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Growing Paper Plants

Growing Paper Plants

I have given up on green things. I have a love of the wide green outdoors: the kind of outdoors of woodlands and shaded streams rather than sunny spots and beaches. As we are in a flat and so have no garden, and can’t go […]

Putting Together An Isolation Wardrobe

Putting Together An Isolation Wardrobe

I’ve never enjoyed clothes shopping, and I’m happy to wear my clothes until they are worn out and unfixable, so my wardrobe this spring and summer are the same as my wardrobe last spring and summer, but this isn’t working for my four year old […]

Pyjama Days

Pyjama Days

We don’t just have pyjama days anymore. My little boy in particular, likes to have whole pyjama weeks since we started lockdown. Pyjamas are the most comfortable clothes that we own, and right now comfort is very much sought after. Because of this we have found ourselves needing a few more sets of pyjamas now that they were being worn both day and night and into the humid summer.

As the weather was warming up we really wanted some nice short pyjamas to help with being as comfortable as possible in the heat, but all of the shops were sold out online (I assume because of everyone having pyjama weeks) and fresh on the success of my self-sewn slippers I decided that I should try to make some pyjamas myself. My son really loves the deep fabric waistband style of knit cotton trousers that brands such as Maxamorra make, so I looked around for a shorts style as close to that as possible and found the MadeByMe shorts pattern on Etsy to print at home.

The pattern seems to take a lot less fabric than the simple straight wide leg style shorts, which allowed me to squeeze more pieces out of the fabric that I had (fabric, by the way, that I bought when my little boy was less than a year old, when I was put off sewing by a simple length of fold-over-elastic (a story for later*).

Because I was able to spend a bit of time shuffling my pattern pieces around my fabric, I was able to squeeze two pairs of shorts and a pyjama vest out of the fabric I had, though I cut the fabric so tight that I had to make all of the bands and shorts cuffs from some contrast ribbing.

Buoyed up by making something wearable and practical I decided to cut into the only other bit of knit fabric that I possessed: some dinosaur fabric that I also bought for baby clothes before getting too nervous. I managed to squeeze another couple of pairs of shorts, a pyjama vest and a short sleeved pyjama top from this second piece.

The second pair of pyjama shorts (which are currently in the wash) are almost identical to the ones above with the one difference being that the shorts cuffs are made from the dinosaur fabric, to prevent as much fabric waste as possible.

The pyjama vests for both sets are made using another MadeByMe pattern for ‘tank top & shorts’. The patterns I have tried from this seller seem to be well produced and true to size, with some patterns providing layered PDFs for single size printing.

Because my little boy is tall and slim, I have used the size 5-6 shorts but used the age 2-3 waistband. Otherwise, the patterns are made to the pattern specifications for the 5-6 size.

The T-shirt is a mod of the vest pattern, adapting the pattern pieces to widen the shoulders and adjust the neckline very slightly, and to add a short sleeve.

I have sewn all of the pyjama pieces almost entirely using the overlocker, an achievement of which I am quite proud, not for the element of skill but of bravery. Friends, I have even had to buy new thread cones because I have been using it so much! I only swapped to the standard sewing machine to finish the bottom hems with a twin needle.

I still have refinements to make in trying to find the balance between the tunnelling and the degree of stretch I want from the twin needle, and trying the woolly nylon (which I have owned for ages and always forget about) in the bobbin, but these are mere tweaks. For now we have lots of lovely pyjamas and some more pyjama weeks ahead.


*Four years ago I was making an envelope-neck style t-shirt for a 6 month old and had no overlocker, twin needle or knit bias binding, etc, and somebody told me that the best thing to use was fold-over elastic. I really couldn’t stand working with that stuff and found it so bulky on such a tiny garment that I decided sewing children’s clothing was not for me. A silly thought, I know, and it has taken me until now, until a scarcity of pyjamas of all things, to rectify this wrongthink.

You Don’t Need Shoes When Your Isolation Is Carpeted

You Don’t Need Shoes When Your Isolation Is Carpeted

My first bit of personal sewing during the pandemic was a pair of slippers. It seemed as different to a face mask as I could imagine. I reluctantly made a one-person production line of masks for ‘out there’, and slippers were as much of an […]

Slippers In Lockdown

Slippers In Lockdown

This has been my first pandemic. Two and a half months passed before I could make something for myself. At first I was too numb. My brain, numb to thoughts, bruised by the incoming news from every app, message and web page served up by […]

Make Your Own Animal Crossing new Horizons Felt Coaster Set

Make Your Own Animal Crossing new Horizons Felt Coaster Set

I’m really very excited about the upcoming release of the new Animal Crossing New Horizons game.

As there are still eleven whole days to wait until the game is released I decided to make something to get ready for release day and make a friend of mine a couple of drinks coasters (because nobody wants to be thirsty on a deserted island) out of a few simple bits of felt. It’s a quick, inexpensive project, and I have included some files to download to make your own.

To make a set of two coasters you will need:

  • One A4 (21x30cm) piece of cream felt
  • One A4 (21x30cm) piece of green felt
  • One A4 (21x30cm) piece of brown felt
  • Needle and thread in green and brown to match your felt.

