This blog was primarily started to log my hand sewn wardrobe and other things I made along the way together with the odd bit about other parts of my life. I have to say that I have been a bit lax in this ideal. This was sharply brought to mind this week when I decided to take stock of any holes in my wardrobe that needed plugging. Identifying gaps has also highlighted just what I have made and not made mention of here let alone taking any photographs.

I shall have to review and try to rectify this if I can at some point for my own record,  but meanwhile a quick check revealed several holes, the first of which was the basic humble T-shirt. I have tops and blouses of all kinds, but surprisingly was down to only one handmade T-shirt still in current use and this was getting a lot of use.

I didn’t think that I was a T-shirt kind of person in that at one time it definitely wouldn’t have been my first go to when deciding what to wear [the legal professions doesn’t tend to wear T-shirts when working] but that was then and this is now and surprisingly I find I love them, so easy to wear and can be dressed up or down with whatever you put them. For such a basic garment getting a good fit can be tricky so welcome the Alabama Chanin T-shirt pattern. At first sight it can look incredibly basic. The only shaping is at the sides but it is the elemental simplicity that I love and the fit is spot on for my shape. So I’ve made SIX! I have made a black one, a white one, striped one, navy, brown and green ones. Because they are all the same I will only show the striped one [to show my stripe- matching – little show off that I am!] and the green one. They are all jersey knit but of varying weights. The green is the softest, silkiest jersey and despite the colour being listed as khaki, I love it.

                A STRIPED T SHIRT APRIL '16     A GREEN T SHIRT

The Alabama Chanin pattern came with one of her books that I bought. I have a couple and can’t remember now which one, but I think it might be this one.DSC_2647The first T-shirt I made,[co-incidentally green]  was in the Alabama Chanin style, but the double thickness was too thick and heavy for my taste so my others are plain.

catchup 008

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We have so much inspiration and stimulation of enthusiasm out there in sewing blogland. and like a lot of things, it can be a blessing and/or a curse, depending on  your own personality.

With a mind that darts about like a mosquito [with a brain size to match sometimes!] it can be a bit much for me not to be led astray,  but the best bit is when someone out there crystalises what you have been thinking about and wanting to do for absolutely yonks.

Carolyn Smith of http://www.handmadebycarolyn.com has just such an effect on me. She made it feasible to me that it is not only perfectly acceptable to make your own clothes but to wear every day only those clothes you have made yourself. True, others have made pledges to go on a Ready To Wear fast, sometimes for a year or maybe two, but then they yen for the buzz shopping for RTW gives them and their wardrobes share both once again. In my case it wasn’t a crusade or a pledge of any kind, it just gradually crept in and RTW items phased out and now three years on I don’t even give it a thought, wearing my own handmades every day is perfectly natural and I find I really don’t own more than one or two RTW items other than shoes! So here we come to it, my Everest.

Now be patient, in Everest terms I am barely at base-camp. I have a long, long way to go. I’m enthused for the journey by Carolyn’s own productions, especially her paprika suede boots. [ http://www.handmadebycarolyn.com.au/2016/03/paprika-suede-desert-boots.html  -you must go and look] but painfully aware that I am such a novice, but hey, one that is willing and eager to learn. The rest here is in picture form of my first attempts with just captions. Be kind!

First you make a pattern by taping over a shoe or a boot as in my case. Carolyn explains the process very clearly on her blog. Then the design is drawn and the taped pattern is cut off the shoe.

IMG_20160326_1019484_rewind IMG_20160326_1020120_rewindIMG_20160326_1049566_rewind

From the cut out pieces of the pattern you can make a paper pattern, which I omitted to photograph. Then cut out your fabric. I used an old pair of denim jeans bought at a charity shop for £1,

I used fabric glue to first glue the pieces together in my prototype shoe before stitching.

IMG_20160326_1508024_rewindI then decided that I wanted a more finished look and decided to line and edge the trainer shoe [for that is what it is supposed to be just so you know] with blue/white polka dot cotton and used the same for bias binding the edges. I cut new pieces from the same pattern.

These are still only the ‘tops’ or uppers and have yet to be put on a solefirst denim trainerfirst denim trainer side view

4.  I used a foam play mat for the soles, glued an inner sole of denim onto a piece of cardboard and glued them to the foam sole. I used a craft knife to carefully cut the foam on a cutting mat and was surprised how easy it was. I then sanded down the sides smoothly into shape.

