Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Demanding Seamstress

"Can we sew today?"
Translation: I want you to make me something, I will give directions which will be very specific and then I will change my mind several times during the process. Oh and I will want to use some fabric from your stash that is very special -mmm maybe that liberty .

Georgie had been asking for several weeks for a roll up case for her tiniest pet shop toys, I said " yes  tomorrow, I promise" on Saturday evening, then my older sister called to organise lunch at her place with my younger sister and all the  kids the next day. So here I was Sunday morning - not really in the mood to sew let alone be directed , and making this toy case.

She wanted the pockets to be different coloured and small -  an argument ensued as if I made them as small as she wanted the toys wouldn't fit.  Then she wanted a grey path and the girl on it.  The list went on - finally I put my foot down and we ended up with this little case.

Bit wrinkled sorry, had to pry it out of her hands to take the picture.
There comes a time when small seamstresses need to learn to sew for themselves, this time is coming I think!

Monday, 22 October 2012

The List Maker

I make lists

For years I kept a diary in my bag and I wrote lists - lots of them.
I had a week a page type diary and I wrote the jobs for the coming week, daily tasks etc - I never actually managed to do most of these in the allocated time - I am a last minute type of girl - but I still made lists.

Two years ago  I purchased a family organiser calender thing and put it on the fridge. Initially I kept the diary too but it all got a bit confusing so I abandoned the diary when I realised I wasn't using it any more. I also realised that most of my lists were futile and actually never really helped achieve anything - now I write important reminders on the calender eg Car registration due etc as my memory prompts.

Burda tunic - a whole year on my list before I made it this weekend
(and it is actually too big in the neck so goes in the cupboard for next year - damn it!)

But old habits die hard and I do still keep lists - they are just swimming around in my head.
Items I want to make, things I need to do around the house, errands to run, work stuff etc. I sit there having coffee making little lists in my head, I sometimes jot them down on a piece of paper or on my ipad - random scribblings that I loose or delete later as the act of writing them down  helps commit them to memory.

This little corner of chaos has been at the top of my list for several months now, so this weekend I finished the desk and resorted the supplies .
Soooo much better now ( although that green on the table is pretty luminous! - what was I thinking when I looked at the paint chart)

Chair redo to go with the desk is in process, but not in green.

Christmas time however brings list frenzy to my head and I think I am going to have to write a big list and stick it on the fridge. This revelation came after I had gone to my neighbours to prewarn them my daughter and a few little mates would be coming round this wed for Halloween ( Not a tradition here in NZ and it annoys some people if your kids come trick or treating - so I was just checking before sending kids up their driveway). Anyway I digress - I then realised I was a week out and it is not Halloween this week anyway - so I need a list as I was getting ahead of myself.

This weeks list:

Make Halloween costume for G
Another Tova shirt for me
Finish my big pile of mending
Finish the chair to go with the desk above

What's on your list?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Tutorial :How to make a hoodie with zip front

After struggling to make one for my daughter I put together a brief tutorial, especially around how to put the zip in an unlined hoodie.

I drafted my pattern off an old one but getting the dimensions correct was a bit of an issue - I had to add a bit onto the edge of the hood as mine ended up a bit small , so if you can find a pattern or take apart the old one that would be easier.

1. sew the front pieces to the back at the shoulder seams

2. Sew together the hood back seam and then finish the front edge

Here you can see that I put some pretty tape over the inside seam to keep it looking tidy when the hood is down and you can see inside it.
Then put the hood aside and make the sleeves.

3. In a kids hoodie the cuff is too small to sew on last if you are using an overlocker ( serger), so first I attached the cuff. ( It is tidier if you can attach the cuff after the arm sleeve is seamed but this was lots easier)

4. Next I sewed the sleeve into the body

5. I then sewed the sleeve and right around the armpit and the sewed the front and back body of the hoodie together in the same seam

6. Now I attached the bottom band and then overlocked the front edge where the zipper will attach.

7. Stitch the hood too the body , the hood will be about 1.5 cm short of the front edge ( so you can turn this edge back when you insert the zip.

8. Now the zip,separate the two pieces and  lie each side, wrong side up( the zip part will face away from the edge here) on each edge.
and stitch about the middle of the strip to attach to the front edge. The zip needs to be long enough so the bottom sits level with the bottom band of the hoodie front and at least 1cm above the top. Check that the pockets are level at this stage when you do up the zip as it is very easy to get one a few mm higher than the other and it is really noticable if they are contrasting fabric.

