Trying something new – moving blog

When I started this blog I just wanted to write random ramblings again.

Then last week i became inspired to try something a bit more focused and new and came up with “Wool Principle“. I will continue my blogging over there regarding anything craft and especially knitting related. https://woolprinciple.com/blog/ 

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Review: Knitting Project bags

Note: What follows is my own opinions and I have not received any incentive to review any product.

What do you use as a project bag? Perhaps you have made your own or bought one?

I have bought some and also made some. Initially I invested into project bags because I was going to be commuting by train and wanted something sturdy to carry my knitting in that would last.

Make your own: The Stowe bag

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Enter the Stowebag which was made by collaboration between Fringe Association and Grainline Studio. Having previously been an avid seamstress this seemed to be best starting point for me. I had some canvas fabric and sturdy furnishing fabric that really needed a purpose. 🙂

The pattern comes in 2 sizes. I made both in my first go. The small and the large version. The bias tape finishing is clever if a bit fiddly at first but it is good practice, if you need to practice this technique.

The small one was perfect for on the go and fitted small shawls, and all sorts of hats and would be great for socks and the beginnings of a jumper too. It may even fit a cropped jumper.

The large one will fit anything you could dream of bringing. I actually found it to be a bit overwhelming and could never find anything in it. I also think the handles came out a bit big but maybe I made it wrong. I only made the large size once. It is mostly used for storage inside my wardrobe.

I have however made an adjusted version of the small bag again in a waxed cotton and love it. It is lined with a fun linen fabric and has become my go to bag for socks.

You have the option to sew the bag so it stands up or you can leave that part out.

Buy one: Fringe Field Bag

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The fringe field bag is really popular and more interesting and varied versions keep being added. I am not sure if I am an addict but I currently own three; grey, toffee and black.

I was nervous when I bought this bag as I had never seen one in person and was ordering it from the US. We now have a UK local stockist so no more thoughts of “Will the postman lose mine”. But when I ordered it, I was nervous that it may not be as good as it looked but I certainly wasn’t disappointed. It is well made and super sturdy. The canvas fabric softens up with use and the leather handle ages! I hadn’t noticed this until I put my bags all next to each other.

There are generous pockets and the bag closes nicely with drawstrings. It stands up in its own making it a portable Yarn bowl in a sense.

The grey bag has come with me all over the world in the last 2 years of my knitting adventures and you wouldn’t know it. It is still lovely and a joy to use.

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What is your favourite project bag? Have you made your own or bought one?

Sewing: Merchant and Mills Fielder dress

A few weeks ago I went on a trip to Rye with members of the knitting group from YAK in Brighton.

It was a lovely Friday. We took the train to Rye and knitted all the way. I get a bit nervous about social interactions but everyone is so lovely and welcoming and I had a blast.

The main purpose of the trip, apart from knitting in public together, was to go to the Merchant and Mills store and marvel at all the fabrics, try on the samples and oogle the many accessories.

I must say their linen’s are divine. I have never made one of their patterns but I tried on the fielder dress in the store in a gorgeous aubergine/dark red linen with matching cotton ribbing. Needless to say I bought all the bits and pieces to copy this sample.

The fielder dress pattern is very roomy. My other half keeps asking why I make these bag dresses but they are comfy, and quick to make. Not a lot of fitting to think about and also not a lot of pieces to cut.

One of my favourite design details of the fielder dress, which you cannot see on the line drawings, is a dart in the sleeve. This creates a lovely shape and the sleeves fit really nicely.

I was doubtful about the general shape and the 3/4 length sleeves but I love all of it now.

Before I made the linen version I also made a version using very light denim, maybe chambray, I cannot remember. I accented it with grey cotton ribbing I got from Ditto Fabrics a while back. The fabric is a bit stiffer than the linen but the silhouette still works I think.

Have you made the fielder dress?

Sewing: Pattern cutting – trouser block class

On Sunday I met with one of my best friends who I have mentioned on this blog before and who really is the reason I 1. sew, 2. knit and 3. blog about it. 🙂

We went to a little fabric shop in London called Ray Stitch to attend a sewing class. My first ever class! We took the Pattern cutting – Trouser block class.

