Saturday, July 31, 2010

Handmade Christmas Challenge

As Tracey at Knicky Knacks has pointed out, there is probably only a couple more months before Christmas items begin to appear in the shops. When you are plannning on making ALL of your Christmas gifts, it's wise to begin early.

Hopefully by playing along with the Handmade Christmas Challenge, I'll be able to maintain some sort of creative Christmas momentum and get at least some of my Christmas gifts made before the week before Christmas!!

First on the list: Bucket Hats.
You can never have enough hats for kids I say, so I've been collected a stash of fabric with mostly non-directional prints to make a bunch of bucket hats as gifts. Thankfully we only really exchange gifts for children each year, which means I can be pretty wild about fabric choices.

As you can see I have the Make it Perfect Lazy Day hat pattern to work with. Hopefully sometime in the next month I'll make my a prototype hat before cutting into this stash and begin the hats for gifts.

Next on the list: Girly Kaftans or beach shirts

I think this pattern is just adorable!! It's a Sis Boom e-pattern, which I purchased on sale from Quilthome and as far as e-patterns go, this is probably the best I've ever seen. It's very detailed with over 40 pages of instructions and sizing charts, then each size shirt is drafted on its own which means you don't have to trace anything, you can just print, stick and cut. Better yet it is drafted to size 12, which means I should get alot of use out of it.

Each pattern also has a bunch of variations for hem length, sleeve type (short, cuffed, long) then specifically how long you want each sleeve (16 inches, 17 inches, etc.) - very very detailed.

So I've measured my two neices and printed off their patterns. Now I just need to decide which fabrics to use - I'm thinking the peach Amy Butler print (bottom left) for one and the Anna Maria Horner print (top left) for the other. I think the Jennnifer Pagaletti print (middle pink) will be a kaftan for Adele, which will possibly also be my prototype before I make the others.

Till next time....

Friday, July 30, 2010

Busy week, but still found time...

This week has been exceptionally busy!!

I started uni this week, my day care lady is on holidays - so no kid free time, husband got a new job, husband got walked from old job, mother in law in hospital again, rain, rain, rain, three hour blackout on Wednesday and just regular life with three little kiddies. But I've made it so far and am still here.

There has been a little creativity on the side too - I finished this dress on Tuesday night.

It was really simple and I love it. It is from Cynthia Rowley Simplicity pattern 2586. I made view A with a little length in the hem rather than the ruffle. It's made with a light weight black textured cotton, which is quite plain, but I think I might use some of my wilder fabric, like the picutred Anna Maria Horner fabric, to make a belt.

Hopefully I'll steal a few moments today to get to Spotlight for some supplies - maybe some belt rings, a zipper for some new stretch linen shorts I'm planning, some buttons for the pants I finished two weeks ago and possibly some circular knitting needles (if I don't find any at the Op Shop).

I've also caved and bought a pattern that I've wanted since it's release and have begun making a new summer top.

This is actaully a test kaftan, which I'm making with some super light voile from Spotlight. I have some posh new fabric from the US including this awesome Anna Maria Horner voile which is set aside for my second kaftan should the first turn out!.

Bring on Summer!!

Now for the familiy:
Olllie dressed himself yesterday and specifically chose to wear this hat back to front.

James asleep on the lounge.

And cute little Adele.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fabric love... always!

Part of being a sewer is always wanting fabric. It doesn't matter how much fabric you have, you generally could always do with more. I just received a nice shipment of fabric and haven't even cut into it, but am still dreaming of my next purchase. I'm particularly in love with the Matisse range of fabric by Alexander Henry

I just love, love, love both of these prints - the colours, the design, everything! I even know a thing or two about Matisse thanks to those two arts subjects I had to do earlier this year and that hasn't turned me off!

Thankfully this range isn't available until September, giving me a good few months to try to use the fabric I've just received before trying to buy this. If I can snare some of this when it's released I'm sure I could make a couple of awesome dresses.....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My kids are orphans...

