Crafty Mamas Fabrics

Lillestoff Jacquard Knits

16 June, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

More of the gorgeous Lillestoff Jacquard knits arrived this week- and boy they are STUNNING. Lillestoff know a thing or two about making the most amazing organic Euro knits- and these Jacquards are no exception.

This is the first year we have stocked Lillestoff's organic Jacquard and it won't be the last! In case you are new to them, like me, here's a little FAQ.

QUICK START GUIDE to our Jacquard knits!

Classified as a double knit, these have approx 40% <-----> stretch with NO vertical stretch.These are WARM!! The inside feels pretty much like the outside- a double knit. The knitted design is only evident on the outside, inside is just both colours knitted together.

Jacquard knits are perfect for projects such as sweaters, cardigans, hoodies, skirts, scarves, loose fitting pants,beanies etc.

I would not advise making firm fitting garments from them ie leggins, as your bum and knees would bag ( never pretty).
Stick to loose fit garments such as above. Finish off your Jacquard projects as you would sweater knit, with a matching rib or hemmed with a cover stitch or twin needle.

These are 100% organic cotton so perfect for people like me that get itchy around woolly stoffe.





Ottobre Design Mag and Australian sizing...

05 July, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

This is a question that pops up often in our FB Sewing Group.


"  How do I convert the Ottobre sizing to Aussie clothing sizes?!"

My advice is to always measure the child before you sew, and check them against the Otto sizing chart ( available here in pdf ).

As a rough guideline, Otto provide this chart:

Size     Age
50         newborn
56         1-2 months
62         3-5 months
68         6-8 months
74         9-11 months
80        12-15 months
86        18 months
92        2 years
98        3 years
104      4 years
110      5 years
116      6 years
122      7 years
128      8 years
134      9 years
140    9-10 years
146    10 years
152    11 years
158    12 years

But honestly, all kids are different and it really does pay to measure them first.

Source; Tuula - Ottobre Design on Make it Perfect blog


Not sure which of our fabrics to use?

20 May, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

This might help! ( but you can also email me or post on our FB page too!).

Crafty Sewing Tips- lining up your stripes!

22 March, 2016 1 comments Leave a comment

It just occurred to me that this may help some of our newby sewists.....when you are cutting out items that you want the stripes to be placed exactly the same....

Like these sleeve pieces, or say the legs of pants., or front and back of a top- cut your first piece out....

Insert a couple of pins to keep your fabric aligned and stop it from moving around on you, then use the piece you just cut ( this one has seam allowance added) as your pattern piece, place it on top of your fabric..aligning the stripes so that you get a cool camo thing happening...

..can you see it in there? Now cut your second pattern piece out.....
And you get perfectly aligned stripes.
And I am heading back to my sewing! 

Easy V Neck band TUTE

07 December, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

A simple tute for knit tops ( tees etc) with V necks. 
1. Before you sew up any shoulder seams, let's reinforce the "V" ...
Open out your FRONT piece.
 reinforce the “V”  by  stitching in the seam allowance a few cms in both directions- at the centre front. 
Then carefully slash the “V” down to the reinforcing stitches, being super careful not to cut through your stitches.
Now continue as you normally would, aligning FRONT and BACK, with right sides facing, sew both  shoulder seams together. Press.
Next  apply your neckband as you normally would “ in the round”, dividing the neckband and opening into 1/4s, and matching up pins as you sew, stretching the neckband ever so slightly as you go to meet.

Now turn your neckband right side out and press.
Fold your tee in half down the centre front, making sure it all lines up nicely...
We are now going to mark out where we will sew a small dart to create our V.
I use a pin or chalk it in...

 Sew your dart as marked stopping just as you reach the seam allowance. Trim and tie off your tail, then turn right side out and give it a good press.

Now continue sewing your tee!

