Sunday, 29 December 2013

Horseshoe cable headband

Here's the first of the secret projects that I was working on before Christmas - a cable headband that I knitted for my sister, which she very obligingly modelled for me to show you here...

I used the horseshoe cable headband pattern from sheilalikestoknit on Etsy. I've never knitted cables before but I felt like a challenge so I decided to give it a go, and I'm glad I did - although the pattern was so easy to follow that it didn't really feel like a challenge in the end!

As with most headbands, it was pretty quick to knit and therefore satisfying to see it grow and watch the horseshoes appearing after each cable row. The border alongside the horseshoes is worked in seed stitch - so again nice and simple, but I think the texture it gives the headband is really effective.

I used Stylecraft Special Aran in Aster, which was lovely to knit with and is a great colour. The pattern uses two strands of yarn held together which means that the finished result is nice and thick so hopefully will keep my sister nice and warm!

The only problem with making this as a present? I now want one myself because I like this better than the headbands I made for myself in the autumn so it's gone straight back on my to-knit list - it's a good thing this is a quick project!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

The presents are all finished and wrapped, the Stollen is made and my bag is packed, so all that's left to do is to send you this kind of virtual Christmas card...

Peg People Nativity  Ruth @ Nightingale & Dolittle
This is the photo that I used for my Christmas cards this year - I made the little peg people, had a very lucky find coming across the starry fabric that I used for the background, and probably ended up with more straw on my living room floor than I did in the picture! I had the photos printed onto cards by moo and the quality was fantastic - I'd definitely recommend them.

I'll be back after Christmas to share some of the presents I've been making in the last couple of weeks, and to get started on the other projects I've been planning while working on the secret things. Have a lovely Christmas full of fun, family and fantastic food!

P.S. Check out my Emery dress with all the other beautiful versions in the Emery dress parade over on Christine's blog!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Emery Dress

In between all the secret Christmas-related making that I've got going on at the moment, I managed to find time to finish some selfish sewing - the Emery dress by Christine Haynes.

I loved this pattern as soon as I saw it - with a fitted bodice, full skirt, pockets and the option of a collar or a bow, what's not to like?! It's pretty much my favourite kind of dress so I snapped it up straight away. I then got slightly scared that I might have bitten off more than I could chew because this dress featured a couple of techniques I hadn't used before, but you've got to try new things at some point or you'll never learn, right?

Of course, I needn't have worried! The instructions that come with the pattern are great and I followed the excellent sewalong that Christine just ran, and that was a useful helping hand for the steps I was slightly less sure of, so in the end I think that I've ended up with my best finished garment to date and I'm no longer scared of invisible zips!

I made the dress in a size 12, and the only change I needed to make was adding an inch to the bodice - which seems to be a fairly standard adjustment that I have to make on most patterns. I chose to make view B with the longer sleeves and collar, but followed the steps in the sewalong to change the collar from the pointed one in the pattern to a Peter Pan collar. The original pointed collar is cute, but I love a Peter Pan collar and I'm really happy with how it turned out. 

I almost added the bow from view A too but I've restrained myself at the moment! Although I'm very tempted to use the bow from the dress pattern and turn it into a bow belt in a solid colour to bring out one of the many gorgeous colours in the fabric.

Speaking of the fabric...I spent quite a long time pondering what material to use for this dress. I had found a couple of lovely brushed cottons that I thought might be nice to use for this time of year, but then I found this beautiful Liberty cotton lawn at a bargain price on ebay. There was just enough to make the dress so I thought it was a sign and went with it!

Yes, cotton lawn might not be a standard choice for this time of year, but I love it and as the bodice is lined, and if I wear it with a slip, I've found it perfectly warm enough. And those brushed cottons that I almost used are still in the back of my mind so there may well be a slightly more conventionally seasonal version in the pipeline soon. 

Overall, I only have good things to say about this pattern - if you're thinking about sewing it yourself then I'd definitely go for it!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Woodland Stroll Cape

I made a cape! I've always had a slight obsession with capes, ponchos and the like, but was slightly disappointed with the ones I tried on in the shops or couldn't quite manage to convince my Mum/sister that they were a good idea. When I found the Woodland Stroll Cape pattern from Liesl + Co., and it got the thumbs up from my style advisers, I thought I had to give it a go - here's how it turned out...

It's a pretty simple pattern and I didn't need to make any fitting alterations - this isn't a particularly fitted kind of garment after all and, in this colder weather at least, there needs to be space underneath for a jumper or cardigan to make sure your arms are warm enough.

That's not to say the cape itself won't keep you warm - it will! I've been perfectly cosy as I've been wearing it around this weekend. It's definitely helped by the fact that I used this lovely Melton fabric from Calico Laine, which was great to work with and perfect for a cape or coat. It's lined with a purple polyester lining, also from Calico Laine. I toyed with the idea of using a pretty printed lining fabric, but I wasn't sure quite how much the lining would be visible when wearing the cape so in the end I went with a plain colour.

While there are lots of lovely buttons out there that I could have used to fasten the cape, I really liked the look of the buckles used on the orange cape in the pattern pictures so decided I wanted to find something similar myself. A quick search led me to these lovely leather buckles from

It was a little bit fiddly making sure they all lined up right, but it was definitely worth it. I think they make the whole thing look really professional, and they may be at least partially covered by a scarf for a lot of the time that I'm wearing the cape, but I'll know they're there and that's the main thing!

Other than having to take time to match up buckles, the only other thing that caused me any problems was getting slightly confused about the facing on the inside of the neck, but I soon realised that I was being stupid and it was a probably a sign that it was too late to be sewing and that I should be going to bed instead! Stupid late-night sillyness aside, it all came together really easily and I love the end result. It's nicer and worked out much cheaper than anything similar I've seen in the shops, and has been given the Mum/sister seal of approval - yay!

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