Creatures on wing & paw

A butterfly print Pony Tank


Butterfly prints have had a pretty bad rap in the fashion media over the last few years. According to Cosmo’s list they are high on the list of things you shouldn’t wear as a grown up. Well, lovely readers, you know my unrepeatable response to that, don’t you? As a plus size sewer careering down the hill towards 50 with embarrassing speed, I think I’ve earnt the right to wear anything I darn well please. From kitties to elephants, Chinese lanterns to teapots, I never feel more at home than when sporting a conversational print. And so, may I present to you … butterflies. Bloomin’ huge ones at that.

Using up stash

This fabric has been lurking in the sewing shed for a good year (maybe even two). I bought it from myfabrics to make a Moneta, yep, you remember those years, before we realised that unfortunately the drafting on Colette patterns for us plus size gals was appalling a slightly different approach that needed some work (I’ll let you decide which of those comments is more appropriate). And so I pulled out this pretty expensive viscose jersey and cut out a Moneta. It was a total pain in the arse to cut out, like some kind of shape shifting fabric river which should have been a warning to me! I persevered and decided that my wibly wobbly cutting lines would work out fine once it was made up, and so I pressed on with the bodice.


It was a disaster. I think the problem was the daisy Moneta I made previously was a much more forgiving fabric. It was more robust than this version and stretched in the right places, perhaps also my bust was a little higher in those days. I tried to sort it out, really, and forged ahead with adding a maxi-length skirt. I don’t know what madness it is that fogs your brain on a garment that’s obviously not right in the early stages, nor the heady optimism that makes you continue sewing regardless, hopeful that it will all come together in the end, but it’s pretty intoxicating. Sadly, all sewn together I looked like a butterfly coated sausage. Quite possibly one of my worst ever makes. I’m not going to lie, I had a bit of a tantrum and threw the whole gaddamn thing into a pile in the corner of the sewing shed.

A brief interlude

*Tumbleweeds blow through the sewing shed and fourteen months pass.*


I found it there a few weeks ago when I was having one of my new season sewing shed tidy ups and picked it up to throw it out. Dang, though, I do love those butterflies, I thought, as I caught sight of a beautiful acid yellow wing peeking out of the black plastic sack. I shook the dress out …. and decided I could salvage the skirt fabric if I chopped it off at the serged waist. A little hacking later and the metre and a bit for the skirt was refolded and eased back into the stash awaiting a project just right for its fragile fabric ways.

Cue Meg at Cookin’ and Craftin’ and her continually inspiring makes that pop up in my Instagram feed. When I saw her tester version of the new Chalk and Stone Pony Tank pattern, I knew right away that it was ‘the one’. It fit so nicely at the shoulders and then flared to cover any potential for wobbly bits. Perfect for me! I was in such a rush to get this pattern on the table that I had to email to my bloke at work (I was in meetings all day) so he could print it out for me to start that night … luckily we’ve been together long enough for him to know that these things matter and when I need instant sewing gratification I need it RIGHT NOW!

Assembling the beast


It was so quick and easy to tape together and then cut out (I used scissors for the main body pieces and my rotary cutter for the bands). Boom. I decided to risk cutting the straight 18 and see what happened. I am such a sewing renegade. It was really easy to put together and the instructions for the v neck were really good and broken down step by step. The only thing I did find was that after sewing the bands on as per the instructions I felt they were a touch on the slim side and maybe should have been another couple of mm wider. However, when I tried it on I thought the slender nature of the bands really made it look more RTW than handmade, so it was a nice design touch. The moral of the story? Trust the pattern designer.


Overall the fit is spot on, amazing for something with no alterations and most satisfying of all is the no gape cut of the armholes … perfection! I love the gentle flare below the bust, just enough for comfort and swingyness but not too much. I might add a little bit more width to the bottom on my next one just so it doesn’t cling to my arse quite so much (although my top half is a perfect 18 my bottom half not quite so much.)

I used the trick of knit tape to stabilise the hem, and it really is fantastic stuff and stops everything slipping around when you’re trying to get a neat hem finish. So there we have it … a simple, quick and immensely wearable staple for my wardrobe.

