Free at last

On Tuesday I took my end of module exam, so I now have about twenty hours a week that I didn’t have last week.  It felt like it went ok, so hopefully when I get my result in August I’ll be happy.  Open University is great for flexibility, but I somestimes struggle motivating myself. I am looking forward to the time off between now and October and I no longer need these, yay.

IMG_1149I decided to cut out the fabric for Maddy’s shorts that I had traced a little while ago; I also decided to make myself a dress, a very simple dress to get me going, but nevertheless something for me to wear.  Both of these are now cut out ready to start tomorrow.


There was just enough fabric here for Maddy’s shorts, I only needed to use some scrap fabric for the pocket lining.

IMG_1154I’m not convinced about this fabric, but thought I would use it for the first sewing project for me for a long time.  I bought it a couple of years ago from a sewing event at the Birmingham NEC and have never got round to using it.  I also bought some lovely paisley fabric at the same time, but daren’t cut into that until I have made something else first.  This pattern should be ok as there’s very little to fit.  I have extended it by 4cm because the length looks too short for me to wear without leggings, but apart from that it is the same.  I’m looking forward to making it tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ll be wearing it without leggings for a while yet as the weather is not great.

In the meantime I used an old shirt of Neil’s that was going in the charity bag and some more fabric that I’ve had for ages to make Maddy some pj’s.  I bought the fabric as it was in the reduced bin, but I’ve never found anything it could suitably be used for before.  It is perfect for pyjamas and she has gone to bed in them tonight so obviously a success.




It was Dominic’s birthday on Monday…….now in double figures………where did the time go???  We had family round to eat birthday cake, made by Alex’s girlfriend Sam, who always makes their cakes now.  My gananche covered chocolate cakes can’t compare with this!

The party was today and the weather forecast predicted sunshine.  We thought that instead of eating at the bowling alley after the game, it would be nice to have a picnic and a game of cricket at the beach.  The invitations went out, picnic choices selected and party favours made.Cricket was still played but the sun never made an appearance.  Another brilliant birthday party!  If you live near the beach you have to take advantage of it; hopefully soon we’ll be able to go without jumpers.

Another throw/blanket

There is less than a week until my end of year exam so I am concentrating on revision rather than sewing or knitting.  I have started a jumper for my nephew which will grow quicker than my cardigan, hopefully keeping me motivated with my slooow knitting. It’s less antisocial than sewing as knitting needles are more portable than a sewing machine, but I have managed to use some more of my stash.  When we chose the fabric for the curtains from Ikea we both loved this fabric but I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  I decided to make a blanket for the front room but didn’t expect to be using it for some time yet as the summer had apparently arrived.  Summer has now been and gone so Neil has nestled underneath it with his book whilst I traced a pattern for shorts which Maddy will hopefully wear when we go to France, if not at home.  Where has the sun gone?Pretty birdsIf I can manage just an hour a day sewing or tracing/cutting it will stop me getting too anxious about the exam and add to the kids’ summer wardrobe.  My confidence is growing so not too long before I face the challenge of sewing for myself …maybe.

Summer Dress

As this year’s challenge was to work my way through my fabric stash, obviously I went out and bought more.  To be fair, I went to buy a zip to turn the left over linen from Dom’s trousers into shorts for Maddy and this fabric looked so summery that she needed it.  I’d made some leggings, (Riviera from Sewing Clothes Kids Love) with leftover navy jersey from Dom’s t-shirt, which I thought would go well with the dress until it got warmer (fingers crossed we get a summer this year).  I am trying to use all the recenty bought fabric up so it doesn’t disappear in the chest with the stash. The dress I had in mind was 142 from Burda magazine 04/2011 and it was relatively easy to put together.IMG_1092

The first challenge was the pleats in the front of the dress, the instructions didn’t appear to make any sense until I actually had a go and realised that the second fold overlapped the first; I should have just gone ahead earlier rather than looking at it frowning!  The second challenge was the invisible zip, but again that wasn’t difficult, just the idea of it was a bit daunting.  The final challenge was the hem – how could I remember how to set a sleeve but stumble on a hem?  When I added a seam allowance I continued along the line of the pattern, which obviously made that circumference larger than the inside of the dress to which it was to be sewn.  I frowned a bit more, and contemplated, and decided to add a ribbon to the edge and then sew that to the inside – that did the trick!  Next time I will taper the seem allowance in, or I may just add ribbon again as it is quite cute.

