A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

FO Friday: Turquoise ultimate shirt

I managed to finish my Wrangler denim shirt-ultimate shirt sewing mashup recently. Overall, I’m quite happy with how it turned out, though I think I will make this shirt in a smaller size if I make more in future using heavier fabrics.

When I wrote my previous post about modifying this giant Wrangler shirt, I had actually nearly finished it. One step remained. The curved hem. As I have previously documented, curved hems are not my friend. My makes normally end up having a slightly stretched-looking bit that I have to ignore. Doing a curved hem on denim? Ugh.

I previously attempted this twice, spending at least half an hour carefully pressing and pinning the fabric, and both times the hem ended up twisted. A lady on my Ultimate Shirt course recommended starting the process at the highest point of the hem- where it hits above the hip. This turned out to be a top tip!

There are a few little tucks and untidy bits but overall this is the best hem I have managed so far. Ignore the fact that I didn’t bother to finish any of my seams. Sometimes I am a very lazy crafter.

Because of the way the original shirt was cut, the patch pockets on the front have come out a bit high. This is actually quite useful as it means my phone sits nicely against my chest, but it looks a little strange.

I got a little bit of time to get some pictures of this shirt. I definitely think it looks better worn tucked it, but I’ll take it on holiday with me and see how it works thrown over other things in the evenings. In this picture, I am trying to figure out the ‘remote operation’ feature on my camera.

Here I am still not understanding how it works.

Basically I was only able to take decent pictures of my back.

Pattern: Ultimate Shirt by Sew Over It. Size 14 at bust graded down to 12 at the waist

Fabric: Reclaimed from an oversized vintage shirt

Unexpected WiP Wednesday: Fuchsia Zebra Shorts

I was idly scrolling on some full website the other day when BAM! I spotted a remnant of hot pink fabric printed with zebras. I had to have it. And not just because I wanted to write fuchsia some more.

I’m going on holiday soon, and I am seriously lacking in the shorts department. It’s so hard to buy anything other than hot pants, which I just feel uncomfortable wearing without tights. So the obvious solution was an exquisitely tailored pair of pink zebra shorts. Easy.

These wil be Shark Shorts 2.0. Although Yikes! is probably my favourite fabric print on earth, the shorts have some issues. They were winged based on the Ultimate Trousers pattern, and I think the end result has some issues. I prefer a more meticulous approach to craft.

This time, I am using the Sew Over It Cigarette Pants pattern. My original trousers aren’t a perfect fit, and I think the problem is the waistband, so this time I cut the waistband in a size 8, grading out to a 10 in the rest of the trousers. Since I have only just over a metre of fabric and little time, I decided not to attempt pattern matching at all. I hope this won’t come to bite me in the zebra-clad arse.

I’m using the leftover double gauze from my Unicorn Cami as my lining fabric. Loving how the two prints look together.

Even though this is meant to be a quick make, I couldn’t resist finishing the edges of my pocket facings with black bias binding. You’re meant to overlock, and I didn’t want ugly zigzagging showing. I think it looks really cute.

This is my progress after an intense five hour sewing session, having come home from work to find the fabric waiting for me.

Sewing is such an interesting experience for me. I find it totally immersive and addictive. I almost forget to breathe as I am so focused on the task at hand.

How to: Budget energy balls 

I try to eat well, and a big part of that is healthy snacks. I eat quite a lot of Nakd bars, and always wondered how easy it would be to make them at home. I recently tried out Deliciously Ella’s new range of energy balls, which are very tasty but also pretty expensive. I’m sure she already has a recipe online somewhere, but I just looked at the ingredients on the back and made up my own.


Ingredients

  • 40g almonds
  • 60g dates
  • 2tsp nut butter
  • 1/2tsp coconut oil
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder
  • A sprinkle of salt

Blend all the ingredients together. I just used my little hand blender.

After a while, the ingredients will start to come together.

Roll into balls. I added a little too much coconut oil, making them a bit shiny. They probably would have re-mattified once the warmth from my hands dissipated, but I decided to roll them in some cocoa powder. I was trying to trick myself into believing I am eating truffles.

