Slow Camels

Apparently camels have a gestation period of 13-14 months. Who knew? Maybe that’s why my new camel jumper took so long to make, about 12 months from buying the fabric to having something to wear.


I ordered this fabric before going on a screenprinting course last year. The inks used on the course would only work on paler fabrics, so I planned to print on some  of this grey marl fleece backed sweatshirting, but when I found that was sold out I decided upon some green instead, however worrying it would be too dark, I chose the latte as well. Turned out the green was fine to work with, so I decided to use the latte for a test garment.

People Tree Peter Jensen Bear Print Women's Jumper Burgundy Melange ...

Small problem, I don’t wear this colour, at all. I was wondering what I could do with it, and musing on the fact that it was more camel coloured than latte coloured when inspiration struck. Camels! I wanted to make an all over camel print jumper, inspired by the all over bear print people tree jumper that my friend has.


Turns out camels are surprisingly difficult to draw (go ahead, have a go, I’ll wait….., see, told you).¬† Luckily my niece is an arts student and she kindly rustled me up a quick sketch and emailed it over, which I traced over and shrank and then ordered it made into a custom screen from thermofax screens with some birthday present money.

More delays whilst I played around with screen printing and then in January I decided the time was now and made a pattern from an old beloved worn out sweatshirt, cut out my pieces and got printing. Which is when I realised that the camel was never going to work quite the same way as the original bear inspiration as a) it’s directional and b) I only had one sized screen (the bears come in a variety of sizes). LSH persuaded me that less was more and I ended up with a mainly camel coloured jumper with a few camels on (more on the back as he wasn’t looking when I printed that).

I was pretty pleased at how my self drafted pattern came out. Patch pocket: good. Ribbing at sides as per original: worked perfectly. Adding extra ease into the sleeves to account for this fabric being thicker than the original: spot on. Nice long cuffs that when folded down reach my thumb: check. And then I added the collar. Arrgh (see evidence above). Horrible, wrong, not what I intended. Despite this being my second attempt at the collar (having tried a collar first and redrafting the pattern pieces as it wasn’t right). I think partly my neckline is too wide (not much I can do about that) and this fabric is thicker than the original hoodie and behaves differently.


It sat, nearly done, in the naughtly corner through all the cold weather. Finally I redid the collar, taking length out the back and height out and reapplying the eyelets with interfacing added to the back now so they stay in. It’s not perfect, but I’m happier with it and the fabric is so snuggly and cosy I just know I’ll be wearing it anyway. Once I find something it goes with.

So, I now have a camel jumper, that came out nothing like I planned but is very snuggly and comfy to wear. Maybe now I can start on the “real deal” green version (with a few tweaks to the too wide neckline and probably a rib finish).

Oh and this is the twin of the Hobbit Hoodie, we were both wearing them today!



Hobbit Hoodie

I finished a thing! A thing requested my Long Suffering Husband. And it took me less than a month, smashing my Personal Best for LSH sewing. Despite some trials and tribulations along the way. Go me!

It started well. I had been vaguely thinking of making him a jumper/sweater type thing when he shyly asked me if I would make him a hoodie. So, I entered his measurements into Lekala, because at the time they had a free men’s hoodie pattern (but now I get mysterious errors when I try and find it on their site) and I had been meaning to try out this potentially extremely useful source of made to measure patterns (could this lead to the golden grail of perfect fit out of the packet? Spoiler alert, not this time). Taping the pdf together was easy too as he did it! Then the pattern just squeezed onto the leftover fabric from a project of mine – hooray (a project that is currently in the naughty corner, hopefully more on that soon). Surely this was a project that was meant to be?

First up was the whole dyeing/drying/ironing thing that I’ve mentioned before, but just in case anyone wasn’t listening NEVER CUT YOUR FABRIC BEFOFRE DYEING. Trust me.

However, I got through this. With time. And patience. And lots of pins. And ironing. And my new ironing mat. (The only casualty was when I melted my pin box, whoops.) Then it was time to start sewing. I decided to start small, with the hood. I this point discovered that Lekala subscribe to the minimal instructions philosophy. “Sew parts of hood together” it said, with no picture. It’s a 3 part hood. Which way up does the middle strip go? Any markings on those seams? Nope. On the pattern pieces? Nope. Wide end at bottom or top? Does this sew a long for a completely different hoodie pattern help? Nope (not with this bit anyway). Well, a bit of detective work suggested narrow end of the centre strip at the bottom, as the middle of the shorter of the two short edges has a notch, which if at the bottom would line up with a notch at the centre of the neckline of the back. So that’s what I did then.

Next up, pockets, which I used the SBCC Brooklyn Hoodie Sew-A-Long to help with. So far so good. Then I attached my fronts, arms and backs together, all by myself this time, since this has raglan sleeves unlike the Brooklyn, but it was straightforward and everything lined up despite my dyeing related escapades.

Time to celebrate with some more complicization, as he’d asked for some screenprinting. It was nice to be able to do it while the garment would lie flat. (Luckily he decided against an anomite on each side of the hood ala Princess Leia hairstyle).

