Tuesday, 30 June 2009


Sleeveless smocky: take two

Encouraged by all your helpful feedback on my first sleeveless smocky I put my thinking cap back on last night. What changes did I need to make? What did I need to do to improve it? 'I know,' I thought, 'I'll make it reversible!' Because in Kitschy Coo world, everything should be reversible.

I couldn't put my finger on why I didn't like sleeveless smocky 1.0, but Grace could... She nailed it for me when she said that the neckline looked heavy compared to the breeziness of the body. With 2.0, I think the bubble hem and extra shape the two layers of fabric gives balances out the heaviness of the neckline perfectly.

It still has a notch in the back, and if you squint you'll see that there is also a central seam running down the back. This is necessary for it to be reversible, which I found out at 1AM when I tried to turn it right sides out and it wouldn't. I was thinking about maybe making it separate with a slit up the back so it's extra cool for hot weather. Or is that just crazy talk?!

This is the other side with the matryoshka and polkadot fabrics reversed. I wasn't sure if such a small accent of the matryoshka fabric would work, but I think it does!

What do you think, does it work? Is it crazy to make something with two layers that's intended for the summer? And the $64,000 question: can this been a separate pattern from the puff sleeve smocky? I was intending to have them as part of the same pattern, but the pieces are slightly different, and the technique is completely different so that they'd really be two separate tutorial rather than one with deviations. But I know they look very similar, so people might expect them to be together. Any advice greatly appreciated!

Monday, 29 June 2009


The competition heats up

The Coolest Girl in the World *TM better watch her back as there are two challengers to the crown. The first is this recipient of this awesome hoodie:

I had a lot of fun making this (well, as much fun as you can have making every seam hidden and inserting zips) because her mum sent me the fabric, it wasn't something I had in my stash. The pleasure of new fabric, without having to buy it myself!

Of course, I do want to buy it now, it's so cool and would really suit lots of different things. I think it would look awesome as a tunic.

I lined it with bright blue flannel with royal blue ribbing trim.

Do you remember what you were doing on 26 November 2008? For me, it's like The Day the Music Died. I will always remember it as the day I made my first Nightmare Coat. For the uninitiated, this is a coat that has an inner lining of goretex fleece. It is a double challenge, for you're introducing a stretch fabric to a non-stretch coat, and another thick layer of fabric to seams that already have two layers of heavy coat fabric. But this custom coat is going to a little girl in Orkney, so the wind and waterproof layer is almost compulsory:

As hard as it is to make these coats, they have such a gorgeous finish. The extra layer gives a really nice shape and a plushier feel. One side is back bird print and the other side (the last of!) my green velveteen.

So after such a massive undertaking, here's some things I need:
  • A medal of honour
  • A letter of apology to my serger, who still hasn't forgiven me
  • Half a dozen new needles as they were breaking left/ right/centre
  • A stiff drink

Sunday, 28 June 2009


Maybe I'm just too picky

You might remember that I'm currently on the look out for a replacement for Shia LaBeouf as my inappropriate toy boy crush. Basic requirement: doesn't declare his incestuous love for his mum in Playboy. So last night Steven popped in a DVD called The Wackness and... Could it be, is Josh Peck who I've been looking for?

I needed to do some more research to make sure he has a less developed Oedipus Complex than Mr LaBeouf. His trivia fact on IMDB is, 'He and his mother shared small one-bedroom apartments in New York City.' Uh-oh, that's not promising. But what else did I find out?

He lost more than 100 pounds from his child actor days.

He takes a nice picture. This is my favourite. Look at all that negative space! Wonder what I can do with that?

I know the the brief said to look brooding, but I was just so happy. Hope he wasn't too freaked out that I wore my wedding dress.

He really likes waistcoats. But wait... look closer at this collage... Is that... some really bad hair?

Oh dear... This isn't looking good...

Isn't this the hairstyle favoured by female newsreaders? Or am I just too picky?

The hunt continues...

Saturday, 27 June 2009


Square neck quandaries

Another pattern is winging it's way to a tester today, my square neck smocky top!

It's taken a long time to get the pattern exactly the way I wanted (five revisions), but I'm conscious that it's almost July and this is a summer top so I really shouldn't faff about indefinitely!

This one has a quilter's cotton neck and sleeves and a super lightweight voile body. It should be perfect for our impending US trip as the voile is almost sheer and Maia really doesn't like the heat.

The voile has little printed giraffes in green and browns, it's very sweet. I have a lot, so I'll probably use it for other summer clothes.

One of the reasons that this pattern has taken so long is that I was hoping to also have the option to make it sleeveless.

