Friday 31 October 2008


Turtlenecks a-go go

So here's the evolution of the turtleneck...

First attempt... slouchy and louche

Second attempt...quite snug at the neck but wide in the shoulders (raglan). Doesn't work for me. And a matching pinafore.

Third attempt... Inset sleeves but bulky in the neck front (attempt to gather with clear elastic failed)

Fourth attempt... Best yet but still too bulky at front neck. Will need to narrow the fabric at the neckline a bit more :(


Winter warmers

It's been bloody freezing here, and in light of Maia's recent chest infection, I've been working on drafting a pattern for turtlenecks. Quite tough with the big head / narrow shoulders dichotomy as I was hoping to get it on without fastenings. Fingers crossed, the one I finished tonight I have high hopes for! I will post pics tomorrow of all my different attempts.

The exciting news for today was that my pattern for the kimono dress has been accepted by (see post a couple of days ago). Now I just need to polish it up and figure out how to get the pattern pieces scanned in...

Thursday 30 October 2008


First hair cut and an ethical quandary

Finally, at 17 months, Maia has had her first hair cut. By me.

Before anyone gets too alarmed (perhaps you remember me giving Jamie a Dumb and Dumber cut when he was a baby?), it wasn't strictly speaking a hair cut as it was just the very front. For some strange reason, my children's hair naturally gravitates to a Dracula peak in the front. It seemed to grow ten times faster at the very front, culminating in a 6 inch long, half an inch wide strand that I tucked behind her ear. Or her other ear. Or into her shirt. It was that long, so it had to go. So she's now sporting a rather severe straight line of hair across her forehead, which I think looks rather fetching.

Other than the Dracula point, my kids share one other alarming hair trend... That's right, the dreaded mullet. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a mullet, here is a definition from MulletJunky:

  • A mullet is a hairstyle which is popularly described as "Short on top, Long in the back". Common names for the mullet include (but are not limited to) : The Ape Drape. The Tennessee Waterfall. The 10/90 (the proportion of hair in front to hair in back). The Mud Flap. 7 (shape of the #) The Long Island Ice Teased. Business on Top-Party Out Back. Achy-Breaky-Big Mistakey. Yep-Nope.

Jamie and Maia have very different hair types, so his thick hair become a punky, Davie Bowie-esque mullet. Maia's hair is fine and soft so she has a replendant, flowing mullet. We can reign Jamie in with frequent, professional hair cuts. But Maia is confused for a boy a lot so I'm loathe to lose the length (mullet or elsewhere). I take heed of the warning on MulletJunky though...

  • In the beginning, there was... The Infantullet

    It definitely raises ethical issues. It's a defenseless child, being shaped and "mullded" into a life knowing nothing other than the mullet. It will only be a few years before this poor child ends up just another another category in Mullet Junky.
So... to cut or not to cut??!!

Tuesday 28 October 2008


An Etsy milestone!

As I do every night (and morning, and breakfast time, tea time, lunch time, high tea time, dinner time, etc), last night before bed I checked my Etsy shop to see if anything was going on. I look to see how many times my different items have been viewed, how many people favourite my shop... you know, research. Or gratification. Or masochism. Depends on the day!

Anyway, last night in my pre-bed ritual, my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the cowboy hoodie had been viewed 200 times in 2 hours. I'm not that great at self-promotion (says the girl with the blog, haha!) so that could mean only one thing... someone else had promoted it somewhere.

Who needs sleep, right? So I went a-hunting and there it was on the front page. Not a Treasury, mind, but on the front page nonetheless! One of the Etsy Admin team wrote an article about Christmas promotion and Jamie in the cowboy hoodie was the second picture. Here is the full link:

And the obligatory screenshot!
Day two, it's at almost 900 views!

Monday 27 October 2008


The big tease

I recently subscribed to Ottobre, a Finnish magazine chock full of patterns for baby and kids clothes. Each edition has about forty different garments ranging from newborn to tween, all adorable, all positively begging me to make them...

So... a happy tale of a keen seamstress finding the magazine of her dreams?

