all puffed up

No, sorry, this post is not about puff adders – although we did go for a long walk last week in Pringle Bay and, halfway along, very far from the road, Andrew casually remarked that I should keep my eyes on the ground in case of puff adders.

I immediately froze. No, keep walking, he said, they can feel you coming and will simply move away. But what if it’s asleep? I screamed, and I’m the one to wake it up??? Just back away veeeeeery slowly, he said. I reminded him that my mother had recently woken up to find a cobra in a corner of her kitchen and I was still getting over the trauma, but he just laughed. I’m not sure it’s kind to laugh at another person’s fears so I yelled SPIDER SPIDER SPIDER and did my impression of a black widow to get back at him before continuing through the fynbos, stamping as hard as I could to scare off serpents as far afield as Mpumalanga.*

But I’ve digressed. The reference to puff is my lovely new Paddington top, designed by clever Sarah-May of French Navy Designs in Cape Town. She sells her patterns on etsy but this top was a free pattern from Peppermint Magazine and, for some unknown reason – because I’ve gone off machine-sewing lately – I had the urge to make it. The big puffy sleeves were the main attraction.

I used a piece of cotton from West Africa that someone gave me years ago, and which may have previously been used as a tablecloth. I have horrible arms – bingo wings, I believe they are known as in the north of England – so am always happy to cover them up as much as possible. The design was great and I’m so pleased with the result that I’m considering making a dress from the first pattern I ever bought when I was 22 and had just got my first sewing machine. It was navy cotton with tiny white dots and I wore it until it fell apart.

* Happy to report that no snakes or spiders or even baboons were seen, just a very fat mongoose and a tortoise later that day while sitting on a bench looking out at the sea.

19 thoughts on “all puffed up

  1. katechiconi

    Lovely top, lovely fabric – and lovely belt! You know what? That top would work with the jeans you showed me too, the fabric has hints of that colour in it, and the style would counterbalance the, um, swashbuckling styling!

    Reply
    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      The belt is 28 years old – how’s that for hanging on to things!? I wore the “man pants” yesterday with a plain white tshirt and denim jacket but think you might be right – also it’s been pointed out to me that no man would tolerate those gratuitous studs and inserts at the bottom, so perhaps they are more unisex (gender fluid?) than I thought.

      Reply
  2. Going Batty in Wales

    That is a lovely top! I like those three-quarter sleeves and the fullness – very practical – allow easy movement and don’t drip into whatever you are cooking or eating!

    Reply
    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      It’s also very comfortable, and the boat neckline is just the right width for me. Any wider and it shows my manky bra straps and any narrower I can’t get my big head through it without having to think about buttonholes or zips – neither of which I would ever consider tackling.

      Reply
  3. cedar51

    Jill, first my apologies, my inbox for blog posts must have gone ballistic, as I didn’t see this post at all…now having an afternoon of catching up. The top looks fantastic – and you look so happy in your outfit of the day. Sewing machines must have popped into our respective heads, although I’m not sewing cloth!
    I had to put it off the table this morning, as one of the “quilts” needs some things hand stitched, more on that later – so the table had hand tools on it. I then decided time to get on top of blogs – but for some reason after I had put what I thought was laptop on table, gone to make a hot drink – came back and the sewing machine was back on table! Ooops back to the floor dear machine – me trying to remember what I decided to call her when I first go her…

    Reply
    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      It was always a mission to get the machine out when I wanted to sew something, and then have to keep putting it away before I’d finished. Happily, I don’t have to do that anymore – although the down side of having industrial machines is that they can’t be serviced off-site, as it were. It also takes four men to lift each one, so I dread moving house…

      Reply
    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Thanks Linne! I have looked at the dress pattern and realised that, somewhere along the way, I’ve mislaid the sewing instructions. However, I’ve made a few dresses in my time and it’s really only one piece for the front top, one for the back top, facings, and the skirt, so I’m sure I can figure it out. I’m trying to be strong and finish WIPs before starting it….

      Reply

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