Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Tiger update

Rory's tiger costume is finally fully finished.  It's been mostly finished for ages, but he repeatedly said he wanted back paws too.

Anyway, back to his costume:

I made it using patterns in the cute and easy costumes for kids sewing book that I have.  The book has loads of simple costumes that can very easily be adapted into whatever you fancy.  I mostly used the lion costume, but used the black cat head and then the back paws are adapted from another pattern.

I found a free pattern for fleece boots/socks on Rhonda's Creative Life and made them up in some more of the tiger fabric - her original pattern calls for them to be overlocked together, with the overlocked edges on the outside.  As I don't have an overlocker I made them so that all the seams are on the inside.  It's meant that they're a little slim in the foot and leg, so next time I make them (as I'm sure he'll grow out of them before he grows out of the rest of the costume) I'll make them a bit wider. 

He then insisted they should have pads on them (like the front paws do) - I used some black sock stop to draw the shape of the pads which seems to have done the trick.
You can just see the pads in this photo.  

He loves the costume and apart from being a little confused when he's putting it on as the top fastens at the back, it's a real hit.  It even has a fantastic tail that's attached to the bottoms. 

 I think next we need some super hero costumes - but first I have some other WIPs I need to get shifted, and a dress request from Frances.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

SSS blogger challenge

I mentioned back in March that I was planning on entering the Simplicity star sewer blogger challenge - I decided to enter the Best Dressmaker Project category.  The challenge was to make up New Look pattern 6145 (which was very kindly sent for free).

At first I decided to do view A using some fabric I bought in Vietnam which is a bright teal coloured broderie anglais.  I liked the look of the softly pleated sleeves and the simple neckline.  Then to change it up a bit I wanted to add a front pocket similar to a RTW tunic I'd seen.  

I chose to make a size 12 using the fit help section of the Simplicity website.

I made the pocket by cutting the front piece in two, adding seam allowances to the cut edges and then constructing two horizontal in-seam pockets.  I also shortened the dress by 12cm because I'm pretty short and I thought I would wear it more if it's more a tunic length, but maybe not so short that I couldn't wear it with thick tights and boots if I wanted.

Here is the first incarnation.  I wore it out once like that with jeans but decided that the sleeves looked too big and puffy and 80s for my liking.

Here's a close up of the sleeve - do you see what I mean?  Frances is all about puffy sleeves at the moment because that's apparently what princesses wear, but they don't suit my head.  So I ripped them off and used the sleeve pattern for view D to cobble together a sleeve from the puffy ones.

And here it is with the less puffy sleeves.  I'm really pleased with the length, I think it looks pretty good with jeans.

Here's the back - I'm not sure why there's such a long zip called for - I didn't put it in invisibly as I don't have the right foot for my machine (it's now on my wish list though!), but it's not necessary - I can pull it on and off over my head no problem without unzipping.  Note to self - always measure the head hole before cutting out as I could have saved the complete back seam if I'd been awake a bit more.  Oh, I didn't do the back vent either - I thought without made it look more tunic-like.

The pockets work well too...

The sizing is comfortable, although as you can see in that photo there's a bit of a gape at the front neck, there's also a little at the back, but not so much.  I wonder if I'd cut out a 10 bust and graded to a 12 waist (which is what I usually do, but I was persuaded otherwise by the Simplicity fit guide) this wouldn't have happened, or if I actually need to do a neck adjustment another time. 

And here's a photo with boots and tights, just because I mentioned it before. 

Inside - I'm looking for ways to improve the neatness of the insides of what I make without buying a serger.  On this piece I bound the armhole/sleeve head seam with self-made bias-binding.  The other seams are tuned and stitched. 
I've worn it a couple of times already - so that's a good win for me :-)

Monday, 27 April 2015

Dress for baby Janet

Not a huge amount of crafting happened while the kids were off school over Easter, most of the time we stayed around Bern, but we did have the middle weekend away camping.  We bought a tent that's bigger than our apartment and headed off to the Sancerre area of France.  We like Sancerre wine, which seemed like as good a reason as any to pick there as our first camping expedition with les enfants. 

It took us about 6 hours to drive to Sancerre, and of course driving time means knitting time :-)  I knit a dress for baby Janet using yarn that I got from my Mum as leftovers of a cardigan that she knit for Frances recently.

It's Patons 100% cotton, in pink (quelle surprise) and I got 4 partial balls of it, which came to about 140g in total.

The dress I knit is from a 1976 pattern, which I remember my Nanna knitting my dolls some clothes from, which by coincidence is a patons pattern.  I knit the yellow dress in the 12" doll size.  The pattern called for 3 ply and the pink is double kntting, although from poking around on the Internet I learnt that it's quite a fine DK, so I split the difference on the needle size and went for it.

The one thing that I don't like about these old patterns is that everything is knit in pieces and then seamed together - what I waste of time.  I'm all for not seaming knitting if I can help it.  I cast on with 4 fewer stitches the front and the back together and went from there (4 fewer stitches as that's the equivalent of the seam allowances).  With some looking ahead at the pattern and a little bit of thought I managed to knit the whole dress with the only bit of seaming being sewing down the bottom of the underflap at the back opening and sewing on the press studs.  I'm really quite proud that I managed - especially as most of the figuring out was done in the car.

And now for some pictures of the finished dress:

It has a knitted hem at the bottom - I've never knitted a hem before, and really like how neat it looks.  The neck is also a knitted hem - it was meant to be cast off, turned over and then sewn down, but I ran a smaller sized circular needle around the inside of the neck where I would have sewn (if I was so inclined, which I think you've probably gathered I'm not) and then did a three needle bind off. 

