Making a maternity top

Buying maternity clothes has not been easy. Hardly any shops have them for you to try on. 99% is online only and it’s very annoying!

So I ordered a Burda pattern to make a top and possibly some cropped trousers too.  The pattern said it was super easy and I thought it would be good to have a go at sewing with jersey fabric too, which I’ve never done before.

So this is what I did over the Easter weekend last week.

My first decision was whether to use an overlocker to seam and finish at the same time, or to use a stretch stitch on my sewing machine instead. I chose the latter figuring if something went wrong I’d be able to fix it easier.

My sewing machine has different stretch stitches and overlocking type of stitches for neater finishing of seams, so I experimented on some left over pieces of fabric after cutting out the main pieces and settled on the stitches I would use.

On the whole it was pretty easy to put together. I particularly liked using the twin needle. The hems look quite professional finished this way.


The only issue I had was with the neck.  You had to cut a strip, fold it in half lengthways wrong sides together and tack it all the way around the neckline. You stitch in place, snip around the curves, then fold it back inside the top and tack and then top stitch in place. The problem was that when I folded it back inside the top and tacked it, I could see it wasn’t going to lie flat.

After showing Mum, I mentioned that the strip for the neck barely met at the ends. She suggested that I needed to sew the strip into a circle first, slightly shortening it and then ease that into the neckline. It might bring it in.

So I spent ages unpicking the line of stretch stitching that I’d done. It was very tedious and fiddly. Grrr… and after all that, the neck looked even worse and curled out. It was like there was too much fabric when I folded the strip back.

So in the end I didn’t fold it back. The strip was quite happy to sit as it was. So I just neatened the seams and voila!


FO: Purple Ribbed Cardi

Yesterday was a bank holiday and you know what I did all day?  I just sat and knit whilst catching up with programmes I’d recorded on TV.  All day.  It was bliss!

And I got the purple cardi finished off.  The pattern is from Rico Knitting Ideas Book 6 and was very straight forward to follow.

purple ribbed cardi
Purple Ribbed Cardi by Rico Design
the back of the cardi
The back of the cardi with cabled detail

I absolutely love it.  It fits really well and I’m sure it’s going to be a firm favourite.  I especially like the detail on the back.  The yarn was brilliant too.  It was Rico’s Essential Merino DK and as well as having great stitch definition, it hasn’t pilled in the slightest as I was knitting with it.  So I hope that the cardi continues to look good for a long time to come.  Good value too at only £3.45 a ball.  This cardi took 11 balls.

After finishing the cardi, I started to knit a new throw using a kit I bought from Collinette at the Knitting Show at Ally Pally last October.  I wanted to start a top from Kim Hargreaves’ book Misty, but I can’t make up my mind as to what colour to do it.

Christmas knitting is finished

My brother is due home for the holidays this afternoon and I finished the socks I was knitting for him at lunchtime!  Phew.  They’re all ironed and wrapped now.

socks for my brother

For these socks I used an odd ball of Opal sock yarn that was in the stash.  I didn’t get anywhere near the tension in the pattern for some reason and initially the socks started off too large.  I started again and am just hoping they’ll fit now.

There’s one little fault on one of the socks where, after knitting the heel flap, you have to pick up stitches to turn the heel.  There are two small holes.  On the other sock it’s better because I picked up the stitches slightly differently.  But the rate my brother goes through socks they probably won’t last him all that long anyway!

FO: The Tunic Dress

Finally, over a year after I started it, the tunic dress is finished!

And it’s fits perfectly.  I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out.

Debbie Bliss Tunic Dress from Coastlines

I took it to knitting club this week to start seaming it, and everyone was full of compliments and they all loved the feel and drape of the yarn.  I used Debbie Bliss Pure Silk and it’s probably the most expensive yarn I’ve ever bought.  I used 10 skeins for this dress size (32″).  Not sure I’d use the yarn again though.  I think it might be the characteristic of silk yarn, but it does fluff up a bit and the spinning isn’t terribly even – there was the odd thick lump in it.  It also twists as you use it, a bit like embroidery thread does, which was annoying and the stitches don’t look terribly even.

The pattern was from Debbie Bliss’s Coastlines book.  The pattern wasn’t wrong but I struggled with understanding what she meant in a few places, which is why I put it down at the bottom of my knitting bag for a year.  But actually once it had clicked what was going on with the lace panels, I did it quite quickly.

I just need to find a suitable occasion to wear it now for it’s first outing!

And it’s back to the Scandinavian blanket squares again for me now.

Spring sewing

I think the warm, sunny, Spring time weather that we’ve had recently is what has given me an urge to do some sewing. Now those of you who regularly read my blog will know that sewing scares me. But it’s something I want to get to grips with and finally master (well become competent at it anyway!)

