Felt Fancies

 Not so much with the sewing today but a little crafty project for Spring.

 


Norwich Sewcials held a 'floral felt wreath' workshop on Zoom the other week and we went crazy with the colours making felt flowers galore. 

Being a little rubbish at hand sewing and cutting anything fiddly I was surprised at how easy this was to do and how much of a 'mindful' practice making these flowers could be.

I have to admit, I pre-cut all my pieces using my Cricut machine. Nice clean edges!

The roses were created by drawing a spiral and then rolling the felt up from the outer edge, popping a couple of stitches in every now and again to hold it together.

The rest consists of layering up colours, scrunching leaves and adding shapes to your heart's content! 

As optional extras, some felt pom pom centers came in useful, as did a packet of card toppers giving me some insect life on my wreath.

There are hundreds of tutorials on Pinterest for felt flowers but I found it more fun just to cut shapes and whack things together fairly organically without too many set rules.

In order to put the flowers on the wreath, you can use cotton or wire but I went for the ol' faithful hot glue gun which my inner-child just absolutely loves using. Super-secure in just a few minutes.


 Now in situ my wreath is a nice colourful addition to the house. It's quite tempting to make some more on wire stems to pop in jars for table decorations. Should The Outdoors ever become warm enough to require such decorating and dining!

Very simple but very cheerful :)

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Nina Lee - Kew Skirt Extended Size Range

Bringing something slightly different today and breaking my mantra of 'Emma does not do skirts', with a skirt.

I was very lucky to be asked by Nina Lee to be one of the second batch of testers for their new extended size range. (All opinions here are my own there was no obligation).

The sizing of the beautiful Kew Dress (big fan, I've made it many times!) now come with a 16-28 option AND added skirt varieties! There's a B cup and D cup selection for the dress, multiple bodice/sleeve options an a-line skirt but now also a gathered and pencil skirt too.

I was testing the pencil skirt and the size chart put me exactly at a 16 waist and 18 hip making grading between the two very easy. 

The PDF goes together like a dream and only takes 23 pages which is instantly a relief for sticking together. 

Now I usually don't do skirts. Predominately because they tend to highlight my belly pooch (recently discovered #FUPA terminology! Google it, I'm not telling you) and also pencil skirts remind me of 'corporate' stuff. (Ick). Knowing how much I loved the Kew Dress and it's shape, I definitely thought this would be worth a go if only as an experiment.

 

The shaping of this skirt is gorgeous and I didn't feel self-conscious about that at all when wearing the end result! I love how it feels casual and comfortable without having to pull anything down or feel restricted in any way. Thanks to some nifty front and back darts it skims well. (Bum wrinkles courtesy of my t-shirt tucked in).

My favourite bit are the buttons down the front. As I didn't have any matching in the stash, multi-colour way the way forward and it worked in it's own way.

 I actually think I would wear this out and about - a little walk about a park perhaps when we are one day released.

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Cobra Corsage Clare Pants

It's all about the fabric today - this beautiful Cobra Corsage print by Lady McElroy has been a firm favourite of mine for a while. (Yep I've made things in the viscose, jersey and twill versions). How could I resist the stretch-suiting version when Minerva called out!

 

Full disclosure - I got the fabric for free in exchange for a blog post. (But I love the fabric and probably would have bought it anyway!)

If you want to read the full post click here to go to Minera.

The stretch in this fabric is ideal for trousers and the thickness very forgiving. I used my regular Style Arc Clare Pant pattern but lockdown weight has made them a little snug! Isn't everything.

I think they will be Spring/Summer trousers with sandals mainly because I have no idea what footwear to put on with these 7/8 trousers! They seem a bit for an awkward length this time for some reason. Previous versions are here. 

A great pattern to show off the print I think and one of my favourite parts is that the waist-tie hides all the elastic gathers at the back for a smooth looking finish.

 

To match the theme I had to pair these with some amazing bug jewellery I picked up from Kirstin Stride (one of my FAVE indie designers). The pic doesn't do them justice as they are metallic with domed resin for the shells.


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The Magic of Marlo

Quite a new pattern today! The Marlo Sweater by True Bias has been released a little while but there are still new versions cropping up everywhere for inspiration.

Helen's Closet Blackwood is usually my go-to cardigan pattern however it was nice to try out a new one, especially with these great dropped sleeves and relaxed fit style. 

I had been hoarding some super soft textured 'dinky knit' from Textile Express and this seemed an ideal choice for a cosy cardy. My main concern was that it didn't completely destroy my overlocker as has previously happened - see here! I am please to report it went through absolutely fine. 

The size I went for was 16-18. Although on the higher end of the original pattern I needed to use the 0-18 version as the cup size increases to a D in the 14-30 version and it would not have fit as well. 

