Tag Archives: patterns

Langston Blue

When I bought the yarn for my Harbour Island cardigan, I chose the yarn before the pattern and so, as you do, purchased way too much.  With small folk in the house this is never a burden, so I had a quick look through Ravelry and realised that the Langston pattern was perfect.

Langston

I have knitted this little cardi before and was thrilled with both the knitting of it and the end result, so it was a no brainer to cast on it again.

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This time I decided to knit it in plain stocking stitch without the cables.  I wanted a quick and easy knit that I could work on whilst watching a movie.

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The cardi had it’s debut outing on a girls night out to our new fave Italian restaurant, La Corte in Leyland.  Leyland isn’t renowned for much other than it’s automotive history, and certainly not for it’s nightlife, but La Corte is a welcome addition to the town.  And a great use of the long defunct old police station/court house.  If you’re in the area I highly recommend a visit!

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Button was given the choice of where she’d like to go and this was it.  Although the cardi was still missing it’s buttons at this point, it was the perfect topper for a cool but sunny summer’s evening.

This is super little pattern and I highly recommend it.


Summertime

….and the living is busy!

So much going on here.  The kids are on holiday from school now for 7 weeks. Already we have a playdate with friends and sleepovers at grandparents planned. A week at playscheme will be a good break for all of us, as will spending the last week with friends in Bedford.  It’s hard to believe but when they go back in September Button will be in juniors.

Needless to say everyone is tired.  Boy threw the mother of all tantrums this morning and after 3 hours (I kid ye not) of yelling and stamping and tears and throwing toys around the place he’s finally asleep.  Button is enjoying the respite as much as I. Things will settle soon after a few days of chillin’.

Husband and I are shattered as, despite not completing the reno on this house, we’re thinking the best option might actually be to move!

I know….it was totally outta the blue for us too.  But our current home is teeny tiny with a garden the size of a postage stamp.  After a recent visit to our friends in Bedford and their half acre garden, Button would stand at our bedroom window wistfully wishing that we could knock the fence down between us and our neighbours.  Add in that we have need of a home office  and a dedicated sewing room and only one small room that could eventually be argued over and we decided it’s time.  Trying to sew, eat and run a business from the kitchen table is getting old! We’ve spent the last few weeks looking at everything on the market that remotely fitted the bill.  We think we may have found the ideal candidate. There’s another interested buyer so we may lose out…time will tell.  I’ll let you know as things develop.

So, as you’d expect, there’s not much creativity happening here.

A little knitting…..

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This is Brooklyn Tweed’s Longfellow by Michele Wang which I’m knitting in Drops Alpaca in Navy (colour 5575) for Hubby.

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There’s also a quilt to be layered ready for hand quilting:

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And a new bag kit that I received as a birthday gift from my in-laws:

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Mine will be red leather.

That should keep me occupied over the holidays.  I’m hoping to get a little time at the machine too.  I’ve two lots of fabric for shirts for Boy and the yellow blouse is going to be remade for Button.

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I’m planning a version of her Liberty blouse, this time with a pleated front as per her request.

I think it will suit her more than me!

I also have a couple of makes that need photographing.  Perhaps we’ll have a day of nice weather soon and we can get out and about with the camera.

Priority for the next 7 weeks, though, is picnics and playing in the park.  Reading and drawing.  Visits to the zoo and museums.  Playdates and pyjama days.  Pretty much taking the days as they come.  Hopefully without too many meltdowns!  Either theirs or mine!

So posting will sporadic…I’m sure you’ll understand.  In the meantime I’m off to do some colouring with a small girl.  I’ll see you soon.

 


BurdaStyle 130 – blue silk prom gown

Despite  the unusual 30+ degree heat here last week I managed to get the silk prom dress sewn in plenty of time and delivered on Saturday morning to a very happy neighbour.  She popped round last night on the way to her prom to let me snap a couple of quick photos.

Katie_Prom_1She looked stunning, and I received a lovely message from her this morning telling me how happy she was with the dress and that it was much admired by her friends.  Phew!

As I mentioned in my last post the pattern is BurdaStyle 12/2011 #130 and I made it in silk crepe backed satin in Royal Blue from Beckford Silk.  I sewed the dress with the matte crepe side of the silk as the right side of the fabric.  We both agreed it gave the dress a more elegant look.

