Thursday, 21 June 2012


So something I probably haven’t mentioned before is how bonkers Miss C is, she’s the crazy one in the family and nothing makes her happier than being silly and throwing herself all over the place. I’m sure she has a screw loose!  Recently she mastered the art of cartwheels (something I never managed!) and compulsively cartwheels everywhere, garden, school, living room etc etc.  Anyway, on Saturday she was cartwheeling around the living room and decided to stand on the settee and attempt to cartwheel off it. ( You know where this is going, don’t you….) Needless to say it wasn’t the best decision she’s ever made!  She landed in a heap on the carpet and started screaming.  I checked her over and tried to recall my first aid knowledge (something about checking symmetry and looking for swellings?) to check her arm which she complained about and all seemed ok.  She did cry a bit longer than normal but half an hour later was jumping around again so we thought she had gotten away with it.  Later that night she complained about it again and first thing on Sunday morning she complained about it.  I don’t know why but my instinct said it needed checking out so 8am Sunday morning we arrived at A&E to get it looked at.  One of my best friends was the Triage Nurse on duty that morning and I’m not sure if it was her doing or because she was kid but we got seen quite quickly.  One x-ray later the nurse decided it was greenstick fracture  and she needed a cast.  They put a temporary cast on her which made her very upset as she realised what she had done.  It also meant no swimming, trampolining, kung fu, school sports (including sports day!) so she was gutted. 


Yesterday I had to take her to the Fracture Clinic to get it checked out by a consultant.  4 hours later….. the consultant decided it wasn’t a fracture and so she didn’t need a cast, unfortunately Miss C had her heart set on a purple cast and had ‘pinky’ swore her friends she would get one.  To say she was inconsolable would be an understatement!  She sobbed and sobbed all the way back to school as the Dr has given her an ugly blue sling to rest her arm in for the next 2 weeks.  This sling was an adults version that they had to cut down but it was still too big.  

Her friends in school all made a big fuss of her and she felt a bit better but I thought ‘we can fix this’.  So a quick Google search produced a useful post, a visit to the fabric shop after school to get supplies and this is what  I produced.


Its padded with some polyester wadding I had knocking about and I’ve also made a little protective cover to protect her neck from the strap and clip.  She wore it to school today and was very happy.

As I was making it I reflected on the weird and wonderful things that I have ended up making as Sewing Mother, over the years these have included clothes for bears, water bottle holders and lunch bags, Lion, Pirate & Roman Costumes, crazy Harry Potter stuff and now slings! What's the weirdest thing you’ve ever ended up sewing for someone?  Does it make you feel glad you can whip something up or does it raise peoples expectations too high?!  Last time we were in the fabric shop my girls were plotting what clothes to make their bears, ‘Mummy can make jeans for the bears as well’ I heard!  Mummy can’t make jeans for herself never mind a bear!!!!!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Adventures in Cross stitching

As well as sewing I like to do cross stitch, especially as it’s something I can do while watching TV in the evening.  Miss C really likes Tatty Teddies which is always called Little Bear in our house.


A while ago I found a free cross stitch pattern for a Tatty Teddy image and Miss C nagged me to make it for her.  When I say a while ago it turns out it was over 2 years ago!!!!!  I finally finished it a few weeks ago and today I framed it.


She’s very chuffed with it and finally getting it finished meant I needed a new project.  I remembered a project I’d seen ages ago and saved the details of.  To make a cross stitch family! So I got some graph paper and coloured pencils out and the girls got to have their say in deciding what colours things should be and how their hair should be!  And this is what we came up with…


(Family name has been photo shopped out!)

You can’t see very well but hubby has LFC on his shirt as that's his team!  Miss C isn’t quite so short in relation to the rest of us but otherwise it works well and it was completed in less than a week rather than 2 years!


I think that's because the teddy has lots of graduated colours which do my head in like the Baby Sampler I did in the past. So cartoon things are much easier! 

Next I want to make something for my sewing room, some sort of sample with a quote.  Something like…..

  • Sewing mends the soul
  • Any day spent sewing is a good day.
  • Keep calm and sew on.
  • Measure twice, cut once.
  • May your bobbin always be full
  • Stitch your stress away (not sure about this one as sometimes my stitching is very stressful!!!!)
  • Sewing fills my days, not to mention the living room, bedroom, and closets.
  • Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness.
  • Sew much fabric, sew little time!
  • As ye sew, so shall ye rip.
  • I'm itching to be stitching!
  • Memories are stitched with love.
  • Keep Calm ~ and get the seam ripper.
  • My soul is fed with needle and thread.
  • I’m sew very happy
  • I cannot count my day complete ‘till needle, thread and fabric meet.
  • Stitch your stress away.
  • Sewing mends the soul.
  • Sewing is the New Black
  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro

Italics are my favourites at the moment, what do you think?  Which are your favourites? Do you have any others?

