Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blogtoberfest (31) - The End! And My Centurian Post

I MADE IT!  Both to the end of Blogtoberfest and also to 100 posts!

100 posts really snuck up on me and it wasn't until a few days ago that I realised post 100 would fall on the last day of Blogtoberfest, which was pretty cool.

Blogtoberfest (with a little KCWC thrown in for good measure) was a pretty marathon effort and I really enjoyed doing it.  I got so much done!

I made some things from scratch:

  • Frothy sewalong with Amanda from Elliboo (Emmaline dress from Violet Fields Threads)
  • Pyjamas for James 
  • Birthday dress for Gemma
  • 20 minute skirt for Issy 
  • A pair of shorts each for Noah and Marcus (not yet blogged)
  • A washi dress for me, which didn't fit :(  more on that later when I redo the bodice!

I finished off the following:

  • Kinder Girls doll (I think that was finished in October)
  • Three pairs of pants
  • Disco Bot (not yet blogged)

AND I started but have not yet finished:

  • A new sewalong (Go To Signature dress) with Amanda - I have cut out so far
  • A hat for Issy 
  • A pair of knitted socks (purl bee pattern)

AND I hosted my first ever giveaway (which was posted today!).  AND I went away on a mini-holiday, complete with sunset :)

Pretty pleased with all that and also now very motivated in the sewing world, having seen how much gets done when I have a driving force.  Special thanks to Amanda for encouraging me into KCWC and for suggesting our first sewalong of many :)

I might not see you tomorrow (just for a change) but soon!  Off to make my finish by Christmas list :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blogtoberfest (30) - traps for young players

Okaaaaay.  So apparently replying to comments from within the blog doesn't necessarily generate an email to that person.  How weird is it that you can reply from email and it will email them but not from within the post so others can see it?  How stupid do I feel that I work in IT and apparently can't work out how to host a simple giveaway via a blog :)

So Milly still wins the Zakka Style book and hopefully she will get my email and be pleased :)  The original winner picked was a no-reply commenter anyway, so I was probably out of luck there either way...

Who knew this was so hard?!!

See you tomorrow - I can't believe I have (kind of sort of if you don't count a small lag and then a day with four posts) made it through Blogtoberfest!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Blogtoberfest (29) - on pinning...

So something which has intrigued me about the world of Pinterest is what gets the most repins when I pin it.  Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes I am late to the party and am just repinning what everyone else already has, and sometimes things surprise me.

I thought I would share my two most repinned pins, one made by me and the other not.

The first one was the Incredibles costumes I made for the kids:

I am totally surprised by this one as these costumes were stupidly easy to make (see here for detail).  I was pretty chuffed with how good they looked in them, but it seemed like such little effort that the numbers of repins surprised me.

The second one was not originally pinned by me, I just saw it and thought it was cute:

Apparently a lot of people found this cute!

See you tomorrow :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blogtoberfest (28) - the Signature Dress sewalong

So Amanda from Ellieboo and I are embarking on another sewalong as mentioned here.

I have already chosen my fabric, which is a jersey ponte from Spotlight.

Having whined to Amanda about never getting good enough range of choice down here in Tas to find things like coordinating or match rib...I of course also managed to score the perfect matching rib :)

So now I have to decide on the pattern options.  As you can see from below, there are many many options in making this one, all included in the main pattern, which is groovy.

I have chosen as follows:

...tunic or dress [dress]

...knee length or maxi [knee length]
...optional tulle at hem [maybe...]
...hooded or not [not]
...cap sleeve, short gathered sleeve, long layered sleeves [short gathered sleeve]
...shift, elastic casing at waist, shirring (I think) [probably shirring]
...kangaroo pocket or not [unsure - might cut out in contrast rib and see if that works?]

So there are the choices; a knee length dress with gathered sleeve and possible pocket.  That and trying to save the muslin non-fitting Washi in the fabric that I now love should keep me busy!  AND I am all caught up with Blogtoberfest (so we can pretend my mini-break blip never happened!!!).

See you tomorrow :)

Blogtoberfest (27 - late) - what I was making..!

