Year, that is. Although I have the firm philosophy that there is something good to be found in every day, I have to admit there were times last year when the search was hard. So in many ways I am not sorry to see the back of 2015 [although I don’t like to wish life away there is so little of it].But there were good times too, we had a beautiful addition to the family aptly named Beau,

beaut beau (300x300)2  [Isn’t he gorgeous?]

and got to see everyone in the family at some time during the year [and as that is nearing 50 with marriage partners etc., that was no mean feat, but a wedding took care of most of it].

But as this is primarily a sewing and ‘doing’ blog I suppose a review of the highs and lows of me-mades during 2015 is in order. First the highs;

I am most pleased with the achievement of being able to put in 7 zips into a jacket, zipped pockets and sleeve vents no less, when I made the Motor City Express Jacket from Islander sewing patterns. The lows on this were that I wasn’t impressed with my fabric choice [dull grey corduroy] and that it was a size too big to begin with – the sizes are more than generous, and now it is quite loose. I am still pleased with the make however;


As I’ve said before, Janet Pray’s Craftsy videos are excellent, and this lining was sewn all one go and was turned rights sides through tiniest little gap – I wouldn’t have thought it possible until I did it.

Then there was the discovery of this little skirt pattern, which I have made several times since. It has turned out to be my turn-to pattern for a straight skirt with some detailing that I can highlight or not as I choose. I’ve made it up with contrast silk binding or just plain, I have made version with patterned pocket linings and edging. Unfortunately I only have one picture of a detail on a skirt made, but I am sure there will be plenty more to come.

.light relief 005 light relief 002

I suppose my Badgely Mishka dress should be one on my highs, although it isn’t a favourite to wear;IMG_20151211_122831_hdr

I have a lot of other things I would choose over this dress, but it went together well and was an easy make.  I have drafted my own patterns for jackets, skirts and tops, many of which I am very happy with and have yet to take photos of. One of my favourites is my cowl top pattern and a straight skirt pattern which I vary with different pocket placements.The only photo I have is this failure of a selfie in which you can see neither clearly!mkwf37GCOfiAXMstqQmaXA_t_asset The lows aren’t too many thank goodness, the main one is this, not because it turned out badly, it was retrieved quite successfully, but because of the many hours spent on something I wasn’t happy with anyway.

IMG_20151211_122019_hdr    brown jacket 004

Another one is this pattern. I didn’t even bother to take a picture of my version. It came out alright, but I am not a caped crusader by any stretch of the imagination it was too cumbersome for me to wear V8776and has since spent life folded up in the bottom of my wardrobe. There is a lot of fabric in it which might be turned to something more wearable in the future.

I ventured into other realms of making with my leather handbag and purse. Strictly speaking not too adventurous as they were in kit form, all cut out and with the holes ready-punched. They gave me a taster though and reminded me that I always intended to do more leatherwork. I made a couple of Messenger handbags in black and red and a yellow purse.

red Monetyellow purse

I have dyed, and knitted, painted on jugs and drawn on shoes; all fun and there will probably me more of the same to come.

DSC_0073 (2)!9 april 2015 019JUG


To end on an entirely other note, I think I will adopt the motto below for 2016;

H old  OP ain E nds

See you soon.  P.S. Sooner than I thought, one of the French sites I read had this on one of their T-shirts and I might just have this one  too,” je le ferai demain”, in English? “I’ll do it tomorrow”. The French site is Adeline et Cecile Creations Fascinates. Go see. The T-shirts can be found on a website called Shaman I believe.Adeleine





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Sorry about that, saying I had resurfaced and then disappearing again that is! Just when you thought it safe to pop your head up it gets swamped again, but that’s life.

I have been busy sewing, and knitting, but it is the photography that is getting me stumped at the moment. The light is dreadful, and getting togged up and changed for photos takes up extra time that I just don’t have at the moment. I have tried taking selfies, but they make me look like a Hall of Mirrors reflection, so not something I would want to publish on the net, it might frighten the children and horses.

So what do I have? I have trawled my photo albums to try and find something new and came up with these;

First up, I have been practising my Sashiko stitching. I bought a few old pairs of jeans from a Charity shop [£1 each] which I wanted to cut up into a patchwork, I also had some indigo cotton for a cushion cover. These are my first runs to decide which patterns to use.

IMG_20151019_122805_hdr (1)DSC_0111 (1)

Next up, remember this jacket that I took to pieces to re-fit? No? can’t say I blame you it was yonks ago now, but I finally finished and cut out new lining. Trouble is, I have lost more weight and it is still a bit loose, but I’m definitely not doing it again.


Then there was this.


A Badgley Mishka dress I make back at the beginning of the Summer for my grand-daughter’s wedding [it has taken me this long to photograph it!]. That is now a size too big, but I can always tighten the sash, so no refit thank goodness.

