Last weekend I took some yarn which had been in the cupboard for a couple of years, and cast on. I didn't have a pattern, but I did have a need and an idea. As my Handmade Wardrobe Project is all about filling clothing 'gaps' this was all it took to start a new garment. 
Untitled
The Need: There are lots of vest tops in my wardrobe. In the cooler months I use them for layering. But in the warmer weather - when they would be very useful - I don't really wear them. The reality of a post-Caesarian tummy pouch (no matter what my size - only surgery would remove it and I'm not that vain) is something I am not vexed about, but neither do I want to flaunt it. So there was a gap for a light-weight loose-fitting top which could be thrown on over my vests. 

The Inspiration:  I love the cowl on my sewn improv dress, and since trying out the "booty-licious" heel on my Whiz Bang socks, have been thinking about trying a similar way of increasing for a neckline ("booby-licious"?).
Handmade wardrobe inspiration - Crafts from the Cwtch
The Project: Using King Cole Opium (in Glacier) and 6mm needles I got a nice fabric/ gauge in my swatch and cast on. I preferred the 'wrong' side so decided it would be a 'reverse stocking stitch' garment. As the yarn doesn't knit up the same each time, I started both the front and back on separate needles to see how each would turn out. It was easy to decide which piece should be the front before adding the shaping.
Experimenting. Handmade wardrobe project - Crafts from the Cwtch
With the shaping complete, I attempted to graft the shoulders closed to work the neck in the round. This turned out to be a huge mistake. The yarn was a nightmare to graft due to the thick and thin sections and I ended up painstakingly removing the grafting and having to perform sweater surgery. It was just too hard to work out which stitches were which... but I got there in the end.

Called the "Weekend Tunic" it took just one weekend to make, and is great for throwing on with jeans at the weekend. These are not the greatest photos (I'm not up to modelling at the moment) but I think it's worked out ok. It's certainly wearable and fills that gap. 
Weekend Tunic, project 2 from The Handmade Wardrobe Project - Crafts from the Cwtch
As you can see above, I had some random fabric in the same colour. There isn't much, but maybe enough for a matchy-something. In the meantime, those vests (and a few strappy dresses) are back in use and I like that it can be worn on or off the shoulder (or back to front). I didn't love working with the yarn but it is very soft and easy care, and there's enough left to make something else too.

The Lessons: There are a few things I'd change if I were to make it again. I'd probably...
- reverse the stitches on the neck section,
- use invisible joins so it could be worn inside or out  (in a different yarn I'd knit in the round up to the arm holes and then graft the shoulders but those are not good options for this yarn),
- try it with short sleeves (this is still an option as there is a lot of yarn left)
- It has been a while since I did any 'improv' knitting and I'd forgotten just how enjoyable it is. I have kept lots of notes incase this ever gets written up, but that wasn't my intention when the knitting began, and it felt very liberating.

Traditionally I don't make many garments, but two in as many weeks has put me on a bit of a roll and the third is already well on it's way to being finished before next weekend. I'll keep you posted and you can also follow my progress by clicking here for other posts, or searching #cftchandmadewardrobe on Instagram

Handmade Wardrobe Project 2 - Weekend Tunic

Last weekend I took some yarn which had been in the cupboard for a couple of years, and cast on. I didn't have a pattern, but I did have a need and an idea. As my Handmade Wardrobe Project is all about filling clothing 'gaps' this was all it took to start a new garment. 
Untitled
The Need: There are lots of vest tops in my wardrobe. In the cooler months I use them for layering. But in the warmer weather - when they would be very useful - I don't really wear them. The reality of a post-Caesarian tummy pouch (no matter what my size - only surgery would remove it and I'm not that vain) is something I am not vexed about, but neither do I want to flaunt it. So there was a gap for a light-weight loose-fitting top which could be thrown on over my vests. 

The Inspiration:  I love the cowl on my sewn improv dress, and since trying out the "booty-licious" heel on my Whiz Bang socks, have been thinking about trying a similar way of increasing for a neckline ("booby-licious"?).
Handmade wardrobe inspiration - Crafts from the Cwtch
The Project: Using King Cole Opium (in Glacier) and 6mm needles I got a nice fabric/ gauge in my swatch and cast on. I preferred the 'wrong' side so decided it would be a 'reverse stocking stitch' garment. As the yarn doesn't knit up the same each time, I started both the front and back on separate needles to see how each would turn out. It was easy to decide which piece should be the front before adding the shaping.
Experimenting. Handmade wardrobe project - Crafts from the Cwtch
With the shaping complete, I attempted to graft the shoulders closed to work the neck in the round. This turned out to be a huge mistake. The yarn was a nightmare to graft due to the thick and thin sections and I ended up painstakingly removing the grafting and having to perform sweater surgery. It was just too hard to work out which stitches were which... but I got there in the end.

Called the "Weekend Tunic" it took just one weekend to make, and is great for throwing on with jeans at the weekend. These are not the greatest photos (I'm not up to modelling at the moment) but I think it's worked out ok. It's certainly wearable and fills that gap. 
Weekend Tunic, project 2 from The Handmade Wardrobe Project - Crafts from the Cwtch
As you can see above, I had some random fabric in the same colour. There isn't much, but maybe enough for a matchy-something. In the meantime, those vests (and a few strappy dresses) are back in use and I like that it can be worn on or off the shoulder (or back to front). I didn't love working with the yarn but it is very soft and easy care, and there's enough left to make something else too.

The Lessons: There are a few things I'd change if I were to make it again. I'd probably...
- reverse the stitches on the neck section,
- use invisible joins so it could be worn inside or out  (in a different yarn I'd knit in the round up to the arm holes and then graft the shoulders but those are not good options for this yarn),
- try it with short sleeves (this is still an option as there is a lot of yarn left)
- It has been a while since I did any 'improv' knitting and I'd forgotten just how enjoyable it is. I have kept lots of notes incase this ever gets written up, but that wasn't my intention when the knitting began, and it felt very liberating.

Traditionally I don't make many garments, but two in as many weeks has put me on a bit of a roll and the third is already well on it's way to being finished before next weekend. I'll keep you posted and you can also follow my progress by clicking here for other posts, or searching #cftchandmadewardrobe on Instagram
There are not many handmade items in my wardrobe but following the relative ease of my 'Trace a T-shirt, Make a Wardrobe' dress I am going to start making make more of my own clothes. This has been on the cards for a while - especially as many of my favourite bloggers are 'polycraftual' and have been writing about handmade wardrobes for some time. I've been seriously thinking about it in the last week but my plans are far from serious, involving quick (fun) projects, many of which I hope can be improvised. So where to start?

Crafts from the Cwtch Handmade Wardrobe Project - sewing, knitting & crochet


Throughout Me Made May I found myself listening to/ reading a lot of different opinions about garment-making. One thing that consistently came up was the value of working out what's missing from one's existing wardrobe and using this to decide which pieces would make the other things "work" better. With this in mind I've done a bit of analysis...

Lifestyle  and Requirements
I'm a mum and I have a dog. We live in a small English village which is surrounded by farmland, and I walk between five and seven miles in an average day. I work from home and 90% of my social life is with friends from the same village. The reality is that I need practical clothes that can be worn with comfortable shoes (for all the walking), whatever the weather.

I love to accessorise with brightly coloured knitwear and jewellery so my clothing needs to be fairly neutral (this is a particular problem as I usually end up buying from two shops whose clothes suit my shape but where they mostly sell patterned things). I prefer loose-fitting garments which can be layered and co-ordinated for multi-season use. The colour palette needs to take this into account. 

The "Plan" 
I plan to start with a few different tunic tops which can be worn with jeans or leggings (which I already have plenty of), or possibly as a dress with sandals or tights/boots and additional layers. Dresses should be more comfortable and practical for me, but I typically have trouble when buying off the shelf clothing due to a generous bust combined with a short body (heck, a short everything - I am short!). Making things myself should be a good solution.

I'd like to knit, crochet and sew to make different garments, and to combine these three crafts for some of the projects too. The knitting and crochet should be fairly straightforward but as I'm impatient, an irregular size and averse to following patterns /love to improvise, the best way to start sewing seems to be drafting my own patterns. I loved making the dress from a t-shirt so this also seems a logical next step. Thanks to a 4-week course from Cal Patch it's also achievable.

Pattern Drafting Course with Cal Patch


I'm going to fit the classes in as and when I can and I'm not working to a particular schedule except that I'd like to be able to join in with Me Made May 2016, so there is no rush. There is a distinct lack of fabric and sewing tools in my 'stash' so that's also a factor, but I'll update you with my progress here and on Instagram. I have to tell you that I am pretty excited about it all.

