An Early Christmas Present

Seeing as the Halifax Hoodie went so well, I had a crazy idea to make K a hoodie as an early Christmas present. Hey June Handmade’s Hatteras Hoodie* is made in exactly the same way as the Halifax, so I felt reasonably confident at my ability to make it.

I chose some blue spotty sweatshirt fabric for the main body, along with some ‘cops and robbers’ t-shirt fabric for the hood lining. To break up the spots, I also cut the cuffs and waistband from the t-shirt fabric.

The Hatteras pattern doesn’t include a drawstring around the hood, which meant I could skip hammering in any eyelets! It also doesn’t include binding on the edges of the pocket, but I added those in just to give some interest to the front panel.

The sweatshirt fabric isn’t brushed like you would expect – it has a furry feel to it, and a definite nap. This means it should be snug and cosy to wear, but did give me some challenges when it came to sewing. I’ve sewn faux fur fabric before, but never anything with the furry side facing out. Of course that resulted in the fabric slipping mid seam, which was a nightmare when it came to attaching the hood.

After two mis-sewn seams, and unpicking far too many stretch stitches, I was at a loss for how to resolve the problem. In desperation, I attached a walking foot, and reverted to a zigzag stitch instead of a stretch stitch – it was the only thing I could think of to try.

Much to my amazement, that did the trick! The hood stayed pinned as it was meant to, and even the cuffs weren’t as terrible as I thought they could be.

The pattern on the cuffs is upside-down…. but that’s an intentional design. I like the idea of K being able to see the pattern the right way up when he’s wearing the hoodie.

The sleeves are a little snug for the bear that’s modelling it, but hopefully it will fit K perfectly, and keep him warm when he’s playing outside this winter.

 


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Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

Halifax Hoodie

Ever since I made a hoodie from a Craftsy course last year, I’ve wanted to make a hoodie with more of a traditional sweatshirt style. Searching through various websites, I eventually came across the Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade* which looked perfect for the style I was after.

As this was my second ever hoodie that I’d made for myself, I decided to keep things relatively easy, and make style A – a regular-styled hoodie with a split neck. I did make things a little more complicated by choosing to line the hood, and add in the thumbhole cuffs from the Lane Raglan Top* too.

There were a few points where I started arguing with my sewing machine, especially at the point where the neck band is meant to cover the raw edges of the hood and the main body. But a couple of hand stitches helped just to hold the band in place.

I do need more practise (or maybe better instructions!) at adding in eyelets for the drawstring cord. The back of one of the eyelets came off as I was sewing the drawstring channel, and I’m not convinced it’ll stay in position when the top gets washed. At least with the drawstring in place, the eyelet won’t fall off completely – it’ll get caught on the drawstring itself, so I shouldn’t be able to lose it!

I lined the hood with some grey swan jersey fabric and used the same fabric for the binding on the edge of the kangaroo pocket. The drawstring tape is a little brighter than I’d expected, but it picks out the orange bills of the swans.

The instructions for the Halifax are really easy to follow, and it resulted in such a great hoodie, I’m already planning my next Halifax top.

 


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Pattern: Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade*
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

 

Dotty Dolphin

I’ve seen a lot of dolphin plush toys online, and I was pleased to find a free pattern from Choly Knight. The pattern uses minky or similar fleece and I thought it would be ideal to use some of the dotty fat quarters I purchased from Hobbycraft.

Although the eyes look embroidered, they are actually appliqued! I cut the black from a faux suede fat quarter, and the eye white is cut from acrylic felt.

The tail is straight rather than having a v-shaped notch, as I made a mistake in the sewing…. but I don’t think that really matters. The dolphin plush still looks suitably cute and her misshapen tail won’t prevent her from pretending to swim!

Raspberry Bear (finished)

I’ve finally finished Raspberry Ripple Bear! I’d finished the main parts a while ago, but had been putting off adding in the ears and embroidering the nose and mouth, because those elements can either make a bear look perfect, or end up making it look really weird.

Raspberry Ripple has a jointed head, but the arms and legs are machine sewn into position, so they should be securely attached to allow for lots of play. The paw pads are made from some faux suede from Hobbycraft, just for a little different feel.

I stitched the ears on a lot lower than I would normally do, in the hope that Raspberry Ripple would have a younger look, as this little bear is destined to travel to the US to be a gift for a friend’s young child.

 

Release the Kraken!

After making Bertram Bigfoot, I decided he needed a friend, which also gave me a third entry in Choly Knight‘s Halloween Plush Contest!

The body of the Kraken isn’t too challenging to sew, even with the applique spots and eyes. I used a glow-in-the-dark fabric for the eyes like I did for the Loch Ness Monster, although as yet the fabric doesn’t want to co-operate and glow.

