#100happydays (part 4)

I finished my #100happydays challenge a couple of weeks ago and here are the final 25 pictures.

#100 happy days 76-100 I definitely got in the habit of thinking about the day’s photo and it was a little bit weird when I didn’t have to do it (I know I never HAD to to do it, but I was determined to do all 100 days). So here in full glory is one hundred things that have made me happy (or grateful, pleased, content, or not-so-sad)

100 happy days

Picture 100 was taken the day I got discharged from the physio and she said I could try to knit again (as long as I take regular breaks every half-an-hour and keep up with strengthening exercises) so I’m hoping for a summer of knitting.

 

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#100happydays (part 3)

The sun is out and my camera is charged, but I am stuck writing end of year reports so still haven’t got pictures of my newest creations! I am on day 90 of the #100happydays challenge and this round-up has two dresses I LOVE wearing so much and my first over-locked project (thanks to the super kind Miss Dibs for passing on her old machine to me)#100 happy days 51-75I can see the end of school work (for the academic year) is in sight, so hoping there will be some more frequent blogging around here soon.

 

Lush Purple Tweed Cardigan

This is actually one of my last makes of 2013, but the blocking process took a long time in cold winter weather, and it was only just ready to wear on New Year’s Eve. Since then I have barely taken it off; the only days it hasn’t been worn were when I was wearing a soon-to-be-blogged aubergine-purple skirt and I thought it would be overdoing the purple slightly!

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The cardigan in Tin Can Knits’ Lush cardigan (check out my Ravelry notes here!) and knitted in Rowan Silky Tweed in Jazz. I bought the yarn in John Lewis sale last year, and in googling a link I’m disappointed to see it is discontinued as it was scrummy to knit and is so lovely to wear.cardigan 2

The Lush pattern was unusual in that the yoke was knitted first, then the collar and neck was knitted up, and the body and sleeves were knitted down; I’ve never come across this construction before, but it meant the lace pattern was only over a small number of stitches and so was easier to follow on the chart (I coloured in each row in different colours to help me keep my place). I really enjoyed the lace and I also learned how to do a provisional cast on (one side of the yoke is knitted, then the other, for a lovely symmetry – see below, which is the most accurate colour of the yarn) which was not as scary as I thought. What I did not like was having to pick up over 300 stitches for the body and sleeves, and realise I had too many and have to start over again to get the spacing right!

cardigan 5

Once the sleeves were put on stitch holders it was plain sailing, but of course I made things harder for myself by adding bust darts (short rows) for shaping and to provide more length over the chest. I did this using the method in the Craftsy Curvy Knits course, with measurements doodled on a piece of graph paper at school one lunchtime. In hindsight I should have adjusted the measurements to take away the proportion of the negative ease the pattern has, as they are slightly too big, but I’m super pleased with the alteration as it is.

cardigan 3

 

The big thing I have learned since my Basic Bella Cardigan is about zero or negative ease in knitting. I carefully took my measurements and chose the size smaller than me to give a close fit, which I am liking so much more. I lengthened the sleeves, with a little too much negative ease, so I did rip back a couple of inches and stop decreases earlier. This was a pain, but is worth it in the end for a good quality garment I can wear forever. The sleeves are a perfect length for me, and I am so glad I ignored my “are we nearly finished?!” grumbles in my head.cardigan 1

 

The sleeves and hem were bound off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off which I cam across when googling bind-off techniques. It was simple (adding in a yarn over before each stitch) and is so stretchy, keeping the stretch of the cuffs.cardigan 6

 

The Thursday before Christmas I braved the thunderstorm to walk to knitting night at The Village Haberdashery, but I was the only one wise enough to do so! I needed to wind some hanks of yarn for my journey home for Christmas and needed some buttons for the cardigan. It was just me, Annie and gorgeous baby Harvey, but Harvey helped me choose buttons (he liked the train ones) but I found these perfect floral buttons. I had been looking for ages and could only find solid colours that looked too flat against the tweed, but the subtle colours in these ones match the tweed beautifully. (This picture doesn’t do it justice, but is the best of bad lack of daylight).
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I am so pleased with this cardigan and know it is going to be getting a lot of wear over the cooler months. The yarn was bought on sale for around £30ish and the buttons were £9 for 10, so in total this cardigan was approximately £40 and took 2 months to complete. Not bad at all.cardigan 4

