Afternoon Delight!


In case anyone’s wondering, no I haven’t dropped off the face of the planet! Work has been even more manic than normal so although I’ve been doing lots of crafting (as I always do to keep the stress under control) I just didn’t feel like posting anything.

But early this morning I finished my first Jennifer Lauren Handmade Afternoon blouse, and I’m so pleased with it I just had to do a post about it. These pictures were taken as soon as it was finished, which – as it was only 6am – probably explains why I didn’t notice how bad the right sleeve looks! Trust me, in real life it looks just like the left one.

I’d seen numerous reviews of this top on and in blogland, and everyone commented on how easy it was. They weren’t wrong! I bought the pattern earlier this month, and eventually chose some lovely poly/cotton fabric from Minerva Crafts. I cut a straight size 12, and took a chance by doing no adjustments at all & not making a toile. I overlocked the pieces before sewing it all together but next time I’ll simply overlock all the seams. Although it didn’t take me just an afternoon it was a quick sew so there will definitely be a next time.


I hand-stitched the blouse front as the pattern instructions suggested, but the stitching fell apart the first time I put the top on! So as my handstitching is clearly rubbish, I top stitched the neckline which was a first for me. I was lazy, though, and didn’t pin the blouse on me to check for fit before I did it, so I had to unpick & re-stitch some of it. Lesson learned for next time!

The finished top is a little tight on Betty (my dress form), but I’m so pleased that on me it’s a perfect fit and the neckline lies perfectly flat. The pattern calls for a large button to finish the unusual neckline but I found a heart-shaped button in my stash which was a perfect match although it’s a little smaller than it should be. Job done, and I’m looking forward to making a second one with the alternative neckline – I’ve already bought the fabric so watch this space!


Sewing Success!

I was lucky enough, years ago, to be taught basic dressmaking at school. Every so often I’ve tried to pick up the threads (sorry!) and have another go, and each time the result wasn’t good enough to wear outside the house – but not this time! I saw a free blouse pattern on the So Sew Easy blog and decided to have a go. I already had some fabric which was in the bargain bin at Abakhan last year, and although it was a nightmare to sew with (it frays really badly), this was the finished result:

Front view of blouse

The instructions were really easy to follow, and I even made my own bias binding – a first for me, and a major achievement! The only things I changed were that I lengthened the sleeves very slightly & elasticated the bottom as it was just too voluminous for me. I’m so happy with the finished result, and even my far-more-expert-at-sewing sister was impressed. And all for about £5!

Collage of 2 views of blouse

Not a Card!

In-car picture

I’ve had a satnav for ages, but haven’t been able to find a suitable mount for my Fiat Panda. Then I started seeing “bean bags” for Ipads, tablets etc & realised I could make a smaller version for my satnav. I based it on this tutorial, starting off with a piece of fabric which was 23cm by 28cm.

Extra views of bean bag

I made a couple of very minor modifications. I stitched across the bottom below the button because I used rice to fill the bag and I wanted to keep it under control. I had real difficulty stitching that part so I had to add a little extra padding, which altered the shape a little. If I made another one I would probably make an inner lining filled with rice. I also stitched across the top to create a flat piece to grab the beanbag.  I’m not an expert sewist so I’m really pleased with the finished result, which took me less than 90 minutes to make.

Not a Card!

I don’t sew very often because it’s too much of a hassle to get all my sewing stuff out – if I ever get a dedicated crafting space that may change! Last night I had a few uninterrupted hours to myself & decided to tackle a sewing project I’d been planning for a couple of weeks. I recently bought myself a little tablet PC with detachable keyboard, but had been unable to find a bag for it which I was happy with – most are designed for iPads & my tablet is a couple of centimetres wider. Then I saw this over at CraftPassion and knew I’d found the answer to my problem. A few hours’ work later:

This fits my tablet PC perfectly as you can see here:
This next photo shows the bag with the mains adaptor in the front pocket, which is a bit of a tight fit but it works. The USB cable fits into the back pocket. If I made another bag I’d probably make the pocket slightly longer, so it comes further up the side, with perhaps elastic across the top of the pocket.
I modified the design in a couple of ways: first, I used quite thick padding instead of interfacing to give some protection. This made the finished bag slightly bulkier & by the time I’d finished, the tablet was such a neat fit in the bag that I decided to use the simpler fastening method instead of the zip I’d planned, because that would have scratched the tablet. Luckily I found a matching button in my stash & a piece of elastic from a chocolate box ribbon which was already made into a loop. I also modified the gathers on the pocket to give a slightly neater finish which you can see here:
An experienced seamstress could have made this in a couple of hours. As a relatively inexperienced sewer I did find the instructions for the pocket a bit confusing, and this meant it took me a whole evening, but I’m so pleased with the finished result which only cost about £4!