Friday, April 27, 2012

KCWC day 4

Yesterday for day 4 I made another Urban Unisex Hoodie for my boy. I cut out the fabric during his nap, then did the sewing after the kids had gone to bed... I think I've KCWC'd myself out, so tonight I'm giving myself the night off :-)

This one's another mish-mash of thrifted and new fabrics, with a yellow and grey colour scheme that I seem to be addicted to at the moment... and everywhere we went this morning we seemed to come across more yellow and grey, which made for a few photo opportunities.

I did longer sleeves and hem this time, but the sleeves annoyed him (hence the rolling up in the shot above) and the hem looks a bit long and weird, so this one is in for a few minor adjustments.

On the whole though I like it and it sure is an easy wear style for an active kid. The first one seems to have washed up well and I think if I can get a third one made (half cut out) then he'll almost be set for cooler weather tops. I'm definitely feeling a bit over it though, which I guess is the down side of making yourself sew each night. And I just can't get out of my head the Tova I want to make for myself... can't wait for more selfish sewing ;-)
 Have a lovely weekend, and if you've been doing KCWC, have a nice rest!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

KCWC day 3

Yesterday I made a diversion from my Urban Unisex Hoodie fad and made my little girl a pair of simple pyjama pants. Again I used scraps of knit fabrics, so unfortunately don't have enough of this cute chocolate brown and multi coloured spot jersey to make a top. But that's OK, it might have been overkill anyway. I think I'll use a plain colour and match the ribbing to tie them in.

The pattern is another from the book Growing up Sew Liberated ( you may remember I made the basic pocket pants from it recently). The pattern is called Sleeping Johns but Meg notes that it makes great leggings too. I altered the pattern slightly by lowering the waist and adding a yoga-style band rather than the casing and elastic method. My little girl can be quite sensitive about things digging in or being uncomfortable in any way (ie: refuses to wear them and has a tantrum), so I have done this sort of waistband before and had success with it, as the tension of the ribbing holds them up rather than elastic. I also used this method for bands at the ankles just to keep the warmth in and keep them neat.

I'm hoping to make the book's Crossover Top for the pyjama top, and down the track I'd like to make some for her brother and sister too. May looks like it's going to be a big sewing month here ;-)

See you tomorrow for day 4.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

KCWC day 2

Yesterday in day 2 of KCWC I finished off my boy's Urban Unisex Hoodie and he wore it today, obligingly stopping his play now and then just long enough for me to take a couple of photos. He's at that age where he says and does some pretty funny things and has opinions on things you'd imagine he wouldn't even think about, in this case he was impressed with the buttons on his new hoodie. Ah, design potential maybe? ;-)

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out in that I like the way it looks, though I think I'll adjust the fit on the next one: deeper cuffs would be a bit more cozy for him and also a bit more length would help keep at bay that potential tummy gap between hoodie and jeans. In truth I probably should go up a size in the pattern but we'll see if I can be bothered to print and trace the pieces again... normally I trace patterns off the master onto interfacing, but in this case I thought I was safe - sods law.

The other thing I did in the name of KCWC yesterday was to drag the 2 littlies to my favourite local thrift shop, the one where you pay by weight ($8 per kilo). You see even though I'm still trying to stash bust, when I went looking in my 'knits' box mostly what I found was either unsuitable (thick fleece) or saved for 'something else' (a nice petrol blue jersey for me). And this pattern uses quite a lot of fabric for a child's pattern as it's fully lined. So I didn't have much to work with from the stash, hence the 2 different greens. I think those cute buttons ended up tying it all together, but there's no way I'd have enough fabric to make another hoodie, which I'd like to. Because even though it was a bit more work than I'd normally like to invest in a child's everyday shirt, which lets face it could be stained/ripped/lost or outgrown in the blink of an eye, I really like it.

So... at the thrift shop I quickly grabbed myself 6 garments to cut up and re-use (while the kids ran laps of the clothing bins and I tried not to catch the eye of the staff, bad parent ;-). I was after grey and yellow tones for my boy but then found myself also with gelato colours and a cute cloud/rainbow print dress that I thought would be perfect for girl pyjamas.  Most of the fabrics are jersey or interlock, and also a couple of merino wool tops with thoughts of making leggings for my dress and skirt loving little girl. And I also got in that lot a little grey velour winter dress for my little girl - what a score for $8!! Now to actually do something with them... I've promised myself I will NOT let them languish in my stash!