The base was the most challenging part to sew (ignore the colours being reversed from the official pattern instructions), with each of those polo mint look-alike suckers being machine sewn to hold them in place.

The Kraken (which incidentally is still in need of a name), is perfectly cuddly and the two shades of plush fabric are a great match for my purple and silver colour scheme. I was hoping to get a photo of the eyes glowing, but for now here’s a mockup of how they might look!

The Monster from the Deep

I thought I needed a slightly easier pattern to try, after Bertram Bigfoot, and Choly Knight‘s Loch Ness Monster looked like it would be ideal. The body and head have two sides and a bottom gusset, while the four flippers are sewn into the gusset seam. This means the only hand sewing is to just ladder stitch the turning gap at the end.

I chose some black and white glow-in-the-dark fabric for the eyes, so I used the eyelash eye pattern pieces, and left out any inner eye features. I hand stitched them in place, as I was finding it challenging to machine sew the eyes onto the plush fabric without it sliding about everywhere.

In the end, I using a small amount of fusible interfacing for the body dots, then machine stitched around them afterwards.

The neck dart was a challenge to get right – one side’s dart is a little longer than the other, but that just gives Nessie a uniquely quirky look.

Until I can get the fabric to glow properly, here’s a mockup of how the eyes will eventually look…. I hope!

Raspberry Ripple Bear (UFO)

After a mini shopping spree at Hobbycraft, I found myself with some dotty cuddle fat quarters. I thought they would make a lovely soft squishy bear, using the “Happy” pattern from Emma Bear’s.

I was originally going to use the pink and yellow for this bear, but the yellow looked a little harsh so I plumped for cream instead. It gives the bear a raspberry ripple look, and that was the fastest I’ve ever named a bear!

So far I have his head stitched (although he still needs ears), and his legs finished. The paw pads are faux suede just to add a different texture to the sleek dotty fabric.

Strawberry Dragon (UFO)

You’d think that with a blog called Dragon’s Flame Designs, I would have sewn several dragons already. But while I’ve sewn lots of bears, I’ve never tackled a dragon…. until now! I’m reliably informed that K likes dragons, so Yoki Dragon looked like the perfect early Christmas present for him.

I thought the original size might be a little fiddly to sew, so I scaled the pattern to 150% before printing. I’m using some red clothing fleece rather than minky, as I think it’ll stand up to rougher play.

So far I have the head sewn, and you can just about see the dragon shape starting to emerge.

Bertram Bigfoot

I can’t resist entering competitions, so when I spotted that Choly Knight had a Halloween Plush Contest, I had the perfect idea…. a fake fur Yeti!

Unfortunately, the fabric shop didn’t have any white fur in stock. However, they did have some amazingly sleek reddy brown fake fur tipped with a silvery white shade – perfect for a Bigfoot instead.
After all, the only difference between a Bigfoot and a Yeti is the colour of their fur, right?

Instead of adding an applique face, I trimmed the fur to make it look two-tone. That also made the applique features easier to sew in place. I didn’t risk using any fusible web to hold the eyes, teeth and mouth in place, so I tacked them down by hand first, before zigzagging around them on the machine.

You may notice that Bertram’s teeth are a creamy brown shade rather than white…. that’s just because he forgot to take his toothpaste with him!

I did also try trimming the fur for his paw prints, but that wasn’t quite so successful – I think that would’ve worked better if I’d trimmed that after I’d attached them, as once they were sewn in place, a lot of the detail around his toes was lost.

Despite that, Bertram was a really successful make – he only took me a few hours to make, and that included spending what felt like ages on the cutting out!

 


Fabric: half a metre of fake fur from Fashion Fabrics

Pattern: Bigfoot plush by Choly Knight

Sleek Satin Sewing Success!

I wasn’t entirely convinced that I would get this dress finished in time, but after a lot (and I mean a lot) of unpicking and resewing, I finally have a finished dress!

I went with the idea of using two different fabrics to show off the different pieces of the bodice, and chose a combination of two animal print satin fabrics from Minerva Crafts. The fabric was so sleek and had such a great feel, I also made a small shawl to go with it. I quite liked the semi-frayed look of the selvedge edge so I kept that on the shawl edge.

Originally I had aimed for the yoke and waistband to be in the leopard print, with the rest of the bodice in the tiger print, with the opposite on the lining. However, after a few mistakes, I ended up swapping the lining and main pieces, which thankfully went much better.

I would use satin fabric again, but only for a top – I don’t think my sewing skills are quite up to the task of tackling another dress in such a temperamental fabric just yet. I would try making another dress from this pattern though…. but out of polycotton or cotton instead.

But this has challenged me to make a dress I probably wouldn’t have attempted, out of a fabric I usually would avoid…. and I’ve got a dress out of it, so I’m happy!

 


Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2017

Fabrics used: Tiger Print Satin, Leopard Print Satin