Monday, 29 April 2013

KCW Spring 2013 - Something for the Girls

I am still absolutely in love with the Geranium Dress pattern by Rae and decided to use KCW to make the dress version (up until now I have only made tops). In fact, I made two identical dresses, one in a 2T for a friend's daughter and one in a 3T for my niece.

Geranium DressGeranium Dress
I can't really tell you much about the fabric, other than that I bought it in a destash sale on Etsy and it is a JoAnns fabric. It's a really lovely soft cotton, and the bright butterflies are really fun and girlie.
For these dresses I chose flutter sleeves, a plain neckline and a gathered skit. However, I did make one big change to the skirt. I used a little less width on the skirt and instead of gathering all the way around, I only gathered the centre of the front and the centre sections of each back section (and I cut the skirt in one long width of fabric rather than three pieces). I made this decision because the skirt is quite long and on a toddler, the length combined with a lot of gathering could be a bit combersome and inpractical. Plus I inteneded for these to be fun, light summer dresses that the girls could play in comfortably rather than something fancy.


I used bright pink plastic snaps for the black closure, simply because they matched nicely and I had lots of them lying around. They are also quite practical for dressing wriggly toddlers.
My niece tried her dress on yesterday and it fit perfectly and looked very pretty. Now we just need some sun so she can actually wear it out without freezing to death!

UPDATE... and the sun arrived just in time for the bank holiday

Geranium DressGeranium Dress


Sunday, 28 April 2013

KCW Spring 2013 - Boy's Projects

I haven't had much time for blogging this week, as I have been trying to juggle a busy work schedule and taking part in Kids Clothes Week. For those of you who don't know about KCW, it is basically a seasonal challenge to devote an hour a day for a week to creating clothing for kids. Although I don't have kids of my own, KCW was a great excuse to get creating for my niece and nephew. And the website and flicker group have lots of great ideas for creating seasonal outfits.
As I was a little pushed for time, I started out with an easy knitting project that I could squeeze into the little blocks of time that I had.

Rowan Floyd Vest

This is the Floyd vest from Rowan's Miniature Classics. Although my nephew is only 4 months old, he is very big and long. So I decided to knit this up in the 6-9 month size. And I am so glad I did, because it fits him perfectly already. I used Patons Smoothie yarn in a teal colour which suits him perfectly, with his fair skin and hair and big grey-blue eyes.
I used shell buttons finish the cute mock pocket and for the button closures at the back.
I was hoping to make the little guy a cotton button-up/collared shirt to wear under the vest. In the past I have made him the Baby Boy Button Up by Jessica and MeSewCrazy and loved it. However, being a size 3-6 month pattern, there was no point making another as this BIG 'little guy' would get hardly any (if any) wear out of it. So instead, I decided to make him some trousers to go, using some bits out of my refashion pile and a cute star-print cotton that I bought recently from a destash sale on Etsy.
I kind of winged this project, going at it with only a vague idea in my head and making it up as I went along. I purchesed the cute star print fabric a few weeks back and in my mind it was always going to be used for trouser turn-ups and finihsings like waistband lining and pockets... who doesn't love a splash of colour and pattern poking out here and there?! The demin and the khaki rib came from my refashion pile and once upon a time were part of a pair of ill-fitting adult jeans and a very worn hoodie.

There are lots of things I really like about these trousers, especially the tabs with poppers for holding the turn-ups in place. And the fact that although I aimed for a 6-12 month size trouser, the little man can wear them now turned up and they should still fit him for a while once they are turned down.

However, there are also a few things I don't like... namely that by winging it and not putting enough planning into this project, I failed to realised that tapering the leg in would make it difficult to turn up the bottoms. A simple error, but all the more frustrating in that I have made the exact same error before so should not have done it again. Needless to say, the pattern I drafted for these now has (in big bold letters) the sentence "Do not taper for turn-ups!" scrawled across it.
So all in all this was a semi-successful project for the little guy. The vest is perfect and should see him through the unpredictable spring weather we are having. The trousers aren't perfect, but they are pretty cute and Little Guy's mummy loves them. I would have liked to complete the outfit with a shirt but that just wasn't meant to be... hint hint Jessica, can you upscale the Baby Boy Button Up? Pretty Please!

