the “dances with hens” shirt (see & sew B6270)

On 9th of this month, I showed you my first ever sewing project with sleeves and a collar.

shirt 01

made following the pattern

shirt pattern

Well, I was so pleased with how it turned out, I was raring to make a second one.  For my second version, I went for the rounded shirt tails, on both front & back, but kept sleeves as 3/4 and the grandad style collar. 

And just to make things a little different, I decided to use a white “piqué” cotton for the collar, front yokes and the button loopy bits.


Main fabric is a very fun feather print . . . hence the Indian name for this new version of the shirt:  “Dances with hens” lol.


I really love it!   It looks so different from the first version, because of the bright colours. 



Just look how cleverly the feathers match up when sleeves are rolled!


Everything went ever so smoothly this time around.  Collar went on first time.  Sleeve insertion was still rather daunting, but I’d done it before, so I knew I could do it again.  Overall, it really was a joy to make and I am already planning on making it a third time!  I’m even toying with the idea of making the proper pointy collar of version B for my next attempt, despite having said that I don’t like pointy collars.  Definitely won’t be adding a pocket or going for the full length sleeves though. 


ScrapHappy # April (making for Baby Viking)

Followers know that I became a grandma in August last year, to a bonny baby girl, who I have nick-named Baby Viking, because her dad, our second son, is known here as Daddy Viking.  Well, in true grandma form, I made some presents to celebrate the birth:  quilt, cloth book, crinkle toy, crocheted bear and a couple of bibs.  I then knitted up 2 very cheerful bolero cardies, as an excuse to get some practice knitting in February.

Since then, I have been busy at my sewing machine.  And using scraps for the first two items, so an excuse to link up with Gun and Kate!

First up . . . I made a little pinafore dress, using pattern NewLook 6970, and leftover fabric from a summer tunic I made myself a few years ago.  Buttons, came from the family button box, and I learned they were originally from the husband’s grandmother’s button box!  The husband affectionately called her “Bonne Maman” which is the title I have asked to be called by Baby Viking, when she’s old enough to talk.  How lovely, I thought, that as the newest Bonne Maman, I should have used buttons from Bonne Maman senior’s button box!  Meaning that this little dress was made for Baby Viking by one grandma, with buttons that came from her great great grandma’s button box!

for bb viking 01

With the very last bits of the pretty floral fabric, a matching sunhat, using NewLook 6274.

for bb viking 02

And then . . . worrying that the UK summer might not be as warm as a French summer, I decided Baby Viking might need something to keep those chubby legs warm.  Not to mention that she’ll probably be at the crawling stage this summer and those knees will need protecting . . . so, some trials with stretch fabrics.  First, making use of a free pattern by Made by Rae (but adapting the size)

for bb viking 03

a sort of “sarouel” type of leggings, with (I hope) plenty of room for a nappy.  And then another attempt, this time to make a pair of 3/4 length, closer fitting leggings

for bb viking 04

Husband kindly pointed out to me that one leg is longer than the other – thank you darling!  But I’m sure once they’re on (assuming they fit) and Baby Viking is crawling around, no one will notice.

for bb viking 05

I thought they’d look rather pretty with the pinafore dress.

for bb viking 06


Both “bottoms” were made from adult Tshirts.  The stripey pair, from one of my too small Tshirts that was otherwise destined for the Red Cross clothes bin.  The pink pair were made from a brand new adult Tshirt I bought in Noz for only 1€.   And, if you think the waist band looks neat on those, it’s because I used the original hem of the Tshirt bottom as the channel for the elastic waist band.

Anyway . . . here are links to other ScrapHappy posters.

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki and Pauline

easy trousers (NewLook #6399)

After the success of my first ever shirt . . . I was on a roll, and decided to try one of the trouser patterns I’ve had in my stash for years.

trouser pattern

Namely: NewLook #6399.  Pattern cover states “easy 2 hour” . . . with the little asterix lower down, specifiying this is “sewing time only per item” lol.  There were only 4 pattern pieces to pin and cut out, so preparation didn’t take forever, and surprisingly neither did the sewing together!  I did make the job slightly harder for myself than I needed to though.  Rather than cutting into any of the bought fabrics in my stash, I picked an unknown fabric, that I inherited from MIL.  Not the slightest idea what it was, although I suspect it’s what’s called a “Jacquard” fabric since it looks woven not printed.

trouser fabric

The raw edges had all this blue & yellow thread escaping, but the fabric itself looks beige, from a distance, with shimmers of blue depending on what angle you look at it.  Anyway . . . while pressing before pattern cutting, it seemed okay with a hot setting on the iron, as long as iron didn’t stay on one spot for too long.  Some scorching happened later in the making process . . . so I’m guessing it’s not cotton lol.  Whatever it is, it wrinkles quite a bit.  Frays abominably, and all seams had to be overlocked . . . but I was determined to use it for my first attempt with this pattern as my “toile”.

