Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 25 - 28

More reverberating...

Day 25:  How will you be vulnerable?

How will you tend to your vulnerabilities, shield them, make them advantageous?

Um ick.  I don't know.  In a craft sense, I am vulnerable to overreach and try and do lots of things for other people (unrequested by them) when I should focus on some stuff I need to get done.  I don't know how much I want to really temper the instinct to make nice things for people who will like them, but I do want to become more targeted to ensure I make things people will appreciate and get my stuff done too.  My planning lists may help with that, plus working more which will likely mean less time / energy to make stuff :(

Day 26:  How will you make time?


Seriously, I will have about the same or less time than in 2012.  I will make time by picking myself off the couch after the kids are in bed and doing some sewing / knitting. I will get in a few dedicated sewing days on annual leave days or by agreement with husbandio.  I will sneak in a bit with the kids "helping" or busy elsewhere in the house, though not much.  It isn't ideal but it works for me so far.

Day 27:  How will you honour your creativity?

I made a few patterns up from scratch last year - I would like to do more of that.

Day 28:  How will you overcome *those* fears?

Three things that daunted you in 2012 that you will defeat in 2013.

  1. Sewing bras
  2. Sewing well fitting pants
  3. Learning to pattern draft.
They aren't really fears so much as skills I want to master fully.  I will do this by trying and failing, asking for advice, lots of googling and buying books and patterns until I get it right.

More soon :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Planning, organising, planning, procrastinating? Knit and Crochet

So everyone is doing this in bloggyland - sorting, destashing, putting their house in order ready for the new year.  Agonising over projects unfinished, celebrating those that were, making ready to start over with new plans.  In among all this resolution and reflection I am noticing, there is not so much of the doing.

Before you get all excited that I might be posting some finished projects (and in fact I do have at least two to post but no pictures yet...) this is also my list for next year :)  I too, am doing very little and thinking should-have, could-have, would-have, will-do thoughts.

This list is for knitting / crocheting items only (not much of that here recently) and is grouped by already started, already planned (i.e. pattern / materials purchased) and things I want to make but which aren't yet underway much, if at all.  As ever, the things in the final group are the ones that tempt me most...hence the hefty UFO list :)  I pretty much have the patterns for all of the list so the temptation is tricky to avoid :)

Things already underway (oldest to youngest):

Simple Crochet Shrug:

I started this in October of 2011 and it's only about 6 inches deep.  I stopped because I wanted to try folding a piece of cloth or knit fabric from my stash to see if I actually liked this pattern and it suited me...and I still haven't got around to it.  I am making it in a lovely marl grey which will look a LOT nicer than this :)  I should probably do the test described then get on and finished it!!

Marcus' jumper:

I reached the seaming point with this one and then realised we were deep into spring and my endeavours were pointless for this year at least.  I was so cross I abandoned it completely at that point.  I think it will still fit him this winter (I always make stuff a bit bigger) so I should get on and finish it before we reach another winter!

Purl Bee Socks:

I have started these in a lovely variegated sock yarn from my local awesome wool store (The Stash Cupboard) which is reds and deep reds and almost purples.  I have done about three inches of 8 needed on the first sock.  Sigh.  Not sure I am cut out for knitting socks but I like the idea so should press on :)

Oscar's Cardigan:

This is a pattern from a Sirdar booklet (can't find a picture) in a lovely denim blue colour for a little boy born quite some time ago now.  I also abandoned this one when I realised spring was upon us, though I had only done a small amount of the back panel.  It was going to be a size 000 (newborn to three months).  I think I need to buy more wool (with limited chance of finding the wool in the right dye lot) and then start again.  I have been so embarrassed by not making this yet that I have been avoiding Oscar's mum, which is rather stupid and childish, but there we go...

Things planned / materials bought:

Chaleur Top:

This is the one I am ITCHING to start.  I have the wool (a kind of dusky blue) and I can't wait!

