Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas ties

I am back into the swing of machine embroidery and have picked up some useful tips over on a Facebook page dedicated to all things machine embroidery. I usually don't have alot of success with t-shirts but thanks to some useful ideas (like using water dissolving stabliser over the top), the embroideries have worked out better and there have been less mishaps. K's tie however was positioned too far at the top of the shirt so the machine didn't like doing the final stitching over all the bulk. Next time I'll remember to position it a bit lower. J's turned out really well and I love the design. K picked the snowman.
J's reindeer tie from Blasto Stitch (currently on sale December 2013)
K's snowman tie from Just Peachy (currently on sale December 2013)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

He wears Christmas shorts for a crazy $3.24

After months (maybe a year?) of neglecting the machine embroidery feature of my sewing machine, I went into overdrive and made two pairs of Christmas shorts, one for each of my boys. This was in between making the Christmas peasant dresses that I blogged earlier this week.

I may have also spent up big in the Thanksgiving sales where most of the machine embroidery websites featured sales. The opportunity (my zing for embroidery and the sales) was too good to pass up!

The fabric is a light grey colour from Spotlight, purchased in the post-Christmas sale last year. It is a solid fabric in weave and weight, more like curtaining material, but still soft enough to wear. It was $3.24 per metre on sale post-Christmas.

Now I don't normally sew matchy-matchy for my two as I'm not a big fan of it, but hey I had the fabric so I made them from the same fabric but used different embroideries.

The pattern is the MADE short pattern (again). I've read some reviews say the pattern runs small. But the fit is spot on for K and J, although both boys are on the slender side and are in the early months of their pattern year (7 and 4).

The embroideries were from several sites. My favourite remains Bunnycup Embroidery. Sets are still on sale in December for $7.50 per set.

K's shorts feature designs from Bunnycup's Sassy Christmas and Christmas Sentiments Five. The checklist applique (my least favourite as the embroidery is not as solid as Bunnycup Embroider) is from Blasto Stitch.

 This embroidery pictured above is highly appropriate for when K is standing next to his brother.

 J is wearing the Mustachemas Christmas tree from Planet Applique. The reindeer pocket was purchased from DesignsByJuJu and we have another design from Bunnycup embroidery.

 J loved talking about his shorts at the playgroup Christmas party and K thinks I'm the best sewist in the world! I love my boys.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The conversation that started with, "You know how you are a good sewer..."

About a month ago a friend contacted me and the conversation started with her words, " You know how you are a good sewer," and ended with me bombarding her lots with of links to pattern ideas and fabric suggestions.

The brief was to make matching dresses for her two girls for Christmas. The selection was a simple peasant dress design with applique embroidery. The choice came down to two options, and her daughter selected the one with the reindeer face. 

It has been a while since I had used my machine for embroidery. I think we both enjoyed the workout. K has already put in his own order for a reindeer embroidery but with trees, presents and candy canes!

I added my own fabric flower which I think adds a lovely touch to the top. Here are the details:
Dress 1 - Libby Lu Peasant dress pattern (comes with a number of variations), size 5
Machine applique embroidery from Planet Applique.
Fabric from Spotlight including the Christmas fabric used in the flower.
Button from stash. 

Dress 2 - Miss Madeline peasant dress pattern, size 00
Machine applique embroidery from Planet Applique.
Fabric from Spotlight including the Christmas chevron fabric. Button from stash.
Machine applique embroidery from Planet Applique. 

Sorry the photos were a bit rushed. I had a four year-old trying to photo-bomb the pics and a lunch date to get to so I could hand these over.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

MADE Kid Shorts

Getting back into my sewing vibe, I fashioned these Kid Shorts by Made with the front pocket version with full elastic.

K loves them although there was a bit of a grumble about the pockets being on the front when he had in fact asked for back pockets. This is despite of prior confirmation of front pockets!  He gets in those kind of moods.

They are a perfect fit for his size, being size 7. Normally I make a size 6 but I wanted the extra length. To give you an idea, he turns 7 in December. I topstitched in yellow. 

I love that this pattern goes up to size 10. Most of the pdf patterns only go to size 6 or so. There are a number of variations to this basic pattern (racer shorts, flat front, back pockets) with full instructions on the Made website.

