Monthly Archives: July 2014

Another crochet minion

Kevin the minion became an instant hit in my family, but we didn’t want him to get lonely or bored so meet his friend, Ed:

Crochet minion front view

Crochet minion side view

This minion was much quicker to make as I’d already figured out the basic pattern with Kevin.  It was easy to shorten his body to be “regular” minion size.  After threading through his hair I gave him gradually shorter haircuts until the length seemed right.  Then there was only a little trial and error to get his bigger, single eye looking good.

Crochet minions

Kevin looks happy to have a friend!  The minions are proving quite popular, so I’ll be making some more variations, but for now I’ll leave you with Kevin and Ed having a little explore…

Crochet minions and horse ornament

Crochet minions in flowers

Crochet minions

Crochet minions

Crochet minions

Crochet minions and house

Cotton Belcarra Blouse

As I was so happy with my first Sewaholic Belcarra blouse, it wasn’t long before I made a second one:

Belcarra blouse in cotton lawn

This time I used cotton lawn (from Goldhawk Road), so it doesn’t drape as much as my first viscose version but it still looks ok and is great to wear in the hot weather we’ve been having in London lately.

While shopping for the fabric, I was choosing between a few lovely (but very colourful and busy) cotton lawn prints and so decided to step out of the shop for a little breather while I debated the look I wanted.  But then as I was leaving the shop, I noticed this fabric by the door – pretty unassuming in comparison to the others, but I was drawn to it (and it didn’t hurt that it was a lot cheaper!).  I decided to go for this one as a trial run since I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the look of the top in cotton.  However, I’m now very glad I went with this simple print as it is so easy to wear.   I’ve also noticed that I don’t have many light coloured tops, so this is a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

Must try to remember to give plain and simple fabrics fair consideration on future fabric shopping trips!

Belcarra blouse in cotton lawn

Since it is a simple print I thought it would be a good one to try out the shoulder pin tucks of view B.  I like how this detail adds a bit more interest to the top.

Belcarra blouse pin tuck detail

Adjustments wise, I narrowed the neckline and broadened the shoulders as with my first Belcarra and I shortened the front by 1.5cm (gently curving to meet the original hem line in the back) so it sits better on me.

Not too much to say about the construction as it was straightforward the second time around.  There was a bit of unpicking when I realised I’d folded to a seam notch instead of a tuck notch on my first shoulder, but luckily the holes from the incorrect stitching line pretty much disappeared with a bit of steam pressing .  As with my first version I found the cuffs a bit tricky to insert, but this is definitely getting easier with practice.

My first two Belcarras are getting a good amount of wear, so there could be another one soon…

Simplicity 1693

My sewing plans at the moment have a focus on summery tops as with the good weather we’ve been having of late, I’ve realised I don’t have many tops that I like to wear when it is warm and sunny.

Recently I was kindly offered a Simplicity pattern of my choice in exchange for a review and after drooling over a few dresses that in reality were beyond my current capabilities (and that I’d be unlikely to wear much), I homed in on Simplicity 1693 as it fits right in with my more summer tops plan and includes an impressive number of variations.

For my first version I made view C but without the waist elastic.  I was so pleased with the finished top that I wore it out just a few hours after finishing it!

Simplicity 1693

You may recognise the fabric from my first Belcarra.  It felt a little weird making another top from the same fabric so soon, but I knew that it would drape the way I wanted so went ahead.

The only issue I had with the pattern was the sizing.  Going by the size chart, I should have been a 14 grading to 16, but luckily I made a quick toile and found that the top swamped me.  I then compared the pattern pieces to those of the Belcarra and Sorbetto tops I’ve made and decided that a 12 grading to 14 should fit better.  I also lengthened the pattern by 3 cm at the hem since I’m tall.

Simplicity 1693 side view

The top is pretty straight forward to sew together and I used French seams throughout (the pattern instructions include details on how to do them).  My darts ended up rather wonky, which I think was due to a combination of my trying a new method of making the pattern marks (dressmakers carbon and tracing wheel instead of pins and marking pencils) and the fabric being more mobile than the cottons I’d generally used so far.  Luckily the dark fabric and print do a good job of hiding the wonky-ness!

The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding facings, so I made bias strips with the same fabric.  For the armholes I tried out the technique described by Lauren of lladybird as part of her outfit along, except I folded the bias tape in half before applying (a la the Belcarra instructions) instead of folding and pressing twice once sewn on.  Even though I’m not taking part in the outfit along, I’ve really been enjoying Lauren’s detailed posts and feel like I’ve learnt loads – the time and thought she has put in is quite something.

Simplicity 1693 front view

I like the button closure detail at the back of this top (the neck is large enough for me that the button opening isn’t necessary, but I like how it looks) and this provided my first go at making a thread loop.  I found a few different ways of doing this online, but ended up just following the diagram in the pattern, think it has worked out ok for a first attempt, you can’t really see it anyway.

Simplicity 1693 button detail

The button closure means there is a centre back seam to this top.  I did think about pattern matching this seam, but didn’t have much fabric left so decided instead to place the pieces such that there wouldn’t be a bright or big flower along the seam so that it is somewhat disguised, I think this worked out ok.

Simplicity 1693 back

Trying the top on pre-hemming it looked a bit longer at the front than the back (I think this must be due to my shape or posture because I noticed the same with the Belcarra).  This was really noticeable if I wore a belt (to try to test out how it would look with the waist elastic), so I decided to trim a bit off the front.  I got a bit carried away and took about 4.5 cm off the centre front, tapering to the original length at the side seams.  I didn’t think the top looked very good with the belt any more so left out the elasticated waist, but I quite like the gentle high/low hem that this has created (like a subtler version of view F).

Overall I’m pretty happy with this top and now will be on the lookout for suitable fabric to make a contrast collar version…

New for me with this make:

  • Making a thread loop
  • New method of applying a bias facing