5. I inserted metal lace holes with a punch tool, then cut and applied a foam heel, shaping it first with a craft knife and then finishing with sanding.

outside right foot with heel prototype 1inside right foot with heel prototype 1DSC_0181

This was my prototype and it fits snuggly and with a bit of finessing and with a left shoe to match – will prove to be a perfectly wearable and comfortable pair of trainers. But already I have drafted an improved version, and plan to use some suede leather and faux suede and pleather I have in my stash for some more shoes. I plan to make Summer shoes and sandals, but I am already running ahead of myself with ideas. So, as ever, I am having to rein myself in, calm down and learn, learn, learn, then practice, etc. I learned long ago that there is no substitute for hard slog if you really want to do something, but this is enjoyable slog I have to say. Oh, yes, and tools. You quickly learn that as in sewing, you can’t get very far without some tools for the job to make the work easier. Oh joy, I love tools.



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With the emphasis on playing! Every now and then  my grand-daughter Harri and her young friend Mali come to play. We do a variety of crafts and generally have a load of fun with surprising results some times. [e.g.drawing on shoes, below]

PhotoGrid_1427127013135EVERYONE!9 april 2015 018IMG_20160318_194551

Last week they came over to play hooky -[on rugs that is] .On their previous visit to make Star Wars models Mali had seen some that I had made ages and ages ago and chose that for his next project.

rugs 010 rugs 006rugs 007

He had visions of the Superman logo and got stuck right in.

DSC_1419  Unfortunately he found it wasn’t quite so quick and easy and he had hoped but at least he has the fundamentals, and that’s OK because the whole purpose of these sessions is to just widen the fun and enthuse. If he wants to he can pick it up again. It certainly worked with me and I soon got ‘hooked’ again and started this little picture, not quite sure what I’ll do with it though. [*credit/disclaimer; This is not my original idea for a picture as I saw this picture of Mrs. Rabbit [my name for her] originally on Pinterest, but can’t quite remember whose picture it was but it was under the heading ‘rug hooking’]

IMG_20160321_1548386_rewindRoughly drawn on hessian in pencil and hooked with odd bits of DK wool. It has now got to this stage


As usual, while doing one thing I am planning the next and thought I might try and recreate some of my pictures in wool! I thought I might try this one of a kingfisher that I originally did in acrylics, a challenge! which is just what I like.


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‘Fessing time.

Which kind are you? The one who when they run out of hangers [or hanging space even] thinks to self that they have too many clothes and perhaps they ought to stop making any more? or do you think that you are sadly lacking in hangers [and/or space] and that something ought to be done about it?I tend to the latter, no surprises there. So what do you do? Have a cull? Pack them away for another time? or just try and squeeze ‘just a few more’ in?


Regular seamstresses are notoriously mean with fabric. As in Marley and Scrooge. Scrooge bbc ***

That is why they have such large stashes I’m sure. They eek out the last bit or they keep stacks of [usually useless] bit of leftovers ‘just in case’. Admittedly there have been a few occasions when I have been very grateful for a matching piece of fabric saved for just an occasion but in the main I can’t say a lot has been called out of hiding to fulfil purpose. I do keep some interesting selvedges for trims and have actually used a couple. I also keep interesting prints of suitable fabric for making in bias binding or trim facings. However the majority lurks and I have this irrational fear of junking it thinking that the minute I do I will need it. images7H3T6IJ2 re fabric stash

It’s the same with buttons. When I do discard something, the zips and buttons have to be removed – and even then the fabric is sometime kept for something else when I have new fabric just waiting to be used. I imagine that most of you out there are smiling smugly being totally disciplined and organised yourselves – REALLY?  Come on now, ‘fess up.

Do you think I need therapy? Or could I just be perfectly normal ? [for a sewer, that is].

*** Scrooge image from that recent, brilliant BBC Dickensian. [hope a sequel is in the offing]

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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING – [and all’s well that ends well]

A little misunderstanding with WordPress [mine] led to my self imposed exile from this blog for a while. Fortunately the very helpful Ian over at WP sorted everything out for me and once again all’s well in blogland here at LAWIP. Just thought I’d let you know I wasn’t just being lazy. Far from it! I have been extremely busy of late.