The description of the class was:

Pattern cutting demystified with minimal maths and a lot of fun!

  • Create a trouser block which will fit you to perfection
  • Make your own unique toile and learn how to make small adjustment
  • Learn how to adapt your paper pattern to realise your own designs
  • Use your new skills to give your commercial patterns a personalised fit

 

I have made a couple of pairs of trousers in the past. I am pear shaped and hence have struggled with many RTW trousers let alone sewing my own. The one I was quite successful with was the Thurlow pattern. So I was super excited to learn how to take my measurements properly and create a block from them.

The Class

We were 5 students and the teacher Alice.

Alice was brilliant. She’s a whirlwind of information and has great anectdotes of working in the industry of sewing and pattern cutting for some big names.

We were downstairs in the shop and were reassured we would have time to shop during lunch or after the class. The shop has lots of sample garments made up which I thought was awesome!

The space for the class however was a bit cramped for 6 people plus the odd customer. That was the only downside but at the same time didn’t distract from the learnings.

Making a block was ridiculously simple especially on dot paper and using the tools Alice provided. These you can of course buy at the end of the course. And they are just magic!

You can see the top of my block here.


All you need is 3 measurements to make it and a bit of maths, and the magic tools!

Between us we all worked it out. Among awkward crotch adjustments and comparing crotch rises we had a lot of laughs.

We made our own blocks and traced off a pattern by lunchtime.

The lovely folks from ray stitch provided many sandwiches, coffees, teas and cakes throughout the day.

After lunch we all made a muslin to check any special fit requirements. Everyone’s fitted nicely mostly but some extra adjustments were suggested by Alice and transferred to our blocks.

Mine was to lengthen my darts by 1 cm in the front.

We then spent a couple of hours working on mini patterns, designing pockets, waistbands, and generally learning how to manipulate our pattern blocks to make any style of trouser we could find in the books Alice brought. This was super fun and led me to buy some lovely wool to make some nice wide legged trousers.

I was also intrigued by another book Alice brought along, by David Coffin, which had a tonne of illustrations.


Does anyone have it? Is it good?

Among books we also got to inspect many pairs of trousers our teacher had made using her block which was fascinating.

Really the world is your oyster if you can pattern cut using your own measurements. I’m so excited!

Question: Do you have a sewing block for part of your body?

 

Make your own: Pinafore dress

You may have seen my travel post about our trip to Bristol, yesterday.

Well while there in the cafe I spotted this awesome Pinafore dress. I LOVE dinosaurs and always have. It was actually quite funny because I thought she was wearing dungarees, like my friend’s little boy was who I only saw a couple of days before.

But when she left I noticed it was a dress and quickly searched for it and found that it was from Run & Fly clothing. You can see it here.

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Now a confession, I have never in my adult life worn dungarees or a pinafore dress. But this dress will not leave my mind.

I also love the idea of trying to make one myself, so I created an inspiration board here on pinterest.

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My Pinafore Pinterest Board

Fabric

The original uses corduroy. Luckily my local fabric store has a lot of beautiful corduroy in store right now. You can see them online at dittofabrics.co.uk.

If you fancy corduroy with some prints, the eternal maker has a small collection here and fancy moon has some awesome robot print.

For denim and denim prints Abakhan has a nice selection.

 

Pattern

There seem to be a few available at the moment. Simply Sewing had a free patter with their September issue.

Or you could adjust these dungarees. Or there is this one by Jennifer, the Ivy. But my favourite option is this by Pauline Alice. Pauline provided a tutorial on how to turn the pattern into a pinafore dress.

Also if you are serious, Karen from Didyoumakethat has a great post on how to attach the metal buttons.

Happy Sewing!

EDIT: Since writing this post in its first draft Tilly and the buttons released a pinafore pattern and posted an amazing inspiration post here.

Question: Have you made dungarees or a pinafore? Was it a success?