Thursday 30 April 2020

All done Cactus #29

My all done posts recognise my efforts to use every last scrap of crafting materials to the very end to avoid hoarding rubbish. It usually takes time to use up a whole piece of fabric but this one was just too damn popular.

This fabric is from Minerva blogger fabric from which I made a dress for my big girl. She chose it from their website. She has had one of these skater style dresses made for her every year for the last three years. It is from Mcalls M7079 - this pattern has earned its money.

 It has a simple folded over hem for the neck which I didn't think would not be very good but it turned out just fine.

She also asked for another repeat pattern which is a top from my favourite Ottobre magazine Autumn 2012. We have made many of these tops sometimes using up different coloured scraps for different parts.

The neckline on this is my favourite way to bind a T-shirt. 

There was one sizable piece left over so we made a cropped vest top for my god daughter's 14th Birthday. We are unable to go out and get her a present at the moment therefore we thought we could make her something fun. Last year we bought her three cactus for her new bedroom window sill. 

This uses another method for a neck binding where you make a neckband which is attached to the raw edge, then you top stitch it on the second pass through the machine.

It is lock down after all and making a pair of succulent knickers seemed the most sane thing I could do with the rest of the fabric although I didn't have a thread match. They are fun and very comfortable. If I get in a bad mood, I can sense that my family will ask if it is because I am wearing my cactus pants!

Finally, Heidi salvaged the last too strips to make headbands for both her and her sister. There were literally slivers left over.

I am definitely all done with this modern cactus print fabric by Rico from Minerva. Which was your favourite make?

Stay safe all. Jo xxx

Saturday 25 April 2020


It was the turn of my girls to sort out their clothes this week. We don't buy many clothes for our girls and for someone who loves to sew, I don't make many for them either because my bestie has three girls older than mine therefore we have a constant stream of lovely things season to season.

However, they do sometimes need a little TLC. I wondered why Heidi had put these two lovely T-shirts on the 'giving away' pile but it turned out she said the necklines were too low. There was another yellow t-shirt which had frilly sleeves which she didn't care for either so we took the applique off the front, and cut the hem off the yellow t-shirt to make faux tops along the low neckline. Solved.

She happened to like the applique from the yellow T-shirt so this was sewn onto a plan white T-shirt after I had unpicked the pocket. Saved.

"Why don't you wear this tunic anymore Heidi?" she replied, "The cherries are coming off and I don't want to lose them." I hand sewed it on, problem solved.

The next save is a little more technical but a skill I have used often. She loved this sweatshirt but it was a cropped style which she doesn't like. At the moment the hem is on her jeans waistband and she likes this boxy style but the sleeves are of course too long because it is meant for an older girl to wear cropped. No problem I said, I can shorten the sleeves and you can wear it now before it gets too short.

I cut the cuff bands off the sweater, cut along the cuff seam and turned them inside out to reveal clean fabric and re-seamed them. It was fine to lose a little seam allowance as they had stretched out a bit anyway. I cut some fabric off the main sleeves and then sewed a gradual line from the armhole to the cuff to make a narrower cuff opening then sewed the ribbed cuffs back on. Hey presto!

Megan loved this T-shirt and actually remembered us buying it - she remembered we had bought it when we went to Buxton two years ago. I didn't remember! Anyway it will be her last summer wearing it but it had a stubborn chocolate stain right on the front. I suggested we sew a little cluster of seed beads over the top to cover it up because there were other beads on the insects. Can you spot it? 

A very successful afternoon of repairing. 

Hope you are all well. Jo xxx

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Mostly Making

I am feeling the need to sew things that are different to just choosing a pattern and sewing it up - I need the crazy, creative buzz I love. To set myself a mini challenge, I emptied all the little bits of jersey I had onto the floor...

With it, I have made these rather cute baby leggings.

I have been working with this little pile of jersey scraps for a week now. It goes a surprisingly long way with baby wear. There are also a few cut up T-shirts in there too to get neckbands cut out on the stretchy grain.

It was fun to make leg cuffs from different fabrics and really keep the sewing challenge alive. I have two friends who are having babies in May and June and my heart really goes out to them at the moment. I am making lots of little hand made things which I will send in a cotton pump bag so they can put them in the washing machine before opening them. Here is a little cuteness gallery for you to indulge in:

Because I am using up Jersey scraps I had to have a cut down the centre front of this one but other than that it is the perfect little tunic top. The gather on the waist is done with two rows of shirring elastic on the machine, it looks very effective.
All of these patterns come from the Autumn 2012 Ottobre magazine: my favourite one which hass currently been reprinted.

The cuffs were pretty fiddly on a mini sweat top that is only the length of a ruler but it was such a satisfying sew.

I knew I could re purpose the last of my jersey dress. This was a great set to make. 

This is the same as the floral one but with plain T-shirt sleeves instead of the detailed gathered ones. Still gorgeous though!

