Friday, 27 July 2018

Walkley T-shirt

It is a strange thing to hear myself saying this but I don't have any T-shirts! I have got to the useful end of most of my shop bought T-shirts over the last eight years and when I went to pack for holidays in May I realised I had two - a grey one and a black one. meh!

From Minerva this month I chose an indie designer I had not tried before. MIY collection is small but interesting. On opening my parcel I was surprised to see the Walkley T-shirt pattern in a paper bag. It was useful because when it was all cut out, I popped everything in the bag for a sewing day.

This is a great pattern for anyone starting out with stretch knit fabrics. The shape is simple and the neckline and armholes do not require bindings. This is s good skill to have but if you want to make your first stretch item this is a fantastic pattern. It comes on one sheet and can be modified into a T-shirt dress very simply.

This fabric is super top quality - a little more expensive than single jersey but worth it. If I am making a T-shirt I want it to last and not go baggy. It is John Kaldor Cadiz stretch cotton jersey and comes in nine colours. It is easily a good enough grade to make the dress. I chose red because I wear a lot of navy and it is good to make solid colour garments from time to time. I learnt this during Me Made May 2016.

It goes with lots of things and I really like the shape. Such an easy sew. I already have a cream marl one cut out. 

Just a little aside and a snazzy tip, I use up all the thin off cuts of jersey that curl up by stretching them into tubes - so satisfying. What for I hear you cry?

They make great garden ties for tender plants, runner beans and roses. They flex as the plant moves in the wind and they do not cut into the stem. They are easy to untie instead of having a knot in a piece of string. I have used old T-shirts of Andy's in the past but I always use off cuts too. See. This is my new passion flower which is growing at a tremendous rate of knots.

Thanks Minerva for this top quality jersey knit. Jo xxxx

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Serendipity Crochet Baby Blanket

I wooed you with an extravagant yarn purchase in June to make a baby blanket. I tried to make a heart motif but the cotton yarn was a splitter and required a 3mm hook which made the problem worse. I made a few squares and joined them together. Although the squares themselves looked lovely, when I joined them to see what the edges were like, it all looked a bit rubbish. I was predicting that 63 bad joins was not going to make it look a whole lot better so I jumped ship.

If I am honest, on closer inspection the joins in the book image aren't all that great. All that counting was also a little too taxing in the heat and I needed crochet that would see me through family viewings of the World Cup and Wimbledon.

In the end, I plumped for a pattern from ravelry which I now can't find I have eventually found again here called Serendipity. Some people call it a hens foot pattern or a clamshell pattern but anyway it was mighty addictive and easy to do. 

I had chosen the yarn specifically for the heart blanket and as it turns out I would have had yarn in my stash for this one but anyway it was nice to crochet with something new and not donated. This pattern also meant I could use my favourite super-slick clover 4mm hook which lessened the splitting problem.

The yarn is Drops Muskat DK cotton from here. I chose nine colours and the light grey background colour. There are paler tones too but I went for brights. It is 85p a ball at the moment!! It is a substantial cotton making the blanket quite heavy and dense which is what I wanted for a January baby.

The border is a few rounds of double crochet with my favourite baby blanket edge, the crab stitch or reverse double crochet. A neat, tidy and unisex border. I always think it makes the best edging.

The one heart I kept was my favourite colour, this one now lives on my singer sewing machine top next to where I crochet ready for a mug of tea. It has a new lease of life as a coaster.

It is truly a unisex blanket I think. This one is packed away for January a bit ahead of schedule but it was so fun to do. 

I have some ball ends left over of course but I am thinking this little fellow might be fun to make to add to the gift set and bust out the stash ends. I haven't made a toy for years but I am sure it will be fine.

Happy Crochet. Thanks for calling in. Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

FREE one hour top pattern

Can you make this one hour top in an hour? Yes you can. The pattern is a free download from Fancy Tiger Crafts. It makes a fabulous mid season top with the simplest of sewing techniques. No serger or overlocker required. Just a machine and an hour of you time.

I didn't include sticking a free PDF pattern together in that hour!!! But the cut and sew part is definitely possible. There are four seams: two along the length of the arms and two down each side. No sleeve fitting required. It has a grown on sleeve.

The neck is quite wide but flattering and the sleeves allow for larger bust sizes. If you had a large bust I would recommend adding to the length a bit as it was quite a short boxy length. 

