Thursday, 17 July 2014


So, when I saw that Sewcialists had made July be oonabaloona month I just KNEW I had to take part. Seriously. I have MAD SEWING LOVE for Oonaballoona (creepy stalker like sewing love if we’re going to be specific about it) – so I decided to take part… the challenge being to sew something Oona-inspired… and immediately, I hit a bump in the road… and by bump, I mean mountain…
I am not Oona. I mean, that’s obvious, but I’m about as FAR from being Oona as it is possible to be and still sew. Oona sews in bright colours and clashing prints ALL THE TIME… I prefer muted plain fabrics (because I’m boring snoring, and prints scare me). Oona sews FASHIONABLE clothes that are ON TREND (no really, she even made hareem pants), I sew clothes that look like I should live in the 1950’s (no really, I wish I did). Oona adds thigh high slits to show off her AMAZING LEGS, one of my sewing goals is to update my wardrobe to be more modest… Oona is tall and skinny and gorgeous (I MEAN SHE’S AN ACTRESS PEOPLE) – I am short, and curvy. Oona is SO AMERICAN, I mean, COME ON, she uses the word ‘y’all’ – I AM SO QUINTESETIALLY ENGLISH I WROTE A POST ABOUT SCONES (remember, rhymes with gone, unless you’re in Scotland/are the queen)…
As you can see – me, sewing something Oona-inspired? So not going to happen.

Look! I took a photo of me... by some
steps... to be JUST LIKE OONA
But then I remembered something, something that had been floating in my mind for a while, something that was ON TREND, something that would require BRIGHT COLOURS and a BOLD PRINT, something that would be GLAMAROUS… something that might, just MIGHT, be worthy of being part of an OONAPALOOZA

So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… THE OONA MAXI!
I even… in honour of Oona, have posted PICTURES OF MYSELF WEARING THIS DRESS, rather than the usual mannequin pictures (which will undoubtedly return next week!)

Pics to show the back of the dress...
it's the same as the front
I’ve wanted a Maxi dress for a while, but I’m not really the right shape for an off-the-shelf maxi – for starters, I’m pretty short, so they’d always be too long, and more importantly, maxi dresses all seem to be strapless, or have spaghetti straps, or a plunging neckline… Now, I don’t mean to be graphic here, but I am of a bust size that means that not wearing a bra is NOT AN OPTION… So I needed a maxi that would work to those specifications.

I decided the simplest thing to do, would be to make a peasant style dress – with elastic under the bust. I know peasant style dresses suit me (even if they do accentuate my ‘mumsy’ figure) – and more importantly, they’re super quick and easy to make! And I had a pattern that I could totally cannibalize to turn into it (which just meant I had to lengthen it really)

Didn't have a new york style street to
photograph in... so went to the park
The only thing I don’t like about this, is it’s not QUITE as long as I’d hoped, it looks awesome with heels, but not so great with flats. However, if it was much longer I’d be tripping over it all the time! So perhaps it’s a good thing. It took me a couple of hours to make (in between cooking and chatting), I decided to make it on Saturday evening, and then wore it to church on Sunday morning! That’s what counts as a sewing win. It’s super comfy, it feels like wearing a nighty, but it’s appropriate outdoor wear! Maxi dresses are the future! I may be on the hunt for more cool fabric to make a few!
Oh, and cost wise? This cost less than £5 to make and I still have a meter or so of the fabric left (although not of the lining) – admittedly, I did buy it from the £1 p/m section in my local fabric shop – but it’s awesome fabric! So it totally works!.
Complete win! £5 and a couple of hours effort and I get a new glamourous, OONA INSPIRED dress.
Thanks Oona!


I might not be oona-style elegant - but I'm thinking I don't look dreadful in this maxi!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Broderie Anglais Skirt

It's just like it looked in my head!
Do you ever get that thing where you mentally plan an outfit, and then realise you’ve included an item of clothing you don’t own? I do this all of the time – mostly it’s with stuff that I used to own, but don’t anymore – I have a moment of ‘oh, those shoes would go perfectly with this’, rummage around to find them, and then realise I threw them out five years ago...

