Saturday, July 27, 2013

An admission, mending and knitting

OK, OK, I'm going to admit that sometimes... just sometimes I think it's better to buy a ready to wear garment than make it yourself.

It's not often I feel this way but recently I'd been finding myself wanting a drapey cardigan - you know the type: soft and flowy with interesting drape giving movement and shape. I scoured Pinterest and pattern companies for ideas and patterns. It didn't even occur to me to go and look in the shops. These days I hate having to shop (except for fabric or patterns of course, which goes without saying ;-) Nothing was appealing to me and in the end I got out of my stash a mid weight wool and thought I'd sew a poncho type thing.

But then I went to my favourite charity shop to look for some woollen jumpers to felt and repurpose (more on that another time) and there lurking in the bottom of the crate was a lovely Country Road fine wool blend cardigan in soft grey in my size.


I quickly scanned it for any tears or staining and all that seemed to be wrong with it is a couple of small holes in the sleeves which will be easy to fix. And that is another issue that makes me so glad I sew - if I had to throw a garment away because it needed mending and I didn't know how it would be such a shame. What would our Grandmothers who were brought up with 'make do and mend' think of this I wonder? Maybe they'd be horrified at the way we throw away anything that's not perfect nowadays, or maybe they'd be happy that we have the option to buy new more often, who knows... but I do think its a shame not to pass these skills down to our children at least, which makes me determined to be more patient when teaching them!

- - - - -

And in other crafty news, something I have been loving working on lately is knitting another seven circle scarf. I love wearing my grey one (seen in the pic above) and had been thinking I'd like to knit another one this winter. Even though I am a novice I do enjoy knitting (though I only seem interested in winter) and I find it so much more sociable than sewing. I can sit in the lounge room with the Mr and knit of an evening rather than disappear to my sewing space. It's portable in a way that my sewing almost never is and just a lovely relaxing activity. And I just love this pattern, it's fun to knit.


So when I was fabric shopping with my crafty buddy Deb recently and she took me on a detour to a wool shop (bad influence ;-) I couldn't resist this lovely blue wool/cotton mix to go with all the blue I've been enjoying wearing.

Deb also introduced me to her favourite metal circular needles and I am in love - so smooth and lovely to knit with. Do you have favourite needles? A favourite pattern you love knitting? And are you a cop-out knitter like me and just knit in winter? :-)


Monday, July 22, 2013

Little boy pj's

Before we went on a trip away recently I looked ashamedly at my little boy in his tired old pyjamas and decided it was time to raid the stash and make him some new pairs. I mean, he's almost 4 and I was still squeezing him into size 2's. For a sewing mad mum it was embarrassing!
Sleeping johns
For the first pair out came the 'sleeping johns' pattern from the book Growing Up Sew Liberated. I used a groovy aeroplane print jersey I'd been hoarding for a while, adding a yoga style waistband, which I find works well with knitted fabrics and kids love for the softness - it's just a folded over band of ribbing, cut a few inches smaller than the waist of the pants and stretched and sewn to fit. For the top I chose a RTW basic t-shirt I'd also been hoarding and embellished it with a pocket in the plane fabric.

flashback skinny tee & pj pants
For the next pair (he could do with a few) I used the pants pattern from Oliver & S's Bedtime Story pattern. I find this is a good simple shape for woven fabric pjs. I bought the goldfish graphic print flannelette at Spotlight with this very purpose in mind, so it was satisfying to finally use it!

And this time I made the top too, finally succumbing to buying the Made by Rae Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. This pattern had definitely fallen into that mental category of mine called something like 'patterns I like but don't want to buy because they're too simple to spend money on and I could draft it myself'. Hmm. The problem is that I don't get around to drafting them myself, and what I'm finding is that patterns in this category that I do buy end up being incredibly useful and used lots. This pattern I've used 6 times already! Lesson learnt.

flashback skinny tee & pj pants

And here's the third set, again Skinny Tee / Bedtime Story combo, this one in a little boy's perennial favourite - dinosaurs :-)

Upcycled flashback skinny tee
Again using the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern I also refashioned an adult t-shirt (remember this one?) into little boy size. He likes the monsters and I like the feeling of satisfaction of ticking something off my huuuuge sewing list.

flashback skinny tee
And this final one I like for it's cute colours and I'm thinking it could be a daytime t-shirt rather than a pj top but needs something printed on the front. I'm waiting for inspiration to strike. Any ideas welcome :-)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Denim Belladone


My 4th version of Deer & Doe's Belladone Robe had been sitting in my UFO pile for a few months when I decided recently to reduce the size of the pile (it's still big unfortunately!!). Plus, as we were going away for a week I really wanted something new to wear and knew it would be much quicker to finish this rather than start something new with limited time available.


All those months ago I set out to make a simple denim version of the Belladone to wear as a plain base - I often find myself sewing with prints and bright colours which can be nice but I end up lacking some basics. Still, I couldn't resist embellishing it by adding some colourful piping to the waistband. I made the piping using leftover pieces from this belladone.

Adjustments I made to the patterns were to take out the pleats at the front (I think overall I prefer a flat front to my dresses) and I just turned up the hem rather than using the hem band from the pattern (laziness). I also used a metal exposed zip at the back (see 1st pic, and BTW I'm wearing the dress here with a short sleeved t-shirt underneath, though it looks a bit like the sleeves are part of the dress here).

And can you see the glaring error I made on this one? The back is crossed the wrong way - the shoulder pieces should go over the pieces below. I realised the mistake as I was about to hem the dress and just laughed... no way was I going back to correct it!


Well I'm not sure if I achieved what I set out to do with this dress, and I'm not even sure if I like it but I think I'll keep wearing it and see if it grows on me. I have no idea how to style it at the moment (not great in these pics), but maybe it will come to me, or maybe it will be a better warm weather dress sans t-shirts, tights and boots.

Hmm, I'm going to pack this pattern away now unless I get a sudden urge to use it again - there are things that frustrate me about it, like never quite getting the fit right (my fault for not persevering) and I don't think the armhole and neckline cut really suits me (I keep thinking about adding cap sleeves to see if the balance is better). OK, I am getting picky now... I think it's just a case of 'the honeymoon is over' for me and this pattern ;-)

How about you - do you fall in and out of love with patterns or are you loyal til the end?
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