Saturday, 7 April 2018

Kinder cardigan - Wendy Ward

I am hear today to talk about a cardigan I made at the beginning of the year just before the release of Wendy Wards new book 'A beginners guide to sewing with knitted fabrics'. I was contacted by the publishing company and supplied with the book and fabric in return for a review, but it all got delayed due to Wendy's book selling so fast that they needed to restock. I was super happy to be able to have a sneak peek and was instantly drawn to the kinder cardigan with its kimono-esque vibe.

I was able to choose some fabric from the Minerva crafts website and could not resist the atelier brunette sweater fabric they had available. Unfortunately I can no longer find it on their website, but they do have this one. I have seen this branded sweater fabric sewn up quite a lot and was intrigued. I can report that it is amazingly soft!

The pattern I chose was a very easy sew and the book walks you through all the steps perfectly. I sewed it all up on my sewing machine as instructed.

The book itself is very much aimed at sewing on a standard sewing machine and explains that there is no need for an overlocker if you do not wish to make the investment. I personally would have found this extremely helpful when I was starting out in sewing with knit fabrics as it is easy to be put off. I remember years and years and years ago trying to sew stretch fabric and it getting all warped through the sewing machine. I have had an overlocker for almost 20 years, so am very lucky and didn't really need to consider how my sewing machine would cope with sewing seams, but I really love the quality of a standard machine sewn seam.

There are some pretty great patterns included for a boxy t-shirt, vest top and wide legged trousers as well as suggestions for how to customise the patterns.

I think that this is such great value for money if you would like a bit of hand holding when it comes to sewing with knits.

I must admit I have struggled to photograph my finished garment as this is definitely more lounge wear for me, but then I didn't want to pair it with my raggedy old pyjamas, so here is what it looks like on with my jeans. Pretty smart! It is so snuggly, I only wish I had made it ginormous so I could wear it as a dressing gown.

I hope this is a helpful review to you and please check out all the other wonderful makers taking part in this tour! xxx

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Printing something out of nothing

Here's a challenge. Use your scraps to give you print confidence!

Two of my most liked pattern sample garments are the ones I printed using a very simple stencilling technique. It is bold and graphic, but so easy to do so I thought I would give a little tutorial today.

All you really need is a stencil, some ink and a sponge. I have a very good supply of some architects drafting sheets, which has a plastic coating and is perfect for stencils, but you could make use of plastic packaging. Be resourceful ;-) My Dad rescued my supply from a skip, so I am one lucky lady! The ink I used is Permaset Aqua screen printing ink from here. It is solvent free, so much kinder to the environment. The scrap of denim is actually a hemmed piece I cut off the bottom of some super long sleeves I was sewing and destined for the recycling bag.

The stencil was simply cut with a scalpel and a cutting mat. It's fun to work with just very simple shapes and design with little pressure to create an accurate repeat.

 With some paper underneath the fabric to protect the table, I just weighed down the stencil and got dabbing with my inked sponge.

Go wild and cover your piece.

To finish off, heat set the print once it has cured or dried properly. I usually do this by throwing my printed fabric in the tumble dryer for a hot spin, but you can use an iron also.

My printed scrap was begging to be made into a pencil case and this bright coral zip looked brilliant against the fabric.

A really good use of some pieces which were destined to be destroyed.

The piece I printed the other day with my carved block got made into a drawstring bag. Perfect to use as a project bag or re-usable gift wrapping.

 So hopefully this demonstrates that you can really enjoy the process by thinking really small and using pieces of fabric that would not otherwise seem useful!

M x

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Printing my stash

Hello and happy new year! A new year feels like a chance to start a fresh. I do not want to make any resolutions because I never stick to them, but I do want to make more of my fabric stash. Fabric bans do not work for me, so I'm going to explore the idea of improving what I have by experimenting with print. If you have followed me for a while then you may already know that I love to play with printing at home. I want to continue doing that and also be more playful to push myself further. I am not sure exactly where this is going to take me, but I thought that I could share my experiments and perhaps inspire some of you to do the same. I have loads of ideas buzzing around, so am trying not to get ahead of myself, but the distraction should at least prevent me from looking at shiny new fabric....

I gently eased myself into the idea by carving a simple block with a repeating geometric design. For reference the block is this softcut. It is my first time using it and I like the smooth texture of the block and how easy it is to carve with no crumbling. I also road tested my recently purchased carving tools. I love that they come with a sharpening block.

I inked the block by rolling some screen printing ink on. It's quite a fluid and slippery ink which is why it's so patchy, but I want to try lots of different things. It created quite a lovely distressed print. My main aim is to make some of my fabric more usable and more attractive to me so I can actually sew them up into something I'm happy with. If you want to play along with me then that would be fab and don't worry about producing enough yardage for a garment. Even printing a fat quarter with which to make an accessory or something can be a great way to rejuvenate your scraps! This is not a formal challenge at all, just something fun to get the creative juices flowing for the new year! x