Emergency

We have been without a boiler in our house for over a week now (and more than 2 weeks left to go until the plumber can “squeeze in” fitting our replacement).  We have a couple of electric heaters, but, err, my sewing room is too untidy to squeeze one in so consequently my sewjo has taken a big hit.

It also means that clothes are hard to dry (we don’t have a tumble dryer, not normally an issue but when the house is cold and the sun aint shining it does slow things down rather).

It also means that even my normally hot blooded daughter wants to wear winter pj’s in bed.

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So, one pair of long pj’s still damp + one pair ripped + one tired girl = tears.

And tears = guilty mamma.

(These pj’s have actually been on the To Do Pile for a while. I was quite happy to whip up a replacement pair as I had enough of this fabric left over, but when I was informed that they had to have the same red satin cuffs (with ric rac) and waistband that nearly did me in the first time round my motivation withered somewhat and then it transpired she was quite happy wearing summer pj’s in the winter so they got pushed to the back of the cupboard)

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So, I this evening, to prevent more tears, I got off my backside and sewed up a replacement pair in the next size up (no point making something she’s about to grow out of right?), with french seams none the less. I tapered the bottom of the legs to the width of the size below so that I could harvest the cuffs from the old pair and just sew them on.  I simply finished the raw edges on the new pair with a zig zag, cut off the cuffs from the old pair about a cm about the join, turned the raw edge under, pinned it on top of the new pair with an overlap and then sewed them on. I didn’t harvest the waistband (too small, too complicated), but to make up for it I added a little bunny to the inside at the back.

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I was rewarded with a happy dance, big smiles and a cuddle.

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No more tears, and not a bottle of shampoo in sight.  (Plus a couple of extra dusters for me.)

Ketchup

Or what I have been doing of late. ..

Well I finished the first Seasonal Sewalong Wardrobe, by the skin of my teeth, and by sticking to the letter of the sewalong (so including things I started before the challenge that I finished during it, which was allowed, but I hadn’t planned to include them,  however I ran out of time). My theme was Everyday Essentials, and as I’m a pretty scruffy dresser who has to resist the urge to dress like a toddler whose been given complete free range, two mad print t shirts fit the bill well, as did two pairs of jeans. I upped my style quota a bit by making a Mila shirt too. I desperately needed warm tops in my life, the planned awesome hoodie never got started (sorry Thimberlina, it’s still on the to do list), but I did include my camel jumper, and the top that it was a muslin for, my (unblogged) dandelion jumper. This was a long standing UFO as I printed the dandelions onto the fabric at the screen printing day I went to last year and then it got put on one side whilst I faffed about testing my pattern rubbing skills on the camel jumper (which required screens to be ordered etc). However, despite being made with the same pattern pieces, it doesn’t fit as well and I think I might like the ribbed neck even less than the failed collar. Hey ho, they are both comfy and will be worn lots. I also made a pair of leggings, but didn’t finish the skirt they were planned to be worn with, so they don’t really fit in. They do however look really good with the red skirt I made last year so all is not lost. Plus I have finally made a pair of leggings that I’m happy with, huzzah.

Things that didn’t make it into the SSW1 but are now languishing on my pile are: Another pair of Liana jeans that are driving me insane for no apparent reason, I think it might be the fabric. Anyway, the pockets are now done (I’m liking the illusion image topstitching but can’t help thinking they’d be better further down the pockets. Oh well, I’m not doing it again now as this wasn’t my first attempt at the pockets). A woven top that I found part made in a Box of Broken Dreams and was going to finish but just did nothing with instead. Another Mila, that will be a variation that opens all the way at the front cos I messed up cutting it out. And the Evan skirt that I got really confused by and then never finished, despite having a very lovely and comprehensive email reply to my query from the designer. Turns out I can’t read (my conclusion, not hers I should point out, but definitely a valid conclusion).

We’re now on SSW2, sleepwear, and I’m going so much better. I’ve done 2 pairs of pyjama’s, which I think means I’m 1/3 way through the 6 items I need with two months still left to go (and if I’m wrong, I’m 2/3 way through, but making more items is fine too).

The shorts are the Domi sweatpants pattern made in t shirt knit fabric. I measured both kids, there’s 18 months between them and 2 inches height difference. There was only about 1cm difference in their waist sizes and nearer 10cm difference in their hip sizes. Which is why, when reading the “if in doubt go with the hip size” comment I picked completely the wrong size for him last time, as I hadn’t figured out that doesn’t work if you have a beanpole for a son. I made an age 11 in test blue fabric and it fit both of them ok (when buying her clothes I get age 9-10 at the moment as she is tall for her age, you just don’t notice when she stands next to him). She ended up with the blue test pair, made from mystery blue knit fabric (no idea where that came from) and remnants from one of my tops. They come with a badly self drafted raglan t shirt top that got turned sleeveless as it was too tight under the arms – but I think it looks pretty cool like that now. It also has a bow at the front, which serves a double purpose of letting her know which way round it goes and hiding the mend where I accidentally cut a hole in it.  He got an orange and white/green striped pair that used a t shirt pattern I adapted before and the Domi shorts again. I love this pair of pj’s so much. I also like the Domi short pattern a lot better now I’ve worked out the sizing a bit better (but they’re still quite baggy on him), however I’m not convinced by the way the raw edge of the pocket is just zig zagged down – maybe it’d work better in sweatshirt fabric?

