Monday, 30 May 2011

Ant Brooch & Making

I had a flurry of activity in the past few evenings and have managed to make two brooches.  Now I just need to decide which one to send. I was going to wait and post pictures once swap is over but have changed my mind and so here they are and how I made them.

Here is how I made them - first using 2 layers of fabric in a small embroidery hoop (a cotton topped with organza) I sewed on the beads  (I threaded all 3 on the thread then put a stitch between each bead to hold in place) then using metallic thread did the ant's legs.  For the leaf brooch I attached a leaf shape under the organza with iron on adhesive then outlined the leaf in split stitch.  

Then I sewed all the layers around the edge together with backstitch before taking off the hoop and zigzagging around the edge with the machine.

Next I attached a couple of layers of padding to a large button, then ran a running stitch around the fabric.  Once this is pulled tight around the button I stitch back and forward across the back to pull the fabric taunt around the button.

Next step is to cut a ciruclar piece of felt to cover  the back.  I choose to cut  little  slits and push the clasp ends through this as it makes a neater finish rather than stitch the clasp directly to the felt. Lastly sew with small stitches in thread matching the felt around the edge and voila - a finshed brooch.  Depending on how much work you do in the embroidery on the front it is an easy evening of sewing.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Spider web

Yesterday we had a quiet afternoon and made this lovely spiders web which I had seen on the Sewing school site here

It was perfect for a 4year old and we are both very pleased with the result - she did the drawings on the centre piece of the plate - I love that big spider!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Over the past couple of day's I've managed to finish a couple of projects.

Firstly the doll front pack carrier
It has only been in use today and has been very popular.  I used buttons on all the fastenings instead of velcro as the pattern used on the lower straps - just because I thought velcro would come undone with all the running and jumping that goes on here! It has a couple of size adjustments to fit different dolls and growing child etc. I also finished the red knitted dolls scarf - if you look closely in the above photo you will see baby wearing it.

We also did another child sewing project and made this little rabbit cushion ( We have been reading The Velveteen Rabbit - hence a rabbit fascination at the moment)

It was a little tricky for small hands as even with a sharp needle required some force to push it through the felt - so I held the fabric tight ( and got the odd needle stab in the process - oh well part of learning and no blood drawn so all ok) , this made it much easier to stitch and she is pretty pleased with the end result.  I have just seen a post on sewing school here for a cool spider web from a paper plate so think we will try that next as looks like a nice easy 4 year old style project.  All in all a couple of very productive days and I have almost finished a brooch for the brooch swap that Susie at flower press here has organised - very pleased about this as I am a last minute person so it will be nice for a change to have it complete with plenty of time to post.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

On going projects

Having recovered from the sewing challenge I  tackled the spare room, it looked like this post the sewing
challenge - mmm not a pretty sight - my dumping ground to keep the rest of the house liveable.
.  Thankfully it's now is back to this

 - amazing how quickly you can tidy when relatives call to say they are coming to visit!

So with the domestics back in order I can start work on a few other projects on the go:
Two little doll front packs for my daughter and a friends 4 year old that we are to stay with soon - from the Oliver and S sewing little things - see earlier posts on little red riding hood cape.  I know it looks odd but once buttons and velcro in place I will post a picture of it in action as it's hard to imagine final form looking at it like this.

A brooch for the brooch swap - started last night as realised I only have a few weeks to make it in - no pictures as want to keep it a surprise for the receiver - so in case they drop by my blog won't post a picture until it's finished and sent.

The ongoing vest that I started knitting last winter  - slowly it is growing and  a scarf for dolly - with help from a 4yr old winding the wool around the needle - it's slow and a bit messy but fun.

Lastly the Liverpool - Amy Butler dress I am making at sewing classes  - I think that's enough for now, hopefully will finish one of the above soon.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Sewing class

For the first time in many years I have enrolled in a sewing class - 1 night a week you take your project and machine and the instructor helps out as needed.  Last night was the first class - I had puchased this lovelyAmy Butler fabric
. With this dress pattern in mind

 -alas not to be - what I hadn't realised was the fabric is not symmetrical , plus with the addition of darts etc the pattern on the front panels would get all skewed and loose the effect I was after. When I laid the patternout on it , with such a big bold print I could see how it was not going to work as I wanted it to. So after much deliberation I purchased some new much smaller print and symmetrical fabric to make the tunic out of as unfortantely did not have a big enough piece in my stash for this pattern. I like quick and easy patterns and so I thought this one was a good challenge for a sewing class as it was a bit more complicated than my usual sewing.

