This past weekend presented itself with some lovely weather so I was out on Sunday in the garden – cleaning the greenhouse, sowing seeds, etc. The etc includes taking in the beautiful spring sights.
I don’t know about you but I love the morning after a light shower. The flowers have the droplets clinging on to their delicate petals and its a lovely thing to see. I took these pictures using OH’s phone and I was rather impressed.
Meanwhile at the allotment the garlic and overwintering onions are doing well. I just sowed the seeds for this year. The potatoes are chitting along. This year we are only going to plant one variety of potatoes : Maris Piper.
I am so behind with my blogging – though its February I still am blogging things from last year – still better late than never.
I purchased this pattern during a half price sale around September last year and got around to sewing this dress up in December.
Pattern Description: Misses’ Knit Side-Panel Dresses with Yokes
McCalls M7430 is a fitted pullover knit dress with side panels (no side seams). It has a front and back yoke with neckline variations.The neck variation is a bound, round neckline or a turtleneck. The hem variation is a shaped hem or a straight hem. The dress may be made sleeveless, three-quarter sleeve or long sleeve.
Pattern sizing combinations are A5(6-14) and E5(14-22). I cut out a size 10 based on finished garment measurements and I thought it was not too far off the mark ease-wise.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I made view D, using a black contrast stretch pleather with a pink and black cloque fabric. And it looked like what I was expecting based on the pattern cover.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I read through the instructions before embarking on this project and they were huge easy to follow diagrams accompanying the written instructions making this beginner friendly. This is a relatively simple dress to make anyway. It scores more points on the beginner friendly scale as there is a YouTUbe sew along by Anita Design . You can’t do much better that! If you don’t like reading instructions it’s worth checking that out.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like patterns with interesting seam lines. This has princess seams at the front combined with a front yoke as well which gives plenty of colour blocking options. There are endless possibilities.
I bought the main fabric during SewUpNorth in November last year. It is a bold black & cerise jacquard blister ponte (cloque). I have since found out that composition is viscose, polyester & spandex (which explains why it’s so comfortable). It has a beautifully-soft handle and a firm stretch with good recovery across the width and length of the fabric. This is the same fabric I used for my Lady Skater Dress <link here>.
What really drew me to the fabric was the easy flamboyance of the vibrant rococo-style pattern. In terms of fabric care: I machine washed at 30°C and tumble dried as normal.
For the contrast, I teamed it with fabric I already had in my stash from Leeds Market. The stretch pleather was bought to make leggings but I am glad I didn’t make leggings with it. I didn’t want stretch pleather on my neck so I used what little black ponte I had for the upper body. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough of the black ponte for the side panels.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I took in the princess seams at the waist line to reduce a swayback issue. Swayback is a standard alteration for me but I skipped it on this because I had princess seams down my back to work with. Though for future makes I will do the adjustment on my paper pattern.
There is a little more ease across the upper back than there should be for a fitted dress- it was also slightly roomy for me around the bust area where I took in about 1” in total.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I am making this again for sure. Its easy to both make and wear. Comfortable and practical. I would definitely reccommend it.
Here’s a tip. The back of the dress is almost identical to the front so much so that when sewing it up its easy to mix up the pattern pieces unless if you make sure to mark them – I didnt and honestly will never not mark them again!
And another thing; my biggest issue was trying to get the sleeve head lines to line up with the yoke. My initial preference would have been to make this in a stripey main fabric. However, I realised that I had a bit of trouble with a solid colour – imagine trying to line up stripes! It is possible but its something to bear in mind when cutting out especially if one is fussy about perfect pattern matching.
It’s a good basic wardrobe staple. I may make a more summery one at some point with a shorter length, normal collar and no sleeves . this dress was on the shorter side – its fine for me but if you like more covereage there, pay attention to the finished garment length measurements before cutting so you can add length. I recommend McCalls M7430 if you are looking for a dress that is well-fitting and easy-to-make. Alternatively, shorten it to make turtleneck top.
