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!!!!!!
Today we kick off our exciting new guest series - My Best Friend.
Over the next few weeks we have a collection of fantastic bloggers visiting Sew Together to tell us about their Best (sewing) Friend. There will be posts about favourite patterns, favourite people, favourite equipment and other generally favourite stuff! We hope it will help you find new inspiration and try new things.
And who is the fabulous blogger who gets to start the ball rolling?
It's me, Maryanne!! (Being the big sister I get to be bossy every now and then and so I chose to go first!)
So let's begin...
Let's start by acknowledging this is a long post.
But it is worth it...
If you keep reading, I'll show you how to make this reversible wrap dress!Now we can really begin...
My best friend without a doubt would be Caroline. I am lucky enough to have my sewing buddy, blogging partner and sister rolled into one. I could chat about her all day long, but you can find plenty of her sewing inspiration right here on our blog. So rather than telling you all about Caroline, I am going to talk about my second best friend - children's vintage sewing patterns.
I regularly browse collections of vintage pattern images online to find inspiration for new sewing projects. I have resisted buying any - I really can't justify spending any more money supporting my sewing habit!! But you don't need the patterns to help your sewing along. The pictures are enough to start you thinking and then it is easy to work from there.
My favourite collections are the Vintage Children's Pattern Flickr group
, and the Vintage Patterns Wiki
(particularly the Helen Lee Vintage Patterns
and the general girl's pages
). Searching for children's vintage patterns on Etsy
can also be useful.
When I am looking for some inspiration I browse these collections until an image grabs me. The next step is to consider the basic shape of the project - is it a basic bodice with a full skirt, a variation on an A line dress or a standard skirt shape? Once I have worked this out, I pull out one of my basic patterns and tweak it to create the look I want.
Using contemporary fabrics, you can take vintage ideas and create something fresh and modern. Here are some examples of projects Caroline and I have worked on that have taken vintage patterns as their inspiration.
(click on image for source)
And for My Best Friend, I have a new project to share with you - a wrap around reversible dress.
It was inspired by this 1970 Simplicity pattern:
This is such a cute little dress idea. You put it on by pulling it over your child's head. It has a front piece that wraps around to the back and is secured by ribbon ties, and it has a back piece that wraps around to the front that is held in place by the fabric ties. The bow at the front shows a little peep of the lining colour and when your little girl runs and plays you can also see hints of the lining fabric because of it's wrap around design. A spilled icecream or just a change in mind about what she wants to wear? Undo the ties flip the dress over and your little girl can have a whole new (clean!) look.
If you have a basic A line dress pattern, you can very quickly draft up this variation and it is also incredibly fast to sew up. If you would like to make one for a little girl you know, click on the read more button for all the instructions.Before you do, I want to reminder you to check back here on Tuesday. Jessica from Me Sew Crazy
is going to introduce us to her best friend!
Take some vintage inspiration...
And a $15 (!) piece of wool and cashmere that I picked up at Fabricabrac
...Spend one evening thinking and cutting and another evening sewing
...And Madeleine gets a new cape!
This remix was a simple one. I assembled the cape exactly as the original instructions described and just made a few easy changes
- I added 2.5 inches to each centre front panel, to make it double breasted.
- I added 3 inches to the length of the cape. (Madeleine is tall and I wanted to get at least 2 winters out of this cape)
- I drafted up a collar that sat just short of the centre front. I traced off a collar that I liked from a dress she has and altered it to fit the cape using this technique. I attached the collar in the same way as the book suggests you attach the hood.
- I drafted up some flaps for the slits. The vintage parenthesis shape was irresistible! I basted them to the back part of the split before I stitched the outer cape and lining together and then top stitched the pockets in exactly the same way as the book describes.
Madeleine loves this cape. She feels so glamorous wearing it. She hasn't told me that, but I can tell by the way she walks when she wears it! I usually have to fight with my shorts and T shirt loving girl to take a jumper (pullover) to school on cold days. Now I can't convince her to leave her cape behind!
My only regret is that I didn't have enough of the beautiful wool and cashmere fabric to make it in my size instead!