See you tomorrow for the run-down on day 3, hopefully.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

KCWC day 1

I decided that the best use of time during KCWC this time is to make my  boy some much needed everyday clothes: some trousers, a hoodie (or 2?) and maybe a little cap if I can fit it in.

Last night I got sewing on a pattern I bought ages ago but hadn't made yet, Heidi & Finn's 'Urban Unisex Hoodie'. I bought the pattern with my little girl in mind but she's such a girly girl (skirts, dresses, pretty shoes etc) that I don't think she'd wear one of these. But it looks perfect for my active boy.

I had hoped to finish it last night, but after a day of looking after 5 kids (my friend's lovely 2 girls along with my 3) I had to admit defeat. I'm hoping to finish it tonight, so maybe I'll have some photos tomorrow.

Are you participating in KCWC? How's it going if you are? There are so many things I'd like to make but restricted time - ah well, something is better than nothing, right? :-)

* And thanks to the lovely Fran I'm dying to make another Heidi & Finn pattern - the Cowl Neck Jumper Dress. My little girl would adore it but perhaps it will need to wait til after her brother gets his winter wardrobe sorted.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tova top #1

I made my first Tova top a couple of weeks ago and am optimistically calling it #1 as I have another version in mind, though it will have to wait a while now that KCWC is almost upon us.

I used black voile from my stash plus the last of a Japanese print I'd been hoarding. I'd previously made a cuff with the Japanese print and love the colours and pattern. But I'm not thrilled with this top as I'm not sure about the contrast between the black voile and Japanese cotton, and also it's a bit tight (pulling at the bust). So I decided this was my muslin, and the next one would work better.

Having said that though I have worn it quite a few times already, as it's really comfortable (the voile is super soft), good for the weather at the moment, an easy shape to wear, and also just something new in my wardrobe.

I enjoyed making this top and thought the pattern was well written and easy to follow. As other people have noted attaching the yoke to the bodice is a bit tricky, and I could do with a bit more practice, but overall it's a nice pattern to work with.

So for #2 I'll go up a size and make it all in the one fabric. But me being me I can't resist making my own changes and will attempt cap sleeves, an in-between hem length, and maybe some cute little ties off the neckline. Well, that's what's in my head, we'll see how it translates once it's in 3D ;-)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Big girl bag

Back from our trip away (I won't actually call it a 'holiday' - anyone who's travelled with small children knows why ;-)  I thought I'd show you the bag I made for my big girl in one of my late night sewing sessions before we left.
The last one I made her had been lost on a trip to the cinema, so I thought I'd make her another, after plenty of nagging about looking after your possessions blah blah blah of course... You may know that I love making bags so it was a fun project.

She chose the fabric, a piece from my stash of the fab new range from Prints Charming and I did the same shape as my previous kid bags, but used webbing for the strap, making it adjustable, and also adding a little zip pocket inside for her many treasures. Hopefully less bits and pieces will be lost now. Does anyone else have children who collect tons of little things and bits or is it just me? Drives me nuts at times.

I didn't get any decent pics of her using the bag but she did look after it (probably scared of more nagging) and continually looked up at me smiling and said "I love my bag mama", which of course put her in my good books pretty often ;-)

Speaking of kids stuff, are you participating in KCWC this time? If so, what are you planning on making? I'm looking forward to it, all things going well (hoping for no sick/disasters/whatever that will stop me sewing next week. Now to cut down my growing list of what to make...

Check out more creative spaces over here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Basic pocket pants

As seems to be my habit when we're due to go away, I've been squeezing in lots of sewing projects. You know the ones: "the kids don't have enough warm clothes... I know, I'll make some!"  - crazy stuff like that, that keeps me up til all hours of the night.

Here's one of them - 'basic pocket pants' for my little boy, made from a pattern in the wonderful "Growing up sew liberated" book by Meg McElwee.
 I love this book for the inspiration it gives me, but mainly for the lovely parenting ideas that follow the Montessori ideals. Ideas like if the household is calm til 10am each day then there's a good chance you'll have a good day. Hmm, not doing so well on that one ;-)

These pants are just good everyday play pants, something to pull on and go. I'm hoping they'll be useful on our little trip away. And I'm also hoping to get lots of use from my Minoru jacket which I've only been able to wear once because the weather had been too warm.

In my last minute frenzy I decided that I couldn't get a zip up hoodie made for my boy :-(. so I bought a cheapie and put this little car motif on the front. Hopefully he'll wear it!

