Simplicity 8019: How I did…

I got myself some Michael Miller cool spools fabric in a sale a while ago, in the knowledge that I wanted to make myself a skirt out of it, but I just needed the time and the right pattern. The pattern had to require less than 2 metres of fabric as that was all I had ordered. I saw this on Jaycotts website in the simplicity sale and knew it was the one. I do love retro and especially the 1970s.

I am only 5 feet 1 inch, so I decided to make view A knowing that this would probably sit on my knee. When cutting out my patterns I tend to cut all the sizes out, then fold and trace the right markings on the fabric later. This was no different, however, as it goes up to size 24 I figured I’d not need to go up to that size, so I cut out up to a size 20. Good job I did! When I measured myself I needed a size 20. In shop sizes I am a small 14, and in sewing patterns I usually measure to a 16. So I would say this pattern measures up a wee bit small, so just be aware of that. I cut out all views on the length also which was fun when folding to cut! haha

This pattern calls for interfacing to be used on both the waist and as reinforcement on the front skirt opening where the buttons go. Don’t do as I did and not read the instructions on the pattern pieces properly and cut the front interfacing piece out of fabric! doh!

Shhhh, I’ll tell you a secret: the only time I iron is when I’m sewing. The benefit of having a hubby in the forces is that he loves ironing so I take full advantage of that πŸ™‚

The next part of this pattern is to fold over the front of the skirt opening over the interfacing, encasing the raw edges. You are then to baste at the top. I decided to sew both across the top and downwards, down the whole length of the interfacing:

As you can see the stitching shows through to the front side, but I like this look as I think it adds definition to the front.

The next stage is to sew all the skirt panel pieces, constructing the main body of the skirt. IMG_1092

Next is the waistband. I started to pin mine and found it was randomly too small for the skirt body – I have no idea why – perhaps it was fairies? haha. That was another piece to cut out of fabric and interfacing.

Once this is done you attach the waistband to the skirt, right sides together: IMG_1095

Next, in order to get the raw edges all enclosed in the waistband easily, you fold it in half back on itself, right sides together. You then sew the ends in line with the front opening.

Trim the waistband at the ends quite close to the stitch line.

Turn the waistband right side out, making sure to poke out the corners. Then you finish the waistband on the inside.

I do love a bit of topstitching, so I decided to finish off the main skirt with some topstitching and of course I hemmed the bottom.

The next job was to sew the button holes. 6 in total. On my old machine it was a 4 step manual button hole. I have a 1 step automatic button hole on this machine. I am definitely torn as to which is better. On the whole the automatic button hole is quicker, easier and much more accurate. The problem is if something goes wrong as its sewing the button hole you can’t really rectify it as its a programmed pattern of stitches. This means you have to unpick the whole button hole you’ve sewed and start again. On some fabrics this can mean you wreck the fabric. With a manual button hole you just select that step of the process. As I said, torn haha. But, as I said, I now have an automatic button hole, and I took some pictures of it in action:

I have always struggled with handsewing, even sewing on buttons. I don’t know if its down to my dyspraxia or a lack of experience, but I struggle and find it takes me long time with very little reward. Even so, sometimes its a necessary evil, so my 6 buttons are attached via hand! yay!

I enjoyed making this pattern, and would say it is an easy pattern, quick to make for those with a bit more experience. For those beginners then it has lots of techniques to learn on, but in an easy way. Oh and the fit is fantastic (even if it is 2 sizes bigger than my usual) I love it and think it will get a wear (I mean show off haha) at knit and natter tomorrow :). Glad I picked this pattern for this fabric πŸ™‚


McCalls M7116 – How I did….

I got last months issue of Love Sewing magazine, and free with it was McCalls M7116, which I have been planning to make since, along with a few others: IMG_0605

The McCalls one is the dress, which I decided to make with some Ikea fabric I got the last time I was north in Warrington, in the Easter holidays: IMG_0576

This pattern asks for the top part to be cut out on the grain and the skirt part on the bias.IMG_0657

I decided to make the top out of the spotty fabric and the skirt out of the floral (not dis-similar from Cath Kidston fabric) fabric.