One of the things I like most about sewing is doing it for other people.  In particular, kids seem to revel in the idea that you made something for them specially, without all the attendant worrying about whether they really like it and it's their style that goes with sewing for adults.  Kids just tell you if it's wrong - crushing though it is to hear :)

My cryptic post from the other day had to be cryptic so my friend Belissa didn't see what I was making her daughter for her birthday.  I had originally planned to make her a matching "Swansea" dress like the one I made for Issy, but I had a bit of a fail when I tried the bodice on her (just to check fit) and realised it wouldn't fit over her head.  To make it fit I had to unpick the front pleat (which was kind of the point of the dress) and then the neck would have been all swampy and large when on.

Rather than revisit the design, rework the dress etc, I chose just to abandon the bodice part (for now...) and make a different dress with the same fabric.  So here is Gemma's 4th Birthday Dress:

A circle skirt with ric-rac trim, attached to a (shop bought) t-shirt with yo-yo embellishment.

This is very similar in basic construction to Issy's birthday fairy dress, except that the skirt was a single layer of cotton and was finished with a ric-rac trim instead of the overlocker.

To make the dress I did the following:

...decided on the waist measurement.  This is not the measurement of the small person's waist, as this needs to have a fair amount of ease to allow the dress to be pulled on and off over the head - so the woven skirt part has to "stretch" as much as the t-shirt top.

...folded the fabric into four

...cut a circle skirt out (there are lots of tutorials on doing this, but basically you use Pi formulae to determine how many inches down to cut the circle - this is the radius, and then cut another circle down however much you want the skirt to be in length).

...came up with a cunning plan for an embellishment using the circle I cut out for the waist

...sewed ric-rac to the right side of the hem, then folded it under and top stitched it in place.

This is a great way to finish a circle skirt hem without an overlocker.  Hemming them the usual way (fold up, fold again, stitch) can be tricky due to the curve.

...I followed Heather Bailey's excellent tutorial on how to make a yo-yo

...found some cute buttons to finish it

...and sewed them onto a shop bought t-shirt (you may be able to tell which shop...)

...and I attached the skirt to the t-shirt with a long zig-zag stitch, stretching the t-shirt a little as I went to ensure there was enough give around the skirt attachment to make sure she can easily get the dress on and off over her head.  I finished the inside seam of the cotton part, and left the t-shirt reminder in there which kind of acts like a seam guard.

I was very very pleased with the results - in fact this might be one of the favourite things I have made.  I wasn't that in love with this fabric when I bought it cheap off a friend, which I why I made a "muslin" of the swansea dress out of it for Issy (below) but now I kind of love it.  It looks so good with the really strong navy of Gemma's dress t-shirt top.  I think the two dresses go great together too - as a same but not super matchy set of outfits for two friends :)

See you "tomorrow" for more catch-up for blogtoberfest!

Blogtoberfest (26 - late) - another sewalong!

So I had so much fun sewing along with Ellieboo on the frothy that we decided to do another one!

This time I chose the pattern, and picked the Signature Dress from Go To Patterns.

I picked this pattern for a number of reasons...

  1. I like the concept of a signature dress that you make your own with variations and so on.  It's kind of like the Washi dress that everyone in blogland is changing and refining and making in all sorts of different modes and fabrics.
  2. It goes to size 12.  I have a 5 year old daughter who wears a size 7/8.  This makes a lot of the patterns which might appeal to her (small girlie type things) a non-starter as they often stop at size 5.
  3. It is knit (hurrah!).  I love making her things in various different fabrics but I do often get irritated when I make her something in woven and then realise I just made a thing I will have to iron (I hate ironing).  Additionally I think at her age (climbing, running, dancing, jumping, going upside down) it's just more comfortable and practical.
See you "tomorrow" for another catch-up post (I have to get back to 28 in short order!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blogtoberfest (25) - Skipping out on blogtoberfest for a few days

I am going to be terribly naughty and skip posts for tomorrow and Saturday for Blogtoberfest.  I do plan to do three posts on Sunday and pretend they are my daily posts.

