Sewchet

Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,


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First Christmas Present Hot Off The Needles!

Exactly one month ago I popped into Sew Vintage in Wells, looking for nothing in particular and happy to just drool over all the lovely things on display.


Amongst all the yarns, I spotted some lovely self striping “Regia” sock yarn, designed by Arne and Carlos for Schachenmayr. There was also a pattern for knee-high socks complete with two labels to sew in to the finished socks. How cute? I couldn’t resist it, so bought both the pattern and four balls of yarn.

(I still can’t find any see-through wellies, though!).


When I got home and put on my glasses to read the pattern, I discovered that it was written for DPNS – and I only know how to use circulars. To be honest, I think I would have had a go on circulars if the instructions had been more straightforward, but they seemed overly complicated to me so I chose a pattern from “Coop Knits Socks”, by Rachel Coopey. I bought this book at Yarndale a couple of years ago and have made several different pairs from it already.


These are the “Brighton” socks and feature a stunning fair isle design in three colours. I decided to follow the pattern for construction without following the charts for the colourwork, so the style would be the same minus the fair isle – knee-high socks with a deep ribbed cuff.


That evening, I cast on using the long-tail method as usual for a nice, stretchy top.


I love my row counter which was gifted to me in a Stitching Santa parcel last year – it makes keeping track of where you are a piece of cake.


Of course, The Dogs like to be close by when Mummy’s knitting at night. 


I’ve taken these in the car with me whilst The Boys play football. I love that socks are such a portable project.

I also LOVE this yarn!

The body of the sock is in stocking stitch and just look at how different the stripes look from the deep ribbing. The combination of colours are really lovely, too, and they’re quite accurate in this photo.


I tried it on for size just before I started turning the heel and this is when I noticed just how good the yarn is.

It’s quite expensive at £5.49 a ball, meaning that this pair cost £22.00 to knit, but they feel expensive, too, and surprisingly soft for such a high wool content (75% wool, 25% polyamide). As they are destined to be a Christmas present I felt it was worth it, especially after feeling how nice they felt against the skin.


One sock down and the second one almost finished, when I made a mistake and had to frog a whole evening’s work back. Poo!


Finally finished and ready to put away for Christmas – my first present made and it’s not Easter yet!

I’ve a feeling they’ll be worn over trousers as welly socks, hence my modelling them as such.


I’m very happy with the pattern matching as it can be tricky to find the exact spot in the ball at which to start the second sock.


As with all Rachel’s socks, the fit is absolutely perfect.


The extra deep ribbing will mean that the socks will hug the leg without slipping down.


Nice neat heels – the frogging was worth the effort!




Next up, some pink ones – another Christmas present in the making, but with some much cheaper yarn. I wonder if I’ll regret it…?


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Portable Doll’s House

When Issue 62 of Mollie Makes dropped through the letterbox, it was a good one. See the text on the front saying “Kid’s Doll House”? 

Easily missed, I know, but when I opened it onto the relevant page I did a little virtual skip – this would be the perfect present for a little three year old girl in the family.

A fold-out doll’s house, ideal for taking out and about to keep any little girl entertained (and better than handing over your smart phone, any day).

The details were a joy to put together and customise with whatever scraps of fabric I had to hand.

See, I told you that bag full of two-inch scraps would come in handy one day. I can’t throw any fabric out, no matter how minuscule the leftovers.

The teeny tiny tea set could have Velcro on the back for an older child, to make it removeable. As this was for a toddler, I sewed them to the table permanently.

Some of the bits were embroidered by hand….

….and others were stitched on by machine.

Dolly herself also has a dress and some hair bows, but those will have to follow in the post as I didn’t have time to make them before we visited.

Here’s the bed which is open for the doll to get in. She even has a little removeable pillow.

Of course, she needs a bedside rug to step out onto.

A bedside table has open-topped drawers to store those hair bows, and a little lamp.

I added a last minute dog in its basket, for added fun. Kids love things that ‘do’ something, don’t they?

The bathroom had some lovely details, like the bubbles and towel rail. I embroidered the tap using metallic gold thread to make it more realistic.

Once everything had been sewn on, it was just a case of attaching the front to the back and then turning it right side out.

Roof on, handles added.


Isn’t that just the cutest front door?

So, the house opens up and lays flat for play, like this: –

To close it, you simply fold the side in…..

