Mostly Shirts And Sharks But Also Some Foldy Things

A Happy New Year to all and, in case you were wondering why, on my last post just before Christmas, I broke my usual habit of answering all comments, I apologise and have no excuse apart from the impending visitation of my daughters and the barely contained panic of trying to get last minute presents made before the big day.  I promise I won’t do it again – well, I might but will apologise again if I do.

Despite having the most beautiful weather over Christmas with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures, I was really lazy and mostly passed dog walking duties over to Mr. Tialys as he was home and it was nice to have a break from it if I’m honest.  Also, Zumba and Pilates classes had stopped over the holidays and I’m far too undisciplined to work out on my own at home.  Still, it’s back to normal today and it turns out I haven’t been that lazy because I do seem to have a few makes to show you.

Firstly, I finished the second ‘All Day Shirt’ for Mr. T just in the nick of time for Christmas.  I fell behind with it because I wanted to attach the sleeves differently but got in a muddle so ended up doing them the way the pattern said after all.  I used Liberty tana lawn again as I had a length of this tiny floral in my stash so that’s used up a bit more ‘excess’ fabric.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of him wearing it on Boxing Day so a close up front of folded shirt (please note the contrast fabric – also Liberty – on collar facing, inside yoke and it’s also inside cuffs) and a back view worn by my antique male mannequin will have to do for the moment.  Anyway, you get the drift.

After seeing the Cheyenne Tunic pattern by Hey June on another blog, I thought it would make a nice, relaxed top to wear over leggings or jeans and I had some double gauze with gold spots on which I thought would give a sparkly touch for Christmas.

You can see the gold dots more clearly if you click on the photo and they did make the top a bit more ‘festive’ but it meant the construction was more difficult than it needed to be as pressing the fabric had to be done very carefully in case of gold dot meltage (possibly a made up word).  I like the pattern and the only alteration I made was to make the sleeves slightly bell shaped as I didn’t want the turn back sleeves with tabs or the long sleeves with cuffs on this occasion.  I was going to gather the ends of the sleeves at the wrist but decided against that in the end (I told you I was lazy).  I will make it again in a different fabric as I like the neck and placket closure and the general overall shape.

So, both daughters were home for Christmas and Mlle. Tialys the Elder and I were keen to make ourselves a pair of workout leggings from a new pattern I’d bought – Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielsen – for a bit of mother daughter bonding while we weren’t watching Christmas films, playing board games, scoffing festive food or arguing with our sister (!).  Obviously that last one was not me as my sisters weren’t here although, if they had been, I probably would have argued with them.

Unfortunately, this is not me either.

Shark Pants

I did make myself some of these too but, trust me, this is probably the photo you would rather see.

The fabric, bought online,  came as a bit of a shock – I thought the sharks were going to be tiny and barely recognisable as sharks but, as you can see, that wasn’t the case.  However, in a way, it’s better because you don’t get that many full sharks to the leg (a sentence I have probably never said before in my life and probably won’t ever again).   Certainly it’s true in my case as I’m short and also I cropped the legs of my pair to mid calf length.  We did try to be careful not to get a shark disappearing up front or back crotch piece.   Anyway, the fabric was a bargain and I bought it so we could try out the pattern for size and I’m grateful to Mlle. T. the Elder for so thoroughly testing them out for me so that at least I know my seams should contain me during a squat, or worse, a down dog.

I saw, on Anne’s blog, that she had been doing some book folding and, as often happens with me, I was immediately inspired to rush off and try it out. I decided to re-purpose a couple of very old, never looked at books into Christmas trees – one was a cookery book for ice cream dishes (never going to happen in this house) and the other had a lot of very nice vintage style black and white illustrations from which I made the one on the right below and another one as a gift.  There was a fourth one too that I made as a last minute present for a friend on Boxing Day  – and so I also got to be a dab hand at five pointed origami stars.

Folded Book Christmas Trees

Of course I had to investigate further and ended up nearly ruining my hands for all time by folding an old paperback into an angel as one does.

This may have been a step too far as it took me ages and, in a search for a suitable angelic topping, I stumbled across a ball of gold tinsel yarn I bought at some time for who knows what and made a pompom for her head.  She sheds little gold sprinkles wherever she goes so I might think about a different head next time I unpack the Christmas decorations.  However, that will be the first and the last angel body I’m ever making out of a paperback.