Instead of posting I am running away to Swansea for a mini-holiday!  

Swansea Photos

This photo of Swansea is courtesy of TripAdvisor

I had big plans to set up some posts scheduled to appear while I was away, but I ran out of time.

See you in a few days!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blogtoberfest (24) - a new Zakka winner!

Sadly the first lady who won the Zakka Style giveaway never contacted me, so instead I picked Milly who said:

My lovely cleaner decided to be extra helpful and cleaned a rather large messy box of scrap fabric INTO THE RUBBISH BIN!!!! :0 There were scraps in there that I had been saving for 4 years, jut waiting for the perfect zakka project. And, yep, you bet I dug in amongst the veggie scraps and got all that fabric out again! My cleaner really is a lovely wonderful lady so I never told her about my exciting adventure exploring the inside of the rubbish bin

I really liked that Milly dug around in the veggie scraps for the fabric scraps, and also that she never told the cleaner!

Hopefully Milly gets in touch and I can send her the lovely book instead!

See you tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blogtoberfest (23) - The World According to Marcus

So I thought it only fair that Thing Two gets to have a turn.  It's worth noting the questions were much harder to get answers to from a three year old than they were from Issy who is five!  I just wrote some of the answers down without asking, as I knew the answers :)

Here is the world according to Marcus:

1.  What is your favourite colour?  Green
2.   What is your favourite toy?  Buzz Lightyear
3.   What is your favourite fruit? Strawberries or Blueberries
4.   What is your favourite TV show?  Diego (*face palm*)
5.   What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch? Crackers and Philly cheese
6.   What is your favourite outfit? Being nudey rudey
7.   What is your favourite game to play with friends? To play and not even have lunch (not sure he understood that one!) 
8.   What is your favourite snack?  Crackers and Philly 
9.   What is your favourite animal? Dog
10.  What is your favourite song? Twinkle twinkle little star
11.  What is your favourite book?  Room on the Broom
12.  Who is your best friend? Noah
13.  What is your favourite breakfast food?  Porridge
14.  What is your favourite thing to do outdoors? Run around really fast
15.  What is your favourite drink?  AJ and water
16.  What is your favourite holiday?  When I went on the boat (Bruny Island)
17.  What do you like to take to bed?  Buzz lightyear
18.  What do you want for Christmas?  Lightning McQueen
19.  What is your favourite dinner?  Pasta and pesto
20.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  Mr Incredible 

See you tomorrow :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blogtoberfest (22) - My new favourite gizmo

I am not sure these can be called gizmos (suggests an electronic device to me...) but I am fully in love with my new "pattern weights".

Here they are consoling me about my Washi not fitting :)

They are just big heavy square washer type thingies from the DIY shop, but I am pretty stoked with them :)  It doesn't take much obviously...

See you tomorrow!

Also - happy birthday to my sister, who is far far away...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blogtoberfest (21) - My Washi doesn't fit :(

Like everyone else I am a bit smitten with Rae's Washi Dress.  I decided to make one of my very own :)

I should mention right now that I knew it might not fit, and that this was technically the muslin.  I knew I might (more than likely did) need an FBA [let's hear it for the girls...] but wanted to try first without.  I pulled out some fabric from the stash which had been sitting there for years and thought, why not use this?

It's very clear in this ghastly photo but the fabric is mostly purpley grey, with a zig zag stripe of other colours. Annoyingly, as I have made this muslin, I have fallen a lot in love with this fabric, so now I am gutted about my washi not fitting :(

There are no photos of my enormous norgs crammed into this washi.  If I am feeling more brave when I start to unpick and work out how to fix it, then I might take some.  Suffice to say I am (very) broad shouldered, (very) big frame generally i.e. around the ribs and also (very very) large chested.  I think I will need an FBA and possibly also some length in the shoulders and extra width around the underarm.  I will need to change the construction order to make fiddling with these things easier (don't really want to do all the facing etc and then sew the side seams and realise it doesn't fit :)

I am also pretty low on this fabric so I suspect that I will need to mod the pattern so the bodice top is grey and the remainder is stripey.  This means chopping the back in half and repiecing, as the back is cut as a single piece.

