Wednesday, 30 July 2014

sunny day shorts

More sewing from Kids Clothes Week last week, and another free pattern from Oliver + S!

These are the Sunny Day Shorts and they really are a perfect little shorts pattern.  They were so quick to make and they look really nice on.  I think next time I might add some details like pockets or piping but I wanted to get these done quickly as the wee man was in serious need of some new shorts as we were down to one pair that fitted him properly - not enough in the hot weather we've been having!

I used the same organic blue cotton I used for his reversible bucket hat so they make a nice matching set.  The only thing I'm a bit disappointed about is that they won't fit him for long.  I cut the 6-9 month size as although he is almost 9 months I just thought they would fit him a bit longer.  However they're pretty snug on him.  Lesson learned - I need to use his measurements rather than the age guide just as I would if sewing for myself.

Sizing asides I love these shorts and can't wait to make up some more.  I had also been working on a t-shirt for Harris but I'm not happy with the way the bindings are attached.  I followed the instructions but don't like the results so I'm going to have to unpick rather than waste the jersey.  So that's it for KCW from me.  Not as productive as many people seem to have been but I'm really happy with 3 finished items in one week! I liked the motivation of sewing along, and sewing for an hour a day, and I'm really enjoying sewing children's clothes now.  Next up though - I'm hoping some me-sewing will resume shortly!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Kids Clothes Week July 2014

We're having a bit of a heatwave in London at the moment, in fact today we've got thunder and lightning which might mean the air is a bit fresher tomorrow hopefully.  I have been really enjoying the sunshine and love that I can get Harris out in the park everyday getting plenty of sunshine and fresh air.  However the heat has also meant not a lot of sleep in this household as it's just too hot for the wee man at night time.  As a result I'm pretty amazed by how much sewing I've done this week.  And it's all thanks to Kids Clothes Week.  If you haven't heard of it before (I hadn't until I was pregnant) KCW was started in 2008 by Meg Freeman. Like many new mums who are also obsessed with sewing she found herself thinking of so many sewing projects, then spending her evenings on the couch continuing to think about these projects. I know this feeling well! So she set herself a challenge of sewing for one hour every day for a week - KCW now runs four times a year, spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Having the focus of KCW has really helped my put aside a bit of time each day for sewing - some days this is nap time and other days it has been in the evening.  These are the first results of my sewing this week - 2 more Oliver + S reversible bucket hats.  Although I wouldn't mind if Harris had different hats to match his outfits I don't really have the time for that, instead I sewed up a hat for one of Harris's wee pals (the hat you see above with the apples on one side and below, the reverse in blue with orange top-stitching), and one for my nephew (the bottom 2 photos - he loves fire engines!)  You'll just have to take it from me - my nephew looks like one cool dude in his new hat!

I really enjoyed sewing these up as I knew what I was doing this time round and it was nice to be sewing up gifts.  I also just love sewing with this organic blue cotton from Ray Stitch.

The lovely red and white striped fabric was a gift from a friend - left-overs from a shirt she made. It goes so well with the blue and I knew my sister-in-law would like it too.

Don't worry though, Harris isn't being neglected, I have been sewing for him too! I've almost finished a pair of Oliver + S sunny day shorts and have a Brindille and Twig baby tee cut out which I'm hoping to get finished this week too.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Baby bucket hat

Well I have finally been doing some sewing, for me and for Harris.  I'll start with the make for Harris as I'm really pleased with it and have many more planned, not all for him as how many sun hats does a boy need really!  He does have a few but as we're always mislaying them so I thought it would be useful to have another.  I used the Oliver + S reversible bucket hat free pattern which was brilliant! You can see he looks pretty pleased with it too!

I cut the extra small which it states is for 6-12 months but I was worried it might be a bit small as he has quite a large head! So instead of using the recommended 1/2" seam allowance I just used a 1/4". This saved me some time as I didn't need to trim them, just pinked the edges with my pinking scissors (which are very blunt - does anyone know of anywhere in London that I could get them sharpened?).

