Christmas Crafting

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas or any other festivity you celebrate. Mine has been wonderful. Christmas day was spent at home with my Manfriend and then my mum and nan came over for Christmas dinner. Boxing day was spent with Manfriend’s family, which was good fun – it included getting cream pied in the the face playing a silly game. And yesterday I barely moved from the sofa all day, which was utter bliss. I’m off work until the 4th January and very much looking forward to some complete laziness, catching up on TV we’ve recorded, reading some books and doing a bit of sewing.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a little recap on how I did with the homemade Christmas presents that I talked about a couple of posts ago.

Crispmas Advent Calendar

This didn’t happen. I cut the fabric out but ran out of time so I individually wrapped the bags again and put them in the box from last year.

crispmas advent calendar
It’s rather more battered this year

Blogger Secret Santa present

This is one of the two extra handmade presents I mentioned adding to my list in my last post. I made a Stowe bag out of a swallow print chambray that I bought on eBay. I forgot to take a photo though. Doy! I changed up the order of construction slightly so that I could use French seams – I stitched the bottom as the last step instead of at the same time as the sides. I still don’t understand the last step fully so I just didn’t do it. I don’t think that’s very clear at all. When I was googling to try to find an explanation I came across a GOMI thread slating the bag and it did make me feel a bit stupid for buying it, when as they said in the thread there are about a bajillion free tutorials online to make a bag like it. It wasn’t something I’d thought to look for though, I just saw the pattern and thought it’d be handy for a knitting bag. You live and you learn I guess.

Mum’s Grainline Scout

I’m going to try to get a modelled photo of this but here are some rubbish quality ones for now. The fabric is a fairly crispy cotton I bought from Calico Laine last year with little metallic gold outlined Christmas trees on. I used French seams throughout and I’m quite pleased with how neat the neckline binding is. I did an appallingly bad job with the sleeves, really really bad. I just don’t get the whole ease things in thing. Only gathered sleeves from now on.

grainline scout tee
Apologies for the pants photos, I will try to get a modelled one

Dinosaur Tail

I think I’ll let the picture do the talking with this one. Adorable.

Dinosaur tail
The tiny Louiesaurus Rex stalks his prey

Dinosaur T’shirt

I used the Oliver + S Field Trip raglan t-shirt pattern and this was a lovely quick sew. It was also a nice PDF to put together. It has a grid, which I really like and it’s quite cleverly laid out to use a minimal amount of paper. That and it being for tiny people so makes it the best PDF pattern I’ve ever had to assemble.

I used some white viscose jersey for the body and leftover dinosaur fabric for the arms and neckband, I cut out a pocket too but decided to leave it off in the end. The viscose is slightly too lightweight really but I couldn’t seem to find any cotton jersey with the right stretch. The only one I did find was expensive and only available to buy by the metre and as I needed less than half a metre it seemed like a waste of money.

My pseudo-nephew isn’t 3 until April and I have no idea if he’s big or little for his age so I cut a size 3T size the plan being that he can grow into it if it’s too big.

dinosaur-raglan-tee

Lua Sleep Sack

This is the second handmade item that got added to the list of Christmas crafting. It was seeing Marie of A Stitching Odyssey’s recent lovely version that inspired me to make one for my pseudo-niece (my cousin’s new little girl). I had intended to do a contrast yoke but ordered badly and instead of matching the pinky purply dots in the print, the cotton I’d chosen (with crossed fingers and wishes) was more sludgy coloured so I didn’t bother.

It was a nice quick sew but I did accidentally put the zip in the wrong side and I struggled one of the steps. You leave a bit of a gap along the top edge of where you sew the zip in to make it a bit easier and then the instructions tell you to close it once you’ve put in the zip and sewn the lining to the zip, which I couldn’t make sense of and my sleep sack didn’t seem to match the photo of that step. From the photo it looks like I should have done it before sewing the lining to the zip so if I make another version I’ll do that.

Lua Sleep Sack close up

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Manfriend’s pyjamas

I don’t have any photos of these or the next one because I’m going to ask him to model both of his presents and then I’ll do a full post about them. I took last Monday off work and spent the day sewing his presents and getting my wrapping done, of course I still ended up finishing the wrapping on Christmas Eve but I tried. I am my mother’s daughter as she always used to wrap on Christmas Eve (whilst getting progressively drunker and sillier with the tags – getting a present from Fred Savage made me very happy) until the year we had a power cut and she had to wrap by candlelight.

