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.

Phone cover


Was it really only last week I said that I would never quilt again? I seem to have fallen off the wagon, but on a such a small scale and using the quilt as you go method, this quick make didn’t really seem like quilting at all.

The first side I did really simply, in a string/strip style, that would be great for a beginner.

The second side I did kind of log cabin style (well, as log cabin as you can get with a tall thin rectangle), which is a little more advanced. Then I cut them down to size and finished my seam allowances with a zig zag stitch.

I made a fold over tab for a fastening, but a simpler option would be an elastic loop, like I did when I made a tablet cover a while ago. The top is bound with bias binding.

And voila, one phone cover. A great way to use up scraps or memory fabric, and they make a great gift too.

Snow Days

We’ve had some rare weather for this part of the world this week, snow.  Which I just realised I have no photo’s of whatsoever cos I spent most of the time indoors, reading and occasionally cooking soup.  Whoops.

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Luckily school was open Thursday morning so an appearance by both Hester Shaw

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and Tiffany Aching could be made for world book day.  After that we mainly sat around reading and eating with the occasional trip outside (me less than the others as a certain young man requisitioned my wellies cos he’d left his at school. Oh the hardships one endures as a parent, in this case, staying inside warm and dry.) We were some of the lucky ones without power cuts, boiler failure or stuck in a car in a snowdrift. The worst hardship I had to endure was a day without tea due to a lack of milk available locally.

Today, however, I have come out of hibernation enough to use some scraps to make myself three new pairs of knickers, all matching and yet not matching, almost like a shop bought set.  There’s also a couple of more of the ubiquitous headbands/circular scarves/earwarmers.


And now that the snow is pretty much all gone, it is being commemorated in biscuit form.  What more fitting a tribute?


Bumps, Babygowns and Blogging

I have definitely been sewing less this year. Which is part of the reason I have been blogging less. But also I lost my camera for a while and I’ve been having laptop issues and generally lost my oomph for blogging. I kept meaning to cancel my subscription to wordpress, but never got around to it.

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Then back in November I decided to make a babygown for my friends bump….

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…. and my blog was really useful because I could refresh my memory of how to do the envelope cuffs with the tutorial I’d translated last time around.

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It came out pretty good I think (I used jersey bias binding for the neckline on this one and a smidge of satin ribbon to mark the back).

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My friend gushed over her present.  She has one child already, whose nearly 6, and first time around she’d been given a gown 2nd hand. It’s now long gone, and she’d been searching fruitlessly for one to buy. There’s nothing like being appreciated to inspire the sewjo! So I whipped up a 2nd one out of scraps…

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… it’s great to be able to use the little bits of precious fabric like these origami birds that are too small for most anything else. And best of all was the wording in the selvage that I used to mark the back!

So for now I’m going to try blogging more regularly, if only for me, enabled by the replacement laptop battery that LSH thoughtfully got me for Christmas.

Red and teal for the win


Scrap busting, squeezing every last possible garment out of the remnants, I find it so satisfying, especially when the results look as good as this.  I think red and petrol/teal may be my new favourite colour scheme.

[Domi sweatpants, cut along age 3 lines, but to age 2 length (to try and get some extra width to accommodate a cloth nappy for a 2 year old), so that’s age 3 waistband, pocket, cuff pieces used, but elastic cut to the age 2 length (a whole 1/2″ smaller). One front and the waistband are cut in two pieces with an extra seam to eek the fabric out. The pocket binding and waistband and the reverse looped side of the main fabric. Beads stolen from my daughters stash when she wasn’t looking.]

Now comes the wait whilst they navigate the post to my friend before I find out if they fit.


Update, they arrived safely and the feedback is that

they really are a beautiful fit, room for nappy and still staying on

When is Selfless Sewing Really Selfish Sewing?

When your kids are playing up and you have guests imminent/staying and you want to forget it all and go to your happy place, of course.

Of course, under those circumstances, you need some quick makes, simple things, either rectangles or well known patterns.

Just over a week ago I ended up giving a neighbour who was in labour a lift to the maternity hospital. Which of course meant that she (and her partner, and her mum, and her sister) had to go in the camper van (and the kids ended up hanging out with my slightly bemused next door neighbour for half an hour). She got there in time (in fact, in plenty of time, despite looking like she only had a couple of hours to go it turned out to be a long labour) and they are now at home with their new daughter.


