The Liberty Pinafore

After a pretty disappointing result from my first, much loved piece of Liberty fabric (the Seamworks Bristol skirt, see here), rescued slightly by the top I just about managed to squeeze out of it, I’ve been putting off using the rest of it… But when the latest issue of Love Sewing (20) popped through my letter box I knew that the very sweet Girl’s Folk Pinafore would be the perfect design for the baby needlecord I purchased for my daughter.

It’s as an easy-fit, simple design which I thought would perfectly showcase the beautiful fabric. I cut the L (age 8-9) which has come out pretty loose on her as you can see in the photos, but this is perfect for getting a couple of years’ wear out of it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets upset at the thought of a homemade garment only fitting for a year (or sometimes even shorter) when you make something for children!

The instructions were really clear and despite not being a fan of facings, I was impressed by how this came together, neatly hiding the straps beneath. Normally I’d want to anchor the facings down in a couple of places, but there are no fine threads to catch in this fabric, so I might just have to let it be. Because of the slightly heavier weight they do sit pretty nicely to be honest and it’s not me wearing it 😉

I toyed with the idea of completing the front pocket in a contrasting fabric and found the perfect navy blue (of course) cord in my drawers. But when I experimented with placing it on the front it gave the dress a totally different look, much more modern, which is great sometimes, but I resisted. Both of my children are on the cusp of ‘growing up‘ and I just want to hold on to them being young children for a little longer, so traditional won out! I used the same fabric instead, which kind of becomes invisible, but it’s there should her hands get cold or if she wants to collect conkers or whatever. I also resisted adding various buttons, even though I have loads that matched perfectly. Plain and simple just seems to work with this, and my daughter agrees: she absolutely loves it 🙂


All About The Boy


Knowing how easily I forget stuff, I was keen to get started on shirt no 2 as soon as possible. Luckily my day off came just before the second session of my recent, shirt-making course, so I was able to get a fair bit of this second version completed beforehand (just in case I needed rescuing).

I worked carefully through each stage, thankfully remembering it all pretty well, even the shoulder yoke bit, which was a bit of a blur if I’m honest. And I actually surprised myself by enjoying the completion of each stage, really taking my time and pressing carefully at each point. Moving the ironing board up to the spare room where I sew made such a difference with this: I have well and truly taken over up there now!

The collar proved a bit trickier this time. My first attempt just looked ‘off’ somehow. It was only when I compared it to my first version that I realised I’d got the collar piece and the collar stand pieces the wrong way round. I very, very carefully unpicked it all, and luckily nothing came off the worse for it, before reattaching it the right way round. I was a bit worried as this fabric (a Japanese, double gauze cotton) felt quite delicate to handle, but it turned out fine.

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It’s a beautiful fabric and I can’t wait to sew up something for myself in something similar. However it behaved quite differently from the crisp cotton I’d used previously. The pocket, which I was so pleased with last time, just wouldn’t sit quite so neatly. I unpicked it once to get it better, but it’s still just a little wonky. The course tutor suggested that it might sit better after washing, as the fabric has a more laundered effect.

I got up to the button hole stage before the second part of the course. This was the bit I was most nervous about, so I was pretty relieved I’d got this far beforehand. Because I was the only person completing a smaller, child’s version I was able to complete both sets of button holes alongside the others on the course. On my fox shirt they went in perfectly using the automatic button hole foot, but on this fabric, it wasn’t quite so easy. I had to unpick one that went wrong, before getting them right (again, with a little help from the tutor).

I’m really pleased with the finished results. There are certainly still a couple of areas to work on, but all-in-all I’ve surprised myself again. I think accepting that a project is going to take a little longer, and breaking it down into manageable stages is the key here. That said, I can’t wait to get back to seeing a little something for myself, and probably something a lot simpler…


A couple of mean and moody shots to finish with, but as you can see there’s a smile itching to break through, bless him!

The Fox Shirt


I can’t tell you how pleased I am with this 🙂 I actually made my boy a shirt, albeit with a little help from the lovely tutor at The Ministry of Craft in Manchester. On Saturday I attended the second part of my two part course, where we fitted the sleeves and attached the button holes. This was a half day session, rather than the full, first day and relatively simple by comparison in terms of skills. No head in my hands this time!

I’ve fitted a fair few sleeves in the past, but realised that it’s a lot easier in my usual knit fabrics. This went in relatively easily, but I ended up with a couple of unintentional, small pleats on each side, which is fine when you’re female, but less desirable on a boy’s shirt… Frustrating though this was, he wore it last night and no one noticed at all, as per usual. The button holes I’d kind of been dreading, but actually in this lovely, crisp cotton they were a breeze.

This course was money well spent indeed, and I’d thoroughly recommend it if you live in the North West. I’m equal parts amazed and delighted that I managed to make this! It’s by far my most complicated and accomplished sewing project. The finish is brilliant (a direct result of the design and a very patient, experienced tutor, rather than my sewing skills), with the shoulder yoke and collars all neatly hidden away. Even my hand sewing managed to rise to the occasion and didn’t let the side down! And my son is delighted with the result, wearing it proudly out for dinner last night 🙂 Job well done, and my maternal guilt eased for a while 😉