Wednesday 31 March 2010


You, helping me, to help yourself

Further to this morning's post, I've appeared to make the hoodie armhole my b*tch and will be able to finish it today. Yay, me. But what about, yay, you? I still need to test out my 18m/2T size and now that Maia is firmly in the 3T/4T camp I have no one to sew one for!

So... At half my normal price I will sew the hoodie of your choice for the first person to email me at That's £14 + £1 P&P UK or £14 + £3 rest of the world. If you have a one or two year old, know a one or two year old, plan to have a one to two year old in future or if you just want to hang it on your wall, get in there quick because I will only have time to make it tomorrow before Jamie is off nursery for nineteen days *dies a little bit*. It's a pattern suitable for boys or girls:

Just a small selection of fabric bonanza choices are here.

EDIT: To the speedy @thatkat goes the spoils!

Are you there, God? It's me, Amanda. Again.

You might remember that I put in a Request for Change to the human anatomy a couple of months ago with regard to the positioning of our arms. I'm disappointed that you haven't done anything about this yet. Let me tell you a bit about how I roll. Every time that I make an amendment to a work-in-progress pattern I give it a new reference number and annotate it so that I can track all the changes I make. Look at this:

It says: Hoodie Sleeve Version Infinity (+2). This means I have been drafting and redrafting this particular armhole infinity times. And then twice more. Tweaking this armhole has become my full-time job. If you don't make this change pronto, I'm not going to have time to blog here anymore. Thank heavens I've started a micro-blog:

Yes, I know you probably don't like the f-word much but this is what all the cool kids do on Tumblr where it's all F-yeah this and Hell-no that. And I know that to be grammatically correct it should have a comma because without one it's much more confusing as a concept. So here you go, I've drawn one in:

That's pretty much my mantra. I just wrote my first post last night:

That is actually true. But see what I did there? It's a pun on ADIDAS, but about armholes! In the sewing world, this sort of thing is hilarious.

Tuesday 30 March 2010


Kangaroo cowl and yoga leggings pattern giveaway winner

My prints came yesterday so without further ado...

That'd be humblelearning! Thanks so much for telling me all of your favourite books. I've read quite a few of them, but picked up some good recommendations for ones I haven't. For me, my all time favourite book is:

Beautiful, beautiful book. Other favourites are The Lord of the Rings, the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson, Cloud Atlas, The Book Thief, The Historian, Stone Junction, The Pillars of the Earth and The Tenderness of Wolves.

For those of you who have nothing better to do like to know everything about me, these are the ones I've read from your recommendations:
  • 100 Years of Solitude (well 90% of it, two different times!)
  • Cat's Cradle
  • Twilight
  • Christopher Brookmyre (all of them!)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Pride and Predjudice
  • Atonement
  • Killing Floor
  • Perfume
  • Margaret Atwood (all of them!)
  • Behind the Scenes at the Museum
  • The Sun also Rises
  • Little Women
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Hamlet
  • The Five People you Meet in Heaven
  • Tuesdays with Morrie
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day (yes, super hilarious)
  • The Secret History

Monday 29 March 2010


Pink manga girls tunic. Wait... pink?

Those of you who have memorised my fabric closet might be thinking, 'Wait a minute, I thought she has every Thunderflower colourway except pink...'. How very observant of you (if not a little bit obsessed). I have red. I have blue. I don't have pink. But Kirsty does! And she sent me some to make her daughter a tunic.

The poor mite has chickenpox. Might a manga tunic cheer her up? I hope so. If not, Kirsty also sent me The Most Fabulous Fabric in the World *TM to make her a hoodie as well. Better start taking your meds so you can cope with the awesomeness, you will not even be able to stand it. Watch this space.

Sunday 28 March 2010


The perils of online fabric shopping

Has anyone ever bought fleece online only to find when it arrives that it's actually weirdo fleece? Those of you unlucky enough to suffer this fate will know what I'm talking about, but for the rest I will explain what weirdo fleece is. It has a a thicker pile almost like fake fur but still stretches. It unravels if you so much as look as it (which is the opposite of non-weirdo fleece), even after you have sewn it. The only way to find the secret pins you used to hold it together is to scrunch with your hands and wait to be stabbed.

