I knitted a hat!

I knitted a thing!

I think this takes it to 2 finished projects in 5 years
🤣

I needed a new Winter hat for quite a while as I have one I was bought which a) isn’t very warm and b) I don’t especially love. I also have ear muffs for when it’s super cold – which is has been recently!

IMHO you can’t go wrong with a massive bobble on a knitted hat! It’s maybe a little big – I even already trimmed it down as it was really really massive!

This is the hat pattern from Learn To Knit, Love To Knit, which is also the book I used for my only complete jumper I’ve ever made! It’s in only one size and it turned out fine for me – and I guess you can fold it up more or less if your head is smaller or bigger than mine!

The fact that the hat is entirely ribbed also means there’s room for expansion/shrinking if required.

I used yarn from Lauren Aston design and I did kind of want coral yarn, to pick up that colour in my scarf, but I couldn’t find anything in that colour in the right weight so I went with my standard favourite mustard.

If you’re interested in knitting at the moment (which I weirdly am even though I notoriously get enthusiastic and then lose that enthusiasm approximately 10% into any project) you may know that it is very hard to buy supplies at the moment – I kind of love that people are turning to these kinds of hobbies in the lockdowns. It meant I couldn’t get a circular knitting needle which the pattern suggested, though, so I knitted it flat and sewed up the back seam – and you can’t really see it!

The last couple of weeks have been so cold I’m glad I can basically have only my eyes showing so the rest of me can be warm!

I definitely feel like I want to do more knitting and maybe super chunky wool and needles (meaning fast progress) is the way for my interest not to wane? I think I’ve been spoiled by how fact you can make something if you sew it that I maybe don’t have the patience for knitting any more? I really want to knit a huge blanket – especially a simple one as I wouldn’t necessarily have to concentrate on the pattern (which hurts my brain after a while). Are you knitting all the things during lockdown?

 

 

Arden Sweatpants for lockdown living

So this is going to be what I look like for the next couple of months (or more) after the announcement yesterday that England is going back into lockdown. It’s absolutely the right decision but to be completely honest I’m pretty embarrassed to be British right now. Brexit is a total disaster and we’ve cocked up the pandemic worse than probably every other country except the US.

So to celebrate more time sitting in my house, I’ve made more sweatpants. I actually made these back in October and wore them during the November lockdown and now they’ll get loads more wear!

I used the Arden pattern instead of making more Hudsons because while I like the Hudsons I made, they are a little on the snug side, especially the cuff, so I thought I would use the Arden pattern as I prefer how high-waisted it is. I know True Bias released a hack to make the Hudsons higher waisted but I’m lazy and had the Ardens already ready to go.

I made the size 6 as before and should have really looked at Helen’s excellent tutorial on making the Ardens into joggers. In particular I very much fudged the cuffs. I tried the original version with the elastic option but I only had narrow elastic and it looked really weird. I also didn’t want the cuffs as narrow as on the Hudsons so I kind of did somewhere in between the woven original Arden cuff and the Hudson cuff. They are probably a bit loose but also they’re much easier to get on and off so I’m not going to change them (also who wants to have to unpick overlocking if you don’t have to!?).

Both lots of fabric were from Fabric Godmother – I ordered it after I realised how much wear my Hudsons were getting and thought ‘I need more sweatpants in more colours!’ I went for black and mustard and they are both super soft and comfortable. It was their organic sweatshirt fleece and was really nice to sew with.

The cording was from Minerva Crafts, as was the case for the Hudsons I made but I must have chosen the wrong item because this stuff is like plastic whereas the stuff I ordered before was really nice. This is like tent guy ropes – not great. I’m definitely going to try to order some replacements. Helen doesn’t include a drawstring in her blog post but I used the Hudson instructions and made the button holes (with interfacing to reinforce them) before attaching the waistband.

Part of Helen’s blog post is to add the edging to the pockets which I did anyway as it is one of my favourite design details on the Hudsons. I used the Hudson pattern piece as a guide for the width and then lengthened it to span the whole pocket edge.

I didn’t foresee these getting so much wear to be honest, but COVID is here to stay for a long while yet I think so I’m very glad I’ve got comfortable options in my wardrobe, as well as all the jeans I made last Summer.

