Posted on Leave a comment

How to customise a top for Halloween using heat transfer vinyl

I’m very new to this whole iron-on heat transfer vinyl thing, but can totally see what all the fuss is about now that I have given it a go.

A couple of weeks ago I attended The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. I was actually quite restrained in terms of what I bought that day I think, but something that I did treat myself to was a special show pack kit of vinyls from Happy Fabric

The kit contains 6 sheets of different vinyls (including one sheet of  pre-cut shapes), and I thought that this would be a great way to test out a new craft.

Before I started this project I had a little ‘try out’ of one of the pre-cut designs on my work apron which you can see here. As this turned out so well, I was buzzing to try something else and when Happy Fabric reached 5K followers on Instagram and launched a little Halloween/Autumn giveaway to celebrate, this seemed like the perfect opportunity (excuse -ha!) to get creative.

Whilst there is no getting away from the fact that wonderful cutting machines (such as a Cricut) will certainly make using the vinyls a great deal quicker and much more accurate, there’s no reason why you can’t go right ahead without it.

thumbnail_1A4FC905-55FB-4A39-99CD-EFA0E6FF99A2

For my sweatshirt project I needed

  • A plain sweatshirt
  • Happy Fabric vinyls
  • Free Halloween style font, downloaded and printed out in different sizes
  • craft scissors
  • bat shaped paper punch
  • craft knife and cutting mat
  • iron and baking parchment

Firstly I searched for free Halloween themed fonts. When I found a style I liked, I  downloaded it and printed out the wording that I wanted in a couple of different sizes.

After cutting out the letters, I placed them in different places on the sweatshirt to see where I liked them, and what size I wanted. I also cut out some paper bat shapes with the paper punch to see what the additional bat shapes would look like with the lettering sizes too.

thumbnail_0E951BD3-91BE-41FC-B2DB-34DC23FE1EA3

When I had decided which size lettering to go with, I cut the letters out. For this I used regular paper scissors around the edge and used a nice sharp craft knife and cutting mat to cut out the fiddly bits inside the letters. I was then left with a ‘stencil’ for each letter that I needed.

thumbnail_43871920-43E1-4340-8980-7D7BAB59143C

Next I flipped the letter stencils over and traced them on the underside (the surface that will adhere to the fabric) of the vinyl. I used the HappyFlock yellow vinyl for this, as I was interested to see how this flock texture would look.

thumbnail_82FFB633-93FB-46A1-9BE6-7005345E7108

Carefully cutting out the shapes didn’t take too long actually, and using the craft knife and cutting mat for the fiddly inside bits certainly helped too. When cutting out, make sure that you cut inside the pen lines.

Once cut out, flip the lettering over the right way around again and you are almost ready to get started. First things first though, you need to iron your sweatshirt. Pop the letters on and have a bit of a play around with their placement to make sure they’re exactly where you want them.

Once you are sure you have them where you want them, carefully place some baking parchment/greaseproof paper over the top and place the iron (with the heat setting on   two dots) over the top for about 15 seconds. Keep the iron still as moving it around might disturb your letters.

thumbnail_49C6A169-D457-4393-9E7C-C265575B3B1F

Remove the baking parchment and wait for your design to go cold. Once cold you can peel away the shiny carrier sheet. So satisfying..

thumbnail_81FE0A11-6B19-449F-A566-22E2214C1F08

I tried to get a close-up of the flock finish, but it was quite subtle and not sure if you can see this very well, but it’s pretty cute!

thumbnail_472D12AA-41F4-481D-99C0-D5FA1D60C353

I was bursting to try the next part, which was cutting out bat shapes using a regular paper punch, using the most FABULOUS HappyFashion vinyl in ‘multi’. It’s a sheet of rainbow striped holographic vinyl and is completely glorious. After cutting out a row of these, which gives you lots of different colours, they are applied in the same way to wherever you want them, and once again covered with the baking parchment and this time under the iron for about 10 seconds. ‘Peel to reveal’ again when cold.

thumbnail_214CE000-4D52-411F-9F49-A728AEFC10AF

Et voila! How easy was that!

Turns out that I have more holographic bats than I needed so in order not to waste them (any excuse), I made a little bow tie collar attachment for the cat! I quickly cut out a small rectange of scrap felt from my stash and applied the bats to it in exactly the same way as above. I pinched it in the middle and wrapped a thin strip of felt around and stitched in place. A little bit of velcro attached to the back and there you have it – a little Happy Fabric collar attachment. Pretty cute. Don’t worry I didn’t leave it on for very long.

thumbnail_47118353-448E-4851-A083-C9D307AF0756

thumbnail_EBEB805A-EF00-4181-AD23-7F05ABFF7A41

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Posted on 4 Comments

The Sunny Knit Top by Style Arc pattern review.

IMG_4001

I’m trying to add a few cosy jumpers to my handmade wardrobe this Winter. Whilst I love wearing dresses, when the weather is really cold I love my jeans and jumper combo and had noticed that I definitely needed more ‘me made’ items in this area.

This is the first time I have used a Style Arc pattern. They have a HUGE range of great sewing pattern designs and I particularly liked the look of this cocoon style top.

SUNNY-TOP

I downloaded the PDF pattern direct from the Style Arc website a while ago. I don’t remember how much I paid, but I generally only buy sewing patterns when they are on sale so it may have been a Black Friday purchase or something similar. I usually opt for paper patterns over PDF’s, but didn’t fancy the postage costs from Australia for this. However I noticed a couple of days ago that Minerva Crafts are now stocking Style Arc paper patterns – yippee! Definitely worth remembering for future Style Arc purchases. A real drawback of the PDF downloads from Style Arc is that you are only sent the size that you ordered plus the size above and below that size (3 sizes only), so if you were thinking that this might be a great all rounder to make for yourself and friends and family – then this will only be possible (on the PDF download) if they are the same size or very similar to you.