This is what it looks like to cut:

This is what it does to your trousers:

This is what it does to your respiratory system:

Basically, it is made in the Devil's workshop by pulling feathers through pantyhose. And most likely possessed because I tripped on the sewing machine cable and almost fell over died.

My friend Cathy is due a baby very shortly and she asked me if I could recover her Boppy pillow. 'Sure, no problem!' I said. Who knew how hard I would find this? (For, the record, these people). First attempt with non-weirdo fleece and a zipper, and the zipper was too bobbly. Second attempt with jersey and an envelope closure, the envelope was too far to the centre to get on easily. Third attempt with weirdo fleece and an envelope, just right. But the fabric made me so nervous about demonic possession that I was compelled to make a back up:

Anyone else got a spooky tale of weirdo fleece? Or other unexpected online fabric surprises?

Friday 26 March 2010


Wherefore art thou, Snagglefoot?

I picked up the official nursery photos yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. Because socks off without advanced notice? Not the best idea. Given his fraught and complicated relationship with the nail clippers, I'm totally shocked he doesn't have snagglefoot. Maybe they bring their own clippers?

Thursday 25 March 2010


Tutorial: Fitted sheets with elasticated corners and fitted sheets with elasticated casing

After finding that most children's sheets are either boring or expensive (or both), I started making our own a couple of years ago. Honestly, not hard at all. And you get to use math. I'm going to share how to make fitted sheets, one with elasticated corners and one with an elasticated casing.

Elasticated corner sheets:
  • I like these more for the bigger mattress on Jamie's bed. Measure the length, width and height of the mattress.
  • Let's get dorky. Add the excess measurements to make the sheet three dimensional and actually fit over the mattress. Take your original dimensions and add two times the height at every corner. For me, that's eight inches. If you are going to double fold a narrow hem, add two times the height plus 1" instead. For Jamie's sheets, I'll need a piece of fabric that is 40" wide by 79" long.
  • Now you have to remove the squares of fabric at the corners to make it a box. Take those measurements right back out, only at the corners. This will make the sheet into box, able to fit the original dimensions taken from your mattress.
  • From your big piece of fabric (mine is 40" by 79" as mentioned above), cut these squares out at all four corners. This is my fabric on the fold so I can cut two at the same time.
  • Match up the two adjacent 8" legs and sew them together right sides facing. Repeat for all four corners.
  • This is what it looks like from the right side. It's a box!
  • Edge finish the entire perimeter. I'm lucky enough to have a serger / overlocker. If you have a regular machine, you could overcast with a zigzag stitch. Or if you have added the extra inch, you could double fold a hem and sew it down.
  • I used clear elastic for these sheets because me and my serger are BFF. Cut a 12" piece and pin the centre of the elastic at the corner seam. Measure 11" from the corner and pin the end of the elastic there and repeat for the other side. If you want to use regular 1/4" elastic it's the very same process.
  • Drop the needle down into the elastic at the end and pull taut so the elastic is flush against the edge of the fabric. You can't see this very well in the picture because the elastic is, well, clear. While taut, sew the elastic to the fabric. You will probably need to pull the fabric from behind the foot to keep it moving. If you're using regular 1/4" elastic, use a wide zigzag stitch to capture the elastic.
  • Repeat for all four corners. Put on on the mattress. As you can see, there is about four inchs to the interior of the mattress.
  • You're done!

