Sunday, 15 February 2015

Popover Poncho

This seemed a risky purchase. For me it is one of those patterns that catches your eye, and you see some versions that you like but something keeps you from committing to buying. But after dithering for a few weeks, I finally went for it. I needed another coat option for the cold weather, something a bit different. 
This fit the bill and I am happy to say, I really like it.

It was the word 'poncho' that made me stall, but I am fine with it all now. This is proving to be a very handy item to have in my wardrobe. It is easy to throw on, great for layering and keeps me nice and warm.

This is of course, the Popover Poncho by April Rhodes. It was very quick to sew up, only a couple of afternoons worth of sewing and voila! The fabric is a very soft and drapey mystery something. I bought it from a local shop with a Minoru Jacket in mind but never got around to it. It is a knit fabric but feels like melton. I have no idea! But it is very warm and the cowl neck feels lovely.

Some reviewers of this poncho said they wish they had added length and I am in agreement. Another couple of  inches would have suited my height better and since I like to wear a few layers underneath, the extra length would have covered my cardigan and wrapped around my hips to keep me warmer when my hands are in the pocket. There is a tiny bit of a draft up the sides as it is. I made the large size and am 5 7".

It is a great item to wear with skinny jeans and boots and it was nice to tuck my hands into the large kangaroo pocket at the front as I walked. In fact I wouldn't like it half as much if I had nowhere to put my hands.

This has turned out to be one of those items I will be glad to see when the winter weather starts to bite. It feels like a warm blanket and I am glad I bit the bullet and bought the pattern!

Friday, 30 January 2015

School Lunchbag

Ever since starting back in Year Two my daughter has been having school dinners and for the most part enjoying them. Queuing up, choosing her meals, which mostly end with cake and custard, biscuit and custard, rice krispie cake.... and custard. No I am not kidding. Sounds disgusting right?

Well, recently information has filtered through about the portion sizes the children are getting and together with the way my daughter devours her post-school snack and then asks how long dinner will be, we decided to try packing sandwiches again. I am glad of the choice that we have with regards to the hot dinners. The options are good, don't get me wrong. But my daughter has a healthy appetite and I want her to be able to concentrate during afternoon lessons and not be grumpy when she gets home. She can't do either if she is hungry. So we have come to an agreement that she can have the school meals she likes such as Fish and Chips on a Friday (why wouldn't you love that) and she likes her pasta day on a Tuesday. Other days I have said she can have a packed lunch.

I was also really happy to have an excuse to make up this lunchbag pattern. This is the Love Your Lunch Box PDF from Gingercake Sews. It is the perfect size for a school packed lunch and will keep her sandwiches and juice nice and cool until midday thanks to the thermal insulated batting it is interlined with.

The main exterior fabric is made from a quilting weight cotton and I chose two beautiful prints from Anna Maria Horner that I just love. The main exterior is Field Study Cell Structure and the contrast on the sides is Hugs & Kisses in Candy.

Inside the bag is lined with laminated cotton. This makes it easy to wipe any spills.

I won't lie, it was a nightmare to sew through all the layers of cotton, interfacing, insulated batting and laminated cotton. My machine was put to the test around those corners. Like Virginia says in her instructions though, the finished result is worth a bit of sweat and tears. I love the sturdiness of the bag and the capacity of the main pocket is perfect.

Either side of the bag are slim pockets that would fit a snack bar or some tissues.

We will give it a first run on Monday but for today L was happy to have her lunch in it and model it for me.

Trouble is she will now lay claim to it and cry if she sees it going into Boo's school bag. If it works out then I will make another one for when she starts in September. (Can't believe she starts this year, that has come around so fast!)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Some Pattern Busting and a Sew-along

I took part in my first sew-along! Something I have attempted (or tried to plan for) several times but for some reason or another, never managed. This time was a success!

Oliver and S hosted a sew-along on January 6th for the culottes either from the Lunchbox pattern for kids, or the Girl Friday version for women. I have already made one version of the Lunchbox culottes for my youngest, and fell head-over-heels for the pattern. It is wonderful.

My fabric is a floral needlecord bought at Croft Mill. I always wanted to make Boo a skirt from it but had the 2+2 in mind. I am glad I couldn't get around to it straight away because when the Lunchbox pattern was released I instantly knew it would be perfect.

The box pleats disguise the fact that they are shorts and make the skirt luxuriously full. She gave them a big thumbs up for comfort and the side seam pockets are very roomy. I think these will be perfect for school. Expect some grey ones very soon.

I did take 2" off the length because I prefer them to hit the knee rather than below.

While the pattern was out on my table, I traced off the long sleeved tee as well. This view has concealed pockets to the front, similar to the Book Report Dress. They are so clever.

