I couldn’t resist picking up a metre of this marl grey drapey knit with a navy stripe when I was in my local fabric shop looking  for something else.


Luckily I washed it straight away, cos then I got a bug, but it turned out that making a tried and tested Kristen Kimono T shirt with all my adjustments already made (FBA, sway back, extra length, all in the clear pocket where they should be just waiting for me)  was just the pick me up I needed when I was starting to feel better. I put a bit of effort into straight matching stripes, in an 80/20 kind of way (I still cut on the fold because I couldn’t be bothered to make new full size pattern pieces, but I did pin the navy stripes together when I folded the fabric to make sure they were level before placing my pattern pieces).

Then I realised I was basically remaking another t shirt I’d made 4 years previously!  And turns out I did a better job, check out my side seam comparisons! there’s a bit of improvement on the shoulder seam and neck finish too. Nice to see how far I’ve come.


LSH’s opinion? This one looks cleaner than the old one! (By which I hope he means the grey is paler.)


Luckily for him I’d already made him enough circular scarves out the remnants to make him look like a ninja. They should keep his ears warm whilst cycling for while until the scarf gremlin eventually steals them all away to take back to thepr lair.

Woolacombe to Croyde and beyond


Bolstered by our success of doing a “half day” walk in a day using public transport from Exeter, 2 days later we came back to do the next one, pausing to take in the sky from Barnstaple bridge on our way from the train station to the bus station.


The start was a bit shakey. As we came into the edge of Woolacombe on the bus, we saw a sign for the SWCP Woolacombe via Mortehoe. It wasn’t the way we’d gone, and The Boy was worried we’d gone  wrong, but I quickly explained it was an alternative route and we’d definitely gone the right way last time. Once in Woolacombe we had 15 mins to kill before the chip shop opened and we went and admired the view of the start of the days route along Woolacombe Beach towards Baggy Point, said hi to a clearly visible Lundy, and double checked the signs for the path.  He once again became convinced we’d walked the wrong way, (across the grass and through the car park next to the pavement, rather than along it). He insisted we started to retrace our steps but luckily we came across some random strangers out walking and after a few hints dropped from me they confirmed that we’d definitely come the right way last time and we were allowed to go and buy some lunch. Phew.

Finally, with chips in hand it was time to start the walk proper. Here there was another problem, the guide book suggested not one but three routes (including the beach, which I rather fancied as it was low tide). However my walking companion decided that the route through the dunes was the official one and so that’s the way we went, mere fleeting views of the sea be damned.

Turns out that my brainwave of chips whilst strolling was not so good when my son didn’t spot a huge hole (dug by a dog maybe) and fell dropping chips everywhere.  However his decision was pretty good as I actually found walking through the dunes interesting, even if I couldn’t see much of the sea.

It was still quite sandy and slow going, but before too long we were nearing the far end of the (very long) beach and took a turn up and onto a track, so heading up to the ridge of that heads out to Baggy Point. We got a good view down to Puttsborough sands and could see back the way we’d come to Morte Pt and beyond, which we presumed was Bull Pt.

It wasn’t far onto Baggy Point (even with my companion insisting on going through the dog gates) where we found a mysterious post that we later discovered was a coast guard look out back in the day. Looking back we because increasingly convinced that what we originally thought was Bull Point was in fact Wales, which seemed odd, as the day was greyer than 2 days before so it felt like we couldn’t see as far. We could definitely see Lundy out in the bay and we could also now see Croyde, the mouth of the, Barnstaple/Bideford estury and on round the bay to Hartland Pt and started heading inland.

Then disaster, we met up with the coast path. Turns out we should have gone walked towards the edge more at baggy pt and found the path that comes lower around the headland. I tried to sit on the bench and have some peace and quiet and send the boy back on his own (there were loads of people and families about walking to Baggy pt from Croyde), but he texted me that I had to come see the spectacular view, and yes, when you went the right way there was a nice view of some rocks.

We picked up some postcards in the national trust car park and had a pit stop at a cafe, before going on into Croyde and over the beach (officially, phew).

We were making good time, so decided to go round the next headland, passing some specutacular looking rocks and a gun post, which the boy went to explore whilst I spoke to a local who confirmed that we could indeed see the Gower Peninsular today and also Lundy, although he said it would “trolley off” later doubtless.

