Monday, 15 February 2016

A february catch up

"I can walk to nursery by myself.  I am big" she says. And here she is marching along while I wander behind her.  I cannot believe some days that Rocket Girl is now four.  It seems so long ago that she was that little baby.  Also if she is now four that means I have been blogging for a long time.  Um...eight or nine years.  I am glad of the friendships made along the way.You know who you are.  
There has been so little time for this space recently, I have thought about giving up but I like having this little place that is mine. Last year I made a lot of things that I never got around to blogging.  I was worrying about the lack of clear identity.  Not quite a sewing blog, not quite a parent blog,,,certainly too scruffy to be a lifestyle blog, that idea makes me snort out my coffee.  Maybe the muddle that is my blog reflects the muddle that is me.  I once worked with a professor who claimed that the state of your work desk reflects the state of your mind.  His was clear.  Mine was a mess.  My messy mind is why I am addicted to lists.   They help me calm my thoughts and plan what I am doing.  I currently survive by having a big white board on which I plot the weekly clubs and menus.  I especially need this as I have a partner who has very little short term memory.  We often have a conversation in which we discuss what is happening a few days away, plan who will do what, and then he will have no recollection of this at all,  I am fighting back against this armed with my whiteboard and calendar.  Living with someone with little memory is very tiring.  Is this a general male thing or just a specific thing in my house?
I finally got my act together and got myself a 21st century phone. My eldest was actually impressed with me.  He is almost thirteen now so is very rarely impressed with me.  He was a little less impressed when I couldn't switch it on.  But the upshot of this is I joined instagram and you can find me over there as minnadoshouse. Come and say hello.  I am enjoying playing with IG and the new and renewed connections it has enabled me to make.

There has been some sewing here.  I bought myself Lotta Jansdotter's "Everyday Style" for Christmas.  More on that soon.  I promise, I really do.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Art Teacher Dress

When I was doing A level Art I had an art teacher who cultivated the eccentric art teacher image. She wafted around wearing a dark blue loose fitting art overall, strings of beads and a loose wispy bun. I don't remember her ever actually teaching me anything.  Instead I was just left to paint innumerable still lifes.  She would just hand over some money and send me to buy aubergines for my still life, always pronouncing it in a cod french accent.  Once I arrived at art college it became rapidly apparent that I had been taught nothing at A level, except how to stretch out a trip to the greengrocer's shop into an excellent skiving opportunity. 

Any how, this latest make is a dress, called the Art Teacher Dress.  It is from Autumn/Winter Ottobre 2014.  I had completely overlooked this pattern until recently.  A number of little seeds planted in my mind, I have a love of sack dresses and the ease with which they make an everyday outfit.  I recently read this post on anti-fit fashion on  I saw some lovely sack style dresses on the Toast website.   I have been pinning sack dresses.  Then I was in a shop with a friend and saw similar sack dresses. They were selling for over £50 so I had a little think to myself, went home and had a skim through my Ottobre collection to see what I could find.

 The dress is deliberately oversized.  It has bust darts,and small back neck darts and a back zip. It was a very quick and simple make, giving a satisfied glow.  I was able to trace the pattern on a friday night, and cut the fabric. I was finishing the sewing on sunday night. The dress has front in seam pockets which I love.  They are cut as part of the front top and bottom pieces.  I used some dotted denim from ebay to make this dress.  From the way it washes and irons I would say this is denim/ poly mix.

I love the ease of wearing this dress. Just pull it on and go.  No thinking.  I love no thinking,  I know it is shapeless but right now shapeless is how I feel.  I made it quite short to compensate for the shapelessness.
I actually have made another version but will have to share that another day. How do other people feel about sack dresses and shapelessness?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Four things

1.  I am having camera problems. Firstly I thought my camera battery had expired,I put in my charger but nothing happened. So I bought two replacement batteries. Now they too have died and I am starting to think it may be the charger. So I sorted the kitchen drawers and found a collection of old chargers and cables. I spent a happy half hour trying cable and plug combinations. No power still. Now what?  I started googling chargers for a canon camera. Pictured are two of the reasons why my camera battery runs low.  If Rocket Girl spies the camera she is off taking snaps. My camera is added to the ever expanding list of Things I Must Hide.  This includes the obvious such as sewing scissors, but also any make up, jewellery, torches, money,decent pens....

 2.  Rocket Girl has discovered woodwork at nursery.  She made this.  It is "a spinner". I don't know what that means either. Today she has gone in planning to build a woodwork model of her best friend who happens to be a dog.  I foresee tears.

I finished sewing my 1980s wrap dress a couple of weeks ago. Obviously I am unable to show you proper pictures but here are a couple of peeks I took before the camera battery debacle.  I like it.  I am hoping it will look relaxed, minimalist chic and not too much like a cleaning overall.
It is reversible!  And it has big sidepockets.  These two things alone make me happy.  

4.  With the denim scraps I started sewing little jeans for dolls. I feel like the Shoemaker's wife.  I am hoping to make some more clothes to be wrapped up for Christmas.  I am hoping to enable Barbie to  step away from her princess/hooker dress habits. The observant will see these dolls' clothes are made from a Simplicity pattern.  My neighbour gave them to me as she had duplicate copies.  Seriously,who knew that these tiny patterns existed?  I didn't.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Woolly things

I haven't picked up any knitting or crochet for a year at least.  If asked what woolly projects I have, I would have said none.  But then this afternoon I found three bags in the dark recess of the understairs cupboard.  I was looking for children's knitting needles as I feel an urge to try and teach Little I to knit again.  She has been learning to sew with some good results.  I need to brainwash her into crafting even more while she is still receptive.  I feel a little guilty about these abandoned and forgotten projects,

While looking for the needles, I found this little space invaders scarf that I started knitting when I was expecting RG four years ago,  Looking at it took me back to sitting in waiting rooms for maternity checks. How I hated those waiting rooms.   I don't have enough yarn to knit much more of it. I am not sure whether to unravel it. The intended recipient (my son) would now consider a homeknitted scarf as social death (along with being seen in public with me, wearing a coat and having a push button mobile).
Then I found this almost complete striped mohair and angora (I think) scarf.  Cast on as a present for a friend maybe five years ago.  It is definitely Rowan.  I don't like handling this type of yarn so the scarf has languished.  I really am determined to finish it now and get it wrapped up for Christmas.

