Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fruity passions

Our passionfruit vines have gone bananas this year.  They keep flowering over and over again, the honey eater birds are all over the vines pollinating the flowers and huge round fruits just keep growing.

For lunch I've been having passionfruit straight off the vine over cold Greek yoghurt.  Yum!
My fingers and hands smell like passionfruit juice, my mouth feels tangy and those little black seeds go crunch between my teeth.

We also finally harvested the olives from our front yard, enough was enough of the over ripe ones falling from the tree and rolling down the driveway to be inevitably squashed under the car tyres.  I'm up to my elbows in pickling olives in salt water - its not as romantic as it sounds.  More on that later!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wednesday night, Batman night

Last night's school disco theme: superheros!

The superhero outfit I made in 2010 for my then four year old is still a favourite dress up, but it was too small and he needed an upgrade, something new and special for his first school disco.

Batman was his superhero of choice.  I made a black cape from a metre of black poly/cotton, found a Batman hood in the shops for $5 (added bonus, it reverses into a Spiderman hood!), and grabbed this old red star t-shirt and appliqued a Batman symbol on the front (just machine basted it on so I could easily pick it off later).

I was looking for "cool Mum" points when he came home from school, and the first thing he said was, "Mum, you sewed the Batman thing on upside down".  Lucky for that machine basting, yes?

I was mortified, we all had a good laugh.  Not so cool Mum after all... 

After that small costume redress we went discoing - a school hall full of little kids in costumes, loud music, glow sticks and flashing lights - crazeeeee!  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Boy sewing: pants and that hat

Pants making this year has been severely limited by fabric choices - sometimes I can't find colours or patterns I like, yellows look too mustardy, blues too dusky or prints and patterns too silly for my taste.  I waited what seemed like forever for some plain old navy blue pinwale corduroy to arrive in my local Spotlight store.  It didn't.  So when they recently had a % off sale I rang and confirmed that another store had it in and took a trip out of my neighbourhood to go and claim my piece.  I haven't actually made pants out of it yet though.  When I do they'll look just the same as these in style - and thank goodness for good old elephants.

A pair of elephant print corduroy pants for the little boy.  The same fabric I used for a vest for my oldest. I literally squeezed these pants out of the remaining fabric.  I had to add some black trim at the hem to make them long enough, just a cuff of black homespun cotton, worked well.  These are of course the Big Butt Baby Pants pattern by Made by Rae.  I've made heaps of these before, in almost every size the pattern comes in.  This is my "go to" pants pattern of the moment, it will be a sad day when there is no more butt pants making in this house.

Last of all, with left over scraps of t-shirt fabric and polar fleece I made this beanie.  It's supposed to be for the toddler, but he won't have it on his head for more than about 5 seconds.  Put it on, take it off, put it on, take it off.  It's a game that doesn't allow for any kind of artistic or in-focus photography, the hat is practically off before I get my finger to the shutter button on the camera.  I offered to make one for my older boy and he looked at me and said "Why do I need one of those?".  Well, he doesn't, he's right...but I'm not so sure he's got a beanie that will fit for our snow trip later this year so maybe he'll change his mind and go matchy-matchy with his little bro.  Now that will be a photo that's hard to snap!

So that's my last post on boy sewing for a while.  Thanks to Dana from Made and Rae from Made by Rae for hosting their Celebrate the Boy sewing week - it put such a firecracker of inspiration under me to sew for my lovely boys.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Boy sewing: vests

If you've been reading along then you will know that I've been sewing flip vests for my two boys.  I'm just so pleased to have such a pattern in my repertoire, a vest/body warmer is perfect for the Brisbane climate, sometimes you just need something a little extra to wear that's not a full on jumper or jacket. Plus I think they look super cute and can really up the fun factor in a boy's wardrobe.  In just over two weeks I've sewn this pattern five times - two practice runs and three usable garments.

I've already shown one I made for my toddler, and here's a second one in toddler size (2T-3T size on my 18 month old if you're interested).

This vest's made from fabrics I pulled out of my stash, some black gingham and cream fleece.  These fabrics are much thinner than the polar fleece and drill cotton I used in his other vest so it was actually easier to sew, especially topstitching across the bulk of the seams.

I also played around with the pattern a little to make a vest for my older boy.  The original pattern goes up to a USA size 5T, I'm not sure what that equates to in Australian sizes but it looked just slightly on the small side for him (he's six and a half).  In a nutshell I added a little length at the hem and a little width all over, which it possibly didn't really need, but most of all it needed expansion in the arm hole.  I added about 5cm of length to the chest area at the point of the middle of the arm hole, keeping the neck as per the original pattern.

I let him chose the fabric, I thought the gingham was actually going to be his pick, but he went for the elephant corduroy and also chose the grey trim.  It's got teal polar fleece lining and four black buttons down the front.