Finally I remembered what a pig this fabric was to sew in the first instance when I madea complete mess of a set of PJ's for myself in it about 3 years ago. I persevered. The sleeves are a little stretched out across the grain but the leggings were fine??

It is quite addictive making a little item each day to completion.

Stay safe. Jo xx

Thursday 16 April 2020

Knitting without Sleeves

A little more baby knitting to use up yarn that has made its way to the very bottom of the yarn basket. I also got the chance to use my new stitch markers which my aunt made for me and sent in the post - we are a making and sharing kind of family.

This is Sirdar Amalfi which another aunt gave me for my birthday in January. She had bought it in sale bin but then had not found the right project to use it. In all honesty, I was not sure myself but I had one of those rare surprises where the garment looked 100 times better than I thought it would. It is a kind of lilac grey with flecks of pink and jade, it looks so much prettier in real life. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting it.

The pattern is from ravelry. It is about £5 but I have knit four of these since buying the pattern when Megan was 2 - she is now 10. The sizes go from aged 2 to aged 8 so it is a good value pattern and superbly written. 

This top was aged 2 size and used two 50g balls of the yarn. I made a flower with the last bit but didn't add a button for the centre because it is for a one year old birthday gift - her mum can add one if she wants to. I posted the top along with the last ball so that the little girl's grandma can knit her a hat. I am not sure on the sizing to make one myself so I thought it best to just move the ball on to the next person.

My tension was really even with this slippy cotton and viscose mix - that or I am just really relaxed being at home!

Thanks for dropping by. Love to you all. Jo xxx

Monday 13 April 2020

Yay! for my girl

Seriously, please cheer 'hooray' for my girl. She has spent two years making this embroidery hoop which she received as a Christmas present. Isn't it amazing?

She really wanted to learn all of the new stitches: french knots, lazy daisy stitch, chain stitch, star stitch, stem stitch and those little buttonhole stitches in the bottom left hand corner. The only part I did was most of the stem stitch swirls to get her motivated to decorate them. She is 12 and I am so proud of her endeavour. The kit is from a French company called Un chat dans l'aiguille. It was given to her by my late dad and his wife, Chantal, who is french. The designs on the website are divine - just look even if you don't want one! 

Megan had one too so it is time to teach another girl all of the stitches all over again! I can't think of a better thing to do in lock down can you?

Love Jo xxx

Wednesday 8 April 2020

 Sewing, clearing and sorting...

My sewing machine has been a saviour. I have really enjoyed making some things with the resources I have. As many of you have probably done over the last week, I have cleared out my wardrobe. Some things went into a charity bag, some went for fabric recycling and some I put on a special pile for refashioning.

This dress is an ideal example: I made it, I wore it a lot when I worked in an office where I was sat down a lot but I never really knew what to wear on my feet with it and the jersey always stuck rigidly to my tights. I tried a petticoat while moving around in my new job in a classroom but it just rode up to my waist due to the tight fit across the bum. The fabric is such wonderful quality - so thick and warm and not a bit of pilling in sight after two years of washing. 

I found a small piece of the fabric in my jersey scrap bag which was just enough to make a hem band. Ta dah! a new top. I did try and make a skirt from the bottom because it had a lovely faced hem but it was just a bit too short for a 47 year old! I still kept it though because it was such good fabric.

Fixing, adjusting and rectifying...

Next up I tackled a Monsoon cord skirt which I bought in the January sale for £12 just before Tilly and the Buttons put out her Bobbi skirt pattern of the same style. It was a size 14 but in reality it was too big - and I knew it. I unpicked a bit of the waistband facing and sides then sewed a smooth line to take in the waist and hips. What a save.

Cutting, using and deciding...

Next, I had a good sort out in my craft cupboard. I swooped onto the kitchen table before anymore 'home learning' took place, like the proverbial German with a beach towel - except mine was fabric. 

I cut out 5 items, mostly from left over fabrics and one nice new cactus jersey from Minerva which arrived before lock down.

Finding, making and loving...

Megan has soap making supplies. She had them for her birthday when she was eight, she loves making it. She made two bars of soap with some shea butter in to try to save our dry hands from washing them all the time. They were very successful and fragrant.

Baking, eating and learning...

I tell you what, this girl can knock up a brilliant coffee cake all on her own - it was delicious. I promised she could bake after she had done her school work.

Knitting, crafting and relaxing...

I have finished a little boys tank top. The yarn was different thicknesses which gave it a really nice texture. There is also a yarn cake which I had as a Christmas present, it is being crocheted into a simple triangle for a scarf. 

Finally, some endeavour from my fella. He has painted the lounge. He was going to paint all the woodwork in the house too but after a day with a bucket of hot soapy water it turns out all our house needed was cleaning! ha ha

Maybe if you are low on fabric or notions you could refashion something you already own? 

Stay Safe. Jo xxx