Christmas Crafting - Secret Sewing

I hope you all have had and are having a good winter break :)

Now the gifts have been given I can now show a few pictures of what I'd been making in December!

The first thing I tried was 'new to me' pattern by Tilly and the Buttons - the Juno Pyjamas from the Book 'Make It Simple'

 It's become something of a tradition that I make my sister and I some ridiculous matching festive attire and this year lounge PJs felt very much appropriate.  

Regarding size, I opted for an '8' in Tilly's chart and cut both the top and bottoms in that straight size. 

The pattern pieces go together really well, my only struggle - and it was small - was that the neckband was a fraction too small for my preference and gives pull marks. I managed to steam it out but I have lengthened that pattern piece for future use by about an inch.  


The other change I made was to add a waistband to thread the elastic through on the bottoms. I'm just not a fan of sewing elastic directly onto fabric as it looks a bit messy and there's no room for adjusting it after if needed. As these were a gift I thought it was better so the elastic could be tightened if needed. 

The fabric I used was this gorgeous penguin print from Flamingo Fabrics so cute. And more 'wintery' than Christmas so they can get some wear all season.  

I made a couple of versions of the PJs - gotta have choices!

There's the long sleeve cuffed version of the top together with the long cuffed bottoms which are a bit like joggers in style.

Then there's the t-shirt style version of the top (which is actually the Tabitha t-shirt pattern that when paired with the bottoms becomes 'Juno Pyjamas'). The bottoms for these I widened the leg and cropped the length for looser PJ bottoms. 


The Tabitha t-shirt pattern also got another outing in the form of this cute winter Puffin tee. Another bonus make for my sis made with the leftover fabric from her main present. 

Again this fabric is from Flamingo Fabrics (who are absolutely nailing novelty jersey) and is just the most beautiful quality and weight to work with. Puffins are a big part of our family, we used to go up to Flamborugh Cliffs to watch them as kids and I know my sis loves a Puffin print. 

I had bought it for making her a Turner Dress by Cashmerette. A TNT pattern that I know fits her well and so it seemed a good option to show off the print. (The other summer versions are here!)

Needless to say my overocker was in overdrive for the first half of December getting through all this jersey! Not complaining, love a bit of stretch. 

I've not yet made any 2021 sewing plans because....well 2020 is not yet over and I'm not 100% convinced the space chickens won't arrive in the next few days. Until I see 1st Jan materialize I shall be reserving all plans.

 Wishing you all a Happy New Year - see you on the other side! x



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Frogs, Felt and Festive Legs

'Tis the season of Tinsel and Toads... Just me?

I've got a few festive makes to show you today, and they brought so much joy to make!

First up is my felt wreath three weeks in the making. This WAS supposed to be the 'Jingle Bells of Christmas' wreath by ThreadED complete with bells and reindeer however.... well I'm not great at sticking to script.

Plus Christmas is all about family right? Well mine is shelled and furry and they deserved a little place on the mantelpiece.

It did take some effort to start with as I hated the metallic embroidery thread.I could neither split it or thread it and it was just tedious. I very nearly gave up as it just wasn't enjoyable at all. In a last ditch attempt I ordered some Gutermann metallic machine thread and a crewel needle and it was plain sailing after that. I made a pile of leaves each evening watching TV and they soon piled up. 

I love how squishy and 3D this wreath is (difficult to picture). I also added little munched leaves for the tortoises. Don't get me started on the glue gun - amazing times to be had there.

Next up was a little project I got stuck in my head and had to realize. I was doodling a frog (as you do) and decided it needed to feature on a bit of clothing. I added a little Santa hat and drew a bit of text and was well away...

Here's where the Cricut is amazing - a bit of scanning and faffing with the images in the software meant that I could cut out the individual colour pieces needed to layer up some HTV and made a sweater applique. I went for Glitter Flex from Happy Fabrics and it sticks beautifully. 

