Posts Tagged ‘Sewing’

As well as battling with my ouessant fleece, I’ve been working on some other craft projects.  I just got my craft corner set up properly in the bedroom, so have been making the most of having a decent workstation to do everything in.  First up, my most recent finished project – a quick rainbow merino skein.

DSCN1208I was gifted a lovely sample pack of merino fibre in a whole rainbow of colours.  I think the pack was meant for felters – certainly there wasn’t enough of any one colour to make anything with – but since I haven’t yet taken up felting, I decided to find other uses for it!  The resulting skein is a single, spun from the fold, not predrafted, and worked out somewhere between a lace-weight and a light fingering.

IMG_5821I’m hoping the skein will be enough to make something like a lace cowl with, and am debating gifting it to my SIL, who also knits and who could probably make better use of something this gorgeous than me!  My cats are less impressed with it, but that might just be because I posed it on them while they were trying to sleep so I could take cute pictures.

DSCN1116I’m also around 90% done with another gift for my SIL.  Her daughters have outgrown their adorable old school uniform of purple and white jumpers and purple gingham dresses, and she asked me to make them each a keepsake poppet using the leftovers.  The poppets are done (not pictured, the above poppet’s nose), and I’m just now working on patchwork quilts for the poppets to be put to bed in at night.

DSCN1114The girls each got to choose the pattern they wanted me to use for their poppets, and I’ve endeavoured to fit the school logo onto each poppet somewhere.  These were really fun and satisfying to make – so much so that I’m debating starting up a business making them to order.

DSCN1197Another WIP I’m enjoying a lot is these little Yule decorations I’m working on.  The first lot I’m doing are little hanging Santa/Tomte in felt.  The little dude just above is the prototype, just made up plain so I could make sure the shape and appearance works with what I had planned.  Below you can see the first batch in progress.  I do need to streamline my technique so I can make them a bit faster than this, though.


The complete lack of recent posts about embroidery might give you the impression that I don’t do it any more.  I promise that’s not the case at all!  I’m still beavering away at my knitting needle roll/bag/thing, which has planned embroidery elements, still reading upon blackwork and redwork and different stitch techniques, I’ve just had nothing worth showing off in a while!

But I do still love embroidery, which is why I thought I should remind everyone that May is the month that Urban Threads celebrates it’s birthday – and they just announced a site-wide sale on all embroidery designs!

Personally, I’m a big fan of their design packs.  The packs are 25% off, while individual designs are 50% off, but the packs are already cheaper per-design, so now is a great time to pick up your favourites!  It’s an especially good opportunity if you’re a hand-embroiderer like me – their hand-embroidery versions of the designs are only $0.50 each, which works out something like 30p per design.

I’ve picked up the Blackthorn and Elven Court design packs.  I’ve already got most of their others – the Nordic Majesty and Clockwork Magic packs were early favourites of mine – and I’d had my eye on these two since they came out.  I also picked out their standalone design, the Hops and Grain crest.  I’m a big lover of earthy designs incorporating plants, so this and the buckthorn designs were no-brainers for me.  But actually, Urban Threads are pretty good all-round if you’re Pagan, and they’ve got designs featuring symbology from Norse Paganism, Wicca, Celtic Paganism, Druidry, Eastern religions and all sorts.  Not only that, but they’re Yuletide Revelry pack features Christmas designs that manage to display a little Christian theology while still looking appropriate for both Pagan and Secular homes!

Oddly, the design categories only seem to have a tiny sampling of designs that quality – “Pagan” as a category only has two pages of designs, and yet not only does it not include the Ankh designs, Hugin and Munin or the Vegvisir, it also only contains one or two items from entire design packs dedicated to Pagan spirituality.  So your best bet really is to just search every category and save every new, useful pattern to your favourites – you never know where it’ll disappear to later on.


Anyway, enough blathering on.  There’s a sale on!  Go!  Go!

I swear I tried to keep it simple, this time.  Honest.  Serious.

I swear it.

