Category Archives: sewing

Productivity boost – level up!

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Productivity boost – level up!

I know what you’re going to say. I said bowl cosies and I weren’t friends. However I gave it another shot. The largest one I made as before with two layers of batting but was careful to top stitch far enough in from the edge that my stitches looked better.

Then I made two more, going an inch smaller each time. Turns out one layer of batting is fine and so much easier to sew. Sewing all the darts from the edge to the fold gives a better result. And less bulk means easier turning out through the gap and easier top stitching.

These shorts are made from a remnant of fleece-backed knit that was cheap because the backing has some flaws. Super quick and easy. McCall’s 7061.

Another fun fleece onesie. These are easy to sew EXCEPT the zipper gives me grief every time. Even when it seems to go well, like on this version, there’s a glitch (the pocket doesn’t line up perfectly). McCall’s M7518.

This apron is made in an XL from a fun sewing print that I picked up a long time ago. McCall’s 5284.

And this one is from the same pattern, size small. Very cute.

And finally this one in a Small.

It feels good to be making usable wearable things from the stash. Especially when we’re having subzero temperatures and snow. Best feeling ever to be warm indoors, sewing machine running, and looking out at the cold cold day!

A new onesie for me…

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A new onesie for me…

And for a toy dog!

I built a new display at work this week. I have a mannequin sitting at a table, supposedly sewing. My old Janome is in front of her and she has a pet dog on the table which I have dressed appropriately.

It’s a proper dog coat for a not-very-big dog, complete with hood and pocket – very cute!

It took me four hours because it was fiddly in places and, oh boy, did that fluffy backing shed everywhere or what!

I made it in the evening after work and was up til midnight.

The next night after work my eyes were drooping by 8pm.

So today being a day off, I made the next item on my To Do list. A fleece onesie for the mannequin. She is currently getting chilly in just a T shirt. The fabric is a red and black buffalo plaid fleece, which is probably the most popular print that we sell. It screams CANADA!

I made this in my size as it will be mine once the display is taken down. This took about 4 hours too. The zipper gave me a bit of grief!

Both of these garments are from this pattern, and I made the large size in both.

Bowl cosies are not for me!

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After my first bowl cosy turned out to be a big disappointment, I went on to make another with two solid pieces of fabric.

Hmph, sadly my topstitching was crap and any ideas I may have had for making a bunch of these were dashed on the rocks. Bowl cosies and I have broken up!

Mt Fixit and I are using them, though, as they are handy when you want to have a hot bowl in your lap.

We had a bit of a flood in the kitchen over the weekend. The Berkey countertop water filter was overfilled (son #1 filled it then Mr Fixit topped it up without realizing it) so by the morning water had leaked across the counter and onto the floor and had, rather unfortunately, soaked two bags of flour.

What do you do in that situation? Use the damp flour to make bread, of course. I ended up with five fresh loaves from the wet flour bags which I think could be considered a win!

A more successful sewing project was this pair of PJs made with some fleece-backed knit fabric from the store I work at. Super-easy to make and they will be perfect for winter nights.

I have enough left for a cowl too.

And this is my current crochet project. It’s a rainbow zebra! The pattern is one I found on Ravelry – Zeb the Zebra. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zeb-the-zebra

I’m using stash yarn, DK weight, and a 3.5mm hook, and so far I’ve completed the head, ears and neck, and made a start on the body.

I’m off to make hot chocolate now. Some Dandies vegan marshmallows are calling my name!

Scrap play

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Ah heaven! An unprecedented three day weekend off! Today I spent a couple of happy hours playing with quilt cotton scraps. I pulled out red and green fabrics from the stash, red and green threads, and some batting.

I built up two blocks from the centre, sewing the strips to the batting as I went. I cut the batting at 11 inches square, then trimmed them to 10 inches once covered in fabric.

I’m not usually a fan of classic red and green for Christmas, but I thought these worked out okay.

However when I made the two squares into a bowl cosy (from a random tutorial on YouTube) things went a little awry.

This is my first bowl cosy and I should probably have just used two basic squares rather than pieced ones, because the bulk at the edges made for some very messy topstitching. Also, I rounded the corners but now think that right-angles would have been easier to get neat.