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Emily Cardigan Free Pattern (for premature/ underweight babies) ***with an ammendment***

Recently I have been knitting preemie cardigans for a local non-profit organisation called Emily's Star.
Emily's Star is a non-profit organisation (soon to be a registered charity) that was set up in memory of baby Emily, who was born with Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome) and died just 26 days after her birth. Emily's parents hope to raise awareness of Edwards Syndrome and other Trisomy conditions. Emily's Star raise money to support children's complex needs nursing teams and also provide special boxes for families with babies in the neonatal unit. These boxes are filled with all sorts of practical and comforting things that parents and preemie/underweight babies may need in the early days, including cardigans.
Emily's Star - Emily CardiganSince I couldn't find the perfect preemie knitting pattern I decided to try and create my own. It is worked top down, with minimal seams (which can be uncomfortable for fragile babies to lie on). It has a v-neck and front button-openings to allow for easy dressing and wide, loose sleeves and cuffs to allow for medical lines etc.
If you would like to knit a preemie cardi for Emily's Star or another charity, you can download the free Emily Cardigan pattern here.

The pattern posted up until 5th April 2013 had a couple of errors in it. These have now been corrected, so if you have downloaded the pattern prior to this date, please download it again.

The corrections are as follows:
- The duplicate rows 23 and 24 should be row 25 and 26
- Row 24 should read: K17 M1 K2 M1 K29 M1 K2 M1 K35 M1 K2 M1 K29 M1 K2 M1 K17
- Row 26 should read: K18 M1 K2 M1 K31 M1 K2 M1 K37 M1 K2 M1 K31 M1 K2 M1 K18
-Where the decrease K1s1psso occurs, it should read s1K1psso (slip 1, knit 1, pass the slipped stitch over)

More Little Geraniums

I was so in love with the first Geranium Top that I made using Made by Rae's pattern that I just had to make a few more. And since I was visiting my favourite cousin and her gorgeous 13 month old daughter at the weekend, I had the perfect excuse.

Geranium Top

Geranium Top

I made one geranium top using the very last piece of my favourite girlie seersucker in lilac. It has pink, peach and white stripes going down in one direction and darker lilac ones going across the other direction and it is oh so soft. I made this top with a gathered skirt and flutter sleeves and the plain neckline. Because this little girl is quite petit and I was making the top rather than the dress, I decided not to cut the skirt pieces as wide as stated in the pattern and to have less gathers. I also had to make a change to the length, simply because the piece of fabric I had left did not allow for as much length as the pattern states. I made the hem as narrow as possible and with the little girl being at the younger end of the age range, this wasn't too big a problem. I used white plastic snaps for the back closure, to make dressing a wriggly little one easier.
Geranium TopGeranium Top

Geranium Top

I also had enough of the dark pink butterfly fabric left to make one more gernaium top, so I made a second top in 18-24 months to grown into. For this top I chose the pleated skirt, no sleeves and the notched neckline. I also used plastic snaps for the back closure on this one.
Geranium TopGeranium Top

Geranium Top

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Geranium Top (now with photos of the little lady wearing it)

So, for months I have been admiring the multitude of Geranium Dresses that have been popping up all over blogland, and trying to convince myself that I don't really need another kiddies dress pattern. But... today I gave in and bought it, and am soooooooooooooooo happy that I did!!!
This pattern, by Rae over at made by RAE, is just fantastic. The e-pattern comes complete with instructions and lots of photos to show you what to do and goes from 0-5y. My biggest problem when making my first Geranium creation was deciding which of the many different variations to choose... top or dress, with side-seam pockets or patch-pockets, pleats or gathers, and which of the three different necklines and three sleeve options... the combinations are endless!
This was what I finally decided on (after two cups of tea and lots of changing my mind)...

Geranium Top
I chose the top, with faux cap sleeves, a cut-out neckline and pleats. I decided against pockets because I don't think the patch ones would look right with pleats and my niece has a nasty habit of running around with her hands in her pockets (I have visions of her tripping and knocking out her front teeth), so the side-seam pockets didn't seem like a good idea either.
The fabric is one that I picked up from Pink Pigeon Creations on Etsy (it was a bargain buy from her destash listings). It's a joanns fabric but not sure what it is called.
I pretty much followed the pattern and instructions to the word, but I added topstitching, just because I like top-stitching (it wasn't necessary for the construction).
Normally I shy away from making buttonholes as I panic that I will do them wrong and mess-up what I have made - If I want buttons I usually use hand-sewn snaps with buttons over the top. But... as this top was looking so fab I decided to be brave and do the fastenings properly with big pink buttons and buttonholes. I followed Rae's measuring instructions carefully and did quite a few practise ones on scraps of fabric, and I'm pleased to say, they worked pretty nicely.
Geranium Top

 ... Since writing this blog post I have given the top to my 2-year-old niece. When she saw it she said "so pretty" (the first time she has used the word 'pretty') and ran around the house like a lunatic! So I think she likes it. The 2T size is just right for her now (at 2y4m) but there's no growing room in it, so from now on I think I will be making the 3T. And here she is wearing it...

