Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend Projects

I am really excited about the Build Your Wardrobe challenge I am participating in! I made another top. Yes, it's the same pattern I used for the previous two tops, from my Burda magazine. I do own other patterns. But I like this one so much! The next top will be a different pattern, I promise!
This yellow stretch jersey fabric was on sale at a local Fabric store last week. It was the last 2 metres on the roll and marked down to R7 a meter! That's less than $1 a meter. Bargain! I decided to mix the yellow with some black around the waist and arms. Really nice, I think. A few things I learnt about yellow and this fabric - it gets dirty very quickly; shows marks very clearly; is unforgiving - it shows any figure flaws very clearly!
Yellow is not a colour I own. In fact, I found only ONE yellow item in my entire closet last week. What started my craze to make something in yellow is this bag below.

I saw the pattern for this bag, called a Seed Stitch bag, in the Interweave Store. Love at first sight! I immediately purchased the pattern but could not find chunky yellow yarn anywhere. So I made one with lovely orange and gold yarn I had. I changed the pattern (no surprize there!) and sadly it came out HUGE! So big, I am too embarrassed to post it! I am working on a plan to selvage this bag...

At the same Fabric shop I bought the above yellow jersey fabric, I found this lovely Elle Chunky wool in a bright yellow. Also for a great price! This time I stuck to the pattern. The above is the result. Love the bag! It's smaller than the bag in the pattern because they used a thicker yarn, but I love it. I even made a sturdy insert for the bottom of the bag, covered in lovely yellow fabric and re-inforced the handle so it does not stretch too much. The yellow looks lovely with jeans, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Build Your Wardrobe Autumn 2009

I am participating in Kate's ( "Build Your Wardrobe - Autumn 2009" and having great fun sewing some new clothing and bags for my own wardrobe. Long overdue! I have been so into crochet and knitting lately, it's actually a pleasure to sew again. One of my favorite pattern books is the Burda Fashion Magazine. I started buying it every month earlier this year and find it of great value. In each magazine there are at least 5-7 patterns I like and that makes it very cost-effective too. The price of the magazine is equivalent to two individual patterns.
This dress in the May issue has been on my mind for a while now! Isn't it fabulous? Wish I can find pink jersey fabric like this. I decided to make the top version of this dress first to ensure the sizing is correct before I attempt the dress.
Here is my first attempt. I made this one as a test using jersey fabric I've had for a while now and did not like so much anymore. Wow! I love this style! I have a cleavage without the help of a WonderBra! So I made another one...

Love this fabric. I bought it at Hobby Lobby in Chicago earlier this year and have already made another top from it that I don't like much. I used a plain black jersey fabric for the band and I think it looks great. Next I will attempt the dress. I have already picked out the fabric and will make it this weekend. Watch this space for more projects to build my wardrobe!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Crafting for a good cause

This is a new one for me...I normally donate craft supplies, but have not really made stuff for charity before. This time it is personal though. My sister and BIL live in a small town and their local church has been so good to them during very difficult times the last few years. So when my BIL mentioned the church fete coming up and his desire to sell some of our (my sister and I) crafty stuff on the "handmade table", I volunteered to make stuff as my sister is busy packing to move to a smaller place. This is my small way to say thank you and at the same time, all
proceeds go to helping other people in need.
Aren't these adorable? I found this fabulous website promoting Japanese crafting and it had links to free patterns. This is from Clover Japan and although I had some reservations about following a Japanese crochet pattern, it turned out easier than I thought. This is called a Zakka drawstring pouch, I believe. I made three and made each one different on the inside. This is my favourite!
Also from Clover Japan, this cute little bag. I changed it slightly by making a crochet handle fastened with a button. (Not sewn on yet as you can see!) Must make a pink one for myself!
This is a cute little drawstring pouch I made using the same pattern as the bag above, but on a smaller scale. Very cute. I still want to add a little crochet flower to this one.
Very simple crochet pincushion. I inserted a little bag and closed it with a single crochet stitch. I made a few of these in various colours. Still need to add buttons to all of these.
Several bookmarks. I am planning to block or stiffen them and add a little flower at the top. It will be my first try at either blocking or stiffening, but armed with some good instructions from the internet, I plan to give it a try!

