Sleep eye masks were something I had been wanting to make for many years. Very early on one of the first sewing books I brought had a pattern in them and from that point on I thought yep one day I will get around to it.
The book I brought was The Pattern Companion Sewing. It has a variety of patterns in it from toys to clothing to accessories around the house. To be honest a lot of the patterns in it I wouldn’t make but it did have an eye mask pattern in it. It is an interesting little book to flick through if you ever come across it.
I was looking at making one for myself but decided they would be great to add into some charity bags I put together each year for Share The Dignity which is a charity that supports homeless woman and woman who have come from abusive relationships. At the start of each year I start collecting items (toiletries, personal care items etc) so by the end of the year I have several bags full of items to donate. I thought eye masks might be something useful if someone is staying in a shelter or sleeping in a place where it may not be as dark as you want it.
This was a complete stash busting project. The front and back fabrics were offcuts from a gift last year. The elastic came from my stash and the binding was from some fabric I am using this year that just happened to be close as I was making these so I grabbed it. The batting used inside them was also an offcut I found in my stash. These were very simple to make, I hand stitched the binding in place after I stitched it to the front with machine but this didn’t take very long. Hand sewing is something I casually do in front of the tv.
I’m glad I finally got in and made these. I use mine often now and hopefully whoever gets the bags this year I put together gets use out of it too.
As I was going through all the patterns in A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics there was one pattern that kept doing my head in every time that I looked at it, the Longshaw Skirt. I just couldn’t get my head around how it was constructed from looking at the drawing of the pattern pieces no matter how many times I looked at it or tried to read through the instructions. The front and back of the skirt are the same pattern piece so you cut 2 of the same but the piece had lots of curves to it and I couldn’t work out where the seam lines went or which was the top and bottom.
I trust Wendy Ward’s pattern so I figured she knew what she was doing with making this skirt, after finding some white printed fabric in my stash that I got from Zebra fabrics and not knowing what else I might do with it I dived in and tried this pattern. Once I had the skirt pattern pieces cut out the instructions started to become more clear in my head. This skirt has a centre front and centre back seam rather than side seams and a curved bottom hem line. I have nicknamed this my origami skirt due to way you fold the pocket pieces in on the sides. It is actually very cleverly constructed once your brain grasps the concept of it.
Referring to my tick list when making clothing
- Comfort √
- Classic ∫
- Creative / Quirky √
- Natural Fibres √
This skirt is actually really comfortable, the hem line of the skirt does come in a bit so it doesn’t flare out at the bottom but it isn’t restrictive. This is a very quirky skirt, as I mentioned above it is a bit of a brain twister. The knit fabric I used is a light weight cotton and is very soft and comfortable. I don’t think I would really call it a classic style unless a tulip style is considered a classic style of skirt.
Now I will be perfectly honest I’m not entirely convinced that I like this skirt although I have worn it multiple times to work because the pockets are amazing. Saying that as wonderful as the pockets are I think they make me look too side heavy/bulky/puffy. I don’t have that large of thighs but with the pockets flaring out right on the thigh area I just think it looks bulky. I’m not sure if in black fabric it would make it seem less wide.
Would I make this skirt again? I’m curious now how it would look in black. I do now have some black brush cotton in my stash which is a heavier knit that I might try another with but with it being a heavier knit it might not drape as well and will that result in the same bulky thigh feeling. I’ll think about it. It was good to try out this pattern and tick it off my list of patterns from the book. I used fabric from my stash too so that is always a good thing.
I have a slight obsession with the orange peel quilt block pattern. If you’re not familiar with the design it is basically like 4 elongated ovals that are set on point to form a circle with the points all touching. It is a very striking pattern when you see it repeated. A year or two ago I came across a black and white print of it at a discounted price so I brought some to at some point make something (back then I was probably thinking a skirt) After making my first York I came across the fabric in my stash and thought this would make a great York. The orange peel design gives the fabric a bit of interest but doesn’t look too hard on the eyes.The fabric isn’t a soft quilting cotton even after washing and ironing but it is perfect for me to use in the York as over the torso area where a crispy fabric would irritate me it is layered over the top you wear under it. In hindsight had I used this fabric in a skirt which was fitted around the waist area it would’ve been a garment I never wore as it would’ve been too crunchy and not soft against my skin. Around the waist and thigh area the fabric is comfortable in this pattern as it isn’t tight around the skin. I wore this last week on a rather warm summers day and it was very comfortable.
