Running shorts

Running Shorts

OriginalRunning Shorts

Running Shorts


Some time ago Jess asked if I could copy a pair of running shorts in one of the FunkiFabrics patterned lycras. She wears shorts most of the year regardless of weather and these were apparently the most comfortable pair she had found.

I did make the pattern and trial pair before Christmas which were tried and declared a success.

Running Shorts

Copy pair

Running Shorts

Thread detail

They were made in the most basic way possible (no back pocket and little detail) but I did have some variegated Gutterman thread that I wanted to try out in the looper of the coverstitch machine so they got a tiny bit of interest down the front leg. The main reason for these shorts being chosen as ‘favourites’ was, I think, the crotch gusset which allows for much more freedom of movement than the basic leggings pattern that I have used. The side seam has also been moved slightly forward so I presume this is a position that is less likely to cause friction over a long run.

As I wanted to clear this project before starting the orange waistcoat/jacket, and I thought I could clear it in a couple of hours, I got stuck in and cut into the monster fabric which Jess had requested (and approved when she saw it at Christmas!). The only difference this time was that I was to put in the pocket and anchor all the seams so that they wouldn’t rub.

I have put these pockets in several pairs of leggings now – but not this particular style which was cut in one piece across the back, with another full piece behind it to make the pocket back. I had been sent this tape by Linda from Nice Dress, Thanks I made it! and was looking forward to trying it as a stabiliser in this process. As you can see from the photographs I started by drawing a rectangle with my beloved Frixion pen the size of the ‘hole’ I wanted the zipper to fit into. I then surrounded it with tape before cutting the fabric. Once cut it was easy to fold back the fabric onto the sticky tape and create a perfect hole to fit my pocket. I put another line of tape top and bottom to hold the zipper in place whilst I sewed it permanently. This process was a huge success, no wiggling from the fabric so the pocket was sewn in double quick time. Thanks Linda!

Pocket drawn, tape around the edges.

Pocket drawn, tape around the edges.

Hole cut and fabric stuck to tape, more tape in place to hold zipper

Hole cut and fabric stuck to tape, more tape in place to hold zipper

Finished pocket.

Finished pocket. 

I used plain black lycra to back the pocket, and also on the elasticated waistband.

As you can see I used the triple step zig-zag to anchor the seams this time instead of the coverstitcher. I’m still a little uncertain that this was the right decision. Maybe it is just the black thread, which I decided was probably the best choice given the amount of colours inn this barmy pattern. Anyway, Jess will have to decide if these are OK – and I shouldn’t ever struggle to spot her coming in a group when she is racing in these!

Running shorts Front (check out the gusset!)

Running shorts Front (check out the gusset!)

Running shorts Back

Running shorts Back

I love the pattern – the little monsters just seem so friendly!

This pattern fitted into 50cm of lycra from Funkifabrics with a little left over which I can probably incorporate into another project.

If anyone wants the details of how I intend to alter my basic leggings pattern to make a pair for myself (I get horribly overheated when I ‘run’ so I want to be prepared for when it gets warmer) let me know, and whilst it wont be until after I do the orange garment I will be happy to email the information – or maybe do a blog post if there is a demand.

One less distraction for now!



Orange jacket/waistcoat

…or vest if you are American.

I have been thinking about what I wanted to  make with both the orange felted wool and brown merino jersey for long enough now. I have probably overthought the whole enterprise, which seems to be a common problem Chez Hood right now.

The main problem I have is that there is barely 140cm of the orange cloth (after washing) and I have spent ages convincing myself I can’t do what I want with that much. Rubbish. I’m planning to self draft this pattern so I can make sure it fits the fabric available. Within reason.

The other problem is that I can’t decide between two options. Think donkey between carrots. Yeah, that would be me at the moment and it isn’t going to get any better until I just get on with something!

Option 1.

