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Thursday, 31 December 2015

The year mum made us a bunny rucksack and that pink elephant costume

Each year I ask my daughters what they'd like me to make them for Christmas. I try my best to make whatever they ask me for - I know they won't always want handmade presents, and, I really, really enjoy the process. It makes me feel good to be able to sew something special - in my head, I hope that they will remember these things about their childhood more than (or as well as) how much I shouted.

This year, the Middle Girl had put some effort into coming up with a challenge for her mum. I'd like a three dimensional elephant costume, she said. Oh, and I want the elephant to be pink, and wearing a pink tutu. Really? Yes, really. I waited a couple of weeks before doing anything about this, and yes, she really did still want me to make it, please.
Paul's Series 3 Sewing Bee creation
I took the easier path and bought the latest Sewing Bee book, Fashion With Fabric, as I knew it had a pattern for the elephant costume Paul made during Series 3. It was probably seeing the programme earlier in the year that had planted the idea in my daughter's head.  She wanted her elephant trunk to be positioned in the middle of the face (the Sewing Bee version has the trunk under the chin of the child, an arguably more sensible design for children who value being able to breathe easily). I made this adjustment by sewing elastic either side of the trunk and attaching it to the hood. I am pretty glad we did, as the hood seemed prone to slipping off the back of the head before I changed the design a bit. I used boning to give structure to the ears, but they don't stand out as nicely as the one in the book appears to. The client has already helpfully suggested I could make some adjustments to remedy this - ha! 

The five year old asked me to her this bunny rucksack. And a hat to match. Both were based on patterns in the Oliver and S Little Things to Sew book. I recycled the wrap from my wedding to make these things. Cutting something associated with such a special occasion may seem ruthless to some, but I am not that sentimental over stuff that sits in cupboards for years on end. I wasn't feeling all that motivated for a lot of the making process on this, largely because of the mess the cut pieces of fur made throughout the house. Once the zip was sewn, and I started making facial features for the bunny, I started to love the thing I was making. I was making this during a sociable sewing night with friends round - I've got my pal Emily to thank for the inspiration behind crochet features and giving the bunny eyelashes. One of the things I love so much about making stuff is the way that is sort of evolves into something unique, that, you didn't even necessarily have a picture of in your mind at the beginning. 

I was really excited about giving these gifts to my little girls, and happily, their gleefulness upon opening them didn't disappoint. Both girls wore them to the park on Christmas day. Happy times. 


  1. Priceless. My mum didn't craft but my grandma did for me and my two sisters. Zip up towelling dress for hols, special dresses and lots of knitwear. No central heating and more playing out meant we needed jumpers. My special one was the Blue Peter jumper she knitted. I am 53 but remember them with love. Best wishes for 2016 K xXx

  2. Wow! I suspect that these will be delightful memories that your little ones will remember for a long, long time. They look thrilled to bits with these special mum-made presents!
    Wishing you a fab New Year's Eve and hope to see you in 2016!

  3. So glad your little ones think Mummy made is the best! I made P some Christmas pyjamas and he did appear to thoroughly like them. Until he unwrapped a pair of brightly coloured shop brought elf pyjamas from a friend. My lovingly made Mummy ones have not been worn since. But the elf ones are now in the wash - ha!

    Happy New Year!

  4. Cool girls, so lovely they wanted mummy made gifts. I love it when mine ask for something that way I know they are going to wear it and its worth the effort. Happy New Year. Louise x