We are very excited to let you know about our first Sew Together Guest Series - My Best Friend.Beginning in August we have asked a collection of our blogging friends to tell us about their best friend in the sewing world
. It might be a pattern, a tool, a technique, a blog, a hint or a person who inspires them to sew. We would love to see what motivates other bloggers - what has made them into the crafty person they are today and encourages them to continue to build their skills and enjoy their sewing. They will share with us why they love their best friend so much, and how they use it. They are also going to show us some of the projects their best friends has inspired.We are very excited about everyone who is contributing to this series. There will be posts from people you already know and love, but we also hope to introduce you to others who you may not have met.
They all have a few things in common - they sew beautifully, they are enthusiastic about what they do and they all have fabulous blogs. One exception is our Mum. She is not a blogger but her sewing skills and enthusiasm more than make up for it! We are so excited that she is going to do a guest post for us. In finding out about other people's best friends
, we hope we can all make some new friends. Those friends may be new blogs to read or new resources to try out for ourselves.And in the spirit of friendship...If you have a best friend in the sewing world and would like to share it with our readers feel free to let us know about it
in an email via our Contact Us Page
. We have a few places left in our schedule and we would love you to contribute!We would love you to grab a button for your blog and share the news
. You can find it in our side bar.The series starts on 5th August.
We can't wait!
Later in the month we are participating in a series called "Skirting the issue" organised by the lovely Liz and Elizabeth from Simple Simon and co
and Project Run and Play
. During the month of July they have 40 (!) bloggers contributing a tutorial for a child's skirt to this series. So if you ever
want to make a girl's skirt these blogs will be the places to go!! Far more importantly the purpose of this series is to to make and donate handmade skirts to girls of all ages who are currently in the foster care system. They are aiming for 100 skirts by the end of July. I have a feeling they will well and truly surpass this target. They already have over 50 skirts donated. You can check them all out at the Skirting the issue Flickr Pool
.We will be the last bloggers to contribute their tutorial to the whole series so we are going to have to come up with something quite original!!! In the mean time, if you are looking for some inspiration, here are some other skirt tutorials you can find on our blog:
I hope this series is incredibly successful. It is great to see the sewing community working together to help those in need.Watch out for our tutorial on Simple Simon and co on the 30th of July.
Have you been reading the recent series on Whip up
? I have really enjoyed this interesting collection of posts about Creativity - creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting and creativity and process.I loved Kathreen's post today:"Being creative is not about skills – it is a state of being, a way of living. It is about process and thoughtfulness and slowing down of life. It is about appreciating the small things, not getting hung up about money and a bigger house, and more appliances and a new car – it is about shopping at the farmers markets, making your own bread, sketching and gardening and baking with your kids — and hand sewing the binding."Writing this post for the series gave me an opportunity to think about some of my own reasons for trying to live a creative life. Being creative gives me a greater sense of well being. Sewing with the Flow
looks at why that might be.I'd love to hear what you think... Why do you create? Are there particular projects that give you a greater sense of fulfillment than others?Does creating improve your mental health?
While at Sew It Together
a few weeks ago I had the lovely experience of meeting delightful Wendy
. She is the co-ordinator of a fantastic community project called Full Circle
. Her Church, Ashburton Baptist Church in Melbourne runs a market twice a year called The Playful Market to raise funds for important charities. The next market is on July 28th and 29th and this time there is also going to be an accompanying exhibition. Everyone can participate! Wendy is hoping to get entries from all over Australia and all of the world.The brief is a simple one: take an embroidery hoop and using any medium you like create something wonderful interpreting the theme Full Circle.
The entry fee is a tiny $5 and will be used to support Lawamena Inc - an Indonesian Schools project supporting individual students and supporting education.As it is school holidays, Pippa, Madeleine and I have all decided to submit a piece. And quite by coincidence, we will be in Melbourne for the weekend of the Exhibition!! The girls are highly inspired (and motivated) by the thought of their work being in a "real, proper" exhibition!!So holidays are looking like this:
Sitting in a deck chair stitching on the verandah at Mackerel Beach
- you can't get much better than that!!I am a literal sort of person, so when I heard "Full" Circle I decided I must stitch all the space in my hoop. I may
live to regret this interpretation! The design is inspired by my mother's collection of beautiful glass paperweights.The beginning:
If your or your children would like to participate in Full Circle you can get an Entry Form and all the information you need here
. Wendy needs your project in Melbourne by Thursday 19th July, so start soon and share some stitching with your children these holidays!!
