My Grace cardigan

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I’m such a dreadfully uncommitted knitter.  I love planning and starting but I have finishing issues. Consequently I haven’t attempted a grown-ups garment in quite a while. But when I spotted the lovely Grace pattern in early 2016 I got swept up with enthusiasm and knitted up a storm for a several weeks. I was watching Lost (and the young Ian Somerhalder 😋 ) and staying up too late for just another row… Then of course the enthusiasm waned, as usual, for both Lost and the knitting, and by April I’d stopped half way through season 3, and stuck my lovely cardigan in a cupboard. Just 2/3 of a sleeve and a rib band short of finishing.

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I finally picked it up again a couple of weeks ago and am so pleased to have finished it up just in time for Me Made May.

It knit up pretty smoothly with just a couple of mistakes. I did the sleeve decreases in line with the top of where the underarm sleeve stitches were picked up instead of in the middle, which means they’re towards the back of the sleeve instead of under the arm, but no one would notice but me. And I miscounted the button hole spacing so they’re too close together at the neckline.  It doesn’t matter though, I’ve left the buttons off the top as I’d never be likely to do them up anyway. They’re gorgeous buttons.  I searched three shops to find them and am very pleased with the outcome.

 

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I think this cardie will be the saviour of my Me Made May since I don’t have many me made jackets or knits. If you haven’t heard of Me Made May check it out on So Zo’s blog.

I’m all enthused now to start another knit.  Here’s hoping I can finish it quicker than this one!

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Winner of Tardis Top Giveaway

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I’m delighted to announce that the winners of the Tardis Top Giveaway are Tegan and her daughter Clara. Tegan said:

That is amazing! My daughter’s name is Clara, named after the most recent companion, and my name is Tegan, who was a companion in the 80’s. To say we are obsessed with Dr who would be an understatement! Clara would wear this top everywhere!

Tegan can you please send me a message with your details and I will pop it in the post to you. Email is : thesedaysarefew at gmail.com

I know your little one is too little to care too much what she’s wearing but I hope you enjoy seeing her wear it 🙂

R2D2 in glittering gold

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No it’s not subtle, but it is awesome! And better yet I got to embarrass my children in public at the midnight Rogue One premiere late last year. This skirt required 3.2 m of specialty print from Spotlight and no pattern. Pre-washing fabric is pretty much a belief system for me, but this time I didn’t because I wanted the crispness and body of the fabric just as it comes off the roll. The gaudy gold surface print also helps its stiffness but I think it will be droopier once it’s washed. I may or may not wear it again so I didn’t want to go to too much trouble with zips or buttons and decided on a simple half elasticated waist, of the sort you often find in children’s clothes (elastic at the back, flat waistband at the front). Because it was a last minute decision to make it at all, I sewed it the evening of the event I was wearing it to, so time was of the essence. I had cut it out the previous evening but started the actual sewing about 6pm.

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Trying not to laugh at the cat antics
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Wrestling with Miles tabby cat

I had cut four panels, the full width of the fabric x 75cm long, and a waistband long enough to fit over my hips (I cut the waistband the width of some nice wide elastic I had in the drawer). The plan was to have the front of the waistband sit flat, with elastic inserted into the back, so I needed the front section to fit my waist measurement and the rest of the waistbands’s length to be in the back – after I joined the waistband into a loop, I marked the front centre, and the two side points accordingly.

I might decide to sell the skirt on Ebay later so I did make sure it was finished nicely, and sewed the four skirt panels together with French seams. I then marked the skirt into four equal sections with the marks halfway between each of the seams, so that the seams would be offset from the centre lines. I gathered the skirt to the waistband, wrong side of skirt to right side of the inside of the waistband, matching the marks. Since the back part of the waistband would get pulled in further by elastic, the back gathering didn’t have to get pulled in as tight as the front gathering.

It was all going so smoothly up to this point that I thought it was going to be over and done with in two hours flat, but of course I managed to put the waistband upside down with poor R2D2 standing on his head! There was about an hour of sulking, trying to convince myself I didn’t care, and popping out for take-away chicken and chips, but I knew it would bug me if I didn’t fix it, so after some sustaining tastiest-chicken-and-chips-in-the-world from our local shop, I unpicked and regathered the right way up. The one thing I should have done and didn’t think of, was to interface the front part of the waistband. It sits ok but would have been better interfaced.

Once the skirt was gathered onto the waistband, I ironed under the seam allowance on the other edge, and turned the waistband to the outside. I pinned it in place, then stitched just the back section  from one side point to the other, stitching over the previous seamline very close to the folded edge. I threaded a piece of elastic through the back waistband and tried the skirt on, adjusting it to a comfy fit, then sewed vertically across the waistband at the side points to anchor the elastic. Finally I stitched the front section of the waistband in place, and did a twice folded small hem on the bottom of the skirt, meaning all seams are enclosed.

