Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zaaberry: Kid's Messenger Bag

I haven't delivered many handmade gifts for Christmas this year, but one pattern I will be revisiting in the future for our boys is the Zaaberry Kid's Messager Bag. There is a free tutorial and pattern on her blog. It is great for a little boy although next time I will make it slightly larger and with a slightly stronger interfacing or fabric so the body of the bag itself is stiffer and not so slouchy.It needs to be large enough to hold a drink bottle and perhaps have a proper closure so a wallet can fit inside. 


All the fabric was straight from my stash. The printed fabric was gifted to me by by friend Eileen of Touchwood Designs. It was hard to get a good modelled photo but the button was from Kellie Christie Design's destash.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monkeysbug Sweet Sailor Ruffle Shorts

Monkeysbug (Kate) has some gorgeous patterns for sale on Etsy, this one is no exception.

Unfortunately, no modelled shot to show you though. While J could fit into the larger sizse of these short, there was not enough chocolate in the world to convince him that this was a good idea just so I could take some photos. 


Over the past weeks I've been reading a few suggestions about basting tape and fabric glue for basting. This reminded me that I had a can of basting spray which was excellent for holding the pocket in place while sewing. Something to remember for the future especially with tricky/fiddly pieces.


Here's the review:

Pattern Description: Girls' elastic-waisted short with side ruffles and back pocket.

Pattern Sizing: Various sizes are available on the pdf pattern. I made a size 3 and a size 2 (for presents)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. Although I left the patterns off as I felt they weren't really needed on the fabric. 

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Good instructions and photos. Had no problems with sewing them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like that they are shorts but with a feminine touch.

Fabric used: Cotton fabric from my stash. Ruffles made from fabric recently purchased to make a hat and quilt for my son but instead ended up on these shorts. Cotton fabric from a friend's stash for the pockets.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: A few ladies on the sewing facebook page I follow have made the pieces of fabric longer so there can be more ruffles. I think that is a great idea and I'll be doing this next time.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and yes. It was easy enough for beginners to sew and I think they look very cute. Great for contrasting fabric.

Conclusion: Highly recommended pattern

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Oliver & S Sketchbook shorts

Now when your husband tells you that your little boy has no "nice" shorts to wear (that is, he just play shorts in his wardrobe), you know it is time to dedicate some sewing to your oldest boy.

For me though, the jury is still out on these shorts.


Firstly, I was a bit peeved that there were a number of errors / omissions in the pattern, basic stuff like seam allowances. Not one, but two errors (I can't remember the other one). These errors are listed on the Oliver & S website so please go look there before you trace off this pattern.


Secondly, I was peeved when I cut out the shorts and forgot to add the seam allowance that was missed off the pattern so I would have to compensate for this when sewing.

Please excuse the dirty marks as the photo as taken after the shorts were given a serious workout.  

Thirdly, I discovered that the fabric had a small hole in it on the front AFTER I cut it out. This I could get around and why there is a cute parachute guy on the front. I made the applique and sewed on the parachute lines using silver thread.

Looks like I need to cut a few threads and resew some of the lines.
My review

Pattern Description: Boys' elastic-waisted shorts with faux fly.

Pattern Sizing: sizes 5-12 were in this envelope. I made a size six but in hindsight should have made a size 5 for a better fit.  

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Good instructions and illustrations. Had no problems with sewing them. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I didn't like the E&O on a pattern. This is not a cheap pattern and I was disappointed that there were basic things missing (like a seam allowance). Easy to fix - if you remember! I think the waistband should be slightly wider so I'll add this in next time if I make these again. 

Fabric Used: Cord and printed drill purchased from Spotlight in 2011.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used a contrast for the pocket inserts. I also did a full elastic waist as it looked a bit big on my skinny soon-to-be six year old. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'm not sure if I'll sew these again.If I did I think I'd make them in a crisper fabric like a linen, denim or drill. I also like a version I saw with a ribbing and drawstring waist.

Conclusion: Buy this pattern for the shirt and not the shorts. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hotshot for Josh

Perfect for the budding chippie! 


I was a little bit busy with the knitting needles over winter and finished off a cute little size one Hotshot vest as a present for the latest addition to the neighbourhood.  He was born five weeks early, so it will take him a bit longer than expected to fit into it, but I do like to knit ahead so they can grow into it rather than outgrow it too quickly!

Featuring my own embroidery design

And in case you didn't guess, his Daddy works in the building industry so I embroidered my own design (a hammer and saw) onto the front. In hindsight I wish that I have left more space between the two but I was too far down the track of the embroidery before coming to this conclusion. I also confess that I made a mistake with front neck but I hope that it isn't too obvious.


