Monday, 26 October 2009

Craftiness and a question Blogtoberfest Day 26

As a certified and bona fide 'Crafty Laydee' I like to try new things. While at Alexandra Palace last month (this month?) with Wonderwoman I commented that I really wanted to give felting a go.

So last week when shopping in my local 'lovely things' warehouse I came across this wool . Combining the aforementioned urge with an upcoming birthday present requirement I picked my (free with a magazine) stripey 12mm needles and cast on.

Oh this yarn is so, so soft and light. I had knitted it 40 stitches across and when done it was as wide as my ironing board and nearly as long. The sleeve said it would felt down by 30-40% after a wash soI figured I could estimate the final size by folding it in half. As evidenced in the last picture applied maths was never my forte.
The lining is some rather luvverly elephant material that toned with the flecks of orange in the bag. I am a little ambivalent about the finished article, thinking felted goods may be a little twiggy for me but the birthday girl was pleased with it (as was her mother) so really that is all that matters.

This is more my style than hippy woolly bags (however 'made with love' it was). On a recent 'girl's day out' Pr. C-W and I checked out the remnants bin at a furnishings fabric shop and found TWO pieces of this decorator weight cotton. M girl wanted a skirt so this is the pattern she chose. Fun and relatively quick to make up (except for when the body of the skirt was accidentally stitched to the frill top AND bottom!). The down side is my girl's shape. The skirt is held up with elastic inside a casing but to get this to stay up on Pr. C-W the gather would have to be tighter on the top than the frill.

So my dilemma is - without making her look like she is wearing something 'homemade by my mother' (as opposed to 'handmade with love') how do I bring it in to fit her? This is approximately how I want it to look but how do I achieve it? How do I get there?
Are there going to be darts front and back? Do I unpick side seams and put in a zip? What do I do??????


  1. I have to put darts in all my kids clothing (bottoms only), coz they have no butts to hold anything up! I'd go the darts unless you really want to put a zip in the side. Great fabric by the way. I haven't caught the felting bug, I figure someone else can enjoy that passion.

  2. I can't help you at sll with the question I'm afraid. Could some kind of tie with in-built elastic in the same fabric help? It could be tied in a bow at the side maybe. I am a dunce so that is probably a stoopid idea.

    I have a question for you though, did you felt the dog's nose?

  3. The colors in your felted project are so pretty, before and after! I've seen some lovely felted things, especially mittens, but have only tried it once myself. It turned some lovely handspun yarn into something that reminded my of the scritchy-scratchy upholstery on my parents' old sofa in the 1960s. I'm going to try felting some knitted slippers, because if it goes scritchy, I'd be wearing socks in them anyway.

    The skirt fabric is so cheery! I suspect the fitting answer is indeed "darts."

  4. Sorry to say I agree with the darts-solution. Though, I am in no way pretending to be a seemstress.

    Re felting - I gave it a whirl a year or two ago and, although I really like the things that other ppl do (have you seen the gorgeous Noni bags?), it is just not for me.

  5. You can taper the sides of the skirt at the waist, which is a bit less tricky than darts. Just sew the taper and trim, no ripping necessary, although it's better to do the tapering before you put in a casing and elastic. ;)

  6. I have to join the dart/taper bandwagon for the skirt solution. Not everybody's favorite thing, but much better than making her look like she has square-dancing costume on!

    Even though I love to spin, I have given up working with yarn type things. I have never been able to manage the hooks or needles properly to create something that even remotely resembles a crochet or knit project. I think they are beautiful, but I leave that type of stuff to my sister. She does tell me that I can buy old 100% wool sweaters from the thrift shops and wash them in hot water and run them through the dryer if I want to make felt the easy way. I say easier than that, is to find it on the bolt and purchase it by the yard/meter! She didn't think I was too funny.
    Your bag did turn out nicely though. I am envious of your skills with those darned knitting needles.
    Good luck with the skirt!

  7. Do I understand you correctly that your problem is that when you gather the top with elastic there's too much fabric and it looks bulky?

    If you want it more fitted you can either make it just a bit more fitted and still have elastic, or make it totally fitted and then have a closure like a zip (otherwise you can't get it on and off).

    You can make it more fitted with a combination of more tapered side seams plus darts back and front - though darts really only work when the waist is quite a bit smaller than the hips/butt (as on an adult) otherwise the darts will cause the skirt to puff out below the waist. I couldn't use darts on my girl's shape.

    If the whole skirt is actually too big them perhaps you could take the whole thing in?

    Not sure how old your daughter is (and hence what fashion requirements there are), but what I often do for my girl is fitted front with elastic across the back. Best of both worlds! In which case, no darts, just taper the sides (more at the front than back) so the front is the right measurement for her waist and the back is wide enough to get over her hips, then put elastic in the casing across the back only, sewing it down on the side seams.

    Does that help?

  8. mmm... get her a book voucher???

  9. Am I allowed to tell you how much I love the fabric Princess CW chose but then bow out gracefully when it comes to the clever how-to-make-it-fit business? My head is tired - and not very sparky at the best of times!


  10. The skirt is even more gorgeous in real life than in your photo. I think some small darts in front and then elastic through the bag will work just fine.

    Your felted bag came out great - gorgeous colours!

    It was so great to see you all today. Thanks for making the big journey south and for the lovely lunch!
    Sorry Monster was a bit out of sorts. He's going to bed very early tonight - he just doesn't know it yet!


  11. Probably unpicking, darts and a zipper will do the trick. Sadly.

    Love the skirt though - very pretty!

  12. i'm glad others have answered the sewing q's...but when you're done, i'd LOVE to come over and play darts...'specially if there's still some CAKE left!

    (lovely felty bag and FABBBBBBBB skirt, btw! you are SO intrepid and practical in your craftiness, i wish i had more "skillz" like you!!!) (ok, i will have to come for lessons, then.) (& cake.) (obviously.) :)