A Grrrrroovy Tiger Shirt

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I love this shirt, I think it’s brilliant. I think it looks cool, retro, funky, funny, different, smart…. but I can’t take any credit for it. I have to start this post by saying this is a total rip off of a shirt made by the very clever sewer and blogger at madebymamasha. She is also one of the brains behind the fantastic pattern shop Zonen09.

I haven’t sewn for my son for a while, and wanted to make him something he would choose to wear. He doesn’t normally wear shirts as he finds buttons fiddly, but said he would try one with snaps, and when he spotted this great ed emberley fabric he was hooked on the idea. I would have loved to use a true Zonen09 pattern for this, but their digital patterns are not yet available in English, so I used the Sis Boom Ethan shirt pattern I bought in a group purchase. It worked really well. I chose a size smaller than usual to get a slimmer fit, squared off the bottom and added extra interfacing for the snaps.

Just look at my first real go at pattern matching on the pocket- can you spot it? Not perfect, but I am chuffed.

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This was my first shirt and with clear instructions was easier than I thought. The cuffs look professional, the topstitching gives it a professional finish, and it has passed the store bought test with friends.

I’m not sure how many shirts I will make, but I did enjoy this sewing and, though all my husband said when he first saw this was ” Now he just needs a moustache and some 70′s sunglasses”, he did ask if I was ever going to make him something.

Here is my boy striking a pose when asked – he hasn’t quite got the cool camera style down yet…

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And our very own tiger getting in on the act!

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This post comes just in time for Kids Clothes Week- I did make it before, but only a few days so I am counting it… and I am just finishing my next little sew. Hopefully I will have some pictures to share soon.

Independence Day Geranium

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Happy 4th July! Today has been hot and sunny and our little UK town has been celebrating Independence Day with fairs, festivities and picnics. We live fairly near to some large US air bases so there is a high percentage of American children at School and pre school here.
America week has been running since Monday and Big Boo has come home with flags, Native American bracelets and head dresses, an American cent (“Now we can go to America one day Mummy- I have the money!”), and hot dog picnics.

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I had already bought this fabric with plans of a jersey Geranium dress, and it turned out to be perfect for Boo to wear (along with her red and white striped underwear!) for her pre school celebrations.

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I altered the sewing a bit and stitched the head hole first to give a nice finish, then pressed the arm holes in place to sew them up after turning the bodice the right way (I did line the bodice, and it gives the dress a bit more stability). These photos are second day of wearing and I should have ironed the turned up hem and the sleeves, but they do look quite smart when pressed- I promise!

Boo started off happy to be photographed but got fed up quite soon as you can see here!

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I hope those of you celebrating today have a great time!

Willow and Co Clover Shorts

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Riding high on my success with the Willow and Co Ash Pants I decided to have a go at sewing up another of their new patterns, this time the Clover Shorts. I am so glad I did, these have risen right up to the top of my favourite children’s patterns, along side the Geranium dress. They were so easy to sew, I followed the pattern without any trouble, only making a few changes- no belt loops or sash (the busy material didn’t need them, I thought), and added interfacing to to the front waistband for a little extra stiffness here.

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The size 4 pattern fits my tall 3 year old perfectly, and the puffy pleat version adds a little bit of girliness without being too over the top for my tastes.

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The pockets are the right size for little hands, and always appreciated for holding collections of stones, conkers and (current favourite) helicopter seeds.

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They are perfect for running about on the grass on a sunny day, or for terrorising the new cat (named Sausage by my son!). This fabric is 150 year celebration fabric from John Lewis in the UK. It is quite pricey, but these were made in less than half a metre, and I think it is worth it.

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I leave you with a picture of Boo practising her newest skill, the curtsy. Now if only the pattern came in adult sizing….

Liberty zoo print Geranium

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Here comes the sun, here comes the sun and we say… “It’s alright”.

At last the summer has arrived here in the uk, a good excuse for a new Geranium dress for Boo. Back in April I went for a day trip to London with my mother (my first visit since having children!) and we kicked off the day with a visit to Liberty. If you have never been the beautiful building alone is worth taking the time to see, but if you are interested in fabric it is definitely one of those places on your tick list to visit. Liberty floral prints are so instantly recognisable, beautiful and timeless, that I was drawn to them. However, when I spotted this animal print I wanted it immediately. It has that beautiful softness of liberty lawn, perfect for a hot sunny day with a light breeze to catch it.

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I immediately new I wanted to make one of Rae’s Geranium dresses using it, and I haven’t been disappointed. I made my favourite style- cap sleeves, button back, and as usual simply cut one length of fabric for the skirt and placed the seam at the centre back.

This has already been worn a few times, with leggings on a cooler day…

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… And today on our country walk looking for damsel flies. I have to add this picture of Big and Little Boo walking hand in hand marching ahead to be the first to spot them. A moment of sibling camaraderie captured forever- or blackmail for my son who ‘does not hold hands with girls’! Oh the things we get carried away with in the sunshine.

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I hope you have been enjoying the sun wherever you are.
Watch this space for yet another geranium (think I am becoming slightly obsessed).

Willow and co. Ash Pants

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Have you seen the new willow and co. patterns yet? The look book is full of inspiration and obviously appealed to me as I have succumbed to this pattern while it is still very new – something unusual for me.
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These pants come as part of a jumpsuit pattern, so you also get a top pattern, full suit and these trousers- 3 pieces of clothing all rolled into one! I chose the trousers to make in the knowledge that my daughter most likely would refuse to wear the top as it is a bit frilly around the neck with the ruffles. Also, I like the trousers best- so it’s win win.

