We Are Helping, We’re Helping Hands {MBJM Hot Coffee Top in Spoonflower Fleece}

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Recently, the lovely Allie from Spoonflower got in contact to ask if I’d like to take part in another blog hop featuring Australian makers – they kindly provided the fabric of my choice but my words and opinions are my own (as always). They’ve also provided 10% off their fabrics with the code katie10 (valid for a month).

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Since winter is on its way, I chose this awesome print by Amy Blackwell on Spoonflower’s fleece and used the MBJM Hot Coffee pattern. Even though I’ve blogged makes from this pattern before, this version was my very first jumper from it.

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Let me tell you a bit about winter where I live. It’s mild. Google tells me the average winter temperature is 22 degrees celsius (that’s 71.6 F). It’s a nice winter, some people even swim all year round because the water is still quite warm (Google also tells me the average is 21.4C/70.5F, so pretty much on par with the air temperature). So the southern states do smirk when we complain about the cold. Let me tell you something else though, our houses are built to keep the heat out. We have homes equipped for summer, but not really for winter. For that reason, it can be a balmy 22C outside and a chilly 15C inside the house. I have been known to go outside and lay on the lawn in the sun, trying to warm up like some kind of pale, blonde reptile.

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There is a point and I’m getting to it. On the days when I’m stuck inside, either at the sewing machine or computer or maybe even just on a Netflix binge, I like to wear an oversized, cosy hoodie to keep me warm. In the past, I’ve pinched my husband’s hoodies, but sometimes he needs them, so it’s nice to have my own.

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I was excited to get my cool handsy printed fleece and sew it up into a big snuggly hoodie. When the fleece arrived, I was a bit surprised. I’m not sure what I was expecting – maybe something like what we get here called polar fleece – but it was definitely different to that. It was quite dense, almost like a felt and it really had very minimal stretch. I figured I’d wash it, tumble dry it and then reassess. Turns out the washing and drying process fluffed it up quite a bit and it came out softer than it had gone in. It was still very different to what we call ‘fleece’ here, but it didn’t feel bad – just different.

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My measurements put me in an XL for this pattern, but I erred on the side of caution and made a 3XL to account for the minimal stretch (the pattern asks for 50% stretch) and because I wanted it to be quite big. I don’t usually like ribbing on the bottom of my jumpers, so I left that off and lengthened the pattern slightly to compensate. The kanga pouch sits on the bottom of the jumper between the main fabric and the ribbing, so I had to change my construction process slightly too, but it worked out fine.

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I wasn’t keen on the ribbing I had for the cuffs, so went a bit fancy and used stretch velvet instead. It’s not as stretchy as ribbing, so I did cut them a bit longer. I also needed to take about 2 inches off the sleeve length. The inside of the hood can be self lined or you can use a contrast. I used the wrong side of a grey printed fleece scrap I’ve hadΒ  in my stash for ages.

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Most of it was constructed on my overlocker and I used my new bestie, lightning bolt stitch for the hems and pocket. It is quite a quick sew (I think about an hour from cutting to finishing) and the fleece was really nice to use too – it didn’t slip or slide or stretch out of shape like polar fleece can.

Awesome prints in sweater knits are really hard to find (especially here), so it’s great to have the custom print option in fleece. I know this one will get a lot of wear, so I’m already planning another. Bring on winter.

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Knocking Off Ready To Wear Again {Patterns For Pirates Peg Legs}

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I apologise in advance, because this is one of the most boring blog posts you’ll ever get from me. It’s about black leggings. I’m not really selling it, am I?

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(From left to right: Cotton On leggings, Clio plush leggings, cheapy ebay Pegs made by me and wool blend Pegs made by me).

I read something recently where someone described sewing basics as ‘less icing, more cake’. That really resonated. When I started, all I wanted to sew were all the pretty dresses (and I still do), but there’s a lot to be said for owning damn comfortable basics.

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Winter in my part of the world is pretty mild, so I can get away with wearing dresses and skirts as long as I wear tights, boots and a cardi. Fleece lined leggings are my favourites and get a lot of wear (look at that pair second from the left!). I’ve noticed them start appearing in shops in the form of active wear too and what can I say? It’s love. And since my resolution this year was to avoid buying things I can sew, I went on a mission to find fleece back spandex. Which means I asked a sewing FB group. And they delivered.

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(Spenno wool blend).

The first recommended was an insanely cheap ($5/m!) nylon blend from ebay. I must admit, I had my doubts. When it arrived, it looked much the same as the fabric the Clio leggings are made from. Plush back with a definite nylon looking outer, with a bit of a sheen. Not bad though, especially for the price. I was pleasantly surprised.

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(Cheapy fabric).

I figured this pair would be worn mostly under dresses and skirts, so I used the plain Peg Legs pattern with the low rise waist and contour waistband. They are comfy as hell, but that’s exactly what I expected, I love the Pegs pattern. These poop all over the RTW versions I own.

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(And cheapy fabric).

High waisted, forever ❀

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(Spenno wool blend).

The second fabric recommended was a pricier wool blend for $40/m from Homecraft Textiles in WA. It wasn’t on their website, so I emailed and arranged to purchase. They were very helpful. When it arrived, I was underwhelmed. The outside has a slight rib through it and the fleece is more of a reddy brown than black (not that it matters to me at all), but other than that, it looks and feels a lot like the ebay fabric. I thought it would have more of a matte outer. I guess time will tell with how they wash and wear. This fabric got sewn into a pair of Pegs with the add ons – side panel and pockets, with the same old low rise waist and contour waistband, because we already know how I feel about that combo. I figured this pair could be more for dog walking on chilly mornings. Or just hanging at home doing nothing, whatever.

