Well doesn’t time fly? Since I last posted you could be forgiven for thinking I hadn’t done anything. Since I don’t post any clients work I can’t show you any proof – but I promise I have been very busy. In addition to that The Management scheduled a trip to Northumberland to visit an old friend who had moved back there….. and deliver our family Christmas presents! At the time I was informed of this I had about a week to buy said gifts. It would be fair to say I was not too impressed, but now that it is done I can relax a bit and finish my other preparations.
During my time under cover I have still been stalking the blogs I know and love, and reconnected with one I used to read a while ago and seemed to have vanished from my WordPress reader (anyone else have those sort of problems? – and if I haven’t commented on your blog in a while it may be that you have vanished off the list and I haven’t noticed yet for which I can only apologise).
The blog I have found again is the lovely Evie at Pendle stitches who not only sews but knits some wonderful things for her family. In the post you get to if you click on the link you will find the fabulous Lemongrass sweater by Joji Locatelli.
I thought that it was a fabulous sweater with some slightly different detailing (got to love that side feature!) and immediately hot footed it to Ravelry for the pattern. I was fortunate to receive an e-mail from the Wool Warehouse which gave me the incentive to get right on it and buy the yarn ready to start. I chose Drops Nepal in a lovely Pumpkin shade which I consider to be just right for autumn/winter. I really see too many dull shades from clients so like to introduce a little brightness myself where possible – and I love an orange colour in almost any circumstance.
The ideal partner for such a gorgeous coloured yarn is a pair of brown trousers – and my favourite pair are starting to look a bit shabby. OK, a lot shabby.
I have been dredging deep in my stash of late and found this lovely piece. A perfect fabric (though truly who knows what the composition is) and just the right quantity. I vaguely recalled buying this on a Spanish holiday but was both amazed and slightly appalled to discover it still had a price sticker on IN PESETAS! Oh, the shame. Now Spain adopted the Euro in January 1999 so I really think this lovely fabric has marinaded quite long enough and is to be made into my Jeanius jeans pattern with a couple of tweaks. There is a bit of lycra in the fabric so it will be perfect for trousers with a kind of jeans styling, but a bit smarter.
I have got rid of two large orders last weekend so I have a little more time to do something for myself – once I clear the family alterations! I have a bag from my mum, and a couple of things for my DD that she has been very patiently waiting for. I’m on it now. Honest.
Hopefully it wont be too long before I can make progress on my two garments.
As you see from the ticker I am now at mile 19 – actually 19.2 – so I only have 2.8 miles left in the challenge. It seems to have lasted for ages but the end is in sight. Thanks for all your good wishes – and a special thank you to those who have sponsored me for Aspire. I have exceeded the amount I hoped to raise so I can only thank you for your generosity.
In my last post a referred to something else I had made – another Paprika Jasper sweater. This one is without the hood as I had a very limited amount of fabric. I really love this pattern and can see lots more made this winter.
So, the details. The fabric is a piece of (probably) polyester ‘stuff” which has been in the stash long enough to have celebrated multiple birthdays. It’s more likely to have been there for decades. I seem to remember buying it from a market stall in Kidderminster which hasn’t traded in a Loooooong time. I had seen a number of cabled sweaters in the fashion magazines, Pinterest etc. and this fabric came to mind. I had just 1.5m of 150cm wide so I knew I was going to have to get creative with the cutting to fit it all in. Delightfully, it fitted with whispers to spare. I always like to have minimal amounts of scrap after cutting out.
I have already worn this lots, and I can confirm that it washes well! It was brilliant to discover I had a ready made ‘spectacle hanging loop’ as I frequently put my specs down and can’t find them again. Must be age.
My daughter was home this weekend and admired the hoodie while I was wearing it so that is a
big seal of approval. She had run the Snowdonia Marathon on Saturday and managed to beat her London Marathon time on a course with mountains!
Which leads me on to the next make. How many of you have used the wonderful Funki Fabrics printed lycra? Yeah, it’s great isn’t it. But how many of you have spotted the winter lycra? Can I send you to the site right now because it’s great – no wait until you have seen Jess’s leggings.
The lycra has a kind of fleecy back which feels gorgeous. I think it might be just a fraction less stretchy in the width than the standard lycra but has plenty of stretch in the length. I made Jess the normal Shin leggings pattern without any changes and she declared them a success after wearing them on Sunday morning (actually all of Sunday which is probably a good sign). They haven’t been washed yet but I am sure that with the pedigree Funki Fabrics Have it will be fine.
I have bought more fabric in black for me so I hope to make some warm leggings for myself really soon. They will not only be worth having for running (stretching the definition the way I ‘run’) but also for marshaling at Parkrun, and to wear as an extra insulating layer under my diving dry suit. These are going to be so useful I should really get on ASAP.
I must make a comment about my coverstitching. As you may know I bought the Janome coverstitcher which I have been very happy with. However, on this garment I started to have problems with the thread getting stuck and breaking – lots of unpicking and bad language. I was confident the cops were Moon (which is a Coats thread and usually pretty reliable) and they had behave beautifully on the overlocker. However, I decided to change all the threads to Gutterman reels and try again. Perfection. I can only assume these reels were an inferior brand and the Janome didn’t like them. So, anyone having problems with a coverstitcher – before you start fiddling with all the dials try changing your thread. I will not be saving any pennies with ‘cheap’ thread in the future as it costs too much in time if I make a mistake.