The instructions are pretty easy to follow, the only bit that made me scratch my head a bit was attaching the crown to the side panels but I found some helpful photos on a tutorial by A Little Gray that helped me work it out.  Everything fitted together really well and it was much more straightforward to make it reversible than I thought it would be.  I'll definitely be making some more. In fact my husband has even asked if I can size the pattern up to make one for him too!

I'm really pleased with how neat my top-stitching on both sides of the hat is and I love the fabrics too.  The lovely blue, which I think might be a linen cotton blend but I can't remember, came from Ray Stitch. The geometric print is a fat quarter which I think came from M is for Make.  I've still got plenty left of both so I was thinking of making a wee pair of matching trousers in the blue with the printed fabric as a turn up - we'll see if I have time while summer is still here!

How is everyone else's summer sewing going?!

Friday, 25 April 2014

It's curtains! and Me Made May 2014 pledge

Four weeks ago I posted a photo on Instagram of me working on a pair of curtains for the nursery - well, they turned in to a bit of a saga but that's them finished and up now.  I used this tutorial which I found useful although I had real issues with the fabric not staying straight.  You can see it in the photo.  I used a blackout lining but it doesn't go right to the edge of the fabric due to the process of attaching the lining to the curtain fabric so there's a gap where the light comes through.  I tried using spray starch and even used my hair straighteners as a desperate measure once they were up - it didn't work! They do look very nice though we'll still need to get a blackout blind.

I just love the fabric! I got it from M is for Make, they don't have it anymore but they do have the same fabric with bears which is equally as cute.

I've decided to take the length of time it took me to get these curtains made as a sign for Me Made May - I need to rethink my pledge this year.  Last year my pledge was to wear something I had made or refashioned - clothes or jewellery - every day for the month of May.  I just don't have the time for much sewing at the moment and I know that I would be disappointed in myself if I set a pledge and didn't do it.  Instead I thought I'd do something more useful to me this year -

I, Kathryn Hannan of Kathryn's Busy Town, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14.  I will wear or try on everything which I have made and anything which doesn't fit will go to the charity shop or the refashion pile.  I will also keep a note of what I do wear every day so as to give myself a sewing plan for the very limited sewing time I now have.


I really hope this will spur me on to do more sewing as I really need some smart but easy to wear clothes, that is things that are comfortable for playing with a baby, but also potential outfits for when I go back to work. A tall order I know but as I don't work in a particularly corporate environment I think it can be done.

And last but by no means least, I just realised that today is my 3 year blog anniversary!  I'm off to have a celebratory glass of wine, or two!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Create your own fabric with By Hand London

Well hello there! Not much sewing has been going on round these parts, instead it's been lots of cuddles with a sick wee boy who's thankfully on the mend now. I have been spending a bit of time arranging my sewing space and organising my fabric so hopefully I'll have something to show for it soon. In the meantime I thought I'd share some really exciting news from the By Hand London girls. I'm a bit late with this so I bet you've all already read about it but just in case now here goes..

I love the By Hand London patterns and their enthusiasm and support for people sewing up their patterns, so any new venture by them is going to be worth getting excited about. However this is like a dream come true - they are fund-raising to start a venture whereby we can design and print our own fabric!! So like Spoonflower but the fabric will be printed here in the UK, using ecologically friendly inks, and printed on demand so no wastage. What a fantastic idea! They've launched a Kickstarter to fund this and I so hope they reach their target! Going by the sell out success of their first fabric I'm sure they have no worries!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Baby tartan

