Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Online fabric shopping spree

I'm still plotting away with the sewing front. There hasn't been much sewing going on in these parts, except from some wedding bunting which is a future post, but I have been planning the garments I would like to sew. 

I always end up having a big splurge on fabric about once a year and then spend the rest of the year sewing it all up. This time I bought 7 lengths of fabric online as I just don't have the time for real life shopping anymore and its not that fun with a little one in tow.

My online shopping comes courtesy of Fabricland. I have been to one of their fabric shops in Brighton and was really excited when they revamped their online shop.   

The top fabric is 2m of black stretch denim at £4.99 per m. I love black denim and this is a lovely textured colour. I'm planning on washing it a couple of times to soften it up before I sew with it. This is destined to be a button front skirt (a pattern which came with Love Sewing magazine) or I have a sneaking suspicion it might end up a Cleo dungaree dress by Tilly and the Buttons. 

I bought 3 lengths of jersey. The first is 1m of red Ponte Roma which was £3.99 per metre and is intended to be a simple t-shirt. The next is a blue and camel dogtooth print jersey, which I can no longer find on the Fabricland website. It's quite heavyweight and I mistakenly ordered two lots so I have 4m in total - enough to make a dress and a skirt and maybe even a t-shirt!! I also bought 2m of grey spot wool jersey at £4.59 per metre, which has already become a lovely wrap dress that has yet to be blogged. I also bought 1m of grey sweatshirt fabric at £4.99 per metre (not pictured) which has become a pair of joggers, also yet to be blogged about.  

My final purchases were 2m of black apple print Crepe, which was a bargin at £2.49 per metre and also 2m of Forest Floral Crepe De Chine. Both are destined to be dresses, although I have no idea which ones yet- perhaps something from Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book which I got for Christmas but haven't used yet!

So plenty of sewing plans for me to get on with! I'm hoping to supplement my work wardrobe as well as sewing some casual pieces now I'm only working part time. I've had a big sort out an ditched loads of ready-to-wear clothes which I had been hording for years and am now beginning to plan for the gaps in my wardrobe.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Sunrise Socks

Every time I go away on holiday, I always pack some knitting to take with me. I have found that socks make the perfect project, small enough to be portable and not take up too much room but interesting enough for me not to get bored half way though. Add some brightly coloured yarn and I'm a happy bunny!

Inevitably, I only manage to get part of the pair finished. This pair, which I have dubbed the Sunrise Socks because of the beautiful sunrise colours, I started during our holiday to see family in Spain in November. This time I managed to complete one whole sock in a week and then forced myself to finish the other in January so I could move onto other knitting projects.

The yarn I used in Schachenmayr Regia My First Regia a 4 ply yarn in the Sandra colourway. I mistakenly thought this came in 50g balls and only bought two, in fact it comes in 25g balls so I had to order another one as I didn't have quite enough to finish both socks. It's lovely and soft and the variations in the colours are beautiful.

I used the same pattern as for my Happy Camper socks, which has become my go to sock pattern and came free with a ball of  Sidar Heart and Sole Sock Yarn. It's a straight forward pattern to knit and much easier the second time round. The only difference I made was to shorten the length of the ribbing at the top of the cuff of the socks.

I have already worn these several times and they are so comfy. Now that I have made a couple of pairs of socks I am hooked. I have already bought three balls of King Cole Zig Zag which comes in the best colours for my next sock project as we are off on holiday at the end of the month. Can't wait!!

Nursing Tee

I spent ages trying to decide if it was worth sewing my own nursing t-shirts. My current wardrobe staples consist of a pair of stretchy skinny jeans, good for sitting and playing on the floor and a nursing t-shirt. Add a brightly coloured cardigan and my outfits are completed.

In the end I decided to give it a go using a tutorial by So Zo what do you know based on the Coco pattern. I made this ages ago - before christmas but have only just got round to blogging about it now! 

I decided to use the Breton t-shirt pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee: From Stitch to Style Book and adapt the pattern to create my nursing t-shirt. My husband bought me this book as a treat, post labour, and I liked this pattern straight away.

I traced a size 14 based on the pattern measurements tracing two front pattern pieces. One was left mostly the same, except I cut off the sleeves. The second I cut at the empire line, adding a seam allowance. Adapting the pattern was surprisingly easy, as there were only 4 pieces in total and one additional front piece.

The fabric I used was a floral print polyester jersey from Minerva Crafts, which I chose because it was cheap. I originally picked it to make a Cordelia Maternity camisole but didn't need it in the end. I managed to squeeze my pieces out of a metre of fabric, with none left over!

The construction of the t-shirt was easily adapted and did not take me very long. There was lots of trying on in the process to ensure that the fit was good. I did find that whilst the t-shirt fit very well at the hips and waist the neck was really, really gapey. I actually took around 2 inches from each side for it to fit correctly. If I make this t-shirt again I will make sure I grade down on the pattern at the bust.

I was happy with the fit of the final t-shirt. Unfortunately, I only wore this t-shirt once before it shrunk in the wash!! I've never bothered to pre-wash my fabrics but now I am convinced of the need. Lesson learnt!

Sadly, I don't think I'll be making another nursing t-shirt as my breasfeeding journey is slowly coming to an end now that the little man is approaching a year old. I'm back at work in two weeks, which has left me wondering where all the time has gone!

I've got a backlog of blog posts coming up which I hope to post in the not too distant future.  

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Miette Progress

So, it's been a while. Like ages. January is gone, never to be seen again. I haven't stopped sewing or knitting but there never seems to be any time to photograph and blog about my makes. Baby Arthur and his social life is currently taking up most of my time - swimming lessons, sing and sign, baby groups, discovery play, ... I can't believe he's almost 9 months. But he's such a joy.