As usual the instructions from the Burda pattern were ‘interesting’ and so I made some of the construction up as I went along!

As the silk is very lightweight I wanted to put as little weight as possible in the seams so I finished them with a ‘stitch and pink’ edging.  French seams would have been beautiful but ran the risk of being simply too bulky and heavy.  As this is an occasion dress that won’t get a great deal of wear, I’m not concerned about the seam finish not holding up to wear and tear.

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The above photo shows the inside of the armhole which is gently held in place with herringbone stitch which catches just a couple of threads of the main fabric to hold it in place and is virtually invisible when you look at the finished dress.

The neckline facing and hem were hand-stitched in place, this time with teeny tiny slip stitches.  I wanted them to look almost invisible from the outside…I think I succeeded.

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When Katie collected the dress on Saturday morning it looked less than stellar on the hanger.

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But…we’d had three fittings and I was confident that all would be well once the dress had been to the dry cleaners for a professional press.

I was right!

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Being ultra critical there’s still a little wrinkling on the seams, but only us in the know will notice that and, let’s be honest, all eyes were on Katie, not the seams!

And, of course, the demure front of the dress hides a daring secret at the back…

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I lengthened the neck tie, which threads through a casing at the neckline of the front bodice, to nearly 3 metres long to get this dramatic effect.

Katie_Prom_8If you’d asked me a week ago I’d have had choice words to say about this gown, but today, seeing the result and that beautiful, happy smile, I can safely say it was worth every single stitch.


A flying visit

Hello m’dears.  I’ve been absent for what seems like ages and thankfully this time it’s been down to having fun rather than coughing like a badger!

Last week was my birthday and Hubby took the week off work and we had a lovely time. Monday evening we celebrated with the family and the rest of the week we pootled and had outings and rounded the week off with a lovely Italian dinner and rather too much champagne.

This week I’ve got my nose to the grindstone.  My neighbour has her prom a week from today and I’m making her a gown.  I thought I had a lot of time….but, in typical fashion, I’d got the dates wrong and need this finished by the weekend!

I’m making her this BurdaStyle gown sans the rosette.

BurdaStyle Rosette Gown

Her fabric is this beautiful silk crepe backed satin in royal blue from Beckford Silk:

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This is the first time I’ve purchased from this company and I’ve been really pleased with the levels of customer service and the quality of this fabric.

The colour is saturated and whilst the fabric is, of course, a bear to cut, it’s a joy to stitch and feeds through the machine with no shenanigans.  For which, in my current time constrained manner, I’m eternally grateful.

I’m sewing the medium weight silk for this dress and my preference would have been the heavier, but 16 year olds have definite ideas so who am I to argue?

Thankfully I’m on schedule (yep…I have a schedule for this one…no room for slippage on time) and I’ve just inserted a beautiful invisible zip…hence the time for a quick coffee break and a quick pop in here to say hello.

I’m off now to start on those pleats.  Wish me luck…I’ll see you on the other side!


Simplicity 1660 – two new tops for me!

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Finally, finally, I’ve done some sewing for me.  The sewjo has been on the missing list for far too long where I’m concerned, but last week it returned with a vengeance.

I’d been toying with buying the Sutton Blouse pattern from True Bias

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when I remembered I had this pattern already in my stash.
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Saving pennies wasn’t the only consideration; the sizing of the Simplicity pattern meant that I could get straight to sewing with minimal fuss.  Aside from the time taken to tape the Sutton PDF together, I’d also have needed to do some grading as I fall outside their size range at the moment.

It was a complete no brainer!

I’ve made them both up using the hemline of version B and the sleeves of version A without the cuffs.

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The first version is made up in a poly georgette from Abakhan that I bought ages ago from their oddments bin. I swear I didn’t pay more than £5 for this. In fact £2.50 is lurking in my head.  I really must get better at recording this stuff. It was a beast to sew with…a very slippery customer…but is lovely to wear and the perfect fabric for this top.

