Friday, 25 July 2014

Flip this Pattern - Vintage beauty

A couple of months ago I received an invitation to participate in the Flip this Pattern series run by Ashley and Emily, the lovely ladies from Frances Suzanne. I was so excited, so of course I said yes!

My version of the Croquet Dress pattern by Oliver + S was revealed yesterday. Please visit Frances Suzanne to see what three other competitors have made. We all did our best and would appreciate your votes. Each person has one vote. Voting opens on the 25th of July at 5 am CST time (that is 8 pm AEST time) and closes on the 26th of July at 11 pm CST (which is 2 pm on the 27th of July accordingly). The winner will be announced the following Monday. You can VOTE HERE.

In case you missed my creation I am re-publishing it here. And since we are among friends I thought I would tell you how my flip nearly ended up being a flop!

I enjoy challenges where I am provided with a starting point and then given freedom to do as I please. For this challenge I wanted to keep the pattern recognisable, but give it a little twist that would make it my own and unique.

I initially wanted to make an A line dress out of lightweight denim, but when Little Monkey saw my choice of fabric she said, 'Bwa' and turned away. Boy was I happy I did not cut into fabric before consulting with my little customer! You see, it is important for me to make something my daughter likes and wants to wear.

So once Little Monkey rejected my idea we started looking through my fabric stash together. Pulling fabric out, stretching it on the floor, touching and folding it together with my daughter was so much fun!

Little Monkey chose vintage floral brushed cotton that I purchased from House of Cloth. The fabric is super soft and nice to touch. It feels wonderful against the skin and it drapes beautifully. Little Monkey's choice of fabric determined a few other changes I have made.

The most noticeable change is that the dress has become a blouse. I can't explain it. This fabric had to become a blouse, not a dress.

Pintucks. Sweet little pintucks. They are such a delicate detail. For some reason I associate pintucks with vintage. Perfect for our choice of fabric! I replaced gathers on the front of the blouse with four pintucks, and I love the look!

Once it came to sewing the collar detail in place I thought my blouse was looking a little too busy. Golden ricrac helped break up the business of the print.

The other obvious change is that Little Monkey's blouse has long sleeves. I cut them too wide but instead of trimming excess fabric I narrowed the bottom of the sleeves by sewing three pintucks on each sleeve.

Another detail that I associate with vintage is a button up closure on the back of a garment.

Both Little Monkey and I love buttons. When she saw the back of her new blouse she was pleased with the amount of buttons. She is so funny!

Gorgeous blouse, isn't it? Well, this is the second blouse I made for this competition. The reason I had to start all over again is both embarrassing and funny. Look!

Doing pattern alterations well past my bed time is my only excuse! I still have no idea what I did wrong. My best guess is that somehow I lengthened one pattern piece twice. I finished the first blouse, but it was too short. Luckily I had time and fabric to start over!

So, this is my 'flip' that nearly became a flop. What do you think about Little Monkey's new blouse?

Remember, you can VOTE for your favourite look HERE.

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Monday, 14 July 2014

The Cosi swimsuit

I have a confession to make... I am intimidated by stretchy fabrics. I love them, but I get anxious sewing with stretch fabrics. Which might sounds a little funny since the very first thing I made for my daughter was a T-shirt! I have made a few outfits from knit fabrics since, but my anxiety did not go away.

When Suz first published about her Cosi swimsuit I decided I was going to get the pattern once it was released and tackle my fear head on. And then Suz asked if I would be interested to participate in her blog tour! I was so excited, and at the same time I felt like my anxiety doubled. I have huge respect for Suz, and I was so worried I would not be able to make a swimsuit and let her down!

To keep a long story short, While she was sleeping I made a new swimsuit for Little Monkey using the Cosi Swimsuit pattern by Sewpony Vintage. To say that I am proud of it would be an understatement!

You may have heard people say how sewing swimmers is actually not that scary. I never believed that. Until I tried it! I would not go as far as to say it is the easiest thing to sew. I say it is achievable. Really. Even for someone like myself, who is intimidated by stretchy fabrics. Suz has put an incredible amount of work in this pattern. Before I started sewing I read the instructions, and let me tell you they are very comprehensive.

Little Monkey has been going to swimming lessons since she was 5 months old. My daughter is custom built. She is tall and skinny. Finding ready-made swimmers that suit her well was a challenge. Not anymore! The Cosi swimsuit pattern comes in sizes 6 months to 10 years, there are 7 views to choose from, so I seriously can't imagine having to buy a swimsuit for Little Monkey any time soon. Custom built little swimmers deserve custom made swimsuits!