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Same high waist that does not require constant pulling up.

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And there ends the boring black leggings chatter. I also made my t shirt. It was a bit of a Jalie men’s t shirt hack experiment out of lightweight cotton jersey. A bit too lightweight judging my my hems. But again, comfort is king.

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Hibernation Preparation {Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra}

Pattern:

Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra.

Fabric and other stuff:

Floral spandex from The Remnant Warehouse a really long time ago, sorry.

Muppet Babies and Astro Boy swim knit from Rubyjam Fabric.

Scale print spandex from fabric.com.

Mesh (red and pink) from The Remnant Warehouse.

Stretch lace and hot pink picot elastic from Pitt Trading.

Strapping, rings, sliders and bows from Booby Traps.

 

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There is a definite chill in the air. Our days are still warm but right around school pick up, the temperature starts to drop and by the time I get home, I’m ready for a warm shower and some slouchy clothes.

(Please excuse the lines all over my belly. The horizontal ones, not the vertical ones. The former are from wearing tights all morning, the latter are permanent and from carrying my children).

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Clothes that aren’t pjs, just in case the neighbourhood kids decide to pop over, but you know – I’m done for the day by then and am ready for all the comfort. And that comfort extends to underwear too.

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The Romy Bra by Ohhh Lulu is something that I have made a lot before, but I just can’t go past it. For a bralette, it has a great shape (thank you princess seams!) and while not on par with a wired bra for lift (for me anyway), it provides enough that I feel well supported.

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My earlier versions were looking a bit tired so I decided to use up some of my scraps to make some more. One of the wonderful things about underwear sewing is that you do only need minimal amounts of fabric, even if you are a fan of giant knickers like me. Knickers, by the way, are the same old self drafted pair I make all the time, just with variations on height and elastic. All have scrap jersey for the gusset.

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One of my favourite things about this pattern is the enclosed seams. Swoooooooon. There’s something so polished about it. I tend to line mine in mesh for additional support, although if you’re smaller busted you might not find it necessary or could use something lighter weight like cotton lycra. Whatever you use though, it needs to have stretch. As a rule, wired bras need non or minimal stretch fabrics and bralettes need stretch.

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As always, I’ve eliminated the back clasp, shortened the back band and cut it on the fold. It does mean I have to pull it on and off over my head, but that’s no biggy. It’s very comfortable without the clasp and makes it a quicker sew. I also move the straps more towards the centre back as I find them too wide set for me.

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The pattern includes a three piece cup (front, side front and upper cup). The upper cup can be from the same fabric as the rest of the pieces, or from something contrasting like lace or mesh. In fact, you could Frankenstein the entire thing out of different scrap pieces if you really wanted to. For the mermaid scale version I’ve used all the same fabric, same for the floral but I finished the upper cup in stretch lace, the Astro Boy one has a mesh upper cup and for the Muppet Baby version, I experimented and left the upper cup off all together and just finished the front cup in stretch lace. That’s why it sits a lot lower. It’s not as supportive but still very wearable and probably suited to someone with a smaller bust (for reference I’m roughly a 38D).

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I think I’m all set for underwear for a while now. The problem is they are just so fun and quick to make. There is a gap in my underwear drawer for a very basic nude set though. I have all these fun prints and black, but nothing to wear under lighter dresses. So that’s next on my list.

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Sweater Weather {Made By Jacks Mum Hot Coffee Top}

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Pattern: MBJM Hot Coffee Top

Fabric: Mostly from Spotlight, although it doesn’t seem to be on their website.

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Except we say jumper, not sweater. Although more accurately, these would be hoodies. And I know this is mostly kid sewing, so sorry. Here’s the thing though, finding patterns for older boys is hard. Much like shopping for clothes for them. Seriously, look at the boys sizes 10-16 in a shop some time, they have about three racks worth and the girls equivalent is at least triple that.

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Luckily, these two still want me to sew for them. And when I saw this french terry in Spotlight, I couldn’t resist it. It ticked all the boxes – print not too young, suitably modern and really lovely quality. The right side is almost like a heavy cotton lycra, with a lovely soft brushed fleece underside. The grey ribbing is also from Spotlight, the grey fleece is the wrong side of another sweater knit off cut and the olive and white striped fabric is cotton lycra picked up from The Remnant Warehouse.

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As for the pattern itself, there is an adult version (used here) and a kids version (Hot Chocolate). I bought the adult sized one for myself and was pretty happy to see the boys would fit into the XXS from the adult version, which is about a size 12 in the kids. I even broke my ‘no PDFs if there’s no A0’ rule and bought it. The sticky tape fest wasn’t too harrowing for this one.

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The pattern has the option of a hood, a round neck or a cowl neck and can be made with or without the kanga pocket. I chose to leave the bottom band off these as I don’t love the look. Both boys could do with a little bit more length to combat that next time.

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I even made a basic round neck version for myself, which happens to be my second version but the first is a special collaboration and is under wraps for a while yet.

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My measurements put me into the XL, but I sized up to the 3XL because I wanted something quite oversized and the fleece didn’t have as much stretch as the pattern asked for. The ribbing however, had too much stretch. I ended up cutting off the cuffs and making them smaller. I really should have done it for the neckline too but I didn’t have quite enough ribbing left. It’s still very wearable and one of the softest jumpers I own.

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Sorry for the photo overload, it was just such a magic afternoon down at the beach. I should really shoot down there more often.

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