Minerva Crafts Blogger Project - Waterfall Cardi

Hello!  Sorry about the short absence.  There's no real reason for it, other than that my last couple of sewing projects have been failures, and I'm still deciding whether to share them or not!
But I do have a success to share with you today, in the form of my latest project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.
However, even that isn't without some form of failure! 
I don’t mind admitting that my original plan for my April project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network ended in disaster.  I had planned on making a draped jersey dress, but sadly made several errors which meant before the bodice was even complete it was beyond saving.  Sewing while tired I managed to sew the outer shell and lining together so that the faced part of the lining – which matched the outer shell and would show in the draped neckline – was inside.  What you could actually see was some bright white stretch lining! Of course, I only realised this once I had understitched the neckline and cap sleeves, and trimmed the seam allowances to next to nothing.  Having slept on it I thought I could fix things, then discovered that I’d actually cut the bodice too small!  Ugh!
One panicked email to Vicki at Minerva later and I was onto plan B. 
I actually had this purple textured knit in my stash, having bought it a while back because I thought it was gorgeous.  Only a couple of weeks ago I’d made it into a waterfall cardigan which I hadn’t yet blogged about.  Vicki kindly said that she was happy for me to use this as my April project.
So here we are.
I’ve wanted to make a waterfall cardigan for ages, but couldn’t find a pattern that was just right.  I’d received several suggestions on my blog, and then during an evening trawl of Pinterest I came across a tutorial by Katy of No Big Dill for the very thing I was looking for.  You can find the tutorial here, it’s called the Billy Cardi.  I used a self drafted jersey top pattern as my starting point.
Katy’s tutorial was easy to follow, and I luckily had just the right amount of fabric. 
The fabric (which is available in several other colours – some of which may also be in my stash!) is gorgeous, and has a lovely, slightly ruffled selvedge.  I decided to use this as the finish to the front edges of my cardigan.   To do this I just cut the 2 fronts right on the edge of the fabric. 

The pieces went together really easily, and it is worth doing as the tutorial suggests and sewing the shoulder seams WRONG sides together and then topstitching.  When the cardigan is worn you don’t see much of the shoulder seams, but you do see a lot of the inside of the collar seam – which is an extension of the shoulder seam.  As the collar folds over you see the inside of the fabric and seam here.  As you’ve sewn wrong sides together, you just see a nice, “normal” seam on the collar.  In fact, in this fabric you can hardly see the seam at all.
The sleeves are just turned under and hemmed with a slight zigzag stitch, but for the top of the collar and the body hem I wanted to use the remains of the ruffled selvedge.  I cut the remaining selvedge off the fabric, giving myself a strip about 1.25” deep, and then zigzagged this to the hem and top edge of the collar.  On the hem I sewed the right side of the strip to the wrong side of the fabric.  On the top edge of the collar I sewed the right side of the strip to the right side of the collar, so that the strip is underneath the collar when it is folded back.  The ruffled strips peep out about an inch and make a nice finish. 
As you can see from my photos this cardigan can be worn several different ways, and I think it’s going to prove a really useful addition to my wardrobe.