I have been managing to carve out some time for sewing, mostly in the evenings and lots and lots of knitting. Whilst I can't always find the energy to tackle a sewing project I can always manage to knit a few rows.

A knitting project that I started a while back is a Miette Cardigan in a lovely pink colour. Whilst I love this pattern by Andi Satterlund, its perhaps not my best choice for a beginners project. I have a bit of a history of starting knitting garments and not finishing them and unfortunately this has become one of these.

You see, I actually managed to knit about half of the cardigan. I knitted the main body and started on one of the set in sleeves. There was nothing wrong with my knitting- except the cardigan didn't fit. After trying it on I realised that it was minuscule on me- like child size!

So where did I go wrong? Turned out that despite knitting a tension square there were a few things wrong with this project. I struggled to get the correct tension with my chosen yarn Cascade 220- I had too many stitches and despite going up a size in the needles it wasn't right in the end. I also knitted the wrong size, I knitted the smallest size, a 32 inch chest, thinking that this would be okay with my small tension but in fact I needed a 36 inch chest for my post baby body.

I did decided to start again! I knitted another tension square using size 6 needles and magically got the right gauge. Hooray! This time I'm knitting the biggest size, a 36 inch chest and I can already see that it is a better fit.

At the moment though, I've shelved this project ... I kind of got a bit bored of it I think but I know I will come back to it at some point!!

Lots more knitting projects to share so watch this space!!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

October and November

Where has the time gone? It's been ages since I have posted, although I have continued both sewing and knitting all be it at a slower pace. Previously, I used to have days or a week of frenzied sewing but these days I have to try and fit it around a small person. Little A is getting bigger and needs more entertaining these days so I cannot focus solely on sewing or knitting any more.  

We've finally moved into our new house. It was a bit surreal at first, having not lived in our own space since Uni (10 years ago!!) but I'm enjoying it immensely. We've decorated and I love living in a space which is so aesthetically pleasing to me. It turns out my tastes naturally tend to mid-century vintage - teak furniture, geometric prints and lots of teal, yellow and grey. Above is a picture of the dining area in our kitchen. I've had great fun unpacking all our belongings from storage, including our wedding presents. My favourite thing is our cutlery set - it's so bright and really cheers me up, I love using it.

Anyways, I thought very briefly about making my own curtains but soon realised this wasn't feasible with a baby and 7 pairs of curtains to create. So I bought ready-made, but the problem is our windows our not standard sizes (thanks to my architect husband) and so every single pair of curtains needs altering in some way. It's a nightmare!

So the reason I haven't been able to post is because I've been in curtain altering hell, which is not a great place to be. I've gone on strike currently and am planning to fit in some much needed projects for me. I have managed to get some time every evening with my knitting projects and will update on those soon!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Beginning Miette

I posted about my struggles with knitting in a post last week. I am again attempting to knit the Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund following on from my previous failed version.

My yarn arrived last Monday. This time I will be using Cascade 220 in Azala, which is the closest match to the recommended yarn for the pattern, Cascase Sierra, that I could find. This is a worsted weight yarn and so knits up differently to the DK I had previously been using.

The first thing I needed to do once my yarn had arrived, is wind the skeins into balls. I had previously read somewhere about the danger of knitting directly from a skein as it gets all tangled. I followed this handy tutorial by Not So Granny. It was easy to do but very time consuming, so I only wound the one skein- when I run out I'll wind another.

My mistake with my previous Miette was using the wrong yarn, which would have been glaringly obvious if I had knitted a swatch. Having truly learnt my lesson, my first step in this project was to knit a tension swatch. The pattern calls for 16 stitches and 22 rows across a 10 cm square, however Cascade 220 has a slightly larger tension of 18-20 stitches across 10 cm.

I cast on 30 stitches and continued until my swatch was about 12 cm in length. After measuring I found that I had 20 stitches and 26 rows in my 10 cm square - too big for the pattern and my cardigan would have been too big. After consulting with a knitting friend, she recommended knitting another tension square using a smaller needle. I used a 4.5 mm needle and made a smaller swatch, which measured 21 stitches - only slightly smaller. I decided it wasn't worth going down in the needle size and so am knitting the smallest version with a bust size of 32". Hopefully this should give me the correct fit,

So far, I have cast on and have completed the first 7 rows. I have pledged to myself that I will do a little bit of knitting every day, even if it is just 1 or 2 rows. My aim is to complete the cardigan ready for our holiday to Spain at the end of November.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Knitting Fail

My knitting projects take me a lot longer to complete than my sewing projects. I tend to start them and then pick up and put down my knitting when my mood takes me. I started knitting the Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund at the beginning of the year. The mood stuck me and so one day I grabbed the yarn and the pattern and got started.

The yarn was on its second incarnation, as I had previously started knitting the Simple Round Neck Sweater from Learn to Knit, Love to Knit by Anna Wilkinson. The problem is that this yarn just does not suit this knit. The yarn in question is Stylecraft Life DK in purple heather, which has a gauge of 22 sticthes to 30 rows for a 10cm square. The Miette pattern on the other hand, calls for a gauge of 16 stitches to 20 rows and recommends using Cascade Sierra. It was never going to work, so sadly I have had to ditch this project.

I have learnt a few things from this failed project: always, ALWAYS start with a tension square to check gauge and that I am able to knit a garment (or at least half). I actually managed to get most of the way down the bodice and so I am feeling confident that I am skilled enough to attempt this pattern now that I have mastered some of the techniques.

I have decided to try this knitting pattern again, however this time I will be using the correct yarn! Since Cascade Sierra is now discontinued, I will be using Cascade 220 in Azala. I've gone for a vibrant pink shade which I currently do not have in my rainbow collection of cardigans. I'm excited to get started and am just waiting for my yarn to be delivered - I will update on my progress in due course!