Top 5 of 2013

 

It is time for my Top 5 of 2013 (as organised by the lovely Gillian. I can’t believe this time last year I didn’t know her!). I have to review my Sewlutions tomorrow for the Mistress of the Jar, so I’m going to pack a lot in this post…

Lets start with the misses2013 misses

  • I learned so much making my Couture Jacket and am really pleased with the construction and techniques I used. But I’ve only worn it a couple of times. I’m hoping it is because the typical British spring went from freezing to boiling in a week, so fingers-crossed I enjoy wearing it this spring.
  • My Dotty Dolly Cambie dress remains unblogged 😦 I was so excited making it – polka dots, a Cambie dress, ric-rac…. all the ingredients for a perfect dress. But wearing it didn’t feel perfect. I think I prefer the gathered skirt to the a-line version I did here, and the fabric for my floral Cambie flows better. Again. I will try it again in spring as it was finished just as the heatwave started, and all the lining was a bit too sticky.
  • Inspired by meetings with Charity Shop Chic I got some items to refashion. Have you seen them yet? Nope. Because there was a lot of brain power involved in fitting my pattern pieces onto refashioned parts of garments. I will definitely put these to the top of my to-sew pile as one is fuscia silk and the other is red wool.
  • My red Basic Bella cardigan has been worn frequently these past few months and is a great chunky cardigan for a chilly day. But it is chunky. The cotton blend yarn stretches (not enough research done) and I made it fit my measurements, not incorporating negative/zero ease for a close fit (beginner knitter’s mistake) so overall it is rather baggy and can look a bit sloppy. It is still great to wear, but it has to go in the miss category since it was one of the causes of my bad wrists 😦
  • Finally my first Anna dress. Its not a total disaster, and most of the lovely comments suggested chopping the sleeves off (a job that can wait until it gets a bit warmer!), but I felt disappointed with it after all the Anna love around the blogosphere.

Hits 2013

 

 

I had a lot of trouble choosing my hits as I’ve made so many nice things this year; I feel my sewing has improved and I have a better sense of what suits me now, so there were less disasters.

  • I love my stripy Tiramisu dress and it was a great introduction to Cake Patterns. Steph’s drafting and custom fit instructions are great, and so it was easy to get a fit and finish I was happy with. I wore this loads over the summer – perfect for pulling on with sandals – even though it is still un-hemmed! oops! I made a long sleeve version which was also great, so this pattern will be staying in my collection.
  • My Polka-dot Portrait Blouse was a simple cotton tee but it was perfect over the summer. Loose enough to stay cool, but with enough subtle shaping. I lived in this with my cropped jeans, which was quite a revelation for a stretch t-shirt girl.
  • I made a quilt!! What more do I need to say?! I learned so much, caught the patchwork and quilting bug, and now can stay cozy while lounging on the sofa.
  • My floral Cambie was another great dress that worked for all occasions; school, weddings and lazy weekends. I feel so good in it as there is the right balance between style and comfort, the fabric is soft and scrummy, and I did some good pattern alterations to get the perfect fit (and at a meet-up someone was wearing a Cambie they had altered using my tutorial!)
  • Finally, since it is the only garment in season at the moment, is my Liberty Hawthorn. I wasn’t convinced about the pattern until I saw all the versions popping up on people’s blogs. This is the fourth fabric version of this, after lots of muslin-ing to get the bodice darts to fit once I’d done a big FBA, so I’m proud of all the work that went into making it. Again, I feel really good in it – not showy, but just quietly confident, like a stylish grown-up in it.

