Christening dresses

Guys, prepare for cuteness overload!  These might be the cutest clothes I’ll ever make.  Back in September, my friends very kindly asked me to make christening dresses for their twins.  Aren’t they just beautiful?  The twins, not the dresses.

Adorable!  They look so lovely in their dresses, and they’ll be able to keep them forever.  I’m very grateful to Sarah and Tony for trusting me with such a special task 🙂

The pattern: The Hula Hoop dress, from Puperita on Etsy.

Modifications: adding a tie at the waist in case the dresses came out a little big, and re-drafting the neckline so it was curved rather than square.

The fabric: Sarah and Tony got the fabric for me (a lovely broderie anglaise).  I just had to add the sewing 🙂


A belated happy new year to all!  Who starts their resolutions on January 1st anyway?

Did anyone make any sewing-related resolutions this year?  Mine is to keep on top of my repairs/refashions pile.  There is a shelf in my wardrobe full (full) of garments with tiny imperfections – missing buttons, small splits in seams, skirts/trousers to shorten, and so on.  I’ve decided it’s about time I did something about it.  There is nothing wrong with any of these clothes that can’t be fixed.  So last week, I got to work.  I started with some very simple button replacements.

Shamefully, I don’t think this dress has been worn for over a year.  It needed all eleven buttons replacing – I used up the spare button almost as soon as I’d bought it and I think it had lost about three more after that.  Luckily, I got loads of buttons for Christmas 🙂  Including 12 of these wooden red ones, which were perfect.  It probably took me about an hour to replace them.  Aren’t the red buttons so much nicer than the original bronze ones?  It just goes to show how much simple things can change a garment.  I also fixed a corduroy skirt that had simply lost one button (actually, its only button!).  I know – how lazy am I to have put that off for so long?  It took me less than five minutes.  Anyway, two items of clothing have made it back into the ‘wearable’ section of my wardrobe.

As well as working my way through my repair pile, I’ve been trying not to buy new clothes.  This wasn’t a new year’s resolution – it was just something I decided a while back (September-ish).  It came from watching a documentary called the True Cost, which looked at all sorts of aspects of ‘fast fashion’.  Now I won’t go into how horrifying this programme was – you can always watch it yourselves if you want to – but it really made me sit back and think.  I do not need any more clothes and when I do need some I am (in theory) capable of making my own.  I swore off store-bought clothes.  I’ve done a bit of research and there are a few shops I’d still feel comfortable spending my money in, which is lucky for me since I’m unable to make tights or underwear.  And of course, I will still have to buy shoes 🙂  I haven’t bought any new clothes since I saw this documentary.  I’ve bought a couple of things from charity shops and that’s all.  I’ve initiated a make do and mend approach and so far I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything (though I am starting to worry about a severe cardigan shortage – must get knitting!).  Let’s see how long I can keep this up!

Rainbow cushion

I shared my knitted Milla Mia Elk Cushion with you a while back, and now I’m showing off my latest crochet project – another cushion.

It’s a granny square cushion.  I heart granny squares.  I learned to make these solid granny squares at a workshop at Woolaballoo in Hexham.  All the yarn and materials were included in the price of the workshop.  We followed the instructions for the solid granny square on the Attic24 blog, and instructions for constructing and finishing the cushion are here.

Once I’d go the hang of the pattern, each square was only taking me a few minutes to crochet.  I was really strict with myself and made sure that I sewed each square onto the cushion as soon as I’d finished.  I knew if I let them build up I’d end up with a bag full of granny squares in a corner for months (possibly even years).

I won’t lie, I did hit a wall part way through this cushion – was there no end to the squares?!  63 squares in total.  About half way through, boredom hit, but I knew that once I was onto the home straight my interest would pique again and I’d get excited to finish it.  It was worth it!  It matches the colours on my sofa cushions perfectly and it’s now sitting pretty in its new home 😀

I think I’ll take a break from cushions now – how many could I possibly need…?

Simple Sleeveless Top

I made this top months ago to take on holiday, but I’m only just getting around to sharing it with you.  It’s the Simple Sleeveless Top from Lauren Guthrie’s book (Learn to Sew with Lauren).

If I’m being honest I’m not completely happy with this top.  It has nothing to do with the pattern or the instructions, which were both great.  Here’s the thing – I hate bias binding.  People say bias binding is easy.  I emphatically (but most respectfully) disagree.  I understand it and I know what to do, but I just cannot get it looking neat and even.  Something happens in the sewing process and it results in a big mess.  You may notice that eventually I abandoned all attempts at sewing the bias binding ‘properly’ (I mean, who says what ‘properly’ is anyway?) and  used it all as a facing instead.  Lauren does suggest this as an alternative way of finishing the neckline in the book, but I ended up doing it on the armholes as well.  I did try to do it ‘right’, but it just looked awful.  I mean, doing it this way has turned out okay, but I think it has altered the shape of the top slightly.  When I make it again, I’ll probably just draft a proper facing to avoid another fight with bias binding.  If anyone else hates bias binding as much as I do, I’d love to hear about it, as I think I’m in an extreme minority.

Anyway, despite how I’m making it sound, I do like the top.  I love the fabric, which is the Sevenberry Daisy grey cotton lawn from Guthrie and Ghani.  I love daisies 🙂  And I don’t know if you can tell, but I managed to get a row of daisies lined up perfectly along the hem.  Little things.

Funny thing about this top – while I was making it, a friend of mine was making the exact same top in the exact same fabric.  Neither of us knew we were both making the same thing until we’d finished.  It was like a bit of psychic synchronised sewing!  Spooky…  And hers looks much better than mine!

Scrabble Tree Decorations

I have just one more handmade Christmas gift to share with you, and it’s more Scrabble tile magic 🙂

These are sooooo easy!  In fact, I may have to make loads more for next year.  I simply stuck my tiles to their paper backing using a hot glue gun, but I’m sure some other glues would work.  I made sure to get small amounts of glue between each tile.  Not too much, because then it all squirts out of the top, but enough that the tiles were no longer ‘flopping around’ on the paper (some very technical terminology going on here).

Funny story about these decorations.  Our friends – the very Rachel and Paul these decorations were destined for – also ended up making us some of these!  Instead of names, they used Christmassy words and attached their decorations to cards to make Christmas cards.  Genius idea – I’m not going to lie, I’ll probably steal it at some point.  We got ‘donkey’ because both Anthony and I love donkeys (especially Anthony – they’re his favourite animal).  So, yeah, we did a Scrabble tile decoration swap.  But it worked out really well because none of us had thought to make decorations of our own.  D’oh 😉

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