Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

'Tis the Season

I used to sew a lot of gifts, but these days, not so much.
Time is a big factor. When I didn't have children the pleasure I took from sewing for others was enormous. If the outfits were not worn I didn't mind.

 I had had my fun.

 These days I am so time poor I like to know the gift is wanted and what they will use.

Liddy badly wanted me to sew something for her friend Jessie. As Jessie's mum used to do a lot of sewing (funny, as a full time agronomist, running a farm with her husband and two small girls she doesn't do much anymore) I was more then happy to oblige.
Ice Cream blouse and Hula Hoop skirt
both by Oliver+S
The Oliver+SIce Cream dress is my go to pattern for older girls. It doesn't require a lot of fitting and suits all sorts of body shapes.
I lined it as per my tute here

My clever sewing gal pal Peta is the Queen of Handmade Gifts. She knocks up the Hula Hoop skirt (also by Oliver+S) with amazing speed so I took a leaf from her book.
WIP Bubble dress

My favourite cousin is having a baby soon so when she announced her special news I had to make a teeny tiny Bubble  dress. Like me, she would put it on a tiny baby boy.
Jed's nephew had a sweet sweet baby girl, Amaya, so I use a little more of my treasured Tula Pink stash to make another wee Bubble dress.
Tildy went to her first 'proper' Birthday Party and insisted on me sewing a dress for Ruby. She went through her own special fabric stash and chose some vintage-y Hope Valley for a lined Tea Party dress (another Oliver+S).

There are two little sisters up-the-road that I always make Birthday and Christmas dresses for.
Lily and Annie's Mum doesn't sew a stitch but I adore sewing for her girls as she makes me feel like a Rock Star.

She likes girly but not too girly.
Matchy but not too matchy, so a pair of Tea Party dresses in some gorgeous Tula Pink Prince Charming fits the bill.
I used some of my special painted MOP buttons. I just had to, the fabric was too perfect a match.

Little Miss Mae is another little girl I like to sew for. I sewed dozens of garments for her older sister as that was before I had my own children. I often feel guilty about Mae's lack of hand made.

While I was minding her one day, she explained I didn't have to make her a dress this year. She very sweetly told me that you can buy a card and put money in it. That would save me a lot of time.

Tildy became very excited about this idea as she had seen a card that was made to look like a purse only a few days before. Guess what I am going back to get for Mae's Birthday.

I told Mae that I could indeed do that if she would rather it but after a few minutes thought she answered that she actually would like a frock if that was not too much work.

One with butterflies on it.
I found a pretty remnant in the fabric bin at Spotters a few weeks later so that was serendipitous indeed.

I had not actually planned to sew for BIL daughter. I used to but I wasn't sure she actually liked it and as I said before, time is precious.

A comment from my SIL (her stepmother) made me change my mind. I guess I made the dress as much for my SIL as my niece.

After making Zara a silk Oliver+S Seashore  dress I was convinced that it works as a sophisticated pre-teen garment.
I used a denim printed with a gold, cross hatched pattern.
Elsa modelled it for me and then promptly requested one for her self.
After texting my other SIL (and Grandmother of sweet Amaya) I decided to sew up a teeny tiny version for my great niece.

Unfortunately, it was too snug but as her mother sent it back promptly with a request for another dress, two sizes up I think she liked it.

And I am very happy to oblige.

I still have a few long time promises to finish. A Sorbetto top in Liberty for a friend. Two
Sketchbook shirts for two sweet baby boys. Overdue Australian fauna print pyjama's  for two little siblings and a Secret Agent trench is some gorgeous lilac japara fabric.

But I will get there.
And as long as I size up for the children all will be well.

Thanks for popping by
xx N

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Playtime for Mummy

Now I must admit to feeling a bit of a dicky-doo-dah.
When I first saw the Oliver+S Playtime dress, tunic and leggings
I thought it was cute but very 'little girly'.
A screen shot from the Oliver+S website
I don't think I am the only one who misses the hand painted portraits that used to grace the patterns.
I do understand that new customers were confused and thought they were dolls clothes but I loved those little girls( and boy) so. 
from the oliver+s site
from the oliver+s site
from the oliver+site 
(But you can still play with them)

I also found it a handy tool when showing the patterns to my older girls.

They could 'see' the design in the painting and that with the line drawing gave them an idea of the garment.

Both Twins flat out refused to look twice at them once the photographed children covers patterns were released.

I also wondered if was a bit too much of an 'easy' sew.
Now, I don't mean to sound obnoxious, but my children are all in school now. They just don't need that many casual clothes anymore. So I like my sewing for them to be a bit of a challenge.

The Twins badly need a couple of neat comfortable 'travel' outfits.
We do a lot of driving, often returning quite late at night. The Littles are happy to wear their pyjamas but the Twins are a bit old to do that.

Elsa wears her Book Report dress so often I thought I would have another look at Oliver+S.

Zara's measurements still worked within the size 12 sizing so I decided I would try the biggest size of Playtime dress.
If it was too tight it would do for my niece for her birthday gift.

