Rectangle Knitting Bag

My brain is always only the lookout for potential gifts to make people. You need to watch what you say in front of me as I’m always looking for clues or making a mental note of things people say. I even observe people over time (in a non stalking way) for colour palates to use in gifts. During a conversation with a friend who mentioned she is always misplacing her knitting needles so I thought she needs a case to store them all in.

I have always been intrigued by rectangle box pouches. The ones I had always seen (and have patterns for) always had the square ends done in the form of triangles folded over. Online I came across a Youtube clip by Debbie Shore that made the square end shape by doing a modified version of the traditional way to sew a boxed corners where fabric is cut away from the corners before any seams are sewn. Watching the video it will make more sense than how I am describing it. In my stash I found the perfect fabric for the outside of the bag. Originally I had cut out a skirt from the fabric but then changed my mind and decided not to make it. I was able to cut out my bag pieces from the pieces I had originally cut so it was good use of fabrics sitting in my stash.

For the inside I used a yarn printed fabric that had been lingering in my stash for years. Unfortunately the print is showing in detail in this photo but it like but it is swirls of yarn all laid out on top of each other. I interfaced the back of the exterior fabric with a squishy viliene which I ironed on. The bag is floppy when empty in my opinion. With a stiffer interfacing it might hold its shape better. I’m still happy with it though.

Would I make this pattern again? Yes but I would use a stiffer interfacing. You could still use viliene to give it a squishy feel but I would interface the interior fabric with a stiffer interfacing. Another option would be to add a stiffer interfacing behind the viliene as well interfacing the interior. Construction wise it was very easy to sew. I did watch the clip a couple of times just to get my head fully around it but once I got to my sewing machine it was an easy sew.


2021 Face Masks

For the 2nd year in a row I added in face masks to our charity bags last year.

I cheated a little on these. On the craft trolley I found some I cut out in 2020 when I made our lot but I never got around to sewing them up. Some were even already pieced together so it didn’t take long to piece together the remaining masks and assemble them. The outer and lining fabrics used were leftover from my 2 Zip Hipster bag which I made years ago. For the ear ties I used leftover scraps from the Cedar top. It matched in nicely with the bright blue on the outer masks. It’s nice to share the same fabric with strangers.

In 2022 I’m taking a different approach to the added extra items I’m including in to our charity bags. In the Facebook group of those collecting for the bags there was a lot of discussion and feedback after the bags were donated from the Sheros (people who collect the bags from the drop off centres and go through checking the contents of each bag) and from ladies who had previously received bags and were now in a position to support the campaign themselves. Unfortunately a lot of the bags donated were missing some of the essential toiletry items that the charity askes you to include and instead full of non essential “luxury” items. As lovely as it is to add in these extras if the recipient is short on space (homeless shelter, living on the streets) Transporting around these extras can be difficult. It is something that you might not think of when putting together one of the bags but that is the reality of the person who might receive it. I have a list of the essential items I need to collect for the bags each year on my phone so when I’m shopping I can keep an eye out for sales. For the added extras I’m only going to include small items like face washers, scrunchies, toiletry bags, eye masks (as I have fabric already for them) and face masks again if the pandemic continues. I’m not going to include bulky items like shawls or knitted headbands. There are other charities (which I can knit for) that can provide these items to the woman if they need them. You can easily get carried away in what you add to the bags which is lovely but not practical. I like practical.


Robbie # 4

Once I started making Robbie pants this year I couldn’t stop! The Robbie addiction hit me hard. This is the final pair that I made this year.

The fabric for these was purchased at my local (next suburb over) small fabric shop in 2018. I don’t normally like white fabric but the blues drew me in and I had to get it. The white isn’t really the focus here. The fabric is cotton sateen and my original plan from memory was to make another Washington dress with it. The dress never got made and the fabric sat in my stash since then. I think it is perfect for these pants.

I’m really happy with these. Like all my Robbie’s they are super comfortable. The pattern is easy to follow and is quick to make. Generally I don’t spend the entire day sewing so I did these over 2 days but really you could make these in a day. The front pockets are generous in size and are really easy to access. Like my other Robbie’s I can wear these with sneakers or with dress shoes so I don’t have to worry about how I will wear these.