Are you feeling inspired to make more lounge wear given us all being at home looks unlikely to change any time soon? I’m not sure I would have considered myself someone who wore sweatpants before the pandemic but comfort (and warmth) is the most important consideration for me getting dressed at the moment – and when I was working in December, these are ideal to change into (out of jeans) when I’d get home! I’m a total sweatpants convert!

 

 

White Melilot Shirt

Wao another shirt (I hear you all crying!). I can promise this will be the last shirt I post here for a while! I planned this shirt as an alternative to my white Archer for playing in the brass band I play in (white shirts are part of our uniform). Little did I know when I was planning it that I wouldn’t be playing for almost a year! But you can never have too many white shirts in my opinion.

I still really like the shape of the hem of the Melilot. It also doesn’t have a yoke so it’s a good pattern to start with if you’re wary of venturing into shirt making.

The fabric is not the best quality to be honest. It’s certainly not as nice as the stuff I used for the archer. It feels and sounds shiny and crinkly which makes me think it’s definitely got some synthetic fibres in. I bought it with a voucher I won at Sew Brum a couple of years ago I think (it’s literally the only time I’ve won anything). It was from Clothspot which I had never heard of before (and haven’t shopped with since, embarrassingly). There were slim pickens for things I felt would work in my wardrobe so I got this white fabric and some fabric for trousers, which is also pretty synthetic feeling (though I haven’t sewn them up yet). I think that’s why I like to stick with the same few online fabric shops I’ve shopped with before as you know you’re going to get good quality fabric.

The Melilot as drafted has a rounded collar. I’ve made 3 other versions (see the bottom of the post), all with the rounded collar but because we wear a tie in band I thought that might look a bit odd so I made the collar pointed. I used the collar pattern piece from the archer shirt as the template for the edge of the collar but kept the rest of it as in the original pattern so it would still fit on the stand.

I made the size 38 and, as with my other versions, I made no fitting changes. I made the long sleeved version for versatility of using it in multiple seasons – and I can always roll up the sleeves if it’s especially hot! Though actually if I’m playing a band gig in the blazing sun (as I’ve done a few times) I learnt the hard way to keep your sleeves rolled down to prevent arm sunburn (I didn’t bring my sun cream because I didn’t think we’d be outside that long – also a hard lesson learnt!). A lot of people think I’m overly obsessed with sun cream but, seriously, I can burn in like 10-15 minutes!

Anyway….shirts! I put 2 pockets on because why not.

The top-stitching on this shirt is definitely not my best handiwork (though I didn’t take any close ups) because my machine was having tension issues. I fiddled with the tension to get it better but nothing seemed to work. I gave the little screw on the bobbin a tiny turn and that seemed to help a little but I think it probably needs another service. I’ve had my machine for probably 7-8 years and I had it serviced when we moved to Cirencester coming up for 5 years ago and this year especially it has probably had the equivalent of 2 years of ‘normal’ use when I was furloughed for so long!

I think I’m going to start saving up for a new sewing machine though as I could probably do with an upgrade – though this machine (which is the £110 model from John Lewis) has done basically everything I’ve needed it to do, from coats to jeans, to many many shirts, to sequinned dresses. I also want a new overlocker as I have the Lidl Singer and the tension is always off, no matter what I do – it’s fine for neatening seams but I don’t trust it enough to actually sew seams on it. Which machine do you use? What do you love/hate about it? I think given their not great responses to various members of the sewing community about accessibility information and them seeming to lie about working with disable sewists, I’ll be most likely avoiding Pfaff.

Are you especially obsessed with a particular kind of garment? I’ve definitely got enough shirts for now so I’m going to have to pause my shirt-making.

 

 

Another Nancy Dress

Do you ever have projects that you cut out and then loads of things get made first and the project languishes in your ‘to make’  pile for months? I do. This is one such make.

I kind of felt like I had to make this Nancy Dress (Sew Over It) because I cut it out so long ago. Even though I don’t really wear dresses any more. Maybe I would if I didn’t live in such a shitty, cold country. I’m really grumpy about the weather at the moment, can you tell? I’m really fed up of being cold for 4-5 months of the year so the thought of actually wearing this dress at the moment makes me want to crawl up in a ball and wait to freeze to death.

Too dramatic?