Final point about the dress: if made in one solid color, the detail of the princess seam and yoke seam is lost which would be a shame. So if you make this I highly recommend using contrasting fabrics. I also I love the slimming effect of the contrasting side panels (especially when black is used like I did for mine) – but any dark colour will have a similar effect.
Many thanks for stopping by my little corners of the interwebs. Until next time, happy sewing!
I am ever so pleased to share this top with you that has become an unexpected favourite of mine. It’s from the GBSB sewing book from the most recent series. The book only cost £9.99 on Amazon with free P&P. Its great value given the number of patterns that come with the book (27 I think). I would like to make quite a few of the patterns in there actually.
The pattern is the Japanese top which is similar in style to those you would find in the Drape Drape books but a lot easier to achieve in my opinion.
I was attracted to the batwing sleeves and the cowl neck. The pattern sheets in the book are well laid out and quite easy to trace. They aren’t as stacked as other patterns sheets that I have come across. I thought the instructions were very well written and a beginner would have confidently made this top. The only fly in the ointment for me was the large pattern pieces – so large that I had to staple 2 lengths of baking parchment to get the pieces ready.
I have had this interlock jersey for a while now waiting for the right pattern. The panel print has a large rose every 1 meter. I had to move the piece around and cut on a strange grain to get the rose centered on the front. I don’t think with interlock and a drapey top the grain matters too much ( I may be wrong). It came together very easily but I didn’t change the overlocker thread :-(. A choice I lament very much here in my YouTube video (link at bottom of this post)
The cowl sits okay when I am not moving about too much but when I bend over it will pop out but I have since tacked it down by hand. The next time I make it I will increase the size of the facing.
I added a cuff to the sleeve to make it longer – it’s a personal preference. I also added 2 ” to the hem so I can wear it with leggings.
Overall I really like this top and feel like I have made a one of a kind item that will get worn a lot.
I have already traced out this skirt which was the reason that I bought the book. After seeing Beth’s version I was very inspired to make it. That will be my next project from the book. Have you got this book? Have you made anything from it?
This is an epic post for me because I actually started this project in October 2014! It took me 2 years to finish it!
Some background: Owls is an insanely popular pattern on Ravelry by Kate Davies. It’s actually one of the first Ravelry downloads I bought because it uses a chunky yarn. I thought that it would be a quick knit <oh the irony>.
I wanted it in red, Hayfield Bonus Chunky shade 977 Signal Red to be exact. Since I was just beginning I bought a cheap acrylic yarn. To be honest at that time wool scared me.
I knit my arms too long and I had to unravel a half done yoke when a friend mentioned the irony of completing a make you know you are not going to wear because of a known error that can be easily fixed by ‘tinking‘ – I hate it when pals are right! After sulking for a few days, I came round and set my timer. Surprisingly it only took 30 mins to get back to error point. I used a Russian bind off on the neckline. The cable pattern was very easy to read.
The yarn is acrylic so its machine washable. I enjoyed knitting with it actually. The colour is a an amazing fire engine red that if I got lost, a rescue helicopter could easily see me. I love it! I messed up my underarm grafting again despite my best efforts. Its perfect on the 4 grafted stitches but the holes were much bigger than that – there are gaping holes that I tried to ‘sew up’ but to no avail. In the end my ‘Done is better than perfect‘ mantra kicked in.
I just washed and dried it instead of blocking since its acrylic. I learnt from my Antler experience that I dont need to fuss with acrylic yarns when it comes to blocking. Its warm and lovely to wear.
Looking at fit – It has a good fit overall but I may have messed the back shaping as that’s ended up lower than my waist. I think I just knit to my prefered length with little regard to what was going on in the back. When I make this again (and I will) I need to change where those darts go or possibly move them to the sides – I am not 100% behind them. Oh and there was no way I had the patience to find and sew approx 32 buttons.
Best feature of this for me – the owls yoke. I love how they wrap around my shoulders. I can see why this is a popular pattern. No if only it hadn’t taken me 2 years to finish it!
