Polka dot Coco dress and she’s risking it with lace…

Ok, so she’s been a fair time in the making…but my Tilly and The Buttons Coco dress is finally completed and had her first outing yesterday, just in time for Easter…

The rain finally subsided and the sun came out, as did my daughter and the camera! My Coco took a bit longer than planned, largely, as always, due to time restraints…with my three children and their after school/evening activities and my work plus all the other stuff that gets in the way of sewing time…it’s grabbing minutes here and there! I had to re-draft some of the pattern to allow for the different top and bottom sizes! also made a few boobs which involved unpicking and starting again, and had a bit of a challenge getting my sleeves to fit…but I did it and am rather pleased with the result! I sourced a great large polka dot knit with minimal stretch from Ditto fabrics in Brighton, which I’m lucky to live not far away from! I knew nothing about knit fabric (well, I didn’t, but I do now!) and the fabric I chose was not quite what I thought it would be. It feels like it’s mainly a poly knit? soft on the inside but a tad in danger of being a bit shiny on the outside perhaps…..but then it doesn’t need ironing so that helps!

I’m totally new to knits and never sewn with them before and this pattern is aimed at people just like me so win, win!

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I was pleased with how I managed to lengthen the pattern with little difficulty and it worked!
Next came the tape for the shoulder seams…I didn’t have the proper elastic stay tape so used some ribbon I had instead as suggested in the pattern as an alternative.

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Tilly suggests attaching the funnel collar with the collar seam lined up with one of the shoulder seams on the dress. However, I decided to line up the collar seam so it was at the back of the dress, centrally…make sense?? to me, that was aesthetically more pleasing and avoided more bulk as the shoulder seam with the ribbon tape in the shoulder seams felt a little too bulky attaching the collar seam here. It worked well and when the funnel collar is folded over as you wear it, you can’t really see the seam.

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I have found that the collar does sort of ‘flop’ a bit when I’m wearing it…I’d possibly consider putting in interfacing in future to keep it more stiff and ‘standing’….it could be the fabric is a little too floppy or too heavy…hmmm…not sure, but I saw a Coco that Karen made and she used interfacing, although not for the same reason, but it gave me the idea that this could work to keep the collar stiffer.

I didn’t do the pockets because ideally I really wanted them in a contrast colour but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for so,rather than halt the make by having to find from another source, I left them out. Instead, I decided to experiment with some lovely chartreuse green stretch elastic I had in my stash…

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Does it work? well, getting it attached was the first hurdle…a stretch elastic to a stretch knit…challenge!!! but I did it! With the help and advice from some lovely sewists blogging friends (they’ll know who they are!) I attached using a zig zag for attaching elastic to fabric…I had a few practice runs and didn’t quite have the perfect match thread but it doesn’t look too bad! First I was going to trim the sleeve cuffs and then went the whole hog and decided to trim the hem of the skirt too! Not sure if the hem is too much…haven’t decided yet if I should keep or take it off, what do you think? but the overall effect is certainly different and that’s what I wanted!

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I think this is a lovely dress and pretty straightforward to make. I was SO pleased with my sleeves…it’s the first time I’ve made something with sleeves and probably a baptism by fire using a knit fabric for my first time! Putting them in did require a few attempts at re-pinning…I cut the same size sleeves as bodice but seemed to have too much ease on the bodice and not enough of the cap? of the sleeve to fit! despite all my notches matching! careful re-pinning using a lot of pins and gently easing and stretching the sleeve as I went, and bingo! The finished result was smooth and flat with not puckering and a perfect fit…wey hey!!!!

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I’m not sure if this dress is quite right for me…it’s so comfortable and warm and although I cut a size smaller for the bodice and graduated at the waist to the next size up for the skirt section, it still feels a little big around the bust…I’m not sure I was quite ready to manage altering the bust again with a knit yet, so left it. The dress looks so lovely on so many people I’ve seen post pics and I’m still trying to find the style and fit of a dress that suits me best…I think I prefer a more fitted bodice and fuller skirt for a dress, but that is my personal preference for my short waist and tubby middle! This is a lovey dress pattern and I love the whole 60’s A-line dress look, but perhaps not so much on me…

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This was a dress and make that taught me some new skills…

* I lengthened a dress pattern for the first time by adding an extra 2 inches as apparently this dress does come up quite short
* I re-drafted the bodice to waist to skirt size to fit me
* My first ever sleeves….panic over!!!!
* Sewing a stretch lace to a stretch knit fabric
* Sewing with a knit fabric

All in all I’m chuffed to bits with my achievement…and if you’re new to sewing with knits and considering it, then give this dress a go! Tilly’s accompanying pattern booklet and instructions are brilliant and super easy to understand…as always, with great pictures for guidance. I didn’t use her blog this time for help but honestly felt the tips and instructions in the booklet were ace and I didn’t need to refer to her blog; but it’s there if you need it.

And at the end of the day of her first outing, I rounded it off in true Easter style with some great chocolate Easter cake and a cup of tea…..

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Thanks for stopping by. It’d be great to hear what you think of my polka dot Coco!!

