Thursday, 31 March 2011

29 and 30 March

Me made top fromSimplicity 2245 and a different view in my house. Sorry this is a bit blurry but you can see me "la, la" posing for photos and T in the background. Soundtrack to this photo would be "Muuuuummm....oh mummmmmmy..."

Me Made ruffle shirt from Built By Wendy Sew U book. I used some fabric given to me in a bag of remnants. I wanted to try out the pattern without splashingon fabric in case it didn't work. It is a strange colour that I don't know how to match with other clothes. Mainly I don't know how to match it with any of my cardigans - aaahhh I can't seem to dress without a cardigan. Too cold for short sleeves too warm for sweaters.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Me Made March Catch Up and a digression or two

I need to do a Me Made March catch up here. Some crappy photos. Some bad hair. Sorry about that. Thursday 24th - Me Made top from a duvet cover and using Simplicity 3835, charity shop Gap jeans, Boden sale cardigan
Friday 25th March - Me Made nautical t shirt and refashioned cardigan, charity shop Gap jeans
Saturday 27th March - Me Made top from Simplicity 2245, stash fabric, another pair of charity shop jeans, Boden sale cardigan

No photo for Sunday but I did wear my me-made table cloth top.
Monday 28th March - Me made Amy Butler Anna tunic, very old Zara cardigan, those charity shop Gap jeans again

Okay here's the digressions:

The eagle eyed amongst you may notice in the last photo that the map has moved.
Little I is very interested in her alphabet so last week I finally cleared out the craft cupboard and then on sunday I put up the alphabet poster I had been searching for in the craft cupboard. I love this poster. It is by

Jan Pienkowski one of my favourite children's illustrators (I've loved his silhouette illustrations since I was a child - I cannot think how else to describe them). If you have small kids I recommend his website (in the previous link) if you go to "fun and games" he has some fab printable colouring pages. And if you read the "About" page you get a brief glimpse of a fascinating career.

Sometimes tidying up has its bonuses, I now have an idea of what is in the cupboard. I had forgotten we own sun print photo paper, a box of old fashioned wooden pegs for dolly making and many coloured lolly sticks.

Digression two - the Boden cardigan was bought when I went to a Boden end of line sale a couple of years ago when I still bought RTW clothing. If you get the chance to go to one it is funny and a good people watching experience. It was in an exhibition hall and clothes were on tables, in boxes and a few on rails. It was kind of like an upmarket jumble sale for middle class, middle aged women. We got there an hour after it opened and almost all the kid's clothes had gone. If you are especially small or big you can get some great bargains. There was a make shift communual changing room where you tried on clothes and tossed the unwanted into cardboard boxes where staff would put them make out the front. While I was there someone had put her own clothes down only to find they had been shoved into a box and taken out front for selling! I tried on lots of things but bought my mustard cardigan and have worn it so much since it was a definite good buy. I saw quite a few women I know vaguely from toddler groups or school run and do you know the weird thing? Boden's relentlessly jolly marketing kind of irritates me - they are a bit of a cliche and their prices are way out of my range - but all the women trying on dresses, tops etc looked really good. The Boden clothes seemed to fit and flatter middle aged women so I guess they must know what they are doing.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Clock without hands top, new pattern love

I rarely buy new patterns but feeling fed up with my sewing and wanting to use my stash of fabrics for garments that I will actually wear, led me to do a spot of online shopping and so I bought two new patterns last week. I think I will get my money's worth from these. They are both Lisette for Simplicity. You may know the work of the designer Liesel Gibson through her childrens' clothing sewing patterns, Oliver and S, or through her blog disdressed. I read somewhere that these patterns are not super fashionable but then, a lesson I have learnt partly from doing Me Made months is that I don't actually want to be super fashionable nor do I want to be making clothes designed for a twenty year old or clothes that are more suitable for my almost four year old daughter than for me. These clothes look as if they are wearable in my life. (I will let you know if they are as I progress) But I have to say making this top was a pleasure, simple and straightforward, it has made me happier about my sewing again. (My needle jammed three times while sewing this top despite me giving the machine a clean and changing needles. So I am now planning to take it back to the shop where I bought it next week.)

I tried out the top view C as I didn' t have enough stash fabric to make the longer version. I also have quite a few long tunic type tops now and a shorter one will be good for summer.

