Ginger Jeans

wp-1490528477313.jpgWay back in 2014 when the internet first went crazy for Ginger jeans I had not even begun to sew! Once I started making my own clothes, however, it quickly became apparent that these were definitely a benchmark project. It almost felt like there was some sort of secret guild of dressmakers that you would be allowed into once you had constructed your first pair.

So here we are two years into my dressmaking journey and I have made my first pair of jeans! They may not be perfect, but I love them! I love that they more or less fit, I love that they have wobbly top stitching and I love that they have secret sunshine in the pockets!

Never in my life have I owned a pair of jeans that fit. Generally, in order to squeeze my bum into them, they have to gape massively at the waist, so when I took my measurements and compared them to the packet I was completely baffled that I came out as a straight size ten on all measurements! So I went ahead and cut it out that way. However, when I had basted them together and had my first try, sure enough, there was gaping at the waist. This was when I went to the amazing Closet Case Files Sewalong for much-needed advice!

wp-1490528462707.jpgI took a wedge out of each yoke – around 3cm at the waist tapering to nothing at the bottom edge. I tried on again and the fit was so much better I decided to stop there, despite plenty room for improvement. On my next pair, I think I will attempt to make the crotch seam a little longer and possibly take some width out of the thighs but compared to anything I have worn before these are so much better! I did alter the length (by 3.5 inches!!!) but for me, that goes without saying.

I really enjoyed the construction of these jeans – it felt much more like construction than any other project I have completed) I think that comes from the rigidity of the denim and the many smaller fabric pieces than you get for dresses or skirts. I also really enjoyed that I had to take it slow – especially to keep swapping from my blue normal thread to the thicker yellow topstitching.

The details:

Pattern: High waisted view of Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files

Fabric: Stretch Denim from somewhere on ebay

Notions: 8 inch denim zip, Guterman jeans cotton thread and topstitching thread, rivets and jeans button from ebay

Alterations: Dart out of yoke and shortened leg

So now I have made jeans I feel like I can graduate from my personal dressmaking school and am ready to take on anything in my new jeans!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes (hint, there’s another Moneta on the go at the moment!!) over on instagram

A new knitting pattern and a giveaway!

 

Saxifraga is a warm and cosy hat knit in aran weight yarn with a simple geometric motif created in colour work. the hat gradually changes from colour A at the brim to B at the top.

This is my newest knit creation and the pattern is available to buy now on Ravelry!!

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Knit in aredblue-saxifraga soft drapy alpaca it creates the perfect slouchy beanie or in a tougher yarn it will make a thicker cosy hat to keep the wind out on the coldest of winter days!

I was searching for the perfect colourwork hat for some beautiful aran yarn I bought from Town End alpacas and just couldn’t find one that I loved so I designed one myself. I really love geometric designs and so decided to focus on triangles and diamonds in the colourwork motif.

It is quite easy knitting and only requires knowledge of:
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ribbing
colourwork
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The hat is one size only and will fit an adult

It is knit in aran weight yarn in two different colours (less than 50g of each) on size 3.5 and 4mm circular needles.

I really hope you will love this hat as much as I do. Pictured here are some of the versions I have knit so far. I really love how it works in so many different colourways! From monochrome, to natural to bright reds and blues. So whether subtlety is your thing or you would rather go for brights this pattern will work for you.

 

 

 

saxifraga-giveawauGiveaway

If you cant wait to get knitting I am giving away two copies of this pattern. One is available to my blog followers and the other one is over on instagram (look out for the picture on the left) so why not enter both for twice the chances of winning!

So, for my blog readers to be in with the chance of winning a copy of this pattern all you have to do is follow this blog and leave me a comment below telling me what colourway you would choose for your Saxifraga.

Giveaway is open until 17:00 GMT on Sunday 5th of March. So go and check out all of the test knits over on Ravelry for inspiration for your Saxifraga and let me know what colours you would choose in the comments and follow this blog to be in with the chance to win your own copy of the pattern.

And if you cant wait to find out if you’ve won don’t forget the pattern is available to buy now over on Ravelry!!

Dont forget to also enter over on Instagram for another chance to win!

Triumph and Defeat

I just came across this draft from Spring last year – I never published it because I couldn’t bring myself to take any pictures. However, I still think it needs to be heard – especially since I have now made two dresses from this book (one blogged here and one here)and they have both been huge successes (although to be fair they don’t have any sleeves!!)

Anyway…here goes…

Nearly 4 months after receiving Chinelo Bally‘s book for Christmas I plucked up the courage to give something a try. Freehand fashion is a bit of a scary concept. You take what seems like hundreds of measurements. mark some crosses on your fabric calculated from those measurements and then cut away at it. What comes out the other end surprisingly resembles a pattern piece!

