Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Bunny needs a new body!!

  I knew the moment was coming and had been dreading its arrival - my daughters beloved Mrs Bunny has been much loved (and washed) and despite many many mending's was now more hole than bunny - Bunny needed a new body and I was the only person who could fix her........

  As soon as we realized all those years ago that Mrs Bunny was my daughters favorite toy we set about finding more of them - exactly the same make and design so that when the day came she would be easily replaceable - however none of the other 'Auntie Bunny's' or 'Sister Bunny's' had 'the right ears'. So I summoned up all my courage and surgical skills, removed her head, arms, legs, stuffing, rattle, and beanbag........

(for the record she really has been washed many times but still had that grubby brownness that favorite toys seem to develop!).

  My daughter had chosen an old t-shirt of hers that she thought would make a suitable replacement body. I carefully cut around each fragile body piece to make the new pieces and set about hand stitching her head/and limbs back onto the new body pieces, I had to attach the bottom beanbag to the base piece, re stuff her (with frequent test hugs from my daughter to find the correct stuffing level), replace her rattle and then sew her up - this all sounds much easier than it was - this is probably one of the more trickier things I have sewn!

  The look on my daughters face as I gave the newly mended bunny back was totally priceless and was worth the work it took 1 million times over! I'm not sure that my handiwork will last another 8.5 years but will do for now!

  Have you ever had to mend any much loved toys - was it successful?

       Thanks for stopping by!

                 Su xx

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas gift - pop-over poncho

I was delighted when a few months ago my mum asked if I could make her a poncho/cape for Christmas!

  I found this lovely Italian wool from Ditto Fabrics and as I had already made the pop over poncho I knew it would be a good pattern to use again.

I think my mum looks great in it!

  I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas!

       Thanks for stopping by

             Su xx

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Christmas Coco and the pitfalls of internet shopping.

 I had such plans for all of the things I would make this Christmas but I ended up being super busy at work and wearing myself out! I had planned to make my daughter a Christmas outfit but it just wasn't to be.

  In Girl Charlee's recent sale I had bought a couple of meters of ponte to make another Coco. I have bought from Girl Charlee before and always been very happy with my purchases. I usually stick to cotton Jersey and after receiving this I realized why - it is horrible, shiny, non natural stuff and I nearly threw it in the bin!

  I finished making my Christmas gifts yesterday and still had a little energy for something nice and simple so thought I would make a Christmas coco - I am really pleased with my pattern matching even if the material is horrid!! Hopefully I will survive one day wearing it - I always feel Christmas calls for something nice and loose so that there is room for some Christmas pudding.......

  Have you been caught out by internet purchases before? Did you make a Christmas dress/outfit too?

Well I hope everyone is ready for tomorrow wherever or however you are spending the holidays I hope you have fun!

  Wishing all of my readers a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2016!

Su xx

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Somewhere over the rainbow..........Or 'A colorful winter Brumby'

I had been wanting to make a Brumby skirt for sometime - those pockets! Who wouldn't want to make it!! There are several length options and you can make it with or without pockets.

I use a gorgeous fabric from Ditto I can't see it on their online store, but perhaps they will get it back in again soon.  I have gained a lot of weight recently and had to make the largest size - I was surprised that the sizing didn't go any larger. I added an inch to the length so that I could wear it without tights/leggings in the spring. Half way through making it I panicked as I never wear anything tight around the waist due to my current size, I needn't have worried as it can be worn high waisted I think it just about looks OK. I was also worried about wearing a tighter top with it so made a plain black plantain but it actually looked better with the tighter top. 
Mid construction I was congratulating my self with a) how quickly it was coming together and b) what a good job I was doing - I went to sew the two front sections together and realized I had constructed two left sides!!!! After a few choice words and a cup of tea I set about unpicking one side, this has stretched the fabric a little and I now have one pocket that is a little smaller than the other but as they are so huge it doesn't really affect the skirt - phew!!

I bought this beautiful sparkly gold zip at the Sewbee's Brighton meet up and used it for my first ever exposed zipper - not a perfect execution but it will do! - As I was sewing it in place I thought it was like the gold at the end of the rainbow!

I think I should have used a stiffer interfacing or another stiffer fabric for the inside of the waistband as it get's a bit wrinkly.

In the end I wore it with ankle boots and a cardi for a Family Hanukkah party and felt very comfortable wearing it and not at all self conscious. 