We passed what we think was the old coastguard building, which appeared to be getting done up, and then nearly missed the path as you had to cross the main road and then double back on yourself slightly to get onto it. It was a few metres in from the road and several up as the hillside was steep. The views were great but we didn’t have time to stop as the next bus was due soon. We made it to the Saunton Hotel with a couple of minutes to spare before the bus and felt very smug with ourselves that we’d done a bit extra than planned.

This time we did see the sunset in Barnstaple (but no photo’s) and got the train home an hour earlier than the previous trip, much more civilised!

The path between Croyde and Westwood Ho! is never very far from the 21 bus route, which also goes to the station in Barnstaple, so we hope to get in a few more day trips and finish our first “weeks” walking.

Pegasus PJ’s

There have been a lot of posts featuring my son recently so just to prove that I still have a daughter that I love very much, but don’t make as many items of clothing for as her tastes are more mainstream, here are some pj’s I made recently.


The flannel was bought yonks ago at my brothers local fabric shop in Scotland, and either she’s grown massively since then or I underestimated what I needed, as there wasn’t any where near enough for a set of pj’s for her as I’d planned, only just enough for the bottoms.


Luckily I found this jersey locally that matched one of the colours in the flannel just perfectly (its very important to The Girl that things match). I even managed a perfect V neck for once (and then immediately made a pigs ear of a different part of the neckband, but hey). I used this new to me technique and I will definitely be trying it again, I really think only dealing with a single layer of neckband at first helps (and check out the perfect black and white neckband in the video, wonder if I’d be brave enough to try that, it looks fab!).IMG_0204[1].JPG

To make it tie in further I thought I’d applique something onto the top from the scraps, the traditional Scotty Dog as a bit twee for my liking, so I racked my brains for something my Greek Myth loving daughter would like and came up with a Pegasus! I’m really pleased how this came out, all due to lots of interfacing, both on the flannel and proper jersey stuff on the back of the t shirt.


Turning out a trapper

My son doesn’t like his new coat as it hasn’t got a hood. I, on the other hand, having picked this one up cheap to replace a really chuffing espensive one that he lost on a school trip, am not prepared to buy him a new coat. So a hat it is then. And I had just the idea, I have a bag of offcuts of really nice quality fleece that someone was giving away and he has a craft book that shows you how to make a simple fleece hat, so I would help him make his own, this kind of thing, and then he might take better care of it, win win.


Except, The Boy, of course, had different idea’s, wanting a trapper hat like his dad’s. So I found this pattern, printed it out at 95% (to allow for the fact that it wasn’t lined in fake fur – the fleece is double sided), and made it up, topstitching the seams flat as I didn’t want to iron it. And it worked, but it was too big and fell off his head when he ran.


So, a few adjustments. Poppers to hold the front flap up. Reused bag bits to hold the ear flaps up out the way when not in use (or under his chin when down) and elastic at the back to keep it on his head (2 rows, the first wasn’t enough).


And voila, a hat that he loves (I think) and his sister hates (I’m pretty sure). Lets see how long he manages to keep it for…


Oh and whilst I was at it I turned this small piece of navy/purple fleece into a band to wear under my cycle helmet, I think I might have accidentally made a coif! Or maybe I’ve made the crosscloth that goes under a coif, I only heard of them when I helped a friend make some clothes for tudor reinactment.

Return of the SWCP

Back in July I was so smug with our progress along the South West Coast Path, but the timings didn’t work out in August and then Septmeber was busy and we got no furhter. However, we started to get back on track (literally as well as figuritively) during the October half term.

First up, Ilfracombe to Woolacombe, and this time with No Support Crew. Rather we utilised trains and buses and did the whole thing in a day, getting back home about 13 hours after we left.


We started round the back of the two upturned flower pots that are the Landmark Theatre, but not until after we popped in to use the facilities and I spied this rather amazing tapestry on the wall.

Pretty much straight away we were walking alongside some pretty impressive geology and we realised just how big Ilfracombe was with it all spread out in the view alongside this rather ornate house

After the path took a dogleg through what felt like someones garden, we were soon out of Ilfracombe. I was immediately struck by the contrast between the now brown ferns and those first shoots ready to unfurl on our first walk back in May. We preferred the cooler temperatures to walk in to some of the heat we had to endure ealier in the year too! Sadly we didn’t have time to go and investigate the steps we saw cut into the cliff, I think they probably lead down tot he old lime kiln we saw mention of on an information board.


Apparently the hole in the rock that The Boy is clinging onto was made by a giants fingernail as he scrambled up the cliff, recreated here by the storyteller.


