Monday 29 April 2013

KCW: Late Night Roller Skating

Here's my last bit of sewing for Kid's Clothes Week. Although the official finish is on the other side of the world and thus about 11 hours behind. I felt fully justified in stopping at the completion of this dress around 1am last night!

I found this fabric in the online remnants section of either Earth Girl Fabrics or Kelani I honestly can't remember which, and I stalk the remnants and sale sections of both websites quite often. The selvedge tells me it's called Uma Flora E Um Leao by Sayasans. There are cute little lions in them there flowers!

The remnant piece was only 90cm with this pattern along one selvedge and a less deep, but equally interesting pattern on the other selvedge (I think there's just enough leftover for that to become a basic skirt).

I held onto it and thought and thought about how to use it for so long. It was too narrow for many patterns, too decorative for others,...  then along came the Roller Skate pattern from Oliver + S and I knew this fabric had found it's perfect match.

A fabric covered button to match!
It's not really dress weather here anymore, so I decided to cut it 1" longer in the hope it lasts until next spring. The pattern didn't quite fit on my bit of fabric, so I took 3/4" off the side of the front pattern piece and the side of the back pattern piece at the hen, then angled gradually up to the point where the elastic casing would be.

I did do the whole thing in one evening. Pattern tracing, cutting and sewing. But it was a late night and I've decided I detest finishing seams open, especially with the very lightweight chocolate voile that's used for the lining.

Now, bearing in mind that I chopped the pattern to make it fit the fabric, folded the fabric in half and squeezed the pattern on: Check out the back seam!

I feel like I should buy a lottery ticket! Sheer dumb luck I promise.
But a very satisfying way to finish Kid's Clothes Week.

Sunday 28 April 2013

KCW: Pants part three

Another pair of old maternity jeans cut up. Another pair of After School Pants.

This time I left off any fancy topstitching and just did a single thread edgestitch to get the seams to lay flat. But I did choose the frilly option of view B. Fourth time round for this pattern and I got a bit clever thinking I knew what I was doing. Of course I sewed a panel on the wrong way, couldn't work out why it was too long and almost trimmed the bottom off thinking I'd miscut the fabric. Thankfully I realised my mistake or they might have become shorts!

Using a worn pair of jeans meant that there's a bit of colour variation where the panels meet, but the denim is so nice and soft compared to the new, stiff stuff I touch and then don't buy in the big fabric store.

The patterned fabric is a Japanese lawn from Spotlight that I teamed with denim here as well.

I had thought I'd try for a fourth pair of pants this week, but with only one sewing night left in Kid's Clothes Week I'm not tempted to start something that I won't finish. I'm actually looking forward to packing up and having a night off from tomorrow.

So what to do tonight? I've heard it said that the Roller Skate dress is a trace, cut and sew in 1 night pattern, so I think I might try. I'm after a bit of instant gratification and it will tick one more of my unused patterns off the list.

I'm really looking forward to having a bit of time to look at everyone else's creations and catch up on some beautifully clothed and photographed kids on blogs out there.

Friday 26 April 2013

KCW: Pants Pride!

A little while ago I posed the question to the clever crowd who frequent the Oliver + S forum of how to get the best topstitching effect. One answer intrigued me; With Love Heidi (A moniker that sounds friendly but a bit Bond girl as well) suggested using regular thread but doubling it up.

I'm happy to say this is superb advice. I've been topstitching like a fiend recently. It's far easier to thread two lots of regular thread than trying to thread a needle with topstitching thread. And that's even after I bought some special "embroidery" sewing needles. The definition that it gives is really nice, and as importantly, it saves buying reels of topstitching weight thread that then can't be used for anything else.

Speaking of reels of thread that never get used again, here's a few reels of thread that I bought ages ago to decorate the edges of some waffled cotton dribble rags for my then newborn.

I don't know what the official length of these thread reels is, but they seem to be never-ending. I immediately wondered what it might look like to use double thread of variegated cotton to do topstitching...

