Friday, 22 July 2016

Sewing roundup, come on, it's time to play

Having completely missed posting for the last Kids Clothes Week (though I did manage to get my projects uploaded on to the members site) I thought I'd do a quick round-up post of my children's sewing recently, before the next Kids Clothes Week comes round in early August. He wears me-mades quite a lot now and I love seeing him in things I've made. I just hope he keeps enjoying wearing them!

Owl Totem Raglan from Ottobre magazine, Spring 1/2014

You've already seen the Raglan sweater, which I plan to make more of for the Autumn. I've also made 2 versions of the Made by Rae Flashback Skinny tee so I'll do a wee write up on that pattern. Of course there's been another pair of Sunny Day shorts - I think there will be at least one pair of these every summer - and I'll do a quick review of this pattern too.

Short-sleeved Flashback Skinny Tee

Short-sleeved Flashback Skinny Tee

Flashback Skinny Tee

Details -
Pattern: Flashback Skinny Tee (a present from Emma)
Size: 2T
Fabric & notions: Short-sleeved version was a mens M-sized t-shirt from charity shop, long sleeved version was scraps from previous makes - the blue, which I've used for Harris already here and here and the bird fabric which was originally used in this Maria Denmark tee, with scraps used here as well. Considering I only bought a metre of that bird fabric I've got a lot made from it! Red ribbing bought from Kitschy Coo, £5 for 1/3 of a metre
Were the instructions clear: Yes, very clear. So clear in fact that I'm considering buying the Geranium dress pattern as a pattern to use for little girl presents.
Any changes I'd make next time: I'm going to add some length to it, or maybe even move up to using the size 3T

Total cost: £5

Sunny Day shorts in Charley Harper Maritime birds fabric
Details -
Pattern: Sunny Day shorts by Oliver + S
Size: 2 years
Fabric & notions: 1/2 metre Charley Harper Maritime fabric from M is for Make £9.20, elastic and thread from stash
Were the instructions clear: yes, I've made this plenty of times before and didn't make any changes. I LOVE this pattern!
Any changes I'd make next time: I definitely need to go up to the size 3T

Total cost: £9.20


Shorts in action, on the beach playpark in Cambrils, Spain

 Now it's time to start thinking about what I'm going to sew during the next Kids Clothes Week from August 8-14. If you haven't come across Kids Clothes Week before it's a week long challenge to sew for an hour a day for your kids or friends/families children. There is a theme each time but I don't usually use the theme, I just enjoy putting aside that time each day to sew for Harris, and other children in my life. It's a great wee community to be a part of, check out more about it here

Friday, 8 July 2016

And you'll be with To-to-ro, Totoro! To-to-ro, Totoro!

If I had to pick a favourite animation film My Neighbour Totoro would win hands down, every time. I just love it and I'm happy to say I've now passed that love on to my son and my husband. It's a film that we all sit down and watch together and I hope it goes on being a family favourite - the current hit of the moment is Madagascar which is pretty good fun to watch too! 

Harris's love for Totoro was what inspired me to look up tutorials to make him a Totoro as I've been keen to have a go at soft toy making for a while now.  I could not believe my luck when I found this tutorial from Cheek and Stitch - it was exactly what I was looking for! I printed out the pattern, got my felt from Hobby Craft and.. left it sitting for months as I'm prone to do.

Then I decided that I just had to make one for one of my friend's son's first birthday (as a fellow Totoro/Ghibli fan I knew she would appreciate it). Of course I couldn't make one for someone else and not for Harris so I decided just to go for it and make two at once.

The tutorial includes a free pattern which I printed out and backed onto card. The instructions are very clear and it all came together smoothly except for one thing. I found the 1/4" seam allowance made the ears, arms and tail just too fiddly to turn them right way out after stitching. I reduced the seam allowance to 1/8" and found this much easier.  The eyes, nose, mouth and belly are all done with hand-stitching and I really enjoyed doing this. I find it so relaxing to sew by hand.  I bought my stuffing from Hobby Craft too and was glad I'd bought 2 bags as it took lots of stuffing to make them nice and plump.

