Jurassic Park! An Everyday Tote for Minerva Crafts


Oh I have been looking forward to sharing this!

Since making this beautiful bag (flaws and all) I have not stopped using it - it is so ridiculously practical and seems to fit in everything you could possibly need and more, a la Mary Poppins.

This is the Everyday Tote bag pattern by Bagstock for a product review on some spectacular dinosaur canvas fabric for Minerva Crafts




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Riding that Blackwood Bandwagon

This pattern is one that mystifies me as to why I hadn't made it earlier..... I cannot count the times I have needed a good cardigan and gone searching high and low around the shops for something suitable. (To no avail either!) I think it was my last foray into knitwear that may have put me off.

It's not like it hasn't been across the whole sewing world or anything is it... Man is this a popular pattern and now I see why!

Another minor mystery is why I cut it out in February, and then only just got round to finding it in my UFO pile and finishing it off. All told it took less than an hour to cut out, then less than an hour to sew up. In just happens that those two hours were about 3 months apart.

So here it is, and just in time for the spring weather - my Blackwood Cardigan by Helen's Closet!


I used some coral cable knit fabric from Higgs & Higgs  which turned out to be PERFECT for this pattern. The right amount of weight-cosy-colour ratio together with being incredibly workable and sewing machine friendly. I hadn't considered myself to be a 'pink' kind of gal but I really love this. So cheerful to wear. It's already been a staple go-to piece for the last few weeks so it must be a winner.


The pattern size for this one was a Large graded out to Extra-Large at the hips. I'll be honest I did fall prey to vanity and exclaimed at the 'extra-large' label however it fit like an absolute dream.

The only change I made was to give the sleeve a wider width at the bicep than the XL called for, which then meant pinning and tapering it back down from the elbow to the wrist. Not a big deal though as it was so easy to alter with the ol' pin and fit method.


I went for the full length version, with cuffs that come mid-hand for keeping warm. You could easily omit the cuffs, as a friend of mine has done, which made for an equally very smart and chic look.

Pretty much the entire thing was done on the over-locker save for attaching pockets and top stitching the edges. It's been an absolute revelation to me  that you can use regular thread in an over-locker to do decorative stitching. So coral and yellow insides it is!


The pattern is so versatile - colours, fabric types, weights. I'm particularly looking forward to trying the maxi-hack with split hems. Definitely a repeat make pattern!


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Grainline Linden - It's the absolute dogs...

Hellloooo! Back up on the blog today after a mini-break and another minor loss of sew-jo. However, I'm pleased to report that's now back in action - funny what a bit of sunshine can do.

Today is not a massive post and nothing particularly original however I did want to share this make due to the absolute epic nature of the fabric.

Now, we all know that the Grainline Linden is an absolute gem of a pattern, and despite not having made myself one yet, I did make a polar bear version for my sister. This time another bit of selfless sewing for my sis in the form of this Dog Linden!!

She has a lovely little dog called Treacle and when I saw this fabric from Stoff + Stil I knew it would make a great present. When I bought this fabric, the shipping costs where absolutely crazy so it did make this a rather expensive make, however I have noticed just now that they seem to have added a UK site with UK shipping prices. This is still priced at £8 for DHL but free over £50 spend so maybe if you were buying in bulk it would be good as some of the jerseys are beautiful and very original.


 I am pleased with how this turned out and the fabric was superb to work with, such high quality and went through the machine like butter. There was even a fair amount left so maybe a summer vest top could be squeezed out of it? Any pattern suggestions for a vest-top?
 

So it's bank holiday weekend here in the UK and weirdly the sun is out so off I go like every other person in the country racing outdoors whilst it lasts! Happy weekend folks x

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Cobra Kalle and Heist Tights Love

It's bacccckkkkkkk.... of course I made another Kalle. I bloody love it.

 

This gorgeous fabric is the Cobra Corsage viscose crepe from Fabric Godmother. I already used the lawn version for a McCalls shirt (which has already hit the 'out' pile as I didn't really like the shape)

The fabric has a lovely drape and is opaque so I wanted to make an easy to wear shirt dress - enter Kalle! This is the 3rd Kalle I have made - and I like this one as much as the others. The style is pretty roomy so this one got belted for a sleeker silhouette.


The high/low hem still works I think and adds a bit of interest, great with tights underneath for this cooler weather.

And just a little minute here to appreciate the wonder of Textile Garden buttons that added that extra pow to this beauty. 


On the subject of tights - I really just wanted to share something I have recently discovered (I may be 100 years late to this but whatever, revolutionary for me!) - Heist Tights!!

This is in no way sponsored, I just wanted to give them a shout out as I hate wearing tights, they make me feel like a segmented worm. However, I gave these bad boys a go and MAN are they comfy!!!! Firstly - just look at the pretty packaging (all recyclable aswell)


I received HANDS DOWN the best customer service of my life. The lady online advised as to what size I needed, high waist requirements and she sent me 2 pairs that arrived the next day. One of them was a bit tight so I inquired again - and they sent 2 more pairs in the next size for free!!!

The tights themselves are so high quality its unbelievable. You get a little cotton bag to keep them in labelled with the size, denier and style and the tights have a ridged marker inside indicating the back.

