Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Creative Space.

This is the real space. The space where most of my creativity takes place. It's finally starting to look like a real sewing room, now that I've ebayed most of the odds and ends that have been stored up there for the past two years. Naturally, I cleaned up considerably for these photos.

Now I am lucky to have a very large creative space, but don't get too jealous as it won't be for long. The husband and I are planning on moving up here in the next few months, as it is really a bedroom. Typical, just as things are starting to look good, I'll get shoved back into a tiny bedroom. I won't complain though, as I know many sewers don't have a separate space... So here's the tour.
This is a sweet little chest that I recently received from my husbands grandparents. It has replaced the large Ikea units that I've photographed in front of before. The grandparents live only one street away and we are very close. They received it as an engagement present, just prior to the war. I love that this is an original condition piece of furniture with a little family history.
It holds my patterns, which neatly fit into these two drawers (it was made to be!), my scrap basket and random pieces of quilting fabric.
This bookcase holds more odds and ends, as well as pattern books, stationary and my Golden Hands magazine collection.
This is my fabric stash for making garments. Some are remnants from other projects (I just can't bring myself to throw them out, even if they're too small to use for another garment), other pieces are left over from when I sold kids clothes, some are specifically for muslin's, others were gifts. Many are assigned to projects, but I'm just waiting for time or the need to get stuck into them.
The spare bed, which is the other purpose for the sewing room. Yep - I made the quilt too. It's not something I do often, but it sure is a rewarding sewing  project.
This is the table where things are made. Sewing tables need to be big, so that everything you might need is at hand.
The grandparents also recently gave me these pigeon hole shelves, which I think may have come from a Qantas office somewhere. They are super handy and perfect for storing little knick knacks.
The cutting table, with a stack of fabric for bonnets and patterns that I'm hoping to use soon. Again, this is another hand-me-down piece of furniture from the family.
The ironing board and bonnet stand. Probably not the highlight of the room.

So there you go, my real creative space. Hopefully I'll be able to steal a few creative moments in it later today. For other creative spaces, head over to Kirsty's.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bonnets, not beanies.

Why wear a beanie, when you can wear bonnet?
Winter bonnets are coming.
I'll add them to the shop over the next few days.
Aren't they sweet!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sew It Together 2011

The dress I rambled on about yesterday, was made for me to wear to a very special sewing event - Sew It Together Sydney. Basically over 50 bloggers, sewers and crafters got together in Sydney for a massive weekend of talking, eating, socialising, shopping and a little sewing.

I was lucky to sit at a table with a few bloggers that I've been following for a while, but still hadn't met like Jennie, Becky, Karen, Lara and Kylie. As well as pre-bloggy friends Rach and Dolores and also the lovely Belinda. It was wonderful to talk so many people that I know quite well through their blogs, comments or emails. The conversations were incredibly varied, from business experience, opportunities and feedback to family, school and education, to philosophical discussions about the reasons for blogging, critiquing blogging, enhancing or protecting blogs and even a little gossip for good measure (C'mon lets be realistic. It was a room full of ladies, there's always going to be a little gossip. But what's discussed at SIT, stays at SIT).

Now, to the goody bag. My was I pleased to receive this little bag of fun. I was a little shocked to receive it at the beginning of the day. I guess I'm used to kids birthday parties where the goodie bag comes at the end. Here's a run down of the goods:

The fabric:
We all received 2 yards of scrap fabric courtesy of Hawthorne Threads. I  should point out that while it's called 'scrap', there's certainly nothing scrappy about it. All the pieces are lovely and quite large. I actually swapped my green based scrap pack with Lara, she's more of a green liker than me.

There's also a teal fat quarter there from Retro Mummy with the cutest little Eiffel Towers and a couple of key fob kits from Earth Girl fabrics. I received the green one in my goodie bag and won the second one. I think the green one may find a new home with one of my green loving friends.

There are also a couple of smaller scraps of Saffron Craig fabrics there, which will certainly be put to good use - thanks Saffron - t'was lovely seeing you!

The patterns
There was also a good selection of patterns in our goodie bag from Vintage Ric Rac, Chasing Cottons, Pink Chalk Studios, Clare's Craftroom and my favourite, The Red Thread. I can't wait to make this super cute birdie cushion and have already gone through my scrap stash to collect my favourite fabrics to feature on it!