Made by Me: Jamie Jeans

6 months ago, or even 3 months ago I'd have told you I had absolutely no interest in making a number of different items of clothing.  Underwear and jeans mainly.  However I'm now having to eat my words to a certain extent, as I proudly present my first ever pair of Me-Made jeans.
They are of course Named Patterns Jamie Jeans, seen many, many times over on various sewing blogs.   There's not much to say about the pattern that hasn't already been said, but I will share some of my fitting alterations - if only so I can remember them for my next pair.
When I measured myself to decide what size to make I was dismayed to discover that my thigh measurement was larger than that given for the largest size available.  I know I'm pear shaped, but I didn't think I was that pear shaped, so I decided to measure a pair of jeans I wear regularly, which turned out to be several inches smaller around the thigh than I measured myself as being.  
I decided to make the size 42, which equates to a UK size 14.  To be on the safe side I added an additional inch down the outer seam of both front and back.  I wasn't sure whether I'd need this all, but I had an inkling that even if the hips and thighs fitted, the calves would be too tight.  Due to many years of ballet dancing and roller skating when I was younger I have rather muscular calves.  
I also added 1 inch to the back crotch length, and half an inch to the front crotch length.  As I wasn't sure where the waist would sit on me, I added about an inch and a half to the crotch depth, raising the waist.   I ended up taking about half an inch off this when I attached the waistband.  
To my surprise the jeans went together really easily.  For some reason I'd always thought jeans would be really hard to make, but not so with these.  
I did have one little mishap when I attached the fly shield to the wrong side of the front opening, but once I realised my mistake it was easy to fix.  
The hardest thing for me was getting the fit right on the calves.  I still think I've got them a little tight, but I'd sewn and resewn the outer leg seams so many times I decided to call these good enough.  You might notice from the photo above that the front leg seam drifts towards the inner leg.  Of course, this is because when I added width to the calf, I only added it to the outer seam, instead of adding half to the inner and half to the outer seam.  I'll correct this next time, but it actually looks worse in the photo than it does in real life.
I actually needed only about half the inch I'd added to the outer seams in the calf area, and none of it at all at the hip/thigh area.  Adding the extra to the crotch depth really helped with the fit in this area.  
As you can see I omitted the back pockets.  I hadn't sewn them on when I got to that step in the pattern as I wasn't sure if I needed to use the additional width in the hip area, and I thought that might mess up the pocket placement.  In the end I just decided to leave them off. 
For my first attempt at jeans I'm really pleased with how they turned out.  They're definitely wearable, although I think the fit around the calves needs some slight adjustment in my next (!) pair.  

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The Strangest Thing I've Ever Made

Recently I was asked to make a soft toy for a friend's baby.  My friend had seen someone making toys out of baby's first babygrows (onesies) and wondered if I could do the same. 
Certainly I said.  What animal do you want?  (She'd shown me bears, elephants and rabbits).
A kiwi, was the reply.

There is a reason for this request - the baby's father is a New Zealander, and the kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand. 
I'll see what I can do, I said, not for one minute thinking you could get a pattern to make a kiwi soft toy.  However only a short search proved me wrong (which I'm very pleased about, because I was wondering how on earth I could MAKE a pattern myself). 
An Etsy shop called Funky Friends Factory has patterns for all kinds of soft toys, including this:
I thought it was rather sweet.
Here's my version, made from pieces of 5 of the baby's first babygrows. 
One side is floral
This side says "Born in 2013"
Underneath I embroidered the baby's name and date of birth.

I think this must rank right up there with one of the strangest things I've ever made, although I do think it's pretty cute. 
What's the strangest thing you've ever made?

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Minerva Crafts Meet Up

Hello there!  I hope you had a good weekend. 
I've got some exciting news to share with you today about a meet up that is being organised by the lovely people at Minerva Crafts.   
It's on 14th June, at the Minerva Craft Centre in Darwen, Lancashire.   You can find out more information about it here
It sounds as if it's going to be a fun day, with a guest speaker in the form of Karen from Did You Make That?, guests from the Great British Sewing Bee, workshops, talks and demonstrations, and of course lots of bloggers from the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.  We'll be showing off some of the creations you've seen us make as part of the network. 
Minerva have also put together a page on their website with details of things to do and see in the local area, in case you fancy making a weekend of it, or if you're bringing a plus one who doesn't fancy spending the whole day talking about crafting. 
I'll certainly be there, and am really looking forward to meeting everyone.   Are you going?  I'd love to see you there! 

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The Wardrobe Architect Week 10 - The Capsule Palette

Last week's exercise on the Wardrobe Architect series had us contemplating our capsule wardrobe silhouettes, now this week we have to decide on a colour palette for our wardrobe.    As suggested I've gone back to the colour palettes I made several weeks ago and come up with this:

I already have some pieces in my wardrobe that fit my silhouette and colour palette; dark coloured slim jeans (and an almost completed pair of Jamie Jeans too! - more about those another day); dull coral trousers and a navy and cream striped jersey maxi skirt.  I also have quite a number of nautical-ish striped jersey tops.  

There are a few gaps to be filled - I mentioned that I have a desire for a red maxi skirt, although another pair of trousers or a knee length skirt might be more practical, and I could do with a few tops that aren't striped.  As much as I love stripes, it would be nice to have a bit of variety. 

The next part of my plan is to play a little Style Sudoko with my wardrobe, as ably detailed by Su of Su Sews So-So this week.  

I'm going on holiday to Ireland mid-May and it would be nice to be able to take a co-ordinated capsule wardrobe along with me, even if I may need to wear my thermals and raincoat with it.