Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Birthday Sailboat Top

Well Kids' Clothes Week is over and despite my good intentions I have only one achievement for the week. At least I completed it in time for the birthday boy's big day! He loves it and I have had to wrestle it from him to be washed. Here it is, an oliver + s sailboat top.

I love this pattern; it is typical oliver + s. The instructions are clear, the style is gorgeous and I'm totally happy with the finished result. I really like the closure at the shoulders and the curved hemline.
The fabric is a knit from spotlight and I made it in a size 4. I thought that the knit would be stable enough for this pattern, but it was a little stretchy and lightweight. It's not a massive problem, but it has gaped a little around the neckline and buttonholes. I couldn't resist these wooden buttons, but the weight hasn't helped matters. If I was using a knit for this pattern again I would apply extra interfacing at the shoulders.
I didn't want to interrupt the pattern so finished the hems and facing by hand to avoid topstitching. I can't wait to make one in a solid colour or a different pattern because I think the extra detail of the topstitching looks fabulous. 

I hope that you were more prolific during KCW than I was! Oh well, there's always the next one...

Monday, 7 April 2014

KCW April 2014

After a huge break due to broken cameras, sickness and general chaos, I'm back and planning a late start to Kid's Clothes Week. Despite the fact that it's already Day 2 and that I have a 4 year old Birthday Party to organise on Saturday, I'm going to have a crack.

As it's autumn down here and things are starting cool down, I'm looking at some cold weather patterns. My plans at the moment include a boy Bimaa Sweater upcycled from a baby blanket, a Figgys Nituna Jacket and an oliver + s sailboat top.

Clearly, this is wildly ambitious and probably unachievable. Everything always takes longer than I think and my sewing room is in a diabolical state. It would probably be faster to go and buy some new stretch needles than locate the ones I already have!

I hope that things are going well with your KCW plans and that you're more organised than me!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Perfect Newborn Gift

I've discovered it; the perfect newborn gift! I love knitting for babies, but with the speed that I knit it's just not practical...until now.


Vests are fabulous for babies. They are great for giving that bit of extra warmth without the need for poking tiny, resisting arms through tricky sleeves. The buttons down the side of this vest make it even easier to access the baby.

The Pebble Vest is a free pattern that knits up super quickly. There is only one piece, which means no seaming, yay! This is really helpful for someone with the awful habit of knitting a garment then letting the individual pieces sit around for months before sewing them together. There are a considerable amount of buttons to be sewn on, but it's really not that onerous.

I would definitely recommend making this vest a bit larger. The reviews on Ravelry universally agree that it is a small pattern. I knit it on the next size needles and came out the perfect size for a newborn but I wouldn't have wanted it any smaller! The Kitchener stitch was actually quite a straightforward process, but the end result was perhaps not what the designer had in mind.

It only took me about 3 nights to knit (and I am slow). I was so excited when I heard that my gorgeous friend had her little girl that I swiss darned a little heart in the corner.

Go on, knit one - you'll love it!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Made By Rae Ruby Top

Sewing for yourself after a long drought can be scary, but not with this pattern! Rae of Washi Dress fame, has done it again with this pattern. The Ruby top is a simple, flattering top that is incredibly quick to put together.

The design is such that there are no tricky fitting bits to contend with (and no closures either). Although next time I think I would take it in at the sides a smidgin, depending on the fabric. The yoke is a cotton poplin and the bodice is a voile from Spotlight. It actually works pretty well for this top.

Apologies for the dodgy photos, but with a broken camera and a 6 year old photographer, things were never going to be stellar! It is much nicer to see clothes worn though, so I have included the blurry shot anyway.

The only problem I had was with the bias binding. This was a personal problem. I have actually never made bias binding before and thought I had developed a cunning folding technique that would give me one long strip with minimal effort, because it is likely that I would develop a brand new technique that no one else in the sewing world has ever thought of...Anyway, I ended up with heaps of short strips that had to be inexpertly sewn together and made very wonky binding. (I have since discovered the right way to do continuous bias binding - totally life changing, will blog later)

I would also recommend following the pattern and doing the stay stitching around the neckline before applying the binding. I didn't, (because I know better than Rae?!?) and I regretted it because the neck stretched a bit and was harder to deal with.

Anyway, all in all a great pattern and I will definitely be sewing it again. I might use the free yoke lining video tutorial here next time until I regain my bias binding confidence!

How have your Ruby tops gone?

Friday, 7 February 2014

Possibly the easiest handmade gift ever

Right, this is just a quick one and there are approximately a million tutorials out there on how to sew your own fabric coasters.

But now I know why! They are incredibly quick, easy and surprisingly satisfying when stacked up in their little piles of neat, handmade goodness.

Details and tips:

1.       I used cotton and cut my fabric 5 inches square, this worked well with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Obviously it doesn't matter that much as long as it's squareish!

2.       I would definitely recommend using batting - it gives the coasters a bit more body and they look quite professional! Next time I would try cutting the batting slightly smaller than the other fabric; because I suspect they would turn more neatly.

3.       Place your fabric right sides together  with the batting on top and sew together around the outside leaving a 2 inch gap in the middle of one side for turning. Don't forget to clip the corners and any excess fabric from the seams.

4.       DO NOT leave a gap smaller than about 2 inches for turning. A smaller gap will not make it faster, improve the end result or have any other benefit. Trust me on this one!

5.       Turn the fabric so the right sides are together and the batting is on the inside. A chopstick works well to turn the corners out. Adults are better suited to this task than 3 year olds, although they can do it after a fashion (remain calm and let go of your need for perfection).

6.       Iron, iron, iron, then edgestitch around the whole coaster, then iron some more.

Enjoy your coasters!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

KCW Day 8

OK, I realise that strictly speaking Kids Clothes Week does not have a Day 8. But I missed a day and given the time zone difference, I thought I might just be able to sneak an extra day in.

This is the Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hat. Unsurprisingly, it is a great pattern!

The striped fabric is a cotton drill I had left over from making some tote bags and the reverse side is a plain cotton. I did interface both sides of the brim and I think it would have been a bit floppy without the extra interfacing.

I used Jessica's amazing tutorial to avoid any hand sewing! I you haven't tried it this way, I would highly recommend it. It really simplifies things.

The stripe direction on the brim caused me something of a dilemma... In hindsight it's a bit odd, but at the time I was so thrilled with the way they matched at the seam that I couldn't resist it!!

I hope that you've had a great KCW. I've been so impressed by everyone's creativity and productivity!!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

KCW 2014: Day 3

I've finally finished this Geranium dress.

 This gorgeous pattern by Rae needs no introduction. I cut it out months ago for my skinny 5-year old (she's now 6). I only had a bit over half a metre of this cotton fabric that I found in the remnant bin at Spotlight. It totally suits her personality, exuberant and a bit over the top! Photos can be a bit tricky...

Given the small amount of fabric and the skinny child, I cut out the 3T top pattern and added length to the bottom. I just had to relax about the pattern placement, because there wasn't much fabric to play around with. I lined the bodice with an ancient, hot pink pillowcase; it is so soft and comfy. 

Time has passed since I cut it out and it is now slightly tight on my gorgeous big girl. It's actually undone at the back in these photos!

Luckily, it makes a fabulous dress for a somewhat chubby 18 month old sister. Look at those arms!
It's been said before, but this is a great pattern! Amazing instructions and attention to detail. Whatever this cotton remnant is, it works quite well, although it could drape a little better. I think I actually prefer the gathered skirt option to the pleats for smaller girls, so I might try that next time.
Two finished garments in the space of three days is a supreme effort for me (admittedly I had them cut out in advance).
I doubt that I'll be able to maintain the pace. How about you?