Dressmaking in my spare time: Cleo Dungaree Dress

Cleo Dungaree Dress by Tilly and the Buttons 

Well it’s been aaaages since I shared a dressmaking project. Last summer I think! I’ve made quite a few items over the last few months, but I’ll share them one by one rather than blast you with lots of pictures of me in one go! 
One of my Christmas presents was the Cleo Pinafore/ Dungaree Dress pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. Another Christmas present was some thick black denim, which I chose from Stop and Stil. This wasn’t a coincidence- I had cleverly masterminded this to happen! 
So I made a dungaree dress! 
When this pattern first came out I wasn’t sure I would suit it. After seeing a lot of the different creations on Pinterest and Instagram I thought I would give it a go and decided a nice neutral black denim would be good. Grey t-shirts and striped t-shirts would look good, and tights or leggings! 
The pattern came together very easily, thanks to the lovely clear instructions that are a trademark of all Tilly and the Buttons patterns. I lengthened the skirt by 3″ which is the usual adjustment I make to the skirt part of TATB patterns as I’m quite tall. Turning the straps inside out left me with aching fingers and I think I wouldn’t do it the same way next time! I used bronze coloured buckles from my local haberdashery stall in the market, which were a bargain at £1.50 a pair.  

Anyway, here it is and I’m so pleased with how it came out! I’ve worn it loads. (I was a bit irritated by the denim when it was washed as it has distressed itself and I’m not entirely reassured by my five year old son’s statement that it looks like a lightning strike!) It’s also the perfect item of clothing for showing off my small collection of pin badges. 


I’m feeling very pleased by stepping slightly- only slightly- out of my dressmaking comfort zone and trying a new style and different fabric, yay me!
Teresa xx

‘Mightier’ pen pin badge by RockCakes, Helter SkelterPin badge by Lucky Dip Club

Handmade Gifts 

October, November and December were some of my most productive creative months yet most of the stuff I made were Christmas gifts and therefore have not been shared anywhere online yet, which is what I usually do on Instagram on finishing anything! So here it all is…

I made a little amigurumi teddy for my little boy, from Simply Crochet mag issue He is very pleased with him, especially the red jumper which is his favourite colour. I used Stylecraft Special DK for a more snuggly feel to the teddy. 

I made another amigurumi toy, this time a donut for my daughter to go with all the toy cakes she asked for, for her baby doll to eat. I used some questionable quality acrylic yarn I had in my stash but it seems fine as a donut! 


More crochet, a snuggly cowl scarf for my mother in law in her favourite colour. This made using Drops Nepal, which is wool and alpaca Aran weight yarn and just lovely to work with.

Yet more crochet, some coasters for my godmother, which I hope match her colour scheme in her living room. I used my favourite Drops Muskat to make these. 

A break from crochet! I used some Liberty fabric to make a brooch each for my mother and sister using Dandelyne mini brooch hoops. I’m going to have to make one for myself too at some point. 


Using a free template from Paper and String and some of their wool felt I made an embroidered cactus for another of my sisters. I filled the bottom with some lentils to help it stand up. I’d made one for myself a while ago which she had admired on Instagram (so useful to get ideas for people!) 

Back to crochet, I made a cushion cover for my youngest sister with Stylecraft Mosaic in Graffiti. This is a super chunky yarn and the colours are beautiful. I think my husband got tired of me exclaiming over it. My kids thought the pom-poms were the best bits. I sewed the crochet square by hand onto an IKEA cushion cover which I’d altered a bit. This one was a bit hard to give away! 


I made a little picture for my daughters bedroom using some wool felt bunnies from Cloud Craft and some ribbons and fabric from my stash. I had a right time of it getting it into the hoop, those flexi hoops are a right pain! I’m not sure it’s straight but as she is only three I have got away with it! 

More crochet, quite a few people got crocheted baubles, each were different. 

My grandma was given a festive crochet mandala style doily. I like the colours in this, I think I’ll probably be making one for my house too. It’s made from Stylecraft Classique Cotton, in DK I think.

My two nephews were made hand appliquéd pennants to hang on their bedroom door. This was inspired by an idea in Mollie Makes Magazine. I was really pleased with them.


And finally, this crocheted mandala doily mat thing for my other sister (that’s three sisters if you wondered! My two brothers didn’t get handmade gifts, too tricky!) I loved making this and she liked it too. 


I didn’t sleep much on Christmas Eve, wondering if people would like their gifts. Then I got rather stupidly emotional after giving all my hand made stuff! My husband told me don’t be daft. I’m trying! 

