Pure Barrie Breeks …


I made pants!  This is a trial pair of the recently released Barrie Briefs pattern from Kitschy Coo Patterns.  Amanda is best known for her amazing kids clothing made from bright and cheery Lillestof jerseys, which she also happens to stock in her shop.

According to Amanda, ‘Barrie’ is an Edinburgh slang term meaning ‘excellent’, and ‘Pure’ is widely used in Scotland as a superlative.  And these really are the most excellent pants ever!

I made these technicolour wonders from scraps of jersey leftover from other projects.  I made the largest size (I’m a RTW UK 20).  The pattern has options for low and medium rise.  I prefer a high rise, so I modified the pattern slightly, adding 2″ to the length of both the back & front pattern pieces.  The result is a perfect fit on my natural waist, and everywhere else, for that matter.

The instructions are beautifully clear and concise, and they took 90 minutes to make, including pulling scraps of fabric out of the waste basket, printing and sticking the pattern together (just 5 pages), cutting out and sewing on the overlocker.

I’m wearing them today, and I can honestly say they are the comfiest, best fitting pants ever.  I will definitely be making lots  more!

The Beanbag of Awesomeness …

Late last year I bought a piece of cotton with a Japanese Animé print from Evie at Pendle Stitches.  It had my 7 yr old neice’s name all over it, I knew as soon as I saw it.  Japanese animation being something of a ‘special interest’ of hers :)

I finally got around to doing something with it this week, after procrastinating for far, far too long.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, I give you

The Beanbag of Awesomeness, so named by my neice, who seems rather pleased with it.


One side side is the print fabric purchased from Evie.


The reverse side is soft brown corduroy, embroidered with small coloured flower blossoms.


I finished the opening with 6 big yellow buttons for easy removal and washing/replacement of beans.

Not an especially skillful or challenging piece of work, but it made a small person very happy!

A Rumble in the Jungle …

Hello, and happy new year everyone!


My contribution for Jungle January is the Style Arc Kristin dress.  Actually, I’m not sure what this fabric is.  It was sold as Ponte, but it’s quite thick & springy, possibly Scuba?  It has a good widthways stretch, which is handy.  It was quite nice to sew, except where any pressing or manipulation was required, in which case it was the devil’s work.

When I first made it I really wasn’t taken with it, thinking animal print all over might be a tad too much.  I asked the husband; Is this dress too much?  No, he said.  It’s not enough.  It needs a tail on the back….


Anyway, I made it in size 18, with no alterations and the fit is spot on.  For some reason the pattern asks you to insert a long zip in the centre back seam.  I figured it wasn’t needed, and indeed it isn’t.  It goes on over the head without any difficulty at all.  Yay for simplicity!

Style Arc Fiona

When I heard Style Arc had released a pattern with my name, I was immediately interested.  When I saw it, I was smitten!  A beautiful, 3/4 sleeved, shawl collared jacket pattern, designed for knit fabric; it’s right up my alley ;)

I actually sewed this before I went away, but I didn’t want to broadcast that I was going away, (you never know who’s looking) so I’ve waited until now to post it.


I sewed it entirely on my overlocker, and cut it out and stitched it in a single day.  It was a very, very easy make.  I used a navy Ponte Roma.  I found the Ponte a bit beefy really, and when I make it again I will probably use a heavier cotton spandex jersey.  The Ponte is a nice weight for this time of year though, and I specifically wanted it for wearing for air travel.  I absolutely love it!

I haz new Toyz!

Hello peeps!  I’ve been on the most awesome trip to Australia and New Zealand for the past 5 weeks.  I had the best time, simply the best.  I wish we could sell up and move to New Zealand, but unfortunately personal circumstances will not permit.

Still, it’s good to be home.  And, as promised, I have news about major improvements to my sewing room.

I have a new sewing machine, delivered today.  It’s the Janome MC8900QCP, which is currently on offer in the UK with £500 off the usual price and a free Mettler thread kit.  I had promised myself a new machine as a retirement present and was still deliberating which to buy from a shortlist of three, but this brilliant special offer sealed it.  I ordered yesterday and it was here this morning.  Take a bow Sewing Machines Direct, excellent service once again :)


I also have a new overlocker (serger), the Janome 744D, which is now exclusively available in the UK from Sewing Machines Direct.  She came with a gazillion special feet for gathering, binding, cording, beading etc.  It’ll take the rest of my life to learn how to use them.  The really big deal about this wonderful machine though,  is the ease of threading!  My previous overlocker was a brilliant little machine, but oh my word, she was so hard to thread.  This one though, is a breeze.  The lower looper conveniently pops out for threading and then clicks back into place.  Simples!


