Monday, January 24, 2011

castle peeps!

I had so much fun making this crayon roll! And I can’t imagine any young boy or girl that wouldn’t delight in all its castle glory. The only thing I’m worried about is keeping it away from the recipient's mother!
I bought fat quarters of castle peeps in every colourway a while ago, but haven’t had a special enough project for it yet. But I didn’t hesitate to cut it for this – part of a little care package for our friends in Brisbane. While their house was spared the worst, the cleanup of their backyard and garage and neighbours’ houses is unimaginable. Hopefully this, along with some baked goods, will help pick up their spirits.

Fabric: Castle Peeps by Lizzy House
Modifications: Cut the inside and outside fabric pieces 6 inches wide instead of 5 – to accommodate the height of the towers on the outside.
It’s the second time I’ve made a crayon roll using this tutorial. It’s really simple and easy to follow and the measurements work out perfectly. It was fun cutting the strips to take advantage of the fabric design. Don’t you just love how the peeps appear on the inside when it’s unraveled?

By the way, have you checked out the auctions and raffles on make it perfect yet? As of last week they’d already accounted for $45,000 in donations to the Queensland Flood Appeal. Truly outstanding. While the auctions end tonight, most of the raffles continue until Wednesday – a $5 or $10 donation buys you a ticket in the raffle.

Tomorrow morning Toni's posting a Raffles Master List on make it perfect, so have a look! I’ve entered already for a sewing machine from the red thread and an amazing Dr Seuss pillow at a cuppa and a catch up.


Friday, January 21, 2011

jill in wonderland

I never expected to sew clothes for myself. Sewing for kids is, after all, much more forgiving - they still look cute in something obviously handmade, they don't have figures to fit, and elastic waistbands are the norm. But after honing my skills on lots of little projects (and a couple of small quilts), I jumped in the deep end and made this:
Pattern: Souffle Skirt from Make It Perfect by Toni Coward
Size: Medium
Fabric: Wonderland by MoMo (Moda)
Modifications: I didn't add a contrast band at the bottom, as I didn't want to draw away from the main skirt panel. I cut the rectangles for the main skirt a bit longer than the pattern called for to compensate (basically my one yard cut in half, so just under 18"), and simply hemmed the bottom.
It fits perfectly! And my husband gave me the ultimate compliment, saying, "you don't need to buy clothes anymore." Does this justify a fabric shopping spree?

I could wear this everyday and just stare at the beautiful Wonderland fabric. If you don't know about my obsession with Wonderland fabric, then you should read this, this and this.

Of course, I did learn a couple of things to improve on next time:
  1. Match the zip to the waistband fabric, not the main skirt fabric - that zipper pull stands out a lot!
  2. Place the zipper stops at the top, not the zipper tape! The zip stops about and inch short of the top.
At least I always wear my shirts out, not tucked in, so this gets hidden.

I was so anxious to get this photographed that I had my nearly-four-year-old try to photograph me in it. This is the result:
Not badly composed, but he got the exposure all wrong! Luckily, my husband got home with enough light out to take the second photo above.

Have you sewn any clothes for yourself recently? What did you make?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

my sewing space

 This is my kitchen table:
It's also my sewing space. I am envious of the beautiful sewing spaces and rooms I see on Flickr and blogs. But for now, this is all I have. At least it's well lit (this photo was taken in natural light on a gloomy day) and I always start off with a clear and clean space!

This is my machine. It's seriously heavy, but I love it.
I'm not sure I can call it 'mine'. It's my mother-in-law's. But it lives at my house. She tells me I've used it more in a couple of years than she has in decades.
It's a Bernina 830. I think it's from the early '70s. It's fairly basic, but it runs really well. It only has a handful of stitches, a 5-step buttonhole, and is, obviously, 100% mechanical. But it can pretty much do anything, including quilting. I was told it would cost me thousands to buy a modern machine of comparable quality to this one. So this will be with me for many more years!

I love the Bakelite accessories case:
It's filled to the brim with new and old:
I unpacked it all today and turned kitchen table to sewing space to work on this - The Souffle Skirt:
It's from the Make It Perfect book by the wonderful Toni Coward who is organising the Flood Appeal Auctions. If you can't afford the copy she's auctioning, then you can purchase it here.

I've actually finished the skirt - I'm wearing it now, and it fits! But no one else is home to photograph it. I'm in Wonderland heaven! I'll hopefully get some photos soon for my next post.