Now to the swap.
I scored a great haul from my swap buddies including the sweetest little flower pin cushion ever!!! from Sandy, lovely coasters from Jen, lavender bag from Susan, a sweet little patch worked bag from Leah (you can see I've already filled it with sewing bibs and bobs) and a pot holder from Wendy.

The purchases
A sewing get-together wouldn't be complete without buying a little extra fabric. These half meter pieces were purchased from Saffron Craig herself. The three bug prints, from her Beetle Bugs collection, have already been assigned to quilts for the boys and I've just received a fourth Saffron print to go with them. I'm not sure what I'll do with the other two, but I'm sure they won't go to waste.

I may have also just 'accidentally' purchased some coordinating fabric for the boys quilts from Hawthorne Threads with the last of my PlayPal money. I've been told it will ship tomorrow....

I also purchased a stack of goodies from Lisa of The Red Thread. I've been eyeing off the Ooshka pattern and Sweetie Petites for like, forever now. There's nothing like a discount and a little spending money in your wallet, to get you over the line with a purchase. The boys are super excited about their super hero toys and have already starting picking out fabric. Adele doesn't really care.
In between the sewing fun and the dinner fun, we stopped in to Kinokuniya book shop and I purchased this book. I've flicked through many Japanese sewing books, but this one by far, is the most adorable ever! Hopefully Adele will be big enough next summer to use some of these patterns. You can see more of the book here.

Lastly, how could I forget this....
It may look like a messy, scribbled on piece of tracing paper, but it's actually one of the things I'm most excited about from the event. One of the attendees of Sew it Together brought her treasured copy of the Village Frock. When I first saw it my heart skipped a beat. Who owned it? Could I trace it? What could I trace it with? I contemplated using my A4 Set It Together agenda, but thankfully Belinda offered her tracing supplies. In return, I traced her a size 3. Now I need to decide what fabric to use.....

So that's pretty much it. Thanks to all for the great day and a great dinner (forgot to mention we also went to the Belgium Beer Cafe for dinner - yum!). Thanks to Sheridan for organising and hope you're all rested up after all of the festivities. Check out the flickr page for more photos. Clearly, I didn't take my camera :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

New dress for a special sewing 'do'

While I've been a little quiet on the blogging front these last few days, I've actually been enjoying a few completely un-quiet days. Here's the sewing project that has eaten up a stack of time.
It's another Burda 02/2011 Dress with A-line skirt and sleeves. I was so in love with the first, that I decided to make a second with this so, so lovely Hokkah quilting cotton that my sister brought over with her from Canada earlier this year. I adore this fabric. It's perfect for me, with a nice dark blue base with perfect. modern flowers in lovely taupe, pink (which is quite close to the Pantone colour of the year, Honeysuckle), citron and grey. I already own three cardigans that perfectly match this dress, so clearly it's the fabric for me! If you are particularly interested in getting your hands on this fabric, on the weekend Amy mentioned that they had it in stock at Calico and Ivy in Balmain.

Now, I am learning that quilting cottons aren't always the best for making garments, but this fabric needed to be used for me and this dress suits quilting cotton quite nicely. The skirt isn't too gathered and the bodice is nicely fitted. There's not need for any give or drape.

I made quite a few changes to the dress this time. I found the first dress was waaaay too large across the bodice, especially the front. So this time I re-muslined the bodice, removing over an inch from the centre front fold. This modification also helped make the arm holes a little more comfortable. As the first was pulled back to help the fit on the front, it cut in on my arms a little. From this centre fold modification, I also had to reposition the front darts, on the first dress they came up a little too high.  I also slightly reduced the size of the sleeves, as they were sticking out a little. Lastly, I added side in-seam pockets. I know a lot of people don't like them, don't include them and actually remove them from RTW clothing, but I LOVE them. I'm a bit of a lip balm ad mint addict, so they makes it easier to carry these two little items around. I'm also a mum of three kids and need to be able to easily find money for bread or the car keys quickly to progress through the day.
Now this dress actually took a lot of time to complete. Considering I had made it before, there was a considerable amount of un-picking during its construction. Mostly small things, but still, it ended up taking me a week to make this, rather than a few hours. The last construction disaster actually happened just after this photo. As I was taking the dress off, the invisible zipper failed and was completely ruined!!!
So on Friday night, after work, I set about un-picking the zipper and re-inserting a better one. This is the second time I've had a Lincraft zipper fail on me. When I mentioned this to a few people, they reported the same problem in the past. So, lesson learnt. No more Lincraft zippers, even if the shop is closer to my home.

