The Rushed Rat

22 Apr

Before we kick off, I really feel that I ought to explain the title.

I keep rats. I have 23 in total…

 

 

Ok so you’re back with me after the shock of keeping 23 rats (it’s actually not the most I’ve had at any one time!)… and I love them dearly. I’ve mentioned a few times that I sew pet beds, well they’re for rats (and other small furry creatures). Gosh, I feeling like I’m outing myself here!

My shop is called The Relaxed Rat. Bear that in mind, we’ll be back for it later.

As a rat lover I often attend rat shows….

 

 

….. Ok so you’ve dealt with the shock that rat shows exist. Yes, they do, and they’re just like Crufts! But on a smaller scale ;)

The day before going to a rat show I decided it would be a really fantastic idea to wear a dress with rats on it. I had the fabric which I got in the giveaway (yep, we’re still going with that!) but no clue what to do with it.

Now we put all of that into the mixing pot and it becomes: The Rushed Rat!

 

Shall we actually see the thing?

About 2pm I started designing my dress. I designed a dress that resembled none of the patterns I had in my arsenal. What a fantastic idea for a dress that has to be made quickly.

I had to sit and think for a while about what I was going to do- there was no time for a muslin. Should I risk this gorgeous fabric or do something tried and tested but ultimately not what I wanted? Or, give up on the whole plan and wear something already in my wardrobe?

Obviously I went for option A and risked it.

You’ll never guess which bodice pattern I used as my base. Yep, it’s the Daisy dress again! (Seriously, I should start a series on Daisy hacks!)

I didn’t have time for tissue paper, measuring or faffing so I just pinned the bodice to the fabric, but not on the fold as usual, and cut round it making the neckline a little higher and ‘v’ing towards the front and extending the centre front out by 2-3 inches. I cut the bodice back out, again raising the neckline, and then sewed them together at the shoulder seams.

From here I pinned the side seams together, put it on and faffed about with finding the centre front and making darts. Once I had all that down I had to sort out this collar.

You might recognise the collar fabric- it’s my old bed sheet making another appearance! Its debut was also as a collar- it just seems to be the right shade to match everything!

I used Butterick 5846 as the base for the collar but I had to extend it a little as my neckline is slightly different, then I drafted a facing for the placket and stitched it all in.

 

Look at the cute little ratties!

It’s not perfect- definitely could’ve done with the facing a little wider- but I’m pretty darn pleased with it! It didn’t take any faffing either, it all just sort of worked! I’ve covered that pretty quickly- that actually took me a couple of hours!

From there on it was pretty plain sailing. The skirt is just a simple gathered skirt, with pockets I might add! but I did mess up the sleeves a little.

I had to go out for a few hours (from 5.30-11pm) which made this plan even more ridiculous, so by this point we’re at about 1am. I grabbed the first sleeve pattern I found and just sewed it all in. Then when I came to try on the dress the sleeve felt quite snug. I looked at the pattern and it was for a knit dress.

Of all my sleeves to pick, why pick the one designed for stretchy fabric?!!

I shortened them a little because I felt like it would help with the snugness. It did not, and I miss the length of the original sleeves but this isn’t so bad. Then I used bias tape as facing (yellow because I had nothing else!) and double turned the hem. I did accidentally rip the fabric a teensy bit when opening the buttonhole (come on, it was 2am!) but I just zigzagged over it and I think it’ll be fine.

Cinderella did indeed make it to her ball, in her rat dress and the whole thing didn’t fall apart so I’d call this a success!

I love the contrast between the green and purple (which also goes perfectly with Agatha!) and I love the fact it has rats on it! I’m on the look out for more rat fabric and also considering stamping my own (I definitely have a rat Miette skirt in mind!)

Just to top it all off here are a couple of pictures of my babies:

 

 

Me and Annie after she won Best Pet!

 

Smiley Pippin

 

Pepper

 

Some beautiful bubs.

 

Enough spamming now! They’re not so bad are they?

