Happy birthday has finally arrived

And it’s a high five for me, who has scored a perfect ten on fit. Yes, birthdays are all about me and seeing my creations finally being worn. If you can remember, I made hubby some Lisa Ho boxers and a gorgeous modal Henley a few months ago. I am ever so proud of myself for refraining from gifting them before today.

My reluctant model permitted me to take a few photos (even though it was barely 6am and he had only just woken up). And yes, he did comment on the gorgeous fabrics. I will definitely be making these for him again. The modal works pretty well in this size for the Henley, but if I use a sturdier or less stretchy fabric, I think I will have to go up a size, particularly in the arm width (yes hubby, to accommodate those massive guns).

 

 
Thanks Nick for the photos. You are a natural! x
 

Jebediah for Christmas

I’m always stuck for things to buy my husband for Christmas. It isn’t that he has everything, quite the opposite actually. But everything he would like is well outside my budget, and probably also slightly outside the budget of a B-list rock-star too.

This year I made him some Jebediah pants from Thread Theory, well shorts actually, and really only a wearable muslin since I wanted them to be a surprise. His birthday is still a few days away too, so he still has no idea that I have made him anything (here and here) other than the usual business shirt. I can’t wait to see his surprise and I am desperately hoping that everything fits him reasonably ok.


I was inspired to get cracking on these Jebediah pants after reading Sallieoh’s recent post. I’d been looking at those pants for a few months but I wasn’t sure what the skinny fit would be like for my slightly larger hubby. It was great to see the pants on Sallie’s Nick. I have a Nick too and he isn’t too dissimilar in build (maybe one day I will get my Nick in front of the camera!).

Since I didn’t want to ruin the surprise by measuring hubby, I wasn’t going to waste any good fabric on these pants in case the fit ended up being horrendous. I purchased some cheap cotton drill from Spotlight, $16 worth in fact, bargain (although from the photos you can see how it wrinkles like crazy)! I also figured it was a good opportunity to push him outside his comfort zone and add a splash of colour to his wardrobe. Just check out that gorgeous blue! And of course the least-feminine button I could find in my stash was a vintage button from All Buttons and probably not really meant for a pair of men’s trouser shorts.


I love the back pocket stitching detail on these shorts and for a little something special, I used some leftover Italian shirting for the pocket lining.

 

Next time I make these pants, I will bind the inside seams and perhaps even use some decorative studs on the outside seams for extra detailing and strength.
 
I love patterns that teach me something and I learnt a great deal from these Jebediah pants. The pocket construction was new to me, but I am so proud that I finally mastered it. The instructions weren’t terribly clear, but after a bit of unpicking and rearranging of the facings, I finally figured out what I was supposed to do. I was completely bamboozled by this same technique a few weeks ago when I was trying to sew some different pants so it was especially wonderful to get that lightbulb moment.

It was also the first time I’ve inserted a fly front zipper. I was prepared to make a big mess of it and I had the Grainline tutorial on hand to help me through just in case (thanks Sallie!) but I ended up making it through fine, although I did have to read it twice and unpick once.

Well, this Christmas elf is clocking off now, having finally finished the last of her 2013 presents. It’s time for me to put my feet up and hand over the reigns to Santa! There should be a stack of photos coming your way in the aftermath of the 25th!




The Little Truck Stop Top Dress

Did I mention that I purchased 3m of that Marc Jacobs cotton knit fabric?! It would have been a good amount if not for the leg placement disaster of my own playsuit. But as it happened, I had enough for one more little top dress.


I had been eyeballing the Little Truck Stop Top for months but finally decided to get out there and purchase it, even though I knew it was still going to be a few sizes too big for my littlest girl.

As I’ve already mentioned, this little project was to use up the last bits of my Marc Jacobs knit. I also pieced together about six tiny lengths of some Liberty leftovers to make a beautiful bottom ruffle. I am a little obsessed with Liberty of London cotton right now so it might feature again pretty soon.

I cut the pattern to a size 7. It is way too big but it doesn’t gape immodestly. Miss Coco has not yet decided whether she will wear it as a dress or a nightie to rival her swishing sister.

