Friday, August 13, 2010

Something for me...

I love my new bag. I don't know what I love the most about it - the Lizzy House Red Letter Day Fabric (ducks in a row), the stripey lining and handles, the internal zippered pocket (first one I've sewn!), or the amazingly endless bottomless pit that will fit everything I need inside.
I needed a bag to throw everything into for the days that I casual teach, and for the outings with the kids that require food, extra nappies, etc. I thought this pattern was perfect. It's the Left Bank Granny Bag from the book Carry Me, by Yuka Koshizen.
The book's a bit intimidating - it's translated from Japanese and most of the instructions are in diagrams, with only minimal words. There were no full-size pattern pieces for this bag, only schematics to measure and cut out each rectangular piece. But having good maths skills I thought I'd give it a try.

I made a few modifications and had to improvise a couple of times where the pattern seemed a bit lost in translation. I'll try to describe them here for anyone planning to use this pattern:
  • My bag is an inch or two shorter - this way I could squeeze it out of my one yard of ducks in a row fabric. Basically, I cut the width as per the pattern for the entire length of my piece of fabric and squared it off.
  • I cut my outer piece in half and pieced it so the ducks were right-side-up on both sides :)
  • The straps were cut from my lining fabric as I wanted to use the stripes. But if you only have 1 yard of each fabric I think you need to use the lining fabric anyway (unless you piece the outer fabric to get the right length).
  • The pattern has you cut interfacing out for the pocket, but never tells you where to use it. I fused it to the wrong side of the lining fabric, where the pocket gets sewn on.
  • For the gathers and pleats at the top, the pattern instructs you to randomly sew pintucks. I couldn't see any pintucks in the photo, so I'm not sure if that's what she meant. This is what I did: I 'basted' 7 large tucks (about 1 cm wide), evenly spaced across the top, using my maximum stitch length. I finger pressed them toward the outside of the bag. Then I sewed my gathering stitches and gathered to match the top panel width. Once I completed the bag I ripped out the stitches holding the tucks as well as the gathering stitches. If I did this bag again I'd sew some more tucks (about 1 inch apart instead of 2) before gathering.
  • After top-stitching the top panel, I slip-stitched the inside seam to add strength and neaten the edge.
 I grin whenever I see this bag and look forward to using it all the time! I would definitely make another one.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ice Cream Dress #2

I am so happy with this one! And even happier that I even managed to get my model to wear it for a few quick snaps on a cold morning.

Pattern: Ice Cream Dress by Oliver + S, View C
Size: 12 - 18 months; as you can see in the photos, plenty of room to grow!
Modifications: lengthened to size 2 length for my long girl!
Fabric: Calme by Lecien, lightweight

Nearly a year ago I bought a pair of handmade bloomers at a local market, made out of this fabric. I've always loved the fabric, but couldn't really find anything to 'match' the bloomers. So I was delighted to find the fabric, on special, and quickly stitched the blouse to match.

This blouse was so much quicker to make than the dress, for many reasons - no pockets or double hem for View C; I was familiar with the pattern already; I only needed to cut out one extra pattern piece since I'd sewn View A in the same size. On the other hand, the fabric was more challenging to work with as it is so lightweight, but the result was well worth the fiddly-ness.
 I love this pattern - It is simple enough to sew yet looks elegant and better than what you can buy at the shops!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fabric Finds

Is there anything more exciting than finding an out-of-print fabric that you thought you'd never get a hold of? OK, I'm sure there are plenty (a recent example - my baby girl finally started crawling, well, er, moving forward with great effort); but what great finds!

Those of you who know me know that I am a little bit obsessed with MoMo's Wonderland fabric. My first quilt was made using one and a bit charm packs. And I've previously shared my Wonderland stash with you.

I'll try to make this story short - my girlfriend was in a quilt shop about an hour's drive away and noticed some Wonderland fabrics. She excitedly rang me and brought me back a yard of the pink vine fabric you see below. I couldn't resist and drove down a few days later and acquired the rest.

From left to right: approx 2 yards; 1 metre; 1 metre; 2/3 yard; 1/2 metre; 3 x fat quarters and a 1/4 metre remnant of dots.

I was in heaven! It was a lovely shop and very bright and friendly. Mostly more traditional prints but a good selection of modern fabrics and some Japanese too! So if you're ever travelling in Australia check out Berry Patchwork Shop in Berry, NSW, about 2 hours south of Sydney.

I also picked up some great deals on lecien fabric on special...
For my first garment for me:
For Miriam's second Ice Cream Dress (View C - the blouse):

Next project is the Ice Cream Dress - fabric is washed and ready for cutting.
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