present post I’m afraid – I got a lot of sewing done for people prior to
Christmas. I have two wonderful friends whom I craft with regularly on a Monday
evening and I decided to make each of them a sewing apron influenced by this tutorial
from the lovely ladies at simple simon and co –
seriously, if you want to go and read a GOOD sewing blog (rather than staying
here with me) head on over – they are just fab!
I drafted the apron
shape myself, which was simple enough as it’s just really a flat piece of
fabric – the beauty of these were in the embellishments. I made one with purple
accents and one with green and the real
key on these was the embellishments.
Each has a removable
pin cushion pinned to the right shoulder (as both friends are left handed) a large
pocket divided into sections in the contrast fabric across the bottom – I made
sure that one of the sections was big enough to fit in a pair of fabric
scissors. Across the top of the pockets I stitched a tape measure, and I then
made little pockets for a stich ripper
The ties are made out
of bias tape and I added a bow made out of the remainder of the measuring tape
to add a little visual detail at the side. I thought it was going to be really
tough to sew on the tape, but actually it was pretty easy – the only issue was
having to get things right the first time, as it wouldn’t heal. Most of the
time I stitched in black down the central line on it anyway, so hopefully the stitches
wouldn’t be too visible
My favourite details are probably the bow and the stitch
ripper pocket – originally I was just going to make it out of the bias tape,
but as I had so much measuring tape left over, and nothing really to do with
it, I decided to add it to the pocket – and I think it looks so sweet!
As a bonus you can
have a picture of the apron I made for my best friend’s birthday. I made it in
the same fabric, but finished it with red gathered lace that I had in my stash –
I think this looks really cool, Mr P kept on referring to it as her “Racy” apron
– which whilst possibly true – was not the intention.
Please forgive pictures of my underwear on Daphne there
(Daphne the Dressmakers Dummy that is…) – I had to add a bra to mimic my humongous
bazoongas on her – and then I had a pair of pants sat in my drawer that had no
bra to match… so I added them too.
So, I’ve decided to start a new feature. Failure on the
First. The truth behind this is, all of us make mistakes – it’s part of being
human, it’s part of learning. I am definitely one of those people that will
just GIVE THINGS A GO with NO FEAR OF FAILURE. And then things go wrong and I’m
so mad at myself. Fail. But I do it every time, and sometimes I don’t fail.
Then again, sometimes I do. So on the first of every month you will get to
SAMPLE MY FAILURE. There will probably be fewer pictures on these posts – I
don’t tend to document my failures all that well.
So, let us begin with the MOTHER OF ALL FAILURES. When
something goes wrong in our house and I am super upset at being a failure of a
housewife, Mr P will turn to me and say “well – it’s not crumpets”. This is
I love crumpets, I’m going to say that now. They make such a
GREAT SNACK and they are quick and easy. But you know what cool people do? COOL
PEOPLE HOME MAKE STUFF. Shop bought snacks are overpriced and not cool
*righteous face* (don’t worry, that righteous smirk will be swiftly WIPED OFF
So I decided to make crumpets. I mean… how hard can it be. I
recipe from Delia -I mean, she’s like the GODESS OF COOKING. How wrong can I
Ok, so it says complicated things like having a large heavy
bottomed frying pan… pshaw. JUST A FRYING PAN WILL DO. So Mr P and I decided to
do this as a LOVING TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE to BUILD OUR TINY TEAM OF TWO and
try and make crumpets, in my tiny frying pan.
Failure isn’t the right word for this. There wasn’t a word
for it. We tried – we made the mix, it looked GOOOD (well, a bit strange, but I
think crumpet mix is supposed to look strange) followed the recipe exactly,
it’s important when you’re baking. And the first ones… well… they didn’t
crumpet. They didn’t even look a LITTLE BIT LIKE CRUMPET. They did not rise,
there were no holes, they just came out like rubbery sorts of biscuits. BUT WE
FIGURED WE’D GIVE THEM A GO ANYWAY.
I took one bite and spat it straight out into the sink. TMI?
Disgusting? WELL SO WAS THE CRUMPET. Mr P actually swallowed a bite. He is a
The best way I can describe the taste is…uh… yeast. Just
yeast. Which whilst an important ingredient in baking… the taste of uncooked
yeast is less than scrumptious.
