Thursday, 30 September 2010


Greetings from Special Snowflake

lego hoodie v2 patch

Hello all, sorry about lack of posting the last couple of days, especially in light of all your wonderfully supportive comments and emails about my last post. Thank you very, very much. Although the big girl in me knows that you can't please everyone, the Special Snowflake still thinks I should be treated nicely all the time.

lego hoodie v2 blue side detail

Anyway, I have been very busy. Hoodies have been made and dispatched but as they are duplicates to ones I've already posted about, they shall remain mysterious. But despite my protestations that I'm having trouble sharing my awesome lego fabric, another bold customer asked if I would. And who would have thought it, I agreed.

lego hoodie v2 black side front

This is for a much older boy, so the cute wordy selvage went unused. I did stripwork again to maximise the 'pop' of the legos, with horizontal stripes on the blue side and vertical stripes on the black side.

lego hoodie v2 sleeve detail

I even put strips centred down the sleeve.

As a complete random aside, I'm grading my tunic pattern for larger girl sizes and need testers for 4-5yr (Maria Jose dibs!), 5-6yr (SewScrumptious dibs!) and 7-8yr (Daisie dibs!). Leave a comment if you're interested! EDIT: Super speedy testers have called dibs on all sizes, thanks!

Saturday, 25 September 2010


If this was my lunch bag I'd fill it with gratitude and sadness

lunch bag v2 closed

Thank you very, very much for the dress advice yesterday. I'm so grateful that even if I don't have people to physically go shopping with, I have plenty of cyber-helpers! It's funny how much the panel was split, so I still haven't decided. I'm leaning towards picking a fight with Steven and not going.

lunch bag v2 side

So the first thing I would put in the new lunch bag is gratitude. Because this is a gift, I changed the design quite a bit from my half-a** late night version for Jamie. I used 99.8% of my brain cells figuring out the construction, and if you had given me an MRI when I got to dealing with the zipper and the two separate shell and lining bags it would have look like this:

I've concluded that you need a bigger brain than mine to figure out how to do this bit with more ease than I did. Obviously, I did manage to do it. But I'm sure there's a much easier way.

lunch bag v2 open

I know I said I might do a tute for this, but I don't think I will.
  • Reason 1: It was a seriously time-consuming project with the Thinsulate, zipper, boxing out etc. For me, buying one in the shop makes more economic sense than sewing one over a day.
  • Reason 2: I'm sure that there's an easier way to do this so I don't feel right having a tute explaining how to do something in a convoluted way.
lunch bag v2 inside

I'm feeling pretty sad. It was a bad day to find out that there's a snarky thread on a sewing forum about one of my other tutes. When I first wanted to teach myself to sew just after Maia was born, I bought some proper sewing books and commercial patterns for baby clothes to get me started. It was so intimidating how technical everything was and I struggled through the commercial patterns to find that the garments were by and large, well, large. It was only through Craftster and the people I found on the sewing boards that I discovered that it was okay to construct things differently, that you could experiment with drafting your own patterns based on your own children, that there were thousands of other 'non-technical' sewers willing to share how they did things. That if you stopped obsessing about what you're 'supposed to do', you could find what worked for you and the sense of achievement you gained would give you the passion to continue trying, continue making, continue learning. I guess I'm in a tricky position. I've never pretended that I'm a technically-trained sewer or pattern drafter, but perhaps that's a mantle I've automatically adopted by sharing (and yes, selling) tutorials. What do you think, should you only share / sell things if they're technically correct? Or is the message that 'there are different ways to do things and this is one that's worked for me' valid enough to be shared?

Friday, 24 September 2010


Let me be your dress up doll. Again.

After your invaluable help with the wedding dress quandary, I thought I'd give you another opportunity to prove your sartorial wisdom. Steven's brother is having his 30th birthday party (in town) tomorrow night so I spent this afternoon tromping up and down Princes Street looking for something to wear. I hate shopping by myself. I also hate having my eyebrows threaded, but I did that too.

Here goes. Option one is a black and white polkadot affair:

It's basically a very tight sheath, which based on my astute observations today all the cool girls are wearing. Note I said cool girls, not Cool Girls. Cool Girls are wearing jodphurs. I have added the red belt to demonstrate my ability to accessorise, but mostly so I can wear my red shoes.

This frankly awful picture shows the super ruched sleeves. Ish. Trust me, they are very ruched indeed.

And this is my not quite flat stomach the side view. Feel free to discuss how tight this dress is.

