Monday, 25 February 2013


Technological Advancement

Thanks for all the love for the blog redesign and The Joker Dress. I've spoken to a jury of my peers and a consensus was reached: The Joker Dress is going to get the pattern treatment!  Any ideas what to call it?  I could continue to call it The Joker Dress but those (surely very few) people who are unaware of the dress's origin might be flummoxed.  And then it'd be the In-Joker Dress, between all of you and me. Which would be fun, as in jokes normally are, but then there will be those who aren't in on the joke and don't want to buy a pattern that makes their kid look like a joker.

Technical Blogging Nous

Just in the off chance that anyone is interested in the resources I used to redesign the blog, I've created a board on Pinterest with all of the tutorials I used.  Some are for quite small things (like my super cute new comment bubbles) but some I used all over the place.  Specifically, the tutorial about creating image maps is the most helpful thing ever written and I used it to make my header and all the sidebar rainbows. I want to Image Map all the things.

Just when I thought I couldn't get any more computer-savvy, Susan from Crafterhours tells me that you can add an aptly named 'goodie' to your Reader so you can read blogs in a more timely and mindful way.  By adding the Next button to your dashboard, you can click through all your subscriptions at the actual source. Each time you click Next the same tab stays open (no new tabs open up), but Google moves you on to the next blog on your list. Handy!  This is good news for various reasons:
  • You get to see all those snazzy things we're all doing with our headings and sidebars
  • You get to see comments, and make them! No seriously, I know you all think I have a no commenting rule or something, but I don't.  Comment with abandon! No? Still not? 
  • You give the blogger more accurate page views which is important to those who have advertising
  • You get to actually see the post when bloggers truncate their feed.  That's the best, I was missing stuff and would often forget to click through.


It get's better: you can then sort your blogs into folders! By theme or, as I have, with tiers of how much time I have for blog-reading.  Top reads are in the Very Important Posts folder, various blogs that are possibly-spammy and may-or-may-not-include-torrid-vampires are in Shenanigan Time, and a surprising amount of the 250+ I've subscribed to are in the Silent Folk folder because they appear to have stopped blogging.  Am I talking about you? You should probably go post something.

EDITED TO ADD: Lorchick rightfully pointed out that the link for folders is no longer working, which is weird as I used it not more than five minutes before.  So I will show you myself.

How to make folders 1

In your Reader, find the Cog at the far right of the screen, click (nope, not right click like I annotated, just click!) and then choose 'Reader Settings'.

How to make folders 2

Then click on the Subscriptions Tab. On the right hand side, there's a drop-down for folders.  In the first instance you'll need to choose New Folder and then name it.  After that, you can just assign it to each blog that fits the bill. You can put blogs into multiple folders.

How to make folders 3

After you're done making and assigning your folders, click on the Goodies Tab.  Select the tag (folder) from the drop down and that drag it up to your bookmarks bar. Repeat for each folder and you're done.

Friday, 22 February 2013


The Joker Dress

Guess what? Today I'm guest-posting over on Me Sew Crazy for the fabulous KIDS series!

Joker Dress Cover 

Trying to wrap your noggin around what prompted me to make such a crazy dress? Click on through for the full story...

Thursday, 21 February 2013


A Complete Overhaul From All Fronts

Ahoy, friends.  Pop on your sunglasses, have a pre-emptive paracetomal and then click on through... I've redesigned my whole blog!  Remember when Dorothy arrives in Oz and suddenly everything is lurid, surreal, and a little bit scary? Same thing going on right here.

screenshot new header

Still can't tempt you to leave your Reader?  Okay, I'll walk you through it.  That up there is the new header.  The (admittedly incongruous) speech bubbles are individual clickable links to separate pages within the blog.  Like if you click on the Sewing With Knits bubble, you get taken here:

screenshot new pages

All of the relevants posts in my major categories organised into a single page  with images and links.  Handy, no?  And if you click on the 'About Me' bubble in the header, you get taken here:

screenshot new about me2

As you can see, Sidebar Me will always be looking over at my blog content with suspicion, and rightfully so.  The Sidebar rainbow directly below Sidebar Me contains clickable links to external sites like my main and Etsy shops and all social media activities.