That being said, this loose fitting cocoon sweater is a great design. From the line drawing above you can see the seam lines show the dropped shoulders which take you down to skinny sleeves which I absolutely LOVE. There is a horizontal seam front and back around waist height and a vertical centre back seam too. A lovely little neck band completes a very simple but neat looking top.

IMG_4028

My fabric choice is a stunning knit from Barry’s Fabrics in Birmingham. It has a black background and abstract blue, green and wine coloured flowers. It is also soft and warm, which I am very grateful for these past few cold days.

The Style Arc measurements were spot on for me. I made up the size recommended for my measurements and it was perfect. No adjustments at all, it fits me just right. Only 5 pattern pieces are needed for this top and I made it entirely using the overlocker, apart from the twin needling finishes on the hem, sleeves and around the neck band. It’s a good quick make on a rainy afternoon!

The instructions are very basic, and very brief. This was absolutely fine for me, but this may be tricky for a complete beginner as there are no pictures or illustrations to back up the written instructions, and when I say written instructions I mean 9 short sentences! All good though, the finished result is super, a great wardrobe essential and easy to throw on and layer up if necessary.

My favourite part of this sweater is the skinny sleeves. I feel they balance out the cocoon shape perfectly. Love them.

IMG_4022

So all in all, I am very happy with the finished top. It has turned out exactly how I was expecting and I would totally make it up again – I can see several versions of this in my future Winter wardrobe. I have lots of other Style Arc patterns on my ‘wish list’ of future sewing makes so no doubt it won’t be long before I give them another go.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

IMG_3998

 

 

Posted on 11 Comments

The Chestnut Sweater by Cocowawa Crafts.

A few weeks ago I noticed that Cocowawa Crafts  had released a new sewing pattern. Several sewing bloggers that I love to follow on Instagram were sharing their pattern testing makes of this sweater and I knew that I really wanted one too!

Now I am normally a dress kinda girl, but will admit to wearing jeans more than usual just lately. I have noticed that I have a distinct lack of handmade tops to wear with them and decided that this Winter I would do something about that. Enter The Chestnut Sweater.

The pattern is a PDF download, and it is THE most adorable cozy Sweater and Top sewing pattern that you ever did see!

Cover-Chestnut-Sweater-Top-Sewing-Pattern-CocoWawa-Crafts

So there are lots of options available here. Firstly you need to choose if you would like to make the Sweater or the Top. The Sweater version seems to be a more relaxed fit which is slightly shorter in length than the top. It has a waistband and cuffs and the choice of 3/4 or long sleeves. The Top is more fitted in the body, is a longer length and has a high-low hem with little side slits.

Both versions have three different bow fastenings to choose from – a single bow fastening at the centre back neckline, a single bow fastening with slit vent at the shoulder or a line of four bows running down the length of the centre back. All totally adorable.

The PDF was straightforward to print off (at home) and after cutting and sticking together (the worst part of PDF’s don’t you think), it was so quick to cut out and sew up. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and there is a ton of helpful information on the Cocowawa website where Ana has been hosting a sew-along this month so do head on over here to check out everything you need to know about The Chestnut!

IMG_2652

I decided to go for the Sweater version as I wanted the relaxed fit, and I knew that I NEEDED version A which has the circular opening at the back neckline finished with a single bow at the centre back neck. I had some cute cat print fleece backed jersey in my stash that I had bought from Sewisfaction last month and although I had originally planned to make a Linden sweatshirt out of it, I could not resist using it for this sweater.

IMG_2697

I finished this Sweater with some wide black ribbon that I also already had in my ribbon stash and hey presto! it was done. Just to mention that to stop the ribbon fraying I quickly ran a flame along the cut edge which seals the end of the ribbon. Take care if doing this though – you only need to run it past the flame quickly – please be careful. You could use pinking shears too.

IMG_2713

I totally love this top. I made the long sleeved version and if I had to make any comment it was that the sleeves were a little too long for me. Not a big deal at all though – it is still totally beautifully wearable and I am besotted with it. Next time I will shorten the sleeve length of the long sleeves by 5cm. (or make the 3/4 length sleeves – but I do like a long sleeve).

IMG_2681

O.K I admit – I couldn’t wait to make another – THE FOLLOWING DAY!

IMG_2730

This time using a navy and white striped ponte again from Sewisfaction and it’s gorgeous. I still wanted long sleeves so shortened the long sleeve pattern piece by 5cm and it’s now the perfect length for me. For the bow I used some white grosgrain ribbon again from my stash and ‘easy peasy’ – it was made in next to no time.

IMG_2779

Ooh I should mention that I did just add a tiny little row of stitching at the back neckline opening just to keep the facing in place. Just my preference, not really essential but saves me from faffing around making sure it’s tucked in.

IMG_2789

IMG_2764

I feel I should confess that I purchased a lovely fleece backed jersey from Guthrie and Ghani when I was at #sewbrum a couple of weeks ago and this will more than likely end up turning into another Chestnut Sweater. I just can’t help myself…

There is lots of Chestnut inspiration over on Instagram. Just search the hashtags #chestnutsweater #chestnuttop or #chestnutsewalong and you find yourself all ‘heart-eyed’ at what you discover!

This is the first Cocowawa pattern that I have ever tried and it has been a great experience for me. I also own the Marshmallow dress and have been meaning to try that too. Maybe in the Spring?

Have you tried the Chestnut Sweater or Top, or made other patterns from Cocowawa? I would love to hear what you think. Have you taken part in the #chestnutsewalong ?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x