Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Spring Jacket

Since the little man has been doing lots of growing I decided to get going on a spring jacket for him.

I decided to go with a Sirdar pattern in their Baby Knits (316) booklet. It combines chunky cables and a broken rib to create a lovely boyish style.

The pattern calls for Sirdar Snuggly DK but I used Patons Smoothie DK in a petrol blue/ dark teal colour (colour 01058). I love the  finished look you get with this yarn and and it is so smooth and easy to knit with.
The pattern also suggests using Sirdar Funky Fur for the collar (knitted in stocking stitch), but I wasn't so keen on this look and gave it a miss. Instead, I continued the rib from the upper body of the jacket. There is also a variation with a ribbed hood, but I  made the little man a hooded top recently, so decided to go for the collar this time (plus it takes less time and yarn to knit a collar - Not that I am at all lazy!).

Saturday, 23 February 2013

More Knitting for Emily's Star

A few weeks ago I wrote about a fantastic charity called Emily's Star. One of the many wonderful things they do is provide neonatal units with welcome boxes for premature and underweight babies. I made a New Year's resolution to do more crafting for charity and have been trying to make sure I make one preemie project for Emily's Star for each of the crafts I make for friends and family.
You can see my first project here. And below are a couple more projects I have completed for Emily's Star recently...
Unisex wrap-over cardi and booties for 3-5lb baby
Cardi and little shoes for 3-5lb baby girl

The 'Alannah Dress' Tutorial

About 10 years ago we went on a family trip to Tunisia and while we were there my Mum bought this tunic.

In the Tunisian sunshine it seemed like a sensible buy, but low and behold, since our return to the UK there hasn’t quite been the occasion for her to wear it. So my lovely Mum donated it to my refashion pile and I have spent months looking at the lovely embroidery on it wondering what I could make with the fabric.
Then last week I booked a short break to Ireland to visit family in April and so decided it would be nice to make something to take over for my favourite cousin’s little girl who will be celebrating her 1st birthday in a couple of weeks. I revisited the tunic and realised that the embroidery around the neckline would fit perfectly onto a baby/toddler dress bodice. And so the ‘Alannah Dress’ was created.

I’m hoping to get the pattern pieces I used drawn up in neat to add to this, but in the meantime, I figured I could add some photos and bit of a tutorial as it really wasn’t all that complex to make.
I started out with a basic bodice piece (18 month girl size) and drew out a cap sleeve to fit it. I drew it to be longer than the armhole so that I could add some pretty gathers. The bubble-style skirt is made with a shaped lining and rectangles for the skirt. I used An from Straightgrain’s guide for sizing and cutting the lining, which you can find here. The tutorial also gives you guidelines for cutting the rectangles of fabric for the skirt. If you use this tutorial, you won’t need the waistband and you may also want to straighten out the curved waistline on lining pieces (I straightened it out for my dress so don’t know if it will work curved or not).
I used the tunic material for the main fabric and then some plain white cotton for the lining. Cut one front, two back and two sleeve pieces from the main fabric and again from the lining fabric. Then cut two lining skirt pieces on the fold and two rectangles from the main fabric from the skirt.
Take the bodice pieces and sew the front bodice to the back bodice pieces at the shoulders. Then pin the lining and main fabric bodices right sides together from the bottom of one back bodice piece right along and around the neckline and then down the other back piece. Don’t forget to put in some ribbon at this point if you want a loop closure. Stitch, turn the right side out, press and topstitch.
Then placing a lining sleeve and main sleeve piece right sides together, sew along the sleeve edge. Turn the right way out, press and topstitch. Zigzag around the curved shoulder edge of the sleeve pieces and then hand-sew a running stitch along the centre 4 inches of the curved shoulder edge (for the gathers).

Pull the stitches to gather the sleeve so that it fits the shoulder opening and then pin between the two layers of the shoulder opening of the bodice (right sides together). Make sure that you have the right side of the sleeve facing the right side of the bodice. Stitch, finish the edges with a zigzag and then turn right side out.
Attach a button to the back opening to correspond with the loop. The overlap the back pieces at the centre at the very bottom and secure with a few stitches. The bodice is now complete and can be put to one side for later.


