My Sharona

Ever since I was asked if I’d take this pattern for a test drive, I have been singing this song! Did you click…are you now singing it too?

The design is by Maria of DelindaBoutiqueDesigns

It’s always a pleasure when Maria asks me if I’ll test a new design, I know it will something a little bit different

So what do I think of the bag…well I love it! The large pocket on the front pleases me and it pleases me even more because of the gorgeous seaside fabric I used…

I never know what fabrics I am going to put together, I just walk around my room holding up the favourite fabric to other fabrics and then I can see if there is a good fabric to contrast with the main. Luckily this gorgeous bag didn’t need much more than a remnant for the front pocket but it is definitely the focal point of the bag

Inside there a zipped pocket and an open pocket, you can see that the bag closes with a magnetic snap, I’ve used a funky square one, goodness knows where I got them from! They just seemed to go with the rest of the bag

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I love how the handles stand up all on their own, but that clever zipped pocket on the back is so neat! They’re the perfect length to sit on your shoulder but the pattern is easy to adjust if you’d like a longer handle

If you want a more structured shape to the bag, you can use headliner, or Bosal, or Soft & Stable, they’re all foam stabilisers,  I don’t enjoy working with that stuff too much so I went for an extra layer of interfacing and some fusible fleece, it worked well, it’s not quite slouchy!

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Another view of the magnetic snaps, you can see there’s also one on the front pocket

All in all, this is a fun project to make, surprisingly quick to sew too…if you’d like to make your own Sharona, you can find the pattern here

This is just one of the bags that will be on show next weekend on my stall at the Handmade in Haddenham event that I keep talking about…

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, I’ve just had a BakeryBits delivery so you’ll probably find me in the kitchen, if not then I’ll be in the garden or my sewing room… :)

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A Sourdough Adventure

sourdough starter

This is my starter, it is alive and bubbles away quietly waiting for me to use it or feed it

sourdough starter

You can see that while I was asleep my starter rose a fair bit in this jar and then fell back to this level, but it is lovely and bubbly and has such a lovely smell :)

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When it is resting I cover it with a breathable lid and do not seal it with the lid that is attached to the jar

On Saturday evening, I made a leaven for the Rolled Oat Sourdough Boule on the Bakerybits website. I didn’t photograph this step, but when I came down in the morning, it had done it’s job and turned into a lively mass. I only wanted to make half the quantity in the recipe but I made the full amount of leaven and just used half of it, it was really difficult to simply dispose of the other half, but it was only a bit of flour and water….I can hear Vanessa saying this lol

Just over a week ago, I spent the day at Sourdough School with the lovely Vanessa Kimbell. I had spent many a day trying my hand at the ancient craft of making bread using airborne yeasts, with mixed results that sort of pleased me but I knew that I should be doing better!

Turns out I was doing the first bit wrong, I had read so many articles on how to look after your starter, I ended up so confused and just did my own thing, based on all this information buzzing around the world wide web. I had tried to do the Paul Hollywood version with grapes and that died, then I bought a powdered version of a starter and I killed that with too much heat! (now that did pong!!) Then I bought a readymade live starter and managed to keep that one alive by feeding it every day, and I used that one in my trials…..the loaves that I created were ok, but were on the heavy side, and the length of time I had to leave the bread to prove caused the bread to be a bit too sour for our tastes

If you know me, you will know that I don’t give up easily!

I eagerly awaited the date of my day at Sourdough School, the courses get booked up so quickly, but I knew that this was the course I needed so that could understand what I was doing (and what I was doing wrong)

It seemed an age that I waited for my turn at the School, and in the meantime, I was still doing my best to produce a good loaf, and seeing my results now, I realise that the bread that I thought was OK, wasn’t really OK at all!

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This pretty garden greeted me after my 1 1/2 hour drive to Northampton, I had to get up very early! Well early for me!

This is Vanessa’s stunning vegetable patch, I am totally jealous, but I will have a veg patch probably next year now, we are having a wall built but that story is for another time

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and this is the dining area of the school, oh that lunch was tasty!

