Tag Archives: Sewing

Sewing – A shirt for myself

Once again, it’s a wearable garment for myself which has made it’s way from my sewing table to my wardrobe. Two pieces of sewn clothing for myself within a couple weeks is pretty monumental when you consider just how few things I’ve made for myself over the past years. But while my Field of Flowers dress has been worn so much since I made it, this top is patiently waiting for the weather to turn a little cooler. This hot, muggy weather isn’t conducive to wearing a 3/4 sleeve top. But I expect as soon as the cool evenings start to roll in, I’ll appreciate having this one ready and waiting for me.

Once again I played with fabric origami to brighten up an otherwise fairly plain top. I like the way the triangles look a little quirky and fun (and not too childish, I hope).

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The finer details for those who are interested:

:: Pattern – Esme top from Sew Liberated

:: Fabric – the main fabric was from the bargain rack at my local patchwork store and the solid colours are a mix of Anna Maria Horner solids.

:: Alterations – I sewed five small, topstitched tucks at the centre front instead of gathers as I felt this would be more flattering on my figure and make it look less like a maternity top. I also sewed a casing at the waist on both sides and stitched a small amount of elastic. This was, once again to make it a little more figure hugging and less like a big, blowsy smock.

:: Other thoughts – I think my fabric was too stiff for the pattern and seems to poke out instead of falling softly (thus, the reason why I added the side elastic and tucks instead of gathers). I also think I would make the neckline a bit narrower if I made another one – it seems to constantly feel like it’s falling off my shoulders (even if it isn’t).  All in all, I’m not completely in love with this top, but to be fair, I haven’t worn it enough to give myself a chance to really like it as part of my wardrobe either. So time will tell on that one. I might have to check back in here and let you know how much I wear it over the winter. What I really like is the colourful, triangle accents around the yoke, the mustard topstitching contrasting with the grey and the brass buttons which have been in my button tin seemingly forever.

:: Would I make another one – hmmm, I don’t know. I think I would like to try this in softer fabric because I think it looks like a practical addition to my cool weather wardrobe, but I find myself getting put off with not feeling ‘good’ when I put this one on.

Winter PJ’s

After all my talking about the beautiful winter days I did last week. It feel’s completely appropriate to mention here that it’s been getting awfully cold as well. In fact it’s the first time in about 7 years that I’ve spent a winter in a place where frost can be found on the ground – quite thickly, every morning – and even ice on the car windscreen! I think I’ve become a bit soft about the whole cold weather issue, living in the mild climates which I have in recent years.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, winter days are still my favourite time of year, especially when spent in the glorious sunshine outdoors. But it’s the nights and early mornings which are taking a bit of getting used to.

Since my studio is the most lovely, deliciously, warm, sunshiny (that’s a word isn’t it?) place to be found in our home during the day. And as a bonus it’s within cooee of anything happening in the yard and rest of the house as well – a big bonus with four little ones (and not-so-little-ones) running around all day. I’ve been spending a good amount of time here. Perched at my big, white desk, playing with fabric and wool. Such a delightful way to spend these afternoon hours, I do think.

The wool part is still in process – knitting does take time, now doesn’t it. And I’m learning as I go so I suspect it’s taking me more time than some. But that’s just fine. The process is ever so enjoyable. But the fabric and sewing part, I’m much more adept at – a fair amount of practice in this area I suppose.

And the result of my studio time this last week has been my four munchikins snuggled warmly in mummy-made pi’s each night, under a Mummy (or Ma) made quilt.  Ahhhh, it does my heart good to see that as I slip a little kiss on these four sweet faces, on my way to bed at night. Warm children snuggled in Mummy’s love. Yes, a good way to greet the slumber I do think.

