Thursday, 27 December 2012

Posts are like buses.....

You wait for ages and then 3 come along at once....

This is a 3-in-one post.

I haven't blogged in months. To be honest, I didn't feel like it. So I didn't. When it's the holidays the pace of life slows down and I feel like I have time again. So here goes.

I have made 3 projects since I last blogged and although I completed two for sewweekly I didn't get around to putting them up and the moment has gone. They were both self drafted patterns, the first one was a copy of a Vivienne Westwood style skirt:

As it was self drafted I messed up the waistband and had to make a fix, in fact it turned out to be my favourite part.

Then I wanted to try out a pattern from Gertie's book but couldn't be faffed to trace the pattern so I just used my own but copied her waistband idea. This was my first attempt at boning:

The third project was for Mia, she was a shepherd in her Nativity play and although I could have bought a costume very cheaply they were all brown and "too boyish" so I made her one from gold lining fabric in my stash. I used the pattern on the right but left off the collar and made it floor length.
I was going to base the waistcoat on the one in the left but it was too big and in the end I just got some red fleece and winged it.
Finally I raided the teatowel drawer. Mia is in the middle. I was very proud and cried.
This post goes out with special love to Judy and Diane, who I have neglected abominably. Thanks for thinking of me even when I was not around, it meant a lot to me even if I didn't reply. xxxx

Thursday, 23 August 2012

1920s nails

Flo-Jo; what a woman. And what nails! Although I am not quite ready for that level of manicure I do like a little fancy nail varnish. For my latest Gelish  I have opted for a moon manicure (sometimes I have seen this called a reverse French), as was popular with movie stars in 1920s Hollywood.

I know green and blue might not be everyone's cup of tea but I am thrilled with it.

Do you get your nails done? Do you have nail art? Would you have green and blue nails?

Friday, 27 July 2012

Mass cast on

I am casting on at 9pm to celebrate the Olympics - I will try to finish the project during the Games.... I have joined Team Colette on - to be honest the team is a bit on the small side just now. OK, so there are 2 of us. Small, but perfectly formed.

I will hopefully make Mia a top:

I like green but Mia LOVES pink in the way only small girls can, so I will be using:

Hope you can join us but if not, enjoy the Olympics wherever you are x

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Possible copyright infringement tshirt activity

To customise tshirts in a dodgy semi-illegal but pleasing to a 4 year old way you will need:

Cheap tshirts (Tesco were having a sale today, each of the tops cost £1)
Fabric paint (ours is leftover from Christmas, so gold and red)
Wax freezer paper (I got mine from ebay)
Scalpel or craft blade
Pencil and pen
A four year old

You may like to look at the post on  sewweekly that gave me the idea in the first place. StephC's work is so much better than mine.

You need to draw your own design or in my case, for the artistically challenged, trace a picure of something your child really likes. Mia chose Zog.  She loves this book, and others by the same author: Julia Donaldson. The pictures are amazing, they are by Axel Scheffler. I like Zog, the storyline is fab, but my favourite is The Highway Rat. Mia loves the Gruffalo too.

Zog is the orange dragon, of course. I traced the picture with a pencil and then I used a blue pen to colour in the lines I would cut out with the scalpel. Put your wax paper on a piece of cardboard (this is not vital but does stop you cutting your table). Cut out the blue bits. Try not to cut your fingers. Do not allow four year olds to "help" even if they beg. Then put the scalpel way way waaaaaaaaay out of reach.

Take your iron, set it to warm, turn off the steam, put the wax paper (wax side down!) on the tshirt where you want your design to go. Check that is also where the four year old thinks it should go. Let him or her move the design about a centimetre to a "much better" spot. (You can miss out these steps if you like, my four year old is very opinionated.) Iron it. 

Put a piece of board or something inside the tshirt so that your paint does not seep through. Make your child wear an old tshirt.


Obviously you only need to paint the cut out parts but your four year old might have other ideas. Mine did.

Peel the wax paper off when the paint is dry or carefully when it is wet if you cannot wait. Leave the design to dry. Iron the design to "fix" the paint (or whatever it says on the pot of paint).

That's it.

If your child is very keen indeed repeat with another design. This is Gaston the ladybird (asleep, he sleeps on his back. I did not make my girl a dead ladybird tshirt.)

Have fun!

Saturday, 21 July 2012


I have finished a knitting project - socks. This is the first time I have used four needles. It is very satisfying.

Friday, 13 July 2012


My mother rang me. Her and a friend went out today for a potter around the neighbourhood. Her friend likes to look in skips to see if there is anything worth having. This is a habit my mother finds incomprehensible (and, I suspect, embarrassing). Today they had a quick look in a skip and found about 60 patterns from the 1960s onwards. Just in a skip. Being thrown away.

