Saturday, January 30, 2010

Two-whit two-whoo

A lovely friend of mine (aren't you all) who's posted to the US with her husband for three years had a lovely baby boy (and aren't they all) last November. I've been meaning to make something for him since then, but Christmas kind of got in the way. I finally pulled my finger out this week and sewed up some cute shorts (Otto 3/2008 'aqua pants') and made an appliqued onesie to match, using an owl design from Ottobre 4/2007. The duck-egg blue and chocolate fabric is Michele D'Amor.I think this may be my best sewing effort yet - I made no mistakes (this may be a first) and I used an overedge stitch to finish the seam edges, as opposed to zigzag, which I find doesn't look very professional. The overedge stitch takes longer and uses more thread, but it looks so much better. It will have to do till I buy an overlocker at some stage in my future. The owl's pupils and branch are drawn on with a chocolate brown fabric marker. I sewed one of my new 'Cascade Lily' labels into the back waist casing to finish it off.

I've packed up the outfit and will send it off to the US with a couple of treasured items of Tristan's that sadly no longer fit. I hope Thomas can wear them but I've told Kath to gift them on if she doesn't want them :)

Next up is another comfort quilt, this time for Carl's only auntie, who's had a dreadful run of health over the past 12 months. She's in rehab at the moment, recovering from a middle ear imbalance, the poor thing. I hope a quilt will cheer her up.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A skirt that fits

Well I did it! I made a skirt that fits and that looks good. It even has a zip. (Mum, you can get up off the floor now!). And a hook and eye for that professional finish :) Of course the process wasn't without its mistakes, challenges and improvisation. It wouldn't be one of my sewing projects if it didn't!

I used the principles contained in Sew What! Skirts, which I blogged about here and drafted an interfacing template by roughly tracing around a skirt I already have, folded in half lengthwise. (I use a big roll of sew-in interfacing for drafting all my patterns - it's great because it's cheap, clings to the cotton and folds up easily for storage. It also doesn't tear like tracing paper, etc.)

Then I laid the pattern onto the fabric I chose for the skirt - an Anna Griffin Circles Light Green 100% cotton. Unfortunately the fabric wasn't wide enough - even though it was a 150cm bolt. The hazards of a spare tyre! So, this is where the improvisation came in. I cut a reduced front and back on the fold and then sewed up the side seams with a basting stitch. I held the 'skirt' against my waist and worked out how much extra fabric I'd need to insert as panels to get a good fit. I then cut two strips of white (Kona solid cotton - snow), matched the curve of the front and back skirt pieces by laying them over the strips and trimming the strips along the gently curved edge.
I pulled out the basting stitches from the seams (one at a time) and sewed the panel seams. On the front left seam, I sewed up to where the bottom of the zip (placket) would be and basted to the top. At this stage I held the skirt up to my waist again to check the fit. It was still slightly too small, so I cut about three inches off the top of the skirt to increase the waist circumference. This meant I had to adjust the top left seam to ensure there was enough depth for the zip. I followed the zip sewing instructions in my Janome manual and it worked!

I then folded over the waist twice and sewed it down, as well as sewing a double-fold hem. I'd chosed a gently scalloped hem, so I sewed the curve very carefully - I didn't clip the inside fold, as the curve was so gentle. Then I tried the skirt on - it was a good fit around the hips and bum and it was the right length. My belly, however, is still a bit rounder than I'd like, so the fit wasn't so good around the waist. I followed the Sew What! Skirts instructions on making darts (so easy! who knew!) and put two in the front and two in the back. Voila! A perfect fit.
The upside of putting the darts in after I'd sewn the waist is that when my belly shrinks (which it will do over the coming months!), I can unpick the darts, increase their size and resew them. Too easy. I'm very happy with how this skirt turned out - I even wore it work on Thursday. I think I'm just about ready to cut into my much-prized Saffron Craig Nest fabric.

