Wednesday, 24 March 2021

New Year, lots of new starts! (a bit of a late post)

 I've lost the blogjo at the moment. I'm hoping to blog a little more again and I'm starting by slowly catching up with saved posts; the start of January feels an incredibly long time ago now!

I got a few new starts going in January - some that are part of my WIPocalpyse goals, some that I decided to just try. I also got some materials to try new projects!

Firstly, I started another late Christmas present. There will be another post about these (one day!), but I started another pair of PJs:

I also decided to add to my repertoire and finally start English Paper Piecing. There is a profile on Instagram that I have followed for some time: @naomialicec. Naomi hosts a focus cutting sew along, and has done for a few years. I have always been tempted to join and decided this was the year to do it. Here's a bit of a start to it:

I bought some new fabric (of course!). The mermaid scales are waterproof fabric and will eventually become a Tilly and the Buttons Eden coat. The sewing jersey I have no plans for yet, but it will be some kind of top. Both were bought from Flamingo Fabrics:

I took advantage of a sale at my local shop, Backstitch. I bought some embroidery transfers. I have been wanting to try embroidery for a few years, and in my spate of new starts, I decided now was the time to try it!

A final new start for me. I finally felt the cross-stitch itch, and began my Disney Dreams #3. This time, it will be The Little Mermaid. It is the most colourful of the 5 I own and I am so excited to get it done:

I possibly should not have started so much at once (and I have another project to add to the list but more on that another post). It's all been halted a little, and the most exciting sewing I have done in the past week or so is repairs of Darren's clothing and Bronwyn's Monkey. It was the toy we had with her when we brought her home, and she has it every night. The seam in the arm had come apart, but was easily fixed. She was very pleased to have him back!

Saturday, 6 February 2021

A Christmas Eve make

 A bit of a late post - trying to catch up on what I've been up to recently.

My sister and I both fell in love with the new Tilly and the Buttons 'Billie' pattern - a long jumper dress with pockets - perfect! It took me ages to decide what fabric to buy for it as I was choosing between making it festive or an all year wear. In the end, I got some gorgeous festive french terry. I usually buy a Christmas jumper or dress, so this was a great solution.

I got the pattern and the material cut out fairly quickly once the material arrived in December. I was waiting for my crochet blocks to finish blocking & drying, so took advantage of the wait time to do some cutting. I then had to pop the Billie dress to one side until the quilt was finished (ideally).

And then Bronwyn arrived and life got a little derailed! I finally picked up Billie again on Christmas Eve. The quilt wasn't finished but I was determined that I was going to wear my Christmas jumper this year!

I found the pattern simple to follow - as usual with TATB. I found the pockets a little tricky because I had graded between pattern sizes and not read Tilly's additional advice. I also didn't cut enough ribbing for the bottom of the dress at first and was very confused why it just would not stretch enough! Turns out I needed to cut two pieces and sew them together. Next time, I'll just cut one long piece and mark each half.

My only other amendment for my next Billie (as there will be more) is the neckband. I may try a larger size for the neck as it is a little bit of squeeze to get it over my head.

It also features a Kylie and the Machine label, which I actually remembered to sew in before the dress was finished (although I think I can still do it neater).

It was lovely and cosy and perfect for Christmas day! I wore it with my candycane leggings from my favourite leggings brand (Lucy Locket Loves). I had never sewn with french terry before, but it behaved like other jerseys I had used. And I love how soft it is inside! I managed a couple more wears before it was tucked away until next year. 

Saturday, 23 January 2021

PJs with Pockets

Way back in April/May, I bought some amazing broccoli fabric to make Darren some pyjama bottoms. His main requirement for bottoms is that they have a pocket in them, and there aren't many patterns (or shop-bought) pjs that we can find with pockets. I have never sewn clothing for anyone other than myself, so this has been an exciting/terrifying project. Luckily my material is jersey, which is very forgiving. 

Fast forward to August. I decided to use the Tilly and the Buttons pattern, Juno, from her 'Make it Simple' book, with added in-seam pockets. I also decided I needed my friend Hannah's help, as she had made in-seam pockets before and would be able to help me. But for Hannah's help, we needed a sewing day.

