A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

WiP Wednesday: Nautical Jersey Bettine

After the relative success of my raindrop-print Bettine, I was excited to cut another. I picked up this remnant of striped jersey from Sew Over It a few weeks ago. I thought £7.50 was very reasonable for two metres, and when I was looking for more information online, I discovered that it’s still available for £13/m. I love a bargain. I’ve never worked with a knit fabric before, and getting this fabric so cheaply helped me to push myself.

I made a few further changes to the pattern

  • Reduced neckline by 1cm on each side to prevent gaping (tutorial here)
  • Reduced length of bodice by one inch
  • Curved front skirt waistline to match back
  • Removed 4cm (2cm each side) from neckband. In future,  remove 5 or 6cm
  • Stabilised areas with wonder tape before twin needle stitching to reduce tunnelling
  • Finished pocket edgings with the same technique as the neckline. Used 23cm strip of fabric
  • Single layer pockets
  • Reduced curve in the hip by 1.5cm

Tilly provides some very handy tips for making a jersey Bettine, including the dimensions for the neckband.

Cutting the jersey was more difficult than cutting a woven fabric. I’d already invested in a rotary cutter, mat and pattern weights (partly because I find cutting with scissors super annoying). I must add that I made the job more difficult for myself by using stripes, which I tried my utmost to keep horizontal.

For the sewing, I also purchased some ballpoint needles and made use of my walking foot for the first time on my new machine. I just bought a cheap generic one as part of a set of feet.

The first step was constructing the neckline, which was a real baptism of fire. I wasn’t sure I would be able to manage the stretch fabric without pulling the neck out of shape. I carefully pinned the fabric first, using ballpoint pins.

Heartbreakingly, I had to unpick my first attempt as the neckband was too long. I wasn’t surprised as I had adjusted the bodice neckline to reduce gape, but it was still annoying. I also hadn’t really understood the instruction to baste in place first, meaning I used a stretch stitch, which was a pain to remove.

Here is the finished neckline.

I’m really thrilled with it! Loads of firsts here- first stretch, first neckband, first use of a twin needle. I probably could have reduced the neckband by another centimetre or two, but I think this is good enough.

I even used the same technique to finish the pocket edges. I thought it might be cute to carry the design element from the neck. Lots of people seem to think the pockets as written aren’t a great idea in jersey, so I created single layer pockets. I stitched the pocket bags onto the skirt front using my twin needle, again trying to keep the details consistent in this garment. It felt a little strange to go my own way with no instructions to follow, but it seemed to work.

So far I’m cautiously optimistic about this project. I’ve found myself taking a lot of time to get things right- I pulled those pocket edgings out so many times to try and get them to lie flat! However I haven’t begrudged the time. I’m just hoping it’s going to pay off in the form of a lovely dress.

Pattern: Bettine by Tilly and the Buttons

Fabric: 2m (140cm wide) cotton jersey from Sew Over It

WiP Wednesday: Raindrop print Bettine dress

I’ve loved Bettine pretty much from first sight. I was unsure about buying the pattern as I read a few blog posts that weren’t entirely positive about it, but I finally took the plunge last year and picked it up with three metres of beautiful double gauze. It’s by the same people that made the fabric for my unicorn top.

I had hoped to make this dress for my Brazil trip last year, but I bumped it in favour of my spur-of-the-moment zebra shorts

After reading even more blog posts, I decided to make some modifications to the pattern. This involved tracing a pattern for the first time ever. It took ages, but it’s nice to know that I still have the original pattern if my adjustments turn out to be a disaster.

img_6809

I curved the waist seams following this post. I also found this post by Tilly herself very helpful, and I did my first full bust adjustment.

The first stage of the dress is constructing the bodice. This is fairly straightforward. The neckline stitching is a little fiddly. I found the most difficult bit was easing the side seams, which is only necessary because of the FBA. However, having tried on, I’m very happy I made the adjustment.



I’ve also constructed the pockets. This material is quite transparent, so I’m going to have to buy or make a half-slip to wear underneath. As you can see, I managed to mess the left pocket bag up slightly. I’m hoping that adding another centimetre to the front seam allowances in that area on both sides (marked by the pins) will fix this as it would be very time-consuming to rectify this error.