Scallop of the Sea Clutch:

This is other one I am ITCHING to start :)  I don't really have all the stuff for this, though I might if I dig in the stash.  I think it's worthy of a special shopping trip to pick exactly the colours I want.  Which means some other projects to stash bust first - as there is no room at the inn, fabric/yarn storage wise...


I have some self striping pink and orange yarn for this but am not sure it's the right thing.   Regardless I love these...

Shibui Cowl or Gaptastic Cowl:

Which one would you pick?

Starflower Hat:

I bought and made this pattern ages ago but mucked it up a bit then realised my error.  I couldn't easily rectify it so wanted to start again - but haven't yet.

Rugs or Cushions for the kids:

I love this owl and these pirate granny squares.

I think probably a cushion rather than a blanket, particularly for the pirate ones.  I don't like them as much as the owl ones but Marcus was born on talk like a pirate day so it's kind of mandatory.

Blankets for Me:

I have had my eye on this ever since they first posted it.  I might want to wait and buy the wool at Purl Soho (when I go on my mythical honeymoon to NY...) as that would make it pretty special.  Plus it's a big project and I *might* have enough on.  It deserves coverage though as it has remained a constant on my to-do list.

So that's it for knitting and crochet (until I find 100 other patterns...!).  I didn't list these in the order I plan to tackle them; I don't really know that yet - except that I really really should finish those that are nearly done first I think!!  (Stop laughing...)


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 20 - 24 (Catch up!)

More catch-up for Reverb '12:  this is days 20 - 24.

Day 20:  What was lost and what was found?

Boring answer but I managed to lose a top I bought.  I wore it once or twice and then it just disappeared.  I have been waiting to happen upon it in a bag and so far, nothing.  This was back in April but am still shitty about it :)  I "found" lots of lovely fabric this year...I have it all safe in the cupboard, which is rather bursting.  I am of the opinion that I maybe shouldn't "find" any more until I get some of the existing stuff used!

Day 21:  What's on the dream list?

In 2012 I ticked a few things off the sewing / crafting dream list.  In particular the FBA and starting to make clothes for me in earnest.  2013 has various sewing dreams (bras, more knits, well fitting trousers) and also my honeymoon dream - five nights in NY.  I am not sure we will go this coming year, and perhaps we shouldn't, given I am likely to "find' more fabric there :)

Day 22:  Your most important gift?

The best received in 2012 was probably the kindle, the best given was probably the dress I made for Gemma (in sewing terms) or the quilts I made for mum/Kelly.  Or the money to MSF - probably that!  I am hoping to give a lot less in terms of gifts for people that I feel I have to make in 2013 and a lot more of time sewing with other people and making gifts I want to make.

Day 23:  What will you let go of?  Three excuses which are holding you back...

Another difficult one for me.  I am trying to answer most of these questions in sewing / craft terms so  I guess  not having enough time, not being organised (already addressing that one...see later post) and not knowing how (the internet will tell me!).

Day 24:  The most important habit you will cultivate?

Finishing projects completely and then putting things away when I have finished a project...rather than leaving the thing out with only binding to sew down or a button to sew on, or finishing it off but then leaving all the spare stuff and scraps in a bag for months...

More soon x

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 14 - 19

And here I am catching up again.  This time of year we can't really expect much more I think :)

Day 14:  What was the path that brought you here?

I find a lot of these questions very hard to answer.  I don't tend to be this introspective and don't really have easy answers.  I guess for me last year the path was one which I didn't really think about and which flew by without me even noticing (we are in December but it feels like about April to me) .  The additional explanation on this one question was what was the most important thing you learned in 2012...I guess from the sewing / knitting perspective I learned not to put myself under too much deadline pressure.  There were a couple of ambitious projects earlier in the year which I managed to get done but which I really should have abandoned or not attempted in the timeframe :)  From the sewing for myself perspective I learned I really need to consider what I will wear and what is comfortable...

Day 15:  What tingled your tastebuds?

This one is easy - my friend gave me River Cottage Everyday and it's great.  Particularly the broad bean hummus yum yum yum!

