The Little Jenny Wren dress

My wardrobe was in serious need of a really lightweight sleeveless knit dress for the summer (and autumn/spring when teamed up with cardie and leggings), so this project jumped all queues and demanded in no uncertain terms that I MAKE IT NOW!!! And you know what? I wish I’d made it earlier in the year to get even more use out of it. What a perfect dress!

 

NB: the title comes from the extra verse to Sing a Song of Sixpence which I found in a nursery rhyme book for my daughter, which goes like this:

She made such a commotion that Little Jenny Wren

Flew down into the garden and put it back again.

I’m not sure if this is a modern addition because someone feared small children would be traumatised by the idea of the maid having no nose (I never was!), but I thought of it while making this dress as I was effectively giving myself back a favourite dress that’s now too big. So yeah, Little Jenny Wren put it back for me. Although it’s not a nose. It’s a dress. Because having a nose in my wardrobe would just be weird ūüėõ

In a Nutshell:

A retro-looking, super comfy and practical summer dress with pockets. What more could a girl ask for?! Continue reading “The Little Jenny Wren dress”

Bucket (and spade) hat

As part of my¬†continuing mission to do at least a little bit of unselfish sewing for my nearest and dearest, I’ve made my boy a summer hat. And now, of course, everyone wants one. I’ve made a rod for my own back!

But seriously, how cute does he look?! Gabriel has always loved a hat, but has an annoying propensity to lose them. I’m just hoping he can keep hold of this one. At least until I’ve made him a newsboy cap…

Gabriel's Bucket Hat 8

In a Nutshell:

A cute and simple summer project, which is a perfect introduction to hats. Warning: you could get addicted to hat making! Continue reading “Bucket (and spade) hat”

The almost-a-disaster dress

Happy Me Made May, everyone! I’m actually wearing today’s make to kick off my Me Made May (find details of my pledge here). Anyone else taking part?

Right, I’ve finally got around to blogging my last March make: the Heather Dress. Not so tardy, really, as I made a change after completing it, and it’s only just come back off the sewing pile. It’s another installment in my search for the perfect knit dress pattern. Read on to find out if I’m still searching…

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In a Nutshell:

I remember thinking “I must make this dress!” when the pattern first came out. It had everything I was looking for in a knit dress: a fitted silhouette and big pockets, plus some interesting style lines to make it a bit different to the other knit dresses I’ve made. Took me a little while to get around to actually buying the pattern, but I’m glad I waited as I got it on sale and got to take advantage of all the online feedback about the pattern sizing. Continue reading “The almost-a-disaster dress”

The Madrid Dress: Seamwork’s Neenah

I’m currently dealing with a severe lack of sleep and two ill boys to look after (okay, one of them is in his 50s, but still a boy when he’s ill), so what better time than to cheer myself up by blogging my favourite recent make? And while wearing it too! Yep, this passes the secret pyjamas test for sure.

Oh, and why the Madrid dress when I’ve clearly been modelling it in my back garden? Read on to find out!

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In a Nutshell:

A quick and easy make that’s become a firm wardrobe favourite. Style and comfort, what more could you ask for?! Continue reading “The Madrid Dress: Seamwork’s Neenah”

Seasonally inappropriate sewing: the Aster blouse

I’ve been finding the sewing challenges I’m taking part in so motivating that I’ve done the unheard of: completed a summer blouse in the middle of winter! Okay, it’s early spring really, but if it feels like winter, that’s all that matters. I don’t think you can see the goosebumps on these pictures, but I can assure you they were there. Oh yes, and I must thank my darling 11-year-old daughter Daisy for taking these pics. Didn’t she do a great job?! ūüôā

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In a Nutshell:

A pretty summer top, but I think this pattern will need some adjustments for next time. I decided to treat this as a wearable muslin, but I spent my time sewing it carefully to get a good finish as I wanted to practice some shirtmaking skills for future projects.

Pattern:

The Aster blouse, by Colette Patterns. It’s a loose-fitting, V-necked blouse with a yoke, and I sewed View 1 with the short sleeves.¬†My measurements put me between an 8 and 10, but I chose to cut the 8 with no grading as the pattern has lots of ease over the hips, and I know I have narrow shoulders so I figured I’d be better having the smaller size there.

