Snoopy Christmas Quilt

Just popping on today to share a cute little make that was partially part of my Minerva brand ambassador-ness and part because I love Snoopy and had bought an absolute ton of Christmas fabric from Elephant In My Handbag.

I have collected Snoopy bits and bobs since being a kid because it was a pretty rare find - these days he's all over the show and the collection has become a bit crazy. Lovely to see him on fabrics in the UK though!

The only real tradition I seem to have these days is leaving things until the last minute in December, and making a quilt was no exception. In hindsight, as usual, not the sort of thing that should be done quickly. 

I tried to make the quilt topper (check me out - like I know the words haha) a bit more interesting than just squares. So squares and triangles it is. It was based loosely on a design from Pinterest however the colour combinations makes mine more of an 'interpretive star' than a star. I like it though. It has charm.

This was not an easy make as I mixed up blocks here there and everywhere - but I'm quite proud to say I took the time to unpick and fix where possible instead of just leaving it and that paid off in the long run. 

Stash was on my side again and I found a piece of wadding which I could frankenstein into the right size for the center.

Enter Minerva right on cue a couple of weeks ago when they offered some festive fabrics up to try - perfect! I chose a lovely emerald green cotton with metallic gold stars for the backing of the quilt and it was so wide it fit like a dream. You can see my Minerva posts here if you fancy a peek. 

I gave it my best shot at 'quilting' although the backing fabric got caught and puckered a fair bit. Again I did take the time to unpick and sort that out so it looks reasonable. If not entirely ironed.

 Bizarrely my favourite part of this whole project was doing the bias binding - by hand. Whhaaaattttt.

Having just finished work for the year I spent a lovely couple of hours stitching the binding down whilst watching some sewing vlogs and having a coffee and it was heaven. Ah the joy of a bit of a break. Another little task I'm thankful for having done properly as the finished results look fab. (Well, by my standards anyway. Real Quilters out there are probably having a heart attack looking at this.)

And Just Like That.....(can you tell what I was also watching?) a Snoopy Quilt arrived in our household. 

And seconds later.... Bagel Cat decided to give it a test and it met with approval, reserved for cat naps and evening treats. 

Not to leave our little shelled fellas out of matters I also made a mini-version from the scraps. As the boys are  hibernating, Esther gave this the once over to see if she wanted to take it into her own hibernation in a week or so. 

I will take that as a yes. 

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A Festive Journee - McCalls 8110

As Christmas 2020 was an absolute bust I wanted to sew something frivolous and 'extra' this year, whether I was attending any parties or not. (At the time of writing this and the looks of the news the answer is probably not). Edit - we made it out very briefly.  Nevertheless...

In the picture above I actually had my top on inside out!! That was before the wine. Colours work better when you dress yourself right...

It all started with this beautiful constellation embroidered tulle from Sister Mintaka, which I had hoarded like a total magpie. (There is no way of showing how lovely this is in real life especially in the permanent twilight of the UK).

I toyed with the idea of a shirt dress with a slip underneath but figured that plackets and collars would be too tricky to cope with in this sheer fabric. So looked for something a bit more simple in construction.

Enter Journee! Otherwise known as McCalls 8110. 

The pattern does call for stretch tulle or stretch lace, and this isn't. However as the Big 4 have 'ease for days' I figured it may be ok. But I was a good gal and made a toile just in case. (I did NOT want to chop my lovely fabric without knowing it would fit!).

First attempt was with this lovely red and gold lace gifted by a friend. Bizarrely it fit. I went for a Size 22 (!).

After that I decided to just go for it and imagined this lovely long sparkly dress - only to discover that I had only bought and hoarded 1m of the fabric. Doh. One tier and tunic length it is. 

I'm still happy I managed to get an actual garment out of 1m though! All seams were french-seamed to enclose raw edges and give a better finish. The neckline and keyhole opening at the back are finished with satin bias binding - which to my surprise went on pretty well and did not clog up my sewing machine. A little hook and eye clasp keeps it closed at the nape. I did not hem this at all as the fabric doesn't need it and the raw edge looked quite pretty to me. 

Just to make matters a little more jazzy, I decided that anything going under this tunic also needed some sparkle and so a black velvet glitter disco suit was created.

Apostrophe Pattern leggings were whipped up in this gorgeous glittery stretch (also stashed) from Sew Anonymous. I figured a plain vest just wouldn't cut it so I also managed to squeeze a small Greenstyle cami out of the leftovers. It is only by luck that I managed a crop cami top out of the fabric otherwise it would have been longer! Excuse the bod out - for sewing demo purposes only!

I like how it sparkles under the constellation tulle like stars. Again ridiculously difficult to photograph glitter.

Whilst I love the fabrics in the outfit, for some reason I just don't love the outfit itself as much as I wanted to. I think it just misses what I had envisioned, however it was a very fun make and definitely fantastic to wear something completely original!

