Saturday, 13 November 2010

reversible dress

 I wanted to make a dress to go with the shoes - The fact it is reversible is of no practical use whatsoever , I just had that idea stuck in my head and I had to do it. I had to line it with something anyway so it did not take much longer to do it that way.

The pattern I used was the retro-re-do dress by korpfan  which is free on the burdastyle site. I had to use a pattern as I have no idea what size and shape baby girls are! This was evident when I printed the pattern, cut the fabiric and almost completed the dress before reatining that something was very wrong - I had altered the settings on the printer and printed it out 20% to small! If anyone has a use for a dolls dress let me know! Anyway - I had to start again with very little fabric - I just managed to squeeze in the floral side but had to make the top of the pink side from the floral fabric - it looks like it was ment to be that way - honestly! The pink semicircles on the floral side are little pockets. The pattern suggests using fake buttons on the straps - I used poppers to keep it reversible and also because my material was not stretchy and I thought that the babies head might not fit through.anyway - all done and sent off - I hope she likes it!

Friday, 12 November 2010

tiny wee baby shoes

My cousin has just had a wee baby girl, more babies in the family is always a good thing , and, at last, a wee girl to make cute girly dresses for. I saw this clever little pattern for shoes from sweet pea patterns on etsy a few months ago - I am so pleased to have a reason to make them now. The detailed PDF instructions look complex but when you actually get down to it they were quite easy to do and not as fiddly as I had thought. I did initially make 2 right shoes by putting the sole on one upside down  but it was easily solved. I made the 6-9m size as I know how quickly james grew out of the smaller shoe sizes. I made a few changes to the pattern - I did not have any interfacing so I just used an extra layer of fabric - this made the shoes nice and soft but next time i will try them with the interfacing. I also did not fancy the idea of using glue as i wanted the shoes to be machine washable and safe to chew so i just omitted it from the uppers with no ill effect and used 2 small velcro circles stitched to the  cross strap as fastenings rather than attaching them to felt circles. it took a couple of hours to do both of them (including time spent unpicking and restitching the sole I put on the wrong way round). they are totally reversible. I like the pink side best - they look a bit like ballet shoes. 2 more of my friends are having babies this month - I hope they are all girls so i can make more of these!                                                                                          


 Winter has arrived - All of a Sudden - I think autumn lasted for about 4 days with its mists and mellow fruitfulness and now bleak novembers win's ensuin, baith snell an' keen. James has only 2 pairs of long tousers - both jeans and both getting a bit small for him.

I had had these tweed trousers for a couple of years - I did not realise when  I bought them that they were a hideous fashion disaster, but fortunatly for me, I worked in a pub at the time and the regulars there were only to happy to to tell me. Phew. I have not worn them since.

I used the pattern i had made for the blue linen short dungarees, just made it a bit bigger - far to big in fact - I had to trim 4 cm off each of the legs fold up a big flap in the front that then became the waist band. The waist band looks quite smart - I will try to copy it in future projects - it was a lucky mistake!

! used the pocket flap from the trousers fro the front pocket, everything went a bit skewif with the single welt pocket entrance under the flap - but nevermind, the flap hides it all. I used 3 buttons from the trousers on the front but the dog chewed off and ate the pocket button so that was replaced with the only other spare button i had - a big flat tarnished brass one

I am pretty pleased with this - it turned out way better than I expected. Its a shame james wouldn't pose for a proper picture of the front, he has now poked a hole in the front of one of the legs where the material was damaged from before so the dungarees are patched now and decidedly less smart

Monday, 8 November 2010


"I've just spilt my dinner all down the tunic - you dont mind do you ,mum?"

james' first halloween outfit (we did not bother last year). its a lot of effort for at best 2 or three parties, but a great opportunity to let imagination run wild I sent Mr midnite to mandors to get the material - ! m for the tunic and 1.5 m for the hat and cape and 20cm gold material for the trim. he misunderstood (how?) and came back with 2.5 m of the ridiculously stretchy dark blue material - perfect for the hat and cape but an old bedsheet had to be sacrificed to finish the tunic.

I made the tunic first - based on a well fitting sleeping bag as a pattern with  short sleeves added - the gold material proved very difficult to handle - it frayed like crazy and seemed to have a life of its own - I eventually beat it into submission and used it to bind the neck and sleves and trim the hem. the tunic was a pretty tight fit but I added elastic at the waist to give it some shape.

the cape was also based to the sleeping bag as a pattern - I added wedge shapes to the seams to make it flare out at the bottom and flared wizardy sleeves - the gold cuff on the sleeves were sewn in right at the start so all the seam are included in the sleeve seams and they turned out really neat. I finished the neck line by draping it over james and seeing where it lay best without rolling over. The sleeves are lined in red lining and the rest is lined in the old blue bed sheet . I found a tutorial online (if I find it I will add a link) about how to sew a lining into something with sleeves - somewhere along the line I went wrong and ended up with a twist so I had to cut, untwist and resew the inner lining - cape done - Phew!

