Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back

We arrived back home last night after a very, very, very long journey home. Seriously, why do all the good holidays have to be sandwiched between difficult days travelling with kids?

The weather at Port Douglas was lovely and we enjoyed going to the beach at least once, but often twice a day, every day with a short intermission back at our apartment for naps - bliss!!

The only real challenge, apart from the travel, was dealing with not having a coffee machine and therefore no fresh espresso as soon as I open my eyes. It's my one vice in life and completely necessary, in my opinion, with three small kids.
Adele's new bonnet got a major work out during the holiday and protected many hours playing a the beach.

I've now listed it in my shop - so head over there to get yours!

Don't you wear goggles to the beach? Thankfully he didn't insist on wearing them every day.

Lots of activity = easy daytime naps!

 The bonnet also protected Adele from the crocs at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures.

 Yikes!

She's not afraid of anything!

 Family photos are always taken at dinner time these days. It's the only time they all stay still.

 The boys on the Bally Hooley steam train in Port Douglas

Very tired!

I missed my sewing machine while I was away, but I did manage to squeeze in a little holiday craft. I'll be back tomorrow with some show and tell and to draw the winner of my Oliver & S competition - have you entered yet?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Holidays

The reward for such a difficult semester, is a holiday with the family.
We're off for a week to tropical north Queensland - yay!! Not sure how we'll cope with the three little ones on the plane. I feel sorry for all those sitting near us.

There will be a few exciting things happening here when I return, and I think one of them will be Me Made June.
Nuts right?? But I think I'll have more than enough items in my wardrobe to pull it off.

Have a fun week. I'll make a sandcastle for you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blue Hyou Heidi

This is my latest creation from my stash of fabric from Tessuti. It's based on the BurdaStyle Heidi pattern and I absolutely LOVE this dress!
The fabric is called Blue Hyou from Tessuti, and it's a lovely, light, drapey Japanese cotton with a slightly crinkly, matt finish. It's quite sheer, but the dress is fully lined, so that's OK, and it was very easy to work with.
As I finished cutting the dress, I realised that the print is actually a coloured leopard print. Now that I've looked up what 'Hyou' means, I think it is Japanese for snow leopard or something. So that makes sense now...

During the construction of this dress, I was really concerned about my choice of pattern. It didn't appear to be coming together very well at all. It wasn't until I put the zipper in and pinned the hem that it actually started to look like something that I'd wear.
Despite my doubts, the pattern did come together quite well, but I did make some modifications, nothing terribly major though.
- I reshaped the sleeves as in their original form they are HUGE! More like wings, than little cap sleeves.
- I added about an inch to the bodice, so that it finished at my natural waist. I knew I wanted to wear a skinny belt with this dress, not the Burda one that is included with the pattern, so this mod was necessary to do this.
- I also tapered the shoulder seam so they fitted more to the shape of my shoulder.
- I was concerned about how blousey the top of the dress was going to be, so I adjusted the waist by reducing the size of the tucks on the front of the dress.
- the front neckline was raised just slightly, by about a quarter of an inch, to help hide my under garments.
Some minor problems I have with this dress now that it's finished, well blog finished anyway, I still have to hand sew the lining:
- The dress is a little snug around the hip. Unfortunately, this is all my fault. I haven't sewn many slim fit patterns recently, so often forget to look at the sizing at the hip. This time, it was kinda important and while the dress fits at the hip, it is a little too tight for my liking with only1-2 inches ease. Thankfully, the fabric is soft and kinda stretchy, so it's not uncomfortable. I'm hoping the dress doesn't shrink as I don't think I'm likely to shrink any further if it does.
- I lined the dress in cotton voile which, while lovely for summer, is not so lovely in winter as it clings to tights
- I accidentally hemmed the dress about an inch too short, but I have enough fabric to take it down when I return from my holiday.

So that's about all for now. I still have one more dress to make from my birthday fabric and it's all cut and ready to begin when I get home. Happy sewing - yay!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The sweetest bonnet EVER!

Seriously, this has to be the sweetest bonnet I've ever made!
I just love this fabric, which is by Zoe Pearn, it's so sweet and fresh and modern.
My model was so cooperative yesterday, I actually got some shots of her face, instead of avoiding capturing her face due to ugly protesting.
Twinklle twinkle little star...

I've sewn up such a bonnet storm this week, as I needed to get a bunch of winter bonnets to Shorties, but I still needed to make Adele a new bonnet for our holiday.
Done now!
I'll be listing this design in my shop when I return from our holiday. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tutorial: Vintage Style Tie Belt

Quite a while back, I promised a tutorial for this awesome, vintage style tie belt, which I made for my BurdaStyle: 02/2011 101 scoop necked dress.
I love wearing belts with the dresses I make. I love a little bit of contrast at the waist to break up a design, and I love giving a little more definition to my almost non-existent waist. Now, as you can use almost any fabric type for this belt, you should be able to perfectly match any dress. Just what you need right?
 
