Author: Lisa

My Week in Sewing, 18th March 2022

My Week in Sewing, 18th March 2022

Each Friday I write about what I’ve done in sewing land over the past week – plus any knitting or other crafts I’ve managed to slot in. Plus cats. There will always be cats.

I’ve been following my heart this week. By which I mean I’ve changed my mind a LOT and flip-flopped between 4(!) different sewing projects. Remember last week I was saying I only work on one project at once? Ha.

My goal at the start of the week was to finish with the fitting the bodice of my Etta dress, and then I could switch onto another project. I’ve been working on this fitting project for weeks and frankly I’m bored out of my mind with it – and frustrated too. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for ages, as I was hoping to turn it into a bodice block for drafting my own tops and dresses. But it’s very challenging for me.

I’ve got scoliosis, which means if you look at my back from behind it looks like a reverse “S” shape, rather than a typical spine which looks like an “I”. Fortunately it causes me no physical discomfort at all, despite what I used to tell my PE teachers to get out of netball lessons. It does have a cosmetic impact though, which generally doesn’t bother me. I never wanted to be a ballerina anyway. But if I want a well-fitting bodice, I have to be a bit clever about it, because if it fits nicely on the right it doesn’t fit nicely on the left.

The pooling isn’t a posture thing – my left upper back is flatter than my right upper back, so it needs less fabric. My shoulders slope differently too, and my ribcage is rounder on the right

Turns out I’m not clever enough yet to figure this out. Perhaps a V back bodice with a neckline dart was a bad place to start. After about 6,000,000 toiles with a mirrored back bodice, I finally had one attempt at modifying the left independently of the right and immediately lost all motivation when I realised that taking a wedge out of one side was going to have implications on the angle of the neckline and the overall pattern placement of the Ankara fabric I wanted to make this dress out of. Utter disillusionment. After 4 weeks of faffing with this pattern, I’ve said sod it. I’ll try again when I have more fitting and drafting skills.

So, in comes project number 2 for a bit of ~excitement~. It’s this combo again:

Because I don’t learn, I made a toile again. This time it went really well, actually. Too well. Look how nice these old bedsheets actually are.

Liberty Thea toile #1. Needs an FBA, reduce length of bodice, and increase length of sleeve – but really not bad otherwise

There are a few modifications I needed to make after the first toile, but I liked the fabric so much I actually decided to make the second toile a wearable toile. That is, make it up like a real top. Which essentially makes it project number 3.

Here I go again.

Because the fabric is a little bit formal-shirt looking, I’ve decided to spice it up with a little contrast top stitching. I’m thinking a bit of pink and teal (classic) and maybe use some of the weird stitch patterns on my machine to create a design element out of it.

But I mentioned 4 sewing projects, didn’t I? I was falling asleep on Wednesday night when I remembered my work Christmas party is next week. Yes I know it’s March, but it was also Omicron in December, so we’re doing it now. Am I actually mental, deciding at the last minute to make myself a dress? Probably yes. Especially when it’s a dress of a style I’ve never even tried on before, so I don’t know if I’ll like it on me. But apparently I am hyper-motivated to sew this week, so I crack on.

The knitting project seems to be taking forever. I’m not sure if these weekly photos are helping or hindering. They’re encouraging me to push at it so I can see progress, but then I take the photo and I can hardly see any progress. It is feeling super squishy though!

Half brioche stitch is still slow

And to close off, as ever, some cat photos from the week:

Thanks for reading, see you next week!

My Week in Sewing, 11th March 2022

My Week in Sewing, 11th March 2022

Each Friday I write about what I’ve done in sewing land over the past week – plus any knitting or other crafts I’ve managed to slot in. Plus cats. There will always be cats.

Loads to talk about this week, even though I haven’t actually switched on my sewing machine.

