Friday, 31 May 2013


The Skater Dress goes Starlion

Starlion skater dress side close

If I'm looking pretty pleased with myself here, I have good reason.  After two late nights (late enough to be considered morning), the Big Girls' Skater Dress is finally done and with testers!  The moment we  thought we'd never see.

Starlion skater dress full

I don't want you to perceive me a disloyalal to Scandi Flowers or anything, but when we're alone I whisper 'I love you most of all' to my Starlions.  I prefer the lighter drape and the fabric is so smooth it's almost liquid.  Dreamy.

Starlion skater dress side

Wish all the testers luck and hopefully I'll have good news soon!

Thursday, 30 May 2013


Pin It Forward- UK Edition

Pin It Forward UK 2013

You might have noticed that there have been a lot of Pinterest-related blog posts in the UK blogging scene recently. Despite being active for a good number of years now, Pinterest is formally celebrating in the UK this month with their Pin It Forward UK Campaign. In the unlikely event that you are unfamiliar with the site (is there a craft-based blog who isn'?!), Pinterest is a place where you can collect, curate, and share things that interest you.   Prior to its advent, I bookmarked sites for reference but without a thumbnail or annotation it was difficult for me to find links at a later date.  Being a visual person, the pictures on Pinterest help me find what I'm looking for and the community aspect of following and collaborating on group boards means that not only do you see your pins, but also the pins of other people with similar interests.

When I was invited to partake in Pin It Forward UK, I was asked to choose one of my boards as the most important to me.  To the surprise of everyone, I didn't choose the board where I collect pictures of people I have crushes on, but a board that's even closer to my heart..

Nary a day goes by when I'm not contacted by someone asking for advice about sewing with knits; I have spent a lot of time sharing information on my blog as I really, really want to alleviate the intimidation factor for beginners to knit-sewing.  But the wonder of Pinterest means that not only can you find my tutorials, but all of the tutorials I've come across about sewing with knits!  If you don't follow my board already, you can find it here or by clicking on the picture above.

If you're interested in the next stop on the Pin It Forward UK campaign, tomorrow it mosies along to  crocheter-extraordinaire, Sarah, who blogs from Annaboo's House.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


One ironing board to bring them all and in the darkness blind them

ironing board cover 3

I'm delighted to add another addition to the Least Exciting Things I've Made series! Completely necessary though as oh dear god our last ironing board cover was gross, ripped, and stained.  If I'm going to be photographing some tutorials the very least I can do is make my ironing board glorious, right?

ironing board cover 1

And by glorious I mean garish.  I figured it will match all the things, or none of the things.  Like most things that are of paramount importance to humanity, I will keep you posted.

ironing board cover 2

By way of apology for tempting you here with mundanities, I'll give you a tiny glimpse of my sewing room.  Remember that time I said, 'Hey you guys, I finally realised it's okay to spend money making this space work for me'?  Me neither.

Monday, 27 May 2013


Scandi Flowers Skater Dress hits London, London doesn't notice

Big Girl Skater dress full

The night before my London trip I left the relative comfort of muslin-world and finally sewed up a skater dress in proper fabric.  The prospect of having someone who isn't seven years old take pictures of me somewhere that isn't my garden was too great an opportunity to pass up.  Obviously, being a rushed late-night venture I didn't get any pictures taken of the process so if I'm finally going to get my act together and write the tutorial I'll need to make myself at least one more skater dress.  Not a bad problem to have, all things considered. 

Big Girl Skater dress close

The Scandi flowers fabric is a cotton/lycra blend with quite a bit of body so the fit was less drapey than the viscose and interlock muslins.  Being a three-quarter length sleeve a thicker fabric is appropriate as a autumn / winter / spring dress (or if it's this year a summer one too).  I'll use a thinner fabric and a short sleeve next time to see how that changes the fit. 

Big Girl Skater dress photobombed

Ha- my favourite picture and it's the one that was photobombed! 

