Adapted A-line skirt from Cal Patch’s Design-It-Yourself

Adapted A line skirt from Cal Patch's Design-It-Yourself Clothes

I’ve had (and drooled over) Cal Patch’s Design-It-Yourself Clothes book forever and have always pretty much wanted to work my way through the book and make everything (well, maybe not the frilled skirt) but I never had the time / space / confidence. But with my all new improved sewing space, I could do something about that now and well, I needed a smart skirt for an appointment today.

The first pattern in the book is for an A-line skirt and well, I wanted a pencil skirt, I also wanted to use some wool material that I’ve had laying around forever, so I wanted to line it to, so I adapted the instructions a bit. The result um, well, it’s wearable, I went for my appointment today and the lining didn’t rip incredible hulk stylee and my skirt didn’t fall down around my ankles when I got up (it did sag worryingly at the back, as I did get up, I hope (pleeease) that my cardigan hid my knickers!). Several things went wrong with this skirt; I think my body measurements are out and I probably made a mistake cutting the lining (that darn slippery stuff) or maybe sewing it. I think I was probably being a bit too ambitious attempting to draft a pencil skirt from instructions for an A-line skirt, as with a pencil skirt, you really need to get those curves right, an A-line skirt is much more forgiving. I didn’t make a muslin (I know, me bad) but I wasn’t feeling too precious about this material (although it is nice). I made the lining first, tried it on for fit and it was “Oh oh, this is a bit tight” but I thought, it just about fits, I’ll carry on. I made the actual skirt next, cut from the same pattern pieces as I had just cut the lining out from and …… the skirt is way too big. I have no idea what happened, although I should say that the wool material has way more give than the lining. But I bodged it together and like I say, it’s wearable, although I really do think I should maybe make some belt loops, so that there’s less chance of falling down, also, my drafted curves on my hips, not good.


The WIP report – October 2016

WIP October 2016

October has been very busy, crafty month but I actually don’t have that many WIPs to report. I’ve finished quite a lot of stuff but that was all started this month too. I haven’t had much chance to work on my long running WIPs. I have been working on a secret project which is hopefully now only days away from me actually being able to talk about it. Meanwhile, because I have an appointment this week that requires me not to turn up in my normal post tummy op gear of leggings and a tunic (I am desperate to get back into jeans), I’ve been making myself a smart skirt. The photo above is from where I was when I finished working on it yesterday.

Two dresses for a wedding

Date Night Dress

Since setting up my sewing table and having a warm up with a cushion cover and some pattern weights, I’ve been sew, sew, sewing two dresses for a wedding. I started with the easiest of the two dresses (still warming up), the Date Night Dress by April Rhodes, which was for me and um, I don’t really like it. The dress itself came together fairly well and was quite easy to make, although I had an issue with running out of fabric before I could cut both sleeves (even though I had the amount recommended) and so had to quickly order a bolt end (the only fabric left for that pattern, which, I know you can’t tell from that photo, is grey dotted scallops). The sleeves were meant to be cut against the grain but the bolt end wasn’t big enough for that, plus it’s a very directional print with the scallops, so having the scallops run the other direction on the sleeves (compared to the dress) would have possibly looked a bit odd but then again, I think they would have frilled a bit better if I had cut them the right away.  But, anyway, I had the horrible sinking feeling, when I first put this dress on, you know, when you’ve spent time, money and effort on something and you don’t actually like the result. I really don’t know what possessed me, well I know in part what possessed me, I really wanted to wear black, dark colours suit me far better than pale colours but I wasn’t sure of the whole etiquette of whether you can or can not wear black to a wedding, I even Googled it, with some sites saying yes and some saying no and I thought I’d better play it safe, as my family can be quite traditional, As it happened quite a few women wore black to the wedding and no one batted an eyelid. Anyway, as I had ruled out black, I thought I’d go for grey instead but somehow, on me, the grey looks a lot lot paler than it did on the uncut fabric! And also, omg, those frilled sleeves, what possessed me? I look like someone’s forced Brienne of Tarth out of her armour and into a ‘nice’ dress. Also, the dress has very big arm holes, billed as giving the opportunity of giving a nice flash of a lacy bra or the slip (which also comes with the pattern but I didn’t have time to make). The arm holes are way more revealing than that and I think if you’re even bigger in the chest department than I am, probably even more so. And finally, I didn’t realise when planning what to wear for the wedding, that I’d have had more surgery a week before and well, put it this way, some of my bandages are showing through that dress most awkwardly.

Clara Dress

The second dress was for Girl Lacer. I said I would make her a dress, directed her to my favourite online dress pattern shop and let her pick one. Showing such faith in my ability, she made sure to just look at the beginner patterns lol and this one, the Clara dress from Sew Liberated, was billed on the pattern shop site as advanced beginner, *cough, cough, splutter*. I would bill myself as intermediate but this dress was hard. The Date Night Dress used one technique I hadn’t used before, french seams and I lurve french seams now. The Clara dress, well, I suppose it didn’t really feature anything I hadn’t done before but there were so many bits to the dress (and that binding on the sleeves was fiddly), that I found it quite hard going. And I say there were no new techniques for me in this dress, it has button holes and I have made buttonholes before but manually, on a previous sewing machine, with my current machine, I’ve never been able to work out how to do automatic buttonholes, well I had to work out quickly (and late the night before) for this dress. I did manage to figure it out and have quite a few practices on scrap fabric but I still managed to cock the buttonholes up a bit on the dress and it was the last step too, *sob*. Still, it was wearable, I thought Girl Lacer looked lovely in it and that fabric (which I also let her choose), is absolutely gorgeous, so soft, I want to make something for me with it now.

