Monday, 3 October 2011

Competition result...

Sewing For Children Large

Yes, that's right, the green coat I blogged about was voted the winning entry in the competition!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Pants, pants and hats

I have had a busy couple of months with the sewing machine.

One of my colleagues asked if I would make his two lads some trousers to wear while they were holidaying in Europe. Both boys are skinny but hate the feel of buttonhole elastic and the button against their skin.  So I had to make trousers to fit their little waists and they were keen for some cargo pockets.

Ottobre came to the rescue.  There were 2 pairs of cargo pants that seemed to fit the bill and both were in the 1/2011 magazine.

These are the "No Kung Fu outerwear pants" (No. 29) made out of a cotton drill fabric.

These trousers had 3 pairs of pockets.  I particularly liked the design of the concealed back pockets just under the yoke.  I ironed a piece of freezer paper onto the material and sewed around it to ensure that the topstitching for both pockets matched. 

I attached domes to the pockets and a jeans button at the waist to make them look like a pair of ready-to-wear pants.

  The pattern had knee patches and zips on the bottom legs but I didn't add either of these to my pants.  Overall, I was really pleased with how they turned out.

Fortunately, they seemed to be well liked by the recipient!

The next pair of pants were for the younger boy.  I decided to try out a different pattern for these pants so used No. 26 "Bouncing Forward outerwear pants".

These also had cargo pockets and lots of topstitching details.

Once again the freezer paper proved to be a handy sewing room item: I used it as my outline to make the pocket flaps identical!

There was meant to be elastic cord at the bottom edge of the yoke but I thought that the elastic might be a little annoying (like the adjustable buttonhole elastic) and they were considered "uncool" by the man of this house....

Similarly they were well-received and hopefully both pairs of pants are getting lots of use in Europe at the moment!

With the Rugby World Cup upon us I thought I would make a few Supporters' theatre hats.... but I created a monster and so far I have made 40 theatre hats and there are daily requests for more.  Argghh

My embroidery module has definitely helped make some great looking hats!

So far I have made hats for 9 countries: New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, South Africa, Ireland, Wales, Canada, and Romania.  Obviously the All Black hats have been the most popular.  I made them out of some commemorative tea-towels I found on sale at Spotlight. However, I am looking forward to doing some different sewing and I think I will have to close down the sweatshop before I lose my mind!!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Fairy Frock

Miss L turns 2 next week and her mum asked for a Fairy Frock. I don't like my Fairy Frocks in pastel colours - they need to be bold and outrageously pink (to make all the other little girls jealous!)

I made this over the weekend

The top is shirred.  The skirt tulle layers were gathered and sewn to the bodice with shirring elastic in the bobbin and matching thread in the needle

The little flower of the front was made by sticking two layers of fabric together with vliesofix and cutting the flower shape out using an Accuquilt applique die. It was very quick... and covered the less-than-perfect bit of shirring!

No doubt, Miss L will be the belle of the ball - or whatever is the equivalent in the playground

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

a fun pink skirt

I needed to make something for the younger sister of the girl I made the coat for.  I went looking through some children's clothing websites for ideas and found a very cute but simple - and probably expensive - skirt. 

This skirt from Oobi with multiple fabric layers was my inspiration for the Ottobre skirt I made.  The pattern was from 01/2007, number 15, which goes by the very original title of "skirt with flounces". 

I used 3 different pink fabrics, and added  ric rac trim at the bottom of each flounce just like the skirt above.

This is the back view.  The front is very plain.

I omitted the pockets that were on the front panel because I didn't think they were necessary and thought this skirt was busy enough without them.  I like the plain front: it is a nice contrast to the back where all the action is. 

It was fortunate Miss K was not older because when we tried the skirt on her - with all those flounces and a cloth nappy - it was one of those "does my bum look big in this?" moments... Nevertheless, Miss K seemed to like the flounces and danced around like a little princess!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

the finished coat

I finished the coat this evening.  I decided to go with the domes/snap closures and the buttons on the front are simply there for decoration. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The contest coat

I started working on this coat on Sunday and it is almost finished.  The pattern is number 17 "Rosy Red" velveteen coat from Ottobre 6/2008.  The original coat is made out of velveteen with batting between it and the lining.  I chose to use one of the pieces of fabric I bought in Melbourne which I think is probably a wool/cashmere mix.  At any rate, it drapes beautifully and has been great to sew.  I used a patterned cotton for the lining and decided not to use batting

The buttons are not attached yet - just pinned in place - and I am undecided as to whether I make buttonholes (and risk making a mess on the front!) or sew domes on the inside instead.  I think the coat needs the buttons whatever I do.

I found some suitable domes at Fabric Vision today and they are a good size and should be easy for little hands to manage

I have added some ric rac between the centre and side front panels, along the hood edge, and on the back

(The pockets are hidden between the panel seams and under the ric rac)

I think the lining fabric complements the rest of the coat but it isn't too conservative or 'expected'

The coat needs a gentle steam and the buttons, and then it is finished.  I can't wait to see the little girl it is intended for in the coat but I suspect it will be too big for this winter but hopefully will be a good fit for next.