Fninally the stashbusting theme this month is selfless sewing, which felt right after concentrating on me for so long trying to get 8 SSW pieces done. As well as the two sets of PJ’s, I also made a hat for my friends daughter, to replace one that got lost.  Blue and elephants, with floral trim. It was very popular. Plus I squeezed a bandana out of the remainding fabric and she made a bracelet out of the scraps. Also I took the opportunity to give to her mum  the bag that I made ages ago, and then misplaced until very recently. Turns out it was her I gave my Drape Drape top too, which explains why the friend I thought I’d given it to never wears it.

I have now offically made more things than I can keep track of (including the pile of leftover fabric that I’d set on oneside to make into pj’s for the girl that I discovered I’d made into shorts and had no memory of whatsoever. They have been rejected by her, but another girl is now loving them, so all is well).

Birthday Party Season

Another weekend, another birthday party. In fact the kids are each different birthday parties as I type, and LSH and I were playing/calling at a ceilidh for an old friend’s birthday yesterday evening.

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This time round I made a sunhat for the Girl’s friend, reversible, with some summer uniform gingham on the other side that came with butterflies embroidered on (I may have more of that in my stash now).

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I found this colouring book on sale locally and picked it up as The Boy previously had this one from the same range. The pictures amuse me as they have no heads and limbs, just the clothes are drawn, leaving you to add in the rest as well as colouring them in. I must admit I was a little disappointed when I got it home, the boy’s version is full of boys doing things (such as a climbing in a big treehouse) whereas the girls version seems to just be people standing still in pretty dresses. Hmm. Anyway, I made a fabric folder for it which has space to put some pencils in, inspired by these.  I like the idea of being able to pop it in a bag to get out when going for a family meal in a restaurant, or to use on a train journey. The rainbow stripe is a strip of elastic to help hold pens/pencils in place. The red elephant cord is left over from the Tsarina Cape, with a piece of interfacing on the back, and the denim is leftover from my jeans and I added pockets and the initial (also interfaced) from the left over fabric from making the hat. It’s all held together by an elastic loop.

Speaking of holding things together, I have “mended” 2 pairs of my jeans with this keyring on the zipper trick, to stop the zips falling down all the time. This feels like a cheating way to participate in Mend it May, but I’ve also darned some holes in a favourite scarf.

As for Me Made May, that’s pretty much business as usual, there’s only been one day when I had to stop and think about how to make sure my outfit included me made, when I was putting on a patterned skirt (charity shop find) and wanted a plain top to go with it. So a reminder of what I already knew, more plain fabric needed in my wardrobe. As for colours, this last week I have mainly be wearing blue, with a bit of gold/yellow and a dash of green.

Tsarina Cape

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Arty shot of The Girl putting her finishing touches on a birthday card before this cape got wrapped and taken with the card to a party.

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A less arty shot, but a better representation of the colour and you can’t see the fact I had to piece the back of this Forest Path Cape in this shot.

I was inspired to make this one after seeing her friend slyly feeling the pom poms on her Princess Anna Cape, the red elephant cord was lying around in my stash and I was in the mood for making. I found the rainbow stripe polyester shirting in my stash too and it thought it would make a great lining. This time I added a welt breast pocket in the lining because every Tsarina needs a pocket, right? Talking of Tsarina’s, that wasn’t the look I had in mind, I mean I knew it would have to have pom pom trim, but I didn’t expect the girl to choose such shiny gold buttons (which were a pig to sew on).

I drafted a mandarin collar the same way as last time and used this braid chosen to match the buttons. There was just enough left for a hanging loop. Anyway somehow the thick red stripes of the cord manage to combine with the trim and buttons to make a very regal, opulent looking cape, despite the fact it’s machine washable. Hopefully it’ll get a lot of wear.

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Oh, and I nearly forgot, it’s the first of May today. Which for LSH meant getting up at 4.15am so that he could be morris dancing on top of a hill when the sun rose. (The rest of us caught up on some sleep prior to a day of visitors, birthday parties and cooking). Anyway, for me, the first of May means Me Made May of course. So I better sneak my Crafting a Rainbow pilfered inspired pledge in on the line.