I also did a lot of crochet work on the border of my Nature’s Walk CAL blanket but obviously not enough or I’d be showing it to you now.  The deep border seems to be never ending but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worth it in the end.  Lots of the other people who did the CAL enjoyed it so much they started on another one straight away – that is probably (definitely?) not going to happen in my case.

So, not too lazy really and I have also started a new hobby in a fit of madness but mainly in a quest to get Mlle. Tialys the Younger interested in some sort of craft.  Progress (or lack of)  will be revealed next time.

In the meantime, against all the odds, let’s hope 2020 will prove to be a good one for everybody, everywhere.




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  1. #1 by thecontentedcrafter on January 8, 2020 - 09:59

    Happy New Year Lynn! Love your book pages folding. I have often wondered if I’d like to have a go at that – but having go’s at too many things is part of my problem – so I’ve managed to always walk away from that thought so far. Yours look pretty good though which makes me wonder anew ……. So far this year I[‘ve thought about: doing some ink paintings, using my gel plates to make sparkly backgrounds for arty things, making some fairy paintings in acrylics, making some gnome paintings, also in acrylics, making some cards to build up my stock again, making some bracelets ……….. I’ve made lists and written down ideas – oh and cleaned and tidied my work space. I just have to recover my old footstool that the dog, cat and I fight over who shall have the bigger part of and then I can begin. So no, you’re not lazy. You are streets ahead of me 🙂

    • #2 by tialys on January 8, 2020 - 10:47

      The book folding is something I did over Christmas – using up old, unloved books and listening to an audio book or watching something on T.V. at the same time. No extra supplies to buy and a couple of people got unusual, handmade gifts. I won’t take it on full time!
      I do know what you mean though about getting involved in more and more stuff and, although I have embarked on something new (blog post to follow soon), which may or may not become part of my ‘repertoire’, I am going to dedicate less time to dressmaking/quilting/crochet this year in order to do some much needed maintenance on the house and to clear out some excess ‘stuff’.
      It sounds like you have some interesting plans for your work this year and I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with because – well, ‘gnome paintings’ 💛

  2. #3 by anne54 on January 8, 2020 - 10:24

    I love your angel, and just wish I had made one. (I will have forgotten all about it by next Christmas!) Should I apologise for inspiring you make these trees? But thank me too for trees that don’t shed needles and are much easier to pack away ~ aside from shedding angle heads, of course! BTW, how sis you get the stars to sit so neatly on the tops of the trees? I used a skewer on one but it was only a so so solution.

    • #4 by tialys on January 8, 2020 - 10:54

      You shouldn’t apologise because I enjoyed doing it and I have some new decorations to unpack next Christmas.
      I might replace the angel head with a wooden ball next year – that’s what the one I saw had but I didn’t have one available at the time. I could hand paint some features on it and make her a little curly white wig. If I remember.
      For the stars, I used a wooden toothpick which I glued to the star, making sure it came down through a gap between two points and then just poked it in the top of the tree where all the folds meet. They held for Christmas because I didn’t move them around once placed in position but I wanted to be able to take them out for packing up so didn’t want anything too permanent. Also, I thought one tree might look good for ‘all year round’ purposes with something different on top – a bird perhaps? The stars don’t take that long to make either do they so, I figured if they get damaged before next Christmas I could always make new ones.

  3. #5 by nanacathy2 on January 8, 2020 - 10:52

    Happy New Year! There was a book folding workshop in the library to make angels before Christmas, but I knew I could never do that to a book. Never the less yours all look amazing. Very impresssed with the sewing and the very bendy daughter, the shirt is a thing of beauty.

    • #6 by tialys on January 8, 2020 - 10:59

      Thanks Cathy. I did waiver but I used a cookery book from way back when which featured only recipes for ice cream desserts which nobody would eat – I don’t know why I had it in the first place. The paperback was destined for landfill or a charity shop so at least it has a new (angelic) life. It’s not something I’ll be doing much more of but it was a fun pre-Christmas pastime and means I could give a couple of unusual gifts and will have some new handmade Christmas decorations to add to my display next year.

