Saturday, 28 December 2013

Planning and cutting

Before I allow myself to buy new  fabric I am determined to sew up some of my stash.  And I am determined to finish off my half made/ cut out projects.   As I typed up the list in this post, I could see there are enough plans here to keep me sewing for a long time.  I seem to have started more projects than I realised.

I  have cut out these high waisted winter shorts from Ottobre.  I used a hand loomed tweed that was in the binbags of inherited fabric.

The tweed is from Bovey Tweed in Devon.   I have used a cotton also from the binbags for the waist band facings and pocket linings.  I am uncertain as to whether tweed shorts will be a good or bad thing.  Let's just say they are a bit of an experiment.

I have pieces of bright pink and orange fleece left over from scarf making almost two years ago.  I am using the mitten pattern from Littlle Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson to make Rocket Girl and Little I some mittens.

I have almost finished making a tutu (also from Little Things to Sew)  this is for Little I.
I am halfway through making a yellow jersey Staple dress.  I lost interest in completing it three months ago!  It is gathering dust on my shelf.

I bought a lovely stepweave wool crepe about three years ago and then chickened out of using it!  I have cut it out to make a seasonal dress, but it is unlikely to get finished soon.

I seriously need an apron and was planning on using leftover denim from my skinny jeans to cobble one together.  Phew...what a list.

I am still planning on making my parka but need to sell a few bits on ebay to get the funds for the fabric!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Happy Christmas!  If you celebrate today, I hope it all goes well.  Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and everyone who leaves comments. I really do appreciate it :) 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


there's been a flu bug, followed by a sickness bug, followed by a different stomach bug....Little Rocket Girl's body clock has gone so haywire that she's frequently waking at 4am and not returning to sleep until  10 or 11am.  Some days with the older kids in school I have crawled back to bed and slept with her....consequently there's been no blogging time and not much blog reading.  Now it is holiday time so I am hoping to crack this 4am waking.  It's a killer.
Anyways, there's been some sewing reorganisation.  I went out and bought new needles for my machine...I found a local independent sewing machine engineer who serviced my machine for half the price of the services at the nearest sewing machine shop!  Plus he collected it and brought it home for me.  This was a fantastic service as I was stuck at home with ill kids.  So, now my machine is running smoothly, especially, since I read the section on thread tension in my handbook,there has been some sewing...using this "subtle animal print" jersey from Minerva Crafts sale section, 

I made a second Ottobre tunic, the first one is here

I have been wearing it almost daily.  It is warm and I just loves it.  I am ducking my head to avoid showing the horror of  my eye bags after the 4am wake ups.  

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

I didn't knit this....

I didn't knit these wrist warmers.  

Or these fingerless gloves.  

I didn't knit this toddler hat.
Or these flower brooches.
But I did buy them all back in early October from a group of older ladies who knit to raise funds for the local hospice.  I have wrapped them all up as christmas gifts.
Much as I would like to make many gifts, it is unlikely to happen due so this is maybe the next best thing.   Now, if only those ladies could knit me up an i-pad and dslr, that would be great.  Are you making Christmas gifts this year?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Sewing with many stupid errors...finally an FO

I have finally finished my Ottobre tunic-tee shirt.
Here is the magazine image.

Having posted that the neckband was too short I realised (red faced, coughs)  that I had cut the neckband the wrong way...following the grain, not across.

Ooops.  I recut the neckband (luckily I had enough fabric left) and it was way way stretchier.  Are all you sewists laughing at my stupidity?

Then, I sewed the new neckband  on but it was now too big!  The neckband lay beautifully at the front but stuck up at the back. I wore the shirt a few times but was alawys concious of my crummily sewed neckband.  So finally I unpicked it, trimmed a little excess and reattached it.  School half term interrupted my progress at this. (Oh, those pesky children.)

Some stats:
Pattern from Ottobre Autumn/Winter 2013 pattern 1
I cut a 36 neck and shoulders and graded out to a 38 at the bust and stayed at 38 the rest of the way down to the hem.Next time, I would consider making the neck maybe 34 but keep the bust 38.
I used grey jersey bought from ebay.  I really like this jersey, it has just the right weight and feel or my liking.
For the neckband and pocket,  I used the remainder of my Oliver and S spotty yellow jersey bought in the Backstitch sale and used for a Renfrew.

The top sews up really fast, especially if, unlike me, you don't muck up the neckband.

I have worn it A LOT.  Especially with my memade skinny jeans.  It fits well and isn't tent like from the side!  It is a great little autumnal top suitable for my unglamorous life running after Rocket Girl!

Am I making it again?  Uh, yeah!  The pattern is made as a "normal" tee or the longer dress version. I am considering making both as I love having utilitarian everyday clothes that I like and that I made myself! Just got to think about fabric choices...and trying to stick to my resolution to sew up some stash  before buying any new fabric.

