My Kids Clothes Week nightmare!

The fact that this last week was Kids Clothes Week almost passed me by, preschool finished for my son on Tuesday but the girls were still at school and there were a number of events going on that we needed to attend/prepare for.

However, I had been thinking about making my son a Western Shirt from the Little One Yard Wonders book, so on Wednesday morning I taped the pattern paper to the floor and he watched while I traced the pieces:

pattern tracing

I somehow found time to cut the pieces from yardage of Circa 60 Beach Mod by Monaluna which I bought on sale at the beginning of last year (2 metres for £12 of organic fabric is pretty good for the UK).

I was able to get stitching the same evening and was happily getting on with it until I tried to fit the collar and collar stand onto the shirt.  Now, I have some experience of sewing clothes, I would not call myself an expert but I could not get the the pieces to fit, even with a bit of wiggle and stretch for ease there was no way.  I checked the instructions, I checked that I had traced the pattern pieces correctly, hoping that maybe I’d just traced the next size up and that was why I was having so much trouble, but all seemed fine.


The book is new so I wasn’t holding out much hope of finding any pattern reviews or errata but I did search, I also asked for help on instagram and had some suggestions but to be honest there was not much anyone could do without seeing the pattern and garment!  So late on Wednesday night I emailed Rebecca Yaker who is joint author of the book but also designer of this particular pattern. She responded within the hour (although I had gone bed as I was tired and somewhat frustrated!) saying that she would look at it the next day and get back to me.

I fiddled around a bit more with the collar, rereading the instructions and checking every pattern piece again. What I did discover is that the front left piece of the shirt is 1/2″ narrower than the right once the plackets are made, therefore the collar was 1/2″ longer on that side and doesn’t fit. I was pretty convinced I wasn’t wrong but was also struggling with how to resolve the problem.

I occupied myself with other things until late on Friday afternoon I received an email from Rebecca confirming that I was right! Woo hoo! I know I shouldn’t be delighted at someone’s error but really I was delighted at the fact that I wasn’t stupid and hadn’t missed anything!

Rebecca not only confirmed that there was a pattern error but also offered a solution to my problem, bearing in mind that I had already cut all the pieces.  I won’t go in to the technical details here but it was a fairly simple unpicking of the placket and sewing it again with smaller seam allowances.  Rebecca is working on a solution for further prints on the book and for the errata page on the Storey website.

So funnily enough Friday night was spent fixing the error on the shirt and finishing the shirt, by 10pm I had finished but was pretty exhausted!

One of the reasons for making this shirt was because Mathias likes a ‘proper’ shirt rather than t-shirts, something to do with being like Daddy (although he generally only wears them for work) and he also like to have the top button done up.

Saturday was another hot day but Mathias was happy to wear his new shirt and model for photographs in the park:


One of the things he loves about the shirt is the ‘gold’ buttons; they are not in fact gold or buttons but they are shiny poppers (bought from the car boot the other week, 50p for a full packet!) and so just like pirate treasure:


I made a size 4 for him, he’s small for his age (5 in October) so this is a good fit on him, in fact at the rate he grows I’m sure it will still fit him next summer!


I wasn’t there for the photo shoot (I was waiting for voile to finish in the washing machine so I could hang it out to dry) but apparently he wanted to do a proper pose:


I’d say he did pretty well!

Aside from the major problem I had with this shirt I really enjoyed making it, I love the detail of the yoke and the pockets and with it being for a child it’s pretty small and easy to work with:


I wouldn’t hesitate to make it again. I mentioned above that I had 2 metres of fabric to work with but as the title of the book suggests you can make this with only 1 yard of fabric (although the selvedge on this fabric was really quite wide so I might have struggled).  Some pieces are not cut on the grainline as you can see in this photo:


I like how this adds to the quirkiness of the shirt and there is also no stress about pattern matching either!

The girls wanted to get in some photographs too, they are both wearing shorts I’ve made this summer, I’ll write about those soon.


So in summary a frustrating but ultimately successful Kids Clothes Week!

kid's clothes week

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Which top to sew in which fabric?

Whilst waiting for a response to a problem this week my sewing was stalled and so I got to thinking about what else I could make.  The weather here is hot and I fancy making a top or two for me.  Yesterday I pulled out my Sorbetto pattern which I’ve made 3 times before and the Meghan Peasant which I’d not yet made.