Its been a marathon week for me catching up with my knitting blogging but I have enjoyed it and thank you all so much for reading, liking and commenting. I will be back with one last post tomorrow but until then, Happy Knitting.
The first of my posts in KnitWeek2016 begins with organising the knitting stash. I began in earnest in early October. I think that most of us in the sewing and knitting community are more of producers than consumers (only in the sense that we consume tools and raw materials to make an item rather than just purchasing an item ready made). As a consequence we collect tools and materials for production. With that comes the challenge of keeping organised. Luckily my knitting stash is much (much) less than the sewing stash so the task of organising it didnt seem too daunting.
Cataloging the yarn
First I emptied out all the yarns I had and proceeded to catalog them all on Ravelry. I have been in awe and super impressed with how incredibly useful the Ravelry stash feature is. If you enter all your details correctly it will show you which patterns can be made up with the amount of yarn you have for a particular yarn. Also seeing what other projects have been made using that yarn in your stash is so useful for giving you ideas when you are in a rut, or if like me you cant remember what you bought the yarn for :-). So now all my yarn is cataloged and my gosh it feels good. If you would like to have snoop around my stash you can find it here <link>.
I like to have my stash visible so I dont forget what I have, seeing as I am more of a more of an out-of-sight out-of-mind kind of person. The 80L plastic tub I use is great at keeping out yarn eating bugs, as well as keeping the stash visible.
So then while I was at it I thought that much as I like digging out all the 29 stash items I have, I wanted to easily browse what I had without having to unearth them all. So a simple idea formed to have strands on a page with name and details. I used a laminated card with a hole punch to make holes for stringing yarn samples through and voila – my yarn directory! Its kept in the same binder as my knitting patterns.
Next up I sorted out the patterns I have – printed and bought (Eeeeck I actually bought a couple of patterns from an actual bricks and mortar shop when I started knitting before discovering Ravelry). Anyhow those were neatified and filed in the binder.
Knitting tools and sundries
Next up my knitting tools – I have loads of circular needles, crochet hooks and DPNs. These were more challenging to organise. On the one hand I needed to have them all together but at the same time I need to look through by type quickly….for now my solution was to have them all in one old shoebox. I will be thing about how to improve on this.
I now enjoy the yarn in my collection rather than feeling overwhelmed by it. Having said this though I do realise I need to do some serious yarn stashbusting over the next year.
What are your favourite yarn stash organising tips? I will be back tomorrow with another knitting post sharing a finished knitting project. I actually finished some knitting projects guys 🙂
So I have been mulling a bit on my sewing plans. This last week with the sewing goddeses smiling upon me has meant I have been doing what I like to call intuitive sewing – which roughly translates to sewing without a specific plan. It rather entails stumbling across a fabric and thinking this could go with that other thing I am making and then I immediately cut it and sew it up and I look for some more fabric that could make something to go with the thing I just made previously…and so on….
More importantly – one of my new habits (that I am trying to form) is making sure that no remnants are left – if the left over bit is large enough for a top its gets cut immediately or if it is leggings for my twinks it gets cut and anything left over insufficient for a garment gets chucked. A very good thing for how it is depleting my stash slowly.
Anyhow I digress – the purpose of this post was to pull together my thoughts on what I want to proactively achieve over the next few months.
Pattern Review are doing a One Pattern Many Looks contest which I have decided to enter. In the past I have excelled at such a challenge based on how I did at IPM 2015 and 2016 One pattern 2 ways contest. See here the Giselle Maxis I made in 2015 and the Carme blouses I made in 2016. I haven’t yet picked a pattern but my cogs are turning. You can check out the PR details here.
I found out about the Little Red Dress Project over on Youtube – its not limited to vloggers – its just how I first came across it. Its a challenge to make a red dress in time for the Christmas holidays. I am realising that red looks good on me and I want to add more reds in my wardrobe so this is great for me.
Separately I want to make another pair of jeans. I have bought the Mimi G pattern during the Simplicity sale. I have the fabric and I just need to trace the pattern.
