Category Archives: sewing

A day at the sewing machine

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These shots, taken by my son, are somewhat bleached out as the sun was bright in the background. However I think you can see the beach cover-up that I made. The pink lacy fabric was the last of a bolt of clearance fabric at work. I bought a string of pink pompoms to go along the bottom edges which adds a nice bit of weight to it.

I actually screwed up part of the construction. My plan was to cut a neck hole and bind it with satin bias binding. Well, it was late, I was tired, and I accidentally cut a hole that was twice as big as I wanted. Hmmm, measure twice, think three times, cut once!

After a lot of swearing that Tai Chi Man could hear upstairs, I ended up cutting right across and sewing up again, and rather than use the bias binding, which just didn’t look right, I hemmed the neck edge with two rows of stitches. Do you know how tricky it is to sew fabric that is more holes than anything!?

Once that project was out of the way, I started on the next project. Thanks to my friend cancelling our gym date yesterday, I ended up having a whole day at home. I did a bit of yoga in the morning and, apart from making and eating dinner, spent the rest of my time sewing or crocheting.

The results are these:

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An apron, oven gloves and towel hanging loops. I used an older apron that I made a few years ago as a template, with a modification. I narrowed the top part as the last one I made tends to gape because it’s a bit wide. This apron is just one thickness, not lined, but I did add a pocket. The oven gloves were a “wing-it” thing as I didn’t use a pattern. If I’d had some purchased wide bias binding I would have used that, but I didn’t. The method I used was to layer fabric with regular cotton batting and Insul-Brite (batting with a reflective metal component) for the main piece, and then make the hand pockets with two layers of fabric. All raw ends were enclosed before stitching the hand pockets to the main piece. Thank the sewing gods for a walking foot.

It’s a somewhat amateurish result but usable!!

The towel loops, designed for hanging tea towels on an oven door, are made with Stylecraft Special DK in Duck Egg, which just happens to match one of the colours in the fabric. Brown buttons completed the look.

I’m glad I took advantage of a couple of nice mornings last week to go kayaking, as I was working all weekend. You could say that Monday and Tuesday were my ‘weekend’ though Monday entailed going to the dentist (fillings where my gums have receded a bit and also some chipped teeth at the front, lots of numbing which took hours to wear off) and grocery shopping. We have a number of places we like to buy our food – there’s Superstore for the usual weekly shop, Costco for certain other items like avocados, tomatoes and big stuff, bulk food store for raisins, oats, flour etc. Then there are the smaller places like Mediterranean Market for olives, artichokes and sundried tomatoes, and the health food store for certain specialty items and supplements. Also I buy instant coffee at London Drugs these days as I am avoiding Nestle as much as possible and we like their own “Brazilian” brand. So all in all I spent five hours on Monday, visiting the dentist and six stores, spending oodles of money on stocking up the fridge, pantry and cold room.

The fact that Tuesday was an at-home day was a wonderful gift!

Well, today I have to work, though I don’t start until 11am. So I’d better sort myself out and think about what’s for dinner in case I need to prep anything.

Enjoy your day and talk to you again soon.

FO: tiered skirt

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Well, look at that! My rebounder is coming in useful for hanging clothes on. Maybe that is the fate of many pieces of exercise equipment that were bought with good intentions! Even though this mini trampoline has been plunked in a high traffic area of my living room for a while now, it’s not seeing much action. However it turns out it’s a good place to display the skirt that I just finished.

This is a Burda pattern #6666. It’s basically made from rectangles, so quite easy, but LOTS of sewing. That bottom layer? Miles of fabric, straight stitching and zigzagging!

It’s assembled from the hem up, but being somewhat of a shortass I had to hem it up another inch after the rest was put together. It might still brush the floor. But I do love maxi skirts! Cover a multitude of sins (or rather cellulite)!

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The fabric is a woven rayon with a tie-dyed look, with a pattern in white embossed on the surface. It’s a little slippery when cutting and sewing, but I felt that a 100% cotton would be too heavy. I would rather like to make another in a different fabric/colour.

I have one yarny WIP right now. Yup, only one! That’s surprising for me, I know, but with my crochet poncho being finished the other day, and this sewing project taking a chunk of time out of my week, a baby cardigan is all I have had time for.

