Reviews: May 2011 Archives
Liberty of London- Just say it out loud. It just sounds like great fabric. Saying that words bring pictures of English countryside, blooming flowers, tea heavy in the air and double-decker buses. Saying the name "Liberty of London" makes me want to sew. And sew I have. I was given 2 yards of Liberty of London Lawn Pepper Green (one of our MANY gorgeous prints from Liberty of London) as soon as it arrived in our shop and told to make something great but try to keep the project small and fun. Well, that was no problem given that it is spring, almost summer. I decided on 2 projects to show the variety of Liberty. These prints are perfect for wee people as well as adults and it is perfect for warm weather.
My first project was the trickiest because I wanted a sleeveless shirt but nothing with too much detail to compete with the print of the fabric. I sorted through the Fabric.com pattern catalog but didn't find anything I loved! Well, I became sidetracked with a personal project of making new PJs for myself and found the pattern that was perfect for the Liberty of London. It is HotPatterns Cupid Cami (And it's a free pattern download!). Originally designed as a PJ top, I didn't see why with a fabric substitution it would not make the most wonderful summer top. I love being right. With some Hanky Weight Linen as my bias tape, this cami took approx 1 yard of Liberty of London (you are safe with just ordering 1 yd) and about 2-3 hours to complete (having had to make the bias tape). I did have to add darts of 4 in. long by 1 in. wide at the bust but that was my only modification. This top is easy to make and can be easily modified for a longer length; it hit right at my hips. The ties at the top are so much fun and make me feel like a kid again. I do recommend that when you sew the front to the back that you start at the bottom when matching up the sides. If you start at the top, it will not match up once you get to the bottom. Once you sew the seam, it will all work out.
My second project also took approx 1 yd and came from Heather Ross Weekend Sewing. I have made the Flower Girl before and know it runs a little small so I made the size 4 for my 2 yr old; I want her to have it for several summers. This print really brought out something in this pattern that the other dress did not have. The Liberty of London print sort of 'fits' this pattern like no other fabric. The Flower Girl dress also went to together super quick, 2 hours or so. I cut my skirt length to 20 in. to make it longer like in the book photograph. The other modifications were to topstitch the gathers in place once I had pressed the bodice seam towards the skirt and I made the straps a bit wider at 1.5 in. I think even a bit wider than that would still look great. You could even get away with some flat piping where the bodice and skirt meet. You could not ask for a better combination of dress and print for little girls.
The flow and drape of the Liberty of London Lawn is light and delicate with an airiness that will be most welcome come the balmy days of summer. The print reminds me of my childhood, of picnics and climbing trees. You can't beat the soft hand or bright colors; this is a fabric that needs to be in your closet.
My first big crochet project and I am feeling pretty good about it. I have been drooling over the Irish Lace Scarf pattern (Nicky Epstein for Lion Brand) ever since Fabric.com featured it as a thumbnail for our Yarn Section. This is a great pattern for beginners. It is still a little tricky but a good way to expand your crochet knowledge. I had stumbled a bit on the scarf with the last stitch of each row's placement but with some experimentation decided to stitch into the spaces for the last stitches instead of the chain as the pattern states. I also had trouble with the Roses. Crochet seems to be more 3D than knitting which I think of as more back and forth and if you want to build you must go back and pick up stitches. But this is not the case with crochet; you can just as easily build out as you can back and forth. When the Rose Pattern called for 'working behind' rows I was stumped. No- I was beyond stumped. As a knitter I could not see how it was possible. However, with the help of this fine video I was able to see through my ignorance and work out the Rose.
From Hot Patterns, this Sporty Sarong-Short free pattern is awesome! The garment has the appearance of a skirt, comfort of shorts, and cute tie accent in front. I was a little hesitant of the "skort" aspect myself... but, really... what a practical garment! These are fashion-forward modern skorts. And I love them. Choose a printed fabric to make them, and you won't even be able to tell they are actually shorts; great for dressing up or dressing down!
The cut of the pattern is marvelous, and so easy to put together! I chose the rayon challis print from the Style Studio collection. Challis is a dream to work with, and the drape is perfect for this style of garment. You want something with some flow and drape to it. Also try voile, linen or peachskin! For my next project I want to combine this pattern with a top pattern and attach the two to make these into a sporty sarong-short romper!