With this one I did add length to the bottom so it was the same length as the other version available in the pattern. In the pattern the version with the kangaroo pocket is a shorter length which is what I made my first one. It is just a fraction too short for me I think and to be honest I haven’t worn it a great deal even though it has that great pocket. To add the extra length I measured the difference between the 2 versions from the paper pdf I still had and used the original pattern I cut out from to tracing and toile just marking in the extra length at the bottom with tailors chalk directly onto the fabric before I cut it. Both versions are straight at the bottom so this was easier than retracing the entire pattern.
Once again I love the pocket on this. Originally I was wearing this over my work jumper but it just didn’t look right, it was like I wearing an apron. I started wearing this under my jumper but over a t-shirt to work and I get so much use out of it now. As it the longer length I end up wearing this on almost a weekly basis. It is a little more fitted in at the waist then my first one too by chance when I stitched it up. It is really easy to access the pocket under my jumper at the front.
So that is now 2 York’s made. I am still contemplating a denim one, I have seen many made of denim on social media and it looks very casual. A denim one I could wear with sneekers, I spend a lot of time in sneekers and don’t have a lot of clothing that I can wear with them.
Back in August I did my clothing “To Sew” list with a plan to update it every 6 months so perfect time to post it on January 1. My list isn’t set in stone and if I don’t make everything or even anything on it I am not bothered, it is more of a reminder to myself of patterns I want to make when I think I want to sew myself something but what… To recap this was my list
- Concord t-shirt √
- Springfield top √
- Turner dress
- Cedar dolman top
- Concord t-shirt dress
- Calista curvy bra
- York pinafore √
- Hollings Circle skirt
- Rusholme A-Line skirt
- Finsbury Bubble skirt
- Fallowfield pencil skirt
- Roehampton culottes
- Brighton Front Opening skirt
- Derwent Wide Leg trousers √
- Winnats tank √
- Monsal Lounge pants √
- Longshaw skirt √
Well I am happy to say that I have gotten a lot of the pieces made including making 2 York’s as I really liked the pattern and I have made all the patterns from A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Knitted Fabric. Some of the items do need tweaking just because of the fit and I am having issues with my curved shoulders (too much computer work) I was able to use up a lot of fabric from my stash making the different pieces which was good but saying that I kept adding to my stash at the same time!
This is my latest to sew list
- Turner dress – Cashmerette
- Appleton dress – Cashmerette
- Pembroke dress – Cashmerette
- Appleton dress – Cashmerette
- Cedar dolman top – Cashmerette
- Concord t-shirt dress – Cashmerette
- Scrundlewear – Stitch Upon A Time
- Bunzies – Stitch Upon A Time
- Calista curvy bra – Stitch Upon A Time
- Quicker knickers – Little Finch
- Poppy bralette – House of Morrighan
- Robbie pants – Tessuti
- Black Winnats top – Wendy Ward
- Black hoodie/cardigan/jacket (no pattern yet)
- Hollings Circle skirt – Wendy Ward
- Rusholme A-Line skirt – Wendy Ward
- Finsbury Bubble skirt – Wendy Ward
- Fallowfield pencil skirt – Wendy Ward
- Roehampton culottes – Wendy Ward
- Brighton Front Opening skirt – Wendy Ward
I still have the remaining skirts from A Beginner’s Guide To Making Skirts as I haven’t gotten to those yet. I now have 3 undie patterns that I want to try, I have so many knit scraps left that I really just want to use them up on undies. The Calista is still something I would like to try but I have also found another bra pattern which looks kind of easy so will try that too. The Appleton dress is what I want to make for Frocktails so I need to get in and start sewing that. The Robbie pants are just something I saw this past weekend, a friend has made them few times and she looks fabulous in them so I thought I would give them a try. Prior to the lasted Dr Who this year I was wanting a long hoodie/cardigan/jacket but after watching the series I have really fallen in love with her jacket. I want to make something similar but in black. In my mind I can see a long hoodie type cardigan that does up with a zip, I haven’t got a pattern yet but I haven’t seriously looked around for anything yet either.
