Spring sewing

Some time in early March the weather all of a sudden became glorious for a weekend, and I thought: I need a semi-nice sweatshirt.

A trip to the ‘other’ Cloth House (at the south end of Berwick Street) furnished me with some gloriously cosy fabric – natural cotton jersey with coloured flecks on the front, cosy fluffy fuzzy wonderfulness on the back. And after a bit of help from youtube and a close examination of an old hoodie, I whipped up this sweatshirt based on my favourite t-shirt:

Dropped sleeve sweatshirt

Dropped shoulder sweatshirt cuff

Dropped shoulder sweatshirt

Sadly… I didn’t wash it first. And when, after wearing it night and day for three weeks I put it through the washing (on cold!) it shrank considerably in length.  😦  So it’s now the length of those cropped t-shirts that Topshop girls wear. But whatever. I still love it and wear it almost as much as before.

I went back to Cloth House to get more of the same fabric in another colour, but they were out of the fluffy kind. So I got another 1.5m of navy blue ‘summer-weight’ fabric, carefully washed it (it hardly shrank at all), and made sweatshirt #2. This time with raglan sleeves. It is a bit humongous. I have given it to my mum.

raglan sweatshirt

Then I had enough navy and enough white fabric to make sleeves… But not bodies. So back to Cloth House for a metre more of each. I washed them together, and the white came out 70cm long whereas the blue had become 120cm long. So confusing! I can only think they gave me extra blue because it was the end of the bolt. Anyway, sweatshirt #3 was born. This is for a man friend, but I love it so much I want to make one for me too now. Time to get back to Cloth House!

manly sweatshirt and Rune

manly sweatshirt making-of

manly sweatshirt 1

manly sweatshirt 2

manly sweatshirt 3

manly sweatshirt 4


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 pattern.fox 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

More pillow talk

It seems like all I’m making at the moment is cushion covers. This isn’t actually true – I’m mostly making Christmas presents; but I’m not planning on inadvertently giving out spoilers with only 23 days left to go. As much as I am REALLY REALLY desperate  to let the various cats out of their respective bags right now.

Cushion covers using Ikea Tastrup fabric and 45cm zippers

On Saturday evening, after a productive day spent making secret things, I settled down to making some cushion covers. I’ve previously used a slip-in design, but this time went for one with a zipper. I watched this amusing tutorial (the accent reminds me a little bit of a terrible film I watched the last ten minutes of the other day – I think it was called ‘Alligator Alley’. At any rate, it was a bunch of Louisiana-ian people using broom handles and molotov cocktails to fend off uncles and aunts who’d turned into large alligators with attractive glowing purple mouths) and then set to, using the simply delightful fabric my mum picked up from Ikea a few months ago.

There are different coloured buttons on each side – one pillow is green/pink; the other is orange/blue.

I didn’t want to waste too much fabric on seam allowances, so one side is a fold instead of a seam. Nothing is quite square, but it doesn’t seem to matter too much. Mostly I’m just pleased to have found the fabric, which I lost almost immediately when it first came into my clutches. In fact it was exactly where it should have been. Months of peering under beds and getting up close and personal with the house’s resident dust bunnies to find it were in vain!


The cushions match the rug in my garret too, so everything is all rather jaunty now. And Rune is happy to have yet more things to rub his cat-grubbiness and utter adorableness off onto.



Grannie’s apron strings

When I was in Canada this summer my aunt gave me a whole stack of fabrics from my Grannie’s collection. Mostly tawdry non-Liberty lawn, but there was this quite jolly striped furnishing fabric which I though might be nice for some (more) cushion covers.

On taking it out of my suitcase back in England, I discovered it had already been cut out into an apron shape, of rather generous proportions. My Grannie being, at the time, a rather large ginger lady masquerading as an artist (hence the need for an apron).

I finally set to it one Sunday morning before breakfast, and had a serviceable apron tied onto my person in time for the mandatory English cuppa.

Apron - front
Please excuse my excessive pyjamafication. It was cold that morning.

Apron - back

I slimmed it down a bit around the neckline and decided to add sunny yellow seam-binding; but otherwise left it mostly as my grandmother intended. The side/vertical edges are selvedges, so no hemming needed. And the seam binding is one long piece – from one apron string, along one side, neck string, down the other side, and then into the other apron string.

Most importantly, it has earned the Greymalkin seal of approval.

Greymalkin and apron

It still needs a pocket rather desperately, but I am waiting until the right scrap of fabric falls into my clutches. And if all else fails, there’s always the option of foxes…

Sarah Watts for Blend Fabrics – Timber and Leaf – Fox Portrait in gold