Day 16:  Who inspired you?  What gifts did they give you and how will you carry these forward to 2013?

My sewing teacher lady (Jill at the Patchworks) inspired me (read kicked my sorry behind) a couple of times to slow down and do things properly.  If I carry that forward I will have a much happier 2013 :)

Day 17:  How did you make a difference?  Think of a person you made a difference too - how did this change you and what do carry forward to 2013?

I guess my friend Lis got into making things this year mostly because of me, so that's pretty awesome.  It made me realise how much I already knew and I hopefully could carry that confidence forward to 2013.

Day 18:  The colour of you?  What colour represents the year, what do you want more of in 2013?

Hmm, this is another of those questions where I am supposed to say something like "red, because I have had a passionate, firey year" but what I really want to say is that I sewed with a lot of blue.  I am a bit too literal for this sort of question...For 2013 (in very literal terms) I want to introduce some cushions with colour to the living room, though I haven't decided on the colour yet.  I have some Maze and Vale off cut prints which will be the fronts, so I guess the backs will be complementary to those...

Day 19:  How did you nourish yourself?What self-care practices will you take forward to 2013?

Again, I feel literal here.  I had lots of massages to try and keep my neck and back in vague working order.  My craft plans for 2013 might derail that so I guess upping the yoga/pilates/stretching and keeping the massages might help!

So that was Day 14 - 19.  I am not sure I am fully cut out for Reverb '12, though I like the notion of taking some time for considering how the year went and what I want to do next year, particularly from the craft perspective (see the post coming soon with the UFO list in it!!!)

See you tomorrow with more...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Reverb '12 - days 9 - 13

Continuing catch up from yesterday :)

Reverb days 9 to 13 follow here...

Day 9:  Your favourite book in 2012?

Non-craft was Hillary Mantel's Bring up the Bodies [note:  you must read Wolf Hall first...].  Craft was probably Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.  I don't love all the patterns or especially rock that style, but the book is a good all round technique bible and thought / inspiration fest.

Day 10:  Your greatest risk in 2012?

I don't know about this.  Do I take risks?  Note to self:  consider more risk taking in 2013...

Day 11:  What was music to your ears?

The sound of my biggest small person reading aloud.  The sound of my old Singer sewing.  That thing sounds wonderful :)

Day 12:  What were your most intense emotions?

In a list:  Happy (at home), Tired (at work), Hot (on days over 30 degrees), Tired again (at home),  Happy (at home).  2012 has not been an emotional rollercoaster - my life is good, though not without it's tiredness and frustration.  I have control and means and support.  So mostly, happy.

Day 13:  What was your favourite photo of you?

Away on holiday in Swansea with my favourite people.  I look like I am smiling, but I am actually saying hurry the fuck up because my face is burning :) Also, there is white wine :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Reverb '12 - days 4 to 8

I  might have missed a few days of Reverb 12 but I have been rather busy...yet to come:

  • Finished Washi (mightily modified)
  • Finished matroyshka felt christmas tree ornaments
  • Won a pattern pyramid thing 
  • Made a quicky fold down waist skirt
  • Went to Melbourne with my husband and no kids, with a little fabric shopping thrown in :)
More on all of the above shortly...

Meanwhile, that commitment I made to Reverb 12 has been on my mind, if not on my blog.  I have been thinking a lot about what I want to change next year to feel better about the things I am doing, and also about the things I am not.  I am likely to work more days next year (when to a degree I would like to work fewer) so I have consider the next year and what I want out of it more carefully - precious sewing time just got more precious!

So...I have day 4 to day 13 to catch up on.  I thought that was worthy of a split post, so this will be day 4 to day 8 :)

Day 4:  How will you celebrate you, this festive season?

Interesting question. I am taking a nice chunk of time off over Christmas and I will celebrate me by spending some of it doing what I want to do and also what I need to do.  I want to hang out with the kids and do some sewing and some gardening and some drinking of white wine.  I need to spend some time planning and preparing for next year, making sure I have routine enough to cook, clean, exercise and have some time for me (as well as sew, look after kids, spend time with husband and work!).

