We have been decorating recently, (we live in Lewes in east Sussex) having lived in the house nearly a year, we had to make good on our promise to the children that they could have their room’s decorated.

The little one, Isobel (5) is still in the pink phase (groan), so she now has a pink room and she decided that she wanted bunting. Of course, why wouldn’t you, it’s in the street, school and every craft shop we go in.

N.B. we go to lots of crafts shops.

Having established that there would be no Union flag nonsense, I bought a Layer Cake, which is a really interesting way was to buy a mixed bundle of fabric which is linked in theme and complementary colours.  As a non-quilter (yet), I had never seen these before, but am now convinced of how great they are. The need of more fabric than a Jelly Roll, but don’t need Fat Quarters, you get approx 42, 10 inch squares and are usually put together by a company, as opposed to a shop.

We turned this into some bunting, I made template of an equilateral triangle, and made double faced triangles. Isobel had picked some pink chiffon ribbons with sequins (of course she did!) as tape. We had more triangles than we had planned,so I used some Teal blue satin bias binding for the second strand of bunting.

I think this is very effective and more important Isobel really likes this. whilst I think that bunting is very “Vintage” and “now” and I am unlikely to put this in every room in the house (use sparingly, is the phrase I would use). This looks great in Isobel’s room and it’s lack of uniformity and bright patterned fabric is perfect if you are 5.


It’s nearly a macrame plant pot holder……


There are several finished things to blog about, I’ve been decorating and fanatically watching cycling, so there will be a few blog post to bring you up to date.


So, those of you who read this and occasionally talk to me, either; in person, on facebook or twitter will have picked up that I’m a bit of a recycler and upcycler. Whilst I’ve tried really hard not to go down the crocheting a new door mat from the hair I pull out the shower (urgh), nonetheless, I do believe in less waste and using things more than once.

The next project (21) comes in 2 parts and is something for the kitchen.

OK, so dishcloths, not the most exciting or sexy item, but a necessity.

Over the years, I have started to make my own through both knitting and now crochet. I use wool left over from knitting socks. there is something about the way sock wool is spun in that it seems more resistant to wear. So I have used up some left over sock wool and made 2 new dishcloths.

If you are interested in doing this: I use double stranded wool, cast on approximately 30 stitches and just double crochet away until I have a square. These get washed with the towels weekly and usually last about 9 months each. Which is pretty good value for some leftover sock yarn and about 2 hours of time.



The second part of this project is napkins. My children are now of the age where we don’t have a pack of wet wipes in every room, but they (and we at times) still occasionally could use some help. Obviously the simple answer (which we did use) is kitchen roll or paper napkins. However, 2 children x  9 meals at home a week = lots of waste and expense (over the year).

So in a similar vein to the dishcloths. I have made some very simple napkins for everyday use. Should you every come round for dinner, it’s unlikely the table will be set with these (unless you are family) but for everyday children mess these are ideal.

These are made from some left over white cotton linen mix, cut to a 25 cm square and overlocked at the edges. very simple, very easy, gets washed every week in the towel wash.

So 2 halves of a project using leftover, cheap and simple which creates less waste, a double win for me.


Other projects I have lined up and on the go

1. Jaywalker socks

2. Curtains for my daughters room

3. Table runner in lovely fabric


See you soon



Possibly the oddest post to date


So, I’m very new to all this bloging and I have lots of craft thing to post up (see below), the headlines are that I have finished projects 17-20. On reflection, (and Suze and I have discussed this at length), that I/we have been going about the blog posting as a form of show and tell, so you all get the “ta da!” when I have finished, and usually late and with me tired and actually, I think it’s the process which is the interesting bit.

With this in mind, I am going to start writing a more the blog as an “what I’ve been up to” and shift from a show and tell. Suze is also of the same mind and it is likely that we will both move to new blogs and there are many things I do which aren’t sewing but still form part of my crafting ethos and I would like to share.