I made the tee as per the pattern but next time will be adding some length to the arms and hem. My girl definitely needs it and it is such a great pattern that I am looking forward to making a few more for both girls. I really like the sleeve cuffs on the other version too.

The Field Trip Cargoes have been on my list (and in my stash) for a very long time. I even had the size 6 traced off but never got time to make them. Another great O+S pattern that I will make again. At least I will have the 6T ready for L when she is older!

These are the size 8 and I opted for the larger size so they would fit her for a while. One thing I have learned about making pants for Boo, is that she grows upwards fast. Too fast. The legs are quite roomy on her now but she will still be wearing them in the summer, I hope. 

This is Robert Kaufman chambray in Indigo. A gorgeous fabric to work with and a January sale treat to myself. 

The cargoes are a bit time consuming with all the pockets and top stitching but they are so worth the effort. I kept the contrast stitching to a minimum as I want these to go with most of her wardrobe. But I did sneak a pink butterfly onto one of the leg pockets as I knew it would make her smile.

I had the cargoes and this Bimaa Sweater cut out at the same time. We are a bit low on warm sweaters at the moment and this pattern comes highly recommended. I can see why, I am really pleased with it. The Bimaa pattern itself comes with 3 different neckline options, a hood, a shawl collar and a cowl neck. I can't wait to try the cowl version.

This is actually an Ikea blanket bought for the purpose of being cut up into something warm. It doesn't have quite as much stretch as the pattern dictates so I sized up and made a 10. The hem band is a wee bit snug on her but it still works.

The hood is nice and deep and comes up around her face and under her chin like a warm shield against the wind. I lined my hood with some interlock jersey to make it extra soft and snuggly.

All those clothes have been readily accepted into her wardrobe but I lucked out with the last piece I am showing you. Which is very disappointing because I happens to be my favourite. The Firefly Jacket

I made this up for a Christmas present and although she loves the fabric, she says it makes her look 'daft'. She doesn't love how short it is. You can't win them all I guess.

The plain side is a navy linen and although it is impossible to get a decent shot of such a dark fabric, trust me it gathered beautifully and looks really smart.

The other side is a creamy butterfly print. I prefer the navy side as it goes with more but I adore these little butterflies.

The pleat on the back of this jacket make it so beautiful to look at and the construction of the sleeves is genius.

I think my clothes sewing is done and dusted for January but it has started well for the year.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Girl Friday/Lunch Box Culottes Sew-along

This sew-along kicks off today and I am busy tracing for it.

I am participating with a pair of Lunch Box Culottes.

Who is with me?!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 Sewing Review

I recently sat down to make a few notes on projects that have been buzzing around my head. I have done very well in prioritizing which sewing patterns to tackle first, even making sure I had the fabric and haberdashery bits and bobs in place to do them, but I have fallen short on time. Not anticipating how busy Christmas time can become has left me a bit behind.

I haven't fully completed a project yet and it has been 5 weeks since my last one. Not a sewing rutt, more a time rutt. But I have lots of plans so to give myself a bit of inspiration I put together some collages of my work over the last year. It is always surprising to look back over my sewing and see what I achieved in terms of output, what new skills and techniques I have learnt, and how the activities of the year have influenced the projects I chose.

I did more sewing for L this year. I have enjoyed using the smaller size ranges on some favourite patterns and indulging in some new ones just for her.

I made the O+S Tea Party Dress and the O+S Swingset Tunic with glee, my big girl is out of those size ranges. The Swingset is one of my favourite makes over the last few months.

Thanks to a pattern swap by the lovely Jenna of Just Sew Jenna, I tried out the Green Bee Sally Romper which I must try again next year.

I went with all the blues for my Oliver + S sewing for Boo.

Some of these definitely seem like more than a few months ago!

Boo's most worn item was the plain blue Seashore Dress. The bodice is just getting too tight for her now, but it has been worn constantly.

I also made the obligatory Queen Elsa dress (unblogged) using the bodice shape of the O+S Seashore Dress, skirt of the O+S Fairytale Dress and the top yoke of the Heidi & Finn Tulip Top. It was a big hit and worn to most parties.

I tested out a variety of trouser/pant patterns for Boo and still haven't decided on the right version for her everyday play ones. 

She was in the top size for the LouBee Hosh pants so is out of them now. The Clever Charlotte Raven pants were great but need tweaking to fit her better. I will try adding a zip fly next time and sizing down.

I can't say enough good things about the Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern. We absolutely love them! Best fitting trousers of the year!

I made the Figgys Banyan shorts which were a perfect fit, but didn't get round to making the trousers for her. They are on my to-do list!

For me, it was all skirts and dresses. Summer rolled around and I had a big gap in my wardrobe. I love my red sundress and my Liesl & Co Lazy Days skirts.