I used cotton fabric from my Devon stash. I didn't have enough fabric to make the sleeve cuffs but just gave them a tiny hem instead. The fabric does crease a bit but apart from that I am happy with it.

The fabric is cotton and has a pattern that looks like a handless clock on it. This pattern is easy to make up and has clear instructions and diagrams. I didn't rush it at all (honestly) but made it within 24 hours from cutting out to finishing off. I may have also found it straightforward because the top used similar methods to other patterns I have already sewn. It is also a quick top to make because it uses no buttonholes or zips. The neck facing is sewn in a "stitch in the ditch" so I have none of the problems I have had before with facings flapping around.

Back view - buttons came from my grey cardigan. I thought they looked frumpy on the cardigan but I like how they are with this fabric AND I like to re-use. I used ribbon to make the button loops instead of self fabric.

Okay, so I now have new pattern love for this pattern. I really liked wearing this top yesterday, and I want to make the other versions too now. The View B longer top and the View A dress have big pockets created from the centre front piece. Regular readers will know my love of pockets. If you are squingting at the pattern cover photo trying to see the pockets, I apologise, it is not clear to see them in the picture.

I would like to make the dress in a denim-ish blue as an everyday dress, maybe with some piping? However I don't have that in my stash, but I do have some liberty cotton in a reddish woven check. I am off to measure how much there is now.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Cardigan refashioned

A hand sewn refashion. The silk and wool mix junper was bought last year at a nearly new sale. It has glitter thread in it, just in case you haven't noticed. I tried it on but I had not worn it at all. So in thrifty 365 thinking this was not so may have only cost £2 but if I don't wear it then that is £2 wasted. I only really wear jumpers if it is very cold. So on thursday I took my scissors and cut it up the centre front, hand hemmed a tiny hem edge on each side. Then I got out my new toy...a pair of Prym pliers (bought half price in a closing down sale) and a pack of pearlised press studs. After some struggling, fiddling and muttering to myself, tah - dah, I have press studs on the new cardigan. It is unlikely I will ever fasten them but I like how they look.
I like my little glittery cardigan, it brightened up yesterday's school run.

Friday, 25 March 2011

23rd March

I am taking advice from the comments left on the last post. We have slowed down here. I put the UP dress away. And the sewing machine.
We have made "prototype one" of a water clock. It worked but was not big enough. We now need more empty bottles to make what I told by T is to be the test model.
I have done some (for me) exciting online pattern shopping. More to follow in another post about that.

We made a cafe in the living room. Some fabric from the bags I bought back from Devon makes a perfect pink and white tablecloth.

"You like coffee? Milk?"

Yesterday's MM March outfit is below.

In the background Little I is getting busy with the tub of mud and water...

Me Made top based on Nano Iro pattern.

I made this top as part of a sewalong last year. It originally looked different with a dark brown neckband. But I felt it looked too much like a shepherd's costume in a nativity play and the brown and ochre combo made me think of Captain James T Kirk in the 70s Star Trek series. So I changed it around and altered the neck adding bias binding made from the remnants of my ruffle top. Then I never wore it. It is light cotton from Kaffe Fssett and is too thin to wear much in colder weather. It has languished in my cupboard until today. And I have to confess it is a good top to wear on a warmish day. It is comfortable and just easy to wear. I didn't take my photos till 4pm and one criticism is that this fabric does crease. I also didn't get the neck binding quite right and it doesn't lie flat. But I got a couple of compliments on it.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

22nd March

With all these Me Made posts I haven't done much about making with kids recently.
We have been reading this book a lot recently and current project is the water clock from it (T's choice). We were given this book as part of a job lot from some friends with grown up children. It was published in 1976 but is full of good projects and ideas. Lots of games, craft and a science section. Reading the introduction the only bit that felt dated was the advice to ask your local hospital for old syringes, gloves etc. This seems so shocking now in our HIV-aware and health and safety culture.
Anyway it is a great book and when I checked there are some copies on amazon here. (Iam not benefiting in advertising this, just wanted to share) After the water clock is done I want to make a shoe box loom!

