Simplicity 7189 toddler tunic

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I love this pattern. I have used it twice. The first time was a pale blue spot material with a plain blue neck piece. 

I love how this top hangs.  You can lengthen it into a dress if you like but for this season tops that can be layered are perfect. 

The second time I opted for a navy blue broderie anglais and actually posted a question on my Facebook page for votes on whether to have a plain or patterned neck.  In the end it was the Marc Jacobs daisy flowers fabric that won. 

The top looked amazing and after it had been modelled it reminded me how much I love this pattern

I might make the next one dress length and add some pockets. 

Denim Tunic

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I have wanted to use this pattern for ages and eventually having a splurge on dressmaking I decided to take part in National Sewing week and use some denim chambray to make a very unfussy version.

It is New Look 6111 . It’s a baby pattern so comes in sizes NB for newborn up to L which is about age 2 size. I am not really a lover of too much applique or fuss so just went for plain. The hardest part was pinning the neck piece onto the front as there are these tricky corners and I had to start the whole process twice. Eventually though I succeeded and used a lovely bright purple bias strip for my edging.

It looked lovely finished and was worn this morning at playgroup x

Bread Rolls, bacon & passata

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My son is fussy about sandwiches but loves these bread rolls so since he is off on a school trip tomorrow and I have a packed lunch to sort out these were the obvious choice. 

This is a Paul Hollywood recipe called Breakfast Rolls. 

Recipe ingredients

500g strong bread flour
10g salt
20g Caster Sugar
10g Instant Yeast
30g Unsalted Butter softened
2 eggs
250 ml cool water


Place all ingredients in bowl ensuring salt and yeast are separate. Use a fork to mix then fingers to pick up all the flour.  It’s best to add the water bit by bit and you might not need all of it.  You want a soft dough not a soggy one. 

Use olive oil on your surface for kneading or use your mixer and a dough hook. Ideally you want to knead for about 10 minutes.  The dough does start out wet but will eventually form a lovely soft dough. 

When the dough feels smooth place it in a lightly oiled bowl covered with oiled cling film until it doubles in size.  1 to 3 hrs. 

Once the dough is ready roll it out on a lightly floured surface without knocking the air out.  Spread the surface with passata and lightly cooked bacon or even ham. 

Roll up and stick down edges before slicing into pieces about 2 to 3 inches thick. 

Place these on a tray and cover with a large bag.  I use a large recycling bag he he. 

Let the rolls prove again for about 30 minutes. 

The oven should be 220 oc Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  You can glaze them with egg before baking if you want.

Storms, Tides and floods.

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This winter has been fairly mild all things considered where I live but I am lucky to be quite high up.  As seasons go though it’s felt warm and there hasn’t been any snow which is actually a bit of a shame. Meanwhile in the USA a polar vortex has plunged parts of the country into temperatures of almost -40oc and even Niagara Falls hasn’t escaped the freeze.

Here parts of the country where people are on river level have experienced terrible floods and coastline storms have been devastating. The river Severn always floods but like lots of people I also think the flooding appears to be getting worse year after year.
I have never seen the water around the bypass bridge at Worcester flood this far across the fields.
In the city the Swan’s are taking advantage of the flooding to enjoy the extra space. The photograph opportunities are great but it does make a lot of mess.

Holiday Dressmaking & the Perennial Tunic free pattern

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20130917_100303I was ultra busy on the run up to Christmas with bears and sock monkeys so after they had all been posted off I set about some personal dressmaking projects.

Since most of the sewing is for my little girl she sat with me once or twice and helped out in her own way he he.

One of the projects was a first for me.  A download pattern rather than a pre printed one.  It was the Perennial Tunic from sew mamma. You can find her instructions & pattern at this page on I chose a flower print fabric bought from a local store.  Gordon Smiths in Malvern is really a store for upholstery fabrics rather than dressmaking fabrics but they do have a few and this was the only flower one.
20140109_100635The pattern has to be printed out and cleverly lined up. It took scissors and sellotape and a bit of patience to get it all done. Then was the added pain of having to trace the pattern onto dressmaking paper and add your seam allowance. I use real dressmaking paper as it’s really the best option and not actually that expensive for quite a lot.

I buy mine from either eBay or Amazon wherever I can buy it cheapest on offer ideally.

Adding the 1cm seam allowance sounds easy but it made me wish I was using a proper pattern created with seam allowance included.

That said it’s a nice pattern and now I have it printed out and traced I can use it again. I did use my own skills to finish the seams for example I like to do french seams down the sides and I used my own skills to insert bias binding around the armholes.

I am pleased with the finished item and it looks great on. Contrast pockets would be nice. My little girl wore it to playgroup and it looked lovely.

So there you have it. The Perennial Tunic pattern all done.

Birthday Baking

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It’s my birthday tomorrow so tonight I plan to sew for me.  Today I baked and I baked my favourites.  Because they are for me lol. First bake was a ginger cake.  Instead of my usual ginger loaf I opted to try a new recipe and wow am I glad I did it’s yummy.

Mary Berry Ginger and Treacle Spiced Traybake

225g softened butter or spread
175g light brown muscovado sugar. This is not demerara it’s more sticky.
200g black treacle
300g self raising flour
2 level tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground allspice
4 large eggs or 5 medium
4 tbl sp milk
1.5 to 3 chopped bulbs of stem ginger from jar

my own tips

I didn’t have allspice and mixed spice. What’s the difference? So I used 1tsp mixed spice and 1 small tsp ginger 1 small tsp cinnamon.
I didn’t use 3 bulbs of ginger I used 1.5 it felt like lots anyway.
Treacle can be difficult to weigh as it sticks to your scale pan or bowl so measure it on top of the sugar. Zero the scales in between.
Because Mary recipes are all in ones. I measure everything into the mixer bowl using a digital scale that I zero between ingredients.
Once all ingredients are measured into the bowl mix until combined. I used my hand electric mixer.
oven temperature 160oc
Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. I have a silicon tray bake pan. I use these ready made cake liners.
Allow to cool before icing. The recipe says mix 200g icing sugar with 3 tbl spoons syrup from the ginger jar m I used less than 1tbl sp and a little water to make a nice thick icing. A spatula spread this nicely over the top of the cake which I then sprinkled with crystalline ginger.

This cake is my new favourite ginger cake recipe. It is scrummy.

lemon drizzle
The recipe is on an earlier post. Click here for the full post. This cake is an all time favourite of mine and an obvious choice for my birthday.