Dress bodice

Little Agathe’s little dress started out like this.

Nappy cover

Eleven months old, she was getting christened in July and her parents wanted a dress that was simple.

Nappy cover in box

Not a hint of lace, no ruffles, no froof and certainly no bonnet.

Dress in box

So, a small white silk dress with silver silk satin sash was envisioned with a matching white silk nappy cover.

Dress front

And after lots of fiddly sewing, it was ready.

Dress back

French seams, silk covered button, fully lined in white silk.

You may be thinking that the back hemline is not straight. You are correct: there was a little extra fabric to cover her nappy.

Sorry the photography isn’t great on this, will do better next time!

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Purple silk sash

Options, options: it can be hard to choose, but it is nice to have them.

Purple silk sash back

A soft purple washed silk sash added to a flowery cotton dress.  Long enough for a big bow. Washed silk, so it can be popped in the machine on a gentle cool cycle if sticky fingers leave dotty little prints on it.

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Purple flower dress front

The high necked cotton voile dress with giant purple flowers. A big semi-circle skirt falls elegantly below knees scraped while playing with her friends yesterday.

Purple flower dress back

A thin self-fabric sash ties the bodice smoothly against her delicate chest.

100% cotton, fully lined with invisible zip at centre back.

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I’ve been busy dreaming. Thinking and dreaming, drawing my ideas, drawing patterns, redrawing patterns, figuring out how best to store the patterns and dreaming. None of this makes for very exciting photos.

What is exciting though, is that I have a second cabinet for my fabric waiting downstairs for some burly men to come along and haul it up five flights of stairs. Not an exciting photo right now, but once my fabric is neatly stored, my studio will look tidy enough for a photo!

And, and, and..I have finally got my dressmakers dummy. Finally. Sort of. It is currently in a box under a bed at my friends’ home in Holland. Just hoping that it fits in my suitcase next week. She’s already got a name: Paspop. It’s Dutch for dressmaker’s dummy/tailor’s dummy/dress form and is a word I had a great deal of trouble in finding out to help my Google searches in Dutch.

Off to dream..ciao for now. x

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baladi masque

Of course, with so many people and animals to protect..

baladi masque

..we need different guises.

baladi masque

And you know what? Can you keep a secret? Yes? Come closer.

baladi masque

Sometimes we just like to dress up and play with our friends!


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baladi masque

It takes a lot to be a superhero in Egypt.

baladi masque


Not only are there over 80 million people to protect, there are the donkeys, the stray cats, dogs..


baladi masque

..and let us not forget those stubborn camels.

baladi masque

We Baladi Superheroes love colours and it is our colours that nourish our powers giving us the energy to dazzle the baddies. No black masks for us. We dazzle, fazazzle and fazoozle the world, bazapping, bazipping and bazooping the baddies.


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Big ears

“..all the better to hear you with, my dear.”

big ears

A big bit of fun.

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Little ears

Little, red, perky, velveteen ears.


little ears

A little bit of fun!

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Monsoon blues - front
Monsoon blues and pretty purples for warm summer days..
Monsoon blues - back
..with a v-shaped back to slip over independent heads, letting Mummy steal a few extra winks.
Monsoon blues - inside
An empire-waisted bodice with an a-line skirt let little legs run free in the garden and over three metres of ruffle flutter softly as she moves.
Monsoon blues - seam detail
The exposed seams are clean finished or bound with hand made bias binding to match the dress.
Monsoon blues - inside neck
The dress is 100% fine cotton with a soft 100% cotton lining.

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I’ve been having a few technological issues recently which have resulted in, horror of horrors, not being able to upload photos! It happened to coincide with the day I took lots of photos to share here, which I guess could be expected! Tonight I’m getting my new MacBook Pro delivered, which should not only solve this problem, but should mean I spend this weekend being extremely anti-social while I play with my new toy.

I’ll be back  soon with a wee selection of photos from two recently made dresses.


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Front with contrast pocket
A roomy lawn cotton dress with a nearly hidden pocket for little treasures..

Back of dress with deep v-neck to slip over head

..with no zips or buttons, so it’s easy to put on without Mum’s help..
Clean-finished seams

Clean-finished seams

..and as beautiful on the inside as it is on the out.

Inside back neckline

Inside back neckline.

Pattern by Burda.

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christmas skirt
Oh my goodness! I just realised I was boasting about how much sewing I was doing and how I was going to share photos..and then didn’t! Forgive me.

I was sewing. Then I stopped. I decided to get into action (of another sort) and organise a shop. It’s nearly there, so I should be able to share it with you in a couple of weeks.

So for now,  I leave you with this small Christmas skirt. It’s made of snuggly medium-weight velvet with a slight stretch, perfect for keeping little legs warm while playing in the snow.  Best of all? It’s my own pattern.

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It’s been busy here recently, apart from buying the fabric-I-wasn’t-going-to-buy, I’ve been sewing lots and pics will follow soon, promise. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a link to a blog with a phrase that enters my mind frequently, Stop Staring and Start Sewing (because I love fabric and hate taking that first snip, so stare for days on end). She’s just been to the Quilt Market in Houston and has uploaded TONS of pics that leave me, well, staring and doing rather little sewing.

Of course, were I super, dooper organised I would order some of the fabrics on show (Anna Maria Horner especially) to Europe in time for holidays in the old world, but I’m not that organised. Shipping to Egypt is far, far too expensive to even bother ordering anything from here, never mind customs duties payable on arrival. I’m sticking with shopping in the Egyptian fabric market and drooling all over my keyboard!