My Hiro.

12 Apr

As mentioned in my Hollywood Sew Along- part 2 post, I usually see things I like and then make a direct copy of them. With Ravelry, this is now getting worse. If I see a pattern I like I usually just make it in the colour it’s shown in. I’m trying hard to pick other colours but most of what’s drawn me to the pattern is how it looks in that colour so…

Anyway, before I knew Ravelry existed I found a pin of the most gorgeous jumper- beautiful colour work and the colours worked really well together. Somehow I wanted to make something like that but I put it aside to get some experience in knitting jumpers in the first place before I decided to go and make my own pattern.

Then I found the pattern on Ravelry! And better yet, it came in a cardigan version too!

I added it to my ever-growing list of items to make and quickly worked my way through to get there. It was so much fun to knit!

 

As you can see there’s a lot of solid navy which usually I would moan about knitting- I didn’t even moan about the sleeves this time! It’s all done in DK but it knit up surprisingly quickly. I finished this cardigan in 13 days.

13 DAYS!!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed doing the colour work at the top and I even perfected my kitchener stitch to graft those armholes.

 

I’m kind of pissed with it though- it just kind of hangs there, there’s no shape to it. I don’t get what happened- there was shaping in the pattern.

What you see here is a modified version- it was much worse than this. I wish I’d taken a photo so you could see, but I added some darts to try and create some shape. Literal darts, like you would do with fabric: two fisheye ones in the back and regular ones in the sides. They’re really bulky but I’m too chicken to steek!

Here’s the inside: admire the colour work and then mock the darts.

I think what I’ve learned form my last two knitting projects are:

1) Don’t use acrylic yarn

Honestly, I’m not a yarn snob and I didn’t care whether my yarn was wool or not but wool blocks so you can create shape better. It also seems to meld together to make one ‘fabric’ but acrylic seems to leave little holes next to the increases and just does its own thing which is difficult to control.

2) I don’t think bottom up, yoked sweaters are for me. As I mentioned with my Owl jumper, the yoke just draws attention to an already quite prominent area and I feel like the rest of the cardigan is hanging off the yoke instead of working together.

 

One day I may remake this, in wool yarn and do some extra shaping around the waist to compensate for the coat hanger-yness of the yoke and my proportionately small waist but right now I’m going to stick with what I know and like- top down patterns! (Specficially Andi Satterlund’s! Any guesses on what I’m working on at the minute?!)

Simple Daisy Dress

12 Apr

Question: do you name all your items of clothing? Cos that is way too much effort- I can barely name my pets myself let alone all my clothes. Patterns with a name are simple- Miette 1, red Miette, Black Kelly etc etc, this amalgamation of stuff however needs to be referred to somehow so it needs a name.

I digress- here’s the actual thing I’m talking about

 

 

I won this beautiful cotton sateen from Fabric Godmother in the giveaway along with a copy of By Hand London’s Georgia pattern, I think with the intention of using it to make said pattern.

As lovely as the dress is it just isn’t my thing- cups to amplify the size of my boobs? figure hugging? short? Na-uh.

Unfortunately I just had way too many ideas about what to do with this fabric but nothing amazing. Eventually I decided I needed a new dress and I just hacked into it before I had any real idea of what I was going to do.

I knew with such a plain fabric I needed detail…somewhere. Whilst researching ideas for the Hollywood Sewalong I had seen a lot of yoke embroidery and this appealed to me. It doesn’t really work in my proposed Sewalong dress so I decided to add it here.

So I knew I was going for yoke detail- that required yokes. I have 2 patterns with yokes- 1 button down and 1 wrap. I wanted my dress to have neither of these features so it was drafting time!

By drafting I actually mean I chopped off  the top of the Daisy bodice and cut out the yoke section from my button down.

The skirt was tricker than I had anticipated- I draped this thing several times before I decided to go with the box pleats. I took photos too and sat for ages flicking between the 3 trying to decided which one looked best!

Gathered?

