Halfblood Headbands

So, I got given a brief for a birthday present for The Boy to give to his friend.  Something along the lines of* “A hairband, like you make me, because I saw his hair flopping in his eyes, black with a red or orange flame on it like the one on his t shirt”.

Quick background info here to get you up to speed if you don’t already know. There is an author, called Rick Riorden, who writes, amongst other things, retellings of Greek myths set in current day USA, featuring teenage demi-gods. Said teenagers hang out together at Camp Halfblood, which is basically an American summer camp for demi-gods, where the cabin they sleep in is determined by their godly parent. Some clever person(s), who clearly realised just how popular the books and films are, sells all manner of Camp Halfblood related t shirts, including t shirts for Cabin 9, where the children of Hephaestus (the god of blacksmiths and fire) sleep. Some of these have a flame design on. That was there “flame” part of my brief came from.

Whilst searching for said flame, I noticed that a lot of the Cabin 9 stuff had cogs on, which I thought surely easier to reproduce than flames, albeit not in the brief. Presumably the cogs are something to do with the fact that Leonidas “Leo” Valdez (favourite of the birthday boy) resides there, he is, as I’m sure you know, quite good at making things.

So, next up, how to get a design onto a headband. I discounted fabric paint (painting on to black, tricky), hand embroidery (not my forte), or using a zig zag stitch to embroider the fabric (looks a bit scruffy imho), and thinking about the fact that headbands work best when lined, I settled upon reverse applique to create my design.


First up, a test headband. The idea was to use scraps I had lying around and a simple design, so I ended up with a green trident on a blue background (for children of Poseidon, such as my sons favourite Percy, resident of cabin 3 obviously).  It was deemed acceptable, although it was pointed out to me that the fact the green fabric was lighter weight than the blue was not ideal.

For the real deal, I bought a metre each of some ponte-esque thickish knit in red and back, which is a bit nasty and synthetic TBH, but I didn’t have a lot to choose from.

Wanna make your own camp halfblood headband?  First cut two rectangles of 2 contrasting colours of knit fabric (preferably of similar weight) – exact size depends on your head size and how stretchy the fabric is, hopefully you have a helpful headband to copy, but if in doubt, try 90% of your head circumference + seam allowance.

Sew right sides together, along long edges, turn and press. Then trace out your design, it needs to be “fat”, as you’ll be cutting away to reveal the colour underneath. In my example the lines of the design are sewn as parallel lines (well, parallelish, cut me some slack, it’s all wiggly wavy!). Then, cut away on the right side to reveal your design beneath.

Then pin the right sides of one of the short edges together, being careful to match up the seams top and bottom. I pinned the red short sides together. Start sewing a little way before, so on the black for me, and end a little way after. So, I have the red side sewn together and the top and bottom of the black side. Then finish the remaining hole by hand.


And voila, a camp half blood headband.

Of course, if you’re a glutton for punishment, you can make the headband reversible by repeating the process on the other side before sewing the short ends up. (I centred each of my designs 1/4 way in from the edge, so whichever on is at the front, the other is at the back, as the seam lines show through to the other side.)  Turns out that cogs are at least as tricky as flames to sew (and trying to do both is just a silly idea).

Then repeat, so your son can keep one and give one away. (There are two honest, the second one even has a slightly more elaborate cog, I just forgot to take a photo of them side by side.)

Clearly, the headbands didn’t take 1m of fabric each. So, watch this space for what I did with the rest….


*it was a few weeks ago now, I may not be quoting accurately.

A tale of two cushions

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, a young couple finally could afford to buy themselves a bed after a couple of years of sleeping on a futon mattress on the floor. They bought a lovely, well crafted, classic iron bedframe that they’d been wanting to get for years. When it came it was as lovely as they hoped, unless they wanted to sit up in bed and read/drink coffee/do anything that involved resting your back upon the classic, cold, hard, angular iron, which proved to be really uncomfortable.


So one of them decided to make a couple of cushions to alleviate that problem. Colour schemes were discussed, the fabric was bought, the first cushion was made.  And they started using it straight away, taking it in turns to be able to sit up comfortably in bed, until the second cushion was finished.


Years passed.

The other one dropped a hint about the second cushion.

More years passed.

Finally the one that does most of the sewing decided to use Valentines Day as a deadline to finish the second cushion. A few days before hand the fabric was pressed, measured, cut out and the sewing started.


Then it was actually valentines day and still the cushion wasn’t finished. So she got up, brought the other one (who had to go to work) a cup of coffee in bed, got back into bed herself and promptly fell asleep again, safe in the knowledge that they didn’t really do Valentines Day anymore so a cup of coffee definitely put her ahead of the game.


Later, some time after she got up, she found a bottle of wine and a home made card on the bedside table and thought “b***er”.


