Christmas makes revisisted

Well, Christmas has been now, so in lieu of a proper post (due to me still not having made anything, despite my fantasy of a week of sewing, ha ha), I thought you might like to see some of the Christmas makes being modeled…

Reading one of the many new books in her new spotty skirt (I also made the headband a while ago).

Reading one of the many new books in her new spotty skirt (I also made the headband a while ago).

The spotty skirt has been worn but as I suspected it is too big – not big enough to fall down but big enough to flash underwear. At my mum’s suggestion I tried putting a tuck in the waistband at the back. This has made it smaller, but it’s apparently bulky and uncomfortable. So I’m going to have to unpick the waistband and elastic and resew it, as by the time the waistband fits the skirt will be way too short.

Posing in his new t shirt at Grandma's (with me, collapsed on sofa in background)

Posing in his new t shirt at Grandma’s (with me, collapsed on sofa in background)

As the boy is watching over my shoulder as I type, here’s his review of the top “perfect. Not too outstanding,
not to dull(wearing right now.)” (I think outstanding is used to mean bright in this instance.)



I think his long sleeve t shirt might be one of my favourite makes of late, and I’ve got the size a lot better this time than the one I made in the summer (which only just fit).

Princess Anna

Princess Anna

And the Anna dress has been worn to watch frozen, and to dance and sing in. But she’s requested a long sleeve blue t shirt to wear under it (who’d have thunk it).

Never Say Never

I promised myself that I wouldn’t be up late sewing presents on Christmas Eve this year, not after last year and the shirt for the boy.

In theory I didn’t need to be. I’d already made the boy a top and the girl a skirt and as I still haven’t finished that darn waistcoat I haven’t started a new thing for the man.

But then, not long before Christmas, the girl met Father Christmas and all she wanted to ask him for was an Anna dress. How could I let her down?


ugh, bad photo of bad work, taken just as the skirt was falling down.

This sewing has not been my finest, I had to force myself to do it, I’m still feeling pretty ill. But, mainly on the 23rd, I cranked out a black velvet t shirt with puffed sleeves (all from good old Simplicity 1573), with an altered hemline and neckline (done by eye, it looked a better shape before the binding smoothed my curves out, oh well), trimmed with gold satin bias binding and with a really wonky badly applied vaguely Anna like ribbon design and some sparkly jewel like giant sequin things added in for good measure. Anna has a bodice on her dress and wears it over a pale blue long sleeved top (as far as I can tell). The girl does not do layers and I’m not mad keen on sleeveless items (as she will wear just this, even in January), so I made a t shirt and I thought the puffed sleeves (which I realised are an option in the pattern envelope) might make it more Princess like (she is a princess, right?).

And tonight, with 45 mins to spare, I ham fistedly put together a long blue skirt, rectangle, elasticated waistband, with pockets (last time I made her a fancy dress item she wore it for a whole day out and complained about the lack of pockets, not doing that again), made in lining fabric (2 layers, plus a 3rd layer around the top few inches as the fabric allowed to help keep things decent). The fabric was horrid to work with as each layer just wanted to roll up. Urghh. It has a shiny ribbon around the bottom, not very Anna like but I kind of hope that I can make a blue top and this can mix and match with that to be an Elsa dress. (I also have some fantastic Elsa cape fabric that I want to use).

So, I won’t say I won’t be doing this again next year, cos I probably will, (lets face it, if I’d’ve finished this earlier I’d’ve been making the boy trousers, or both of them pajamas, there’s always just one more thing to make) but I can dream….

Oh, happy Christmas to you all, may the sewing fairy bring you lots of time for making, ensure your bobbin never runs out at inopportune moments, keeps your seams straight and your stitches true.

Last of the Obligations

Some time ago I promised to make my neighbour a Presido Purse for her to give her daughter for Christmas, so her daughter would stop trying to steal the one I made for her.

front view

Spot the front patch pocket (flukily passable pattern matching as I didn’t even attempt to pattern match)

Well, today I finally got it done. I’m not sure how long it took in the end, because I started it before I was ill.

side view

The fabric is more red than the orange it shows here, darn you northern hemisphere lack of daylight winter necessitating many rubbish indoor photo shoots

But she has it, and she’s pleased (she threatened to keep it for herself and gift the old bag) and she even payed me money for it.

Outer Fabric: Upholstery remnant, loose weave, frayed like anything, the side seams are zig zagged (not in instructions) to try and stop it coming apart.

lining and inside pockets

lining and inside pockets

Inner fabric: 2 different types of lining fabric (as not enough of either in my stash, but I quite like the contrast) dark brown for the main panels, pale brown for the sides- all french seamed as I was also worried about these fabrics fraying.

