Poppy playsuit

Loved this poppy print when I spotted it in a charity shop and decided to buy it whatever it turned out to be. And it was a cute shirred top… for a 12 year old.

There’s no way that’ll be me, so this is obviously destined for a certain Little Miss, whose wardrobe has a large poppy-playsuit sized hole in it. There’s enough fabric for my playsuit vision, although early signs are ominous – I hold it up to her to gauge size and she screams and throws herself to the floor. Oh dear.

20120720-155405.jpgUndaunted, I trim about 20cm off the overall width, and use the spare fabric for a couple of wide-ish shoulder straps – the original straps were a bit cheese-cutter for little shoulders. I cut a semi-circle out of the hem to create legs – not sure how well this will work, but we’ll see. The cute, gathered pouch pockets move over easily to sit at her hip height – I hope she finds something interesting (and non-staining) to put in them!

20120720-160119.jpgMore importantly, I wonder if she’ll wear it?


Short trews

marina in short trousers

From a pair of unflattering shorts comes a pair of short trews for our little miss. The shorts are low rise, pegged and cut my thighs off at their widest – so rarely get worn, funnily enough. But a nice fabric and decently made, so I hang on to them for years longer than I oughta.

It’s the low-rise that does it – a few sunny weeks back I find myself thinking they are so ridiculously low, they’ll probably fit Marina in a matter of months… so I measure them against a pair of her trousers and the infinitesimal difference inspires me to make sure SOMEONE wears them before summer disappears.

A few refashioning hours later they are transformed, after I

  • remove 20cm from the overall waistband and leg width
  • fake a ruffled hip pocket from the spare fabric trimmed off
  • insert elastic into the waistband
  • insert new but thrifted button on waistband
  • remove 5cm from the legs at the back yoke seam (this brings the back waistband down so the difference between it and the front is only about 3cm)
  • reposition the back pockets, having sewn in small pleats at the top to reduce width
  • gather the leg hems into an elastic
marina stands in short trews
The shape is by eye and I make it up as I go along. The 14-month old figure is pretty straight up and down, so the side seams are at a right angle to the bottom hem. Levelling out the waistband – again by eye, but also using another pair of shorts for reference. Back pockets are pleated so they fit onto the back leg, but keep the lovely curve and point of the original design.
short trews pocket and yoke
With hindsight, it is a pretty easy project. But I am mightily pleased to have finished these, as I’d forgotten how faffy refashioning can be – realising you could have done something better, dithering over whether to unpick and redo, not measuring my daughter so not knowing how tight to make the waistband and regretting sewing while she’s asleep but knowing it’s not possible when she’s up and about. Beginner’s mistakes after decades of sewing, but they come back time and time again.
short trews fake frill pocket
But do you know what was the biggest surprise? I thought, I even wrote (see two paras above), that I dreamed this design up – the feminine frills at the pocket, the gathered rear pockets, and elasticated leg cuffs.
side by side short trews
But NO. I only realised it when I pulled these H&M jeans from the washing machine… what a rip-off!
Oops! Don’t tell anyone, will you?

Refashioned stripey dress

marina in stripey dress

Once more my sewing is inspired by kirsty of loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com. Soon as I read her post of this super-cute dress in its various permutations, I knew I had to track down the pattern – McCalls M5916 – and give it a try. Thanks eBay!

McCalls pattern M5916

A girly dress, with puff sleeves – what could be more perfect for a little girl with hair that clearly yells ‘I’m a boy!’ to passers by? I just wish I had the nerve of the lady I met in John Lewis yesterday – her 10 month old daughter was wearing a sequinned hat with fake hair extensions tumbling down her back. Quite something.


I took a Next t-shirt whose colours and buttoned neckline had wowed me into spending £1.50 on it at Chiswick Car Boot Sale, but just never suited me. I cut to keep the existing neckline, and luckily, was able to match the stripes pretty well on the body, and near-as-damnit on the sleeves.

