FINISHED! the disintegrating double gauze sugar tee

Clearly I was pretty taken with the sugar tee by Katie-Maree Cole in my recently aquired Home Sewn book, as no sooner had I finished my little post about the book, I was dragging out some double gauze I have had in the stash for a long time, some yellow lace bought on a whim and got pattern tracing.
The size in the book is a 10, bust 87cm, waist 67cm and hips 94cm so I just went right ahead with the sizing to see how it would turn out.  The instructions are basic but straightforward (just 7 steps). No diagrams, just 7 short written steps.
The fit is great and will definitely be making many more of these.  I just adore this style.
Worn to work today - Hulk drawn by Oliver one afternoon in my office
I'm also pretty fond of the yoke for which I used the 'wrong side' of the double gauze. I love the feel of this material and I've always thought that it was a shame that I could never find anything to make out of it.  I'm super keen on it with the yellow lace.  The lace is a bit narrow (maybe) and I didn't gather it as per the instructions in the book but I prefer it this way on this top at least.

What I won't do next time is
  1. Think that this will be really quick and easy and try to squeeze it in before and then try to push on after dinner.  Yes, 90% of it goes together quickly but there is still some time in the binding.  This is not the time to be trying to sew with small children and Ben away.  Everyone and everything goes feral. Oh, who am I kidding.  I probably will do this wild chase of instant sewing gratification again, but one day I need to learn.
  2. I won't sew double gauze like it's normal cotton - or even worse like it's jersey which is sort of what I did as I used the overlocker for the seams - don't ask me what I was thinking - see point 1 above!  Of course everytime I looked at it a split appeared in a seam. I have fixed most of them now, but can see myself carrying around the fray stoppa and glueing it all back together.  I was nervous wearing it to work today but no splits spotted.

in the mail: HOME SEWN

Last night my copy of HOME SEWN (from the NZ Fashion Museum) arrived, well the card to say that it was down at the post office arrived; so this morning I raced down to the post office to pick it up.  As soon as I got into the car I ripped open the packing and started flipping through the patterns. 

The book is about the same size as a Japanese pattern book and comes with ten free patterns. In one size only.  And each pattern is a different size with no obvious consistency.. which is a bit strange, but all the patterns are pretty simple and not overly fitted so I don't think they would be too hard to adjust.  

The book is divide into 3: a history of home sewing in NZ, profiles plus a pattern from ten NZ fashion designers (including the Miss Chalmers Skirt from Papercut Patterns) and a 'how to ...' at the back also written by Papercut Patterns.

Now for the designs, here are some of my favourites:
I really like this one, although it's now really my style... but you never know!

A cute little skirt which I might make.

A cute little top which looks sooo super easy. This I will definitely make when I'm looking for a quick bit of sewing gratfication.

 I think I'll make this top too.  I can see it working winter or summer.
This dress - the feature on the front is probably the most interesting of all the designs. I'll be keeping this in the back of my mind. I don't have an occasion to make this yet, but again, you never know.

If I'd seen this book in a shop and had a chance to flick through the patterns, rather than just buying blind over the internet I probably would have still bought it.  It has a lovely aesthetic, it supports NZ fashion and there are enough patterns in there to keep me interested. Usually if I make one pattern from a book I think that's a good buy, although that is probably a low benchmark! I've certainly spent $40 on less interesting pattern books and having the Miss Chalmers Skirt in it is definitely a bonus.

Making potions

Oliver had a friend over this morning who showed my boys something I probably should have shown them years ago (although I will say that it was all about water restrictions and not my aversion to the mess). Turning the hose on in the garden and making big puddles.  Really big puddles.  Shocking isn't it.  My childhood is full of mud pie making, running through the sprinkler and other hose related adventures. Well since the friend left, Oliver and Elliot have been busy outside 'making potions'. (Yes, there is a bit of a Harry Potter moment happening in the house). It is hard for me not to say "stop you are making a big mess and wasting water" and "I just vacuumed and now you are treading mud everywhere"..but you know what.  This is a good thing.  They are playing together and doing something fun and creative. And it is outside!  I think it is very hard in this day to get kids to do that. Well it is for my kids. They have so much immediate and inside entertainment. And Ben and I are both pretty keen on our indoor interests (like sewing obviously). But it is a beautiful sunny almost spring day so they should be outside.  This is a proud mummy moment. 
The potions brewing in the sun

Aladdin's pants revisited

Back in May I was taken by the idea of tracksuit pants to go out in and made what turned out to be a bit of a aladdin's magical pj pants. I was going to post the picture from May, but couln't believe when I looked at the picture again I actually wore that outfit out! I've pulled them out again today and given them a second chance.  This time with a different top and shoes. Bettter.. better... but still not convinced.

