Being Frank…

Accepting my failings

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Spring cleaning…and a bit of sulking

Happy Easter and finally Happy Spring…it’s been so long I thought we were in for Endless Winter…ok it’s still not exactly warm but it’s getting better.

I probably should say “hello again” and “how are you all ?”. I hadn’t intended to be away for almost 2 weeks but I sort of got caught up in things and the next thing I knew it was the other side of Easter…

So the last time I was here I was bemoaning the temporary shattering of my skirt dream…well what do you do when you have your dreams shattered ? Er, well sulk for a few days and then try something else, something you know will work. Yep, did that…only that went and bit me on the backside too (it was another skirt)…so I sulked some more …and then did something I knew would work as I’ve already made 2 of them…and it doesn’t involve me having to wear it and look in the mirror.

The problem is the more I have made of these the less happy I have been…in fact I think I got it right first time with this…even if I did make a mess of the binding…ok enough blathering…I am talking about THIS129

So this is the outside…or it might be the inside because THIS is the reversible Bucket Bag from The Bag Bible…only I didn’t have enough of the polka dots so the outside also has a left and a right side128

and then this is the inside or possibly the outside130

The polka dot version was made April 2012 and then in July I made it again as a present for Spider’s teacher….



So then I started making a third version is September as I still wasn’t happy with how I attached the binding…only this one was made with that denim/Camo fabric that I used for the Treasure Pocket Trousers  (aka the trousers of doom)…the material that broke my machine… this third one has not been a happy experience at all and it’s taken a lot lot longer than it should because I’m just not having fun…or I wasn’t…it’s been pretty much finished since December, apart from the binding…

The binding, which also forms the handles is 50mm bias binding…not sold in many shops and where it is the colours are limited, so you have to make your own…and that is just not a fun experience…at least making the larger size isn’t as it’s not as easy to make as the narrower which work quite well with tutorials such as this...

Anyway, after having my butt kicked by the second skirt I decided to try a bit of spring cleaning in all areas of life and bit the bullet and made the bias binding. The bag is for a friend so I will post about it later when it finally gets delivered…which hopefully will be after I have found my camera…which is currently buried by the other thing I’ve been doing…which can wait for another day…


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FO: Here’s one I made earlier

It’s not jersey, it’s me.   See I CAN sew jersey

Admittedly I have no idea if the sizing is right on this because I have no intention of ever finishing it off and putting a real baby in it but it did at least vaguely resemble the picture in Sewing for Boys of the “R is for Romper” and the seams all matched up and looked reasonably neat so it’s not the pattern that’s gone wrong for me…

Suspect it is user error on Tiramisu…suspect I should have cut out the 30 inch rather than the 35…next time I shall measure my back and compare it with the pattern piece (which I should have done from the start, but it’s not easy measuring your own back !)

Anyway, here’s something else I got right…and still haven’t put the snaps on (because Spider says he thinks the pockets at the side are silly and doesn’t seem to like the shirt)



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Appetite for Cake

You know that jittery nervous feeling that you get in your stomach when something is going wrong and it’s your fault/responsibility to sort it out ? Well at 8.30 this morning it hit me big time. We were about to leave for saturday morning swimming lessons when I noticed that my tax disc was out of date…how could this be ? I paid on line 3 weeks ago and the disc hadn’t come through the post and I hadn’t noticed.

Well there’s little  can do about it at 8.30am on a saturday morning. So I stuck the car on the garden (off the road) and put Spider in the other car and headed off to the swimming pool.

If this was fiction then I’d come home to find the postman had been and that my disc had turned up. But this isn’t fiction and the disc wasn’t there but the postman did manage to take away my butterflies as he’d delivered this:


The lady on the front is called “Penelope” and I think it’s only right that the first dress  I make an attempt at making is this fabulous dress from Cake Patterns…if you’re reading this Mum…it’s designed for jersey and knit fabrics…eek!

The reason I want to make this dress, despite the fear factor induced by the idea of sewing a knit fabric (knit fabric/jersey is the only fabric that has ever made my Mum throw in the towel over a project) is because Steph, the lovely lady at 3 hours past who is responsible for designing this pattern held a “Name the Lady” contest and invited people to name the mysterious lady on the front of the Tiramisu pattern…and although I didn’t suggest the name I did suggest the back story.

The Penelope behind this blog however was named after a feisty red head in a book called “Moon in Scorpio” (“traitor’s moon” in the US apparently) by Robert Neil.

