Always animals

I think I would dress Toby in animal outfits all the time if I could. His Lion dungarees had a great outing to the zoo recently, but now I’ve been adapting another pattern to create a bear sweatshirt.

This is the same free raglan hoodie that I blogged not long ago, but I was inspired by this post on Tilly and the Buttons Instagram to adapt it with this bear applique. This is the first time I have done any applique on jersey and I’m sure I still have lots to learn, but I’m pleased with this as a start!

The great thing about this bear is that is only uses very simple shapes to create an impression. I used bondaweb to attach the nose and mouth and then just stitched with a straight stitch. I’m hoping that the double row of stitching at the top of the curve will be sufficiently robust, but if not I might have to go back and use a zigzag to attach it more securely.

The little 3D ears are a very cute feature too!

I couldn’t decide which way out to put the hood. In the end the fabrics chose for me because the cream scraps of Ponte were heavier than the mustard French Terry so the seams wanted to press with the French Terry to the inside. (The scraps came from this jumper– thank goodness that my photography planning and execution has improved!) I also did a little topstitching on the hood to help the centre seams to stay flat because I’ve noticed them moving a bit on the previous hoodie.

Like Lottie’s latest outfits, this hoodie got a size label. It will definitely be helpful when I put it aside for her to grow into.

Toby just looks so cute! This version of the hoodie doesn’t have a pocket, but he hasn’t started using pockets yet so I don’t think he will miss it.

I wonder which other animals would work well in this style? I’m thinking about a lion perhaps with a 3D mane. What would you go for?


All the straight lines

My mum has these lovely Christmas cushions, but no-one needs Christmas all year so she asked for some alternative covers to use so that they could still be in use. I’ve made quite a few cushion covers over time- some with zips, some with buttonholes, some with snaps and some with lots of embroidery. For these I chose an upholstery weight cotton and some cream zips.

The key to having a nice plump cushion is to have a cover which is slightly smaller than the cushion pad dimensions. It means it is a bit of a squish to put the cushions in their covers though!

For these cushions I decided to make a bit of a feature of the zips on the back and have them exposed right across the middle. My zips weren’t quite the right length though so I added fabric tabs to the ends (this tutorial here is helpful) which actually makes it easier to sew the whole cushion together because the zip stops well before the side seam.

The pattern continues across the zip because I cut the back as one piece, then cut it in half to install the zip. If you are doing something similar, make sure that the zip is going to be long enough because you don’t want to have to wrestle the cushion pad in with a zip that is too short!

Though they are pretty simple, I’m pleased with how these cushions have turned out. It’s always nice to make what someone actually wants, and a few straight lines of sewing is a nice break sometimes. Especially as I only seem to sew in very short bursts at the moment, it’s nice not needing a whole load of instructions to work out where I had got to!

Batch-cutting baby clothes

I’ve been trying to sew smarter lately so that I can make the most of my sewing time. A few weeks ago I spent a whole afternoon tracing off a range of patterns in various sizes, and another afternoon batch cutting out a selection of things for myself, Toby and Lottie. These are my least enjoyed parts of the sewing process but somehow doing a whole load in one go seems much more efficient and enjoyable.

Here are some of the bits that I cut for Lottie- Vagabond Stitch footed trousers in 0-3, and 3-6 month sizes. This is a great free pattern. It just looks so much more comfortable on her than some of the trousers with elastic waistbands.

I don’t have the time or inclination to make everything for Lottie to wear, and we have some lovely hand-me-downs that it would be a shame not to use. Its fun though working out what basics I could make to co-ordinate with some of the ready to wear bits in her drawers. I made a couple of teeny beanies to coordinate too. I think my favourite way to dress her at the moment is a little vest with a tee and the footed pants- comfy and cosy and easy to dress and undress! They will match in with her new zip hoodie too!

These baby patterns are perfect for using up smaller fabric scraps. Especially when you choose a couple of coordinating solids like this pair. The maroon interlock doesn’t have great recovery, so it was a good choice to colour block with some other cotton lycra.

The 0-3 month size are still a little long, but I do like the way this pair coordinate with this ready to wear t-shirt.

The different fabrics have definitely ended up being slightly different sizes. It’s interesting to see how fabrics make up differently. This coral rib definitely is a little bigger than the other pairs due to less recovery.

These labels are going into all my makes at the moment and I’m really pleased with them. I have a whole bunch with different sizes printed which should make it easier to tell which size my handmades are. Especially useful when packing things up to pass on to other families!

I’m sure I will be using these patterns again soon as Lottie continues to grow. She still just fits into the newborn sized outfits that I made, but not for much longer. It’s so lovely to be able to make her little everyday basics though!

I can zip!

I recently got the chance to be part of a pattern test for a new to me pattern company-Made By Jacks Mum. I figured that it was a great opportunity to try out their pattern instructions and drafting without much risk on my part. The pattern I got to test was the I CAN Zip Hoodie which is aimed at novice zip sewists and has a pretty amazing size range of premie to 12 years! (I received the pattern for free in exchange for feedback and photos during the testing process.)

The pattern has two options for finishing the zip- a simple version or a bound edged version. Its intended as an introduction to zips, and does have some really good tips, especially recommending wash away tape to secure the zip while you sew. Both versions look very similar when the hoodie is closed, it is only if you are looking at the details inside that you can appreciate the bound edges.

I generally avoid bias binding like the plague, but I thought I would give it a go. I found it tricky, especially at the top corner where it all got quite close to the zip. It certainly isn’t perfect but I would try it again, and I do like the finish.

There is also a colour blocked version with pockets, but I thought that being as I was sewing for Lottie and she has very little use for a pocket that I would stick with the basic version. I think I will make Toby a colour block one at some point though because all the samples I have seen look really great!

Sewing wise, I was really impressed with the instructions. They have really clear photographs, and the sample fabrics have been well chosen to have a distinctive right and wrong side. It meant that I could understand the construction with a fairly speedy look through the instructions.

The pattern seems to be a big hit with children too. While I was part of the testing group, all the older children seemed to love it and barely wanted to take it off. I’ve thought about hacking the free Brindille and Twig Raglan Hooded Sweatshirt, but I think now I would just use this pattern instead.

Since the test, the pattern pieces for the hood and cuffs have been altered slightly, but I think it probably would be barely noticeable in this small size. I really like the fit. Lottie is quite long and skinny so it is a bit roomy, but I think that is probably good in a jumper and gives her some room to grow. I would like to make Toby one in fleece for playing outdoors.

I recently ordered some new size labels on Etsy and this hoodie was the first thing to get the label treatment. I’m still not sure quite how to add the labels neatly into a overlocked seam, but stitching this one under the binding was really convenient.