Friday, 24 May 2013


The Roly-Poly Pattern Tour: Knit-style

roly poly elephant side 3

I was really stoked when my good friend Rachel from Imagine Gnats asked if I wanted a space in the tour for her inaugural pattern, the Roly Poly Pinafore.  I mean, who wouldn't want to help celebrate such a salubrious occasion?

roly poly sakura side

The pinafore has a lovely silhouette, an easy fit, cross-over panels to the back and buttons to the shoulders.  And the best bit?  Reversible.  You know how I'm a sucker for reversible.  It's suitable for cottons and cotton-blends without stretch, or if your name is Amanda: knits.

roly poly elephant back 1

You probably don't even need to be called Amanda, although I can't say for sure.  In this little number the elephants (and the flowers to the reverse) are cotton-lycra, the polka-dots are cotton interlock, and the stripes a viscose.  Not fabrics that necessarily play well together, but the crucial aspect was they were all stable.

roly poly elephant side 1

Despite it being a lovely feature indeed, I omitted the pleat at centre front because my pedantic heart didn't want to disrupt an elephant.  The only other changes I made were to place the gap for turning in the side seam rather than the hem (so it'd be easier to press press press the hem flat), and to add interfacing to the straps for the buttonholes.  Buttonholes in knits can massively distort with interfacing. 

roly poly sakura front 3

In short, the perfect top to make 'bring it on bro' arms at your mum in the garden while balancing on one foot.

Monday, 20 May 2013


The Rainy Days Peplum

Birthday girl 2

It was Maia's birthday party yesterday and in my typical last-minute fashion I made the party bags the night before, the cake the morning of, and the outfit an hour before. Will I ever learn? Nope.

dancing in the rain 5

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade; when life gives you relentless, soul-destroying weather, you make Rainy Days peplum tops.

dancing in the rain close

Instead of hemming, I edged the flounce with the same knit binding as I used on the sleeve edges and neckline.  This gives the peplum a bit more body and ties the two prints together.  I kind of wish I'd inserted it in the waist seam as well but you can't be too ambitious sewing against the clock.

dancing in the rain 2

All in all, we succeeded in sending our message to the powers that be: you can freeze us, you can soak us, you can knock our bins over every week with your preternaturally strong winds, but we will make clothes about it and wear the sh*t out of them.

party bags 3

The party bags are simple drawstring bags in rainbow hues, french seamed throughout. Six year olds are so snobbish about seam finishes.  I made the labels in Picmonkey and printed them on my beloved address label printer.

party bags 1

Now that I've gotten the weather, the top, and the party bags out of the way let's not beat about the bush.  I know that some of you are here for the biannual cake wreck (looking at you, Juicy Tots).... Will it be tagged 'terrible baking'? Or 'not terrible baking'?

birthday cake 1

Behold the majesty of the freckles, the chin, the cheekbones, those catchlights.  I think we can agree that that is one skillfully-rendered Care Bear head.  Only two people thought it was a pig so I'm calling this a (relative) win.

Sunday, 19 May 2013


Winner, winner foxy dinner

Thanks for all the congratulations and enthusiasm for my Sewing World feature, my heart grew at least three sizes that day (and then promptly shrunk back to normal size due to the stress of Maia's birthday party).  So without further ado, the winner of the foxy bubble skirt is....

 Rachel from Corner by Corner, come on down!

Friday, 17 May 2013


Sewing World Spread (and giveaway!)

sewing world cover

I've had to keep this quiet for what seems like forever but now that it's been published  I can tell you that I have a full pattern in the June issue of Sewing World... And a cover mention no less!  Arrow and POW bubble (obviously) added by myself.

sewing world toc

Here's the skirt I made and the pattern that's included: it's a drop waisted bubble skirt with a full lining for neatness, an elasticated waist for ease of dressing and in sizes 3 years to 12 years.

sewing world spread 1

There are paper pieces to cut out (as opposed to measurements to draft your own) and a three page step-by-step tutorial.

sewing world spread 2

This picture of the orange linen interior shows how neat the inside finish is.

sewing world all about me

And this picture shows what happens when a magazine lets a contributor write their own 'About Me'.

sewing world june makes

There are lots of other projects in the issue and even a bonus House of Pinheiro doppelganger.  Every magazine should have a House of Pinheiro doppelganger if they don't have the real thing.

