Hello Goodbye

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This week the wonderful Jewel is hosting a pop up sew a long over on the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests Facebook Page to encourage us to finish up some UFO’s (Un Finished Objects, aka abandoned projects). Her enthusiasm is infectious and my 3rd finished UFO this week is this Jalie 3132 .

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Scuse the wet hair, this was a rather rushed “while you’re on your way to work could you just take a pic of this” photo shoot this morning, the reason being so that I could take it with me to a coffee date to donate to a friend.

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This top is just too tight for my liking (see concertina effect on my inner elbow). Yes, I can wear it, but I don’t find it comfy or flattering and rather than keeping it in the hope it’ll fit better at some stage in the future, or to wear as a base layer, I’m liberating it so that it can find a forever home where it is loved and appreciated.

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I got this fabric about 2 and a half years ago on a tourist visit to Guthrie and Ghani thinking I’d make something for my then 6 year old with it, but when I got the pattern from Katrin in a CSC sewing swap I decided to use it for that instead. I got as far as tracing the pattern and doing a FBA but only cut out the back. The reason being that this fabric is thin and shifty and I was struggling to match the stripes up. Well, this week I commenced Operation Lower Your Standards and Get On With It and the top was duly cut out. The make itself was fairly straight forward, I even managed the binding on the V neck as per the instructions without any tears.

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With such a big gap between tracing the pattern and doing most of the cutting out and sewing up, I can’t really comment on if the sizing issue was my fault in choosing the wrong size, the pattern drafting, or my shape changing in the meantime. The pattern came together nicely and had a sensible amount of notches for matching up. It’s drafted with a 2″ hem, wider than the markings on my sewing machine, so I had to use masking tape to help me line it up for sewing! The sleeve is cut on the fold, which is slightly unusual and I must admit as someone used to asymmetric sleeves I’m a little skeptical that this is the best way to go. My main conclusion about this top is that pretty as it is, I don’t like working with this fabric. It’s a bit see through and not that fun to work with. However, I think it’s made up into a lovely top and I hope it gets lots of wear with my friend.

Hello Goodbye it is then.

On a Roll

Two finishes in one week, I’m really turning my recent trend of making disaster around!

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So, hot off the press, I’ve just finished one of the pair of socks on the left, knitted with Regalia Snowflake (?!I’ve never seen a snowflake that colour)(or maybe it refers to the pattern, but snowflakes aren’t exactly stripey either). So now, along with the pair of the right (knitted last summer in the only slightly better named King Kole Zig Zag), I have 2 complete pairs of socks to post off to my brother. Cos, Christmas presents aren’t actually properly late if they’re posted while it’s still Jan, right?

They’re both knitted with the same free pattern (thanks Fiona) but the for the second pair I used a trick I saw at a knitting group and instead of a seperate rib section, the whole of sock above the heel is knitted in a 3 in 1 rib, as is the top of the main foot (easy to do with this pattern as it’s knitted on 4 needles).  Apparently they stay up better this way (but as these are my first ever sock knits this is not the voice of experience.

As they’re a sort of joke, because my brother is forever darning socks when he comes to visit (maybe its a damning enditement of our hosting skills?) I have made up little cards of spare yarn so he can darn away to his hearts content. And I threw a spare card of darning yarn I found in a second hand shop too.

And because I hate wasting anything, I started a pair of socks for me last summer in plain yarn (with a cable pattern so I don’t get board), the thought being that I may then have enough left over from the 3 pairs to make another pair. So I suppose I better dig them out at some point.

Inspired by this recent spell of finishing, I have ripped open the crotch on my latest pair of jeans, that have been languishing in the naughty corner all month for crimes against humanity with the aim to adjusting them. Next up, the collar is coming off my sweatshirt make, after all, when I said I was aiming for Jumper January, I was kind of thinking for me not Long Suffering Husband!

Righto, better go and find some wrapping paper before I loose these socks again.  Am I the only person still finishing off Christmas presents?

On the 6th Day of Christmas

I’m not sure any sewing will get done today. I’m coming down with a cold and catching up on sleep after having a bad dose of insomnia last night. Plus it is very wet here, which doesn’t technically stop an indoor activity like sewing, but does mean that most of us have been inside for nearly all of the day and sewing is harder with tired bored kids under your feet. (It’s now temporarily quiet as I had the cunning idea of getting them to round up all their books that were scattered around the living room to take upstairs and put them away in their rooms. Methinks at least one of them might have started reading said books, how totally unforeseen.) This part of the UK has had it relatively dry recently, I’m aware that further north where the ground is already saturated and many areas have already been badly flooded (such as where several of our friends live) today’s rain may be more than a minor inconvenience.

