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?
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...
It seems like everyone has signed up for Elsie Marley's KCWC
and I'm no exception. I definitely need some motivation, the weather is warming up and Lizzy and Martin have both grown so much over the winter that they need some new clothes. (desperately!)
My challenge is to take all of my patterns and inspiration out of my sizeable stash of Japanese pattern books. I'm passionate about them but definitely don't use them enough. I am forever buying patterns when in reality I have enough to keep me going in my Japanese pattern books till my kids move out.
While at times the patterns can be little confusing (hello hiragana!), there are lots of amazing resources out there to help you out. Last year I blogged about them here
Why do I love these books so much?
- Their aesthetic is beautifully simple ( I don't think I've ever seen a diamonte in a Japanese pattern book...)
- They sew up beautifully ( as long as you don't forget to add seam allowances!)
- There as many gorgeous patterns for boys as there are for girls
- The patterns are timeless - they aren't caught up in the latest trend or fashion and they are just as suitable for a ten year old as a three year old
- The books contain lots of basic shapes - They make a perfect blank slate for your own designs and inspirations
- While the books seem expensive, they all contain at least 8 patterns in multiple sizes. When you look at it like that, they're a bargain!
So - the sewing challenge has been set. Seven days of sewing, all Japanese patterns and no fabric buying. Easy....Are you sewing along with KCWC? What are you plans? Do you use Japanese patterns? I'd love to hear all about it!
One of the great things about blogging is that it gives you the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world - people that you would otherwise never have the chance to meet. Jane isn't one of those people. From the ages of 12 to 18 I saw Jane nearly every day of my life. We were best friends at high school and while we don't see each other very often any more it's still lovely to be able to connect with her over all things creative. Thanks for visiting Jane!
Thank you so much for having me here Caroline and Maryanne, so I can talk about one of my favourite things, my fabric collection.
I have been quilting on and off for 17 years now, and it should be noted that it’s all Caroline’s fault, since she’s my high school best friend and I’m sure it would have taken me much longer to find quilting if I hadn’t spent all those sleepovers tucked under one of her mother’s beautiful quilts. Her mum also took me under her wing when I decided I wanted to learn to quilt, fielding numerous phone calls that started with the words, “No, I don’t want to talk to Caroline, I have a quilting question...”
After many years of quilting, I have a sizeable fabric stash. I really do try and keep my fabric spending in check, but seriously, it’s fabric, peoples! Whilst I suppose, in theory, I could buy fabric as I needed it for a particular quilt, the reality is that’s not going to happen any time soon – and if I did it this way I probably wouldn’t be able to find what I want.
I LOVE having a big fabric stash, and I find it makes my quilting process so much easier. I don’t tend to make quilts using one particular range of fabric, I prefer to decide on a colour scheme and go from there. So when I decide I want to make a particular colour quilt, it helps that I already have quite a collection of that colour on my shelves. I might top it up with new purchases, but for the most part I don’t have to. This means I can start quilts on a whim, without having to wait for international parcel delivery or hoping I can find the right fabrics in the fairly paltry local offerings.
Since I quilt by colour, I stash by colour too. I am very fussy about my stash. I prewash and iron everything, then fold it just so. My scraps are also sorted by colour, pressed and waiting in their little boxes. (At this point, Caroline, who always laughed at my alphabetised CD collection in high school, is rolling her eyes.)
This may be a little more high maintenance than the bung-it-all-in-the-cupboard approach, but it works for me, for a few reasons. Because it’s on open shelving (not in direct light), I can see what I have at a glance. It makes it easy to pull fabrics for a new project and it serves as a reminder (sometimes) that I don’t need to buy anything. Sorting by colour is critical for me, both for when I need to pick fabrics and so I know what colours I need. For example, I could go a lifetime without buying pinks or blues, but purples, greys and yellows are in demand. So if I’m topping up an order (to make the most of flat rate postage), I’ll stash build those colours I don’t have much of.
When I’m stash building, I don’t tend to buy full ranges or busy, many-coloured prints – because my quilts tend to feature one or two colours, prints with lots of colours in them don’t work for me. But I am a sucker for blenders, big time. These useful prints are the foundation of a good stash, regardless of what you’re sewing. Spots, stripes, geometrics, squiggles, I love them all. And usually, I’ll buy every colourway in a range if I can. The simpler the print, the better it will work as a stash builder.
The advantage of stash building by colour is that you’re going to have much of what you need on hand when you start a new project. I recently started cutting a new quilt that required 100 different blue/aqua/green prints. I’m almost embarrassed to say I could do this without buying a single piece of fabric! But if I’d had to find 100 blues/aquas/greens locally, there is no way I could have done it at once and found prints I like. With fabric ranges changing so quickly, it is good to buy versatile, timeless prints when you can.
