Friday, 27 April 2012

some household sewing

Still elated with the success of the skirts I picked some easy beginner projects from the SEW everything book.

We now have 2 new pillows - exactly the same one for each child

one little donut pin cushion out of the left over fabric from the pillows

and a sewing machine cosy - I didn't use the instructions for that one, because I only have a little machine and I didn't have enough material to do it the proper way, but it still keeps the dust off the machine so who cares :-)

I finished the bottom edge of with some bias tape and I have concluded that I will avoid small bias tape whenever I can, because seriously it is just too fiddly.

I am now attempting shorts for my son and maybe attempt to sew some jersey knit on the weekend.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Gathered Skirts

After the duvet cover took such a long time (okay the butterflies took such a long time) I was desperate to try my hand at something that would take less time and space, so I thought I give Dana's gathered skirt tutorial a go.

I used a bright red cotton with pink spots and did all the measuring and cutting on Friday. I had a burst of energy Saturday morning and put it all together. It was wonderful. I actually enjoyed the sewing itself and my little girl was over the moon.

After all my grumbling with the duvet I wasn't sure whether sewing was really my thing, but the skirt made it all worth it. In fact, I liked it so much, I made a second one in the evening :-)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

I did it ... no really, I did sewing

... this week I finished my first ever sewed item. Ta Da -  a duvet cover for my little girl. I used a soft flannel queensized bedsheet and some raspberry pink broadcloth (and some scraps) for the butterflies

It was originally supposed to be plain, but then I thought 'ooohhh, butterflies would be nice' totally underestimating just the amount of work and time (and skill) it takes.

They are a bit wonky in places, but Josie is very pleased with the flutterbies so it was all worth it :-)

Monday, 16 April 2012

Yeay ... yeay ... hoorayyyy

Amazon has delivered my books - one of which I should have bought before I actually started sewing.

I am so very excited for Sew Everything by Diana Rupp to finally arrive. Ta Da ...

However, I probably should have bought the book before I bought the sewing machine, but in all fairness, had I not bought the sewing machine (that was on a super duper extra one day special) I would have not thought about sewing anything really. It seems to have a wealth of tips and tricks in there, so I can't wait to get going.

I also got the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook and the Pattern Review - 1000 clever sewing shortcuts and tips, although I am not sure just how useful that will be. It was more of an impulse buy :-)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

To stash or not to stash - that is the question

What is better - to have a stash of fabric for when it's needed or to buy specifically for a project?

I am a bit of a hoarder, sooooooooo ... despite having not even finished my very first sewing project, I have enough fabric for at least 6 skirts, 3 tops, and 3 dresses. Furthermore, there is fabric for 5 boys shorts, 3 girls skirts, several girls shorts, a few dresses etc etc. In short, Mr Giggles requested that I only return to Spotlight (or really any fabric store) when I have actually sewn some of these clothes - or any clothes really - he's not picky :-)

I have pointed out that my suitcase full of fabric goodness is rather small compared to some people's stash ...

but I concede he has a point (a little one, maybe).

I think I might have to reach a compromise re the stashing. I can't not stash at all - after all, the leftover could be made into pillows or ruffle skirts or anything really, but perhaps hold off buying anymore fabric until I have actually made all (okay most) of the garments I have concrete plans for.

On the other hand - the stash does provide wonderful inspiration and it has a little voice that tells me to switch off the computer and start sewing x

Friday, 13 April 2012

New Book

Whilst I am still waiting for my order (at least now it is in the country, according to the tracking number) I stumbled across this beauty in a second-hand bookshop that I just couldn't pass up.

It's a 1961 original and it gives incredibly detailed instructions on the sewing process and altering patterns to fit. Yeay :-)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Shoes tutorial

I am forever falling in love with cute little shoes with bows.

I absolutely adore them, with is kinda funny as I have next to no time to wear them. Living in Brisbane with the heat and humidity sees me wearing mostly thongs (not the underwear) or some trainer related shoes (I have several pairs and a pair of sandals that are a bit like trainers).

Anyway, I found this wonderful tutorial where with the help of bias tape and fabric glue one can create the most adorable shoes with bows out of an existing pair of shoes. I honestly can't wait for the Autumn shoes to come into the shops and go get a pair of ballet flats try it out on.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Skirts, glorious skirts

I went to the most recent Spotlight Sale with one objective: fabric for skirts. I have to admit though that I find fabric stores a bit overwhelming, but at least in Spotlight there is no sales person who lingers. I spent 2 hours in the store and I am actually really pleased with what I found :-)

For the A-line skirt I have a Japanese Cotton with butterflies. I did see this fabric before in the quilting section and walked away (after having read people's opinions on quilting fabrics for clothes), but Gertie was discussing Japanese Cottons a while back and found them suitable for clothes, so hopefully it'll work out.

I also picked up some blue Hawaiian flowers (it might need some white cotton as lining though as it is pretty see-through otherwise).

