Category Archives: sewing

Coco is a foxy lady!

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope 2016 is treating you well so far. I have a bit of a backlog of sewing projects to share with you, starting with a foxy Coco T-shirt.

FoxyCoCo2

Way back at the end of the summer, Girl Charlee contacted me to ask if I would like to try some of their jersey fabric. Having browsed their fantastic selection of jersey prints, the answer was of course yes. I chose a lovely fox print with a fun T-shirt in mind.

You may have seen that in some of my previous makes I have dabbled with jersey (most successfully with the Coco dress), but I struggle a bit with quality. I have had some bad experiences with some very cheap, but ultimately dissapointing, jersey before and therefore I was a little bit dubious about ordering jersey online without first being able to assess the quality. However, I needn’t have worried. This jersey is beautifully soft, and a dream to work with an wear.

FoxyCoco1

To show off this print, I wanted a simple T-shirt but I didn’t want to have to fiddle around with any fitting issues. So to the trusty Coco from Tilly and The Buttons I went. I have made two Coco dresses before, but this was my first time with the T-shirt.

I wanted a loose slouchy style so I cut a size up from usual and I also added two inches to the length, which is a standard adjustment for me. As usual with this pattern, construction was straightforward and this was a pretty quick make.

My only other alteration was the sleeves, instead of following the pattern, I sewed the cuffs using my favourite attachment style, originally taken from SImplicity 1652. This gives an attractive and neat finish with no visible seams inside or out, although I must confess that I forget how it is done every time and therefore it always involves a bit of head-scratching! Sorry, I realise this is not particularly helpful. If anyone is interested in a tutorial let me know – this might be beneficial to do anyway if only for me!!

FoxyCoCoSleeve

I finished this top back in September (the sun shine is a giveaway!) but the pictures have sat on my camera until now. I love this top and have worn it on regular rotation ever since – I can testify the jersey washes well!

I forsee many more Coco T-shirts in my future, this is fast becoming my go-to jersey pattern. I could do with expanding my repotoire though – what’s your favourite jersey pattern?

Kat xx

Disclaimer: Girl Charlee provided me with this fabric for free in exchange for a review, but all views are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

Me-Made-May 2015: Reflections and learnings

Howdy hi everyone, and happy June! Apparently the start of the summer months but you wouldn’t know it – the weather is miserable here in Derby. I have heard rumours of a heatwave though – a girl can dream!

Back at the end of April I snuck in with my Me-Made-May pledge of wearing at least one handmade item every day throughout May, and I am happy to say that I stuck to my pledge. I didn’t manage to document every day, but no matter, that wasn’t the name of the game for me this time. Here are a few of my favorite outfits:

DSCN0464

Letitia jumper. Previously an unsung hero of my me-made wardrobe, this jumper became a wardrobe staple during me-made-May. Comfy and great to sling on over jeans, or with black trousers for a smarter look. I can see myself wearing this a lot more in future.

DSCN0512

I have several Pendrell blouse’s in my wardrobe and they all got a lot of wear. In particular the black version with lace sleeves (which you can’t quite see above) since it goes with so many things (there is a lesson here – see later!). Oh – and new hair!

DSCN0529

My Simplicity 1652 dress got a lot of wear, as it always does. Comfy and easy to wear, I love this dress.

This was the first year that I had attempted all 31 days and I’m not gonna lie, a part of me is happy that May is over so I can get back in some of my RTW favourites. But I’m taking this as a positive, because it means that I have identified some real gaps in my me-made wardrobe. So what have I learnt?

1. I need more dresses! I love dresses but have relatively few every-day dresses in my wardrobe. I have a few in the pipeline including the Sewaholic Yaletown dress which I hope will address this gap.

2. I need more basics! By this I mean more plain coloured tops and bottoms that I can mix and match together. Top of my list is a black pencil skirt – perhaps the one from Gertie’s book?

3. I have very little me-made going-out wear. It was my 30th birthday this month and I struggled to find something nice to wear out for dinner with the husband (eek, that is still weird to say!). Of course I planned to make something, but it didn’t quite happen.

I’m hoping to address some of these issues so that by the time next May rolls around, I have a lot more variety to play with.

