Movember sewing

Somehow it is already the end of October, which means tomorrow is November. Or Movember as it is becoming known in certain circles. Movember is when guys look really silly by attempting to grow moustaches to raise awareness of men’s cancers. A colleague at work told me she had got some moustache earrings to wear for the whole of November, so I wondered what I could do and on the tube today I embroidered this little badge. A scrap of muslin and just one needle of black embroidery thread and now I can pretend to be an East London hipster! And what is that in the background? Oh, it is my new cowl/roll-neck jumper/top using some of the fabric I got on Saturday. I used about half of the black ribbed knit, so I think this jumper cost £1.50. Seriously! I wore it yesterday with just a vest underneath and got a little too hot at times and was unable to take it off, so I think this is definitely a jumper and not a top. The neckline was a little low and wide for a roll neck so it is more of an over-sized cowl, but what ever it is it is perfect for keeping cosy in this chilly autumn weather.With just two months to go until the end of my crafty resolution, tomorrow I will do a count of my (meagre) progress and try to get up to speed before the weekend is over. Hopefully I’ll have some good crochet news to share tomorrow!

Fabric Frenzy and Half-term plans

On Saturday I got up bright and early to meet Kathyrn, Elisalex, and some other lovely bloggers/sewing fanatics to go to the Peter Jensen fabric sample sale. We got there just after it opened at 10am which was a good plan as it was already very busy and the queue to get fabric cut was huuuuge. The sale was in a design studio which was interesting to nosy around – look at the pin-cushion attached to the sewing machine!

There were mostly plain solid fabrics and no sign of the crazy prints we were expecting, but they were all lovely quality and bargain prices. I was queuing with some lovely aubergine corduroy and deciding how much I needed and for what (cord skirt, winter shift/pinafore dress, jacket… someone suggested a Minoru) and got convinced to take the whole roll end. Uh oh! Except it was only £20 for over 6m of lovely fabric, which is what you would expect to pay for 4m (which was what I was planning on getting). I’m still deciding what to make with it as I realised I have quite a few skirts planned already. (The other roll is some spare inner tubes I grabbed for school – to make a wigwam? – which were interesting to take on the tube!)

I also got a roll of black ribbed jersey from the random remnant bin. All the bags were £1, £2 or £3 and the £1 bags really did just contain off-cuts. My bag/roll was £3 and unrolled it looks like there is almost 4m of it! This is going to be a snuggly long-sleeved top with a cosy cowl neck, although I’m not sure if it is warm t-shirt or cool jumper thickness.

There were various ribbons and elastics for 20p a metre, rolls of bias binding (the pink was 10p and white was just £1) but my most exciting buy was these super sparkly buttons. They are black with faceted edges and I got two sizes – the tiny ones were 20 for £1 and the larger ones were 20 for £1.50. What a bargain!

Today I have cleared my table and am going to get cutting my stash – its not my favourite part of sewing so I am going to cut out multiple projects ready to sew bit by bit over the next few weeks. With the weather turning cooler I am looking forward to cutting into some of my wools from Goldhawk Road  – a simple charcoal ginger skirt and some stretchy herringbone grey trousers – and a wine pinstripe that I got in the summer sales to become a chevron Ginger skirt. I also grabbed a remnant in John Lewis a few weeks ago (when in to get a zipper for the wool skirt) which I couldn’t resist (John Kaldor fuscia with black and grey splodges) as it was exactly the right size for another Burda Septemeber 106. I think this will quickly become a wardrobe staple as it feels so good to wear something fitted and woven.

Wow! That sounds like a lot (2 skirts, 2 tops and 1 pair of trousers) but I suppose it is what you could buy in a day of shopping and I know I will live in them (if they are successful!) now it is getting chilly! I better log-off now and get to work!

p.s. Any pattern recommendations for a good winter corduroy dress? I want to be able to wear it over long-sleeved tops and pockets are a must! I am thinking about drafting it by combining a good bodice with a Ginger skirt…


Minoru review

They (correctly) say the proof of the pudding is in the eating and so the proof of the sewing must be in the wearing. After wearing my Minoru jacket almost everyday for two weeks here are my thoughts about it.

So what is great about it? It has kept me nice and dry in the wet autumn weather, looks good and the lining still makes me smile. It looks good with trousers and jeans and also looks good with my black cord skirt (another well worn garment). I’m feeling the chill wearing it now when I am outside, but it is the perfect thickness to avoid overheating on the tube or while digging.

The not so good is the hood – remember when I made my toile and the hood came down to my chin? Well I adjusted the pattern to make it slightly smaller. I totally forgot that my head moves when I walk, and if it rains I tend to keep my head down. The hood fits perfectly when I am standing up straight, but when I am huddling in the rain my fringe gets wet! Oops, should have stuck to the pattern!

I have worn it so much already, the time spent seems totally worth it. If you are going to spend weeks on a make, it should be something you can use all the time. With this thought I am thinking about making another coat! I don’t need one so this is just in the planning stage, but the idea is no longer scary as I know the time investment will be worth it. Any pattern recommendations?

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny

Warning: This post contains super cute images. People who coo easily should proceed with caution.

Last week I spent my evenings crocheting and sewing some teeny tiny little baby things. A relative has just had a baby girl so there was no way I could resist the chance to make tiny little pink things. I am very much a believer that girls and boys can do whatever they like – when my support staff at work get the cars out for “the boys” I always tell them that everyone can play cars – and dislike the way everything and anything these days has to come in pink and blue, but look how cute and pretty these booties are… The booties were made from a Purl Bee pattern that Tania had made recently and was so quick and easy to make – it took a bit longer for me because I didn’t use felt and had to sew some fleece and fabric together and turn before I could get hand-sewing. I also made the little baby a pink and purple crochet hat which only used a tiny bit of my blanket yarns. I love how quick it is to make tiny things for babies 🙂

Another creation is for an old friend who is due in the next few weeks. When I knew she was having a baby I wanted to make a crazy hat for baby and spent ages on ravelry searching for the best one – everyone has hats with bear ears nowadays so I wanted something a bit more special.

