easy · sewing · Tutorial

The Draw of Shame + Knicker Tutorial Musings

Knickers 8

Everyone has that one draw. The one that they dread anyone opening because Pandora’s box has nothing looks like a box of chocolates in comparison . It usually contains an array of objects that don’t go anywhere else but, for some unfathomable reason, aren’t chucked away without remorse. Old tags, balls of string, recipes, a tiny deck of cards, plastic forks, soap shaped like a golf ball (the last one might just be me…).

It hit me a few days ago that I actually posses two of those draws.

Let’s take a peek at my undies draws’ most ridiculous items:

  • a black & gold corset I remember wearing on a date almost 10 years ago
  • oh so many spanxy undergarments that I’d always wear under skirts and dresses (but now I value comfort more because I’m partial to good blood circulation)
  • meters and meters of tights, varying in thickness and colour. Won’t know if they have runs or hole till I pick em’, I’m in a rush to get out the door and then have to go change
  • too many balls of socks. Running socks, fuzzy socks, knackered socks that won’t ever be darned, comfy socks, weird-feeling sock I won’t wear unless I should have done my laundry a few weeks earlier
  • bras in different shapes, sizes and states of disarray. Like most females on this planet I end up rotating between 3 that are decent and comfy
  • a family of hamsters that appear to be taking advantage of the nice weather and are barbecuing in their back garden made of never-worn stockings

I swear, my undies draw would give that minimalist Japanese lady who advocates talking to your shoes at the end of a hard day a heart attack.

Worse still, quantity does not go hand in hand with quality. I’ve never been a frilly underwear type of girl. A few year ago, on seeing me hang up my underwear to dry, my best friend suggested I should maybe quit with the bright cartoony cotton knickers. I listened. Partly. I now favour black or grey cotton, no lace in sight.

In the spirit of making what I wear and wearing what I make, I decided to update my knicker status. I took a few pairs of my favourites in order to see how they are sewn together. That started feeling a bit weird pretty quickly…


knickers 1

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at my pants!

Here’s what I used:

  • a pattern for your knickers. There are plenty free ones online but I’ll be tracing my most comfy ones, taking into account that they may have stretched a tad
  • fabric: T-shirt cotton (which I used but, frankly, doesn’t have enough elasticity to be comfy ). Next time I will try cotton with a blend of elastane or other stretchy mix, or jersey
  • lace elastic, picot edge elastic

Knickers 4


I started with preparing 3 pattern pieces, the front and the back cut on the fold and 2 crotch pieces.

You can use your overlocker/serger, but I used a zigzag stitch, 2.5 in width and 2 in length and that worked very well. Plus I do like the finish look.

Knickers 5


I cut out all my pieces, adding a 1cm seam allowance. I always mark the wrong side with an X when I’m using plain fabric. I’m not saying I have a habit of mixing up the right and wrong sides when not using patterned fabric, but I’m not saying I don’t.

I put the back piece between 2 crotch pieces and sewed it up. I then placed the front piece after I rolled down the front and back.

Voila! The crotch seams are hidden. I proceeded to sewing up both side seams.

At this point I tried said knickers on and realised just how little pull 100% T-shirt cotton really has. The size seems decent enough but you really need underpants that will stretch in all directions when you skydive, dance the tango or, if you’re like me, sit on your couch watching Netflix.


Knickers 2

I proceeded to attaching the picot edge elastic. I cut it so it’s a tad smaller than the circumference of the waist, then pinned it on the wrong side so the scalloped edge is facing down I pulled on the elastic as I zigzag my way around and that’s when another issue arose –  T-shirt cotton really likes to roll. Not a biggie but something to keep an eye out on. I did the same around the leg opening.

Knickers 6


I flipped the elastic and zigzag top-stitched around all the edges.

And there you have it! Here’s me modelling the knickers:




Only kidding, I wouldn’t do that to you. Haven’t we had a tough enough past year without me inflicting more uncomfortable and disturbing weirdness???

Knickers 7


I’ll be making more of these and will keep you updated now that talking my knickers seems to be my thing. I have a bunch of jersey scraps that I think will work much better, like the pink + Mickey and the hot pink cupcake fabric. It just hit me I’ll have that any 5-year-old would love. Something to ponder…

Till next time,


easy · sewing · Tutorial

Meet Barb & Bob Broccoli, Tailor’s Ham & Sausage

Broccoli Tailor's Ham & Sausage 1

You know those people that admit to loving to iron? I give those people the stink eye because there are a few thousand things I enjoy more and that includes root canal work and cleaning the shower drain. As a matter of fact I didn’t engage in the tiresome act of ironing until I started sewing. Who hasn’t looked at shoddy sewing because “it’ll press out and be OK”).

