Friday, 20 April 2018

Longshaw Dress

I have picked a slightly maverick pattern to try and it has been a happy surprise. It comes from the new book 'A beginners guide to sewing knitted fabrics' by Wendy Ward.

My pal Christina sent me some unwanted viscose jersey. It is a drapey fabric with lots of stretch and movement in all directions - a tricky customer but I loved the navy blue spots especially as I can't get in my similarly patterned vintage tennis dress anymore :( 

You can see how inaccurate you could be with this fabric. I wanted to have a double layer on the front to avoid any knobbly bra texture on my frontage and this is what I thought would be two pieces the same! I used the cutting mat and my rotary cutter to trim the one on the back down to match.

I sewed the two front pieces together within the seam allowance and treated it as one front piece. My pinking shears chewed the fabric like toffee so I didn't even try to put this one through my over locker, it is just the kind of fabric is eats for dinner.

So what was so maverick about it? Well, this is one of the skirt pieces?? You cut two and join them together then the 'wings' at the side folded in to make integrated pockets and waterfall sides.

For the neckline and arm binding I went to my favourite technique. You sew the binding in a ring and pin it right side to wrong side of the dress which feels strange. Sew it on to secure it. Next bring the binding forward rolling it over the raw edges. Take the dress back through the machine with the right side showing so that you can neatly top stitch it in place.

It has a really neat finish and the fabric feel fabulous.

The pattern uses the Winnats tank top and the Longshaw skirt from the book to make a dress

I finished it on Wednesday night, had it on after work on Thursday for a try out then wore it with navy leggings to work on Friday for an office day. I really like wearing it, definitely worth trying something new for a change. Here is another beautiful version.

Enjoying the sunshine? A massive mood lift here as you can see.
Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Me Made May 2018

My pledge for Me Made May 2108 is very specific this year...

I Jo, of Three stories High, sign up to participate in Me Made May 2018. I shall endeavour to wear my WATG jumper again during May 2018... The arms stretched way out of shape and are dangling over my hands, I made them too long in the first place! I will unravel them and re shape and knit them to save the worlds cotton resources. 

There is preparation, motivation (that is where you folks come in) and a touch of angst in this project which is why I have set myself this challenge. 

No mater how lucky you feel, or how half full your glass is you can't just unravel a couple of sleeves and re-knit the yarn. I know I have tried...the wobbly wool looses all tension especially on large needles. Meh!

You have to put in some time and know how. I knew this before but somehow thought I was a special human being and it wouldn't happen to me!

Firstly, I wound the wool onto a chair, then tied it in a few places to hold it steady.

Next, I put it in the sink for a little bath and stretched it out, I appreciate that this image looks like a toilet but rest assured it is the sink.

I hung them up to dry.

 Some small kind arms helped me get it back into usable balls. 

I won't lie to you it has been a faff but I loved wearing this sweater so much on holiday last year in France and want it back in the mix. Next up some knitting....I am going to change the sleeve shape so that it doesn't flop over my hands. 

This is what Me Made May does for me, it forces me into a corner!
Jo xxxx

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Wardrobe swap over

I know when I post a new knitting or crochet make, especially neck attire, you must wonder what I do with them all. This is my personal shawl or triangle shaped collection. From left to right: my Autumn wander granny triangle in sock yarn leftovers, a Victoria shawl by Cherry Heart in Rialto yarn, another granny triangle in regia sock yarn, a roadtrip scarf in DMC cotton and finally an Elise shawl in Shilasdair yarn. Any other shawl item you have seen on this blog has been given as a gift.

I also have three lighter cowl shapes which I like: a navy Alice button Cowl in Katia Tupe, another in DMC cotton spring colours and a Churchmouse Yarns flower thingy in Jawoll magic sock yarn.

It is that time of year where I swap my clothes over from winter to summer (in very loose terms!) I wash, dry and defuzz my winter knits and pack them up. Away with the cord and velvet, winter coats, woolly hats and scarves. 

Out come the dresses, cotton tops and my white trousers which were all hibernating in the drawers under the spare bed. They might not get a look in quite yet but I am so ready for a change.

I am mighty impressed with my cardigans in an array of colours which I have mostly collected from charity shops. Perfect for wearing over handmade dresses.

It has been time to take stock of what still fits, what alaterations are needed and what I would like to sew or recycle.

Do you seasonally swap your clothes over or am I just bonkers?
Jo xx

Friday, 13 April 2018

It's only fair...

OK, I have found out you can't make a jersey dress for just one of your children and not the other. After a visit to the Ironworks Sculpture park near Oswestry in the cold, I tied in a little diversion to Textile Express: a cavern of a fabric shop in North Shropshire. Little M chose this jungle jersey because she fell in love with the mother sloth carrying the baby on its back.

I made the smallest size from McCalls M7079 and took it in with a wide seam along the arm all the way to the hem. Should the jersey hold up well during washing, I have the opportunity to let this one out next summer. She just loves it...and so do I. The fabric was a bit of a brain teaser because I kept thinking I had it the wrong way up every time I spied a sloth upside down!

On a drearier note, I am so miserable about the weather. I have had two full weeks off work and not been able to go in the garden or allotment once. Not a thing has been sown or weeded. 

