Thursday, 27 March 2014

a lullaby collection

The arrival of the new Oliver + S lullaby layette pattern was very timely because I wanted to make some baby clothes for another workmate expecting her first child.  My workmate convinced me to start this blog because she had one and it seemed to be very popular.  She was also having a lot of fun writing about her sewing adventures.    Although she decided about two years ago that it was no longer her 'thing' to write a blog, I still hold her responsible for getting me started and I feel we have a bit of a bond (A sort of bloggers' bond or a sewers' bond).  So, of course,  I had to sew her something for her baby!

I had already cut out another of Spacefem's space captain bodysuits and I quickly sewed it up

I heard recently that in the "Star Trek" shows it was only ever the cast members wearing red who were eliminated….

But I also wanted to have a go at making the bodysuit included in the Oliver + S pattern.  What I particularly like about this pattern is that it is intended for woven fabrics.  I have lots of these as well as a number of non-stretch knit fabrics which would obviously work for this pattern, too.   

I had another cotton quilting fabric from the Woodland series by Natalie Lymer for Cinderberry Stitches left over from the sparkle punch quilt so I used that fabric to make a bodysuit to go with the jacket  

size 12-18 months

jacket and bodysuit ensemble

When I picked the mustard-coloured bias binding for the jacket I hadn't realized that the fabric I used for the bodysuit had yellow dots over it.  So I was delighted when I realized how serendipitous this was… And then I discovered I even had yellow snaps!

front placket and neck bias binding

snap placket

The only thing I did differently from the pattern instructions was to make a box pleat at the back rather than pressing the fold to one side. 

back with box pleat and lots of wrinkles!

I'm pretty happy with this pattern and how this bodysuit turned out.  Perhaps, even a little more than happy.  However, I realized that the fairy fabric I used probably wouldn't be the first choice for the expectant mother because she is having a boy!    So I made another one…

size 12-18 months

This time I used a Robert Kaufman flannel, Daydream Girl,* for the bodysuit and a spotted creamy quilting cotton for the bias binding and front placket.  I made the long-sleeve version, and sewed the box pleat in the back again

And the snap stash had some ivory snaps to finish off the bodysuit.

front placket

snap placket

I hope these will prove useful and get a bit of use.  If so,  I will probably make many more of these bodysuits because they are a bit different to what is on offer in the shops and the sewing patterns available.  I have some Michael Miller Dino Dudes fabric stashed away for just the right pattern and I think this is it.

 Finally, I also made up the trousers in the pattern set.  I used a denim fabric and yellow topstitching thread.

size 12-18 months
back view

back pockets

I'm a little ho-hum about these but I think it is because of my fabric and thread choices.  The pants on the pattern envelope look much better than these and I think they would look good in a (non-stretch) sweat-shirting fabric or even a ponte knit.  I might even be able to find some in the stash….

* not a very manly name but a fairly 'safe' fabric choice nevertheless

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

a little jacket made entirely from the stash

There hasn't been much time for sewing lately because work commitments have kept me out of the sewing room.  However, I managed to find a few hours on Sunday to sew up the reversible jacket from the new Oliver + S lullaby layette set pattern.

Initially, I decided I would make the bodysuit as a baby present for woman at work about to go on maternity leave.  The fabric I wanted to use needed to be pre-washed and, as the weather was miserable here, I knew it would take a few hours to get it washed and dried.  A few hours I didn't really have.  So I hunted through my stash for some fabric and found some left over from this quilt

side 1

reverse side

The fabrics are both from the Woodland series by Natalie Lymer for Cinderberry Stitches.  I used a mustard cotton (?Kona) for the bias trim.  I like it - I think it makes the jacket pop.  And it matches the fairies' wings.

Side 1with bias binding. Notice how I matched the design at the front edge!  A first time for everything

I used a Clover bias binding gizmo to make the binding.  My perfectionist tendencies were rewarded with even bias binding and stitching that looks good from both sides.  It might also have something to do with the hour it took me pressing the bias into shape, sewing at turtle speed and unpicking stitching when it went wonky.  Oh well, I think it was worth it!

reversed side bias binding

And have you noticed the snaps?  A perfect match for this teal blue!  These were also in my large collection of snaps from the Snap Source.  I love these snaps because there is so much choice in the sizes and the colours offered.  I have used these on nearly everything I have put snaps on lately and they seem to have held up to constant snapping.  I noticed today that Oliver + S are selling these snaps in their website shop in size 15 (I used the size 16 here).

