Monday, 16 May 2016

A Baby Gift

Patterns: The Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker and the Lullaby Pants by Oliver + S
Size Made: 0-3 months for the pants, the cardigan is one size (up to 10lbs)

Fabric: Robert Kaufman Herringbone Chambray and Makower Flo's Friends Koala print
Yarn: King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK

One of my best friends from school recently had a baby boy. He arrived a tad early and so I wasn't quite prepared for sewing up his presents yet! Luckily I stumbled upon this lovely cardigan pattern on Ravelry which caters for very small babies, up to around 10lbs.

I really liked the design and the feature of the buttons going off to the side so I grabbed some soft yarn and got going. It is a seamless, top down knit and comes together so easily. I was finished in around 5 days. It was a pleasure to knit and the yarn is super soft.

As you can see, I chose the short sleeved version seeing as we are in Spring over here.

I paired the cardigan with a couple of pants from the Oliver and S Lullaby Layette pattern. I haven't sewn up any of the pieces from the set before, but knew that it was the perfect pattern to have on hand for newborn gifts.

The construction of the pants is so clever and thoughtful. There is no side seam to irritate little skin and there seems to be plenty of room to accommodate nappies.

I got to use my baby boy buttons too! It always pays to have a little stock of baby themed trims - just incase!

It might be a while before he fits in the pants, he is still quite little. I have been promised a photo when he does though so am looking forward to seeing that!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Moneta Dress (my new favourite thing)

Pattern: The Moneta Dress by Colette Patterns
Size made: L
Fabric: star print interlock and floral tissue knit (both from Abakhan Fabrics)

I have discovered my perfect everyday dress in the form of the Colette Moneta. I decided on a whim to sew one up after sitting on the pattern for a few months. Now I wish I had tried it sooner, it is perfect!

I didn't make any alterations, just a straight size L (12-14) and I tried the short and 3/4 length sleeves. The weather is warming up so the short/sleeveless versions will come in very handy but I love the 3/4 sleeves. They make it just that bit more wearable for me.

The pattern is aimed at beginners and so it is quite straightforward. There are 3 different versions (sleeveless, short sleeved and 3/4 sleeves) and the option to add a collar with facing. Go to the Colette website and you will find a bonus free download with five additional collar variations.

Perfect for the school run as it requires little thought to throw on or with a fancy pair of heels would look dressier for a lunch out.

My short sleeved version is made from a very lightweight knit and I had to interface my seam allowances for fear of the twin needle chewing holes in my fabric. It has gathered beautifully as a result of being very drapey. I used elastic to gather it as specified but ended up trimming it off altogether with my serger knife as it left a ridge around the waist seam. The blue version, I tried gathering as you would a woven with a long basting stitch and it worked just as well, but has a little less stretch than the short sleeved version.

I skipped the pockets in the blue version but kept them in for the grey one. Who doesn't love pockets? I will put them in on my next ones just so I have somewhere to stash my phone!

All in all, a great dress pattern. If you have it but haven't got around to sewing it up yet, grab it down from your shelf, you won't regret it!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Simplicity 1382 Dress - version 2

Pattern: Simplicity 1382
Fabric: 'Baby the Stars Shine Bright' by Tamara Kate for Michael Miller
Size made: 8 1/2

She has had a lot of fun wearing my first version of this dress and the fit was still really good. I wanted to make another version in after seeing Rebecca's beautiful Geranium Tunic made from the same fabric.
It took me a while to track the fabric down, everywhere seemed to be out of stock but eventually I got lucky. I expected it to be navy if I am honest, I was a little surprised when it turned out to be purple. However, Boo pounced on it immediately! "It's perfect! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

I made this back in February but due to camera malfunctions and poor light, I only just managed to get the shots I wanted. The hemline seems to have crept up past her knees already - hmmm she must have gotten taller.

So the difference with this version is the back. The first one had a heart-shaped cut out whereas this one has a crossover back. Still with that peekaboo look which makes it a little bit special.