This is probably the cutest thing I have ever made and I kept squealing excitedly to myself as I put it together and could see what it would look like. Are you ready to see something cute?It is a baby giraffe hat!!! The only thing I can think of that would be cuter, would be a baby giraffe hat being worn by a teeny tiny baby.

A Royal Refashion

Yesterday morning I bought these rather large, shiny and feathery earrings on sale.Hmm… a bit big for my taste, what to do with them… What if I were to break them up with wire-cutters and pliers, what could they become?*
A whole sash-worth of medals fit for a Queen! Hem a long strip of lining fabric to become the sash, add some fur and ribbon to the top of a cheap bed-sheet for a ceremonial robe, and cover some card with LOTS of glitter to make a crown and… hey-presto! A fancy dress outfit fit for a Queen!

A friend had her annual birthday karaoke do and this year the theme was “Best of British”. She was Amy Winehouse, there were policewomen, cricketers, Olympic Games Makers, a traditional British gentleman, Boy George and Freddie Mercury (from the ‘I Want to Break Free’ video, complete with vacuum attachment) and I was HRH The Queen. Here is Her Majesty singing Total Eclipse of the Heart with Miss Winehouse – lots of passionate gesturing and pointing happens to look just like a royal wave. The crown barely survived the night -there was nobody to carry an umbrella over my head – but the rest is going into storage and is going to the top of my Best Fancy Dress Outfit list. I also sang The One and Only because it is an awesome song, but it turned out to be a good song for the Queen to sing.

I took some cakes and it was easy to make them themed with just some red and blue icing (and Haribo sweeties for the birthday girl). They aren’t totally accurate but under the flashing disco lights they looked good enough. And people were a little too tipsy to notice that some were a bit over-baked!

* It is slightly worrying how easily they fell apart, I barely had to use tools. I also have 14 feathers that I need to find a use for… any suggestions?

Polka-dot iPad Protection






I feel like the start of every blog post lately is an apology for my lack of activity, and not wanting to break with tradition here is another. Last week I could barely keep my eyes open past 9pm, after long days doing parents evenings and digging in my class garden, which meant not much time for crafting or blogging. But this weekend I wanted to make something quick and easy, that didn’t require clearing my table to lay out metres of fabric.

Ages ago Scruffy Badger made a fun Snoopy case for her iPad and shared the tutorial she found. I had been trying to think of a way to make a case that stands up and the method used made it look so simple. However, since I had just made a soft cover, I put the tutorial in my bookmarks to save for later (and salvaged some ring binders from the recycling at school).

Well.. here it is! The instructions clear and straightforward, and the only problem I had was attempting to use regular scissors to cut up a ringbinder!

I used a red spotty fat quarter I have had in my stash for years and a slither of a white polka-dot oil cloth remnant I picked up in the summer (I’m not sure I will need the waterproof-ness of the cover, but it will hopefully keep the case looking sparkly and clean). The ring binders were being thrown out at school and I had just enough elastic lying around, so this was a cheap and cheerful make. Super! 🙂

The current reading on my kindle app is Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion that I stumbled across on Polka Dot Overload from Yes I Like That‘s interesting discussion. Who knew what started as a “I’m not buying clothes so I can be clever and make mine” was actually secretly an eco-political stance I was taking!

The crochet pattern is for a giraffe hat that I am making for a uni friend’s baby (due in a couple of weeks). I’m almost finished after two short evenings of crochet, as it is so so tiny 🙂 aaaw!


Crafty updates

I have been away from blogging all week, busy in the real world, but I am back with lots of exciting updates.

Apart from working and sleeping, I have spent most of this week sewing my Sewaholic Minoru and it is finished! Of course that means the weekend has been super sunny, but I did test it in a light shower on the way home/to the pub on Friday. I forgot to get someone to take action shots so here are some close ups of my favourite details.

I LOVE the pink lining – it is such a cheery colour (and I read something this weekend that said navy and pink were one of the new “in” combos) – and the fleecy pocket lining. The piping was a pain to do (piping + shiny fabric + gathers + elastic = nightmare) but it does make the jacket look more finished and less homemade. My favourite part is the elastic waist as it makes the jacket fit and look good, which is not normally something you would associate with cagoules! I got some good compliments about the fitted waist when I did a bit of a fashion show at work. There are a few tweaks I would make if I made this again – the adjusted muslin pieces are safely tucked away in my pattern file.

I also meant to get a proper photo of my finished corduroy Ginger, but I have been wearing it too much and getting paint on it at school., so please excuse this slanted self-portrait. There were an awful lot of headaches making this, despite having already made the pattern before, but it was definitely worth the time spent as I have worn it three times this week. It is warm, comfortable, black and has super-sized practical pockets, so it will be worn to death over the winter.
Oh, and I am wearing my skirt with a new blouse! It is the French dart Burda blouse made from a £1 vintage skirt and jersey contrast sleeves (I couldn’t get the sleeves from the skirt, but I’m liking the effect the jersey adds).

I have been so busy that I totally forgot that I had hosted my first giveaway and was supposed to have chosen a winner! Oops! Lets see who the winner will be…
…. it is Tania! Email me your address or I will get in touch (whichever comes first) and I will try and send your goodies to you this week!