So far, I’d say that this dress has mostly lived up to the promise of being a straightforward sew.

Looking for knitspiration 

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, my obsessive passion for knitting has taken a nosedive over the past few months. I think that this is partly due to becoming a highly competent knitter. I don’t feel particularly challenged by prospective knitting projects. Another part is dissatisfaction with some of the garments I have created. Since you are creating shaped fabric as you knit, once an item is finished, it’s finished. If there’s something you don’t like about it, often that’s a case of tough luck. 

There’s also a limit to the number of knitted garments that a wardrobe can take. Realistically, I don’t wear knitted jumpers that often. They are a bit casual for workwear, and if I’m looking for comfort, I usually reach for a RTW sweatshirt or hoodie rather than one of my creations. 

I think this is why sewing has started to interest me so much more. You can create a much wider variety of clothing, and home-sewn items are less radically different to shop-bought than handknit to machine knit. 

However, the experiences of knitting and sewing are vastly different. For me, sewing is highly immersive and addictive. I fly through the steps, desperate to discover the result of my fevered work in front of the machine. I scarcely breathe. This is partly my personality- being outcome- rather than process-oriented (something I try to work on). It’s also a side-effect of my being a relative novice. When I first started knitting, I would occasionally stay up all night working on a project. However, I also think it’s partly due to inherent differences in the two activities. 

This is a very long-winded way of saying that I miss knitting. As an attentionally impoverished millennial, I am basically incapable of sitting still. I’ve noticed that I’ve started playing stupid games on my phone while I’m watching TV. This used to be knitting time.

I haven’t forced myself to do any knitting during my fallow period. But recently my interest in yarn has started to pick up. After reading a very interesting blog post by Tom of Holland, I picked up a copy of Indigo Knits, a wonderful book about working with denim yarn. 


I’m considering starting a denim cardigan. I love denim and the idea of triple denim (jeans, denim shirt and denim cardigan) intrigues me. Dare I embrace the taboo?

I also bought Inspired by Islay, Kate Davies’ most recent publication. 


I mainly bought it because I adore the Port Charlotte yoke. 


Heart eyes emoji. 

This jumper is everything to me. I’m holding off on starting because I need to consider whether there is a gap in my wardrobe for her. I would like a cropped sweater to wear over skirts and dresses, but I’m not sure whether this is the right candidate. 

I also bought some of Kate’s Buachaille wool. I’ve been wanting to try it ever since it was released. So far I’ve just made a swatch. 


So, some stirrings of wanting to knit, and a small project to work on are positive signs. I think that even holding off on starting Port Charlotte represents progress. A mistake I’ve made over and over is starting projects without sufficient thought and research. Knitting a garment is slow, labour-intensive and expensive. I owe it to myself as a craftsperson to put in the legwork to have the best chance of ending up with something I love.

How to: Funko Pop Pussy Hat

After knitting up a couple of pussy hats for Innocent, I decided to modify the pattern slightly to make one for Arya Stark, my lone Funko. I think she looks great!

I was inspired to write up a quick pattern after someone on Instagram liked my idea and made a pussy hat for Lagertha (I won’t pretend I know who she is).

You will need

  • A small amount of fingering weight pink yarn
  • 2.75mm DPNs/circular needles
  • 3mm DPNs/circular needles

Method

1. Using smaller needles, CO 40 sts. Join to work in the round

2. K2P2 rib 12 rounds

3. Change to larger needles. Work in stocking stitch for around 12 rounds, until total piece measures around 6cm

4. Rearrange stitches onto two straight needles and Kitchener together

I took some extra pictures in my garden, and somehow I made Arya look like a hipster taking selfies.

Peanut butter sandwich cookies

I’ve been ill all week and decided to try and cheer myself up by making this peanut butter cookie recipe I spotted on Pinterest. I really like the fact that the recipe mostly uses oats with little flour. It’s hard not to get swept up in all the anti-gluten sentiment there is at the moment. Here’s how they turned out.