Naturally, I have a thing for belts and of course I didn't have a matching one in my wardrobe. So, taking inspiration from a vintage sewing pattern in my stash, I made this belt from a small scrap of matching cotton sateen. Isn't it adorable???
I love that was easy to make, but not a cutesey bow belt. I think I'll be making a few more of these - are you interested in a tutorial to make your own???

Pattern review available here.
Now I mentioned that this dress was made for a special sewing 'do' and it was. I wore this to Sew It Together on Saturday - a sewing, blogging, crafting conference. It was a long day, but certainly a good one. I spent a lot of time talking to other bloggers including Karen, Jennie, Kylie, Belinda, Rachel, Becky and Lara - gosh that's just to name a few!

I just realised how much I have to say about Sew It Together, so to do the event justice, I'll create a second post with all the gory details....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Factory folds

Can you keep em??
I can't.
Just remember that when you lend me your patterns.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The friend comes through with the goods...

Her kids have jodhpurs, my kids have PJ tops to go with their leggings. The loose threads have been clipped too!
Funny thing, my friend thinks she got the better end of the deal with the jodhpurs - she thinks they are more difficult. But think I got the better deal, as I have no interests whatsoever in making tee's for the kids. A classic win-win trade off!
Adele has a matching tee too, but was being a little too challenging this morning to photograph.
The boys are clearly very happy with their new Spiderman PJs, now we just need the weather to cool off a little so we can wear them. Sydney is so steamy at the moment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The school photo dress

Not a real school photo dress, but the Oliver & S School Photo Dress for my little girl.
How cute are those little pig tails??
Always playing with cars. Is she really a girl??

I just adore Oliver & S patterns and this one is no exception. They all have unique details that make them extra special. For this dress it's the sweet collar and the kangaroo pocket.
The instructions on Oliver & S patterns are quite detailed, great for a beginning sewer, but not so great for people like myself who skip through instructions only to find that one small detail has been constructed incorrectly and kinda impacts the finish of the dress. Thankfully, this time I just placed the collar a little off from its proper location and was able to unpick and re-assemble quickly. You think I'd have learnt this lesson right??
I've had this quilters cotton in my stash for a while. I just adore how rich and dark it looks, with just a hint of teal and red popping out. Unfortunately I think it may be a bit too dark for a little girl. I was toying with putting some piping along the bottom of the yoke but didn't. Maybe when the weather cools and she has tights and shoes on, it will look a little less serious.
The only modification I made to the pattern ( intentional modification), was to slightly reduce the height in the ruffle collar by about half an inch. As Adele is quite little I thought a higher collar would look a little too costumey.
Look at that squinty over smile!

I'll definitely make this again, possibly from a lighter coloured fabric and possibly with some contrasting panels.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why make three, when you can make five??

More stashbustin' has been happening here, with denim jodhpurs made for five cute, little kiddies.
I've had this rather large remnant of lightweight, stretch denim lying around since I stopped selling kids clothes at the markets. This denim is rather nice, but not a colour that I'd wear.
The kids need simple pull-on pants for daycare, and these jodhpurs are just a little more quirky, than regular straight leg pants.
So, rather than just make them for my kiddies, I also made two extras for a friend. This is the same friend who is making PJ tops for the kids to match the leggings that I finished last week.
I just love the little mock vents and I even sewed buttons on ALL of these pants. Now my friend will have to return the favour by snipping the loose threads from the tees that she makes for me.
I've made this pattern a few times. It is from Ottobre 3/2010  and it comes together super quick. The only modification I made to the pattern is to slightly lower the front rise on the boys pants. As the pattern only goes up to size 92, I scaled the pattern up for Ollie and added quite a bit of length.
Look at these cheeky monkeys! The aren't supposed to horse around on the lounge! Yeehaar!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What a happy customer!!

From the Shorties blog. Shorties definitely is one of the coolest little kiddie shops in Sydney!
You can get your hands on a bonnet just like this wild one from my shop.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Stashbustin': Sewing for the family

Sometimes you need to use your powers for good and not evil. Or rather, use your skills for necessity, rather than indulgence.

