Turning out a trapper

My son doesn’t like his new coat as it hasn’t got a hood. I, on the other hand, having picked this one up cheap to replace a really chuffing espensive one that he lost on a school trip, am not prepared to buy him a new coat. So a hat it is then. And I had just the idea, I have a bag of offcuts of really nice quality fleece that someone was giving away and he has a craft book that shows you how to make a simple fleece hat, so I would help him make his own, this kind of thing, and then he might take better care of it, win win.


Except, The Boy, of course, had different idea’s, wanting a trapper hat like his dad’s. So I found this pattern, printed it out at 95% (to allow for the fact that it wasn’t lined in fake fur – the fleece is double sided), and made it up, topstitching the seams flat as I didn’t want to iron it. And it worked, but it was too big and fell off his head when he ran.


So, a few adjustments. Poppers to hold the front flap up. Reused bag bits to hold the ear flaps up out the way when not in use (or under his chin when down) and elastic at the back to keep it on his head (2 rows, the first wasn’t enough).


And voila, a hat that he loves (I think) and his sister hates (I’m pretty sure). Lets see how long he manages to keep it for…


Oh and whilst I was at it I turned this small piece of navy/purple fleece into a band to wear under my cycle helmet, I think I might have accidentally made a coif! Or maybe I’ve made the crosscloth that goes under a coif, I only heard of them when I helped a friend make some clothes for tudor reinactment.

Did you spot it?


So this hat only took me about 2 years to make. (The Boy started but never finished some embroidery for the “plain” side. Eventually he forgot all about it and I ended up re cutting that side from some dark green linen, which I think looks rather nice with some gold topstitching.)


Yet another reversible bucket hat from the Oliver and S pattern that I sized up long ago.  Finally finished for the walk and admired by a passing walker (wearing a baseball cap and envious of its superior 360 degree shade). Then it was left in the park the very next day and is now waiting safely for collection at my friends house. Sigh.

(I haven’t really been trying to take part in Me Made May this year, but I have been wearing something me made everyday because I generally do these days and quite often at least one other member of my family is wearing something me made too.  On the walk I had on my Mila Moose shirt, The Boy had this new hat, The Girl had her old hat and LSH was sporting the rucksack I made him.)


I had to ask didn’t I

The Boy has a birthday coming up. Traditionally I make him some item of clothing. I was thinking of some more trousers, or a jumper (sweater), or maybe both. But I had to go and ask him if there was anything he needed (answer, nope, so well done there on the Simplicity testimony), or wanted. I should’ve known better.

A hat that looks like a helmet for when I’m being a Wilder

(No, I’m not quite sure what a Wilder is, it’s a game they play. Think some kind of Robin Hood / Lord of the Rings /LARP type thing and you won’t be far off as far as I can tell.)

Well, I didn’t think I could pull off a complicated faux metal helmet hat, but we did see a simple leather re-enactment helmet recently (cannot find photo’s of anything similar to show you), and I thought I might add some fake fur trim, Game of Thrones style, and aimed to get something that looked a bit like this.

For a pattern piece, I started with a head circumference, divided by 4, and also measured from front to back of where the “helmet” would sit (over the crown, and divided that by 2, and then used these measurements to freehanded a pattern piece (I added seam allowances afterwards).


I cut four out these out of some scrap fleece, but used the wrong side.  This is the inside, with the tops trimmed and the seam allowances sewn open with a faux flatlock stitch.


Looking promising right?


Next up a loop of faux fur, 3 inches wide, the circumference of my hat, was sewn on, right sides together (I cut this “cross grain”, as I was using scraps. I should’ve made it a big bigger really as it doesn’t have the stretch in the right direction, still I can squeeze it on and my head is humungeous).

I folded it in half round to the inside and then stitched it down from the rightside. I couldn’t stitch in the ditch as the faux fur wasn’t playing ball (the whole thing was sooo thick it barely fit on my machine and I broke a needle at one point), so my stitching line is about a cm above the fur.

So far, I have tried it on Little Sister. (The glower is to show she’s only trying it on under duress). It’s not perfect, but I think it will do for now. I may end up making another one (this one might be rejected or more likely lost), in which case I will try and improve my design (less height maybe, more width for the fur).

But so far, not a bad half hour make from scraps. (Yeah, I’ll probably do summat else too).

Birthday Party Season

Another weekend, another birthday party. In fact the kids are each different birthday parties as I type, and LSH and I were playing/calling at a ceilidh for an old friend’s birthday yesterday evening.


This time round I made a sunhat for the Girl’s friend, reversible, with some summer uniform gingham on the other side that came with butterflies embroidered on (I may have more of that in my stash now).


