Thursday, 30 July 2009


I had a really nice night on Tuesday, my little sis came round and we spent the night choosing patterns and ordering fabric so I can make her some clothes before she goes off to University. Although it was apparent that she has inherited the same thrifty gene that I have and therefore mostly picked fabric from the fabric pile, I did still manage to order quite a lot of new stuff. A massive box duly arrived this morning, packed to the brim with goodies. Thanks efabrics!

So what will I be making? Another Marie, but this time in an altogether more Autumnal grey corduroy, yet another Estelle bag in the leftover cushion material that never ends, a modified one of these in black satin, a dress sort of like this in grey cotton and a tunic dress in black just like the one I have been making for me… or possibly the actual one I have been making for me because at the moment it's not going to fit me. At all. I am very well aware that this is because I stated that it most certainly wasn't going to be too small. I was concerned it might be a little large, but it couldn't possibly end up too small. Guess what. It's too small, but only in one place! Basically the bottom hemline is way too narrow and although it does fit I won't be able to get it on once I have sewn the shoulders because I need to step through the top. However, while I am feeling the sting of hubris at work, I am aware that there are many options and I will keep sewing. Plan A is to get Jessie to try it on, if it fits her then happy days, job done and I can start another one for me once all her stuff is done. If it doesn't fit her then there's Plan B, I still keep going and either make a split up the back or one at each side allowing me to pull the dress over my bum, which I currently cannot do. I think this might look a bit strange so my Plan C is to shorten the whole thing into a top which should be fine because the top half is actually quite loose. Luckily it looks like will be able to try plan A and if it doesn't work I can move on to plan B etc. As long as I try them all in the right order I have at least 3 chances to sort this out before I hit plan D. Plan D involves jumping up and down on the garment and then putting it on the window sill for the cat to sleep on. That way at least someone wins!

So, in the interest of equality I also have a knitting snafu dilemma as well. As I started increasing for the sleeves on Brights 2 I started wondering if it was going to matter if my eyelets didn't quite match up due to the increased stitches. Obviously I subconsciously decided I'd better find out sooner rather than later because I have added a row of eyelets about 5 rows too soon.

That last row of eyelets – the ones that are staring me in the face and mocking me – that should be a row of ribbing and the row that I have got to, that should be a row of eyelets. Yep, it took me that long to notice. Now I need to decide if I can live with it or if I'm going to rip back. Ripping back will involve me having to work out where I got to with the increases which is a pain but living with it may drive me mad. I've tried telling myself it is on the back so at least I won't see it, but I'll just imagine that everyone is staring at my back wondering how I could wear such a shonky garment – aargh! I think I'll let it rest for a few days while I try to forgive it for being wrong and then I'll deal with it.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


After being unceremoniously turfed out of my sewing room (again) I have spent the last couple of days relocating my bits and bobs into the living room and trying to set everything up in a way that is workable for me but isn't totally in the way. I have tucked myself into a little corner, quite neatly I think, but I can't really do much until I get a lamp that will fit in the corner with me. I did sit down on Sunday and attempt to get on with my tunic dress, but I made a total dogs dinner of sewing the yoke on to the front – again - and then found I couldn't see a flaming thing when I tried to unpick it. I will try and crack on again tonight, but if I go blind in the process you are more than welcome to say I told you so!

So does this mean I have got loads of knitting done instead? Of course not, that would be too easy! I am just about to start increasing for the arms on Brights 2, which sounds impressive but really isn't because the arms pretty much sprout from the waistband on this one. Unfortunately there have been distractions the last few days. Obviously sorting out the sewing corner has been one, especially as it all involved a trip to Ikea to find a smaller table and some drawer to hide all my fabric in. We've also been totally needing a new mattress for ages so most of yesterday evening was spent trailing round shops self-consciously lying on beds and trying to avoid the gaze of overzealous sales people who feel that they need to explain that you need to lie on a bed to test it. Really?!? Oh and then there is Secret Agent Clank. Yes, once again all my creativity is thwarted by video games! I'm a total sucker for a platform game, throw in a cute robot and I'm doomed until I either finish the game, get stuck or grow an extra pair of hands so that I can knit and fight robotic ninja assassins at the same time. Maybe I'll get working on that one, I could make a fortune!

And yes, that is a cat bum hanging out of my chair in the pic at the top. 5 minutes that chair was there before Pootle claimed it!

