Saturday, 25 May 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange Part IV - Cedric

The Secret Valentine Exchange is usually an annual, big circular gifting pool for creative people to make something for an unknown recipient for Valentine's Day.

It's foundation was in the lovely friendship between Sanae Ishida and Ute. With Ute's absence from the virtual craft world, this year it hasn't gone ahead. But, to honour those two wonderful women I've decided to run with it and create a Valentine's style gift every month until next February.

Let me introduce you to Cedric....

I was in Fibresmith a few months ago and found these wonderful embroidery patterns by Amy Kalissa on sale. Each pattern had a principal character, an emblem and a phrase, set out as three separate iron-on stencils to stitch.

I'm not much of an embroider-er but these patterns sold me with the quirky characters. Meet Cedric:

"Cedric is your stereotypical hipster, although don't tell him that, as far as he's concerned, he's a complete individual who does not subscribe to mainstream views. He fashions cushions out of scarves found in op-shops, manages to attend the opening of every new pop-up store within a 10km radius of the CBD, drinks pumpkin chai lattes with a pinch of nutmeg and enjoys going to Bingo with his posse.
By day, Cedric runs his own café, where customers flock to experience his famous deconstructed hot chocolates, Foie Gras Poutine and Trout Ice-Cream."

Just your regular inner Melbourne hipster really. 

Each of the patterns is intended to be stitched with variegated embroidery threads designed by Amy Kalissa. 

Before heading out to the country for Easter I noticed the little quilting shop in my parent's home town was listed as a stockist for these Cottage Garden Threads. So I packed an embroidery hoop and a bit of this quilt backing cotton fabric from the stash. Turned out they didn't stock the particular Namesake range intended for these patterns so I made do with ones that looked similar.

At least, I did until I realised the designer intended for me to stitch blue eyes on a tabby cat. Well that's just wrong and I couldn't come at that. My cat got green eyes instead. And now, you know, it really bugs me taht the whiskers are black. Cats simply don't have black whiskers. No matter what the cat colour, the whiskers are always white. Of course white whiskers on a pale background was never going to work, so as much as the veterinarian part of me is irritated by it, the whiskers are black after all. :)

Because I'm quite capable of laughing at myself, check out my first attempt:

I'd completely failed to see the instruction to only use two strands of the embroidery thread. No wonder it was looking so chunky in comparison to the example in the instructions. I had no idea that those multi-stranded embroidery threads were ever split! Lesson learnt.

Here you can see the iron on transfer. PSA - if you're doing this at your mum's house using her ironing board, put something under the fabric lest you end up with a permanent hipster cat tattooed on your mum's ironing board cover. Just sayin'.

Buttonmania came through with teeny tiny 5mm doll buttons for Cedric's cardigan. A quick phone call and they were in the post and arrived the next day. Thanks Buttonmania!

So where has Cedric gone to live? I delivered him today to Marisa
I've been a blog following fan of Marisa's for many years. She makes gorgeous clothes for her daughter and uses so many great Japanese sewing book patterns. I can always, always be tempted into buying yet another pattern book after a visit to her blog.

She had requested a stitched portrait of one of her own cats, but you know, a craft gift is never quite you expect, right? :) 

Not that her cats aren't great. One of my favourite photoshoots is when her cats met a tiny Arriety - check it out

It was lovely to catch up with her in real life for a coffee and I thoroughly enjoyed stitching Cedric for her.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Shark attack pyjamas

Time for some winter pyjamas for the boy!

The last time I made him pyjamas in a woven fabric he hardly wore them and has declared he "prefers stretch fabric for sleepwear" (seriously, I've created a monster alright).

Well he's eaten his words 'cause he LOVES these pyjamas. Now, he has qualified his demands as stretch all over, or a stretch top with woven pants is also acceptable.

The shark flannelette came from Spotlight ages ago when they were having a sale. Either I stashed it for a very long time and there might once have been enough for top and bottoms, or it postdates the pyjama edict and I only bought enough for bottoms.

He tried A's Bedtime Story size 8 pyjamas on and they were too small, so that pattern's finished for him. I went back to the Sleepover Pyjamas which go up to size 12. I thought I could simplify them by leaving off the bottom cuffs. I cut a size 10 with size 12 length, but that wasn't long enough. The cuffs really do add considerable length and without them the pants were ankle grazers.

From the tiny bits of leftovers I could cut a pair of arbitrarily sized cuffs and threw a bit of navy flat piping in the seam to break up the print mismatch.

The top is fun, and also uses up the last of some thick, navy cotton lycra knit I've had for ages. It's the Jalie Nico raglan in size O which I already had traced from his recent T-shirts.

