Saturday, December 13, 2014

FO: Otium

Once again I was thrilled to get the chance to test for Annemeike from Sofilantjes.  I love so many of her patterns and this one is no exception.  Otium is a sweet wee top with lots of options.  It has the choice of three sleeve lengths and can be made as a plain top, with a large diagonal cross front feature pocket or with a scoop back and bow feature.  This comes in both girl's (12m to 14y) and women's sizes (XS to XXXL) and they can also be bought as a bundle :-)
I made the plain short sleeved tee for Miss M in a size 2 with 4 length.  I'm hoping Miss M will get a lot of wear out of this if summer ever decides to arrive because it really is a sweet wee top.   It has a lovely relaxed fit but with shaping through the body in the larger sizes it doesn't end up looking big and boxy - woohoo.  And with a neckband and hem band it is a super fast sew.  I broke out the twin needle to hem the sleeves and then decided I'd use that to topstitch the neckline too and I'm really pleased with the result.
And here it is on Miss M, she does love it but was just tired and not really in the mood for modelling even with bribery :-)  The fabric is some I got in a massive destash a couple of years ago, it's a cotton jersey and I used cotton lycra for the bands.

I can see this top being a staple here as the fit is fantastic and the sleeve options mean it can be sued throughout the year.  Now I'm just waiting for the Christmas chaos to die down enough for me to make one for me.  Congratulations Annemieke on another fabulous pattern!

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Treble Clef Christmas Decoration Tutorial

As we head rapidly towards christmas and the end of the year here in NZ we are also heading towards the end of the school year which means teacher gift time.  This year Mr A has been learning piano from a lovely young lady and I wanted to make a wee something to say thanks and Merry Christmas. As a result I've come up with this paper treble clef christmas decoration.


Materials Required:
Scrapbooking Card
Guillotine or Rotary cutter (or scissors)

1. Cut a 1.5cm strip down the length of a 12"x12" square of scrapbooking card.  In this case I have some I had left over from craft projects last year that is patterned on one side and white on the other.  I used a guillotine for this step but you could easily use a rotary cutter or scissors.
2. As my paper was plain on the back I then wrote a message on the back of the card.

3. Using the template as a guide make small marks down the sides of the strip of card at the distances shown from the top, you don't need to label these as shown in the template but the labels will be referred to later :-)  Be sure to mark the top three positions on the ride hand side of the card and the bottom three on the left hand side as shown.
4. Now make a small cut at each of the marked positions from the marked edge to just past the centre of the card as shown.
5. Fold the card (white or wrong side up) so that the C and D positions match up and slot the two cuts together.
 6. Now fold position B round to slot into the cut at position F.
 7. Next match up position A to position E in the same manner.  At this point you can put a slight curve into the inner end of the card to continue the curve if you want to.
 8. Take the straight end of card and curl it around a pen to give a curved tail.  And you are done!

I used a needle to thread a hanging loop through the top of mine so that it could be used as a tree decoration.

This makes a quick, easy and cheap gift that your children can even make.  I love giving handmade gifts and I think the personalised message adds a nice touch.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you decide to make some decorations of your own :-)

Modern Belle : Lil Luxe Collection Holiday Blog Tour.

I have been dying to try many of the patterns from Lil Luxe Collection for some time now so I jumped at the chance to take part in their Holiday Blog Tour.

First up there are 2 things to note, I received a copy of this pattern in order to write this review but the comments here are entirely my own, secondly while this wasn't my first choice of pattern I am actually thrilled I tried it and in all kinds of love with this dress.
The Modern Belle dress has very sweet simple lines and just enough features to make it extra special but very wearable.  Here in New Zealand we have Christmas in the middle of summer (although noone has told our weather that yet) and most people don't go all out with special christmas themed outfits.  Because I wanted to make a dress that was able to be used throughout summer not just over the holiday period, but still had a holiday feel, I chose some lovely green whimsical fairy fabric and paired it with red/white spots. :-)

So the pattern? This went together really easily from pattern piecing, to cutting and sewing.  I was very impressed with the tutorial which covered everything thoroughly.  I love the detail of the lined bodice and the gathered side panels hang so nicely in this quilting weight cotton.  There are two options for the side panels (one being more full than the other) and I chose the less gathered version simply because I was running short of the spot fabric.  The dress still has a nice wee twirl though and it got approval from the small girl child.

