Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wishing you all Much Love!

my own humble creation, from an old silk shirt


ALL those buttons & fabric are vintage & made & sent by my dear friend, Samantha


pleasant double needle seam ripping

an offending 3/4-length sleeve (right side)

Impossible? That’s what I thought, Lovelies, and why I kept putting off the task. Probably the rest of you know already, but its a discovery for me.

Yesterday I had a nothing-matches-these-trousers crisis.

“Oh, yeah,” I thought. “There’s that RTW tan 3/4-length sleeve tee that I never wear (face of shame) because I hate the sleeve length.”

the bobbin side (wrong side)

Immediate crisis averted by my orange renfrew, I decided to let down those sleeves. Not a pleasant prospect. Grimly, I went for it.

Collecting my seam ripper & short nippers (see reference at end), and after downloading a recent BBC Women’s Hour podcast to sweeten the task, the ripping began.

After inserting the ripper on the right side of the double stitches I saw how much the pressure to cut the threads tightened the threads on either side, making it more difficult to get the ripper into the next stitches.   Hm.

i clipped both top & bottom rows simultaneously even though the bottom row doesn’t look as clipped as the top

As I had my thread nippers I tried them. Perfect. I was quickly round the first sleeve, nipping every other set of stitches.


couldn’t hold the camera & the nippers at the same time so had to put the nippers down to take the piccie

On the criss-crossed (bobbin) side,  remembering a recent, seemingly endless battle with a seam ripper, I decided to keep going with the nippers.

Again, they worked beautifully. I cut down the centre of the criss-crossed bobbin threads.

Then the fun part: Pulling out all those short threads. Apart from static cling, everything went quickly.

one done!

Success and one sleeve done!

A quick break for a cuppa, and the second sleeve was done before the podcast ended.

As this is an old tee I don’t mind the un-hemmed look, and am chuffed to have it done.

PS/Did I mention that Vogue’s having a sale? Maybe I shouldn’t… forget I mentioned it.

😄    😄   😄

click to go to Vogue Fabrics’ listing for the top thread clippers – only $1.49 and they’re all metal!

faffing about with a farrow #1

So far this is about all that’s gotten done, buuut . . .

grainline’s farrow (click to go to their pattern listing)

I found where I’d noted my changes on my last renfrew, so will be ready to crack on with this once I’ve compared the two patterns and made my changes.

Jen, at Let the Sewing Begin, and I are sewing our versions “together.” That’s in quotes because she’s about 4 states north.

Last time we talked I was reading from Jen’s (the Farrow’s designer) initial post in her sew-along, which didn’t make too much sense to us at first.

from my personal copy

Then Jen (not the Grainline one) mentioned a little thing called ease and we promptly decided we’d better check that out. Left is the measurement chart for the Farrow.

Jen had also just gone to a local-to-her sewing guru and had all her measurements taken; we wanted to incorporate those as well. More on measurements in general in another post.

For those of you who haven’t seen this pattern, it has a lot of ease. I dutifully took the pattern out of the envelope yesterday and realised a couple of things whilst mulling everything over:

from my copy of the directions, with personal notations

  1. There’ a Length at Center Front measurement but not one for Center Back. The back is longer. (Will try measuring the pattern pieces for this.)
  2. There’s no natural waist line marked on the pattern, so I can’t tell if this is going to be really long on my short torso. I don’t want pockets at my knees, or some other more inconvenient place.
  3. The ease isn’t given for the hips.

So a day was spent looking at IG and blog photos trying to see where hems (front & back) and those pockets were on everyone.

Unfortunately that didn’t help as no one I looked at mentioned lengthening or shortening either hem or torso, and I had no idea how tall they were. (They all looked lovely though.)

Dear & Most Wonderful Sewing Community of Bloggers ~  Any suggestions along these lines?

(Sorry ~ LOL!)

😄    😉    😄

creativity vs. ennui

Currently, ennui is winning, but hopefully not for much longer. Seen this past week ~


S-ubstitute, C-ombine, A-dapt, M-odify, P-ut, E-liminate, R-everse

As comic relief to weather, world events, and general January doom & gloom I pulled out some old DVDs of comedy-dramas, this last being New Tricks.

The original starred Alun Armstrong (Brian), James Bolam (Jack), Amanda Redman (Sandra, the boss), and Dennis Waterman (Gerry). The men were all retired London police officers, with Sandra the only serving officer.

The group was called UCOS (Unsolved Crimes and Open Case). For details I refer you to the first episode, which explains many of the on-going and humorous references.

I’m explaining this because an episode in the second year’s series (“Creative Problem Solving”) applies to sewing. In the video, its the framework for how the case gets solved.

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We sewers don’t have old criminal cases to solve (I hope !), but we do sometimes have old creative problems to (re)solve: those pesky UFOs (unfinished objects) for one.

I’d also include some (many?) of the items hiding at the back of closets, in the bottom of drawers, and stashed away amongst out-of-season clothes.

(Please tell me I’m not the only one doing this!)

Which brings us to the photos below ~

They illustrate how I’ve just spent several weeks frogging (unwinding) an unused (5± years)  3”-wide looong knitted wool scarf, then  crocheted it into a 6″-wide & much shorter fringed scarf.

See all that crinkly stuff in the first photo? That’s how my loosely wrapped & frogged ball of yarn looked as I started crocheting. When it came time to cut the remainder up for fringe I did get a little worried, and hoped I was remembering correctly that it would all straighten out once washed.

Fearlessly I washed everything. All went well.

(I think I owe this explanation to Felicia but I couldn’t for the life of me find her post, so my apologies. And apologies if it was someone else. Edited to add: It was Felicia – see her comment below.)

Am right chuffed to have re-purposed good wool into a more usable object, whilst also enjoying its softness running through my fingers during the reworking.

(He-he! We are tactile creatures, aren’t we? 😉)

Anyone else care to share a creative solution?!

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desperate for a treat?

3-minute microwave treat:
melted choc chips in a dark chocolate cake.

Guaranteed to brighten your day is this quick & easy recipe from Corinna Chapman, the Melbourne (Australia) bread baker-cum sleuth of Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series.

Here’s a direct link to the recipe (see p. 25), and below are her and my versions.


“This is from Peter Russel Clarke, a great pioneer of Australian cooking, though his laugh reminds me far too closely of Kerry O’Keefe’s. Which is not his fault, poor man. This, despite my extreme scepticism, actually works and will produce a hot puddingy cake in 3 minutes cooking. For the midnight munchies. Or the three-in-the-morning horrors.

  • “4 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk

“Mix all the dry ingredients, stir in the wet. You can add a handful of choc chips or cut up chocolate bar (i.e., a Bounty bar, a Mars Bar) if you like. Or honeycomb. This was supposed to be made in a coffee mug but I used a plastic microwave dish and it rose very well. Cook in the microwave for three minutes on high, or 100 per cent. Leave it sit for a moment. Turn it out while hot. You can then make a chocolate sauce with equal quantities of chocolate and cream in the microwave to decorate it. Yummy. If you keep to the proportions you can make instant fruit cake and all manner of unusual items. Nice if you want to experiment and don’t want to waste too much food. If you leave out the cocoa you need to replace it with 2 or more tablespoons of flour. The mix will bear about half a cup of additions. It does not brown, so ice it. Or just eat it at once.”

right outta the cup

here’s my dark chocolate-lover version:

  • 4 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup 60% dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli – the darkest available that I can afford!)

Bake as above.   I don’t ice mine.   Its already brown.

sliced in half to show those yummy melted chips

I should try a ginger spice version… but right now I need chocolate.

❤      ❤      ❤