Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Windproof fleece baby sling

I finally finished my second baby sling. I made a cotton one about a month ago (the white and red one), and then today I finished the orange windproof fleece babysling (as my baby will be born in July, which is winter here). The two layers of fleece, plus the windproof material, ended up being quite thick. I think it will be nice and warm, but it was a bit hard to sew so many layers on the seams. I had to make the seam in the curve lie flat rather than be the french seam in the pattern. I can't remember which pattern I used. I think it was either this one or this one. Here's hoping baby likes being carried in a sling!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Embroidered Everything Tote

After a pretty unsuccessful attempt to repurpose some curtain fabric to make an Everything Tote from Heather Ross' book Weekend Sewing, I had another go with an old thick-weave navy tablecloth. To liven it up a bit I had a go at sewing a pattern on with variegated machine embroidery thread. Although I only used straight and zigzag stitch. I put the variegated thread in the bobbin, so I could draw the pattern on the back of the fabric with a fabric chalk pencil. That's probably not how its supposed to be done, but it worked for me. I just had to hold the fabric flat and stretched while sewing, so it wouldn't pucker. I'm really happy with how it turned out, because I've never drawn my own picture before (I've always copied off something from a book) and I'd never done this sort of machine embroidery/sewing before.

The tote pattern was easy to follow, although I'd lost some enthusiasm over my previous poor fabric choice. I also made the binding bands a bit wider (1cm for the little binding, and 2 for the handles), as I found from my first go that the binding seemed to get very thin very quickly with thicker fabric. I wanted my binding to look like the picture. Also, I did the handles on the grain, not on the bias, as I find bias handles just stretch too thin when carrying something heavy, although I'm sure doing it on the bias would have looked smoother. I really like the bag, and I will make more. The size is great and it will hold alot. Although, I wouldn't mind making a few from thinner fabric, just to see how they turn out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend Sewing inspired sock(s)

Its coming on winter here in New Zealand and my feet are cold! I like the glove pattern in Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing book, and thought about applying the same principle to a pair of polar fleece socks. So I drew a line around my feet and heel, and here is the test sock. I just need to make the final pattern a tiny bit looser around the heel join. I learnt how to sew flat seems on stretch sock on you tube. Its amazing what you can pick up on there. Although I used the same general principle on making the sock pattern as in this tute, the polar fleece I'm using doesn't stretch much, so a bit more give needs to allowed for when tracing a foot pattern. It is at this point that I realised I really need to make a second sock - left foot is still cold. But I was tired and went to bed instead.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Coasters from scraps

I enjoyed reading Amy Carol's Bend the Rules Sewing, and thought I would put some of my scraps to good use and make the coasters project. Although I've been sewing for years, I picked up alot of good hints and tricks from it. Unfortunately, this means I can't throw away any scraps larger than 10cm square now... ;o) I have a big bag of old curtain material, so I used that inside the coasters, and then the backing was from a never-ending navy valance from our old, smaller bed. The tops were made from some scraps left over from making the BurdaStyle Charlie grocery bag. I've made about 15 of the Charlie grocery bags now, so too many to take photos of. But here is one to the left.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Amy Butler Kimono Bathrobe

Here is my first thing from the Amy Butler In stitches book. I made the medium size, again from the op-shop doona cover. I hope I use it up soon, otherwise everything I own will be green ;o) I think I have to stop making clothes now, because its hard to see how things fit and drape with a huge 6 1/2 months pregnant tummy in front! I look 9 months pregnant already. The pattern fitted OK, but I think it would sit better with slightly thicker fabric - the doona cover fabric was a bit thin. [Here is the final version]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Compact emmeline apron

