Pocketful of Petals

Having a baby boy means that I get massive clothes envy. I love buying clothes my son, but whenever I’m shopping I like to have a wander around the whole of the baby clothes section, not just the boy’s! Girls’ clothes are just so gorgeous…and you get so many more varieties of styles, fabric and colours.

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When my nephew, Jacob, was born I had the intention of making baby clothes. Jacob is now three years old and has yet to receive an item to wear! I struggle to think of many items to make for boys that I would actually dress them in, other than perhaps a funky printed shirt (and I’ve been a bit scared of attempting these).

Girls, on the other hand are much easier…dresses, skirts, pantaloons, tops…pretty much anything looks good in florals, spots, stripes, animals or other children’s printed fabric. (And simpler to make than a shirt!).

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So I was pleased to be asked to make a skirt for a two year old little girl, Eva, with matching bag…well, every lady needs matching accessories!
A girl’s skirt with elasticated waist band is quite straight forward to make, however; I wanted my skirt to have a flat waistband at the front, to give it a neater look than those that are elastic all the way around the waistband.

SONY DSCThree practice skirts later, and I had measurements and the ‘know how’ in order to make the skirt I wanted; including a neat flat front waistband, elasticated in the back to allow to pull on and off and fit with ease, and ties to fasten into a pretty bow at the back.

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The fabrics I used were light-weight cotton with a small bright pink and orange floral print for the main body of the skirt, and contrasting pink and white spotty for the waistband and skirt edge; both from The Eternal Maker.

I also added a cute gathered pocket with embroidered flowers to the front of the skirt.

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I loved this skirt. The only problem is that, to date, I can only make it in size age 2…and unless I figure out other sizes, my new born niece is going to have to wait a couple more years until I can make one for her! As for Jacob and Jesse, they are just going to have to wait until I get around to attempting shirts!

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Possibly the world’s longest pyjamas!

One of the best things I think about sewing, and making things in general, is being able to really personalise something.

Over the past few months, I’ve made and blogged about a number of things that I have personalised with names including: bibs, Christmas stockings, panda teddies, and aprons; items that were given as gifts for children and new born babies.

However, more recently, I was contacted and asked to make something that was bespoke made for a different reason! After seeing my post late last year about some pyjamas I’d made for a friend, my customer Louise emailed me to see if I would make some for her dad who has real trouble finding some to fit…well, with a 41inch inside leg, I’m not surprised!

Not being overly familiar with the inside leg measurements of men’s trousers, at first I didn’t comprehend how tall Louise’s dad must be. It was only when it was Pete pointed out to me that his inside leg measurement is 32 inches! After double checking with Louise, she confirmed that her dad was indeed 6ft 8″ with very long legs but still has a slim waist; and has difficulties in shops who generally think: long legs, large waist.

So, after having to cut out the fabric on the floor (as my table wasn’t big enough), I finished the PJs – I hope he likes!

They're almost as tall as me!

Cupcakes for Christmas

Everyones loves cupcakes, and with cupcakes comes baking, and with baking comes aprons of course!

I’d consider myself well practiced in making adult aprons, but I recently made some mini aprons for two little ladies for the first time. I was asked to make two aprons for little girls whose mum loves baking as a nice Christmas gift for them. The brief was cupcakes, and they had to be identical with their names on the front.

I sourced some perfect fabric from the Etsy shop, Sakizome, which came all the way from Singapore, for the main apron. For the lining and pocket I used some cute pink gingham.
Because the names of the little girls, Lily and Mia, are quite short, I had enough space to also add a little cupcake picture – after drawing these out first, I then embroidered them onto a little rectangle panel of apron fabric that I then sewed onto the pocket, which I also edged in pink ric rac to make it prettier (you can never have enough pink for little girls!).

SInce making these, I have another two little girl aprons the same as these to make, and two little boys (with farm animal fabric which is equally as cute), in time for Chrimbo – best get [Christmas] cracking…

Isn’t it funny how things come back around?