Elsa and Zara both flipped over the Seashore dress I made for said niece for Christmas.

And as I still have a good 20 metres of this gold printed denim left I figured it was a fairly safe choice.

I drafted the size 12 with no modifications. Again, I was suitably impressed with the PDF pattern. So easy to put together with scissors and a glue stick.

I thought the dress would be an easy sew, possibly a bit dull but I was so wrong.

The dress has facings which edge stitched and then topstitched in place with the aid of a separate template.
I used a gold thread but it was a nightmare to sew. 
I think I will save it for hand embroidery.
The kimono style sleeves are eased and fitted in place.
The pockets are well thought out and also topstitched in place.

Lots of different details, none of them hard but it is certainly more involved then I predicted and certainly not a boring sew.

Said dress has not yet been tried on.
Father Christmas brought the Fab Five a pingpong table and that is taking up all spare time.
But it has been given the thumbs up.
So, if it fits, it will be worn.

I promise to show you modelled piccies soon!

xx N
PS I drafted the leggings too, I am hoping they may fit if made up in a very stretchy lycra/cotton knit.
I will let you know.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Look what I found

How adorable is this?

A screen shot of the new Clever Charlotte pattern
Clever Charlotte are releasing a new pattern.

Check it out!

PS I am not paid or given stuff for my blogs.
I just really like these patterns.

xx N

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Hugo is attending his childhood chum Airlee's 17th Birthday.
The theme is uniform.
Hugo thought he would put together a private college  look.
So I made him a new shirt.
 The pattern is VogueMEN V8096. Its the same shirt pattern I used to make this shirt.
Hugo chose some very nice stretch poplin in dark charcoal.
And we both liked the look of this silky Spotters Japanese lawn for the yoke.
My favourite detail of this shirt is the sleeve placket.
I love me a sleeve placket.
Something I know my fellow shirt maker friend will totally understand.
Paired with his Vogue trousers he looked proper smart.
A pose just for Deb.
Hi Guys!
Yes, I think he is awesome.
But not very 'uniformish' I hear you say?
Well check this out baby-baby.
I sewed a quick fish school crest onto an old boiled wool blazer of mine.
I just used felt. It was so easy and pretty effective if I do say so myself.
The fish hat was his idea.
A School of Fish......

I hope he has fun.

xx N

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


'Tis a proud moment when a mother makes her son his first fish costume.
This year, for Presentation night, Hugo's class is doing a performance of What does the fox say?

And the fish says 'glub'.
I made the hat using this pattern. The seller was awesome! As I purchased from America I was a little worried about it getting here in time.
It took only a little over a week, the chap posted it straight away for me. What a gent, check out his patterns.
The pattern is meant to be made up in polar fleece but I used silver vinyl.
It was tricky but not as hard as I thought it would be.
I used a piece of linen as a rajah cloth when I was pressing the seams open.
For the mouth and eyes I used satin.
All the extras have foam inside of them.
I used a cotton jersey to line it. 
The pattern had great instructions for a beautiful clean finish.
For the suit I used this pattern.
The sewing should have been straight forward but my fabric choice made it a nightmare.
Avoid lamè jersey if at all possible!
Both my machines struggled, in the end my overlocker gave up completely.
I resorted to pinning, hand basting, machine basting and then sewing each seam three times with my over locker. 
It was a nightmare.
The rest of his class purchased 'onesies' from eBay but we could not find a fish variation.
I wonder why....
But the boy is happy.
Jed didn't mind it either.....

I thought my costume sewing was done but we had a few last minute tears and requests from the Twins.
Add caption
Zara asked me to make her a tank top with a 90's style graphic print and Elsa was after a Madonna/Desperately Seeking Susan 80's style crop top.

Thank goodness for a sewing stash.

The show is on tomorrow night, so hopefully that is it.

xx N

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Lidia's class is putting on a Pantomime for Presentation Night this year.
Liddy has the role of 'Sleepy the Dwarf' and Mrs Wandel suggested  pyjamas as a costume.

Although the original pj pattern the Bedtime Story are by far my favourite, we both agreed the Sleepover pyjamas are more 'retro' and looked right!

Liddy found the fabric she wanted in Spotlight and requested white cuffs and facing.

I made up a pattern for a night cap, its not perfect but a milliner I aint.
Elsa donated a shiny gold bell. 
I used some star shaped mother-of-pearl buttons for some on stage sparkle.
These may have to removed (before being used for slumber) if they are scratchy.
I continued the buttons over the shoulder.
Just because.
The beard came as a downloadable PDF from here.
My sewing gal pal Britters sniffed it out for me.
Thanks Babe!
 The beard has a felt backing as the faux fur was nasty cheap stuff and a bit scritchy.
I simply glued the two together.
It worked well. 
We went with elastic to hold it in place.
Easier then ribbons for a 10 year old.
One Sleepy the Dwarf.
Channeling Hercule Poirot?
How she will appear on stage.
(She came up with the idea of wearing knee pads under her pj bottoms)
You are yawning now, aren't you?

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go.......

xx N

Did I mention Hugo's costume?