Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Pattern Testing the Karri

Last year I put my name down to be a pattern tester for Megan Nielsen patterns. I tested the kids Tania Culottes last November and in June I was a tester for the Karri dress.

At the time I was snowed under with work and getting ready to go on holiday so didn't have time to make an interesting version, instead I stuck with fabric I had pre-washed and ready to go.

My choice of fabric means you can't see the detail of the pieced bodice, I think I am glad about that though as I am not a fan of the join between the pieces going right over the bust apex. The next time I make it I will use the lining piece for the main front as it doesn't have this join!

The picture above is the Karri made exactly as the pattern is, cut in a M with no tweaks and un-hemmed. I am a fan of Megan Nielsen patterns as they fit my odd shape ok from the packet and only require a few simple alterations which tend to be the same for all the patterns. I always have shoulder and bodice length issues, and this time was no different. I did tweak the shoulders before I took the top and bottom photos and it makes a huge difference to how it feels on. 

The dress is fully lined which is lovely and the next time I make it I will line it with something other than an old poly cotton sheet which makes the outer fabric lie funnily...

I'm now dreaming up a Christmas version!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

An Old Favourite

After the last sewing disaster it was time for a quick pick me up to get over the disappointment of wasting all that new fabric...

I stuck to my old friend, the Lady Skater by Kitschy Coo. I bought some lovely grey jersey fabric on ebay from someone selling their stash (this is now I get a lot of my fabric and probably why nothing matches anything in my wardrobe...) a while ago with this pattern in mind, I had even pre-washed it when it arrived so it was ready to cut!

Yes, this really was the best photo!

From deciding to make it to the final dress was about an hour and a half, just what was needed after the last make and a lot of dull alterations. I just need to get myself some tights that will go with it, these were worn in desperation.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

An Epic Failure

The best laid plans...

It all started out well, I bought the pattern - B6392 - and thought I had the perfect fabric. It turns out I didn't have enough of the perfect fabric in my stash (which is good given how this turned out) so I bought some new, something I try and only do when desperate! It was a lighter weight but according to the packet it should have been ok...

I did suspect that this would not be a great make when I was half way though but battled on and it turns out I should have quit while I was ahead!


Above is what the pattern packet looks like.

This is what mine looks like.... I was getting a distinct costume vibe when I was making it but carried on regardless. I tried it on, laughed at myself and showed my husband. He doesn't hold back and told me, while laughing, that I wouldn't look out of place in an Ewok village.

Looks like I have my Halloween costume sorted.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Walking and Sewing

I have had write a proper blog post on my to do list for months and it hasn't happened, I don't really have much to say, life is busy, personal sewing has had to make way for walking over the last few months and my small business is getting busier and busier which is great but mildly crazy!


The walking has had to happen because a fortnight ago I, along with 4 friends, walked the Shine Night Walk in London raising money for Cancer Research UK. Mum always felt guilty that I had to stop walking / running while I was looking after her and made me promise to start again once she was gone so I did as I was told!

It was a full marathon over night so needed proper training. I walked about 270 miles in training so that is what evenings and weekends over the summer were spent doing. I am really glad I did it as physically the walk was fine, just grueling walking all night! We finished in just under 8 hours with about 7.5 hours of walking, think I finished 537 out of about 4000 which wasn't too bad :)

I am actually really glad it did take up my sewing time as I have now changed shape so have a massive pile of clothes to take in before they can be worn again. Not ideal when I seem to spend all the time I have altering other peoples clothes!

One thing I did manage to get cut out and started last weekend was this cardi wrap thing but I am not loving it. I didn't have enough of the fabric I wanted to use so bought another fabric and it is too light weight, I will hopefully get it finished this weekend. Hopefully it's not too blanket like although people seem to be walking about everywhere with picnic blankets over them so I doubt I should worry!

Friday, 2 September 2016

September Sewing Plans

Is anyone else excited that autumn is just round the corner? I am looking forward to layering up in cosy jumpers and boots and, after a bit of a sewing drought,  my urge to sew has returned.

The big 4 Autumn patterns are being released (in the US - hurry up Butterick and get them here!!), and I have seen some tantalisingly good looking patterns.

This has to be my ideal simple coat pattern. I may even have enough fabric in my stash to make it!


 I have had some fairly heavy wool, ribbed, sweater knit for ages and have never found quite the right pattern, I think I have now! 

