Sunday, 15 January 2017

Self Drafting a Jersey Skirt

 I had some Ponte Roma stretch fabric left over from a tunic dress, it had to go. There was not enough to make a top but I felt sure there was enough to make a stretchy jersey skirt.

The fabric is 20% stretch. To check, I measured 10cm and then stretched the fabric to its limit. The blue pin reached 12cm so it has 20% stretch.

Next I measured my front hip measurement using the side seam of my jeans as a guide. It was 19". I did the same across the back and it was 23". I measured the finished length required then added 1.5" for elastic turnover and 1" for the hem.

Next I cut two pieces using these measurements halved for the width, because I was cutting on the fold. I did not add seam allowances as this will give the negative ease required for a stretch skirt. I kept the waist the same width as the hips because the elastic will draw it in. I did taper the sides in a little towards the hem to give a figure hugging skirt. It looked like this:

As you can see, the bespoke nature of this skirt means if you need more at the front for a bigger tum you could do that or in my case I need more fabric round the back! Either way the side seams will be at my sides.This is a super speedy over locker make but you could do it on a regular machine too. Sew the sides, try it on to make any adjustments then serge or zig zag the top and bottom. 

Next measure a piece of 1" wide elastic around your waist comfortably and add 1/2" for a join. Ensure that when stretched it goes over your hips. (so you can get your skirt on and off)
Join the elastic into a hoop using the 1/2 inch you allowed yourself. 

Mark the elastic in quarters with pins. Line up opposing pins with the side seams and pin in place on the wrong side of the fabric. Now line up the remaining opposing pins with the centre points of the skirt front and back. See picture below:

Now zig zag or overlock your elastic in place by stretching the elastic to fit the fabric. Do not stretch the fabric.

To finish fold over the elastic and use a straight stretch stitch to run a line of stitching through the skirt and elastic fold over. You will need to stretch it a little to allow the waistband to stretch over your hips when you put it on and to avoid puckers. 

This is thick ponte roma jersey so I turned the overlocked edge once and top stitched it in place to avoid a bulky seam.

Hooray! New skirt. This is a great way to practise with Jersey knit fabrics without wasting too much fabric.If it all goes wrong, put it in the bin and try again - you will get better in no time at all. Mine however was worn to work on Monday to invigilate exams - super comfy for sitting down for 2 hours.

Jo xxx

PS. I will put a link to this tutorial on my sidebar which I have updated a little with some previous useful blog posts which were lost in the midst of time.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Top Down Sweater

Hello there! Thank you for laughing along with me on the quilt 'issue'. I have sewn them all together and it is no where near as bad now that it looks like one riot of colour and pattern. Annnyway...

Last night I completed a top down sweater.

I started it in November 2016. It is made from Cascade Luna 100% peruvian cotton so it is comfortable to wear next to my skin without an under layer. I bought it last year on sale where your whole order was half price so it came in at £19.75. It is really for Spring and Autumn but it happens to go superbly well with my cut off Vintage wool skirt. The pattern is free from Ravelry called Francis.

It is knit from the top down and then you add the cowl neck at the end. I think the pattern is actually for a thicker yarn as mine is quite close fitting and the neck cowl is nowhere near as big and cosy as the one on the pattern but I loved the hepburn style collar that emerged so I worked with that. You can see on this photo where I did the waist decreases as well as a small ladder that appears along the sleeve because I knit the sleeves on DPN's but with wear and a wash this will ease out.

They are tiny details. Overall I really like it, it is comfortable and fits in with lots of things I already have so it is a useful addition to my wardrobe.

Because it is top down, meaning you are knitting in a spiral,I knit most of it in continental style picking the wool from the left rather than picking up a stitch and knitting it with the yarn on the right. I got a lot quicker as I did it. I can not quite get the purl stitch to flow the same yet but it just goes to show you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Time for something new... what shall I knit next I wonder? Time to go and look in the cupboard. Jo xx

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Winter Link Party

This looks deceptive folks - this is not going well. My pin wheel blocks have been popping out of the machine between dressmaking projects and stowed in a drawer. I lost count of how many I had made so I got them all out to take a stock....

...and to my horror, a gasp of gargantuan proportions came out of my mouth as I slowly realised that some looked like swastikas...

Not just a little bit, but a lot. I laid them all out on the floor and walked out of the room to sulk downstairs.

Andy returned home and asked me what the matter was because my face looked so disconcerted and I asked him to take a look in the spare room with out any back story to influence him.

He returned and said, 'You seem to be making a fascist duvet!' which made me smile in its cadence but not in light of the whole situation. Most are fine, so I will have to unpick a few and rearrange the patterns and colours to avoid the final outer colour highlight which gives the unsavoury silhouette.


