23 June 2017

A Busy Book for Master Fox

What is a busy book? Well its a book filled with activities in a hope to keep your little toddler busy! Who are we kidding right, this is going to work for all of about 5 minutes! 

I, just like i'm pretty sure all other mothers of toddlers have done, have used pinterest to find activities to keep your little ones entertained, but also with learning in mind. This is one of those examples and has been something which I have been collecting ideas for for a while now. They are usually handmade and sewn so this was definitely a project I knew I could do. 

My plan for this book is to keep it until baby Fox arrives and then it can be his special book which he looks at with mummy while I am breastfeeding. It will hopefully become special to him and will allow us to still have some bonding time and not feel neglected while I have to spend so much time looking after baby. 

I'm not going to lie, I pretty much stole all the ideas for the pages for this book from pinterest, so this is by no means unique or original, but hey when there are so many good ideas out there where is the need. Also I have made this for personal use, it is in no way going to be marketed or sold by me. If you want to have a look at my board of ideas you can find it here on pinterest

So let me tell you a little about the pages: 
Page 1: Felt carrots attached to ribbon which can be inserted into holes in the ground which have been sewn as buttonholes. The top of the wheelbarrow also remains open so that the carrots can also be put into the barrow.

Page 2: Animal beads strung onto ribbon which has been attached between two pieces of felt. The number of animals on each row increase by one and the beads can be moved back and forth to encourage counting. 

Page 3: A felt monster with a zip for a mouth which contains some pom poms. This page helps encourage fine motor skills in opening and closing the zip and Master fox will surely have lots of fun putting the pom poms in his mouth. Pom poms are one of our favourite non play play items. You can have hours of fun with these, including pom pom fights which seems to be a favourite game of his grandparents! I purposefully made this monster in blue and purple to match his favourite monster Sully!

Page 4: Three vehicles attached to ribbon which can be moved backwards and forwards across the page. A car, a train and an aeroplane. This again encourages fine motor skills and also imaginary play. 

Page 5: A whale with an open mouth and 3 fish attached to the page with poppers. The fish can be removed from the page and fed to the whale and then reattached. Master Fox loves a whale, and he has a Duplo one which he loves to feed so hopefully he will enjoy this. 

Page 6: This lovely little crocodile has a mouth that opens really wide to show off its sharp teeth. This is great for making snapping motions but the page also includes a toothbrush which can be used to clean the crocs teeth promoting good dental hygiene. The toothbrush can be placed back in the holder once used. 

Page 7: This brave little fireman has got into his lift to help put out the fires in the building. The lift is attached with buttons and buttonholes so that he can be lowered up and down to be closer to the fire. 

Page 8: The last and final page is the least sophisticated with some coloured pockets and some coloured wooden sticks. Not the most exciting page but an excellent one to help learn colours and matching skills. 

I really hope Master Fox likes his little book, I am really pleased with it and I am glad I finally got around to making it. I had loads more ideas for pages but I needed to finish somewhere otherwise I wouldn't be getting anything else done. 

16 June 2017

Mermaid baby dress and leggings set

What little girl doesn't need a mermaid dress? Especially at the moment, is it just me or are mermaids definitely the on trend print right now? Not that I mind, Ariel always was my favorite Disney princess anyway.

This amazing fabric was from LLFab who design custom digital print jersey fabrics. Most of their stuff is done in 'runs' for pre-order so is only available for a limited period. To be honest I find that a little annoying, but I can understand from a home business owner thats the practical way to do things as you don't have the means to store endless runs of custom printed fabrics. This does however mean that sadly there isn't any more of this fabric to buy, though they have been known to do re-runs so do join the facebook group if you are interested.

The pattern is another one from Ottobre issue 4/2016. It is a lovely jersey tunic length dress with an integrated vest top underneath. I also made the matching leggings to go with it to make it a complete outfit. I really like tunic style dresses for babies as I never really liked the idea of babies in dresses (despite having sewn a few) as I always think by the time they get to crawling a dress must really get in the way under their knees.

My hope is that this dress will fit Miss Fox once the weather starts to get a bit cooler, though to be honest I'm finding it really hard to sew for her at the moment as I have no idea how big she is going to be. Having said that though I know I won't have any time to sew once she arrives so I am just trying to make the most of it and wing it a bit.

My binding went a lot better on this make as opposed to the kitty romper I last made. I made a couple of adjustments to the way I attached them this time. The first thing was to make sure I didn't stretch the fabric when overlocking and the second was to release the tension in my sewing machine when doing the top stitching, I think this made the biggest difference. Its very nice to have found the biggest cause of the problem though as it will vastly improve future projects. the neck isn't ideal but its ok. I definitely prefer adding a neck band as opposed to binding a neck, something to bear in mind.

