Friday, November 27, 2009

Projects Past

I've had a busy week catching up with lots of friends with kids. And cleaning- because I have actually had people at my house and didn't want them to be completely disgusted by my standard of living.

I've been plugging away at Mr F's quilt at night, and realising that I probably can't make all the squares meet up perfectly.  This really does bother me!  I have to keep telling myself, I'm not making it to be judged, it's just for a two year old who won't care.

The quilt will be my main project for a while it seems, so I'm going to have to post some of my past stuff.

I'm actually missing knitting at the moment.  Living in Queensland is it is just too hot to knit in the warmer months.  Which is most of the year.  It's particularly sad as knitting is probably the craft I enjoy most (big call, I know).  It's just so portable and something I can do at times during the day around the kids.  And baby things are really quick to make up.  Like this little set, done in April/ May...

baby cardigan and hat

The knitting of the cardigan pieces took me two days, just knitting when I had the chance during the day, and not staying up late at night. When I had a new baby who hardly slept during the day. It was just so satisfying to get something done!  Sewing in the middle of the night just does not seem as therapeutic.

The lovely baby quilt is by my Mum, featuring several fabrics used for dresses and skirts for me over the years. Actually, her squares seem to meet up very well!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

For the Boy

It is definitely much more fun to sew for a little girl than a little boy- prettier fabrics and way cuter (and often easier) patterns available.  I decided however that I could manage some basic shorts for my son.  As Mr F is getting to the toilet training stage, elastic waists are suddenly highly desirable.

boy shorts front

boy shorts back

These are another pattern from Ottobre 3/2008.  Yes, that's the same fabric as baby girl's shorts from last post.  No, I don't plan to dress them in their matching shorts at the same time!  But, free fabric from Grandma making two pairs of shorts?  I won't complain.  Easy pattern made more special with topstitching.   This was the trickiest part as I had never used topstitching thread before and I followed advice not to backstitch but hand tie all ends underneath.  Which was a bit fiddly, but gave a nice result I think.  

Mr F himself isn't yet interested in fashion (apart from his plastic fireman's hat which he currently likes to wear even while sleeping).  He does however have a bit of interest in quilts, in that he likes to lie on our couch with a very old one draped over him and pretend he's in bed.  So, next project is a quilt for him, that he can have on the couch or use on his single bed.  The goal is to get it done for Christmas.  I had some charm squares in kiddie prints (Minny Muu by Lecien ) to use up, and I've just added basic prints and solids in bright colours, so now I have 360 squares to be sewn up.  

work in progress

So far, I'm doing 9 patch blocks which I think I might then cut into quarters- Mum tells me there is a 'proper name' for this technique but neither of us can recall it.  I am definitely excited about doing this quilt in quite a random fashion, and just getting into it.  I just want it to be a cute quilt for my little boy, where he can point out colours, and teddy bears, and mice with cheese.  

Oh, and the soft dolly kit (by the red thread) is to be made up for baby girl for Christmas, bought from this cute girlie shop in lovely Bulimba.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baby bottoms!

I have actually been making things lately (despite the lack of evidence here).  My recent favourites have been shorts for my nearly nine month old little girl.  They are super quick to make, and as they require such small amounts of fabric I've had the satisfaction of using up some very old stuff.

Pooh baby shorts

This Winnie the Pooh print is from when I was a toddler in the 70s!  I think I had a reversible pinafore out of this- pretty loud, yes?  It's a great kind of lightweight cotton canvas, and I used lightweight denim for the trim.  The pattern is the Oliver + S 'puppet show' shorts, minus the pockets.  I must admit to being a bit anti licensed prints on kids' clothes, but somehow I'm okay with it when it's old fabric with a story.  I also think the quality and designs are so much nicer than the modern day equivalent.

Another pair of shorts from the same pattern...

stripe baby shorts

This shows the pattern better, although I'm sorry the shorts look a bit wrinkled (after a trip to the park).  Fabric is a red and white striped cotton twill - which could even be older than the Pooh fabric- from my Grandma's stash.

This is my third project with this pattern.  I love the cute pockets and it is really easy.  The Oliver + S patterns must be the best I have encountered for describing exactly what to do- no prior sewing knowledge assumed.

Some (minor) challenges...

