Archive for August, 2009

My “cwtch”

Cwtch [pronounced cootch].   (adj) (v) Welsh.

I like the word cwtch.  It’s a nice word.  A warm and fuzzy word.  It’s also a word with more than one meaning.

Now my favourite definition of the word is the verb (to cwtch).  It means to hug; to cuddle; to comfort.  If one of my children fell over when they were little they would want a cwtch from Mammy to make them better.  If I’m feeling chilly in the evening, there’s no better way to get warm than a cwtch from my hubby.  See?  Nice word.  Use it lots.

The other definition of cwtch is the one I want to tell you about today.  It’s also a nice word.  It describes a small, cosy space.  Most Welsh houses have a “cwtch dan stâr” (the little space under the staircase); or if your puppy has been naughty you may tell him to “cer cwtch!” (go to your basket!). 

I have my own cwtch where I sew.  My cwtch is at the top of the stairs outside my bedroom door.  It’s where the landing turns to make a [very little] “L” shape.  My sewing table just about squeezes into my cwtch. 

On top of my table I have my sewing machine; my overlocker; my lamp; my ham & sleeve roll; my magazine holders full of “Sewing World”, “Sew Hip” & “Sew” magazines; my quilting extension table and the thing that catches all the bits from my overlocker.

Underneath the table I have a little chest of drawers full of all my bits & bobs and sewing paraphenalia; my plastic boxes and bags of fabric; my bin and my chair.



(note: the bannister is quite useful to hold “work in progress”)

Ok, not a very organised or practical cwtch (to sew, everything has to be moved and dumped on my bed) but it’s mine.  It’s warm and cosy and quiet and I rarely get disturbed.  It’s where all my creations are – well – created!  It’s where all my disasters happen.  It would be nice to have a bigger cwtch – perhaps enough space so I don’t need to hire a removal van every time I want to stich a hem – but then it wouldn’t be a cwtch……… would it?

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Its nearly time for school …..

….. and Chloe’s not too thrilled about the prospect.  To try and soften the blow I’ve offered to make her school skirts this year.  The skirts we usually buy are never “right” – usually too long or scratchy material etc etc. 

We’ve agreed on a pattern (McCall’s M5696 – View A) which I’ve made for her before (pic pending), it fits and she likes. McCall's M5696

We nipped into town this morning and picked up 1.5m of black polyester from Lee Mill which should be enough for two skirts.  They’re really easy to make and can probably finish one in an afternoon.  I may start one this afternoon or we may go to the Marquis for our tea instead (the boys are going to watch football so perhaps a girly afternoon is in order).  I’ve got two weeks before she goes back to school so plenty of time.  In the meantime I have floors to mop and an Everest-size pile of ironing calling my name ……

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All signed-up for September!

I’ve finally got myself into gear and enrolled myself on my next dressmaking course.  This year I’m going to do OCN Level 2 (well I have done Level 1 for the last two years so it’s probably time I moved on!).  These classes have given me so much confidence in my sewing and I’ve met so many lovely people – I would recommend it to anyone.

Babs our tutor had hoped to run a City & Guilds course in Pattern Cutting this year.  Now that’s something I’d really like to get into!  I love the idea of being able to create something from scratch without using a commercial pattern – currently I wouldn’t know where to start.  Unfortunately though, the college wouldn’t give her the go-ahead to run the course which is a shame.

Well, on to non-sewing related things – it looks like Poppy the cat wants to be fed.  She’s just stomped all over the computer keyboard in a very indignant fashion!  I’m guessing I’ll have no peace until I put some biscuits in her dish ….

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Summer makes

Well I’ve been fairly productive over the last few weeks.  I’ve completed four (yes count them!) projects!  That’s got to be a record for me.

The first one is this rather snazzy (imho) waistcoat for Jamie’s prom.

The story goes like this….

Jamie really wanted a red waistcoat.  We hunted all the usual shops (River Island, M&S etc) but all we could find were black or grey.  Then we tried a wedding outfitters.  Lots of lovely red waistcoats there but they wanted – wait for it – £60!!  Neither of us could justify paying that sort of money for something he’s likely only to wear once.

So, to cut a short story short, Jamie suggested that the lovely red fabric I’d picked up on sale in Lee Mill a few weeks earlier would make a very nice waistcoat.  I used Simplicity 4762 – a lovely easy pattern which also included matching tie.  


Next up was this little shirred top for Chloe.


(unfortunately, I couldn’t zoom in any closer or you would have seen the lasagne stain on the front after a rather pleasant lunch in Narbeth)

I didn’t use a pattern for this.  I simply measured her chest and multiplied by 1.5.  Then, I stitched the side seam to form a tube and finished the top and bottom hems using the rolled-hem function on the overlocker.  Using a long stitch and firmly-wound shirring elastic in the bobbin, on the wrong side of the fabric, I stitched corkscrew style until I reached the desired depth of shirring.  For security I added a little halter tie, but it could quite easily be worn without (by the way, the fabric is the pink Laura Ashley I picked up for a snip in Butterfly Fabrics).

My last two projects don’t have pictures yet.  I’ll keep them for my next post.

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