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Agnes top and Me Made May 2019

29 Apr

I recently attended a workshop, at Sewing Belle, several friends had attending classes recently I told me how good they were and, for me importantly, very affordable (something that Elaine who runs the classes wanted to ensure when starting up). I signed up for a Tilly & the Buttons workshop, I chose the Agnes top as I wanted more practice with jersey fabric. The pattern and workshop was £30 (fantastic). I found nice but not too expensive jersey from The Little Fabric Bazaar (£11/pm), I always worry what the quality of the fabric will be like when buying online and more to the point, if I messed up my top I didn’t want to have wasted very expensive fabric.

Agnes Sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

I needn’t have worried about the fabric, it was lovely quality and recieved many compliment. I also remembered to wash it before the workshop.

Using the sizing chart on the pattern I knew I’d have to do some grading (as I usually do). I started at the shoulders with a size 2, then to a size 3 at the underarm and bust, size 4 at the waist and out to a size 5 on the hips. I also shortened the pattern by 3cm at the waist (again which I usually do on all patterns) I have a short torso.  I learnt a great couple of tips for speeding up cutting out a PDF pattern, we used rotary cutter on just 2 side of the paper and used a glue stick to attach to the next page – much easier to match up all the lines and re-adjust if needs be (I used to cut them all out and use tape on the back – very fiddly & tidious).

One of the main reasons I signed up for this class in particular was to get to grips with an over locker, I’d not used one since I was at school. I was concerned I’d go wrong, and cut into the fabric. However I just took a deep breath and got on with it, and it went really well (I did do a little test on some scrap fabric first). It made the process so much easier. I also learnt how to use the cover stitch machine for my hems. Both machines made sewing up so much easier, and have given my garment a much more professional finish!

Agnes Top - neckline - Nettytnot Creates

I’m incredibly pleased with the result of this top, I will definitely be making more! I was also impressed that I did the whole process, from cutting out paper pattern to completed garment with ends sewn in, in just one day, 10am – 5pm (with a half hour-ish break to eat lunch). I think that in itself is quite an achievement, and something that I think I could only acomplish at a workshop, away from distractions and with the use of the wonderful over locker! I will definitely be returning for more workshops and to utilising the machines at their drop in sewing sessions.

Finished Agnes top in black and white - Nettynot Createslooking awkward in my agnes top - Nettynot Creates

This has also lead me to join in with Me Made May 2019! (You can find out more about this over on the So Zo blog here) and maybe even get on board yourself…

Me Made May 2019 - So Zo Blog

The whole reason I wanted to get back into sewing several years ago was so that I could make clothes that actually fit me. Clothes shopping is not an enjoyable experience for me, rarely is anything a good fit for my body shape. I don’t actually mind my body, it is what it is and I have accepted that is is mine, which was made much easier by just simply giving up on clothes shopping and substituted it for sewing pattern perusing and making my own clothes! My sewing journey has been rocky, I have made several things that I probably won’t ever wear again, due to the fit not being quite right, or uncomfortable. That said I have learnt a lot from the process!

I really enjoyed Me Made May when I joined in back in 2016, I had less handmade clothes than I do now. However I enjoyed the challenge and it did inspire the makes I went onto create and reignited some love for past makes…

My pledge

I, Steph Gibbs, sign up as a participant of Me Made May 2019. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade garment everyone day in May, with the intention of putting together new combinations from my existing handmade wardrobe and to use this to form a “to be created” list of staple items missing from my wardrobe.

I’ll do a round up on the blog, maybe during, but definately afterwards. I’ll post photos over on my instagram feed @nettynot if you’re interested in what I’ve made wearing.

Thanks for reading.
Steph

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Make Nine 2019

2 Jan

I always like perusing everyone’s “makenine” instagram posts, in the past it has inspired additions to my favourites or even my queue on Ravelry. However I have never listed 9 makes for myself before. I don’t like the idea of putting that pressure on myself, creating a wonderful list of complicated inspiring garments that, let’s face it, I would have to spend every spare minute making to complete in a year.

However, I have decided to make a list this year to help keep my focus. 2018 was a year of knitting what I fancied, not finishing things before starting other projects, which has left me with a fair few WIP’s.

