Wednesday 29 June 2011


The Amazing Psychedelic Holiday Experience

This is what going on holiday looks like when you're five. Or thirty one, pulling an all-nighter because you had twenty eight things on your To Do list and we're off to the airport at 3:30AM anyway. I am so efficient, people, you have never seen anything like it. Everyone else is getting up in half and hour, and here I am doing stuff. Amazing.

For those of you who follow the blog for the express purpose of finding out when we're away so you can burgle us, do not even bother. Reasons why:
  1. Queen of the over-packers. There is nothing left to steal, not even my new epilator.
  2. We live in a flat, in a building full of geriatrics. They are always around, they never sleep and they're nosy as hell. Before you even get the first load of random, worthless detritus out of our house, there will be a passive aggressive note about you co-signed by the chairman of our building.
  3. Google Analytics: You think you're so clever but searching 'when can I burgle Kitschy Coo' shows up in my analytics and now I have your IP address so you're basically already in big trouble.
  4. Two words: Friend Sarah. Not only is she a policeman with keys to our house and instructions to hang out here, our house is within her actual beat. She is so bad-ass that she already knows about your nefarious plans and has instigated a covert sting operation to catch you as soon as you are within 100m of our property.
Catch you on the other side...

Thursday 23 June 2011


Tutorial: Draft Thyself a Pin-up Bathing Suit

Okay, we have all the measurements from the last post... let's get drafting.

For reference, here are my actual measurements so you can see how they are used as I am drafting:
C= 31"
E= 4"
G= 3.5"
H= 5"
I= 11"
EDITED TO ADD: My mum is much smaller and a lot less curvy than me and this suit as drafted fits her too. So don't get too worried about the exact measurements, bathing suit fabric with its four-way stretchiness will compensate for a lot of the differences between you and me!

Get a giant piece of paper (at least a foot wide and two and a half feet long) . Mark a point at the left edge of the paper near the top of the paper. Draw a perpendicular line across as a starting point. Mark along this line your quarter rib cage measurement (A/4). Vertically, measure down the distance between rib cage and true waist ( E). Draw another perpendicular line here and mark a quarter of your true waist. (B/4). Vertically, measure down the distance between true waist and low waist ( F). Draw another perpendicular line here and mark a quarter of your low waist (C/4). Vertically, measure down the distance between low waist and high hip ( G). Draw another perpendicular line here and mark a quarter of your high hip (D/4). Connect these points and then gently curve them if required so the lines aren't angular.
1 Front

After you have drafted that, you need to draft the front portion of you bathing suit bottoms. I'm going to go a little unscientific here, I cut up a pair of my boy-cut briefs to trace out for this bit. I don't think people will vary too much and the four-way stretch of the fabric will compensate for differences in-and-of-itself, however, if you're much bigger than me you might need to increase the width of the bottom line from 2.5" to something greater. Remember, though, we are drafting in quarters so an increase by half an inch to this line will yield a total of two inches overall.

2 Front extended

Okay, measure down 3.75" from the perpendicular high hip line and make another perpendicular line. Mark 2" along this line. Measure down 3" from this perpendicular line and make another perpendicular line. Mark 2.5" along this line. Use your curve (if you have one!) to give curvy-ness to connect these points. If you don't have a curve, just free-hand it (see above). The higher you place your curve, the more high cut the leg hole will be. However, this suit is based on a low cut leg, if you want a higher cut leg you will want to move it above the high hip line and the side seam will stop somewhere between your high hip and low waist.

3 Front extended details

Trace your front piece onto another piece of paper so we can draft the back. I used semi-sheer paper so I could see the front piece at the same time. If you are very ample of bum (I am not!), you might want to increase the width at the high hip point by an inch or two and then re-draw your curve. This will mean that you have more space in the back of your suit than you do in the front, more bum coverage, and a bit more extra room in the leg openings.

4 Back

On the first line below your high hip line, mark 2.5" along from the edge to match the width of the lowest part of the front piece (these will be seamed together). I made a little arrow in the picture below to show you what it matches with. Connect this point with the high hip point.

5 Back extended

Now you need to decide the curve for your back of your bathing suit bottoms. Just like the front, the higher the curve the higher cut they will be. For my first two suits I used a slightly curved version of the diagonal line above, however, I wondered if perhaps it was slightly too low cut so I introduced a curve (which may or may not be too high cut!), shown by the blue arrows:

6 Back leg hole

For the front ruched section you'll need to trace and slide the front piece you already drafted. Make sure you have a big enough piece of paper! First, trace the top box from the first step:

7 Ruched front trace...

Then, perpendicularly draw a line three inches below this box. Slide down the front piece so it ends on this new line. Then trace the middle section.

8 Ruched front... and slide

Repeat this process to add another 3" between the sections. Trace and slide!

9 Ruched front full

True up the sides so it has a nice curve. Then add half an inch hem allowance at the bottom.

10 Ruched front hem allowance

Now for the bodice. Perpendicularly, you need to use the same A/4 (rib cage divided by four) for your base line. Draw this line. Vertically draw up five inches at the side of the paper (this is for busty me trying to completely hide my bra, if you are significantly smaller you can go a bit shorter). This is your side seam. Draw horizontally across and then down so you have a rectangle that is A/4 by 5" by A/4 by 5". At the top of the rectangle, find the mid-point horizontally and mark this point. Measure up so that the vertical measurement is the same as H (so that's 7" for me). Connect this point to the side seam where the top or 5" ends. At the 'Fold' side of your rectangle, find the mid point between the height of the side seam and the height at the apex (so for me that's 6"). Connect this line too so it slightly Vs at centre front.

11 Bodice front

For the back bodice, you need to do the same drill... The side seam needs to be the same five inches as you drafted in the last stage and the width needs to be the same A / 4 measurement. If you want, use your curve to made the back piece (as I did) curved down to 3.5" at the fold... or if you prefer, you can leave it right straight across.

13 Back bodice

Now you're done with all the tricky bits: you have a front piece, a ruched front piece, a back piece, a front bodice piece and a back bodice piece. The remaining pieces are rectangles.

For the shoulder straps, make a rectangle that is H ( for me this is 11") by 2.5". Write 'Fold' on one of the long sides, when you cut it the straps will be H by 5".

Using a tape measure, figure out the length of the leg curve of the front piece and the back piece. Add these numbers together and then multiply by 90%. Draft a rectangle that is this width (for me it was 16"), and 2" tall. These are your leg bindings.

For the bow at the front, draft a rectangle that is 2" wide by 14" long.

Okay, that's all the drafting! Part three on sewing it up to follow...

On your mark, get set... Measure for your Pin-Up Bathing Suit

There were heaps o' peeps who asked for me to make a pin-up bathing suit pattern after I started making them last summer. I discounted it initially because I was so flummoxed about drafting standard sizes when women are so many different shapes... but then I thought... How about I tell you how to use your measurements to draft your own pattern*?

First, about the suit. Classic pin-up inspired shape with ruching to front, sweetheart neckline with adjustable tie, low-cut legs, and fat straps so I can wear a normal bra under it. I haven't inserted a shelf-bra / molded cups / unwired bra because: a) I can't be bothered b) I have three suits now and want to be able to wear the same bra with all of them. If you want something in-built, there are some goods tutes out there for that sort of thing. Here's proof that it's almost impossible to take a picture of your own back.

Okay then, I'm going to split it all up into several posts. First get you tape measure out and stand in front of a mirror (or get a helper), here's what you'll need to measure:
  • A: Circumference of your rib cage (where you would measure for your bra band)
  • B: Circumference of your natural waist (this is where you are the thinnest)
  • C: Circumference of your low waist (around your belly button)
  • D: Circumference of your high hip (around your hip bones)
  • E: Distance vertically between measurement A and B
  • F: Distance vertically between measurement B and C
  • G: Distance vertically between measurement C and D
  • H: Distance vertically from just under a breast, up and over the fullness, to a point that is perpendicular to the top of the armpit (where your bra strap normally starts)
  • I: Distance from point H over your shoulder to where your bra strap meets the band in the back
Next step I'll tell you how to draft the pattern from your measurements.

*A disclaimer: I'm more telling you how I made a bathing suit to fit me using my measurements. I can't promise that it will work out perfectly for people who are shaped very differently than I am. On the plus side, bathing suit fabric stretches four ways so chances are it'll work out! I will provide my measurements as I go but for those of you unfamiliar with my body, I am 5'4" and a UK size 10 (US size 6) on the bottom and no quantifiable size on top due to my 30GG chest. My torso is also very short.

Wednesday 22 June 2011


Bad feminist, no biscuit for you

Today I've been working my cotton socks off on a tutorial that will make at least three of you happy. More on that tomorrow. Can you guess what it might be? If you guess right I will actually follow through and publish it. If you guess wrong, I'll pretend this little post never happened.

As a place-holder, thank you for the hair commiserations on yesterday's post. To continue the theme of my burgeoning vanity and self-modification... if I was to make my brand spanking Epilator a cozy should it say Team God or Team Satan? I think Team Satan; a black cozy would hide the blood stains better.

Tuesday 21 June 2011


The reality does not live up to the expectation

Turns out, blondes don't have more fun. (Unless they find doing their taxes fun, in which case they have a blast.) Blondes also don't make the summer clothes her family needs for their holidays next week, because it's so flipping miserable out that they can't even imagine a world where summer clothes are required. They lack the blow-drying skillz of the professionals and no longer look ten years younger. They look like Justin Lee Collins:

Basically: me

They don't finish the very last details of their craft rooms they've been working on for a month because Pinterest has made them feel inadequate. They do, however, make Kindle covers for Friend Sarah's boyfriend.

pac man kindle cover closed

Introducing Kindle Cover V.148, another addition to the Geekatarium.

pac man kindle cover detail

A flap with elastic keeps the Kindle from roaming around whatever larger receptacle in might find itself in. I'm not saying he has a man bag. I'm just saying.

pac man kindle cover open

I have included a neoprene inner lining for safety's sake. Do not even stab it with your pencils, Tony, I have thwarted you. Probably.

If people don't want to talk about the Kindle cover, feel free to congratulate me on finishing my taxes half a year early. People who live in lands graced by the yellow orb in the sky can tell me what people wear in such alien places. Hairdressers can offer their services.

Wednesday 15 June 2011


Blondes might not have more fun but hopefully they get more accurate directions.

My friend Ruth is coming over from Ireland for a sleepover tomorrow and I'm keen to impress her. If she likes my new kitchen / sewing studio / decluttered underbed space / filing systems maybe she will move back to Edinburgh.

Anyway, her visit prompted me to use my Groupon hair salon voucher. This is me yesterday morning. Do not be fooled by my bathroom's heavenly appearance, it's next on the list for room makeover. This hair is directly responsible for two bus drivers blatantly lying to me about their routes.

And this is me after. This hair is directly responsible for one person complimenting me on my eyelashes, one person I gave birth to not thinking I came to pick him up from school because I am so unrecognisable, one person I am currently married to saying I look an unspecified amount younger, and one person I employ saying I look 'ten years younger'. Which when you're 31 years old has an additional bonus subtext.

Monday 13 June 2011


Tutorial: Pimp your filing cabinet with fabric hanging folders

As part of Operation: Save Our Collective Lives it's an ongoing concern of mine to get this house and family into order. I have done many things, I am currently doing many things, I am planning on doing many things in future. But one thing that is always carried from To Do list to To Do list is the freaking filing. I hate filing paperwork. Tricks must be played on my subconscious to get it on board. Do you remember I have played tricks on the subconscious before? It worked. But Pretty Solution One is now too full. Subconsious, I am now playing dirty. I will get you yet.

11 hanging files done

Want to pimp your filing cabinet / scare your rational non-psychotic friends? Here goes...

1 hanging files start

Start with a hanging file that already fits your filing cabinet. Note how lackluste it is and lacking the gravitas required to cradle your important family bizness.

2 hanging files cut

Cut off the metal bits at the top.

3 hanging files draft

Trace around the paper file you cut off, adding 1cm to both the left and right sides and 3cm to the top. Marking the fold at the bottom of the pattern piece.

4 hanging files cut

Cut your fabric on the fold. Think to yourself, 'I'd like to put paper in this every day'.

5 hanging files edge finish

Edge finish all four edges. A serger makes a super-quick job of it if you have one, an overcasting zig-zag on a regular sewing machine is fine too. Fraying edges will only make you angry about filing.

6 hanging files iron

Press the 1cm allowances (of the long edges) to the wrong side with your iron.

7 hanging files hem

Sew them down close to the edge.

8 hanging files iron casing

Press the 3cm allowances (of the short edges) to the wrong side with your iron.

9 hanging files stitch casing

Sew them down close to the edge, to form casings.

10 hanging files thread through

Thread the metal hanging bits through the casing.

Fabric hanging files

You're done! File away the two years of paper work you've collected in various parts of the house.

Disclaimer: 98% of you are going to think this is a completely mental use of time and fabric. But it's a very quick project (I made six folders in less than an hour) and I am hoping / praying / doing black voodoo magic that making my filing pretty might help motivate me to stay on top of it. Once I have a better idea of exactly how many separate folders are required, different colours and prints will be added for extra organisation. It's time-saving and stash-busting, right? Right? Anyone? Okay, it's probably just a bit crazy.

Sunday 12 June 2011


Right. Everyone in Edinburgh gets a tunic.

woodland chain tunic

Birthday Party Extravaganza has reached epic proportions. I don't understand it, there were very few birthday parties the rest of the year but now--- Every. Single. Weekend. For both the kids. It's so prolific I'm not even getting the chance to photograph the presents I'm making all these kids. Because I'm mostly sewing things an hour before the party.

woodland chain tunic

The birthday girl on this occasion has the most beautiful ebony skin. I wanted to pick the most popping, the most brightest, fabric I have. Step forward Woodland Chain Organic from Birch fabrics. Do you know, before I purchased a (large) order of organic fabric I wasn't sure it'd be worth the extra expense? It's worth it. They are so crisp, with a really nice handle.

I almost feel I need to change this blog name to Tunics All the Time as that's pretty much all I've been making these days. Or Tunics and Jumpsuits. Speaking of which, to answer the questions from last post, weeing occurs when the jumpsuit is pulled right down. It's a peasant elasticated neck and elasticated waist so it's no bother what-so-ever for independant bathroom trips. The market is semi-saturated with jumpsuit patterns these days but any interest?

Friday 10 June 2011


For Scottish summer comes but once a year...

polkadot jumpsuit front

Scottish summer fell on 3rd June this year. One glorious day to last us the whole year. I mean, who would believe that the temperature would fall 13 degrees Celsius the next day (that's a whopping 24 degrees for you Fahrenheit fans) and stay there ever since? Answer: British folk.

polkadot jumpsuit shorts

So, really, Maia. I can understand why you look so glum. You know it's not going to last.

polkadot jumpsuit scoot

Nevertheless, I was prepared for Annual Scottish Summer Day because I've being working on her summer holiday clothes. You will have gathered that we are travelling to the homeland yet again, because if we were staying here her beach wear would look like this:

It will be evident to regular readers that I am becoming mightily jumpsuit obsessed which is 66% a projection of my own never-to-be-realised-jumpsuit-aspirations and 34% feck-it-there-is-no-matching-of-tops-and-bottoms-drama. This one is a polkadot interlock purchased donkey years ago from the mysterious M is For Make.