Then there was some knitting. This is the Aran snuggly Harvest Moon. It looks terrible on Bertha, but looks much better on and IMG_20151211_120704_hdris snuggly and surprisingly light.

Now just to prove I can’t take selfies, I was trying to get a picture of the cowl top I had drafted.  I am wearing a self-drafted red wool skirt. I went on to make a black jersey cowl top and a white jersey one too, but I gave up on the selfies.[sorry about  the cleavage].

second still

Now just because-  the garden looking very unseasonal for the end of  November and the obligatory cat!


That’s all folks! Hope to get my act together soon.



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I’m back from the dark recesses of sewing limbo at last. The past few months since my last post has been spent readjusting to ‘things’ life has popped up and we’re now managing not too badly thankyou! It did mean that for a short while the sewing mojo went out of the window, but just lately it has resurfaced – as have I.

This short post is just really to say that I am back; Yoshimi  []  put it really well in one of her recent posts. She more or less said that as she started the blog to log her sewing makes and feels comfortable popping in and out of the blogosphere as she feels, she doesn’t ‘explain’ her absences over much – just enough for public consumption. A good way to go on this I think other peoples’ problems can be a bit boring sometimes can’t they?

Anyway, ’nuff said. I have been sewing but I haven’t had the opportunity to put the clothes on and take any photo’s, so any pics. I do put up in the next few posts that I have in mind will be on the dress form I’m afraid.

Back soon. [d.v.]



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Remember this?


of course you do! Heck even I can remember it, it was only the last post and I was full of enthusiasm for the design that was in my head and the dyeing of the colours I had intended for the patterns. It was the sample swatch for a jumper I wanted to design and knit for myself.

.DSC_0073 (2)

I dyed 4ply natural white wool in a range of the rusts and oranges, also a lovely green and a fresh yellow were added to the range of rusty through peachy colours shown here, ~ and I started. I cast on for the jumper and I knitted the ribbing as per sample and the first peerie pattern and was half way through the green heart stretch [knitting in the round] when I noticed that the round I was working was out of kilter, the stitches didn’t sync with the round below. So off the needles it came. I only intended to pull it back to the beginning of the pattern to have a rethink and check but thought that while it was off I would try it on for size ~ and wow it was way too big. Now I had checked the tension, worked out the maths, just simple multiplication after all, so where did it go wrong? Don’t ask me! I’m still wondering. So the lot came out and  rolled back into balls to go back to the drawing board [or pad]. My faith in the tension square has been badly shaken, I need to recover.

Meanwhile, we hit a cold, wet spot here in Hampshire [and I reckon probably everywhere else in the UK] and I hauled out my snuggly handknits from a couple of winters ago, one of which was the Harvest Moon pattern from Heidi Kirrmaer [her picture shown below]. I have lived in it. I also added myself to the family list of casualties succumbing to a horrible fluey cold virus,  so the cosy wrap around texture of the soft Aran type wool I had used was like a warm comfy blanky. [you never grow out of the need for one of these!]. I just wish I had a bigger photo to share, but realise I had only taken a photo of it in progress for my Ravelry, but find the original pattern there and have a look.HARVEST MOONAnyhoo a long story short, I decided to use the Womens’ Institute Aran yarn I recently bought at Hobbycraft in Basingstoke in a lovely steely dark grey and knit another! What can’t be seen from the tiny photo above is the lovely I-cord detailing and pockets. You start with just twenty stitches to knit the garter yoke/collar incorporating a clever I-cord edging for the neck edge and a faux I-cord at the other edge making it easy to pick up the stitches to knit down for the sleeves and body. It is a dream to knit, ~ really and soooo cosy. I originally bought the yarn, which although 100% Acrylic [ugh] is a lovely smooth yarn and knits up squidgy soft but firm, for a cable  fest Aran style jacket, but hey since when did I keep to plan?

I am still intent on knitting the fairisle, I have new ideas for the design, perhaps a cardi with perhaps an I-cord cast on – still not decided but definitely in the near future it will be cast on again. You need something to get your teeth into while knitting stocking stitch largish cardigan.

We had a bit more sunshine today, but there is no doubt that Autumn is here and these pictures [taken before the rains came] confirm it


.DSC_0081IMG_20150910_110359_hdrDSC_0077DSC_0082 The girls are waiting for their morning scratch around the garden. This time of year they have free range to dig up all the bare patches. They are let out most days into the garden throughout the year, although they have quite a big run [this is the small inner one] they like a good scratch around. They are useful now as opposed to being a pain when young plants are first in, they dig up and clean up, making my life a bit easier.

I have been sewing, perhaps next time I’ll have photos to show. We’ll see.

