Winter Warmer

I’ve had some lovely organic cotton teal sweatshirt fabric sitting in my stash waiting to become a Jasper Dress for absolutely yonks because of THE FEAR. You know, the fear of wasting the perfect fabric and ruining the perfect pattern. So you do nothing.

Well, not quite nothing. First up I made up a shorter, collared version in some fleece and felt a bit meh about it. Meh about the slightly cheap farbic, meh about  the colour, meh about the fit. I wear it sometimes, cos I  have a serious jumper shortage.


Then, before  Christmas, I made an impulse dress length version when I  had to have something red to wear to a choir event and I had some lovely red fleece stashed. But I didn’t quite have enough, so I ended up buying some black minky for the collar, cuffs, and hemband.


I sized up this time, cos the last one is a bit tight, and then I ended up taking LOADS off the seams in places, cos it was a sack. It’s better now, but I’m still meh about the fitting. Plus, I don’t learn, fleece doesn’t behave like sweatshirt fabric, so it doesn’t really help me face my FEAR and make the “real deal up”.


I think I didn’t blog it at the time because I’d lost my camera, and I’ve sort of lost track of what I did now. I know I left the pockets off, cos they fell in a really unflattering place last time, and then I have missed the pockets Every Single Time I’ve worn it since (especially as at this long length it renders the pockets in whatever jeans/skirt I’m wearing it with inaccessible). I also have failed to get a decent photograph of it ever since making it – maybe it’s a Secret Vampire Top?  In this shot you can almost see the large black button I used as I just happened to have it ligging about in my stash.


So, thoughts on my big red “Santa Suit” (yup, it got called that by someone in my choir). On the plus side it’s warm, comfy, really warm, really comfy and kind of smart looking (by my standards at least).  Whereas on the down side I’m still not sure about the red/black colour combo (it skates too close to the classy/tacky line to me) and the fabric is so thick it’s not the most flattering garment (hence the Santa Suit comment I guess).  Very useful during the recent snowy weather we’ve been having though.

Maybe one day, I will face my fear and make the teal version up. I think partly that’s why I’m blogging this one – to try and galvanize myself into action. Anyone got any top tips on tackling The Fabric/Pattern Fear?


Shop Bought

Nope, I’ve not started blogging high st clothing, rather my daughter commented “it looks like you bought it in a shop, in a good way” when she got this dress recently for her birthday.  (Her caveat being the buttons on the bib, which I did in a rush. She has noticed they’re not both the same way up. Whoops.)

In actual fact its from Ottobre 01/17, no 32.

Unfortunately my braiding standard isn’t good enough to mimic these photo’s despite her having the hair for it!


I missed off the mock fly at the front (I really couldn’t see the point), but I did flat fell the centre front and back seams (so I added more seam allowance here to account for that).


The main fabric, some lovely buttery turquoise needle cord that I think I got in Glasgow with the girl in mind. There is a decent sized piece left too. Also, some fabric that came in a bundle used for pocket linings and pockets. It’s too pretty to be used for that really but I don’t know what else to do with it.


Pattern alterations: I used these adjustable fastenings instead of putting a button hole on the bib and a couple of buttons on the strap. I lengthened the straps a little to allow for this – I really didn’t need too cos they ended up mahoosivley long. I also lined the straps, rather than turning the edges and heming cos I thought it would look neater.

The Girls circumfernece measurements generally come out at a larger size than her height. I’ve just been going with it, but she has been complaining about how ridiculously long the dresses I make her are. So this time, I cut the skirt portion to the length of her height size and now it’s ridiculously short. (My mum denied this was a dress, calling it instead an apron). Not helped by the fact that she’s shortened the straps as much as possible. Still, she is very happy with the length and this garment definitely ticks a box in the “leggings are not outerwear” solution chart.


They have a whopping 4 pockets, two front and two back, and I nearly added one to the bib as well.

With a combination of rushing headfirst towards a hard deadline, and the Legendary Ottobre Minimalist Directions, I did end up changing the construction a little. The bib facing is faced with some bias binding I had on hand, as are the curved edges at the top of the back. Actually, with hindsight, I might just have lined the bib portions front and back in some of my funky cotton. And I kind of fudged the side seam around the pockets, don’t ask me what I did, but it seems ok!