Day 5:  What was your dream destination in 2012?

My dream destination in 2012 was New York, for my overdue honeymoon.  I didn't get there, but the time isn't quite yet.  Maybe next year, but maybe the year after.  My son was 4 months old when we married in 2009, so no honeymoon then; I would like 5 nights so need to be sure the dudes are ready for us to be away that long.  I can dream long :)

Day 6:  What did you learn in 2012?

I learned how to do an FBA, which might be the single most important sewing lesson I needed to learn ever :)  I also learned how much my kids can learn.  This year my daughter learned to swim and to read.  INSANELY amazingly cool.  Fuck I wish I learned that fast still :)

Day 7:  What will you take with you into 2013?

My enormous boobies.  Seriously.  From the crafting point of view, they are my Everest and K2 and they rule the sewing I want to do in 2013.  I started 2012 wanting to learn to make bras (oh...the bras I will make!) and I only just cut one out...last night.  I suspect the bra making journey will be a 2013 mission :)

Day 8:  Your most important relationship that you fostered in 2012?

I took this to mean new to 2012. I am super excited to have an answer to hand.  Actually, I have two.  In person, I met Josie through Brown Owls, Hobart - she is English like me, has kids of similar ish ages (a bit younger than mine) and is super cool.  I "met" Amanda (Ellieboo) via the blogtastica, she is in Australia but is English like me, has a kid of similar age and seems super cool.  I got one online and one offline and am pretty stoked with that :)  

More tomorrow with days 9 - 13.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Reverb 12 - joining in again (days 1-3)

I seem to have a thing for joining in with Kat from I saw you Dancing.  This time she is hosting Reverb '12, the idea being that you use December to reflect on the year that has been, and start planning for the next year.  I wouldn't usually enter this as I tend to focus mostly on the sewing/crafting side of things, but I decided to give a whirl anyway.

I am not likely to post every day (though I enjoyed doing so for Blogtoberfest) but might try and catch up roughly weekly or perhaps twice a week.  I will centre my responses on the crafty side of life where I can I think - makes it more in tune with what the blog is about and also it is an area where I need to take stock of what I am doing and why, plan for next year etc - so it fits nicely!

The first three days have questions and answers for me as follows:

How are you starting December?

Perhaps not surprisingly, lamenting/wondering where the year went.  Craft-wise, I started the year with a resolution to try my hand at bra making, and I still have that resolution.  I think I will start by making the list of all the UFOs and planned projects and work out what I really want to get done in the short, medium and long term.  Then try and stick to it...hahaha!

What was your most significant spend in 2012?

Sewing wise there wasn't really a single big spend.  My most useful spend was a pressing ham (about $20).  My most useful (amazing) non-spend was an overlocker, which my friend just gave to me.  My biggest single spend would have been a new (rather large and suitable for sewing...) dining table; except Freedom can't get their act together and ever get the damn thing in stock.  I dread to think how much I have spent on fabric, even though most of it was on sale.  Happily I don't tally that up or keep receipts or whatever so I can't even guess!  Maybe I should do that in 2013?  Shudder...

What do you really wish for in 2013?

To get a grip on all the things (kids, school, washing, lunches, sewing, UFOs, clutter piles, dog walking, exercise) enough that I can let go a bit and stop always feeling like I should be doing something else.  I think it would make me a much better parent and partner, and probably a much better sewer - as I wouldn't be rushing and flitting from project to project.  I feel like one of those "how to do ten minutes a day and have an organised life" things might help me...but it doesn't seem much like letting go!  I guess it would stop me having to think about it all :)

Well that was interesting!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dumb and Dumber - or how not to make a Washi Dress...

[Note that I believe all the dumbness in this post is to do with my newbie status as pattern adjuster, some carelessness, some overconfidence and some just plain idiotic moves - not the Washi pattern!  I found the pattern itself really easy to follow and sew; and if you don't totally screw it up then it's quick to sew too!]

