Sock Monkey Modelling Shoot

In addition to battling with my winter coat project I've made a couple of Christmas presents... sock monkeys, loved by all ages!

sock monkey

I love making them, after all they're what lured me back into sewing (sock monkeys inspire me). They're also perfect for this time of year, very much a winter project to me. The hand-sewing involved is best done curled up on the sofa watching TV. Plus sewing monkey limbs stops me from reaching for the biscuit tin....

sock monkey modelling

I prefer mine to have a serious yet mysterious expression, a sort of sock monkey Mona Lisa....

They look a bit naked for my liking at the moment, so I'm going to knit them a winter woolly scarf each (might take a while as knitting isn't my strong point....we've got a few weeks until Christmas yet though). And I may change their button eyes for felt circles for safety. These two are presents for older girls who would be fine with buttons but I worry they might get into tiny hands, would you change them too?

beautiful sock monkey

I also wanted to test out a photography technique I'd read about on Katie Evans  blog, the 'beauty shoot' using natural light and a reflector to infuse your pictures with light, not sure Katie had sock monkeys in mind when she wrote the tutorial but I think they make perfect models :-)

Frilly Shower Cap (and the one that went wrong...)

In an effort to be less of a drowned rat and more of a bathing beauty, I thought I'd have a go at making a frilly shower cap.

Normally myself and darling daughter 'Wag Dollette' wear plastic shower caps from my hotel toiletry stash. Unfortunately we were down to the last one and the elastic had gone (happens to us all...) hence it looked more like a flat cap than a shower cap. 

Here's the new frilly yet functional shower cap....

frilly shower cap

Re-Fashionista! Silk Top Revamp


I have a love/hate relationship with revamping old clothes.

On the one hand I feel a sense of achievement in turning a hideous garment into something wearable, and it's certainly 'greener' than throwing it away. But, it just doesn't ring my bell like sewing and creating from scratch. You can't bask in the glory of "Oh this? I made it myself!" when there's a dirty great label sticking out of your neckline.

I've always altered clothes to improve the fit, and done repairs...(urgh, necessary but so boring). But I don't often revamp. However, here's one I did this weekend.

gray silk top
Silk top after

And here's how it started life

OK, the fact it's not ironed in the before photo doesn't help!

But yes it really did look like a shapeless sack in it's original form. I bought it because I loved the colour, it's pure silk and I adore the neck embellishment, but it did nothing for me. I looked like I was wearing a maternity smock, which is fine if you're pregnant, but not a look you want if you're not.

I was slightly concerned at cutting into a perfectly decent silk garment, but nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that. So my advice is "Be bold! Attack with the scissors, if you never wear it then you've got nothing to lose." (You can always use the fabric for something else if it goes pear-shaped - my strawberry pin cushions were scraps from a blouse).

So do you revamp old clothes? Do you consider it wrong to cut into wearable clothes? And what the heck do you call it? Revamp, refashion, trashion (my personal favourite) or upcycle (my pet hate, it sounds like an upmarket unicycle to me).

I made my own bias binding tape! Tutorial

Bias tape, or bias binding as it's also known, is one of those essential sewing items used to neaten edges and to add decoration. You can buy it pre-made, but you can also make your own in jazzy colours! It's often used around the edges of placemats, quilts, and babies bibs, and around the armholes and necklines of garments. See how the very talented Dana used it on a child's bathrobe here.

Here's some I made with a nifty little gadget I bought on ebay.

bias tape

Now making your own does involve some mathematical algorithms....OK maybe not, but it does involve understanding the word diagonal and drawing lots of parallel lines. That's about as Einstein as it gets. Plus quite a bit of ironing......

Bias tape is cut on the bias of fabric (diagonal or cross-grain) to give it stretch and enable it to be worked around curves without puckering. Read on if you want to know how I achieved this miracle of haberdashery.

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