Birthday Hoodie Tradition

Way back in September, I continued the tradition, and made him a hoodie for his birthday.


This one is from Ottobre 04/2017, no 30 – Salty Wind. (Nope,I’ve  no idea what is going on with the naming, maybe it makes more sense in Finnish.)

Getting the pockets in the right place with the obvious lines of this fabric was a bit of a headache.


Hey, getting the pockets in at all was a bit of a headscratch, as usual everything you needed to know was in the instructions and not a word more (and definitely no diagrams).  Water soluble marker pen was used a plenty!

I found some waxed cotton for the drawstring and added some adjusters from the box of reclaimed bag bits and some cool beads – I love how most of the faces are triangles but some are rhombuses, just like the fabric. The cotton and the beads are from Bunyip, a local craft shop.  Oh and I neatened the neckline finish on the inside with twill tape (which I think I originally got from this tutorial) and added a hanging loop.


The fabric all came from Kitschy Coo and I only just had enough – in fact I couldn’t quite cut out one sleeve, so I had to add a little patch at the edge, but shh, don’t tell, I don’t think anyone has ever noticed, especially as I “cover stitched” (on my normal sewing machine) it into place in white, unlike the charcoal I used elsewhere.

I altered the cuffs using Kelly’s excellent tutorial for thumbhole cuffs.  I’m glad I did cos not only was it a fun thing to learn, it made them longer, and I think the arms would be getting a little short now if I hadn’t (darn that boy for growing again).


That’s a lot of explanation and photo’s, because there was a lot of detail on this one, and I don’t even have a photo of the (slightly ridiculous) side zips. I’m really pleased with how it came out and the high quality finish I acheived.


Luckily the Boy loves it too, including the zips which he says he can zip up for ease of movement and zip down for keeping warm.  Here he is modelling it with the hat I also made for his birthday too (cos that’s how he rolls). He also likes pulling the drawstring so tight there’s just a small hole to look out of (cos then he can pretend to be a cyclops, natch).  Surprisingly with so much white in it it hasn’t acquired any stains yet, which is what I was most worried about!  And entirely unintentionally it goes very well with the triangle jogging bottoms I made him (I guess there are only so many variations on “non girly” prints).

The only problem is, how am I going to follow this next year?


Last Minute Shenanigans II

S0011201.JPGThe apron for my friends vertically challenged mother in law that I made 2 years ago was such a big hit that this year she asked for another one, in olive green. My friend gave me a bag with some lovely fabric that she’d bought and co-ordinating green webbing. (I no some people never sew for others but I have no qualms sewing for this particular friend as she does so much for me and others, for instance she just looked  after our dog for 2 days so we could all go cuddle a baby).


So the morning of Christmas Eve I set to work (before it was too late!). With grey thread because I had nothing appropriate in green and my non-sewing friend hadn’t thought to buy any. I made the neckband adjustable again, like before, and I was a little worried there wasn’t quite enough webbing left for the straps, so I raided my box of bits salvaged from defunct rucksacks and added an adjustable clip there too (takes less strap as you don’t need to tie a bow).


I mainly followed this tutorial to make a slightly fancier pocket on the front, it all got a bit rushed at this point so I may not have followed it exactly. It’s lined in some pinkish fabric from my scrapbox.

All safely delivered to my friend after lunch on Christmas Eve, I have yet to hear if her Mother in Law approves.


Impulse Trousers (aka Unexpected Liana’s)


Ages ago I bought 2m of this lovely “gordian knot of tangled yarn in black on a grey melange background” jersey for myself with no particular plan in mind. It would make a great lady skater or a monata, but I’m not really a dress person.  I contemplated a maxi skirt or a full (circle?) skirt, but I’m not really a skirt person either. I kept thinking about making it into trousers, but I couldn’t find the right knit pattern. They were all to tight and jegging-y, or too loose and haremey, or too wide and palazo-ey, or too frumpy, or just plain wierd.


And then I read about some most excellent looking Ponte Pants (not to be confused with Pont Y Pants, North Wales, nor indeed with Pontipines), or more preciesly, Pleather and Ponte pants. I remember that they looked fab and someone called Andrea had made them  with the Ginger jeans pattern (for stretch demin) that she already had in a beefy ponte and some plether but I cannot find the post now at all, so frustrating, I thought I had the link saved, sorry. Anyway they gave me enough confidence to  bite the bullet and try using my Liana stretch jeans pattern with my precious fabric. After all, I reasoned, I could always cut them down into leggings if it didn’t work, or wear them as pyjama bottoms. (A sensible person would make a toile before cutting into their precious fabric obviously, but you need a fabric with a similar hand, especially for a knit as they can handle so differently. However, my local fabric shops don’t have knit anywhere near as nice as this, so I’d have to buy more expensive knit fabric online to practise with, which seems a bit pointless).


