The Easiest Skirt Ever

I’ve not been sewing much of late. The kid has been requesting I make her something for ages but a combination of a lack of motivation form me and the knowledge her wardrobe is not lacking meant it got put off and off.

Being my daughter and a bit like me, she doesn’t give up easily when she wants something. So she plonked the fabric she chose in front of me and suggested a ‘super easy’ dress. I declined that invitation on the grounds she has LOADS of dresses. So we compromised on a skirt. Being lazy and lacking any oomph I decided printing out a pattern was to hard so I opted for a easy, self drafted skirt that is tried and tested and works every single time.

The recipe goes like this …

  • Measure child waist to knee, add approx. 4 inches for seams. Then divide that length into 3 to give you each tier’s depth (or length if you prefer to think of it that way)
  • Cut 5 selvage widths of chosen fabric(s) the depth previously worked out by taking over all length +4inches divided by 3.
  • Tier 1 is one selvage width and will include the fold over waistband casing you will make.
  • Tier 2 is two selvage widths sewn together and gathered and stitched onto the bottom of tier 1.
  • Tier 3 is 3 selvage widths gathered and sewn to the bottom of tier two.

You can attach each tier however you prefer – since this skirt was knit and the kid requested ‘ruffle edges’ I sewed the gathered edge to the right side of the bottom edge of the fabric of the tier above so the edges showed. See below.

This suited me fine as I was not enthused to try and make everything ‘perfect’ – I do so love sewing with knits! See below … not pretty on the inside … but also not going to fray either!

You could also sew right-side to right-side for a cleaner edge. And finish all seams on an overlocker .. if you felt fancy. Or are sewing with woven.

Construction wise I created each tier first, sewing the widths together where needed. Then I gathered the third tier and attached it to the second tier. I then gathered the top of the second tier and attached it to the first tier. This gave me a ‘flat lay’ of the three tiers all attached to each other.
Then I sewed up the side seam from top to bottom.
Fold over approx. 1 inch of the top tier to create an elastic casing. Stitch round leaving a small hole to add the elastic into.
Measure recipients waist and cut elastic accordingly. Feed elastic in, sew elastic together, stitch up hole.
You’re done. Feel smug.

Breeze Shirt

As part of my ‘get back into sewing’ drive was I was lucky enough to be part of the testing group for the Breeze Shirt from Twig and Tale.

It’s a truely unisex shirt, relaxed fit with no fastenings – unless you want to add rivets and ties or buttons to the front and comes with different sleeve length options.
There are no exposed seams in this shirt, everything is french seamed or tucked under and stitched. It’s not a hard sew at all, the instructions are detailed with pictures and videos if needed. It’s not the fastest because of all the seams but I found it really satisfying as it came together so cleanly and looked so professional.

I chose a shorter sleeve and hacked my own hi-lo hem as the kid wanted it to be ‘girlie’. I slightly faffed between tunic and dress length so it definitely needs shorts or leggings under it, but the back is still quite long. The fabric is Sarah Jane and was in my stash. The kid is very into knit or jersey fabric clothing, comfort comes first in everything so the fact she happily chooses this out of the wardrobe (or more accurately big pile on the floor) is a huge boon for being able to use woven fabric for her clothes.

Go check it out – and if you haven’t looked recently check out all the Twig and Tale patterns, they make up a huge percentage of the kids wardrobe, clothing and outwear.

Currently – January

Currently, I’m ..

Watching – Babylon Berlin on Netflix and Greys on demand as the episodes arrive express from the US. The former is weird, not awful, but definitely weird.

Listening to – The Greatest Showman soundtrack. On repeat, the kid loves it also.

Reading – I’m re-reading Legend by Marie Wu. Mostly because I forgot to get new stash of books out of the library and needed something to read and it was on my kindle ready to go.

Making – Trying to get back into more baking, mini frittatas and muffins this week

Sewing – cutting a jersey cards for the kid and a drawstring backpack for the kids copious dancing gear

Garden – pulling out old tomatoes and zinnias from the patio boxes that got battered in the winds and popping in some flowers for the end of summer into autumn. Also planning tree planting once the temps drop and the rainfall increases.