….fold the bottom up to meet the top and then fasten the popper.

It transforms quickly and easily into a ‘bag’ with carry handles – simple enough for any toddler to use without help.

The iron test is, of course, if the girl in question actually likes it.

What do you think?!


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Stitching Santa Sewing Idea

Having concentrated on my knitting Stitching Santa swap, I’ve only just started to get on with my sewing swap. Knitting and crochet take longer, so I wanted to finish those handmade items before moving onto the sewn ones, hoping that these will be a lot quicker.

This one took about an hour and I thought I’d share it with you in case anyone fancies having a go themselves. I think it makes a great little gift – I know I’d be happy with it in my Stitching Santa parcel!

I had an A5 hardback notebook in the office, just lying around begging to be made beautiful and, luckily, I found the perfect fabric for a dressmaker in my collection.

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I started by cutting a rectangle of wadding exactly the same size as the notebook.

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Any PVA adhesive will do – just spread it on lightly all over the front surface of the cover.

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Press the wadding on to the tacky glue, then turn it over and do the same with the spine and back cover.

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Cut a rectangle of fabric about two inches wider all around than the notebook and spread glue directly onto the wrong side of the fabric.

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Lay the notebook cover onto the glued surface of the fabric and press with your fingers. Turn the excess fabric inwards and stick it to the inside cover.

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Work around the notebook applying more glue as necessary, mitring the corners as you go.

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Use plenty of glue to cover the tiny bit of spine that needs covering. If you choose a PVA that dries clear, any surplus will be invisible when it dries.

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Finally, cut a decorative piece of paper to act as an end paper, covering the raw edges of the fabric to achieve a smart finish.

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And there you are – a padded notebook, ideal for any seamstress.

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I hope my Stitching Santa recipient likes it – I’m tempted to make one for myself!

 


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Speedy Christmas Gift – ‘Entrechat’ Bolero

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My blog post for Minerva Crafts this month is this adorable little girl’s cardigan/bolero, which is now available for grown ups, too!

This one is for a Christmas present but, as it was whipped up in just a few hours, I couldn’t resist casting on another as a birthday present immediately after the first one was off the needles.

Follow this link for the pattern and to see how sweet it looks on our baby granddaughter.


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American Girl Doll’s Clothes

Last month, No.2 Son was invited to his girlfriend’s birthday party (they’re both ten) so I had to come up with an appropriate gift idea – no mean feat when you’re used to buying for boys.

I don’t know about you, but the amount of parties The Boys get invited to means that you can end up spending a small fortune throughout the year in presents, even though I try to spend no more than £10 maximum per child.

£10 doesn’t buy much nowadays, unless you opt for the useful book token which, despite being a great gift which kids love to spend, is hard to get excited about when you open it. You never hear “WOW! It’s just what I’ve always wanted – thank you!”

So I had a little think and remembered that this little girl had recently been to America on holiday and had come back with a “Truly Me” American Girl doll.

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Apparently, these dolls are a bit of a cult item in the USA with girls and women alike, and you can choose the skin, hair and eye colour to match your own.

With the doll itself costing $115 and each item of clothing costing upwards of $10, she, understandably, had a very limited wardrobe thus far.

So I decided to put aside a whole day and make some clothes for her.

With a bit of searching on the internet, I found several patterns suitable for an 18″ doll, and these are what I came up with.

Remember THAT hoodie I made earlier in the Summer? Well, I used some of the leftover fabric to make a sweatshirt for the doll with popper closures at the back.

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I matched the sweatshirt with some purple elasticated jogging bottoms and that was one outfit completed.

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Using the same T-shirt pattern as for the sweatshirt, I made a plain white Tee to which I added a ruffle to jazz it up a bit.american-girl-doll-skirt

A velcro back was used this time.

The little lace-trimmed  A-line skirt took hardly any fabric at all and was whipped up in minutes, again with a velcro back fastening.

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Next up was a simple dress which could be worn on its own or with the white ruffle tee as before.

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I knew a ‘proper’ dress would be appreciated, so this next one took a little more effort, adding full lining and ric rac trim at the waist and hem.

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I even inserted a back zip to make it more special.

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Finally, one more top, this time in blue, and a coordinating elasticated straight skirt with side splits.

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I can’t tell you quite how much fun I had making them all and, not only that, I worked out that, had similar outfits been purchased, the cost would have been upwards of £/$100!

