Friday, 29 January 2016

16: blue velvet pixie hoody

I bought several patterns in the recent sales. One was this:

Buy Simplicity Women's Knit Dress and Tunic Sewing Pattern, 1251 Online at
I made it in dark blue stretch velvet. Possibly there is lycra in it but I am unsure. It has a 4-way stretch though and is lovely to wear. This pattern went together a dream. After the problems with my 13: Red dress or long top and then with 15: Burda style 01/2016 hoody, although really the Burda hoody went together fine, I just do not like some of the construction. Next time I will alter those bits. Anyway everything went perfectly with this pattern giving me back some of the confidence I have lost over the past two weeks. It also looks great with my tartan leggings 10: Tartan leggings

The top has a high low hem and the hood is pointy as well although you cannot see that in this photo. This top is as good as any I have seen at festivals so I am very happy to have bought this pattern. I think the velvet cost me about £4-5 and there is still some left for another project. As is lots of my fabric, I bought this from Weston Fabrics on ebay.

This is a size 12 in version B so is the mid length version of this pattern.
 I really am not very good at this modelling. You see some blogs and the writers are really models as well. I try to look arty but cannot quite make it it seems............

The neck is finished using bias binding and all hems are twin needle stitched. Well I think its a great top and will go with jeans, skirts and leggings so I expect to be wearing this lots.
Thanks for dropping by and hope to see you again soon


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

14: velvet wide scarf

A very easy wide scarf with no pattern needed.
I bought this lovely dark red velvet from Weston Fabrics on Ebay with no idea what I would do with it. Anyway I was pinning lots of large scarves on Pinterest when it hit me to make a huge scarf from this red velvet.

The fabric has transparent stripes so I do not really want to wear it as a top, leggings or dress. I do not mind see-through but this is not enough of either tansparent or solid for me to want to wear. I still love the fabric though so I needed to find a use. Then the December issue of Burda also had a pattern for a triangular scarf in it. AND it was in semi-transparent velour!

BUT I do not want to cut this fabric so decided to use it whole. After all then if I decide I do not like wearing it I still have my whole length of velvet for another project. I did trim the edges to ensure it was not uneven and then serged around with it turned inside out. I left a small hole in one end to turn it to the right side and hand sewed this shut afterwards.

This is is me posing: 

Makes me feel like a kid again!

I love it but feel there is something missing. I considered using some braid- I really want to find a use for this stuff! I bought it from ebay a while back but cannot find anything to do with it. Maybe in summer it will "belong" to something.

Anyway I did not use the braid yet but still I think this scarf needs something.  Maybe it needs an edge of knitted or crochet lace? Or, maybe some hand sewn of coins or medallions or even some edging made of chains?

Until I decide I will just keep wearing it because its very warm and cozy.

What do you think? All ideas welcome.
Thanks for reading

Sunday, 24 January 2016

15: Burda style 01/2016 hoody

101a-012016-b_largeI just wanted to make this as soon as I saw it. 

After the disaster that was my Red Dress;  13: Red dress or long top
I decided first of all I had better to make a muslin. The muslin on this occasion is wearable in its own rite since I do not want to waste my precious fabric. This fabric is a stretch ( I think with Lycra) polyester type fabric with a vague small ribbing. It is not really my first fabric choice for this top but if you read about my Red Dress disaster I really need to try to not waste fabric. Actually my red dress may yet be rescued but I decided to have a rest from it and go back to it later so this is the current project. The design has three variants and I will probably eventually make them all because I love this top especially with leggings or narrow jeans when I am feeling fat and want a cover-up that is also comfortable. It also goes well with my January fitness aims.

So I am using a very cheap but quite good  quality and reasonably heavy weight fabric which cost me just 99p for about 6m so even if it all goes wrong then I am wasting very little. 
This top is has bat wing type sleeves which are three quarter. You can sort of see on this photo. I need to train my partner in photography and myself as well. When I started this blogging I had no idea how many photos I would end up taking. Honestly I take far more than end up on here. Anyway back to the sewing. My sleeve bands are probably a bit longer than the above sketches because when making the bands for the wrists I did not double them over as I am sure you are meant to do but instead just hemmed the edge making for a slightly longer sleeve. Mind you I cut them exactly as the magazine tells you and unusually for me they fitted exactly. Its something you always wish for but for me at least rarely happens.
I had some problems with the magazine directions for the front and back gathers as well. The directions say to secure with tape. Well I used bias binding and did not like it so then serged over it cutting it off completely but it looked awful so I then took it appart ( despite my hatred of unpicking serged stitches!) and redid it the Burda way.

I also HATE the way Burda tells you to do the front pocket. Maybe its the fabric I used but I suspect not. I just do not like the way it hangs. You are told to sew it on to the hem band. Finish the hem band and then turn the pocket to the right side. Despite my trimming as much excess fabric off the inside as I could, which definitley helped, I do not like the way you get a thick inside seam on the pocket which makes the whole pocket stick out from the front. The seam simply does not want to sit flat. You can just about see it in the photos above and below. Just ignore my stupid facial expression. I was telling my partner to hurry up and take the shot.


