Posted by: michelenel | 22 October, 2016

Lingerie, lingerie and more……


I spent quite a bit of time making some new lingerie for various ladies – and boxer briefs for men too but let’s keep the sexes separate for this shall we!

So here follows a selection of photos of the results.  Some are tried and true patterns and others were created as part of pattern testing for ohhhlulu lingerie…..

Posted by: michelenel | 21 October, 2016

More boxers…..

Here is another little selection of men’s boxers made using the pattern from  Joost De Cock.  Joost runs a small website over at where he offers his own made-to-measure patterns to download.  Once you’ve signed up you can add models measurements and select these models for downloading their unique to them patterns.  In the previous post I wrote about the test pattern and it was such a success that I went on to make a number of others…..


 The red are a favourite because the elastic is enclosed in a waistband which apparently is very comfortable. 

Now, how many pairs is too many I wonder? 

Posted by: michelenel | 12 July, 2016

Men’s Boxers – A Test…

A big thank you to the folks over at Textillia for the shout out of a pattern site unknown to me.  The fact that she mentioned the word ‘free’ was a definite draw and so I immediately headed over to see what I could find for hubby.

Joost De Cock runs a small website where he offers his own made-to-measure patterns to download.  Once you’ve signed up you can add models measurements and select these models for downloading the patterns.  I opted for something easy to start with and voila! One pair of test boxer briefs done!

This is a super quick pattern that would have taken about half an hour if it hadn’t been for the darn overlocker snapping a thread and me spending 45 minutes trying to retread it 😁. After wasting time and getting nowhere, I gave up and used my sewing machines stretch stitches instead – I seriously couldn’t be bothered with it this morning.

You can find Joost on Instagram at @joostdecock and online at In addition, Joost has also created great instruction and some video tutorials too.

You know I said free?  Well, yes it is, but Joost is very appreciative of any donation to help him continue his patternmaking work and expand his range. When you see the hard work and effort he has input into the patterns, instructions and website, we really should be supporting him to continue his efforts to help more men get involved in sewing.

This test pair was entirely made from my stash.  Although I didn’t have the wider waistband elastic, I simply zigzag stitched two thinner pieces together and I worked a treat. I also used a twin needle to hem the legs.  After thinking I really, really need a coverstitch machine, after today’s trials with the overlocker, I may give it a miss for a while longer!

Now where has my model disappeared to so I can test them for fit?

Posted by: michelenel | 12 June, 2016

The Berry Bubble Shorts….

Summer in England!

For 2 weeks we had lovely weather, and now of course our English weather obsession makes us wonder and worry that was it for the year.

Being optimistic I decided it was time to make up some shorts for the granddaughters – after all the pattern was purchased and cut out weeks ago.

I had seen many gorgeous pairs of Berry Bubble Shorts on Instagram and they were so cute, they needed to be tried.  The pattern is available from Mummykins & Me by Rebecca Page.

I only used what I had in my stash, so this was a really good stash-busting exercise.  The outer is is a sort of lightweight stretch denim with a polycotton lining.  I used the buttonhole elastic method and Kam poppers.  You can also use regular elastic and buttons.

The self made bias binding is so pretty too.  I absolutely love these and hope that our 3 year old granddaughter agrees to wear them because she is rather obsessed with dresses and princesses and these are WAY out of her normal attire.

Posted by: michelenel | 24 March, 2016

Meet Flossie the Spring Bunny….

A HUGE BIG thank you to the lovely people over at petiteapetiteandfamily for sharing this very cute pattern.  I have grandaughter2 for the day today and this was the perfect craft to keep her occupied and to use up some scraps.

I got up early – I couldn’t sleep anyway – and cut out the pieces and stitched what I could together…after all, there is only so much patience that a newly 3-year-old can muster and I didn’t want to make it too much of a long-winded project…just let her have lots of fun with a treat at the end.

The bit she enjoyed the most was the stuffing!   She was really good at it with her tiny little fingers pushing the stuffing into the small openings – I will have to get her to help when I next make a teddy bear.


After we had made the bodies we added the facial features and other shading.


I was really lazy and cheated by using some Sharpies!  Next it was onto the clothes;  each one is prettily dressed in a pair of bloomers and a contrasting tunic.

