A leafy green Chardon and battling the winter blues

This Deer and Doe Chardon is the last thing I sewed for myself and that was nearly six weeks ago. Towards the end of October my brain promptly went into hibernation (I think I must have been a bear in a past life) I should be used to it by now as it happens every year. The sensible thing to do would have been to take it easy but I’m not one to take my own advice.   I normally manage running the project days, as it’s a horticultural therapy project it works both ways.  Unfortunately it coincided with the busiest time for paperwork; monitoring, evaluation and annual accounts to do. I tried to bumble through as best I could but with everything taking twice as much time, energy and effort I spent most of the time feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and slightly confused. I was just starting to surface again at the end of November when my Mum was rushed into hospital.  She had suffered a small stroke and is fine now and back at home, but we had two weeks of stress and worry.

The point of this ramble is that I haven’t sewn any clothes for weeks and I’m missing it badly! I didn’t want to start any major projects as my lack of cohesive thought would very likely lead to me making a mess of it. I have tried to keep myself busy with easy little side projects, I finished knitting my Wiksten Jul hat just in time for winter to take hold in earnest. I’ve also got one and a half matching arm warmers. I’ve got the yarn for my Owl sweater but I want to wait until the holidays before I cast on.


Spurred on by Marilla Walkers Christmas decoration swap I vowed to be as crafty as possible this year. I made a couple of stuffed Christmas trees with bells on for Caroline my swap partner:


I’ve also made my own Christmas cards this year, having a very therapeutic evening with buttons, paper punches and a glue gun:



I’ve just finished making a Parliament of Owl heat bags:


I’ve enjoyed these little crafting projects but haven’t had the same sense of satisfaction from making them (ie I can’t wear them!)

I normally hate cutting out but it seemed to be a task that was quite manageable and so I have a few make-up bags ready to sew. I’ve also cut out an Archer shirt for the little one (who is now nearly as big as me) as he keeps wearing mine. I’ve cut the same size as I figured he would grow into it and when he grows out of it I’ll be able to have it! I had planned to make some knickers for presents but there has been a bit of debate about how appropriate they would be. The little one is adamant that you can’t give someone a pair of knickers for Christmas, I’ve tried arguing that they will be liberty print with gingham ruffle elastic but the Jury is still out on that one.


Anyway, the skirt. This is my second Deer and Doe Chardon skirt. I used a metre and a half of this 45inch wide William Morris based quilting cotton, which I bought on holiday earlier in the year. It’s medium weight, a little lighter than my previous Chardon. I sewed it up exactly as last time, cutting a size 44.  I used some of the fabric from my previous one for the facing as it was just that little bit stiffer.


I bound the hem with green satin bias binding (will definitely finish all my hems this way in future) I am even more in love with this pattern now and it is my number one little flarey skirt pattern.




Even though things have been hectic (and will continue to be as Christmas approaches) I really feel the need to sew a Christmas dress getting back to a bit of selfish therapeutic sewing. I had a look through the stash and have found the perfect fabric; red tartan!  I’m going to use the bodice from Simplicity 2444 with the skirt from the Colette Peony. I may even go all out Christmas present and put a bow on it. As far as time goes it’s my birthday next week (even though I stopped having birthdays a few years ago, I have settled on being eternally thirtysomething!) Everyone is at work and school apart from me.  The other half wanted to take the day off work so we could go out somewhere but I managed to dissuade him. All I want to do is have a day to myself, sewing my Christmas dress. The prospect of no interruptions, a lit fire and possibly a Cary Grant film on Netflix sounds like a perfect day. I have a box of chocolates at the ready and might even have a bottle of fizz (I actually sew better after alcohol!) a whole six hours of uninterrupted me-time will be bliss!

Anyone else sewing a Christmas dress and if so what are you doing?

15 thoughts on “A leafy green Chardon and battling the winter blues

  1. Oh gosh, what a rough time of year for you! I hope your mum’s going to be ok! My mum is very up and down (one of the reasons they left the UK), so I can kind of relate to what you’re going through, but you’re doing so well to stay so productive. Honestly, you are amazing and I love all the things you’ve made recently. Big hugs to you from me xxxxx P.S. I hope you get the sewing day you are craving…

  2. Wow Helen, sorry to hear about all the stress and I so glad that your Mom is okay. All your “small” projects look fantastic! Those owls are so cute!! I think sometimes it’s good to do monotonous little tasks like cutting when you’re not feeling well – very therapeutic. And so is knitting. Your Chardon looks excellent – you are really making me want to make another on and that satin binding is awesome!
    I am actually working on a Christmas dress right now to wear to my husband’s Christmas party tomorrow night! Better get cracking!

  3. What a stressful couple of months! I hope you Mum is making a good recovery. The little owls are fab and the Christmas trees are amazing!!! What a good idea! I love the skirt, it really suits you. I think your birthday sewing day sound perfect, what a lovely way to spend your birthday. I think I will ask to do the same next year!

    • Thanks Jenna, I really think not having any quality sewing time has stressed me out more. I usually do paperwork in the morning and then get on with some sewing after lunch but I’ve really not had the chance. Really looking forward to finally having a whole day to myself and the prospect of a bright red tartan dress! 😊

  4. Hi Helen – poor you – it sounds as if you have been having a really tough time. I hope your mum recovers and you feel better soon. A day of sewing sounds like a perfect treat – I am looking forward to a couple of days to myself over Christmas after a fairly tough year. I love you Chardon skirts – I didn’t think I liked the pattern before! Have a lovely relaxing Christmas. Louise x

    • I’m hoping to have time for a bit more sewing over Christmas, I’ve put a few sewing patterns and a bit of fabric on my Christmas list and I’ve got two weeks off work! Hope you have a lovely Christmas! X

  5. I know how you feel not getting to sew for yourself– I’ve been sewing a lot but mostly not for me, which just isn’t quite the same. I can’t wait to see your Christmas dress. I have a sad lack of plaid fabric in my stash. I really need to remedy that! Your Chardon is so pretty! I don’t think I’ve ever seen satin bias tape. Was it pre-made? That’s another thing I’ll have to look for!

    • I really am a selfish sewer! I’ve never really sewn for anybody else as I always have such a long list of my own projects. I’m making a Totoro for my son as his favourite film is my neighbour Totoro. hoping everyone likes their homemade presents, I think it’s nice to have put some time and effort in. Thought I’d go all out with the red tartan, it was the only thing in my stash that looks Christmassy enough!

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