Sunday, 9 November 2014

Preemie Rag Quilt

Always on the lookout for quick and easy projects that could benefit Emily's Star, I was delighted to stumble across a tutorial for rag quilting on Facebook newsfeed... Why have I never thought of this before!?

So on Friday evening I got to work on a preemie rag quilt, and just an hour later this is what I had...

I am delighted with the outcome and can't wait to make a few more before sending them off to Emily's Star... Fingers crossed they like them too!

Explorer hoodie remix

My lovely parents spoiled me rotten last month and bought me a new sewing machine for my 30th. It's a Janome 7025 and I am in love!

This machine has so many more functions and capabilities than my last so I decided to tests a few things out by making an Explorer Hoodie.

Unfortunately I did not have enough knit fabric fabric to follow the instructions to the word. Instead I mixed it up with short sleeves and with woven waistband and hood trim.

Using on,y fabric from my refashion and stash piles, I had to get a bit creative. I wasn't sure this combination would work but I think I have just about pulled it off...

To sew the knit fabric and construct the main parts of the top, I used a special knit stitch that also overlocks. I didn't think ahead to the impact this would have on piecing it together with the woven fabrics; the seam allowance created by using the stretch stitch was much less than the seam allowance detailed in the pattern... Oops! Because I was using up bits from my stash I couldn't recut pieces so had to make the best out of it that I could. To cut a long story short, I made it work, but decided it would be best not to add elastic to the waistband.

The little lady likes the top and wanted to keep it on all day (despite the cooling temperatures), so I guess you can call it a success. If nothing else, the project involved enough techniques to give the new machine a good test.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Charity Projects

Life has been busy so unfortunately crafting has taken a bit of a back seat recently. However, I have found some time to work on a few charity projects for my favourite local charity: Emily's Star.

The scottie dog cardi is another Emily Cardi, this time in DK, making it the larger 5lb size.

I used all the scrappy bits of yarn from previous projects to make a little incubator sized blanket, again using DK.

And I finished off this set with a preemie kimono-style dress/robe. It is made with organic quilting cotton and lined with a super-soft flannel. The shoulders and front are fastened with plastic kam snaps, allowing for easy dressing of tiny/very poorly babies.

Having posted a photo of the kimono on my Facebook page and receiving lots of positive feedback, I decided to do a little redrafting and make a few more.

The fronts on these kimonos overlaps a little more and some of the front fastenings have ribbons with concealed kam snaps.

They are so simple and quick to whizz up, I am sure I will be making more of in the future.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Pattern Anthology - Explorer Hoodie

Life is busy and it's taking me a while to work through all my recently purchased patterns, but this week I finally finished an Explorer Hoodie for the Little Guy and... I am in love with this pattern!

The instructions were so clear and the hoodie came together really quickly. The fabric came from a thrifted sweatshirt and the zip was upcycled, so this project literally cost only pennies!

I made up a 2T for my tall but skinny 20-month-old and it looks like there's just enough growing-room to see him through to next spring... fingers crossed!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Bookworm Button-up

A few weeks ago, in anticipation if Kid's Clothes Week, I indulged in the new Pattern Anthology package. Decorating hijacked KCW so I have only just finished my project for the little guy: a Bookworm Button-Up...

For this project I refashioned one of my dad's old work shirts and seeing the little guy in a mini-shirt in this familiar fabric is so lovely!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

KCW: Adventure Tee

I love Kid's Clothes Week, but time has been squeezed for me this time around. I am manically trying to finish decorating the lounge before my new sofa arrives so time is limited, energy levels are low and my workspace (my lounge) is just a little chaotic!

All that said, I have one project finished: an adventure tee for my niece.

I opted for gathered sleeves, the high neckline and a high-low hem. I also added a pocket (minus the zipper).

The fabric is upcycled from a thrift store t-shirt that I picked up for £1 - Bargain! It was a layered tee so I got contrasting plain and striped fabric. I decided to add a striped yoke to the back to tie it all together... what do you all think about the the yoke?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Favourites: KID shorts

Ever since purchasing this pattern, KID shorts have been a firm favourite in our family. This week I topped up the little guy's wardrobe with a couple more pairs to wear in this crazy heat... we've had temps of 30+ degrees in England this week!

The pattern is pretty simple and so quick to sew up. Dana gives heaps of ideas for variations,  including elasticated or flat front, boy's and girl's lengths and racer style, and the option of front pockets.  And because these shorts have such clean lines, it's easy to customise and add your own twist. Here are boy's shorts in herringbone twill, with some simple cargo style pockets that I drafted.