Geranium Top

Geranium TopGeranium Top


Friday, 5 April 2013

Knitting for Emily's Star

This weekend I am off to a very special event - A balloon release to celebrate the first birthday of Emily's Star.
Emily's Star is a non-profit organisation (soon to be a registered charity) that was set up in memory of baby Emily, who was born with Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome) and died just 26 days after her birth. Emily's parents hope to raise awareness of Edwards Syndrome and other Trisomy conditions. Emily's Star raise money to support the children's complex needs nursing team in my town and also provide special boxes for families with babies in the neonatal unit. These boxes are filled with all sorts of practical and comforting things that parents and preemie/underweight babies may need in the early days.
I have been trying to do my bit to support this fantastic organisation by knitting up some preemie cardis and hats to go into these special neonatal boxes. And here are a few of them...

Girl's Cardigans
I have scoured pattern books and the internet for the perfect preemie pattern... one without too many seams that may be uncomfortable to lie on, a neckline that doesn't rise too high under the chin, sleeves that aren't too long and with loose cuffs to allow room for lines and medical leads etc... and haven't had much luck. Instead, I have settled on creating my own version, which combines all the best features of lots of different patterns I have tried out. The version that I have settled on is the one I used for the three girl's cardis (above).
Below are a few more cardigans and some teeny tiny hats...
Boy's Cardigans
More Girl's Cardigans


Beanie Hats


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Girlie Lovey

One of this week's projects was a little pair of girlie baby shoes and matching hat, requested by a friend. However, not liking the number two and pairs for gifts, I decided that the set needed a third element. Not long ago I made (and blogged about) my first 'lovey' for the gorgeous Oliver and decided that a girlie lovey would be the perfect thrid piece for this gift set.
And here it is...

I used the same hot pink fleece for the back that I used for the shoes and the hat.  The centre square on the front and the hanging tag are made from the contrast fabric from the shoes and hat. The poppers on the hanging tag also match those on the little shoes. I chose to use a couple of metallic fabrics to add contrast and hopefully the refelective nature of them will add interest for the baby. And I used corduroy and pale pink fleece for contrasting textures and a mixture of ribbons with different feels, widths and colours.
And here is the lovey with the rest of the gift set...


The Jessica Top

A pretty little top for a pretty little girl...

I made this little top one evening last week for my friend's daughter Jessica. If I had thought it through I would have taken photos as I went and then written a tutorial. However, as with most of my projects, I made it up as I went along and was so engrossed in what I was doing I forgot to take photos or even make a note of what I did in what order.
But I absolutely love the top, so there is a chance I will (attempt to) make another one for my niece, and if I do then I will make sure I take photos. The fabric, which came from my refashion pile, is currently my favourite and I wish I had enough of it to make another Jessica Top in the same fabric. I have been keeping my eye out for something similar but nothing has grabbed my attention yet.
For this top I used a basic bodice pattern that I had drafted from one of my nieces t-shirts (aged two years). I increased the width of the front at the centre to allow for the pleat and made sure I allowed lots of fabric for a wide button band on the centre back. You will notice that there are seams down the front of the bodice running from the centre of the shoulders. As the fabric was from my refashion pile, I had to incoroporate these pre-existing seams into my design. With some creativity and careful placement and cutting I have managed to make the seams line up nicely with the pleats in the 'skirt' part of the top and actually really like the effect. Knowing me though, if I try to recreate this in the future it will probably go all wrong!
The back of the top has buttons going all the way down and the 'skirt' part has pleats that mirror those on the front. The button band and the hem are wide, hopefully to contrast with the 'busy' pattern. The top bodice part is lined with plain white cotton and the armholes and neckline finished with topstitching.
Jessica's mummy was really pleased with this suprise gift, fingers crossed that little Jessica likes it just as much!