I found this colouring book on sale locally and picked it up as The Boy previously had this one from the same range. The pictures amuse me as they have no heads and limbs, just the clothes are drawn, leaving you to add in the rest as well as colouring them in. I must admit I was a little disappointed when I got it home, the boy’s version is full of boys doing things (such as a climbing in a big treehouse) whereas the girls version seems to just be people standing still in pretty dresses. Hmm. Anyway, I made a fabric folder for it which has space to put some pencils in, inspired by these.  I like the idea of being able to pop it in a bag to get out when going for a family meal in a restaurant, or to use on a train journey. The rainbow stripe is a strip of elastic to help hold pens/pencils in place. The red elephant cord is left over from the Tsarina Cape, with a piece of interfacing on the back, and the denim is leftover from my jeans and I added pockets and the initial (also interfaced) from the left over fabric from making the hat. It’s all held together by an elastic loop.

Speaking of holding things together, I have “mended” 2 pairs of my jeans with this keyring on the zipper trick, to stop the zips falling down all the time. This feels like a cheating way to participate in Mend it May, but I’ve also darned some holes in a favourite scarf.

As for Me Made May, that’s pretty much business as usual, there’s only been one day when I had to stop and think about how to make sure my outfit included me made, when I was putting on a patterned skirt (charity shop find) and wanted a plain top to go with it. So a reminder of what I already knew, more plain fabric needed in my wardrobe. As for colours, this last week I have mainly be wearing blue, with a bit of gold/yellow and a dash of green.

That’s my boy


Engrossed in a comic explaining gravitational waves, after hearing about them on the radio this morning while he was washing up the breakfast things.

Hat update, the hat has found an owner, turns up it wasn’t quite as small as I thought (just smaller than I intended). The only disappointed was when I had to tell him there wasn’t enough of the fabric left over to make a matching bigger one for his dad.


The same hat owner also finished off the rat today that he started earlier this week (he came home from school one day really keen to make a rat, no idea why, his sister thinks it might be something to do with Chinease New Year). We used this page for the pattern pieces by the way, but followed my nose for construction, sewing it on the machine with the seam allowances on the inside.


Next up, “can I make a dog?” (his Chinease zodiac year). 5 minutes before bedtime of course. Of course, I said, just not now, why don’t you draw a picture of what you want the dog to look like and we can work out how to make it in the morning. So he drew a plan. Including 2 pieces to be the side of the dogs face and a strip to go around in between them giving them depth. “Of course we’ll have to get the sizes right”. I was however told that it would be ok if I found something useful on the internet.

Good job it’s the start of the half term holidays then!  Do you have any plans for this week?


Small but perfectly formed

I thought I’d just sneak in a quick clothing from scraps make before the week is up.


It’s the flat cap from Urbandon’s pattern and tutorial that I told you about last week. It’s a fairly quick make and I would say it was simple: apart from the sewing together of fabric that curves in different directions from each other, which is a fairly big caveat!


I’m pretty sure I originally bought this (suspected) wool (I haven’t tested it) as a remnant decades ago. I know that I once made my brother a bag out of it with a bicycle embroidered on. The lining are from the remains of a defunct pair of linen trousers that were LSH’s. There is proper petersham in it too that I bought in a job lot of ribbon someone else was destashing. So all in all this really is scrapbusting.


Which is for the best really, as it’s come out way too small. Too small for LSH and I will find out in the morning if it’s too small for The Boy too (mind you, we are a family of Big Heads). Never mind, I shall find something to do with it and it was fun seeing how it all came together, although I’m not totally convinced I understood what I was doing with the band (you start by cutting a rectangle 3.5x 56 cm and next thing you know one of the long sides is being referred to as longer than the other?).  Maybe I’ll try again with some more scraps.  In the mean time, I will unpick the embroidered secret message (well, I was going to give it to him on Sunday).

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.

Jayne’s hat

Did I mention I’d been knitting? Well, not the socks I’d planned do be doing. A sort of impromptu knitting challenge.


It turns out that a week today is the 10th anniversary of the screening of the Firefly film at the Edinburgh Fringe. Who knew. And the must have accessory for attending the 10 year anniversary screening is apparently a hat like Jayne’s mum knit him.



Luckily I had some scribbled notes on how to knit hats with me, so a quick foray into the local knitting shops later and I had some half way decent supplies and started knitting. And now my niece has a hat to give to her friend when they go to the screening together. Well, it’s missing a pom pom but she should be able to sort that out. I’ve even written out the instructions and given her a lesson (her not having knit int he round before) and she has now started a second one ewith the left over yarn.

And all the heads they shall be covered up.

Are you bored of hats yet? I seem to make them a lot. Knitted and sewn. Sometimes a quick project is what you need.

This weekend it was the sewn sunhat variety, right in time for the thunderstorms to hit! (Well, it was Glastonbury festival weekend so I guess the SW was due a little rain).

double trouble

double trouble

First up, I finally made the sunhat I’ve been planning to make my daughter for ages (possibly a year, eek). Another Oliver and S one, reversible, blue gingham, to match her school uniform, with butterfly’s on the other side. And no, your eyes are not deceiving you, I did make two, cos I realised when I was cutting I had enough of each fabric for two and her friend has a birthday next week (different school, same ubiquitous blue checked summer uniform though). Hers is a smidge bigger than the gift one and has her initials embroidered on one side in gold, as I’ve never made two identical ones before and didn’t want to get them mixed up! (Lazy mummy rather predictably got lambasted for not embroidering her friends initials on the other one too.)