So like everyone else that moves, I really liked the look of the Washi dress / tunic.  I bought the pattern and then ummed and ahhed about the FBA part.

Dumbness #1:
Clearly, I have to accept that I always require an FBA.  Why would I think otherwise?  I guess partly it was the measurements on the pattern; but the advice was clear and for my circumstances, an FBA was needed.  So here is attempt 1 - it was supposed to be a muslin and then I started loving the fabric was gutted when it didn't fit.

Dumbness #2:
Making a muslin out of a fabric I liked, then being crapped off when it didn't fit.

Mmmmm squeezy!

Happily my friend Danika selflessly stepped into the breach and took my ill-fitting muslin away and made it into a very lovely dress for her (I am not jealous...much!).

Then I got temporarily un-dumb (or indeed clever, as it is more commonly known).  I made a muslin of the bust area of the bodice.  Out of actual muslin.  Then I went a step further and bought some fabric I liked less than my next dress fabric, and made a sample top (without facings and so on).  Not pictured because I didn't get clever enough to remember to do that before I unpicked it to model the pattern pieces on...

Significant adjustments made in those muslins as follows:
  • FBA (a rather large one)
  • Dart repositioning
  • Addition of extra width at the side seams
  • Redfrafting of the front arm scye to be less gapey
  • A bit of additional length to front bodice (half an inch)
  • Remodel of dress front to fit the altered bodice piece
  • Two extra shirring lines (it just felt better)
  • About half an inch extra on the shoulders (both back and front, so nearly an inch)
  • Removal of significant amounts of the added width, once we were past my rib cage (I had a bit of a pregnancy tent going on, and am definitely not preggers!)
The picture below shows the extent of the adjustment - it's quite disturbing how much extra bodice there is, though some of that got removed again.

So after all that, I transferred my second (well, technically third) muslin make to a new pattern piece and felt very happy and virtuous with myself.

Dumbness #3:
Believing I was very clever to have muslined prolifically and all the hard fitting brain work was over.

So I set to work making my new dress in Valori Wells Nest fabric, which I got on special in a local quilt shop. I love the soft shade of blue and subtle print.

I laid everything out to make sure I had enough fabric, taking care to remember to make the new front skirt piece, which is of course a lot wider to match the new front bodice.  As I laid it out, I recalled how much of the additional fabric I allowed in the side seams had to be removed again on my brown spotty muslin tunic top version (not pictured, except when being cut out, above).  I decided an obvious rationalisation of the process of fitting while I sewed and re sewing and so on was to omit the additional width on the back bodice piece - because I didn't need that much additional width in the end (and I couldn't take it off the front piece easily without altering the bust area to be smaller).

Dumbness #4:
Not thinking about whether altering a side seam alteration, would result in a non-side side seam...

Yes, my hands are reaching around behind me there, to find the pockets which now live somewhere in the territory of buttock rather than hip.  While I am flexible and into yoga, I don't necessarily want to do a full back bend to put my hands in my pockets...

Dumbness #5:
Not remembering that I didn't remove the excess width at the side seam evenly along the dress length.
It's now too tight again across the chest, because I lost a good 1.5 inches there when I didn't add the extra width on the back bodice piece.

[Please note:  I am now swearing under my breath].

I didn't realise most of this until the dress was nearly finished (bar arm hole binding and hemming). I was kind of rushing as I realised that I had a good chance of finishing (being practiced after sewing this multiple times...) in time to wear this out for dinner with my girlfriends on Saturday night.

Dumbness #6:
Rushing it and totally and utterly fucking it up.

No other way to say this one.  Did you notice above (you may have been distracted by the dumbness of the pockets) that the bodice not only looked too tight but a bit off?

This is the (now unpicked) bodice piece folded in half.  See how the cut out bit is totally on one side of the centre front, rather than nicely straddling it?

Check it out again below, for full effect:

What the bejesus did I do here then?  It's so off, it's not even funny.