 Only one problem remains regarding this top....I have worn it so much that it now sports grease stains!  Yuk.  Any advice on removal?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Autumnal home tour

Warning: this post is strictly tongue in cheek and may upset those who prefer a model house with pinterest worthy interiors. 

Welcome to the autumnal home tour with Minnado's House.  Our hostess keeps grinning fixedly as she removes a piece of half chewed broccoli  from under her foot and deftly flicks dried banana from her hair.  Here you can see the capriciously curated Shelves of Doom. 

Watch out for the walls so wittily decorated with toddler scribble.  The dining table looks great with random papers and disconnected speakers.  

And don't you just love the still life in the bedroom, "Old computer parts"  Who wouldn't love to wake up to this?    

Don't you just love the organisational system here??
Our hostess offers a useful tip, "Give the vacuum cleaner to a child and set them to work",

Monday, 7 October 2013

sewing here and now

Some sewing has been going on this past week...although my machine is being frustratingly erratic.  Sometimes it sews well, other times the bobbin thread breaks or the bobbin jams...

 I am wondering if it is my use of cheap sewing thread causing thread breakage mid seam? Or an upper thread tension problem?  Or the need for a new needle?

Whatever it is, I am feeling so frustrated that last night I considered packing in the sewing and taking it all to the charity shop!   My sewing time is soooo limited now that it is doubly annoying when things go wrong.  Last night I sat unpicking the neckband for the Ottobre tunic (pictured in top image).  The pattern calls for a slight stretching of the neckband when fitting.  No way was mine long enough even with major stretching so I unpicked it, needing to go back and recheck my pattern tracing.  Grrrrrrr....does anyone else go wrong like this?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Parka Plans

It is sewing, Jim but not as we know it.  In a huge change to my way of sewing and buoyed up by your positive comments,  I have got organised, preplanning and ordered fabric samples prior to starting the Ottobre parka.  I ordered samples from 
Croft Mill and from FabricUK.  Both were very efficient at delivery.  This pattern is one where slightly vintagey-cutesy fabric shops with punning names are no good!  The pattern calls for lightweight waterproof fabric or a cotton canvas.  I would like to use waterproof fabric as I live in Britain.  
On the right are four samples from Croft Mill plus one of jersey (got sidetracked)
The four large samples are from FabricUK

very dark navy
The Croft Mill waterproofs were too lighweight for me.  The FabricUk ones featured an antiquewaxed cotton, similar to what  Barbour jackets are made from.  We are in the midst of moving to a village where such jackets are de rigeur for 
 the aspiring new country dweller,along with a brushed checked shirt in muted tones, tweed cap, green wellies. Oh boy, I will never fit in!  But do I want to?  Anyway, enough digression.  The fabric is an ideal weight but it is designed to show every scratch and mark which I don't want for my parka.  

 I think I am settled on the lightweight waxed fabric.  I am now torn between bright cheerful red or functional and versatile navy.  Help!  Which do you think?  Both would look good with white double top stitch methinks.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Ottobre Autum/Winter

I thought I would share some images from the new Ottobre women's magazine. There are some patterns in it that I  would like to sew and some that I would not!  I am planning on canceling my subscription now as I feel I have enough patterns to keep me going.  Some of the styling here is not to my taste, though I always try and look past the styling and study the line drawings.

 I like the jersey dress although I think I would like it in a solid fabric.  The text by it suggests you will need control underwear to go with this dress!  hmmmmm...kinda puts me off.  I also don't want to have to just breathe in while wearing a dress.
The line drawings

I think this tunic tee would be a good wardrobe staple for me.  I wonder what it looks like if she turns sideways though.  I like the little pockets.  I am thinking of making this one.

I am intrigued by the parka - I would love the challenge of making a practical coat.  Do I dare take on a complex project though?  One that would require proper fabric buying?  I seem to be drawn to making quite functional garments at the moment...jeans, tees and now a parka.  Whatever happened to sewing pretty dresses?  

But urgh, I don't like the turquoise knit jacket .  I don't even like it in the line drawing.

  I guess there is a nice simple dress's just that fabric makes me shudder!  

Another look at the me thinking....

Sunday, 1 September 2013

FO: Red Shorts Simplicity 2258

As we reach the end of August, I have one last summer make to share.  After making my red skinnies, I had just enough red denim left to make a second pair of Simplicity 2258 shorts from Phillippa's giveaway pattern.  

 I had liked my blue shorts and kept wearing them, so a second pair seemed a good way to use up the last bits of the red denim.  I used some stash floral cotton to make the pockets as I couldn't manage to squeeze pocket lining from the fabric.

I used the same red buttons that I used on my blue shorts. I really like the tab and button.  It's the little details that make me like a piece of clothing.

I have been wearing these shorts a lot.

