A Scrapbusting Playtime Tunic #oliver+s

This fabric (very cheap, last on the roll from Abakhan’s in Manchester) just keeps on giving! I already have a lovely, Ella Skater Dress (Love Sewing) and a much worn Papercut Coppelia Cardigan (despite my initial misgivings, it works just great as an extra layer between a dress and jacket at school), but there seemed just enough left to squeeze something small out of 🙂 Not sure when we’d wear them together, but we could…

I’d love to tell you that the flash of contrasting pink (yes, still going regular readers) on the back was intentional, but when I came to stitch the pockets in, I realised I’d only cut one skirt piece (honestly, one day I’ll feel more like an intermediate sewer rather than a beginner one). I had only smaller scrap bits left, enough for a facing or pocket maybe, but certainly not enough for a skirt. So I was forced to improvise, and actually it really is a bit of a happy accident as it matches the pink in the flowers perfectly and of course, she already has the matching leggings (and the matching butterfly necklace…).

It’s labelled as a two out of four scissors for difficulty and I’d say that’s about right. The only difficult bit is probably attaching the button placket at the back, although because I was using a knit, I omitted this. Gathering a skirt like this is still something fairly new to me(I think the Colette Moneta is my only time) and although it looks fine in terms of evenly spaced gathers, this is more by accident than skill! Looking at these photos it would appear to be a little lopsidedly attached too, but as it’s pretty big on her (I cut an age 10 to ensure it lasted a while), maybe it’s just hanging a little skew whiff? Either way, it was basically a freebie from my stash and a useful trial of this pattern before I break out the bunnies!

And even more importantly, she loves it 🙂

Pattern: Oliver + S Playtime Tunic

Size: age 10

Adjustmentments: omitted button detail at back

Lessons: check you’ve cut all the pieces before starting to sew and more practice at gathered waists (and attaching them) clearly needed…

Soundtrack: Tracy Chapman’s Tracy Chapman


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!

Keeping it in the Family


Someone’s invaded my sewing space…

I’m sure we’re not the only ones who like to save a few Christmas presents to open and play with (long ago unwrapped of course) for the dreary months of January and February. My daughter has been itching to have a go at her Sew Cool sewing machine ever since unwrapping it, and last weekend we finally gave in. It’s a kind of thread-less machine to make their first projects easier.

To be honest, I’m not totally sure how it works: it has a twin needle and must dispense some kind of glue that fuses the fabric (a kind of felt) together. I loved how it was mess free (phew!), but still gave her practice at feeding the material through. She’s had a go on my machine, but it did make me incredibly nervous, so this seems the perfect stop-gap for now. She was so proud of her first project: a little, stuffed owl. And I’m so pleased that we can both share this fab hobby together 🙂