I haven't done any sewing this weekend :( but am getting a list together.  I have Tuesday off work so am hoping to slip in a trip to the fabric shop sans les enfants.
I have also bought this book so hoping it comes in the mail soon too!  NZ have such talent the I have high expectations for this book

lazy start to the day

I have just had a lovely start to a morning.  Ben flew to the US this morning and as his taxi came at 5.40am it was impossible to stay asleep with him (not so quietly) hunting for socks and things.  So, after he left I made a cup (or 3) of tea.. snuggled back into bed with my knitting (it is progressing - slowly) and watched the first episode of Howzat! on my laptop with the sun rising.  Aaaah.  Never has waking up at that time been so nice!  Except now the sun is up and that means soccer is on so I better get moving.
By the way, the quilt cover is our new one from Oh Mabel!  It is gorgeous and would you believe she lives in Canberra!

daffodil day

Spring is just around the corner, but like the fickle thing the weather is I swear we had snow here today.  I'm half hoping the weather continues like this over the weekend so that soccer is cancelled and we can loll about in our pjs all day.  I still have a bit of knitting to do on that baby blanket!

FINISHED! Banskia top


Finally.  I have finished this top.  Unnaturally I took my time with it. It is a bit dodgey in places, but as I said in my last post, if you stand a little way away from it the sewing looks pretty good.  I really liked the pattern (placket aside) and the fit is great - no  adjustments needed.
I'm really glad I did it but there are a few things I would do differently:
  1. I will line up the buttonholes properly - although the spacing on this one IS a design feature!!
  2. I like the material, but it is a bit pale and because of the material makes me a bit washed out (and it's hard to photo)
  3. I used the facing for the whole placket which meant that it was doubled over which I think was too much. It made it hard for my button holdes. Next time around (if there is one) I would only do half. Luckily I will never have to undo the buttons!
  4. I love my machine, but it is pretty low end, so if I were to ever buy a new one I think checking out the button holes would be number one on my list.  I've now decided that my machine doesn't do great button holes!  It's not me!
The fabric I used is Liberty of London "Kara's Trees" and is from the 2011 Summer collection.  It is a design inspired by Quentin Blakes 'L is for Legs' illustration for his 'ABC'. 

I have 11 days left of August is Buttons so I might have enough time to squeeze in another button outfit.  I liked making the drape cardigan and I have worn it HEAPS of times, so I might make another one.... However.... yesterday in the post arrived  my new Pleated Pant pattern from Papercut Patterns.  I know others have talked about their packaging and how great it is, but it is really beautiful.  I think the Banksia top will go great with a finished pleated pant as the ones I'm wearing here are getting a bit old... but I should wait until Zipper month!


I'm still working on the Banksia top.  Yes, still.  Today Oliver invited a friend over after soccer so I have managed to have about 3 continuous hours of sewing while he and his friend play and Elliot tries constantly to get in on the action.  3 hours.  That's how long it has taken me to put the damn placket onto this blouse.  Ok, slight exageration, I also put the sleeves in, but I can guarantee that the majority of today's sewing was on the placket and the button holes.
The first mistake I did was to cut the plackets in half. It wasn't until I'd sewn them on (don't worry it was only one seam per side) that I realised (or at least suspected my mistake. So I recut the material and facing. For anyone who has sewn this top there are two methods in the pattern.  I used method 2, which is supposed to be the more traditional, though harder option. It's bit unclear to me how to line everything up at the top but it's done now.  It looks ok if I make sure I'm a metre or so away from people at all times when I wear it they won't know any different.  And the pattern makes the material very forgiving.
Banksia blouse so far
The other mistake I did was with the placing of the button holes.  I can't tell you how many times I measured the spacing out but still got it wrong.  So much for someone who did some maths at University!!  Anyway, I'm going to call that a design feature when the buttons go on. But that won't be today.  I've put this blouse away and I'l hem the bottom and the sleeves and add the buttons another day.  The placket has taken it out of me!
gratuitous photo of liberty binding  

you're tops

A couple of weeks ago I bought a wall decal from Shanna Murray which arrived yesterday.
It is a perfect hot pink but my photo isn't that great. As you can see my wall is pretty 'knobbly' but it sticks perfectly
And here it is in situ:
I love it.

banksia - wip

UntitledThe other garment I committed to make during my self imposed 'August is Buttons' is the Banksia top by Megan Nielsen.  Well, I've made a start.  The next step is the placket and the buttons, so I'm taking a bit of a  break from it now to return to my knitting. I'm using Liberty of London fabric I bought back in April .  It feels good to go into the stash.  I hope to finish this top next weekend, although we are planning another trip to the snow.  This time just for the day (Sunday) and to Mt Selwyn, which we haven't been to before but it is 'family' oriented and heaps cheaper than where we usually go, so it's worth checking out.