Kate x

This is progress, I’m sure it is…

HaPpY nEw YeAr!!!!

Is this a bit late? well, that’s not unlike me…hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year…so now it’s business as usual. Many of you may already have returned to work but for me that’s tomorrow (the joys of working term time only!) and the ankle biters are back at school too! It’s been all last minute ‘hunt the PE kit’ in the house today.

Having only recently made the promise to myself (NYR) aka New Year Resolution…to knuckle down and actually make those clothes I so want to this year, I’ve not got much to show and tell, other than projects on the go or in the pipeline!

So, without further ado, here are a few….

Crochet
My adorable children, 1,2 & 3, bought me some yarn for Christmas…I’ve made a lovely chunky headband for my eldest with one of the balls of yarn and now her friend (in the Netherlands) wants one…so have chosen this Barbe à Papa of a yarn (French for Candyfloss don’t you know!) as she loves baby pink! Excuse the terrible photo quality as it’s so dark all the time…

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Almost finished it but need an extra ball of yarn for the last piece!! So annoying as my daughter’s worked with the one ball!!

But look at what I have to use to
crochet with…

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What a wonderful Christmas present!! A full set of hooks all the way up to a size 10 in a gorgeous red aluminium…my favourite to crochet with…and in a polka dot case!!! I was thrilled with this!

My Anna dress toile is making slow but good progress, but as yet I’ve no fabric for the real one…I thought I had but it wasn’t enough…boo! So I need to choose something. In the meantime, I’ve started on my Miette Wrap skirt from the lovely Tilly and The Buttons…

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It took me a while to piece the printed pattern pieces together as I’ve not done this before but it weirdly was quite enjoyable!! I’ve got some great fabric so watch this space……

I made another of Tilly’s fake fur collar for another friend, which is her free downloadable pattern available here
•**•free pattern•**• and is super easy…actually need to make mine!!!

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Again, please excuse the picture quality…even with the flash on it’s so dark in my house at the moment!

The last project in my queue is my Simplicity 2451 skirt that I’ve just found some material from my stash to use. I love this skirt! Well, at least on everyone else I’ve seen it on it looks gorgeous…I’m hoping that I’ve not got some warped sense of thinking it’ll look good on me like it does on other women…will have to see! I’ve got a suitable zip but am now considering one in a different colour for a slightly more unusual look…if you like that exposed zip in a contrast colour thing, which I do!

So, I have quite a bit to be getting on with for now…and somewhere, somehow, in between working, three school children and their homework, after school clubs, taxi service, rabbits, dog etc etc…I will make time to sew!!! Even if it’s the odd hour here or there, I’ve promised myself this year…because sewing makes me very content..yes, it can be frustrating…but learning a new skill and making something is progress…rewarding, relaxing and with a great sense of satisfaction. I’m dedicating my Friday day off work to giving myself at least an hour of sewing time…stuff the hoovering!! I’ll take over the kitchen for a bit of self indulgence.

How often do you get to sew? do you have a dedicated sewing space?

So here’s to a positive start to 2014…chin! chin!

Kate x

Crochet tea light jar cover….am I the oldest teacher’s pet??

Today was the end of term for my two boys….they have been coming out of school all week laden with bags, books, cards, and more books! Most importantly they each won a class year medal…one for ‘effort’ one for ‘citizenship’ their faces when they showed me….so proud of themselves as am I!

I was given a gift by one of their teachers….a beautiful butterfly lavender! I’m a lavender lover, a lover of lavender….

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The scent is gorgeous…..

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It is always very touching to be thought of like this, especially when it’s unexpected as we’re normally the ones giving the presents!

I find this whole present idea quite a challenge. What do you give the person you’ve perhaps only met a handful of times?

I decided to buy one thing and make one thing….so the make one thing was this crochet jar cover….and it was very well received I am happy to say!

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I found the pattern and fantastic picture tutorial over on Lululoves do take a look at this blog…photography is wonderful, beautifully presented, packed full of helpful information and some brilliant tutorials! This jar cover tutorial also has a pdf version to download. Just click on the link Lululoves for her brilliant picture tutorial.

Whilst talking about crochet…for any of you new to crochet or even thinking about starting or just love reading and sharing with other like minded people about crochet, take a look at this fantastic crochet event taking place online, Crochet Camp 2013 and get involved. It’s been running since beginning of July and is ongoing, with advice, support and tutorials and projects for you to follow at your own pace; everything from basic stitches to type of yarn….There’s also a Facebook page, so take a look!! Whoops, I digress!! where was I? Oh yes, my jar cover…..

I used a Debbie Bliss cotton yarn in a sort of nude pink? for the jar cover. It is easy to use and creates a lovely finished stitch and helps to bring out the shell pattern. Unfortunately I didn’t get time to take pics with a tea light in and lit as it was broad daylight! I’m really pleased with finished result though, especially the lovely ribbon trim I had lurking around in my stash!