Friday, 24 July 2009

It’s good, but it’s (probably) not right

Progress was made last night with my tunic dress and I can see it taking shape now, which always spurs me on. If I wasn't looking forward to it so much I'd be a bit gutted that I'm off out tonight so I won't be able to do any more until Saturday! So , last night I finished up the gathering which for some reason I always dread but is never actually a problem and then sewed the back pieces to the front piece just leaving one open seam at the back. After cursorily wrapping it round myself and holding it together at the back moment I'm quite confident that it will not turn out too small. I then went to attach then bias binding to the underarms and was a little confused that it did not reach the whole way round. Had I made super massive armholes? A quick check of the pattern revealed that I had cut the binding for the wrong pattern and that actually they should have been about 7 cm longer. Oops! So I quickly re-cut those and cracked on. At this point the instructions were not written in a way that made any sense to me whatsoever and I'm pretty sure that I have done this bit at least slightly wrong, but it looks neat and tidy don't you think?

And that's pretty much the stage I am at now. I did pin the front yoke on and have a go at sewing that on, but I didn't do it all that neatly and I ran out of bobbin thread halfway across so I gave up for the night. Roll on Saturday. Like I said, I am going out tonight, I'm having a night on the town with my old work colleagues from when I used to work at Medway Council. We periodically have a big old night out and it invariably gets a little messy, so I may be over the limit for operating a sewing machine until at least tomorrow afternoon! Maybe a spot of light knitting will be in order tomorrow morning instead! I have made sure the fridge is stocked with all the ingredients for a nice Full English for the morning. How's that for preparation. Right, now if only I can arrange for it to stop raining…..

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Photo update

I went to see the new Harry Potter film last night, so I haven't made much progress on any of my projects but I thought I had better stick some pictures on here just so that we can see where I have got to with everything.

This is my tunic dress which I started a few days ago. Clearly it is still a bunch of bits, but I have overcast all of the edges and sewn the basting for the gathering. I would really like to have this done for the weekend so I'm going to have to work really hard on it tonight and tomorrow night.

This is the beginning of Brights 2. Not much to show here but the pattern is really easy. I like how it is mostly stocking stitch but has single ribbed rows and an eyelet row thrown in just often enough to keep you on your toes.

Here is the first few inches of my charades

And here is where I have got to with my Kai-Mai's

And with regards to the Harry Potter film…. as usual, disappointing. I do know that the films can't contain all that is in the book and that's fine and usually with a second watch I can enjoy them better because I know what is left out etc, but when they add bits in (i.e make them up!!!!!) it doesn't half annoy me. Why, when you have to miss bit of the book out, important bits to my mind, would you add bits in that are nothing to do with the book? Why?????? There's some really nice knitwear it in though. Rant over.

Monday, 20 July 2009

LOTF, busted vehicles and seam allowance fail

Ok, it's been a few days so once again I am in catch up mode.

The weekend before last was the Lounge on the Farm festival, which I had been looking forward to all year. Largely I was not disappointed, lots of music, loads and loads of yummy food and rather a lot of booze. Friday was a lovely day all sunshiney and warm and even though it cooled down in the evening I popped on my bee dress and wings and made sure I drank enough to stay warm! I'm pleased to say the dress held up well and looked pretty cool. It kept falling down a bit at the back, but nothing too disastrous considering I didn't really measure anything. Saturday was a bit of a yucky rainy day, which combined with a nasty hangover kind of took the wind out of my sails, but I had a good day eating far too much food and drinking cups of tea. The Sunday was a proper scorcher and we went home after lunch due to feeling all crispy and dirty and covered in bugs. Turns out that could have been really lucky because the car started playing up on the way back and we only just made it. It hasn't started since, which is a total pain in the bum. It turns out that trying to do a reasonable sized food shop for 2 people and 2 cats on a Vespa is not really an option. I hope the part we need to fix it turns up soon!

With all of this going on I have got very little knitting and sewing done, but I had a bit of a blitz yesterday and have got a bit of my mojo back. I cut out all the bits for this (the one with no sleeves). I have overcast all the edges and I want to get some more done tonight, it looks fairly simple to start with but the instructions for later bits seem a bit impenetrable so we'll have to see how it goes. I also picked up my needles to cast on for Brights 2 from Rowan Studio 11. I scored 7 balls of Rowan Calmer for about 15 quid from eBay and I've had my eye on this for a while so I couldn't bring myself to wait until I had finished something else before casting on. I made Brights 1 a little while back and I really like it so I have high hopes for this one. The only problem with Brights 1 was the buttons which kept coming undone by themselves. I thought about replacing them with bigger ones but they would have been too close together so I finally got around to just sewing the whole button band area together. The cardigan is meant to be a bit baggy and just slips over my head so it's all worked out ok. Brights 2 is closed by a ribbon in the pattern, but I'm also not sure how secure that will be so I'm going to do some thinking and see if I can come up with a better way.