I decided to stick to what looked like one of the simpler garments and opted to make the boxy top. I dutifully took all my measurements as described in the front of the book, performed all the calculations needed and then sat down to work. I decided if I was going to do this properly I should work straight onto my fabric (the book does suggest for the wary sewer you can work on paper first and create a kind of pattern piece). I cut out the front and back pieces and got sewing.

The fit was amazing! I guess that’s what you get from working off your measurements rather than a pattern. I so pleased with my triumph at creating a top without a pattern.

Next came the sleeves. This is where everything went wrong. The first set of sleeves I made was so tight I couldn’t even lift my arms up past about 45 degrees. The second set were massive. The set of sleeves I finally stuck with are still pretty huge. I think I am going to claim that as a design choice. Maybe next time I give this a go something will click and the sleeves will be fine but I might just cave and use a pattern piece from somewhere else for the sleeves.

The details:

Pattern: No pattern! Instructions based on the boxy top in Freehand Fashion: Learn to Sew the Perfect Wardrobe – No Patterns Required!

Fabric: Abstract print sateen from somewhere on eBay

Notions: Black Gutermann Sew All Sewing Thread

Alterations: None! It was made to my exact size!

I am really pleased to have given something a go from this book and think it could be really great once I get the hang of it. I think I might start using it to make really great fitting tops and bodices but then add some of the features of my favourite patterns. It seems like it might be more straightforward than trying to tweak the fit of a pattern bodice.

If you enjoyed this sneak peak into one of my less successful projects why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram where I post everything from the wins to the fails and all the progress shots in between.

Have you ever tried something and it not gone to plan? I’d love to hear about it in the comments so that I don’t feel quite so alone in my defeat!

Mimi Blouse

2017-01-21-10-42-49So in my last post, I said it would be getting a bit hectic and my posts would be coming few and far between. How right I was! It has been 4 months since I last posted! I must say I never intended for it to be quite so long. At least I can say it is not for a lack of crafting – in fact I have been doing quite a bit of that but actually, it seems to be the photography that is letting me down – I often just want to get on and use/wear/gift whatever it is I have just finished making.

 

 

 

But anyway, here I am…I have just finished making my first Mimi blouse! I really love this pattern and have been looking forward to making it ever since I got my TATB book. So when I picked up this beautiful swallows fabric from Cool Crafting at Christmas I knew immediately what it had to be. It wasn’t until I got home and frantically flipped through the book to find the pattern that I realised exactly why that was what I needed to make…something look familiar?

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Taking it slow

I knew how much I loved this pattern and had been looking forward to making it so I decided to take it slow. It really paid off as I am so pleased with how it turned out, the corners are sharp the seams are straight and the hems are even. I even managed to add some extra touches – like the buttons on the sleeves, I think they look really great at the join of the two pleats.

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And I even got to use my favourite sewing technique of all – gathers!

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The details:

Pattern: Mimi Blouse from Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons

Fabric: Hubble and Rose cotton poplin from Cool Crafting

Notions: Pale blue buttons, Guterman thread

Alterations: None!

I do really love this blouse and can see myself making some more – I had planned another straight away in a quilting cotton I already have but I think anything with less drape than this poplin would be too stiff…what a shame I might have to go fabric shopping after all!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram– in fact, that’s probably the best place to keep up with my makes when I don’t have time to photograph them properly!

I learned Fairisle!

fairisle-hatSo it has been absolutely ages since I last posted here and for that, I apologise. However, from now on I won’t be apologising and you can probably expect the posts to get more and more erratic in their timings. I am about to enter the final year of my PhD and things are going to get a bit crazy. In fact, they already have done and that is part of the reason for the lack of posts recently. It doesn’t mean I have stopped crafting though…far from it! I am finding that crafting, and especially knitting, is a welcome break from all that hard work. So I have plenty to write about but I can foresee that actually writing the posts may not be top of my agenda given the huge amount of writing I have coming my way in the form of the PhD thesis!

 

So, for now, you will have to bear with me as there will be the odd blog post for you over the next year but they may be few and far between. However, you can keep up with my makes over on your social network of choice (but I mostly share stuff on Instagram and twitter).Key Insight 3-4 sentences This should be an overview of the item, pattern, yarn and new skills

Anyway, for those of you who already follow me on Instagram this latest make won’t be much of a surprise! I decided to learn how to knit fairisle. I purchased some gorgeous alpaca yarn that I want to use to make a fairisle hat but the only problem is that I don’t know how to do fairisle. After a few attempts, I always ended up with lots of bunching and big gaps at the colour changes. A friend suggested I try to hold one colour in each hand. Now, at first this seemed ridiculous. It was like learning to knit all over again. However, after watching a few videos of how to hold the tension in your right hand I was beginning to pick it up. So I decided to start on this hat to give my new technique a whirl. Key Insight 3-4 sentences This should be an overview of the item, pattern, yarn and new skills

The pathfinder pattern has been in my Ravelry library for a while just waiting for me to learn fairisle knitting so what perfect time than to give it a try! It turns out the two-handed knitting was just the trick I was missing as it allowed me to keep the tension in both yarns at once.


