This has felt what I imagine being in the Tour de France would be like (OK, may be not quite... but work with me!!) Lots of hard work, what feels like endless hills and that knowledge that if I lose sight of the peloton, I will never catch up.
So I haven't quite caught up, but with a few little helpers, the peloton remains in sight. And those helpers are lots of caffeine and my sewing machine. I know this is supposed to be a handstitched class and a sewing machine could only be considered performance enhancing, but for me it was the only way!! The storm at sea corner blocks are designed to be English paper pieced - I admit mine were machine paper pieced. This left me a little time to catch up on my embroidery round. I will miss those running stitch half square triangles, but will be very pleased to see the last of the satin stitch jewels - I have found those lots of hard work. Only 5 and a half to go!
So wish me luck- if I keep working at this weeks pace, I may get to wear that gold jersey yet!!
It's an exciting time for our local Montessori school. They have been providing a fantastic educational environment (no I'm not biased!!!) for children aged 3 to 6 since 1976. This week, after many years of planning and preparation, they open the doors to a beautiful Primary School - children age 6 to 9 will be able to continue their educational journey in the most beautiful of school surroundings - an old sandstone school hall with soaring ceilings and dark timber beams.
So many people have been involved in setting up this lovely space. I was lucky enough to be asked to create a sewing basket for the classroom. The girls and I love to sew together and so I have enjoyed putting together a basket that will hopefully encourage other children to find pleasure in making and creating.
First of all there are 3 sets of scissors - I think of them as Dadda, Mamma and Baby Bear scissors but they are really scissors for adults, for children and embroidery scissors. I thought it would be fun to use some of the scraps I have from the Sew Stitchy collection.
And then there is a pin cushion...
That central Ohio Star is only 2 3/4 inches wide - so I'm quite proud of myself!!! My own pin cushion is far less flash!
And finally a needle book - the other project I completed last week for the Hand Stitched Course.
I am excited about adding this project to the sewing basket. All the stitching that can be seen is hand done and with some help and direction the children in the class could make one too.
There is also a box of embroidery and standard sewing thread...
Finally a stitch ripper, a needle threader, a jar of fun buttons and some embroidery hoops.
Did I miss anything? I would love to know if you would add anything else.
Last week was the first week of Rachel from Stitched in Color's Handstitched course. Week One is all about reverse applique.
I have really enjoyed the week and have completed two of the 3 offered projects.
Firstly, I made a little felt needle book. I am going to put it into a sewing kit I am assembling for the new primary school class at our family's school. I will blog about the whole kit when it is complete.
The other project I couldn't wait to start - the centre dogwood for the Modern Medallion Quilt.
The fabric that I used for the dogwood (part of the Soul Blossoms collection from Amy Butler) is very directional but as I am a girl who likes her symmetry I decided to piece four squares together to create the concentric ring effect, before I did the reverse applique. I'm happy I did because I like the effect that created.
Inspired by chalet girl's quilt, I have decided to use a dark solid for the embroidery back ground. It is looking a little stark right now but I am hoping the embroidery in lighter pearl cotton threads will soften it. And, if I am going to do all that work, I thought I should frame it with those little pink borders. My Mum taught me how to do these - they are cut at an inch wide , folded in half and then inserted into the seams leaving a 1/4 inch folded edge exposed. She feels you can get a better finish doing it this way than trying to add a 1/4 inch border - I am convinced.
I did the reverse applique in a pale pink pearl thread.
I have been collecting my solids for the next round (ie raiding my Mum's stash) and can't wait to get started on the hand embroidery - Satin and Jewels next week.
What a great week of sewing...
I caught up on the Tiramisu sew along and finished my dress. It is so comfortable, I have worn it two days in a row!
Here I am with my trusty assistant just after I got home from work today. He is carrying his much loved "Ninny". This once was a beautiful cream hand knitted rug made by my Mum when he was a tiny baby. Now Ninny is... well...much loved!
I am really happy with the stripey binding that finishes the neck, arms and hem. It adds a nice little detail. This technique made for a very neat hem without any rippling at all.
I am also pretty happy with the fit. It's a great pattern to sew. The fit was pretty good straight up but there was so much room for adjustment as I went and that made it quite fun to play with. I had it on and off so much while I sewed up the bodice I ended up sewing it in my underwear - much to the amusement of my family. Luckily the weather has been hot in Sydney lately!
