A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Modification Monday: Turquoise Denim Shirt

I bought this cool patterned shirt in a vintage shop in St Albans a while ago. I initially planned to wear it oversized, but that’s not really my style so it’s only been out of the wardrobe a few times.


Not ideal that the only pic I have of this shirt is Anna’s Instagram photo of my semi-ironic hipster posing, but that reveals how seldom I have worn this garment despite falling in love with the pattern.

I decided to try putting my new shirt-making skills into effect by transforming this oversized shirt into a fitted shirt.

Since the shirt is fastened by studs, I was a little limited on what I could do without way more effort than I was prepared to expend. This meant no attempts at pattern matching. The pattern is very odd and the diamonds seem to be in a fairly random pattern, so matching would have been difficult anyway (I tell myself).

I vaguely hoped I could just modify the shirt by running some new lines of stitching down the side seams and sleeves, but that would have resulted in something very amateur looking. This meant I had to cut out new back, fronts and sleeves from the existing fabric.

I was lucky in that the collar and cuffs are pretty close to the size in the Ultimate Shirt, which cut out a hell of a lot of labour. Weird to think that these little details are what makes creating a shirt such a challenge.

So far I am very happy with the result I have achieved. This modification took me around six hours, and helped to solidify my understanding of how to make a shirt. I feel confident that the Ultimate Shirt would work and look cute in a heavier fabric.

Once I finish the hem, I will see how often I wear this shirt. Though I like the fit, I think that the oddness of the diamond pattern is more obvious now that the shirt is smaller. Might not be as much of an issue if I wear this tucked into a high-waisted skirt. Dyeing could also be an option. I’m going to take this shirt to class tomorrow as I would consider making a smaller size in future.

I have a feeling I will still wear it as long-sleeved work shirts that don’t gape at the bust are a massive hole in my wardrobe. Now I need to tackle the SOI Pencil Skirt pattern…

Pattern: Ultimate Shirt by Sew Over It (size 14 grading down to 12 at the waist)

Fabric: Salvaged from an oversized vintage Wrangler shirt

WiP Wednesday 2: Floral Ultimate Shirt

I was feeling pretty unwell yesterday but managed to drag myself to my second sewing workshop at Sew Over It.

Forgot to take many pictures, but got a lot of work on the body done, including front and back darts. So far the fit is looking pretty good.

The most tense moment was attaching my collar to the shirt. It worked out, fortunately. I have some hand-stitching to do as my homework- you can probably see that the inside of the collar is unfinished.

Need to pick up some buttons during the week. Looking forward to finishing!

FO Friday: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

I have finally finished knitting my League sweater. Here she is blocking (for the second time).

I blocked pretty close to the schematic measurements. At first I was worried there was way too much positive ease, but I’m actually pretty happy with the fit now. Next time I wash this sweater, I won’t open up the rib in the bottom so much. Due to an unfortunate row gauge issue, the body of the jumper is too long, but allowing the ribbing to cinch in still gives me a look I like.

I took this jumper all the way to Edinburgh, planning to get loads of atmospheric pics in front of various beautiful monuments. In the end I only managed to get a few shots in front of the Edinburgh sign at the airport. The best laid plans and all that.

Yes, I am wearing a medal in all of the photos.

And the back.

Pattern: League by Veronik Avery

Yarn: Baa Ram Ewe Titus

Ravelry project page 

WiP Wednesday: Floral Ultimate Shirt

I’m doing yet another set of sewing workshops at Sew Over It. After this, I need to spend some time consolidating my skills on my shiny new machine. This time, I am dedicating three Tuesday evenings to making their Ultimate Shirt.


I can only aspire to look as beautiful as Lisa Comfort in mine.

As usual, most of the three-hour class was dedicated to modifying the pattern and cutting out. I used less than 1.5m of fabric to cut a size 14, which will save me money if I want to make more shirts in future (and I really hope I will).

So far, the only sewing has been starting the collar.

