a scarf to a poncho to a shrug to a shawl

I made a poncho shrug shawl for my sister some time back and I love it.  The colour wasn’t quite right for me, but it was so perfect for her.  I had made an unbuttoned version some time previous to that and I was going to remake it but still have to get around to it, as its a lot of crochet…… which was a pity, as all summer it would have been the perfect piece as our weather never got really warm.

I did remember I had a long scarf got some years back (2008) which was packed away with the winter wools so as I unpacked some sweaters and put away some summer clothes, there it was…….

scarf to poncho remake - remake a scarf



This scarf measures about 180 x 70cm approx and its a viscose mix.     I always like this colour.  The scarf seems to curl in on itself, and it was also a bit long, it was handy for evenings but rarely worn.  

The measurements of the crocheted ‘pillar to post’ I made for my sister, were 150cm x 60cm, so I cut the scarf  to 155 cm and put some iron-on lightweight vilene strips along the hems at each end, and hand stitched each hem.  This also seems to have stopped the ‘curling’ and now the hem sits flat.


Sewing the button-holes was a nightmare.  I knew I would be placing 6 button holes along approx 30cm on each end (diagram below not to scale but shows the placement), and the buttonholes would be opposite.  


I wasnt sure how I would make the buttonholes.  My machine buttonhole tests were a disaster, and I had more success sewing through paper each side, but this was still distinctly dodgy, so in the end, I hand stitched them.  In truth, the are a bit lumpy, and perhaps its as well that I now use reading glasses as in practice I don’t notice them (and now they are done, I don’t inspect them either!).  The buttons came from the button jar, one set of 6 is from an old suit I have to remake, and the other from a coat from last year.  If it was a white or cream scarf, then various multi-coloured buttons could have been good fun.  This poncho has been worn twice as much since I made it a few weeks ago, than its whole life time as a scarf. 

scarf to poncho remake - remake a scarf



and the only non blurry photo of me wearing it (better try and get a better one)


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embracing the grey, novum machine and martha stewart skirt

The Novum was in the charity shop, and I am still wondering why I got it! – there was a logic at the time.  The machine motor sounded fine but , I thought it best just to get it repaired properly and hope it wasn’t a dud.  I should have inspected under all the grime, as there is some surface rust, not a lot, but enough.   Curiously the machine was made in Ireland which was nice to know, and it had a basic booklet, and it also had some extra feet and fittings so that’s handy.

grey novum


It also has some corrosion on the chrome (why oh why do I feel the need to rescue these things – I am beginning to learn to walk away) but the rubbing with aluminium seems to have smoothed out a lot,. I am less happy with this machine than the Brother Jones, as its a bit tatty here and there and the threading goes to the side, and also the bobbin winder does not work(I cannot loosen the needle), and the light fitting needs to be replaced – however on the other hand, it does sew evenly and beautifully, it has the presser foot adjuster and feed dog adjuster also but it doesn’t feel as nice as the Brother!  The other reason I thought it a good idea to have an extra machine, is for these ‘sew social evenings’ so people don’t have to lug over their machines……. and I don’t have to unthread and lend my main machine…. and its good to have a machine I don’t feel too precious about for others to use!  So that’s justified its presence, and not quite the cost of repair.  Eitherway, it is now part of the ‘better not get any bigger’ collection, and one way to get to ‘know’ a machine is to do a project from start to finish.

To do a test run project, I thought I would try out this skirt from Martha Stewart, its supposed to be done in a leather/suede type fabric, and has been sitting on my pinspiration pinterest board for a long time now.  I had got this tweed fabric in the charity shop, and I am a sucker for tweed.  There was just enough, and it is cut on the cross grain.

martha stewart no sew wrap skirt in tweed


Originally I was going to cut the skirt and just bind the hem, but then I figured the tweed could do with a bit body and also lining, so then I thought if I sewed the lining onto the skirt  and then turning it inside out it could give a nice finish – which it did, I then pressed and top stitched the scallops.   I had a few options on lining and was going to use cotton, but finally decided on ‘polester habotai ‘silk” lining as it could look well on the turn over without being too flashy.  I am really glad I did, I adore this skirt love-it love-it love-it.  I had low-to-no expectations, and am so pleased with it, and I would highly recommend it as an easy-ish quick make and it gives the quirky twist to a tweed skirt.  Its incredibly comfortable, although I did cut it to big.  I added an extra 14cm to the overall width to be sure but I really did not need this (it just means the first wrap goes around my waist more to the back) and could have just gone with the Martha pattern (I am a uk 12-14 in a skirt).  The other adjustment I made to the pattern was to add a seam allowance all around to allow for the ‘hem’.  

martha stewart no sew wrap skirt in tweed


Wearing the skirt as a back-wrap didn’t seem as comfortable for me as putting it to the front, so I pinned it in place,to decide the placement of the ‘poppers’ (I had thought of buttonholes I thought it would take from the simple look of the skirt), and although it may not have needed it, I put a quick stitch on top to keep the top of the pleat in place which works on keeping the fold of the wrap even (does that sentence even make sense……..hope so …picture below in any event).  If I was to make it again, I would interface the waist area.  

