Patchy Dress

Even in a sewing drought I still manged to pull out a last minute simple version of the nivalis dress for The Girl’s birthday at the end of February. I think I bought the fabric for me, but it was the only suitable thing I had in and it looks great on her. the neckline got finished off with some white jersey bias binding in the end cos the neckband wasn’t playing fair, and I like how it mimics the white lines between the colour on the dress. Still feels a cop out to make a dress without pockets though.

Starting Slow

I have barely sewn in 3 months. Apart from The Girl’s birthday dress which I then failed to photograph. But, perhaps spurred on by the fabric I bought on holiday last week (if you’re ever in Glasgow, check out Mandors with the conveniently sited Project Cafe next door) I have managed some things this weekend.

First up a new pin cushion/sewing organiser, which I started in January and has been sat waiting me to sew up a 2″ gap for 3 months. 3 months. For 10 mins sewing. Yikes. Even by my standards that’s bad. Anyway, it’s a blatant copy of one I saw in a blog post now long lost in the mists of time (I tried to find it to link to, I really did), although I figured I didn’t need to buy the pattern to make a cube with pockets on and a flap for putting needles in. I used up batting remnants from the baby quilt to quilt the main panels as per the original but I’m not convinced it was necessary. I stuffed it with ground walnut shells because apparently that’s the done thing (it’s supposed to keep the pins sharp, not sure I believe that but it was an excuse to go investigate my local reptile shop) and I’m hoping it’s huge solidness will make sure that it doesn’t go a wandering like it’s predecessor leaving me bereft of somewhere to stick the pins I pull out whilst sewing and forcing me instead to resort to balancing them on the edge of the desk or sticking them in a piece of scrap fabric. Yup I am that messy a sew. Speaking of which…


The pincushion needs somewhere to sit of course, so I was inspired to tidy the sewing table in my sewing room. You’ll notice that the rest of the room is not shown. There’s a good reason for that.  Note to self, still need a frame to buy the picture I bought last summer so I can hang it.

See that crumpled pile top right. That was abandoned in the cupboard of my sewing room just before Christmas. Turned out it didn’t take that much to finish sewing up the side seams and attach the arms, then I just needed to rootle around in the pit sewing room for the rest of the grey fabric so I could do the neckband and bottom band and voila, a new top for the boy.

The boy liked the top, but not the photo shoot, can you tell?  I like the origami style print, it’s so hard to find a good non girly print and this one is right up his street, although of course he was bemoaning the lack of instructions as to how to make the birds shown for real. I only got a metre of the fabric and he’s now officially too big for that to make a long sleeve top, hence the grey, which is irritatingly a thinner fabric, but I figured that’d be ok on the side panels of the Semper.  I appear to have hacked the neckline back in December to forgo a hood (hoods are a mixed blessing with the boy, he loves them, but will happily wear a tshirt hood, a jumper hood and a coat hood all up at the same time quite possibly with a ear warmer or a hat too, which makes conversing with him tricky). So I just cut a neckband at 90% of the neckline width. I may have lengthened the pattern too as it’s super long, but as my little sunflower is still growing skywards at an alarming rate I have no problems with that.

Now to motivate myself to do a little more tidying so I can get stuck into my lovely new fabric. Mmm. Fabric.

It’s Grim Up North

I went and relived my youth last weekend, strolling around Manchester, which has bizarely now got a pierced representation of Telly Tubby Land in the city centre!


Also, the Northern Quarter has some stonking graffitti

Stunning Stuff

Luckily the friend I was staying with is very patient

(I felt like such a tourist taking a photo on Canal St, luckily it was only afternoon)

Me being me, I didn’t just photo the graffitti

Like I said, my friend is patient

very patient

Although she did comment that I tend to waffle on a bit on my blog

So the sparse word count in this post is dedicated to her

I’m not much of a vintage clothes kind of person, but this WW2 Utility Coat really fascinated me, with the striking collar, darts from the shoulder, and most excellent pockets. Shame it was behind glass and so hard to photograph.

So, now I am back in the SW, with working heating, a serviced sewing machine and some new fabric I got today….


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.