It was the last day of school so I just had my boy at home, I cut the Meghan out of a vintage sheet that was too worn for the shop and stitched it up to check for fit and to see whether I actually like the style.  My son thought it was beautiful, even in a worn out vintage sheet!

So today I’ve pull out the stash of AMH voile that I’ve had for over a year and dithered about which print to use for which top.  I prewashed 3 pieces and they were dry within a hour in the hot sun!

I’ve got just enough of this print to make a Sorbetto:


I’m debating whether to lengthen it slightly, what to do with the front pleat (leave it out, reverse it…) and also need to decide on what to use for the bias binding.  It is now the school holidays but I know from experience it’s a fairly quick sew, so I’m hoping I might be wearing before the end of the week.

Do you have a favourite top pattern that you sew?  I’ve also been eyeing up the Wiksten Tank.

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Goodbye blouse, hello shirt

A month or so ago a friend, Kate who is sorting out her house ready to move handed me a bag on the school run containing a couple of lovely items.

One was a gorgeous vintage blouse, made in Switzerland for Harrods, very worn on the collar so only really fit for cutting up and repurposing.  The fabric is lush and I spent a bit of time thinking about what to do with it:

harrods blouse

You may remember that I’ve made a pile of shirts using Carolyn Friedlanders pattern, I was thinking about the shirts that I’m waiting to receive back from the swap (hint: round 3 may be happening soon if you want to join in) when inspiration struck; why not turn this blouse into a shirt:


So I pulled out a copy of the pattern and got cutting and stitching.  I decided to make a journal cover, something useful and practical:


I think it is my most lovely shirt yet! It came together perfectly but maybe that is because I’ve made approximately 30 of them! For the background I used Crosshatch in white from Carolyns’ Architexture range. I thought about quilting the piece but decided to keep it simple and just stitched around the block and just inside the block with Aurifil 2530 which was the perfect match to the pink in the shirt.


There’s just a simple flap around to the inside of the cover:


Before making this gift I’d already stitched up a little something for Kate. I love the label on the shirt and couldn’t resist a bit of fussy cutting:


And with the addition of some webbing and key fob hardware made this for her new house keys:


Keyfobs, I’ve decided are a great way to showcase special bits of fabric, I’m already thinking about other pieces of clothing that children have grown out of or worn out (or in some cases both!) that might be good to use, preserving some memories.

Kate and her family are moving away but won’t be forgotten; I now need to cook up a plan for the other fabric she’s left me (oh and I didn’t use the whole blouse so you’ll probably be seeing more of this fabric!).

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Getting ahead of myself

It’s July but Sue has already put up the info for the Siblings Together bee block for August. For one reason or another both the sewing projects that I have on the go have been stalled so I got on and stitched this:


It’s a simple 14.5″ (unfinished) log cabin made with 2.5″ strips. Sue asked us to choose our colour so despite having not much yellow in my stash I opted for that. All but the Lecien bunnies were pulled from my yellow scraps bin which was really satisfying.

Here’s hoping I’ll be able to get on with my other projects soon!

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End of an era

Way back in October 2007 my eldest child started preschool, my other 2 children have also attended the same wonderful preschool (although thankfully it moved to a purpose built building rather than an upstairs room in a church!).

Today is my youngest childs’ last day at preschool, we are really thankful for the wonderful staff who have had such a positive input into the lives of all of our children over the last seven years.  I spoke to the preschool about making something as a thank you gift for the children to use.  The most popular suggestion from the staff was super hero capes (I think that some of them might have been hoping for adult sized capes!).

I will not say that my heart sank but I will admit that they are not my favourite thing to make; more to the point I’m just not keen on stitching with that slippery, slidey, shiny fabric!

But I did it, Mathias and I made a trip to the local fabric shop and picked out some colours from their varied selection of shiny fabrics.  To be honest he was more entranced by the gold, shiny, sequin stuff declaring it to be pirate treasure.

I’ve made super hero capes on a number of occasions in the past using this tutorial.  No need to reinvent the wheel, I pulled out the template, shortened it by approximately one inch (just to get 2 cape pieces out of the (WOF) and got cutting and sewing.

