Skirt up a tree! A very bare lilac tree, on a sunny winter's day. It snowed on the morning that I took this, just a little bit, and the rest of the day was bright sunshine. Lovely.
The colour doesn't show too brilliantly here, it's actually a lovely green overdyed on top of a gorgeous swirly coral-like pattern. The translucent effect is what happens when you dye over an existing pattern, particularly on a polyester/cotton blend fabric. The dye doesn't stick to the polyester, so you get a lovely textured effect. In its former life the fabric was a big circular Marks & Spencer tablecloth, and the ruffle is original.
I find it difficult to photograph skirts - even on the mannequin they look a bit sad because it's the movement as you wear them that brings them to life. This one has pockets (of course!), and the waistband is elasticated at the back so it should be super comfy. With leggings or nice thick tights underneath, it will be nice and warm for the impending cold weather - not that winter is putting Sarah off from getting outside with her camera. If you follow her on Facebook or Instagram, you'll see lots of gorgeous winter portraits, and there's even a special package where you can book a set of photo shoots across all four seasons!
I just want to say a big THANK YOU to the folks who asked whether the children's planners would be sticking around once this website changes from a shop into a blog. The answer is yes! I loved designing them, and I love that people are finding them useful, so they're definitely going to stay.
I currently order them in small batches, to try and keep the printing costs at a sensible price. I can't have them printed on demand as they're ordered, as having them printed one at a time makes the books around £45 each! And that's just silly. But the difficulty with having to wait until I have enough pre-orders to get a small batch printed is that I have no way of telling people how long that might take. So I tend to do a couple of pre-orders a year, one before the start of the school term, and again before Christmas. BUT! One of the main points of the planner is that it's undated, so you can buy one at any time of the year and start filling it in whenever you like. And that's impossible if there isn't a pre-order taking place when you want to start your planner.
So... I'm looking at ways of making them more easily available. (But don't worry - I will keep the current pre-order system running for the forseeable future.)
To get the ball rolling, this week I did a little experiment. I re-formatted the Moon Journal, and uploaded it to Amazon. Now Amazon don't offer spiral binding or landscape format, so if I were to do this with the children's planners, they would have to change a little bit. I'm still thinking about that, as I'm really very fond of the whole landscape format and spiral bound design. We'll see.
But, I've made the Moon Journal available, and ordered a copy for myself so that I can see what the quality is like. When it arrives I'm going to write in it with as many different pens as I can lay my hands on, to make sure that the paper is thick enough to withstand felt tips and little kids. I'm also going to lay the pages out as flat as possible, and just generally try to trash the binding, to see what kind of punishment it will live up to! If I think it's going to be suitable, I might just have a couple of experimental planners printed, let some children loose with them, and see what happens. Then I can decide whether to switch them over to print on demand via Amazon, or stick with doing these small batch print runs myself.
If you'd like to be kept posted about how it's all going, you might want to join the mailing list (in the right side bar, or down at the bottom of the page if you're on mobile), which is where I send out monthly updates about what's going on.
I made a couple of simple skirts for my niece this Christmas. As is often the way, I was lured over to Elephant in my Handbag, who have some excellent novelty prints including this fabulous Peter Pan design by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller.
While I was there, I also snapped up the very last piece of this gorgeous border print featuring Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael (and Michael's teddy bear, just hidden around the side!) flying over a London cityscape.
They really are the simplest little skirts to make. I know I've said this about a lot of things, but I really must write up a tutorial for you sometime. For a skirt that will fit a child up to about age seven or eight, all you need is half a metre of fabric and enough elastic to go around their waist. Easy peasy!
I've lost count of how many of these little skirts I've made for her, but I absolutely love seeing pictures of my niece wearing them. It warms my heart that she's almost eight, and still (for now) happy to wear things that her silly Aunty makes.
I don't know what sort of party Miss Mouse went to last night, but it looks as though it was a good one!
I did say that things would be changing around here in the New Year, so... what's different? Well, as of right this second, absolutely nothing. That's because the eternal magpie website in its current format is paid for until the middle of February, so I'm going to let it run its course before I switch over to being a blog again, rather than a shop.
So, I've decided to allow the 75% Off Nearly Everything Sale to run until the end of January. At that point anything that isn't sold will be making its way to a charity shop, so if there's anything you've had your eye on, BUY IT NOW. If you've signed up to the mailing list or you've bought from me before, you'll also have a discount code that you can use on top of the sale prices.
(If you're not on the mailing list, check out the form in the right sidebar, or scroll to the bottom of the page if you're on mobile.)
From February onwards, the site will be switching over to a Wordpress blog, which is how it originally started way back in the mists of 2009. I've managed to import the majority of the old content back in, so I should hopefully be able to restore access to some of the sewing and felting tutorials that people are still looking for.
If I'm not going to be running a shop, what am I going to blog about? Well, the same things that I blogged about before, I think. Sustainable fashion, ethical shopping, how to make stuff, that kind of thing. I'll also go back to blogging about my personal sewing and knitting projects, which I haven't felt able to do while I've been running the shop as a focussed brand. And of course there's always Miss Mouse, and I'm also working on a writing project which I need to get back on track in the New Year. So there will be links out to those two Patreon blogs as well.
The mailing list will continue to run, with updates at the beginning of each month. They'll be a round-up of what's been happening on the blog, for anyone who doesn't use a feed reader and doesn't want to keep checking the website. The Facebook and Instagram pages will also be kept updated whenever a blog post goes up, so that's another easy way to keep in touch.
If you're waiting for me to make something for you (I know that Rebecca has some curtains which are heading in my direction!), or you see the perfect fabric that you definitely need to have transformed into one of my dresses, please just ask! I'm not giving up sewing for other people entirely, I'm just not going to be running it as a little branded shop for a while.
(If I can figure out the logistics, I might be able to pop some easy payment buttons onto the new blog, but I haven't got that far into the process yet.)
So... check out the sale before I clear out my workshop... sign up to the mailing list if you'd like to be kept up to date... or follow me on Facebook or Instagram if that's where you hang out. The promised changes are happening very soon!