A note on choosing felt colours: I chose to use two different green felts for my coasters and two different cream/beige colours, also. The ‘traditional’ (solid) green Animal Crossing leaf has a more saturated traditional green colour, whereas the cutout leaf of the New Horizons game is a cooler mint-green colour. I paired these with a darker cream/beige colour for the traditional leaf shape and a lighter cream background colour for the New Horizons leaf.

Transfer The Template Designs

There are many ways of transferring the templates to your pieces of felt. I chose to cut the templates from light card and then cut them carefully out. I then used a disappearing felt pen to transfer the design onto the reverse of a piece of felt (as you are marking the reverse of the felt it isn’t essential that the pen marks disappear, but if you have a disappearing marker you may as well use it).

I have included a .svg file in the download, so if you have a cutting machine that cuts felt, then you could use that to cut the shapes directly, or if you have a cutting machine that does not handle felt then you could use the .svg to create the card templates, for all other methods of transfer I have included a .pdf.

Making The Coasters

Start by cutting a square of no smaller than 14x14cm from cream/beige felt. Place your chosen leaf shape cut from green felt at the centre and pin, or tack into place using long contrasting stitches to be removed later. Using sewing thread to match your green felt, appliqué blanket stitch around the outside of the leaf shape with two strands of thread to attach it to the beige felt.

Once the outside edge is secure, use a single strand of the same thread to appliqué the inner cut-out edges of the fancy leaf design if you are making that leaf version.

Alternatively, if making the simpler ‘classic’ leaf design you might choose to embroider leaf vein details at this stage, though I chose to leave mine plain.

Once your appliqué leaf is fully attached on all edges, remove any pins or tacking stitches. Next, place the brown ‘ring’ of felt over your leaf so as to ‘frame’ it and tack/pin it to the cream/beige felt as before. Using two strands of matching brown thread, appliqué blanket stitch around the inner edge of the frame only.

Finally, trim the excess cream/beige felt so that it is exactly the same size as the outer edge of the brown ring of felt that it is attached to. Place the brown circle of felt on the very back to hide any visible threads, and use a blanket stitch in three strands of brown thread to stitch all three layers of felt together.

Template files are available in .PDF form ready to print, and .SVG files ready to download for cutting machines.

If you’re going to be getting Animal Crossing New Horizons drop me a line on the Contact Me page with your friend code (or via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook) for future visiting fun.


Coddswallop

Our First Two Years Together

Our First Two Years Together

It’s been two years since our family grew by one. I think we were always a family, Russell and I. From, perhaps, the day that I felt like I trusted in his goodness to let go of that little bit of certainty and security of the path I was on, soon to have my own little place to live, and took the leap that I could trust in this human to be good and to care and love enough that I could uproot once more and move in with him to a pokey little cold flat in Whitley Bay. Boy it was cold. And it was so tiny! But perhaps it was my favourite of all the places that I have lived due to it being where our story began and the first place in which I had felt safe in a very, very long time.

But my favourite chapters of the story so far all burst into colour two years ago when a tiny human popped into our world, a mixture of Russell and I. This whopping great blackcurrant stained baby shot into the world at a faster rate than I could really handle it. But after all the worry and panic there lay this 9lb bruise with a wrinkle for a nose and Russell and I cradled pure love in our arms. It had not been so very long previously that I did not think that I could trust anyone to truly love in my lifetime, and now I had these two pillars of love, one huge and protecting and one (not so very) tiny, heartbeat fluttering fast upon my chest, and I knew that I would never feel the same again. And our family was strong.

I truly love being a parent, but as so many people will tell you, parenthood is tough. Gosh, yes we have our off days. Tired, grumpy days, days of illness and the mystery maladies of baby and toddlerhood, sometimes that write themselves apparent three days after the screams and sobs with a scarlet rash and sometimes which manifest on no physical symptoms that you will ever detect and are put down to some mystical condition which may or may not have existed. And you are always, always doing it wrong. So says that lady in the supermarket, or the health visitor who you’ve known for four minutes of your life, or that relation who’d do that differently, or the neighbour who is old enough to remember when babies did not cry because in those days 10 month old babies did as they were instructed, and probably earned their keep down the mines at the same time.

If my little boy knows or feels anything I would hope it is just how perfectly I love him and that I love learning from him more than from any of those people. I hope that Russell and I can teach him, above all else, how to be kind, how to be thoughtful and how to have empathy for all the people whose lives touch on his. I do not expect that as he grows and natually makes mistakes for him to always be good, or that he will always make the right choice, but I do so hope that we will always have time to put three chairs around the table and to talk about how we feel and how others might feel, and the effect of our actions on others. And from him I am learning how to best see the world anew. How the most basic and fundamental feelings that I have can be best nurtured and put to use. I am tougher in my resolve to surround myself with good and kind people and to not let damaging influences into our lives without guard, and to that end I have a strong determination to stand up for my family and to know when to say ‘no more’.

I hope that our third year together will be one of greater learning and growth. I hope it will be full of rainbows and colour, but when there are grey days that we can make things better with love and understanding. I hope that that there will be laughter, kindness, and, importantly, dinosaurs.

 

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