Craft table and new pattern weights

New craft table

I mentioned a week or so ago that I had a new craft table and it has been fantastic. Previously I had been sewing on our fold down dining table, which I could only ever put half up and even that wasn’t brilliant, as it’s oval shaped and that’s not great when you’re trying to cut fabric. So when we had to store away our dining table, I was suddenly without any sewing space whatsoever, so I bought a table from Folding Tables UK (not a sponsored post) and it’s been brilliant. It’s actually big enough to sew on and have an ironing blanket on (I sew in my living room and there wouldn’t be enough space to put up the ironing board too, when I used to sew on the dining table, I used to have to put the ironing board up in the hallway, blocking everyone’s route to the toilet) and it is so much easier to be able to sew and then press a seam straight away (and to be honest it makes me far less likely to take short cuts and not do it). As you can see from the photo above, it’s even big enough for my sewing machine, the ironing blanket and a bored 12 year old. It goes up and down really easily, is solid when up and fits neatly under our sofa. Since I’ve been using the table, it hasn’t just been used for sewing, it was put up for a family take out pizza gathering, it’s been used for board games, homework, drawing and Mr. Lacer uses it to maintain and upgrade his PC.

Anyway, with my new and improved craft ‘space’ (I will blog further, later on, when everything has finished being sorted, about what other things I’ve done in the flat to improve my storage and access to my craft stuff), I could finally sew! Every year, on my Flickr, I create albums to record what I’ve sewn and embroidered for each year and just generally my craft output has been rather pathetic this year (for finished stuff anyway) but it surprised me, that when I went to put photos of my recent finished sewn pieces on Flickr, that I hadn’t even created a Sewn 2016 album yet because until this month, I actually hadn’t sewn anything (excluding my diamond hex quilt, which is still a WIP). So it feels extra good that I’ve managed to do so now.

Warm up pillow

Because I hadn’t used my sewing machine for so long, the first thing I did was make a cushion cover, to warm up. In the grand bedroom switch, I had found an uncovered cushion pad and I didn’t want to throw it away but I also didn’t want it to continue sitting around unused. I’d also been sorting through my fabric and had even managed to throw some of it away (the shocker), as I’ve only got limited space and so any fabric I do store, it’s got to work for its space. The fabric above, Michael Miller’s Rocket Rascals, was one of the first fabrics I bought, years ago, when I started sewing. Like I think a lot of beginner sewers, I was heavily attracted to novelty fabrics and need I say, these days, I’m not, I much prefer muted, less in your face stuff, you can use it for a wider range of things for a start. So Rocket Rascals had been in the discard pile but argh, I’m sentimental too and I fished it out and used it (finally!). I have metres of the stuff, uncut, and even making a cushion cover, I’ve still got loads but I associate the print so much with learning to sew, I haven’t got the heart to get rid of it.

Pattern weights

After the cushion cover, the next step was pattern weights. I’ve been hankering after pattern weights for ages, after seeing them on The Great British Sewing Bee and I thought that they’d be a good excuse to reduce down my smaller pieces of fabric pile and to celebrate my new, efficient, pattern cutting.

Pattern weights

The pattern is from Tea and a Sewing Machine and was pretty easy to follow.
Pattern weights

Since making the pattern weights I’ve sewn myself a dress, which will be blogged about later (a new blog resolution is to be patient until I can take at least reasonably decent photos of something I’ve made, although that’s bad timing since it’s Autumn and the light is no longer good) and I have a lot more sewing planned.

The WIP report -September 2016

September 2016 WIP

Diamond Hex Quilt – getting even more tricky to remotely photograph well

Ugh, September was not a good craft month, I’m still having to sort out the consequences of our bedroom swap, so it feels like it’s been 24/7 housework all month and there’s still boxes in the living room (my sewing machine space), so a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to do, I couldn’t.

I’ve continued to work on my diamond hex quilt and I’ve been doing a bit more work on the Farrah Top and it now looks more like a potential item of clothing.

September 2016 WIP

And I’m still working on my secret project cross stitch.

September 2016 WIP

And I’ve been doing some art too, drawing every day in Jennifer Orkin Lewis’ Draw Every Day Draw Every Way book (which is a brilliant book). Here’s my latest completed spread.

September 2016 WIP

As for October, I have to get my sewing space back, as there is a lot of stuff I need to do and I’m up to here with bloody housework, my official 16 week post op recovery period doesn’t end until next Friday but with the amount of stuff I’ve been moving around, if my medical team had seen I’d have got a thorough telling off, I think they (and my sore stomach) would much more approve of some nice gentle sewing….



