best layer of the month # July

July has been hot hot hot!  Not as dry as in some parts of the world since we’ve had a couple of storms and rainfall.  The other week, we had one hell of a storm with high winds which caused havoc: bringing down tree everywhere, which in turn brought down powerlines.  In our orchard, two tree were brought down by the wind



Hen coops were blown over, and needed immediate repair.  Hens got totally soaked



but were unharmed.  And Cléo’s trampoline was whirled up in the air and landed about 20 metres farther away, down in the stream!

Stream was turned into a fast flowing muddy torrent


Anyway . . . the day after the storm, everyone was out with chain saws, local council were out, as well as the electricity company, and power was restored.

Hens don’t seem to have been put off egg laying, despite the heat and storms . . . egg count for this month totalled 89 eggs!  28 laid by Miss Moneypenny, 30 by Mauricette, and a staggering 31 by Miss Plumpton.

“Getting Ready” SAL update

This is the before photo

GR 08 07

that I showed last time, for the SAL.  Design is from the original artwork of Ronald West, and a kit by Design Works, called “Getting Ready”.

And this is progress in the last 3 weeks.

GR 29 07 18

I have finally filled in another corner and been doing some more backstitch along the way.  For next time I’ll be making sure those waiters have their feet firmly on the ground.

Don’t forget to pop along and see what other SAL members have been up to.  The group has grown again as we say a big warm welcome to Deborah.  Complete list of members follows:

AvisGun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina,

Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Mary Margaret,

Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Tony, Megan, Timothy, Catherine, Deborah

Next update on 19th August.

NewLook 6970

Some sewing to share with you today!  After reassembling little Lily, I was on a roll . . . and decided to try my hand at following one of the baby patterns I bought recently (taking advantage of a 50% off sale).  I bought a couple of patterns for baby outfits, with Baby Viking in mind.  However,  I hear from Mummy Viking, that future baby already has enough clothes to kit it out for the first 6 months of life.  I will therefore be sewing in a size 1 year to make a couple of outfits for next summer.

In the meantime, I wanted to have a trial run.  I always feel the need to follow a pattern at least once, to gain in confidence, and work out exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

Being a practice piece, I cut into an old bedsheet.  I say “old”, it was actually brand new.  Came from MIL’s vast stash of brand new bedding, so it’s my way of recycling.


Anyway . . . here’s a photo of the little top and knickers I made, following NewLook 6970 for Lily.  Pattern offers 4 size options: from newborn (43 – 61cm) to large (79 – 87cm)  I followed the newborn size for the little pinafore dress but then altered the newborn size for the knickers, and made my own smaller premie size from the pattern.


Lily only measures 48cm, so is on the lower scale, even for the newborn size, which is why I cut the knickers slightly smaller.  The little dress is a nice length.  Maybe a little wide on the bodice (for Lily).   I’m not actually too fussed.  I have plenty of bedsheet left, to make a smaller version if I want.  The next sewing job for Lily will be to draw up my own pattern to try and make her a little top with short sleeves to wear underneath, to hide the cloth joints . . . and practice sewing narrower hems.

This pattern was very well-explained and I am looking forward to using it again.  The dress & knicker option were my first choice, since I was sewing for a doll, but I do like the romper suit version both with and without ruffles at the leg cuffs.  Just need to buy in some narrow bias binding more suited to baby-sized clothes (because I used something too wide for elastic casing on my trial project) and keep my eyes open for some snap tape.  Failing that, I suppose I could simply add poppers for easy nappy changing, with the romper suit.

all the king’s horses and all the king’s men . . . (part 2)

I do make myself laugh sometimes, with my eternal optimism!   It was way back in February that I posted the following photo

body parts 01

of reborn dolls in disassembled parts, showing you Alice with her new home-made body and then signing off with a “Stay tuned in the coming weeks”.  A few weeks, became 5 months!  

Anyway . . . Lily (the vinyl doll I got for Christmas) is really just a toy doll – not a specially made reborn doll or kit.  She is a modern Spanish-made doll (by Nines d’Onil).  She was made with a simple soft cotton body (see upper left in photo) and her 3/4 limbs were actually machine stitched directly onto the body.

body parts 04

As you can see, from above photo, this means her limbs didn’t have the ridges which are needed to fasten on a proper reborn body, with the plastic cable ties.  Knowing this, I had ordered in some special parts to adapt the limbs.  It was just a question of setting to work with my Stanley knife, cutting out the vinyl plugs very carefully, lesting limbs, and then gluing in the new plugs (I bought 2 x 35mm for the arms and 2 x 40mm for the legs). I didn’t think to take photos – sorry.