And guess what? She said: –

“WOW! It’s just what I always wanted – thank you!”


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Last Minute Birthday Sewing

HOW expensive are goalposts?

Even though they were half price, they still cost quite a lot, so it meant No.3 Son would only have one present to open on his birthday.

Don’t get me wrong, I know one present is adequate but it’s always nice to see a little pile of gifts wrapped up with your name on. I managed to buy three secondhand children’s novels and wondered if I could make something for him as well. 

He finished these long shorts earlier in the week and decided that the best T-shirt to go with it was this red one with a picture of a camper van on the front.

Hmm, two different shades of red do not an outfit make.

Rummaging through my fabrics, I found a length of turquoise jersey left over from making this sample Coco for my stand at the school fair.


There was just enough for a boy’s T-shirt using this pattern from issue 27 of Love Sewing magazine.


I wouldn’t download and print off a pattern for anything larger, but this was just nine sheets of paper which taped together very quickly.

My French curve came in handy for grading the pattern up to Age 9.



Just three pattern pieces meant this promised to be a quick enough make to complete in the couple of hours before he came home from school.


Some remnants of blind fabric provided the perfect motif to add to the front of the T-shirt and I picked the red one to echo the colour of the shorts they were to go with.


After stabilising with some interfacing, the free motion foot made short work of the appliqué – I sewed two rounds of stitching.


Embroidery scissors were used to cut close to the stitching and remove the excess fabric to reveal the motif.


The finished appliqué.


Maybe it would have been better to place it a little higher on the chest?


Full construction details, and the free pattern, can be found in issue 27 of Love Sewing, so I won’t repeat them here. 

Suffice to say that it was quick, easy and fun to make and the finish was faultless, though I say so myself!

The overlocker (all four threads) was used exclusively for the construction, with top stitching done on the sewing machine.


Apart from the white overlock thread.  It was all I had.

I also didn’t have the requisite ribbed jersey for the neckband, but more of the fabric that I used for the body of the T-shirt worked just as well.

A slight zig zag stitch was used for the top stitching around the neckline, both for decoration and to keep the neckline lying flat.


A straightforward one centimetre hem on the bottom and sleeve hems was the final touch to bring the project in under two hours.


All wrapped up and ready to open – a free extra present for one little nine year old boy!


At precisely 4.51am, a very excited little boy bounded into our bedroom….and was sent back to bed for an hour and a half. I know. We’re mean parents.

At 6.30, Take Two. He woke up everyone in the house (No.1 Son ended up going into work early!) and we all went down to watch him unwrap his presents.

First, his T-shirt….



….then Star Wars masks and light sabres from his oldest brother….


As for the T-shirt….well, it stayed clean for all of five minutes….



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Crochet Baby Blanket

We’ve been invited to a Baby Shower.

No, the expectant parents are not American, they are as English as can be and yet they are having this oddly-titled premature celebration in advance of the birth.

I’m not sure what I think about this transatlantic tradition which has wheedled its way onto British soil. Is it an alternative to a Christening, or in addition to?

My initial instincts were to consider the concept rather grasping and a rather diluted (and very un-British!) attempt to ask for presents for the not-yet born. However, knowing the family well, we know this is not the case and it appears to be a great excuse for a gathering of family and friends all of whom are eager to wish them well.

What are your thoughts about ‘showers’ in general, as I have recently heard of Bridal Showers over here as well? Are any of our friends in the USA able to enlighten us on the point of them?

Anyway, this is what I had already decided to make for the baby, Baby Shower or not; a simple,hard-wearing, easy-to-wash, granny square blanket in 20% wool.

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It’s pram-blanket sized, so only took a few evenings to whip up. About a third of the way in, I thought it needed something to break up the pink, so added in some grey-beige matching yarn.

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A pom pom border livens it up a bit and makes the granny clusters a little less utilitarian-looking.

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crochet blanket pom pom border

When finished, it was crying out for a flower in the centre, but I didn’t want anything raised so searched for a flat version.

I came across this flower coaster pattern in a language I didn’t recognise but, as luck would have it, a chart was included and I was able to work solely from this.

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Perfect – just what I was looking for!

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The crochet flower was simply stitched into the centre with matching yarn.

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And that’s it – simple!

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I hope she likes it and, yes – she is having a girl:)