One sewing class down and the tunic is cut out of the new fabric.  Now just not sure what to make of the medium weight fabric which I have 2.5m of - maybe a roman blind for the spare room? maybe a skirt?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Rhythm upset

Just when you get a nice little routine going it all changes.  With one child and part time work I have had the luxury of cultivating morning sleep in's for my girl and I - how many other small kids do you know that routinely walk up after 8.30 am most days!  I am most definitely a night owl and last weeks sewing challenge did not help my sleep habits. Well with the start of morning kindy this week and 8.30 start time our daily rhythm is all mucked up! - result - both of us a bit grumpy and it is only day 2 of the new routine.  Of course the other family member aka Dad/husband thinks it is only fair since he always gets up early and often leaves the house before we wake - no sympathy from him.

Unfortuntely our kindy has no option for part time or shared position's so its a 5 day thing.  As you can tell I have mixed feelings about the 20hrs at kindy a week - while it's nice to have more time for me I didn't actually feel I needed it so have a bit of mother guilt going about not spending the time with my baby. On the up side I guess we do get some  uninterrupted afternoons at home ( not rushing and usually late trying to get somewhere) so am hoping to do a little more time doing craft and going to the park in the warmer winter afternoons.  Mmmm - will  give it a few weeks before I look at other options.

After the sewing frenzy our spare room is hard to get into for piles of stuff so in order to tame the chaos I went and bought an organiser box for my reels of thread - but as usual the best toys are imagination and house hold objects! First it got cleaned with my fancy silicone pastry brush then it became a Zoo.

Eventually I was allowed, several days later, to reclaim it for it's original purpose.

Now I have had a few days without sewing I have the urge for some easy projects over the weekend - a doll's front pack from the Oliver &S book is first on the list.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Day 6 & 7 of KCWC and new trousers

Day 6 and 7 of the sewing challenge turned into a blur of what Georgie calls her "rainbow trousers", which I have just finished tonight - another pair of Dortje pants from the book - sewing clothes kids love

I used a new cotton tea towel for the stripes, I am hoping it will be hardwearing as these pants are for kindy.  I know the cotton will fade but am not too worried about that.  Phew - lots of sewing in the last week as managed 3 of the 4 projects I had planned but the last two were quite time consuming so the skirt will have to wait a few weeks.

Not part of the challenge but I also managed to finish the  necklace above that I had on my list - a free one from the Amy Butler Web site

Now I need to get back to the other projects I have on the go - a 1/2 made knitted vest, a photo album in progress and I need to start on a brooch for the swap I am participating in.  I also want to do a bit more sewing with my 4 yr old - the sewing cards we made have had lots of use and I think we are ready to move on - so I have a little project planned for a quiet afternoon. 

Day 5 KCWC

The sewing has slowed down a little here but I started on the Dortje sewing last night - bad weather forecast for later today so might get more done.
I love this pattern - its not hard and fits well but the details with the tape and applique etc take quite a lot of time to put on - so its not a single evening sewing job. Some amazing creations on the Flickr site under Elsie Marley Group - an an incredible number of new pictures this week  - worth checking out for inspiration.

Day 4 KCWC

Not much going on today on the sewing front - far too nice a day to stay inside - instead a long meander to the library collecting acorns, leaves and pinecones along the way.  The red riding hood cape got an outing too and was great on - I thought the slits for arms were a bit narrow when did a try on the while sewing - but in action they were fine.   I did manage to cut out another pair of Dortje pants - this time in a blue cord & am using a strippey tea towel for the knees! - Thought it would be good and strong for adventures outside.

Happy sewing to everyone else doing the challenge

The cape in action!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Day 3 of the KCWC and little red riding hood

The finished little red riding hood cape, I'm really happy with the way this turned out.  Not only does it justify the purchase of the Oliver and S book I got the pattern from but I also got to use the piece of liberty lawn for the lining that I have had  in my stash for years (literally - 15 at least!), just waiting for the right project.
While it is an easy pattern it actually took me about 4 hours from start to finish - lots of seams as 7 panels  and 3 for the hood, then you do the same for the lining.  I also top stitched the edge as with the felted wool it would not lie flat with just ironing in place.

For the button I got a vintage button from a local shop, makes it look quite retro I think. As you can see G is very happy with it, so hopefully it gets lots of wear this winter.

Phew - only day 3 of the sewing challenge and I think I have done 7hrs of sewing already ,so  I am running out of steam a bit.   I might try to get another pair of dortje pants made before the week ends but over several days. I have been watching a few other blogs and there progress - lots of lovely stuff being made.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Day 2 Kids clothes week challenge

The knot shorts in action - with a very reluctant model !