screenshot new sidebar internal

A little bit below the big rainbow in the Sidebar are smaller rainbows of clickable links by category.  These are either subjects with lots of post tags and / or things that have a lot of page views or engagement.  Or maybe just some things I'm nostalgic about and want to trick you into clicking on.  My many, many, way-too-many labels have moved from the sidebar into a cloud at the bottom because it was a hot mess.  Fun fact: the category 'Sewing' is obviously the largest, the 'Kids' category is in second place, 'Patterns' in third... can you guess the fourth?  'Self-pity'!  That made me laugh, although I do use it in a melodramatic / self-deprecating fashion most of the time.  Promise.   

screenshot new bigcartel

And.........., has anyone noticed something else new round these parts?  My Shop has also had a full re-design!  As my product range and variety has increased, the old site was struggling to organise everything in a coherant way.  Navigation was not easy or intuitive, I will admit.  But now there are drop-downs in the menu below the header, a separate pages for separate sub-strates.  For example, if you hover over 'Fabric' you get the option of clicking on fabric as a whole, prints as a whole, prints by fabric type, plain fabrics, scraps, etc.  Same goes for the clothing category.  To improve navigation and make things easier for you to browse / find, products are viewable on all pages that are applicable.

screenshot new bigcartel product

For example, this lion jersey is found in 'Fabric', 'Printed Fabric', and 'Printed Jersey'.  Also, within the product pages there are now thumbnails at the bottom for related products to click on.  Have you ever seen anything so dynamic from me before?

I appreciate your excitement has probably mounted to almost unbearable levels by now, but here are a few more things that are worth celebrating.  The Fabric Shop is officially a year old, and now includes fabric from nine companies from four different countries!  It's been a whirlwind ride with lots of peaks and troughs along the way, but I don't regret doing it even a tiny bit.  Last thing: from spending an ungodly amount of time editing posts and tags, I realised I've written just over 1000 posts here now.  That's a lot of self-pity.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


The Lions have landed!

Another two jersey prints crossed my threshhold yesterday and they are the most majestic things I've ever seen.  Against my better judgement, I've decided to share with other people rather than hoard it all for me.  Don't you think the last couple of deliveries have been particularly good for older kids (and their mums)?

Lion Jersey Collage

Now, lion silhouettes are tremendously bad*ss all by themselves, but doubly so overlayed on top of stars.  Both are jersey blends of 95% organic cotton and 5% elastane, and are a suuuuuuuuuper wide width of 170 cm.  There is a golden orange / black /white colourway and a blue / red / white colourway

Lion Ribbon Collage

I'm also really excited to be offering coordinating woven ribbon for the first time.  I'd been put off supplying ribbon by my personal lack of imagination for what to do with it, but I have no doubt you are more ingenious than I and will do wonderful things and then post them somewhere I can see.  Who's going to be the first one to make me a friendship bracelet?

Monday, 18 February 2013


Introducing Dolman Long Sleeves

long sleeve dolman close

For reasons Top Secret, I was having a play with my Dolman tee pattern this weekend and found out it's even more versatile than I originally thought....

long sleeve dolman sleeve 2

Long sleeves!  Adding plain sleeves gives the illusion of layering. 

long sleeve dolman full

And by using a plain colour the fabric requirements for the cherished-hoarded-print are no greater than the short sleeve version.

long sleeve dolman sleeve

Additionally, maintaining the short sleeve edge with a separate long sleeve piece means the shoulder seam doesn't have to extend all the way to the wrist, which is far more comfy for tighter fitting sleeves.

I'll be adding the pattern pieces and instructions as a freebie later this week!

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Happy Subversive Valentine's Day

valentines card made

To express my love and appreciation to my husband for his heartfelt card and the box of Gobstoppers (he will no doubt eat on the sly), I made Steven a really special card.

