Friday, 29 March 2013

Figgy's Sunki Tunic

This is my first attempt at a Figgy's pattern. I bought this in it's PDF format from the Figgy's site. There are only a few stockists in the UK and while I could have bought the paper version, I am happy that I can test out the pattern style first the instant way.

I found the instructions to be great in some places but a bit confusing in others. The pocket for instance. I read and re-read but was still a bit unclear how to proceed. Luckily I had pinned a tutorial from the Figgy's site and used that alongside the written instructions. It helped. 

But even though I made it through the construction, I still felt the need to take a picture to remind me which way the side panel goes on. So for my benefit (and anybody else who is standing there scratching their head) it goes on like this......

Putting the pocket and side panel behind me I sailed through the rest of the pattern without any issues.

 I used a quilting weight solid green for the main fabric and added interest with a Lotta Jansdotter print 'Choma Bermuda' that I bought as an offcut. I think I used a little more that a fat quarters worth (or there abouts) making it a great sewing pattern to use a large scrap of fabric up.

This is the 6/7 size and the fit is perfect on her.

Excuse the wrinkles but it went on straight away and this was the end of the day. She looked so cute in it. The pockets are a big hit too, although I think they could be slightly deeper.

Look at those shoulder pleats, aren't they beautiful? They add a lovely bit of detail to the dress, I adore them.
So as far as my first Figgy's pattern goes I am impressed with the end result and now I have made it once it should be plain sailing the next time. I fancy making a short sleeved version in lightweight denim or linen for when the weather warms up.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Wiksten Tulip Skirt

I have skirts on my mind at the moment, my aim is to stock up my wardrobe with a few staples before the warm weather hits.

I have admired this pattern for a while and it recently came back into my mind so I tracked it down and bought the PDF pattern. The original version was printed in a copy of Stitch magazine but I found it available on the Interweave site.

There is some handsewing involved but don't let that put you off. It gives the placket and waistband a lovely professional finish. Edgestitching instead of handsewing the placket down would also look great as an alternative.

The pattern is so easy to follow and was a pleasure to sew up. I love the pleats, they are deep and crisp and give the skirt such a lovely shape.

The waistband sits high up, higher than most and the belt ties add a nice touch. I would like them to be a bit longer so they don't sit so straight when worn.

Now while I enjoyed making this a lot, I am not sure it is very flattering on my figure. I have a curvy shape and the pleats make the skirt more voluminous than your typical a-line. That said I have used quite a heavy twill fabric and so it doesn't drape softly. I would try a lightweight cotton next time to see if it skimmed over my hips a bit better.

I don't like showing too much leg and it is a bit short for me. I could wear this length
 with tights for the winter, my personal preference would be to have it a bit longer so I could use it as a summer skirt.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Finishing up some overdue projects

Today feels productive if only because I have finally finished two of my overdue projects. First up is the Divided Basket for little Bug's nursery. The pattern is by Noodlehead and let me tell you it is absolutely perfect for nursery storage. 

The lining is a small checked gingham, the patterned exterior fabric is an Amy Butler print and the plain pink is a quilting cotton that just happened to match perfectly.

I wanted to add some piping to the front pocket so used some that I had made up ages ago and had left over. A plain red to tie everything in.

This is how it will be used in my daughters room, although it won't stay by the side of her cot. Lessons have been learned about leaving a bottle of lotion or a pack of wipes within reach of a small inquisitive child.

Add some essential reading material and it is good to go!

I used quilting weight cotton throughout and only interfaced it instead of adding the wadding layer. I wanted to add it because as Anna advises it adds some structure to the basket. I could see it would be a bit floppy but I only had enough wadding/batting to line one side, so didn't bother. Next time I will definitely make sure I do that bit.

It is bigger than I expected and I am thrilled to bits with how much you can fit in. More of these are on the cards.

So with that done and the sewing set aside for the morning, I finished off the Honey Cowl I have been working on in the evenings in front of the telly. I only needed to bind off the edge so I settled down for a half hour of knitting.

This project cost me practically nothing. The pattern is free and downloadable from Ravelry or MadelineTosh website. The yarn was free with a first issue of a knitting magazine and that only cost me £1. 

This is my first attempt at the cowl and once you get into the swing of it, it knits up in no time and is an easy and pleasant project. I had two 75g balls and so decided to just knit as much as I could with both colours. It may be a little narrower than the pattern. This is for my daughter and so is the smaller version anyway. 

I made all my silly mistakes on the pink side first. You can see where I forgot which row I was on and ended up copying the pattern so the slip stitches are too close together. I cracked it by the green section though once I became more familiar with what I was looking at.

