Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Creative Space - more bonnets!

Bonnets, bonnets everywhere!!

My journey down Bonnet Lane has continued these past two weeks. I thought my design was quite final, but now I know there was a little more room for improvement and have added a soft elastic back to provide a little extra shape and comfort for babe.
So here it is, the final product - how adorable is this little bonnet!! Oh and the model is such a dream, well a teething monster at the moment actually. Can you believe an 11 month old can cut a molar!!!
Now we've been wearing our little bonnets almost every day and we are getting quite a few compliments and requests from others for one of their own. Up until recently I hadn't been selling garments anymore but, if there's anything that will change your mind, its people asking to buy an item off your daughters head!
Just last week at the park two dads seperately came and spoke to me about little Adele's bonnet! How awesome is that! I mean a dad, a man! My husband would never speak to another mum at a park, let alone inquire about an item of clothing!!
So you may notice, from the right of the screen, that I'm now selling these lovely bonnets. They can be made in three sizes (0-6 months, 6-12 months and 12-24 months) and can be custom ordered - some people prefer a nuetral side, like the stone linen blend bonnets and some prefer bold fabric. They're not cheap, but they are fully reversible, so you are getting two bonnets in one, which I think is pretty good value.
So there you are, I'm selling again and not too soon. You see, my finger 'accidentally slipped' on the QuiltHome website this morning and I may have 'accidentally' purchased a bunch of Anna Maria Horner fabric on sale - 25% off - woo hoo!! Clearly she is my favourite fabric designer - I can't wait till  her Innocent Crush line is released in voile later this year - I have plans, oh yes! I have plans!
So does your little one need an awesome little wardrobe addition like a little betty bonnet? Do you have any friends having babies right now? They'd make a perfect gift...... alright end now.

For more creative spaces, if its being played today, head over to Kirsty's....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hits and misses

So as I mentioned in my last post, during last weeks Kids Clothes Week I found myself frantically sewing a frock for myself to wear to a Hens day. In fact, I managed to sew two frocks! One was a great hit, the other, a terrible failure.

I think I'll start with the hit, and it's a hit on so, so many levels!!

To begin with, I used a lovely, small piece of fabric already in my stash (yay!!!), I found some matching bias tape (which I'd inadvertantly purchased some time ago thinking it was black) and I managed to work with an existing pattern and style I'm comfortable with, to make this:

Pretty cool huh? The fabric is so, so awesome - I can't believe I hadn't used it earlier. It's a silk cotton blend from a cheap fabric shop, My Hung. I think it was only $8 per meter and I only purchased 1 meter - what was I thinking!!
Here's a close up of the fabric, it's dark navy with a teal, crayon-like leaf swirl and sillouettes of animals and leaves in beige. Can you see all the animals? fox, squirrel, bird, rabbit?? So cool!

I loosely based the dress on Simplicity 2586, the Cynthia Rowley tunic with no sleeves, but as I only had a meter of fabric, I didn't have enough to make bias trim for the neck and arms. I only just had enough for a front and back panel, and the pockets, though one is cut sideways but it's inside, so you can't see it.
Because I didn't have enough fabric to make the bias trim, I used commercial bias tape and undersewed it, like in this tutorial. I also pleated the front neckline as I knew this would come up a bit better when sewn down by the bias tape.

The red sash was made just as my friend was collecting me - eek! It's just a couple of strips of red fabric that just happen to perfectly match my red, strappy wedges! As you can probably tell I'm pretty happy with this dresss just a little more length in the hem to make it a little longer for teaching. The planets just seemed to align making it all work, which was really important given I finished the dress late the night before and the sash just as I was running out the door.