That evening, she finally, just about, finished the second cushion – complete with hapazardly sewn on hanging loop fasteney things (it had been a long day) and she attached it to the bed to be found by her beloved at bedtime. Which should still be Valentines Day, at least.  One day she will add loops to the first cushion too. But first it needs a wash. And she needs to buy more velcro.





This Tuesday, The Girls year at school will be having a Greek Day. Which is going to involve “a carousel of activities throughout the day” (your guess is as good as mine), a Greek feast (we’re signed up to take in a jar of black olives), and instead of school uniform they “may come dressed in Greek attire (a sheet!)”. Ha.  After extensive research (half an hour sat on the sofa using internet search engines) I decided that to be a Greek in a Sheet, you need for a minimum two seperate bits of sheet that you can pin together at your neckline.


Sewing together seemed more secure though. So, here is the Chiton (pronounced Ki-ton, as in “I’ve got a kite on”, well as far as I can tell, I’m no ancient Greek expert), which is indeed made from a part of a sheet that  I never used (the rest is now in the stash) and a bit of appropriate looking ribbon that was lurking in my ribbon box.  It may, or may not, be a Doric Chiton, but it definitely didn’t cost $45. And the belt is included, the middle of it is even sewn in place at the back, to prevent it from getting lost.


The drapey over thingy is apparently a Diplax, as shown here and is just a hemmed bit of nasty synthetic fabric that I’m not even sure how I acquired which I’ve pinned up with safety pins (on the inside, cos they’re not so authentic).  I’m really glad I found Serial Hobbyist Girl’s post because it gave me the confidence to go with not white and I reckon the Diplax really makes the costume.


Family Photo Upon Arrival

It actually got called into service before Greek Day, as we all went to a Mythical Themed Ceilidh yesterday. Turns out Greek costume (and simple vaguely Greek style hairdo) plus stuffed owl toy is perfect for being Athena. Bonus. The Boy on the other hand wore a fairly normal combination of his own clothes, plus made himself a copy of Mjolnir and hey presto, he was Thor. Long Suffering Husband kept up the father/son thing and went as Odin, in Travelling Stranger Mode, complete with labelled origami ravens and a bandage over his “missing” eye made with conveniently see through muslin that our christmas pudding came wrapped in.


Action shot where you can sort of see the skirt and possible the tail. (I managed one dance before abandoning the mask. A fellow dancer was apparently stabbed in the armpit!)

That left me. Originally I had great plans to use this as motivation to finally make the gabriola skirt up in blood splatter effect denim, which is surely the basis of a great costume, but I didn’t get around to it in time. So, this is my last minute unicorn costume, cos if you already have a 3D unicorn mask lying around the house (from World Book Day 2017) it’d be a shame not to use it, right? Except being made for my daughter the mask didn’t actually fit me, so I had it pinned on top of my head instead. I quickly ran up a waistcoat out of cream fleecey/fake fur stuff. And then went a bit mad and started a muslin of the Gabriola skirt at 4pm on the day we were going out at 7.30pm (with break for cooking and eating dinner).  I used the white reverse side of some curtain fabric. To say it was rough and ready would be generous. I didn’t realise until after I started that I didn’t have all the pattern pieces printed. And then I found out I didn’t have enough fabric. So, this is the gabriola yokes, front and side and a random bit of the right size at the top sort of rectangular bit of fabric at the back, no waistband, rough and ready zip, and then a kilt pin  holding it in place. Oh and some netting strips being a tail. By the end of the night I needed to change into my emergency jeans as part of the seam had come undone at hip height. But I’m counting it as enough of a fitting muslin to mean I can go ahead and try it in my real fabric, I think the size is good enough to just need minor tweaks and it’s definitely a good skirt for dancing in.

So, maybe this year I will actually finish and Gabriola, or two. Only time will tell.  (I have given up making pledges, my soul dies a little every time I break one.)

When someone is having a rough time…

… what better way to go than to make them a Cactus T shirt?


Kimono T-shirt pattern free from Maria Denmark


With added length for the beanpole it’s made for


beautiful fabric from Kitschy Coo, perfect for the succulent growing recipient.


Much better than flowers, don’t you think?


It’s winging its way to her as I type.

Cape Mark II

The Princess Anna cape that I made The Girl has to be one of my favourite ever makes. But it’s now nearly 3 years old (eek) and getting a bit small for her, plus it’s far too pink for the more sophisticated tastes of a nearly 10 year old.


So for Christmas I made her  a new cape, in her current favourite colour, green, in  random cheap wool blend that I picked up locally.  (There was better quality wool available, but it was either too dark or too light for her tastes.)