I signed up for Stitching Santa run by SewChet which I am quite excited about. To shake things up for myself I decided to go with knitting instead of sewing. This is my first time signing up.
I need to catch up on my Burda Challenge 2016 – I have done 8 garments to date but I really need to have a total of 12 (one pattern/month) to justify the subscription. I didn’t renew my subscription when it ended in August but I actually really like Burda patterns. Their fitting is pretty much perfect on me and they have some fun designs, so I would like to have a 12 month subscription for next year. My Burda makes so far here..
I have enrolled on the free class Fall 2016 Knitalong on Craftsy. Its focusing on knitting 3 accessories over the fall months : a cowl, a hat and fingerless mitts. The idea is one item for each month of fall. The class is free and it includes the 3 patterns. I am liking it so far since starting my cowl.
So those are some of my loose goals for the coming season’s sewing and knitting. In the meantime – I have been going through my fabric and pattern stash selecting ones that I will never use and taking them along to the Sew Up North meet up on Saturday 4th November. I cant tell you how excited I am to be going even though I know I am not going to be buying fabric (actually I have a teeny tiny £20 budget) but still I cant wait to meet everyone who is going to be coming and help out in any way I can. Plus just to soak up the feeling of being in the company of like minded individuals. More details over here at RedWSews.wordpress.com.
Is there anything else going on in the sewing community that I have missed?
Until next time – Happy Sewing! I will be back soon.
Remember in my last Ramblings post I mentioned our first camping trip? Well …it rained and rained, and then some more rain even when we were packing up the tent. Everything got wet. Basically the entire 3 days we were there, it RAINED! Not giving up though – I cant imagine it could possibly get any worse than that. The only way must be up surely.
I bought 2 sewing books while in the tent at night struggling to sleep in cramped quarters. Boundless Style and Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. Looking through the books was fun the first time but I quickly realised it was unlikely I will be making anything from these books. I think buying them was a reaction to my dropping sugar on top of being stuck in a tent with 5 excitable kids.
Speaking of sugar -its been well over a month of being sugar free now and I can honestly say that I am past the cravings. I do not crave it anymore. I can walk past the candy aisle in the supermarket and not be tempted. I am now moving to the next stage which is swapping over my simple carbs for complex ones. Apparently our bodies treat refined flour like sugar so that means I am swapping to whole grain pasta and whole grain rice for now. I bought some quinoa and hated it. Brown rice was not too bad but too chewy – unsurprisingly the kids dont like either of those so I have to cook a separate portion for myself.
Knitting – why am I so bad at finishing knitting projects. I have 5 in the process. A Marion cardigan (needs blocking) , a Miette that was finished well over a year ago but is yet to be blocked. A green Antler cardigan for my third child. An Owls sweater for me. A purple chuck sweater…………..I wallowed. I threw myself a pity party – but I didn’t let the self pity settle for long (thankfully) and got tough with myself! So I set myself an ACTION challenge in which I just have to take any action with the knitting. The deadline being a blog post in first week of November. Don’t judge me – sometimes I need hard deadlines to push me :-). Knitting means a lot of TV shows in the background.
I have been watching an Amazon Prime original series called The Collection which is set in Paris fashion house just after the end of WW2. I was quite looking forward to it but have found it to be quite slow and indulgent. Perhaps I was expecting too much actual atelier insight – a true glimpse into the workings of a haute couture house. Alas it has disappointed me so far. I am still watching it in the background as I knit at the end of the day in bed just to see exactly what all this meandering has been about. Have you seen this too? Another show I have been watching and loving is Parks and Recreation. Been doing a lot of knitting to this and even got hubs hooked on it too.
The Knitting and Stitching show is upon us Northerners in Harrogate. I had promised myself last year that I would go but unfortunately due to my excess fabric and yarn stash – I have wisely deferred to next year. I now have a hard target to reduce my respective stashes so I can go next year.