This was so quick and easy! The texture is somewhere between a Nakd bar, some varieties of which have bits, and a smooth Ella ball. My little blender wasn’t able to make the nuts totally smooth. I think the taste is lovely too. I’ll definitely try out more varieties in future.

FO Friday: Aubergine Rainbows Jumper

After a very long pause, I have finally finished knitting this jumper. As you may be able to see, this made me happy.

Here she is looking less inspiring on the blocking board. I tried to stretch the jumper out a bit but decided against using pins.

My friend (and fellow crafty crusader) Jane very kindly helped me to take some pictures of this sweater on a recent short trip to Belfast. We managed to find a beautiful mural that I felt echoed the colours in my jumper. Unfortunately there were some issues with sun.

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Here I am raising my arm for some reason. I am so crap at posing.

Managed to squint a bit less in one of the pics.

Overall I am very happy with how this sweater turned out, despite the fact that the yarn was a different colour than I had seen in the shop. The fit is pretty good, especially in the shoulders, and the yarn is lovely and warm, and not itchy at all.

Pattern: Better Breton

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

Ravelry project page

 

FO Friday: Fuchsia Tulip Skirt

I’m pleased to say that I’ve finished sewing my Sew Over It tulip skirt.

Having looked at the pictures, I still need to press the skirt some more, and I may redo the hem. I think it’s bunching a bit because I made it too narrow.

When I stopped my previous post, I still had lots of work to do on this skirt. Further issues I had surrounded the pockets. I had to pin the pocket openings of the two sides together to ensure that the openings lined up without gaping. If I make this skirt again, I will draft my own pocket pieces as I would like the pockets to be a bit deeper. I tried to freehand this a bit when I was cutting out, but it didn’t really work. The positioning of the pockets is also a bit low, so I might try to address that too.

The invisible zip insertion was also stressful. I may invest in an invisible zip foot for my machine in future. However, I’m very pleased with this one for a first go. The first time I inserted the zip, my stitching lines were around 2mm away from the zip’s teeth, so it was totes visible. However, I remembered the trick of moving your needle across to sew closer to the teeth, and this fixed the problem.

I also have to say that once again, I have found the sizing on this pattern totally off. Having measured a skirt that fits me perfectly, I cut a size 12, which is meant to give a 30.5″ waist on the finished garment. However, when I tried the skirt on before putting the zip in, I could see that it would be way too big on the waist. In the end, I had to take a 4cm seam allowance on the back seam (the only place to make the skirt smaller without a MASSIVE headache) for it to fit. Overall, I made the skirt 5cm narrower, which means that I should actually have cut a size 8. I almost always buy size 10 in RTW garments, and my tummy is my ‘problem area’ so I’m really not sure how that works. Still, a victory for making your own clothes and trying on as you go.

I went out and bought some matching thread before attempting to slip-stitch the hem. When I tried on again before hemming, I wondered if the bottom of the skirt was too poofy. But I don’t think it is. One of my weird things about sewing is that I often forget about how the garment will be used when I’m making it. For example, I will forget that you need openings to get in and out of a dress, or I will fail to factor in that a knee-length skirt probably shouldn’t be skintight.

FO Friday: Stash-busting striped socks

I haven’t had a knitted FO in what feels like an absolute age! I’m still being very slow in doing all of the finishing stages on my aubergine rainbows sweater, which means that it’s been frustratingly near completion for months now. Oh well. Back to these socks.

If someone asks me to make something with wild colour combinations, I quite often end up putting together different self-patterning yarn leftovers and this was definitely the case with this project. I also did the same for the gloves I made my aunt gloves I made my aunt a couple of years ago.

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I used up a lot of the leftover yarn from the four balls of Stray Cat sock yarn I bought a few years ago. This is all that remains.

My thumb for scale. I might use these little remnants for Innocent hats.

This is a pattern I know well, and I enjoyed cranking out another pair of socks. I will try to get a picture of my uncle wearing them.