The jumper is black sweat shirting from Fabric Godmother made into a Toaster Sweater. 

So I mayyyyy have given myself the early Christmas present of a Cricut Easy Press and it is AMAZING. It made applying HTV and absolute piece of cake. Set the temperature and time and off you go. So much better than an iron and actually well worth it. This is the result!

I just love it so much and can't wait to wear it.The toaster sweater is also long line and so makes for a comfy covered Christmas jumper!

Just in case this wasn't ridiculous enough I've made myself a pair of leggings to wear with it. Enter the Funkifabrics festive legs. (Just FYI this is the 'Flex All-rounder' lycra base and gives good opaque coverage and plenty of stretch).

Wishing everyone a happy holiday whatever that looks like for you!

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2020 - Knit Happened

 2020. Well that was weird huh. 

(Granted there's a few weeks left and still time for space chickens to invade but fingers crossed).

Like many people I did lose my Sewjo several times this however I did find myself reaching for those meditation sticks regularly.

It was the year of the knit for me.

As a total beginner I absolutely loved First Time Knits and the Knitter's Activity Book by Sincerely Louise. 

The books are beautifully illustrated, there are online resources to help and the makes are... crackers. 

Naturally I made a couple of lobsters this summer. Meet Rei and Joanna. (Joanna started life as a Toft crochet kit but I absolutely can't get on with crochet, so I knit her instead).

Another super cute make from the book was a doughnut for my friend's kid who seemed to enjoy it.

As the year progressed I thought I would try some double-needle knitting in the form of  'Sock It To Me' chunky socks from Lauren Aston. You choose your wool colours and everything you need arrives in a super little kit bag. 

Can confirm - these are very toasty sofa socks. 

I also managed to finish my labour of love which was a 'Winter is Coming' family tribe blanket. It was inspired by the First Nations ceremonial blankets we saw on honeymoon in Canada and I wanted to make something similar for my husband as a reminder of our time there and something to keep. 

The red zig zags represent mountains and the blue ones are the reflections of the mountains in the lake. On the side you can see dots, and these are 1 for every member of the family. I've just added another for Bagel the Cat.

I then fancied a cardigan and went for another kit - this one was the Dreamy Oversized Cardigan by Lauren Aston. And yes, oversized would be a good description. It is so soft and kind of reminds me of those 'slankets' in catalogues! 

The pics were taken on Halloween just fyi...

Then we come rolling round to Christmas and I lost my mind knitting about a million sprouts for no apparent reason. Plus extras to make a window display...

So 2020 was pretty woolly. I definitely need to practice the simple things and get better at not making so many errors. However this year the process served a purpose and that was simply just to chill out and focus when all around was chaos.

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A Blackwood Bug Re-Union

 Nothing new today but back with another bug print!

My Sewjo went MIA for a while and I needed some TNT patterns to get me back into the swing of things. This was the perfect antidote. 

This fabric is a gorgeous jersey called 'Blue Bugs' from Flamingo Fabrics. I thought the colours were quite striking and wintery and couldn't resist the print. 

Initially planning a dress I changed tack thinking I'd get more wear out of some seperates. And is it even winter if you haven't made a Blackwood?

Of course I'm talking about the Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan - the ol' faithful of the sewing world!

Bizarrely one of the few patterns I haven't grown out of and had to retrace. Winner. This one is a size Large.

 The longer length version of the pattern suits my need for leggings cover-up and is cosy enough to wrap around when chilly. And has pockets.

There was enough fabric to get a t-shirt out of aswell so I pulled out the trusty Union St. Tee pattern from Hey June Handmade. I know I've said it before but this is hands down my favourite t-shirt pattern out there - and I have tried many! I just find it's the perfect combination of fitted and drape.

 This version is a longer line, tunic style tee, great for just whacking on at home. I'm also happy to report that the leftover scraps also got used up by  The Fabric Wrangler who used them to line hoodies for her nephews!