I used Marvel superhero flannel that I bought from Etsy and a freebie Simplicity PJ pattern that I can’t seem to find to link to, sorry. He really likes them which is a relief as I was worried they were a bit silly as the rest of his PJs are fancy branded ones.

marvel flannel

Manfriend’s Paxson Sweater

The Manfriend loves contrast coloured raglan sleeves and marl so I made his Seamwork Paxson in grey marl for the body and teal for the arms and neckband. I’d wanted to do the sleeves in the same burgundy/maroon knit that Josie the Fabric Godmother used for her version but it had gone out of stock by the time I’d been paid. I’m going to do a full post when I have pictures of him modelling it so for now here is a photo of the overlocker offcuts or #sergerspew as I’ve seen it called on Instagram, which tickles me.IMG_20151221_142611

My Christmas Party outfit

I decided not to make a new outfit this year because if you own a dress covered in hunky, half naked Christmas helpers why the heck wouldn’t you wear it at every chance you get? Plus, last year’s Christmas party was only a small one so not that many people had seen it. I’ve lost a little bit of weight so it doesn’t fit that brilliantly anymore. I did take it in slightly at the upper chest but I think I’ll need to alter it properly if I stay slimmer (I’m a yoyo, so it’s best to be realistic). Alterations seem harder and more scary than just sewing from scratch for some reason though.

Christmas simplicity 1418
Spaaaaarkly shoes

Christmas cakes

I was quite proud of myself as I managed to decorate two cakes in one evening (we’ll ignore the fact that you’re supposed to let the marzipan dry for at least 24 hours, I was cutting it fine and had our food shop to do the night after. They’re both a bit shonky and I don’t have good photos – bit of a theme in this post I’m afraid.

Santa stuck in a chimney is my Nan’s and the ski slope is my mum’s because she prefers royal icing.

christmas-cakes

Hampers

This is the only thing I didn’t manage to get done. It was a conscious decision really as I was starting to get stressed out and panicky and something had to go. I’m still quite impressed with myself for the amount I did get done without having a breakdown – this time last year it was a rare day that didn’t see me crying for no real reason. I’m hoping to still get the mango chutney and chorizo jam made and given as belated gifts.

Well that’s it from me for now, I will be back soon with my Top 5 of 2015 posts and photos of Manfriend’s presents taken with the snazzy new DSLR camera I got for Christmas – that I have NO idea how to use yet and am too scared to take outside.

For now, here’s a photo of my nan’s dog Poppy looking seriously tired of our shit on Christmas day.

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Best dress ever?

Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

Is wearing it like wearing pyjamas?

Yes, it is stretchy and squishy and lovely.

Does it have dinosaurs on?

YES!

dinosaur-dixie-diy-ballet-dress
Such a happy face

So clearly, yes, it is the best dress ever. I could have led with “does it have dinosaurs on?” really because any dress with dinosaurs on kicks the butt of a dress without dinosaurs on. Though, this dress with hunky elves on was pretty awesome and did previously hold the title. It’s just not as comfy though and I can’t wear it all year round. Though I am excitedly looking forward to being able to wear it again soon (ish).

dinosaur print cotton jersey
A close up of the dinosaurs

I was about to say that there’s not a lot to say about the construction of this dress and then I remembered that that would be a giant LIE. My brain trying to block out the trauma perhaps? I massively messed up when I was cutting out (tired) and thought I’d already folded the fabric along the grainline but it was just still folded crosswise from how I’d taken it off the line. So I cut the first skirt piece out that way and then realised what I’d done and had a meltdown.

ballet-dress-dinosaurs

I was really worried I wasn’t going to be able to fit the rest of the pattern pieces on the fabric that I had left but with some creativity I managed it but one of my skirt pieces isn’t as flared as the other, I was using my slashed and spread skirt piece from my balletmono so I had to remove some of the spread bits to get it to fit. Oh gosh, I just realised I haven’t even told you what pattern it is! *facepalm* It is another Dixie DIY Ballet dress.

dinosaur-ballet-dress-catch
My dismal attempt at a leaf throwing photo

I was really worried about the skirt bit that I’d cut wrong making the dress a disaster because I love love love this fabric (you can see me wiggling it about in my video here) and it’s sold out so if this try didn’t work I would never have a dinosaur dress of awesomeness (or ROARsomeness if you will, hahaha – so proud of myself right now). But it seems to be fine, I used it for the back of the skirt because I am quite juicy of booty so it just made sense to me.