Well at least that's what the camera tells me.

Does anyone else find that they never seem to be able to get photos with their children? I think I have only half a dozen photos of Adele and I - that's all!

So I did try to get some, but without any help from hubby, this is what I got...

Now I have 8 photos with Adele, but I don't think I'll be putting any of these up on the walls of my house.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ta Dah!

New dress!! Hooray!! 
I actually finished this on Thursday night, but didn't get a chance to photograph it. I'm super happy with how it turned out. I think it's nice enough to wear out at night, but also easy enough to wear during the day. I love the fabric sooo much and I have enough remaining to make Adele a dress, you know, so we can match :) I think I'm also going to make a belt to go with this, just incase I feel the need to add a little more shape.

The only modification I made to the pattern included adding 1 inch to each shoulder and facing seam. This made the arm holes a little larger and slightly dropped the neckline. I'm really happy that I did this as I think the dress does sit nicer at the front now.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Creative Space...

I wanted todays post to be a big reveal of my new dress, but alas, it is not.

You see I didn't follow the instructions when attaching the facing of the dress and serged the facing edge to finish it. Unfortunately this created a little too much bulk when stitching it down. So I spent last night unpicking the serged edge. Which, if you've ever unpicked a serged (overlocked) seam you'll know, is super fiddly and super time consuming work.

Here's the couch, or my creative space from last night. A dress in need of some attention, my much loved seam ripper (NOT!!) and a large pile of black thread.

Hopefully today I'll get a moment to press the facing and stitch it down, then I just need to hem it and I'll be done. Unfotunately the smallest member of the family is still sick, so all of this will depend on her state.

For more creative spaces, head over to Kirsty's.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just a peek...

Progress is being made. Just a little slower than I planned.

Unfortunately the smallest member of the family has a nasty tummy bug. Poor baby Dell!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fast and simple sewing

New black stretch denim jeans for Adele. These were made with the arms from my disaster dress and drafted with a pattern from Ottobre 3/2010.

They honestly took about 20 mins to make from pattern trace to snipping threads.

Super cute and super comfy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Arrgghhhh! Me hearties!!

What to wear to a pirate party??
Why pirate clothes of course. I stayed up a little too late last night pulling these together for a good friends 5th birthday.

Not sure how authentic these designs are, but they are piraty.

I even made an outfit for Adele

Friday, July 16, 2010

More baby clothes.

This new blouse for Adele was finished last night. All it needed was buttons and a few hand stitches, which I was able to do while watching 'How I met your mother' (the most seriously under-rated show on the planet!).

The great thing about this little top is that I can put it over some of our 'not so nice' hand-me-down onesies to hide their super stretched necklines.
This design is from my new favourite Ottobre magazine, a back issue, Spring 2008.

Until recently this issue was sold out and completely unable to find anywhere. Thankfully the peeps at Ottobre must have realised people still wanted it and reprinted it a couple of months ago.

(Note: if you know someone who subscribes to Ottobre they can order back issues and pay no postage. It's not too often you get free postage on anything esp from so far away. This mag only cost about $13 because of this)
Here's the pattern page I've worked from and the fabrics that I chose to use. The blue spotty fabric is a Valorie Wells pattern. I'm yet to make the pants but do have some lovely pink corduroy, which is pictured, that I picked up from cheap fabric shop for $3 per meter. I bought about 4 meters, so Adele will have a dress made from it every year for at least the next 4 years!!

Here is the dress with the blouse as shown in Ottobre, I think it looks pretty good together, so good that we will be wearing this to the park today.

Now with all this girl sewing, you'll be pleased to hear that I do have a bunch of boy sewing in queue. In particular, these cute pants from the same Ottobre magazine.

They are a slim cut, with faux tab pockets and have a side zipper. I went to the op shop on Wednesday to pick up some zippers, so now I need to order some fabric.  I really want to make them with some of this Riley Blake fabric.

