Sunday, 3 February 2019

Week 4: Sew something Red (ish)

Although the challenge for week 4 was to sew something Red, and it is a colour I love to wear, I actually decided to use the challenge to work on something for my son's upcoming first birthday. As I am attempting to create less waste, especially plastic, in my life, I knew I wanted to create some decorations as an alternative to balloons. I have made bunting before, and have an abundance of fabric and binding, so that seemed like the natural choice.

We are going with a Sesame Street theme, so I found cottons in colours to represent some of the main characters, Cookie monster, Big Bird, Oscar the grouch and Elmo. After cutting these out, I actually found a lighter blue for Cookie monster, but kept the darker one for Grover.

These colours also work well as a generic colourful banner, but more importantly, can also be used for wiggles (which my son loves) using the dark blue as purple for Lachy and the green for Dorothy. I hope this bunting will get plenty of use for future children's parties. The lace bunting that I made previously for my wedding has been used a few times since, even being borrowed by friends for their events, which is the best way to increase use of special occasion items and lessen their effect on the environment.

Anyone else been doing any party sewing lately?


Monday, 28 January 2019

Feeling good in McCall's 6920

Yay! New Dress!

It has been a while since I have sewn a dress that both shows off my figure AND makes me feel good about it, but here it is! The week 3 challenge of the 52 week sewing challenge is to use a pattern you own but have not made before, and I have had McCall's 6920 sitting, paired with 2m of a large floral cotton sateen, since I bought it last year some time, just waiting to be sewn up.

The pattern goes up to a 24w, and has convenient shortening lines for those of us who are a little bit petite in the height department. I cut the largest size, shortening at the petite lines, grading out about 1/2 inch at the hips on most of the pieces, and shortened the hem by 7cm. I probably could have left the length at the hem, but I was worried I wouldn't be able to get all the pieces from only 2m of fabric. I also did not bother with pattern matching or placement, due to the limit of fabric, but really with such a large print, I would've had to waste a hell of a lot of fabric to do so.

Construction was super simple, I didn't fuss about with much fitting, as the fabric had stretch which would hide some flaws. I found the perfect green zip already sitting on top of my zip box waiting, and all in all this dress went together very quickly, during a few moments I could sneak away into my sewing room while my son was napping, or after he had gone to bed.

I probably needed to cut a smaller size for the bust and chest area, so it is a little roomy there, but I am very happy with the fit at the waist and the hips, which is usually my problem area. While this is far from one of my best sews, I love how quick it was to put together, and I think it looks great on me (and so does hubby!)

I did go to wear it out last weekend, but realised the split at the back very nearly shows off my bum, so have out this back in the sewing room for a quick alteration before it gets worn out of the house, which is why this post is so late (woops) but rest assured I have still been keeping up with the weekly challenges from the 52 Week Sewing Challenge. I will update this post with modelled photos of this dress when I get a chance.


Sunday, 13 January 2019

Underwear from Kwik Sew 2325 and 2101

The theme for Week 2 of the 52 Week Sewing Challenge was to sew a UFO. No that doesn't mean I had to sew a flying saucer (although if you wanted to you could) in sewing terms, as well as other crafting hobbies, UFO simply means Un-Finished Object. I tend to have a lot of these, as I am easily distracted by shiny new projects, and if a project isn't turning out like I hoped, I usually prefer to just stop working on it, rather than fix it or push through and finish something I don't like. For this challenge, I decided on this underwear set that I started making some time ago. I really have no idea how long ago, but it is somewhere in the ballpark of 2-5 years ago.

Here is what I had stashed away in a bag under a chair:

I had cut the pieces out from some nude power mesh type stuff, and a small bit of floral fabric of unknown content (probably polyester) that has a tiny bit of stretch, both sourced from op shops. I also had underwear elastic, bra straps, bra closure and suspender clasps. I had finished sewing the panties, and had the suspender belt half done. I think the reason I stopped working on it was that the panties ended up  a little too big and much more high cut in the leg holes than I would have liked (very 80's) and I wasn't sure if the picot underwear elastic I was using would have enough stretch to make the suspender belt fit well. Although I have put on weight and am a different shape than I was due to pregnancy, I hoped that I could still make this set fit.

