{ KNITTING } 90% and loading…

knit_shawl_90Ive been a very lazy knitter lately, mostly because the weather has been a humdinger!

With summer comes the extra long days and where I would usually be bundled up on the couch watching the news, Mythbusters or perving over Harvey Specter while I knit away, Im now still watering the plants & sipping spritzers al fresco while I terrorize the neighbours cats from our garden. I like cats, I do, but there’s a reason I dont have cats so I { DEFINITELY } dont want my neighbours cats lurking because well…I dont want cat shit in my garden.! I have tried everything to keep them out, it all only works for a day or two & then they back. Pepper, hosepipe. I do a great evil stare. Short of getting a dog, Im outta ideas. I have heard the sensor sprinklers work but I cant find one locally & Ive been too forgetful in looking for one online.  Anyone have any ideas or tips on how to keep unwanted cats out?

But I digress, back to knitting – the last couple of days I have re-applied myself to the little shrug-type-bolero-thingie I had started & its safe to say Im around 90% of the way. I had started using a pattern but it all went pear shaped within the first couple of rows.. I carried on doing my own thing so lets see how it turns out shall we…

Do you find it difficult to knit in the summer months ?

pattern review · review · sewing

{ VOGUE 8550 } Red Pea Coat, this girl is on fire…

For those of you that have been following my blogging journey for a bit, you’ve probably seen me talk about the red Vogue 8550 pea coat that has been haunting me since I started way back when in late 2010. Im not proud to say I started so long ago, the truth hurts. I had terrible trouble with the sizing (of which Vogue referred to as ‘ease’) &  lost interest which so happened to (thankfully) co-incide with our relocation out of Holland so the sad pieces were boxed up. This box did not make the “cut” to our move to the UKso it stayed at home & waited patiently while we completed our work on the island. I should have known the pattern would give me nothing but trouble, the moment it arrived I noticed page 3 of the instructions  missing. It took a few weeks for it to be sent on. Was it a sign of things to come ??….

Anyway, fast forward 2 & some years  –  January I mentioned the red coat had been retrieved from its box & lovingly pressed, ready to tackle once & for all. I trimmed, re-measured & marked but then all the other sewing got in the way & I quickly realised this coat was going to have to be nursed, slowly & calmly…inch by inch…

Im proud to say, its { DONE } & Im so proud of myself for buckling up & getting it finished. (Ok ok, its missing its buttons…but more on that later).Vogue8550_front

Buckle up – a kinda long review but here are the details & more info on the process :

{ DESCRIPTION } Vogue Divine Details – fitted, lined coat with front & back tucks, standing collar, princess seams, full length sleeves and shoulder pads. Above mid-knee length, button closure and belt.


{ FABRIC USED } A medium weight red wool found at Schröder Stoffen in Rotterdam, Holland. It was quite expensive but I loved this particular shade of red. I had been looking for a red wool to make another coat (using the V8438 pattern I had sewn before) but after seeing the V8550 in red, I was sold.

At first I was quite tempted to use a “WOW” lining, something wild & unexpected, but once I finished constructing the outer, I realised the red is { WOW } enough & my SIL had gifted me with this black fabric & I thought would be perfect for the lining so I went ahead & used it. I did however use the red thread to stitch the lining up which adds a very subtle accent to the black & ties the two together.Vogue8550_lining_front

{ SIZING } This was my biggest headache & I have left my original Pattern Review WIP as it was so it can still be read. I very rarely do muslins because I find they sap me of the excitement of making the real thing. Ive been sewing for long enough to know which measurements are important for me & I thought I had gotten quite comfortable with the Big 4 sizing that cutting my usual size would be ok. I was kinda wrong. This was grossly { HUGE }. I immediately thought I had farked up with my cutting so I double checked all the pieces had been cut the right size before contacting some other sewers/bloggers who I thought may have sewn this coat to enquire if they had similar problems. Unfortunately, no-one had sewn this so I had no sewcialist assistance . I then contacted Vogue directly. They came back saying the pattern had a “fair amount of ease on a FITTED coat but that they did not think there was anything wrong with the sizing”. So I got on with chopping, trimming & wasting expensive fabric to fit. Its not the ease that annoys me, its the fact that the pattern does not mention the ease at all. Anyway, moving swiftly on…

{ INSTRUCTIONS } Overall the instructions are not bad however some steps were not as clear as I thought they could be. Nearing the end, I battled to make sense of how the lining fits to the wool at the front seams. I gave up & constructed the way that I thought made sense.

{ CHANGES } The only little change I made was to the pockets. Instead of having them lined & sitting on the inside of the coat, I sewed them into the wool layer but did not bring them through the lining….in other words, they sit between the lining & the outer. I did this because I dont like pockets flapping on the inside of my coats. The pattern called for the lining to be made with the same pieces as the outer however instead of tucked like the outer, rather just pleated in. At first I thought all this extra fabric on the inside would be quite bulky however once pressed & stitched down, it gave a good weight to the inner & supports the wool well.

The coat has no loops/guides for the belt/waist tie! WTF am I meant to do with the tie when I take the coat off? I eeeked out every last bit of red wool to make the tie so I really hope I dont lose it in an absent minded outing…I might still go back & make chain loop guides…

{ LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY } ***Although it took me so long, it was not because of the level of difficulty per se. The tucks have a fair degree of complexity, even with the markings, however apart from the tucks, this is a standard princess cut coat. It was not an easy sew, but I dont think it was an advanced sew either.

{ TIME } HAHAHAHAHAHAA really!?  I normally keep a time card for kicks …I kicked this time card into the bin!!

{ LESSONS LEARNT } Take your time. I was eventually having nightmares about the coat but I knew if I rushed it would end up being a rubbish looking garment.