I didn't have enough fabric for any kind of acceptable sleeve length, but could cut some cuffs from the odd shaped scraps and I think cuffs always look more pyjama-y anyway, right?

The shark scrap is stitched to the back side of the T-shirt with a close zig zag stitch and then the T-shirt knit cut away leaving a small raw edge.

He hasn't not worn these to bed since I finished them. Enough to almost tempt me to restock the stash with more flannelette on sale...

But that's not the point. I'm endeavouring to use stuff up and add less. 

And so, after I cut the pants and there was about half a metre of fabric left I thought of how I could use it...

And I ended up making the cutest thing ever! 

Using the Oliver + S Teaparty Playsuit as the base, I overlapped the bodice and body sections to cut a one piece. I omitted the shoulder button closures and just closed the shoulder seams. The seam allowances were cut off the neckline and armholes so they could be finished with bias binding. As the Teaparty playsuit already has a centre front seam allowance (on the body part at least) it was no biggy to put a zipper down the middle.

The leg length came from the Oliver + S Lullaby Layette pants, and the whole thing should be a reasonable approximation of a size 12-18month.

The shark flannelette was quilted onto some bamboo quilt wadding (again using some last remnants - yay!) before cutting out the pattern pieces. 

I used the freemotion quilting foot that I'd bought ages ago for my machine (don't ask why). That was wild and a bit of fun. It took some getting used to the complete loss of control but I ended up going with the flow and I think my watery ripples around the sharks look great.

The lining is a cool striped knit that has also been in the stash forever. I found the zipper in the zipper box and some small remnants of blue knit that were just enough for making binding. Except for the striped knit there was nothing left to put away again by the end.

Frighteningly, I'd already quilted and cut this before I realised his pyjama pants were too short. So those cuffs really were a miraculous scrap buster.

Befitting a one year old's playsuit, the legs close with snaps. Yep, my snap stash had exactly the right shade of blue. :)

A friend's baby has just turned one and I was delighted to deliver this to him. I hope it fits and keeps him snug and warm during winter. 

While P was revelling in his pyjamas, A was watching me sew this and declared she wanted a pair of quilted overalls! :) Um, no, but I do have some awesome silver/black stretch denim to make her some overalls.

I can't wait to see this worn, and if it works well, then I'll keep the pattern for some of my other small, leftovers of flannelette. There's nothing more satisfying than using stuff up!

Size: Pants: 10 , T-shirt: O, playsuit: 12-18m
Fabric: Spotlight novelty flannelette, stashed striped knit and navy knit.
Notions: Quilt batting, knit binding, snaps, zipper all from stash

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Playdate Dress and a pocket tutorial

It's starting to get cold here, and I really need to consign myself to the fact that our house renovation is not just-about-to-start. I need to get my winter clothes out rather than think I'll be packing them to move any minute. And I need to just turn the heating on.

But instead let's look back at our April holidays at the coast shall we, and a sweet little Oliver + S Playdate dress that I made for A.

I'd only made this dress pattern once before and I was so delighted with the shape and the fit. Here's the first version. I was keen to give it another run as it's one of the patterns that stops at size 8 which is her current size.

I think I'd bought this quilting cotton with the Library dress in mind but it looked like it would suit this pattern quite nicely too.

The pattern usually has ruffles or buttons on the yoke, but I thought it would be a bit more grown up to have the yoke plain. Then it looked too plain, so I thought to add a simple bow. When A saw my bow placed low and centrally she said it would look much better if the bird was wearing it. So there it is, a bow tie bird dress!

The terracotta coloured binding was already cut from some other project and I used the Fairy Tale Dress patterns instructions for the little bow. It's a miniature version of the belt bow from that pattern.

The pattern is a delight. It's a sweet bell shaped dress with in seam pockets, a lovely yoke with flat piping and nicely puffy sleeves.

As I was making it I thought to use the pocket instructions from a Japanese Sewing Book which allows you to have the side seam allowances pressed open and no snipping into and weakening the pocket seam allowances.

It's quite genius, so I photographed a little tutorial:

Side Seam Pocket Tutorial

1: Finish the seam allowances of the front pocket pieces and the sides of the front skirt panel.

2:Stitch the front pocket to the skirt (right sides facing) leaving a 1.5cm unsewn section at the top and bottom of the pocket. 

Stitch the back pockets to back skirt leaving a 1cm section unsewn at the top and bottom of each pocket piece

3: Press the pockets away from the skirts and seam allowances

4: Stitch the side seams above and below the pocket openings. Stitch with the front skirt uppermost and stop your stitching at the front pocket attachment stitching point, (or a stitch or two deeper into the pocket opening). 