I began working on the bra by french seaming the upper and lower cup pieces together, and then attaching the 2 cups together via the small front piece. Picot elastic was then sewn to the back pieces, which I was pleased to find I had cut a little longer than the original pattern piece, so I am optimistic that I will be able to get it to fit. The rest went together fairly easily following the pattern directions. I added more elastic to the top of the cups instead of using the suggested cup stabiliser, and the bra was done before I knew it!

The fit is surprisingly good considering I cut it out pre-baby, although the cups do have the sort of pointy 80's look to them. Luckily that also works with 50's styles, so I don't really mind. I have not quite managed to complete the suspender belt, but am considering it a win anyway, as the bra and panties can be considered as a complete set without it. Some of the construction is a little rough, and not quite as pretty as I would like, but they are still completely functional, and I think a little cute. At the very least I can consider these a wearable toile for the next time I want to use these patterns and extend my collection of me-made underwear.

Anyone been working on any UFO's or underwear sewing lately?


Sunday, 6 January 2019

52 Week Sewing Challenge, Week 1

Last year, I joined the 52 week sewing challenge for 2018 on Facebook. However, due to being heavily pregnant, and then having a newborn, I did not actually manage to complete any of the weeks challenges at all. Luckily for me, the challenge has been renewed this year, with a new list of 52 challenges to complete.

This year's week 1 challenge was "Organise your sewing room" which could be taken literally, or in the way I chose to, and that was to sew something to help organise your sewing room. My sewing room has been neglected for some time, so I knew there was no way I would be able to get it all tidied up in time.

 After a little bit of pinterest searching, I settled on this "Undercover Maker Mat" pattern from Lillyella. However, as my machine is so much larger than a normal machine, I had to make my mat about 50% larger than the pattern. So I mostly just used the pattern as inspiration, and came up with my own. The main area is made up of 3 fat quarters (1 and a half for each side) and the pockets and binding were made with scraps from other projects.

During the little bit of sewing I have done since, I have found it super helpful to have my pins and scissors on hand (I am always misplacing my scissors) and I even found another use for it, as a make shift pin cushion for when I leave my proper one in another room.

Next week's challenge is to "Sew a UFO" so I have been looking through some of my half finished projects in my sewing room to complete. Hopefully I can keep on track with these challenges this year, and post my makes in the facebook group, as well as a blog post here each Sunday.

If this sounds like a challenge you would be interested, head to the 52 Week Sewing Challenge Facebook group and join in!


Sunday, 23 December 2018

Family Christmas Outfits for 2018!

Just like every year, I have made myself a new Christmas dress. Unlike other years, I now have a young son to dress up matchy matchy with my husband and I. This year, while at spotlight looking at the range of Christmas fabrics, I actually let my husband choose which one he liked best. He fell in love with a Aussie native animal design on a cream coloured background. In order to offset the cost a little (it was on sale 40% off, but still a bit costly when you need enough for 3 outfits)  we also purchased a coordinating red Prima cotton.

I began by cutting out the main back and front pieces out of the print for my husband's shirt, using the same Lekala men's business shirt pattern that I have used before, as those are the largest pieces we need. I then cut all the pieces for view C of Kwik sew 3730 as well as the upper collar and facings of Butterick 5747 out of the print as well. From the red I cut the yoke, sleeves and collar pieces for my husband's shirt, and the bodice skirt and under collar pieces of my dress.

I have really been struggling with motivation for pretty much anything these days, so on a rare day when I had both the motivation, and the time (my son and husband were both napping) I quickly sewed together most of the shirt for my son. I found the pattern went together really easy, so didn't really see the point of taking any progress photos (plus I am completely out of the habit) I then cheated and had my mother-in-law sew the buttons and buttonholes for me (as well as on Hubby's Christmas shirt from last year that I never finished, oops) All that was then left to do was a tiny bit of hand sewing on the inside of the collar and it was done! 