For the straight skirt I have a thickish cotton (it is autumn here) with a tad of spandex for stretch and there is quite a lot of it, so it is entirely possible that there is enough leftover to make a slim A-line skirt afterwards.

For the Simplicity skirt with a flare, I have a cream corduroy that has a bit of a stretch

and this lovely red fabric (although it might need lining). I have to go back to Spotlight though and check what sort of fabric it is (whether it is washable), because I just saw it as I was waiting on the check-out :-)

I have another piece of fabric that I fell in love with in the remnants bin, but I don't think there will be enough for a skirt so I will do these skirts and then see whether I can somehow make this into a passable (mini-ish) skirt. If not, it'll be a pillow case.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Me Made May (with a twist)

May is coming up and with it comes the Me Made May challenge. I'd obviously never have enough things to wear something I made for every day in the month of May (in fact I just realised that I have not done ANYTHING for myself ever), but I have decided to actually make something for me.

The plan is for skirts. I have several patterns and various fabrics. With autumn coming in, it might be worth trying some of the heavier fabrics as well (she says just as she had placed an order for more sewing needles that deal with lightweight fabrics).

From the Butterick Sale I have B4461 - 6 fast and easy A-line Skirts

and B5466 - 6 sew easy semi fitted straight skirt

there is also this Simplicity pattern where I quite like view B

Fabrics to come next :-)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

other projects (with stripes and without)

I have to finish the stripey blanket for my Dad's 60th in September. The body is done in this lovely shell stitch, but the sides still need finishing. It is a really thick and soft acrylic yarn, perfect for the cold German winters.

Out of the leftovers I want to knit a green and dark blue stripey Jumper for my son. There is also the crochet Japanese flower scarf for my daughter and a crochet cardigan.

So, I hope to finish the blanket in April and then start of the Japanese flowers. I usually have a one project at the time policy (I am a terrible procrastinator and whilst I love starting things I just won't finish otherwise), but the blanket is really too heavy to take with me to the various activities of my children so perhaps I will get started on the Japanese flowers this month as well.

Friday, 6 April 2012

why sewing?

It's a question I keep coming back to, especially since I have actually started. One issue I am facing is that it is neither particularly portable nor quick and my day is usually cut up in 10-15 min slots. The beauty of crocheting and knitting is that I can do it almost anywhere and I can stop and start really easily. Sewing, on the other hand, requires me actually clearing things and make sure that when I get interrupted I put scissors and pins out of the reach of adventurous little fingers. Also, like any new skill, it is slow going and my perfectionist heart wants it to be perfect and quick and fabulous now, not in a few months (or perhaps years) time.

I guess had we stayed in the UK sewing would have never come up. Clothes that fitted my short frame were cheap and plentiful, and there were several petite ranges that carried trousers and jeans that fitted perfectly. Then we moved to Australia. The weather is lovely, honestly, and at first I thought I just didn't know where to buy petite clothes. Well, 5 years later and I still don't and the clothes that I brought over from the UK are looking a bit past their best. So I bought a cheap Singer to hem some trousers and shorten some skirts.

However, when the machine arrived, I thought why not do some little things for the kids as well. Maybe some shorts and a few dresses, something easy. Perhaps even take a class or something. My imagination ran away with me and suddenly I thought 'why not make things for me to wear as well'. With this, I discovered sewing blogs and tutorials and cheerful recollections of other peoples journey to sewdom (I know it's not a word). I read about different materials and notions and I was hooked. Yet as January gave way to February and another month without any sewing passed, I realised unless I actually made a plan and documented it somehow, I would always find excuses for just reading about sewing. So here we are with a blog and a plan and I actually got started.

I ordered some books to help from Amazon, but they are still in transit (really, people, the bookdepository, although slightly more expensive, is quicker and doesn't charge for shipping).

In order to cheer myself up with the slow process, I did a bit of retail therapy and bought some patterns in the Butterick Sale - mostly for myself - (please take note Amazon, they have arrived so obviously there is no unreported blockade between the US and Australia :-) )

I am also reconsidering my plan. I mean it's alright and good to have a plan that logically expands on one's skills, but to be honest it'll be ages until I get to do something for myself (yes, I am very well aware I sound like a whiny teenager, what can I say, I am young at heart :-b)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

well, it's April now

i.e. the start of the sewing adventure

after deciding that sewing isn't really something that one learns by reading, I just needed to get started. The plan is to make a duvet cover for my little girl's bed (it is an odd size that is not readily available and would need to be ordered from the UK) and perhaps a little pillow to go with it.

the plan is to use an older flannel bed sheet

add some butterflies to liven it up a little

and make sure it is cut to the right size. Congratulate yourself for being really clever and folding the large sheet once (obviously realising afterwards you could have just folded it one more time, but nevermind ;-)

The next step is to sew the butterflies onto the sheet and then sew it all together. That is actually easier said then done as I am struggling finding the time to actually do sewing instead of just looking at other people's blogs and see the wonderful things they put together :-)