Sunshine yellow skirt – finished

Yellow skirt final An amazingly sunny day, and instead of rushing out to the park to enjoy it, I finally completed the sunshine yellow skirt. I tried to sew quickly and efficiently, and sort of failed. Don’t get me wrong – the finished item is a good bit of sewing, but my thought processes were super-muddled and I did LOTS of staring into space. My muddledness included: sewing on the yoke upside down. Three times. Sewing the faux pocket flaps on the back instead of the front, as per my design. Then realising they look better on the back and sewing them back in place. Cutting the waistband 10cm too short. And instead of focusing solely on drafting the pattern and making the skirt, getting sidetracked, halfway through, into a poorly executed and fruitless tidy-up of the hall cupboard – abandoned after 35 minutes, annoyingly. Pocket flap close upBut I’m happy with the finished item – it’s as I envisaged, pepped up a little with a contrast floral fabric on the pocket flaps and the waistband facing. The adjustable elastic on the waistband looks about right (see, I’m very scientific about these things. Measurements are for wimps). Yellow skirt waistband Next step – seeing if Little Miss will wear it. The photographic evidence is…. Yes! She likes it – strikes a moody model pose! putting on yellow skirtYes! She tries to put it on, voluntarily, before I’m quite ready with camera! Yellow skirt and matching shoesHurrah! Selects coordinating shoes! yellow skirt washing hands Praises be! Wears it while washing hands! yellow skirt with dinosaurGadzooks! Confronts dinosaurs in it! yellow skirt at playgroupand finally, wears it in public at playgroup *sniffs* To say I’m pleased is an understatement. Thanks Marina. I made your skirt, you made my day.


One nightie = hat, dress AND panties

I bought a couple of giant nighties from Primark while pregnant and, hating to see these swathes of perfectly acceptable cotton jersey go to waste, I got my sewing mojo working back in April.

Now it’s July and my blogging mojo is slightly revived, here I am to tell you all about how from one UK size 22 nightie has come…

marina standing in stripey dress

one dress, from McCalls M5916 pattern. I used the existing frilly placket and cut the rest of the dress around it. Sizing slightly skew-whiff – it’s big on Little Miss but that’s acceptable as these baby-people keep growing, don’t they? It’s a super-easy pattern and I’m sure if I keep making it, I’ll be able to bash out a dress in an evening before long. Motherhood, sadly, has not taken away my capacity to sit and stare into space instead of sewing.

baby in pants

one matching pair of panties, from the same pattern. The weather in London was unseasonably hot in April, and if Little Miss is out and about bare-legged, I didn’t want her nappies on show – just seems a bit wrong.

At this point I had to start piecing the fabric – thankfully only once, and the stripes hide the seam perfectly. I used jaunty fuchsia satin binding on the elastic casing, which may not show but *I* (and now you) know it’s there. Hopefully they will be silky soft against pudgy thighs.

marina in stripey sunbonnet

one floppy brimmed sunhat. The pattern is by Enid Gilchrist, who I’d have remained ignorant of but for the Internet – an australian who wrote excellent books on DIY pattern drafting. I’ve resisted the VERY strong temptation to buy her books – yet another major distraction from reducing the pile of projects still needing finishing. So quaint to work in imperial measurements (inches)!

This sun bonnet just tickles me – cute but practical, AND rocking a somewhat Amish/dutch nun vibe. It was great fun working out how to eke out the remaining scraps and only piece them twice! I recommend giving it a try – the pattern doesn’t have instructions but it is do-able.

Lovely to be sewing again.

I haz a ambition for a dress

This idea for has been knocking about my head for a little while now. I scored some houndstooth cotton for thruppence ha’penny on a charity-shop crawl up north this summer. So today I’m taking advantage of the early morning quiet to commit some of it to pixels and see if I can work out how to bring it to life.


As sqwibbled out on a scrap of magazine during daily commute, dress ambition in all its glory:

1. take one top…like Vogue 8392

2. change sleeves to something less vanilla [perhaps a cap sleeve like Vogue 2538, or a kimono or raglan sleeve?  I see pattern-drafting ahead]

3. try out a perky collar or sort of funnel neck [like wot the uncomfortable-looking gal is sporting in the photo?]




4. one skirt, balloony in shape, for example, Vogue 8328 and

5. raise the waistline to empire line level,

6. lengthen the skirt in the middle third [so it doesn’t interfere with the way the folds go in at the bottom, nor the pleats at the top],

7. replace the pleats at the top front with a single inverted pleat/gathers,

8. move the zip to the side,

9. insert two sashes in the side seam to tie at the front/back,

10. add pockets [you still with me?],

then take deep breath and finally…

11. …line it.