The dog is so wet and muddy, that is when he will even go outside. Often he just sniffs and goes back to his basket and then chews the skirting boards because he is so bored out of his head. I know how he feels. I have been sewing at a breathtaking rate just to fill the days. I would say I have enough blog posts to last me until June! What is a girl to do?

 The children are bickering more than usual because they just want to go outside. A glimmer of blue sky and they try their best to have a play on their scooters. To halt the arguing I have had lots of children to play here because we have a big house but that creates the carnage of indoor play which seems relentless. 

Poor Andy has been dealing with all my dad's sheep in a field and yard that look like the Somme. My dad is too ill to look after them. Family health sadness adds to the grey metaphor. The Ewes are taking their time lambing this year; maybe they are waiting for fair weather too. 

Aghhh! Make it stop! 

The sweet little dress cheered me up even if she did take it off once I had taken the photo so that she could put on some warmer clothes!

 I think we are forecast better weather next week and I am forecasting more positive vibes here too. Jo xxxxx

Monday, 9 April 2018

Denim Sewing All done #18

Today I am writing my 18th all done post. Firstly I made stretch denim jeans, more on that later. I had a piece left over which Big Sis spotted so she persuaded me to make her a dungaree skirt from an Ottobre magazine. I had enough for the main pieces and then used a floral fat quarter for the facings and pocket linings. 

We bought some Prym metal buttons to make it look like the real deal. I grappled with top stitching thread which incidentally needed the tension wheel on my machine to be on 7.5 to get a smooth thread tension. She is all arms and legs this girl!

She wants the T-shirt now! No worries I love sewing for her.

The skinny jeans were a little less photogenic which is why I have written about them second. I have made some simple skinny jeans using the Sew Liberated indie pattern. If you like wearing long tops or tunic button fly jeans can leave you with a lumpy stomach, so I thought this pattern would be pretty useful.From a toile I found out that they had quite a low rise which didn't feel right so I made the body pieces longer by 2 inches. This made for a much better fit. The piece above the yoke is ribbed jersey.

It is hard, and also expensive, to get ribbed cuffing knit fabric strong enough to hold up your trousers so inside the folded over knit fabric around the waist I sewed a piece of wide elastic on a stretch stitch before I folded it in half. This made it super comfortable and a suitable waistband. They are reminiscent of the maternity jeans I wore ten years ago! 

I stitched them together with yellow thread for an authentic look and designed the pocket pattern myself by drawing free hand in chalk and then ironing the other pocket on top to mirror the image. You can simply sew the inside and outside leg seams with a straight seam or go for a flat felled seam on the inside leg and crotch for a durable, authentic finish. 

All done with this stretch denim with two good items of clothing.

In my opinion
I have used sew liberated patterns twice now and I'm afraid I am not a fan of the sizing or the shaping - they require a lot or modifications for me. The patterns are on tissue and do not have enough markings to indicate which size you are cutting. All the lines look the same and lack numbers to show which size you need. The instructions are clear and well written but I have not been happy with the end result on either these jeans or the school house Tunic without the alterations I had to make. In my top ten indie patterns Sew Liberated is near the bottom of the list unfortunately.

Thursday, 5 April 2018


Making - Saxon mittens from my favourite knitting book.

Drinking - Rhubarb and ginger cordial.

Cooking - in batches for the freezer in case we get nice weather and I want to be outside instead of in the kitchen.

Eating - A steak salad, at home, on my own - bliss!

Wanting - Warm weather really really badly.

Deciding - How many work contracts to take on for the summer.

Fixing - The pockets on my winter coat before I put it away.

Wearing - woolly clothes still.

Enjoying - The final furlong on our king sized quilt.

Considering - My next quilt construction.

Loving - My new pin badge.

Watching - Our sheep give birth.

Thinking - How we will love living at the farm one day.

Disliking - Putting things in landfill.

Getting -  Another Skip at the farmyard (major contradiction)

Laughing - At their whispered pre-planned tricks!

 Buying - New yarn from a local producer on holiday. Swoon.

Wondering - What to do with it.

Feeling - Ready for Spring to come up and bite me on the bum!

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Knitting Finish Line

A few projects have crawled over the finish line lately. They were all languishing in the basket waiting for the final finishes. A few days off over Easter has been a blessing.

The pom poms finally arrived for these hats. They are knit in seriously chunky metallics by Cygnet yarns. You can knit one in a night. I made a pattern up for each one which was dependent on using up three balls of wool: two grey and one pink. I used this FREE pattern from Ravelry called Calzetta. Big Sis' started with 48 stitches and has a small intarsisa pattern on and Little M's started with 42 stitches then used up the last of the pink in stripes.

My cousin is having a baby in May. I made this cardigan from a vintage pattern but messed around with the yarn choices a little. The body is knit with Patons DK cotton which has a mercerised firm feel. The arms and neckband, which will touch the baby's skin, are made using Cottony by Cygnet yarn - it is soooo much softer.

I had a few packets of these vintage buttons given to me last year in a big bag of old craft stuff from an elderly relative. There were ducks, butterflies, flowers and these cute elephants.

OK, I can distract myself no more with quick fix projects - back to that moss stitch on the back of my winter sweater!

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend. 
Jo xxx