Here is Flossie…..

and here is Mama (obviously named for her mom which is really cute)…… 
Now to see if I can pry one of them away from her to give to another child….mmmm – wish me luck!



Posted by: michelenel | 27 January, 2016

Burns night celebration…..

Hubby is off to Glasgow.

Hubby has been invited to a Burns Night event.

Hubby has to go in his dinner suit.

Hubby says he needs a Scottish touch.

Send hubby to Abakhan for tartan.

Cut out and stitch bowtie.

Cut out and stitch pocket square.

Cut out and stitch another bowtie….for the son….in case!

Preparation complete – Let the festivities begin!


Son looking rather dapper in his new Stewart tartan….  

Posted by: michelenel | 26 January, 2016

Twirly toddler swimsuit…..

Every Friday morning I head off to the local swimming pool for a parent & toddler swimming lesson……in our case it is grandparent & toddler….with granddaughter2. This is the only form of exercise I get and it is purely her enjoyment that drags me out each week!  In case you were wondering why it is such a big effort and a HUGE achievement, consider taking a toddler swimming on your own when you have no energy, constant pain, oh – and you’re in a wheelchair!  To be fair, it is getting easier as she gets older.  In the beginning she sort of did her own thing at breakneck speed and the usual 2-year-old enthusiasm for life.  She still has as much enthusiasm, but at least she is starting to understand the importance of waiting for Ouma, not running across the road, trying (desperately) to be patient, only playing with half of the controls in the car while I get my wheelchair out, waiting to get her swimsuit on etc. etc.  She still thinks it is hilarious to hide in a locker so I can’t find her, but mostly her giggles give her away….let’s just hope she doesn’t get herself locked in there one day!

Last week was a real challenge because we got into the baths, got undressed, started to get our swimming gear on, and only then realised that we were short one small swimsuit….AAARRRGGGHHH!  How did this happen? What were we to do?  GO HOME my brain was shouting, but I am stubborn, don’t give up easily and always push myself.  So we got dressed again, packed up our bags, wheeled back out to reception in search of a loan swimsuit.  No luck there, but they agreed to let her swim in her knickers…if she would agree that is.  Surprisingly she was more than happy and we headed back to repeat the whole exercise again.  By then I was more exhausted than usual, but floating in a warm pool was rather appealing and we have lunch at ‘chicken ‘n chips’ (her name for MacDs) to look forward to as well – our little ritual.

Now, the only reason any of this is of importance is because it made me realise that perhaps a spare cozzie was needed, so this morning I rummaged in my stash and found everything I needed and a basic pattern that I had used previously for her other swimsuit – a lightweight stretch spandex/lycra, a heavier weight lycra as a lining, fold over elastic and power mesh.

If you cut out this free pattern from the lovely and generous people over at smalldreamfactory, then like me, you can make any number of design changes and embellishments you fancy.  Being a girl who loves swirly dresses it was an easy modification to add a couple of rows of frills using power mesh from my lingerie stash.  The beauty about this material is that it gathers so easily using the basting function on my machine and it doesn’t fray at all.

A couple of hours well spent and there you have it – one new swimsuit ready for Friday…..


I may be biased, but this has got to be one of the cutest cozzies ever!  Hopefully it stands up to regular rough and tumble at the poolside!





Posted by: michelenel | 25 January, 2016

Minty goodness – a cure for restlessness….

Restlessness – it doesn’t sit comfortably with me!  After church yesterday I came home and spent a bit of time with the children and grandchildren and then went upstairs to sit a while with hubby who was poorly.  We watched a few woodworking classes on Craftsy and then Downton Abbey, but the entire time I felt fidgety.  After a bit I told hubby that I couldn’t stand it anymore and he, knowing me very well, suggested a spot of sewing – a perfect solution.

What to make?  And then I spotted a little pile of material that hadn’t been put away since before Christmas; included amongst this was a pretty stretch material that would be perfect for some lingerie.  In the now copious elastic stash was the perfect Fold Over Elastic, underwear elastic, and I even found some matching lace too…what a happy day!


I chose a wonderful pattern from Ohhhlulu for the camisole – 1351 Clara Camisole and a self drafted pattern for the knickers…..