Perhaps the savvy amongst you will have noticed I said forty patterns per magazine... each in about five different sizes... average number of pieces per pattern about six... So a minimum of 1200 pieces??!!

'But wait', I hear you cry, 'how do they fit so much into one magazine?!'

Here's the catch... they nest them. Layers upon layers upon layers of lines, all on top of each other. So you have to trace them all, until your eyes bleed. And then, to beat you when you're down, you have to add the seam allowances yourself.

So for now, looking and longing...

Swing top in production!

I have about 6 self-drafted patterns that I'm hoping to submit to This is a website that sell e-tutorials on how to make a variety of crafty things, and unlike the commercial pattern companies, the patterns for the kids clothes are true to size and have very detailed directions on how to make things, normally step-by-step with photos the whole way along. So great for the person making it, but not so great for the person drafting the tutorial.

I made Maia another swing top, taking heaps of photos as I went along, and spent about five hours making it into a tutorial. And then another three hours or so folding and scanning all the pattern pieces to be printed then reassembled. It's now with the lovely Crystal from Craftster to test out for two of her kids, fingers crossed... I'm very nervous!

The swing top is reversible and overlaps to the back with button closures, but also can be worn with either side to the front... so four ways!

Sunday 26 October 2008


Birthday gifts revealed

Hooray, my niece received her birthday package today! Although I think it was too late to wear the birthday dress for her party.... So I can finally post pics here of what she got without risking spoiling the surprise!

Friday 24 October 2008


Artistic differences...

We all did some finger-painting today. It was really interesting to see the different ways their pictures came out. Maia was much more gung-ho, getting her hands right into the paint, smearing it all around and getting it over her body and on her face. Jamie was more careful, daubing the paint, being very careful and considerate, and wanting to wash his hands constantly! It's amazing how different they are. Here are their pictures:


A humbling day

We went to a funeral today for a friend of Steven's, she was the sister of one of his good friends and also the wife of another. It was not a religious ceremony, but was instead performed by her parents, husband and siblings, and I was just so moved by it. I only met her maybe a half a dozen times but the service they had to commemorate her life was so touching and personal that I learned a lot about her. Everyone who spoke was so brave and strong. And we sang songs by Madonna and Elvis, which I've never done at a funeral before! For the record, when I go, I want a service just like that.

She was only 35 and they had a daughter a couple of months after I had Maia. Despite the fact I didn't know her well, I was devastated when I heard that she had cancer and that it was terminal. She had a daughter just like Maia, and I can't imagine the suffering she must have gone through knowing she wouldn't see her grow up.

Wednesday 22 October 2008


Maia takes a stand

I guess she finally snapped after the constant grind of me following her around, going "Maia, look at me", "Maia, smile", "Maia, over here", "Maia, no, don't put your finger in there", "Maia, Maia, Maia, Maia, Maia"...

First, it was boredom. The look on her face says, "Do you really think anyone would buy your clothes when they make me look so glum and disinterested?"

Then, open rebellion. Yes... my 17 month old did the only thing her little toddler brain could comprehend, she put a box on her head. Quite a nice pic of the outfit though, yes?

Or perhaps my little guys are just strange little creatures, here is a video including the box on head. I had to include it (if nothing else) as proof I am not the box / head perpetrator. Allow me to translate for Jamie...

J: Mom, I'm going in the elevator with Maia. I'm going to push a button. I show you. Mom, okay, I press it, ready? Push, okay. Go! Maia, you go in elevator with Jamie. (Pause) You go in elevator with Jamie.

Mr Weinstein, if you're listening, I've got a real nail-biter here...


Let me at 'em!

Weeks and weeks and weeks ago I ordered fabric from the States. Lots of fabric. And it didn't come for ages. So I chased it up. She had somehow forgot to send it. She sent it. And it didn't come for ages. I was ready to chase it up again this week, when lo and behold, our doorbell went today (coincidentally just as I was complaining to my mom on the phone about how it had gone missing) and it was our kindly, retired neighbour from upstairs. She had accepted delivery for us yesterday. As per usual, Jamie answered the door completely naked from the waist down.