And to these red brushed-denim shorts I added back pockets, with a letter 'A' topstitched on each. I kept it subtle and used matching thread,  so you may not be able to see in the picture. But take my word for it, they are such a cute finishing touch!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The joys of an adjustable waistband

This morning I had the pleasure of my nephew's company and was overjoyed to see his gorgeous toddler legs poking out of these cropped trousers...

The last time I saw Little Man in these was over a year ago when he was wearing them as trousers.  These were one of my very first baby boy projects, sewn up in 0-3 months size, ready for the arrival of my first nephew. You can read all about that here.

This little guy is a total beanpole... even with a nappy on, it looks as though he has no butt at all. So although he is now eighteen-months old, these 0-3 month trousers still fit on the waist and rise, making light and cool seersucker cropped trousers. Boy am I glad I went to the effort of an adjustable waistband!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Here Comes The Sundress

A little while back I won this awesome giveaway over at StraightGrain.

I used some of this softer-than-soft cotton (Valley in Azure) to make a top for myself (maybe one day I will be brave enough to share it here), and have since been waiting for the perfect pattern to finish it up with.

Here enters the Here Comes the Sundress pattern from The Mother Huddle.

Although my niece is only three-and-a-half, she is tall, so I didn't hesitate to go for the FREE 4-5 year pattern. There is plenty of growing room, but I wouldn't say its TOO big. And the little lady loves her new dress so much that she insisted on keeping it on all afternoon after trying it on for size - always a good sign!

I'm now wondering how the shoulder straps would work in knit as the cut of this dress looks like it would be perfect for a cotton knit/jersey nightdress...

Friday, 11 July 2014

Summer break is finally here!... and a few more itty bitty Emily Cardigans

It's been a while!

The last few weeks of any school year are always busy for teachers, but I I hadn't anticipated how extraordinarily crazy-busy life in an independent school gets as the summer break approaches! The weeks have flown by with very little time for crafting, but I am now one week into a two-month break so there are lots of projects on the cards. In the meantime,  here are some teeny tiny Emily Cardigans I've been working on.

Knit in 4-ply on 3mm needles, these are perfectly sized for the tiniest babies in the nicu/scbu.

To find out more about Emily's Gift Neonatal Boxes or the charity, visit the Emily's Star website.

You can download the free Emily Cardigan knitting pattern from the pattern page.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Sunshine dungarees

When my nephew was born I tried out this dungaree pattern from the book 'Making Baby's Clothes' by Rob Merret. Although they don't look that great laid out or on the hanger (I don't think dungarees ever do), they looked cute on. So I decided to make up a pair for a colleague's new son, Jack.

The fabric is a lime and lemon stretch herringbone twill that I picked up as a remnant from minerva crafts. I used yellow snaps and added facing and snaps along the inseam for easy nappy changing.

I wanted these dungarees to be pretty plain (the last pair were a bit too busy for a tiny person) so I stuck with just one front pocket and a lining fabric with a larger print... quilting cotton with large stars.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Quickie Quilt

A colleague of mine has just become a daddy, so last weekend I whizzed up a little pram/car-seat quilt.

Precision is not one of my strong-points so I used my favourite quilt-cheat: white sashing. Not only does it hide a multitude of sins when it comes to piecing and alignment, but the white also makes the colours in the print fabrics really pop!

Being such a simple project, there isn't much else left to say, except... welcome to the world Baby Jack!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

TUTORIAL: The Bright and Breezy Skirt (Part 2)

You can find Part 1 of this tutorial here.

Now that you have your fabric cut, it's time to get on with the fun bit: SEWING!

Take two ribbon tie pieces and stitch around three adjacent sides with right sides together. When you get to the short end (middle of the three sides) stop 1" from the end and stitch diagonally out to the corner. Trim excess, turn right side out and press.

Take your waistband facings. Turn each short end under 1/4" and then another 1/4". Press and stitch.

Attach a button to the right side of each end of the front waistband facing, aligning centrally along the stitch line.

Place front waistband and front waistband facing right sides together, centering facing on waistband. Stitch along one long edge. Repeat for back waistband.

Open out each waist band and press seams. Lay back waistband right side up. Place a ribbon tie piece on top, lining up the raw edge with one of the short ends of the waistband piece. Repeat with second ribbon tie then place front waistband on top, wrong side up. Stitch short end of the waistbands (not facings as these are folded open). Press seams and fold facings down.

Put waistband to one side.

Place skirt pieces right sides togtger and stitch along short edges. Press side seams.