It just so happened that as this photo shoot was needed we were also invited to meet Miss M's daycare class in the city and visit a local christmas shop and window display, so I took the opportunity to get pics at the same time.  It wasn't the best weather but she was a real trooper.
I'm really pleased with how I managed to fussy cut the fairies onto the sleeves :-)
On our adventure we checked out some local sculptures...

 ..and shook hands with one of them.
The kids all loved their visit to the christmas shop,
and then had a picnic lunch in the park.

If you have fallen in love with Modern Belle as much as I have you can purchase it here and until 11 Dec it is available at 30% off with the code "blogtour".  Also don't forget to check out all the other amazing creations in the blog tour and be inspired to sew for the holiday season.

Blog Tour schedule:
Monday, Dec. 1 - Rouche & Division Top

Wednesday, Dec. 3 - Peek A Boo Hoodie

Thursday, Dec. 4 - Alley Cat Romper

Friday, Dec. 5 - Reversible Crop Top & Dress

Monday, Dec. 8 - Modern Belle Dress

Tuesday, Dec. 9 - Socialite Peplum and Dress

Wednesday, Dec. 10 - Two Haute Shorts

Thursday, Dec. 11 - Starlight City Dress

Along with the blog tour there is an amazing giveaway going on for you all to enter:
Here is the Giveaway Info:
$25 from Owl and Drum Sew very Modern (LIKE on Facebook entry, Follow on Instagram entry)

$25 from Bobbie Lou Fabric Factory (Follow on Instagram entry)

$25 from Imagine Gnats (LIKE on Facebook entry, Follow on Instagram entry)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally Jess from Lil Luxe Collection is starting a Monthly pattern of choice giveaway.  Every month she will choose one winner from her Instagram followers.  Followers must tag @jessbluxe with their Lil Luxe Collection pattern creation.  A winner will be chosen every first of the month Starting with January 1, 2015.

So with those formalities out of the way all that remains is for me to say go forth and read, be inspired, shop, sew and have a fabulous holiday season.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

FO: Blue Sky and Rainbows Tallulah

Once again I am lagging behind but I did want to share this gorgeous wee cardy I made for Miss M as a test knit recently.  It's the Tallulah by Sezza Knits and it's a fab wee pattern.
A while ago Miss M asked for a light blue cardy and not long after the tester call came out for this pattern.  After a friend very generously offered to dye some yarn for me (as I couldn't find any I liked) I knew I was going to love the result.
Tallulah is a fabulous wee cropped cardy perfect for over summer dresses.  It is knit in DK weight yarn and can be made with short or long sleeves.  I love the touch of feminine lace on the sleeves and the long fitted ribbed section through the body (in fact mine isn't quite as long as it should be due to knitting while watching tele and not paying attention, oops).  The cardy is knitted top down and in the round with the sleeves worked via the contiguous method to give a set in sleeve rather than a raglan construction.  I've done this a few times now and I love the result.  This pattern covers sizes nb to 10y and I made a straight size 3 for Miss M and it only took 150g (approx 300m) of yarn, so it's also really economical. :-)  I also let her choose the buttons and love how happy the wee rainbow love hearts are.