Dreaming – of patio furniture and autumn getaways

A New Vest for the Kid

The Trailblazer vest has just been released by Twig and Tale and its wonderful!

It would be fair to say I’ve been out of the crafting circles for a while now and am pretty rusty with all things sewing. Eight months of travelling followed by finishing and moving into a new house and all that entails have left my sewing machine super neglected and collecting dust.

When Lisa said “do you want to sew up the new vest pattern?” I obviously said “yes!” Because I’m not so silly as to miss the chance to sew up Twig and Tale goodness. And the Trailblazer Vest really is good.

I was a little apprehensive of the princess seams and the zip (did I mention I hate sewing zippers and avoid at all costs?) but I had no reason to worry. It all come together beautifully. The video guides are amazing and so good for a visual learner like me.

Obviously in an attempt to sabotage my success the kid chose the worlds nastiest outer fabric for me to sew up, slippy slidey minky that shed so badly during the cutting process that hubby thought I’d butchered a fluffy animal all over the floor. The lining is a Cotton and Steel remnant that’s been in my stash a while, waiting for a special project.

Best of all the kid adores it, so much so it even got the ‘can I wear it to school’ seal of approval and much admiration. Nearly seven year olds can be hard to please, but this hit the mark exactly. So much so that there’s already another on my cutting table!! Not with minky this time though.

Grab the pattern today – It’s on sale and I 100% promise you wont be disappointed.…/pr…/childrens-trailblazer-vest

A Cardi for the Kid





A chance to test a lovely new cardi from Little Kiwi’s Closet came up recently. I adore the designer and the patterns so couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to apply. The Koro Cardi (koro is Māori for grandfather) is a grandpa style cardi.

Very easy to sew up and a lovely relaxed fit it is perfect for our current spring weather and I can see it being a go to for pulling on as the temperature dips as the sun goes down or the wind picks up.

The pattern is, as expected, beautifully drafted and written and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. I actually made two cardi’s are I had a couple of different material types I wanted to try out. You will need knit for this, but anything with a bit of stretch works brilliantly. It will be amazing in winter in a fleece or brushed back jersey or in a delicious merino.

Its currently on sale so pop by and grab a copy of this pattern – it really make up a staple in the wardrobe. All seasons, all colours and an enormous size range form baby to tween! My daughters lived in hers since it came off the machine. It really is a simple sew, even for someone like me who is still a bit wary sewing with knits. And I got a love sense of achievement when I finished!

Twig and Tale – A Rebrand Tour

Sewing for my daughter is a big part of crafting for me. And anyone who has followed my blog will know that Big Little Patterns have been a staple for not only coats and vests but also trousers and hats and other accessories.

Big Little has changed! It has rebranded to become Twig and Tale.

The new look brand is full of the same great patterns, updated and remastered. Each pattern comes loaded with awesome features, more options and helpful additions like fully linked contents, easy to follow guides, added inspiration pictures, up-cycling guides and loads more.

To celebrate the new look and name Art Gallery Fabrics kindly sponsored some awesome sewing for this blog tour. Thank you Art Gallery!

There is an amazing group of ladies all sewing their favourite Twig and Tale patterns to celebrate. Check out the bottom of this post to see all the other contributors! Seriously there are some inspiring creations. I decided (with the kids help/instruction/dictator like demands) that a Pathfinder Vest was the best sew.

Vests get a LOT of use in this family. I used a wool outer quilted with batting and a beautifully soft and pretty Art Gallery lining fabric. Look at that beautiful cotton lining.

I even drafted a very basic peasant style top to go under the vest. The fabric was just so yummy! Its from Pat Bravo’s Heartland line, Liten Ditsy in Whisper.

I decided to make a home sewn, special Twig and Tale version of the ubiquitous ‘Kathmandu Vest’ that you see so much where I live. It needed to be warm, stylish, puffy and look really special. The vest itself was a cinch to sew. The great step by step instructions and easy to assemble pattern (using layers! go me!) meant I got the whole vest done in one evening.

I chose a synthetic batting and use basic horizontal lines to quilt it to the wool (please ignore the slightly wonky quilt lines) I think it would be even more luxurious if you used a wool or bamboo batting like those used for baby quilts.