The hat was a family effort with Mr M in charge of drawing the patterns and doing the maths. the rim was made out of thick corrugated cardboard - 2 discs of the covering material were cut and stitched right sides together on the outside of the circle - this was then turned the right way round and slipped over the rim. Mr M made a brown paper template for the shape of the cone. I cut one shape from the stretch material sewed the edge of the cone and then hand stitched the bottom to the cope. I the stitched the brown paper pattern to the lining material and made a cone that I sat inside the other cone with the paper sandwiched between the 2 materials. I placed a stitch to hold the tips together and hand sewed it at the base with all the seams covered. the brown paper helps the cone to keep its shape but allows it to be moulded it a more crooked shape if required.

with all the sewing done james threw a huge tantrum when I put it on him the first time but soon settled down - I had made the hat too small and it did not sit on his head but as you can see from the photos he was quite happy to hold it there as long as required.

Monday, 27 September 2010


I have finally finished that lovely simplicty pattern 2539 - Mr midnight fixed the sewing machine, well just about, the light now goes out when i press the foot pedal and the off/on switch only controls the light and not the sewing but other than that it works like a dream. I have almost forgiven laika. This pattern was pretty easy to make and I really like the results. I had to buy more material as a pen leaked in the bag it was stored it whilst the machine was out of action. I was not sure how to do the gather stitches but just increased the stitch size and it seemed to work pretty well. I could have done with gathering a bit tighter though - next time. The twisted neck was easy to do but it did take me a while to get it to look even - i perhaps fiddled with it a bit too much... I really like this print - I reckon it will look pretty good under a cardy for the autumn.

Saturday, 25 September 2010


the wee fabric shop in WK has gone quilting crazy - its all craft cottons and fat quarters. There will be a lot of warm people in north ayrshire this winter! the fabric range has increased though and there are some pretty prints. This blue print caught my eye - I bought 1 metre. I fear I may have made a grave error. the lady in the shop commented as I bought it that she had just made a quilt from the same material last week and looked at me askance when I told her I planned to make a shirt. Having made it i wonder if she had a point - looking at the finished article ( which in terms of seams and finish, fit and neatness I am very happy with)  cant get past the fact that the fabric may have been better used making cushion covers. perhaps it will grow on me. She also hinted that 1 metre may not be enough - Its a common mistake I make - not buying enough material, but, I was determined to make it fit this time and did not fancy going back to get more. I bought the pattern (butterwick 5934) in a secondhand book shop for 20p and adapted it to fit the lenght of fabric I had - I had to make the underside of the collar in blue linen and made the waist tie out of five left over scraps. The fabric left over at the end would just about fit in a match box.
This was my first experience of using a printed pattern. I loved the huge seam allowance and the fact that everything fitted and matched perfectly. I have never made collars or the wee bit on the front where the buttons go before. It looked complex but following the patten everything worked out beautifully. I learnt a lot from this. I am really pleased with the neatness of the finish on this - I am definitely improving!! It fits really well - I will use this pattern again but with a different fabric! untill then I shall be a walking cushion cover.

Friday, 10 September 2010


the dog has just eaten an important part of my sewing machine - I am so not happy with her right now

Monday, 6 September 2010

new project

I have just ordered simplicity pattern 2593 online after seeing the top on the burdastyle site - cant remenber where exactly - I am pretty excited about this but I have to make a waistcoat for Mr Midnite first - better get cracking - He wants me to copy exactly one he already has that is falling apart (hmm, a theme is emerging). It looks simple enough but I wont get away with odd baggyness like I did with the PJs. I finished my first pattern made top a few days ago - I tried to get some photos but I just looked huge in all of them., Mr M assured me that it's just a fault with the camera - i will post them up when the camera is fixed! (eating mainly salad this week)

Friday, 3 September 2010

bramble picking

went out for a walk and got loads of brambles - It was a lovely tranquil evening - the photos dont do it justice - made some pretty good bramble jelly too