I'll be back next week with some of my other crazy late night pre-holiday sewing. Til then, have a lovely week!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weekend cooking: dumpling-a-rama

We had a family birthday lunch for my big girl on the weekend. She'd asked for dumplings, so dumplings is what she got - I'm a sucker for cooking requests ;-) I spent all morning in the kitchen and prepared dumplings 3 different ways:

Firstly I made my usual mushroom, tofu and spring onion filling with store bought wrappers and put half of them into a simple soup with a base of vegetable stock, adding soy sauce, fresh ginger, chopped bok choy, snow peas, tofu and enoki mushrooms (found at my favourite local Asian food store).

With the other half I made Gyoza or 'potstickers'. I've steamed dumplings plenty of times before, but this time I wanted to try a few different things, so I followed these directions I found on the Herbivoracious blog where the dumplings are fried first and then water is added to the pan. When a lid is fitted it steams them, so they are cooked both ways.

And lastly I tried my hand at the bread-like steamed dumplings like we've had in our favourite cheap'n'cheerful restaurant down the road. They always looked complicated so I hadn't tackled them before, but when I read through the recipe I'd had tucked away in my cooking file for years it didn't sound too hard - and remarkably similar to making bread, which you may know I enjoy. So I gave them a go and they turned out great - phew! These had a filling of shredded chinese cabbage, carrot, ginger and glass noodles. I went with the suggestion of serving them with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil, which gave them a bit of a kick.

I was impressed that the steamed buns actually worked, but the most popular dumplings with the birthday girl (and everyone else) were the potstickers. I'd urge you to try making them if you're interested - fun to make and fun to eat ;-)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My creative space - birthday dress

This week in my creative space I made my big girl a new dress for her birthday. I searched online for a while for a pattern that wasn't too young or too old, if you know what I mean. She turned 7, so not a little girl but not big either. I found the adorable Maggie Mae pattern from Shwin & Shwin. Have you seen it? I love the beautifully simple style. Even though all the pics on their Etsy shop and blog show the dress on younger girls I thought it would be a nice bridge between little girl and tween fashion.

It features a contrasting yoke and hemline, pleats in the front and back and side seam pockets. I found the pattern instructions quite simple in that their wasn't a lot of detail, but it was still very clear, which was quite refreshing. I find the big name patterns often over complicate the instructions and can make a simple step sound tricky.

Red being her favourite colour at the moment I'd hunted for some inspiration and found a lovely ikat cotton for the body and a beautiful cherry red quilting cotton for the top and bottom. The ikat is so beautiful that I'd like to make a top myself from it. We would just have to organise ourselves not to wear them on the same day ;-). I'm imagining the dress in winter with tights or leggings, cardigan and scarf, hopefully it will be that versatile.

Despite the look on her face (she was recovering from a few days of illness and mean mum wants to take her pic), she loves the dress and says it's very comfortable to wear. Of course my little girl who's 4 would like one now. It's such a cute pattern, I'll definitely use it again. I really like the linen that Shwin & Shwin have used here, and it looks great with little embellishments (though the ikat fabric has enough detail going on). There's also a Flickr group for lots of inspiration.

Lots of creative spaces to check out over here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Birthday treats

My big girl turns 7 this week and had a get-together yesterday with a few buddies. It was set to be a low key play date rather than a full party (which could not have been arranged with 4 days notice - she had changed her mind at the last minute, but that's another story ;-) So rather than doing party bags I thought I'd make a couple of little things for the kids to take home and also have a lucky dip, which I find is always popular.

The toffee lollipops was an idea that came from Kate at Foxs Lane. She had posted a pic on Instagram, which I've just joined, incidentally (come follow me, I'm bubala_jo, and I can follow you too ;-). They took me back to my old primary school fetes. My goodness, I ate quite a few of those things! Maybe that's why my teeth have given me so many problems! I thought putting a little on a paddle pop stick was a great idea and limits the portion size. Of course I made the girls promise to brush their teeth extra well when they got home (and hopefully the parents won't hate me!).

And the little felt owl came about because I wanted to give each child some kind of badge so I could identify them quickly in the play centre crowd of squealing children. I decided to make it a purse with a zip in the back and a clasp at the top so it could be put on their clothes on the afternoon and then they could clip it on their school bag or wherever later.

After making one prototype I got into full production mode and spent a bit of time cutting, pinning, sewing and finishing. My big girl suggested we have some owls asleep and some awake, which I loved. Then we added in the winking ones ;-) My big girl sewed on the buttons with me looking on proudly.

For once I was organised and took photos at each step, so that I can do a tutorial for them... hopefully soon :-)
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