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Anyway, sewing wise, I can show you two dresses I made for Christmas presents that were under wraps before. In fact these two dresses were within knot bag wrapping, can you tell which way round they went?  The first is this pink and black number for my neice. IMG_3024

I decided to remake the super hero comino cap dress that went down so well this summer as the first was such a quick and satisfying make. Except this time I chose the sweatheart seamed bodice option, so it wasn’t so quick, as I had to reprint and retape the pdf, retrace 4 new pattern pieces (front and back bodice and yokes) and resize 2 of them before I could cut them out. Pattern placement for such a bold obvious pattern which isn’t actually straight was a bit of a headache too. (Those stars aren’t all the same shape and the grid they’re on is decidedly wobbly. This is all deliberate and adds to the charm of the print, but isn’t so fun when you want your lines of stars to flow from the bodice to the skirt and also from the front to the back.)

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Then I discovered that I’d used the t shirt bodice pattern for one of my pieces, so had to do the whole procedure again for that piece. Luckily I had enough fabric left. Then I had to sew the sweetheart seam, which while not the fiddliest piece of sewing ever wasn’t completely straightforward. I think it’s ok in the end and I like the spider placement. The observant amongst you will notice I pressed the seam allowance up at the front not down, which took some pressure off on the topstitching!

The pink ribbing doesn’t quite match the fabric, but they don’t actually touch so I think I got away with it.

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I also made a sidekick dress, for her sidekick, with some fabric that I’d bought with my daughter in mind but she’d rejected. The leftovers of the main fabric got used on a t shirt for the boy. The other co-ordinating fabric I only had half a metre of, annoyingly that half a metre started and ended half way through the panel design so my leftovers of this aren’t much use.

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I cut myself some slack and did the simpler variation, but I needed to trace a different size, reduce the length, and cut the skirts in two pieces so I could have the girl catching the coins falling from heaven a the bottom.

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I think the orange ribbing really makes this dress, so glad I went with that and not boring navy.

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There was a whopping 9″ difference between the finished dresses, which rather alarmed me, but that’s just how this crime fighting duo rock. I’ve seen photo’s of them wearing them and they both fit, hooray.

So watch out evil masterminds of Scotland, your plans to take over the world are doomed…..

Happy Christmas

If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, then the proof of the garment is surely in the wearing, and I got a 3/3 strike rate today!

After several hours of wear of the new dress I finally braved the subject of Octopodidae. Apparently we’re all wrong, they are neither octupi or baby cthulu, but a rather an animal with “funny hair”.  Who knew?

The boy liked his new t shirt, pairing it in his usual inimitable style with his starry trousers and his pirate hoodie  (the latter chosen over a new RTW fleecelined lumberjack shirt with hood so that he could be wearing all me made stuff (barring underwear)).

And amazingly, a last minute sewn reversibly buff thingy that I pieced together from scraps proved a big hit for the girl-who-feels-no-cold too, she’s even wearing it now in bed.

I hope any gifts you sewed were as appreciated as mine.

Sewing Goodies for Christmas

Well, today is 12th night, time to put all that Christmas stuff away. The Man and the Girl sorted out all the decorations on Sunday, but we still have piles of everyones booty in the living room and it really is time to put those away! (Hmm, I’m worried that that use of booty, as in bounty/treasure won’t read so well to anyone from the US). Most of the stuff is the kids of course, but I have a small pile and I realised I didn’t tell you about the amazing stuffed padda bag on it.

Back in December I signed up for the Curvy sewing collective holiday sewing swap (which has a cute little blog button that I’m darned if I can get to work). This was my first time doing something like this and I didn’t realise until I went to pick the present how nerve wrecking shopping for a total stranger would be. Also, I was paired with Katrin, which meant I had slightly less time (as my parcel had to reach Germany) and she doesn’t have a blog (yet) so I don’t even know what she looks like. Neither of these were a problem but it did make chosing slightly more nerve wracking.

Luckily we had a really helpful email exchange and I found out that she likes sewing retro style skirts and dresses. Which threw me, as I don’t think I’ve ever made anything retro and I don’t tend to wear or make skirts and dresses (I’m not counting my moss mini skirts, which I really use as a top extension so I can get away with wearing leggings outside, likewise my tunic dresses which are really long t shirts 😉 ). After a bit of pondering I decided to get her the Jenna cardigan from Muse patterns which has a retro feel and would surely go well with some retro dresses and skirts. It has a wide size range (upto 48″ bust) and it got a good review from Sophie Lee. The only down side is that the pattern is pdf, so I emailed Kat at Muse and checked she was happy for me to download it and then send it to someone else and she was fine with that, so I bought it, burned it onto a CD and printed out a little cover with the cardy illustration front.

My gift

My gift

The pattern used up nearly all of my $15USD budget, so I got a little creative to make it more interesting. (Admission time, I did buy a twin needle to go in the parcel, but I had relatives staying and it got lost somewhere in the chaos and I didn’t want to miss the last posting date for EU parcels). I dug out some retro style buttons that had come from my grandmother-in-law’s stash. There are some green rectangular ones (at the top) that I thought might work well on a cardy (but don’t tell the Boy, he’s had his eye on those) and a larger amount of grey one’s (at the bottom, they look pink in this photo but they aren’t) with a petal pattern carved (?) into them that I thought might look nice on a shirt dress (it’s so hard to pick when you don’t even know what colours someone wears). I also put 3 shiny cream (fake ivory style?) square ones with truncated corners and some groves in them, I’ve no idea what they could be used for but they were cool. Then I rudely sewed in front of my relatives and knocked up a quick bag out of scraps and using a retro ribbon from the same stash as a strap (lines with some satin binding as it had lots of floaty bits on the back).