Fast forward again to end of October and our sewing day!

Hannah helped me draft some in-seam pockets, and I had to guess where to put them on the pj bottoms as my lovely model was at home.

It was a great day of sewing, and I pushed my sewing skills again. I find it hard to do something without a pattern, so the pockets were a challenge. I also had to add elastic to the waist (so many pins!) and ribbing to the ankles (a lot simpler than it first felt!).

I was very impressed with myself that I actually managed to finish them in one day, from cutting the fabric to Darren being able to wear them!

My pocket technique needed a bit of work though - the pockets were lower than ideal, and have quite a narrow opening! But they hold Darren's phone so he can listen to podcasts whilst washing up, so that's the main thing!

I then decided to be totally mad! I had accidentally bought enough fabric to make a pj top as well as bottoms, so I decided to make another pair of bottoms for a friend of ours, Caz. Caz lives about 5 hours away from us, and I could only work from the measurements I had asked for!

I decided to print an in-seam pocket template (from the Tilly and the Buttons website), and put them a bit higher up the leg. Caz reports that the pockets are completely usable, both in terms of height and being able to get your hand in! I was so out of my comfort zone making clothing for someone, and I'm so glad they fit and were well received!

Monday, 11 January 2021

Persian Tiles Crochet

I've been so good recently - I seem to only be starting something new once I've finished something else. Although we won't mention that I'm still buying materials faster than I'm getting through them!

This new start was a Christmas present - although I ended up finishing it on January 2nd. Our new puppy slowed crocheting down a little! This one is a little picture-heavy.

My friend mentioned she had seen this Persian Tiles design and colourway, and absolutely loved it. The pattern is by Janie Crow. I decided to be a bit bonkers and buy the wool & pattern and make her it. I started at the end of October, which I think is a bit risky for a handmade Christmas gift!

I started with the biggest tiles - there were 16 of these to do. I did the first 8 one at a time, and then did the second 8 in a batch together, which felt so much faster. 

The pattern recommends you tie off between each colour, so there can be a lot of ends to sew in! I highly recommend that if you ever make this, sew your ends in as you go - don't leave them until the end! I did that for one tile and instantly regretted it.

I progressed quite well at the start; all 16 big blocks were done by the end of November. I even got started on the granny squares.

I just kept forgetting about blocking. And the border. I may have peeked ahead in the pattern and it mentioned 840+ stitches are in the border.

I managed to get all the pieces completed for blocking in the first week of December. Children's play mats and a spray bottle were the key items for this:

Then Bronwyn arrived and it all slowed down! But during her naps I managed to put the whole thing together, with only one mistake. Can you spot it?

My oh so ladylike assistant joined me one morning. She's not on the blanket but enjoyed keeping my feet warm:

The actual border didn't take anywhere near as long as I thought it would. The final 3 rounds (each a minimum of 800 stitches) were just one stitch repeated and didn't need any counting happening. So I finally got it finished on January 2nd, including a morning spent tucking in any remaining ends. Not quite in time for Christmas, but not too late. And a good way to start the year - with a finish!

Monday, 4 January 2021

WIPocalypse 2021 Introduction

 Doesn't time fly?! And move very slowly. It doesn't feel that long ago since last year's introduction!

Anyway, I'm joining Measi's WIPocalypse again this year - my third year, but the tenth year of the whole SAL. The aim is to work on your project(s) throughout the year to prevent the end of the world - as there was a joke the year the WIPocalypse started that the world would end. You can read more about it at Measi's Musings.

Let's start with a brief introduction for those that don't know: I'm Bethan, 30 years old and I live in Cambridge with my husband. We also have a puppy called Bronwyn, who is distracting from crafting a little at the moment! I used to teach Science to 11-18 year olds; I changed jobs almost 2 years ago and now work at an exam board, advising teachers who are delivering exam content. So I'm still in education, but my work stays at work. It's amazing. And theoretically means more headspace and time for crafting. 


