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Dottie Angel wrap apron – Simplicity 8186

November 27, 2018

Earlier this year I began a new job as a family and outreach lay worker at my local church.  I had already been volunteering at the playgroup there for over a year, so when the job came up it seemed pretty logical for me to apply for it.  I couldn’t be luckier.  It’s part time, so I still have time for running the family home, sewing, and whatever else takes my fancy.  It’s flexible, so I don’t have to pay out for childcare, and I can still be there to take my kids to school, pick them up, and ferry them around to all their after-school activities. It’s fun: I get to do crafts with babies and toddlers at play group, organise fun activities for families who come to Messy Church, and organise holiday special events, for example so far this year we’ve put on a family fun day, a teddy bears’ picnic, a light party and hot cooked lunches during half term for those who usually get free school meals.  It’s good to be doing something in my local community that benefits families, and I get to be involved with the local schools too, but without being a teacher – which is what I did before but I found it super stressful!

When I began my new post, my line manager suggested I use my sewing skills to make myself a ‘tabard’ or some kind of jacket to wear at work.  My first idea was to make a traditional sort of tabard thing but pieced, with a heart in the middle and rainbow colours radiating out around it.  I still think that would be pretty cool, but novelty prints have always been a weakness of mine, and when I saw this hand-print Cotton Fabric from Minerva I thought that would be perfect for the job.  The hand-print seems to be a childhood rite of passage – surely every parent has at some point had a print of their child’s hand done.  It’s also very definitely evocative of ‘Messy Play’ – something that we try to incorporate into our plans as much as possible.

I decided to craft-it-up to the max for this project.  No boring tabard for me – instead I chose a really lovely Dottie Angel sewing pattern for a wrap apron – Simplicity 8186.  You can read more about what other fabrics and bits of haberdashery I used over on Minerva’s Blogger Network site here.
I added the ‘Messy Church’ logo that I found in the cupboard at work.  Someone must have cut it out from a sweatshirt, but after establishing that no-one really knew where it had come from or whose it was, I decided to applique it onto the pocket, along with a bee patch, which I made with two different bee fabrics I had, because the name of the play group is ‘Busy Bees’.
I love the finished apron!  It also looks good with my Tilly Coco top which I happened to be wearing when I was trying it on for photos.
Thank you Minerva for the fabrics and haberdashery. This apron is going to get a lot of use!

Vintage Simplicity Jiffy Pattern strikes again

November 5, 2018

Earlier this year, all the children at my kids’ school took part in a history project.  Each year group was assigned a decade to learn about.  My son’s year learnt about the 1990s, and my daughter’s year learnt about the 1960s.  As part of the project, they had a day where they dressed up in the style of the decade.  I bought a Nirvana tshirt for my son, but for my daughter I had the perfect dress pattern in my stash – a Jiffy pattern from 1963.  I had used the pattern before to make my daughter a pirate dress (also for a school dress-up day!).

I bought some brightly patterned floral fabric and got to work.  The pattern, which is Jiffy 5291, is ever so easy to make up, as there is just one front piece cut on the fold, two back pieces, facings for the neck and armhole, and a centre back zip.  Simples!

I tried to do a beehive in her hair, with moderate success.  Here she is!

Luxury Pyjama Set

October 1, 2018

For my August/September Minerva project, I chose to make some pyjamas using the Closet Case Files Carolyn Pyjama pattern.  Usually I don’t bother making pyjama tops as I just wear the pyjama bottoms with whatever vest top or tshirt I have lying around, but this time I wanted to make a properly traditional pair of pyjamas that would be respectable in other people’s company for when going away with friends.


The fabric first caught my attention when Samantha from Crafternoon Project made an absolutely gorgeous dress with it.  It’s a great fabric and I am very pleased with how it looks made into pyjamas.


You can read my full post about this project on Minerva’s blog here.  They provided me with the pattern, fabric, piping cord, thread and buttons.

Dungaree Shorts!

September 11, 2018

Whoop!  At the expense of looking part-Minion, I made myself a pair of denim dungaree shorts as my July project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network (but am only just getting around to blogging them!).  I made them just in time for my summer holidays, hurray!  The pattern I used is Burda 6599, and the pattern includes the option for dungaree trousers too, which would be great for autumn and winter.

You can read my thoughts on the dungarees and the materials I used on Minerva’s blogger network page here, where there are also some holiday photos 🙂

A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics by Wendy Ward – book review

July 10, 2018

Several months ago I was asked to be part of a promotional book tour for Wendy Ward’s new book ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’, in conjunction with Minerva Crafts.  I was sent the book free of charge, and allowed to choose the fabric for a sewing pattern from the book, in exchange for a review blog post on Minerva’s website.

The garment I chose to make was the ‘Peak tshirt’, extended into a knee-length dress, with an elasticated waist, very much like the one pictured on the front cover of the book.  I chose some stripy metallic jersey from Minerva.

You can read the full review, and see more pictures, over on Minerva’s blog here.

Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dress

July 3, 2018

I have made a fourth Cleo dungaree dress! My others are feeling a bit tight at the moment so I wanted a bigger version because I’m really missing being able to wear them. I had a remnant of dark green needlecord in my stash that I picked up for about £4 at a craft cafe in Hornsea last summer. I originally thought I’d make a Moss Skirt with it as it didn’t appear to be big enough for much else, but with a bit of fiddling I was able to squeeze out a Cleo. I had to use contrasting fabric for the facings, though. I also had some brown poly lining – no idea why or where it came from, but I used it to underline the front and back dress pieces. As a consequence, it is slinky on the inside and so doesn’t ride up on whatever I’m wearing underneath.

This time I chose to make the knee-length version of the dress with the split at the front. I like it but when I bend or crouch down the bit where the split stops is under quite a lot of strain. I did the securing stitches as directed by the pattern, but I do wonder if, over time, the stitching may give way. Time will tell!

I have worn the dress twice already, once with a t-shirt underneath and the next time with a shirt. With the shirt on, I know I look as if I’m size 1000, but I’m working on trying to accept my body, mainly because I love food too much to deprive myself at the moment, and I have a bad back so I don’t feel like running.

Although my red Cleo dress is still my favourite, I think this new one is my best in terms of quality of make – underlining it makes a big difference to how it ‘hangs’. I would definitely do this again on future dresses. I didn’t technically need the facings, but I liked to add then for increased stability, and also because they make the insides prettier!

Cleo pattern: I am not done with you yet. I definitely want to make a denim one at some point, and maybe another red one in the bigger size.

Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt

June 27, 2018

This month, I have another Tilly and the Buttons pattern to add to my list of completed projects: the Miette wrap skirt.  I’ve always liked the look of this pattern, despite not being a fan of wrap skirts/dresses (too liable to expose me) and not being a regular wearer of skirts (I usually opt for dresses instead).  With this skirt, it’s all about the pockets, the bow, and the 70s style, which makes it stand out as something that little bit different from your average skirt.

Photography by Dr Dawn Wilson

I was pretty clear on wanting to make the skirt in a denim, but when I found the Art Gallery Fabrics denim collection, I was drawn to the ‘Cherry Crimson’ red chambray.  It’s a lovely fabric, and I think it worked well for the style of the skirt.

Photography by Dr Dawn Wilson

You can read more about my making this over on Minerva’s website here, as it is my June project for their blogger network.  They provided the fabric and the thread, and I borrowed the pattern from my friend Nicola.

My only reservation about the skirt is that the pockets are still not quite deep enough!


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