The dress hack I was working on last week hasn’t really excited me, so I’ve just let it sit for now until the urge to pick it up returns. I always try to keep a “one project at a time per craft” rule (a WIP limit of one, for all y’all in software engineering out there 👀). I’m moderately strict about it because every time I’ve broken that rule, I essentially end up parking the first project for months, and then I end up feeling guilty about letting it languish, and it’s a whole mental burden, and another pile of mess in my house, and so on.

Anyway, with all that in mind, I printed and taped the PDF pattern for the Fibre Mood Agatha dress this week. ha! I couldn’t stop thinking about making it in this vibrant rayon jersey I picked up in town a couple weeks ago:

I am feeling a little unfinished-project guilt about the Etta dress so I’m not 100% sure if I’ll cut into this fabric yet. That said, I do think it’s important to work on the project that you’re drawn to. This is a hobby after all. No one’s holding me accountable other than me.

I’ve also been daydreaming about shirts and shirt dresses a lot. I love shirts! I love collars and sleeve plackets and button bands and yokes and pleats. I have this one fancy shirt from Anthropologie that I wear loads because it’s so pretty:

Anthropologie shirt (photo from last year). Yes I am aware my hair is blocking much of the shirt detail. But you get the idea.

I want more shirts like this in my life – not so much the patchwork thing, but the bright prints and slight blousiness. A bit of a statement piece but not too loud. So I’ve been mashing up patterns and fabrics from my collection in my mind:

I LOVE all of these fabrics. But the problem is they’re all so super special and delicious and beautiful that I’m terrified of cutting into them. They are the fanciest nicest most expensive fabrics in my stash and I know I need to just use them as I’ll enjoy them more as garments that I can actually wear, but I’m still intimidated about starting. Also pretty much all of them are going to require some level of pattern matching (because it would be a shame not to really show off those lovely prints) which only adds to the fear level.

I get pretty excited imagining the combinations with these shirt patterns though:

The combo I’m most likely to start with is the Liberty Thea in the Liberty Glastonbury fabric. I’m thinking the collar and necktie from view D, and the sleeves from view C. Assuming I have enough fabric.

In knitting news, my Birthday Sweater continues at a nice pace. I’m just about at the point where I have to switch from my medium sized project bag to a full size tote bag.

I have loads more of the pink, so I’m thinking of doing one sleeve in pink and the other in a different colour.

My pattern weight collection has expanded considerably this week too. I use antique brass bell weights of 1lb or under, and my rule is that I can only buy them if I see them in person. I spotted four 1lb weights in the window of a local antique shop, and simply had to snap them up!

Antique weights as pattern weights

And as ever, some cat pics from the week!

Thanks for reading, see you next week! 🙂

My Week in Sewing, 4th March 2022

My Week in Sewing, 4th March 2022

Welcome to the first of a new series! Each Friday I will be writing about what I’ve done in sewing land over the past week – plus any knitting or other crafts I’ve managed to slot in. Plus cats. There will always be cats.

I’m kicking off this new series on a bit of a tangent, with last Friday’s knit club meet-up – our first ever!

Ari, Jolynna and I have been knitting online together every Sunday for over a year now – with two of us based in Yorkshire and Jolynna based all the way in Australia. Celebrating Jolynna’s recent move to the grim north of England (welcome!), we consumed a solid number of gins and stouts and got raucous in my favourite local viking pub Valhalla. Throw away all your assumptions about knitters! Although I did have to go home early and then spent a few days in an introvert hangover, so maybe your assumptions aren’t far wrong on my part.

Speaking of knitting, I’m working on the Birthday sweater by Ankestrick. I bought waaaay too much yarn when I bought supplies for the Joanie Boatneck (as seen above) so I had enough leftover for a whole extra jumper and maybe more. I started knitting this around Christmas last year and it’s going super slowly, because it’s half brioche stitch which effectively means every 2 rows compresses down into one, and it’s 4-ply yarn which is pretty darn skinny. But it’s a mindless knit, so I can slot it into my day fairly easily.

This has taken me 7 weeks so far.