Friday, 15 June 2012

WIP - Simplicity 2588

So I'm working on this months dress which is Simplicity 2588 which is  a Project Runway pattern so it has loads of options.  I'm making the fuller skirt with the thinner yoke.  The bodice has princess seams which I've never done before but really like.  I cut size 18 using Susan Khaljies 1" seam allowance which allowed me to let the side seams out quite a bit but I also pulled the princess seam quite a bit in at the top.  I probably should have cut the size 20 but I was trying to go by my upper bust size.  I extended the width of the bodice where it meets the yoke to cover my bra strap and I'll have to add a bra strap holder as it has to sit slightly wider than I naturally wear the strap.  I did my usual Hunchback of Notre Dame adjustment which wasn't as much as usual on this neckline as its a little lower than most. I wasn't sure which size to cut for the skirt so I marked both the 18 and 20 on my muslin thinking I would grade it to the waistline but actually the 18 is ok.  Using Susan Khaljies method of disregarding the cutting line with seam allowance and concentrating on the sewing line makes this a lot easier as you can have as many sizes markings as you want and adapt things as you go.  Of course I've made the bodice slightly bigger so the size is all academic.  The skirt has a centre pleat and then 2 small pleat on the front which looked good I felt.  The back has 2 sets of pleats which just didn't look right at all!  I changed them to gathers and it looked a lot better with less puffiness and general weirdness going on.  I ran out of normal calico for the muslin so used some cheapo Fabricland poly-cotton I picked up last year for £1.99/metre so its a bit of a unwearable muslin!


No I'm not pregnant!


Sorry for the rubbish photos, I've been using the web cam recently and I think the settings have been changed or maybe the light was rubbish on a rainy day!

So now I’ve started on the fashion fabric, I’ve cut it out and now in the process of transferring the markings. I’m lining it with white poly-cotton. 


I’ve been debating how to line the skirt and I’ve decided to make the shell skirt and then use the finished waistline to cut the lining, so that there would be no pleats/gathers on the lining waist and the lining skirt is more of a trapezoid shape rather than a rectangle shape which has been pleated.  Does that make sense?  Is that the accepted way to do it?  I was thinking of underlining the skirt but I want the bodice lined and wasn’t sure about if I could join a lining to an underlined fabric if that makes sense.   When I made the fuller Cambie Dress the lining is an exact copy of the shell but I find there's too much bulk at my waist especially for my pot-belly!  I have a self drafted a-line pattern which I’ve made 4 skirts from  which I love and wear to death and I keep intending to combine that with a bodice I like to make a more streamlined dress.  Maybe I’ll use this princess bodice on that pattern in the future.  Will have to see how this one comes out.  

Just need to get my butt in gear!  As usual!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Things I've learnt from Susan Khaljie!

Well I finally got round to finishing watching Susan Khaljies Couture Dress course on, I started it ages ago and for no real reason stalled in the middle.  I had already started using some of the techniques she teaches in the muslin stage (BIG seam allowances, transferring all the markings etc) but I didn't finish the sewing stages.  Today I caught up.  Well what can I say other than the woman is a sewing goddess!  She obviously knows her stuff and has so much experience behind her, when she tells you to do something in a particular way, well you just better well do it that way, she's telling you for a reason! I've had lots of duh moments when I've finally got something I'd previously read about (lapped zips) and lots of lightbulb moments when I realised how much better that method would be (ignore seam allowances and concentrate on the sewing line)! So this is what Susan has taught me.....

  • its much easier keeping pins in a box rather than pin cushion
  • plan, plan, plan!
  • muslins are your test garment which then become your pattern
  • mark lines with carbon paper
  • 1 inch seam allowance
  • spend time working out fabric patterns, checks/plaid etc
  • Baste seams prior to sewing
  • sew intersecting seams first NOT whole seam!
  • silk organza!  Where can I get some and how much does it cost?
  • beeswax to strengthen thread
  • not to be scared of hand stitching!
  • how to make a bra carrier

Now I'm not convinced that couture garments are going to feature all that heavily in my future plans (not very practical for SAHM, a bit overdressed for the school run!) but the techniques can be applied to all levels of sewing or at least that's my plan.  Seriously if you haven't already followed this course, its is very much worth it.
I know Gertie also has 2 courses on which have had a very popular following but my reluctance with those was the end garments weren't my cup of tea but if the level of knowledge is as good as Susan then I might reconsider. I have also purchased the Sassy Librarian Blouse course but I'm not sure when I'll get round to it to be honest.  Might have to wait till after the summer!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Makes you proud to be British!

So did you watch the Jubilee Pageant yesterday!  What an fine example of Britishness; trumpets, bunting, red velvet, Monarchy, rain rain and more rain!  The stoic behaviour of the British people was never in better display than yesterday, it might be raining (a lot) but we'll still wave our banners, cheer our Queen, have a cup of tea and eat cake!  In case you missed it all here's a precis....