Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I have been sewing - sometimes having a garment you can put on yourself in in days rather then weeks (or months, in some of my knitted project cases!)  is a nice thing.

I wear a lot of jersey, and bought two massive lengths of organic cotton jersey last summer  before I realised the lovely Alabama Chanin style clothes it was intended for really don't suit me; all those raw edges, the exposed stitching, the intricate applique, I made one top and it just looked awful on me. Which was a shame as I enjoyed the hand sewing, machine sewing is a bit daunting!

So, and in an attempt to cure me of machine sewing phobia , I went to the other extreme and chose the simple jersey dress pattern 'Coco' from Tilly and the Buttons. This has been made by SO many people, with so many modifications (you can find them on many blogs, and on its own Pinterest board),  it was easy to get an idea of who it would suit. The genius of this pattern is that it practically suits anyone!

Now, the machine sewing phobia - I have made things in the past, but I use guesswork and hope (and red wine)  to get me through. Even though I was probably the last generation of kids to do 'Home Ec' we didn't get to make clothes (in fact I made a clam shaped in cushion in pink satin and fun fur (!!)) so I have no idea what I'm doing. And here again Tilly steps in with her absolutely fantastic sew along tutorials for this pattern. Which is good when you're already feeling a bit scared of the knit fabric, and have heard tales of how hard it is to sew with.

This took me about three days of 'sewing time' i.e. not flat out, but over a morning or two and a few

First stick the pattern together (if you bought the digital version) this is strangely relaxing, and the cat helped. I measured myself and tried to work out what size I was - which is between two sizes  as it turns out, but again there's info on how to deal with that in the instructions.

Coco pattern with added Georgia
Then I cut it out. I used dressmakers carbon and the wheely thing to draw the pattern onto the fabric, very much easier than chalk!:

pieces of fabric
Started sewing. Look at this seam, it's SO NEAT. I was AMAZED:

Amazingly neat seaming
We're told when to press the seams out, when to trim them, when to use a zig zag or a straight stitch and so on. Also the great tip of rolled up towels for pressing the sleeve seams, which doubles as makeshift pin cushion:

Sheep voodoo
I finished and tried it on on Sunday night...and ..somehow I'd made a giant frumpy dress arghhhh!!! (big lesson - read the finished garment size measurements properly!) . But, I felt now I could cope with taking the whole thing apart up the sides, take in by about 2 cm each side, and shorten both length and sleeves. I decided against pockets on this occasion.

This was much better, and to celebrate here's a terrible hospital staff changing room selfie of me in my Coco:

I am going to make another one, probably in a patterned jersey this time, or with a different coloured yoke, with the pockets, maybe the top version...but first I have to look at ALL the fabric on the internet.

Thursday, May 08, 2014


My garden is growing, everything went in late (as usual, I am a fairweather gardener at heart, so most of my plants are tiny seedlings) but other things are coming up too, and the things that are coming up are Incredibly Green.

The fig tree, which sat in a pot for a few years looking sad, really appreciated its move to a dryish bed by a wall a couple of years ago. I put it here because Monty Don said it would be a good idea on Gardeners World, and if Monty says a thing will like it somewhere particular, I tend to believe him.


Strawberries from my Mum which have spent the winter in the greenhouse looking a little bit unwell, but have perked up no end since March.


There are some chives, which should have loads of  purple pom poms on the end by now but something is eating them (these have escaped, so far).


This year I'm growing some 'unusual' veg, this one is 'Minutina' or Bucks Horn Plantain, which is a salad crop, it's supposed to be very easy to grow, and it's certainly doing well so far, some of it is now in the ground, rather than this seed tray. It's so green!:

Bucks Horn Plantain. So called because it looks like antlers, but not yet

Here are  a gigantic amount of poppies, which started as two plants and have become many more. I just let them self seed and then move the new ones around the next year, basic lazy gardening, the kind I like best. I hope they'll flower, it's decided to become cold again just the past couple of days...


I also must present my First Potato of The Year. I grow them in left over compost bags, as I don't have that much vegetable plot space . I get childishly excited at the sight of the first spud plant every year, and here it is:

Hello Potato!