But now that I've made one, I don't actually think it 'works', I feel it needs the sleeves to balance out the neckline. What do you think?

Friday, 26 June 2009


The Coolest Girl in the World unveiled

My friend Teresa commented the other day as to why I didn't post modelled pictures of some of my recent creations? Well, when I make custom orders I don't even try them on my kids lest they vomit / sneeze / get peanut butter on them. So until I hear back from the recipient I'm a bag of nerves... Do they like them? Do they fit? Is everything okay? So, you can imagine, I love receiving customer appreciation pics! And the lovely Terry agreed that I could post them on my blog so we can all collectively marvel at her gorgeous her little girl:

Modelling her Aviary / velveteen coat

And her Mirabelle hoodie

Isn't she lovely?!

I'd really like to make customer appreciation photos a regular feature on my blog, so if you have anything you want to share, email me at amanda@kitschycoo.co.uk!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Another fond fabric farewell

When we were in the States last summer I went a bit nuts buying fabric and I've been trying not to add to my stash (well, too much anyway) until I've used up a considerable proportion of my existing fabric. So with mixed emotions, I'm finally get to the end of some of my favourite fabrics. I said goodbye to my Mirabelle last week (and then promptly bought more), and now I'm at the end of my Aviary fabric. I still have enough for a couple of peasant tops, but this is my last green velveteen and aviary coat!

Many thanks to the lovely ladies at Crafteroo who helped me decide between dark green and brown buttons for the velveteen side!

In other fabric news, Felinedream sent me one of her favourite fabrics to make a custom hoodie for her daughter. How cool is this?!

So how do other fabric addicts cope with using up the last treasured fabric? Do you buy more of the same or look for something new?

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


End of term activities

Those of you who are seasoned mums will know that as the school and nursery terms come to an end, the last couple of weeks are choc-a-block with activities... fetes, sports days, field trips, school photos... So here's some of our recent nursery related pics!

The nursery fete

Mmmm, cupcakes....

With lots of icing, and sprinkles...
Maia was so into getting her face painted, I couldn't believe how long and still she sat forThe slightly disconcerting result
Here's something you don't see everyday (well, unless you're me)

School Sports Day

Jamie has inherited his Dad's sporting prowess brings up the rear, beating only the girl who ran while sucking her thumb
But showed off a very flamboyant post-kick stance
He was so pleased to get a medal

Professional portraits

For reference, this is what it looks like when I ask Jamie to smile
And this is his professional shot... How did she do this?!

Monday, 22 June 2009


The Coolest Girl in the World *TM

I'm almost finished with the co-op order for the Cloth Nappy ladies and I'm back making things for the girls.

This lovely little hoodie is made from one of my favourite fabrics, Mirabelle by Alexander Henry. The bad news is this used the last of my fabric. The good news is I found more (on sale!) and bought heaps.

It has contrasting cream flannel lining and red cuffs and waistband. And something a little bit special...

A pointy pixie hood!

Sunday, 21 June 2009


To Dads, all of them

I'm very lucky that I have three dads in my life: the baby-daddy, my own Dad and Steven's dad, Ian. This triumvirate of men, who love their children and work hard for their families are kind and generous and we're lucky to have them!

Steven and Jamie in their matching kilts

My Dad looking thoughtful

Granddad and Grandpa

Apologies for using our wedding pictures yet again, but they happen to be beautiful pics where no one looks looks 'special'. Just Special :) As they are!

Saturday, 20 June 2009


Anxiety disorder? What anxiety disorder?

A couple of weeks ago when I was working at a fair, Steven had the kids at his parents and they raided the loft for some of Steven's old books and toys. And Jamie came home with this:

'Great,' I thought, 'Just what a kid with anxiety needs'. The same kid that's obsessed with The Bear. That's mighty afraid of The Bear. That's convinced his sister to obsess about The Bear. That has to keep all of the doors in the house closed at all times, because of The Bear. And not this bear:

This one:
From Teletubbies. I've been pretty dismissive of his fear of The Bear, but when looking for a picture there were hundreds, nay thousands, of people who said The Bear freaked them right out. If you don't believe me, check out this video:

Anyway, back to He-Man... I was convinced that Skeletor would be too much for his angst-ridden little mind to cope with. What I didn't appreciate, though, is that to a three year old a skeleton is not inherently scary. In fact, he's really rather delightful.

'He's smiling! He's happy!'

'He's waving! At his friends!'

'He's using the computer! Like Jamie!'

'He's peeking in the window! He thinks it's funny!'