Related reading/listening: 
I'll be sharing links and resources as well as any patterns used, starting here with some of my inspiration.

- Libby at Truly Myrtle has been inspiring me to sew for years as well as having lots of completely handmade outfits! 
- Creativebug all-inclusive sewing content, including the Cal Patch 4-week Pattern Drafting course, and the t-shirt-to-wardrobe class I took. (You can get a free trial if you don't already subscribe.)
- The book 'Design-it-Yourself Clothes' by Cal Patch is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Notice: This post contains carefully selected affiliate links which provide some help with the cost of running this blog. Thank you for using the links provided - it is always appreciated. 

The Handmade Wardrobe Project: Getting started

There are not many handmade items in my wardrobe but following the relative ease of my 'Trace a T-shirt, Make a Wardrobe' dress I am going to start making make more of my own clothes. This has been on the cards for a while - especially as many of my favourite bloggers are 'polycraftual' and have been writing about handmade wardrobes for some time. I've been seriously thinking about it in the last week but my plans are far from serious, involving quick (fun) projects, many of which I hope can be improvised. So where to start?

Crafts from the Cwtch Handmade Wardrobe Project - sewing, knitting & crochet


Throughout Me Made May I found myself listening to/ reading a lot of different opinions about garment-making. One thing that consistently came up was the value of working out what's missing from one's existing wardrobe and using this to decide which pieces would make the other things "work" better. With this in mind I've done a bit of analysis...

Lifestyle  and Requirements
I'm a mum and I have a dog. We live in a small English village which is surrounded by farmland, and I walk between five and seven miles in an average day. I work from home and 90% of my social life is with friends from the same village. The reality is that I need practical clothes that can be worn with comfortable shoes (for all the walking), whatever the weather.

I love to accessorise with brightly coloured knitwear and jewellery so my clothing needs to be fairly neutral (this is a particular problem as I usually end up buying from two shops whose clothes suit my shape but where they mostly sell patterned things). I prefer loose-fitting garments which can be layered and co-ordinated for multi-season use. The colour palette needs to take this into account. 

The "Plan" 
I plan to start with a few different tunic tops which can be worn with jeans or leggings (which I already have plenty of), or possibly as a dress with sandals or tights/boots and additional layers. Dresses should be more comfortable and practical for me, but I typically have trouble when buying off the shelf clothing due to a generous bust combined with a short body (heck, a short everything - I am short!). Making things myself should be a good solution.

I'd like to knit, crochet and sew to make different garments, and to combine these three crafts for some of the projects too. The knitting and crochet should be fairly straightforward but as I'm impatient, an irregular size and averse to following patterns /love to improvise, the best way to start sewing seems to be drafting my own patterns. I loved making the dress from a t-shirt so this also seems a logical next step. Thanks to a 4-week course from Cal Patch it's also achievable.

Pattern Drafting Course with Cal Patch


I'm going to fit the classes in as and when I can and I'm not working to a particular schedule except that I'd like to be able to join in with Me Made May 2016, so there is no rush. There is a distinct lack of fabric and sewing tools in my 'stash' so that's also a factor, but I'll update you with my progress here and on Instagram. I have to tell you that I am pretty excited about it all.

Related reading/listening: 
I'll be sharing links and resources as well as any patterns used, starting here with some of my inspiration.

- Libby at Truly Myrtle has been inspiring me to sew for years as well as having lots of completely handmade outfits! 
- Creativebug all-inclusive sewing content, including the Cal Patch 4-week Pattern Drafting course, and the t-shirt-to-wardrobe class I took. (You can get a free trial if you don't already subscribe.)
- The book 'Design-it-Yourself Clothes' by Cal Patch is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Notice: This post contains carefully selected affiliate links which provide some help with the cost of running this blog. Thank you for using the links provided - it is always appreciated. 
My name is Helen Stewart. I’m a knitting designer and the host of the Curious Handmade Podcast, and I’m so happy to be posting on Crafts from the Cwtch today: Sarah visited the Curious Handmade blog earlier this week and had so many wonderful things to say about creating a handmade wardrobe, so I’m glad to get a chance to try and return the favour! It’s a subject that we’re both really excited about at the moment, and this topic that seems to be getting a lot of traction among makers recently. I’ve just launched the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge and the response has been heart warming.


There’s something so personal and intimate about creating the clothes in which we live out our daily lives. We’ve all been somewhat in the grip of “fast fashion” for years now, and it really feels like it’s time to shake that off and explore what it means to slow down, buy less, and make more. Clothes shopping is sold to us as a recreation activity, but in reality, for most women, it’s actually an exercise in frustration. Spending hours in shops trying to unearth a garment that meets all our requirements can be stressful! Does it fit properly, do we like the colour? Was it manufactured ethically? Can we afford it? If we take a step back you can start to see that all of that time might be better spent just making what we want. Also (and this might be the strongest motivation for me!) there’s just such joy in making. It lights up the creative and the practical sides of the brain, and it’s so satisfying, especially if you’re creating an item you’re going to be living with and using day after day.



I’d been thinking about all of this for a long time when the idea for the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge came to me. At first it was just going to be a theme for a month or two of podcasts, but as I spoke to other makers and designers, I realised that the idea had so much more power as a community exercise. Making clothes can be intimidating, especially if we need to learn new skills, and support and encouragement from like-minded people is the very best way to see a project through to the end. Eventually, in a conversation with my friend Susan (she’s Kizmet on Ravelry), we decided to collaborate on an official challenge. The rules are simple: choose one or more handmade wearable pieces to knit, sew, or crochet for your daily wardrobe by the end of October. The thread in the Curious Handmade Ravelry group was started less than two weeks ago, and it already has more than 250 posts! It’s a place of daily inspiration for me and everyone else who has jumped on board. People are really going deep, exploring their motivations and aspirations, and it’s just such a positive vibe.
For my own challenge projects, I'm starting to think in terms of coordinating outfits after talking to Libby from Truly Myrtle for the Curious Handmade blog and podcast recently, as well as seeing other people's plans in the group. I'm thinking about using the Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt as a core piece as well as a long Washi dress and possibly a skirt for the sewn items. I already have the patterns for these three pieces, so it’s a start! Then I would like to knit a versatile simple cardi that would go with all three items.I’m also in the last stages of designing a shawl for a Mystery Knit Along (coming very soon!) and I think that would be a really special piece to mix in as an accessory with the rest. The possibilities are really so endless with this challenge that I’m trying hard not to get distracted by all the things!!

We’ve really just started, but I am so thrilled by the whole thing. It’s going to be a really meaningful project for the whole community. I think it’s easy as makers to focus on gifts and creating things for other people, so there’s something wonderful about giving yourself the space to focus on your own needs, and to think about how your craft interacts with your day-to-day life.

If you would like to join in with the challenge, you'll find more 'Handmade Wardrobe Inspiration' right here on Saturday, when there'll be an interview with 'Do-it-Yourself Clothes' expert Cal Patch. Don't miss it! 

Guest Post: Helen Stewart on the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge

My name is Helen Stewart. I’m a knitting designer and the host of the Curious Handmade Podcast, and I’m so happy to be posting on Crafts from the Cwtch today: Sarah visited the Curious Handmade blog earlier this week and had so many wonderful things to say about creating a handmade wardrobe, so I’m glad to get a chance to try and return the favour! It’s a subject that we’re both really excited about at the moment, and this topic that seems to be getting a lot of traction among makers recently. I’ve just launched the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge and the response has been heart warming.


There’s something so personal and intimate about creating the clothes in which we live out our daily lives. We’ve all been somewhat in the grip of “fast fashion” for years now, and it really feels like it’s time to shake that off and explore what it means to slow down, buy less, and make more. Clothes shopping is sold to us as a recreation activity, but in reality, for most women, it’s actually an exercise in frustration. Spending hours in shops trying to unearth a garment that meets all our requirements can be stressful! Does it fit properly, do we like the colour? Was it manufactured ethically? Can we afford it? If we take a step back you can start to see that all of that time might be better spent just making what we want. Also (and this might be the strongest motivation for me!) there’s just such joy in making. It lights up the creative and the practical sides of the brain, and it’s so satisfying, especially if you’re creating an item you’re going to be living with and using day after day.