They are great holiday wear, so a big thank you again to Phillippa.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Summer interrupts

Sooooooo, summer interrupted my sewing process quite rudely and very thoroughly:

 I have sewn one and half things. 
 I haven't had much time for commenting on blogs, I hope to catch up soon. 
A large part of my fabric stash was unceremoniously stuffed in a binbag and shoved under the stairs to make room for the kids to have friends over to play.  It is still there.  
I think I have lost my blogging direction..who knows... maybe it will return.  
My sewing machine is not working well. (See below)  
I am thinking about what to make in the autumn. 
I realise that I have a zero budget for autumn sewing.  
I am rethinking what to make in the autumn from my existing stash.  
I am determined I will finally sew with the wool crepe bought three years ago that I have been too scared to use.  

My sewing machine has been temperamental this summer.  I took the time to oil and clean it a few weeks ago and all went smoothly for a week or so.  Then it began snarling bobbin threads again.  I know I have to drive past the sewing machine shop later this week so I guess I will take it in for a service.  I hate having to do that.  But I realise I have had this machine for two and half years now, it has sewn A LOT for me and hasn't been serviced.  How about you?  Do you wait till your machine is throwing out knots and jamming before booking it in?  Or do you do all your own machine maintenance?
Look away if you cannot bear to see sewing notions mistreated.  Yes, that is a flour-encrusted piece of giant ric rac she's chewing on.  What can I say?  It was a long day.  

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Gone to the beach

Gone to the beach.  I don't want this summer to end, boo-hoo.  

Back soon....

Sunday, 4 August 2013

FO: Red jeans

Hello there, I am in the midst of summer holidays and climbing toddler mayhem.  This means little time to get my hands on my computer to read blogs or write any posts.  But I did finish my red denim skinnies a few weeks ago and have since worn them a lot. 

Once again I used the Sew Liberated Simple Skinny Jeans pattern.  I used red stretch denim from Ditto which has a slight sheen.  It is completely different to the dark blue denim I used for the first pair. It is 3% elastane  and is a lighter less dense weave than the dark blue which makes the red jeans more summer appropriate.  I have found  my dark blue jeans too hot to wear recently.  Although I cut the red jeans to the same size they feel slightly roomier and are not really skinny, more skinny-ish. 
I bought 1.5 metres and had just enough fabric left over to make another pair of shorts! You will have to wait to see them.  I used a thrifted red tee shirt for the jersey waistband.

I don't usually photograph my backside...but here it is just to show you the reverse.  These jeans are comfortable and they suit my life at the moment.  How's summer treating you?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

FO: Simplicity 2258 shorts

It's hot here and has been for over a week...for the -last week I felt I really wanted to wear shorts.  Skirts are great but not so good when I have spend  lot of time on the floor playing.  My favourite shorts are in the loft, don't ask, it's a long dull there was some sewing serendipity and luck at play this weekend when the dark blue fabric sent to me last summer by Jessica, met with a pattern that I nabbed in Phillippa's giveaway. How great is that?  It's a riposte to some friends of mine who dismissed sewing clothes as "too expensive"  - these shorts cost only a couple of pounds to make if I account for the ric rac trim and elastic from my stash.
I had initially planned trousers from Jessica's fabric but then started looking at shorts a while ago.  I loved the Ruby shorts from Burdastyle .  I know, I know, all the cool sewers made these several years ago....I never promise to be uptodate!   But I felt a bit to old and tubby tummied to be able to wear them.  When I saw Phillipa's Simplicity  2258 pattern in her recent giveaway, I immediately asked for it and was very pleased when it arrived as it has good potential for adaptations.  It also has a skirt and cropped trousers in the pattern.  The knee length skirt appeals to me.  So, here are some brief review type facts:
Size: UK 10 - cut out, no alterations
Fabric and notions: dark blue linen look sent by Jessica
red giant ric rac from stash and red buttons also gifted by Jessica
Time taken:  Cut out on friday, sewed up on saturday, hemmed, buttons on and tabs sewn sunday morning
Worn: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday....can you guess how much they are filling a wardrobe gap in our current UK summer?

The pattern is only 5 pieces, including tabs for the hem and a nifty pocket lining/yoke piece which is folded after attaching to the pocket front to create a yoke and lining in one. 

At first I was stumped, looking for a separate pocket lining piece...then the penny dropped as I re-read the instructions.  Maybe I am too easily impressed but I thought this was a clever one piece pattern design and an idea I may copy in future.

I had the oversized red ric rac in my stash and used it on the pockets to add a bit of colour. I used vintage style red buttons on the tabs.  You can't see here but the buttons have pretty flowers painted on them.  As you can see I have had my little white legs out coated in factor 50!   
A massive thank to Jessica and Phillipa...I am just loving my new shorts......if you don't read their lovely blogs you should check them out!