It's pretty generously sized so it should last a good while - its only March now and the weather will steadily cool through autumn and into winter and then all wearing of vests will be abandoned entirely when spring hits in September.  We have trips to Melbourne and New Zealand on the cards this year too, which are perfect destinations for a bit of vest wearing.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Boy sewing: tees

Here we go, a series of posts about my recent spree of sewing for my boys.  Today it's all about tees.

I rarely buy a t-shirt for my boys that has any kind of decoration on it (none of that "American sports" kind of stuff that seems to be ubiquitous in the department stores here).  I usually end up with stripes, I love my boys in stripes, or just plain shirts that I can add a little decoration to.

Recently I bought some plain long sleeved tees for my oldest boy.  I think he's getting a bit old for some of the designs I've done for him in the past, like dinosaurs and pirates.  He wanted t-shirt decoration though so I ended up opting for a red and white striped star on a navy tee.  The striped fabric comes from a t-shirt refashion that I did for my little boy last week.

There was also a request for a dolphin t-shirt...but as we are seeing out the last days of summer here he was happy to let me dolphin up an old blue t-shirt.  To do that I had to pick the pocket off the old t-shirt, yes, you can totally see where the pocket was can't you!  Never mind, we're not that fussy.  Not to let that little pocket go to waste I sewed it straight onto a long sleeved grey t-shirt for the coming winter.  Gives a great pop of colour don't you think?

For my little boy I've been experimenting with making knit tops from scratch.  I made him a long sleeved tee out of a large sized men's t-shirt I bought for $5.  I followed a few tutorials on Made to draft a pattern and sew the shirt.  I used the hemline of the original t-shirt for the body, and squeezed in one sleeve from the hemline, but the second sleeve needed me to sew the wrist hem, which I did with a straight stitch and I suspect the stitches will break there, this sewing with knits thing is a learning curve in process.  I'm dreaming of ordering some cool and funky knit fabrics from the internet but I want to test wash and wear a few garments first.

Someone wants to put the lens cap back on my camera, so that's it for now folks!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Double trouble


My tally of sewing for Celebrate the Boy 2013 is starting to look impressive but I'm now officially lagging behind at sharing it here on my blog.  There's been a few troubles getting in my way.

Trouble 1: the weather has been terrible with moments of brilliance.  It's been mostly true that when I considered getting camera in hand and organising some photography it's either about to rain, raining or just finished raining, or failing that it's been awfully overcast or the wind was blowing too hard (I do most of my photography outside).

Trouble 2: last week I had tonsillitis, this week my little man has a virus infection and is feeling very poorly.  We've been frequenting the doctors rooms more than we would like.  Illness has been making us tired and in bad spirits.

Hopefully we'll have a restful and healing weekend and be back with a lovely boy sewing round up next week.  

Hope you enjoy your weekend too.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The flip vest: take 2

After a week of wresting with patterns, printers and practice runs I now have a flip vest for each of my boys.  I sized the pattern up slightly to make one for my six and half year old (hence the practice runs), but I'll get to that one in a little while, I'm still sewing on the last buttons. Today I'm showing off this version for my toddler.

I found that I had a few issues with my printer which was downsizing the pattern slightly, which is partly to blame for my first attempt ending up too small.  I think though that even if the pattern had printed at correct size the first time around I would have gone up a size in the end anyway.  Just to put the nail in the coffin on my first version I attempted to use some snap closures, but I suspect due to the thickness of fleece and drill fabric together that they just wouldn't hammer in properly and got a little bent (either that or I'm a real klutz when it comes to wielding a hammer...), so those snaps just weren't going to do up, no matter how hard I squeezed with my poor fingers.  No snap.

So here's the new version, complete with shiny, red buttons.  The button holes were no big deal and you can still reverse the vest, the buttons just go hiding on the inside and that's fine with me (and him).  For today's photo shoot, I bring you a raid on our CD collection...whatever works, right?

He wore this vest to school drop off for his big brother in the rain this morning, it was Perfect!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Baba Marta shirt

Today it's the first of March - Baba Marta day in Bulgaria.  People exchange martinitsi with each other which are red and white coloured wristbands, or figurines, that symbolise health and happiness.  Over there of course its the end of winter and the coming of spring.  You are supposed to take off your martinitsi when you see the first signs of spring.

Today I was in the local second hand shop and I saw this great red and white striped ladies t-shirt.  For $3 it looked like the perfect thing to try out a bit of sewing with knits.  I took it home and started to cut it up - what do you know, it's made in Bulgaria.  It was then I remembered it's Baba Marta day, too amazing!

While the little one napped I made a quicky pattern for a t-shirt by tracing around one of his store bought shirts and on a wing and a prayer sewed it together.

I absolutely cannot believe this worked and it fits!  

I'm not sure that hem band will last the distance, it's a bit too stretchy, but I can always cut it off and put a blue one on to match the neck ribbing.  I might add some decoration to it later, but for now I'm just basking in this little sewing triumph.

Tshirt made using tutorial by Made
Pants made using Big Butt Baby Pants pattern by Made by Rae


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