Sunny Days…… What’s My Age Again?

We all grew up on Sesame Street didn’t we? I loved it when I was a toddler then back in my teens I went back to it. I had one of the original Tickle Me Elmos at the age of 16. Teenage hijinks oh my god how much fun was it to line them all up in the toy store then set them off all at once! Um… What’s my age again? 20 odd years on I still haven’t grown up and I still think Sesame Street is cool, lucky for me I work in an environment where I can get away with wearing it.

Last year Rubyjam fabrics stocked a Sesame Street cotton lycra, it was very popular and I kept meaning to check if it was in stock whenever I browsed the shop but I kept forgetting. Towards the end of the year it was announced they were no longer going to stock it so I jumped online and purchased some. This was fabric I needed. I could only get 1m of it but I knew that was enough to make some kind of skirt from.

I do have knit skirt patterns which use only 1m but I kind of had my heart set on making a Turner skirt from this. I like how the Turner skirts flow and I thought this fabric deserves to flow and be a feature. To make my skirt I improvised and teamed the print up with a black solid that I also had gotten from Rubyjam. The characters are floating on a black background so teaming it with a black fabric didn’t look out of place.

If you haven’t read in my previous posts a Turner skirt is a pattern hack of the Turner dress by Cashmerette. I first saw someone do this pattern hack on the Cashmerette Facebook group last year and instantly fell in love with it. Turner skirts are really easy to make using the skirt portion of the pattern you just cut a front, back and self draft a waistband by measuring the top of the skirt. This is now Turner skirt number 5 which shows you how much I really do love the pattern.

For the hem again I did a simple 3 step zig zag stitch after folding it over half an inch. I read this tip in A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics, this is now my go to way to hem knits whether it be a skirt or arm sleeve. The black thread is hardly noticeable on this and disappears into the print.

When it came to cutting the waistband I did have enough of the print fabric leftover to cut the waistband from it but looking at the size scrap I had I thought this is a usable size piece. I might not be able to make undies out of it (I do draw the line on my age limit wearing them too) but the piece is big enough for kids undies or t-shirt front so I bagged up my scraps to take to a Sydney Spoolette Swap day we had coming up. I’m trying to be more conscious in my sewing and instead of just placing my pattern pieces anywhere on the fabric I’m trying to think about the best way to get the maximum use out of the fabric and reduce waste. If I am going to have scraps in my stash I want them as a useable size or I know I will never use them up, I’m happy to pass on my scraps to anyone who can use them too. This scrap bag went to happy home and I do believe a lucky kid is getting undies.

In my teens I used to watch a tv show “My So Called Life” There is a scene in it where Rayanne is singing a rock version of “Sunny Days” sadly there is no YouTube clip of it. When I was making this skirt I was walking around singing that version of Sunny Days and thinking back to the show. I was also singing my favourite Blink-182 song “What’s My Age Again?”

I work in a paediatric hospital so this skirt is very appropriate for my workplace. I even had a staff member whom I’ve never talked to before stop me to ask where I got my skirt from. When I told her I made it her response was “I knew you were going to say that” I love that I can make my own unique one off pieces of clothing, particularly in fun fabrics. Who says adults can’t wear Sesame Street!
To quote Blink-182 “No one should take themselves so seriously”

Cassiy

 

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Seeds Of Bendigo

When I was planning my Frocktails outfit for this year I decided I wanted some soft of wrap or shawl for over my shoulders as I hate air conditioning. I had plenty of black cotton in my stash so I went hunting for patterns to make. On Ravelry I came across Seeds Of Roan. The border detail really stood out and I liked the look of it.

Knit wise it was fairly easy. I did stuff the border a couple of time in parts but it isn’t that noticeable and frankly I’m not that much of a perfectionist to care about it and go back to fix it. For the most part it was really mindless knitting. The pattern called for DK cotton which is what I thought I had in my stash. When I pulled my yarn out I discovered it was only 4ply so I used 2 strands to make it DK. This was the first time I’d ever knitted a project with double strands and it fairly easy to do. From memory I didn’t have any issues with it.

 

Wearing wise it was really comfortable. It gave me just enough coverage over my shoulders that I needed and didn’t feel too hot or cold. I was worried a bit that it might not stay on my shoulders and maybe I would need a shawl pin or something to keep it in place but I didn’t have any issues with it falling.

