Mummy’s Little Sweatshop

The paper and silk jacket continues to trudge along, though I’m feeling better and as my energy and will to go on returns, I’m trying to get a bunch of stuff done. I cleaned up around here,  zipped out to get a new bank card (I lost mine over a week ago and somehow decided I didn’t need or want money until now) and then Samantha and I went to the fabric store, because the other yarn still isn’t here, and we decided that the two of us could probably churn out two skirts, a pair of pants and some shorts in…

fabridfabric 2017-05-19

(Obviously, the Power Rangers fabric is not for me. I think.)

Well, fine. We think we can do it in about 24 hours. This is likely a bit of a dream, and we’re making all summer clothes and it’s freaking freezing so it wouldn’t matter too much if we didn’t finish, but it would be nice to have them done before the next blanket yarn arrives and I go in deep.  (The baby is due very, very soon.)  Both Sam and I know how to sew, so with the two of us cutting, pinning, ironing and using the machine, we should make good time. The first batch of fabric is in the washer, and as soon as it’s clean and dry, we’re off.

(PS. Sam is clearly my kid. Today in the fabric store she pretty much shrugged off the fact that we don’t really have a pattern for the skirts. Or the shorts. “How hard can it be?” she said.  I smiled to myself, because really, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that right before all hell broke loose.)

(PPS. Being an infrequent sewer, I don’t really know what’s out there. Anybody bi-craftual want to point me to some of your favourite sewing blogs? I can’t see myself sewing any more than I do, but I’d still like to see what’s going on out there.)

(PPPS. My heart lies with yarn.)

127 thoughts on “Mummy’s Little Sweatshop

  1. I read a clothing-sewing blog by a woman in Australia….its titled, ‘Handmade by Carolyn’. This woman actually wore only clothes and shoes she had made for an entire year!

  2. OMFG!! Cant believe I might be the first to comment!! Whoo hoo!!
    So check out

    Easy to construct & very wearable stuff.

    My heart lies with quilting but I have dreams of knitting more that scarves. Its good to dream 🙂
    More baby pics please & give those gorgeous cheeks a smoosh from the Blog.

    Cheers Lush

  3. I am a quilter these days but used to make all my own clothes. When I read you did not have a pattern, I laughed right out loud! Sorry. I just couldn’t imagine this coming out good. Go to Pinterest and search for easy skirt patterns. I have found several easy ones for kids clothes, am sure there are adult versions, too.
    Good Luck!

  4. I’m headed for a weekend with knitters who are all taking their sewing machines along. I have been persuaded to do the same.

  5. You might want to check out Sewing on the Edge. Also Communing with Fabric is a good blog. I am a big sewer so I read lots og blogs.

  6. I can see making a wrap or gathered skirt without a pattern but the measurements for shorts have to be accurate or the crotch will be too tight or too loose.

  7. I sew, quilt, and knit among some other crafty-type things. I would never venture to draft my own pants pattern, unless I traced a current pair of pants. But these are not for you, right? Skirts are easy and you should be able to do that. Good luck with getting the blanket done. You absolutely have the WORST luck ordering yarn. It’s like you had a curse placed on you from your LYS only to buy from them. It’s possible.

  8. Why do I have this funny feeling Millie will LOVE the quilt you’ll end up making out of this stuff?

  9. will show you how to easily draft some patterns that actually fit….probably not for the 24hour sewing experience tho. I have used it for an a-line skirt pattern and a shirt pattern, the skirts were great the shirt pattern hasn’t yet graduated to material.

  10. Curvy Sewing Collective is good for general advice and pattern reviews.

    I really like patterns from Closet Case Files (Montréal designer), especially the Ginger Jeans, and also patterns from Cashmerette (designed for curves, sizes 12+ with multiple bust options).

    • Glad you posted this, Val. I had seen Cashmerette on, but didn’t bother clicking on the button because I don’t wear cashmere.

  11. Stephanie, if you haven’t already, you MUST check out Sonya Philip’s “100 Acts of Sewing” (including her instagram page). I got hooked a few weeks ago, and I can’t seem to stop cranking out summer clothes. The knitting isn’t going anywhere for now. Sonya has an Etsy shop with tutorials–and she’s appearing next weekend in Vermont for a “Wardrobe in a Weekend” event at Wing and a Prayer Farm. Check it all out. I’m obsessed!

  12. Blank Slate Patterns are my go to. My first love is knitting. I keep trying to share my love with sewing. But I fear all sewing machines know my first love is not them….no matter which sewing machine I use ….we are all temperamental. But the Blank Slate patterns have a timeless feel, and they come in a plethora of sizes, and won’t break the bank.

    Good luck!

  13. So odd…my husband just texted me a pix of my old sewing machine, unearthed from a storage shelf. I sent it to the shop for fixing…strange coincidence to read about sewing here. hmm. I read Purls SoHo but these others look great. Can’t wait to see more pix of the babe.

    again the g-clef is not a musical note…so odd.