I am using my #makenine2019 as an opportunity to create a list of aims, made up for of WIP’s, knits I have already bought the yarn for, 2 sewing projects I have already bought the fabric for and a few projects I have been intending to do but as yet haven’t. AND do you know what, if I don’t do them all, it’s fine! No one will die, it won’t be the end of the world and I can make them in 2020 instead! However wouldn’t it be nice if I did complete them all….

Make Nine 2019

I have detailed them here as a reminder to myself (or if you’re interested) and so I can keep track of things.

(Top 3 left to right)
1. Crochet – this will be a new one for me, I haven’t ever crocheted a garment before, but I do love the look of this & it’s been a topic of discussion at Knit group!
Pattern is Granny Rocks Jumper by Iron Lamb
2. Socks! I have a pair to finish, and yarn for at least three more. I want to learn new technique and get the perfect fit!
3. My Maan shawl by Natasja Hornby an on going WIP, started in October 2017 that I really would like to finish!

(Middle 3 left to right)
4. Sewing; I have wanted to make a Moneta dress by Colette Patterns, for ages, I didn’t find time in 2018 despite buying (and washing) the fabric.
5. My Arboreal jumper by Jennifer Steingass was started on holiday back in February 2018, I knitted the colour work yoke and it have been hibernating ever since, for no other reason than getting distracted by other projects, though I did pick it up again over Christmas.
6. Another sewing project; as soon as Tilly & the Button released the Zadie dress I knew I wanted to make it, the style of the dress tends to suit my body shape well, though at the time my sewing ability was a little wobbly. So 2019 will be the year to tackle this.

(Bottom 3 left to right)
7. My summer wardrobe is missing a lighter weight, v-neck, 3/4 length sleeve cardigan (in a lovely berry-ish shade), ravelry searches have failed to reveal the ideal cardigan, so I may well make design my own.
8. Diesis by Alice Caetano, I fell in love with this jumper on the PomPom stand at Yarndale in 2017 and bought the magazine based on this design alone. However I’m yet to start and I’m I keep wondering whether I’ll get enough wear out of it, I imagine it’ll be very toastie.
9. Glenfiddich by Annamária Ötvös I bought this pattern for my Mum to knit me a cable cardigan for Christmas 2017, I’ve always found cables a bit frustrating. However since my Mum didn’t get on with the pattern and ended up knitting a different cardigan. I thought this would be the perfect time to bite the bullet and get to grip with cables. It is such a lovely cardigan, and one I can image getting a lot of wear out of. I have already have the yarn too!

I am quite sure I will veer of this path a little, I have given myself a get out of jail free card on number 8.  I have already been um-ing & ah-ing over this pattern for a while. I’m sure I’ll change my mind more than once about these projects throughout 2019. I will be interested to see how much of a detour I take when I look back this time next year!

Here’s to a creative and productive 2019.
Thanks for reading.
Steph

Floral Dress

1 Sep

If you read my last blog post you’ll know the trials of getting to this point and I’d almost finished this dress at that point. I was getting quite excited as it was fitting really well and definitely my best make to date.

I’m feeling far more confident about under stitching, zips and dart, which has come with practice. Zips no longer fill me with dread (button holes are another matter entirely).

I chose the bodice of a vintage style dress pattern called Bette that came from Sew magazine back in September 2009, it was a simple shape with just one bust dart from the waist and strap in a more flattering position for me. I teamed it with an ever trusty emery skirt (with pockets).

My first bodice toile dictated I needed a few alteration but not much, it just came out a little bit big around the arm hole and a touch tight on the waist, so I went down half a size on the shoulder/bust sizing and graded out with curved seams to 2.5 sizes larger at the waist. I took my usual 2.5cm out of the length and I also lengthened the bust dart and back dart by an extra 1cm. This did the trick.

When I’d finished the dress (the Wednesday before the lovely Jem & Andew’s wedding on Saturday) I was very happy – I’d tried it on, the fit was great, it didn’t feel too snug or look baggy and it felt comfortable. I was feeling rather pleased with myself.

floral dress - nettynot blog

Within half an hour of wearing my dress it had rubbed my arms raw! They’d quickly got uncomfortably sore, having resigned myself to the fact that there was NOTHING I could do about it I just decided to get on with things and ignore it and although my arms remained sore, it really didn’t really bother me too much, and the initial rubbing occurred while we (the unofficial bridesmaids) were plating up cakes and carrying trays of tea cups so possibly the most active part of the afternoon (before the dancing starting later on) so maybe it just wasn’t bothering me so much or mind over matter came into full force. That said I was very please to get home, take off my dress and smother my raw patches in Sudocrem (they were much better by the morning).