So of course, I wanted make a little something as a momento for them and I ended up getting some more of the camper van fabric to do some, plus some co-ordinating yellow polka dots (as our van is yellow).


This taggie blanket uses ribbons from my stash and has her initial on one side in satin.


And the matching sunhat is maybe a little big for her at the moment but I hope it gets some use (her Dad modelled it for me, I think he was quite taken with it). This one is not rectangles but I have used this pattern so  many times I can run it up so fast now.

Even though I only bought half a metre of each fabric, I still had some left over. Which was useful for making a couple of pencil cases to give as presents (the girl was invited to two birthday parties on consecutive days), they have a few pens and things inside them.

And then thanks to Felafel and the BeeFelafel and the Bee I stumbled across this little wallet/purse tutorial and managed to make one of those up too as it takes quite a small amount of fabric. (It’s a little deeper than the tutorial to minimise the number of vans mangled in its making). I still have a little left over, although hubby has run off with the scraps of the polka dots.


Finally, this one is not camper van themed, rather a (very badly photographed) satin pillowcase as a gift for a friend who was supposed to be convalescing after a major operation, but as that has been postponed for a while, it’s now to give her sweet dreams in the mean time.





I just realised that it’s Long Suffering Husband’s birthday a week today yesterday. Eek. I haven’t even ordered the fabric for the hoodie he wants yet. (Which is partly a good thing, as I have found a better option than his original choice of fabric, one that requires less work from me too).


Anyway, to make sure that I had something to give him on the day at least, yesterday I whipped up a pair of Comox Trunks, as he has commented more than once that the last pair are really comfy. The black is some lovely organic knit from my stash and the stripes are scrap, pretty much the last of this fabric.


Spotted the deliberate mistake yet? As I was doing this on impulse, I didn’t think things through and cut two of pattern piece number 2 from the stripey fabric and 2 of pattern piece number 3 in black. However, the cup part of the trunks needs one of each piece, so really I should’ve cut 1 of each in stripey (for the outer part) and 1 of each in black (for the inside). There wasn’t enough stripey left to recut an extra piece though. Rather than have a half black half stripey cup both inside and out, I used both the stripey pieces on the outside, making these trunks, err, accessible from either side.


The opening is still functional as I folded over the inside cup, like I did last time, mimicing the shop bought trunks in our house. Note for next time, cut one piece number 2 and three piece number 3 next time to acheive this. (Must remember to annotate the pattern pieces tomorrow when LSH isn’t around straight after this blog post).


This time I also topstiched all the seams down with my imitation coverstitch stitch on my normal machine too.

The elastic isn’t a great match, but it’s the best I had and I won’t find better locally so I used it.

Right, I better go and order some fabric then. Just as soon as I’ve finished the washing up and annotated my pattern pieces. What sewing have you got planned this week?


A brace of Anya’s


So, all that thinking about making bags reminded me that I hadn’t made the Anya Bag pattern up yet that I won before Christmas. It was a condition of winning that I blog a bag within 4 months, but, you know the drill, all opinions are most definitely my own.


I had a plan to use this to make something for my friend (as I’m not really into handbags), but that idea wasn’t with scraps. Now Zoe herself says this bag is a great scrap buster and as I know that she is into reducing the impact of her sewing and as I had just posted all about sewing bags from scraps, I thought I really should have a rootle in my scrap bin for something appropriate to try the pattern with. What I found there was some left over cerise boiled wool from making a Princess Anna inspired cape   – perfect.

There were two little problems I found when cutting out. The first was that it was, err, oh so very very pink. Extremely pink. I felt it needed breaking up a little. So I had another rootle and found some more boiled wool scraps, green this time (from a waistcoat for LSH) and improvised a little leafy design. It came out rather well if I do say so myself. As the boiled wool won’t fray I didn’t have to worry about finishing edges or even sewing them down. I just cut the leaves out, tried some arrangement, pinned when I was happy and then sewed them freehand on my normal sewing machine.


The second problem was that I didn’t have a big enough piece of fabric left to cut the straps and by this stage the bag was looking quite smart so I didn’t want to piece some together. Instead I bought some from my local fabric shop. There was a limited range of colours, so I chose navy, which matched the print on the lining.

The lining wasn’t techincally scrap, but it did come in a bargain bundle of fabrics and I’ve never been quite sure what to do with it. It’s perfect for a lining though, pale yet interesting, and the tree’s inside match the leaves outside.