In the third bag I found this crochet zigzag, it looks blanket size.  I had no memory of starting this. In fact I had forgotten that I even knew how to do crochet zigzag.  I am slowly having a vague recollection of crocheting this.  I only have three balls of wool though. Surely not enough for a blanket?  What colours would you add to make it big enough....I am not sure whether to stay with pinks and reds or add white, grey or even go rainbow bright?  

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Today - a mind dump post

Today I took Rocket Girl to a play group that I gave up on last year as I found it too much like hard work.  I stayed half an hour, lost my nerve and went home. I had a little cry, feeling as if I were back at school, thinking I don't know why I cannot fit in and make friends there.  I'm not sure why I find it so hard as I am fine at other groups. I don't really think it is full of evil  witches.  I think some groups just suit and some don't.  Better just to stick to the venues we like.  Maybe I am hormonal. We went home, sat in the garden, drank cocoa (RG) and coffee (me) and made cakes which is Rocket Girl's current obsession.  Feel much better now.

Today I am waiting for a new camera battery to arrive so I can start photographing again.  I have never had a camera battery give up the ghost before.  I would love to show you my two charity shop scores from last week, a Toast coat (hehe) and a big bright bright deep tangerine sweater.  Instead here are some images from when we went to a touring  luminarium in August.  It was fabulous, a mix of cathedrals in sci fi crossed with  contemplative spaces...if it comes to a town near you, I  would recommend a visit.  Even the reluctant twelve year old loved it and sighed "Why can't this always be here?"

Today I am gazing at my newly purchased 80's wrap dress  pattern and kicking my heels as I wait for my ebay fabric to arrive.  I had a great plan to sew this dress in a dark denim as a pinafore.  I have some spotty denim already here but I am not sure a spotty wrap pinafore is quite what I want, so I am restraining my impatient self.  If you do click the link, tell me, is this genius or idiocy to make this as a denim pinafore?

Today I am seriously thinking about my lack of a 21st century phone and all that that can offer. Yes, I still have an old push button phone. I can't access anything like Instagram on it.  I always refused to update until I have a job and an income but now even my twelve year old has a smart phone, (yes, I am paying for it).  I feel like a smart phone is the new normal and my dumbphone and me, well we are anachronisms.  It is slowly dawning on me that maybe it wouldn't cost a lot more than my old phone...AND I could take photos without my camera and its missing battery.

Today I am contemplating dyeing a Dottie Angel dress that I have just finished. I started sewing it a few weeks ago and then decided I hated it, it would not suit me and I didn't want to go down that route. It was the front shaping by tucks not darts that I didn't like.  I almost binned it and then a few days later I decided to try again and I enjoyed stitching it up.  But I didn't follow the instructions after the pocket construction, I just stitched it.  I made it from an old bed sheet of my mum's.  It is pink but I always intended to dye it grey.  I am just waiting for Rocket Girl to be at her nursery and then I can crack open the dye packet.  Fabric dye and my three year old do not mix, I think.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Style 3950 dress - channeling the seventies

I am very late posting about this dress.  I finished sewing it in July but then the summer holidays took hold and I couldn't find the time to get it photographed and written up.  Plus I have mixed feelings about the dress.  I like it on the hanger and I like how it feels on me.  But and this is a big BUT, I am not sure it actually looks that great on me.  

The pattern is Style 3590 from 1972 given to me by Philippa.

I used some ebay chambray - this is a mixed fabric I think, it has some stretch to it which I wasn't expecting.  I have a weakness for chambray fabrics I think they are so adaptable to sit with other colours and patterns. The pattern is really straightforward to sew up. It has a square yoke on the front and back and slightly puffed sleeves.  I added one inseam pocket just to hold my car key and emergency lego found objects, wax crayon, blu tack etc.

I used some vintage buttons that I found at a car boot for the dress.  These have sat in my button box for a couple of years and I was happy to have found a use for them.  They have a little diamond cutout in the centre.
There is something funny to me about a pattern that instructs you to buy a belt.  I have worn the dress belted and unbelted.  It is pretty full when unbelted but very comfortable on a hot day!  I am trying to think if I can make this dress wearable in autumn with layers and tights.  I am not sure.  I am also not 100% certain about a square neckline on me and all those gathers above the bust.  Not the most flattering look I think.  I just cannot quite make up my mind if this is a hit or miss.  I really wanted it to be so good that I may be trying to convince myself.  I hope I can drift around in it being a wholesome seventies mother, calm and hip drinking camomile tea while supervising child craft sessions.  Unfortunately it more likely I will be overcaffinated, stamping and shouting while cleaning green play dough off the ceiling and scraping cake dough off the floor. (Been reading too many seventies mum wanna be blogs again, must stop that)  It is my vintage pattern pledge make.  I am glad I made the effort to make it and to join in the vintage pattern pledge - I am a rubbish joiner-inner and have a vague notion It Would be Good For Me if I did more joining in.  Would it?  What are your thoughts on Joining In?  Is this a hit or miss dress?  Above bust gathers anyone?

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.