Puppets are a big thing here at the moment. We made some sock puppets last week. Of course Little I wanted pink ones.
I am feeling screamingly fed up on the sewing front. I have managed to half sew in the sleeves for the U.P. dress. While altering a skirt on sunday I broke my machine needle. Ever since then the machine has been doing strange things, needles jamming, needles unthreading. I changed size of needle and fiddled with the tension. It just jammed horribly while sewing the U.P sleeves. I just realised that I never found the tip of the broken needle and think it could be in there jamming the machine. I wll have a look later, otherwise I think a trip back to the sewing machine shop is due. I feel as if this U.P dress will never be done. I have made so many stupid errors on it. I feel like screwing it up into a ball and putting at the back of the scary understairs cupboard.
Instead I am going to go for a walk near T's school and take some deep breaths, probably stopping to buy some chocolate. And I shall be mainly wearing the outfit featured below:
Me made dress Simplicity 3964, refashioned yellow cardigan, Gap jeans via charity shop.

Hope your sewing projects are going more smoothly than mine. Grrrr...

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

21 March and a catch up

This is a hydraulic climbing system. You have to work out a sequence of pressing buttons to make the "things" climb. This exhibit clearly demonstrates how differently my brain works from my son's. He can figure it out, I am clueless, in a kind of foggy, cotton wool head way.
On Sunday morning we went once again to this place. (Can you tell I have an annual pass?) This exhibit which T is working on shows how materials can be sorted for recycling. It is very clever, but to my mind it also demonstrates the repetitive futility of processes - as soon as you think you have completed all stages you have to start over again, and again, and again. What is it that children like so much about repetition and adults don't? Anyway I don't want to get too metaphysical and make you have to THINK, so quick let's get back to clothing.

17th March - Me made Amy Butler tunic, ebay jeans and ancient Zara cardigan. Apologies for over exposure. And somehow thursday got missed off last week.

19th March - Me made t shirt, Me Made Tate skirt, H&M cardigan

20th Me made Simplicity 3835 top but no photosorry I was too busy putting balls into machines in the museum (again and again and again).

21st March - Me made Simplicity 2559 top, charity shop trousers.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Delusions of majesty

Me made dress using the dirndl pattern from Built by Wendy Dresses book, Me Made crown.

I have some fit issues with the top half of this dress, my bust has shrunk a bit since I made it! Yes, I am wearing a felt crown. I recommend anyone feeling a bit Meh in your clothes, pop on a felt crown and instantly you will feel much better.

There is a's Comic Relief day and Little I's nursery are having a family party with fancy dress. She is going as a fairy. She wants me to go as a Queen.
This is my most regal dress. Sadly I have no pearls or court shoes or white gloves.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

16th March

Me made Simplicity 2599 top, Me made trousers from Built By Wendy Sew U. Refashioned cardigan.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

15th March

March 15th - Me made Nora T shirt under Simplicity 3835 top.

This top was originally longer. Last summer I saw some pics of me wearing it that a friend took and decided it was too maternity-tent-like at that length so I shortened it. It is quilting weight cotton so it doesn't drape as well as a lighter weight. The top is made from Amy Butler fabric and the grey flowers in it have faded a lot. I don't know if this is my washing powder and wonder if anyone else has experienced this with Amy Butler fabric? My washing powder was just supermarket non bio.

I woke up this morning with one gummed up infected eye. Yuck. During March so far I have tended to do my hair and put on make up more often. Now no more eye makeup for me due to the red itchy eye. I feel like I am 14 again back in school with conjunctivitis from when we would borrow each others' eye liner and draw inside the eye lids.
Sewingwise I am working on the Uniform Project dress and have been making stupid errors such as sewing the shoulders on the wrong side. I am getting very well acquainted with my stitch unpicker. I am longing to do some quick projects but am trying to concentrate on getting this dress done with much muttering and talking to myself.

14th March

Nautical necklace from Tatty Devine via Lovely Sarah
14th March. Gone nautical - me made t shirt, me made Tate skirt from Sew Hip Magazine very old H&M red cardigan.

I would like to wear this outfit with some bright pillar box tights but haven't found any yet. Shopping tips?

Last night - 6pm we went to fly the kite until we got too cold. T is jumping up and down below the kite to try and catch it.
Finally if you are able to access radio 4, go and listen again to today's Woman's Hour, they had a great piece about the 70th birthday of polyester. There is a great interview conveying the excitement of second hand clothes shopping. The following discussion includes the chilling thought that polyester will not biodegrade. And the timely reminder that the only way to tackle waster in clothing is to change the way we think about shopping and disposable fashion.