For me the fit is great, it's loose but not ridiculous and great for layering. 

The instructions are well illustrated and it gives a couple of options, one beginner, one advanced, for attaching the neckband which is a nice touch. Admittedly I largely ignored the instructions and just ploughed on ahead with construction, attaching the neckband and main body together with the overlocker in one piece (3 layers).

The most difficult thing on this pattern was adding buttonholes to the knit jersey fabric. My machine is usually pretty whizzy at button holes, and does have a jersey setting, but wow, that took some effort. There was definitely a lot of fabric wrestling happening to make the feed dogs pull it under properly and keep moving. 

I have since learnt that 'stitch and tear' can be used underneath to help make buttonholes - placed between the fabric and machine, and then ripped out like paper afterwards. I will definitely be trying that next time!

 The pattern also calls for some pretty sizeable buttons which are not too hard to come by however I amde a custom order and  Turtlebird UK made me the perfect set! These are custom 30mm, lightweight and really pretty - would highly recommend. I went for the darker version to match my fabric.



 

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Jackson Tee Treats

What a treat this pattern is.

 

The Jackson Tee and Pullover from Helen's Closet is a real basic but the fit is fantastic. Having made most t-shirts under the sun, I was keen to try out another variant to see how it compared. 

I have already made the pullover version here but the tee version gives a very different look altogether.

The Jackson tee is a 'classic unisex fit with a slightly dropped shoulder and crew neck'. 

Love a dropped shoulder, and the looser fit is also a preference of mine. 

The size is a 16/18 and fit great! It's loose enough to skim the body well and give that roomy effect, but not so voluminous that you can't tuck it into skirts and trousers.

The longer length of the tee option (and you can also used the cropped variant) is also the perfect leggings cover-up and therefore meets my criteria on that point!


I went for a classic stripe and a not so classic stripe - fabrics from Flamingo Fabrics and Jelly Fabrics for jersey. 

The pattern is easy to cut, sew and really takes minimal time to put together as the pieces fit just right. I'm pleased to report these t-shirts have been worn multiple times, a sign of a good sew!

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Minerva and The Cat’s Pyjamas

Coming in today with a Minerva project - full disclosure, I did receive this fabric for free in exchange for making and sharing. But look at these cats, can you blame me ;)

The pattern I used for this project was the McCalls 'Easy M6659' - I think this is actually now out of print - my bad - I found it in the stash and was trying to be good at using what I had.That being said the Carolyn Pyjamas are incredibly similar (and also a lot better in my opinion) and the shirt is very similar to Helen's Closet Gilbert Top. 

If you want to read my full write up you can find that here on the Minerva site. I like how you can see what people have made from the fabric, it's handy for seeing how it looks in real lighting and on real bodies.

In summary these PJs are a size 20 (35 waist and 47 hips) and fit just fine. I was expecting them to be huge knowing how previous Big 4 patterns have some crazy super-ease built in, but no!

There is a back dart in the shirt but I omitted that - I don't want to wear a fitted suit to bed. 

I tried a bit of piping to make the colours pop and love the effect of this!

The Pjs came together quite well but I wouldn't call them 'easy' as the pattern implies! The collar and facing situation was a little challenging and not everything lined up perfectly inside. 

That being said - I'm happy with my make and some fresh spring feel PJ's are just the think for the changing weather and to get out of joggers and jumpers!


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Ziggy Hoodie Secret Sewing

Sewing for the fella today!

 After a rather unsuccessful attempt at the Arlo Track Jacket as a present for the husband, I needed to look at patterns that I knew would be a good fit. Or at least fit.

We'd had a lot of success with Wardrobe By Me patterns for men in the past so that seemed an ideal place to start. Low and behold, they had the perfect hoodie!

This is the Ziggy Zipper Hoodie and it fit all the criteria for a good pattern - easy fit style, zip up the front, roomy pockets.... oh yeah, and your wife can wear it if cold. 

 As with all Wardrobe by Me patterns I have tried, the drafting is excellent and the instructions wonderful. I even discovered that they come with a full video sew-along on YouTube.

 
 
The construction of this is really different to other hoodies that I have made. The facing and hem band are put together in such a way that it ensures the zip lines in perfectly. I did have to watch the tutorial to do this but it was actually quite straight forward once you could see what was happening. It also makes for a very clean finish.

The fabric I used for these hoodies is a fleece back sweatshirt from Minerva (that comes in a LOT of different colours). The green one is Dark Olive and the blue version below is Dark Blue. 

Yes I made two. 

 The blue version actually came first as a Christmas gift and as it got worn nearly everyday I realized a second version would be useful and well worn too!