Anyway, after adapting the limbs, then weighting limbs and head nicely, with very fine glass beads (poured directly into limbs to fill half way) and placed inside a vinyl disposable DIY glove for the head, then filling up the rest with soft toy stuffing . . . I weighted and stuffed Alice’s old body (with 2 more vinyl gloves containing fine glass beads plus lots of soft stuffing), attached Lily’s body parts with cable ties and . . .


This is what little Lily now looks like.  I made the head quite heavy, so it flops with its own weight.  The whole point being to give Lily a newborn baby feel to her. 

Lily 02 15 07

With the lesting in limbs, she is now quite poseable.

Lily 03 15 07

And I think body/versus limb & head proportions look okay.

Lily 04 15 07

Here she is, all dressed up and looking pretty (I didn’t make the dress)

Lily 05 15 07

She has grown a little bit, with her new body, and now measures approx 48cm (instead of the original 44cm) which is a fairly realistic size for a newborn, however she’s still a featherweight, despite lesting.  She weighs in at only 1.4 kilos.  Saying that, she’s plump enough to fit a proper newborn baby nappy.

I’m really pleased with how she turned out. She’s lovely and cuddly.  Limbs & head give her a nice floppy feel, and she always looks so peaceful lol.

What she now needs are some new clothes for the summer – custom made just for her and maybe even a little hat.  I’m not going to do any clothes making for Baby Viking until after the birth when we’ll know if it’s a boy or a girl.  And even then I’m not going to bother to even try and make clothes for Baby Viking to wear this summer.  Baby isn’t due until August, and summer in the UK will probably almost be over by then.  However some summer clothes making for Lily will enable me to do a few trial runs with the patterns I bought.

I won’t say “stay tuned in the coming weeks” this time, as I’ll probably get side-tracked by something else . . . haven’t picked up my crochet hook in a while . . . although I am thinking I ought to cut and sew out a body for little Noah.  And still plan to make another body for Alice to remedy the puffy shoulder problem.

One last photo, because I can’t resist:

Lily 06 15 17

F2F Season 3 # Miss July

Time to share with you the colour inspiration and blocks made for Miss July, in the F2F swap, organised by Kate.

Miss July is Sue and her colour inspiration is blues on white.


Here are the blocks I made, finding my inspiration for patterns, as always, thanks to Wendy Russell and her superb library of blocks Patchwork Square.  Wendy gives detailed instructions with pictures and precise measurements to make hundreds of traditional blocks.  Her site really is a treasure trove.

Anyway, my first block is Checkmate.

Sue 01

Second block is Jaw Hawks

Sue 02

and third block is Folded Corners.

Sue 03

Believe it or not, all fabrics for these blocks came from my stash, and some even from my scrap bags.  I didn’t realise I had so many blues!  And what I find fascinating with patchwork, is how colour layout, with lights & darks, plus simply turning a segment around the other way, can totally change a design.  The two blocks:  Jaw Hawks and Folding Squares are made with exactly the same pieces but sewn together differently!

Don’t forget, if you want to see the blocks other members made for Sue, then you only need to click on this link: F2F and it’ll take you to the gallery.

As with the blocks made in June, I made a fourth block in Sue’s colours, but for myself.  And as in June, I made an Old Fan.  (The plan being to make an Old Fan each month, in the colours of the month, to make myself a souvenir quilt at the end of the 9 months).

Old Fan July

So, lots of fun sewing with blue . . . next month it’ll be turquoise, grey and black on white . . . and I am Miss August!

ScrapHappy – if the hat fits . . . (and unbirthday in July)

I’m linking up with Kate and Gun, the two ladies who organise ScrapHappy, which is a once a month post (always on 15th) to encourage us crafters to make use of our scraps.

Earlier this month, I showed you a couple of sewing projects, where I was having some trial and error with tunic sewing.  I did end up with 2 completely wearable tunics, it’s just that one of them is too big for me.

Anyway . . . whoever does clothes making knows that you always end up with a fair amount of fabric scraps (or is it just me?).  I’ll probably use some of my leftover tunic fabric for patchworking, but I was still on a roll with sewing patterns, so wanted to see if I could actually make something else out of my grey floral fabric.  And found the perfect project!


I made a baby’s sun hat!  NewLook # 6274.

hat 02

Another learning curve for me . . . who’d have thought I’d be trying my hand at making a hat one day?   With the hot summer here, and 9 month old little girl just opposite, soon to be going to Corsica for the summer holidays, I decided to make and gift the hat as an un-birthday present for July.

I had asked the Mum beforehand for baby’s head measurement which corresponded perfectly to the pattern size M.  And it fits!

