Friday, 16 January 2015

.Spring Tops.

I'm almost to the end of my un-blogged sewing projects. Like these three tops. The change of season always brings around "wardrobe crisis" - usually in the category of tops. Last year's are tired, worn out or I just need something fresh and new - you get it, right?! Plus ALL of my knit tops end up with a couple of little holes right in the front, a few inches above the hem. I have no idea why, but more often than not I am getting rid of tops because of these little pesky holes! Does that happen to you? So frustrating!
So, for this top I used my Skippy dress pattern, but didn't add the skirt to the bottom. I love this style - it has a lovely relaxed fit, the half-sleeves are always a win and the kangaroo pocket in the front and gathered sleeve caps help set it apart from a regular tshirt.
After these photographs were taken and after I had worn the top a few times, I ended up taking off the hem band and shortening the length a bit to make it more snug around my hips. It has a much nicer fit now. This fabric was purchased from Ixat (no longer avaliable) and I originally bought it as a "boy-friendly" print with intentions to use it for one of the boys but it was quite lightweight and I thought it would suit an adult better than a child so it became mine!
And another one of the same...Skippy dress turned into a top. This fabric is also from Ixat (also out of stock), but much thicker and with a better recovery than the arrow print and you can see how much that effects the way the finished top looks. Knit fabric varies so much, using different fabrics for the same pattern can give it a totally different look.  
All of the trims and bands for this top were made using a really good quality black jersey with great stretch and recovery. The waistband on this one was cut exactly the same size as the one in the arrow top but it much tighter here because of the recovery (how much it "bounces back" when you stretch and let it go) of the fabric. Unless you have someone to guide your sewing decisions, sewing with knits is a real trial-and-error process until you get to know what is going to work, how things will turn out with different fabrics, etc. I loved this fabric uncut, but it is pretty "out there" as a top! I have to be in the right mood to wear it and have actually changed the sleeve bands from the solid black fabric to the triangle print to try and tone down on the contrast so much but I'm not sure that was the best move?!
And the last Spring top make is using a different pattern altogether! This one is the City Girl Top. I bought it during a sale from Pattern Anthology a long time ago and hadn't used any of the patterns yet so thought I needed to at least give one of them a try!
The fabric I used was purchased on clearance from Crafty Mamas, it was really cheap so I thought it would be good for a trial-run before cutting into a more expensive fabric. I think I would like the top more in a solid print, but the fit is really nice - very comfortable to wear as it is nice and loose and flowy, but the cowl neck and pleat in the front are just enough "extra" to give it a more dressy rather than casual look.
So, now we are half-way through Summer (although it doesn't feel like it some days!) and I have Summer wardrobe crisis going on! Need to sew some short-sleeved tops and a swimsuit or two ASAP!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

.Festival Skirt in One Thimble.

I just realised that I have a new pattern which hasn't been officially shared on the blog - shocking! This pattern was released with One Thimble magazine (an Aussie-run PDF e-zine), just as we moved house and then we were without internet with over a month so I didn't had a chance to give it time to shine until now!

If you are new to sewing or just looking for a project which you can quickly sew for yourself or as a gift for friends, then look no further than the Festival Skirt.
Refresh your wardrobe with a Festival Skirt. A timeless style you'll be finding an excuse to wear often. The super comfy and versatile (yet stylish) elastic waistband is a relaxed alternative to fixed waistbands, zippers and buttons. 
The Festival Skirt is an effortless wear with side pockets for a casual feel and a chic puffed skirt. Simply grab your favourite fabric and you'll have one sewn in no time! 
Sometimes you just need a quick, simple sew - right? This skirt is just that, but still oozes with style and funk! The Festival Skirt is great for Summer, easy to pull over your swimsuit at the beach or pool and keeps you nice and cool.
The Festival Skirt is designed to have a "puffy" finished look, because of the elastic waistband, the fit is quite forgiving so if you want a less puffy look to the skirt then just size down a bit or use a lighter fabric with a softer drape - such as double gauze, voile, lawn, silk or rayon. I have made a few of these skirts made from quilting cotton too and they result in a much more full skirt, but still just as great looking!
The Festival Skirt pattern has been released in edition 5 of One Thimble's PDF e-zine. You can purchase the whole magazine here, or if you just want the Festival Skirt pattern on it's own it is avaliable here.
{And thanks to my little sister, Filipa, for modelling this skirt for me whilst feeling rotten with early pregnancy morning sickness...she's a gem, that one!}
Make It Perfect, Festival Skirt pattern
Kokka cotton lawn, Jubilee Printed Matter, Mosaic C purchased from Miss Matatabi.

Friday, 9 January 2015

.Short-sleeved Skippy.

