Saturday, 8 December 2012

Increases and decreases

Oh boy I'm so proud of myself, I've managed to knit increases and have nearly finished the cardigan for Melody. It's not as hard as I thought it would be but I've had to come to terms with something I've learnt along the way. I knit a little oddly... When doing a knit stitch my right needle goes straight behind behind my left needle, like this

but all the videos I've seen they put the right needle in the front first then it goes behind the left like this.

One stitch is horizontal when working and the other is vertical I don't think there is any difference in either method when it comes to the final look of the work but I tell you now it took me some time to figure out how I needed to complete the increases, but once I got my brain round it they were rather easy. The decreases however were even worse to try and suss out.  For example I cannot for the life of me fathom out why I would even bother following the SSK directions correctly, why bother slipping two stitches onto the other needle when I can just knit two together... And the K2Tog instructions well that was fun, I'm already knitting two together why are there two different terms for the same thing, and thing I figured out that it was knitting two together in the front.

Well... Why don't they name them K2Tog Front and K2Tog Back so you knit the stitches together in the front or knit them in the back and leave out all this slipping stitches malarky!

Anyhoo I'm nearly done with the cardigan just the rest of a sleeve and the seaming of the hood to finish and now Melody seems to be sleeping again at night I might finish it soon.  This is how it looked a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Trouser Progress

Getting there slowly but surely...

Since I brought the denim for my trousers I have been slowly making progress.  Stitching one maybe two lines a day, mainly whilst my husband has been at home to keep the munchkin entertained.  This going slow lark is actually quite refreshing as I have been determined that these trousers will be very well made.

However with two things left to do, waistband facing and hems, I am stuck regarding the waistband facing.  Now I usually suck at these and I want this facing to look fabulous (especially since it is cupcakes!!).  I seem to have issues getting it attached at the bottom and usually have major issues ironing that damn seam allowance on at the bottom.  In a brainwave the other night I decided to baste stitch the seam allowance and the iron that up before attaching.  This seems to have worked so far, but now I have the dreaded task of attaching it to the waistband.  Usually I totally screw this up despite any careful pinning I have done (see yellow blobs in picture).  I'm torn between hand sewing the facing (I hate hand sewing and as a result I'm awful at it) and just going all gung ho on the machine.  Decisions descisions....
P.s. excuse the awful phone photo, my camera has decided to eat all of he batteries in the house!

Knitting update:
Cardigan progress is going well, I think I have mastered increases but only time will tell. I'm not entirely sure but I think I'm currently doing something to allow the arms to be made, it seems to be developing shoulders. Although if I am at the stage I think I am I'm not really sure how they break away to be armholes, hmmm....

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


After making my plans official last week I took myself to the shop for supplies as I have begun to get the creating itch again. I managed to get 2m of denim for my jean trousers and also some yarn for my venture into knitting shapes.

I had to wait before starting my new knitting project as the shop didn't have the right size needles in stock so had to order them online, which turned out to be better actually as I was able to buy bamboo needles instead of metal. Metal is just far to cold for my hands to do a lot of knitting with and they arrived last week. I have knitted my test square and I think it's the right size so have started the cardigan. So far so good as the first 7 inches have no change in size think I'm up to about inch 3.  A bonus though I've found out I can knit with Melody asleep on my lap, which mean I might get this finished before Christmas, whoop!

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Attempting to get back into some posting I thought I'd share some plans with you.  Due to an attention grabbing little monkey I've decided not to set the bar to high and have only set myself three goals to complete by Christmas.

1. Sew a bag for my sister-in-law for Christmas
I should have done this for her birthday but life was a little too hectic at that time so I failed to get around to it.  The theory is this will be a shoulder style bag in black with purple accents/lining.

