Tag Archives: finished projects 2014

Lekela 5098 – the finished blouse

A couple of weeks ago we had a family gathering for Chinese food and I was determined to finish this blouse to wear for it.  Armed with lots of tea, plenty of episodes of The Archers on download, and the spirit of the Great British Sewing Bee, I set to.

Lekela 5098 1

I made it and despite my reservations about the pattern, I’m really delighted with the finished blouse.

We’ll ignore the fact that I’m larger than the average bear at the moment, and the hedge is in dire need of a trim, shall we?!

Oh, and the creases…I’ve been wearing this all day, including a couple of hours in the car driving to and fro!

The Fabric

This fabric was a lucky find in one of the offcuts bins at Abakhan.  It’s polyester but if you don’t look to closely it could just about pass for silk. It’s got a great drape and because they sold it by weight, it cost me about £3.  So the whole blouse, including the pattern, came in at under a fiver.

On the subject of polyester…I know it gets a bad rap, but some of my favourite RTW blouse are lightweight poly, and I have to say they suit my lifestyle perfectly. So whilst I’m still always going to love a good quality cotton, I’m not going to turn my nose up at a cute poly, especially when the result is this good.

So, what do I think of the pattern?

Well, I covered this in some detail in my previous post, but, despite the issues I had with the actual pattern, I’m really rather pleased with the results.

The instructions are hilarious.  They’ve obviously been run through an online translation and as such make Burda instructions look like War & Peace.  I had no idea what they intended me to do with the sleeves and initially sewed both marked pleats in place, only to find that I couldn’t move my arm.

10 minutes with a stitch-unpick and that issue was solved!

I should also point out that I straightened the seam-line of the sleeve to reduce some of the fullness at the cuff.

You can see where the second pleat has been released.

You can see where the second pleat has been released.

These patterns have the direct opposite of the clear and lovely instructions of such independents as Cake, Colette or Oliver + S.  So I pretty much made it up as I went along.

Bias binding for the neck opening and neckline. A bit rough and ready but I was up against the clock and not completely convinced this blouse was going to be wearable.  You only notice when you get really, really up close and personal, and The Husband is never going to criticise my stitching 😉

Lekela 5098_3

And a quick bias cuff with the bottom of the sleeve gathered slightly to fit.

Lekela 5098_4

Would I make this again?

It might surprise you, but absolutely yes!  I got many compliments on our night out, most along the line of “wow…love your blouse…where did you buy it”.  I’ll take those, thank you very much!

I really need to learn some new poses!

I really need to learn some new poses!

I’ve some beautiful lightweight cotton with a divine polka dot that I’ve been hoarding since November last year (6 metres of it…an anniversary gift from The Husband.  Reason to love him #762!)

I’m planning to add some shirring to the centre back to add a little more shaping, and to the bottom of the sleeve instead of a cuff.  I’ll probably just gather the sleeve next time although I do like the pleat, but I’m contemplating adding some pintucks to the front and moving the opening to the back with a wee button.

It’ll have to wait a little bit though.  A certain young lady has commandeered some red denim in my stash and dragged me to the sewing shop today to buy lining and notions for her own version of the Spring Showers Jacket.  Hey…it’s cheaper than a bike!

Elegance & Elephants Spring Showers Jacket – Pattern Review

I had the good fortune this week to be asked to test again for Elegance & Elephants.

You already know how much I love Heidi’s patterns.  You’ve seen them often enough here.

This time it was Boy’s turn to be my muse for Heidi’s latest delightful offering, the Spring Showers Jacket.

E&E jacket

The Pattern

This is a really cute unisex jacket in sizes 2 – 12. I made the size 4/5.  The PDF comes together really quickly and easily and each size is nicely nested to enable you to cut or trace your required size without having to squint! The instructions are well written with clear photos holding your hand every step of the way. The pattern has some sweet touches like the patch pockets with flaps:

Spring Showers Jacket 2

and a cute visor on the hood!

Spring Showers Jacket 3The Fabric

I chose this fabulous navy camo cotton drill  from Minerva Fabrics for the outer shell and a plain cotton, also from Minerva for the lining.  I lined the sleeves in a matching poly to make the jacket easier to slip on and off.

Spring Showers Jacket 5

What do I think?

No surprises… I love this pattern.  Heidi has done it again.  This is going to be a firm favourite Chez Stitches.

