Clothing · Sewing Projects

Top of cloudy wonder

hello people! I am back from hibernation. And I’ve made myself a cracker of a top. I have literally just finished stitching it and already I love it. My top of cloudy wonder.


Woah, massive poor quality selfie there. Sorry. But still, I love the top.

I’ve wanted a quirky raglan sleeve top for ages but couldn’t find one in the shops didn’t look that hard to be honest as I hate shopping and decided to do a bit of browsing on and found some lovely navy stretch jersey and some even lovelier bashful cloud jersey. Order made, I got the fabric delivered and as is now traditional, left it for about 4 months before I was brace enough to cut into it.

the pattern is…MY OWN. Yeah, amazeballs, right? It’s the same one I’ve used to make a few short sleeve tops and I cobbled the body and short sleeves together with sleeves from a GBSB pattern, just made narrower. I also narrowed the body pattern pieces as they were too wide, and raised the neck as the tops I’ve made are lower cut and suitable for tops but not for this jumper type thing I was hoping to make.

pattern cut, fabric cut, I then left the pieces for another traditional rest. Just a month this time.  After the rest, I tacked the sleeves and body pieces together to check the fit, and it was great so I didn’t need to tailor it or cut it any further. I’ve resisted tacking and trying on in the past as I thought it was a bit of a waste of time in the past, but it really helped knowing the top would fit before I sewed it up as I hate having to unstitch and restitch and YAWN.

I also decided to buy some stretch needles as I thought I probably should. Never used them before, I wasn’t really convinced there would be much difference in the stitching. Well HOW WRONG COULD I BE? This stitched like a DREAM with the proper stretch material needles. Who knew.


so, it came about easily enough. I used navy for the cuffs and body and the clouds for the sleeves and collar.  I only had one minor WTF moment when I pinned the hem cuff to the wrong side and had to unpin and repin. It was a 20 minute waste of time but I pushed on through and out it all back together the right way eventually.

IMG_0503I top stitched the cuffs because I like it

IMG_0504Not that you can see it. But it’s there and neat. Ah, look a top those bashful clouds. Lovely. And I did a double line of stitching along the collar. Not quite as neatly as I wanted but it’s good enough*

IMG_0505And that was that.

It is really comfortable and flattering to wear. My cloudy top of loveliness.


* good enough is, I’ve finally realised, actually good enough. I don’t need to see things perfectly in order to wear them. I mean, it’s not like clothes I buy are perfect. So why expect ridiculously high standards from myself when I don’t expect it from ready to wear clothes? Good enough is good enough.

Clothing · Clothing the children · Sewing Projects

One Day Hoodie

I’ve called this the One Day Hoodie because it only took me one day to make. And also because hopefully one day my daughter will like it…imageIt is another item from the Ottobre magazine I bought, with fabric chosen by the girl herself. It was meant to be completely in the star material but for some completely unknown reason I only bought half a metre of it so I had to improvise and use the cat jersey I’d bought (again half a metre of it. Why so little? Search me. Can’t remember why. Sleep deprivation or general all round madness resulting in reluctance to buy enough fabric.) for a skirt for her. I did check with her, made sure she was happy with this turn of events. She confirmed she was. And promised to wear the jumper.

Aaaaaaanyway, we all know how that works out.

back to the pattern. What I’ve learnt is that Ottobre magazine has some really lovely patterns. But boy, their instructions are on the light side.

imageThat bottom 1/3 of the page? That is the full set of instructions for the top. I figured out the cuffs no problem

imageAnd I I actually really love how neat they are.

but the hood? That took a bit of puzzling. I have to admit to doing a bit of deep thinking about attaching the hood while settling the boy when he grumbled a bit in the evening. Finally, I just decided to go with what seemed right and it worked out ok

imageThere’s a bit of…rusticness about the edging of the hood. But it looks fine to me. The jumper is in a lovely soft sweatshirt and it just kept curling at the edges. Not to worry, if I wanted perfect then I’d have bought something in the shop.

all in all, it’s a lovely pattern and was surprisingly quick and simple to put together. The difficult bit now will be getting her to wear it…