Unfortunately however I have no knit fabric in the house and a basket of things to finish off before the new year so this will have to wait…besides I need to either clean the kitchen floor or clear the dining room table before I can trace the pattern off.

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S4B: Pauli’s Sweater

This is not very good, in fact neither of them are but Spider won’t let me take them back to rectify my mistakes…he likes them as they are. Now this isn’t down to me being an amazing seamstress or anything like that (shame !) but simply because…they’re fleecy. Yes my son is a fleece monster. It’s my fault. When he was born I had a red fleece dressing gown and somehow he has become addicted…especially to the red stuff.

Anyway, back to the garment. Pauli’s sweater is a v neck pullover with a bound collar and as drafted has a gathered waist with a corded belt. Recommended fabrics include sweatshirt, jersey, knits and fleece…easy choice for the Mum of a fleece monster, besides fleeces hides errors quite well.

I made it twice. The second one was made with specially chosen camouflage fleece (£8per m from Royal Fabrics) but before I had cut it out I received an emergency request for a “Dead Soul” costume for a greek play at school…it just needed to be a black tunic. So as I had already traced off the pattern I splashed out another £3.50 for a metre of black fleece from Fabricland.002

Pattern: Pauli’s sweater from Sewing for boys

Material: Fleece, less than a metre (150cm wide)

New: Binding a v-neck…I think I need more practice on this one as I didn’t manage to get it right on either of them

Mods:  I didn’t bother with creating the ties at the bottom, this lengthened it a bit but as Spider is pushing 8 rather than 7 (the largest size) I probably should have added more length. He didn’t need a gathered in waist although in a younger child I can see it would have its uses.

Pattern seems well thought out. Instructions clear. No errors in the pattern. All mistakes were of my own making !

I liked this but due to the sizing I won’t be making more…also he wants a hoodie and I already have 2 small boy hoodie patterns in my collection which I have been promising to make for 2.5 years

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FO:The trousers of doom

About a year ago I acquired, in pretty much the same week the Colette Sewing book and Sewing for Boys. The Colette book has been well read whilst I try to pluck up the courage to actually make something for me, but Sewing for Boys kinda got neglected whilst I struggled with Vintage Style for Kids… well, when I finally put VSfk on hold and picked up S4B I kicked myself for not starting it sooner.

It’s a fantastic book. The instructions are clear, the patterns just need tracing off, none of this sticking god knows how many bits of paper together, there don’t seem to be any errors in the patterns and where they are there is a web page with errata.

And if I needed any sort of encouragement, well there is a group sewing themselves through the whole book so last July I joined the party…

Ok, I sort of joined the party…I sort of joined the party by finishing thing weeks after everyone else.

Spider, is at the top end of the age range for this book…and he is starting to be very fussy about what he wears and I knew before I started that I’d have to steer away from cute prints and perhaps mainline on the colour blue. So after much thought I decided that Spiders Treasure pocket pants would be blue with a blue camo print…and if he didn’t like them he could always wear them as PJs…

I need not have worried as it turns out when I finally finished them it was difficult to get him out of them, let alone getting him to keep still long enough to be photographed in them – so here is an action shot for you.


So if Spider loves them so, why you may ask are they the “Trousers of Doom” ?  Admittedly they took slightly longer than planned, but that was partly down to my own ineptitude in that I sewed the wrong seams together, then couldn’t find my seam ripper…added to having to bundle everything up each time we need to use the dining room…  all that is pretty much par the course for me when it comes to sewing… but no, these trousers exercised a malign influence over Gary the Brother PS-31.

You see the camo fabric is tough, really tough, tough enough to survive non-stop wear by an active 7 year old but also tough enough to almost kill a Brother sewing machine…Gary is not a happy machine at the moment and I’m not sure I can face taking him back to the other Gary to have his insides looking at  ( a service is about £60 and Gary is worth about £69 on the secondhand market).

The camo fabric is a very tough thick cotton, a bit like denim aside from the nasty sounds my machine started to make I managed to get through 3 needles. The first was a very narrow miss for both my eyes and Spider’s…he was standing by my side asking a question as the needle went “ping” and part of it shot out of the shaft, grazing my cheek and burying itself somewhere in the kitchen near the bin (still not found it).  The second needle wasn’t quite so dramatic, that one just bent and the third is still in the machine but  so blunt it won’t even go through tissue paper…lesson learned, next time use a denim needle.

