Christina Sparkle

  1. Category Archive: Crafting

  2. Free crochet cloud baby hat pattern

    Here’s a super cute hat pattern for a baby boy or a girl complete with cloud appliqués. I’ve included 3 sizes; newborn, 0-3 months and 3-6 months. Enjoy!

    You will need:


    Magic ring

    Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), 9 HDC into ring, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 10 HDC

    Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), 2 HDC into each HDC around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 20 HDC

    Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC into same st, HDC in next HDC, *2 HDC in next HDC, HDC in next HDC; rep from * around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 30 HDC

    Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC into same st, HDC in next HDC, *2 HDC in next HDC, HDC in next 2 HDC; rep from * around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 40 HDC [for newborn size stop here and jump to the round 7 instructions]

    Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC into same st, HDC in next HDC, *2 HDC in next HDC, HDC in next 3 HDC; rep from * around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 50 HDC [for 0-3 months size stop here and jump to the round 7 instructions]

    Round 6: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC into same st, HDC in next HDC, *2 HDC in next HDC, HDC in next 4 HDC; rep from * around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 60 HDC [this round is for 3-6 month size only]

    Round 7-16: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC in each HDC around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 60 HDC. Fasten off and weave in ends. [for newborn size this will be rows 5-14, for 0-3 month size this will be rows 6-15]


    Ch 10

    Round 1: SC in the second chain from the hook, SC into each ch across, turn – 9 SC

    Round 2: Ch 1, sk first 2 SC, 5 DC into next SC, sk next SC, sl st into next SC, sk next SC, 5DC into next SC, sk next SC, sl st into corner SC, sk edge of SC, 5 DC into corner Ch, sk next Ch, sl st into next Ch, sk next Ch, 5 DC into next Ch, sk next Ch, sl st into next Ch, sk next Ch, 5 DC into last corner Ch, sl st into first DC to join. Fasten off with 20cm tail, appliqué onto the hat and weave in ends.

    To make the hat your own you can add other appliqués to compliment the clouds. I used these raindrops, you could try a rainbow or lightning bolt too.


  3. Stitch and B*tch


    Just a quick update today because I haven’t done the extra work on my new Clemence skirt quite yet. However, this week I started my new job in Bedfordshire so I no longer have to travel around for work. This means that I can finally go to some of the evening groups I’ve wanted to go to.

    Unfortunately it seems that the local young WI group, the Scone Roses, have moved away from the WI organisation and it’s not clear if they will keep meeting up yet. It’s a shame because I hadn’t made to a meeting at all yet.

    Last night however, I did get to the crafting circle at The Three Cups near Castle Road in Bedford. I didn’t have any crochet or embroidery on the go but I just picked up a bag of yarn and my hooks and went to the pub. I’ve decided to make another baby blanket in the Cath Kidston -inspired colours that I had previously made for my friend Aurora.

    Blue, green. cream, pink and red make for an unusual combination but the result is very fitting for any Cath Kidston lover, and gender neutral too. I’m not sure who I will gift this blanket to but at the rate all of my friends are getting pregnant at I’m sure it won’t be long till I have someone in mind!


  4. Coco: week 4 finished!


    Ta-daaa! Here are my final Cocos photographed on a blustery day in Bedford.

    In my final week I attached the cuffs to the black and cream striped top, and hemmed both to finish. I hemmed with a double needle, rather than zigzag like the pattern suggests. I far prefer this finish and is much easier than I expected it to be. It is scary at first but even my old 1960s Bernina handled the double needle with ease – just remember to make sure you are set to straight stitch not zigzag every time.

    Luckily I have been able match the stripes on all side seams and sleeves which I wasn’t expecting to happen. When I cut them out they were distinctly wonky but I guess the stripe is just the right size to match up and then be able to hide uneven hems easily.

    The only place I wasn’t able to match the stripes was on the collar as you can see in the above photo, they actually match alternatively so cream meets black, black meets cream. I actually quite like the checkered effect, perhaps I’ll try that on something else with the fabric remnants?

    I’m not sure I would make this pattern with a collar again, I do like the effect but (perhaps due to the weight of the fabric?) I haven’t quite found the right position for the collar. It doesn’t roll over enough to cover the understitching and seems to weigh down the neckline. After a few more wears I will hopefully find the right way to wear it.