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Before lunch, we had a bonus visit from Vanessa’s Dad who produces the most delicious wine. I don’t usually drink in the day, or at night for that matter, but the thought of some fine fresh sparkling wine was just too tempting. I suffer with migraines and alcohol can be an instant trigger so I usually stick to fine Prosecco if I need a bit of fizz.  This wonderfully light fizz did not give me a migraine or headache of any description and went down a treat. Think that is what prompted me to buy a couple of bottles which is being kept for a special occasion…I’m sure there will be one soon!

Right, back to the Rolled Oat Boule

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This is the mix after I had done all the lifting and turning as required in the recipe. I could feel the bounce in the dough and felt very positive that this time, this recipe was going to work!

After a few hours the dough had risen to the top of the proving basket, I had been sewing whilst this was happening. I think that is what I love best about this method of breadmaking…it is a calm and relaxed way of producing something very special and well worth eating :) I am even more calm when making this now though, after that wonderful day of knowledge!

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I heated up my large casserole for about 15 mins and carefully plopped the dough into the very hot casserole

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It started growing as soon as it hit the heat so after slashing the top a few times, I popped the lid on and baked it, the smell was driving both Barry and me crazy, we needed to eat!

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This is the loaf straight out of the oven, isn’t it beautiful?

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I am so proud of this loaf!

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Now, there is a problem with all this bread making, someone has to eat it! We are trying to lose a bit of weight in this house so rather than having a too hot slice of this dripping with butter, we had a small slice each with no butter or topping of any kind. Then Barry sliced the rest up and I put it in the freezer! Out of sight out of mind, oh yeah…right…I am dreaming of this wonderful loaf!

My trouble is, that I don’t want to lose or forget my new found skills, so I am aiming to make just one loaf a week, at the weekend. Well that’s the plan, I think I’ll have to start giving this bread to my neighbours lol…anybody want a bit of my new amazing starter to play with? I can still see Vanessa telling us that people might start avoiding us if we keep giving away our special potion, here’s comes that crazy lady that wants us to love and use her funny bags of squidgy mess! Haha…it’s only flour and water, get over it Marianne!!

Wonder what this week’s loaf will be…I’m rather thinking it might be the apple sourdough recipe from Dan Lepard

And then there’s Vanessa’s sourdough scones…..and those yummy chocolate and banana muffins that my Knit-n-Natter group enjoyed a while back!

Meanwhile I am still sewing my heart out to get enough stock together to take with me to Handmade at Haddenham in a week or so. You can see some of what I’ve been sewing in this Flickr Album, I will be taking all my dyed up fibre too, and all the bags that I’ve made, my spinning wheel will be coming with me too!…it promises to be a lovely day out, I’ll be there on the Saturday and the Sunday

Once that event is over, I intend to sort out my sewing room, it is a bombsite in there!!

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Sewing a Haven Sunsuit and Sundress

Last week I made a Haven Sunsuit, more about that further down the page :)

Haven Sunsuit

Today was spent sewing another Haven, this time I made the dress version

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So much fun!

I found the beautiful lace in John Lewis, it was quite expensive but I only needed a small piece, I love the colour

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I love the colour which tones so well with the pretty floral fabric

I used a fine cotton fabric, it is very smooth, almost a lawn in feel

Haven Sundress

I love making ruffles but what I love more is a neat rolled edge. I am very lucky to own a beautiful Babylock Evolution overlocker and it does this magic wave stitch where it pulls up one of the looper threads and then it pulls in the opposite direction

Haven Sundress

I used two different coloured variegated topstitch threads in the loopers…one of the colours matched the colour of the lace on the bodice and the other was in paler colours within the fabric

The back of this little dress is so pretty, with the ruffles and the fine rouleau straps tying into a pretty bow at the back of the neck

The first Haven that I made was the shorts version

Haven Sunsuit

I inserted some lace on the bodice, as I did for the dress, only I put the pretty edge of the lace on the top for the dress, it was too lovely to hide away in a seam

It is still gorgeous though

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I used a lovely shot red cotton for the shorts and a fine cotton lawn for the bodice

Oh and a plain rolled edge on the ruffles

Haven Sunsuit

There is nothing plain about this pattern, it must be a good one if I sew it more than once

These are both in an age four size, I shall have to trace off a different size if I am going to make it again

There are so many options with Haven…you can add a big sash and bow to make it even more special, or a layer of tulle over the skirt

This pattern is by Violet Field Threads, I can feel that I need to try another of her designs

Wonder what I’ll create tomorrow?

