Monday, April 27, 2015

Op shop goodies

I used to be completely addicted to op shops. I couldn't drive past one without getting itchy fingers. "I'll just pop into this op shop" was met by groans from the children. However, I found that I got carried away and bought things that either didn't suit me, or didn't fit, and more often than not I'd end up donating the items back to my local op shop. So I've mostly steered clear of them for the past year.

Last week I found myself with loads of time before the afternoon school pick up, and realised I was right near an Endeavour Foundation store. These stores are extremely overpriced for second hand goods, but I've occasionally found a bargain there. I've been on the hunt for a wool coat and found this absolute gem for $17. It's Australian made by Urban Tailors and fits me perfectly. The colour does not photograph well at all, but it's a lovely pistachio green.

I also grabbed this little blouse for $7. The shape is hideous and boxy, but I love the fabric and sleeves.

I bought it with the intention of reshaping it, but it actually looks quite nice on. I may add some darts or tucks to the front of it.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Casual denim skirt

After having thoroughly spoiled my daughter with so many mummy-mades a couple of weeks ago, I thought I should make something for myself- something casual, not another flowery dress!

On a related note, I'd heard through the Facebook grapevine about Sew Box Subscriptions. They are a monthly box of mystery sewing goodies, including fabrics, patterns, notions and sewing tools. I didn't want to commit to a subscription so I asked the business owner if I could try it out for one month. My box arrived a week ago, full of strawberry goodness!

I'm very happy with what I got in the box, but at $45 a month, it's not something I'm going to do again. Most of the things in the box aren't things I would normally buy, even though they are cute, so I'd prefer to use the money to buy what I want (curse my stupid fabric buying ban!). 

I decided straight away to nab the denim for myself and make a very simple skirt. This skirt pattern is super cute, easy, fits me perfectly, and uses barely any fabric, so it was the obvious choice.

I made the shortest view, and used watermelon-print cotton for the waistband and pocket linings. This took me only two hours to make.

I used a denim needle, and top stitched with two spools of thread- one goldeny colour, and one beige. The denim is very thick, so there are a couple of stitches that are slightly longer or shorter than the rest where I went over the bulky seams. 

Overall, a very satisfying make!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More stuff for Betty!

So I've kinda gone a bit crazy this week. I really enjoyed making the shorts for Lizzie (or Betty, as we sometimes call her), and decided to make two dresses for her, thinking she could wear one on Easter Sunday. I pulled out this pattern that I hadn't tried out yet. 

Super, super easy. I chose to make very simple, unadorned ones as my two fabrics are very busy- a navy pique with white birds and colourful flowers, and a bright floral corduroy on a pink background. I cut all the pieces out and was going to try to make both dresses at once, but I knew that if I set myself a deadline (I had to finish them that day to have one ready for Easter), I would make a big booboo somewhere. So I decided just to sew up the pink one.

I had some really cute green polka dot bias binding in my stash and thought that would look cute to finish all the edges. Also, I thought binding would be quicker than the facings the pattern called for. It wasn't really, but the effect is very cute.

I made a size 5 and it is super huge on my tiny girl. But hey, I'd rather it be too big than too small! She didn't care at all that it was massive, and proudly wore it to Easter lunch at Gran's house. The other dress is sitting in my project bag...these are really winter dresses, and I had a hankerin' to squeeze in a few more summer items even though we are into the second month of Autumn. Today was the first autmnish day we've had so far.

Onto the summer items! I've had this pattern since Lizzie was a baby, and am ashamed to say I've never used it. It only goes up to size 4 so I thought I'd give it a go while she still can squeeze into it. I cut out the two top patterns, plus another pair of Blue Jays shorts, all using combinations of the blue gingham and brown floral.

I made the little button-back top on Monday night. It was stupidly quick and easy, and how cute does it look?

