Tag Archives: patterns

Tin Can Knits Prairie Fire

We had a spot of sunshine at the weekend, so I grabbed the camera, the dog and the family, and, whilst we made the most of a beautiful autumn afternoon at the park at the bottom of the garden, Miss Button posed up a storm wearing her latest new sweater.

I’ve long admired Tin Can Knits for their wearable aesthetic and patterns that span a massive range of sizes.  You can knit for the whole family from some of their patterns that have a more unisex design.  I have many of their patterns in my Ravelry library, but haven’t knit one of them before.   I’m very glad that I finally got around to it!

This is Prairie Fire and comes in sizes 0-3 months to 59 inches.  Which is some seriously insane pattern grading, but makes the patterns fabulous value for money!  It’s also got the instructions for both short and long sleeves…I went long for this sweater at Miss Button’s request.

The pattern is exquisitely written.  Clear, concise instructions leave nothing to chance.  If only all patterns were this good!

Prairie Fire is a gorgeous design.  Knit from the top down, you start with the perfect neckline and the first of the tiny flame motifs.  As the sweater grows, the pattern gently swoops around to the meet at the back.

Garter stitch hems and cuffs match the neckline and add a nice counterpoint to the stocking stitch on either side of the flame pattern, and on the sleeves.

The flame pattern is simple, but, speaking from experience, it’s worth keeping an eye on the stitches as you knit, or you’ll be frogging back because you’ve missed a yarn over!

The finished sweater is just lovely.

I knitted this in an inexpensive cotton yarn from King Cole, simply because Miss B is growing out of stuff apace at the moment.  But if I were knitting this for myself (and I’ll admit I’m sorely tempted to do so) I’d be happy to splurge on the recommended Madeline Tosh, or something equally lovely, because this would surely be one of those sweaters you reach for time and again.

King Cole Cottonsoft is exactly that.  A soft, squishy cotton yarn that it delicious to knit with and is cosy with a lovely drape.  Just be aware that it pills like a beast, but I’m prepared to forgive it because it’s a beautiful colour and gentle against tender skin.

It’s perfect with jeans, as Miss B prefers to wear it.  But it would also dress up nicely with a winter skirt and boots for Saturday shopping and lunch.

Do you know, I may just be actually talking myself into knitting this for me!

Project notes:

Pattern:                           Tin Can Knits – Prairie Fire

Pattern cost:                   $7

Yarn:                               King Cole Cottonsoft DK

Colourway:                    Coral

Purchased at:                Black Sheep Wools

Total  cost:                      £15.96


Basic Black – Book Review and Giveaway

With the weather being so overcast and dull, it’s been nigh on impossible to get photos of finished knits and sewing, so I’m taking this opportunity to share another of the books that Tuttle Publishing recently sent me.

This time its a sewing book, Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials for the Modern Wardrobe by Sato Watanabe.

This is a beautiful book.  I do love the Japanese aesthetic, but often find that it leans a little too much towards simplicity, or, even, too young.  But this one is full of clean, stylish, wearable garments that would be equally at home in the wardrobes of 20-somethings as well as those more *cough* mature, like myself.

The patterns include blouses, dressed, jackets, skirts and coats.  Pretty much a whole wardrobe’s worth of designs.

My personal favourites include:

J. Jumper Dress with Square Neckline

 

K. High Neck Shirt with Three-quarter Length Sleeves

S. Dress with Stitched Skirt

U. Asymmetric Jumper Dress

Y. Flannel Short Coat

Z. Raglan Coat with Pin Spots

See, I told you they were gorgeous!

I particularly like that Flannel Short Coat!  Just the most perfect Autumn jacket.

The instructions are quite basic, in a style reminiscent of Burda magazines, and just list a series of sewing steps.  However, where you’ll need a bit extra help, there are diagrams to assist you.

The sizes are quite generous…these are finished measurements:

Although it’s still not a book for fuller figures, unless you’re happy to do some grading.

Which I’m not.  I just don’t have the headspace for that at the moment.  I’m concentrating on clearing the stash and filling the wardrobe as quickly as humanly possible.

So, I thought that maybe one of you guys would like to have this copy of the book?

Yes?

If so, please leave a comment below, before noon on Friday 3rd November, and I’ll pick a winner after that.

I’m happy to ship internationally.

Good luck!

Disclaimer

The lovely Ann over at @TuttlePublishing supplied me with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own and in no way influenced by @TuttlePublishing.


