Rocking bunnies! I loved this sweatshirt jersey the moment I laid eyes on it in B&M Fabrics, Leeds Market.
Obviously, it was going to be an Ottobre design make. If are familiar with the magazine, you’ll know that they use really quirky print fabrics and this fit the bill.
The pattern is a simple hooded vest top from the Summer 2015 issue. I bought a half meter at £14/m which was enough for this top.
It’s a unisex design that has quickly passed from my son in the picture to his younger sister (the perils of sewing for kids is that they grow so fast!)
Unfortunately, the sweater fabric doesn’t have a lot of stretch hence its short residence with the original owner. For fabric like this next time, I will make an oversized jumper like this one here which is still being worn by said son even though it was made in December 2016.
The cover for your head known as a hood or hoody lining is a cotton jersey that had fortuitously been hanging around waiting for a project. Glad to see it used up!
A quick easy project that gets my thumbs up. Could be easily turned into a dress by simply lengthening it. Ottobre Kids design sizes are always spot on and the instructions excellent. It is my first port of call when I am making sewing plans for the kids.
Thanks for stopping by this little corner of the interwebs.
Until next time – Happy Sewing!
Peace and love,
A post I wrote on the 2nd of Jan this year….
Today I had my swimming lesson. Something profound happened to me and I want to share.
After 3 weeks break from swimming lessons and the Christmas holidays wherein we had family stay with us, who were keen to jump in and help with chores, it meant I was not as active as usual. First off, stepping into the pool was hard as it felt very cold to my skin used to being under at least 3 layers. It took me 3 times as long to warm up from moving about in the water. Then when I set off for my front crawl (which I have been learning) I was quite cheeses off to realise that I had only made it half-length through and yet I was gulping like a fish out of water.
Needless to say, the whole lesson followed the same trend – much as I tried I just didn’t have the stamina to swim a full lap – 3/4 was the longest I managed. Towards the end of the lesson I was bobbing about in the water at the shallow end when my fellow classmate came up from her lap she had just finished (she is more advanced than me, she could already swim but is taking lessons to improve her stroke and stamina). We chatted about the lesson, making fun of the teachers’ insistence that our toes should be breaking water when all we are trying to do is make sure we just have enough breath. I got round to expressing my frustration at not being able to swim a lap in one go when 3 weeks ago I was doing laps for the whole lesson.
She then asked me to swim with her one last lap before we finish (there was about 5 minutes left by then) I wasn’t keen but she gently cajoled me and I relented and we set off. She has a very graceful way of swimming – and I tried to emulate her. As I was thinking about how nice it was to be swimming with someone else in sync (I could just see her on the peripheral of my vision) My hand touched the end of the pool. I had made it.
I had swum one lap in a go. It was embarrassing when I splashed water on her as I slapped the surface in a victory jig (I dance when I feel good – even in water). I couldn’t stop thanking her and she graciously insisted it was me.
But I am certain it wasn’t just me – I had spent 50 mins trying to do it but I couldn’t. Yet by having a pacemaker I did it the first time.
It made me think of sewing challenges and any challenge really – whether it is yoga, running or dieting – when in a group it is more likely to be reached. Its not competitive either – for me when I was swimming alongside her – I wasn’t thinking about being faster or better than her – though I can’t remember exactly what I was thinking a strong part was that I wasn’t focusing on what I wasn’t capable of but on that she could do it and she believed I could do it too.
I also had a nice feeling of not wanting to let her belief in me down. When I finished the lap – it became a self-evident truth to me that I can swim the lap. So I turned and swam another lap following behind her this time.
So my thinking is that when you join a group embarking on a similar goal to yours then its a case of the sum of the individual parts is great together and you get better. Anyway, this felt like an epiphany for me.
Random writing led me to think about all the little cumulative things I do to manage my mental health.
Here are things I do daily as part of my routine:
I do some form of exercise every single day. I finally joined the gym in June and am developing a habit. Monday, Wednesday and Friday is resistance training. Tuesday and Thursday is running. Saturday is yoga. Sunday is supposed to be a rest day but I find I need to do something so I end up doing a short 15min HIIT session.