Any bright ideas about how to style this tunic are gratefully received...

This will no doubt be the last post before the ol' Christmas holidays therefore wishing you all seasons greetings whatever you may or may not be celebrating! x

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The Sally Sock

No sewing today - it's all about the socks. Specifically 'The Sally Sock' named after my lovely sewing friend who kindly showed me how to knit these. 

A pretty major goal of mine was to knit a sock. I've toyed with the idea for several years but it just looked...too hard. I tried to sign up to a local course but each time it immediately sold out.

Enter....Sally! Currently on her 5000th pair (or thereabouts ;-) pair, she very kindly imparted her wisdom over the course of several weeks to show me how to go about conjuring a sock into reality. And it really does feel like magic. 

Talking of magic - these are made with the Magic Loop method - which I shall be using for everything ever from now on. Circular needles win.

I was going to start off with the I'm So Basic Sock pattern from Summer Lee just to watch some of the videos however there was no substitute for having someone show you in real life and I am sincerely grateful for that. It helped we have the same size feet.

First we cast on and learnt how to go the magic loop rounds, creating some cuff ribbing. So many helpful hints along the way about not twisting the knit etc that I never would have known from a pattern. Then it got addictive. Ticking off the rows, going round and around, so meditative!

It then came to do a heel and I flipped out a bit as I had heard it was almost impossible if you weren't super pro however there was some amazing method for doing a short row heel which was found here at Purl Hunter. Encouraged by Sally even over WhatsApp I cracked on and 3 hours later found myself with a functioning heel!!

 Far far from perfect but I did not expect for it to work at all, and for a first sock perfection was never a goal. Nor will it ever be. There are holes, but holes can be sewn up.

To the foot again and this was just a case of 'doing the rounds' for a while until it touched my toes. I couldn't resist popping it on every now and again to see the progress.

At the toes came the decreases and the Sally Sock method continued with it's presentation of joy as a little sock formed!

And of course, being a two legged person there was a second sock to be done. A month later - toasty warm feet and a massive sense of satisfaction.

I'd say these socks were made with a wine next to me 90% of the time and almost 100% whilst watching Squid Game. 

Full disclosure - after this picture I did block the socks and for some reason they went massive despite being quite careful about squeezing and putting them on a sock blocker (::snigger::). Still wearable as 'sofa socks' in the cold though!

No joke, I felt that being taught by word of mouth and without a pattern as such, was kind of ethereal - like I was learning the secrets of our Nordic ancestors that had been passed down. It was quite the honour.  

And maybe one day in distant future when I've made enough socks to know how to do them properly, I could return the favour to Sally and everyone beforehand by teaching someone new myself...

So thank you Sally - and the many other 'Sally's' of the world who have taken their time to share knowledge to others and pass down skills, you're work will go on forever. 


Style Arc - Loren and the Lizards Jacket

 A double jacket situation... I made a toile! Who am I?!

This is the Style Arc Loren Jacket. It's a pretty casual boxy jacket blazer thing that felt right to make when the weather was cooling off. 


It being a jacket I had a little freak out and decided to make a 'wearable toile' to see if the back fit properly as sometimes tops can be too tight across it. 

Good ol' Style Arc won again and it fit just fine!

I went for my usual size 16 in Style Arc patterns that fit my top and waist. The hip measurement wasn't too relevant this time as the jacket is very over-sized and doesn't close so no need to stretch too much over the hips. 

The 'practice jacket' was actually made from some chevron Ponte Roma I had in my stash for a while (originally Minerva - bought not gifted!) It was quite a soft fabric and therefore it drapes more like a cardigan with a bit of a wiggly hem!

I did not line this one either but chose to add a pop of neon to the seams!

 My 'real' jacket was made with non-stretch tweed suiting (again from Minerva). I'm not really a tweed kind of gal however this has neon pink and colours weaved into it which I thought was a great twist on a classic.

 The pattern is very straight forward in terms of pattern pieces. Front, back, sleeves and facing. I found it a little tricky to attach the facing as a shawl collar, but that's only because I wasn't used to it and largely ignored the instructions.

I also decided to line this jacket and so drafted the lining using the Helen's Closet Pona method.

'Linings should always be jazzy' being a life mantra, meant a great excuse to crack out the Fabworks 'Galapagos Dream' Ted Baker lining. (Still in stock by the way! - Just saying...)

The lack of crest makes me think this might be a Lava Lizard however do correct me if wrong.

The lining feels silky satin soft and adds that extra layer of insulation. I am glad I tried adding it as it worked out fine, although definitely far from perfect at the hem!

I have actually worn this coat out a few times now, great for grabbing when a winter coat is too much yet a jumper just won't cut it. Have yet to wear the wearable toile but I shall try...