They didn’t take long:


Hmmm not the most inspiring photo, how about some action shots? Swooping in from somewhere:

Superhero Capes

Pondering the next move:

Superhero Cape in action

Big sister just proving that being 7 years old is not too old for a cape:

Superhero Cape in action

I’m not the biggest fan of wrapping paper and knowing how much children like bags for putting ‘stuff’ in I stitched up a couple of lined drawstring bags in the Project Bag size:

Lined drawstring bags (for superhero capes)

Fill each with 2 superhero capes and hopefully hours of fun for the children not going to ‘big’ school in September.

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Yes I’ve been feeling a little bit sad that I’m not in London this weekend at Fat Quarterly Retreat, I’m enjoying seeing the photo’s appearing on Instagram though they make me miss it even more!

But we’ve been busy here with a preschool sports event, school fair and preschool graduation and fair.  I’ve managed to squeeze in some sewing time and got my vintage sheet string quilt quilted:


I also squeezed in time on Friday to get the binding stitched on one side, the evenings are being spent hand stitching it on to the back:

I’ve also had inspiration for what to do with this:


A vintage blouse from Harrods made in Switzerland, gifted to me by a friend who is moving house, I’m keeping the inspiration under wraps for now but I’m pretty pleased with it.

And if that was enough I decided on the layout for a baby quilt yesterday morning:


Yes, this is the black and white version in case you were wondering!

We’ve nothing planned for today, the children still have a whole week left at school so I feel like we need to reserve our energy for that, I’m hoping therefore that I can make some progress on one or all three of the projects above!

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Small (but perfectly formed)

Last month Storey Publishing sent me this book to review:

one yard
Little One Yard Wonders available from Amazon and lots of other book shops I’m sure.

For some reason I was surprised at the amount of projects in it; however the clue is on the cover!  I immediately spotted a couple of items I wanted to make and have already made 4 pairs of shorts in various sizes but more about those another day.  Last week I decided it was time to make something for my about to be 3 year old niece, I had another browse through it and there were a couple of things that caught my eye; one was this:

Tot Tote and Wallet

Sadly I didn’t have any grommets to hand and didn’t have time to start trawling round to find some.

The other was the Casey Apron, it looked pretty cute and simple; and more importantly something that my niece might like.  So I traced the pattern on to Swedish tracing paper and got planning.

As you may guess from the title of the book ‘Little One Yard Wonders’ all the items can be made from one yard.  However I don’t often buy yards of fabric, I’m more likely to buy fat quarters, fortunately I have a couple of large pieces of Sugar and Spice prints in my stash so I pulled those out and worked out what pattern pieces I could get from each.

The instructions were really clear and so are the layout instructions for the pattern pieces on fabric, but as I’d decided to use 2 different prints I cut the main panels on the fold rather than flat and having to flip the pattern piece over. Interestingly the pattern materials state that the pattern is not suitable for one-way prints but the accompanying photograph shows the apron in a directional print.

apron on hanger

The pattern instructions were straightforward and I made this from start to finish in less than 2 hours (not including pattern tracing time). I made the small size and after asking my 4.5 year old to model it am sure it will fit my 3 year old niece.

So yes, there are photo’s! My son was persuaded to try the apron on in exchange for a tiny chocolate egg! Handy pockets:


To be fair to him it was really sunny which is why such lovely facial expressions were used, I don’t think he really minded modelling.  This apron would look great in more masculine prints too.


He is the cutest little boy I know, and our gorgeous lavender bushes seem to make a good backdrop for outside photo’s.


It’s not easy to see here but the neck strap is made of 2 parts and have velcro on so it can be done up behind the neck and the same goes for the waist; no tricky ties to do.  The main panel is lined with the fabric I used on the neck and waist straps.

The apron was delivered to it’s new owner by post yesterday, however when I spoke to my sister-in-law yesterday the birthday girl was asleep so yet to open her gift. I can see more of these quick makes in my future.

So far I am delighted with this book, I think it would be great for people who are just starting on a sewing journey and want to sew for children. There are useful guidelines at the beginning of the book on sewing for children, an extensive glossary; handy if you are new to sewing and don’t know what something means (lets be honest we’ve all been there). At the front there is a pocket which contains all the pattern sheets for every item in the book. You know that a yard of fabric will be enough for each project so even if you don’t have a stash of fabric all you need to buy is one piece of fabric (try limiting yourself to just one though ;-)). My favourite thing? (apart from the patterns) joy of joys the book is spiral bound, so when you lay your book down to carry out the next step you do not loose your page, how I love that; I can just glance across and look what the next step is without having to find the right page (again).