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After just a few rows of the fairisle I was easing into it and even the back didn’t look too bad!

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The details:

Pattern: Pathfinder by Julia Marsh

Yarn: Some acrylic odds and ends that I don’t really like and so didn’t mind if all went horribly wrong

Needles: 4.5mm circular

Alterations: I mixed up the pattern a bit so the colour blocks would be smaller

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Now I just need to pluck up the courage to actually try and knit something with my special alpaca yarn!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram or Twitter

Happy Birthday Granny!

 

This month marks my granny’s 80th birthday! Like every normal 80-year-old should she will be celebrating her birthday by travelling to Las Vegas! This left me with the question – what sort of present do you make for an 80 year-old who goes to Vegas for her birthday? I started flicking through some of my sewing magazines and it came to me – this travel wallet for storing your passport and travel documents. It’s perfect, something small and personal that can be taken on holiday!2016-08-07 11.28.56

I have lots of small pieces of fabric lying in my stash that I have recovered from old clothes that are past repair and from scarves that are not my colours any more so I decided to put these to good use here. The outside of the wallet is quilted from some floral cotton and a fleece for wadding.

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For the inside lining I used a peach cotton scarf and the pockets are from a purple scarf. The colours all match really well so I am pleased that I didn’t throw these pieces of fabric away. The whole thing is held together at the side seams with bias binding. It is stiffened with cardboard and a piece of white elastic and a wooden button to hold it closed.

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I really enjoyed making this and it was quite quick to come together so I think I will be making some more, especially as it makes such a nice gift for someone going away.

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Facebook

Anchor Dress

Anchor DressEarlier this week I showed you my completed Outfit-Along dress and cardigan. For those of you who were paying super close attention you will have noticed I mentioned that it was the second dress I had made using the bodice block from Freehand Fashion. Well, here is the first.  I am really pleased with this make and it was so close to being a perfect fit that I made another straight away for the outfit along..

I decided to make a dress for my holiday which was a couple of months ago now. I had this nautical themed fabric with anchors on it so it was perfect for watching my partner compete in the 3-peaks yacht race yacht race. Also, the race was being filmed for tv so I wanted to be wearing something extra special just in case I was caught on camera!

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So as I said, I created the bodice block using Chinelo Bally’s book and fitted it by making a toile in white polycotton. Once I had the fitting just right I cut out the bodice in my fashion fabric and attached it to the lining.

bodice

AS I was making this dress way back in June I couldnt help but be influenced by seeing all the great makes over on the monthly stitch for Indie Pattern month. That definitely got me in the mood for sewing and whilst I didn’t have time to contribute anything myself I decided to get into the spirit of the ‘hack it’ competition and use the skirt from one of my favourite indie pattern designers and used the skirt from theLilou dress in love at first stitch by Tilly Walnes. I took about 10cm off the length to allow me to squeeze it out of the fabric (I only had 2.5 m).

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I really enjoyed making the skirt – look at all those pleats. I think fabric manipulation such as pleats and gathers is definitely one of my favourite aspects of sewing!

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I would have quite liked to put in an invisible zip but couldn’t find a red one long enough so opted for a centred zip instead. I think it actually fits in quite well with the dress.

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The details:

Pattern: Bodice block and Lilou skirt from Love at First Stitch

Fabric: Anchor print polycotton (I think it was from Abakhan a while back)

Notions: Gutermann thread, red zip

anchor dress

I love this dress and now I have a well-fitted bodice block can see myself making lots more dresses in this style. I really like the fit and flare look but have never had many clothes like it before because of all the fit issues with ready-to-wear stuff.
anchor selfie

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram

oh and I almost forgot…the obligatory twirling photo!

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OAL2016 is complete!

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Who doesn’t love the chance to both knit and sew whilst discussing it every step of the way with a group of like-minded crafters? I personally love it and the Outfit-Along has not disappointed. For those who missed my previous post about this and have no idea what I’m talking about it is a challenge to create an outfit in two months. There is a set pattern for both a sewn skirt and knitted top which you can choose to follow along with a series of guided posts from Lladybird and Untangling Knots or go your own way and make something different. This is what I chose to do as I have quite a few skirts and was looking to make a great summer dress. Also, another cardigan was top of my list for knitting so I decided upon the Agatha cardigan and got started.

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I picked up this gorgeous fabric from the knit and stitch show earlier this year and knew the subtle ivory and black print could handle a bright cardigan so chose to go with a red yarn. I used the suggested yarn for the pattern which was Cascade 220 and I actually really loved working with it. It is 100% wool so it’s really warm and will definitely make the cardigan great for the Autumn and Winter (even if it is a little bit much right now!)