Did you take part in me-made-May this year? What gaps in your me-may wardrobe did you identify? Also any pattern suggestions for the above would be most welcome!

K xx

 

Autumn sewing plans

Hello there!

The chilly weather we have been having around these parts recently has got me thinking about my autumn sewing plans. There is definitely a change in the air; when I got up at 6am this morning it was dark. I’m not going to lie to you, I love autumn. I feel a lot more comfortable dressing for autumn, in layers and cardigans and scarfs than I do for summer. Nothing beats cosying up inside with a cup of hot chocolate, a cat or two and a blanket. Oh and the boy, if he happens to be around.

My autumn sewing plans were already in development, in my head at least, when the lovely Liz from Liz Makes It drew my attention to the Fall Essentials Sew-Along (aka FESA14) being hosted by the ladies from Rhinestones and Telephones and What Would Nancy Drew Wear. Never one to pass up the challenge, this sounds like the perfect opportunity to kick-start my seasonal sewing. FESA14 runs from 1st September until 30th November, and the idea is that participants sew items from one or more of the following categories:

  • Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather
  • Chic Chemises for Cool Climates
  • Fabulous Frocks
  • Underneath it all
  • Tender Tootsies
  • Those Cozy Nights
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside

Details and inspiration for each category can be found here. Being the ambitious kind, I am aiming to complete one item from each category. Nothing wrong with setting ambitious goals, and I already have a few WIPs that fit nicely into some of the categories, so this will be an incentive for me to complete them. Here are a couple of patterns that are currently tickling my fancy:

Miette cardigan

Miette cardigan by Andi Sutterland

I currently have a Miette cardigan in progress, in fact I just have one sleeve and the button bands left to complete. This is the perfect cardigan to wear with dresses to transition them from summer to autumn/winter staples.

Sewaholic Robson coat

Sewaholic Robson coat

I was given the Robson coat pattern from Sewaholic Patterns for my birthday back in May, and I am planning to sew this up as an autumn jacket, probably in a plain colour such as grey so that it goes with everything.

Coco from Tilly and the Buttons

Coco from Tilly and the Buttons

I see more Coco’s on the horizon; I wear my red Coco dress to death and am planning a version with contrast roll neck and cuffs, as well as some top versions.

I am hankering after a basic black work skirt, something warm and with a bit of drape. I am thinking of using wool of a wool blend. I’m still looking for the perfect pattern though, suggestions would be most welcome.

I also want to sew more dresses. I love dresses and would wear them every day if I could. My starry-eyed Anna and simplicity dresses get a lot of wear, but I need more! I am contemplating the Yaletown dress as I really like the wrap-style bodice.

Sewwaholic Yaletown dress

Sewaholic Yaletown dress

Yep, Sewaholic again…and what of it?! I make no secret of a fact that I am a total Sewaholic fan girl, Tasia’s patterns are great. And no I am not being paid or receiving any incentive to say that!!

Phew, that should keep me busy! Anyone else joining in with FESA14 or just hatching their own autumn sewing plans? I’d love to know what’s on your list.

K xx

 

 

Me-Made-May 2014: My pledge

Me-Made-May is back for 2014! Can I hear a woop? I took part in this annual challenge organised by So, Zo… for the very first time last year, when my pledge was to wear something me-made at least three times a week. Well, this year I have more me-made garments than I did this time last year, and therefore I think I’m in a position to up my game, and up my pledge!

“I, Kat of www.akraftykat.co.uk, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavor to wear a me made garment for at least five days a week for the duration of May 2014”

Eeek! While I do have a reasonable number of me-made garments now, many of them do not see very much wear. I’m hoping that this challenge will encourage me to bring out some of the hidden gems, and work out why I don’t wear them more often. If I’m honest, for some of them I suspect it may be because I am too lazy to iron them, which is shocking I know.

(Just to clarify, it has occurred to me that my pledge could be read as, I endeavor to wear the same me made garment for at least five days a week. This is not my intention – that would be stinky! A different garment for these five days is the plan).

I am hoping that I will manage to take daily outfit photos and plan to blog weekly round-ups. I will also be joining the flickr and pintrest groups – I can’t wait to follow everyone’s me-made journey!