I call this my Seeds Of Bendigo shawl as the yarn is from Bendigo Woollen Mills. I got it a while ago maybe in sale to make another project but never did so it had just been sitting under my bed doing nothing. I still have a fair bit of the yarn left over as even knitting this double stranded it didn’t take up that much yarn. I will use it in other projects but it was good to use some of it up at least in this project.

Cassiy

Sewing My Way Through A Beginner’s Guide To Knitted Fabrics

Last year after getting A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics by Wendy Ward I set myself the personal challenge to see if I could sew my way through the book. I never set myself any time limits to do it, it was more just something I was going to do over time and enjoy the process. I can happily say I made the last item from it in December so challenge completed in 2018.

To recap the book has 5 projects to make

  • Peak t-shirt
  • Derwent wide leg trousers
  • Winnats tank
  • Monsal lounge pants
  • Kinder cardigan
  • Longshaw skirt

I didn’t sew them in the order listed but I did make them all. Some I made multiple of, some I made additional versions that were in the book. For top / cardigan patterns I used the largest size pattern, for skirts / pants I used the 3rd largest size.

Kinder Cardigan
This was the first item I made. My first intention was to make it in the navy fabric but I didn’t buy enough fabric and couldn’t get anymore so I brought the teal fabric and made it in that. I was able to make the blue version after being a little creative with a remnant piece that was in my stash. This is sew comfortable to wear and I wore both of them lots last year. This was such an easy pattern to make. I love the pockets! I do want to try making this again but I’m going to see if I can add a zipper to the front.

Peak T-Shirt
This was the second item I made. The pattern is a really simple t-shirt. I used some cotton lycra from stash. This became my gym shirt last year. It is a little bit fitted around my neck but it isn’t uncomfortable. If I was to make this again or should I say when I make this again I’m adding a little extra to the neckband particularly if I use a firmer lycra. Later in the year I made the t-shirt dress variation which is also in the book. I wore the dress a lot last summer and will continue wearing it this winter. This is my go to t-shirt pattern now. This top isn’t fitted so I could possibly go down a size in it particularly if it is softer knit.

Longshaw Skirt
This was the third pattern I tried. This skirt was a challenge not because it was hard to make but because my brain could not grasp the concept of how this was sewn until it was cut out and I had the fabric in my hands. I still call this my origami skirt due to the way you fold it to form the pockets and sew the seams. Don’t be afraid to try this skirt, try the brilliant instructions Wendy has in the book and will it come out fine. I used some fabric in my stash just to try out the pattern not knowing if I would like it. I’m not totally convinced this skirt is flattening on me, maybe due to fabric I don’t know. I think this skirt makes me look too hippy or bulky around the thighs. I don’t hate this skirt, the pockets on this are fantastic and I have worn it a bit. I would like to try this again in maybe a black or darker fabric.

Derwent Wide Leg Pants
The fourth item I made using again some fabric from my stash. I had never used wide elastic before and wasn’t sure if I would even like it comfort wise but I love these pants. Because they are white I only wear these at home but I found myself wearing them a lot. The wide elastic doesn’t bother me as it is covered over with fabric. I do get confused which is the back and front of these (I don’t put tags in my clothing) either way I wear them they are comfortable. I do plan on making these again in black so I can wear them to work. The fit is amazing and I am really happy with these. Once again an easy pattern to make and a real great basic for your wardrobe.

Winnants Tank
The firth pattern I tried was the basic tank top. I had some leftover fabric in my stash that I was planning on making a tank top with at some point and just had enough for it. This I would say is the easiest pattern to make in the book and a great one to start with if you were a real beginner and wanted to try clothing making. I lived out of this top last summer in Sydney as we had many hot days and it was really comfortable. After making the first top I made a black version last month which I wore to Frocktails but will also be my gym shirt for next summer. The fit of this top is brilliant. It isn’t revealing so I can exercise in it without feeling like I’m flashing everyone. I do need to add extra to the bands around the arms and neck as I am not too good with sewing bands on and to reduce puckering I need the extra length. I do have fabric to make another version of this.