Truth be told, I'm still trying to get into the sewing always takes awhile to find the time during the Summer school holidays, but playing at the beach, working in the yard and hanging out with the kids have taken priority lately. And I like it that way.
I was cleaning out some folders on my computer last week though and found a few items of clothing that I have sewn and never blogged about - kinda helpful to keep the blog rolling along!
This is a Skippy dress I made awhile ago - I think this may be the first short-sleeved version I have shared on the blog?
I choose to go a solid chocolate brown for this one. A little more subtle than the loud prints I am usually drawn to. And it gets a good workout. As fun as it is to sew with bold prints, these plain basics are always the ones that are easy to pull out of the wardrobe without much thought in the morning.
I really love the gathered cap sleeve option on the Skippy dress. This sleeve is gathered both at the top and the bottom of the sleeve, creating a full and even puff. The edge of the sleeve is finished off with a thin band.
I'm determined to break my sewing fast today...whip up a few "needed" items then start work on a new pattern because it's been awhile!

Make It Perfect, Skippy sewing pattern
Robert Kaufman, Laguna jersey in chocolate  

Monday, 5 January 2015

.Handmade Christmas Gifts.

This year I only made a couple of Christmas presents for family members. In past years I have made many more, but the sewing machine hasn't been used much at all since moving house. I'm still getting my sewing area set up and with the kids on school holidays and the weather finally warming up I just haven't felt like doing much sewing. A sewing break is always nice though, after a month or so I'm really hanging out to get back into it and at the moment my list of things to sew is becoming rather long so hopefully this week I will pull out the fabric and start making a mess again!

So, the first handmade Christmas gift was for Carli. We do a family Christmas draw where adults gift for another adult and children gift for another child. It's really nice - especially the cousins choosing presents for each other. Jaron got Carli's name and she hinted that I could make her a quilt top! She doesn't like cutting or sewing on the machine, but does enjoy a bit of hand quilting on the couch so I put together this quilt top for her, taking inspiration from colours in her house. I forgot to measure it before it was posted, but the blocks were cut at 6 1/2" square so it must be around 66" (167cm) square. I love this modern colour palette, nice and vibrant and I'm a big fan of simple square quilts where the focus is on the fabric.
After I had finished making the top, I kept looking at this floral fabric by Lotta Jansdotter sitting in my cupboard and thinking how good it would look on the back of the quilt. It wasn't big enough though so I selected a few fabrics from the quilt top and pieced them together to make the back bigger. Now all Carli has to do is buy some wadding and baste the layers together and it will keep her busy for a little while!
The other handmade gift was not of the sewing variety. Lil had to get a gift for baby George and Sam said that she would like to get more wooden toys for the kids. At the beginning, I thought this project was going to be quick, but I found myself cleaning, sanding and painting these little suckers for 3 weeks! Lucky I started with lots of time up my sleeve! 
These wooden blocks started out in our toy collection. I had a man make them for us a few years back and lots of them I had covered in scrapbook paper and modpodge. My kids didn't play with them much as they were so I soaked them in water to get the paper off then gave them all a really good sand and clean up. Then the painting went on forever...but I love the black and white geometric effect and think they will have lots of fun making different shapes and designs with all of the painted sides.
My inspiration came from this account I follow on Instagram. Check her out, she makes lots of funky kids toys and books and other craft projects. Now that I know how long these blocks took to paint I know why she has a really long waiting list for new orders!!!
Diawabo, Tip Top Elephants in grey (Japanese fabric)
Lizzy House, Pearl Bracelets in dark blue
Cotton & Steel Basics, Cross in navy
Lotta Jansdotter, Echo, Rugged Lena in suede
Sarah Jane, Wee Wander, Nature Walk in grass
Lotta Jansdotter, Echo, Moira in deep indigo
Joel Dewberry, Modern Meadow, Herringbone in pond
Joel Dewberry, True Colours, Lodge Lattice in turquoise
Lotta Jansdotter, Echo, Small Spring Buds in grey
Art Gallery, Chromatics, Pointelle in navy
Michelle Engle Bencsko, Simpatico, Straws in minty
Riley Blake, Hipster, Mirrah Leaf in grey
Lotta Jansdotter, Glimma, Marby in jade

Sunday, 4 January 2015

.Teacher Zippered Pouches.

The end of the school year was signified with the annual school teacher zippered pouch marathon!
It's kind of good having a "go to" teacher pattern - something that suits them all, is personal, not edible and something that I can be sure will actually be used in the future. Plus, it gives me a chance to lessen the load in the scrap fabric bin!
This year there were two teacher's aides in Tommy's class which meant I had to make 5 pouches. I managed to get them finished with a week or so to spare though which was nice considering it happened in amongst the craziness of moving and unpacking house.
You can see previous teacher zippered pouches here, here and here - this is the fourth year I have made them. Funny that some of those same scraps are still going strong!
I used my Zippered Pouch Tutorial to make them.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

.Christmas 2014.

