Tuesday, June 25, 2013

rare and lovely

Bless the littlest one for waking up with a croupy cough this morning, but otherwise good spirits. With nothing pressing but a late afternoon meeting, I have been able to spend rare and lovely hours cosying up with him today. How lucky am I?

The fire has been on, the winter sun has been streaming in through the windows, the back room fairly clean and tidy after efforts yesterday. And the most constructive thing we have done is a 300 piece jigsaw.

With all the boys at school now and me so busy with two jobs, it's a real gift when things align and I have the perfect excuse to achieve nothing but being here with my Clemmy. He's still so little really and asked "is this a pecan?" about the toucan on the puzzle.
He's actually been much, much nicer in recent months, after his, um, difficult phase last year. Far more content, adaptable and reasonable in his attitude. Seems hard to believe I bought a book called "The Explosive Child" now. (I did. It's still next to the bed. Maybe it worked?)

Back to reality's to-do list tomorrow... recharged by today.

- Jane x

Monday, June 10, 2013


A while ago I bought Nicole Mallalieu's 'Flat Cap' pdf pattern. This style of hat is rather popular in our house and my success with the Sew Liberated Huck Fin Cap, which is basically the same thing, gave me confidence I could tackle an adult-sized cap in a really nice fabric.

First I made the brown cap in 100% wool tweed, which I will probably need to pinch back from Clem to use as a shop sample. Let's see if he's happy about that, hmm. This was a size M, and I was thinking it could be for Jasper but it was a bit small. We're a family of generous noggins, we are.

Then I remembered a pair of suit pants Andy had bought a couple of years ago that was irretrievably large. (He was in Glasgow for work and bought a jacket and waistcoat, plus the only matching pair of pants which he hoped could be re-tailored to fit, but alas not.) Anyhow, there was a large volume of extremely beautiful dark wool tweed just waiting to be harvested, and miracle of miracles (for our house), the moths hadn't got it. So I am now in production of a set of matching hats for Jasper, Charlie and Andy. Here Jasper wears a size L and I will go right up to the XL for Charlie and Andy.

The pattern is a lovely one and as I found with my previous experience of Nicole Mallalieu's USB Fob pattern, the instructions are very clear, with useful photographs, and care in the detail that makes for a very satisfying result.

The outer cap fabric is meant to be used to make the inner band, which I chose not to do because I thought the wool could be a little irritating against the forehead. On the brown cap I used twill tape covered on the outside with voile, however this was narrower than the band ought to have been... it's fine, but not quite what it should be. On the second cap I used some black corduroy, cut and attached exactly as per instructions, which I am really happy with. The hats are both lined in Anna Maria Horner voiles which are smooth, light and breathable, not to mention pretty!

Okay... I have some more caps to sew! Including - if I am not totally 'capped-out' by then - one for myself, what do you think?

- Jane x

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Briar Top, and probably the cutest t-shirt I have ever made or will ever make again

Charlie and Jasper were using fabric markers to decorate a couple of white t-shirts and of course Clem wanted in on the action. I didn't have a white t-shirt in his size and I asked him what he wanted to draw. "Miffy on one side and Pillow on the other" he said with certainty. His two most beloved toys who share his bed every night and are sought out for comfort often during the day.

Well... I had to try to make that work for him, didn't I?

I cut out a t-shirt front and back from some plain cream cotton jersey and taped them to some cardboard, and let him go with the markers and a bit of acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium, when the markers didn't provide the right colours.

See below - pretty good likenesses, don't you think? (Minus the ingrained dirt/love.)

Pillow, made by Charlie for Clem some years back.

Watch out, he's coming at ya in his Miffy and Pillow t-shirt!

Here are the t-shirts that Jasper and Charlie drew:

(Ahem... proving it's not all organic-earthy-home-baked goodness around here. But he's happy with it.)

And this is a little seal character Charlie has been working on, drawing cartoons of.

And here's me in the Megan Nielsen Briar Top I whipped up during quiet moments at the shop, in a hemp/organic cotton jersey which is a rather striking but hard-to-photograph tangerine colour. I made up a size L because I wanted it nice and loose, chose the cropped version, the bound neckline and lengthened the sleeves, just for fun. I really, really like this pattern and I think I may be another bloggy sewist who makes more than one!

 Andy said 'now walk like an Egyptian'...
(I feel like I ought to offer up some sort of apology to Megan Nielsen for this shot, for making her Briar look dorky!)

- Jane x
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