Next up, bag number 2, for my friend, who is not really a pink kind of person. I was quite happy to make 2 in a row as this is a fun, quick pattern and I also wanted to see how it looked in different fabrics. This is my Zombie Apocalypse version with a blood splatter velvet pattern on a soft drapey denim. This time, the outer is new fabric, and the inner uses scraps, red for the yoke and white waterproof lining fabric for the inside (which was hell to work with).

So, pattern review then.

PDF: short and sweet (4 pages), taped together easily, full marks.

Instructions: very comprehensive, lots of photo’s, in fact, I was finding them a bit too detailed, then I found the condensed 1 page version at the end which was just what I wanted. So something for everyone. Full marks again.

Difficulty: Fairly easy, there are pleats, curves and an optional buttonhole (but you could use a secret snap/popper) and all well explained so I think a beginner would be fine with this but maybe not as a first project.

Pattern drafting: Good, everything matched up tickity boo.

Trickiest bit: The button tab, surprisingly. My first attempt ended up a little wonky and unsymmetrical and it was really noticable. So then I traced the stiching line onto my interfacing before ironing it on and used that for a guide which worked much better. Oh and the buttonhole, but me and my machine aren’t seeing eye to eye with buttonholes at the moment, on a different machine that would be fine (and you can leave the tab off).

Overall: I got two very professional looking bags that don’t particularly look home made, especially the boiled wool one. What I didn’t get to do is add a pocket (I’m a bit of pocket addict), the pattern doesn’t have one and I couldn’t think where to put one what with all those pleats.  This pattern is great for using up leftover fabric and there’s lots of scope for playing with contrast fabric and decoration (piping along the yoke seam? or maybe ric rac bumps sticking out?).

Make again? Maybe, as I said, I don’t really do handbags, but if I wanted to give one as another gift this is a quick make.



That’s how I feel. Because I’m wearing these

Is this a new low for me?  Or a sign of how far my confidence has grown?  Who knows. But I figured that they're are no less revealing than all the swimwear and bikini makes I've been seeing recently, and they look so</em? much better on.  (The extreme close up is my method of controlling which wobbly bits I unleash on the interweb!)

Is this a new low for me? Or a sign of how far my confidence has grown? Who knows. But I figured that they’re are no less revealing than all the swimwear and bikini makes I’ve been seeing recently, and they look so much better on. (The extreme close up is my method of controlling which wobbly bits I unleash on the interweb!)

Not just those, it’s not that kind of blog, but still.

So I have used most of the left overs from the girls new dress and have one more pair of undies to add to my dwindling collection.

This time I used Kitschy Coo’s Barrie Boy Cut Brief pattern (I think I may just sign Amanda over my soul), not my self drafted pattern. I printed it out the other day. I reprinted it yesterday afternoon when I noticed that for some reason there was a 1/2cm border missing at the edge of each sheet (sigh). I taped it together whilst the kids were getting ready for bed. And then I have made it yesterday evening. So I’m posting it now to prove to my friend that sewing can be quick!(This friend whom I saw yesterday and she was surprised that I’d only started making the dress my daughter was wearing less than 24 hours earlier. I put the time stamp on my camera. Don’t entirely believe it (as it’s an hour fast), but it does prove they were finished 48 minutes after they were traced onto the fabric ready to cut out). My top tips for quick sewing are: Don’t sew authentic reproduction tudor clothes (she’s a reenact-er, she does this), use a pattern (not try and draft as you go from a garment), use jersey knits that don’t require seam finishes and use a sewing machine rather than hand sewing! Using a pattern you’ve made before recently helps too).

I will fit these pattern pieces on, I will!

I will fit these pattern pieces on, I will!

So the details. My hips fell into a size 7 on the pattern and my waist an 8 (which is the largest size, cue self criticism of my diet recently and the effect it’s had on my waistline) so I cut a 7 (with the higher waist option) and crossed my fingers (spoiler – it came out fine). I only just fit the pattern pieces on the width of the left over fabric I had – and I only managed that by pining the fabric to the carpet to trace the pattern on (as the jersey was curling merrily up at the edges like a traumatised hedgehog).

Gusset, folded over at top before stitching. Check out the exceleent stripe matching to distract yourself from the less than excellent alignment on the right hand side.

Gusset, folded over at top before stitching. Check out the excellent stripe matching to distract yourself from the less than excellent alignment on the right hand side.

