Thursday, 28 January 2016

Birch Trees and Birdies

I received this contemporary Art Jersey from White tree fabrics last month to make an item of clothing. The large print called for a dress with not too many pattern slashes so I went for my first Coco dress or Tunic to keep the tree trunks in tact. I would say that the actual fabric is a brighter blue than on the internet pictures in which it appears a bit more 'duck-egg-grey-blue'

A coco comes together really quickly so they are a joy to make.I pre-washed the fabric at 40 degrees and it came out as good as new. The problem I have had in the past sewing jersey is that the hem wobbles as it stretches and goes under the machine so I tried a stabilising technique. 

Pin up your hem and then with the wrong side of the dress showing, sew under the machine with a layer of grease proof paper between the foot and the fabric. It stops the fabric stretching and leaves you with a beautifully flat hem to press. See...

I did the same on the cuffs. You peel off the paper and pick any little bits off which is small fry compared to wavy cuffs and hems. Try it, it really works.

Then we went out to find some birch trees and some fresh air so my footwear is slightly dubious. I have long grey boots which look great with it but a three mile wet walk in the woods was not the day to be wearing them. Here are a lot of photos just because we took them, laughed a great deal and tried to look normal at a National Trust Property last Sunday.

My petticoat is hanging down with the icy breeze blowing the skirt front up in the air.

At one point some people were looking so we made it look like we were having a normal family photo.

Then because we were being silly, Bloke said, 'show us your bum mum!' - so I showed my legging covered bottom.

My children are too young to be embarrassed by me yet so they were in fits of giggles begging me to put my layers back on because it was so cold not because people might see me. 
Well folks, that was us looking normal.

I hope the sewing tip helps someone grappling with Jersey out there. Thank you White Tree for the sponsorship of fabric, it was a joy to work with.

See you soon.

Jo x

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Saroyan scarf

All finished, totally gorgeous and ready to wrap for my friend.

1.5 skeins of Katia Tupa 50% Merino 50% silk
FREE pattern on ravelry: Saroyan Scarf

A 6 leaf increase then 6 leaf decrease with 10 repeats in the centre as stated in the pattern. If I did it again I would make it longer in the centre section.

I really rather enjoyed knitting that. 
Jo x

Monday, 25 January 2016

Cutting out and me

For someone who loves to sew, I actually loathe cutting out. It seems that by the time you have cut everything out somebody wants you to do something else other than join it all together - meals, finding things, attend children's parties, drinks etc. So today's story starts with an empty basket. A very lovely empty basket one of my sewing group made for me at Christmas.

I finished my Mundane Monday home jobs early today (through hard work it must be said) so I thought I would fill my basket with exciting things. I have had a bit of a splurge lately. I always do that in January because I am a serious sale shopper. I don't run out of money before Christmas but always in January however I did buy some fantastic things.

Two back issues of Ottobre magazine and two kits from Craftsy but because the postage was so high I thought I would get two, maybe one will be a pressie for a friend. I have laid off the yarn sales this year as I am still working my way through last years. My eyes were bigger than my cupboard! The children's Ottobre magazine is a bit of an 'issue' as it is in Finnish. Mmm! I was so busy looking at the pictures I didn't select the right language copy. No matter I reckon I can do some of the stuff from the pattern pieces alone.

Big Sis loved this:

and this, slightly harder without instructions I am sensing:

Little one likes this:

and they both liked this combo in fact I'd wear it myself:

But I don't have fabric for any of these yet, just dreaming at the moment. I also tend to use my remnants to make the children's clothes so I need to see what is going to be left over, it is economical but we teeter on the edge of looking like the Waltons. I do however have other things to be getting on with so I had a cutting out couple of hours this afternoon.

I gathered together all the bits for a bra. I have made my first one which I will post later in the year because it is linked to my Minerva products post in April but suffice to say it did not put me off and I have cut out another.

I've had this viscose fabric for a while now and it really needs to be something so this is all parceled up ready to go sew.

I have fabric all cut today for a Tilly coco tunic/dress. The pattern is one way so I had to concentrate on that one. I don't want to wear upside down birdies.

That gave way to leftovers which I cut straight away into a jersey skirt to go over leggings. The waist is made from cuff ribbing and my girls love them because they actually fit their waists.

After my replica blouse make, Big sis wondered if I could make her favourite white blouse again but bigger. This pattern is pretty close to the shape so I cut this in the blouse version.

Ta dah! a basket full with five things to pick up and go when I have a sewing 20 minutes here or there. No asking everyone to clear the table, no interruptions, all the notions in the bags - just blissful sewing to look forward to.

That is how I cut out people. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

Haylofter knits

My Minerva post this month is a knitted project using the most Sublime yarn, Sublime 100% fine merino. I have made a cardigan for Big Sis to wear to school. I have made this pattern before for my younger daughter and enjoyed making it immensely. The stitch variety makes it an interesting knit. Knitting the back and fronts in one piece to the armholes also makes it easy to keep the pattern going.

I have taken my time with this one, savoured it, enjoyed it, corrected mistakes and I have been rewarded with a beautiful cardigan. It has taken me about three months to do.