I had been looking for a new recipe to replace my current peanut butter cookie recipe, which somehow gives inconsistent results. I think I’ve found it. The cookies are really tasty even without the peanut butter filling.

I used ordinary creamy peanut butter rather than the fancy peanut butter stated in the recipe. I also used salted butter and omitted the extra salt. I would say these cookies have just the right amount of salt. I might even go so far as to use unsalted butter in future.

FO Friday: Technicolour dream skirt

I finally finished sewing the Sew Over It pencil skirt that I started over two years ago. I feel that my tastes have evolved even in the past couple of years, so I’m not sure how much wear this garment will get. I suppose this is why most people don’t leave things on the WiP pile for several years! Maybe it will just have a token appearance during Me Made May.

I was highly apprehensive about making the size 12 as the measurement chart indicated I should cut a 14. However, I have found the sizing and charts off for pretty much every SOI garment I have made, so I went with my gut instinct and I think the 12 is the correct size for me.


It’s good to know how this pattern looks in the flesh, so to speak. I think it’s a good standard pencil skirt. I would only make this pattern again using quite a structured fabric, as I think anything drapey would cause the skirt to hug my lumps and bumps.

I’m already considering my second pencil skirt, for which I’m eyeing the lovely piece of thick, textured fabric I snapped up in the Sew Over It remnant sale. Aside from being irritated with myself for apparently losing the front and back skirt pieces that I so painstakingly taped together, I am aware that I already own a pencil skirt that is perfect.

It’s this beautifully tailored navy skirt that I picked up in a charity shop a few years ago.

Sew Over It ultimate shirt vintage wrangler denim

It’s a bit difficult to see the skirt as I was actually photographing the shirt, but there’s definitely a reason that I’ve worn this skirt almost to death. It hugs my waist without being tight or constricting in any way. It skims over my hips in exactly the way that I like. It’s fantastically comfortable in pretty much all seasons. When I got it, it had already been loved by the previous owner and now the fabric is getting shiny, there is a flaw in the zip, and the kick pleat flaps around sadly.

I wonder if I have the skill to adapt the ultimate pencil skirt to become my ultimate pencil skirt? Have any readers had any experience of making significant adaptations to patterns as a relatively novice sewist?

Pattern: Ultimate pencil skirt by Sew Over It

Fabric: I think it was called Joseph Rainbow Boucle, from SOI. Pretty sure I used around a metre.

2017 creative goals

I’ve had quite a tough start to 2017, so I didn’t have much time to think about my goals for the year. Here are some thoughts, that I think will be more of a jumping-off point than a static list of things I want to achieve.

2017 craft goals

  1. Sew nine beautiful garments in 2017 (#2017makenine)
  2. Wear handmade as much as possible in May
  3. Make a terrarium that I’m proud of
  4. Plant a bee-friendly garden

I feel like my goals are somewhat lacking in ambition. I think part of the issue is the ongoing crushing sense of ambivalence in my life. I’m really struggling to find a good balance between my job and my passions in life.

2017 make nine

Some people seem to have planned all nine of their makes in January, but that doesn’t fit with the way I make. I like to be inspired by fabric or patterns and make up a garment quite quickly, rather than planning too much in advance. This is something I’ve learnt over time. When I first started sewing, I had a bad habit of cutting out patterns, then leaving the pieces lying around for ages, unsewn. Example. To be fair, this was partly because I hadn’t yet bought a sewing machine, so cutting out was one of the few sewing-related activities I could do at home.

Anyway, my point is that I will update this post as I go on, and decide what my makes will actually be.

  1. Mushroom print Cleo
  2. Liberty print Ultimate Shirt
  3. Midnight velvet Tulip Skirt
  4. Raindrop print Bettine
  5. Textured navy Pencil Skirt
  6. Turquoise striped top/dress
  7. Floral Macaron
  8. Blue Liberty print Macaron
  9. Denim Ultimate Shorts

I think it’s promising that I feel like I’m challenging myself on this Make Nine. I have made some tentative steps away from working with basic cottons and I will learn a lot by starting to sew with more challenging fabrics.

April Update