Category Archives: Clothing

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

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


Nine things to try in 2018

Most years I’ve set out my New Years Resolutions, and a lot of the time I can’t keep them past March. So when I decided to plan ahead for 2018, I took the idea from a “9 things” post on Instagram last month to make my Nine Things to try in 2018.

Top row:

  • Cheyenne Tunic* by Hey June Handmade
    I’m hoping this will make a change from trying to find jersey to make t-shirts, and give me a more varied selection of tops suitable for the spring and summer.
  • Zen Pants* by 5 out of 4 Patterns
    I was drawn to the Zen Pants as there are so many rise variations included – I tend to wear medium waist trousers, but I usually wear them a bit lower than they’re designed, so the medium rise of these might work brilliantly. It’s also the first pattern I have that recommends using Ponte fabric, so that will be an interesting experiment!
  • Marigold by Blank Slate Patterns
    I was planning on making the Marigold last summer, but time ran away without me and it was winter before I looked at the pattern again. But maybe this year I will get one made!

Middle row:

  • Novelista by Blank Slate Patterns
    I really dislike sewing buttonholes, so you might be wondering why I have a Novelista button-up shirt on my list…. well, either I’m going to cheat and use poppers, or I’ll add in a hidden button placket so you get a neat front without the stress of ensuring all those buttonholes are perfect.
  • Giverney Blazer by Winter Wear Designs
    Back when I started trying to sew clothing, I hadn’t read the information that said “jackets are hard to make” so naturally I made myself a few blazer-type jackets from duvet cover fabric. Other than one collar being put on the wrong way around, they came out surprisingly well! So I decided I really should make myself a decent blazer this year, out of some fancier fabric than a simple duvet cover. This pattern uses woven fabric, so there should be a great selection available in my local fabric shop.
  • Bat Plushie by BeeZeeArt
    On to the bats, and I admit I have made a few of these bats before! But when I was sorting out my bag of fabric last month, I came across some spare black and blue plush fabric which is just calling out to be made into a bat or two (or maybe three!). Because the wings and inner ears are made from woven cotton fabric, it’s a great pattern to use up oddments, or to so slightly crazy with glow-in-the-dark fabric like I did for the latest two bats I made.

Bottom row:

  • Refined Raglan by Winter Wear Designs
    Another top, but it’s not quite what you’re thinking – the Refined Raglan is made from woven fabric, not jersey! It includes details on how to alter the pattern to fit your individual shape, so it should be more successful than some of the previous woven tops I’d tried making – those never quite fitted ‘right’.
  • Willa Bear by Emma’s Bears
    On the theme of plushies, I’ve been wanting to make a Willa Bear for a while, but haven’t managed to get to grips with adding in non-jointed limbs…. hopefully this year I’ll find enough patience to sew them on, without arguing (too much) with my sewing machine!
  • Real Deal Jeans by Winter Wear Designs
    The thought of sewing jeans is quite scary to be honest, but if I can get to grips with some of the other patterns, then maybe (just maybe) I’ll hunt down some stretchy denim and try making some jeans! As with the other Winter Wear Designs patterns, the Real Deal Jeans have a section on getting the perfect fit, with the relevant pattern alterations you need for each fitting problem.


So there it is, my 9 things to try in 2018…. but it remains to be seen if I manage to make any of them this year! If I don’t, it’s no big deal, but I thought having an aim at the start of the year might help focus my attention a little!


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Fingerless Gloves Inspiration

Have you seen the 12 days of Christmas discounts and freebies over at Winterwear Designs? One pattern in particular caught my eye – the Alpine Fingerless Gloves are exactly what I’ve been trying to find. Unfortunately the eczema on my hands is so bad at the moment that I can’t sew anything, but I couldn’t resist planning a few pairs of these gloves!

The Alpine gloves are designed to be made from stretchy fabric, so they could look fantastic in sweatshirt fabric, or fleece.

  1.  Lucky Cards Sweatshirt Fabric – Minerva Crafts
  2.  Aztec Stripe Ponte – Minerva Crafts
  3.  Forest Animals Fleece – Minerva Crafts
  4.  Bugs Sweatshirt Fabric – Minerva Crafts

And for Spring, when my hands still need covering, but fleece might be too warm, a couple of pairs in jersey might be ideal.

    1.  Floral Print Stretch Mesh Jersey – Minerva Crafts
    2.  Rainbow Geometric Stripe Print Jersey – Minerva Crafts
    3.  Blue Butterfly Meadow – Fabric Land
    4.  Zoo Cotton Mix Jersey – Abakhan

Maybe if I’m lucky, Santa will take the hint and leave me some stretchy fabric under the tree, so i can make one (or five) pairs of these Alpine Fingerless Gloves in the new year!

Halifax Funnel Neck

After my success with the Halifax Hoodie, I thought I would use up some oddments of sweatshirt fabric on another Halifax*.

I had just enough of the spotty and red fabric left over to make view D this time, but I kept the thumbhole cuff idea as that will save me needing to wear gloves!

I don’t normally wear funnel necks, so this was going to be a total experiment and a learning curve on how to fold the funnel to make it work properly. After reading the instructions through a couple of times, I folded the fabric the right way, and even inserting the eyelets went smoother than before!

If I want to be really picky, I could actually have made the funnel neck a little higher, so it would be cover my nose on a chilly day! But for a first attempt at a funnel neck, it’s come out surprisingly well.

If I’d thought things out a little better on the colour blocking, I would’ve used grey for the cuffs, probably grey for the pocket with the red on the edge, and maybe even red for the funnel. But that might have looked a bit too crazy!


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


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