And by the way, I managed to ‘roll’ the neck binding beautifully this time. I was so pleased with how it turned out after my earlier efforts, that I decided to push on and bind the sleeves before I went to bed. Wrong! I was obviously sleep-sewing. As you can see, I bound them the wrong way again so this is why there is no lovely ‘roll’ on the armscye. 

Another swishy nightie dress

Ok, so this little girl really does not need another night dress but what else was I to do with the remnants of my playsuit? I had to piece the back together in two small sections but you can barely see this due to the pattern.

 
 

The design is my own, basically a sleeveless and slightly shorter version of the other nightie I made for her this Spring. I’m planning to make a Little Truck Stop Top for Miss Five with the last little bits of this fabric so I thought I’d have a go at the interesting sleeve binding feature you see on this top. At first, I wasn’t sure what I did wrong because I simply couldn’t get the fabric to ‘roll’ the correct way. But now I realise that some fabrics just prefer to roll a certain way and I should have just attached it to the other side of the binding fabric instead.


Miss nearly-Four is now completely sorted for the hot summer nights ahead and putting on pyjamas is now a thing of great excitement for her each night. High five for Mummy making bath times a breeze and adding the swish factor to Miss nearly-Four’s nightwear!  

 
 

Marc Jacobs playsuit vintage Style

It all started with an impulse purchase of some Marc Jacobs cotton knit, which was both gloriously soft and lightweight. I planned to make the playsuit in this vintage Style pattern.

 


I actually love everything about this playsuit, so the only modification I planned was to size it down a little and possibly lengthen the legs to keep them in proportion for my 5″10 frame.

The project didn’t get off to the best of starts. I prewash most of my fabrics, and thought it would be a good idea to do so this time too. Now, I am not sure if my memory fails me, but I am pretty sure I took home fabric that had a sharp white background covered in black, purple and blue flowers. In any case, I got a bit of a shock when I hung it up, as the background was now grey. I just didn’t love it anymore, not at all!

So my excitement dipped a bit as I commenced the cutting. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to cut my fabric late at night. I somehow managed to lay out my pattern pieces in such a manner that would leave me short of half a leg…genius! I could have slapped myself! So now I was not only short of fabric for my playsuit but I would inevitably be left with a significant remnant I no longer really liked, nor trusted to wash with my whites.

Problem solving mode kicked in and I shortened both legs to make a shortie style playsuit instead. It wasn’t exactly what I was after, but I figured at the very least, it would make some lovely pyjamas! Because although I wasn’t too fond of my grey-scale fabric, it still has the most delightfully soft hand.

I also decided to ditch the pockets because who needs pockets in their pyjamas anyway?! I regret skipping the pockets now because it didn’t turn out too bad after all. I am pretty sure I will use this pattern again, but I will aim to make the long leg version next time, and I would also put a thin band of elastic in the top of the back bodice piece instead of the button.

Kimono sleeve jumpsuit for Miss Five

After such a great success sewing my Hannah top, I was quite keen to get stuck into another Salme sewing pattern, in particular the kiddie kimono sleeve playsuit. Well, it turned out an absolute treat! I really think I am developing a soft spot for Salme sewing patterns. The drafting is impeccable. The only complaint I have is that seam allowances aren’t included in the pdf downloads, meaning a bit more time is spent on my hands and knees tracing around the pattern pieces when I would really just prefer to cut and go. But maybe this feature would come in handy if I decided baste in my seamlines by hand for that extra special project.

The gorgeous Liberty of London I used is from Tessuti Fabrics. I only needed a mere 70cm to make this playsuit in a size seven for my little Miss 5. She’s quite tall for her age, so I knew I would have to size up in order to get the length right.


I would recommend putting three snap fasteners in the front instead of two to prevent gaping. And do you like my first attempt at beading? The fabulous gold sequins came from the Fabric Store.


It’s a bit wonky but I am so pleased with myself for finally having a go. I think I will practice a bit more on kiddie clothes before I jump into that special beading project. Thank you Laura Mae from Lilacs and Lace for putting together this little beading tutorial. It has been on my want-to-learn list for positively eons. And I have had a bag of beading stash under my sewing table waiting for me to get started for at least that long too.