The yarn is 100pure wool which I haven't knitted with before and I found it nice and soft on the fingers.  It is a great price but the downside is that is not Aussie wool.

Hard to believe that there are now 12 boys aged between two weeks and six years in our immediate street.  We keep saying that there must be something in the water!   

Yarn: 100pure wool (colour: Gentle Knight)
Pattern: Hotshot by The Little Rascals

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kids Clothing Week Challenge 2012

Kids Clothing week 2012

Spring Gingham Shirt

Boys Shorts | Printed Jungle Short | Seed Heritage

Kids Clothing Week Challenge, dedicated to creating for the young ones in your life, kicks off next week and I will be joining along in the fun.  It only has to be an hour or so every day which I plan to squeeze in between my boys' bedtime and mine (with perhaps less sleep). I may have tried to get a head start by cutting out a few items over the past week. 

Being boy inspired
Now with two young boys I'm the first to admit that I'm a tad jealous when it comes to pattern options.  Girls have ruffles, frills, ribbon and lace.  It can be challenging to create boy clothing that is creative, fashionable AND practical. So I've put together an inspiration board (see above) based on some of my favourites from designers for summer 2012/13. I've noticed that the fashion trends for big people are carrying through - colour blocking, bright colours and floral prints are amongst the mix.  Gingham and checks (perhaps a country look?) are big for shirts.  I just love the yellow boat shoes from Country Road and I've already decided that K needs a pair.  

Websites to check out 
Elise Marley - Organiser of the challenge and features some great ideas for modernising traditional boys' wear.

Project Run and Play - Inspiration for unique sewing including this great post on translating fashion concepts from trendy men's clothing for the younger set. 

Boys' Fashion Trends From the Catwalk - Trends from European designers on the catwalk. 

What's your boy's style? 
Mine are practical, hard-wearing and K loves bright!  The youngest one, well I'm lucky if he wears clothes on some days.  What would work in your boy's wardrobe?  



Monday, August 27, 2012

Simple beanie


A simple beanie modeled here by 'Tiger'.  I finished a while ago to go with the Milo vest but it not gifted as it looked too big to fit a three month old.  The pattern is called 'All ears' and is available for free from Ravelry. Quick, easy but really not very useful if it doesn't fit! 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Another Olearia off the needles

I've mentioned before how much I love this pattern, Olearia, by Tikki (Georgie Hallam).  It seems to be one of my 'go to' patterns for little girls and with two boys, I don't need many of these but it is perfect for gifts.  Again this is made with squishy, soft Woolganics yarn which is wonderful to knit with.  Untitled

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cambie Make this look

I love Sacha Drake.  I have also been known to have champagne taste but need to live on a cordial (not even beer!) budget.  I have fallen in love with her latest collection and when I saw her Millicent dress I instantly thought of the Cambie pattern, a new release from Sewaholic.  Sacha makes hers from a cotton sateen fabric which is a perfect match for the design and I think the fabric pattern is what makes this dress a stand out.  If you ever come across similar fabric, please let me know as I'd love to make this for my summer wardrobe. I love the Nine West shoes, not practical but hey this is my dream board.  The red rose fabric is from Tessuti

PS: The Millicent dress is sold out online so obviously I have great taste!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


It has been  a quiet couple of months here craft-wise.  Busy on the home and work front though with any spare, usable hours spent knitting rather than sewing as it is much warmer on the couch than in the spare room.

Here is a little beanie I made for Jordan a couple of months ago and a cold weekend down near Warwick provided the perfect opportunity for some modeled shots. 

It was an easy knit, but high on the cuteness factor. 

The wool was acquired through a swap on Ravelry and was perfect for a simple beanie like this.

The pattern is called "Tubey" and was designed by Woolly Wormhead.  



Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This jumper was started last winter (I knitted a size slightly larger to give me a bit of time just in case...) so all I had left to do was one sleeve and the buttons which I finally finished off last week.

While I was knitting it the other week Kaiden said, " Mum, I love you because you can knit."  Awwwwww

This is a size four and it still looks a bit big for Kaiden.  And the sleeves are massively long.  The pattern is designed for the sleeves to be worn folded back but they still look too long.  I thought I measured his arms while working on the sleeves but now it is finished I'm wondering if I should reduce the ribbing a bit.  He has such a tiny frame.  


Caelum is an easy pattern, knitted in the round.  Although while I was finishing it off I was wondering how much wear it will actually get.  The days here have been beautiful and hardly worthy of a high-necked jumper.


