Sunday 13 October 2013

Little Things To Sew: The journey so far and a cover to cover challenge.

Some time last year I bought myself a copy of Little Things To Sew the book of sewing projects by Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S
I wanted to make the Messenger Bag and the Bucket Hat and that, I thought, was it....
(and the Bucket Hat is available as free download anyway, so I really hemmed and hawed about this purchase)

Here's my copy. I didn't get the one signed by Liesl, but when I left this out one day it did get autographed by my daughter!

And now, I can't imagine not having this book. It's provided some great gifts, some fun projects and some nice distractions from sewing clothes.
I'm about to start another project as a gift for P's kindergarten so I started reminiscing about what I've made and wondering what I'll try next.
Let's look through it cover to cover, and I'll show you what I've made thus far and list the projects I'm yet to conquer (in red):
Project 1: Mittens (x2)

I made two pairs of mittens which the kids still sometimes wear to chase each other around the house "snapping" (or "napping" if you're too little to say "sn") at each other.
Project 2: Tutu (maybe this Christmas?)

Project 3: No Tie Scarf (x2)

Last minute spotty outfits for a Dotty teddy Bears Picnic at the gallery. Only P is wearing the scarf as I hadn't planned on making one for A as she had a Lazy Days Skirt, but she threw a wobbly and so I quickly made a second one. It was much easier second time around and this is the only pattern thus far that I really struggled with the instructions and looking at the forums it seems I'm not the only one...
Project 4: Messenger Bag (x2)

Here's the project I bought the book for. The canvas I used for this came free from a local canvas shop after I stopped in and asked them for some Kevlar-type-fabric scarps to reinforce the knees of my son's jeans! They gave me a reasonable amount of some seriously heavy duty fabric. Unbelievably difficult to sew but this is one tough little satchel!
(I love it but within days of completing it I was trumped by my MIL buying him a Wiggles bag from a concert)

This version was the Large size made in some LEGO fabric from Spoonflower as a gift for my brother in law (hence the Uncle Nick's Bag tag) for Christmas. I redrafted the pocket flaps to make them a bit wider and deeper as the original ones seemed a bit scanty on the bigger front pockets.
Project 5: Reversible Bucket Hat (x4)
This should be what I'm about to sew next as the kids have outgrown their hats from last year. Last spring I sewed a hat a day for a week to get the kids ready for the start of the official hat wearing season. Three of those were the Reversible Bucket Hat:
With one of them made from the leftover fabric from P's Secret Agent Trenchcoat in order to make a Spy outfit!
The fourth one was a gift for my nephew made from some more Spoonflower LEGO fabric. This time leftovers from some shirts I made for the LEGO convention.

Project 6: Bias Trimmed Apron (not yet, but I really want to)

Project 7: Bento Box Carrier 

Another gift, with recognisably leftover fabrics.

Project 8: Play Town (lots of hand sewing but I'm kinda keen)
Project 9: Penguin Backpack

Yep, more leftover LEGO fabric. Just enough of the grey canvas for this darling little penguin. This bag is adored and is used as A's daycare bag. I did toy with the idea of cutting his beak, flippers and feet along the LEGO lines to make him look as if he was made of bricks but it all seemed a bit too hard...
Project 10: Art Smock (I agonise over fabric choice cause it needs to be ordinary enough to get paint on it, but nice enough to be bothered making it...)
Project 11: Cozy Winter Hood (x2)

Seen earlier with mittens here they are again. Both pairs are made out of wool jumpers that I accidently ruined in the wash. They are really cute winter hats and both kids have, at various times, worn them as hats not just as play hoods.
Project 12: Messy Kid Bib (perfect gift...)
Project 13: Juggling Balls and Drawstring Bag (x2)

Stuck for a way to wrap a gift? (and no, P's Teddy was not gifted, but he couldn't resist climbing in the bag and hanging out for a bit)

Just the right size to hold a pair of pyjamas as an overnight bag

Project 14: Tea Party Doll Dress (I know she'd love it if I did...)
Project 15: Travel Quilt (straight lines, my kind of quilting, I could do this one)
Project 16: Red Riding Hood
I'm making this one pink, as I haven't technically made the cape with hood, but I did use this pattern to make the cape for my Evel Knievel Cape
Project 17: Explorer Vest

A gift for my favourite little nephew again!
Project 18: Bear Carrier (x4)

One for P and teddy, one as a gift for my nephew (Note to my brother: have you worked out where I get all my gift ideas yet?!) one for A's bestest friend, and one for a Lucky Dip present for my mother's group annual birthday get together.


Project 19: Bear Puppet Bath Mitt (I'm thinking some puppets maybe...)

Project 20: Puppet Theater

I made this last year for the kids for Christmas and got completely carried away with all the extra applique. I'm about to start on one as a gift for P's kindergarten and it was going to be simpler but I've had a few ideas I just can't resist throwing on there.

