Wednesday 30 October 2019


I fancied a bit of a sew a few weeks ago and I couldn't really muster enough motivation to have a cutting out session or indeed tidy away the kitchen table so that I could spread out some fabric so I rummaged around in my lingerie stash box and found a bra all ready cut out.

I surprise myself sometimes, there was a little freezer bag stuffed with all of this and a little note saying 'All ready to sew' 27/2/19. I do not actually recall doing this but it was indeed true!

I had even learnt from my last mistake of sewing a tricky piece the wrong way round which involved the hideous task of unpicking three stitch zig zag. This time, I had it all labelled lace edge, bridge edge and arm edge. 

I have been learning to make underwear for a long time now and I keep notes in a sewing notebook so that I can refer to sewing machine settings and elastic lengths between breaks. I have never used non stretch lace before so it was a new skill for me this time round. The lace was a piece I found in my grandmas old sewing box and I didn't want to throw it away, it was so small, however it was perfectly beautiful for this project.

The bra came together really easily and was such a pleasure to sew.

I made a kind of matching pair of knickers but my machine did not like this slinky fabric as much as the firmer tricot that was used for the bra but I persevered and they are comfy.

I was enjoying myself so much that the following week I delved a little deeper into the box and found another one all cut out but from a different pattern. 

This one was not so much of a breeze. The gauzy stretch fabric shifted about a lot against the slippy lining fabric. The centre bridge is a bit of a s***t sandwich but it is perfectly wearable.

I think I am done with this Kwik Sew pattern now. I have made a few which got me started but I much prefer the shape of the Malborough pattern in the first bra. 

To keep costs down, I always plunder parts from old bras that are leaving the drawer. A worn out navy M&S one was leaving to make way for my new spotty one but I have squirreled away the best bits for another time.

All of my underwear fabric and notions are from The Sewing Chest

Hope you have enjoyed my little sewing journey. Jo xxxx

Thursday 24 October 2019

All of the colours

My knitting mojo has left me and wandered off some place else. I have tried five times to start a new sweater and I have just had to put it away for a while before I totally loose the plot and bury the wool and the pattern in the garden. After each knitting failure, I made a few crochet motifs to cheer myself up. The scarf became more enjoyable than the sweater so it came together quickly 24 flowers later.

The pattern is called Summer Palace by Jane Crowfoot. I bought it at wonderwool in Wales in the Spring after seeing a beautiful sample shawl on a mannequin. My friend Chantal said she loved it but she can't crochet. I sneakily bought the pattern while she wasn't looking therefore this scarf is her surprise Christmas present.

This is it before blocking. It looks better after blocking but I have a feeling that I might have a few too many stitches around the edges because I went off pattern for the border.

I did make some changes. I used acrylic DK leftovers instead of 4ply for a 'brights' version to stash bust some leftovers. I made two rows of motifs to get a chunky scarf rather than an ethereal shawl. I think she would get more wear out of this style.

The edges were better after blocking and the 3D flower motifs pulled out some spaces which gave them better definition and allowed for the border to have some room.

Tied as a scarf it is really nice and chunky around the neck.

These tags are new. They were 40p from the Minerva Crafts sale. I just popped them on the end of an order I was making so it seemed a good buy. They are lovely quality and a real finishing touch to a homemade gift.

First of my making presents done ready for December. Whooo!

Thank you for all the dress love you expressed on my last post, it really was appreciated.

Thanks for calling in. Any making plans? Jo xxxx

Saturday 19 October 2019

Winter Vintage Pattern

 It has been a long time since I have delved into my vintage pattern collection and I fancied a winter dress, something cosy, that I could wear to work. I have never made this pattern before but it looked perfect. When I say this, it looked perfect this time last year when I actually cut it out however, I never got around to sewing it up and then Spring arrived!

It is such a treat to have a dress all cut out in a bag with the zip, thread and darts already marked. I took about an hour and a half to sew up. The fabric is a thick ponte roma jersey from Abakhan and cost me £14 for a two metre piece. I knew I would be using it to make a retro winter dress so the pattern seemed ideal. Navy and green are my favourite colours.

Sewing with Ponte Roma is a great way to get started with sewing jersey because you can cut it with pinking shears and it does not fray. Also, there is a little stretch for fitting but nothing that causes problems under the sewing machine. The dress has a zip and raglan sleeves which means it is not a swinging sack. There is also further shaping with a combination of waist and bust darts. I moved the bust darts up a fraction.