Boiled wool waistcoat

Waistcoat by Poetry

All Ssaints jacket

All Saints Waistcoat – open

All saints Jacket 2

All Saints Waistcoat – closed

All of the pictures of waistcoats shown really appeal. The Poetry waistcoat has been in my ‘I like this’ pile of pictures for an age. I can’t even remember when I put the booklet on the heap. *sigh* . The All Saints version is a prettier version in my opinion – but I still can’t decide which I prefer. I know I want to have pockets, it would be useful to be able to close against the wind/weather, I don’t want it to look too voluminous, and I want to be able to layer garments with it. What would probably happen is a hybrid version with the sections I like best from both.

Option 2.

  I thought a neater, more ‘jackety’ option may be more useful – a bit like the Marcy Tilton Vogue 8430. Not necessarily a real ‘jacket’ but something edging that way.

I also liked the yellow Vogue 8932.V8932, Misses' Jacket and VestV8932, Misses' Jacket and Vest

Check out that back detail – and it could be made sleeveless. Sadly I can’t currently think of a sensible pocket option. Not something to kill the option but I would have liked a pocket.

I’m going to start drawing the pattern for these garments and then just make a start. They aren’t so different so I may find that part way through I will make a final decision. I think I may be leaning towards the Yellow jacket, but after a cup of tea who knows. Any suggestions/preferences might be helpful – feel free to give opinions again.


I have (I think) decided to re-stash the brown merino for now. There are a number of things i would like to do and I am starting to feel a bit bogged down. I really need to clear a couple of projects to loosen a mental ‘log jam’. Does anyone else find this happens to them?


Karen Drape Dress in the Jungle!

Whilst I was feeling very sorry for myself a little while ago I was sent a lovely gift – the Karen Drape Dress pattern from Maria Denmark. It really did give me a lift, so thank you very much S! (Gotta love your sewing friends ;) ). This looked like a very easy dress to wear – and suitable for so many occasions. As Maria herself says in the instructions ‘it is your new favourite dress’ and I think she may be right. Having said that some of you will probably be thinking that as I rarely wear dresses it isn’t up against very stiff competition. Oh ye of little faith! This really is a good dress and pattern.

On to the skinny. The PDF file had 40 pages, 10 are instructions and general information which I printed double sided and the remaining 30 are the pattern which didn’t take too long to trim and stick together. The front pattern piece is complete so it is rather large on its own, but there is only the back and sleeve after that. I didn’t trace the back as a complete pattern so I could have cut it in one piece but I will be converting that before I use the pattern again, I did cut two separate sleeve patterns (I even remembered to mirror them! Yay me!)

Animal? But which animal?

Animal –  but which animal?

The fabric I bought – I know, you might have expected me to have had something suitable in that almost bottomless stash – was bought in Barry’s in Birmingham. It is a polyester cloqué, 150cm wide and I bought 2 meters. I could have cut this easily with 180cm of fabric so I will bear that in mind when I want to make this in something more expensive – I hate wasting both fabric and money. I think the print looks a bit animally – leopard or cheetah or stegasaurus, I’m not sure which. However, I am claiming this for Jungle January! If you want to weigh in with an opinion as to what animal it actually is feel free.

Karen Drape dress front

Karen Drape dress front

Karen Drape dress back (Oops I wasn't ready for that picture!)

Karen Drape dress back (Oops I wasn’t ready for that picture!)

The pattern was very accurate to stick together – none of the ‘misses’ that you sometimes find on PDF patterns, and was a very easy pattern to sew. I would probably put the fabric on the floor to cut out as a single layer, despite the fact that my knees are protesting at the thought, as the front pattern piece is large and didn’t really fit on my cutting table easily.It would be much easier to copied this pattern so that it could be cut from a single layer of fabric (it would make any pattern matching much easier if necessary too). I had no problems matching notches, or mismatched seam lengths, or anything else. The sewing was also very quick – once you have organised those tucks on the side front (and Maria has made a blog post to help if you need it) you only have to sew the pieces together and then put clear elastic into the neck (again, a helpful post if you should need it).  Honestly this is a dress that a beginner would find hard to foul up. I didn’t have any of the really thin clear elastic available when I was making this and used some that was a bit thicker. I may have pulled the neckline a little tighter than the original as a result but that isn’t going to stop me wearing this dress.