Having been ill for large parts of December I ended up cutting it out on the 23d and sewing it on Christmas Eve, only realising too late that I’d never bought any buttons. So it was given buttonless and we went button shopping together after Christmas.  She chose these floral patterned ones that I think might be coconut shell. I finally got around to sewing the buttonholes and attaching the buttons earlier this week (Bad Mummy) using some find some vintage button thread that I’d inherited.


The trim was a last minute decision to add on. It’s been lying in my ribbon box for a while, having been bought it on a trip to Birmingham.  They’re not actually mirrors, but plasticised foil sewn in.

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I toyed with having the trim along the bottom of the back and up around the arms, but that meant turning corners (tricky in this wide trim) and there wasn’t enough to meet at the front.

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So in the end I settled upon a stripe near the bottom, front and back, which gave me some left over. Adding some to the collar too was The Boy’s idea (he is not a silent model) and for once it wasn’t actually really complicated.  Well not since I’d already decided to add a collar to the pattern again ‘cos I think it looks so much better this way (I used the same tutorial as last time).


The lining is gold “polo” (a polyester fabric) and I snuck a welt pocket on the inside (using this tutorial), which she calls her secret pocket.  Hopefully it’s futureproof as I made sure it fit a smart phone inside, just in case.   It also has a hanging loop added to the neck facing as I did before.

Lets hope this cape lasts as long as the last one, and if she wants another one after that I might have to buy the sister adult version of the pattern, the Woodland Stroll pattern as this is the largest size (age 12) of the Forest Path pattern with 2″ added to the length to boot!  (Did I mention that she’s nearly 10?)


Generation Gap

It’s official, I am now an Old Fogey who doesn’t understand modern fashion. Namely, the trend of wearing leggings as outerwear. The Girl now prefers to wear leggings and t shirts to the dresses with leggings that she lived in for so long. Cue lots of arguments between me and The Girl about the need for her to cover her bum before she goes out.


She does have a couple of long t shirts that I let her get away with, so I made her another one. This is an Adv Tee, age 11, with 4 1/2″ added length.



I just extended the sides straight, so I put 4″ slits at the bottom for ease of movement.


I changed the front neckline from a v neck to a round neck, just cutting it by eye. The neckband came out rather narrow, but I like it. And to show which is the front, I sewed on 3 of these handmade Stuttgart buttons that I got for Christmas from a lovely friend who lives in Germany.


And look, decency is preserved. (Well kind of, it runs up a bit cos it’s quite a fitting t shirt).


Speaking of bum coverage, I made a little something for myself out of the remnants.

Birthday Hoodie Tradition

Way back in September, I continued the tradition, and made him a hoodie for his birthday.


This one is from Ottobre 04/2017, no 30 – Salty Wind. (Nope,I’ve  no idea what is going on with the naming, maybe it makes more sense in Finnish.)

Getting the pockets in the right place with the obvious lines of this fabric was a bit of a headache.


Hey, getting the pockets in at all was a bit of a headscratch, as usual everything you needed to know was in the instructions and not a word more (and definitely no diagrams).  Water soluble marker pen was used a plenty!

I found some waxed cotton for the drawstring and added some adjusters from the box of reclaimed bag bits and some cool beads – I love how most of the faces are triangles but some are rhombuses, just like the fabric. The cotton and the beads are from Bunyip, a local craft shop.  Oh and I neatened the neckline finish on the inside with twill tape (which I think I originally got from this tutorial) and added a hanging loop.


The fabric all came from Kitschy Coo and I only just had enough – in fact I couldn’t quite cut out one sleeve, so I had to add a little patch at the edge, but shh, don’t tell, I don’t think anyone has ever noticed, especially as I “cover stitched” (on my normal sewing machine) it into place in white, unlike the charcoal I used elsewhere.

I altered the cuffs using Kelly’s excellent tutorial for thumbhole cuffs.  I’m glad I did cos not only was it a fun thing to learn, it made them longer, and I think the arms would be getting a little short now if I hadn’t (darn that boy for growing again).


That’s a lot of explanation and photo’s, because there was a lot of detail on this one, and I don’t even have a photo of the (slightly ridiculous) side zips. I’m really pleased with how it came out and the high quality finish I acheived.


Luckily the Boy loves it too, including the zips which he says he can zip up for ease of movement and zip down for keeping warm.  Here he is modelling it with the hat I also made for his birthday too (cos that’s how he rolls). He also likes pulling the drawstring so tight there’s just a small hole to look out of (cos then he can pretend to be a cyclops, natch).  Surprisingly with so much white in it it hasn’t acquired any stains yet, which is what I was most worried about!  And entirely unintentionally it goes very well with the triangle jogging bottoms I made him (I guess there are only so many variations on “non girly” prints).

The only problem is, how am I going to follow this next year?