Thursday, 20 August 2015


 Recently I sewed up a woven tee shirt using the
"Simple Modern Sewing" book and scraps of fabric.  The neckline is too big due to my hasty late night cutting.  But naturally I have a plan to rectify this.

Recently I also took my three children away on the train, to Glasgow.

So no sewing for a few days, just many parks, museums, eating out and a lot of walking.  I would like a medal for taking them on a 4 hour journey and staying in a hostel.  The big two were very good and Rocket Girl was, well, she was a three year old! As you can see in the picture below.  She is laughing here, not crying.

Interestingly, the older children loved Glasgow and say it has changed their ideas about living in a city.  So maybe next year I can be brave enough to take them to London?  I have been promising a trip there for a long time.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Holiday trousers- Cropped Portfolio Trousers

I made a stash busting pair of summer trousers.  I had been eyeballing printed trousers on other people for a while now.  Then while I was trying ineffectually to clear some of my fabric stash, I started pairing fabric pieces with potential patterns this piece of dark blue woodblock printed cotton from my mum's stash suggested itself to me as cropped trousers.

 There was only just enough fabric to cut the trousers out.  I used the Simplicity /Lisette 2245 Portfolio pattern which I used and hashed up here.  It is a simple trouser pattern, just front and back legs and then a front and back "yoke" and a side zip.  I left off the decorative tabs as I had such a small piece of fabric.  This time I was delighted that I cut a size 12 and they fit.  Last time I couldn't squeeze into them once I attached the waist yoke, took it off and added an elastic casing.  I hasten to add I was a tiny bit pregnant at that time. I still wear those trousers, even with the elastic waist, they are now my goto trousers for the messiest play days and playgroups.

There is not much to say about making these up.  I had cut the trousers out about a month ago and then rediscovered them at the bottom of the ironing pile.  I didn't have enough of the woodblocked fabric for the waistband so I used a plain dark blue cotton that also came from my mum's house.  I couldn't lay my hands on the pattern instructions so I just sewed them up. The trousers are just very straightforward, two back darts to add a bit of shape and a side zip.  I like the lack of bulk, the lack of roominess and the lack of pleats in this pattern.  I see potential in this pattern and I would like to make it again in a grey or black ever so slightly drapey fabric for a  more formal look.  I am starting to apply for jobs and need something neutral and smart if I ever ever ever get an interview!  Please any advice on what sort of fabric would be up to the job?

Back to this particular pair, they are great summer holiday trousers. Simple and comfortable, I look down and wonder if I am in pyjamas every now and then.  Isn't that what summer holiday clothes should feel like?  But, and there always seems to be a but, I don't seem to have many tops suitable to go with these trousers. So many of my tops are patterned.   In my mind I can see exactly what I need, but I can't translate that into reality. I would really like a white or cream squarish shape tee, probably woven fabric. Oh and maybe a red one too.  It dawns on me that a Portfolio top would go well with these trousers...though I have my eye on a couple of other pattern options.  But I am stumped for fabric choices again.  Help anyone?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

A tale of two tops

Back in May  when I bought fabric for my birthday I planned to make a pair of cotton tops.  I had been eyeballing the Painted Roses tee in summer 2014 Ottobre for a long while.  It is a simple woven tee shirt.  Oh, how I thought I was so clever, filling wardrobe gaps with simple tops.

First up I made the tee shirt in grey dotted liberty fabric.  This fabric was inspired by a painting in the National Gallery.  It is called Melanie Atai and it is lovely.
But, but, but I cut out a 38 and although it fits okay on the bust it is too big on my shoulders.  I also put the sleeves in very messily.  I am torn now, I like the shirt but also think it looks like a 1980s building society uniform.  (It's in the shoulders)  I am cross with myself for my sloppiness.  I wore it a lot after making it but only with a cardigan on top, hiding my sleeves of shame. Now I have bit the bullet and begun unpicking those sleeves. I am a naturally careless sewer and it can take a huge amount of effort to slow down and take more care in my sewing. I know I should, I know I can but sewing seems to pull out my slipshod, hasty self. In part this is down to having only small snatched moments to sew in, so I rush to cram in as much as possible.

The Riley Blake geeky fabric was narrower so I had no room for sleeves. I went down a size and I am happier withthe fit, especially round the neck and on the shoulders.  I cut the back slightly longer and curved the hem.  I have been wearing this top frequently, it filled a wardrobe gap, replacing worn out holey tops.
So, my two woven tops have not been the instant success I expected. I need a bit of sewing calm and patience to get the grey top right. Insert laughter here, those are not abundant qualities in summer holidays. Anyone else feel their personal qualities are reflected in  their
sewing approach?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Work in progress

 As summer rushes on I am swept up in the current of parties, school and nursery events.  I have a back log of finished makes to show, but I am not going to show them now.  Instead this is what I am currently making.  I was inspired by reading about the
Vintage Pattern Pledge to finally make up a vintage pattern.  This 1972 Style 3590 pattern was given to me by Phillippa.   It was last year I think.   I like the square neck shape, the buttons and the yoke with gathers.  The pattern is labelled "Sandra" and I cannot help but wonder who Sandra was.  She had carefully cut out the pattern for the short sleeved tunic.
 I am making View A, the dress version.  I  hesitated for a long time over the puffed sleeves, not sure if anyone over the age of ten should wear puffed sleeves.  But then my upper arms are not what they used to be and I want some coverage some days.  So I am going to test the puffed sleeves by making and wearing them.  If people shout and point in the street, well then I will know the true power,horror and affront to scoiety of middle aged woman in puffed sleeves.  But most likely no one will even notice except me.
You can see I have gone wrong stitching the sleeve insertion and caught a bit of the yoke, creating an annoying tuck, so the next stage will involve my unpicker.  I am sewing it up in tiny stages when the littlest is at nursery or asleep, in between taxi driving the big two around.  I have a list of jobs as long as can be but I am steadfastly ignoring them to finish my dress for holidays.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