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It was so much fun wearing this to the midnight screening. As I mentioned in my previous post I wore it with a black t-shirt, and a C-3PO brooch made from a lego mini-fig. There were heaps of people dressed in Star Wars cosplays – lots of Jedis and Vaders, some storm-troopers, a few Leias, plus many Star Wars t-shirts, quite a few amazing props like pilots’ helmets and cardboard ships, and a surprising number of space buns on both men and women. I wasn’t expecting to love this skirt so much, but I’m really pleased with it. So much so I think I might make another version in a more mainstream fabric. I did think I’d sell it after the one wear, but I’m finding the thought of parting with it is harder than I expected so maybe I’ll hang onto it and wear it to the next Star Wars premiere.

Doctor Who Tardis top – Giveaway

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Yes that’s right, a giveaway! To celebrate the new season of Doctor Who which starts tomorrow, with a new companion no less, I am giving away this newly sewn item. Leave a comment below, or leave a comment on my instagram giveaway post (fionatelford-sharp on Instagram) saying why you would like a lovely toddler size 2 Tardis top, and I will choose a winner and announce it on Friday 21st April. If you’re a sewist I would love it if you also followed my blog or my instagram.

So why am I sewing size 2 toddler clothes when I haven’t had a toddler in my life since 2010? Well it all started with this amazing Doctor Who Tardis fabric from Trisha’s Fabric Store. The fabric was quite expensive – it took me until my third visit to commit, but when I did I bought some plain blue as well and whipped it up into leggings. I am totally in love with the leggings in their Tardis-y awesomeness (separate blog post still to come when I can be bothered taking some photos).

I was then left with a dilemma – enough leftovers of the gorgeous, expensive Tardis fabric to make something for a child but not for an adult or larger kid, and my kids are all of the larger kind now. And I couldn’t bear to see it go to waste, so the obvious solution seemed to make a small child’s top and give it away. I have to admit I now have an inkling why elderly ladies often spend their time knitting baby matinee jackets and bootees. I’d forgotten how satisfying, and relatively quick it is to sew cute little toddler clothes.

So if you’d like it, leave a comment, and I hope you win. I took it down to Target this morning and compared it and it’s a good match with their size 2 clothes. It has quite a high neckline and is lightweight t-shirt fabric. The colour was hard to photograph but is somewhere between the brightness of the outside shots and the washed out inside shots. I’ll post anywhere in the world. If you’re interested read on for the sewing details.

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This is an Ottobre pattern, coincidentally from 2010, when I last had a toddler – magazine 4, pattern 5 ‘Loikka’. The fabric is cotton/ lycra knit. I knew I was planning to pass this on to someone else’s child so I made an extra effort at the finishing on the inside, top-stitching most of the seams with a double needle then trimming away the excess at the back. (How’s that for priorities, my own children get the slap dash efforts). The pattern called for ribbing at the cuffs and collar but I’ve just used the plain fabric itself, which worked well. I’m super pleased with how neat the finish is where the neck binding tapers next to the placket.

The Tardis applique has vliesofix ironed on the back then is ironed onto the garment and stitched down with a narrow zig-zag. I was going to do buttons on the placket but was a bit stymied when I remembered Spotlight are now only selling buttons in expensive packs of 5 or more, for at least $5 a packet. It’s a bit of a rort, if you ask me; surely a small blue button shouldn’t be more than 20c each? Anyway I did find some loose ones at Trisha’s but then discovered I had some snaps in my sewing drawer which look great – winning at hoarding sewing supplies 🙂 It makes me smile to think eventually a cute little 2 year old child of Doctor Who fans like me will get to wear it!

 

 

 

Felted bag

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I’ve been wanting to make one of these for ages and have been keeping my eye out for a suitable woolen jumper. It needed to be pure wool labeled hand wash only in order to felt nicely.  I finally picked up the perfect one at Goodwill for a few dollars.

First I put the jumper through a soapy hot wash in the washing machine. Then I tumble dried it. It came out nicely felted.

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FB_IMG_1491394969269I found some nice scraps that match well for the pocket and zip linings and lined the body of the bag with some leftover grey corduroy. I always think a strap looks more professional if it has at least a bit of metal hardware on it somewhere and I had the perfect piece in my drawers.  The strap’s a bit stretchy but otherwise I love it, especially all the pockets!

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Blue Sailboats

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Quick post of a dress I made just before Christmas. It’s funny I don’t think this dress is the most flattering thing I own but I’ve worn it a lot this summer.  I wore it to my uncle’s 80th in Sydney, and have worn it quite a lot to work on hot days – it’s quite heavy fabric but I think it might be a linen cotton mix as it feels very comfy in the heat. The weight of the fabric means the pleated skirt has a bit of body and flares nicely. And it is most excellent for cycling in because it’s heavy enough not to blow up and show ones knickers!

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The pattern is actually a complete hack of the pattern I made my bicycles dress from.  The bodice of that one is a cross over but it fit so nicely I just overlaid the pattern pieces and used them for this one.  Then the skirt is just randomly pleated by me until I got something I was happy with. It doesn’t really wrinkle like that in the back, that’s just me posing weirdly.

