Saturday, 27 February 2016

My Second Anya Bag

After how much I loved my first anya bag I just had to make another one. 

I've already waxed lyrically about how much I love this pattern and how well SoZo wrote it so I won't cover all that again.

Construction wise I just followed the condensed version of the instructions, I like this colour way a lot more than my previous Anya Bag it just feels a lot more like me. 

The outer fabric is this awesome woven blue and white thing that I was given by my Nan. I have no idea where she got it from but its fully luscious, I actually love it and this was the last of it , which makes me really sad.

In fact I had so little of the fabric left that I had to cut all of the pieces out flat and I had to piece the strap so that's in three parts but because of the looser weave I don't think you can really tell. In fact that's the only thing I did differently to the actual pattern, I chose to make it with one long strap as opposed to two shorter ones, I always tend to wear bags across the body so it just make more sense to me. But it didn't alter the order of the construction just where I positioned them.

My buttonhole went in first time no issues and looked beautiful , gonna be honest I felt like a bit of a sewing goddess when that happened.

And the button came from my stash, It's a shame really because I had hoped to use one of my single buttons and this one has a pair, which is a shame but this one was the best match and this way I have a spare.

The lining is cheap and cheerful some kind of nasty faux silk stuff. It came from one of my nieces too small dressing up outfits, Don't say I don't recycle!!! It looks really cute and I had just enough of it but boy was it a swine to sew, it moved faster than a small child who sees a bag of sweets.

So yeah I'm giving this make a solid 10/10 I think its going to get a lot of wear especially when the sun comes out and I need a lighter handbag.

In other news we had a huge family day today, my cousin and her five children came down and we all congregated at my mums which was lovely, although my brother was missed because he had to work. It was a really lovely day and I was lucky enough that one of her kids was nice enough to look after lil man and make sure he kept himself out of trouble. Which meant I got to have some much needed grown up time. Plus I got to snuggle a baby! WINNER! We had 8 kids in total although I guess two of those don't really count as kids because they are taller than me. So six kids and 2 teenagers!!

  Anyway I'm not sure how not supervising my child and just chatting and drinking tea could be so exhausting but i am pooped! And I'm hosting the Liverpool football final tomorrow so I need to be my perkiest! [Note: I'm not hosting the actual final, that's at Wembley although the idea of martin skirtle being in my garden is quite lovely.....swoons. We're just having people round to watch the match] Anyway This has lead my decide that the rest of my evening should be spent hand stitching I'm not even going to get my sewing machine out I'm just going to get into bed and chill!

And maybe fall asleep

And watch very trashy telly!

Much Love



Thursday, 25 February 2016

Gardening Apron Tutorial!!

I've got a new tutorial up on the craft cotton company blog ! This one is a gardening apron and kneeler set which is perfect for mothers day and only takes one set of fat quarters! I used these ones from the craft cotton company but I've been swooning over these as well!! 

Here's some photos of the construction process! Its very simple you just have to do some measuring in the beginning!! 

Its a lot of fun to make! and looks really pretty! Perfect for gift giving! 

And here's the finished gardening apron, it has three small pockets, two large pockets a ribbon to tie your keys onto and two loops to hook tools into! And because it ties at the waist with a bow its one size fits all.

If you want to take a look at the tutorial you can find it here!

And if you make your own send me a picture so I can see how it turned out!! You can email me, or tweet me @KnitwitsOwls or instagram me!  

Hope you like it!!!



Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Lesser Spotted Lilou Dress

So here's my latest make I cranked this out in one evening after Rikki had gone on his night shift, I'd already cut the pieces earlier so all I had to do was stitch them together, and watch episodes of "The Affair" which is confusing me because why would you sleep with some old guy when you have Pacey from Dawsons Creek as your husband? Bewildering to say the least.

The fabric came from my lovely pen friend [the more observant of you will notice the fabric from my last dress also came from lovely pen friend! She was kind enough to send me a lil parcel of fabric she wouldn't use and I immediately put all other ideas to one side to focus on them! What can I say I have a short attention span.] Anyway this cotton is printed with birds and swirls and lovely pen friend thinks it might herald from Singapore, I think it was hand printed using blocks because the pattern rep isn't exactly the same and you can see where it doesn't always line up. I really should have taken a picture of before I cut into it, but I'm impatient so I'll just describe it.