The fabric is a viscose jersey which I picked up in a charity shop for £2.50. The drape of this fabric is ideal. I used a stretch stitch zig-zag on my machine to join it together. It is cut with pinking shears so no need to get the edges all caught up under your machine.

The neckline and sleeve finishing is simply folded over twice to conceal the raw edges. Simples!

I am dotty about this top and was so surprised by the outcome. I was expecting something a little second rate from a free pattern of such simple proportions but it is wonderful - more of these in the pipeline I am sure. 

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxx

Saturday, 14 July 2018


Enjoying - making a crochet blanket in the garden. 

Making - jam from allotment fruit

Considering - what to do with more and more raspberries.

Eating - Jamie Oliver's 15 minute dinners. A salad for four with slow cooker potatoes. Yum!

Growing - Basil for the first time ever outside. Well done Heidi a wonderful salad box this year.

Deciding - on a bathroom for our new house, strange when it seems so far away from completion but first fix plumbing dictates

Building - we are choosing windows - tricky, I can tell you.

Fixing - nothing for a change!

Watching - Big Sis confidently go off on the bus to secondary school for her first induction days

Loving - Our roses this year. They have been stunning.

Disliking - watering the garden and allotment twice a day.

Wanting - a few more shrubs to fill in gaps in the garden.

Getting - all our garden jobs finished: new patio and seat in the sun and Meg's mosaics all hung up. 

Wearing - all of my handmade Dresses. Hooray!

Buying - some mint condition uncut vintage patterns. Swoon!

Wondering - How long the sunshine and hot weather will last.

Thinking - What to fill the Summer holidays with.

Feeling - Sweaty!

Jo xxxx

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Capri trousers NEWLOOK 6217

I love using this pattern: Newlook 6217; I know it fits. It is easy to make changes in style. The invisible side zip means they are great for wearing with T-shirts and tunics. They are really easy to whip up in an evening. You can make them in various fabric weights. What's not to love?

This fabric has had many a tissue pattern piece laid out on it only to be folded up again and put back in the cupboard. It is a Robert Kaufman cotton. I bought it from Craftsy in a sale as a skirt kit about four years ago. In the end I decided the pattern wasn't for me, passed the pattern on, and kept the fabric. 

But every time I tried to use it, there was not enough fabric. That said, there wasn't really enough for these unless I made them capri style which worked out fine for this warm Summer. I thought that these trousers would be good for work, rest or play. I don't normally wear black in Summer but I went for it.

When I had my final 'in progress' try on, I had the annoying gape at the back that I always have but I needed this spare fabric when I sat down so I unpicked a bit of the stay tape facing. Into the back I inserted a piece of wide elastic to take in the slack when standing. It worked really well when I wore them.

I want another pair of patterned trousers now with a longer leg length in a heavier fabric for Autumn. Ooh the wish list keeps growing :)

I have made everything on this pattern except the cardigan (not my thing)and it has always been a complete success.

Do you have this pattern? What do you think of it?

Friday, 6 July 2018

Stevie is Quick!

One of the new Tilly and the Buttons patterns, Stevie, was love at first sight for me. The pattern came at 12:30 on Thursday just as I got in from work and I had the dress on my back at 2:50 ready for the school run!

I ordered the Stevie top/tunic pattern, then ordered some fabric, John Kaldor on sale at Minerva and waited impatiently. The fabric came first so I washed and dried it ready to sew - not hard to do in this weather. 
The fabric is a linen blend where it has the same look as linen but you can drive the car in it and not look like a tea towel on arrival. Bold prints work well with this pattern because there are no darts, zips or interruptions. 

I actually made a happy mistake. I added the ties and then kept following the instructions then added a button loop, it was supposed to be one or the other. I thought it was a bit strange but it is great because the button holds the dress in place if the bow should come undone or the fabric bow is a bit heavy.

The length is pretty perfect. I cut a size 4 and graded a bit out to size 5 for bum and hip room (obvs) It feels so breezy to wear in this hot weather.

Then I spent five minutes hopping from place to place in the garden trying to get a photo without family rubbish in the background. 

I favoured cropping the photos in the end to picking up the stuff!

Even the sleeves don't interrupt the pattern. I would like to try one in the shorter version with a rayon/viscose fabric but I have other things under my machine at the moment so I will hang on for a bit and save my pennies for a while.

I love it. A dress in 2.5 hours. I couldn't drive to town, find a parking space and buy one in that time!

Jo xx