Having spent a lot of money (for me) on this fabric and genuinely loving the dress, I do not want it to become yet another handmade dress that is worn once and sits in the wardrobe forever more. So I have decided to try and fix the issues. I actually have enough fabric left to cut another bodice if I need to, however I thought I would just simply try and fix this dress.

I am going to attempt to make the problematic front arm holes and straps a little slimmer and hope this works. I don’t really have anything to lose by trying to fix the existing dress, I don’t know if this will work, I fear I will just make the arm holes gape too much, but we’ll see. Wish me luck.

Alpacas at Jem Weston's wedding - nettynot blog

This photo was taken many time, not one of them had us all looking at teh camera, but I liked this one. The wonderful Eleanor of Knit Nottingham, the lovely Jem Weston, me & some Alpacas (guest of honor at Jem’s wedding)!

As a side note, I would highly recommend reading Jem’s post about her Wedding top, yes she made it! It’s stunning, isn’t it? A lot of time, effort, patience, beads and a few tears went into it! My trials and tribulations with a simple dress pale into insignificance in comparison, but well worth the work!

The lovely floral fabric was from Guthrie & Ghani, a cotton lawn called Mulberry Magnificence.

Thanks for reading.
Steph

 

Dresses for weddings…

8 Aug

I decided back in March, as I had 3 wedding to attend this year, I could make a dress & knit a cardigan and wear the outfit to all 3 weddings, simple! I selected the fabric and bought it on a fabric trip to Birmingham &  Guthrie and Ghani with the lovely Jem Weston who was shopping for her actual wedding top fabric (Jem’s wedding being wedding no.2 for me this year)  – you can read Jem’s post about the fabric trip here.  Jem’s friend Rosie also bought lovely fabric to make a dress for Jem’s wedding (looking forward to seeing the finished dress). Obviously I then headed to Knit Nottingham to select a lovely summery yarn to go with the gorgeous fabric.

Fabric and yarn - nettynot blog.jpg

I had already decided which dress I wanted to make, having made a Lilou dress (from Love and first Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons) for a previous wedding a couple of years ago I knew I wanted to make a sleeveless dress but I also didn’t want to cover up the lovely flower print with pleats so decided to make the skirt gathered and also add pockets so I used the bottom half of the Emery dress by Christine Haynes, which I’d also made and wore to a wedding 2 years ago.


I knew I needed to do a bit more work on the fit of the lilou bodice as my first dress wasn’t perfect, doesn’t look too bad here, but I re-tried it on and it’s not great. Too roomy over the bust and sat awkwardly over the shoulders so I made a few small tweaks to the pattern and cut a smaller size. I had help from Jem and Rosie (different Rosie) at our knit group’s spin off  sewing gathering, getting the darts fitting my shape better. I made these adjustments, whether they were the right things to do or not I’m not sure….
– Graded from size 3 at shoulders to size 4 at the waist and curved the side seems.
– Took 2.5cm out of the bodice length (I have a short torso, I did this to the first dress too).
– curved the darts inwards on the back.
– extended the back darts by 2cm.
– cut down the arm holes by 0.5cm.
– Trimmed 1cm off the back pieces graded from sides to center back.

I was feeling apprehensive about the over all fit, so decided to buy some cheep polycotton from the market and did a full (wearable) toile. I’m glad I did, it didn’t turn out too badly, it fitted and looked ok. The fabric felt cheap and a bit crinkly, however it did resolve an issue, which was that it wasn’t so much that it didn’t fit me ,more that I just didn’t like the fit, if that that makes sense; I realised I wasn’t a fan of the strap positioning, they come in too much on the shoulders highlighting that fleshy underarm bit and exposing my bra straps at the sides (I don’t think it helped that I think the finished dress is actually a touch too small). Please bare in mind that these photos were taken at the end of a long day (at wedding no 1 –  my Boyfriend’s bothers wedding), complete with frizzy rained on hair, (I was literally about to crash into bed and then thought…quick get a photo of the dress – as you do – and stuck my feet back into my shoes – these were the best ones :/ …. second photo was just to show off the pockets & the lilac lining)!