So a grey skirt sewn on a grey machine, and I have finally bit the bullet and decided to stop dying my hair (a habit from my 20s) not too sure how much grey is there but I am sure time will tell. 

Brother Jones and Advance PJs

One of the must makes for me this summer were pyjamas – all my pyjamas were a sorry state of worn out leggings and tee shirts, so I ran up a shibori pair and two of advance 8148. 

advance 8148 pyjamas from bedlinen



The advance pyjamas looked particularly handy as there is no button up jacket, and as it turned out, I didn’t need to bother with the 2 buttons recommended.  One handy thing about making pyjamas is I took as many shortcuts and slapdash as I felt under no obligation for a particular finish!  My grading of the pattern was a bit off, and I never lowered the darts enough and didnt lower the pocket at all! I never noticed the pocket oversight till the end (doh!).  The first pair were made from an old sheet, and I thought the taupe colour sophisticated, but as pyjamas it looks a bit more institutional – I probably should have trimmed it, but …… that didn’t happen.  The main fiddly part of the pattern was the collar, which wasn’t really that fiddly just something I never made before.  Feeling incredibly organised having matching pyjamas!

advance 8148 pyjamas from bedlinen





The second pair are not yet finished.  They are made from some red linen scraps and ikea pillowcases.  The pillowcases were probably donated to the charity shop as they were so badly made and could not be ironed flat the weave/cut was so off, which was fixed when they were opened up.  I decided to make them up on the Brother Jones machine which I finally got repaired. 

advance 8148 pyjamas from bedlinen


I got this machine from a friend.  It was left behind in the house they bought some years back.  Since then, it was stored in the attic, and it never had a cover.  When she asked did I want it, I said yes.  It was a case of ‘speak now think later’  as I didn’t know if it worked and had forgot about repair costs and I have never lifted a machine as heavy as this one.  When I got it home, I cleaned it and checked it.  It kinda worked but I didn’t use it as there could be a lot of gunk in the motor and I didn’t want to damage it.  I got it repaired, and it goes like a charm.  I figure it was a home workers machine, and it seems to have been repaired over the years and pieces replaced – namely the plate the presser foot sits on!  Unfortunately the plate will only allow a straight stitch (the hole under the presser foot is too small for zig zag) even though the machine can do zig zag.  

What I love love love about the machine is that the feed dogs are adjustable (my singer can really clamp the fabric), and the presser foot pressure is adjustable.  It has a side loading bobbin which is fine but not a favourite as I think they are fiddly and you can never see how much bobbin thread is left.  However, I can totally overlook this as the machine sews like a dream.  

There were a few issues of seam puckering at the start but it could have been my threading, and I have not had the same issue since but notice the thread can stray here and there so I am keeping an eye on it.  (it seems to come out of the guard easily….). Its hard to find a manual for these as there is no serial number or model number as with the Singer, so I don’t know if there is any feature I am missing.

Aimee at the wrongdoll  has this machine, and she made the most amazing denim skirt with fabulous top-stitching , so if I can achieve anything near that standard, I will be doing well indeed!

indigo pjs…………and other shibori bits

I got a lot out of the indigo dye pack

3 dresses
1 pj
2 pillowcases
1 white linen trousers
2 tee shirt dresses
a few lengths of fabric.

I had to keep running back to my workroom for more bits to dye as I didn’t think I would get so much out of one dye pack…………….

The pyjamas were made using the instruction from Moldesdicamoda.com (link here).  The site gives basic pattern instruction but its also great for ideas (I am currently thinking of this coat), and even looking for the link again when I was typing this, I ended up bookmarking about 10 pages……….  



The pyjama pants were straightforward, I used an rough all-in-one pattern which I drafted from the trouser block by lying back and front side by side and leaving about 6cm between the front and back and cutting around.

I then used the little wooden squares from the kit and folded the pyjama top, and then dipped in water and ‘squeezed’ the water out, before dying.  The pyjama pants were tied at the hemline.


The pillowcases were similarly tied, and I should have done more of these.  I had a load of pillowcases leftover from an art project years ago, so the next time I am doing any indigo…………….they will all be for the blue!