I have a confession.
There is some serious gender inequality in my house. It would seem that I only sew for girls.
There, I’ve said it.
Being a kind of girly girl myself (though one who doesn’t look great in pink) I love sewing for Lizzy.
She has more ruffle skirts than any fashionable three year old needs and enough dresses to clothe her entire kindergarten.
And still I don’t stop sewing for her.
I love girly fabric and trims, hair accessories, badges and beads.
While nobody could ever doubt my infinite love for my sticky, laughing boy – in his first year I have made him one pair of pants and an appliquéd t-shirt.
In order to remedy this, I’ve spent some time hunting around the web for some cute boy inspiration. It all seemed fairly thin on the ground until I came across Celebrate the Boy
on Made by Rae
- a month dedicated to all sorts of boy goodness.
I’m excited to say that I have caught the bug and I’m dedicating November to sewing for my
It’s going to be a month of bucket hats, cuffed pants, boy softies and t-shirts!
Keep an eye on our gallery to check out my progress.
I’m off to Hawthorne Threads
to make my stash a little more gender neutral...
PS – A huge thanks to Kid Independent
for their feature on us yesterday.
Maryanne and I are both SO excited!
I love Christmas.
I love the time I spend with my family, I love the cooking, I love the making of gifts and even though I pretend I don't, I love the deadline it creates. I never sew harder or faster than in the days leading up to Christmas each year.
I also love not getting out of bed on Boxing Day, knowing everyone is content and that there is a fridge full of leftovers if anyone is hungry.
I know it is early but with my busy life of three children and a tendency to bite off more than I can chew (and I am not talking about the turkey), I am pretending that this year I will be more organised.My strategies so far include
- Convincing Pippa that the only colours to paint with are red and green - the perfect way to create a stash of beautiful hand made wrapping paper
- Buying large amounts of fabric
- Waiting anxiously by my letter box for my large amounts of fabric to arrive
- Pretending I will be able to complete my sewing list (5 pairs of pyjama pants, a Christmas stocking for Will, two dresses, a quiet book, a backpack, three babushka doll cushions, a felt dolly and a knitted headband) before the school holidays begin.
- Trying hard not to add to my sewing list
When I am being a little more sensible, I add to my Favourites List on Etsy
and Made it
. That way, I know that when I inevitably run out of time, I will still be able to give my family a handmade Christmas by supporting other crafters.
My happy little boy Will, is now 6 months. His Granny has made sure he has been surrounded by beautiful things, made with love right from the very beginning. He loves to get his fingers tangled in the beautiful blanket she knitted him and his favourite place to play is on her pin wheel quilt.
Apparently, children smile about 500 times a day.
Yep, that’s right…500.
By the time they reach adulthood it’s down to about 15.
For both of my children, joy is an everyday experience. Through delighting in the everyday and the bizarre, life becomes an adventure.
Watching Lizzy and Martin play the game of life is as inspiring as it is thought provoking.
It certainly got me thinking.
How do you channel your inner child?
Childhood is about the joy of discovery and for me, discovery as an adult is just as exciting. Obviously, the discoveries that I make are different to my children –unlike Martin I know what happens when I dump a bowl of spaghetti on my head or attempt to eat yoghurt with my fingers – but they are still what makes me tick.
Sometimes, it’s good to stop and think about the things that make you smile…
Here’s my list for the week.
- A new online fabric shop – beautiful material makes my heart race and gives me butterflies. It’s like being in love…truly. Oh and the fact you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own lounge to indulge - heaven…
- Learning a new (and fantastic) way of inserting a zipper – (blatant promotion time – come along to our Introduction to Sewing Course if you would like to learn the technique!)
- Lizzy’s joy at school – I will never, never forget Lizzy’s pride as she presented me with her first sewing card (a pink heart, of course) It’s a moment that I want to freeze and hold close to my heart forever.
- Bouncing on a trampoline with my baby boy. Actually Marto, everything about you makes me smile.
- Finding a long forgotten block of chocolate at the back of the pantry. What can I say? Simple pleasures….
While life is punctuated with big moments – a wedding, a first kiss,
a reconciliation, the birth of a baby, real joy is hiding in everyday moments and sometimes it’s all too easy to let these slip past without really noticing them.
While I might not smile 500 times tomorrow, I’m aiming for more than 15 and I’ll certainly have fun trying.PS -Today's image is from Three Kitchen Fairies Etsy shop
. Check it out - it's gorgeous!
Usually my sewing is fast and furious. I have a collection of patterns I know well and can whip up in an evening or two - a pair of pants for Will, a skirt for myself or a dress for Madeleine and Pippa.
Last night was a different matter.I fell in love with the Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress when I saw it made up at the Sydney Quilt Show earlier this year. Trying to be a little more organised than usual,
I started making it last night for Madeleine's Christmas Dress. The instructions in these patterns are fabulous. I haven't made many O +S clothes, but each time I do, I learn something that makes all my sewing easier. So armed with the instruction and the added information from the wonderful Sew-Along at Sew Mama Sew
, I decided to attempt the placket.