Newlook 6217 – version 2

One of the things that’s been missing in my life for many years is the time to regularly sew for myself. This isn’t a bad thing.  It’s just that life has been full of too many other things to allow me the time and brain space to as creative with fabric as I’d like.

But as the kids get older, and I shed obligations that no longer work with our life, I’m hoping to change the sewing situation.

I’ll have to admit that there’s one other thing that’s kept me from sewing quite as much as I’d like, and that is fit.

I’m have not yet mastered fitting myself.  This isn’t just down to time, I think it’s also due to my ridiculously fluctuating weight over the past few years.  I think I just have to acknowledge that this may continue for a while and embrace the need to carry out alterations or pass clothes on.

It became very clear to me recently in my adventures with Newlook 6217 that I still don’t have a clear plan of what I need to do to a pattern to get a half decent fit without multiple toiles.

This top is so, so simple to make.  Two pieces. Four seams. Five hems.  Nothing to it.

But as with all simple garments, fit is key as it has nowhere to hide.

My original unblogged version of this had been worn to rags, but had needed a little more room in the bust and a little less in the neck.  It had also needed the shoulder and side seams shifting.

So I carried out the changes (thankfully I’d noted these down!) and now have the side seam exactly where I want it.  The black line helps you see it, as it’s well hidden in the fabric pattern.  I know it looks odd but that’s due to me carrying all my excess weight to my front.

It does look like I need a small sway back adjustment in the photo, but I’m sure that’s the way I’m holding my arm up to take an iPhone photo.  I’m going to monitor that situation with future makes as in real life it doesn’t look as pronounced.

So I’m happy with that.

Having moved the shoulders, I’m still not happy.

The seam is still rolling to the front.  I have appalling posture.  Thank goodness I’ve got a yoga teacher coming next week!

Ok…on a top like this it’s easy to adjust the shoulder, so, I’ve done another seam adjustment for the next iteration.

I added another 1″ to the FBA.  I didn’t want to add a dart to this top so I followed the instructions for the Y-shaped FBA in Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern.  I removed the sleeve portion of the pattern before doing the alteration and it worked a treat.

As I’ve added a significant FBA to this top (a total of 6″), I’ve got some pooling above the bust.

I’ve pinched this out into wee darts to make this top wearable, and I’ve transferred this to the pattern.

I promise I’ve sewn them more evenly!

This second iteration is still very wearable.

Even with the fit flaws its still better than anything that I would buy off the shelf.  And because of the FBA it fits around the bust but flatters across the tummy, rather than having too much fabric swimming about there.

The other joy is having a top that fits at hip level and actually covers the bits I want it to.  At 5ft 7ins I have such trouble with RTW tops hitting too high and rising up in wear.  This doesn’t do that!

I have another version cut out and ready to sew.  It’s a knit fabric this time, which is really not the greatest idea when you’re perfecting fit, but was top of the fabric tub.  I’ve also got another length of fabric washed and ready to go which will, hopefully, be the last wearable muslin to get me to my first Tried And Tested pattern.

Project notes

Pattern:                                                                    Newlook 6217

Fabric:                                                                     Soft cotton lawn.

Colourway:                                                             Navy/taupe

Purchased from:                                                     Preston market

Total  cost:                                                               £4

Similar fabric can be found here:                        Croft Mill Fabrics*

*This is more spendy!

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  If you click through and make a  purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you!  I only recommend goods or services that I am happy to use myself.

 


She had so much fabric she didn’t know what to do

I’m sure you’ll remember this recent post when I happily declared that I had worked through my stash, sorted and catalogued all the fabric, and was set and ready to sew.

And then I made blinds.

And looked at the crates.

And I sewed nothing.

And I looked at the crates some more.

And I flicked through the patterns.

And I flicked through the fabric catalogue.

And I sewed nothing.

Because, when you’ve got 176 metres of fabric in the stash, (I know!!!), and you haven’t really sewn properly for a couple of years, there’s a question that your poor, overwhelmed brain keeps coming back to.

“Where the heck do you start?”

I have a huge pile of fabric, and enough patterns to last me till doomsday.  But I simply couldn’t decide what to make.

Should I make this pattern in that fabric?  Or would the other one be more appropriate? What about this one?

Completely stuck!  Completely frustrated! And still not sewing.

A couple of weeks back I decided that I would start with jeans.  The rationale being that I really need some more jeans in my wardrobe.  And my favourite sort-of jeans, RTW, but made from a soft stretch chino, had finally given up their last fibre.