So, I was so excited when I was drawn out of the hat to be the June Giveaway Guest Challenger. And when the package of scraps arrived in the mail I squealed with delight! (Think about it... you go to the letter box knowing that the most likely thing to spring from it is your latest credit card bill and instead you find Liberty Fabric. That is definitely squeal worthy)
I've come up with two ideas.
Today, I will show you a little Liberty head band - more of an idea than a tutorial. I made two last night (in a rush as usual) for Pippa to give as gifts at a birthday party she went to today. They were very quick to make and I'm pleased with how they turned out.
Have you ever made a Suffolk puff?They're funny little things. I think they are also called yo-yos. I have to admit - I think they are quite old fashioned, but I have been playing with them a bit lately.
I have seen some very sweet necklaces and some great embellished t shirts that use Suffolk puffs. And one day... if Caroline and I can ever get the motivation we will finish our Project Run and Play
Signature Look which uses... you guessed it... Suffolk puffs.Suffolk puffs are very simple to make. You can cut yourself out a circle of fabric and turn a small edge under. Do a running stitch right around the edge and pull it up tight. That's it - your doneEven easier - you can buy yourself a Yo Yo maker. I used a Clover one
. You only need a scrap of fabric about 7cm in diameter to make a puff that is 3 cm wide. If you are desperate and working with really small scraps you can actually piece scraps together to make the 7 cm circle. I did it a couple of times and the puffs worked out just fine.
I won't give you detailed instructions on how to use it, because the yo yo maker comes with those. But this will give you an idea:
When I was making these, I got to the stage where you start to draw up the gathers and decided this must be how fairies make shower caps!! I can't imagine any thing more perfect than fairies wearing Liberty shower caps.
I had bought the head bands for another project that was not successful(!) involving hot glue. The satin ribbon that originally covered the band ended up ruined by the glue so I ripped that off and was left with a thin black plastic headband. I found some gros grain ribbon in my stash that was a little wider than the band and stitched a channel in the ribbon so the band fitted in snuggly. If you are going to cover your own head band don't forget to turn the raw edges of the ribbon in before you sew it on both ends. Once you have put the band in your ribbon cover, you can hand stitch the ends closed to create a nice neat finish.
I hand stitched the puffs onto some felt leaves and then stitched them onto the ribbon band. I am now scared of the hot glue gun!!
Here is Pippa modelling a band for us:
Let me interpret this look for you:
"Mum, why are we on the front foot path taking photos? Can't we just wrap this head band up and go to the birthday party? I'm late!!!!"
I'll be back soon with Liberty Scrap Challenge 2.
No, we haven't disappeared...I promise we are still here!!!
We are pondering and making plans. We are busy but when those quiet times do appear we are enjoying doing not very much at all!Thanks for all your comments on our last post. It has given us lots to think about. We love your input and are so happy when a dialogue can be achieved in this space. So any ideas or suggestions, criticisms or comments are always greatly appreciated. Just wanted to let you know, I haven't forgotten the tutorial I promised for Madeleine's art folio
. Interestingly after all my pondering, it is her most used gift. It certainly didn't have the instant wow factor, but she has diligently (and without prompting) added a drawing to her water colour journal almost every day since she received it. I think it helped when Mum told her that her cousin Nick (who she hero worships!) likes to draw every day.
I have all the photos ready for the tutorial, I just need to make myself sit down and write it!! Stay tuned...A few other bits and pieces:Some of you may be aware of my slightly unusual relationship with Liberty Fabric
. In a nut shell, I buy it, but would never actually cut into it - it's just too beautiful. Well, I have found some therapy for this problem!!Nova from A Cuppa and a Catch Up
has organised a Liberty Scrap Challenge
I was so thrilled when Nova mailed me some Liberty scraps to play with. I am planning a little project and tutorial very soon. My theory is: scraps today and then maybe, just maybe, one day I'll be brave enough to make myself a shirt!!!
And..Caroline and I just had a fantastic weekend in Canberra. We went to Sew it Together!!!
There were badge swaps and sample swaps, shopping trips and workshops. But most importantly, we met so many lovely crafty bloggers. I think I must be an old fashion girl. I know that lots of amazing friendships are made online but I feel most comfortable meeting people in the real world (particularly if it involves buying a whole lot of fabric together, sewing, dinner and a bottle of wine or two!!) I have added a whole list of new blogs to my reader and can't wait to stay in touch with new friends.