It is not very often I do this but I have made an item of clothing from scratch in one morning and couldn’t wait to put it up on here. A top in a morning.
So a little background story. Last weekend in Sydney we experienced some unseasonally warm weather for September and it made me start thinking back to how hot the nights were last summer. If we are getting high temperatures at night in spring then we are in for another hot summer. I sleep in cotton knit t-shirts and in summer can go through several a night as I have don’t have air conditioning and don’t like to sleep in damp shirts so I am changing them all the time as I wake up sweaty (I’m being brutally honest here)
I was going to draft a pattern from an existing shirt I had but instead in my stash found a pattern that I am in the process of making another item from (the dressing gown) Kwik Sew K4088 is a men’s pattern but who says females can’t wear the items. Again being honest I don’t sleep in a bra and I am not tiny I need big comfortable baggy shirts to sleep in. From this pattern I view B but used the neckline of C, I wanted short sleeves with a round neck. This pattern was super easy to make this style with as the pattern pieces are the same for both views you can just choose the neckline or sleeve length you want from each pattern piece. I made size XXL, I thought it may be a little bit big but it is perfect for me.
I was worried about the neckline being too big but I am really happy with the fit. With the exception of joining the 2 ends of the neckband to form a circle I constructed it all on the overlocker (serger) I have a couple of tiny puckers in my neckline but I am not bothered by it. I found it fairly easy to attach the neckband whilst using the overlocker.
To reinforce the shoulders the pattern said to use fusible tape, I had a looked at one of my current shirts and it only uses a scrap of fabric so that is what I used too. For me as I am really fussy I would start scratching if I had fusible tape on my shoulders so the fabric is perfect. I pinned the fabric scrap to the back of each shoulder and then stitched the shoulders together as per the pattern.
Once the top was all stitched together I wasn’t sure if I would bother hemming it or not. I decided to just overlock the edges but instantly hated it. On one sleeve I have started removed the stitches the other I will do in the next day or so.
The bottom hemline is the same I am not happy with it and will remove the stitching. The stitching seemed to distort it and stretch it all out. On the arms I think the stitching would annoy me and you don’t really need it. This isn’t a fashion item this is a I want to sleep comfortably item.
I am over the moon with how this turned out. The fabric I used was a cotton knit I found in my stash and I have already pulled out extra fabric from my stash to make more this weekend. This is a great fitting top for me. I think in a nice print I think I could even use this pattern as a regular summer t-shirt pattern for me. It doesn’t necessarily look like a PJ top it is essentially a t-shirt pattern. This was a really easy and quick top to make and I literally did everything in one morning (traced out the pattern, cut the fabric, stitched it up) Don’t you just love it when you find a great pattern like that.
Another Christmas gift completed.
I was planning on making a dinosaur tail earlier this year for a gift for this child but the fabric I had chosen wasn’t suitable, it was a stretchy knit type fabric and I thought it was going to end it tears if I tried to use it. The pattern I used was a free pattern by Running With Scissors, it is a great little tutorial to follow. I think I pinned this on Pinterest years ago and hadn’t got around to making it until this year.
I did do a couple of modifications to the original tutorial. Instead of doing straps that go around the waist to hold it in place I used cross grain ribbon. I wasn’t sure the size of the child so I didn’t know if the straps in the pattern would fit him. I thought by using ribbons it can be tied around him no matter what he was wearing or how he wants to wear it (he could even wear it on his head if he wants) The other modification I did was inside the spikes I used a fusible interfacing to stiffen them. I’m not sure the exact one I used but it like a heavy Vilene, I have used this before in bag making and fabric buckets. The spikes are still flexible but hold their shape. The easiest way I thought to add this was iron a flat rectangle piece of interfacing to the spike fabric first and the follow the rest of the tutorial. I used pinking shears to cut the spikes once they were stitched. My spikes are a little bit shorter than the pattern and that was due to the size of the scrap of interfacing I had. When your making something you make the rules and this dinosaur has spikes that don’t go to the end of his tail. The fabric is regular homespun I brought at the local shop, I was happy to find these colours as I had it my mind to be something like this. The ribbon I found in my stash that happened to match perfectly, I did seal the ends of it with a match to stop them fraying. I also had a to add a touch of fray stops to one of the spines as it didn’t fully catch in the seam but it should be ok.
So who says you can’t make these for adults. Ok so this one doesn’t exactly fit me but if the ribbons were longer I think it would. The finished size of this one is around 23″ long (it will be fun trying to find a bag big enough to post it off at Christmas) You could make it any size you wanted by following the directions in the pattern and adjusting your fabric. This was really quick to make so perfect for those last minute gifts or for a kids sleepover or when the kids are board and want to make something.
The first of my 2017 Christmas gifts have been finished.
For a pair of siblings I decided to make matching Hipster Teddies. One of the testers who made this toy prior to its release in issue 15 of One Thimble magazine made the teddy in a check print fabric and it looked good. Recently I was able to find check fabric in 2 colourways at my local shop and I thought it would be perfect for these bears. It really was a case of buy the fabric, prep it in the washing machine as soon as you get home, cut out the pieces the next day with these bears. In my felt scrap stash I was able to find all the facial features so they matched too.
The fabric isn’t a quilting cotton it is more like muslin or a linen perhaps. It is a lighter fabric and the weave isn’t as dense as a quilting cotton. It wasn’t so open weave that I needed to use double layers on all the pieces but I was worried it would fray as I stitched it so I cut out all my pieces with my pinking shears. This ended up serving 2 purposes.