Having deciding that the Lilou dress wasn’t for me or my lovely posh fabric, I didn’t have the time to make a toile of an entirely new bodice, before wedding 1 hence wearing the polycotton toile, which wasn’t so bad.  Also doing this meant I didn’t have to rush to finish knitting my cardigan as it didn’t go with the fabric I’d used. Instead I had a look though my existing hand knits and found a navy lace cotton wrap cardigan I’d knitted to wear at yet another friends wedding about 5 years ago (YES there’s a definitely theme here). I haven’t worn the cardigan much since as it slips off my shoulders A LOT, so decided to address this and I unpicked the edging, resewing it back on, making a shorter edge. I also added some ribbon in  between the shoulder seams inside, to help stop it slouching off any more. This worked well and with the wedding being pre-heat wave at the start of June I wore it all day (this will be a test to see if my boyfriend reads my blog, he’s not a fan of having his photo taken, I happen to think this is a lovely photo – despite my mad/unruly hair).

At the Wedding - Nettynot Blog

I also made a necklace to match. Based on a workshop I designed for work; Mandala Pendant.

Necklace to macth dress - nettynot blog

I felt the lilou dress making was a useful exercise. I often find dressmaking incredibly frustrating (unlike knitting which I find incredibly relaxing). This is because I had delusions about making my own dresses, that it would mean they would fit beautifully, and that is sort of true, but not without a huge amount of work and I don’t have enough of an understanding or experience yet to know how to adapt patterns to fit me well.  I’m an odd, short pear shape (which is fine). I often increase from shoulders to waist by 1 size and then waist to hip another size, I have a short torso and a bust size smaller than most patterns cater for – that’s a lot of adapting.  I’m not confident enough to do a small bust adjustment yet and so have managed to adjust darts and side seams enough to take out the volume needed.  I realise this will come with practice and experience (and a lot of patience) but I do find it exasperating sometimes – if anyone has words of wisdom on this subject or similar experiences I’d love to hear them!

My new dress for Jem’s wedding is almost complete now and fitting quite well (whooh, *happy dance/prance*), so I will write a post about that soon too.

Thanks for reading.
Steph

 

Sew Organised

25 Jul

I’d been thinking for a while that I needed a better way to store my sewing scissors and related paraphernalia (isn’t that such a lovely word). I’m constantly moving everything on and off my table and it all ends up piled up in a bit if a jumble.

Wire Basket - Nettynot Blog.jpg

So when I was recently having a tidy in my garage and rediscover this wire shelf and hooks I use to store and hang my jewellery from, I had a wave of inspiration. The hooks are a perfect size for scissor handles, however the reason I stopped using it was the awkward gaps in the wire shelf, I used to loose things through them and get bracelets stuck between the wire. So I thought I would just make a little fabric cover to sit in the shelf to stop items dropping though. This idea brewed for about a week until I had a bit of time to sit down and actually make it. In that time the idea had brewed into a small piece of patchwork.

Cut fabric - mini patchwork - nettynot blog

I kept it simple with straight forward squares (I cut 2” x 2”), to make a 9 by 6 square mat. I made it a little longer than I needed so I could tuck under the edge which would be visible from the front.

Sewn fabric - mini patchwork - nettynot blog

I often wonder whether I’m a bit crazy for keeping so many small faffy bits of scrap fabric, however they came into their own for this little project!

Fabric scraps - Nettynot Blog

I think as long as I limit it to just this one box I can justify it (the lid does fit on, honest)!

Hooks in Sewing Room - Nettynot Blog

I think the finished shelf and hooks look great, I like it below my colour collage, and will be so handy right above my sewing table.

Finished hooks - Nettynot Blog Post
Sewing Table - Nettynot Blog

It’s not the most attractive sewing table, however it is perfect for what I need, my sewing space doubles as the spare room, so I need something that is a sensible size, can fold down small, is pretty solid, I don’t mind about scratching and I found it in a local charity shop for £20!!! One of my best finds, I had a little sand underneath to see if I could remove the dark varnish and it looks pretty good under that horrid finish, so maybe that’s a project for the future!

