What I made, Christmas Presents

Now that the presents have all been opened, I can show you some of the things that I made this year.  As I’ve mentioned before, my regular sewing slots are pretty short, so I didn’t even try to make everything, but there were a few simple projects that I wanted to pursue.

First up are a couple of cotton shopping bags. I knew that Matt’s granny would appreciate a couple of lightweight but sturdy bags.  These are both sewn in quilting weight cotton’s and every seam is sewn twice for strength.  The side seams and boxed corners are French seamed, and the handles are placed under the deep hem fold at the top of the bag and sewn in both at the top and bottom of the fold.

These bags are fairly roomy, but fold up very small and light so are easy to pop into a handbag. I’m actually very tempted to sew up some more for myself!

For Matt I sewed up a very simple insulated cosy for a new mini French press. When he is working it is easy to let coffee get a bit cold, so keeping it warm as possible increases the chance that he will get to enjoy it.

This is just a couple more quilting cotton’s and a scrap of thinsulate insulation from my coat project. It is held in place with a small strap and a popper.  I think it is one of the easiest things I have made in a long time but it looks very smart.

Finally, I made Matt some PJ’s. Its something that I’ve been meaning to do for ages, but never seemed to get around to so I decided to give myself a helping hand and use Sprout Patterns before they shut down forever to get me started. These are printed on their performance pique, which feels very silky and smooth, so not the easiest sew but they seem to have come out ok.

I think part of what put me off was the fly in men’s pjs because I wasn’t sure how to adapt the patterns that I had to include it. Now that I have done it once though I don’t really know what I was so worried about because it was very easy. I also added inseam pockets from the spare fabric.

The presents all seemed to go down very well, and I’m glad that I made the effort even if it was just for a few simple things. Here’s to 2019!

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Review two, and Autumn/Winter Plans

My sewing has definitely slowed down a bit since having a baby, but I do have some plans for the autumn.  I need some more long sleeved tops, as does Matt so I’ve gone back to my favorite cotton spandex from Girl Charlee in Sage Green and Dusty Masala.

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With regards to my make 9 plans its going pretty well and I’ve decided on a final couple of things to add as my wildcards.  I’m going to sew the Poppy and Jazz Dandelion Dungarees for Toby (and if I get time a co-ordinating Honeydew Hoodie), and I could do with another wintery Archer shirt for which I have a perfect cream speckled brushed cotton from Fabworks last year.   So my make 9 now looks like this:

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6 made (some several times), 1 in progress, and 2 yet to start.  I feel like that is not too bad.  The Taylor Trench and Archer shirt are pretty involved makes, though I have made the Archer multiple times before.  The dandelion dungarees should be super easy though.  I have some cute Fabworks elephant fabric which might work.

Z2e5If I get time, I could also do with another Oslo cardigan.  The one that I made at the start of the year is in constant rotation, and I’ve been discovering that cardigans are much more convenient to breastfeed in than jumpers, and its getting too cold to be without layers.

 

My first adventures into bag making

One of my aims for this year is to sew from my stash fabrics.  Well I have had a really cool ‘technical fabric’ remnant from Fabric Godmother sitting around for perhaps a year, and I thought it was high time that I gave sewing with it a go.  This fabric is slightly waterproof, but still moves and feels like fabric rather than plastic, so I thought that a fairly practical tote bag would be a good option.

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I have had a Seamwork subscription for a while, and so had a couple of credits to use.  The Madrid bag seemed to be a pretty straightforward option for my first attempt at making a bag since making a drawstring one in year 9 textiles!  All the pattern pieces are basically rectangles, so it really is a beginner friendly option.

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The Seamwork Madrid pattern is designed to be sewn with a couple of contrasting outer fabrics, and a lining.  I didn’t have two different waterproof fabrics, but I did have some cotton twill left over from Matt’s waistcoat last year which co-ordinated well.  I chose two basic polycottons for the lining, so that I could make the pocket out of a contrast colour too.

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This all went together very smoothly.  I couldn’t find any bag handles that I liked online as suggested in the instructions, so I just made my own from some d-rings and a length of wedding.  This way you can choose exactly how long you would like the straps to be too.