Pockets – my usual design alteration of putting the inside pocket on outside. The inner pocket and pocket lining has tractors on. The (dark) lining has a plain (pale) patch pocket and a small (dark) welt pocket in one (pale) side.

The piping is green, I nearly used some siver but I didn’t have enough.

Zips: shorter one reclaimed from hubby’s old coat, longer one reclaimed from a shopping bag I had that disintergrated (the bag, not the zip).

secret tractors

secret tractors

Major mess up: deciding I didn’t need to interface the handle. Which I didn’t for strength, because it’s really stiff fabric. But I forgot that Erin has a neat trick to sew the interfacing to the handle to finish the raw edges and I didn’t read the instructions, so I ended up with a lined main bit of handle and then some rapidly fraying pieces to attatch it to the bag with, arghh. So really I did need to interface the handle. My solution, turn the ends under, pin it on, sew it all on with a wide zig zag. It ain’t pretty but I think it’ll be ok. Actually, it isn’t too bad as the red thread sinks into the fabric well. I did attatch the handle before the zip (different order to the instructions), which means it’s attatched to just the outer fabric and not the lining (as the zip stage is when/where the outer and the inner get joined together). It’s possible to do this and still turn the bag if you’re careful and it means my messy zig zag stitching doesn’t show on the inside and isn’t going to mess up my welt pocket.

So, now no more makes that I feel obliged to do before Christmas. Of course, there’s still the little matter of an Anna dress….

Oh, and if anyone wants to pay Spot the Presido, when I was ill I started sorting out pages of my makes by category (mainly to help me find stuff), so you can now see all the bags I’ve made since I’ve been blogging on my imaginatively titled Bags I’ve made page…


Starting to feel better. Wanted to slum around the house in my Lola dress today (it may not be as stylish as I’d like but it’s still comfy), but that required some leggings. Found a pair on the mending pile, large holes, so I got the sewing machine out.


Apron against rare backdrop of clear living room carpet (cleaned enthusiastically by kids in anticipation of putting the Christmas tree up later)

Then it was out, and so later, when The Amazing Man took the Kids out, I thought I’d do a bit more at the apron I was making for a friend. She is so endlessly helpful to others that I couldn’t turn down her request to make a shorter than average apron (as she couldn’t find one for under £30!) to give as a Christmas gift, even though I wanted to make too many things already. It was started before I got ill and before I realised she could just have bought an apron and I could’ve shortened it. Oh well. Anyway, I thought I’d get a bit more done and then I got sucked in. I had to take breaks cos the fabric made my eyes go funny, but tis done. And there is a bit less guilt lurking about, so I can enjoy a nap now before the rest of them get back.

  • Design spec: An apron for a less than average vertically endowed person who wants to be able to walk and protect her clothes.
  • Fabric: £4.99 for a metre from the shop down the road. Easy job. I had been given free reign fabric wise and this stuff just screamed “apron” at me. Now to hope the Boy doesn’t ask for trousers out of it.
  • “Pattern”: I drew around an apron we already had (turns out my mum made it, I never knew) and shortened it several inches.
  • Neck Loop: Made adjustable with some bits from an old rucksack, as my research (i.e. asking my Mum, who has the same name and build as the intended recipient) revealed that a loose neck loop (what is the proper word for that) is the worse offender for causing a low hanging apron that gets in the way of your knees walking.
  • Twill tape: from my grandmother in laws stash. Red would’ve been more practical but the white was free.
  • Most techincal bit?sewing 2 parallel lines of stitches around the curves before folding and pining to help with the double turned hem finish on the curved bits.
  • Mojo:Still low, but rising
  • One. More. Done. (Just).

    Is there a competition for the worse blocked scarf ever? If so, I have an entry.

    tis done

    tis done

    A DNA double helix cable scarf (that I’m sure I first saw made up on the Seamstress Erin blog but I can’t find it now so maybe I imagined that), started for Christmas 2013, in a mystery grey/black yarn I inherited that I think has wool in. My first attempt was ripped out as the needles were too small for the yarn, I think they could have done with being larger still actually, that plus the marbled yarn does not show up the cable at all well. Oh well, tis done and the recipient wears only black with the occasional grey anyway. She does, however, have a biology degree, so will hopefully get what it is, if she peers closely enough.

    This may be my last make completed before Christmas as I feel utterly rubbish, with flu (although I did manage to persuade myself it was shingles earlier) and doing much more than sitting in bed waiting for people to write sewing blog posts for me to read is out of the question, and after a couple of hours of that I need a nap. Plus it’s the last day of school term for the kids tomorrow. ugh.

    Creeping towards Christmas

    So, the other brother just left this morning. That’s 9 days straight of visitors in this house. Which is not good for my ever growing list of Christmas makes. However, I did selfishly get on with some stuff in the evenings whilst they were there, making anyone who wanted to talk to me sit in the dining room. The talking slows down the sewing and the machine interrupts the talking, but still, I got a top made for the boy.