I did much better with my invisible zip this time. The last one curls in at the top when it is fully drawn up. This time I positioned it better so the hard plastic top of the zipper wasn't included in the edge and it zips up nice and smooth. I couldn't figure out where I had gone wrong previously, but that must be it.

I did intend to make this the cap sleeved version. It was only when I was finished sewing the facings on and was giving the armholes a pressing, that I realised I had missed putting them on. Ooops! They were staring at me the whole time from the back of my sewing table.
Ahhh well.....

For those interested in the insides, here is a shot of the bodice. The facings are nice and deep and all sewn into the side seams so they sit beautifully and don't flap about. The waistband also has a facing and so all raw edges are sealed inside making it nice to wear.

Now, I must crack on with that sleeved version.....

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Kwik Sew 3816 Vest

About a month before our planned holiday it dawned on me that Boo didn't have the right sort of jacket for the trip. She needed a body-warmer style that would keep the spring chills away but not be too hot for lots of walking around and jumping in and out of the car.

I had this Kwik Sew pattern stashed away and had been wanting to try it for a while so I ordered the supplies I needed for the 'real' version and got to work on a trial run through.

There are a couple of tricky techniques called for in this pattern, namely a welt pocket with the added flourish of a zip. My experience of sewing welts started with this raincoat (which was hellish in the fabric) and the Oliver and S Art Museum Trousers which were plain sailing. I knew I could always fall back on the O+S instructions if I needed to, but had faith in the Kwik Sew instructions which have always been excellent in the past.

My test run proved that the instructions were brilliant and easy to follow. I had no problems constructing the pocket and adding the zip.

I used thick fleece for the navy version you see here and that would have been a little trickier to get a neat welt out of. Knowing this is what I would be working with (and taking heed from Shelley) I decided to change the pattern up to make this easier. Instead of the welt pocket being on the outside, I put it inside the vest meaning I could make it from the cotton poplin lining fabric.

I also extended the back lining to full length as it was more the look I wanted. The lower pockets have a faux welt look and the pocket bags are made from the lining fabric. I therefore had to make the decision between having the pretty flowery fabric right-side out to match the rest of the inner lining or flip it and have the flowers peeking out of the pockets from the outer side.
I figured since the jacket would be seen mostly from the outside, that the reversed inside wouldn't be a big issue.

I didn't tamper with the length at all. I liked that the elasticated casing tucked neatly under her bottom and kept the wind out. The only bit of sewing that was tough was attaching the casing. My fleece is beautifully soft and thick so when it came to the casing, it meant I was going through 3 layers of fleece and 1 of poplin. My machine got through it but I felt like we had battled!

A felt heart served as the anchor point for my size label.

And there you can see the zippered welt tucked neatly into the upper lining piece. We put her little pocket camera in there during our days out and it was a nice safe place for it to be carried around in. 

The details:

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3816
Size made:  XL (12-14years)
Fabric used: Speckled Fleece from Pennine Outdoor and poplin for the lining

The resulting vest is one of the best items of clothing I have made for her. It is amazingly soft and snug, yet very practical for playing in. I am glad I picked the navy colour as it will match a lot of her clothes without thinking about it too much.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Granny's Favourite Cardigan

Pattern: Granny's Favourite by Georgie Nicolson (Tikki Knits)
Yarn: Cascade 220 Quattro (colourway 1928)
Size Made: 28" chest
Started: 10 Dec 2015 Finished: 21 Feb 2016

A circular yoke will always catch my eye, and after spotting a few of these on Instagram I was curious enough to source the pattern.

The size range is quite large. It starts at 15" chest (newborn) and goes to a 30" chest (age 12). It is knit from the top down, is seamless, and has different length options for body and sleeves.

Boy do these instructions require the recommended read through! It took a couple of minutes before I clicked with the layout of the size instructions, then knowing I would keep getting lost, I grabbed a ruler and pencil and put a line through all the instructions that didn't apply to my size cardigan. This helped a lot.

I didn't concentrate hard enough on my first attempt at the zigzags and ended up ripping it out and starting again. Second time around and I got them right and this beautiful pattern emerged. The pattern runs right around the front and across the back.

