I'm struggling a wee bit at the moment with how little I seem to have accomplished this year in pattern design. Here it is September and I've only published five patterns for the year, and of those five, only two are garments! I really thought I was going to have so much more time this year with Toby at kinder, but the truth is I don't. I don't know why that is or what that is, maybe it's the extra pick up that's a little too close in time to the end of school to achieve anything productive. Maybe I need to move a bit more on the many patterns I feel like I'm sitting on at the moment.
I don't feel that I work particularly fast or efficiently, and generally I'm ok with that. I recognise that for the large part my pattern design work must fit in with all our family life and commitments. Family must and does come first, I love spending time with my kids and husband and we are a family that does like to do things. We are busy. And I like that. I like that we give our kids lots of experiences, time and our friendship. Every now and then though, I do get a bit antsy about finding the balance. Sometimes my balance goes way askew and I guess I'm having one of those times.
I just need to remind myself that it's okay not to be releasing a lot at the moment. I do have a lot in the pipeline. It's okay. And then I realise that this September -October I'm planning to release five or six new patterns, and suddenly it doesn't seem so bad. Still I just would love to have them out there now!
Until then though, this is Sassafras, my most recent pattern. I released Sassafras in August.
If you think the lace looks familiar, you are correct. Sassafras is matching hat pattern for Olinda.
Many Victorians will recognise the pairing of these two patterns as the names of two little towns in the Dandenong Ranges. These two little towns are incredibly beautiful and enchanting places, so lush and high and gloriously green. For ocean dwellers like my kids, the Dandenongs are a place of wonderment; a place which seems alive with fairies and forest whisperings. How we love that place! How we contemplated six months in the trees running the cute little yarn shop for sale in Sassafras and six months by the ocean living our normal life.
Just like the Olinda cardie, Sassafras is completely reversible. Wear it reverse stocking stitch side out as a slouchie beanie or wear it as a more traditional style beanie with the stocking stitch side out with brim folded up.
Sassafras is knit from the bottom or brim upwards. The garter stitch brim is knit first as a strip. Then stitches are picked up along the edge of the brim and the body is worked.
The lace is an easy one and is quite intuitive. The pattern includes both chart and written instructions for the lace.
The brim is finished with a special button. The one here is a simple self covered button from my stash.
The pattern is sized to fit from a 12" to a 24"head which covers pretty much a premature bubba to a large adult head.
When I released Sassafras on Ravelry there was a special deal for all those who had previously purchased Olinda. If you missed that fear not, I'm sneaking in a special promo discount on the Sassafras for blog readers.
The coupon code "fromtheblog" will give you 50% off the purchase price of Sassafras. This coupon code is limited to the first 30 users, so if you want it get in quick!
It's been a long time since I've done much sewing.. This is despite the fact that I have a dedicated sewing space out in our studio where my machines are permanently set up.
When I see it written down like that it seems sort of crazy that I haven't been sewing but I haven't. I'm not really sure why I haven't, I guess I'd sort of lost my sewing mojo, which is something I once upon a time thought would never happen. I suspect that's one of the issues when craft becomes your work, it's hard to balance the hobby stuff against the necessity stuff. It's hard to justify time sewing or weaving or even cross stitching when I have urgent knitting UFOs that need to be finished. I guess it's also sometimes hard to rekindle or even retain the love for something that used to be work.
Sometimes I think you just need to say, "Stuff it!" and follow your instincts. I've been doing this more and more lately. I've had a lot more weaving and cross stitch in my life and now this past couple of weeks I've been loving sewing again. So much so that I've been "stealing", yes stealing time when I should be working to actually sew! And it has been so wonderful.
I feel like I've found the love again.
One of the first things I decided to sew was this dress for Lily. This was something we could do together when she was home recovering from a bout of the flu, her first.
The pattern is Frida by Patty Young of Modkid Boutique. I bought this pattern, ooh, many years ago when Lily was much younger. I also bought the fabric to make the dress. I've sewn Patty's patterns before, my favourite being the Kyoko which Lily has worn so much. We love it because it's like a sewn version of my Oriental Lily pattern.
Unfortunately, because I did buy the pattern so long ago it is an older version. The new version goes up to a size 10 but my old version is only sized up to a size 7. Patty's sizing is much leaner than the Yarn Standards or even the ASTM sizing, which is something to be aware of if you're dabbling between crafts. Luckily, even though Lily is quite tall she is lean and the size 7 was going to fit with no problems.
The fabrics we ended up using for this dress were not the ones I'd bought. Lily chose all the fabrics, and with her typical colour flair she got it right. We didn't have enough of the bird fabric for the whole skirt but she didn't seem to think that was a problem. "Just use a different fabric for the back," she told me. I love sewing with her, her cavalier approach is refreshing!
The thing that I love about Patty's patterns are their readability and the focus on communicating effectively instructions. Everything is clear and accompanied by step by step visuals. I am a big believer in instructions that encourage the crafter rather than alienate them. If that means the pattern is longer or wordier or needs more white space to make it easier to follow, that to me, is a good thing.
We made the option with the elasticised capped sleeve, which were a bit fiddlier but I really like the result.
There were only a couple of things in the pattern that I would have changed in hindsight, but being the first time I'd sewn for so long I blindly followed the pattern. The pocket placement is the same for all sizes, I wish that I had lowered the pockets considerably. Unfortunately, it wasn't until the dress was finished that this became obvious to me, and by that time Lily was wearing it and I wasn't going to get it off her in any hurry.
The other thing was the finish of the bodice. Next time, I'd stitch the skirt to the bodice alone and then topstitch with the lining edging turned under and sitting over the seam to give it a neater finish, rather than sewing the skirt to the bodice and lining as per the pattern instruction.
One last issue that was more of an inconsistency was that there was no length specified for the side ties, even though you had the option of using ribbon for them instead of making your own ties. The pattern pieces included a length guide but it would have been so much easier to have a length specified in the pattern as well, as was the case for the elastic for the sleeves.
These of course, are very very minor things, and this is a terrific pattern overall. I'd have no hesitation in recommending it, the pattern is much easier than the result suggests. Patty's patterns are a bit like that, the finished piece is a bit of a WOW item, but this is a really simple sew.
It's good to be back sewing!
And Lily is very happy with her new dress.
How do you balance your crafting time? Particularly if one of your crafts is your work?
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Textile artist, knitwear designer and teacher.
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