 Lisa x

Crafty Mamas Thrifty Apron Tute

26 November, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Crafty Mamas “Thrifty Apron”
This apron is a design I have been sewing up for years, for gifts and also for myself. It uses 80cm of fabric, so it is quite thrifty , and sews up very quickly. You can make it as fancy as you like or the plain Jane version. For a bbq apron, use a thicker woven.
80cm x at least 110cm of woven fabric.
A French curve is handy, tape measure, chalk.
Optional trim: bias, ribbon, whatever takes your fancy.
  1. Lay your prewashed and ironed fabric out, fold in half with selvages together and folded edge facing you.
  2. Trim your fabric so that it’s length is 80cm.
  3. Measure from the folded edge back to the selvage, 35.5cm. Carefully cut and remove this extra width. Keep as this will be for your straps.
  4. You will now have a rectangle of fabric 80cm long, and 35.5cm wide ( folded in half).
  5. On the selvage edge, measure up from the right hand side, 55cm. Place a mark on your fabric here. (armhole edge)
  6. On the left hand short end, measure up 16cm from the fold, make a mark here. (neck).
  7. Using either a compass, a French curve or a plate! Mark in a curve from one mark to the other, thus creating your armhole. Cut along this curve, leaving a 1cm seam allowance.
You will now have your apron piece.
Construct straps using the Easy Strap Method (no turning tubes!)
From the piece you cut and retained in step 3, cut out
2 of 65cm x 5cm side straps
1 of 57cm x 5cm neck strap.
Using a hot iron and an ironing board, place strap pieces wrong side up. Fold each strap in half longwise, press, then open out. Now fold one of the ½’s( raw edge) in to the middle to meet the centre crease line, then the other. Press. Repeat with other two strips.
Then sew along the length of the unfolded edge to close the straps. Do for both side straps and the neck strap to close them.
At this stage, you can either apply bias binding to your raw edges, or overlock and turn in a 1cm hem, and then stitch hem. If you apply bias, you will need to attach the side and neck straps after the bias is stitched on.
Start with the curved armhole edges, clipping if necessary to get curve to sit nicely. Fold in, then hem.
Before hemming the side edges, pin in place a side strap at the top of each side, and then secure in hem.
Finish the top edge- attach each end of the neck strap in the ends of top edge, pin, then secure when you hem the top edge of apron.
Finally, hem the bottom of the apron.
Happy Sewing and Cooking in your new Thrifty Apron!

Ottobre Design Creative Workshop #301 Hack- Vintagey- Tab Front Tee

18 June, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Making more from your patterns!
Here's a nifty project for you to try!

Ottobre Design Creative Workshop  #301 Hack to Vintagey Tab Tee.
I love the look of these Vintagey style tees, they are a chance to incorporate some extra colour and texture into a plain tee.
They are also very quick and easy once you have modified your pattern.

 You will need :
Your trusty Ottobre Design Creative Workshop #301,
 Enough solid  knit to make your desired size, plus extra contrast knit  for your yoke
(use knits of a similar weight. I have used a cotton/lycra knit on the yoke, and it holds up well to the tab). I am using a CHERRY interlock  and this cotton/lycra knit - from my stash. 
You’ll need a couple of buttons- either matching or not, odd ones look quirky!
Tracing paper ( I use Kwik Trace or Swedish Tracing Paper from CM).
Now, trace off your desired size. You can see, I like to highlight the size I am going to trace. It just helps to see where you are going!
This also is a great time to show you how handy multisize patterns are when it comes to getting a good fit. My daughter needs a 152cm in width, but only 146cm in length. So I trace out the correct lines for these, eventually matching the lines up.  This gives me a much better fit than just using the largest size.
You can see my handy work here, I have traced the 152cm width, but veered off to 146cm length lines on both front and back and sleeves.
Here’s my pattern pieces ready to go.
Now you have to decide the placement of your yoke piece. Mark a line how far across the shoulder and how far down the chest.  See the orange lines?

Now you need to draft in a circle along these lines. I grabbed a dinner I want a rounded yoke. ( if you want more of an elongated  oval shape, you will have to freehand it. Play around a bit on some paper first).
..and traced around it. See the arc? (  raspberry chocolate bullets? How’d they get in there?)

Now you need to separate your yoke from your front piece. Simply cut. Mark the centre front section of yoke so you don’t confuse yourself.

Next up, cut out your yoke piece , with a centre front fold- remembering to add a seam allowance to the bottom side!   We need to add a seam allowance, or your front piece will end up too short! This will be from your contrast fabric.
Here’s my pieces...
 And all the pieces, including the neckand.
Now we need to attach the yoke to our front piece. Mark the centre front on both pieces,  I just pin. Then place right sides together and slowly  and carefully, sew together. If you need, section of into 1/4s and match up  ( similar to sewing on a neckband).
Here they are , sewn together , cool huh? Give it a press to make it all sit nice and flat.
Clip if you think it needs it.
Now we need to draft up our tab piece. You can make this whatever shape you like...arrowed on one end looks cool, or just a longish piece with a rounded tab like here. The width and length is entirely up to you, as an idea, mine is about 12cm long ( this includes 2cm seam allowance ) and about 6cm wide ( includes 2cm seam allowance). Cut your piece out, then sew around three sides right sides together, leaving the short straight end open. Trim , turn and press.
 Buttons:  two ways to do this.  I show #1.
1.Either sew the buttons directly onto your tab now.
2. Wait until tab is attached to top and then sew the buttons on, sewing through the tab and also into the yoke- thus securing your tab ( meaning it will be fixed).
Now mark the centre front of both your top and tab, then position the tab on your yoke. Secure with a few pins.
I like to topstitch around my yoke section, on the main fabric, with a ric rac stitch, ( or serpentine or elastic stitch ) to add a nice touch and help it sit better.
From here on in, the #301 is constructed as per usual. Simply apply your choice of neckband ( I have chosen the binding method, following the instructions in #301)’s the binding being sewn down once it is attached and folded.  Then continue on with your sleeves, sides etc..and you get...
THIS!!! Your super sweet modified #301 tab front tee!

