Cosy Stripe Blanket

I think this blanket has made a couple of cameo appearances on my blog now.  Then again, I have been working on it for years.  Literally.  Years.  I think (it was so long ago that I can’t even remember!) I bought the blanket kit in 2014 sometime, so it’s been at least two years.

It’s been a bit of a love-hate relationship.  Well, mostly hate.  I like crocheting, but not as much as I like knitting.  Mind you, I bet if I’d knitted a blanket this big I’d have been ripping my hair out just as much with that.  Let’s take a look at some photos before I tell you the whole sorry tale.

I got off to a rocky start with this one.  I crocheted about a foot before deciding my tension was off, so that got unraveled, I sorted out my tension and started again.  Then, I had a bit of an episode at the start of summer (2015, I’m guessing) when I got far too hot while I was working on it and thought I was actually going to faint (dramatic!), so it got pushed to one side until winter had come back around.  Then, after I’d picked it back up again, I did about another foot before realising that I was doing it wrong and my blanket was starting to lean to one side.  This is what happens when you put something down for too long – you forget what you’re meant to be doing.  Anyway, I figured out what I was doing wrong and decided I’d have to cope with having a slightly wonky blanket (a design feature!) rather than unravel a load of it again.  And then it sat in a corner waiting for its border for months.  Phew – it’s been quite the journey for us!  Anyway, fiiiniiished!  I finished it just in time to take it glamping 🙂  My friend and I (hi, Becky!) went to a wigwam to celebrate my 30th (yep, I’m old now) and I had to take this with me, right?  Worth all the effort, don’t you think?

The pattern
The pattern came in a series of blog posts over on Attic 24.  You can find all the posts here – scroll towards the bottom of the post for them.  You could, of course use your own colours, or use as many or as few colours as you want.  If you’re new to crochet though, I would maybe start with a cushion – this might put you off for life.

The yarn
I got all the yarn I needed in a kit from Woolaballoo.  If you live in the North East I would strongly recommend a visit – so many beautiful yarns.  They’ve since stopped doing these kits and focus solely on British yarns made from natural fibres, but you’ll find the Stylecraft Special DK almost anywhere.  And you could, of course, use a different yarn, but bear in mind you may need more or less of it (probably more).

The cost
I can’t even remember now.  I think it was about £25 for the kit.  £25 and a lot of time!

P.S.  Glamping is my new favourite thing!  It has all the best bits of camping – cooking over fire, being out in the wilderness etc. – with the added comforts that proper camping just can’t guarantee you, such as warmth and a comfortable bed.  We went to a lovely place in North Yorkshire called Humble Bee Farm.  It’s not far from Scarborough and Filey, and there were some nice walks around the camp site.  They have some animals on site as well, which is nice.  We had a great time!  Turns out we’re not too bad at the cooking over fire thing – we kept ourselves well fed for the weekend anyway.  And once the fire was going it was warm enough to sit outside, even in January.  I dare say I could quite happily live in a wigwam 🙂

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#OWOP16 – Bettine no. 7

Right, it’s time for some real experimenting now.  A couple of weeks ago, I spotted a hack of Bettine on Instagram that was just the skirt.  It had been re-jigged it somehow so that it had a waistband, and it looked really great.  ‘Who is this genius?’ I hear you saying.  Her name is Helen, and she can be found on Instagram at @helenmenzies – please go check out her makes.  I asked how Helen had done it and she was kind enough to share, so I owe this project entirely to her – it’s not something I would ever have thought to do myself.  Here is Helen’s lovely, sophisticated Bettine skirt.

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My skirt on the other hand is more on the outrageous side, as you can see.

You’ll have to forgive me for camouflaging in the photos.  Unfortunately everywhere around my house is green.  Well, not unfortunately, usually I don’t mind that at all, but it did make getting photos of this skirt problematic.