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It’s such a pity you can’t feel these fabrics. They are so delicious. Flannels – yes. But the thickest, snuggly flannels I’ve ever sewn with. I would compare them with a wool rather then a typical sewing flannel. I discovered them at one of my favourite patchwork shops last year but refrained from purchasing (I was very aware that shifting house etc. wasn’t conducive to much sewing and they would no doubt sit in the cupboard if I bought them then). But this year a new range of prints arrived. Much more subtle, like ‘grandpa’s pi’s’ was the way I described them. So, of course, I had to splurge. It was a rather extravagant fabric to use for kid’s pi’s. But I figure they sleep in them every single night for a whole season (or more) so why not use the nicest possible fabrics.

Hexagon Quilt

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It’s been such a bustling, creative time in my studio lately. I’ve been finding moments here and there to hide away and stitch yet another seam or cut another piece – you know how it is when the creativity is bubbling over in your head and there is no other solution but to utilise those little pockets of time to recreate the beauty in real life. This creative bug seems to have hit most of the family, with various children accompanying me in making things – sometimes working on their own projects and other times actually helping me – I’ve been taken quite by surprise to find that the older ones are now ‘big enough’ to really help me out – pinning quilts, cutting fabric, even sewing a seam or two…. very capable. Oh, it’s been one of the nicest surprises to discover.

With all this making happening, I thought it was high time I called in here and showed you some of our creations. It’s one of those things I find hard to balance – the creative input seems to run in spurts and I get so caught up in it that I forget to come to this place and share with you lovely people – and I really enjoy doing that and along the way hope that you enjoy sharing our lives as well. So let’s grab a cuppa (I’m enjoying a freshly brewed, black coffee in case you would like to join me) and I’ll tell you about this bright, spring-like burst of colour which currently adorns my table.

It was a project which just kind of evolved while playing around with the pack of pre-cut triangles which I had bought a year or two ago when I was teaching children’s sewing classes but it was never used. In the effort to finish off some projects and clean out the sewing cupboard a bit, I thought I’d put these bright triangles into use. I really liked the triangle/hexagon shape mix so sewed them together as such – this took many weeks in between travelling and other projects and of course everyday family life! Then it sat waiting for my quilting pins to be finished with another project (to be revealed here soon).

Still without any final use in mind Eamon decided it made the perfect blanket for himself and his teddies and almost daily he would come and get it off my sewing table for whatever use he had in mind before returning it when he was finished (hmmm, at 2 years old he isn’t always this efficient in returning things to their correct place). He even tried to use it while it was in the sewing machine in process of quilting, this required a high level of negotiation skills on my behalf  to convince him to use a different quilt that time.

Then as I finished the last hand stitch on the binding late one evening last week, I lay it over the table to look at it and decided it really looked at home with the mis-matched brightness of our chairs. And there it has stayed for the past week or so without anyone, including Eamon, using it for anything else – so I think it has found it’s home (for now at least).

 

Weekending – The Stitching and Breakfasting edition

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It was an impromptu Saturday morning decision to jump in the car and visit my parents. The lure of a group of beautiful ladies meeting together for ‘coffee’ and stitching for the entire afternoon was very tempting, along with the willingness and encouragement of my dear husband to allow me to go for a girls only night away. So I quickly gathered a stitching project or two, threw in some clothes, gathered Holly along with her knitting and jumped in the car – without much more thought than that. The result was a physically relaxing but mentally stimulating day and a half. A rare and precious opportunity to spend time alone with my daughter – long car trips to chat away together and time for her to join the ‘ladies’ drinking tea and stitching.

With it being my intention this year to say ‘Yes’ to these types of opportunities more often, this was timely and I’m very glad I said a wholehearted ‘Yes’.

{ this moment }

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.
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This Moment 014:: The work in process often found in my 6 year old’s hands.

:: His own design.

:: He decided he needed green wool.

:: Then after an agonising two day wait, he had the opportunity to choose his own colours at the Nundle Woolen Mill.

:: One very focused, excited boy stitching up his very own pattern.

:: Boy and project often found snuggling close to Mummy on the couch as we stitch together.

