Christmas Present Reveal!

I do enjoy making people Christmas presents, but it is too much of a risk to blog about them before the day because who knows if they will see!  I have made a couple of special things thought this year which I wanted to be able to share.

First, for my brother, a memory pillow.  A couple of months ago, James handed me a load of this old military t-shirts.  He didn’t need them anymore and wasn’t sure what to do with them, but they do have interesting logos and memories attached.  I took them home, not quite sure what they were going to become, but I’m pleased with the outcome.  There were only 5 shirts, but one had James’ army nickname on the arm too which I wanted to save.  I carefully cut 15cm squares around the logo’s and put them together on my overlocker.

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The back uses the backs of some of the t-shirts.  I did think I might be able to use the hems already there, but they were pretty wavy with constant washing and use so I just cut rectangles and hemmed them myself.  The back of one of the t-shirts had James’ job role printed on it too, so that also got saved and included.  It wouldn’t mean much to anyone else, but to James I hope it serves as a way to save some good memories for a little while longer.

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For Matt, I have been experimenting with some knitting, which is a bit of a departure from my usual crafting.  So far, I only have the patience to knit small things, such as baby booties and this hat.  Perhaps my patience will improve, but I do also like the more rapid results that I see when sewing.

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This hat is really simple.  It is a very old free pattern from a magazine (Let’s knit, October 2013). It is supposed to be knit in 2×2 rib all the way through, but at some point I must have not been paying enough attention and I switched the rib direction.  Fortunately it looks sufficiently intentional as an edging pattern.

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It was a pretty easy project in the end (apart from trying to find time to knit when Matt wasn’t around) and I actually found doing the ribbing quite therapeutic.  The yarn is a cotton/acrylic/wool blend with some muted colour variation (Sirdar Crofter DK, Fair Isle).  I quite like that the stripes are not particularly regular or uniform, and Matt also seems happy enough wearing it!

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Finally, my Grandma has a very old and special bear which she has had and loved since the age of 4.  Big Ted is now 84, and apparently had a need for some PJ’s.  Since it was a special request, I had to see what I could do.  Big Ted is a slightly unusual shape, and I didn’t have him with me to work from, just a handful of measurements so I’m not sure these fit quite as well as I would like, but they seem to have been popular.

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I adapted a pattern from Bear Wear Patterns.  The pattern was for hospital wear, which opened at the back so I modified the pattern pieces so that it was the front which opened, and drafted my own collar to make some fairly traditional PJ’s.

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Just in case big teddy was lounging around though, I thought he could do with a dressing gown.  This one is based on a pattern from It’s Always Autumn, but I didn’t have it printed out so I just copied the shapes and sizes approximately to put mine together.  It seems to have come together pretty nicely, and Grandma and teddy were both very pleased!

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It’s all pretty different from my usual sewing and blogging which is a bit of fun.  Usual service will be resumed in the new year though, when I will be back with my plans and a giveaway.

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More Metro tees and Rooftop Milan

Perhaps not the most exciting post because these are more of the Men’s Metro Tee by Liesl and Co. (See my previous versions here), but you can tell a pattern is a good one when you just keep making more!

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All these fabrics are from Girl Charlee, who are just the most brilliant online shop for jerseys.  I bought a whole load when they last had a discount, so there are other jersey projects in the pipeline!  The ones I chose for Matt were a heather grey cotton spandex, motorcycles on grey cotton and a monochrome triangle cotton jersey.  I also got some darker charcoal grey baby rib for contrast.

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For one of these t-shirts, I kept it very simple with the heather grey jersey, but didn’t want it to bee too boring!  I used the charcoal grey rib for the neckband and found it very stretchy so I did remove a little extra length.

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Then to co-ordinate, I drafted a very simple band for the sleeve hem.  This does make hemming the sleeve very simple, and the sleeves in this version are slightly longer too.

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The motorbike version and the triangles are just exactly as drafted in the pattern.  Sometimes the simple ones are the best!

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So this post is also a great opportunity to show of some lovely views.  Standing on the roof of the Duomo in Milan (as in the picture above) was a pretty surreal moment.

Matt models again- Men’s Metro T-shirt

This won’t be the longest blog post today, because this is such a simple pattern and there isn’t much to say!  This is the Men’s Metro T-shirt by Liesl and Co.  Liesl and Co. is the adult pattern line associated with the pattern company Oliver and S.

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This pattern is about as simple as a jersey pattern gets.  It has just a front, back, sleeve and neckband.  If you have made t-shirts before, you will only need the instructions for the seam allowances!

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This is a size S, which is Matt normal t-shirt size.  The fabric however for this shirt is a little unconventional.  It started life as a Women’s maxi dress.  I found it in the charity shop for £1, and thought that the fabric was a steal!  It is a viscose elastane mix so very stretchy!

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The advantage of reusing something which is already hemmed, means that you can also reuse the hem.  The skirt did have a seam at the centre back, so I kept this in the t-shirt too, though it isn’t very visible.

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This was constructed mostly on my overlocker, with twin-needled hems on the sleeve.  Because this first one was so successful, I also made a couple of others with fabrics from Fabworks.  They have also come out great, as you can see below!

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One is in this space print fabric.  I think it is really cool.

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The other is in a lovely cotton interlock.  I thought this airforce blue colourway was great.  Both were just £5 a metre and this t-shirt needs only one metre so it seems pretty economical.

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I’m sure there will be many more of these t-shirts as Matt needs more.  Possibly also some long sleeved versions come the autumn.

Matt’s Waistcoat

My husband has a real fascination with maps. We have some really cool ones displayed on out walls at home, and a whole box of Ordinance Survey maps of various wild parts of the UK for walking with.  When we were invited to a wedding and one of his friends suggested wearing fancy waistcoats, Matt naturally wanted his to be lined with map fabric.

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We chose the fabrics together, opting for cotton twill from Trago for the outside and some map print cotton for the inside.  This was the first time I had sewn anything for Matt and I didn’t want to disappoint, so I was a little nervous, but this came together beautifully.

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The pattern is Kwik Sew K3662 and I ordered the findings (buttons and a waistcoat buckle) from Calico Laine.  The buttons are metal self covered buttons to perfectly match the outer fabric.

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One of the scary things about this waistcoat was that the first steps involved sewing my first ever welt pockets.  I did sew a single practice pocket to check that I understood the instructions and then dived right in.  I don’t know why I was so worried- it was no-where near as difficult as I had imagined. I think I was just the thought of having to cut into my carefully cut pattern pieces that made it a bit nerve-wracking.

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This pattern is a bit mind boggling in the way that it all comes together. I did just have to trust the instructions, and it worked absolutely fine.  It is a bit worrying though when you have to turn most of the project though the shoulder seam!

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It was definitely fun to be on the camera end of the photos for a change- Matt has been channelling his best model poses for you though!  I think we might just have to get him in again sometime.

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