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Wednesday 21 December 2016

Burda 12/2016 #134 "Whale" Stuffed Animal

Christmas prep seems relatively under control so I decided to have a go at the Burda Whale for whale mad dbf, as a sort of crazy cushion for the sofa.

I absolutely love the result, though the embroidered eyes would have been easier done on the flat.
I used a dark grey ponte for the top, lighter grey jersey for the bottom and thick black embroidery thread for the eyes. He's now been tucked up and wrapped ready for Christmas Day.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Christmas Stocking

I made a Christmas stocking for the child of some friends.
Its based on the standard Adult Christmas Stocking from FleeceFun.com
I've added the name in red cord, this is done freehand so is a little uneven, but hopefully has character.
The base is dark green wool felt, very heavy from stash, the trim is red polyester felt from Hobbycraft (nothing like the wool felt sadly) and the red cord used for the lettering is also from Hobbycraft.

Hope the family enjoy it. I'm pretty sure they don't know my blog exists so won't be reading it so thought you could see this before Christmas! Enjoy.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Christmas Prep

I have some more creative things done by other people to share with you at some point when there is time to write a post.
I have shared before the handmade item which has the most daily impact in my home, which is this wonderful quilt which takes up most of the wall. This was made by my very artistic, creative and talented Auntie Joy.
You can read a bit more about it here.
It brings me joy every day and sometimes I sit in the chair opposite so I can look at it :-)

I am working full time right up to Christmas trying to buy gifts online or in my lunch break. I'm also trying to decorate the house and generally tidy up for guests. This is all going moderately well, but is impacting blogging and more importantly sewing.

I want to make a Christmas stocking as a gift for some friends for their new baby.... but have not quite got to it yet. They are not local so I need to crack on with that. They don't read the blog though so I will try to take a quick snap before I send it off.

Saturday 10 December 2016

Creative People - Emma's Cross Stitch Tech Support Cats

This beautifully detailed cross stitch picture was made for me as a gift by Emma quite a few years ago, this was also from the time when I had my lovely black cat and as you can probably guess a job in IT Tech Support. For a while I had this on my desk at work, but these days it is in my study at home amusing me.
As my photo has a flash issue I include a photo I found of the kit.
On the computer screen it says
- Program error
- Call for help
- You've got a real problem
- Restart
The books on the right are called "A Tale of Two Kittens" and "Of Mice and Men"

What makes me laugh too is a memory of those old computer monitors, remember those enormous things which took up half the desk before we got flat screens?
My cat liked to sit on my home PC monitor because it was warm and she got to sit with me. And when she wanted me to feed her, she would hang her long and very fluffy tail over the screen so I couldn't see, and then would get up and feed her! A clever cat.

Friday 9 December 2016

The elastic box

I have several large shoeboxes which I use for notions storage.
It is a bit haphazard and I tend to just throw things of the right type into the appropriate box without being very tidy. In the case of zips this is not a huge problem, but the box of stretch lace and elastic was a tangled mess.
So I spent some time one evening untangling it all and winding or folding it up fairly neatly. Any short lengths were put in a zip lock bag.
Then I repurposed a too short (and too glitzy) elastic belt with a longer pice of plain black elastic.
These elastic belts with flat fastenings are great to hold trousers up when you like to wear tops untucked as they create less of a bump than a traditional belt with a buckle.

The scraps of elastic got saved for the next time....

Thursday 8 December 2016

SWAP 2017 - 'Early Bird' Black Raglan Knit Top

After all the practice raglan sleeve tees I was happy to go ahead and make a plain black one.
It is a great showcase for an interesting necklace
I have some fabric left over so maybe another version will feature lace somehow. But the basic will be useful in my wardrobe.
It is lovely soft fabric that will be pleasant to wear.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Creative People - Jane's Cross Stitched Christmas Card

I received this Christmas Card many years ago from my friend Jane. I kept it and get it out every year. This year it is up on the mantlepiece in my current home.
At that time we each owned a cat, and mine was black. We have both since moved and don't get to see each other, and the lovely black cat is no longer with us. I love the card because of the happy memories of the friendship and also because I appreciate the artistry and time put into this little gem by a lady who was pretty busy, but made time for me.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Creative People - Dad's wine

I am very blessed to have lots of creative people in my life.

