Posts in sewing
Christmas Handmades: Part 2

I know. Its almost February. You are all planning your Valentine's crafts and gifts and Christmas is a distant memory except for the extra 10lbs hanging over your waistband (ok, my waistband)

But I couldn't not show you this:

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It is made from an old duvet and  with a pillowcase used for the straps and pocket.  It is *exactly* the apron I would make for myself..long and wide straps.  Big wrap around sides.  Pocket. Vintage.  *Swoon*

I am notorious for not wanting to give away things I make, but this one may just have been the hardest to hand over. However, my love of my friend definately outweighed my love of the apron.

I still have enough material to make at least 4 more and I should be able to find some time to make one for myself...

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right?

Not Your Brother's Jeans(kirt) Tutorial
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 Ellis blows through jeans on an almost weekly basis. His skinny little legs and the jeans that fit them make patching a swear-worthy affair, but throwing them away seems like such a waste!! So a new solution was found--> combining upcycling with the ancient art of hand-me-downs between siblings. 

Materials:

Old pair of jeans (these were sized 2-3 years)

Long strip of material for the bottom of the skirt (for an age 2-3 skirt, my material measured 34" by 6.5") 

1. Take jeans and cut in a straight line just above the crotch and under the pockets.

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2. Prepare your skirt material.  Cut it approximately 8" longer than the circumference of the opening of your jeans (longer for a more ruffled skirt, shorter for a more straight skirt...I wanted something with just a bit of flare).  

Use an existing skirt to gauge the width of the material for the bottom of the skirt. I used a strip of material about 6.5" wide. I based this on the width of the pattern on my material, but came out with quite a long skirt for an 18 month old.  However as the jeans are sized 2-3 years, it will be a good length as she grows.

Sew the skirt into a tube by using a french seam.  To do this, fold the material in half, placing the short sides together, wrong sides facing and sew down the edge.

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 Then, turn the tube inside out and sew the seam closed again, encasing the first seam inside the other.

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3. Hem the bottom of the skirt.

4. Using a basting stitch on your machine, sew around the top edge.  Then, pulling on one of the lengths of thread, gather your material until it is the width of the opening jeans.

5. Turning the skirt material inside out, place the jeans inside the skirt rightsides together, the gathered end will line up with the cut edge of your jeans. I lined the skirt's seam up with the back seam of the jeans.

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4. Sew or serge the open end. And ta-dah - a little upcycled skirt out of a pair of jeans that would have been thrown away.  As there is a 3 year gap betwen Georgia and Ellis, the skirt is on the big side for her, but is fine turned over once at the waist.

skirt trip

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No. I am NOT procrastinating.  What do you mean?  OF COURSE I had to make a photograph this skirt yesterday instead of making hats.  Georgia NEEDED it, she didn't have anything clean to wear and making it took just almost exactly the amount of time it would have taken to do the laundry ;).  

Have a fantastic weekend!!

And this is why you should photograph your finished object before trying them on your toddler:

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Sweet Things for My Sweet Thing

Weeks and weeks ago, I cut out a sweet little tunic for my sweet little girl out of this sweet little Japanese fabric I bought over a year ago from Fabricworm.

And it languished in my cupboard.  I would see it peeking out of the mesh basket, taunting me with its delights.  I would catch myself fantasising about it when I was supposed to be listening to Kevin talk about art exhibitions and Julia Donaldson (shameless plug).  I would gaze at it wistfully when Ellis and I were playing in the kitchen. 

Every night I would swear that TONIGHT was THE night.  But no. Something else usually got in the way and time ticked on.

Until last night.  Kevin was out working, I had both children asleep before 8 and a small glass of wine to keep my company. A few alterations to my original plan, one minor mistake and an hour or so later we have a sweet thing for my sweet thing:

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I do really love dresses for girls, but am I the only one who finds them a tad impractical for babies?  I suppose if you have children that will lay down, either in their beds or in a pram, maybe dresses are more reasonable attire.  My sweet girl isn't quite so sweet when left on her back, so good sling riding attire is required. Thus, a little pair of linen trousers were also whipped up for my big cloth-bummed girl and a spring outfit was born.

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The tunic is lined with one of Kevin's old dress shirts...the single most abundant fabric source in my house.

I made it reasonably sized, so it should last her a good while.  Which is good, because I have come to realise that as much as I like sewing, I am not that great at it.  Its strange that I have been sewing on and off for probably 20 years and yet now would consider myself a more proficient knitter than seamstress.  However, I only began knitting a few months ago...So I am going to stick to what I am good at for a little while and head off to the wool shop this afternoon for a quick stock up for some weekend knitting.

See you next week.

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A Little Something That Isn't Pink

Pink.  I know it comes with having a little girl, but no one could have prepared me for the tsunami of pink that would flood into my house following little girl's arrival. 

And while I don't mind the colour, per se, I do not particularly want Georgia dressed in it every day.  Of course to find something in the shops is near impossible, so I did what anyone in my position would do and made something.

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The material is a scrap from Tantie, used to wrap a gift for Georgia's birth.  Its lined with white linen and has hand sewn buttonholes (which we are going to call charming and rustic and not botched).

