Tulip Skirt

Tulip SkirtSo, this post has been a long time coming! I actually made this skirt way back in February but only got around to taking photos this weekend. So, given that you will have to excuse the odd crease as I have worn it a lot since then and on the first day I was well enough to not look a total mess and the light was good I didn’t want to waste any time cracking out the iron!

So, when I made this skirt, I had just signed up to the #VintagePledge, but I decided that I wouldn’t dive straight in to a vintage pattern. In fact, I went for the complete opposite extreme and picked a brand new one! When I saw the tulip skirt from Sew Over It had been released as a pdf pattern I knew I just had to have it. I love full-bodied skirts but I’m not sure that they really suit me all that well, I much prefer a pencil skirt. Well, the tulip skirt lies right between, the pleats add lots of fullness but the shape is maintained.

Stash Busting instead of buying new

P1010661eThis pattern calls for a fabric with a bit of body to it so that it holds the shape. Instead of rushing out to buy new fabric I decided to be good and take a look through my stash. In fact, I chose to use the same fabric as my previous make – this Megan dress. The fabric was so nice to sew and I was happy to be working with it again. I was also glad that it wouldn’t be going to waste! However, I had only just over a metre left and the pattern called for 1.8 m. I wasn’t put off though and decided to forge ahead anyway.

The pattern offers two different length options. Given my lack of fabric I opted for the shorter one but even so had to take another inch off to make it fit! I cut out the waistband facing and pocket pieces from a different fabric to reduce the amount of main fabric required.

Despite this project having lots of new-to-me elements it was actually really quick to sew. The first hurdle was the pleats in the front of the skirt. Even though I had never done pleats before these were super simple and the instructions made everything clear.

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Also, pockets! Can you believe this is the first garment I have added pockets to? I think I will be adding them to everything I make in the future as they are so simple to make, yet add so much practicality . Again, the instructions were clear and I never felt like I was struggling with this new technique. The pockets are just about visible from the outside but as my lining fabric is such a nice match I don’t think it matters and the added practicality of pockets clearly outweighs any negatives they might bring!

 

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One problem I did face with this make was the lack of an obvious right and wrong side on my fabric. This tripped me up a bit when it came to adding the pockets and sewing the side seams. I somehow managed to join the front piece with the wrong side facing out. As you can’t tell the difference on the fabric this is not a problem. It does however mean that my pleats are now going the wrong way. This does alter the look of the skirt a little but I still like it and can’t wait to make another with the pleats in the correct direction!

It seems that every time I insert an invisible zip it gets a little bit worse than the previous one. I still think my very first one on my first Delphine skirt was the best one I ever put in! This one is not terrible but you can see it in places. It doesn’t quite reach the top of the waistband but I think with this fabric it is not too noticeable. Also, I did not have a zip in navy or green to hand and so went ahead with a black one – it’s supposed to be invisible right so this shouldn’t matter!

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Any ideas about the slight gaping in the fabric around my hips?

 

I am so pleased with my pattern matching at the side seams. It wasn’t something I was particularly working hard to achieve. I like to think it makes cutting the pattern pieces out much easier if you place the top of each piece on the same point in the pattern repeat. This means it is a nice happy coincidence that the horizontal stripes match up.

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This was also the first garment I have made that has had any kind of hand stitching. The waistband facing is hand stitched. To be honest I was hoping to just turn under a little less than the seam allowance and use the same stitch-in-the-ditch technique as I used on my waterfall skirt. However, for some reason the waistband facing was shorter than the waistband in places so this was not going to work. I think this might be due to the different types of fabric I used cutting and stretching in different ways, but I’m not certain. I slip-stitched the facing to the skirt by-hand and I really like how it turned out. This makes me happy because I thought I would easily get annoyed with it. Patience is not always my strong point and with hand-stitching you need to take the time to keep it neat.

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Not sure how my hair has magically change from brown to red in this photo!?

Finally, I only turned the hem up by 1/4 of an inch, pressed and then another 1/4 inch before pressing again and sewing in place. This doesn’t look quite as neat as a wider hem but given the lack of fabric and shorter length cut it was about all I could do to keep it decent!

The details:

Pattern: Tulip Skirt from Sew Over It

Fabric: Tartan and lining from Fashion n Fabrics, St. Albans

Notions: Invisible zip, Gutermann thread in navy

Alterations: Size 12 short length, Shortened by 1 inch

I love this skirt and think I will get a lot of wear out of it. It kind of reminds me of a school skirt with its pleats but definitely in a good way! I can’t wait to make another and can see it quickly becoming one of my favourite patterns. It seems pretty versatile and the different length options open up so many possibilities.

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Can’t post about a skirt without an obligatory twirl photo

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and this is what happens when I get dizzy from too much twirling!

