Today is just the sort of sunny day when every gal needs a pair of Pokemon shorts to slouch in!
I've loved Pokemon since I was a child and wanted to be a Pokemon trainer when I grew up. I drafted the hoodie pattern a while ago, it was the first fully-drafted top I made for myself but I had some spare fabric left over so what to do but make some shorts too!
Hat and pin the tail on the Pikachu left over from my hen do...
I used the Stella jogging trousers pattern from Tilly and the Buttons Stretch! book, shortened the shorts and replaced the waist band with ribbing instead of fleece. I also added about 1 cm to the width of the shorts.
One thing to say about the pattern is it is snug. I like a loose tracksuit trouser if it is made of fleece, otherwise it's a bit of a bulky legging. The model in the picture must have quite skinny thighs or be wearing a size or so larger than the suggested fit. This isn't too much of a problem with shorts but you may want to edit them if making full length trousers. They are also designed for short legged people, based on where the knee was supposed to come to, a 5ft10 person would have to add about 4" to the trousers so the ribbing reached the ankle.
Overall though it did fit: the waist and the hip measurements were good and the shorts fit pretty well.
I wonder if Pokemon Go! still works? Off the find some long grass....
I am very lucky to be going to a ball next month because, like the Fairy Godmother, I love an excuse to make a ball gown and have been enjoying rustling around the house in it.
I had a look through a Google image search for 'ball gown' and decided that I wanted to use some sort of chiffon. To eBay! I found the most gorgeous chiffon that was nearly clear and had roses printed on it with some 3D roses sewn on. It was either going to be simply amazing or ghastlily tacky. I had to have it!
At first I was set on a floor length maxi dress with empire line, although in the end, it was lucky that I didn't choose that as the fabric came in precut 1m lengths, which was terribly annoying and means I have more seams than I would like. But after thinking more carefully, I settled on a 50s style gown. The skirt is full circle with fake silk dupion underneath a layer of the lovely chiffon. There is a silk(ish) bodice that makes the dress look strapless and then just a chiffon layer over the shoulders and collar. I though about adding sleeves but decided against it in the end.
I draughted the circle skirt, but needed slightly different patterns for the chiffon than the silk as I could cut the silk on the fold in two halve but had to do quarters for the chiffon, meaning there is an annoying centre front seam (GAHHHHHH!).
To make the bodice, I adapted the Famous Frocks Grace Kelly Dress, lengthening the bodice by 1" to bring it closer to the waist and also adding a few mm as I have just been on an all inclusive holiday and am slightly larger than I normally am. This will also allow more movement for dancing.
I couldn't decide whether to go for pale green or pale pink for the silk, either would have worked, but in the end I went for full princess pink. The theme for the ball is 'fairy tale' so I don't think it's OTT.
The chiffon was quite difficult to sew, not just because it was slippery but also because I used plastic invisible thread, which looks beautiful but is very friction-full. Even at a very low thread tension, it puts a lots of pressure on the needle, bending it out of shape. I went through 4 needles this project! But the results are worth it.
I finished it off with an incredibly full net petticoat that I purchased, rather than made because it's just not time economical to mess around gathering all that net!
I'm pretty pleased with the finished result!
I have recently subscribed to Love Sewing magazine for inspiration and free patterns. I was excited when issue 53 had a dungaree pattern to try, McCalls M7547. They have a shorts version but the shorts were a little short and so I used the full trouser pattern (D) and made it wider to make a looser pair of shorts in exciting floral cotton. I also used ALL the pockets. You can never have too many pockets!
I always have to make some adjustments to patterns because I'm tall and in my experience McCalls designs for tiny, short women but I had to make a HUGE amount of adjustments to make these fit.
I have a short top half (for my height I suppose but that makes it about average): the straps only just fit and are certainly not able to be folded over to be adjustable. Unless you are a child, you will need to add more length to them, especially if you have any discernible bust.
I added 2" to the crotch depth and that wasn't quite enough: it's still a little tight. I would recommend adding at least 1" if you are of average height and more if you are tall.
I am always very honest when I look at the sizing on the back of the pattern, even if it tells me a number I don't like: you would be foolish not too. Pattern sizing does not correspond to shop-bought clothes and you normally have to go up a size or too so it's nothing to worry about. Despite that, I found the pattern very tight fitting, both around the hips and the leg. In the end, I had to use 5mm seams to make the jeans do up, which meant that I didn't have enough material for a lapped zip and had to use a regular one, which looks pretty messy and is quite visible. I recommend going up a size from the measurements for a reasonably fitted shape and two sizes for a nice slightly baggy dungaree, which is how I believe a dungaree should look: they are not a form-fitting catwalk style but for slouching.
