Thursday, 31 March 2011


Kindle Cover v3.0: Now with at least 35% more functionality!

kindle cover v3 closed

I've fallen behind recently what with the fabric sale, the hen weekend, the recovery from the hen weekend, a funeral, manifold meetings and a new workout regime*...

kindle cover v3 elastic

But a request was put in for a Kindle cover and between a meeting with a bank manager, a meeting with our financial adviser, and an epic** three hour nursery committee meeting yesterday I managed to squeeze it in.

kindle cover v3 open

I made a couple of changes to Kindle Cover v2.0. First, I raised the height of the pocket a bit for extra security. I've possibly raised it a smidge too much as I can't see the percentage read figure any more. Although the chances that other people are as obsessed with monitoring this figure are slim...

kindle cover v3 spine

I also double reinforced the spine as such a slim strip of board has a tendency to twist and warp a bit. Score one for anal-retentiveness.

kindle cover v3 button

Most importantly, I added a cut away to the pocket base so you can slide the on / off button while it's in the pocket.

*Anyone else done the 30 Day Shred is welcome to regale me with tales of total body makeover.
** Epic in the way The Iliad is epic.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


The White Trash Adrenalin Junkie

Well, I survived the hen weekend (although my liver might not concur) and it'll take me about three weeks to catch up on sleep. It wasn't all hijinks and shenanigans though, it involved some serious business in the form of rock climbing. I've been outdoor climbing once before in Vermont and I LOVE IT AND I'M CONSIDERING GIVING UP MY FAMILY, MY HOUSE AND MY BUSINESS TO DO IT PROFESSIONALLY. Obviously, totally viable plan. Look, my spotter isn't even paying attention, that's how good I am:

Of course, I can't leave you with the impression that I am just a clean-living sports fiend. I can also do white trash. This was the theme, people, not my default party attire.

Jennifer (the hen and my soon to be sister in law), said, 'OMG, you look so American!!' Sorry, Americans.

Friday, 25 March 2011


(Super gross) x infinity: A cautionary tale

I didn't think too much about hosting my bathing suit shots on Flickr as I did it before and had no major problems. These pictures, however, were quickly favourited by a motley crew of men with gag-inducing albums of favourites so I just blocked, blocked, blocked. I got a dozen notifications that random men set me as their contacts. Block, block, block. One of the pictures went semi-viral last night. And then I received a comment of 'Can I take this bathing suit off you?'... In German.... By someone with a profile picture of his crotch.

Pictures are now hosted on the blog where they're less likely to be happened upon by gross people and Flickr has been set to friends and family only. Feel free to add me as a contact if you're not a pervert.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Pin up bathing suit v2.0: The girls go it alone

Ah, springtime... the flowers blooming, the birds singing, the sun shining, a warmth in air. It's that time of year. The time of year where you get to see me almost naked again.

I'm going away this weekend for a hen night, to a place with a pool and spa. We were told to bring bathing suits.

My pin-up bathing suit from last year continues to hold up well, but I didn't line it (the lycra is very thick) and I've been told you can see my tattoo through it. No one has told me they can see anything else. Yet.

So this one is fully lined. It actually made it much easier to sew as the pink polkadot lycra is pretty slippery by itself.

Just like the last suit, there is a ruched tank to the front to make it more flattering.

I made some changes to the bodice and made the straps continuous from the front rather than separate pieces. Also, I gathered the bodice centre to a piece of twill tape inbetween the layers rather than just gathering it with a detachable tie. An unintended consequence of these changes (or maybe because this fabric doesn't stretch quite as much as the last suit?) is that I can't wear a normal bra under the suit. It was showing at centre front, where the straps started, and loads in the back. As I said on my last pin-up suit post, I am phobic about not wearing a proper bra in a snowsuit, let alone a swimsuit.

Get used to the backview, I'm walking backwards all weekend.