As I’ve made 20 thing in 6 months, I think that for me, this project has moved on from sewing insanity, in that yes, I can make things. There are 3 or 4 projects I’ve made which I didn’t blog post, (for a variety of reasons), this also adds to my want to move away from show and tell bloging. I am moving more into what I’m making and the challenges it presents.

We moved house last year and we are about to embark on some decorating and making the house home, so there will be less clothes made. I think the other things for me was that I thought I was going to be spending this year sewing. 2011 was a very stressful year for me and I wanted something positive and challenging to do, hence the sewing. The truth is that I just needed a focus which this has given me, Suze and I have both got new jobs this year (mine started last month) so my work wardrobe need to become a bit more business like. I will probably have a bash at making a suit jacket (any pattern recommendations welcome, especially for a large bust).

So, below is the last of my show and tell type of blog and a catch up on the last month of crafting.

Project 17 – I finally cracked the Sorbetto top, in a lovely silk, which puckered like nobodies business, I may need to buy a walking foot (having re-mortgaged the house first). I had been going wrong with the Sorbetto as I had been cutting it too large, and there is nothing worse than wearing clothes which are even bigger than you are (especially if you are also carry some extra porkyness).


This is such a versatile pattern, now I’ve cracked the sizing and tried it in different fabrics, I think this may become a work staple.

The next project (18) is a cardigan for my friends baby. Bit of a challenge as she definitely didn’t want pink! I opted for this leaf green and embroidered some daisies and found the little daisy buttons to match.


Next, I finished my last “holiday” / summer top. I used the sew serendipity pattern for the tunic / top I have used before. I did look on the web for any comments and have added some wide elastic to the top of the arms (raglan sleeves) to draw it in. I was initially sceptical, but it does create a better fit. My only other comments on this is that it doesn’t actually need a zip, but I possibly could so with cutting a smaller size.


Finally, and this is a bit of a ta dah!

This is a lace shawl I have cast on 4 times prior to this in a variety of yarns and just kept failing. This was my holiday project, I used several markers to keep me able to  follow the pattern. It did take about 30 hours in total and had several unpicked rows and still involved a lot of muttering and swearing. I got therein the end just love it., although I wont be make lace knitting part of my regular life at present.


Some pattern detail


So, thanks for readyng and please feel free to leave any comments.


Mirror mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all……


Hello, and sorry mum…..

OK, so quite a gap since my last post. I have been sewing, but also having a very sore neck and back, lots of pain, lots of tightness, so quite slow sewing and taking it a bit easier. (NB: this has NOTHING to do with the Giro de Italia)

There are 2 finished things to show you below, the blog title come from my thought process…..

Not long until holidays now for me, very excited, sewing clothes to wear. “Oh”, I thought, “I really need a dark blue denim skirt” (I picked up the fabric in Ditto), I turned around, saw the blue jersey, “oh, that will be great for a top and will make a nice outfit for my holiday”…. dear readers, I froze in time the moment I had used the outfit word……..my mum has finally broken through….

So, admitting defeat, I bought both and went home to cry and put any remaining vestiges of youth in a vac bag under the bed….(yes, middle age hit hard that day).


I had previously spoken of being brave and bold with jersey, I ended up broken with a failed tolie in the bin and a very clear idea of how not to make a jersey top. The pattern for this started out as the same dress in project 2, Burda 7828. I lengthened the bodice and sleeve by 1 inch and the hem by 3 inches and shortened the sleeves. I really like the the cross-over look, and again stitched a modesty panel otherwise there was too much bust on show. Most of this was over locked, which was just lovely

The skirt was also a Burda pattern, 7531 which I have made before but never with the central inverted pleat made. Photo was taken after a long day at work (if you are reading this for good photo’s I fear you have left by now, I am wearing make up at least, or was when I left the house that morning)


I like the inverted pleat and am think of another skirt with a completely contrasting colour for the pleat. The pattern is a good fit and dare I say, easy to make.