Onto sewing next. My current project is inspired by this dress I found on Pinterest, using this fabric I bought on holiday in St. Lucia last month:

I’m using the Tilly and the Buttons Etta dress pattern as a base, and hacking it with a double layer flutter sleeve. The main challenge on this project is getting the Etta pattern to fit me properly. I want it to be really well-fitted, which is something I’ve actually never achieved on a bodice! That’s because I have scoliosis, an atypical curvature of the spine that means my torso is asymmetrical in various ways. My shoulders are uneven and flat, and my ribcage is offset and twisted. The Etta dress was always going to be a tough one to fit because I’ve tried it before and I know the back neckline gapes. It’s been a journey with many toiles:

So far I’ve done such things as:
– Flat shoulder adjustment (the opposite of a rounded shoulder/dowager’s hump adjustment)
– Remove the dart & its excess from the neckline to make the shoulder even flatter, only to add a dart back in to remove even more excess from the neckline (argh)
– Drop the shoulder point
– Lower the bust point
– Lengthen the bodice

It might have been easier to draft the bodice from scratch.

It’s been a lot of trial and error so far, but for the first time I’ve viewed fitting as part of the sewing process, rather than an obstacle that I need to get around before getting to the good bit. So I am viewing this as the good bit too. And with this perspective, I am enjoying it. It’s all learning and I like learning.

So, I’m almost there on the bodice. I don’t want to overfit, and I’ve made the conscious decision (for now) not to create a separate back bodice piece for the left and right, because I think that’d drive me crazy when it comes to pattern matching. So I’m going to accept a little bit of poor fit on one side.

First attempt at the sleeve – it needs to be BIGGER. Plus I need to mess around with the two layers and figure out whether or not they need the same amount of flare.

Once the sleeve is sorted, I need to mash up the pattern’s skirt pieces with my self-drafted skirt pattern from last month, as I know that fits well so I won’t need to reinvent the wheel. Then I’ll do a full toile and soon be ready to cut into my real fabric, eee!

And finally – some cat photos from the week:

Thanks for reading, see you next week! 🙂

Forget Me Not April Dress – Pattern Review

I made the April dress and Gemma belt by Forget Me Not patterns and I’m absolutely in love!

This pattern was an impulse purchase – I bought it on the day it was released. That’s totally uncharacteristic for me, as I tend to hum and haw about pretty much every purchase I make (“a latte, no a cappuccino, no a latte” is a bit of a running joke in our household!). But this dress pattern sang to me immediately – I’ve never seen a wavy seam line like this one, and I had to try it out.

I picked these two linens to complement the ocean wave design, and it came out exactly as I imagined it (for once!). The fabric is the bio-washed 100% linen from Higgs and Higgs in mint and ice blue.

I really like Forget Me Not. There’s something so professional about the patterns. I don’t mean that in a cold and soulless sort of way, because they are absolutely warm and full of heart. What I mean is that the patterns and instructions are incredibly neatly organised, and thorough. The attention to detail is fantastic, and everything is well thought out. The pattern just works. Jo really knows what she’s doing!

I especially love that the PDFs are layered by size (and also by bust size on this pattern) so you can print just the lines you’re interested in. And then on top of that, there is a guide telling you which pages to print depending on the view you’ve picked. This is great because 1) less wastage of paper and ink, and 2) after taping it together, it’s just brainless cutting out without having to figure out which size is which.

(I realise this is starting to sound like an ad, but I promise it isn’t! I have tested a FMN pattern in the past – the Vera top – but this is nothing to do with that.)

I made the dress in size 34 with the medium bust size, and the size 32 belt. I think ideally I probably should have graded the dress down to a 32 at the waist, as tying the belt does disrupt the wavy hem a little bit. I could take it in at the side seams but let’s face it, I probably won’t mess with it now it’s done. More room for fish and chips this way, right?

I think the waist tucks are inspired! They make the cinching of the excess more even and orderly (which this perfectionist appreciates). The keyhole finish at the back is so elegant, too – this is my first time making a closure like this, and I adore how clean it looks.