It’s another Baby Surprise Jacket (Elizabeth Zimmermann design) like the turquoise one I showed you a few days ago, but a totally different look with denim blue, meadow green, pale rose and raspberry in the Stylecraft Special DK.

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Even though it means more ends to weave in, I am adding more stripes. The blue is being carried up the sides but the other three colours are being cut after every garter ridge.

Having a home day today, which isn’t all fun as I still have to do laundry and cook dinner! ­čśŤ

But I am making time for crafting, another German lesson and other relaxing pursuits.

FO: Big Gypsy Flower Poncho

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The poncho (Ravelry project  notes here) is d.o.n.e. Yay! Yesterday when I was bemoaning the fact that I had so many ends to weave in, I had no idea that all I needed to do was plonk myself on the couch, put on Netflix, and just get on with the finishing off and it would be done in an evening. (Big Gypsy Flower pattern Rav link here.)

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough of the peacock colour to edge the whole thing, seam it AND finish off the neckline. The ball was looking rather skinny, so the neck ended up with a couple of other colours around it, along with some serious decreasing to make it less gapey.

It needs a wash and dry cycle to (hopefully) relax and smooth it a bit. It’s pretty snug around the upper arms, and because the yarn is double-stranded I think it will be very warm.

This afternoon I spent a pleasant few hours cutting out and starting the sewing of the tiered skirt. It has a lot of long seams so I think I will be picking up another spool of thread at work tomorrow.

Tonight – another Baby Surprise Jacket to be cast on.

 

What’s new?

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Hi, crafty people! What’s new?

I have been knitting up a Baby Surprise Jacket this week. It’s an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern, and if you have been a knitter for a while you will surely know that she is (was) one of the geniuses of the knitting world. I have five of her books. I’ve been using the book, The Opinionated Knitter, to ┬ámake it, but I think it might be in Knitting without Tears too.

The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK and I had every intention of making it the smallest size possible by using 4mm/US6 needles. However I pulled out my supplies at a coffee shop while waiting for a friend last week, and for some reason my brain led my hands to screw the US8 tips on to the interchangeable cables. So instead of a potential gauge close to 6st/in, my gauge is more like 5st/in, so rather than fitting a teeny baby this year it will be more likely to fit next year. Which is a bit of a shame as the colours match the kitty fabric in the sewn outfit I showed you last time. Hopefully the dress and sweater will be wearable together.

So of course now that it’s almost done (you may have noticed there are no buttons yet) I just have to cast on for another. (The poor poncho is languishing yet again – ah, the thought of all those ends to weave in!) I will definitely remember to use the US6 tips this time and have picked out denim blue, along with meadow green, raspberry and one of the other pinks that has lost its ball band. It will be more girly at least.

One thing about a new baby in the family – lots of motivation to create!

I have bought fabric for a skirt for myself too. I have a Burda pattern (#6666) for a tiered skirt and found a lovely turquoise-y blue mottled rayon at work to make it with. I wanted to start sewing today but thought I’d better wash the fabric first, so it’s having a very short wash in the machine right now. It looks like an easy pattern, just a bunch of rectangles with lots of gathering along each top edge, and as my favourite maxi tiered skirt that I’ve been wearing for the last five years has started to disintegrate I’m hoping that this will be my new favourite. If it works out, I might want to make more!

Netflix watching, now that (sniff) Outlander has been suitably binge-watched, is Suits, recommended by a friend. Light entertainment while I get my knitting and crocheting done.

Piano practice has taken a back seat (less motivation to practice when there are no more lessons for a few months – ahem) and now I am excited about my Duolingo German lessons. It’s free (duolingo.com) and a friend is doing it too, plus I have three Facebook friends who are native German speakers (one is a co-worker). My hope is that one day Tai Chi Man and I will get to return to Switzerland to visit his cousins and I will not be hopelessly lost. We both learned German at school (and passed the exams to graduate) but heck, that was over 30 years ago.

Hopefully you are enjoying a wonderful Easter weekend where you are (and perhaps some chocolate). Tsch├╝ss!

FO: baby dress and bloomers

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A sewing FO! It’s amazing how a pregnancy in the family can get one’s creativity boosted, isn’t it. The baby is due this month and I will be crossing the Atlantic to visit her, my mum and my sister in May.