Yesterday morning I decided to make a start on the shorts. I sewed up the leg seams, put one leg inside the other to sew the crotch seam...and realised I'd cut two of the same leg. How did I do this stupid thing? Well, the fabric wasn't wide enough to cut the piece on the fold, so I cut it twice on a single layer. What I didn't do was flip the pattern piece over for one of them!! 

Gah! I was so annoyed. These shorts were going to be so cute! And I'd used up all the floral fabric! 
I ummed and ahhed and in the end decided to cut the bits into two big rectangles, keep the original waistband that I'd cut, and add another strip of gingham to the bottom. Voila, a skirt!

So I finished that in the afternoon...after dinner, I decided to try to sew my final item, the peasant top. It took me just over an hour. After I sewed the neckline elastic casing, I couldn't be bothered doing another one, so for the sleeves I did a rolled hem and then sewed very thin elastic about 1cm from the edge. I like this look!

This top could have done with at least another two inches of length, but I'm happy, and Lizzie absolutely adores it! And I'm so pleased that I managed to start and finish not one, but two items in one day. Annnd, everything came from my stash! 

So, after a mammoth week of sewing, Elizabeth now has lots of Mummy-mades! I'm already thinking of what I can make next! Jimmy is not at all interested in having anything made for him. 
I'd forgotten how fun and fast it is to make kids' clothes :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Bobkin Blue Jays shorts

Something very strange has happened to me lately...I've decided that I have enough dresses, and that I don't need to make myself something every month! Instead, I've decided my girl needs more mummy-mades in her life. Can it be that I've become a selfless sewer???

Elizabeth has lots of skirts and quite a few dresses, but not many shorts, and I think that shorts for girls are not only very practical, but also extremely cute. Most shorts in the shops at the moment are skanky looking and too short by far. I really like puffy little bubble shorts. Lizzie got a pair for Christmas when she was two years old and I loved them, but unfortunately they got too small for even her tiny stick legs last year and I had to donate them. I searched the Internet for a similar pattern and came across the Blue Jays pdf pattern by Bobkin. They go up to size 8 so are really good value. I also bought a dress pattern while I was browsing...will make that one in Spring :)

The pattern is very simple. There only three pattern pieces- one leg, one leg cuff, and one waistband. You cut the belt and belt loops using measurements provided.

I had two really cute fabrics in my stash. The brighter one is some drill that I never really had enough of to do much with after I made a pleated skirt with half of it. The other one is a sturdy but soft cotton. Both perfect for shorts! I paired the drill with some polka dot stuff, and didn't do a contrast with the other floral cotton. I intended to leave out the belt and belt cuffs on those ones. 

The instructions, I'm sorry to say, had me stumped. They start off really well, with the first step telling you to finish the edges that need finishing. I really appreciated that step, because sometimes I can't think ahead and finish my seams before it's too late and I've joined the seams together. Unfortunately after the first step, things got weird. The second step tells you to join the two shorts pieces together at the fronts and backs, with no further explanation. Now, I've made shorts before, but I got confused here and did completely the wrong thing and had to unpick it. I don't think that a beginner would have any clue what to do. Also, I had to ask for help online in one bit because the instructions kept talking about a waistband front and waistband back. I discovered that it actually meant waistband and waistband lining! 

The method of elastic insertion was extremely awkward and I really don't know why the designer chose that particular method. For the record, the instructions tell you to join the elastic ends and then keep it held down with your fingers and pins while you top stitch the waistband down. Soooo tricky. I tried sewing that way for about one inch, said f$@& this, then did it my way, which is to top stitch most of the waistband closed, insert the elastic with a safety pin, sew the ends together, then top stitch the gap closed. Much better.

Gripes aside, I really love the shorts, and will be making more pairs. I just will ignore the instructions next time!

I finished the cuffed ones first, then after I inserted the elastic on the second pair and had Lizzie try them for size (before I'd started the cuffs), she said, "I want the wegs wike this!". She liked the way that it kind of looked like a skirt without the leg cuffs. I was happy to leave them off, as it meant less work for me, and she was right- they did look pretty cute as skorts! I just turned the hem and added some ric rac...cute as!