It, therefore, perplexes me that I have gone from loathing to iron to addressing my specific needs of pressing sleeves and curved parts of garments.

A few weeks ago I confidently strolled down to my local pet shop and requested a bag of their finest woodchips, as one does. The nice pet shop lady who knows me as the crazy dog lady probably assumed that I had finally snapped and become the crazy hamster lady.

I calmly explained that in fact the large bag of woodchips was in fact a necessary item in my pursuit  of faboosh sewing. I tried to described the concept of the ironing sausage and ham, but it made me sound even weirder. Should have just said that I had indeed got a hamster.

Barb & Bob Ham & Sausage 6

Let me preface that this is a great little project for both beginners and more advanced sewers. If you are a newbie you get to practice sewing darts, sewing curves and hand-sewing, but then the more complex project you undertake, the more imperative it is to have proper tools to press them.

What you will need:

  • ham & sausage pattern. I used the Tilly and the Buttons one because I’m a shameless Tilly fangirl
  • a bag of sawdust (mine was 40 L. bag of hamster bedding and I used about 2/3 of it) + something to protect your surface while you stuff (I used a dry cleaning bag)
  • thick cotton, mine is IKEA curtain scraps (alternatively use wool if you have it, I didn’t)
  • matching thread
  • sewing needles (yup, some hand sewing required)
  • a chopstick to help you stuff

I first sewed up the darts and pressed them.

I then machine sewed around the edges leaving an opening to cram the stuffing in. I’d suggest making your stitch length smaller (1.5-2) so that it’s nice and strong, and I then secure the beginning and ending of the stitch with gusto. Then I trimmed the seam allowance and notched the curves. I turned the sausage and ham right side.

Barb & Bob tailor's ham & Sausage 5

Now the fun mess begins. Be warned the woodchips will get everywhere! Table, floor, hair, bra cups

I start stuffing, as you would your face on Christmas. When I  thought it was filled to capacity, I stuffed a little more. I was a bit worried that the ham & sausage were coming out a bit dimply, but the more woodchips I used, the smoother the surface became. Me thinks that this could work with my thigh cellulite. Will investigate further and report back.

Then I badly hand-sewed the opening. I grin with satisfaction.

Introducing Barb & Bob Broccoli, Tailor’s Ham & Sausage (I’ll let you determine who is who, but one of them is a tad phallic):

Barb & Bob Ham & Sausage 4

This project was fun and easy. I’d estimate it took me around 3 hours to make, including a very necessary quick tidy up prior to starting and a few quick coffee breaks in the meantime.

Barb & Bob Tailor's Ham & Sausage 2

Time to test-drive the Broccoli’s.

I decided to put the jacket I am finishing up out of it’s creased misery.

Barb & Bob tailors's ham and sausage finish

Works like a charm! I now smell very woodsy, which is nice as I’ve probably smelled worse.

Till next time,


Ps. I should mess with the nice pet shop lady and request some pungent fish feed for a new sewing project.

My ramblings about sewing · sewing · WIP

The Sewing Pile of Sh…ame

trollet a.jpg

Also known as the WIP stack or the Hey, that needs fixing! heap.

Everyone has one tucked away from prying eyes and a guilty consciousness. It’s that collection of often much loved and even more worn items of clothing that require a little care but somehow get knocked down from the top positions on your to-do list because, as we all know, it’s somehow more logical to sew garments from scratch.

It’s that weird uncle we all have, the awkward one that you don’t want to spend much time with and yet can’t avoid altogether as he’s always invited to family do’s. The one that you avoid but always end up sitting next to, as he regales you with memories of people you don’t know, political opinions on the opposite spectrum to yours, sexist / racist / xenophobic pearls of wisdom.*

(*choose the one that applies to your uncle)

Today I tackled my weird uncle and, if I may say so, slayed that sucker.

The pile o’ shame consisted of:

a hoodie with shamefully shabby ribbed sleeves that needed replacing as draw strings just weren’t cutting it

3 pairs of tracksuit bottoms that needed elastic bands added

2 pairs of jammy bottoms with embarrassingly stretched out elastic bands that weren’t holding the pants up on the ol’ rump

a parka coat lining that needed correcting after it turned out I had shamelessly trapped and pinched my way around the coat bottom

a hoodie with the zipper sewn on too close so the fabric was constantly  getting caught and therefore the garment had to be put on and taken off over the head. This item was a birthday pressie for my sister Magzy. Yes, I sometimes give inferior home-made gifts. Isn’t it the thought that counts?