    And then yesterday I got ill. I woke with a nasty cough but otherwise felt fine. By lunchtime I felt rotten, had to get driven home early from our family day out and was simultaneously far too hot and far too cold. Yuck. Lots of sleeping later and I’ve progressed to feeling rough. I’ve even managed to do a bit of knitting and some washing. So, before I go back to bed to recover from the exertion, I thought I’d better review my list to help me focus on what I need to do between now and then, once I feel better.

    First off, the completed pile:

    • A spotty pleated milkmaid skirt for the girl.
    • The top I made for the boy.
    • A special door stop for my nephew
    • A rather fragile bag for his “little” sister
    • And this morning I finally finished the scarf for their other sister that I’ve been knitting for over a year. As she was also staying I didn’t have much chance at the weekend. Now it just needs blocking, once I figure out how.
    • Oh and I sourced and posted a present for my Curvy Sewing Swap Christmas partner. This was more nerve wracking than I’d anticipated. (Will she like it? Will she have it already?)Then the priority makes:
    • A short apron that I’m making as a favour for a friend to give to her mother in law. Apparently short apron’s cost considerably more than long ones. This is cut out and shouldn’t be too much work.
    • I’ve started a Presido purse/bag for my neighbour to give to her dauhter. I was going to make 2 to give her a choice but that could be a bit optimistic.
    • And I really want to finish the waistcoat that started out as hubby’s Christmas 2013 present. I think I’ve sorted out the collar issues with some tacking and a lot of pressing, now I’ve noticed the outer is longer than the lining at the back and is hanging funny, so I want to sort that out before I sew it up and do the buttonholes.Followed by:
    • The girl asked Father Christmas for an Anna dress. I’m not sure if she realises that has a black bodice. What I’d like to do is make a blue long sleeved top, a black Anna style t shirt (in velvet? with embroidery??) and a blue skirt that will go with either of them. Their last day of school is Thursday. This is not going to happen.
    • Of course, if I make her 2 things, I have to make him 2 things too. Priority trousers, as he’s been having existential trouser crisis recently (no, I’m not joking). There was not much choice in trouser fabric tough enough to stand up to 8 year old boys, so I got some khaki stuff and have plans to paint it. Oh, such a quick job…
    • Tartan brushed cotton, floral brushed cotton, boiled wool and some khaki twilly stuff

      Tartan brushed cotton, floral brushed cotton, boiled wool and some khaki twilly stuff

      And if I have time:

    • I accidently bought some brushed cotton for the pajama’s I don’t have time to make.
    • The Man was with me when I was shopping and took a shine to some green boiled wool, so at some point he may get a second waistcoat (that implies I’ve finished the first one).
    • And then, after Christmas, I feel it may be time to make some stuff FOR ME.

      PS, sorry, wordpress is taking out my bullet points and messing around with the formatting and I feel too rubbish to work out how to fix it.

    The Good, The Bad and The Frantic

    The Good:

    The front - you can also see the hastily added hanging loop so he could tell which way round it went as I'd forgotten to sew a ribbon label in

    The front – you can also see the hastily added hanging loop so he could tell which way round it went as I’d forgotten to sew a ribbon label in (and this time I lowered the front neckline slightly)

    I made The Boy a top. Another thing crossed off my Christmas Makes List (which is good as more things keep getting added all the time). And he was very keen to have something made from the left over fabric from some mad leggings I made that I just realised haven’t been blogged yet – can you tell which of the two fabrics I’m referring to? I used the green as it’s a similar weight and toned it down a little. The pattern, a slightly modified version of a raglan t shirt that I drafted before, but a little longer and slightly wider and with long sleeves. I compared it to some long sleeve t shirts already in his wardrobe. I think it will fit. Oh and I curved in the raglan seams a little as suggested in this tutorial. I never knew you were supposed to do this.

    The back, no that much difference. The neckline and caffs are just folded over and stitched down by the way, lazy me.

    The back, no that much difference. The neckline and caffs are just folded over and stitched down by the way, lazy me.

    The Bad:

    I can’t find the leftover spotty cordrouy fabric. Which is annoying as I want to use a bit for something. I’ve searched in all my various piles of fabric. I must have put it in a safe place so The Girl didn’t see it. Grr.

    The Frantic:

    There are two extra big people staying in the house. They came the day after the last one left. This is good, I like family, but it does generate a lot of washing, more things to do and less time to do them.

    Oh, and I nearly forgot The Complicated:

    The Girl met Father Christmas today and told him that she wanted an Anna (from Frozen) dress for Christmas. I have already bought fabric to make an Elsa dress and worked out how to do it. Hurumph.