Yup, that looks like the coast path alright.

They sure have some impressive walls in this part of Devon, both new built and long overgrown,  as well as patched up.

As we approached this rather ornate sign from the wrong side we mused on what it said. I couldn’t resist standing a few feet off the path to get a good shot of it and the coast we’d just come from in the background.

Soon after the sign we stopped to watch what we think was a kestrel hovering above a headgerow and then before we knew it we were descening into Lee, passing this rather lovely looking tiny house, complete with what apeared to be a bicycle having a cup of coffee whilst enjoying the view inside!

We detoured slightly from the path in Lee, heading into the village to have a bite to eat in the Grampus Inn, which took us past a beautiful gate with a gate watching a mouse on an apple, and another at the same property with an owl watching another little rodent. We spoke to a friendly woman in the garden after lunch who told us that they were both carved by her husband, but we forgot to ask about the Orca or Grampus on that was nearby.

After food, it was back to the bay in Lee with its impressive rocks, past a door with the strangest shaped hinges I have ever seen, and on to the more strenuous second half of the walk. We weren’t sure what the National Trust Half Way sign was showing half way for!

After such a long break and without the support crew around, I was a little concerned how strenous it would be, but we managed just fine, in fact The Boy kept sprinting up steps when we came across them!

It didn’t seem long before we reached Bull Point, which the start of turning the coast turning  the corner and us heading south not east. We could just make out Wales in the distance and waved goodbye, then we admired a HUGE mushroom near the lighthouse, where the assistant was mowing the lawn.

The stretch to Morte Point also passed fairly easily, despite more ups and downs, maybe finding a box of ducks disguised by a bit of log helped morale!

Morte point was very impressive and pointy and there seemed to be a lot of people walking to here and back from Woolacombe.

From this point the coast path is definitely going south and it wasn’t far on to Woolacombe.  We admired the beach from up high, but decided to use up the remainder of our time before the bus having a little snack in a cafe instead.


Whilst The Boy was disappointed that we missed the sunset (we were waiting for the burrito’s we’d ordered to take to the station and eat on the train back), Barnstaple looked very pretty by moonlight when viewed from the bridge and I was just happy that all the public transport times I’d found online turned out to work in real life!


My local fabric shop has now got in loads of thick sweatshirt fabric in a large variety of colours. I snapped up some in red to make another pair of trousers for The Boy, hot on the heels of the last pair (and with the same pattern) and this pair got finished very quickly.


After last time I bought 1m20 to make sure I had enough length for the legs, and even after extending the leg length on the pattern I had loads left at the bottom. No cuffs needed on this pair.  I also reinforced the knees again,  concentric circles this time for a change and the consultation that I undertook on patch placement before sewing paid off: user feedback is very positive.



These didn’t just sew up quickly because I’d just made a pair (although that helped), but also because I had a deadline, namely Dress French or Spanish Day at school.  I  knew that The Boy would want to dress French themed rather than Spanish, for he is learning French not Spanish at the moment, and I wasn’t entirely comfortable with sending him dressed as an onion seller, as my friend put it so well, national stereotypes are lazy racism. So I racked my brains, trawled the internet, and came up with Asterix, which was a great success.


Turns out that the left overs from the Trains Pride T shirt were the perfect accent colours, the dark green and yellow made a suitably cartoony belt…


… and the light green made a covering which transformed an empty Robinson’s Squashed bottle (sourced from a kind soul on a local freecycle group) into a magic potion bottle. I left out the sword I didn’t think taking one to school would end well.

The helmet was made by yours truly out of cereal boxes, masking tape and silver spray paint and The Boy made the wings.


The prototype moustache was fleece, but I just found time to knit a Sven for him to wear as he’s lost the moustache my friend knitted him previously.

Hooray for Asterix and a good excuse to borrow a bunch of the books from a friend to remind ourselves how great they are (kept both of my kids and a visiting one quiet for a while). The costume went down well with his teachers and some older pupils, but his class mates were convinced that he was dressed as someone from ancient Greece. Oh well, we know better.

The red trousers though I’m hoping will be wardrobe stable as the weather turns colder.

This is not a hoodie

So, not long after I last made The Boy some new jogging bottoms, I cut out some more in a warmer fabric.This was at some point before our heatwave summer started, and the pattern pieces sat the whole time in my sewing room.