The green part you can see at the bottom of the dress ran down one selvedge, up from that was a row of creepy looking birds [I'll instagram those next chance I get as I don't have a picture.] And then up from that the plumes and to the top selvedge was their "plumes" I think that's the right word and you know feathery bits and they were all pretty and swirly. 

Naturally the print of the fabric dictated my pattern placement, I chose to have the green boarder at the hem of the skirt with the birds and then use the "plumes" for the bodice because I wouldn't need to pattern match the swirls.

Got to say I'm really glad I thought about it and didn't rush in because I could have really messed things up.

The dress pattern I used was naturally was Lilou from Tilly and the buttons. Which is my favourite dress pattern for displaying an interesting print. [also used here, here, here, here and here.]
However to keep things fresh I decided to alter the back bodice piece to give it a low back. At some point I'll write a quick thing about how I did it because it really is simple.  

I really love how it turned out with the pattern placement and the style of the dress, did I also mention that I added pockets? In an effort to make my clothes as wearable as possible I added pockets because I always need somewhere to keep my phone and chewing gum [I chew a lot of gum, its a bad habit but my breathe is always minty fresh.]

I like the safari vibe the dress has, I don't think I'd look out of place riding an elephant in this dress. Although is riding elephants cruel? Because people ride horses and I think they like it? Do elephants like it? I think I might have to do some research before I hop on to one.

The hems a good length, I could go shorter but then I'd loose some of the lovely boarder so I think it will stay as is, plus its more modest if I do end up on an elephant.

There's so many pictures of this because I love it so much, although I think it might need a belt of some sort to define the waist with it being such a large and busy print.

Naturally because of the low back I'm having to let the "girls" hang free, which doesn't actually bother me too much, probably because of the full bodice lining, its an extra layer of protection against the.....ahem.....cold.

It's not wonky I promise but it does look it in this picture!

So yeah, 
Yay for Lilou!
Yay for the girls!
Yay for pen friends
and Yay for elephants!!!!

much love 



Sunday, 21 February 2016

Pin Cushion Owl

The only reason I started to make this is because I didn't have any hand stitching projects on the go and I needed something mindless to do. The pattern is from love patchwork and quilting magazine [I can't find a picture or a link sorry!] and is meant to be made in woven fabric. But I chose to make it in felt so that I could sit and relax in the sofa whilst doing it.

It sat half finished for ages because I wasn't in love with it, I knew it wasn't going to be a stuffed toy and then I had the brilliant idea of sticking pins in it! Which it works pretty darn well for if I do say so myself! Arnold as he is now known sits next to my machine whilst I'm sewing and is always ready for me to shove pins into his soft lil head! And the pocket at the front is perfect for putting my unpicker and snips in.  

I strayed from the instructions and just made it up as I saw fit, I also filled it with stuffing and then put a bag of rice in the bottom to make him nice and heavy. I did think at one point he might make a cute doorstop but this idea is better and it gets more use this way, he collects all my stray pins and sits neatly on my sewing case when I tidy everything up.

All in all I'd say its an okayish finish, I like that I've found a use for him and its nice to have something cute next to my machine. And I think I might make a few of them using woven fabric as well, especially since I already have the pattern traced and ready to go. 

much love 


Saturday, 20 February 2016

Summery dress!

This dress is in no way ground breaking, In fact I;d say it borders on dull but I like it and its practical for the summer.

I used the cami top from the third GBSB as my starting point, but I rounded the neckline, omitted the frill and created a dress shape by flaring and lengthening the side seams. [I drafted it all on a large sheet of paper first, and I left in the bust darts]

It fits pretty nicely, like a floatly summer dress should, nice and cool but with some coverage. The fabric was sent to me by my pen friend and although its not my style I love it in this dress. Rikki however is not convinced , he likes the style of the dress but says the fabric reminds him of the overalls children's ward nurses wear. I thought nurses were every man's fantasy so it should still be a winner right? 

