I’m going to the dark side ladies!

Oh dear, we all knew it would happen one day. The Management had a significant birthday a little while back and I spent quite some time making suggestions for his gift. If you think back to the fairy tale of Rumplestiltskin with all the guesses at names you would be getting close to our house at that time. Anyway, almost as a joke I said I could make up the Bridget Riley ‘Nataraja’ picture he loved so much when we visited the Tate St Ives as the quilt I thought it could be way back then – and he said yes. Oh. My. Word. I haven’t done any quilting at all and he wants a quilt that would go on our bed. That’ll teach me.

The Managements quilt supplies

The Managements quilt supplies

Well, we went shopping and I allowed him to have a free hand in choosing the cottons. It was just as well I hadn’t chosen for him as I would have probably gone more true to the original picture  –  and I’m much happier with his choices despite them being very unexpected. Just look at the original!

It looks pretty straightforward at first – but look closely and you can see that not all of the colours are in single blocks, and not all of them stay in their own row. This could take a while.

In addition to that I would like some advice you quilting ladies out there. I would (where appropriate) pre wash my dressmaking fabrics but didn’t know if that was a good idea with quilting fabrics. The cotton stuff I got for the middle (the correct name escapes me entirely – you can tell I’m a quilting novice can’t you?) suggests that pre washing is optional but what is your experience?

As you can tell any help with this project is going to be very welcome. I can sew garments happily but this is entirely new to me. The only thing I know for certain is that this is a job for the old girls…..

Beautiful Molly

Beautiful Molly

Patience - Singer 27K circa 1900

Patience – Singer 27K circa 1900

and me!


One for me, one for him

I have been having quite a nice time around clients doing stuff for me – and him. I am doing my absolute utmost to sew from stash – including all the odds and sods needed to complete – so when I manage that I’m very happy.

The Management is very tolerant of my fabric habit so he does deserve some reward occasionally. I decided that I would get stuck in on the fabric I bought to make shirts for him. It’s actually very easy as he prefers to wear short sleeved shirts so no problems with plackets and cuffs – even the collar is pretty easy since these are ‘soft’ dressmaker shirts rather than having a really stiff collar.

Striped cotton shirt - he seems happy!

Striped cotton shirt – he seems happy!


Chevron detail on back yoke

Chevron detail on back yoke


I got the lovely penguin fabric out as I really wanted to start with that – and *damn it* there wasn’t enough! I hadn’t checked the width when I bought it and it isn’t the 150cm wide I assumed it was. Pants. I will try to buy another 1/2 meter next time I’m inn Birmingham which will solve the problem (or make something for me….). After that I was a bit huffed but decided to plough on with the stripe. It had been pre washed and was ready to go and there was loads of this as I had thought it would be good as pj’s but he preferred the idea of it as a shirt. The pattern is self drafted (but is similar to McCalls 6044) and has been made so many times I know I can just cut and go so it is a really nice easy garment to make. He seemed pretty happy with it – and the penguins will be next.

Fadanistas fabulous  Sneaky shrug

Fadanistas fabulous Sneaky shrug


The next item from stash has been a bit out of season – but I really wanted to try the pattern and make up this fabric. It is the leopard knit from the last trip to Birmingham – the one where I wasn’t going to buy anything, remember? I would blame Fairy but I really didn’t need any encouragement. My original intention for this fabric was the twisted jumper from Pattern Magic but I really wanted to make Fadanistas sneaky shrug. I loved the shape, and that it could be worn either way up (honest, make it and give it a try!), even inside out if you take the time to neaten the sleeve hem. This shrug is pattern gold – and Sue has given not only the pattern dimensions but also a tutorial on her blog. It looks a bit complicated at first but the trick is not to over think it. It took about an hour to cut out and sew. Sadly it is too warm again to model it (what is it with British weather?) so I have asked the lovely Bessie to show it off.  I know I am going to wear this loads – and the bonus is that there is almost certainly enough fabric left to still make up the twisted jumper. Score!

So, the shirt used up 1.5m, and the shrug 1.8m so 3.3m used – only a couple of hundred meters to use up!

Keep sewing🙂





Stashbusting in July

Yes, I know it is now August 4th but I have been waiting for the weather to improve to take photographs somewhere other than my cream wall. It was quite nice before the kids broke up from school but has been a bit spotty since then.