Last, but not least, a cute little crochet basket! I used a tutorial to crochet the basket, but added the holes for ribbon at the top. No time to make much more as the parcel must go of this week and I still have to do all the finishing touches.
I have lots of WIP's lying around my sewing room and was horrified to discover more last night! I plan to spend some time during the evenings this week to finish quite a few of these before any new ideas pop in my head! Hope you have a great week!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Felted: Crochet Bags

This was quite an exciting exercise as I was keen to see how this yarn would felt. I expected it to be different and was pleased with the result. This yarn is an Elle Aran Knit, a local yarn, that is 50% wool and 50% courtelle. I cannot find out what "courtelle" consists of, but it reacts better to felting than nylon or acrylic does. If you compare the above picture, taken after felting, with the picture in the previous post, before felting, you will see that all it did was become "fuzzy". The bag did not shrink at all. It feels marvelous though!

I tried to get a close-up to show the "fuzziness" better. Not a great picture, but you can still see it. The stitches still show, but the fuzziness looks great!

Here is a picture of my drawstring bag. Same result, lovely fuzziness. What did surprize me was how great the smaller pieces felted! The plaited handle and drawstring came out lovely. I still need to sew on the handle and I'm thinking of adding a flower.

Talking of crochet, I am so excited about Linda Permann's new book, Crochet Adorned! This book has stunning ideas on how to mix crochet with fabric, which has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Some of my favorite projects in the book are a fabric bag with crochet embellishments, and various items of clothing with crochet detail. Have a look at the fabulous apron with crochet trim! Head on over to to see it. It is the next book I am buying! Hope you all have a great, crafty weekend!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Crocheted Bags

I am ashamed to admit that I did not accomplish much this past weekend. It was Women's Day in SA on Sunday and a public holiday on a Sunday automatically makes the Monday after a holiday. So, I had three days of sewing time and only managed to complete two crocheted bags that have been lying unfinished on my desk for a while...
The above bag I started a few weeks ago and finally completed it. This bag is intended to keep my current knit or crochet project(s) in. I intend to felt this bag. or give it a try at least. I have tested a sample of this yarn a while back. It is only 50% wool mixed with something called "courtelle" which no-one can tell me what it is. It felts, but not completely. Quite an interesting exercise.
I also crocheted this little bag. I started the bag last week, not really following any specific pattern and not really knowing what I wanted. It sort of morphed into a little drawstring bag in the end. I am not a great fan of drawstring bags as I prefer instant access to my bags, not fiddling with drawstrings, etc.

This bag is losely based on a cute little crochet bag pattern in the latest issue of Crochet World. I just loved the plaited handle idea! I added one string of pink in the handle to bring in some colour and doesn't it look good? I'm not sure if I want to felt this little bag. We'll see...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bag Style!

I recently purchased the most amazing book - Bag Style. The patterns in this book are truly unique. This is my favorite bag pattern. I love the fact that you mix felting with yarn that does not felt. The bottom is crocheted with a 100% wool yarn and the top part with felting yarn.

A close-up of the contrast between the crochet and felted crochet. Love it! And a pair of my very own handles I recently made! They look stunning with this bag. I did a whipstitch around the top edge (before felting), a trick taught in the book Pursenalities, in pink.

This was my first attempt at sewing a fabric lining into a crochet/knitted bag. Not difficult and I did not use any sort of tutorial, but I did learn a few lessons doing it. I wanted to use interfacing on my lining and also wanted a few pockets, so could not use the instructions in the book as it requires you to pleat the lining, same as the outside of the bag. So I just kept trimming and fitting until I had a prefect fit. The pattern also calls for you to make a lose fabric-covered piece of cardboard to give the base of the bag some firmness and shape, which I did, but you cannot really see it in the picture. My favorite bag of all the bags I have made so far!