While I was browsing fabric bundles for my knitting needle roll WIP, I came across a couple metres of some nice, drapey, heavy microdot jersey fabric for next-to-nothing on Ebay.  Not having the income to buy new clothes, and not wanting to miss the opportunity to create something using polkadots – one of my favourite patterns – I snatched it up!  I figured I could make a pretty dress of some sort without too much trouble, jersey being a little tricky to sew but nice and stretchy, so easy to fit.

Keep it simple, I told myself.  So I looked online for some simple sewing patterns that wouldn’t require me to spend money.  Not easy when you’re plus size, as it seems the selection of clothing patterns to fit you is extremely limited even if you’re paying for them, let alone looking for free.  Not like with knitting, sadly.  The simplest design seemed to be this:  Four rectangles, sewn together, with arm and neck holes left open and then hemmed.  Of course, it needs something doing in the waist to shape it.  The usual way with this pattern is shirring.  You can’t really add shirring to a stretchy fabric like jersey, though.

You can smock it, of course…

But then I remembered that smocking, depending on the way you do it, can be much less stretchy than shirring, so the pattern would need modifying.  Instead of adding shirring all the way around the body below the bust, it’d be best to just add two smaller panels of smocking – either one at the front and one at the back, or one at each side.  And the way smocking works means I’d need to use more fabric than normal, but since I’m not smocking all the way around I’d need to work out how large I want the panels to be, multiply that by 2 and add that number to the width of the dress body to make sure I had enough fabric for 3x the width of the smocked panels.

I remembered I have some lovely polkadot picot bias binding in the craft box that’d make a lovely hem for the dress.  Of course, I’d need to do something to tie the picot edge in with the rest of the dress, since there isn’t enough to do the neckline and the hem.  I could always do proper embroidered smocked panels, smocking in thread the same colour as the picot edging and using a smocking pattern that would in some way emulate the picot shape.

Oh!  And of course dresses need to have pockets!  Nice, simple, uncomplicated patch pockets.  Nice patch pockets with a bit of the bias binding at the top, to tie them in with the hem.  Nice, smocked patch pockets with a bit of bias binding added.

So I’ve gone from a simple rectangle-based dress I could probably machine sew in an hour to an embroidered English-smocked dress with matching patch pockets, that will need quite a lot of hand stitching and probably take me a few days to make.

Watch this space…

My fabrics arrived today!  In the end, I went with the pretty purple/cream blend, picked up a couple more fat quarters to compliment them, and am currently sitting here gently stroking the aubergine microdot cotton against my cheek, so very much in love with it.  I got lucky, managing to pick up the last fat quarter pack in that colourway.  The microdots were almost lost to me forever!

Oh, sweet love.

I’ve not yet started cutting onto my precious fabric, but I have got some photos of my planning and practice to tease you with.  Because I am a terrible, terrible tease.

DSCN0508 DSCN0509 DSCN0510 DSCN0511

So, I’m currently working on drafting a simple sewing pattern for the knitting needle roll I’ve probably needed for about six months now, and would really appreciate the input of my fabulously stylish readers!  All five of you!

I’m currently waiting on a couple of FQ of this rather stunning fabric:

Yes, that’s hummingbirds on a pretty, blue background with what looks like little star-shaped microdots.

Now, I want some complimentary fabrics, so I’m thinking of spending my next bit of treat money on one of these FQ bundles:

Pretty gingham with contrasting red and blue, red microdots and a couple complimentary fabrics

Red and white polkadots and microdots with a blue strawberry-printed fabric to tie the blue hummingbird fabric in with it all

Lots of pretty blues with microdots and stripes and floral patterns, with pink contrasting elements.

A stronger focus on strawberries, with more blue than red, and some multicoloured microdots

A more grown up range of blue and white florals and microdots, to compliment the hummingbird fabric

Or I could say to hell with it, use the hummingbird FQs for something else and treat myself to one of these two bundles:


Purple IS my favourite colour…

What does everyone think?  I have until Wednesday to decide, and whatever I do I’ll probably release a tutorial, make a second roll and maybe have a giveaway to let people win a roll for themselves.

Which fabric selection would you like to see the roll in?  What sort of selection would you like to WIN a knitting needle roll in?  Leave your answers in the comments!