Category Archives: Sewing

sewing a summer skirt

Finding the right skirt is tricky – too short, too long, too sheer, too stiff, the list goes on and on. Discovering a perfect ready-to-wear skirt is like winning the jackpot for me. I like my skirts flowy but not frumpy (see my Pinterest board for what I mean)

handmade clothing: jersey skirt | little home by hand blog

Not suprisingly I decided that this summer I was going to make a few jersey skirts for myself. Jersey is such a great material to work with once you’ve gotten to know your serger.
This skirt is based off the Colette Moneta Dress pattern with a self-drafted rectangular waistband. The fabric is a medium weight jersey, the same one I used for my green Moneta dress.

You can always just use a rectangular piece of jersey too – just sew both pieces together, gather at the waist (I used elastic) and attach a waistband the way you would attach a neckband or cuffs on a regular jersey top (the Grainline Linden pattern has good instructions for this).
handmade clothing: jersey skirt | little home by hand blog
Voilà, a drapey skirt with just the right length. The waistband is a tiny bit too big but it doesn’t bother me enough to take it apart again.

Also sporting my new handbag in this picture – every time I am in Italy I end up buying a leather handbag at Avorio, whose factory is just down the road from my friends’. I only own three handbags total (keeping it simple – one for summer, one for winter and a big one), all of them from this same italian brand. In that way I am probably the least girly girl ever – using more than one handbag at a time just seems like a lot of hassle to me. Who wants to keep moving all their stuff from one bag to the next every day? Anyone else following a strict one bag policy?

more linden sweatshirts

My new favourite pattern might just be anything Jen from Grainline designs! My love affair with jersey is in full swing and after the success of my first Linden sweatshirt I just had to make a couple more!

This white jersey (viscose mix?) had been in my stash for years. Silky soft, drapey and just a joy to wear, this makes me feel like a hundred bucks instead of like I’m wearing a sweatshirt!

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt | little home by hand blog

Unfortunately white fabric photographs really badly. There is an issue with bubbly seams at both neck and hemline (anyone know how to avoid this?) but nevertheless I find myself reaching for this sweater constantly. Quite possibly the most wearable item I have ever made!

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt | little home by hand blog

My third Linden is made with a dense cotton jersey in a nondescript oatmeal color. Because it doesn’t drape as nicely I had categorized this as a near failure. Actually photographing it made me realize I really like it on me! It’s definitely less dressy and less ‘wear to work’ than the white version but I’ll quite possibly grow to love it for casual wear.

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt | little home by hand blog
Grainline Linden Sweatshirt | little home by hand blog
Grainline Linden Sweatshirt | little home by hand blog

Ironing – who invented it and why do we need to do it all the time?

Oh, a question – do you all hang or fold your tops and sweaters? I used to fold everything except dresses, cardigans and dressy shirts but I’ve recently tried to hang my sweaters to prevent wrinkles. Marie Kondo says you should listen to your clothes and they’ll tell you how they want to be treated and stored but I seem to have a bit of a communication problem going on with my Lindens.

Interestingly in combination of trying to live minimalistically and developing a capsule wardrobe I am edging closer to a signature look with lots of navy blue, white or cream colored tops and a generally loose and drapey fit. It’s a fascinating journey (well, if you are interested in clothes at all) and a work in progress.

What’s next? A Hemlock tee and a summer skirt – already sewn and photographed, to be blogged soon! Also, a jersey dress, another skirt and a Morris blazer in the to be made queue.

What are you sewing at the moment?

late to the game – my linden sweatshirt

Last! When it comes to sewing patterns I always seem to be late to the game – which is why I only now made my first Linden Sweatshirt.

Maybe I just needed to see everyone else’s first (see Ingrid’s gorgeous Lindens) and read them raving about this fantastic pattern before working up the courage to cut into this lovely striped jersey.

Linden sweatshirt. little home by hand blogLinden sweatshirt. little home by hand blogLinden sweatshirt. little home by hand blog

Sewing with jersey used to be one of those things I was always in awe of and it took me a long time to try it. Now it’s pretty much my favourite thing ever!! So easy and quick and when I’m not in the process of threading it I adore my serger!