I will be joining in on Sew Up North – a sojourn arranged by Redsews on 5th November. For more information click here – it is going to be an awesome day out. I will not be buying fabric though. If you are in the area why not drop by?
The Great British Bake Off – I had a funny conversation with my twins in the sewing cave. I snuck off to the cave while the whole family was catching up with GBBO. Less than 10 mins of blessed solitude later my twinks made their way up the attic stairs. They proceeded to upend my threads, pins and pattern weights to play with…..
Mom: GBBO is on downstairs…..
Mom: Why dont you go watch it downstairs?
Twins: No. We are girls.
I dont quite know what to make of that statement but the tone and finality of the stated fact immediately reduced me to acceptance of their presence in the cave. An hour later, satisfied with making 2 more Renfrew tops – my twins satisfied with building ‘Pin and Thread Town’, we left the cave. And that was that.
Oh and I usually like GBBO but I have been a tad annoyed with some of their challenges this year – they lost me at lace pancakes!!!! Imean WTF!! Who would seriously want to make lace pancakes? I love baking but that episode just felt silly to me. <maybe in time I will get over it and watch it before the season finishes>…..only time will tell.
I also caught Episode 2 of ‘The Apprentice’ on Iplayer last night and am glad that they finally stopped the pretense of being a show about real business. The contestants, as far I can tell (from the one episode), are crackers and will provide Big Brother style reality TV material. Nothing like how real businesses operate at all!
The sewjo goddesses are smiling upon me – I have never felt so motivated to sew and am whipping up so many items. I cant wait to do a photo shoot for the the autumn stuff I have made so far and share :-). How is your autumn sewing coming along?
Thanks for stopping by and I hope wherever you are in the world you are having/had a lovely day.
This is my 200th blog post. I wanted to celebrate and thank all my readers. I also wanted to share some of my thoughts…..and a giveaway.
Reflections On Blogging:
When I started my blog, I was really worried about a lot of things. But mostly it made me feel incredibly vulnerable. I was putting myself out there – it scared the poop out me but it was worth it. I have made a connection with a community – a place that I feel I belong. I have mentioned this before but I finally feel like I found my tribe.
One of the things that I have learned about blogging, is that I probably get more out of this process than you guys, the readers.
Blogging is a terrific stress reliever for me. When I am feeling anxious or low I go to start writing something – anything. I blog at other times too, but I find writing really helpful. It calms me down and returns me to some semblance of calm. Blogging is certainly cheaper than a therapist!
Blogging has caused me to expand my horizons. When I am considering a new sewing or knitting project I am really influenced by the great posts many of you write. They help me think about style and things differently, even shifting my positions on a number of issues.
Blogging has enabled me to “meet” so many interesting people. I have met people I might never have met in the past. It has helped to open a whole new world of relationships. Relationships in which they also get it when I talk about ease :-).
Blogging has become part of my life now. Here are few facts about me when I started blogging…
I was scared to show my face on the internet
I hated having my photo taken.
I never expected to love blogging – I thought of it as just a catalog of my makes. I wanted to log things I made as a way to deal with the depression I was suffering from – to remind myself that there are things I am good at.
Now I’m totally in love with blogging. I hope to keep blogging indefinitely. I still do worry at times whether I can write anything — at least on a regular basis — that people would find interesting. But then I remind myself why I started this blog and that deals with any jitters. I still am amazed when I get great comments from people who have read a post and are motivated to comment. It is both flattering and ego building. It really helps me to hear from you guys, so let me know if there’s anything you want to see on the blog!
I’m working towards making my blog the best it can be
I plan to keep going, growing and pushing myself to make this the best it can be. I’m excited to have finally started my YouTube channel as another way of talking about what I love. It was another scary huge leap for me but its fun and my kids really love that mum is a ‘Youtuber’. Here is my latest video in which I answer 12 sewing related questions. Enjoy!
So, for my 200th Blog Post Celebration, I tip my glass to all of you that have been reading, commenting and being by my side for so long.