Worn with navy tights and my green clogs I am the epitome of the phrase 'blue and green should never be seen...' but I love it.

Beano thought it was a good combo too!


It is indeed the dress I imagined in my head when I bought the fabric and it will be a winter keeper for a good few years to come. I wore it to work on Friday and it was super comfortable.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxxx

Tuesday 15 October 2019


I have been on a bit of a self enforced go slow. Life was getting too hectic.

I have settled into two and half days work leaving the weekends to be with the girls, Sunday to be altogether as a family and the week days to do long over due jobs, but only my own and for people I really like! 

I have been careful though to make part of each day when I am here on my own a time for enjoying being on my own because I know that when everyone gets back from work and school my day will get busy again. I had been trying to do lots in the day but found that on reflection the busiest time was actually between 3:30-7:30 pm so I was feeling well and truly burnt out. Best to save my energy for later and try not to buy time and get ahead because that never exists.

For the last two weeks I have allowed myself, yes that is the frame of mind I am in, to do some scrapbooking. Photos have piled up in packets. I used to be an avid scrapbooker when the children were small and they had a nap in the afternoons but time has moved on of course.

It is funny how quickly a holiday you thought you had only just had was actually over a year ago. The children's faces have changed already from the photos starting at me now, to the ones that will sit at the dinner table tonight. I don't want to lose the stories and the memories and the do-you-remember-whens.

I have lots of paper crafting materials to use up. A few afternoons have consisted of a very precious hour listening to the radio and catching up with memories.

Do you still print out photos in this digital age?

Thanks for dropping in on your busy week. Jo xxx

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Starting - A new crochet project to bust some more stash while making a gift.

Making - A notice board and a lampshade for Little M's new bedroom.

Baking - A game pie for a birthday treat meal.

Building - The last phase of the inglenook fireplace. This is the TV shelf which I have just waxed. We can choose to stare at the fire, watch TV or ogle the view from the picture window all from the sofa.

Buying - Bathroom tiles for the new house. Plain white; my brain and wallet are fried!

Disliking - Taking the dog to the vets for induced vomiting after he ate 28 ibuprofen. He is fine. I still have back ache. The following week he ate two raw pheasant breasts from the chopping board while I made the pie. Something needs to be done. 

Loving - Autumn sunsets from our middle floor windows.

Knitting - Trying to get my new sweater started but I need my mum. I have cast on four, make that five, six times! GRRRRR

Going - To the park then to Bella Italia for Megan's 10th birthday.

Wearing - Boots and tights for the new season.

Sewing - The last three blocks of my postage stamp quilt.

Cutting - New pieces for a New House quilted bed runner.

Avoiding - Doing stuff for other people who can do it perfectly well for themselves.

Deciding - On some fun things to start making for December gifts (you know the C word)

Thinking - I love October, the clear skies, family birthdays and warm casseroles.

Feeling - Hunkered down for Autumn.

Have a Good week. Jo xxx

Wednesday 2 October 2019


I have been plodding on with my postage stamp quilt. Not plodding because I don't like doing it, but because I have a long deadline on this one - a couple of years - so there is no rush. 

It is hard to work out how much fabric will be needed but you just have to be brave and keep sewing. Making it over a long period actually helps. Friends chip in with a sandwich bag of bits every now and again and there always seems to be another pattern to incorporate. The key is not great quantities of material but a humongous range of colours and patterns. Each block has 64 squares where there are only a few repeats in each block. I have five more  blocks to go (I think) and I needed to cut out more fabrics. I did hold some pieces back from my original cutting session at the beginning to ensure there was a spread of fabrics throughout.
I alss saw this little pack the other day on a craft stall which was ideal fodder.

The thing is, I only want small pieces, the crumbs if you will. I don't want to just cut out lots of teeny squares from a large piece. This led to one huge cutting out session to force out little bits from my stash. In my head, I now have five quilt designs!

The tin holds the postage squares. The next pile is fabric I would like to save for future variations all with a very floral traditional theme. The pile with the green roll on top are larger pieces which would be too wasteful to cut into yet until I have a plan for them.They are also big enough for pocket facings or make up bag linings. There is a pile of solid colours, more than I thought actually, for a half square triangle rainbow quilt.

This one is a little stack 9x9cm squares. Whatever was left over from each piece made more tiny squares until it was all gone.

Finally, I ended up with a pile of strips for a crazy quilt. This is a couple of years worth of quilting but now they are all in separate boxes I can keep adding to them as the off cuts keep coming.

Five more blocks to go, exciting stuff. Jo xxxx