The theme for Le Challenge this month has been ‘small’ so this is my entry; for a small child, I have made a host of other ‘small’ things but you’ll just have to wait and see.  Check out what other ‘small’ themed things people have been making:

Le Challenge

Storey Publishing sent me this book to review however all opinions are my own.  I will continue to make items from the book and write about them here.

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Gifts for boys

My 9 yr old has had a number of boys birthday party’s to attend recently and I’ve taken it upon myself to make gifts.  With plenty of fabric in the cupboard it seems wrong not to!

I mentioned back here about this fabric:

A FQ each of Boulder Chill and Origami Sprouts (Mixed Bag line by Moda)

And how it truly was bought for the purpose of making a gift for a friend and not for stashing; this is the finished item:

Origami open wide zip pouch

I’m struggling to remember the making of this but I think that much of it was sewn by Bethan until time and interest ran out!

Origami open wide zip pouch

It’s the great tutorial by Anna of Noodlehead

Origami open wide zip pouch

It was gifted to one of her closest friends along with some origami creation that she made to go with it.

Yesterday there was another party and while Bethan chose the fabric I did all the sewing this time:

Robotic journal cover

A simple journal cover, using up smallish pieces of fabric that have not yet made it to the ‘scrap’ bin but are less than a fat quarter!

Robotic journal cover

Fun and simple to make and hopefully useful for the birthday boy!

Robotic journal cover - inside

There is a whole pile of other stuff to show and tell but I have lots of fabric that needs cutting for the shop so it will all have to wait.  In a day or so I may well have a ‘little’ something to link up with Le Challenge along with some pretty awesome photographs…

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Still wonky

It’s nearly time for FQ Retreat and the chance to hand over quilts to the Siblings Together charity. Sadly I won’t be there this year so there will be a box of 6 quilts leaving Exeter shortly to go straight to the offices of Siblings Together.

In that box will be this gorgeous quilt:

Wonky Cross quilt 1

It may look very similar to one I shared just the other week, and indeed it is similar in size and block design and some fabrics.  The other similarity is that the blocks were made by lovely quilters of Instagram and Flickr.

Wonky Cross quilt 1

Thanks to everyone who contributed blocks, I think I’ve remembered everyone, apologies if I have missed anyone, there were a lot of you:

joanne333jonesrosedahliathewoolpalaceCarolmochawildchildinspiredbyfelixbrianisthemessiahheartofcharnwoodSue, metroquilterfabricandflowersuk, helenlay82BossyOzimstudioloupetal68moogiemumquiltificationhannlibbothybirdjorobexetersusydunne

Susy and I had a day out to Emily’s and quilted this using her frame, we all had a go.  We quilted in wavy lines across the quilt which mimics the wavy lines of the bike path on the back:

Wonky Cross quilt  - back

Yes, again I pieced the back as a wonky cross, using the bargain £3 per yard Bike Path from Fabric Guild I also used it to bind the quilt along with some fabric pieces that came with blocks.

Wonky Cross quilt 1

I machine sewed the binding on for durability and strength and speed might also have been a factor in my decision making.

Wonky Cross Quilt 1

All the quilts for Siblings Together I’ve finished now have the labels on too:


If you need a label for a quilt please see the info on flickr here.

It’s been a pleasure to be involved in this project again, thanks for all your support.

Quilt Stats:

Pattern: Wonky Cross 9″ blocks
Fabric: a wide variety from stashes in the UK and Europe!
Binding – Scrappy using Bike Path in blue, black and lime green
Backing – Ikea Britten Nummer and Bike Path by Alison Glass in blue
Wadding – Super-Soft 70/30 Eco-Blend by Sew Simple
Quilting – wavy lines using my Janome Horizon on Emily’s frame
Size – Approx 63″ x 90″

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Goal for July

I’m cutting it fine this month entering my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  I’ve had lots to do, but most have been small projects for teacher and birthday gifts which have been quick to start and finish so no good as a goal.

The one project that I feel like I have hanging over me is this one:

Vintage sheet string quilt top

I finished the quilt top as my goal for May.  I left it in a pile and picked it up again a couple of weeks ago and basted it.  I started quilting it but wasn’t happy with how it was looking so have just finished unpicking it!

Now it needs basting again and quilting (again).  It’s bothering me so I’m going to try to get it done, I’m pretty sure I’ll feel a lot better when it is ticked off my list.

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