The dress is lovely and I have met the challenges. However, I think next time I will make the smaller size and lengthen the pattern, as I did with her trousers, because it is a bit too big on her.  For the trousers I made an age 6 and added an inch to the top and a couple to the bottom.  I assumed for a dress the size wouldn’t be such a problem as it wasn’t fitted around her waist.  I made the age 7, because that is closer to her height than the age 8, but I’m not sure whether it’s because of all of the fabric in the pleats or whether the dress is too big but it’s super spacious.  I think it might benefit from a reduction in length so I may remove about 3 inches but then it might not be suitable without leggings.  It’s probably not much of problem as there are very few occasions that we can persuade her into a dress!Be a tent!

Bright Trousers

I finally finished Maddy’s trousers.   It took me a while to get round to putting the ankle cuffs on because I was a little apprehensive about her wearing them. They are the same as Dom’s blue linen’s, Burda 142 (5/2011) but in a really bold print cord.  Both fabrics and the t-shirt jersey are from myfabrics, a risk because I didn’t get to touch it before buying, but a gamble which paid off as it was all lovely.   It took her about a week to put them on but then I had to steal them from her bedroom to wash whilst she was sleeping.  This is the finished article:


They are no less vivid in the flesh!  She tried them with a white t-shirt/blouse but that was too light and stuck to the cord.  Then we tried a white and turquoise striped t-shirt – that looked ok.  She is wearing the same t-shirt on the next picture but in navy/white.  I may have to make a pale orange or turquoise t-shirt to bring the volume down a bit but her fave is a definite no-no with these.

searching for crabs

searching for crabs

There was a fault with the cord which I hadn’t noticed prior to making them but the customer services at myfabrics is excellent, they have sent replacement fabric of my choice as this was no longer available.  Hopefully she will have outgrown these before a hole appears where the fault is. The replacement is going to be pedal pushers, but I am currently working on a dress to go with the leggings made from leftover blue jersey.

A bit of blue…

Well it has taken me a while to write this post and I have done quite a bit of sewing but also a good chunk of studying.  The final assignment is in so just the exam to look forward to now!  Kids Clothes Week was brilliant, I managed to get Maddy’s t-shirt done but trousers and t-shirt for Dom.  Following the trouble I had matching the pieces of Maddy’s t-shirt I added exactly 1.5cm seam allowance around the pattern.IMG_0956

The t-shirt went together much quicker than Maddy’s because of the seam allowances but also because there were fewer pieces.  There were no contrasting side panels and no extra sleeves.  The fabric was lovely to work with, I also used it for the waist band and ankle bands on the trousers.  The pattern Imke is going to be made regularly, Dom needs the sleeves to be lengthened, but both kids are happy with them.IMG_0966

Dom’s trousers are low waisted, next time I will adjust them up an inch.  The linen is great and I think there may be enough left over for some shorts for Maddy.  Dom has worn the trousers to the beach and has asked for some cord jeans next.  Surely that proves a success, requests for further projects – winner.  I have already made Maddy some leggings with some of the spare navy jersey and I hope to make some shorts with the spare linen.  I intend on making Maddy’s trousers this weekend which were planned for KCW but I overestimated my capabilities.  I feel as if I’m on a roll and hope to continue sewing regularly, the knitting on the other hand is proving a challenge. Hey ho, can’t have everything.

KCW Day 3

Well the t-shirt is finished and Maddy loves it.  It has already been washed, dried and ironed ready to wear.  I have learned how to sew stretchy fabric, not mastered it yet, but I’m pleased with my firsMaddy's first Imket effort.  The pattern (Imke) has options for changes and tomorrow I will be cutting and making a start on Dominic’s.  He has chosen a navy jersey.  It will have a round hood and just the straight, full length sleeves.  If it turns out ok I may order some more fabric and run up a couple with short sleeves and a ribbed neck.

I am so please to be taking part in Kids Clothes Week, it has given me the push to get sewing again.  I have never made very much but have always enjoyed having a go.  I intend to continue sewing regularly and trying out new fabrics and techniques.  I have spent a couple of hours each day so far on the challenge and this isn’t sustainable on a regular basis, but three to four hours a week is.  At that rate I will surely have reduced my stash and have some new clothes.  Winner!