I used about a metre of fabric for the dress and a scrap of poly silk for the facings. I'm wondering if I should have lined the whole dress though as its a bit see through. Its only a fraction but I think some perverts people would notice. Here I'm wearing it with a white vest top and skirt slip, which make me think I need to invest/make a white full slip. Preferably in cotton so the dress stays nice and cool.  The seams or French seamed and the hem is finished with a small hem, and the facing is top stitched down. 

All in all I like it, its part of my efforts to make a capsule holiday wardrobe, I have some fabric for a coordinating kimono that should hopefully keep my shoulders covered if we end up somewhere hot. Its floaty and girly but also really easy to wear and style just throw on a belt and your good to go.  

And it works with my denim jacket as well so I can see it being used for the nursery run here as well. Provided I sort out the slip situation. I might just get some cheap white cotton and attach it to the bottom of the facing as a quick fix. My hair is crazy in these pictures, we decided to have family haircut day with the lads going to the barbers whilst I went the hairdressers! But none of the hairdressers in town were taking walk ins and most were closed, so now I have to wait . [insert sad face] 

Here it is without the belt, Kind of looks like a nightie right?

Its a good length too! Can't be standing these summer dresses that expose half your backside!

Evenm if mine is "peachy" somebody else's words not mine! 

So yay! I think I have my sewjo back! WOOP WOOP!

And I have another metre of this fabric to play with!

maybe a blouse?

or a wrap skirt of sorts?

Much Love



Friday, 19 February 2016

Shopping Thoughts

Today I went to the shops! And I drove! Which is a pretty big achievement for me, because I'm not the most confident of drivers, In fact the only reason I learnt was because my parents made it quite clear that lifts would be stopping and I wouldn't be able to get places. I've done the drive lots of times its only a 15/20 minute one but boy do I get stressed! I've always been a stressy driver, I remember sitting in my driving lessons sweating! And the situation is not helped by having a whiny four year old in the back!

But I did it! And I had to deal with some of my pet driving peeves!

- Pedestrians that cross anywhere! Cross safely or prepare to be run over!
- Cars that don't give you room, either they try and squeeze in the gap with you or they are right up your jaxi!
- Cars that Park on double yellows! The pretty lines are there for a reason you plonker.
- Cars that pip, yes I know I stalled, nobodies perfect stop beeping at me and sod off!
- Roundabouts , just in general
- Hills, and hill starts
-One way carparks
-People who ignore the one way system in carparks

In fact maybe I like driving and just hate other people?

But yeah I survived! I mainly went out to prove to myself that I could and secondly so I could spend my new look voucher that I was given for my birthday, and decided to save for a rainy day.

I didn't buy anything groundbreaking, In fact they didnt really have anything groundbreaking in the shop. There was a nice velvet turtleneck with long sleeves I was tempted by....... Until it I realised it was a crop top..... ITS COLD PEOPLE! 

But mainly it was just lil party frocks [which I have plenty of] and tops that wouldn't really suit me. Actually its been a while since I've been shopping and I thought I was going to enjoy it more than I did. It probably didn't help having a small man in tow who takes the same view of shopping as the big man..... that it sucks. But still I saw some nice shirts, but I make my own now, and some nice dresses but I make my own. There was one cool jumper but it was like 30 quid and I was like "No Thank you Sir!" So instead I perused the accessories.

I've been wanting a nice satchel style bag that's big enough to put my tablet in but there's were too small, I like the floppy hats but they weren't quite floppy enough. I did check out the bikinis but they only had bottoms [Is this a new thing? to bare ones breast area on holiday?] I also looked at the jewellery but a lot of it was stuff I've already sort of got! In fact these were the only things I kept coming back to.

A round faced watch with a black strap, I got this for £6.00 and I've been looking for a day to day watch for a while now so that's a winner,

And this red and black print blanket scarf that I got for £4.00, and that Lil man kindly offered to model for me.

He actually looks pretty suave in this and wouldn't take it off so it might be lost to me now.

Look at that face!

So yeah I'm pleased with my purchases but they aren't very interesting!!! They are pretty basic wardrobe fillers and very sensible which got me thinking about my shopping habits.