Little Monkey is wearing Cosi in view C, minus leg ruffles. I used polyester knit fabric (95% polyester, 5% elastine). I spotted it at my local Spotlight right next to the fabric Suz used for her first swimsuit. That is how I knew I was in the right isle!

Little Monkey loves this fabric because 'it has all the colours'. Who can argue with that!

To be honest with you, I made one and a half Cosies for Little Monkey. I started sewing the first one on my sewing machine. I hopelessly stretched elastic around the leg openings. I must have not pinned it well, and it 'wiggled' all over the place while I sewed it. I could not bring myself to put it on Little Monkey, so I started again.

I took my time sewing the Cosi swimsuit again. This time I sewed it on my overlocker. I just disabled the upper knife when it came to sewing in elastic. I only used my sewing machine for top-stitching and adjustable straps. In my experience it worked much better. I basted elastic around the leg opening and at the top by hand before sewing it in place, and it made a huge difference.

What I especially love about this pattern is the way it fits around the legs. No more swimwear wedges! I also love the cross back straps option. It is especially handy if your child grows towards the sun quicker that in any other direction! I usually find cross-back straps hold the swimsuit in place really well so my little swimmer can focus on her lesson rather than adjusting her swimmers.

It doesn't look like the swimsuit fits Little Monkey very well in the photos. I just didn't adjust the straps enough. My hands are always freezing in winter, and Little Monkey didn't want my cold hands on her back. She was wiggling and squirming so much adjusting her swimsuit became impossible. It was not a battle I could win.

Suz is offering 15% discount on the Cosi swimsuit during the pattern tour (7-18 July) with the coupon code COSITOUR14.

Thank you Suz for having me on the tour and for providing me with an opportunity to finally tackle my fears. I actually want to sew with knits more now!

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Monday, 7 July 2014

Liebster award

Our sewing/blogging community is fabulous, do you agree? I love how we support and encourage each other, share and learn from one another.

Back in April  Asmita of Elephant in the study showed my little blog some loving by awarding me the Liebster award. Asmita commented on one of my posts a few months ago. I am a curious person. I love checking out other people's blogs. I got to Asmita's blog and could not stop looking all the wonderful things she has made! I may have left about gazillion comments. Strangely enough she has not blocked me thinking I was a crazy stalker!
So, have you heard for the Liebster award? It is a virtual award passed from one blogger to another to encourage, support and promote other blogs. From what I understand Liebster award originated from Germany in 2010, and the word 'liebster' means 'dearest' in German. It also sounds like the 'rules' have been transformed over time as well. I will stick with what I have been given - the person nominated for the award is required to answer 5 questions provided by the person who nominated then, share 5 facts about themselves and pass the award on to 5 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

So, let's do it!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

My sewing room

I love seeing other people's sewing spaces. I don't know why I am so curious to see where people work and create. It's like being able to take a peek at what is going on behind the scenes!

Christina of 2 Little Hooligans is running the Sewing Spaces series where participants show and talk about their sewing rooms, corners and basements. I am excited to invite you guys over to my sewing room today :)

Just like almost all of my sewing friends I started my adventures in stitching on our dining table. It was not very comfortable, there were extension leads running in every direction and my fabric and patterns were threatening to overtake our eating space. I started craving a place I could call my own.

We lived in a three bedroom house, and I thought I could occupy a guest room. However a spare double bed was already occupying it, and there was no room for anything else! I got my sweetest husband on my side and we got rid of the bed base and tucked the mattress under our bed where it is very happy and only comes out when we have visitors.

My sewing space evolved over time. We recently moved into a new house and I now have a bigger room (almost) all to myself! The aforementioned mattress still makes a rare appearance, but this room is much bigger and I don't need to tuck my sewing supplies away so our guests can move around the room.

So, this is my sewing space. This is where I regain my sanity while Little Monkey is asleep. This is where I stitch late into the night sacrificing my (much needed) beauty sleep. It is nothing glamorous, but I am happy here.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Perfect imperfection

I wish this was a perfect blog post about a perfect dress I made for my Little Monkey accompanied by perfect photos... But it is not.

This is not even a post about a new dress I am proud of. Because I am not.

This is a story about a girl, a little girl, who feels like a fairy in her new less than perfect dress and a lesson she taught her mother.

Rewind a few weeks back. Willow & Co released their patterns, and I instantly fall in love with a few of them. Fawn Lily tunic and dress pattern designed by Rebecca of Rock the Stitch got my attention straight away. I loved the lines, loved the 'vintage meets modern' look, loved the options... I just looooved it. So I decided Little Monkey needed one.