I’d been thinking about all of this for a long time when the idea for the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge came to me. At first it was just going to be a theme for a month or two of podcasts, but as I spoke to other makers and designers, I realised that the idea had so much more power as a community exercise. Making clothes can be intimidating, especially if we need to learn new skills, and support and encouragement from like-minded people is the very best way to see a project through to the end. Eventually, in a conversation with my friend Susan (she’s Kizmet on Ravelry), we decided to collaborate on an official challenge. The rules are simple: choose one or more handmade wearable pieces to knit, sew, or crochet for your daily wardrobe by the end of October. The thread in the Curious Handmade Ravelry group was started less than two weeks ago, and it already has more than 250 posts! It’s a place of daily inspiration for me and everyone else who has jumped on board. People are really going deep, exploring their motivations and aspirations, and it’s just such a positive vibe.
For my own challenge projects, I'm starting to think in terms of coordinating outfits after talking to Libby from Truly Myrtle for the Curious Handmade blog and podcast recently, as well as seeing other people's plans in the group. I'm thinking about using the Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt as a core piece as well as a long Washi dress and possibly a skirt for the sewn items. I already have the patterns for these three pieces, so it’s a start! Then I would like to knit a versatile simple cardi that would go with all three items.I’m also in the last stages of designing a shawl for a Mystery Knit Along (coming very soon!) and I think that would be a really special piece to mix in as an accessory with the rest. The possibilities are really so endless with this challenge that I’m trying hard not to get distracted by all the things!!

We’ve really just started, but I am so thrilled by the whole thing. It’s going to be a really meaningful project for the whole community. I think it’s easy as makers to focus on gifts and creating things for other people, so there’s something wonderful about giving yourself the space to focus on your own needs, and to think about how your craft interacts with your day-to-day life.

If you would like to join in with the challenge, you'll find more 'Handmade Wardrobe Inspiration' right here on Saturday, when there'll be an interview with 'Do-it-Yourself Clothes' expert Cal Patch. Don't miss it! 
After making the second HWP project - called the 'Weekend Tunic' numerous readers and friends said they'd like to make one too, and asked about a pattern. There wasn't one as the project was improvised, but there were detailed notes in my journal including a list of the improvements I'd make if I had the chance to do it again. Some were design issues (improving the neckline for instance), and others related to getting the best out of the yarn, which I found a tricky the first time around as I was trying to graft shoulders and had to sew up a front and back whose patterning didn't match. In my opinion, this yarn is not easy to sew and the self-pattern seems quite random. However it looks great knitted up, and that's why people love using it.


So I got hold of more yarn (ironic, as the first was a stash-buster) and over the last few weeks I set about making the changes and writing the pattern. I'm delighted with how it turned out and couldn't wait to show you. It's designed as a layering piece, so here it's photographed with a white long-sleeved top (left) and a black vest (right).

This time it was mostly knit in the round which removed the need to sew any seams - a major improvement as it really was a nightmare to sew the first time.  I knit the front and back together rather than attempting to graft them, which resulted in an easy and very neat join (pictured below).


The neckline is higher and the armholes smaller, so the fit at the shoulder is more like a t-shirt. Additional changes to the cowl neckline also mean it sits much better, and the stitch patterning matches. Without the things that annoyed me about working with the yarn (King Cole Opium) the first time, I actually enjoyed knitting this one - even though I chose a notoriously tricky colour!

As it's part of the Handmade Wardrobe Project, it was important to me to write the pattern in a way that would make it easy to customise at various stages. As well as including three different size options, the length, armhole, neck-to-shoulder ratio and cowl length can all be knit to suit the wearer. I love the 'wrong' side, hence it's an "inside-out" tunic, but I've included instructions on joining the front and back to get a 'rightside-out' tunic if that's more to your taste. 

The pattern has gone out to testers and I'll post an update when it is ready for release. Update: the pattern can be purchased from my LoveKnitting designer page and is also listed on Ravelry so it's easy to favourite/ add to a project queue etc.  

In the meantime, I have SEVEN handmade garments ready for my 'mostly handmade holiday'. Not sure if I can squeeze another in this week but there is some gorgeous new yarn here, and I have an idea for another garment - something I can easily knit on holiday. More on that soon.

If you're enjoying these HWP posts, be sure to check back in later this week when I have a really interesting interview with one of the people who has inspired me to make my own clothes. Follow Facebook page updates, via Bloglovin' or subscribe by email (in the sidebar, above right) so you don't miss it! 

Handmade Wardrobe Project 7 - Inside-Out Layering Tunic

After making the second HWP project - called the 'Weekend Tunic' numerous readers and friends said they'd like to make one too, and asked about a pattern. There wasn't one as the project was improvised, but there were detailed notes in my journal including a list of the improvements I'd make if I had the chance to do it again. Some were design issues (improving the neckline for instance), and others related to getting the best out of the yarn, which I found a tricky the first time around as I was trying to graft shoulders and had to sew up a front and back whose patterning didn't match. In my opinion, this yarn is not easy to sew and the self-pattern seems quite random. However it looks great knitted up, and that's why people love using it.


So I got hold of more yarn (ironic, as the first was a stash-buster) and over the last few weeks I set about making the changes and writing the pattern. I'm delighted with how it turned out and couldn't wait to show you. It's designed as a layering piece, so here it's photographed with a white long-sleeved top (left) and a black vest (right).

This time it was mostly knit in the round which removed the need to sew any seams - a major improvement as it really was a nightmare to sew the first time.  I knit the front and back together rather than attempting to graft them, which resulted in an easy and very neat join (pictured below).


The neckline is higher and the armholes smaller, so the fit at the shoulder is more like a t-shirt. Additional changes to the cowl neckline also mean it sits much better, and the stitch patterning matches. Without the things that annoyed me about working with the yarn (King Cole Opium) the first time, I actually enjoyed knitting this one - even though I chose a notoriously tricky colour!

As it's part of the Handmade Wardrobe Project, it was important to me to write the pattern in a way that would make it easy to customise at various stages. As well as including three different size options, the length, armhole, neck-to-shoulder ratio and cowl length can all be knit to suit the wearer. I love the 'wrong' side, hence it's an "inside-out" tunic, but I've included instructions on joining the front and back to get a 'rightside-out' tunic if that's more to your taste. 

The pattern has gone out to testers and I'll post an update when it is ready for release. Update: the pattern can be purchased from my LoveKnitting designer page and is also listed on Ravelry so it's easy to favourite/ add to a project queue etc.  

In the meantime, I have SEVEN handmade garments ready for my 'mostly handmade holiday'. Not sure if I can squeeze another in this week but there is some gorgeous new yarn here, and I have an idea for another garment - something I can easily knit on holiday. More on that soon.

If you're enjoying these HWP posts, be sure to check back in later this week when I have a really interesting interview with one of the people who has inspired me to make my own clothes. Follow Facebook page updates, via Bloglovin' or subscribe by email (in the sidebar, above right) so you don't miss it! 
I wasn't joking when I said I wanted a whole row of sailor tops in different fabrics and lengths, so this week I made another, with a few variations on the original pattern

This incarnation was made from two different fabrics. There was a 1m remnant of floral fabric  in my drawer (intended for doll's clothes) which I loved, but don't suit pale fabrics right next to my skin. To address this, I paired it with dark brown scraps (my mum was throwing those away so this project didn't even cost anything). I love how it turned out. Please excuse the wonky-hanger shot, I had to take it off to get a picture! 
Based on my first attempt, which needed additional panels to comfortably accommodate my tummy, I added 2.5 cm to each of the side seams. I left the armhole the same size, as the yoke and sleeve are a perfect fit already.  It was also lengthened by adding 5cm to the front and back (there is a marker on the pattern pieces to do this).

One of the aims of the Handmade Wardrobe Project is to fill the gaps in my wardrobe. I already have an orange cardigan (not handmade) and a peach and brown crochet Transposition shawl-ette (read more about it here) which I can wear with it when the weather changes. All in all I absolutely love it. D has named it my 'Tiger Who Came to Tea' top because of the 'retro' vibes. 
 
Lessons: 
- I ran out of brown thread part way through the project. It wasn't a total disaster, but it was a good lesson.
- The hem needs to be redone as I'd threaded the bobbin the wrong way when I changed to white thread (it needed my Mum to figure out why the machine stopped working properly as I just don't know enough about sewing yet), but as I couldn't wait to wear it, it'll do for the moment. 
- There is a gather at the centre-front yoke which is very flattering as it breaks up my 'boob shelf'. I'd like to take credit for this, but it was luck not judgement. Next time I'll do it on purpose. 
After seeing how well this worked in mixed fabrics, there are probably enough scraps in my 'stash' (ie a box of leftovers Mum gave me to practice sewing) to make at least a couple more. This style is just so comfy and flattering I'm going to do just that... although two new dress patterns just arrived and I'm not sure which to prioritise. If you want to follow my progress throughout the week, I'm using the Instagram hashtag #cftchandmadewardrobe.