Gotta love some jersey, and gotta love using all those scraps...

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The Eco-Super Squid Suit

What a title.

But here is why:

I made what feels like another super-hero suit!

So ok it's more Octopus/Kraken than squid but you get the picture. I missed a 'Cracking Kraken' pun dammit.

This was available from Sew Dynamic Fabric made from recycled plastic bottles! If you want to see how it's made hop over to their website there's some good info on there. 

Not going to lie - it wasn't cheap because I had to pay import fees HOWEVER when it arrived that was all forgiven and it was totally worth it. I love that it came with sew in labels, a pin badge and a message to say that my 2 yards had been made from 32.4 plastic bottles.

I did hesitate in cutting into this for fear of messing it up however biting the bullet a couple of weeks ago I just went for it.

The leggings are my trusty Fehr Trade 'Active Leggings' with yoga band waist (and added elastic for security). I'd say these were the 'compression' version of the pattern. Although I didn't buy the compression add-on, I did spend time fitting these to be tighter and a 'TNT' pattern for me to use over again. If you like a tighter leg, she's now done the hard work for you and the add-on is available on Melissa's website.

The top is the Mighty Sports Bra by Evie La Luve  It's a brilliant sports top, great support and shape and surprisingly quick to put together. 

The top is fully lined and I've also used some foam 'modesty inserts' that are removable. 


My fold-over-elastic work needs some practice but it will do. The top will only be worn under a t-shirt I'm sure unless it's for yoga at home or something.

To go the whole hog I also made a loose tee in some bamboo jersey from the stash. (Originally from RayStitch). It's nothing spectacular, just traced the basic shape of a t-shirt then snipped the arm holes to get them nice and loose for a workout. Bamboo is great for this as it's cool, soft and very breathable for any sweaty classes!

I used my Cricut to cut an octopus from some spare HTV and popped that on for a bit of a theme!

 I pretty much love my new super-suit and yes I did wear it about the house the day I made it. Two great patterns and some pretty amazing fabric - perfect combo!

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Arlo - Hers and Hers Track Jacket

 Hello people... hoping you are all well.

Today brings a mini sewing fail/rescue attempt which started life as the Arlo Track Jacket by Friday Pattern Company.

This beauty of a pattern is a really stylish lightweight jacket/layering piece with a sporty vibe. Right up my street. And my husband also wanted one for cycling to work!

The fabric I used here is some brushed back jersey called 'Amazing Ants' from Anglian Fashion Fabrics. I'd bought it a couple of years ago and so a great stash bust. The black contrast is also some little scrap bits of sweater I had saved for a rainy day.

I remember this purchase was controversial as some people said it made them itch with the ants - the truth is it is ridiculously soft and cosy, and the ants are fabulous.

 The pattern is 'Unisex' and so I set about making my husband's jacket first. We measured up for a size XL and I figured if that fit him, the next would definitely fit me.

This was the first project I had made in a long while and I think all my sewing skills got forgotten. It stretched quite badly when I was sewing the panels together, and despite measuring several times, the zip just went awry.

 My husband then tried it on and... it was tiny and did not fit one bit :( The sleeves especially came up very short. I should have measured the pieces!

A glass of wine and a pep talk from my sewing group later, I decided to attempt a rescue mission and sat unpicking the topstitching and zip for a second attempt.

I then remembered the joy of Wondertape and whacked that on the zip to hold everything in place while I tried again. 

It's better but by now the hem band and neck bands have both stretched out quite badly. Not to worry.

As my husband could no longer use this I thought I could retrieve it for myself, but even I couldn't get the sleeves to a sensible length. The original cuffs got the chop and I cut some much longer pieces.

 As you can see the cuff is significantly bigger on the final version! I'm thinking I must have cut the pattern pieces wrong on the whole thing as the sizing was way off.

So in no reference to the pattern or the fabric - simply my sewing on this project - the Arlo got allocated it's sew in label.