Open the pockets away from each other and press again

5: Edgestitch the front pocket about 1/16" from the pressed edge (stitched front pocket opening is shown on right hand side of the image below)

6: Sew the pocket curved edges together folding the skirt pieces out of the way (with 1cm seam allowance in this instance). The photos below show the upper and then lower edges of the pocket and how the seam allowances are folded back when the pocket is stitched together.

7: Finish the pocket seam allowances together. Press the pocket towards the front skirt again and then finish the back seam allowances in one go.

Finally, you can add a bartack at the top and bottom of the pocket opening for extra reinforcemnt.

I love this pocket technique as it's neat, allows the seam to be finished neatly and stops the pocket from flopping down or towards the back when worn.

This little bow-tie bird dress might be hibernating for a few months now, but hopefully it will come out again in the spring. Maybe for a spot of tennis?

Pattern: Oliver + S Playdate Dress
Size: 8, no mods
Fabric: some designer quilting cotton, long stashed so I forget the name.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange part III - crafty interlude

I made the decision to run with the Secret Valentine Exchange all year round and try and create a small gift for somebody, somewhere, every month until the real SVE event returns on Valentine's day proper.

The April gift was posted off and arrived just before the end of April and also, perhaps, as an early birthday present for my sewing pal, Nicole. - currently known as the queen of overalls!

When I put out the call for ideas (which is still open, by the way, hit me up), Nicole suggested a macramé key chain thingy.

I was putting in an order with String Harvest for some thicker cord for another project when I saw that Cass sells little cards of co-ordinating 0.5mm Hemp cord. Perfect for some macramé key chain thingies, right?

For those who know their knots, this piece is done with a series of square knot sennits and the cords swapping over from one chain to the next to give the interlocking weave.

Monkey fist balls are a fun little puzzle, but I do NOT recommend trying to make them with 0.5mm cord. A bit fiddly and frustrating and I hop they don't simply unravel....

And a finally, a little autumn leaf:

Instructions for all of these, along with really good demonstrations of knots and techniques can be found in the Macramé Pattern Book. It has the added bonus of making macramé look quite tasteful and I'm especially fond of the samplers, made in neutral cord and pinned to feedsack floral fabric. Pointless, but pretty.

And we all need a bit of that sometimes.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Jump Rope for winter

Back when I made A her birthday Jump Rope dress I was immediately reminded of what a delightful pattern it is, and since I'd traced off the view B as well, I jumped (get it) straight back in for another round.

The View B is the same gorgeous placket and collar, but this time with an A line dress, long sleeves and sweet little gathered pockets.

I'd previously made it way back when she was just learning to stand up, let alone jump rope, and used a corduroy for winter. I think it's a lovely winter dress. Ready for a flashback?....

How does that happen? …. I swear I haven't changed a jot, or aged a day.... :)

I think this fabric purchase might have dated way back to 2012 as well. I'd originally bought it intending to make her a trench coat, but then decided it would look a bit more patchwork dressing gown and less haute couture than I was imagining. 

It sat in the stash for ages and then eventually I made myself an Everyday Skirt with it. Blog post confirms that skirt was 2014.... I worse that skirt A LOT. All through winter I'd wear it with tights, boots and a long sleeved plain t-shirt. It was quite surprising how many different tops it actually went well with. Eventually it was too big and so I sent it off to the charity shop. Hopefully somebody else is enjoying it.

So, with no fear of matchy-matchy, the fabric could be revisited.

It's a poly-suiting with a slight velvet/flocked feel. Weird, but nice. I'd love to say I used it all up but there's probably enough for a little tote bag or similar. Which reminds me: I do have a clutch bag that I made for Frocktails 2017 to go with my red dress. I guess she could borrow my Ida Clutch for the whole ensemble look :)

We were snapping photos of this dress on a cold, rainy day back in March. Every now and then the rain would stop and we'd take a few picks. Then the rain would start again, but the sun was still shining and the rain blowing sideways. It was a modelling challenge alright. She's tough.

Of course I hope to see it worn as it looks lovely on, but mostly I just made it because I wanted to. That pattern, that fabric and the moment came over me. 

Pattern: Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress, View B
Size: 8, no modifications
Fabric: Poly suiting from GJ's way, way back.
Notions: Buttons from the stash.

Friday, 19 April 2019

New Oliver + S pattern: Double Dutch

The other pattern test I did late last year was the new Oliver + S pattern: The Double Dutch Jacket and Skirt.