Not only that, but I have a wonderful new height adjustable sewing and cutting table, from Horn.  It’s the Sewer’s Vision table and is new to their range.  It  takes up so little room and suits my purposes perfectly, (woohoo, no more backache!)  and was a birthday present from my lovely husband :)  The pillows under the table are where my cat likes to sleep when I am sewing!


And finally, I have lovely new stash storage courtesy of Ikea.  My room is all set up and ready to go.  I am a very happy bunny indeed!


Now, what to sew??

Reflections …

Recent musings and revelations.  No pics.

1 I don’t go to work any more.  I have retired.  Last week I took 3 sacks of no longer needed work clothes to the charity shop.  Included in these sacks were several ‘me made’ garments from the past year or two.  Not going to work means my clothing needs have significantly changed.  At home, I wear little else but jeans, T shirts, sweaters.  It means I’m going to have to reconsider the kind of sewing I do and, more and more, I think I will be sewing for others rather than myself.  I know I’ve said before that I don’t enjoy sewing for others, but I can only make so many T shirts!

2  I’ve realised I don’t really enjoy wearing woven fabrics.  I love sewing and wearing knits, and these are the things which survived last week’s wardrobe cull.  I also realised when my overlocker recently failed, that I missed it more than I would miss my sewing machine if the situation were reversed.  I do a lot of my sewing on the overlocker.  So much so, that when the overlocker was fixed, I promptly gave it to a friend and bought a slightly more sophisticated one with a free arm and a million complicated attachments.  (I have the rest of my life to learn how to use them!)

3  I recently purged my stash of wovens, donating them to friends who, in turn, donated cash to charity.  I kept a few pieces, suitable for sewing aprons and the like.  See point 4.

4  As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I lost a valued colleague to cancer 5 years ago, and a dear friend earlier this summer.  Another friend is currently fighting that same fearsome battle.  I feel a strong urge to support the local hospice, who have been wonderful in their support of my friends, which may mean sewing to raise funds.  I’m thinking aprons, cushions, scarves and so on – small gift  items, where sizing is not particularly an issue.  I’d like to have a stall at the hospice garden party or something.

5  This would also serve to keep me occupied, since ‘More Time For Sewing’ was a big part of my retirement plan.

Your thoughts would be welcomed.

My next post will bring news of major improvements to my sewing room – with pics!

More selfless sewing …

Friends, it’s been a while, I know. It’s been a busy couple of months.  I recently retired from paid employment, and I’m making some changes to my sewing room, which is coming along nicely.  I’ve also been reflecting on my sewing and my new wardrobe needs; now that I no longer have to go to work, my requirements have altered significantly.  I’ve reached a few conclusions, which I’ll share with you soon.

For now though …

I was asked to make an apron for my neice for Christmas.  It will be a present from her Grandma and, in return, Grandma will make a donation to my local hospice in lieu of payment.  How could I refuse?

The local hospice is a cause close to my heart, having lost two very dear friends recently, both of whom spent their last days in the hospice.

For the apron, I used a downloadable pdf pattern called Yaya’s Apron, by SivjeGoose available here:

It was a lovely project to sew, and quite absorbing.  I made the age 10 – 14 size; although my neice is only 7, she is tall and will soon grow into it.  Also, this way, it will last her a few years.   It’s a very practical style, which pops over the head and has a closed yoke to keep it on securely, and optional back waist ties – I opted to use them, as it will pull it in a bit for her until she grows into it.

I was also asked to make a matching hair tie, which you can see folded over on the hanger underneath the apron.   For this, I basically used the ruffle pattern piece, to which I added a matching curve at the ‘blunt end’.  I cut two pieces and sandwiched them right sides  together with the broderie anglaise trim on the curved edge, leaving a small gap to turn right side out and stitch closed.  It makes a nice elongated crescent shaped tie, which could also double as a waist tie if it is really tooooo big!

I did not follow the instructions slavishly, and went off piste a little with some broderie anglaise trim I wanted to use instead of the recommended bias binding for trimming the pocket and the ruffle.  I do like the pattern though, and I will probably use it again to make an adult sized apron.

The fabrics are a grey cotton/linen blend with a cute multicoloured elephant print, and red cotton poplin with cream mini polka dots, both purchased at a local market.  The bias binding is cream with a sweet strawberry print.

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