Reflections:

  • Do you notice anything about all my hit garments? A Cake pattern, a Gertie pattern, a Sewaholic pattern and a Colette pattern. I didn’t realise until writing this, but all my hits have been from independent pattern designers (my By Hand London blazer was almost in the top 5). This isn’t deliberate but I think it reflects my sewing process. Since blogging and reading other bloggers I have discovered new companies I’d never heard of. And since these companies all blog, I get to see inside the patterns and get more inspiration than is on the pattern envelope. To be honest, I’m not sure what the last Big 4 pattern I used was…
  • Three out of four hit garments are dresses! I feel good when I’m wearing a well fitted dress, and it is less hassle getting dressed in the morning. Yet I feel like dresses are impractical and don’t sew that many. This must change!
  • I like learning and I want to expand my skills. This year I learned some couture skills, I learned to patchwork blocks and how to free-motion quilt, I learnt how to add darts to knitting (yes, bust darts on my knitted cardigan coming soon once it is dried. Blocking takes so long in winter!) and I learnt more about photography and taking better pictures. As we say in school, I have a growth mind-set towards my sewing learning.
  • Sewing is more fun when you can share with people who understand you. I love, love, LOVE my new Sewcialist and Spoolette friends here on the blog, on twitter and instagram and now in real life thanks to lots of meet-ups 🙂 It is so great having people who understand your passion for creating and who can offer advice from experience, but most of the time we meet we don’t talk about sewing; there is almost an unspoken attitude towards life that we all share, despite being totally different and having different other interests, which means we can get on so well.
  • I’m pretty awesome. This isn’t said in an arrogant way, but in a “I have previously had such low self-confidence but I’m actually starting to believe I’m good” sort of way.
  • I need to craft; it is not just a hobby anymore, it is part of my life. When my wrists were bad and I had to rest, I had no idea what to do with myself. I felt twitchy and on edge for weeks as I hadn’t made anything for ages, and this in turn made me feel really low (in combination with the pain and frustration).

Inspirations:

  • All my sewing and crafting inspiration comes from the sewcialists and spoolettes and all the great blogs I read. If I had to pick my main inspirations, they would be:
    Jo  (Sew Little Time) because I think we sew quite a lot of similar things and are similar height so I can trust her makes will also look good on me.
    Struggle Sews A Straight Seam because her blog makes me smile so much, and she has a great approach to sewing wearable garments.
    Gillian (Crafting A Rainbow) because we are like the same person on different continents; both teach little kiddies, both love bright colours and sewing wearable jersey. And Gillian is always behind a twitter plan!
    Amy (Almond Rock) as she makes such cute tops with great fabric. And she turned her blog into self-hosted (I may need her help soon since I’ve nearly reached my storage limit on wordpress, eek!)
    Roisin (Dolly Clackett) for all her amazing and FUN dresses (and she is such a lovely friend).

Goals:

  • Make more dresses. I feel great in dresses, so I should make more.
  • Wear an entirely me-made outfit at least once. The only RTW items I have to buy at the moment are bras and socks. I have some sock-weight yarn and I’ve signed up to a bra-making course at Morley College (its not for a style I really wear, since that sold out last term, but should teach me the fundamental aspects I hope)
  • Keep improving and learning new techniques, and keep challenging myself in my crafting. (Was that in school speak too much?!)
  • Make more effort to join in online; open-ended sew-alongs, challenges, commenting on blogs and sharing reviews and projects online.
  • Most importantly, I will enjoy my crafting and take my time to savour all the details. I rushed my knitting and learnt the hard way that I need to enjoy crafting in (slight) moderation, otherwise I may not be able to craft at all.

As a thank you for reading all that reflection, here are some pictures of some of my projects that didn’t make the top 5 hits… To see them in more detail, click on the newly organised pages at the top of the blog 🙂

2013

Elisalex the first: Hot Air Balloons

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I had planned to make an Elisalex dress using the turquoise spotty fabric I got for my birthday. However it is such a fun colour that no zips can match it 😦 But fortunately I got some super fun fabric at Goldhawk Road (that Rachel from MyMessings also got) covered in colourful hot air balloons!

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I was super organised that day as I purchased the zippers I needed to match the fabric there and then, so could sew it up in a day (it should have taken longer with proper breaks, but shhh, don’t tell!)

