Solsetur Elisalex

When I saw the Elisalex dress pattern in Ray-Stitch, I knew I would one day have to make it. And when I managed to buy the very last 3 metres of Liberty’s red Solsetur fabric in tana lawn from Shaukat, my sewing fate was sealed.

Solsetur Elisalex frontSolsetur Elisalex back

I made this dress thinking of being able to wear it to work. It had its first outing at the Southbank Centre last night to see Isabella Rossellini’s hilarious and educational Green Porno lecture (I have got to make a hamster onesie like hers), but also duly travelled into work with me this morning and seemed to get on quite well there.

The pattern was fairly easy to put together, although the instructions were unclear and it was just as well I didn’t use them. Additionally, although it’s a relief to find a pattern with normal high-street sizing, the pattern pieces didn’t give a good indication of things like skirt and sleeve length. The ‘shorten here’ on the sleeve resulted in something about elbow-length, and decidedly unattractive. And having read warnings online about the skirt length (no ‘shorten here’ was indicated), I took a good 8 inches off before cutting out my pieces, but then had to further take off about 5 inches. I think it’s still a bit long… Anyway – cumulatively quite a bit of beautiful fabric was wasted.

Solsetur cutting

I added pockets to the dress, and made the zip a normal length – in the pattern the whole dress opens up like a straightjacket. Lots of hand sewing of the linings around the zipper due to the general rubbishness of my zipper foot.

Solsetur Elisalex pocket

Solsetur Elisalex zipper Solsetur Elisalex lining

If I make this dress again, I definitely will alter the skirt shape. It’s like a hot air balloon, and was worse when it was longer. The stripe of the fabric only emphasises its weirdness, especially at the side seams.

The box pleats at the front don’t match up with the princess seams – they did initially, but I took it all apart and resewed it to get the fabric print to match, which was more noticeable than the pleats. And match it does! I’m rather pleased with my fussy cutting to get the skirt and bodice pattern to align 🙂

Solsetur Elisalex detailSolsetur Elisalex detail


Tassel-tastic penance

I said a mean thing to someone (on their birthday! I am really that horrible!) so I made up for it (at least in part, I hope) with a lovely warm scarf. I wanted to keep it for myself, but that would have been extra mean. So I just settled for wearing it for a few raining miserable days instead, before I handed it over.

noro stripe scarf

I added tassels during a long train ride, which was fun. When I got off the train, I left a nest of thread and yarn clippings in my wake. I also unpicked the stitching on a skirt, so it was quite pile of debris.

noro stripe scarf tassels

The yarn is Noro Kureyon (2 balls) and Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran (2 balls, plus another  for the tassels). I referred to Jared Flood’s inspiring post on his Noro stripe scarf, which is far better than mine but LACKS TASSELS.

All in all, it was an excellent way of using up some leftover yarn whilst spreading warmth and hopefully goodwill in icky winter weather.

noro stripe scarf noro stripe scarf noro stripe scarf

Top of the Fox

A few months ago I discovered Deer & Doe patterns, from France. They are absolutely beautiful, and I promptly bought three without a clue as to what I wanted to do with them, aside from a bit of French revision.

Simultaneously, I was having one of my periodic moments of extreme covetousness for fabrics, and bought some fabulous foxy quilting cotton by Sarah Watts from Miss Ginger’s.

And so, last weekend, the Datura fox blouse finally started to take shape.Greymalkin on Datura pattern

There was a wee setback in the form of Greymalkin, because of which I was forced to postpone operations for some time. However, we got there in the end.

The Greymalkin interlude actually proved helpful, as it gave me time to think harder about how I wanted to use the patterned fabric in the design – these mockups were done while Gremmie was sprawled on the datura blouse copy

In the end I went for a plain collar, but added yellow piping (made from bias binding tape and cord, both from MacCulloch and Wallis).Datura blouse frontDatura blouse backDatura blouse button detailDatura blouse buttonhole detail

The Grand Reveal: Christmas 2013

This year I only bought one Christmas present – and it was a bit of an afterthought anyway. The one bought present was a pack of 6 Le Corbusier notecards, for my dad to send me letters with, purchased from an awesome little shop in Abergavenny called FortySix. Incidentally, they also had a big book of treehouses from Phaidon, but I resisted the temptation and turned my energies towards my own gingerbread treehouse instead.

Here’s what I made for people:

  • A dress
  • Several ties
  • Two bobble hats (the pompom was added later to one…)
  • Change purses
  • A reversible bow-tie
  • A pair of socks
  • A shawl/collar thing
  • A skirt
  • A long scarf
  • Coffee cup sleeves

And here are some photos of the above:

I’m looking forward to being able to make some stuff for myself, finally! And get a move on turning some of the stacks of Liberty fabric I’ve accumulated this year into clothes, especially now that the Spring/Summer 2014 collection of prints has now launched. Luckily, I don’t truly covet any of the ones I’ve seen – so far!

Gingerbread treehouse: part 2 – in which, liquorice

Now that I’ve sufficiently calmed down (actually, I’m still way too over-excited, but no matter) about my lovely little gingerbread treehouse, I can introduce it properly to you – liquorice ladders and all.


The ladders are made from liquorice glued together with icing. They’re a bit bendy, but I hope that the air will harden them eventually (but not too much – I want them to be edible after Christmas!).

IMG_8843 IMG_8836IMG_8848 IMG_8834 IMG_8833 IMG_8832

Stained glass windows are a bit of a family gingerbread tradition. The treehouse has them on every side except the floor. I’m especially pleased with how well some of the larger windows turned out. Next year I might try for something a bit more modern, with big glazed sections. Or maybe just another treehouse!


Minus 16

I think my dad could do with a hat for Christmas. My aunt emailed last night to tell me it was -16C in Toronto the other day, so I’ll be sure to bring lots of jumpers when I fly over next week. And this hat for my dad.


On the weekend I was in Abergavenny, and bought two balls of Adriafil Stella Jacq yarn at the fabulous Wool Croft. Last night I started knitting one of them into a hat.


The pattern is just k2, p2 ribbing, knitted in the round (80 sts to a round). After about 8 inches I started to decrease; when I was down to around 10 sts I looped my crochet hook through and pulled it taught. Done!

Isn’t the jumper awesome?! I wore it in to work today as it was Christmas Jumper Day. But actually, I’d prefer to wear it always. It was my uncle’s when he was little in the 1950s.


The bizarre thing is that when I got on the Tube this evening to come home, a woman got on at the same stop and sat next to me. She pulled out her knitting; I pulled out mine. She was making a striped dress for her baby daughter; I was making a striped hat for my dad. Half an hour later, she got off at the same stop as me; then caught the same bus… and then got off at the same bus stop! I managed to shake her off in the labyrinthine aisles of the supermarket, where she had also headed: at any rate, she didn’t make it all the way home with me.IMG_8819