Option two is a knitted grey dress:

It has lots of superfluous buttons:

Humblest apologies that my boobs are looming like they might pop out of your monitor.

I am wearing opaque black tights because the shop assistant said I should and she was younger and trendier than me. I know, you find this unbelievable. Without the dark tights, it is apparent that this dress is both tight and short. Youthful knees, I miss you.

But I don't do everything exactly as I'm supposed to. The big black belt came with the dress, but I think I prefer the red belt.

So. What say you, wise style mavens?
  • Option one: Polka dot dress (with or without tights, choice of black or red belt / shoes)
  • Option two: Grey dress (with or without tights, choice of black or red belt / shoes)
  • Option three: Get thee back into town tomorrow for more shopping. This time, go to an age-appropriate shop.
  • Option four: Pick a fight with Steven right before the party about not having anything to wear and/or feeling fat and then don't go to the party
Bonus points (in a non-existent game) will be awarded to people who tell me how to accessorise and do my hair as well. I love having a blog.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


When people talk about rationing during the war, this is probably what they meant

Bird Therapy Tunic detail

After such successful ventures as the rationing of Lego fabric, I took a deep breath and cut into another precious fabric yesterday. 'Only a little, Amanda,' I told myself, 'just enough for the front'. How fortuitous that I had a perfect-match green linen in my stash.

Bird Therapy Tunic

I think I might actually prefer sparing use of such awesome fabric rather than on all-over OMGCouches tunic. The linen lends a simplicity to the design of the tunic and allows the eye to be drawn to the fact that, yes, my toddler has a top with couches on it and, yes, those couches have birds on them, and, yes, it's because those birds are in therapy.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


This week's Wordless Wednesday is brought to you by the Edinburgh Botanics

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


The post where I cry 'Uncle'

So... Version 2.0 of the Sew-along trousers. The good news, they are not jodphurs. If nothing else, this is a resounding success. The bad news (for you)? I used actual muslin / calico fabric that is practically transluscent. Sorry about that. I shaved both the front and back side seams to the extent that they are practically straight lines.

I raised the waist line about an inch and half to my natural waist.

I still have extra room at centre back. But that is true of most store bought trousers too, I've been very successful dieting a scoop into my lower back. Or 30 years of bad posture has caught up with me.

The back view is not heinous but there are some drag lines at upper thigh. This could just be because I'm twisting to look over my shoulder.

I honestly can't grumble, it's so much better than effort one. But I think I might have reached the end of the line with my self-drafted trousers. Most of the creases you can see are only creases in starchy calico. But there are two that are proper drag lines:

I know this has something to do with rise length / depth because they're so snug in the crotch that I probably just got thrush trying them on. I've consulted my Fit For Real People but trousers are in a separate book. I've used my Google-Fu with limited success. (For the record, 'fit' and 'crotch' are not advisable search terms.) Sadly, I think I just have to accept that I don't have enough experience with adult clothes and fitting to complete them without an endless cycle of muslin / revision. Worst Sew-along Host ever.

Monday, 20 September 2010


The Rationed Lego Hoodie

Lego hoodie blue side front detail

When I was apporoached by a customer to make a Lego Hoodie for her son, I selfishly said, 'No, I cannot part with my solitary yard of such precious awesomeness.' Lucky for me, the customer was magnanimous and good at sharing so we agreed that I would let her have some of my Lego fabric.

Lego hoodie blue side full

I did vertical stripwork to the front and hood.

Lego hoodie blue side back

And horizontal stripwork to the back.

Lego hoodie red side full 2

This is the first hoodie I've made using twill for both sides, so it's more like an autumn coat.

Lego hoodie badge detail

I was very lucky that she gave me complete creative license as to how to best utilise the rationed fabric, but I really agonised about what would work best.

Lego hoodie selvage detail

I'm seriously crossing my fingers and toes that she loves the selvage as much as I do. I felt like the fabric gods compelled me to use it.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Hoodie Pattern Giveaway Winner

Sorry for the delay in announcing this. But without further ado, the winner is....

Beachgirl! Please send me an email at amanda@kitschycoo with your details and I'll send you the file.

Gutted non-winners can torment themselves by gazing at buy the patterns here for 18m/2T/3T/4T and here for 5Y/6Y/7Y/8Y.

Friday, 17 September 2010


A Sneaky Peek

I've committed sacrilege and cut into one of my most treasured fabrics. Look kindly on me, Fabric Gods.