Monsal Lounge Pants
The final pattern which I made in December when I decided I would finish the book in 2018 was the shorts. I have made the most basic basic version of the pants. I have only worn them once or twice so far as it has still been too hot to wear them but I know I will wear them around the house this winter. They fit ok, they aren’t designed to fitted as such more just comfortable shorts which they are. I would make this pattern again and maybe try the version with pockets.

I am pretty proud of myself sewing my way through the book. It was fun to do because it is a great book. The minute I saw this book was coming out I pre-ordered it as I just felt I was going to like the book and I don’t like it… I love it! All the patterns are wardrobe essentials that you need. The different versions of each pattern in the book allow you to make version that is for you. If I had to pick a favourite pattern it would be the Winnats tank but they are all great patterns and I want to try all of them again using different fabrics or techniques. It isn’t just the patterns that make the book great but also the explanation of sewing techniques, the knowledge I picked up from this book I have used in making other patterns. This book really boosted my sewing confidence last year and helped expand my me made wardrobe.

Cassiy

Monsal Shorts

The last pattern I was still yet to make from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabric was the Monsal Lounge Pants. I had some French terry fabric in my stash which I thought would be perfect for these. As I am not liking longer pants unless they are tights I decided to make shorts.

 

My first intention was to make them with pockets. Silly me didn’t read the instructions properly when tracing out the pattern and I traced out the version that didn’t have the pocket area cut out on the front pieces. I thought no problem there is a way around this instead of having inside pockets I will put patch pockets on the outside. When I started sewing these was when I had my overlocker issues. I did get my overlocker working eventually by a lot of rethreading from scratch. On the upside I don’t find that side of overlockers scary anymore.

I made the pockets but once I went to attach them to the front of the shorts I realized that my overlocker which was still temperamental was going to struggle through the bulkiness of all the fabrics so I opted not to put the pockets on. I’m happy that I was able to work out how to make the pockets to be patch pockets, the above picture is what they looked like before I turned the pockets the right way out. My sewing curves on the overlocker is improving.

In the end I made a very basic pair of these shorts. I’m going to be wearing these at home so pockets are not essential. I’m happy with the finished pair. As mentioned these are very basic shorts but they fit and aren’t too big or small. The waistband on these make them very comfortable. As the fabric is a little bit thicker these are winter shorts, in summer in they would be way to hot but in winter just perfect.

I do like this pattern and if you read all the instructions and trace out the pieces correctly they are a very simple pair of pants or shorts to make. Would I make this pattern again? I think so.

Cassiy

Purple Table Runner

I made this table runner for a friend to place on her cabinet after she threw out her old one. She didn’t care what it looked like as long as it was purple. I hadn’t been sewing for a while so thought it was the perfect project to get me sewing again. I raided my stash for purple fabrics I had on hand so I could get in and make this project whilst the sewing urge was there.

The top fabric I picked up at a Spoolette’s fabric swap, it is very funky purple daisies. I never actually opened the fabric piece up until I grabbed it for the this project to wash. Someone had tried to make a wrap skirt with the fabric and it actually had a pocket. I was still able to use the fabric but instead of having it as one long piece like originally planned I pieced it in 3 pieces like a quilt after I cut off the skirt seam lines. The backing fabric again was from my stash, from memory I had brought it on sale to make wild life rescue pouches with but I have plenty of fabric for that so I used it in this project (I still have some leftover)

Construction wise it is just the backing fabric, a layer of cotton batting and the pieced top. For the quilting I first went in the ditch where I had pieced the top and then just eyeballed where to do place the other quilting lines across from there. Again just eyeballing it I went down the centre of it once. After it was quilted I folded the backing fabric over to form a front border and stitched it down. This was a nice easy no fuss project to do.

I posted it up to my friend and it seems it got the approval from the important members of the house. I don’t make a lot of homeware accessories but this was fun to do.

Cassiy

Sydney Frocktails 2019

Last Saturday night I went to Sydney Frocktails. I love Frocktails it is such a fun night.

Originally I was planning on making an actual frock for this time around but sadly the heat we’ve had this summer in Sydney combined with the stress of my over locker not playing nicely in recent months meant I never actually got a dress made. I didn’t have the sewjo or time to try out a new pattern in the limited sewing time as Frocktails loomed. I have sew much respect for all the amazingly talented ladies who did make new patterns or try new techniques on their dresses on the days and hours leading up to the night and had them finished in time.