Pattern: Vanilla Latte (free on Ravelry)

Yarn: Four colourways of Stray Cat Sock

Ravelry project page

WiP Wednesday: Hot pink tulip skirt

Even though it’s still not finished, I decided to make something to go with my floral Ultimate Shirt. Julie, the instructor, made a throwaway comment about getting a pink skirt in the final class, which I initially dismissed because I don’t really wear pink. I just don’t think it suits me as well as other colours. However, the idea must have lodged somewhere as I found myself thinking more and more about a skirt project.

At first, I planned to finally tackle the pencil skirt. I should probably finish the Sew Over It pencil skirt that’s been languishing in my WiP pile for well over a year, but I’ve really lost my motivation on that project. I remembered seeing the Tulip Skirt in a sewing magazine a while ago and falling in love instantly.

The best thing about this skirt? POCKETS, BABY! Since SOI recently launched a PDF pattern, I decided to ignore my hatred of printing my own patterns and go for it.

I have a couple of wool skirts in my wardrobe that are incredibly useful workhorse garments; sturdy, smart-looking and easy to wear. My favourite navy skirt is a charity shop find that is starting to look a bit shiny, and the zip has a weak point in it that scares me every time I do it up. I’m hoping to create a garment to stand the test of time just like the navy one, so I decided to invest in some quality wool crepe for my new skirt.

Goldbrick Fabrics has become my favourite shop on the Goldhawk Road as I find the staff in there friendlier than most of the other shops. Fortunately they had some beautiful (though pricey) wools.

I wasn’t really intending on making such a statement garment, but the two colours that caught my eye, and that I thought would work with the ultimate shirt, were the two brightest. I decided to be bold and plumped for the hot pink.

Putting together the printed pattern wasn’t quite as horrifying as I remembered from the one other time I did it, though it still took well over an hour.

My beloved navy skirt has a 30″ waist so I decided to cut a size 12. After reading lots of conflicting advice about preparing wool, I decided to ignore all of it and hope the fabric was preshrunk. Real talk: I don’t wash my wool skirts that often anyway.

I did spend some time ironing a swatch of fabric to see if there would be any shrinkage. I used my new silk organza pressing cloth as I don’t want to risk scorching the fabric.

One thing that bothered me was the fabric recommendation given on the pattern, which clearly states that all sizes need 1.8m of fabric. My pieces only needed 1.1m. Actually I just measured and it turns out that my fabric is 1.56 metres wide, which is a non-standard width. Something to look out for in future.

Since decent wool crepe is over £20/metre, that’s kind of a big deal. I doubt I need two fuchsia skirts in my wardrobe, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with the leftover, which is about 0.8m.

Cutting out seemed to go fine, and I prepared the pleats on the front of the skirt and darts on the back. The next step was finishing the raw edges. I was concerned about this because I don’t have an overlocker (I wish I did!) and a previous attempt at zigzagging looked rubbish. However, the crepe frays quite a bit and I don’t think I’ll get a chance to pop to a sewing cafe any time soon.

Fortunately I found this very helpful tutorial on zigzagging by Tilly and the Buttons. She mentions using a special overcasting foot, and when I checked the accessories that came with my beloved Janome, there was one in there! Double zigzagging all of the edges took FOREVER but it looks okay, and I hope it will prevent my edges from fraying. It also used up two full (small) spools of thread and bobbins. I need to remember to buy matching thread for future projects.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a sewing project of mine without at least one really stupid error. This time, when I was pinning the side seams of the skirt together, I noticed that one side was a lot longer than the other. Turns out that I managed to cut the pattern for the long version of the front of the skirt (the version I wanted to make), but the short version for the back pieces. What the hell is wrong with me?

Although I had enough fabric to cut out new back pieces, the idea of doing the darts and zigzagging again was too much. I held the pieces up to my body and, actually, I think that if I do a slightly narrower hem, the shorter skirt should still hit around my knee, which is the length I want. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed!