Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Red's leg is ready for bed

Red was one of the first things I posted to this blog back in 2009.

Red sometimes goes to bed with my four year old, but mostly spends his time hanging about on the toy shelf.  Much to the consternation of the four year old, Red developed a bung leg.

So today I got up to a heap of "finishing off" jobs and Red got his long awaited repairs. 

He bravely endured having his internal stuffing re-arranged and being jammed under the presser foot of the sewing machine (looking a bit like he is under the spotlight of the operating theatre, yes?).  The hole was sewn shut and the fabric re-inforced all in one step, and he had a little preventative surgery to the other inner thigh while I was at it...

...and now he's "red"y. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thinking brooch

Now that June is nearly upon us I've begun to seriously think about what I am going to create for my part in the Flower Press brooch swap.  Last night this consumed many hours of flicking around on the internet for inspiration, and of course taking a long hard look at my swapee's blog.  I have an idea but whether this idea will play out in reality will have to be seen next week.

I have to say that I love wearing a brooch, I often reach for one of the above on the way out the door, especially at the moment when I seem to be wearing the same few maternity t-shirts and one pair of jeans over and over again.  At least I can vary my brooch, my shoes and my handbag still!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It pretty much came to this

Our first experiment with food growing this year has had only small results, but satisfying none the less.  Three types of tomatoes bore fruit and the green ones are slowly ripening on the kitchen bench.  One type was called "Black Russian" and these are turning a kind of unattractive purple colour - yet to find out how these will taste.  The little cherry tomatoes were definitely the most prolific, and the plant went nuts and grew upwards and sideways and all over the other plants.

The basil, mint, lemon balm, sage and thyme all continue to grow, but the possums are partial to the parsley and dill and regularly nibble them back to their stalks.  The capsicums never grew at all, zucchinis grew beautifully and flowered mostly male flowers and then died, the butter beans gave out one lot of beans and then turned their toes up and died and the rockmelon flowered a lot, made a few melons and then also just suddenly died. It seems we have a lot more experimenting to do before we are successful at a crop of anything other than tomatoes!  In the meantime home grown tomatoes on pizza is on the menu tonight.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend bake up

That just seemed to be one long weekend.  Singularly responsible for entertaining a four year old is pretty mentally taxing.  I was craving that down time I get when he usually goes for a bike ride with his Dad, those snipets of weekend time that just allow you to de-focus on everyone and everything I find pretty important.  I think I have earned my "time off" thanks to kindergarten this coming week.

My little one did suggest "making shapes" as a weekend activity and so I cleared the kitchen bench and rumaged in the pantry, he insisted that we both don aprons and away we went amusing ourselves for a couple of hours with the ritual of making basic biscuits.

He's done this activity many times with his Grandma and a few times with me and he's getting very proficient with mixing ingredients and handling dough. 

I just let him go with it in terms of rolling dough and deciding what shapes to cut and just hovered a bit making sure the dough was rolled thin and even enough, helping with the flouring of fingers and equipment and getting the biscuits from board to tray (and of course the actual cooking).

And then when we were all cleaned up we had a little biscuit feast (pity he didn't offer to make me a cuppa as well!).

And we were happy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My creative space: citrus

Today I am loving all things citrus.

On the tree, lemons slowly ripening in the colder weather.  We have lost a few lemons lately due to some creature that loves eating lemon peel - possums? rats?  I'm hoping I don't lose all my meagre crop.

In the fruit bowl - mandarins, lemons and grapefruits.

I didn't want this beautiful grapefruit from the market to go to waste so I juiced it this morning - I prefer orange juice, but I'm sure a dose of sour citrus juice was good for me somehow!

In the sewing room, its all been about yellow this week too.

For more juicy creative spaces, click on over to here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brave new world

After recently seeing a beautiful dress creation by Sewpony, and the mention that the pattern came from an Ottobre design magazine, I decided to get online and order myself a copy of one of these Finnish sewing magazines (don't panic, an English language version is available).  I had heard of the magazine around and about on the internet so it was time to find out more.  I told my husband not be be suspicious if there was a credit card payment from Finland on the bank statement, I wasn't up to anything at all dodgy!

Yesterday my copy arrived in the mail and I have to say my assessment of it is that its kind of like a combination academic/fashion magazine for sewers.  Its really beautifully done, there are glossy photos of adorable models wearing adorable creations.

And in between the photo pages there are all the instructions for each project, this was the academic part.  I was amazed that I could understand and visualise most of what they were talking about in the instructions, it was just the right level of technicality for me.  There are no illustrations of how to construct the garments so it helps if you have been sewing from patterns for a while and are cool with basic sewing techniques and terminology.  I would call some of the patterns definitely more advanced, but there was definitely do-able projects for both boys and girls.  But look at these patterns! 

They are almost like abstract artwork.  There are three double sided sheets of them, the size of four A3's each and they are all colour coded and printed over themselves.  You have to kind of blur your vision and squint to make out where the pieces are that you are after.  Its not hard, its just...strange.  I've never seen anything like this before.  You'd probably want to get hold of some decent sized tissue paper and clear the dining table and get tracing for the pieces you need in the particular size you want - and you have to add seam allowances.  I'm keen to try, but I'd have to clear my dining table first, and thats no mean feat in itself! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Party time

Today the boy and I are off to a party.  Well, a party of the kid kind so I'll be chatting to good friends and he'll be running around with good friends and eating party food. 

As a welcome change of pace from all this boy sewing I've been up to I turned my hand to making this little dress for the birthday girl.

I bought the fabric from Spotlight this week, its a cotton weave called "pique" (pronounced "pee-kay") which gives the fabric a beautiful texture and smoothness.  It frays a lot at the edges though so edge finishing exposed seam allowances was a must.  A bit of cherry coloured ric-rac finishes it off nicely.

Sorry about the slightly washed out photos, I've got to use the little point and shoot camera for the next two weeks as my othe half has gone traveling with the digital SLR.  I feel like my right arm has been cut off!

Just got to dress the two of us, wrap gift, write card and drive across town.  Right, better get to it!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My creative space: Aaargh

The Kids Clothes Week Challenge continues and besides, last week I did promise some pirate action - and here it is!  The Jolly Roger shirt.  The pattern for the skull and crossbones (with heart shaped eye sockets no less!) comes from The Boy Trifecta blog (I downsized the template for a smaller sized shirt).

And yes, those are the pants that were the subject of my creative space last week, and the ones I've been going on about lately.

Show us the front.

Show us the back.

That a boy!

For more creative spaces head on over to the coolest new blog on the block - Our Creative Spaces.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pantalon inferior anterior

While pinning down some pattern pieces yesterday I noticed the words "panatalon inferior anterior".  You can see in the picture that this means "lower front pant" in Spanish. But it struck me how funny it was that if you twist English and Spanish together a bit you might as well be describing the inferior front side of a pair of pants - which is exactly what I was dealing with yesterday - in other words, a dodgy crotch.

I ended up sewing the inner leg seam three times - making two adjustments to the front crotch that was both too wide and too long.  It was very educational actually to see how my self made pattern needed adjustment to have enough room in the seat of the pants and less room at the front, nobody wants a bum bulge at the front do they now!  I think I've got them fitting right and there was much excitement about trying them on now there were no pins involved, but my "nino pequeno" fell asleep in the car on the way home from kindergarten and the light for photos for today has gone.

I'm getting on with making some cordouroy trousers for him using my Burda 9793 pattern.  I've decided to re-visit my self made pattern at a later date.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Challenge

This week I am participating in the Elsie Marlie Kids Clothes Week Challenge. Its pretty self explanatory - the challenge is to spend at least one hour a day sewing clothing for kids for a whole week. This is perfect timing for me as I was just doing a heap of kids sewing and this challenge will help to keep me focused until all my jobs are done.

Today I made a couple more appliqued long sleeved t-shirts. I just used some pretty simple designs, a white lightening bolt on blue, and a red star on black. Took up a good hour of my time from start to finish though. Instead of hand stitching like I did with the dinosaur tee, I machine stitched using a straight stitch on a short stitch length, used a walking foot and a ball point needle and got the stitching as close to the edge of the applique as I possibly could. I was very pleased with the outcome, and so was my boy.

It was supposed to be a more serious sewing day today but bad weather and a list of necessary erands kept me from the sewing room. Tomorrow is the very serious business of finishing some pants, and starting some new ones. Not all in one hour though.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My creative space: ripping it off

Seeing that the latest royal wedding dress is fair game for "designers" to copy willy-nilly for their own bridal gown collections (isn't this whole copying concept disturbing?), I really considered nobody would hold it against me for using a pair of Target tracksuit pants in a little pattern drafting and pants experimentation session of my own. 

I found a great tutorial for sewing basic pants for boys using an existing pair of pants as a template.  Actually the MADE blog has a whole section dedicated to sewing for boys - click here to check it out.

After studying the tutorial many times and comparing the shapes I traced from the tracksuit pants to a Burda commercial pattern I eventually bit the bullet and started constructing these pants out of blue cotton drill with contrasting navy exterior pockets (the interior of the front pockets are red, just some fun detail for the wearer). 

I managed to squeeze in one quick try on session with my little man - the sight of the pants bristling with pins made him pretty nervous.  I had the pins on the outside so there would be no ouchies, but it just looks worse like that to a four year old!  The waist looks like it will be touch and go but as this is the final step I won't know till the end if its all OK or not.  Nothing like a bit of a surprise at the finishing line.

After using tracksuit pants as a template to make pants that don't end up looking like tracksuit pants (note distinction from wedding dress situation...), my boy still said to me, "They look like tracksy dacks".  Sigh.

For more creative spaces, head on over to Kootoyoo.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dinosaur day

Its got a little cooler and I went over to the local Target store to stock up on some tops for my boy.  Seems like everyone else needing his size had the same idea in mind - they had no stock at all of anything half decent above a size 4.  Super frustrating!  Nothing like a crappy department store experience to get me fired up about sewing.  Hence, this week is dedicated to making for the boy. 

I ended up buying a few cheap long sleeve tops in plain colours, but really you have to admit that plain is boring.  This top found itself attacked by a dinosaur - GRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

It was pretty easy to do, the hardest part was drawing the design, then I just used double sided fusable interfacing to set the shape onto the fabric, then blanket stitched around it by hand with two strands of embroidery thread whilst half watching an evening of television.  Both meditative and satisfying.

Next to come is an experiment in pants making and something to do with pirates...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Picnic dress

And there we go!


All stitched back together again, ric-rac around the neck and hem - picnic anyone?

I had just enough fabric left over to make a cute pair of baby booties too.


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