This is the longer length skirt, in the gathered view. There’s a flat view as well, but I wanted more volume. I also went with the simpler side-seam pockets rather than the advanced wavy pocket that sits in the waistline. I’m intrigued by that technique though, so I’ll have to try it next time.

The only thing I did differently to the instructions was to understitch the pocket bags, as the notes don’t instruct you to do that. I just really like understitching.

All in all, a lovely pattern and a dreamy dress!

Closet Core Pouf – Tips for Sewing

I’ve now made two of these floor poufs by Closet Core Patterns – and I love them both!

A pile of two poufs on top of each other
My two poufs – in ankara (bottom) and quilting cotton (top)

This pattern has been written about a lot in the sewing community, and is very well-loved. I completely understand why: not only do you end up with a fun and practical pouf (useful as a seat, a footrest, or a majestic throne for a cat) but it also scores very nicely in the sustainability department. It can be made from fabric scraps, and it can be stuffed full of whatever bits of fabric you have lying around – scraps, cutoffs, bits of thread or yarn, retired blankets, ancient towels, the ugly curtains that were hanging in your house when you moved in, ratty old faded knickers (clean ones!), etc. Each pouf holds an inconceivable amount of otherwise purposeless fabric.

I’ve always had a guilty conscience about my fabric waste. I’ve struggled to find a reliable way to recycle fabric waste in the UK – I used to donate it to H&M, but I’ve read things that make me very sceptical about what they do with it. One of the reasons I sew my own clothing is to reduce consumption, so I felt uncomfortable about replacing that consumption with waste. But these poufs mean that I make use of literally every scrap of fabric I buy. Even the really tiny useless ones. Shove ’em in a pouf. Boom.

And it’s a free pattern! Blows my mind.

If you’d like to sew your own Closet Core Pouf, the original tutorial is superb and easy to follow. But here are some of my extra tips!

An orange and green pouf made from ankara fabric
Firm ankara pouf stuffed with lots and lots of scraps – and covered in cat hair because my little fuzzbutt Philip adores it.

1. Don’t finish the curved edges of the segment pieces during the initial overlocking phase.

It’s easier to do them all in one go once you’ve sewn the whole circle together – or even once you’ve attached the piping.

2. Don’t sweat the matching in the centre.

You might not get those little points to perfectly sit together. It’s fine. In the original sewalong by Closet Core Patterns themselves, that centre section doesn’t match up perfectly either. So what, who cares – just do your best! You can always sew a cute button on the top to conceal the joins – or even turn it into a design feature with some applique, like @pimp_slapped’s version.

A rainbow coloured pouf, top down view
The centre points don’t match perfectly. It’s totally fine.

3. Use an adjustable zipper foot for the piping.

For my rainbow pouf, I used store-bought piping that had a diameter of about 10mm. Turns out 10mm is ginormous. The standard zipper foot that came with my machine just could not handle it – I couldn’t get my needle close enough to the piping.

After a lot of frustration, I figured out that what I needed was an adjustable zipper foot (not an affiliate link!). This kind of foot lets you move the presser foot portion from side to side, so you can position your needle right at the edge of the foot. It’s magic.

You can, of course, use a piping foot. But I couldn’t find one that would accommodate such large piping. If you’re going to splash out on one or the other type of foot, I’d recommend the adjustable zipper foot – because it is less specialised and can be used in other situations where you need to sew super close to the edge of the foot. (When sewing zippers, for example!)

4. Your piping doesn’t have to have a 3/8″ flange.

Apparently the tape part of piping is called the flange. Heh.

I used readymade piping for my rainbow pouf and it had a 5/8″ flange. I trimmed it down for the top and completely forgot to do that for the bottom. The world didn’t burn down. It was fine.

In fact it was a bit easier to manhandle it with the bigger seam allowance.

