What can you give the man who has everything?

(especially when your husband vetoes your previous idea as being "too womanly")My dad is, like many dads, totally impossible to buy for. With the obvious (and boring) exceptions of chocolate and shower gel, anything he wants he already has or is too expensive for me to afford. My sisters and I totally shot ourselves in the foot by buying him a Kindle for his 75th birthday - we can't even get him books anymore. On the other hand, it was literally the best thing we have ever bought him, so that's nice.However, the man who has everything needs a present, and I need to give him a gift that means something to me. He's done a lot for me, as you might imagine, and it makes me a little sad that I [Read more...]

Miss Maggie and her acoutrements

Tonight is Chanukah. It is really early this year, falling in November for the first time since 2002 (god bless you and your useless-information finding skills, Google), so I had a slight panic at the end of last week trying to get everything done in time. And by everything, I mostly mean buying a couple of presents (Chanukah tends not to be the giant gift- and food-fest that is Christmas). There was one present that took a little longer, however. I was totally seduced by the adorableness of Miss Maggie Rabbit as soon as I saw her, and absolutely *needed* to make one for Lucy. And then I *needed* to make her several outfits. Please bear with me for the Maggie fashion show:Maggie comes [Read more...]

It’s an illness

Another day, another sewing machine.Rachel very unkindly pointed out that this brings the total number of sewing machines in the house to six (although one doesn't work and one belongs to Lucy). They are all different, however, and one of them was given to me by the builders (to assuage their guilt), so I think this new addition actually only makes three. And it was bought with my birthday money (although it's not technically my birthday until next month, so I may have got a little ahead of myself).I challenge any among you to resist the adorableness of the Singer Featherweight, however. Especially one that has all its original attachments and is being sold by a brilliant charity. Made in [Read more...]

Bag Lady, or How to Jump on the Bandwagon

I like to blame other people. It's a thing I do.I *needed* a new bag. An autumnal bag. So a bit of this, some of this, a pair of these (no longer available in yellow), and a slightly shrunken version of this pattern (with the addition of a magnetic snap and internal pocket)...and I ended up with this:I can't tell you how much I love the yellow. It makes me very happy. Little things.

This post is brought to you by a surname

Jones, to be specific.Look at my new baby. My hand-cranked, 100-years-old, sews-like-a-dream baby. I learned to make clothes on a machine just like this, way back when I was nine. I had forgotten until now, when I was showing the children how it worked, the beauty of having such direct speed control. It more than makes up for the limitations of having to use only one hand to steer the fabric.This machine is so old school that the bobbin is a little teeny shuttle and there are no seam allowance markings. Nothing a piece of washi tape won't fix.The other Jones in this story is everyone's favourite monkey. When I saw her at the Festival of Quilts a couple of weeks ago she did an extremely [Read more...]

New and improved

The adorable Amy made some new cushions a couple of weeks ago using material from Terrys Fabrics. I had never heard of the company before (apparently I must have been living under a rock or something - they've been around forever!) so I popped over to the website. I've been wanting to replace the extremely shiny (causes reflecty chaos when TV watching) and dust-collecting nightmare of a living room lamp for ages, so after a good deal of rummaging I picked this fabric (but also wanted this and this and this, dammit)The lampshade kit was really easy to use and took about half an hour. Because it works on a sticky-backed-plastic basis you don't need a lot [Read more...]

Copycat, copycat, sitting on the doormat

You know what they say about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery? When I saw Pennie's completely adorable model aeroplane I had to have one of my very own. She's a clever girl, that Pennie. Taking her lead, I printed out the pattern pieces two to a page and went from there.Because the straps are made from quite heavy webbing I decided to attach them all the way to the bottom of the bag instead of between the panels like in the original pattern. I didn't want to insert something so bulky into that seam. Of course, that meant that I had to stitch through a gazillion layers on the bottom seam when assembling the bag. I clearly didn't think that through properly.It's so cute and [Read more...]

Love love love

I love teaching children to sew - they are always so pleased with what they have made and rightly proud of themselves. In the last couple of months I have taught hand sewing, machine made pillowcases and a birthday party tote bag class at The Village Haberdashery, as well as various bits of making with my daughter and her best friend. Look at all those smiling faces. I wish I could ditch the science and do this full time!

Summer is here!

And it's really hot. I realise that this might not be a huge deal to anyone outside the UK, but it is the first decent summer we've had for years. Since 2006. Yes, really. It's even been too hot to do much sewing, although not too hot for plotting.I've got another one of those keeping-me-awake-at-night ideas brewing. It will need a zillion shades of almost identical neutral solids and considerably more thinking time before I can get started. But that's just fine - the thought of being stuck under anything remotely fabricky at the moment is more than I can stand. I'm off to sit in the paddling pool with a gin and elderflower. A bit like this woman, but in a shiny blue swimsuit. Classy.

Because I’m not making enough things

And also because I've had an Architextures jelly roll knocking around since last October.And also because I just got my sweaty little mitts on a 60ยบ ruler.And also just because.In other news, it's Katie's birthday today. I made her a cake out of fancy dog food with a crushed kibble base, just like a cheesecake.I didn't try it, but she seemed to like it - it lasted about a minute and a half. Happy birthday, puppity. We love you.