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I did a FBA (full bust adjustment) and made a muslin/toile of the bodice, and it all went smoothly. There is still a bit of tweaking needed on the back, possibly a sway back adjustment, despite a bit of adjusting as I went along.

elisalex 187Can you see the invisible zip? I hope not as I tried SO hard with my pattern matching. Luckily I had lots of extra fabric, as this was not an economical way to cut the pieces due to the complex pattern repeat; you think the pattern has repeated when there are one or two balloons in a line that are different! It’s not perfect but I’m pleased with it for a first attempt.

elisalex 113

As you can see I made the whole pattern, including tulip skirt. I wasn’t planning to, but I was so impressed with the pattern drafting on the bodice and the Victoria Blazer, that I decided to trust the By Hand girls would have designed a flattering skirt. I like the skirt more than I had anticipated – it certainly isn’t as ginormous as I thought it would be around my shapely thighs – however I’m not sure it would be my top choice for everyday wear; I wore it to an open-air theatre show that involved sitting on the floor and it did not work for sitting cross-legged!elisalex 129

Wearing in real-life also told me that the armholes were a little tight, so I will lower them at the front slightly in the next version. Yup, there will be another Elisalex in my wardrobe (though with a gathered or half-circle skirt) as the bodice is such a nice fit and versatile fit.

elisalex 156

And yes, I did add pockets, of course. I was wearing my floral Cambie at a wedding this weekend and people were shocked/amazed that I had pockets for my phone while on the dance-floor 🙂

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It looks good dressed up with heels (seriously, these shoes mostly get worn in the hallway for blog-posing) and also works a bit more casual. And by coincidence I have cardigans that match the colours of the balloons.
elisalex 139

 

 

I prefer the look of this dress with cardigans as I think the overall colour of the fabric is too pale for me; the balloons are all me-colours (pink, purple, red and aqua/green) but the base of the fabric is cream. Despite the bright colours, the cream is still there and I’m not sure it is right for me near my face (I had the same feeling when wearing my Self-Portrait Blouse).elisalex 146

 

I just have one more week left until I go back to school, so I am going to work on fitting some other patterns in the hope that term-time sewing will be nice and easy…

 

Reflections on Me Made May 2013

Me Made June 2011 was one of the reasons I started this little crafty blog, however last year I didn’t join in for whatever reason. This year my pledge was:

I, Alison of anotherlittlecraftycreation , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13.
I endeavour to wear all me-made garments (excluding bras, socks, tights and sports wear) each day for the duration of May 2013. I am allowed to wear RTW knitwear no more than 3 times a week.

Despite having not purchased any RTW clothes for over a year and a half (except a Christmas jumper that would have taken me a decade to knit!) I was apprehensive about how well I could meet this challenge. I may not have purchased new clothes but I have some old favourites that I live in. To make things easier in the mornings, at the end of April I vaccum-packed* all my RTW clothes away under my bed so my wardrobe was just me-mades.

The weather was very changeable, as I suppose is to be expected in Britain, so you can tell when it got cold and rainy in the picture below. I can’t believe I started the month with post-work ice-lollies in the park!

MMMay 2013

 

 

Here are my thoughts on the month: (this is longer than I intended it to be, sorry!)

  • There are two clear winners in the most-worn sewn-garment category (excluding my Minoru raincoat which was almost worn daily due to the weather); my blue Jeanius jeans and my new black linen trousers. I’m not hugely surprised by this since the weather has been pretty gloomy (not cold enough for boots, but too cold for skirts) and they allowed me to wear my printed tops.
  • I’m not sure if I would have coped if I hadn’t made the emergency black trousers! I like sewing exciting patterned garments, but actually I need to sew some boring basics to go with them. I find it really hard to choose plain fabrics when I am shopping as my eye gets distracted by all the lovely prints, but obviously I need something neutral to pair with the prints.
  • My (unblogged) red ruched top, and my 1-hour striped t-shirt got a lot of wear; plain colours and patterns that were easy to wear and went with lots of options. I have already cut out some boring simple and versatile tops for the summer.
  • When the weather was nice I loved wearing dresses! I don’t feel comfortable in skin-coloured tights, so in an ideal world I would go from wearing wooly tights and boots straight to sandals, hence the couple of weeks of trousers.
  • I have analysed what I wore each day and made some lovely pie-charts!outfit typesOver the whole month there was a lean towards trouser-based outfits, but this was massively skewed by weekend and holiday wearing of jeans. I wore lots of dresses to work, probably because they are so easy to throw on with a cardigan in the summer, with minimal thought or planning; I really like the pictures on the days when I was wearing dresses so I think I should follow Dolly Clackett‘s example and dress up more during my leisure time (she always wears gorgeous dresses, whatever she is doing, and has been my favourite MeMadeMay-er to watch)
  • I planned to allow myself to wear RTW cardigans but ended up not having to. I wore my Miette and Basic Bella cardigans most days, rediscovered a purple shrug I had made to wear to a wedding, and then made a black cardigan.
  • The colours I wore in May were different from what I usually wear. Due to mainly wearing red and turquoise cardigans, my outfits contained much more blue than usual; Normally I wear a pink or purple M&S cardigan to brighten up an outfit and have accessories to match, but not wearing them in May created some other wardrobe orphans. I do really like red and navy as a combination, so will have to make an effort to wear more of it.
  • You have to do washing regularly if you only have 8 pairs of underpants. I know readers who are parents will find it hard to believe, but living on my own I can last over a week before I fill a wash. Today I am finding RTW pants just aren’t as comfy, so I have cleared out my underwear drawers  and have some jersey scraps to make some more custom-made pairs.
  • I am almost at the stage where I can have a fully me-made wardrobe! I have tried to go clothes shopping, but I am not satisfied with the fit/construction/design of anything anymore. Yesterday I unpacked my RTW clothes and thought carefully about what clothes I had missed wearing. Anything I didn’t desperately want to wear went in a bag to go to Oxfam. I filled a blue IKEA bag with unwanted clothes; some were RTW and some were my old creations that I just don’t wear anymore. donations Seriously full bag, my shoulder hurts today from carrying it down the road.