I’m using a delicate cotton voile so I’m even more afraid of making mistakes than normal. Unpicking isn’t really an option. 

WiP Wednesday: Magical Unicorn vest

Fortunately everything does seem to have gone okay with my move, and I’m getting settled into a little house, for the first time, south of the river (Thames, for any curious non-British readers).

I did the cutting out before I had actually bought my sewing machine. This now brings the tally of projects I have cut out but not started to three. Think I had better actually sew something before I cut anything else out. This Japanese double gauze was pretty expensive, so I decided to take a risk and buy only 1.25m, and I’m very glad that I did! I was able to squeak all of the pieces out, with very little stress. If you’re looking at this post to see how much fabric you need to buy for a Silk Cami, please note that buying a smaller amount will only work for non-directional prints. If you’re using a directional print, you should probably stick with the amount of fabric stated in the pattern.

At the rather disastrous Intro to Drapey Fabrics workshop at SOI, the instructor kindly gave me a modified pattern to take away. In every other SOI pattern I have used, I have been a size 10 despite my measurements often being very different to those stated. In general, I always wear a size 10 in RTW clothing too. So I felt fairly confident cutting the 12 in the Silk Cami. This was a big mistake, and the finished garment really pulls across the chest, which is why I have never worn it.

Anyway, I didn’t really look before I started cutting (this could prove costly) but the pattern I now have is basically the 12 in the shoulders, with the 14 measurements in the sides. Fingers crossed it will fit!

Pattern: Silk Cami by Sew Over It

Fabric: 1.25m Japanese double gauze from Fondant Fabrics

WiP Wednesday: Lurid stripes socks

My Xmas-loving aunt requested another pair of socks for my uncle this year. I have a feeling she asked me last year as well, but I never got around to making them. My uncle is a slightly grumpy Scottish guy (note: I like grumpy people, I think they’re funny) but I think he quite likes having really bright socks hidden beneath his dull work uniform. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere. For this year’s ocular assault, I decided to dive into my stash rather than buying a new ball of sock yarn. I’m using leftovers from my various skeins of Stray Cat Sock yarn.

I’ve just been going with my gut with the colour progression. I’m not sure this was the best idea as I feel my colour selections have been a bit off all year. I hadn’t realised that the tone or warmth of the four balls of yarn is quite different. I’m still going to keep going as I don’t think this will bother my uncle.

Making a sock seems so quick after months of working on fingering weight jumpers. I’m really enjoying this project at the moment.

Pattern: Vanilla Latte Socks (FREE on Ravelry)

Yarn: Stray Cat Sock yarn, various colourways

Needles: 2.75mm

Ravelry project page

WiP Wednesday: Aubergine Rainbows

So I learnt that it wasn’t possible for me to knit a fingering weight jumper in sixteen days while working full-time. However, it did take me less than a month to make this sweater, which is pretty quick actually. Despite my initial anxiety about how the colours were looking, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s looking.

The only real point of stress for me was the cast off. The pattern calls for an ordinary cast off in pattern, but having made some more advanced patterns lately, plus hearing some of my most respected bloggers denounce casting off in pattern, I wondered if I should go for something a little more polished.

I finished my body and first sleeve when I still thought I might complete this project before the end of the Olympics, so I did an ordinary cast off partially for speed. However, on the second sleeve I decided to give the tubular cast off a go, adding a green lifeline to the end of the ribbing for safety.

You can’t really see in the pic, but the tubular CO is too tight. Although I can get the sweater on and off, it would restrict my ability to push the sleeves up.

I re-did the set-up rows on larger needles to try again, but managed to drop a stitch, meaning ripping back again. At this point I became pretty frustrated, so it was good to be able to take a break and work on seaming my League jumper instead.

There were also quite a few ends to weave in, though I carried the purple yarn and contrast yarn for same-colour stripes to reduce the ends a little bit.

Pattern: Better Breton

Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins

Ravelry project page