Are you joining in with this year’s Me-Made-May? Are you a first-timer or are you upping your game this year? If you’re still sitting on the fence, there is still time to sign up – just pop over to Zo’s blog for the details.

Kat xx

Lady in Red Coco Dress

Hello Everyone! Thank you all so much for your lovely comments and congratulations on my engagement. It’s so exciting and I can’t wait to get stuck in to wedding planning. I’m going home for a few days over Easter and I am going shopping to try on wedding dresses with my mum. I’m feeling a little bit apprehensive as I think I have quite strong ideas about what I do and do not like, and I’m a bit worried I won’t find something I love – hence why I’m starting early! Although I have decided not to make my wedding dress – far too stressful – I am planning to make my three Bridesmaids dresses. I have a few pattern ideas already and I spotted the fabric I would like to use when we were shopping for my ring in Birmingham last weekend – I just hope there is enough of it left when we go back next week!

Aaanyways, while I will doubtless be chatting about my wedding around these parts from time to time, I have no plans to turn this into a wedding blog. Normal service does go on, and today I am pleased to be able to reveal my latest Calico Laine Blogger network made – the Coco Dress from TIlly and the Buttons.

coco1I love wearing dresses, largely because you can put one on and immediately feel put together. On top of that they are often super-comfy to wear – especially when made out of jersey. For this reason I was drawn to the Coco dress. I ordered the fabric, a delicious bright red double knit jersey from Calico Laine, about six weeks ago, keen to get started as soon as possible. I pre-washed it and everything, took it up to my sewing room…and there it sat for quite some time. Opps. What can I say, life happened. However, at the weekend I finally picked it up and boy, what a quick and satisfying make this pattern is! I cut out on Sunday and stitched it up last night, and it was all finished in time to wear to work today.

coco2The only alteration I made to this pattern was to lengthen it by two inches. I had read on some other blogs that it comes up a bit short on us tall laydees, and I’m glad I did because this length is perfect. This jersey is so soft and lovely to work with. I was initially unsure about making a plain dress in such a bright colour, but I decided to go for it and I’m glad I did. This is a really cheerful dress and it makes me smile :)

 coco3

One of my favourite things about this dress is the buttons – they are beautiful buttons from Liberty’s gifted to me by one of my bestest friends. I’ve had these buttons for a while and was waiting for the perfect use for them, and this dress is it. They are the perfect way to jazz up an otherwise plain dress and are a pretty good colour match too!

coco4I can see this dress getting a lot of wear. This is one of the few plain coloured garments I have in my wardrobe and it’s just so comfy. J’adore Coco! I can see myself whipping up another Coco or two in the near future, especially with Me Made May 2014 coming up! Last year I managed three days a week in me made clothes and this year I am upping my game and aiming for five days a week. Eeek!

Are you taking part in Me Made May? Are you going to be stocking (stitching?!) up on basics in preparation, and what garments do you think will be your go-to staples?

Kat xx

Starry-eyed Anna Dress

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. Mine has been a relaxing one full of sewing, knitting and baking – I feel rather productive! Unfortunately my hayfever seems to have started even earlier than usual this year – one of the few downsides of moving to the countryside it seems, so I have been extremely sniffly – ah well not a lot I can do. Other than that it’s been a lovely weekend, and to top it off I have a new dress to show you!

For February’s Calico Laine blogger network made, I have finally jumped on the Anna dress bandwagon. This pattern is the brainchild of the By Hand London girls, and there have been many wonderful versions of this pattern popping up all across the blogosphere ever since it’s release last year. Mr KK bought me the pattern for Christmas (there may have been a little prompting) and I’ve been looking forward to making it ever since. For this dress I choose and purple cotton with small white stars on from Calico Laine. This is a much smaller print that I usually tend to work with, but I think the subtlety of the pattern really lets the shape of the Anna dress shine.

Anna3

I did try to take some outdoor pictures of this dress, but the weather is so horrible it just wasn’t working…

Anna1So indoor it is!