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

Avena Cowl

 

You may remember some time ago I shared with you the cowl I made my mum for her birthday. Well, I have eventually written up the pattern I created and it is available for you to download and make for yourself for free from Ravelry!


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How to name a pattern

Strangely enough the trickiest part of making this patternwas not writing the pattern itself – in fact its a pretty simple knit – but instead was coming up with a name. I always find it quite strange how so many patterns are named with girls names (I think this is more common for sewing patterns but it’s certainly still there for knitting and crochet). I obviously decided I wanted to be different and so rather than pick a girls name for my pattern I toyed with a few different ideas. Firstly I thought about place names and was all set to name this the Silverdale cowl after a little village near where my parents live but then after some searching on Ravelry I found that this two was pretty common. Instead I decided to combine two of my passions and go with plant names! and not just any pants either – I wanted to at least start with agricultural weeds – which is the thing I work on.

So here you have the Avena cowl. Avena is the generic name for oats. In particular this cowl is in tribute to wild oats and their beautiful long awned seeds. the stripes in the cowl just brought them to mind. So there you have it a beautiful cowl named after an agricultural weed – who would have thought it!2015-11-19 21.08.54

The details

Any way, enough about names. I’m sure you want to hear about the cowl itself. Avena is  an elegant cowl, with a full twist and alternating stripes of colour.

This cowl is perfect for the spring or Autumn and can be worked in any colour combinations whether two shades of the same colour for elegant style or contrasting colours for a fun addition to any outfit!

The cowl is worked in the round with a full twist to create a Möbius strip. This gives a great effect showing off both sides of the knitting.

Gauge is not particularly important and the number of stitches cast on can be easily adjusted to accommodate different sizes.2015-11-19 21.04.43

So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this pattern – any comments you have would be great or better still if you make one yourself I would love to see the pictures!!

Head on over to Ravelry to check out the pattern or go to my pattern page to find more of my patterns.

Pinterest screengrab

Pinterest Inspiration: St. Patrick’s day

Happy St David’s day for yesterday!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up on the 17th of March so now is the perfect time to get making some Ireland inspired goodies! Whether its knitting or crochet I have scoured Pinterest and found some fun makes for you to try,

St. Patricks Day – 17th March 2016

 

If it’s a quick make you are after this garland of shamrocks could be just the thing for you. The perfect way to show your love of everything Irish!

You can find the free tutorial over on Everything Etsy.

 

 

 

For a more advanced crochet make these little leprechauns are just adorable! They would make the perfect mantelpiece decoration or present.

 

 

If crochet is not really your thing – don’t worry! You can still make yourself a leprechaun if you really must. This knitted leprechaun is also available over on Alan Dart .

 

 

 

 

 

If decorations are not really your thing but you still want to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, why not go for a more subtle option and check out these shamrock inspired mittens by Spilly Jane. The pattern is available on Ravelry.

 

Do you love to get lost in the beautiful world of Pinterest? Leave your user name in the commetns below and I’ll be sure to check out your profile! If you want to see the rest of my pins you can find me here.

A new dress is for life, not just for Christmas

With only two days to go before Christmas I decided I couldn’t possibly not make a new dress for the big day! I even had thefabric ready: the navy and emerald tartan (I only used a tiny bit for the hem of my Lou Lou dress).

Megan

I’ve been meaning to try remaking a pattern that I’ve already tried in the hope that it would save a lot of time, particularly at the fitting stage so it seemed the perfect opportunity to make another Megan dress as I really loved the fit of my first one.

 

Not having to fit a toile can save tons of time!

I know it sounds obvious (right?) but I guess I just hadnt really ever thought about how much quicker it would be to make a pattern for the second time. As I am still relatively new to making my own clothes the excitement of new patterns is still a major driver when I choose what to make next. However, given that this was a project with a deadline, makiing a second version of a project I know I can get a great fit on was the perfect plan.

The fabric was wonderful to work with, it just seemed to glide through the machine. I wish I knew more about fabrics so that I could look out for similar things in future. Maybe someone will be able to help me figure it out! The only issue was the large checked pattern required a lot of matching. In fact, I didnt really bother too much other than pinning it when folded so that the stripes remained straight and symmetrical about the centre. I just let the side seams take care of themselves (but shh, don’t tell anyone)

stripe matching

In terms of fitting, I pretty much used my toile from last time as a pattern piece. In fact, I only adjusted one thing and that was to make the bodice longer by 1.25inches so that it sits a bit lower down rather than creeping up right under my bust.

megan top

I also added a centred zip. I chose to do this for a few reasons. Firstly, and probably most importantly they didn’t have an invisible one in the colour I wanted. Secondly, as my fabric was a little thicher than the one I used last time I didnt want to get stuch with bulky seams around the zip which can sometimes make them tricky to open and close. I had also just seen this tutorial for one over on the Colette website and really wanted to try it out.