They don't pull or move, they have no seams, the waist stays up and over your tummy giving a nice shape and also pretty wonderful is that they don't really stick to clothes!

If you have also seen these and were wondering, here's 20% off. 


  Now time to make some more shirt dresses I think...

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The Forum Makers Month 2018

Wow it feels like an absolute age since I posted anything! Ah well, trying not to feel too guilty about that, health and work had to come first.

I thought I would however break with the project posting for today and pop a few pics of Makers' Month up on here.

The Forum in Norwich hosted a month long event whereby each day there would exhibitions, talks and different workshops teaching you how to knit, sew, crochet, spin, weave, print, embroider, quilt, draw, paint, sculpt, whittle...you name it, it was there! It was an excellent project designed to encourage people in the region to give creativity a go. There was something different every day which was wonderful.

Our local group Norwich Sewcials were kindly invited and we hosted a Sewing Surgery and Pattern Translation Station for beginners to ask anything they liked about making clothes and sizing themselves. It was lovely to meet people from all walks of life and chat with interested folks keen to give things a go.



Hands down the best thing about the event was a little cabin playing a Nudinits movie. I would highly recommend taking a look! All about the villagers of Woolley Bush and Jim's prize winning cock.

Photo credit: Nudinits.com
And did they save the best activity until last? Possibly! Myself and the Fabric Wrangler decided to catch up over a clay dinosaur sculpting class.... normal. Learning the techniques from Ray Noakes, making dinosaurs for film and television, off we set with an open mind!


Turns out, it was a fab way to spend an afternoon, very relaxing, bit different and thoroughly enjoyable to chat to others present.  We were presented with a concrete skull, reference books and Ray's guidance on how to build up the muscle structure and features and a whole host of creatures were born!


With time for a cuppa whilst they were dried I'd say that was an afternoon well spent. With a bit of luck The Forum will continue this event with Makers Month 2019 and I'll definitely be signing up to more of the workshops!

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The Union St. Tee

Bear with me - we're hoping Spring is coming back soon and normal photos can be resumed shortly. But for now we'll just have to deal with these photos that were essentially taken IN THE DARK.

This is a basic post about a basic tee - but simplicity is worth a mention I think.

This week it's the turn of The Union St. Tee by Hey June Handmade. I'm a fan of the Grainline Lark pattern which is very similar in its versatility as a basic t-shirt, with sleeve length and neckline options - however I did want to try this one as there appears to be a subtle difference with the fit and drape of it as the Union St. has a little more of a roomy loose feel.


The Union St. Tee comes with the option for a v-neck, scoop neck, or crew neck, and has four sleeve lengths included – short, elbow, 3/4, and long. The pattern also has a little chest pocket if you fancied it and for the ample bosom-ed among you it also comes with a per-drafted FBA section! Needless to say, that ain't for me. Less pdf to print and tape hehe.

The size range is pretty extensive ranging from XXSW - 3XL however I came out on the measurement chart as an L/XL (Just FYI for sizing I'm UK 12 for tops in RTW).

It was ridiculously easy to cut and sew and I managed to squeeze a short sleeve version out of 1 meter of fabric. The whole thing was whizzed up on the overlocker and then top stitched at the neckband and hem with my regular machine.


This amazing whale fabric was from eBay and although fairly cheap it turned out to be really thick lovely quality jersey. It has since disappeared and I wish I'd bought a bit more!

I would say that the neckband is insanely small and I had to cut a new one several inches longer to comfortably fit it around the neck and get a nice finish. So be warned, cut a bit extra than stated on the pattern.

The fit was pretty accurate and its a nice length sitting just at the hip. The only change I made was to nip it in a little at the waist for a bit of shaping. It is a boxy style and the shaping just gave it a loose feminine feel. This was just my preference though as my waist/hip differential is quite large and may have been as a result of having to grade between sizes.


The v-neck isn't perfect but it's wearable and a good layering piece!


As these bad boys only take about an hour to make I also made use of this monster fabric from Fabrics Galore which apparently I couldn't live without at the Sewing Bee Live.

All in all another great basics pattern for the arsenal. I'd definitely try the other sleeve and neckline options and hopefully hack in into a tunic tee/tee dress at some point.

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Secret Valentine Exchange 2018 - #2018SVE

I just wanted to do a quick post today about the 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange (aka #2018sve) that has been going on over on Instagram. I'm sure many of you are more than aware of this, and have even participated. This project stemmed from Sanae Ishida and Ute who started it off a few years ago and it seems to have grown immensely! I think they said there were 576 participants from all over the world this year!

The idea is that everyone wishing to take part signs up and gives a few details about themselves. You are then assigned your exchange person (its not partners, everyone gets someone else, like Secret Santa) and can go on a bit of an Instagram stalk to see what you think they might like. The only thing is that you are making them a gift, handmade with love.

My swap partner was a lovely lady from Oregon who seemed to like the outdoors, knitting and I even spied she had a tortoise!!! I made here a little drawstring bag so she could use it for craft projects, or whatever really! Of course some goodies got popped in there as well...