Monday, 14 March 2011

13th March

I just think ooooowwwwwww looking at this corset. Old sewing machines on display.

Memade Amy Butler Anna tunic with added patch pockets, over me made Nora t shirt. Looking at it I think maybe a bit too short.
I took T and Little I to a design and engineering museum this morning. Trying to get a shot balancing the camera on a bench was tricky, a headless one is the best of the bunch! They were very excited to be there. It is the sort of museum with lots of buttons to push and things to do. They spent most time at the water/hydro electricity display. You can stick your hands in the water and not get told off, though best not to drink it. I feel like my head is swivel mode from trying to watch both of them, careering off in opposite directions. Luckily it is a fairly small space with only one exit.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

12th March

Instead of a trip to the gym yesterday I stay stitched my U.P. dress pieces in preparation for princess seams and tacked them up. Then I left early for school which allowed me walk into the small town centre where
I visited the charity shop and bought this ring for £3.00. Pretty. And more satisfying than the gym.

12th March
Refashioned t shirt blogged originally here,and me made skirt from Sew U skirt pattern.

Friday, 11 March 2011

11th March

Me Made Sack dress with pockets
And on the way back from taking T to school, no make up, crazy lady hair, Little I wanted to join in.

It was windy

And a roof - hurray. I spotted our roof across the field as I drove down the lanes. A sight to lift my spirits.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

10th March

Me Made 3835 top made from a duvet cover and dyed grey, originally blogged here., Me Made Nora tee from Ottobre magazine worn underneath as a vest. My friend Emma's old jeans (thank you Emma xx).

Thursday mornings are "Tots tennis" with Little I so I need to wear something I can run around the sports hall in and comfortably sit down without showing my knickers. This is a community tennis programme where we only pay £1 each week. Isn't that a bargain? I hope it won't be cut in the current climate of funding cuts. Little I is quite a sporty girl and likes going to tennis. Sometimes she even manages to hit the ball. Cue great excitement and high fives.

I am very tired at the moment. Reasons why? After christmas flu, I have had three colds. Most recently one caught from Mr Minnado.

  • Little I is finally sleeping better. (She has always woken at least four times a night since being a baby, even now she is almost four years old). But recently I stopped going to her at night simply because I was so exhausted. I just had to do something to improve her sleep patterns and this seems to be improving things. She goes back to sleep by herself much quicker. Sometimes I can't get back to sleep. She still gets up at about 5.30 - 6am - this is good as she used to want to get up at 4.00am - 5.00am. If she sleeps in till 6.00 or 6.30 you can guarantee her brother will get up at 5.00, but at least he can go and read in bed.

  • I was awake for no reason between 12 and 1 am this morning. Little I had woken me with shouting in her sleep "No, Michah, stop it" (one of her preschool compadres). She didn't wake but I did.

So does anyone have any tips for getting some energy? I have started trying to eat more healthily (I am vegetarian). I have read some articles recently about raw food diets and how after a few days of feeling crap you suddenly feel great, have loads of energy and lose inches round the waist! I don't really have time to do completely different diets for me and the rest of the family. I have been trying to eat more raw food, more seeds and nuts. But I have to confess that all fell by the way side in half term when we went to visit my mum.

Anyway, I need some help: Should I be eating raw food, no dairy, more dairy, less bread, more bread, taking supplements. Should I do less or should I exercise more?? Should I give up coffee (NOOOOOOO...) I did make to the gym one day last week and I did feel better for 24 hours afterwards. I have to confess I find the actual gym a bit boring though. This is a commuity run gym for women only and is only on a friday afternoon and a monday morning. It is a bit of a squeeze timewise to get to, I have to leave Little I at preschool, go to gym for 45 minutes then leave with just enough time to change and get to pick T up from school. I am not certain if this is a good thing to keep doing as I hate all the rushing to get around everything. Bonus of this gym is that it is affordable. But I am tempted to just use my spare hour on fridays to do some sewing!

To finish off this post, I keep failing to get my shoes in photos so here they are, tah-dah, knackered converses.