Whilst my father can handle a sewing machine (and used one to make sleeping bags, tents, various storage bags for equipment etc), used to do his own black and white photography with darkroom development, experimented on tomato varieties in his greenhouse and decided to do a second degree after retiring to keep his brain working.... I am not sharing any of those things.

This is some of Dad's wine, a white on the left and a red on the right. They are leaning up against a fishbowl full of all the corks I have collected over the last 5 and a half years (many of them from Dad's wine).

Dad uses kits of grape juice concentrate which can be bought online and likes to get empty bottles which he will then exchange for full ones. This is a very happy arrangement.
Like any craft it needs materials and equipments and he has gradually got extra bits of kit to improve his output

Any suggestions on what I could do with the corks? I have seen a few craft projects which looked fun. In the meantime I keep the bowl of corks on the bookcase and throw any new ones in there when I open a bottle. Eventually I will have enough for a noticeboard for the kitchen or a funky Christmas decoration!

Monday 5 December 2016

Thank you and feeling everything is half way done.

Thank you for all the kind comments on my new tops. Very much appreciated.
All of the tops have been worn in real life, including the black with sparkles which was worn to a choir event on Sunday. I wore a purchased black cardigan on top, and the standard red choir scarf at the neck, so not much of it showed, though I still got one comment from another lady 'oh I like your top', to which I was able to reply 'thank you I made it'.

We seem to be in that stage at the moment where many things are started but not finished which can wear you down a bit but I will get there.

The black knit top is cut out and construction started but it is in the sewing room waiting for me to have some time to work on it.
DBF and I have planned the Christmas menus but we've not started buying any of the food yet.
I've bought some Christmas presents but not wrapped them, and some presents still need to be bought.
I've made Christmas cards and got stamps but not actually written or sent any yet.
DBF and I got the Christmas decorations out of the loft and they are sitting in the study waiting for me to decorate.
We moved the old fridge temporarily into the conservatory and the new one is on order but has not yet arrived.
I have changed my diet and have managed to lose some weight but am not yet to goal (this will be a long one)

Sunday 4 December 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tees being worn

Here I am wearing them.
New Look Grey
Then the test of the Santa Monica Tee in a wild print.
Black and white print
and black sparkle

All the last three the sleeves are a bit long, but they are all viscose (rayon) so may shrink.

Saturday 3 December 2016

 Another great post from Imogen Lamport at Inside Out Style (I love her advice).


I have not used diagonals very much in my sewing, except maybe some wrap/cross over type tops. I did try an angled hem on a top but never wear it. Though that may be more the print than anything else.

Have you incorporated diagonal lines into your sewing and how did that work?

Friday 2 December 2016

Eating more healthily

So... I am trying to lose some weight and generally look after my health. I'm trying to eat better, drink more water, etc
Here's tonights dinner.
This is cauliflower 'rice' my first try at that and not bad. It has the texture and mouth feel of rice if not the flavour. If you stir it into the chilli you can't really tell.
And its with chilli con carne made with 5% fat beef mince, onions, tomatoes, red kidney beans, chilli flakes, mild chilli powder and smoked paprika.
It is all homemade all either low calorie veg or low fat protein.

I actually quite enjoyed it. There might be sewing to share tomorrow so come back for that :-)

Thursday 1 December 2016

December has arrived

You may not have noticed but I have managed to post every day in November here on Sew Ruthie. It was a little challenge to myself to see if I could do it and I made use use of the Scheduler in Blogger to write a few posts when I had time and the schedule them for the coming days. That took the pressure off a bit as I knew I had one (or several) days in hand and so didn't have to think of something today.

It was actually a lot of fun, and meant I posted a bit more than just my usual finished garment photos, sharing some of my thought processes when choosing what to sew next.

We will have to see if I have enough to say (and the time to write about it) to carry on in December with daily posting. I love Christmas but am working right up until 23rd Dec, with family coming on 25th and 27th, then my birthday celebrations and a costumed New Years Eve party. We also have 4 choir events before Christmas and have tickets to the pantomime too. All that might impact sewing and blogging time :-)

I have taken the days off as leave in between Christmas and New Year though so might even squeeze in a sewing day when DBF is working one day! That would be very restorative and be after the SWAP starting deadline so could do all kinds of things.

