Sunday, 4 January 2015

Knitting and Sewing (and a few other) thoughts for 2015

I've decided that 2015 is going to be a frugal year in terms of spending money on 'things'.  I'm not going to buy any clothes at all, nor anything else unless it is a replacement for something which I already have which has broken irreparably, or worn out, and which actually needs to be replaced.  I'm hoping to end the year with fewer things and more space in my house!

This decision also means that I will be knitting and sewing entirely from stash - and that includes patterns as well as yarn and fabric.  I have more than enough to keep me going for at least a year (unless by some miracle I suddenly start knitting at the speed of light, or only sew multiple repeats of the same pattern - which I probably will, but I also want to branch out a bit as well).  This year I also want to tackle my box of clothes which need mending or altering - possibly alternating one new make with one recycled or renewed garment.

Recycled photo - the mending / alterations box is the one at the bottom (the top one mostly has leftovers in)

On the knitting front I intend to keep on knitting cardigans for me and jumpers and cardigans for my grandson.  I've just reread this post and hope some of the plans I blogged about will come to fruition but the reality is that there will always be other yarn/pattern combos that jump to the top of my knitting queue.

For sewing, there will be more dresses, and I'd like to use more of my vintage patterns for these, both the poufy-skirted ones and those with a more fitted silhouette.  There will, I'm sure, still be more versions of Emery, Elisalex, Anna, Butterick 5748 and New Look 6824 though - and mash-ups between them - because having made a few of them now they are quick to sew, I really like them and they will be easy to make up when I need a quick dress.  I also want to make some separates and maybe tackle sewing with knit fabrics - although I don't have any in my stash.  There is a grey and black Phase 8 dress in the alterations box though which may be my knit sewing guinea pig and become a top.

Another thing I'd like to do this year is trace more of my patterns so that I can cut the fabric in one layer rather than folded.  I can be very picky about pattern placement and lining up polka dots, and it's much easier with a single layer of fabric.

I also want to tackle buttonholes and master my overlocker - I've bought a craftsy class which I hope will help with this.  Finally I would also like to learn more about fit - I should actually read the books I've bought on this subject!

And that's it really, no concrete plans other than to make what I want, when I want and to go where my mojo takes me. 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Unselfish sewing

No posts for weeks and then two come along at once!

This is a skirt which I made for my mother in November last year.

Abstract print wool skirt

The fabric is lovely, it's wool which she bought in Marche St Pierre in Paris a few years ago, so I had to be careful with it as there was no chance of getting any more!  Sewing with wool is definitely outside my comfort zone, I'm happy making cotton dresses, but this was not as easy to sew with and frayed easily.  However, I love the colours and fortunately there was no need to worry about pattern matching the print, other than making sure I cut all the pieces out the same way up.

I used Simplicity 3688 for the first time, I will be sewing a skirt for myself from this and also possibly the trousers at some point.  I didn't really follow the instructions because I used an invisible zip, and also, because time was short, I just put poppers on the waistband as a temporary measure until I have the time to work out how to use the buttonhole feature on my sewing machine.

I initially made a toile out of navy lawn (white lawn dyed in the machine with dylon) to check the fit, which fortunately was fine.  I unpicked the waistband from this and used the skirt pieces as a lining.

My mother really likes this, and I must get round to finishing it off properly with a button and buttonhole on the waistband.

Round up of my knitting and sewing year - 2014

A bit late to the party for this, but I've enjoyed reading other bloggers' round-ups, so here is mine!


I've knitted three cardigans for myself and two for my grandson (all blogged).  I've also knitted him two jumpers and a hat.  And that is the sum total of my knitting output in 2014 - not really very much!  The second jumper is another incarnation of the striped Debbie Bliss pattern I blogged about here, just different colours and a larger size.
Another Debbie Bliss striped jumper

And the hat is from the same Debbie Bliss book - a straightforward 1 x 1 rib with a pompom on top.
Debbie Bliss baby hat

I've also knitted the body of a cardigan for me, but still need to knit the sleeves.

Another Toshsock cardigan for me

I spotted this pattern either on bygumbygolly's blog or instagram feed, can't remember which now, and decided that I really wanted to knit it - I bought it from Subversive Femme on etsy.

However, I wanted to use 4-ply wool (from my stash of Madeline Tosh sock yarn) so I haven't actually followed the pattern at all, I've just used the lace pattern instructions - which I charted because I find it much easier to follow charts than written instructions when it comes to knitting lace.

I don't really enjoy knitting sleeves, but they do provide an ideal opportunity for TV knitting, so I plan to sit down with a boxed set or two and just. get. them. done.  And since they will be top down once the sleeve caps are done the knitting will get quicker because I'll be decreasing steadily down to the wrists.


I completed 21 dresses, all of which I've blogged about except this one.
Christmas trees Emery

My sister and I had a day visiting various London fabric shops back in November (at least I think it was November - it was whenever the new Islington Sew Over It had their opening weekend) and I spotted this fabric at Fabrics Galore in Clapham.   It isn't on the Christmas section of their website so I don't know whether they still have it.  I've bought from them before at shows - they've always had a great selection of fabric and really friendly and helpful staff and I was very pleased to find that the shop was just as good - a treasure trove in fact, and I bought three more dress lengths and a couple for my sister too as an early Christmas present.

The dress is an Emery by Christine Haynes - a great pattern to show off a print because of its clean and simple lines.  Nothing to say on the construction front - it's a straight size 6 with no modifications made, although I traced the front bodice and front skirt pattern pieces so that I could cut them on a single layer of fabric rather than on the fold and be picky about pattern placement.

I also made a skirt for my mother which I haven't blogged yet - details will follow.  :-)

I finally sewed a couple of dresses from my vintage pattern stash which goes from one extreme - unprinted, just cut tissue with holes, to the other - printing with seam allowances and all sorts of other instructions on the tissue, far more detail than current patterns have in fact.  The two I have sewn from fall into this latter category, but I aim to use some of the others in my 2015 sewing.

Overall, I'm very pleased with what I've made this year - I've really enjoyed both the knitting and the sewing.  I've also joined instagram and pinterest.  It's been great to follow other knitters and sew-ers on instagram and meeting up with some in real life has also been good fun and is something I'd like to continue with in 2015.  I have yet to do anything with pinterest though, I suspect it may be an enormous rabbit hole...