Unicorn / Unidorn

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I’ve been busy this month adding another animal to my TOTZ family.
It’s a wonderful horse with a horn and wings. I’m not quite sure what to name it though.  After much consultation with all sorts of experts in magical mythical equine animals for the exact name of a Unicorn with wings to it became obvious I didn’t know much. Most  of the aforementioned experts are under the age of 10 and let’s face it I am a fairly long way from being 10 so I  am sure I can be forgiven. The very best name however came from my 3 year old niece who calls her winged horse a Unidorn. So here he is. .. the Unidorn.
He is similar in height to the Lion.

Lions that go roar and other animals.

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2015 has been an awesome year for me at TOTZ.  I’ve added 3 other animals as well as bears and they seem really popular especially the lion.  My first lion was a sample.  Made from my son’s Tshirts he had just grown out of so a mix of age 6 to 8.


He came out beautifully and since then I have made a few more. 


I love that a simple pile of clothes can be transformed into something so beautiful.  My son didn’t want the whiskers and smile that I added to the others but I love the lion smile. 
As well as Leo I also have a giraffe appearing soon and a horse that can also be a unicorn or a pegasus or indeed both. Phew we do love our cuddly toys but most importantly the special ones made from memories.

Great British Sewing Bee Episode 3

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Vintage week.  Yahoo ! Oh I love vintage patterns. Sadly until I get to grips with my weight loss I do not have the waist that would do this dress justice but this is my goal. In fact this is what I put on my ww form. To get a waist so I can make myself this dress and do it justice. !

imageI was made over when I realised that the Walk Away dress that the contestants started the show off making is a pattern I own. Its a Butterick Pattern.

I bought the fabric from the lovely Hayley at Cotton Kisses. http://www.cottonkisses.co/

B4790 MISSES’ WRAP DRESS | VERY EASY | VINTAGE I bought mine here on the Jaycotts website.   There is also apparently a version of it in the Sewing Bee book which I might just splash out & buy myself.

I also found this terrific blog post by Katrina who had a go at this pattern & found she had to make some adjustments to get it to look right. Her post is really informative and interesting.

Next they had to handle an upcycling project which was fun as always but the last challenge was the one that was most fun to watch. It was a vintage inspired Sheer fabric blouse or shirt.

The styles chosen were once again an odd mix but I will have a go at listing them & doing pictures very soon

Great British Sewing Bee 2015 Episode 1

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It’s arrived ! With much anticipation my eldest son and I sat and watched the start of 2015 Great British Sewing Bee.  An interesting mix of contestants and some great challenges is what we want to see.  Ok so it’s not exactly Guardians of the Galaxy or Transformers Revenge of the fallen action packed viewing,  two of our favourite recent movies but for a house where sewing is a common thing it is must view tv. I watched it again straight after lol.

Great mix of personalities and I love to see them all bonding over a common love of seeing both in the craft room and when you see them taking breaks. It’s a competition but you get the sense that there is a level of comradeship amongst the competitors that make it really nice viewing.
There was much excitement when I realised that one competitor was using a fabric that I have in my stash. La paloma by Alexander Henry was one of the fabrics I bought at the NEC sewing craft exhibition summer 2014. I only bought 1.5m and seeing how fab this dress was I just had to buy some more to make myself a dress.

List of patterns on the show

The trouser pattern is apparently from the new Sewing Bee book which comes out at the end of the month but I found a BURDA pattern B7058 almost identical & have ordered it.

Amanda & Deborah looked like they were using Anna dress pattern from By Hand London & this is my fav dress of the night

Lorna’s dress looks like version A of the New Look 6723 pattern

Annie’s Summer dress pattern was Vogue 8470

Neela used  New Look pattern 6824

Paul used the Simplicity 1797 to make his dress

Matt went with the sleeveless Lekala 4263 dress pattern

Alex used a Simplicity 1960’s style Simplicity dress pattern. It had a retro look to it.

Neil made a Vogue pattern & I actually wasn’t a fan of this dress Vogue 8900

Ryan made  Burda 7556 it’s quite a nice Vintage pattern

Great British Sewing Bee 2015 challenge.

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It’s almost here.  The excitement is mounting.  The date is circled on my family planner.  The Great British Sewing Bee 2015 is on BBC2 8pm February 5th.  This might seem an odd tv show to excite and tantalise a household but we aren’t a normal household.  This is TOTZ HQ where sewing is part of life and for mummy anything to read or watch about sewing is must view tv. So I will be there or at any rate my tv scheduler will be to make sure I don’t miss a moment and can re watch it in my me time moments. 
I’m looking forward to meeting the crew and seeing what challenges they have each week. 

