Wednesday 31 August 2016

Slim Hoodie

I have made another hoodie for Big Sis on request, recently photographed but made six weeks ago. The last one, now too short in the arms and the body, has been put away for her sister. Heidi just seems to be growing arms and legs at a rate of knots my sewing can barely keep up with.

The fabric is from,in my opinion the best place online to buy interesting stretch fabrics of all kinds. This is a single cotton sweatshirt fabric. The cuffs were in a bargain bucket at my local haberdashery for 50p. I cut them in half so I have the same again for another item.

I have made a slightly better job of the zip placket on this one but it is no mean feat to sew a line of top stitching in jersey cut on the bias whilst catching a zip and attaching it altogether to the sweatshirt at the same time.

I didn't line the hood this time. My overlocker stitch is neat enough and the hood can pull back on your neck if it is too heavy.

The pattern is from Ottobre magazine Autumn 2015. A magazine I can say I have used so much the pages are falling out. This sweatshirt is a winner in her eyes. She has been reaching for it first time when she needs to keep the chill off in the evenings.

Oddly, the very next day I received bags of clothes from two different friends jam packed with hoodies and sweatshirts from GAP, Boden and Joules, but there you are, that is just the way the cookie crumbles.

Thanks for looking. Jo xx

Monday 29 August 2016


I will hear none of this talk of summer being over, life here is still very green...

Lying in the park looking up at the trees.

Wild flowers on mass in a green park.

Picking green beans by the carrier bag.

Spinach ready for blanching, chopping and freezing ready for winter curries.

Runner beans are on the menu most nights as well as batches being blanched for the freezer.

The courgettes are prolific.

Bloke is still mowing the farm fields with his tractor.

The view from the cabin is still really green. Do you like the rail I put on the chair for Little M to hold the heavy binoculars steady?

A great August weekend visit to the Shrewsbury Vintage Steam Rally in the sunshine looking at the green nostalgia.

And just in case that non crafty gallery was not inspiring enough, I have chosen a knitting project to start when my shoulder is better - in green.

OK, so the styling includes a lot of brown... and twigs...and a rain hat but really? Autumn? pah!
Jo xxx

Ps. Thank you for all the lovely comments on my summer dress, I think that must be a comment record for me!

Thursday 25 August 2016

Cotton Lawn Vintage Casual Dress

I don't own a wrap dress. They are supposed to be the most flattering dress ever but for people short in the body like me I look strangely trussed up like a chicken. So when I saw a wrap dress in my new sewing book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, which looked a bit different I dived straight in.

I liked the shift dress style silhouette and used my Minerva fabric choice for this month to choose a vintage floral design unfortunately they have sold out of all four colours it was so popular! The fabric is cotton lawn and is very fine, slightly sheer in fact. I wanted this to be a dress to wear when it is so hot you don't really want to wear anything. 

I cut a size 12 but the photo in the book was a bit misleading in terms of the skirt. It had a gathered skirt at the back and sides which really did nothing for me! It stuck out at the hips and made my bum look huge in fact it just ended up looking too big all over.

The front gaped really badly so I knew I needed to shorten the bodice even more. I set about putting it right. I took out all the skirt gathers and added darts to match the ones on the front and back body. I also made these longer and deeper to take some of the gape out of the bust. In the end I added a side zip and sewed all the front parts down to my measurements. I can put it on like a shift dress so essentially it is a faux wrap dress now.

This project epitomises the reason I like to make my own clothes. I could never buy this and no one else will be wearing one, it is all mine and fits only my body.

Thanks Minerva for my August summer dress, might have to save this for next year now. Jo x

PS. I have cleaned the lens on my camera to find that it is all scratched Bah! I hate out of focus shots.

Monday 22 August 2016

Outfitting with NEWLOOK K6127

I love it when you can make something to go with something else, especially if it uses up leftovers - I think we all know that about me by now!

I made a top and a skirt which went with my crochet necklace and my charity-shop-never-worn-Boden-sandals which I bought last week for 99p!!!!

The fabric was a remnant I bought for £5.00 from a Shropshire fabric shop called Textile Express. Good weight, superb quality, nice shop.

The pattern did not thrill me so much. I chose a Maria Denmark pattern which I paid for a while back because I wanted a skirt with a yoke but I hate printing, cutting and piecing a PDF especially when I have paid for it (I didn't read the purchase rules properly) and the instructions were vague along with unnumbered pages. Also it was not clear where to cut on the fold so my back facing was too small making my skirt a tad tight on the waist. All in all it wasn't my favourite purchase but now I have made it I know what to do to make it better.

The top however is from New Look K6217, a go to pattern for an easy skirt, t-shirt or capri trousers. It is meant for jersey but I used up the last piece of navy crepe (left over from my party jumpsuit last year) and made a back slit, loop and button to get it over my head.

This is a top that will keep on giving - easy to make, quick to dry, non iron, non crease, tummy skimming and navy which goes with everything. What more could you ask for? A useful 90 minutes worth of sewing I reckon. 