This is my favourite emmeline apron I've made. I finished this a few weeks ago but hadn't had a chance to take a pic. I think I have enough of these aprons now... ;o) I noticed that I'm often out and about, and we stop at a cafe, and that's when I spill food/drink on my clothes - everything seems to land on my huge 6 mths pregnant tummy. I really need to be able to on-sell my maternity clothes once the baby is born and I can't if they get stained. So I made a lighter weight, non-reversible emmeline apron that I can fold up really flat and small and keep at the bottom of my handbag.
The straps at the neck don't tie - I tried it on and made it so it is the same strap that goes up one side of the bodice, around the neck, and back down the other side of the bodice. I did that strap with the grain, not on the bias. Somehow I prefer it that way. Also, I made the bodice taper about 0.5 cm on either side only right at the top, so that the bodice lies flatter at the top & doesn't gape. I made the straps at the back shorter too - the apron can only be tied up at the back. I did line the bodice and and a tiny bit of the top of the skirt, as I felt the stripy material was so thin it might not protect my clothes on its own if I spilt tea etc (sometimes I drop whole cups of tea on myself - unbelievable!). Finally, I cut about 5 inches from the tapering out of the skirt at the bottom. I think I could have cut another 3 inches off either side of the tapering again, because I only wear this as an eating apron, not a cooking apron. It would make it fold up even smaller.
I'm really happy with it, and its saved my clothes more than once. Phew.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Heather Ross Pajamas for Everyone

I just made some Heather Ross Pajama pants for myself. We think I'm not having food cravings with this pregnancy, but having sewing cravings instead! I made them from a secondhand (vintage) doona cover. I find doona covers have better patterns than the sheets I find here, although the fabric is often thinner, or a wider weave. I measured myself (I'm usually a NZ size 12/14), and thought I'd be a medium, but I should have made a large - its a bit tight over the thighs and hips. But then again, I'm 6 months pregnant, so perhaps any guessing of sizes is always going to be a bit off! I made the legs a touch straighter and wider (just a cm either side, I think), to be tapering slightly less than the original pattern. I had been wanting to made a similar pair of the Amy Butler Wide Leg Lounge pants (which I have since done), to see which pattern I like best, but I think I already like this pattern better (with the legs altered to not be so tapering, that is). It was very quick, and very easy to make. I'll definitely make more, although now I've satisfied this sewing craving, I'll wait until after the baby is born.

Miramar Peninsula, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stamping cards

My lovely friend Deanne sent me a Stampin' Up (Simply Sent) kit last year. I've admired it for a long time, not quite daring to have a go. But, yesterday was the day, and here is my first effort. It was easy and fun to do, and I could follow the instructions even though I have a really bad cold at the moment. I even managed to do it without my 3 year old son noticing and wanting to have a go - that's how easy it was. It was nice to be able to fit something creative into a busy day. I think I have to practice the stamping bit, and lining things up properly, but hey, it's made with love and handmade things don't ever have to be perfect. One day I'd like to stamp fabric and make stamps like Belinda at her wonderful blog I keep looking at the picture of her stamped bag and am in awe of her creativity.

Heather Ross Headscarf

I've been really excited to try something from Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing book, and the headscarf seemed an easy, quick thing to start with. I love batik fabrics at the moment (I think I'll make the summer blouse out of a batik fabric soon), and had a fat quarter lying around. The headscarf took me 20 minutes to make. I think the current size is great for long hair, but I have short hair which I'm growing out. I think a scarf will be a great way of getting through those difficult in-between haircuts. Next time I think I'll try having the tube and elastic a tiny bit narrower (its not being hidden much by my short hair), and making the short edge of the big rectangle longer (so that the scarf covers more hair). [1 week later: my son now wears this headscarf as a pirate hat]

With the rest of the fat quarter, I fixed up a pair of second-hand (vintage) jeans that I had messed up by hemming too short. I turned them into maternity pants, and sewed a longer hem on the legs with the batik fabrik. I really like these jeans now, except of course they have paint splotches on them from when I was painting with the kids at Playcentre. But that's OK - I'm proud to be a messy mum and wear my paint splotches with pride!! :o)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sofa cover and cushions