My neighbours have already put up their Christmas tree complete with lights so I am feeling slightly behind already.

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Vertical Lines

Imogen Lamport has another great post, this time about using Vertical lines


When we are sewing it is really important to take into account these sort of things as otherwise a lot of time and effort is put into something which is not very flattering. For some people that comes naturally but for others (like me) it is something I have tried to learn, sometimes the hard way.

For sewists its great that we can sew almost anything (what great opportunities), but by the same token we need to be careful because we can sew almost anything (possibilities to make things which don't flatter). I try to remember this when I think of the Turquoise Trousers...
These fit beautifully but were a polyester fabric that was too hot in summer but too bright in winter. Coloured trousers are outside of my comfort zone and I never wore them out of the house and donated them very quickly. What a waste of sewing time!

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee - The 'Strictly Come Dancing' Sparkle Version

I have continued on with the new Raglan Sleeve Tee pattern (adapted from the Santa Monica Tee) and I am loving it, so much sew that I did a bit of a sparkly number inspired by 'Strictly Come Dancing' and planned for use at Christmas events.
The sparkles seem somehow woven into the fabric and did not fall off when I washed the yardage (though I used a mesh laundry bag just in case). The jersey is lovely and soft so unlike some metallic fabrics which can be very itchy I think this will be nice to wear.
It just shows how different fabrics make the same pattern look really different.

Still in the 'to cut' pile - black with white stripes (sporty) and classic black (elegant). I have to admit that since I mostly sew in the evenings after work I am not really looking forward to sewing the plain black as it will be hard work on the eyes.

I have a dilemma. I could cut out the black jersey for my raglan sleeve top. The machines are threaded, I have the pattern sorted it would be straightforward to do....
BUT it seems so boring to sew a plain black knit top

I can't decide if indeed that's the right way to go, and I just sew it up and go and have a very supporting act.
OR if I somehow add some stretch lace detailing or other embellishment. But then I am concerned I am reducing its flexibility in my wardrobe.

Any suggestions?

Monday 28 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee - Black and white print

This is my favourite one so far. It is a modified version of the Santa Monica Tee as described before in a black and white print viscose (rayon) jersey.
I love the way the print makes slimming lines which run up and down the body and sleeves.
The angular red necklace seems to echo the shapes and will let me wear this with red pieces as well as black, the simplest one will be this black ponte skirt from June 2015.

I think I am ready for the official plain black version for SWAP now.
Not the most exciting start to the SWAP sewing a plain black tee, but I am keeping in mind the advice Imogen Lamport gives about having 'supporting act' pieces in the wardrobe as well as hero pieces.


Sunday 27 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee - Lime and grey floral print

For my next attempt at a Raglan Sleeve Tee (since I wasn't bowled over but the New Look version) I returned to the Santa Monica Tee.
This is out of print but still available at several US online vendors if you really love it.

I've used this pattern as the starting point but made quite a few modifications.This was cut out at a size L. I compared this to a loose fitting RTW raglan sleeve top I own and decided I needed something larger, so comparing to the purchased one I added 1/2" on each side of the sleeve, and 1/2" at the centre front and back. I raised the back neckline by about 3/4" and scooped the front neckline by about 2". I also lengthened the body and sleeves by about 1/2" each. I then added a neckband a similar width to the New Look 6230 band but about 4" shorter.
This is a lovely viscose jersey I bought online several years ago, but don't particularly love the print and colours for me, however as it was from stash it was basically free so I was happy to experiment a bit. That said it is completely properly finished with stitched and serged seams and coverhemmed hem and sleeves. Not a raw edge inside!

Compared to the first raglan sleeve tee, the fit is much better, though the sleeves are slightly too long, so (note to self!) I don't need to add that extra next time. I tend to wear sleeves pushed up a lot of the time so it is not hugely obvious but it is still good to get things right, don't you think?

However this is a viscose rayon jersey which I don't think I have prewashed so I shall allow it to go through the laundry and see if it shrinks up a bit before I cut the sleeves off and rehem them.

With the alterations I think this could be the raglan sleeve TNT I was looking for!

For SWAP I am planning one in plain black before Christmas. Plus as I have the machines threaded up and the pattern sorted I might do a black print/stripe combo (or one of each) plus a black sparkly number which won't be part of SWAP. The fabric has been prewashed and is drying.

