Friday, February 28, 2014

Amber & Jaime's Top #64--It's A Merchant & Mills Marathon!

We just can't stop sewing the new Merchant & Mills patterns!

Jaime and I were so excited to make The Top #64 that we both whipped one up yesterday afternoon. We love the look of this fisherman style shirt in the canvas weight solid the sample is sewn in, but we decided to try out some crazy prints.

Once we got over our minds being blown by the construction--the split sleeves that are seamed down the length and the crazy pockets that are actually so easy--it came together pretty quickly.

I took the pattern's topstitching recommendation for my top, and I think it works great with the canvasweight cotton that I used, adding even more structure to this a-line top.

I found that the cutting layout is written without directional fabric in mind, so in order to cut my pieces right side up I had to skip the collar facing. I used a linen bias tape to finish my neckline, which was simple and quick and turned out quite nicely. I'd recommend adding a 1/2 yard to the suggested yardage, though, if you want to make this top from directional fabric.

I shortened my sleeve length  and hem length quite a bit, as I found the full length made me feel a bit like a clown with this colorful shoe print. I love how feminine and playful my Top #64 turned out!

Thanks to Steadbrook for our photo location!

Jaime used one of her favorite Nani Iro border print fabrics for her Top #64.

She created an awesome ombré effect by cutting her pieces on the cross-grain. The loose, easy fit works great in this brushed cotton.

The raglan sleeve construction was so easy to sew together, with no pesky easing or gathering. I love the way Jaime's full length sleeves look in this lighter weight, soft fabric.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jaime's Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt

Fancy Tiger Crafts received a very special package in the mail from London last week. Merchant and Mills sewing patterns have arrived! Some of you may have read all about them on Monday's post and are checking back for more. I was so excited to sew one up as soon as we opened the box. It was a tough choice, but I went for the classic Dress Shirt. I chose one of the Robert Kaufman Union chambrays in a subtle yarn-dyed stripe.

The Dress Shirt is a easy-fit style, meant to be worn loose and with no closures. It features a faced front bib and gentle gathers on the back yoke. I made the UK size 10 which fits great, going with the relaxed style of the garment. What could be more perfect for my prairie inspired photo shoot in this field?! 

The Union chambray fabric sews like a dream! It is so easy to work with and it flows great for this pattern. This is the second time I've used one of these chambrays and I love them more and more every time. The fabric and pattern combined make for an extremely comfortable dress that I will wear often this spring.

This pattern also has an option for longer sleeves and would be easy to alter into a tunic to sport over leggings. The shirttail hem is a beautiful detail to give the dress even more sophistication.

We hope you all love these patterns as much as we do - we can't wait to see what you make!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Merchant & Mills

Merchant & Mills is a British haberdasher that makes beautiful sewing patterns, tools and more. We are pleased to welcome their products to our line-up at Fancy Tiger Crafts. Merchant and Mills patterns are really beautiful traditional garments. The detail in the instructions, pattern design, even the packaging makes for a wonderful presentation. Their focus is on classic, simple designs. You will find few fastenings and no unnecessary difficulty while working these patterns.

The Camber Set is a simple dress with tapered A-line silhouette and fitted sleeves for an easy-wear classic. This pattern provides two versions, a dress or t-shirt. 

The Dress Shirt is inspired by "Grandpa's shirt" and is a lightweight, versatile dress. This is a loose fitting comfortable dress for all your casual needs. 

The Top #64 is inspired by the fisherman's top with a little feminine flare to it. This top works well with fabrics in varying weight - do I see a heavy wool jumper in your future?

The Trapeze Dress is Merchant and Mills signature dress pattern. With a flattering fit, you can't go wrong with this staple! 

If you are seeking a more well rounded Merchant & Mills look, this book will take you through their tools, techniques, philosophy and working methods. Each task builds on the skills learned in the previous one to help expand your expertise. 

We are so happy to be carrying Merchant & Mills! Check back on Wednesday to see which pattern Jaime has already sewn up! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Wharfie Cap Pattern: A Free Spin to Knit Pattern for Handspinners!

A new classic cap is here, designed by Amber! The beginner friendly handspun Wharfie Cap pattern will have you spinning your very own chunky 2-ply yarn to make a warm, woolly cap. (Even if you don't spin your own yarn yet, there is a commercial yarn variation for a knitting-only version!)

This handspun "barberpole" yarn is easy for beginner spinners, who shouldn't be too concerned with a little bit of variation in their yarn thickness. A touch of thick and thin to your handspun will add to the character of this easy-to-knit marled hat.

The unisex Wharfie Cap is a classic that looks great on everyone. Fold up the brim to keep those ears warm while working or playing outdoors on cold windy days, or wear it pulled down for a little more neck protection. This no-nonsense cap is all about function, but not to worry--when you wear it you’ll be lookin’ darn good.

The pattern gives simple instructions for spinning your yarn. Your hat will be one of a kind, and the real fun is in choosing the two colors to ply together for your marled yarn. Neon pink and natural brown? Hot. Charcoal and mint? Very cool.