Overall I am a bit sad it didn't just miraculously fit, even though I deep down knew it was seriously unlikely.  It would have been a nice dress to take away this weekend (I won't get through the new cutting and fiddling and so on before we go) and I really love the fabric now.  Oh well - it's all part of what I wanted to get out of sewing this year (being able to sew things that accommodate the girls) and it means I get to try doing an FBA on a pattern piece with a bust dart in it!  Yay!

Also - happy birthday to my rather long suffering husband :) am sure he is praying for a well-fitting washi too!

See you tomorrow :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blogtoberfest (20) - Zakka Style Giveaway Winner!

Yay!  We have a winner for the Blogtoberfest Zakka Style giveaway :)

I loved hearing the craft error comments, though I was frankly disturbed by how many of them I had done myself...

I let my husband help me choose, by reading them out to him and seeing which ones made him laugh or cringe.  In the end we chose Bron66 who said:

"Gee every craft project I undertake seems to mean fixing a mistake.  My daughter asked me to cut out a rabbit she had drawn and wanted to sew and I cut his leg off!  She wasn't pleased and it was never fixed."

I loved this one on many levels - the utter fail of the small person asking for helping and you mucking up their hard drawn art work, the fact that it was never fixed and the expression that I can see my daughter wearing if I had done the same thing.

Well done Bron66!  Send me an email ( with your postal address and a copy of the lovely Zakka Style will be winging it's way to you!  If I don't hear from Bron66 by the time I am back from my "holiday" next weekend, I will pick another...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blogtoberfest (19) - copycat...

So I am a terrible copycat and ellieboo tends to inspire in these matters.  She prompted my joining blogtoberfest, my participation in KCWC and suggested our KCWC sewalong of the frothy (emmaline).

Yesterday she posted a series of questions with her munchkin. I saw it, realised how many of the answers for her kid were the same as for one of mine and thought I should do it with mine.  So here is The World According to Isabelle:

The eyes have it...
Here is how the interview went:

1.  What is your favourite colour?  Pink and Purple (same as ellie...)
2.   What is your favourite toy?  Build a bear bunny sent by Auntie Sarah
3.   What is your favourite fruit? Apple or kiwi
4.   What is your favourite TV show?  Octonauts,  or Tangled for movie...
5.   What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch? Cheese anything (usually toasties)
6.   What is your favourite outfit? Fairy dress ups
7.   What is your favourite game to play with friends? Mummies and Babies (yes...I am gutted)
8.   What is your favourite snack?  Fruit bars
9.   What is your favourite animal? Dog
10.  What is your favourite song? The song about the flower from Tangled
11.  What is your favourite book?  Room on the Broom
12.  Who is your best friend? Isla or Bella
13.  What is your favourite breakfast food?  Porridge
14.  What is your favourite thing to do outdoors? Swing on the swingset or have a picnic
15.  What is your favourite drink? Blackcurrant juice
16.  What is your favourite holiday?  Bruny Island
17.  What do you like to take to bed?  Teddy or Catty
18.  What do you want for Christmas?  Rollerskates or a skate board
19.  What is your favourite dinner?  Pasta and pesto
20.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  A vet

I learned a few things here, though mostly I knew.  Thing two might be interesting...coming soon!

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blogtoberfest (18) - giveaway reminder!

Don't forget the Blogtoberfest Zakka Style Giveaway closes tomorrow...

If you live in Australia, firstly - well done!  (yes, I emigrated here...).  Secondly, leave me a comment on the post linked above, and you could win a copy of the lovely Zakka Style by Rashida Coleman-Hale

All you have to do is tell me a stupid craft related mistake you have made (leave a comment on the original post rather than here).  There are already some choice entries, though frankly I have made virtually all of them; so there is definitely no shame here - just Zakka reward :)

See you tomorrow for the winner :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blogtoberfest (17) - What am I making?

So I am not sure if my friend reads this blog.  Not because she is not my friend, but because I don't do a lot of publication of the bloggyness among my real world friends.  I know she might check back here and there, as she is Belissa of "Sewing with Belissa" fame.