Thursday, 2 September 2010

pyjamas for Mr Midnite

gone are the days when mr midnite was more likely to be wearing ray-bans than pjs at midnite. he cares more about his jammys than the jamms these days - and he is fussy.. When I offered to make him a new pair of pyjamas he immediately requested that i exactly copy a pair he got from Marks at Christmas time. They looked pretty complicated with elastic and a tie cord at the waist, a concealed button fly and in seam pockets at both sides. I like things simple and suggested that we leave out some of these details, Mr M argued that he needed the in seam pockets to keep his hands warm when he takes the dog out during the night - he is pretty good about doing this so I did not like to argue. I did not feel qualified to make any suggestions about the concealed button fly and decided that elastic and a tie cord may come in handy if they are too baggy so I left that in too. I found a good tutorial for the pockets. The rest I just muddled through with.
I used seersucker cotton that was on sale in Mandors for 99p per metre. I thought seersucker sounded like some mythical creature but according to wikipeadia it comes from the persian for milk and sugar (smooth and crinkly).
  I copied the Marks pjs by using the stripes as a reference point and making lots of measurements - it was pretty complicated and got quite confusing. I had not bought enough material initially so had to add on the waist band and lower hems as separate pieces . the pockets worked well and were not too difficult to do, the fly was a bit fiddly and i made a few errors but the end result was good - I tried them on, they are a bit baggy around the front and I cant see how best to rectify this, but, boy, are they comfortable - I may steal them.
Mr Midnite was not keen to pose for photos in them - hence the washing line - the pair I made are the dark brown ones - the grey ones are the ones I copied - I put them in for comparison

Monday, 30 August 2010

For Me!! (lets face it, thats what this is all about)

love this pattern (it was free) – its really simple and quick to make. this is my second project and I’m learning as I go along. the material i had was exactly the right length for the medium size pattern but I possibly should have used the large size for width as its a bit tight at the hips. I wasn’t quite sure that I was doing with the neck (neck lines are definitely a problem area for me. initially the neck band stuck up like the ring of a cake tin (much smaller than a cake tin but you get the picture), Perhaps this was because it was not a stretchy material. I overstiched the hems with zig zags (not sure i did this right-see photo) and this helped a little but it still wasn’t right so then i doubled the neck piece over and stitched it down so it was half the size – I am relatively happy with it now – its still a bit cake tinny – just half as noticeable. At the lower hem the material got a bit wayward and did not want to lie the way it was instructed too. in the end i won but not without a few creases hear and there. I have since discovered a tutorial on that would have helped with this. I made the tie longer so the ends show – I quite like the way that looks. All in all I’m pretty pleased with this – its wearable even if its not quite what it could have been – I will make it again soon. Its called flowers at midnight as I always sew late at night when my wee boy is asleep ( he loves to play with the presser foot whilst I sew – not helpful), hence the dark circles round my eyes by the time it was finished!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

what i made first

I made these short linen dungarees for my wee boy to wear this summer. I had trouble finding patterns for boys clothes that i likes so i made this pattern from a mixture of ideas from dungarees he had been given and some projects from burdastyle. I tried to make then as simple as possible. I was not totally happy with the way the straps joined to the back section – there has got to be a neater way of doing this, also the back section gapes very slightly – perhaps i need to increase the overlap between the back and front sections or take a tuck somewhere . I thought the little tucks at the back of the waist might look a bit girly, but I think they look pretty good on
i used linen because i thought it would be cool in summer also its really easy to sew. I bought 1m and used a little over half of that. the 2 buttons are the only decoration so far but i might add pockets.
if anyone has any advice on how to improve on this?.

how and why I got started

I think i'll put up all my work so far for the sake of completeness - a frustration with the cost and quality of clothes for sale in local shops lead me to get the sewing machine serviced - I dont think that they make clothes for people like me anymore - searching on the internet for patterns I came across the burda style website, there is so much on there to be inspired by, I use it a lot. An expedition to Mandors up in Glasgow yielded a satisfying pile of interesting and cheap fabric. Im going to attempt to make things that will be useful - the temptation is to make swirly floaty dresses that i can pose in front of the mirror with but will never wear outside - I am going to try not to.

the first thing I tried to make was i copy a nice top my mum had got for me from white stuff . It was more complicated than it looked - especially the neck line - I just can't get my head around how to fit the pieces together. I used some fairly minging shiny cotton because it was cheap and i knew my experiments were likely to be unwearable - I have 2 versions of this piece - both with different and unfinished necklines - some kind of sewing textbook would be useful, i will keep my eyes peeled. anyway - a learn a lot - about the materail, seams, the machine etc from making these - time to attempt the good stuff i think!


I have just started sewing and am not a natural talent. nevertheless i hope to keep banging out slightly misshapen but ultimately wearable projects and learn fast from my mistakes and almost mistakes. my machine is my mother -in-laws NEW HOME 535 - it has 'temperament' ,oh yes indeedy, but it also does zig zag stitch (!!wow!!) so all is forgiven. you have got to love technology.
apart from my sewing machine I also have james, my wee boy, Mr Midnite, my hard-working other half and laika, my space dog in my life. hope fully all of them will soon be sporting my creations and gracing the pages of this blog