Today is the last day of term, then we have one day to pack and sort out and then we’re going away. I do not feel organised at all. On the sewing front I have a pair of trousers cut out to make and take and a half made t shirt. On the campervaning front I’m a feeling in quite a bit of trepidation about the whole traveling thing. My friend has just started a blog prior to journeying around Europe with  her 4 kids, which has made me feel in equal parts inspired and completely disorganised in comparison, so now I’m busy printing out car bingo and downloading podcasts from the BBC before we go.


I did however run up this bag last night for The Girl’s teacher, the fabric just screamed “tote” to me when I was in the shop. It has a denim bottom, mitred to add depth and is lined in red polycotton with a patch pocket inside. I really rushed it and it’s not quite as good as I imagined (I didn’t have enough webbing for my plans for a start), but I’m still pretty chuffed as it looks pretty professional.



Still seeing red

When I made myself a top recently, I made the leftover fabric into some shorts for The Girl. So, when I then had some more of the same fabric, but in red, left over from making The Boy a Semper Top it seemed only natural to make The Girl some more shorts.


I realised that if I didn’t cut the waistband out of the red fabric, then I would have enough of it left to make a theraputic neck pillow for The Boy (who is jealous of his sisters and has requested a red one with black elastic handles). I figured I could get away with using this knit fabric as it’s quite thick and stable.


So, the waistband for the shorts is made from some grey ribbing which ties in with the grey bias binding edging the pockets (originally bought to finish the hood of his Semper). I wish I’d got the edging sewn down as neatly as I did last time, as red on grey shows up much more than navy on dark purples, but them’s the breaks.


They’re a hit!


As it the pillow/punchbag.


Now I just need to find the purple shorts, which went AWOL less than a week after I made them. Sigh.





RED-y to go


My model was not being terribly helpful

Pattern: Semper Sweater from Sofilantjes patterns.


Fabric: Thick spongey mystery knit from my local fabric shop (probably containing some synthetic fabric) with slightly shiny right side and a stripey reverse (used here for contrasts). The same stuff (in a different colour) to my top.


Size: Age 11, chosen after comparing the finished garment measurements to an existing top. (Tops are more compliant when you want to measure them than boys can be). It has come out wearable with growing room for my lanky 10 year old. Perfect.


Modifications: The hood is unlined. I thought about binding the edge in knit bias tape but in the end I just turned the seam allowance over and topstitched it down with a fake coverstitch. (A bit of fudging was required where the hood piece turns a sharp corner as the front cowl-y bit starts).


Additions: Lots of topstitching in my favourite stretch “coverstitch” stitch (including sewing down the trimmed seam allowance where the two hood pieces meet).


Well drafted? Yes, everything came together perfectly.  Even attaching the made up sleeve to the scary looking U shaped underam hole. (Topstitching that seam however, was not so easy, I managed to catch the neckline and had to unpick it. That however is a mess entirely of my own making due to my current topstitching addiction.)


Most confusing bit? Trying to use the table provided to work out how much fabric to buy (it’s designed with colour blocking in mind, showing you how much you need of a given fabric for different elements of the different views in different sizes, less helpful if you just want to make it all in one fabric like me.)  In the end I just bought an overly cautious 2 m.  After washing the fabric and cutting out I still had 80cm left of 1m60 wide fabric (plus extra wibbly bits), so I could’ve got away with buying 1m20.

Review? It got a thumbs up. Literally that was all the comment I got.

Bonus shorts


I offered to make the girl a swishy skirt out of the leftovers of my latest coco, but she chose shorts instead.


I thought she might want the Domi short pattern (as used on her pyjamas) shortened, to be a similar length to her shop bought ones, but she chose to keep them long. She also kept the patch pockets (rather than opting for the circle openings) and designed them with the reverse, slightly stripey side of the fabric, on the pockets and waistband.


I used the rest of the knit bias tape to bind the edge of the pockets and neaten them off. I think it looks pretty good. (Another option would be to line them I guess.)


One quick and easy make and they’re are a hit, especially as the fabric feels “silky”.

This is not a cardigan

It all started with a dare. After a lot of dithering I finally took the plunge and asked for a Sewing Dare.  And the reply I got filled me with dread…

You said you desperately need warm tops in your life – so I dare you to make some kind of cardigan! So many great patterns out there… or hack a tee-pattern into a fitted or waterfall cardi. Go forth and sew cosy!

Nooo, not a cardy!  I simply don’t wear cardies. But a dare is a dare. Suffice to say I have been overthinking my knee jerk reaction to the cardy challenge, what constitutes a cardy and whether there is a style of cardy that I might actually wear ever since I read this.


In the mean time, while I muse on this, I have made one of my wardrobe staples that I wear instead of a cardy, a long sleeve t shirt. I decided to make another Coco Top as the last one that I made gets a lot of wear. And I even remembered to read the blog post that I wrote about it before starting and I tried it on (double organisational points for me) resulting in me raising and bringing in the neckline still further (it’s annoying when my long sleeve top has a lower neckline than the top underneath and I have to make sure they match each other as well as matching my bottom half), making  a small sway back adjustment (which I’m not sure I did effectively) and lengthening the sleeves by an inch at the three quarter length line.


What’s that up in the sky?

I think I bought this spongey thick purple knit with a subtle flecky sparklyness to it with a coco in mind. (I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t buy some of the charcoal grey colourway too, sold out now). And it will match more things than the last one (big flowers may be ace, but they’re not always much easier to match to the rest of my wardrobe than my stripey tops are).


Why it’s Super Mum                                                                                                                                                 (as photographed by The Boy, accessories photographers own)

Have you noticed the decorative stitching yet?


Yup, the neckline, cuffs and hem are hand finished in herringbone stitch.


This wasn’t the original plan. It started due to laziness. Last time I made a facing to finish the neckline as I thought the pattern as drafted was a little on scruffy side for a neckline finish. But I’d just altered the neckline, and I couldn’t be bothered to alter the facing too, so I decided to try some knit bias tape that I bought (online, then found locally, sigh).  I stitched it on to the right side, pressed, turned, tacked down, then wondered how to sew it down. Straight stitch would pop (the new smaller neckline definitely needs stretching to get over my head), as in my experience does a twin needle. Stretch straight stitch (aka lightening bolt) looks awful as topstitching, and I wasn’t sure that zig zag nearly an inch out from the neckline (as the pre bought bias binding is quite wide) would look ok. I don’t have a coverstitch machine. I tried to search for a knit bias tape finish but was unsuccessful, I only rediscovered the excellent grainline one for wovens, and realised that I should’ve undererstitched. While pondering what to do next, my mind turned to sashiko style stitching, inspired by all the lovely mends I’d seen on the Make do and Mend group. I tried out a zig zag (hmmm), a straight running stitch (not stretchy, as predicted) and a herringbone stitch and decided on the latter, using some white cotton that had belonged to my grandmother in law (so presumably is for quilting in some manner).


I was a bit worried that it looked too homemadey (I don’t usually do handstitching on anything as I’m a bit slapdash and scruffy at it), so I started with one cuff and worked my way up. LSH was very impressed, he thought the top had looked too plain (not used to seeing me in solid coloured garments obviously!) and the herrbingbone lifted it. Today I just happened to call into my local fabric shop and I was asked by one of the lovely assistants how I got thread that thick to go through my machine 🙂 So it passes that test! Now fingers crossed it washes and wears ok! (And no, I will not normally be wearing an entirey purple ensemble, but I have perilously few pairs of trousers and these were the ones that were clean today).

What’s your favourite finishing technique?