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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Ramblings about Loom Bands and my first Tonic Tee

My Me Made May bloggers have lost interest and given up on writing the blog.

Quite frankly, they have Better Things To Do. Such as making endless bracelets out of Loom Bands. For those not in the know, this is a big craze amongst young girls. They entered our house last week via the biggest girl's best friend, and, let's just say that I love them about as much as Hama Beads. But, the pack of 900 neon coloured tiny rubber bands we bought the other day promises to keep the biggest girl (and her little sisters, if they are allowed a look in) very happily entertained for many hours during this soggy half term.

Is it just me, or is it sometimes a difficult balancing act (being a mum) between not wanting to be completely grumpy about the stupid things your children seem to love doing, and keeping some control over your house and not ending up with it littered with a load of junk by the end of each day. The biggest girl is working on several Loom Band based projects at the moment, including a specially commissioned fish bone patterned bracelet (in bright green and turquoise) for yours truly to wear. This activity seems to make her happy. She admitted to me yesterday that she has taken to making things with Loom Bands when she wakes up in the morning. The other day, I picked her up from a birthday party, and found her upstairs in her friend's bedroom, along with half a dozen or so other girls, all crowded round making Loom Bands bracelets. Today, she went on a return visit to her best friend's house, proudly clutching her pouch of Loom Bands, with the plan to share them and make stuff with her pal.

At the moment, I am containing my natural inclination towards instant grumpiness at Loom Bands. That said, I have issued an edict that I will bin any that I find, and that There Will Be Trouble if they go up the hoover and clog it. But, I can see that just as I might question the point of this latest plastic tat to enter the house, the same could be said of the many sewing based things I clutter the house with, too. The bottom line is, Loom Bands are becoming for the biggest girl what sewing is for me. She is encountering the joy of making things with her hands. She is satisfied and proud when she works out how to make a different pattern of bracelet. And, like sewing for me, this craze is proving to be sociable, too.

Talking of which, sewing has come up trumps again in providing me with some sociability lately.

A couple of weekends ago, I ventured to London to join in with House of Pinheiro's bloggers' meet up. Not having been to one before and not know anyone going, I found myself reverting to school days based `What if no one else talks to me?' type nerves on the train down. I needn't have worried. An impressive 71 ladies turned up to the meeting place - the V&A - and we spent a happy couple of hours chatting and engaging in `Is that an (insert pattern name) dress?' conversation starters (a bit like the sewing equivalent of `What A Levels did you do?' type questions in Freshers' Week). I tell you, the day was confirmation if ever it was needed that people who sew for a hobby are Really Nice. And fun.

After taking over the tea rooms at the V&A it was time to move on to even more fun things. Like fabric shopping on the Goldhawk Road. This was a first for me. Oh. My. (Bedford, I love thee dearly, but, Goldhawk Road may have just snatched my heart on the fabric shopping front. Sorry about that.) I came away with bags full of fabrics, helped by my newly made sewing buddy, Claire. I was on a mission to buy fabric for sewing some of the patterns from Love At First Stitch. I am glad I took out cash, as I think I would have got carried away easily and spent far too much money had I been using my card. I now have fabric for a couple of Megan dresses, a Lilou, a Delphine and a Mimi. I think I will probably stitch them in that order. But, as with most things, I reserve the right to change my mind on a whim, of course...

I am looking forward to getting started on June's Love At First Stitch make - which is going to be the Megan dress. It's been lovely to see a few of my readers joining the Facebook group for the ONE MAKE A MONTH - the more the merrier if you'd like to join... part of the fun will be seeing what everyone else is making.

But, as it is not yet June, and I am trying to slow down and savour the fun of the new patterns, I am enjoying a few other makes in the meantime. Like origami butterflies and Tonic Tees. I have been a little bit obsessed with making butterflies this last week. I kept on thinking of different ways of using them - until yesterday, when it came to a point where I just needed to actually complete some of the butterfly based projects. Like this necklace. And some cards.

Tonight, in the lovely setting of a sociable sewing night round here (while the cat's away, and all that) I completed a Tonic Tee from start to finish. I've got Claire to thank for putting me on to this great free pattern.

I opted for the easiest version for starters - I need some basic white t shirts (mine are all either grey or stained with clumsy splashes of pasta sauce) - but will definitely be making the Peter Pan collared version now that I know I like the general fit.

Although the whole documenting it in photos and following what other people are up to side of Me Made May has passed me by a bit this year, the actual wearing stuff I have made bit of the challenge has been great. I think I have made the transition from occasional wearer of handmade things to it being a daily habit. Hooray to that. Making my own clothes means the money I'd allocate towards what I wear goes a lot further, and, provides me with a lot more scope for finding my own individual style and enjoying a huge feeling of satisfaction at making things with my own little hands. As a mum of four young children, clothes shopping has lost the pleasure it once gave me - expense aside, finding time to go out during the day on my own (who wants little helpers in the dressing rooms, eh?) is a pain (I say this as someone who has yet to find time to devote to buying bras that fit her post fourth baby shape, let alone general browsing for clothes). And yet, I can happily find time to make clothes for myself of an evening (assuming I am on a run of having had plenty of sleep over the previous nights). I find sewing my own wardrobe relaxing, and very satisfying.

The Coco pattern was a breath of fresh air for me in terms of giving me plenty of scope for making garments I genuinely want to wear on a daily basis. I have made five in total, and enjoy wearing them all. Not least because they do not need ironing! Which, let's face it, was a major downside of a lot of other things I have made in the past. At the moment, Charlotte has a daily ritual of successfully smearing me with snot and Weetabix as I lift her out of her high chair after breakfast - it is an achievement if I get out for the school run on time with a clean shoulder. Clothes that require ironing aren't a realistic option unless it's a pre planned dressing to impress occasion - jeans and a t shirt will usually win. This is why the Coco is so great. Now, it is jeans or a Coco dress as my day to day wardrobe - and the latter always looks like I have made more effort (when we all know I haven't). Plus, the Coco feels like you are wearing a nightie. It is so comfortable.

But, now I have an easy satisfying to make basic t shirt pattern to add to my armoury, I might not be heading to GAP quite so often. Hooray for the Tonic Tee pattern - I think I'll be seeing you again soon.


  1. Ooh, thanks for the Tonic Tee recommendation. I got some lovely jersey from a stall on Tamworth market last week and could make a lovely tee with it. I"ll have to modify the pattern a bit though ;-)

    1. You are welcome. Hope you enjoy making yours... I'll look forward to seeing you in it :)

  2. It was such good fun shopping together! As Goldhawk Road virgins, I think we were quite restrained. Lovely Tonic tee - cant wait to see your other Tilly makes :)

    1. My Tilly makes have just slipped down a place on the making list- and it's all your fault, as I need to make another Tonic Tee before anything else! I have some yellow jersey that I may try with a white collar... Watch this space x

  3. please can you show us a photo of your daughters bracelet! im confused as to what they are

    1. I'll post a picture on my next post... But in the meantime, think brightly coloured tiny elastic bands (have found five of the things in the rim of the washing machine this morning). You aren't missing out! ;)

  4. Thanks for Tonic tee link up. Just what I was looking for. Also like the fabric origami butterfly ;-)