I am not 100% sold on the mauve colour of the vest and leggings, It was an online purchase and I was hoping for more of a cadbury purple like the binding. The vest is less of an issue as once its on with some trousers you won't see it. I am hoping though that the colour grows on me more once its actually being worn by a tiny human. I'm sure she will be plenty cute enough to pull it off.

Have you ever bought any fabric from a custom designer? I would love to hear about them and how you found the fabric/service. Its definitely a perk of the digital age, especially in the UK where nice prints have historically been much harder to come by.

9 June 2017

New Look 6216 - Striped baggy tshirts

Its ok that all my clothes for the next 6 months are stripey isn't it, or do I maybe need to start branching out a bit? :)

Following on from my earlier post where I talked about my personal sewing being all about the breastfeeding at the moment these are no exception to that. What with summer approaching and everything I thought I better sew a couple of short sleeved tops to see me through the warmer weather. I kept with the same theme of nice and baggy so there is room to lift up for feeding and also plenty of room to hide my post baby belly.

These tops are both made using the New Look 6216 sewing pattern which I bought form Sew Essential again. The grey stripe and pink version is made in view B which includes these extra sleeve bands and the black and white version is in view C which has slightly shorter sleeves. I actually haven't made a decision on which version I prefer as yet, they both look and feel great, but as I haven't managed to get the wear out of them you will have to watch this space for my final verdict.

These tops were ridiculously easy to sew. I have always shyed away from making any jersey basics, for a couple of reasons really; firstly they are usually so cheap to buy, why go to the effort of making them and secondly it always seemed really fiddly and not the easiest fabric to sew with. I was really wrong! I knocked both these up in about 4 hours total (including tracing and cutting the pieces) which is really fast and they look great. I have to say I am really pleased with the way I have been managing knit neckbands lately which makes me happy.

Again I have mostly just been experimenting by using up some of my stash jersey which was getting a bit out of hand. These were both made out of polyester jersey which I bought from local markets. I have a nice mix of poly and cotton jerseys in my stash but the reason I picked the polys for this project was because they have a much more flowing drape. They are a bit more lightweight that cotton jerseys tend to be so they lend themselves much better to this sort of baggy top. A definite consideration if you are thinking of making a top like this.

The fit seems to be pretty ok (as much as you can tell with a massive baby in your tummy!). I made this version in a more true to size size than the last top I made which I think was a much better idea, its less like a tent and seems to fit a lot better. I like the neckline on this top, its wide enough but not too massive to fall off your shoulders and the length seems pretty good.

All in all i'm really happy with how these have come out, a couple of quick satisfying makes. Again, its a shame I can't model them for you but I will make sure to pop some pics on instagram once they are in action.

For my next selfish sew I have been looking at tank top patterns, I think I like the look of the Rumi tank, though I worry it might be a bit short length wise. I will have another look around to see if I can see anything else that fits the bill, but if you know of any patterns please shout up.

Lastly, as a rather random final word; I have had my eye on this sewing pattern for a while now, the reason being that I have been hankering after making a top which Veronica Mars wears in the Veronica Mars movie. Ever since seeing this movie in 2014 I have had this make in the back of my mind but just haven't ever got around to it, mostly because of my fear of tackling a jersey basic I think. The top is this black burnout stripe one (I can't find a better picture on the internets). From my recollection it has a sort of faux leather binding which I would love to pull off. Watch this space, I now have the means!

2 June 2017

Pink and Orange Triangle Cot Bed Quilt

Also known as the sew I have both hated with a fire in my belly and adored at the same time! Anyone who has me on instagram will have seen me whinging about this thing as I have been going along in the last few weeks. 

Seriously, I have HATED sewing every inch of this quilt, it was long, boring, repetitive and monotonous, all those damn straight lines. I seriously don't know how avid quilters do it, though maybe I do, the whole thing felt like such a slog. But lets not be that down about shall we, because look at it! Its bloody stunning! 

I'm just going to keep going; I LOVE it! The finished thing has just been so worth all that effort that maybe I can see how quilters do it, they just probably have more time and patience than me, patience is not a thing I am known for. 

So, about the quilt. The pattern is a free pattern from See Kate Sew's website which includes full instructions and a pattern piece, so I will let you go read her post to find out how to make it. Her site was great at giving me all the details I needed, and the quilt comes out as a good cotbed size. Mine came out in slightly odd proportions to the bed, but its definitely big enough to function as a working full quilt as Miss Fox grows. 