Download the free Wharfie Cap pattern here. We hope you share your handspun versions with us! We'd love to see them in person or on our Facebook or Ravelry.

Happy spinning!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Follow Your Arrow Mystery Knit-along

I just finished a mystery knit-along (MKAL) from Ysolda Teague called Follow Your Arrow! A mystery knit-along is a KAL where you don't know what the pattern is and the pattern is usually released in sections so its a surprise as you knit it. A MKAL can be scary to commit to, so its good to know you like a designer before you sign up. Ysolda Teague is one of my favorite designers and this was her first MKAL so I knew it would be a win. The project was a shawl that used about 680 yards of lace to fingering weight yarn and that's all I knew going into it. Ysolda did her MKAL with a new twist - it was also a choose your own adventure MKAL! Each of the 5 clues would have 2 options for a total of 32 different shawls that could be created. WHAA?!

The nature of this MKAL was a little stressful for me. Each week I had to choose which pattern to follow without knowing what the finished result would be! I really had to let go of my control and attachment and just go with the flow. It ended up great. In the beginning I chose to follow the more geometric options and I love the unique shape that this produced.

I knit my Follow Your Arrow out of Meadow lace yarn by the Fibre Company. I've been itching to knit a shawl in this pale aqua color Pennyroyal since we first got this yarn in last summer so picking out the yarn was the easiest part of this KAL. Meadow is a light-fingering weight yarn that is a luscious blend of merino, llama, silk and linen. The yarn has a beautiful hand and drape and was dreamy to knit with. I knit the options ABBAA so my shawl only used about 620 yards of yarn.

My favorite perk that came with participating in Ysolda's MKAL was seeing what everyone's project was shaping up like each week as the clues were released. The number of possibilities of this shawl pattern made this so fun! You can go to Ravelry and check out tons of finished shawls here.

I can't even believe that Ysolda was able to write a pattern with so many options that worked out so well - she really is a knitting genius! I would totally recommend this pattern and yarn to anyone looking for a really fun knitting adventure!

Monday, February 17, 2014

And Hearty Good Wishes To You!

What perfect timing, Hearty Good Wishes has arrived! Designer Janet Clare out of England has teamed up with Moda for her first fabric collection inspired by the coast in winter. This collection is based on her original mono-prints and drawings from her book Hearty Good Wishes: Coastal Quilts. We couldn't be more pleased with it, just look at those adorable prints! 

Moda makes quilting with these treasures easy as pie! We are fully stocked with charm packs, mini charms and fat quarters with the full 30 print collection. A quilt with these would be such a delight and would be sure to keep your rosy cheeks warm! 

Here's to the coast in winter!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Catnap Dress Contest: A Cat Dress for Caty

Well, Fancy Tigresses, you really pulled out all the stops for this contest. I know there is a lot of competition out there, but we are darned proud of everyone and had so much fun making cat dresses. Thanks, Lizzy for hosting an awesome contest and making the best cat fabric!

Caitlin (Caty) Vannoy

1) Tell us about your dress - which fabric and pattern did you use?  
This is Colette's Laurel stitched up in Lizzy's Cattitude in Cloud. It's my favorite print from the collection, and it pairs nicely with the Smile & Wave print from Rashida Coleman Hale's Koi collection. I shortened the sleeves a bit and brought up the neckline for more of a boat-neck. And, of course, I added an adorable cat face complete with a button nose to amp up the cuteness factor!

2) What obstacles, if any, did you have to overcome for this challenge?
Finding a hypo-allergenic cat to model with.

3) How many other cat clothes do you already own? Can there be too many?
This is the first cat garment in my wardrobe! Can there be too many? Probably not. I already have some cat fabric stashed for a top.  

4) Do you have cats? How many and what are their names? Do they like your cat dress?
Sadly, I have no kitties at home. I have never considered myself much of a cat person, but I blame my terrible allergies. I do think they are awfully cute, though (from a safe distance, of course)!

5) How do you keep cat hair off your handmade garments?
There is not enough allergy medication in the world for me to cope with this hypothetical situation.  

6) Why should you win the Catnap Dress contest?
There are so many deserving cat dresses out there! I really stepped out of my comfort zone with this one, and I'm so glad I did! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Catnap Dress Contest: Becky's Cat Whisperer Dress

Fancy Tiger's fourth contestant to enter the heated Catnap Dress battle is an expert crocheter, the maker behind Becky's Buttons & Things and also works at our sister store, Fancy Tiger Clothing. Needless to say, she's got great style and she couldn't be more adorable in her new Catnap Laurel dress.

 Becky Wareing Steele

1) Tell us about your dress - which fabric and pattern did you use? Did you make any alterations?
I made my second ever Laurel dress from Colette using Kitty Dreams as my main fabric and Cattitude for the interior pocket lining. I took in the Laurel pattern on the sides to give it more shape and added interior pockets to add some extra functionality to the piece.