See it's sweet isn't it?  A perfect wee cardy for any wee girl :-)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

FO: Seena Tops

This is a long overdue post that I keep forgetting to write, but the pattern is well worth the wait!
I was very lucky to test both the kids and adult version of the Seena Top by Gracious Threads.  This was offered free for a short period as part of a "New to knits" sewing challenge and it is the perfect pattern for those who are new to sewing with knit fabrics or feel intimidated by it.  The pattern piecing is a breeze, the tutorial very clearly lays out each step and explains all techniques to give you a top with a great finish :-)  It is now available to buy in her shop and if you follow the link above you will find the bundle listing of the kids (size 2T-8) and adult (size XXS-XXXL) patterns but they are also available separately.

Cut in just 2 pieces (front and back with sleeves attached) and with bands on the bottom and sleeves the only thing that is slightly tricky for a beginner is the bound neckline (but the pictorial directions even make that super easy)
So here are the versions I have made.  First up a size 3 with 4 length for Miss M.  This fabric drove me a bit mad as it wasn't printed straight but you can't tell once it's made up thankfully.

One thing that really impresses me with this pattern is that it doesn't end up wide under the arm which usually puts me off the dolman style of top.  You can see here where Miss M is being a monkey striking a pose.
Also apparently it works well of being a butterfly!
I also tested the top for myself making the XXS women's size grading out to the XS as the hip.  Again I found the fit great in both the tops I made.
The first one is a cotton jersey with limited stretch.
The second is some kind of poly knit that is very stretchy and slippery, this gives a looser fit due to the amount of stretch but I still like it.
So if you want a fast, easy but stylish top pattern this is it!  I can whip up one of these in about 20 mins start to finish.  Also if you want a cheat for the binding I posted one a wee while back here ;-)

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Making Clothes That Fit: 3. Pattern Adjustment - Tops

Time for the final part of this wee blog series on fit and pattern adjustment.  In part 2 I looked at how to adjust a leggings/trousers pattern to fit the measurements you have and in this post I'll look at adjusting a top pattern.  In this post I will be using the Peekaboopocket Mix and Match Outerwear pattern from Little Kiwis Closet as an example (and it is an amazing pattern with loads of options) but the same rules apply to any 'top' pattern whether it's a tank, tee, raglan top, shirt, hoodie, jacket or even dress.

1. Choosing the size
This time I am making a zip up hoodie for Mr A, who is 7yo but quite a slim build.  Because I am making a top this time the main measurements (see part 1 for measuring details) that will be of interest are the chest, height and in some cases a pattern will discuss sleeve length.
Mr A's measurements are:
Chest - 58cm
Height - 121cm 
which on the size chart below make him a size 5 width with 7 length :-)

2. Pattern adjustment - Front/back
I usually start with tracing the front and back pieces and the same technique is used for both.  In this case I am showing it on the front piece of the jacket pattern.  Often a top/shirt/dress pattern will be drawn so the bottom hem is the same for all sizes and the necklines etc are spread out.  First I locate the size I am making (in this case 5) and mark around the neckline, across the shoulder and down the armhole, then I mark about half way down the centre front fold and the side seam to give this.

 Now I trace over this part of the pattern and then slide the pattern up/down to the appropriate size for length (in this case the 7).
 The centre front and side seams should be traced down far enough  join up with the original size and you can trace the bottom part of the pattern around the original size (in this case 5).
 There you have it, you front pattern piece correctly adjusted.
Sometimes you may come across a pattern in which the neckline is nested and the bottom hem is staggered.  In this case simple trace from the neckline down as described above and then extend the side seam line down to meet the new hemline (similar to that used in the pants post).
Now use exactly the same technique to make the back pattern piece.

2. Pattern adjustment - Sleeves
Before tracing the sleeves you need to keep in mind what size the armhole is that you have traced and use that size the sleeve so they will fit in nicely.  In this case I will be using the size 5 sleeve as the base.  This pattern has the sleeve staggered at both the top and bottom which is quite common, don't panic it's fine.
First I mark around the size 5 sleeve and extend the line down to the size 7 length as shown below.
 Now starting at the top of the sleeve trace around the pattern but don't connect up and trace the hem.
 Now slide the traced pattern piece up/down to the size you are using for length matching the fold line (if there is one) and the top of the sleeve arch.
Finally finish tracing down to the bottom of the fold and sleeve seam and across the hem - DONE!