Using the Liana pattern was a bit of a (semi) educated guess, as it calls for 25% stretch denim, so I thought I might get away with jersey without sizing down.  This is what I did, in case you’re interested.  I hesitate to call it a “tutorial” as that might imply I knew what I was doing (I didn’t, I was winging it).


In order to convert my pattern to jersey I taped the pocket facing piece behind the pocket cut out to create a pocketless pattern piece and I also folded over the fly, then I cut them out. I considered converting the back to one piece, rather than a yoke and a back piece, but I wasn’t sure how didn’t think it would be worth the effort, so I cut them out as they were.

I still wanted pockets in my trousers, because pockets, I just hadn’t thought that “proper” jeans style pockets would work in the jersey. So I took inspiration from the opening of the Domi short pattern, but tried to make them a bit more practical (as the round pocket option on the Domi’s is very shallow, as described in the pattern notes). To do this, I first traced the edge of my pattern piece and drew in the seam lines. Then I worked out where I wanted my pocket opening to start and drew round a handily sized lid to make a semi circle. I also marked another semicircle, half an inch wider, to show where the ribbing would end. I decided to have my pocket extend to the waistband and side seam, for added support and stability, and drew in the pocket line by eye. Then I cut this out and used it as a pattern piece to cut out two pockets. Next I marked a third (pink) semicircle on my pattern piece, 1cm smaller than the outer one, so that I knew where the seam line would be (yes, I want 1/2″ ribbing and I’m using 1cm seam allowance, that’s how messed up versatile I am). I cut along this pink line and then used the pattern piece as a guide for cutting out the indents on my fronts (lining the piece up with the top and sides, natch).

The “ribbing” was some black jersey. I cut a width approx 75% the circumferential of my semi circle, and the height was twice the finished ribbing width plus the seam allowance (so 1″ plus 2cm then!). This was pressed in half, then I matched the midpoint of the long raw edges to the centre of the semicircle (right side), matched the end points to the edges of the semi circle, stretched it o fit, pinned, sewed, pressed, turned it, pressed again, “coverstitched” my seam allowance down (because I thought that on the pocket the raw edges might show and also I was worried that the ribbing might fray). Next I lined up my pocket piece with my front and basted along the top and side in the seam allowance. Finally I “coverstitched” (a zig zag would do as well) the curve edge in place, from the back, so I could see what I was doing. And voila, a pocket. (And a pretty fine looking one if I do say so myself).


After that it was pretty plain sailing, sew the pieces together, starting with attaching the yokes. (I did the centre front and back seams next and then the inside leg, so I could “coverstitch” them all for extra durability and left the side seams for last, but any order you like works, even the one that always seems needlessley complicated to me where you do the centre seams last and have to put one leg inside the other).


I added a yoga style waistband as described in this tutorial (except I didn’t subtract only 1 1/2″ from my waistline for the length, as it was clear that my super stretchy rib would’ve been too big then. It was a tubular peice of ribbing  which I thought was the perfect size for my waist, so I used it as it was, ha. Then it turned out it was too big, so I went back later and inserted some elastic at the back).


Then it just remained to hem them. [and get some decent photo’s, but as mentioned previously my photographer seems to be on a work to rule so dodgy selfies it is).

So, in conclusion, sometimes it’s good to do something on impulse….

(but maybe not stealing flowers and propositioning strangers with them eh)

(I feel I have to add this to balance out the creepyness of the ad, just incase anyone decides to give someone tea on impulse, plus its a great video in its own right).

Mash Up

Extra frost protection for the runner bean, cos I do like to wash his clothes sometimes. Another one for his upcoming birthday, so no model shots this time.


Grey with black triangles,  a bit subtle for him maybe? I’m hoping that the super soft plush fleece reverse will win him over and help him wear this more neutral garment. (Also, do you have any idea how hard it is to get non floral, non star prints on sweatshirt fabric?).