I read a lot of self-help books. Recently read Mark Manson’s book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***k” and it has given me ideas of new ways of looking at things that have been life-affirming.
I now make the effort to maintain friendships.
I am constantly relearning the importance of communication.
Being open with my family about mental health.
By far the most significant thing was acceptance. Accepting that this is something I have that likely won’t be cured but can be managed.
All these little things and routines have helped towards maintaining a healthy mind even during trying times.
A couple of months ago I got into a very strong organisation mode. I organised everything I possibly could. Eventually, I got to my sewing cave and it went through a massive reorganisation of fabric, patterns, books, etc. One of the things that I have to deal with is my traced out BurdaStyle magazine patterns.
I have accumulated quite a collection of my baking parchment traced patterns. The physical organisation was the easiest bit but I needed a way to know what I have and I needed a system that was accessible to me whenever I wanted.
Enter Pinterest. I realised that I could actually leverage Pinterest to work for me rather than spend the countless hours scrolling through impossibly perfect looking rooms and cakes and food. ( I had banned myself from Pinterest as it sets such an impossible level of perfection that meant I feared trying anything on there.)
Anyway I digress, I could rant on about Pinterest but it is an easy to access site. Plus, it is free to use.
I went through every single traced pattern I had and added it to a board. I have a board that has ALL the BurdaStyle magazine patterns that I have ever traced. I made sure to pin the line drawings as that is my primary way of deciding whether I like a pattern or not.
I also decided that I needed to have each year group as well. Then I needed each category of Tops, Kids, Dresses, Skirts, Activewear, Jackets/coats and Trousers.
Here is what I pictured happening…
Hila woke with an overwhelming urge to sew up a skirt from her BurdaStyle magazines. Though she was feeling revitalised and energetic, she most definitely did not have the desire to trace out a new pattern. What can she do? Go check the BurdaStyle board to see what is already traced out of course! Scroll through and voila she is bound to find something.
Hila has set herself a challenge to sew one item each month from the 2015 magazines collection just to spice things up and avoid doing the same old same old while also appreciating the older magazines in her collection. First thing is to check what patterns are already traced out that she may like on her Pinterest boards of course! Go to the 2015 section of the BurdaStyle Magazine Traced patterns board and voila!
Hila is on a camping trip. Its raining and humid. While stuck in a tent feeling bored she decides to fantasize about what she is going to do in her sewing cave when she gets home. How to help the fantasy? Log onto Pinterest of course! And browse the patterns that have been traced out to figure out which will be the first one to get made as soon as she gets home!
That was my rationale for my categories of boards.
Once I had input all my BurdaStyle patterns into Pinterest, I now have a routine for adding any new traced pattern immediately to its relevant boards. It’s a quick addition to the routine that saves me oodles of mental space that would otherwise be allocated to trying to remember if I traced this or that out.
So far I am pretty pleased with this system – it is working and fit for purpose.
There is one more step I need to take before I can say that I have completed my organisation – I need to photocopy each page of the “All the styles at a glance” line drawings and keep in a folder. For bedtime reading :-).
I will write up a separate post to share how I organise and store the physical traced patterns.
How do you organise your sewing magazine traced patterns? I’d love to know down in the comments below. In the meantime if you’d like to have a gander in my Pinterest boards and see which patterns I have traced you can do so here:
Thank or stopping by,
Until next time Happy Sewing!
Peace and love,
I thought I’d write a post about several sewing events that I am super excited about.
Laura Casey is an indie pattern designer who runs Sew Different patterns. She is based in the North of England and is hosting a SEWCIAL this Autumn. Come along and join in for an evening of sewing related entertainment at Frocktails. Hand-in-hand with the evening sewcial there will be workshops that Laura will run through the day on the Saturday 3rd of November.
For those who want to showcase their skills there is a competition with fantastic prizes, no need to enter beforehand – just turn up in your best handmade creation. I am on the judging panel along with Lauren Guthrie from the GBSB and Tree from Stitchless TV . There will also be a catwalk show, a talk from Laura Casey herself and a free fabric swap.