There’s a side zip and  lapped press stud closure hidden inside the side pleats, modeled on the pattern for the other vintage dress I sewed recently. I like this better with a cardie than without so with the heavier fabric I think I might continue to wear it a bit in winter with tights.

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Good dog

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I used to have an awesome t-shirt with K9 from Doctor Who on it, it was black, with a silver K9. I wore it to death, and sad was the day when I had to consign it to the bin.

So then I bought a new, yellow t-shirt from Red Bubble, with a nice big K9 on it, but it was kind of yellower than I thought. Very, very yellow. Almost gold in fact (which is what the colour is called so I kinda should have expected it), and I only wore it about twice. At the same time I bought the t-shirt I bought some amazing striped fabric from Spoonflower to make a long sleeved t-shirt to wear under the yellow K9 shirt, but we know how that t-shirt worked out. This afternoon I decided to hack the yellow shirt and make a new version with the stripes. It’s turned out to be my new awesome K9 shirt. Recognise the stripe colours?

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The pattern is Ottobre 5/2008 Raglan t-shirt. I traced the size that matched my bust measurement but when I looked at the pattern pieces they looked too small, so I checked and the t-shirt bust measurement was going to end up with about 8cm negative ease! Being too lazy to trace a new size I just enlarged it when I cut it, placing the pattern pieces about 1cm away from the centre folds, and also adding 1cm to each side of both body pieces. I held the sleeve pieces on my arms and they looked way too small too, so I also added about 2 cm in width to those at the underarm, tapering to the actual pattern width after the elbow. I don’t know what Ottobre were intending but the sizing seems a little weird on this one. My fabric is quite stretchy but I wouldn’t have wanted it cut as small as the pattern.

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I had 1m of fabric but the repeat of the stripes is quite a long way apart, so even with that much fabric for a t-shirt, I had trouble fitting it on and matching the stripes. I got them to match at the side seams, but couldn’t make them match at the raglan sleeves and still fit them on. So I shortened the sleeves to bracelet length to fit them on and have them at least match each other. I think they look fine though with the raglan sleeve seams not being colour-matched. I did the neck band in the traditional way of seaming it into a circle, folding it with wrong sides matching, and stretching it to fit, which I like for this shirt but did make it difficult to judge how long it needed to be. It was too long the first time and bagged out at the neck so I had to unpick and redo. I like it now though. I used a double needle to do the narrow hem on the sleeves and hem.

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K9 himself has been appliqued using Vliesofix. I cut him out of the t-shirt with a few mm of yellow showing, ironed him onto the striped shirt front, then machine zig-zagged all the way around him with a narrow stitch. I agonised over where to put him but I think he’s ended up slightly too far to the left. Never mind. In case you didn’t work it out, the stripes are the pattern of the scarf worn by the Doctor who was played by Tom Baker. He was my first Doctor when I was a small child, watching the Daleks from my spot hiding behind the lounge!

Orange Firebirds – Sewing the 70s

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I have no idea what sort of birds these are! But I was crazy about phoenixes in the 70s (Phoenix and the Carpet anyone?@?), so I’m pretending they’re phoenixes, ie firebirds, since it sounds cool.

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Jazz hands!

Excuse the weird photos.  The light was odd, so I tried fiddling with the settings on my phone camera. Which really just made it worse. So I tried to fix the overexposure in editing, even worser.  Then I had daughter #1 taking photos, and she kept trying to take them from her navel, aka looking up my nose. And it was blowing a gale.  Oh well, you get the picture.

I looove this fabric.  It’s from  The Needleworks at Marion and is a beautiful quality stretch cotton sateen. I coveted it the instant I set eyes on it but resisted initially as I’m not exactly short on fabric at the moment. Then I went back quite some weeks later and it was still there, which was clearly a sign, right? Plus it was on sale the second time so really that’s two signs…

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Chic chicks.

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The pattern is from 1977, picked up at on op shop recently. I wanted to choose a fairly basic style that would allow the large print to be seen and this fits the bill. The bonus is that it also fits the criteria for the ‘Sewing the Seventies’ challenge from Steely Seamstress.

The tunic looks pretty much like the picture except that I added in splits at the sides and finished them with bias binding, plus added a longer hem to give the lower section a bit more weight at the splits. I love the pockets in the picture but didn’t want to spoil the print this time.

The points at the neck were too high initially so I took them down about 3cm. And I also used bias on the sleeve hems.

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The zip is a bit of a fail since the only orange one I had was shorter than it was supposed to be.  I used it anyway, but realistically it hasn’t made it easier to get on and off and I could have done without it completely.  The only consolation is that the pattern stripe matching on the zip is kickarse, if I do say so myself.

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When I cut it out I was focusing on the pattern up near the face, so was quite chuffed when I realised that the pattern placement at the hips almost looks like a belt. I now have something orange to wear for Harmony Day which is coming up soon. And I even picked up a couple of bangles that match perfectly for $1 each when op shopping. My (also thrifted) jeans are looking a bit tired. I think a lighter blue pair would look nice with this. What do you think? An excuse to buy more fabric?