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.

Supercats to the rescue

Eek, it’s nearly the end of May and I have yet to cross the finish line for the 2016 Spring Seasonal Sew Wardrobe. There’s only one thing to do. Break out the supercats…


and make another Maria Denmark Kimono T shirt.

Bonus points if you spot the table top ironing board I found at the tip today. Pretty useless as an autoharp, but I’m hoping to add it to my pressing armoury once I recover it.


Teal Birgitte

Hi there. I’ll try to be quick today as this is not super exciting make (but it is super useful and all being well I will have a more interesting thing to show you soon).

As part of the outfit sew a long I had plans to make t shirts. Three or four. After all they’re quick to make aren’t they? I managed one. Then I got ill. But I’m recovering now. So, one t shirt is in some ways is a start towards my September outfit for the sew along, except I’m not sure that it’ll go with the rest of my outfit plans.

teal tastic

teal tastic

However, this teal coloured Maria Denmark Birgitte t shirt does go rather well with the skirt I made earlier this summer and is a colour that I love to wear, so I’m not too disappointed. And it was quick make as I’ve already made it before and tweaked the fit.

hmm, less than ideal

hmm, less than ideal

The fabric is some gorgeous organic jersey from Kitschy Coo (warning, this stuff is seriously addictive, check your willpower before clicking on that link) that I got exactly matching ribbing for (previously seen on my niece’s birthday pressie) – every home sewists dream. So you can imagine I was less than impressed that it’s done this. My neck bindings don’t normally do that, have I offended the sewing gods? Can anyone suggest a suitable offering to get back in their good books?

I did not want a flip top sleeve :(

I did not want a flip top sleeve 😦

This problem however, is fairly common. I sew my hems with my twin needle, they look fine, and then when I wear them they flip up. Any suggestions on this one? (preferably not involving buying an expensive piece of hardware). I know Amanda suggests binding the arms to stop this, but I don’t always want to do that.

wierd creases

wierd creases

Finally, while we’re being picky, when looking through the photo’s I saw these wierd creases. What’s that all about? Or am I being fussy now.

Anyway, don’t pay too much attention to my moaning, this t shirt is going to get a lot of wear. And Anne has just reminded me that there is a longer sleeved option that I’d forgotten about. Oh and have you spotted my mistake in the construction of the t shirt above?

Stripes to the max

I used to buy my (really quite small back then) kids clothes from an online store called Nordic Kids. Well, I occasionally did, when they had a sale on. Lovely, bright, unisex, kids clothes (from Scandanavia). And then the store went bust 😦

Well, these days, I’m sewing some of their clothes. And I get my bright and cheery fix from splurging on fabric from Kitschy Coo (click on that link at your own risk). But it does mean that my kids can have bright cheery clothes again 🙂

She practised this pose in the mirror before coming outside for her photo shoot

She practised this pose in the mirror before coming outside for her photo shoot

The stripey t shirt dress I made her before has been getting a lot of use, so I thought she could use another one. Luckily for my bank balance the whole dress came out of a metre of fabric, phew.

yes, the colours are that vibrant in real life. (Looking at the selvage, they're woven not printed)

yes, the colours are that vibrant in real life. (Looking at the selvage, they’re woven not printed)

Without any white in this time (cos, you know, kids, mud, food, felt tip, etc).

Couldn't resist adding the obligatory tissue pocket "upside down"

Couldn’t resist adding the obligatory tissue pocket “upside down”

The main difference is no ribbing this time. Because the pink I had was close, but no cigar (in a so almost right that it was very wrong kind of way). So the neck is a little slouchy. But then, the rate she’s growing, I figure I can live with that.

Twin needle finish (look mum, no serger/coverstitch/fancy expensive machine in sight)

Twin needle finish (look mum, no serger/coverstitch/fancy expensive machine in sight)

Also I interfaced the pocket. Because it Was Not Playing Fair. So I’m extra annoyed at the wonky stitching caused by her brother running into the room and thrusting something into my face while I was sewing. Sigh.

Anyway, I’m pretty pleased with this one. Easy, quick, stylish, practical, bright, no major mishaps, the stripes match at the side. 9/10 I reckon.

This time, I have the eyes on the leftovers for myself…..

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?

Sleeves – a work in progress

“I have a sewing project idea I wanted to ask you about”, said my husband (he knows how to get my attention) “removable arms”. My initial response was that I wasn’t sewing him robotic arms, but it turned out he meant
removable sleeves, also known as arm warmers, made for cyclists. “You could use up some of your left over bits of knit fabric, they wouldn’t have to be identical”. Right, interest well and truly piqued.

I did a quick online search and the ones I found are all flash looking in high performance fabric with “gel grips” (to hold them up I suspect). Oh, and they were black, cos that’s all technical right? (although hubby found some garish bright ones on sale online somewhere).

