Monday, 29 March 2010

Who says romance is dead?

I've just picked up my sewing stuff to carry on with a summer hoodie I'm making for munchkin (from this pattern - I'll do a full review when it's finished), and this is what I saw on my pincushion.

No, I'm not crying, I've just got a bit of sewing machine fluff in my eye :) I proposed to mr pickledweasel at Easter nine years ago, and luckily he said yes after he'd picked his jaw up off the floor. Happy days :)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Hemming a-go-go

I've finished my skirt for Kitschy Coo's sew-along, a little bit late, but I had the pleasure of this lovely little lady's company for the weekend, along with her parents and grandma, so I was a bit short on time.

Once I'd finished oohing and aahing over my lovely niece, I took your advice and kept the length to match my boots, and finished the hem with blind stitch. I've got a special blind stitch foot for my sewing machine, and it was delightfully easy to use. It took a bit of concentration, and I don't think I would attempt after a glass of wine, but I'll definitely use it for any other skirts I make, it looks really good.

I'm pretty amazed I've made a piece of clothing I'd actually *wear*. Mr pickledweasel was also impressed, and has decided this means I never have to buy any clothes ever again.

Apologies for the crappy photos - it was late, our bedroom's a mess, and mr pickledweasel is no Mario Testino. I look bizarrely lumpy, but I'm blaming mr pickledweasel's lens angle, rather than my svelte form. And the facing is peeking above the waistband because I haven't tacked it into place yet, naughty me.

I'm going to buy the Cal Patch book next payday, so hopefully I should be able to do any future sew-alongs properly, rather than some sort of market stall rip off version :) Although saying that, I am liking Sew U and am going to make the skirt again. Grown up clothes are exciting!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Scrapes, Skirts, and Stickers

The sneaky Derryth guessed the mystery object correctly, although she cheated because she'd read my Facebook status earlier in the week :) It is, in fact, part of my car. And it should go there, in that picture above, where that rusty bit is.

Only it fell off (along with a lot of paint) when I somehow drove very very close to a big stone pillar thing. The pillar thing is on a corner on my road, and every time I get in my car I have to drive past it. Only it was about 9pm, and I had the radio on loud, and there were lots of cars parked in awkward places on the corner, and I was tired, and I didn't hear the crunching noise until it was too late. Mr pickledweasel reckons it can be fixed quite easily, but that didn't stop me sobbing like a 2 year old.

I'm having a bit of a bad week really - right now I should be in the pub with some friends, but mr pickledweasel's family descends tomorrow for a long weekend, and as I'll be at work all day the cleaning / food shopping / meal planning / sleeping arrangements had to be finished by tonight. By about lunchtime it was very clear that this would not be happening, as I had drastically underestimated the dirt levels in my house. Everytime I moved anything to clean it I found more things to clean. Munchkin was her usual well-meaning helpful self, but learning how to open the box of dry cat food and adding the word 'why' to her vocabulary on the same day was not great timing.

I've still found time to finish my skirt though, in between dried-on weetabix removal and researching how to spray paint wheel arches. Although I've realised that the Sew U book is very different to the Design Your Own Clothes book. Mine is kind of like having someone hold your hand while you use a commercial pattern for the first time, and has more emphasis on style rather than fit. So all that's left is the hem, and here's where I need your help. Long? Short? Middling? I'm undecided. For reference I have provided two alternative footwear choices - a boot, and a sandly wedge which makes me look like I have fat legs. The skirt is kind of medium weight, so could be worn with tights and boots now, or fatbare-legged in the summer.

My original intention was to have bias binding as a finishing, but as things went on I decided this was a bit advanced. Instead I used the contrasting fabric as a facing and inside the pockets. I'm thinking of trying to do a blind stitched hem, as I have recently discovered a special blind stitch foot for my machine, but I might practice a bit first.

In terms of fit, it would appear I am a 'Large' in Wendy Mullin's world. I was secretly hoping it would turn out huge, and that I'd have to drop a couple of sizes, but it's not so, unless I'm missing the point and it's not supposed to sit so low on the hips. It is a bit big on the bum though, although I don't know how I'd rectify this. Any ideas?

And so to the stickers. As I seem to have spent the whole day cleaning, Munchkin has had to entertain herself quite a bit. She has one Peppa Pig magazine (purchased during a christmas shopping trip - a moment of weakness on mr pickledweasel's part) and it has a sheet of stickers with it. I went into the kitchen to do the washing up, returned about 15 minutes later to find her fully embellished:

Almost as creative as her 'Paint Your Own Mug' mother's day present, which survived its baking in the oven, much to my surprise :)

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Guess the mystery object competition

Any ideas what this is?

I'll be back tomorrow with the answer, along with some pictures of my new skirt, the mug that munchkin painted for me, and a REALLY important* question that you can help me answer.