So all the crying and swearing aside...where to from here?

I just have to:
  • Either recut the bodice or make the cut out bit even somehow (it would be a lot bigger than in the pattern, but that might look OK and it's probably what I will try first).
  • Widen the bodice again at the bust to make up for not cutting the back bodice larger.  I think I will do this with a triangle / wedge of fabric as I don't really need to add the width back in on the rest of the side seam.
  • Sort out the pockets.  I likely want to remove some width from the front skirt (which got widened to match the front bodice).  So I will unpick the pockets and remove some of that width from the front piece only - hopefully I need to remove just enough to pull the side seams and pockets back to the side...If I need to remove less then I would have to insert into the other side and if I need to remove more, then I will need to unpick both front and back pockets and then resew once I have the right sizing.  I will need to do this bit first I think so that if I need to add fabric I can add a continuous strip with the bodice widening in point 2.
Phew!  It certainly takes a lot of effort to be dumb...

Wish me luck :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

FO - Go To Patterns Signature Dress sewalong

Sewing along with Amanda from Ellieboo again.

I have to say - I love this pattern!  It was pretty easy to follow and really easy to sew.

Looks good with a cardigan and is comfy and resilient enough for all sorts of play:

The most fiddly bit was sewing the pleats at the front and that was mostly my fault as I couldn't be bothered to change my foot, which would have helped heaps.

I used a zig zag stitch to hold the ribbing seam down. I would like to think of a different way to do this but think it looks fine this way too.  I think LLaydybird has a different way of sewing the Renfrew top neckline which is similar in construction, so I will revisit that before next time and see if that's applicable.

 I am still so impressed that I found matching ribbing in my local Spotlight which is usually so terrible it beggars belief...The only thing I would change on this pattern is the arm construction.  I would usually have made a seam first, then sewn the elastic into the casing.  The way this pattern does it, you sew the elastic into the sleeve casing and then sew the underarm seam.  This makes it a little more bulky (as you have to seam the elastic).  The way I would do it is more fiddly and more difficult but probably makes the end result less bulky at the arm cuff point - which might be important if your kid is fussy about things being smooth and comfy.  To be fair, mine hasn't mentioned this at all, so it's an extra step you could take or leave I think.

I used shirring on the waist (as per one of the instruction options).  I was doing to do 3 or even 4 lines for a more defined waist but it looked so good on either side of the blue stripe I left it at that.

Madam is pleased - apparently this is her doing a princess curtsey.  She gets her grace and elegance from me :)

Onward and upward!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Go To Patterns Signature Dress sewalong - mucho progress :)

After the fun of the frothy sewalong with Amanda, we decided to do another.  This time I picked the Go To Patterns, Signature Dress.

This pattern is great.  It's knits, which I love; it goes from 12 months to 12 years; and it has a heap of variations.  There are different sleeves, a hood, pockets, a tulle hem and waist elastic or shirring options.

Yesterday I pinned the pleats:

Then sewed them.  This was the most difficult bit of the dress I think - making sure these were even...

And I attached the ribbing to the neckline.

Then I got very cross with the overlocker, which wasn't playing nicely.  So I stopped.

This evening - my overlocker was in a better mood...or maybe I was.  I added the sleeves and shirred the waist.

I only did two lines at the waist, spanning either side of the blue band, because it looked good :)

Then I sewed up the sides:

And then I stopped.  I want to try this on the small person to check the fit before I finish the side seams.  Plus I have to decide whether to add tulle to the hem.  Any opinions on that one?

More once the fitting and decisions have happened!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Little Treasure Pocket Shorts

I cut these out during blogtoberfest (in fact during KCWC) but didn't quite finish them until the other day:

To be honest I wasn't wholly sure about the Treasure Pocket Pants from Sewing for Boys.  I don't like the fabric they were made from in the book (I don't know specifically why) and perhaps that coloured me a bit.