Megan zip

Unlike last time I decided to leave the length of the skirt as in the pattern as I largely intend to wear this dress in the winter over tights I quite like the extra length.

The only other change I made from last time was to redraw the neck facing pattern pieces to match the new shape of the neckline after the FBA and it worked really well – no more weird protruding neckline. The only slight issue is the zip does sag a little at the neckline so I still need to figure out why that is happening but it’s fine if I just wear my hair down over it!

The details:

Pattern: Megan dress from Love at first stitch

Fabric: Navy and emerald tartan?

Notions: 56cm Navy zip, gutermann thread in navy, light weight iron on interfacing

Alterations: Full bust adjustment, 1.25 inches added to length of bodice

I really love this dress and it was the perfect thing for Christmas day, smart but not too over the top for dinner with family!

H.

 

Lou Lou Dress

A few months ago I noticed a new pattern from English girl at Home appear: The Lou Lou dress. It was her first dress pattern and so when Charlotte was looking for people to make and review the pattern I jumped at the chance and was delighted when she gave me the pattern to try.

Lou Lou Dress on HsHandcrafts

I chose to make view A of the dress – a simple shift dress with a cute lining poking out of the bottom. The dress is designed as a summer dress and calls for a lightweight fabric. Many of the pictures of Charlotte’s own look lovely and airy for the summer. However, it was already early Autumn when I had time to begin work on the dress. I decided to go with a navy twill for the main fabric and a navy and green tartan for the special lining fabric at the bottom. As this lining fabric is visible only at the bottom, the pattern allows for a different lining fabric for the full lining. I decided to go with a green lining to match the green in the tartan.

Lou Lou lining fabrics

As the dress is quite loose fitting it was recommended to go from the bust measurement alone. As, with every pattern (and almost every sewer in the world) I fell between 2 sizes. I decided to go with the larger size as I didn’t want to risk the garment being too small. The pattern was also designed to fit a B cup and so knowing there was no way that was going to work for me I decided to do a full bust adjustment adding 1 inch to the front pattern pieces for the lining and main fabric, I also added a bust dart so as not to add any length due to the FBA.

The sewing was actually quite straight forward and the instructions were really easy to follow. In fact I was really surprised to discover that I had just completed my first fully lined dress without only problems. The only thing I might change is possibly understitching the lining especially around the neckline because I have a feeling it will start to poke out after a few hours of wear.

After a quick try on I realised I probably could have gone with the smaller size as the dress was pretty loose everywhere, but this was easily fixed. I took 1/2 an inch off each side seam and resewed the arm holes. I also chose to take an inch off each of the shoulder seams. This made the armholes smaller and lifted the neckline up but this was more for personal preference than fitting issues.

The only problem I now have is the back does sag a little and I’m not sure if this is due to some of the adjustments I have made or if this would have been a fit issue all along

LouLou back

I especially like the detail of the contrast lining at the bottom of the dress. I feel like it allows you to have a layered outfit look without all the bulk.

Lou Lou layers
The details:

Pattern: Lou Lou dress from English Girl at Home

Fabric: Navy Twill from ebay, Navy and green tartan and green lining fabric from Fashion Fabrics in St. Albans

Notions: Gutermann thread in Navy

Alterations: Size 3 with FBA, 0.5 inch taken from each side seam and 1 inch taken off the shoulder seam

I really enjoyed making the dress, especially the fact that I made a fully lined dress for the first time. The instructions were nice and easy to follow. I like the layered look although I am not convinced of the style on me. Given the fact I added the full bust adjustment it feels very big, although once I put some heels on I did feel much better – perhaps it is not one for my everyday style but needs dressing up a bit!

H.

Secret WIPs

It’s that time of year where everything I am working on is toward a gift of some kind. So many of my friends and family are having birthdays, housewarmings, babies…and Christmas is just around the corner. So unfortunately there is a lot I am working on at the moment that I just cant share with you right now. However, I do promise that once gifts have been received I will show them to you in all their glory! I am also going to try and squeeze in a bit of selfish sewing this weekend so hopefully that will be something! In the meantime take a look at this sneaky little fabric purchase from today! I just couldn’t resist!

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jewellery pot painted by HsHandcrafts

Pottery Painting

My fellow PhD students and I often go to a place nearby where you can paint pottery. It is great fun and you get some great unique items at the end. We usually go just before Christmas so we can all paint gifts for our friends and families.

We went again recently as we had a lot of new students arrive for the summer and wanted to take them somewhere fun to welcome them all.

