Category Archives: Sewing

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.

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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
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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.

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

The Halifax Crossover

You know when you go into a fabric shop to look for a specific type of fabric, then spot the perfect fabric for something entirely different? That’s exactly why I ended up with two metres of this thin but snuggly sweatshirt fabric! I knew it was going to make either a hooded Lane Raglan by Hey June Handmade* or a Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade*, but I stashed it away in the cupboard last year as I hadn’t even attempted the Halifax at that point.

Then I spotted a notice for a Halifax sew-a-long for the last week in January, and knew it was the perfect opportunity to use that fabric. Because it is so stretchy (for some reason it stretches most across the length of the fabric rather than across the width), I decided to size down for this one. I did want to try out the crossover hood hack just to make it a little different, and also to avoid having the facing and slit at the front neck.

The hood has my neatest ever top-stitching, but when I followed the instructions and tacked it to the body, the hood didn’t even meet at the front, let alone cross! After a few “what have I done wrong?!” messages, I had a very helpful response which pointed out that the neckline can stretch out of shape quite easily; to sort it, I needed to pin the back centre neck, then cross the front by about 1/2″ and pin, then stretch the hood slightly to make it fit around the rest.

Thankfully that did the trick, and some top stitching worked to hold the seam allowance down towards the body. I used the same technique with the shoulder and sleeve seams, which will hopefully make them a little stronger too.

Using a regular straight stitch, I tacked the sleeve and side seams at 1/4″ first, just to check the fit. That seemed fine, so I left the tacking stitches in (to give the seam more strength), and used the straight stretch stitch to sew the seam at 3/8″.

It wasn’t possible to top stitch all the way down the sleeve and side seams, so I zig-zagged the seam allowance on that just to keep it tidy.

Because I didn’t use a contrasting fabric for the pocket binding and hood lining this time, I felt it needed something to liven it up a little, so I added in a funky blue and white patterned cord. The cord is a little long still, but that is a simple fix to resolve that.

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


A Delight of a Bear (UFO)

Having struggled with the smaller faux fur bear I’d tried making before Christmas (that one is currently in my “semi-abandoned” bag), I wanted to give the Delight pattern a go. This pattern is designed for faux fur or a non-pile fabric, so I thought it might work in fleece as a trial run. Given that the fleece Delight was a success, I cut the pattern pieces from some very tactile purple faux fur.

This fur is considerably thicker than the fleece, so I trimmed the fur in the seam allowance to make it a bit easier for my sewing machine to handle. The bear’s limbs are sewn into the body rather than being jointed, which means they’re firmly attached! I did use a toy joint for the head, as I found it quite challenging to line up the seam accurate in order to sew it directly onto the body.

Normally I’d use toy stuffing with some plastic pellets to give the bear weight, but I had some bean bag filling in the cupboard, and thought it could be interesting to try that out instead. It was a nightmare to stuff into the bear, as the filling not only has a has a static cling but also doesn’t compress when you try pushing down on it, so it ended up everywhere (including all over the floor at one point)! But it has given Delight a lovely crinkly sound when you squeeze his paws, and he is actually quite ‘squishable’ which is a bonus too.

As you can see, Delight isn’t quite finished yet – he still needs his ears, and a nose & mouth; those are the features which really give the bear character…. and are also the parts which I find the most challenging, as if the ears or mouth are slightly lopsided it really looks odd!


Fabric: Fashion Fabrics
Stuffing: Hobbycraft
Eyes and toy joint: Sew N Sew

A Delight in Fleece

Whenever I’ve tried making a bear out of a non-pile fabric, they haven’t come out looking quite ‘right’. Usually it’s the head or muzzle that just seems to be the wrong shape compared to the faux fur example picture. Delight, however is specifically designed for faux for or calico, so the head shape should look perfect regardless of the fabric I use.

I decided to test it out with some remnants of a fleece blanket (the same one I used for the reindeer a couple of years ago) and made Delight entirely unjointed.

The head was a struggle to align, so I think Delight would benefit from a scarf or ribbon just to cover up the shoddy stitching! I used a combination of plastic pellets and toy stuffing to make Delight as cuddly as he looks. You may notice that he’s missing a nose and mouth – that was done on purpose, as I felt that the stitching would detract from the spotty details of the fleece ….that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!

I do love the overall look – it’s a much better head shape than the other patterns I’ve tried before. I think the next Delight I make will be in faux fur, but as Delight is designed as a signature bear maybe it would also work to have a calico version which has an embroidered design on it (or if that fails, just a hand drawn design instead!).

And yes I admit I used a darker thread than was advisable with such a light coloured fleece!

Pattern: Delight
Fabric: Fleece blanket from Shaws

Criss Cross Card Holder Wallet

I’ve made several card holders before, but they’ve either not had a closure, or relied on either velcro or a button and hair elastic to hold them closed. After a friend mentioned how easy she was finding poppers to install into sewn items, I thought it was time I tried them out; and as luck would have it, I also came across the pattern for these Criss Cross Card Holders.

Although I haven’t made any ‘real’ new year’s resolutions, I do want to try and use up some of my fabric offcuts, so the triangular sections on these card holders might be the ideal use for some smaller offcuts. As a first attempt at the pattern, I used some of the ‘Skyline’ canvas-type fabric I had previously made a bag and notebook holder from.

It took a little while to get the placement right to make sure the skyscraper was visible…. then I realised that once the card holder was folded, the top of the skyscraper would actually be upside down (whoops!).


But it is perfectly functional as a card holder. The only thing I found which I wanted to change, was the card sections being a little too wide. I had a feeling that the cards might slide out a little too easily from that, so I decided to try making a second card holder that might be a little more suitable.

This fabric came from Hobbycraft last year – I’ve been waiting for the ‘perfect’ project to use it, and what better than a little card holder? I didn’t quite line up the popper perfectly, hence the slightly wonky front, but it’s still usable.

I increased the seam allowance when sewing the front and back together, and also increased the top stitching to 1/4″ which holds the cards in much tighter.

I’ve made some notes on the pattern so I know what alterations I need to make for future card holders.

Pattern: Craftsy
Skyscraper Fabric: Local fabric shop
Tigger fat quarters: Hobbycraft

A Quick Storage Basket

A new year always seems to make people want to tidy up, and once I’d taken my Christmas tree down I realised that the table it had been on, could do with a little sorting out. The worst culprits for making it look a total mess, were the bundle of charger leads draped over a letter rack. The chargers get used too frequently to justify them being tucked away in a cupboard, so I felt the next best thing would be to make a little fabric basket to keep them tidy while still being accessible.

The pattern actually makes three baskets, but I only wanted to make one in this particular size (and wanted an excuse to use up some of my larger fabric scraps). I did make it slightly shorter than the pattern, simply because the fabric I was going to use for the cuff wasn’t quite long enough otherwise!

The fabric was actually part of a duvet cover I’d used as a ‘wearable muslin’ for a dress pattern previously – the main pattern was one side, and the cuff was the reverse design.

To quilt the basket, I simply stitched down some of the edges of the boxes. I don’t (yet) have a darning foot for my machine, so I decided that free-motion quilting was going to be a bit beyond my skills at the moment!

As you can see, two chargers fit perfectly into the basket, and if I make a couple more baskets for my relatives’ phone chargers too, there should be a lot less chance of getting in a muddle with which charger is for which device!