Oh well, lesson learned. I can use this myself and perhaps practice making some simpler versions for gifts.

Snow, sew, and stash

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Winter has arrived!

We’ve had a fair amount of snow in the last few days and as usual it feels like it took everyone by surprise. The roads are icy and not everyone has their winter tires on yet!

I just had a couple of days off and made sure that one of those days was a Sewing Day which I totally embraced by wearing my Hello Kitty fleece onesie ALL DAY!

I sewed three zipper pouches and three drawstring bags (they don’t have strings yet) out of some really cool nylon or polyester fabric that my son brought home from work one day, ages ago. The fabric panels used to hang in a computer store and have some great colours in them.

I also made this Reader’s Wrap from a ribbed velour. It has two pockets and since taking this photo I have added a label embroidered using text on my sewing machine. It’s for my mum who is having a bit of a health crisis right now.

And the stash has been enhanced with the addition of some Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn in autumnal colours. A friend just had a holiday south of the border and she asked me if there was anything I’d like from Hobby Lobby or Joann’s and I suggested this yarn. I’ve heard it mentioned a lot online. It feels pretty nice and I can make something 70s inspired or some fall decor maybe.

My Wool Warehouse order is on its way which is very exciting. When it arrives I’ll be able to put together this year’s Advent collection for myself.

Everyone needs a little tie dye

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Everyone needs a little tie dye

I love this fabric. When it came in at the store where I work, we all loved it. Tie dye on one side, stripes on the other. Basically a double knit jersey. Not too thick or warm, just right for when you need more than a T shirt but not quite a woolly sweater.

There were some flaws in the bolts, though. So they ended up as “damaged goods” and I got to bring some home.

I decided to turn this red/orange colourway into a top based on a commercial sweater I already own.

It has a pretty wide neck (too wide, really), set in sleeves, and a ruched section at the front.

When I folded it in half and drew around it on paper, I planned for the front and back to incorporate the sleeves so I didn’t have to cut them separately or sew them in. I curved the underarm to make a dolman shape instead.

I laid the paper on the fold of the fabric, and cut around it, adding seam and hem allowances.

Sewing the seams and hems was super easy. And the ruching was achieved by adding a long rectangle of fabric behind the left front, sewing along the sides and centre, threading the ties through, then sewing across the top of the casing to hold it all together.

I finished the neckline with a folded binding, but using it wrong side out, so it’s stripey rather than tie dye.

I wore it to work the next day, and I’m wearing it again today, accessorized with the shawlette I made with the stripes of pink, orange, lime and turquoise. Eye-popping combo!

Sunshine, sweaters and slapdashery

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Sunshine, sweaters and slapdashery

October has looked like this every day. Sunshine and blue sky. Nights are getting down to single digits but days are warm and we haven’t needed to turn the heat on yet.

This crocheted basket full of yarn is slowly being transformed into a sweater. I had 10 balls. The beanie took part of one. And I’ve just finished the yoke of the sweater and started the third ball.

The sweater, Sporto from knitty.com (link in previous post), is knitted from the hood down. The above photo was taken after the hood was finished and the stitches picked up for the yoke.

This is an in-progress photo from yesterday. Tonight I reached 292 stitches and a length of 9 inches from the neck. Time to try it on and see if I can divide for the sleeves next.

I’ve been watching The Coroner on Netflix which helped get me through those loooooong rounds.

The slapdashery part comes with these placemats. No fancy binding or careful stitching here. Slap them together with some batting, stitch around, turn right side out and topstitch. They are reversible for fall – orange gingham on one side, black on the other. And the free-form pumpkins are black thread on the orange side and orange thread on the black side.

I made 8 square placemats and had enough from a metre of each fabric to make a rectangular hotpad for the centre of the table as well. I used cotton batting and doubled it up for the larger one. My machine had a hissy fit when I tried to topstitch the first one so I had to fuss with the needle and the tension to get it to work happily and stop skipping stitches.

I think they coordinate well with my white harvest truck print fabric.

