Monday, September 26, 2011

Stretch Knit Jacket

Today I want to share my STRETCH KNIT JACKET with you. After several days of searching on the Internet to find a pattern, I finally looked through all my Burdastyle magazines. I found several that I really liked, but then decided to make a pattern from a store-bought jacket I already own and adore. In fact, I own two of these jackets.
This is my favorite. It has a huge blue owl stitched onto the back. The stitching is done in a unique way, making the seams look unfinished and using contrasting colour thread.
This is the second jacket, in a dark creme colour with black flower pattern. This one has a large flower stitched on the back. Both jackets are from a local designer OLKAPOLKA and can be bought at Big Blue or YDE.
I layed the jacket on my sewing table and copied the panel pieces to make my own pattern. Using stretch knit fabric I just ordered from Hobby Lobby in the US, this is my first attempt:
I added white stretch knit fabric for lining. I just love the white contrast detail on the sleeves! The button holes were a REAL challenge! Even after adding some iron-on support, it was still a challenge. I did most of the buttonholes by hand in the end.
I love the almost "unfinished" look of the sewing detail. The original jacket is sewn by putting the lining and outer jacket parts wrong sides together, leaving the seams looking unfinished. Very cool effect! I am planning several more of this jacket with a few small changes such as more firm support in the front panels and collar.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The last month I...

I am really embarrassed that another month went past and I did not blog. So, I will give a quick update on what I did the last month. I was in London for a quick visit the last week of July. Sadly, there was no time for any shopping, but I am going back in November and will make sure I shop then!
Oh, and Arthur Bales had a SALE the week I was away in London. Bah!
This is what I bought when I got back. Some lovely lilac and pink fine corduroy for bags and a small piece of Valori Wells' "Nest - Ol' Paisley" corduroy fabric. I have this earmarked for a jacket, but need to go get some more fabric first. I also bought some gorgeous Indie yarn by Sirdar.
After I bought this Sirdar Indie pattern book at Arthur Bales, I had to get some of this gorgeous yarn too! Look at some of the awesome patterns in this booklet below.
This cardigan is knitted in Indie # 157 Crazy Horse. Although I am not planning to knot this cardigan, I am planning to make something else in the booklet with this stunning yarn.
This beautiful shade is called Indie # 155 Prairie. The combination of brown, green and blue is simply stunning!
I have been rather lazy in my sewing room...lots of inspiration, but no real will to do anything. In my next post I will share some of the inspiration I am talking about....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gorgeous Crochet Shrugs!

This post is a few days later than promised, but worth waiting for I can promise you! I was browsing on Ravelry a few weeks ago and happened upon the 9 -to-5 Shrug pattern. Wow! I love quick, simple, easy projects and this one fits the bill. Imagine making a little jersey in just a few hours, all in one piece - no seperate pattern pieces...

This is my first attempt at this cute and easy little Shrug, although it is based on another tutorial, whilst I was waiting for the 9-to-5 Shrug pattern to be published in Crochet World magazine.

And this is my first 9-to-5 Shrug. Gorgeous isn't it? I have no less than another 6 planned, of which 3 are already in progress. Yes, all at the same time. I get bored easily, so each day I can pick which one I want to continue with. I know, progress is slow, but I will get there!

This pattern is in the August 2011 issue of Crochet World magazine, which can be purchased in an e-book format from their website.

Right now, I am looking for the perfect tutorial to sew a Drape Cardigan. I think I have finally found it today. Will share soon!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Crafty Alert!

After a tough couple of months, I am finally back in Blogland! I missed blogging, visiting other blogs, and you, all my crafty blog friends. I will share my latest creations as soon as I can take pictures and upload! Come visit soon and please send me a link to your blog so I can visit with you. Have a crafty weekend!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Off-the-shoulder tops

I am still here. Still sewing, creating, just not blogging. A new bug bit me. Actually a few. I was sick for 5 weeks can you believe! Flu and then a very nasty stomach virus. I am finally better now. The other bug is Facebook. After many years I finally joined the social networking craze and found a whole lot of old schoolfriends. Really awesome!

Anyway, I missed my blog. And my sewing friends! So I took some pics and decided not to bore you with the almost 20 (!) peasant style tops I made since my last blogpost. I will instead share the other sewing craze I have been busy with. It was literally a crazy quest. I saw a picture of an awesome top on a romance novel cover. And I wanted to make one. Here is the cover pic.

Isn't this a gorgeous top? I searched the Internet for a pattern. No luck. I did find one very good tutorial here This lady had a really awesome picture tutorial and a free pattern! Go check it out.

Sadly, this pattern did not work for me. I had some issues with my underarms bunching up, no matter which parts I sewed first. If any of you do try this lady's pattern and get it right, please drop me a line and tell me where I went wrong. So I started looking at my own patterns and started modifying them. This is my first attempt...

What I did was to take standard bodice and sleeve pattern pieces from other patterns I have.

All I did then was to fold down the top parts of the two pattern pieces, as shown in the picture above. I also shortened the sleeve length. The armholes must fit perfectly.

I forgot to mention that I used a back bodice pattern piece. Here are the cut out pieces, ready to sew. I added a band for the top that will fit your shoulders. I sewed the sides of the bodice pieces together and also the sleeves. Then I fitted the sleeve pieces inside the bodice piece, right sides together, and sewed that together.

This is what it looks like all sewn together. All that needs to be done now is sewing the neckband on - not a strong point of mine - and the hems. Pretty simple, hey?

Here it is on! Getting closer to my quest for the perfect off-the-shoulder top. Close enough that I tried another one...

