line up – it’s time to view another project!

So, I’ve repeatedly promised to share the silk shirt I was working on over the last few posts. I was putting off the dreaded button holes. No matter how I practice in advance, something always seams to go wrong on the real thing. Happily only one and half button holes required unpicking this time round. A good interfacing does appear to make this an easier process if you are using a delicate fabric.

May I introduce Burda 9792, a nice design but as usual I didn’t like their instructions. They let you leave the neckline seam exposed. Not good! so, some design changes were required. After discovering the collar was going to be too small due to accidentally cutting at the wrong fold line (blaming Burda for this, no other pattern company changes the fold line for different sizes) I bound the unpicked side seams to create the extra width required.

I also ditched the flaps for the pockets and bound the tops, I also bound the armholes (the silk frayed really badly), turned over the edges and top stitched all the seams  and worked really hard to get everything to line up in terms of the pattern on the silk fabric. I feel like I have done a proper job getting this to look professional in terms of finish and feel more confident about working with fabric in future which has a pattern on it.

So, check out my finished work! (yes, that is the most awful pun, I know)….



snap! pairing up the fabric

I’ve talked about my stash. Specifically reducing said stash. I have tried hard (ok, I succumbed and bought some lovely plum wine cotton, but it was £2.99/meter!) to use up some of the smaller pieces floating around. It appears the only way I can let go is the hard way. by making something with it.

I have now however, got through all the pretty, little, pieces of cotton I had. I have also, courtesy of hosting my second ever sewing afternoon (6 people!) actually tidied up some of my sewing supplies. I finally have got all my thread in one place. Given I intend to this on a monthly basis this will be an excellent motivator to keep things more in order.

Although I didn’t get much sewing done during the afternoon it was lovely to have people over and to share our enjoyment of making things as well as eating some home made scones (I also love baking). I’ve got my next one planned for May.

So, this is a short update compared to some but I do have finished projects to share so here we are, a free pattern from Shwin designs. I still need to take a picture of the third dress but these two give you an idea. I added snaps to the back instead of buttons as an easier closure option for a small baby. These are for a work colleague’s little girl.

The dress on the left is from leftover fabric from a dress made earlier for myself and is all the way from China from my holiday there.

a previous catch (up)

So, while I am trying to finish my latest project (child’s silk shirt, can’t find the dratted front pattern piece for the button hole markings) I thought it might be fun to share a previous finished article.

I never did photograph the item in question, and I now not only have an image, but one of it being worn (which is even better, right?). If you have read this blog for a while, you might remember, long, long ago, I made a dressing gown out of cotton flannel for a friend’s little girl. I liked it so much when another friend had a little boy I decided to make it again.

The dressing gown design comes from Newlook 6170, it’s got  a great selection of PJ options as well. To make it a bit more fun, I used a fish print flannel for the facings and collar. Whilst in the midst of sewing I received an update at the speed of which the little recipient was growing, resulting in a swift mid sew modification. I added cuffs to the sleeves and added a facing to the hem to make it that bit longer.

Happily several months later it still fits! and here it is….I cut some of the fish pattern pieces on the cross grain to ensure everything swam in the right direction.


the pitter patter of more little (project) steps

Sometimes it feels like it takes a long time before all the pieces come together and the end project materialises. At other times several projects finally all get completed at the same time. Today is one of those occasions, and its satisfying to be able to say – they’re done!

So Burda 9462 has been made once more (I made it a while back previously) but this time fully lined and with no appliqué. I actually cut this out years ago but never got round to finishing it. Long story. The hand made (as opposed to shop bought) bias tape is pretty fiddly to make and sew, but gives a nice contrasting finish. I also changed the fastening to velcro. More practical for a growing child in terms of fit in my view.



I have also made both the jacket and dungarees for Burda 9450. Both patterns are cute. But seriously could have been improved. The jacket didn’t come with a facing or any interfacing for the front so was very floppy, and due to the crossover section the hem dragged for the covered front as there was no support in terms of fastening. I had to add velcro and interfacing to fix these issues. I am happy now, but annoyed with the pattern.

The dungarees didn’t have the best of instructions either for working out the position of the button holes. I added the leg cuffs so they can be used to create some extra growing room. I decided to add red bias tape (I have a huge reel of the stuff which is unpressed) which worked really nicely in tying the colour blocked fabric together.

Burda create cute designs, but I often feel their instructions and construction technique let them down. Still, I can celebrate the stash is diminished yet a little further! My friend’s baby is now also getting a respectable wardrobe to grow in to:)


So, there is one more little project to sew up, a small shirt out of a short section of left over silk from another long ago project (am determined to tackle the older sections of stashed fabric) which will be good practice for technique as well as being pretty. Then I am considering making some PJ’s out of the paisley cotton fabric I brought back from China. I have to make use of it at some point right?

I know, I have some other projects to finish. I am so easily diverted. But it’s finally getting sunnier and I have been good at finishing some of them!


another project tied up

I’ve been away for another week so haven’t had a chance to do much more sewing  However, I have been committed to decreasing The Stash (as mentioned earlier). So the easiest way to do that is by creating quick projects.

That for me means children’s clothing, as I don’t have to worry about adjusting patterns, altering for fit or anything too complicated. In short, it’s a bit like baking. It’s still a nice cake, but hasn’t got all the icing, filling or candles added.