It was weird to go shopping after so long, It felt really strange to walk into a shop and have people giving you the once over, especially seen as the online sewing community is so supportive. I also found myself looking at how the things were made and whether I'd wear it more than once, How would it fit into my wardrobe? What holes could I fill? In fact the main thing I wanted was a pair of smart grey/black trousers in a wool fabric but smart trousers rarely make the sale rail.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think my shopping ban, combined with the fact I've been receiving hand me downs and up cycling old clothes and making my own has changed me as a person. And its changed the way I dress. Instead of spending money on clothes for the weekend I'd rather I look halfway decent all the time. Lets face it I've probably got enough party frocks to last me a lifetime now I'm a momma. Plus I want my clothes to last or at least I want to love them so much I wear them to rags!

I think I have less of a throwaway mentality now. Oh I've grown up! About time!

That said having a new watch and scarf has cheered me up! 

Has sewing changed your shopping views?

Much Love



Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Team Colours

This week has been weird, on the one hand it's half term so we've had lots of fun

Making pancakes for dinner 

And baking cakes ! Playing toys and having lazy cuddles in bed. But on the other hand I'm feeling fed up. Probably because im spending most of the day with a small child and not really getting out much, or getting much grown up contact.  In fact I'm terribly excited for tomorrow becuase not only will Rikki be here in the morning were also having visitors! YAY! People! 

I think the lack of sewing time has effected my mood aswell. There's only so much you can do with a four year old running around and I always worry he'll hurt himself. Luckily there has been time for knitting when lil man has been engrossed in toys. 

These booties are for rikkis cousin, in his teams colours. I always think men get the short straw when babies are born. Nearly all of our gifts were handed to me and I opened a fair few of them. In fact some people even got me gifts but didn't get Rikki anything which is a shame considering how well he looked after us both. 

So these were designed just with the babies daddy in mind. I've been pottering making some other bits too, but we don't yet know the sex of the baby so I'm having to do everything in two colours!!! 

Oh the things I do to give handmade!! 

So yeah finishing these cheered me up a bit , and we're going to walk to the shops in a bit for some things. Although the weather is putting me off. Both me and lil man hate rain with a passion!!! 

Much love 



Monday, 15 February 2016

Anya shoulder Bag - Pattern Review

Anyone who reads sewing blogs religiously has heard of SoZo. Designer of the "Dolores" pattern, awesome sewist and mum to one of the best dressed kids in England! As well as being extremely talented in the sewing department she's also super nice { I personally can either be nice or talented but both at the same time is too much} To the point where I sent her an out of the blue email asking why I was having problems sewing knits on my machine, "WHYS IT NOT WORKING HELP ME!" and she was kind enough to other several solutions!

And she was even nice enough to ask me to do a small review of her latest pattern the "Anya Bag"

Which naturally I was thrilled to do!

So lets start with how SoZo describes it:

The Anya shoulder bag pattern is a deceptively voluminous, lined shoulder bag with an optional button tab closure which measures up at 38cm (15") wide and 27cm (10½") high without the straps. 

Which pretty much sums it up. Now in all honesty I wouldn't say this bag is my style however after making it I think I might be in love.


Lets start with the pattern, it consists of three pattern pieces and one that you draw directly onto the fabric (this is for the strap and the dimensions are given). As the pattern comes in PDF from you have to print the pages off and stick them together yourself. BUT! The entire Anya pattern prints onto 4 pages of paper! 4! which is virtually unheard of for any sewing pattern. And the instructions are on a separate pdf so you don't have to print them if you don't want to, you can read them off your tablet or smart phone. I personally printed the pages but did that thing where you print four pages to one page? I couldn't tell you how but I managed it at the time, it uses less paper and means you always have the instructions with the pattern. 

Fabric wise I think you could use most cottons and heavier weight fabrics, because of the interfacing. I personally used a length of curtain fabric and some old sheeting to line. I didn't use interfacing because of the thickness of the curtain material, however if I used a cotton I would definitely use interfacing. 

I think this is a great canvas for fun prints and designs, in fact I've already messaged my mum to see if she still has her curtains from the 70s, or if she's binned them. 

