A sewing project – girl’s pinafore dress

I had a remnant of cotton fabric, which I realised would make a pretty dress for a small girl.  A pattern in a Woman’s Weekly Treasury from 1985 seemed ideal.

I can follow a sewing pattern, but constructing garments is not something I find easy.  Having to sew pieces right side together and then turn them the other way out involves some imaginative processes which almost defeat me.  I have to experiment and find out what works.  Over the years I have learned that it is best to spend some time testing what a pattern means than guessing and getting it wrong!

It took me some time to realise that the pattern outlines were full size.  I traced them onto greaseproof paper and cut out the pieces from the folded fabric..

The pattern suggested adding a motif to the pocket on the bib.  As I was using printed fabric I decided to cut the pocket with a flower near the centre and dispense with the motif.

The instruction for sewing the bib to the waistband confused me. I realised that it was necessary to join both bib pieces at the side edges before carrying out the printed instruction.  Both bibs and both waistbands had to be joined.  Without a picture of the back view of the garment, I had puzzled over whether I was making one or two bibs!  Insertion of the word pieces after bib and after waistband would have helped me. (Have I mentioned that I find words easier to understand than picture instructions?  I like the words to be precise too.  Fussy, or what?)

Then I found that I had made a mistake measuring the waistband pattern.  I realised that I could lengthen it by inserting a single extension.

The project is almost complete.  It needs the hem to be stitched and button holes to be added to the straps and buttons to the waist band.  I did not follow the instructions for the straps as given in the pattern.  Turning a long length of tube is time consuming, so instead of stitching right sides together, I folded the strap and top-stitched it instead.

Front view

Front view


How (not) to make an angel

My latest craft project has been to make an angel.  When I heard that Burrswood was having a Festival of Angels this December, my original reaction was that I could crochet one.  After reflection and a look through my craft materials, I changed my mind.

I have several craft books with projects explained.  The Big Book of Soft Toys by Mabs Tyler has patterns for simple dolls.  I drew a paper pattern and cut out the pieces from some white polycotton material.

Paper pattern: doll and wing

Paper pattern: doll and wing

My sewing machine came in handy for joining the body apart from a gap for the stuffing.  (I used some recycled polyester stuffing.)  I also used the machine for the clothes, which I designed as I went along.  I had the remains of a frill from a petticoat.  My angel ended up with an underskirt and a smock.

I drew the pattern for the wings on a piece of scrap-paper.  I had some white felt and cut four wings.  Stuffing the wings lightly was a possibility, but I decided that two layers of felt made the wings stiff enough.  I embroidered them simply with feathers in mind.

At this stage I thought of an angel joke.  “Cross my wings and hope to fly!”

Her wings are attached to her clothes rather than her body.

I made a wig out of surplus tapestry wool and attached it to her head.

My biggest worry was her face.  I am not good at drawing faces.  I had a similar doll, which my artistic daughter made several years ago, as an example of what can be done.  She had drawn a face.  I was not confident.  Then I found a piece of flesh-coloured felt.  Embroidery is not permanent.  If it looks wrong, it can be unpicked and redone – several times.  So her face was attached after her hair.  (Not recommended.)

Back view

Back view

Perhaps my angel will give people some amusement.  It is not particularly beautiful, but I have tried.  Maybe it can fill a space where it won’t be inspected too closely.


Front view

And if you’d like to make an angel out of any material any size they are required by 20th November 2015.

A previous Christmas project at Burrswood was a knitted Christmas tree.  There is a short YouTube video about how it was constructed.

If you live within reach of Kent, why not go and see the angels for yourself?  I only wish I could, but due to distance, I’ll have to make do with photos.



A sign and crafty projects

At the weekend hubby and I had an outing to Keswick.  I have already written about it in a post (with my first slide show ever) on my words and pictures blog.  As we were approaching Hope Park I was stopped in my tracks by what I read on a blackboard outside a café.  Amusing signs have long been a source of inspiration to photographers or snappers up of unconsidered trifles.

Skinny people are easier to kidnap!

Be warned!

I don’t know where the author of this one found inspiration.  I am still telling my friends about it.  There was a mystery at the same time that I noticed the sign.  A busker had disappeared.  I hope he was simply eating cake and that it was nothing more sinister.

In other news I completed a coat and larger bonnet and bootees using the pattern featured in an earlier post.  For any knitters, who might be interested, I have a few hints and tips.  I used circular needles (one at a time, working backwards and forwards) for most of this project.  The coat is knitted in one piece to the armholes and the stitches fit more comfortably on an 80cm circular needle than on a pair of knitting needles.  It also helps for bootees as the stitches, which need to be held, while the instep is being knitted remain on the needle.  Ordinary knitting needles might be OK for the sleeves, but the yoke is best on a circular needle.

Baby coat

Baby coat

Finding somewhere without shadows to take the photo of the coat was a problem.  In the end I found a bright spot with uniform shade!

I had a really useful idea this week, when I tried on a pair of trousers to adjust the fit.  As I was going to put extra elastic inside the waistband, I put the trousers on inside out.  It was then easy to pin the elastic in place.

Perhaps I need a sign.  Danger radiation hazard – brainwaves!

Have you seen any funny signs or had any good ideas recently?