Also…I wear jeans pretty much every day.

Oh…and I already had the pattern printed off and ready to tape.  Perfect.

So I taped up the pattern. Got to love a big sewing table!

Then packed it away.

Turns out, I’m not quite ready to go from zero to jeans fitting.

So….I sewed nothing.

And then, I opened my wardrobe and realised that I’ve hit that point where everything is running close to shabby and I need some new tops. (I’ve still got a couple of pairs of jeans that have only just come back into rotation after losing a bit of weight. The jeans weren’t a priority after all!)

I was just about to suggest a shopping trip to the Hubby, when I realised that, quelle suprise, I do know where to start.

So, on Saturday, whilst he cleared the last of the boxes and assorted crap from the garage, I pulled out a length of fabric that I’d already earmarked for toiles, and a couple of patterns that I’d already made up before.

First up, Simplicity 1886, which I’d previously made up in a pretty floral poly and worn to shreds.

OMG…throwback to dark hair! I look soooooo young!

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll already know that I’m really glad I made that toile!

The fit was so very far off that I binned the toile, and the pattern.  I’d already hacked it to death and, quite frankly, would much rather start again from fresh.

I’ll admit to being quite shocked by this as, if you’d asked me, I would have told you that it would be too small!

I quickly moved on to Newlook 6217, which I’d made up, loved, and worn to shreds before blogging it.  This is one of the patterns that I’d like to be a TNT that I can pull out, pop on the fabric, and whizz up whenever the mood takes me.

It’s the kind of easy-to-wear top I love for day-to-day wear when you’ve got to get yourself together quickly in the morning, but don’t want to look like a complete schlep!

I knew there were some tweaks needed to the pattern, so did a quick toile, clarified the tweaks, and applied them to the pattern.

I’m pretty sure it’s good to go, but I’ll make up in some cheap fabric just to confirm. I’ve then got at least 2 or 3 other lengths of fabric that I can quickly whizz up and get out of the stash and into the wardrobe.  Whereupon I can recycle the tatty RTW.

And I’ll have my first ever TNT!

Once that’s done I can move onto the next pattern I want to sew.  Which will either be the Ginger Jeans or the Sew Me Something Imogen top.

image copyright: sewmesomthing.co.uk

Cue, the next of the TNTs.

The moral of this story?  Turns out there’s a couple.

First up, when your sewing room is in boxes and you don’t know how long it will be before it’s unpacked…..stop buying fabric.

When you’re so busy that you’re not sewing….stop buying fabric.

And when you’re so stuck you don’t know where to start….Stop. Buying. Fabric!*

Oh…and Just. Start. Somewhere. It doesn’t matter if its the perfect fabric/pattern combo. Or if there are 73 other patterns that a given piece of fabric can be used for.

Just.  Sew.  Something.

“Done” is better than “Perfect!”

*Obviously, if your lovely friend texts  to say that she’s popping round at some point in the week with a gift of free fabric, that absolutely, positively doesn’t count. 

Just make sure it’s stuff you love, or let it go to another good home!


Going Underground Quilt

I can’t believe it’s been a year since we moved house.  Time flies!

When we told our kids we had finally found our new home, their excitement at moving so close to grandparents and their beloved park was tempered by real stress at leaving their home.

For children without any challenges, moving house is a big deal. For adopted children with attachment (amongst other) issues, moving house is A Very Big Deal, that creates a great deal of fear that they cannot vocalise or even understand.  But it’s real, and it’s really quite debilitating.

For our boy, this was expressed as absolute desolation at leaving his bedroom behind.  I wish it was an exaggeration but it wasn’t.  He spent the last week making little videos on his iPad so he’d have his old room with him at the new house.

To try and calm his anxiety I promised him that not only would his new bedroom be bigger than the tiny box room he had in the old house, but that I would make it extra super special for him. It didn’t work completely to allay his fears, but he was certainly excited as decorating started to happen.

He has a passion for all things London since his daddy worked there a few years ago…made even more exciting for him when we had a trip there to visit Daddy. But he especially loves the London Underground, so there was only one way we could go…..

London Underground Map wallpaper on one wall.

London themed fabric for his Roman blind.  It’s Capital by Prestigious Textiles.

London Underground bedlinen (thank you Nana!).

And, for hiding under and playing iPads or reading.  For cuddling up in on cold mornings, or if you’re not feeling well.  And for making rather splendid dens…….

……a London Underground quilt!

