Saturday, 27 December 2014

Jenna Cardi for Mum!

This is the last of my Christmas sewing which luckily I finished just before leaving to come and stay with my parents in Switzerland for Christmas.

I saw the jersey in Stone Fabrics and immediately thought of Mum.  Her favourite colours are bluey greens and turquoise and she loves interesting fabric (she has a degree in textiles) so this is perfect for her.  The fabric is fabric is described as vintage, which actually describes it quite well.  It has less stretch than the fabric I used for my Jenna Cardi but it works really well and I think will be lovely and warm.

The ribbing has been sat in my stash for quite a few years but I only had enough to the neck, bottom and button bands.  I didn't realise as I was making it but I should have taken a bit off the length because it has gone frilly around the bottom.  I offered to take it all the ribbing off and change it for main fabric binding instead but luckily Mum likes it how it is.

The pattern is the Jenna cardi from Muse Patterns which I have used before for me, and which I won in a giveaway from Rachel at House of Pinheiro.  I made the size 38 this time and the fit is pretty perfect for Mum.  I made option without the gathers on the front and I really like this.  When I made another for me I will try this view.  As before it sewed up really well and without problems, and because I had made it before it went together really quickly.

As before I got some pretty awesome poses off my Mum, so I thought I would leave you with a selection!!  I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and are looking forward to a very happy New Year!!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas Crafting Part 4 - Christmas Wreaths

Inspired by Marilla Walker's Christmas decoration swap, I made some Christmas decorations!

The first is a knitted wreath that I decided to make on a whim.  I really fancied doing some colour work and wanted a small project after finishing my last cardigan, however this backfired slightly as it took waaaay longer to knit that I first thought it was going to!!  I used a chart I found on a scarf pattern on Ravelry which was actually too wide but I had already started this before I realised and just continued!  I also knitted two rows twice, possibly after a glass of wine, and decided to leave it in as a design detail!  

After I finished knitting the right length I sewed the two ends together, wrapped it around the wreath (found from Minerva Crafts) and sewed the edges.  Because it is knitted it moulded quite nicely to the shape of the wreath.  I finished it off with some satin ribbon I had removed from a cardigan and some beautiful decorations I bought when I went to visit the lovely Portia a couple of weeks ago.

The second wreath I made as part of the Christmas decoration swap.  I wound some thick grey wool around and around the polystyrene wreath, which took longer than it sounds!  I then embroidered the writing on some red fabric and attached some pompoms.  Quite simple, but quite effective I think!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas Crafting Part 3 - Last Minute Teacher Presents

This post would not exist if it were not for the extraordinary lack of organisation from a fairly big company.  I ordered some tins of biscuits from an online retailer* to save me the hassle of making teacher presents, and when I phoned up to ask them why they had not arrived a week later (or even been despatched, I'm still waiting for them...) they just said they had been very busy.  Now I'm not one to tell other people how to do their jobs but I reckon I could have told them they may be a little bit busy in December, well in advance!!

Oh well.  So last night I suddenly realised that I needed to come up with a present of some sorts by this morning as it was our last day of term.  I asked the Child what she thought we could do and she suggested fudge (a favourite in this house) and a little bag to put them in.  Okay then.

The Child chose some fabrics from the stash, two coordinating prints I have had since forever, and I made two boxy pouches with alternate fabrics on the inside and outside.  I used a tutorial I found on Pinterest but can't find the same one again, however there are lots out there.  I didn't use the measurements it said anyway, I just read it for the construction.

For the fudge, I made up a new Christmas fudge recipe that I thought others may find useful so have written it down in case anyone else is caught short without a gift this Christmas!

Christmas Fudge
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
250g granulated sugar
200g dark brown soft sugar
110g butter
150ml milk
1 tsp (or to taste) cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice

1. Put all the ingredients into a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat and stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the butter melted.
2. Bring to the boil and boil, whilst stirring, until the mixture will set when a little is dropped onto a plate.  This should take around 10 mins.
3. Take the pan off the heat and beat vigorously for as long as possible or until your arm drops off.  Less beating will result in a chewier texture. Then pour out into a tin to set.  I use a 18cm square tin lined with foil.
4. Mark out squares before the mixture sets too much to make cutting later easier (I forgot this time and it cracked a bit).  Lick the spoon while waiting for it to set, trying to avoid burning your tongue (voice of experience!)

*It was Lakeland Ltd just in case anyone was wondering

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Françoise Mark II

Françoise, meet Mathilde.  Mathilde, meet Françoise.  I think you two will be very happy together!

When I blogged about my first Françoise dress I said I was going to do a proper muslin before I cut into my "real" fabric.  Well, I didn't quite get around to it, I just decided that the fit would be fine and merrily cut away.  And I am glad I did because I am in love with this dress!!

