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


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

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.

Stained Glass D9P

Our second son, also known here as Daddy Viking, turned 28 on 21st June.  And what better excuse to start slicing and sewing, to make a quilt?  I realised that since I began patchworking, I have made quilts for eldest son, daughter (Lindashee), Mummy Viking, my sister, my eldest French niece and TWO for my youngest French niece . . . not to mention various quilts as gifts for babies, and a few to fling over the sofas here.  But for some reason, I had never got round to making one for my second son!

I did ask him a while back what colours he would choose, should I find the time.  And he came back with “orange, green, purple and black”.  A son after my own heart!

So . . . a quick delve into my fabric stash revealed a good choice of the above colours, since the first three are my all-time favourites.  And I set to work.

D9P 02

Cutting 5” squares and assembling to make D9P (disappearing nine patches).

D9P 03

Two afternoons of sewing later, and adding a 1” black band, to give me 1/2” width of sashing and I almost had a quilt top.

Followed by a further 2 afternoons during which I added an outer border before quilting.  And another 2 afternoons to sew on the binding (hand-sewing the final seams).

stained glass 9P 01

And voilà!  A lovely vibrant, cheerful quilt, to wish Daddy Viking many happy returns of the day.

stained glass 9P 03

I embroidered “June 2018” in black at one end, so we’ll remember, in years to come, when this quilt was made.

stained glass 9P 04

And “Stained Glass Nine Patch” on the other end – because the narrow black sashing makes blocks pop, and sets them off, rather like stained glass.

stained glass 9P 06

The backing fabric is a solid orange, which also appears in the blocks.  Quilting, in orange thread,  is simple.  I love the patchwork process, but I still find quilting rather daunting and prefer to keep things as simple as possible.

stained glass 9P 05

Finished quilt measures 46” x 59” so it’s a lap quilt, to be slung over the sofa.

a bit of this & that

Summer officially arrived on 21st June, but we’ve already been enjoying fine weather for a while.  Our spa has been set up in the back garden

summer here

Here it was being filled, but since then, I’ve been enjoying refreshing bubbles late afternoon every day.  I’ve also been doing a bit more cross stitch, with my feet up,  and lots of secret sewing.  Sadly, because of the latter, I realise I don’t have time to make un-birthday gifts this month but hope to have some made for July.

While I won’t be sending any gifts out, I was lucky and received some surprise mail in the post though.  A lovely hand-stitched card from Cathy

from cathy

and a little cross stitch kit, plus hand-made card from Carole.

from Carole

This kit was a free gift with Cross Stitch Crazy, and Carole thought I might like to stitch it (which I do! ).  Seeing that lovely design, spurred me into going on the internet and checking out subscription costs for UK xstitch magazines.  I let my subs run out several years ago because I was stock-piling magazines and not really having time to make the most of all the lovely designs.  However, I did miss the delight of receiving a magazine through the post . . . so I’ve just signed up for a 12 months subscription for Cross Stitch Crazy (so thanks for giving me the idea, Carole). 

Most of my stitching time, of late, has been spent trying to make progress on “Getting Ready” for the SAL.  But I did also finish up a small design.

permin robot

A very cute little robot, kit by Permin.  Three shades of grey, black and a bright green.  I’m thinking I might stitch the design a second time but using three shades of a different colour.  Maybe blue, or pink, or green.  In the meantime, I need to get my thinking cap on and decide how to finish this little fellow.  The Permin kit came with enough aida plus a lining fabric and instructions to make a pouch for mobile phone but I’m not too keen on that idea. 

Scrap Happy # June – “crinkle toys”

I’m linking up with Kate and Gun today, for the once a month ScrapHappy post.  The idea being to try and make the most of our scraps which we seem to accumulate and never throw away.   I try to keep my fabric scraps fairly organised, in different plastic bags according to colour, but I also cut 2.5” squares from scraps from time to time, and store them in a little box because you never know when pre-cut squares will come in handy.

I had an idea to make a couple of baby toys and these little scrappy squares were exactly what I needed.   I could have chosen more harmonious colours, but I wanted to keep them as busy and random as possible.

scraphappy 02

scraphappy june 01

Two small blocks quickly sewn together.    The finishing wasn’t entirely “scrappy” but it was definitely very economical.  I had bought some micro fiber dusters not long ago (1.80€ for a pack of lovely bright colours).

crinkle toy 01

And I had also bought a few toy making accessories, namely mini rattles (1.5cm in diameter) and some teething shapes.  So . . . I proceeded to make mini quilts with my two blocks.  Still with ScrapHappy in mind, I pieced scraps of wadding until I had the right size to match the blocks.  And inside  I also slipped a piece of “crinkle paper”  except mine is cut from an empty packet of Senseo coffee bags.

crinkle toy 02

Then added the teething shape and binding.  This one, with spotty fabric from my F2F2 quilt and a bright yellow back will be for a niece’s baby, due in September.

crinkle toy 03

The binding for the second one, leftover from the “a little bird told me” baby quilt.  With a purple key and bright green back – this for Baby Viking.

crinkle toy 04

crinkle toy 05

So there they are!  Two home-made “crinkle” toys.  Each with a soft texture on the back; crinkle paper & tiny rattle sewn inside, and a key for teething.  Not counting the cost of cotton fabrics & wadding, which were scraps,  I estimate they cost less than 2€ apiece to make (with bought supplies of micro fiber, teething key and mini rattle).

2 crinkle toys 01

They measure approx 8” square.

Other ScrapHappy crafters, who don’t necessarily post each month, being:

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