Instead of a contrasting fabric for the side panel I went for alternating the direction of the corduroy.  Then I added some bias trim leftover from a quilt for the hems, pocket inserts and waistband facing.

I used trousers which no longer fit me for this pattern, as well as the leftover quilt binding.  That made me pleased about how little they cost me (whatever the cost of the thread and elastic was only!).

I made two pairs:

One for Noah out of black corduroy with green thread and the orange trim:

And one for Marcus in beige corduroy.  For both, I alternated the waistband facing to the inside (on the original pattern it's on the outside) as I didn't like the outside waistband facing that much in the orange.

I tried them on Mr Marcus, who apparently was "dressed as Spiderman" (with a bin on his head...):

They fit fairly well - I intended them to be baggier style:

He quite likes the pocketses for his treasures:

And apparently it works well with his "Spiderman" hat/bin and whatever that is on his t-shirt...

Pretty pleased with this pattern - it was quick and well explained.  To make it into shorts, I just shortened the  original pattern.   To make the waistband on the inside, I just reversed the order of construction to match the other patterns in the book / the usual way of doing it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blogtoberfest (31) - The End! And My Centurian Post

I MADE IT!  Both to the end of Blogtoberfest and also to 100 posts!

100 posts really snuck up on me and it wasn't until a few days ago that I realised post 100 would fall on the last day of Blogtoberfest, which was pretty cool.

Blogtoberfest (with a little KCWC thrown in for good measure) was a pretty marathon effort and I really enjoyed doing it.  I got so much done!

I made some things from scratch:

  • Frothy sewalong with Amanda from Elliboo (Emmaline dress from Violet Fields Threads)
  • Pyjamas for James 
  • Birthday dress for Gemma
  • 20 minute skirt for Issy 
  • A pair of shorts each for Noah and Marcus (not yet blogged)
  • A washi dress for me, which didn't fit :(  more on that later when I redo the bodice!

I finished off the following:

  • Kinder Girls doll (I think that was finished in October)
  • Three pairs of pants
  • Disco Bot (not yet blogged)

AND I started but have not yet finished:

  • A new sewalong (Go To Signature dress) with Amanda - I have cut out so far
  • A hat for Issy 
  • A pair of knitted socks (purl bee pattern)

AND I hosted my first ever giveaway (which was posted today!).  AND I went away on a mini-holiday, complete with sunset :)

Pretty pleased with all that and also now very motivated in the sewing world, having seen how much gets done when I have a driving force.  Special thanks to Amanda for encouraging me into KCWC and for suggesting our first sewalong of many :)

I might not see you tomorrow (just for a change) but soon!  Off to make my finish by Christmas list :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blogtoberfest (30) - traps for young players

Okaaaaay.  So apparently replying to comments from within the blog doesn't necessarily generate an email to that person.  How weird is it that you can reply from email and it will email them but not from within the post so others can see it?  How stupid do I feel that I work in IT and apparently can't work out how to host a simple giveaway via a blog :)

So Milly still wins the Zakka Style book and hopefully she will get my email and be pleased :)  The original winner picked was a no-reply commenter anyway, so I was probably out of luck there either way...

Who knew this was so hard?!!

See you tomorrow - I can't believe I have (kind of sort of if you don't count a small lag and then a day with four posts) made it through Blogtoberfest!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Blogtoberfest (29) - on pinning...

So something which has intrigued me about the world of Pinterest is what gets the most repins when I pin it.  Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes I am late to the party and am just repinning what everyone else already has, and sometimes things surprise me.

I thought I would share my two most repinned pins, one made by me and the other not.

The first one was the Incredibles costumes I made for the kids:

I am totally surprised by this one as these costumes were stupidly easy to make (see here for detail).  I was pretty chuffed with how good they looked in them, but it seemed like such little effort that the numbers of repins surprised me.

The second one was not originally pinned by me, I just saw it and thought it was cute:

Apparently a lot of people found this cute!

See you tomorrow :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blogtoberfest (28) - the Signature Dress sewalong

So Amanda from Ellieboo and I are embarking on another sewalong as mentioned here.

