Fluormania Socks Finished

The second Fluormania sock in this pair was put on hold to get my dad’s pair done in time for Christmas. I picked these up again in the new year and the second sock is now finished.

fluormania finished (1620 x 2160)

To get them to match I made sure I started the second sock in the same colour position as the first sock. My daughter actually mentioned how she likes that they match properly, so my effort wasn’t wasted!

The yarn is Regia 4ply Fluormania which I bought from my local wool shop. (I can’t find a link to the actual colour on-line). I thought the colour was way to bright to start with but it soon grew on me and the finished pair are fab. I knitted on 52 stitches with a 1×1 rib at the top and a 2×2 rib for the leg and instep. My only wish is that I knitted them longer. I did measure up to the knee but I under estimated how much they shrink down when stretched around the width of the leg and also I’m always worried that I’ll use more than half for the first sock and run out of yarn. But of course I had loads left so could have knitted longer, though I did add an extra bit of length to the foot to allow for growth.

I feel like I have mastered the toe grafting ‘Kitchener stitch’ and can do it without looking at it written down every 5 seconds.

Out of left overs from other sock yarn I knitted a pair for the toddler, not such a success. They did just about fit but the length of the foot could have been longer. He’s also just moved up a shoe size so the window of wear for these was about 2 weeks. But since I’ve finished his sister’s pair he has had a renewed interest in them.

little ones finished (1368 x 1824)

I knitted these on 40 stitches, if I do some again for him I’ll do 44 and definitely knit the foot with some growing room.
Despite not really being a success I did enjoy knitting them, at times I felt like the shoemakers wife from ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’
little socks in progress (1368 x 1824)I have access to some fabric weighing scales so I’ve weighed the left overs of the fluormania yarn and I have 33gms left out of the 100gm ball so I think I have enough to knit him up a short pair.


Tartan Burdastyle 7136, slimmed down, in progress….

The first make of 2014 is to be a checked shirt based on the Burdastyle 7136 pattern I used for this denim shirt I made last November.

fabric (1426 x 1069)

I bought two pieces of fabric, the brushed cotton tartan from Leon’s fabrics in Cholton for £4.75 per metre and the check from My fabrics online which was 1/2 price at £4.99 per metre. The pattern asks for 1.5mts of fabric but I was needing to match the pattern and cut some pieces on the cross/ bias I bought 2mts of each. I’ve chosen to make up the tartan first. I’ve been in two minds about this, I either like it or I think it looks like a picnic blanket.

I wanted to make a closer fitting shirt than the denim shirt so I slimmed the pattern down. I vertically took out 0.6cm from the centre back / front and 0.75 from half way along the shoulder seam. So on the whole shirt circumference I took out 5.4cm. To do this I drew a vertical line through the pattern piece and continued onto the paper for the new pattern piece. When tracing around the piece I stopped when I reached the point and moved the pattern the required amount and continued tracing. I had to make the same adjustments to the collar and collar stand pattern pieces.

a line drawn though the pattern piece and onto the paper underneath

a line drawn though the pattern piece and onto the paper underneath

move the original pattern piece the required amount and continue tracing

move the original pattern piece the required amount and continue tracing

I slimmed the waist down by 1cm at the side seams. For the sleeve I took out the 3cm extra length that I needed to cut off when I made the denim shirt and slimmed down the width by 1.5cm on each side. I made up a toile and found that I could take out more from the sleeve width but needed to add slightly to the hip width. Also because I wanted to flat fell the underarm and side seam I increased the seam allowance to 2cm to allow for this.

Cutting the fabric – matching checks
I wanted to be spot on with matching the checks. So each piece was cut on a single layer. I cut the first front piece I then used this as the pattern for the second piece, making sure it was a mirror image and matching up the pattern. When cutting out pieces that are usually cut on the fold like the yoke and back, I positioned then cut one half then repositioned the pattern and cut the other half.

cutting out pieces normally cut on the fold, position and cut around the first half

cutting out pieces normally cut on the fold, position and cut around the first half

after cutting first half reposition the pattern piece and cut the second half

after cutting first half reposition the pattern piece and cut the second half

I cut the pockets, pocket flaps, cuffs, yoke and right front placket on the bias / cross. To make sure the pocket flaps matched the patch pockets I made up the flaps first then positioned them on the fabric before cutting out the patches. I spent an unnecessary amount of time thinking about the best way to do this and it seemed to work out ok.

made up pocket flap positioned on fabric before cutting the patch

made up pocket flap positioned on fabric before cutting the patch

Positioning the pocket pattern piece before cutting out

Positioning the pocket pattern piece before cutting out

finished flap with cut out patch

finished flap with cut out patch

Anyway, so far so good…………..