When I tried the dress on I felt it was a bit large over the hips (I basically don’t have hips – or a waist) so I went back and overlocked a bit more off the side seams. It is a very soft fabric so I would be a bit careful about being too hasty about altering the pattern for this, and the alteration is a very easy one should it be needed. Having worn this a couple of times now it may be that it is still a little generous so I may be brave and cut a size smaller next time. I think that it needs to be a reasonably snug fit across the tummy and hip to prevent the slight asymmetric effect I am getting. I am inclined to over estimate how much ease I need – I think it comes of always being bought clothes ‘to grow into’ as a child. I was a little concerned that it may look stretched over the bust but it is fine, and those friendly tucks over the tummy hide a multitude of sins!

Yes Maria, I think I had just finished my ‘new favourite dress’!

Join me in the happy dance!



Front view


Back view

At long last I have finished the blessed brown trousers. Actually I finished these last Thursday but have been waiting for a good photograph to blog with. As usual at this time of year the light has been awful, and when we have been outside (more later) it hasn’t been very much better so I have stuck with the selfie. It has taken so long to finish these you would be very welcome to join me in the happy dance!

Anyhoo, the trousers! This was my Jeanius pattern (cut from instructions given in the Kenneth D King Craftsy course which seems to be at sale price right now!) and cut in fabric brought back from Spain. The fabric was probably suited to a ‘tailored’ style but I tend to wear jeans and t’s most of the time – so jeans it is.

I knew that the pattern fitted reasonably well so I just made them up as cut. I had forgotten that I added 5mm to the side seams last time (Doh!) and whilst these are a snug fit over the butt and thigh I am not concerned because of the amount of stretch in the fabric. I could probably wear these to the gym and be able to cope – although I have no intention of doing so!

I have worn these a lot since I finished them and can say they can bear up to a full days wear looking good, and barely crease even after a couple of hours in the car. I think we have a winner. It would have been nice to have this fabric in another colour but since I don’t remember exactly where in Spain I bought this, and it was forever ago, I am unlikely to manage that. It would be nice to imagine I would be able to find some in the UK but I can’t recall seeing anything similar over the years. I will just have to enjoy what I have.

I had hoped to get a decent photograph last weekend as The Management and I spent the weekend in Bournemouth. Despite the weather being fine I failed completely to get a photograph of me outside at all. No particular reason for a weekend away, but I really enjoyed the break. I find January and the early part of the year quite difficult – probably related to the lack of daylight (S.A.D would be an extreme version of what I feel) so it is nice to break up the expected with little breaks.

Hippies sign

Hippies sign

On the journey down I spotted this sign in a house window. We were stopped at a red light when I noticed it – considering I had to dredge in my handbag, find the camera, turn it on, point and shoot I think this turned out better than the photographs I really try with! Maybe I can learn from that. You might have to click and enlarge this to read the detail but I found it really funny.


Two at once socks

Two at once socks

I have also finished my ‘two at once’ socks. These were knitted from my favourite sock pattern from Ravelry but without the lace pattern, and two at once ofcourse.It was easier to manage the further you got into knitting these, and it was brilliant to be able to cast of and only have to darn in the ends before putting on a new pair of socks. No chance of ‘single sockitis! Again these have been worn and I can confirm that they are warm and comfortable. I used to be a little concerned about the difference in ‘nubblyness’ on the soles of hand knitted socks by comparison with the commercially produced socks but I don’t notice the difference now (apart from my feet being warmer in the wool socks).