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This tote bag is not quite an empty shell like some are, and I thought that it would be nice to be able to take it without a handbag sometimes.  I hate it when my keys and phone get lost in the bottom of a bag though, so I divided the internal pocket to be ‘phone-sized’ and added a little hook to clip onto a key.  The finished bag looks pretty good.  Not all of my topstitching is a neat as I would like, but I don’t think most people will be looking that closely.

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It is a bit floppy, so if I make some more in similar fabrics I think I will need to add some interfacing to the outer bag pieces to make them seem a bit more robust.  It might not be helping that the cotton twill at the top is slightly heavier weight than the floral fabric at the bottom of the bag, but I didn’t want to put them the other way up because I thought you are more likely to put a bag down on a slightly damp surface than brush up against one at the top of the bag.  I can see more of these bags in my future.

 

Maternity Agnes Tops

I am a massive fan of the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top (see some of my versions here and here)- it really is one of my wardrobe staples, so the recent release of a maternity version seemed perfect!  I still get to have all my lovely layering and basic tees, but with some extra space for a growing bump.

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There are a couple of variations included in the pattern, including a dress which I may make at some point soon.  To start with though I thought I would give the top versions a go.  They are a bit longer than the standard Agnes tee, and the sizing chart is different, so do double check which size to cut.  I am a size 3 in the regular Agnes, but a size 2 in this maternity version.  Some of the extra length is gathered at the side seams to create the fullness required for a bump.

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I made two versions, both with fabrics which have been waiting in my stash far too long for the right project to come around.  First up, I made a 3/4 sleeve top with side ties from a lovely Girl Charlee cotton jersey called Coral Peach Floral.  It doesn’t have the hugest amount of stretch, so I should perhaps have enlarged the sleeve width a little, but other than that I really like it.

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The little side ties are a slightly labour and time intensive addition because they are a nightmare to turn through, but there is definitely some extra belly room, and more than I need at the moment at 4 months so still room to grow.

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Next up, I used a cotton interlock from ebay in a wine colour.  For this one, I just wanted a really basic layering tee, so I left off the side ties and went for full length sleeves.  This one was super quick to put together, and I can see I am going to want more of these.  The interlock jersey is lovely too. A good amount of stretch, and super soft and snuggly.

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I think this pattern is going to be a staple in the next couple of months.  it is so quick to put together if you leave the ties off, and with the dress variation to try out as well, I think i’m going to have another TNT pattern to replace the regular Agnes.

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Velvet maternity skirt and top

I’ve been busy again reviewing some fabric for Minerva Craft- this time a pleated velvet jersey.  I had only planned to make a skirt, but my skirt ended up being an experiment in how to create a maternity waistband, and I ended up with some fabric left over for a little top too.

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See the rest of the pictures and details of the construction here on the Minerva crafts blog.  Something that I forgot to mention on the blog post was that this fabric doesn’t fray at all, which is awesome, because I decided not to hem anything!  I wasn’t really sure how to hem this without loosing the pleats, so not hemming was an easier solution.

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Seamwork Aurora

This is another of my speedy holiday makes!  This has been cut and ready to go for a couple of months, but of course I decided that I needed it finished to take away with me on the morning of our holiday.  Fortunately, it was very quick and easy to put together, and we were never in doubt of missing our flights or travel plans!

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This is a Seamwork magazine pattern, the Aurora top.  I do really like Seamwork for inspiration, though not all the patterns grab my attention.  This one though is just so simple and cute I thought I would give it a go.

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I used this tutorial to clean finish the yoke/strap seam, which isn’t in the pattern instructions.  It doesn’t really make it much more difficult though, and does look tidier on the inside.

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The fabric is all scraps which have been hanging around for a while.  The navy blue body is an old t-shirt, and the contrast yoke is cut from the very last scraps of my first Moneta dress.  This is a great top for a bit of scrap busting.

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I don’t know really why I put off sewing this up.  It was so quick and easy.  I wasn’t sure how this would look in such warm weather being such a dark colour, but I do quite like the contrast with these ready to wear white linen shorts.

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