I’ve mentioned previously my aim to conquer to FBA, and I was all ready to have a go on this dress, however when I looked at the measurements it turned out not to be needed on this particular dress. I’m not going to pretend to be upset. The construction of this dress was pretty straightforward. Anna’s kimono sleeves are built into the bodice which means no fiddling around inserting sleeves – winner! I decided to do a fully lined bodice rather that the dreaded facings, and for this I used the remains of my Goldhawk Road grey cotton silk, although sadly there was not enough left to line the skirt too so I left this unlined. I am most likely to wear this dress with a slip anyway. I made up the lining insertion as I went along, which resulted in a bit of of botched job – it was only afterwards that I stumbled upon By Hand London’s ANna sewalong post giving step-by-step instructions for inserting a full lining – doh! The pattern calls for an invisible zip, which always makes me nervous, but it actually went in pretty easily. For some reason it’s not quite as invisible as it could be, which may be down to the fact that the zip does not quite match but this is just laziness on my part. It’s still one of my best zip insertions to date!

AnnaBack

Even though I made a muslin, I was worried all the way through this make that it was going to be too small in the bodice. Luckily it has turned out pretty much perfect. I had to be picky I would add a bit more ease to the side seams next time, as there is a bit of pulling, but it isn’t too bad. I slip stitched the hem again – I’m not usually one for hand sewing, but it does give a better result. I also have my overlocker back in action, thanks to the lovely Claire who gifted me some overlocker thread, which means I was able to finish everything nicely, although French seams are still my true love when it comes to finishing. For the skirt I did a mixture of the two, overlocking the raw edges and then turning and stitching. This solves the problem I sometimes get with French seams where threads peak through the seams on the right side of the dress.

I love everything about this dress – the pattern, the fabric and the fit. I foresee more Anna’s in my future – I am especially looking forward to making the maxi version for summer. I have also seem some great versions which have a gathered shirt, which also suits this pattern.

I’ll leave you with a few out-takes including the one where I decided to do a thumbs up just a little too late…

Anna4…and the one with the photo-bombing cat!

Anna2

Happy Sunday everyone!

Kat xx

Swinging sixties top

Back before Christmas I spotted this wonderful cotton print on CalIco Laine’s Facebook page, and immediately knew that I wanted to use this fabric for my second blogger network make. I love this fabric, the retro print has a sixties vibe and it makes me smile – just the thing to beat the winter blues. Because this is such a busy print, I wanted to pick a simple pattern which allowed the fabric to shine. I had in mind to make a top with a contrast yoke and when I remembered Amy’s lovely top made using New Look 6148, a plan was born.

There are many different pattern variations, but I decided on a simple sleeveless blouse with contrast yoke. This is a nice simple top to make with no fastenings, which is great for those who, like me, avoid zips wherever possible (I was pleased to see from Marie’s recent post that I’m not the only one!). I was a bit concerned that this might make it difficult to take on and off, as my head is rather on the large side (no tittering at the back there!), but I needn’t have worried as the neckline leaves plenty of room. There is a LOT of ease built in to this pattern so I recommend taking a good look at the finished measurements before cutting. I went by the finished bust size, leaving a few inches for maneuver, and I reckon I could have still gone with a size smaller. I graded up a few sizes at the hips which was a good call as any smaller here would have been a problem. I bought two metres of the print fabric and I probably could have got away with at least half a metre less, although I love this fabric so much that I am glad to have some left over.

For the main section of the top there are just three pattern pieces, which means that it comes together pretty quickly, even if like me you decide to French seam everything in sight. I must admit to getting a bit confused by the time I got to the neck binding, as for some reason the binding piece was not large enough to go all the way around the neckline, so at this point I stopped following the pattern and made the rest up as I went along. Thankfully this seems to have worked out! Plan B was to use bias binding from my stash to finish the neck and armholes, but the roll of black that I could have sworn I had was nowhere in sight. Instead I resigned myself to plan C: making my own. Producing handmade bias binding is an easy albeit quite boring exercise but luckily for me there was not too much required on this occasion.

This top is the perfect example of when frosting can also work as cake. It may be a fun and colourful print, but paired with a plain skirt as shown here, or a pair of trousers, this would be absolutely fine to wear to work (in my workplace at least!). Who says you can’t have cake and frosting at the same time??