Fully elasticated casing
  • I like these more for the smaller mattress on Maia's bed. I'm not posting separate pictures for the drafting so have a look above if you need reminded!
  • Measure the length, width and height of the mattress as above. The cot mattress dimensions are 24" width by 48" length by 4" height.
  • I find it easier if fully elasticated sheets have slightly more excess to the underneath of the mattress so I use two times the height plus 2" (so for this one, 10 inches). Add the excess to each corner. Added to her original mattress, I will therefore need a piece of fabric that measures 44" by 68". And then I will remove 10" squares from each corner.
  • Sew the corners as per above.
  • Edge finish the perimeter. For lucky ol' me, that means serging. You can also overcast with a zigzag or press under a 1/4".
  • Make your casing by folding the perimeter to the inside by an inch and stitching down. If you like, you can iron the crease in first but I found it was easy enough to fold as I was going.
  • When you get back to almost where you started, leave a one inch hole open to get the elastic in there.
  • Cut a piece of 1/4" elastic that is roughly 65% of the perimeter of the mattress. Maia's crib mattress measures 48" by 24", therefore its perimeter is 144". With a quarter inch elastic that stretchs roughly twice its length, I used a 95" piece. That's plenty tight to keep the sheet on, but not too tight that it's hard to go on.
  • Thread it all the way through the casing, and secure the ends together. Sew the one inch hole closed.
  • Put on on the mattress. As you can see, there is about five inchs to the interior of the mattress. Optional: if you want the elastic / gathers evenly distributed, adjust while it's on the mattress and then pin the elastic in place at each of the corner seams. Remove from mattress and front and back stitch a couple of times to secure it in place.
  • You're done! Round up errant toddlers and make them go to sleep.

Wednesday 24 March 2010


Yoga leggings and Cowl neck tunic pattern giveaway

Those of you on Twitter might have noticed the inimitable @thatkat was Twitpic'ing her progress testing the yoga leggings pattern. Man, oh man, I love the stripes.

And look. I think Maia has a rival in the booty department.

The pattern includes three choices of leg: a skinny long leg, a cuff, and a mock-button overlapping cuff. The beauty of these leggings, though, is a very tall foldover yoga waistband... no irritating elastic to dig into the waist and the added modesty of being able to wear the band up in the back to fully cover little bottoms. With the fold-down / fold-up waistband and the slightly long slouchy legs, these leggings are designed to provide two years of wear.

And remember when I was on my deathbed (again), Emily tested the cowl neck top? That's ready too. There are a lot of variations included with this pattern: two choices of necks (a cowl that can be kept tall and slouchy or folded over, and a mock neck that has height but is not folded over), either puffed or standard sleeves, and an optional large kangaroo pocket to the front for storing treasures. Its generous fit is designed to provide two years of wear.

These two patterns are on their way to the printers today. And as per every other time I launch a pattern, a giveaway. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post with your favourite book. I'm on the hunt. Also, which pattern you'd like. I'll announce who won on Sunday, and as usual you can have multiple entries if you re-tweet, blog, Facebook or other cyber tomfoolery. Just remember to come on back and re-comment because I won't be able to keep track!

Tuesday 23 March 2010


Better late than never (maybe)

I've been tagged 642 times for various memes but I'm so rubbish at remembering that they never make it onto my blog. No more, my friends, I'm playing (partial) catch-up. Back in December, I was tagged by Mummy do that to provide pictorial evidence that I am freaky looking. Otherwise known as: show us a picture your child has drawn of you.

Maia drew this picture of me this morning. Clearly, I'm on the right. Uncanny, right? And to the left, a heart. Because we love each other. Some of the time. But not when she's whining.

And then Kitschensink tagged me in the 10th photo story. I was to open the first folder in My Pictures, and show you the 10th one. Here we go:
So. very. interesting. What have you learned? Maia has always looked the exact same. And our house has always been a total mess. But if I open the folder of things I've made (since having this computer), you get this as the tenth picture:Slightly. More. Interesting. After Maia outgrew her Moses basket (maybe fifteen minutes after being born?), we passed it on to a fecund relative.
But before that, I relined it in very sweet broderie anglais. I made it with a combination of ties and elastic so that it could be removed and washed.

Being a rule-breaker, I'm not going to tag anyone else because I'm sure everyone in the world has already been tagged. But feel free to pretend I did if you haven't.

Monday 22 March 2010



Here's a whole lot of skirts from the Sew-along! These were all grabbed from the Flickr pool and I've provided blog links where I could find them. Everyone did a fabulous job. Have I missed anyone? Chastise me in comments if I did...

Blogged here.

Blogged here.

Blogged here.

Blogged here.

Blogged here.

Blogged here.

And these lovely ladies have photographed their work-in-progress muslins, I hope they get the chance to finish them!

Blogged here.

Blogged here.

I've really enjoyed the sew-along even if I did get a bit OCD... anyone want to do the t-shirt next?