I shortlisted a few fabric options for this dress and let Little Monkey choose the combination she liked best. Her choice did not come as a surprise. You see, purple has always been her favourite colour. Well, apart from a few weeks when she favoured pink. When she saw these fabrics spread out on the floor in my sewing room she pointed at them straight away. She specifically requested 'flower pockets'.

So, we had fabric picked, decided on the yoke and the skirt options, my daughter got super excited, and then...

... I am not even sure what happened. First I made piping, and it ended up twisted. I was planning to add piping along the curved sides of the yoke, but it felt as if I completely forgot how to sew piping. After unpicking it for the 4th time I gave up. I thought the dress would look too purple and boring without a pop of colour, so I left twisted pink piping at the bottom of the yoke. Gr!

Then the sleeves. I did not pay any attention to how I placed them. You can see the grain of fabric running in different directions. Ouch!

Rebecca suggested light to medium weight fabrics for this dress or tunic. After I split a seam on a sleeve open while trying to pull my corduroy dress through it I understood why she suggested that. Perhaps if I sewed an A line skirt I would have not had to practice slip stitching. Bummer.

Then it came to sewing the sides of the dress. The seams where the sleeves meet the body of the dress did not match up! I was ready to cry by then.

I was very disappointed with myself and went to bed. In the morning I showed the dress to Little Monkey and she practically started jumping with excitement. She loved it!

I thought I would take her to a railway for a photo shoot, but once we came closer to the train tracks she got so scared a loud train might come past while we were taking photos! She covered her little ears with hands. She was ready to cry.

I got so grumpy! Why can't my child just stand still for a couple of minutes so I could take a few photos? Is it such a big thing to ask? By now Little Monkey's eyes were filling with tears and my husband looked somewhat concerned. I don't think he has ever seen me frustrated that much before.

We walked away from the tracks and eventually Little Monkey let us take a few photos. I thought I had a lot of bad photos of a poorly made dress. I got over the whole thing, so we finished the photo shoot and went on with our lives.

Once we all relaxed a little I realised I was a fool. The biggest fool in the crafting world. I was so focused on stitching, pattern placement, overall execution and photography I completely lost sight of what was important - my child was ecstatic about her new dress! She is three years old. She does not care if the sleeves on the dress look somewhat funny, if piping is twisted or if seams are matching perfectly. She finally got a purple dress with a full skirt, 'flower pockets', and she felt like a fairy. To her, this dress was perfect. That is the most important thing. That is why I sew.

I will make another Fawn Lily dress for Little Monkey, but I will wait until it is warm again. In the meantime if you would like to see examples of beautifully sewn garments, visit Renee, Heidi, Tasha, Meg or Suz.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

You & Me... by you!

Remember how I said I would do a round up of your projects created for the You & Me series on the 16th? Yeah, me too. I just forgot to mention that I might be nearly a day ahead of many of you! I thought it would be fair to extend that deadline by one day. I didn't want anyone to miss out.

If this is your first visit, you can read about You & Me here and see the round up of guest posts here.

Two sweet projects were added to the You & Me Flickr group.

Annie of Peaches and Bees created a gorgeous dress for herself and a twirly skirt for her little girl. Don't they look so lovely together!

You can read more about Annie's projects here.

I was also happy to see the sweetest dress Lucy of Losing my thread created for her daughter.

I am in love with this fabric. You can read more about this project and also see the most adorable muslin here.

Just about an hour ago my friend Alisa from A Stitch in Between e-mailed me a few photos of the outfits she made for herself and her children. Alisa is yet to blog about this, so I feel privileged to be able to show you her creations today. Alisa refashioned one of her old tunics into a skirt for herself and a pair of shorts for little Aleks.

You can read more about Nic's super cool Jetpack Tee here.

Thank you for joining in ladies!

Dear friends, thank you for following my first sewing series. It's been an absolute blast! Let's do it again one day, hey?

Sunday, 8 June 2014

You & Me - at a glance

I can hardly believe that the You & Me sewing series has come to an end! I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the participants for making the past two weeks so enjoyable!

Please feel free to click on links under photos if you missed any posts or would like to read them again.

While she was sleeping
2 Little Hooligans
Nearest the Pin
Nap-Time Creations
Dotted Whale
Compagnie M.
Things for Boys
Dandelion Drift
Imagine Gnats
Groovy Baby and Mama
As it Seams
La gang à Nat

I would also like to thank Pam from Threading My Way for her lovely guest post, Suz from Sewpony and her daughter Isabella for creating the logo, my sweetest husband for helping with the codes and twenty million other things, and Little Monkey for being my inspiration for this series!

It it not too late to join a sew-along. There are already a few lovely creations added to the You & Me Flicker group. Please feel free to add your projects to the group. On the 16th of June I will do a round up of your creations here on my blog.

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