4. Some more considerations
A few final things to consider, mainly any extras that might be on the pattern.
Neckband/hood - make sure you cut these to the same size that you used for the neckline or they won't fit when it comes time for construction.
Pockets - I usually cut straight to the width size but for a kangaroo pocket you may wish to adjust length accordingly if needed.
Cuffs/hemband - cut to the width size of the sleeve and body pieces respectively.
Zip length - This will be the same as the pattern indicates for the length size you have used.
Front bands (for cardigan pattern or snap front band) - cut to the size you used for length of the top.
If you know your child is particularly long/short in the body or sleeve then you can always double check after adjusting the pattern by measuring the actual pattern pieces.  The same goes with the actual fit of the top.  If a tee pattern is quite loose fitting then measure the pieces as you can possibly go down a size for a slimmer fit tee if desired (or up a size for a more loose fit).  Also if you wish to adjust the length of sleeve (to 3/4 or short for example) simply measure the length you want on your child then adjust the sleeve pattern as required measuring down the centre of the sleeve (fold if there is one) and remembering to add a seam allowance at the top ad hem allowance at the bottom.
And finally remember that no matter how much careful measuring and adjusting you do the finished top will only fit like the pattern if you use the seam/hem allowances as given in the instructions.  Also check that the fit of the pattern is what you are hoping to achieve in the desired product, you won't get a slim fit tee using a loose fit pattern or vice versa.

Well that's it.  Thank you for putting up with my rambling over the last 3 posts but I hope they are of use to some of you.  If there are any questions at all please do leave a comment, and likewise if there is anything else you think I've forgotten to cover, I'm happy to do follow-up posts :-)


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

FO: Nested

Finally!  Yes I have finally finished this cardigan for me that I started in March 2013.  I actually started this as a test knit and it is the first and only time I have ever not met the deadline.  The kids got sick, I got sick and life just got in the way.  I did finish it enough to check the fit though so it wasn't a total loss.
Anyway after hibernating for over a year I dragged it out and finished the first sleeve, then after another couple of months hibernation I actually got it finished. Woohoo!
Wait what about the details?  Ok the pattern is Nested by Alicia Plummer without the colour work on the back.  The yarn is the scrummiest yarn ever!  It is merino/cashmere/nylon in "Derelict Daughter" and "Dreich" from Old Maiden Aunt in Scotland (I was so sad not to make it to her studio when we visited recently).  Seriously this yarn is so light and soft, it's like being wrapped in a hug.  The only downside is that it does seem to pill quite easily, but hopefully santa will bring me a sweater stone to take care of that ;-)

Sorry for the terrible photos, I only had a 7yo photographer on hand.  I have worn this almost constantly since I finished it and can see it being a firm favourite for ages to come.  It's so light and warm to throw on when the weather can't decide whether to be spring or winter.  There are some details of this pattern I absolutely love too like the trim of a contest colour along the cast off edges and the lovely shaping at the back to give a deep curve hem.

So in celebration of having another 'me' knit in my wardrobe why don't you tell me what you are dying to cast on and knit for yourself?  It's nearly christmas after all so comment below (including the pattern, what you love about it and your Ravelry name) and at 8pm on Sunday 30th November (NZ time) I'll draw a lucky winner to receive their pattern on Ravelry. It's that simple.  Happy Knitting.