To make the bubble-style skirt, jstart by joining the two lining pieces at the side seams and repeat for the main fabric skirt pieces.Then sew two rows of long, low-tension stitches along the bottom of the main skirt piece. Secure at one end and leave loose at the other. The pull the loose ends gently to gather the bottom of the skirt to match the width of the bottom of the lining. Pin to the lining and stitch to secure the hem. You want to do this with right sides together.
Repeat the gathering process for the top of the skirt and gather to match the bottom of the bodice (which should also be the same width as the top of the lining skirt). This time stitch with the wrong sides together. (Because I had the lovely embroidery at the front of the skirt I decided not to gather across it and leave the centre area flat.)

You are now ready to attach the skirt to the bodice. I did this the lazy way and just pinned and stitched the bodice to the skirt right sides together, then finished the edge with a zigzag stitch. Not the neatest finish but I was running out of time.


Turn right side out and press and you should have...

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Farmer Hoodie

I picked up some lovely boyish brown 100% organic cotton DK in the January sales and decided to try and be clever and use it to make the 'Jay' hoodie from Rowan Miniature Classics. The pattern calls for using Rowan Denim cotton yarn, which does a strange shrinking thing when you wash it so I had to make some allowances for this, but mostly it wasn't too tricky and the finished hoodie is adorable. I decided to fancy-up the pouch pocket with some novelty tractor buttons and match these with coordinating yellow smartie buttons on the neckline. It's bright but I think it brightens up an otherwise all brown sweater.
I made the sweater in 3-6 month size and decided not to adjust the length even though my cotton will not shrink like the denim cotton. Little Man is very long so extra length isn't really a bad thing. I had to make some adjustements to the sleeve tops so that they set into the armholes correctly but that wasn't too tricky... I made the sleeves using a combination of the 3-6 month instructions and those for a couple of sizes up and with a little trial and error it all worked out.
I thought that by making the 3-6 month size Little Man would get a good lot of wear out of it, being only 7 weeks old. However, when I saw him last week he was already wearing it and there isn't even half as much growing room as I had expected... He really is a big boy!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

A Junebug remix - The Junebug Pramsuit

A while back I posted about a fleece pramsuit I made in anticipation of the arrival of my first nephew. My sister-in-law loved it and it kept the little guy warm through our recent snowy period. However, little guy wasn't exactly 'little' at birth and just keeps growing, so he has completely outgrown the original pramsuit. So at the request of my sister-in-law I have made him a bigger pramsuit that will hopefully see him through to spring.

Junebug remix pramsuit


I used the fantastic Junebug Dress by Jess at craftinessisnotoptional as a starting point and since the little guy is actually pretty huge I decided to use Jess' 2T/3T pattern pieces as a starting point. Being nice and big it gives him plenty of wiggle-room and it might last more than a couple of weeks.
I still had some of the navy fleece from the original pramsuit left over and combined this with left-overs of the lime green fleece that I used for the lining of his sister's Christmas coat. The colours actually look really nice together and a bit of a change from the usual baby blues.
Junebug remix pramsuitThe whole pramsuit is lined in the lime fleece and the front and back pieces have a layer of cotton wadding/batting for extra warmth. The side panels and sleeves are not wadded as we didn't want the little guy to overheat... and you can always add a cosy blanket on really cold days. The front panel fastens using plastic snap fastners (I used a combination of green and navy front and backs to match/contrast with the fabrics).
Junebug remix pramsuit
I added an opening for the carseat/ pram buckle as my sister-in-law said this was one of the best features of the original pramsuit. With a toddler and a newborn, anything that makes transfering from car to pram easier when out and about can't be a bad thing.

Junebug remix pramsuit
When I made the front and back pattern pieces I originally was going to cut them on the fold so each would be a whole piece of fabric. However, as I was working with left-over fabric I didnt have the luxury of big pieces and had to cut each in two parts with a centre seam. This actually worked in my favour when it came to the buckle opening as I just had to reopen part of the seam and hand-finish the edge. Much less fiddly than the buckle opening on the original pramsuit!