2) What obstacles, if any, did you have to overcome for this challenge?
I learned the hard way that it is important to pay attention when using fabric with a directional pattern. My first dress that I cut out was upside down. The mistake was caught before I started sewing and I was able to start over. I may still make the upside down version of the dress to give me the added motivation to master the headstand.

3) How many other cat clothes do you already own? Can there be too many?
The quick answer is not enough, there can never be too many cat clothes.

4) Do you have cats? How many and what are their names? Do they like your cat dress?
I have two furry babies at home, Charlie & Eva Brown Tail. Charlie is 7 years old and Eva is one year behind at 6. Although Charlie is nearly three times the size of Eva she really runs the household. Both of them are full time Quality Control Kitties at becky's buttons LLC which came in handy when making the dress. We had nightly meetings where they'd pick apart the smallest details and send me back to the sewing machine. The interior pockets were all their idea, they figured it'd be the perfect way for me to always have cat treats on hand. Honestly I've never been worked so hard, although I have the sneaking suspicion that it was all part of their master plan to steal my warm spot in the bed.

5)How do you keep cat hair off your handmade garments?
I think it's less about keeping cat hair off and more about embracing it. If I leave the house without any cat hair on me it's probably a sign that the kitties are upset with me.

6) Why should you win the Catnap Dress contest?
Honestly I already feel like a winner. This is only the second dress I've ever made and just owning this beautiful custom made dress that I'll have for years to come is reward enough. Oh, but yeah I would also really like to win : )

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Catnap Dress Contest: Amber's Pleat-tastic Ava Dress

To keep up with the stitching madness here at Fancy Tiger Crafts we have entry number three, Amber! This contest is producing some hardcore adorable!!

Amber Corcoran

1) Tell us about your dress - which fabric and pattern did you use? Did you make any alterations? 
I used Kitty Dreams in Green for my Ava dress. This was my first time making the Ava dress from Victory Patterns. I couldn't resist the fancy-pants pleat action at the sweetheart neckline. I've made two garments from Victory Patterns before this one and they were both happy successes, so I knew I could count on the Ava to be a great pattern!

2) What obstacles, if any, did you have to overcome for this challenge? 
Obstacles? This challenge was a dream. I relish the opportunity to stitch up cat clothing any ol' day. I've never ironed so many pleats before, but that was fun, actually.

3) How many other cat clothes do you already own? Can there be too many? 
Well, lets see...I have four other cat garments already, so this is number five and I'm already working on number six. There has been mention by a certain person that maybe I have enough cat clothing...but I disagree with that person. There can never be enough cat clothing!

4) Do you have cats? How many and what are their names? Do they like your cat dress? 
Egon is my only pet and he likes to keep it that way. He is very particular about things, wanting everything to happen according to his whims. He likes to look his best and is most happy when he has his summer do, a lion cut. I think he appreciates style, so yes, he must love this fancy dress.

5) How do you keep cat hair off your handmade garments? 
Cat hair is a major problem with this fluffy beast around. I can never quite get it all off of my clothing, no matter what I do. The sticky rollers are the best, and once I've de-haired I have to leave the house immediately. I've considered dyeing Egon black so I can dress in my favorite dark colors...

6) Why should you win the Catnap Dress contest?
If the contest is judged at all on most pleats, I stand a good chance of winning.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Catnap Dress Contest: Miranda's Parade of White Cats

Next up is Miranda's Catnap entry. Miranda is extra early for the new extended deadline, February 21st! Don't forget to catch the deets here! Check out the amazingness Miranda has created once again!!

Miranda Harp

1) Tell us about your dress - which fabric and pattern did you use? Did you make any alterations?
This is the Emery pattern by Christine Haynes. I love a fitted bodice with set-in sleeves, and this one fits very well. The little back neck darts really help the fit. As far as alterations go, I pleated the skirt instead of gathering it to fit the bodice. The dress is made from the Kitty Dreams print in Cranberry - the deep dark reds and purples with splashes of lavender and tomato red .... check out the orange bobble trim I found to go with it!

2) What obstacles, if any, did you have to overcome for this challenge?
Every single time I sat down to sew, I had a little helper. Every single time. So you know what I did? I sewed her her very own skirt.

3) How many other cat clothes do you already own? Can there be too many? 
I have at least three other dresses with cat prints. As soon as I thought that maybe that was enough, the Catnap collection came into the store... I don't have any other clothes for my cats, although sometimes Rilke wears a necktie.

4) Do you have cats? How many and what are their names? Do they like your cat dress?
I have two cats, named Rilke and Juniper. Rilke is a seven year old boy cat, and he is definitely my familiar. He is a huge snuggly beast. The only time he leaves my side is when I'm sewing and that's when Juniper takes over.


Juniper is a five year old huntress whose favorite things are chasing bugs and things that smell bad. They love my cat dress - they just think it needs two more white cats on it to be perfect.

5) How do you keep cat hair off your handmade garments?
I do a terrible job of that. I do love my Lilly brush!

6) Why should you win the Catnap Dress contest?
I am really into crazy print dresses - I know I'm going to wear this one all the time! Thanks, Lizzy!