Forest Bear (UFO)

Think back to last year, and the fake fur I purchased ready for Christmas…. yes that’s right the green is the same as the bat I made earlier this year, and this is the project I mentioned that had gone pear shaped!

Willa is a smaller plushie than I’ve tried making before, and it’s proving more fiddly on the smaller pieces. The head was reasonably successful though, and I even attempted some fur trimming around the muzzle to try and get a better shape.

As usual, I’m leaving the nose and mouth embroidery until the very last minute…. that can make or break a plushie, which means it’s the most nerve-wracking part!

 


Pattern: Willa Bear by Emma’s Bears
Fabric: Faux Fur from Fashion Fabrics
Safety eyes: Hobbycraft

Hey June Lane Raglan

After my attempt at making the Shark Rivage Raglan, I wanted to try a different pattern that was a little more fitted without being designed to be skin tight. Enter the Lane Raglan* by Hey June Handmade, which actually comes complete with a FBA pattern piece to save the hassle of trying to add in a FBA to a raglan top (which is something I wouldn’t have a clue how to do!).

Ignoring the fact that I cut the fabric upside down on one sleeve, so those swans are swimming the wrong way up, I’m really pleased with how this came out.

Adding the neckband was a little challenging in places, but once I got my sewing machine to co-operate, it went on quite neatly. I topstitched the neckband in place with a stretch stitch, but reverted back to a zigzag for the cuffs as that is a more forgiving stitch if you’re slightly off line!

 


* – affiliate link
Pattern: Lane Raglan* by Hey June Handmade
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

5 out of 4 – 20K Blog Tour

If there’s one thing about the British weather, it’s remarkably unpredictable! We always joke that you can spot a tourist by the way they’re unprepared for rain, or unusually cold snaps, so it seemed a logical step to make myself a warm fleece as part of the 5 out of 4 20k blog tour! Yes, you read that right, 5 out of 4 patterns* has hit 20k members in their facebook group!
Keep reading to check out my make, and read right on to the bottom of his post for details of the 40% off sale and giveaway!

I used the Ascent Fleece* pattern by 5 out of 4 patterns* again, but you’ve probably noticed that my fleece looks totally different from the other Ascent I made before. I’ve got a couple of RTW full-length zip fleeces, but I never find it comfortable to zip them up further than the base of my neck, so I thought a lace up style might be more user-friendly, while still keeping me warm!

I had to deviate from the pattern quite a bit to achieve the lace-up look, so I hope you’re paying attention at the back there, if you want to follow along!

Place the facing and front pieces right sides together and stitch as per the instructions. If you prefer to have no raw edges showing (although as fleece doesn’t fray, it’s not the end of the world), you can overlock / zigzag the two long sides and base of the facing first.

Cut down the centre of the facing stitching, and turn the facing in. The right side of the facing should now be on the wrong side of the front piece. Pin this in place.

Making sure to leave enough space for the eyelets, stitch down one side, across the base, then up the other side to secure the facing in place. I used a straight stretch stitch just for strength, as it won’t really need to stretch much (if at all). I used 4mm eyelets – there’s not really any need to use huge ones, as long as you can fold the tape or fit the cord through the hole.

Add the collar as stated in the instructions, but bear in mind that the facing is already sewn in (there’s no zip to fold it around), so when sewing the inner collar to the outer, you can start at the base of the short edge, sew up, along the top, then down the opposite short edge, before turning the inner collar to the inside.

I added in the holes for my eyelets at this point, but because the inner collar base hasn’t yet been stitched, I didn’t add in the eyelets – you really don’t want to be sewing over the top of them!


I used a straight stretch stitch on the ‘stitch in the ditch’ around the collar base, but decided to skip the top stitching around the top of the collar. I didn’t think it was necessary as the collar stands up fine without it. Really that’s just personal preference – the majority of RTW fleece tops do have that topstitching.

I started fitting the eyelets at this point, but stopped part way through as the thickness of the fleece was proving a bit of a challenge. I will admit I made a mess of 5 or 6 eyelets before I managed to get the fleece to behave, and all the eyelets in place.

I used a metre of plain tape and just threaded it through the eyelets as if I was lacing a shoe. I could probably trim the tape down a little, but I’d rather have it too long than not long enough. It was worth the hassle of the eyelets, as it certainly helps to keep the cold out, while being fully adjustable!

Can I just say that I love patterns which use a 3/8″ seam allowance, as that is the same as the width of my walking foot, so it’s really easy to line up on straight edges and on curves.