:: Sweet moments to savour and remember.

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Inspired by Soulemama
Linking up with A Picture, A Moment

Preparations

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Looking ahead over the next few days and I foresee about 26 hours driving – in the passenger seat. So the essential preparations are in full swing. Much hand stitching and crocheting was first to be packed followed by a couple of good books to read. Yes, essential preparations indeed.

Business Card Holder – Tutorial

With my fabric business cards made and showing my personality, I decided that a place to keep them safe would be essential – after all, my handbag is more accustomed to holding spare clothes and snacks for the children than these cute little cards. So I set to work with co-ordinating fabrics and the result makes me smile – perfect for me.

Follow along and I’ll show you how to make your own.

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You will need:

2 pieces 5 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ outer and lining
2 pieces 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ pockets
5 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ iron-on pellon
1 small hair elastic

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On one long edge of each pocket piece, fold over 1/4″ and iron in place. Fold over another 1/4″ and iron in place enclosing the raw edge along that side and creating a double hem.

Topstitch close to folded edge.

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Place pocket pieces onto right side of lining fabric with hemmed edges toward the middle, raw edges matching and right sides facing up.

Iron pellon onto wrong side of outer fabric. Place this outer fabric/pellon piece right sides together with lining/pocket piece.

Pin.

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At the centre of one end, insert hair elastic between the pocket and outer fabric. Allow enough of the elastic loop sandwiched between the fabric to allow a button to pass through, leaving any excess elastic to be caught in the seam. Pin in place.

 

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Using a 1/4″ seam, stitch around the edges leaving an opening for turning along one of the longer edges. Reinforce the elastic by backstitching a couple times.

Clip corners.

Turn right side out.

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Gently push out corners, using a semi-pointed object (ie. tweezers held shut or a blunt pencil).

Iron, making sure the opening seam is ironed in and sitting flat.

Topstitch close to outer edge, stitching the opening closed.

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Stitch two rows of topstitching down the centre of holder. This makes a nice, crisp fold when it is closed.

Hand sew a button in place on the front of holder, Stitch through outer and lining fabrics but keep the pocket out of the way while you stitch. Determine the button position by marking where the centre of the loop sits when it is closed.

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Fill with your business cards and enjoy having something pretty to protect them.

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Be Authentic – Be YOU

A simple little card was causing me a whole lot of grief. I’ve never really had a great need for a business card. Well, other than my children drawing on them, or playing memory or snap or something. They have just never been a necessity in my life. Until, now it would seem. Twice in the past few weeks I’ve been asked for my business card! What? It sound’s all very official really and had quite a nice ring to it. Yes, I think it was time to get myself organised and get myself some business cards.

Sounds easy, right? No. After a week of evenings spent looking at the computer screen, I finally admitted defeat. My strengths quite obviously don’t lie in graphic design. In fact just uploading the photos I wanted to use was a big enough struggle last week.

So I phoned my sister - the one who is blessed with design and style and seems to find this kind of thing quite easy. So I asked her advice, a good thing after such a long time of frustration – yes.

Her response probably wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought she would like what I had finally put together and say, ‘go ahead and get them printed’. But no. She wasn’t all that thrilled with the design aspect. Thought they were ‘nice’ but that’s all. Oh. ‘Nice’. I wanted something more than just ‘nice’.

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Then she very diplomatically suggested I should do something that was authentically ‘ME’. Yes, of course. I’m writing about such things all the time. I try to live my life intentionally and with authenticity. Yet here I was trying to create some great, professional looking business cards. Oh it felt important, but really wasn’t authentically me at this point in my life.

So I got to work, dreaming up all the things that I love at the moment – fabric, sewing, bright colours (those five colours of flowers at the top of this page, they seem to follow me everywhere – my bed quilt is stripes of those colours, the children’s school folders, the table cloth I made years ago, a quilt I made about 13 years ago, the 5 coloured glass candle holders etc. All those same colours – Me in a nutshell I suppose).