Handmade Wardrobe Project 5 - Sailor Top v2

I wasn't joking when I said I wanted a whole row of sailor tops in different fabrics and lengths, so this week I made another, with a few variations on the original pattern

This incarnation was made from two different fabrics. There was a 1m remnant of floral fabric  in my drawer (intended for doll's clothes) which I loved, but don't suit pale fabrics right next to my skin. To address this, I paired it with dark brown scraps (my mum was throwing those away so this project didn't even cost anything). I love how it turned out. Please excuse the wonky-hanger shot, I had to take it off to get a picture! 
Based on my first attempt, which needed additional panels to comfortably accommodate my tummy, I added 2.5 cm to each of the side seams. I left the armhole the same size, as the yoke and sleeve are a perfect fit already.  It was also lengthened by adding 5cm to the front and back (there is a marker on the pattern pieces to do this).

One of the aims of the Handmade Wardrobe Project is to fill the gaps in my wardrobe. I already have an orange cardigan (not handmade) and a peach and brown crochet Transposition shawl-ette (read more about it here) which I can wear with it when the weather changes. All in all I absolutely love it. D has named it my 'Tiger Who Came to Tea' top because of the 'retro' vibes. 
 
Lessons: 
- I ran out of brown thread part way through the project. It wasn't a total disaster, but it was a good lesson.
- The hem needs to be redone as I'd threaded the bobbin the wrong way when I changed to white thread (it needed my Mum to figure out why the machine stopped working properly as I just don't know enough about sewing yet), but as I couldn't wait to wear it, it'll do for the moment. 
- There is a gather at the centre-front yoke which is very flattering as it breaks up my 'boob shelf'. I'd like to take credit for this, but it was luck not judgement. Next time I'll do it on purpose. 
After seeing how well this worked in mixed fabrics, there are probably enough scraps in my 'stash' (ie a box of leftovers Mum gave me to practice sewing) to make at least a couple more. This style is just so comfy and flattering I'm going to do just that... although two new dress patterns just arrived and I'm not sure which to prioritise. If you want to follow my progress throughout the week, I'm using the Instagram hashtag #cftchandmadewardrobe.
If you are interested in making a handmade wardrobe of your own, be sure to read to the bottom where there are details of how you can participate. 


After deciding to aim for a 'mostly Handmade Holiday' in a week's time, I calculated there might be just enough fabric to make a longer version of the Sailor Tops I've been living in, if I combined a meter of plain cotton with a 50 cm remnant from my 'stash'. *Just* enough of the contrasting fabric was no exaggeration, as you can see here...


The Project 
The yoke and raglan sleeves were directly from the Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top pattern, but I made a few modifications to the body:
- Adding as much length as the fabric would allow so it's a tunic-length on my (short) body, it worked out at around 12 cm (7"+) on the finished garment after hemming 
-  Changing it to an A-line shape by using the width of the fabric (I simply cut the neckline as per the pattern and then used a long non-slip ruler and rotary cutter to cut a straight line from the underarm to the outside edge of the hemline)
- Sewing two rows around the hem (at 3/8" and 5/8") so I could practice sewing neat parallel lines


Materials 
My previous Sailor Tops (here and here) were made from forgiving fabrics, and it was time to step out of my comfort zone and put my stitching to the test with a lighter-coloured yoke and dark contrasting thread. I used:
- 1m Tula 100% Cotton Percale in Navy - see below for special offer
- 0.5m floral 100% cotton remnant
- Gutterman thread (after a previous disaster involving cheaper thread/ a constantly-snapping bobbin)
- This was the first sewing project where I had 'proper' tools, and it made an enormous difference to the time spent, and the ease of working. Definitely something to consider if you're just getting started with sewing (and probably worth another post).


I took this photo after wearing the tunic at my desk for a few hours, and didn't iron it when I took it off, so you can see how it actually looks when worn. I think this is important with a longer length garment as it has to be comfortable to sit in, but still fall back in place when you stand up. This fabric does the job well and I love the slightly 'lived-in' look which has a similar effect to a lightweight linen.  Also, it's an opaque fabric but still lightweight and cool enough for summer.



Lessons
- I did a pretty bad job of the gathers on this one. In fact this project didn't come together as easily as the other two, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps I'm becoming "consciously incompetent" and have higher expectations, or it may be complacency. 
- My stitching has definitely improved but it's still not great. I find 'stitching in the ditch' on the curve (pictured above) to be the trickiest part as you're also sewing through the gathers. It looks fine if it's not scrutinised too closely, so I'm hoping no one will notice. The hemming looks quite neat, so the practice is paying off. 
- For my next sewn garment I'm going to try something different, although I'm not done with this pattern yet.

I have had such lovely feedback from so many people since starting this project. The people and things that inspired me have also been inspiring many others. Helen from the Curious Handmade blog and podcast has launched a handmade wardrobe challenge (listen here, the challenge kicks off at about 11 mins) and a lovely thread on Ravelry where is a lot of inspiration and people are discussing the reasons for making their own garments, and sharing their FOs. I'll be popping in there regularly during the challenge and it would be lovely to see you there. Right now I have some knitting to get on with so I can finish garment number seven. 

Exclusive Reader Offer
Online fabric store myfabrics.co.uk are offering a discount to any CftC readers placing any order before 13th September - use the code CWTCH0815 to get £10 off when you spend £35 or more (can not be combined with other vouchers). I've been really pleased with their service and delivery is within a few days so they get a thumbs up from me. 

Handmade Wardrobe Project 6 - Sailor Tunic

If you are interested in making a handmade wardrobe of your own, be sure to read to the bottom where there are details of how you can participate. 


After deciding to aim for a 'mostly Handmade Holiday' in a week's time, I calculated there might be just enough fabric to make a longer version of the Sailor Tops I've been living in, if I combined a meter of plain cotton with a 50 cm remnant from my 'stash'. *Just* enough of the contrasting fabric was no exaggeration, as you can see here...


The Project 
The yoke and raglan sleeves were directly from the Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top pattern, but I made a few modifications to the body:
- Adding as much length as the fabric would allow so it's a tunic-length on my (short) body, it worked out at around 12 cm (7"+) on the finished garment after hemming 
-  Changing it to an A-line shape by using the width of the fabric (I simply cut the neckline as per the pattern and then used a long non-slip ruler and rotary cutter to cut a straight line from the underarm to the outside edge of the hemline)
- Sewing two rows around the hem (at 3/8" and 5/8") so I could practice sewing neat parallel lines


Materials 
My previous Sailor Tops (here and here) were made from forgiving fabrics, and it was time to step out of my comfort zone and put my stitching to the test with a lighter-coloured yoke and dark contrasting thread. I used:
- 1m Tula 100% Cotton Percale in Navy - see below for special offer
- 0.5m floral 100% cotton remnant
- Gutterman thread (after a previous disaster involving cheaper thread/ a constantly-snapping bobbin)
- This was the first sewing project where I had 'proper' tools, and it made an enormous difference to the time spent, and the ease of working. Definitely something to consider if you're just getting started with sewing (and probably worth another post).


I took this photo after wearing the tunic at my desk for a few hours, and didn't iron it when I took it off, so you can see how it actually looks when worn. I think this is important with a longer length garment as it has to be comfortable to sit in, but still fall back in place when you stand up. This fabric does the job well and I love the slightly 'lived-in' look which has a similar effect to a lightweight linen.  Also, it's an opaque fabric but still lightweight and cool enough for summer.



Lessons
- I did a pretty bad job of the gathers on this one. In fact this project didn't come together as easily as the other two, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps I'm becoming "consciously incompetent" and have higher expectations, or it may be complacency. 
- My stitching has definitely improved but it's still not great. I find 'stitching in the ditch' on the curve (pictured above) to be the trickiest part as you're also sewing through the gathers. It looks fine if it's not scrutinised too closely, so I'm hoping no one will notice. The hemming looks quite neat, so the practice is paying off. 
- For my next sewn garment I'm going to try something different, although I'm not done with this pattern yet.

I have had such lovely feedback from so many people since starting this project. The people and things that inspired me have also been inspiring many others. Helen from the Curious Handmade blog and podcast has launched a handmade wardrobe challenge (listen here, the challenge kicks off at about 11 mins) and a lovely thread on Ravelry where is a lot of inspiration and people are discussing the reasons for making their own garments, and sharing their FOs. I'll be popping in there regularly during the challenge and it would be lovely to see you there. Right now I have some knitting to get on with so I can finish garment number seven. 

Exclusive Reader Offer
Online fabric store myfabrics.co.uk are offering a discount to any CftC readers placing any order before 13th September - use the code CWTCH0815 to get £10 off when you spend £35 or more (can not be combined with other vouchers). I've been really pleased with their service and delivery is within a few days so they get a thumbs up from me. 
I'm both embarrassed and shocked to realise that my last completed handmade wardrobe project was just over a year ago (shocked because the time has flown so quickly). Never-the-less, my latest FO (finished object) is one of my favourite projects EVER and has more than made up for it - I plan on never taking it off.  I probably shouldn't admit that it hasn't been blocked yet because I couldn't wait to wear it, but the photos will give me away even if I don't tell you! On the subject of photos, let's not mention the horrible (lack of) light.

