Saturday, 22 February 2014

I made an apron - let's get baking!

I felt a little bit as if I would be cheating on my stash diet when I made this cute apron :) And actually having finished it and seeing the fabrics together, I thought they would have made a nice dress as well. But too late, now they make a cute apron!

I felt a bit embarrassed taking pictures outside in the garden, but our kitchen is
too dark and was a mess when these pics were taken!

Pattern: I used the free pattern from Amy hearts it. It is easy to follow and I finished the apron in about 2 hours - but I sewed slow and was cutting the fabric whenever I needed the next bit.

Fabric: I used two fabrics from my stash, yeah, that I got at a blogger meet-up last year. I still have some leftovers, but these will go into a quilt! I love stripy binding.

The apron does not reach the bum, but I don't mind because I always
wipe my hands on the front :)
Construction: I finished the insides with french seams, because I didn't want any raw edges to show. I made the apron strings from the whole width of the fabric, because I wanted to tie them in the front. I also sewed them right sides together and then turned the right side out. Other than that, I followed Amy's instructions.

You can just make out the pleats under the waist seam.

Have I worn it yet? I have! I actually made the apron two weeks ago and now that I am daily in the kitchen, I really need it.

Do I like it? Loads! I feel pretty in it :) I love the big bows, its gathered neckline and the little pleats at the waist. I couldn't have asked for more.

And one more from the back!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Knitting: A Cropped Sweater for Winter

I finished another sweater! (No, I didn't make the skirt.)

Pattern: Andi Satterlund's cropped sweater for winter (which is a free pattern!)

Size: I knitted with 5 mm needles size XS for the bust and size S for the waist. To get size S at the waist, I just did less decreases. The sleeves are also size S - here I picked up a few more stitches.

Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 in mystic purple and rose.

Ignore my bad posture...
Construction: The pattern is really straight forward and thanks to the many photographs easy to follow. I only had problems with the scalloping - I actually had to unravel it three times! It was my first time knitting with two colors and after my first attempt, the scalloped part was too tight and I had problems getting the sweater over my bust. On my second try, the tension was alright, but I had made a mistake when knitting the scallops. So I frogged again. Finally, my third attempt turned out perfect :)

Another difficult part for me were the sleeves! The armscye is shaped with short rows and when knitting the first sleeve I somehow miscounted the stitches. I ended up having only half of the required rows - I noticed it only when knitting the second sleeve. So, if you have an eagle eye, you will see that one of my sleeves sits much better on the shoulders than the other. I am only saying that to you :) I am not going to point anybody else towards it! I wet blocked the sweater, which enormously improved the fit of the scallops.

I do have a question though: Do I have to block a wool sweater every time I washed it? Or is it fine, when I just dry it flat?

Scallops! The ribbing looks also much nicer after the blocking!

Do I like it? Wrong question! I absolutely love it!!! The colors are my favorite ones. And the fit is just perfect :) The sweater goes perfectly with high-waisted skirts and even fits over my Hawthorn Shirtdress!

Have I worn it yet? I have! I wore it to work, but nobody noticed. I was a tiny bit disappointed :P But Lescha said it is actually a compliment because the jumper does not look home made :) Yeah, such a nice guy!

Ribbed neckline.

What's next? Winter is not over yet and I am still in knitting mood. I think I need another cardigan to go with my dresses. Next on my project list is the Agatha sweater, also a pattern from Andi - I just love her designs. I have the pattern already and was a bit shocked. I wanted to challenge myself and that's why I went for a lace pattern. But seeing the pattern, I am a bit scared! I will get the wool for my birthday (which is beginning of March).

Another question: The wool will be Cascade yarns. I am getting it in yellow. But I still have some red one at home from my owl sweater. Can I use the the red wool to make a swatch, or is it better to wait for the yellow one that I am actually going to use? I just thought they might behave differently because of bleaching or dyeing? 

What is she doing? I am holding the washing line out of the way :)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Wardrobe Staples: Corduroy Skirt

One of my favorite basics to wear is a skirt that I bought 3 years ago at H&M. It is a really simple skirt that sits on your hips and I love to wear it with a shirt tugged into it or with the shirttails hanging out. So, I thought it is a good idea to make one :)

I made a corduroy skirt, yeah!
Pattern: I used the New Look pattern 6053 as a template. It is a simple skirt, without waistband, with facings and a lapped zipper. The skirt has two darts at the back and front, but I removed the ones at the front because I didn't want them to point on my belly :P I also moved the side zipper to the back. I was thinking about adding a waistband, but in the end I just wasn't in the mood to draft this as well (I drafted a lining). I wanted a quick project...