The only slight snag I hit was pulling the front through the shoulders when turning it the right way round. It came through .. but I’m not sure I’d want to try it with a size much smaller than the 6 I made. At least, not with batting as thick as I used. I adore the dropped back that ensures not drafts and the hood which fits perfectly. The toggles weren’t the easiest to sew on and I backed them with small mother of pearl buttons to stabilise the lining side. I really adore how they look. Worth the extra effort.

This is not the first or only Pathfinder Vest I’ve sewn up from the pattern. We adore up-cycled blankets for coats, capes and vests etc. But for this tour I wanted to show that these patterns aren’t just for repurposing blankets and quirky clothing. They are also great for making a more mainstream look. This vest is home sewn and special, and has bundles of mumma love wrapped into its making, but fits in well in the playground when eveyone else is wearing Kathmandu or Country Road.

Link to the first blog tour annoucenment page:


What would a Blog Tour be without a giveaway!

Art Gallery Fabrics is kindly sponsoring 2 yards of Art Gallery fabric of your choice. To make the prize extra sweet, we are also adding a collection of 5 Twig + Tale patterns of your choice.

International entries are very welcome. Our bloggers come from every corner of the world to celebrate the global nature of Twig +Tale too.

Enter using the rafflecopter below.

(The winning entry will be checked to ensure all criteria are met).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The making has been in short supply recently. Well, more accurately the blogging about the making. Actually I’ve churned out a few harem pants and a couple of dresses. I have just epically failed to photograph them!
The kid has shown a renewed interest in skirts recently and to celebrate (possibly prematurely) I decided that was ample excuse to get sewing.




The black and the blue are a mod of the VFT Lottie skirt pattern – I changed up the waistband and added inseam pockets. The white is a VFT Gemma skirt, also with added inseam pockets and a lining. Predictably the white is her favourite as it ‘twirls’ so well. Although colour wise her preference is the black.

In the words of the kid .. “if only you had made the white one in the black fabric mumma, then it would have been perfect
Yes, thanks kiddo.

Styling on the pics done by the kid – don’t ask me why today she felt the need to give Roald Dahl the publicity 😉

The Best Vest

As the kid has got older the amount of stuff I sew for her has ebbed and flowed and changed. She no longer desires twirly dresses and blouses.

One item I have been making for her religiously since she was little is outwear. Warm outdoor wear that lasts through the seasons and allows her to play freely while keeping her core warm as toast.

I bought the original Big Little Pixie Vest years ago now and have made a number of them as she has grown. It’s a go to pattern for me, always an easy to follow, straightforward pattern that fitted nicely.

There is a new pattern from Big Little – The Pathfinder Vest is something just fabulous. I wasn’t a tester on this. Just a happy seamstress!
The pathfinder vest has many brilliant options, the pieces have been re-drafted and the fit is fabulous. I really do love the longer length option and also the dropped back you can add on.

For this one I did a pixie hood as the kid is fond of them. But there are options for a rounded hood, collar or v-necked waistcoat look. I also added the optional button panel that comes with the pattern on the front so it does up with a full overlap to prevent draughts round her tummy.

It sews up in the same way as the Pixie vest and only took me an easy morning sewing between homeschool and cups of tea and bites of cake. This one is upcycled blanket and some ikea cotton for the lining. It fits beautifully – it’s not baggy and doesn’t gape at all – but you can get a jumper under it no trouble at all to keep the kid super snuggly.

Even more exciting is that when re-drafting the vest has been made to fit the Wild Thing coat hood. So if you have that pattern you can create all 14 animals in vest form!!
Check out the pattern at Big Little. It’s on sale at the moment.
And as a bonus extra for subscribing to the Big Little newsletter there is an additional crossover front option – the Crossroad Vest. I signed up for the newsletter and got that extra for free! Whoop.

Sewing For Kids

There is no secret that I love to sew for the kid. Her appreciation for what I make is mixed. Which I hear is totally normal for 5yr olds. But still feels rather like being slapped in the chops when a slaved over garment gets the old ‘no, I don’t like it’.

