December 1st

The first day of Advent, spent suitably. This morning I finished knitting another Christmas present, socks for a friend with sore feet. The socks are soft and will I hope be comfortable. When that was done I got the Advent calendar down from the high cupboard where the Christmas decorations are stored,  I made it when my son was a baby. I used a pattern in a German handicraft magazine, it has Father Christmas in an embroidered sleigh and reindeer flying through the night sky towards a snow covered village.  There are 24 brass rings to which we tie a small parcel, one each day until Christmas. In the past I would wrap up pieces of Lego, small pencils or rubbers, stamps, sweets or tiny toys. Latterly I’ve wrapped more useful items like boxes of matches, pound coins, book tokens etc but this year with two children to help open the parcels there will be toys again. image

This afternoon was our school nativity play, I mended three donkey costumes, a camel costume and sewed the tail back onto a sheep. Then I helped small wriggling children get into their outfits and walked with them into the hall to perform in front of their parents and friends. After that it was off to Year 5 to design a meal for an astronaut.

This evening after the usual round of marking work and preparing for tomorrow’s lessons I started a tiny pair of socks for my granddaughter – red and white to match her liten fuggel mittens.

The time between the 1st of December and Christmas always seemed endless as a child, now it is the beginning of a busy time that seems to get shorter every year, but it still invokes the same anticipation and joy I’m glad to say.



More baby sewing

Cold days need warm clothes, a cosy needlecord pinafore dress over some lovely Frugi tights.The pinafore dress has a faced scalloped hem. The pattern is the MiniKrea Spencer dress, the needlecord from Truro fabrics. image

Leggings are quickly sewn and keep little legs warm, the jersey fabrics are from Kitschy Coo. The pattern is Brindille and Twig’s baby leggings.



And finally a bit of knitting, the pretty Alouette pattern by Frogginette, knitted in Rico wool double knit shade Rose


Baby things are such fun to sew.

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My friend is expecting a baby in a couple of weeks and we are going out for a meal tomorrow to celebrate and give her presents for the little one. I’ve had a lovely time sewing a few things -firstly this little suit made from a French pattern by Citronille. The top and trousers are made from very soft cream needlecord, a joy to cut out and sew. The tulip buttons are so pretty and not too girly in case the baby is a boy (I’ve included a set of blue buttons in case she prefers a more traditional finish to a boy’s outfit though.)

I then started playing around with some cotton jersey fabric, Isabelle has some little bandana bibs that she has worn a lot while teething and I decided to try to copy them. I used an organic cotton sweatshirt fabric for the backing and scraps of cotton jersey for the fronts. The puffin jersey is brilliant isn’t it! The puffin and one of the striped fabrics are a pale blue but photographed looking grey, the pink is the correct shade. They are so easy to sew and will I hope be useful as well as decorative. They are fastened with nickel free press studs, which I had to insert with a hammer as my special pliers have disappeared. I’m very very tempted by a KAM press but for the number of press studs I use in a year can’t justify the cost so a hammer it is! image image image

Please excuse the state of the kitchen table which desperately needs to be sanded down, although it’s “patina” does reflect its usefulness as an all purpose dining, sewing, diy station and generally useful space. Next week I’m back to sewing for Isabelle, she is growing rapidly and needs some new pinafores – I’ve ordered some cherry red and some navy needlecord for her and some very funky tights to go with her new dresses. She also needs new leggings for crawling about, so she’s getting stripey ones and puffin ones and some very pretty Liberty print jersey ones.