The fabric: a slightly outrageous choice, no?  I have a gorgeous brocade-style fabric that I think would be perfect for this skirt, but learning from my disastrous Bettine top hack, I decided not to plunge straight in with the perfect fabric.  Now, this green stuff has been sat in my stash for a while now.  I got it from Resourceful Restoration, a vintage and antiques furniture shop.  Every now and then there’s some fabric up for grabs and I managed to snap up 2.5 metres of this for £20.  I think it’s quite an old fabric, as it’s only 90 centimetres wide.  I was drawn in by the colour and print – I love greens, and I love florals.  The thing about this fabric is that it’s textured.  It has a flocked/velvety/velour feel to it – I guess it was originally some sort of furnishing fabric – so I wasn’t sure what sort of project it would be suited to.  Eventually, I just decided that if it wouldn’t work for a simple skirt it probably wouldn’t work for anything at all.  I decided I’d try for a wearable toile, but I’m not sure how wearable it is.  Thoughts?  Is it too weird?  Anyway,  I do like the shape of the skirt, and this hack has been far more successful than the last one, so I’m going to go ahead and try with my brocade fabric (if I have enough…).

The pattern: a mash up of Bettine and Delphine (even the names sound like they belong together!), both from Tilly and the Buttons.  Delphine is from Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch (which is brilliant, by the way – highly recommend) and you can see my non-hacked Delphines here.

Modifications: yes, I had to make quite a few.  Firstly, I needed to figure out how to make the two patterns work together and redraft them. Additionally, I added a side zip and a waistband.  I didn’t put pockets in this one – I didn’t think they’d work with the fabric.  I’m going to put a tutorial (of sorts) of this hack at the bottom of this post, so scroll down if you want more detail 🙂

The cost: just the fabric, at £20.  I have some left though, but I’m back to wondering what I could make from it…  I used a zip that was given to me and I already had the thread.

Although I’m unsure on my fabric choice, I’m really happy with how this turned out.  In the right fabric it would be beautiful.  It’s like a tulip-meets-pencil skirt in shape, and I think it would be lovely in woolen fabrics for winter.  We’ve hit September so I’m all over the winter sewing now!

And with this, I come to the end of #OWOP16!  What a great idea One Week One Pattern is – it’s great for showing off a pattern’s versatility and encouraging sewists to be abit more adventurous with hacks.  I’ve loved seeing everyone’s creations, and I’ve added about fifty patterns to my wish list.  I huge thank you to Cinderellis Sews for hosting it this year – it’s been a blast!
How I did it

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  1. I traced off the front skirt piece of Bettine onto some new tracing paper.
  2. I drew a line 1.5 centimetres down from my Bettine waistline – the waist seam on Bettine is 3 centimetres, and Delphine’s is 1.5, so I needed to even it out somewhere.  This would be my new waistline for Bettine.  I think I could have started further down if I wanted to, as long as the side seams met up somewhere.  Helen’s skirt looks shorter than mine, and I wonder if that’s why – but it could also be that I’m only 5’2″.img_2451
  3. Then I needed to trace off the top part of the Delphine side seam onto my new Bettine piece.  I already had Delphine cut out, so I placed that pattern piece on top of my new Bettine piece, lining the top centre fold corner with the corner of my new waistline.  I traced the Delphine waistline and side seam until it met up with Bettine, as pictured.img_2453If you have not already cut Delphine, I guess you could place the new Bettine piece over the top of Delphine (1.5 centimetres above the Delphine waistline) and trace it off from underneath, if that makes sense?
  4. I trued up the new curve where the two patterns met with my dressmaking ruler – as you can see from the above picture they met at a slightly funny angle.img_2454
  5. Finally, I cut it out and labelled it properly so I’ll know what the heck it is next time I’m rifling though my Bettine envelope.img_2457

And then I sewed it up using this new pattern piece for both the front and the back and the Delphine front waistband piece.  I mashed up the Delphine and Bettine instructions.  I used the Delphine instructions for the waistband and zip (except that I put the zip in the side instead of the back, because I’d omitted the entire back seam), and I followed the Bettine instructions for the hem.  I think next time I sew this it will be super-quick.  Even with all the technical stuff it only took me a few hours, so next time I’ll whiz through it 😀

#OWOP16 – Bettine no. 5

I’m combining stash busting with re-fashioning with Bettine number five 🙂

The fabric: I used leftover dachshund jersey from my Agnes top  for the bodice.  I won this fabric in a giveaway hosted by So, Zo… and Girl Charlee UK.  I still love it, it’s so soft and comfy.  I paired it up with fabric from a beautiful, coral corduroy skirt I found in a charity shop.  Always look out for fabrics you like in charity shops even if whatever it is won’t fit you – this skirt was far too big for me, but it had masses of fabric so I knew I’d be able to hack it apart and make something else.

