I finally got around to taking some pictures to share.

The fabric was purchased for an absolute bargain £4 per metre at the Birmingham 'International Festival of Quilts'. I stupidly went along to a quilt show with a view to finding some great garment appropriate fabrics but I did in fact come away with some great finds. I can't remember much about it aside from being sure that although it has an open linen like weave it's 100% cotton.

Beautiful placket detail, but already a little worn. :(
The button stand is 5 x thickness so there's a little bulging at the buttonholes.
It's so soft and lovely, and has a nice body to it -I'm super happy with it's purpose here. The only snag is that due to the very open weave the sleeve plackets (stitched very close to the edge of the fabric) are already starting to wear. I'm a sleeves rolled up kinda gal a lot of the time though -and even when not I think with the overall casual nature of the fabric and shell buttons I can get away with it looking intentional... maybe?? I reinforced the edge with an extra row of topstitching just in case.

French seamed interior (aside from the overlocked armhole).
So it's the 'Bruyere' by Deer & Doe patterns which is marked as an advanced project. It's not easy but no aspect of the construction was terribly difficult. The fitting was an absolute mare though.

Due to my petite frame I blended from a size 36 to a 34 at the shoulders and sleeve. I narrowed the shoulders a touch more but when making up my toile the sleeves were shapeless and enormous on me. I slashed and overlapped the pattern piece to narrow the sleeve, which in turn raised the sleeve cap. I adjusted the balance point and despite still being not quite right, after a lot of faffing I'm much happier with the fit.

Unfortunately after all of this hard work it accidentally ended up in the tumble drier so it's now a touch snug in the bodice. I still love it though and as I mentioned at the beginning of the post it's in pretty constant rotation (along with my much loved 'Datura' blouse).

Thankfully having traced and kept my altered pattern pieces, should I want to whip up another it will be a much more straight forward affair!!