Very occasionally however, this happens with clothes that have yet to exist – and on Friday, I’d just had my nails done (shellac nails, they're awesome, unless you have nails that grow super fast like mine do...), and was deciding what outfit would best match them to wear to my grandmother’s the next day (for her 90th birthday party... in which I hid in a corner because nobody told me about the dozens of strangers I'd be forced to share the room with... even if they were all old and adorable), when I thought I should wear the white, gathered broiderie anglais skirt with my denim jacket… at which point, I realised I didn’t own said skirt… BUT THIS WAS NOT A PROBLEM.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Coat

The Coat that was in my head
So – I realise that the middle of summer is not the right time to be posting a blog about a coat. But seriously. This coat has taken FOREVER. So, I can’t remember how long ago I dreamt up the idea for this – the first time I came across that super soft fleece stuff – I don’t know what it’s called… it’s like fake sheep wool, but SO SOFT, like you have NO IDEA HOW SOFT. The softness of this coat is immense. Anyway, so I envisaged this coat, in navy blue, with a white collar and white cuffs turned back.

And then I didn’t do anything about it

Look at that adorable flash of Red
Mr P is a genius
I try to limit my fabric spending, I always have a million and one projects on the go which I already have fabric for, so I try really hard and not spend money on fabric until I’ve run out of things to make with the fabric I already own – but my work gave me a fabric voucher for my leaving gift (now, it’s worth noting her, this is not the job I’m in now (obviously), not the job before this one, but the job before THAT), so I decided to spend the money on the coat that I’d been dreaming of – and bought enough super soft amazingly soft fleece, and some navy blue corduroy, and a pattern. I started out with Burda 8292 – but wanted more flare in the skirt, so self-drafted some godets (or Bidets as Mr P likes to refer to them as), I also rounded the collar a lot, because I wanted that soft peter-pan look.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Failure on the First: Chocolate Fudge Cake

Chocolate fudge cake failure

I know what you’re thinking – how can anything involving the words ‘CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE’ be a failure. Well… me… that’s how.

This tale starts off with a planned trip to visit some friends one weekend, and during the week before I turn to Mr P and say ‘Hmmm, if I have time, I might make a chocolate fudge cake to take with us this weekend’ … wait no, let me write that correctly… “Hmmm, if I have time, I might make a chocolate fudge cake to take with us this weekend” which resulted in him telling said friends that I was making a cake… he’s a crafty so’n’so… ensuring he gets his cake that way!

So, anyway, I make the chocolate fudge cake the night before… I know you’re all dying to know, so here’s the recipe (hailed as magic chocolate fudge cake, because it contains no dairy and no eggs)

10 oz SR flour (less 1 tablespoon)
6 oz caster sugar
1 tbs cocoa powder

The chocolate fudge icing is really the crème-de-la-crème of this recipe (please note, not crème-de-la-crème-de-la-edgar! I AM NOT TRYING TO DROWN MY FRIENDS… also, kudos if anyone actually gets that reference), it’s even better, because there are NO QUANTITES, which means you must do it by taste, which means LOTS OF TASTING CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE and invariably burning oneself on it… but oh well.
Melt an equal quantity of dairy free margarine and golden syrup together until the mixture is smooth – to taste, add cocoa powder and icing sugar (I know this is called something different in America, but I can’t recall what it is) until the mixture tastes goooooooood. WARNING, this will solidify really quickly, it will also not look elegant on your cake as it splooges everwhere and then turns into gooey fudge… but it tastes so good it doesn’t matter.

“Where’s the failure” I hear you all cry… well, it’s coming… So, I made said, inelegant, but tasty looking cake – got home from work, and removed cake from the fridge in order to take it with me. We got half an hour down the road to our friends (a 4 hour drive away… this is a long way in England) and I realised THE CAKE WAS STILL SAT AT HOME… WHAT A FAILURE.

Actually, I decided that I wanted the cake so much (and so did everyone else) that the next day, I made cake AT MY FRIENDS HOUSE. It was like friendship cake. Chocolaty fudgey friendship cake.

Which also meant that Mr P and I had a second cake to eat when we got home.
Wait… why was this a failure again?

Lesson learnt: Don’t tell Mr P about plans until they are definite… he will share them with the world just to get cake.