The plantain challenge

Phew, I almost didn’t make it! The plantain challenge was announced on the 8 and I knew I wanted to be in. I had the pattern downloaded and printed the day it was released and I was going to make it anyway.

The plan was to make a dress and a t-shirt with little keyholes and bows. I made the dress too, but it ended up being a night dress. The fabric I used was to flimsy.


But the bow idea worked out pretty well, if I may say so myself.

I cut size 40 from the bust down, grading to 36 towards the shoulders. This way I didn’t have to do my normal “petite” alteration.

Look at that perfectly top stitched neckline! The fabric helped me, it didn’t stretched much under the presser foot.

But it doesn’t hold a press for the life of it. I had to keep my iron pretty cool because the fabric was changing color under too much heat.

I sew it in less than 2 hours on my regular machine, pressing after each seam. Most of the stitches are straight, I only used a zigzag stitch for the neckline, but that is useless since the neckline is large enough and doesn’t stretch when I put the tshirt on.

Here’s an image of the nightie

The pattern is free so go and make yourself a lovely Plantain :). I’m definitely making another one with longer sleeves and elbow patches.


 UPDATE – I wrote a post to show you how I made the sleeve detail. Click on the image below to see it!


I’m training for a half marathon

and I’m happy to say that I ran 11.5km today, despite the horrible weather and despite the fact that it’s one of those days when my joints are looser than a £5 street girl.


It’s my longest distance so far and it’s a modest pace, but I still have time to improve it, the HM is on April 21st.

I’m following a free training plan on Runkeeper, aiming to run a sub 2h30 half marathon. I don’t think that would be extremely hard under normal circumstances, but the route of the HM I’ll be running has a total of 960m vertical climb. I have to find routes with more elevation here and start working on my strength. I found this series which I think will help


Did you know that Miette means crumb? I wonder what’s the meaning behind this name. Maybe I should email Andi and ask. 🙂

I started knitting this cardigan almost a year ago, after seeing Jo’s beautiful version.

I chose a cotton yarn since I wanted something cool for spring and summer. It’s the recommended weight, but I find it a bit bulky. Maybe because cotton is not as elastic as other types of yarn.

I made it in size M and moved the bust darts to the side. Should have picked a smaller size, my cardigan has no negative ease.
I’m not really happy with the neckline, the ribbing is flimsy, it’s not very elastic. 😦
All my dresses have a high neckline and Miette has a scooped one, they don’t work well together. I’m not sure if/when I will wear it so I didn’t bother sewing ribbon on the back of the button bands.

The high school sweater

When I was in highschool my mom made me a simple 2×2 rib sweater in red. My desk colleague who is still a very good friend loved it. When she heard that I can knit she immediately asked for a sweater similar to that one. It’s been over 10 years since we finished high school, so you can imagine how much she liked it.

She helped me a lot when I moved to London, so I was kinda owing her something special 😀
I started knitting sometimes in September but then put it away for a while. Then I got the marvelous idea to knit on the train.  I spend half an hour on my way to work and I usually get to seat.


I don’t remember why I decided to knit the front and back separately, but I shall never do that again if possible. I knit the sweater to fit me, thinking that since I am shorter and rounder it will fit her too,  because she is taller but slimmer.  When she tried it on though she wasn’t pleased with the length, and that is also my fault for not clarifying in the beginning.  So I had to lengthen it after I sewed front and back together starting from the bottom, obviously. I didn’t have the courage/patience to do it properly so I just picked stitches from the bottom and knitted for another 10 cm. That’s 4 inches for those of you who prefer the wrong measuring system 😀


It’s not that evident from more than a feet away 😀

It’s the first time I picked stitches for the sleeves but I will use this technique again. It’s nice to skip seaming once in a while. That’s not the case for the sweater I’m working on now, I am knitting the sleeves flat, so there will be a lot of sewing.


This still have to take pictures of my Miette, now that I have a skirt to wear it with.

I am sorry Megan Nielsen

A while back I was looking at Kelly skirts around the web (there are so many versions of this skirt, in so many fabrics) and I found this image:

Brumby and Kelly by Megan Nielsen

Brumby and Kelly by Megan Nielsen

I love Kelly, but Brumby won my heart instantly. So I kind of recreated it.

Ok, maybe recreate is not the perfect word.

Shamelessly copied it might be a better description.

I used a cotton twill and I had to iron the s**t out of those gathers, otherwise I would have had an umbrella, not a skirt. 🙂

The top stitching is not visible, and I did a pretty good job this time. Some bright pink would’ve been nice. Next time.

I hand pick the zip in almost every dress I make, but this was the first time I tried it on a skirt. See how my sewing vocabulary’s changing since I moved to London? The zipper is now a zip 🙂

And I sewed the waistband by hand, just because.

So, I am sorry Megan Nielsen for copying on of your skirt. I promise to buy the pattern if you ever release it. I hope you will forgive me. 🙂


My Wonder Twins costume! ( XYT Workout Top and PB Jam Leggings)

It wasn’t my intention to sew a superhero costume, but while I was working on the leggings my husband asked me if I am making one. Then I googled “superhero in purple” and I found them. Well, now I do feel a little like a superhero considering that I have a costume after all the things that didn’t work.

I even have superhero eyes/vision. Or is it evil?

I even have superhero eyes/vision. Or is it evil?