Teresa xx

2016 and onwards

Happy Christmas everyone, I hope you’ve all had a lovely break.  
It’s that time of year to make resolutions and reflect on the year before etc etc, and that usually means giving myself a hard time for what I’ve not achieved… 

However, last year’s resolution was to stress less. I’m not sure how well that held up during the political turmoil and general craziness that happened in 2016, but on a personal level I think I achieved it. I had a lot of plans for Shirley Rainbow this year, of which hardly any actually happened. I’m trying not to give myself a hard time though, it’s hard to plan sometimes when you have small children, and as they are only little once (to quote a good friend) so I’m trying to enjoy that as much as possible. I’ve even embraced doing crafty and creative projects with them…. Honestly, I find it so hard to do! I’m trying my best though as there is virtually no time for creativity in the school curriculum, and surely as a qualified crafty mum I can provide that at home. At least it justifies trips to Hobbycraft….. 


Granny Triangle Shawl 2016

Right, onwards to 2017. I’ve just made a list of all my dressmaking plans for next year that already have fabric for, patterns for and just need the time to make them!  I’m looking forward to get my teeth into that but I’m not going to give myself a hard time if it doesn’t get done as quickly as I’d like. I’m going to a wedding in February and it would be lovely to wear some thing I’ve made! Crochet wise, I’d like to make a jumper or cardi this year. I just have to decide which one I’d like to attempt. And maybe another shawl. There’s something so cozy about wearing one. 


Some fabric awaiting my attention …

In my folksy shop I have been doing lots of drawings and doodles for new products, which is exciting ( well it is for me! ) and when the kids are back at school next week I’ll be gathering materials and having a little play around. I’m looking forward to having a new year spring clean and sort out.

So for a New Years resolution for 2017? Maybe procrastinate less?! Be a bit more organised too… There’s no snappy little phrase springing to mind. I’m sure it will!
So on that note, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy (and creative!) New Year, to followers new and old,

Love Teresa xx

Crochet Star Bauble- Free Pattern! 


I’ve been very impressed over on Instagram by beautiful crocheted baubles. I obviously wanted to have a go at them myself, but to my absolute frustration none of the patterns I used seemed to work for me! They just didn’t fit the baubles I have. It’s either a tension thing, or something, I couldn’t work it out. So, undaunted (actually I was really irritated with myself) I made up my own pattern. And here it is… I hope you enjoy it!

To fit a bauble sized 6cm diameter. 

I used Stylecraft DK and a 4mm hook. I changed colour on each round.

Pattern in UK terms. 

Make 2. 

Chain 5, join with slst into first chain to make a ring.
Round 1: ch3, 11tr into ring and join with a slst into ch3. 12 st. Fasten off yarn.
Round 2: join in new colour between any two stitches- not into the top of the st. Ch3, 2tr into same space. Miss two st, 3tr into space 5 times, join with a slst into ch3. Fasten off. (18 st.)
Round 3: join new colour into any st. ch2, then work a 2tr bobble st into same st. Next st, work a 3tr bobble st, and repeat in every st round, join into ch2 and fasten off. (18st).
Round 4: join new colour in between any stitch. Ch 3, 1 tr into same st. Skip a st, 2 tr in next st, all around, join with a slst into ch3 and fasten off.
Round 5: join new colour in between 2 tr st, ch2, 1htr into same st. Skip a st, 2htr into next st, work all the way round and join with a slst into ch2, fasten off. 
To fasten the ends off I just knotted both ends together of each round tightly and cut off the excess. As the inside of the bauble is not going to be seen again or moved around I’m sure this will be sufficient! 
Sew the two halves together using a couple of whip stitches, then pop a bauble or polystyrene ball into one half and continue to whip st round joining the two halves together. Fasten yarn off and add a hanging loop. Hang on your Christmas tree and admire! 

To make a larger bauble 9cm diameter add the following 2 rounds after round 4:

Round 5: join new colour between two tr in the same st, work between st not into the top, ch 2, 2tr bobble st into the same space, ch1, then work a 3tr bobble st in between the next two tr from round 4. Work all the way round and join using a slst into ch2. Fasten off.

Round 6: join new colour into any st, ch1, dc into every st round, fasten with a slst.
Continue with Round 5 as Round 7.

I couldn’t resist making a mustard and grey bauble! 

Note: I hope you enjoy making your bauble. If you have any questions about the pattern please ask and I will help! If you make one and want to share it, tag me @shirleyrainbow_tb on Instagram, I’d love to see! Or pop a picture on my Facebook page, link in the sidebar. 

Please credit Shirley Rainbow if you make these baubles to sell, thank you 😊 

November Craft catch up

Well it’s the end of November and I feel rather odd, because even though I’ve been a busy bee, making hand made gifts for as many people in my large family as possible, I can’t show any of them! (Or I could, and just spoil Christmas Day….!! ) 
One thing I can share is the gift I sent as part of a crafty gift swap I joined on Instagram, hosted by Miki of Set Free My Gypsy Soul. I was partnered with Kate of Jelly Bean Junction who is a very talented crocheter. After a fair amount of Internet stalking I decided what I would make… A little badge hand embroidered with the ‘sign of the Deathly Hallows’ as Kate is a Harry Potter fan, some crocheted tree decorations, and, my favourite, an embroidered wall decoration with a crochet frame. I really enjoyed making and wrapping this all up.


