Petite Pegs pour ma petite fille

As a general rule I’m not really making anything for my baby daughter at the moment. She’s so small, already has so much and second hand baby clothes are really easy to come by, cheap and plenty of people  send stuff her way all the time (thanks Mum and Auntie Hannah!).

However, I bought this fabric on a recent-ish trip to Rotterdam and would have waited until she was a bit older to make something but it was too tempting. By the way, the shop is this one and while it was pretty pricey, the remnants were plentiful and good value. Anyone else always head straight for the remnants bin?

The pattern is the free Patterns 4 Pirates Petite Pegs 

I made the size 6 months even though Tabitha is only 3 months old because I wanted err on the side of caution and them lasting longer than half an hour. I’m glad I did because hopefully they will fit towards the autumn when they’ll be more useful anyway. In these hot days she’s normally found only wearing a t-shirt and a Tots Bots nappy

So here’s the sleep deprived and made-over-three-naps list of sewing issues –

  • I had to zig zag the hems instead of using a double needle because if I went to get a second reel of thread I would have risked waking her up

  • The legs have different sized zig zags because they were done and two very different times and I couldn’t remember the setting I’d used

  • The waistband is upsidedown. Oops.

  • This hybrid animal is right on the centre front. Actually I quite like him.

BUT all those things don’t matter one iota because I made a baby and then I made her some trousers. Winning at life.


back in the saddle

I had a baby! Exactly two months ago. You can tell because a) I haven’t sewn anything in ages b) I constantly smell of sour milk and c) well, there’s a baby in the house now

also d) My body looks like it recently had a baby. Which is absolutely fine, it did well and I think it’s pretty amazing what it went through to be honest. There’s enough post-baby body positivity ramblings on the internet so I won’t add mine but I will share what has been my first make since the littlest one came along. Workout gear…

In all fairness, it’s extremely lightweight workout gear. I’m not going crazy but I am quite keen to get somewhere close to where I was before getting pregnant.

Enter, this little ensemble:

I got the fabric on sale at Minerva Crafts a while back so I doubt it’s still available. It’s cool anyway and perfect for this kind of stuff.

The crop top is the Natalie pattern by Ohhh Lulu. Her Instagram feed is my favourite thing. The pattern is really simple and I suppose I could have drafted it myself by just cloning something I already own but time is incredibly short at the moment as you can imagine, plus I like to be able to support talented and creative people with my coin when I can. And I could. So I did.

I actually have three more cut out and am thinking of experimenting with fabric bands rather than the FOE. I think they will be useful as layering and to sleep in for breastfeeding when it starts to cool down. I made a size medium and the fit is spot on

The leggings are Shelly from Seamwork. They’re also pretty cool.

I actually bought the year’s subscription to Seamwork back in January when it was on sale as a present to myself because I knew I wouldn’t want to shell out for the monthly subscription when I wouldn’t be getting a proper salary on maternity leave. However, I’ve been pretty disappointed with the patterns that they’ve brought out in the last few months and haven’t downloaded any of them. It’s not their fault, they just haven’t been my style. They have now updated things so you can use your Seamwork credits to purchase Colette patterns but if Seamwork isn’t my style, Colette is waaaaay off the charts. These days I hardly ever wear dresses (breastfeeding notwithstanding) let alone anything with a ‘vintage vibe’.

These leggings are nice though.


I don’t know if the fabric puts them in the realm of ‘whacky’ but they’ll do me. The pattern is a bit better than your average one or two piece leggings pattern because of the sporty gusset which is easier to see from the inside –

It takes a bit of getting used to when you’re wearing them and I could imagine it being very irritating if the fit was off. Speaking of fit, I think I made the size L.

The waistband is a lovely shape too:

So thanks Body, you did what we asked of you but it’s time to change again. Bye bye tummy. Hopefully.


stealing from my unborn daughter

Since I envisage spending quite a lot of time in my pyjamas and other ‘forgiving’ clothes for the next few weeks and months, I decided that I needed a dressing gown. I haven’t had one for a few years and well, I fancied one.

Enter Simplicity 1563 which I already had from making a dressing gown for my Dad a year or two ago. I remember it being pretty straight forward and since the pattern nauseatingly states that it’s for both “guys and gals”, this gal gave it a go. I also remembered that per Simplicity’s usual MO, it comes out massive. I cut the size XS and it accommodates by 9 month belly perfectly.