Jamie, Maia and I opened up the package to inspect the goods, lots of "Wow"s and "Gorgeous"s from Jamie and vague disinterest from Maia. But did I get to play around with my new stuff tonight?! Nope, I had to finish my last order from Etsy. The international trillion-dollar banking bail-out has worked quicker than expected, I had four orders this week :) It was a boombox hoodie, like this one.

Monday 20 October 2008


I know toddlers are meant to be irritating, but does he have to be so polite about it??

Jamie's favourite phrase just now is 'maybe that's enough'. I'm not sure when or why this particular saying has taken such a prominent position in our dialogue but a normal day includes many of these:

  • Me: Having something to eat. Jamie: 'Maybe that's enough'.
  • Me: On the computer. Jamie: 'Maybe that's enough'.
  • Me: Talking on the phone. Jamie: 'Maybe that's enough'.
  • Me: Having a shower. Jamie: 'Maybe that's enough'.
  • Me: Having a pee. Jamie: 'Maybe that's enough'.
  • Me: Paying attention to Maia. Jamie: 'Maybe that's enough'.
  • Maia: Playing with toys. Jamie: 'Maybe that's enough'.
  • Anyone: Doing anything that doesn't totally revolve around meeting Jamie's immediate needs and genuflecting prostrate at his feet.
    You get the picture...
So I've tried hard to instill manners in the kids, and I probably thought that if I occasionally said 'Maybe that's enough' rather than 'Stop! Now!' that I could regulate his behaviour without seeming too dogmatic. Give him a little sense of empowerment that 'Hey... maybe that is enough, maybe I'll stop right there'. This of course never happens, and now 'maybe that's enough' really has become the understatement of the year.

It was raining with gale force winds here today, so on the walk to meet friends, (toilet-training) Jamie and I tested out that old adage 'p*ssing in the wind'. It's all true.

On the sewing side of things, here is a picture of the new tunic-style top I've made for autumn / winter. I was supposed to get an action pic in the Botanic Gardens today, but would have preferred the action pic not to be Maia falling butt first into a muddly puddle. So tunics had to be hidden artfully in the bushes for pictures.

Sunday 19 October 2008


A return to shoes

Before the summer fair season, I made 100 pairs of shoes in a week and I haven't made any since... Then on Friday, I got an order for a design I had sold out of so I had to make another. I'd forgotten how fiddly they are to make!
I've also just started making a new style of top for the autumn season and I'm really excited with how they are turning out. I made four last night so I'll post pics when I get a chance to go outside and take the photos. I've been thinking about having a competition with a giveaway, and will probably do so next week with one of these tunic tops... watch this space!

Saturday 18 October 2008



Been sewing like a maniac to try to send everything I want for my niece's second birthday. As per usual, it's gotten a bit out of control, and I've been staying up far too late sewing. I want to send everything off on Monday as I'm not sure how long the post will take.

Robbie, Emma and Liz came over this afternoon, two milestones were had by the girls (Maia said 'cuddle' and Emma stood by herself for a couple of seconds) and a tremendous amount of tantrums were had by Robbie and Jamie. Robbie brought a play mop that he is besotted with and the two of them used it to knock the clock off the wall and onto Robbie's head. That'll teach the little buggers!

Friday 17 October 2008


The fruits of my labours

Here is the reversible swing top that I was working on last night. I'm pretty pleased with it (and have already made a different one for niece's birthday). I haven't photographed the other side of the top as it was my prototype and the inside is just plain navy cotton. There is one big button ans one little, orignally it was meant to be just one big but it didn't anchor the top enough and it gaped. I'm thinking it might even be possibe to wear it four ways as I tried it with the buttons in the front and it looked all right...