    The grey and black version I think will get the most wear. This is the most simple version of the pattern, no pockets or added detailing and therefore the most flexible. I’m wearing it here with a new Clemence skirt that is almost finished (more info on that next week).

    The fabric on the grey and black top is thick and more stiff than the black and cream version. This results in a top that holds its shape really well.

    Both tops are loose fitting, I may try a size (even two) smaller next time, but I think the pattern is supposed to fit loose. I’d be interested to try a more close fitting pattern to wear with full skirts, perhaps the Nettie? Before that though I have quite a pile of patterns and fabric building up that I want to get through.

    Things I learned this week: a hot iron will flatten out any bumpy hem.

    I hope you like the photos that actually include my head! Usually I take photos of me wearing my makes before leaving for work when I haven’t done my hair or make up yet but I made a special effort with these and went out on Saturday so that Janet could feature them on her blog. It’s very strange taking photos in the street while people are walking around.

    It was a lot of fun taking Janet’s course and I would highly recommend it. I’ve been teaching myself dress making from books and bits and bobs on the internet but there is so much you learn from having someone show you. I’ve also made two lovely friends in Janet and Charlotte – it’s really good to start getting to know people in Bedford. I’ve signed up to Janet’s Christmas course to meet some more people too.


  5. Coco: Week 3


    They are both coming together so well now. The sleeves and side seams are now finished, next week will be hemming and then I’m all done.

    Last week when sewing the collar on to the black and cream top I zigzagged the seam allowances to the top, as per the instructions but this didn’t work out right at all. Firstly the zigzag stitch was too tight which resulted in a wavy effect, nothing a good press couldn’t iron out but still, not ideal. Secondly, the idea is that the zigzag would be covered by the collar but that really wasn’t the case on my top.

    I decided to unpick, painstakingly, and then redid the understitching with a double needle. This has resulted in a much nicer effect, far more professional looking.


  6. Coco: Week 2


    Second week of my Coco course with Janet from Kitchen Table Sewing and now I have started to put the pieces together. For my black and cream top I am going to make the version that has a collar, a sixties style rolled neck that reminds me of the collar on my bridesmaid’s dresses. For my grey and black top, which I’m making on my own at home, I’ve gone for a standard neckline and this will be the most simple version. I’m not even going to do a pocket on the grey and black top because breast pockets are just a no-no with a bust like mine.

    Things I’ve learned this week: how to use a double needle for hemming (never ever try to zigzag with a double needle); it is important to hold onto the threads when starting to sew on a modern sewing machine (I’m so used to my 1960s Bernina); unpicking stitches in jersey fabric should be avoided at all costs (I’ve been doing it as delicately as possible!).


  7. Pixel Heart Card DIY


    I saw this image on Pinterest this week but unfortunately I can’t find where it originated from. Only after a reverse Google image search did I find the blog that it came from and, what a cute blog it is… Mini-eco! I subscribed straight away.

    I think it is so important to credit the original creator of an image. Especially now when there are so many amazing bloggers and creators out there that we could all be discovering! I usually find that Pinterest pins are credited and there is no problem, they make it very easy to pin an image from a blog or website and keep the source. Tumblr on the other hand is quite the opposite! This time I’ve gone back and edited my pin to point to the right link so hopefully future pinners can find Mini-eco and all of her amazing creations.

    If you find an image and you don’t know its source you can do a reverse image search by downloading the image to your desktop, then browse to Google Image Search and drag the image into the search bar. This will search the web for similar images and you can usually find the original within the first page or two of links. My search resulted in lots of links to Pinterest and then on the second page I found Mini-eco’s blog with the full tutorial.


  8. Coco: Week 1


    Last week I started on Kitchen Table Sewing‘s Coco course. I’m really excited to learn how to make my own t-shirts and imagine all the possibilities I can create. No longer limited by what is on trend, or available in the shops at that time.

    In the first session we just cut out all our pieces of the pattern. I have used this black and cream striped jersey fabric from Dragonfly Fabrics for a classic Breton style (and to go in my Autumn Capsule). I also found some grey and black stripes at Fabric World in Bedford, so I’m making a second Coco at home to really embed in my mind all the tips that Janet gives.

    Things I’ve learned so far: Jersey fabric needs a ballpoint machine needle (these look and feel exactly the same as standard needles, confusing huh?); you don’t need to overlock jersey (the edges will just roll once it is washed a few times); and aligning stripes when cutting fabric is really hard (either spend most of your time getting it right or just go with the wonkiness, I choose the latter).