By my reckoning I've got nine and a half (juggling balls) projects to go, that puts me at 52.5% complete. While that would count as a pass mark (at least it did in animal husbandry back at Uni) I'm going to knock this book over and make everything. (I applied that attitude to a hiking guide book once and ended up walking 500km solo through Turkey)
I may continue to be distracted and make the same things over again, or mess with the patterns to make other things, so there's no time limit, but it will happen....
...... and I made a button to keep myself on track. Anyone else want to go all the way with me?


  1. wow, i am so, so impressed. this is all so awesome. it really inspires me to make those winter hats for Iris. they are so adorable. the Lego fabric is ingenious. all of it is so amazing! well done!

    1. Thanks. the bear hoods are really cute and there have been some hilarious rejigs of this pattern in the Flickr pool
      I've got one more yard of LEGO fabric for another shirt for the 2014 convention then I'm all out. Sadly, I'm finding the Spoonflower printing really doesn't stand up to repeated washing.

  2. Count me in too! I made some projects from this but not all yet. Great idea!!

    1. Brilliant. I'll be plugging away slowly but will love to see what you make too.

  3. It's so nice to see these all in one place! I was just wondering where I could find a pattern for a hat like this and, here you remind me, that I have the pattern already lol I bought this book using a Joanne's 40% off coupon a couple of years ago, sewed up the cape and stashed it on the shelf! Look at all these great projects. Thanks for reminding me that I have this :D

    Beautiful sewing as always :D

    1. Thank you. It was quite a task rounding up all the photos, but it's made me realise this book is a great bargain!

  4. You have just made me pull my book out and count how many projects I have completed. All in all a disappointing score of 5 for me. That really is not good enough. I would happily make a few more with your help!
    I had forgotten about that Puppet Show Theatre you did, amazing!

    1. Not disappointing at all! Have you made five projects from any other single pattern book?! My Japanese books are still only at two or three things per book. I'd say 5/20 is still a good strike rate for the LTTS book!
      I'll try and figure out how to host a link-up party so we can help each other out at any tricky bits along the way....
      ... and I can't wait to show you the next puppet theatre. But I need to start making it first, I just keep adding ideas to it and redrawing my design sketch over and over!!

  5. You have been busy and this blog post is such a great advertisement for the book; your finished items are fun and funky (as are the models!). I don't have kids of my own but on the basis of this post I would seriously consider buying this book so I had ideas and inspiration for gifts for the many children -big and small- in my world. You have done a great job. Wishing you well on going all the way!
    (oh, and that walking trip in turkey sounds amazing, and a little bit crazy if you did it solo. Inspiration here too)

    1. It is a great book for gifts, from babies right up to big kids.
      Turkey was amazing. That came about cause I read about a walk and the woman who created the walk wrote that she didn't expect anyone to walk it all in one go. Sounded like a challenge to me! 510 km over 5 weeks, fending for myself and fending off the local shepherds! If you're tempted: The Lycian Way

  6. Wow, you've been busy! I'm looking forward to seeing your next creation.
    You may as well count me in too: I have this book and have made the bucket hats (and I think I used the free download) , and I have material for the cape.... So really I haven't made anything yet but I plan to. Might be the kick up the bum I need. And will go nicely with my plan to make up all of the Oliver + S patterns

    1. I'm on the path to sewing every Oliver + S too and figured this book had to go in with the other patterns. It'll be fun to have you along for the ride!

  7. I haven't made this many! I forgot there were mittens, totally busting it out again! My guy has a bear hat he LOVES, and I made a rabbit hat (just a little ear adjustment) for his sister also a hit. I've done the cape...and I have a ton of little houses cut out- I even bought the ridiculously expensive foam to make them with! Great round up!

    1. Thanks, I'm so happy to think I'm getting people excited about the book again. I love the idea of sewing those doll houses. If only I commuted to work by public transport, it would be a fun conversation starter to be sewing those little doors and windows on the train!

  8. I love the things you've made from LTTS! You're inspiring me to dig it out again to look for Christmas / nephew birthday present ideas. So far I have made the bear hood (and also modified it to be a bat hood for a halloween costume), a tutu and the bucket hat. But the bear carrier is at the top of the list - the small child insists on sticking soft toys up her t-shirt to "keep them safe" when we're out and I'm worried one will fall out and get lost, causing drama and heartache... I think a carrier would be well worth the effort.

    1. I remember your bat, that was cute! The bear carrier is great but it does require some parental help to get it on.

  9. Love it! Can't wait to see what you do with the remaining 47.5% of the projects in the book!

  10. It's so fun seeing your projects all rounded up like this! I think I've done six projects, but multiples of the same patterns (like lots of bucket hats). KEEP IT UP!


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