And below with tights underneath & more of the grumpy model

And because we are on May 10th here in the southern hemisphere day 2 has come around - I have got as far as cutting out the wool for the red riding hood cape - only to discover I hadn't yet washed the lining ! arghh - so lining is washed and in the drier and more cutting to be done this evening. My least favourite part of sewing is pattern tracing/drafting and cutting out, and from what I have read I suspect I am not alone on this one.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Day 1 of the kids clothing week sewing challenge

I had intended to make the red riding hood cape but decided to prewash the woollen blanket first so I made these cute little knot shorts this evening. Tomorrow I'll take a picture of the shorts on as I think they are one of those items that will look better on.

The lining fabric is this lovely cotton, the pattern is from the link in my last post - and it was easy and quick once I had cut the pattern.

I have also managed to fit in some knitting today so last years unfinished vest is happening too - yah , as it is one of the those projects which hanging over me because I especially bought pink merino wool for it - am hoping it will be finished while it still fits!
Hopefully the red wool is dry tomorrow so I can start on the red riding hood cape for day 2 of my sewing challenge.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

A New List for KCWC and a Brooch swap project

Thinking about next week's kids clothing challenge I have been formulating a little project list

1. Knot shorts as seen here, not really the season for these in NZ at the moment but I thought if I made them a little roomy we could put tights under them this winter and they would still fit for summer.

2. Little red riding hood - this Oliver and S book has just arrived on my doorstep and I am desperate to make this cape - just managed to buy a felt red wool blanket to upcycle into this - now normally I wash all my fabric before sewing - but I'm not sure about this one .  Should I handwash(gently) the blanket first  or just cut and sew as its hopefully not going to need washing often and maybe better to get it drycleaned? Any comments on this very welcome.

3.Insa skirt - this time for my niece's birthday coming up

4.  Winter trousers - another pair of Dortje's? or a variation on this, I'm keen to try using an old pair of levis of mine which have a bit of stretch in them as I am in love with this pair I have seen on flickr. Or I could use some nice grey/blue  stretch needlecord I have in my stash?

MMM this is a fairly ambitious list for 1 week I think - maybe I'll jsut start with the red cape and see how I go!

Also on a different note I have come across this  grab a logoat flowerpress, basically you make and swap a brooch someone as organised by flowerpress - I like the idea so sometime in the next 6 weeks need to make a funky brooch - planning on trying a little embroidery/stumpwork. And if you don't know what stump work is - its 3D embroidery - here are some examples of previous stuff I have made.

This top one is a Jewellery box so quite big and the blue one a framed picture but am thinking of maybe just one small insect or similar?? I haven't done any for about 3 years so thought this would be a good way to get back into.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Tango no Sekku - Boy's festival Japan

May 5 is Tango no Sekku - the Boy's festival in Japan - a day honoring little boys.  I understand (please correct me if I am wrong) that traditionally carp streamers are flown in Gardens and Samurai warrior dolls displayed in living areas along with other celebrations,special rice cakes etc. I read on wikipedia that it's now officially a childrens day in Japan and a public holiday.

We bought these beautiful carp streamers on a recent trip to Japan and are hanging them to remind us of all the children in Japan affected by the earthquake .

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Fit for a princess

After looking at Royal Wedding photos my princess decided she needed to wear her crown.

I made this little felt crown as a christmas present, much more comfortable and durable than the plastic versions. I also managed to finish another little project, not on my list at the side of this blog but when going through my stash of fabric last night I found the felt I had purchased to make a couple more crowns - so I made these up last night.
I am going to list the pink one on my felt shop (see top right link) , the pirate one I have in mind for a small boy we know but I have enough to make another so I may list this too.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

First sewing for kids

After reading some recent posts from Sewing School on embroidery  here I decided to try some first sewing using Handmade sewing cards I had seen in Amanda Blake Soule's book "The Creative Family"
So I made these 3 little sewing cards out of poster weight card.

Using a blunt tapestry wool needle and some wool we did a running stitch around the outside.

3 cards worth was about the maximum concentration for my 4 year old, but she was pretty pleased with her efforts and was keen to make her own cards and sew around these  - so we did this next.

The cat picture on the left is a favourite of mine, the right was a picture she drew of herself.   I figured we would do this a few times until she really has the hang of the sewing action then try making a small toy or pillow of felt using running stitch around the outside.

The embroidery lessons on the Sewing school blog mentioned above suggest kids who do the above first have more success when they then try embroidery. I plan after the above projects to then get her to do a drawing and embroider it.  Good things for cold rainy winter days at home!