Anyway, here is a non action shot…sorry about the stains but the only chance I get to photograph them is when they have been taken off to be washed.ick 012

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Vintage Style for Kids : Progress Report

I am finding this book “challenging”. The patterns as several users have remarked are not easy to piece together AND it is  my personal feeling that there are errors in the pattern over and above what can be put down to the lack of knowledge of an inexperienced sewer.

Because my main model (there are more girls patterns than boys) is much larger than an average 7 year old I’ve been taking this slowly and measuring the pattern pieces against her measurements before cutting out  and adjusting the pattern in length and size. That said some of the patterns have seemed small compared to standard measurements for a 7 year old.

My model unfortunately is now wearing age 11 clothes so I may need to reassess how I progress this “project” as I’m not sure I’m going to get a good fit with the rest of the girls patterns with so much adjustment.

Despite the lack of photographs and posts on this blog about finished objects I have so far finished:

  • a pair of girls pyjamas
  • the button through dress
  • the toothfairy pillow
  • my version of the laundry bag (will redo later following the pattern)
  • A pair of curtains, substitute for the duvet cover (we don’t need more duvets !)

I have just cut out the pattern for the Dirndl Skirt and, well lets just say I have “issues”. I’m going to adjust the length of each strip anyway as my 7 year old is tall. I am going to leave the width of each strip about the same as the pattern because the strips are gathered and the waistband is elasticated so I can easily adjust the pattern for my model’s actual size. However I am a little worried about the instructions…Tier 4 is a very very wide strip anyway but according to the pattern I’m supposed to cut 4 which would make the skirt incredibly wide at the bottom as tier 4 is 1.5 metres wide !

Fortunately I have a copy of Sew What! skirts which has instructions on the proportions for a tiered skirt so hopefully I can use this as a guide.

Hoping to get the buttonholes on the PJ’s and dress finished by the end of the week and make the skirt in time for my model’s birthday at the end of the week…then…then I shall concentrate on the boy patterns.

When I make the rest of the girl patterns I may just make the smallest versions  as after all I don’t have to make them for anyone in particular and I am mainly working my way through this book as a learning exercise on small things, learning the techniques…and in fact it is my fear that things might not fit my models which is slowing me down.

The problem is that if I do that I then have to add 5 more patterns in as I’d ignored the baby chapter on the grounds that I don’t know any small small children.


The Leftover Roast Potato in the Fridge Syndrome

(Admittedly in this house a cold roast potato would not be the best example  of this syndrome as cold roast potatoes are rarely left in the fridge for long…)

You know what it’s like you have left over food, you put it in the fridge to be used later, you have good intentions but you don’t use it up at the start of the week and by the end of the week you are reluctant to open the fridge as you know the leftovers are still there staring out at you accusingly…

My WIPs have been like that of late. The guilt of not finishing things has been crippling me…I don’t want to work on the WIPs as they have been there so long that all love for them has gone, but because I know I should be finishing them I don’t start anything new…instead I do nothing…

This week I have been feeling rather low and blue. November and February are the worst for this as the colours are drained out of the world and the sky is just grey…so there I was feeling sorry for myself then the postman came to my rescue.

I ordered the Colette Sewing Handbook back in August and for some reason, at the same moment it was announced as being out in America, Amazon emailed to say they could no longer get hold of it and cancelled my order ! So in a fit of pique I ordered from who although couldn’t get it to me until the end of November  could still get it to me before UK Amazon who emailed me 2 days after my US order to say they could now get it again…but not until December…

I felt low…I needed cheering up, a month is a longtime to wait , so I ordered Sewing for Boys. On Thursday it arrived (hurrah !) and I curled up on the sofa on Saturday morning to plan…but what was this ? A knock on the door from the postman with another parcel…and this one from America (double hurrah !)

BUT of course I’ve been unable to settle down and enjoy them because of all those unwelcome ghosts of  projects past (and not complete)… so I’ve been having a weekend of tidying up, finishing things and parceling things up… a bit of clearing the decks.

Hopefully it will boost my mood and a bit of forced finishing might make me feel “unbocked” and a bit more “creative”…also since some of these unfinished things are 40th birthday presents it might also put smiles on other faces before their next birthdays come round !

(Some of the unfinished objects involve Vintage Style for Kids projects…which I’m begining to think I need to intersperse with other things as making the paper patterns up is challenging in itself…)