Sunday, 23 December 2018

The start of 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.


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Kitty Pram Liner by Muffy Duck Designs

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to try out Muffy Duck Designs' latest Pram liner pattern. She has a lot of pram liner patterns available for all sorts of different prams, but this time released a "draft it yourself" pattern to cover the many other styles and brands of prams in the world. Conveniently, my mother had just bought us this 3 wheel stroller from Aldi the week before.

I used an adorable kitty print flannel purchased from spotlight last year, with some lightweight wadding that I had on hand. The drafting instructions are very clear and make this a very simple project. The pattern also includes links to some helpful video tutorials for making the extra large buttonholes for the straps to go through.

So all these photos were from long before my little man was actually born, so here's one hubby snapped of us finally leaving hospital when bub was 1 week old (he's almost 10 weeks old now!)Yes I'm looking pretty rough, but I had been in hospital for a week..... 

I love that it provides a nice soft surface for my baby to lie on, and he likes having a suck on the shoulder strap covers, so being able to easily remove those for a wash is super handy. Now that he is born, I am tempted to sew another set in more boyish fabrics for him, but I haven't even managed to do much sewing at all since he was born, so I'm not sure how likely that will be. 


Saturday, 13 January 2018

Adorable Baby Sets from Simplicity 5982

With less than 10 weeks left of my pregnancy (this was back a while, just a bit over 4 weeks left now!), a family friend (who is also due less than 2 weeks after me) was having her baby shower. At this point I hadn't heard what gender her baby was going to be, so, while trying to figure out what to give her for her baby shower, I went through my limited collection of baby sewing patterns, as well as my fabric stash. I managed to decide on Simplicity 5982 made with this lemon and white polka dot poly cotton. 

I figured, if I was going to sew up a set for her, I may as well sew up a set for my little Jellybean as well. I decided to use the smallest size, which should fit around 6 months old, but may run big, as a lot of commercial patterns tend to, so I'm hoping it should fit our bubs around next spring/summer. For a little extra cuteness, I added a couple of little embroidered designs using my Brother Innovis 1200. A cat playing a fiddle on ours and bluebirds on my friends'.

Just the shoulder buttons left to add

I went for the simple singlet top and shorts (shorts aren't pictured), and they both went together very easily. I can't say much about the sizing or fit yet, as I have no models to try them on, but regardless of that, they have turned out very cute, and I think my friend liked the set I made her, as she asked if I could also make one in her size. As I still have quite a few meters of this fabric left, I am now thinking we could both have a matching set, using the Burda Pyjama pattern that I have used previously.

Any other ideas for cute unisex baby outfits?