Tuesday, 27 August 2019


After hoofing all of my fabric out on the spare bed a month ago, it was time to get sewing again. I like this kind of sewing - the sort where you don't really follow a pattern. You just kind of keep sewing until it makes something.

This floral cotton by Rose and Hubble was given to me by my Auntie. It was about a metre long folded twice. Megan really liked it which was good because it was a bit too young for me to use. 

We hunted out an elasticated trouser pattern and compared the sizes to her current PJ bottoms then added some to the length. We cut out the trouser pieces. Anyone who has ever sewn PJ bottoms will know that they are super quick to make. I added huge hems because my girls only really grow up, not across! It is important to make a close fitting casing for the elastic to stop it twisting and being uncomfortable when you are lying on it.

To make a matching top she came back downstairs with a plain white T-shirt which we added an applique M to. Always add an interfacing when trying to sew to jersey to get a flat finish.

In the spirit of not putting anything back in the cupboard, I whizzed up a drawstring bag to put them in. I used roman blind cord for the drawstring with a few beads from the bead box.

A super mornings sewing with my girl.

Jo xxxx

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Water Clover Crochet Top

 My Pom pom Water Clover top is finally finished just in time for a little bank holiday sunshine. I was seriously in danger of finishing this top in time for Winter but I fought hard not to be distracted with other yarny projects to stay on task.

This pattern is from my first foray into the sophisticated world of making things from Pom Pom magazine. The pattern was a challenge but with a bit of help from Ravelry I found a chart posted from another maker which helped enormously. 

There are a few things you should know about this top. 

1. It is crocheted in the round from the bottom up so it has smooth, seamless sides plus you can get the perfect length. 

2. The pattern for the top shaping eluded me and I made it up from the armholes to the top writing down what I did so I could complete the other shoulder. 

3. You need a nude coloured bra to wear it.

4. You HAVE to block it - no choices. This is it before blocking...

And this is the open texture after blocking.


5. I used Rowan glace cotton (6 balls) which makes a fine substitute for the required yarn. It was in a sale so the top cost me £15 including postage.

6. It is a firm fabric made on a 1.5mm hook which is hard on your hands. This is why it has taken me so long because I could only do it in short sessions.

7. It works well as a modern twinset worn with a cardigan. 

8. The pattern is called Water Clover and is in Number 28 Botanical issue of Pom Pom. There are some lovely versions on Ravelry.

Thanks for checking in. I know it is hard to keep blogging going over the summer when it is better to be outside but I always love sharing my makes, engaging with your blogs and reading your comments. 

Thanks for dropping in. Jo xxxxx

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Maxing Out

We get a great deal of our clothes from my network of friends. Every season or so a bag of clothes arrives from either my friend who has three girls older than mine or from another two friends who send us stuff too. Eventually when we have finished with them, we pass them on to younger children. It works for us all: it is cheap, sustainable and fun.

In a bag that came to us this summer was an M&S maxi dress aged 9/10yrs. Megan will not wear spagetti straps or a full length dress but she loved the butterfly fabric so we popped it on the refashion pile 2 months ago.

Firstly, I made a skirt using the shirring chest as a comfy waistband. I cut off the straps and folded it over to make two layers. Make sure you use a stretch stitch to sew this down to allow the shirring to continue doing its job. I used a zig zag on 0.5 width and 3.0 length. Hemmed, there was a skirt before my very eyes!

With the remaining piece I really wanted to use the maximum amount of fabric so I made a peasant top. Megan loves these and wears them on their own or with a long sleeved T-shirt underneath.

I squeezed one out using pattern pieces from an Ottobre pattern. I managed to get the length by using the original maxi dress hem. Recycling to the very end, I used one spagetti strap to make a bow for the front.

I don't know if she will ever get to wear them together but as two pieces from one unwanted dress it was very successful.

That left over fabric pile is getting smaller. The spare room of a crazed sewing woman!

 Have a good week whatever you are up to. Jo xx

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

That Annie Sloan Thing

My good friends went to a show/exhibition somewhere - the details are vague, it was a while ago, but as a thank you for having them to stay for a weekend they gave me an Annie Sloan press pack kit. This  was at least two years ago. The kit has been in the cupboard under the stairs. It was one of those boxes of goodies that was almost too lovely to use, a bit like my post office set when I was a child.

It encouraged you to go on their website and use their inspirational tutorials but I think you might know me well enough by now to predict that I just started painting!

I bought a bathroom cabinet for £10 on a DIY store clearance shelf. It said it had a dirty mark on it, which it did, but that was the epiphany moment when I thought about the paint kit.

