On my (dusty) sewing table

At the start of the year, I signed up to Karen’s 2013 Jar Of Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is with this pledge:  “I plan to create The Ultimate Bag (or maybe two?), with sections, pockets, and fastenings fully customised for what I need to lug around day-to-day.”

At the time, I was thinking of a stylish work bag: compartments for all my files, stationery, flashcards, bubbles, stickers (NB: I work with children).  Of course, I didn’t know just yet that this just was about to happen:

Maternity maxi skirt 1

So, as my day-to-day needs have radically changed, The Ultimate Work Bag has been superseded by The Ultimate Nappy Bag.  And, as spare time has been slashed to zero for the last couple of months, this is as far as I’ve got:

nappy bag piece1

That’s one whole outer piece cut out.

But while I’m not progressing on the sewing front, I am way up there on the shopping front: all these hours of feeding enable some serious web browsing.  So I am getting all the necessary notions in place – there’s even a new sewing machine foot (non-stick, for the oilcloth):


In the meantime, I am using my most spacious pre-baby handbag as an improvised nappy bag, and dreaming of my fully customised handmade one.  Just hope I do get to sew it before she’s potty trained.

And now for something completely different

After our very strong hunch that I was carrying a boy…

It's a girl

…we are inundated by pink.  (I am using pale turquoise in the nursery in defiance.)

In spite of the dramas and palavas of the pregnancy, she is completely well, growing, and changing almost daily – I am feeling hugely blessed, shattered, content, and prone to bursting into tears. I’d love to show you pictures, but Mr B and I have decided to try and keep her personal information off the internet for as long as we can, even Facebook.  That’s no judgement on bloggers who do post pictures of their kids (so cute!) but it just doesn’t feel right for us.  Hey, sometimes I still feel really weird that there’s pictures of me floating around the web…

There’s not been time for sewing lately, but I have quite a few finished items from my last week of pregnancy still to blog about, and hopefully some new projects to slowly chip away at (as mademoiselle prefers to sleep in the afternoons and eat all night long.)  See you soon!

V&A Sewing Meet-up

If you read any sewing blogs at all, you must’ve heard about this event by now… look how many people were there!


I did take my camera along, but it ended up sitting in my bag all day – a) there was a professional photographer, and b) there were many other bloggers wielding clever-looking cameras with flair.  So I thought hey, this is covered! and just went with the flow…  Fortunately, I got to nose at all the photos here:


 Can you tell I don’t know how to pose with a bump yet?

I only finished my outfit on Friday night, so this is the first outing and first photo of both skirt and top.  And yes, the skirt is a Megan Nielsen pattern, as three or four sewists asked during the day (Megan Nielsen = synonymous with maternity patterns, no?).  Each time, I launched in to a recital of my fitting issues with it – thank you for your polite patience if you were on the receiving end! – but I’ll save those for another post.

Actually, the item attracting most queries was not handmade, but very topical:

Needles and thread bag

Needles and thread bag 2

Needles and thread bag pocket

At the time, I had to give that most irritating of replies: “oh, it was a present!” but I have now googled it for all you interested parties.  It’s the ‘Needle and Thread Overnight Bag’ by Disaster Designs, and available from Amazon and other online stores.  Enjoy!

I came home with some beautiful things:

Sewing meetup1

About half of which I bought in Goldhawk Road:

Sewing meetup2

and the rest came from the goody bag and epic swap!  Hurrah!

Sewing meetup3

It was lovely to meet familiar faces for the first time (slightly like meeting a celebrity: I recognise you!  And know quite a few things about you!  Cos I read your blog!  But you probably don’t know me! Is this weird yet?) and it was the first time I’ve ever said to someone: “Oh I recognised you from the back because of your dress” (Sally).  Also lovely to catch up with bloggers I’ve met before – always a pleasure Jane, Roisin, and Karen.  And of course, how fun to go pattern-spotting and admiring beautiful clothes – Shivani and Emily, your wonderful Wiksten Tovas have convinced me I must make one.  It should just about fit over the bump!

Once again, thanks to Rachel & Co for organising the day!

Sew Grateful Week 2013

I’ve enjoyed following Debi’s fabulous Sew Grateful week again this year – while being constantly thwarted in finding time to blog about it. So at last, on the tail-end of Sunday evening: a giveaway and a project!  (And I know it should be something Sew Grateful, but I hope you’ll forgive a rather woolly contribution?)

As usual here at Diana & Me, I’m giving away a book:

You’d think the title is pretty self-explanatory, but there are also quite a few slipper patterns and a big section on baby booties: 30 different projects altogether plus a techniques section.  This was a thoughtful gift from my mother-in-law last year, with one problem – I don’t knit.  My grandmothers taught me as a joint effort (competition?) and I can still basically stocking-stitch, but… nah.  (On the other hand, if this book was about crocheting socks, I’d have been all over it by now.)  Any knitters out there interested?  Leave a comment and I’ll announce the winner on Monday 18th February.