  14. I never use patterns, I use clothes that fit me and copy them or use them as stepping off point! It works great!
    There are a lot of tutorials on Pinterest that can help you. 🙂

  15. Absolutely Sewaholic Patterns. Drafted by an indie designer in Vancouver, comes in 0-22, designed for a slightly pear-shaped figure (some people do then need to do a full-bust adjustment). I’ve made 4 of her Granville button-up tailored shirts and am about to make 2 more, 2 of her Minoru jackets, and have fabric in the wings for a Cambie dress. She also has lots of sewalongs filled with pictures!

  16. Hahaha! My first love will always be sewing. Anything yarn is included as fiber-related. I recommend your blog as a mommy blog with knitting. 🙂 Artisan’s Square is my favorite message board for sewing.

  17. Please tell me you have the pants pattern and are converting it to shorts. You can fudge a skirt, but pants or shorts with no pattern would be HORRIFIC. (Remember to make the back a little longer since you don’t have the weight of the rest of the pant leg.)

  18. Another form of highly entertaining freak-out calls for a different snack/drink combo.

    Anyone? Margaritas/chips/guac/salsa? Ice cream flavors? It’s a real conundrum.

    • I like your suggestions. Since it is supposed to be warmer weather, these are good choices. One of the first fruits to ripen is strawberries. So strawberry ice cream. But the drinks and snacks have my mouth watering already.

  19. Free patterns for both shorts and skirts available at Purlbee/Purlsoho. Sew mama sew has some freebies too. I love True Bias’ Hudson pants. Seamwork has a great collection of patterns too for all the types of garments you’re looking for. Lastly, Liesl of Oliver and S and Liesl & Co. has patterns that fit the bill too with solid construction and instruction.

  20. Go to Silhouette Patterns online. You’ll get it to fit. Multiple sizes in each pattern so you can share. us from Poor fit is what is is what is keeping us from sewing garments the first place. I know from first hand experience.

  21. I’ve been seeing since before I learned to knit at age 9, have taken pattern drafting classes along the way, but I wouldn’t try shorts without a pattern–you and Sam are brave (the polite word for it)! Hope it all goes well! Your fabrics are very fun!

  22. Some of the sewing that blogs that I enjoy are:

  23. I, too say “How hard can it be?”. And at some point, this is usually followed up with “It seemed like a good idea at the time!”. I, too, frequently sew basics with measurements only; no patterns. Which loops me back to my sayings above! Happy sewing and good luck!

  24. Love the idea of being bi-craftual. My orientation is opposite to yours being a sewer who knits (very occasionally). Looking forward to seeing how your sewing adventure turns out – good luck!

  25. My knitting time has been severely impacted by the sewing of late. 2 of my favorite blogs are Diary of a Sewing Fanatic and Male Pattern Boldness. Both of them have great blogrolls that will lead you to the greater sewing blog world. I also enjoy Oonaballona, Close Case Patterns and Lladybird.

  26. I’m no help with the sewing — the only sewing I do is sewing buttons on handknits — but I’m sure you’ll manage something between the two of you. Here’s hoping you finish and are able to wear what you make soon!

  27. Your no pattern comment made me laugh out loud as well!
    I am a patternmaker /tailor and I too have a few sewing plans for myself this weekend but the worst part for me is guess what? drafting a pattern for myself! The next challenge is finishing what I start.
    Good luck to you!

  28. The first wedding dress started out with “Well, really, how hard could it be?” But I had an ace in the hole. My grandmother was a master seamstress so my friend and I and the bride occupied the dining room at her house. Her only comment was “the darts are wrong” thru a week of us being there. But the thought that she was just a room away helped a lot.

    The dress was unique and beautiful and at the wedding her mother and step mother both grabbed me crying and said “You made her beautiful!” (She was and is beautiful but not conventional). So jump in… You know how clothing is constructed… If it doesn’t turn out, take it apart and use it for something else.

    • My friend and I were used to working from no pattern and a picture. We sewed garb for the SCA. The hard part was for the wedding dress we didn’t have a picture… Just an idea.

  29. I am completely astonished-ASTONISHED, I say-at the concept of sewing blogs. This will change my life.

  30. Karen fro Fringe Association is quite bicraftual. She writes about slow fashion and has good information on pattern modifications for both knitting and sewing.

  31. I see Made by Rae has been mentioned, so I’ll add the Ikat Bag blog – tutorials on drafting and fit that I aspire to.

  32. Ikatbag. Her drafting tutorials are AMAZE-BALLS. I’d go for a skirt with no pattern, but shorts…. shorts need a pattern, either your own or from someone else. Good luck! Have fun!
    And remember, you can’t just frog in sewing. 😉

  33. Handmade by Carolyn
    Sewing on the edge
    Two on two off
    Five and counting are a good start for blogs

    Style arc are favourite pattern companies

  34. You go! Skirts are pretty easy, but I expect you’re copying existing pants that fit; that’s easier than drafting your own pattern. I took a class to learn to draft flat patterns from my own measurements – once I figured out a few things (like that the teacher didn’t understand the overweight figure) I got on very well. When I tried to draft pants, though, they came out looking like 1930s-pants, which is fun for me but wasn’t popular with most people.