One of the reasons I started to sew was because of the constant array of costumes that seemed to be required: birthday parties, book week, going down the supermarket ....  Book week is this week coming up and kindly the teachers have given us a week's notice. I'm hoping to convince Oliver to wear one of the costumes that I have already made him in the past.  Here is a selection of my favourite ones.
This one is easily the most popular:  Jay from Lego Ninjago.  Worn many many many times.
This is Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars.  This was made for book week last year (gosh Oliver looks so young here and it's only last year)

Anakin Skywalker
And this one, which was a one off - was for a 4 year old's Monster Scarecrow party.  He is only 3 here. The 'straw' is actually wool from spotlight which was really soft but perfect.  

He is still umming and aaahing about this year.  Fingers crossed it is a variation on a theme that we already have covered!!  The costume run hasn't started in as much enthusiasm for Elliot.. but it's just a matter of time.

blanket progress and a new notebook


This is my lo-fi baby blanket starting to take shape as we drove to the snow yesterday. The weather was pretty wild up there, but I managed to graduate from the 'magic carpet' and go on the tbar and a chairlift!! Very proud of myself.
I arrived home to find a parcel in the mailbox:  my new pink fashionary.  Have you heard about these?  You must check them out.  I often buy things like this, which I probably have no need for but instantly fall in love with the idea of having it.  It has heaps of good sewing information including a fabric dictionary, laundry labels, seams and stitches and all sorts of fabulous things and best of all pages of templates for drawing up designs.  I can't draw but was thinking this might be where I put in the patterns that I'd like to make.  Photos below courtesy of the fashionary website:

Drape Cardigan no. 15 again!

Much to the annoyance of Ben I made him take this photo of me.  We are off to the snow today (skiiing tomorrow not today) so this is my 'travel outfit'.  Liking this cardi - especially with the shorts. Last photo of the cardi, I promise.

Finished! Drape Cardigan no. 15

My mum thinks this fabric looks like a mangey dog and Oliver thinks it looks like snake (which I think is cool for him because he is so into Ninjago rise of the snakes).  Ben was also pretty dismissive of it, but you know what.  I think I like this cardigan.  Especially from the front.
Drape Cardigan no.15

This cardigan has been really fun to put together.  I mean it. The pattern is great and I love how the pattern has built in pockets.  It was also a great one to do in bits. Thursday night:  trace pattern. Friday night: cut fabric and sew seams together.  Saturday morning add trim and Saturday afternoon: buttons and button holes (all 7!!!).  Yep, here is a picture of some of my buttons.  Very proud.
I really like the pattern from the front, but there is a lot of bulk at the back which I'm not sure suits me 100%.  If I made it again, I might try to shorten it a bit at the back.
My bottom definitely looks big in it....but it is an interesting cardi and one that I think I will wear.

Drape Cardigan no 15 - the obsession begins

UntitledI was originally going to start my month of buttons aka "August is Buttons" with the Banksia top - I have the fabric, pattern and buttons... but on closer inspection of Drape Cardigan no 15 from She has a Mannish Style, it was impossible to go past this pattern.  I have become obsessed.  Just look at those shaped pattern pieces!

Last night I pulled out the tracing paper and got to work.  Yeeeesh.  I've traced a lot of patterns before but I had forgotten about this book - rivalled only be the Drape Drape series I think.  I'm all for saving a tree but would it really hurt to put in just one more page so the patterns aren't so hidden!!
I really must also invest in a Seam Allowance Guide!
I'd run out of wool for my dodgy lo-fi blanket, so luckily I was in the mood for some tracing in front of the tv while I watched the Olympics and the last two episodes of Mildred Pierce.  Has anyone seen this by the way and if so what did you think?
The other part of my obsession with this pattern is that I saw this jersey (very soft and very thin - not sure what type it is) at A2F a couple of weeks ago and then got it into my head that this would be the perfect material for this cardigan.  I raced in on the way to the swimming pool (basically leaving the car running with the boys in it) this afternoon and grabbed some.  It is now in the wash and while I'm not as obsessive about it now as I was this morning, I still think it is going to be a winner.  It is a bizarre cross between animal print (can you see that?) and preppy!