I have also made her a skirt  (back view).

front view

This was from a Japanese pattern book.  The book is written in Japanese but the diagramatic instructions are easy to follow.  The skirt was very easy to make, although my perfectionist tendencies meant that it took a lot longer to sew than it should have!

Presents for new babies

I finished 2 quilts for friends having babies.  The first one is the Dr Suess quilt I was working on last month

I intentionally made it wonky and I think it turned out ok.  Certainly, my friends made the appropriate comments when I gave it to them and the new mother stated that orange was her favourite colour.

I also made this couple some buntings to hang in the baby's room.  I have seen them selling for ridiculous prices in some shops and, of course, I thought "I can do that!".  These were really simple to make and it was lucky I had all of the fabric in my stash at home.  I wanted a rainbow effect with every letter of the alphabet included so I made two

I cut the triangles on the bias so that I didn't need to finish the edges, and then attached them to some bias binding. 

I also made a pink bunting for another new mum

Here is the second quilt - which morphed into something a bit bigger than I had originally intended it to be. 

I was pleased to report to my husband that apart from the backing fabric I had everything else at home..  I am sure I will be able to survive a nuclear winter (or earthquakes!?!) and continue to sew because of my well-supplied sewing room!  It pays to be prepared.

At the moment I am working on an entry for the Sewing for Children contest but I'll update the blog with  pictures later

Monday, 6 June 2011

Fabric from Melbourne!

I was in Melbourne for the weekend and came home with a little bit of fabric...

One of my favourite places to shop is Clear It on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Upstairs, there are bolts of fabric on sale - and much of it is from designers such as Alannah Hill!  For instance, several years ago I bought the pink stripey top featured below from an Alannah Hill store.  Then, I found the same fabric on sale for $5/m.   

These are the fabrics I bought on this trip:

The pink and green fabric on the top left are beautiful wools that I want to make into coats (for some little girls) similar to the one I found in a magazine and selling for $120 AUD.   

The top three pink items are all knits and will be used to make some tops.  The hideous ribbon thing on the right (what on earth was Alannah Hill thinking?!?) will be perfect for fairy - or perhaps more appropriately Hawaiian - skirts for the same girls.  I'm sure they will love them - even if their parents won't let them out in public in these skirts....

Clear It also had some fabulous buttons for sale and I couldn't resist getting a selection.

I also managed to get a liberty cotton (from Tessuti Fabrics) and a linen (The Fabric Store).  

I'm looking forward to my next Melbourne visit so that I can add to the fabric stash at home! 

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

quilt in progress

I always seem to have a million things on the go at any time!  One of the projects I am working on at the moment is a quilt for friends who are expecting their first child in June.  They were keen for something with Dr Suess on it and I just happened to have some material in my fabric stash that was suitable....  I agonised over how I was going to make the quilt, but in the end (after several abandoned attempts) I decided I wanted something that was a little crazy - just like Dr Suess and his characters!

I adapted a technique for designing and sewing the quilt from Philippa Naylor which is described in her book Quilting in the Limelight (2009):

I designed my pattern/quilt shape on freezer paper, labelled each of the pieces and then cut them out.

Next I ironed individual freezer paper pieces to the Dr Suess characters I wanted to feature.  I added a 1/4 inch seam allowance to each piece of fabric. (My favourite tool for adding any seam allowance is the attachment on my rotary cutter seen in the picture below)

Once all the pieces were cut out and arranged, I sewed them together (while keeping the freezer paper in place to act as a guide for the stitching).  This is the result:
I sewed blue piping around the outside of the quilt because I wanted something a little different and to give some definition to the quilt. To do this I used a technique described in another of my books, Piping Hot Curves (2007) by Susan K Cleveland. 

I've added an orange border to the quilt

and now I am contemplating how I finish it....

I think I am going to cut the outer edge in a similar curvy way to the body of the quilt, and I want the quilting in the border to be a little random as well.  But I am not really sure how I am going to quilt the rest of it....  However, my backing fabric arrived yesterday so I will have to get cracking!!

Monday, 30 May 2011

sewing week

My sister came to visit me in early May for "sewing week".  It was a great reason for taking time off work and it was very productive: N made a quilt, 2 skirts, and a jacket from a vintage pattern; and I started 2 quilts and sewed clothing for some friends' children.

One of the items that was a hit with Miss L (almost 2) was a little fleece vest 

I also enjoyed making her several dresses

This pattern (No. 5) from Ottobre Design Winter 2003 is a favourite of mine - it goes together quickly, is a good use of remnants, and is a great little tunic to wear over leggings and a t-shirt.  This is the third time I have used this pattern for Miss L:

I also like using some fun quilting cottons for the lining

Another dress I made for Miss L was from a denim that had embroidered flowers and sequins on one selvedge.  I removed the sequins and replaced them with hot-fix rhinestones that should survive the rough-and-tumble world of a 2 year old with older brothers!  The pattern I used was from a Japanese children's pattern book.

There were also long-sleeve t-shirts and leggings

and some clothing for Miss L's brothers, including this hoodie sweatshirt for Master A (Ottobre Design Autumn 2007; No 11)

All up, I sent 14 pieces of clothing to my friends. 

And the best thing about all the sewing?  Apart from some corduroy I bought for these trousers (Ottobre Design Spring 2010; No. 13)

 and material for some funky leggings, I had everything else at home!