Sewing Adventures


Not much has been happening in the world of craft, but I did managed to finish a few projects.  The first one I am super excited about is the Central Park Hoodie.  I have been wanting to knit this pattern since I first saw it on Ravelry a few years ago, but I never had the right yarn (or enough of it).  And so the pattern, like so so many others, stayed in my queue and taunted me everytime I thought about what to cast on.

Then I found I finally had the magic trifecta: time, yarn, and pattern.  Voila. In 3 weeks I had all my hoodie bits and a week later they were sewn up.  Magic.

I love it, but I have to say, if I were to do it all over again, I would have made it a 36.  I did some investigating on Ravelry and it seems like everyone mentioned that this pattern ran a bit small.  However, I think I like my jumpers a bit tighter, and while this hoodie is cozy, it’s not quite form flattering.  Also, I have a feeling that this yarn (New Lanark) might grow a bit with wear, meaning I’m about to end up with closer to 4 inches of ease. Oh well.

But enough about knitting, what else has been happening?  Oh, just insane wedding planning!

Because I’m a masochist, I decided that I could HAND SEW everyone a goodie bag, and that I could then fill the goodie bags with Scottish related stuff.  Like a wee bottle of whiskey, some short bread cookies, and some other crap.  But this means finding a good pattern and have atting it.   Yesterday I tried out a sample one to see what it would look like:

In my wedding colours! Burgundy/merlot  with black interior and embellished with a cream ribbon in the same colour as my wedding invites (what what for making them all from scratch, bitchez!)

Not gonna lie- it took me forever to make this one.  Mostly because of the small things, like cutting the squares on my ironing board because I don’t have a table. Or changing the thread to match the ribbon before changing it again to match the bag.  So the new plan is to spend a day just cutting. Then just sewing the ribbon on. Then finally I can piece all the bloody pieces together into a bag. Because that? That only takes like 10 minutes.

1 down, 59 more to go!

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Once upon a time, I found an Etsy shop that made beautiful wallets.  And I wanted one. And I bought one because it was only £10 and did everything that I wanted a wallet to do, but couldn’t find in a shop. Plus it was handmade.

Then I found out that the wallets this lady sold were from a free pattern (a pattern which the designer said was okay for people to use for commercial use as well- a very rare find these days), but to my eyes, it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay too complicated.  But apparently that’s how I roll.

Let me take you back to when I first started knitting. I discovered a yarn shop in Edinburgh, bought some Alpaca yarn because it was soft, then went online to ebay and looked up alpaca mittens to buy. Because it was my goal in life to one day be able to knit mittens, and I thought somehow that having a finished pair would spur me on to actually replicate them. So what if my mental processes are a bit fucked up when it comes to crafts?

The point is, I bought this wallet knowing full well in the back of my mind that I would one day be able to replicate it. Somehow, some way.

Enter Christmas.

I found this amazing fabric shop in Cambridge (CallyCo) and said to myself that this year, I would sew people things rather than knit them.  I thought this would be cheaper, but then, as always when you start a new craft, the bitch is in all the wee bits and bobs you need to buy just to begin.  I think I spent around £200 on fabric, cutters, boards, snaps, clasps, buttons, ribbons, interfacing, elastic, etc, etc, etc. Cheaper….ugh.  But at the end of the day I finally had a finished project.

I give you, my x-mas pressies of 2010:

Kira's Wallet

Inside- note the card holders, zippered coin pouch, and two bill pockets

Claudia's Wallet

Mom's wallet

Roughly 40 hours of my life

Kira's Crochet holder

Crochet holder closed

All the bits

As you can see from the last picture, I ended up making 6 wallets, two coin pouches, a tote bag, and a make up case (on bookshelf) with attachable cupcake pin.   And I still have a lot of fabric left to make some other really cute things.

I’m not sure if I should do a few more wallets, or branch out and try to tackle a few different kinds of bags.  I’m leaning towards bags.  Things I discovered in this: Magnetic snap closures are freaking expensive for what they are.  Snaps are a lot cheaper, but a hell of a lot more scary to use. I did half the wallets with snaps and half with magnets. The snaps (once I destroyed several tabs trying to figure out how to make them work) were great- WHEN THEY WORKED! But for one wallet, it just didn’t stay put. I kept hammering, and it kept…hammering a hole through my fabric. Then the plastic snap thingy holder broke. Now I’m debating a snap tool thing, but am far too poor.  Also, the people at John Lewis don’t really know as much as you’d like. I asked them for the strongest, thickest interfacing (something I had never used before) and the lady gave me this light fairy gauze stuff that she said was really good because it had criss crosses on it or something for stability. I ended up with a very limp wallet.  Also, didn’t know that iron on interfacing sticks best with a wee bit of spray water on it. Whoops.

I’m not really a seamstress, but I would like to be. And as much as I love knitting, it takes me about a month to make a jumper, cardigan, or lacy shawl.  But I do get that smug sense of satisfaction when I whip out a hat in a day.  And it seems like you can get the same sense of quick accomplishment with sewing.  Not that I’ve every made anything wearable.

But, I have been fiddling about.

Last year I bought myself a sewing machine as a Christmas pressie.  I played around with it and did the usual newbie crafts- I made pillow cases out of fat squares. Although I have to say I was pretty chuffed with my non-measured unpatterned experiment of the Union Jack.

I also refashioned a pair of leggings into a long sleeved shrug, which I thought was pretty creative and thrifty of me, but other than that, nada.

Then I got obsessed with buying cheap vintage kilts on ebay. I got one for like £2 and….it didn’t fit.  It was long enough by a mile, but it’s interpretation of a UK size 14 was not my body’s, so it just wouldn’t go around my waist.

That is, until I whipped out the sewing machine to try and see what I could do! I cut off the top waist band part, folded it down, made a new band, reattached the leather buckles, made some button hole slits, and voila! It was A line anyway, so by cutting about two inches off the top, it made the waist bigger to fit my wine belly.

Naturally I didn’t take any pictures of the waist, which is where all the refashion happened. Eejit. And I got super lucky because the pleats where already sewn in, but I was mighty chuffed with what I was able to do- things like button holes- that let me play with some of the functions on my machine.

Now I’ve done a whole slew of pressies for others, but those will have to wait until after Christmas!