The fabric is retro drill from Spotlight. I will be interested to see how long the colour lasts or fades over time. The fabric itself seems nice and sturdy. I had lovely customer service from the gent behind the counter who cut it for me. We had a long conversation about the lack of prints in stock for boys. There is one thing for sure though, K will stand out in the crowd! I think is it a perfect print for his age and the pockets break up the other print. 

Love, love, love them. I'll include a modelled shot in an upcoming post.

Made Kid Shorts

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Back from retreat

I'm just back from my first craft retreat in five years.....I had forgotten how relaxing it is to immerse oneself in a hobby WITHOUT a single interruption except for food and chat. Being with a bunch of women there was also no toilet roll running out and the toilet seat was always down.  When I woke up I felt like I had been in a deep sleep for hours, thinking it was mid-morning when it was 7am, and delighted in being able to eat without a child on my lap and the bed totally and absolutely all to myself. All meals were cooked for me and there was no washing up.  Ahhhhh bliss. 

The good thing about the retreat was that it was open to any form of crafter. There was a mixture of scrapbookers, knitters, a sewist, crocheters and card makers. A friend of mine from school invited me when she found out I was a scrapbooker of the past so I dug out my supplies and made a few special purchases (like ink and washi tape).  I have found that I love ink and I love washi tape even more. Scrapbookers will notice that my layouts feature alot of the older Basic Grey and Kaiser Craft. Like I said, five years since my last retreat and about four years since I last scrapbooked.

Being that I hadn't scrapped in such a long time, I enjoyed playing around again with paper and glue. It  has been a long time. Here are the end efforts of my weekend.  Apologies for the poor photos but this is just a quick show and tell. 










PS: I do feel like I have somehow betrayed my sewing machine but I'm sure all will be quickly forgiven.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Time for trees

The line-up for Spring by the design Maiocchi is just gorgeous. When I saw this top and skirt combination it reminded me of the latest release of fabrics by Cloud 9. A simple a-line skirt and stretch top with bow detail  is simple, yet stand-out, in the execution. This is a look that would be so simple to recreate. 

Time for trees

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Good reasons to swatch - Yet another Hotshot

I have a confession. I have never knitted a swatch. A swatch is a test square knitted BEFORE you start your real garment so you can ensure that your knitting (tension, yarn, needle selection) matches the pattern so your sizing turns out right. If I was knitting for myself I would definitely do a swatch. For children's wear I've never swatched, and never had a problem..until now. 

In some regards this looks ok, but the perfectionist in me says it should look better. But it still wearable and still has gone into K's wardrobe. I still love this pattern (the Hotshot by Julia Stansfield) and it has a number of options for the neckline. I gave K his pick, and he went with the collar. I think it is too loose at the neckline and doesn't seem to sit right but then when I look at the pattern examples it seems to be designed that way so perhaps swatching wouldn't make a difference and K also had narrow shoulders which makes it sit strangely.

This is the third time I've knitted this pattern, and I feel I still have more to come (it goes up to size 10 years)!

P1040222 (Medium) 

P1040221 (Medium)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Merino knit is not my friend - StyleArc Laura Cardigan

Now I absolutely understand why merino knit long cardigans are priced at $100+! There is a far bit of fabric!

The fabric is lovely, soft and gorgeous, and easy to sew but for a perfectionist like me it is awful to unpick.
I just hope that this cardigan doesn't develop a few holes around the stitching lines over time where I have unpicked and resewed.

I love the drape and feel of this cardigan and it was quite easy to sew. But for some reason I found a few parts tricky but I'm sure it will be better next time!

Here's the review, which can also be found on Sewing Pattern Review

Pattern Description: Laura Knit Shawl Collar Cardi

Pattern Sizing: I made the size 1. I am normally a size 12 but have narrow shoulders and this was the perfect sizing for me. The sleeves are long in length though and I wore them folded back.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, although at first I didn't realise that the wrong side of the hood and shawl would be showing and that there was a seam down the hood as this is not depicted in  the line drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, although I did email Style Arc to check my assumptions about the hood and shawl collar. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It is an easy sew with only three pieces. I did find sewing the collar to the back neck a bit tricky whereas it shouldn't be. Not sure why and it didn't end up being the neatest of sewing (but no-one should ever see!). When I was cutting I was a tad worried that I wouldn't have enough fabric but I've found with Style Arc they are pretty spot on with their fabric estimates. I could afford to take a couple of cms off the sleeve length but I prefer to wear it folded back so kept the sleeves long. I love the drape of the cardigan and it is light yet warm and easy to take travelling or to throw on at work. 