As for the strapless top from Burda World of Fashion 06/09 that I was making last time I posted, I have to report an epic fail on that one. I mentioned the problem I was having with all the layers, which meant I was already having my doubts but then I thought it looked as if the top part was going to end up a little short. Just to try and redeem myself I must add that at this point it didn't take me too long to work out why, it's just a shame that I didn't apply my brain from the start! When I traced the pattern I forgot that I needed to add a seam allowance. Fortuitously (or so I thought) I had also traced the pattern a size too large and therefore I could just cut out the bits and use the extra size as a seam allowance. Ingenious, not. Clearly the vertical measurements of that top part are not generous enough for me to get away with this, especially since the seam allowance on the top edge is used to form part of the elastic casing later on so I can't even try and get away with fudging it. Oh well lesson learned eh!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Now it’s only mildly scorchio!

Yesterday – finally – the temperature actually dropped enough to allow me to do some knitting, albeit only if I was sitting outside but still. The first thing I did was cast on for a second pair of Charade's, knit the first row and then switch back to my Kai-mei's. Why? Well I think things are about to get complicated with the Kai-Mei pattern and as I am going to a festival at the end of the week I am hardly going to want to be constantly referring to a pattern. The charade pattern is so super easy that I can just get on with it so it should be perfect. Now I just have to keep on praying that we will have lovely weather at the weekend so that I can get some knitting done whilst sitting in the sunshine listening to lots of live music.

I have also got a wee bit of sewing done, but I am having serious anxiety over my current project so the going is slow. I'm making a boob tube thingy and all in all it looks really easy – and I guess it is – but I and just about to sew the upper back and front together and the seams look like they will be about 3 feet thick! The front consists of a front piece with bust darts and two drape pieces which are both made from the fabric folded double. These overlap and are sewn at each side, so that is already 5 layers of fabric, not including where the dart is and the back is a back piece and a single layer drape piece, so altogether that is 7 layers. Crazy. If I had really thought this through I may have considered looking for a much more lightweight jersey before considering this one. Especially at there is also a lining to go in there as well. By the time this is finished I will have added a good two inches to my bosom! I'm having a nagging feeling that this is going to be a total disaster and the knitter part of me keeps saying 'rip back'. Obviously I have to remind her that all I will end up with is a load of sad pieces that really can't be made into anything else. I do enjoy sewing and the comparatively instant gratification I get from it, but knitting is just magic. When you make a total arse up you can just unravel it and you are back where you started, pretending it never happened.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

FO’s flying all over the place

Well whaddya know, I set out to complete my bee dress and my Marie skirt by the end of the week and by Wednesday night I was all but done. Now I need to decide what's next and get cracking before I lose my mojo! Last night I started with the bee dress which you may recall was fine from the front but had a big triangular gap at the back through which my bottom could be viewed. With the aid of my sister I put of piece of paper under the gap whilst wearing the dress and drew the outline of the triangle so that I had a kind of pattern for the inset. I then cut out a triangle of the yellow t-shirt and sewed that into the gap. All that remained was to make a long string from the bottom of one of the black t-shirts, poke holes at the edges of the insert and lace that baby up like so:

My insert was incredibly badly sewn in but lacing over the top of it seems to have covered that up, so I'm glad I decided to do that. The back needed trimming a bit because the act of adding the insert made the back a bit longer than the front. Overall though, it's pretty cool and looks like what it is supposed to be, which is a start. All I need now is a pair of wings, which I know I can get at the festival and if I have the time or the inclination I may make a matching pair of legwarmers.

Also done is my Marie skirt (pattern here). It was really quick to finish once my invisible zipper foot arrived (also received a magnetic seam guide to stick on my machine which is a total godsend if you suffer from wobbly seams like I do). I didn't quite finish it last night as it was after 11 and I remembered I needed to hand sew the inside of the hem facing thingy so I gave up and went to bed. Amazingly, given my intense dislike of hand sewing, I actually got on and did this today and my skirt is done. I'm reasonable pleased with it, it is a little large so can't really be described as high waisted and consequently is a bit longer than intended but it looks good even if it doesn't look like it is supposed to!

On a completely different and off topic note I would just like to air my displeasure for British Gas who yesterday fired my l'il bro from his job. After extending his probation period because he was off sick on 2 occasions, he has now got the sack for being off sick a third time. Given that the second time he was ill he went to see occupational health and they could see he was genuine and the third occasion was a bout of gastroenteritis for which his doctor signed him off because a)he was far too ill to work and b)it was highly infectious and there are 3 pregnant people in his office, this seems a little harsh. I don't really have a point because I'm sure they can do this if they want to but it seems like bad practice to me and I just wanted to mouth off a bit. So there!