Here's the answer:

Really gay! (Not That There's Anything Wrong With That)

Someone with a bit more imagination than me might have guessed that I'd end up with a pair of rainbow pants, but I confess I really didn't see it coming.

But you know what, I  kinda like them. This is not at all my usual colour scheme. The fabric is a very weird, synthetic stretch, ribbed suiting that I picked up so cheap that these pants probably cost about 80 cents. I don't think they'll ever wear out and certainly won't require ironing or any care.

What's more, Australia desperately needs more pairs of gay pride pants on toddlers. We are being embarrassingly left behind when it comes to marriage equality. No less than 14 countries have legalised same sex marriage, yet it's something we can't even get a conscience vote on in our parliament.

For heaven's sake, even New Zealand are OK with it. Now they're not just 2 hours ahead of us but about 50 years ahead culturally.

So here's another photo of my Pride Pants:


And finally, let's let the pants themselves have the last word:

Right on, little pair of gay, polyester pants, I hear what you're saying.
Loud and proud!

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Kid's Clothes Week 3/7ths and my first submisison

It was never going to be a sprint off the line when I chose to start my Kid's Clothes Week with the Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo Pants.

But these pants are awesome. There's such a lot of work with all the pockets, front, back and expandable side pockets and then all that topstitching. But gee they're worth the effort.

Whenever I ask P what colour he would like for something he always says "red AND green" which I figure will be fine come Christmas time, but otherwise I'm not quite with him, so to speak. The last pair of these pants had green topstitching so these have red. There. I'm really a pretty obliging mum after all.

This time I cranked up the elastic at the back as well so they should stay nice and high!

No time for nice modelled photos and the weather has just turned to rain again, so we're stuck indoors. I'm being attacked by two small people with Duplo guns as I type. At least they built them themselves, sigh. One is a Megablaster that can blast through my forcefield. The other one, I'm told,  is Me Baby One.

I only get to sew (or do anything in peace it seems) after bed time. So I'll start something else tonight to keep to the pledge of at least an hour a day. The Flickr pool for Kid's Clothes Week is looking fantastic. I could spend hours of non sewing time finding inspiration in there. But mostly I love that it all looks like spring, while I'm feeling immersed in winter already.

Sunday 21 April 2013

If this bum crack has offended, make some pants and all is mended....

Or rather that's what I'd hoped for.

For some time now, my hipless, darling son has demonstrated a frightening tendency to builder's butt whenever he played on the floor or bent over.

These Burda pants seemed to be the worst culprits:
Unfortunately I made three pairs of them at last year, so the chance of copping an eyeful of plumber's crack is pretty high.

I've had a bit more luck with the Oliver + S Field Trip cargo pants. Although only after I shortened the waist elastic to super tight. A push on the swings at the park with the original waistband had me thinking about where I'd parked my bike! Home we rode and the pants were successfully adjusted.

So I decided to try the Oliver + S After School pants next. It's a bit more of a feminine looking pattern with the lack of a front fly. But I think I'd "boy-ed" them up enough.

I made them out of a pair of maternity jeans that I cut up and there was just enough fabric for the jeans, but not for the pocket lining, so P and I happily agreed to use the last scraps of his LEGO fabric for the inner pockets.

So how's the rear view?.....

Pretty darn cute I say.
For the first time I tried a flat felled seam at the crotch. I used the tutorial linked to The Oliver + S blog and it was very clear. Unfortunately I'd cut some big chunky pattern marking notches into the seam allowances and I wanted my stitching lines to be quite far apart to match the rest of the topstitching, so getting the edges tucked under nicely was difficult. It's definitely a finish I'll use again, very neat on the inside and hopefully as strong as can be.

And back to the original problem, well, when we set off to the shops and P climbed out of the car, I was reminded to feed the parking meter......

To try and salvage this lame blogpost, I'm happy to announce that I raced my mountain bike today (took the Scott Scale 10 out), got beaten by the kids on a steam train, but came in third in the Open Women category and got my first podium finish in over 4 years!
Maybe the bad jokes means I'm overtired and should go to bed.....