I am wearing my Portfolio Top today and it serves as a reminder to make another. It is a great piece for layering in the cooler weather.

I didn't get a whole lot of knitting done. Only two finished projects and one which is still ongoing. The cable yoke cardigan will get picked up again soon when I have taken a deep breath, picked up the stitches for the sleeve and divided them up over my dreaded double pin needles. I need to master the Magic Loop method, I loathe using DPN's!

So that is my recap. It helps me think about all the things I missed out and need to get started on. First up is a new school dress for Boo. I am making her another Music Box Jumper, this time in a light grey needlecord. It should last the majority of the cold season.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! The new year is less than two days away and we are having a quiet one as per usual. Our tradition is to order a Chinese takeaway and once it is collected, open a bottle of bubbly and chill out. To be honest, we rarely last until midnight. The fireworks may filter through our dreams but our Happy New Years wishes wait until the next morning. Old age I guess!

See you all in 2015! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Katy xx

Monday, 24 November 2014

My Fifth Bubble Dress.... (it must be a favourite!)

This project was so much fun! I adore this pattern anyway (as you can tell from my title) and I splurged on some really pretty fabric in a recent sale, which was calling to me to be made into a dress for one of the girls. I only had a meter. So an Oliver + S Bubble Dress it was!

The fabric is by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics. It is a beautiful print and a really nice weight. Very soft and silky.

My little model was on top form despite having her flu vaccination that morning. I love seeing her face light up when she wears a pretty dress. I feel so lucky to have two little girls who adore dressing up. They are always so happy to have a new dress in particular.

I didn't make any alterations to the pattern. The Christmas before last, both girls had a Bubble dress for our family get-together and so I could see that she only needed to go up a size to a 3T.

It is a lovely fit on her. 

The one thing I adore about this pattern is how it is completely sealed inside. No raw edges or seam allowances of any kind on show and fully lined so it is soft against precious skin. Which is probably the reason I have made two as gifts in the past.

We are currently at temperatures of around 3C outside so layering is essential. The way the cap sleeves are shaped make it perfect to go over a long sleeved tee. I love this dress in summer but this styled this way it also works for winter too.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Lunch Box Tee & Culottes

Last month saw the release of two new Oliver + S patterns, the Carousel Dress and the Lunch Box Tee & Culottes. I was particularly excited to see this culottes pattern and after a bit of consideration bought the PDF version in the small size range for my youngest daughter. I will no doubt buy the paper copy in the larger size for my biggest girl (because I can do without sticking two PDF's together thank you). 

Just for a change I decided to buy the pattern for L, because I have never actually bought a O+S pattern in the small size range before. It feels like I am giving her some sewing attention, and this pattern has her name written all over it. She is a robust little girl who hardly ever stays still, is always hurtling headlong into puddles, crowds, mud etc. But she does love her pretty dresses, princess outfits and singing 'Let It Go' at the top of her voice while walking around the house with a blanket-cape. So shorts that look like a skirt are perfect for her. Practical yet pretty. Brilliant!

I had to really focus on the sizing for her. She falls across several different size categories.
For example:

Chest 22" (putting her between a 3 and a 4)
Waist 20.5" (12-18months !!)
Hip 22.25" (between a 2 and a 3)
Height 39.25" (that would be between a 3 and a 4)

Phew! She is making me work even before I have started.

I finally settled on making a size 3 tee and size 2 culottes. Because I was unsure how the sizing was going to play out, I used some clothes that had been set aside for recycling. A velour skirt (passed on by my Mum), and a stripey t-shirt that was too small for me.

The culottes ended up too big around the waist and I drew the elastic up to the point where I had to stop else I would distort the drape. The length of them is absolutely perfect though. Just where I would want them to fall.

The velour culottes (note: not the recommended fabric) have an air of Christmas about them and maybe she will fit them a little better by then.

I made view B of the tee, this is the simpler version with no pockets. Next time I would need to add 2" onto the length as it hits just a bit too high on her waist. 

The top is super quick to put together. I cut everything out the night before, folded and pinned all the pieces and put it out to finish in the morning. Madam had me up by 6am and by 7am, the top was done! 

I have to say, I adore this pattern. If the word culottes makes you shudder, don't be put off, these are fabulous. The box pleats at the front and back (while not coming out particularly well in my fabric choice) make the skirt/shorts fall beautifully and they are mega practical. If I had any tights that were the right colours I would have put them on her. That would complete the look for a Christmas party.

I also whipped up a pair of Sunki Leggings using some dark grey knit. They are a 2/3 and are a bit baggy, but the length is great and they look so comfy. It is such a great leggings pattern!

I am glad I got the size right with the tee, I will be making many many more. Just with a bit more length. Does anyone else have a child with really random measurements?! If she carries on, she will be tall with a tiny waist. (If only she got that from me!!)