Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sewing for a baby

No, not mine 😉. A colleague of mine is due to have their first baby soon (so exciting!). To celebrate, I've done a bit of unselfish sewing. They kept the gender of their baby a mystery so gender neutral was required. I knew I wanted to create something but I wasn't sure what so internet searches commenced (Pinterest here). I had popped down to my local Spotties recently and spied a bunch of lovely fleeces. Great colours and prints and so easy to care for. I put that in the mix and came up with a floor blanket. I fell in love with a poplin with a great mix of greens and aqua with just a touch of pink,. So using that as the backing fabric, I chose a mint green minky. And to up the ante a little, I also found some nice muslin to make a wrap. Luckily I found some striped bias that complemented the backing fabric for the blanket to bind the wrap edges.

I wasn't sure how sewing minky and poplin together would go so a bit of Internet research on that came up with a few pointers:

  • Use fabric spray adhesive to baste the fabrics together
  • Secure the edges to be sewn with pins spaced 1" apart
  • Use a slightly longer straight stitch
  • Top stitching will provide a nice finish

I used to poplin width to set the size of the rug at 1.2m square. I used the triangle method and checked with my quilting square. The minky was wider than this. So I used the poplin as the template for the minky.

Using spray adhesive made a huge difference. The minky slipped around like crazy! And I've never used so many pins! I used a longer stitch (3 on my pfaff) for both the seams and the top stitching, which I put 1/4" in from the edge.

The wrap was pretty straightforward. Again, I used the width of the fabric to determine its size. I then used a glass to create curved corners. I wrapped the edges with the bias, pinned both sides together and sewed. I took care with the pinning, especially around the curves, and it turned out beautifully. The trick with bias on the curves is to keep the fold, on the fabric edge, as taut as you can, whilst easing any excess at the stitching line.

I managed to finish both the rug and wrap in time to present at her baby shower. They were very happily accepted. 😍

Monday, 15 May 2017

Mother's Day make

For some reason, this year I have felt a burning need to create for Mother's Day. I usually organise a family day and I'm happy with that. This year, yes, I'm still organising (afternoon tea sandwiched between sport and dinner) but I felt the need for more. But it also needed to be useful. What do you make a 70-something mother who has pretty much everything she needs. I spent most of the time leading up to that day thinking NOT making. I don't remember where I was but I do remember the sensation. Ping! Heat packs! So this week was spent researching tutorials and finding fabric.

I found two great tutes ( - winter warmers and - DIY pocket hand warmers) and the some really cute flannelette.

One big heat pack 28cm x 15cm and two hand warmers 7cm x 7cm. 1cm seams. I added ribbon tags (as per aspoonfulofsugar) to all of them. A nifty touch that makes them unique but also allows you to pull the packs out of the microwave without touching them.

I made up a nice label "to Mum with love" on one side and how to use instructions on the other. All bound together with matching ribbon. I can't wait to give them to mum and see her reaction.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A Betty Blouse

I've enjoyed reading the Simply Sewing magazine since I first discovered it a few years ago. On occasion, Simply Sewing offers free PDFs download patterns. Last year, it offered the Betty Blouse (sorry, it's no longer free but still available). It's a simple two piece blouse (bodice with a short all-in-one sleeve). The publication photo piqued my interest - really cute fabric - and when I looked closer, I got even more interested. Check out those fab pin tucks. I was hooked.

I printed out the pattern almost straight away and then it languished in a folder whilst I did other things (including some sewing 😉). Last week I rediscovered a piece of a pretty Japanese lawn in my stash (too cute for the remnant bin). I thought it would be a good wearable muslin. This was just the push I needed to get moving. I cut out and glued the pattern together really in one evening and cut it out within an hour (pre-washing everything before it goes into the stash helps with impromptu project decisions).

I was careful with the tucks. For the first time, I used a frixion pen. I marked the stitching lines and pinned them carefully and well as pressing lightly to keep the folds crisp. The lightweight fabric lent itself to enclosed seams. I decided to use flat felled seams on the shoulders and sides. There was a little bit of fiddling of the seams at the sleeves with the curve.

I had enough fabric left over to make my own bias. I find it quite therapeutic. The focus required to measure, position, cut and join is almost meditative. I made far too much for my needs right now but that's ok. Bias stash!