Next week I'm joining in with Kid's Clothes Week and I'm continuing with the theme of pants. Two pairs each for the kids should keep me busy enough. Happy sewing to all.

Friday 19 April 2013

Oliver + S School Photo Dress

Here's one of those things that I just wanted to make. My daughter probably won't like it, she doesn't really need it, but when I saw the fabric I just knew what it wanted to be made into. The School Photo dress by Oliver + S

I love this pattern and I've made it once before, also using a remnant. That time was a size 5 as I had only bought the larger pattern size. It's in a cupboard, waiting another 3 years or so before it fits! Of course I had to buy the smaller pattern size and make another.

The fabric was a 70cm remnant that I picked up at The Fabric Store along with all these other lovely bits of woven goodness. I tried desperately to make it fit with the pattern running horizontally but there was no way even this fabric Scrooge could do it.

I made some notes at the time about what I thought I'd do with all the rest of the fabric. I don't think any of it has happened yet. Tragically, it had been my New Year's Resolution not to buy too much more fabric (I wasn't kidding myself I could go cold turkey) and in looking for this photo, it was in the January folder, dated the 15th. Didn't last long did I?

So while I couldn't get the pattern to run the way I wanted I completely lucked out on the back with this bit of pattern matching! There's three panels there and I'm so happy with how they came together. At first I sweated on trying to line everything up, but then I realised that the panels of the dress flared in width, so if the pattern matched at the top it wouldn't at the bottom and vice versa. So I poured another glass of red and just got on with cutting it anyway it would fit, so I really can't take credit for this picture. But I am pleased all the same.

The button came from a collection that my mother in law gave me, and the dress is lined in a milky coffee coloured voile that a local shop had for $2/metre.

The pattern is, of course, superb in it's explanation and design. The little kangaroo pocket in front is lovely, and is just the kind of trick that may persuade A to wear it. Meanwhile the instructions for the invisible zipper will always be my go to reference if I need to sew one.

The one thing I remembered from the first dress is that the instructions mention serging all the straight edges first IF you're using a serger. I don't have one, so I didn't. There are very few mentions of finishing the seams allowances after that and so I assumed I didn't need to, but the lining hangs free so those seam allowances do need finishing. This time I finished all the straight edges before assembling anything. The one in the cupboard is a velveteen that I just know will fall apart if it's washed. I can't bear to go back to something that I should be able to consider finished, but I know I must...

Sunday 14 April 2013

Kill Bill: Vol 1 - Film Petit Gatecrash

I tried creating a flow chart to organise the thought processes that leads a busy, working mother to create a knock-off Moschino trenchcoat and trousers for her two year old daughter, but looking at the scribbled page beside me, it makes no more sense than before.

Let's see if this can be explained.....

 Film Petit is breathtakingly awesome. If you haven't already been floored by the beautiful, hilarious, creative and sometimes just wrong outfits that these two and their co-collaborators create then please go have a look.
I LOVE Film Petit and desperately wanted to play along but without a blog there's no chance of joining in. Without something as fun to contribute to as Film Petit there seemed little point in a sewing blog. Ergo blog created. Now what to do next...

I had some leftover, stretchy, white polyester fabric from P's Evel Knievel jumpsuit which is too nasty for regular clothes but perfect for a costume.....

The white fabric immediately made me think of Elle Driver in her nurse outfit from Quentin Tarantino's film Kill Bill: Vol 1. Was I comfortable with the idea of dressing my beautiful, na├»ve two year old as a violent psychopathic killer? Sure, it's kind of for art's sake right? But, oddly, I wasn't entirely at ease with the short, tight, nurse uniform. I mean it's a bit tarty/trashy right?

But then, a little bit of movie watching and, of course, the SUIT. I mean I'd kill for a suit like this, so why not make one for A. So, whistling (creepily) while I worked, I scoured the net for more images, found the Fashion Channel Moschino link and got sewing.