2. Learn to knit something that isn't a rectangle/square
The long term goal for this is to knit myself a lush chunky knit cardigan but I've got to learn how to do this whole increase/decrease thing first.  I have managed to figure out cables though, they are a heck of a lot easier than I expected.  For this I will probably end up knitting a cardigan for Melody (hopefully) since it will be small and I found a pattern that looks relatively easy via Ravelry - Easy Baby Cardigan

3. Sew something for myself
Not entirely sure what this is going to be yet but I am toying with the idea of a pair of jean/trousers inspired by Lladybird although instead of Thurlow I will use Butterick 5682 from which I made these trousers.  Another idea I am toying with is a handbag for myself using the purse frame I treated myself to for my birthday (back in May!!) from U-handbag
Wish me luck :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

That crazy little thing called life

Wowzers how much time has passed since I last posted anything?!? Mind you when I look back at what has happened since May it has been a mighty crazy few months.

We moved house at the end of May, the new place is fabulous and it felt like home as soon as we got the keys, even though we had nothing in here yet.  The good thing about the new place, and one of the many reasons we chose this house, is that we now have a hobby room big enough for both of our hobbies that isn't taking the place of what would be a bedroom (B likes to paint and convert miniatures of the war-gaming variety).

My side is a tip!! Best get that sorted (edit, it is now tidy, just haven't got a picture of it).

We now have a space to sit together and don't feel like we are abandoning each other when we want to do something hobby related. However I've not had much chance to do anything lately due to the arrival of a certain little lady, meet our daughter Melody

She will be 8 weeks old on Friday and we are totally besotted with her despite the lack of sleep and all the worries that come with being parents. That fact that she is so cute makes up for the lack of sewing and posting I've been able to do.  This is now the 4th 5th time I've sat down to post something!

Anyway, before we moved I had managed to perfect my renfrew pattern by adjusting the bottom part of the top to come back in under the bump instead of dropping like a dead weight.  I did this by taking the pattern back to the normal measurements starting around 3 inches from the hem line.  Once this adjustment had been made I made two versions.

3/4 length sleeve in Navy for work - pictures taken pre-move near the end of May

Short sleeve in Wham! jersey for fun - Pictures taken post-move about a week before Melody was born.

Despite the awesome Wham! fabric I actually preferred the Navy version because the fabric was better quality, although Wham! is thick jersey it just lacks stability so just felt off when it was worn and also massive on me even though I used the same pattern pieces.  Isn't it strange how you can get two different feelings about the same top just because of the difference in fabric.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Liberty book bargain

Wandering around the shops the other day and I find myself in The Works, and what do I find in there?  The Liberty Book of Home Sewing for £6.99. Superbargain!

I think my first project from the book will be something easy after all the cray adapting of patterns I have been doing of late.  The Eco Shopper seems like a good easy project and who doesn't need a gizillion bags?

My other amazing find was this Jersey, makes me think of the old Batman TV series don't you think?  Thud! Thwack!  Kapow! Shame it only says Wham! but awesome all the same.  I think this is destined for Renfrew once I get the adjustments right.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Renfrew adjusted

This adaptation lark is trickier than I first thought, I've scoured the tinterweb for adaptation techniques for an increasing growth at the front maternity wear and so far there really isn't much out there but I stumbled upon this post and decided to give it a go with the Renfrew pattern.

After tracing the pattern I read the instructions and decided to add 5 inches to the front pattern piece and 1 inch to the back

The next step is to figure out the point under your bust and also where your "waist".  Draw a 2 inch line from the waist marking and then a steep curve from the bust to the new waist point. Re-draw the side line.

Pattern adapted, i cut out some thin jersey as a test run - It's not bad, the gathers and extra width at the sides help

But I don't like how it hangs like a dead weight at the bottom of my belly.  I think I need to adapt further to curve back into the original hem line, which might make it a bit tighter around the hips and more to my liking.
Back to the drawing board on this one me thinks.

Monday, 9 April 2012

If at first you don't succeed

Throw a strop, cry, think, and start again.  I should have given up on this dress way before I actually did.

Lets go in stages as to what went wrong...

1. The shoulder seams and the neck band seams just did not match up, no matter how hard I tried.

Not even the extra special effort to cut and match the notches helped.  So I took apart the neck band and added them separately only to discover that one of the front pieces was then too short.  Oh well I thought I'll just lap that bit at the back, no big deal...

