Monthly Archives: December 2014

Christmas Carrot

IMG_0707aI hope you were wearing your sun glasses this time. Don’t say, I haven’t warned you! In case if you were wondering what this picture of a living warning sign was all about, this is clearly a very gifted actor interpreting a Christmas carrot on drugs wearing a carrot costume made by her equally gifted designer mother.

When they had asked me if I couldn’t whip up two carrot costumes, I was briefly looking for my magic wand  but went then straight to the fabric shop to get some kind of orange material. It might have been the influence of the magic wand, it might have been the very soft light in the shop but I only realised at home that the orange was slightly on the neon side and was a bit worried. But when I saw the wigs that the teacher had organised, I knew that my intuition had just chosen the perfect match.

IMG_0720aAnyway, back to sewing, I haven’t actually great pictures as I did not realise that I should take them before handing over the costume to the teacher (and on performance day it has all been a bit much for my poor camera), so let me just explain briefly how I msde it, maybe I will be able to make a kind of tutorial out of it at some point in the future.

To make sure that the carrot has a triangular shape, I put rather thick interfacing in the hole neck area and folded it down. From the top of the armholes I went even out a few cm to get a lovely carrot shape. I finished the armholes with bias binding, the hem is neatened with a contrasting green overlocker rolled hem. As the whole neck area is actually open, I put in two shoulder straps which can be opened and (in theory) adjusted on the front as there is a button on the main fabric and a button hole on the strap. So it was fairly easy to make, but in the area between armholes and actual neck is not great. I guess, it would have been better to go in at first to have some real shoulders and then go out again for the triangular neck line. I guess, I would do that if I ever had to make another carrot costume. But for now, lets enjoy those two lovely carrots! Merry (belated) Christmas to you all 🙂


Scrap Sunday: Leaving Presents

I know, I know I promised to show you something you will need sunglasses for but as it is already Sunday I will have to talk about the latest scrap project first, the potential eye hurting post will have to wait.

My daughter had her last day in nursery on Friday, she will start big school in January so the pressure was quite high to produce some good gifts as unfortunately she has really a few great teachers and assistants in that stupid nursery!

She has a reputation of a …. ahem…. very creative style and some of the cloths I had made for her had been complimented a lot and are definitely recognisable so I really wanted to use some of these fabrics for the gifts.  The plan was to make make up bags for the 4 main persons in her nursery life and necklaces to hold the keys/badges or whatever they keep carrying around their necks for all the others. I was a little unsure if I should just use the same fabric for everyone (cute little strawberries on yellowish background – she had a dress and a skirt made out of it) or different ones and I actually got the answer just on Thursday (I always knew my last minute approach to get things done will eventually pay off) when one of the teachers mentioned that she really loved one of her dresses and she that she wished she could wear it herself. On my way home I decided to make different ones… if I could find that particular fabric the teacher had been talking about. I knew there was only a tiny amount left and that I had not thrown it away because it was really pretty. At first I did not find it, only when I eventually gave up and looked for something else instead (classic, I know). I decided to actually put a mini pocket on the bag rather than making all those boxed pleats the other bags will feature, as this particular detail had been pointed out by the teacher.

I think the idea is brilliant, the execution wasn’t really (good enough for the occasion, the amount of fabric left and the pressure I was under). I have lined all bags with cotton plus interface which makes the inner rather stiff and in the case of the jersey fabric outside, this was just not great as the jersey is almost glued to the inner. It is looks like a jersey dress that shows of all your rather not so great bumps and rolls 🙂 I should have cut out the exterior bigger or keep a softer inner. Anyway, it looks funny and it will definitely always remind her of the little person wearing the same kind of dress.

For the other bags I used the pattydoo pattern that I have previously used to use up some of my own skirts left over (I am just realising, that idea isn’t exactly new).

I have to apologise for the quality of the pictures, we were quite in a rush. I had to finish the last bag Friday morning and then the whole family, visiting mother in law included, had to help me getting everything together. Present wrapping, card writing, picture taking in the darkness of London 8.30am…. But we made it.

Strawberry skirt:

Corduroy dungarees:

Rainbow skirt:

For everybody else, I made the key holder necklace out of the strawberry fabric – I can proudly say that this is a great scrap fabric use up as I am sure you will always know lots of people who have to wear these kind of things. So it is a quick little fun present and not at all over the top. Unfortunately, I have no picture of the strawberry version (rush, remember), so I took one of the trial version out of a different material.


I made a trial first to see if I can cut the material straight or if I have to cut it on the bias. To be honest it would probably lie around the neck better if cut on the bias but the straight version seemed good enough for me. Especially, if you overlap the ends before bringing them both through the ring bit and stitching them together.


And in case if you were wondering where I got the clasps from – ebay is full of them.

So to sum it up, both bags and key holder thingy are excellent scrap use up projects and with the choice of fabrics you can actually create some fairly simple  and yet very personal gifts who will be very appreciated… although probably not as much as  cards written by a 5 year old (for the “lanch pipl”) 🙂 – you can’t compete with that.







Scrap Sunday: Phew, done (well, not really)

IMG_3014The scrap skirt is officially done -well, apart from the hook, can’t find them, might have to buy new ones. I might have donated them to a sewing class, thinking that I will never ever sew a skirt.

