Do You Have The ‘Sewing Bug’?

Are you a sewer?

A home seamstress or tailor – as opposed to some sort of drainage for waste??!!!

I used to be when I was a teenager and in my early teens.  I made quite a lot of my own clothes.  Some well and some quite badly.  As my author Mum ( will attest!

I often pop into the local sewing store for a few bits and bobs and I always stop to admire their window display.  The shop is manned by a group of grey haired grannies – but boy, do they know how to do some great windows!

Mamasimx About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

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Mad Men Moment – My Hunt for a Housecoat

Housecoat patterns circa 1955 and 1968

Housecoat patterns circa 1955 and 1968


This week my post is a little different……

As a Mum with a young baby I am used to going out with clothes that have little sticky finger marks, nose wipe marks and general food splatterings.  Usually I don’t even know they are there until it is pointed out to me by a friend.  It’s annoying and kind of embarrassing.

Hence my search for a Housecoat.  An old fashioned thing I admit, but so practical and useful.  And I well may add – very stylish and quite the thing.  Think Mad Men and 50’s housewives with perfect homes, hair and children.  That is the sort of look I am aiming for.

The Mad Men Housecoat Moment

The search begins.  On to the internet to search, search , search.  Nothing.  De Nadda, Zip.  Lots and lots of lovely frilly cupcake aprons but not a single housecoat. Mmmmmmm.

Make My Own Mad Men Housecoat?

Quel Horror!  I haven’t sewn since my teenage years.  Could I?  Would I?  Should I?  A friend suggests that I look on eBay for a pattern.  So I do.  What a plethora of original housecoat patterns from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  I am quite spoilt for choice and some of the patterns look like evening gowns.  Wow.  This is fun.  I will, I will!  Oh, but it is difficult to choose!

The Mad Men Housecoat Pattern Arrives

I bought two patterns in the end as I could not choose between the two.  A lovely full skirted 1950’s number and a cute coat style from the 1960’s.  The patterns are so cool.  I can’t wait to be wearing them.

Housecoat patterns circa 1955 and 1968

Housecoat patterns circa 1955 and 1968

I was bought down to earth when I went fabric shopping.  Look as I might, I couldn’t find anything that really grabbed my attention that was 100% cotton and a reasonable price.  I didn’t want this coat to end up costing more than my new winter coat!  In the end I settled for something very 60’s.  What do you think?  I know – but heh – it will only be worn in the house!!!


Housecoat material.  Woah!

Housecoat material. Woah!

Making the Mad Men Housecoat

I had to wait until a weekend when Daddy could take the children out of the house so I had space and time to devote to my sewing.  Opening up the pattern I could see that the coat I had decided to make had been made before.  There were even some ancient pins, a little rusted, left in the pattern.  How lovely.  A connection to a Mum of 40 years ago, trying to keep her clothes clean, just like me!

It was easy to place the pattern pieces, pin them and cut out.  The directions were easy to follow.

Making up the housecoat was not difficult either.  I only struggled a little with the sleeves – different from how we make them up today.  And the collar.  Had to ask fiances help on that one which amused him no end.  (We are all accepting of his superior intellect.  He regularly asks our five year old “What is Daddy?” to which my son’s well tutored reply is “Daddy is a genius!”)

Anyway…  I am quite pleased with the finished result.  It is not perfect.  The collar is a little squiffy, the hem is a little wobbly and the buttons aren’t evenly spaced.  But hey ho.  I think I did well.

One Housecoat!

One Housecoat!

Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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© Simone L Woods 2012

A Fab Feeding Pillow – Easier Than You Think

The finished product!

The finished product!

It was simpler than you think to make a fantastic feeding pillow.

I had a store bought pillow for my first two babies, and while it was adequate, it was too flat and kept riding away from me as I fed.  This allowed baby to slip down between the pillow and me.  Far from ideal.

What I wanted was a pillow that could be fastened to me and a pillow that was high enough so I did not have to prop it with cushions and other pillows.

So began my online search.  And I came across a fantastic feeding pillow here.  ‘Thrupenny Bits’ cockney rhyme for t**ts!) sell beautiful, trendy but practical feeding pillows that are also very portable and reasonably priced. (prices start at £33) I was instantly taken with them.  However, and apologies to  ‘Thrupenny Bits’, I had some left over Harlequin ‘Alina” furnishing fabric that would make a beautiful pillow and as I can sew a little I decided to try to make a feeding pillow myself.  But if your not the sewing sort head over to ‘Thrupenny bits’ to purchase one.

I drew a template, half moon in shape with elongated ends that would become the ties, 65 cms across and 32 cms down.

I cut out 4 pieces on the material that was just over a meter long and 138cm wide.  Two tops in the 100% soft cotton Harlequin furnishing fabric and two bottoms in a complimentary soft corduroy furnishing fabric.  I decided on these fabrics as they are hardwearing and practical (I wash and tumble dry them both on low settings with no problems even though they state dry clean only).  This made 2 covers; one for the pillow and one for the wash.  I would have preferred another say 50cm length as I had to use the selvedge with the fabric branding on it.  But now I think that looks kind of cool anyway…..

I also cut 2 identical pieces from some tough wearing plain calico I had lying around.  This was for the inner pillow.

I then sewed the pieces together for the pillow and the two covers, fitting a long zip to the inner curve of each.

I filled the pillow with bean bag beads.  This was a messy job as the balls are so light!  But once done I was very pleased.  I was also glad I had put in a long zip into the covers as it made inserting the filled inner pillow easy and simple.

The bag was a little full when I tried it so I simply sat a few times on the pillow to flatten it a little!

*After using for about 3 months the pillows need topping up as the beads do compress.  I found this to be a nightmare  – messy and difficult because of the extremely light and flyaway nature of the beads.  (My Mum who helped can attest to this!)  So I recommend, as thrupenny bits does, filling with hollow fibre instead.

So I am really pleased with the finished product.  And as it ties to me I can stand and move with her still feeding.  Although I stress, and double stress, I never move around without holding on to baby and the pillow.  Otherwise baby would slide right off!  But so practical.

And if you don’t feel like making one yourself – hop along to ‘Thrupenny bits’ to purchase one.  They would also make a great gift.

Mamasimx         About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

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© 2013 Simone L Woods