Baby footwear

there seems to have been an explosion of baby shoes, pram shoes, boots and slippers for babies, both ready made and patterns. I can’t remember there being so much choice, if any, when my son was a baby. There were the little cotton sewn booties that were rather like a bag with elastic round the ankles, there were the traditional knitted booties and of course there were the leather pram shoes for the well – heeled!He wore mostly traditional knitted booties and later on had soft slipper socks made in Norway. image

His daughter at eight weeks already owns more pairs of shoes than I do, mainly fabric shoes, in all colours including a pair of silver glittery boots. Looking around the Internet for sewing patterns for her I found the Lilly Baby Mary Janes pattern for tiny felt shoes. Yesterday I spent a couple of happy hours making these. The pattern is not difficult, fiddly definitely, but



fun to sew. The possible colour combinations are endless and wool felt makes them very soft for tiny feet. The pattern is from and the wool felt I used was from I used the 30% wool 1mm thick felt for the outer shoes and the pure wool 1mm felt for the linings and inner soles. I bought a pack of different coloured sheets of the 30%wool felt so that I could make a few pairs in different colours. The sheets are 20×30 cms and are just big enough to make the smallest size from a single sheet with careful cutting. Sewing the straps was very fiddly, I’m amazed I still have all my fingers intact, the pattern gives instructions to hand sew the edges with buttonhole stitch but the illustration showed machine stitching so I tried that, I’ll use buttonhole stitch next time! As you can see the machine stitching on the straps isn’t very even, however the baby won’t mind and these are my first try.

Rosy dress.

this week’s make was encouraged by reading about Kids Clothes week. The idea is to sew for an hour a day and make something for a child.

I have been away from work since before Christmas with pneumonia and was due to return on Monday. An hour a day of sewing sounded manageable and despite the fact that I was very tired each evening I stuck to the plan and by Friday I’d made a dress for my granddaughter.

I used Citronille pattern Myrantine



I made it dress length and omitted the frill at the neckline, I thought it would be a little bulky around the baby’s neck. The fabric is Liberty print Kingly Cord, Rosy pattern, bought from Truro Fabrics. I bought half a metre of 140cm width fabric and had plenty.image


“Vintage” babywear.

When I was expecting my son I had to spend a lot of time in hospital. The nurses asked if I wanted to bring a television to watch ( the days before TVs were supplied in hospitals by rental companies) but I asked if I could bring my sewing machine instead. After a check by the hospital electricians I was told I could and a system to secure the foot pedal to the end of the bed so that I could sew while sitting in bed was constructed. I was so productive that the nurses joked that I’d soon be sewing the school uniform for the baby.

I made this little outfit of dungarees and jacket thinking it would be a pretty outfit to take the baby home in.  image




The fabric was a soft cotton fabric with ducks and flowers, suitable for a boy or girl. I made the Newborn size (about 56cms) and added it to the pile of clothes in my locker ready for the new arrival due in September. The baby had other ideas and in the first week of July my tiny son was born. First size clothes were a bit big, the photo below shows the actual outfit he wore home, a Babycare by Dollycare Babygro.



He eventually wore the outfit the following summer when he was around a year old. I found the playsuit in a box of old fabric, patterns and other bits and pieces. After a wash and iron it has been passed on to his daughter, now aged seven weeks.  The little blue Babygro wouldn’t fit her!


MiniKrea Spencer dress.



My next sewing project was the Spencer kjole, a simple pinafore dress. I used a Liberty print corduroy from Truro fabrics ( Kingly Cord -Lauren in pink multi, £15.00 per metre), the pinafore took less than half a metre of fabric. The Kingly cord is very soft and fine wale making it ideal for baby clothing. The pattern is self faced to about waist height but in future I think I’d extend the facing to a full lining using a cotton fabric. It is a quick And easy make with few seams and two buttonholes which could be replaced with poppers to make it even simpler. For now it can be worn with a long sleeved t-shirt and tights but as the weather gets warmer it can be worn with a blouse or even as a sleeveless dress. I photographed it with the blouse but as it began snowing as I finished the dress I did think a long sleeved t-shirt and a cardigan would be more appropriate! image

Apologies for the poor photography, the daylight isn’t being very cooperative at the moment and it’s snowing so the sky is very overcast!

A new bundle of Citronille patterns arrived this morning so I should have some more baby clothes to show very soon and my little granddaughter’s wardrobe will be getting full!