Winnats Tank

This top is another from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics. I made this a couple of months ago and have made nearly all the patterns in the book now so I can’t remember which order I made it in.

This top is incredibly simple to make. It is a basic front, back, bands around the neck / arms and bottom hem. If you were a super speedy sewing master you could get this easily done in a couple of hours if that. If you were a beginner and wanting to pick a pattern to start on from the book I would recommend this top.

Fit wise I am pretty happy with it. I did make the largest size as I need to with all the top patterns in this book. The back is gaping a little but not enough to bother me. Perhaps I may take out some from the back next time but the fabric is a cotton knit so it more forgiving and less noticeable than other recent top patterns where I have had that issue. My sewing is a little bit dodgy around the bands on the neckline and one arm. I didn’t hand tack my fabric before attaching the bands on the overlocker so I did have to go over them in parts to correct bits I missed and my machine ate some of the bands in the process. I am lucky due to the nature of this fabric I can get away with as the print is busy.

This is a great essential little top. You could wear it under jackets or layer it under dresses, in summer this would look cute under a York Pinafore. I think it would make a great gym top, the neckline is high so you’re not exposing yourself as you bend forward. The side of top goes up nice and high under the arm so again you don’t have any side expose. It is not too high under the arms or around the neck that you feel uncomfortable or that it is choking you. I am very tempted to now make one in a black cotton lycra for summer gym sessions with my trainer when I am finding the peak t-shirt I made earlier this year and have been wearing to the gym to be a little bit hot and boxy in the warmer weather. I have no problem wearing a fitted top the gym as I am there to work out and not be a fashion show so as long as I am comfortable I don’t care what I wear.

The fabric used was leftover in my stash from when I made my skirt a couple of years ago, at the time I thought I would like to make a simple top with it so I could have entire outfit but in my cupboard it went and I forgot about it until I was “playing” in my stash one day and found it. I had just enough fabric left to squeeze this top out and that was with making the largest size. I really did fall in love with the print of this fabric when I first saw it. To be honest I haven’t really worn my skirt since I made it. No particular reason I just put it in my drawer and forget what I have made. Now that I have a matching top I think I will wear it more this summer. I can wear it to work as an outfit even though I will be wearing my work jumper over it because you will see a peak of the neckline under my jumper.

Looking at my points to consider when making clothes

  • Comfort
  • Classic
  • Creative / Quirky
  • Natural Fibres

It is super comfortable due to the fabric so ticking the comfort and natural fibre points. The style is very much a classic tank top that can go with any skirt so ticking that point. The fabric is a little different, pretty but in a non girly pink way so I think it ticks the creative/quirky point.

I am super happy with this top. Not only did I make another pattern from the book which I aim to sew my way through but I also made a top from fabric I had set aside waiting for the perfect pattern (ok and forgetting about) Sewing and decluttering working as one and giving me a fantastic outfit.

Cassiy

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Patchwork Dolly Blanket

When I made Daniella I wanted to make a little blanket to go with her. My original plan was to crochet her one but the one I started with some scrap yarn in my stash looked terrible to I raided my fabric scrap stash and came up with this little blanket.

I have a basket of scrap pieces just under my ironing board. This project actually started with finding the back fabric first. I found a rectangle scrap of the flannelette paw print fabric in the basket and measured it over the doll.  It fitted well so I decided to use this as the size blanket. The pink around the edge is part of the front boarder folded over and hand sewn in place to bind the edges. In between the 2 layers I placed a scrap piece of polar fleece to make it into a mini quilt.

In the basket I initially found a pile of the little aqua heart scraps that were offcuts from when I made a previous project, they were just bigger than a 2.5″ square so I decided to use them as the guide for my pieces. In the basket I also found pieces of the 2 grey bubble fabrics, these were perfect as the blanket was for the child that I used those fabrics in originally in. I love it when I can incorporate the same fabric into multiple projects for the same child. The other fabrics were from strips I found in the basket, I wanted to keep mostly pink to match the doll. I cut all the fabrics I found to a 2.5″ then played around to get them to fit the backing fabric nicely. I took a photo of the final layout on my phone to ensure that I stitched them in the correct order, thankfully I didn’t need to refer back to the photo as I got the order correct.

I am super happy with this little blanket as it turned out really well. The colours all match in with the doll and as a bonus I used fabrics from a previous gift for the child. The child can actually use this on the other toy I made her too if she wants. This project cost me nothing as it all came from my stash which was another bonus and it helped me declutter some of my scraps so everyone was a winner.

Cassiy

Frocktails Bag

I thought my outfit was complete after I had made my top, skirt and cape but something was niggling at me. I had the leftover portion of the fabric left that had the paint markings on it, the fabric looked really useful and I didn’t want to throw it out as it seemed such a waste. My brain got ticking and I got experimenting.