I will make one of these for myself. I have my eye on some Malabrigo yarn that will feel so soft around my neck. Evening knitting is suiting me at the moment, it means I get to sit with hubby for a while instead of cheating on him with my sewing machine!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Oliver + S Style: Alice in Wonderland Dress

World Book Day has arrived! We were forewarned about the children dressing up in the pre-half term newsletter, but as usual I started my preparations very last minute. We had a sock puppet to make over half term that was to be based on a storybook character. We made the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.

Here it is still in construction. I never did get a photo of it finished but am going into school today for a Sock Puppet Exhibit so will take my camera. We added buckteeth and a pink bow at the end.

So the for the dress I used the Puppet Show Dress from Oliver + S. The Disney Alice has a peter pan collar on her dress so I knew it would be a good match. If I owned the Playdate dress pattern I would have been sorely tempted to use that. Either dress has the right vibe.

The fabric came from two pillowcases I had at home. I was sitting on the edge of my bed wondering whether I would need to go out and buy fabric when my eyes drifted to my bedsheets. Hmmm.... some things just have to be sacrificed for the greater good. And I have spares so its fine.

The apron was self drafted. I really wanted to do a full smock style with flutter sleeves but to be honest it was getting late and I was running out of puff. So I just made up a simple gathered waist apron. The petticoat is a single layer skirt made the simple elasticated tube way. I had to quickly put it under the sewing machine again in the morning because it was a bit too long for the dress. (this is what happens when your model is in bed and unable to have a fitting).

Add Mary Janes and some white knee socks and the dress is transformed! Oh and the black bow of course.....

For the bow I found this tutorial on pinterest. It was very quick to do. I had quite flimsy fabric so had to interface it to give it some body. I used a medium weight iron on interfacing. It is a shame you can see the white of it at the edges. Can you get dark interfacing? Never had to think about it before. Anyway, the most important thing is that Boo loved it. I had dressed 'Gerty' the mannequin in her room before bedtime but still had the headband to do. So I snuck it in later on and she bounded into our room at 6:30am full of joy at the (and I quote) "fabulous bow"!

It was an absolute joy to see so many different costumes this morning in the school playground. We saw Sully from Monsters Inc, Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman, Snow White, Charlie from Charlie and Lola, and my favourite one was the boy dressed as Jack Sparrow. He looked amazing, and so so happy. The teacher was dressed as the witch from Room on the Broom. 

Never have children been so happy to go into school! I hope you have all had as much fun with your outfits if your school took part. I am looking forward to seeing how Alice has made it through the day.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Jump Rope Dress

I am in love with this pattern. As I always knew I would be.

Even so, I held off from making it for a while determined to find just the right fabric. Determined not to make my first one in anything less than my idea of perfect. I knew I wanted green/blue and of there had to be polkadots on there. I LOVE polkadots. So when Gail posted this beauty I thought I was ruined, that I wouldn't be able to find anything I liked more. But I did find, by chance-lazy-day-browsing, a lovely greeny-blue with lime spots that instantly said 'Jump Rope' to me. So I clicked, bought and waited for it to arrive.

I have never sewn anything that has made me so ridiculously proud of being able to sew before. The style and pattern are simply beautiful and having made it up and seen the fit first hand, I am chuffed to bits. It is perfect! 

Plus I had to smile when I asked her to try it on for fitting. She twirled and preened in front of the mirror and despite not feeling very well, had a huge smile on her face. Satisfied customer!

I guess what I like about it is that it looks like a complete outfit. Not sleeveless so you need a cardigan over the top or a layer underneath when it is cooler. Not too short so you put leggings or tights on. The length is just right. And the bow finishes it off perfectly.

I will admit to being apprehensive about the placket construction. I have never made a shirt style top before so have not tested myself in that area, but the instructions are simple and clear and made it so easy to do. For my own future benefit I took a photo of the slice down the middle front stage so I can remember what it all looked like.

The pockets are very deep and are positioned quite far down the skirt of the dress, which I like. It seems to be designed for the longer bodied child. I found that it was generous even on Boo who herself is quite long in the body and legs. It will certainly last a long while in the length. 

I did find that to get it on and off I had to instruct her to point her arms nice and straight upwards and let me slip it down her arms and over her head. There isn't much wriggle room in getting it on/off. Once it is on though, you would never know. It suddenly sits just right across the chest and around the shoulders. I have made this one in a size 6T (my daughter is 4 and a half but fit into all the measurements for a 6T). I would like to make this up for a summer gingham school dress but because of getting it on and off again unaided, I would size up for that.