In other news


Since my last blog post much has happened – I’ve had a weird mystery illness that has resulted in episodes of anaphylactic shock, paramedics and epi pens (all very dramatic!) My auto immune system has gone haywire, and although it’s a little more under control now than in the spring, I have lost many months of useful sewing time in the zombie haze of horse strength antihistamines. I have slowly weaned myself off the drugs, and as long as I don’t use skin creams, add any new stuff into my diet or touch alcohol the effects are minimised and bearable. (Yep, the alcohol thang is hard, real hard.) Still, I am surviving till my appointment with the immunology specialist next week. Meanwhile, my bloke has been diagnosed with late Stage 4 renal failure, so we’ve both had a big run of medical appointments, visiting dialysis wards, making notes and frowny doctors. It’s been rough, but we are both starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

I also lost my sewing muse last year, when the last of my cats, Mr Ferris, aged a perfectly respectable sixteen and a bit years, purred his last purr and shut his beautiful green eyes just a few days after my birthday. My grief was immense. I stopped making things, whether sewing knitting or crochet and at work I found my creativity had abandoned me. I knew it would take a long time until I was ready for a new furry companion.

Furry helpers

Now it’s almost exactly twelve months later, and we were asked if we could find room in our hearts to adopt two little tabby kittens, born to an unsuspecting parent (Charlie the Cat thought he was a boy til he got really fat, when to the vet to find out what was wrong with his rapid weight gain and his pregnancy was revealed.) We welcomed these little minxes into our lives at the end of May and they are just adorable. With their tiny purry presence my sewjo returned and I’ve been restudying patterns, sorting through fabric, cutting out and making ever since. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Chalk_Notch_Pony_Tank-kittensThe ‘girls’ love sewing patterns, scissors and bobbins with a passion so they are fitting in just fine. It makes me smile every time they hear the rustle of a pattern pieces and like all cats, rush to lay across the middle of it all, just where you want to cut. #catternweights. Despite these furry handicaps I have a viscose Cashmerette Webster top all ready to go, alongside the must have of the season, a Vogue kimono dress, so details and photos coming soon.

Published by t@uandmii

Colour mad designer rampages gleefully through the world of plus size sewing! Oh, and there may be shoes … and cats.

26 thoughts on “Creatures on wing & paw

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about the health problems. 😦 The kittens must help you feel a bit better, though. They are adorable and I love your pictures of them. ❤ The top is gorgeous. I never listen to articles or "fashion experts" that tell me I shouldn't wear X because of X. Butterflies are perfect at all ages. 😀 I hope things get better health wise for both of you. ❤ Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh yes, the furry monsters are always cheering! Little purry factories of entertainment. Thanks so much, lovely, for your kind words. I am totally with you on the wear what you like front. I believe we should all wear what brings us joy and that’s the end of that! Hugs x


    1. I think your phrase health challenges is spot on. It could be so much worse but is frustrating on a daily basis. Glad you liked the kitten pictures … so very cute they always make me smile so they’re the perfect antidote when I’m feeling a bit rubbish. Meanwhile, I’ve been sewing some more Pony Tanks so brace yourself … more pics coming soon!


  2. Oh dear…things on the health front sound unsettling to say the least. I do hope both you and your sweetie, aka Mr. Wonderful Prints PDFs, not only see light, but a brilliant blue sky ASAP!

    And your loss…well, it may have been a while since his crossing, but we never forget our four legged loves and how very much they mean to us. Wrapping you in a big cyber hug as you remember Mr Ferris. I recently lost my sweet, SWEET little girl…it was sudden and it too knocked the wind out of my sails. Seeing those two little beans full of curiosity, knowing that they’ve helped with your sew-jo makes me smile. Big.

    I too really like the narrow edging. It’s a great save of a very fun fabric! Looking forward to the Vogue Kimono dress!


    1. Ahhh, Sue, hello lovely lady! I’ve been lurking around on your blog all through my not sewing stages and as always your print and colour choices have been a tonic.

      So sorry to hear about your sweet little one … it takes a long time to get to grips with the loss. Sending you an extra hug.

      I’ve just finished the Vogue Kimono dress …. hmmm, not sure whether it’s good on me or not at the mo … one moment I feel like a stylish runway model, the next like a cotton lawn swathed sack of potatoes! Planning on getting some shots on Sunday for the blog then I’ll let the world decide. Lol! x


  3. It’s lovely to see you back and showing off yet another gorgeous project. The fabric is just perfect for the top you have chosen. I completely understand your sadness at losing Mr Ferris. I lost my boy Kody last year and I can honestly say I still have sad days when I think about not having him around. Wishing you and your bloke all the best with your health issues.