What I am making might be super obvious to a sewy person out there, but hopefully not so super obvious to her if she happens across this before Sunday.  It is her daughter Gemma's birthday on Sunday (she would be my third child, if I wanted one and those choice worked like that..), and this is her birthday dress.

There were calculations:

Check out my original attempt at using the formula rather than an online calculator - that's the crossed out bit...

There was cutting out:

There was sewing, with ric-rac (the best kind of sewing):

There was more sewing - including decorative top stitching:

There were experiments:

Which I think, turned out well:

Full dress will be posted on Saturday or Sunday (her party is Sunday).  Until then - shhhhh! (ish).

See you tomorrow :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Not KCWC: Blogtoberfest (16)

So today I am cheating (or bending time) and blogging something which I actually made the day before KCWC started.  I should have left this to include in KCWC as it was super quick and easy and would have made my items sewn from scratch tally much more impressive than the two I managed...

Ah well.  Part of the Frenchification thingy (yes, my new life aim is super well-defined..) is to try and reuse old clothes I am no longer wearing in whatever way I can.  This skirt is an excellent example of doing that with quick results:

Looks a bit odd with the t-shirt tucked in :)

It used to be this skirt.  Which apparently needed an iron...

I got all excited and forgot to take the before cutting picture

This skirt was both a bit short and a bit tight.  I can do one or the other, but not both.  Not a good look for me :)  I loved the colour and never quite wanted to do away with the skirt.

I cut off the top bits with the zip and so on, leaving me with a big rectangle, which was already hemmed at the bottom and seamed at the sides.

I stitched a half inch turning guide and ironed over on the raw edge:

Stitching a bit wibbly here...

I folded again about an inch and pressed it, then sewed around a scant inch (to form a casing), leaving a few inches gap:

I fed elastic through the gap, and tried it on the small person to get the sizing right.

Then sewed the elastic ends together, being careful not to twist the elastic and then sewed the gap closed.

Ta-da!  All done within about 15 mins :)

See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 15, 2012

KCWC (7) - Wrap Up: Blogtoberfest (15)


I feel like I have a bit of a hangover :)

I was all set to sew tonight and then realised I didn't "have" to.  I still wanted to, which was pretty awesome.

I made the frothy dress as a sewalong with Ellieboo (my favourite part!), I cut out and partially sewed various pairs of trousers and dresses for little people, and right at the end - I whipped up a pair of pyjamas for my nephew James.

And here they all are!  Now what can I blog about for the remainder of Blogtoberfest I wonder!!!

The frothy sewalong

Sunkissed Hat - not yet sewn...

Finishing touches on three pairs of Little Heartbreaker Pants

PJs for James

See you tomorrow :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Frenchification (Week 1) - Blogtoberfest (14) - Not really KCWC (6)

There must be something about Sundays that makes me all musey and introspective :)

It has been a week since I wrote my lofty ramblings about Frenchifying my life, so I thought I should report back on any progress to date.  I have to say it has been slow going, mostly due to KCWC sewing...but I have done the following:

  • Sewn the hem on my trousers which had fallen down and which I was still wearing under the theory that no-one would notice.  I wore them to work yesterday, and while no-one commented on my fin hemming job, I did feel more finished!
  • Ditto for the above for Issy's school dress.  That's enough hand sewing hems for a lifetime!
  • I bought Marcus some new trousers as many of his have holes in them and I have just been dressing him in them anyway (my poor children).  
  • I am nearly finished (as part of KCWC) the two pairs of trousers for Marcus and one for Issy for school that have been on the go for a while due to more exciting sewing getting in the way.
I also invested a bit in a couple of things that have been bothering me.  Not quite frenchification but seems somehow related in my mind (stop not doing things and then fretting about them - instead, just do them!).  Our Brown Owls group has been dwindling and we were considering just chucking it in and meeting up as a group of friends.  I didn't really want to let it go, so my friend and I have cooked up some ways to (hopefully) engage others a bit more.  It means I have to put some time into organisation of it, but under the theory that you get out what you put in...we are giving it one last kick to see if we can keep in going.  I also bought several fruits we don't normally eat and made Issy try them.  Recently she has been attempting to abandon things like that, presumably so she can just eat random crap from packets.  NOT going to happen :)  Neither of these are frenchification per se, but they fit in with the desire to spend more time on the things that matter, to live more simply, eat and dress well with less but higher quality etc.  I think...