A little bit of Lisa Ho for hubby

A few months ago, I made a great pair of Suzy pants using some of the most amazing Lisa Ho fabric that I picked up from the Fabric Store. The fabric was gorgeous, a lovely lightweight silk and cotton blend, with the most beautiful silky satin finish. Now as I was making my own pants, the fabric caught hubby’s eye. After a closer investigation of my fabric he declared that HE would like some pants in this fabric too. Now he may very well have been joking…but as it turned out, I had the exact amount left to make him his very own pair of boxers slash pj’s!

I used this great little pattern and made up the longer version of boxer without the side slit.


But I can definitely see the shorter style of boxer coming in handy for an 80’s night/Magnum PI party down the track.

I think they turned out rather swanky in the end. Who would have thought Lisa Ho could translate so beautifully into a pair of men’s boxers? Not I said the cat. But I am really hoping they fit…I used his undies elastic as a guide since I wanted them to be a surprise. But even if they don’t, I know they will make him smile because he loves a joke. I’m not totally sure he will model these for a photo but if he relents, I will be sure to update this post in a few weeks.

Vintage floral

We are having a great lazy start to the weekend here. For a pleasant change, all I can hear are little voices excitedly pretending to be fairies, teachers, campers and whatever else their little minds are thinking up on the spur of the moment. I can never keep up with the rules of their games. But at least there is a lot of love in the air today.


My girls are lucky enough to live in a quiet street, with some great neighbourhood kids to play with. They have a lovely time scooting up and down the pathway in front of our house, and generally spend their days running amok. 


Today Miss 5 was out racing around in her new top. A lovely little number made using some cute vintage cotton. Miss 3 is wearing her little Ralphy dress (made with a Tessuti fabric) with some gorgeous green vintage buttons we handpicked together from All Buttons in Newtown.


This is the pattern I used for Coco (View 2), but I scaled it down a bit to fit my size 5 girl.


I’d started out making it for my seven year old neighbour but when it looked like being way too small, I ditched this plan, slimmed the side seams a little and shortened it a smidge for my daughter. But the best thing about it has to be my zipper insertion. I am rarely excited by the way my zips turn out, but I think perhaps I may finally be getting better at them. God knows I’ve inserted enough into all my dresses and tops over the last two years for the sake of my little Midgie.




The back to front switcharoo

So my last fabric dyeing session wasn’t a great success. I decided to have a go at creating some floral designs on a light cotton/silk voile. Somehow, my hand decided to draw monster flowers, rather than the delicate buds in my minds eye. I also realised later that I hadn’t mixed the dye thoroughly enough and you can see grainy ‘dots’ of dye all through my flowers. You can only just see this dotty effect in the photo, but in real life it is quite an obvious flaw in the semi sheer fabric.

I can’t bear to throw away fabric, so I decided to make a summer nightie for my daughter using the pattern below. I chose to make the sleeveless nightie in View D, albeit a little shorter.

This is probably the oldest pattern I have ever attempted. The instructions were very clear and the tissue pieces were so delicate with several parts missing. I must also admit that I rushed through this project and didn’t take the time to transfer the markings from the paper correctly (well those that hadn’t been lost in time). I also skipped the ribbon seam binding because I didn’t have it at hand. The dress may have looked a little better with the ribbon, but I still don’t think it could have salvaged the nightie. But hang on…what happens if we turn the nightie around?! It’s just fabulous Mummy, all problems solved, and I especially love the big flower at centre front!

 

The big TWO


Happy birthday my little midgie! No, that’s not really her name, but that’s what she goes by in our house. She is the delightful little runt of the litter, average in height compared to her tall sisters and Miss Five quite likes the fact that ‘midgie’ is also the name of a tiny biting fly.

It may come as no surprise that her gift from me was a birthday dress. Made with some beautiful cotton/silk voile from Tessuti Fabrics. I lined it completely in cream voile because the fabric was a bit sheer. It is a simple lightweight frock in my own design, perfect for the summer heat, and a little loose to see her all the way through summer (assuming my midgie grows!).