I have a feeling I may look like I am wearing a blanket but paired with a polo neck, jeans and boots it will hopefully look ok!

I will also be making the husband a tweed jacket. I have the pattern cut out, all squillion pieces, now I just need to find the bits to make the muslin.

Now to keep my fingers crossed that life gets a little less hectic and I might just get some of these things sewn!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Type 1 Diabetes - 5 months on

I can't believe little e has been living with this pesky condition for 5 months, how time flies when you spend you life carb counting and checking blood glucose levels!

She is continuing to take it all in her stride, 5 or 6 injections a day , no problem. Wearing a Blood Glucose sensor 24/7 , fine . Ask her to wear a dress, wear anything I make, wear anything that is scratchy - NO WAY!! It is totally amazing how adaptable children can be and I am thankful that she is old enough to understand that there is no option. This is permanent and there is nothing anyone can do about it except support her in every way we can.

During my frequent google sessions after her diagnosis I stumbled upon Beyond Type 1 , an American charity that, among lots other amazing things, has started a snail mail pen pal club for people with type 1. Little e has been paired with a little girl in the very north of Scotland. Close enough that maybe one day they will get to meet! 

We managed to survive our holiday to Florida. It was actually absolutely fine - I need to worry less. There was only one wee issue, we forgot to take the insulin! I thought husband took it out of the fridge, he thought I did. Luckily we noticed when we were in the check in queue at Glasgow airport so a quick round trip to the nearest pharmacy and an emergency prescription later we were sorted. I still can't believe we actually forgot the medicine keeping her alive! I will have a check list the next time :)
Image result for type 1 diabetes quotes
The only thing that really bugs me now is the total diabetes stigma in the media and how all the stats for type 1 and type 2 are lumped together. Both are serious conditions but type 1 is an autoimmune condition where as  type 2  is often (but not always) caused by lifestyle choices.

Now, if I could just get school to understand the seriousness of the whole thing life would be a lot simpler!

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Collette Moneta

My little sewing business has been super busy over the last few months and one of my clients is a 95 year old lady who wanted a dress to wear to her Granddaughter's wedding. After a long chat with her she decided on an Emery dress in a floral cotton, great, until I thought about it and realised there was no way she would manage the zip.

After a quick google I realised that the Moneta dress by Colette was almost the correct shape and Jersey so so much easier to wear for someone with limited mobility. She wasn't sure if it would be too tight so I offered to make one for myself (such a sacrifice!) so she could see the shape and decide from there.

Thankfully she liked it and chose a gorgeous Liberty Jersey fabric for her version. I had to do a few alterations to the pattern as she is a very small lady but didn't want the bodice tight. I cut the size up from the one she  measured and shortened the bodice. She also wanted bracelet length sleeves so that was easy enough.

This is not the greatest photo, I have asked her to show me some photos of her on the day so I can see it in action! I am in love with this fabric and accidentally bought a meter for myself to make a top with, I just need to decide which pattern to use...

Friday, 29 July 2016


We have just got back from a fun 2 weeks in Orlando  it was a busy but relaxing few weeks after what has been an insane 4 months.

We started the holiday at Universal Studios, it was great, I met a Minion and ate breakfast in the 3 Broomsticks in Hogsmead!

 I made a couple of panic pairs of shorts in the few days before we left, my summer shorts were all too big (!) when I finally dragged them out of the box in the loft. I was going to make some nice pairs of proper shorts but instead used one of the the trouser patterns I have made my own and cut them on the knee. They have a jersey waistband so are super comfy.  The brown pair in the minion picture are not really squint and I can't actually find a photo of the others!

Big E loyally wore the shorts I had made for him but little e was having none of it and decided that all the shorts I had made for her and took with us made her look like a clown..... She rotated 2 shop bought pairs for the whole holiday :)

Husband didn't get any hand made holiday clothes but I did get him 6 new short sleeved shirts / polo shirts for £10 from my favourite charity shop, bargain!

Some other highlights were meeting Chewbacca at Hollywood Studios,

meeting Stitch in the Magic Kingdom ,

and seeing a Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing!

When we were in Florida 5 years ago we hoped to see the second last shuttle launch, it didn't while we were there so this almost made up for that disappointment!

Back soon with some proper sewing!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Me Made May and a catch up.

How is it the middle of June already?! Time is flying and I can't keep up with everything which means this little place is a bit neglected.

So, time for a random update!

