Quick February Roundup – Three more garments in the bag!

I may have been lacking in blogging since the first Toaster Sweater this year but the sewing has been keeping momentum.

Firstly I managed a second garment in January, a Sew Over It Betty dress in a blue floral cotton. I’d bought that fabric with a 50s style swing dress in mind, and I did have a couple of patterns in stock but they would all have required quite a bit of fitting work, and I know that Sew Over It patterns suit my sizing…so on a whim I bought the PDF Betty pattern. Mostly it went together smoothly, although I did not have enough fabric for the skirt pieces so did some re-drafting based on a GBSB circle skirt I made a while back – it worked just fine and the skirt is plenty big – I took a huge amount out of the Betty pattern pieces so goodness knows how big THAT skirt would have been! I do have some minor fit issues to fix for the next make of this pattern – the back gapes a bit on me, partly due to the straps being too loose and sit too wide on my shoulders. Given I finished this the night before the wedding I planned to wear it to, I hacked a fix by pleating the neckline and stitching a fold in the straps at the seams – I wore a cardi over it so it didn’t matter, but I’ll have to fix it better in the long run. Otherwise the fit was good (worn here with a petticoat!).

Betty dress

Secondly, I finished my Spring shrug that was my first proper knitting project and has been WIP since March last year. Currently wrapping up a few other WIPs and then will start the next knit, which will be a Victory Sweater from the V&A archives.

spring shrug

Thirdly, I knocked out another Toaster Sweater in a few hours this Sunday, from the second fabric I had bought from Minerva for the purpose. I realised this would be my first actual attempt at pattern matching, as somehow everything else I’ve made so far has been plain or in a pattern so busy or large that you don’t need to match. Mostly it’s turned out well! I tweaked the neckline for this and it sits much better than the first one – although that may be in part due to the fabric taking a press somewhat better. I also added to the length because I find the first one rides up a little.

Toaster sweater 2

Finally, in other exciting sewing news, I got my first Sew Hayley Jane box this month (medium) and loved it, so excited already for the next one. The black viscose fabric I think I have earmarked for a pair of Sew Over It Ultimate trousers, a pattern I’ve been meaning to revisit since first sewing it at the workshop. The fat quarters I think are destined for new needle case/ pincushion and maybe a headscarf too.

Aaand I’ve fired off a few entries for the Make It Today Dressmaker of the Year competition, in the vintage and ready-to-wear categories. I’m really pleased with the things I submitted so fingers crossed!

It’s also Knitting and Stitching Show time again next weekend, I’ve already got a shopping list forming so stand by for the haul post next week…



The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show Olympia

I’ve been lacking in posts again, mea culpa. Busy life and lack of inspiration to write about anything. But last weekend I went to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia, so I thought I would write a review.

It’s run by Twisted Threads events and they have a few other dates – Autumn at Ally Pally as well as Dublin and Harrogate and the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham NEC in August. See: http://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/. I will definitely be going to the Ally Pally event and I vow to be more organised, for reasons I shall explain.

I can’t remember how I found out about the show, but I know it was in the new year and probably via an advert in Mollie Makes or similar. I bookmarked it and noted that there would be workshops, but at the time the program was not yet announced. It was in the back of my mind but I planned to buy tickets on the door and play it by ear, forgetting completely about the workshops.

A week or so before I caught a Mollie Makes promo code and got discounted tickets, and then the workshops hit me in the face. There was a great variety offering tutorials on things like concealed zips, different craft techniques right up to a 2-hour dressmaking essentials workshop – which I was desperate to get into. Unfortunately the online pre-booking had closed, and it was now first come first serve at the show for places left. The dressmaking workshop was first thing on the Sunday and I suspected it would be sold out, so I contacted the organisers who were eventually able to tell me that yes, it was sold out. So I didn’t break my neck getting there on Sunday and instead decided to have a nice mooch about the stalls and just see what there was to see.

Photo courtesy of TwistedThread on Pinterest

There were very many stalls, with a good variety of products and prices. Particularly popular were the fabric stalls, with rows four deep fighting to see the bolts and queuing for the cutting staff. No doubt Great British Sewing Bee has helped a resurgence in homemade clothing! Quilting was also a popular theme, and various hand-sewing crafts from knitting to cross stitch to crochet and needle felting. There were a few stalls with clothing patterns, including some vintage-inspired ones, but I would have liked to see more in this category and I didn’t spot any stalls with a good range of machine equipment except a couple selling particular brands of machine (sadly not mine).

Photo courtesy of TwistedThread on Pinterest

As for facilities, although it was a busy Sunday and last day of the show, the several catering outlets were still fully stocked and there were enough of them for there not to be much of a queue, even at peak lunchtime. There wasn’t really enough seating but that’s always the case at Olympia events.

As well as the stalls, there were various exhibition spaces for craft guilds, and besides the workshops there were also some demonstration areas which seemed to be mainly quilting.

I was quite restrained with my purchases, although I committed the cardinal sin of buying fabric for a pattern without knowing what I needed! Another point where I will take a shopping list next time. I bought a metre each of four cotton fabrics which I plan to make sleeveless blouses from, using a Great British Sewing Bee pattern. I laid out the first one yesterday and am pleased to find that it does fit onto 1 metre! I also bought two pattern packs; Burda trousers with two waistband styles and New Look for two blouse styles, skirt and trousers.


So, next time I will make sure to book some workshops in advance, and I will go prepared with a shopping list! Definitely worth a trip if you live near one of the event locations.