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S1660 is a really easy sew and, for once, I did things right and checked my measurements against the finished measurements and cut my size accordingly.  The only adjustment I made to the pattern was to add 2″ to the length.  The neckline is a bit closer on me than the diagram, so I shaved 1/2″ off the neckline on the second version.  I think I need to shave at least another 1/2″ off future iterations as you’ll see.

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The back has this cute overlapping v-neck and slight gathering into the yoke.   The sleeves are cut as one with the body.

This is such a quick sew.  Even with the fiddly fabric this was sewn in an afternoon.

Which was why I quickly cut out a second version from a fabric I’ve had in my stash for For. Ever! Christmas 2012 to be precise!

Simplicity_1660_5This is Art Gallery Voile in Praline Honey and it’s buttery soft and delightfully lightweight.

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It’s a wonderful fabric to sew with, but be warned it creases almost as much as linen!

These pictures show how fabric choice influences how a pattern turns out.  The poly georgette is one of the recommended fabrics on the pattern envelope.  The voile is possibly just a wee bit structured for this blouse, but I still think it’s quite successful.

Simplicity_1660_7It’s not as fluid over the bust, but it’s more noticeable on the photos than in real life. I’d also remove the shirt tail hem at the back if I made this up in cotton again.

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Summer tops are scarce in my wardrobe at the moment so both of these tops are in very heavy rotation until my next project is done.  I’ve got Butterick 6024 cut out and ready to sew.

B6024But, rest assured, you’ll be seeing S1660 again in the not too distant future!


Fledgling Featherweight in Rowan Fine Lace

Who in their right mind knits a cardigan for a 7 year old in Rowan Lace Weight?

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Well, I’ve never claimed to be in my right mind!

And to give credit where it’s due, I took Button yarn shopping at John Lewis and this was the only yarn she would give the time of day to.

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I love a girl who knows her mind.  Expect, of course, when her mind is telling her that 7.30pm is too soon to go to bed.  Then we’ll beg to differ!

But back to the knitting.  Fledgling is the small person’s version of Hannah Fettig’s much loved Featherweight cardigan. I loathed knitting every single stitch of it! It’s laceweight knit on 4mm needles and is a slippery, pesky, tiresome knit.

But look at it!  It’s worth every hateful stitch.

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It’s the perfect throw on topper for cooler spring days.

It goes with most of her wardrobe (if we ignore the One Direction and girly superhero stuff…which I usually do (sorry Nana!) but Button beelines to, and who am I to argue?).

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And it passes the Button wearability test.  Which is always the most important one.

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I must, at this point, insert the caveat that this hatefulness is purely subjective because I loathe and detest knitting laceweight on (relatively) big needles.  The pattern itself is delightful.  So much so that this is my second time out with this pattern.  The first incarnation, in white, was a foolish project born of hope triumphing over experience. And common sense. It didn’t last long enough to be photographed before being destroyed by a large and immoveable stain of unknown origin.

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This kid cracks me up! She was freezing and boogying to keep warm!

This version is holding up to the trials of small peeps.  It’s been worn several times and is still intact. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll won’t have to knit this again until she grows out of it!

Zoolander has nothing on this girl!  Nothing at all!

Zoolander has nothing on this girl! Nothing at all!

A girl can hope.  Right?


She wears the pants….winner!

She_wears_the_pants_1I’m pleased to announce the winner of this copy is Katy M!

Congratulations Katy.  Please drop me an email with your home address and I’ll pop this in the post to you.

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition and the debate.  I’ve really enjoyed the conversation.

 


CustomFit Harbour Island Cardigan

My love affair with Amy Herzog’s CustomFit continues. Although today was a tad too warm for photographing cardigans, I really wanted to grab some snaps so I could share this with you.

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The pattern is Amy Herzog’s Harbour Island knit in Patons Diploma Gold DK in the Navy colour-way.

I absolutely love this cardigan.  I cannot tell you how much.  It’s the perfect cardi for throwing on with a pair of jeans to do the school run when it’s too cold for just a t-shirt and too warm for a jacket.

And once again it fits perfectly at the bust and shoulders so even when unbuttoned it doesn’t slip off.

Harbour_Island_5Fastened you can see how brilliantly it fits.  To be fair the sleeves could be a little tighter but that’s because I opted for the relaxed fit option and a snugger sleeve is a personal preference.  I don’t notice it when I’m wearing it…I only notice how comfy I am!