I posted it on the last possible day, phew and then waited for my parcel. Which didn’t come. I was slightly disappointed but figured it had got delayed in the post. Then I discovered it had come and my husband had put it on one side as a surprise. So on Christmas day I got to open a parcel full of amazing stuff…

Wonderous goodies

Wonderous goodies

Katrin’s clearly been reading my blog as she got me a t shirt pattern: Jaille 3132. I haven’t used any Jaille patterns before so that will be interesting and it’s nice to have another t shirt pattern to try -I don’t think I could justify paying for one when the Birgitte fits so well, but this was a gift. Plus it has a hood. (It also has nursing options but I don’t need those).

Then there was chocolate (why oh why did it not occur to me to include non sewing gifts) and some really cool steam punk postcards. Plus a beautiful zippered pouch with 3 zips, some rainbow cord and some really fun buttons that I’m sure the kids will love (but I may keep the red stars for me). I was bowled over by the amount of stuff and felt a little guilty as I think this is much more inventive that my present. I just hope Jallie patterns are cheap (don’t tell me, I’d rather not know).

So thanks to Tanya for organising this and thanks to Katrin for the amazing gift.

Christmas makes revisisted

Well, Christmas has been now, so in lieu of a proper post (due to me still not having made anything, despite my fantasy of a week of sewing, ha ha), I thought you might like to see some of the Christmas makes being modeled…

Reading one of the many new books in her new spotty skirt (I also made the headband a while ago).

Reading one of the many new books in her new spotty skirt (I also made the headband a while ago).

The spotty skirt has been worn but as I suspected it is too big – not big enough to fall down but big enough to flash underwear. At my mum’s suggestion I tried putting a tuck in the waistband at the back. This has made it smaller, but it’s apparently bulky and uncomfortable. So I’m going to have to unpick the waistband and elastic and resew it, as by the time the waistband fits the skirt will be way too short.

Posing in his new t shirt at Grandma's (with me, collapsed on sofa in background)

Posing in his new t shirt at Grandma’s (with me, collapsed on sofa in background)

As the boy is watching over my shoulder as I type, here’s his review of the top “perfect. Not too outstanding,
not to dull(wearing right now.)” (I think outstanding is used to mean bright in this instance.)

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I think his long sleeve t shirt might be one of my favourite makes of late, and I’ve got the size a lot better this time than the one I made in the summer (which only just fit).

Princess Anna

Princess Anna

And the Anna dress has been worn to watch frozen, and to dance and sing in. But she’s requested a long sleeve blue t shirt to wear under it (who’d have thunk it).

Never Say Never

I promised myself that I wouldn’t be up late sewing presents on Christmas Eve this year, not after last year and the shirt for the boy.

In theory I didn’t need to be. I’d already made the boy a top and the girl a skirt and as I still haven’t finished that darn waistcoat I haven’t started a new thing for the man.

But then, not long before Christmas, the girl met Father Christmas and all she wanted to ask him for was an Anna dress. How could I let her down?

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ugh, bad photo of bad work, taken just as the skirt was falling down.

This sewing has not been my finest, I had to force myself to do it, I’m still feeling pretty ill. But, mainly on the 23rd, I cranked out a black velvet t shirt with puffed sleeves (all from good old Simplicity 1573), with an altered hemline and neckline (done by eye, it looked a better shape before the binding smoothed my curves out, oh well), trimmed with gold satin bias binding and with a really wonky badly applied vaguely Anna like ribbon design and some sparkly jewel like giant sequin things added in for good measure. Anna has a bodice on her dress and wears it over a pale blue long sleeved top (as far as I can tell). The girl does not do layers and I’m not mad keen on sleeveless items (as she will wear just this, even in January), so I made a t shirt and I thought the puffed sleeves (which I realised are an option in the pattern envelope) might make it more Princess like (she is a princess, right?).

And tonight, with 45 mins to spare, I ham fistedly put together a long blue skirt, rectangle, elasticated waistband, with pockets (last time I made her a fancy dress item she wore it for a whole day out and complained about the lack of pockets, not doing that again), made in lining fabric (2 layers, plus a 3rd layer around the top few inches as the fabric allowed to help keep things decent). The fabric was horrid to work with as each layer just wanted to roll up. Urghh. It has a shiny ribbon around the bottom, not very Anna like but I kind of hope that I can make a blue top and this can mix and match with that to be an Elsa dress. (I also have some fantastic Elsa cape fabric that I want to use).

So, I won’t say I won’t be doing this again next year, cos I probably will, (lets face it, if I’d’ve finished this earlier I’d’ve been making the boy trousers, or both of them pajamas, there’s always just one more thing to make) but I can dream….

Oh, happy Christmas to you all, may the sewing fairy bring you lots of time for making, ensure your bobbin never runs out at inopportune moments, keeps your seams straight and your stitches true.