I can’t claim the work on this one.  This is all Made By Ma!  A huge pile of teeny squares lovingly cut and then put back together in the shape of the London Underground Map.

It’s totally awesome!  Iconic! And very clever!

Funnily enough, our little man doesn’t miss our old house at all any more.   And loves his new London bedroom.

Phew!

Project notes

Pattern:                             Tikki London – London Underground Quilt PDF

Pattern cost:                    £3.95

Fabric:                              Plain quilting cotton

Colourway:                      Various

Purchased at:                  Black Sheep Wools

Total quilt cost:                Approx £100


His Simple Socks

Hellooooooo!

If you follow my Instagram feed you’ll have seen that I’ve been sewing pink gingham curtains for Miss Button’s bedroom.

I have to tell you that I was snow blind with pink gingham!

All of these are interlined, French blackout, with buckram and hand pleated headings. That’s 4 layers to be locked together before you even think about adding the buckram and pleats.  It’s slow work but the end result is worth the effort.  I never fail to be delighted when a hand stitched curtain is hung.  Despite the grumbling and cursing the construction inevitably produces

I’ve also sewn a blind for Boy’s London themed bedroom.  It’s also French blackout, which is even more effective in a blind than a curtain!

Life has also been full of house plans, garden clearance and fencing, revision, final exams, doctors appointments and diagnoses, walking 10k steps a day to fundraise for Cancer Research, and just the general minutiae of daily life!

Whilst all of these are good things, by the end of the day the most I’ve been able to manage is box-setting Madam Secretary (soooo good!) and a little knitting or tapestry.

The sock on the needles at the moment is my usual, and much loved, Regia pattern, however, I recently ventured a little off sock piste and tried a new pattern. I’m so glad I did. Although I have to confess that I was forced to do so as a result of picking up some luminous yarn that was on sale in John Lewis only to find it was 3 ply.

It was a serendipitous purchase, as it pushed me out of my comfort zone, if only by a smidge. Whilst there isn’t a massive amount of choice in 3 ply sock patterns, having found His Simple Socks by Elizabeth Seidle I didn’t feel like I was missing out. This  is super pattern that is well written and easy to follow.  The stitch pattern is simple enough for mindless tv knitting, but a little more engaging than plain stocking stitch.

The heel is reinforced which is a nice touch and pleasant to knit.

And I love how the toe, instep and heel look crisp against the patterned section.

Obviously we veered away from the sober, gentlemanly colour scheme of the original with this bold chartreuse.  That’s how we roll in these parts.

I didn’t swatch.  Which I should have done, as they came out a little on the snug side. Thankfully not too snug!  But next time I’ll go up a needle size just to make them a little more relaxed.

Whilst I missed Woolfest,  it’s not too long to wait until Yarndale, especially with the summer holidays looming large.  When I’m there I think I’ll keep my eyes peeled for some lovely 3 ply yarns to make these again.

Project notes

Pattern:                             His Simple Socks

Pattern cost:                     $3.50

Yarn:                                 Bergère de France Goomy 50

Colourway:                      Imprim Jaun

Purchased at:                  John Lewis

Yarn cost:                         About £6


Gaptastic Cowl

I know…I know.  It’s glorious weather out there and here I am, still babbling on about winter woolies. But this was another yarnie gift from a friend.  Thankfully this was only from the Christmas just gone!

There’s not much to say about the Gaptastic Cowl, other than it is a super simple knit, and a very wearable thing.  It’s been knitted 18390 times, according to Ravelry. That many people can’t be wrong.

Before the delicious sunshine arrived, this was heavily in rotation to keep me toasty on the school run.  I’d been planning to make it for forever and never got around to it.  I wish I hadn’t waited so long!

The yarn is lush!  It’s Debbie Bliss Winter Garden, which is sadly discontinued.  It’s a shame because it’s just the perfect yarn for this cowl.  Soft and cosy and lightweight.  The colour is a misty grey blue with delicious flecks of turquoise, chartreuse and white.

Basically, it’s the perfect combination of pattern and yarn.  And I love it!


The goats of Inversnaid

With the temperatures today hitting the late 20’s, it is, of course, the perfect time to post a review of knitted hats and mitts.  😯

This yarn and pattern was a gift to me from my friend Christian at Christmas 2015, and they’ve been finished, so Ravelry tells me, since February 2017.  So this post is long overdue.  I hope you’ll humour me!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before what a huge fan I am of Kate Davies, and I was keen to knit one of her patterns and try her Buachaille yarn too.  So this was the best kind of gift from a friend who knows you well.  I’m blessed with several of those.