Here is the link that will take you the the Frocktails page for details. Hope to see you there!
The Monthly Stitch is hosting its amazing IPM2018 which is always a fun annual event to meet new sewing bloggers and also get caught up on the wonderful world of indie sewing patterns. Its a true celebration of the smaller brands out there.
There are so many prizes and sponsors this year. More than in any previous year.
The categories are Week 1 Dresses (currently finished now though) ; Week 2 – Anything but clothes ; Week 3 Around the World; and Week 4 One Pattern 2 Ways.
I am definitely playing in the Around the World and the One Pattern 2 ways week.
Seamsters: @_stitchesandseams_ / @liftingpinsandneedles / @naturaldane / @elizabethmadethis got together to host a challenge for sewing pants for the men in our lives – be they young or old! I have been working on building up my husband’s wardrobe by sewing clothes for him. I have done shirts, tees, jeans but one thing I have been scared of is work trousers.
So when NaturalDane approached me asking if I’d like to be an ambassador I jumped at the opportunity. I will be making my husband trousers that he can wear to work. Eeep!. There are prizes to had as well.
Fabric Magpie is offering a 10% discount code to those who want to purchase fabric for the challenge. Use Code SEWMANPANTS starting October 1 thru October 31st 2018.
Hosted by Heather Lou of Closet Case Patterns and Kelli of True Bias – It was borne out of a frustration with feeling like you only have to sew whats practical but that can be boring. They are keeping participation easy and simple and there are prizes to be had as well.
I feel like this ties in so much with what Stasia Savasuk says. If you haven’t watch her TED talk “Change Your Pants Change Your Life” please do and check out her blog – I have been hanging out there and love her work. Link here.
This is a challenge that I feel so happy to be seeing more people embracing the frosting sewing. I have been a frosting sewer for a long time now, wearing one shoulder maxi dresses for the school run! I have never bothered with whats appropriate and just wore what made me happy – frosting 🙂 I am looking forward to seeing how other people interpret this. Its a fun one. My own challenge is to go beyond my already out there makes and see where else I can go! Fashion eccentric here I come!
Renata – The Twilight Stitcher– caps off the sewing year nicely with a sewing challenge to make a little red dress in time for the holidays. I participated in 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed the process. I ended up with a great dress to wear on Christmas Day. This year there are plenty of prizes as well.
I am still going with this and have been managing a minimum of one garment per month. Though I haven’t been able to keep up with doing monthly roundup posts you can check them out at the BurdaStyle.com site where Meg has been posting them.
There are so many sewing challenges out there you can get on board with but these are just a handful of what I am planning on participating in.
Are you joining in any one of these? Let me know if there is a challenge that might be of interest to me as well.
Thanks for stopping by,
Until next time, Happy Sewing!
Peace and love,
“Honey, can I wear this sharks top?” He called out from the top of the stairs.
“Sure you can babe. You don’t need to ask my permission, its in your closet” came my mildly annoyed reply as I hurried to get the laundry going seeing as 3 of the kids had wet their beds.
“OK its just that it hasn’t been photographed yet for the blog has it?” with genuine confusion and concern in his voice and on his face as he comes round the door while pulling the top over his head.
I stop loading the machine to look at him and suddenly realise that he was right. I used to be manic in my determination to catalog every single thing I made. When I started the blog that was the purpose – to have an evidence journal of my creative outputs as part of managing depression. An easy to access record.
I relaxed my posture, “its all good now, I don’t have to do a photoshoot”. It is at this juncture that it occurs to me that I have matured in my hobby/craft/passion. Although strictly speaking there are 2 separate things here: sewing and blogging. I am aware that there are many (many) more people who sew and don’t blog about it.
I love blogging and I love sewing.
Maturity is when your identity solidifies a little bit and your energy levels reach a steady level point – nicely located halfway between having no sewjo and being panicked there is no time to possibly sew everything I want to sew.
Maturity means I now curate my fabric collection rather than add to my stash.