Modifications: yep, a few.  Again, I made all the relevant changes for working with jersey outlined in Tilly’s blog post for the bodice.  The corduroy skirt was panelled, so I ended up having to panel mine.  I have two front pieces and two back pieces, and centre from and centre back seams.  It’s really easy to make your skirt this way – just add seam allowances where the fold lines are on the pattern pieces and cut two front and back pieces, instead of one front and back piece on the fold.  I hope that makes sense.  Once they’re sewn together, you can treat them in exactly the same way you ordinarily would.  The other change I made was to make ‘pocket bags’ because I didn’t have quite enough fabric to get full pockets.  As a result I have half corduroy pockets and half cotton pockets.  Again, to do this, I just split my pockets in half and added seam allowances to each piece.

The pattern: trusty Bettine.

The cost:  I already had everything I needed except the skirt, which cost £3.  Bargain or what?!

#OWOP16 – Bettine no. 4

More stash busting today!  I’m not doing too badly with this de-stashing resolution.  Marking the halfway point of One Week One Pattern 2016, I have my jersey Bettine.

The fabric: a red ditsy floral from Fabric Godmother, which is now out of stock.  It’s a lightweight jersey with a nice drape, so works well for the pattern.

Modifications: the ones Tilly suggests for making a jersey Bettine in this blog post.  You have to swap the neckline facing for a neckband and omit the pockets (the only downside to this dress).  I also decided not to have cuffs or tabs, and simply turned the sleeves under.  As with Bettine number three, I didn’t use zigzag stitch, and it seems to be okay.  No adjustments needed to be made to the size because of the style of the dress – no working out negative ease and all that jazz.  Another perk to not adding pockets is that it made it a super-quick sew.  I think I made the whole thing in no more than four hours.  Plus, I paused for lunch and to watch a couple of vlogs.

The pattern: Tilly and the ButtonsBettine.

The cost: just the cost of the fabric.  I got two metres for £18.  I used less than 1.5 metres for this version though, so the leftovers have gone to my sister 🙂

#OWOP16 – Bettine no. 3

After making two Bettine’s exactly as the pattern suggests I decided it was time for a bit of experimenting – this one is half jersey and half denim.  Not only that, but I’ve done some stash busting too, making this a really cheap sew.

The fabric: leftovers from other projects.  I got the striped jersey from Plush Addict ages ago and it was leftover from my Coco dress, and the lightweight denim was rescued from a disastrous (I mean, disastrous) attempt at a jumpsuit.  I had enough denim left for the front skirt piece, but I had to cut two pieces for the back from the trousers of the jumpsuit.  This means I’ve got a centre back seam, but that’s okay.  I used more fabric from the jumpsuit for contrast cuffs, pocket linings and facings.  How very frugal of me!  It was a bit challenging making the stretchy jersey and denim go together nicely, but with a bit of gentle persuasion I managed it.

The pattern: Tilly and the ButtonsBettine dress.

Modifications: yes, a few.  Tilly outlines various changes you should make when making Bettine from jersey in this blog post.  I followed her instructions for the top half of the dress – for me, it really only meant I had to swap out the neckline facing for a neckband.  I didn’t actually follow some of the usual rules for sewing with jersey, such as using zigzag stitch, because the garment isn’t form fitting and doesn’t need to stretch while you’re wearing it, so I didn’t think it would matter.  It seems to be okay so far – hopefully I won’t live to regret it.

The cost: I was tempted to label this a free project, because the chances of me rescuing the denim from that ghastly jumpsuit were very slim.  However, I did probably use about a metre of denim (maybe slightly more), so I will include that.  It was this denim – £7 per metre from Fabric Time.  I already had everything else though, so it really did only cost me £7.

By the way, I completely forgot to take any photos to document the epic disaster that was the jumpsuit (this jumpsuit), which I’m really angry at myself about.  It’s a lovely pattern, but there were two problems.  Firstly, an incident with my overlocker meant that I put an enormous hole in one of the trouser legs.  I could have cried real tears, let me tell you, but I decided to persevere and try to make a wearable toile, shortening the legs to get rid of the hole and have a shorts-style play suit instead.  However, it didn’t take long for problem number two to become apparent.  To say I had crotch issues would be the understatement of the century.  I’m short, so I would always expect skirts to come up a little long and crotches to sit a little low.  A little low.  However, this particular crotch was sagging about three quarters of the way down my thighs.  I’m not kidding – it was ridiculous.  I do really like it, so I’ll be giving it another go at some point (this time I’ll toile it properly!) and report back.  You live and learn, don’t you?