Then, last week I received my gift, from Norra Jones, of Oh Sew Norra. It was the most delicious smelling parcel I’ve ever opened, courtesy of a Christmassy Yankee candle, and some delicious gingerbread men (which my children and I scoffed before I took a photo- oops!) Inside was a super cute crocheted gingerbread man, a soft ball of sparkly red yarn, some hot chocolate stirrers and a gorgeous crocheted bauble, which turned out to have a chocolate orange inside! A truly great parcel of goodies.


In other Shirley Rainbow news I’ve popped a couple of new Christmas things in my Folksy shop, this hand embroidered Gingerbread House hoop art, 


and a crocheted Star Garland. All orders placed during December will come with a little crochet star decoration and a Christmas Santa chocolate or two!

Teresa xx

Time for the festive C word…

Hello! The weather here in the UK has suddenly got a lot colder, and everything suddenly seems very Christmassy, including my online shop!


I had my first customer order of Christmas decorations at the weekend, and I realised it was probably about time I shared some of the handmade Christmas decorations I have in stock.

The link to my Christmas collection can be found here. 


I’ve really enjoyed using a mint, red and cream colour palette for most of my Christmas range this year. I designed my teddy decorations a few years back and they have been popular every Christmas since (I was asked to make them for two TV celebrities two years ago, that was very exciting!).  I will also hand stitch any initial on the back of teddy’s jumper, just leave me a message at checkout. 

I use wool felt for my decorations and they are all sewn by hand. My crocheted decorations are made using a lovely 100% Cotton yarn. Everything is packaged up in cute striped paper bags before sending in the post. 


More pics, including some of the olive green decorations. 

I’ve still got a couple weeks of bits to photograph and list in the shop, fingers crossed I get some decent light over the next couple of days to take pictures! 

Teresa xx

www.folksy.com/shops/shirleyrainbow

Mostly orange and mustard

Hello everyone, 
It feels like ages since I’ve stopped by in blogging world. I’ve had a few blog ideas but no ‘real’ time to write a post… Sadly the exciting plans I had for all my free time seems to have vanished in a puff of smoke. I honestly don’t know where the mornings go, and the evenings are eaten up by homework, reading, spelling practice and mild exhaustion! 

I’ve been busy making stuff though, trying to play around creatively, and also trying to learn a few new dressmaking skills. I have started trying to make clothes with jersey and knits, so I can make full use of my overlocker. I made this sweatshirt out of the gorgeous orange space dyed jersey I bought at the Handmade Fair from the Eternal Maker.  I made it using a free pattern from It’s Always Autumn, which I found via Pinterest. It was very easy to make, even for a jersey newbie like me. I added a little length to the sleeves and shortened the bodice. Raglan sleeves are great! However due to my square shoulders I did have to add a little dart on the shoulders, to take the fullness out, but I don’t think it’s too noticeable. It’s also cosy and warm and very orange!! I used a twin needle to finish the cuffs and hem off- that was another new skill! I’ve nearly made a dress out of jersey, but VERY annoyingly I broke my twin needle before it was finished. So I may have learned a new skill but I still forgot to take the pins out as I sewed…

Another new winter wardrobe item, I’ve sewn a cord skirt with a buttoned front fastening, using the instructions from Tilly and the Buttons Picnic Blanket Skirt. It sticks out a little bit, which I rather like, and it only used one and a half metres of fabric (from Guthrie and Ghani, sadly no longer in stock) and is going to be very cozy in winter too. Just not to be worn with the orange sweatshirt me thinks. 

I went to IKEA for breakfast the other day after the school drop off (£1.50!! You can’t go wrong!) with another mum. Obviously we had to have a look around afterwards and spotted this amazing cat fabric, which I made into an envelope cushion for her. It only took half an hour so was rather satisfying and quick. 


During a sort out I found a freebie paper-cutting gift that came with my Mollie Makes magazine a while ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing this piece. It’s a bit tough on the fingers, but very absorbing to do, I might have a go at designing one myself. One day! 


I’ve also started making a couple of Christmas gifts, which I can’t share here for obvious reasons; I think I’ve now got at least 20 projects on the go. I keep telling myself that I need to finish things off but then some lovely new yarn/fabric/ideas come along and I just have to start something new. I drive myself mad! 


Thinking of new fabric, look at this vintage barkcloth I bought from eBay! I love it! No idea what I’ll make, suggestions welcome, it’s only 1m in length but it’s just fabulous and I had to buy it! Look at what those couples are up to…
Have a lovely crafty weekend
Teresa xx