A wee bag

drawstring bag
A wee bag for Little Miss. She needs a waterproof bag to bring home sodden “worn” outfits in, from time to time. Parents of potty-trained toddlers will know exactly what I mean…

There’s about a billion great tutorials for drawstring bags out there on tinternet – all pretty similar, but this one from Purl Bee is beautifully clear and well laid out. I used the tried and trusted John Lewis shower curtain fabric (approx £7 per metre).

Drawstrings - shoe laces

The drawstrings are “Fashion Shoelaces” from Poundland (£1 for four pairs – bargain!). I wonder when she’ll notice she has skull & crossbones drawstrings?

Jump to the beat

Sewing soundtrack: Stacy Lattisaw’s Jump to the beat! If I could have sewed wearing roller skates, I surely would have.

Hubby’s I ♥NY t-shirt has had a bit of a rough time over the years, sad to say – pale pink splodges and shrinkage, so off into the refashion pile it goes. Flush from the success of the Poppy Playsuit (she wears it!), I rustle up this number for Little Miss in a couple of hours.

This needs just one adult size tshirt. Cut it out like this – I used guesswork, a pair of shorts and a tshirt to get the proportions about right. It’s supposed to fit loose, so precision not necessary. First sew on the pockets. The pockets are made from the sleeves, so have a pre-finished hem. Gather the tops of the pockets by running a length of shirring elastic through the hem, and gather the bottoms of the pockets with a long running stitch.

NY jumpsuit pocket closeupNext sew the leg seams and crotch/centre front seam. I serged it. Easy-peasy. Then finish the underarm edge by folding a 4mm hem (twice) and multi-stitch zig-zagging it – this is the bit that was the original t-shirt’s neckline.

NY jumpsuit underarm detailLastly, fold over about 5cm at the top neck edge, and multi-stitch-zig-zag that too. This creates the channel to feed the ties through.

NY jumpsuit strap channelYou can use ribbon, jersey scraps or anything else that works for you – I used the sleeve of another old tshirt and made these tapered tubes.

NY jumpsuit straps

I left a gap in the stitching about halfway along the long edge so I could turn the tube inside out. After feeding the ties through, I secure them with a few straight stitches at the front/back centre seam.

DONE. And she wears it. I couldn’t get Little Miss to jump to the beat so we rocked down the street instead! Happy days!

NY jumpsuit in action

A simple top. But complicated.


I snaffled a polyester top for £1, from an RSPCA charity shop, on a bit of a whim. It’s navy blue, and a very simple, boxy shape, which really shouldn’t suit me. But flowy polyester is surprisingly forgiving to a matronly bosom, so it became an instant, much-worn, summer hit.

So much so that I dashed off a paper copy of the pattern and worked out the construction method, to make more. Just five major seams and four edges to finish. Could it be simpler? There’s a metre of grey and white patterned silk out of the stash, possibly Vivienne Westwood, that a friend passed on from a remnant sale – I’ve been trying to think of a good use for it for years. Perfect weight and just enough of it. Simple – you’d think.

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Problem one: the pattern features wide stripes of contrasting tartans, one light, one dark. If I cut the fabric so the dark tartan is centred on the garment – great, looks good. If I cut the fabric with the light tartan in the centre of the garment – makes me look wide as a house. Only problem – the fabric isn’t wide enough to accommodate the better-looking approach. *Sighs* This fabric is too good to waste on an unflattering garment. I have to give it my best shot.

So. I slice 30cm off one side of the fabric and piece it to the other side of the fabric. This requires some pretty hefty pattern-matching – and also means a blimming great seam down the front and the back. This is before I’ve even cut out one garment piece!

Problem two: at some point, someone has hacked a carrot-shaped wedge hacked out of the fabric that, now I’ve pulled this clever piecing-manoevre, falls right in the middle of the shoulder, at the front. Suddenly I’ve got to adapt the super simple design to accommodate a bloody 10cm dart at the shoulder. Hold on, I thought this was supposed to be simple! And I haven’t even started  on how hard it is working with silky fabrics. I have new-found respect for everyone who works with this misbehaving stuff.

Still – as you can see from the picture – I stuck at it, got it done, and will wear it tomorrow. Kudos to anyone who can spot the stitching lines where I pieced the fabric and added darts. But no prizes.

And then there were three

Following my daughter-seal-of-approval of the sunshine yellow skirt, I’m on a secret operation to make a bunch more. But shhhh! Don’t tell anyone, because it’s a… you know! Operation Sunshine Yellow begins…

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First step: preparing the fabric. An overnight soak in the bath removes the starch from the fabric – which is used to literally stick the threads together while it’s being woven. Then into the washing machine with some Dylon machine dye.

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Next step: refining the construction process. While making up three skirts in three different sizes I learn:

  • my overlocker blade gives up the ghost when cutting through more than four layers of fabric. So I precut some of the side seams before overlocking
  • my labels melt if I iron them at maximum temperature. So I’ll give that a miss next time.
  • put pockets on before doing the side and back seams. Otherwise, you’re working in a tube of fabric that’s only 25cm wide – very fiddly!
  • I should consult my commercial patterns fffffor construction methods – a slow learning curve at this stage impinges on my fffffmotivation and satisfaction.
  • I need to ffffffffix the ‘f’ key on my keyboard. It’s sticking and makes me express myself in fffffunny way.

All in all – this is a good place to be. At the end of my first week, I’ve run up three trial skirts in sizes 18m, 2y and 3y. Next steps – getting my numerous toddler friends to try them on and see how they fit!

First project complete!

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Today I completed my first project in my new workspace. I set my sights on something low tech but important: replacing the backs on a trio of cushion covers for my sister-in-law, as promised, about five months ago.

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Using the same technique as I’ve done for previous cushions – a lapped zip – and using up some leftover duck from the stash, I whipped it up in no time. Well, over two days. With one MAJOR unpicking. But they turned out alright!

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So far, so good. The aim is, over the next couple of months, to take a huge chunk out of the stash as it takes up simply TOO much space in our home. Watch this space and keep me company. Expect giveaways, pop-up sales, refashions, tears and the usual dollop of frustration.

Next project – a flurry of sunshine yellow skirts for all the girlie toddlers in my life.

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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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