“I, Prolificprojectstarter, do pledge to wear something I’ve made each day in May 2016, to keep a track of my colour palette and to mend at least one thing each week”.

I wasn’t sure how to up my ante from just wearing a thing I made each day like last year, without making it too difficult (I’m not up for a huge challenge right now), but keeping track of colours will be interesting and I’m also keen to tie in with Jen’s Mend It May.

So, for the record, today is brought to you by the colour blue, I’m wearing navy jeans a mainly blue (with a hint of yellow) drapey top, and a navy and green stripe top from Seasalt.

So, bright May Day greetings to you, and for those with an extra day off due to the Bank Holiday in these parts tomorrow (assuming you’re not having to work it), I hope you make the most of some extra free time tomorrow.

Pyjama Party

pretty pleased

pretty pleased

So, I made the girl some Oliver and S sleepover pyjama’s in some lovely soft brushed cotton covered in rosebuds.

cuff detail

cuff detail

It only took a year. Yup, that’s right, I said a year. I made them both pyjama bottoms last year and then they got put on one side and I did no more. I dug them out again this week to finish off when I realised that she needs new pyjamas. They’re still slightly big now, luckily they were huge last year. These are the age 8, modelled by my 7 1/2 year old whose in age 9ish in shop bought clothes.

what has she got in her pocketsies

what has she got in her pocketsies

The pattern calls for contrast fabric for trouser cuffs, pocket tops and the facing. I cut up a charity shop find satin nighty for my contrast because the girl loves all things feely. Should’ve noticed sooner the garment I was cutting up was cut on the bias as my trouser cuffs, carefully cut horizontally in alignment with the garment came out bias cut too and were really hard to work with.

button tastic

button tastic

I actually made the facing in the brushed cotton, mainly for my own sanity. But that meant I had enough left to make some contrast cuffs for the top too.

All the contrast fabric has bias trim from the stash too, however its a bit hit and miss which way it’s facing!

sleeping, honest

sleeping, honest

So, one set of pyjamas finished and off the “to do pile”, one more to go. I guess this counts as seasonal sewing. I’m trying to bribe myself with some shopping for new fabric at the end of the month if I sew up some of my pile.

Easter Bonnets

Warning the free Oliver and S sunhat pattern is seriously addictive. A quick fun make, albeit with a rather fiddly step of getting the top to attach to the sides. Doesn’t take much fabric.

a

Five reversible sunhats, count ’em

I’ve documented my addiction with this pattern before. This particular batch got started last year. I had quite a bit of lawn fabric leftover after making my mum a Tova so I made some baby tops for small people I knew. There was still fabric left over, so I cut a matching sunhat out for the smallest baby and squeezed one out for her mun too (just, one side needed piecing). Problem is, she has 3 sisters, so before I knew it I was planning 5 reversible sunhats, plus 2 more for my two. Strangely enough I didn’t get very far.

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bravely modelling in the park on a decidedly less than sunny day

They ended up in my pile of “current” projects for a while, until I rediscovered them whilst looking out pocket fabric for my 2nd pair of junipers. Somemhow, compared to trouser making they seemed fairly straightforward and I got 3 1/2 done. Another push yesterday saw them finished in time to hand over at a playdate in the park. Now we just need some sunny weather for them to wear them in. Well, maybe not for a few days until I’ve got around to making my two theirs…

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the baby hat her hat on for approximately 0.3 seconds before pulling it off. Again.

Construction details: err, as before really. Seam allowance of 1/2″ is included in the pattern pieces. Attaching the crown to the sides is tricky – use many, many pins. Although I seem to be able to do it without cutting notches in the sides these days, not sure how. Having the crown underneath and the side on top when you go to the machine works for me. I forgot to use interfacing on the brim and they seem ok. I use this construction method and topstitch the brim in a spiral, cos I’m lazy.

Oh yeah, and the hat cut in size 3-6 months to match the blouse is still on my pile, I had to start again with that one as it clearly wasn’t going to fit any more, as that young woman has grown a lot in the last year!

Anna inspired cape

Hi there, how’re you doing? I hope the sewing gods have been keeping your bobbins full and lining up your pdf’s for you.

This week I have (probably unrealistic) plans for 3 woolly things with linings. This is the second started and the first finished. As The Boy decided to make his sister a dress for his birthday (blog post coming soon, well, as soon as he finishes it), I ditched my original idea of making her a dress (I didn’t want the competition!). Instead I decided to use the Oliver and S Forest Path cape pattern

Princess Anna is Elsa 's younger sister, Dez's Cousin and the main ...

to make an everyday wear cape that was inspired by Princess Anna (from Frozen of course)

Any resemblance?  (excuse the photobomb)

Any resemblance? (excuse the photobomb)

I couldn’t find the fabric I wanted locally, so after a lot of dithering I bought some wool suiting online. Turned out I did too much dithering before purchasing, as it only got here the day before her birthday. Having given up on it getting here in time, I then rushed out to gather the other supplies needed and planned an evenings sewing to get it finished in time. Only to end up falling into a deep sleep before the kids bedtime due to unexpectedly having to take medicinal antihistamine (note to self, don’t believe the manufacturer when they say they’ve listed all the potential allergen ingredients in bold, read the non bold items too, just in case). Probably a blessing in disguise as there’s less pressure to rush when you start a project after the deadline.

