Planning: Decisions!

I spent most of Saturday was spent playing with tissue paper, tape, colour pencils and rulers – making FBA (full bust adjustments) to the patterns I am planning to make in the Easter holidays (one and a half days to go!!). I have been umm-ing and ahh-ing over my choice of fabrics, and after recieving some swatches from Stone Fabrics (this did not make my decision easier since it gave me more potential choices) I have some sewing plans for the holidays. Hooray!

First up is the spring jacket. I made a muslin of the  BurdaStyle 02/2013 #106 jacket and decided that I actually liked the lapel-less style. I showed my blog post  to my colleagues at school, asking if the turquoise was too bright, and was told by A “You don’t need a plain navy jacket – you’re not 50!” That was me told! I ordered a swatch of it and as soon as I opened the envelope I was squealing with delight.* The colour is so much better in real life and so I am placing my order tomorrow, along with some white for the contrast bands (and I think they have some polka-dot contrast lining that will work! double squeal!) My only remaining dilemma is whether I need to underline the fabric, and if so with what (I used silk organza to underline my couture dress). I think I need to read Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Bible in bed!

For the Cambie dress fabric choices, again A gave me a stern talk. “NOT the red one, you already have too many polka dots.” Too many polka dots? Is that a real problem? Hmm… Then I remembered an episode of New Girl (starring the quirky Zooey Deschanel, new series starting tonight) when she gets accused of “rocking a lot of polka dots.” Her response, which could also be describing me, was:

“I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours. I spend my entire day talking to children. And I find it fundamentally weird that you are not a dessert person – that’s just weird and it freaks me out!”

So did I choose polka dots for my Cambie? Nope. The clear winner among friends I showed my swatches to was in favour of bunnies!


I also really liked the swatch of this floral print – it is not as bold as some of the other designs but has bits of hot pink, purple and turquoise so will match all my favourite cardigans! I am going to make both versions of the dress pattern, partly for a bit of variety, and partly because the bunny fabric was the most expensive and the narrowest so I’m going to try to reduce my costs slightly.

fabric choices


I made a muslin of the bodice in calico and then cut up my IKEA fabric to make a wearable muslin. (I wanted to make sure I posted this before I get distracted by hot-cross buns and mini-eggs, so apologies for the mirror-pose photos). I love this dress so much already – after doing an FBA the neckline fits perfectly with no gaping. I was planning to make this to wear, however I think the fabric is a bit too stiff (the bust darts are too pointy however I sew them and the skirt doesn’t hang right). I want to get the fit just right before cutting up my expensive bunny fabric so I may make a final test in plain black fabric (with some black and white stripy piping to add a bit of fun).

cambie muslin

*another colleague has commented how cute it is that I am so easily excited when I talk about/stroke fabric! This did start the day I got all those free Liberty samples.

WIP: Basic Bella Cardigan

basic bella 02

After all the woolly goodness at Wool House on Sunday I was inspired to curl up with my knitting, even though my current project isn’t wool (it is actually Debbie Bliss Bella – a lovely cotton, cashmere and silk blend that glides wonderfully on my stainless steel needles).basic bella 03

I have been working on this cardigan (Basic Black pattern from Ravelry) since August (when I showed you my tension swatch) but had to take a few crochet and Christmas crafting breaks. This is now my commuting project and a few rows everyday for a couple of months has led to some significant progress.

basic bella 01

I have now finished all of the body and am working on knitting both sleeves. Yup, both at the same time. I was worried I would forget what I was doing, so I have joined both sleeves with stitch-markers and used another stitch marker to remind me when to switch balls of yarn.


basic bella 04


Wool House

Wool HouseToday I went to Somerset House to visit the Campaign for Wool’s Wool House exhibition. The exhibition showcases everything to do with wool – weaving, crochet and knitting; yarn and fabric; home decor and fashion.

Unfortunately today the real sheep were not in the courtyard, so instead I was greeted by a life-sized crocheted bear. Scary but cuddly at the same time.



There was The Most Comfortable Chair in the World EVER which was fully upholstered in Mongolian Longhaired Sheep fleece. I could have sat there all day, snuggled into the soft yarn, but instead headed off to see the rest of the rooms.

fluffy chair


Most of the exhibition was set up as rooms in houses, with as much as possible made from yarn, even the walls! The nursery featured a knitted raindrop mobile, plenty of woolen toys, and feature walls that reminded me of Fuzzy Felt (soft woolen wall hangings/panels with felted trees and leaves for decoration).





The “Modern Room” was full of bright, fun felt that had been cut and folded origami-style to create cushions (the left-over felt was used to make blinds) and sound-absorbing wall panels. There were some lovely green flower cushions, made by cutting slits and folding them to create petals that I am inspired to attempt to recreate.





In contrast to the modern room was the “Natural Room” full of rustic yarns. While not my preferred colour-scheme, this room was cosy and homely and full of little touches like these cute knitted pots.