I sewed as per the “bad ass” short instructions (there are more detailed instructions with photo’s too). I folded the gusset front under before sewing it down for a neater finish than my interpretation of the instructions gave. But the main difference was that I used Fold Over Elastic from my stash rather than making bands to finish them.

Contrast zig zag on the Fold OVer Elastic (FOE), deliberate design feature, not laziness in changing thread

Contrast zig zag on the Fold Over Elastic (FOE), deliberate design feature, not laziness in changing thread

Yes, that’s right, I’ve been searching for an underwear pattern that doesn’t need elastic, found one, bought it and then hacked it to use elastic. Sigh. In my defense, I now have some FOE bought online in my stash and the green was a great match (although I used some slightly wider black for the waistband). I also didn’t have enough scraps of the stripes left to make the bands or the pateince as it was late at night.

Seriously, 3 pieces, 4 seams, they start to look like knickers in next to no time

Seriously, 3 pieces, 4 seams, they start to look like knickers in next to no time

Anyway, the pattern is nice, quick to make and great for using up scraps. (It would take a smidge longer with the bands I think, but still be a really fast make). The pattern pieces fit on 5 pages of A4 and once my printer printed them out properly they fit together easily. I loved the fact that the seam allowance was stated very clearly at the top of the instructions along with the info that it was already included in the pattern. (How many times have I had to search for that?) The drafting seemed good, it came together easily, things fit and the instructions were easy. The only thing I didn’t see was grainlines on the pattern pieces.

So, one new pair of pants for now, more to follow.

I only had a little piece left, which I showed to my friend when she came. And she pointed out it would make a great circular scarf / headband type thing. So, one quick seam (I left the edges to curl) and a quick snip to level it off later, and she went away with a new item of clothing too.

Bonus item for the woman with the cool ideas who also loves green and hot pink

Bonus item for the woman with the cool ideas who also loves green and hot pink

Is anyone else as obsessed as me at using up leftovers?

Stitch and Bitch

So, yesterday I invited my friend round for a chat. And she asked if she could bring some hand sewing (err, yes, of course). She was feeling a little under pressure to get a Tudor (under?)shirt ready for her 3 year old. She has until Friday (when she’ll be here) and there are a few small things like work, children etc that are eating into her sewing time. So I sat unpicking the sideseams on my Style Arc Top (Me Made May confirmed it for me, love the fabric, hate the top, so I’m going to rework it) while she was handstitching and we were chatting away and her toddler was exploring all the toys lying around our house.

Handsewing!  She is hardcore.

Handsewing! She is hardcore.

But then she got frustrated with her work as it didn’t match the one she was copying and I had to help a friend out. Before I knew it I was using this technique (thanks for the heads up Dr Monserratt) to pin out and trace pattern pieces, which helped her work out where she’d gone wrong. Also I introduced her to entirely unauthentic water soluble pens. Then with pattern pieces there in front of me, I had a rummage in my scrap fabric pile and found some good enough cotton (it should be linen really) and started my own one. Surely an extra white top is no bad thing when being worn outdoors by a 3 year old?

Working out where it all went wrong

Working out where it all went wrong

I constructed in on my sewing machine (shock horror) so it’s not really authentic. I used french seams, as I figured she could stitch them down by hand and they’d look like flat felled seams (which is what the reproduction garment she was copying seemed to have, I don’t know what the “proper” technique should be). This got interesting as there is not just a front and back piece but side gussets as well that come to a point under the arm. I left the hems raw for her to stitch by hand.

her version (not finished)

her version (not finished)

So, all in all, a nice half a day spent doing unexpected sewing and helping out a friend. And as a bonus, one of the “toys” her son chose to play with was my hoover, and he spent a long time cleaning my sofa and living room floor. Bonus!

(Oh and she also took a couple of items out of my bags of wardrobe clear out, so I had slightly less to carry to the charity shop and she got some new-to-her clothes, double win).

and my attempt (also unfinished

and my attempt (also unfinished

And then today, another friend came round with his son and I finished off the t shirt I was making him (junior) from the remnants of my son’s pajama’s.

Well, I couldn't leave this gorgeous fabric lying around when it could be worn could I?

Well, I couldn’t leave this gorgeous fabric lying around when it could be made up and worn could I?

He wasn’t as co-operative with the photo’s though!

The closest we got to a photoshoot

The closest we got to a photoshoot

So, anyone else joining in my Improptu Scrap Busting For Other Peoples Toddlers Week?