I’m off to rest my neck and pray that France has better weather……



2 tops for the blog of one


Hello again,

After last time’s confession that I usually post a bit after completion to allow a wear and check the garment. Well today is breaking with that, I have just finished and am having a catch up blog before I get started on the next things.

2 tops have been finished, both short sleeved (looming French holiday), I am hoping that I will need short sleeve tops, but based on current weather I have also bought a new waterproof, drought indeed!  *mutters to self about government and met office conspiracy*.

The first top is a Amy Butler Lotus dress, made as a the short top (it may be referred to as a Cami) with sleeves, I must have sleeves for bingo wing arms.



I really like the style and fit and this design and have made the pattern before, I’ve made 2 changes to the pattern, by adding an inch to the front panel to limit the “Bavarian Waitress” look this can have, and the original pattern has a button closure at the back, I have used a zip, I usually get dressed before the rest of the family is awake, so I’m not sure how I would actually get dressed in the morning.

The fabric choice was partly driven by the blue satin bias binding I had in my stash and I like the pattern of the fabric with the contrasting panels. Fabric was from one of my local shops, The Patchwork Dog and basket in Lewes, which is Quilting Heaven, they sell a huge range of beautiful printed cottons.

I don’t usually wear light colours and looking at the photo, I’m not convinced this is the most flattering colour (I am genetically Scottish with dark hair, pale skin) and in the past have had to return things with disappointment as I just looked washed out (known at home as the “Whistles suit” incident).

There was a large amount of hand stitching the bias binding in place, this made my oddly happy (Suze thinks I am mental) and I have lined this with some white muslin. I really like the top, and am going to persevere with the colour and see.

PPG was £23,70 which includes, cotton fabric, lining and zip, bias binding and thread from stash. This took 7 hours, which included making lining and a large amount of hand stitching.


Literally, I have just finished my next top.


This is the Sorbetto pattern in Georgette. A slight pattern variation in that I didn’t put the full pleat in down the front, I have moved the pleat to the inside and only anchored it at the top.  I also increased the sleeve width and made some gathers so that the sleeve falls nicely. I think the fabric is very suited to this and have made a little note in my book. Overall, top is a bit more flowing and definitely looks better tucked in than left out.  The neck has some black stain bias binding (again hand stitched, what is wrong with me? I have to make 40 things this year, I don’t have time for hand finishing!)

Anyway, This took about 4 hours, and PPG was £4.50, fabric was a remnant from C&H fabrics and I only needed 1 metre, even with the sleeves (1metre, I am going to be all over the remnant stalls in fabric shops!) and some bias binding. Oddly enough, I have a lot of black thread in the house.

So *deep exhale* next, I need to re-thread my over locker. (Suze has advised setting the machine up next to the telly and pausing the DVD step by step, yes, readers, it’s so fiddly that you get a DVD to watch).

I bought some black jersey and am going to be brave, bold and other B words (Mr Sarah thinks bloody minded) and actually make something in jersey using the over locker.

Wish me well………………..


Tales of poor fabric choice….



I am a bit behind with the blogging, I confess that I usually only post once some thing has been worn to test; fit all day ( not just a quick try on in front of the mirror), does it work, is it comfortable etc., I finished this over a week ago and am now playing catch up, a very busy week for me.

Last week I finished a dress – come on down number 12!


This was a free pattern from April’s “Sew” magazine. A simplicity Project Runway K2588.

A toile was made for fit and adjustments made, it came together really easily and I am happy to report that I used my new over-locker *happy face* to finish all the seams (where have you been all my life). Dress finished, tried on and I had made the bust enlargement slightly too big in that ,the bust on my dress were a good 3 cms further out on each side than my actual bust, and obviously dear reader, I only found this out once I had put the zip in. There was a large amount of muttering and I had to unpick swathes of both over-locking and stitching to remedy this. The other flaw in my plan was that I made the lining separately, so in all, this dress took a long time to finish. Although, for me the joy is in the making not the rushing. The lining was made from some e deep purple linen shearing I picked up on a market stall.