Linden sweatshirt. little home by hand blogLinden sweatshirt. little home by hand blogLinden sweatshirt. little home by hand blog

Now for the pattern: Wow! I love how easy and slouchy and yet elegant this is! I was worried it would look too much like loungewear but it turned out totally wearable and easy to style up with a long necklace and a cardigan (by the way, I have basically been living in that H&M cashmere cardi and scarf all winter – best buys ever).

This pattern works great with stripes or solid colors and is one of those items that gets much wear in my wardrobe. Definitely a keeper! I’ve already worn it a lot and have two more simple Lindens in mind – you know that stage in making where you daydream about a project all day? Sweet 🙂

Have you made a Linden sweatshirt yet? Leave me a link in the comments, I’d love to see them!

pea green – colette moneta #2

I have a new obsession – knit dresses! Making my first Colette Moneta dress made me realize how comfortable and versatile a knit dress really is. And soo quickly done with a serger. Were it not for the elastic waist – don’t get me started on that.

I made this pea green version soon after my stripey grey one and finally got it photographed this weekend.

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blogThe fabric is a lovely jersey knit with a little less stretch than the striped fabric – thus the dress fits more snugly. It’s so hard to find a really nice green color and I just love this dress. A nice change from all the navy blue I usually wear.

Though I admit the grey tights weren’t the best choice – blue tights? Brown, black? Help me out here!

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blogNecklines are usually a spot of bother for me – they nearly always gape at front and back in any pattern. I use Rae’s method of taking off the excess fabric while tracing the pattern onto the fabric and it works like a dream. Just letting you know in case you ever run into the same problem.

I love that these dresses can be worn in virtually any season. I look forward to wearing them in winter with thick knit cardigans. A handmade dress with a handknit cardigan – pretty cool, huh!

If you’re itching to make your own – find the pattern here.

creative blog hop

I have been invited by Liesl to join the the creative blog hop and talk about my creative process. I love answering questions like these, it’s always an opportunity to reflect and I usually find out something about myself that I didn’t know before I got writing and thinking!

Check out previous posts by Liesl, Inge and Melody (who invited me too a few weeks ago but whose message I read too late to participate then).

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhat am I working on?

I am primarily a photographer but I strive to incorporate handmade in all areas of my life – I sew, knit, garden and cook, with varying success.

Photography wise in between doing some fall portrait photoshoots I am working on putting a new travel photo series in my shop with images of a trip to Canada I took this year. It’s a long process of culling, editing, having samples printed, re-editing, stocking, writing descriptions and finally listing and promoting.

Fall is also knitting season for me – I am working on a new cardigan and there might be a shawl and a new pair of socks in sight too.

I have some sewing projects waiting to happen but since sewing takes much more of an effort to set up and requires me getting off the couch these take a backseat over knitting right now.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my work differ from others of its genre?

Does it? I see a lot of incredible artists creating wonderful things and I am not at all sure how my work differs, except that I always wish it was better! It has a certain, very colorful look for sure. I find every artist has their own style and it’s impossible to break that. Two people can photograph the exact same scene and their photos will be completely different. Nobody can see the world as you yourself see it and that’s wonderful. At the same time I see many people inspired by the same things and I am glad for kindred spirits who capture the beauty of the world in their own way.

I am not someone who gets lost in only one thing forever. Yes, photography is ‘it’ for me, but my other creative pursuits are also a big and necessary part of my life. I am interested in so many different things. Maybe that sets me apart from some other artists, who dive very deeply into one subject matter.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhy do I create what I do?

I have always felt a need to create. Working with my hands and building something useful with them is as much a physical need as a mental one for me.

As a child I knew only that it made me happy. As an adult I also see another level to it – handmade has a value of its own. I want to live in a world where we still do things with our hands and value the process and materials. The animals and plants our wool and leather, fabric and color come from – they’re real, they existed, they have value. By making things by hand and using them I feel like I honor that worth.