I am also setting myself a challenge.  To make one of each weeks items myself.  So watch this space I will blog each weeks creatine Sewing Bee item with all its trials and tribulations and hopefully I will be able to make everything successfully.  Oh I do love a challenge !!


So February 5th not far away I am counting the days 🙂

Elsa inspired costume dress

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I have been promising to make an Elsa dress for absolutely ages.  A whole year probably.  Well finally over the Christmas holiday period I took some time out to make some personal projects and this was one of them. 


I already had the fabrics that I wanted to use.  These had been sitting in my fabric box for months just waiting. 
The sequin fabric looks great but oh was a real pain to work with and my daughter informs me it is itchy so if I make this costume again I might look for an alternative.


The end result was great though and it looks terrific. 




Leo the Lion joins the gang.

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Say hello to Leo the Lion.  A new animal to join our gang at TOTZ HQ. 


I made this Lion which will live here at TOTZ HQ with us from 6 of my son’s old Tshirts.  I only needed one half of the Tshirt so really I suppose it was only 3 Tshirts fully used.  They were age 4 or 5 Tshirts.  Lion took more time to make than a bear and there were couple seams unpicked but the effort was totally worth it. 


There are almost double the amount of pieces than bear and they are smaller and fiddlier so I am going to put him on my page at slightly higher price. The pattern is from funky friends website which you can use to make and sell so no problems on copyright.  


He’s been a roaring success though and already been snuggled in bed with my son.  Roarrrrrr the lion sleeps at my house.

Medieval costume dress inspired by Arwen gown from Lord of the Rings

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10620743_1537194393179811_8618754685626454262_nWe were invited to help out at our local Parish fete and given the opportunity to display some of my bears and dresses which was great.  It also turns out there was to be a fancy dress theme.  So I figure great a chance to dress up and have fun plus create costumes.  My daughter was easy.  She would wear Princess Sofia.  I just had to plan something for me.

After much deliberation and with input from my son I decided to try creating a medieval style dress.  My inspiration was the beautiful Arwen from The Lord of the Rings.  After posting a collage of some of her gowns on facebook the one everyone loved was this black and red gown.

First thing was to find a pattern that I could work with.
I found a Simplicity costume pattern and ebay provided the materials.
I ended up ordering 4m of red craft velvet and 12m of black velvet.The pattern looks like I don’t have to alter it at all. Simplicity 4940.

It took ages to cut out and thankfully I remembered to cut all the dress pieces on the same grain. I remembered from watching the Great British Sewing Bee that velvet brushes differently up and down so you need to make sure all your pieces go from top to bottom in the same direction so it doesn’t look odd. There was so much black velvet I had to lay it all out on the floor to cut it out. I also did the same with the red velvet for the sleeves. I ordered this lovely satin gold brocade for the sleeves and neck plus some gold lace for the trim.  I know it won’t be identical but it will be close enough to hopefully look good. Since I only plan to make this costume once I cut the original pattern which I don’t usually do but it did save me time.


The sewing of the dress was actually quite easy in terms of which pieces went where but I discovered that black fabric is quite difficult to sew as you can’t see easily where the stitches are and velvet is really odd. It pulls against itself so seems to slip about. You have to watch carefully to make sure your seams don’t fall out of line. I loved working with the gold lace and the brocade though and I love the big long sleeves. In the end though after hours of sewing I was really pleased with the result and couldn’t help wonder what this dress would be like in a gorgeous modern fabric as an evening dress or even a wedding dress instead of as a costume. The costume fitted great though and it was fun to wear.  I loved the detail around the neckline. I can’t wait to have a go at my next costume project. Plenty of sewing between now and Christmas but am planning on taking a bit of time for personal projects in the new year. Meanwhile am looking for excuses to wear this one again.

I wonder if it’s too much for a Tesco shop?


Pink !!!! Pink dresses

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First let me be very clear here.  I don’t like pink on me.  I own no pink clothes or accessories. It doesn’t suit my skin tone. A colour me beautiful (remember them?) consultation way back in 1991 (oh gosh that long ago! ) confirmed me to be a blue tone. I suit blue’s.

PhotoGrid_1406474058364If I wear green it has to be a blue tone green same with pink and red. I’m not adverse to it as a colour but it’s not a favourite. I will confess however to bright hot sexy pink towels in my bathroom and not sure why but a bright pink colander in my kitchen. He he. It’s a pretty colour in nature. In flowers and sunsets and animals but it looks better with other colours. Ok so not a massive pink fan.

