Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Order, order!

A new favourite skirt, hot off the sewing machine:

It's the Lisette Market Skirt in a thick charcoal wool, unusually (for me) embellished with lots and lots of ribbons.  I had a very particular vision for this skirt: multicoloured ribbons cut to random lengths all criss-crossing one another in dramatic diagonal stripes around the hemline. 

Then I came to pin the ribbons in place and something in my sewing subconscious said "no". So I pinned them in parallel lines instead, to keep my inner self happy.

I left the right side-seam - the one without the zip - open to allow for easier access to applique all those ribbons. A few would have crossed over the other side-seam, so I left those unfinished and then stitched them after closing it up.

The hem is finished with an Oliver+S trick from the Lazy-Days Skirt: one last ribbon used as a hem facing and top-stitched to the right side.

Look at that stepwise pattern! I really thought the ribbons were placed randomly (within the limits of being parallel, of course) but a pattern emerged despite all my best efforts...

So, this is my order-out-of-chaos skirt, and I'm loving it. As a happy side-effect, my ribbon store is a lot more ordered and less chaotic than it used to be. Perhaps I should listen to my inner organiser more often.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Almost effortless glovelets

Happy new year from runcibledays!

I've started the year with the simplest sewing imaginable: felt and fleece tubes with a hole in the side.

Here they are in action:

Are they fingerless gloves, or just wrist warmers with pretensions? Either way, they are just right for those in-between days in winter, and they take less time to make than a pot-noodle.

Looking at the photo above, I think they are probably just a variation that thing which schoolboys do with their jumpers to keep their hands warm: the one where they pull the cuffs down over their knuckles, and then wriggle their thumbs through holes in the seams. Maybe that's why my boys loved them immediately, declared them to be 'cool', and asked for several pairs each.

 They work for baby hands as well, and are much easier to put on than real gloves with actual fingers...

Yet, despite their many good points, my husband looked dubious when I planned to write about them. "It's not really a pattern, is it?" he ventured (cautiously, given that he was on my territory), "I mean, even I could make them".

He's probably right, but something so simple and practical deserves a place on runcibledays, especially as it lends itself perfectly to using up scraps and up-cycling laundry disasters (I used a felted wool jumper, but socks might work even better). Here's what I did:

I cut two squares of felted wool, long enough to reach from knuckles to beyond wrists.

I folded them in half and sewed down the long side. 
The fabric needs to stretch widthways for a tight-ish fit.

I snipped a little semi-circle about 5cm from the top edge of each glovelet.
(On my first attempt I snipped from the opposite side to the seam, but this meant that the seam ended up very visible on the back of the hands. The seam positions shown above gave a better finish with the seam ending up more towards the palm).

Then I turned them both to the right side...

... and made some more...

... and some more.

So no, it's not an actual pattern, but it's a quick and gratifying project for anyone with access to old socks and a pair of scissors. 

Wishing you happy sewing and warm hands for 2012!