Holey Cashmere!

This week’s theme over at The Monthly Stitch is WIPs. Now I may be guilty of a lot of sewing sins, but funnily enough this really isn’t one of them. I love finishing projects, because then you get to wear them! Anyhow, while I was mulling this over and thinking how I could contribute (one of my sewing resolutions was to join in more), I thought I’d tackle my rather large pile of fixing jobs which is kind of in the same spirit. I’ve been trying to fix one thing from the pile before I allow myself to start a new project, which I’ve mostly stuck to… Most of these jobs seriously only involve a few stitches.

In amongst the pile was this ancient, cashmere jumper. I’m really not sure what happened to this, but somewhere along the line it developed a series of small holes, which I’ve patched up again and again, but they keep coming. It’s too nice to chuck, so I’ve been wearing it over pjs at the weekends. But maybe something more radical was required? Flicking through a copy of Sew magazine, I found the pattern and templates above, so thought I’d give it a try.

While it’s not my proudest make by a long shot, I actually liked making these slowly inbetween bigger projects. Hand sewing is not my favourite activity, but working through each of these I really could feel myself improving each time. I forgot to split my silks on the first one (the rabbit), hence the face is too ‘heavy’ (and too dark). The stuffing isn’t great on it either. But the second one is much better (the cat). I realised that I could use up the off-cuts to stuff it with and therefore make it softer (and no waste). I’m really pleased with how the sleeve ribbing became his ‘trousers’. By right the third should have been the neatest, but I think the second is better. Oh well! This was essentially a totally free project, which is always nice. And my daughter is delighted with them, here they are in situ with some knitted cats in their bed 🙂

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Pattern: Sew Magazine Cashmere Plushies

Adjustments: plenty of room for improvisation built into this project but I was pleased that I had some tiny, Liberty scraps to use as they recommended.

New Skills: plenty of hand sewing practice, which I clearly needed

Soundtrack: soundtracks from The Secret Garden & The Jungle Book (daughter in charge) and I dare anyone to listen to the latter without joining in and doing a daft dance or two 🙂

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A Scrapbusting Playtime Tunic #oliver+s

This fabric (very cheap, last on the roll from Abakhan’s in Manchester) just keeps on giving! I already have a lovely, Ella Skater Dress (Love Sewing) and a much worn Papercut Coppelia Cardigan (despite my initial misgivings, it works just great as an extra layer between a dress and jacket at school), but there seemed just enough left to squeeze something small out of 🙂 Not sure when we’d wear them together, but we could…

I’d love to tell you that the flash of contrasting pink (yes, still going regular readers) on the back was intentional, but when I came to stitch the pockets in, I realised I’d only cut one skirt piece (honestly, one day I’ll feel more like an intermediate sewer rather than a beginner one). I had only smaller scrap bits left, enough for a facing or pocket maybe, but certainly not enough for a skirt. So I was forced to improvise, and actually it really is a bit of a happy accident as it matches the pink in the flowers perfectly and of course, she already has the matching leggings (and the matching butterfly necklace…).

It’s labelled as a two out of four scissors for difficulty and I’d say that’s about right. The only difficult bit is probably attaching the button placket at the back, although because I was using a knit, I omitted this. Gathering a skirt like this is still something fairly new to me(I think the Colette Moneta is my only time) and although it looks fine in terms of evenly spaced gathers, this is more by accident than skill! Looking at these photos it would appear to be a little lopsidedly attached too, but as it’s pretty big on her (I cut an age 10 to ensure it lasted a while), maybe it’s just hanging a little skew whiff? Either way, it was basically a freebie from my stash and a useful trial of this pattern before I break out the bunnies!

And even more importantly, she loves it 🙂

Pattern: Oliver + S Playtime Tunic

Size: age 10

Adjustmentments: omitted button detail at back

Lessons: check you’ve cut all the pieces before starting to sew and more practice at gathered waists (and attaching them) clearly needed…

Soundtrack: Tracy Chapman’s Tracy Chapman

Top Five Children’s Makes #sewingtop5s

Before this year, I’d only really experimented here and there with children’s wear. And to be honest the results were pretty varied. The problem is that you can buy children’s clothing pretty reasonably and they do have a habit of growing bloody quickly, overnight sometimes it feels like!

But this year, with a little extra thought and a very good tutor (thank you Ministry of Craft in Manchester), I’ve made children’s items that I’m actually very proud of. And hopefully because I’ve made them pretty big they’ll last more than one season…

I thought they deserved a section of their own, so here’s my top five:

I couldn’t possibly start with anything else. These shirts for my best boy are my most accomplished makes ever, both inside and out 🙂 I love them and my son loves them, simples! He’s worn them both loads and I really enjoy overhearing him proudly telling people if they comment on them, that his Mummy (or Mum depending on who he’s talking to…) made them for him.

Next up had to be two for my daughter then… Firstly, this sweatshirt dress was made from the leftovers from one of my many Astorias. This is really cosy and comfy, so has had plenty of wear. It’s also really easy to match up with pretty much all of her wardrobe. On the right is my favourite make of the year for her: her lovely, Liberty pinafore. I’m not sure the photo does the baby cord print justice, but it’s a kind of folk print, featuring traditionally dressed ladies and a variety of woodland creatures: just beautiful! I really want to get this in some other colour ways. Both of these patterns were featured in Love Sewing  magazine, so justifying my subscription too 🙂

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And lastly, I couldn’t resist sharing this cheeky shot of my son again in his Paxson top from Colette’s Seamworks magazine. My first attempt at sewing for him, after I was told off for not having made him anything when his sister got loads! Whoops! I think I’ve just about redeemed myself by now…

Join in the fun of reviewing your makes via Gillian’s Crafting a Rainbow blog. And if you missed my last post listing my top five duds of the year, it’s really worth a visit if you fancy a giggle…