Saturday 26 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee - Grey Print and Charcoal

I've made my first version of the New Look 6230 Raglan Sleeve Tee.
I used a scrap of purpley grey print for the front and neckband, and contrasted it with a charcoal grey sleeves and back. (I bought the Charcoal Grey last weekend at Economy Fabrics, but the print was in a bag of small pieces someone gave me)
I raised the back neckline by an inch and scooped the front out by a couple of inches. The resulting neckline was very large so I added darts in the top of each sleeve, and tapered the top of the back seam slightly also. Then I used the original neckband for this view which fitted fine.

It is OK, but I don't think this is my new TNT yet, and I would like to try #8 Raglan-sleeve T-shirt from Ottobre 2008 Issue 5. The neckline on this looks much neater and closer to my desire finish.

I would also have another try at the Santa Monica Tee from Textile Studio Patterns as I have now managed to find it. However I think I will need to scoop the front neck down quite a bit for it to work for me. 
 I think reglan tees are not all that simple!!

Friday 25 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee Ideas

Once I have perfected my Raglan Sleeve Tee pattern (and I am sure some tweaking will be required), then I would like to use up smaller scraps of pretty fabrics by branching out into different combinations. Here are some ideas I found to inspire me.
Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to show you my first attempt and see where I will take it going forwards.

Thursday 24 November 2016

SWAP Items - prep for early bird items

Two SWAP items can be sewn between 5th November and 26th December.
I am planning to sew the black tee and the black trousers. However both patterns are new to me, though from pattern companies where I have success with similar garments before, so hopefully the fitting curve will not be too hard.

Let's start with the tee.
There are a few things to think through here.
1. The pattern only goes up to a size 16 so it may be a bit snug on me depending on how much ease (if any) they have allowed.
2. A while back I read some reviews of this pattern on PR and a few said it was very short and they had to add a band at the bottom like a sweatshirt. Its a bit hard to tell from the model/drawings as the sleeves appear full length is the drawing but both the sleeve and the body hem are pushed up in the picture. I may need to lengthen the sleeves and body to be how I like it.
3. I have a forward head and high round back so may need to alter the back, front and neckline. The centre back seam will help this.
4. I have full upper arms so may need to alter the sleeves to add room at the bicep area.
However once I've done all that work I should then have another TNT and can play with colour blocking using different fabrics for the sleeves, front/back and neckband to get different looks as well as do the three plain versions I have planned for SWAP.

I shall be sure to share my progress, but don't be surprised if the first version is not one of the colours above!

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Purchases from Economy Fabrics

On Saturday I went along to the local roll end shop - Economy Fabrics - which I don't get to very often due to location and opening hours.
If you are driving up the M1 past Junction 29 (Chesterfield - its the next one to Tibshelf Services) then it is definitely worth a little detour to go along, as they are only a very short distance away from the motorway junction.
Hello! Welcome to the home of Economy Fabrics.
We are a Fabric Shop based in Holmewood, just off junction 29 of the M1 Chesterfield.
Established in1993 we have years of experience in sourcing and supplying excellent quality fabrics & ribbon & haberdashery at a price you can afford.
Please visit our retail shop just off junction 29 of the M1 (post code: S42 5RA)
We are open:
Monday Tuesday Thursday & Friday 9.00am  -  4.30pm
Saturday 10am - 4.00pm
We are closed Wednesday & Sunday
You can find us at:
44 Heath Road, Holmewood, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S42 5RA
Telephone us on: 01246 855155
or join us on facebook - Economy Fabrics Chesterfield

The people who run this are absolutely lovely and a great many bargains can be had, so the lines can be long. Most of the general rolls of fabric are £2.00 a metre, though specialist ones like Christmas can be a little more. Because they source their fabric to be as inexpensive as possible they have whatever they have been able to get so it can be a little bit pot luck.

I bought some grey and blue jersey. These are for a cardiwrap, some PJs and hopefully the Burda Whale.
I also bought some cream upholstery fabric. This is for recovering the dining chairs.
And some cotton fabric with a cute Panda print, because I love pandas and want some more PJs.
This fabric is thin and narrow width, so I may well piece with some other black and white print fabrics for an interesting effect. Summer weight only though so I shall wait until next year to sew them up.