My first make for our wee one - I wanted to make him something special to wear to attend his first wedding.  As his dad was the best man I thought it would be lovely to make him something tartan to go with his dad's kilt.  I was kindly offered some scraps of the tartan wool used to make the groom and best man's kilts so I decided on turn-ups for a pair of trousers.  Rather than go out and buy some trousers to attach them to I used Made by Rae's free newborn trouser pattern.  I think this is really meant for woven fabrics but figured as long as I measure it against a pair of his own trousers I'd be fine making it out of jersey.  I did consider real turn-ups but I couldn't work out how to do them, and the tartan frayed something terrible!  Afterwards I was told that tartan is usually cut on the bias for kilt making for that very reason.  So what I did was cut a rectangle of tartan for each leg, sew it at the side seam then fold it in half and attach it the same way you would a neck or arm band on a jersey t-shirt - by putting the raw edges together stitching then pressing it out.  It looks like a turn-up as long as you don't look too closely and was very quick to do - which, given I was doing this the evening before the wedding, was essential!  I did a jersey waistband as well, attached in the same way.  They did turn out too long but at least you could still see the tartan.  At the last minute I decided to make him a matching bow-tie and he looked absolutely adorable! The bow-tie was just stitched on to a white t-shirt, don't worry I didn't make him wear anything uncomfortable!

I totally forgot to take any close-ups of him at the wedding as he was only actually there for a few hours (we were very lucky that his Grandma and Grandpa brought him along to the reception for a few hours then looked after him at the hotel so we could stay for the dinner and party!)  So I got him dressed up in it again and tried to take some photos.  You can see he thought I was pretty silly for doing so!

These were such a quick make and I really enjoyed it - I can't wait to make him more clothes!  Does anyone have any favourite patterns they would recommend? There seems to be far more patterns for cute dresses and skirts than for clothes suitable for a baby boy.  I was given the black jersey by a friend as it was left over from a project of hers and the tartan is offcuts from the kilt so although I didn't use anything from my stash at least I didn't add to it! I know I'm totally biased but I thought he was the best dressed guy there - asides from the groom and best man of course!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Home makes no.1 - red pouffe

My first make of 2014 - and one I've been meaning to do for, ooh just about a year!  It feels very satisfying to have finally got round to it.  It didn't take very long at all once I started sewing as it was just a few straight lines.  My mother-in-law very kindly made this pouffe for us years ago when we were living in Glasgow and we both love it.  However it gets used as a footstool, pizza table, red wine table etc and as a result was looking pretty dirty and worse for wear.  It was time to give it a new cover.

You can't see in the photo but this is a lovely soft fine cord fabric.  I picked up a few metres of it really cheaply at a Peter Jensen fabric sale I went to with some lovely ladies including Kathryn, Alison, Elisalex and Joelle.  That was a long time ago and it's been languishing in my stash ever since.  That means... that my first make of the year also qualifies as the start of my Stash Diet 2014 - win! Initially I was going to make a pinafore style dress but since our new arrival I've changed my mind and would like to make him some trousers or dungarees with what is left.

This was really easy to make as I haven't covered it at the bottom - this means I can remove it easily to wash it, but also meant less sewing - another win in my book. I just measured the top and sides of the pouffe, added a 1.5cm seam allowance then started cutting out the squares.  I then sewed the top and two sides together in a line before adding on the other 2 sides. I pinked all the seams as the cord really frays.  Oh, and I added a pocket, well actually 2 pockets.  One for the remote controls and one for toys. I'm really pleased with it and it looks great in our living room, which has a lot of turquoise, red and orange in it. 

Here it is below with some other new additions to our house - a gorgeous sewing box which my hubby bought for me from our friends website - Thriftola.  And a stool I got reupholstered by the chair man in Walthamstow, who used to be based in Wood Street but is now in the back of Penny Fielding's shop in Orford Road (I realise this is only of interest to anyone local to the area but it's always nice to recommend local businesses).

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Stash Diet 2014

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to join the Stash Diet 2014 that Gail and Andrea have initiated so I thought I would lay my goals out here.

My goals:
1. I can only buy 1 new piece of fabric when I have used 2 pieces from my stash
2. I cannot buy any new patterns until I have used at least 3 existing patterns. This can include patterns I've already used before as well as all the patterns I have which haven't seen any use yet
3. I will go through my patterns and fabric and try and swap or giveaway any that I don't think I'll use.  I can use the Stash Diet swap that Morgan has organised for this.