Of course, before I got sewing I had to go out and buy some fabric as I was never going to make a trenchcoat and trousers out of the nasty, white polyester, now was I? (this is where the flowchart got to me as the failure to link back to the need to use up my fabric stash was really obvious when it was drawn out on paper)
So, if you're with me, here is the reason for making a blog, and a Moschino suit, and an eyepatch and handbag to match:
While I was meticulous about the coat and trousers matching the original Moschino suit, I confess to not being much of a handbag lady, so forgive me if you're screaming at the screen that my bag is not a proper {insert famous tote bag here}!

I made my little tote bag by scaling down from this one which comes from one of the Japanese pattern books I have. The 66% downsize also meant I had exactly enough of my Sarah Jane mermaid fabric leftover from lining the coat.
Have you guessed why it had to be mermaid lining yet? Pretty obvious huh. It's my little tribute to Ms Hannah and a joke for those of us old enough to remember 1984

My mini Elle's eyepatch was a home invented job using a bit of quilting template plastic covered with fabric and topstitched to match everything else. The tricky part was getting it to stay on. I'm guessing Darryl Hannah had a few bobby pins under that perfect hair, as well as a lot more sitting still for the hair and make up artist than I was permitted by my starlet. Oh, and Ms Hannah probably hadn't just come home from daycare with heaps of sunscreen all through her locks either (what is it with daycare teachers and sunscreen in the hair?!)
This is not a grumpy face but actually an attempt at copying my whistling while eating a lolly.
I had far too much fun creating this outfit and presenting it. Thankfully A was more obliging than I could have wished for.....
Although it was her brother standing in as a lighting test subject who nailed the walk (but gee he's mad that he still can't learn to whistle. I'm not.)
And full credits to Flipper (as photographer) for holding his nerve in the hospital corridors and humouring me.
Here's the point where, had I been invited to play I'd say thanks for having me. Instead I'll say thanks for inspiring me. If you haven't checked out the brilliance of Film Petit then get on the bandwagon now. Over and out.....

Saturday 13 April 2013

Mini Moschino via Oliver + S

At least for today, it would be best not to ask why....

It's a mother's prerogative to make her daughter a replica trenchcoat and trousers from the Moschino Autumn/Winter collection of 2001. Am I not right?

And obviously it's a two year old's prerogative to decide how to model said outfit. It seems she won't do sultry and sensible for less than $10,000 (worth of lollies)
Since I'm not going to explain the why, I'll address the question of how the outfit was created.
I already have an awesome pattern for a trench coat in the Oliver + S Secret Agent Trench Coat but the more I looked at the Moschino version the more I realised a straight up trench would never do. This trench had to had a set in sleeve not a raglan sleeve, but then I'd topstitch it to look like a raglan sleeve. Dumb Clever huh?
And so I combined the School Days Coat sleeves with the Secret Agent's length and collar to get my Moschino trench coat
Guess what? I saved  a lot of time by not making pockets, shoulder flaps, epaulettes, a belt, belt loops... Just faked them all with topstitching!

I kept referencing back to Fashion Channel on youtube where, amazingly, the runway show has been captured and posted for all time. That music eventually did my head in and my darling IT guru Flipper* came to the rescue with some screen captures and printed photos for me to work from. That allowed me to see the shoulder details, the back, sides and trousers and so my aim became to perfectly match the ensemble with my sewing.
I added a little elastic at the centre back of the jacket as without a functional belt it was looking very boxy. I know two year old's don't really have defined waists anyway but it is Moschino darling, let's try to make it flattering to the figure.
 My self drafted facing for this hybrid pattern kind of worked. Just don't look too closely at the buttonholes that are half on - half off the facing. The lining was again, a combination of the two patterns, which caused a bit of a bodgy compromise at the kick pleat, but it works, just not as neatly as I'd have liked. For those who are starting to get to know my style, the choice of pink mermaid lining may come as a bit of a shock. No I am not giving up my largely beige preferences and yielding to my daughter's ferocious will. The mermaids were an obvious choice, just don't ask why until tomorrow... Fabric: Sarah Jane Deep Sea Jewel collection
Finally, a pair of trousers. Again Oliver + S to the rescue with the Sketchbook shirt and shorts pattern. I lengthened the shorts to create a somewhat narrowed, straight leg with a big cuff. A nice quick sew, as I left off the pockets and just continued the fake it with topstitching theme.