I plan to make another one in a grey cord - when I have time.........

Thanks for stopping by!

         Su xx

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Lotta's Everyday Style.....

Yet again inspired by A closet full of posies I bought Lotta Jansdotter 'Everyday Style'. I love all things Scandinavian so thought this book might be just my kind of thing! It aims to create a wardrobe for every season from five basic sewing patterns. I knew nothing about Lotta prior to getting the book and oddly was a little disappointed when I read that she was a fabric designer (albeit an amazing one!)and not a sewist - Alexia Abegg from Green Bee patterns had designed the patterns. Any disappointment soon disappeared - the book is beautiful and I really enjoyed the journey that it takes you on through the seasons.  I especially loved that Lotta uses real people in her life of all ages and sizes to model the garments. Although there are only five basic patterns there are several adaptions per pattern creating seemingly endless possibilities! As well as the garments there are also patterns for several bags and tutorials for accessories.

I'm afraid that my photo's of the book did not turn out so well - but you get the idea!

  The patterns are simple with only minimal shaping (if any at all) so if you are looking for something with complex flounces and ruffles this is not the book for you!

  You have to tract off the pattern you want from the pattern sheets included with the book but they are set out well so it's really not too difficult

  I made the Esme tunic - I really like the shape - fitted at the chest and loose over the tummy/hips. I added 2" to the length, but otherwise made the pattern as it is in the book.

 A pom pom trim scarf!

  And another Esme tunic! This one is so versatile and has been in almost constant rotation since I made it.

  I will certainly be making other items from the book (I already have some purple denim for yet another Esme!!).

  Thanks for stopping by!

         Su xx


Sunday, 6 December 2015

Saying goodbye to furry friends and how sewing calms a troubled mind....

  I had planned to write today's post on Lotta Jansdotter's new book 'Everyday style' now that I have finally got round to getting some photos. However we had a sad week, I had to say goodbye to my elderly cat on Wednesday. I know this is supposed to be a sewing blog but for some reason I felt like I wanted to write about it a little. Mr Henry (named after an 80's kids cartoon character called 'Henry's cat') was a constant companion for many years through the good times and the bad. It is often said that you don't realize how much you miss something until it is not there - my heart sinks a little every time I go into our bedroom (his most favorite place to sleep was at the bottom of the bed where my feet would be) and realize that his furry little body is not there and I am not going to get greeted by a sleepy 'meiow'. I'm sure this feeling will continue for sometime yet but I know that in time it will lessen.

  I find that when I sew I more or less push other thoughts out of my mind and I find this very therapeutic. So in need of therapy this weekend I decided to give the Brumby skirt pattern a go (those pockets!!).

 I bought the pattern in Megan Nielsen's black Friday sale and the rainbow boucle fabric from Ditto fabrics. I inserted my first exposed zipper - by no means perfect but as a first attempt I was happy!

  Now I just need to get some photos of the finished skirt...........

    Thanks for stopping by!

            Su xx


Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Oh my goodness! Was September really my last blog post! It has been a crazy couple of months and I haven't even been able to read the blogs I follow let alone write my own or do much sewing. Hopefully things will be calmer over the next few weeks and I will at least have some me-mades to show you!

  On Saturday I met up with some fellow sewist's/bloggers in Brighton. We are all members of an instagram group named the Sewbee's. It was so great to meet up with and chat to fellow sewing enthusiasts! We met at Ditto Fabrics where Gill talked us through some of the different fabrics and how to distinguish their quality. It really is a fabric treasure trove - I really struggled to cut down my fabric choice to an amount I could afford!!

I must thank Clarindakaleidoscope for the photos as mine were not good at all!

  We all have different tastes of patterns and fabrics but that didn't seem to matter as we admired each other's potential purchases and chatted about general sewing stuff!

 I had made a list of the fabric's I needed and managed (just) to stick to it!)

  After shopping we had lunch at a nearby Cafe and chatted (some more!) then took a walk to the Eternal maker where I added two glittery exposed zippers to my purchases!! After this we were all exhausted so made our ways back home. It was great fun and we hope to arrange another meeting in the spring. 

  I have started a group called South coast sewists on The foldline Just really to try to keep in touch with fellow sewists in my area and hopefully attend more meet ups!!


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Greenwood's while the sun shines......