FO: Sailor Top Stash Bust

You can't get much better than a simple stripey tee.  Easy to wear with some many things, bright and simple.  I love my striped shirts but have been lacking a short sleeved version for summer. And  sometimes it is good to have a quick project with simple straight seams and a satisfyingly fast end product.

Lovely Jessica sent me a piece of striped jersey last year.  It has a nice weight to it.  I love striped fabric (told you that already haven't I?) and I was delighted to receive it.  I'd thought of many ways to sew it but couldn't decide.  But I am trying to sew up my stash and the fact that I had this nice jersey unused was really starting to bug me.

 Finally I settled on Marilla Walker 's Sailor top. I liked Marilla's versions, especially the dress version but wasn't sure.  Then I was finally swayed by Helen of grosgraingreen's version. 

The pattern is a free pdf.  It is square shaped with a clever diamond gusset in the shoulders. The basic square shape reminds me  of sewing simple tops for dolls! I mean that in a nice way.
  It was easy to put together. I cut and stitched it in one evening while everyone else watched a film.  Snip, snip, sew, sew.
  I just managed to squeeze front, back and sleeves from my jersey piece. I didn't have enough striped fabric for the gussets so I used left over red rib from this dress.  I love  the little bright peep of red.  I also used some red ribbon to stabilise the neck on the inside.  

The final top is great for our on off summer. It's on a constant wearwash rotation at the moment. And just this morning I saw Jenna's Sailor top!  Now I feel a bit of serendipityis  in the air.  

Photo opp stolen by RG  

Trying to show the gusset
So, if you want a simple quick sew tee and like a blocky simple shape, I recommend you try the Sailor tee.  It's great for using up a small piece of jersey.

Thursday, 18 June 2015


I haven't written a "recently.." post for ages but I have blogged so little lately that it seemed like a good way to catch up.  So,
Recently....there's been playing in the rain,
 Planning our summer holidays, reading US blogs always surprises me as they start summer holidays so much earlier.  Here we still have a month to go, but I have been quietly booking a few free or low cost workshops.

 There's been much fun in puddles...
Sort of recently, but actually a month ago, it was my birthday and I was given some money to spend.  I bought this sweet star necklace from Bybjor.  I love it and it arrived in lovely packaging. I also bought two pieces of fabric from Clothkits. A metre of each, spectacles and some pale grey dotty liberty fabric.  I have already stitched the liberty up and will share soon,  It's lying in a crumpled heap waiting to be ironed.  I was also given this cookbook.  The beetroot hummus was lovely but for my children it was A Step Too Far.  "When can we have some real hummus?"  I had to eat it all.  For three days.  
My favourite old friend sent me this bracelet.  
Recently, my sewing is mostly about this confection.  a mermaid outfit for Little I to wear in the local carnival in just over a week,  It is um...a work in progress...
What has everyone else been up to?  Anyone else sewing fancy costumes?  Or failing with hummus?  

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Me Made May - the end

Ottobre Autumn Mood tee, Tate skirt
So, Me Made May is at an end.  I wore me made every day but didn't photo every day. I have put in most of my photos here - anything not me made is second hand I think.  So, what did I learn?  Well, I do like the versatility and wearability of a denim staple...I wore my denim Portfolio dress four or five times, my Tate skirt four times, and my V1247 count. I like the denim pieces as I can add colourful and patterned tops without being too crazy lady. I also fell back into love with my V1247 bright green cord skirt.  In fact I am thinking making another V1247 skirt as I like it so much. I realise that my default photo pose is slightly hunched, hands in pockets, not sure what conclusions to draw there.
Vogue 1247 skirt in green cord

Ottobre Autumn Mood tee, Tate skirt

Sew Lisette portfolio dress, aka Simplicity 2245
I finished my Amazing Fit trousers as seen below but the fit isn't amazing YET and I have to unpick and take the waist in a bit.  I wore them twice but they aren't quite right yet.  I plan to blog fully about them soon.  May was so cold that I have a large amount of summery me mades that were not worn at all...sleeveless tops and shorts, summer skirts and dresses all remained in the wardrobe.
Simplicity 1696 Amazing Fit Trousers

Ottobre Summer '14 painted Roses Top 

Butterick top, Vogue 1247 skirt
Sew Lisette Traveller Dress, aka Simplicity 2246
Tova tunic blouse, Sew Liberated Skinny 

Me made apron, V1247 skirt

Sew Liberated skinny jeans, Painted Roses top from Ottobre (unblogged)

Just had to include this for the ghostly child image
I am glad I took part as it got me out of my jeans and top rut, and I enjoyed wearing my skirts and dresses.  I love my red jeans.  I love being able to say "I made it" if someone compliments an item of clothing.  So anyone else have fun with May?  Thank you to Zoe for organising it again.  This year I was slightly out of the community as I'm not on flickr or instagram but I think that was good for me as I would never have kept up with so many images and people!