I don't think the bosoms are going to go anywhere untoward due to the under-bust seam, twill tape inbetween, general tightness, and the fact that the neckline is pretty modest but I feel heaps uncomfortable going bra-less. What do you think? For the record, the perverts on Flickr approve.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


The technical term for you guys is 'Enablers'

Monday, 21 March 2011


The Do-Your-Research Dress: A cautionary tale

mermaid party frock front

Another commission for a party frock for a little girl's birthday! These are great fun and I really enjoy making bespoke clothes, particularly for special occasions.

mermaid party frock back

As per usual, the customer and I went back in forth in email about likes and dislikes, colours and fabric choices until we settled on this Mendocino Underwater sisters. I love this fabric.

mermaid party frock bodice

It was only when I happened to be on Etsy checking prices for the fabric sale that I found out (like many other Heather Ross fabrics), this fabric is now hard to find and consequently it is very expensive.

mermaid party frock skirt

Sixty pounds a yard expensive. Yikes.

mermaid party frock button

But I've reminded myself that this isn't what I paid for it, and it's a much nicer idea to think of a little girl with a beautiful dress on her birthday than have fabric sitting around being expensive and waiting for a crazy person to buy it.

mermaid party frock reverse

It probably helps that I have more.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


All Day I Dream About.... Scraps

Thirty four scrap packs all ready to make their travels around the world!

Friday, 18 March 2011


Go forth and prosper

At very long last, all of my destash fabrics have been listed in the shop. Helpfully, I am providing you with compelling reasons why you should buy everything:
  • You love yourself, and want Nice Things.
  • You love me, and want me to have Nice Things. Like a coverstitch machine.
  • In a very short while and for Top Secret reasons, I will be registering (voluntarily!) for VAT. This is 2/3 expediency and 1/3 madness. The good news is that my patterns and children's clothes are both zero-rated items and will not incur VAT. The bad news is that fabric will have VAT levied from when I get my registration number.
Here are the mid- to- heavy weight fabrics, comprising canvas, flannel, velveteen, babycord, and cotton sateen:

Because I am limited to 100 items by Big Cartel tricksy and determined to test your mental accuity, the quilter's cotton yardage section is set out in a slightly different manner.

The fabrics are listed in groups based on being in the same range (i.e. there are four fabrics in the Tufted Tweets range), or by theme (like Transportation, Flowers, Novelties, etc). That means that behind every delightful fabric on the main page, there are hidden treasures. Like so:

The retro music theme not only contains the cassette fabric, but also Groovy Guitars and Sugar Guitars.

For added mystique, you have to roll your cursor over the picture to find out what the group is called. Isn't this exciting? Nothing to do with me being unable to tame the CSS/HTML so the product names show. All to do with increasing the thrill.

Anyway, I'm sure you can appreciate this has been a rather long and tedious exercise for me but it's awesome how well things are selling. It was not the best idea in hindsight to upload things piecemeal so I genuinely thank everyone for their patience. Especially Sew Scrumptious, who sat at her computer and bought item after item the second I published them.

Salient points about the sale (including yesterday's thoughts posted both here and on Facebook):

Because of the crazy way I was drip-listing, lots of people have ordered more than once and therefore did not automatically get a shipping discount. Don't worry, I will be refunding any amount over a pound more than Royal Mail's actual charge for your packages. Actually, shipping charges were a bit muddled across the board as I was struggling to think of rules that could apply to so many different weights. Everyone will have their shipping checked against Royal Mail receipts and refunded when over a pound more.

The chaos of listing while receiving orders has resulted in a rather kiss-a** meta spreadsheet but very little time for packaging things up. As it stands I've had more than 100 orders (although 98 are probably from Sew Scrumptious) so it'll take me the weekend to get things cut and ready to ship. Hopefully all the packages will be on their merry way to you on Monday.

I appreciate that the people who buy the fabric do not necessarily overlap with the people who buy the clothes. I have not listed the clothes. Should I?

Thursday, 17 March 2011


Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey (or something)

The shop is slowly filling with all manner of destash miscellany. Scrap packs are selling well (of which I'm extremely grateful as I cut and ironed them for 64 hours). They are sorted by colour and theme here.