I have only ever been working on it on Fridays, so it took for ages.

I think we can file this one under “a few lessons learnt”. It is not bad but also really not what I had in mind, so lets recapitulate:

I had this burgundy, very fine corduroy, a huge piece of scrap from a previous project. I wanted to make a skirt with 8 panels, each cut on the bias to show off the lines of the corduroy when they meet on each of the eight seams. Great idea I think, well not idea, great remembering from skirts that I have owned many kilos ago.

I did not have quite enough fabric to do that and it had been pointed out to me that since the corduroy was so fine, no one could actually see the lines. So I cut it straight. Big mistake as now I have an awkward seam in the middle of the front for no reason which actually blocks the fabric from falling nicely. Once I realised I had to cut it straight, I should have gone for 6 panels to avoid that seam.

I wanted too many things at the same time, nice A-line skirt with godets, cheekily showing of some kind of patterned fabric. Oh, and the whole skirt rather short.

The proportions of the whole thing are wrong, the corduroy can’t even hold the A-line shape as it’s seams are broken by the godets.

And the godets? Don’t get me even started. Too small, or rather too short. And maybe too many.


On the other hand, I still love the colours and their combination. I also love the unplanned overlocked hem. Remember I only wanted to neaten the edge and then turn once, to keep the godets as long as possible and it actually looked rather nice. I did consider to do that again in blue but actually my blue thread was not quite the same tone so I kept the white edge.

And the blue lining is really cool, I think. Remember, you can’t see it but I know it is there 🙂


Will I ever wear it? No, most likely not. I guess, this would have been a good calico project, I know now how not to do it and what I could have done better (I am now even thinking of a simple  A-line, with one big pleat in the front, more or less from the top, and that is where the patterned fabric is hiding – but that might also be a bit too extreme – I will definitely not try that one with nice fabric, but 6 panels with longer godets would definitely look good), so I do not regret the project as such but it is a real shame that I have wasted that cute patterned fabric as I only had one fat quarter bought on my weekend away in Oxford a couple of weeks ago. Clearly, I should have found a better use for it.

Anyway, with or without hook, I consider this project done and can move straight to the next one. Which has it’s deadline next Friday but I should really have it finished by Monday. Which happens to be tomorrow. I don’t want to reveal too much yet but you might consider wearing sunglasses next time you are looking for new posts on here 🙂



Scrap Sunday: A bit of a happy (almost) end

Still working on the skirt, what an endless story! But – and you might not believe it after my many complaints – but this week I had an actually rather positive experience, or lets call it surprise, with my skirt.

As you might remember, one of the problems of this skirt is that the godets are not actually long enough  (in my opinion), so I really did not want to take away too much at the hem. The plan was to neaten the edge with the overlocker and then just do one turn of not even a cm and stitch it. I was also considering to put a small blue ribbon along that hem but I would definitely try that first on a sample, just to see if it will go around the corners between main fabric and the much thinner godets.

Anyway, I decided to use white thread for the overlocker to make sure that there is no darker colour showing on the back of the godets and after what felt like two hours of thread changing, I just quickly neatened that edge in what felt 2 seconds. And it actually looked rather lovely, just the nice contrast I had planned to add with a thin ribbon. That was really a very positive surprise, I did not expect it to look like that … that seems to happen on a regular basis to me, I do not seem to be very good in visualising things, do I 🙂

I was wondering if I should do it again in blue as this was the contrast colour I had been after initially but after consulting my taste expert in the sewing club, I had to agree with her that the thin thread would probably not be strong enough to get me the desired effect. I would have to try it out, meaning another thread change just for a little sample (and then maybe another one back to white).  So I decided to stick with white.  I just wanted to emphasize it a little bit more. So I tried to just overlock over the same seam and to zig zag over the overlocked seam. I tried that on a sample obviously, not on the skirt don’t worry.

That looked both rather horrible so I decided to do another seam with a smaller stitch length and cutting off the old one (even if that meant I will be loosing 7mm of the lovely godet fabric.) That looks really great, except for about 5 cm at the back where the seam almost falls apart as one of the threads had jumped out of its little hooks that creates the tension.


So I will have to fix this first before I can wear it, and I simply didn’t have enough time yesterday to finish it as we held the annual ginger bread baking event, where a bunch of children will eagerly roll and cut out dough for about 15 minutes before then equally eagerly leave little dough crumbs in the whole house (a little bit like a posh version of Hansel and Gretel really) while the mulled wine drinking mums have to finish the actual baking. And just between us, they are getting lazy (compared to the previous years), at some point I had to actually tell them to go back to work!!! They were just chatting, completely ignoring the huge ball of gingerbread dough in the middle of the table!!! I told them nicely to please continue as otherwise they would have to take the dough home to finish it there as I would not be prepared to keep it! (That threat worked a treat, 10 min later, everything was done 🙂 )

The house is fairly clean again and I just love the smell of gingerbread, still hanging in the corners (probably a few missed crumbs thanks to my hoovering style will extend this lovely post baking phase).

Today, the advent excitement continues as we will be going to the theatre to see Room On The Broom, I will be back to crafting on Monday, I still want to make the knitted Christmas trees.

What about your weekend? Are you busy with crafting? Or preparing for Christmas? Or avoiding Christmassy stuff? In any case, I hope you are having a lovely one.