2. I burnt the back of the bodice

See I did say I should have given up way before I did, but this burn was on the inside and not that noticeable on the outside and since I had spent so much time on the damned neck band I decided to solider on regardless.  And yes the inside of the neck band does look amazingly shoddy but I'd already spent 2 evenings trying to sort it out at that point.

3. The issue with one of the front piece being too short took a lot of sussing out to try and fix, in hindsight an extra piece of fabric to make them both the right length would have worked but that's hindsight for you

4. The return of the Frump-Zilla!!

Oh. My. God! I know part of being pregnant is that you get fat round the middle and you can get away with those clothes where you think "Eeek I look pregnant in this" but Jesh Louise! I felt like the master of the Frump Clan from Frump Land. Hence why there isn't a picture of me wearing this atrocity.

Totally dejected I felt tearful (I blame the hormones) and angry to the point where I chucked the dress across the room on various occasions after trying to look for a saving grace. If I could have had a bottle of wine at this point I sure as damnit would have done, despite it being the middle of the day.

Eventually after staring at it for an eternity I figured out what was wrong.  The bodice just wasn't right however the skirt was, BUT those gathers needed to be distributed evenly across the front. That in mind I went to the hairdressers thinking of what I could do with it.  Luckily a light bulb struck! I could use the same bodice idea used in my maxi dress from new look 6699 and keep the skirt portion of the current dress.

Returning home from the hairdresser with a new lease of life (I think new hair does that to a gal) I cracked on with the dress, ripping out the skirt and dismantling the sleeves for a new bodice.  I did nearly hit another concrete post though because I wasn't sure I had enough shirring elastic to finish the back, but the sewing gods were in my favour and had left me with just the right amount, pretty lucky since the Wedding was the next day... But it all worked out in the end, even the weather was glorious!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Attempting to adapt

After a lot of staring at my patterns in to try and figure out what I could make to wear to a wedding I finally decided on New Look 6829
The same pattern used to make my Lily top (view D).  I've chosen this pattern because of the empire line waist and have started to adjust it to accommodate the Monklet. I'll be making view A this time in a gorgeous burgundy heavy crepe to go with my fabulous shoes.  But the wedding is on Saturday and all I've done so far is botchineer the pattern, but in my defense we have spent nearly 2 weeks sorting the house out to get it on the market and now that is done I can get back to this. 

So far for the pattern adaptation I have slashed between the notches for the bust gathers and spread to allow some gathers on the skirt for some more room around the belly

 Then I re-drew the hem line and filled in the gaps.
Now to attempt a trial run to see if my random adaptation actually works.  I did try to research this online but couldn't find anywhere to show me how to do this so botchineered it had to be.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

I think it worked

One Maternity skirt made from Simplicity 2451 - Done

Although I'm not entirely sure it will see me through at least for the time being I can wear something other than bloody trousers.  The skirt is definitely not the best thing I've made but I am still rather chuffed with myself for kind of pulling it off.

I utterly failed to take any notes or make any sort of pattern piece for my adjustments as I kind of botchineered* it. 
(*Totally made up word meaning I did something random but it worked, sort of like engineered but with no knowledge of what the heck you are doing)

But here goes an effort to try and describe what I did...

1. Pinned the waistband pieces together at the seam allowance
2. Pinned to the jersey on the fold
3. Measured how much length I would need (I totally messed this measurement up as you can see below, oopsies)
4. Marked that measurement on the jersey and drew a straight line (A)
5. Attempted to join the pattern to the straight line (A), then decided it would never fit round my waist and angled the back seam line a little
6. Folded the jersey at the straight line (A) and cut.
7. Tried this around me and realised I had failed as it didn't even meet at the back
8. Attempted steps 1-7 again but angled the pattern piece at stage 2 so the center front was not on the fold

That seemed to work however as previously mentioned I botched the measurement for the length I would need and it is far too long... Ah well growing room I suppose

And for a bit of a sneaky dose of leopard print, I used a ribbon as hem tape, ooh this bit makes me smile :)

Sunday, 26 February 2012


I have become so fed up of wearing the same outfits day in-day out.  It is BORING!  So in a desperate attempt to try and get myself sorted out (and back to the sewing machine) I have been racking my brain for patterns and styles I can adapt to accommodate the current expansion.  I'd not been having much luck but then an epiphany came to me whilst I was sleeping.

