toasty sweaters and plaid skirt


I have been sewing quite a bit lately, and as I am easier sewing than writing about it,  I am only getting around to this post now…..(I never liked writing in school – I can touch type, but the minute I start I seem to forget what I meant to say.) Conversely,  this blog has been brilliant for me to have a focus my sewing projects – so I have grouped the last few completed sews!

As usual, my great sewing plan is shifting, which is usual, as sometimes when I take apart items there is less fabric than anticipated (ie what worked out perfectly on paper is compromised in reality).

The first for remake was this fine wool dress.  This dress was on the clearance rail in the charity shop (still can never believe what ends up on this rail).  The dress would have worked perfectly if it was either 1983, or I still had a 23″ waist, and as neither was true, I thought to try out the SewHouse7 Toaster Sweater.  The only cut issue was the sleeves, but I figured I could cut them and sew with minimum seam allowance so I trimed half the seam allowance from the armholes of the arm-scythes also, and I would also have to leave the plackets in place on the sleeves until the end.

purple-toast - sweater upcycle

I don’t know if this is the same for everyone, but sometimes I will sew like its a race to finish…..and not try on till the end (how bright is that) so all was well until I tried it on pre-hemming, and noticed that a sleeve was in backwards….. the placket was the wrong way, but I also noticed the funnel didn’t sit up at all as the knit was so fine, and it was inclined to stretch across, so I decided to pop some iron-on vilene to the neckline facings.  The sleeves are very long so I just hemmed them and put a button to stitch a ‘closure’.  The hems are a herring bone stitch, I tried a few and this one seemed to look best on the fabric.

I was curious how it would look on a heavier fabric, and had been dithering over the re-make of this bobble wool cardigan. It was a cardigan coat which was donated to the charity shop without its collar (poppers for it still in place) and had been much used so it was a bit pilled, a bit pulled and had a few holes.  It is 75% wool and the fabric was still in mainly good shape, despite dragged buttonholes!

bobble-toastOriginally it was to be a simple sleeved a-line shift with patch pockets based on a tunic pattern from 2 years ago, but I wasn’t happy with the way how it would  cut out and patched together.  Luckily I left it fro a day or two as I decided to try the toast pattern again.  Realistically I don’t need this many sweaters, so I was also deciding on who to try and give them to (still working on this) but I also really like these sweaters.  I was well glad I didn’t do the tunic as there would have been too many seams and the bobbles in the fabric shift a bit while sewing.  Toast#2 worked out well with the heavy fabric, both sweaters are lovely and incredibly quick to run up.

And there is fabric left over from both! I am thinking of a tablet sleeve from the bobble leftovers.

I had also ‘pulled’ out the embroidery arm of the machine as I have to do some Irish dance costume tests, so I started messing about with motifs and what else it does.. (and then got even more way-laid by embroidering tea-towels – housewarming gift to a wine sommelier! I have put the photos below).

embroidered tea towels.............

The scallop skirt I made last year I love, but the grey feels a bit severe and ‘work-y’ so I gave it to my sister (so far a hit).  I had this plaid scrap.  Its a funny plaid, originally I thought it was from an old school uniform, but the wool is such a fine quality, I now don’t think so.  It was from a bundle of wool scrap in the charity shop and ther was less than a metre with two chunks missing.  I patched it back together and cut the pattern out.  I did embroidery on the skirt but I really wasn’t sure of what I wanted or what way it would turn out, but I also knew thinking about it would not achieve much either.  Its done now and not what I wanted.  Originally I was going to pattern the motif but changed to a more concentrated motif.  I shoulda / coulda done a more grid or linear one, and think I would have preferred that, but am quite happy with this.  I love the simple shape of the skirt.  Such an effective pattern.




and finally – I got a new shears! (yipeeeee) The small Janome set I have are still good despite the taped handle, and not retired just yet.   I have been trying to buy a proper shears for some years but never found one I liked that cut right and felt right.  When I saw Ernest and Wright were to be at the Knit and Stitch this year, I hi-tailed it up and bought this…. and 2 other smaller fancy ones (I could have bought everything!).  I had dithered between the 12 and 10inch but as my cutting table is small (160cmx90cm) and my cuts are small (ie, not long lays of fabric) so I would be lifting the scissors more, I settled on the 10inch (which is realistically a better weight for me).  Its gorgeous and incredibly comfortable and love using it.  My brother in law saw it later that day, and called it a ‘colt 45’….. (I was feeling very smug indeed).

Claires Scissors and the Colt 45






12 thoughts on “toasty sweaters and plaid skirt

    • upsew says:

      Thank you Karen – when I said I was looking for years for the right shears I was not lying…..I was very focused on it in the last 4 years. The two nearest were both ‘machine made’ and probably the same price as this one. one did not cut to the tips and the spring was horrible (and its owned by another sew-er – I was rather surprised but she also told me she didnt use it as it was not comfortable) and the other the spring was off (its a textile wholesale place in Dublin) – these scissors are ‘hand made/finished’ and are unbelievable smooth.

      Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      Thank you very much – the plaid skirt has been worn so much – (especially by comparison to last years make)…… having a look to see if I have enough fabric here for an acton dress, your make today is gorgeous


  1. wrong doll says:

    You have scissors made in Sheffield – hurrah! I’m also thinking of investing in a pair but haven’t yet made the leap. Loved reading what you have been up to. The sweaters look toasty warm and cosy – I don’t have enough of these makes despite grandiose slouchwear aspirations and I love the shape of the scalloped skirt too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      I had been looking at them online for ages but really wanted to try them out first. So impressed. The others I had tried before were not great, despite probably costing the same…… My Janomes are still in use as they are a comfortable set too, but the Ernest Wright ones dont leave the jaggedy edges they do so I feel rather smug! I have just finished the laptop sleeve in the bubble scraps and the shears was the business there as I left the edges raw! That scalloped skirt is well worth a try….. but probably not very slouchwear…..

      Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      Sorry Aimee, meant to add also – do Ernest Wright have a shop in sheffield and have you been? I was rather in awe of their display stand…..and would have been preferred if it was a more ‘calm’ environment rather that standing at a small stall.

      Liked by 1 person

      • wrong doll says:

        Hello Eimear – not a shop that I know of – their factory is based here and their wares available in various places across the city. The barrier I have is that I have a completely serviceable pair of shears a friend got me from Chesterfield market which despite costing a mere £8, cut perfectly well and I like to keep things minimal. But who knows, I may get tempted at a pop up stall they are going to be at this Saturday in Sheffield!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda Wilson says:

    Hi Eimear, I’m really loving the embroidery on the skirt! And the two tops, and I am exactly the same, once I start, it’s like a race to finish, wear it the next day, then onto the next make
    .I think the smaller scissors size seems right, because they do get really heavy. I still have the scissors I bought when I was in college, so they’re getting very old

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      Hi Linda…. yeah the speedy sewing is a a mixed blessing….I also think I am subconciously afraid I will change my mind halfway and not finish! So glad I got the shears while the serrated edges of the stainless steel ones work well, the cut often feels a bit jaggedy. Lovely you still have your scissors from college…..I love when equipment ‘travels’ with you……I still have the same measuring tape and pin cushion from when I was 17…..

      Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      Thanks Sasha – the link the pattern should be on the original post, its a martha stewart and I just added seam allowance as I was using woven fabric (and technically as its a circle skirt I should have let it hang for a few weeks after cutting to let it ‘drop’,) as I know I will have to do remedial work on the plaid hem soon……ultimately it is sewn and finished in a few hours so should not occupy the to do list for too long!


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