- The fabric didn’t fray as I worked with it so I didn’t have hundreds of little fabric fibres on the floor
- I didn’t need to go around and clip all my seams after I stitched them.
I’m going to cut my pieces out with pinking shears again I think as it was a big timesaver. I did have to clip into a few inner curves and cut away excess fabric from my seam line when I stitched in the limbs but that is only a couple of snips.
I added pellon inside the ears again to make them squishy. If I am not stuffing the limbs or the ears I like having the pellon or wadding in that section just to plump the area up. Toys are meant to be cuddled and I like them to have that inviting feel that makes you want to snuggle up to them.
These bears were a really easy project to make multiples of. I cut each bear out at once. Where possible if the fabric is non directional I fold the fabric so I have 4 layers and cut out any pieces that way, if your fabric isn’t thick as you long as you have enough pins it is easy to do. On these bears I used black thread and chain pieces all the ears and limbs. I knew the machine would eat the fabric so at the start and end of each seam I placed tearaway stabliser underneath it. None of my pieces got caught in the feed dogs and it only took seconds to remove all the tiny bits of paper from the stitching when I was done.
2 gifts down more to go!
Last weekend I talked about how I have lost my sewjo and maybe what I needed was to spend some time at my sewing machine working on something simple, well that’s exactly what I did.
There was so many projects I thought of doing but I ended up making a drawstring bag. Drawstring bags are very practical for me as I can always use them. In my stash I found some fabric already washed and ready to go. Earlier this year I brought what was remaining on the bolt of this button print fabric. I had no idea what I would do with it but I knew it would get used somehow. The bag is a little longer than originally planned as when I was cutting it out I forgot to trim the length down that’s ok because it still very usable.
The bag is fully lined in the same fabric as are the casings and drawstrings. The casings and drawstrings were very easy to make. For the cases I folded the raw edges in 1/4″ and slip stitched them closed by hand. I attached them to the bag with a triple stitch to add strength. To make the drawstrings I folded the raw edges into the center to enclosed them and top stitched together.
I am going to use this as a project bag for my knitting. It will easily fit a couple of balls of yarn, needles and a project in there. I can see myself making a lot more drawstring bags for knitting on the go bags in the future. I think I mentioned it before but I use a canadian crutch (forearm crutch) to walk with, when I am knitting out and about I often hang my project bag off it or if I have a backpack on I hang my project bag via a clip I have. Drawstring bags are perfect for this. Next time however I don’t think I will make fabric drawstring instead I will just use ribbon. Also I may not bother lining the bags instead just doing the seams on the overlocker. These two changes will make the bags lighter.
I actually feel like sewing again so I think my sewjo is back!
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.
Ahead of making miss 5 a gift this year I asked her mum what she liked at the moment and the answer was Rainbows so this is the gift I have come up with.
The theme rainbows could take any direction, if you do a google search the ideas are endless. Sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming so I started to think about the patterns I already had in my stash and remembered the Kawaii Felt Purses pattern from One Thimble Issue 13 had a rainbow version of the bag so that is what I went with. The rainbow panel is done in applique, the hardest part was deciding what colours to use, yes I was singing “I can see a rainbow” as I making this.
With the exception of the handles which are made from cotton drill the bag is made from 100% wool felt. Wool felt is stronger than acrylic felt and so I thought for a bag it was a must. I followed the pattern to make this bag but put a twist on it. I turned the front rainbow panel into a pocket on the outside of the bag. When I attached my layers to together I stitched the rainbow panel into the bottom seam and part way up each side. I did hand stitching on the arc part way on each side to attach it to the main section of the bag. As a result you can see a small amount of hand stitching on the inside of the bag but I am not worried about that.
For my handles I used some drill I had in my stash. The pattern didn’t have these types of handles in it so I made it up. I folded the width of the fabric in half and cut a 3″ strip across it. I then trimmed down this 3″ strip until it looked about long enough for a small handle, as it was folded I ended up with 2 handles. I folded each strip into quarters to enclose the raw edges and finished off the short ends (must write a tutorial on how to do these) I only did a single row of top stitching on each handle but they are narrow so you don’t really need more. I stitched the handles to the outside of each bag because I thought it helped the bag sit better.
I cut all my pieces out from sheets of wool felt. To give my gusset piece a nice neat finish where I joined two strips to make the length I opened the seam flat then top stitched around it. Now you hardly even notice it. All my machine stitching was done in mono poly thread so it less visible.
I am really happy with how this bag turned out. It ticks the rainbow box. I enjoyed making this bag. I hadn’t sewn for some weeks and it was a great project to start back on.
I don’t often send projects to the naughty corner for a time out but I have decided to on this toy.
This pattern is by a designer which I have made many of her toys before and loved them but this pattern just isn’t working for me at the moment. I had gotten to this stage couple of months ago and never got back to it. I don’t know what it is about this pattern but for the moment I don’t have the enthusiasm to finish it. I have had this pattern for many years in my stash and have never made it and now I am thinking I know why… It isn’t screaming out “make me finish me” like other toy patterns have done. This was due to be a gift for my niece and I have come up with plan b (a different owl pattern) This one shall sit in the naughty corner and eventually I will finish it off and donate it to Softies for Mirabel. I hate seeing waste and if I was to just bin it (which I could never do) this would be a waste of fabric, wool felt and time so I will just set it aside for now. I’m trying to keep sewing fun for myself so I have decided if I don’t find the project fun or love it I’m not going to sew it. I’m sure this project will be fun one day but just not a the moment.