Fabric Used: Merino knit from the Fabric Store. Cost AUS $32.00 total.  I have sewn knit fabrics before but not merino knit so I found this to be a new experience. I'm a picky sewing so unpicked in a few places and had trouble with the fabric being so sensitive to unpicking. It is gorgeously soft fabric though. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used a cross between a french seam and a felt felled seam for the hood back seam so I didn't have raw edges/overlocking showing on the outside of the hood.  I also used a three-thread rolled overlocked hem for the edges, including the sleeve hems. The sleeves are quite long and I could afford to trim them back a bit but I'm going to wear it as is and see how it goes.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I will sew again. At first I had my doubts but my co-worker loved it and I wore it alot on the weekend so I am now in love with it. It would look better though in a bright colour to splash up an outfit. 

Conclusion: A nice casual cardigan also great to throw on for a different look at work rather than a jacket or to carry in a bag 'in case'.  I feel like I need to add a nice soft knitted cowl though! I don't think I'm wearing the cardi as well as I can in the photos and I look a bit angry. I blame being late for work already and rushing to get a few photos so I could blog it....

PS I love my Elk bracelet.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Another Hotshot

Do you think I love this knitting pattern?

I think the answer must be "yes"!

This time I selected the largest size I could make with what I had remaining from Josh's Hotshot but this time added a contrast trim. Mr K selected a collar over a hood.

I find vests are much more practical for our weather and get alot more wear over longer-sleeved woollies.

It took a bit longer than my previous versions, having to knit larger sizes means more knitting time is required! 

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

Five pattern ideas for your boy to get 'on-trend'

Following on from my inspiration board in my previous post, I've been searching around for some pattern ideas to help boys get the 'catwalk' look to be on-trend this summer.  I hope this inspires you to get creative for your boy.  

 Catwalk 1


Shoulder bag - All the catwalk kids have them. This is a free pattern from Burda.

Bermuda shorts - Solid, striped, patterned, checkered, trimmed, cuffed, flowing, structured, casual and dressy, laying a foundation for the exciting styling possibilities.  Check them out at the catwalks of SS12 Pitti Bimbo

Catwalk 2

Blazer - Needs to be shorter though for 'hip layering and effortless, pulled in look' (again see the Boys Be Cool website). Another Burda pattern available from a sewing store (PS. Spotlight have two for one on patterns at the moment).  

Engineer's cap - Free tutorial to get the Little Workers' look. Check the sizes available.

Skinny jeans - Preferably in pastel, print or a bright colour for a fashionable look. 

Disclaimer: Please check the sizing before purchasing/downloading patterns and I haven't tried any of the above patterns (yet) so I look forward to seeing your creations. 

Now which one should I add to my 'to-do' list?  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Make this look Carla Zampatti

Carla Zampatti Make this look

Short Dresses - Seafoam Bamboo Sheath
$605 -

I have been constantly tempted by this pattern and found the perfect, stylish designer 'look alike'.  The pattern version has more of a 'cowl' neckline though which I think could be a good thing. I think this pattern really had me at 'make in one hour'!

Note: Pattern not yet purchased despite temptation....

Halloween Oliver & S Sketchbook Shirt

"Is that the shirt you started for Halloween last year?" Kaiden asks.

So perhaps my sewing is not up to schedule but better late than never?

And this one should still fit this Halloween too. 

Mr K picked this fabric himself during a visit to Spotlight.

It is bright, boy and lots of fun.

The pattern is the Sketchbook Shirt by Oliver & S.  It is a nice, tailored shirt which was pretty easy to sew. I love the curved hem. 

Front view

 Photo bombed!


On the patch pocket I used an iron-on purchased ages ago, I think when K was only a toddler. 

Even though the weather has turned a bit cool here, he still can't wait to wear his new Mumma-made shirt! 