At this point, I thought I was over the worst, surely it was all downhill from here. Then came the sleeves. I double checked that the pattern was for ribbing (as I was using), not self fabric, it was. So I merrily cut, sewed, overlocked and pressed my cuffs. Only to find out they were terrible The cuff was way too big (see top right above), in fact the whole arm was too roomy. I also didn’t like how narrow the cuff was.

At this point I hadn’t sewn the waistband. So I cut I just used the pattern for the height and made it 80% of the width of the bottom circumference of the hoodie. That looked ok sewn on and there was just enough left to make two new cuffs, slightly deeper and with a much smaller circumference than the first pair. They fit LSH nicely, so then I reversed my previous calculation and divided their dimensions by 80 and then multiplied by 100 to get a new width for the end of the sleeve cuff (you with me here?) (Oh, I also had to unpick the overlocking and triple stitch on the first set of cuffs but the less said about that the better). With a new sleeve cuff opening width decided (marked by a pin in the bottom right photo above) I then drew a new straight sleeve seam, that blended into the original seam quite near to the armpit. We both liked the new sleeves and cuffs a lot better. Phew.

Then it was back to following the SBCC tutorial for tips on inserting the zipper and attaching the hood.

I’m pretty pleased with my construction of this jacket. I think the contrast topstitching works well and I like that I added a zip tag and a hanging hook that match the hoodie thread. And no-one is going to notice that the twill tape neatening my hood/main body seam is actually navy, not grey.

However, I don’t like the fit. It’s too short, especially at the back, and too wide as well – hence the hobbit comment. The adjusted sleeves are good but there’s too much fabric in front of the armpit. All of which I can’t be bothered to adjust, due to screenprinting and topstitching.

I’m giving it a 6/10. It will be worn, I did the best I could, but the pattern is just not the right shape. Which is odd, seeing as how it’s supposed to be fitted to him.I haven’t double checked but I don’t think my entered measurements were that out.

He wants another hoodie, so I’m on the look out for another pattern. Easier said than done! Anyone got any top tips (he wants a full zip so the Finlayson and Avacado hoodies are out) then let me know in the comments.

Also, if you’ve made a Lekala pattern before how did you get on with the sizing?


Only joking, more bags really.

Made from the fabric I printed the other day (which came from the remnant bin of the shop down the road) and finished with some grosgrain ribbon someone was selling off in the Make Do and Mend Pre Loved Craft Stuff Face Book group.



I’m getting a nice collection of presents wrapped in home made bags now, ready for next month.

How’re your preperations going?

A day off using hairdryers

Today, despite the kids being on holiday, I had a day off while hubby looked after them. And what did i do? Why I went on a screenprinting workshop of course!

I found out about it a little while ago and immediately wanted to go. So many options for printing my own fabric! Then once I’d booked the pressure was on and I couldn’t think of what to do. A large statement design, a print to repeat and cover some fabric, a border print? And what of?

In the end, me, the person who despairs of the lack of non floral fabric available, chose to print dandelions. I did a larger design of a flower head that could also be repeated and a border print of various stages of a dandelion. Both my designs were within A5 size because I didn’t listen properly and thought I had an A4 worth of screen to fill, when actually it was A3 that was a good flexible size.

work in progress

work in progress

The workshop was fun and I got lots done. Much of it hastily prepared the night before. What I didn’t expect was to spend large parts of my day using a hairdryer! (Drying both screens and fabric.)

everyone's hard work

everyone’s hard work at the end of the day

The designs that I had submitted in advance were put onto a screen using light sensitive coating and a UV light (I’m a bit vague about this bit). Before we used this “exposed screen” we got to practice by making our own screens. Most of us started with an acetate of our submitted design that we could cut bits out of to make a screen that would compliment our more detailed exposed design. I made yellow splodges to go behind my final design.

my totes

my totes

Getting the designs to register (line up) was a bit hit and miss. Some worked better than others. But I kind of like the misaligned look, can we call it rustic artistic charm? I printed quite a few bits of fabric, which will hopefully get made up and shown soon. Also these 4 tote bags, which have one of each of the two designs on each size. (Spot the deliberate mistake, my small yellow splodge on the “border” design was accidently flipped upside down and printed in a mirror image so there was Absoutely No Way I could get it to match my detailed print). These totes are made with another bit of fabric from the mystery bundle, a kind of natural coloured cotton that is feels very strong, perfect for bags and isn’t lined, but I have slightly mitred the corners to give them a base. Like the birdy bag they are smaller than a normal carrier bag but big enough for a couple of bottles of wine. The fabric made exactly 4 so I used some ribbon I inherited for the handles.

experimenting on my complimentary tote

experimenting on my complimentary tote

At the end I also printed on my complimentary tote that came with the workshop. I used a mix of orange and black dye at the same time to get this effect.

So, now I have a huge pile of ironing to do to set all my hard work (the ink manufacturers recommend 10 mins hot iron!).

Right, have to go and cook now, being pestered by small children. Have a great evening everyone!