Increase stitch length and reduce tension on your machine. Stitch two rows of gathering stitches along top edge of skirt. Ensure one end of the rows are secured/backstitched and the other thread ends left long and loose. I like to do the front and back separately,  but this is not necessary. Return stitch length and tension to normal.

Pull loose ends to gather skirt to fit waistband.

Pin waistband to skirt, right sides togther. Align raw edge of skirt with raw edge of waistband (not the raw edge of facing). Stitch.

Turn right side out, fold waitband facing over to inside, turn raw edge under to conceal seam between the waistband and skirt. Stitch down.

Thread button-hole elastic through back waistband and secure using buttons on front waistband facing.

Hem skirt to desired length and you are done!

Well done for making it to the end of the tutorial. If you make a Bright and Breezy skirt, it would be great to see links in the comments below!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

TUTORIAL: The Bright and Breezy Skirt (Part 1)

As promised, here is PART 1 of a tutorial for the latest skirt I have made, now named 'The Bright and Breezy Skirt'.

Part 1 will help you get your fabric cut and prepared for sewing.  Part 2 (the sewing directions) will follow tomorrow.

You will need:

- Lightweight fabric, such as seersucker
- Buttonhole elastic
- 2 buttons
- Lightweight interfacing

Cutting your fabric

You will cut 10 rectangular pieces all together:
- 2 x skirt pieces (1 front and 1 back)
- 4 x ribbon ties
- 2 x waistband pieces (1 front and 1 back)
- 2 x waistband facings (1 front and 1 back)

For the skirts cut two rectangles with the width of each being double the waist measurement (mine were 44", double the waist measurement of 22"). The length measurement should be your desired length plus a minimum 1 1/4" (I wanted a 12" skirt so cut each piece 13 1/4" long).

For the front waistband and front facing cut two rectangles with a depth of 2". The width should be [(waist measurement ÷2)+3/4"]. My calculation was [(22/2)+3/4"]=11 3/4".

For the back waistband and facing cut two rectangles that are 2 1/2" longer than the front waistbands (still 2" deep). Mine were 14 1/4" wide.

The ribbon ties should also be 2" deep. You can decide the length,  but I recommend at least 2 1/2 inches longer than the front waistband. If you want it to tie to one side, make the opposite tie longer.

*You may want to cut your waistband and ribbon ties on the bias or turn the fabric 90 degrees to get a contrasting pattern direction*

Cut the elastic at least as long as your front waistband... this is not an exact science as we're using buttonhole elastic for an adjustable waistband.

Cut a piece of iron-on interfacing slightly shorter and narrower than the frobt waistband piece, and attatch centrally to the wrong side of the front waistband piece.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Rainbow Skirt

Over the past few weeks we have been blessed with some beautifully sunny days, so it's begining to feel like we can confidently crack open the summer wardrobes. Unfortunately, my niece has outgrown most of her summer wardrobe so I was enlisted to make some bright and breezy summer skirts.

The fabric is seersucker, with a plain white cotton lining.

The waistband is flat fronted, with an adjustable elasticated back. I also added ties to the front waistband, attached at the side-seams. Both the waistband and ties are cut on the bias for contrast.

This skirt was so quick and easy to whizz up and required very little pattern drafting, so I'm sure I will be making many more before summer is through. And maybe I'll even find time for a tutorial... watch this space!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

More Knits... Celestial Tee

Having had some success with knits using my mother's sewing machine, I decided to give the Celestial Tee a go, and am so glad I did!

This top is so quick and easy to whip up, with only two pattern pieces and no sleeves to set in.

I love the scooped back hemline, perfect to wear with leggings,  and the little pleats at the front jazz the top up, making more than just a plain old t-shirt.

This glittery striped cotton jersey was another bargain-buy from Minerva Crafts and is sure to be a big hit with my niece... show me a 3-year-old girl who doesn't love a bit of glitter!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

In love with 'Hosh Pants'

I often hear bloggers say that once they've made up a pattern they go onto something new because making the same pattern repeatedly is boring. I definitely buck this trend; if a project turns out well and is a hit with kids, I often revisit it multiple times. The 'Hosh Pants' is definitely becoming one of those patterns!

Little Guy looked so cute in his cord Hoshes that I just had to make him some more. These are 12-18 month waist, with 2T length, in a super-soft plum-coloured stretch denim. And because the fabric is so plush, I couldn't resist running up a pair for the Little Lady in 4-5 years.

I added back pockets with coordinating coloured topstitching (stone for the boy and lilac for the girl) and contrasting waistband facings.

Since both pairs have extra length to allow for growth, I painstakingly stitched flat-felled inseams to allow for smarter turn-ups.. not easy when there is no outer seam on the leg!