#OWOP16 – Bettine no. 2

Today, I have my second take on Bettine for One Week One Pattern 2016 🙂

I love version two of Bettine as much as I love version one.  I made it in exactly the same way – with pockets, cuffs and tabs – but it didn’t take as long, as I’d already adjusted my paper pattern pieces to fix some fitting issues with the first one.  I can see this is going to be along and happy love affair.  Bettine is pretty much everything I want from a pattern.  It’s easy to sew up, it pinches in at the waist, and it has lovely big pockets.

The fabric: a lovely, bird print crepe, which was another bargain from the Textile Centre.  It was £3.99 per metre – it’s no longer available on their website, but it looks like there’s a small amount left in their eBay shop.  It has a tiny bit of stretch to it, but not enough that it was difficult to work with.

The pattern: Tilly and the ButtonsBettine, of course.

The cost:  I bought two metres of fabric, but I already had everything else I needed.  I used buttons from my stash, leftover from my Delphine skirt.  I already factored the cost of the pattern into yesterday’s post, so this dress only cost me about £8.

And on to version three…

#OWOP16 – Bettine no. 1

Is anyone else taking part in One Week One Pattern 2016, hosted by the marvellous Cinderellis Sews?  You can find out how to take part here.  I’ve wanted to take part since 2014, when it last took place, but I just didn’t have enough made by then.  I vowed to jump on the OWOP bandwagon at the next opportunity, and here it is 🙂  And if you really manage to impress, you may even win a prize!

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The pattern I’ve chosen is the Bettine dress from Tilly and the Buttons.  I love this dress!  I knew I would as soon as I saw the pattern.  It’s got everything I want from a dress – it looks stylish but easy to wear, it looked like a fairly simple sew (no darts, no zips etc.), and above all, it has those marvellously ginormous pockets – it’s all about the pockets for sweets.

The fabric: an absolute bargain viscose from the Textile Centre – there’s none left now I’m afraid.  There was a ‘slight imperfection’ with the roll so they were selling it at £2.99 per metre.  It really was slight – a single line of damage across the weft in just one area (from the selvedge to maybe 4 inches in), which was very easy to avoid.  I ordered three metres, but I’m fairly certain I got more like four – perhaps it was the end of the roll.  Anyway, I have two metres left and I don’t think I could have got a whole dress out of one metre, so I think they sent me a little extra for whatever reason.  Thanks, guys! It was a bit tricky to work with because of the drape.  Having said that, it’s way easier to work with than any of the other floppy fabrics I’ve used.  I’d say viscose (it might be called rayon across the pond?) would be a good next step fabric if you want to move on to something more exciting than cotton.

The pattern: another great pattern from Tilly and the Buttons.  I know I mention Tilly and the Buttons a lot, but the patterns really are brilliant.  Bettine is no exception.  The instructions are so easy to follow, crammed with pictures so you have a good idea of what you should be doing, and Tilly usually does a sewalong of new patterns on her blog too, so you can find all sorts of useful tips on there.  I did the version with pockets (obviously!), cuffs and tabs.  It was my first time adding cuffs to something and that went quite well.  I did it wrong the first time – my own fault because I didn’t read the instructions properly (d’oh!) – but I was surprised at how easy they were, and they certainly make the dress a little more interesting.  The hardest part, as it says in the pattern, is sewing the elastic channel – because of the way it’s sewn, you can’t see any of your seam guides on the sewing machine, but I took my time and managed it with minimal wonkiness.  A huge thumbs up from me for Bettine 🙂

Modifications: just one.  Despite loving the pattern, I did notice while I was sewing that it had quite exaggerated curves around the hips.  It was a deliberate style feature, but I suspected it wouldn’t look so great on my body shape.  I’m quite hippy as it is, so I don’t need to accentuate them in any way.  I decided I would make it, wear it once or twice, and see how I felt about it before meddling with the pattern.  I knew I’d be able to take it in quite easily if I needed to.  I wore it to work once, but by the end of the day I was very aware of my hips.  A couple of days later I decided I’d shave some of that excess curve off the side seams.  Now, it’s perfect 🙂  I will wear this a lot!  I’ve altered my paper pattern pieces for next time and I already have fabric lined up for Bettine take two.