I have been knitting, dyeing yarn and of course sewing. I also had fun days teaching my 9yr. old grand-daughter Carrie to sew. Carrie and I have been sewing buddies for a couple of years now and when she showed she was really quite serious about her sewing and knitting I bought her a Singer 99k a couple of years ago. Those familiar with these lovely machines will know it is the baby brother to my lovely 201K and 66K being about 75% of their size. She sews beautifully on it, a complete natural. To complete her crafting indoctrination her Mum has taught her knit and spin too, so she’s well on the way. Together we made a navy t-shirt on which she sewed a heart in sequins and machine embroidered the hem.

I know I enjoy lots of photos on the blogs I read regularly and I really ought want to put more on mine, but here are some to catch up just a little;

1.Aran jumper for my Great Grandson River [ aged 4yrs]

river'sjacket RIVER 2

It looks very similar to Eden’s; same wool, Aran, leather buttons etc., but the Aran pattern is different from Eden’s [here]aran probably not easy to spot the differences unless you were the one knitting them!

I also had a lovely day last week with Abigail spending  the whole day dyeing. Here I am knitting one of the colour ways we dyed in  toe up socks which will be with  ‘fish lip’ heels.This will be the second pair with this kind of heel. IMG_20160129_114448 but I’m still to be converted.

On the sewing front I have taken the Craftsy course on Heirloom sewing and reignited my love of tucks, lace and  smocking. I am already envisaging lots of projects to use these. I have also been dipping into and trying out the Bias Construction Techniques from Julianne Bramsome, a fascinating book and concept! I need to do more on that.

So, I have been busy back here and have lots more I’d love to try. Unfortunately my ‘photographer’ is no longer able to take my photos for my blog, so unless I can recruit passing bodies to help out, all my photos will have to be on the dress form or hangers until I can try something else, we’ll see!

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Year, that is. Although I have the firm philosophy that there is something good to be found in every day, I have to admit there were times last year when the search was hard. So in many ways I am not sorry to see the back of 2015 [although I don’t like to wish life away there is so little of it].But there were good times too, we had a beautiful addition to the family aptly named Beau,

beaut beau (300x300)2  [Isn’t he gorgeous?]

and got to see everyone in the family at some time during the year [and as that is nearing 50 with marriage partners etc., that was no mean feat, but a wedding took care of most of it].

But as this is primarily a sewing and ‘doing’ blog I suppose a review of the highs and lows of me-mades during 2015 is in order. First the highs;

I am most pleased with the achievement of being able to put in 7 zips into a jacket, zipped pockets and sleeve vents no less, when I made the Motor City Express Jacket from Islander sewing patterns. The lows on this were that I wasn’t impressed with my fabric choice [dull grey corduroy] and that it was a size too big to begin with – the sizes are more than generous, and now it is quite loose. I am still pleased with the make however;


As I’ve said before, Janet Pray’s Craftsy videos are excellent, and this lining was sewn all one go and was turned rights sides through tiniest little gap – I wouldn’t have thought it possible until I did it.

Then there was the discovery of this little skirt pattern, which I have made several times since. It has turned out to be my turn-to pattern for a straight skirt with some detailing that I can highlight or not as I choose. I’ve made it up with contrast silk binding or just plain, I have made version with patterned pocket linings and edging. Unfortunately I only have one picture of a detail on a skirt made, but I am sure there will be plenty more to come.

.light relief 005 light relief 002

I suppose my Badgely Mishka dress should be one on my highs, although it isn’t a favourite to wear;IMG_20151211_122831_hdr

I have a lot of other things I would choose over this dress, but it went together well and was an easy make.  I have drafted my own patterns for jackets, skirts and tops, many of which I am very happy with and have yet to take photos of. One of my favourites is my cowl top pattern and a straight skirt pattern which I vary with different pocket placements.The only photo I have is this failure of a selfie in which you can see neither clearly!mkwf37GCOfiAXMstqQmaXA_t_asset The lows aren’t too many thank goodness, the main one is this, not because it turned out badly, it was retrieved quite successfully, but because of the many hours spent on something I wasn’t happy with anyway.

IMG_20151211_122019_hdr    brown jacket 004

Another one is this pattern. I didn’t even bother to take a picture of my version. It came out alright, but I am not a caped crusader by any stretch of the imagination it was too cumbersome for me to wear V8776and has since spent life folded up in the bottom of my wardrobe. There is a lot of fabric in it which might be turned to something more wearable in the future.