The final embellishment and I will take a better photo for next time, (you can’t see very well in the photo here, the dress is currently in the washing machine), is that I made a rosette and stitched this to the front waistband. The pattern offered a series of tabs, belts and bows, but none of these were right for me. I’ll show this separately in future here.

So, I really need to talk about fabric choice. I like this fabric,I bought it as I liked the stripes, but it is cotton. Dear reader, I need to move on, this is a great dress pattern, but cotton does not do it justice and creases badly which detracts from the overall dress look. (the noise you can here is Suze “Step away from the cotton”) I like the design and am likely to make this again, but maybe in a nice crepe or wool for winter

Dress took about 17 hours (including toile, unpicking large swathes and make the lining separately. I also hand stitched all the lining as as I decided didn’t want any top-stitching showing.

Cost was £7.99 a metre for fabric (from the Stitchery, my lovely local fabric and swing shop), £3.50 a meter for lining, 3 of each, plus 1.20 for a zip. I already had thread in my stash. Total of £35.67.


See you soon

Sarah x


What I learned from the first 10 and going forward



So, I made it, 10 things made by the end of March, I am feeling reasonably optimistic that I will actually make 40 this year, but must keep going. I did find it all a bit of a challenge at time to keep going. My “free time” is limited (I work full-time and have 2 children,who want me to spend time with them!), and there were some evenings when I did have to make myself crack on with sewing. These are the main things I have found out;

1. I am allergic to metallic zips and when they are side zips and which finish near your arm pit, I get really quite a nasty rash. This means side zips will need to become back zips……

2. I am not as uncreative as I had previously thought (see coat)

3. I still really hate having my photograph taken

4. I am getting better at pattern altering to fit my body shape

5. Everyone is very supportive and encouraging

So onto the next 10 (I had discussed with Suze that I would try to break this down into 10 per quarter as opposed to 40 a year, otherwise my head hurt). The other things I have realised is that there are some things I want to make and “have a a go” at, machine embroidery for 1, but these are likely to become napkins rather than a garment, so I am going to have to be a bit more flexible about my free choices.

In terms of getting a sneak preview of the next few projects and how I’ll be getting along, Spring is upon us and I really need some short sleeve tops, this neatly co-insides with the upcoming family holiday, so there are likely to be a few of these. I am a massive cycling fan, and when the Tour de France is on, nothing gets done (neglected children, ready meals and take away’s, untidy house) whilst I watch men in Lycra toil round the scenic parts of France on bicycles, so I need to get ahead on sewing terms to build up the time to do this.


So, away we go; the next project I’ve completed is a Sorbetto top. This is a free down from the really lovely Collette patterns http://www.coletterie.com/colette-patterns-news/free-pattern-to-download-the-sorbetto-top. I did take some inspiration from the 7 days of Sorbetto http://www.sewweekly.com/2011/07/7-days-of-sorbetto/ from the rather lovely Sew Weekly website http://www.sewweekly.com , and Claire from Sew,Incidentally had created a sleeve http://sew-incidentally.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/sleeve-pattern-for-sorbetto-top.html

Thanks to all of the above for your inspiration and sharing.

I have bought some brushed cotton from C&H fabrics earlier on and have used this.



This was very simple and very quick to make. The hardest part was turning the A4 paper into a pattern. I had added a small details in 3 covered buttons near the neckline (I promise I will wear make up in the photos from now on). I would like to try this in a range of fabric and try different embellishments, I like the flowing finished  and the “unfitted” design, although I may work on making the neckline a little smaller, it does feel a bit “gapey” to me.

Facts and figures, This took about 4 hours (including making the pattern), Fabric was £12, with 3 buttons to cover, £1. I had the thread in my stash. so a total of £13.

Right-oh, on with the next…..


See you soon