A new sewing chapter

When I started sewing in earnest (is that really 6 years ago?!) my mum very kindly and presciently bought me my first machine – a John Lewis, red, basic model for just under £100. It’s served me pretty well, looking back at my makes, and it’s cheerful cherry red has been a cheeky source of inspiration and delight.

But after a while, it’s time to make new friends. Earlier this month I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally, and came back with a veritable beast. A Bernina 570QE, unicorn machine of dreams. I’ve been saving up for over a year, I’ve had help from generous benefactors (special shout out to my aunt and stepdad), and I’ve finally taken rather a big leap.

I was giddy all day after I brought the Bernina home, but a little bit  apprehensive of actually starting to familiarise myself with it. But last weekend, a convenient rainy day kept me inside and I started the long process of getting to know the Bernina.

So my inaugural make (in honour of having my first ever straight stretch stitch at my fingertips) is a Talvikki sweater, by Named Clothing. The fabric is sweatshirting by Atelier Brunette, purchased from M is for Make

The fabric is a bit thinner than I expected – if I make this again, it will be in boiled wool. The Atelier Brunette fabric is not designed for British (or Canadian!) winters. But I think this will be a nice anti-mosquito layer for hot summer nights, and for the time being it’s so roomy I can really layer up underneath. In the photos I’m wearing my Liberty Hesketh Apollon sweatshirt underneath. 

And the Bernina? An absolute dream. But definitely still a long learning curve ahead of me. 

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Warp and weft

A few weeks ago, I treated my mum to a weaving session at the London Loom in Hackney for her birthday.

We had a two-hour session and it just flew by. The selection of yarns available was incredible, and I was aiming for a scarf (sweating as I chucked the shuttle back and forth, trying to finish before the two hours were up) but I ran out of time – another 15 minutes and this would have been a wearable length.

I’m thinking of sewing mine and my mum’s together, both to be practical and as a shared souvenir of a very enjoyable morning out together. 

Sweater weather

I’ve been knitting this sweater since forever, by which I mean, April or May this year. It’s enormous. But then, it’s for a giant.

I am not a giant. I’m a normal-sized person. Thankfully my stepdad was a better model than me! 

This is the Vika sweater by Brooklyn Tweed. I obviously ended up making up (unintentionally) the central cable motif, but at least I was wrong consistently. The main thing here is the yarn. It’s phenomenal. It’s Studio Donegal Aran Tweed, and I got a 2kg cone of it for around £80 from Springwools. So that works out as like £45 for what I used for this gigantic creation – much better than the roughly £400 it would have been using the suggested yarn! And this Donegal yarn is some of the best I’ve ever worked with – I’ve been looking at all the other colours and trying to decide what to make next.

I will say that the pattern was very hard to follow, despite being relatively easy knitting. It was written in such a way that it kept tripping me up; very verbose and confusing. Anyway, I got there in the end – but it was frustrating, especially considering the cost of the pattern. 

Escargot-pants

In a last minute bid to prepare myself for my summer trip to Canada I made myself some snail trousers. I also made a linen stripe tee a few weeks back and forgot to blog it, so here they are together. 

The trousers are the Luna Pants pattern by Made By Rae, and sewn in Heather Ross’s Sleeping Porch cotton lawn. Everything about these trousers is perfect – from the fit, to the soft lawn, to the pockets, to the subdued and sophisticated print which on second glance turns out to be just hundreds of snails…

The tee is another Named Clothing Inari Tee. For this one I lengthened the front by 3″ and the back by 5″, and played around with stripes and pockets. The fabric is linen-cotton which I bought a few years ago at John Lewis intending to sew a shirred dress, but never managed to (but I did use some for this knitting bag). Anyway, this tee is great and I love the length. 

Fox tote

It was my stepdad’s birthday last month and I made him a foxy tote for carrying his sketchbooks. 

Pattern is self drafted. Outer fabric is Japanese linen-canvas from M is for Make, inner is Cotton + Steel that’s been in my stash so long I can’t remember where it’s from. Base is from a furnishing fabric remnant I got at John Lewis. Strap webbing was left over from this project, and is from Ray-Stitch. 

Pain-da

Look at the awkward French joke I’ve made for the title of this post! Yay. Now let’s look at my new incredible bloomers I’ve made for summer sleep times. I also made a matching pj top, self-drafted but based on one I saw at Gap of all places. 

I’ve secretly been dreaming of bloomers for infantile big people like myself for a long time; I have this vision of going to visit my friend Sophie in Cornwall and going to the seaside to go rock-pooling in Liberty-print bloomers.

As a first stab though, these make for very sweet dreams. I love the panda-breads and panda-pastries; they delight me every time I look down at them. 

Top is self-drafted, bloomers are adapted from the free Madeleine bloomers pattern by Colette (added a few inches of extra waist length). Fabric is from Miss Matatabi

Now we are 2.0

So I posted a few weeks ago about the bloomers and bonnet I made for my little cousin’s 2nd birthday. I didn’t have much time and I was waiting for a sewing pattern to arrive, so I had to send that adorable but incomplete outfit across the pond to Canada in time for W’s birthday.

But the pattern arrived and the final piece of the puzzle is now in place. 

This is the Colombe top from Citronille. I had fun with online dictionaries and my rusty French A-level translating the instructions, but generally it was pretty easy and I love the result! I just wish it came in bigger sizes – 2 years is the maximum. 

I used some sweet cotton clipdot from my stash, red rickrack, and spare red buttons which I think were  from my first ever knitting project. 

Can I have one too?