I decided I needed a bag. The fabric was very drapey and lightweight which was great for the skirt and top but not so great for a bag. If I did a traditional bag where I cut pieces from the fabric I was going to have to stabilise it all and line it. In my mind I wasn’t happy with the type of bag I would get from it, plus I couldn’t cut around the paint markings so you would see them. After much pondering I decided to cut up the fabric into strips, sew them together and make my own fabric yarn. I attempted fabric yarn once before and it was a disaster so I was hoping it would work this time.

I cut strips of the yarn around ½ wide using my quilting ruler and rotary cutter. All up it was about 50cm of fabric that I cut. It was interesting to see where the paint markings were on the strips.

To join the strips I used a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine. I sit it to a width of 5.0m and length of 1.0. This width and length gave it a nice secure join.

My machine can sometimes eat narrow bits of fabric so I cut a length of tear away stabiliser and placed that on my sewing bed. I took each strip and overlapped the ends on the stabilizer and stitched across to join them. I chain pieced them just like you do when machine stitching multiple pieces at once when making quilt blocks. this way was really easy to do and sped up the process of joining them all. I joined the strips in a random order so some had paint markings on them some didn’t.

In the end I had a large length of cut strips which in a way reminded me of paper dolls. I trimmed each piece apart from the chain and removed the stabiliser. This was a little fiddly but a pair of tweezers and a thread catcher container beside me kept the mess under control. Once it was all trimmed up I rolled it into a ball.

To make it up I chained 37 and did double crochet stitches back and forth to form a rectangle piece. I first started with a 6mm hook but I wasn’t happy with it so I switched to a 6.5mm. I just keep going until the piece looked large enough to fold in half. To create the bag shape I folded it in half and did a single crochet stitches up the 2 sides so it formed a pouch. I then hand stitched a zipper in to close the top. My sewing machine would have had a heart attack if I tried doing this on it, it took no it took no time at all to stitch the zip by hand plus less stress. For the strap from scraps leftover when I cutout my clothing pattern pieces I cut strips and joined them in the same way as I did the bag. This time I divided the strips into 3 lengths so I could plait them. Using upholstery thread as it was thicker I hand stitched the strap to the bag. I left a length of fabric at each end for a tassel. The cut strips did shed a bit so I did place this in the dryer after I finished to take off any excess loose fabric.

This bag was complete experiment that worked. I’m really happy that it did. It combined my love of crochet and sewing so it is a very unique piece. I love that I have been able to turn fabric that would have else just been wasted into something that is usable. The paint flecks and the strip joins add interest throughout the bag.

Cassiy

 

Hipster Teddy

When One Thimble Issue 15 was released I knew I would make Hipster Teddy at some point, it was one of those patterns which really spoke to me. I kept seeing all these wonderful versions of it in such different fabrics that it went on my to sew list. The fabrics I used were some leftover pieces in my stash from other projects I have been working on this year. By chance I had enough entire pieces that I could get the stripes all going the one direction. The fabric has a feint paisley print on it that isn’t at first noticeable but when you get up close you can see it. I only have a small amount of this fabric left which is sad because I really like it and have no idea where I got it from.

My favourite part of Hipster is her face. I used scraps of wool felt which I hand stitched on. I altered the nose to be a heart because why shouldn’t teddy have a nose. Normally I would add pupils to the eyes but this toy doesn’t look scary without them, some toys give a vacant stare if you don’t. I will be honest and say I didn’t follow the pattern instructions only because this wasn’t a complicated toy to make so you can stitch it anyway you feel comfortable if you have made toys before. I added a layer of pellon to the back of each piece of the ear just to give it a bit more squishiness and texture, the ears aren’t stuffed with hobby fill so otherwise they would just be flat.

I just want to make everyone a Hipster Teddy now.

Cassiy

Gertrude The Guinea Pig

There is a new lady guinea pig in town Gertrude.

Gertrude is the latest toy from Funky Friends Factory. I seem to be making a lot of Funky Friends Factory toys of late but it was love at first sight when I saw this toy and I instantly went and purchased her. She will be a gift for a 3 year old next month.

This toy is a great scrap busting project and I made her all from scraps but you could also do it from a set piece of fabric or two. This is not a difficult toy like some of the FFF toys can be but I will be honest and say I did struggle with trying to get the pattern pieces to fit with the scraps. Some pieces were easy other pieces you had to do one in reverse and it got me. I messed up 2 pieces during the cutting stage but luckily I was able to salvage them or cut more and later towards the end I discovered a big boo boo which I think related back to the cutting in reverse issue. I think if I slowed down and really thought before I cut I could have avoided a few errors but I must admit I was just wanting to jump in and make her.