These are a mash up of the Domi sweatpant pattern and the Ottobre (mock denim) ones I made him previously. I started by overlapping the front and back pieces of the Domi by 2cm at the side seam (to allow for each piece having a 1cm seam allowance) and tracing this new piece for a single piece Domi pattern (so no side seams to sew, but that does mean the Domi pockets as drafted won’t work, fear not though, I don’t want to use them!). I doubled the length of the Domi cuff (to make it more similar to the Ottobre pattern proportions), and shortened the bottom of the leg by the appropriate amount to keep the overall leg length the same. Then I laid my previously adjusted Ottobre pattern on top of my new pattern piece and traced the hole for the pocket, making sure to line it up with the now non existent side seam and adding an extra couple of cm depth at the top (where its straight). I used the Ottobre pocket piece (with an extra 2cm strip along the top) and the Domi waistband.


With a little help from my online sewing friends it was a pretty straight forward sew up. First up, someone scanned in their Ottobre instructions since I seam to have misplaced put my magazine in a sensible place, and I couldn’t remember how to sew the pocket, so very kind and helped me postpone a big Sewing Room clean up a little longer.  Next up, I someone else suggested I used twill tape to stabilise the seam and stop it stretching out as I didn’t interfacing ironed onto plush fleece would work well and wasn’t sure how to proceed.  (I used some thin cheap yellow ribbon rather than twill tape in the end).


The first pocket I made (on the left), had mystery hole/gapage at the bottom corner once sewn up, that I just fixed with some zag zagging (a bit messy but I don’t think anyone will ever notice). I think it might have been due to the diagonal clip you make from the corner down towards the “side seam”, after you’ve sewn the curved edge and before you sew the straight edge. This was neither interfaced nor stabilised by ribbon (as it has no seam). So on the second pocket, I put a small piece of interfacing on the right side of the fabric within the seam allowance where I was going to clip and that seemed to work better (no mystery holes). Unfortunately giddy on success I then topstitched at the wrong seam allowance. You can’t win em all.


Comparison shot, so you can see how my mash up compare to the straight Domi’s (left) and last years graded up Ottobre.  The new pairs are back in the cupboard now waiting for the big day. Fingers crossed they meet with approval…

More Quick Wins

Sometimes I get the How Much Fabric Have I Got?  question right. Case in point, the leftover knit from a Hoodie for the Boy, enough to make a second pair of Cloth Nappy Trousers (now I know that the first pair fit) .

After it went in the post I realised that I didn’t take a full shot, so you’ll just have to make do with my “now it matches, now it doesn’t” shots of the front and back. This fabric is a nightmare for matching (those strong lines of pattern across the fabric, some of them wave up and down as they go) and I only just eeked these out, so I’m not too bothered. All together now “He won’t keep still long enough for anyone to notice”.

They have lined pockets, partly to neaten the edges, but also because this “woven sweater knit” frays and I didn’t want to risk just zig zagging the raw edges of the pockets straight onto the fronts as the pattern suggests.

For my newbie sewer friend who I recommended this pattern to, and anyone else who may be interested, here’s how I did it (follow the pictures from left to right).

  1. Retrace the pocket piece with an additional 1cm seam allowance along the three sides that get sewn down (extra seam allowance shown shaded).
  2. Use your new pattern piece to cut out 2 mirror image pockets, and 2 mirror image linings (only use jersey for the lining, two layers of sweatshirt fabric would be too thick). Also cut 2 pocket bindings using the standard pattern piece.
  3. Sew the pocket binding on as per usual but with a slightly smaller seam allowance.
  4. Pin the pocket linings to the pockets, right sides together, and sew along the three edges with the extra seam allowance, and also the bound edge, at the standard 1cm seam allowance for this pattern (so your initial stitching on that pocket binding will be inside the new stitching line and won’t show, yay)
  5. Trim your seam allowances.
  6. Turn the pockets right way out through one of the small unsewn edges and press.
  7. Sew on the pockets as usual. In theory you could just use a straight stitch, as now there are no raw edges, but as kids pockets take a pounding, I would suggest using a zig zag or your favourite flat lock style stitch anyway, for extra strength.
  8. Voila, you have lined pockets with no raw edges showing. Continue making up your Domi’s as normal.

In for a penny in for a pound, here’s how I did the waistband also for mainly for my same friend. There are several ways of sewing a waistband with elastic inside and many excellent tutorials out there. The main two ways are to either sew the waistband on first, leaving a gap, and then insert the elastic and finally sew up the hole or to sew the waistband on in one foul swoop with the elastic already inside it. Either way you need to anchor the elastic in some way inside your waistband to stop it getting twisted during wear. I’ve used the second method here.