I'm also a bit worried about the 'itchy' factor but my secret weapon lies in some specially-designed and made Ninja turtle buttons.  These were made to match the wool by Ayarina.  You can find her on Etsy.  I would recommend buying from her.  Firstly she knew the wool and made a prototype to show me before making the final versions.  A perfect match! Although when Kaiden put it on he said it was "itchy".  Oh dear, I'm starting to worry. 


The wool is by Mosiac Moon who I just love.  Not cheap but well wearing and gorgeous colours.  I buy them through the co-ops run on Ravelry.  I may have just purchased some more (but in a different colour combination) from a fellow knitter who was selling off from her stash. 

J is much larger than K was at his age, so I'm anticipating that he'll wear this in the year before he goes to school, so should get a bit more wear and then some. Plus there is all that room in the sleeves!

Pattern: Caelum (search patterns on Ravelry)
Wool: Mosiac Moon

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ruby Milo

Our little boys do lots of things that make me smile.

The other day I was packaging up some baby items which I had sold and K expressed his displeasure, "But Mum you will need this when WE have another baby."

Sorry little guy.  There will not be another baby, little J is it, our family is complete. 

But this got me to wondering - where exactly was this coming from?

And then it dawned on me that recently his best school mate was blessed with a little sister. So perhaps K thought that it would be a good idea/how families are/lots of fun to have another sibling. It's nice though that he would like to have lots of other kids around - like he isn't selfish - he has a giving heart :)

Talking about the little sister, I've only just finished this little set for the little Miss.  It's nice and soft and warm and PINK!  I've made the vest pattern a couple of times before so it was easy to get into and the hat is called the Emergency 1 Day Hat which actually took me longer than one day due to tiredness and silly mistakes.  It makes a cute set! Unfortunately I didn't get a good pic as I had to wrap it for next-day delivery.


Pattern: Milo by Georgie Hallam
Emergency 1 Day Hat

Yarn: Woolganics

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Treasure Vest


Once upon a time (about a year ago), a knit designer called Tot Toppers hosted a knit-a-long for the release of her new pattern.  This was where people knitted from the same pattern at once.  To make it even more of a surprise it was a mystery one – so she released only pattern of the pattern (in sequence) at one time.  

Now my work life is full of deadlines and milestones but somehow that doesn’t convert into my after-hours existence.  So I dropped behind and a year later, have finally completed this Treasure Vest so called as there is a little pocket on the front for little boys to hide their treasures.  Fortunately I had the foresight to have another boy so when I knit for the older child, it can be worn for by the younger one when it is finally finished.  I counted the knits in the drawer last night and the tally is Kaiden: 1, Jordan: 3 (two of these were gifted to me by a lovely fellow knitter from Ravelry).

The stumbling block was picking up the stitches for the second armhole.  This took me ages just to do (don’t ask!) and then there was the little embroidery on the pocket which I decided to add.   It’s my first go at this kind of embellishment and I used a free pattern from Watermellish.  Not perfect but that will just take practise I think!


The strange thing is that when I went to block this, the wool seemed to have stretched out of shape from when I hand washed.  It seemed to dry better but we'll see how this yarn holds out.  It had a good test run today with lots of climbing and playing but already needs to be washed again thanks to fete goodies (think sugary and sticky!).

Apparently it is best practice to do a swatch and block it  to check your gauge before starting a project. Of course, this is a new concept to me. 

I had this finished a couple of weeks ago but it has only just turned cool enough to bring out the knits.  

Yarn: Bendigo Wool, Luxury 8 ply
Pattern: Treasure Vest by Tot Toppers

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My $3.50 Donna Karan (or Vogue 1169)

This Donna Karan designed pattern by Vogue (Vogue 1179) has received some great reviews over on the website Pattern Review and when I saw some grey graphic stretch fabric on the clearance table at Spotlight, I thought the two could make a good combination.  And for $3.50 total for the fabric, I didn't see any reason not to go ahead with a test run. 

While Brett refers to this as my "sack dress", the advantange is that it is comfy, easy to wear and easy to sew (and this version was cheap!).  While compliments were not flowing at home, there were some from fellow Mums at a children's party on the weekend, so I'm still swaying between "yay" or "nay".

Secretly though I was a little bit happy when the weather was cooling down so I could start wearing it as it is a nice change from jeans and a tee.  Combined with tights, it is a safe combination for venturing out with a toddler who still persists on being cuddled and carried.  Dressing up with a cardie and scarf is easy or I just wear it with tights and a pair of ballet flats.