Mona hat 01

Hmmmm . . . little neighbour isn’t quite sure if it matches her pink PJs.

Mona hat 02

She’s not even sure you’re supposed to wear a hat when you’re almost ready for bed.

I’ll definitely be making a few more baby hats in future!

Linking up also to other crafters who regularly join in with ScrapHappy.

Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne,Jon,Hayley and Dawn

SAL update : “Getting Ready” #14

I’ve been lazing around, with my feet up, and stitching in the evening, making quite good progress on “Getting Ready”, a kit by Design Works from artwork by Ronald West.

Last time I was here

GR 17 06 18

And this time, I’m here.

GR 08 07

I’ve been concentrating on this area

GR zoom 08 07

also adding some backstitch a little bit here and there.  There’s still a fair bit of fabric to cover in order to fill in that bottom left hand corner, but that’s where I’ll be concentrating on for next time.

Now I’m off to see what progress other SAL members have made since 17th June.  We welcome Catherine back to the group after a short absence.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina,

Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Mary Margaret,

Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Tony, Megan, Timothy, Catherine

Our next update will be on 29th July. 

what’s afoot?

Whether you’re interested or not, I come with photos of feet, shoes and a quick update on my foot.  You’ll remember (for those who read my non-crafting posts) I discovered, in March this year that I have “abnormal” feet, with the metatarse being too long.  Something I had never suspected, since I’ve only ever walked with this pair of feet, and didn’t realise other peoples’ feet were different.  Anyway, with age, feet were beginning to cause pain and the only option was to operate. So on 13th April, surgeon literally shortened the metatarse of my 3 middle toes. 

Today I had my 12 week post-op visit. Surgeon was very pleased with his handiwork. 

foot 05 07

Okay, so it’s a foot, and not a very lady-like foot at that BUT scar is pretty, toes are all very mathematically aligned (seriously, I measured on the x-ray and I now have mathematical toes with the new toes measuring 12cm, 11cm and 10cm respectively from a certain joint!).  Surgeon is therefore very pleased, and said he could not have hoped for a better result. 

Problem is, though . . .


it’s still very swollen and looks extremely podgy compared to the other foot.  So . . . the clumpy post-op shoes I was wearing, which looked like this


have now been replaced by a pair of medical shoes which look like this

medical shoe

A big improvement, but still, not the best footwear for the summer when I’d love to be wearing sandals. 

Anyway, before the op, surgeon had filled me in on what to expect with convalescence, so I knew beforehand that it was going to be a long healing process.  However he didn’t explain exactly how long it would be.  I learned this morning that, while op results are excellent, I am going to need to be fitted for orthopedic insoles and foot could take as long as 12 months before it gets back to normal size. 

Which then brought us to the subject of my left foot . . . and had I made a decision as to when I want to schedule op for that?  Surgeon was all for “not leaving it too long” whereas I had been hoping to postpone it until next year.  However, realising I’ll have to continue wearing medical shoes for a full 12 months, just for the right foot, it would mean wearing medical shoes well into 2020, for the left foot, if I procrastinate.  I’m not someone who has shelves and shelves of glamourous shoes . . . I usually just alternate between a couple of pairs . . . but it would be nice to be able to wear my normal shoes again one day.  Preferably before 2020.

So . . . I have to go back for another check-up early October and we’ve all but agreed that the second op will be scheduled for late October/early November.  Husband said he’s happy to wait on me hand & foot again for the initial 3 days bed-rest, followed by the 3 weeks when I’ll be lounging around with my feet up.  Something not to look foward to, but since it needs to be done, I might as well get it over and done with.

the more successful tunic

The other day I showed you a photo of the tunic I’d made which turned out way too big.  Although I said you’d never see me wearing it, I am going to show you since a photo is necessary for comparison.  It doesn’t look obvious, because my arms have pushed the fabric in and given it a slight shape, but it really is straight up/straight down. I think you’ll agree, it’s wide over the shoulders (half hiding cat tattoo). Hubby reckons it’s too long as well lol.  Anyway, here it is.  It makes me feel very frumpy, and my snazzy medical shoes (foot is still not back to normal size), while an improvement on the black post-op ones, do nothing to cheer me up either.

tunic 1st

NewLook #6602.