Unlike some of the more modern rooms, the natural room featured a chair that looked comfy to sit in – it had been totally upholstered in old Aran jumpers. You could clearly see the components of different jumpers and cardigans (the chair back was buttoned up nicely) and there were useful pockets carefully placed on the arms.




As well as all the furniture and interiors there were rooms displaying different styles and types of clothing made from wool – classic Savile Row suits, pure wool scarves, Vivienne Westwood tweed shoes, and tweed cycling gear complete with flashing safety lights. There was even a pair of “jeans” made from wool tweed that looked just like denim!

Did you know that Britain is home to the most species of sheep? Rooms were full of interesting wool facts, along with samples of a huge range of woolen fabrics, yarn and fibres. Apparently wool makes a great mattress as it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, however I was more tempted by some fabric that could make a nice jacket….

crystalsPure wool tweed covered with Swarovski crystals! Hmm… maybe not the most realistic choice for a sewing project!

Wool House is open for another week so if you are nearby I would recommend popping in for a quick look and stroke of all the lovely yarns (and a free felt sheep key-ring!). I left the exhibition feeling inspired to spend the rest of the afternoon wrapped up in my wool blanket with my knitting.




One of my new year sewlutions was to make less but make what I make much better, so I’m going to have to plan my makes a bit more.

I got my Cambie dress pattern in the post last week and have searched my stash for suitable fabrics. It seems my stash is not as extensive as I thought it was – lots of fancy-dress/toy/home-decor fabrics but not much dress-making fabric.


The only suitable things I could find were (clockwise from top)
1. some black poly-something bought when I was first trying to make trousers. Is a black summer-dress too dreary? I could add a pop of colourful piping to the waist and neckline… would that be more fun?
2. Some black and pink floral IKEA fabric. I think it might be a bit too heavy for the gathers on the sleeves and skirt, but I might pre-wash a bit and see what happens. (yup, my new sewing attitude includes pre-washing fabric occasionally now!)
3. A shiny dotted turquoise fabric with a bit of stretch, bought ages ago from Fabrics Galore. I am tempted to make an everyday version before using this fabric as this is a bit too shiny for wearing to work. Or could I use the reverse and just have shiny dots?

Since my stash is so small it is a good job Karen has introduced me to Stone Fabrics (I am so tempted to join the swatch club!) Here are some potential fabrics – click on the pictures for links):

Fabrics Galore: Poplin pinstripes

Fabrics Galore: Cotton linen-look spots

Stone Fabrics: 1940′s floral Liberty archival printed Cotton Tana Lawn

Stone Fabrics: Irregular trellis printed Cotton Lawn

Fabrics Galore: Cotton tiny stars

Stone Fabrics: Batik flower bubble cotton

Stone Fabrics: Bunny Rabbit Printed traditional Japanese Cotton

Fabrics Galore: Cotton Lawn

Stone Fabrics: Kaffe Fasset printed cotton

Stone Fabrics: Spiral Printed traditional Japanese Cotton

Stone Fabrics: Italian fine cotton lawn

Fabrics Galore: Liberty Lifestyle Woolf cotton

So what do you think? Simple polka dots, classic flowers, or quirky bunnies? Too much choice!

Another project I want to tackle is to make a nice spring/summer jacket.

BurdaStyle 02/2013 #106

First I saw this pattern in last month’s Burda – the cover girl was wearing it with jeans and a simple top and looked effortlessly cool. Or should I make a more traditional blazer-style, like the jacket in this month’s Burda?

Burda Style 03/2013 #102

And the potential fabrics…

Stone Fabrics: Wool/Acrylic Bouclé Knit

Stone Fabrics: Laurent Garigue Turquoise Blue Cotton Bouclé

Stone Fabrics: Linen and cotton medium weight denim

Stone Fabrics: ‘Gudrun’ heavy linen

Simple navy to go with everything or bright summer turquoise? Decisions, decisions. Help me decide!

Surprises in the post!

There is not much crafting to share this week, as I have been thrown back into work with a thud and have been busy all week. However my evening were brightened up by some envelopes in my post box.

On Wednesday I got some dinosaurs I had ordered for school.

On Thursday I got the latest issue of Threads magazine. Since it only comes every two months, I always forget when to expect it and it is always a surprise. Both Thursday and Friday night I fell asleep before I had even finished reading the letters page, but this morning I sat in bed and read the whole thing.

On Friday I got home to find a parcel all the way from Canada – my Sewaholic patterns bought in Tasia’s birthday free-postage sale! I got the Cambie dress for spring/summer, as I realised it has been a long time since I made a dress. Then, just so I could make the most of the postage of course, I got the Thurlow trousers pattern since they are designed to fit and flatter pear-shaped bottoms.
special delivery

I need to decide which view of the Cambie dress to make first, and in which fabric, but when I am ready to sew I will be ready now that my bobbins are sorted and tidied with these amazing little pegs. I got these when I bought my quilt wadding (to make the most of the postage charges of course) and they are such a clever but simple way to keep bobbins with the matching thread. And at just over 10p a peg they are one of my cheapest impulse buys.bobbin