* I use this term loosely. I appreciate that what might be important to some (the length of a skirt, for example), might not be important to others :)

Sunday, 14 March 2010

I've popped my cherry

At long last. I have sewn in a ZIP!!1! I did it all by myself, with the help of two books and a big cup of tea. And maybe some biscuits.

I don't know what I was so frightened of, it seems quite straightforward really. It's part of the skirt I'm making for Kitschy Coo's Sew-along, although I'm doing the poor relations version as I haven't got the book she's using. I've got Sew U instead, which I think is pretty much along the same lines.

It's all going ok so far, and I'm being a good girl and following the instructions properly and not cutting any corners. Although it started off quite badly when I read the size chart for the patterns in the book and discovered I come under 'Large'. I am a British size 10 / 12. That is not large. Had I been a size 14 I would have had to stick the book on eBay, because the patterns don't go up that 'big'. Quite frankly, I find that slightly ridiculous. Who made that decision? I checked out the author's off the peg range, and it would appear a similar fascism policy is applied, as clothes only go up to a 'Large' - is a 37" bust, 29.5" waist and 40" hips large? I think not.

Anyway, I'm beginning to rant, and that's not healthy on a Sunday night. So far I have cut out my pattern pieces, sewn my back seam and sewn in my zip. I'm doing pockets tomorrow, although I have to wait for the loan of grandma pickledweasel's bias binding tool maker thingy for that. The book has three basic patterns - skirt, shirt and trousers - and construction instructions for each, and then suggests some design variations. I'm making a slightly shorter skirt with patch pockets, which is finished with bias binding rather than facings.

I was able to get quite a bit done today as it's Mothering Sunday, and the lovely mr pickledweasel a) let me have a lie-in b) cooked a massive roast dinner while me and grandma pickled weasel and munchkin went to a farmer's market c) entertained munchkin in the afternoon so could get some sewing done. Munchkin gave me 'poft' (post), which was an envelope containing a little rhyme about mommy's, which she had lovingly decorated with Waybuloo stickers. She also bought me a paint-it-yourself mug which we had much fun decorating together. I shall provide you with photographic evidence of its artistic genius after I have baked it in the oven tomorrow :)

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


I think this is the best thing I have made. Ever. It is a present for a 4 year old who lives in Australia, but we'll get to see him in May when he and his lovely mom and dad and shiny new baby brother are over in Blighty.

I don't know him that well as he's done most of his living in Oz, so I had to email his mom to find out what he likes - owls, octopuses, kangaroos and penguins are some of his favourite things, apparently.

The bag is the messenger bag from One Yard Wonders (I swear I should be sponsored by them by now, the number of bloody bags I've blogged about), and the octopus is made of orange fleece. I traced his outline from a library book of munchkins (Counting in the Sea, 1, 2, 3! It's very good :), although I had to do a bit of photocopy reducing first as he was quite big. I thought it would look better if he had some tentacles up front and some behind rather than being one flat piece, so I did two tentacley pieces first, and then overlayed the body piece after.

I marked his eyes on with marker and then satin stitched over the top. The bag is lined with some stripy cotton that was a remnant from somewhere.

I took my time with it, and I think that really helped. I'm often tempted to cut corners in order to finish stuff quickly, but I was very slow and steady, and as a consequence the bag is well made and my applique is neat. Huzzah!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Are you feeling lucky, Punk?

Are ya? I am :)
I watched that programme about how we're fecked if we carry on overfishing, and I thought about how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, food in my tummy, a wonderful mr pickledweasel, a beautiful munchkin, and a fantastic mom 10 minutes drive away.

I'm feeling even luckier today -the sun shone, me and munchkin had a lovely day outside, and I've nearly finished another bag. Yes another bag, but this one hasn't involved any hair pulling and hopefully won't run in the rain. I just need to work out what length strap to make, and then it'll be done.

AND I have a whole new load of fabric and stitchy related stuff to drool over. I had to go to the magic fabric shop (no, really, I had to, I had no choice) to get something to make a skirt from - I am sort of doing Kitschy Coo's Sew-Along, but I don't have the Cal Patch book she's using. I'm a bit strapped for cash this month and my library doesn't have it, so I'm using Sew U, which I bought with some Christmas money. It has basic patterns that you can adapt, like the Cal Patch book, so I thought I could use Kitschy Coos deadlines as motivation. A skirt by the 20th of March? I'll need some fabric then :)

And there were just too many nice prints, I couldn't resist... and I had to buy some florally things to compensate for the tres boring grey fabric I bought to make my skirt from. The heart print is for munchkin, and the pink rose and blue flower print is for me. The stripyesque tribal type stuff is for me - I'm thinking halterneck summer dress.

And (I promise this is the last sentence I'll start with 'And') I am now the proud owner of an adjustable dress maker's dummy. A friend very kindly gave it to me - she's 94 and although she used to sew a lot her eyesight is quite bad, so she said she'd like to see someone get some use out of it. I need to fiddle around with the screwy bits so it's my measurements, but isn't it fab? I'm so pleased. It has pride of place in the dining room, next to the stuffed insects.