Sewing for the wee little ones!

19 February, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

I love sewing little people things....LOVE LOVE!  so I thought I'd share a few of my favourite wee folk patterns!

Farbenmix Baby Collections Vol 1 & 2


With these two Farbenmix patterns in your stash, you have a good basis for bubs wardrobe- or for gifts for friends new babies!




Ottobre Design also have babe patterns in each issue- but some have been more popular than others.  Otto 3/2013 is a fave....

Fishstick also has an adorable newborn set!



Of course by ensuring you sew with our GOTS 



and Okeo-Tex 100  fabrics you know your garments are made from the highest quality with no chemical nasties!


Happy Sewing!




Ottobre Design Magazine Class 101. Part 2. Adding Seam Allowances

24 October, 2013 2 comments Leave a comment

Let's look at  Ottobre Design  and adding seam allowance. disclaimer again: no professional here, just a mum sewing at home!



Most European patterns will not include seam allowance. This holds true for Ottobre Design, Farbenmix, etc. A common question on the Crafty Mamas forum, is “ what pattern pieces do I need to add seam allowance to? “

When it comes to Otto, always be sure to read the instructions completely before you begin,  often the cutting instructions for your pattern will list any particular instructions that are extra to the norm. Ottobre Design offer us this on their website...

The patterns include the necessary eases and hem allowances, but you always need to add 1 cm for seams. Any exceptions to this are stated separately.” ( told you so... read your instructions for your pattern ,clearly).

Sounds pretty simple, but it can get a little confusing when working with lots of pattern pieces!

Otto also tell us ( in the Instruction section) that... “ the patterns include hem allowance, button extensions and facing. When cutting out the garment pieces, add seam allowances of approx 1cm (depending on fabric) to each edge of the patterns". So, we need to add a seam allowance to all the edges**, except our hems,. Otto include a small hem, I sometimes like to increase the depth.

**Necklines. When constructing a garment with a neckline that is bound, it is not necessary to add a seam allowance to the neckline OR the neckline binding as it is already included. This  also includes other bound areas ie;  t shirt sleeves, spaghetti straps style tops.  If in doubt, always ask . You can email me with your pattern query and I will check for you. 

So, how to add the Seam Allowance? If you do a search you will find folks are quite inventive when it comes to adding their seam allowance, and at what stage they add their seam allowance. I follow Otto’s advise and prefer to add the seam allowance at the cutting out stage. I prefer this as it allows me scope to adjust when cutting out. ie; some fabrics that are clingier, I might want to add more ease etc. Some methods of adding seam allowance:

1.     Simply draw on with dressmakers chalk/texta/pencil on the fabric , using a ruler all around the edge to measure your preferred seam allowance. 

2.       Just wing it, estimate as you cut- you dare devil you! ( this is my preferred method!)

3.       Using an unthreaded wing tipped sewing machine needle


4.Using two pencils taped together



5.Rotary cutter with seam allowance guide attached.


6. Using carbon paper and a tracing wheel.



I guess it is just a matter of finding your fave method. Adding Seam Allowance in action!

This is a favourite Otto issue , 2/2002. It is an oldie ( Non English) but a goodie. The t shirt pattern I have made before and loved. ( it also has a great spaghetti strap top too). The fabric is one of the very cool ZNOKcotton/lycras.  Here’s the pattern laid out....

Here’s my 1cm seam allowance being measured and added. Note I have not added a seam allowance to the neck front or back.



Here’s my pattern pieces cut, ready to go.


And here is my neckband, cut the recommended 4cm wide as per my pattern. I don’t cut the length yet, until I see how much recovery the fabric has. ( more in next tute).



(and here is my bag of neckband  4cm strips, cut from scraps!)



Next tute we will look at.. *Symbols used in Otto patterns  *T shirt- neckband construction , a simple neckband and neckline binding. We will also have a chat about estimating the length of your neckband piece. 

Ottobre Design Magazine Class 101 Part 1. Tracing

24 October, 2013 0 comments Leave a comment

A lot of customers comment that they would really like to start using Ottobre Design mag, but lack the confidence to start. If you have only ever sewn from full-size, ready made commercial patterns before, it may be a little confusing. But this tute is going to put all that behind'll be pumping out those Otto projects in no time!