Photo Courtesy of Mr Useful Box from Sydney Frocktails on Instagram

I decided 2 weeks out from Frocktails my outfit would be a shawl I had actually knitted for the event at the end of December, one of my sparkle skirts that I made in December and a tank top. The tank top I did actually make one week out from Frocktails but it was the Winnats tank which is a pattern I had made before so I was comfortable with plus I was needing a black tank top in my wardrobe. Sewing up the tank was pretty stress free and I enjoyed making it (my over locker even behaved) I am really happy with my outfit.

I managed to find a beaded necklace which I think got around 10 years ago which fitted in with the black and red theme I seemed to have. My hand bag was one I knitted many years ago and was the same coloured cotton as my shawl. I even wore my metal cuff which I made at a craft show a few years back, it has little ying yang symbols on it. I’m really happy with my little outfit.

I had a wonderful night. At last years Frocktails I had a migraine and didn’t have the best night but this year I made sure I avoided any migraines so I was able to really enjoy myself. I sipped on my cocktail and enjoyed the other complementary drink we got with out entry tickets. I chatted to all my sewing friends and made new friends. I was touching people’s fabrics and meeting different people that I had known from Instagram but had never actually spoken to in real life. It was a really relaxing fun night.

As we have been spoilt every year each person got to take home a goodie bag or in this case a goodie parcel. Our parcel included a copy of Peppermint magazine (I have wanted to read this mag), a little bag to sew up, some embroidery thread, sew in clothing tags plus discount vouchers some printed, some sent via email. It was an amazing little parcel of sewing happiness.

Once again this year there was some amazing lucky door prizes…. By pure luck I won a $150 gift voucher to The Fabric Store!!! I couldn’t believe it when my name was called out. The Fabric Store is an awesome shop. I often go to the one in Sydney, I made sure I visited the one in Melbourne last month. I have no idea what I am going to buy with it. I think I am going to go there one day, browse all the fabric and see what jumps out at me. Enjoy the shopping trip.

Sydney Frocktails was so popular this year that Caz from Useful Box who organises it (and does an incredibly amazing job) has announced there will be a 2nd Frocktails in September, originally I thought I might sit the next one out as I have a lot of events in August but the more I thought about it the more I decided no I would like to go so I have already brought my ticket.

Now to get sewing on my Spring Frocktails outfit.

Cassiy

Sock Ruler

I first saw the Sock Ruler about 18 months ago on the Grocery Girls podcast and thought if I really get into sock knitting it is a tool I’m going to get. I looked at buying it from overseas, the ruler itself wasn’t too expensive but the postage to Australia was a killer with the costs working out to be way more than the ruler. Luckily I found a local shop Kathys Fibres in Australia that sold it so I was able to get it from there – I may of also picked up a skein of yarn when I was there….

So what is a Sock Ruler? It is a rigid piece of plastic that is a measuring guide or as the name suggests a ruler that you can use when knitting socks to see how long each section is. Pretty simple when you think about it but really handy and useful as measuring socks can be a little tricky, it has a rounded tip so you can place it inside the sock to get an accurate measurement. It has both inches and centermetres marked on it so it caters for imperial and metric measurements – I always use inches when I measure things

At the moment I knit my socks cuff down. This is perfect for measuring how long the cuff and leg section is. You place the rounded tip inside the cuff section then flatten your knitting down the ruler to see how long it is. If you were to knit toe up socks you would place the rounded tip inside the toes and measure the foot section from there. For cuff down this is brilliant as I can measure how long the leg section is before starting my heel section.

Again on cuff down socks once you finish the gusset section you can measure to see how long the sock is before beginning the toe decreases. You fold your sock over and place the rounded tip snug into the heel turn to measure the foot length, on toe up socks you would place the tip in the same area but this time measure how long to make the leg section before beginning the cuff. I knit magic loop and my knitting tends to roll a bit when I try to measure it but by placing it on the ruler I can get it to sit flat and accurately see the length.

I have found that I’m not only using this on socks, it is a handy ruler to measure small items like the width of cowls. I’m so glad that I purchased this tool for my knitting. If you like sock knitting I urge you to go check this out, there are other sock rulers on the market but I really like the rounded tip that this one has.

Cassiy