So after weeks of working on design commissions for other people, I ordered ten balls of Scheepjes Secret Garden* as my personal reward. I hadn't tried 'Stepping Stone' (colourway 710) and it's the one that goes with my wardrobe (which is almost entirely black and grey). I needed comfort knitting - something relaxing that I didn't have to think about. I made it while we were travelling at half term, and then when we were confined to the house during a family-wide bout of illness. It really was the perfect antidote. Wearing it is just as comforting as knitting it, it's a great big hug of a thing!

Although it's probably best classified as a cape or an oversized shawl (and can be styled as such) I'm mostly wearing it as a 'waterfall cardigan', like this....

FRONT: Worn with the front increases placed as 'raglan sleeves'
BACK: worn as above (really SHOULD have blocked it!)
It works equally well like this, or this....

Worn with the increases running along the arm and secured (left) with magnetic button cufflinks to make 'sleeves'

.... and when worn in those styles, the back is even longer and more cosy .... 

Read about the gorgeous self-striping silk-blend yarn here. 

Being easy to knit, versatile to wear, and made from lovely yarn, this ticks all of my boxes and I'm very happy with it indeed. To make it as versatile as possible, I refined the button-cufflink idea from Seafoam (a convertible shawl-to-shrug) and made magnetic button cufflinks which can define 'sleeves' of different shapes and sizes, even though there are no eyelets along the bottom edge. They can also be used to hold it in numerous different shawl/cape positions if a shawl pin isn't your thing. I'll be back later this week with a tutorial showing exactly how I made those, so stay tuned.

Double-layer shawl coverage, secured with a shawl pin - looks like a poncho
I hadn't planned to write the pattern (because I improvised it for my own enjoyment, and it's quite simple) but a few friends have already asked me to. What do you think? Would you knit this if I made a pattern available?

EDITED: The pattern is now available - find it here: A Great Big Cwtch

*Wool Warehouse affiliate link. The yarn is also available at Deramores and other Scheepjes stockists. 

Handmade Wardrobe Project 9: Shawl/cape/cardi-thing!

I'm both embarrassed and shocked to realise that my last completed handmade wardrobe project was just over a year ago (shocked because the time has flown so quickly). Never-the-less, my latest FO (finished object) is one of my favourite projects EVER and has more than made up for it - I plan on never taking it off.  I probably shouldn't admit that it hasn't been blocked yet because I couldn't wait to wear it, but the photos will give me away even if I don't tell you! On the subject of photos, let's not mention the horrible (lack of) light.

So after weeks of working on design commissions for other people, I ordered ten balls of Scheepjes Secret Garden* as my personal reward. I hadn't tried 'Stepping Stone' (colourway 710) and it's the one that goes with my wardrobe (which is almost entirely black and grey). I needed comfort knitting - something relaxing that I didn't have to think about. I made it while we were travelling at half term, and then when we were confined to the house during a family-wide bout of illness. It really was the perfect antidote. Wearing it is just as comforting as knitting it, it's a great big hug of a thing!

Although it's probably best classified as a cape or an oversized shawl (and can be styled as such) I'm mostly wearing it as a 'waterfall cardigan', like this....

FRONT: Worn with the front increases placed as 'raglan sleeves'
BACK: worn as above (really SHOULD have blocked it!)
It works equally well like this, or this....

Worn with the increases running along the arm and secured (left) with magnetic button cufflinks to make 'sleeves'

.... and when worn in those styles, the back is even longer and more cosy .... 

Read about the gorgeous self-striping silk-blend yarn here. 

Being easy to knit, versatile to wear, and made from lovely yarn, this ticks all of my boxes and I'm very happy with it indeed. To make it as versatile as possible, I refined the button-cufflink idea from Seafoam (a convertible shawl-to-shrug) and made magnetic button cufflinks which can define 'sleeves' of different shapes and sizes, even though there are no eyelets along the bottom edge. They can also be used to hold it in numerous different shawl/cape positions if a shawl pin isn't your thing. I'll be back later this week with a tutorial showing exactly how I made those, so stay tuned.

Double-layer shawl coverage, secured with a shawl pin - looks like a poncho
I hadn't planned to write the pattern (because I improvised it for my own enjoyment, and it's quite simple) but a few friends have already asked me to. What do you think? Would you knit this if I made a pattern available?

EDITED: The pattern is now available - find it here: A Great Big Cwtch

*Wool Warehouse affiliate link. The yarn is also available at Deramores and other Scheepjes stockists. 
You may recall that last year I was enthusiastically working on my 'Handmade Wardrobe Project'. Then the summer holidays happened.... then it was the Back to School chaos .... followed by Christmas prep... At some point, my project plans had evaporated, and I barely even noticed. Until last weekend when I found myself watching the Me-Made-May posts pop up on Instagram and various blogs. It's still something I want to do, and I need to make the effort to do it. My 'birthday yarn' seemed like a good place to start. The thing that often holds me back (in craft and life) is over-thinking, over-planning, and then losing interest (this happens to me ALL THE TIME!) so without a clue what I was doing to make,  I picked up some needles and cast on - I started with three stitches, 100g of yarn and some stitch markers. By the time my 100g of yarn had run out, I had arrived at this point:

Yarn: Dusted Dream Cakes in Sunlit Meadow from Easy Knits
I'm pretty sure it wants to become a cardigan - and after playing with the app and 'pencil' I mentioned a few days ago, the next stage is to add some plain grey yarn from my stash to make sleeves, and elongate the fronts and back. The sketch is a general idea, I'm not sure whether it will look much like that by the time I've finished, as it'll be a case of seeing how it goes. I have 200g (960m) of yarn in the grey... so I'll see where it takes me. Even if it's not a 'design success' at the end, the process is so much fun! When I've had time to do more work on it, I'll let you know how it's going. 

So tell me, do you like to improvise too? Or are you a stickler for following a pattern? 

Handmade Wardrobe Project Reprisal - an 'Improv Thing' (Part 1)

You may recall that last year I was enthusiastically working on my 'Handmade Wardrobe Project'. Then the summer holidays happened.... then it was the Back to School chaos .... followed by Christmas prep... At some point, my project plans had evaporated, and I barely even noticed. Until last weekend when I found myself watching the Me-Made-May posts pop up on Instagram and various blogs. It's still something I want to do, and I need to make the effort to do it. My 'birthday yarn' seemed like a good place to start. The thing that often holds me back (in craft and life) is over-thinking, over-planning, and then losing interest (this happens to me ALL THE TIME!) so without a clue what I was doing to make,  I picked up some needles and cast on - I started with three stitches, 100g of yarn and some stitch markers. By the time my 100g of yarn had run out, I had arrived at this point:

Yarn: Dusted Dream Cakes in Sunlit Meadow from Easy Knits
I'm pretty sure it wants to become a cardigan - and after playing with the app and 'pencil' I mentioned a few days ago, the next stage is to add some plain grey yarn from my stash to make sleeves, and elongate the fronts and back. The sketch is a general idea, I'm not sure whether it will look much like that by the time I've finished, as it'll be a case of seeing how it goes. I have 200g (960m) of yarn in the grey... so I'll see where it takes me. Even if it's not a 'design success' at the end, the process is so much fun! When I've had time to do more work on it, I'll let you know how it's going. 

So tell me, do you like to improvise too? Or are you a stickler for following a pattern? 
There has been a hiatus in my Handmade Wardrobe Project since the summer, but plans are afoot for something new, cosy and woolly. I've also scheduled more interviews with inspiring makers, but there are other projects to finish first. In the meantime, mum and I were talking about the blanket coats, capes and ponchos that are everywhere right now... and decided to try some up-cycling.


We had a Tweedmill 100% wool recycled blanket (size 150 cm x 180 cm), sharp scissors, a shawl pin, belt, and an overlocker. (Well, Mum has the overlocker, so that bit was left to her.) The blanket hadn't been used and isn't very soft so I'm going to give it a soak in wool wash to see if that makes a difference to the way it feels, but here's how it turned out...


If you try something like this, I'd recommend using a heavy-duty shawl pin, which can strategically hold everything together. This one is hidden under the collar when worn as pictured top right, and the cape stays in place perfectly.


It is very warm and cosy (suitable for the coldest of days) and the style surprisingly flattering on a real body with arms. It's definitely a good up-cycling project and I'm going to keep a look out for a nice soft second-hand blanket (this Avoca throw, which I saw in real life a few days ago, would be perfect but I can't afford it *sob*).