This post also serves as an apology for my unborn child – I was saving this fabric for her. I had had it for a long time but once we knew she would be arriving I thought I would keep it and make something – anything – for her out of it. But the need for a dressing gown came sooner than the baby so, there we are. Sorry Baby! I promise I’ll take you to the natural history museum and let you buy any dinosaur tat that you can find.

Clearly I didn’t have enough of the dinosaurs so made do (or, in fashion parlance – made a feature out of the design lines) with grey scrap fabric that I think was once a jersey sheet.

Another design decision – I forgot to put the pockets in. I’m relatively annoyed about this but not so much that I can be bothered unpicking the side seams to put them in.

The pattern includes a really generous hem allowance on the sleeves but I left them quite long because I find it cosier. And who doesn’t love that realisation that your sleeve has been sitting in your bowl of cereal..

If you’re in the market for a dressing gown then this pattern is worth a shot. But get it when it’s on sale. And make about a million sizes smaller than you think you need. And for goodness sake, ignore the t shirt pattern that’s included, trust me. And the pj bottoms are a bit odd too. And it takes longer than the two hours that it’s supposed to. On second thoughts, there are probably better patterns out there.
Go and make yourself a cup of tea, sit in the sunshine and research them on your laptop.

Blast from the indie-sewing-world past

Happy 2018

Do you remember when Sewaholic was the company that was really hip and that everyone was talking about? That seems very 2013 now. Last I heard the company was sold and not much has happened since then. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with their patterns though, particularly for us pear shaped people, who the designs are especially drafted for.
The Belcarra was one of the first indie patterns I paid real money for and I’ve probably sewed it six or seven times over the years, to varying degrees of wearability. Happily I now have a new one to add to the collection.

It’s black I’m afraid so you’re going to have to believe me when I tell you about the details.

The fabric is actually jersey, although not very stretchy jersey so I just went with it. Having sewed the pattern a few times I knew that there was some leeway for my lackadaisical following of fabric requirements. Besides, I am the owner of a changing body and jersey is my friend.
The fabric itself came from the market here and has flocked leopard print all over it.

All the seams are just narrowly zig zagged and then overlocked. I know I could have only overlocked them but didn’t feel 100% confident in the stability of that.

Standard twin needle finish on the neckline – taking it definitely into ‘t-shirt’ rather than ‘blouse’ territory

I took it out for coffee today at a new to me place which immediately got in my good books because they were projecting an old Fred and Ginger film onto the wall:

I’m not actually praying in either of the above two photos. The first was taking a photo of the projected film and the second was because, you know, coffee.

The t-shirt fits perfectly over the bump and, as per usual, I refused to make any alterations to make it maternity friendly so I’m sure it won’t fit me until the end of my pregnancy but should be fine for afterwards. Swings n roundabouts.

So my words of wisdom are, don’t necessarily go chasing after the shiny new patterns that get released every week into the world, dig out your old favourites too!

Also, use your scraps for underwear.

(that’s a Seamwork Florence btw)

Off-White Christmas

Apropos of nothing – I’ve made a jumper
I’m not entirely convinced that I really needed one but the thought struck me so there we are.
The fabric is a really soft and fairly thick sort of fake cable knit from the market that was €4 per metre. I have an irritating amount left. What can you do with sweater-weight fabric apart from sweaters? I usually make underwear with scraps but this fabric would make some heavy duty pants..

For the ‘pattern’ I just lay down a jumper that I already owned (a brilliantly nonsensical one that has letters but no words at all, no matter how carefully strangers try to read my chest in the streets) and cut around it. I didn’t bother tracing it onto paper first, just went straight in with the scissors. YOLO.

Here’s the original:

I actually think that it’s a bit long to be practical so for my new version I took about 15cm off the bottom

I made a slightly curved hem which isn’t very well captured in this picture but here it is anyway:

Being bloody minded I made absolutely no changes to account for it being essentially maternity-wear currently which has resulted in a few pulls in certain places but I’d much rather have some slight fit issues than most people probably wouldn’t notice than an item of clothing that only lasts me a few more months

In a way I wish that I hadn’t cut the V neck so low as it means I have to be vaguely picky about what I wear underneath it which is kind of annoying. Ah well, too late now.