Spring Showers Jacket 1

I’m thrilled with this jacket.  This is the sort of garment I’d happily spend good money on, but am even happier to have made myself.

My little man is 5 but small for his age.

Spring Showers Jacket 7

This means he’s got lots of room to put a sweater underneath on cooler days, and will also get lots of wear out of this.

He loves it too.

Spring Showers Jacket 8


Spring Showers Jacket 6_edited-1

The pattern is available now.  If you’ve got small people I can really recommend this pattern.  I’ve got a feeling it won’t be too long before I’m making a pink or red version for a certain little lady.  She’s dropping huge hints to that effect. And who am I to argue?

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this pattern in return for my testing of the pattern and subsequent feedback.  All opinions are, however, entirely my own.  

Happy socks

These are happy socks in more ways than one.

I'm so happy with the matched stripes!

I’m so happy with the matched stripes!

The colour palette is very spring like and makes me hopeful that soon Spring will arrive in more than name.

Happy socks

Also, they are knitted in Wendy Happy 4ply.  The yarn is 75% bamboo and 25% nylon and have been a delightfully squishy knit.  A bit splitty, yes, but not annoyingly so.  And a bit prone to tangle in the ball, but sorting that out is work for husbands…or mine at least, he’s got far more patience with these things than I.

Last but not least, a new pair of socks always puts a smile on his face, and that makes me happy too.

Happy socks

See…happy socks indeed!


The Sweater of Doom is finished.


I sewed the final seam on Saturday afternoon so it was ready just in time for the Mr’s birthday on Sunday.  This was a result…but more good luck than good judgement 😉

He is delighted with the sweater and promptly pronounced it to be cosy and warm, which is a blessing here at the moment because although Spring has sprung, it’s still cold and wet (though nothing like our Canadian and North American cousins have been experiencing, so I’ll shut up). He also declared that it’s his favourite knitted-by-me sweater, which makes all my cursing worth while.

But enough of my waffling…here’s what Larry looks like on him:

Larry by PendleStitches




Larry by Berrocco Design Team – available free on Ravelry



Twilleys of Stamford Freedom Spirit Chunky in colourway Dignity.

Pattern review:

This is a super, simple pattern that could be knitted by any adventurous beginner. If you can cast on and off, knit, purl, do simple decreases and pick up stitches, you can knit this sweater.

It’s also the perfect thing to knit in front of the TV because of it’s simplicity.

The end result is a rugged, casual sweater that is a great wardrobe basic.

Things I’d do differently next time:

  • Make sure I had enough yarn!  Having to alternate between old and new yarns because they were different dye lots really slowed me down.
  • Not sit on one of my lovely wooden needles halfway through, snapping it and ending up having to dig an old pair of metal needles out of the needle jar so I could crack on and get this finished.
  • Realise sooner that this needle change would affect the tension and that was why, even though I’d counted the rows on the sleeves, the second sleeve was shorter than the first.  Doh!
  • Not use recycled yarn.  As this is a loosely spun yarn it was quite keen to stick to itself which made the knitting process less fun.

Would I recommend this pattern:

Absolutely.  I can definitely see another one of these being knitted next winter simply because he loves it so much.

Johnny B Good shirt

Despite my own best efforts not to finish this shirt, I did, and in good time for Boy’s birthday party on Saturday.  Phew!

johnny be good shirtBefore I get into the review of this shirt, let me just remind you that this shirt was upcycled from a shirt gifted to us by our friend, Martin.  The fabric is a thick and temperamental cotton, that acts like a very brattish polyester.

But…it’s wonderfully soft and cosy and Boy, who normally throws a fit of the screaming ab-dabs when you ask him to wear a shirt, couldn’t wait to get it on, and didn’t want to take it off. So it’s a win, as far as I’m concerned.

I did change the buttons.  On the original shirt they were a yellowy cream button and really looked a bit odd against the lilac/pink/blue fabric.

shirt buttons

The new buttons are a variegated lilac that I found on our local market stall.  I like them much more.

shirt buttons

Oops…a bit blurry, but you get the idea, no?