So, this is the first post of four patterns. I’ve still got to add some finishing touches to the other three before taking photos. It had the added bonus of being a free pattern (Made by Rae, link to pdf here: ).

A work colleague is expecting a little girl very shortly. I had some smaller pieces of fabric which were too pretty to pass up on, but way too tiny for me to do anything with for myself. Perfect. I didn’t even need a zipper of buttons! The dress is fastened with shoulder ties.

The only changes I made was slip stitch the lining to the waist seam by hand for added comfort and swap the piping with a decorative waist trim. If you want some hassle free sewing, this is certainly a contender. I still have some of these fabrics left, but at least they are now a smaller stack!


ready to set sail – one outfit

Well, this has hardly been a romp to the finish line. But this project has been squeezed around going on holiday. That’s a legitimate distraction, right?

I can’t say I am completely thrilled with the finishing techniques for the romper from Simplicity 1378. They have you stitch over the casing for the elastic to attach the straps and bib section. But this leaves both flapping about as there’s nothing to keep it vertical to the bottom and it can easily form a 90 degree angle – hardly what you need for an active baby!

Fortunately after I added an additional row of stitching everything now stays put. I think although they took ages to find, the buttons were well worth the search. The rest of the outfit is fairly matt and they stand out nicely in contrast. The one thing left to do is make a strap for the hat so the little recipient doesn’t use it as a frisbee.

Now, all this means I finally get to move on to my Colette pattern skirt. Oh, yes, what I was originally going to make out of this fabric before I got monumentally distracted. Truly living up to the blog name at the moment.

So, here’s the finished outfit, plus a photo from my holiday (sewing related – crochet work).


A long drawn out affair

From the corner of the room comes the sound of sighing and small whispers. Gosh, get a move on lady, when are you going to get on with that dress, skirt, jacket, coat project you promised faithfully? The rustles of instructions and directions are echoed by a large box ensconced in the same area.

Yes, my fabric and pattern stash have been muttering ever more loudly of late. The towering stack of pisa like proportions was becoming ever less invisible and harder to ignore. Four years plus of fabric shopping (hey, I’ve seen some great deals!) has resulted in a slippage between fabric input, and project output. This last year in particular whilst trying to fit in more exercise in to the daily week has hit my sewing time hard.

All of which has come to one rather obvious conclusion. I need a bigger set of drawers. As in a LOT bigger. My poor little original two drawer starting point had filled up long ago, was surrounded by fabric, stacked with fabric, and was sat on fabric. You could say the poor thing was drowning in the stuff.

With this mission in mind I scoured the local shops (daylight robbery, do you know how much even a tatty set of drawers costs second hand?) and perused ebay. Finally I found the perfect solution in terms of size (this has to fit in a defined space) and character. An industrial ex haberdashery set of drawers in oak. How perfect, right? So last Saturday I picked them up with the help of a friend who happily had a much bigger car than me.

I have since been slowly trying to rearrange the fabric. The new chest is pretty much full. Unsurprisingly I still have fabric to store. I think I need to go on a fabric shopping diet for a little while until I have got through some of this!

So here is the object of my happiness….



Ahoy, I spy a new project

After a very long week and feeling seriously tired I have completed one of the items from the Simplicity pattern 1378. I’ve made some alterations to the construction. I used a very stiff interfacing, its similar to cardboard. So I didn’t want that digging inwards. I therefore flipped the direction of the finished seam to be between the brim of the hat and the hat itself. After overlocking it and top stitching its hardly visible.

So here’s my little sailor’s hat. The matching outfit is to follow shortly. This is for a friend’s little boy. He is just over a year. It’s such a shame how few cute boy patterns there are out there. The market is really biased towards girls (not as I am sure you have noticed I have any problem with sewing cute girl stuff).

The cat’s whiskers

The weekend has enabled me to catch up a bit on my rather ambitious plans to work on four things at once. I can’t say I recommend doing this as the error factor has certainly been higher! however, I am pleased to say another project in terms of patterns has come to completion with the cat dress from Simplicity 1208 now finished.

I can’t say I am either accomplished or patient when it comes to embroidery so the machine did all the work when it came to making the appliquéd cat head. A few changes, I fully lined the dress, added a decorative band of trim at the bottom (handily also hemming it at the same time) and used interfacing for the cat’s whiskers and ears. The ears are slightly bigger than advised as I didn’t use a facing to them (too bulky).

Anyway, here we are…..the resident cat has spent half an hour sitting on it this morning so its been given cat approval already.




The cat’s out of the bag

Well, after intending to progress my cut out projects I finally got both some time and energy today and have finished the first of the two projects planned from Simplicity 1208. The cat bag was something that took a rather stupid amount of time given its simplicity.

I deviated a bit from the instructions. I don’t like hand embroidery so used machine stitching. I also tried something different trying to make my own cat face more “expressive”. So I placed the whiskers askew and hope this makes it more interesting. My housemate says the result is a bit scary! thankfully the little girl I have made this for likes it, and her’s is the main opinion which is important.

After nearly getting the bag finished I realised I had made a stupid mistake by sewing one of the bag sides the wrong way round.  This shows the interfacing. So one “ear” is black and the other is blue. I’m calling this a tabby…..

I also misplaced the instructions for the bag part way through and couldn’t work out the way to bag the lining so I ended up using it as interlining. I have consoled myself by thinking this is a play bag so not to fuss too much at this stage. I intend for the matching cat dress to be a more successful project!



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