Because someone always asks for the 'how to', here is a rough sketch which explains it all. Simply remove a small section and overlock the cut edges. As the longest sides were plain on this blanket, it was necessary to fringe and hem those too.



That's it for today - I'll be back tomorrow with the next Festive Gift Guide post, and on Wednesday with the final part of the Rock Those Socks knitting pattern. Hope to see you then. 

Handmade Wardrobe Project 8: Up-cycled Blanket / Coat / Cape

There has been a hiatus in my Handmade Wardrobe Project since the summer, but plans are afoot for something new, cosy and woolly. I've also scheduled more interviews with inspiring makers, but there are other projects to finish first. In the meantime, mum and I were talking about the blanket coats, capes and ponchos that are everywhere right now... and decided to try some up-cycling.


We had a Tweedmill 100% wool recycled blanket (size 150 cm x 180 cm), sharp scissors, a shawl pin, belt, and an overlocker. (Well, Mum has the overlocker, so that bit was left to her.) The blanket hadn't been used and isn't very soft so I'm going to give it a soak in wool wash to see if that makes a difference to the way it feels, but here's how it turned out...


If you try something like this, I'd recommend using a heavy-duty shawl pin, which can strategically hold everything together. This one is hidden under the collar when worn as pictured top right, and the cape stays in place perfectly.


It is very warm and cosy (suitable for the coldest of days) and the style surprisingly flattering on a real body with arms. It's definitely a good up-cycling project and I'm going to keep a look out for a nice soft second-hand blanket (this Avoca throw, which I saw in real life a few days ago, would be perfect but I can't afford it *sob*).

Because someone always asks for the 'how to', here is a rough sketch which explains it all. Simply remove a small section and overlock the cut edges. As the longest sides were plain on this blanket, it was necessary to fringe and hem those too.



That's it for today - I'll be back tomorrow with the next Festive Gift Guide post, and on Wednesday with the final part of the Rock Those Socks knitting pattern. Hope to see you then. 
When I first learned to knit and successfully finished new projects, I'd get a huge rush of excitement. These days I'm much less excited and far more critical of any knitting projects and only get that excitement upon turning a rough sketch into a design I like. With so little time to work on designs at the moment* it seems that learning to sew might be the answer - I feel really excited about this week's Handmade Wardrobe garment, and it was quick too.


The Project: Armed with some new supplies including 1.5m of gorgeous Tula fabric, I cut out the pattern for the Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top on Wednesday afternoon and couldn't wait to sew it up. Thursday morning I wore my new top to the park! This was my second (ever) sewn garment but the first from a pattern. If you missed the other garment you can see it here.


The Lessons: It was surprisingly easy to make the top, but not everything went to plan:
1. I ordered 1.5 m of fabric and didn't take into account that I'd be making the largest size (XXL) so it wasn't really enough - I only just managed to cut everything out of the fabric. I'd have liked to add a few inches, but this just wasn't possible. 
2. I'd forgotten to order tracing or carbon paper and had to draw around the printed pattern with chalk. The chalk didn't show up very well and so not all the lines and notches were perfectly cut. Then I failed to transfer a few of the markers which made the yoke attachment a little more fiddly than it needed to be. Not a big deal, as I compensated with lots of pins, but it would have been easier with the right tools and markings.


3. After taking hip measurements, I knew the biggest size would be roomy on the hips... but didn't consider my (wobbly) tummy. When I tried it on for the first time, it did fit but there was no way I'd have worn it! I hatched a plan to insert panels at the sides, but with very little fabric left over it was difficult. Although it looks fine on the outside (see image above), this 'bodge' spoiled the neat inside seams. 
4. I really need to practice sewing on a curve. Enough said. 
5. I discovered that ironing while sewing is a pleasure.
While far from perfect, I absolutely love the finished top. I am really pleased with the fabric (and the way it hides a multitude of sins) which looks great with jeans. Someone who didn't know I'd just made it even complimented my top which felt fantastic!


I plan to make more of these in different lengths and fabrics as it's really comfortable without looking scruffy. The official picture for the class makes me want a whole row of them in different colours for myself!

Sew a Sailor Top with Fancy Tiger Crafts on Creativebug

The class: Working along with the instructors made this project very straightforward and relaxing, even as a sewing novice. It taught me new skills such as how to work a 'gathering stitch' and how to 'stitch in the ditch' to get a nice finish on the yoke. Most of all it gave me the confidence to follow a pattern and sew something wearable.

You may have noticed that most of my handmade wardrobe items to date have been from Creativebug classes. I am really enjoying my membership and making the most of it which is why I'm 100% happy to recommend it, and to be an affiliate. You can get the online video classes for all these projects and many more as part of a free trial or with a $4.99 unlimited monthly subscription after the trial ends. This includes all tutorials and pattern downloads. Stream the classes or download them to your device, plus you get to keep one class per month even if you stop the subscription.

My next two sewing and knitting projects are planned already - I just need a time machine... or an au pair!
----
*After numerous requests, I've decided to improve the design and construction of the improvised Weekend Tunic I made a few weeks ago, and to release it as a pattern. I'm finishing the first sample at the moment and the pattern will be heading out to test knitters next week. If you were one of the people who asked for the pattern, stay tuned! 

Handmade Wardrobe Project 4 - Sailor Top

When I first learned to knit and successfully finished new projects, I'd get a huge rush of excitement. These days I'm much less excited and far more critical of any knitting projects and only get that excitement upon turning a rough sketch into a design I like. With so little time to work on designs at the moment* it seems that learning to sew might be the answer - I feel really excited about this week's Handmade Wardrobe garment, and it was quick too.


The Project: Armed with some new supplies including 1.5m of gorgeous Tula fabric, I cut out the pattern for the Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top on Wednesday afternoon and couldn't wait to sew it up. Thursday morning I wore my new top to the park! This was my second (ever) sewn garment but the first from a pattern. If you missed the other garment you can see it here.


The Lessons: It was surprisingly easy to make the top, but not everything went to plan:
1. I ordered 1.5 m of fabric and didn't take into account that I'd be making the largest size (XXL) so it wasn't really enough - I only just managed to cut everything out of the fabric. I'd have liked to add a few inches, but this just wasn't possible. 
2. I'd forgotten to order tracing or carbon paper and had to draw around the printed pattern with chalk. The chalk didn't show up very well and so not all the lines and notches were perfectly cut. Then I failed to transfer a few of the markers which made the yoke attachment a little more fiddly than it needed to be. Not a big deal, as I compensated with lots of pins, but it would have been easier with the right tools and markings.


3. After taking hip measurements, I knew the biggest size would be roomy on the hips... but didn't consider my (wobbly) tummy. When I tried it on for the first time, it did fit but there was no way I'd have worn it! I hatched a plan to insert panels at the sides, but with very little fabric left over it was difficult. Although it looks fine on the outside (see image above), this 'bodge' spoiled the neat inside seams. 
4. I really need to practice sewing on a curve. Enough said. 
5. I discovered that ironing while sewing is a pleasure.
While far from perfect, I absolutely love the finished top. I am really pleased with the fabric (and the way it hides a multitude of sins) which looks great with jeans. Someone who didn't know I'd just made it even complimented my top which felt fantastic!


I plan to make more of these in different lengths and fabrics as it's really comfortable without looking scruffy. The official picture for the class makes me want a whole row of them in different colours for myself!

Sew a Sailor Top with Fancy Tiger Crafts on Creativebug

The class: Working along with the instructors made this project very straightforward and relaxing, even as a sewing novice. It taught me new skills such as how to work a 'gathering stitch' and how to 'stitch in the ditch' to get a nice finish on the yoke. Most of all it gave me the confidence to follow a pattern and sew something wearable.

You may have noticed that most of my handmade wardrobe items to date have been from Creativebug classes. I am really enjoying my membership and making the most of it which is why I'm 100% happy to recommend it, and to be an affiliate. You can get the online video classes for all these projects and many more as part of a free trial or with a $4.99 unlimited monthly subscription after the trial ends. This includes all tutorials and pattern downloads. Stream the classes or download them to your device, plus you get to keep one class per month even if you stop the subscription.

My next two sewing and knitting projects are planned already - I just need a time machine... or an au pair!
----
*After numerous requests, I've decided to improve the design and construction of the improvised Weekend Tunic I made a few weeks ago, and to release it as a pattern. I'm finishing the first sample at the moment and the pattern will be heading out to test knitters next week. If you were one of the people who asked for the pattern, stay tuned! 
With our summer holiday looming, thoughts have turned to what to pack. The things I like wearing the most are (surprisingly) the garments I made over the last few weeks. Being layering pieces they will suit the changeable British weather, and they are the top of my list. Incidentally, I must learn to put things on the hangers properly *blush*.