As much as technology and media has expanded our world (and I revel in that) it sometimes feels like we are now very exposed and very anonymous at the same time – everything laid bare, interconnected and yet much more automatized and impersonal. Creating and building a life based on making things with my hands and knowing where they came from grounds and comforts me. Knitting a cardigan out of natural fibers warms the cold polyester world around me.

With my photography I try to capture feelings and emotions – the invisible connection between two people, the wonder at nature’s beauty in a world so far removed from it, the joy of shaping rough yarn into something wearable, the pride of watching a tiny seedling turn into a thriving edible plant under my hands.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my creative process work?

It’s a strange mixture of intuition and careful thought. My inspiration comes from nature, from connecting with other artists and from sites like Pinterest and Instagram. From there I try to break it down and shape the images and thoughts and feelings they conjure to my own needs. It’s a tough balance – being inspired but still doing things my own way.

With a craft project I usually need to give an idea time to grow, to take root and shape itself in my head. It’s quite unnerving, mulling something over in my head for days until the image has sharpened enough to be put into action.

With photography it’s often much more intuitive (which can be even more unnerving). I sometimes meet my portrait clients for the first time on location and I need to grasp immediately how these people tick, what makes them beautiful and tickle it out of them while also trying to use the location to its best advantage. My travel photography is much more relaxed, I simply capture moments as they happen, completely immersed in my own emotions and experience of the scenery.

 

Liesl, thanks so much for inviting me! Lindsay and Ruth, two wonderful creatives and bloggers, will be continuing the blog hop and will have their posts up within the next two weeks so hop on over to their blogs too.

sewing a knit dress – colette moneta

Hm, so that definitely wasn’t the plan to be away from this space for weeks on end! I’ve started a post on why I stayed away from all my internet spaces but it’s quite personal and I’m not sure I’m ready to share it yet. So let’s just say for now I’m back and I’ve been spending some quality time with my sewing machine and serger!

I’ve wanted to try my hand at a nice knit dress for a while and the Colette Moneta Dress seemed a perfect candidate.

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blogI’ve had little success with earlier Colette patterns but whoa – the Moneta blew me away! I made size XS and the fit is nearly perfect. The striped jersey fabric was from my stash and I was happy to finally find the right pattern for it.

Sewing with knits is in many ways so simple – just serge together and done. IF the serger thread doesn’t break. Then there will be sweat and tears. I will also not talk about how I redid the elastic waist part four times because I was sure I could outsmart the description on how to do it (I couldn’t). Turns out ripping out overlock stitching is much less fun than ripping out straight stitch…

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blog Much as I have come to love sewing with knits there is always the minor issue of hemming. My treadle sewing machine does only straight stitch and I can’t use a twin needle with it either. Yes I tried and yes, it broke – there goes an expensive twin needle. Oh well. I suspect I could use it with a different stitch plate but chances on finding one for an 85 year old machine are pretty slim.

Contrary to what the books say you can actually sew a straight stitch on a knit fabric as long as it’s not a part that stretches continually when wearing the garment (then the thread will likely break). So, I hem knits by serging and then using straight stitch. I’m counting on the fact that very few people I meet know how to sew and nobody will notice that I’m doing it wrong.

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blogI think I’ve found the perfect dress for me in the Moneta pattern. I have since made another in a solid color (to be blogged soon) and have received so many compliments when I wear either of these dresses. They are just incredibly flattering for my body shape, showing off waist and curves and managing to make me feel both comfortable and elegant in them. I forsee many similar dresses in my wardrobe soon!

Sewing with knits, straight stitches and all – what are your thoughts?