If you have followed my blog this year you might recognise the fabric. I used the offcuts from these pants in my charity toiletry bags. I liked using fabric that I had something made for myself with in the toiletry bags, a little connection I had to the bags. Being cotton sateen the fabric has structure which made them perfect for both the bags and my pants.

After making 4 Robbie’s this year will I make another pair? Never say never. For the moment I have enough long pants for wearing outside the house so there isn’t the rush to make more.


Coco Wide Leg Pants

It’s funny how a pattern sits in your stash for years and when you finally make it you think why didn’t I make it sooner. My pants sewing journey continued this year but after sewing 3 pairs of Robbie’s I tried out a different pattern making the Coco Wide Leg Pants by Pattern Emporium.

Which came first the chicken or the egg? Or in sewing terms the pattern or the fabric? After my Winslow Incident I had rayon fabric that was all prepped in my stash and that I really wanted to use. If you didn’t read the post after day dreaming all week about making my Winslow Culottes just as I was about to cut them out I noticed I hadn’t paid attention to the amount of fabric needed and I was significantly short of fabric. With fabric prepped and ready to go I looked through my stash for patterns that used rayons. I came across the Coco’s which I had purchased years ago but never made. Looking at the photo on the front of the cover of the pattern I actually think I originally brought this rayon to make Coco’s as the print is very similar to the model’s so I think it was the pattern before the fabric.
Coco’s have a range of options for the waist, pockets and length including a culottes style which is the version I made as I really wanted to make culottes.

Style Options
  • Waistband – Top Stitched
  • Rise – Mid Rise
  • Pockets – Hidden
  • Length – Culottes

Pattern Emporium or PE patterns have a Facebook group for fans of their patterns. I think the Coco’s are an underrated pattern as you don’t see many people make them but they are so comfortable. I’m short so they fall as a longer length on me but it is a good length. Due to my mobility issues with walking tripping is hazard if my pants are too long or too wide so I have to be mindful of that but these fit nicely. The pockets are great. I do sometimes get confused and start looking for the pockets on the front of them instead of in the side seams as all my Robbie’s have patch pockets.

Would I make these again? Yes for sure. I have rayon in my stash so I can see more in my future. These pants have been on high rotation since I finished them in June. Not only am I wearing them to work but also on weekends. I wear them with sneakers or dress shoes as shown above. They are a super comfortable if I am walking to the shops which might be a 30 min walk each way. The style is good, the length is great. Overall a winning pattern


An Apron For Mr StitchNSew

Some projects jump the sewing and blogging queue and this is one of them.  

As Mr StitchNSew does most of the cooking now I thought I’d make him an apron as we only kept one when we moved and he is now using that for other crafts. Last month when Helen’s Closet released the new Sam Apron (free to newsletter subscribers) I kind of lost my mind at how perfect it was. In the kitchen more often than not Mr StitchNSew can be found with a tea towel hanging off him somewhere. The first thing I noticed with this pattern it has tea towel straps!!! It is the homeware equivalent of “It has pockets!”  The Sam apron isn’t a one size fits all pattern just like a regular pattern it comes in various sizes. This gave Mr StitchNSew some practice in me taking his measurements and having fittings for when I make him clothing in the future.  

Thinking I would be making 2 aprons (one for the wash) I showed Mr StitchNSew the pattern telling him to decide on the colours, strap style and pockets. A couple of days later he came back with “On my kitchen one I want this, my gardening one I want this and on my ship building one I want this” So it turns out I was now making 4 aprons.  

Once I discovered I was making 4 I took over fabric choices and went shopping in my stash picking a large piece of denim. I brought it years ago to make a shirt with but once it was washed it was too stiff but for aprons it was perfect. For the pockets I decided to use fabric leftover from a couple of gifts I made Mr StitchNSew’s grandson. The bias binding used to cover the raw edges of the bib section was left over from gifts I made his granddaughter. It was a small touch that connected him to gifts I had made for them, they live overseas so we don’t see them often.  

