In The Leaf Litter - Knitted Bugs and Beasties!

 Starting October off with something bit different today. Knitted creatures!

You may or may not already know I became obsessed with knitting animals a while back and really enjoy the process of these smaller makes. So much more interesting than knitting a bit jumper.

A fun little fella to make was this gorgeous frog (this is Turner) - the pattern is by Dot Pebbles Knits and seems to have reached absolute cult status. If you have instagram search #imadethisfrog and there is so much comedy content!

Of course I joined in...

No frog's were harmed in the making of the following photo.

For a while I've also been messing about just making 3D shapes and different textures with knitting and eventually this manifested itself into making my own little patterns for some bugs!

Look away now if you're scared of spiders. Although he is super cute so don't worry too much. 


The messing around escalated as I made spiders, beetles, slugs, woodlice, moths etc.... So as a means to justify this bizarre behaviour I started a little project called 'In The Leaf Litter'. It's a little space to share some humour and ridiculous in a strange ol' world. Please do follow my account if you want to see these little bug adventures.

 Finally I decided it might be fun to actually write down my spider pattern - just in time for autumn and Halloween! So meet 'Big T' my first proper knitting pattern available now on Ravelry and LoveCrafts. It's a 10 page photo illustrated PDF if you fancy giving him a go! 

 I may do the same with the other creatures in due course but like most things it's a matter of time. 


 Thanks for reading if you got this far as I appreciate this one is not everyone's cup of tea! I shall be back with sewing content shortly :)

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Sew Purple for ALZ - Lois Returns

Morning all - sliding in today with a couple more Tessuti Lois dresses! 

Whilst the pattern isn't new to my blog - having already written about it here in more detail - I thought these were worth a mention just for the pretty fabric and associated 'challenge'. 

The Lois dress has to be my favourite pattern from this summer. These versions are made with all my adjustments - a more centered bust dart, no zip and a slightly raised neckline (7cm).

Firstly I made this great 'animal glow' version using viscose challis from Minerva (bought not gifted!!).


A hugely practical dress this turned out to be! I wore it to a work function in summer with heels, it then rained but fortunately the fabric dried out really quickly, then later I threw trainers on with it and it was suitable for dashing about and grabbing dinner. 

I then really wanted to use some Mauve Cobra Corsage fabric that I had been saving from Lady McElroy. Yes - this print again. 

Michelle from MichelleSewsAgain has been hosting a charity event throughout September to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimers and Dementia. The idea was to sew something purple and make a charity donation. Unfortunately our family lost a loved one only a few weeks ago to this and it seemed appropriate to join in and make something. 

Step up Lois again!

This one whizzed up really quickly and I just love how the colour pops on this with the contrasting blue bugs. My tattoos also appear to blend with this one!


Who is that handsome purple gentleman in the picture above you may be wondering? Well that is Snaily - who also formed part of the 'purple' challenge. I mean why not accessorize with a cute snail?

 If you'd like to knit your own snail he was made with a free pattern from Hobbycraft available here.

Thanks for stopping by again it is appreciated :)

I'm thinking of getting a little Halloweeny for October and may post some slightly darker makes now we're getting into autumn! Although I can't promise that some colour won't creep in, I can't resist. 

Wishing you all well... 

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True Bias - Shelby Dress

 Sorry I couldn't think of anything remotely witty or interesting as a title today. 

As you may have guessed from the plain talking - today I'm writing about the True Bias Shelby Dress.

Full disclosure as always - I did not pay for the fabric.

I mean I didn't nick it or anything, it was a brand ambassador gift from Minerva in exchange for popping the pictures and details up on their site which you can see here.

I’ve had the Shelby Dress on my radar for some time now, and bizarrely it seems to be having a bit of a resurgence in the sewing community it seems.

After finally getting the pattern printed up, this Minerva Viscose Challis in ‘Pause Play’ was the perfect accompaniment to a fresh project!

 

This fabric is so vibrant in real life. It has the perfect drape but remains opaque for sewing any kind of project. The colours really called out to me in these neon greens and my usual fondness for mad print won out again.

The Shelby Dress now goes up to a size 32 which is great. I did download the 0-18 range however my measurements put me in the 16/18 size.

With regards to sizing, there is a LOT of ease in this pattern and there was potential to go down one. That being said, the 16/18 fits by shoulders and back well so any smaller and it starts getting tighter in those areas. As the pattern has princess seams it was fairly easy to pin out some excess in the bust area. As you can see above, my top button missed the mark somewhat so I had to pop a stitch at the top of the dress to keep it from gaping open.

I realised True Bias patterns are drafted for a larger C cup and so it did feel baggy across the bust initially. After pinning out the excess I’ve transferred that onto my pattern so hopefully next time it will come up a little better fitting. I already have another planned. 