I am so happy with how these turned out, I got so much enjoyment out of making them and am sure that the love I put into making them has helped them turn out so happy looking! It's also been very gratifying to see that they are both well loved already, as you can see below!

Little hand in the corner coming to get his Totoro back!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Think Pink! Brumby Skirt

I'm back with more pink, and not just more pink but more pink skirts. This takes me up to a total of 3 pink skirts, with plans for another 2 already! This is definitely my new favourite skirt and I have a feeling it will quickly become one of my most worn items of clothing.  In fact I'm wearing it today and I feel so comfortable and confident in it. Isn't it amazing what clothes can do for you?!

The fabric is just such a gorgeous bright shade of pink, which sadly these photos don't truly reflect. I'd say the best representation of the colour is in the photograph above. I bought the fabric from Ray Stitch 3 or 4 years ago and I think it was described as a pink twill, although it doesn't seem as heavy as the pink Liberty twill of my Wildwood Flower skirt.  It's possible this is the fabric here, it certainly looks like a similar colour.
The pattern is the Brumby skirt by Megan Nielsen, gifted to me by Veronica Darling as part of a giveaway she did to celebrate her birthday and her 1000th blog post. I couldn't believe it when I won as it was the most amazing prize! Amelia (the talented lady behind Veronica Darling) sent me a box of goodies - fabric, trims and other goodies, as well as a Megan Nielsen pattern of my choice for me, and to be sent to her.  I chose the Brumby skirt as it had been on my wish list for a while.  You should also go check out the lush green velvet version Amelia made - I think I might need a velvet version for the winter! The pockets, ah the pockets! That was the first thing that attracted me to this pattern and they don't disappoint, they're roomy and such a good shape.  Then there were so many nice versions popping up, some of the ones that inspired me to try this pattern were Morepleasethankyou's in denim, Very Kerry Berry's in denim, Noble & Daughter's metallic voile version and Jasika Nicole's ladybird version.

Worn here with my favourite Grainline tiny pocket tank

With wriggly boy (wanting to get to the beach) wearing me-made Sunny Day shorts (still to be blogged)
This make took me ages overall as when I sewed it up first time round I attached the waistband upside down. This wouldn't have mattered if it was a straight waistband but the shape is very curved so it really hugs your waist, except mine didn't, mine went out. I wore it once as I loved the skirt so but it just looked ridiculous with the waist flaring out.  So I had to unpick it all, trying not to unpick all my neat hand-stitching and my pretty good lapped zip. Then it sat in my sewing pile, for months, and months, until, 2 days before my holiday, I decided it had to come with me. I'd originally cut the size S waist but as it sits quite high I found this too tight so I retraced the waistband pieces in the size M then reattached it, upside down again! Argh, at this point I only had one night left to sew before our holiday. I unpicked and re-sewed, the right way round this time. Amazingly, with a bit of fudging I managed to just hand-sew the rest of the zip back up and although it's not nearly so neat at the back now I don't care as, as I said before, I love it so! I ended up doing the last of the hand-sewing round the zip while on my holiday, sitting on the balcony. I think I need to find more hand-sewing projects for holidays as I really enjoyed it.

So, it's finally finished and I love it. Another Brumby skirt is now top of my summer sewing list, after the Inari tee dress and the bright pink shorts I've got cut out.

Details -
Pattern: a gift from Veronica Darling, as part of a wonderful parcel she sent me to celebrate her birthday (aren't sewing bloggers the best?!!)
Size: I used size S for the waistband and size M for the skirt pieces. I sewed up Version 1.
Alterations: Added length (sorry I can't remember how much as this was cut out before I started keeping a notebook for all my makes). Used a lapped zip rather than an exposed.  Sewed the waistband in a different size to the skirt pieces.
Fabric & notions: Pink twill from Ray Stitch, approx. £12 a metre, used 2 metres. Pink thread & pink overlocking thread, approx. £4. Interfacing from stash.
Were the instructions clear: Yes, I found it easy to follow the steps. The waistband issue was lack of concentration on my part as it's really quite obvious which side should be top and which the bottom.
Any changes I'd make next time: I'm going to try sewing a slightly bigger seam allowance on the waistband as it is a bit looser than it's meant to be, but the next size down was too tight, even with a smaller seam allowance. I'd like to try an exposed zip as I've never done one before.