Jo xxxxxx

Friday 19 August 2016

Remember These?

Did you ever make these paper beads as a child? I did.

I spent an afternoon with the girls and my god daughter making some today. It was such good fun and for a child project, very successful too.

I have a had a bad shoulder for three weeks and a visit to the chiropractor has finally put knitting and crochet off limits. It is tough but what is a crafty girl to do? Inspired by the kids crafting I made these necklaces last night for birthday presents.

You can get a tutorial here

Happy crafting. Jo xxxx

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Holiday Creativity

Our summer holidays always consist of the children catching up on some crafty projects they have started and not finished or the making of kits that have been gifted for Christmas or Birthdays. 

These cushions are for the mini sofa in the playroom. We have just revamped the cubby hole of a room because the table and chairs were too small and low for them to use and their detritus had started to spill out over three floors of the house so we all talked about what should be in there, what should be given away and what they would like to do when they are in there. Mainly they like to draw, craft or watch TV so we made it so with a few purchases and a lots of sorting out.

The fabric was gifted to me last year by my friend Christina from Colourful life. It is bright and colourful with doodle areas for coloring in. I hunted out some IKEA fabric pens and off they went for an hour or so - I joined in too. 

Heidi has enjoyed her amazing Birthday present from her Uncle (I was so jealous!)She did this to make us all laugh, she wore a shower cap on her head too but we were laughing too much to get a picture.

There has also been impromptu sewing on the machine. I can leave Big Sis on there now aged nine and she squirrels away making little things from her own creative mind and my bin. (yes yarntangler, that is an off-cut from your mum's dress!) She wore the tape measure around her neck the whole time even though she didn't use it. Cute.

We have been playing creatively outside at the cabin too with a sleepover, picnics and play days.

Big Sis received an Indian Tiffin from the aforementioned 'yarntangler' for her birthday, the other girls looked on quizzically as her face lit up in delight. We had seen the gifting family with one and were very jealous but they came up trumps and bought her one for her birthday. The very next week my friend came across another in a house clearance, she did not know what it was, so I explained and bought it for £2. Now we have two. Not seen one before? Look...

Little metal bowls of snacks and salads all perfectly transported with the clip and strap, ready in serving dishes when you arrive. Sweet can be separate from savoury, hot or cold, endless possibilities. Just genius! I love functionality in design, I get a bit awestruck by it sometimes.

My own crafting has been happening in short bursts here and there; at the park, in the garden, in my lunch break on work days, watching the Olympics or a snatched hour on the sewing machine.

Happy Holidays or Happy Crafting. Jo xx

Monday 15 August 2016

Join as you go Crochet

I have finished a stash busting baby blanket with a little help from a ball of Stylecraft DK in mustard to give the whole thing a lift.

My aunt sent me a text asking if I wanted a couple of balls after seeing my mustard cardigan in so much use but I knew straight away it would complete this blanket.

I used a tutorial from a ravelry link here to learn how to join-as-you-go. It was easy and fun to do.

I made the border with three rounds of UK dc and then used crab stitch to finish the border. I like this edge on a small blanket because it is not too overpowering and will not snag tiny toes.

All in all a fun stash-busting project just in time for my work colleague who is going on maternity leave in September.

Quick wash and block then ready to wrap. Thanks for dropping by. 
Jo xx

Friday 12 August 2016

Knitting Cardigans

I have made a cardigan for Big Sis with the help of my mum. I just couldn't do that yoke, well that is a lie, I couldn't sustain it. The most I got to was row 45 where I could see the wiggly snake appearing but my concentration levels were too low to keep it going. It was very hard to unpick cables that snake from left to right, I never knew which row I had unpicked to.

If I am honest it is a tad too small. To make it bigger I would need to take off the button bands and the yoke, which is sewn on separately, then ask my mum to add another 20 row pattern repeat to the yoke to give it more room across the shoulders then put it all back together again but I really can't see that happening. She said she will wear it now while she can because she loved the ceramic forget-me-not buttons.

There is another little girl waiting in the wings for it anyway...

The pattern is Sirdar 2259, my favourite children's knitting patterns are from Sirdar. It is for Sirdar Supersoft aran but I have knit in that before and it pilled really badly so this time I have used King Cole comfort aran so I will keep you posted on the condition after a few washes. Oh woe!I so wanted this to be just right for September through to winter, never mind. 

Luckily I have superb knitting friends and family to step in. Big Sis received two beautiful cardigans for her birthday. My friend Maddy knit the one with pockets which is the perfect size. This puts me to shame because Maddy last saw Heidi in February and I see her everyday so why is my cardigan too small!!!!! My Auntie knit the other one with the honeycomb pattern which is a little bigger ready for when the first purple cardigan is too small, it feels so soft. She loves them both.  
Phew! cardigans for Autumn and Winter are covered.

What are you knitting?
Jo xxx