Clothing · Clothing the children · Sewing Projects

Small top for a small boy

I made a top in 24hrs for the boy. It’s a raglan sleeve jersey knit top, using an Ottobre Autumn 2016 magazine pattern and I love this. I decided that it was time the boy had some home seen clothes, seeing as his sister has so many skirts and dresses. And I spotted the Ottobre magazine in a paper shop a few weeks ago and that sewed the seed in my mind. However, I didn’t buy the magazine. ROOKIE ERROR. My head was full of the cute patterns and designs in the magazine, including a hoodie design I’d earmarked for the girl, but I didn’t have the magazine…

i bought jersey fabric from, a cute circus design and a knight design for the boy, purple star sweatshirt and grey cat jersey for the girl. All ready to make the patterns from Ottobre. BUT I DIDNT HAVE THE MAGAZINE.

i merrily went to the paper shop a fortnight ago to buy the magazine. But wait…THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE MAGAZINE?! Aaaargh!

Eventually, I managed to buy it from – ordered last weekend and received it on Thursday. Excellent service. And THE JOY, all the lovely patterns were there.

imageLast night I traced out the pattern, cut out the fabric (which I had already dutifully washed and dried, which is very unusual for me, I know) and today in between boy nap time and the odd twenty minutes here and there, I pinned the pieces together and sewed it up. I have to admit here that I didn’t follow the instructions. As in I didn’t follow the instructions AT ALL. They seemed pretty sparse to me and I just thought, meh, I’ll figure it out. Im sure the neck could have been neater. I’ve realised I pigging HATE bias binding. Especially jersey stretch bias binding. But I’m still completely thrilled with this top. Go me!


I love the raglan sleeves


And the cuffs were meant to be jersey rib or what have you, but I just thought that the same fabric would look nice. Remind me that it was my choice if it stretches…


and the bonus is that the boy is too young to refuse to wear the top. So no refusing to put it on like his big sister. Win!


Clothing · Sewing Projects

Made a Pencil Skirt (3 years in the making)

is this a record for having fabric in a stash earmarked for a certain project? I bought the Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe about three years ago. Shortly after, once I decided I wanted a pencil skirt, I bought a ridiculous amount of tartan fabric to use. And then left it neatly folded in a bag until a fortnight ago. I know. I had even traced the pattern very carefully onto some plastic tracing paper which was also neatly folded in the bag. I know.

It took until a fortnight ago for me to build up the courage to make the skirt. I realised that the fabric was being wasted and I had now made a few items that I actually wear regularly, so there was no point waiting any longer.

so here it is!

imageI am SO chuffed with this, with some reservations. I followed the size guide in the book, which was something like an 18 (waist is 31.5 inches) but when I put it on before doing the zip and facing, it immediately slipped off me. It’s possible I’ve not used the right seam allowance, but I had to take just over an inch off each side and it is still loose. I’ve lost the pencil shape as well, the exaggerated shape didn’t suit me but that could be down to the pattern too.

I struggled with some of the instructions too.

I shall add the zip and kick flare whatsit to the “WTF now?” files. There was some instruction about how to stitch the kick flare thing which I genuinely ignored as I didn’t understand what it was going about with regards to overlapping and what have you. I read and read it. NOT A CLUE. Rather than dissolve into a hot tearful mess, I just ignored it and stitched it the way that made sense to me. It looks fine.

then the zip. Again, I read it. I looked at my zip. I looked at the fabric. I read the book. I closed the book and just sewed the zip in how I wanted to. Again, it looks fine. The pattern calls for an invisible zip. CLUELESS over here just had a grey zip. And I wasn’t sure how far up I was meant to have the zip. What’s that about a hook-and-eye closure? Pfft, I ignored that too. Whatever. Looks fine.

i am really pleased with my darts though.


And my facing has epic pattern I matching (and the side seams although that is harder to show). I’ve not interfaced it and not ironed/pressed anything (come on, let’s be honest, I never do and it’s only once I’m half way through that I remember I should have done this and possibly even pre washed but then I ignore those thoughts and they go away) so hopefully once I wear it, the facing will settle down.


