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Tabatha’s April Challenge 2014 – Days 1-10

April 9, 2014

Bonjour, how’s it going?  I’m here to report what I’ve been up to on the first ten days of this year’s April Challenge.  To recap, my April Challenge is trying to sew for two hours each day during the month of April.  Without further ado…

Tuesday 1st April

I got two hours of sewing time during the childrens’ nap times today. The first hour was spent finishing off a secret project which will be a gift for someone, so unfortunately I cannot reveal any details!

The second hour was spent preparing for my next project – a sewing machine dust cover.  I took the measurements I needed, cut the fabric, cut the fleece underlining and joined the two together around the edges.

Preparing the fabric and red fleece lining

Preparing the fabric and red fleece lining

Wednesday 2nd April

Today I sewed during naptime again.  It took me 1hr 15mins to finish off my sewing machine dust cover.  I love it!  The fabric was the last metre on the roll at Sewing for Pleasure from the Abakhan stall, and I loved it so much that I had to have it even though I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  It’s very Cath Kidston, isn’t it?  But according to the selvedge it is made by Hill Berg fabrics.

It looks just right next to my Cath Kidston sewing box

It looks just right next to my Cath Kidston sewing box

Whilst I was flicking through ‘Half Yard Heaven’ by Debbie Shore I saw this project idea and thought it would be the perfect way to continually admire this beautiful print!  I used up some buttons which I bought a long time ago that turned out to be beads, but as they are merely for decoration here, it doesn’t matter.

Buttons or beads...who cares?!

Buttons or beads…who cares?!

My remaining 45 minutes of sewing today was spent beginning an alteration of a blouse for my mother-in-law.  She wanted an extra buttonhole making on the button placket, and the front needed taking in at the side seams.

Thursday 3rd April

I only got one hour of sewing done today during naptime, which was enough to finish the blouse for my mother-in-law.  After that I had zero sewing mojo so I didn’t sew any more.  Oops, failed already!

Alteration: complete!

Alteration: complete!

Friday 4th April

Today both children were at nursery all day, so I sewed for six hours.  This was partly desire and partly a need to get ahead for the weekend.  I started a new project – the Simplicity 1800 Amazing Fit dress.  I must have really been on a go-slow though, because it took me three hours to trace the pattern pieces to pattern tissue and to cut the fabric! I spent another three hours actually sewing the dress, but didn’t get as far with it as I’d have liked.  I’m making view A:

Simplicity 1800

Simplicity 1800

Saturday 5th April – Sunday 6th April

No sewing today as the husband and I spent the weekend in London, leaving the in-laws to look after the children.  We met up with lots of friends – there were fourteen of us in total!  Julia met us early on and the two of us snuck off for a spot of fabric shopping at Walthamstow market after hearing good things from the likes of Karen and Vicki Kate.  It didn’t disappoint – we both came away with several dress lengths and a multitude of zips, thread and ribbon!  By the time we had found the fabled ‘man outside Sainsbury’s’ and handed over not-very-much-money-for-rather-a-lot-of-fabric, we collapsed in a café that was about 2 metres away and made a plan to return to ‘Zip Man’ for even more zips before heading off for afternoon tea.  In total, I came away with 10 zips for the princely sum of £3.70!

Our afternoon tea was at Hotel Indigo in Earls’ Court, in their bar called Mansion Bar and Parlour, and it was totally lush.  The waitress very kindly took a photo of us:

Afternoon tea. With cocktails too!

Afternoon tea. With cocktails too!

After our afternoon tea we headed over to Holborn to meet the others and a good night was had by all.  The next morning after breakfast with our friends we just had time to squeeze in a trip to the Tate Modern and then go for a Champagne Brunch date, just the two of us!  A rarity indeed these days, to be child free and together and out of the home!  We went to a place called Karpo on Euston Road, just opposite Kings Cross station.  It was really lovely, I would highly recommend it!

Champagne brunch at Karpo. Eggs Florentine Benedict for me, banana and salted caramel buttermilk pancakes for him.