Thirty seven one-off knit cuts went up last night and by this morning only 29 remain so have a look because unlike other sales where I have increased the availability of popular fabrics from raid my stash, this time I can't. Once they're gone, they're gone.

The woven yardage, ribbing, and clothing will be going up as quickly as I can (ie slowly and painfully).

A few notes about this sale:
  • 'Irregular cuts': this means that I have already used the fabric for a project so it is not a straight rectangular cut as it would be off a bolt. When I say 'it measures a minumum of X" by Y"', this means that I have found the biggest intact rectangle in the fabric piece and measured that. The actual size of the fabric is bigger (sometimes by a lot), but they are difficult to measure.
  • Shipping rates: I admit that they might be a bit do-lally at the moment as the postal rules are not as straighforward as other sites I've used (particularly if you order a bunch of things), but I promise to refund postage differences of over £1 for anyone this applies to.

Monday, 14 March 2011


Next weekend I would like more fabric time and less poop

I find that organising my time never works as planned.

There was a little bit of time set aside for messing about, but the majority of time was to be spent doing Worthy Things. But then:

The good news: I have resurrected my Kitschy Coo webshop.
The bad news: At the moment, said webshop only has patterns listed. The fabric is coming, I promise.

Please visit and return with compliments on my CSS and html skillz.*

*I did pay a little bit of money to someone selling a different skin to the two that Big Cartel offer. But some of that html is totally mine.**

** By 'totally mine', I mean I googled how to do it and then followed a cleverer person's instructions.

Friday, 11 March 2011


Checking in, checking up, checking out

I've spent the last 120+ hours organising my fabric as I move operations out of The Fabric Closet of Doom and into the spare bedroom. Who would've ever thought I would get to the point of hating fabric? But I'm certainly hating organising it, carrying it around, cutting scraps off, colour coding it, separating it by type, folding it, stacking it... you get the picture.

In other news, Jamie's pirate outfit gets a second year of wear

Starting tomorrow, I'm doing a massive destash. They'll be scrap packs, irregular cuts, and yardage. To gauge interest (and to buoy me up when I'm flagging), please leave a comment if you're interested in the sale and what sort of things you'd like most.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Hoarding, Thy Name is Amanda

In the grande scheme of things, sorting out my stash of fabric scraps probably does not seem the best use of my limited time. But when those fabric scraps have filled up the capacity of a ten foot square box, and then a garbage bag, and then another garbage bag, it became almost imperative. Isn't it frustrating that to organise something you need to completely trash it first?

The Elephant in the Room

Pictured above is just a selection of the stacks of scraps I made today based on colour / type: purples, reds, blacks, browns, greens, oranges, blues, pastels, polkadots, plain colours, knit fabrics patterned, knit fabrics plain, patterned fleece and plain fleece. Half of that has now been folded and stacked into neat little piles. The other half is carpetting the floor of the spare room and giving me the sweats.

I'm being torn in two directions here. Responsible me is trying oh-so-hard to declutter and organise my life in a more straightforward manner. You would not believe how much I've thrown out or consigned to the bin recently*. Crafty me has been programmed to save the scraps from everything to be used at a later date for smaller projects**. I mean, who throws out lovely fabric? Psychopaths, that's who.

Because it's so much easier for me to let you all run my life rather than make decisions for myself:
  • Do you keep all your scraps?
  • Do you have a minimum size that you keep?
  • Do you only keep them if you don't have a bigger piece?
  • If you don't keep them where do they go? (i.e. garbage, shop, school, Fabric Heaven)
  • How oh how oh how oh how does anyone store such a monumental scrap heap?!

*Until I show you the pictures at a later date, then you'll believe me.

** Disclaimer: I almost never make smaller projects.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Castle Peeps Party Frock

Castle Peeps party frock full

I was contacted recently to make a special party frock for a little girl's fifth birthday party and was ecstatic when they decided on this Castle Peeps fabric.

Castle Peeps party frock bodice

It's probably one of my Top Ten Fabrics of All Time, but this is the first time I've used it. Not using the fabrics I love is my own special peccadillo.