Add another one to my "Love" column; Oliver + S's Sunday Brunch Jacket is a must have for your kid's wardrobe. #1 (and you readers know that this is always #1 for me) It was a fast project. As adorable and fabulous as this jacket looks on the envelope, one would think it would be difficult or time consuming at the least. Neither is true. This is an easy pattern and really took half as long as I originally banked. There are not that many pattern pieces (this equals limited cutting) and the instructions were pie. I really loved this pattern.
I also love how casually dressy (AKA- comfy fancy) it is. My daughter has plenty of the typical toddler jackets which are mostly cotton or a cotton/poly blend in generic primary colors or uber-girl colors with a hood and zipper. They are great for play (especially with her affinity for puddles) but I can't throw one of those jackets one over a cute dress for a birthday party, holiday dinner or anywhere nice we need to go. And sometimes I just do want something nicer than the norm but still comfy for her. My 2 yr old shouldn't know the difference between a regular jacket and a nice jacket and luckily with this pattern all of the above it true. I can make this pattern in just about any fabric and it is still nice but still washable and comfy for her.
Now for the Mods: I limited my modifications for this pattern today since I was focusing on the use of Home Dec fabric for the jacket. This Amy Butler Love print is so bright and fun that I thought it was perfect for a kid's jacket. It doesn't hurt that now she and I can match, should we choose. The 100% Cotton has a soft hand and forgiving pattern. I did not add cuffs since I made the 3T size and I wanted to make it easy to let out the sleeves when the time comes. I also did not interface since I was using a heavier weight fabric. I would suggest finishing the seams with bias tape as you go not when the instructions call for it. If you follow the instructions you will be adding bias tape to seams that have already been edge stitched and that is tricky. I suggest finishing with bias tape first then edge stitching. Also, I suggest the Riley Blake buttons since they are CUTE and perfect for this jacket.
I can't wait to make the skirt but I will opt for a navy solid or navy with mini dots instead of matching it to the jacket. This jacket will make its debut Sunday on Mother's day. I can't wait to button those buttons and escort her around in her new jacket! I also recommend trying the jacket in Denim, Linen or Seersucker.
Never have I felt an adrenaline rush from crafting before but there is something about vigorously stabbing felt with a needle over and over that gives a rush that no other craft can. Needle felting is good therapy for moms, young ladies planning wedding or teens with angst (or just people in general but it is more fun to name off random identifiers). I never would have pegged myself as an enjoyer of needle felt because I love ready-made felt so much. Just as I have no desire to spin yarn but I do love yarn, I never desired to make the felt that I loved so much. However, when I stumbled across Felt works Learn Needle Felting Kit, I thought "Why not. It's for the blog."
Well, it was fun! And worth the effort (effort it is too). Needle felting is very easy to pick up, especially if you watch one of the Clover videos (We carry all the Clover tools you will need). The kit comes with all you need to make the project pictured but if you are really into it buy the supplies separate (Needle mat, needle felting tool). Not that the supplies that come with the kit aren't great but you only get 2 needles (fine for small project like this one but not for bigger) and the foam supplied isn't going to last more than 2 projects. Mine was sort of malformed and lumpy when I got done with my appliqué. But you can use the needles on other projects and you get PLENTY of wool roving.
This flower project is very simple and I caught on thanks to the Clover videos. I started with tiny bit but then learned how to judge how much roving I needed and where. Sometimes it helped to roll the roving up into a log or a ball to get into tight areas. Also, you initially hold down the roving but only 1-2 jabs with the needle will hold it in place so you don't have to constantly worry about stabbing yourself (NOT good therapy). In all it took about 30-45 min to finish this project but I felt so relaxed and myself afterward. I have since found other applications for needle felting: on crocheted eggs, over at Craftzine, and Betz White. I hope you enjoy needle felting as much as I do and don't forget to share your project on our Facebook Wall or on twitter.
P.S. The Feltworks kit suggests using your flower as a pocket or an appliqué. I opted for the appliqué and crafted up a wand with fabric scraps instead of ribbons. It is adorable!