This is a McCall’s pattern M6912. It comes in multiple sizes and I made size Small, which is just one up from newborn. Because of the loose nature of the crossover-back dress, and the roomy bloomers, I think this could fit for a long time.

The blue is a lightweight denim and the print is a quilting cotton from the store where I work. The dress could easily be reversed and worn with just the print showing. I had no idea what length to cut the elastic for the waist and leg openings, so I did a quick search. The Craft Yarn Council of America gives a list of sizes for babies including waist measurements, so I followed their advice on that (it still looks huge, but this baby will be cloth-diapered so it’s probably fine) and then guessed on the legs. Better too loose than too tight on those.

For such a small project this took longer than I expected – about 10.5 hours over three evenings.

The pattern includes a shorter version of the dress for a top, and a pair of little pants/trousers, so I may just have to make those too.

Have a lovely weekend. Hope you have some pleasant Spring weather where you are.

 

Sewing day!

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A friend came over today, bringing her sewing machine and supplies with her, and we set ourselves up at my dining room table, she at her machine, me at mine. One of the things that puts me off sewing, I think, is going downstairs to do it. Yes, I have a craft room with everything I need in one place, but I prefer it upstairs where it’s brighter and more comfortable, which is why I usually opt to crochet on the couch.

However I have been partway through a sewing project for months now. I made a table runner from a gorgeous panel of fabric that I bought at work, and I had the eight coordinating placemats cut out and pinned. I just needed to sew them up, turn them right side out, and topstitch them.

The placemats are reversible – heron fabric on one side, cherry blossom on the other. I still have a bit of this fabric leftover so I’ll have to pull it out of the drawer and see if I have enough for napkins. I know there’s none left at the store.

Once I was on a roll, there was no stopping me. Out came the Weekend Sewing book and the pattern tracing paper, and I started on an apron. This fabric was one I spotted as soon as it arrived at the store – so funny – and I just had to get some. I only bought 0.8m (about 31″) and I really could have done with a bit more for the apron, but at the time of purchase I didn’t have any specific plans. In future I’ll know that a metre is an absolute minimum cut.

 

Luckily I had some green fabric that worked for the facing on the waistband and ties.

It was very enjoyable to be sewing again, especially with company. I must do it more often.

I have also completed a second pair of the Slipper Boots, this time in Pewter. Two strands of Red Heart with Love and a 7mm hook work perfectly and I just extended the upper and sole by three rows at the widest parts to make them man-sized. The ones I made for me are in constant use and very cosy.

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Now that Christmas is over, I must get back to swimming, piano, and that one WIP that has a very definite deadline. Happy New Year to all.

 

 

 

Ten minute clothes pin (peg) bag

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Hey, how are you? I’m enjoying a day off today and the sun is shining and it’s going to be hot again. The laundry is out on my brand-spanking-new clothes line which we bought from Amazon, with the brand-spanking-new clothes pins/pegs that we bought from Lee Valley. It just didn’t seem right to use the old weathered pegs on the new line!

The plan is to bring in the pegs each time to get them to last longer so I felt I needed a bag to put them in. I could have crocheted one – nope, too slow – and I could have sewn a fancy one out of pretty cotton, and I could have made one out of an upcycled T shirt, but there weren’t any in the thrift store bag (lots of socks and underwear, but no T shirts)!

I rummaged through my fabric bits and pieces and found this Hello Kitty fleece – it was already a rectangle and I just needed to fold it, square it up, cut a small hole in the folded edge for the plastic hanger, cut an opening and hem it for the access hole, and sew up the sides and bottom. And reinforce the hanger hole, just in case.

And Bob, as they say, is your uncle.

The ripple blanket has grown a bit – if only I could actually spend more time crocheting and less time browsing Ravelry! I know I’d like to get it done before the 17th so I can start the Peacock Tail Bag CAL without a WIP hanging around. Maybe I should have joined the Ravellenic Games on Ravelry, which would have given me a deadline of the closing ceremonies of the Olympics to finish it.

Ah well, I shall do a bit more housework so I can feel justified in getting back to the couch for some more rippling later on.