Thoughts? That was quite rewarding and I’m a tad embarrassed it took so long. My trusty seam ripper, my good old friend and constant sewing companion, got a good workout. And NOT because I had messed up. Also, it’s satisfying to rip the seams of someone else’s hard labour instead of your own stupidity.

What’s left, you may ask, knowing all too well that I didn’t complete all the tasks on my list?

bomber WIP

Here it goes:

an adorable bomber jacket which only requires the sleeves to be attached to the lining (check out that funky Polish folklore print!)

a green/white dress that I think ended up becoming a bit of a hot mess in the process therefore was abandoned as a form of punishment that it didn’t do what I wanted it to. Just call it clothing time out. I hope that by the time I go back to it it’ll have learned it’s lesson.

my most challenging sew yet- a jacket (consisting of 30 pieces!!!!!) needs the lining hand-finished, button sewn on and a through press because it looks like I feel on  Monday morning

WIP dress+jacket

I do solemnly swear I will take pics of myself modelling wearing said sewn&sorted  items, I just need to get my hair did (I’m sporting a seriously grown out Cathy the Cavewoman look). I also need to get enough booze in me that the lines between good judgement, self preservation and a good old dollop of shame get seriously blurred.Then I’ll be ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille.

So, what’s on your pile of sh…ame?

What items should have been completed or fixed so long ago they probably remember the Queen Mother’s Gin O’ Clock?

Till next time,


Misc. · My ramblings about sewing

What the world needs now…

post 1a

… is certainly not another blog from a slightly unbalanced woman slowly and steadily moving toward middle-agedness and spending her time in a flurry of crafty projects, but there you go!

Bear with me.

I once watched a fascinating documentary about the life of penguins. Let’s be honest, once you hit your 30s, a good documentary becomes the highlight of your week, on par with thoroughly cleaning the gunk from your dishwasher filter and successfully (in your humble and somewhat delusional opinion) hiding the fact that it was a “wash your hair” morning by applying copious amounts of dry shampoo on your matted coif. So what that you woke up a brunette and arrive at work as a very dusty blonde!

Back to the penguins, as this is supposed to be a sewing & crafting blog after all.

I’m watching the adorable tuxedo-clad penguins, just tottering around my screen making winter, snow and ice look pleasant (no fooling me, I know better…), when all of a sudden one breaks away from the group? clique? posse? and gets a strange impulse to go in the other direction, seemingly pushed  by some call of the wild. There they are, his brethren, a beautiful zoological equivalent of a young Hollywood set, with their safety-in-numbers attitude, all dressed in Tom Ford minimalism fashion circa mid 90s, and this Zane from One Direction just shuns the party and heads the opposite way.

I, Dear Reader, feel like him (the penguin, not Zane from One Direction). I have heard the siren call of sewing, stitches and sewing machines. I give the thimble a thumbs up, I dare not slash my fabric stash, my notions give me sweet emotions…

I waddle on my stubby legs toward uncovering the mystery of clothes that haven’t been sewn by some poor soul half-way round the world but by a somewhat clumsy but highly motivated (delusional?) individual who can never stick to the damn pattern but always elaborates and *cough* improves on it, and therefore wastes precious time fixing unnecessary complications that arise in the process. Time that could be spent on more useful things like online fabric shopping, cleaning the dishwasher filter and watching documentaries about Sphenisciformes and such.

Post 1 b

Long gone are the days of our grandmothers who would home-sew to save a penny. Sewing can be a bloody expensive hobby that will eat up you disposable income and then starts clawing at your posable one (OK, that isn’t a real word).

A visit to the high-street will make you scratch your head at the how little some cost when you break down the raw materials and labour costs. Well, that and the dry shampoo you probably shouldn’t have piled on in the morning…

What I’m trying to say is I love sewing and I’d love for you to join me in my journey as I experience the good, the bad and the right damn “BURN IT NOW!!!!!”. I’ll be writing about the projects I’m undertaking, the sewing crushes that keep me up at night, the books and movies that have inspired me and I promise to document everything, to my own detriment and embarrassment.

Oh, did I mention that said penguin ends up marching to the middle of nowhere to a certain death?

Till the next time,