Saturday, 31 July 2010


Luxe Cravat for the boy

I was up til Stupid o'clock last night making Maia's dress. And this boy-sized cravat for Jamie, to match the silver one worn by his Dad!

Friday, 30 July 2010


The Gigantic Cop-Out

I was so disheartened and unconfident about the likelihood of pulling off a handmade dress in two sleeps, that five minutes after I posted my frustration yesterday I took the bus into town in search for a dress. And I bought two! I actually found them at Bravissimo, which for those of you not in the UK, is a company that caters for people with big boobs. It's actually very clever, there are normal number sizes for the clothing, but three different cuts within each size: Curvy, Really Curvy, and Super Curvy. It was a bit of a shocker that the dresses I bought were two full sizes smaller than what I'd normally have to buy to accommodate my chest. But it's not all sunshine and roses, I don't know which one to wear...

Dress one is a rose print number with pleats. It's okay from the front, although I'm not sure the neckline is the best for my shape.

Here's the details of the pleats. So pretty.

But the major thing that's giving me pause is the side view. The combination of the pleats and the fairly heavy weight nature of the fabric creates a big paunch across my tummy. I pressed the pleats down more last night and this is the improved view. I'm not sure I want my tummy to look any more paunchy than it already is.

So on to dress two! This is a deep pink satin number with cross over bodice. It's extremely body con.

Again, the detailing is just lovely. See how the bodice is pleated but not bulky?

Because it's satin and body con, I have some ripples across my hip bones which force me to tug it down periodically to smooth them out.

My reservations about this one? Eh... it might be inappropriate for a wedding. It's funny though, I think it'd be fine if it was worn by someone with a more reasonable cup size. Having a large chest definitely has the power to lower the tone and have people sneer at you.

Which one should I wear? Steven wasn't enthusiastic about either, so a third choice would be to return to town and search for another. So, what say you?

Thursday, 29 July 2010


Macaron madness. No, seriously. Madness.

I diligently worked on my Macaron bodice muslin last night. I'm not so hot at making 'muslins'. The closest I can come is to use fabric I don't OMG love but won't mind losing from my stash if it's a wadder. But I'm always thinking 'This one's going to work out so I should use normal fabric!' You know, because someone sedated me when I wasn't paying attention and performed extensive plastic surgery so my body is likely to fit into anything without a bajillion adjustments.

So here's the muslin sewn up exactly as I was told to do.

You know what? This picture doesn't actually make it look too bad. The reality is, if I was to say it made me look like a brick sh*thouse, that'd be unfair to brick sh*thouses. A huge pool of excess fabric under the bust, major arm gappage and a waistband that didn't hit at the smallest point. I went to bed (though not to sleep), in a major funk.

I wondered this morning if I could use any of the insight from Fit For Real People to try to salvage the bodice. First, I tried to address the arm gap. My doppelganger is wearing my bra, so I could feel that the curvy spotty piece was falling well below my cup line. This doesn't surprise me because I have a freakishly short torso and my breasts pretty much start at my collar-bones. By making a horizontal half inch tuck all the way across the upper chest, I lifted not only the spotty bit, but also the waistband, and it addressed some of the gap at the armhole. But not all of it, I also had to shave the side seam of just the front bodice at the armpit so that it pulled some of the excess taut.

And then the extra pooling under bust. There were fairly substantial underbust darts already, so I didn't want to increase their size (lest it get too pointy), and neither did I want to mess with the darts in the side seam. So I pinned a slightly shorter dart adjacent to each existing dart (placement closer to CF) and the excess under bust was much improved. To fit the slightly smaller underbust width of the bodice, I also had to tuck the waistband to fit.

After these adjustments were made, I didn't like the way the waistband was hanging (dipping down) so I tucked up the bodice at centre front so it sat more horizontally. I'm not sure if this is one change too much (or even two or three!)? Please tell me if you think so...

Spin doppelganger around and this is what's going on at the back:

Pure horror really, but actually not that hard to fix. I did the same half inch horizontal tuck across the width and it sits much better. Good thing I have puny pencil arms so I don't have to make the armholes bigger elsewhere.

So there you go then. An ambitious non-muslin that is now very much a muslin because it'll need to be completely re-cut and re-worked.

I have to say, I'm finding the process of sewing for myself very hard. If anything, it's actually hurting my body image. If I try something on in the shop and it doesn't fit, I don't buy it. But using my materials (therefore money) and my time to make something that doesn't fit is pretty soul destroying and it's making me dislike my pesky body shape even more. So, my sewing friends, does it get easier? If I keep calm and carry on will I start to know my body so well I can make adjustments before it even gets to muslin stage? Also, tales of how much it's worth it would be appreciated...

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


People who say 'TREASURE EVERY MOMENT WITH SMALL CHILDREN' don't have small children. Or Moon Sand.

'Will you play with us?'

I remember being confused last summer when a significant portion of the people who were finding my blog through Google were searching some variation of 'What to do with kids over the summer holiday'. I'm not sure why, I've never purported to know myself. But with another year of parenting under my belt, I finally have some answers. Here are five awesome games we've been playing in the last couple of days. For those of you PC parents, don't worry: Almost all of these games don't have a winner.

Moon Sand
Requirements: 2 kilos of sticky sand in various colours, the 8" x 12" playmat included, cream carpets, Xanax
Object of the game: Combine the colours irreparably, track it all through the house, stain carpet, stain clothing
Who is the winner: The manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies

Baguette stop-clock
Requirements: A baguette, a watch with a second hand.
Object of the game: Walk down to the shop and buy a baguette. Use your stop-clock on the way back so that each child can hold the baguette for exactly 20 seconds before switching.
Who is the winner: Smug passerbys.