Starting with the yarn, I have to say this is just about the nicest yarn I’ve ever knit with. It’s crisp and firm, with excellent stitch definition, and deep colour saturation. Hubby was bored senseless of me gushing every time I picked up this project, but the yarn is simply joyous to knit with.

It’s not cheap, but it’s an artisan yarn and, I think, well worth the money.  I suspect this is going to be one of those yarns that lasts through much wear and tear, making it, in reality, much better value for money than less expensive, or squishier yarns, that frustratingly give up the ghost much sooner.

Having had a few of those experiences recently, I’m vowing that whilst the cheaper yarns are fine for the kids, who grow out of clothes rather than wear them out, for us grown ups I’ll be investing as much in the yarn as I do in the actually knitting of the garment.

The pattern is equally lovely.

Expertly written.  Easy to read.  Delightful to knit. Everything I’d hoped it would be and more.

I’m not an expert knitted of stranded colourwork, but Kate helped me produce a result that would fool anyone into thinking I was.

Oh those little goats!  They are stupidly easy to knit and each one gives you a happy feeling as you knit the last row of its horn.

Miss Button is gazing wistfully at the hat.  She does look adorable in it, so I may succumb to her entreaties.

But the gauntlets are mine.  I’ll fight anyone to defend their glorious goatiness.

And as they’re stranded they are super cosy and warm.

I know it’s far too warm to be thinking of winter knits at the moment, but I’ll be smug when normal northern weather resumes and I’m already prepared.

Can I suggest you add these to your knit list for this Autumn?  I promise you won’t regret it!


Cove Cardigan

I do love a good cardigan for Button, and this certainly fits the bill!

It’s a super little pattern that is easy to knit, but you have that lovely lacy button ‘band’ at the front that gives it a certain lift.

The yarn is starting to pill slightly due to wear. I really must get the pill shaver on it soon. But I’d rather that than the garment languish in the drawer unworn!

This yarn is the perfect match for a pair of cotton trousers and print top that we bought from Next last summer.  I’m really hoping she doesn’t outgrow them too quickly as they’re so cute.  I think we’ll get away with the trousers looking adorably cropped, and the top will still be modest enough for her to get this spring out of the ensemble.

This ‘gathering’ is a simple technique but gives the overall garment a bit of shape and some interest to an otherwise plain back.

The 3/4 sleeves are perfect for spring and give a nice proportion.

I have no hesitation in recommending this pattern.  It’s well written and easy to follow, an enjoyable knit that doesn’t need you to concentrate too hard, but the lace front detail takes the edge off the plain stocking stitch.

In fact, I like it so much I made a second version for Button’s school friend, who admired it when it was worn on a playdate!

Project details

Pattern:                             Cove Cardigan by The Velvet Acorn Designs

Pattern cost:                     $6.60

Yarn:                                 Cascade 220

Colourway:                      Smoke Blue and Dusty Rose

Purchased at:                  Loop London (No longer stocked by Loop)

Yarn cost:                         £5.99 per ball from Wool Warehouse

 


Pattern giveaway

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that at the weekend I decided to tip out the boxes into which I’d hurriedly unpacked patterns and have a bit of a sort out.

Hubby has kindly offered to scan everything into an Evernote catalogue for me so I’ll never duplicate a pattern again, and I’m itching to sew but not sure where to start.  It’s been so long, I don’t trust my hands at the moment for much other than sock knitting!

As I emptied each of the 4 boxes that will be the permanent home of the pattern stash, I sorted them into piles of the same…..dresses, trousers, skirts, etc., etc.

It’s a bit of a revelation. I’ve some fabulous contemporary patterns in there, Big 4 and Indie, and also a growing collection of vintage ones that is bigger than I’d originally thought. This is entirely thanks to the kindness and generosity of my lovely friends Liz and Christian, who have gifted me some corkers over the last year or so. Liz is a whizz with the charity shops and is the person who always finds the most amazing things. Vogue Couturier for £4 anyone!?!?

I think I need to get some archive envelopes for these and store them separately. I’ll happily share details in another post if you’re interested.

But for today I’m sharing some spares I have in my stash.

I’ve got half a dozen Cake Patterns up for grabs and a Frozen costume.  Here are the ones available:

If you’d like any of these patterns then please let me know in the comments.  If more then one person wants it I’ll draw names out of a hat!

Let’s say I’ll close comments on this on one on Friday 7th April.  I hope they’ll find a good home.