My exclusions:
1. If I want to make something specific for the wee one I can buy new fabric, ditto with baby patterns
2. I can buy notions, muslin and lining fabric as I haven't built up much of a supply of these
3. Fabric bought during travels - if I'm visiting somewhere else and see some nice fabric or a pattern then I can indulge

First up - I will need to sort through my fabrics and patterns, upload what I don't think I'll ever use to the Flickr group for the swap, and start a sewing plan! I'm excited about trying to work through the fabric I have as I really was quite surprised by just how much I've managed to accumulate in the past few years! It's also so nice to take part in these group challenges

So are you joining the Stash Diet 2014 or the Stashbusting group set up by Cation Designs? There's always so much going on it's difficult to select what to take part in. This year I'll not have much time for sewing but I'm definitely up for the Sewcialists Pink April and Me Made May 2014 (Zoe has already mentioned it so I'm super excited it's going on this year too as last year was so much fun!).
What about you guys? Any sewalongs you're planning on taking part in or pledges you've made about your sewing for the next year?

    Monday, 6 January 2014

    Happy New Year!

    Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone has had a relaxing and fun break over the holidays.  I had planned to do a round-up post as I've so enjoyed reading all the Top 5 posts, started by Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow (thanks Gillian!  However as you can probably guess from the above photo I've been a bit preoccupied! Let me introduce our new arrival.  Our little baby is just the best and most perfect creation I could ever have imagined and I'm absolutely besotted with him!

    Looking back over this year's posts I'm pleasantly surprised to see how much I've made, especially considering I haven't done any sewing for months.  This year I've made 3 dresses, 4 skirts, 4 tops, and 2 t-shirts, plus 2 baby blankets as presents (using Handmade Jane's great tutorial).  My most worn makes are the 'sailing I am sailing' scout tee, Wildwood Flower skirt, and my two Kirsten Kimono tees - here and here.  The stripy Kimono tee is already in the bin as I wore and washed it loads and the fabric didn't really last.  The bird one has a few stains on it - I suppose I better get used to that now haha! So I need to get to making some more t-shirts soon. There are only a few things I've made which haven't been worn much so I think that's pretty good going - the Winter Ginger doesn't fit great and I just don't think it's quite my style even though I love the fabric.  My Spring-time Elisalex was a great learning experience but I cut it too short and ruined the effect of the shape.  I'm so pleased I make things I wear a lot and am proud of myself for successfully taking part in Me Made May and wearing me-mades every day (my Flickr set from May).  New techniques I learned include lining a bodice (on the Elisalex) and french seams (on my Scout Tees and Tiny Pocket Tank).  

    All in all this year has been a great learning year for me with sewing and a very eventful year in our lives.  As well as welcoming our wee one we also bought our first home and moved in the summer, on one of the hottest days of the year and with me 6 months pregnant!

    So no big round up post here, instead I'll set out a few aims for 2014 - but I'll not be to hard on myself if I don't get round to them!

    1. Andrea and Gail have started a Stash Diet which sounds great to me! It's quite loose which suits me as I don't really have many fabrics for making clothes for Harris and I'm sure I'm going to want to buy some! Anyway I'll lay out my Stash Diet rules in another post.

    2. Take part in some sew-alongs.  However, so this doesn't clash with the Stash Diet I'm only going to do this if I already have the pattern or suitable fabric for a theme (such as the Sewcialists Pink April)

    3. 2013 involved a lot of repeats of patterns and that is going to continue this year as my sewing time will be very limited.  I'd like to make some more Scout tees, have another go at the Elisalex, try and make a few Anna's for the summer, and maybe even attempt some Juniper trousers though I realise that's probably being very over ambitious!

    4. Make something every month, whether for baby, for me, or for the house

    5. Of course most importantly I'd love to start making some clothes for baby!