And the best bit is: she is posting them to me. Hooray!

Have you ever found anything good for free?

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Vintage Hair and Beauty

This weekend I had a great treat. I went to the Festival of Vintage in York. It was amazing; so much to see and do. My main treat was a vintage makeover. There was a Vintage Beauty Parlour run by lovely Bethany so I booked in to have the works. Just for fun.

At the parlour:

And the reveal:

These two charming gents were presenting a display an the Home Guard and agreed to pose with me, very kindly.

Bethany worked a miracle on my hair. She used tongs, pins and about a tone of hairspray. Her colleague did the make-up. She told me for a '50s look you need "red lips, strong blush and liquid-eyeliner winged out." You can follow Bethany on Facebook as well (links on her website).

I will be putting more pics from the Festival very soon x

Monday, 23 April 2012


My newest knitting project is a cardigan. Sort of newest, it has been at the front of the queue for months. The yarn was bought ages ago. I think I have had stagefright ever since. You see, the yarn is Rowan and so costs a blimmin fortune. Now I have conquered short rows I have no excuse.

I have knitted the tension square:

I must be serious because I wouldn't usually bother. However as I have only made dolls' clothes, baby clothes and scarves in the last 20 years I though I'd better try to get it right before I spend months knitting the thing.

The tension is right, so I'm off! I don't think it will be ready for MMM '12, somehow. I still haven't signed up.....

Friday, 20 April 2012

Retro shoes

Lucky old me! I am the proud owner of these gorgeous sandals that arrived in the post today. They are gorgeous, really well made and I am thrilled with them.

I got them from where they are not cheap but oh so worth it. I have been looking for some vintage style shoes for a while, I cannot buy them second hand because I have quite large feet. I found this website and have been thinking about buying them for a while. The shoes are a copy of a late 40s early 50s pair.

I felt a bit guilty paying so much. But they are exactly what I wanted. Last year I bought a pair of cheap sandals and every time I wore them I begrudged the money I had spent and felt a bit dissatisfied with them. Finally I have started to come around to the idea that it is better to buy something really nice and enjoy every second.

It's just as well that these bags are out of stock or I would have had to get one of those as well!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Here I am on sewweekly. I am so pleased to have a post up. As promised, here is the inside of my dress:

Even better, I hemmed the dress using vintage hemming tape:

 This tape was sent to me as part of a sewweekly swap last year, I was so pleased to get to use it. The hand sewing took a couple of hours in front of the tv and was worth all the hassle, the dress came out really well.

Lesson learnt: take your time and have an end result to be proud of!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Helmet, anyone?

I found the cutest little helmet pattern on and it is free! (Just look for aviatrix helmet - I can't link, you have to go on your ravelry account). I wanted a pattern to try out a new technique: short rows. I found a really clear tutorial and have finished one helmet in a couple of evenings:

Modelled by Baby Annabell (the hat is the newborn size) aided by one of our cats, Ozzy. Note: the dummy is the model's own. I like this technique, I have managed to shape a hat on straight needles. I have a cardigan to make using this technique for some shaping but wanted to try it out first on something small. The pattern so great I am on my second one which is the first of my Christmas gift making! Yes, I know.

I have also finished a little cardi which actually is for baby Annabell:

I am using up wool and ran out so I had to make short sleeves. It is springtime though so I hope dolly won't get too cold. Tee hee!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I'm in the moodboard for dancin'

This is my moodboard for the Colette Spring/Summer 2012 Color Palette Challenge. I had lots of fun collecting ideas on and making the board using - all very easy!

Monday, 9 April 2012

The valleys are low...but the mountains are high

Two steps forward, one step back. I have now put the 22 inch invisible zip into my Colette Truffle FOUR times. Four. Yes. Twice today.

#1 I managed to put the teeth in the wrong way but notice before I have done too much. OK, quick unpick about 8 inches. Not too bad.
#2 Get the zip in OK on both sides but the waist seam doesn't quite match - it's just out. I sew up the seam anyway THEN decide I really ought to try again. Out it all comes.
#3 Get the zip in great. I take my time and even baste it in to try to get the waist seam to match. It's still a little out but I decide I can live with that. I sew the facing in and finish the seam, Then zip it all up to admire the finished article. That's when I notice - the shoulder strap is twisted. See pic above. My heart sinks. Swear a bit. Make a cup of tea. Rip it all out.
#4 I think it's right this time! The middle vertical seam is the zip. The horizontal seam is the waist. I am very proud.

Should I have left it alone after the second time? This time last year I would have been thrilled just to get the zip in let alone have anything line up. Am I getting too fussy? What do you do when you mess up?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Passing on skills

Looking after a friend's kids today. Turned out to be loads of fun and we passed a couple of hours knitting. I had a good student !