A rainbow coloured pouf
Lovely squishy rainbow pouf stuffed with a duvet and curtains

5. Take extra care to hold the sides out of the way when attaching the piping.

This probably goes without saying, but I want to emphasise it because I screwed it up so many times: it’s super easy to accidentally catch the sides and sew enormous tucks while attaching the piping, especially if you’re attaching it pin-free (which I also recommend, by the way). Hold that fabric well out of the way, and keep checking that it hasn’t moved under your sewing needle as you go.

6. The inner bag is definitely optional.

You can still wash your pouf even if you don’t make an inner bag – you just need to find somewhere to stash all those scraps in the meantime!

I made an inner bag (basic drawstring style) the first time round, and I found it made it hard to stuff the pouf into a good shape without the inner bag resisting me. I ended up taking it out, and now I use that bag to store scraps for my next pouf.

Because yes, there will be more poufs.

Two poufs

Ankara Etta dress and Panda Hawthorn Dress

Two dresses in one post!

The other month I sewed a wax print Ankara dress in such a horrendous rush that I ended up stupidly stressed out about it. But I am pretty happy with how it came out:

Despite numerous late nights sewing, and a lot of patience and understanding from my husband (thanks P!), I very nearly didn’t finish it in time for the wedding I was making it for. I was hand stitching at 11pm the night before! And there is a lot of sloppy work on the inside that I’m not totally proud of. So I swore never to sew anything on a deadline ever again.

But then of course… I had another wedding to go to this summer. And wouldn’t it be nice if I could make a dress for that too…?

I bargained with myself that if I didn’t finish it a week before the wedding, then I’d buy myself a dress as a treat instead. But HEY LOOK, I managed it with a week to spare, and entirely stress-free! Behold my Panda Hawthorn:

I have made a Hawthorn before, but the bust darts came out so nipply that I only wore it once and I felt ashamed the whole day long. I think I still have things to learn on the pointy dart front, but I’m much happier with how these turned out.

I lowered the bust dart points so they were below my apex, and then I also sewed them to a point about 1/2″ below that and then tapered gently to the real end. This, plus a hefty helping of steam, made my panda darts less pointy. Still not perfect, but much less distracting.

Things that went wrong making this dress:

  • I ignored the print when cutting out the pieces, and ended up cutting a new front bodice piece so the pandas were more prominent. Lesson: think about print placement even if you think you might want a random distribution.
  • I made a collar and then ended up cutting an entire new set of collar pieces because I wanted more pandas. There are pandas on both sides of the collar now 🐼🐼
  • The darts initially came out nipply again so had to redo them at least three times.
  • I sewed all the skirt buttons on half an inch too high and had to redo them! I am really good at sewing buttons now.
  • I bias bound both armholes before realising they were pinching my underarm. I tried to get away with only redoing the bottom and not having to use more binding, but it was a hot mess of tucks and puckers. So I unpicked both armholes and refaced them both with fresh tape.
Removing the bias binding from the armhole

And the things that went right:

  • Gosh this is a lovely fabric to work with. It’s Lady McElroy Panda Retreat cotton lawn, and it’s lush. It presses well and doesn’t crease too badly by itself. Shame it’s so £££
  • The pattern is easy to sew and the instructions are clear. A very fun sew.
  • I feel good wearing this thing. I love the silhouette, I love the print, I love the fabric, I love the buttons. It feels very me!

Despite all the adjustments and do-overs, I really enjoyed making this one. I never felt frustrated once, which I wouldn’t have expected if you told me how many things I was going to end up doing twice. The repetition felt like iterative development – each time I did something again I knew it was getting better and better.

The wedding that I made this dress for was yesterday, and it was a wonderful joyous day (congratulations T & L!). I even met a new sewing friend (hi A!) and we talked sewing and cats all through dinner. Superb.

I can also confirm that the Hawthorn is a good dress for dancing the night away in. Not that I really make a habit of that!

Finally, my panda dress made its maiden voyage at a very timely moment – I learned at the wedding that two twin pandas have just been born in Belgium! Fingers crossed for those little beasties. The twin pandas on my collar are now dedicated to them.