Blue floral cotton
..and came back with t-w-e-n-t-y s-i-x m-e-t-r-e-s
The odd one out
(yes, that’s 28 yards)
Blues floral cotton
of fabric she wasn’t looking for. Hmm.
Pinks floral cotton
Fabric gluttony? Or perhaps just someone whom experience has taught that if it’s in the market now, it won’t be when she’s looking for it?
Bright cotton
Either way, aren’t they beautiful?

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Red butterfly frill dress front

I started making this as a quick project. Just a few hours. Then I realised I’d made the fundamental mistake of not having enough fabric for the original pattern.
Red butterfly frill dress back
Determined not to give up, having cut and sewn the bodice, I modified the pattern and added a ruffle.

It’s my first..and I have a feeling it won’t be my last!

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yellow flower
I recently had the opportunity to help transform a room for a party.
coral flower
A large ghastly red door needed to be prettified, so a large piece of grey cotton neutralised the offending colour.
pink flower
Party-goers helped make the handmade cotton flowers and attach them to thick satin ribbon.
This is a reconstruction..everything was carefully ironed at the time!

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dark blue hair feather
A little change after so much pink! A blue so-deep-you-can-get-lost-in-it feather to peek out between gentle blonde curls.

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big flower comp ab
A handmade pure silk hair rose.

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Elodie's hair flowers

A little girl who wears a long pink dress becomes a princess. A little princess has to have flowers in her hair. A real princess has to have flowers to match her dress.

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elodie's dress
The stack of fabric from the last post became this: Elodie’s dress.
elodie's dress back
Pure silk shantung, with a pure silk chiffon sash (a nightmare to sew..) and a silk mix lining. This dress took a fair amount of time to make, but relieved in stress what it swallowed in hours!

(If you are observant, you will see the black stitches along the hem. These photos were taken before Elodie had her fitting.)

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elodie's fabric
I haven’t been around for a little while because I’ve been terribly busy. My latest project is a special dress for Elodie. I’ve made a muslin for her to try on for size before I start cutting these silks. I’m really looking forward to this one!

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blue dress front
“What large eyes you’ve got!” she exclaimed.
“All the better to see you with.”
“What large teeth you’ve got!”
“All the better to eat you with!”
blue dress back
Under her red cape, Little Red Riding Hood must have worn a dress like this.

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Small flowers. Floppy flowers. Individually cut petals. Hand beaded stamen.

Begging to be put in swept back hair, pinned on a jumper or attached to a bag.
MacTavish and pink flower
That is, of course, if Mr MacTavish lets them go!

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Last year I tried hard to design a template for an elephant – my first ever stuffed animal (plushy). It was all fine, but the belly just wouldn’t work. Eventually I gave up and looked for a pattern instead. Lo and behold, I couldn’t find one!

Face to face
Then, in a whim of madness (because my French is bad) I bought French Burda magazine this month. And what do you know, they had a template for a sitting down elephant! It took some time, dictionaries and cursing, but Elephant is here.
Asserting authority
Mr MacTavish is not so sure if Elephant is competition or not. He thought he’d test him out – by hitting Elephant’s trunk.
MacTavish and the competition
That was after he’d given it a good old sniff.

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Yum yum!

I used to love macaroons when I was a child. They came in a papery-plastic wrapper and for some reason, even in Scotland, they were not always easy to find.

I still remember Mrs. Sinclair, my teacher when I was seven, who made macaroons with us at school. Why we did that, I have no idea, but because of that day she has a place in my personal hall of fame.

After that, I spent the rest of my childhood (umm and some of my adulthood..) insisting that they are made with potato. They really are. Don’t laugh, I now have the proof. Test it and see:


One small potato
APPROX 500g/20z icing/confectionary/powered sugar – have more just in case (this is not an exact science!)
Chocolate for melting and dipping the macaroons in.
Two big handfuls of dessicated coconut in a bowl  (toasted if you wish – more authentic)

Boil the potato so it can be mashed. While it is boiling, sift the sugar into a dry bowl. When the potato is soft, mash it with a fork and then gradually add sugar while beating the mixture with an electric mixer. You know it’s ready when the mixture is very stiff. Make shapes out of the mixture, bars, balls or whatever takes your fancy and pop them in the fridge.

Melt some chocolate in a bain-mairie or a thick bottomed pan over a very low heat (you can turn the v. low heat on and off to lower the average temperature). Roll the chilled shapes in the moulten chocolate and then in a bowl of coconut and place on a sheet of aluminium foil. Pop in fridge when the shape is hard enough to move without damaging it.

Try not to eat before the chocolate completely hardens!

If the bars end up too big after the chocolate and coconut, break them up into ‘bites’ – they last longer that way.

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gold and pinks tutu
Fits waist 50-55cm (19-21 inches)

This is for little Donya. It is the same style as the ‘hot pink tutu‘ and made with the same colours, in a different order, plus a little bit of gold..

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A number of people have asked me what I am doing with the tutus that I make. Until now, I’ve been primarily giving them away as presents. I have built up rather a stock and my enthusiasm for making them has yet to diminsh, so you too can now have a tutu.

***As of 1 June 2010 I will be taking a holiday from tutu making until October.***


pink tutu
Fits waist 43-47cm (17-19 inches)

This tutu is a new style and even fuller than the previous ones.

I can’t stop making them now, think I’ve become addicted!


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flame tutu
Fits waist 48-53cm (19-21 inches)

Not for shrinking violets!

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blue white tutu
Fits waist 48-53cm (18-21 inches)

Cold as ice, but cute as a button!

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