Bye bye Larry

Remember Larry, the wonderfully warm and useful sweater knitted way back in September/October 2014 which recently developed a hole right in the front? Well, with great regret I spent an afternoon when I wasn’t really able to do anything else ripping it to it’s component parts – viz, Rowan Wool Aran. This had cost me a fair amount way back and I’m nothing if not thrifty so I wasn’t prepared to just bin this.

I really liked Larry and if it hadn’t been too big for me now I would have repaired that hole and saved myself a bag load of work. However, I have also been going through the pictures ripped out from magazines that I like (we all save these, don’t we?) and found this….VINCE Sweater

…lovely isn’t it?

The picture hasn’t got a date on it but seems to have been late last year, and is by a brand called VINCE (pulled from Porter magazine). I love this so I’m planning to adapt another sweater from Ravelry. I have found the Berocco Bell Rock turtleneck which I think I can adapt to look much like this.

The yarn is now washed and wound into balls. Thankfully the ‘kinks’ all smoothed out after washing. The Management said it looked like I had shaved a poodle before that 🙂 .

It wasn’t until I was looking for the date when I knitted Larry that I realised just how much knitting I do! I knit to relax so this may reduce now that I’m not sewing for clients.

What do you prefer to do – knit, sew, or something else completely?

Look out for progress soon – I am missing my warm brown sweater.




Six Point Tee

It has been a little while since I knitted this but I found it whilst sorting my wardrobe and remembered that not only had I not blogged it but I had extra yarn which I meant to sell.

Six Point Tee by Cathy Carrow - Front

Six Point Tee by Cathy Carrow – Front

Six Point Tee by Cathy Carrow - Back

Six Point Tee by Cathy Carrow – Back

This pattern was bought from Ravelry, and whilst most of the versions shown were made in the recommended Rowan All Seasons Chunky there were others that looked very good in other yarns. I knitted this in the 3rd size, to give a bust size of 41.5″ to give a very little positive ease.  The yarn was easy to knit with, but being very chunky was a bit challenging to join where needed.

My top took about 5.5 balls (so 6 needed was correct) and I’m not entirely certain what I had intended to make with this yarn originally but I have 4.5 balls left. This quantity is sufficient to make this top in the smallest size (Bust 33 1/4) which needs 4 balls, or possibly the next size (Bust 37 1/4″)  which claims to need 5.

Six Point Tee by Cathy Carrow

Six Point Tee by Cathy Carrow – without t-shirt under

I will knit this top again as it is really comfortable, and as you can see from the photographs works well with and without a t-shirt underneath. I think it would look good in a slubby cotton to give a softer, less firm, garment. I could certainly reduce the hip increases for me when I make this again – I really have pathetic hips!

This yarn is selling on this site at £7.20 a ball on this site ( I think I paid about that when I bought it but can’t find the receipt). If anyone would be interested in buying this from me I would be happy to accept £15 (about 50% cost) + whatever it costs to post.

Let me know if you are interested.

Rowan Yarn

Leftover Rowan All Seasons Chunky yarn









Vogue 2948 finished

Finished – but again I am not entirely happy with the result. I think part of the problem is that they have taken an unreasonably long time for ‘a pair of pants/trousers’. You might remember that I have been watching the Craftsy course ‘Pant fitting’ by Sandra Betzina. This Vogue pattern is in new sizing which relates better to todays figures (hence the name) but that didn’t mean that it would match everyone. That means me. Again.

The Craftsy course is pretty comprehensive, and I found it easy to follow the alterations that were demonstrated. I think that the Craftsy platform is pretty good, even if (or especially if) you are fairly new to sewing or pattern alteration as you can watch the video lessons as many times as you need to, and also ask questions which should be answered by the tutor. The whole course is worked around Vogue 2948 (included in the cost of the course) which is an ideal trouser for adjustment since it has princess seams and a yoke. The more seams available the easier a garment is to adjust.

I cut the size that appeared to fit my hips, having adjusted the pattern to be larger around my waist. All looked well, and I tried them on with the sides tacked to fit. CLOWN PANTS! I really couldn’t believe it – these were big. I checked the original pattern pieces and whilst I could find the finished waist size (3cm ease allowed) and the finished length I couldn’t find the finished hip size. Maybe I was just losing heart by then. One of the things that is stressed throughout the course is to avoid ‘over fitting’ – ie. taking out all the wearing ease to give a ‘skin fit’. We have all seen people wearing clothes like this and it is never a good look. Anyhow, I repinned and sewed the seams, fitting the zipper and just wanting to get this project to finish. (More haste…). See what you think.

Front - lightened to show better

Front – lightened to show better

Back - I didn't see those drag lines until now!

Back – I didn’t see those drag lines until now!

Lots of hip space!

Lots of hip space!

The fabric wasn’t expensive – this was intended as a wearable muslin – it is a basket weave polyester that I found in the £2 a meter pile at Barrys in Birmingham. These are good enough to wear, but not anywhere ‘special’. I am not sure what I was doing here – the pattern by size and adjustment should have been OK but it looks as if I have made them to grow into and I would rather not if you don’t mind! I hadn’t used a side zipper in pants (rarely in skirts either) and find I don’t really like it. I could try these again with the back zipper option but I don’t think I like the pattern enough to do so.