Look at the difference - from simple to smashing! All from one simple belt - awesome!
My inspiration for this belt came from this vintage pattern, Vogue 6661. My tie belt is a simplified version of the one in this pattern. It should only take a minutes to whip up and certainly adds a pretty touch to an outfit without any girly girl bows.

To create your own belt, you will require:
  •  a strip of fabric, just over 6 inches by the full width of fabric.
  •  a strip of interfacing (optional)
  • 2 or 4  hook and eye closures (or a couple of biggish safety pins - if you're feeling lazy or rushed)
  • coordinating thread, sewing machine, 1/4 inch foot, rotary cutter or scissors and hand sewing needle
To make the belt:

Cut two 3 inch strips of fabric the full width of your fabric. This measurement will create a belt and bow with a finished width of 1 and a quarter inches. Cut a 1 inch strip of interfacing.

Fuse interfacting to the wrong side of one of your strips of fabric. You should align the long edge of the interfacing with the centre of your belt, so that the long edge of the interfacing runs along the centre of your belt or 1.5 inches in. The interfacing helps prevent your belt from stretching. If you are confident that your fabric is stable or that the belt won't experience too much stress, then you can leave the interfacing off. The fabric I used for my belt was stretch sateen, so I needed to interface it.

Fold both strips of fabric right sides together and sew a 1/4 inch seam along the long end. Your quilters foot makes it easy to do this straight.

Turn both fabric tubes right side out. This is easier if you use a bodkin or safety pin. As you can see below, I've pulled one end of the tube though with a safety pin.
Carefully press your strips,  making sure the seam and belt is straight. You should now have two tubes of fabric, one with interfacing, one without.

To make the bow.

Take your strip that has no interfacing and tie in a slip knot.
 To do this, wrap the strip around your hand as shown.
 Pull the top end through the loop.
 Then pull tight.
Trim the ends of your bow to your desired length, turn under the raw edges, press and slip stitch in place.

To attach the bow.

Take your interfaced belt, turn under one raw end and press. Align your bow with the end of your belt as shown and hand stitch in place. As you can see, I've pulled my two bow ends out a little, to create a more triangular knot look, but you can style the bow as you like.
 Here's a picture of the front.
Now all you need to do is trim your belt to your desired length. I left about 3 inches for overlap and sew a couple of hook and eye closures to the reverse of the belt to hold it in place.

Alternatively, you can just fix your belt with a few safety pins. I'm going to be honest here. I finished my belt just prior to running out of the house the first time I wore this dress, and I still haven't sewn any fixings to the belt. Lazy? Yes, but safety pins work, you can't see them and they are adjustable, so if you eat a large meal, you can loosen the belt for comfort. Classy? Meh, maybe not, but still it looks sooooo cool!

Now you should be finished. You now own a super cool, not-too-girly, handmade, vintage styled bow belt. I'm certain this belt would go with almost any dress. Just imagine the possibilities!!

Enjoy!

PS - Don't forget I'm holding a giveaway here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

O & S GIVEAWAY and a new dress

My machine has been getting a bit of a workout since uni finished. Mostly I've  been sewing bonnets, but I've also finished this cute dress for Adele.
It's based on the Oliver & S Playdate dress (size 6M - 3T), which I believe is out of print. I slightly modified the pattern, which you can probably tell by the ruffle sleeves, which I did to break up the Heather Ross from her West Hill line. I also fully lined the dress in the fabric from the yoke, just to add an extra fabric layer for warmth and to accommodate the sleeve change.
The fabric is very olive and probably a little too murky to make an entire dress out of. I was hoping the ruffle sleeves would break it up a bit. I also hoped the gold yoke fabric, vintage trim and buttons would lighten the dress, but it does seem a little brown and yellow to me.

Oh well, I think it's cute all the same, even if the drool shows after just a few minutes wear....

Now a GIVEAWAY. I've actually owned this pattern (which is size 6m to 3T) for a while, but mum recently returned from a short holiday and had purchased the same pattern for me. So now I have two, and clearly I don't need two, so I'd like to give my second copy to one of my followers - yay! So, to get your hands on this super cute pattern, simply follow my blog and leave a comment below. Easy peasy!
Photographic proof that I own two of these patterns and you aren't getting my used copy,
which you would totally be able to identify, as I'm particularly crappy at maintaining factory folds!

I'll draw a winner, by random number when I return from my upcoming holiday - say 1 June or something. Don't forget you need to Follow me to win.

The competition is open to everyone, including those not in Australia. Please make sure I can reply to your comment or leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win.