The pattern is quite fabric hungry and took the full 3 meters. I also had to patchwork the neckline facing a bit as I couldn’t fit the whole piece on the remaining fabric. I think the pattern actually called for 3.4m which may explain that.

I did go for the shorter length dress but it’s quite long. I’m 5’7” and thought it would fall above the knee but I do like this length. I think for tights and boots in winter it would be good to go a little shorter. 


 I love the swish of this dress and the causal feel. I’m transported back to the ‘90’s wearing this and can feel the urge to pop some chunky boots on! 

The back ties give the dress a nice bit of shape without feeling and looking overly fitted. 

 

The construction of the dress is really simple with princess and side seams. The neckline and button placket are just a simple facing. The one thing it is missing though…. pockets. 

Note to self for next time. 

#teampockets 

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Snakes on a Grain

 I made myself laugh with the title. (Click here if you've no idea what I'm talking about).

 Today brings a little pattern hacking and some very snazzy fabric!

Sherwood Fabrics once again beckoned me in to their online shop with newsletter discounts and I instantaneously fell in love with yet another colourway of my favourite print. You guessed it. Cobra Corsage.

 This is a gorgeous teal colour, in 'Chloe Chambray'. They have two different chambrays and I have no idea what the difference is as the composition looks to be the same. I was advised that the Chloe was the one for flowing garments though. 

It's a woven fabric, like a thicker viscose and has a slight amount of stretch across it which is very comfortable to wear. 

Being so enamored with the print I just went right in and made a head to toe outfit. 

It was going to be a faux jumpsuit but it gives me definite pyjama vibes and the top doesn't tuck in particularly well either.

But as seperates - well that's a whole different story and a whole lot of love.

The Top

The top is the bodice of the Tilly and the Buttons Indigo dress. I just laid the bodice pieces out to cut normally and extended down a few inches. I could have gone a little longer but I didn't have enough fabric left so it's  a bit cropped. This is the Size 7.


The Indigo makes for a fab little woven tee! Bust darts, over the head, no problem.


I had to put a little side slip into the hem of the t-shirt as I forgot to grade out towards the waist/hip and so it was sitting a little too snug initially. 

The Trousers

This is my Style Arc Fifi Pants pattern - which works 50% of the time for no apparent scientific reason.

I batch cut this pair, and a pair in some beautiful polka dot Doops fabric from Australia. The Doops version was a massive fail and I couldn't get them on. Thankfully this pair worked fine! (This bizarre trouser duality also happened last time I made them!).

The pattern is about a 14 however I have made many alterations on these that they don't really resemble the original pattern much. Fitting details are in my original post so I won't repeat that here. 

Functional pockets and an elasticated waist make these a pleasure to wear! I love how Style Arc fits a booty.

There we have it, a couple of useful separates for the September sun. And a huge excuse just to write 'Snakes on a Grain'.

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Sandpiper + Faye = September Swimwear

As I was thinking what to write on this post, it could have turned into an almighty essay about body issues, body image, confidence etc etc. However, we're staying on topic and I've decided to stick purely to the sewing, the rest is not up for discussion!

The pictures are here because I felt it was necessary to show how the patterns fit a human body and the different stylings they had.

 Onwards....

Swimwear had been on my radar for many years but for some reason I just hadn't taken the 'plunge' as it were. 

I bought Helen's Closet - Sandpiper Swimsuit last year, and then the lovely Heather of Closet Core brought out the Faye Swimsuit which as a follower of hers, I could not resist. 

On an absolute whim one day I just decided to cut out the Faye Bikini!

Faye

For this swimsuit my measurements put me in exactly the 16 top and 18 bottoms sizing. So that's what I chopped and that's what was sewn.  

To my absolute surprise - it fit!!!!


 I bought my supplies for this from Little Legs Fabric and they had some wonderful SPF swimwear during summer. Swimwear seemed to be having a 'thing' this year in the sewing world so hopefully there will be more stockists of good swimwear fabric next year. It was difficult finding something patterned, but not childish or plain. Lightning bolts won me over. 

I was so surprised at how straightforward this was to make. I won't say 'easy' as there was definitely planning ahead involved in terms of the correct needle, elastic tension and turning some fiddly straps, but definitely a pleasant surprise. 

The bottoms are the high waisted version, which provided for good coverage. I also liked the simple lines of the top. I went for the straight strap version as a first attempt. 

Sandpiper

Another great pattern maker and again - I came up as a size 16 top and 18 bottoms on the chart. Unfortunately I could just not get the bottoms to fit at all. 

My toile was just enormous and awkward looking at the crotch so I ditched them and kept the Faye bottoms instead. The style of them both is so similar save for a waistband. 

 The top however is fantastic! I really like the sporty look of the top and the added length makes me feel less self-conscious. This Faye and Sandpiper combo is definitely one I could feel confident swimming in as it feels nice and secure. 