Construction aside I pretty much stuck to the pattern apart from knitting the sleeves longer to cover up baby Janet's "vest". 

And here she is also wearing a coffee filter sunhat made for her by Frances.  I think I need to knit her a matching pair of knickers (there's a pair as part of the same knitting pattern), as she does have a tendency to flash her knickers around.

Link to my ravelry project.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The end of the New Year sewing resolution

My New Year's sewing resolution appears to be slowly but surely crumbling.... I was doing pretty well at using my sewing time to get on with my quilt and have managed to make quite a few squares.  But I don't think I can only work on the quilt any more. 

I'm being tempted away by 3 projects....

The first one goes back to one of the things I was doing last year, which is going through things that I've made in the past and figuring out why I don't wear them and then what I'm going to do about them.

So, may I introduce a faux suede jacket I made:

Why don't I wear it?  Because I don't like the way it looks... it's too boxy and unflattering.

 The back and side views aren't much better. 

In its defence it does look like the picture on the pattern (Butterick 5269).  I made view A, size 10 but with in-seam pockets rather than patch pockets.  I bought the pattern in Glasgow, so that must date this make as being when I was at University in the mid-90s.

So, what's my plan?  I'm going to (mostly) take it apart and try to make a motorcycle jacket instead.  I have the Burda Silk Motorcycle jacket pattern and am hoping I have enough fabric from taking the jacket apart and from the little bit of leftovers I've found to be able to make it.  The pattern's printed out and taped together, the size chosen and east calculated, so next steps are adding the seam allowance and taking apart from horrible boxy jacket.

The second sewing project I'm being tempted away by is to make a phone belt pocket. I want a way to carry my phone without wearing out the pockets of my jeans and also when I wear something without pockets so I have somewhere to carry it without always needing to take a bag. 

 Phone Belt Pocket Pattern or hipster bag or fanny pack sewing pattern

I've found this pattern which looks interesting, so I'd like to give it a whirl. 

And thirdly I'm planning on entering the Simplicity star sewist blogger challenge.  Looks like fun and you get a free pattern. 

Poor quilt will never get finished at this rate!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

More spiral hats and a bit of sockage

I've been a bit of a slacker blogger of late - my excuse is that working on bigger projects doesn't make much blogging fodder, and I'm not one to just waffle on and ruminate about this and that for the sake of it.

Last week we took the kids and my sister-in-law skiing in Saas Fee.  The kids did their first week of ski school, which they really enjoyed.  David and his sister zoomed over the mountains as much as he was able.  I don't ski (I've tried and failed and am not quite ready to try again yet), so apart from being chalet maid I sat in the sun and knit.  The weather was great, and at times I had to go inside to knit.  I did some of my City & Guild course and also knit a couple more spiral hats.

I knit these exactly the same as the previous ones - the blue one is for my Mum for Christmas and the beige one for Aunty Alwyn.  I think I'm going to knit a couple more - one for my SIL and I guess I should knit one for myself too.

I've also been knitting a pair of socks, and finished the first sock while we were away.  They're Kai Mei by Cookie A.  The yarn I'm using is Merisock Hand Painted by Punta Yarns.  As you can see from above it still needs blocking as they're a pretty freaky shape at the moment. 

But they do fit.  I love the way the lace work curls across the foot.  This is the first pattern I've knit from Cookie A's sock innovation book, even though I've had the book for ages.  I'll definitely be knitting some more.

I'm now on the look out for some cotton-rich sock yarn - I'd like to knit some little socks to go inside ballet flats but I'm sure normal wool-rich sock yarn will be far too warm.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

week 6

Week 6 (last week) is a bit of a funny week around here, and has been for a few years now.  David goes away with work every week 6 and I'm left with the kids, which is not normally a problem but week 6 at the moment also happens to be their half term and I think we'd go mad if it was just the 3 of us without school to go to or anyone else.  Luckily my parents are very understanding and come to us for week 6.  Last week we did lots of train trips (it being Switzerland and the trains being super efficient) and saw lots of things including: the Swiss Transport Museum in Luzern; the Tinguely museum in Basel; Solothurn; Interlaken; the Kambly biscuit factory...  We had a couple of days off while some new shelves were being delivered, but generally had lots of fun.

Of course all this jollying around on trains meant that there wasn't a whole lot of crafting going on.  I managed to do a few swatches of various increase and decrease related knitting for the city and guilds course.  But sadly, no quilt progress has been made. 

The tiger fabric for Rory's tiger costume arrived with my parents much to his excitement - I managed to get it off him so I could pre-wash and cut it out and have managed to make a start on it.

Looking good so far - the fabric is fleece found in my parent's local fabric shop and I'm following the pattern for the lion in the book Cute and Easy Costumes for Kids by Emma Hardy - I'll make a couple of changes to make it a tiger rather than a lion, but I think with this fabric I can't really go wrong.

While my parents were here I also finally managed to get Rory to wear the stripy tank top I knitted for him ages ago.

I think it looks great on him. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Goal accountability

I thought I would try to keep myself accountable to my crafting goals on my blog. 

They are: 
  • City and Guilds knitwear design course;
  • Quilt;
  • Try not to get sidetracked into doing anything else crafty.
 So far I'm doing fine.  I've been plugging away at the samples for  the C&G course: 

These are all to do with increases and decreases.

And I've sewn a few squares for the quilt:

I've also managed not to start anything else - although I think I'm about to change that as I'm going to make a tiger costume for Rory.