    1. So sorry to hear about your kitty too. It’s awful isn’t it as the loss just feels immense. We are just starting to get to the stage where we remember only the legendary stories of his time with us. Lot’s of conversations now start with, “Do you remember when Ferris …” It’s a weird thing but I think I just can’t really sew without having a furry pal to interfere. Since we’ve had the kittens I have made so many things! I’m definitely hooked on this Pony Tank though and have finished a couple more. Lovely to hear from you.


  4. So happy to see you back! Kittens, man o man, they do make you laugh. Now I gotta go get this pony tank pattern–thanks so much!


    1. Hope you’ve got your hands on the Pony pattern by now and are happy with the outcome. Yep, your are SO right about the kittens. Equal parts laughter, equal parts cursing! They are so very naughty but look so cute it’s hard to tell them off. There’s a few ponies in progress on my sewing table so will be coming soon to a blog near you!


    1. Thank you Diane … that’s given me a bout of the warm and fuzzies. 😉 I have so missed writing my blog so a delighted to be back to it. Now if only this darn rain would stop so I can take some pictures!!


  5. It’s so nice to read you again, and your top looks lovely!
    I’m sorry to hear about you and your partner’s health issues and your cat’s passing…
    But it’s nice to see your two ne little helpers and hearing you’re on the mend!
    I hope you get answers soon and don’t have any more anaphylactic shocks! I’ve had somes and they are not my favourite memories…


    1. Thanks Cynthia, and for your kind wishes. Gosh, yes, you are so right about the anaphylactic episodes. The doctor told me I should only use my epi pens when I felt a ‘feeling of impending doom’. I looked blankly at him, and paused … then I replied, “That’s about half my life!” lol. In all seriousness though, I’m sorry to hear you’ve suffered from them too as you’re right they are not good memories. Take care of you!


  6. So glad to see you back. I’ve missed you.
    The health problems do not sound fun. A friend of mine is following the autoimmune protocol diet and it does seem to help her. Your bloke’s kidney disease is also a doozy. I hear the dialysis can really fatigue a person.
    Love the kitties. We’d have them but my Mr is allergic, so it’s not possible. We borrow my sister’s dog from time to time for our furry fix.
    May you continue to find your creativity between epi injections. I’m thrilled you have found some mojo to go with your juju.


    1. Yes, it’s lovely to have my mojo back. Now I’m busy trying to find time to shoot the garments I’ve made! Good to be back and thanks so much for your lovely comment. 😉


  7. welcome back to the blogging land. Wishing you the best beautiful soul. Your top is gorgeous and it looks super good on you. I am a great lover of multi colors. I am planning to sew a short dress for me in multi colors. will share once i will complete..Glad to see you back.. Take care. God bless you and furries..


    1. Thanks Hannah – it’s lovely to be back. Us colour lovers must stick together as there’s a whole lot of beige in the world! Hope your colourful short dress looks as fab as it sounds. x


    1. Oh my goodness – a muse! Wow, you’ve quite made my day 😉 Glad to hear you are back in the realms of sewing loveliness now you have some more time to yourself. x


  8. Wishing you and your bloke only the best! It’s great to be invited into your technicolor world. I’ve missed you.


  9. Hi just checking back into your blog after not sewing myself for about two years and see that you’ve not been here for a few months. I hope you’re both not too bad and coping with the bombshells that life throws at us. After sewing every day for years I woke up one day and just didn’t want to. My life at the time was falling down all around me and sewing things just stopped floating my boat. Two weeks after Christmas I found myself buying a sewing machine testing it worked and leaving it by the bookcase. At the beginning of the week I bought some stretch fabric and the skater dress pattern. I remembered your blog, chased you down through the Curvy Sewing Collective and came here to look at your skaters. They’re still great dresses and I’m about to make my first one.


    1. Hi Sue,

      Ahh, thanks so much for dropping me a line! Yes, I’m still hanging on in here. 🙂 So good to know that your sewjo returned. I have been sewing odds and ends here and there but have had a very busy six months at work which has ended up getting in the way of everything. I really miss the lovely peaceful feeling of sewing though and working through the process. I’ve also not touched any knitting or crochet for months either so I think my creative switch has just been flicked off for a while. I have scheduled in some time to have a bit of a tidy and sort out in my sewing shed tomorrow which usually gets me back in the mood for sewing.

      So excited to hear about your potential lady skater dresses! I did have a bit of trouble with the armhole fit on my first one but after that it was plain sailing. I’ve also recently run up a Cashmerette Turner and that’s a lovely easy sew too (and fits great from the packet over my chest … yay!) Do let me know how you get on with it. Nothing like running up a knit dress to make you feel like queen of the universe again! x


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