Making Clothes That Fit: 2. Pattern Adjustment - pants

So after Part 1 we are now armed with a full set of measurements of the person we are sewing for - woohoo.  Now time to choose a size and adjust the pattern if necessary.  Lydia from Little Kiwis Closet has been kind enough to allow me to use her patterns as examples in this wee blog series (and I can thoroughly recommend purchasing any or all of them).  For this post I am using the Skinny Legs Leggings pattern which I have blogged about previously here. :-)

1. Choosing the size
So I am wanting to make some leggings for Miss M.  Although leggings seem simple I have actually found them to be difficult to fit Miss M well.  First it is important to check that we have ALL the measurements in the size chart.  From my standard list I already have waist measurement but this pattern also asks for top of thigh, ankle and inseam measurements.  Our measurements are:
Waist = 52cm
Top of thigh = 32cm
Ankle = 15.5cm
Inseam = 38.5cm
So going to the size chart and highlighting the sizes I get the following:
So even though DD is 4 and of average height I will be looking at making a size 3 with size 2 leg length (she does have a long body and short legs).

2. Pattern adjustment - the leg
Now it's time to go to your pattern.
In general a leggings/pants pattern that is multisize is presented so that the crotch level is the same for all sizes and they are nested from there.  This makes life pretty easy.  If you have a colour printer then it's even easier but I don't so I sometimes find it easier to work out which line to follow if I trace over it with a coloured marker first.
So first locate the size you want at the two crotch points, then mark the pattern at each point you took a body measurement for on the pattern so I mark a size 3 for the thigh and ankle.  I am only doing a size 2 leg length however so at the size 2 length I place a small line to connect the line out to the size 3 leg line.
The size 2 hem is extended out to size 3 leg line
The dashed red line shows a straight size 3 with no adjustment for comparison.
Now you can mark around the legs part of the pattern.

3. Pattern adjustment - the body
One simple error to make when changing the sizings of pants or leggings is the length of the rise of the trousers/leggings or they wont give nice coverage.  As a rule of thumb I always cut the rise length to the larger of the sizes I am doing.  So if I am cutting a size 3 width with 2 leg length I will do size 3 height for the rise.  However Mr A is a size 4 width with 6 length of leg and I would cut him a 6 length in rise or they will be too low.  Some patterns help out here by giving you a rise length in the pattern but usually they don't.
So with that in mind I trace my size 3 line around the body section of the pants pattern.  If you need to lengthen the rise to a larger size (as I do with Mr A) then extend the width line of the size you are making up to the size required (in a similar way to what I show above for the leg length alteration).
And there you have it, a leggings pattern adjusted to fit.

4. Some more considerations
There are still a couple of things to consider.  Firstly what if you aren't making leggings but trousers with more details?
So the key here is to adjust in the same manner as above, think about where they will attach to the main pieces of the trousers. so:
Waistbands - cut the length to the same size you used for the width of the trousers.
Pockets - cut to the size you used for width (if you are being fussy you can increase or decrease the length according to the length size you used but I find this isn't usually necessary)
Cuffs - cut to the same size as the width of the fabric
Side panels (stripes) - cut to the size you used for length

5. Adjusting the ease
One final comment I will make is on the built in ease of a pattern.  In my experience pdf patterns and european sized patterns are usually pretty good but I have had several issues with commercial paper patterns in the past, where I have found a lot of extra ease built into the pattern.  This can give things a large boxy look that isn't flattering and doesn't give a nice finish.  If you are at all worried about this then after you have traced the pattern or marked you size then measure the PATTERN PIECES.  Take off the seam allowances and work out how large the finished garment will be.  I find it helpful to then grab the intended recipient and use a tape measure to see if the amount of ease will be about right.  For example you probably don't want about 6" or ease in the hip area of a pair of elastic waist trousers as they will balloon around the bum.  If you are in any doubt that a pattern piece look large (or small for that matter) then remeasure, remembering that for stretch fabrics the patterns are sometimes made with negative ease (pattern pieces slightly smaller than body measurements).
So what if the pattern seems huge?  Work out roughly how much ease you want and go back to the pattern piece, measure which size that falls on and adjust accordingly.

That's all there is to it.  Following these steps should give you a  pair of trousers or leggings that fit as the pattern has intended.

Happy Sewing and Part 3 (tops) will be up later this week.