Beating the January Blues


These are my new kick arse* , “take that January, I am fed up with all your broken boilers, bad backs, medical appts to attend with family members, screaming boys and all the other shit” pants.


They are definitely not my “oh no, I have a backlog of laundry and no clean underwear” emergency make before breakfast pants. No sirree. That would imply a distinct lack of adulting on my part. And clearly, these are very grown up pants.


*(no pun intended)


We have been without a boiler in our house for over a week now (and more than 2 weeks left to go until the plumber can “squeeze in” fitting our replacement).  We have a couple of electric heaters, but, err, my sewing room is too untidy to squeeze one in so consequently my sewjo has taken a big hit.

It also means that clothes are hard to dry (we don’t have a tumble dryer, not normally an issue but when the house is cold and the sun aint shining it does slow things down rather).

It also means that even my normally hot blooded daughter wants to wear winter pj’s in bed.


So, one pair of long pj’s still damp + one pair ripped + one tired girl = tears.

And tears = guilty mamma.

(These pj’s have actually been on the To Do Pile for a while. I was quite happy to whip up a replacement pair as I had enough of this fabric left over, but when I was informed that they had to have the same red satin cuffs (with ric rac) and waistband that nearly did me in the first time round my motivation withered somewhat and then it transpired she was quite happy wearing summer pj’s in the winter so they got pushed to the back of the cupboard)


So, I this evening, to prevent more tears, I got off my backside and sewed up a replacement pair in the next size up (no point making something she’s about to grow out of right?), with french seams none the less. I tapered the bottom of the legs to the width of the size below so that I could harvest the cuffs from the old pair and just sew them on.  I simply finished the raw edges on the new pair with a zig zag, cut off the cuffs from the old pair about a cm about the join, turned the raw edge under, pinned it on top of the new pair with an overlap and then sewed them on. I didn’t harvest the waistband (too small, too complicated), but to make up for it I added a little bunny to the inside at the back.


I was rewarded with a happy dance, big smiles and a cuddle.


No more tears, and not a bottle of shampoo in sight.  (Plus a couple of extra dusters for me.)

Unreasonable Request

When we go out as a family I have started noticing that we are often all wearing at least thing I made.  Well, everyone except LSH that is, who I have not made as much stuff for, apart from the waistcoats and some small knitted items (my attention span is such that I only knit small items). (Oh, and some underwear, but that’s not on show when we’re out on a walk!)

I bought the Thread Theory Strathcona T shirt pattern for him a wile ago, but didn’t finish taping it together, I got frustrated about the number of pattern pieces as unlike most t shirt patterns, it is not a half piece that you cut on on the fold, but a full back and front piece (did I mention my short attention span?). I have also bought their Jedediah pants pattern, which sits, unprinted, on my computer. And I love to make him a shirt too (in theory at least).

I mentioned to him that I was going to try and get my act together and sew him a couple more things this year. A few days later he commented that if I was going to make him something what he’d really like was a Utility Kilt! I wonder where our son gets his knack for thinking of ridiculously complicated projects from.

If you’re not sure what a Utility Kilt is, well, I’m not sure I entirely know myself. Kind of like this I think. So, less folds than a normal kilt, which has to be a little easier. And in cotton drill maybe, not wool, so cheaper and easier to handle maybe.  Although I have an inkling he’d like it waxed (is there an equivalent of Otter Wax I can get in the UK?) Then there’s the camo pockets on the side. Sigh.

I had kind of dismissed the idea, as it seems overly complicated and I’m pretty sure that a sewing pattern for a utility kilt is a fairly niche and probably unrealised product.

But now the inspirational Mainly Dad is making himself a kilt, as a precursor to making his son one to get married in. So I am mulling. (Mulling, is, by the way, about all the sewing I’m getting done at the moment, as we are without a working boiler and my sewjo has seized up in the cold. I am getting a little knitting done though).

In the mean time, if anyone has any relevant hints and tips on sewing utility kilts, please let me know.



Happy New Year and all that.


No wild partying for me, we stayed in, the kids were in bed, and I made my ever growing daughter some leggings.  Nothing too exciting but very useful.


I edged the bottom in a left over bit of laced edged elastic that was too small to do anything else with.

Useful, small special touch, finished, stress free. Bodes well for 2017 I reckon.

It was the third one that nearly killed me

OK, so that’s an exageration, but by the time I was finishing the third and final last minute Christmas make I was feeling pretty rough. That’s what coming down with a stomach bug does to you.


Still, if you will leave taping and cutting out the pdf until first thing Christmas Eve morning (the house was blissfully quiet as I was the only one up) and cutting and sewing until after the kids are in bed and you’ve walked your mum home (I’m thinking it was about 9pm, it’s a bit of a blur now), then you don’t have a lot of choice if you need to get it done in time. Let this be a lesson to you me.

I was fairly confident as I knew a tshirt dress, with only 5 pieces (front, back, 2 sleeves, neckband) would be a pretty quick make, but I hadn’t counted on how rough I would feel. I even switched the pedal over to slow mode to help me cope (usually only used when kids are on the machine).

But, I did it, well almost, it didn’t get hemmed until a  couple of days later but it did get worn on Christmas day. And I decided to skip the planned step of adding in some side pockets.


So, this is Nivalis number 2, sized up 2 sizes from last time, one size because the last one is quite slim fitting with not much growing room and the second size because this fabric was a bit thicker and not quite so stretchy as last time (I think it might be ponte). Probably I should’ve only sized up one size as now it’s really quite long, but never mind, she’ll grow.  Also, I left off the tabs this time (that was planned, not just because I ran out of time).

Last Minute Shenanigans II

S0011201.JPGThe apron for my friends vertically challenged mother in law that I made 2 years ago was such a big hit that this year she asked for another one, in olive green. My friend gave me a bag with some lovely fabric that she’d bought and co-ordinating green webbing. (I no some people never sew for others but I have no qualms sewing for this particular friend as she does so much for me and others, for instance she just looked  after our dog for 2 days so we could all go cuddle a baby).


So the morning of Christmas Eve I set to work (before it was too late!). With grey thread because I had nothing appropriate in green and my non-sewing friend hadn’t thought to buy any. I made the neckband adjustable again, like before, and I was a little worried there wasn’t quite enough webbing left for the straps, so I raided my box of bits salvaged from defunct rucksacks and added an adjustable clip there too (takes less strap as you don’t need to tie a bow).


I mainly followed this tutorial to make a slightly fancier pocket on the front, it all got a bit rushed at this point so I may not have followed it exactly. It’s lined in some pinkish fabric from my scrapbox.

All safely delivered to my friend after lunch on Christmas Eve, I have yet to hear if her Mother in Law approves.


Last minute projects I

My son and his bright ideas. Either they’re going to get him a nobel prize or they’re going to be the death of me, I can’t decide which.


After lunch, December 23rd, latest brainwave, his sister, himself and I have to go to the fabric shop and buy supplies for them to make their own stockings with (we’ve always used LSH’s largest socks in the past). And then he refuses to follow my advice. Also he just had to piece the two tartan ribbons he’d got to put around the top of his stocking and find all the wackiest stitches on my machine.  Still, eventually, with a little help from me, the stockings were finished in time for bed on Christmas eve.