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A vintage touch

I got this from the last sewweekly pattern swap. Just the thing for my truffle dress !

Monday, 2 April 2012

First you gotta speed it up, then you gotta slow it down....

If last year was all about meeting deadlines and challenges then this year is all about getting it right and taking my time. So I have made a not-wearable muslin (my sewing teacher calls it a toile - no idea why not a muslin) out of an old sheet to try to get the fit right before I make the dress. So far I have spent about 8 hours on this project - anyone recognise the pattern???? The dress is nearly finished.... I have added quite a bit to the length and done some "full bust" type adjusting to stop the inevitable gaping. Fingers crossed!

Other recent crafting, I took the idea seen here to make some magnetic dolls to put in my little girl's party bags after her 4th birthday. Sadly I couldn't find tins so I made little bags to keep them together for the fridge.

Finally, this isn't crafting but my girl looks like such a sweet vintage bathing beauty I have to share:

See you soon xxx

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Mia gets a parcel

Mia and I have received a very lovely parcel from a very lovely lady. Thank you Judy! I have made a video of Mia opening it but I can't get my video to upload. While I keep trying you can see what Mia was lucky enough to get from Judy at her blog, Sew Blessed Maw here.

Judy has been having a difficult time lately. That she has the time and energy to think of others is astounding. I am very lucky indeed to have a friend like Judy, even if she is so far away. I know many of us who "met" on think of her as our Sewing Maw and are wishing her husband Kenny Coke a speedy recovery. Love to them both.

Judy I wish I could give you a big hug. Maybe one day xxxxx

PS After LOTS of trying I can't get my clip to load so here is a pic of Mia in the dress - it is oerfect and she was so thrilled to see her name on it, she spotted Mickey Mouse straight away when she opened it.

And here Mia is having forced her rather too large favourite doll into the "dress" that Judy made to go with her own dress - it is now a top!

Judy she and I were both delighted x

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Thanks Rachel - just what I needed x

In January Rachel of the House of Pinheiro had a deadline and so asked for contributors to her fabulous blog. Luckily she wasn't bothered about the quality so I was allowed to join in. On top of being on her fantastic blog she also sent me a thank you gift. Isn't it cute? Rachel is SO clever and talented. And this week I was very very very busy, so it was just the pick me up I needed.

Thanks Rachel x

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Seamless update and a 20 minute skirt

The seamless pledge is going well. To recap: I pledged to not buy any new clothes in 2012. I can make them and I can buy second hand ones but I am supposed to avoid getting anything new. To be fair, this Boden cardigan in a sort of eggshell blue is sorely testing me. Well, I got a very nice jacket indeed yesterday for £3.90 in the charity shop.

It's velvet and lined. very nice, n'est-ce pas?

This afternoon Mia saw me doing a little more knitting for her doll:

It's the same pattern as before (hey, I managed it once...) but this time I am making a stripey version (no lace pattern) to use up some left over yarn.

Of course, Mia just said: baby needs a skirt like that one. :0S

So I made one. Actually I thought it showed how much more confident my sewing is. I didn't check online how to do it, or measure anything, or even think about it much. I cut a square of fabric, joined it to make a tube (using the overlocker!), hemmed it and made a casing at the top. Put in elastic. Bob's your uncle.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

What do you get if you cross a kangaroo and a sheep?

A wooly jumper.

This joke only makes sense to British people apparently. This week I have sewn what Americans call a jumper. I call it a pinafore dress. I am not sure what people from other English speaking parts call their sweaters / jumpers / pinafores. I never knew there was jumper confusion until I joined sewweekly. Don't even get me started on the pants / trousers debate.

Whatever you call it I made this:

I made the green dress on the left. The pattern is from 1973. I got it in a job lot of unloved 1970s patterns from ebay (ie very cheap). I used a vintage zip (ie a cheap one off ebay) and some cotton that I got at last year's sewweekly meet up as part of the swap. There was only a metre of it and it seems to be quilting cotton. Mia likes it because of the butterflies. So she chose it for herself.

In this pic she is only trying it on for length before I hem it. As you can see (coincidentally) it has what my Aunty Peg used to call in the 1970s "room to grow". As most of my clothes in the 1970s were too big I decided to leave it like that for reasons of authenticity (and laziness). I hemmed it since but Mia refused to put it on.

So instead of the finished item here is a photo of my brother and I in the 1970s (about about a year or so after the pattern was made). My Aunty Peg has cut my hair herself (another thing that happened alot in the 1970s and no-one does now). She was not a hairdresser but a shop assistant. My brother is pulling that face because he knows she is going to cut his hair too one day.....