My partner describes this hoody as my "hag hoody". You can see why on the next pictures:

Infact I can almost see an old lady or old man gathering wood in the forest in mediaeval times with this particular garment.

Anyway despite his comments I believe this hoody is going to be a favourite in my wardobe so now I intend to make another as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. I know this was quite a long post. I hope you enjoyed it and see you again soon.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

13: Red dress or long top

I bought this pattern in an online sale just before Christmas.

Burda Misses' Dress and Tops 6722

It is very similar if not identical to a top I loved and wore out  a few years ago. I thought it will be  a very quick and simple project to do over Christmas. Of course then I was ill so it never got done. But I have my fabric all cut out so all it needed was sewing up.

Well ALL is a very misleading word! AS is EASY!

Its a seemingly easy pattern with only 3 pattern pieces so I did not see this being difficult.
It might have been slightly easier if I had cut the right size. According to the packet I am half way between a size 10 and a size 12 so I cut a size 12. Well I overlocked the seams and it sewed up huge.

To be honest as I write this post I am feeling very let down by my own sewing skills. I never thought I was a tailor or even particularly good but right now I am not even a novice!

First I couldn't get the neck right and it just kept gaping. It has a simple fold over self-facing but that kept showing when worn. The sleeves didn't go in right and the facing made kind of bumps on top of them.Well actually the sleeves APPEARED to go in fine and everything matched perfectly.  Just when I put it on to check it all looked fine it didn't. There were kind of bumps sticking up on the back of the shoulders where the facing was. I managed to sort that out by using Harriet to pin them down:

I top stitched the shoulders front and back to keep the neck from gaping. First in pale pink for a contrast which I hated so I unpicked that. Then in bright pink but again I hated it. I ran out of black so that wasn't an option. I ordered some but it has yet to be delievered and I wanted to wear this so next I tried scarlet red. You can see from the picture it is not brilliant but will be bearable so thats what I have gone with. Also I am sick of stitch ripping now and really do not want to make any holes so I need to find a top stitching colour and stick with it. The pattern does not say to top stitch but I cannot think of another way to make the neck work.

Next I have restitched the sleeve heads and now they do seem flatter.

Then I considered braid:

I may cover the problem up but even in a different colour it is not really what I wanted to achieve. And in the end I am not sure it will work so then I possibly lose my braid and my dress.

I decided to just finish this project then so used a twin needle to do the hemline and was intending to also hem the sleeve edges but could not fit the narrow sleeves over my machine to do this.

The fabric is just stretched to the limit so to do this I would have to manually try and wrench the fabric around whilst slowing stitching. Since I am down to my last twin needle and do not really think I can manage to do this without breaking it and probably would end up unpicking it anyway I have now decided to leave the edges overlocked and just fold them under when wearing. The sleeves are very long (which I like) so this will work. Or at least most people will never know. Although they do look wrinkly!

So as far as I am concerned this is now finished. I put it on to show my other half only to have him say it looks twisted. After much analysis and decription from him ( he doesnt do sewing talk really!) I establish it just looks too big so now I am unpicking the hem again to take in the sides.

 But then I looked again at this photo:

You can clearly see the top of the dress of the right hand side is kind of puckered and stretching wrongly. I reckon this is probably due to my trying to alter the too-big dress by taking in. I also attempted to stop the neckline gaping, again by taking in at the sleeves and shoulders. Anyway I have made a complete mess of this entire project.
So now my decision has been to take the entire dress appart again and recut in a smaller size. Since most of it was overlocked I ended up cutting appart. I then repinned the pattern parts to the pieces and recut two sizes smaller since having checked my measuremenst again I find I am that much smaller.

So my lesson here? 
  1. Make a muslin!!! 
  2. Be brave and stop worrying I will ruin my fabric and trust the pattern packet and my measurements and cut the correct size and stop worrying things will be too tight or too small. 
  3. If it is too big then take it appart and recut rather than trying to take it in since this just causes the pattern to be miss-shapen
I think having re-attached the pattern pieces and recut the pattern that assuming it all works properly this time then I can still make this garment. I will have to be very very careful to sew though since I have a very scant seam allowance on some bits expecially on the top of the front and back shoulder bits. Also I think this will be too short to be a dress but will end up as a long top instead since to recut I had to move the bits down somewhat. Also I may end up with three quarter sleeves but then thats bearable although not ideal considering it is the middle of winter here and I did like the very long sleeves.

And finally I am going to sew with a normal sewing machine first, try it on then overlock to finish it off since that way I can easily unpick and re-stitch since I have now discovered I simply do not have the patience to unpick overlocked stitching and end up cutting it appart and so making my garment smaller each time it does not work right.