These Christmas-themed placemats went a lot quicker. I used a poly batting which was easier to sew, and didn’t add any extra quilting. The nine designs are all from a quilt cotton panel (last year’s stock so it was marked down) and the backing is a coordinate from the same range.

They would have looked a lot more professional with a contrast binding but I didn’t want to bother with that. More slapdashery!

I’m just happy to have spent some time communing with my sewing machine this weekend.

I love fall!

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I love fall!

Reasons to love autumn/fall:

Not so bloody hot.

Nights are cool.

Evenings are drawing in.

Socks and sweaters.

Friends can come over and not die of heat exhaustion.

Rain (hopefully).

Long walks outdoors without burning up.

Fleece pajamas.

I could go on. I think September might be my favourite month.

I’ve made a few things in the last week. Some have been for work. I brought home a preprinted cotton  panel and sewed up these trick or treat bags. After I hung them up at work, the fabric sold in a flash.

Today I sewed these stockings from another panel and will take them to the store tomorrow for display.

The sewing pattern I mentioned last time has now been transformed into this:

It looks a bit disproportionate because it’s on a decorative mannequin which is way smaller than I am. But this one will return to me for keepsies once it’s hung at the store for a month.

From the pile of yarn I showed you in my last post, I made these:

A beanie of my own design and a teeny elephant  https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/amigurumi-elephant-25

To accompany these little gifts all the way over the Atlantic I cross-stitched another elephant and glued it to a card.

And from a <ahem> yarn purchase at work because it went on clearance, I have started crocheting dishcloths with a scrubby centre like the ones I made a while back. They are great in the kitchen.

I hope you too are enjoying the season you’re in and finding ways to get out of your head and into your hands, as Kate from The Last Homely House says!

Day 1

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Vacation time!

Waiting for our first flight (of three) so of course I cast on my travel knitting project! A two row repeat, garter stitch, super easy!!

The other day I made a couple of tote bags which are for my father-in-law. He likes bright colours. Guys are often hard to buy/make for, but I think he’ll use these.

I have custom ear plugs for sleeping, which I use every night, so I brought those for the 9.25 hour flight across the Atlantic, and I felt that adding an eye mask might help me get some sleep. Usually I find it really hard to sleep on planes unless I’m exhausted, because you just can’t get comfortable in the cramped seats. Blocking out sound and light gives me a fighting chance.

I can’t remember which YouTube channel this was on but it was really easy to make.

Vacation prepping

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It’s nearly here! We booked our flights months ago and until this week I don’t think I was letting myself get too excited about it. This is our first international holiday in three years. And we’re going to see the family.

I pulled my cabin bag out of storage a couple of days ago and started tossing things on top of it. Passport, new hoodie, stuff like that. Made a list for the sons who are running the show in our absence.

Bought yarn! Because, yeah, I’m uninspired by my stash. Hunted around for just the right travel pattern. Found this asymmetrical shawl pattern on Ravelry. Found this yarn at Walmart. Lion Brand Mandala Ombre in the colourway “Happy” which is fitting. I bought three cakes though I may only need two.

Made this.

A flat “fanny pack” (waist pack, bum bag, whatever) for my wallet and passport.

This fabric was a set of fat quarters from Walmart and the video tutorial is from Charmed by Ashley. The video just happened to appear on my YT home page today after I was searching for similar patterns yesterday. All the supplies for this bag were in the stash.

I also made new masks for Mr Fixit and myself.

Mine are the ones in the second photo. I was trying to come up with a way to increase the filtration of the fabric masks and I unpicked one of his more than once, but in the end we decided that we’d wear KN95s when we’re on the planes or in a crowd and if we are sitting at the airport away from people we’ll put on the fabric ones.

We each have a new earsaver too (the little tab with the snaps that holds the elastic to the back of your head and saves your ears from getting sore).

And finally…a finished object unrelated to my holiday. A mushroom amigurumi. Why is it that everything looks cuter with eyes?! This was made for a girl at work because she wore an interesting mushroom shirt last week. I haven’t seen her since I left it for her to find but I hope she likes it.

I hope that August is going well for you. Happy yarn vibes!