The final aprons were (accessories picked by Mr StitchNSew himself)

Ship Building – Halter neck, no pockets 

Gardening – Halter neck, waist pocket divided in centre 

Kitchen – Halter neck, tea towel straps, waist pocket divided in 3 (4” in from each side) 
I made 2 for the kitchen so one could be washed if needed or so we can both wear them if cooking together. They are exactly the same design wise.

Pattern Elements / Modifications

  • Tea towel straps cut 4″ wide not 3″ and done in a ¼ fold
  • Pockets cut 14.5″ long not 19″
  • Pockets cut out double thickness, stitched together right sides together and then bagged out
  • Tea towel straps sewn within pocket bags
  • Waist ties cut at longest length

For the most part I did follow instructions but not necessarily in the stated order. I attached the pockets last instead of doing them in earlier steps. When I pinned them on to check for placement we discovered the pocket was too wide as the tea towel straps were towards the back not the side when the apron was on so I cut them down and redid them. Upon redoing the pockets I placed the tea towel straps within the pocket bag to enclose the ends. It also enabled me to reinforce the stitching a couple of times on the inside for added strength. After I cut the pockets down I re-ironed each apron to find the new centre fold in case during the sewing process my sides were uneven. Second time placing the pockets Mr StitchNSew was happier.  

I’m really proud of these aprons as they really showcased how I’m trying to make sustainable choices in my sewing. Not only did I use a fabric from my stash for the aprons, leftover fabric for the pockets and bindings but I used up half full bobbins and spools of threads that weren’t enough to use in other projects. The top and bottom threads didn’t match but that didn’t matter. I’m not saying Mr StitchNSew doesn’t deserve to have nicely matching things made for him but put it into context on how the item is going to be used. Pick your time and place for perfection. These aprons are going have paint, dirt and food stains all over them. Mr StitchNSew isn’t going to care what colour the stitches are he is just going to be using it and protecting his clothes. The mismatched threads add to the storyline of these aprons. From the moment I finished these last week he started using them. That’s a wining project in my eyes.


Robbie Star

Back in 2019 when I purchased the Robbie Pant pattern down in Melbourne I purchased several fabrics at the time to make them in, on version number 3 I finally used one of them.

The fabric was purchased at The Fabric Store in Melbourne. They were having a sale at the time I was there and when I saw the star fabric I had to get it, I am fond of a star print. I don’t remember if I looked at the fabric label in the shop and I had to read back to my Fabric Crawl post to see if I had written what the fabric was. At the time I described it as denim like. Whilst cutting these out I decided it was a heavy weight linen. It looks like denim but the feel and structure is more like linen, the weave is certainly more linen like than denim.

On this version for the pockets I actually placed them in the area which the pattern recommends. The back edge of the pocket overlaps the side seams so there is a small portion of the pocket on the back. On my previous ones I have placed the pockets fully on the front with the pocket edge very near the side seam without overlapping it. Usability wise I don’t notice the difference between the 2 placements.

I love the print on these pants. The stars have a bold yet subtle look to them. The stars are large but not gerish. I don’t like to categorise the clothes I make into “work wear” and “non work wear” like I used to when I purchased ready to wear items but some items I make do fall that way. These pants are funky enough to wear to work (kids love stars) but also not out of place to wear grocery shopping.

I mentioned at the start this was version 3 of my Robbie making this year I still have one more to show which I will share soon.


Zipper Front Pencil Cases

On my Christmas gift sewing this year were zipper pencil cases. There are heaps of tutorials to follow if you want to make one. There are 2 versions you can make – One that is completely zippers only or one that is only zippers on the front with fabric on the back.  

I purchased my zippers late last year from a small local fabric shop when I restocked my zipper stash. The shop has made up pencil case bundles which consisted of a bunch of zippers all the same length in coordinating colours. This saved me doing all the hard work of picking colours and lengths.  

