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What’s in the bag Monday

December 13, 2010

Argh!! I had planned on finishing so many more projects by this time of the year? Does anyone else experience this crafty frenzy as the year rips on by to a close?

The Lady Grey has been taking such a long time. In fairness, I had psyched myself out of the project a bit. All this talk of tailoring had me pretty nervous. I’ve slowly been pressing on though, and I’m discovering, this tailoring business is definitely what I would consider to be pretty seductive sewing. I’m absolutely loving the challenge!! Of course, the progress ties to a deadline, imposed by Mr Sippity- what would I do without his input on projects sometimes ?! 

As suggested, I made a tailors ham. Now I’d read about these things and wondered whether it was just getting a little too fancy, but they really are very handy!

Here’s a detail of the coat (missing horse hair canvas, which would be ideal, but I just don’t have)

I picked this book up for two pounds which has been great!

It has a nice range of tailoring tips, including how to complete a bound button. I would love to show you the practice run, as I can’t explain how much fun this was to make- truly! But the photo seems to have disapeared.

Also, I’ve been ‘twin’ crafting with Tracey, making some little presents to fit inside Christmas cards for knitting group folks. The robins are basically an applique stack with scrap wool from the lady  grey on the back, felt, then fused fabric.

I do hope your pre- christmas stitching is going to plan!




Looking swish little fish

December 6, 2010

This is the opening line of a poem me and my mate made up one day at school- it was a last minute effort on some english homework. I can’t really remember the rest of it, but it continued to uphold a similar level of literary brilliance throughout. She’s having a baby in the next few weeks. She is coincidently having an underwater themed nursery, so this line was fitting I think.

The decorated onesies was an activity planned for her baby shower, which sadly could not be home for. Some of the other concepts were just brilliant I thought….

One of her (older) sisters planned to make a onesie with a little cape and ‘super baby’ across the front. This relates to the time her sister put her on top of a cupboard when she was about two and told her to jump off, because she was ‘super baby’ and could fly.  

And another ordered transferable letters to make up an ‘I love Toto’ slogan…. tribute to her secretly favourite song of all time

Any way, here are mine.


Super easy to make:

– All the shapes were drawn to fit the size of a circle I’d traced ( a cup I think).

– I cut some thin fusible interfacing (using the circle template). 

–  I drew the creature shapes onto the fusible webbing and cut them out. Then fused webbing to desired fabric.

– Placed the fusible interfacing on the underside of the shirt and positioned the creature shape over the top. I ironed to fuse both the interfacing and fusible webbing in place using a gentle heat (because I have discovered that fusible interfacing can get pretty warped and dodgy on the cotton setting, unlike fusible webbing).

 – Using triple stitch, I stitched roughly 2mm from the edge of each shape and around each shape to secure it in place. You could also use raw edge applique, but I really like the neat look of triple stitch.

– Added features to the creatures using back stitch, running stitch and french knots. I would really recommend using some more light fusible interfacing if you plan on adding any text also. I didn’t and it makes the fabric look a bit squishy.

What’s in the bag Monday-DECaDANCE dress

November 28, 2010

Apologies again for pretty shady photos, which I don’t think quiet do it justice. The later photos were taken at the end of the night, and everything was a bit crumpled. I made this dress for a cocktail thing for Mr Sippity’s work. It’s made from second hand cotton sateen. The top is a vintage laura ashley pattern and the bottom from a McCall’s pattern. It’s fully lined with a light silk.


Also, it’s been snowing! Just lightly, but we were very excited. Mike’s named his little birthday bunny Tiny Temper, and said he also didn’t mind the snow.

I feel so sorry for everyone stuck in sweltering heat, and hope folks over this side of the world are loving the early winter as much as we are.

First finished knitting project!

November 22, 2010

If you are not a regular visitor to my blog- thankyou for popping by. Before reading my usual rants, I would encourage you to visit this very talented lady’s page. She has just completed a range of quilt patterns that are truely beautiful

Starting work has kind of taken centre stage, but there’s still plenty of craftiness going on in the wings. I am so excited to have finally finished a knitting project. (apologies for the rubbish photos)

NB: same crazy fluffy hair as pattern lady is sadly a coincidence.  

It’s possibly not the trendiest, but its super comfy and will keep me warm and hey, right now, with the no new clothes challenge, I’m getting a little desperate! The weather is forecasted for snow this week (but I think it’s highly unlikely!). If you asked me this time last year, there is also no way that I could have imagined knitting a cardigan. 

However just a few reflective points (probably so glaringly obvious) for any knitting newbies like myself:

(1) You may tell yourself, ‘but this cheap wool is really all I can afford at the moment’- DON’T BUY IT!!! unless you are genuinely OK with having an average looking fluffball product at the end. And as much as you might tell yourself this is OK, chances are you will be just a little bit disappointed at the end after putting in so much hard work.

(2) You may be desperate to start sewing your pieces together once finished, even though you don’t have a proper blunt ended needle and think ‘smeh, a regular large needle will be just fine, I just really want to finish it NOW’. This is a dangerous thought. Your seams will look chunky and bodgy, and you will want to unpick them. But because you’ve sewn them so thoroughly, you have split all the wool and it will be near impossible to undo. If you can use a ladder stitch to connect the pieces where possible, it is a great idea and although takes much longer will produce a neater seam.

What sorts of finishing techniques do you use for joining your knitting?

(3) When blocking, really do be very careful not to steam the welted/ribbed edging (hehem, as the pattern suggests).