When I told my daughter I was making her friend one two she told me to save it for her upcoming birthday, not sure if I’m impressed or insulted. Anyway, construction wise these were the same as all the other times I’ve made them. This time I remembered interfacing (my daughter hates a floppy hat) but only had the useless stuff that always wrinkles and doesn’t stick left in my stash. I decided to try it anyway and finally noticed that it has instructions printed along the selvage, and, err, when you follow them it works just fine. Whoops. The only other difference was using some fancy colour change pink machine embroidery thread that I inherited for the topstitching on the brim as she’d been eyeing it up in my sewing box.

"It could be my weekend hat"

“It could be my weekend hat”

Next up, a hat for a 16th birthday present. Now, I’ve never been very fashion conscious but I’m pretty sure that I would have hated a friend of my mums to make me a bucket hat for my 16th birthday. I’m obviously very out of touch as apparently they’re “in” at the moment and the young woman in question is eagerly awaiting me to make her long promised hat. I had thought of something in denim, but got distracted. Then I heard that she would quite like purple flowers or birds. Neither of which I have, but I did have some purple butterflies, surely that’s close enough?

this is what cool teenagers look like, right?

this is what cool teenagers look like, right?

I opted for a plain dark blue (slightly textured, some kind of quilting cotton I got for a baby project and never made) for the reverse, and appliqued one butterfly on, following a top tip I read recently of using glue stick to hold it in place (well, it’s washable). I didn’t use interfacing this time as I was using a quilting cotton and another fairly stiff fabric. The fabric was all from my stash but I couldn’t resist this flowery bias trim with a lacy bit – as I thought it really lifts the blue side and actually it’s not too busy with the butterflies (which I was a bit concerned about).

applique and trim shot

applique and trim shot

The different finish meant a slightly different construction, I made both inner and outer hats, then pinned them wrong sides together and did my topstiching on the brim (I actually did concentric circles and everything rather than being lazy and doing a spiral). Finally I added the binding, which means my brim is about 1/2″ bigger as I didn’t need that seam allowance. But 16 year olds like to hide from the world at times, right? I hope the size is right, my family have really large heads, so it fits my 7 year old, who is rather hoping it wont fit the intended recipient, so she can have an extra hat. (I’m hoping she’ll get acquire some tact and empathy sometime before she’s all grown up.)

quick and dirty molly fix - half way there

quick and dirty molly fix – half way there

Finally, I made Issy Ahman, time travelling maidservant automata to the Countess Isabella a mob cap to wear instead of a pith helmet. I have no idea of the correct method of constructing mob caps, this one was a large circle(ish) of burgandy jersey (cos that’s what I had in burgandy), with a khaki embroidery anglaise trim added and then some horrendously expensive elasticated stuff sewn round to pull it in (that’ll teach me not to check the prices of trims before asking for them to be cut).


We managed to intersect timestreams so I could present it and she seemed pleased, as far as I can tell. As a bonus, she sorted out some washing for me before disappearing off to look for her missing mistress.

everyone should have their own maid servant automata to help around the house, isn't this what we were promised in Tomorrow's World?

everyone should have their own maid servant automata to help around the house, isn’t this what we were promised in Tomorrow’s World?

And now I’m planning to not make any more hats for a few days. In fact, what I need to do is have a big pre friend staying tidy up, but I expect I’ll get distracted and sew something random instead…


So, I finished the hat!


It suits her, but she doesn’t like warm clothing of any description so was co-erced into modelling, can you tell?

My calculations were a bit off, so it’s come out as a large childs hat (my kids have inherited my large head). It’ll go on one side for now until I work out who to gift a hand wash only kids hat to. Or maybe it’d fit a small headed adult. Hmm.


Love this shot, thanks to my photographer

I’m still in love with the yarn colours. The red feels quite different than the yellow or the green, which I had to knit double to make them work with the red. I was warned that I had picked three different types of yarn which would handle differently (I can only remember that one was Blue Faced Leicester, but I can’t remember which one). [edit: apparently the green is Blue Faced Leicester, the red is Masham and the yellow is White Faced Woodland] I knit it on 8mm dpns as they were what I could find. I tend to knit my hats in chunky yarn with a fairly tight tension that makes a firmish hat.

I have started a second hat with the leftovers but I’ve had to search for other yarn remnants to make enough for a hat. Which I think will probably also be child sized. I’m not too bothered, my hats all seem to find homes in the end!

I also need some more concentrated knitting time to finish the heel flap and turn the heel on my second sock. Hopefully before Wednesday as I’ve found out about a knitting group in a local pub, so I can then mindlessly knit rounds of sock foot whilst chatting.

But I’m also looking forward to doing some sewing. For a start (probably, unless I get distracted) I’m finally recutting my Jalie pattern pieces full sized (rather than how they came – half sized to be cut on the fold) so I can cut the dratted skittery stripey fabric I want to use. Which means I might finally be on theme for the Stashbusting Sewalong as May in knit fabric month.


Apologies to anyone looking forward to a Moomin related post, I’m just a bit random with my titles sometimes.