Speaking of work, it's going fine. Four days a week is good, although I'm still getting used to saying bye to everyone on a Thursday afternoon. Things are really busy, so the first two weeks have absolutely flown. It'll be Christmas again before I know it. I have also started my new exercise regime, going for two runs this week. Sadly though, my tired old back didn't like that rude shock very much and when I bent over to pick up Tristan yesterday, it 'went'. I am now in complete back spasm and can't do anything except lay flat on my back reading. I can spend a little time sitting upright, but I don't want to push my luck. No doubt it'll be fine by Monday, just in time for me to go back to work, of course :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Christmas craft

I did promise to post some photos of the last-minute crafting I got done while we were staying at my parents' place the week before Christmas. This is the table runner I made for my brother Bill and his partner Kate. They bought this Amy Butler Belle fabric for me last Christmas - you might recognise from the quilt I made for my mum. I still have some of it left too! Here's a close-up of the quilting - random diagonals (click for a larger image if you can't quite make it out here).And here's the back - aqua homespun.I also made a flower brooch each for Kate, my Mum and my other sister-in-law Jacinta. The rosettes are great, because you could wear them as a brooch, or use them to decorate a bag or a hat. I didn't follow a specific tutorial or pattern, but there are loads of tutes that I've read on the 'net, so I guess my brain just smooshed all the instructions together and voila. I handstitched a gathering stitch along an edge-to-edge strip and pulled the thread gently as I sewed to create a curved edge. I then simply wound the fabric on top of itself until I was happy with it, stitched it all in place, sewed a button from my tiny button stash over the centre and added a brooch pin to the back. I love the pinked edges on the pre-cut strips - perfect for this project. The Denyse Schmidt fabric wasn't pinked, so I pulled a couple of threads from the edge of the strip to stop any ravelling. The biggest was made from a 2 1/2" strip - the smallest from a 1" strip.

Sadly, not much crafty stuff has happened since then. It's been too hot, we've been too sick (all better now, thankfully) and I've gone back to work (first four days made me feel like I'd never been away!). I've got lots of projects in mind, it's just a matter of finding the motivation, time and energy - a common complaint around here!Add Image

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The crafting begins!

So I promised to post something crafty, didn't I? Here's a little something I whipped up over the weekend for a friend of Romily's who was turning four.
A cute applique tee - the design is from Ottobre 1/2008.
And a skirt of my own design, based on a similar skirt I made for Romily a while back, which was based on a tutorial from O+S. The skirt I made on Saturday is shaped and has a softer waist than the O+S design. Of course the birthday girl was more interested in the butterfly stickers we got for her, but her grandmother was most impressed with the handmade gift :)

Work is going well. Today was day #2. Things are slowly coming back to me. I know by the end of next week I'll feel like I was never gone. Tristan is handling the change pretty well so far, although I doubt I'll be able to put him down on Friday - he'll be doing his best impersonation of a koala bear. Rom will be her usual, crazy self!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

We're back

We're back from our holidays - exhausted, busy cleaning cars, washing clothes, etc. etc. I also had 450 unread emails, which I am still going through. Fortunately most of it was stuff I subscribe to that's not too important, so can be deleted unread! Otherwise I might still be going through them on Monday, which is when I'm due back at work! Can you believe it? The time has come for me to do some paid work again. I'll be working four days a week, with a precious Friday at home while Carl does one day a week.

Anyway, our holiday? I hear you ask. We had a lovely time - it was busy in Bendigo and Melbourne in the lead-up to Christmas, but we had a lovely time down in Tasmania until Rom, Carl and I got sick - of course. I was hoping that 2010 would bring us good health, but, alas, we're not off to a good start! Nevermind, our immune systems will be so strong...eventually!

I did manage to do a little bit of crafting while we were away, but, naturally, nowhere near as much as I would have liked. I'll post the results when I find my camera (from under all the 'stuff' that is yet to be put away) and have the chance to upload some images. I hope you all had a lovely break over the New Year and are raring to go in Twenty Ten!