One of my worst jobs is transferring the pattern markings to the fabric. When I first started I was taught the ‘proper’ way of tacking (big, loose stitches) along the markings and then unpicking so a slight line of holes was left… yeah, I only did that once! haha. My current way is to draw the pattern markings on in air erasable fabric marker under the pattern piece. I say current because I’m always on the look out for easier ways to do things haha. IMG_0687

The back neck facing was cut on the bias, and this meant it was a lot easier to fit to the back of the bodice. IMG_0688

One of my favourite features of this garment was the sleeve detail. They have a pleat in them, and are gathered along the top, to both help ease them into the arm hole as they are set in sleeves and to give a bit more volume to them. The next is the buttons, and the pattern notions request ball buttons. I am guessing these are buttons that look like balls haha. These are well worth getting as they give the sleeves a real vintage look, and really complete them. IMG_0697

Before sewing the bodice to the skirt I would recommend trying it on, just to get an idea how far over the two front pieces need to overlap: IMG_0694

Also make sure you know which piece of the skirt is the front and which is the back – as the front waistband is higher than the back: IMG_0701

When sewing the skirt to the bodice, once again make sure you know where you need the two front pieces to cross. The pattern does call for gathers in the front bodice pieces, but you may need to may them a little longer.

The most tricky bit is, as in a lot of garments, the zip. The pattern calls for a 12 inch zip, but I found this a little short (I made a size 16). If I did it again in this size I would probably get a 14 inch zip. It is an exposed zipper and because it is at the side it is not too difficult to sew. IMG_0705

I must say I did enjoy making this pattern! It was just the right level for me and the end result I love and have had lots of compliments on it – I will be making it again.

Fun & Family


I’ve lots to blog about, but have been too busy to come on and write about it haha.

My family have come down for a impromptu visit over the weekend. But first, to the sewing!

They didn’t arrive until Saturday evening, the weather was pretty overcast, and we had chores to do, so we spent Saturday in the house. On Friday evening I had spent the night cutting and planning what I was going to sew so I was ready to go whenever I got chance, which happened on Saturday. I decided to start sewing with the free Mccalls pattern from Love Sewing magazine: IMG_0576

I enjoyed this pattern and found it the right level of challenging. I will do a pattern review in another post, but I’m pleased with how it turned out:

Whilst I was sewing this, the hubby took the 4 kiddies out to the fun fair (a yearly rip-off that comes to our little town). Even no 3 wanted to go and had a whale of a time – which we didn’t think he would as he gets stressed in noisy/ busy places due to his sensory processing disorder. I am so pleased he was able to go though:

As you can see, lots of smiles πŸ™‚

My sister is a professional performer with Aida cruise ships. She trained in London at the URDANG in musical theatre. She spends most of the year on board, travelling the world and singing, with her boyfriend of 2 years, a lovely man from the Ukraine, called Sascha. As a result of this I’m lucky if I get to see her yearly, so whenever we get the opportunity we try to get together and the children love seeing their glamourous Aunt. She drove herself and my parents down from where they live near Manchester for a flying visit over the weekend. They arrived on Saturday evening bearing fish and chips – always a winner in our house!

I did my sister, the girly and the youngest a accent nail each out of Jamberry nail wraps on their big toes:IMG_0709

This went down a treat, as did the slippers she brought us from Amsterdam: IMG_0718

Clogs! A pair each – and they are soooo comfy!

I think I have also found a new craft after my current Friday classes: paper cutting. They leant me a cutting board and knife to practise with and I am finding I am really enjoying it – it is so relaxing as it doesn’t require any thinking, so I have ordered a knife handle, some blades, a book of templates and a cutting mat off amazon so I can keep it up. Here is my latest effort: IMG_0740

Oh, and on Saturday morning the 2 youngest decided to have a play with some food colouring.. luckily they decided to play it in the bath so it was mainly them affected!

Everyone since has been randomly finding themselves with blue food colouring on them!

On Sunday we decided that as it was such a beautiful day we would take my parents and sister to one of our favourite beaches further down into Cornwall – Perranporth. We had a great day if got a little sunburnt!

We all had a great time. My sister and I actually managed to get our picture taken together, which is very very rare! This picture perfectly sums up the differences between us, our mother said in her facebook post, my two lovely daughters in a perfect picture of them both, Anna looking glamorous in her wetsuit, Kate looking like a Cornish farmers wife! I was wearing my memademay purl bee free tutorial dress πŸ™‚ which I love for the beach and am planning on making more, and my wellies as I hate sand haha: IMG_0825

Another Kate make on the beach was worn by the girly, some Jo Cole simple flares in capri length out of Rose and Hubble fabric, with rick rack around the bottom which I love πŸ™‚ I think they look really retro πŸ™‚ IMG_1004

I did suffer the stupidity of not putting sun cream on: IMG_1035

You’d think at my age I would of learnt by now!

The parents and sister left today – which is always a bit sad, but the parents are coming down for half term in a couple of weeks as the hubby is going away with work.

