Thursday 30 August 2012


The Tormentable Tennis Skirt

Backstory: If you're not familiar with the children's programme, "Chloe's Closet", I offer my congratulations on a life well spent. And then this theme tune to memorise:

There are very few benefits for an adult repeatedly subjected to this invasive ditty. Until their daughter befriends a girl named Chloe, who then has a birthday and requires a present...

Me: So what should I make for Chloe?
Maia: I dunno.
Me: I was thinking of making her something for her closet.
Maia: Muuuuuuummmmm.
green fairy tennis skirt

Steven: Well, dress-up is a game she plays.
Me: Yep. Each and every day.
Maia: You guys!!

green fairy tennis skirt close

Me: So what do you think she needs? Chloe's closet is a mystery.
Maia: RAAAAA!!

Disclaimer: No actual Chloes were teased in the making of this skirt, only daughters not named Chloe.

Tuesday 28 August 2012


The Best Kind of Scallops Leather Clutch

leather scalloped clutch full

There were joint-birthday celebrations for me and Friend Sarah this weekend.  Having previously regaled her with everything in my sewing arsenal (a makeup bag, a smaller makeup bag, a phone cozy, a Kindle cover, a shirt, a glasses case) I was flummoxed with what to make her.  And then I remembered: about six months ago she looked at a leather clutch in a shop for at least fifteen seconds.  She probably wanted one.  A plan was hatched.

leather scalloped clutch detail

Looking through my Pinterest boards, I was immediately drawn to this scalloped leather clutch by Me Sew Crazy.   But with entirely different dimensions, the addition of a zipper and lining, snazzy contrast stitching and precisely zero hand sewing.  And by snazzy, I mean  questionable.

leather scalloped clutch inside

Because Sarah is very special, she was allowed to have some of my precious Liberty leather. Because she is also very gracious and tactful, she said she would use it for a wedding this weekend.  I will have to follow her secretly to find out.

In other birthday girl news, after only 32 months of pining, my in-laws made my life complete.

Stunning, flawless, flattering.

Thursday 23 August 2012


Update on All the Things

With both kids happily ensconced in school and myself caught up on all the orders I received through email (rainbow dresses upon rainbow dresses upon rainbow dresses), the shop is now reopen for everything.  A couple of fabrics and the clothes they made have been sadly retired, but might re-appear if my stockists replenish.

I'm also making a (long-overdue) effort to streamline my offerings, so appliqued items like organic t-shirts and rompers are a bargain-licious 50% off!  Sizes are limited, so go forth and snatch!

In pattern news, three of my coat patterns have been unavailable for some time after I ran out of prints and I flailed and angsted about whether to re-order paper prints or switch to pdfs.  However, the cacophany of 'Why u no have coats?!' has forced me into a decision and I am switching over to pdfs.  As we speak.  Ish.  If it works out using a combination of 16 different pdf programmes, I'll be rolling all of my patterns into a pdf option.

military coat collage

In other coat news, anyone remember the erstwhile military coats? The main difference between these coats and my others are the addition of pockets and a zipper instead of buttons, but I've also graded through 7Y/8Y for both the boys and girls version.  If there's interest, I will pick up where I left off (which typically for me is about at the 95% complete mark) and try to get this released for the autumn.

cool cat sleeveless skater dress

And finally, the skater dress pattern.  Again, I was perilously close to releasing this before I went on holiday as a sleeveless skater dress pattern but some magical time warp occurred and it's almost September and the option for adding sleeves is a necessity.  'But wait, Amanda...', I hear you say, 'You also make sleevey skater dresses!'  I do, indeed, but they are raglan sleeves and not compatible with the sleeveless bodice.  We all know how much I like drafting sleeves.  But drafted they will be, and hopefully this pattern will be an autumn release as well.  

Did I mention I'm having a huge clearance sale?

Wednesday 22 August 2012


Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

collaborate 5

I've been in long-term cohoots with a fantastic duo who have came up with a really exciting idea.  I'm not going to tell you who they are*, but it rhymes with Bafterhours.  Remember my boy-cut brief pattern?  Well this is what it looks like actually printed onto fabric!

collaborate 3

All you have to do is cut around the edges...

collaborate 4

And sew them all straight up with a contrasting or coordinating trim. 

collaborate 2

Behold, a glorious selection of boy cut briefs. 

collaborate 1

Ready to bedeck even the most generous of bums with their magical anti-wedgie properties.