  I am loving this warm autumn weather! So much so that I was inspired to make some of the patterns I didn't find time for over the summer! Starting with the Greenwood tank. I wasn't sure it would suit my shape as I like things to be loose over my midrift, but sometimes you need something more fitted so I thought it was worth a go! I particularly liked the low back option and used it for both my makes.

Sorry for the terrible photos - I think I need to invest in a proper camera with timer/ remote rather than cajoling one of the little people into taking them!

  I really like this pattern, the instructions are wonderful, it's length is perfect, and it is a great scrap buster!! I am looking forward to making the Laurelhurst cardi and the Ballard top.

I love my lace edged plantain made out of the same fabric and wear it loads so I thought a tank version would be just the thing for warmer days!

I had a scrap of geometric cotton jersey left over from my coco, not enough for a sleeved top but just enough for a greenwood!!

Low back

  I have been so busy these past couple of weeks I have only managed to skim read a few sewing blogs - I really miss being able to sit down and have a good read!!

      Thanks for stopping by!

              Su xx

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Pop over poncho / cape

  For some reason I never feel as if I am dressed properly if I wear a sweater. I think they look great on other people but as soon as I put one on I just feel like a slob! I came across the pop over poncho pattern in the spring and loved it but at the time I felt that I should be making some lighter garments. In winter our house is freezing and last winter I made a crochet poncho which I love and got lots of wear but wasn't very practical (for laundering reasons). I thought I would try making the poncho in a sweater knit rather than a coating type material (which the pattern is designed for).

I really like it - it is comfortable but I don't feel a slob in it!

A close up of the cowl neck (and a weird shadow!)

Rather than use bias binding to hem it I used this ribbon, which I think adds a cute touch!

You can't see it very well but I used a contrast teal thread for the top stitching to match the cowl lining.

I think the dog thinks I have something yummy hid in my pocket!

  This will be perfect for the cold autumn morning school walks and to wear in the house once winter sets in. I could see this made up in a gorgeous tweed or boiled wool!

     Thanks for stopping by!

           Su xx

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Seamwork Akita and blackberry crumble!

  One of my favorite things about this time of year is blackberry crumble!! I love taking the little people blackberry picking and returning home to make crumble with loads of custard!  We have to make it dairy, gluten, and apple free - amazingly it is still very tasty!

  Do you read Seamwork? I loved both this months patterns Akita a simple woven top (from one pattern piece - yes one!) and the Moji woven tapered trousers.  Now the little people are back at school I seem to be busier than ever and have had hardly any sewing/ blog reading time. The Akita is a quick sew project, I used a lovely light batiste that I had in my stash. I have not had much luck with Seamwork patterns in the past so I did muslin this first. In the end I used a 10 for the neck, 12 at the bust, and graded out to a 14 at the waist/hips (I think I should have gone to a 16 looking at the photos). The only issue I had with this is that it has bust darts but they haven't included any increase in length on the front pattern piece to allow for the darts. As the ends of the side seams are finished before the side seams are sewn this does create a little excess fabric on the back, I just about managed to ease it in, but I did find it tricky.

The photo's are not really very flattering but I have worn this top loads and feel very comfortable in it. If I could work out the dart issue I would defiantly make more of this top!

I have so many sewing plans for Autumn/Winter but just haven't had the time to do much sewing recently! I am itching to get the machine out!!

  Thanks for stopping by!

            Su xx

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A couple of Coco's!

As the weather has been rather rubbish this 'summer' my sewing thoughts have been dwelling on what to sew for Autumn/Winter. Ever since I started to sew I loved the look of Tilly and the button's Coco top and dress but knew I had too many similar things in my RTW wardrobe, as time has progressed these have fallen by the wayside and there was a Coco shaped hole meaning I could justify buying the pattern. Coco is designed for stable knits, I had none in my stash and couldn't find anything I really loved online. I had this green geometric print medium weight cotton jersey and although it is not the fabric suggested I thought it would be worth the risk. 

  I followed Tilly's instructions for making coco with a contrast yoke I also made the version with cuffs and 3/4 length sleeves - I totally love it and think it will be perfect for Autumn! I liked the idea of using ribbon to stabilize the shoulder seams - I have tried clear elastic in the past but found it a bit tricky so until now I hadn't used anything to give strength to my shoulder seams.

Ta dah!