I made the 12-18 month size of the jacket and think it will be great in these cotton fabrics to wrap around a baby during the warmer months.  I think next time I will use some flannel or some wool as other have recently done.  But this is definitely a pattern I will use again.

back of reverse side

back of side 1

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Pretty in pink

Almost four years ago* I made another friend a lap quilt.   I used mainly Kaffe Fassett fabrics in her favourite pink tones.  I'm a big fan of bright colours and I was delighted with how this quilt turned out.  So much so, that I have been meaning to make myself one ever since.…

pineapple block quilt from  Paper Piecing with Alex Anderson

My friend had a baby girl in September and, of course, I had to make the new addition to the family some goodies.  I knew that it would be ok - or even expected - to make something pink so I pulled out my Oliver + S patterns and sewed another birthday party dress

size 12-18 months 


This is very much an international dress: the pattern is from the USA, I bought the lawn in London at Liberty, and the buttons came from Buttonmania in Melbourne (during my trip around town with Lightning McStitch and her little assistant in February)

sweet little, colour-matched buttons

crisp pleats!

I also knitted a little top for the new baby - during my Christmas holiday - but didn't get around to putting the three buttons on it until early this week!!

Whereas the dress was an international effort, this is every bit a kiwi knit: the pattern, Hine, is by Kelly Brooker of Pekapeka design studio and the yarn is a beautifully soft 100% alpaca called plush from Doe Arnot of Oamaru Weaving.  I bought this yarn after Taryn of forkandneedle opened my eyes to New Zealand Made back in July 2013 and I discovered Doe's yarn being sold online at Felt.  Luckily, I have a few balls of this left over, and some other yarns I just had to have….

The top has a lace sleeve detail

and it is mostly knitted in the round so I didn't have any seams to finish!  It is knitted from the top down and once the sleeves are completed it is a very quick knit.  Perfect for holidays or knitting on a plane.

I think this is such a sweet top and hopefully I will find a few more girls I can knit it for.

Finally, I finished up the other presents for my friend I made the knitting bag for.  As I mentioned, this friend is very clever.  So clever, in fact, that she is affectionately known as Nancy Fancy Pants.   So, when I ordered the Spoonflower fabric for the children who received the pillowcases, I also asked Shelley Aakjaer of ShelleyMade to design a fabric for Nancy Fancy Pants

This is what she came up with

             Personalised Name Fabric - Pink 16 Small

So I ordered this design in cotton silk and silky faille and sewed Nancy some Fancy Pants

Nancy Fancy Pants's fancy pants

I used the Tried and True everyday knickers pattern from The Makers Journal.  The pattern is intended for light weight woven fabrics and is actually pretty easy to sew.   I spent quite a bit of time looking at the stitching on some of my own knickers and I copied the triple zig-zag stitch used to topstitch the knicker elastic in place.  I think these could just about pass for store bought but, at any rate, they are a zillion times better than the undies our mum made us when we were kids!!  Who would have thought that I would sew homemade knickers after the trauma inflicted on us all those years ago (although, to be fair, I'm not having to wear these ones)?    And, who knows if Nancy Fancy Pants will think these are fancy enough for her….

* I was in the process of sewing the blocks for this quilt when the September 2010 earthquakes struck Christchurch.  There was quite a mess in my sewing room - and elsewhere - but the blocks remained on the table where I had left them!

Really, this is a bigger mess than usual!!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Knitting bag

One of my friends is a very clever doctor who likes to knit in her spare time.  I often get her knitting books, yarn or knitting notions for her birthday and Christmas presents.   For her upcoming birthday in April I decided that I wanted to make her a knitting bag for travelling with.  Something just big enough for a smallish project - like a sock - and the yarn and needles that she is currently working with.

When I was in New York in December, one of the knitting stores, Knitty City, had several little knitting bags on display.   I picked up one of the bags but I couldn't get out of my head the message on the other bag, which unfortunately was not for sale.  The message seemed so appropriate - but absolutely politically incorrect - for my friend.  So, this weekend I made part of her birthday present AND ticked off another Little Things to Sew project!  

I used a knitting themed fabric and made the back of the bag as one piece 

I printed the message onto TAP paper using a font I found at called ransom note.  The white fabric I used for the front panel had white swirls on it - perhaps a little like tangled wool…. 

I used a white lining fabric for the inside of the bag and red twill ribbon in my stash for the ties.  

This isn't the first Oliver + S project I have made for my friend.  About two years ago I made her the Straight Stitch Society orange sewing kit which is also small enough to travel with

This sewing kit is much smaller than the doll sewing caddie I made her about seven years ago…

legs are pink cord for storing cotton reels; hands hold rings for storing rotary cutter and scissors; pins are tied to the front of the skirt;  multiple pockets on the dress for sewing machine needles, hand needles and ruler

all of the fabrics in her dress have a sewing theme

'Shirley', as she is known, was very loosely based on a commercial pattern for a doll-shaped sewing caddie I bought from one of the Big Four sewing companies but I thought I could improve on her.  

I am not sure how useful Shirley is, but the knitting bag I made this weekend will hopefully be an improvement on the plastic bags my friend currently uses for her knitting.