Castle Peeps party frock back

I used a slightly graded up version of my party frock pattern, closed with a square button and with a velvet sash.

Castle Peeps party frock underneath

The only amendment I made to the design was to change it from a reversible frock to a bubble skirted one. Still fully lined and pretty on the inside, but the hem of the Castle Peeps extends up to the lining, where it's gathered for extra fullness.

Castle Peeps party frock lining detail

And full it truly is, with a hem circumference of eighty inches.

Incidentally, is there any interest in an Anatomy of a Bubble Skirt post? I know Eileen has been (quite rightly so) chasing me for a bubble skirt tute I promised at least seventeen years ago but I was thinking about a post on how to redraft a gathered skirt into a bubble skirt.

Sunday, 6 March 2011


'Hello, United Nations? I'd like to report a violation of my Human Rights.'

Me staring at computer (yesterday)

I typed a full-blown diatribe at my in-laws yesterday about how Virgin was depriving me of my basic human rights by taking away my internet for three days. It was a heartfelt tale involving the emptying and moving of bookcases, rebooting of modems, complaints to call centres, and booking of technicians. I couldn't publish because their computer has a Death Virus on it and crashed just as I was looking for appropriate grief-striken pensioner pictures. Just as well. Because I forgot that Virgin have two sadistic obsessions:
  1. Taking away my internet.
  2. Making me look like an a**hole.
So much more hilarious when they both together. Eight hours after telling me my modem was borked and could only be fixed by a technician, they gave me the internet back on the sly. Nice one, Virgin, now everyone on Twitter thinks I'm a fantasist.

Anyway, happy times to have internet back and a non-borked modem. But what could have crashed the web and caused an international disruption of services?.......

What the internet was made for.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Tutorial: How to fully line a bodice

A couple of days ago, I clicked through to a tutorial about all-in-one facings on Crafterhours. Although I knew how I line a bodice, I'm always interested in how other people do things. And it turns out we do it differently! After a very pleasant exchange of emails and ideas, I was encouraged to share my way of doing it so here we go...

By fully lining a bodice, not only is it a neater finish and a way of hiding your seams but it's possible to encorporate it a fully reversible dress. Personally, I find it quicker than facings or bindings. This method of works if your back piece has a centre seam that makes it two pieces (so you can put in a zipper or a slit or a button placket). If you have a single front and back piece, this is not the way for you...
  • You will have a front bodice and two back bodice pieces, and identical pieces cut out of your lining. Sew the shoulder seams like so:
  • Repeat for lining pieces.
  • Right sides facing, place the shell bodice on top of the lining bodice, match up all the edges and pin in place.
  • Sew them together along the neck curve and armhole curve. In this picture, I am making a slit with a button so I've also sewn partially down the centre back seam. Don't do this if you're not making a slit!
  • Clip into the seam allowances around the neck and arm curves so they can be pressed flatter.
  • Push each side of the bodice right side out through the front bottom hole. Manipulate with your fingers so all seams lie flat and corners are sharp. Press into position with the iron.
  • Bring one of your back pieces down onto the front piece, matching up the four raw edges from the armpit down to where the bodice ends. It should be a sandwich of shell, lining, lining, shell. Right sides facing, pinch the two bottom corners of lining together, leaving the two shell pieces hanging loose (I've flipped a shell piece up so you can see better).
  • Pull the shell corners up (rigth sides facing) and pin along both raw edges, up and over the seam line where the fabric changes (pic on right below). Right sides facing, you have now pinned together lining to lining, shell to shell.
  • Stitch along this edge. While you are stitching, pull and manipulate the fabric so it is a straight line. Clip into seam allowance where the two fabrics meet, and then flip it open again and your side seam is created. Press in place.
  • Repeat this process for the other side seams of the bodice, and you will have this:
  • If you're doing a slit and button closure (as I am in these pictures), repeat the same process as you did to the side seams to the centre back seam.
You're done! Now you have a nice and neat fully lined bodice.