I'm not sure what Tilly keeps in her pockets as they are minuscule! Just big enough to fit in a couple of Lego people!

If you have never used wonder tape combined with a twin needle for hemming knits I can highly recommend this method - great results and super easy!

  I wanted a short sleeved version and made it with an even lighter cotton jersey - this was a mistake. I spent ages trying to fold this fabric matching up the tiny stripes and had to give up and cut out on the flat - I must have stretched the fabric somehow and when I tried on the finished dress the hemline looked like one of those weird Burda makes with the extra dangly, flouncy bits at either side! I re-cut the hem - still the same problem. I ended up re-shaping the right side of the dress - it is OK for messing about with the kids but its certainly not a make I am proud of and I think the light fabric makes it a bit clingy and not very flattering! 

We spent the last day of the school holidays at the beach eating chips and ice cream (not at the same time!).

  Both dresses are very comfie and I especially like the contrast yoke - I think it makes things look a little smarter.

  I have a few more knit makes planned to complete my Autumn/Winter wardrobe - do you have any seasonal sewing plans?

    Thanks for stopping by!

         Su xx

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Eyes in my back!

  I loved the Simple sew crossover back top (and slouchy jersey top!) included in the September issue of Love Sewing magazine . When I was at the Fabric Godmother open day last month I spied someone wearing a top made of this fabulous face fabric, it is really different to anything I would usually wear so I thought I would step outside my comfort zone and promptly bought enough to make the top.

  I knew I would have to lower the neckline as I can't stand high necklines pulling on my throat and the photo's in the magazine showed the neckline looking pretty high.

  Because I changed the neckline I used bias binding to finish the neck rather than facings.

  Unfortunately I didn't read the part of the instructions where it tells you that the pattern has zero ease!! Luckily I had made a big enough size that this was fine for the bodice but made things a little tight for the sleeves - I had to un-pick my sleeve seams and redo them with minimum seam allowance - again because I changed the pattern I used bias binding to finish the sleeve hems rather than facings.

  The other issue I had was that the pattern uses facings for the entire hem, even though I understitched it and tacked it at the side seams no way was it going to stay put, because of the fabric pattern I didn't really want to use any top-stitching so I totally cheated and used wonder web!!!!!

  The blouse has no shaping at all so on me it does look a bit boxy, but I think the fab pattern makes up for it! It will be a useful addition to my work wardrobe. I love the look of the slouchy jersey top too and will be making at least one of these - I just need to find the time first!!

I really do love the cross over back.

  I guess you have heard about the made up initiative to raise money for the National Literacy trust? I donated on the just giving page and pledged that I would make something outside my comfort zone. I had two ideas one was this faces blouse and the other was an Anderson blouse made from a super slinky fabric (I did start this one but have to admit to failing miserably and can't even face writing a blog post about it!!). As the remains of the Anderson have been packed away in the hope that I will be able to complete it once the memories of trying to sew with what seemed like air have faded this faces blouse will be my completed pledge. 

  My little people start school again tomorrow, the summer holidays always pass by far too quickly!

     Thanks for stopping by!

             Su xx

Sunday, 23 August 2015

City gym shorts OR Why didn't I discover this pattern at the beginning of summer!

I can't even remember how I discovered this pattern yesterday evening, shorts were not on my mind but somehow I discovered this FREE pattern from Purl Bee with Kids sizes aged 2-11 and women's hip sizes 33-46 inches!

  It was so quick and easy to make up and a great stash busting pattern! My little lady grabbed them hot off the sewing machine and promptly cartwheeled around the garden in them - so I think she liked them! I managed to get her to stay still enough to snap some photos.

I made size 8-9 (she is a skinny 8 year old), they are a little big but hopefully will still fit next year. The only change I would make with the next pair would be to either make the waistband casing a little wider or use a smaller elastic than the pattern suggests.

I kept the navy thread in when attaching the bias binding thinking that the contrast would look good, but I think it would be better without contrasting thread.

Recently I also made this skirt from a pillow case

I feel a bit meh about it but think if I added over sized pockets like this skirt I would feel better about it.

I loved this Roxy skirt but sadly it no longer fitted me so I also unpicked the zipper and cut off the waistband, folding it over to create a casing for elastic to make this skirt:

This picture really doesn't do it justice, it looks great in real life - so grown up!!

  Thanks for stopping by!

           Su xx