5:45am wake-up. We made them wait until 7am, they were very patient watching TV whilst surrounded by their presents!
Harvey joined us at 8am. Bleary-eyed, in new car heaven (although the car didn't have wheels yet...we ran out of steam at midnight on Christmas Eve!)
Paper-ripping, fists pumping, squeals of delight. 
Gourmet breakfast with the family followed by a lovely walk to the jetty. 
The smallest children swam, clothes and all. 
The biggest children skimmed rocks.
Home for rest, movie and play time.
Reunited at Gramma & Poppy's house for a funny rendition of the Nativity story - complete with three very strange wise men.
Family presents exchanged and opened followed by another delicious feast and lots of laughter and relaxing together.
It was pure bliss.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

.Boxing Day Sale.

PicturePopping in just before the fun of Christmas Eve to let you know of an awesome Boxing Day Sale I'm taking part in with a group of other Aussie pattern designers!

The sale will run for the whole of the 26th December (Australian Eastern Standard Time). All of my PDF instant download patterns will be 30% off for just 24 hours - the perfect time to stock up on some patterns for a bit of holiday sewing!!

Here are links to all of the participating businesses (most require the code "BOXINGDAY" but some stores, mine included, will have a discounted price displayed for all to enjoy!):
Ainslee Fox Boutique Patterns
Apple & Fig
BOO! Designs (stand-alone patterns only)
Ellie Inspired
Funky Friends Factory
Golden Rippy
Hey There Threads
Jody's Crafty Creations
KC Creates (no code required - price will be discounted for you )
Little Moo Designs
Make it Perfect (no code required - price will be discounted for you)
Molly and Mama
One Thimble (includes e-zines but not subscriptions)
Pattern Emporium (stand-alone patterns only)
Rabbit Rabbit Creations
Sew n Sow
Tadah Patterns (stand-alone patterns only)
Threading Rainbows (no code required - price will be discounted for you!) 

Monday, 22 December 2014


Hello blog! I'm not sure that I remember how to do this, it has been so long!!! The last two months have been a whirlwind. We said goodbye to our fun home of 4 1/2 years at number 19...
...and hello to our new place which we finally finished building! This is our backyard - well, technically speaking these are the vacant blocks in our new subdivision that we are hoping don't sell for a long time because the kids think it is all theirs and run wild through all of that grass! We have gigantic (kind of scary) hares bouncing around all day and night - there are no bunnies here, just thumping huge hares! And so many birds...much to Harvey's delight. He is bird crazy and chases them when ever he gets the chance.
On our first night sleeping in the new house, this was the beginning of a glorious sunset - I think it was welcoming us to the neighbourhood. The sunsets here are amazing. I don't think they are different to the ones we had in town but the unobstructed horizon and clear views magnify the beauty of the sky. Sometimes at dusk, I like to go outside and watch the sun go down. With nothing but the chirping birds surrounding me, it is so peaceful. (Until one of those scary, big hares bounds by...)
The day before we moved, this was pretty much all that was left in any cupboard in the house. When Lil woke up in the morning, she went to the pantry to find something to eat and yells out, "Mum!!! Are we poor?!"
A few days after we moved, Grandie and Nana visited us from New Zealand. They were so helpful getting the old house all cleaned out and fixing things up ready for the tenants to move in. Such a relief not having to do it all on my own. Not only did they work like troopers, but they also spoiled us with babysitting, gifts and taking us out for lots of yummy lunches.

Oh, and they also brought along the biggest bag of giant marshmallows one has ever seen so we did what all newly semi-rural folk do to christen their property and had a backyard-campfire-s'mores-making session.
Upon moving into the new house, Harvey decided that he wanted to feed himself all the time. Not my favourite baby phase to get into. Especially in a brand new house with sparkling clean floors. So I pulled out the first quilt I ever made and now it is used for Harvey spill protection! He likes to tip his whole bowl of food onto the tray of the highchair and smoosh it around with his hands at every meal. And then he wears the bowl on his head like a hat. And usually walks around with crusty bits of weetbix in his hair all day long.
 So, we are in the new house. There was no internet connection for 4 weeks which was actually kind of nice for a little while. We are mostly unpacked, it feels like home, and we have about 20 years of landscaping ahead of us! One day we will get around to taking "nice" shots of the house to do a little tour for the blog. It was exhausting though, children would often fall asleep in strange and uncomfortable-looking positions!
And just in case you're wondering...the pantry is full now, but we spent all the money on food so now we are too poor to dress the baby!
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