Wrap pants

While dredging in a not oft used drawer I rediscovered these leopard print wrap pants. I mainly use them on holiday but on a warm day they were perfect. It got me wondering how the pattern would be as shorts.

Pattern shape

Pattern shape

You can see the ties on the back

You can see the ties on the back

Wrap shorts

Wrap shorts

As it turns out I’m not sure I like them. I suspect the problem is that in shortening the whole thing they have lost some of their appeal. They catch the breeze more easily when long, and don’t look quite so ‘tubular’. I think I may try again but add a bit of fullness to the pattern pieces so that they look a bit more like a wrap skirt. The pattern is very simple – just two pieces cut from the width of a fabric piece with a U shape cut out to give the crotch space. I added the darts from my skirt block to the waist to give a little shape and used the full width of the 150cm  wide fabric for the pink. I cut them a bit longer than necessary so lost a bit of fabric when I shortened them. The ties are just strips made long enough to tie in a bow front and back. The style does mean that loo visits are a bit of a fandangle but I like them regardless. The long ones. These were made from some polyester crepe which I know washes and dries quickly making it perfect for hot climates – if a bit sticky. I’m happy to have this used now, even if I don’t wear them very often.


You may remember the odd shaped pants from the last Patrones I reviewed. Well, the leapfrogged the Thai Fishermans pants that I cut the pattern for at the same time. They took no time to make up and I love them!

Sarrouel Trousers front

Sarrouel Trousers front

Sarrouel Trousers - back

Sarrouel Trousers – back

That much fabric!

That much fabric!

I made these in some rayon that had been in the stash forever. I liked the colour but never really knew what I wanted from the fabric so was quite happy to risk it with a project I wasn’t sure I would like. How wrong could I be? These are very comfortable to wear – breezy as you like for warm days – and despite expecting The Management to choke when he saw them he has declared them ‘very smart’. Wonders never cease! He also decided that they were ‘skrousers’ as they didn’t quite fit either category.

Sarrouel Trousers - She Wears the PantsThe seams made me think that it would have been useful to have included some in seam pockets, and also that I might prefer them a little shorter. I remembered that a shorter, much more involved, version was included in the ‘She Wears the Pants’ book I bought some time ago. I recall sniggering a bit when I saw them but I now think they would be well worth a try. Summer suit weight perhaps? This book is another of the wonderfully odd Japanese pattern books (the patterns are supplied) which would never fit me but I can crib ideas from them. Despite the title there are few ‘pants’.

Anyway, that makes three garments made for me (along with the Jasper Hoodie) in July and the PJ’s for The Management using 10 metres in total. Not quite as much as I bought this month but a small dent in the stash🙂


Stash busting – and blown.

I have been settling into the idea of being more able to do things for me by …. doing very little. Oops. Not nothing, just not a great deal.

I have been sorting stash (always a bad idea – I get lost down a rabbit hole once I start stroking all the fabric) and decided on a few organised things I want to do. So what did I start with? Something completely off plan and totally unsuited to the weather at the time.


Spot the hoodie! (Front)


Spot the hoodie! (Front)

I made another Paprika Jasper hoodie.The fabric was a rich cream cotton and viscose mix (80/20) in a ribbed weave. I have had this for an age and am pleased to say that this is the last of this piece so is a proper bit of stash busting. I know that I will wear this loads once the weather cools down as I have almost killed off the navy version I made a while back. I know this is a pretty bland garment but that means I can mix it with a number of things in my wardrobe. I did try a number of more exciting buttons on the fabric but kept coming back to this thoroughly boring cream ones (which were also from stash – hurrah!).

Thoroughly pleased at the start of my stash busting quest I met Elaine (The Demented Fairy) and Glenda in Birmingham for a spin round the Rag Market and surrounding area on Tuesday. I should have known that despite my protestations that I wasn’t there to buy any more fabric that I would find something that begged to come home with me.


Jacket fabric and button

Actually inside the market – our first stop after a reviving cup of tea – Elaine and I started to shake our purses out. She found a fabulous long curled hairpiece which matched her own hair beautifully, and will be perfect for her Steampunking  and anything else mad she wants to do. Then I found a fabulous leopard print canvas on a furnishing stall. I just called ‘jacket Kim’ to me and I was fumbling for my purse. At £5 pm it was a steal – and I found a gorgeous feature button just round the corner. No Anne, you can’t have it.


