May 30, 2013

Simply dotty

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 08:00

I found this lovely dotty fabric in The Cloth Shop about two months ago and knew exactly what I wanted to make from it.

The pattern is from an old Burda magazine, #119 from 12/2012 I think. This is a very simple sort of top but works well for busy fabric. I’ve made it before with the original slit at the back of the neck but for this, I made some bias tape and used it to make the tie.

The fabric was an experience – it was an incredibly slippery polyester that does not press well. So! Making bias tape wasn’t exactly fun, nor was trying to sew down precision seams like for the binding, the tie or the cuffs. I resorted to a lot of hand sewing which gave me the result I was after. I am terribly fond of this top and love how it goes well with light-coloured bottoms.

I don’t think I’ll be buying more polyester like this any time soon; it was €19/m. For that price, I could have bought silk, which leads me to add my murmurs to the others I have heard regarding the price range of this shop. Also, whilst friendly, the service can be a little strange. It can take a while to get served and getting fabric cut can be a lengthy procedure. I understand that they want to take their time to cut it properly but for a basic cotton, I’m ok with ripping it on the grain! I used to buy tracing paper there but it would take them so long to cut it and fold it gingerly (when I was going to have to fold it up very small and stuff it in my handbag anyway…), and with frequent sighs, that I have given up buying it there. Often I only have a few minutes to dash in and I know that at least in Murphy Sheehy’s, I’ll be served quickly. This has just been my experience and obviously, if you prefer a more leisurely experience, this type of service is preferable.

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May 29, 2013

Getting there

I finished up my Welsh Country socks.

Pattern: Welsh Country socks from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. A great book full of practical and pretty socks, accompanied by fascinating reading about their origins.

Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote. I am going to stick my neck out and say that this washes even better than Opal sock yarn. It is a true workhorse of a sock yarn and I love it. I buy mine here at This is Knit and it’s cool knowing that I’m supporting local business both here and in America (Brown Sheep is also a family run business and when I worked at TIK, were great to deal with).

Slogging away on my Biston shrug.

It reaches roughly halfway across my back now and I’m nearly finished my second ball of yarn. I was kind of worried because somewhere in my head, I thought I only had four for the whole project but it turns out I actually have six. Phew! I love this yarn – light and airy but still warm.

I was working on the blouse I’m making for my Mum’s birthday today. Ok, her birthday was almost ten days ago but I had the muslin ready to try on for the day itself. Only minor adjustments were required and for some reason, I added extra room to the centre front at the neckline. There was obviously a crossed wire! The rest of my adjustments were perfect but the wider neckline had to be fixed. Mum unpicked the collar for me, I cut a new collar and stand, trimmed down the centre front and restitched it. I got most of it done in one sitting last night and finished off the collar this morning.

I rather enjoyed all the topstitching as when neatly done, it gives a lovely finish. The pattern is the ‘Amazing Fit’ shirt pattern from Simplicity and definitely lives up to the name. Most of the finishing that I show here is detailed in the pattern but unfortunately not with enough clarity to make it straight forward for a beginner. There are many, many tiny things that you can do to make a better finish; I’ve been gathering little bits of extra information with each shirt I sew to the point where I feel now, I am close to getting a very good finish. Not quite there yet, but getting there.

Once I got the topstitching done, I ploughed on with a cuff. Cuffs are very time consuming but important to do well. I think that the more exact you are, the easier it is to get two that look the same! I will find out soon if I was exact enough this time!

One more cuff and the buttonholes remain. I’m really looking forward to seeing her put on the finished thing!

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May 28, 2013

Are you gonna go my way?

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Sewing,Skirts — Aileen @ 23:49

…That has nothing to do with my post, we just got the ‘Rocksmith’ game and that’s what Alb is playing! It is a tonne of fun. Anyway, here are some outfits that I made a while ago but never got around to showing. The first one is what I was wearing today so I figured I should just take a snap.

The top is yet another Renfrew. I found this black ponte knit in Hickey’s and I have to be honest, it’s disappointing. Knit fabrics here are generally. They’re expensive – €15/m is not unusual – and they’re rubbish. I’ve only washed and worn this once or twice before today and it’s already beginning to pill. It’s disappointing for such a cost.

The skirt is a vintage kilt pattern I found on Etsy and I picked up the tartan (polyester, unfortunately) in Trimmings back when they were still on the quays. I’m glad I bought as much as I did – a good 2m – because I needed the lot between the pleats and matching the check. This was more an exercise than anything else. Setting the pleats was very challenging and I learned a huge amount by doing it, even though the rest of the skirt was very easy. The wrapped sections at the front are neatly finished and I finished the hem with bias tape which worked out really well. I pressed the pleats and then basted them to match the check. However, despite many attempts, every time I tried to topstitch them by machine, the material would shift. After a few goes, I went to Youtube and found a video showing someone sewing tartan pleats by hand. The stitch was easy so I copied the video with much success. It was much easier to manipulate the pleat very subtlely to ensure it lined up correctly. It’s not necessarily a skirt I would wear every day but for something bright and different, I like it. Swingability factor is high!

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May 24, 2013

WIPS

Filed under:Cardigans,Knitting,Lace,Shawls,Socks,Stash Down — Aileen @ 11:58

Between the last Masters I did and finally finding a job with decent hours (love my job, by the way!), the last few years have meant that I have had to scale back my knitting alot. Sewing has had something to do with it, but not as much as you’d think…usually I sew when I can’t knit and vice versa. I’ve also had a recurring tension problem in my left arm that is often exacerbated by knitting, but not by sewing. Anyway, all this to say that I still knit almost every day but it tends to be very plain and easy to knit!

Example one: a wool shrug in Jamieson shetland.

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The pattern is called ‘Biston’ and it’s a downloadable from one of the Wool People magazines. This is perfect TV knitting and just as well, as I’m working with 2.5mm needles. It’s slow going.

Example two: a replacement pair of Welsh Country socks. I was really upset when my brown and cream pair shank. I invested in two balls of Brown Sheep Wildfoote, which washes beautifully. I finally got to the toe of the second one last night. These I found to be hard work on my hands – 2mm metal dpns are unforgiving.

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Lastly, I casted on for yet another shawl in the Blue Sky Alpaca ‘Silkpaca’ (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not sure of the name). This stuff is just heaven! Love! Considering what I have planned for summer sewing (an unmentioned jacket maybe…) this will really for the bill.

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I think another part of my knitting slow down is alot to do with the fact that I have many, many hand knit items that I love to wear still and don’t find myself lacking too often! Aside from one or two ‘top up’ sweaters or cardigans, I will probably devote much of my summer and autumn knitting to adding to Alb’s and my Dad’s currently measly collection.

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May 17, 2013

Practice run

Filed under:Pants and Shorts,Sewing — Aileen @ 13:04

I present to you my first single welt pocket. It’s my second, actually, but you know where they say to slash the opening for the pocket but DON’T cut through the other pieces? That’s what I did.

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Which is why you do a practice one first. It’s actually pretty straight forward and I love the finish. These are for the jeans I cut out before we went to Madeira but didn’t get a chance to sew up.

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