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The postman delivers

Sometimes, a little money in PlayPal can disappear very quickly. But these fabrics are so adorable, I just had to have them.

I just adore the two Sherbet Pips pieces on the bottom left. Hopefully I'll have time before we head off on holidays, to make Adele a dress with them. The colours on the fabric on the top right by Zoe Pearn are so awesome. Perfect in fact! I think I'll make a few bonnets with them, but will definitely make something special for Adele too.

Today, I also handed in my final assessment for the semester. Woot woo! I celebrated by going to work... blah! Tomorrow, me thinks there will be a little champers to celebrate.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Blanket Tova

I finished this dress last night and I think it's rather wild and a wee bit funny. Does it look like a blanket to you?? It does to me, but I still plan on wearing it.
It's made with my lovely Tova pattern (which I adore!) and the fabric is flannelette!! Seriously, I never thought I'd make a dress out of flannelette, but I also never thought I'd ever find flannelette that I could ever make an daytime appropriate garment from.
The fabric is from one of those shops that's popped up on Etsy with a bunch of cheap fabric from Asia. This fabric is from is called Cottonholic .They have a few more fabric styles that I quite like.
Look the quality of the fabric isn't awesome, but it's more than adequate for this dress. When you hold the fabric to the light, you can see the weave is a little patchy, the print is a little blotchy on some colours and the grid pattern was printed a little off grain, making matching the fabric extra tedious. But still, I matched the fabric pretty well - check out the sleeve caps and front yoke matching. Genius - I tell you!
This dress has definitely come together nicer than my first Tova. I had no fabric problems like last time, meaning the collar has come out perfectly. The sleeve caps are also set in, possibly the best that I've ever done. The trick this time was to use my 1/4 quilting foot with the needle set as far left as possible. This created a consistent, but scant 3/8 seam.

This dress reminds me a little of a Snuggie, but maybe a little more fashionable.
The back of the Tova is a little generous, as you can see from this photo. I'm thinking I may still take in the side seams a little, or run some bias tape and elastic on back waist to add a little definition.

But other than that, it's done. Mmmmmm warm and toasty!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Classic denim bonnets

I've made a couple of bonnets out of the most awesome, lightweight, soft, 100% cotton denim that you'll ever see.
Seriously, this denim rocks! It's about the same weight as quilting cotton, and as it's 100% cotton, it's natural and breathable.

And denim goes with everything!
If the kids give me a little more computer time today, I'll list them in my shop.
I'll also be listing a "design your own" denim bonnet. Where you can pick your a fabric for other bonnet side from my growing stash of fabric designs. Two looks for one price - what a deal!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yep - I've changed.

Last night, I got cross with my husband, because he dared to help me sort out the 8 baskets of clean clothes that had accumulated in the front room. I didn't realise till then, how completely stressy I've become with how I like things done. I actually like clothes folded, not just put away, and after 15 years he still can't fold towels the way I like (half, half, thirds).

I used to be a wild child, a party girl, a little more trouble than your regular peep. But now, I'm more Martha Stewart, than Paris Hilton.....Yep - I've changed.

Mostly for the better, but I think I need to relax a little. I think part of this stress is due to university work. I can't wait until next Tuesday night, when my final essay for the semester will be handed in. Once semester is finished, I'll enjoy a bunch of child-free, sewing days- yipee! Some bloggers talk about having a sewcation (sewing-vacation), but I'll have one every week - hooray!!

So while there's been a distinct lack of sewing blogging lately, stick with me, there's a heap more to come.

Now as every post needs a photo, here's one for you.
Just incase you don't know what this is, it's a swivel sweeper. In addition to the lovely fabric gift that my mum gave me for my birthday, she also bought me one of these and I must say I was just as excited when I got it! (Yep - I've changed). With three little kids and lots of little sewing threads to collect from the ground, it's quite a nifty little invention to have around the house. Thanks mum!

Anywho, that's enough babbling for this post. I have a university assessment presentation that begins in 20 mins.....

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring SALE!!

I know it's not spring in Sydney, but I keep reading about the welcome weather change that our northern hemisphere friends are enjoying. My sister lives in Toronto and I really get a feel for what spring means to those with long, cold winters as I watch her mood change with the weather.

Now, it's probably no surprise that I don't sell as many bonnets during the Australian autumn and winter. So, I figure it's time to clear my bonnet tree. I have 8 bonnets now listed in my shop at a hugely discounted price. There's nothing wrong with them, they are just the ready made bonnets I have. I'd love them to find new homes, possibly somewhere where the sun is shining.

Happy Spring!!

Housekeeping

I've received a number of emails from people having trouble downloading the pattern pieces for my ruffle sunsuit. I've now amended tutorial post to include two download options. Check it out here.
Don't forget you can always buy a sweet little bonnet to accessorize your little sunsuit from my shop