Tuesday, January 31, 2012

P is for...

I had limited time, like one afternoon to whip up a handmade gift for a visit that evening to a friend with a new baby.  What would I make?  Clothes? Nah, didn't have any suitable fabric in the stash.  Bibs? Nope, likewise didn't have everything I need to make them straight away.

You could be mistaken for thinking I settled on a softie "pushmi-pullyu"...which actually would be a fun thing to make - but I digress. 

 I sewed it up, did some pressing and pushing and primping and plumping...

...to end up with a playful puppy softie.


And how exactly did I get myself the time to pull this task off?

Why, play-doh pirates, of course!

Find the pattern here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The week that was

This time last week I was all for getting a bit more snappy with my blogging - I'd only made four posts in January so far, I was really feeling like I wanted to pick up the pace with the beginning of the school year imminent.  I had spent Thursday making a little softie for a new baby and even managed to wrangle the increasingly geriatric DSLR into taking some pictures as I went along.

And then last Friday the smallest one wasn't well and needed my care and attention over the weekend...and before we knew it it was Monday already and time to do this with the five year old.

The first day at school - a momentous occasion for the parents, maybe not so much for the boy.  He was keen to go and no tears were shed on the day.  We shed a few together the night before at bedtime.  He confessing he would miss me as we went over again the fact that it was a five day a week deal, me just crying about the enormity of it all and not really wanting to let my little pre-schooler go to the next phase of his little life.  Ahhh, if you think about it hard enough and reflect on all that you have done over the last five years to get  your kid to this point then you are bound to have a few tears trickle down your face.  I'd be surprised if you didn't.

And then it wasn't just tears coming down, it was rain.  It's been bucketing down in Brisbane, everything is soggy, we can't walk to school anymore, the washing won't dry, the bathroom and the laundry smell and I am starting to see the dreaded mould popping up in a few places.  My new hang out has been the laundromat for the services of a clothes dryer.

Gosh, if it doesn't rain, it pours.  I've written this past week off and am looking forward to a better one after a recovery weekend.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Overpants, not underpants

After looking like I was doing a rather disturbing recycling project with on old t-shirt last weekend I am now back to report on my first foray into sewing with knit fabrics.

I have to admit that I didn't entirely enjoy it, but it wasn't a complete failure either.  I did a bit of reading around on the internet about sewing with knits before I started.  This great post on Prudent Baby went through a whole lot of basics, including info for those that don't have an overlocking machine.  I used my walking foot (rarely sew without it anyway), put in a ball point needle and used the stretch stitch on my machine.  OK, deep breath and away we sew...first seam I did the material disappeared in a tangle down into the to bobbin compartment under the needle.  There was no unpicking this, there was just yanking and cutting.  I picked my sewing ego up, dusted it off and tried again and after a few goes was sewing straight seams, avoiding doing the back and forth sewing at the start and end of seams drastically reduced the risk of the machine eating the fabric (seams don't seem to unravel so all good!).

I had chosen this very simple pattern and tutorial for a nappy cover from Made as my starting project.

Half way through making them I was already a bit over sewing with the temperamental knit fabric and was pretty sure the whole thing was going to end in the bin.  But I did persevere and a rather nice, soft pair of red stripey overpants was a pleasing end point.  I actually didn't bother to sew up the gaps I left for threading the elastic - one attempt at that ended in another fabric eating situation so I just quit while I was ahead and went off to tickle baby tummy instead.

I am going to make a few more of these in good old familiar regular cotton while I think about where to go next with knits.  Anyone else out there sew with knits on their regular machine?  Any top tips or advice to share?  I'd love to hear it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Holy t-shirt!

I've been having a problem with my t-shirts - I've been getting little holes in the front of them.  After a year of angst, last week I figured out the cause - it's a combination of the metal button of my jeans and the stone island bench top in the kitchen.  Fabric caught between them just slices like it was butter.  I've blamed the washing machine, I've blamed a particular pair of pants that I threw holus-bolus into the wheelie bin in frustration, I've analysed the front of all my trousers again and again for any sign of sharpness, I've literally thought I was going to go mad.  The relief I have at knowing what has been causing the holes, and consequently being able to change my habits in the kitchen (especially not leaning in at the bench to wash the dishes while wearing jeans and t-shirt, which is most of the time) is a massive load off my mind.

Some of the t-shirts only have tiny holes and I still wear them, some have bigger holes and are unwearable.  Even if the holes are not that noticeable, sometimes I just feel downright daggy knowing there is a hole in the front of my t-shirt.  So to make myself feel better I made sure this particular number was completely unwearable. Ever again.

I've started to experiment with sewing with knit fabrics.

And no, I have not in fact gone mad, these are not for me...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A bowl of beans

This summer we grew beans, purple beans, they grew well on a tripod in the garden, nothing seemed to bother them except for a small nibble by some grasshoppers and we have just picked a whole bowl full.

Some of them are handsome and straight, others are twisted and kind of ugly.

I cooked some up for dinner, steamed them in with the potatoes and pumpkin.  Funnily enough when I opened the steamer the beans had turned green, a regular green bean colour.  I noticed later that the steamer water had gone a pinkish, purpley colour.  They were delicious, quite sweet tasting actually, but we left some of the beans on the plant too long as some were too stringy to eat, so now we know to pick them before they start to look too lumpy in their skins.  Now as an added bit of fun we are going to experiment with the mature beans, we've left a lot on the plant on purpose to see how much further they develop and in the mean time I have to go and discover what we can do with them...

Monday, January 2, 2012

A tale of two skirts

I've recently made two long skirts for my summer wardrobe.  If you've been reading along you will have already seen one being made from an op-shopped dress in a few posts from late last year.  The final result was this:

It's nice to wear, very light and summery, but its unlined so I am aware of the fact that it is a little see through in certain lights...it's still great for wearing around the house on hot days, or wearing at the beach.  If I get too self conscious then I could whip up a little petticoat to pop underneath I suppose.

The second skirt I made with a voile, which is a new fabric for me to sew with.  I was reading a blog post over at MADE that talked about how a lot of sewers are caught in a "cotton rut" and don't often venture to sew with other fabric types.  I thought, gosh, that's me!  So I decided to branch out and try working with something new.  Yes, voile is a cotton fabric, but its a sheer cotton, quite slippery and drapey, not at all like the standard or quilting cottons that I am used to sewing with.  I made a "Flirting the Issue" skirt using this tutorial on Anna Maria Horner's blog.

Because voile is rather sheer I lined the skirt with a light pink cotton lawn.  Both of these fabrics are so light it surprisingly doesn't feel like too much total fabric with the lining in there.  If I did this skirt pattern again I would actually use less fabric than suggested in the tutorial, its perhaps a little too full for my personal liking, but only by a whisker.

The elasticised waist is great, a lot of sewing around and around to create the four channels to thread the elastic in, but the end result is very, very comfortable.  The first time I wore it out a lady stopped me in the supermarket car park and asked me where I had got my skirt from, she thought it was very pretty and I was very flattered!

It's years since I have worn long skirts on a regular basis, and apart from the occasional tangle factor around the legs I am enjoying having something a bit different to wear this summer.  I'm also thinking of making a few pretty voile tops if I can find the time.  I seriously have to get out of the habit of wearing boring t-shirts all the time.


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