Total cost: Approx £28

It also performed well on the trampolines on the beach - a good test!

a close-up of the pocket

Pretty neat top-stitching

Not so neat lapped zipper.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Me Made May 2016 late reflections

I had promised myself I'd post about Me Made May more promptly this year but, well you can see that didn't happen! It seems kind of wrong today to be writing about clothes and sewing today as I'm still reeling with disbelief, sadness, and some anger, that the outcome of the referendum in Britain today was to leave the EU.  I had managed to convince myself that the scaremongering, scapegoating and out & out racism of the leave campaign would be enough to persuade enough people to vote to Remain but it wasn't to be. I don't know what else to say about it except that it has made me even more determined that we need to do something about it, answer back with positivity and action rather than hopelessness.

So, back to the sewing. As usual I really enjoyed taking part in Me Made May (thanks Zoe!!) and I loved seeing everyone else's photos on Instagram.  However I felt I missed out on some of the social aspect of it this year as my Instagram is private (not a moan obviously as it is my decision to keep it private).  In previous years I got so much out of the Flickr group, chatting to folk, sometimes taking part in the Friday themes, and seeing everyone's makes through this.  The Flickr app was driving me crazy this year though, I found it really clunky and difficult to use when trying to upload photos and I couldn't find an app that let me comment and interact in the same way as on the desktop version. Not having a working laptop/computer this year meant I just had to give Flickr a miss which was a real shame.  Enough of the moaning (maybe the sadness of today's result is seeping in to my perspective here!) and on to the good stuff.  As I said I get so much inspiration from seeing what everyone else is making/wearing and it was really nice to chat to sewing folk every day on Instagram (I do this anyway but not as much as during May). 

(L & R) Sew U Home Stretch raglan sweatshirts

(L) Marilla Walker Maya top (R) Deer & Doe Plantain red tee & refashioned b/w jersey skirt

I didn't manage to take a photo every day but think I managed a photo of every item of clothing I wore, just not all the combinations. I've just included a few of my favourites here, sorry there are no links as I want to post this today but most of these items are blogged. It might seem quite narcissistic all this photo taking but I found it really helped me think about what I wear and what I should sew.  One of my conclusions from last year was that I should really try and make some trousers, and guess what, that is still one of my conclusions this year. Maybe this year I'll actually get round to it?!

(L) Self-drafted jersey skirt (R) Megan Nielsen Banksia top & Colette Meringue skirt

(L) Green plantain dress (R) Pink Sorbetto

Other conclusions? I get more wear out of solid colour clothing, I don't wear nearly as many fitted dresses as I used to (they're not quite as practical for playing with a toddler!), I wear a lot of jersey, and... I have enough fabric to be getting on with, I really don't need any more right now.

The weather in May in London was so changeable so my most worn garments include summer and colder weather clothes. My purple self-drafted jersey pencil skirt, red plantain tee (previously a plantain dress you can see here) and navy Maya top (never blogged, will do some day as I love this pattern!) got worn a lot, along with two of my newest makes, my raglan sweatshirts. Harris also wore quite a lot of clothes I've made and I love that when I ask him what he wants to wear he often picks out things I've made, particularly his car jumper!

(L) See Kate Sew Raglan tee (R) Made by Rae Flashback skinny tee

(L & R) Ottobre magazine raglan sweatshirt

I've got lots of sewing plans for the summer, and some new makes to share but I'll stop for now or I'll never get this posted! I've loved reading everyone's MMMay roundups so I hope you enjoy this one!