The fabric came from Croft Mill ages ago and is British wool.  I originally bought it to make a pencil skirt with but changed my mind after making a trial version which just does not work.  I have been saving it since then waiting for the perfect project and was just about decided on turning it into a Delphine from Love at First Stitch  when Tilly announced the release of this pattern.  I only had a metre, but that was enough for the dress itself.

There is a lovely yellow check running through the fabric, so I had already decided on pairing it with the Mathilde blouse before deciding what pattern to use.  (There is also going to be a coordinating Archer but that may be a long way off - it's been planned for about a year so far!).  I had plenty of the yellow fabric from the Mathilde left so used that for the bindings and also on the hem.

After checking the general fit on my first version of this, the only thing change I made to that pattern was to lower the bust and waist darts on the front by about 2cm, which I did on my first one too.  Other than that the fit is pretty spot on.  I kept the length as per the pattern and although it is probably shorter than I would normally wear, I don't think it is too short, although I wouldn't wear it without tights.

I really, really love this dress.  I wondered about lining it and even cut out some lining fabric but decided against it on the grounds that I can always wear a slip underneath, and I think it needs one to stop it sticking to tights.  I wasn't wearing one for these photos and I can see it clinging a bit.  Overall though, I am happy.  I am planning on wearing it to a Christmas party this weekend.

I have a few other versions of future Françoise dresses in my head.  I would love a denim/chambray one with a collar, and another ponte version as  my last one is just so comfortable.  I find this style of dress so wearable and customisable that I think there are going to be a few in my future!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas Crafting Part 2 - Two Mini Pennies

Since the Child still hasn't grown that much lately she doesn't particularly need any new clothes, but I thought a new dress for Christmas would be nice.  Browsing Flickr one morning with the Child next to me, we saw this dress and immediately she asked me to make her one like it.  So with some help from Fiona, who made it, I tracked down the fabric and ordered a metre from Dots n Stripes (it's still in stock!!).

I was originally going to copy the inspiration dress exactly but when I found out that my Niece will be with us for Christmas I could not resist and decided to make coordinating dresses and felt the solid red (from KitschyCoo) went better with both fabrics.  My Niece has a longstanding Hello Kitty obsession and I had mentioned to her in the summer that I had seen some lovely Hello Kitty jersey so it was obvious which fabric to choose for her!  This came from Stone Fabrics, and is lovely but I'm pretty sure it wasn't £14.60 per metre when I bought it! 

The pattern is the fab Mini Penny Pinafore pattern from KitschyCoo.  I have made this a few times before and it is *almost* as popular with the Child as the Skater, but not quite!  I constructed the dresses on my overlocker and just used my normal machine for the hems and neckline.  They were so quick to make, I made both of them in one evening while watching television (Portlandia, if you are interested!).

 One of the great things about the pattern is that because the front and back panels are quite slim, you can squeeze this out of a relatively small piece of fabric.  The first top below was made out of offcuts from my first Renfrew and is lovely and Christmassy for this time of year (although it does get worn all year round!). The second top and the dress were both made with fabrics from KitschyCoo, Zoe recently made her beautiful girl a dress out of the yellow fabric which looks fab!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Christmas Crafting Part 1 - Pyjamas!

I normally make sure the Child has some new (to her) pyjamas at Christmas time purely so that when we take pictures of her opening her stocking on Christmas morning she isn't in tatty, stained, greyish looking things!  Usually these are second hand purchases off eBay or charity shops however this year, as my niece will be with us, I decided to make matching Christmas pyjamas.

I used the same pattern for the bottoms as I did for my last pair.  There is just one pattern piece and I actually cut these out and sewed the seams at the same time as the others.  I have only overlocked the seams, I don't know if they will last as well as if I had sewed them on a sewing machine first but I was feeling particularly lazy when I did it!  

I put a piece of ribbon in the back waistband of each pair to easily identify the back.  I used a different colour ribbon for my niece and daughter as they are slightly different sizes.   I also top stitched down the middle of the elastic to prevent it from twisting in the wash.

For the tops I completely cheated and bought plain, white, long sleeved t-shirts off eBay.  (These were actually advertised as boys and are from a major high-street retailer.  I am quite tempted to ask them what makes plain white t-shirts gender specific.)  I then embroidered the girls' names on some spare fabric and appliqued it on the front.  Because of the patterned fabric it doesn't show up that well from a distance but overall I'm happy with it. 

The fabric came from an eBay seller and I used just under 2m for these. It is a Riley Blake print and is really soft and thick.  I have got some leftover but not enough for anything substantial.  I am quite surprised at how much fabric pyjama bottoms need!  

I hope the girls will love their matching personalised pyjamas.  It might even encourage them to go to bed at a reasonable time on Christmas eve!