Wednesday, 31 July 2013

In Threes Cardigan

Yarn: Rowan Colourspun (colourway 279)
Amount used: 3 skeins (444yds). Just dipped into the 3rd skein to finish off the garter rows on the bottom
Size made: 5T
Needle used: 5mm 24" circular needle

I took advantage of the extra daylight hours to finish off this cardigan for Boo. It was started in the last few days of Christmas but was put to one side for a while. Sometimes when it is wintery and snug, knitting is the perfect way to spend an evening, but when the dark evenings come too quickly my eyes feel strained so it is not the best thing for me to do.

This pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry (see link above). It is such a great pattern for those knitters who fear joining pieces together (like me) because it is knit all in one from the neckband down. No seams to join!

The sides are separated by a strip of garter stitches to echo the bands around the neckline.

There are no fancy stitches, it is a simple knit and purl design. The three rows of detail at the chest and hemline are simple garter rows. They look so beautiful and accentuate the raglan sleeves.

The wool is very soft and fluffy. Every time I laid it flat on my lap to check my rows my knee literally glowed with warmth.

With our ever changing climate, we might need this during summer evenings as a pretty cover up. These are her colours so most of her wardrobe will match. I would make this again in a heartbeat, it was a stress free knitting project. The sizes start at 0-6 months and go to 5T. I could sneak a 3T onto my empty needles for little L so they both had one to wear. Grey is more her colour and my knitting wool stash is looking a bit low so will have to go shopping first.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sewing for my man - at long last!

Husband versus children, how often does husband win when it comes to new clothes? In this house NEVER. Until today!

It has taken me over 2 years to get around to a pair of pyjama bottoms for Jay. No word of a lie, he has asked me and asked me. I always kept bumping his request to the bottom of the list. Now the main reason is that while I have lots of pretty girly fabric, or solids that are earmarked for something in particular, I don't have any suitable boy fabric. I don't sew for many boys. So it figures that my stash of suitable fabrics is low.

At the weekend I decided to put this dilemma at the top of my list and so took everybody to the little fabric shop in town so he could choose something himself. I also had the added guilty pleasure of choosing myself something to make a new dress out of. You see, I ordered myself the new in-print Staple Dress pattern by April Rhodes, and I couldn't stop feeling like I would be a bad wife by buying my fabric and not his.

Jay's criteria was simple, it had to be manly (grr...) , lightweight and comfy. He settled on this Madras check cotton. I wasn't sure whether I liked it at first, but once it was washed and on the line, I saw its potential.

The owner of the fabric shop was really helpful and when I said it was for pj's he showed me this brushed elastic that was ideal for what I wanted. It also meant that I could avoid having to feed the elastic through the casing and sew down on top of the turned over waistband. Plus it would feel soft against the skin.

I took a leaf out of my Parsley Pants book and secured all the seam allowances down by folding under and top stitching down every seam. No tickly seam allowances and super strong seams.

I double stitched the hems on the legs, but because my double needle has gone walkies I had to go around twice, carefully!


You won't see a modelled shot I am sorry to say as he point blank refused! Spoil sport!

 I dare say more of these will follow now I have got started and Hubby will soon have no need to complain. I used a Simplicity pattern for these (5329) that also has full length bottoms and a robe included. I didn't really refer to the instructions as I sewed them because they are quite basic but I think next time I will size down.

Now I can move on to something cute!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

End of Year Teachers Gifts

Reception year is over. It is so hard to come to terms with that fact but it seems to have simply flown by. I have been so happy with how my daughter has settled into school life and how caring the teachers have been with her, it only seemed right to give them a little something. 

I had other things planned but with hurting my hand, I had to rethink and do something a little simpler. I chose the Gathered Clutch Pattern from Noodlehead which is a free pattern and tutorial amongst others on Anna's awesome website.

I bought the fabrics and zips on Ebay and I was relieved to find that the colours matched up, although why I ordered a lilac coloured one and not a green one for the bottom clutch escapes me. It does go with the contrast fabric, but I still wish I had chosen differently.

This is a superb pattern and I highly recommend you give it a go. These would make perfect stocking fillers. This small size is a free pattern but there is also a larger size available to buy. The instructions are nice and clear and the fact that only one clutch was made without any faults is mine and mine alone. 

The red one is perfect. So happy with it. That was the first one I made. The blue one frustrated me throughout as some projects end up doing purely because you weren't focused enough when making them. The only thing I forgot about when making the green clutch is to topstitch either side of the zip. As it turns out, I was pre-24 hour stomach bug, one that knocked me off my feet for an entire day, so I guess I wasn't 100% and that explains why I kept messing up and having to unpick. 

I made each clutch with the card pocket and left the divider out altogether. It is a nice touch and makes it just that bit more useful.

Here they are ready to be delivered. I was hoping to take them in myself but as the day turned out I physically couldn't get out of bed, so my husband took them in instead. Just hope they ended up in the right place!

Boo helped me out with the photo's, she loves that camera! We snuck it out of her clutches the other night and had a look through her snaps. Seeing the world through her eyes was delightful. She moves through the day at lightening speed so it is lovely seeing what catches her attention.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Summer Birthday Gifts

Boo had an invite to a joint boy-girl birthday party at the weekend. As usual I was scratching my head about what to make the little boy, but then thought, ahhh of course, Parsley Pants!