Dress: Colette Hawthorn

Size: 2 throughout

Alterations: lowered bust dart by 1″, lowered armscye by 3/4″

My measurements at time of making: full bust 35″, waist 28.5″, hip 36″

Chambray Granville Shirt

Look, I made a thing:

It’s a shirt, an actual bona-fide shirt! After not sewing anything for well over a year because there wasn’t space for my sewing machine, I moved house, dusted off the old Janome, made a cheeky Hollyburn skirt to check I still knew how to sew, and then jumped right back in at the deep end with a Granville shirt. And I think this proves I still know how to sew much better than that slightly dodgy Hollyburn skirt did.

But here’s the thing: it took me about 4 months to sew this thing. There were gaps of weeks where I didn’t pick it up at all, because life is busy and I get sleepy. It was a serious test of my resolve to keep going on a project that had long since lost its excitement. I’m usually a real flake with my projects – as soon as something loses its initial sheen I’ll jump ship to the next shiny thing. But I’ve been working on my perseverance. And it turns out perseverence pays off. Who knew.

I even got into a whole “slow sewing, slow living” thing while thinking about (rather than working on) this project. But I’ll save that for another time. You want to hear about the project. I’ll share the details.

The pattern is the Granville shirt by Sewaholic. The fabric is a super soft chambray from Samuel Taylor in Leeds (because I live in Yorkshire now, people). I got the buttons at Abakhan in Chester.

I’m an hourglass shape, and this pattern is drafted for a pear shape much taller than me. So I mixed up the sizes: size 6 at the bust, size 4 at the waist, and size 0 at the hem. I also took 1″ off the hem and 1.5″ off the sleeves. I didn’t do a test run with sleeves though, did I? I made the shirt up with two sleeves with beautiful plackets and then attached them to the body and realised they were comically long. So I had to make two more sleeves with beautiful plackets. Hey – at least I got loads of practice making beautiful plackets.

I was expecting to have trouble with the collar. I know some people mentioned the pieces coming out too long and having to be cut down to size. Nothing of the sort happened to me and my collar sewed up a dream:

The fit is pretty darn good, I’d say. My only complaint is that it’s a little tight around the high bust if I button it up to the top. I don’t intend to wear it that way, so it won’t be an issue. Just something to think about for my next Granville.

There’s a lot of flaring going on at the hem. I thought that I’d lose most of that flare by using the size 0 hem and taking an inch off the length, but it does still kick out a touch at the sides. I was thinking that I’d alter the pattern for next time, but looking at these pictures I actually quite like that little shaping. It’s kinda dainty:

And finally, here’s a shot from the back. Hangs nicely, I reckon.

All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with myself and think I’ve earned the write to once again call myself a sewer/sewist/person who sews. I’m going for an instant gratification project next, but then I’ll make something a bit more pizzazz.

BOOM!

WIP: Gústa Knits Diamond Scarf

I’ve been knitting furiously this week! I’m a bit more than halfway through the diamond scarf from the pattern book I got in Iceland, Simple Knits with Gústa . I’m making it in Mosa Mjúkull, the wool made by the same designer. Every pattern in this book uses three balls of it, which I appreciated as I could just buy the three balls and choose a pattern out of the book later.

Here’s how it’s coming along – most of the way through the second of three stripes:

Diamond scarf knitting project in progress

The diamonds are drastically more obvious in this photo than in real life! Must be the contrast. This Mosa Mjúkull wool is reasonably fuzzy so you don’t get a lot of stitch definition. I found that a little disappointing at first, but I’m sure it will look better after blocking – hopefully more like the picture!

There are no instructions for this scarf, only the chart. I’ve never worked from a knitting chart before, so there was some intense concentration during the first few rows. I had to keep reminding myself that every even row switches up completely: you read it back to front, and the purls and knits swap over. Total mind-bender! But I’m totally converted to charts now. The visual prompt is very intuitive.

