scarf to a poncho and some print too!

I got these scarves a few weeks ago in the local charity shop.   They were a donation of seconds from a woolen mill in Mayo (this charity shop sometimes gets donations from this mill), and I find it hard to pass up on wool , but I also find it hard to sew everything I pick up so I dithered for a while on whether I should get them at all.  Most of the scarves were thicker, and ‘normal’ size, but there were two wraps that were incredibly fine – and these I could not leave behind.,  I was wondering what to make, and was wondering if I should cut into them, but they work so well as shawls and scarves (I started wearing them pretty much straight away).  I decided to try another poncho!

I thought multi-coloured buttons would be a bit of fun, so got a selection and made a number of buttonholes.  As the wool is so fine, I used scraps of vilene to stabilize, and made all buttonholes the same size, but did not cut them all up the same size until I checked each button (buttons were either 14mm or 16mm).  I did 7 buttonholes each side, but it was only AFTER I thought that the 2 rows of buttons I did for the last one would not look so good here, so I zig-zagged them closed!  (they don’t look too obvious, and as its a line of 7 it has a pattern to it, so I am thinking -wishfully- it looks deliberate!)

Some Print, Some Pattern

We (sewing group) also did 2 workshops for voluntary arts week.  One was pattern drafting, and the other was hand printing fabric.  I did a pattern drafting one for a few of us, and as all good plans, they changed.  I had intended to show skirt drafting, but we ended up trying out the pattern magic book, which was good for me as I keep meaning to try the bamboo shoot top.  So I prepared the pattern again at home, and cut a toile,  printed it, and made it up.  I originally printed it with white but it looked rather dull, so I did a speckle repeat in red/orange/yellow.  The folding and sewing needs some refining, but I am glad I got to try it.  Its unlikely I will make it up as I don’t wear waist seams much, but I may use it again in another context.

The other print I did was on a dress.  The pattern I drafted was for a dress based on one I saw on the Finery London website (I just love their clothes).  I thought it would make a handy work (as in gardening etc) smock style dress, and cut it from a sheet.  I drafted a quick pattern,  and thought to do a plaid style pattern.  The single line looked effective (and out of line) but I left as was, and did the plaid effect for the pockets.  I have not bothered to finish this as I forgot that these shoulder darts can look severe – too much like the 80s and in all the dress is a bit of a sack!



Ultimately, I am not too bothered these are still at toile stage as it was good to change it up a bit, as I forgot how much I like printing by hand, and repeat patterning…. so much so, that we are planning another print session for later in the summer!

workroom and wardrobe

My workroom is now a bit tidier – and photos to prove it!  I have a temp table to layout and cut…. and a sewing table, I store my fabrics in a cupboard behind the mannequin.


Top shelf is all old bedlinen which I make toiles from…. I have occasionally to stop myself buying white sheets especially – but when the charity shop sells them for a euro, what can I do….. (I can only buy if they will fit in this shelf)

Shelf 2 is clothes to be remade… a lot of these are bought in the last 2 years, and I have stopped buying pretty much from the charity shops until these are used up/sewn up.  I was slowly turning into my father…. ‘sure you couldnt leave that quality behind….’ and so much so that this shelf was overflowing, so I donated back and will keep on using this.  I am still amazed at the quantities in the Charity shops….

Shelf 3 is odds and ends… handbag bits I can’t get rid of that I need to fix, small bits of trims, and old linings that may or may not get used!

Shelf 4 is ‘stash and stuff’.  Stash is in one bag, and stuff….. well its overflow stuff from Shelf 2!

I also drew some sewing picture plans….  The last one taken down (single sheet/less ambitious),  some on this got done, and some got changed.  I like drawing out these pics.  The are intentions, not promises and it helps me clarify what I want to sew, what will make flexible wardrobe pieces.

Like others, I find 20% of my wardrobe is worn 80% of the time…. actually these percentages are arbitrary, I really don’t know the exacts, but at times there is ‘the uniform’ which I wear when I have wood to chop/chores to do/don’t know if it will rain or not, and then there are the clothes I wear when I am being a bit more social and a bit more confident of the weather (what can I say, I live on the atlantic seaboard)

My summer uniform for the last three years has been, black cut-offs (thrifted and only sewing involved ripping a fringe off the legs), crochet top (best ever),  issy miyake top (2nd version with permanent pleating success), red short cardi (perennial).WIN_20160504_12_57_07_Pro


New enty for last year, was the ‘cigarette pants’ and pillow case top, galactic top (crocheted by my sister, I made one too but gave mine to her!), and the cardigan here is a thrifted…. at least 15 years ago….. so lord knows how old. Main summer shoes are a mix of old sandals (irish sandals can never wear out….) and my mohops (probably not the most comfortable but you can change the ribbon for new shoes).


I am hoping that the new ‘uniform’ choice could be the black linen culottes I hope to make…………as lord knows there are enough co-ordinating blouses in the mix!



Shibori wrap dress…Simplicity 5404

I cannot believe its nearly May already (note – I started writing this post 3 days ago but then went to paint a room…..), the days here have been beautifully bright, and horribly cold, and somehow, I decided to shelve some slow-starting blouse projects and make a summer dress!

I dyed this fabric last year.  The vat of indigo dye seemed to go on dying forever, and I was running around getting any spare bits of white fabric and trying random ties at the end of the dye-spree, and this length of jersey was one.  I bought it a long time back and its that really thin curly jersey, so it was destined to languish for a while, and even after dying, I wasn’t really relishing cutting out on it.  I had tied random knots in it to tie-dye, so the dye marks go in varying directions.


This 70s pattern did have the cutest look, and what had I to lose?  I wasn’t sure where selvedges were and was really going to have to be careful to get everything cut, so I cut the skirt pieces first on either down grain or across, while trying to the the random dye streaks going in the same direction.  the 2 bodice pieces needed to be cut 4 times and again, squeezed it it, the tie belt was shortened, and one had to be made from 3 bits, but I managed to get it all in. (sign of relief)

Sewing it was okay – I really wasn’t looking forward to it as it was inclined to curl a bit and the worst curls was the belt as that had the straight lines, so I had to put iron on vilene strips along the edge to give me some control, I had such low expectations for the fabric, that all outcomes would be good eitherway.

The dress goes together easily, halter pieces sewn, the halter is lined in same fabric so edges enclosed.  I followed the instruction, and with hindsight probably should have used some twill tape or iron-on vilene for the halter as I am unsure if this will stretch more in time (I may yet top stitch it) – although the pattern didn’t state it.  Also, I had allowed a small bit extra at the waist (my waist is now 29 not 26) but ended up taking the bodice in after first fitting.

The dress is pretty much together, and I am pleased with the pattern.  The unfinished hem ends at knee, so it will get a tiny hem, and the halter back is too low for bra which is fine for this one, but if I was to make this again, I would put a bit more height in it.  Its lovely one, but lord only knows when the weather will be right, my optimism is intact for it, as I am thinking of dying a pair of old flip flops if I can get a denim leather dye!



I have to hand finish the hem, and the skirt fronts, and adjust the halter join,  which was to be done this weekend – in-between coats of paint, but I was pretty defeated by the first primer coat (who knew that a beetroot red lay underneath that wood-chip wallpaper) – but I have plenty of time next week for it – and not quite beach weather here yet.

Other than that, my ideas of what to make are bigger than I have time for so I am drawing them all out in a notebook and seeing which ideas make it to the top.  I swore once that I would never wear culottes again, and yet its looking like I will be making a pair soon, and now am further encouraged by a comment from Aimee from the ‘Wrong Doll’ who thinks they flatter the pearer shape…. so………… never say never