So then I go and have a pink flavoured baby.

A baby girl. I have a boy and loved all the cute little boy clothes and oh the thought of pink glitter dresses just seemed all wrong. I swore that I would not be seen dressing her in pink. She would wear blue and purple and girly things in colours I loved. There was a cute summer sailor outfit in pink and blue but I was adamant these pink outfits would be a rare thing. All perfectly fine until age 2 she totally confounds me with an unexpected love of pink! She is a total doll. Very very girly. Loves shoes to the point of obsession and hair accessories and. … pink! So here I am admitting I’ve had to give just a little and embrace a tiny bit of pink.

IIMG_20140712_034711 have found myself searching for and yes buying pink fabric and yes making pink dresses.

They have to be just about acceptable to me so I did lots of searching and found ones I like. she loves them all.

IIMG_20140708_053547n fact when deliveries arrive there is a massive amount of excitement and some hugging of fabrics lol.

I chose a pretty Burda summer dress pattern and also made up a simple short top style dress with a zipper. Burda are one of the only big commercial makers of patterns that say it’s ok to use their patterns to make and sell clothes not just for personal use.

I PhotoGrid_1405202718976made the summer strap dress twice. Once in blue with pink flowers and again in a pale pink. The pale pink dress is my daughters absolute favourite and I love this pattern. I plan to make some of these to sell.

I used a lovely pink fabric with a gold starburst with my pattern and I love this dress so much. Oh yes I admit it despite it being pink I love it and I love it on her. I bought this fabric from a quilt and craft fabric shop in Malvern called Stitch 45. It’s slightly weightier than normal dress fabric but still thin enough to wear and has a lovely brushed soft cotton feel to it.

TPhotoGrid_1405959647961he final pink dress and my absolute favourite is the same pattern using a Michael Miller wee wanderer fabric. This one is called whisper woods in pink. It is so pretty.
Am I converted to pink? No! It’s still not my favourite but I must confess I like the fabrics I chose and love the dresses. I do hope she outgrows her love of pink but in the meantime I will cope and maybe even love just a little. As parents we make concessions for our kids and sometimes we learn from them too !

The most amazing movie dresses.

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I am completely incapable these days of watching a movie or tv show and not being captured by fabulous costumes and gowns. It is time for me to start looking at fabrics for my Queen of Hearts costume. I am using a period costume pattern and will hunt for fabrics in the right colours. Meanwhile I thought it might be fun to search for the most amazing costume dresses I could find to give me inspiration and oh just because they are beautiful.

Prince Caspian
Queen Susan gowns in this movie are amazing. No idea what sort of period the inspiration comes from but they are fabulous and I am realising that great movies can be made even better with great costume
Lord of the Rings
Arwen gowns are just beautiful. I’ve seen plenty of cosplay versions and some are good some not so good. The original movie gowns are breathtaking and of course Liv Tyler is stunningly beautiful as the elven princess Arwen. I have a small crush on Aragorn too lol.

Elizabeth The Golden Age
This movie has so many amazing gowns. The costume makers must have worked so hard. I can imagine the yards and yards of fabric and hours of work. The dresses are spectacular.

Gone with the Wind
Scarlet O’hara had some iconic dresses. Amongst them is the white ruffle dress that seems to inspire so many of today’s wedding gowns also I love this green and white one.

This is a recreation of a personal favourite of the Gone with the wind dresses and I am in awe of the talent required to make this dress. I also wish I had the waist not to mention cleavage to get into this.

Cinderella , Ever After
I just love the dress that Cinderella played by Drew Barrymore wears to the ball at the end. It is one of my all time favourite costumes. I love the wings.

Mirror Mirror another movie with amazing dresses.
This movie must have had a team of seamstresses and tailor’s working for hours. So many awesome dresses. My absolute favourite is the Wicked Stepmother played by Julia Roberts wedding dress.

I also love this huge red dress she wears for the ball.

Oh and yes a tad envious of Julia Roberts figure too.
The dress we first see Snow White in is also stunningly beautiful. It has a peach bodice set against a yellow embroidered skirt.
Later we see Snow White in the blue and yellow dress that’s inspired by her famous Disney outfit.

Snow White and the huntsman
Again an army of seamstresses must have been employed and what amazing costumes they created. Charlize Theron is amazing as the Wicked Stepmother and looks stunning in some of her movie gowns.
Pirates of the Carribean