You might have noticed from my ticker in the side bar but I have now swum half the distance needed to complete my swimming challenge. I was thrilled to be able to get this far in the official half way point as I had been on holiday for one week, then ill another. I am now pretty confident of finishing the English Channel distance (22 miles) by the required 7th December deadline.
Since I put my original post out in blogland with the pattern to make this smock I have probably had more blog hits with this search than any other. Several people have asked for more detail as to how to actually make the smock so with apologies to those who don’t need this I will go ahead. This post is of necessity picture heavy – if you aren’t interested in how to make a smock I will have something else to show soon (but it has been such a success that it needs to be laundered before I can get a photograph!).
So, assuming you have cut out your pieces (remembering to add seam allowances to my pattern) we will make a start. Don’t forget to press as you go.
I prepare the pockets first by neatening the sides (overlocker in my case), and turning 1cm then 3cm the opposite way so it is RS together to get a clean finish on the top edge. The little piece of fabric shows this. Seam the top edge, press and turn through like the right hand pocket in the photograph. Stitch the turning to secure if you want (like the left pocket).
Stitch the pockets into place on the front piece, like below.
Next sew your shoulder seams BUT stop the seam width away from the neck edge. Sew the collar piece into a loop. Press seams open. Neaten the shoulder seams if you wish, and now would be a good time to neaten any other edges that need it.
I place the collar seam at the centre back point and pin the collar to secure whilst I see it in place. By keeping the body sides on top you can spread the shoulder like it is shown in the photograph below and sew the collar seam so that you miss the join by a hairs breadth. This ensures you won’t get a hole.
By working the collar seam in this way you will get a nice smooth finish at the join. If you had sewn the whole seam you always end up with tucks at this point.
Turn under 1cm to neaten the collar edge, then fold the collar in half and catch it in place just in the ditch from the right side. If you edge stitch this just inside the collar it should all be secured in place. Feel free to tack this in place if it will enable you to continue with confidence.
While it isn’t essential I like to stitch around the top edge as I think it gives a neater finish.
Grab the sleeves and pin them into place. Again you must start and finish your seam the seam width away from the sleeve edge. Now, the gusset. This seems to be the part that upsets many people but stay strong. Don’t think of this as something that needs to be sewn all at once, it can be broken down into four parts.
I suggest that you buy yourself a Frixion pen and use it to mark the seams into the corners of your gusset. Use a pin as a guide to pin close to the sleeve/body seam and pin the gusset to the sleeve. Again you need to stop your seam at the corner point marked. Once you are happy you have the gusset correctly attached to the sleeve turn the garment through 90* so that you are able to use the pin again to locate the matching point on the body. You might find it easier to sew from the garment side so you can see where the other stitching starts.
This is what it looks like from the right side at this point….
…. and from the wrong side. Now fold the sleeve right sides together and you will see where the third seam must be sewn. Use the techniques you learned on the first two sides to complete all four sides of the gusset.
Once you are satisfied that the four sides have been sewn accurately you can sew the sleeve and body seams. I tend to sew towards the gusset which enables you to see exactly where the seam needs to join the gusset, make sure you don’t catch the gusset edge in the seam.
Once sewn you can see how the gusset makes a triangle shape in the underarm which allows free movement.
All that needs to be done now is to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the body. I clean finished the sleeves (in the same way as the pocket top) but just turned the overlocked bottom edge as the pockets would have made this very thick if turned twice. Press it all tidy, allow to cool and set up your easel!
I made this smock from cotton twill (the first couple of photos give the best representation of the royal blue colour) basically to show the techniques here. If anyone is interested in buying it from me for £40 + postage please let me know.
I would also be able to create a ‘kit’ containing the pattern and sufficient baby cord shown in my original post in either chocolate brown or a beige colour which would cost £15 + postage. When I work out how it is done I can offer PayPal details.
I hope this answers any questions that people have asked but if you have one I have missed please point it out to me!
Yes, it is October and Christmas is months away. However, I was given a large bag of damsons from a friends garden and have started to make damson gin. We will be very happy Chez Hood come Christmas. If they are exceedingly lucky I might even share with friends.
I do have more plans for things to make as gifts that are a long way from started.When will you start you Christmas preparations?
Well, I got back from holiday last weekend feeling very much like this sunshine –
But by Saturday I was feeling much closer to this
The Management caught the well known ‘aeroplane cold’ which he promptly passed on to me. I have been feeling pretty gruesome since Saturday and think I have a few days of being kind to myself left before I jump properly back into life. I’m sure a good nights sleep in the spare bed will sort me out (along with a ‘hot toddy’ – whisky, honey and hot water for the uninitiated). I’m starting to fret about not being able to swim but I think I have factored enough ‘snafu’ time into the calculations.