Firstly we painted the whole cabinet green after sanding it to enable the paint to key in. Andy looked a little alarmed - I could see him thinking 'why has she ruined that white cabinet with streaky green paint? Meg helped to do this first coat.

Secondly, Heidi added coats of grey after the green had dried. Not much of an improvement but the layers were building up.

Next you have to sand it on the edges revealing the green and in some areas the original white. Anywhere there is a pool of paint needs a smooth finish too. You have to be brave at this point. Too little sanding and it looks grubby, not enough and it looks like it needs another coat. The distressed look is a fine line to find.

The next stage is to use gilding paste to add metallic highlights. I have never used this before but on the tube it warned the user to add tiny amounts at a time. 

The top one had paste and the lower one does not have paste. It does add another dimension I feel.

The final part is to add a layer of clear wax. This stops the chalky finish from rubbing off. I have never done this on any furniture I have painted in the past and the paint has gradually worn off.I once asked a man in a second hand shop how he stopped the paint coming off and he said he always waxed it at the end.

I am really pleased with it and although I can't show it you in situ, for we do not have a bathroom yet, I can imagine it with a little trailing plant on the top. I was lucky because the mirror was removable avoiding any unsightly paint smudges. I mean for £10 - what is not to love? It is lovely paint but I know it is pricey stuff if I had to buy it myself. A dirty mark on the front, what dirty mark?

Ever tried anything like this? Any future tips?
Jo xxxx

Saturday, 10 August 2019

In and Out of Love

I have been slowly falling out of love with my fabric cupboard. It has become a pile of off cuts - many are too big to throw in the patchwork box but not enough to immediately think of what to make with them. Mixed within this pile of scraps are some clothing items I thought I could refashion but haven't got around to. 

I have some new pieces of fabric but there is not enough room to put them up neatly. The dross is hogging the shelf. Hmmmm...

The first thing I attacked out of the pile was a vintage handmade sundress given to me by a friend. I tried it on as a dress but it was pretty huge on me. I decided to hack it off into a skirt.

The fabric pattern and quality of the cotton was wonderful which is why I was hanging on to it. I am a sucker for ric rac too.

I normally make pencil skirts or A line skirts but I chose to go with the fabric within the skirt and add some front pleats. 

I added a waistband and an invisible zip. It already had pockets in it (bonus!) so I made sure they would still be functional.

All in all I like the skirt even though it is not my normal style - definitely a hot day skirt. I may turn it up a little bit more as I feel this length looks a little frumpy on me...

It is crying out for a white T-shirt but can you believe it, I haven't got one! I will give it a whirl for a few days while I sew something else from my nearly scraps pile. It is definitely better shorter...

Have you refashioned anything lately?
Jo xxx

Monday, 5 August 2019


Making - More of my Water Clover Summer top - should be ready in time for winter then!

Growing - Succulents in the garden. Very little care for a lot of joy I find.

Eating - Salmon Biryani.

Baking - Oat tray bake. Meg's first baking all on her own without me in the kitchen.

Building - I have been tiling the new house kitchen with my helper.

Disliking - How dry tiling and grouting makes your hands.

Buying - the new knobs for my new kitchen. In the end, the bold choice of 16 different ones was actually easier to make than trying to shoulder the responsibility of plumping for one pattern.

Thinking - about my new job in September. I am going back to teaching children two days a week and am really excited about it.

Loving - A new home project. Some freestyle crochet with T-shirt yarn, more on that later.

Wearing - Homemade summer dresses. 

Avoiding - Sorting out the office, so much old job paperwork to sift through.

Enjoying - Dog walks with a spot of weed picking by my girls.
Herb Robert, vetch, clover, wild buddliea and ox-eye daisies.

Finding - A few authentic bits and bobs from a seller at a Vintage Tractor Rally. You have to salvage something out of a day looking at machinery!

Knitting - a quick little knit for a baby from a free pattern on Ravelry. Used up two balls of yarn I had been given ages ago.

Going - for an animal experience with meerkats, a birthday treat for Heidi's 12th Birthday. We are going to hold them and everything!!!!

Fixing - school coats with fraying cuffs, lengthening school trousers, taking in jeans for slim girls and generally reducing  landfill from our own little part of the world.

Sewing - a PE bag for Megan. I tried salvaging her old one but it was just too darn dirty.

Deciding - Which order to place the colours in my next fair isle knit.

Looking - Forward to bloke and me having a few days to ourselves to crack on with some carpentry at the new build while big girl is at Guide camp and little one goes to the seaside with her nanny, great Aunt and Great Uncle(they will hate me for calling them that!).

Feeling - At peace with time much more this summer holiday.

Have a Good week. Jo xxx