The fabric is from Remnant Kings and is described as “Colourful cerise lightweight coating wool. Ideal for a light summer coat or suit … 30% Wool, 70% polyester … Dry Clean Only”. It was more than I normally spend on fabric, but I only needed a metre and I’m really happy with how the end garment looks. Note to self, sewing with decent fabric has the potential to make your creations look more professional. However, the fabric doesn’t seem so very different from the cerise boiled wool available locally at half the price. I’m not sure how different as having initially dismissed the boiled wool, I’m loathe examine it in more detail only to discover it’s the same stuff. Oh well, like I said, I only bought a metre.

side view

side view

I also washed it on a wool cycle in the machine. Despite it being dry clean only. I was using Lladybirds theory of treat it how you want to treat the garment before you start. It seems to have survived fine although it stank of germaline when wet, presumably something they’ve treated it with.

Attatching the bobbles

Attatching the bobbles

I put bobbles on to mimic Anna’s cloak. I nearly didn’t, because they are so twee, but I knew my daughter would love them. They were the end of the roll and not quite enough, I thought I got some matching ones at another shop, also the end of a roll (hmm, local shortage of pink bobbles suggests that I am not the only person to be making something like this), but when I got them home they were bigger and orangier and clearly didn’t match. However, this lot went from the centre back to the curve at the front, so I decided that looked intentional. I attached the ribbon in my seam allowance, bobbles facing inwards, before sewing the main cape and lining together, like you do with piping. It went ok, but then when I clipped my curves I must’ve clipped the tape because one bobble each side under the arm had a snipped through thread and fell off, so I had to reattach them by hand. Other than that they went well.

Nearly there

Nearly there

The lining isn’t “proper” lining fabric, but a heavier fabric that colour matched better, possibly polyester satin, but I’m guessing here. My fabric knowledge is pretty low and the shops I use often have no labels on their fabrics. Anyway, it wasn’t as bad to work with as I feared and has added some weight to the lightweight wool which I think works well. I was good and tacked it in place before pressing it. My old sewing teacher would’ve been proud.

Mandarin collar

Mandarin collar

I used this tutorial to draft a mandarin collar. I figured I could always remove it if it didn’t work, but I’m really pleased with it. It’s 2cm high rather than 1″ as suggested, to scale it down a little (and because I had metric graph paper to hand 😉 ) and I changed the height by .5cm rather than 1/2″, but other than that I followed the tutorial exactly and it was remarkably easy. I didn’t bring the collar all the way to the front due to the overlap and I curved the end down. I also stitched some “stuff” on to make it look more fancy (no idea what to call this, not normally by cup of tea). I like how it came out. I was planning to put more “stuff” around the edge of the cape but the Girl vetoed it and I think she was probably right. Sometimes less is more. So now I have several metres of this “stuff” leftover and something similar yet different I bought in green (silly me, shopping without fabric samples so I bought both).

understitching on collar and hanging loop in action

understitching on collar and hanging loop in action

The only other change I made to the pattern was to add a hanging loop to the facing, because why wouldn’t you?

chic

chic

The buttons are just perfect, large, dark wood with a snowflake design painted on. I was so pleased to find those. (Yet I failed to get a decent close up of them sorry). I sewed them on with some vintage button thread I inherited.

Moon spotting

Moon spotting

I’m really pleased with this make, it’s come out better than I’d imagined and looks really smart, like something that you’d find in a trendy kids clothes boutique (with associated price tag). As we’re coming up to spring here I’m hoping it will get a lot of wear and will take less persuading for her to put on (she doesn’t like layers, but I’m hoping the Anna factor will win her over, combined with the fact that its not fitted in the arms, a coat over jumper is a major uncomfortable issue with that girl!). I’m not likely to make this pattern again in a hurry (I don’t think she needs more than one cape) but if I had a timemachine the only thing I might change is to add a pocket. I realised at the end this doesn’t have one. I think you could get away with a welt breast pocket on the lining.

I think she likes it!

I think she likes it!

The pattern is a super easy make and comes together quickly. The instructions are good and cover things like gathering the seam allowance of the curves before bagging it out to help the lining lay flat – I would never have thought of that. And, with a few minor tweaks, I reckon it makes a good practical every day dressing up item too.

What’s your favourite every day dress up make?