Of course I’m very excited for the great British sewing bee beginning again tonight – but I’m gutted that for a few days at least I won’t be able to ‘sew along’, as I had to post my machine’s foot pedal off this morning to sewing machines direct. It has been randomly cutting out and slowing down for the last few weeks, and it is only 3 months old so we are trying a new foot pedal, but I needed to send mine in first 😦 I’m really hoping it is just the foot pedal as this means I can’t sew for a few days, if my machine had to go in then who knows how longs I’d be unable to sew for?!?!?! IMG_1042

Maybe I am being a tad dramatic haha, worse things happen at sea as they say! And at least it gives me chance to catch up with this and have a turn with my other crafts πŸ™‚

Hope we all enjoy the great British sewing bee tonight πŸ™‚ sooooo excited πŸ™‚


Busy days

Although I’m missing my friend, I have had a lot to do which has taken my mind off of things a little bit.

On Wednesday I had a friends association meeting to attend for the school, to organise some summer events to raise money for some new equipment.

During the day on Wednesday hubby had taken the youngest to Porth beach in Cornwall, for a beach clean he had organised with some newly qualified submariners and surfers against sewage. The youngest had a great time being the centre of attention:

On Thursday mornings I usually attend a knit and natter local group, run by creative space Cornwall, at a local community centre. Β At the moment we a making knitted squares for the St Germans festival in July to yarn bomb a tree (? :/ ?) haha. We do plan on making the squares into blankets for the homeless once they have been finished with. We have yarn bombed previously, but on a much smaller scale. so this should be interesting! IMG_0552

I have quite a few sewing projects in the pipeline. I have been cutting and preparing for those these last couple of days as the hubby has been busy with his coaching and work commitments it has taken me a couple of days! haha

I’m looking forward to starting the actual sewing soon πŸ™‚ look out for the pattern reviews πŸ™‚

On a Friday IΒ go to the ‘Make It…’ craft classes again with creative space Cornwall. At the moment we are doing paper cutting classes. If you have ever seen paper cutting you will have seen it can be absolutely beautiful. What you may not know though is that it is very relaxing, enjoyable and satisfying. You feel you can achieve quite a bit in a relatively short space of time. Have borrowed a cutting board and knife until next week so if I get time I can have a bit more practise :).

At the rock pooling session last weekend one of the leaders mentioned that my eldest might benefit from taking rock climbing sessions as he seemed to have a natural ability. The hubby took him, the girly and the youngest tonight to the local rock climbing place. The older 2 climbed and the hubby and youngest watched. The youngest then came home having learnt a few new tricks…

The youngest really is a bit of a wild child haha πŸ™‚

You may be aware that our no3 has autism. He has never really been one to draw, he can write his name, but doesn’t see the point in writing anything else, and certainly not drawing unless there is a purpose to it. So when the hubby found this picture in his bag I was so very touched. I’m going to get a frame and hang it in my sewing corner. It means so very very much to me πŸ™‚ The fact his first inteligible drawing was associated with me has really touched me, as with him we haven’t always felt he even knew we were ‘special’ people to him, not just people who lived in the same house. He is a lot more engaged with us now, but this was still lovely πŸ™‚

This is the picture of my sewing machine and him as he is typically enjoying milk πŸ™‚

Anyway, hope your week has been good and will blog again soon πŸ™‚

Saying goodbye :(

As a Navy wife you move around a lot, as does everyone else. You therefore get used to people coming into and out of your life. But every so often you meet a fellow navy wife and family who are something special. I said goodbye yesterday to one of those people. They as a family have offered support and true friendship and I’m going to miss them greatly. I did give my friend some treats, I’m missing her already though.





I always think that pipingΒ is a simple and effective way to finish off lots of things. It is especially nice on cushions (above). It is actually a very easy technique to do (I think its easier than binding!).

So, what do you need? Well, piping itself firstly, which is kind of like rope, and it comes in lots of different thicknesses, you just have to decide which is most appropriate for your project. You will also need binding in the colour/ pattern you want. Optional but to make it a lot easier is a zipper foot (most machines come with a zipper foot as standard):

L-R: zipper foot, binding & piping, binding, piping.

Next you will need to encase your piping in the binding. This is very simple, you open out your binding and place the piping inside down the centre:

You then fold the binding over so the piping is encased in the centre of the binding and I like to pin it so it stays in place (and it slows me down as I have a bit of a lead foot haha):

Attaching your zipper foot (if you have one) or with an ordinary foot if not, sew as close to the piping as you can, I like to use a slightly longer stitch:

Sew until you have reached the required length.