Polly-cotton (sorry!) trial available in size 16. Matching bias included.

Polly-cotton (sorry!) trial available in size 16. Matching bias included.

Since I was a bit fed up after making these I decided to have a bash at a quick project. Step up ‘ By Hand London’ Polly top. This looked perfect for my shape as I could make a top that fitted well over my bust but easily take in at the waist/hip so that it didn’t poke out in front. Again the sizes didn’t match me at all. I chose a bust, then the waist was up one size, and the hips went down two sizes from the waist. The finished measures looked better – the bust was the largest size, going down one for waist, and down again for hip. I printed, taped, traced off my size (Pffft!) and then went ahead in the scrap I had found to try out. Can I just say I am currently feeling deformed. I love the pattern, and it is clearly a very popular choice around blogland, but it isn’t for me. If anyone out there would like the taped PDF (and the white/blue poly trial in a 16) let me know and I will send it out happily.

Rather than going through lots of full bust alterations in order to make commercial patterns fit properly I have decided to get back to pattern cutting. I use this to make the patterns for my clients so it is about time I sorted my own blocks out again and got on with making my own patterns to fit my own clearly unique shape!

For anyone who doesn’t have a pattern cutting background and wants a great site to find out how to alter patterns for a full bust head over to Communing with Fabric where Shams (who has a very similar body shape to me) has already done a sterling job in explaining what is needed.

Garment a Month Planning – January

This month is an easy choice – I have had this waiting in a little heap to make a start almost since I bought the pattern on my trip to Stratford in June last year (details here). I admired the Sewaholic Minoru in multiple blogs and couldn’t wait to make my own. Only I did.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe main fabric is 100% Polyamide and is slightly showerproof. Because of this I thought it would probably be worth washing in a bit more waterproofing (hence the NIKWAX sachet) and it is in the machine as I type. The lining is a silky polyester inherited from an old lady who used to sew and couldn’t take all of her stash into a residential home. Could this be my future? Anyway, the pattern was one that I would never have worn as a main garment fabric but it will make a brilliant lining. I have ordered the Thinsulate I intend to use as a warm interlining today – hopefully that will make the whole jacket much more useful. I already have a (potentially cold!) weekend away that I hope to have this jacket finished for.

I am making only minor changes to the basic pattern – I really need pockets on the main body – where would you find the wonderful treasures you find on a walk? Also, I will be lining the hood, which after a quick scan of the pattern appears to be left unlined. I have no good reason other than I would like to.

I managed to cut the lining pieces out whilst I was waiting for the Management to get home from work so I hope to be able to get this started very soon. Sadly I do have to get on with some client work tomorrow. Darn.

Happy New Year!

Day one and I haven’t bought anything yet so I am on track so far! I also want to try and work mainly from my (massive) fabric stash so most of what I make will come from there.
I am planning my first garment for the ‘Garment a Month’ challenge so check back soon to see what it is!

Goodbye Valentino

RTW Fast badge

Ready – Set – STOP!

Buying clothes that is….

It’s time for me to stop shopping and start sewing for an entire year 🙂

This time around I am in the company of nearly two hundred women who accepted my 2014 RTW Fast invitation.

Click on any of smiling faces below to see the entire group of the 2014 RTW Fasters.

eleyna  Cathy head shot   SandyB

Aren’t these 200 women amazing? They represent women across the globe and feature a diversity of skills and styles as well as a diversity of shapes, sizes, ages and races.

 The new 2014 RTW Fasters page found at the top of the blog is designed so that readers can click on the link and follow each faster. Surely there is a sewist for everyone!

Many of the 2014 RTW Fasters shared their reasons for joining the Fast with me which include; saving money, sewing clothes that fit, finding…

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Garment a Month

After yesterdays rash declaration to make a garment a month in 2014 I had a comment from Gaye who brought this blog to my attention. SarahLiz has a garment a month challenge(?) on her blog and any extra means of making sure I actually fulfill my intention to make me more clothes next year has to be good. So, I’m in.

Admire the widget, then go look at her blog.

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Ready to wear fast (no, not THAT sort of fast)

Going through my blog reader this morning (when I should have been working – I know) I saw this post from Goodbye Valentino.

Now, I have to confess that I don’t buy a massive amount of clothing anyway so this shouldn’t be too big a reach. However, everyone knows what happens when you ban something. You always want what ever you can’t have…

BUT, when I started this blog it was to encourage me to make more clothing for myself and I have to say that I haven’t noticed a great influx in my wardrobe. What hasn’t changed is my fabric buying habit, even though I am no longer selling on. (Forgive me Father for I have continue to sin). I am drowning in stash.

So. Next year, 2014, I hereby commit to making one garment a month for me. Possibly even from the Burda magazines I have piling up under the spare bed. Using new/different techniques from the Threads magazines I read so thoroughly. And I will try to learn to get a better photograph of me wearing the garments (not The Managements reluctant photographs or my ‘in the mirror’ selfies).

Wow, that’s a pretty big declaration for an early December Monday morning.

P.S. I am sewing at the moment, but everything I am making is either Christmas presents or a Top Secret project that I will reveal later. Much later.