Pattern sizing had me somewhat confused.  It has “Misses” sizes (like the shirt pattern) so I ended up just getting out the tape measure and cutting out the size which corresponded to my hip measurement.  That (sadly) was the largest pattern size (EU 42 or FR 44).  Rather too large than too tight, is my motto!

As always . . . I didn’t follow the pattern completely.  Was making view A (the full length trouser version) but didn’t see the need for the ribbon in the waist band.  That band is there to encase 5cm wide elastic.  I honestly didn’t see why I would need a draw string ribbon in as well.  Especially since that would just make for volume under a top.

trousers 01

Anyway . . . one serious sewing session of about 3 hours.  Followed by an hour’s sewing the next day to finish off hems . . . and I have a pair of very comfortable pull-on trousers!  [For Tialys . . . I also seem to be related to David Nivon aka “The Brain” lol.  Not sure why my head is always cocked to that side for photos].

trousers 02a

This second photo to show the waist band, which isn’t actually on waist, as pattern stipulates “worn 1 inch below waist”.  Not quite sure I see the point in having the open flappy bits at the ankles.  Maybe my fabric is too lightweight, but all that opening does is make the leg hang funnily.   Maybe I’ve left the hem too long?    Anyway . . . I am glad I didn’t bother with the extra draw-string ribbon bit.  Trousers sit nicely with just the wide elastic.  And, in case you’re wondering, because I certainly was . . . the pieces  of fabric for the elastic casing are cut on the bias.  So even in a non-stretchy fabric like this one, the band has just enough stretch to pull trousers up over bum and then sit 1” below waist, comfortably, where hips (and love handles) prevent trousers from falling down lol.

Please note new shoes also!  I found this pair of TMA “desert boots” in Noz the other week, priced only 15€ and they fit, so I grabbed TWO identical pairs.


I think they’re lots of fun!  Well, a lot more fun than wearing mens’ black trainers all the time.  I’ve got my orthopedic insoles now (to be worn religiously for at least 12 months until my next check-up) and since these are a German brand, they size up nice & wide, so I can get insoles AND feet in without too much of a squeeze, provided I wear pop-socks.

Before I sign off for today . . . I’ll leave you with a photo of 3 new fabrics bought recently, with a mind to another shirt and more trousers (maybe with a zip fastener next time!).

new fabrics

The green & white print is a polycotton.  I grabbed that because it was only 5€ for a 3 metre length.  Total bargain!  And the other two are cotton (with 4% elastathane) gabardines.  15€ for 3 metres of each . . . I’m seeing two pairs of trousers and one polycotton shirt, with maybe a pair of polycotton shorts for this summer.    We’ll see!

“see & sew” shirt B6270

After probably  more than a dozen sewing projects, where I’ve managed to steer clear of sleeves, I decided it was time to give sleeves a whirl.  I’ll admit that watching Season 5 of the GBSB helped to get me motivated.  That, and the fact I’ve had the following pattern and fabric in my stash since 2016.

shirt pattern

Pattern being B6270 SEE & SEW, with the comforting red logo reassuring me that “YES! It’s easy”.  And fabric being 1.5m of a very light-weight 100% cotton:  Minimals designed for Poppy Europe.

shirt fabric 

I can’t remember now where I bought it, nor how much I paid for it.  All I know is, I bought it with this specific pattern in mind, seeing it sewn up to make shirt A, with the grandad collar and the turned up sleeves.

Just as well the pattern claimed it was easy, because that’s what gave me the courage to go ahead.  On hindsight, “easy” isn’t the adjective I would have used . . . but it was do-able with lots of patience and a seam ripper to hand.

shirt 01

Four afternoon sewing sessions it took me . . . with various mishaps along the way.  I managed to sew front facing on the wrong way round, only discovering after I’d trimmed seam to turn.  Fixed that!  Had loads of trouble working out the correct way to sew on my collar.  Sewed once.  Didn’t look right.  Unpicked.  Sewed a different way.  Defintely didn’t look right.  Unpicked.  Emailed Avis for help.  Discovered I’d done it correctly the first time.  So sewed collar on for the third time. 

shirt 02

Sleeves were also a challenge.  But they’re in.  And I made a slight modification to the pattern which called for version A to have special cuff loopy bits sewn into place . . . I chose to add a button and button hole to mine, so sleeves can be unfolded when being washed & ironed.

shirt 03

And I have to say . . . I am thrilled to bits with my first shirt!  Oh, other alteration I made . . . I didn’t like the shirt-tail hem line, so mine is straight across, both back & front.

shirt 04

shirt 05

I will definitely be making this pattern again!  Version B pointy collar & pocket don’t tempt me, neither do the full length sleeves with proper cuffs . . . but I might try curved shirt tails next time, just to make it longer, and to give myself a new challenge.

SAL Bag Ladies #9

Another 3 weeks have flown by . . . which means it’s time to post progress photos for my SAL project.

Stitching “Bag Ladies” which looked like this 3 weeks ago

SAL 17 03 19

And has now progressed to this

Bag Ladies 070419

Not bad, even if I do say so myself!  A fourth bag complete, and a fifth cat (the largest in this project) gradually taking shape.