Side note…

I did also sort out storing my ever expanding jewellery collection sometime ago with another flash of inspiration! I simply hammered large nails into a piece of wood I’d painted, then glued buttons to the heads of the nails (to make it look less industrial), it’s not perfect but very functional and I love it. Having this much jewellery is unavoidable when you work at a Bead shop and design jewellery as part of your job (that’s my excuse & I’m sticking to it!)


Thanks for reading!
Steph

Patchwork Cushion

9 Aug

I have written a whole blog post about the chair I made this cushion (it was a slight tangent, but a lovely nostalgic one for me). However my original intention was to write about the cushion. I have made many things over the years and not documented them, I used to be able to remember the majority, however I find I stumble across old photos and think, oh I’d forgotten all about that skirt/bag/jumper I’d made. So I’m making a more concerted effort to document things, which Instagram has made easier to do, but I also like to use my blog as a notebook to myself as to the challenges/issues I encounter and had to resolve along the way. That said, although I do plan most of my project, at least to begin with, there is a considerable degree of  let’s just give it ago and see what happens.

I love a bit of Patchwork, and although it’s time consuming I do really like English paper piecing, which I hadn’t done for while after finishing the mammoth task of my Mum’s quilt. However I thought this would be a little project. I sketched a few ideas quite small to begin with and once I found an idea I was happy with I enlarged it and drew it out on some wall paper lining. I quite enjoy the Maths involved with patterns and pieces, I probably enjoyed this process as much as the actual making.

Paper piece template cushion - Nettynot Blog

Once I had my piece draw, in theory all the same shapes should be the same size, so it shouldn’t matter which pieces I sew together along as they are the right pieces, however learning from previous mistake I knew I really needed to be putting the pieces back together in exactly the way I cut them up, as it only takes a few of them to be a millimeter or so out to make it really awkward sewing them together later on (& I’m only human after all). So I numbered each piece and took a photo on my phone, for reference, before cutting up the template.

I often struggle to find enough time to get stuck into a project like this in one big chunk, so I decided I’d try to do the tacking and sewing of 1 set of shapes each evening for a week, so that it didn’t feel like it took too long to complete.

English Paper Piece - round Cushion cover - nettynot blog

It took me longer to decide what to do with back and get my act together to complete it. That didn’t go quite to plan, but I made it work in the end (sort of). I think the errors here were not measuring and cutting properly. I sewed strips of fabric together and made a cardboard template for the triangular shape, which really isn’t accurate enough when using a rotary cutter  (lesson learnt).

Cushion Back - Nettynot blog

The seams didn’t match up on the back terribly well, so I unpicks a couple of seams and tweaked it enough that it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb, but in the process it had the central two hexigans wonky, I would have prefer them to be symmetrical as intended however it’s not too bad and everyone (hopefully) will be looking at the front and not the back. That said I did get the invisible zip in evenly, though not so invisible with the fabric stretched slightly.

Cushion Back with zip - Nettynot blog

I do like the finished result, and it is the bold eye catching design I had in mind, influenced slightly by the leather 70’s pouffes seen in many retro and vintage shops. However if I was going make one again I would make the cover larger, whenever I make a square cushion cover I make it slightly smaller as it makes for a better plump finish, no one wants floppy cushion, I applied the same principal here, wrongly as I think it looks a little too tight and puckered at the edge. I think even just an extra half inch all round would have made a nicer fit.


I also might try to be clever next time and make a convex shaped cover to eliminate the puckering on the back…..hmmmm the cogs are whirring on that one already.

Thanks for reading.
Steph

Me Made May 2016 – round up!

1 Jun

This has been a great challenge, I set myself a few goals, some of which I’ve achieved, others I haven’t. However this challenge has got me sewing again (the fear has subsided) it has also made me re-assess my wardrobe.

MMMay16 Round up IG - Nettynot Blog

It wasn’t my intention to necessarily post a picture every day on IG (@nettynot) but I got into it, I enjoyed seeing everyone else so much that I thought why not (this is a little collage). It didn’t feel like a chore but I did put a little more thought into some of my outfits and I now know some of the areas of my wardrobe I need to improve. I want to make some more everyday dresses and skirts as well as more versatile and flattering cardigans.  I hope when I do this next year I’ll have less duplicate outfits and will feel/look less awkward being photographed (we’ll see).