I finally got around to making a sofa cover. Yay! Its a sort of futon sofa, so we'd had a double bed fitted sheet covering it (with a waterproof undercover for any toddler accidents!) and pillows as cushions. So the living room looked a bit like a bedroom. Mmmm. I got a $5 tablecloth on special at Spotlight, just big enough to make the cover. Although I think I'll make the cushion cover a bit brighter and cheerier. Next project.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tinyhappy fingerless gloves

I used to knit (possibly compulsively), but since I have some sort of tendonitis in my wrists, knitting has been really hard. I even sold all my old knitting pattern books because of my sore wrists! So these wee gloves, which I made for Jellyspec were a terrific project to have a quick taste of knitting again. Also, the pattern is so simple, that it was fine being interrupted all the time by my cat/3 year old/phone/etc. I don't think my brain could handle a complicated pattern at the moment. I really enjoyed knitting them, and loved the bright variegated colours of the New Zealand made alpaca blend wool. I think I have enough wool for another couple of pairs. The pattern is from Tiny Happy's most excellent blog at

Another Emmeline Apron

Here is another Emmeline Apron I made for Jellyspec who got her mum to bring Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing book in from America for me!! Can't wait to sew lots of things from that book.
I really liked Jellyspec's fabric choices. I think they are lovely and bright and cheery. This photo was taken up at a bach they were renting up on the Raumati coast. We had a wonderful day.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Emmeline Apron

Here are my goes at the Emmeline Apron. I’m a messy eater, cook, drinker, messy everything really. I usually have t-shirts liberally spotted with tomato sauce, tea, etc, so this apron was a godsend. I wear it almost all day, every day, and have pretty much resigned myself to even wearing it at restaurants – that’s just how uncoordinated I am!

Because I wear it all the time, and I don’t like having a weight on the back of my neck, I’ve made the straps cross-over at the back. I like the original version which ties at the back of the neck better, but I just couldn’t wear that version for any length of time. The ties are wider than they look in the pic - I just didn´t get a chance to iron it before taking the pics. I added a cm to the vertical length of the bust, as otherwise the bust panel just seemed to make too thin a horizontal line on my build. I also took a cm off the centre top front band (meaning that it simply gathers a tiny bit more on the top side of the panel), because otherwise the top of the apron gaped open a bit. I didn´t cut the ties on the bias, which saved fabric. Also, I pull the ties quite tight when I have the apron on and when I tried having ties which were cut on the bias (as per the pattern), I cut them off and replaced them because they pulled too thin & out of shape when tied tightly.

Here is the second one I made below. I tried for retro colours with this one. But I think I over-retroed! My husband said he couldn't eat his dinner while I was wearing the first side... :o) My friend Maree modelled these for me (because I was 6 months pregnant at the time). I can only explain my choice of fabric on my pregnancy... I´ve since cut this apron up into something else as I no longer liked the fabric. What was I thinking?

Quilts I made in Australia

Here is a log cabin quilt that I made before moving to New Zealand. I sold it this year to a B&B owner, I think. Couldn't quite get the whole quilt in the photo - even standing on the couch. It was my first red quilt and I love the rich, red colours. Its funny making quilts in Australia, because its so warm there, and there are not a lot of months of the year when a person would sleep under a quilt...

Here is my Rolling Star Quilt. I think this was my first quilt, and astonishingly, all the pieces fit together just fine. I think I made it when I was about 17? Just sold this too. My husband doesn;t really like quilts on the bed (he's a doona man). In my experience, New Zealand isn't really a good place for storing things that are not used, as they go musty. So I thought I'd rather sell it and have it being used than have it go mustier and mustier each year. It was sad to let the quilts go though!

I think this was the second quilt I made. I liked blue colours, so I used them again. I think I used up lots of scraps from the big Rolling Star quilt. That's my son and his favourite teddy on the quilt.