5 things I liked this week – 16.9.16


S's islamic geometry in progress

Girl Lacer’s work in progress

My finished islamic geometry piece

My finished piece

Girl Lacer and I went to an Islamic Geometry workshop on Saturday run by Samira Mian, I’ve been to one of her classes before but this was Girl Lacer’s first time. The workshop is principally for adults but a few kids go along, it can be quite challenging but Girl Lacer is a bit of a whizz at maths and it turned out that she absolutely loved it. She’s been doing more Islamic Geometry at home too and has been telling her maths teachers at school all about it.


V&A lion

Getting out to the V&A on Monday, I hadn’t planned on going but I was in the area and the two things I had thought about doing were closed, so I popped in and as usual had a great time.


Home Park

Home Park

River Thames in Kingston

River Thames in Kingston

Thanks to the recent lovely weather, I got lots of walks in this week, which was brilliant.


First completed spread in Jennifer Orkin Lewis' Draw Everyday Draw Everyway

Jennifer Orkin Lewis’ new book, Draw Every Day Draw Every Way is fantastic, it has a year’s worth of prompts to draw, each in 30 day sections of different techniques. So far I’ve been doing a drawing a day, the first section is ‘colourful markers and a black pen’ and has nature prompts and I’m loving it.

5. Sew Over It has a new ebook out, a five pattern capsule wardrobe for a city break and all the patterns are absolutely lovely, I can so see me making all of them, multiple times, that’s if I ever can ever finish sorting out our living room, which is the only space I can sew now and unfortunately right now I can’t sew because it’s still full of boxes. But I can drool over those patterns.

The WIP report – August 2016


It’s been a bit of a strange month, I’ve still been recovering from my surgery, which has limited me in some things, I also had a long weekend away (where I got more craft done, probably, than I had for the rest of the month) and we’ve been swapping bedrooms around, which means that most of my stuff has been in boxes this month (and still is).

I’ve made a bit of progress though with my diamond hex quilt, although I’ve realised with my ongoing bedroom cum ‘craft room’ organisation, that this project is literally taking up an entire shelf of some very limited craft storage. I’ve never really had a deadline for this project, happy to always have such a pleasant, calming craft to go to and I plan that the finished quilt will be BIG, so I knew it was going to take a while but still, craft storage is craft storage.


I’ve also made some way more interesting progress than just blue sea (which it has been for the last few months) on my Mario cross stitch.


But Mario has had to be on hold for a while, whilst I work on a currently secret special project (excuse the bad photo). I had hoped to have got this done by 1st September but nope, it will get done this month though (it has to be), so watch this space!


I did actually, sort of manage to finish something this month but with the move around, I couldn’t find my iron to iron off the Frix-iron pen, we’ve since found the iron, realised that we desperately needed to buy a new one, have bought a new one but just the thought of trying to manhandle the ironing board up in our messy flat at the moment is just too depressing, so it has yet to be ironed. (Also manhandling ironing boards is probably still really against doctors orders, it’d count as too heavy). I will iron it this month though and will blog about it properly then but until then, it’ll just be a glimpse. (The pattern is by LiliPopo.)

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I’ve also been doing this August’s #cbdrawaday, which was art journaling with  Dawn DeVries Sokol, I liked this one, as it encouraged you to go with your own ideas and to use lots of different media. I’m feeling a little disenfranchised though with #cbdrawaday as a whole, as part of the initial fun was seeing everyone else’s work on Instagram but the #cbdrawaday hashtag has totally been taken over now, particularly with spam for bloody vaping. I’m not saying I’m never going to do #cbdrawaday again but I think I will have to really like the look of the prompts.

In September I want to do so much craft! The kids will be back in school, I’ll be more on the mend and I might just have cleared some boxes, so a) I’d know where all my stuff is and b) possibly have some space! I did start this month (not mentioned above, as I only got as far as washing the fabric and sticking together the pdf pattern pieces), the skirt version of Sew Over It’s Rosie Dress, as Girl Lacer was going to a ’50s party (she’s been now, she ended up wearing a pair of ridiculously cute on her (but she wasn’t keen on) denim culottes I got in the M&S sale for £7 – which was considerably cheaper than the fabric I bought for the skirt, which was late being posted out to me, which delayed me even further) and I will make it this month, as Girl Lacer would still like a swirly skirt. I also want / need to do so much sewing to help with storage for mine and Mr. Lacer’s new bedroom, I need to make a bed pocket, as there’s no room for a bedside table on my side of the bed and I want to make some fabric boxes to store some of my fabric scraps. I also, finally, want to start updating my own wardrobe, I have so many plans!

I’ll also continue working on my daily drawing practice, without a #cbdrawaday this month (there actually isn’t one, they’re having a competition instead – which is open only to US residents – boo), I’m probably going to work my way through some more of Creativebug’s art classes, I quite like the look of this one.

I also would quite like to do some more knitting, although I’m currently being so slow with my current knitting project – a Wool and The Gang summer top (some rows were knitted in August) which at this rate will be ready by next summer, I am trying to control myself not to start any new projects.