Sewing wise I didn’t have really any issues with her. I did a lot of hand tacking first and she even has stuffed limbs! For those who have read my previous posts about toys know I hate sewing in stuffed limbs. I hand tacked each limb then went over each one with a basting stitch on the machine so by the time it came to sandwiching them in between a seam they were not going anywhere. On some seams as I was reversing or starting the seam my sewing throat did eat the fabric a few times, when I got to the ears which were light weight and had nothing in between them they jammed down in the feed dogs. To over come this I cut a narrow strip of tear away stabiliser (about an inch wide) and used that just under the tip of each piece. It feed much easier through my machine and didn’t jam. I then just tore it off after I finished that section. When it came to do the other end of the ear I grabbed my strip again and placed it underneath, once again it didn’t jam. I’m now going to always have a piece next to my machine to use on ends when it looks like my machine will eat the fabric. If you didn’t have tear away tissue paper or even a bit of old computer paper or envelope would also work. It was easy to pull away from the seam line at the end.

So my big boo boo. Once I had sewn on the head I noticed she had a hunchback (Kyphosis – yes I looked up the official terminology) I laughed and called her the Hunchback of Notre Piggy but she didn’t look right. At first I was going to leave her but she looked like a rhino or buffalo not a guinea pig. It was when I looked at the pattern pieces again I realised I had cut one the wrong direction or got confused which was the way I was meant to pin it on the fabric or something along those lines. At this stage I only had 2 small seams to do to close her and I really didn’t want to pull her apart and start from scratch or ditch her. I decided to do a bit of cosmetic surgery to remove her hump.

From mid way down her spine to her head I pinned her and drew a curve with a pen. I machine stitched from my original seam line on her back to down past where her head was joined. I went over the seam twice then cut the hump away with pinky shears.

She looked much better after her surgery and it was a very simple way to fix her. Ok so she is a little more rounder than the one in the picture but I have never known a skinny pig, all the ones I have ever owned became round.

Pauline has created a tutorial to go along with this toy. I only followed it in sections as the construction of this one is pretty straight forward. If I was to make another one I would as mentioned take more time to make sure all my pattern pieces were the right way up. I need to do more research on how to easily do one piece in reverse. I tend to cut my pieces double layers, for non directional fabric that isn’t an issue but if I am working with scraps or want things the same direction I need to learn some tricks. She was fairly quick to sew up. Her facial features were just some leftover wool felt scraps from my stash.

Don’t be put off by my little adventure with her she is a fantastic toy. She is a nice size too, great for cuddles, now I want to be a 3 year old so I can have one too.

Cassiy

 

Eel Softies

I do love it when an idea in your head works out the way you hoped it would.

I have made another version of the Flosstyle Spiral toy and again I have made it a little different to the basic pattern. Last time I turned it into a snake this time I turned it into eels well to the point Parramatta Eels and have created two little Erics. If you are not familiar with Rugby League in Australia there is a team that’s mascot is an eel called Eric, I have a work colleague who is a devout fan of the team so this year when she finally became a Granny I thought it was only fitting to make her grand kids little eels.

I followed the basic pattern but omitted the ribbons. Once I joined all the circles which formed each side of toys together I created stripes down each piece using a twin needle, on each piece I marked where to stop so the lines would be even on each side. The yellow fabric I found in my stash and I just had enough to do all the pieces. The wool felt on the eyes came from my scrap stash, using pearl cotton I did a French knot in each pupil before I stitched it to the toys. The mouth is done in regular embroidery floss using a back stitch, I didn’t mark it this time I just eyeballed it.

Once again I left multiple stuffing gaps in the toys not just the one just suggested in the pattern. The spirals can be very tricky to stuff and the multiple gaps allowed you to stuff smaller sections which made it much easier and I think quicker. I used interfacing on these ones too which made it a little bit stiffer than the first time I made this so the stuffing smaller sections was a must on these.

This week the toys were given to the new Granny and she loved them. She couldn’t believe that I had made them. She has already given one to the first grand child’s parents who are excited to put it on their pram, the other eel is ready to be given to her next grand child later this year when they arrive. I had a lot of fun making these. I looked at the mascot and thought of how can I recreate this. I thought about ways to do the stripes down the side so they would stand out. I loved the challenged and even I really don’t like the team I do like these little guys.

Cassiy

Fabric Covered Headbands

fabric-headbands-1

Last year I got a pattern to make fabric covered headbands and this year I have finally made some.

fabric-headbands-2

The pattern is by Arjay Creations. I made the slim line version of these so my fabric covering was the same size all around the headband. You can make them so they are wider in the middle. This is great scrap busting project as all of the fabrics used came from my scrap stash. To stitch them I used a mauve coloured thread as it was contrasting to all the fabrics used. These will be added to the gifts of four girls, on 2 of the headbands I have used leftover scraps from previous projects I have made the same girls. I like it when I can repeat a fabric in a different gift for the same child, they might not notice it but I do.

fabric-headband-inside

Even though the pattern said to measure your pattern piece against the headband as some are of different lengths I didn’t so my fabric tubes were too long. Easy fixed once the fabric was on the headbands I top stitched the opening gap closed then folded over the excess fabric and hand stitched in to the inside of the headband. Your hair covers that part of the headband so you only see it if you take it off.

As a kid I was a big headband wearer so I really like these.

Cassiy