Hubby doesn’t think so much of high performance fabric. He doesn’t do high performance cycling, just commuting, and in his words, the high performance fabric smells horrible after you’ve worn it twice and doesn’t last long.

I started with an old t shirt and some grey marl ribbing of not that great quality (at the time I bought it I was so excited to find ribbing I didn't notice).

I started with an old t shirt and some grey marl ribbing of not that great quality (at the time I bought it I was so excited to find ribbing I didn’t notice).

So, I made a prototype from an old t shirt and which I draped around his arm and pinned to get the right size. Then I made a fairly sizable double layer cuff from my least favourite ribbing in the stash (I had no idea if this would work or not and ribbing is hard to come by in these parts) to go at the top. I guesstimated how much narrower to make it. My thought was that if yoga pants stay up with a wide knit waistband then this should stand a chance and it would probably be more comfortable than using elastic.

Sleeve shape cut after it was draped and pinned

Sleeve shape cut after it was draped and pinned, looking promisingly sleevish

I also added a cuff at the bottom of the sleeve after consulting with hubby. I cut it randomly narrower cos it felt right and he was pleasantly pleased with the result.

There wasn’t enough t shirt left to make a whole second one so I cut up another t shirt. I thought I’d drawn out the pattern I’d “used” first time around correctly, so it should’ve been the same size, but actually it came out baggier. Still, I left it like that for him to test.

Worn under a t shirt they looked suitably cycley (somehow the matching cuffs make the mis matched fabric look like a trendy design feature).

ready for a test ride

ready for a test ride

So, what was the verdict?

He was pretty happy when he tried them on. When he got back from work he commented that cycling is more jiggly than sitting still, so I need to modify them with a tighter top cuff so they don’t fall down. He also realised they work best put over his shirt sleeves (which I thought would be obvious). But I think they have potential (and probably better quality ribbing would work better too, if I can bear to spare some).

I like the fact that I managed to rustle something in an hour or so – quicker and cheaper than ordering online! This sewing malarky can be quite fun and useful at times can’t it.

What’s the most random sewing request you’ve had? And did you make it?

Immodest pants

This morning was pretty busy, taking hubby’s bike to be assessed (it’s a write off, so now he can add browsing bikes online to his list of activities to keep him occupied while his broken rib mends), a frantic attempt at house cleaning (long overdue and with minimal impact) and my mum came for lunch. After all that I nearly went and had a nap for an hour before getting the kids. But instead, I had a sudden desire to start a project that occurred to me a while ago. Not only did I start it, I finished it as well, it has made me smile so, I hope it amuses you…

Much loved souvenir t shirt

Much loved souvenir t shirt

Take one well loved souvenir t shirt we bought a decade ago at the Viking Ship Museum when we were on holiday in Norway. It was a shared item (we took it in turns to wear it rather than wearing it simultaneously) and I have fond memories of wearing it when pregnant. But these days its past its best, having acquired several little holes and the neck ribbing is worn ragged.

And the back

And the back

The material itself is actually in ok condition. It looks worn, but actually it has been printed to look like stone, with the (presumably) authentic viking images left black, so they look like rock art. And those images, I can only guess that some of them are to do with fertility rights, or possibly ancient bragging.

Anywyay, I couldn’t bear to throw it away. So instead, I decide to have another go at the comox trunks patter and make a pair of pants for hubby as some of his current ones are at the end of their life.

Boat back view

Boat back view

Of course, the most fun was had cutting out and pattern placing. Much easier now I understand how the pieces fit together. Hubby requested a boat on the back and I managed that.

The pattern came together quite easily, I’m not sure why I got so confused with the openings last time as this time round the instructions seemed quite clear. Oh the benefit of having a vague idea what you’re doing!

The only things I changed was to add half an inch of height at the back (as the last pair seemed to dip down at the back) and to use the waistband unpicked from one of the pairs of pants on the way out – I’ve had terrible trouble finding proper waistband elastic, I bought some online from My Fabric but it only comes with stars on and I didn’t think that would go well with the viking grafitti.

A proliferation of penii (5?)

A proliferation of penii (5?)

And the front? Well, I think that came out quite well. It makes me chuckle anyway. I did a double fold hem at the bottom and zig zagged it as suggested. I’m not sure if I had the stitch length wrong but it created a frill effect I didn’t like. Luckily it was long enough to turn under and stitch down.

Wibbly hem fixed

Wibbly hem fixed

My mum popped back later to collect something and saw me cutting these out. She reckoned the t shirt was only fit for rags. On the one hand, I’ve spent quite a long time (unpicking twin-needle stitching over overlocking isn’t quick) making what looks like some no longer new pants. On the other hand, these must surely be unique and I had a blast. I reckon it was worth it.

What’s your most bonkers make?