I love the fact that I can create a muslin that is completely wearable and then adjust my pattern so next time I have the best chance of making a dress with a perfect fit straight up. I don't have nearly as much time for sewing as I would like and sometimes it feels a little disappointment to invest a whole lot of time in a muslin that will never be worn. This pattern solved that problem for me.
It does pull a little through the bodice but I think I am being silly - it's definitely a better fit than any thing I have ever bought myself.
The skirt has a lovely shape too.
I am sure there will be many more Tiramisus.
In the next few days I'll post about the first week of Handstitched - another very exciting project!!
So you can probably tell from the title of this post, I've been wondering what to do with this blog.
The short answer is I'm not sure.
The slightly longer answer - Well life is busy...no busier than anyone else's but right now I think I'd rather spend my spare time sewing rather than blogging.
I am not sure about Caroline - we haven't discussed it recently, but for now I know she is happy to take a blogging break. Let's wait and see what the future holds.
So the next question is why I am I here??
Well, I have been having fun participating in some sewing activities and thought I would document my progress, really for myself. But if you wanted to check out any of the stuff I have been involved in, please do. I know I am going to learn lots of fantastic stuff and maybe you want to too?
Firstly I am participating in the Tiramisu Sew Along
I feel like Steph (who is the creative genius behind Cake Patterns and the blog Three Hours Past the Edge of the World) is in my living room as I cut and sew, offering me tips and tricks to help me make a perfectly fitted knit dress. This is a really interesting pattern. Steph has thought about sizing in a different but useful way. You determine your bodice size by your high bust measurement. Each front bodice piece then has sizes A,B,C or D based on your full bust measurement. There are also several check points in the construction where you can try your dress on for size and adjust as needed. It is very nifty indeed! I am running a little behind and wont get to catch up until next week because I am currently in Melbourne on holidays.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get any striped fabric to play around with so settled on some navy knit with striped neck and arm binding. I may even use the same stripes to finish the skirt hem.
I am very excited about the potential of this dress.
I have also enrolled in the Handstiched Course by Rachel of Stitched in Color.
Classes start on Monday and I am so excited. I fell in love with Rachel's Modern Medallion quilt when I saw it on her blog. And when I saw this one for real at a Modern Quilt Guild Meeting I knew I had to enrol. I hope to make some of the other projects in this course that covers reverse applique, applique, embroidery, English paper piecing and hand quilting but since I enrolled, all my head space has been directed at the Medallion quilt. I have created a Pinterest Board with my inspiration and fabric selections so far.
And I'll also be watching my post box next week. Rob organised a subscription to a monthly series of embroidery samplers for my Christmas gift. How did he know????
How exciting to have a new embroidery project delivered to my door every month!!!
One thing I have missed about not blogging regularly is taking the time to edit and upload photos of my children. So again this is for me!!!
My gorgeous kids:
and cherry picking in Silvan:
Madeleine in the Christmas dress I made her - a self draft based on a Japanese pattern,
Pippa in an O+S Ice cream dress,
and Will in the great Blank Slate Basic Prepster Pullover and the O+S bucket hat with an extended brim
All this Christmas sewing survived the cherry stains - vinegar was the key to getting them out!!
I mentioned in my last post that I'm a little over sewing pink dresses - I think this is the last one I'm going to make for quite a while. In terms of my KCWC challenge, this dress was a complete failure. I bought the material to make it and not only did I not use a japanese pattern I bought a pattern too. Argh...
On the upside - I love the finished product! I bought the Blank Slate Basics Pristine Swing Dress from Melly Sews and really like how it came together - simple, simple, simple but with a lovely finish. It's definitely a pattern that I will pull out and use again.
It has a pieced yoke - hello pink!
and a pretty nifty back placket....
This is the 'quick we need to take a photo before we run out the door to kindergarten' photo.
Despite the fact that I broke all the rules I set myself for KCWC my kids' wardrobes are looking a lot healthier and enjoyed sewing for them.
I think I might put away kids clothing patterns for a while though - I've a few other project on my mind. How about you?