My pattern review is here: Pattern Review

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Simplicity 5581


This is what I have to show for kids clothing week 2013 - Simplicity 5581 cargo shorts for Mr K. They do say measure twice, cut once but I was flat being able to wrap a tape measure around him once and then I got it wrong. There is no way that these will fit him just yet, but then again there is nothing wrong in sewing ahead and he can try them again at the end of the year.

I just love this drill fabric purchased from Spotlight (on sale).  It is classic boy style.  My pattern review can be found here. 

I love the style of the shorts although they have a faced waistband (no elastic) so may better fit a boy perhaps not so 'bean-like'. I love all the pockets, although they did take some time to sew and I think these shorts would look great in mixed prints rather than the one print where it all tends to blend into each other.

This pattern also includes grown-up sizes although I'm not sure if I'm quite ready to get into menswear sewing!
Simplicity 5581

I think I need more practice on sewing a front fly zipper.

More pics
Simplicity 5581

I think it would look better with another back pocket.

side pocket
Simplicity 5581

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Make this look - Verily Cowl Neck Dress

I just may have picked up this pattern on the weekend. Vogue patterns were on sale and I couldn't resist!  This pattern was awarded one of the best patterns of 2011 by and has a long list of great reviews. Some versions included added sleeves and a tunic or blouse version.  I think this will be an easy to sew, easy to wear dress and I love the Verily ready-to-wear version in a black and white print. Some style with a belt and a jacket. Another DKNY basic I look forward to adding to my wardrobe.

Make this look - Verily Cowl Neck Dress

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Brownie-Goose Henry Pants

I've been waiting for the right moment to get a modelled photo of K wearing his new pants. But it has been rain, rain, rain here so I'll catch up with this a little down the track, and also when it is not so warm here. There there hasn't been much opportunity to wear long pants (and we have been spending alot of time at home too).

The suspenders won me over for this pattern - The Henry Pants by Brownie-Goose but in the end I left them off.  They aren't really Mr K's style.


The welted pocket though is a LOVE! It was so easy to do and adds a professional-looking touch. Great for the boys.There is a flare down the bottom of the pants but once on it doesn't look so extreme.  All in all these were easy to sew but next time I think I'll add a fake fly to the front. I made the size five but next time I might make a size six and shorten the length. 


There is a pocket down near the bottom hem.

The back view

I'll be back with other photos showing them in action a little down the track. 

Pattern: Brown-Goose Henry Pants
Fabric: Cotton main, cotton pocket and welt. Both gifted to me by friends. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Emaline skirt - sewing for self Part 2

Simplicity 2211 & Emaline skirt
This skirt is one of those where the fabric can really make it "sing". A simple design and construction it is a great classic design that can be dressed up or down. I learnt a lesson though about how to store fabric as this gorgeous linen was washed and then folded for storage (where it sat for about two years *gulp*) and when I unfolded it to cut I found fold lines down either side. I tried vinegar, soaking, ironing with brown paper. While the lines faded a bit, they didn't go away completely. A little line down the back of the skirt I could live with but a line down the front I found 'distracting'. My workaround was to fussy-cut the animals and create a small panel to run down the front.  Nobody ever questions why it is there and I usually get a comment or two about this skirt - it certainly is an original! I purchased the fabric from a local quilting/sewing store at their annual sale. I'd love to pick up more one day (and use it more quickly)!

The blouse is from a Lisette pattern and you can find the details are couple of posts back.


Pattern Description: An innovative redesign of the  popular Emily skirt by Serendipity Studio. A-line easy to sew with three different skirt options with easy to read pattern markings and hand illustrated instructions. This skirt is designed with a small amount of ease that fits just below the waist to be extra comfortable as well as complimentary to every figure. The pattern includes instructions for all variations along with alteration and fitting tips to produce a flattering fit for all sizes and body types. Embellishment options offerred .

Pattern Sizing:XXS - XXL. I made a medium.

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 and there are also instructions with photos on Serendipity's website for sewing an invisible zipper. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Easy to sew and lots of options

Fabric Used:  Echnio fabric purchased on sale

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Yes I would love to sew it again, perhaps with a better fit (add in a little ease around the hips) as I think it could do with a little extra there.  A great A-line skirt pattern. I will be really using my block from my Voodoo Rabbit skirt drafting class as a guide for future versions to get the fit better to suit my body.