In KCWC news, I also got a lovely complement from my sister that her son only wants to wear the pyjama pants I made him for Christmas last year.  She requested some more appear with my mum who is going over there in FOUR DAYS TIME.  Not sure how long she thinks these things take, but suffice to say my KCWC for yesterday was mostly cutting out pyjama pants...

See you tomorrow for the final of KCWC!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

KCWC (5) - Blogtoberfest (13)

Bah Humbug!  Or similar...

Last night I just struggled.  I didn't really want to start - I think I have post froth hangover or something...

I tried to sew the hat crown to the hat band.  Twice.  Both times with nasty tucks and lots of swearing.  I moved on.

Then I cut out another pair of shorts from cast off trousers, but I managed to clip the fabric of one piece so I need to fix that a bit before I can sew them and I didn't really have as much out of those trousers so I didn't get all the pattern pieces and am not sure what I am going to do.

Then I realised I had done the (insanely unproductive) hour and I should just give up.

So I gave up.

See you tomorrow...

Friday, October 12, 2012

KCWC (4) - Blogtoberfest (12)

Last night's / yesterday's sewing was a bit of a mish-mash of things.

Firstly and most importantly, the frothy sewalong is officially complete!

She loves it!

 Thank you so much to Ellieboo for suggesting that I join in KCWC and that we do this dress as a sewalong together!  It's gorgeous and she looks so beautiful in it :)  I hope this is the first of many KCWCs and sewalongs with Ellieboo too!  It was also a good feeling to do something from start to finish during KCWC rather than just finishing off all the stuff I have not yet completed, for whatever reason.

Speaking of which...

The other sewing I did was to get on with finishing the three pairs of Little Heartbreaker Pants (from Sewing for Boys) that I started ages ago.  One pair for Issy for school and two for Marcus.  I took a hiatus while I got around to buying some buttonhole elastic, which I have now done.  Hopefully I will finish these off tomorrow - I have to overlock the inseam, sew on the buttons and then hem or cuff them.

I also cut out a Make It Perfect Sunkissed Hat for Issy (as I didn't have the overlocker to hand to continue with the pants) - so that's another project begun!  Oops... :)

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

KCWC (3) - Frothy (almost) Finale - Blogtoberfest (11)

So I am pretty well finished the Frothy McFrothy Frock...

Does she look tired?  I got her out of bed to try this on...BAD mother :)

However...this is not the finished shot, as I still have hem finishing on the ruffle at the bottom after I try it on the small person.  You notice I said ruffle and not ruffles btw, as I screwed up my cutting and ended up only having enough for the big ruffle :(  Ellieboo, take notice before you ask me for advice again!  I stupidly only cut one ruffle piece for each ruffle, when you need two.  IDIOT.  So now I have one big ruffle only (I think if I had done it properly I might have squeezed out two..but nevermind).

My other issue last night was when I dragged the small person out of bed last night to try it didn't fit!

It was definitely too tight in the bodice, despite some pretty careful size selection.  I did manage to rectify this by unpicking (oh the joy) and making the bodice part seam allowance only 1/4 inch or less.  And yes, I got her out of bed a second time to try it on again to check before I finished anything.

I have this issue with a lot of clothes I make for Thing One, as she is tall, so fits into size seven and eights, but is also still a bit toddler chubby, as she is actually only five.  The older she gets, the leaner she gets but I still run into this now and again.  Luckily I could easily fix it this time.

So once I try the dress on her for length (no I didn't get her out of bed a third time...), I can finish the ruffle seam and will post some finished pictures with her in it.  It is hard to photograph without a model - Nick is holding the hanger in his teeth in this shot so we can actually see the shape a bit!


See you tomorrow :)