So I started with something simple – an A-line skirt. I used Amy Butler’s barcelona skirt pattern and some of Amy Butler’s fabric which I think is perfect for summer.

And here’s the result:


Amy Butler Barcelona Skirt
Amy Butler Barcelona Skirt

The instructions that come with the pattern are good and the pattern pack also includes the instructions for making a layered skirt and an apron.  I might well try the layered skirt next.  I’ll need to do some sewing again soon, to make sure I don’t forget how to do it!  I think I should have taken step-by-step photos to remind myself of what I did at each stage.

I didn’t know how to put in a zip, and the pattern asked for an invisible zip which I didn’t have, so I asked Mum to help me with that bit.  Otherwise I did it pretty much by myself, which is a massive achievement for me.  And I did it in a weekend too.

Is enough, enough?

I’m knitting the band and collar for my Sparkle cardi, but I’ve just started the last ball of wool and I’ve got that horrible feeling that I might not have enough to finish it.  If you’re a knitter, you probably know that feeling.  You try to ignore it and think everything will be ok and you’ll have plenty of wool to get the job done, but you know that feeling is there, deep down, niggling…

We shall soon see I guess!

I also made a skirt at the weekend.  It is pretty unheard of for me to sew; it scares me.  But I’m determined to conquer my fear and I started with an A-line skirt made from Amy Butler fabric.  I finished the hem tonight and am very pleased with how it turned out.  It fits great and I didn’t have to ask Mum too many questions about how to do it!

Will take photos and blog about it later this week.

On my own…

On my own today.  Mum and Dad have gone to visit my Grandmother for the day and so it’s just me and the dog.  I always think that on days like this, I’ll be able to do loads, plus have some “me” time.  But it’s now 4 o’clock and my to-do list is still looking quite long!

I started knitting a cardigan a couple of weeks ago.  It’s called Sparkle and is from Rowan Classic book 16. The stitch pattern is really quite interesting – a moss rib stitch with a garter stitch collar and I’m using Rowan Classic Silk Wool DK in a lovely dark red shade called Bramble. 

sparkle cardi in progress

It took me a while to get into it and work out what the stitch pattern was doing but now that I am is going fine and growing at a reasonable speed.  I have to concentrate though to be sure that I’m doing it correctly and am finding that Knit and Natter nights aren’t so good for concentrating!   Too much gossiping and laughing!

Knit and Natter is going well though.  A friend who is learning to knit, has come the last two meets and seems to be enjoying herself too.  She’s knit a scarf and now on her second project – a ribbed beanie.  She did a great job with the scarf – it was neat and she completed it quickly.  I think she’s finding the beanie more tricky and forgets sometimes to move the yarn back and forth when changing between knit and purl. I remember doing the same myself.  It’s actually good to be around beginner knitters because it’s easy to forget how difficult I used to find knitting at the beginning.

Think I ought to take the dog for a walk now, then back to my list of jobs!

FO: My first pair of socks

Here are my first pair of socks. A tiny bit on the large size for me, but still very wearable. Everyone I’ve been showing has been fascinated by the way the yarn changes colour. They think I’ve been very clever until I tell them the yarn is self striping!

first pair of hand knit socks

My first attempt at felting

Regular readers of the blog may remember that at the beginning of this year I knitted a multi-coloured hat in pure wool. I was in a dilemma about whether to felt it. Eventually I decided against it, but the hat pattern was for turned out a bit of a funny shape because I had tried to make it smaller.  I only wore it once.  It wasn’t good.

So whilst I was in the hat knitting mood recently, I frogged the hat and started again, following the instructions to the letter in regards to the size, and I had my first attempt at felting.

The instructions said to felt it by hand, by first rubbing it in super-hot water, then plunging it into a bowl of ice cubes.  Well I started off doing this but wasn’t getting very far.  The yarn started to felt, but the hat wasn’t shrinking in size – and I’d just gone to the trouble of knitting it bigger, in order that it would end up smaller – and it wasn’t happening!

After a while, Mum suggested that I put it in the washing machine, but I was worried then that it might shrink too much and I wouldn’t be able to wear it.  You can’t stop our washing machine mid-cycle to check it.  So Mum said try the tumble dryer.

And voila!

multi coloured hat felted

A few minutes of tumbling sorted it.  It was the correct size for my head and fabric lightly felted.  We stuck it over an up-turned bowl to let it finish drying in the correct shape.

I’ve worn it a few times now and it’s great except it itches my forehead after a while!

I’m now knitting a bag which I will felt too, this time I’ll put it straight into the washing machine on the hot cycle.