I might be able to use this pattern
 Which is the same pattern I used to make my Birds Skirt

I've decided that I can somehow magically make the waist panel out of jersey fabric and the rest of the skirt as normal (omitting the zip of course).  I think that the fact that the skirt already has a curved seam to go under the belly means it may work quite well, or it may just turn into a disaster, who knows at this point. Well I know I have to try something because I'm just wearing trousers trousers trousers...

Now I just need to get cracking and to also figure out what I'm going to be wearing for a wedding in less than four weeks time. One thing I have decided to wear for the wedding are these shoes, which B got for me for Christmas, aren't they lush!

Saturday, 18 February 2012


What a complete and utter farce! Sorry this is more of a rant post than anything else...

I signed up for a college course to learn how to adapt patterns back in November, and despite paying £180 for the privilege I have been utterly let down with this.  It didn't start very well as when I went for an open day the tutor spent all her time with a gentleman who was not there to learn how to do what the course was there for but to learn how to teach sewing... I should have really taken that as a hint to run away screaming but I was determined to at least have a professional teach me something.

The next let down was the total lack of communication I received from the college, no confirmation to say I had been accepted onto the course even though they saw fit to take my money.  When the start date of the course grew close and I had still received nothing from them I e-mailed for some information, what did I get back - NOTHING! So I decided to call them to be sure the course was still running only for the person at the other end to be utterly unsure with anything and just told me to go to reception before it was due to start and they would tell me what room it was in. Not terribly happy with this I went anyway, after all they had my money I was getting something out of this, I got to reception only to be told that the course might not run as there is not enough people enrolled and was also being held at the other campus 4 miles away!! (Ok so this campus is closer to my house but that is not the point). I went home...

I went back the next week as the tutor called and apologised, not enough really but it was a start, only to find out that she had no course structure in place and was basically winging it by letting us make what we want and she would guide us along the way... Errr WTF! Why have a course description if you are not going to stick with it!  Anyway I went home with my homework, sew lines onto fabric, which I dutifully did despite feeling sick whilst bending to use the sewing machine

Only for the tutor to call me and tell me the course has been cancelled and I would get my money back.  I can't really say I'm not pleased about it because I have been utterly disappointed with the whole process, and the money I paid towards this will now go into Monklett's fund (When I finally get it back!!), minus a few pounds because I treated myself to the new Sewaholic pattern Renfrew and also a Pendrell I'm also thinking that as I'm pregnant I do need the skills that this stupid course was going to teach me so that I can adjust patterns for my growing belly, I may invest in a book about adapting patterns.  If anybody has any recommendations let me know :)

Saturday, 11 February 2012

How time flys...

When you're not having fun! My it has been a long time since I posted about anything, but there is a good reason for that, you see I've not really felt like doing much sewing over the past few months because I've been feeling generally rubbish and spending a lot of time either asleep or in the bathroom.  But hopefully I'm getting to that stage where everything is peachy again and I'm also itching to get back to the sewing room.  Now rather than continuing to be cryptic I had better cut to the chase and tell you what has been going on - I'm pregnant!

Yep the reason I've not felt like doing anything is the crazy morning sickness, which has still not decided to disappear but it is getting slightly better, also we had decided to move house this year so the times I have been feeling like doing anything have been spent slowly boxing up our possessions

Now that the bombshell is over with I'll catch you up on a couple of makes

Jersey Top

I started this just after I found out about Monklett (That's what we've called him for now) but have failed to finish it off, all that needs doing to it is the armholes need to be finished but I've never found the energy to finish although this would be a good top to finish because it is stretchy.

Flight bag

I made this for my Mother-in-Law before our wedding to take with her for her hand luggage and she was so pleased with it, her sister also fell in love with it and requested one for her daughter for Christmas, I managed to get it done before I lost the sewjo although I forgot to take pictures of it before sending it down to her.

That's all for now, hopefully Monklett will give me a break soon so I can get back to doing what I love the most.