Overall, this is definitely a win cos the girl seems happy to wear it. However, I’m a tad disappointed with the shapelessness of the top, it looks a bit sack like to me, definitely a better silhouette when she has her cardigan over it.  Possibly this is because this size dress is drafted with an older person in mind who might have more curves than my quite tall but definitely still 10 year old.


Politically Incorrect Lunch

I’ve just got back from having lunch two of my friends – a great opportunity to interrupt each other, swear and generally put the world to rights. Somehow one of my friends got talked into being Vegan for a month and for reasons that I’m not entirely sure of, that then meant I had to to make vegan brownies to bring for pudding.


Which is why LSH found me “doing crazy things” aka starting to cook nut free vegan chocolate brownies at 11.30pm yesterday.  The nut free bit isn’t so easy to achieve in conjunction with the vegan bit, but a necessity for me cos of my over zealous immune system.

The brownies were a great success, this is the bit I took home, looking slightly the worse for wear after being chucked in my cycle pannier.

For my future reference, for my friend who liked them and for anyone else wanting to cook such a thing:

  • The nut and dairy free chocolate brownie recipe that I used for the base can be found here.
  • But I couldn’t get the link from that recipe to the flaxseed egg substitue that they used to work, so I used this one instead.  (My two top tips on this are flaxseeds are the same as linseeds, and they are near impervious to brute force, so buying ready powdered is a good idea. Apparently there is a similar thing you can do with chia seeds too and they don’t need crushing).
  • The “really, this has avocado in, I cannot taste it” lovely avocado fudgy topping came from  this recipe. It was actually the inspiration for the whole shebang, but the rest of the recipe was too nutty for me (I can’t eat coconut either, no idea if they’re technically a nut or not, my avoidance is purely based on experience not botanical definitions).
  • I sort of used the caramel sauce recipe from here.  Sort of as in I had about 1/6 soya milk the recipe called for (left over from when the Beast from the East stole all our milk and I panic bought soya milk and then had to figure out ways to use it, which turned out to be pancakes and soda bread), so I kind of winged the amounts rather than try and measure 1/30 cup  maple syrup. It came out a bit too thick to drizzle but was very tasty.

So there you have it. Perfect to have with your coffee on a sewing break.


A little screen time.

Today I’m having some fun printing, which is the next step needed for the Previously Abandoned Project that I have dug out and am trying to get finished this week.


And I remembered that I never blogged the trousers that this print block was first used for.

Oh yes, I remember why that was now, a certain someone wasn’t really co-operating when I tried to photograph them!


Anyway, I designed this screen myself (it came with a paper print out of the screen that nicely illustrates the deisgn) and got it made up at thermofax, the idea being to brighten up this fleece backed sweatshirting fabric leftover from a jumper that I made, so that it could be used for trousers for The Boy.

My original idea for this design was that the frame can be rotated each time and 4 copies of it tessellate to make a square – see left hand picture. It was supposed to look vaguely like minecraft blocks and I envisaged covering the fabric like this, which each finished 4×4 block being a rotation of the one next to it, making a fairly large repeat. However, registering prints is HARD and requires preparation and patience that quite frankly I don’t have. I found this screen particularly confusing to do use as intended, as it’s rectangular, a whole column of the final square is missing, so it makes it hard to work out how to line the second print up. Most of the time I ended up with something more like the right hand picture, in fact the left hand picture is probably the only time I actually got it to work as originally intended!


So instead I went for a random look, starting at the bottom of the legs and then petering out as it went up.  I was really pleased how this effect turned out and it lets some of the green base fabric show through too.


The pattern I used was the Ottobre/Sofilantjes mash up, and I put more of the design inside the pockets.

I realised today that I have only ever used this screen with green inks, and was merrily planning using it with some primary colours,  but then when I washed it afterwards the screen is starting to come apart, so if I want to do that I will have to order a replacement screen.  Still, I have a birthday coming up in a couple of months, so maybe a new screen or two would be in order, with a couple of pots of ink, I quite fancy some of the metallic ones.