Due to the detailed instructions and the simple construction techniques I'd say this is the perfect pattern for beginners, or people who have just started sewing, it really does look professional when its finished in fact one of my friends was shocked I'd made it. And its a very quick and satisfying sew if your not a beginner.

The button tab is option and you can tweak the straps to make the bag suit your body. I especially love that the raw edges of the straps and button tab are concealed by the lining. Due to the nature of the pattern you can tweak the design to fit different occasions for example I'm already thinking of enlarging the pattern to make an awesome beach bag!  

The pattern also features three small box pleats on either side which make the bag a lot roomier than it looks {here its stuffed with a tea towel} But I can imagine you'd be able to fit all of the essentials you'd need for a walk in the park or a trip to the shops. In fact if I had a daughter I would totally be making matching versions of these for shopping trips. 

Here's a close up of the button tab, my top stitching could have been better but I did make this in an afternoon before I had to pick up lil man from nursery. Only needing one button means you can use some of those awesome feature buttons that you only have one of!

My absolute favourite part is the condensed instruction option at the back of the construction pdf. This means that after you've made it a few times you won't need to go through all the instructions you can just remind yourself what's next with the condensed version! I think this is a brilliant idea and I wish more pattern companies would do it!

All in all to say I though this pattern was going to be a bit meh for me, I actually love it! I have about five more versions planned as well as a few for gifts! Oh yeah I plan on busting out quite a few of these this year as gifts , think teachers, friends, family! In fact I might make these for all of lil mans nursery teachers as a leaving gift, and I could pop an apple in!

If you wish to purchase the Anya shoulder bag pattern you can find it here:

It's definitely worth the purchase

Much Love



Disclaimer: Although this pattern was sent to me free, all opinions are my own. I would never provide good reviews for items I myself would not use, as a teacher once told me I'm honest almost to a fault!



Sunday, 14 February 2016

Fully Recycled Maxi Dress.

I'll start off by saying this dress is completely recycled. The denim for the bustier came from a pair of Rikkis old jeans, the main skirt material came from an old maxi dress, the d rings came from an old handbag and the rest of the skirt panels are from various tops that I don't wear any more.  

I split the main maxi dress material into four and added godets made from the tops, this means the skirt is really swishy! I also added a solid band to the bottom of the skirt (off cut from another dress) to tie the whole skirt together.

Pattern wise, i used the corset top pattern from the gbsb book fashion with fabric, however this time it came out really big on me so I might have to retrace a smaller size in the pattern. really I should have completely taken it in but I couldn't be bothered so I just added a halter neck via some d rings. At least this way i have growing room should I choose to grow. 

There's no pictures of the back sorry, I forgot to change into a strapless bra and all you can see from the back is my bright pink bra straps. Not attractive!. 

The skirts semi sheer and I've not lined it, so I'm just wearing it with one of my many slips! {honestly slips are the most useful thing ever! I've got a white skirt one a black skirt one, a purple long skirt one {used here} and a black full slip, next on my wish list is a nude one!}

Can you tell I love the skirt? All in all I'm feeling pretty meh about it as a whole but I do love the swishy skirt, even if you can't really see it on the pictures.

I didn't really bother hemming the skirt, I just used the overcast foot and a overcast stitch. I was going to do a small hem but it drags on the floor [as all maxi dresses should] and I hated the idea of a hem I worked hard on getting all frayed and stuff!

I got photo bombed as I took these! Apparently it was his turn!

He even started turning like I do!

So all in all I'm not calling it a success because I don't LOVE it . And I'm reaching the point where I want to LOVE everything in my wardrobe. That said I can see me wearing it n the summer and if I go on holiday, on the beach sans slip {but with bikini bottoms obvs!}

And just for kicks here's a throwback of me wearing the original dress to an 18th birthday party many moons ago.

Look how short my hair was!

Look how socially awkward I look, trying to join in whilst simultaneously wanting to go home and have a brew.

There's not really much I can say other than that! I had a terrible time, I didn't know anyone and the only reason I stayed is because my mother said she wouldn't pick me up and I didn't want to ruin my new heels. 
 Yeah I don't do well in social situations!

Much Love