30 September 2013

Testing, testing, one, two...

Last year, I decided I would teach myself some new crafts, crochet and embroidery among them, and this was met with varying degrees of success. I am also a completely self-taught sewist (unless you count the term of sewing lessons I had as part of the school curriculum when I was around 11). The last 12 months have been spent learning new (to me) techniques, like how to sew in zips and make buttonholes and fundamental skills like threading an overlocker. It was a huge year of learning and while I do now have a few sewing projects under my belt, I would still really only consider myself an advanced beginner.

In spite of that, (or because of that), you will find me attempting ambitious projects, or more precisely, turning simple projects into more challenging ones because of my poor fabric choices.

I am very glad that I ventured into the world of blogging last year, otherwise I would never have 'met' some really talented people, like Lisa from Big Little. It's unlikely, but if you haven't heard of her, she designs and makes beautiful clothing for children, specifically adorable coats made from repurposed woollen blankets. I truly admire her work, so it was a great honour to be asked to test a couple of her sewing and embroidery patterns.

Holidays are most definitely not the time for me to be working on sewing projects, unless it's something really quick and easy. It turned out that this cape was one such project and the tutorial has very clear step-by-step instructions and accompanying photos. Keep in mind that I only started sewing in earnest over the last couple of years, so when I say the pattern is easy, it really is.

I ended up making two versions. The hooded cape is made from blue velvet. I cut out the Size 3 pattern, even though Aimee is 4, as she is quite small for her age - apart from her deceptively massive cranium (full of brains, like her mother's), so I probably should have made the hood with the Size 4 pattern piece. There is an option to embellish the cape, but I decided to leave this one plain. I have to say that working with velvet is quite tricky if you decide to sew without pins. The fabric likes to shift about, so if you do make one yourselves, save alot of time and heartache and take the extra few minutes to pin it well. It fits her perfectly and it looks so cute on. I was lucky to capture these few photos of Aimee wearing it because she now refuses to try it on since it's not pink. Fussbag. I should have learnt my lesson from the last time I sewed something for her.
The other cape was made from vintage wool fabric that belonged to my mother. It was moth-eaten in parts, so it meant that I had to opt for the collared version of the pattern and I couldn't line up the tartan as well as I would have liked.
When she first saw the material, Renee wasn't convinced and said it looked like a picnic blanket. Double fussbag. When did my girls start having opinions? I cut out the Size 6 pattern and as you can see the chances are high that she will get at least two seasons wear out of it. I like this collared version with this fabric, it almost reminds me of old nursing uniforms in style.

It was paired with a light floral and spotted cotton lining and I made a crochet rose to pin on the front of it. It turns out that Renee quite likes her picnic blanket. One out of two ain't bad.

Thank you Lisa, for taking a leap of faith and inviting me to test this pattern. If any readers would like to make one, Big Little's Little Red Riding Hood Cape pattern is available for purchase now in her Etsy store.

Slinky malinky at Leonie's this week.


  1. I love the term "sewist" and also the tartan cape especially, and with the addition of your little crochet flower! You may have been a novice sewist 12 months ago, but you look like a professional now!!

  2. Gorgeous Leanne! You did such a beautiful job with this pattern! That blue velvet one... Swoon... Great pattern, and awesome results x

  3. Can you make me one like Renee's please? Thanks! And I love Aimee's too - great fabric choices!

  4. I LOVE that cape and have the pattern. Lisa is super clever. In love the fabrics you chose- they look amazing!

  5. Oooh I just bought this pattern! I love both versions, and the fabrics you chose look great as capes....just a bummer that one is not so in love with hers.....I guess you can't win them all! oh and the crochet rose is a lovely touch :)

  6. "When did my girls start having opinions?" Ha ha. Given what Esther is doing at not-yet-2, I imagine it was AGES ago!

  7. these are just delightful. I'd really like a blu velvet hooded cape myself but I'm not sure I could carry it off as well. Stunning work :o)