Sewing for the spawners

This Christmas I decided to go high-stakes and make presents for the people that spawned me.

Now, they’re an appreciative audience, and I’ve already received plaudits for previous crafted gifts that drew heavily on toilet rolls and pritt stick. But I was torturing myself with this hypothetical scene:

Secret life of seams: “Happy Christmas! Hope you like it…? I made it MYSELF.”

Spawners think: We made over 50% of the people in this room, right now.

Secret life of seams: “Look and there are actual buttonholes. Holes for buttons.”

Spawners think: Made your eyes. Just saying.

So what _do_ you make for people who crafted your respiratory system? Brace yourselves……a cardigan and an apron. Here are the fruits of my anxious labour. The apron in action with some ragu sauce:

It’s made of a surprisingly light-weight navy blue vinyl material which I picked up for £3 in a Brixton fabric shop. The vinyl was key because wipe-ability is a must-have feature. The edges are enclosed with a jade green cotton bias tape and while the vinyl wouldn’t feed through the sewing machine by itself it was fine when the bias tape was in place.

The design is copied from an apron I borrowed and I was kind of impressed at how easy and neat this method is. Since you don’t need an apron to cook beef ramen, I’m new to their ways, so please skip the following paragraph if this is Apron 101:

Before I started construction, I pressed the tape in half along its length, wrong sides together. The tape is attached from under the right arm-hole to the left, followed by a strip enclosing the top edge. This is followed by the bias tape being folded over on itself (to form the left-side waist tie), then enclosing the arm curve and forming a loop for the neck to go through. The tape then re-attaches to the top left-hand corner, following the arm curve down and then leaving the vinyl and being sewed together to form the final waist tie. The final piece of bias tape covers the ends of the tape on the top and bottom, so it has a tidy finish.

Harder to type than to do.

For the cardigan, I created a pattern from an existing cardigan owned by my Mum, with liberal use of tracing paper and a sharp pin.

Working on a tip-off, I got this knit fabric for £1/m from Cannon Street Jersey Fabrics in Tottenham Hale. It’s basically a big concrete room filled with knits but Dibs and The Machine was right when she recommended it, there really is something for every knit fan. Just for info, don’t go on the weekend, it’s only open weekdays. Don’t ask how I learnt this.

I’ve never made a cardigan before so the whole buttons thing was making me nervous. But this tutorial from Grosgrain’s embellish knits series steered me on how to deal with the opening and my machine’s buttonhole feature wasn’t too much of a nightmare. Basically I folded over the raw edges, pinned seam finishing tape to cover them, and then used a double-needle to sew it in place from the right side of the cardigan. I added 2 pockets to add some visual contrast, and the buttons are recycled from my Mum’s button jar where they’d been waiting for a decade or two. Total validation of my stash instincts.


  • The spawners of course, who else would get these man hours out of me.
  • Happy recipients!
  • Using buttons from the button jar and seam finishing tape.
  • Very affordable materials, both gifts cost under £10 combined.

Love less:

  • The man hours. Is there a point at which your sewing begins to speed up? Regardless there is no way I could have done this last year.

Did I mention buttonholes? Holes for buttons yeah?

This entry was posted in Knits, Projects and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sewing for the spawners

  1. __cui says:

    show off

  2. Pingback: How to clone your wardrobe Jurassic Park style | the secret life of seams

  3. Pingback: Festive fare: giving and receiving edition | the secret life of seams

  4. Pingback: Blue tiger knit top and gifts | the secret life of seams

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