I really didn’t expect my thoughts to be so numerous, so apologies for all the random ramblings and thanks for reading this far. If you took part in Me Made May, is there anything you have learned about yourself and your wardrobe?

*I cannot recommend vaccum-packing enough, especially for those who live in tiny flats. I have half my wardrobe (summer or winter) put away and it really makes a difference space-wise. Plus it is super fun to vacuum-pack a double winter duvet away into a tiny little space! My brother may disagree with this, after I condensed most of my wardrobe into one giant suitcase when I moved; I didn’t realise how heavy it was (solid clothes, no air) until he carried it up three flights of stairs!

Me Made May 2013 – Week 5

Here is Me Made May Week 5…

Week 5

Day 27
Refashioned maxi-skirt (pre-blog)
Grey striped kimono tee (unblogged)
Jacuzzi Miette Cardigan

Day 28
Black Jeanius Jeans (unblogged)
Floral jersey top
Minoru raincoat

Day 29
Blue Jeanius Jeans
1-hour striped t-shirt (unblogged)
Minoru raincoat

Day 30
Blue Jeanius Jeans
Stripy-yoke long-sleeved top (unblogged)
Minoru raincoat

Day 31
United Stashes of Awesome Skirt
Red Ruched Burda Top (unblogged)
NO JACKET! I left the house in just a top!

This week was even less inspiring than last week. It is half-term so spent most of the week lazing around at home working, sewing or just chilling, so not hugely exciting outfits for popping to the shops. Monday was glorious sunshine so I took my hand-sewing to the park to make the most of it, and it is a good job I did because the weather has been horrid since (hence all the pictures featuring my Minoru this week!). Tuesday was pouring with rain but I had to pop out to do errands, and made an exciting discovery on the way home which I will tell you all about in due course (I am waiting for some supplies to get delivered…)

I am analysing my month and will have my reflections on the challenge soon, maybe with some snazzy graphs and charts. Have any of my lovely readers been taking part in Me Made May this year? What are your thoughts now it is over?

*All days I have worn new me-made underpants and my Minoru rain jacket; this will apply for the rest of the month, unless specified.

Me Made May 2013 – Week 4

Here is Me Made May Week 4…

Week 4

Day 20
Basic Bella Cardigan
Self-drafted Linen Trousers (unblogged)
Black-striped detail Burda Sadie top (unblogged)

Day 21
Jacuzzi Miette Cardigan
Stripy Tiramisu Dress

Day 22
Black Corduroy Skirt
Refashioned Burda Blouse (same post as skirt)
Basic Bella Cardigan

Day 23
Magpie Top (unblogged)
Self-drafted Linen Trousers (unblogged)

Day 24
Self-drafted Linen Trousers (unblogged)
Red Ruched Burda Top (unblogged)
Self-drafted Black Cardigan
M
inoru Jacket
Flickr Theme Friday was “Home town” so I lazily took a self-portrait on the tube home.