  9. Crochet Baby Blanket

    Crochet baby blanket

    I’ve taken a little break from dressmaking now that the weather is getting more Autumnal – I have an urge to crochet when it is cold. This is my go-to handmade gift whenever my friends are having babies. I’ve made it in blue, brown and white; pink brown and white; pink, blue, green white and red; and now in red, black and white.

    The pattern is from The Happy Hooker, which is the book that I actually used to learn how to crochet back in 2008. The blanket is really easy to make, and doesn’t take too long. Personally, I’m not a fan of knitting because it takes so long, crochet on the other hand is much faster – I need that feeling of progression quickly otherwise I get bored.

    I made it for my friend Amy from That’s Sew Amy, we have known each other for a long time now since we bonded over our love for No Doubt and Gwen Stefani. Naturally, when she announced her pregnancy, I had to make a blanket in Gwen’s signature colours and the theme for No Doubt’s Rock Steady album.

    The pattern also comes with instructions for a hat which I usually make to match but as Amy is also a big Mario Bros. fan I went for a cute mushroom hat instead. I followed the same pattern for the hat, without the stripes or ear flaps and then crocheted circles to be sewn on.

    Here’s a video I recorded while making the blanket…


  10. iPad Mini Pocket Cover

    photo 2

    Last Christmas Andy’s sister got a Kindle and we gave her a voucher to buy some Kindle books to go on it. However, I didn’t want that to be her only gift so to go with the voucher I found this sweet and easy tutorial to create a Kindle cover.

    Fast forward to this summer I wanted a cover for my iPad mini that could go in my handbag and I didn’t need to worry about it getting roughed up too much. This was also at the same time that I got a new dressmaking book and I wanted to get used to my sewing machine again. I remembered that the Kindle cover had fit my iPad in too so I made the same pattern again.

    photo 3

    Turns out, I was wrong. The same pattern didn’t fit at all but luckily I had enough fabric left to measure it all properly and make a cover that fits perfectly. Using fabric from a couple of fat quarters, plus some fleece/flannel for the inside, I was able to make three whole covers. This is a great pattern to use up remnants.

    So, now I have a Kindle sized pocket going spare. If you, or anyone you know, is interested I have it up on my Etsy shop ready and waiting for a loving home.

    photo 1


  11. Cotton Anniversary Crafting

    Last week was our second wedding anniversary and to celebrate we took a trip down to London to the V&A for lunch and to see the wedding dress exhibition. Gwen Stefani’s wedding dress is so amazing to see in person, so unique and the details are fantastic. I recommend the exhbition to anyone, such a beautiful collection.

    While in London we also had dinner at Cantina Laredo in Covent Garden which was fantastic, when you arrive at your table there is a silver bowl with an avacado and lime in it so they can make fresh guacamole at your table! The service was very quick, I had a red berry smoothie while we shared nachos and salsa, then Vegetarian Tacos with Green Rice and Calabacitas on the side. To finish up we shared Cinnamon Churros with a chilli chocolate dip, Andy’s favourite.

    I’m loving the fact that London is so close now. We were home by 9.30 after dinner and then I drove up to Nottingham the next day for work.

    Before we set off to London we exchanged gifts… I had crafted this cross-stitch portrait of our little family, and made Andy a pair of cotton Pyjama bottoms.


    I drafted my own pattern for the portrait taking inspiration from other cross stitch people on Pinterest. I chose a polo shirt for Andy, and gold shoes for me. The kitties were fun to do too. I think perhaps it needs our wedding date underneath? I love the overall effect though, very us.


    The fabric from the pyjamas was from CallyCo in Cambridge – I was in search of something with cats on but this one really caught my eye instead. Can you spot where I accidentally rolled my rotary cutter over the fabric? I hope not! That caused much pouting and Googling of how to patch a hole, but the holes are almost invisible now so nevermind. I forgot to put some elastic in the waist before I gave them to Andy, but that was probably for the best because I needed to measure them anyway, since this photo was taken elastic is now in place.

    In exchange Andy gave me this amazing embroidered art. I can’t deny that I left some heavy hints about this one but it turned out so much better than I hoped for. It includes our kitties, and the dress is made from the remnants of my actual wedding dress! The bunting is also made with remnants from the cushions I made for the chairs at the wedding. Love, love, love it.