Crafts from the Cwtch Handmade Wardrobe Project

So I started imagining how nice it would be to pack my case with at least one handmade garment for every day... but I only have five garments, clearly not enough for a week in Cornwall. Can I realistically finish enough wearable garments to have a 'Mostly Handmade Holiday'?

I've been through my modest pile of fabrics (it didn't take long) and thought about other things I'd like to make in the next week. First up, a longer length A-line tunic with the same yoke and sleeves as the Sailor Top pattern I've made twice. Update: since this post was scheduled I stayed up very late to make it. It didn't all go *quite* to plan, and when I have enough light to photograph it properly, I'll show you.



I would really like to make another dress and have a couple of lovely patterns already - Weekend Doris and Dottie Angel's Simplicity 1080. Unfortunately, there aren't enough suitable fabrics to make them and my pre-holiday budget isn't going to stretch, so that's not likely unless I can thrift a vintage sheet or something. But I do have enough 'bits and pieces' to make one or two tops (you know how I love a scrap project) and there is another knitted tunic on my needles which is almost finished too, so there is hope. 

In other news, I finished test knitting a lovely new pattern by my blogger friend Libby aka Truly Myrtle a couple of days ago and it also fills a gap in my wardrobe (and goes with my Cora handbag) although I'm not counting it as a HWP 'garment'. It's Libby's Industry Shawl which is due for release on 24th August - you'll be able to find it here after that date.

Industry Shawl by Libby Jonson, on Crafts from the Cwtch blog

As you will have noticed, the light here is terrible - it's been raining for two days - so the picture doesn't do it any justice but it's a fabulous 'knits and purls' textured pattern which uses (almost exactly) 100g of fingering weight and is easy to knit. It blocked out huge, but is small on the needles and would make a great travel project as it's pick-up-and-put-down-able. 

I'll be back with another update later in the week. In the meantime, more pictures are on Instagram

Handmade Wardrobe Update: In which I have an idea

With our summer holiday looming, thoughts have turned to what to pack. The things I like wearing the most are (surprisingly) the garments I made over the last few weeks. Being layering pieces they will suit the changeable British weather, and they are the top of my list. Incidentally, I must learn to put things on the hangers properly *blush*.

Crafts from the Cwtch Handmade Wardrobe Project

So I started imagining how nice it would be to pack my case with at least one handmade garment for every day... but I only have five garments, clearly not enough for a week in Cornwall. Can I realistically finish enough wearable garments to have a 'Mostly Handmade Holiday'?

I've been through my modest pile of fabrics (it didn't take long) and thought about other things I'd like to make in the next week. First up, a longer length A-line tunic with the same yoke and sleeves as the Sailor Top pattern I've made twice. Update: since this post was scheduled I stayed up very late to make it. It didn't all go *quite* to plan, and when I have enough light to photograph it properly, I'll show you.



I would really like to make another dress and have a couple of lovely patterns already - Weekend Doris and Dottie Angel's Simplicity 1080. Unfortunately, there aren't enough suitable fabrics to make them and my pre-holiday budget isn't going to stretch, so that's not likely unless I can thrift a vintage sheet or something. But I do have enough 'bits and pieces' to make one or two tops (you know how I love a scrap project) and there is another knitted tunic on my needles which is almost finished too, so there is hope. 

In other news, I finished test knitting a lovely new pattern by my blogger friend Libby aka Truly Myrtle a couple of days ago and it also fills a gap in my wardrobe (and goes with my Cora handbag) although I'm not counting it as a HWP 'garment'. It's Libby's Industry Shawl which is due for release on 24th August - you'll be able to find it here after that date.

Industry Shawl by Libby Jonson, on Crafts from the Cwtch blog

As you will have noticed, the light here is terrible - it's been raining for two days - so the picture doesn't do it any justice but it's a fabulous 'knits and purls' textured pattern which uses (almost exactly) 100g of fingering weight and is easy to knit. It blocked out huge, but is small on the needles and would make a great travel project as it's pick-up-and-put-down-able. 

I'll be back with another update later in the week. In the meantime, more pictures are on Instagram
Following lovely feedback on last month's 'Say hello' post, I have three more crafters from different backgrounds to introduce you to today - Ruth is a professional designer whose work you may be familiar with, Libby is a blogger whose new feature I'm avidly following, and Michelle is a mum who is just taking the first steps with her handmade trinkets business. I hope you enjoy meeting them all... 
Hi there! I'm Ruth and I am a full-time knit & crochet designer, technical editor and teacher. I grew up surrounded by fashion, with 2 seamstress grandmothers and a fashion purchasing father. 

My goal is to create wonderful pieces of wardrobe that stay with you throughout seasons and years, becoming wardrobe staples. I take detailed care in fitting and tailoring, adding extensive sizing to my patterns - most garments encompass from a 30" to a 54" bust. I season my designs with a healthy touch of bright colours and encourage my customers to do the same - brighten up your day with a handmade object!When (if!) I get free time I love dabbling with photography and cooking, reading biographies and books on psychology and philosophy. 

Feel free to visit me on Facebooktwitter, instagram and my blog



Hi, I'm Libby aka Truly Myrtle, a mad keen knitter, sewer and general maker of "stuff". I've been blogging at Truly Myrtle for just over a year, sharing my knitting and sewing and having a lot of fun :) I learnt to knit and sew as a child and grew up in a very creative home so it feels natural to spend my spare time (well actually, nearly all my time when I'm not making dinner, cleaning or sorting out squabbles...) making things. Truly Myrtle has been a fantastic way for me to meet new people both locally and all over the world. I live in the UK now, but grew up in New Zealand (my parents and some of my siblings live there) and I've really enjoyed being able to connect with crafters down that end of the world too. I've got four small children and have been a stay at home mum since the eldest was born nearly 11 years ago. My love of knitting took off after he was born and I knit and sew for my kids a fair bit. I think there's nothing nicer than a little person wrapped in wool! Lately I've been teaching my eldest daughter to sew.

Early this year I decided to embark upon a fairly ambitious, possibly crazy, project, where I create an entire outfit for myself every month. I'm calling it my Handmade Wardrobe project. I've resolved to knit and sew everything in my outfits except my underwear, tights and shoes (although I am very tempted to sew underwear, just not model it!) I'm wearing my January outfit in my picture and I made the lot, right down to my earrings and my ring. Planning an entire outfit has been a fabulous way to work. I love the challenge of creating a whole look and it gives me such a good focus, rather than flitting off in a dozen different directions with a dozen different ideas. My wardrobe is getting a welcome boost after years of pregnancy and breastfeeding and I'm finding I'm actually getting stuff finished. It's been cool to try new things (I tried glass fusing for Outfit 1) and it's also a brilliant excuse to finally make all those lovely patterns I've had my eye on for ages.  During March I'm running a knit along for the cardigan I'm knitting for Outfit 3 - if you fancy joining in, just pop over to Truly Myrtle and let me know. You can also find me on Facebook :)


Hello, I’m Michelle and very new to crafting.  I’ve started making a few little pieces that have been very popular with local friends and family. My favourite items to make are I.C.E (In Case of Emergency) bracelets and key rings - they’re ideal for days out with little ones.  Each bracelet is made to order and there are lots of lovely beads to choose from - I have a 7 year old son who likes to help pick the beads. All my items are made to order and reasonably priced.  If you’d like to see more, please check out my Etsy shop  and Facebook page.

If you would like to have your blog or crafty business featured in next month's post, pop over to the Sponsor page for more details. There are a few ways to get involved - either by sponsoring the blog with one of several different banners, or if you fancy a 'link swap' please feel drop me a line to tell me a little about yourself. Have a great weekend! 

Say hello in March ...

Following lovely feedback on last month's 'Say hello' post, I have three more crafters from different backgrounds to introduce you to today - Ruth is a professional designer whose work you may be familiar with, Libby is a blogger whose new feature I'm avidly following, and Michelle is a mum who is just taking the first steps with her handmade trinkets business. I hope you enjoy meeting them all... 
Hi there! I'm Ruth and I am a full-time knit & crochet designer, technical editor and teacher. I grew up surrounded by fashion, with 2 seamstress grandmothers and a fashion purchasing father. 

My goal is to create wonderful pieces of wardrobe that stay with you throughout seasons and years, becoming wardrobe staples. I take detailed care in fitting and tailoring, adding extensive sizing to my patterns - most garments encompass from a 30" to a 54" bust. I season my designs with a healthy touch of bright colours and encourage my customers to do the same - brighten up your day with a handmade object!When (if!) I get free time I love dabbling with photography and cooking, reading biographies and books on psychology and philosophy. 

