Saturday, 2 May 2015

mummy I want a mermaid costume.... could I refuse?

So after a bit of research, a bit of sketching and checking in with Grace (apparently mermaids have green tails and look like Delphi from the Tiniest Mermaid book) I came up with a plan.

First order a heap of fabric, this is not helping me to reduce the excess fabric stash but hey, how can I turn down the girls request to be a mermaid. I found the perfect jersey, it's called snake foil but it looks pretty fishy to me. I toyed with the idea of sequin fabric but it's a pain to sew and didn't think it would actually be that comfortable for an active girl. The organza was a perfect match and I did use some of my stash of ribbed jersey.

The top was a hack of a lined shrug that I already had a pattern for. I just added an organza frill. I haven't worked with organza before, it frays horribly and is too shear to hem nicely. Instead I just folded a long strip in half and gathered it to make the frill. It makes it kind of puffy which I think is a nice effect.

The skirt is just a tube with another organza frill in the seam over the bum and ribbed jersey for a comfy waist band. The bottom is cut into a point at the front and back, I just eyeballed it. The tail fin is a couple of meters of organza doubled over and gathered on to the bottom, then pinched up at the points of the skirt.

The tail was joint effort, my idea wasn't going to work with material that frayed so much, Mark came up with the idea of pinching it up. It gives just the right effect of 'tail'.

So what was the verdict? After asking every morning if I'd made it yet, she was initially very upset that it wasn't a real tail(!) but soon got over it and has 'swimming' around the house for days.

 Even a mermaid has to snack, on the shell phone to her mermaid friends

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

dolls, dolls and more dolls

I had great fun over Christmas making these dolls. I love their felt hair and that there is a boy doll too. They were easy to make but I wanted Grace to be able to put the clothes on and off and the pattern didn't give much room for decent finishing on the seam allowance. Also I thought it was very remiss that it didn't come with knickers! Although that was easily fixed with a quick hack to the dungarees pattern. The little clothes are also a great way to use up some scraps from the stash.

Grace loves the red shoes with buttons and wants some herself. I think the next dress I make for her, the doll will have to have one too.

Sunday, 1 February 2015


Operation 'reduce material stash to something reasonable' has begun.

Phase one: sort out stash and take several large curtains to a charity shop. I was never going to make anything out of them and maybe someone can use them as actual curtains.

Phase two: use lots of small pieces to make a new tea cosy. The old one had got a bit close to the stove and had a huge hole in.

Phase three: make untold meters of bias binding out of the piece of fabric I specifically bought for the purpose back in the summer. I am not sure if this counts as using up my stash or just moving it from one place to another.

I followed a Whipstitches tutorial to make one continuous piece, which is very cunning but would have been a whole lot easier with the right equipment. Like a nice quilters ruler* instead of the spirit level (it was the only thing long enough) and a fade out fabric pen that worked rather than chunky tailors chalk. It is a bit wobbly, but one meter of fabric made so much binding it took about half an hour to iron it all.
 *lucky for me lovely man bought me a quilting ruler for my birthday

warm trousers

Yet again I've used Rae's parsley pants pattern to make trousers for Grace. She requested 'warm fluffy' trousers. So what could be better than fleece?

I could knock these up in an hour if it wasn't for pockets, but I can't make trousers without pockets, where would she put all the stones?

Pining her down for photos is as usual tricky but you get the idea.

Friday, 11 July 2014

carried away

It was so easy to make the peasant dress that I made a top too. Another upcyled job from a pillow case and scraps from my stash. The pillow case wasn't quite wide enough so I cut the front and back pieces and added a panel. I had fun going through my stash for the right combination of fabrics.

To make it look a bit different from the dress I made puffed sleeves rather than gathered. Grace found some buttons in my bag of spares and wanted them on the dress, in fact she wanted them on the front and sleeves but it looked a bit over the top. 

I used my favourite flat fell seam to add the panels in the front and back and for the side seams. So far no pics of her in it yet, I may have to add those extra buttons.

getting my monies worth

There is something very satisfying about being able to make a whole item of clothing in an evening. This is probably why Grace has an overflowing wardrobe and I have only made my self one dress in the past half dozen years.

My latest favourite pattern is Sew Much Ado's Polly Peasant dress. I've free formed peasant dresses in the past, but sometimes it is just less work to use a pattern. It is such an easy pattern and came together so quickly I just had to add a large pocket.

The other satisfying thing about this dress is that it's completely up-cycled out of a sheet and the remains of 50p worth of pillow cases that I had fun making a top and trousers out of a couple of years ago. Looking back at the photos I can't believe how much she has grown.

I used a flat fell seam for the side seams, it's my new favourite seam. Supper easy and a much nicer finish than zigzagging raw edges. A double row of top stitching along the bottom hem just finished it off.

Grace likes it because she can put it on herself, and because it has a big pocket

Monday, 30 June 2014


I've had this material for a while. I knew I wanted to make something for Grace but I wasn't sure what. The material is a bit stiff so not really right for a dress. Then it occurred to me how good she looks in three quarter length trousers.

In my mind when I planed them they had coloured turn ups and pockets. In reality when I started them the other night, I got carried away with how easy the pattern is and forgot all about the embellishments!

They are based on Made by Rae's Parsley pants and I followed her Super Seams tutorial so they should be nice and hard wearing. So nice not to have zigzagged edges inside.

I have to say I am more than a little pleased with how well I lined up the pattern across the front!