Posted by: michelenel | 5 November, 2016

The Loveralls…..

Celina over at Petitapetitandfamily was looking for pattern testers for one of her new patterns and I very quickly put my hand up.  I love pattern testing because it fulfils my love of sewing and also my experience as a business analyst checking documents and processes.

The first pair I made was a size 3 years and I cut up a pair of old jeans for the main fabric.  The lining is in beautiful Liberty Isle of Wight design in pink and I used a matching pink thread for the top stitching.  For the very observant among you, you might have wondered why the hearts on the coin pocket are upside down…well, we have Miss M to thank for that because as I started to sew she pressed the ‘mirror image’ button on my machine!

This is such a lovely pattern and I wish my model would actually wear them, but alas she is a princess and will not entertain trousers of any sort even if they are pretty.  These will have to find a less fussy dresser than Miss M!








Posted by: michelenel | 3 November, 2016

Hat emergency…..

When you’re gifted a night away in the Lake District and it’s a beautiful sunny autumn day and decide to go boating without a hat!! I get extraordinarily cold ears and luckily had a shawl with me so hid under that all the way. 

Returning to our hotel at The Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge I just happened to have a few balls of yarn I had bought at Aldi to make dishcloths with – well, they are now being crocheted into a hat instead….

I decided to make it super warm by using 2 strands of yarn at once. The rib effect makes it extra chunky and warm as well.  This may not be the best yarn but it will do the job nicely. 

I should be able to finish it while we drive  to a local distillery for a tour. 

Posted by: michelenel | 26 October, 2016

The Princess of Pumpkins….

I am meant to be pattern testing the #isewfridaydresses for #petitapetitpatterns but was rudely interrupted by Miss Ms pleas for a pumpkin dress. She isn’t too choosey 😂but it needed to be a sparkly, jewelly, rainbow, striped, swishy, pretty, pink, princess and, and, and….!  Everything BUT a pumpkin 😂

A pile of tulle, some lining, a Lycra swimsuit under was cobbled together into a Princess Pumpkin with matching crown.  

She is ecstatic and may want to wear it to sleep in….sorry Mara’s mommy. 

On Friday we’re off to a pumpkin tea party at pre-school where no doubt she will be the envy of every other 3-year-old wannabe princess. 

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!





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