I opted for long sleeves and a full length body. I had enough wool and I want it to be worn through spring and then again the other side of summer.

The zigzag is repeated on the sleeve cuff and then finished off with soft and bouncy garter stitch. I think it looks lovely.

The yarn itself knitted up beautifully and I was really pleased with it. Everytime I use Cascade yarn, I am impressed with the stitch definition and this worked the lace pattern up perfectly. The Quattro yarn has different shades in each strand and it gives a variegated finish to the work.

 This ended up being a great pattern and I am so glad I tried it. The colour will go with a lot in her wardrobe (and seeing as most of that is made by me anyway, I can coordinate!)

Monday, 7 March 2016

Kitty Cat Blouse

My little L has just started moving towards the larger size range of Oliver and S patterns. I can fit her into a dress or a top that is a 5T without them looking too roomy. She is still a little dot on the bottom half though, so for now the pants/skirts would be too big.

I have used the Music Class pattern quite consistently for schoolwear but until now, have never branched out and made it for play. Seeing the blouse on her each morning for school made me realize how pretty it looked on her. So I chose a fabric I knew she would love and got to work!

I made a straight size 5, no adjustments. The fabric is from Cotton and Steel designed by Alexia Abegg of Green Bee Patterns. Those cute little kittys were an instant hit!

It wasn't planned but I managed to get a cat lined up perfectly on the front. I was thrilled! The placket is supposed to lie with the opposite opening side, but I couldn't cover up that sewing fluke!

I am so glad to have sewn this up in something other than white. She loves it and I am happy to have something that will blend with the seasons. She should get plenty of wear out of this long into the summer. Which is why, in the top photo, I have paired it with a new pair of chambray Puppet Show shorts. As long as she fits into that pattern, I will keep making her new ones! These are a size 4T and she is only just in those measurements so the pattern still has some life yet.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Gallery Tunic Sewalong

Liesl + Co. Gallery Tunic + Dress sew-along

Last week I took part in the sew-along over on the Oliver + S forum for the Gallery Tunic. This is a pattern under the Liesl & Co pattern label and from past experience, those patterns always come together beautifully for me.

I have wanted to take part in other sew-alongs in the past but never had the chance to fit it into my schedule. Somehow, during half term week, I managed it!


I have been hoarding this Robert Kaufman chambray for a while and my intended pattern was the Grainline Archer. I think however that it lends itself really well to this soft flowing tunic. The fabric is nice and light and it was easy to sew with.

I made the alterations for a FBA as I knew I would need one. The darts do appear to be quite long (as some people have mentioned in the forum) I don't yet know whether they bother me enough to shorten the next time round.
The fit of the tunic is perfect. So perfect, I forgot I was wearing it. I wore it all day and that included travelling (hence the creases!), going out for lunch and playing with the kids. It was so comfortable!

View A has quite a relaxed feel about it as it has no collar stand. It makes for a more casual look, which is perfect for me. Sewing-wise, everything went smoothly. The instructions are clear and concise and everything is kept together, no 'turn to page ... for view b' which I often find tedious because of viewing my instructions on my tablet. I really hate having to flick through to find my relevant bit!

The more observant of you may notice that my placket is sewn on the opposite to the pattern. I must have placed my marking sheet down the wrong side up! A slight hiccup but one that really doesn't affect the finished product. I guess it just makes mine more unique! But still, next time I must do better.

Other than the bust adjustment, I only made one other alteration.
The length was where I wanted it to be and I left that alone, but the sleeves were hitting a bit short for my personal preference. (I dislike the feeling of a sleeve finishing near my elbow crease) so I only turned the hem up by 5/8 and made a narrow hem rather than the pattern recommendation of 2 1/2"

Many thanks to Brittney for hosting the sew-along, it was fun to sew the pattern in short bursts rather than keeping on going until the family started to complain of hunger pangs. I enjoyed seeing how everybody was getting along over on Instagram too. Check out the #lieslandco #gallerytunic hashtags to see the patterns in construction!