Fabulous bundt cake

I bought a new bundt cake tin after being bought the new  Simply Nigella  cook book for Christmas and seeing her cakes. Isn’t the shape just fabulous? In checking Amazon for the link this book is also available at a deep discount – the hardback is cheaper than the Kindle copy – and I can confess to spending way too long just drooling over the wonderful looking food.

I can’t believe just how easy it was to make a cake that looks so impressive! I made this particular recipe (rather than one of Nigellas which I will make in the near future) as Jess was trying a Vegan January and I am always up for a cooking challenge.This was a vegan chocolate mud cake I made. I wish I could share it with you – it tasted infinitely better than the title makes it sound. We had a slice each exactly as it was, but the next time we had it with chopped strawberries and some coconut soya yoghurt as a pudding. Delicious!

I have sewn something else which I will show as soon as I photograph that (I couldn’t do it at the same as the trousers as I was going out – I did put shoes on. Honest).








Now a sick sloth.

In the evening after I wrote my last post, a mere four days ago, I realised I had a bit of a sore throat. Nothing awful – a bit of a scratchy feeling that almost everyone in the UK has at present. Not so the next morning. Full on streaming cold, coughing, sneezing, and verging on deaf from time to time. Not funny, and it got worse later in the day when I started getting giddy, off balance, spells – presumably all connected with the stupid ear clearing problems. Cue a day sulking on the sofa, which has turned into several.

Now, I am probably in with a whole bunch of you who spent a few days after the holidays sorting out stash. I included my yarn stash and was quietly amazed at how much sock yarn I had. Yes, I like knitting socks. No, they rarely use up all the yarn. Why not make use of this ‘leftover’ yarn to make socks. There was certainly enough of it. There was other yarn too but we can gloss over that for the moment.

I spent some time blog hopping and generally  wasting time researching online and saw references to knitting two socks at once. I have used other videos from Knit Purl Hunter when I have been uncertain and can recommend them with great confidence. This is a way to ensure a matching pair no matter how random your yarn selection is (provided you divide it into two balls to knit from). My brain definitely wasn’t up to using multiple balls of yarn so I selected a couple of balls that ‘sneaked’ into my last yarn order from the Wool Warehouse.

Toe up socks - two at once!

Toe up socks – two at once!

The yarn is Drops Fabel print which is 75% Wool, 25% Polyamide in common with most sock yarn. It forms a sort of ‘fair isle’ pattern as you knit. I have knitted lots of socks, not all blogged – after all, how many pairs of socks are interesting? – so I was confident that my brain could handle that but would it cope with two at once? Initially it was a bit difficult until the toe increases had been completed. Not brain difficult – just difficult to maneuver the stitches in the way I needed in such small numbers.  After the increases I went into ‘automatic pilot’ and just knitted a few rows (circuits?) at a time between reading a book, watching tv, making tea, and listening to a podcast. They are coming on fairly well now, as you can see, and the instep increases have been completed. I’m a little worried about the heel turn because at the moment I’m not sure I have the brain capacity for that despite feeling a good deal better.

Going back to the podcast – am I the last person on the planet not to have heard of ‘Serial’  ? My daughter recommended it while she was here at Christmas and it seemed like a good ‘I don’t actually have to do anything and can still enjoy this’ activity. Hooked. I’m still uncertain if this is fact or fiction. Feel free to tell me if you know – it wont spoil it for me.

I have done some work on the brown trousers. Only the waistband and hem to be completed now. The fabric has turned out to be much stretchier than I had anticipated so I am still dithering about what to use as interfacing to stabilise the waistband.

Thanks for all the suggestions as to what I could use the fabrics I showed in the last post for. There are some really good ideas there but, again, I am dithering about choices. I will let you know when I decide.

Before I leave you can anyone tell me when Vicks Vapour Rub became VapoRub? I’m sure it worked better when it was spelled properly.

