Monday, 11 May 2015

Would you like some Cocoa?

This was the first time I've used Cake Patterns. I'd ordered the Cocoa shrug pattern some time last year as it looked like something I would get a lot of wear out of and I wanted an alternative to the zillions of black cardis in my closet (though I did think it would also look good in black!).  And Steph's amazing leopard minky Cocoa.

The online opinion about Cake Patterns seems quite divided, some people absolute love their patterns and others can't make head or tails about them. I have to say I did read the sizing guide twice before tracing the pattern, but it didn't need much adjustment so it was worth it   I have to say the instructions were a bit scarce, but there's a few hints and tips on the Cake Patterns website which explain things in detail and helped me a great deal. I guess I'm veering towards liking Cake Patterns.    

Stripey Shrug




Accidental Pattern matching! 


Kimono sleeve..?



I continued with my stash busting for this project. I found have lovely black and white stripey knit in my stash, I was umming and arring it would have been better as a boat neck t-shirt, but I decided to try out Cocoa instead cause I'd been wanting to try it out for ages. In hindsight the t-shirt would have probably been better as I think the fabric is a bit too flimsy for this, but it's still wearable so I'm not too worried.

The pattern matching at the back is accidental, but I'm nevertheless pleased with it. I did after that success try pattern matching with the sleeves, but that didn't quite work out. Oh well, live and learn. I used Bernette for most of this project, and ended up attaching the hemming in a slightly weird way. My beloved singer wasn't having any of it with the button hole so that is a hand stitched mess. 

I started watching Craftsy's sewing fashion knits classes after I finished this project, I kinda wished I'd watched it before as I've picked up so many useful hints and tips. I probably will make another Cocoa shrug at some point, but it's not at the top of my sewing list at the moment. And I wouldn't mind trying out one of their dresses, maybe Esmeralda or Tiramisu.

All this talk about cake is making me peckish so I'm off to have some cake! Over&out for now.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

World's slowest knitter and dotty socks

I finished the dotty socks I started way back in November, it's about time. But not only am I slow knitter it also took me a good few weeks (read a month) to take pics of the finished socks. Tut, tut me. I've heard that people finish socks in a weekend, I'm defo not there yet, but at least I did finish them, so hurrah!

Finished dotty socks



The socks were fairly easy to knit even if I still need a bit practice with fair isle...The pattern was simple enough to follow and I used my trusty heel instructions from knitty.com which is brill. Occasionally I think I should learn to turn the heel in a different way, but that works so well so why bother.

I noticed while pressing the socks that the second one is a bit bigger than the first one, maybe I shouldn't have left a month between doing them. Luckily you can't notice it when wearing the socks, I'm fairly sure the other sock will stretch anyway though maybe when knitting my next pair of socks I'll remember not to have a months gap in between.

I'm pleased with the result, cause who doesn't need dotty woollen socks? Also woollen socks are warm in the winter and cool in the summer (or just the right temperature for my freezing feet) so I quite happily wear them all year around.

I'm now going to go and work with other types of knits. Dots out.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

C'est un Plantain shirt!

So now that I have Bernette up and running it isn't hardly surprising that my next project is one made out of knit fabric. This also counts as not one, but three items from my long list of sewing as I had Plaintain t-shirt on the list, trying out a new indie pattern company and finishing UFOs (that's unfinished object in craft-speak) so hurrah!

I downloaded the Deer&Doe Plantain t-shirt pattern sometime when it was released some time last year. I remember seeing several amazing t-shirt made from this pattern pop up on blogosphere around that time, have a look at Deer&Doe addict's blog to get a better idea.  The pattern is to be easy to customise, add a bit of pleather to make it chic or add hearts as the elbows patches to make it cutesy, dots to keep it dotty...the possibilities are endless.

I was feeling a bit brave even without a working serger so I cut the t-shirt from a flimsy jersey ages ago and then I got cold feet so it's been sitting in my UFO pile since. The folded pattern pieces looked somewhat interesting when I found them, but luckily the fabric wasn't too, too creased even if the pattern pieces are.

Folded neatly you say..?