Ho Hum! Here's hoping your winter projects are more successful, just popping over to see some now. 
Jo x

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Autumn Wander Crochet Shawl #2

I have slowly made another shawl from sock yarn left overs.

The edging is made with a single row of double crochet (sc) all around and then a row of: *miss two dc: 5ch, bead, 5ch, 3dc * repeat. There are 47 rows on the shawl and 58 beads. The beads help it to stay put when you wear it because it weighs the edge down.

The colour palette has quite a lot of blue which should go with the recipients coat perfectly.

The blocking gave it a perfect triangular shape.

You can find the pattern here if you fancy using up some yarn left overs. You can use any gauge yarn as long as it is the same throughout.

This photo, on a brighter day, might give you a better idea of the colour range.

This is a very special gift for a very special someone. 
Thanks for dropping by. Jo xx

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

A Crochet Thingy

I really don't know what else to call my latest crochet creation but I have been wanting to sort this flopping umbrella plant out in the bathroom for ages. You can't see here but it is flopping forward on the verge of tipping over. I felt it needed some TLC.

I got some compost to re pot it, then I found an old wooden curtain pole in the shed to use as a strong supporting stake because the bean canes were giving way under the weight. Next, I set about collecting yarn scraps to decorate it which were all assembled in my basket - my first using up of stuff for 2107. I love this basket I made it on my 40th birthday with a basket weaving artisan called Jenny Crisp.

I just started to crochet randomly coloured rows in an attempt to use up as many bits as possible. 

I have picked it up and put it down over the last week or so. 

Finally on Monday night I sewed it together along its length and slid it onto the pole with all the ends on the inside, genius, no ends to sew in. I tied the plant to the rainbow pole for support. 

Hey Presto! A yarn bombed Umbrella plant standing proud, tall and well dressed.

Thanks for dropping by. Hope you like my first stash bust of 2107.
Jo x

Friday, 30 December 2016

Crafting Resolutions 2017

I don't usually do a review of the previous year, I like to look forward to the next year but I had quite a lot of success with my pledges so I thought I would round up and swiftly move on. My 2016 pledges were:
  1. To learn how to Sew a bra:

Lots of success here. I have made three: one in stretch cotton, one in jersey and one in tricot which is a specific underwear fabric. They have all been worn week in week out over the year. I have a new pattern for this year which includes lace so I hope to improve my skills more.
  1. To Crochet something beautiful to wear

A success for a while and then I washed it by hand however as I held it up out of the bath it just grew and grew! I now wear it as a tunic with leggings in the Spring and Autumn. Every cloud and all that...
  1. To complete another quilt

I actually maxed out and made two this year. The rainbow quilt in squares and the hand sewn eight pointed star quilt. I have loved these as much for the process and using up of stash bits as the final results. They are now stowed away as 18th Birthday presents for the coming years.
  1. To learn to knit stranded Nordic style

Mini success here. I had a go, enjoyed it but was unable to practise more due to a dodgy shoulder this year but I can always come back to it again another time.

My pledges for 2017 are:

1. To find the perfect knicker pattern I have been trying and I have not found one I can just cut, sew and wear without making modifications that still result in imperfect knickers.

2. Make a another quilt. Because I can, it is relaxing and has no fit issues!

3. To use up as much craft stash as I can and limit buying new. I have a sponsor with Minerva and a few other companies so I should get a steady flow but I have some stuff starting to build up behind the sofa and in my nice sewing cupboard. It needs to be used not hoarded. Note the word 'limit' here not a total ban!


I already have fat quarters won as prizes, strange notions I have collected over time, plenty of books for patterns and inspiration...

I have a yarn stash to get through, a box of patchwork pieces, underwear notions and fabrics and a box of knitting bits and bobs like:bag handles, my pom pom maker and some weaving sticks.

My current fabric stash is looking quite wintery but needs to be made into useful clothes for us all over the next few months.

Not to mention I had some nice crafty Christmas presents to keep me going - a tassel maker, who knew? So all in all some 'thinking out of the cupboard required in 2017' I think.

 Here's hoping you will continue to support, clap, cheer and giggle along with me in 2017. I am always amazed that so many people hop over here and always have such happy things to say. I love that. Thank you for being one of those people.

Happy New Year!

Jo xx

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Christmas Mouse

Very few words today, just my usual blog vocabulary...

Left over yarn scraps...

Little bit of knitting...

 Find the pattern here...

Sometimes the pictures just say it all and I am glad you can't see the rest of my house! Jo xx