I chose to make the 18-24 month size (the largest in this pattern) even though my son will only be 10 and a half months at Christmas, as he is already wearing 12-18 month clothing, and this will hopefully still fit him for next Christmas. I figure I can easily run the side seams in a little if it is way too big on him for this year, but I'm not too worried.

Pretty happy with the pattern matching on the pocket (although I didn't bother along the front edge)

I began work on my dress, Butterick 5747, as usual, by sewing the bodice darts, then the shoulder and side seams. Collar was sewn together, then clipped and turned right side out, and facing pieces sewn together. Bodice, collar and facing were then pinned and sewn together

As I seem to have misplaced the pattern for my husband's shirt, and I really could not be bothered printing it out again, I took his Christmas shirt from last year and traced each piece as accurately as possible, adding 1/2 inch seam allowances afterwards. When I cut the print pattern pieces earlier, I actually just pinned the shirt to the fabric and carefully cut around, adding seam allowance, and extra fabric for the button stand as I went. I had hoped to have found the pattern by the time I needed to cut out the yoke, sleeves, collar and collar stand, but didn't have that much luck. Once I had created new pattern pieces, and had already begun sewing my own dress, I cut the rest of the pieces for hubby's shirt from the red cotton. His shirt went together quite easily, especially as I have sewn it 3 times before. Like previously, I followed this post on constructing the collar. I also sent this shirt to my mother-in-law's for buttonholes.

When I managed to find the time to, I sewed my skirt pieces together, adding in seam pockets, which was then pleated and sewn tot he bodice. The pattern actually has a waistband piece between the skirt and bodice, but I chose to omit this. At this stage I decided to cut a skirt border from the leftover Christmas fabric, which I sewed along the hemlines, turned to the outside, pressing under the seam allowance, and top stitching in place. I couldn't find any suitable buttons in my stash for my dress, so instead decided to make some coordinating fabric covered buttons from the Christmas fabric. A few button holes, and my dress was finished!

We had planned to get family photos taken in our matching outfits, but time has gotten away from us and we still haven't done them. If we ever get around to taking them, I will write another post to show them off!

How is your Christmas sewing going? Have you made matching family outfits?


Sunday, 16 December 2018

Free crochet market bag pattern

Lately I have been trying to come up with easy, useful Christmas gifts for family and friends. I experimented with making a simple crochet market bag pattern when I was pregnant last summer and have finally written it down to share.  It works up very similar to me previous crochet snood tutorial, so I haven't taken as many detailed steps in this one, but if you have a basic understanding of crochet, you can make this. I can whip one up in about an hour or so, they are super quick, and use 1 average ball of 8 ply yarn. I've been using acrylic yarn, to use up some of my stash, so these bags end up quite stretchy. Cotton would be stronger and a bit less stretchy, but honestly I haven't had any issues carrying heavy groceries in mine yet, and I have been using a couple of them for a year now. 

This light blue one is one of the ones I have been using for some time, and although it looks small, I find that it is the perfect size when it stretches out

Apparently it also makes a comfortable seat.

To begin the bag, chain 6, then attach to the first chain to form a ring. Chain 3 to form the first stitch, then double crochet followed by a chain 9 times to form 10 in total, and slip stitch to the first chains to complete the first round.

Round 2: Chain 4 and then make a double crochet and 2 chains in each space, created by the previous round.

Round 3: Chain 3 and then make 2 double crochets with a single chain after each, in each space, created by the previous round.

Round 4: Chain 4 and then make a double crochet and 2 chains in each space, created by the previous round.

Round 5: Chain 3 and then make 2 double crochets with a single chain after each, in each space, created by the previous round.

Round 6: Chain 4 and then make a double crochet and 2 chains in each space, created by the previous round.

