Monday, 11 June 2012

In hope of summer...

As the UK seems to be gripped by monsoons, the sun, summer skies and warmth seem to be a distant dream.  This hasn't stopped me from making a start on some summer additions to my wardrobe...




I decided to make myself a lightweight cardi for the warmer months using the Sirdar 376 Cotton Crochet booklet.  I've made two of the smallest size last year with great success and I am a big fan of the fact that the large yarn manufacturers, especially Sirdar, offer multi-sized patterns to accommodate children and adults.  Everyone loves to feel they're getting value for money.  I had this batch of vintage 4 ply crepe (one of my ebay finds) sat in my stash waiting for the right project.  The crepe works well as the stitch stays crisp looking and the flower blocks on the border required minimal blocking (this means general pressing of finished cardi!) I did make two modifications to the pattern - I can never seem to leave a pattern alone and have to have a tinker with it!  I did a couple of extra pattern repeats on the sleeves before starting the shaping for the sleeve top to create a slightly longer cap sleeve , and I also worked a row of double crochet along the bottom to help 'square' off the blocks.  Oh and I added two buttons to close..
I also made a start on this Simplicity 2927 tunic/dress pattern. I plan to make the sleeveless dress version but felt it would be wise to have a test run with the tunic version - and I am so glad  I did!  I love this cool turquoise linen - the geometric print has a Moroccan feel and is highlighted with a touch of silver thread.  I am most definitely a novice seamstress and I was left a tad baffled by the the seams on the side front and central pattern.  The instructions were more than a little vague and left me checking that I had cut the pattern pieces correctly - it was a bit like fitting a square peg in a tiny round hole as I couldn't figure out why I didn't have enough fabric to reach the supposed end of the seam!  Once I'd worked out that these were curved or princess seams, I consulted my very own sewing bible (The Complete Book of Sewing) and filled in the huge blank left by the pattern instructions.  




This book is amazing as it has super clear written and step by step illustrations.  It was a marvellous find, courtesy of my mum, in a local charity shop for the princely sum of £2.






After much tweaking and careful pinning and repinning, I completed the two seams and am amazed by the result (only one small wrinkle).  More by luck than judgement (basically a complete fluke), the pattern matches almost perfectly between the panels - bet I couldn't do that again!


One thing I have learnt with sewing is always stop when you've almost had enough and never do that one more bit.  This is  almost certainly going to not turn out right and will end in you being cross, cursing and busy with the seam ripper!!  Here's hoping that my finishing this top coincides with the start of our summer...


Every once in a while, you hear a heart breaking story that makes you have a bit of a reality check and shoves all of the things bothering you into perspective.  I heard one of those today and it made me really grateful of my life and determined not to let the challenges that come my way become mountains instead of the molehills that they are...



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