I have already chosen my fabric, which is a jersey ponte from Spotlight.

Having whined to Amanda about never getting good enough range of choice down here in Tas to find things like coordinating or match rib...I of course also managed to score the perfect matching rib :)

So now I have to decide on the pattern options.  As you can see from below, there are many many options in making this one, all included in the main pattern, which is groovy.

I have chosen as follows:

...tunic or dress [dress]

...knee length or maxi [knee length]
...optional tulle at hem [maybe...]
...hooded or not [not]
...cap sleeve, short gathered sleeve, long layered sleeves [short gathered sleeve]
...shift, elastic casing at waist, shirring (I think) [probably shirring]
...kangaroo pocket or not [unsure - might cut out in contrast rib and see if that works?]

So there are the choices; a knee length dress with gathered sleeve and possible pocket.  That and trying to save the muslin non-fitting Washi in the fabric that I now love should keep me busy!  AND I am all caught up with Blogtoberfest (so we can pretend my mini-break blip never happened!!!).

See you tomorrow :)

Blogtoberfest (27 - late) - what I was making..!

One of the things I like most about sewing is doing it for other people.  In particular, kids seem to revel in the idea that you made something for them specially, without all the attendant worrying about whether they really like it and it's their style that goes with sewing for adults.  Kids just tell you if it's wrong - crushing though it is to hear :)

My cryptic post from the other day had to be cryptic so my friend Belissa didn't see what I was making her daughter for her birthday.  I had originally planned to make her a matching "Swansea" dress like the one I made for Issy, but I had a bit of a fail when I tried the bodice on her (just to check fit) and realised it wouldn't fit over her head.  To make it fit I had to unpick the front pleat (which was kind of the point of the dress) and then the neck would have been all swampy and large when on.

Rather than revisit the design, rework the dress etc, I chose just to abandon the bodice part (for now...) and make a different dress with the same fabric.  So here is Gemma's 4th Birthday Dress:

A circle skirt with ric-rac trim, attached to a (shop bought) t-shirt with yo-yo embellishment.

This is very similar in basic construction to Issy's birthday fairy dress, except that the skirt was a single layer of cotton and was finished with a ric-rac trim instead of the overlocker.

To make the dress I did the following:

...decided on the waist measurement.  This is not the measurement of the small person's waist, as this needs to have a fair amount of ease to allow the dress to be pulled on and off over the head - so the woven skirt part has to "stretch" as much as the t-shirt top.

...folded the fabric into four

...cut a circle skirt out (there are lots of tutorials on doing this, but basically you use Pi formulae to determine how many inches down to cut the circle - this is the radius, and then cut another circle down however much you want the skirt to be in length).

...came up with a cunning plan for an embellishment using the circle I cut out for the waist

...sewed ric-rac to the right side of the hem, then folded it under and top stitched it in place.

This is a great way to finish a circle skirt hem without an overlocker.  Hemming them the usual way (fold up, fold again, stitch) can be tricky due to the curve.

...I followed Heather Bailey's excellent tutorial on how to make a yo-yo

...found some cute buttons to finish it

...and sewed them onto a shop bought t-shirt (you may be able to tell which shop...)

...and I attached the skirt to the t-shirt with a long zig-zag stitch, stretching the t-shirt a little as I went to ensure there was enough give around the skirt attachment to make sure she can easily get the dress on and off over her head.  I finished the inside seam of the cotton part, and left the t-shirt reminder in there which kind of acts like a seam guard.

I was very very pleased with the results - in fact this might be one of the favourite things I have made.  I wasn't that in love with this fabric when I bought it cheap off a friend, which I why I made a "muslin" of the swansea dress out of it for Issy (below) but now I kind of love it.  It looks so good with the really strong navy of Gemma's dress t-shirt top.  I think the two dresses go great together too - as a same but not super matchy set of outfits for two friends :)

See you "tomorrow" for more catch-up for blogtoberfest!