Unfortuanely this success didn't come without some cost. You see, I strayed quite considerably from my fabric comfort zone while trying to make Simplicity 2360. I've been dying to make this frock for a while, and even have fabric set aside, but when I saw a discounted, satiny border print at Spotlight on sale for $6 a meter I snapped it up thinking I might be able to get it to work. Boy was I wrong!
The dress actually photographs better than it looks in real life!! The red ribbon is just there so that it doesn't look like so much like a big sack. The fabric was TERRIBLE!!! Really tricky to work with and had a really unusual stretch (up/down, rather than side/side). I also only purchased 1.5 meters, meaning there was only just enough to cut the pattern pieces, not including the pockets, and meaning I wasn't able to add the flounces.
So while the fabric is terrible and the waist is too high for me, I think this pattern could still work and I will be trying it again, with the fabric that I've had set aside for a while now.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kids Clothes Week - the round up

Well, Kids Clothes Week didn't quite finish on the same note that it began on. While I did achieve some progress in the first few days, other priorities took over during the last few. You see I had to make myself a dress to wear to a friend's Hens day on Saturday, but when that frock turned out to be a disaster, I had to make another! Then the last two days of Kids Clothes Week were consumed  by attending the Hens and then suffering the consequences the next day. Aparently someone spiked my drink with wine!!

So the results from Kids Clothes Week (or half week in my case) include:
  • a half made Oliver & S Birthday Party frock,
  • two pairs of very, very simple boys shorts,
  • a finished Oliver & S Bubble dress
  • a sunsuit
  • a skirt and bloomers combo and
  • a half finished sunsuit

Seems pretty dismal to me!

I'll pull the two dresses out later today and iron them to document the massive failure and huge suceess of my own frock sewing from last week. Stay tuned - I'll be back tomorrow....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Can't blog now, I'm "babysitting"

Some 'friends' expect so much from you. Even though you have three small children and go to uni, they seem to think that you have ample time and energy to help them out.

Thankfully I am a generous person and have accepted the responsibility to "babysit" a friend's sewing patterns while she moves home.
Am planning and tracing now......yipee!!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kids Clothes Week - day 3 & 4: Oliver & S projects

I've had an Oliver & S couple of days on the sewing front. A little bit of UFO sewing and a little bit of long planned, long procrastinated sewing.

First up, I finally finished this beautiful Oliver & S Bubble Dress by sewing buttons and a little contrast satin ribbon.
I originally posted this dress earlier this month, but still hadn't finished the buttons and ribbon. Do you find that those small details often take the longest to do???
I just LOVE this dress and I think the scalloped edges are so so worth the extra time. I LOVE the little cap sleeves and the bubble, oh the bubble!! This is the 4th time I've made this dress and I hope to make it again. The ribbon is not in the pattern, I've just hand stitched it on, but I think it really sets off the design, giving a little more definition to the bodice.
The second Oliver & S projects is this lovely Birthday Dress. This project has been on the 'to do' list for about 12 months now!!

I originally purchased this pattern when I first found out Adele was a girl at my 20 week scan. I purchased the Heather Baily fabric as well and traced and cut the pattern. Then it sat there, and sat, and got put away, and forgotten, then pulled out again, then forgotten.......
I figured now was as good a time as any to knock it over and while I'm happy so far with the dress, it's not my best work. You see I skimmed the instructions, didn't mark my fabric where indicated and made a few mistakes early on that have impacted the whole dress look - well in my opinion anyway.

I still need to do some handstitching and attach the buttons, but it'll do.

Next time I make this dress I will pay attention to small details that the good folk at Oliver & S included for a reason!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Skirt with bloomers - a tutorial

No little girl should show her nappy, no matter how many cute Disney of Wiggley characters are featured on it. In winter it is easy to hide a nappy under tights, in summer you need baby bloomers.

This tutorial combines what I think is the best little baby bloomers pattern, the Bettsy Kingston Baby Ruffle Pants, with an awesome double sided, flippy skirt. By creating a double sided skirt you prevent the ugly fabric underside from showing while you little one moves around.