Box pleats?

Lots of little pleats?

 

After I had actually decided what to do the rest of the dress was pretty simple- I used bias tape as a facing for the sleeves and neckline and double turned the hem.

At this point I had 1 hour until I was due at a family do and I still needed to shower! I hadn’t started making the dress thinking I would wear it that day but I was so close to finishing it would seem a shame not to show it off.

I had a radical idea with the embroidery- there was no way I could fit that into an hour and shower so I cut 2 flowers out of some lace I had and stitched those on instead.

I originally planned to take those out and embroider afterwards but I actually really like them the way they are- they add colour, detail and texture to an otherwise plain dress so embroidery will have to come in elsewhere.

I have three confessions to make with this dress.

1. I didn’t change my overlocker thread. Infact, I rarely change it so everything is overlocked in white!

2. I played with white animals which left fur all over the dress and didn’t wash it before photographing it.

3. I totally didn’t plan for any kind of closure as I just got so carried away with sewing it but luckily for me this is stretch cotton so it slips right over. Phew!

Hollywood Sew Along- Part 2.

7 Apr

How are everyone’s sew along plans coming on? Just over 1 month left to get those beautiful vintage garments constructed, photographed and blogged about if you have a blog. For me, 1 month has come way too quickly!

I left Part 1 with this:

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 10.23.03

I’m happy to say I have moved on and construction has begun, but I can’t show you that yet ;)

I’m pretty much going with the dress in the middle, the one Allie wore. I find it hard to get inspiration from things- more like I see something and then just make a replica. Copyright issues? Maybe…

I am differing slightly though as this is the pattern I’m using:

 

A wrap dress!

To add to my current love affair  I’m using a lovely purple silk-backed crepe. It’s a really deep, rich aubergine (eggplant for you folks over the pond!) and it feels all drapey and yum!

I won’t show you yet though- I can’t reveal everything can I?!

Do let us know what you’ve been up to- if you’ve decided on anything yet or even if you thought it was a good idea to join the sew along at first but now you’re panicking:

“One month to choose and make a garment?! Eeek!”

 

Go see what the others are up to and calm your nerves!:

Freya at The Dressmaking Diaries

Amy at SewsnBows

Charlie at This Blog is Not for You

Hannah at Made With Hugs and Kisses

Biggest project yet- eek!

4 Apr

My sister is 16 and has her prom coming up in June or July (I really need to find out!) and we’ve been out a few times to try on dresses etc but prom dresses are expensive!! She trains for swimming like 5 times a week so she doesn’t have time for a part-time job and really she’s struggling to find the money to buy one.

I politely offered to make her one, not really knowing what she had in mind, to which she accepted.

After talking with her it turns out this is what she wants:

 

EEEEEEEEEEEEK!

That’s a lot of beading. And I’ve never worked with side cut outs before so this is going to be a challenge!

The fabric arrived this morning, which I’m just washing and then I’ll be getting started. I’m making the main body of the fabric in a lovely wine chiffon lined with wine ‘silk’ (not real silk, she is on a budget!)

I’ve taken out the idea of a side zip now, I think in favour of fastenings (I’m thinking hook and eye) at the shoulder or a hook and eye system at the side, but I’m wondering if she might be able to slip into it without any fastening since the back is so open. I think I’ve figured out the rest of the construction in my head, it’s just the doing-up part I’m not sure about. Any suggestions? And well wishes- I definitely need those!

Baby project

28 Mar

No, don’t get ahead of yourselves, it’s not what you think. I am definitely not giving up my crafting evenings to a poop machine.

But apparently someone else is, so her Godmother, whom I happen to work with, asked me if I would knit her some cardigans she could give as a present.

Usually I’m not in the habit of taking on knitting projects for others. Sewing is a much quicker process so I don’t mind those so much (though I still accept most of them begrudgingly!) but knitting… that takes a lot of love and effort and much more time than sewing does so I usually laugh it off and hope they never mention it again.