Thursday 16 October 2008


Levels of masochism

  • Level one: Make something reversible.
  • Level two: Make something reversible. Draft your own pattern so you are responsible for figuring out reversibility.
  • Level three: Make something reversible. Draft your own pattern so you are reponsible for figuring out reversibility. After midnight.
  • Level four: Make something reversible, draft your own pattern so you are reponsible for figuring out reversibility. After midnight. And use one stretch fabric and one non-stretch fabric.
  • Level five: Make something reversible, draft your own pattern so you are reponsible for figuring out reversibility. After midnight. And use one stretch fabric and one non-stretch fabric. Finish with a button that is too big for your automatic buttonhole function.
  • Level six: Make something reversible, draft your own pattern so you are reponsible for figuring out reversibility. After midnight. And use one stretch fabric and one non-stretch fabric. Finish with a button that is too big for your automatic buttonhole function. Blog about it.
I'm waiting to photograph it after trying it out on Maia... it better bloody fit and look absolutely terrific. Although in actual fact it's not a terribly exciting pattern...

I also finished an order, one of these and one of these, for sisters.

Tuesday 14 October 2008


Don't mind me, just trying to add a link...

I'm a bit new to this html malarkey and I'm trying to add my blog to the list of Folksy bloggers. I have to put this somewhere:
Folksy bloggers
Powered By Ringsurf
I'm not sure if this will do the trick, but I'm trying!

Monday 13 October 2008


A scary weekend and joyful homecoming

I failed in my aim to post everyday but I have a good reason... Maia has been suffering with a heavy cold for the last couple of weeks and had been getting progressively grumpy. On Friday, I took her to the docs in the morning as she was having a hard time breathing and again in the evening as she got much worse. Poor little mite was panting like a dog and her little tummy and chest were moving in and out so fast. Luckily the doc sent us straight up to the Sick Kids hospital and after monitoring and a chest x-ray, she was diagnosed with a nasty chest infection (as well as an ear infection) and was admitted for treatment. None of it was particularly pleasant: nebulisers, foul tasting medicine by mouth, inhalors, tubes in noses, monitors taped to toes, pokes and proddings... but she was a wee trooper and coped really well. By Saturday she was running around waving and saying 'hi' to dozens of people, pushing chairs around the ward, pestering expensive machines, trying to steal other kids food / drinks / toys, pulling on and peeking under curtains that people had pull for privacy (or maybe just to get a break from her!) and taking full advantage of all the toys in the play room. After three long nights for both of us, we were discharged this morning. She is so happy, bright, and full of mischief... we had kinda forgotton that this was the true Maia after a couple of weeks of grumpiness.
Our little scamp (on Jamie's birthday):

Friday 10 October 2008


Geez, Super Why, you might want to go to the doctor for that...

It was Jamie's birthday today so I was up late last night making his cake. His current obsession is with a programme called Super Why so I thought, ('being dead crafty') it would be... well... a piece of cake. Do pardon the pun. Anyway, I was up until 2AM. Now, you might think that staying up so late would be an indication of quality of decoration. That is not the case, about 15 minutes was spent decorating the cake and about an hour un-decorating / fixing. My inspiration was the episode where Super Why gets jaundice and Bell's Palsy and the irises of his eyes bleed into the whites of his eyes. As you can see, the verisimilitude is amazing. As a special treat to my son, the cake was also incredibly bland.

Luckily, I am a better sewer than baker. I had big ideas for a special birthday shirt and had a fabric with numbers on it in mind. I was very lucky that I actually found fabric with numbers as again (recognise the theme?) I left it way too late. Anyway, it is black with white numbers. I was going to make a hoodie but the other three things I've made him in the last month have all been hoodies, so I thought I'd do something different. Boys are hard, especially the older they get, so I settled on a bowling shirt. And the 3s on the fabric were painted (coloured-in) in red fabric paint so it was extra-special for his third birthday. Strangely, there were very few threes on the fabric, so it looks a bit spartan, although I did make sure there was one positioned on his chest. In the end, he didn't mind it so much and let me take some pics.

Thursday 9 October 2008


Preparing for the festivities

It's Jamie's 3rd birthday tomorrow so we've been getting everything ready. Presents half arrived (sigh... I always leave everything too late) and wrapped, cake baked but not decorated, and I spent every spare minute today making him a special birthday shirt. No pics just now, I'm saving it for an action shot tomorrow. Although the action is most likely to be screaming and fitting, he has an inate antipathy towards the things I make him.

Bonus pic, look what I bought at the shops!