Make-your-own is in, re-cycling is all the rage (using this word, I am so not!); whilst I think it is fair to say the recession has played a part in this, I kind of this it’s part is mainly acting as an excuse.

People like to make things, be it baking, painting, sewing, whatever, the satisfaction and pride someone gets from a finished product that they have lovingly spent time and effort stressing over, unpicking and starting-over a few times, is second only to that of the reaction the receiver [of said craft] gives in return. Crafting is cool, that’s it, and people like me and fellow crafters are proud to admit it. Others who perhaps think it is not so cool, but secretly enjoy it, blame the recession.


In terms of fashion, I also think individuality plays a part. Think back to the 70s – a time of creativity in terms of music and clothes (think platforms, flares and bright colours), which is probably why Clothkits was such a hit – combining homemade children’s clothes with bright colours and funky (if not slightly crazy) patterns!

Originally founded in 1968, Clothkits, a company selling kits to make children’s clothes, became a huge success in the 1970s and 1980s. When recently mentioned to my mum the response was ‘are they still going?’. Whilst I was too young myself, in the early 1980s, to really remember wearing Clothkits clothes, or what outfits I had, I definitely remember it being a household name.

My sister, a young Alex back in the early 80s (in what I think is a school play!) kitted out in Clothkits.

On a recent outing to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, myself and my friend and sewing pal, Sam, whilst in crafting heaven, stumbled upon the Clothkits stand, blinded by it’s bright yellow and orange lion-printed dungarees on display. With our families being friends for ever, living a street apart, playing and going to school together when we were young, Sam and I, instantly recognised the familiar branding that dominated ours, and our siblings, wardrobes for that period of trend in our young lives. Whilst Sam’s mum is a home economics teacher and very skilled on the sewing machine, I’m pretty me and sis were at a slight disadvantage on the street cred scale…especially going on a jumper my mum once knit on the knitting machine in which I couldn’t even lift my arms up in (I still loved it though mum, honest, it was toasty warm!).

Whilst still being very much Clothkits style, relaunched in 2008, it has however been brought up to date, even featuring prints from the very cool designs of Rob Ryan! How could I resist! Well, I did actually resist the aforemetioned dungarees (even these I think are a still a little too crazy) but I did get some super cute little dress patterns for our nieces: Charlotte (soon to be 3) and Emma (9 months).

As soon as I got home, I couldn’t wait to give them a go. Whilst I am not the best as making clothes (yet!) I was so impressed with how simple these were and easy the instructions were to follow. The kits came with fabric, with the pattern printed on, lining fabric, matching threat and buttons – everything to make the complete dress.

A few hours later and my first dress, the little red pinafore for Emma, was finished…

Then on to Charlotte’s shift…

All ready to wrap for Christmas!

I’m really pleased with the results, and really enjoyed making them. I definitely recommend Clothkits, I know I will certainly be buying the kits again, especially for when I have children; maybe they will look back in years to come when the home-made movement goes another full circle, laugh at the fashions, but be pretty chuffed that someone made them something with love.

Getting ready for winter.

Leaving work in the dark, doubling up on scarves, and a hot water bottle for bed means, for me, winter has definitely arrived!

With this in mind, as well as you-know-what looming (dare we mention the C word!), I decided to add to the list a few things that will prepare us for the cold weather. The first being a little quilted hottie (a perfect Chrimbo gift for the girls!)…

And the second some comfy PJs. I actually made these for my friend Sarah who is just about to move into a lovely big old farmhouse, so these may come in handy before the heating kicks in. I used some super soft brushed cotton tartan material (perfect PJ print!). I am planning on attempting a shirt for myself with the left overs (watch this space for that one!)

Complete with little label...so Sah doesn't forget who made them 🙂

And here they are modelled by the lovely Lindsay (Sah was a little camera shy).