Rounds 7-20: Chain 5 and then make a double crochet and 3 chains in each space, created by the previous round. Your bag should start curling up after a few of these rounds, and once done, your bag should look something like this one (sorry for changing bags midway through) You can add more rows here if you think the bag is too small, but keep in mind they need to be a bit small to account for all the stretch. For scale, the book is A5 size (and the baby hands are 10 months old) 

Forming the handles is probably the trickiest part, but it isn't all that hard. You can choose to make your handles longer or shorter depending on your preferences. Apologies that I haven't taken photos of these steps, but hopefully they make enough sense. I will try to add photos at a later date.

Round 21: Chain 2, then make 3 single crochet in each space for 5 spaces. Chain 70 and join back after 9 spaces with a single crochet, and continue with 3 single crochet in each space for 11 spaces. Chain 70 and join back after 9 spaces, and continue 3 single crochet in each space until you finish the round. This should be 6 spaces, if yours is different, that is OK, but you will have to work out your handle spacing so that it is even.

Round 22: Chain 2, and then single crochet into each of the spaces from the previous round, with 70 single crochet stitches on each handle.

Round 23-24: Chain 2, and then single crochet into each of the spaces from the previous round.

You have the option of doing more or less single crochet rows, based on your preference and how much yarn you have. 2 is probably the minimum, but I like 3.

Once you have completed your single crochet rows, I like to make a small loop from about 20 or so chains (I forgot to count) then single crochet around the loop. This is for hanging the bags in the bagging area at the checkout at the supermarket (similar to the holes in the plastic bags). If your supermarket doesn't use these, then you can leave them off.

Hopefully you find this pattern helpful, for gifts for others, or even for yourself!


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Hobby horse pattern and tutorial

On a recent VIP night at my local Spotlight store, we created very cute Christmas Hobby Horses, so I thought I would share the project here, as an easy to make gift for the little ones in your life this Christmas.

Here is a photo from the event. I am wearing a dress made a few years ago from New Look 6457, view D, in some adorable carolling kitties fabric from Spotlight. Bub is wearing Kwik Sew 3730, view C, in a current season Australian Fauna Christmas fabric from Spotlight (there will be matching outfits for Hubby and I in the same fabric, as well as a blog post about them soon)

This template has been provided by one of the wonderful staff members who work at my local Spotlight, through her facebook page. Print the image to fill an A4 page and you should get the correct size.

Approx 40cm of fabric (quilting cotton will do)
Safety eyes
Feather boa or trim
Polyfill stuffing
75cm dowel or curtain rod
Satin ribbon or trim
Sewing machine
Needle and thread
Hot glue gun and glue

1. Cut out the paper pattern, then trace around it onto your fabric, giving you a sewing line to follow. Fold your fabric in half so you get mirror images, and cut roughly 1cm/1/2" outside that sewing line, you will need 2 sides for the head and 4 ear pieces (2 for each ear).

2. With right sides together, machine sew along the sewing lines around the head and both ears, making sure to leave the bottoms open. Clip any curves, turn right side out and press. Fold the raw edges of the bottom of the ears inside themselves and press.

3. Fold the ears in half length ways, either hand sew or hot glue in place on the head, using pattern to help with placement. You can also attach the eyes at this stage, by glue or sewing, or you can firmly stuff the head with polyfill, then sew on the eyes, sewing between them through the head and pulling the thread so that it sinks the eyes slightly into the head.

4. Once the head is firmly stuffed, insert the end of the dowel into the neck and gather in the bottom edge of the fabric using a running stitch. Applying some hot glue around the dowel before inserting helps to create a ridge so that the dowel cannot be pulled out. A bit more hot glue to hold the fabric, then cover the gathered raw edge with some ribbon.

5. Glue or hand sew the feather boa or trim along the top and back of the neck for the mane. Wrap a piece of ribbon around the nose, up around the top of the head just behind the ears and then around the back of the head with plenty of slack to make the reigns, secure with glue or hand sewing under the chin.

The finished product should look a  bit like this!

Apologies for the lack of step by step photos, as I decided to type this up a few weeks after the event when I made mine. With University over for another year, I am hoping to get a few more blog posts up over the next few months, as well as finally getting more sewing done.