Day 25
1-hour striped t-shirt (unblogged)
Blue Jeanius Jeans
Basic Bella Cardigan

Day 26
1-hour striped t-shirt (unblogged)
Summertime Maxi Skirt

Hmmm… not a very inspiring week this week. Work was crazy and the weather was very British (some freezing days where my heating came on, and a mini-heatwave today). There was a narrowly-averted MeMadeMay disaster when my washing didn’t dry and I almost ran out of Me Made underwear, but I found a test-pair that I could wear that day. Must remember 8 pairs of pants is not enough for someone lazy and doing washing.

I have made some progress on my couture jacket and the outer-part is almost done (just 17hours to set in the sleeves!) so I hoping there will be a sneak peak of the construction soon. It is half-term and I have thirty end-of-year reports, so I am pretty sure I’ll find plenty of crafty distractions!

*All days I have worn new me-made underpants and my Minoru rain jacket; this will apply for the rest of the month, unless specified.

Me Made May 2013 – Week 3

Here is Me Made May Week 3…

Week 3

Day 13
Basic Bella Cardigan
Self-drafted Linen Trousers (unblogged)
Spotty Sorbetto Blouse (unblogged)

Day 14
Floral Sorbetto Blouse
Jacuzzi Miette Cardigan
Self-drafted Linen Trousers (unblogged)

Day 15
IKEA Birdie Skirt (before blogging)
Another Sadie Long-sleeved Top (unblogged)
Self-drafted Black Cardigan

Day 16
Self-drafted Black Cardigan
Floral Long-sleeved Top
Self-drafted Linen Trousers (unblogged)

Day 17
Refashioned Maxi Skirt (before blogging)
Grey Striped Sadie Cowl
Purple Shrug (unblogged)
The Flickr ThemeFriday was “hats” so I piled all the hats for Team 1’s assembly on to  my head, in tribute to the Spectrum ZX “Mr Silly’s Hat Game” I played as a child.

Day 18
Magpie Top (unblogged)
Black Jeanius Jeans (never got around to blogging)
Basic Bella Cardigan

Day 19
Black Jeanius Jeans (never got around to blogging)
Liberty Self-Portrait Blouse

This week the weather was gloomy and so was my mood (my knitting-injured wrist has got worse after I began using it again, despite not looking at yarn) and I think it shows in my outfits; No pretty summer dresses but a lot of black. My newly-made black trousers and cardigan got a lot of wear this week, highlighting the need for some sensible basics in my wardrobe among the crazy prints!

Still lots more unblogged garments. I had been hoping to show you my new trousers but have been side-tracked by catching a bad cold and having lots of work to do; Next week is going to be hectic, so you may have to wait until half-term for some new garment posts.

*All days I have worn new me-made underpants and my Minoru rain jacket; this will apply for the rest of the month, unless specified.

Self-drafted cardigan

Today was a gloomy day; weather was grey and I woke up with a sore throat. I didn’t feel like wearing a jacuzzi bright cardigan, and then remembered that I had experimented with making this cardigan last weekend when I realised that lots of clothes didn’t got with aqua or red cardigans. It was super cosy and I got told I looked very smart (obviously I refused the compliment by asking people to guess how much it cost!)

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I used my jersey bodice block, cut the back and sleeves as normal, and cut the front in two parts with an extra inch on each side. I tried it on and pinned where I wanted the neckline to be before cutting the v-neck shape. Then I added folded bands around the neckline and sleeves, and hemmed the bottom (not enough fabric for hem bands) I decided not to add buttons as I didn’t want to risk buttonholes on the ribbed jersey.

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The fabric was a remnant from the Peter Jensen sample sale and half had been used to make a polo/cowl neck jumper, so this cardigan cost a whopping £1.50, however this meant I had VERY little fabric to play with. I had way too much ease in this make as I didn’t account for the weight and stretch of the ribbing- I took a good few inches from the side seams to get a nice fitting silhouette.

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Quick post on a quick make. Sorry about the phone pictures, due to being full of cold. I had planned to show you my new trousers this week, but a lovely child at school tapped my leg with a chalk-covered hand; photos after they have been in the wash!