On to the pockets next, and another small deviation. I don’t have a concealed zipper foot for my machine (and really don’t want to fork out £20 or so for a branded one), so I picked out two standard zips instead. Rather than following the instructions, I used the method I came across before, for adding a zip to a dress.
You sew the side seam, then backstitch just where the zip is meant to start. Change the stitch length to the longest straight stitch you can, and tack (baste) for the length of the zip. Change back to whatever stitch you were using on the side seam, take a couple of stitches forwards, then backstitch to lock that in, before finishing sewing that seam.

If you look closely, you can see the difference in stitch length between the main seam (to the right of the zip) and the tacking where the zip will be.

Then you place the fleece wrong side up, and position the zip face down over the tacked stitches. I did straighten the zip out before sewing, as I realised it was somewhat wonky the way I’d pinned it to start with!

Turning everything right side up, carefully sew the zip into place. I kept the walking foot on for this step, so I had to sew half the zip at a time (I couldn’t get the zipper pull to move past the walking foot), but if you sewing machine will cope with the fleece and a zipper foot, that is a much better option.

Then just unpick the tacking (basting) stitches to open the pocket up and make it usable! This method will result in the stitches and the zip showing a lot more obviously than if you were using a concealed zip.

I added the pocket linings as the instructions stated, although I did use the main fabric for the pockets as well – I like to be able to plunge my hands into warm, cosy pockets on a cold day, so fleece was a necessity! That has made the front a little more bulky, but to my surprise my machine handled all those layers with no trouble at all when it came to hemming the base.

Although it was a cold windy day when these photos were taken, I was perfectly warm with my fleece top. It was definitely a wise idea to use the same fabric for the pockets, as my hands were suitably warm and toasty!

  

Never a wise idea to not have your hair tied back fully when it’s windy!

Wondering where the blog tour will take you this week? Here’s a handy little schedule to make sure you don’t miss any of the stops 🙂

5 out of 4 Patterns 20k Blog Tour Schedule

April 2 – Tales from a Southern Mom | Miss Marah Sewn

April 3 – Dragon’s Flame Designs | Poppy Monroe Collection

April 4 – Pear Berry Lane | Candi Couture Designs

April 5 – Sewing with D | Kathy Kwilts and More

April 6 – The Sassy Seamripper | My Heart Will Sew On

And to top off their celebrations, 5 out of 4 patterns* are not only offering 40% off their patterns (excluding Gloria) from Monday 2nd April through Saturday 7th April with the code SOBIG, but also have an amazing giveaway you can enter! Check out the prizes on offer (and how to enter) in the Rafflecopter box below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And good luck!


*

Pattern: Ascent Fleece* by 5 out of 4 patterns*
Fabric: Mark Pickles Sewing Studio
* – affiliate link

Strawberry Dragon (finished)

Strawberry is finished! When I started, the only alteration to the pattern was going to be printing the pattern at 150% for a larger dragon. In the end, I made a few more alterations just to hopefully end up with a sturdier dragon.

I cut the spines from two layers of fleece rather than using felt. With a dragon this size being given to to my cousin’s little boy for his third birthday, I wanted something that would be soft, yet sturdy if he was picked up by his spines.

The arms and wings are meant to be ladder stitched onto the body, but I cut a slot and machine stitched them on the inside just to make sure they stay attached! This gave Strawberry a small dart-like shape on his sides, but the fleece is quite stretchy so once he was stuffed you couldn’t really see the dart shape.

A slight error in reading the pattern meant I machine stitched the tail base to the tail sides and bottom part of the body, rather than leaving that gap to add the stuffing. So, as I was finding the foot pads challenging to sew by machine, I stuff him through that gap, and hand stitched the foot pads at the end!

Hopefully K will approve of his not-so-scary, cuddly dragon.

 


Pattern: Yoki the Dragon
Fabric: Red apparel fleece from Fashion Fabrics
Safety eyes: Hobbycraft

Festive Forest Furry Bat

I finally finished the Forest Furry Bat without jabbing myself with the sewing needle too many times! It wasn’t the easiest of things to hand sew, given the thickness of the faux fur pile, but I think the end result was worth it.

I know it’s not really seasonal given that I’d chosen some Christmas fabric for the inner ears and wings, but I didn’t want to wait for December to share it!

I think if I make another bat in faux fur, I’d be tempted to use fleece or felt to make the feet so it stands up a little better! But it has given the bat a totally different look to the original design, which was definitely worth the effort.


Bat Pattern: BeeZeeArt
Faux Fur & festive fabric (wings and ears): Fashion Fabrics

Shark Rivage Raglan

While I was looking for some cotton to make a dress (which incidentally, I haven’t even cut the pattern pieces for yet!), this shark jersey caught my eye. It’s not a pattern I would usually wear, but there was something about it which looked like it would make a great t-shirt, so I bought just over a metre in the hope that would be enough.