Previously I have painted a pot to hold my jewellery, a set of coasters which I gave to my granny as a Christmas gift last year and a mug.

jewellery pot

jewellery pot

Set of coaster painted with floral designs

Set of coaster painted with floral designs

Mug painted with botanical drawing of a tea plant

Mug painted with botanical drawing of a tea plant

 

This year I decided to make a pen pot as I always struggle to find my pens as they are strewn all over the place.

I really love the look of traditional blue and white pottery so wanted to recreate this but with a twist. Instead of blue and white I chose a bright blue for the pattern but opted for a pale bluish grey for the background. I mixed together a pale blue with lots of white and a touch of grey and covered the pot using a sponge to give a really light coverage. I then painted a design on using a really bright blue. I went for a kind of leaves design but its pretty abstract really.

Its quite difficult to envisage how the pot will turn out because all the paints appear as pastel shades when you paint them on and then you leave them at the shop to glaze the pot and fire it in a kiln. It is this process of firing the paints that brings out the colours.

blurry picture of pen pot pre kiln

blurry picture of pen pot pre kiln

I cant wait to see how it turns out!

H.

Waterfall Clemence

Waterfall Skirt

After all that blogging about knitting and crochet last week I was really excited to get on with some sewing last weekend so I made a good start on the next item on my ‘to-sew’ list. It was the Clemence skirt from the Tilly and the Buttons’ book. I have seen a few of these popping up all over blog loand for a while now and each one is so different so I couldnt wait to put my own spin on it!

Waterfall skirt using Clemence pattern

One really great thing that I loved about making this skirt is you actually get to make your own pattern! This sounds really daunting at first but it turns out all you need is a few rectangles! You only even really need your waist measurement but your hip measurement can help get the fullness of the skirt more to your liking. It is a simple waistband cut twice and then a front piece cut on the fold and two back pieces. The length of the rectangles is simply your desired skirt length and the width is determined by some mathmatical trickery concerning your waist measurment. Although I did decided to make the width of my skirt panels a bit narrower to give a less full skirt.

Clemence pattern

I chose to make a midi skirt that would sit just a bit below the knee. However, it is now much longer than this on me as it sits quite a bit lower on my waist than I had hoped. I think I might have stretched the fabric slightly as I sewed the waistband. I thought about shortening it before hemming but I decided I actually really like this length so decided to stick with it!

The details:

Pattern: Clemence skirt from Tilly and the Buttons book: Love at first stitch

Fabric: Waterfall print quiliting cotton (unknown make) bought from Fashion Fabrics in st. Albans

Notions: YKK invisible zip in cream, Guterman thread in grey, lightweight interfacing.

Alterations: Midi length, reduced fullness from recomendation by taking 3.5 inches off the width of each pattern piece

I really love this skirt, infact I dont think theres much that I am disappointed with. The waist does not sit exactly where I planned but I am still happy with it. I was so happy that the sunny weather cam back yesterday so I got a chance to wear it straight away. In fact 4 separate people complemented me on it (yes 4!…cue smug face) and I even got asked where I had bought it from!

I think this is one I will definitely be making again!

H.

Waterfall Clemence

Weekend WIPs – Some sewing to round up a week of knitting and crochet!

After a great week of blogging about knitting and crochet last week for KCBW6 I thought I should get back to some actual crafting at the weekend rather than just writing about it! As I had been so focused on knitting and crochet in the week I thought it would be a great chance to get some sewing done.

Unfortunately I had to be at work on Sunday (and what a busy day it was!) so I didn’t manage to get much done but I can show you the gorgeous fabric I was using and some hints as to what the finished garment will look like!

Hopefully I will have more to show you soon!

H.

Sunburst Grannies in progress

WIP: Sunburst Blanket

There seem to be plenty of Sunburst Blankets on-the-go at the moment and I am no exception. I have been working on mine slowly for almost a year now. It is a really great project to pick up and complete granny whenever you are feeling disheartened with your current project or only have 10 minutes to spare.

I really love this pattern. It seems to be so versatile and looks good in pretty much every colour combination I have seen it. The most popular by far seems to be colourful circles on a white background but I think some of my favourite examples are those that mix it up a bit.

My aim with this blanket is to incorporate some of my favourite bright shades of blue, green and yellow with a couple of pinks and purples thrown in. I will then add a dark blue square to provide the main body of the blanket.

I currently have about 30 circles completed and another 30 in progress. I hope to have around 100 in total for the blanket. Although, reading some of the other blanket posts out there I fear I may have grossly underestimated this! Only time will tell.

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Sunburst Grannies in progress

Sunburst Grannies in progress

To see some of my favourite examples of others using this pattern why not check out the links below

Coco Rose Diaies – A lovely mixture of pastels and brights on a grey background

Color n Cream – Brights on a white background

Massive brights on white background

Autumn colours on dark blue

and I’m not going to lie my initial inspiration for the blanket…Amy’s very own granny blanket in the Big Bang Theory!