Rain Stops Play

My sewing activity has been somewhat curtailed due to the horrendous rain we had recently.  Our conservatory sprang a leak and before I realised it the long (and thankfully cheap and cheerful) table that I use for cutting out fabric was completely soaked.  It is now drying out but sadly the laminate finish is peeling off.   The table is currently lying on its side and there is a bucket in its place waiting for the next downpour.  Discussions are in hand as to where to go from here (I’m hoping major improvements!) but in the meantime the conservatory is a chilly, damp and slightly mouldy place that isn’t conducive to creative activities.  I’m not posting a photograph as it’s a rather depressing sight!

As a result I’ve been sticking to smaller projects that I can cut out on my sewing table without having to move everything off it.  I’d been wanting to make another Anya Bag, this time for me, with the leftovers from my mustard denim Brumby Skirt.  There was JUST enough fabric, although I had to adapt the straps slightly.  The instructions are to fold the fabric strip into the centre along the long edges and then fold in half again before stitching along each side.  I just folded in the edges about 1cm and then folded in half but the fabric is sufficiently robust for this not to be an issue.

I had hoped to line the bag with the lovely fabric that was part of my #stitchingsanta gift but there wasn’t quite enough.


As an alternative I used some fabric my mother gave me during a recent clear out.  It was originally used years ago to make a dress for a rag doll and I think it works quite well here.  I love making this bag.

I was going to use the bag today but I decided that matching your bag to your skirt was probably going a bit too far!

I’ve recently started following Jen from My Make Do and Mend Life.  Jen’s journey began when she decided that she and her family would spend a year buying nothing new and she is now committed to lessening their impact on the planet.  Having recently watched Trust Me I’m a Doctor and heard about the scary chemicals that lurk in off-the-shelf cleaning products (including some eco ones) I’ve been researching the possibility of making my own and Jen is something of an expert.  She’s even made her own dishwasher tablets!  I’ve also been trying to further reduce waste in our house since watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s programmes.  I was horrified to see what some people chuck out!

Where is this leading ….?   I’ve managed to avoid buying new RTW clothing for quite a while now but one thing I’ve missed is knitwear.  I can knit but I always struggle when it comes to following patterns, shaping and anything fiddly.  There is a half finished cardigan hidden in my sewing room that is testament to this.

I decided to combine two projects, reducing waste and kick-starting my knitting, by making a dishcloth!  I found a sweet pattern on Ericka Eckles blog and produced this.

I’ve now sewn the ends in and just have to bring myself to ditch the disposable blue cloths and actually use it!  I bought two balls of cotton yarn so I’m now working on another pattern I found here.


I’m really enjoying it and it is a lovely cosy thing to do on chilly evenings.  My mother is always horrified when she sees me knit because I don’t hold the needles properly and she is determined to change this.  Previous attempts have resulted in me wailing in despair because I just can’t get it right but perhaps now is the time to try a bit harder!

Associated with reducing waste I also did a spot of refashioning.  For several years I’ve had a favourite striped dress from a well-known online retailer which had gradually shrunk until it was no longer wearable!  I love the fabric so decided to chop off the restricting top half and turn it into a skirt with an elasticated waist.  I looked up various tutorials for adding the elastic but when I tried this I just couldn’t get this wide elastic to stretch as I sewed.  In the end I just joined the elastic in a loop, gathered the cut edge of the fabric using the dental floss trick and sewed the elastic on with the join at the back.  It was already hemmed so this was a very quick project.   I’ve worn it a couple of times and it seems to have worked.  It is SO comfortable!  Not sure what I can do with the leftover top half?

I will get that Moss Skirt cut out eventually but in the meantime at least I’m not sitting idle.  Mention of the Moss Skirt has reminded me that as a result of my following Jen on IG – @makeandmendlife – I connected with @vintage_charity and we met for lunch this week.  It was just lovely.  We had already discovered so much in common (including these shoes) and then she mentioned that her next sewing project was this very skirt!  At the rate I’m going I think she’ll get there first.




27 thoughts on “Rain Stops Play

  1. Hi. I’m assuming that you, like me, are not into the perfect crop top that the top of your dress has left you with? Not liking to see it go to waste maybe you could add a self coloured bottom half, or the lower part of an old t-shirt, or a wide band. I don’t knit like my mum either, she has the needles tucked in neatly under her arms and twirls the wool round her little finger, for the tension I assume! Haha just do what I always do, pretend to listen!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, I won’t be wearing it as a cropped top! I shall experiment with it when I’ve got a spare moment. That whole little finger tension thing with the wool is beyond me! I don’t think I’m ever going to master it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m enjoying a little knitting phase but I am such a slow knitter I expect I am holding the needles wrong too. I plan to knit on my commute and sew at home. I couldn’t bear to use something I’d knitted as a dishcloth – I’d be far too precious about it! Good luck with your plans x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow those shoes! I echo your comments re waste. I wish we could have a compost heap here but it would attract rats. It seems so appalling to throw all the greenery and veg waste in the bin. Nice dishcloths. They need boiling don’t they!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Louise. I’m wearing the skirt today and I think it is probably the most comfortable thing I own. I think there will be more elastic in my life from now on! I’ll let you know how I get on with the homemade cleaning products.


  4. I’ve recently been inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Withingstall too! I’ve been wondering what I can do and my New Years resolution is to go meat free one day a week eventually to two. I love your ideas, especially making cleaning products. I’m going to have to look into this further. So glad to find another blogger looking to start a similar journey…. My meat free resolution is going to need a lot of determination I think :S
    Your bag looks so lovely, it works really well in that colour x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck with the meat free days! I’ve not eaten meat for a VERY long time, although I do eat fish sometimes. It’s such a great opportunity to experiment with new ingredients. Glad you like the bag – I used it today and I’m so pleased with it. It’s amazing how much you can fit in it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh really, not eating meat probably doesn’t sound to hard for you I guess then but I have realised for a household of 2 we consume too much by Hugh F-W’s standards. I’ve jut got to learn some good veggie recipes now! Aww lovely, I bet it will look lovely with your matching skirt!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh you have been busy. Love your mustard bag – I would so wear a matching skirt with it! 😉 Really good idea to knit dishcloths. I bet they last 100 times longer than the ones you buy!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a shame about the leak, hopefully it will lead to better things 🙂 The bag looks great and I love the skirt. I am hoping to do some refashioning this year, Abi and I have several bags of clothes to refashioning! I rarely by any new clothes, I usually shop the charity shops and alter if necessary. I’ve shall enjoy seeing your creations. X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your Anya bag looks fab! And what great refashions!!!! I first got into sewing by doing a few refashions and buying my friends mum in laws old machine! I was at uni with Jen from make do and mend and also follow her – she has great ideas! I have recently been experimenting with soap nuts – so far so good!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Jen is amazing – she’s definitely had a good influence on me. Interesting that you’ve tried the soap nuts, I had thought I might give them a try. I’m determined to cut down on all those chemicals! I’m wearing the stripy skirt AGAIN today. I could live in it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s