You can have any colour, as long as it’s black.

It’s that time of year again. The turning of the year. The leaves have finally started falling and are doing it in abundance, the clocks have gone back, the days seem darker, there is rain about and kids. Kids everywhere as they are off school for the week.

Not unsurprisingly, this has all led to a lessening in my sewing output, helped along by an intermittent stomach bug (that thankfully only seems to affect me).

The only photographic evidence I have of the shirt, back in the happy days  of the project before I started attaching sleeves and it all went wrong.

The only photographic evidence I have of the shirt, back in the happy days of the project before I started attaching sleeves and it all went wrong.

Also, I had a setback. I started a shirt, I was being good, using stash for a “wearable muslin”, so I could justify buying some new fabric I’d spied. So I pieced it together out of leftovers, but then I came to try it on and the sleeves are too tight. (Well, one sleeve is. The second isn’t sewed up as I realised I’d topstitched the seam allowance at the shoulder down before finishing it). Properly too tight. As in I can get it on but I can’t bend my arms in it. At this stage, I realised that my “scraps” of fabric were very precious to me and I’m now sulking big time at the waste, unable to work out how to proceed (not enough fabric left to cut much more than a new sleeve cuff, let alone two whole sleeves and with 2 colours of fabric being used already I didn’t want to introduce a third into the mix and I don’t wear sleeveless tops). I’m edging towards finishing it anyway and then finding someone (with big bust and thin arms) to foister it onto, but my motivation on that one is low.

My motivation on my next projects is low too as they’re all much needed bulky jumper type garments where even appropriate “muslin” fabric is fairly expensive and I’m worried about encountering the same fit issues. (Namely the sleeve size corresponding to my upper bust measurement being too small, but the full bust measurement being too big at my upper chest). Plus they seem “big” projects and I’m not sure I have the energy. Woe is me, cue the violins.

getting ready

getting ready

However, with Samhain/Halloween/All Hallow’s Eve tomorrow, the kids are all excited about dressing up and going Trick or Treating (there aren’t many sweets to be had in this house usually, cake yes, chocolate maybe, but sweets have a half forbidden allure). So we have some costumes to cobble together. Unsurprisingly the boy is being semi secretive, ridiculously complicated, unrealistic about time scales and bad at clear communication. I fear a temper tantrum tomorrow. His sister, however, is more practical, having briefly considered being a Mummy (of the ancient Egyptian variety) she then went with witch, as she had no strong opinions and we already had the dress. Hooray. (Note for any curious American readers, contrary to rumour, we do “have” Halloween in the UK, but the costumes are almost exclusively on the ghost/vampire/zombie/witch/black cat spooky/scary theme – rather than the general dressing up fest it seems to be stateside.

Now, I’m all for home made costumes, for many reasons, including the fun of making them, the flexing of your imagination, not buying badly made itchy generic outfits that have been made under who knows what circumstances and will likely be worn only once. This year I have added safety to my list, after watching this interview with Clauda Winkleman about how her daughter caught fire. (Although I’m aware that there’s still a lot of synthetic content in her dress, at least her outfit has a lot of cotton fabric too).

Not so sunny hat

Not so sunny hat

So, the hat problem raised it’s head. Last year I made my daughter a paper witches hat, this year she wants better. But after seeing the clip above my reservations about buying one are increased. However, I didn’t think I had any black fabric in my stash, and I don’t want to buy any (none bought in October so far, don’t want to stop now).

So, I had a good rummage, and found a strange t shaped piece of black denim (left over from these trousers I think – which incidentally have just been passed on). She wasn’t that impressed as the warp threads are white, but I managed to convince her. I altered my much used Oliver and S bucket hat pattern. I extended the brim slightly outwards for a more witchy look and extended the side pieces upwards to a point. Of course, the crown is eliminated altogether, which misses out that seam (if you’ve made the hat, you’ll know what I’m talking about). Initially I just extended the sides of the side piece up to a point but that ended up way too tall, so I changed the angle slightly for a more proportioned hat. I just had enough fabric to cut out my pieces, result.

And then I assembled it, which was very simple. I interface my two side pieces (the point isn’t lined, I wasn’t after a reversible hat) and two of my brim pieces with my thickest interfacing (I would’ve done all 4 brims but I ran out of interfacing). I zig zagged around the inner and outer edge of the brim rather than using concentric lines of stitching to make it look less sunhatey.



The spider was a joint effort between me and the girl, using an idea in the Boy Craft book I got the boy for his birthday. (Great book, with ideas suitable for all, as the “and girls” tag on the cover indicates, my slight irritation at the sexist title overturned by a Picture of a Boy Using a Sewing Machine inside. Although not all the ideas are sewing, there is woodwork (or should that be stickwork), junk modelling type stuff, paper mache and knitting too (yup, knitting, didn’t know that hand knitting technique, thanks).)

It’s basically a circle of felt, drawn into a ball, stuffed with offcuts of fabric, 4 pipecleaners sewn on for legs (we had to buy some especially as there were none black in the house – the girl insisted) and features stitched on. We think it looks pretty good.

So, that’s my “short” update. Hopefully I can post a picture of happy kids in not too flammable, not too wasteful costumes tomorrow.

Happy Halloween everyone.

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