So I traced a size 4T (because he is a very petite 5 year old) and drafted the shorts version with enough length to make them like boardshorts. I used the box pleat pocket this time. I followed the pattern placement for where to put the pockets but in hindsight should have aimed lower. I like the finished shorts but if they were for one of my girls it would bug me

For the little girl I made a Bubble Dress. This is easily one of my favorite things to sew for little girls. The way the bodice comes together is so clean and tidy. I love sewing this pattern. And this is my fourth one! Number one was also a present, numbers two and three were the girls Christmas dresses. 

The fabric I used was the same as my recent girls Parsley shorts. It is a sweet Little Red Riding Hood print on a cream linen fabric. The piece I bought from the scrap bin was huge and I was thrilled to be able to make a dress from it.

I chose not to do the bubble hem this time. My daughter who is typically in a size 6T for Oliver and S clothes still fits into her 5T bubble dress but it is scandalously short on her. The bodice has plenty of room but it is consigned to the 'too small bag' on the basis of the length. I wondered how much extra I would have to add on if I were to make her another one. This served as a tester dress. 

The birthday girl is nearly half a meter shorter than my daughter, tiny little poppet so I wasn't going to alter the length too much.

Don't worry I did give it another press before wrapping it up. The one drawback to using linen is that is crumples easily but it gathered beautifully at the bodice. I did have to do my gathering stitches in sections rather that one whole line. It was too difficult to pull them up and my threads kept snapping.

For the hem I took up a double 1" hem on the main fabric and the same on the lining. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the pattern, the dress is fully lined. The bodice looks so neat and tidy inside because of this. 

I was happy to give this as a present as a result of it being lined. While I don't mind a few raw edges for my childrens clothes, I would rather my donated ones looked a bit more professional.

Here is a close up of the fabric, cute isn't it?

I always have a willing dress model so I took a few snaps of it being worn.

See what I mean about it being short on her! 

I love those cap sleeves, they are so pretty (never mind quick to sew!)

I hope both presents fit! The party was great fun and by the size of the piles of presents, both children will be opening them for a while yet. Why is it that as you get older that pile gets smaller and smaller?

Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Birthday Fairytale

5 years old! How did that happen? Sniff sniff... Time goes far too fast when you have little ones.

My girliest of girlies naturally wanted a dress. Whenever I ask her what she would like me to make her, the answer is always; Dress. Pretty dress. Twirly dress.

The Fairytale Dress pattern from Oliver and S had been playing on my mind for a while now and so I went ahead and bought it. I also did the very organized thing of ordering all the fabric and notions in the same shopping spree. They all arrived within days of each other so once I had got over the initial excited cooing of new pattern and fabric to play with, I cracked on with the dress.

The fabric appealed to me straight away as I thought it would make a fun and colourful party dress. The irony of a British summer needing umbrellas wasn't entirely lost on me either.

This is view B, the sleeveless version with a large sash. I played around with the sash while taking the photos as I like it around the waist to break up the waistline a bit. Boo liked it with tied at the back with a massive bow because it was more 'princessey'. Either way she loves the dress so you won't find me complaining!

The length of the dress is superb. Unhemmed it looked far too long yet the instructions tell you to take up a wide double hem to add weight to the bottom and allow the skirt to flounce out beautifully. In usual Oliver and S style it all comes together perfectly at the end!

I chose to add piping to my collar to add some definition. It has distorted the clean lines of the view B collar a little bit (making it more like the rounder collar on view A) but I like it. 

My underskirts are lilac spiderweb tulle which I found at Minerva Crafts. It is super soft, unlike the stiff and scratchy tulle I found locally for the ballet tutu I made earlier this year. It comes in every shade you could possible need and I will be buying more of this in the future, it sews and cuts like a dream.

My main dress fabric is quilting cotton and the plain purple lining fabric is voile. I used this for the sash as well and had reservations about it being too floppy. I suppose the bow is meant to have a bit more body to it, but it turned out well in the end. I like how floaty light it is, and when she runs it bobs up and down delightfully!

I made a muslin for the bodice but didn't have to make any alterations to it at all. The fit seemed to suit my long and lean girl.

We have a school birthday party at the weekend and I will love seeing her wearing this. The weather is glorious at the moment. I suspect the party might be moved outdoors so I am expecting ice cream and grass stains all over this by the end of the day!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Oliver + S School Uniform

I feel I am getting into my stride now matching Oliver + S patterns to our school dress codes. This is the first time I have made a summer dress and the Jump Rope Dress pattern is the perfect mix of smart yet girly. This view A and will be my second time around with this pattern.

I had a spot of bother with the collar on this one. The fabric is a cotton//poly mix and was a bit more slippery than the quilting cotton I used last time. It took some smoothing and adjusting but I finally got it to sit correctly.

I find that with a lot of patterns I have to add length on but happily this is not one of them. The hemline sits just below her knee (this is the size 6) and there is plenty of volume in the skirt area for movement.
 I love this pattern for all its little details like the sleeve tabs with buttons and the large skirt pockets with fold over flaps. 

Only 3 weeks of term left but the weather is bright enough for gingham dresses and that makes us both happy!