All this crazy sewing activity will slow down a bit after the Maker’s Fair on the 4th and 5th July…maybe I need to make a few more bags?

I also need to tell you more about my day spent at Sourdough School on Friday…really, I had the best day, but more about that another time :)

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Reversible Bubble Dress

I have made myself the adult version of this dress so when I saw the child version I knew that I really wanted to make this pretty dress It is Vogue1455 You simply make two dresses the same and sew them together via the shoulders and the armholes I love how the fine floral lawn fabric and the soft spotty poplin feel together The skirt is very swishy…the bubble hems of both layers are buttoned into position and the under skirt supports the over skirt There are tucks in the back and pleats and buttonholes on the fronts to let the ribbon feed through I put the buttons where it was suggested but felt that the skirt was too high up, so I lowered the buttons to let a bit of the contrast skirt show at the bottom A gorgeous little dress, I’ve done age 5 here but I can make any size from 2 to 8 years I have also finished a little cardigan for Miyah to go with one of the dresses that I have made for her birthday It’s the Cove cardigan designed by Heidi May I love the leaves going up the front and the gathers on the back the 3/4 length sleeves are so cute…hope she likes it!

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Une Rose Sur la Lune

I have no idea how I found this blog…maybe pinterest? Who knows!

Anyway, the designs were so neat and beautiful, I immediately tried to find the patterns

There is an etsy shop, and there was just one dress in the shop, which is beautiful but it wasn’t the one that had caught my eye

It was this one

It was the sleeves, the little petals and a button that got my attention…

I contacted the designer and she told me that the Petale design would be in the shop today

So this morning I looked and it was there, so I bought it! :) However, there was a problem, the instructions were all in French! I do understand a little bit of French….I can do this!!

The detailing on this pretty top are so beautiful and such a pleasure to do

There is even piping around the facing on the inside

and the hem…those pleats, I used my ruffler foot to get them so even

There is an alternative design to make out of a knit fabric with the tighter hem to make the top a blouson shape

I managed to work out the instructions by the pictures, but I had started to cut out the pieces when I began to think that they were looking a bit small for the age 10 size that I had chosen

So I went back and managed to work out that we were told not to forget to add seam allowances! I went back and added a SA of 1cm to my pieces, I like that amount…gives me enough to work with but not too little that it frays away if there’s a need to upick :(

All went well until I went to do the buttonholes, I realised that I had placed the skirt curved opening a bit too near the end of the bodice so the lovely open bit below the buttons isn’t as flat as it could be…next time!!

I can see this pretty top being worn with shorts or cropped trousers on a hot summer’s day…

I’ve got a very busy week ahead of me so my sewing will slow down somewhat, but tomorrow afternoon is my sewing group, so I have to decide on what I’ll be taking with me to work on

There’s that other pattern in that shop…maybe I need that one too?

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Good Dog Car Coat

Well as is usual these days, I’ve been sewing! Today I bring you The Good Dog Car Coat designed by Ruby Jean’s Closet What a darling pattern this is! I have had my on it for quite some time I love the way the dog wraps around the whole coat I really enjoyed doing the appliqué… after applying the pieces to the coat using bond a web, I worked a blanket stitch all around the edges This is the 1 year old size, it looks to be generous to me, but then you could put lots of layers underneath I used a quilting weight peachy pink cotton fabric for the lining and a linen and cotton blend for the outside and then I found some vintage buttons that seemed to blen in perfectly I’ll be making more of these! This little coat and all the other clothes I’ve been showing you will be for sale on the weekend of 4-5th July. I shall be taking part in Handmade at Haddenham, Barry will be there playing along with Somersham Town Band on the Saturday afternoon. It is just a most lovely place to visit…. You can see more of my makes in my flickr album Hope you’re enjoying a lovely weekend…