A little disclaimer: " I am not a professional dressmaker" I am just a mum who loves to  sew. Some of my methods are a bit home-grown, on the kitchen table kinda thing.. but hey, they work for me. Jump in!

This tute looks at finding and tracing your pattern. As I add the seam allowance when I go to cut out- I'll chat about seam allowances in the next tute!

What will we need to trace off our Otto pattern?

1. An Ottobre Design mag, of course! You possibly subscribe or if not, you can get yourself a sub or some back issues in my shop Crafty Mamas.

I am tracing from Summer 3/2011. 


2. A ruler, a highlighter, and something to trace onto. I use either our Kwik Trace or Swedish Tracing Paper. You can , of course, use plain old baking paper..but it annoys me and I like to keep my patterns to use over and over again. So I prefer our products. And you will need some scissors.



3. Select a pattern you want to make...I like this colour blocked dress...

..let's check out the details...sizes 134cm -170cm. That will work for me. How do I decide what size I need? If you turn to the beginning of the pattern section, you will find the line drawings of all patterns in this issue. I find this really good to look over, instead of just the colour pics of the garment made up.

The line drawings give you a feel for the patterns features etc, as well as size range. Another reason line drawings are good? Sometimes a pattern may be sewn up in a fabric I am not so keen on  ( for example, I very rarely use patterned fabric with white background on my kids- as I think it washes them out) seeing the line drawings, you are able to interpret each pattern in your minds eye- the way you would like it to look.

4. Measuring up. Ottobre Design give excellent measuring instructions in each mag.

Once you have followed the diagram and  plotted your  child's measurements, you can see which size your child falls into best. Here you can see Lil is all over the place, so I am going to trace size 152cm, and make an increase over the waist measurement.

The measurements in the chart is of the actual child, not the garment. The patterns have built in allowance for ease of movement.

5. So now we know what size we are tracing...let's go read our pattern a bit more. 

Ok, here we can see the size range and (134cm-170cm) and the type and amount of fabric we will need, as well an extras. If you look at the Materials you will see the materials needed run in the same increments as the size range. So, to make size 152cm, I will need:

-65-cm of pale coloured fabric
-35-cm of medium coloured fabric
-40cm of dark coloured fabric.

Ok, but what TYPE of fabric? This pattern suggests a knit of (CV/EL) with a stretch recovery of 30%.

To work out  the stretch-factor of your fabric:

  Take a 10cm piece of your fabric, cut across the the grain ( so in the direction of selvage to selvage), then stretch. If it stretches to 12cm, it has 25% stretch; if it stretches to 15cm, it has 50% stretch;  and so on.

What is  (CV/EL)? There is a handy International Textile sheet here!
Most European fabrics are 140-150cm wide, so keep this in mind too, if your patterns does not state width ( most do).

I also need about 80cm of clear elastic. I use swimwear elastic ( as I have a 100m roll to use!).

6. So now I have my fabric sorted, what pattern sheet do I need? I mean there's a few in here!

Let's go back to our pattern tells us we need to find "sheet F, Blue". Blue tells us the colour tracing line will be.

This part also tells us the pattern pieces we need to trace, and also any extra info we might need to know.
My pattern has little scissors next to pieces 1 and 2. This tells me, these pieces - once traced- are then cut into 3 sections each to become 1a. 1b, 1c and 2a, 2b, 2c. Be sure and look for any marking like this one your pattern sheet. Another symbol you may see is a small pencil. This tells us once we have traced off that piece, we will need to trace a section of it off again separately.

I need to find ( in BLUE) pieces # 1, 2, and 3. 

If you look at the bottom of your pattern sheet, you will see a helpful guide. See the "1" and "3"?
If I run my finger up from here, it will lead us to the corresponding pattern piece/colour. 

7. It always handy to scope out the diagram of the pattern pieces so you know what you are looking for. Pay attention to any details on each piece too.I find an aerial view is great to help me spot them all.

8. Tracing. Now I have found all my pieces, I take my highlighter and trace over the correct size. I do this for all pieces. ( note about highlighter. I like to use a different colour highlighter for each size. Having kids x 4, I often reuse patterns..and it is easier to find the sizes on the sheet if they are different colour).

Be sure and note your centre front and back lines..these will be indicated on the sheet, also any gathers ( indicated with arrow) , hems, etc.

When you have hunted down all your pieces, grab your tracing material and trace!

 9. Now you need to transfer over any markings from your pattern sheet to your traced pieces.

So now you have your pattern pieces, go dig out your fabric! Got a query?


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