BUT… undeterred I thought I’d try again – they tasted
undercooked, maybe I hadn’t cooked it long enough. This time I cooked them
virtually to the point of burning… and again, took a lovely mouthful of
DELICIOUS YEASTYNESS. I’m lying. IT WAS FOUL.
I was all ready to give up at this point. I WAS DEFEATED BY
CRUMPETS. But, Mr P was not. He wanted his crumpets.
He made ten failed attempts… TEN (I should add by this point
we were literally crying with laughter… it may not have helped the cooking
effort) and tried EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. Mad man that he is. They were all
So we gave up… like sane people… oh wait no. THIS IS US. We
decided the BEST THING TO DO, since there was NOTHING TO LOSE, was to pour the
mix into a loaf tin and BAKE IT.
I honestly don’t know why. We had LOST THE PLOT by this
point. Lost it.
Needless to say the crumpet-loaf was also pretty nasty and
flopped into the bin in a very rubbery manner.
The moral of this story is twofold…
One: Shop bought crumpets are WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD.
They are not expensive, and more than that… THEY ARE ACTUALLY NICE.
Two: However badly you think you might have done at
something… remember this… it’s not crumpets.
So, don’t faint, but I made stuff that wasn’t skirts! I
know, madness huh?
These are some notebook covers that I made for some of my
girl-friends as Christmas presents. They were really simple to make, I drafted
the “pattern” myself, (which was less a pattern and more a rectangle) and they’re
made out of two layers of fabric stitched together, with the ends folded into
pockets to make removable notebook covers.
I decorated them in a variety of ways – the three matching
ones are just plain fabric appliqued on.
This one was made for
a friend whom I call “Daisy” (it’s not her name, and frankly, the reasoning
behind it is a little crazy, but we are both quite crazy so it fits) I try and
make all of her presents to have something with a ‘daisy’ on. This I hand
embroidered – chain stitch for the petals and satin stitch for the centre –
onto a plainer (more stable) fabric than the embroidered taffeta and then
appliqued that on too.
Yes, you might recognise
this embroidered taffeta from the last post – it’s not the last you’ll see of
it either. I made a ball gown out of it originally, and, um, was left with a
LOT. I think part of the reason is I am so short that anything with a skirt
ends up taking up far less fabric than patterns suggest it will.
Here I have two corresponding notebooks – one made in the
same style as above (for a friend who loves elephants) and the other again just
plain applique. Frankly, I’m not impressed with these too – the dark green
fabric was too thick for the purpose (I believe it was drill) and the faux Chinese
silk was too unstable – I should have interfaced it before I did the applique –
and I didn’t. That is a lesson learnt.
I made two others, the pink on was for Mr P’s mother, and is
hand embroidered straight onto the main fabric of the book – it makes it really
hard to read, partially because of the colour combinations used. The final one
is for a friend who runs her own company Birth Right Hypnobirthingand I made it for her birthday to match a skirt I made her for Christmas – that’s
probably the one I’m most proud of, and was actually the one I did first. The
letters are hand embroidered on, in a chain stitch if I recall correctly.
Hey look! More skirts. Did I mention I like skirts. They’re
so easy to make. That being said, these did not turn out to be easy.
I used this tutorial from the wonderful flamingotoesalthough
made quite a few changes – for starters, there was no colour blocking. I added
three layers of net into each skirt, and then fully lined them too. This made
for QUITE A PALAVA in terms of skirt-making. They were made as Christmas
presents for my two god-daughters and one niece (ages 8, 7 and 3 respectively)
out of more scrap fabric – I figured this lovely embroidered taffeta would make
a great party skirt for a little girl.
The accent fabric is
some kind of satin-feel at a guess – which oh my goodness is either the best or
the worst thing ever. It’s like the OPPOSITE of fabric which creases really
easily… I could NOT get this fabric to hold a shape no matter HOW hard I tried.
I pressed and I pressed and I pressed and it would NOT crease. Not even a
little bit. The result of this was belt loops and sashes that were both a PAIN
to sew and don’t look particularly neat… well darn.
The three layers of netting were an absolute must, because
what is a party skirt if it’s not POOFY. However I hate the feel of netting
against my legs, and little legs are even more sensitive than mine so I lined
it in pale blue lining fabric. Essentially I kept
the construction of this as simple as possible sandwiching all 5 layers
together and then sewing up the sides at the end – I overlocked this to keep it
nice and neat.