Sewing zippers don’t phase me, some people struggle with them but I’m very comfortable with them. For each pencil case the first thing I did was lay out the zippers alternating the zip ends. It worked out that all the zipper ends of one colour faced the same direction. I chose a colour as my top one and all of that colour was stitched as the top layer when I overlapped them to sew together. Before I got to the sewing machine I hand basted the zippers in pairs so that they wouldn’t shift at the machine. I regularly hand baste my zippers so this was just 2nd nature to me. At the sewing machine I stitched all the pairs together using a 3.0mm stitch length then repeated the process until all the zippers were sewn for the front.  

For the backing fabrics I found leftover fabrics from previous gifts I had made the same children and used them. This uses up fabric that is ready to go as it has already been prepped plus links gifts I have made at different times together. I waited until after I had finished the zippers and I had my measurements of 10.5” x 9.5” before cutting out the backing fabric. I cut out 2 rectangles and stitched them right sides together before turning out and closing the turning gap closed with the zipper foot. To attach the zippers to the backing fabric I opened the centre zipper then flipped the zippers over so they were faced down. I stitched all around the zippers and turned the pencil case right side out through the centre zipper. All the zippers were doing my head in and I was convinced I stitched the open zipper the wrong end, it was only once it was closed did my mind relax. If my construction method sounds confusing there are lots of YouTube clips which will show you how to do it.

This did take more time to sew than a regular pencil case and originally I thought I would get all my zippers sewn in one day but after the first lot of zippers I had to stop for the day as I wasn’t enjoying it (I stop sewing if it isn’t fun) but it was worth it. I would like to make the version where it is only zippers but I think you need to have more zippers or it have it as a smaller pencil case (I struggle to keep anything on the small side)  If you buy your zippers cheap this can be an inexpensive gift to make. If you need to post your gifts in the mail even if you added in extra items like pencils and markers this is an inexpensive gift to post as it is small and light weight. Unfortunately with the rising costs of postage and transport you do need to take into consideration how you will get your gift to the recipient these days if you won’t be giving them in person.


Faulty Fabric

A couple of months ago I brought some fabric from Rubyjam Fabrics to make undies with. When it arrived I just put it away in my stash and didn’t look at it. When it came to using it I washed and hung it to dry still without looking at it. It was only when I came to cutting it I noticed something odd.

The fabric had a series of lines/ridges about 2″ apart running across the fabric from selvage to selvage. From memory this was the first time I had brought solids from that shop so I was sure if that was normal for that fabric. It looked like part of the design. I brought a metre and probably about 70cm or more had the lines. I took photos and messaged Rubyjam just to check if it normal so I know for next time, I was making undies so I didn’t care. This was near midday on a Saturday. I had excellent customer service from Rubyjam who answered my question within a couple of hours. Apparently the fabric was faulty and was sent out to me by accident. They apologised for the error and arranged for a replacement piece to be sent to me. Although there were a lot of lines I can see how it was missed. I handled the fabric 3 times without noticing it. The lines were only on one side of the fabric, if it had been cut from the bolt with that side folded in you didn’t see it. It was easy to overlook so I am in no ways angry or upset with Rubyjam, in fact I’m impressed with their amazing customer service.

Unfortunately I hadn’t waited for the response back from Rubyjam before I cut out my undie pieces. I just cut away thinking I’m going to have stripes on my undies. They told me not to sew the fabric as the fabric would come apart along those ridges. Luckily I hadn’t started sewing it. I could still use any of the fabric that didn’t have the ridges on it and that would be ok. I haven’t cut the faulty fabric off yet I’ll wait until I have washed my replacement fabric and am ready to cut out my undies to see how much I can use of it. I don’t think I’ll be able to get the undie fronts of backs but I will be able to get all the bands and gussets. By the time that comes around I might even have another undie pattern traced out I want to try.

Instead of being upset as I have wasted fabric when I am trying to be more sustainable with my sewing I’m looking at this as a learning experience. If I ordered online I will check my fabric for any flaws when it arrives, flaws can easily go unseen. If I am at the shops I will check the fabric that I am buying. Had I not checked if this fabric was normal I would’ve sewn new undies only to have them fall apart (even worse if I was wearing them) so I know now if I come across fabric with ridges again not to sew it. I’m not sure what I can do with the faulty fabric that can’t be sewn. I’m thinking maybe I can cut it up into strips and crochet it into cleaning cloths or something like that. It won’t be wasted, I’ll think of something.