As mentioned for the pieces from my last list I was able to use up a lot of fabric from my stash, particularly when making the pieces from A Beginner’s Guide To Knitted Fabrics where I used fabrics that I wasn’t sure how else I would use them such as white fabrics. Since my last list I have been adding to my stash. Over this past few days I have ordered another 6 metres of fabric alone, it was on sale and hopefully can be used for 2 of the items on my new list. Now I am a bit more picky on how much I buy and try to buy with a purpose in mind. I raided my stash to find fabric for my Appleton dress so I will use the black/white daisy fabric. The Sesame Street fabric is newly acquired, it will probably be another Turner skirt but with the faces only on the front and a plain black back. I wasn’t able to buy enough to make a full turner skirt so will team it up with black fabric from my stash.
There is no pressure on myself to get all my items made. I’m just going to make myself clothing when I am in the mood.
I was thinking of making some Christmas skirts for 2019 just so I could wear them to work. In previous years I have been a little reluctant to make Christmas themed clothing as you only get to wear it at one time of year but in recent months I have been wearing me made items to work nearly every day so I thought ok I can justify making clothing for Christmas as I can get multiple wears out of them for that month.
On Sunday 9th December Rubyjam Fabrics posted on their Facebook page those magic words “Only 2 days left to get shipping before Christmas” They had some digital print glitter fabric which looked different and I wasn’t sure I would ever see something like that again. It is all the sparkles without the mess!! I decided to get both the green and red prints but didn’t put any pressure on myself to have them completed this year. There was indecision on how much fabric I should buy as I have a few skirt patterns that I could have used for this fabric and each required different lengths. I decided to go with 2m of each. The fabric arrived the Wednesday and was pre-washed that afternoon, the Friday I cut out the skirts and Saturday I was sewing them up. I don’t think I have ever had fabric that I have done that with.
The pattern I used was my Turner skirt. This is a pattern hack of the Cashmerette Turner dress, it is the skirt portion plus a self drafted waistband. I went with this pattern as I know that it is comfortable and it is easy to make. This would be my Tried and Tested knit skirt pattern. It does take just under 2m of fabric which is a lot for a skirt but it is really worth it. The skirt is also a very quick make, I had them both done in almost a morning.
Looking at my tick list when making clothing
- Comfort √
- Classic √
- Creative / Quirky √
- Natural Fibres √
This is without doubt ticking everything off my list. It is a cotton knit which makes them really comfortable and breathable. The shape of the skirt is really nice as it just floats of over the hips, I was given a lot of compliments when I posted pictures of them on social media which was lovely. As for quirky um hello GLITTER FABRIC I think that point is covered.
I love my skirts. They both got worn last week to work and were very comfortable. What I really like about this fabric is even though I have made them in Christmas colours I can also get wear out of them throughout the year as they pretty skirts and it is only when you get closer to them you notice the pattern print besides who says sparkles are just for December.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas
Over the past 24 hours me and my overlocker have not been happy.
Let me set the picture.. Yesterday I came home from work early, it was a coolish December day which is unusual for this time of year in Sydney so I thought perfect I can get some sewing done. I pulled out my overlocker which was working perfect last weekend, changed the thread colours the way I always do by tying on the new colours and letting it run through my machine until it came to the needles which I thread manually. Everything looked ok I ran a test piece through and the thread on my left needle broke.
I rethreaded the eye of the needle again and the same thing happened again and again. It would run a couple of stitches then break again so I would replace the thread through the eye. I did this I don’t know how many times. I thought maybe it might be the needle itself so luckily the other week I had brought more overlocker needles and replaced the needle but the same issue was occurring. I cleaned out my machine (dust bunny city) thinking that might be the issue. I even turned the machine off and left it for a bit to see if that would help… Sadly not. At one stage the thread would hold in the eye but not catch the loops as shown in the above photo which I posted on both Instagram and Facebook asking for help.