I bought the patterns for the XYT Workout Top and the PB Jam Leggings  the moment they were available. I don’t know why, but I was sooo excited when I heard that Melissa is launching these patterns. I am following her blog for a really long time now and I was amazed that she is making her running tops and bottoms. I tried making a pair of leggings before, it didn’t work so I gave up. So I saw this as an opportunity to try again.

I spent two evenings taping and altering the pattern for my shortness. I cut size S, tapering to M at the waist. I usually remove 2cm from the top, somewhere around the armscye. For this top I split the 2cm, on above the neckline, and one below. I had to remove the cm below the neckline in the lining too. I shortened the XYT parts too, trying to keep the proportions.


I also altered the pattern for the pants. I didn’t want to just cut the excess from the bottom, because I knew the knee contrast would end up near my ankles. There is a line in the middle of the knee contrast that says “knee line” and I wanted that line to be where it should be. All the PB Jam leggings I’ve seen until now have the knee contrast below the knee, even the ones on the pattern. I wanted mine to be the first to have the knee line on the knee line. So after measuring I decided to remove 4 cm above the knee. I also removed 4 cm from the bottom.


I bought my powers mesh and wicking fabric from Sewing Chest. I had to go with this power mesh, since it’s called Geo flower. I should go by this name 🙂

My son is always helping. Just like a cat, he will jump on the fabric after I carefully measured from fold to selvage and made sure it’s on grain.


When we moved to London, my husband surprised me with shipping the serger. He was so nice, but he didn’t know that there are some accessories that go with it. I don’t have the screwdriver that takes the needle out, so I had to use the needle that was in it. I had only the right needle and my knife it’s not working properly, so I just serged on the edge of the fabric, with a 5mm allowance (or less) instead of 1cm. The needle thread kept breaking, especially when I was going over other seams, so I’m hoping it’s because the needle is too blunt, and not because I’m missing this part. I’m sure my son put it in a very safe place back at home.

So I decided to finish the pants using a zig zag stitch. When I put them on – THE HORROR -they were too big above the knees. 10 points question: Why? Well, because there are a lot of seams with an excess of at least 5mm. So I went over all the seams, taking them in, and now my contrast panels are aligned, but my vertical seams in that area are not. I’m not telling you why I have a back pocket topstitch and I don’t have a pocket, because this post is already too long.



Again with the superhero eye. Can you see how my knee contrast is below my knee? Great measuring skills.

I like this leggings, but they make my back look saggy like the back of a 80 year old, they are not tight enough. Next time I’ll go with the smallest size. Oh, and I must revise my measuring skills – when they were done, I had to cut another 10 cm from the bottom. Yes, I am that short.


Let’s talk about the top now. My power mesh had a stretch of 150% one way and 180% the other way. So I used the pattern piece and didn’t read the appendix with instructions for the lining. Well, the lining is so small, that it’s dragging the rest of the top to the front. And when I went around and baste it to the top, I couldn’t stretch it enough so I stopped before the marking. This makes my top even wonkier. Next time I’ll make the lining a bit wider. The top could be a size smaller too i think.


The tight lining does make my twins looking like superheroes 😀

I usually sew/run when my son sleeps. This Sunday it took him over an hour to fall asleep in the afternoon, and it was already dark when I got out. I was in such a hurry to catch some light that I forgot that I don’t have a pocket, I had to run with the phone in my hand. I also forgot to take a headband, but the wind was strong enough to keep the hair out of my eyes. 😐

If you’re still with me 🙂 don’t get discouraged about these patterns. I love them and I plan to make more, the instructions are simple and clear. But I never sewed anything like this before (except the failed leggings) and I was trying to make more in less time, which is never the solution. There’s a saying that we are too poor to buy cheap stuff. I’m not sure if you have it in English, it might be an Eastern European thing, since we are the poor ones. 🙂 What I’m trying to say is that I don’t have enough time to rush through my projects. Maybe next time I’ll remember this.

New year, new language, no sewlution

I’ve been asked by some international readers if I can write in English too. I am too lazy to write in two languages and I think my posts will get really long, so I’m thinking of switching to English.

Ma gandesc sa incep sa scriu in engleza. Cred ca posturile mele ar ajunge foarte lungi daca as scrie in doua limbi si majoritatea cititorilor mei stiu engleza, deci ma gandesc sa scriu doar in engleza. Daca vrei sa citesti in continuare si in romana, spune-mi si am sa fac un efort 🙂

I’ve been reading millions of Top 5 post on my never ending list of blogs I follow, but I don’t have enough finished garments to make that list. And I don’t think I have any misses, anyway 😀

But I had look at my sewlutions for 2013, and thank god I didn’t put anything in Karen’s jar. Let’s take them one at a time:

1. Sew at least 4 hours a week. Ha! Not even half.

2. Sew a quilt. I started strong in January with Crafty Block of the Month. I stopped there.

3. Sew more skirts. This was an easy one, because I made zero skirts in 2012. The Jason Wu hack is definitely a hit.

4. Sew these jackets. I bought the pattern for the Vogue 8804 but I don’t think I would wear it a lot, so I decided to spend 80 hours working on it some other time. Maybe when I win the lottery. I wanted to sew the 8739 ever since I saw Poppykettle’s version. I love it, but the pattern is out of print. I’m keeping an eye out for it on eBay.

Vogue-8739 Vogue-8804

5. Sew more dresses. I didn’t sew any of these, but I did make two BHL Anna and other 3 dresses. Out of 5, only 2 are cake.

6. Sew for the boys – I did!

I think I can achieve my goals if they are not too specific. So I think I have a sewlution for this year – sew and have fun 🙂