The jacket is a cute kids take on the ever popular dropped sleeve kimono style jackets that lots of grown ups are sewing for themselves. But with kid concessions like sleeves that aren't so wide you can't keep them out of your dinner.

And it's completely reversible! So you get two little jackets in one. Cool, huh. 

Totally unnecessarily, I actually used a double sided fabric anyway. I bought this fabric back in 2016 from Phillips Shirts when they were still in the city. It's a hefty cotton, almost like a light denim and worked perfectly for the jacket. Of course using a double sided fabric just made things confusing for myself. The instructions are perfectly clear assuming you're using fabrics A and B, rather than one fabric with A and B sides. 

The kimono style sleeve makes it a nice, easy sew, and being fully lined means no seam finishing either, so it's a delight to make.

The buttonhole as a little slit in the front seam is really neat too and caters to those with a pathological fear of sewing buttonholes.

The second part of the pattern is the skirt. It's a simple knit skirt with elastic waist, but with a super cute tulip flare shape.

I made it in a navy ponte and it's already been in heavy rotation as part of her school uniform. 

Back in December it was made to her measurements in size 7. The only alteration I wished I'd made was to add some sleeve length. The jacket was only just long enough in the sleeves when these pictures were taken and is already a little short now. But to be honest, in another year or two, worn open with "bracelet" length sleeves I think it will look really cool.

The jacket will end up being a great pattern for using up oddly shaped bits of nice fabrics and with the potential for four different fabrics in the mix it could be a really unusual garment!

The pattern goes from 6-12months up to size 12. How cute would that jacket be on a little baby!

I had a bit of luck with the button as I had two, lonely single buttons of the same shape and style. One was navy and the other kind of red. Perfect!

All the new Liesl + Co patterns and this new Oliver + S pattern will be available on the Oliver + S website next week. 

I was talking to Liesl via email about Australian stockists for the paper patterns and the whole weird-ass Australian retail distributor system. If you prefer paper (like me) but don't want to pay US shipping on just one pattern, then ask, and ask again, for your local favourite bricks and mortar store to stock the Oliver + S / Liesl + Co pattern range. 

Or just buy lots of them at once and save on shipping that way! :)

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Liesl + Co Breezy Blouse

I have this weird psychic thing going on with Liesl Gibson.... I have a desire for a particular pattern and while I'm working away adapting what I have and trying to make a mish-mash of patterns to suit my needs, on the other side of the world, Liesl is busy designing exactly what I want.

I've lost count of the number of times I've shown her how I've mashed this with that to make the other, and would she like a tutorial for the Oliver + S blog?.... Only to have her say, no, that's almost exactly the pattern I've been working on. It's freaky.

Let's go back to the start of summer, when my friend Sal asked me about making the sleeveless Gorman-esque dress. All I needed was a sleeveless bodice with a bust dart and nice armhole binding or facing that I could add a skirt to. I didn't have one so I tried the Tessuti Felicia Pinafore.

I'm wearing that dress as I type and it has become a useful housedress for a warm evening, but it doesn't go outside much, it's just too icky a shape.

This blouse with a skirt added would have been exactly what I was after. Of course it was one week after I'd made the Tessuti dresses that the email request for pattern testers for the Breezy Blouse came through. She'd done it again, and designed exactly what I'd wanted while I was mucking around with another pattern.

The blouse has these nice shaped side panels and a little bust dart. I made no modifications and made it exactly as per my measurements, size 10, A/B cup size. Yep, the pattern has different cup sizes so unless you're beyond a D cup you won't need to do an FBA. and the less generously endowed amongst us don't end up with too much fabric pooling where it shouldn't!

Excuse the ordinary modelling, these were my fit photos for the pattern test, but you can see the nice, curved hem and the slit opening at the back neck:

The armholes and neck are finished with a bias binding facing, with a thread loop at button. I used a KATM label cause I do love linen and both fabrics were linen from deep in the stash.

The stripe was last seen back here (cue cute P modelling a girl's blouse! Aw, bless him)

It's easy to make the top using just little bits of special leftover fabric. It works really well as a loose tank in linen for summer, but could easily be made more fitted in a heavier brocade, or maybe fancier in a lace with underlining.

And, of course, if you like stripes but don't like matching them at side seams, throwing a solid fabric in those side panels solves all your woes! (but please, check out the stripe matching in that 2013 blog post where I used this fabric, it was insanely good and almost entirely lucky! :) )

I've been wearing this top a lot over summer. Here it is just last week paired with a Liesl + Co Everyday Skirt in crinkle linen on a bushwalk in Queensland.

The new Liesl + Co patterns will be available next week. I've got my eye on all of them!