It’s a gathered waistband at the back with elastic, which
hopefully with the tie around the waist (which is a functioning tie) should
mean that they last a little while, even with the growing speeds that these
three seem to shoot up at! (Or maybe I’m a bad godmother/aunt and don’t see
them often enough! That seems more likely)
As far as I am aware they were all very well received. I was
there when my niece opened hers and there were squeals of delight and she
wanted to put it on straight away – which of course, we obliged with, and she looked
darling in. My lovely goddaughters wrote me wonderful thank-you letters because
they are such polite girls, and told me that their mummy had had to wrestle
them out of them to wash them, as they’d worn them every day since Christmas!
These ended up taking a bit longer to make than I had originally
hoped – mostly because of how fiddly they were dealing with so many different
fabrics, and all pretty uncooperative fabrics at that! However, big smiles come
Christmas totally made up for it!
Hello non-existant readers (yet… you may yet exisit in potentia)
OR if I have become a SUPER FAMOUS BLOGGER and you’re all ‘oooh how did she
start out’ welcome to The Beginning.
The following is a self-drafted skirt – I had some scraps of linen-poly blend left over from another project. I say scraps, I am ALWAYS, INCREDIBLY ECONOMICAL with my pattern placement, and therefore end up with TONNES of fabric left over. Happy times! Styled here with an off-the-rack blazer (charity shop win) and top.Essentially the front is an a-line piece and the back is a rectangle with two darts added in at the top to shape it over my rather-larger-than-I’d-like-it-to-be bottom.
As you can see I made the waistband too big – I wanted it to
sit on my hips, which it does, but it is also too big around the waist department.
This seems to be a fail of mine I have in skirts that I draft myself – not sure
how it happens as, um, I make them too my measurements. But perhaps I always
think I’m fatter than I actually am.
In terms of finishing – I French seamed the entirety of this
beauty, I’m quite proud of it, and it’s stood up well to a LOT of washing. It’s
also lined, but I’ll talk about that in a bit.
As I mentioned the
fabric is a poly-linen blend which is pretty scratchy and wrinkles worse than
anything, but it’s also pretty… and as the fabric doesn’t really ever touch me,
I’m not bothered about the feel (it’s also softened up with all the washing I
Fastened with a skirt hook and a zip – here’s where I made an
error – the skirt hook fastens from back to front, which is obviously wrong,
but by the time I’d realised what I’d done I was fed up with the whole project
and couldn’t be bothered to fix it. And as the waistband is never visible (not
a flattering look on me, I always wear long tops) I figured it’s only me that
knows, so it doesn’t matter. Obviously, you know too now… damn. I hand stitched
the waistband down, so I could do invisible stitching, and invisible stitched
the hem by hand as well. I don’t usually go to that much effort (I hate
hand-sewing) but because I wanted a skirt I could be proud enough of to wear in
real life I felt it deserved the extra work.
Did I mention I French seamed the WHOLE THING… and yes, THAT
INCLUDES THE ZIP. I totally French seamed in the zip… it looks BEAUTIFUL, and
was actually not as much work as I was expecting. And it hides that nasty nasty
zip edge which I do not like so much and never looks pretty. Quite proud of
Onto the lining, as
visible in that picture… yes, it is lined in an old sheet. This is a favourite
of mine. I don’t know what the fabric is called, I know it as ‘flanellette’ but
I’ve seen it labelled in shops as ‘wincette’ I tend to think of it as ‘that
soft stuff that sheets were made out of when I was small.
I line my skirts in this, I make petticoats in it, for
several reasons: it doesn’t seem to ride up against tights or stockings the way
that regular lining fabric does, and it is WARM, it is so warm. I am one of the
coldest people ever, and I live in ENGLAND, so being warm, is a complete
Anyway, to sum up – I’m
pretty proud of this skirt, particularly all the little finish details that I
did myself. I’ve worn this skirt to work and to social functions and have not
once had anyone said ‘Wow, did you make that yourself’ WHICH I COUNT AS A WIN. I have also worn it in front of Mr P’s grandmother, and she
didn’t have a heart attack (she often does, I like to show my knees when I
dress… shocker that I am). Which is a double win. Definitely a success skirt. Hopefully successful skirt = successful blog post