While after the intial  "sack" comment, I quickly disposed of the pattern, I did have a change of heart and won a copy of the pattern back through a blog competition hosted by the Perfect Nose.  Thank you TJ!! I think this pattern and me is just meant to be.  Although every time I look at the photo, it looks like I have something hiding under that middle. 




My full pattern review is here.

PS.  I'm also looking for a nice red lipstick so if you have any recommendations please let me know in your comments. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The trial run Parfait

Years (decades ago) I used to sew clothes for myself. I used to believe that I could take a commercial pattern and apply it directly to my body. No wonder they never fit right - too big, too tight, gapey, not sitting properly. No wonder I found myself disappointed and frustrated and gave up. Only recently when I decided to sew for myself once again that I investigated further and found that fact I had to alter the pattern to suit my unique, one-of-a-kind, not out-of-a-packet body. Yes, in this journey of self-discovery I have come to be very aware of my broad back, square shoulders (or are they sloping?), sway back and wide hips. And yes, there would be benefit in making a "muslin" version for fitting. So for the first time EVER I made a muslin of a dress - the Parfait - and then fitted it to my body. I then cut it out from the better fabric and made this trial run. I love it! It perhaps needs a tweak here and there but unless someone points out something that would make it look even better, I think I'm right to run into the good fabric and make another.

I'm wondering though if perhaps I need an adjustment for a sway back?

This is a great summer dress and I totally love it with my new shoes ($8 from Target!).

Pattern Description: A versatile dress designed to be worn as either a sun dress or layered over a shirt or blouse as a pinafore style in cooler weather. Features a gathered bust and flattering curved midriff that fits snugly around the high waist. The straps and gathered pockets fasten with buttons. Skirt is a gently flared six-gore style. Closes with a side invisible zipper.  

Pattern Sizing: 0-18  

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.  
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions are quite detailed except for the zipper. It just says to sew it in "according to the manufacturer's instructions". Now I'm still new to invisible zippers, and being that there were no instructions that came with my zipper, I referred to the tutorial on the Colette website. I also did a bit of a google search and find some hints relating to sewing in a side zipper. One was to allow a bit of extra on the seam allowance on the top to create a little "house" for the zipper pull.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the heart-shaped neckline. I think it is really flattering for my figure, particularly as I'm smaller up top. I disliked the length of the skirt. I like a bit more on the length.

Fabric Used: Poplin, on sale from Lincraft. A thicker fabric would have been better as I wouldn't need to wear a slip with it but for the purposes of a trial run it was fine.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made a size 10 up top and size 12 from the waist down. I also adjusted the sides in a touch at the underarm as it was gaping a little there. I didn't include the pockets as I thought this version would look better without them as it was already quite busy. I added 2 cm onto the hem and would do this again as I like the length. Next time I might add a bit more next time as for this version I hemmed used bias binding as I wanted as much length as I could get.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?: yes and yes. I already have the fabric ready for the next . I thionenk though the straps need to be a bit tighter as they slip a little. Also I'll add in a little extra (just a touch) on the waist as it is a bit too firm fitting there. It is wearable, but a little bit of ease would make it more comfortable.  

Back view Parfait back view

 Parfait front  

Conclusion: Great pattern which totally lived up to my expectations

Pattern: Colette Parfait from Crafty Mamas
Fabric: Lincraft  
Buttons: Sewco and from my stash

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rocket shirt

I've made one of these before and loved it so much that I had cut out all the pieces to make another. Finally dug it out the other day and finished it off for Jordy. When he wore it he other day he said he was "lucky" to have a rocket shirt. P1030383 He also loves wearing his Santa hat. You can see the repair work on his upper lip thanks to his bigger brother. It is healing nicely and he isn't holding any grudges.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sewing for boys

The boys bought this book for me for Christmas. How thoughtful of them! I'd been eyeing it off for a while.

What I like about this book is that most of the patterns go up to a size eight which still gives me a few year's worth of sewing for both of them. It is also spiral bound which is great for being able to lie the book flat when you are working on a project and need your hands to be free.

The whole spectrum of boy clothes are covered - from pjs to a hat, coats, pants, t-shirts and shorts. In fact, a whole wardrobe just like the cover says.

There is a flickr group for clothing made from the book if you'd like to see more.

I have lots of projects planned to sew for myself first though before I crack open this pattern sheet.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 - The year of sewing for me (well mostly)

Grand plans.
Lots of dreams.
New patterns in the stash.
Perhaps less sewing this year, but more sewing of substance. I love sewing for the boys but clothes for me are so much more expensive and so much harder to find the right fit (I have expensive taste too!)
I have been reading up on making muslins (trial runs), altering patterns and pinning lots of ideas to Piniterest.
Now I better get to it!