  4. #7 by claire93 on January 8, 2020 - 11:01

    lovely shirt for Mr T and your tunic looks very versatile: Gold spots give it a bit of chic, but I’m sure it’ll become a much loved everyday tunic too.
    As for the shark leggings . . . is that Mlle T being all bendy there? Very impressed!

    • #8 by tialys on January 8, 2020 - 16:04

      It is indeed Mlle. T. the Elder.

  5. #9 by mlmcspadden on January 8, 2020 - 13:26

    Beautiful work on the shirt for Mr. T……..and I love the tunic and the tweaks to the sleeves that you made for yourself. Congrats on all the other things that you accomplished!

    • #10 by tialys on January 8, 2020 - 16:05

      Thank you Moira. I’ll probably make another one in different fabric as I think it’s a useful shape and length of tunic to have in your wardrobe.

  6. #11 by Laurie Graves on January 8, 2020 - 15:10

    Not lazy at all! You are a wonder, that’s what you are. Impressed by all your projects, but I especially like the tunic. Pretty by casual. I, too, was wondering who was being bendy in the shark leggings. That deserves a Maine wowsah!

    • #12 by tialys on January 8, 2020 - 16:06

      It’s a Maine wowsah for Mlle Tialys the Elder then. I’ll pass it on 😃

  7. #14 by kathyreeves on January 8, 2020 - 15:12

    Lynn, you are so brave to sew all these different types of fabric! Both shirts look absolutely wonderful and those leggings! The folded books are fun, I especially like the tree. Happy 2020 to you!

    • #15 by tialys on January 8, 2020 - 16:07

      Thanks Kathy. I like the tree too – I made four of them in the end!

  8. #16 by CurlsnSkirls on January 8, 2020 - 17:14

    I am speechless in admiration of your energetic holiday recap. Sharks never looked so good, m’dear! I did as close to nothing as humanly possible, aside from a bit of crochet which hasn’t been received yet so is unmentionable. Let’s all continue creatively beautifying our worlds until it filters up far enough to stop the insanities.

  9. #19 by Beads and Barnacles on January 8, 2020 - 18:52

    Ooh I’m intrigued to see what craft you have taken up now.
    The leggings look great. And they certainly look like they have had a through testing

    • #20 by tialys on January 9, 2020 - 08:14

      Well, I haven’t got a coverstitch machine so I’m hoping my overlocker is equal to the task of stretchy seams. My daughter (the one modelling her shark pants) knows somebody who makes and sells very nice workout outfits using only zigzag stitch on an ordinary machine so I’m hopeful. I’ll only be doing Zumba and Pilates in mine so although I need to rely on the seams, I won’t be doing anything quite as bendy as she’s doing above. I know you use stretchy fabric a lot for your ballroom outfits don’t you – how do you secure your seams so you don’t get any ‘wardrobe malfunctions’?

      • #21 by Beads and Barnacles on January 9, 2020 - 09:59

        Normally for seams that are going to get a lot of use and stretch I find the triple stitch or lightning stitch on my normal sewing machine to be the best. But for leggings for me I tend to use the overlocker it’s much quicker.
        But the seams sometimes pull open a bit with the overlocker so they don’t work as well on the dresses.
        Never used a cover stitch machine before. And I only tend to ever have problems with the waist band where I used the twin needle as that doesn’t have as much stretch.

      • #22 by tialys on January 9, 2020 - 11:00

        That’s interesting – I assumed the overlocker would produce stronger seams. For my next pair, I’ll try one of the stitches you suggest on my normal sewing machine. The last thing I, or anybody else, would want – is for my seams to come undone when I’ve got my bum in the air 😱

      • #23 by Beads and Barnacles on January 9, 2020 - 11:31

        I have never had an overlocker stream break on me it’s just the seams open out a little showing the thread that has been used to sew the seams unlike ones sewn on the sewing machine.

      • #24 by tialys on January 9, 2020 - 11:42

        Well, that’s reassuring at least.

