Gertie’s Bow Tied Blouse

I finally finished my Gertie Bow Tied Blouse, which I blogged about wanting to make frickin’ ages ago! I bought the fabric in one of the cheap fabric shops in Walthamstow. The first time I went there  (when I bought this fabric), I couldn’t believe a lot of the things were under £2 per metre! I only got a couple of things on that trip and one of them was this shiny navy blue teeny polka dot fabric. I didn’t realise it was so shiny as it was rolled with the wrong side out on the roll. I kind of like the shiny-ness though, which is lucky!


I think like the other bloggers who I’ve seen have made this pattern, I had issues with the neck being waaaay to small for any human! I measured it at one point and it was only 7 inches around – compared to my actual neck, which I’ve just measured, which is 12.5 in! I didn’t make a muslin because this fabric was cheaper than calico, so it seemed a waste of money and time to make one. So I just hacked at the collar once the blouse was mostly together. I can’t now remember how much I cut off, which is annoying because I wanted to make this again. If I make it again, I’ll re-draft the neckline to make it at least 12.5in round! I think I might make the neck tie a little longer too as I feel like the bow is a bit too small.


Apart from the neck causing me problems, the rest of the blouse came together really easily. It is made up of not many pieces, with the sleeves a part of the front and back pieces (so no annoying easing of sleeves into shoulders). The only reason this took me so long to finish is because I got to the point of only needing to hem it and do the button holes and sew on the buttons. But when I’ve done button holes on my machine before, they haven’t been great – mainly I think because I don’t have a buttonhole foot (don’t judge me, I’m going to get one… day!). But actually they were okay. I didn’t use the placements from the pattern, I just measured how long the back was and spaced the buttons equally, as I think some people mentioned the bottom button was a bit too high.


Looking at this photo, I think I need to alter the position of the neck-band if I make it again – when it’s done up, it’s all to one side!

I made a size 8 this time, but I think if I make it again I might cut out the size 10 instead as I think I would prefer the fit with a bit more ease. I think I would also add an extra inch or 2 to the length as although it looks okay with my new yellow skirt (blog post to follow), and with my jeans which have a fairly high waste, I think it might show a bit too much tummy with any bottoms with a lower rise.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Sorry for the odd expression here – I look stoned!)

Overall, though, I’m pretty pleased with it. And I’ve worn it to work twice and got compliments on it both times, which is awesome, because then you can say ‘what, this thing – oh I made it’ and look at the look of surprise on their faces! definitely more of these to come!

Book: Great British Sewing Bee

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been obsessed with The Great British Sewing Bee! So much so, that as soon as I knew there was going to be a book, I had to get it. The advantage of working in a bookshop, is that I can get sneaky free books from the publishers sometimes. I may have done that with this book……


There are definitely a few patterns that I want to make in here!

The boyfriend shirt: (I especially love the fabric choice and styling!)


This tea dress is really cute – again good styling!


This camisole is cute. Not sure it’s my style, but I might give it a go once day.

IMAG0571I like this apron, might be a good thing to make as presents for people.

IMAG0569I love the hacking jacket that Lauren made in the show! Definitely going to give this one a go! And maybe in exactly the same fabric……


This top is pretty – I’m always  sucker for a peter pan collar!

IMAG0572The patterns are all printable PDFs, downloadable from the Quadrille website. I’ve printed off all the patterns I think I might make, now I just have to tape them all together…..

Blue Shirt Dress to Shirt Refashion

So I finally totally finished a refashion that I started ages ago. I had a blue shirt dress which I bought from eBay but was originally from Primark. I went off the style so decided to cut off the bottom and make it into a shirt. Unfortunately I forgot to take any before pictures, because I’m an idiot!

I unpicked the 2 belt loops from the side of the dress and then measured roughly on me where the shirt should finish, adding a bit extra on for the hem. I also replaced the buttons because they used to look like this:


Who would pick that colour button for that colour fabric?!

So I changed them for white ones:


Much better!

This is what the ex-dress now looks like:


And the back….


I know this isn’t the most exciting refashion ever, but it’s turned something I never wore into something I’ve already worn several times! It also has the option of a bow, in the form of what used to be the belt/tie thingy:


Sorry again for the blurry photos – I seriously need to do something about my photos on here. These are the only useable ones out of about 15 I made The Boyfriend take. Maybe I should get a tripod and a decent camera so I can be as vain as I want to and take a bajillion photos without having to impose on someone else to do it.

Hopefully as I get more experienced with refashioning, the more adventurous I’ll become and the more interesting they’ll get. I have several items of clothing I think I’m gong to give to a charity shop, but I’ll have a serious think about anything I can do with them before I do. Has anyone else been seeing all the refashioners on Miss P’s blog? It really shows you what you can do with an ugly, huge garment with a bit of imagination and skill!

Baby Cardigans


I really want to post about my foray into clothes making (by sewing and knitting), but I haven’t managed to finish anything in ages. I am almost there with a skirt and just need to make some button holes for my Gertie button-back blouse. I also have a couple of refashions to post about but (rather embarrassingly), I had a bad haircut a few weeks ago (though no-one I know commented on it so I don’t think it was as bad as I feared), so I didn’t want to take any photos! I know, lame, right?

So I have been digging through my computer and old photos of things I made ages ago, and I realised I have knitted 2 baby cardigans (one of which was for my friend’s daughter who is now 2, so I made them a while ago!).