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I like the 2×2 rib and the Vandyke Check Pattern Stitch on the cuffs and hem.  Both are really easy to do.  Both of them were frogged back time and again because I didn’t pay attention!

Why is it that the easiest stitch patterns are the ones that give me the most grief?

Needless to say this has been worn time and again since I finished it a couple of weeks ago (again with the wonderful seaming assistance of my friend Liz.  I swear she employs pixies to help her.  Her seams are a thing of beauty.)

I would absolutely recommend this pattern, and of course, CustomFit.  I was thinking of casting another of these on in a different colour, but then, when digging out the links for this post I saw Drumlin, which is just about The Perfect Cardigan as far as I’m concerned.

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I can see me knitting this in 4-ply/fingering in All. The. Colours.  So I’d better get cracking with the socks and cardigan for the Mr/cardigan for Button that are already in the queue and then I can get this on the needles for myself!


She wears the pants – review and giveaway

Yay…giveaway time!  I lurve a good giveaway and this one’s no exception.

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The lovely peeps over at Tuttle shared this book with me for review, but you know, as always, all opinions are my own.

So, to the book.  Can we talk about the elephant in the room first?  “She wears the pants”. What were they thinking?  The original title of the book “She has a mannish style” is much more appropriate and really shows how easily things can get lost in translation, and why it’s so important to check cultural norms when carrying out any translation work.  To be honest, my preference would have been for them to include some of the strap-line and title the book “She has an urban style”, which would actually better encapsulate the contents of this book.

Like all Japanese sewing books this is very stylised.  Perhaps a little too much for my taste. Some of the photos are a somewhat too dark to properly see the garment, and you have to rely on the technical drawing. For me, this isn’t a book I’d make lots out of, but that’s because I’m not that hip! I don’t think it’s an age thing, more a personal style thing.

That said there are some garments that with a little tweak would fit perfectly in my wardrobe, you just have to restyle them in your head.

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I love this jacket and think it would be a great trans-season piece in a good weight of ponté jersey.

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This draped cardigan would look great with cigarette trousers and loafers.

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This is a very classic blouse that would work in just about anyone’s wardrobe.

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And with a bit of length added this blouse would work brilliantly with leggings or jeans.

As you’d expect the instructions are minimal but you do have some really clear drawings to help you out.

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And the pattern pieces included in the back don’t have seam allowances, so you’ll need to add them.

Finally, I have one final, but rather large caveat, and that’s the sizing.  Whilst I appreciate that the Japanese market for which this book was originally intended is markedly more petite than the western market this edition is designed for, I’m surprised and disappointed at the very small range of sizes included.

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Even taking the largest size I’d be having to grade that bust up by at least 30%. Which is a real shame because there’s a whole section of the sewing population that would love to dive into cool, Japanese sewing patterns and can’t because they either don’t have the skills or the inclination to carry out such a significant grading exercise.  I probably fall into the middle of both categories.

I really hope the publishers take this on board as more of these books become available in English and that they expand their size ranges accordingly.

However, let’s not detract from the fact that, quibbles aside, this is a great book that I’d definitely recommend if your style leans toward an urban look.

And I have a copy up for grabs!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Japanese patterns in general and sizing in particular, so leave me a comment below before Friday 22nd May and I’ll draw the winner at random.


Little Geranium dress in Liberty Tana Lawn

When I bought the fabric for Button’s recent blouse I was hopeful that I’d have enough for a little gift for Alice (who-isn’t-a-cat, but that seems a bit redundant these days) who was expecting a little gift of her own.

Tilda in her dress

Oh, she’s so lovely.  My heart melts.  What better way to welcome her than with a teeny tiny dress?

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Of course the pattern is Rae’s Little Geranium Dress which is available for free in size 0 – 3 months.  If you haven’t already fallen for this wonderful pattern (at which point I’m scratching my head and wondering if I should call a medic!) then this is a great way to test it out so you can realise the error of your ways!

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This version is lined with white cotton lawn, to keep it soft against little skin.

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Simple red buttons on the back.

A perfect gift for any little girl…especially one so adorable!