I’m glad though in a sense that this was inexpensive wool. It let me relax a lot more with my stitching, and miraculously allowed my stockinett stitch to become a little better, with my tension and stitch definition improving.

I’ve got a few more lines left on the green stripey cardi (as the background picture for the header). This was my first actual knitting project.

very happy stitching.



Next Knitting Project

October 21, 2010

Right, this may be a little pie-in-the sky  type thinking and just a smidge over ambitious, but this is one of the next project I’d like to make. It’s one of the free patterns from Faded Splendor. I love it so very much. It’s made up in 2-ply or fingerling yarn. I’m not entirely sure what this is, but I’m guessing it’s pretty thin. It has a some sort of tricky holey looking pattern other than stocking or rib stitches, but hey, how hard can it be? (please stitching gods, don’t laugh too hard when I secretly delete this sentence in a moment of frustration and embarrassment ok?)

Despite the tricky pattern and super fine yarn, I think it might also take my mind off stocking stitch for  a little while, which would be good. Every now and then I get these small lumpy patches where just one or two stitches are a bit larger than the other. I think it makes the work look so very dodgily handmade, instead of the lovely smooth stitches that make me love hand knitting so much. I try to keep my tension consistent and wrap the yarn around my little finger so the yarn can be released quickly. I also try to go at a moderate speed, because if I go too slowly and focus on each stitch, I find my tension gets pretty tight. I think maybe because I go at this speed sometime I might be letting one slip a bit. Any suggestions???

Happy stitching


Vintage Loveliness

October 20, 2010

This  week I have definitely re-discovered my love of knitting. This is despite frogging about six inches of work. Sharon from knitting explained that this is a term for ripping out lots of work- because if there was a sound made by all this ripping, it would be rip-rip-rip just like a frog. Thinking of a friendly little green frog only slightly puts a damper on wanting to have a mini melt down in knitting group though. In particular, I am obsessed with vintage knits. I have discovered a few handy sites that have free vintage knitting patterns:

Vintage Purls  have a lovely range of 1940’s to early 1950’s women’s patterns.

Free Knitted Sweater Patterns also have a wide range worth checking out.

The V&A also has a great selection of 40’s knits. This little lion is my absolute favourite!

Faded Splendour also have some truly amazing patterns, some as early as the 30’s. I think you have to join their mailing list, but it’s a small price to pay for thes beautiful patterns.

Glamarama has a carefully selected range more from the 50’s and 60’s

A Good Yarn also have a pretty amazing collection of early 20th century styles

Free Knitting Patterns is a facebook site that sources random free vintage knitting patterns around the net

After knitting a few of these, I think I will need a matching string of pearls (hint to husband). Anyway, these sites are handy, because it means I can slow down a bit on my extreme hoarding of vintage knitting patterns from charity shops. I’m sure those scheming charity shop ladies are already considering jacking the price up after I bought about 10 in one hit the other day. 

Scheming sounds horrible doesn’t it? As I mentioned in my previous post, a lot of the shops here seem to work to raise profits for their organisation rather than providing affordable clothing for those in need. I’m still coming to friendly terms with this concept 🙂 Is it just me, or does anyone else feel slightly cheated that charity shops now have a special ‘retro’ or ‘vintage’ sections these days and charge accordingly?! It really takes the fun out of the hunt I think.

Happy stitching



What’s in the bag Monday

October 18, 2010

These beautiful needles have been sitting on the corner of my desk for a few weeks now, begging to be used. As the (ehem, I’m pretty sure Mr Sippity has stopped reading my blog so I can mention this) collection of vintage knitting pattern keeps growing, I thought it would be time to get cracking.

And so I have started using them. They feel like such a treat to use (thanks again Kirsty xo).  They are lovely and soft, light, and don’t seem to split this wool so much as the metal ones. Most importantly, they’re much funkier than your average looking needle.

The colour is a little darker in the picture, but it is a beautiful beetrooty purple, with heavy hints of red. Thinking of which, I really miss just normal non-pickled beetroot.

And here’s the progress so far. It’s the back and I’m  just up to starting the shaping for the underarms. I am a bit nervous about using the patterns suggestions of knitting until a certain amount of inches have been created, so I will definitely be counting the number of rows and copying for the front. I am amazed, but my tension seems to have improved and is pretty ok so far, but it is oh-so early days yet for this cardi! Wool is Life DK, by Stylecraft and is 75% acrylic, 25% wool.


Also, have finished wearable muslin of the ever so popular coffee date pattern from Burda Style (just in time for a lunch date too, which was lovely). Recycled fabric again -the top is a pillow case and the bottom is an old nana skirt cut-up and modified. It was a pretty straightforward pattern in general. However a few changes made:

– Inverted proportions between bust and waist line so waist size is roughly one size smaller and bust one larger.

– The shoulder on the back of  the bodice was actually around half an inch larger than the front bodice shoulder.

(also, apologies for very shady photo- Mr Sippity was just not in photo shoot mode or mood this day)

As virtuous as I feel using recycled fabric for dress making, quiet honestly it’s not really doing it for me. The charity shops are a lot more expensive than in Australia for clothing and there are definitely limited cool sheet and pillow case supplies.

Am still tweaking away with adjustments to Lady Grey muslin. Am honestly a bit scared about finalising these and heading onto cutting the real thing. But I think the daily temperature drops are a good smack of reality re: need to hurry up.

I feel like I have so much to complete in the next little while before work starts (about two weeks apparently). So there will some serious list making going on!

Happy stitching