I’m really pleased with the overall look – it’s a lovely, easy pattern to follow, and the puffed and overlapped two part sleeve gives just enough frou to be interesting. BUT I really need to go back to basics on using the overlocker, and sewing straight lines on very stretchy jersey. There’s crazy looping and wibbling going on all over the place which I just ignored and ploughed on regardless. But it bothers me.


Does anyone know of a decent online guide to no-tears-overlocking? Please share!

oh noes! where de baby go?

cat and moses basket

 Moses basket cover, with hubby-donated icanhascheezburger-style caption.
Always thought the pet tyrannosaurus rex was a liability,
but we’ve never caught him in the act before…

See? Told you I’d been doing *something*. Exhibit number one: moses basket cover (baby still in utero, not in dino). The fabric was a cheery set of IKEA kitchen curtains my sister-in-law gave me, about five years ago. They sat in the box under the bed, waiting to meet the right breezy summer dress pattern.

Which I thought I’d found about three years ago, but did not account for a) having never tried on a dress of that shape before (sleeveless, round yoke & gathered above the bust) and it looking quite wrong on my body and b) some inadvertantly comedic pattern matching, that gave me a perky melon on each bust point. I gave up, and donated the 80% finished dress to a sewing classmate.  Wonder if she ever finished it off? Or noticed the ‘fruity-boob’ as it were?

Anyhoo, fast forward to May 2010, and this fresh and bright cotton seemed perfect for the moses basket. And, as I’m still waiting to find out if Baby is a boy or a girl, the green/yellow combo fits the neutral bill well enough, I think. 

Although a friend tells me, her 16-month-old daughter can be head to toe in pink – in a dress, no less – and still get asked how old *he* is. Must be the short hair. We are tied to our gender assumptions, aren’t we? Don’t get me wrong, there are assumptions about gender that I think are totally valid, others utterly ridiculous. But my motivations are altogether more shallow – I just find the thought of repeated conversations about Baby gender rather boring.

moses basket interior

The pattern is a complete copy of the cover that came with it, minus the frills. Takes elastic, four buttons and about 3 hours from start to finish.

If anyone wants a copy, just send me a message where I can contact you & then I can mail you the pattern & some basic instructions. It’ll be on newspaper rather than anything fancy, and if it’s after Baby comes, it may take me some time to get to the post office. I’m willing but increasingly aware that my knowledge of Life After Baby is pure theory. Not for long, though! 10 days and counting…

Genuine whip-up – from roll neck to baby hat

baby hat from roll neck

I often read blog posts where something that is super-complex, beautifully finished AND winningly photographed is described as having been ‘whipped up’. I yearn for the day when a few hours at the kitchen table / sewing machine results in a well-fitting, photogenic, suitable and stylish garment.

Don’t get me wrong folks, I don’t not believe you.  It’s just that ‘whipping up’, with its implications of speed, deftness and lack of mind-boggling so infrequently describes my making process.

Maybe I need to cut back on the staring into space and taking on hyper-complicated concepts (like projects without sewing patterns AND future-proofed for body shape changes AND complex fabric patterns that require pattern-matching so they don’t look daft – all in one garment).

However, last night’s baby hat creation really was a genuine whip up. I didn’t time it, but I think we’re talking about 10 minutes. And I’m quite pleased with it – although frustrated that I’ll have to wait at least 2 ½ months to see if I got the fit right.

whip up baby hat on me


  1. one jersey roll neck. Mine is from the irresistably cheap but questionable Primark. The rollneck itself is double thickness with a central seam at the back.
  2. cut off roll neck and turn leftover tshirt into v-neck (much more flattering to my maternal bosom shape)
  3. cut off resulting ‘V’ and cut into 7-10mm wide strips
  4. fold strips in half, then tuck into top of cut edge of roll neck, at corners
  5. overlock /zigzag the cut edge of roll neck, making sure to catch strips in stitching
  6. trim loose threads.

Erm, that’s it. I didn’t take pics as I went along, but the drawings should give you the idea…

instructions for baby hat from primark jersey roll neck

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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