Although I love this fabric, I think that if (when) I make this top again, I will use material which has more drape such as a cotton lawn, which would make it lighter and more summer appropriate. Also there is a tiny bit of pulling on the side seams around the chest which I realise means that I probably need to do an full bust adjustment. I know, I know, I keep putting it off, but I am determined to conquer the FBA and this will be the year. There we go, I’ve written it down, now i’ve committed! I would love to hear reassuring noises from those who have conquered the FBA, and if anyone has any top tips I would love to hear them. I think it’s the thought of slashing my pattern pieces that scares me the most!

Kat xx

Jumping on the 2012 review bandwagon….

Yes I know I’m a little bit late to the party, but I’ve really enjoyed reading all the 2012 review posts and I couldn’t resist sneaking in with one of my own!

Looking back over my blog posts from the last year I was surprised to discover how many things I made in 2012. In April I started a new job which involves a moderately long commute and cuts down my sewing time considerably. I expected this to have a drastic effect on my stitching, and while it has meant that I have perhaps cut down the number of “big” projects I have completed, I seem to have balanced this out with a fair number of smaller projects. Below I have listed everything I have made this year split in to sewing and knitting:

Sewing

2 Pendrell blouses (here and here)
1 Truffle dress
1 New Look dress
3 Renfrews (only one blogged here)
1 Minoru jacket
1 pyjama bottoms

Sewaholic Minoru jacket – probably my most worn make this year

  
iPad case
4 knitting needle rolls
Childs apron
Tote bag

Knitting

1 snood
2 jumpers (1 currently unblogged)
2 bunnies
Owl cushion
3 meerkats



Knitted meerkats for my friends wedding

In terms of clothing, the vast majority of my makes were from Sewaholic Patterns. I have mentioned my love for Tasia’s designs many times on this blog. It is great to have found a series of patterns that I know fit me well with minimal alterations!

At the start of 2012 i set myself a number of goals for the year. So how did I do?

1. Sew more basics
This one I stuck to – sort of. I made a couple of Pendrell blouses and Renfrews which are routinely worn. However I could do with sewing even more basics, in particular for the bottom half!

2. Stashbust
Erm….yeah. Both my yarn and fabric stashes are bigger now than they were at the start of last year. Opps. What can I say, I just cannot resist beautiful things (or a good deal!)

3. Interact more with the blogging community
This one I definitely stuck to! I took part in 2 meet ups, one of which I co-organised, as well as two other sewing gatherings, including one where the fabulous Dibs taught us some milinary skills. I hope to attend more meet-ups this year – there is nothing better than a day of fabric shopping and nattering about stitching with people who understand! I am so grateful for the wonderful people I met last year and cannot wait to do it all again. Who knows, maybe a summer Birmingham meet-up is in order?

Birmingham bloggers meet-up

4. Be more patient
Sort of. My Minoru jacket was a slow burner and I did enjoy the leisurely process. However, I still do tend to set myself stupidly tight deadlines (I may have been finishing up the meerkats in a hotel room on the morning of my friends wedding, for example!) which is something I need to work on. Sewing should not be stressful!

5. Take part in a craft fair
This one did not happen unfortunately, due to starting my new job I just did not have time. However, 2013 is another year!

So I did so-so with my last years goals. But this will not deter me from making new aims for 2013 – no no it will not. However, I will restrict myself to 3:

1. Make more time for stitching
If i don’t have time to do the things I want to do, I get grumpy. However, most of the time it is my fault. Instead of waiting until I have hours to spare, I would like to make the most of the time available. 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there – it will soon add up!

2. Take better photos for my blog
Often I am lazy and snap a few shots on my iPhone rather than taking out my camera and doing things properly. This shows on my blog, and I feel guilty about not giving my makes the great presentation they deserve. There are many blogs I admire which have fantastic photography, and I think this really makes a difference. So this year I would like to stop being lazy and make an effort to do my handiwork justice!

3. Make progress on a hand-stitched work wardrobe
When I started my new job I purchased a small number of grown-up work clothes with the aim to add to this number with me-made garments. This never quite happened, aside from a few tops. This year I would like to work on more everyday garments that can become staples of my work wardrobe, in particular dresses which I love but lack!

What are your goals for the year? Does anyone else out there share any of my three? In particular, I am interested in anyone who plans to make more time for stitching this year – it would be great to share tips and follow how everyone gets on as the year progresses!

Happy New Year everyone – I hope 2013 is happy and healthy for you and your loved ones :)

K xx