However, before I checked out with the world I did manage to complete the Paprika Patterns Jasper sweater dress I had planned. I like to make the first project after getting home from a holiday something relatively simple to ‘get back into the swing’ and this seemed perfect. The pattern was bought right at the start of September in the Indie pattern bundle and so far it is the only one I have done anything with despite some of the others being really appealing.
There were a lot of sheets printed for the pattern – I don’t remember having a larger number to tape together but that may just be my diminished mental state. Despite that it was easy to tape together BUT there is a void in the taping where there would have been an unprinted sheet in the mix. It may have been that my printer was being clever and not putting the sheet in there, or I may have just outsorted it without thinking. Anyway, if you are about to make this up you are fore warned. There is a copy shop option provided if you prefer to do that.
I bought the navy sweatshirting fabric from Minerva Crafts before I went on holiday and had already washed and tumble dried it to preshrink. This is listed as a clearance fabric but is still in stock today. It is a lovely soft fabric, but with enough body to make it just right for this style. It did shed what seemed like a scary amount of fluff in the drier but is still very cozy.
The pattern is listed as a two out of three circle(?) sewing level – mid range I suppose – it does have single welt pockets and that glorious hood. Don’t let them scare you. The instructions are backed up with online tutorials if you aren’t understanding the written instructions, and the results are worth the effort. I finished this on Friday (just after I knocked the iron off the board – it was switched off thankfully – and killed it) and took one lot of photographs which were all rubbish. I repeated the exercise with Bessie modeling this morning as blogland really doesn’t need to be aware of just how gruesome I look at the moment.
The kangaroo pocket is wonderful for stuffing cold hands into, and even though it looks really stupid wearing it indoors the hood is lovely. I seem to remember someone describing the hood as being ‘monastic’ and I can kind of get that (sorry, I can’t remember who at the moment). The button detail is nice but I decided not to make too much of it on this version as I wanted something casual and understated. The princess seams give a bit more shape than might be expected of a sweatshirt which is great and gives extra options for adjustment.
Will I be making this again? You betcha. Maybe the dress length version next time…..
Confession time. When I published my last post I was on holiday with The Management in Croatia – the promised sunshine (although not technically Winter sun so maybe I can get another break on a technicality?). Unbelievably, although I wore both the yellow skirt and trousers there isn’t a photograph at all! As I take
most all of our photographs there are rarely any photographs of me on holiday. He could take someone else and no-one would be any the wiser.
Anyway, if you did check on my swimming progress last week and wondered if I was on the bottom of the pool that is the explanation. I have been to the pool since our return so I think I may be back on track – I had fallen behind target slightly by the end of week 2.
On a sewing note I have taped the Paprika Jasper hoodie pattern together and copying that , and hopefully cutting out my fabric, is a job for today along with sorting out holiday photographs (which I have started).
I leave you with a Saint. This picture of Saint Lucy was in a church in Skradin where we stopped to have lunch. Whilst I found the eyes on a dish a bit gory I was intrigued by the cotton reels and what appeared to be a ball of yarn (or a pom-pom). This is Saint Lucy who is apparently the patron saint of the blind and those with eye-trouble. I imagine the lace makers of Croatia must have had occasion to have prayed to her for assistance. There are a few dressmakers I know who would be glad of her help on occasion too.
Way back in April this year I started adult improvers swimming lessons. I am still having lessons but am glad to say I have improved quite a lot! I did a Swimathon at the end of my first block of lessons and was amazed at the distance I managed to swim in aid of Marie Curie cancer care.
Well, I have agreed to do another fund raising swim but this one is a bit different – and an altogether bigger challenge. This one is the Aspire Channel Swim Challenge. Over the next 12 weeks (ish) I’ll be swimming 22 miles across the English Channel to raise money for people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury. Apparently every eight hours someone is paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury. It can happen to anyone at any time, and I am aware of this because one of my friends had what she described as a minor fall from a horse and suffered a major spinal trauma. Her consultant said that if it had been one vertebrae different she would have been instantly and totally paralyzed. She was lucky and has made a full recovery (although I am sure she still has days that are somewhat painful though she never complains). Not everyone is so fortunate which is why I intend to swim this 22 miles in 12 weeks. Thankfully we avoid sea water (and the boats in the english channel) by swimming this in our local pool.
I managed to swim 2.7 miles in my first week which is a bit ahead of schedule but means that I am able to relax if I have a particularly busy spell with clients and such. Perhaps this is why my waist is starting to shrink a bit. Hmmm, nice side effect though unexpected.
Maybe you would like to join the challenge if you are in the UK, or you might like to follow my progress over the next couple of months at my Aspire swim Challenge page. I don’t expect to be sponsored by my blog readers but if you feel you would like to contribute to this cause (maybe you have personal experience of how traumatic this can be) I would be unbelievably happy. Here is the link to my Aspire Just Giving page.
Who knows, by December I may even have a recognisable waistline!
P.S. Because it has become so.much colder, and because I bought the Indie pattern bundle, I have decided to make the wonderful hoodie from Paprika patterns. The fabric has been purchased from Minerva and the pattern printed and trimmed. I will be very glad of this as the weather gets colder so I need to get stuck in!