Tuesday, 3 December 2013

My Spoonflower obsession continues

I bought some Spoonflower fat quarters to make a few t-shirts for Rosa. What I didn't count on was  that Rosa has grown since I first started sewing for her and a fat quarter is barely enough to make anything that will fit her now.  But I managed to get two t-shirts sewn.

The first one is her Little Red Riding Hood t-shirt and apparently it is a hit at home.  The pattern is from Ottobre 3/2011 (number 19)

those hundred & thousand covered sweets look yummy!

Little red riding hood in autumn forest
Little red foxThe fabrics are both by bora and are the little red riding hood in autumn forest print - used for the front and back - and little red fox for the sleeves and neck binding.

The fox material is, well, foxy and I may have to order some more especially as fox prints are 'in' this year.

Unfortunately the photos of the t-shirt don't really show the colours very well. 

neck binding attached with coverstitch binder

This t-shirt was clearly a winner but I struggled with what to do with the other fabric because I didn't have quite enough fabric to make even a t-shirt.  

ice, ice baby

So I took a look in my wardrobe and discovered that a number of my own t-shirts had woven fabric elements (e.g. neck binding, sleeves etc).  So I borrowed that idea and this is what I came up with

back view

I found a georgette scrap in a box in the garage.  I think I made a top for my sister from this fabric about 1996 and obviously kept the remnant for an occasion such as this.  Luckily, there was just enough for what I wanted and it was the perfect colour.  I used the georgette to make the sleeves and made a rolled hem  and stitched shirring elastic about 1cm above the hem 

I also used a raw-edge strip of georgette for the neck edge.  What you can't see very clearly is that I made a little facing and sandwiched the georgette strip between it and the front fabric (probably seen best above although it is a bit rough)

This raw-edge neck binding is more obvious below

I used another Ottobre pattern for this t-shirt (number 29 in 3/2009).

I don't know whether this t-shirt is a flop or not but it has taught me several useful lessons:
  1. a fat quarter is rarely enough fabric to complete an item of clothing except for babies
  2. if I buy more fabric than I think I need, the remnant may come in handy even years later!
  3. sometimes (surprisingly) inspiration can be found in my own wardrobe 
  4. my hoarding is not so bad and should even be encouraged….. 

Of course I did manage to sneak a few more yards of fabric in with the parcel that these pieces arrived in but I haven't decided what to make with them yet.  Nevertheless, I believe that a girl (i.e. me) can never have too much Spoonflower fabric or diamonds


Monday, 2 December 2013

Mooove over penguin backpack

I have owned Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson for at least a year but the only pattern I had used until the weekend was the bucket hat pattern.

This was the first hat

I made two more

 boy's hat

 girl's hat

And then I got distracted by other things to sew….

When Lightning McStitch threw out the challenge to sew all of the patterns in the book I decided it was something I should join in on

Bartacks and Singletrack : want to go all the way with me?

The penguin backpack was a pattern I definitely wanted to tackle early on in the challenge.  I wasn't sure about making a penguin and I noticed that many people had used the basic pattern and modified it.  I was undecided about what to do - although I knew I wanted to make something other than just a simple backpack - and then on Friday at Spotlight I found some brown and white drill fabric.  There, in the shop, I had a eureka moment: I would make a cow backpack!

The grass was the perfect setting for a cow backpack

I search google for some cow images, found this fantastic painting and used it to guide my pattern drafting.  I wanted the nose to be a separate pocket and sewed that first.

 I used a soft fusible vilene to add some body to both the pocket and the main part of the backpack

and I lined the pocket with a New Zealand-themed fabric

I  added some 30mm craft eyes to the bag,

made some shorter, padded and interfaced straps, and used purchased strap fasteners and 32mm polyester strapping as finishing touches.  I looked at some of the backpacks I had at home to figure out how to attach the strapping  to the backpack

I lined the body of the bag in the same New Zealand material and made a single, larger pocket that was the same width as the back panel and used fold-over elastic along its top edge

I used some Steam-A-Seam2 to stick the zipper panels on (although I also hand-stitched the lining in place just to be sure).  I was thankful for my collection of sewing gadgets because my mini iron was the perfect size for ironing the Steam-A-Seam in place without melting the zipper!

This is a great pattern and the possibilities are endless.   I enjoyed the challenge of making something different and translating my vision into this finished item.   I'm not ashamed to say that I love my cow backpack but I have no idea what to do with it now that it is finished…. but  I guess it won't be mooving on just yet….

Monday, 18 November 2013

summer sewing

About 6 or 7 years ago I bought some lilac broderie anglaise fabric to make a dress for a good friend's daughter.  Shortly after, I realised that the girl wouldn't wear it: the colour might have been right but there wouldn't be a designer label attached to the dress.  So I didn't make the dress and the fabric went into the stash.