Yes it's super wild, but my boys are still young enough to pull it off and probably think they are super awesome. Anyway, I'm nearing the end of my paypal money, so should probably put in an order soon...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Creative Space...

In my creative space today - a demonstration.

How far can a half yard cut of fabric go??

Sometimes when you REALLY love a fabric, you really can maximise it's use, but with garment making this can be tricky. Quilters can use small bits of fabric, but garments take more. When I purchased my awesome Anna Maria Horner fabric from Quilt Home for my soon to be completed awesome Socialite dress, I took advantage of paying for a flat rate envelop and filled every last millimeter with as much fabric as they would let me buy - as you do.

In my selection of random fabrics was this cool Joel Dewberry fabric, it's from his newish Modern Meadown collection.
I must say I didn't think too much about it when I included it in my cart, but when it arrived I was taken! The lovely violet/berry colour looks lovely with the stone and leaf green colour (sorry I'm not too good at describing colours!)

I only received the fabric about a week ago, but already it's gone - used on three items and all look pretty darn good if a do say so myself.

First - this skirt I blogged about a couple of days ago. Here the fabric was used for the waistband facing, tab facing and hem facing - just a small hint of colour on an otherwise plain skirt.

Second - I made this adorable little blouse for Adele. I made a similar one for her with some Jennifer Pagaletti fabric which arrived in the same shipment. This is just a simple little design, but so so adorable.

It buttons down the back and has the most adorable trim around the sleeves.
Third - Another item for Adele. I little dress from my new favourite  issue of Ottobre, Spring 1/2008.

This little linen dress is just sooo soooo devine! It's still a bit big for my tiny little girl, but will definately fit her this summer.
So there - three garments using fabric from the same half yard cut of one fabric and what's left???
Just this small scrap..... surely I can find something to use this on!

For more creative spaces head over to Kirsty's

Lastly, a pic of the kids from this morning for the family....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Built by Me!!

After yesterday's mamoth post outlining my wardrobe plans and with a whole day with no kids, I decided to get cracking on something useful.

So after finding a zipper in my stash, I began the Built By Wendy slim leg pants.
So I measured, traced, cut, read, scratched head, read, googled, sewed, un picked, sewed, ironed and sewed and voila! New pants!

They worked out and I think they are very very wearable and not at all 'handmade' looking. I also only had to make a few modifications to the pattern to get them to fit nicely - simply taking in the sides a little and also at the centre back.
They were certainly challenging, but very very enjoyable to make. The hardest part was trying to put the zipper in as I'd never actaully sewn a functioning fly zipper. I stayed up till after 11pm last night trying to finish them, but still needed a little time today to top stitch the waistband.

They are not yet hemmed and require buttons which I'll have to buy, but I am really really happy.
They even look alright around the bum, which I was worried about.  I can't believe I'm posting a photo of my bum online!! but it is an important thing when making pants that they do fit there.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that. I might go and cut out my Socialite dress now...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Looking to the future - my wardrobe plans

Following on from yesterday's post regarding my recent progress in sewing a new wardrobe for summer, today I'll outline some of my plans which will hopefully provide some wearable results. I don't know if all of this will be made, but if I make just a portion I'll be in a better position than I currently am.

Now I know I whined a little in my last post about my lack of funds to buy a new wardrobe. So most of these plans will be made with my existing patterns and fabric. When new or specific fabric is required for a pattern in all liklihood it will be purchased with a secret stash of funds I've accumulated over the past month or so. Heard of my pal called pay?? Yeah yeah of course you have, but my husband doesn't get it.  I've not been spending any of the money I've accumulated in paypal for a while now, so have a decent stash which will be used exclusively for buying fabric - yay!! I just need to plan all of my purchases as much as possible so I can maximise its value. This is probably also why I need to write my plans, so I don't waste any purchase.

Anyway, here's my current plan or wishlist!!