Hyperbole aside, I'm really excited about this collaboration.  Some time in the autumn, you'll be able to buy boy-cut brief kits that come complete with several different funky designs on super soft interlock, coordinating trims, and of course the instructions to sew them up.  I love the prints they've designed especially for the briefs, and I'm particularly enamoured with the retro rainbows and revisionist Union Jacks. 

*Okay, I will tell you. It's Crafterhours!  Following on from their mucho-successful 'I Spy' project of Spoonflower designer-led fabric collections, they're branching out into other awesomeness.  There are other kits on the horizon (another of which I will share shortly), but also labels, prints, drawer-stickers...  and Union Jack panels with which you can do this...

To a Dolman tee no less.  Once they are all ready to go, I'm hoping to offer the kits to you British and European types through my own shop.

Friday 17 August 2012


Girl, you'll be a woman soon. But not as soon as you'd like.

first day school 3

Maia, the day you've been waiting for has finally arrived- your first day of school.  To you, the transition from 'little' to 'big' girl, the giddy expectation of following in your brother's footsteps, the tantalisation of reading and writing and drawing and learning and playing all day long

first day school 22

To me, a shift in our family dynamic. Just where, exactly, did my babies go?  There are long-limbed, semi-independant imposters in their place.  So I am learning too: you need me less, you need me more, you need me differently.

first day school 31

Maia, you have one of the strongest spirits I've ever known.  Your loyalty and enthusiasm are the things of legend.

first day school 30

You love so deeply, you burn so brightly, you feel so keenly, you hurt so badly.

first day school 12

My biggest wish for you is to believe in yourself as much as I believe in you: You are brave, you are strong, you are capable.


You might wobble but you can do it.  I will be here, encouraging you all the way.

first day school 11

Other than that, always have your umbrella in case inclement times.

first day school 26

Even if you use it as a weapon.

first day school 20

Oh, and your hair looks fine.

Friday 3 August 2012


The Great Work / Life Balance Challenge

Please accept these pictures as a counterpoint to the words that follow. In them, you will see Maia sauntering around Boston like a boss. Because she is the boss, of all of us...
summer forest dress

Ladies and gentlemen, please tell me how it's possible to work with the children at home. Obviously, I was well-aware that I would need to shut up shop while we were physically away but expected that I'd be up and running (albeit at a slower pace) now that we have returned. Sporadic blog silence and my semi-closed shop suggest I'm finding it harder than I imagined.

summer forest dress 1

Topically, this post on Design*Sponge popped up in my feed this week about how to work with / around your kids over the summer holidays.  Through a wily combination of bribes and clearly separating work and play the author purports it's possible to get stuff done.

summer forest dress 5

This has loosely been my tactic: a fun non-work activity outside the house every day to buy me some good will and time for work inside the house.  Which should work in terms of bribery, but also in teaching the lesson that in order to do fun things I need to be able to pay for them by, you know, working.

summer forest dress 2

So far, this is working beautifully on paper and in my own mind but unfortunately not in actual practise. Constant interruptions mean that everything is taking me at least double the amount of time to complete; one particularly bad day this week saw an order* that would normally take me two hours to complete take five.  Mostly because someone required half a dozen time outs**.

water fountain
Pictured: someone

One of my children is from the school of thought that any attention is better than no attention.  If I'm working, she's constantly bothering her brother.  He in turn is constantly complaining to me.  The only way to end the cycle is to get out of the house, which was the ultimate plan anyway but I've accomplished nothing other than angina.  Normally I'd work in the wee small hours but I've had to do incredibly sexy things like tax credit renewals / income tax submissions / VAT returns at night as they're impossible to complete with constant interruptions.  And also without constant interruptions.

summer forest dress 3
Dancing to the beat of her own drum. A vengeful drum.

So fellow work-at-homers, how do you manage it? Any tips to share? Commiserations? Also- twelve sleeps til school!

*Although my shop is technically closed to clothing orders I am accepting orders via email.  Makes me happier when I can confirm that an extra day or two longer than normal is okay with the customer.

** Time outs are only administered for extreeeeeemely bad behaviour.  And don't make an iota of difference.

Wednesday 1 August 2012



robot shirt 7

Look who's back in my wares and on the blog: everyone's favourite hair model.

robot shirt 4

He can do 'cheeky'.

robot shirt 3

He can do 'smoldering'.

robot shirt 1

He can do 'completely disinterested in getting his picture taken'.

Small confession:  Despite the fact the robot fabric is comprised of so many colours, I haven't been able to find a coordinating trim that I was 100% happy with. Until now... I love the yellow!