Now, let’s compare to this one.

tunic 2nd version

Same fabric, different pattern (NewLook 6871) yet also cut in a size L

tunic 2nd

This style seems to be a much better fit on me.  The yolk part fits nicely; the gathering on the bodice part work better for me than side darts and it has a more flared shape to it.

second pattern

I could have used two constrasting fabrics (I’ve made the same as the lady in red & white) but deliberately kept to all the same fabric.  The idea being to “test” whether it was the fabric which made the first tunic not quite right for me, the size or pattern style.

tunic comparison

Now I’ve decided the fabric isn’t the culprit (because I think this soft grey floral rather suits me –matches my hair colour) . . . I am seriously toying with the idea of re-making the first pattern but in a size M and a few inches shorter.  If I do, it will be in a totally different fabric.  I am not going to try and alter the first one despite several suggestions from fellow sewists.  I enjoy making things.  I don’t enjoy taking them to pieces to try and problem-solve.

Anyhoot . . . I was rather pleased to see that I managed to get two tunics out of my grey floral print.  I had bought a large 3m piece for only 10€ which makes for a very reasonably priced tunic.  Still have some scraps left over, as is often the way, when clothes making, but they won’t go to waste.  In fact, I’m already busily working on a new project which I will be able to show you on 15th, when it’s time to link to ScrapHappy!

what to do?

I was all fired up to do some clothes making the other day, after my SIL came round for the afternoon, needing my help to pin & cut a pattern for her, since she wants to try a simple project.  I helped her with her pattern, and off she went home to sew.  She’ll give me a shout if she needs a hand along the way.  This gave me the incentive I needed, the following day, to pull out one of my own patterns


NewLook 6602.

The Plan being to make myself a summer tunic like in view C in a grey/beige floral fabric, and then to make a pair of beige cotton trousers. Seeing the lady in white, I thought my colour combo would look just as sleek and sophisticated, but more practical than white.  And thought it looked a bit “dressier” than what I usually wear.  Now, the BIG mistake I made is, I didn’t bother asking husband to measure me up properly, across shoulders etc, and all I did was measure my bust.  That told me I needed to make a size L (which wasn’t much of a surprise as I’ve put on a bit of weight in recent months).  Problem is: even if I’ve put on extra padding in all the soft parts, my shoulders are no broader than before which should have alerted me, and made me use a size M, making adjustments where necessary for boobs. But I didn’t.

I was rather proud of myself, because I think this is my best sewing effort ever.  It’s just a simple tunic, but there was quite a lot of construction work (for me) with facing.

failed tunic 04

Which I over-locked along the lower edge, so it’s all wonderfully neat.  And then there was the excitement (and some worrying) when I had to work out how to turn things right sides out “through the right shoulder” after sewing on the facing.  I also made a very neat job, even if I do say so myself, of the right shoulder and finished neck & armholes neatly by top stitching all the way around.

failed tunic 03

I even found two lovely buttons in my tin which were in keeping with my grey floral print.  I should have stopped way before I got to the finishing stage though because I already knew this tunic was going to be way too big.  I don’t even need to undo the buttons to put it on!

failed tunic 02

I probably should have tried it on Ivy at an earlier stage too.  I sometimes wonder why I bothered buying myself a new dummy. She just stands around doing nothing all day, as I never think to ask her to help me.

While I am very proud of my sewing . . . the tunic itself looks as awful on me as it does on Ivy. It just hangs, like a bin liner.  Totally shapeless.

failed tunic 01

Well not totally shapeless, since it looks fine on the coat hanger but on me, it looks like one of the pinafores my gran used to wear over her normal clothes, to do the housework.  I can’t decide whether it’s because it’s too big, the style doesn’t suit me, or the fabric is a bad choice.  I usually wear quite low round or V necks.  Nothing too revealing, but I don’t like clothes too high around my neck . . . so why on earth did I even try this pattern in the first place?  I thought it would make a nice change, I suppose lol.

The question now is: what to do?  I really don’t think I have the strength to take it all to pieces and attempt to alter the offending too wide shoulders.  This wouldn’t solve the problem of the higher round neckline anyway.   Do I stick it in the Red Cross clothes bin, in the hopes it’ll be passed on to someone somewhere?  Do I take it to pieces and try to adapt it to a more “me” style?  Or do I just stuff it in a drawer and forget about it?

Other option . . . if anyone reading this actually likes it, I’m happy to post (seriously).  Tunic, measured flat, measures 17” (43cm) across shoulder line;  23” (58cm) across under arms; and length of 30” (77cm). I’m making the same offer on my French blog, so seriously, if anyone likes this tunic and reckons it’ll fit/suit, I’ll post to anywhere.  If more than one person is interested, I’ll pull a name out of a hat.  You have until Friday 6th.

Husband measured me properly, after the event, and I’m only 15″ (38cm) across the shoulders which explains why the tunic is way too big on me, and a 40″ (102cm) bust.  The L size is supposed to be for 40″ – 42″ bust.