Hand Knitted Socks – Dad’s Christmas Present

dads socks (1620 x 2160)

I think out of the few pairs of socks I have knitted so far these have got to be my favourite. I just love the way the self patterning yarn has knitted up. It is Regia 4 ply ‘Mix it color’ which I bought from my local wool shop. The colour I have used is 09381 Lagune.

Really all the work to make these look good is done by the pattered yarn as these have just been knitted in stocking stitch with 12 rows of 1×1 rib at the top.

I made sure when starting the second sock that I began in the same colour point to ensure that they matched. I had to wind off about 5cm worth sock length to get to this point. My dad doesn’t have massive feet so I was sure I’d have enough but it got me thinking that if I was making to fit size 11 it could be quite possible I may not have enough. It’s a bit like pattern matching the drop for curtains – but without knowing how big the pattern match is when you start.

Pattern matching did make knitting the second sock easy, I didn’t have to do any measuring, I just followed the pattern from the first sock.

I only thought about making these about 10 days before Christmas so I was knitting at every opportunity. I was even up at 6.30am on a few days to get in half an hour before breakfast. I finished them on the 23rd but due to illness I didn’t get to see my parents until 5th January – I could have done two pairs…..

Junior A-Line Denim Skirt

This was the last sewing make of 2013 which I managed to finish just in time for Christmas.
skirt on bench (2160 x 1620)

It is a self drafted pattern for which I followed the skirt block with darts from Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for children’s Wear. It’s a simple pattern to draft. I made up a toile but found it was too slim so I cut the pattern from the hem up to the base of the darts and closed the darts to get a bit more of an A-line shape. I used a shaped waistband, taking the depth of the waistband from the skirt pieces rather than adding a straight band to the top edge.
girls skirt pattern diagram 2

I chose the front style opening as I wanted a bit of interest and didn’t want to use a zipper. The centre front waistband  has a bound buttonhole at each end. It only opens on the left side.
Find the bound button hole tutorial here.
skirt open at waist (2160 x 1620)It’s the first time I have ever sewn that style of pocket, the only amendment I need to make to the pattern  is to cut the denim patch, which is laid onto the back pocket bag, bigger. It only just fills the space, it needs another couple of cm’s added to the length of it.

I added  buttonhole elastic into the back waist, you can get this quite cheaply by the metre on eBay. The buttonhole stitch on my machine was playing  up so I did a faced oblong opening, just like when doing back of the bound buttonhole. I find it easier to stitch the button on before securing the end of the elastic. I took these clear buttons from a worn out pair of trousers and stitched them so that the stitches on the right side were hidden in the side seam of the waistband. You can see the stitches on the right side where I have secured the elastic but the thread match is good so it is not that noticeable. I secured the elastic at the centre back using a box stitch in the contrast topstitching thread.
inner wb finished

The topstitching on the centre front waistband isn’t perfect, I did think about unpicking and doing it again but know how temperamental topstitching can be I decided it was probably as good as it was going to get. I learnt so much when making the denim shirt that at least I’m not faffing around trying to get the tension right etc. and can just start stitching.

The fabric was from Ditto fabrics and has a little bit of stretch in it, not really necessary for this type of skirt but when I bought the fabric I didn’t really have a project in mind. In fact it only used 40cm out of the 1.5mts I bought so plenty left to make something for myself.

The Seamless Pledge and RTW Fast 2014

During 2013 I wondered if I would be able to get through a whole year not buying RTW (ready to wear) clothes. If I wanted anything new I could make it myself so I thought I’d give it a go during 2014.
I came across the Seamless blog which had a pledge you could sign up to.

I, Helen, I'm taking the Seamless Pledge for the whole of 2014

I, Helen, I’m taking the Seamless Pledge for the whole of 2014

The rules are :- No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. Underwear is an exception.

RTW Fast 2014
A link on another blog led me to Goodbye Valentino which was signing up bloggers for a RTW fast for 2014 so I have added my name.
The rules are :- No shop bought clothes – shoes, socks and underwear permitted.

I’m all buoyed up for this and hopefully in a years time will be able to report a success.

Anybody else taking part?