I did an extra pattern repeat for the body length and knit the sleeves a bit longer than I needed to by calling her name every few days and measuring her up to the sleeves. 
She comes, she is good like that.

The pattern is from Sirdar. I have been a faithful user of Sirdar children's patterns for my girls, they are both stylish and modern with great instructions. This one is from 'Cosy Haylofter Knits' I fell in love with the styling, I mean, I would love to wear that whole outfit myself. 


So we tried a little copy cat modelling - this is my farm girl.

Thanks Minerva for this sublime yarn and your continued sponsored generosity. Have a great weekend,

Love from Jo and farm girl Heidi xxx

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Dotty about Spotty

I may be entering my first ever fabric rut. When I went to the cupboard for a little look at what I might work on next I was overwhelmed with spots and no green in sight.

From the bottom up: black and white cord spots, jersey spots, cotton spots, chambray spots, viscose spots, lightweight pale cotton spots and finally red cotton stretch spots. All types of fabric covered and they are all indeed covered in spots.

I need to get my thinking cap on... Jo x

Sunday, 17 January 2016

On the needles

I am knitting a boring black cardigan where I promised myself I would not knit anything else until it was finished but boy is it dull especially as I had knit two right fronts and had to frog a load of my hard work. It is a poor excuse but I succumbed to a new knitting project. I cast on the Saroyan scarf which is free from ravelry. 9416 people can't be wrong!

The leaf border is enough to keep me keen but not complicated enough to use swear words. There is a video tutorial of the 14 rows needed to make each leaf which was really helpful here. The yarn is beautiful. It is Katia Tupa50% Merino and 50% silk, which I bought in a wool shop in Whitby last May on holiday.

I am making it for my friend who works for the education department at RAF Cosford where she wears navy or red to work everyday. She takes school children around for history visits and walks from one aircraft hanger to another in all weathers. I am really enjoying knitting this for her in such luxurious yarn. My black cardigan will have to wait a bit longer.

Thanks for stopping by. What is on your needles?

Friday, 15 January 2016


I have had a blouse from Boden that I have worn and worn. It went with all my handmade patterned skirts and I loved the shape but sadly is has a spagetti bolognese mark on the front, a little hole in the back and the underarms were no longer white. 
What's a girl to do?

I unpicked half of it and found out several things I had not noticed while wearing it for four years. It had french seams, it had pin tucks in the arms, a little gathered section a the back neck and the hems on the arms were constructed with tape. Interesting.

I ironed the pieces flat after unpicking all the pin tucks and french seams. I marked in felt pen any information I might find useful then made a paper pattern transferring the markings.

I have never made a muslin of any garment, I usually fit as I go but this seemed a bit more risque - I didn't quite trust my own pattern drafting skills, after all I had never done this before. I used an old duvet cover because the cotton had roughly the same weight as my chosen fabric.

Then I made it with the fabric I bought at the NEC last autumn for £6 but I only used about 0.6m of it. I had already pre-washed it - I know get me...

Highest praise indeed came from Bloke when he said, 'What are you doing to your blouse?' I said, 'I made it.' he countered I hadn't because he remembered ironing that one with pleats in the front lots of times. There, I fooled him with my replica.


Just what I wanted but for a fraction of the price. I also have a fabulous go-to pattern now too. One in the wardrobe, one out.

If you want to get into sewing or 'back' into sewing there is a year long FREE set of tutorials on the Foldline sewing website. Here is the link. The first session is on reading a pattern and types of fabric to choose.

Happy sewing! Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Have you ever...

...knit two right fronts of a cardigan and not noticed until the end! I did last night and I was so disheartened that bloke came in from the other room asking who had died by the scale of my sad musings. 

In order to 'get back on the horse' I made a face cloth out of some scraps before bed then used up all of the rest of the chunky cotton to make a loom brooch centred with a scrap-felted-jumper rose.

I felt better then because who doesn't need a flannel wash whilst wearing a brooch!!

You gotta smile. Jo xxxx

Monday, 11 January 2016

Cafe Crochet

Big Sis and I left Three Stories High and headed out for some fresh air. We walked to Ironbridge, settled in a cafe and cracked open her new crochet book and yarn which she received from my friend for Christmas.

My friend does not crochet or craft so to her the word 'easy' does not mean what it means to me sat next to an enthusiastic eight year old but we got stuck in.

'Yes!' she cheered as she started to understand the pattern. I am impressed with her building crochet knowledge. She can read the pattern abbreviations out loud and made the ears this morning in bed herself before I even got up! She doesn't understand division or times tables but she can read a crochet pattern - that's quite a niche skill for an eight year old I would say.

So with the head made when she got the book, two ears, an arm and a body, which I did, we made good progress. All this activity invited lots of praise and attention from old ladies in the cafe who were impressed with Big Sis's skills.

It is pretty amazing isn't it? She did it all herself except for the body which was made up of half trebles and she kept splitting the yarn when the hook needed to pass through three stitches at a time so that is where I stepped in. We finished it at a local craft group this weekend.

Little M has requested the mermaid from the front cover next...and breathe...

Jo xxxxxxx