I plan to make some more, full length ones in the Autumn out of cord and these are the adjustments I will make:
-Go 2 sizes up (size 18)
-Add 3" to leg depth at top (I only added 2" and it's a bit tight in the crotch when you sit or try to climb stairs 2 at a time)
-Add 4" to the leg length
- Widen the legs so they fit around my clearly enormous thighs (thanks, McCall's) and also add a flare from the knee because that's always fun. They claim to be flared but they only are if you are a stick insect. I dread to think how tight the skinny legs are!
- Add 4" to the straps so that they can actually be adjustable.
mad This weekend I finished making these glamorous wide leg trousers. I managed to 'borrow' some beautiful silk from my mother's stash and knew it needed to be made into something special.
I think I got the pattern free in a sewing magazine that I picked up at the station while waiting for a train, enticed by the free patterns. I'm not sure which one. I really liked the idea of wide leg floaty trousers for walking along the beach or sipping coctails on a summer evening and thought this fabric would do perfectly.
The pattern is very simple to follow. I only made a few changes: I sewed french seams so that the fabric wouldn't fray and made them longer. I'm quite tall but these trousers are ridiculously short considering the model is pictured wearing them in heels. They only have allowances for a narrow hem as well. So I added 5" and used 1" on that for a wider hem. I also added 1" to the seat but in hindsight could have added a little more (maybe 1.5-2") and I don't have a very tall body- I often use petite patterns. I was a little worried about the fabric requirements as I had half a metre less than suggested and a narrower width but it fitted even with the extra length and without any complicated Tetris.
Overall, I'm pleased with the result and look forward to stepping out in my billowing trous.
Caterpillar cakes are a classic staple of children's birthday parties but since the explosion of Colin on the birthday party scene over 25 years ago many a knock off has appeared at rival supermarkets. with so many to choose from how on Earth is the savvy consumer to pick the appropriate treat for their celebration? There was only one way to find out...
We tested all the caterpillar cakes that we could find: Colin and Connie from M&S, Cecil from Waitrose, Curly and Carl from Tescos, Wiggles from Sainsbury's, Bonnie and Clyde from Asda and Morrison's Caterpillar Celebration Cake (there were rumours of a Charlie in Aldi but we couldn't find one).
There are many things to consider when choosing your cake: what do you want your caterpillar to look like? Should it have a chocolate or icing face and feet? Should it have ridges? Dolly mixture? Sprinkles? Do you want the filling chocolate or raspberry filling?
Let's consider price. There are two price points: the upmarket Waitrose and M&S who sell caterpillars for an extortionate £7 a cake compared to £6 from the other supermarkets. Our tasters were split in the higher price category. There were the traditionalists who believed that you can't beat a Colin, those who liked that cheeky raspberry flavour of Connie but Waitrose's Cecil pulled out slightly in front. It was certainly an excellent cake and well worth the extra £1, as long as you were willing to overlook his sleek design.
In the lower price category, Wiggles is the most Colin-like of all cakes. Not only do they look very similar but they taste nearly exactly the same. If you're looking to save a bit of dough on your cake, choose Wiggles from Sainsbury's can't taste the difference range.
The most liked of the lower price category was Morrison's Celebration Cake, presumably cheaper because they skimped on the name. Although some objected to the dolly mixture topping, the cake and filling were widely praised. It was certainly the tastiest of the cheaper range.
Asda's criminal pair of pillars Bonnie and Clyde did not fair particularly well in the rankings. Their decoration was described as 'terrifying' but their cake reasonable.
While there was no clear winner among the caterpillars, there was certainly a loser: Carl, Tesco's Free-From cake was slated by the critics with the kindest thing being said, "It's not as bad as I expected considering it didn't have any real ingredients" alongside the damming, "It feels like I'm eating an ashtray". Not only is Carl not caterpillar shaped (presumably it's hard to make a swiss roll without gluten) nor is he covered in chocolate. It reminded us that a childhood plagued by allergies is a very raw deal.
There was one thing that everyone agreed on: that M&S's mini Colins were an excellent treat. Their high chocolate to cake ratio and cute expressions won the hearts of all the tasters. And you don't have to slice them.
You rip what you sew!