Shirt fabric for The Management

Then, after Elaine had been seduced by a fabulous taffeta I saw this magnificent poly cotton which I knew The Management would like as a shirt (it was later approved). Aren’t those penguins cute! I was convinced as soon as I saw the baby penguins in grey. So cute. And can you spot the dancing penguins? (I went back into the Market later and Elaine had me buy a piece for her too).

I actually bought the elastic I intended to buy (yes ladies, that was really all I wanted) next along with two cream overlocker cops. I could have run away at that point – but no, I had to carry on didn’t I?


Knitted leopard this time.


Glenda wanted to go to the jersey fabric stall which is outside and while she was rummaging I found this. It is synthetic but I wouldn’t like to guess at the composition, and quite a stable knit. It was the last piece so I got it at a very good price (I think about £8 for 2m) and I had initially thought it would make a great twist top from Pattern Magic I now have another idea. Watch this space as I want to try this soon. Still no Anne.


The lovely Fairy (Elaine) and Glenda


We decided we needed to re fuel after this excitement despite Glenda not having bought anything so far and decided on another visit to Mount Fuji. Excellent nosh all round and a great opportunity to gossip for a while.

We did carry on to the Fancy Silk Store and Barrys  but I escaped without buying any more fabric. I did spot a nice twill weave with Snoopy and Woodstock printed on it but there wasn’t enough for jeans, which was my plan, and as it was polyester rather than cotton I decided to decline their offer of checking the Manchester store for me.

So, another great day out. But on balance I used just over 2m for the hoodie and have bought 5.5m . and I wonder why my stash is massive. There is some serious sewing planned over the next few weeks so I hope to knock a hole in it. Even a small hole would be a good start.

Patrones 362

Patrones 362


Lucky me! My dear friends G and H came back from Spain with another issue of Patrones – and there is so much in this one I want to make that I will need to retire early!

Garment mash

Garment mash

Patrones 362 wishes0007

Lauren from Hola! Magazine

Patrones 362 wishes0006

Lauren in Patrones


I really liked this skirt (attributed to Ralph Lauren) and knew that I had seen it before. The picture on the left was from a Hola! magazine I bought on my holiday in Madeira a while back. The Patrones version has curved sections on the front splits but the original is squared off. This isn’t clear from the picture which is why I always check the tech drawings in the ‘making up’ section. I have noticed on a few prior occasions that the pictures don’t always quite match the garment as shown. The jury is out on which version I prefer, but with the wide overlap this should be decent even in windy weather.




Patrones 362 wishes0001

Could I wear these pants?

Patrones 362 wishes0002



Burda pants

I adore the yellow top in these photos. I know I wouldn’t wear it exactly as it is shown – I couldn’t show my tum without scaring the horses. I think as an extra layer over a dress, or t-shirt and trousers, it would look good. I would probably want to make it shorter too. But hey! It’s in one of  my favourite colours! The trousers are also very interesting. I’m very tempted by them but I know The Management would be horrified. Maybe that is reason enough to give them a go🙂 . I saw a very similar patter which is available here from Burda.


Patrones 362 wishes0003

Thai fishermans pants


The other pattern I liked was for Thai fishermans pants. I have seen lots of references to this style but haven’t ever worn them myself. They look as though they would be very comfortable, particularly in warm weather (I have a good imagination – there would be no need here in the UK in our ‘summer’ at present). Can anyone tell me if they are as comfortable as they look?


Patrones 362 wishes0004


I loved this jacket. The front view is in the ‘mash’ of all the designs (above), and is attractive enough, but I thought the pleat in the back gives this an extra ‘easy to wear’ feel. I have a number of fabrics that could probably work for this but if I go ahead I would like to be able to make it part of a wardrobe sewing ‘plan’. Elizabeth at The Fabulous Dr. E’s blog is a master (mistress?) at this and I have threatened to follow her lead on many occasions and failed. Maybe it’s time to do something about it. My wardrobe would certainly be grateful.


Patrones 362 wishes0005

Should I jump?

Now then, I imagine I am like many people who love the idea of a jumpsuit but remember them from the first time around. They certainly look neat – this one is lovely on its own, but it would be offended if you wanted to put a t-shirt under there for decency or warmth. However. How many of us remember (and hated) having to get almost naked whenever there was a need to go to the loo. I love this, but I’m not sure I want to go down the almost naked in loos route again.