Still I have definitely learned something here. ALWAYS MAKE A MUSLIN even if it looks a simple pattern.

Well I will post what happens to this dress in another post once I have tried restitching it. You never know...........maybe it will work after all!

This post was continued here: 13: Red dress re-visited

Thanks for reading and see you again soon

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

12: Glitter beanie hat from upcycled jumper

I was meant to post this on Sunday but had some issues with uploading photos because I simply could not get blogger to upload. Anyway, today the problem seems to have gone so on to blogging.

I got this jumper for Christmas. It was nothing special but I did quite like it. It was a kind of tinselly fur fabric. Anyway I only wore it twice and then stupidly dropped it on the floor during the Christmas celebrations where one of the dogs decided to lie on it. I do not really mind that but then he was sick on it too. Of course I washed it. The label says wash at 40degC. I actually washed it at 30degC. It shrunk loads. Or at least it ended up very short and wide with sleeves to short. Quite sad really because although it was definitely a bit too Christmasey for say June it would still have been wearable throughout winter. In theory I could have returned to the shop as faulty since the label says you can wash at a hotter temperature than I did but it was a present and I do not have the receipt. Since my Mum bought it I suspect she would not have kept the receipt anyway so I have not bothered her with this. I also have yet to tell her I have ruined it before she even saw me wear it!

So what to do with it because it is really quite a nice sparkly fabric and now I do own an overlocker. I got this download for a FREE beanie the other month from here:

You have to subscribe to get it but it is a good pattern. Anyway I have now made this lovely (although far from perfect) beany from my ruined jumper and I am much happier.

I am also attempting to use the rest of the jumper to make a kind of shrug but have yet to work that one out so that is another post. Sadly I never took a photo of my ruined shrunken jumper but have taken a few pictures
of how I cut this out:


The pattern instructions say to cut this out folded 4 times but I could not do that unless I used a side seam which with hindsight would have been fine but I did not do that. I cut two pieces out folded and then seamed the side seams.

My original idea was to use the ribbed hem to make an edge for the hat but that did not work well because by the time it was serged there was not much left and it keeps folding to the outside when worn as shown in the following photo:

You can just see the black overlocking. Below is what it looks like inside and you can see there really is not much left of the band which is why it keep turning to the wrong side whilst wearing.

 I am actually quite pleased with this hat I just need to find the best way to finish the edge off.


Thats a light behind me on the last photo not a bit stuck on the top of the hat.

Anyway I am now considering using some black ribbed fabric for the hem of the hat and cutting the existing hem off. What do you think? All ideas welcome.

Thanks for reading and hopefully see you again soon,

Monday, 11 January 2016

Shaun the sheep toy and other things

Well I made Shaun for my friend's baby. He was from a free knitting pattern found here:

I changed it a bit due to my friends son being a small child so the pipe cleaners in the legs and the 2 pence pieces in the feet would have been hazardous. Instead I just stuffed the legs with fibre fill. I actually used a cheap IKEA cushion for this as well since it was only £1.00 and the fibre fill from Hobbycraft was around £5 for the same quantity.

Anyway here he is and I am very happy with him:

I also used double knitting wool since that is what I had in stock with 3.5mm needles so he is slightly larger than the original but who cares about that?

Other than Shaun I have been constructing patterns for my coat project - well its been at least two weeks of me putting this pattern together in between being ill and Christmas when I had to vacate the table so the familly could eat dinner for several days so its been a very long and arduous task.

Also this pattern is for the Burda Peplum jacket but it turns out there are 4 different jacket /coat variants on this pattern so its great value for money buying this one.

At you can actually download the instructions for each jacket at the moment which will take the guessing out of trying to make the other three. Also the coat and the peplum jacket actually use competely different pattern parts so I am intending to do a "muslin" of the top only and then do a mock up of the peplum jacket with the muslin top assuming it fits and a proper velvet coat since I have some very nice upholstery grade velvet I intend to wear and this coat will work really well I think.

 I want to make the "proper" peplum jacket for next year since I am meant to be graduating then so will need some kind of respectable suit type of outfit and I fancy this peplum jacket with some matching trousers for it. It would be nice to wear something I actually like rather than just a shop bought suit. I have some charcoal grey suiting for the proper version but need to check it all works right before I dare to cut that so this will be my trial. And it will mean I get to wear the peplum jacket for this summer to check I actually find it comfortable as well. So I cannot lose really.

Since I now realised whilst constructing this pattern from the huge number of tiled pieces I had to print that it makes 4 different jackets it seems sensible to also make the coat - well why buy another pattern when is is actually a rather nice one anyway?

And two other jackets as well:


Bonus or what? And if anyone is interested right now there is a BOGOF at for the whole of January!
Anyway thats all I have been up to so far this week but thanks for reading and see you again soon,