So I got out my trusty cardboard, cutter, sewing machine and the most gorgeous stash of fabric which has been sitting on my sewing desk for the past few weeks. And created my own fabric ‘business cards’. And I LOVE them. I didn’t find it at all stressful to make them, all the work happened in amongst ‘life’ – while chatting to my husband and watching some tv, while hearing spelling words, while playing cards with my son (yes I can cut fabric and play cards at the same time).

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The lesson I learnt through this process isn’t anything at all about business cards. I really don’t think it matters in the least what my cards look like – the printed ones with photos would have been lovely as well. It isn’t anything to do with whether you like to design on paper, computer and just go for it without a design.

The key is working to your own rhythm, flowing and seeming ‘easy’ rather than just all hard work… It’s all about being authentic to yourself. I was trying to do something for no good reason other than because I thought I should and getting frustrated and stressed in the process. Instead I thought outside the box and made something that may not be totally professional looking but it is a reflection of me, my life and this blog at this point in my life.

So I encourage you to BE AUTHENTIC in your life. Don’t try to impress, don’t do  things just because you think you need to, instead do things which are a reflection of YOU.

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Sewing Boys Shorts – again

Once again I find myself at my sewing table with a need to add to my youngest son’s wardrobe. Shorts, again…. Well his wardrobe wasn’t completely lacking in this department, it’s just that the last batch of shorts I made – 6 in all for this toilet training boy – didn’t have pockets. What a terrible oversight made by this Mummy. I thought I’d just quickly run up some simple shorts so I had a few spare pairs, nothing fancy, just using whatever fabric I had on hand (not really ‘photo worthy’). But… this two year old of mine has his own sense of style, obviously. The first time he put these shorts on, he looked and looked but couldn’t find the pockets. After much convincing he did leave them on but, had to wear a jumper with pockets. And this has continued, he wears these shorts only with one specific jumper – the jumper with pockets. All well and good if the weather suited wearing a jumper. But in our sweltering, hot, summer weather this causes all sorts of issues. What an oversight, this Mummy not putting pockets in the shorts.

So this time I’ve gone back to my tried and trusty pattern (which you can see here and here and here) and made him two pairs of shorts – complete with plenty of pockets!! These are very similar to the shorts I have in my shop.

But, oh dear, I am struggling with these shorts, I cut out the wrong size … late at night, not thinking and all that. So he now has these two pairs sitting in the cupboard waiting for next year and I’m back to the sewing room today for another instalment of making boys shorts.

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A Finished Floral Patchwork Quilt

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A pile of pre-cut squares left over from a project made several years ago, have lived in my sewing cupboard. Not really enough to do much with, yet enough to warrant something nice and pretty. I have always loved the fabrics and combination of florals, spots and stripes and had many ideas of what I should or could do with them over the years. But in the cupboard they remained.

In an attempt to clean out my fabric drawers, I dug them out with the intent to make something.  I found some extra blue floral which gave me enough for a basic patchwork, lap quilt. A bit of measuring, cutting, joining and measuring again meant I could squeeze enough fabric for a small, pink spot border and a patchwork binding. I was really pleased with the result and could foresee it being a snuggly quilt to live over the back of our lounge chair.

I found some pearl cottons in my stash, which were a perfect match and began quilting with them. But after the winter season had passed and still the quilt remained unquilted in my handwork basket, I knew it was a ridiculous idea to even consider hand quilting in the heat of our spring, summer, autumn time. So back to my ufo box it went.

Then, just recently, it surfaced once again. This time I had downloaded this machine embroidered quilting design and it matched this quilt perfectly. I had been anxious to try quilting with my embroidery machine for such a long time, but it had seemed a bit daunting. Now I had my perfect project to practice on – not too big and busy fabric – good to hide any mistakes.

The quilting was so very easy. A couple things I would do differently next time – use a bolder thread, make the design a little bigger etc. But overall I love the finished result.