Ha – dress ambition is ambitious!  All this from 2 yards x 60″ wide. Gulp.

Houndstooth cotton

Oh and did I mention a deadline? By 9.00am Tues 5 Jan. One thing at a time: a muslin.

and all this alongside tackling a top-to-toe home spring clean in daily chunks, preventing the cat ingesting too much tinsel and wrapping paper, watching movies, entertaining eagerly-anticipated 4-day house guests*, and a gazillion other things which suddenly jostle my consciousness for attention and a place in the queue. Good grief! I love Christmas holidays. Such promise.

*One of whom is an expert pattern cutter. Hehe. You see what I’m doing? It’s all coming together in a highly complicated plan…

Finishing an upside down skirt, without the instructions

Yellow upside down tulip skirt 080609 018

This yellow wonder started life in January as a bit of a challenge – my wrist was busted up from an iceskating pratfall and really, I shouldn’t have been doing ANY sewing.  But now my wrist is recovered, the skirt is completed and I’m pleased with the end result of a most wearable muslin. But let me share a little of the intermediate pain of this project.

First there was the challenge of having only two pieces of the pattern – the front and back of the skirt. Add to this my ambition to line this bubble skirt: I love skirts like this for winter wear, with thick tights and a roll-neck, and lining is a MUST if you don’t want it bunching up at mid-thigh level. Finally, the unusual cut and fit of this pattern and the fact that I let four months pass during the fitting process – not helpful considering the above.

I’ll use this pattern again, but next time I will:

  • use lighter fabric. Duck canvas is a little heavy and makes for some bulky seams.
  • try out some commercial methods of inserting an invisible zip. The way I’m doing it at the moment seems long-winded and a bit repetitive. Oh and buying a zip long enough, this time. Ripping out the short, colour-matched one and having to buy a new one halted operations for about three weeks.
  • research construction methods of skirts with the lining is sewn in at the lower hem. Thanks to unpicking another bubble skirt, I was able to work this out. Let’s just say, there was an intermediate step that involved me laughing, in a sobbing way, when my first, second and third attempts created an unwearable pretzel/mobius skirt. If you’ve been there, you’ll know what I mean. If not, watch this space. I may elaborate.

And some simple steps to make life a little easier on myself:

  • write down each step as I go along, so I have my own instructions. (If anyone out there has instructions for this skirt, I’d love to see them!)
  • recut my VERY rough lining pattern using a ruler and helpful marking.
  • buy enough lining for the skirt. I had to cut it cross-grain. I’m wearing the skirt as I type, and the lining doesn’t seem to be doing anything it shouldn’t, but next time round, I’m opting to do things the easy way.

Hubby’s verdict: bright and crisp. I agree.

 PS New project starts life during clear up process: can you tell what is it yet? 

Yellow upside down tulip skirt 080609 017

The Pledge – it’s official

Time to put my blogging where my imagination has been roaming for many long months – I finally signed up to Wardrobe Refashion. Statement of intent on my updated About page.

Thanks to Kirsty at loweryourpresserfoot for encouraging me to start blogging in the first place (although I’ve not reached her level of output and am not sure I ever will – in awe!). This is now Getting Serious.

I, Georgeina, pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of “new” manufactured items of clothing, for the period of two months.

I pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract.

I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoted, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings!



Wardrobe Refashion 2 months

Currently on the table for consideration/getting a wiggle on:

  • adapting ‘Red’ dress to fit and flatter me – so called in homage to Madmen’s Joan Holloway. It’s a handmade, figure-hugging silk print that makes me look like a lorry. Re-cut neckline to flatter bosom, shorten sleeves (ditto) and let out side seams to enable respiration. Pics to follow.
  • adapt tiny-waisted khaki-bronze polyester lampshade evening skirt into bigger-waisted daywear staple.
  • complete apple green knitted weskit adapted from Rowan’s big wool Saffron, to knit on the tube.
  • find patterns for Kat‘s amazing, generous donation to the stash of mohair, for more knitting on the tube. Pics to follow.

and finally, today I will work on (on a sprucing-up-how-I-blog tip),

In the spirit of getting a wiggle on, following post to feature two completed projects from 2008, using pictobrowser. Here’s hoping it works!

About me

I started this blog to help me Get Things Done: sewing and knitting mostly.
But now I have a daughter! So I continue to daydream in enormous detail about what I'd like to make, but squeeze the 'doing' into precious naptimes and evenings.

Can I keep it up? Time will tell!

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