Useful shorts

Useful shorts


Being an extreme optimist I thought these shorts might be good for when it does get warm. I am getting used to wearing my running shorts now (and no-one has run away screaming yet) so I might be willing to try them in general wear. I know I wont look anything like this lithe young thing, but I’m ready to give it a try.


I have had a few editions of Patrones over the years but I think this one is one of the most useful in a while, and since I am currently planning things to make for myself you might even see some of these made up. No sniggering at the back!

Tapestries and Shoes at Croome


Last Sunday The Management and I had a day out. I started with a leisurely 10k run (in which I got my best time so far – if you are interested in my running progress check out my running blog here ), and then we went to a National Trust property called Croome. We had seen reports that they were holding an exhibition of tapestries by Grayson Perry and I really wanted to see them. As a bonus we discovered a small exhibition in the basement called ‘Soul to Sole’ which was just delightful.



I had read about Grayson Perrys tapestry series called ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’  and thought it would be interesting to be able to see them in detail, and also madness not to go when they were so local. I am not terribly familiar with his work, but I did see a post that Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial did a while back and I saw things that I really liked. I know not everyone would, but I do think that art should be challenging on occasion.There was a video presentation, and a display of his sketches inn the same room. I thought the sketches were well worth having – they gave an opportunity to see how they looked both small, and in a different medium.

The tapestries were all HUGE! Think back to the sort of tapestries you see in the traditional National Trust properties. I loved that he had brought fairly familiar themes up to date – and that you could spot things that were in everyday use, and also people you recognise (hello Jamie Oliver!, and I thought the ‘Madonna’ character looked very Colleen Rooney). I seem to have missed one tapestry in photos but I hope you get the idea from my, occasionally appalling, pictures. There are a couple of detail pictures just to show the texture, and also a ceramic vase that was included which I loved.

The exhibition is at Croome until September, and as there are more things we would like to do there I may be back again before these go away.

‘Soul to Sole’ is an art installation using shoes as a means of describing some of the ‘souls’ connected with Croome. Sadly my pictures don’t do it justice – I was tired, and also being hurried along by The Management. There is more information about some of the shoes on a blog set up by the resident artist here.


The Aristocracy would clearly have had a fairly ‘charmed’ life, not so the maids who the following shoes were attributed to – lists of tasks to be completed were embroidered(?) onto the shoe. The shoes on the right were depicting Hilda, a servant from the 1930’s, memories – I can’t imagine it would have been very much easier as a servant even then.

In 1942 a local airfield becomes RAF Defford which has strong links to the house today. The shoes below were inspired by Joan Gill, who was driver to RAF Deffords CO during world war 2, and the childhood memories of Michael McDonald who was the child of an RAF captain who remembers playing in the grounds as a boy. That must have been an idyllic childhood playground.

Sadly Croomes family fell on hard times and sold the estate in 1948. The house became a school for boys. I remember wearing sandshoes just like these as a child, and the shoe cubby holes were left from this era. It stayed a school until 1979 when it became a centre for Hare Krishna devotees – sorry about the picture quality. They didn’t stay too long, selling the house in 1984 to property developers, and the National Trust took control in 1996.

If you click on a shoe picture you should find more information.

I enjoyed the exhibition, as much for it being so unexpected as the shoes being so unusual. I have enjoyed looking up some of the people involved – particularly Eleanor Coade who is the 18th century  LADY who invented the artificial stone known as Coade stone. She must have been an amazing person to have achieved that at that time.


PJ’s for The Management

I have finally managed to finish the first PJ’s for The Management, the first of the fabrics I bought on the Birmingham meet. I’m very happy with the way they look, and I know that he liked the print so I hope he will like them too. They aren’t going to be ‘easy care’ as they are a pure cotton, but they should be cool to wear should the weather here get hot at night.

I got a selection of fabrics out from stash yesterday and ordered them into groups that would work together. Hopefully I will get going on things for myself very soon.












Could this be the best reason to sew?

Clearing up papers and bits in my sewing room I found a piece I saved from the London Evening Standard from when I was last in London. This is from the 9th June edition and I meant to share it way back – but it got buried. Anyway, if you haven’t seen this prepare to be shocked…. or amazed.



If ever there was a reason to sew – or indeed learn to sew then I thought this was it. Do you want to be able to just scan someone to copy their outfit? Or be scanned? *shudder*


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