This week, I rounded up all the scraps of cotton jersey in my stash, to whip up a few simple pairs of loose leggings for the kids to wear to bed. Here's the proof.
Yep. B-O-R-I-N-G!!! But the boys are quite excited about their spider man jarmies. A good friend is using some of the scraps from these to knock up some long sleeves tees to go with them. I'm just not sufficiently 'in' to sewing stretch to tackle them myself at the moment.

I'm so happy to clear some of this stuff out of the stash.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Creative Space.

Today in my creative space, I'm having a good giggle at the husband.

I came home from work last night, to a husband whining that I hadn't sewn any buttons onto his work shirt and his tummy was showing when he wore it. Apparently, I am a mind reader and should know when these things need to be done.
 Now he has new buttons.
Aren't they pretty??

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sewing under the influence- Anthropologie inspired dress

On Saturday night, to celebrate the end of our bad week, and the beginning of a new better one, the husband and I enjoyed a few glasses of wine. Possibly just one too many. Then he retreated to his man cave and me, to sewing world.

Earlier in the day, I was thinking about this Anthropologie dress, the Take Action Dress. I love this dress and began drafting a pattern, with my ever so advanced pattern making skills, to make one with some similar features.
I didn't think it looked too hard. It's a pull over dress with elastic running around the back waist, some shaping to the front and back panels to allow for the flat front and a few tucks at the centre front. I'm sure the actual Anthropologie dress has far more refined design and construction features, but this is what I worked on for my frock.

It's funny I Googled this dress to see more photos of the design and stumbled across a bunch blogs written by people who go into Anthropologie, try on dresses, take photos and review them - totally funny!! Look here and here for just two and there are many more. Being in Australia and not much of a fashionister, I didn't realise this chain had such a following.

Anyway, being hot and muggy in Sydney over the weekend, I knew I needed to modify the neck to a scoop, they always look better on me, and narrow the shoulders a little. So here it is - what do you think??
I had to crop my eyes out of this shot as I looked a little evil.


It's very bright. This fabric is more turquoise with yellow dots, than teal with yellow dots. I actually impulse purchased this fabric from Spotlight the week before last. You see I still haven't learnt any lessons about random fabric purchasing with no project in mind....It's a lovely, soft, light Japanese cotton, which the label said was a cotton satin. I think this is remarkably nice fabric for Spotlight and was told by the staff that it was to be the only shipment of this fabric. I also purchased a grape with pink dots version too, which I'm not sure what to do with yet.

Anyway, the dress is quite cute and I have already worn it to a kiddie birthday party over the weekend.
So, with my super pattern making skills, how did I build this dress ?? Well this is the pattern that I drew.
I took a neck line and arm shape from Simplicity 2586. I then curved the front bodice in, to create the flat front and the back bodice out to make up the difference.

I made muslin of this dress earlier in the day and in my alcohol induced state of silliness, decided not to re-muslin the many changes that I needed to make and just cut straight into my dotty fabric. Hindsight tells me, I probably shouldn't have done this. I probably could do with more ease around the waist and greater width on the shoulder straps.
I chose to bind the arms and neck with narrow finished binding, sewn under the garment, like on the Pendrell blouse. Unfortunately, I decided this while 'under the influence' and after cutting the frock, so didn't really leave enough seam allowance on the shoulder straps, which is why they are so narrow. Regardless, the frock is still sweet and good enough to wear.

So there you go. Lessons learnt from this dress:
  • try to make a second muslin when there are a number of changes to a pattern you've dodgily drafted yourself.
  • Try not to sew narrow finished binding on a frock after a few wines, it's a little wonky and my seam trimming may have snipped the binding itself in a few places. Thankfully no one can see that yet as it hasn't been washed and the thread matches quite well.
  • Sometimes, the best way to end a bad week is to do something you love - I felt so much better on Sunday!
Before I go, an update on the life situation: the Mother in law is back at home, though still unwell. The dog appears to be getting better and thankfully the vet cut us a deal for a flat rate fee (phew!) and my big 50% assignment was completed yesterday - hooray!! Better yet, it looks like I might manage to squeeze in a little 'me' time this morning before heading to uni - double hoooray!!!!!!!

This is a better week.