Feel free to visit me on Facebooktwitter, instagram and my blog



Hi, I'm Libby aka Truly Myrtle, a mad keen knitter, sewer and general maker of "stuff". I've been blogging at Truly Myrtle for just over a year, sharing my knitting and sewing and having a lot of fun :) I learnt to knit and sew as a child and grew up in a very creative home so it feels natural to spend my spare time (well actually, nearly all my time when I'm not making dinner, cleaning or sorting out squabbles...) making things. Truly Myrtle has been a fantastic way for me to meet new people both locally and all over the world. I live in the UK now, but grew up in New Zealand (my parents and some of my siblings live there) and I've really enjoyed being able to connect with crafters down that end of the world too. I've got four small children and have been a stay at home mum since the eldest was born nearly 11 years ago. My love of knitting took off after he was born and I knit and sew for my kids a fair bit. I think there's nothing nicer than a little person wrapped in wool! Lately I've been teaching my eldest daughter to sew.

Early this year I decided to embark upon a fairly ambitious, possibly crazy, project, where I create an entire outfit for myself every month. I'm calling it my Handmade Wardrobe project. I've resolved to knit and sew everything in my outfits except my underwear, tights and shoes (although I am very tempted to sew underwear, just not model it!) I'm wearing my January outfit in my picture and I made the lot, right down to my earrings and my ring. Planning an entire outfit has been a fabulous way to work. I love the challenge of creating a whole look and it gives me such a good focus, rather than flitting off in a dozen different directions with a dozen different ideas. My wardrobe is getting a welcome boost after years of pregnancy and breastfeeding and I'm finding I'm actually getting stuff finished. It's been cool to try new things (I tried glass fusing for Outfit 1) and it's also a brilliant excuse to finally make all those lovely patterns I've had my eye on for ages.  During March I'm running a knit along for the cardigan I'm knitting for Outfit 3 - if you fancy joining in, just pop over to Truly Myrtle and let me know. You can also find me on Facebook :)


Hello, I’m Michelle and very new to crafting.  I’ve started making a few little pieces that have been very popular with local friends and family. My favourite items to make are I.C.E (In Case of Emergency) bracelets and key rings - they’re ideal for days out with little ones.  Each bracelet is made to order and there are lots of lovely beads to choose from - I have a 7 year old son who likes to help pick the beads. All my items are made to order and reasonably priced.  If you’d like to see more, please check out my Etsy shop  and Facebook page.

If you would like to have your blog or crafty business featured in next month's post, pop over to the Sponsor page for more details. There are a few ways to get involved - either by sponsoring the blog with one of several different banners, or if you fancy a 'link swap' please feel drop me a line to tell me a little about yourself. Have a great weekend! 
One thing I have learned from my Handmade Wardrobe Project so far, is that I like to have a good basic template for my projects. When my friends at Scheepjes sent me a pair of "DIY flip flops" I considered adapting all sorts of 'barefoot' crochet sandals, but after further consideration decided that (a) I'm far more likely to wear a basic pair with the option for temporary customisation, (b) I wanted a distinct left and right foot, and (c) there are not enough knitting patterns for this sort of thing. So I set about writing a recipe which will form the basis of my own DIY flip flops, and which you can also use and adapt for yourself.

DIY Knitted flip-flop sandal recipe/pattern on Crafts from the Cwtch

Materials: 
- Scheepjes DIY Flip flop soles (see note on sizing, below)
- 1/2 ball of Scheepjes Bloom 100% cotton yarn (quick drying!)
- 4mm double pointed needles
- Crochet hook and sewing needle for attaching to the base
- 2 lockable stitch markers or safety pins

The Recipe: 
1. Leaving a 15 cm tail for sewing up, cast on 3 stitches
2. Knit an icord for 3cm
3. RS: K1, yo, k to last st, yo, k1
4. WS: Purl 
5. Repeat these two rows until you have 13 stitches, then increase for the appropriate foot

6a. Right foot RS: K1, yo, k to last 2 sts, kfb, yo, k1 
6b. Left foot RS: K1, yo, kfb, k to last st, yo, k1

7. WS: Purl
8. Repeat 6a/b and 7 until you achieve the desired width (try them on your foot to get a great fit) - the flip flops pictured were increased until 25 stitches 
9. RS: K1, yo, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, skp, yo, k1
10. WS: Purl 
11. Repeat 9 and 10 until the desired length - I worked these three times
12. K1, yo, bind off 1 st, *k2tog, bind off 1 st, yo, bind off 1 st, rep from * until all sts are bound off, then use a lockable stitch marker or safety pin to hold the last stitch, until you are ready to attach it to the loops in the base
13. Making sure you have the correct foot and base, use the tail from step 1, pull the icord around the toe post and sew to secure (pictured) 

DIY Knitted flip-flop sandal recipe/pattern on Crafts from the Cwtch

14. Try the flip flop on before attaching to the other loops, this way you can ensure a great fit
15. Either crochet a small chain to attach the knitting to the loops on each side, or sew around the loops to secure. You can see from the pictures that I also crocheted along the side section 
16. Weave in all ends
17. Customise your flip-flops with beads, buttons, brooches, embroidery etc... 
18. Head to the beach or poolside with your knitting


You can order the flip flop soles from Deramores (they offer international delivery). If you are a Dutch reader, you should be able to find them at your local Scheepjes stockist. They are incredibly squishy and comfortable but please note that they come up small, so this pair is a size 39/40 and although I am a 40 they don't fit me (my mum is delighted as they fit her perfectly and she's a UK 5, those are her feet) but I've ordered a bigger pair and you'll be able to see those in a 'Handmade Wardrobe' post very soon!  

DIY Knitted flip-flop sandal recipe/pattern on Crafts from the Cwtch

DIY Knitted Flip-flop Recipe

One thing I have learned from my Handmade Wardrobe Project so far, is that I like to have a good basic template for my projects. When my friends at Scheepjes sent me a pair of "DIY flip flops" I considered adapting all sorts of 'barefoot' crochet sandals, but after further consideration decided that (a) I'm far more likely to wear a basic pair with the option for temporary customisation, (b) I wanted a distinct left and right foot, and (c) there are not enough knitting patterns for this sort of thing. So I set about writing a recipe which will form the basis of my own DIY flip flops, and which you can also use and adapt for yourself.

DIY Knitted flip-flop sandal recipe/pattern on Crafts from the Cwtch

Materials: 
- Scheepjes DIY Flip flop soles (see note on sizing, below)
- 1/2 ball of Scheepjes Bloom 100% cotton yarn (quick drying!)
- 4mm double pointed needles
- Crochet hook and sewing needle for attaching to the base
- 2 lockable stitch markers or safety pins

The Recipe: 
1. Leaving a 15 cm tail for sewing up, cast on 3 stitches
2. Knit an icord for 3cm
3. RS: K1, yo, k to last st, yo, k1
4. WS: Purl 
5. Repeat these two rows until you have 13 stitches, then increase for the appropriate foot

6a. Right foot RS: K1, yo, k to last 2 sts, kfb, yo, k1 
6b. Left foot RS: K1, yo, kfb, k to last st, yo, k1

7. WS: Purl
8. Repeat 6a/b and 7 until you achieve the desired width (try them on your foot to get a great fit) - the flip flops pictured were increased until 25 stitches 
9. RS: K1, yo, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, skp, yo, k1
10. WS: Purl 
11. Repeat 9 and 10 until the desired length - I worked these three times
12. K1, yo, bind off 1 st, *k2tog, bind off 1 st, yo, bind off 1 st, rep from * until all sts are bound off, then use a lockable stitch marker or safety pin to hold the last stitch, until you are ready to attach it to the loops in the base
13. Making sure you have the correct foot and base, use the tail from step 1, pull the icord around the toe post and sew to secure (pictured) 

DIY Knitted flip-flop sandal recipe/pattern on Crafts from the Cwtch

14. Try the flip flop on before attaching to the other loops, this way you can ensure a great fit
15. Either crochet a small chain to attach the knitting to the loops on each side, or sew around the loops to secure. You can see from the pictures that I also crocheted along the side section 
16. Weave in all ends
17. Customise your flip-flops with beads, buttons, brooches, embroidery etc... 
18. Head to the beach or poolside with your knitting


You can order the flip flop soles from Deramores (they offer international delivery). If you are a Dutch reader, you should be able to find them at your local Scheepjes stockist. They are incredibly squishy and comfortable but please note that they come up small, so this pair is a size 39/40 and although I am a 40 they don't fit me (my mum is delighted as they fit her perfectly and she's a UK 5, those are her feet) but I've ordered a bigger pair and you'll be able to see those in a 'Handmade Wardrobe' post very soon!  

DIY Knitted flip-flop sandal recipe/pattern on Crafts from the Cwtch

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