Argh, Distracted Squirrel Brain strikes again. Must concentrate on finishing this project, and then some of the piles ligging about in my house before I start on something new!

Watch this space for more Previously Abandoned Project Updates soon, assuming I stay focused long enough.

Pale imitation

So, a couple of months ago I saw Kelly’s awesome skirted leggings and thought now there’s a solution to the Leggings Aren’t Outerwear disagreement The Girl and I have.


So I made a pair and felt kind of meh about them so never got around to blogging them. (Yesterdays post reminded me cos the leftovers ended up in my new knickers).

On the advice of Kelly (she is a generous woman) I curved the skirt portions out a bit going down the side seam and made them lower at the centre than the sides. The side seam curve worked well but with hindsight the hemline is far too curvy.  (On the plus side, note my dots and crosses paper (1 inch grid) that came as packaging with something non sewing related orderd online. I have ironed it out and am repurposing it).


The skirt hem is turned and zig zagged, which would’ve been easier with a less pronounced curve. And it has a tendancy to flip up in the middle – the resulting duck tail look is not a favourite of mine. I wonder if this is the curve, or the fabric (a nice jersey, but not anything as fancy as the Haci sweater knit that Kelly used).


The skirt is then basted at the top to the leggings before adding some kind of hem band, or in my case, this rainbow elastic. I was pleased how neatly I sewed it on at the time (the blue and orange zig zags just melt into the background stripe colour as planned) but overall the look screams “Home made” in a “could do better” kind of way to me.

So yeah, without wishing to sound too negative, these fall firmly into the “room for improvement” category to me (the fit of the leggings isn’t that great either). However, The Girl does not seem to share my reservations and has been wearing them, and they do cover her bum, so maybe I will just need to make a new pair that fixes my grouches and puts these into the Wearable Muslin category.

Snow Days

We’ve had some rare weather for this part of the world this week, snow.  Which I just realised I have no photo’s of whatsoever cos I spent most of the time indoors, reading and occasionally cooking soup.  Whoops.

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Luckily school was open Thursday morning so an appearance by both Hester Shaw

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and Tiffany Aching could be made for world book day.  After that we mainly sat around reading and eating with the occasional trip outside (me less than the others as a certain young man requisitioned my wellies cos he’d left his at school. Oh the hardships one endures as a parent, in this case, staying inside warm and dry.) We were some of the lucky ones without power cuts, boiler failure or stuck in a car in a snowdrift. The worst hardship I had to endure was a day without tea due to a lack of milk available locally.

Today, however, I have come out of hibernation enough to use some scraps to make myself three new pairs of knickers, all matching and yet not matching, almost like a shop bought set.  There’s also a couple of more of the ubiquitous headbands/circular scarves/earwarmers.


And now that the snow is pretty much all gone, it is being commemorated in biscuit form.  What more fitting a tribute?




Sometimes a project just pushes to the front of your queue.


Like this, Pikachu hoodie, made for a young friend of mine, which I’m pretty sure is made from the same bolt of fleece fabric as the Pikachu doorstop.

I just found out the pattern I traced for The Boy a couple of years ago.


Cut the patch pocket from the leftovers.


Added a hem band cos I seem to be kind of addicted to them at the moment and I finally got the thumbhole cuffs to work!


I used the wrong side of the last scraps from some trousers I made for The Boy to make applique stripes on the back and for the base of the tail too. This tail was a pain to turn as the end was way bigger than the opening.  But I did the right thing cos according to Customer Feedback this is a male Pikachu tail (phew).


There’s a press stud holding the tail in place so that you can wear it up or down.


The face is appliqued on too (lets just ignore the fact that I really should’ve interfaced those cheeks before sewing them on) and the ears hang down. The hood front is finished with jersey bias binding, one of my new favourite sewing things, and matches the black finish on the cuffs and hem (so much more practical than yellow in those areas don’t you think).

Here it is on my in house model before being hand delivered to it’s new home.  Where I am reliably informed it’s proud new owner is now fast asleep in bed still wearing it.

Now, to get back to the To Do List…