I really like the off white colour but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this time next year I write a post about how I had to dye it navy blue to cover up all the baby sick/poo/milk stains. Roll on 2018. I can’t wait.

lumps and bumps

The red pen drew me in, it always does. It means something is on sale.
In this case, the red pen of destiny took 50% off the price of this Burda maternity pattern

It’s fairly ugly but I was willing to give it the time of day. I liked the look of the top and the shorts look like they have potential (if not over the winter months in Belgium) and anyway, like I say, it was on sale.

Last weekend I made the top. It’s about as basic as it gets, there’s not even any ruching on the sides or the dipped hem that you sometimes see on maternity tops. It’s more just like a fairly forgiving non-maternity jersey top. Which is fine by me.

The neckline is really wide and I used some starry bias tape on it that now reminds me of pyjamas

Those sleeves though, I’ve really not made my peace with the sleeves. Surely they are just a one stop annoyance shop? Don’t they accidentally get dropped in your bowl of cereal or trapped in doors?

As a card carrying member of the sleeves-always-pushed-up club I’m pretty sure I’ll be lopping these off below the elbow and hemming them there. Then I can happily keep the top as what my Mum would call “a useful layering piece”

I’m wearing it here with what I am very much hoping will be another win. I’ve recently found myself reaching for my one remaining Colette Mabel skirt as it is pretty forgiving on a changing shape and very useful for work and play. This new Mabel won’t be as handy simply because of its colour but I’m fairly optimistic anyway.

I managed to find a very good colour matching thread:

No such luck with the overlocker:

At the moment it goes over the bump quite nicely and I might even be able to wear it under the bump later on. My spotty vest is still putting in some good service

My one concern is that the skirt really does show up all the lumps and and lines of everything going on underneath:

Let’s face it though, I’m going to be wearing it with huge jumpers that almost completely cover it anyway.

I think my maternity wardrobe is pretty much complete. Now to figure out the rest of this child-rearing business..

Simplicity made me grumpy

Behold, I have become that which I did not want to: a different person because I’m growing someone inside of me.
I made up a pattern which I had in my stash even though I wasn’t particularly enamoured by it because I’m now getting to the point where I’m fairly limited by choice for smart-ish things to wear to work.
Simplicity 1469 which I’m pretty sure is now out of print

(image from this eBay sale)

The best thing about the dress is the smallest part of it –

This scrap of fabric. I bought the remnant for 50 cents at this shop in Aachen, Germany along with some other very good quality jersey scraps. It was just large enough for the ‘vest’ of the dress and some underwear.

The worst part of the dress is that I don’t really like it…

This is in no small part due to Simplicity’s well documented issue – what they would call a ‘generous amount of wearing ease’ and what the rest of the sewing world calls ‘ridiculous sizing that could be because of vanity or stupidity but wastes fabric and time’
No, I didn’t check the finished garment measurements and yes obviously that would have helped alleviate some issues but there we are. I made the dress up in a size M which seemed fairly reasonable.
After trying it on I looked like a 9 year old wearing a dress for a large sized adult –

Why are the sleeves so loose? Why is the bust so saggy? And why did I wait so long before trying it on?

By this point it was pretty much done. No small feat actually. It wasn’t tricky, just time consuming so I hung it up and ignored it for a few days before going back and taking it in along the side seams from the sleeve hems to below the waste. This took it down to more or less XS size which is ridiculous and means that anyone who is a ready to wear size 10 or less would be completely sized out of the pattern.

The fit is much better now and I have worn it to work. The grey jersey fabric is lovely and soft and does feel really nice. I can’t remember exactly where it came from I’m afraid.

The vest part is cleverly designed for feeding and similar to what you see in a lot of maternity/nursing RTW dresses

So it’s not all lost, I now have a smart-ish dress to wear which will fit for a while. To make it feel a bit more ‘me’ I wore it with ankle boots and this scarf but it’s just not going to be something I’ll be drawn to. More like something to drag on over my head when there’s someone important due in the office.

Learn your lesson from me, folks. Don’t believe Simplicty’s sizing and don’t sacrifice your personal style because you find yourself with free time, fabric and an untested pattern that happens to be lurking in your stash!