Friday Fancies

Here's another Friday round up of some of my favourite things.


Firstly this totally gorgeous Christmas wreath, made by Lucy of Attic 24.    Isn't it stunning?  I so want to make one, but I'm not sure I've got time to complete it this year.  I'm so tempted to go and hit the yarn shop tomorrow though!


Some more colour!   A gorgeous bold striped scarf from Rowan Knitted Scarves and Shrugs, knit in 5 colours of Kid Silk Haze.   I think I could probably knit this without the pattern!


A quilted sewing machine cover tutorial from Sew Delicious.  I bought a pretty charm pack (I think that's what it's called) of quilting fabric last weekend that would be perfect for this.

A cute asymmetric bob.  I'm due to get my hair cut in a couple of weeks and am tempted to go for something like this.  (Love the red lips too!)

And finally a cute kitty with some thread.  I believe this is a vintage advertisement for Zwicky Thread.  How lovely would this be on the wall of a sewing room?

That's all for now.  Have a great weekend!

Off My Needles: Cabernet Sauvignon wrap

I have some completed knitting to share with you today.  I actually finished it at the end of last month, and have worn it loads, but this is the first chance I've had to photograph and share it here.

As soon as I saw this picture of the Cabernet Sauvignon wrap on Ravelry I knew I wanted to make one for myself, and I knew I had to use the same - or a very similar - colour. 

Cabernet Sauvignon by Monika Sirna

Here is my version.

The colour of my yarn is not quite as vibrant, but it's a pretty good match.  I used all bit a tiny bit of 4 skeins of Shibui Knits Sock in Peony, which I bought from Meadow Yarn.  My photo above shows the colour pretty accurately, it's possibly slightly deeper in real life. 

I totally enjoyed every minute of working on this project.  Although it uses the same stitch pattern throughout there is enough going on with increases and decreases and short rows to shape the curve that you don't get bored.   It's a really fun project to work on, and lovely to wear.

This picture that I took when I was about 1/3 of the way through shows the curve pretty well.

My plan was to make a navy coat this winter, and I'm sure this will look gorgeous with a navy coat, when I eventually get round to making one!  It might happen, but my "to make" list seems to be growing ever longer, and a coat takes up quite a bit of time. 

For now I'm enjoying wearing this with anything and everything.

To Alter or Not to Alter...

... that is the question!

Having spent a bit of time this week altering a skirt I bought last weekend I started thinking about how and when I'm willing to alter RTW garments.

The skirt in question is this one:

I got it from the DKNY outlet at Bicester Village, a designer retail outlet near me.  It was reduced from £75 to £29, and what really caught my eye was the way the waist was shaped with all those little tucks instead of the usual darts or pleats. 

It was short though!  Around 16 inches short!  I haven't worn a skirt that short in goodness knows how long.  Luckily it had a decent hem of about 1.75 inches.   I decided I could easily let the hem down quite a bit, thereby making it more comfortably wearable. 

However it was also a little big around the waist, so that it kind of didn't know how or where to sit.  The part where the tucks end sat nicely on my hips, but the waist was loose.  Not loose enough to be baggy and floppy, but loose enough to make me look a good size or 2 larger around the waist than I am.  I spent a bit of time thinking about this one, I knew I could do an alteration here as well, and again quite easily, but I needed to decide whether it was worth it.

In the end I decided that it was worth spending the money and doing the alterations.  It now fits nicely around the top and is about 1.5 inches longer.  Still pretty short for me, but wearable with thick tights. 

So, how did I decide whether it was "worth it" on the alterations front? 

At the time I wasn't sure how I'd come to the decision, but thinking about it since, I realised I've got a few rules when it comes to situations like this.

The garment in question has to be good quality.  The fabric of this skirt is lovely and thick, but soft, it's finished nicely and of course it is "designer".  If it had been £29 full price and had been in a run of the mill chain store I wouldn't have considered buying and altering it because I don't think the quality would have been that good. 

The garment has to be "different".  Not way out different, but if this had been a standard pencil or A line skirt, again I wouldn't have bought it.  I'd have decided I could look for another one similar, or make one. 

The garment has to be a good price.  I wouldn't have paid £75 for a skirt and then done these alterations.  Having said that it's highly unlikely that I'd have paid £75 for any skirt.   But if I had spent that sort of money, I would have expected whatever I bought to fit well without needing my sewing skills to sort it out.  The only exception to this rule would possibly be hemming to shorten trousers.

So, how do you feel about altering RTW?  Is it something you do often, or something you'd never consider?  Do you have rules of your own about this?

Minerva Crafts Project - Floral Shift Dress

Hello there!   Sorry for the long absence, life seems to have got in the way somewhat over the last couple of weeks.  First hubby and I were away for a weekend for his birthday, then we were both ill with a nasty sickness bug.  It's good to be back to normal and blogging again!
For my first project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network I wanted to make something that typified my style. 

Anyone who has visited my blog will know I love dresses and I love printed fabrics. 
I decided to use one of my favourite patterns, New Look 6000, choosing view D without the collar.

I’ve used views D (collarless) and E at least 6 times now... possibly more!  As soon as I saw this fabric I knew it would be perfect for this pattern.

The fabric is 100% cotton lawn and it is really lovely.  I must confess I rarely use 100% cotton as I often find it too stiff, but this one definitely isn’t.  It’s crisp but still soft, is gorgeous to sew and feels very comfortable to wear.
Now, you’d think that using a pattern I was so familiar with would mean things would go smoothly, wouldn’t you? 
So did I, but sadly, I forgot that I normally fold an inch out of the length of the bodice, in between the underarm and the bust dart.  I was merrily sewing away and got as far as having inserted the invisible zip before I tried it on... and had a shock when it was too tight across the hips and I couldn’t work out why.  Then it dawned on me that I hadn’t folded out my normal inch across the bodice, which obviously lifts everything an inch, and makes the hip shaping curve out that bit higher.  I therefore spent a happy evening unpicking the zip, sleeves (yes, I’d put those in as well!) and shoulder seams so I could recut the top of the dress taking the necessary alteration into account.
Thankfully I was then able to complete everything else without any further issue.
Although it's almost Winter here, I decided to make the dress with short sleeves.  Even if it had long sleeves I probably wouldn't wear it at this time of year without a cardigan over, and I hate the dragging of cardigan sleeves against fabric underneath.  I therefore went with the little pleated cap sleeves, which I think look really pretty.

The body of the dress is fully lined with black lining, which is handstitched to the zip tape and armsyce seams.  I finished the hem by treating the outer fabric and lining as one, and machine stitched a double folded hem.  I love to line my dresses and enclose all the raw edges.  It takes a bit more time, but I'm always much happier with the finish of a lined dress.  It also means I don't have to tangle with facings - which I hate!  The sleeves are unlined and just finished with a double folded hem.

I love how this dress has turned out and know I’ll get a lot of wear out of it.  If you’d like to make your own version, you can buy the kit here.  It contains 2 metres of the cotton lawn, 1.5 metres of lining fabric and a 22” invisible zip.