I ventured into other realms of making with my leather handbag and purse. Strictly speaking not too adventurous as they were in kit form, all cut out and with the holes ready-punched. They gave me a taster though and reminded me that I always intended to do more leatherwork. I made a couple of Messenger handbags in black and red and a yellow purse.

red Monetyellow purse

I have dyed, and knitted, painted on jugs and drawn on shoes; all fun and there will probably me more of the same to come.

DSC_0073 (2)!9 april 2015 019JUG


To end on an entirely other note, I think I will adopt the motto below for 2016;

H old  OP ain E nds

See you soon.  P.S. Sooner than I thought, one of the French sites I read had this on one of their T-shirts and I might just have this one  too,” je le ferai demain”, in English? “I’ll do it tomorrow”. The French site is Adeline et Cecile Creations Fascinates. Go see. The T-shirts can be found on a website called Shaman I believe.Adeleine





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Sorry about that, saying I had resurfaced and then disappearing again that is! Just when you thought it safe to pop your head up it gets swamped again, but that’s life.

I have been busy sewing, and knitting, but it is the photography that is getting me stumped at the moment. The light is dreadful, and getting togged up and changed for photos takes up extra time that I just don’t have at the moment. I have tried taking selfies, but they make me look like a Hall of Mirrors reflection, so not something I would want to publish on the net, it might frighten the children and horses.

So what do I have? I have trawled my photo albums to try and find something new and came up with these;

First up, I have been practising my Sashiko stitching. I bought a few old pairs of jeans from a Charity shop [£1 each] which I wanted to cut up into a patchwork, I also had some indigo cotton for a cushion cover. These are my first runs to decide which patterns to use.

IMG_20151019_122805_hdr (1)DSC_0111 (1)

Next up, remember this jacket that I took to pieces to re-fit? No? can’t say I blame you it was yonks ago now, but I finally finished and cut out new lining. Trouble is, I have lost more weight and it is still a bit loose, but I’m definitely not doing it again.


Then there was this.


A Badgley Mishka dress I make back at the beginning of the Summer for my grand-daughter’s wedding [it has taken me this long to photograph it!]. That is now a size too big, but I can always tighten the sash, so no refit thank goodness.

Then there was some knitting. This is the Aran snuggly Harvest Moon. It looks terrible on Bertha, but looks much better on and IMG_20151211_120704_hdris snuggly and surprisingly light.

Now just to prove I can’t take selfies, I was trying to get a picture of the cowl top I had drafted.  I am wearing a self-drafted red wool skirt. I went on to make a black jersey cowl top and a white jersey one too, but I gave up on the selfies.[sorry about  the cleavage].

second still

Now just because-  the garden looking very unseasonal for the end of  November and the obligatory cat!


That’s all folks! Hope to get my act together soon.



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I’m back from the dark recesses of sewing limbo at last. The past few months since my last post has been spent readjusting to ‘things’ life has popped up and we’re now managing not too badly thankyou! It did mean that for a short while the sewing mojo went out of the window, but just lately it has resurfaced – as have I.

This short post is just really to say that I am back; Yoshimi  [yoshimitheflyingsquirrel.com]  put it really well in one of her recent posts. She more or less said that as she started the blog to log her sewing makes and feels comfortable popping in and out of the blogosphere as she feels, she doesn’t ‘explain’ her absences over much – just enough for public consumption. A good way to go on this I think other peoples’ problems can be a bit boring sometimes can’t they?

Anyway, ’nuff said. I have been sewing but I haven’t had the opportunity to put the clothes on and take any photo’s, so any pics. I do put up in the next few posts that I have in mind will be on the dress form I’m afraid.

Back soon. [d.v.]



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Remember this?


of course you do! Heck even I can remember it, it was only the last post and I was full of enthusiasm for the design that was in my head and the dyeing of the colours I had intended for the patterns. It was the sample swatch for a jumper I wanted to design and knit for myself.

.DSC_0073 (2)

I dyed 4ply natural white wool in a range of the rusts and oranges, also a lovely green and a fresh yellow were added to the range of rusty through peachy colours shown here, ~ and I started. I cast on for the jumper and I knitted the ribbing as per sample and the first peerie pattern and was half way through the green heart stretch [knitting in the round] when I noticed that the round I was working was out of kilter, the stitches didn’t sync with the round below. So off the needles it came. I only intended to pull it back to the beginning of the pattern to have a rethink and check but thought that while it was off I would try it on for size ~ and wow it was way too big. Now I had checked the tension, worked out the maths, just simple multiplication after all, so where did it go wrong? Don’t ask me! I’m still wondering. So the lot came out and  rolled back into balls to go back to the drawing board [or pad]. My faith in the tension square has been badly shaken, I need to recover.