  35. Here is a very important thing to be aware of: if you cut out your garment, baste it together on the seam lines for a test fit and it is too large/small, the number of inches that you need to reduce/add needs to be divided by 4. Not 2. Say you need to take it in 2″. If you take in 1″ in each side of the front and on each side of the back, you have reduced it by 4″ overall and not the 2 you were going for. In my experience, it’s a common mistake that a lot of beginning sewers make. Or maybe I just know all the ones that are just as bad at math as I am. Happy Sewing!

    PS Get a pattern for the shorts. Allowing for the rear “abundance” & the whole crotch area can be tricky. More than you think.

  36. Skirts are easy without a pattern. A little bit of waist and length measurements and you’re good. Shorts…not so much.

  37. has a free shorts pattern that is great for kids

    Madebyrae also has some good patterns.

    • I second She has useful tutorials for things like putting a zipper in or working with knits and nice patterns that are detailed and tested, not to mention instant downloads.

  38. I remember happy days at my grandmother’s house with Mom and Grandma cutting, pressing and sewing clothes for us children while we played quietly (probably not). I loved the buttons. There was a drawer with buttons, sorted by color in baby food jars. Then there was a big tin of assorted buttons that I could play with. I still love buttons!

  39. I’ll give another vote for . She makes pants and shorts all the time. My other favorite is . She makes casual clothes and workout clothing. She puts lululemon to shame.

  40. If its children’s patterns to you wish to download try Oliver and S ( reversible skirt I think) also Brindle and Twig

  41. I think lightweight, summer power ranger shorts would be a lot of fun. I can see you on a bike in them. With a beer in one hand. The perfect thing for the beach if you come to San Diego to teach, hint, hint.
    Julie in San Diego, where it has been summerish (low 90’s) lately,

  42. oh,I wanted to suggest if you have some time check out this sewing and knitting Blog.Did you make that?youll love it.

  43. Try . Free patterns, clear instructions. I made a skirt and a shirt from their patterns, worked out well.

  44. I would recommend Tilly and the Buttons ( Very straightforward and easy to follow. I’m a knitter first, sewist second too and really appreciate their photos that accompany the instructions so I know I’m not screwing something up!

    I’ve just made myself a Cleo dungarees dress for summer out of some lightweight canvas fabric from IKEA. Not only is it super cute but the pattern was easy and I love that the whole project ended up being cheap as chips. 🙂

    • I’ll second the recommendation of Tilly and the Buttons–even if her patterns aren’t to your liking, her tutorials are spot on.

  45. I don’t sew too much, so I definitely like to keep things simple. For clean, simple designs, I love Lotta Jansdotter ( Won’t help right this moment, but I own one book of patterns and I love it. Just very, very basic items. She is very well known for her fabrics (amazing fabrics).

  46. #sewistsofinstagram kicks up brilliant stuff every day. I’m also deeply in love with the Sew Over It podcast.

  47. I haven’t seen anyone else suggest it, but have you seen Textillia?

    It’s a lot like Revelry for sewing. Or at least aims to be. They might be charging a minimal membership fee now (they were free to begin with), but there’s a great community of sewers there to commiserate with!

  48. I have recently discovered Love Notions. Tami’s Patterns are fantastic and she has a great support group on Facebook. PDF patterns that you can print with layers so you only print the size you need. She has a lovely skirt pattern called Sybil. I have not made it but have admired many that have been shared. There are seven different styles in one pattern. Pretty much every skirt you would ever need. You can also “hack” and “mash-up” her patterns to create just about anything you will need. Look it up. You won’t be disappointed.

  49. I was heavily into sewing in the 90s and explored a lot of sewing blogs and forums then. Things have changed now with the advent of so-called indie designers and bloggers. The newer designers put out projects that are I am much more old school and used to do real tailoring and very structured garments. I taught myself to do this before the age of Youtube by watching some TV shows that used to be on as well as using books.
    I recommend the old Singer company tailoring books as well as Claire Shaeffer’s books on couture sewing.

    Your most important skill in sewing is PRESSING. Pressing is to sewing as blocking is to knitting! You can really tell the difference when you see project photos (as on Ravelry).
    Too bad there is not an equivalent to Ravelry for sewing.

  50. My favorite sewing patterns are from 100 Acts of Sewing (made about a dozen Tunic #1’s, easy and great for showing off cute fabric) and Seamwork Magazine. I can’t say enough about how awesome Seamwork is. It’s all online, all patterns supposedly take 1-3 hours to make (and for a novice/intermediate sewist I can say that’s pretty true), and there are a ton of different sizes. And very clear tutorials. Also, when you subscribe you get credits towards the entire pattern library, so you can get older patterns not just the ones in the current issue. The Akita top is amazing, easy, and has gotten a lot of compliments. … Oh dear, I’m getting evangelistic, I’ll have to wrap this up.

  51. I have to second Silhouette Patterns. She does free webcasts every other week and if you go to the home page, there’s a link on the right hand side to watch the older webcasts. She teaches about fitting and I’ve learned so much from her. Have watched and rewatched most, if not all. Always pick up something new.

  52. You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I find this topic to be really something which I believe
    I’d never understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely large for me.
    I’m looking forward to your subsequent submit, I’ll attempt to
    get the hold of it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.