The construction is very similar to a Pebble vest with buttons at the shoulders and down one side.

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The little knit trousers are from a very talented friend and are sooo sweet and soft.

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I have some other fabrics just dying to become little tunic dresses...even one with cars and buses.  Hey, while I can say what she wears, I am going to take advantage. Now just to find the time...

Handmade Home

I have to admit, these hands have held many a sewing book.  Be it something I have bought, borrowed from the library, or indulged in some corporate hospitality in a prolonged stay at Borders in Glasgow, I have read and used some of the most talked about sewing manuals that are doing the rounds at the minute.  And I have often been disappointed.  In many cases, if you've read one, you've read them all...how many patterns for bags and little girls' dresses does one need?  If the patterns are interesting, then the cost of getting nice fabric to the UK is so cost prohibitive, I am left thinking that the projects are just not do-able with the scraps I have lying about.

Which is why I approached Handmade Home with a bit of trepidation.  I really like Amanda Soule's blog.  Her first book, The Creative Family, was good, but I wasn't really in sync with it when I read it.  Most of all, I was worried that Handmade Home would be just another book I would re-sell on Amazon.

I can't tell you how delighted I am to say that I genuinely love her second book.  The writing and photography are excellent, but most importantly, the projects are useful and definitely things I would make for our family. It is all based around recycled materials, and unlike some other books that have rather specific requirements about what kind of materials are required, Amanda gives a more general specification around the weight of the materials (ie, mid-weight, ie shirts, rags, trousers).  I think this is a key point to the book's success for me, as I am very limited on what I can source from our local charity shops (a rant post for another day, I think) and it opened it up for me to think what we DO have that could work.

I found the book really inspirational.  I have been in a bit of a creative slump recently and the book was a great kick up the bum to get sewing again.  And my first project...a set of wall pockets for Ellis's room.

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I used a heavy-weight linen I bought very cheaply from ebay as the backing. I used a range of Kevin's old shirts for the pockets. Using the button hole side at the front, meant I didn't have to hem the top of the pocket, an added bonus. I am in the process of making Ellis a quilt out of his dada's shirts, so it should hopefully all tie in. For the tree pocket, I used a piece of linen I stamped ages ago. The pattern uses buttons to hide the stitching of the hanging loops, but as the room has a bit of a woodland theme, I used leaves cut out of a dark green felted sweater. The wall pockets are perfect for a bit of a bed-side table for wee man, as his room is a terribly awkward shape and there is no where to put anything. The project took only a few hours, which is good, as sewing seems to really bring out my sickness. I will definitely be delving into more projects from the book...some prefold nappies and a braided rug are at the top of my (very long) list.

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Obviously the camera is still broken. I am sorry about the bad photos at the minute!!! Its driving me crazy, but hopefully will be back to normal soon.

sewingKat Goldin Comments
Hustle and Bustle
Bustle back

Its been over 2 weeks since I did any serious crochet or sewing.  While I still don't have a lot of use of my left index finger, I thought I could tackle a simple sewing project to get my juices flowing.

A friend on facebook was exclaiming earlier this week about her love of her bustle skirt she'd made from clothkits.  For those that don't know, clothkits was a company that used to make sewing kits for you to make garmets at home in the 70's.  Well, the company has recently been relaunched and you can find loads of absolutely gorgeous women's and children's clothes. The concept is simple...your pattern is screen printed onto your fabric and you are given all of the materials you need (including thread) to finish the garment. Their kids clothes are so cute and their skirts are stylish and unusual.

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I'd looked at the site awhile ago and all of the skirts were short and just not for me.  However, when I saw L's gorgeous Big Birdie Bustle Skirt, my little heart went pitter patter. 

Its basic construction is a snap to put together.  However, the lining piece was not cut straight and getting that fixed and matching up with the skirt fabric was a bit of a pain. Overall, it took less than 2 hours to do,  though I still need to hem the bottom.

As a skirt, I do like it (and Kev LOVES it).  The actual shape of the skirt is quite nice and reletively flattering. However, the pattern on the top of the front waistband is not and will require a slightly longer shirt to cover it up.  The back is just gorgeous though and almost makes up for it.  The construction of it means that the smaller you are the more bustle you have in the back.  Now, I am not a little person, so the bustle is quite small...which was expected, but disappointing none the less. I would also say that the fabric is a bit of an odd choice for the piece.  Its baby cord, which is a very nice material just a bit out of sync for me with the flowing bustle of the skirt for me. All of that said, I really like it and will definitely be making a few more in a different fabric with a bit more flow...not sure if I would pay as much for a clothkits set again, but who knows they do have some great prints and the fabric is made in england.

Edited to say: I have made a fair few alterations to the original and I like it much better.  I had to take in the waist a bit as it was too bit and bothering me.  While i was at it, I changed the angle of the back bustle seam so that it was closer to a 30d angle, rather than the 45d angle from top to side seam that the pattern called for.  this gives it a more substantial bustle and makes it a bit more form fitting.  Better for us curvy girls.  You can test the seam by pinning a line and trying it on.