Maybe I’ll be interested in wearing this in Spring/Summer for the 3 weeks when we actually have nice weather in the UK? I hope so as I do like the way the Nancy looks and feels to wear. I made another version in one of my favourite fabrics I’ve ever used but since I stopped working in an office, I don’t think I’ve worn it.

This is another viscose and I bought it so long ago I have absolutely no recollection of from where. I think a light, drapey fabric works really well for this pattern – though maybe something with more body would look cool too as the fullness of the skirt would hold its shape more.

A great bonus of this pattern is that there is no zip to fiddle with – it’s just a button (and I added a loop) at the top of the opening which allows you to get the dress on.

I made the straight size 10, as I did last time, with no changes. I have learnt from sewing for so long that I have a disproportionally small bust compared to my other measurements and having made things that end up tight on my arms /shoulders more times than I can count, I finally realise I should not pick sizes according to my bust measurement, but my hip and waist. Then if the pattern is fitted to a small bust adjustment – which I didn’t do here as the pattern is drafted with a lot of ease and it makes it a comfortable dress to wear.

I do love the fullness of the skirt!

I kind of forgot actually how comfortable dresses can be, especially to sit in. I love all the jeans I’ve made but if I’m spending a day sitting at my sewing machine (for example!) then I won’t put them on as they’re not the best for long-term sitting in. This is an especially comfortable dress for lounging in as it’s so easy to wear.

I’ve only made two Sew Over It patterns and the Anderson Blouse I made got remade this Summer. I think like a lot of sewists, judging by general trends, I started off interested in more retro styles (especially the 60s) and then evolved into wanting to make more every day basics, realising that my lifestyle is more suited to jeans and shirts than beautifully fitted retro dresses so I’ve moved away from the pattern companies who have a more retro aesthetic. Having said that maybe the Nancy is a good mid-way point as it’s still comfortable for every day wear but I still enjoy the slight nod to the 60s.

I managed to catch an outtake of myself with a remote control on my camera – that takes real skill, if I say so myself!

 

 

Blaire Shirt (I have a shirt-making problem!)

I’m pretty sure I kinda said I was done making shirts a while ago (though I think I acknowledged that I had 2 more planned…..this is one of the 2. And then I’m really going to stop, honest!

I’d kinda forgotten about the Blaire pattern (as I was on a Kalle- and Archer-making kick most recently) but I really like it! I’ve made it once before, in peachskin, which is really quite a sweaty fabric so I don’t wear it as much as I could. But I think this one will get loads of wear (once the weather is warm enough for short sleeves (with or without a cardigan).

I again made the size 8 without any fitting changes, though I did leave off the underneath panel which I added last time (I’m still not entirely sure whether the different bottom panels are interchangeable or meant to be used together, and Style Arc’s instructions have to be the sparsest in the business, even more so than the big 4). I did this because my fabric was very limited – I bought I think 3 separate remnants of it from Guthrie and Ghani at the Sewing Bee Live. I knew I would be pushing it to be able to make much but I’m glad I managed to squeeze out all the pieces for this shirt, though I obviously couldn’t fully pattern match but I don’t think it’s too obvious.

I love the little peek of skin on the side from the shape of the side seam – and wearing it with my high-waisted black dawn jeans, the peek isn’t too much for what I’m comfortable with!

As I mentioned before, although the instructions are very limited, this is a slightly simpler shirt pattern than, say, the Archer or Kalle as there is no back yoke – so you don’t have to wrestle with a burrito! And there are no cuffs/ sleeve plackets. So if you’re looking for an easier shirt to try for your first one this could be a good choice. Though I would also really recommend the Archer as the instructions are excellent and there’s a full sewalong on the Grainline blog, including some videos for the trickier parts.

I used plain black buttons which I had in my stash, and I’m amazed how well they seem to blend in in these photos!

Do you have a particular garment that you can’t stop making? I don’t know why I’ve made so many shirts! I’ve got a white Melilot made (I just need to photograph it) and then I really am don’t for a while! I think I might love shirts because often the kinds of fabrics I’m drawn to, I think ‘that would make a great shirt’ if it’s a woven – because I don’t really wear dresses that much and making a plain tee would be less interesting somehow (though I’ve also got loads of those thanks to my Inari binge over the Summer).