I love it. I’m going to wear it with purple tights, natty shoes and a black top. And an insufferable smug look on my face.

Alterations · Clothing · Uncategorized

Alteration! (Or: I want to wear this tomorrow, but not as a dress)


about five years ago, I bought this lovely dress. I’d had a baby (daughter E, now five) and wanted something light and summery I could wear that also let me breast feed. I’d decided that I was going to wear dresses, that summer of maternity leave, and possibly gladiator sandals, with my hair perfectly tousled and some understated yet on-trend sunglasses balanced on my head. This dress fit that picture. Real life, however, did not. I wore jeans and shorts and normal t shirts. So the dress stayed in the wardrobe and occasionally I would see it and paw the lovely fabric and pattern and then ignore it for a few more months years.

since then, I have actually worn the dress. With a belt because it was a bit baggy after I’d lost the baby weight. Then ignored it as I got pregnant, had the boy and again failed to wear it as by that point I realised that I loved the fabric and the top part of the dress, I didn’t like it as a dress. It was too baggy to wear without a belt, but when I wore it with a belt it became too short and the excess fabric bagged out, making me look GINORMOUS. So I ignored it again.

but this week, I pulled it out and thought “wouldn’t this make a gorgeous top?  I wish I had a top like this.” Then I basically slapped myself on my forehead, shouted “you IDIOT, it COULD be a top.”


So I made it a top. I tried the dress on, and pinned it where I thought it would be a good length for a top. It turned out to be 9 inches, so I hacked it off. Then the lining, well 10 inches came off that because I don’t want to have the lining hanging out. Who would, right?

I pinned up the outside fabric by half an inch then sewed it up. Then looked at it and cried, because the tension was too high for such a light fabric and it had pulled atrociously. I ripped out the seam at approximately midnight on Thursday night. Sobs.

Half an hour ago, I repinned both the inner and outer fabrics by half an inch, turned the tension waaaaaay looooooow and, starting on the lining, I sewed nice and slowly and ended up with a lovely hem. Hooray. Then I did the same with the outer fabric, took it even slower and… No pulls. Brilliant.


And done!

im going to wear it out tomorrow for lunch. And yes, I will tell everyone that I altered it myself. It’s my first ever alteration. I am proud. And very pleased that I now have an item of clothing that I will wear, rather than some gorgeous material I occasionally remembered about but never wore.


Clothing · Sewing Projects

Late night sparklising

I mean, what else would I want to do at 10pm but sew on some sparkles to a small gymnastics leotard?

My five year old has a gymnastics show tomorrow and announced today that her (bright fuscia) leotard wasn’t bright enough and required some sparkles.

We negotiated and agreed on one cuff and a “dinagnogal” stripe across the tummy. She has high hopes and assumes I can make anything. I just hope for the best…

The sparkles came from the frozen outfit I made (you know the one, the one she refused to wear) and I really did just cut a stripe and hand stitched a part round the cuff and then hand stitched the rest from shoulder to waist across the front.


Sparkly, isn’t it?

Let’s just hope she will wear it…

Clothing · Sewing Projects

Super star Arum top

I am pleased to announce that I have not only used fabric that I bought at the knitting and stitching show, but I have also used a pattern I bought there.

Yep, I made the Deer & Doe Arum top in a lovely grey blue with stars fabric.


It’s a pretty simple pattern and apart from a minor “ohmygawdz it’s not going to be big enough” frantic seam rip and resew, it was pretty straightforward too.

I love the fact that the seams at the back makes it so neat back there. I always seem to end up with a baggy back, but not this time!


That’s me, trying to get the back seam in shot but failing dismally. I was in a rush to get to work. Yes, I finished the pattern last night and wore it to work today. THAT’S how much I love this top!

Expect to see a few more versions of this top. It’s super comfortable, quick to sew up (if we ignore the fact after cutting out the fabric, seeing the back seams and the manic seam ripping and resew I left it in a bundle in the kitchen for four weeks until I felt brave enough to complete it) and I like the shape.

Did I tell you I love it?
I do I do I dooooo-oooo.