This one a bit longer to wear with skinny jeans or leggings. Pretty nice. But I was still not happy. I then had a brainwave. I often see sewists use store-bought tops they like as a basis for a pattern to make more of a top that fits well. So I went hunting in my closet...

And found this top. Love it! Fits very well and almost exactly what I am looking for. It will need some modifications, but it's close.

So here is the pattern I drafted from the top. The sleeve was drawn using the same principle as used in the peasant top tutorial I mentioned a while back. You draft the sleeve using the armhole part of the bodice as a basis so you have a perfect fit. Can you see the similarities between the sleeve pattern piece and the bodice piece? The armhole and neck part is exactly the same.

And here is the grand finale! The top I wanted from the start. In my favorite fabric too. I still need to work on making the neckband on my next top a bit tighter, but I am very pleased with the result. Hope it inspires you to make your own off-the-shoulder top too!

I have a few more cut out and ready for sewing on my cutting table. Thank you for all the lovely comments about my peasant tops post in February! Here is the link for the peasant top I used as a basis for my pattern: This pattern's bodice is not shaped. I modified mine a lot, so play around until you get the result you want. Happy sewing!

Monday, February 21, 2011

More peasant tops...

If you visit my blog often, you will know that once I find a good clothing pattern, I make hundreds of the same item...At the moment, I am all hung up on the peasant-style tops, using two patterns I made myself using a pattern from the Bernina magazine as a basis for one, and a store-bought top for the other.

Last week, before a severe sinus infection hit me, I made a plain black top and this top. The above top is made from a lovely mint green jersey knit with black polka dots. This pattern has several pieces, sleeves, top front, top back and then lower front and lower back. It is based on a store bought top that I love wearing.

I finally started feeling human again last night and decided to draft my own cap sleeve top pattern. This is after I searched through my own (one million!) patterns and then went online and bought more patterns from Needless to say, the patterns I bought were not what I was looking for! But they are very nice...

Once again, I used bits and pieces of other patterns and the rest I did by hand. Think this will work. As soon as I have time, I plan to try this pattern out.

Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Been busy!

Busy shopping on the internet! I placed 4 seperate orders online for stretch knit fabric in the last month. This after I returned from the US with lots of nice fabric..tsk tsk. Bad. Anyway, the first parcel arrived on Saturday from an Etsy shop called Cotton Blossom farm.

I ordered 4 yards of this lovely fabric from the new knit range by Patty Young for Michael Miller. It is stunning! The whole weekend I have been thinking what I want to make with it. This made me go through my patterns and then search the Internet for new inspiration.

Are you familiar with the Interweave Stitch magazine? Just love it! Rather expensive at $15, but worth it. It only launched in 2009 and is published 4 times a year, but has great ideas and free patterns in. The new Winter/Spring 2010 issue is out now and on it's way to me! Did you also know that Interweave publish some of the patterns in this magazine FREE on their website? If you go here you will see what is in this latest issue and you can access the 62 free projects and full size patterns.

The free patterns in the latest issue include several cute skirts, a Kimono Wrap Top and my favorite, the easy-fit babydoll dress, picture above. Nice isn't it? The sewing instructions are only available in the magazine, but if you can sew, you can make it without instructions. I also found some great free patterns on

I had a very busy weekend starting with a romantic dinner with DH on Friday night (no kids!), my first horseriding lesson on Saturday at local stables (really awesome!) and ending today with lunch at a country restaurant about an hour out of Joburg next to the Vaal river. Here my cousin and I are posing next to the river, which is flowing strongly after all the rain we had recently.
Lots of ideas, new patterns, new fabric (some still coming), and things lying on the cutting table in my sewing room. Wish I had more time! Hope you all have an awesome week!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2011 so far...

(Love this sign, from Hobby Lobby.)

Hard to believe it is already February! A (very) late Happy New Year to all my blog friends! Life has been hectic the last 2 months. A lovely holiday at a Game Farm in Limpopo Province where we spent Xmas, followed by New Year at home and on 6 January 2011 off to a very cold, and snowy, Chicago.

As always, the shopping was fabulous in Chicago. I braved the snow and wind with my only-used-once-before duck down coat, gloves and the most adorable earmuffs, my friend Juanita and I did a marathon shopping expedition for 12 hours straight!

We visited old favorites such as Knitche, Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann's. Here are some stretch knit fabrics I bought from Jo-Ann and Hobby Lobby.

I have already made a few things with these fabrics and will share pics soon. I also bought some stunning yarn. I bought so much that I had to fill a seperate bag, send some home with Fedex and stash some in a colleagues bag! I found some awesome super bulky yarn, the burnt orange felting yarn I have always wanted and some super Red Heart Super Savers at only $2,79 for over 300m!

I found this stunning cerise pink cover for my Kindle on

What makes this cover awesome is the built-in light. Now I can read in bed every night!

At Barnes & Noble I found Amy's new book (and had hot chocolate at the Starbucks inside). Some stunning bag designs a la Amy inside, just waiting to be tried. More about the shopping I did in Chicago in my next blog post.

I have a few store-bought tops in my closet based on this pattern. Despite searching the Internet for weeks, I am unable to find this pattern. So I made my own. I used pieces of other patterns and improvised, tested, until I had a winner. This is the first top from my own pattern that meets my full approval. Fits like a dream.

What's on my sewing table right now? Crappy pic but this is a skirt I cut from stretch knit fabric in lime green with black polka dots. I bought it this morning from a local fabric shop. I also have several tops cut out and ready to sew.

I joined Facebook a week ago. Very addictive! Have a awesome week!