My inspiration for new quilts often starts with a fabric, and I build a colour scheme around that. The Sunshine and Shadows quilt started with a bundle of yellow/grey/black and white prints I purchased, and I built on it with more prints in the same colours from my stash, so it’s cohesive but not too matchy matchy. The Lattice Windows quilt started from the teal and lime lattice print my son took a liking too – we built the rest of his quilt around this colour scheme. The Diamonds in the Sky quilt grew from an interest in the high-contrast orange and blue colour scheme.
Whenever I’m working on a quilt, colour, and my colourful fabric stash, is my best friend.
If you’d like to hear more about my creative adventures, pop over to my little blog at http://wherejanecreates.blogspot.com.au/
When we first started blogging, I wrote this
post about my fantasy sewing space. I've also dabbled in a few organisational posts like this one
about embroidery threads and this one
about storing the little bitty - bits that are associated with sewing and craft.
Ok... true confession time. I now have my own purpose built sewing room but my potentially beautiful sewing space is a disaster!
Want to see the evidence? Here are a few snapshots from my sewing room today...
and they're just the beginning. Check out my shelves!
I want an organised space, but I really, really need your help! Please
hit me with your hints for sewing room organisation. I really want to reclaim my space!
How do you store your
- Big pieces of fabric?
- Little scrappy pieces?
- Thread and bobbins?
- Patterns, books and magazines?
- Bits and pieces?
I'm looking forward to hearing from you - bring on the organisation tips!
I love craft blogs. I love reading them and taking a tiny peek into the lives of other crafty souls - their passions, projects and sewing spaces. I love the way in which people share information, the way they spread inspiration and are so very generous with their hints, tips and ideas. Just lately though I've been thinking... (My husband hates it when I say that - he thinks that I'm going to suggest a renovation project or initiate one of 'those 'relationship talks.) W
hat's this blogging business about anyway?
For me, blogging is about trying to make crafting connections and friendships beyond the people that I come across in my day to day existence. It's for this reason I love it when people make blog comments - especially ones that initiate a conversation or a dialogue. While it's lovely when people say 'Wow that's amazing'
or 'I love it'
, ultimately it's constructive criticism and questions that really make me think and make me happy. Craft and creative projects are all about aesthetics. What you find aesthetically pleasing is just that... what YOU
find pleasing. Chances are, it won't be someone else's cup of tea and that's ok. If you're only after positive comments to boost your creative ego, then blogging probably isn't the right crafting zone for you
Funnily enough, Pinterest has taught me something pretty important about blogging and blog comments - just because people don't comment on a project, it doesn't mean they don't like it. Maryanne and I have many, many, many posts that haven't initiated any comments, and that's OK. But a brief check on Pinterest (is searching your blog on Pinterest weird? Probably, but that's beside the point...)
reveals that tonnes of people have pinned the said commentless post or project. Hey - who am I to complain? It's great that they like it and it's not like I make a comment on every single thing I pin. It has inspired me to be a lot more diligent with commenting on other people's posts and ideas, though, especially those that I have pinned.
Since we finished up on Project Run and Play
, Maryanne and I have been thinking a lot about our blog and the direction we want to take it. We haven't really firmed up any answers yet other than the fact that we love to sew and craft and that we love to connect with other crafty souls and maybe that's enough.
What kind of commenter are you? What kind of comments do you love? I'd love to have a chat to you about it!
PS - don't worry - we're not going all existentialist on you. There are plenty of crafty posts coming up soon!
It's time for us to pack our bags and head home...
We are feeling a little sad...
We would have loved to have participated in the final round of Project Run and Play
, but it was not to be. We have been amazed by the skills and talent of everyone who participated in Project Run and Play and are really looking forward to seeing what the final three will show us for their signature looks.Please indulge us for a moment...Project Run and Play has been such a focus for us for over 2 months. We don't know what we will talk about now that it is over!!! Despite some minor differences of opinion and completely different timetabling styles you'll be pleased to know that at the end of Project Run and Play we are still talking to each other. Interestingly all the personality traits you would expect from a little sister, big sister team panned out exactly as you would imagine, but maybe now we have grown up we are a little more accepting of this dynamic. In fact, we still love hanging out and sewing together!!Some very important thank yous...
- Our husbands - the true Handmade Ryan Goslings in this world
- Our Mum - a never ending inspiration and support
- Our Dad - just as inspiring and supportive but also incredibly tolerant of 3 women talking incessantly about sewing!!!