This was one of my #2017MakeNine projects as I wanted to build up to making a proper shirt, and I figured this pattern would give me some practice while leaving out some of the scarier parts (collar and cuffs). The reason I sewed it in February was the #WardrobeBuilder challenge for this month: shirts and blouses. That and I fancied filling a wardrobe gap before the weather heats right up. If it ever does… Continue reading “Seasonally inappropriate sewing: the Aster blouse”

Red Mini skirt

I made this skirt back in August out of a very small piece of fabric from my stash, hence the length! It was only ever intended as a (hopefully) wearable toile to test out a skirt pattern’s fit and learn some new techniques. It’s been a mixed success…

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This is my best “I’m not sure about this skirt” face

Pattern:

On Safari Skirt by So Sew Easy. I bought this pattern a while back after¬†searching for a pattern with the features of my favourite ready-to-wear denim skirt. I thought this would not only give me a great skirt I’d love to wear, but would also allow me to practice some of the techniques needed for making jeans as I intend to make a pair at some point in the next year or so. Continue reading “Red Mini skirt”

Plantain tee

Apologies in advance for the quality of these pictures. I think Andy had his camera on the wrong setting or it was the pallid winter light to blame. Roll on spring. We’re ready for you!

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In a Nutshell:

A great basic summery tee with an unexpected “embellishment”, although I’m not sold on the colour… Continue reading “Plantain tee”

Osaka skirt

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In a nutshell:

A terrific little corduroy wrap skirt that very nearly went horribly wrong… And there’s nothing Halloweeny about this post, unless you count the autumnal colours I used.

Pattern:

The¬†Osaka Skirt from Seamwork Patterns. This is a reversible wrap skirt with a cute asymmetric hem at the front. There are three panels (back, left front, right front) and each panel is broken into an upper and lower section. Here’s the line art: Continue reading “Osaka skirt”

Craftysticks: monthly it is, then!

It would appear I can’t manage a blog post more often than monthly, although to be fair, it was the summer holidays and I did have a book deadline. Maybe things will be different in future… Yeah, I doubt it!

Anyway, I’ve done a wee bit of sewing over the summer. Having a deadline of wanting to get skirts ready for the UK Meet (GLBTQ+ writing convention) helped. Here’s what I got up to:

Sewing:

I actually finished two corduroy mini-skirts. Woohoo! One is a Seamwork Osaka wrap skirt which I started at the Sewn Bristol Sewcial. It’s in brown needlecord with a red polka dot lining. I know the Osaka is meant to be colour blocked and reversible, but I’m just a born rebel ūüėõ

I also appear to be a rebel when following the instructions as I made a major mistake which meant I never did manage to finish it at the Sewcial. Ah well, I learnt an important lesson about reading things properly before cutting out, and the finished skirt still looks great. I expect there’ll be pics and a blog post at some point. Oh, okay, here’s a really rubbish selfie I took in the (dirty, smeared) mirror while deciding what I needed to pack for the convention. Yes, I am now that person who takes photos of her outfits to decide what goes with what, and so she can remember it when she gets there…

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The second mini skirt is a fab self-drafted rainbow corduroy number which I’ve been planning to make for years, but never got round to until now. Admittedly it’s a bit shorter than anticipated (the perils of winging it and not accounting for seam allowances!) but it will be great in the winter with tights or leggings. Or in the summer with bare legs if I’m feeling really brave and especially tanned. Here’s a sneak pic, and a full blog post will follow at some point. Possibly. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.

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I’ve also finished another self-drafted school dress for Daisy. One left to go, but only the collar and hems to finish off. I’m really pleased with these and she seems to find them really comfortable. Here’s a pic of her in the first dress–full post to follow with the standard disclaimer. Hey, I’m busy, all right?!

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Crochet:

I’m still slowly working on the Rebel Lace Cardie. I’ve now completed the lower bodice rows as specified in the pattern, but I think I’m going to need to work a few more as it’s coming in above the waist, whereas it needs to sit directly on the natural waist. It might be ready for next summer…

Cooking:

I set myself the task of having a go at perfecting some really simple dishes over the summer holidays: mayonnaise, steak and scrambled eggs. Admittedly I only had a go at mayo and steak the once, but it was the best steak I’ve ever tasted (disclaimer: I’d only had steak four times in my life up to that point!). The mayo was less successful as I used olive oil. Although it was the light olive oil it still tasted way too olivey for my liking. Still, at least I got it to the right consistency, even if I did have to add a second egg yolk to stop it curdling. I think in future I’ll have to try a different oil. The idea was to get away from PUFAs and go for the healthier MUFAs, so perhaps I’ll try avocado oil next time. If I can afford it… (contemplates taking out second mortgage or selling a kidney)

I’ve been doing really well with the scrambled eggs, though. I always thought I didn’t like them but it turns out that what I didn’t like were my mum’s overcooked scrambled eggs. Done perfectly with cream, chives and Parmesan, the humble scrambled egg is a thing of beauty. Particularly when served with smoked salmon. Yum!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Better make use of this time and get on with some real sewing. As of Monday¬†I’m going to devote Gabriel’s naptimes to writing, and will only be able to sew once I’ve written 1000 words. I’m hoping that might spur me on to be more productive with the writing. Here’s hoping!