  1. Make up your waistband piece and sew your elastic into a loop (the Domi pattern has a table of suggested lengths to cut your elastic if you don’t have your model handy to try it out on)
  2. Mark the quarter points on both (I’ve used pins here), I just fold them to do this.
  3. Open your waistband out. It’s hard to see in the photo but as I had pressed my waistband I could still see the fold line. I pinned the elastic to the waistband just below this fold line at the quarter points.
  4. Sew a vertical line at each of the quarter points through your elastic.
  5. Fold the waistband in half around the elastic. The wrong side is the one where you can see the lines of stitching holding the elastic in place.
  6. Pin the waistband to the main trousers, again matching quarter points, right sides together (so those stitching lines will be on the top side at the moment, sorry, this photo isn’t that clear).
  7. Sew the waistband on. I have put a pin to show you where the edge of my elastic is, so you can clearly see that I was only sewing through 2 layers of waistband and the trousers, not the elastic at this point.
  8. Press your seam, turn the waistband up, press again. You might then want to topstitch/flatlock in place. (I did if only to stop the main fabric fraying). And voila, you’re done.

Just About Junipers

A few weeks and half a lifetime ago, it was a bit of a heatwave here and we were about to go on holiday. I decided I needed some new linen trousers, so I went to my local shop and dithered over some pin striped charcoal linen (nice too lightweight for trousers really) and some goldy stuff with a great texture (lovely fabric that would go with nothing else in my wardrobe) and then bought and prepped some plain red linen (reminiscent of an old pair of trousers I used to own) and cut out a pair of Junipers, which I thought was the perfect pattern to use as a) wide legs will be nice in heatwave and b) I have already adjusted it to fit me. I then attempted to sew them up the day before we left. Which wouldn’t have been so bad except it was the first day of the kids school holidays and they were under my feet, plus I was trying to sort out and pack too.


Not quite there yet

I used this tutorial to make pockets with french seams, but just like when I’ve made this pattern before my pattern pieces still didn’t line up right and my pockets still want to bag open and flash the insides more than I think they should. I really must double check that my pocket pattern pieces are traced correctly before I make them again. And if they are ok, that I’m inserting them the right way around. I also took full advantage of Collette’s zipper tutorial, not that this zipper is particularly hard to insert.

Needless to say, I didn’t get them finished the day before we left (I kind of jinxed it by making a draft blog post titled Just In Time Junipers, never count your chickens and all that). So I tried to finish them on the day of leaving. Which may have contributed to us leaving 2 hours later than planned, which just possibly was a contributing factor in hitting loads of traffic and having a nightmare journey. But somehow, LSH didn’t even mention divorce (too distracted by morris dancing).

I did manage get them to a state before I left where just the inside waistband, the hems and the ends of the belt loops needed doing, which is the kind of thing some people finish by hand just for kicks, so I packed needle and thread and some good intentions.


In my haste to leave, I only found poppers to take with me, not hook and eyes as the pattern suggests.

Needless to say I didn’t get them finished during the hot weather at a folk festival trailing around after the kids with a swollen ankle. So they came to Yorkshire to camp with Quakers with us too. Where, despite the weather not being so hot any more, I mustered enough shame to finish them before the end of the holiday, so there was at least some point in being so late. Well, I say finish, after catchstitching the waistband and a painfully slow speed and finish down the end of the beltloops, I only tacked the hems in the end. With a backstitch mind. Note to self, really must run them through the machine.



It looks neat, granted, but it took soooooo long

The shots of me wearing them are more atmospheric than clear, but hey. I need to get me some motivation to manage some sewing as I have done exactly zilch since we got back (too busy running around in circles).



Do holidays fill you with the sudden urge to make things in unrealistic timescales?

On the 5th Day of Christmas


…we went for a day trip to a costal zoo and The Man decided that my foxido bag was a perfect colour match for the Arctic Terns.


Tonight I have done a bit more work on pockets.  I’m at the Doubt stage of my project, current doubts are the colour and my back pocket design. Although I’m pretty pleased with the top stitching on my yoke (going to need more of that thread though)


and my choice of pocket lining fabric (cut from the leg of a defunct pair of the Man’s pyjamas).

So I’m creeping slowly forward, but considering I’m about to call it a night, I’m not convinced these will be ready by the end of December.