The cost: I think I used around two metres of fabric at £2.99 per metre.  The paper pattern was £12.50 (the PDF is £9.50 if you’d rather).  I already had the thread I needed, and I used some leftover self-cover buttons from my picnic blanket skirt.  That makes a grand total of £18.48 🙂

Silk Cami hack

One of the many great things about sewing is that when your friends are having a clear out they often ask whether you want anything for refashioning purposes before heading to the charity shop.  That’s how this dress came to be.  A friend of mine gave me some clothes to look through and I came across an Aztec print maxi dress.  I’m too short for maxi dresses, as a general rule, but the gathered skirt had masses of fabric and I liked the print, so I knew I’d be able to make something out of it 🙂  It took a while to decide what I wanted to make – the fabric has quite a lot of drape so I knew it couldn’t be anything too structured.  Then, as I was packing for my holiday a few weeks ago I had that ‘Eureka!’ moment.  I wanted a simple shift/cami style dress to take away with me.

What do you think?  Pretty good, no?  It was nice and light for my holiday, but because it has black in the print I can wear it with black tights for work.  I’ve decided it’s still a tad too long though, so I’m going to take it up before I wear it again.  Serves me right for trying to be lazy and reusing the hem the first time around.

The pattern: a hack of the Sew Over It Silk Cami.  I love this pattern – there’s a front, a back and the facing, and that’s it.  It’s so easy and comes together really quickly.  Plus, I got to use the all in one armhole and neckline facing trick from the Sew Over It YouTube channel, which is possibly my favourite technique I’ve learned so far.

Modifications: just lengthening the pattern.  I didn’t even need to change the shape because the top is designed to be loose fitting at the hip anyway – I just continued in pretty much a straight line until it was the length I wanted.  Oh, and because I reused the hem it’s just straight at the bottom, whereas the original pattern has a curved hem.

The cost: I donated £10 to Mind, which was the charity my friend was choosing to give her clothes to.  I got three items though, so let’s say this cost me £3.33.  Can’t argue with that 🙂

It’s got me nicely in the mood for Portia Lawrie’s the Refashioners 2016!  Anyone else taking part?

Stash Update

Guys, it’s time for some serious stash-busting!  I have been vaguely aware for a while now that my stash has been getting bigger and bigger, and while I’m aware that compared to some I really don’t have big problems, I decided it was about time I plucked up the courage to go through it all.

It’s all thanks to Zoe, off of So, Zo… What Do You Know?, for putting me onto the Cora app in one of her recent posts.  You can see Zoe’s post for more information about it, but basically it allows you to take photos of your fabrics and input all the information relating to each piece, such as fabric type and length.  Sort of like cataloguing for dressmakers – librarian by occupation, librarian by nature.  Anyway, it’s awesome!  All you need to know about your stash on your phone to carry around at all times.  Great stuff 🙂


I discovered that I have 28 (gasp!) pieces of fabric large enough to make into something.  28 possible garments!  So, I am once again vowing not to buy any more fabric until I’ve made a notable dent in this lot.  I say this just as I’m planning my next trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate.  Must.  Stay.  Strong.  Until Harrogate, anyway.  There’s just no way I’m going to make it through a whole Knitting and Stitching Show without making at least one purchase, is there?

I have a few projects line up for my stash already.  In fact, I rarely buy fabric without at least having some ides of what I might make, so I can match most of my stash up with patterns.  So many lovely things to make, so little time!

There is just one thing I know I want to buy before Harrogate.  You see, I’m already talking myself out of this, am I not?!  I’m finally feeling brave enough to make my Papercut Patterns Watson Jacket.  Well, ‘brave enough’ might be stretching it a little – I’m feeling obliged to make it before another autumn and winter come and go.  I’m still terrified, but I really am going to have to attempt it sometime.  I’ve had the fabric since my trip to Harrogate last November, and my lovely friend very kindly gave me the pattern for Christmas last year.  I had high hopes of roaring through this make and getting some wear out of it last winter, but I took one look at the pattern and scared myself.  But it can’t sit around forever, and now I’m hoping to have it done for this autumn/winter.  I may have to toile this a couple of times, so the sooner I get started the better.  Anyway, the point of all this is that I’m going to need to buy fabric for the lining of said Watson Jacket.  Other than that, I’m going to try not to be tempted by any other fabrics.  Wish me luck – I’m going to need it for both the jacket and fabric abstinence!