Pink Mrs. Darcy Cardigan - Nettynot Blog

On old cardigan, the first garment I ever knitted – at least 8 years ago, has had a lot more wear recently as a result of MMMay16, a dark pinky-red colour it goes with loads of things and I love the brightness. It’s in a acrylic mohair yarn it’s very warm (too warm a lot of the time) but a slight breeze and it’s too cold as it’s such a loose knit. There’s a lot that I don’t like about this cardigan, I sewed the seams too firmly, they look neat, but the arm holes are too sung and it looks very strange when buttoned up and the sleeves are too short (but wearable with the cuffs folders back). But I’m still proud of it and I’m glad it got some more wear, though it’s likely to be worn less now the challenge is over and I’ll soon have another knitted cardigan….

Cross Pockets Progess - Nettynot Blog

I have made good progress on my cross pockets cardigan, though it’s not finished yet, it is much closer; sleeves to finish and then a little bit of sewing up, a block and it’s done. I have set myself a new target, I want to be able to wear it on 18th June which is worldwide Knit in Public day. I have also got carried away and been inspired by all the lovely knit wear that popped up on IG over May and I have just bought myself another Andi Satterlund pattern, Vianne. It’s lovely and this time a DK weight yarn which it a bit more appropriate for summer. I can’t wait to cast it on which has been me more incentive to get a wiggle on with my cross pockets.

Mini Blouse Progress - Nettynot Blog

I have also started a sewing class; because I can already sew and I know how to use a pattern I have struggled to find a course that aimed at my level, I can find loads of beginner classes so had temporarily given up my search then came across all things creative and found a class perfect for me. I can take along whatever project I want to work on and there’s a very knowledgeable tutor on hand to help you along the way. So I have been working on my Mini blouse, each week, a fair bit of progress has been made but it’s not quite there yet, one more week and I think it’ll be finished – this course has been great for me, it’s rebuilt my sewing confidence. There was a definite moment while working on this that had I been doing this at home on my own I’m sure the whole thing would have gone in the bin, but with help on hand, it wasn’t a problem and I just got on with it.

Sorbetto Tops - Nettynot Blog

I was saving my mini blouse to work on at me sewing class which is once a week, however as the sewing bug bit I felt the need to do some more sewing at home too. I had spotted several nice Sorbetto tops on IG so thought I’d investigate. I downloaded the pattern and made one straight away. Fortunately I already had enough fabric in my stash to make a couple of these. My practice one it a little large and also too short (I always have to shorten everyone by approximately 1’’ as I have a high waist and short torso) so I automatically did this, however it wasn’t needed. The second one I made I did a size smaller and longer version which fitted much better, I’m also keen to do more.

Refashion dress - Nettynot Blog

I have also fixed a skirt that was too big for me and completely refashion a once loved dress (I’ll post about the dress separately).

Coco Top - Nettynot Blog

I turned my unfinished Coco dress (which I’d deemed unflattering) into a top so that I could wear it, photographed on a lovely day up in Cumbria earlier in the month with a newly fished necklace too. I have tackled a few jewellery other items too, thought I got too carried away by sewing to do as much as I anticipated, but I don’t really mind about that, I was also aware of the over ambitious challenges I set myself.

Emery dress and Fabric - Nettynot Blog

I have also bought some lovely light weight denim fabric to make an Emery dress (which I can then wear any colour knitted cardigans over & it will work). I have had the pattern for a while and have been really inspired by the many variations I’ve seen on people’s blogs and on IG that I thought it was about time to get one with it. I had previously bought some ruby red polka dotty fabric for this pattern, it was only cheap so I thought this could  be my toile and just hope it’s wearable too (I hate putting all that effort into a toile to not be able to make use of it). So once Mini is finished this is my next project as well as making some simple skirts from my fabric stash.

I’m full of enthusiasm and inspiration which is wonderful and just what I needed. I just wish there were more hours in the day.

Thanks for reading and feel free to post your blog link below if you also joined in – I’ve loved seeing everyone’s outfits!

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