{ SUM IT UP } This is a lovely coat, the tuck detail is gorgeous & Im so pleased I finished it….all 2,5kgs of it!! Initially I had my doubts about whether it would keep me warm enough in the winter but once I joined the lining & felt the weight, I knew this would be a great winter coat… & I do love the RED. I had purchased big red buttons in Holland before I started but once it came time to use them, they just looked too big & the coat felt kinda clown-ish. Im hesitating with sewing them on until Ive managed to make a trip to Komolka to see if they have something slightly smaller & more suitable. Once the holes are cut, they cut so I need to be 100% sure.

I have hemmed the coat but I have not attached the lining to the wool as yet – the reason you ask? Well, Im not 100% happy with the darn shoulder pads. I feel like they are limp & lacking in the stiff department. I think Im going to change the shoulder pads. Im sure on my next trip to Komolka, I will have luck with finding alternative buttons & shoulder pads.

I might also go ahead & move the pockets from the side seams to the princess seams. I know this sounds crazy but the side seams seem too far back for me to get to the pockets. I may also just remove them completely!!

In hindsight, the problems with the sizing was almost two-fold. I still think the pattern has way too much ease however I also think my choice of wool did not help, especially with the extended periods where the WIP sat on Poppy pleading for attention. Even though this was post-tuck production, I think the wool may have stretched slightly adding to the list of problems.

I would recommend V8550 especially if you love the tuck details however, I would urge you to make a muslin first just to make sure of the sizing. I know I know, me advising making a muslin – I must be drunk! I think this coat would look amazing done in cream, but I dont think Im gonna be the one to make it!

This image clearly explains what got me through some painful & frustrating moments { Nespresso Vanilla Infused coffee }coffee_break

& elation at finally finishing! I had made a deal with myself that I would finish this before starting on something new….Im so excited to start fresh 🙂Vogue8550_elation

{ related posts }

chit-chat · sewing


Holland 2010
Holland 2010

{ source : my own }

Its official! { SPRING } has sprung here in my ‘hood & Im rejoicing for having emerged through the perils of winter unscathed…without a sniffle of a cold or worse, flu!  It could be due to the fact that there was that breaking of my ankle, surgery & all that which kept me in hibernation for the best part of 8 weeks….so Im thinking, did I really emerge victorious?

There are more than a few bloggers out there dealing with cold & or flu a the moment & I pity you. I wish you health & a speedy recovery because there is nothing worse than shaking with the sniffles. { Bless you all }

After my last two posts discussing the pitfalls of living in the country & the disappointment with BurdaStyle, Im in need of a quick project to lift the spirit & give me instant gratification. What is your go-to pattern, the one that you know so well & always have fantastic results from ? Id love to hear, do share…


{to be completed….}

One of my 2013 resolutions is to complete unfinished projects! Yes, those nasty projects that have been a thorn in my side for years, lurking in the alterations box. No more!

Ive checked McCalls 5241 off the list {TICK} and Ive started on Vogue 8550. I started this project in 2010 {without doing a muslin first} and got into some fitting issues. Some of you may recall seeing the WIP post on PR on this. End 2010 we relocated to the UK & unfortunately we had limited space when moving so I left alot of my sewing goodies at home in Austria & moved with just what I needed. Hence, this project was never completed.

A few days ago, I decided to start the tackle & this is what it looked like from THE dreaded box, all crumpled up, chewed & spat out :

Vogue 8550 messThis is what it looks like now after a little TLC pressing :

Vogue 8550 pressedI will be completing this as soon as I can & reporting on how it all went, full review, pics etc. Stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by. a x


{White Wonderland}


This morning we woke up to the first {REAL} winter wonderland of the season. We have big windows in most of our rooms so I immediately lifted all the blinds to invite the wonderland in. I havent been able to take my eyes off of the outdoors all day! I love it when it snows. There is something so peaceful about the snow and since Im a sucker for all things {WHITE}, it pleases me to see everything so clean & fresh looking.

This afternoon I headed out for a photo op but I didn’t last long. Not only did I underestimate how cold it was but I wore no socks inside of inappropriate boots which resulted in a {FAILED} photo op. Urrgh! Luckily for me, more snow expected tomorrow. {YAY}.

Thanks for stopping by x

pattern review · sewing

{12.12.2012 – a good place to start…}

Seems like a good day to get the consolidation of blog & pattern reviews started.

All the hype surrounding the 12.12.12 is mind boggling. One would swear we’ve NEVER.EVER had a repetition of date like this before. I for one remember quite clearly 8.8.88 and 9.9.99 and 10.10.10 and even 11.11.11 – the world lived through all of those so why in the hell would the world start to fall apart now. anyway, before i digress to much, let me get started on the first pattern review post…

Vogue V8438 (A)

This is the link directly to my original review :

I used a neutral & natural coloured wool tweed for the outer fabric & a cream satin for the inner lining of the coat. I loved the OTT clown-like collar however this was indeed the most difficult part to sew, not because it was complicated but because of the many many layers of tweed to sew through. I dotted machine stitches around where i could and where my machine was unable to stitch, I resorted to hand stitching. I finally got to put the metal thumb protector to good use.  At first I did not make the belt but after wearing the coat a few times, I realised the belt was an integral component helping to structure the silhouette and keep everything looking ready-to-wear-ish!

I really loved the process of putting this coat together, from start to finish. It was a simple pattern which, IMO, does not require OTT tailoring techniques or anything fussy. I think some real fun could be had with experimenting with colour combinations and different fabric weights. I would highly recommend this pattern & would make Version C (possibly without the ‘bell’ sleeves) in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t recommend this pattern to complete novice sewers however experienced beginners could complete this easily.  Good luck all.


Coat, back

Coat, inner