I shortened the bodice slightly (just over a cm) because I thought the weight of the skirt might stretch it a bit like with my balletmono. I also did a small swayback adjustment, which I think worked out quite well. The back looks like a better fit than my last ballet dress.

dinosaur-ballet-dress-back

I constructed it all on my overlocker and hemmed it using a twin needle on my sewing machine. I tried out stabilising the hems with wundaweb / hemming tape and that worked really well so I’ll carry on doing that for future knit hems. I messed up a bit when I was sewing the neckband (had a hole and had to redo a bit) and you might be able to spot a bit of iffiness in some of the photos but that doesn’t override the fact that it’s a dress with dinosaurs on.

Dixie DIY Ballet Dress and raptor hands
I couldn’t make a dress with dinosaurs on and not do Bimble and Pimble’s Amanda style raptor claws. I don’t know what’s happening with my face.

Speaking of the photos, I was trying to do my Better Pictures Project homework of capturing movement. Which is why they’re all out of focus…. Yeah I didn’t do so well. My skin is also glowing white, I didn’t realise I was that pale! I have sort of decided that I’m going to buy myself a DSLR with any money I get for Christmas and my stash of £2 coins that I’ve been collected for the last few years but I’m worried it won’t help that much. If you’re not very good at taking pictures how much will a fancy camera actually help?

Non-clueless versions

There are a bajillion Dixie DIY ballet dresses out there but I particularly like Amy’s horse and geometric versions.

Zoe has made lots of lovely versions but I really like this polka dot version.

But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen a version I don’t like!

The details

I want to try to be more helpful and put more practical information in my posts, rather than just waffle that you’d have to wade through to find out things you might actually want to know.

Pattern: Dixie DIY Ballet dress

My current measurements (they fluctuate A LOT): 38.5″ (high bust 36″) – 31″ – 39″ at hip bones, 41.5″ around butt (Height 5’2″)

Size cut: M

Adjustments made: Took about 12mm out of the bodice length and a small swayback adjustment – I eyeballed it but it was probably about 1cm.

Fabric used: 2m of 150cm wide DINOSAUR PRINT cotton jersey (97% cotton, 3% spandex) from myfabrics.

In conclusion, I love this dress and am probably going to make eleventy three Ballet Dresses before I get bored. I might try a gathered skirt variation next.

I’ve got a few scraps of dinosaur fabric leftover that I was hoping to get a t’shirt out of for my pseudo nephew (my favourite cousin’s son) because he loves dinosaurs too but I have no idea where to even start looking for a good pattern. Any suggestions?

Outfit Along 2015

Click me to find out more

Or OAL2015 if you prefer.

I’m going to join in this year. I wanted to join in last year but I couldn’t really knit yet so it really wasn’t going to happen. I’m a pretty slow knitter so it might be a bit of a challenge to get my cardigan knitted in time but I’m hopeful.

I’m going to use the official cardigan pattern, Vianne, but not the dress pattern as it’s not really me. I’m going to be making a Sewaholic Cambie (or Cambie mashup) instead.

Lizzy House Natural History fabric
Lizzy House Natural History fabric

Check out that awesome fabric! As soon as I saw it on Instagram (on this dress by Julia from Stars and Sunshine) I had to have it. I couldn’t find any from a UK supplier but managed to find some on Etsy and snapped it up straight away. The pictures of Julia’s dress show the colours more accurately than mine, the fabric has a lot more purple in it than it looks like from the picture above.

The yarn I’m using is Cascade 220 Superwash in Amethyst Heather, which has a lovely mottled blue and purple look to it close up so I think it should look nice with the finished dress (and if it doesn’t, I’m going to rock it anyway).

Cascade 220 Superwash in Amethyst Heather
Cascade 220 Superwash in Amethyst Heather

I cast on my cardigan last night and haven’t gone horrifically wrong yet *touches wood*. I am a bit worried about keeping track of where I am but hopefully I’ll get into the swing of that after a few more rows (I’ve done 3). I’m cluelessleigh over on ravelry if anyone wants to be my friend. I’m a billy no mates over there at the moment.

I had hoped to get my dinosaur dress made in time to wear it to go see Jurassic World but I’m not sure I’m going to get time as I need to make a toile/muslin first. I am reeeally excited about Jurassic World. The other day, the Manfriend said to me, “It’s Chris Pratt* AND dinosaurs, however will you cope?” My answer: I won’t!

*Chris Pratt in a waistcoat no less! I love waistcoats.

Anyone else taking part in OAL2015? Are you as rubbish a knitter as me or will this be a breeze for you? More importantly, how excited are you for Jurassic World and how do you feel about waistcoats?