2021 Sewing Bingo Completed

In January I mentioned that I was once again joining Patsy in her sewing bingo challenge for the year. The challenge was simple Patsy provided us with a bingo card consisting of 16 sewing themes and the challenge was to tick off as many of them throughout the year as we were sewing away. To recap the 16 themes were

  • Long Time Coming
  • Something Special
  • More Involved
  • A Repeat
  • Print
  • Quick And Easy
  • A First
  • Fabric From Stash
  • One Piece
  • Everyday Basic
  • A Favourite
  • For Someone Else
  • Pattern From Stash
  • Separates
  • Solid
  • Spur Of The Moment

For the first half of the year I was very productive at my sewing machine and in July I ticked off my last theme from my bingo card and completed the challenge.
The items I made were

As you can see from my list some of the items were for myself but it was nice to make things for others. I’m still enjoying making gifts and of course sewing for charity. All of the fabrics except for the produce bags came from my stash so it was nice to use some of it up, the produce bag fabric was brought late 2020 so I guess technically it was in my stash. I used some new patterns which had been in my stash for a long time so again it was good to finally use them. I tried some new sewing techniques so I learnt a lot from the items I made. Some of the themes were easy to tick off with different projects but others made me really stop and think.

If I had to pick a favourite from the items I made it would be the train case. It was the first item I made and the most used this year. Prior to starting it the instructions really had confused me so I’m glad I finally jumped in and gave it a try.

At the start of the year I said I wasn’t putting pressure on myself to complete all 16 themes nor would I make an item just to fit a theme. Sadly my inner brain had other ideas. I had set myself a challenge with a deadline so in my mind I had to finish it. Although the items were practical I found myself making certain items just so I could tick off a theme such as the Cedar top which was one of my last makes for the challenge. At no point did I not enjoy my sewing but mid year I was thinking I needed to finish the challenge on my July holidays as my Christmas gift sewing wasn’t going to fit the themes I still had to go.

The challenge did motivate me to finally getting in and finishing some projects such as my Appleton or make items which I had been on my mental “To Sew” list for some time so it wasn’t a waste of time or a pointless exercise. It made me realise that I can’t do challenges that have a deadline even if just for fun as my mindset is that I have finish it. In future I’m not going to join any challenges like this. Sewing for me is enjoyable and I want to keep it that way. I’ll set myself little sewing challenges in future like perhaps making an item just from scraps but nothing with a deadline or that involves ticking off items from a list.


Paisley Robbie’s

After the success of making my first pair of Robbie pants I was itching to make another pair.

In my stash I found some cotton sateen. I originally brought this fabric with the intention of colouring it using Liquid Radiance fabric paint when I was going though my fabric painting stage. I’m glad I didn’t get around to colouring it otherwise I wouldn’t have ending up with these funky grey/black/white paisley pants.

When I made my first pair of I used fabric which was brought with the intention of making pants so I had a lot fabric. I don’t actually know what I intended to make with this fabric and I only just had enough to make these pants. The pockets are a fraction smaller than on my first pair as I was really pushing to squeeze them in from the leftover fabric after cutting the waistband and leg pieces. It isn’t noticeable but the pattern print is upside on one pocket due to the fact I wasn’t paying attention to print direction as I scrambled to fit the pattern piece on the fabric.

I used black elastic inside the waistband instead of the white elastic I used in my first pair. Maybe I’m just imaging it but the black does feel a bit better, it just feels more firmer. It also feels like it has a better stretch and recovery compared to the white elastic in my first ones.

I made these at the end of April and wore them all winter. I love them they are so comfortable and the pockets are so useful. Once again I’ve received compliments on these including one from my Covid 19 vaccination nurse which made a stressful situation a little more easier.

Referring to my list to consider when making garments

Creative & Quirky
Natural fabrics

These do tick all the requirements. As mentioned they are comfortable. The style is classic and simple, I like basic. The paisley fabric adds interest but isn’t ghastly. With the fabric a cotton base they aren’t hot to wear. Winning garment all around in my books.