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The pattern was really easy to follow and sew up. I did french seam the front and back centre seams for added strength and top stitched them down so they didn’t rub at all. I even went for the ruffle effect on the waistband (which I thought may be too much, but is actually quite sweet). The pockets were a plus for Boo, though she did comment that she would like them bigger, and next time I think I would use the largest pattern size rather than middle, as she can only just get her hands in them.

As soon as Boo put these on she said “These feel like pyjamas Mummy.” This could be a compliment as they are so comfy, or may mean they end up being worn in bed. I don’t mind if they do as they were so quick to make. I do think I’ll make another pair in chambray which may look a little more like day wear, and I expect they will be worn lots as they are so comfy.

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Sadly our British weather seems to be hanging on to April showers even though we are well into May, so these photos were taken on a blustery afternoon and are the best of the bunch- taken in 2 minutes flat. Take a look at the funk fly-away hair below!

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If you need a simple trouser pattern, that could be also used to make summer shorts and pyjamas, then I’d definitely recommend these. Watch this space for more examples..

Twirly Chocolate Fridge Cake

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Given the chance Boo would bake something most days.  She likes to crack the eggs, weigh the flour… but she loves to mix.  She’ll mix stones in a bucket, raisins in a pot, ice cream in a bowl.  She pretends to hold a big bowl in the air and mixes up food for imaginary horses or pups.  Sometimes I try to make our creations at least a little healthy (carrot or corguette cupcakes, beetroot cake) but this week she wanted “Chocolate Mummy!”  And however hard I try to shun the pink, this girl does still like the ballet and the jewels and the twirly dancing, so we made pretty, twirly chocolate cake.

Twirly chocolate fridge cake, to be precise.  A really child friendly recipe with no oven, but lots of mixing, naughty ingredients to be taste tested, and art to top it off. I usually make this with lots of glacé cherries (yum,) but my husband is not a fan so we added mini marshmallows from the store cupboard and they add that rocky road chew to balance the biscuit crunch.  There must be loads of recipes like this, but here is mine.  I really recommend trying it, the posh twirly topping is so satisfying to look at (especially as it was artfully created by a 3 year old)!
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Ingredients:
4oz (110g) butter
2tbsp (25g) caster sugar
2 tbsp (30ml) golden syrup
4 tsp cocoa powder
8oz (225g) digestive biscuits
3 1/2oz (100g) raisins
Cup or large handful of mini marshmallows
4oz (110g)dark cooking chocolate
4oz (110g)milk cooking chocolate
3 1/2oz (100g) white cooking chocolate

First melt the butter, sugar, syrup and cocoa either in a saucepan or (carefully, checking every 30 seconds) in a microwave. I used the microwave and we counted together.

Put the biscuits in a bag with no holes and bash them into little pieces. A few larger pieces add texture, but don’t leave lots of big lumps.

Mix the biscuits, raisins and marshmallows into the butter mix until it starts to stick together.

Line a 1 inch high baking tray, or a flan dish with baking paper. Add the mix to the tray and push it down hard with the back of a spoon.

Now melt the dark and milk chocolate together. I know lots of people do this on the stove, but I find the microwave much easier. Just keep checking on it so it doesn’t burn. Tip the melted chocolate over the cake and spread to cover it.

Melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the cake. Take a toothpick (or something similar, end of a chopstick, knitting needle!) and start to twirl in and out of the white chocolate, creating your arty pattern.

Place in the fridge to harden (or if you can’t wait that long, make space in the freezer for an hour).

Take out and take it out of tray easily using baking paper to lift it.

Marvel at the twirly beauty, then chop it with a sharp knife… and try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting!
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She’s Back! … With a Funky Pigeon Pinafore.

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Wow! Am I really here? Is this the right place? I can’t believe that I am posting again after such a long, long time! It has been over six months since my last post and I had nearly given up on blogging, just because life (as it does) seems to have taken over and my sewing and making mojo seemed to have disappeared. But recently I’ve been taking tentative steps back into the world of crafts, and I’m feeling hopeful that the signs of spring outside will help me to restore my enthusiasm and creativity. I’d apologise for my absence, but expect it is of little consequence to you, I’m just glad if you are here, giving me another chance (or, in fact, if you are here for the first time).
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The last few months have been a roller coaster for me, with my eldest starting school, adjusting to life with one at home most of the time, birthdays to plan and, more notably, the last few months with, and passing away of my wonderful daddy. I’m not going to dwell on things here and I’m not making excuses, just explaining.
Anyway, I’m going to jump in with a new dress I made a few weeks ago for Little Boo – the funky pigeon pinafore.
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If you have had a browse here at all you’ll know about my love for the geranium dress (thank you Made by Rae!). However I have decided to create a new silhouette for my recently 3 year old, especially now that she is slimming down and growing up. I will definitely return to the geranium, but it’s fun to mix in a new style. This dress was actually based on the bodice from the geranium, but you could use any bodice pattern you have to hand.

I simply drew around the bodice pattern, then extended down at a slight A-line, basing the length of the skirt on a current dress. Simple! I do like simple.
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The overlap at the back extends down the length of the dress, making a nice detail. I managed to find some buttons that match this fabric perfectly, and used contrasting thread to sew them on. I used a contrast button at the top too as a feature.
This could be made just as easily with poppers down the back, or a zip, but it is great practice for sewing button holes!
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I made this dress with no sleeves, which is perfect for spring as it can be layered with a top underneath, and a cardi on top. Come summer it will work fine on it’s own.
You could even make this dress fully reversible if you wanted to… Using the bodice and adding a lining cut exactly the same means all seams are covered, and buttons can be used on each side. I simply kept a plain lining as I always end up preferring one side of a reversible item.
There we go, short, sweet, simple. My first new (returning!) post. I hope to be back again soon (much sooner)!