And, in one final change, I “drafted” a mandarin/grandad collar by simply folding the collar part of the pattern up and using just the stand to cut my fabric.  I did, of course, remember to add a seam allowance to the top of the collar!

johnny b good

The pattern is Shwinn Designs Johnny B Good shirt, and, I’ll admit I have mixed feelings about this pattern.

johnnybgoodLet’s start with the good:

  • The tiling on the pdf is really good and the pattern tapes together quickly and cleanly.
  • The drafting of the pattern is excellent.  I found all the separate pieces stitched up perfectly.
  • The sizing is good too.  Boy is a small 5 and this shirt fits him now but has room to grow into.  In my book this is perfect.  If I’m sewing something for the kids I’d like it to last more than a couple of weeks!

However, this pattern does have some challenges:

  • I found the instructions to be a little less than straightforward and clear.
  • I thought the sleeve placket is a little long.  It reaches right up to the elbow. This is, of course, just a matter of personal taste.
  • I also thought the sleeve placket to be placed just a little too far towards the front of the sleeve.
  • There are no placement marks for the buttonholes on the sleeves.  The idea is that you place them where you’d like them to go, but, personally, I would have preferred them to be added on the pattern.
johnny b good

I think this shows how far forwards the sleeve placket sits on the sleeve and also how high up the sleeve it goes. Please ignore the shoddy buttonholes. 

Despite the things I’m not fond of with this pattern, I will be using it again.  I think I’ll adjust the sleeve placket to move it more to the back of the arm, and shorten the placket a little bit.  

I plan to measure this shirt to get a really good idea for button placement and mark them on the pattern.

And lastly, I  think I’ll redraft the hem of this shirt to give it tails rather than a straight edge.  I think it will look really cute.

Once the pattern has been tweaked there’s one other thing I’ll change. I’ll use better thread so the topstitching isn’t quite so shocking.  I’m eternally grateful that this fabric hides a multitude of sins!

However, all my gripes are moot.  Boy loves his shirt, which is nothing short of a birthday miracle.


And yes, that is a bus cake.  As his party was held on the play bus (officially making him the coolest boy in the class…who knew?) I really had no say in the matter.

bus cakeHe loved it 😉

The Almost Orla Mitts

KCW came and went and still the wee small boy doesn’t have a completed shirt. I’ve only the cuffs, collar and hem to do so it will be finished this week. I have 6 days till his birthday (although, and let’s not tell my brain this, I’ve actually got 10 days until his party which is when he’ll wear it!).  So all is well.

However, I did finish the Almost Orla mitts in time for my friend Liz to fly to Australia with them and gift them to her daughter-in-law.  As Liz had done the final stitching on these I’d not had the opportunity to photograph the mitts.  I was really happy to receive these photos from Oz.


Liz also sewed the brown stems on afterwards in duplicate stitch.  I’m eternally grateful.

AO2These little mitts are far from perfect but given they were my first attempt at intarsia and the colourwork was very tiny and fiddly, I’m really pleased with how they turned out.  They haven’t scared me off colourwork, which is a good thing.

More importantly, the recipient loves them. That’s the main thing!

PS…I’ve put all the pattern/yarn details on Ravelry here.

Button’s baby dolly birthday quilt set

Button has, until recently, been a neglectful mother to her baby dollies.  The poor things have been dragged around the house by their ankles, butt naked and bedraggled. A favourite game has been to swing baby dolly by ankle and wrist, higher and higher, finally letting go at the apex of the swing, allowing baby dolly to swoop high and fast into the bedroom wall.

It’s a good job I have social services on speed dial!

Recently, however, there has been a change and, thankfully, she’s starting to dress the poor shivering souls, and even create little beds from blankets in which to tuck them up at night.

baby dolly bed

It seemed only right, therefore, that she should get a dolly bed for her birthday.

I knew she’d be thrilled with the bed, but the sheet and pillow that came with it were nothing short of pitiful.  I knew that poor baby dolly really needed a beautiful quilt and pillow so she’d be comfy and warm in her new bed.


I also realised that I’m now officially certifiable.

Having recognised that, I snaffled a bag of scraps left over from the Hello Kitty quilt top from Ma, and set to.  Not only would baby dolly have a lovely cosy quilt, it would match the quilt we’re making for Button when we redo her bedroom this year.

dolly quilt centre block

Which tips me into the territory of completely cray-cray!

dolly quilt border

Thankfully, this isn’t really news to anyone.  And baby dolly now has a lovely cosy bed, and Button is finally a fit mother!

dolly kitty pillowThe only problem now is that Button has commandeered a basket from my sewing room to use as a Moses basket for a second baby dolly.  Baby dolly is currently swaddled in a blanket….