Me and my new coat went to see the last Dippy the Dinosaur exhibition at Norwich Cathedral and so the jumper felt appropriate... (Although the man at the door pointed out I was about 14 million years too late.)

Worshiping at the church of dinosaur here...

In conclusion, nice to get out of my stretch comfort zone and try something different - however I think I rushed them a bit and in hindsight a jacket needed a bit more care and attention than I gave it. 

Since writing this I also made a little optional belt to wrap around like a trench coat for windy days!

A la proxima vez x

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Halloween Glee - Style Arc

Thought I'd get on board with a theme today for spooky season. Sort of. Not particularly sinister but it's black so that will have to do.

The pattern in question here is the Glee Knit Top by Style Arc. It's a faux wrap, with side tucks and asymmetrical hem and as it happens, excellent for leggings!

I was very lucky and won this pattern on Instagram a while back and I had been hoarding it for a while (mainly due to it being 54 pages of PDF to stick together). Drawn to the interesting shape and need for a few tops that were not just standard t-shirts, this called out. 

Sizing was deliberated as I was cautious about a gaping neckline. However I went with my usual 14/16/18 grade for Style Arc and it worked a treat, no adjustments made. 

The fabric is 'Ottoman Knit' from Lamazi Fabrics and I had a fair amount left from a Union Swing Dress earlier in the year. It feels glorious. 

The trickiest part of the pattern was adding the neckline binding as the pattern piece was very narrow. I ended up just folding it in half and using a cover-stitch to hold it down. 

Tip: if you make this top, make sure you do the neckline binding BEFORE attaching everything at the side seams! Ask me how I know...

A little bit of secret neon on the inside! I also hemmed this top with neon cover-stitch and I can't get enough of this back view on the mannequin. It just makes my heart jump a bit seeing that flash of light.

All in all a lovely and very comfortable top. It's tighter than my usual baggy attire but I don't mind that as the fabric and side pleats are very flattering. The V-neck is very low cut - although it doesn't gape and does cover everything! I think I may wear a bralette or vest top underneath just for added cover and warmth. 

At the time of publish of this Halloween post I shall be haunting the corridors or Belsey Bridge for the second Norwich Sewcials Retreat. I think the scariest part of this is how little sleep I have had since the last one! More on that to come :)

À la prochaine...
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Knit for Victory - Pigeons!

Coming to the blog a little differently today with a bit of knitting. It's no secret I do enjoy making knitted creatures and since discovering Knit for Victory, birds have featured pretty heavily.

I felt I needed to record a little happy moment here as in February 2019, just before lockdown 1.0 happened, I started my little knitting journey, inspired by a couple of pigeons at the Norfolk Maker's Festival Exhibition.  I reallllllllly wanted to make those pigeons. 

Dreams can come true.

 I've posted this picture before but I thought it was worth repeating. This was where I started :

 A couple of years of practice (I can still only do basic stuff) and it turns out pigeons are a possibility! The patterns by Nicky Fijalkowska (Knit for Victory) are absolutely incredible. Firstly every single pattern is ridiculously cute. Secondly Nicky is hilarious. 

These best bit of all her patterns is that they are knit flat. And simple. The instructions walk you through every line of knitting and the separate pieces of the bird are relatively straightforward, with the magic happening when all elements are stitched together at the end.

This is Bill and Albert. Check out that side eye from Bagel Cat!!!

 They started to get nervous so flew up to the trees.

 It was a little chilly out and so they decided to take their lunch indoors.

All fueled up Bill and Albert decided to visit a gallery and see some pigeon art.

They even bought a guide book....

It may have taken a long time but I'm very happy with my two pigeons and they appear to be quite happy in their new home too, having nested in our living room. 

Wishing you all happy crafting and always learning...


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Style Arc - Parker Ponte Pants Party

 Despite having make these trousers a grand total of FIVE times - they never seem to have cropped up on my blog! I really don't know why not as I wear them all the time.

The trouser pattern in question is the Style Arc - Parker Ponte Pants.

They are a glorious hidden gem of a trouser. Absolute secret pyjamas. Stretchy ponte, elasticated waist, but looking? Winner. 

This fabric was kindly gifted to me by Minerva in exchange for a post on their site so I will link you to that here if you fancied a read. 

Optional back pockets and a faux front pocket - however I have drafted a pocket bag for these and made them for a couple of pairs. 

Below are my super-duper goes with most thinks black pair which you can see has a pocket. They are also truer to the original pattern as they have the slim leg and turn ups. The black and white pair above have a narrowed leg for a skinny fit.

As you can see from the pictures I'm absolutely loving my Parker Pants and all their stretchy glory.

Bonus pics of a couple of other pairs I have made!

Safe to say this pattern is a TNT for me and will be staying firmly in my pattern collection.

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