Tuesday 7 October 2008


The Evolution of the peasant blouse

So I'm a bit partial to the peasant blouse, then I came up with the design for the 'double elastic in the neck' peasant dress, and I was playing around last night to make it a drawstring neck with a ribbon bow tie. I really need to get some muslim or something, as my prototypes always end up being made with 'proper' fabric. This is a really nice white cotton shirting, I got such a bargain on it on ebay and it's supposedly the same fabric that posh men's work shirts are made out of. But, it's white, so not very practical for little 'uns. I'm thinking of dyeing it or even litho-printing it... but would people really buy anything in shocking white for a wee one (even though it's cotton and machine washable)?

The drawstring neck was a beautiful idea in principle, but not perhaps the best idea in practice. Within about 15 seconds, Maia had undone the bow and I chased her around retying it in an attempt to get a pic. It was a great game for one of us.

I am going to take the seam ripper to it tomorrow and try some pin tucks and a small scooped neckline instead. Failing that, a cut down the front, more pintucks, a small stand up collar, a panel and voila... a trench!

BTW, it's jam on her face, not a terrible rash.

Monday 6 October 2008


Raglan hoodies, spot the mistake!

It's my niece's birthday in a couple of weeks so I've been testing some new designs. I made a couple of raglan hoodies late last night. First one, a-okay... second one, hmm, nothing a little bow won't fix... third one, wait a minute, that's doesn't look right. Can you see from the final result what I did? Do those sleeves look a little capacious?! And the bodice somewhat, well, sleeve-like? Yep, when attaching the hood, I centered it on a sleeve. So, white panels were added to return it to it's original bodice shape, but... not altogether happy with final result.

Here is Maia rocking the Virgin Mary look. Please note how her baby also looks like it's been spending some time in a stable. I had no idea it was so filthy until I saw these pics.


The leaning tower of fabric

Almost all of my things have been moved into the closet, although there is no room for my fleece or most of my patterned jersey. I might try to put up one more big shelf on the back wall. I also need to find a home for my big boxes of blank t-shirts and rompers.

Here are the shelves holding an unfeasibly large amount of fabric.

Saturday 4 October 2008


I said I would post everyday and doggone it I will!!

Today was mostly uneventful, Steven took the kids to his parents this afternoon so I could get a bit done. I made one of these peasant tops for an order. Listed more things on Folksy, and started to move things about in an attempt to salvage the 'loss of craft space'.
Ahhh, 'loss of craft space'... Until last week, I had the spare room as my sewing room. I had spent quite a long time getting it all set up just for me but the kids proved incapable of sharing are room so now Maia is sleeping in my room. Today, I tried to find random bits around the house to try to accommodate all my sewing stuff. More on that tomorrow (and can actually hear you hold your breath!). Please sleep well, all will be revealed...

Friday 3 October 2008


This is strange... but here I am!

I've been persuaded to start a blog but I'm having a hard time fathoming who will read it?! And why?! Is it narcissistic to have a blog and to tell anyone who'll listen what you're doing?? Rest assured, I've not started this blog because 'the world must know what I'm doing' but I'll give it a bash and maybe it'll come a bit easier!

So (family can skip this bit...), I'm Amanda and I live in Edinburgh although I'm from the US. I have a lovely husband, Steven, and two little monkeys, Jamie and Maia. Here they are:

As you can see, my children are very into their 'technology', taking naked phone calls from Barney and Thomas the Tank Engine respectively. (Steven taking naked phone calls not posted).
About 18 months ago, I started teaching myself to sew, mainly with the help of the lovely people over at Craftster. Curtains and pillows first (I was pregnant at the time with Maia and nesting big time), and when she arrived I started making lotsa, lotsa baby clothes. And then more baby clothes, and then some more. I started off with fleece, then knits (oh how the sewers amongst you will laugh that I started on stretch fabrics!) and then wovens. About 6 months ago I started selling my creations under the name Kitschy Coo at fairs and markets, and on my website An Etsy shop followed, then Folksy, and I'm now in some retail shops too, in the US and the UK.
So that's me! Thanks for finding my blog!