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It’s been another warm hot and emotional day for many children and parents whose children are leaving school to move on to secondary school. This evening brought a welcome cooler temperature and breeze and as the sun was setting the sky was amazing, a ‘beau ciel’ filled with an almost, explosion of clouds of different shapes and sizes….wonderful….can you see the one that looks like it has tentacles??

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What has today brought for you? Have you had to run the gauntlet of the end of term teacher’s presents? What are you planning for the school holidays?

Kate x

Fun, Fabs and a pretty Gathered Bag

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Mini Fabs in the garden were the order of the day today….boy has it been hot! Even the dog was drinking out of the paddling pool….sensible boy!

Fun time spent at my sister-in-laws at their biannual Village Fayre…there was a dog show, falconry displays, competition tent….best ginger cake, best rhubarb, best single rose……

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‘Tequila Sunrise’ single rose 1st prize went to my lovely sister-in-law….well done lovely lady!

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Marvellous. The WI tent, band, and even the ‘Green Barrows’ the most hilarious but talented group of men in red overalls, and Biggles goggles and headwear, charging around with green wheelbarrows in formation! Set on the village green…a brilliant afternoon.

It was my sister-in-laws birthday so I decided to make her a present, I much prefer that personal touch. She’s a cloth bag kind of girl so I chose this lovely bag to make from my local great independent fabric, wool and haberdashery shop The Owl & Sewing Cat that stocks great patterns for all sorts of home accessories and bags, clothing, children’s and baby accessories….do take a look. They also stock wool and gorgeous fabrics and supplies as well as running sewing workshops. Anyway, back to my bag. I purchased the pattern from The Owl & Sewing Cat and this is The Gathered Bag and it’s rated as an intermediate level. I chose a lovely Elephant print hot pink fabric for outside of bag and a sage stripe lining, finished with grey ribbon trim and hand made bow.

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Gathered bag lining

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Ribbon trim and hand made bow

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The finished bag!

Really pleased with this. It took me longer than I thought….largely because I started it at a Sewing evening in Lewes. A friend invited me to this monthly event of like minded sewing lovelies….each bringing along a sewing project they were working on, a pinnie, a child’s dress, hankies, cushion, and my friend was making this gorgeous Cath Kidston ‘Stitch’ pattern quilted bag….I’ve yet to see her finished item but it was looking fab! Anyway, a lovely evening, however, I’ve realised it’s easy to get distracted in a big group…so I missed cutting out a pattern piece for starters and I cut it incorrectly and spoiled the fabric….had to later seam two pieces together to get the ‘fold’ I needed back for the missing piece! Yikes! Still, I saved it, but after a discussion with my friend we both agreed that sewing is often a solitary past time, filled with concentration and thought and maybe we need to learn to talk less and focus more if we do the group thing again!!! I had to catch up the next evening as a result of my distractions!! Although we plan to start our own ‘Drop Everything & Sew!’ (think that’s what we’ll call it) evening in our home town!

Do any of you take part in group sewing nights or days?
What have you been up to this hot weekend? Any crafty projects in the making?

Crochet granny bunting triangles…..it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s June….but there’s always room for some of these to inject a bit of cheer….ooh, and a Cub camp blanket!

Goodness, it has been a long very long time since my last post… I’ve been very preoccupied with all sorts of things and not had much time to do too much on the creative front.

We very sadly and very unexpectedly lost our darling little French lop rabbit, Myrtle…….

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Such a shock….we’d not had her long and she was only 3 months old. I was more taken by surprise as to how upset I was, and for days…..but then if you have animals they do become part of your family and that’s the way it should be. The children were so sad, particularly my youngest son. So we brought her home and buried her in the back garden beneath the raspberry shrub….mini crochet bunting was made and a little pot of pink faux flowers….and the children popped little shells in with her, collected from our holiday last year in Brittany, each individually kissed as they were placed next to her. I am constantly amazed at just how beautiful children can be in thought and word and deed….

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The picture quality is awful and doesn’t do it justice. They made a little willow arch (as she loved to nibble away at this). It didn’t last too long as the heat of the one day of warm sun we had quickly wilted it but hopefully the little bunting will last longer….

This brought me to having a go at some normal size bunting, crocheted granny triangles, to be precise, as the mini version was so sweet. I’d seen this pattern over at pinkfluffywarrior and loved her designs especially with the flowers added. So I decided to have a go at some and was rather pleased with the results….what do you think?

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Quite pleased with these even if I do say so myself! They’re a great stash user upper and evening/pool side time passer….I’m just going to keep making them as I fancy and see where they end up….probably my daughter’s birthday?

Meanwhile, the middle one had a Cub camp last week. Cub camp blankets are a must but they’d all sold out, everywhere! So I decided to make one. It would be bigger, far lovelier and personal and he was SO happy with it!! Result!

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I even personalised it with his initial! It’s a gorgeous teddy fleece material which I bound the edges with a suitable ‘cub’ colour! Tricky to sew as very thick fleece and boy, the fluff it shredded everywhere! Still, it was a resounding success as was the camp! One happy smokey smelling boy returned home happy, if not a little grubby!

Enjoy your weekend…..whatever you’re up to, K x