Life is good :)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

(Success + Fail) x vomiting child = Cadbury's creme egg

I am having an 'awkward' sewing phase, a bit like some sort of stitchy adolescence. One week it's all finding out I've gone up a cup size and getting a nice smile of that boy in the lower 6th and the next it's a zit in the middle of my forehead and falling over with my dinner tray in the middle of the refectory.*

My glowy success was being asked by Kitschy Coo to test a pattern for her (which is an honour in itself), and finding that not only was it quite an easy pattern to follow, but that I did a good job of it, it looks great, and Munchkin asked to keep it on after we had finished our 'photoshoot'. This does not normally happen. Earlier this week I had laid out her clothes for the day and she was picking each thing up, and saying, 'yes' after looking at each one - tights 'yes', vest 'yes', t-shirt 'yes', dress that mommy made 'no no no no noooooooo'.

Anyways, these are the pics of Munchkin in her new cowl neck tunic. The pattern isn't quite ready for buying yet, KC's doing a few last minute tweaks, but you may as well go and buy all the rest of her patterns in the meantime, as they're all equally as fabulous.

My fail was my very own pattern number two. Buoyed by the success of pattern number one, I got straight down to a second one, this time a little cardigan for munchkin. As much as I love knitting, I don't have the patience, skills, or time to do full on garments, so I thought it would be nifty if I could make a little fleece cardigan to pop over dresses when it's a bit nippy. I called it 'Big Button Cardi', and knew exactly what it would look like - round necked, open fronted but fastened with one button at the top, so you could see the pretty dress underneath, and it would be made of fleece but lined with a nice cotton print.
Only I'm on draft number three and I'm losing the will to live, as well as running out of scrap fabric to make rubbishy toiles with. My sleeves are too tight, but I can't seem to make them wider without changing my body block, and when I came to make the last toile up my fleece exterior sewed up beautifully, whereas my cotton interior had sleeve tops that didn't fit armholes, yet I used the same pattern pieces for both.

I've not taken any photos of the resulting monstrosities, because they're proper Frankenstein affairs and I want to present you with lovely pictures of the finished garment in all its perfect glory, not terrible crimes against pattern cutting. So you'll just have to wait. You might be waiting for a while...

To top everything off Munchkin has been poorly with a really tricksy 'one minute I'm fine and playing with my Duplo and the next minute I'm throwing up and crying' illness. I thought she would be better today, but she's eaten very little and has been flopping about on the sofa for most of the day, bless her. Unfortunately illness didn't seem to have any effect on her getting up routine - 6am as per usual. And I'm stupidly tired as I was up til all hours trying to make arms wider and necklines curve properly.

Which leads me to the Cadbury's creme egg. Not everyone's cup of tea, I know, but I love them. I sent a text to mr pickledweasel asking if he could get me one on his way home from work, and he gave me a big hug when he got home because he said he knew things were bad if I had to send an emergency creme egg request :) I've just eaten it, and the world seems a much better place.

* This actually happened to me. Only I didn't just fall, I sort of tripped and landed on my knees and then did a knee skid for about 5 metres.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Folklore Bag: Round Two

After my wrangling with unweildy top bands before, I was determined to make the Folklore Bag again from One Yard Wonders, because I wanted to contribute a non-wonky version to Finny's sew-along I and thought if I could iron out the problems with the pattern, it would actually be a really nice bag.

And it was :) It was a lot easier once I followed the corrections on the publishers website - although the top band pattern pieces are now too long, so you need to do a bit of fiddling to get them right. The fabric I used is a lot lighter than the one I used first time, which made it easier to sew, but means the bag is a bit floppier. If I did it again I would use interfacing on the straps as well as the body of the bag.

I'm guessing you're wondering about the's from a well known londony textile company, let's call them, errrrmm, Biberty. Except it's not officially from Biberty, because it was £1 a metre from a magic fabric shop. There's another Biberty print on the other side of the fabric, a brown floraly print- the magic fabric shop man said that when they've finished one print run and are due to start another print run with a different pattern, they take some fabric that's scrap and run it through the machine to clean the inks, hence pattern on both sides.

I thought Biberty fabric for £1 a metre was a bit too good to be true, and it was. Proudly parading my lovely new bag at Centre Parcs last week, I noticed the fabric went a bit darker when rain drops hit it. And it didn't get lighter when it dried. In fact, it was brown and splodgy. Because the ink from the floral print on the other side was bleeding through :( It now looks like somone's liberally sprinkled soy sauce all over it. I might just put it in the washing machine to see what happens, it couldn't get much worse.

Shall I make the bag again? Will it be third time lucky? Or should I just sack it all off and get one from Primark?