These shorts are a small make- my girl is a smallish 9 month old and I've made the 18-24 months size which is just a little big on her.  The first time I used the pattern I made denim shorts in the 6-12 month size (when she measured at 3 month size) and they were outgrown really quickly.  Even made a bit big there's no way she could wear a cloth nappy under them.

It's hard for my machine to get through all the layers of fabric when sewing through the binding on the pockets, so I can't get my topstitching perfect - I think there are 10 layers of fabric at some points!

Finally, there are meant to be gathers at the sides of the legs, but I find my binding strip (cut on the bias) for the legs always ends up too long.  So, when I adjust the gathers to fit the binding they are barely detectable (see on the Pooh shorts).  With this pair, I just gathered a lot tighter, to the point I thought looked best, then cut the binding to fit- I lopped off about 1.5 inches.  And now this pair really do look like the picture on the pattern!

Edit 27/11/2009: I have since checked out the Oliver + S website a bit more thoroughly and found that they have acknowledged the binding length problem in their errata- and it is 1.5 inches too long.  They have errata up for a few patterns, so it is worth checking out the site before sewing.  They also have forums where you can pose questions- nice service!   

These frilly shorts are from Ottobre magazine 3/2008...

ruffle shorts frontfront...

ruffle shorts back...and ruffly back!

Now these are really puffy, and baby hasn't worn them out yet as she looks a bit like a clown in them.  That said, I am really happy with how they turned out.  Made in one night, really easy, although the Ottobre pattern instructions are minimal.  I just end up interpreting the pattern in the way that's easiest for me.  I did a regular elastic casing at the top, not stitched down elastic as in the instructions.  (Having recently replaced lots of elastic in old baby bloomers, I see the benefit of it being easily removed.)  Made in size 74 which is definitely a size too big, but sure to look perfect later in the summer.  And plenty of room for a cloth nappy.  Fabric from Lincraft, and spotty grosgrain ribbon from my stash of gift wrapping stuff (it is washable).

Next, I must make something for my little boy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


charlie and lola cake

I had a fantastic time today at the Easton Pearson exhibition at GOMA- sadly the last day of the show. After initially being not particularly desperate to see it (hence leaving it until the last day), I am so glad I went. At one point I nearly cried, I was just so into it.

I don't actually own any Easton Pearson clothing, and don't pay it lots of attention in the shops as often the pieces are not the most flattering shapes for me, and it's usually a very embellished, not super practical look. And it's not generally considered a young woman's label. That said, I knew a lot of the stuff is actually made in Brisbane, which is really rare these days, and a lot of attention is given to handmade finishes.

Anyway, in the gallery setting I was able to have a good look at some of their best pieces, and there were great descriptions of how the items were made. And the clothes were just stunning! Absolute works of art. So I left feeling really inspired, planning to put to use some of their finishes like grosgrain ribbon belts, running stitch embroidery, clothing handpainted after construction, and trims like cotton tape and rick rack. Maybe even frills with fishing line edges.

Being the inexperienced blogger I am, I forgot to take my camera so very sadly no pictures! Do check out their beautiful work though!

Which brings me to another source of inspiration- Charlie and Lola. This is my son's 2nd birthday cake from a few months ago- he is wild about Charlie and Lola, particularly Lola, and at the moment even more so about Lola's friend Morten. Charlie and Lola make an appearance on our TV most days, and I adore Lauren Child's style of illustration. Lately I have been enjoying her Pippi Longstocking (supposedly bought for the kids) late at night. I find myself dreaming of having my little girl dressed entirely in 'patterny' Lola-style outfits made by me. And of my son growing up to be as lovely a big brother as is Charlie- surely seven year old boys are not normally that patient and kind with their nagging little sisters?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Japanese Love from the Fair

So, it's been over a week since I actually went to the craft fair, but I had to post my favourite find...

japanese fabric2

Anne of Green Gables fabric!

And not only Anne of Green Gables fabric, but manga style Anne of Green Gables fabric! Apparently not usually found out of Japan. Mum even bought a kit featuring this and another Anne fabric (to be made up for baby girl). I was so excited I then spent that night trawling the web for Japanese Anne of Green Gables stuff. It looks like the fabric range is based on this 1979 anime series. This one was my favourite clip, with an English dub. So cute! Although Diana seems very young to be getting drunk (even accidentally). It looks like you can't get DVDs of this in English, otherwise it would certainly be on my Christmas wish list.