Reading the instructions resulted in thoughts like - You want me to cut right down the middle of the front? And you want me to fold the fabric how? It felt more like origami than sewing.
Looking at this photo, I wonder why I even think this was a great achievement.
I suppose it felt different. I learnt something new. I concentrated. I worried about accuracy and I took my time. Believe it or not, working out how to match up all those stripes pushed me to the edge of my intellectual ability!
It meant I couldn't think about the mess that surrounded my sewing machine, the unswept floor beneath my feet or the pile of washing that needed to be folded. (Yes, I am as messy as Caroline!) I just read and did.
In the end, I was also pretty happy with the results.
So is sewing good for your mental health? Last night it felt like it was.
Hopefully sewing the collar tomorrow night will be equally therapeutic!
A brand new skirt for a brand new school career! I used the twirly skirt tutorial from The House on Hill Road
and it sewed up a treat. It was so easy that I started AND finished it before the kids were up this morning.The highlight of my day? Watching my 'lit
tle big girl' dance her way into school. Don't ever stop twirling, Miss Biscuit!
I’ve been reading a lot of Winnie the Pooh lately. While Pooh’s adventures with Tigger, Piglet and Christopher Robin have been keeping Lizzy, Martin and me entertained, a quotation from their creator AA Milne really made me think.
“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”
Anyone who knows me understands that describing me as disorderly is an understatement – a bit like describing Mount Everest as a hill.
Recently though, I’ve discovered that (when it comes to my fabric stash, at least) it has its benefits. How would I have experienced such joy at chancing upon a beautiful piece of Liberty fabric my sister brought me from London last year if it had been washed and ironed and folded neatly in a drawer? How would I have discovered that the pink dress I’m sewing for Lizzy would look fantastic with orange gingham piping if they hadn’t been shoved together in a bag under the bed?
Finding bags of ribbons and ric rac, buttons and elastic while searching for that elusive baby shoe or hair clip brings another whole dimension to my day. As someone who spends a lot of time colouring in, making play dough ‘cupcakes’ and reading Winnie the Pooh over and over again, for that I am truly grateful.
It’s spring, and while I will freely admit that my pantry cupboard and the kids’ wardrobes need a clean to fit the season, my stash can stay as it is. I love making discoveries and bringing to light hidden gems. After all, why waste time cleaning when you can sew? I’m off to make something out of that beautiful Liberty.
I don't know much about my great-grandmothers' craftiness. I do know there were crocheted granny squares and hand embroidered table cloths. I am sure there were dresses made and jumpers knitted. Sadly, I do not know if they were women of their time, or if they had a passion for the art of making that brought them pleasure.
One Sunday, our great-grandmother, a strict Scottish Presbyterian woman, discovered our mother (her daughter-in-law) sewing. She firmly told her that Sunday was a day of rest, which apparently meant no sewing. She warned her that any stitch made on a Sunday would have to be undone after the maker died - with her nose. Interestingly this did not deter our mother. She has continued to sew on Sundays but has asked that when she dies, before she is buried, someone attach a stitch ripper to the end of her nose.
My first sewing memories begin with the amazing dresses our grandmother, Mardi, made for her five grand daughters. Fine Liberty prints, shirred summer dresses, peter pan collars, lace trim and pearl buttons - all made on her old Singer sewing machine. I remember it, shiny black with elegant gold writing. I don't ever remember seeing her sitting at it though. Her creativity must have happened at quiet times, away from the chaos of her family.
Our other grandmother, Mamma, was a knitter. We used to stay with her in the holidays. We watched our jumpers grow on her knitting needles as she watched Beau and Hope, Days of Our Lives' star crossed lovers, first fall in love. As we got older we spent hours poring over knitting books, picking out the jumper that she would make for us all each winter. We both still have a soft spot for Days of Our Lives!
Our Mum can only be described as a crafting force.
I remember the gabardine pinafores she made for us to wear to preschool in the 70s. I also remember the dresses she made for me to wear for school book week when I wanted to be the Patchwork Princess or Rapunzel.
When Caroline (the youngest in our family) started school, Mum learnt to quilt and she has never stopped. She has taught many of the women in her community to quilt and through her, I have learnt about the great joy crafting in a group can bring. By osmosis, I have learnt the name of most quilt blocks. So has my Dad!
She has also taught us about crafting as a business. She funded her first overseas trip with a knitting machine, knitting scarves for the local football clubs before they were readily available. She ran craft sales from the front verandah of our house when the height of crafty elegance was fabric covered tissue boxes and padded picture frames.
Now she encourages her eight grandchildren with all of their creative endeavours and gives us the confidence to start this blog and this business together.
I don't know if there is a crafting gene knitted tightly into our family's DNA or if it is through their example that Caroline and I share the crafting passion of these women. Whatever it is, I thank them for showing us the way.