What have you all been up to? Anyone else making stuff? ūüôā

Knot Your Average Dress… no, it really isn't!

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Yeah, I’m loving this dress!

I made this plain grey knit dress to fill a wardrobe gap. It’s the Knot Your Average Shirt & Dress pattern from 5¬†out of 4¬†Patterns, originally chosen because it’s one of the very few knit dresses out there with (optional) concealed nursing access – in fact, the company offer a range of patterns suitable for nursing, so are well worth taking a look at if you’re expecting. Admittedly, that’s not really an issue for me any more, but the dress is still perfectly wearable even when not needing quick boob access ūüėČ

The pattern comes with markings for dress length or shirt length, and with long or short sleeves, with additional instructions for making it sleeveless. There are also optional adaptations for nursing and maternity versions. Continue reading “Knot Your Average Dress… no, it really isn't!”

#2016MakeNine summer sewing plans

So, at the moment I’m a bit strapped for cash, what with all the recent expense of moving house and the fact it’s been a while since I’ve had a new book out. However, at the same time I’m facing a need for new summer clothing, including things I can’t make myself¬†like sandals. I’ve given it some thought and have decided the best way to proceed is to curb my impulses to buy ALL the fabric and ALL the patterns, and shop my stash instead, thus saving my small amount of cash for some splendid footwear. Or not-so-splendid footwear, as the case may be. We’ll just have to see what I can find in my budget…

Anyway, here’s my plans for nine summery things I can make from my stash:

 

 

Me Made May (23) (Copy)Plantain tee

I’ve already made a three-quarter¬†sleeve version, and I want more! There’s plenty of jersey in the stash. I’m thinking a short sleeved one to begin with, and possibly adapt it into a tank. Continue reading “#2016MakeNine summer sewing plans”

Star criss-crossed love? Nope, more like divorce immanent! Jalie 2787

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The face says it all…

I’m finally blogging a top I made last year, thus proving once and for all that punctuality is not my strong suit. Neither is sewing wearable clothing, judging purely by this effort. Ah well. I think it’s good to share the duds along with the successes, as we’ve all had them. I wish I’d kept photos of more¬†of mine, but maybe it’s best they’re confined to the fabric recycling bin of my mind ūüôā

So, this is Jalie’s Criss-Cross Top (2787), which I chose more for the fact it can be made in¬†a breastfeeding-friendly version than because I knew this style would be good on me. The top comes with¬†sleeveless, flutter and long sleeve options¬†and is constructed using mirror image left and right bodice pieces that cross over each other, joining at the side seam of the opposite side. The lower bodice has a bit of extra volume to account for the maternity option, but is kept snug under the bust using elastic along the top edge. For the breastfeeding version the¬†upper bodice piece that sits behind the other is tacked at the centre to the lower bodice (the regular version is held¬†with a longer line of stitches), anchoring it in place but allowing you to hoik the upper bodice up to nurse. I’d never tried on a top that crossed over in this manner and thought it might suit, and I really liked the way it fit the model on the pattern cover, but she is pretty skinny and flat-chested. That probably should have given me a clue… Continue reading “Star criss-crossed love? Nope, more like divorce immanent! Jalie 2787”

Me Made May, days 19-27

And here are the pictures all together:

There are more repeat appearances here, but I’m still managing to unearth¬†some new garments to show off. You can find the previous posts here:¬†Days 1-9,¬†Days 10-18

Here’s the full run down: Continue reading “Me Made May, days 19-27”

Pencil skirts galore!

My quest to find the perfectly fitted knit fabric pencil skirt…

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Skirt #2, complete with boots that really don’t go with the rest of the outfit. Ah well. Them’s the breaks when you don’t have a full length mirror by the front door.