It means I mindfully add to my sewing pattern collection not just for me but for possible future generations.
Maturity means my husband is now allowed to wear a new off the sewing machine garment without waiting for photoshoots to be done first! That’s growth people!
But just for the fun of it – here is the hooded T-shirt I made him. Pictures taken on my phone :-). The pattern is self-drafted. This was the first go and it has a few adjustments to be made. He loves the upper half but would like it to be a narrower at the hem – something about it letting in too much of a draft. The next iteration will have cuff bands and a hem band.
The fabric was from Laura whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in person several times. She is just so lovely and please do go check out her small online business she started where she curates the fabric she sells (also reasonably priced). Her online shop is called The Fabric Magpie .
If you have been blogging for a while now do you find that your reason for blogging has changed? Or is it still the same?
Thanks for stopping by and until next time,
Peace and love,
I made a lobsters shirt for my husband! And I drafted it myself! I have been wanting to flex my drafting skills of late and voila!
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!
Peace and love,
One thing I have noticed about sewing for my kids is that unlike sewing my own projects – there is no time to “marinate” the project once it has been traced out. Because kids, much like bean sprouts, grow at astonishing rates. Even when I think I’ve got the measure of the rate of growth a spurt happens and trousers are looking decidedly Michael Jackson circa 80s.
This was a rookie error on my part. Eighteen months ago I bought the fabric from The Shuttle in Shipley. It was on sale at a great bargain price. The pattern is the Louise Coat by Compagnie M. This pattern is a mammoth of a pattern. First of all, it has a gazillion pages that I taped up (I believe it was at this point that I reconsidered my relationship with PDFs – and it was closer to 55 pages but still…) And then because it’s a kids pattern I couldn’t cut out the pattern – I had to trace it off since I might need to make them the coat again. It has a lot of pattern pieces to trace too since it fully lined.
The size range is very impressive for the price from age 1year to 12 years. It boasts a lot of features too:
By the time I got to cutting out the lining I was tired of the project and began to seethe at the idea that I would go through all this effort (It was going to have piping too) for them to only wear the coats for 1 or 2 winters at most? (Its not their fault I know but still….) Anyway, things happened and I didn’t sew for a while. It sat in the UFO box which I am working through slowly. So when I got to this bag I realised that they probably had grown out of it since I had traced the size 4y before they turned 4 but now they will be 5 this December.
The lining was those thick padded quilty looking fabrics but alas when I basted the coat it was very clear that lining it would mean they could not wear them. So I made lemonade out of the lemons. I decided to fish the coats without the lining and call the lining a sunk cost.
Now, to be perfectly honest, I wanted to just chuck the entire project bag in the bin and put it down as experience to NEVER wait on sewing a kids project BUT…..BUT…… 2 things happened that trapped me into finishing them –
I used the barest of seam allowance to get as much room as possible and even then its tight of they wear a jumper underneath. I finished one hem with bias binding and the other was just a normal hem. I used their favourite buttons which were the largest buttonholes I have ever sewn. I bought these wooden buttons back when I started sewing in 2013 ish so its good to use them up after they have spent years being toys.
Ok so my obvious advice to myself to remember is that much like a fire drill when I decide to sew for the kids there is no choice it has to be done quick! No marinating the project- get it done! The reasoning for a fast completion here is compelling – they will grow out of the size you are marinating!
Nearly forgot to mention that despite this self-inflicted issue – it really is a lovely pattern that has well thought out and presented instructions. Excellent value given all the different views you get and the large age range of the pattern. I’d like to give this another go but maybe in another year :-). Once I got going with and decided that it had to be done it actually didn’t take that long to make – 2 sittings of about 2 hours each.
What’s your advice for sewing for kids? Have you made rookies errors like this too? Let me know I am not alone please 🙂
Thanks for stopping by,
Peace and love,
PS They were delighted with their coats that it was worth it and in the end, I felt silly for resenting the time it would take to sew them up. Even if they only wear them a few times – the joy on their faces is more than enough to make it worthwhile.