I wasn’t too sure on the fit of the Blanc to make another just yet, so I used the Rivage Raglan pattern.

I’m still not sure on the high-low style hem…. I think maybe I need to make the hem a bit longer at the front, and possibly even level it out to make it a straight hem.

I do love the pattern on the fabric though! I stuck with a zigzag stitch rather than a straight stretch stitch, as my machine finds it easier to feed through with a zigzag. It worked really well though, and the white thread gives a slight contrast to break up the pale blue.

 


Pattern: Rivage Raglan by Blank Slate Patterns
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

Furry Forest Bat (UFO)

Ok, so it’s not the fabric I was originally intending on using to make a bat, but the pattern is one of my ‘Nine to Try‘ for this year and after my original idea for the fabric proved a flop, I couldn’t resist trying to make a furry bat instead.

First things first, fake fur is a thick fabric. My machine can happily sew two layers together, but once you get to four layers…. yeah, there’s a lot of hand-cranking to get that sewn. In the end, I resorted to hand stitching a lot of the seams, which I do try to avoid with fake fur, as it’s quite challenging to see the fabric backing through the fur pile.

I chose to not make the feet – there was no way the fur would turn out easily for such an intricate shape, and sewing them into the seam would have ended up as a total nightmare. But other than that, so far the bat follows the pattern!

Batty is now stuffed, with some plastic pellets in his body to help him stand on the shelf (as a lack of feet mean he’d be prone to falling over otherwise), and just needs the final bit of hand sewing to get his body and head permanently attached!


Bat Pattern: BeeZeeArt
Faux Fur: Fashion Fabrics

Knot your Average – take two

After my previous  Knot Your Average Top* by 5 out of 4 Patterns, I decided to try making one without the contrast colour and also in a slightly different size to see if it ended up as a better fit.

I got on better sewing the knot this time, although there are still a couple of points where I had to hand stitch the seam line, as I still didn’t get the sewing machine needle quite close enough to the knot itself!

I will admit I forgot to change the sizing on the back, although the front is now a S all the way through. Maybe in a slightly less ‘clingy’ fabric it wouldn’t feel quite so slim-fit still.

I stuck to the pattern instructions with the hems this time and the front panel obviously went in a lot better, as there are no awkward lines coming down from the knot! Maybe next time I will remember to alter the sizing at the waist and hips, so it has a more relaxed feel.


* – affiliate link
Pattern: Knot Your Average Top* by 5 out of 4 Patterns
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

Ascent – a Late Christmas Present

Last Christmas, I was stuck for something to get for a relative, and made them a little “IOU” for a fleece top. I came across the purple fleece and realised it could work brilliantly with the 5 out of 4 Ascent Fleece pattern*.

I’ve never attempted to add a zip into fleece before, so this was going to be an experience! The first part to tackle was the facing for the top zip right on the front. This is the most visible zip, and of course is the one I struggled the most with.
My sewing machine really didn’t approve of the jersey I’d picked for the lining being on the base against the feed dogs, and nothing seemed to feed through evenly at all. I decided against unpicking it, and figured that the facing could be a decorative feature at that point.

The pockets were much easier to sew the zips into:
 

I used the same jersey as the pocket lining, but the relative I made it for has since commented that the pockets feel “funny” inside, and she’d rather have the pockets warm and furry…. so I’ll take that as a hint, and make her a second one so she has a choice!

I shortened the pattern to allow for her height, but when she tried the fleece on she commented that it was a bit too short, especially considering the 1″ hem I was going to sew. So I added in a band to the base of the fleece, which also saved the need to get a precise hem pinned and stitched!

From a distance, you wouldn’t really know that top zip was a total nightmare, would you?


Pattern: Ascent Fleece* by 5 out of 4 patterns*
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics
* – affiliate link

Knot your Average

I wear t-shirts pretty much all the time, but they’re not something I’ve made an incredible amount of before. But there was something about the Knot Your Average Top* by 5 out of 4 Patterns which caught my eye. They recently ran a sew-along for the Knot top, with extra videos and instructions for each step, so I decided to give it a go.

I cut the fabric to fit my measurements…. which was a bit of a mistake. This pattern is more of a slim fit than the style I normally wear, so I think next time I would grade out to a S or maybe between a S and M below the waist.

I wasn’t too sure about the colour scheme to start with and originally intended on adding in a hem band to the base just to tie it all together. Unfortunately I had already cut out a second Knot top from that fabric, and only had enough left to band the sleeves! I think the sleeve band works better than a hem band was going to.


* – affiliate link
Pattern: Knot Your Average Top* by 5 out of 4 Patterns
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics