Wednesday 30 May 2012


The New Specs Challenge

New glasses

I can't quite believe that she's been wearing glasses for a full year now.  Which means a whole new set of specs!  The good news is that her prescription hasn't changed so we can use the old ones as a (much needed) back up pair and don't have to shell out to re-lens her sunglasses.

new glasses 040

She tried on dozens at the opticians, but I'm very happy that she settled on this slightly cat-eye red pair. As fetching as the zebra prints were, the red has more mileage.  See how it matches her red winter coat? The winter coat that she is wearing on the last few days of May?

new glasses 037

The first day of new glasses fortuitously fell in the first week of the photography e-course I'm doing through Capturing Childhood.  We're working on our lighting nous, and I actually took most of these shots in manual mode and I didn't even need to edit the sh*t out of them.

new glasses 042 cropped

We are in unchartered waters, folks.

Tuesday 29 May 2012


The Super BFF Skirt

the girls
Yes, that's Jamie at the centre back. Not sure what's going on there but he needs to work on his photo-bombing.

It is a beautiful thing to behold the pure friendship and deep attachment small people form with their friends.  These girls have been the best of pals for several years now.  When not sharing their mutual enthusiasm for all things 'girly', they can often be found walking hand and hand bickering over who loves the other one more.

the girls 2

Almost exactly one year older and almost a full head taller, Maia is very protective of her wee pal.  Her nursery teacher told me this morning that Maia voluntary abstained from a game of musical bumps yesterday in an act of solidarity after Elsie was eliminated. If that's not love I don't know what love is.

summer forest skirt detail

It was her birthday over the weekend so I needed to rustle up a gift. Some interesting facts about the birthday girl: She speaks in a South African accent despite living in Edinburgh with two Scottish parents. And she has worn trousers exactly once in the past two years. If it isn't a skirt or a dress, she's not interested.   To be honest, I'm not sure if this skirt will pass muster either as it is distinctly shorter than Amish length. 

summer forest skirt full

In less than two months, Maia will be starting school and the dynamics of their friendship will invariably change.

the girls 3

Hands up if you think they'll still be BFFs.

Saturday 26 May 2012


Princess and the Frogs

pink frog dress hem 

Because Wiki decrees it and ergo it must be true, there are several collective nouns for a group of frogs- a colony (too boring), an army (unlikely), a knot (incongruous), a bundle (no thank you) and a froggery (redundant). Oh, and a fester of frogs. You win, fester, for your apocalyptic  imagery.

pink frog dress detail

A customer recently sent this lovely bubblegum pink fabric with lime green frogs for me to fashion into a party frock for her daughter.  I found a perfect two-tone pink speckled fabric in my stash for the lining and away we went.

pink frog dress

The cut I was sent was a lot more than the pattern required so I made the skirt super gathered (almost 100 inches around!) with a deeper double-folded hem for extra body.

Thursday 24 May 2012


Sew Mama Sew Knit Fabric Giveaway

knits to the right

Apologies for the radio silence in these parts, it turns out at least 75% of the world's population wants a Rainbow Party Frock. It is a full time job just answering emails about them.  To reward everyone for their patience, however, how about a little giveaway?  Every single year without fail I miss the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day, it's a good thing they extended it to giveaway week this year.

knits to the left

Since the last time I had a fabric giveaway, I've probably doubled my shop stash so there's a lot more lovely prints to choose from.  Including three new ones that arrived only yesterday!

summer forest

Hello, delightful Summer Forest with your birds, foxes, deer and rabbits with trees, flowers, bushes and hills.  I think I love you.

summer forest with coordinates

And look, two coordinating plain jerseys in lime green and red.  A perfect colour match with Summer Forest....

little red with coordinates

But also Little Red! The red has a slightly orangey tone so it's not a perfect colour match with prints that are overwhelmingly cherry red  but it would be a fabulous contrasting red for heaps of colours and prints.  The lime green is a perfect colour match not only with Summer Forest and Little Red Riding Hood, but also with Green Astronauts, Lime green and blue stars velour, and Rainbow Happy mushrooms!

Because I'd like to be able to include everyone in the giveaway and in light of the recent Royal Mail postage increase from  ridiculous to scandalous, the giveaway is for half a metre of the fabric of your choice.  To celebrate the Scottish Week That Is Summer  (which started on Monday and will last a few days yet!), to enter just leave me a comment telling me what you're looking forward to the most this summer.  Of if you are of the ornery-persuasion, what you're looking forward to the least.  The giveaway will be open until 25 May 5pm PST, and the winner will be choosen randomly.

*******************Giveaway is closed!************************

 Congrats to Melissa Palmer, and thanks for all the comments!

Friday 18 May 2012


Rainbows, big and little

rainbow party frocks front 2

Of all the things I've ever made, I get asked to remake the Rainbow Party Frock the most. 

rainbow party frocks back

This week I made a little size 2T and a big size 6Y, for girls more than 6000 miles apart.

rainbow party frocks detail

It makes me happy to think of two girls wearing the same dress on opposite sides of the globe.

Thursday 17 May 2012


Matchy McMatcherson

yellow mushroom skirt and top 2

Do not be fooled by the appearance of a dress.

yellow mushroom skirt waistband 3

It's actually separates!  Which is good for us as we've mislayed the brown leggings we'd normally pair with this top. 

yellow mushroom skirt hem

As all previous tennis skirts have been made from cotton / lycra jerseys, I wanted to show how using an interlock gives the skirt a slightly different shape.  Without the added lycra that lends the jersey extra weight, the interlock drapes into gentle folds rather than holding the a-line shape.

Tuesday 15 May 2012


Sewing for the mythical summer

After months of monitoring the (frankly sickening) cost of transatlantic travel this summer, we finally were able to book our flights to the States this past weekend thanks to a KLM sale. It still cost almost a quarter more than any other time we've flown as a foursome, but until the sale prospective flights were coming in at more than fifty percent higher than last summer. Any guesses on how much of the total flight costs were taxes and airport fees? Sixty four percent. I will now jump off my rageful soapbox.

The good news is that there is now an opportunity to take my winter coat off and I have a beady eye on some patterns that will be completely inappropriate for the remaining 49 weeks of the year. These shorts from Colette's new collection fit the bill, and now that I've seen a bright red and classic black in the Flickr pool I'm even more keen. I really, really like Colette Patterns but as someone who almost universally dislikes pastels I am sometimes put off by their styling.

I did, however, like the Lily sundress right from the start. It has a promising shape for my body and I have it on good authority (ie KID MD) that FBAing a princess seam is not too harrowing.


Another dress on the wish list is Sewaholic's Cambie Dress, which is coming out this week.  The neckline and sleeves are almost identical to my Neverending Dress, but I am unconvinced that a single underbust dart will accommodate my largesse.  Neverending Dress had four darts each side!

swimsuit fabric

And last but by no means least, here is some swimsuit fabric I scored.  Can you guess what madcap it-will-only-end-in-tears plans I have for these?  Facebook fans have a head start on regular non-FB readers (I'm looking at you, Mom) as they goaded me into buying it...

Monday 14 May 2012


The Super Moshi birthday experience

jumpsuit 7

Five years ago today, a small girl came into the world and our hearts.  She is made of equal parts of kindness, enthusiasm, graciousness and love for her family and friends.

jumpsuit 4

With a bouncy castle rented for the celebrations, I opted for a jumpsuit rather than a dress or skirt.  If I'm truthful, I liked the rainbow jumpsuit more in my head than in actual form.  You can't win them all.

maias birthday party 014

The rain almost held off for the duration of the party which was especially fortuitious as it bucketed down for the rest of the day.  So bouncing was enjoyed by all, but not as much as the big jumps off the side.

maias birthday party 013

Except for this big jump. Not quite as enjoyable.  It's okay to laugh though because no one was hurt.

All right, let's get down to business then.  I know you are all here to revel in the inevitable cake fail. This Moshi Monster figure was my brief.  He sees your problems, world, and will fight if necessary but will give you the side eye while he does it.  Obviously, I couldn't render this face in cake form because who wants a frowning, judgemental cake?

So I choose a more bonhomie Super Furi.

maias birthday party 076

Cheerful, no doubt, but more than a little bit sheepish.  See the bottom right corner looks a bit different?  Jamie actually surreptitiously stuck his hand into the cake before anyone else was up and clawed a section off.  I don't even know who he is anymore.

cake pic

My favourite birthday pic is always the one that captures the reaction to my monstruous cakes.  Maia's face is saying, 'Oh, you'; her companion's face is saying, 'What is going on I can't even' but you'll just have to fill that in yourself. 

Friday 11 May 2012


Now is the summer of our discontent

Little Red Riding Hood tennis skirt waistband

Someone re-write the Bible quick: forty days and nights of rain is no big deal. I think we're on day 113, at the very least.  Oh, and highs of 6 deg in May (that's low 40's Fahrenheit fans)?  THE SHEER CRUELTY. It's driving me demented, truly.

Little Red Riding Hood tennis skirt full

Now that I've gotten my British small talk out of the way, here's a Little Red Tennis Skirt with a brown cloud waistband.   Also feel free to admire the lovely red asymmetrical sweater that my mum knitted Maia.  Making things that are asymmetrical runs in out family. 

Wednesday 9 May 2012



The last set of tunics I supplied to Monkey and Bo went like hotcakes so I'm pleased to announce a fresh batch is available in her shop...
birds of norway full 

We have a lovely Birds of Norway print in gorgeous colours...

scooter tunic full 

A crisp and summery organic scooter print...

Monaluna Soar tunic collage 

And just for the Monaluna Soar fiends* who attempted to snatch these up last time but missed out (they sold out first day!), these little beauties are back in stock.

*Actually, they're for everyone. Monkey and Bo are an equal-opportunity stockist.

Monday 7 May 2012


Getting Skirty


One of my favourite sewing duos announced today the start of their annual Crafterhours Skirt Week*, and as a recent one woman skirt sweatshop I'm finally in the right place at the right time to participate in something.  If you're looking for inspiration make sure to check out their Pinterest Skirt Tute board,  but within this very blog there's the tennis skirt tute: 

And the tutu pettiskirt tute:

There's a whole month to get your entries (in four different categories) into the the Flickr pools so I hope to see some familiar names / patterns / fabric / faces / legs. 

*Not actually a calendar week.  We're operating on craft blog time, where one week is approximately a month. Sounds about right to me.

Sunday 6 May 2012


The Side-eye Skirt

fuchsia cloud skirt detail 

The recipient of this birthday skirt is one of Maia's childminding cohorts, who despite her tender age of just two has the most legendary side-eye I've ever witnessed.  When I arrive to pick Maia up, she runs her big blue eyes over me from head to toe and then gives me the side-eye.  Now that I've stopped checking my hair / face / clothes, it's hilarious.

fuchsia cloud skirt bc
Pictured: Skirt    Not pictured: Segue between topics

One can never say 'I was looking forward to doing my VAT return', but I was interested to see how I did in my first quarter with the new business direction.  And..... my turnover was 180% higher than last quarter so I couldn't be more chuffed!  It's not something I've ever talked about here, but my pattern sales nose-dived last year and financially the business just wasn't viable anymore without me making changes.  Jacking it in and going back to working for The Man was looking more and more alluring, what with the regular pay cheques and hours. In my heart, though, I wanted to preserve this little life of mine so I took a gamble (if you can call eight months of dithering and over-researching a gamble) with the fabric and hopefully this will continue to grow.  A huge thank you to my friends / readers / customers, I'm massively grateful for how supportive and encouraging you have been.

Friday 4 May 2012


The Mixologist Skirt

It's high-birthday season here which means lots of present-sewing for the fair lads and lassies of Edinburgh. Today's party offering- a purplicious astronaut skirt with purple star waistband*.
purple astro skirt

I hereby formally invite the people who proclaim 'The camera never lies' to come and take pictures of the purple stars fabric with my camera.  I have no idea why it refuses to render the colours properly, every single time, no matter what conditions I shoot under.  I can assure you, they coordinate perfectly.  Here, Picmonkey will help blind your eyes with luridness:

purple astro skirt waistband

Hitherto, I've done lots of mixing and matching of prints with solids, but not any print on print.  Silly, no?  The stars and clouds naturally partner with astronauts, and clouds are also part of the leitmotif in both Appletree and Little Red.  In time, I hope to add lots of stripes and blender coordinates as well. 

*Although I am a superfan of ribbing for cuffs and collars, I have recently come to the conclusion that for load-bearing waistbands I definitely prefer the recovery and stability of a firm cotton / lycra blend.  By load-bearing, I mean skirts and trousers that rely on the waistband to hold the fabric up rather than the waistband of a top that is decorative.  Facebook fans have been privy to the fact that I have been furiously sourcing high-quality coordinating cotton / lycra solids, hopefully they'll be available soon!

Thursday 3 May 2012


I may be tricky but I might be missing a trick or two

I've been concentrating so hard recently on making clothes that showcase my new stretch fabrics that I've put my woven stash on the back burner. Not literally of course, that would be at best fool-hardy and at worst sacrilege.  But the fact remains that almost all of the emails I get for custom orders are for clothes out of woven fabrics.  This week alone, I've been asked about making four rainbow dresses, three tunics, and a coat. And I know that the woven items I sell through Monkey and Bo are very popular.

My original plan with opening the fabric shop was to streamline my clothing line, but maybe I've been thinking so much about which direction I was taking the business that I lost sight of what my customers want.  Which admittedly might be variety.

So, do you want to see frocks and tunics and jumpsuits in the shop?  My woven stash can certainly take some bashing!