I had a tunic top from M&S that I loved. I wore it so much (because it looked good with jeans, or just a cover up on the beach – as though I spend all my time on the beach, may be once a year. In Suffolk. And not the trendy bit of Suffolk at that) the cotton gradually wore down and eventually there were too many holes in it to be able to wear it out in public anymore.
Again my Mum had saved me a pattern from Prima which looked similar, so I thought I’d give it a go. As the pattern called for cotton lawn I tracked some down, and spent rather a lot on some Liberty fabric – with some pretty birds in. But knowing how much I had worn the original tunic I hoped I would get my money’s worth.
I cut the fabric pieces nearly a year before I made the final tunic. And after that delay, I still held of finally finishing it because I had a bit of difficulty with the hems on the sleeves and the bottom of the tunic, I just couldn’t get the hem done on the machine without getting tucks – and on the sleeves a line of stitching just looked wrong. So this did involve a fair bit of hand stitching to finish the hems. But my Mum always tells me that my maternal Grandmother would have been appalled at the way hems show on clothes nowadays, so I feel as though I have revived one of her skills with neat and invisible hems.
My husband doesn’t really like it, he thinks the fabric is too chintzy. And I think that if I had made a muslin first I would probably have shaped the side hems a to give a bit more of a fitted shape, but I have done French seams and there is no way I am unpicking those beauties. I have received a few compliments wearing it, so I must have done something right.
Before our niece was born I really wanted to make something special for her that hopefully she would keep for some years to come. Her Mum and I agreed I would make a mobile for her room, and came across this lovely pattern and tutorial from Spool Sewing. There are no end of photos of different variations that people have made on Flickr, it is such a simple idea it opens itself to several interpretations.
My niece’s room was decorated white but with bright accents, so I looked for fabric to co-ordinate. In hindsight perhaps a bundle of bright polka dot fabric would have been good, but I went all out for Amy Butler. And what fun I had…
Firstly I made lots of little birdies, and nearly didn’t want to let them leave my house (I have kept a runt one because I couldn’t quite bear to let it go).
Then I annoyed my neighbours by spray painting branches white in the garden late in the evening. The only way I could think to get an even all over coat of white was to hang the branches off the washing line and spray them. Which meant a good 20 minutes of can shaking and spraying whilst they were trying to have a BBQ. Ooops.
And then I spent ages deciding on my bird positioning. It may not be all the obvious, but they are roughly in a rainbow order starting the pinks and reds at the top and moving into blues on the bottom branch. I tried using fine wire to attach the birds to the branches, but sadly the birds twisted themselves to hang upside down (so it would work wonderfully for bats). So I ended up with a less delicate option and hot glued them on. But nearly 2 years on those birds are still stuck in place. I don’t think that they are ever budging. Budging. Budgies. Ha!
The final task was to hang the branches together so that they were balanced and could move. Which again I tried to do in a neat way with clear thread, but the branches twisted, so I had to resort to white cotton. But, and this is surely what you have been reading through to see, the finished item was done…
And the view from below…