I can’t find where I got the pattern from. I’m pretty sure I must have got it from a free pattern website but I’ve tried googling huge chunks of the instructions but it doesn’t come up. If anyone recognises it or owns it, please let me know and I will be glad to credit the right person. But since I can’t find it online, here it is, all typed out!

k- knit
p – purl
skpo – slip (one stitch onto other needle), knit, pass slipped stitch over
k2tog – knit 2 stitches together
m – make a stitch
st st – stocking stitch
g st – garter stitch

Size: To fit newborns
Use 4 mm needles

Cast on 59 sts
K 5 rows
Beg with a k row cont in st st
Work 4 rows
Dec row k8, skpo, k to last 10, k2tog, k8
St st 7 rowsRep the last 8 rows 3 times more and the dec row again. 49 sts
Cont straight until back measures 15 cm from the cast on edge, ending with a p row
Shape raglan armholes:
Cast off 4 sts at beg of next 2 rows. 41 sts
Next row k2, skpo, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2
Next row p to end
Rep the last 2 rows until 17 sts remain
Leave sts on a holder

Left Front
Cast on 32 sts
K 5 rows
Next row k to end
Next row k 5, p to end
These 2 rows form the st st with g st endge
Work a further 2 rows
Dec row k8, skpo, k to end
Work 7 rows
Repeat the last 8 rows 3 times more and the dec row again. 27 sts
Cont straight until front measures 15 cm from cast on edge, ending with a wrong side row
Shape raglan armhole:
Cast off 4 sts at beg of next row. 23 sts
Next row k5, p to end
Next row k2, skpo, k to end
Next row k5, p to end
Rep the last 2 rows until 11 sts reamin
Leave these sts on a holder

Right Front
Cast on 32 sts
K5 rows
Next row k to end
Next row p to last 5 sts, k5
These 2 rows form the st st with g st edging
Work a further 2 rows
Dec row k to last 10 sts, k2tog, k8
Work 7 more rows (of st st)
Rep the last 8 rows 3 times more and the dec row again. 27 sts
Cont straight until front measures 15 cm from cast on edge, ending with a k row
Shape raglan armhole:
Cast off 4 sts at beg of next row. 23 sts
Next row k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2
Next row p to last 5 sts, k5
Rep the last 2 rows until 11 sts remain
Leave these sts on a holder

Sleeves (obvs make 2)
Cast on 30 sts
K 1 row
Beg with a k row, cont in st st
Work 4 rows
Inc row k3, m1, k to last 3 sts, m1, k3
Work 3 rows
Rep the last4 rows until there are 44 sts
Cont straight until the sleeve measures 12 cm from cast on edge, ending with a p row
Shape raglan top:
Cast off 4 sts at beg of next 2 rows. 36 sts
Next row, k2, skpo, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2
Next row p to end
Rep the last 2 rows unwil 12 sts remain
Leave these sts on a holder

With right side facing, k across 10 sts from right front
K last st together with forst st on right sleeve. K 10 sts
K last st together with first st on back. k15 sts
K last st together with first st on left sleeve. k 10 sts
K last st together with first st on the left front
k to end. 59 sts
k 5 rows
Cast off

Make Up
Join raglan seams. Join side and sleeve seams
Sew 3 press fasteners on to the garter st button band (place on at the neck, one level with the bottom of the arm hole and the third between these 2).

5 mm needles

Cast on 80 sts
K1, p1 rib, repeat to end. Repeat this rib row a total of 8 times
Garter st until the piece measures 13 cm from the beginning
Start decreasing:
(k1, k2tog) repeat 26 times, k2. 54 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 18 times. 36 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 12 times. 24 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 8 times, k1. 16 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 5 times, k1. 11 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 3 times, k2. 8 sts
K 1 row
Cut the yarn leaving a long end (50cm-70cm) to sew up the hat.
Drawstring finish:
1. Thread the end of yarn onto a darning needle. Insert the darning needle into the sts on the knitting needle
2. Pass the darning needle though the sts remaining on the knitting needle, one by one
3. Pull the yarn tight. Your piece of knitting should now naturally fall into a hat shape
4. Sew it up. Work the end into the back of the knitting



Make It: Tea Cup Candle

Part of my efforts to make Christmas presents (yes, it’s May and I’m still blogging about Christmas presents!) involved making candles in tea cups. I can’t claim I invented/ thought of this as an idea, but since my 2 best girlfriends love tea, I thought I would have a go.

I found some teacups in my local charity shops and bought 3 tall candles (like that go in a candle stick holder) – one for each candle. This turned out to not be quite enough, and I would guess that 1 1/2 candlesticks would have been better for each one. But I was too lazy to go and buy more!

So, it’s really easy. All you need to do is chop up the candles:


then melt the wax in a metal container (in my case a little coffee pot thing) inside a pan of hot water. You have to be careful that you don’t get any wax in the pan as it might catch fire and explode the water all over you, which would be bad!


I used the wicks from the candles as my new wicks – as I knew they would work! You just need to cut a length of it and rest it in the tea-cup, holding it in place in the centre with some sellotape:


Then once the wax is all melted, you can pour it (carefully) into your tear cup. I added a few drops of chocolate scent (like for an incense burner) to mine so they would smell of chocolate when burnt. The great thing is, if you mess it up, you can scrape the wax back into the pot to re-melt.

When the wax dries, it goes a bit bumpy on the top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Sorry for the blurry photo, it was the only one where you can see the bumpy-ness)

To combat this, you can wait for it to dry for a while and then add a second layer of wax on the top. I didn’t do this because, as I mentioned, I didn’t have quite enough wax.

These are a simple but lovely gift as you can personalise it with your choice of tea-cup. You can also use coloured candles and scents to make it perfect for your friend!

Tea Cup Candle