However, I had seen some really cute baby patterns, plus they’re tiny so they wouldn’t take long to knit so I agreed. Sadly, her Goddaughter isn’t so into the girly girly so I had to tone it down and reluctantly put down the perfect white rabbit buttons I’d found but I think they’re still pretty cute.

The first one she picked is a hoodie/cardigan

 

This was a free pattern from Bernat which was knit in pieces and then seamed. I made a massive cock up at first and read all the pattern sizes as cm instead of inches (I swear, I checked them like 20 times!) and when I pinned it together I wasn’t sure. I mean I don’t have children so I don’t know how big babies are but this thing wouldn’t even fit a doll so I assumed it was wrong. So I basically started again and it was a pretty quick knit.

However, since the ends aren’t in a true rib (they look slightly ribbed because they’re knit on a smaller needle) it kept rolling up which was pissing me off no end. I tried blocking it, even though it’s acrylic, and boy did that take some pins!

As that made no difference whatsoever I then crocheted the edges for a bit more stability. It worked on the arms but nothing else so I moved on to plan C.

I stabilised the bottom, hood and button bands with some bias binding and then decided to go the whole hog and bind all the seams, even the armholes!

That was a good few hours of hand stitching but I do think it was worth it.

The second one didn’t require nearly as much work and was a joy to knit.

The reason it was so lovely to knit was down to the construction.It has raglan sleeves which are provisionally knitted along with the top of the cardigan, with some clever increasing that leaves that lovely pattern, and then the stitches are put on hold whilst you finish the body and picked up afterwards to finish off the sleeve. I’m sure many of you have come across this before but it’s the first time I’ve knit this type of construction and it really makes the second sleeve syndrome much easier to deal with. I’m definitely going to be looking out for more of this type of pattern for my own cardigans- I really love the look of the increasing along the sleeve.

The pattern was well-written too and worth the couple of quid I spent on it.

(Also, I promise the button band isn’t wonky- I was just about to give them away when I remembered I hadn’t taken photos so had to do it quickly!)

The recipient seemed really pleased with them and to be honest I am too. It took me about 6 weeks to do both (and I finished one of my own cardigans in between!) -really quick knits. Maybe I should get on with the baby-making…!

Owl never make this again.

16 Mar

Have you ever been really excited by making something, eager to finish it and then show it off to everyone only to be let down by the fact it looks absolutely terrible?

Guys, this happened to me and I kind of want to cry as well as drop-kick the offending item into oblivion.

Kate Davies’ Owls jumper is cropping up all over the inter webs. According to my Ravelry Notes I started this in April 2013 but you know how it goes with me and second sleeves so I put it away for a while. Seeing everyone else’s made me pick it back up and I powered on through to get it finished.

Except it looks awful. Look:

I think I just have too much boobage to pull something like this off. All of the attention is drawn there because of the yoke detail but the detail is kind of distorted by the boobs. Ignoring the stupid wind face here, look how much worse it looks from the side:

I’m also really pissed at the sleeves. You guys know I hate knitting them so I decided to make these 3/4 length. Only you wouldn’t know that! I put them on to measure them as I went and stopped when they reached my armpit, just as the pattern says, and yet when I’ve got it on now the sleeves sit longer than that, and yet not a full-length sleeve so now they’re a stupid weird length.

And then there’s the fact that bottom-up construction is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever encountered. It is so difficult to knit the sleeves and body all in one go and also it leaves a hole! A great big gaping hole that you’re supposed to close up afterwards. What is that about?!

Anyway, none of this is the pattern’s fault. The pattern is actually quite straight-forward to follow, this is just down to stupid body shape and poor yarn choice. I can’t quite remember what I used but I think it was Sirdar Hayfield or something and it’s just too stiff and it doesn’t meld together. There are holes around the back and arm shaping which look awful.

The owls look awesome and my friend really likes it. I’m tempted to give it to her but I don’t know if I could give her something I’m not completely happy with.

chinelo bally

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