Is it still raining?
Requirements: A window.
Object of the game: Ask 'Is it still raining?' every twenty seconds until the answer is No.
Who is the winner: No one.

The Dice Game
Requirements: As many dice as participants
Object of the game: Everybody rolls the dice at the same time. If they're not the same, everyone says 'Oh no, let's try again!' If they are the same, everyone says, 'Yay, let's try again!'
Who is the winner: The last person not to die of boredom.

Flowers in the Attic
Requirements: Genitals, savvy.
Object of the game: Take an unhealthy interest in the private parts of your family. If not possible to physically interact with one another's genitals (see the role of Bi-Polar Policeman below), verbally speculate about each other's genitals at all times. One person (normally the tallest person, i.e. the parent) plays the role of Bi-Polar Policeman, whose job it is to walk The Tightrope of Sensitive Curiosity Versus For The Love of God Just Stop.
Winners: Therapists

DISCLAIMER: None of these games should be played by people with a nervous disposition, low boredom threshhold, anger management issues or high blood pressure.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


New Kicks

These are Maia's new kicks. They're what I would consider 'acceptable pink', rather than bubblegum / candyfloss pink as she is wont. I bought them when she wasn't looking.

These are my new kicks. Not only are they the height of fashion and in no way the semblance of moonboots, but they have magical powers which will make me skinny. Every thing I do while wearing them is technically exercise. Ergo, I wore them to the pub with Friend Sarah on Friday. We were exercising.

Monday, 26 July 2010


The Jet Lag dress

Thanks very much for all your input on dressing me up for the wedding, shame it was roughly a three way split! As such, I did what any fiscally irresponsible sensible person would do, and ordered both the Chantilly and Macaron patterns. Now I have all four options and I will have no problem what so ever sewing at least a dozen different options in five sleeps. No siree. *insert: sarcasm* How lucky that my jet lag means I can stay up all night long! *insert: hollow laugh* Speaking of jet lag and wedding attire, before turning my attention to myself of course I had to make a dress for Maia to wear. Always the children first, it is my mantra...

Despite photographic evidence to the contrary, I do love my daughter.

Despite photographic evidence to the contrary, this is a mainstream wedding and not a theme one. We did not receive an invite saying, 'Come along to our Merchant Ivory Pajama Party Wedding!!' Such a shame, it would have been perfect. Jet lag makes me insane.

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Let's pretend I'm your dress up doll

Okay. I have a wedding next weekend and no dress to wear. (This is not strictly true, I have no dress I want to wear.) If I was your dress up doll, would you dress me in option one:

This is the Colette Chantilly. I have to say, at first glance I was not In Love with this pattern. But then I saw this version in the Colette Flickr pool:

I really hope she doesn't mind that I'm using her image, but by way of apology I think I might propose. Doesn't it / she look beautiful? I do, however, suspect that she is much thinner than me and perhaps I would not do the pattern the same justice. So here is option two:

This is the Colette Macaron. Again, did not love at first glance. But... looking through the Flickr pool and the reviews at Pattern Review has changed my mind. Just look at what different fabric choices can do:

Again, I hope she doesn't mind me piggy-backing her awesomeness. By way of apology, I think we should all visit her blog and bombard her with messages of devotion. Only a goddess could forsee those fabrics coming together to create such loveliness.

Option three. Bonus points because I already have this pattern.

This is the Colette Rooibos. But I'm not sure it's dressy enough.

Option four. Sigh. I don't even know why I'm giving you this option. I could wear my Parfait:

Polkadot parfait

Or I could make another Parfait now that I know what I'm doing. Ish.

Please leave a comment with your vote. I might just ignore you.

Sunday, 11 July 2010


A gene pool full of crazy

We're all off on a mini break to New Hampshire today. I'm not sure I'll survive a single-hotel-room sharing experience with Steven and both of the kids, so I leave you with some of my favourite pics from last week of all the cousins together.

Jamie loves Calvin probably as much as I do

Hands up if you're crazy

'Come to me, you cannot resist...'

Most likely Liam is plotting his next assault

Kung Fu fighting

These two did some serious lunatic bonding (note Isla covering her ears in the background)

Liz braving the kids table, large beer required

Friday, 9 July 2010


Flattery will not get you everywhere

Maia: Grandma, I love you.
Grandma: I love you too.
Maia: Grandma, you're my best friend.
Grandma: Thanks very much!
Maia: Grandma... can I see your boobies?
Grandma: No thanks.
Maia: Please? Please, Grandma, can I see your boobies?
Grandma: No thanks.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Hello, is that the optician? Emergency appointment please.

With the temperature in the triple digits, we're spending a lot of time indoors. You know, lest we spend too much time staring at the sun. And go blind. Too late for little Maia, I fear... At the library a couple of days ago, she comes running full pelt with a book. Excitedly, 'Look, Mum, it's you!'

All right then.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


Happy Fourth of July!

Wishing all my American friends a happy Independence day.

Together with your families.

Who just might be 'your best friend'.

And that you aren't melting in the HEAT!

Friday, 2 July 2010


Some things old, some things new, and lots of blue

One thing I love about making things for my kith and kin (other than the obviously adorable photos), is how often I get to see them modelling. We've only been here for a week but I think at least one child every day has been wearing something I've made! It's super-fulfilling. Here's a round up of some of the Top Secret new stuff I've made mixed in with some old favourites getting their second season of wear.

Peonies peasant top making it's debut

Fishbowl mod dress from last summer is now a cute tunic

Guitar hero orgnaic t-shirt (see, I told you he's even cuter)

Leapfrog pillow case dress, first time worn

The girls in their matching People-y peasant tops

An all new Megatropolis mod dress with red polkadot bias binding

On a whim peasant dress made for both girls, modelled by mine.