- All our family and friends who have cheered us on.
- Romy, for all her help with the photos
- Liz and Elizabeth from Simple Simon and Co who organise Project Run and Play. The work that goes on behind the scenes must be phenomenal and we can't thank them enough for making it happen.
- All the other Designers from Season 4 - you are such amazingly talented people. You made us think harder, sew faster and push ourselves further than we have before!!
- Our five amazing kids!!!! Our little boys did not feature in Project Run and Play but they did put up with plenty of very average meals and lots of play dates that involved just a few discussions about sewing!!! And our fantastic girls and their brilliant modelling - they always rose to the challenge.
So for now, we might sip a little coffee, read a few books and catch up on some sleep. But we will be back before you know it.... Sewing up a storm for sure!!!!
Caroline and Maryanne
This week we were inspired by Shirley Temple playing Heidi in the 1937 classic of the same name.
Look at those curls!
We grew up loving this movie (and of course Johanna Spyri's novel.) When this week's theme was announced, how could we resist?
Pip is our Urban Heidi - look at her curls! She was so excited when we flew her to Switzerland for our photo shoot this week. (we wish - thanks photoshop!)
Anyway, enough with the cuteness... Let's talk about the clothes! (that's what we are here for, after all...)
We actually found this week quite challenging. There are so many great movies out there with amazing costuming but we didn't want to just make a replica of an iconic costume. We wanted to make something wearable - not a dress-up as such but a set of separates that together evoked a sense of Heidi and the Swiss Alps but on their own were perfect to wear to school, to the library, to parties and on play dates.
There are three parts to this week's outfit. To start with , a twirly red skirt, perfect for skipping along and playing in the back lane ( as well as climbing the Swiss Alps, we're sure!)
The hem is bound with black bias and highlighted with a fine black ribbon trim
While black isn't usually a colour associated with children's clothes, it highlights the bright colours of the skirt and jacket, it's a little bit sopsophisticated and reflects Heidi's Swiss heritage.
We used the same black trim on Pip's shirt. This, coupled with some Eidelweiss inspired broderie anglaise and a super fine grosgrain ribbon trim around the neckline created a very 'Swiss' but still wearable shirt.
Now... onto the jacket.
(see how much fun it is to pretend to be Heidi?)
The jacket is made of purple corduroy and bound with black bias. It's waisted (well, as much as a four year old has a waist!) and is cut away to create a cute peplum and make it easy to move in. It's lined in a purple floral cotton which screamed 'Swiss Alps' to us. You can see a tiny bit peaking out from the three quarter length sleeves and in the neckline of the jacket.
Our favourite bit of this jacket is the closure. Made of black grosgrain ribbon and brass buttons it reflects Shirley Temple's jacket (in our inspiration picture) but it's a little more modern and up to date.
So there you have it... an outfit you can wear in the Swiss Alps AND in the streets of Sydney - what more could a girl ask for?
Maryanne and Caroline
Let me introduce you to two little girls. They are cousins, very good friends (most of the time!) and responsible for our choice of colour for this week's challenge on Project Run and Play
. Pippi and Lizzy are the reason that we chose PINK!
We spent a lot of time this week sewing together strips and squares of a rainbow of pinks, from the palest of baby pinks to deep cerise hues. There are actually 14 different pinks in the girls' dresses. Stripped together, they created a beautiful 'quilt top' which we then proceeded to cut up to create Pippi and Lizzy's outfits. Our husbands thought that we were completely mad...but hey... you've got to do what you've got to do. (Especially in this competition!)
One of the exciting things about this week's design was cutting and piecing Lizzy and Pip's dresses. The horizontal and vertical stripes created lots of lovely lines and surprises. They created fantastic patterns where the side seams joined, where the box pleats met and along the hemline. We weren't exactly sure how the dresses would turn out till they were finished.
While the girls look like they are wearing pinafores and blouses they are actually wearing little dresses - high waisted with big a box pleat in the centre front. The peter pan collar and puffed sleeves are created out of crisp white cotton - a lovely contrast with the warm pink tones of the rest of the outfit.
Our little girls like little details...Pink button bracelets, pieced headbands and covered buttons added to the overall colour of the outfit and the bracelets and headbands were excellent bribes!
We had lots of fun creating the outfits for this week's challenge and the girls had lots of fun having their photos taken (and are still possibly coming down from their pink sugar high...) We hope that even though their obsession with pink won't last forever, they'll continue to be the best buddies that they are today.
Make sure that you go over and check out the rainbow of projects at Project Run and Play
. Don't forget to VOTE
Maryanne and Caroline