I have 4 giveaways:
3 x Lekala gift certificates for 3 readers selected randomly,
A pattern drafting book which is really good if you are a newbie and are curious about what this pattern drafting malarky.
All you to do is leave a comment. I will post worldwide. Entries into the giveaway close one week from today on the 12 Oct 2016 and winners will be announced 13 Oct.
Thank s so much for stopping my little corner of the interwebs and for your continuing support.
For Round 4 of the 2015 Sewing Bee, you must design and sew a contestant outfit for either the opening ceremony of or a specific sport competition in the Olympics. You can select any country to use as your inspiration. Although 2016 is a Summer Olympics year, you can use either the summer or the Winter Olympics. You will have 10 days to cut, sew, and photograph your outfit and submit a review into the contest with the required photos.
Mmmmm I need to spend really think about this one……………………………….any ideas anyone?
I got through to Round 3 of the Pattern Review Sewing bee!!!! BUT they have asked for a lined jacket…mmm wonder what will be the final then? Anyway I am super stoked that I got further than my goal of reaching Round 2. :-).
Learning from my last ditheration I spent Saturday looking at what jacket patterns I had and deciding on which one to make. Super organisation is the key here since I have only ever made a men’s coat before here which had no fitting issues and that took me about a month to make. I have 8 days left to make mine.
So I don’t yet have any pictures to show of the jacket I am working on. This is because I have had to live without a phone for over a week now. My phone’s software just went crazy and basically its broken beyond redemption. No I didn’t have insurance on it – we have paid insurance for so many years without claiming that when I got this phone I declined insurance. Lesson learnt.
Its been interesting living without a phone though and I thought I’d share my thoughts on it so far. The distance from a cell phone has allowed me to observe its role in my life with more clarity .
Look up Hila! If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then we’ve boarded up those windows and the soul inside is wilting from lack of light. Walk down a busy street and you’ll notice that in the crowd, not a single set of eyes meets yours. I didn’t notice this because I, too, was always staring on a screen. My eyes felt naked and exposed without a screen to gaze upon. Plus I had forgotten how every set of eyes is unique.
Funny thought – within a few decades, we might see a new medical condition where people can no longer prop their heads upright because spines will have ossified in such a way that necks arch permanently downward from gazing at screens.
I had missed contemplative moments in the garden, long walks with nothing to think about or even a bit of peace and quiet while in the toilet. For centuries, that daily movement enjoyed on the porcelain throne was akin to a holy ceremony, for it was the one time of day one could be by oneself and be sure no one would interrupt. But no more: now for the first time ever, your friends can be there with you along with an endless supply rapid fire updates on the lives of celebrities, viral videos of people you’ll never meet and so on.
Not having a cell phone was a nuisance for my family too. Mr SNS cant just call me now. Lol.
I am glad this has happened to me. Because I have learnt I don’t really have to be connected 24/7 to everything. I also discovered my rate of reading books reduced significantly since I went on Instagram.
I have already read and finished 2 books since the phone died.
Family meals have been more varied since I have to look up recipes in my cook books and magazines. Browsing leads to “ooh that looks lovely moments”
Rediscovered the joy of my sewing books – I cant just google exactly what I need. I am inspired and excited about some techniques I have been seeing while browsing through the books.
More sing a longs in the house since I cant just connect wirelessly to the bluetooth speaker. Who knew my 3 yr old knew all the words to ‘Solid as a rock’ by Ashford and Simpson!
Mr Bloom, Sid and Andy on CBEEBIES is quite a hotties! I tend to use my screen when I am in the lounge with the kids but no more.
A lot of things were surprisingly easy to accomplish without needing to check online ‘how its done’.
I did get lost a lot though without GPS. I have bought an atlas to keep in the car now.
I don’t know when I will make my reentry but I hope when I do that I will be more mindful of how I use my phone. I forget sometimes that the world used to function perfectly fine without smartphones. Have you ever had to do without a phone too? How do you stay stay mindful?
As always thank you for stopping. Because I love pictures here are some of my last make in progress.