Let’s do some blog-hopping, and see what other members have been up to!

AvisGun, Carole, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Connie, Clare, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon

And we’ll be back again on 28th April, with yet more progress.

best layer of the month # March (Houdini Hens)

Our hens have been a right handful this month!  They’ve taken to escaping from their enclosure on a daily basis and causing havoc in the veggie garden, where the husband is trying to prepare plots for plantations.  We appreciate that they’re currently living on bare soil, with a covering of straw, and that the grass must look so much greener on the other side.  They did have grass on this plot in February, but soon pecked & scratched it clean, and it’s a bit early in the season for us to move them to their summer residence in the orchard.

Try as we might, we were unable to see exactly how they were getting out, but get out they did.  Every single day, this month, I’d pop out to take them their treats, only to find they’d been having fun: digging in the strawberry patches, and burying the poor plants;  having sand baths in the beautifully banked mounds where the husband is trying to grow asparagus;  having a good old rummage in the compost heaps;  and generally running riot!  We checked there were no gaps at ground level, where they could be sneaking out under the net fencing.  Hung extra netting higher up along 2 sides of the enclosure . . . and I did some more feather clipping on left wings.  In a final attempt to keep them inside their park . . . I ended up re-purposing  some of old net curtains because we’d run out of proper fowl netting, and I didn’t want to have to go and buy some more.


The result looks rather strange, to say the least.  But we’re hoping it’ll do the job of stopping hens from doing more of their Houdini act.


Anyway . . . not only have they been escaping on a daily basis, they’ve also all been laying on an almost daily basis.  This month saw us with a total egg count of 86.  28 from both Miss Plumpton and Miss Moneypenny, while Mauricette laid a massive 30 eggs.

a bit of this & that

I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog this month.  This doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing some blog-hopping to see what everyone else is up to.  Nor does it mean I haven’t been crafting – au contraire – I have!  However, several of the projects I’m working on are either secret crafting projects, or not far enough in the making to be worth blogging about.

Still, I do have 2 projects to talk about . . . first up, is the latch hook “Puppy” rug kit by Versaco.


The hooking is finally complete – yay!  Once I set my mind to it, it came along very quickly.  Helped by the fact that I’ve been playing catch up, watching The Great British Sewing Bee on my tablet.  Since the husband isn’t too keen on sewing programmes,  I watch GBSB while sitting out in the kitchen, and kitchen table was the most comfortable place for latch hooking.  I’ve already trimmed the excess canvas, and begun the job of finishing edges neatly.  I will share a fully finished photo with you in due course.

I’ve also been doing some sewing.  Several projects in mind for Baby Viking, and big plans on moving out of my comfort zone to make a few garments with stretch fabrics.  True to myself, I thought it best to have a trial run with stretch fabrics before cutting into the yummy piece I’ve bought for BV.  And, after the clear out in my wardrobe last month, I had a couple of Tshirts (that didn’t get handed down or put in the Red Cross recyle bin) I had kept, precisely to slice up and use for some trial sewing.  So, one Tshirt repurposed into a pair of toddler sized trousers.  Scraps above are all that was left of the Tshirt.  I remembered to use a special Jersey/stretch fabrics needle in Juki and I used the overlocking stitch for everything.  I noticed that Juki tended to skip a stitch occasionally (not sure if it was my fault or because fabric was quite fine) if I tried to sew too quickly.  After adjusting speed and taking things slowly though, all seams looked good.  I even thought to cut pieces so the bottom of the Tshirt became the hemline of the legs – hence the really professional overlocked hems! 


I was planning, initially, to make something in Baby Viking size for this summer, and followed a pattern accordingly (more or less) however,  . . . after popping round to hold these up against our little neighbour (who’s 19 months old), the verdict was:  way too wide.  Waist and the “rise” are good, but legs are much too wide for what I was aiming for (which was more of a jegging than a trouser).  Not to worry!  They turned out to be quite a good fit, as 3/4 length leggings on Daisy, so she gets to keep them.  And oh surprise . . . they look rather good with the pinafore dress I made for her.  Anyone would think I made these sizing mistakes on purpose, but I don’t!  This second photo shows you the true colour – a lovely turquoise/aqua, which makes the perfect “bottoms” to match the pinafore dress. 

daisy 01

While I had camera out, and Daisy was posing . . . I couldn’t resist playing with more of my dolls.  I realise the following photos will freak some readers out.  I know, I know, most people think my dolls are creepy,  so you’ll just have to close your eyes and scroll down if you don’t want to see the following doll pictures.  First pic is of Daisy, posing as”big sister” to Lily .

daisy 02

Then with Alice (who incidentally is wearing a pinafore dress I made last year using the same pattern as Daisy’s dress).


And finally, with Noah.

daisy 04

That’s all the doll photos for now, you can open your eyes! 

And admire


Gibbs, who is overjoyed that my most recent check-up with foot surgeon went well, and daily walks to the park have resumed.  And about time too, says Gibbs!