This make is a teeny tiny size 1 for a friends little girl. It is a Pixie coat from the genius of Big Little. It’s a pattern that I’ve sewn a number of times now and one I really love. Its simple, well written and comes together beautifully

One thing that comes up quite a lot is how to make garments look ‘handmade’ rather than ‘homemade’. Neither is wrong, obviously. And there are a fair number of clothes in the kids closets that I’d rather you didn’t look to closely at. That are very definitely ‘homemade’, and we love them for that.
But there are a few things that can really make the difference (I cannot, hand on heart, say I always do these thing .. truth) but they really do help.

Iron as you go. Actually, steam the s&*t out of every seam and fold. Seriously, iron that thing.
TOP STITCH. Top stitch.
There are instances where you wont need or want to – for example the hem of this coat isn’t topstitched. But round the hood, the front – where you want a crisp clean line. Dress bodices, skirt waistbands. Top stitch – if your feeling really adventurous invest in a double needle

Thread match … actually I’m horric at this – I’m lazy. But do it. Spend 5 minutes winding a bobbin with matching thread. Dig through that box to find the closest match. You’ll be so pleased you did afterwards. Spend time choosing the right buttons/trim/lining. Often its the little details that give it away. Or make it amazing.

Did I mention ironing? Steam that sucker.

Sleeves with hidden or inner seams (often known as the drainpipe method) can make the garment look great. Some coats look so nice with a little underfold of the outer fabric into the sleeve. When you fold them up it’s a lovely detail.

I am really pedantic on clipping my corners and curves too, it just really helps things to lie nicely, sit well.
Preparation. Cut slowly and carefully.

French seams take a super easy skirt from average to amazing. The same for a good chunky hem. Don’t scrimp on the turn up, nothing helps a skirt or trouser hang better than a little weight at the bottom.

A little tag at the neck is functional for hanging and also for little people to recognise the back from the front. The kid gets extremely cross if I don’t tag skirts and trousers.

For me a part of keeping on sewing things the kid loves has been making sure that what I sew has a purpose. Making things that she needs as well as wants. The truth is that our lifestyle doesn’t really suit multiple pretty dresses made from amazing woven cottons. One or two will do.

And thats where patterns like the Pixie Coat come in, I prefer to sew one coat that gets lots of wear and love. Also biting the bullet and learning (rather under duress) how to sew knit and jersey fabric has opened up a world of comfy and easy to wear clothes for a picky 5 yr old.

Look at whats in trend in the shops. What are the kids wanting. How close can you get to that while still maintaining that individuality.

And Topstitching where the instructions say to? … It’s been added in there for a reason 😉

A Wild Coat from Big Little

Anyone who has read this blog will know that I have a bit of a love affair with Big Little Patterns. The Wild Things hooded scarf was an absolute favourite over the winter.

Well, now Lisa has upped the game and create a Wild Things coat!! Yup, a coat! There is a huge variety of animals. Cat, bunny, dog, bear, horse, dino. giraffe and more. In fact I think with the fabulous array of pattern pieces provided and a bit of imagination, pretty much any animal you can dream up, you could make.

I know that I’m hardly unbiased in my love of Big Little but seriously. This one is a great.
The kid decided she needed a ‘kitty’ coat .. and although I had grand ideas of a hello kitty inspired face. Time and my lack of embroidery skills meant she got basic cat.

I did the front loops with crocheted chained chunky wool as my sewing machine threw a tantrum trying button holes (first time ever) and its a roaring success. The lining is Heather Ross TigerLily and works perfectly.

It was a quiet evening sew – nothing complicated and a great set of instructions and tips. The tutorial has pictures and guides for every step. An extensive inspiration guide and step by step pages for all the different animal details. Plus the loveliest pages of up-cycling details and suggestions. There is also a condensed single page of steps for anyone who’s confident sewing the coats (or has made the base pattern multiple times … ahummm)

Anxious to start your own version? Visit the Big Little Pattern shop and purchase your pattern during the launch sale with a 30% discount for only $8.40 (regular price $12) until Sunday. If you already own the pixie or pea coat patterns then you can buy the hood elements as an add on.

Lisa has organised a fabulous blog tour so you can follow and see all the other testers marvellous creations.

Saturday: Adventures with Bubba and Bug and Blessed x Five

You can find the daily blog tour overview link here, there you will also find several non-blog tour tester pics.