The main pattern and flamingo fabric is a fat quarter bundle from Emma's Fabric Studio. I have used her bundles before and I love them. You get a nice amount of fabric and they come in some lovely combinations. The plain white, pink and orange are just sheeting cotton which I got from Dunelm and ebay. 

I adore the colour combo of this quilt. Pink and Orange are my absolute favourite. It sort of goes with the nursery, I maybe should have added more yellow, but it works. Its so vibrant and the colours really 'pop'. I have a friend to thank via instagram for adding more of the pink and orange, it definitely was a good plan, so thank you to her. 

The quilt batting is a lovely cotton batting which quilted brilliantly. It was an iron fix one which meant I could secure all the layers together before sewing to stop it sliding around. This is by far my preferred option than all the pinning, it just takes a lot of the worry out of the layers moving and sliding around. 

I also got to use some special quilting machine equipment on this quilt. I got a free quilting kit with my machine from Sew Essential so I made good use of the 1/4 seam foot, the extra large sewing plate table and of course the walking foot. All these things definitely eased the blow on this make and made things a little easier. But don't worry if you don't have all this, the only thing I would say is a must is the walking foot, but I think everyone should own one of these regardless, they have so many uses. 

So after all that hate will I make another? Well I am already thinking about making Master Fox one now he is in his big boy bed! I must be insane! 

Do you have any experience quilting? How do you find it? I'm desperate to hear from someone who does this a lot and enjoys it so can hopefully explain why they love it. Again, its probably just down to my lack of patience. 

26 May 2017

Kwik Sew 4041 - Coral striped slouched raglan top

Isn't this fabric beautiful :) I love the huge coral stripes and I think it lends itself really well to this lovely draped top.

I have switched my focus of personal sewing now from maternity on to postpartum so the next few posts from me will 100% have breastfeeding in mind. From my experience last time, and from talking to fellow breastfeeding mums I have been advised that using the one up one down method of clothing is by far the best for feeding. This basically means wearing a  vest top to cover your tummy with a baggier top over the top which you can lift up to feed. I love this idea for so many reasons: 1. You can wear regular clothes (with the exception of nursing bras) 2. Nursing clothing can be really overpriced for what it is and 3. I always really hated putting a cloth over Master Fox's head, it felt so rude, and this method is discreet enough to not need to do this.

So anyway, on to the make itself. The fabric is a gorgeous lightweight polyester jersey from Guthrie and Ghani. I am a little annoyed at myself because whilst I followed the pattern guidelines for the amount of fabric (which I only just pulled off) I didn't have anywhere near enough to match the stripes across the raglan sleeves. It looks ok thankfully but it would have been nice to have them running across the top properly.

The pattern is Kwik Sew 4041 which I bought from Sew Essential (the lovely ladies that helped me choose my sewing machine). This pattern is so ridiculously easy! The whole thing was made in one evening and the results are brilliant. Its a lovely loose fitting top with a very wide neckline.

The pattern actually has a regular sleeve which is just turned under and stitched with a twin needle like the hem but sadly as mentioned above I was struggling to get the whole top cut out of the amount of fabric I had. I decided the best thing to get around this would be to cut the sleeves short and then add a folded cuff to the bottom cut from some of the leftover smaller sections of fabric. This worked brilliantly and I love the finish of it. It makes it feel a bit more sweat top like which I don't mind one bit.

I made the top up in a size medium (I am usually a small) without doing any measurements because I wanted to make sure it would go over my postpartum tummy and still be nice and drapey. I think in hindsight, given as the pattern is supposed to be baggy, I could probably have got away with a small. It is a bit like a tent but it is wearable and will fit the desired purpose, even if I just end up slobbing at home in it.

Its a real shame I can't 'model' this for you, but it just looks a bit silly over my rather large growing bump. The hang of the top really doesn't work with that obstruction! I'll be sure to stick a picture up on instagram once I get around to wearing it.

19 May 2017

Baby dribble bibs (including pattern)

Can you ever have enough dribble bibs? There is a possibility I might have gone a bit overboard on the bibs here but personally the answer to this question is no, you definitely can't have too many of these things. I know from the experience of my own little dribbler these things are a must for pretty much any baby (unless you are lucky and manage to get a dribble free one, but I am not convinced they exist). Master Fox was known to go through at least 3 a day some days so unless you want a constant wash on the more the merrier.

The best thing about these though is that they have all been made out of fabric I already had, so not only are they amazing and super useful but they were also free!