Champagne brunch at Karpo. Eggs Florentine Benedict for me, banana and salted caramel buttermilk pancakes for him.

Monday 7th April

Back to normality today!  Little Tweedie went with her grandma to stay with her for the week as it is now the Easter holidays, leaving me with Baba Tweedie for the week.  I spent two hours of his naptime sewing, and a further hour after he was in bed.  I seemed to spend a lot of this time unpicking – this dress seems to be doomed!  But I did get the sleeves assembled and the lining done, so I’m getting there.

Tuesday 8th April

I spent 1hr 45 mins sewing during Baba Tweedie’s naptime today, during which time I was able to finish the sleeves.  I don’t know why it took so long, but there you go.  There is a cuff thing and the sleeves are two piece so I guess it isn’t exactly your average sleeve but I’m still being frustratingly slow with it.  Still, it’s looking good and shaping up to be a pretty dress, if I can ever finish it!

My friend Amy came over in the evening to watch the final of The Great British Sewing Bee, which was fun.  I made us Mai Tai cocktails, totally not knowing that the first task of the final was to make a tie!

Mai Tais

Mai Tais

Here’s the recipe, if you’re interested:

Ingredients for 1 glass:

  • 3-4 ice cubes, crushed
  • 3/4 measure amber Jamaican rum
  • 1/2 measure white rum
  • 1/3 measure fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 measure orgeat syrup
  • 1 tsp orange curacao
  • 1/8 unwaxed lime
  • 1 small sprig fresh mint


Place the crushed ice, both kinds of rum, the lime juice, orgeat syrup and curacao in the lower part of the shaker.  Fit the upper part of the shaker and shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds.  Pour the shaker contents into a rocks glass.  Make a slit in the lime segment and fix it to the rim of the glass.  Add the mint sprig and serve immediately.

After the Bee I sewed for another half hour, attaching the neck facings to the dress.  (This is dress is lined and it has facings too due to the sleeve construction).

Wednesday 9th April

Today I experimented by putting Baba Tweedie in his playpen in the sewing room whilst I sewed, and I got an hour of sewing done like that.  Even better, that was all the time I needed to insert the concealed zip, try the dress on and adjust the length, press the pleats properly and hem it.  Finished at last!  The lighting is not great in these photos but it was the best I could do for now.

Simplicity 1800

Simplicity 1800

The fabric was from my pattern cutting tutor Debbie who also runs a vintage clothes shop.  It’s a 70s special and I’m pretty sure it’s 100% polyester.  It’s the strangest fabric I’ve ever worked with – it drapes, but it is kind of springy/boingy/bouncy…for want of better terms!  It’s kind of heavy and slides around.  Luckily it at least responds to pressing and withstands heat very well, so I was able to get it under control.  It feels cold when it first touches the skin, which is why I wanted to line it.  I lined with plain black polycotton.

Simplicity 1800 - closer view

Simplicity 1800 – closer view

I’m so pleased with the dress – it’s really beautiful and the fit is great.  I cut a size smaller than I have been doing recently but stuck with the D Cup and I couldn’t be happier with the fit.  Unfortunately Delilah isn’t the ideal model for it but I won’t be able to get a proper photo of me wearing the dress until the end of the week.

Simplicity 1800 - back view

Simplicity 1800 – back view

During Baba Tweedie’s naptime I started, and finished, my next project, which took 1hr 30 mins.  However, it is another gift and I won’t be able to show you until the gift has been given! 🙂

That’s it for now – ten days of sewing!  Here’s to the next ten!

  1. April 11, 2014 12:23 am

    I love the print on that fabric, it’s very ladylike 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      April 11, 2014 8:11 am

      Thank you! I may wear it to your birthday lunch! x

  2. anne carter permalink
    April 11, 2014 5:20 am

    It sounds like a fun, busy & productive week. Good to see “Julia” too.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      April 11, 2014 8:12 am

      Hahaha, yes!

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