The details on the pattern are lovely, even the pocket construction gives a nice stitch pattern



I couldn't resist adding a bit of personalisation to the hoodies and cracked out the ol' Cricut machine.A geometric wolf and alligator seemed a good choice at the time so went with that. It's cut from Happy Flock so has a fuzzy feel to it and bonds really well to fabric. 

So much have these already been worn during winter that there is a bit of bobbling on the green one already however I'm taking that as a sign of a successful make. There's even talk of a grey version... now what to Cricut for that one?! Hmmm.....

If you're looking for a lovely relaxed fit hoodie, great sizing and construction I would highly recommend this pattern. 

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Lockdown Loungewear

Lockdown + Snow = Comfort Clothes

 

Today's post is all about the sewing equivalent of soup for the soul. In the most part this is due to the BEST FABRIC I HAVE EVER HAD NEXT TO MY SKIN.

Yes the capitals are warranted. If I was going to sew something basic again that would get a lot of use, I figured that some super fabric was in order to make it special. This lounge suit is made from.....Bamboo Cotton Fleece. ::swoon::

Pic from Sister Mintaka

Purchased from Sister Mintaka, this fabric is a mix of bamboo, cotton and a bit of spandex for stretch. It's basically fluffy silk on the skin. I would highly recommend it. Although it should come with a warning that you may never want to wear anything else again.  

My lounge suit is a little pick 'n' mix situation made from the new Helen's Closet - Jackson Pullover and also the classic True Bias - Hudson Pants

 Jackson Pullover 

I cut this in a size  16/18 and the fit is great. It's a unisex relaxed fit pattern with dropped shoulders and it's a class act. (I have also made the Jackson Tee versions but will post about those another time.)

Always a pleasure when you find that the neckband, cuffs and hem band actually fit the main body. 

These colourful accents were cut from some scraps of stripe jersey fabric. They are just a regular cotton t-shirt weight but went with the bamboo fleece surprisingly well. 

(Update - a lot of people on Insta asked about this - I've just found the rainbow stripe jersey on sale here at Flamingo Fabrics!)

Hudson Pants

I do love these now I have my pattern fixed but these were not easy in fitting! I'd tried the Hudson Pants last year and they were an absolute disaster as the rise on them was just a bit obscene on me. It wasn't until Marie (A Stitching Odyssey) shared her 'high rise' versions that I was tempted to give them another try. 


 These are based on a 14 waist and 18 hip (the highest the pattern goes to - whhhaaaat) but in all fairness I've altered them so much they probably no longer resemble that at all. 

I used the crotch curve from some Parker Ponte Pants that fit really well and just traced that over the Hudsons. True Bias had also given a tutorial for a high-rise hack on them aswell which gave the same effect.

 I love the waistband on these as it's thick elastic, top-stitched and drawstring so size adjustable! Same jersey scraps for the cuffs and waistband on these. 

There we have it - Lockdown Loungewear - colour pop style.

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This Sh*t was a Sheep

Today's title comes to you courtesy of my sister who had this first reaction to me showing her my latest attempt at knitting.

Whilst listing the many things that had gone wrong she fantastically just replied with 'Yeah but man... that shit was a sheep!' Instant perspective. 

It was a sheep - and frankly it feels like I'm wearing the entire sheep, such is the sheer weight of this thing!

A little foray into jumper knitting led me to a nice 'easy' pattern by Sewrella excellently named 'Simple Knit Sweater'. 

I had also picked up some amazing chunky wool from We Are Knitters in the sale last year as I fell for it's painterly charm, without actually having a clue or any ability on what to do with it. Small details.  

Pic from We Are Knitters

 For the most part, the sweater was in fact quite easy to make. If you can knit and purl you can do this essentially. 

I knitted away happily for several weeks and felt pretty pleased that I'd even managed the collar, but clearly the sizing had gone astray at some point. I tried it on and it was pretty big, however not unwearable, and the oversize style was quite nice.

It was then I tried to block it, without really knowing much about anything. Wash, squeeze, pin dry? I even measured the sleeves/length for pinning so I'm not sure what's happened.


It took a good 4 days to dry (wet sheep) and then I tried it on again and... oh the arms!!!!! I can't even roll the sleeves as the cuff then becomes about a kilometer thick.

 
 Hmm....to wait and seek help post-lockdown? To unravel and turn it into a blanket? Or attempt some kind of ill-thought-out rescue attempt. 

And that is where this blog posted ended until several days later....

Of course I messed with it. I have no self control. What I do have though is a group of lovely sewing/knitting friends who kindly talked me through how to fix it!

The Great Unravel

To my amazement it actually worked and now I have a jumper that fits! (Kind of - it's still massive but I think that's the style).


Finished just before the snow came and the temperatures dropped! I've been wearing it ever since like a duvet.

The tortoises are all still tucked up sleeping - just as well for now!

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