So what was a mini disaster, is kind of wearable if you don't look too closely. I have actually reached for this top a couple of times now as it is super cosy for colder days and actually very comfortable.

I can't get it over my hips too well as a straight jacket however if you flip the hem band up it has a bomber jacket vibe which I don't hate. Excuse the pic - the best I could do with a cold and tiredness!

The Arlo jacket - mine was not his and hers, just 'hers' unfortunately. Tips for this one - measure the pattern pieces and crack out that Wondertape!

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In the Hood - Minerva Makes - the Hey June Halifax Hoodie


Today I bring you yet more hooded comfortable goodness - this time in the form of the Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade. 

I'll get to the point straight away - it's amazing.

Pattern - Hey June have some wonderful patterns and I'm a big fan of most of them as they seem to be drafted really well and have taken very little fitting, if any. For me, they are true to size and the instructions fantastic. This was my first attempt at a separating zip and the pattern takes you through everything you need for a great finish. 

Fabric - the main fabric I used was some Petrol Sweatshirt fabric from Minerva. Full disclosure - the sweatshirt fabric was gifted to me in exchange for a tutorial on how to put this hoodie together. If you want a step by step guide taking you through the Halifax Hoodie you can find it here on my Minerva profile :)   (Ps. I don't intend for all my posts to be Minerva related, I'm just catching up with the writing at the moment!)

The lining of this fabric is an AMAZING reptile print cotton. This was also gifted to me in a wholly different way. The lovely Azapops gave me an incredible 2 meters of this at the Sewing Weekender, just because she knows I like reptiles. Such a lovely thought I was very touched, sewing people are amazing right?!

Using cotton for the hood lining and the zip facing/neck facing was great as it also gave great stability where it was needed and sewing over it was so much easier then the sweat shirting directly. A walking foot is highly recommended!

The perfect final addition - a tortoise zipper pull!

Should the need arise for another hoodie, I will absolutely be reaching for this patter again!

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Re-usable Grocery Bag Tutorial with Minerva

Hello all

Today is a little different as I bring you a FULL tutorial on how to make the awesome reusable grocery bags in conjunction with Minerva and their brand spanking new website!


 Full disclosure - whilst I do not get paid for this I DID receive the wooden-effect canvas for free to make these bags.

Click here to hop on over to my 3 Part Tutorial on how to get sewing up these massive shopping bags!

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The Hoodigan - AKA Castillo Cardigan

 Pronounced like Hooligan - but softer and cosier. Hoodigan. 

This is actually the Castillo Cardigan pattern by Itch to Stitch - but I couldn't get that to stick in my head. 


Another excellent pattern by Kennis - this one is a throw on knit/jersey cardigan, with a hood, open front so no buttons to mess about with and a great cover up for cooler days or popping out.

So I actually made the first incarnation of this back in March! I made it for my sister and she chose these rather marvelous applique. It turned out to be fairly appropriate as she is a key worker and about a week later lockdown started.  CV19 this one's aimed at you.

My favourite part of the pattern is the covered neckline seam that has you trap a piece of bias or twill between the layers then flip it up to enclose all the raw edges. I think it looks great.

Pink for my sister's version and a blue for me. I used a jersey binding so it's really soft on the neck.

It's got quite deep pockets which I have found really useful when running errands out as it can take a phone/keys/mask!

The sizing of the pattern is spot on - these versions are actually a couple of sizes too big as we wanted 'roomy' but need not have bothered as it was plenty big enough anyway.

Fabric-wise, this was a stash one originally bought from Material Girl Laura. It's bit like a thick jersey/thin ponte with a texture to it called 'Styke'. 

So six months later I finally put together my version and chose this First Nations Painted Turtle applique that I bought in Vancouver. Just for a pop of colour. 

 Not much else to say really apart from it being a great staple pattern and a really useful hoodigan!

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