I did Me Made May, all but one day was me made and the one that wasn't was a diy day so I was in my oldest paintiest clothes!

My aim for Me Made May was to work out my style, I don't think I am much further forward there but I did realise during it that I have almost no clothes that I have bought new anymore, 95% of my wardrobe is second hand or I have made.This is great but also means my wardrobe is a bit random and my many Renfrew tops all are the glue that holds it together. They got worn a lot during Me Made May, I stopped taking photos as it was getting a bit dull!

Me Made May and the lovely weather we had at the end of May / start of June have really highlighted the fact I need more in between weather clothes. I only own one pair of cropped trousers and wore them a lot during the warm weather so I should make more. The same goes for lighter weight cardis. It also highlighted the fact that I can't wear my clogs, they kill my back :( I spend a lot of the time in flat and flexible or vivobarefoot shoes so it is not really that surprising. Unfortunately they have not worn well so I can't even sell them

Original Mash-up Nautical Flash (Women)
I did use that as an excuse to buy some Saltwater sandals that I have been eyeing up though...

On the diabetes front things are going well. Little e has started using a continuous glucose monitor which has been a revelation, unfortunately this piece of kit is not on the NHS yet so we are paying for it and it is not cheap. Worth it though for the information it gives and the fact she is not doing finger pricks 10+ times a day, just a quick scan of the sensor. So clever!


At the end of May my Grandad died. He was 102 and led a fantastic life. He had dementia for the last 4 years so in some ways it is good he is gone now and at peace, not tormented by the awful disease. 

On a cheerier note we have almost finished our house! The new stair is in and the new wardrobes for the bedroom have been ordered! Just some painting, skirting and new carpet and we will be there, I can't wait, it has been a long 4.5 years of renovations!

Hopefully I will be back soon as I have been sewing some bits and pieces I should post here, it all depends on our awful internet connection though, I have been trying to post this for a week now!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

What have I bought? - March and April

I am joining in with Elise again this month and actually have things to post about!

March was another big fat £0 spent. I did get some new to me clothes but they came from clearing out Mum's wardrobe so don't count.

April saw a couple of charity shop runs, we got rid of a lot of stuff last month and managed to only come back with these:

 A shirt that is too small for A but is in the refashion pile now! £2

100% lambswool jumper for me. £3

Another wool jumper that I plan to make into a cardigan. £2

A pair of Next linen trousers. £2

Next denim skirt. £2

A total spend of £11 and quite weather appropriate at the moment - freezing one minute and sunny the next!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Me Made May 2016

I am so late to this party but I have been trying to decide what I should pledge. I wear clothes I have made or refashioned every day anyway so this year I am going to focus on trying to find my style. I would love to have a wardrobe where things all matched and could we worn various ways, instead I have a crazy array of stuff in my wardrobe and I only wear about 25% of it regularly.

So, this year I pledge to wear something me-made every day and, over the course of the month, wear all the 'not sure' clothes at least once and get rid of them if they don't work.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Fashion Revolution Week - Know your fabric

This week is Fashion Revolution Week and there seems to be a lot more interest in it this year than last which is fantastic, people are being encouraged to ask brands "who made my clothes?" to encourage transparency in the garment industry. A lot of people who read this will make their own clothes so the question should be "Who made my fabric?"

Organic Textile Company
This is one of the  main reasons I started sewing. I couldn't afford a wardrobe entirely made up of People Tree and Seasalt clothes, both are the only brands I buy new and have fantastic ethics records from fabric to manufacture, but I could afford organic cotton and second hand fabric. Most of my second hand fabric comes from other peoples stash clear outs, gifts or from the charity shops and new fabric almost always comes from The Organic Textile Company or Kitschy Coo.

 I did find a new place to spend my money recently though...

While we were away in Islay during the Easter holidays we visited the Islay Woolen Mill which will now be my go to place for anything wooly!

I was in heaven. They use local wool to weave into gorgeous tweeds and tartans and have done work on fabric for films, including the Braveheart film tartan. The man who owns the mill, Gordon, moved from Yorkshire 40 years ago and restored the Islay Mill to it's former glory, and it really was glorious!

The fabric was £39/m which I thought was amazing value given that you can see every part of the process in the building and the fabric itself is fantastic quality, think Harris Tweed but smoother and less hairy!

So, who made your fabric?

There are various Fashion Revolution events happening in Glasgow and Edinburgh over the next few days, see them all here.