polkadot jumpsuit back

It's Friday night, we're all tired. It might seem like too much effort to comment. I will help you:
  • Obviously, I am more than willing to accept comments of the jumpsuit nature.
  • Or we could discuss weather. Although I am American I have lived in the UK for twelve years and, as such, a major milestone in my assimilation into the local population was my ability to be willing / able to discuss weather at any time. I am ready people: let's talk weather.
  • Finally, I will also be grateful for comments about Maia's hair. Albeit, it is possibly redundant to mention how beautiful it is. We all know that. But should it be shorn? The golden cape will be hot in warmer climes, and Dramagirl does not like being hot. Or cold. Or just right.

Thursday 9 June 2011


Yes, Cinderella, you will go to the ball. In a Couch-printed Dress

bird therapy party frock front

I was asked by my friend Justine to make a dress for her daughter to attend a special ball last weekend. Like all of my friends (see a theme here?), Justine has great taste in fabric.

bird therapy party frock detail

As part of the fabric-picking brief, Justine was worried that people tend to 'baby' her daughter so we wanted something that wasn't at all juvenile. This amazing Bird Therapy print certainly fits the bill; it's cool enough to grab attention but not of the 'OMG Bless Her Cotton Socks' variety.

bird therapy party frock- reverse front

For the reverse I used a turquoise poplin and a green sash. Again, colours that one might not place together automatically but that totally rock once combined. I made the skirt of the printed sided ever so slightly longer so it peeks at the hem, almost like a trim.

bird therapy party frock- reverse back

And finally a big fat bow to the back, and a matching green button.

Tuesday 7 June 2011


Bicycles on bags and a new appreciation for yellow

laptop case front

My good friend Mockduck is celebrating the (greatly deserved) procurement of a fantastic new job and needed a bag to protect her laptop. Ever the one to choose fabrics with a savvy eye, she put this Echino bicycle print together with a Monaluna Starburst...

laptop case inside

... and with two yellow zippers and a perfectly matching Cloud9 polkadot pocket its a riot of perfectly matching teals and saffrons.

laptop case zippered pocket

I have to admit, I wasn't a particular fan of yellow until recently. But seeing how well it works with turquoise (as well as on Pinterest where I've seen it with grey and red to a stunning affect) I think I'm now a huge fan. What say you to yellow? What do you like to pair it with?

Monday 6 June 2011



When there are big things happening and worries on my mind, I find it hard to blog. As happened when I realised Maia had a lazy eye, the act of Not Acknowledging takes on a life of its own and robs me of my voice. For the last two weeks, I haven't known what to say. Sure, I could've posted pictures of the heaps o' projects I've completed in the last two weeks, or a photoshopped glory of Kate in a tiger suit with an angry Alexander Skarsgard (actually I can't do that because she very unreasonably will not let me see a picture of her head) but I've been paralyzed by the worry that by painting a picture of 'normal blog service' I am being inaccurate. Admittedly, that's harsh- when I read other blogs I don't expect full disclosure of everything that is angst-ing the writer; neither do I feel betrayed if people only choose to share the beautiful and the happy. But for me, I struggle.

In a week that included an emergency extraction and dental abscess for Steven and the sad passing of his Nana, my mother-in-law was seriously injured in an accident in Spain when a steel sliding door at their holiday home came out of its tracks and crushed her. A broken shoulder and pelvis may not sound lucky, but it was very close to being even worse. The road to recovery will be long and hard, and unfortunately a large part of it will be in Spain. As a daughter in law and a friend, I feel tremendously guilty that I can't support my mother- and father-in-law in a tangible way. I feel guilty that life with our small family goes on, while our larger family's is on hold. I feel guilty that documenting our lives going on as normal is an affront to the people whose realities have changed.

So, a caveat lector on all posts from here on in: Normalcy by the author is greatly overstated. Behind the scenes, we're anxious and we miss them.