I finally dug the pieces after our trip to the UK and decided to give it a go. I was amazed at how easily the shirt came together, the serger works like a dream and my trusty Singer didn't have any problems when I added the elbow patches, but it did skip a few stitches when I did the hemming, grump.  The instructions on the pattern were clear and simple, which is always good. I'm definitely going to look into other Deer and Doe patterns, I'm quite tempted with the Airielle blouse and Anemone skirt.

My finished Plantain shirt.


I heart elbow patches.


I'm pleased with the shirt as it's turned out to be wearable even if there is some room for improvement on the stitching, but hey it was my first project on the serger!  I'm sure I will use this pattern again. I didn't do any adjustments to the pattern, but I did end up taking a teensy bit off the shoulder as they seemed to hang quite low, but that's just probably my narrow shoulders for you. I'm going to make a quarter sleeve version of this, I might also higher the neckline a tad as this feels a bit low as it is.

Over&out for now dear readers. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Sew Over It! or a short trip to the UK

I've been back from our flying visit to London for a good few weeks now. Despite the lenght (or rather lack of) of our trip I managed to get to the Sew Over It -cafe in Islington, yay! No shopping at Goldhawk road though which was a shame, but probably better for my budjet and ever-growing fabric stash.

Sew Over It! 



How adorable and perfect is that place? The purple exterior, the amazing fabrics, beautiful patterns, friendly staff, lovely garments and the cosy sewing area. I'm in love. Unfortunately I didn't have time to attend any classes there, but I did spend quite some time admiring the fabrics and adoring the patterns. I did buy new fabric, woops, but they were calling me and it would have been rude not to and it's not like I'm in London every weekend. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it ,)

A Spot of Shopping 


I'd been eyeing up the black birdy fabric on their website for a while. I also got some polka dot rayon crepe, because dots <3  The adorable geometric cotton jumped at the from the remnants pile, I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it will make a nice collar if nothing else.  

I also bought the 40's tea dress pattern. It might be a bit advanced for my skills, but we'll see. I also contemplated the pencil skirt kit, the blue and green tartan that comes with it is very pretty. For some reason I decided against getting the kit and now I'm regretting it, dur. I suppose it's good to leave something to come back for, though that list is probably longer than just the pencil skirt kit...

All in all we had a fab trip to the UK despite it being short. We managed to catch up with friends, go see the Sherlock exhibition at the museum of London, a bit of shopping, geek heavens: the Orc's Nest and the Forbidden Planet, lots of walking around and I'm stocked up with Marmite too!

I'm now going to go stroke my lovely fabrics. Over&out for now dear readers. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Meet Bernette Funlock 4000 by Bernina


My new-old serger which I inherited from my Nan. I wish I'd paid more attention when she was using the serger as I've discovered the hard way how temperamental it can be. We've had a bit of a rocky start, but I think we're getting along better now.

I have to confess Bernette was in the cupboard for a fair few years until I plucked enough courage to take her out. I figured it would be sensible to have it serviced before starting my new sewing chapter. Good news is that everything was fine, they added new blades and new needles and that was it. Apparently Bernette has a very nice stitch as well, needless to say I was very excited.

Nice stitching


When I got home I tested it and everything seemed fine. For some reason I had beige (I know what colour?!) thread on the machine when I took it to be looked at and I don't really use beige ever so I thought I'd change the thread. This is when my troubles began. I'd seen my Nan change the thread by knotting the old one to the new one, I figured I'd try to do the same. It seemed to go fine, but the lower looper thread broke, so I then thought no worries I'll just re-thread that and everything will be fine. BIG MISTAKE. I did it and Bernette would do a few stitches but then the thread would break. I kept repeating this for a while and I had no clue what to do. I got so disheartened I left Bernette back in her case for a while.

Luckily when I was feeling up for the challenge again I came across this fab blog post series called Relationship Rescue: you and your serger by Palak from Make it Handmade that explained how important it is to thread the machine in the right order. I tried it and it worked though the stitching didn't look very nice, it looked the like the tension was way off. After some fiddling around and some more reading I figured that the needle threads weren't going through the tension thingymibobs properly. After adjusting those the stitching is nice and smooth again. I've only done small test pieces, but I can't wait to get started properly with Bernette.

Sur-rur-rur for now dear readers!