I love to cross-stitch, quilt, crochet, and sew clothes. I am also a sporadic runner, but want to do that a little more this year, so that may feature a little bit. I tend to blame my big sister for most of my crafting - she taught me how to quilt and links me to lots of lovely fabric and projects (although I tend to do the same to her too!). We do encourage each other quite a lot too, so it works out well.

My first year I was very ambitious and did not factor in that I end up working on projects that appear at different points in the year (usually baby quilts). Last year, my list was much more achievable (and thanks to lockdown/working from home, I ended up finishing a project I thought still had another couple of years worth of work to go!).

As with last year, I've split up what I'd like to work on into musts and wants (and am ignoring several other projects stashed away!):


  • Lap Quilt - this is a carry over from last year. It's not yet started, but I have the material and the design in mind. Just need to get going!
  • Beauty and the Beast quilt - again, a carry over from last year. Again, not started but I have the design planned now. It will be my first attempt at a quilt-as-you-go quilt.
  • Theatre Quilt #2 - A continuation. I made #1 last year, which you can read about here. I want to make at least the second one this year
  • Persian Tiles Crochet blanket - I have made one already (post due soon), but will be making this one for my mum for her birthday in November. Definitely a must!
  • Crochet Llama - a counterpart to the Flamingo I made last year. Our spare room has Llama and Flamingo bedding & decor, so they suit! This should be a quick one.
  • Christmas Garland - a carry over from the last 2 years. I keep saving it for December and then keep needing to do last minute crafts because I don't plan too well. Maybe I'll start this one soon.
  • Disney Cross-Stitch - with my surprise completion of Sleeping Beauty, it's time to start another one! I have a Little Mermaid one, a Cinderella one and a Peter Pan one left to do. This definitely won't be a finish, but I'd like to make a decent start in whichever I pick!

  • Tilly and the Buttons Eden Coat - I've just ordered the fabric for this. It'll be my first coat, and I hope I work up the nerve to make it!
  • Foundation Paper Piecing - I have a couple of potential projects; a mug quilt and some fun cushions. I just want to make sure I try some more this year!
  • Llama curtains - Our spare room needs some new curtains. I have the material - just need to brave making them!

So potentially pretty achievable. And there are 10 goals on there - one for each year the WIPocalpyse has been running (half coincidental, half on purpose!). Let's see how it goes!

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

WIPocalypse Year in Review 2020

It's somehow the end of the year, which means it's time to review how my WIPocalypse year has gone. This SAL is hosted by Measi's Musings, and the aim is to stitch on projects you would like to complete by the end of the world. 

It's my second year joining in, and I made a much more restrained list, split into musts and potentials. Check out how I did:

  • Theatre t-shirt lap quilt - FINISH! One complete (which was the plan). Two more planned and ready to start. 

  • Pinafore dress - FINISH!

  • Lap quilt - this is something I have the material for and the design for. It is intended as a gift, and I have set myself the deadline for this one - NOT STARTED
  • Crochet jumper - FINISH! I actually managed to make 2 this year; one for me and one for the big sister

  • Disney cross-stitch - FINISH! I had thought I would only make a dent in it, but I actually got it finished. Now tucked away with the first one, waiting for all 5 to be completed.

  • Beauty and the Beast quilt - IN PROGRESS. ISH. I now have a design planned, which is a big step forward

  • Sirocco jumpsuit - FINISHED! At least the wearable toile is. Excited to make another now

  • Flamingo - FINISH! This was a really quick one, and fun to do

  • Christmas garland - NOT STARTED. I seemed to get side-tracked by other things. Maybe I should start it in May rather than wait til December!

I think overall I am pleased. Only two 'not even started' pieces, and one in progress. I did also get some other crafting done this year outside the list:

This includes 3 baby quilts, 2 pairs of pjs, learning foundation piecing, making 3 organiser pouches and a dress. Oh and many, many masks! I also have a couple of projects in progress, but I'm not including them as they aren't finished.
This is part of the reason I had a shorter list than the first year I took part - I know that projects sneak in during the year, so wanted to make sure there was room for them and I wouldn't be left with a very incomplete list. 

New Year, lots of new starts! (a bit of a late post)

 I've lost the blogjo at the moment. I'm hoping to blog a little more again and I'm starting by slowly catching up with saved po...