An hour later and all was assembled into a bit of rather pretty minty goodness – delicious…..


Back onto my bed and I felt calm again….what a great tension reliever sewing can be.

This morning I was up and ready to finish off the set.  By 8am, after a quick sew, the knickers were done as well…..


An hour and a half very well spent indeed – and the best part is that I never had to buy a thing – stash-busting is SO satisfying!😉  You see hubby, I am using up some of the materials I keep hauling into the sewing room.

If you are looking to make small and quick items then I would encourage you to get into lingerie making.  It may take a bit of practice with the stretch fabrics and the elastics, but believe me, you won’t regret it.

Tick – another set to add to the collection.



Posted by: michelenel | 12 January, 2016

A journey into liquid shampoo making…..

Today there is no sewing action – again! – but rather, a bit of liquid shampoo making.

Here is the paste which has just gone through trace and is ready to start cooking for 3 hours.

I absolutely LOVE the wonder and science of soap making!
Once this is cool I will begin to dilute the paste and create a (hopefully) lovely liquid shampoo. I am familiar with making solid shampoo bars, so this is an adventure into the new and wondrous world of liquid soaps – SO exciting.

If it works you will hear back from me, if you don’t you can assume it all went horribly wrong….or rather, I am still manically trying to learn from my mistakes!🙂

#makeyourown #soapmaking #handcraftedsoap #makeyourownsoap #makeyourownshampoo

Posted by: michelenel | 30 November, 2015

Little Red Riding Hood….eat your heart out!

To say that the English weather is foul at the moment is an understatement!  I have a new leak in my sewing room that attests to this, and as a result another bucket has appeared to try to stop it dripping all over my fabric!

Well, if the weather won’t play nice, then we just have to make something to cheer us up.  In my case, a cape, or two, to be precise.  One for granddaughter nbr1 (age 6) and another for granddaughter nbr2 (age 2).  I have a cape at the very top of my personal sewing list, but somehow projects for everyone else are always so much more of a joy to make.

I picked up the most gorgeous red waterproof material from Abakhan last week – for the princely sum of £1.27 per meter – what a bargain!  As soon as I saw this I knew my beautiful girls would look amazing in a rain cape.  Selecting a contrast material from my (reasonably sized) Liberty stash from Standfast & Barracks was more of a task than one would think….so many beautiful prints to choose from.  In the end I settled on a couple of bright reds to line the capes and add a few splashes of external colour.

A few sketches of my idea and I was ready to begin…..

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My work started with bias binding making – lots of it!

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Next I cut out a full circle in both the waterproof and the Liberty lining.  This was a guesstimate using a long-sleeved garment one of the boys had left behind.  The cut-out for the neck was also a rough measurement from the neck-hole of a shirt. I used the body warmers hood I made for grandson nbr2 as a guide for size and shape.

Cut open a single layer on the centre front of the outer and lining to form the opening for the cape.  Sew the hood and hood linings together.  Place the hood and hood lining inside each other and stitch all round the perimeter to keep them together.  Repeat this with the cape body.

Stitch the hood to the cape body.  Bind the neck seam with some of that pretty bias binding.

Make some slits for the arms by creating a welt pocket opening and on the outside add a pocket facing to cover the entire slit.  After turning the welt fabric to the inside, I tucked in a small seam allowance and stitched it down through all the layers.  This is covered by the slit facing and cannot be seen.  I made the  arm-slit facings in the contrast fabric and on the inside, lined them with waterproof material so that if it did get really, really wet, it wouldn’t soak through to the inside.  Liberty is a lightweight material so I knew the binding would dry out quickly if it did get wet – anyway, what is a little dampness when it looks so gorgeous!

Bind the entire perimeter of the cape with bias binding.

Add some tabs with poppers for closures at the neckline, and there you have it – one cape completed and another with just the binding to finish off….

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Take that off Serena, it is NOT for you, but for your 2-year-old daughter….


I adore these.  I think they are much better and easier to wear than a raincoat and because of how they are worn, I hope they will get at least a couple of years wear out of them.

I am hoping this will inspire me to complete my own matching woollen cape and waterproof rain cape.


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