 

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The dress is self-drafted. I used the bodice block from Freehand Fashion, a book by Chinelo Bally from Series 2 of the Great British Sewing Bee. This is the second time I have used this bodice block and after a few tweaks it is almost perfect in terms of fit. I also drafted a semi-circle skirt. I am really pleased with it and the fabric is perfect for this kind of skirt. It drapes really well but has some body to show off the fullness.

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Also, I put the biggest pockets known to man into the side seams! Why doesn’t every dress have pockets this huge??

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I really enjoyed taking part in the Outfit-Along and I’m already looking forward to next year. It was a great experience to think about making an entire outfit as so many of my handmade clothes are one-off pieces that I have to mix and match with shop-bought to create a wearable outfit. Perhaps I will consider this more from now on and start thinking about creating a more cohesive wardrobe.

If you want to see more of the outfit along and see all of the other wonderful outfits people have created you should definitely head on over to Ravelry where there is a wonderful forum of delights awaiting you!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram or Twitter

A Stripy (and spotty) Pencil Skirt

Pencil SkirtRecently I have seen a lot of really great pencil skirts popping up on sewing blogs, in magazines and in real life. I decided it was time to make one for myself. Pencil skirts are often tricky to find one that fits well and as fit really is key I decided to draft my own with my Freehand Fashion book as a guide.

I am really pleased with how it turned out. The fit is not 100% perfect but I think it is much better than I would have got from any shop, or even sewing pattern.

Getting the fit just right

Although this is just a pencil skirt there are still quite a lot of measurements that go in to creating it. I dutifully took them all and drew out the pieces on a plain white poly-cotton which was to become my lining fabric. I fitted this and sewed it up to check it was right before cutting into my fashion fabric.

pencil skirt casual side

Well I say fashion fabric…it is actually upholstery fabric from Ikea! Can you believe it my dream to become Maria from the Sound of Music is turning into a reality! So, it’s not quite dressing an entire family from one set of curtains but it is a skirt from curtain material so I’m counting that as a win!

pencil skirt casual front

The fabric did confuse me for quite a while. I kept trying to match the stripes at the seams. I could get the side seams right but couldn’t figure out why they were misaligned at the back. After quite a lot of head scratching I eventually figured out that the stripes are not all straight! I am sure this gives a great effect on a pair of curtains but perhaps not on a skirt! Oh well, I am happy to live with it as is.

pencil skirt dressy back

The pattern suggests an invisible zip but given the weight of this fabric and the fact I didn’t have one to hand I decided to go with a centred zip and I am glad I did. I think it fits in well with the style of the skirt.

pencil skirt dressy front

The fit is not quite perfect across my stomach but I can live with it and I think it looks much better in the pictures where I am wearing heals so perhaps I will keep this skirt for those occasions when I want to wear heels.
pencil skirt dressy side

The details:

Pattern: Self drafted following guide in Fashion with fabric

Fabric: curtain material from Ikea

Notions: 10in white zip, gutermann thread

I love the fact that this is a really fun fabric paired with the smartness of a pencil skirt making for an unexpected combo but I really think it works!

You can also read about this make over on the monthly stitch. This is an awesome collective of sewers posting on a monthly theme. This month the theme was spots and stripes!

Blue Heart

Heart CowlI was looking back through my old posts to find out when I first started knitting this cowl and it turns out it was way back in April last year!For a long time it was a bit of a love-hate relationship. I hadn’t really knitted lace before and was really struggling with the pattern. After a few weeks I decided to give it a break and started work on my lacy shawl instead.

Both patterns are by designer Ambah O’brien and I really love them both. There is enough lace to make them feel delicate without being to fiddly and retaining that chunky knit feel I really love.

 

Having given this project a break I was quite pleased to come back to it. I love the yarn, and the pattern – and whilst hearts and normally my thing these have a geometric look to them which I find really appealing.

How could knitting this not make me happy - look at that blue on blue on blue!

How could knitting this not make me happy – look at that blue on blue on blue!

Once I was more confident with the lace this wasn’t too difficult a pattern to follow and a couple of long train journeys got me well on the way to being done.

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I actually finished this project quite a while ago and it managed to sneak into some of my me-made-may outfits. It was actually really great for those days when the weather is being particularly fickle and a cardigan isn’t quite always enough. This as an extra layer was perfect for taking on and off as the temperature dropped.

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I really like the length. It is plenty long enough to comfortable wrap around twice without being tight. Also, because it is blue it goes with pretty much all of my clothes! I’m so glad I persevered with this pattern as I think it will get a lot of use!

 

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If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current knitting projects on Ravelry where I share more details on what I thought of the yarn, the pattern and any tips or tricks I found to make it easier  for me to make.