Fabric: 1 m embroidered corduroy from my stash. I bought it last year in Goldhawk Road. It was in the remnant bin and they sold it for £1 only! I also used some leftover lining and cotton for facings from my stash.

my version

Construction: After tracing and cutting the tissue pattern, I just put the pattern pieces on top of the H&M skirt and shaped it at the waist and also shortened the length. Then I altered the facings and drafted my own lining. I just subtracted the facing pieces from the skirt back and front. As I wanted to sew the lining to the facing, I then added 3 cm (corresponding to the 1.5 cm seam allowance of facing and lining together) to the top of the lining.

Pretty inside. 

It was my first time working with corduroy and despite reading all these helpful tips, I still struggled - you might notice the sheen on the skirt! I not only struggled with ironing, but also with sewing. I had read that you should use a walking foot because otherwise your fabric layers will shift. They did, but because I used the walking foot. So after switching to the normal foot, the problem was solved. When ironing, I used another layer of cord to prevent the flattening of the ribs. This was fine until the point where I tried to iron fusible interfacing to the back to stabilize the zipper. It just didn't stick. I got angry and forgot that I should press carefully. Yep, I could see the shape of my iron on my skirt. You can still see it at the back seam, but hopefully it will wash out?

Too much ironing - lesson learnt.
Can you see it sticking out at the bottom?

The lapped zipper (my first one) went in like a breeze - after watching this tutorial by Lauren from Rosie Wednesday. So if you scarred like me about putting in zippers, I can highly recommend her tutorial! The only difficulty I had, was to attach the facing+lining to the actual zipper. I handstitched it and it took my three trials until I was finally happy with the result.

Lapped zipper and embroidery detail.

Do I like the skirt? Yes, I do. Although I am a bit annoyed about the back seam sticking out at the bottom. It looks a bit like a propeller and I really don't understand where it comes from. Any ideas? Is it because of the zipper? Otherwise, I think this skirt will be a great wardrobe staple and will be worn loads of times. And no, I haven't worn it yet, because I am still writing my PhD thesis from home and to be honest I can do this in trainers, hehe.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Teatime: Reversible Table Topper!

I am in the midst of fitting Simplicity 1883 (it was part of my autumn sewing list), which is a dress with princess seams. And as you might know, princess seams and me are no friends. As it might take me a few more weeks (I just assembled muslin 2) to actually finish it, I try to keep myself motivated in between by working on some smaller and easier projects :)

Quick question: Do princess seams have to go over your apex? Mine are like 2" next to it.

So, here comes the reversible table topper!

Do the proportions look wrong? The tea pot is a Chinese clay tea pot and fits only 100 ml :) (if you ever want to have a Chinese tea ceremony)
Fabric: From my quilting stash (I try to use some of that fabric as well, although it is not part of my diet). I bought it when I just started to quilt and ordered it online. So when it arrived I was a little bit surprised because it is a heavy fabric. It said cotton duck, which is actually a linen canvas (artists even paint on it. Why didn't I Wikipedia it before???) But I just love the pattern. All these little tea cups and plates. And the colors. They are my favorites. And what better way to show off the fabric, then to make a table topper!

The front with the snowball blocks...

The back made from fabric strips and little triangles.

Construction: For the front I used the snowball block pattern from cluckclucksew. These are big blocks that come easily together and lock beautiful. When trimming the blocks I cut off little fabric triangles and I just thought it would be a pity to throw them away, so I used them for the back! I didn't plan on making a reversible table topper, but I think the back looks really pretty as well - I almost like it more than the front ;)

See, not stiff at all!

I didn't quilt the table topper, so there is no backing in between the two layers of fabric. This has the advantage that it is not so thick and actually dangles from the table :) If I would have quilted it, the table topper would have been super stiff.

Why is it so difficult to take nice pictures from a table topper on a table?

How about you? Are you inspired to make some decorations for your home? Or do you prefer to make garments?

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