Swimsuit

At this point I really thought I'd much prefer a swimsuit as opposed to a two-piece and so I basically decided to 'fill in the gaps' of the Faye swimsuit. I figured there was about 3 inches gap between the bikini top and bottoms so I just drafted that into a pattern piece.

I have a long torso so swimsuits never fit me properly so it was great to be able to make my own!

I picked some hilariously gaudy lycra from FunkiFabrics perfect for some pool lounging! (Not that I have any of that to do yet). It's not metallic, just a rainbow snakeskin. Classy like.

I managed to find black swim lining on Etsy as well as black rubber elastic so that helped with the finished result.

The insides also have some foam cups stitched in for extra comfort. Bit wonky but who cares they work. 

 The swimsuit itself is the most comfortable one I've ever owned. Unfortunately there's a bit too much excess fabric in the middle where I extended - I fear that in a Jacuzzi I may just inflate. Exhibit A:

I think it's definitely a 'poolside bar and paddling' kind of swimsuit. Definitely one for an all you can eat buffet at least.


 The best bit of this swimwear experiment was that I got to use my coverstitch to its full potential! After some faffing with the settings it went over the elastic hems fantastically and my Janome fulfilled its swimwear destiny.

If you haven't tried swimwear I'd definitely recommend giving it a shot, it's really not as daunting as it seems!

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Last of the Summer Sewing Part VII - Random Roundup

 

 'Last' of the summer sewing seems a bit extreme this time as although it's now the end of August and autumn days approach - it's still hot, humid and a billion degrees outside. And I've just made swimwear (more on that in another post!)

Today I thought I'd do a little roundup of all the makes that didn't make the blog including a couple of sewing fails!

First of those 'fails' was not really in the sewing. I actually spent a lot of time and effort making Mr. Crafty Clyde a formal shirt in some amazing wildlife cotton from Rainbow Fabrics. It was made JUST in time for a work event where we whipped it into the bag and thought no more. Until he tried it on in the hotel room and it looked.....weird. Flouncy? Feminine? There was a lot of 'blouse' happening despite the measurements being accurate. I'd used the Cameron Shirt by Helen's Closet and unfortunately it just wasn't for him. I should have stuck to ol' faithful M6044. Thank goodness he had brought a spare!


 A useful make I whizzed up by drawing around an old t-shirt dress was this Nerida Hansen print jersey! My love for Australian design continues and this jersey just needed displaying in the simplest way. Plus I only had a meter. 

 Usually I can rely on Style Arc for a good fit and so I ventured into making an Ariana Dress. I cut a 16 (I'm usually a 14/16) but wow it came out small. 

 The back consisted of the nation's current obsession - shirring - and so I thought it would be comfortable but I was basically just squeezed into the dress with my back spilling out. Not a great look. I'll spare you that photo.

Shirring can kiss my **** - I don't know why everyone loves it so much, it's not that difficult but it is incredibly TEDIOUS to do.  #controversialopinion

I even had to omit the front placket as I couldn't do it up. My fabric choice was also poor and I have now discovered I really don't suit white or cream, my skin being kind of translucent anyway. I snipped the skirt off to salvage the fabric for a cami top which may work better.

Going back to the good times - a successful and very quick make was the Closet Core Tee. This one was a lovely surprise as it's FREE (great stuff) and also has a lovely shape to it. I thought it would be another 'boxy' tee with straight sides but it's actually got some good curves. 10/10 would recommend. 

The fabric here is Doops Designs cotton jersey. It's yet unworn but only because it's too humid for sleeves right now.

Should we even talk about this next one?! It was supposed to be Simplicity 9136. A lady at my sewing class had made some utterly beautiful versions of this pattern and the raglan sleeve appealed to my broad back. I actually had to buy the pattern twice as I was a fool and got the wrong version to start with. My toile was...... I can't look at this without thinking of someone's Nan on the way to Benidorm. 

I did not have the mental capacity to do any high intensity fitting at the time so off it trotted to the recycle pile. 

The Saltwater Slip made another appearance as the 'go to' of using up any scraps I've had. You can squeeze the cutest cami out of a few leftovers! This fabric is from Minerva (bought!) and is just fantastic - still in stock here if you want to buy some.

There was also a Lahja Robe which finally got made last week as I'd been needing a non-fuzzy dressing gown alternative for the weather. I used some lovely Lady McElroy cotton lawn for this and it's nice and crisp for the heat. 

 Finally I'll end with a non-garment make which was a little bag to keep my knitting in. You may have seen on Insta that I keep making all sorts of insects and creatures and so a handy little bag to keep yarn and eyeballs in was just the job. 

The fabric was from Fleur et Ors and the pattern loosely based on the Seamingly Sane pouch. A wonderful little pattern if you were after something similar!

Well that's about it! As you can see it's always a mixed bag with regards to success and failure and not everything gets documented.

I hope you've had a lovely summer and a great season of sewing! x

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