Meanwhile, we hit a cold, wet spot here in Hampshire [and I reckon probably everywhere else in the UK] and I hauled out my snuggly handknits from a couple of winters ago, one of which was the Harvest Moon pattern from Heidi Kirrmaer [her picture shown below]. I have lived in it. I also added myself to the family list of casualties succumbing to a horrible fluey cold virus,  so the cosy wrap around texture of the soft Aran type wool I had used was like a warm comfy blanky. [you never grow out of the need for one of these!]. I just wish I had a bigger photo to share, but realise I had only taken a photo of it in progress for my Ravelry, but find the original pattern there and have a look.HARVEST MOONAnyhoo a long story short, I decided to use the Womens’ Institute Aran yarn I recently bought at Hobbycraft in Basingstoke in a lovely steely dark grey and knit another! What can’t be seen from the tiny photo above is the lovely I-cord detailing and pockets. You start with just twenty stitches to knit the garter yoke/collar incorporating a clever I-cord edging for the neck edge and a faux I-cord at the other edge making it easy to pick up the stitches to knit down for the sleeves and body. It is a dream to knit, ~ really and soooo cosy. I originally bought the yarn, which although 100% Acrylic [ugh] is a lovely smooth yarn and knits up squidgy soft but firm, for a cable  fest Aran style jacket, but hey since when did I keep to plan?

I am still intent on knitting the fairisle, I have new ideas for the design, perhaps a cardi with perhaps an I-cord cast on – still not decided but definitely in the near future it will be cast on again. You need something to get your teeth into while knitting stocking stitch largish cardigan.

We had a bit more sunshine today, but there is no doubt that Autumn is here and these pictures [taken before the rains came] confirm it


.DSC_0081IMG_20150910_110359_hdrDSC_0077DSC_0082 The girls are waiting for their morning scratch around the garden. This time of year they have free range to dig up all the bare patches. They are let out most days into the garden throughout the year, although they have quite a big run [this is the small inner one] they like a good scratch around. They are useful now as opposed to being a pain when young plants are first in, they dig up and clean up, making my life a bit easier.

I have been sewing, perhaps next time I’ll have photos to show. We’ll see.

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No excuses, I’ve been right here, but life got very busy there for a while – real life, not hobby-life, so sewing has taken a bit of a back seat lately. On the up side we have a new arrival in our family, another great-grandson happily healthy and beautiful, which makes up for the grunge we have had lately. In fact, since my last post the only things I have sewn are a toddler’s dress and a skirt which is still waiting for the hem and waistband to be finished.

Circumstances have, however, allowed me to knit a bit; new-baby coat, an Aran jacket for a three year old, a domino-knit blanket and a swatch for my next project. I have been taking photos on my ‘phone. It’s a new ‘phone so I don’t know whether there will be any improvement in quality. I didn’t get any pictures of the baby coat[s][x3], I was too anxious to get them to their destination, and I can’t find the photo I have of my great grandson wearing his Aran jacket, but only some of them prior to posting. Anyhoo, for what their worth – a medley.

IMAG5841How gorgeous is this? Not the dress of course!


     Aran tweed with tan fleck, and vintage leather ‘football’ buttons [sourced from e-bay].


Not a lot to say about this, knitted in grey aran weight wool in domino squares. I usually knit a chevron pattern when doing this particular pattern, but thought this way round would make a nice change.


This is a swatch that I knitted for a jumper project I have in mind. I dyed the wool the colours I wanted and chose the patterns from Alice Starmore’s lovely book on Fairisle, which I have had for yonks. The green wool is hand spun too, but the other wools are commercially spun undyed yarns [I got mine from Wooltops.co.uk] . I actually dyed these rust and orange colours from egg dye from the U.S., but I am waiting for  some Eurolana dyes to replicate them for the actual garment.


DSC_0073 (2) Here are the range of colours I got from one dye bath, initially ‘brick’ with a little orange. Successive dye lots got softer and more peachy. The ball on the bottom right, the darkest, is actually some hand spun sports weight wool that I had just plied and wanted to see how it took the colour, but I have some ‘fairisle’ weight in the same colour that I used in my swatch.

I hope to get back to my sewing soon. Trouble is, sewing is a somewhat solitary occupation not really practical at the moment whereas knitting can be done anywhere. Hope to be back soon.


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