New Year Sloth

Am I the only one who seems to have forgotten how to sew over the Christmas break? I have been ready to get going again, really wanted to sew. Boy have I been making some truly basic mistakes. Anyway, as a result of that I have been taking the trousers really slow (when I haven’t been taking them apart!). They are coming on now that most of the fiddly bits are done so I have great hopes that they will be finished without any more unpicking – and fairly soon!

The Management is properly back at work now, and most of the jobs strictly relating to the holidays are out of the way. I have even spent some time just generally tidying my workroom and stash. I hadn’t quite got down to sharpening pencils but that probably wasn’t too far away when I decided I really just had to get on.

During the work avoidance (and stash shuffling!)I did some planning. Here are another couple of fabrics that I found and really think should be used soon, they also co-ordinate with the brown of the trousers so all I have to do now is decide what they should become. Easy eh?

Pre washed fabric - what could it be for?

Pre washed fabric – what could it be for?

The pumpkin coloured fabric on the left is a felted, knubbly, wool jersey. It might have been a boucle once upon a time and is supposed to be dry clean only. Yeh right. I was pretty sure it would shrink a bit when washed but it should be OK from here on. I think I want to make a long waistcoat/vest out of this. I have seen a few in magazines and whilst I have a couple of ideas I think I need to get the pencils out and start sketching.

The brown on the right is a merino wool jersey. It is lovely. and I have what seems like loads of this to play with! I am sorely tempted by another Savage Coco Presto top – although I think it could probably be useful lengthened into a dress. Whatever it is to be made into I think it should be soon – it is getting cold here. Not Alaska cold I’ll admit – but cold enough to want a nice Merino ….. (fill in the gap).

Since these have both been washed they are ready to be worked. Any suggestions will be gratefully received (although I can’t promise I will follow!)

I truly hope your plans are coming to fruition faster than mine!







Lemongrass completed

Well I hope you all had a very happy holiday – however you may have celebrated. I was here at home with The management and Jess for the duration (having delivered the geographically distant family members gifts weeks ago). It has been wonderful to have my husband and daughter with me for a few days – but I am a solitary beast and have been looking forward to having some time alone again.


Lemongrass sweater

Anyhoo, during the time I have been able to sit around doing very little – and let me tell you I made the very most of this – I finished off the Lemongrass sweater I have been knitting. The pattern has turned out to be just as adorable as I had hoped, and whilst Jess said she liked it my mother didn’t seem too impressed with the picture I showed her when I visited. Ah well, you can’t please everyone.

Well now for the details. As previously mentioned this was knitted from a pattern found on the Ravelry site, in Drops Nepal which I bought from the Wool Warehouse. I was lucky enough to get it at 25% off but I think that finishes tomorrow (31/12/15). I had hoped that the alpaca bit of the mix would make the wool less ‘scratchy’ on my neck as I am very sensitive to that but it still seems to be a little itchy. Maybe that will be better after the sweater has been laundered.


Lemongrass sweater

I knitted the pattern pretty much as printed, but I didn’t make the buttonholes in the front band as I really couldn’t see the point. I sewed the buttons through both layers and they are just fine. I sewed 4 buttons rather than the original two for no particular reason. Actually, I probably used four because I just loved the buttons which I bought last year(?) at the Kendal Wool Gathering. I did wonder about knitting this a fraction longer but I am very happy with the length it turned out – I am 5’4″ tall just in case you need to consider this for your garment should you decide to make it. If I make this again I might make the collar/neckline slightly shorter to stand up without a fold, or another couple of inches longer to make a good fold. At the moment it isn’t clear quite what it wants to do.

Lemongrass sweater - collar up?

Collar up?

or down?

Collar down?

I love my new sweater, and might well make this pattern again. I love having something on the needles through winter evenings so will be looking for another project pronto. I haven’t really felt like sewing, and since I didn’t have any client work needing attention I have taken a step away from the machines.

Isn’t it strange how you start to twitch a bit when the sewing urge comes back? Trousers next time.


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