This year I’m going to make 2 cloth books as gifts for a 2 year old. I have made cloth books a few times before, they are a great gift to give toddlers as they can’t rip the pages and it doesn’t matter if they chew on them. Over this Easter weekend one of the tasks on my “todo” list was to make a start on them.
In the past I have followed patterns to make them but this time I’m just making everything up. They are really easy to do without a pattern. For my pages this time I’m using white calico with a piece of sew in medium interfacing behind each one. In the past to stablise the back the pages I have used different vlieseline products, I have a roll of sew in interfacing now so I just used that as it isn’t too thick. I cut my pages 9.5″ x 10.5″ it will give me a nice size book, perfect for small hands. On the sewing machine I have tacked each page and lining piece together. I used the basting stitch setting which is probably a stitch length of 5 on my MC 11000 as I know that is the longest stitch length that I can do. I will remove the basting stitches after I finish each page.
The books I am making are colours and numbers. I used my sizzix cutting machine to cut all the pieces out of wool felt. I just realised that I never cut the pieces needed for the 2 front covers but I will do those pages at the end and will cut more. One of the cutting dies I have is numbers but I will trim some of those as they have a curved shape at the end of them and I don’t like that look. On the colours book I will free hand write the colour and embroider of over. I will hand sew all the pieces on to the pages. I don’t need these books until August so I have given myself plenty of hand sewing time to do it, mindless tv work so easy to do. Now that I have sorted my embroidery threads it will be easier to find the colours I need too!
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”
This dress is another pattern from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics, it is a variation of the basic Peak T-Shirt and is the pattern used on the front cover of the book.
When I was sewing my way through this book this dress was one of the pattern variations I thought I would like to try at some point, it looked comfortable and face it who doesn’t want to wear a t-shirt disguised as a dress.
For a couple of weeks I kept going on Zebra Fabrics website to look at this one geometric circle print in their remnant section which from memory was around 1m in length (give or take 20cm) I really liked this fabric but had no idea what I would make with it as it was a smallish piece, I could squeeze out a tank top but my fear was bad pattern placement and I would end up with giant circles on the centre of my boobs (that could be embarrassing) One day brainwave I thought outside the circle (or in this case the geometric circle) I could team it up with other fabric and make a t-shirt dress.
The fabric is a lycra cotton knit, from Ruby Jam Fabrics I brought some black lycra cotton knit which is roughly the same weight (plus I wanted to try out their black lycra) My initial thought was to only use the remnant in the skirt portion of the dress but thinking about how much fabric there was I decided to use it on the sleeves and collar first then use the remainder in the skirt adding extra length with the black fabric if needed.
Looking at my list to consider when clothing making
- Comfort √
- Classic √
- Creative / Quirky √
- Natural Fibres √
This dress is ticking the list 100% The cotton lycra knit fabrics means it is very breathable and comfortable. Style wise it is a simple no fuss dress but using the geometric fabric in the creative way I have has just changed it around it a little adding a bit of interest. I really thought about the construction of this dress and I had never really done that before with clothing.
I opted not to put elastic around the waist to pull it in as I thought the elastic might annoy me a bit. Admittedly it does make it look a bit baggy as is, perhaps I should’ve graded down in the skirt portion to make it a little slimmer. I’m not actually too bothered by this as I have been wearing a jacket or jumper over the top which pulls the fabric in anyway. I’m toying with the idea of adding belt loops and making a simple belt or even stitching the side seams a little even though I have already worn this a heap of times. The neckline is a bit baggy at the back, I really think I need to start doing the rounded back adjustment but I’m actually trying to correct my rounded shoulders by exercise at the same time. When you have a jumper or jacket on you can’t tell anyway that the neckline is baggy.
I love this dress, it has turned out the exact way I planned it out in my head. The remnant piece was destined for this dress, for me there is no other better way I could’ve used it. I also got to try out another pattern from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics (I really do love that book) This pattern I would make again, it was really easy to do and as mentioned I have worn it heaps which is always a good sign.
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.