Skirt collage

I had to provide the skirt for the photos, but it's back with me now and I'd like to give it away!  The size is 3y/4y with a 20" waist (stretching to about 24") and length of just under 11".  If you have a three to four year old, a child that will eventually be a three to four year old, you know a child that is or will be a three to four year old, or even if you have one of those creepy kid-in-the-corner dolls that fits the bill, leave a comment for a chance to win.  The giveaway is open internationally and I'll pick a random winner on Sunday; make sure that if you're a no-reply commentor that I can get a hold of you!

Thursday, 16 May 2013


Capturing Childhood: The Workshop

class 1

I made a whirlwind trip down to London last weekend for the inagural Capturing Childhood Photography Workshop, travelling down on the train on Friday and back up to Edinburgh on Saturday!  After completing their Collect the Moments and Manual Overdrive e-courses, I was curious as to how much more the workshop would offer.  Obviously, the correct answer is heaps.

both Kats

The workshop took place in a stunningly beautiful studio with the most amazing light.  The morning consisted of lessons from Kat and Kat on various topics interdispersed with tasks to test what we were learning.  Most helpful to me personally was learning about aperture; shutter speed and ISO I've been able to (more-or-less) wrap my head around but aperture nous remained elusive.  Consequently, I mostly shoot in TV mode and let my camera decide aperture.

flower 1

But hark! I think I understand it now! The pictures I took on Maia's birthday were indoors with low light (a normal indication of impending failure) and I shot in AV for the first time ever.

latterns 1

We also had a very interesting guest lecture from a professional stylist Poppy Norton about dressing photoshoots, and a late afternoon walk about Shoreditch to practise our outdoor shots.

outside pics 7

It was so helpful to be able to pick their brains on the spot about which settings to use rather than poring over diagnostics afterwords to figure out which combinations worked best.  Or didn't, as is often the case for me.



graffiti 2

breakfast club 2

Those of you on Instagram might have seen that I had my own contribution to the workshop (which of course I didn't get pictures of before they were doled out) but nevertheless exist and Kat can prove it:

Spots and Chevrons - camera straps made for our workshop students.

Rainbow camera straps for the goodie bags! They are comfortably padded and quilted straps with red leather ends and adjustable webbing. After I complete my outstanding orders and get the grown-up Skater Dress out to testers they'll be available in my shop.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Princess Seamed Skater Dress

Princess seamed skater dress full 2

During Kids Clothes Week, as well as playing around with the Skater Dress pattern to make a peplum top, I also played around with giving the bodice princess seams.  I only had the tiniest of scraps of Blue Vikings left and never got a chance to use it before it disappeared.  As good a time as any?

Princess seamed skater dress close

Despite starting it a couple of weeks ago I only made it as far as the bodice and bindings before putting it aside because I wasn't entirely convinced it was working.  Feelings of guilt that I hadn't made anything specifically for her birthday made me pick it up and finish it yesterday...  A weirdo dress is better than no dress, amirite?

Princess seamed skater dress back

The original plan was to pipe the seam lines and I did that to the back bodice before the OMGCurliness of the trim (and the resulting seam ripping) made me forgo piping the front.  Of course, I wish I had now because I dig it.  Just walk backwards holding the hair cape, girl.

Princess seamed skater dress full 1

I think the piping works as it separates the side panels and their expanse of blue from the centre print with its predominant blue- the seam lines get kind of lost and the print kind of runs into the plain. Another idea I had was to mix two prints within the bodice.  Is a princess seam bodice hack something you'd like me to share?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Today, she is six

birthday girl

To prove the adage 'time flies' is correct, the little girl turned six today.

birthday girl 3

I'm lucky to be a mum to this firecracker of girl.

birthday girl 4

She loves hard, she feels big, her smile lights up the room and my heart.
Art Collage
She wants to be an artist when she grows up.

birthday girl 6

A joker and a ham, with pen forever on her hand.