But even better than that, I have included my pattern and the instructions for these bibs in this post. Aren't I good to you :)

See below for my instructions as well as the downloadable pattern.

A note about the pattern: I made this pattern by tracing from a shop bought bib left over from when Master Fox was little. I love this size and shape for a bib, but the ones from the shops come in so many different sizes you might find you prefer a different type. In which case, just fold the bib in half, draw around it and add a small seam allowance, it really is as easy as that.

Click here to download my DIY Fox Dibble Bib pattern

Make sure you print the document at 100% size so that you know your final bibs will fit your little ones.

Materials: main fabric, backing fabric, poppers/snaps

I used a variety of different fabrics for these bibs:
For the main fabric I used quilting cotton and knit/jersey (some cotton, some poly). Cottons are easier to sew but are more rigid. Knit/Jersey are harder to sew with but they are nice and soft on babys skin
For the backing I used either flannel or knit/jersey, you could also use toweling, minky, fleece or cotton.
For the poppers I used Kam snaps but you can also use sew in press studs or no sew studs. You could even use velcro if you preferred.

Bibs made from quilting cotton


  1. Using the pattern above cut 1 piece main fabric and one piece backing fabric. Make sure to cut the pattern on the fold.
  2. With wrong sides together pin the front and back pieces together and sew around the edge leaving a 2 inch gap along one edge to turn the bib the right way around.
  3. Trim the seams as close to the stitching as possible
  4. Turn the bib so the right sides are now on the outside through the hole you left in the step above
  5. Make sure that the seam allowance for the gap you left for turning is folded to the inside of the bib, it helps to iron these seams so that they stay flat
  6. Sew all the way around the outside of the bib making sure you catch the seams over the turning hole
  7. Attach a snap to the ends of the bib according to your snap instructions. 
  8. Admire your work :)

Bibs made from Knit/Jersey

So you see they really are that easy there is little point in buying any at all.

12 May 2017

2 nap times, 2 maternity dresses - part 2

In this second installment of the 2 nap times, 2 maternity dresses posts I am happy to show off the second version of my Megan Nielsen maternity pattern hack dress with this beautiful pale pink number.

Last week I showed you my stunning snow leopard version of the dress and talked more about the pattern and why I decided that it was still ok to sew maternity dresses into your 3rd trimester! Well this week we are going to talk all about the fabric.

Both of these dresses are made from Jersey fabric which I bought from Stoff & Stil. Stoff & Stil are actually a Danish fabric company who have a few other shops in the EU and ship to the UK. Their shipping costs are quiet pricey (I blame you Brexit!!) but the fabric isn't too dear and its such good quality I highly recommend. Plus their range of fabrics are stunning, for me much better than a lot of the stuff you can find in the UK, so if you do a bulk order it makes the shipping more reasonable.

I've talked before about my love for Danish fabric stores. One day I will make it back to Denmark to see friends and next time I'm saving up for months in advance and taking an entire empty suitcase!

The fabric for this dress is some gorgeous pale pink heart cotton jersey. As I mentioned above the quality of this stuff is amazing, it has great stretch recovery and its nice and thick, perfect for this type of project. I made a version of this dress in a cheap poly jersey from the market and you can really tell the difference with this. I think the great quality helped these two dresses come along so perfectly. They just behaved and the finished outcome really does speak louder than words.

The fabric I used for last weeks Snow leopard dress is this absolutely stunning cream leopard jersey which has a very subtle pale pink in the centre of some of the prints. This is probably the most amazing fabric I have ever purchased! I mean we all know I love a leopard print but again the quality is stunning, it was so easy to sew, the finished item looks amazing I really can't fault it.

I would say these jerseys are a medium weight though, they make perfect bodycon dresses, would be good for skater skirts/dresses and more fitted tops (like Tilly's Agnes top, in fact this is now on my to do list!), but they are definitely not lightweight so wouldnt suit something which needed more drape like a floaty, baggy top.

I purposefully picked light colours for these dresses for 2 reasons; a) summer is hopefully on its way and b) I have decided I have become too lazy to keep up with my hair dying and am considering growing out my natural colours. The lighter clothing much better complements my ever fading locks than darker ones do, so watch this space to see how this terrible hair saga goes (it will probably end in me crying from bad hair and dying it pink again!).

So I hope you liked these dresses, I finally managed to get a couple of outfits I am happy to show off my pregnant figure in and that give me some confidence, for me that is a massive thumbs up. I hope I have inspired you to do some selfish sewing just to cheer yourself up, its definitely worth it.