me time

This past weekend was only the second one I’ve had to myself in June, and is the last weekend I’ll be home alone until mid-August, so I was determined to be as hermity and homebody-ish as possible. Besides the usual weekend chores (vaccuming, laundry, washing dishes, running errands) and a decent amount of time spent curled up with a book, a cat and either a mug of tea or a glass of lemonade (depending on the ambient temperature) in the papsan, most of my weekend was spent at my sewing machine and/or my cutting mat.

This makes more sense when you realise that my sewing room is also my guest room, so this was my last chance to have unfettered access to it for ages. Also, the long lingering cool spring has turned the corner into the warmer, muggier summer weather (still cool enough not to drag out the a/c, but I’m sure that it won’t be long now). So it was high time I got working on several of the summer dress revisions I had planned. One of these days I may actually make a dress or skirt from scratch, but I find it just as satisfying (and much faster) to find an almost perfect dress at the thrift shop, and alter it.

I found a nice 100% indian cotton tunic/dress the other day.


The only problem? It was size XL – definitely much too wide even for the most relaxed summer dress. So I grabbed a tunic dress already had that fit perfectly, and used it to draw a slimmer shape.


I just stuck with the original arm dimensions – I could have tried to reduce those too, but I didn’t want to wind up with any weird bunching. Ten minutes of sewing later: a breezy little shirt dress. I didn’t even bother to trim the fabric after sewing the new seams – it’s not bulky at all, and this way I can always just rip them out if I want the extra width back.

I’ll mostly end up wearing it with jeans, I think – it’s a bit too short for city wear. But it could work well as a swimsuit cover up too. It could really use a belt for a bit more shape. 🙂


Feeling on a roll with the dress refashioning, I next decided to tackle a bright little tent dress I picked up at Goodwill last summer, but never wore because it was just waaay too wide and tentlike. 


There was enough extra width to this that I was able to make pockets – so now it’s a good 4 inches narrower on each side, and has comfy little side pockets. It’s another ‘dress’ that’s a bit too short to actually wear as a dress, but it’s a fantastic layer to throw on over jeans for walking the dogs (the handy new pockets hold my key), and I wore it all the rest of the weekend as a housedress/apron.

Feeling a bit more ambitious after these two very quick projects, I moved on to a third dress on my to-fix list. This one is a lovely green strapless dress I found at the very end of last summer, and never got a chance to wear before it got too cold. It’s a very casual, thrown on type dress – super comfy. But I always have trouble with getting strapless dresses and strapless bras to cooperate – one of them always feels like it’s slipping. So I decided to sew the bra inside the lining of the dress. This was mainly a handsewing project, which meant the cat and I could move back to the papasan for some nesting time while I stitched. Good times for everyone. Apparently I forgot to take any pictures of the process or the finished result, but I’ll try to remember to grab a snap the next time I wear the dress.

Interspersed with the cleaning and running errands of a regular Saturday, these projects took most of the day. But I wasn’t ready to stop sewing yet, so I got started on a more ambitious project.

A few weeks ago, I drafter a super simple pattern for toddler shorts for my dear little friend Duncan (aged 15 months). I whipped up 4 simple pairs in an afternoon – if you can line up the pattern pieces with pre-exisiting hems (from old t-shirts, pants, pillow cases, etc), there are only 3 seams and a wasteband to sew. These are the first 3 pairs:


elephant applique waffle shorts, sunshine stripey shorts, and flannel plaid shorts

elephant applique waffle shorts, sunshine stripey shorts, and flannel plaid shorts

 This weekend I decided to be a bit more ambitious and make a pair of shorts with a matching sunhat. Saturday I cut and sewed the shorts, and decided to add some little suspenders for extra cuteness. Sunday I made the sunhat (following Cal Patch’s fabulous tutorial on CraftyStylish). Then I decided the outfit needed a matching t-shirt…

I don’t really know what I’m doing sewing with knits yet, and the shirt is far from perfect (I’ll need to resew the hems on the sleeves). And the appliqué truck looks more like a rhino.


But the reversible, crushable sunhat was a joy to sew and came out perfectly.



So perfectly, in fact that I’m going to make one for myself and would be delighted to make one for anyone else who wants one. Just send me a measurement of the circumference of your head at the widest point, the length from the top of your head to that point, your colour/print preferences, and let me know whether you want a wide or fairly narrow brim. (This offer is based on the assumption that there are about 5 people reading this blog – I definitely can’t make 100 hats). I think I’ll try using the skin from a deceased umbrella for one side of mine – I haven’t had a rain hat in a vary long time.

The week upcoming will be filled with work and houseguests and goodbye parties and altogether too much business, but at least I had my solitary sewing weekend to fortify me. And I can’t wait to see Duncan in his new hat.

Happy ‘It’s Officially Summer Now’ to everyone.



Filed under crafting, home

6 responses to “me time

  1. Rachel

    Err, wow. This is a Vry.Srs.Post!

    Loving your work 😀 Fi keeps threatening to get a sewing machine for our imaginary spare room, and now I am totally going to have to lobby for one…

    I love the cutie shorts!

    • Cutey little people clothes are definitely the best. 🙂
      I’m really enjoying relearning how to sew – it’s such a satisfying antidote to my work, which seems to mostly involve creating endless data files, but nothing tangible.

      How are you keeping busy this week while Fi is off inspecting the tree line?

  2. Angela

    I love the fabric of the blue dress. The designs make me think of some sort of weird sea-life or something.

    And now I feel oh so lazy. Aside from cleaning the aquarium (which takes all of 5 minutes), I can’t think of a single productive thing I did this weekend 🙂

    • It’s funny, I never gravitate towards those colours of blue, but I definitely love that fabric. I think it’s wonderful that you had a lazy weekend. What a perfect way to usher in summer.

  3. Susan

    Those little people clothes are so cute! I am looking forward to getting aquainted with your new sewing machine and making a hat for me.

    • The sewing corner is set up in your room, so you’ll have priority access to it. 🙂
      I’ve got several great fabrics that you can choose from for a hat. Hopefully you can help me figure out how to sew knits better – I could definitely use some help.

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