As for the project, well I’m still firmly in crochet mode:

Crochet hat 1 Crochet hat 2

I followed two free tutorials, one from Family Bugs Blogging for the basic hat and one for the bow-like detail at Vallieskids.  Doesn’t the sparkly hairclip just finish it off? I’m thinking of trying a chunky black version with a dramatic brooch for a more grown-up look…

Happy Sew Grateful week!  And thanks Debi!

Quick jumper restyle

I’m all for lounging around the house in chunky hoodies left over from my uni days, but this one is a fine cotton knit – a little too classy for my sofa hibernations, and worthy of upcycling to a smart-casual wardrobe.  With that aim in mind, I lopped off the hood (and then remembered to take the ‘before’ photo):

I also unpicked the kangaroo pocket, because my hands prefer their own individual pockets and don’t get on well when forced to share.  Plus I’ve always been nervous about it being mistaken for a baby bump…

I just traced the existing neckline to make a collar pattern piece, and finished it off with a contrasting band (a la Renfrew):

(Here’s a better view of the jumper, but not, unfortunately, of my face.)

And the back neckline is shaped too:

About an hour’s work to turn a neglected garment into something I’ve already worn 5 times (actually outside, it’s not for sofa days!)  And, as the other knit fabrics came from my stash, it was free.  Feels appropriately new-start and frugal, catching my January mood perfectly.


Hi all

I’m taking a little break from blogging this month – mainly because my sewing machine is buried in Easistore along with the rest of my worldly goods for the next couple of weeks – but also because I’m making some evaluations about how I spend my time and energy…

Source: oprah.com via Chris on Pinterest


… I hope to be back when I’m happy with my answers.

Love, Amy x

MMM’12: week 3

16th May (day): Clothkits skirt

16th May (eve):  Simplicity 2406 with bows

18th May: Spotty Pendrell

20th May (day):  Sew Grateful skirt

20th May (eve): Royal Wedding pyjamas and Bicycle Pendrell

21st May: Simplicity 2406 dress and Roses skirt

22nd May: Royal Wedding pyjamas

Yes, I had to use pyjamas twice this week to meet the me-made quota, which feels a little lame: must try harder. Why do me-made months always coincide with the busiest periods in my life?

This week: I’m getting photo fatigue and I’ve used up my 3rd purchase of the month – a saucepan for hand dyeing. Watch this space…

MMM12: week 2 roundup

Wednesday 9th: Made-up maxi skirt

Thursday 10th: Bank holiday hearts top

Friday 11th: Geometry of Hummingbirds top

Saturday 12th: 2406 with added bows

Sunday 13th: Sodalite top and April Showers skirt

Monday 14th (am): Crazy evolving Pendrell

Monday 14th (eve): Restyled shirt

Monday 14th (bedtime): Royal Wedding Pyjamas

9 items done, just about! What I’ve learned: week 2 is much tougher than week 1. That’s probably true for everything I ever start or try or achieve.

I’m also keeping up OK with my minimal consumerism aim – I’ve had homemade lunches for work every day, and there’s been no new fabric! I have used up two of my ’emergency’ shopping credits… on an e-book, and some fabric dye. Yes, I use the word ’emergency’ with my tongue firmly in cheek.

How’s May feeling for you?

What would a sewist do…

… when one is getting on quite nicely with the Jasmine pattern one received for Christmas…

… all ready to sew the long tie pieces to the back collar piece K, and… hang on, what back collar piece K?  I haven’t cut one… I don’t even have a paper one.

No K.

Sigh. I did cut the pattern out months ago, though I’m usually pretty good at keeping everything together.  But not this time.  So, what would you do?

a) buy a whole new copy of the pattern for one piece

b) attempt to draft the missing piece, hopefully from the clues of the neighbouring pieces

c) any other ideas?

Mmm, yellow

My last Sew Weekly post started off with a paragraph about my warm feelings towards the colour yellow:  I can’t get enough of it.  Right now I’m filling up my Pinterest boards with yellow loveliness: 

Source: gettyimages.co.uk via Amy on Pinterest


Source: tumblr.com via Amy on Pinterest


Source: jcrew.com via Amy on Pinterest


At work the other day, a colleague and I happened to be talking about colour in the context of classrooms (as a Speech and Language Therapist, I work in schools on a consultative basis, so I see a lot of different classrooms.  Some of them are so visually cluttered that I find it hard to focus – I have no idea how the kids cope).  So my colleague then emailed me a handout she’d been given about emotional response to colour.  Apparently, yellow is: “recognised by humans faster than any other colour, evokes spontaneity, is joyful, optimistic, warm and signifies communication”.  It’s even greater than I thought! 

Just as well I’ve got some more yellow fabric waiting for my attention then.