 

 

red scout tee

scout tee. little home by hand blog.
I’ve been itching to get back to my sewing machine. Sewing seems to come in phases for me, sometimes I can’t get enough and have a hundred ideas playing ping pong in my head and sometimes I’m just frustrated with whatever I come up with.
This Scout tee was actually made months ago, but with a little collar that looked very cute in my head and decidedly less cute on the actual shirt.
sewing. little home by hand blog.
scout tee. little home by hand blog.
So it sat there, unloved, unworn for a while until I finally worked up the motivation to rip the collar out and finish it with bias tape. The fabric is a red voile, soft and nearly sheer.
scout tee. little home by hand blog.
scout tee. little home by hand blog.
A simple but versatile little tee that will hopefully see lots of wear this summer.

baby gift – star pillow tutorial

It seems at a certain age all your girlfriends start getting pregnant. Which in turn gives me an opportunity to think up handmade gifts for them and their babies! Cue this little star pillow I made for a friend’s baby boy:
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.
Inspired by star pillows on Etsy I decided to make my own. It’s a nice little evening project.
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.
Draw a star form on paper in the size you want your pillow to be, add seam allowances and cut your template. Cut two pieces from contrasting fabric. I chose some green fabric I had in my stash which also makes it gender neutral.
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.
I also added a stitched face to make it look friendlier. The lines are drawn on with a pencil and then stitched with embroidery floss.
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.
Sew with right sides together, leaving an opening in one of the star legs. Ahem, yes my stars were cut pretty roughly and don’t fit together perfectly. Just cut away any excess fabric once you’re done sewing. I chose to handsew because a. I love me a little handsewing on the couch and b. I couldn’t be bothered to get the sewing machine up for just a few seams.
Clip the corners and curves and turn the pillow inside out. Stuff with polyfill and handsew the opening shut. Et voilà! A sweet, handmade baby gift made in one evening.
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.

half circle skirt for fall

Skirts are such a wonderful wardrobe addition, they immediately dress up an outfit. I’d been thinking about adding a half circle skirt to my fall wardrobe for a while and when I found this navy blue fabric I knew it would work great. Everyone knows full circle skirts but for a similar look with less fullness, half and quarter circle skirts are just as easy to make and more suited for everday wear (in my opinion at least).
half circle skirt. tidytipsy
I hadn’t sewn without a pattern for a while and shied away from the required maths, but after searching for tutorials online I settled on these instructions (One | Two ) and in the end it was way easier than it seemed at first.
The fabric is a lovely cotton that is at the same time heavy weight (drapes beautifully) and almost see-through light. Odd, but perfect for this skirt.
half circle skirt. tidytipsy
The zipper at the back is handpicked and the waistband closes with snaps. The waistband itself is blindstitched to the inside by hand.
half circle skirt. tidytipsy
I had originally planned to finish the hem with hem tape, which I didn’t have so I tried bias tape. Bad idea. Had to rip all that out again and settled for a very simple double folded hem in the end which works much better.
half circle skirt. tidytipsy
All in all a quick project for a versatile wardrobe item that can be dressed up or down easily. It actually came out fuller than I had imagined so next time I’ll try a quarter circle skirt!

a tova for fall

Back at the sewing machine after a too long break. I made a skirt during my days off which I’ve yet to blog but I couldn’t resist sharing this Wiksten Tova blouse first. I won’t go into how much I love these patterns (again)…
tova blouse. tidytipsy
I am consciously trying to slow down, in keeping with the season but also with what I know is good for me. Due to an annoying old horseriding injury I move slower as well and I try to enjoy being in the moment more.
What’s this got to do with sewing? I hadn’t stopped to actually enjoy sewing, the motions of making something wearable out of a piece of cloth, for a while and I did that with this blouse.
tova blouse. tidytipsy
the love of sewing. tidytipsy
I took my time, savouring each step of the process. The fabric is a lovely, buttery cotton batiste which was a joy to handle.
the love of sewing. tidytipsy
the love of sewing. tidytipsy
the love of sewing. tidytipsy
I even handbasted the seams that the pattern called for and yes, it does save time in the end and makes the seam finishes so much prettier.
As always there was a bit of a hiccup with the front inset corners but apart from that, sewing up this pattern was smooth sailing and pure joy.
tova blouse. tidytipsy
tova blouse. tidytipsy
I think it shows in the result too. It’s well made and I even like my topstitching. There are imperfections and parts I’d like to redo (as always) but on the whole I’m really happy with it.
tova blouse. tidytipsy
tova blouse. tidytipsy