I’m not sure if I’ll make another pattern from this book. I had a go at the shawl pattern before I started this, but I found the instructions confusing. The most exciting things in the book are the mittens with the lovely Icelandic colour work, but I’m not a mittens kind of person. Who knows – perhaps I’ll whip some up as a gift one day!

I’m back! Let’s make some stuff!

Hello again! I’m back!

It’s been a little while, and a few things have changed. Mainly: I no longer live in Singapore! I’ve moved back to my homeland, the UK – I now live in Yorkshire, the land of gorgeous landscapes and Yorkshire puddings – and Rowan wool!

Now that time is on my side, I’m really excited about getting on with making things again, sharing what I create, and being part of the online makers community.

I’ll be starting with a knitting project as I just went to Iceland and bought a pattern booklet and some Icelandic wool:

Icelandic patterns and wool
Icelandic patterns and wool

It’s actually a blend with Peruvian alpaca, which is nice because I totally forgot to buy any alpaca wool when I went to Peru last year. It has good squish content.

The patterns in this book are really adorable, and it’s hard to choose what to make. But I reckon I’ll make a scarf, as I have become a scarf fiend recently and am rarely seen without one.

I shall report back!

And for some unrelated fun, here are a couple of holiday snaps from Iceland. This place is stunning beyond my ability to describe.

Lava fields covered in moss
Lava fields covered in moss

Me at Skógafoss
Me at Skógafoss

Outfit Along and Sewing Update

Hey… that’s not a sewing project!

P1140503

This wool is for the Outfit-Along which I’ve impulsively decided to take part in. If you’ve not heard of it, this event runs for the months of June and July, and to take part you have to knit one garment and sew one garment to make up a whole outfit. I’m going to be making the official OAL patterns – the Zinone knitted lace top and the Hollyburn skirt – but you don’t have to go with those as long as you make a whole outfit.

I haven’t knitted anything proper in about a year – the last serious knitting project I made was a baby blanket for my niece last June. I’ve been musing about picking up my knitting needles again as I don’t want to lose the skill, so when the OAL popped up on my blog feed the other day, the timing was perfect. Plus, I already mentioned that I have another Hollyburn skirt on my sewing plans. There was no way I couldn’t sign up!

P1140491.jpg

I’ve already made my gauge swatch, and it was bang on first time, which was nice. If you’re not a knitter, you might not know what a gauge swatch is. Basically, if two knitters knit the same square using the same wool and the same needles, the finished square may not come out the same size. This is because different knitters have different tension, meaning they may hold their wool more loosely or tightly as they sew – it’s really down to personal preference as to what feels good when you knit.

Therefore, before starting a new knitting project, you always have to make a gauge swatch – a test square – to calibrate your particular tension against what the knitting pattern expects. Otherwise you might end up with a top that’s 50% bigger than it’s supposed to be! If your sizing is a bit off then you change the size of your needles and try again. Lucky for me, my gauge swatch was just right. I’m going to chuck it in the washing machine and see if it can cope, because let’s face it, I’m too lazy for hand-washing.

Anyway – that’s enough about knitting – what about my sewing projects? Well –

P1140531.jpg

This week I finished a Bettine dress in this gorgeous teal filigree fabric from Chinatown. I absolutely adore it – except for the small fact that the hem of the skirt is far too narrow and I can barely put it on! Why didn’t I learn from my previous Bettine? Totally gutted. I’m not giving up on it though – I’m going to buy some more of the fabric to replace the skirt with a slightly differently shaped one. I’m also thinking of putting a side zip and waist band onto the old skirt so I can wear it on its own.

And this is what’s on my sewing table now:

P1140493

Hawthorn cutting chaos. I still haven’t found a way of cutting out fabric that I like. I used to pin the pattern pieces to the fabric and then cut around them, but I always ended up shaving a bit of the pattern piece off. So now I draw around the pieces and cut them after, but it’s extremely tedious and it’s hard to draw accurate lines with tailor’s chalk. What’s your favourite way to cut fabric?