Happy sewing!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

free as a bird gypsy skirt

I've been resisting the urge to purchase some of MoMo's Freebird fabric pretty much since it was released. So I was delighted to have an excuse to buy some - I just didn't have the right fabrics, or the right quantities of the right fabrics, in my stash, to make a cute skirt for a two-year old. So I was off to a new-to-me fabric shop, where I bought a few bits of Freebird, and whipped up this cute skirt in two evenings:
Pattern: Gypsy Skirt, from Making Children's Clothes by Emma Hardy
Size: 2-3 years
Fabric: Freebird by MoMo (Moda)
Modifications: instead of adding ribbon, I topstitched along the bottom edge of each layer.
Yay! I love how the colours work together (something I'm not always good at choosing). The pattern was straight-forward and easy - just lots of patience and time to get the gathers right.
The birthday girl wanted to put it on straight away. Here she is looking beautiful and pensive:
And holding a balloon. What could be better than a balloon and a new twirly skirt?
Happy Birthday Lila!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I was introduced to Noodlehead and lil cutie pouches by the comments on my giveaway post. I just had to whip up some myself!
I used Bloom and Grow fabric by Riley Blake for the exteriors - I love these prints, especially those dots. The interior is a lovely turquoise blue kona solid, but I just couldn't photograph it well. The tabs are scraps from Modern Meadow and Red Letter Day. The one with dots is for me and the other is part of a belated Christmas present for a friend.
I do like them, but they are rather small (my phone doesn't fit). I think I'll use mine when I go to the pool for a swim, something I aim to do more often this year!
While I was scouring my stash for cute fabric combos, I stumbled upon this:
It looks even better in person! I foresee a cute little pleated tote - with the dots across the top and for the handles, and the peeps (from Lizzy House's Castle Peeps line) as the main body. The dots coordinate well with the whole colourway from Castle Peeps - wouldn't it make a cute playful twirly skirt for a little girl?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Flood Relief

I'm having trouble writing this post and putting things into words, so I'll just direct you to make it perfect, who is doing an outstanding job of communicating about the floods. She is also coordinating online auctions for handmade items, with all proceeds going to flood relief. So head over for a look. The master auction list will be posted on Monday. Get in touch with her immediately if you'd like to host one yourself.

The Queensland Goverment has also put up this site with information about how to donate to the flood relief appeal.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I don't live anywhere near the flooding. However, I can't imagine that there is a single Australian (as well as many around the world) who doesn't know at least one family affected.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Popular Pattern Links

From over 700 comments left on my giveaway post, here are the links to the twelve most popular designers and bloggers, as recommended by you.

Please note: I've provided links to where I thought it was easiest to find the patterns or tutorials. Often they're listed as links along the sidebar of a blog. Any troubles, let me know!

Amy Butler - patterns for clothing, bags and other accessories - her bag patterns are particularly popular. The Anna Tunic is on my to-do list:
Elizabeth Green-Hartman (Oh, Fransson!) - patterns and tutorials for quilts and small projects, including the Mod Sampler Quilt-Along:
Made by Rae - tutorials and patterns for bags, quilts and baby clothes. The Buttercup Bag is a big hit.

Noodlehead - tutorials for various small and cute projects. The gathered clutch is a favourite. I have no idea how I didn't know about this blog! I've already made a couple of lil cutie pouches:
Oliver + S - clothing patterns for children and babies. Personally, I love both the finished product and the patterns - the patterns leave no questions unanswered. Here's an Ice Cream Dress that I've sewn:

Moda Bakeshop - wow! I really haven't explored this site enough. It has patterns for everything using all types of Moda precuts.
Cluck. Cluck. Sew - mostly quilt patterns and an entertaining blog.
Made (dana made it) - another site I can't believe I missed (thanks for the tip!). Full of a broad range of patterns and tutorials from clothing to accessories to home decor.
Sew Liberated - patterns for clothing and accessories, including the very popular Schoolhouse Tunic. There are also tutorials listed on the sidebar.
Ottobre - a magazine from Finland featuring patterns for kids
Anna Maria Horner - this talented woman designs patterns as well as fabric - including clothing and bag patterns, free quilt patterns, and two great books.
Pink Penguin - another blogger I somehow missed - great tutorials for really cute accessories.

Phew! That is quite the list, but I couldn't finish without mentioning some talented and popular Australian designers that I think everyone should know about:
Make It Perfect - great looking clothing patterns for women, girls and boys.
Kate Conklin - beautiful quilt patterns and tutorials, often made using great modern Australian quilt fabrics.
Red Pepper Quilts - Truly inspirational. I'm always amazed by her fabric choices, detail, accuracy and beautiful quilting. Click on patterns on her blog sidebar to view her quilt patterns.

Lastly, since it's one of my main interests, here are a few children's clothing designers introduced to me through your comments:
Heidi and Finn
Leila and Ben
Little Lizard King - and I won her Sew Mama Sew giveaway! I got to choose a pdf pattern for free - I chose the Elizabeth Claire Peasant Dress

Well, there are certainly enough links, projects, tutorials and patterns there to keep you busy for a lifetime. However, if there's interest, I'll write another post with links to more of the designers and bloggers you recommended in those giveaway comments. I can't promise that it will be as thorough as this post!

Hope you find some inspiration in these links. Happy Sewing!
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