(All the goodies had a personal meaning - my late mum used to post me Freddo bars when I lived abroad, they are the epitome of pure love.) The weirdest thing ever was that my partner recognized the goodies as her mother was from Leeds in the UK - so we had tortoises and Northern-ness in common purely by chance!

Made with the Mnikins Jet set bag sewing pattern by Sew Sweetness
I do want to share the lovely gift I received in the mail as it is incredible. The sender is a Spanish chap who has just started sewing, but made the most incredible porridge spoon from scratch! There was so much effort in this I could see. Calligraphy letter, a little bag holder and a hand carved and treated spoon in the shape of a tortoise!!


This project was utterly wonderful, what a great way of bringing some connectedness and love to the crafty community. The generosity of strangers was really remarkable. I will definitely be joining in again next year. Hobbies are good for the soul :)


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A Very Toasty Toaster



Once again, a little late to this Toaster party but what a party it is...

I can see why the ol' t'interweb is alight with love for this Sew House Seven beauty of a pattern. Being the fussy creature of comfort I am, I'm not such a fan of high neck jumpers as they just tend to irritate me - however enter Simplicity 8529 - the perfect Toaster Sweater collaboration!


Just to point out - that's not a cross around my neck, its a robot.

Once again it was Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’ that brought this one to my attention (I swear I read other blogs too) when she did a whole week of this pattern.

I opted for View C of the Simplicity version – falling for its split hem, long line length and wider lower neckline.



Still being freezing cold here I thought this would be a perfect use of the cable knit fabric I bought from Higgs and Higgs at Christmas time. I went a bit nuts and got so many colours however I have always fancied a white cable knit jumper.

I cut between a size Medium on top and Large at the hips which seemed to work quite well. I also lengthened the hems by a few inches for extra coverage and lowered the starting point of the side slit so it didn't come quite so high up the body.


The pattern is wonderfully easy to cut and sews up very well indeed, taking only a few hours! When I first tried it on before hemming I wasn't too sure of the style - it seemed too big and too shapeless. However, after finishing the cuffs and hems it mystically appeared to change before my eyes into a pretty cool sweater.

I enjoyed the fact that the fabric lent itself well to making the neckband decorative for a slightly 'fisherman' vibe!


 It's already been worn out a couple of time - of course me + white jumper = immediate tea stain however I'm hoping that will wash out. I'm so pleased I've made another wearable piece, and there's already another version in navy waiting to be sewn up! A friend at Norwich Sewcials made a pea green version which is just amazing. A finer knit for spring may also be a good option for later one. Ahhhh the possibilities again :)

Just one more thing....say hello to the latest member of the herd, baby Esther!


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Space Cadet - Salute to Kalle!

This is my first project of 2018! Wow did it take a long time to materialise...


I instantly fell for and bought the Kalle Shirt sleeve expansion for the Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt Dress and knew exactly what fabric would work. Set about cutting in December last year....then nothing. I have no idea why either.

But here it is...and it was worth the wait. I was meticulous about every detail this time, which makes a change for me, and made sure to do things properly rather than rush through. Hence why its now the end of January and only just finished. You'll have to excuse the poor light levels as the UK is lurking somewhere under a blanket of pure grey and we haven't been allowed out yet.

Firstly let me attest to how PERFECT this pattern is. The shirt is good, the dress is good and dammit the tunic is amazing too. It it hands down THE perfect shirt for me. A long cosy shirt to go over leggings - my uniform. It's so well drafted, hangs wonderfully and I also found it to be an excellent length. I did however make a few tweaks though...just because.

Epaulettes! For some reason this just naturally occurred. It felt right to add them to this lovely material and the shape of the shirt to give it a bit of a twist and a bit of a military vibe. Plus I wanted to use studs, and in the end opted for these amazing ladybird buttons from Textile Garden.  So it's more eco-warrior than mercenary - you can't get mad at a ladybird.


The fabric I used here is Ocean Herringbone Shetland Flannel by Robert Kaufman. I first saw it on Meg and instantly purchased it with the intention of making something similar to her Archer. Because Meg is cool and I need to copy her. Fact. The fabric has however been languising in my stash ever since. Embarassingly I've just seen the date on her post and it was 2015....good thing's come to those who wait?!

This is most certainly a winter shirt as this stuff is thick. The shirt has taken on an almost jacket feel to it! As I result I also went for a few changes to the yoke and inner collar as I wasn't sure my machine would go through 2cm of flannel. Enter the #prettyguts with the addition of some astronaut fabric gifted to me by a lovely friend.


Rolling with a theme I decided to percevere and create bias binding with it aswell. This part was tricky as the binding is so thin and unravelling was a risk. With a hell of a lot of pinning and pressing, it got there in the end.

This was also my first attempt at box plackets (is that the word??) on the sleeves and was a little dubious however it came together of sorts. Not perfect but not bad, plus the fabric hides the threads really well. I ran out of ladybirds at this point, and will power to leave the house, so the sleeves have 'eclectic' buttons.


I adore this shirt and hope in the spirit of #makerscapsule it it going to get some wear - it fits the secret pyjama, smart casual criteria :) I will ABSOLUTELY be making another.


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