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No excuses, I’ve been right here, but life got very busy there for a while – real life, not hobby-life, so sewing has taken a bit of a back seat lately. On the up side we have a new arrival in our family, another great-grandson happily healthy and beautiful, which makes up for the grunge we have had lately. In fact, since my last post the only things I have sewn are a toddler’s dress and a skirt which is still waiting for the hem and waistband to be finished.

Circumstances have, however, allowed me to knit a bit; new-baby coat, an Aran jacket for a three year old, a domino-knit blanket and a swatch for my next project. I have been taking photos on my ‘phone. It’s a new ‘phone so I don’t know whether there will be any improvement in quality. I didn’t get any pictures of the baby coat[s][x3], I was too anxious to get them to their destination, and I can’t find the photo I have of my great grandson wearing his Aran jacket, but only some of them prior to posting. Anyhoo, for what their worth – a medley.

IMAG5841How gorgeous is this? Not the dress of course!


     Aran tweed with tan fleck, and vintage leather ‘football’ buttons [sourced from e-bay].


Not a lot to say about this, knitted in grey aran weight wool in domino squares. I usually knit a chevron pattern when doing this particular pattern, but thought this way round would make a nice change.


This is a swatch that I knitted for a jumper project I have in mind. I dyed the wool the colours I wanted and chose the patterns from Alice Starmore’s lovely book on Fairisle, which I have had for yonks. The green wool is hand spun too, but the other wools are commercially spun undyed yarns [I got mine from] . I actually dyed these rust and orange colours from egg dye from the U.S., but I am waiting for  some Eurolana dyes to replicate them for the actual garment.


DSC_0073 (2) Here are the range of colours I got from one dye bath, initially ‘brick’ with a little orange. Successive dye lots got softer and more peachy. The ball on the bottom right, the darkest, is actually some hand spun sports weight wool that I had just plied and wanted to see how it took the colour, but I have some ‘fairisle’ weight in the same colour that I used in my swatch.

I hope to get back to my sewing soon. Trouble is, sewing is a somewhat solitary occupation not really practical at the moment whereas knitting can be done anywhere. Hope to be back soon.


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Ever since I finished this cardigan


and posted the details on Ravelry [I.D.Creatficrafts] I have felt like a fraud. Reason being it has bugged the life out of me because one side, the button side of the front ribbing, was too tight. This was due in part because not enough stiches were picked up along the edging. It annoyed me so much that I tended not to want to wear, even though I fudged it by crocheting a pseudo edging.  I knew that it wasn’t right but short of undoing the whole front band with its fiddly collar, which didn’t appeal, what was I to do? Well, in short, this:

IMG_20150809_122021_hdrLooks drastic doesn’t it? It felt it! But I had a cunning plan Baldric! I treated the cut off part as you would a steek. In the picture above you can see that I have started to sew in the loose threads to make a tidy edging. I did it with the bottom ribbing too. And then, with a just a little bit of ribbing;

IMG_20150809_122051_hdr IMG_20150809_122209_hdr

You get this;


All done!


Not perfect, I know, but I’ve scratched that itch.


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That is, do you do too much? I thought of this when hemming the legs of my DH’s trousers.  I had remembered some advice given by a couture tailor about not trying to ‘nail down’ your hems and seams. He said that very often the hems on couture garments are often just caught by two or three threads in the garment itself and that is sufficient. With this in mind I made sure that only the tiniest marks were made on the outside of the trouser legs but that the hems were nice and secure. After all the expert himself assured us that our garments would not fall apart!

I have often been guilty of ‘over-sewing’. Of wanting to put too much into a garment. This is probably quite a natural reaction to having taken a lot of care and effort with whatever it is you’re making and wanting to make it ‘wear-proof’. I have, on occasions,  used inappropriate finishes in an effort to do a ‘good finish’, e.g. adding seam tape and bias binding to seams that didn’t really need it and that ultimately spoilt the hang of the garment – and yes, ‘nailing down hems’ too.

Let’s make it quite clear though, I am not advocating shoddy or quick finishes. It is important to be proud of your work and to finish anything you make to the best of your abilities. The couturier was merely reminding us to direct our energies to what really matters and to finish delicately. The inside of a garment should be as beautiful as the outside, if not more so. Despite the fact that few will ever see it, you will know and make wearing the clothes far more pleasurable.

It is odd how various snippets of sewing gems come to mind whilst doing the most mundane of sewing jobs, but it confirms what we all know, that the wealth of sewing knowledge out there is invaluable. Tips we think we may never need can often be used in unexpected ways. We can never know enough and would we want to anyway? That would mean the end of a very enjoyable journey in increasing our knowledge and skills. Don’t you agree?

Posted in dressmaking, FIBRE CRAFTS, handmade, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Sewing | 4 Comments