This post is a tale of two skirts, in my quest to get a perfectly fitted and comfortable knit pencil skirt. A pencil skirt might not seem all that practical when looking after a toddler, but I much prefer a straight or pegged style to a full skirt. And provided it’s short and stretchy enough, with¬†thick tights or leggings underneath it can be a really versatile item of clothing perfectly suited to getting down on the floor and playing.

The first version I made was using some plain black ponte from Minerva. I used the free pattern at So Sew Easy as I liked the look of the four panels and topstitched seam¬†lines, although I knew these wouldn’t be so obvious in just black.

It was a qualified success. I loved how easy it was to sew and think I did a really good job on the topstitching and twin needle hemming, but it really didn’t fit well as you can see by all the pull lines in the photos (taken back in the summer). I think this was down to me getting really confused about what size to cut. I measured the pattern pieces but the one suggested by my measurements looked like it would be huge, so I cut down a couple of sizes to one with a small amount of negative ease. What I didn’t realise until after sewing it was that ponte should be treated more like a stretch woven, with a minimum of no ease rather than negative ease. Continue reading “Pencil skirts galore!”

Yeah yeah, I know, it's a sodding peg apron

Peg apron

So, I was planning for my first proper post here to feature some glamorous outfit for me, or a cute one for Gabriel or Daisy, but instead it’s a rather twee peg apron. Do I care? Of course not, because I now own the best peg apron in the land ūüôā

I also intended to take photos with our glorious new garden as a backdrop, using Andy’s DSLR (and in the spirit of our new co-habitation, I’m now considering it my¬†DSLR), but neither of us know where the tripod or remote control for it are. Best guess: buried deep in the garage. So instead you get some decidedly shonky pics taken using the self-timer on my phone. Ah well. That’s real life in all its unvarnished glory for you.

Anyway, on with the sewing talk. You’ll see why I needed a new peg storage system when you look at the next picture:

peg apron and peg bag

Yep, that’s the old peg bag on the left. It was one of my first sewing projects when I took up in earnest about eight years ago, and I made it up as I was going along, using an old pair of jeans, a wire coat hanger and a short length of pre-made bias tape. It served its purpose, but the bias binding was pretty bloody awful. I don’t think they had handy YouTube tutorials for stuff like that back then. Or if they did, I didn’t know how to search for it.

This time around I decided an apron would be more functional, especially when dangling a baby off my hip. I found a free pattern and tutorial on Craftsy, and used up some printed fabric from my stash. It’s a linen curtain that I found in a charity shop¬†years ago¬†and always loved but never found a use for. It’s too stiff¬†for clothing and possibly a little purple¬†to go anywhere inside the home (lots of earth tones), but I still adore it. I teamed it up with some offcuts of a purple linen/cotton fabric I made a pair of self-drafted trousers¬†from a few years back (and purged in my recent KonMarie decluttering binge because I never liked them on me). As luck would have it, it went PERFECTLY with the print.

The tutorial was easy to follow and would be suitable for a beginner. I did find one small error (On page 4 of pattern it says “Match the tie, wrong sides together” – that should be “right sides together”!). Other than that, the project blurb promised a hanging loop, but this wasn’t included in the tutorial and I didn’t realise this until the end, by which point it was too late to add it without having to unpick topstitching. Not a problem, though, as I don’t have any hooks to hang it from anyway.

The changes I made were to swap the ric-rac for home-made bias binding on the pocket edges. I’ve never been a fan of ric-rac and I thought this would give a more durable finish. I also sewed a small reinforcing triangle where the pocket top meets the side seam.

I did wonder if the waistband should be interfaced in the middle where the apron joins, but I’m glad I didn’t as it’s wonderfully comfortable without. The band is the perfect length and width to go round my body twice and still tie in a generous bow (as you can see in the dodgy, over-exposed picture below)

The only change¬†I might still make is to sew another line of topstitching along where the apron joins¬†the waistband, and perhaps either some bar tacks or a more decorative hand-embroidered stitch to reinforce at each end of the join. These places take a lot of strain as I have a huge amount of pegs to deal with all the nappies I’m washing these days. Oh, the life of a mother¬†is so glamorous!

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So, all in all I’m really happy with the peg apron and am contemplating making one for¬†my mum too. And then I just need to think of a use for the rest of the patterned linen. Maybe an ironing board cover? Or a sewing machine cover?

Anyone else own a peg apron? And do you find it worth foregoing the glamour of a dressmaking project in favour of something functional you’ll end up using on a (pretty much) daily basis? This has got me pondering knitting my own dishcloths again…