Echino A-Line skirt

You just just can't deny how flattering and wearable A-Line skirts are can you? So taking inspiration from here I'm hoping to make myself a simple skirt in Echino linen cotton blend fabric. I'll need to buy fabric for this, but this fabric design is still available at a few places and they do take paypal. This fabric is particularly nice as it has a dark base colour, which is just soooo much more practical and wearable than white base colours. 
The patterns options I have are New Look 6274, which I've had for a while and has been used a bit or this other skirt from an old Burda magazine... not sure if the busy fabric will need a waisband with belt loops though, so I might stick to the New Look pattern.

Built by Wendy tee (Simplicity 3835)

Moving on from this dress disaster outlined yesterday, I'm keen to use this pattern and make something wearable.
I love how the pattern is used here and would love to use a lightweight double gauze like this Nani Iro fabric, but it's super exey. I might try to make it first out of something in my stash before I outlay big funds on this swanky fabric.

Built by Wendy pants (Simplicity 3850)

Now I've never made myself a pair of pants, but I guess there's no time like the present to try. This pattern was bought recently for 50% off and I think the style will work for me, they have slash pockets, faux tab pockets at the back and a slim cut leg.
The fabric I have set aside is a linen cotton blend in a brown/charcoal colour with a bit of a lighter colour texture to it. I purchased the fabric from a cheap store for $4 per meter, I just need to pick up a zipper. As all of  my sewing plans are dresses, skirts or tops, lets hope this one works so I can wear pants occasionally if I need!

The floaty dress (Simplicity 2360)

Now I don't have this pattern yet and there are no reviews yet to check if it's OK, but I just love it!

I'm waiting for it to go on sale to buy it, but already I have the fabric set aside for it. It's a lovely lightweight textured black cotton which I picked up for $2 per meter. I'm not going to post a picture of the black cotton, cus that's just dumb. Once Simplicity patterns go on sale, this dress will be on the top of the list!!

The summer kaftan (New Look 6803)

This pattern of mine has been used and used. I originally made a bunch of maternity tops with view A cut down to a top and modified the front pleats from 3 large to 6 small ones which reduced builk at the front.
Now I'd love to make this Make It Perfect Kaftan in the fabric they use, but again, funds for a new patterns are tight, so I'm going to make do with what I have.
I'm going to try to make view D and keep the sleeves a little more trim and the hem shorter. I already have some voile set aside for this project, which is pictured, but this project isn't not too high on my list of priorities, so we might not hear about it for a while.

The summer dress (New Look 6803 as above)

Like I said I've used this pattern before and this time I'd like to make the view A as a dress. Not sure what fabric, but I'm scouting online for a quilting weight cotton with a dark base colour. I'll keep you posted.

Cynthia Rowley Tunic (Simplicity 2586)

I'm hoping to make view D. Again I'm not sure of the fabric, but hopefully I'll find something cool in my travels. As it's a pretty simple tunic with a gathered neck, it'll probably look OK in a bold, bright fabric. I might even use some of that aqua voile pictured, but not sure yet.

The other patterns pictured are just some of the ones I have lying around, not sure if they'll get used, but i'll keep them out just incase I get some inspiration.

Project Runway shift (Simplicity 2725)

Now this is a pretty simple shift dress with a few decorative options for the sewer to choose. I'm probably a little too conservative to choose a neck flouce or collar, so plan to make the plain shift with cap sleeves.

Hindsight tells me a should have used my black denim from the disaster dress to make this, but I didn't. I think I'll still try to make it out of a really nice stretch denim like the disaster dress, but will hold off buying the fabric until I've knocked some of these projects off my list

So wrapping up, my plans include:
 - 1 pair of pants
 - 1 skirt
 - 3 dresses
 - 3 tops

I actaully don't think that's too much. None of the patterns are terribly difficult, so hopefully we'll see some results soon...

Oh and I mustn't forget the Socialite dress in my super swanky Anna Maria Horner fabric. I'll hopefully pop the fabric in the wash later today...