So there we are. A mini knock-off Moschino outfit using under $20 worth of a lovely soft brushed cotton drill and some sweet Sarah Jane pink stuff. Of course, it's not the tiniest bit practical for a little kid who loves jumping in muddy puddles, and to be honest, she really doesn't like it. But I've convinced her that granny may take her to the horse races wearing this outfit (it would crack me up to enter her in the fashion on the field competition) and since she thinks that means she can go horse riding, she's bang up for it!
Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to come back tomorrow!
* "they call him Flipper, Flipper, Flipper, faster than Lightning..." See, it's really quite complimentary honey.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Warm, cuddly leftovers = MADE dressing gown

As the weather starts to cool down (then heat up again, then cool down again, and finally stay cold) it became apparent that A needed a dressing gown.

I'd made one for P using a KwikSew pattern, but the pattern left a lot to be desired and I couldn't bring myself to buy it again in a smaller size. A late night hunt for some instant PDF gratification led me to MADE patterns by Dana ( I loved the pattern as a towel beach robe, and so even though it didn't tick all my dressing gown boxes ( I really wanted a folded back cowl neck with a facing) I though it would be well worth a try.

So, now I will confess to the dire situation of my daughter's bedtime wear:

 Now, before you call the Department of Children's Services, you should note that I have cut the toes open so her feet are not bound and stunted. And what's more, these are lovely and soft having been handed down from her big brother. Yes, she is wearing 5 year old hand me down cotton footies that are two sizes too small. I don't feel too bad as I have a lovely pile of Michael Miller flannel and an Oliver + S pyjama pattern just waiting to be turned into some awesome new jammies. So put the phone down and give me a little bit more time....

But meanwhile, back to the dressing gown dilemma. All the lovely flannel is assigned to pyjamas, and I was loathe to chop up a towel or buy any new fabric (I seriously have to curb that habit) so I vowed to make a dressing gown entirely out of leftovers. There's always a little bit of fleece leftover from these blankets so here's a bit of leftovers heated up and rearranged into the cosiest dressing gown ever!
I decided to make it fully reversible, so effectively I just made two robes and then sewed them together. I added some belt loops so that the belt could be used for both sides. Of course I could have done away with the bias binding but I think it makes the whole thing much nicer and it was the only way to sneak in a tiny bit of pink, even if it is a somewhat fishy, browny, housebrick kind of pink. I made it in the middle size but cut it to the longest length and the fit is perfect. Here's the snuggly, well cared for child photo:
And when I tried to turn it out and get a picture the other way, she realised the belt was removable. And that was the end of that.

Thursday 4 April 2013

Gifts for new friends

I have two new friends, who've only just been born, but I like their families, and so I assume I'll like them, and hope they'll like me.
Anyway, I've made them a blanket each.

This blanket has become a bit of a go-to gift for new baby friends, on the proviso that neither of their parents can sew. They seem to look impressive enough, while really being quite simple. I made a few for P before he was born, and they still serve well as car blankets or play blankets.

I buy about 1.5 metres each of a printed cotton, or polycotton, and the same of polar fleece. The fleece edges are folded up, the cotton edges are folded down, and then the two are sewn together. A somewhat fancy sewing machine stitch makes it look nice....

Finally, 'cause the blanket is so quick to make, I feel guilty about not making a fancy quilt, so I do some hand stitching to put the little tackers' name on the blanket. This bit is fun. I take advantage of the ability to get MyFont to preview any word in any font. Click "save picture as" and you've got the name you want in the font you want. Scale to size through the printer and print backwards (select T-Shirt transfer as paper type) and then use fusible web to stick those letters down.

Then I just hope my hand stitching will survive the inevitable spills, messes and machine washing.

Welcome little babies. I look forward to getting to know you.