Pandas, playing, and pausing to breathe...

By Victoria As-it-Seams - 13:26

Hello! I'm back! Anyone remember me? 

It's so long since I posted here that I'm playing catch up. I have many things sewn and not blogged.

Like this little panda tunic.

This wonderful fabric was a gift from one of our Paris Sew Social sponsors, Alles fuer Selbermacher. She was so kind and thoughtful - a half metre of this stunning panda knit, in the cutest bag, all with named labels. 

The fabric is gorgeous - it's a heavyish knit with those quirky pandas designed by Andrea Lauren. It's special stuff - and I treated it to my very amateurish knit-sewing.... oops..

And this is My First Ever garment sewn with knits (yes, it predates the Aster cardigan blogged here, that's how slow I am being about blogging stuff).

Sometimes I can be a very careful, painstaking seamstress. And other times I just launch straight in with the scissors, thinking 'what's the worst that can happen?'
My attitude was, I'm only going to learn how to sew knits if I dive in and give it a go. So that's what I did. 

The pattern is the Rowan Tee from Titchy Threads, another kind gift from a Paris Sew Social Sponsor. It's modified a lot though! I cut the body as long as I could, given the fabric length and also flared it at the sides. The sleeves have become full length too.

I was flumoxed as to how to finish the neckline - having never sewn knits before. You usually use ribbing right?

Well, I didn't have any. And there is nowhere locally that sells any, and I certainly wasn't going to faff around online. I cut up an old t-shirt and made a kind of bias binding, and finished the neckline with a reverse bias trim, and a zig zag stitch. It won't pass any sewing exams, but it works...and I like the merest hint of that teal blue bias on the neckline.

 I used the same t-shirt fabric to trim the hem and a little pocket. It's not neat - but it is cute.

And this is exactly the kind of thing that a playful little girl likes to wear.

They say panda's struggle to reproduce - but I think this one is likely to spark a new generation of 'wearable knits' for my little girl... Look out for more!

Blogging is the only thing I've been doing slowly. Everything else in my life feels like break-neck speed.

I feel like I'm running the wrong way up an escalator most of the time. I've just increased my working hours (temporarily I hope) and am writing more and more for the newspaper. 

Also term time routine is in full swing. I'm dashing from work to school  to driving a child to a violin lesson or football match, in between trying to cook dinner and get the laundry put away....
Sometimes I struggle to feel like I can breathe...

Does this sound familiar? I'm desperate for some simplicity and authenticity, and I guess that's partly why I have managed to keep on sewing. It's a moment of calm in the non-stop world. 

But any other tips on how to maintain Working Mum Sanity would be gratefully received!

  • Share:

You Might Also Like


  1. Bravo on your first ever knit garment :) i am with you - one can ready whatever they like and as much as they like about sewing with knits, but there is no better way to learn than to grab those scissors and go for it! You will be pro at it before you know it. The top is lovely, and Missy loves it! I think us, sewing mums, are lucky because usually our kids are happy to wear whatever we make for them without realising we might not be super pleased with our makes :) And they grow so fast we have a lot of opportunities to practice! I have been avoiding knits for a long time, but am getting a little more confident now. And head above water... same here :( I think sewing is the only thing that keeps me sane, and I don't get to sew much at all!

  2. You did a great job with the knits! The top looks perfect! It's sad how busy life is. There is always so much to do. I'm not a working mom, but I do homeschool and my husband works 65-75 hours per week and Hazel nurses all night long. So I do often feel stretched myself. I think self-care is key. And deep breaths! :D

    1. It is sad, isn't it? Everyone I talk to is in the same boat. I talk to the mums in the playground at school, and we're all on 'the edge.' And I don't think it's just that I'm 'working' - if anything when I'm actually at work, it's easy. I can do my job well, and there's no little child saying 'Mummy....I need.'' I guess Im in control when I'm at my desk. So Rachel, I am truly in awe of you being full time, home schooling, with your husband out a lot. I'm lucky there, too. Mr As it Seams is a teacher, so gets home quite early, 5pm, and is at home in the school holidays. The biggest problem with work - is it just takes so much time! I get home tired, and then theres still so much to do... I think I need to focus on my blessings, try to get enough sleep, and yes, 'self care'...

  3. I have that fabric waiting for something to sew... I really like what you have done with it! I might give it a go soon.... :) She is too cute!

  4. Wow, I'm impressed! This looks so fun. You shouldn't be too hard on yourself. This turned out great for a first knit project. For our next meeting I'll make sure to ask a company for some ribbing for you, too ;)

  5. Cute pandas! I still haven't used mine, I'm too fond of it and can't decide what to use it for :-)
    As for the working mom thing, I REALLY get you... The stupid thing is that I had never seen myself as a working mom. My own mother didn't work and I had always such a perfect picture of me staying with the kids fulltime, at least until they were a bit bigger. However, financially that is not an option and when I work, I like to do something interesting, so I'm way too busy. And then the blogging ;-) So no solution, but maybe it helps to know that you're not the only one who feels stretched quite thin more often than not ;-) Take care of yourself! xo

  6. I think it looks fabulous, Victoria! I understand the working mom thing very well. I so rememberthe feeling of not being ableto breath, brely managing it. I quit my full time job after the fourth one was born, and even though it's not the wisest thing financially, I finally feel like I can take a deep breath. No tips, sorry! Take care! I hope it gets better! xoxo

    1. I think I would definitely quit too if I had four! There are easy solutions, and most mums I know feel the same, and actually I do enjoy my job. My exhaustion tends to go in phases...I'm feeling a bit better now it's Friday! And also I know it can be equally tough in a different way being a stay-at-home mum xxxx


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you, and try to reply as often as I can, either here or by email. All views, tips, gratefully received...