  10. #25 by magpiesue on January 8, 2020 - 19:47

    Lucky Mr. T. And that’s a great tunic top, just the sort of thing I like to wear. Your trees and angel are wonderful. I remember using a styrofoam ball and steel wool scrubby for an angel’s head back in elementary school. Might be a little less messy but not quite as sparkly as your gold yran. If one can’t relax and be lazy during the holidays I like to know when there’s a better time!

    • #26 by tialys on January 9, 2020 - 08:16

      Being relaxed and lazy is a lovely thing especially when family and/or friends are being relaxed and lazy along with you. That’s one of the main reasons I love the festive season.

  11. #27 by katechiconi on January 8, 2020 - 22:41

    Golly, such evidence of industry in what is normally a lazy time. I do admire your folded book trees and angels, but like Cathy, couldn’t quite bring myself to do that to a book, even if the subject matter was unspeakably boring. The sewing is, as always, impressive; if it helps, I’ve found that ironing fabric with gold print on it is OK if you use a sheet of baking paper between fabric and iron. You get the sharp seams just the same, but the baking paper stops meltage (if it’s not a proper word, it should be).

    • #28 by tialys on January 9, 2020 - 08:20

      Thanks for the tip Kate – I did use an ironing cloth but was still scared of melting, smearing gold. Baking paper sounds as if it would do a better job. The fabric itself is a bit tricksy during the ironing process as it’s double gauze and you don’t want to press it too flat otherwise you lose slightly crinkly appearance. I like the pattern and I’ll use a less problematic fabric next time.

  12. #29 by lovelucie1 on January 9, 2020 - 14:28

    Happy New Year!
    Really love your folded Christmas trees. So beautiful, elegant and very ‘now’. I’ll be storing that one away for next year.
    Love your shirts. I have the same problem with that gold spot fabric! Can you get away without ironing it now it is complete?
    Superb man shirt. Wish my man would wear florals!
    Leggings are on my never ending list………………..

    • #30 by tialys on January 9, 2020 - 20:07

      Well, that floral is barely recognisable as floral as the design is so tiny.
      I try not to iron anything unless strictly necessary – I probably do most of my ironing when I’m making something then just try to get it straight out of the washing machine and on to the line. Thinking about it now I’m sure it was your blog I saw both the gold spot double gauze and the Cheyenne Tunic so thanks for both of those inspirations – although I had been eyeing up the double gauze for some time.
      You should make the leggings – mine are for Zumba & Pilates class only rather than for wearing in public. The pattern is simple and you can make them in about an hour – and I’m really not exaggerating.

  13. #31 by Dartmoor Yarns on January 11, 2020 - 20:21

    My you have been a busy bee. I LOVE your hubby’s shirt. You’re is fab too, but I’m also thinking how good my hubby would look in your hubby’s shirt.
    I’ve been meaning to do some book paper folding for about 2 years. Yours look fab! I really should have a go.

    • #32 by tialys on January 11, 2020 - 23:22

      Do I see a man’s shirt in your 2020 planning then?

  14. #34 by Dartmoor Yarns on January 11, 2020 - 20:21

    PS I love the sharks too – big sharks look good to me.

    • #35 by tialys on January 11, 2020 - 23:23

      I nearly wore mine to Zumba class this morning but I chickened out. I need to buy a blue or black top – all my workout tops are grey at the moment. That was my excuse anyway.

  15. #37 by Lynda on January 22, 2020 - 21:03

    You know I always love your sewing feats, but this post had me in nostalgia glee! My mother used to make these trees and angels when I was young (my sibs and I loved them). However, hers were glitzed up with “snow” made from whipped Ivory soap flakes, and an abundance of glitter… I appreciate yours not being glitzed, because they will not look shabby, as hers did, if saved for next year.

    Sorry for the very late response. I hope your new year is starting with fun and enjoyment all round!

    • #38 by tialys on January 23, 2020 - 09:36

      I did consider something glittery but, as you say, they would have been more difficult to pack away and I gave a couple to friends who don’t have ‘glittery’ taste either. However, I’m thinking next year I might buy a small string of those teeny tiny LED lights and wind them round.
      I hope your 2020 is off to a good start too Lynda x

      • #39 by Lynda on January 23, 2020 - 14:45

        “I might buy a small string of those teeny tiny LED lights and wind them round.”

        Ah, the wonders of modern technology; now that sounds fun!

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