Today seemed a good day to dig into my stash.  After all, I recently promised my husband that I would try to use more of my fabric stash rather than buy more fabric.  He thinks that a reasonable guide is that I use 1m of fabric for every 1.5m I buy.  I think he is being completely unrealistic and unreasonable.  But maybe there is a decimal point in the wrong place - a 1:15 ratio seems better suited to me?!

Anyway, I found the lilac broderie anglaise fabric and a pattern I hadn't sewed before, the Oliver + S seashore sundress, and put the two together.  This is what I came up with

size 4

back view

I tried to match the border at the seams and I'm pleased with the results

In my large button tin I found some matching buttons for the shoulder straps

And I sewed around a freezer paper template to ensure that the shoulder straps are identical.  

Unfortunately I still have a quantity of this material left over so I will have to find someone else to sew a little skirt or top from the remainder.  

I also made some Oliver + S class picnic shorts from a remnant of pink stretch denim I might have picked up last week.  

The tag stated that the fabric was "faded" and it wasn't until I unfolded the fabric that I discovered how uneven the fading was!  Grrr.  So I ended up cutting the pattern around the fading and I will have to try dyeing the fabric if I want to use the leftovers.

note the difference in colour between the two sides 

I made my own piping from a pink and green-spotted fabric in the stash

This is such a cool pattern and it reminds me of the shorts we wore as kids in the 70's.   (Am I showing my age?  Does anyone say things are cool any more?  Presumably, it is OK to use "cool" and "70's" in the same sentence…).  My sister suggested that I make these shorts out of a velour - just like the 70's - but the only velour I have is red and I wouldn't want Rosa to look like one of those girls who helps Santa out at the photo stand at Christmas time.  And, it would be uncool to buy more fabric just for the sake of reliving our childhood (or inflicting it on Rosa).

I made a class picnic top for Rosa last year but it was too big then, so it may work out to be a good match for these shorts

The skirt is pattern b from Japanese pattern book "Girls going out clothes" by Yuki Araki

So another couple of Oliver + S patterns completed AND some fabric removed from the stash to make way for some more...

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Flower power

I bought the Oliver + S trench coat pattern last year.   I waited for just the 'right' fabric and recently found it - a lightweight coated cotton - at Dots N Stripes.  But with summer fast approaching it didn't really seem like such a good idea to make a trench coat…. so that is exactly what I did!

size 5


I made view A and the only change I made was to add a belt buckle that I found in a fabulous little button shop in Tokyo

Isn't this just the perfect buckle for this material?

My first attempt at the pockets was not good enough - I wanted them to be perfectly shaped - so I recut the fabric and used freezer paper templates to make a second set.  These turned out more to my liking but, of course, it is hard to see them in this busy print.

I also used covered buttons because I didn't want them to clash or detract from the buckle

I didn't try to fussy cut the pattern pieces because the material is so busy but I wish I had staggered the front pieces a little so that the large yellow and blue flowers are not so close together.  Never mind, perhaps the next time I make something out of this fabric I will be a little more careful.

 Oliver   S secret agent trench coat

In keeping with the bright floral theme, I also sewed an Oliver + S ice cream dress from a groovy Michael Miller print called Peace Flowers.

size 4 

This was quick to sew particularly as I didn't add the pockets (just too lazy) and I combined the top and bottom panels of the dress when I was cutting out.  I bought this fabric to make this dress but now I am not so sure I like it.  Perhaps, I will use a neutral linen next time I sew this pattern.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Floral print for the art museum trousers

I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself: another Oliver + S pattern ticked off my to-do list AND with fancy welt pockets too!

My inspiration were these trousers

I thought that the Art Museum Trousers had many of the features seen on these designer trousers and, after seeing these pants on Flickr, I knew this pattern was good for a girly version.  I used a floral cotton sateen fabric I picked up recently on a trip to Tokyo

These pants were fun to make and I was impressed with how easily they came together.

The instructions for the welt pockets were thorough and the welts were straightforward to insert.  I made sure that all of the stitching lines were copied onto the fabric accurately and I ended up with even pockets.  But you would never know that looking at these pictures with everything distorted by the elastic in the back!

Of course, using really busy fabric like this hides any little imperfections.

I used Liesl's instructions for the zipper fly front.  It looks tidy but next time I won't sew quite so close to the zipper teeth on the (wearer's) left side because the zipper pull pokes out just a little at the top.  On my RTW trousers the front panel is stitched about halfway between the zipper teeth and the far edge and the zipper pull is well hidden.

And it even looks like I matched the flowers over the fly!

Now, I've just got to decide what to do with the all the other fabrics I bought in Tokyo....