Day 3 of KCWC and I am cheating already. I'm only supposed to be using Japanese patterns but when I came across some gorgeous oatmeal and navy striped knit I knew I had to make it up using the Sailboat Top by O and S.
Martin's turning 3 tomorrow and we are celebrating with a pirate party. This shirt is a little more Breton than pirate but it's definitely wearable.
I do love O and S patterns. They sew up so beautifully and the finished product is always spot on. I top stitched using triple stitch and a dark thread (always risky). It's a little wonky but hey... it adds character.
In the interest of keeping things even I am sewing for Lizzy tomorrow. I've got to say I am not feeling super inspired. I'm a bit over sewing pink dresses. If only she'd wear something else! Any ideas?
PS - Happy Birthday Martin! How are you three already my gorgeous boy?
So my take on KCWC is similar to Caroline's - no new fabric and no new patterns. But I have decided to give my Ottobre magazines a work out. I can only say I wish I was half as organised as Karen when it comes to my Ottobre Magazines. I did have a good giggle thinking about her fabulous system, when I was sitting on my sewing room floor with all my patterns scattered around me swearing (just a little!!) while I searched madly for the pattern sheets I needed. I had Spring 2009 pattern sheets A and B in one hand and the Autumn 2009 C and D in the other, when what I needed was Summer 2009 sheets A and B. I would like to pretend that one day I will have my patterns organised beautifully but if I am honest with myself, being able to find my sewing machine and ironing board under a pile of projects is going to be as good as it gets for me. Karen if you ever come to visit, you will not be allowed to enter my sewing room!!!!
I am glad to say that I did eventually find the patterns I needed. It would be pretty depressing to get through KCWC where the only achievement, having invested an hour a day for a whole week, was finding the right pattern sheets!
So the first project is some shorts for Will. The linen was a gift from a friend when she de-stashed prior to moving overseas, so these pants cost me nothing.
They are called Bert Bermudas and they are in the Summer 2009 Ottobre Magazine.
I am only just working out that sewing for boys is so different to sewing for girls. Boys clothes are often not about fabulous fabric choices (although there are always exceptions to the rule) but rather about the details. Lots of pockets, lots of belt loops and lots of top stitching. I tried out a fancy "quilting" stitch on my machine and although I am happy with the look of the top stitching, I don't think I would use it again. It is a pain in the *!#! to rip out if you make a mistake. I almost wasted today's hour of sewing taking out one of the side seams where the top stitching went a little wild.
Here are the shorts in action:
I can't take credit for the T shirt but this one is one of mine. This was day 2, the Tiku T shirt with boat neck from Ottobre Spring 2009:
It is made from a man's polo shirt - I love not having to hem anything!!
I sort of like it. I am not sure about the boat neck.
It looks pretty good here but the default position is off the shoulder and I am not sure that is the best look for a little boy!! Maybe I jut should have made one size smaller??
So for the next 2 days - I have stripey T shirts planned for Madeleine and Pip.
Why all the stripes??
Martin's turning 3 this week and he's having a pirate party!!!
Yo ho me hearties!!!!!!
I've been tracing patterns, trying to interpret Japanese and sewing up a storm here. I'm trying to keep things simple and wearable. While I loved sewing for Project Run and Play, I don't think that Lizzy has worn any of the things we made for her.
Needless to say neither of my items are earth shattering, but they are comfortable and wearable.
For Mart, some simple shorts with deep side pockets (so he can carry around all the random stuff he collects instead of offloading it on me!) and some cute little patch pockets because, well, they're just cute. I really like the fact that they have narrower legs.
I love, love, love the print I used in these shorts. It's a collection of post marks and addresses. It's a light furnishing weight, but I'm fairly sure it will soften up in the wash.
I feel really limited with what I can sew for Lizzy. In order for her to wear something it needs to be a dress, pink and soft and unstructured. It doesn't leave me with a whole lot of scope!
This dress was super easy. It's got a square neck, fluttery sleeves and a high yoke. Simple, bright, comfy and a hit with Lizzy. (phew!)
As much as I enjoyed the sewing today, the best bit was the sibling love whenI took photos this afternoon. If only they always liked each other this much...
Both of these projects came from Happy Homemade Kids volume 2. And guess, what? It's just been released in English!
How's KCWC going for you?