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A little dress and a vest

I have been having great fun with my overlocker, ever since I made the Scrundlewear pants that I showed you in my previous post This is a tiny little dress, made in age 9 months…it was great fun to sew almost entirely put together on my overlocker The only bit that I had to sew on my sewing machine were the 2 rows of gathering threads just below the yoke on the back This was the first time that I’ve done a lettuce edge on my overlocker, I had to change the differential feed, felt very grown up doing it lol I also tried out the wave rolled edge feature on the yellow hem, it doesn’t show up too well, but it was fun, I need to practice that one a bit more :) Then, after sewing the little dress, I wanted to keep going to so I cut out an Archer Vest in an 8 year old size You should see the mess in my sewing room! haha.. This vest took me about an hour to put together, right from cutting out I think I am in love with my overlocker! Both these designs and more can be found in the Stitch Upon a Time Shop

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Sailor Shorts for Maddie and some pretty Bridget Jones Knickers

Yesterday, either side of going to my Knit-n-Natter group, I made some shorts for Maddie, my 12 year old Granddaughter

I love the style of them, I can imagine them being so fun to wear at a dance class, especially tap dancing. They have a real 30s feel to them

The pockets are pretend, you just use some folded bias binding and zigzag stitch them in place, I used the binding that I had left over from making the KISS dress

The design calls for a strip of fabric for the loops to hold the turn ups in place, so I used some more of the wider binding that I had made for the KISS dress, love the bright citrus colours with the soft purple check

Also, the fabric was a bit flimsy, so I added some light interfacing to the backs of the turn ups and the front waistband and behind the buttons on the fronts. It worked very well, I hope these will fit Maddie, there is a bit of elastic in the back of the waist, so fingers crossed they will!


Yesterday evening, a customer of mine showed me this underwear pattern and asked me if I would make her some…I was immediately struck by the clean lines of the knickers and so I bought the pattern. It was Thursday, so Barry had gone to band practice and I went up to my sewing room and sewed myself a pair of knickers, not really knowing what size I was

Well, today, I am wearing those pants and I can honestly say that they are so very comfortable, but I might make the waist a bit tighter next time, fine under my leggings though ;)

After breakfast this morning, I set to and made my customer a pair of these

I’ll send them off sometime today or Monday, I hope she loves them as much as I do! Excellent pattern, I can’t fault it!

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Sunny Dress

I made this pretty dress the day before I made the KISS dress

I felt I should make a post about all the children’s clothes that I’ve been creating for the Maker’s Fair in the lovely village of Haddenham in Cambridgeshire, so here’s The Sunny Dress, which is the older version of the Rosebud Romper

I worked a pretty embroidery stitch on the ruffles this time, which is indeed what the pattern suggests

I did try to do a rolled hem on my overlocker, but this is a more substantial quilting weight fabric and it didn’t want to roll so evenly as the fine lawn fabric used in the Rosebud Romper

My hardest decision was which embroidery stitch to use! I plumped for a small star which wasn’t too slow at stitching, some of the stitches are so complicated and would have taken all day to stitch along the edges of those ruffles!

I love how the little stars worked along the top of the bodice, and when I hit the right place going up to the strap, and a star had been completed, I could turn my work and continue along the next part of the bodice, very satisfying

There are some bloomers to make to go with this little dress and as it looks to me to be a shorter style, I think that I should perhaps make some bloomers to go with it.

This is age four, would you put your four year old little girl in the bloomers?

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Keep It Simple Smock

This pretty little dress is called KISS, short for Keep It Simple Smock

I enjoyed making this up. There were only 4 pattern pieces and two of those were the gorgeous collar

I really love making my own bias binding, I felt that it would look fun in the same fabric as the dress itself

I love how the collar site so prettily and goes over the shoulders so neatly

I didn’t really enjoy sewing those curves but I will make this again as the finished results are beautiful

I love how the binding threads through the backs of the dress, creating gorgeous gathers and making it even more versatile

The designer suggests that the piece can be worn as a dress at first, then as the child grows, it can be worn as a tunic, over leggings, so it’s a really useful garment

You might wonder why I am making all these pretty little clothes…well, I am taking my sewn goods and hand dyed luxury fibres to a Maker’s Fair in July…click the link for more info :)

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