Well, now the weather has turned colder, I finally sewed them up. (It was a warm up to making myself a hoodie for a Sew A Long, or possibly a prevarication, hence the title.)


According to the Kitschy Coo Website where I bought it “This striking fabric has a large scale houndstooth in black on a heather grey background in a blend of 67% cotton, 27% polyester, and 6% elastane in a width of 160cm, with a hefty (but not overly bulky!) weight of 290gsm. The fabric is smooth on the top side with a snuggly brushed back on the underside.” It definitely is snuggly on the back!


The Boy chose the fabric himself, and I went from surprised at how subtle it was (there were geometric wolf heads on offer after all, I was sure he’d go for those) when I bought it, to slightly alarmed at how OTT it looked whilst I was making it up, to loving it once it’s made and thinking it looks really stylish.   The important thing though is that he’s happy with it, and has worn them several times already.

The fabric had shrunk slightly when washed and I struggled to cut the the pieces out of my 1m length. I decided to make sure the dominant lines went across at my seam allowances (although they do swap from grey to black) at the expense of the legs caming out ever so slightly short.

No problem, I put some black ribbing cuffs on.

I also reinforced the knees again with some of the scrap farbic, quilting it on the back along the horizontal lines of the print. Customer feedback is that I didn’t quite get the sweetspot on placement (they’re too low).


Halloween Sewing

I have so much catching up to do around here, but first, The Girl has been doing some hand sewing.


I ran a session at our kids Woodcraft Group last week and we made bats, spiders and rats from this book (don’t believe those reviews it’s excellent) and yesterday she finished off her rat (it needed ears sewing on) and embroidered fangs onto the spider that she made three years ago. It is now named Fang.


Her rat came out much better than my demonstration one, which looks like some kind of mutant Clanger. Hey ho.

And that is it for my Halloween sewing. They are concocting their own costumes out of bits they already have, hoorah. And obviously, they chose their costumes themselves, just like CJ quite rightly advocates.


Wonky Wolf Boy


I did finish this years birthday hoodie in time, I just never got around to blogging it. Here it is in action, worn over last years hoodie, by a boy who is helping his sister “fly” an impromptu tent kite around a very windy campsite above Plymouth Sound on his birthday weekend.


I used the same pattern as before,  sizing up two sizes, one for growth, one for the thickness of the fleece backed fabric. I wished I sized up more as it still looked a bit snug to me, then he went and wore it over last years jumper, so it can’t be too bad.


I used last years pattern hack to make thumbole cuffs again a la Kelly’s method. And like before I still managed to fluff up sewing them and had to unpick, at least it was only one this time. Note to self, pin/tack and turn the right way to check before sewing for real in future.

I used another one of Kelly’s tutorials to make some puffy elbow patches in taffeta (which really don’t photograph well) and learnt how to fell stitch them on as suggested, via the wonders of internet search engines. I was really pleased with how they came out, however, due to the rush job on this hoodie, I didn’t spend enough time thinking about placement. I cajoled his sister into trying on last years hoodie so I could get the right distance down the arm, but I just put them slap bang in the middle of the sleeve piece without thinking that the elbows are nearer to the seam allowance on one side than the other, so they’ve ended up in a really weird place. He doesn’t seem to mind though.

Spurred on by how my patches looked (at this point not realising they were in the wrong place), I made a larger wolf head patch, which ended up on the front (my orignal thought was the back, not sure what change my mind). I preferred it before it was sewn on, I think rounding off the shaggy fur for ease of application looses some of the wolfness. Also, I manage to painstakingly hand sew it on skewiff. Still, he seems to appreciate it.


This weird looking pocket is a phone pocket, made out of some scrap ribbing. You don’t see it on the finished garment as it’s inside the pouch pocket, an idea I got from a shop bought hoodie of his, but I added a top flap for extra security when climbing trees, flying tents etc.


This garment has been very hard to photograph indoors and he wasn’t co-operating with outside photo’s. Here it is half made, pretending to be a poncho and showing off the fleecey lining a little, the patch pocket I drafted (I didn’t even contemplate doing the hidden pockets from the pattern in this fabric), the hood in all it’s naked unlined snuggly fleecy glory, with knotted pajama cord drawstring and its “I don’t think grommets will stay in this fabric” button hole access.

Oh and I omitted the side zips. I’m such a rebel.

So no, it’s not as pretty as last years, but I had fun experimenting with new things, learnt a lot, and he is just as happy to wear it. Next year I need to start earlier though!