Valentine received

Are you sure about that?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


New Fabric Alert: Things Just Got Scandier

New fabric collage

A couple of new fabrics are up in my shop, and they're distinctively Scandi in style!
  •  Bloomy Dream:  This sweet fabric has rows of wide-eyed Scandi birds intermixed with blossoms, leaves, branches and berries. The colours include light orange, dark orange, and sky blue on a deep petrol background.
  • Scandinavian Flowers: This striking fabric has rows of Scandi-style flowers in light green, deep turquoise, light petrol, navy, and white on a deep petrol background.
Both fabrics are GOTS-certified organic blends of 95% organic cotton with 5% elastane in a width of 150cm, with the smooth handle and stability you can rely on from organic jersey.  I've included pictures of coordinates above and in the listings for the plain jerseys that match.  Speaking of plain jerseys, I've also added deep turquoise to the plain jersey arsenal.  Admittedly, between navy blue, petrol blue, mid blue, sky blue, deep turquoise and light turquoise things are getting awfully nuanced in the blue family.  Bottom right of the collage shows how petrol blue (left) compares to deep turquoise (right); the latter has more of a peacock / green tone.

Scandi trouser collage

With prints that are more abstract / design oriented (eg these, Starflower) rather than character-based or illustrative (eg fairy tale, animals), I think it can help to see them sewn up to appreciate them!  So here you go, I've already fashioned them into trousers.  Even better, right?

PS. Thanks for all the love for my mum and her sweater here, there and everywhere! I was really touched that so many people left their Readers and commented, and I hope she realises how special and talented she is.

Monday, 11 February 2013


The Robot Sweater

robot sweater flower

As alluded to in my previous post, my mom also knitted something really special for Maia.

robot sweater full

Not being a knitter myself, my descriptive powers are limited to: it's made of yarn, it has a blue flower on the chest, and a black patch pocket with a red heart.  Superficially, a very nice sweater indeed but what makes it extra-special-awesome?

Robot Collage

My mom recreated an outfit that Maia drew in one of her pictures!  She even sent the stripey tights.  If you have any questions for my mom about her magical powers, leave them in the comments and she might just delurk.

Friday, 8 February 2013


Stockist Update!

I've been in the throes of a Trouserfest, restocking Monkey and Bo and Juicytots with a panacopia of bright and delightful trousers.

Monkey and Bo Collage

First up, Monkey and Bo have added Dala Horses and Green Vikings to their existing collection of Turquoise Clouds, Fuchsia Clouds, and Yellow Elephants trousers. Incidently, I am sold out of metreage of those last three fabrics so if you've been a'hankering, Monkey and Bo might have the last few pairs.

And for Juicytots, a replenishment of their existing stock of Purple Stars, Sky Blue Stars, Brown Tigers, Green Tigers, Turquoise Superstars, and Red Elephants...

Juicy Tots Collage

 and introducing Starflower and Red Clouds!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Breaking News Update: Shenanigans Effective Even at Great Distances

knitted hat 1

I don't know if any of you guys are doing an advanced degree in Shenanigan Studies but if so I have a another case study to add to your dissertation.  Last week my mom was telling me how much she was in love with the hat she was knitting and how it was the best hat ever.  Predictably, I said 'I can't wait to get it in the mail!' and she only went and sent it to me. Admittedly, this probably proves how awesome and generous my mom is more than my superior Shenanigan Skillz but the end result is the same so lets not quibble.  If the pro-Shenanigans and the pro-Mom-is-just-awesomes want to duke it out in the comments, please keep it respectful.

iphone 01.02.13 078

This luxury silk / angora / fairy filament magic hat couldn't come at a better time as I wear a hat, on average, 18 hours a day.  The above picture shows the indoor temp in my house, my sewing room specifically.  That's a balmy 50 deg, Fahrenheit fans.

knitted hat 2

As you can see, the hat is perfectly formed to even the smallest head (my own).  Now, I'm going to have to ask you to suspend belief: Mom also knitted something else even more amazing.  I can't show you what yet as it requires the unlikely convergence of Maia, daylight hours, and sunlight. Maybe April?

Friday, 1 February 2013


Breaking News: Shenanigans Pay Off

I never thought my campaign of commenting 'I can't wait to receive this!' on everyone's photos would actually work. Thanks @misformake! Hope you're paying attention @adriannaappl #yippee #fabricporn

On Instagram, I've got a completely irritating adorable habit of commenting on other people's pretty pictures with 'I can't wait to receive this!' or 'Really excited that you're making me this!'.  And you'll never guess... it actually worked!  The esteemable Kate from M is For Make sent me very generous cuts of these two amazing fabrics with instructions to make something badass.  Unfortunately my badass cup is running dry... Any ideas?