Any guesses as to what I'm making?

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Rainy Days bubble skirt

rainy days bubble skirt

The kids have been invited to a birthday party this weekend for one of the girls that shares our childminder. The birthday girl in question is The Girliest Girl on the Planet *TM, so my normal birthday fare of a Kitschy Coo t-shirt or two does not apply. By rights, I should have made her a hair shirt as penance for being responsible for Maia's entrance into Princess Phase One.

rainy days bubble skirt detail

But how could I resist the temptation to use one of my splendid new fabrics? I returned to my erstwhile bubble skirt pattern but made an extra gathering step for the requisite Authentic Princess Poofiness.

rainy days bubble skirt underneath

The underside of the skirt is a coordinating fabric I've had in my stash for awhile. I suspect this skirt will precipitate Princess Phase Two.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Giveaway: The Reversible Zippy Hoodie

I'm delighted that my reversible hoodie pattern has made it through testing after months of fine-tuning and revisions. For the first time ever, I graded it right through from 18m up to 8Y, rather than releasing it in two age tranches. I think this is the way forward so those of you who've been frustrated with me delaying the older sizes can once again be my BFF. Phew.

So onto the show! Not only are my testers kind, generous and gifted, but they also gestate gorgeous children.

18m courtesy of Jenny

2T courtesy of KID, MD

3T courtesy of Kimberly

4T courtesy of Straygoddess

5Y courtesy of Stephanie

6Y courtesy of Indywriter

7Y courtesy of Rach

8Y courtesy of Maxine

That's some splendid testing, no? To reiterate the visual evidence you've just seen of the hoodie's features, here's a little bit about the pattern:

The tutorial shows you how to make a hoodie with a separating zip, ribbed cuffs and (optional) front pockets. The hoodie is fully lined with all seams hidden inside so if you use a reversible zipper you get two hoodies in one! With a generous cut, the hoodie is designed to be worn for up to two years per size, and there are also two length choices within each size for added flexibility based on whether your child is tall or average. It's a perfect garment for layering and for the transitions between seasons, and great fun for combining fabrics! It is suitable for both boys and girls.
To celebrate the launch of this pattern, a giveaway! To enter just leave a comment on this post (remember to include your email address if I can't reach you through your blog) telling my testers how awesome they are. Also, your choice of either 18m/2T/3T/4T or 5Y/6Y/7Y/8Y if you were to win.

And remember that you can leave multiple entries whenever you use your cyber trickery (Twitter, Facebook, blogging etc) to pimp the giveaway. But remember to comment on this post each time, or I won't be able to keep track. I'll randomly select a winner on Saturday!


Tuesday, 14 September 2010


The Neurotic Military Duffel

Sewing for the boy got exponentially more tricky when he started school. Although I have seen girls in coats of many colours, boys seem to stick with the school colours green and black.

green side full

I would have liked a royal blue, or an orange, or a turquoise, or a red. But I played it safe.

green side unimpressed

Is it typical First-Child-in-School-Syndrome to want them to blend in, to be accepted? What of our platitudes of 'Be special, be unique, be yourself'...

black side close 2

Has it been trumped by oh dear god please don't let him be bullied?

black side pockets

Is it exacerbated by the more rigid parameters of socially acceptable clothes for boys of a certain age? Of course, this is strictly hypothetical. It's impossible to tease a boy in a school-colours coat.

Disclaimer: Neuroses courtesy of him starting full days at school yesterday and the resultant visions of six hours of hardcore bullying. If said neuroses are giving you secondary embarrassment, you're welcome to just say 'Nice coat, lol!'.

Monday, 13 September 2010


Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

Disclaimer: Go have a wee. A full bladder and this post are not friends.

Yay, sew-along update day! Remember the suspense of last week's drafting post? Did I make the jodphurs I feared? Yes I did. Do I rock them like a catwalk queen? No. Apologies for the quality of the pictures, I suspect my camera did not want to capture these images for posterity.

As you can see, I made my trousers into shorts because the oracle within told me not to waste fabric for my muslin. If you are not au fait with my body, here's a helpful reminder:

Mine hips.

Jodphur hips.

I definitely need to raise the waist a good couple of inches if I want the high-waisted look, despite my best efforts these are still hitting me on my hip bones. And once I pin out the giant bulbous saddlebags, the fit is not terrible. Maybe. It's quite hard to tell now that image has been burned onto my retina. Like a trooper, I'm going to keep going with these. Things can only get better.