A lot of lovely people suggested rethreading it and checking that is was threaded properly. Today was going to be my nice day at home sewing so I went back to my overlocker and tried again rethreading. I got it working for one item and I thought great problem fixed… When I tried the second item again the same issues occurred.
I manually threaded the needle from scratch checking that it was in the tension discs going over the different levers. I even changed back to white threading thinking maybe it doesn’t like the black thread today. I haven’t lost my temper at this point and I am not on the verge of tears but I am as frustrated as hell as to why it isn’t working…. I did Google new overlocker machines but I am not going to be that crazy to go buy a new one (the new air threader ones do look fancy) I have looked on YouTube for ways to fix it but its all the things I have already done. The only thing I haven’t tried is to cut all the threads and manually thread it instead of just tying on the new threads. It is just the left needle that is playing up. Except for the time I bent a needle in this machine I have never really had issues with it…. Maybe it is time for a service but of course its Christmas/New Year so no places will be available to do it.
I have one more item to make from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabric and I just want to finish it by the end of this month. Unfortunately the fabric is a French terry so it really needs to have finished seams. I am starting to get upset that I won’t get it finished this year but it isn’t from lack of trying. I do have the option of using an overcasting/overlocking stitch on my regular sewing machine to finish my seams but that will be a lot slower to do and won’t be as neat as the overlocker would be. Stubborn me wants to get my overlocker figured out and not let it beat me. If in my day job I can figure out why computer reports aren’t picking up the correct information surely I can figure out why my overlocker isn’t working…
The first ever Cashmerette pattern I saw and purchased was the Washington Dress. This combines a knit with a woven which is really unusual and I have never seen a pattern like it. The bodice is a knit and the skirt is a woven, so really it is the best of both worlds!
I worked on it a the first Cashmerette retreat I went to. Working with the combination of fabrics sounded a bit tricky so I thought making it with the designer Jenny who created the pattern whilst I had the chance would be my best option so I could pick up any tips and tricks. I was really surprised with myself I was smaller than I realised and was able to make the bodice a smaller size than I originally I thought I would need. We graded between 3 sizes for the bodice, yoke and the skirt so this is a mix of size 18, 24 and 22.
At the retreat I got it all finished except for the hems on the arms. I tried to finish it at home but my dear sewing machine who doesn’t like knit fabric ate the fabric on my first attempt… I was devastated. The dress looked good but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do the arm hems. The dress then lived on my lounge chair for about 6 months. I would pick it up every now and then but still unsure how to fix it back I placed it. After doing some of the patterns in A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics I discovered a technique to do the hems where you use a three step zig zag stitch. I did it on a couple of patterns from the book and it worked on lightweight knitted fabrics which my machine normal ate the fabric on but using this stitch it didn’t. I bit the bullet and pulled out this dress and within 15 mins my dress was finished.
The knit fabric was something I got about 2 years ago but just lived in my stash waiting to be made into something. The woven I think I got from Pitt Trading, again it was living in my stash waiting to be made into something. The pattern suggests you use a scuba fabric for the yoke but all the scuba I can find is synthetic which I hate wearing so I used the same fabric I used for the rest of the skirt. The fabric has a slight stretch to it. I am really happy with my choice.
This dress ticks all my points when considering items to make
- Comfort √
- Classic √
- Creative / Quirky √
- Natural Fibres √
It is really comfortable and I have actually worn it heaps. Style wise it is a nice simple fitted dress. The combination of fabrics makes it a bit quirky and certainly is a creative way to use them. Both the fabrics used are cotton, the skirt is more a rigid cotton but it is cool to wear on the skin even on the waist which is slightly more fitted than I am used too wearing.
Now I will be honest when I first saw this pattern I wasn’t really taken by the fabrics used in the pictures for it. The models in it looked great in the dresses but the colour combinations used in them weren’t drawing me in to making it. The pattern sketch diagram was what made me really want to make this dress. Seeing this dress made in colours that were to my taste has just made me really fall in love with this dress. If I find colour combinations I like I will make this dress again.
I love my dress. It is a shame it took me most of the year to finish it but saying that I have learnt so much clothing making wise this year that I am proud that I was able to work out how to finish it after learning techniques from other projects.