***Edit: Just a short note to say that I've just released my bonnet pattern via my Etsy shop for a super cheap $6. A fully reversible, retro inspired bonnet really completes this super sweet summer look. Get yours here. (OK, ad over)

To begin, you need to collect your supplies:
 - Bettsy Kingston Baby Ruffle Pants pattern
 - fabric and elastic for bloomers as per pattern specifications, I didn't add the ruffles, but you can if you want.
 - fabric for skirt outer, a strip approximately 9 inches by 30 inches should do
 - fabric for skirt inner or lining, approximately the same size as the outer
 - any embellishments you would like to add, here I've used ric rac

Step 1:
Cut out your bloomers and construct them as per the instructions up until you have finished the leg elastic and sewn the sides together. I find it a little easier to attach the leg elastic by following this tutorial on the Bettsy Kingston blog.

Step 2:
Measure your bloomers to determine the size of your skirt. I'm making the 12-24 month size.  As you can see, the waist on mine is about 14 inches wide or 28 inches around the whole waist. The length, top to bottom, is 9 inches.

Step 3:
Cut your skirt pieces. You will need one inner skirt or lining and one outer skirt, both are cut the same size.

The dimensions of these two pieces will be the width of you bloomers + 1 inch seam allowance (so mine will be 29 inches) by the height of the bloomers (from top to bottom, mine is 9 inches). You do not need to add any seam allowance to the height.
This photo shows the skirt pieces doubled over which is why they don't look as wide as they are. They are each 29 inches x 9 inches.

Step 4:
Begin sewing your skirt by aligning the bottom edge of both skirt pieces right side together and sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Iron the skirt open with the seam up towards the top of the skirt outer.

Step 5:
Now is the time to embellish. Naturally this step is optional, but I have so many little bits of trim lying around, I find it's good to use them when I can. Here I am attaching some purple ric rac to the seam by straight stitching it with my machine. By the end of this stage your skirt just looks like one large piece of fabric with ric rac through the middle, like the third photo.

Step 5:
With right sides facing, align the skirt sides, matcing the centre seam or ric rac and sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Step 6:
Time to turn your skirt right side around. The skirt outside should be on the outside and the inner on the inside, I like to leave a small amount of the inner fabric showing on the outside, like shown in this photo. Iron the skirt so that about 1cm of the inner or lining is visible on the outside.

Once you have ironed your skirt so that 1cm of the lining is visible on the outside you will notice that the top of the skirt outer and inner do not match. This is OK, this is the way it's supposed to be.
Step 7:
Serge the top of the skirt. I probably should have done this earlier but forgot! You only need to serge the outer, not the inner/lining.

Iron the casing on your bloomers as per the instructions in your Bettsy Kingston pattern. Repeat the same process with the skirt outer.
Step 8:
This step is a little fiddly, but it pays to take your time and pin, pin, pin. Align the top of both the skirt and the bloomers and pin around the top with the casings folded down one on top of the other.

As you can see in these picture this makes a little sandwich along the top of the garment. The inner skirt lining sits just between the outer skirt casing and the bloomers casing. To reduce bulk, the lining or inner skirt is not folded into the casing, it just sits between the two casings.

Once pinned your garment should look a little like this.
Step 9:
Sew casing, thread elastic and close your casing as per the instructions in your pattern. As your casing is comprised of two pieces of fabric, it is best not to be too scant with your stitching as this may make threading your elastic a little tight.
Congratulations! You are done! How awesome is this little skirt with bloomers!!
Perfect for a little girl on the move!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kids Clothes Week Day 2: Adapting bloomers

I'm on uni holidays at the moment, so I'm enjoying a bit of a sewing binge. With my kids in daycare on Tuesday and Wednesdays, I've managed to sew all day yesterday and plan to sew pretty much all day today. Hooray!

I've been playing around with some patterns that I own. In particular the Bettsy Kingston Ruffle Baby Pants pattern and have made these two adorable outfits for Miss Adele.

A very sweet sunsuit, complete with snaps to help with nappy changing.

And this adorable double sided skirt with bloomers

I've enjoyed making these so much and had so much time on my hands with a whole kid-free day yesterday that I've pulled together a tutorial so that you too can make these two items with your Bettsy Kingston pattern.

Are you interested? Do you want me to post it for ya??