I'm really happy with the end result. Here's the final product on Dolly.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Toasted Sweater 2

No, I haven't done an earlier version of the Toasted Sweater by Sew House Seven. They have two Toasted sweater patterns and I've just made number 2. I've signed up to #SewMyStyle, a great initiative by Alex from Bluebird Fabrics. Here's her post describing her thinking about the project. In a nutshell, she's encouraging people to participate in the slow sewing movement by sewing one project a month. Toasted 2 is the first pattern. It's a really nice sweater/jumper designed by Sew House 7. Here's the link to the pattern page.

I went looking for fabric for this project without a clear idea of what I wanted. I reviewed the fabric requirements and had a french terry in mind, but it's the middle of summer here, not a good time to be looking for this kind of fabric. But I found something else instead. This great fabric, quite light, stretchy and with a fantastic animal print embossed on it. Check it out. The fabric is black on black. I washed out the photo so you can see the pattern.

This pattern made up easily. I paid attention to the neckline instructions and also the mitred corners of the hi-lo hem, and you can tell. I was contemplating using my overlocker but decided to follow the pattern instructions and used my sewing machine. Ball point needle was a must. I used a narrow zigzag for the seams and a double needle for the hems. There were a few skipped stitches - it's slippery fabric. But I took it slowly and it turned out ok. Next time I'll try reinforcing the hems before I sew fabric like this. And there will be a next time - I bought enough fabric to make the leggings that are scheduled in March.

Here's the finished product. I'm really happy with how it turned out. Can't wait for February and the Named Saunio cardigan.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 In Review

So I havent been around much this year on the blog. A role change at work which meant any writing energy was expended elsewhere. But I've been sewing up a storm (stress relief...)

I've completed the following this year:
  • "Muslin" Gabriola (Sewaholic)
  • Sorbetto #3 (Colette)
  • Cream sleeveless (McCalls 6711)
  • Khaki stripe T (Kirsten Denmark)
  • Grey Ponte dress (Sew Simple Brigitte dress)
  • Owl night shirt (Kwik Sew 3553)
  • Denim pants (V2948 - drafted into 2 piece legs rather than 4)
  • Test piece to size Alabama Chanin T
  • Sassy New Look (Frankenpattern of NL6407 and Sassy Librarian Blouse by Christine Haynes for Craftsy)
  • Blue Ombré T (Melly Sews Blanc T)
  • York in bows (Colette Seamwork 3026)
  • Ivy Blouse (St Tropez Scoop Neck Blouse)
  • Pussy Bow Blouse (Simply Sew)
  • Unlined floral jacket (Burda 
  • Scuba knit skirt (tutorial from
  • Black/green vintage floral CDC York #2
  • R's wrap (Purl Soho tutorial- rolled hem tassel wrap)
  • Self-drafted night dress
Hopeless effort on blogging about makes. But I've taken photos of them all. Here's collages.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Years Blanc Tee

I needed to get some elastic. Nothing special just 1" wide stuff that's good for waistbands. So I popped down to my local Spotties and got some and of course got sucked in to purchasing some fabric. I couldn't help myself - post Christmas sales, lots of fabric, lots and lots of fabric. I had been thinking about what I would wear tonight for New Years. We're not doing anything big, a few friends at our house. But I like to make an effort. I hadn't made my mind up until I saw all the metallic knits. Shiny! Immediate inspiration struck - a blanc tee. A TNT with a difference. I whipped it up in the afternoon. 2 hours from cut to complete. And I love it. Happy New Year!

Friday, 30 December 2016

A new friend

Guess what I got for Christmas? A dress form! Woo hoo! I have had my eye on mannequins for years. And when Stitch56 had an extra special special I took the plunge and bought a Lady Valet. Sigh! I told my family that this would be my present from everyone. They were fine with this, making it a (relatively) guilt-free purchase.

I had lots of help setting her up. Everyone wanted to get in on it. And whilst we were setting her up, we had lots of fun coming up with an appropriate name. I would like to introduce you to Doris.

So here Doris is wound out to my measurements with some padding and a plain tshirt. I am currently researching how to pad and cover her properly. A recent make is covering her up.  I have been asked that she not be left unclothed. Apparently various family members have been freaked out. You'll be seeing a lot more of her here.