You now have piping! Next is to attach it to your project, in this case I was attaching I to a cushion cover. Once I had appliqued the front, prior to sewing on the back, I needed to attach the piping. This needs to be attached to the RIGHT side of the fabric, around the edge with the actual piping itself at the seam allowance, facing INWARDS, pin in place: IMG_0422IMG_0421IMG_0420IMG_0419

I find the easiest way to turn the corners, rather than abuting them is to snip the binding (careful not to snip the stitching and piping) at a 45 degree angle at the corner: IMG_0418

Not a neat example haha – but you get the idea.

Next you need to sew this, once again as close to the actual piping as you can, using a zipper foot if you have one:

Once this is done, it is time to attach the back. You lay the fabric right side to right side as you would do normally. You pin once again as close to the actual piping as possible

Β (hence why you place the actual piping along the seam allowance – in this case 15mm/5/8 in). and sew as close to the piping once again:

Depending on the seam finish and if it is needed I then trim the excess binding/ fabric away so I hopefully get a nice crisp, clear finish once the project is turned right side out πŸ™‚ This is the finished project: IMG_0468

And here are some other uses I have found for piping since I learnt how to do it and I think you’ll agree in the right context it adds an nice finish and it is easy to do:

Collars, dress edging and more cushions πŸ™‚ I do love piping and it is quick and easy – hope you have fun experimenting with it πŸ™‚

Last few days…

I’ve been very busy creating! I’m loving the applique at the moment. Had a few gifts to make and been a little busy too.

Firstly some nice pictures taken by the hubby at the park:

The youngest 3 having a good time in the sun πŸ™‚

Next, I have been no poo for 14 weeks now – just using water only. I have very greasy hair naturally. My hair did balance itself for a couple of weeks after about 10 weeks, and then I used hairspray and my hair just panicked and became a grease bucket again – I decided I needed to ‘wash’ it so have used some baking soda and apple cider vinegar – just a little bit but enough to de-grease my hair slightly – I think I’m going to have to do this once a week as I’ve reached my breaking point with the water only unfortunately – I’m still no poo though! πŸ™‚


My new no poo kit πŸ™‚

I finally managed to dig out some of my summer clothes so as part of me made may here is my ‘duck dress’ worn today (my megan dress by tilly and the buttons from her love at first stitch book)


I’ve been creating a few appliqued gifts. One is a tote bag which a friend asked me to create for her sisters birthday, the other are two cushion covers to give to friends who are leaving this week to remind them of Cornwall.

My friend is very tall so I’m assuming her sister is also, so I made the straps quite long – hence why the bag looks so long on me (I’m 5ft 1in) haha. I piped around the cushion covers and took some pics to do a basic post about piping πŸ™‚

Lastly, I’m planning on making some bunting for my neighbours who are leaving (as well as the cushion cover) as they have been exceptional friends in the time we’ve known them. I’m really going to miss them. I did get a nice surprise this evening from the consultant who conducted my Jamberry party the other night – a lovely card and some wraps and other goodies πŸ™‚

That’s all for now πŸ™‚ take care all πŸ™‚


I have just discovered Jamberry nail wraps! We have just got them about a month ago in the UK and I was lucky enough that my sister in law is a consultant out in Australia that when she visited a few weeks ago she gave me a free set to try and a few accent nails.

Now, because I have 4 quite young children and I sew, camp, do various crafts and outdoorsy stuff my nails do not last long and I daren’t do anything to them, I don’t have the time to paint them and I don’t have the time to take the polish etc off: the result – chipped horrid looking nails, so I just don’t bother very often.

I saw Jamberrys advertised by my sister in law and my friend here shortly afterward became a consultant here in the UK. They seemed like the perfect solution as I’m a fan of pretty nails πŸ™‚ I am now onto my 3rd Jamicure 9even my daughter is getting inΒ on the act!)Β and I’m loving it πŸ™‚

I’ve just placed my first order as I was so impressed by the free set my sister in law gave me, and I also held a online facebook party on Monday – which also earned me 2 sets of free wraps and 2 half price. The 4 sets I’d already ordered arrived today:

The 4 I earned as rewards hopefully should be here next week πŸ™‚

I can’t wait to try them all out πŸ™‚ If you’ve not tried them give them a go πŸ™‚


Been applique-ing

A friend asked me to make her a tote bag with an owl on to give to her sister for her birthday. I’ve also got two friends moving away in the next week whom I want to give a little reminder of their time in Cornwall:) these are these works in progress πŸ™‚ I do enjoy a bit of applique πŸ™‚