9. The next step is to fold over the excess zip at the top and then roll the zip over to the inside so you can top stitch down the front edge from the outside.

10. Top stitch one or two rows of stitching close to the zip to hold everything in place.
Now you have the zip inserted.

11 Depending on how tidy this looks you may want to do what I did and sew some tape over this seam to make it look better since this will be visible when it is worn.

And on the outside it should look like this

And there you go , one finished hoodie, hopefully you made yours with less unpicking and foul language than I did!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

I made a Hoodie

A Hoodie for Georgie has been on my list for a while.  Nice stretch fabric is really hard to get where I live so I had stashed an old adult hoodie I had thrifted and an old pair of Georgie's tights to make it with.

I couldn't find a pattern so decided to risk it and draft my own off one of the old ones we had.
Lier over here at Ikatbag has made some amazing hoodies for her girls and has some good instuctions as well so I used these.  She lined her versions so I had to wing it and work out how to put the zip in and make it look ok. 

Actually it turned out to be pretty straight forward to make, but Note to Self : striped stretch fabric is not the best choice for people new to stretch sewing.  I unpicked that zip three ( three!) times and those pockets still don't line up. I'm pretty please with myself for making this but don't look too closely if you are a perfectionist.  I really strugged with that zip so took pictures and will put together a tutorial. ( Blogging equivalent of community service - in return for all those bloggers whose tutorials I have used when sewing).

Monday, 15 October 2012

Tova shirt

Yes I've made it.  I purchased the hard copy Wiksten Tova shirt pattern here , which cost me way too much with it being US$ and postage etc . Only to see a couple of months ago there is now a much cheaper PDF version - oh well it's a great pattern so no regrets.

The Tova pattern sat on my shelf for months mocking me, I had read a few blogs saying that it was a little tight across the chest if you had a bust and couldn't face making any alterations but finally got inspired after seeing some really nice ones on flickr. If you have been putting it off - it is actually quite easy and much better instuctions than lots of the big pattern companies . I found it really easy to fit the sleeves etc.

Not the best picture sorry - no one to take one for me.

I used a cheap Japanese lawn from Spotlight in case I had a sizing disaster ( had several of those lately) But I am really happy with the result although not in love with this fabric.

I made the shirt just a little wider across the bust by cutting the side seams a cm wider and also extended the arm width by the same but cut all other pieces in the size Medium. It is roomy but I am really happy with the fit for everyday wear - can ride a bike etc wearing it. I think if I hadn't done this it would be too tight across the back when I reach forward.

The only other modification I made was to stitch the front closing up just a couple of cm's so it doesn't fall quite so open.

I now have plans for a second one in a Nani Iro Japanese Fabric that I do love, and maybe a dress length one too??  (too many nice ones on flickr).

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Last weekend of the school holidays,  weird weather for October in NZ , it is supposed to be Spring and on saturday morning we had snow!

We were a little underdressed for the unseasonal conditions
So we hung around inside for most of the day as the snow was really wet and quickly disappeared.

We also made a shadow puppet box, a little hard to tell but these are Charlie and Lola characters including sizzles the sausage dog which Georgie drew - pretty good huh.
I got the idea from Megan over here at Mousehouse. Georgie is obsessed with Charlie and Lola but the Gruffalo characters are pretty cool in Megan's version.
I also started a plan to update Georgie's craft corner
She has outdrown this space and this picture is actually a good day, that little table has become a craft dumping ground and she now spreads to the kitchen table.
New plan is to renovate this table and chair ($20 thrift shop find for both)
Currently banished to the Garage in all their formica and grubby glory: but todaywas sunny and warm so I started the process to transform them to something we can live with.  I didn't want to spend lots of $$ on something that we will no doubt grow out of in another couple of years.
 And I have been sewing - pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Easy Gift idea

I made a few things to take on holiday - one was a sewn packet for Georgie's markers:

Very easy and more durable than the original plastic packaging.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Holiday sewing

Georgie saw a doll pattern in one of my Mollie Makes Magazines
so here is our version:
It's hard to tell from this pic but the green on her head is a headband.
Now apparently she needs a wardrobe of new clothes!

Friday, 5 October 2012


It was hot ,sunny, I didn't have to cook any meals and we did lots of swimming.
We went to Queensland Australia.

Georgie spent hours playing in the sand and had a fantastic time .
She was delighted too when our luggage didn't arrive with us and the only swim suit in the resort shop that fitted her was a bikini.
I have to say thought - I'm not a resort sort of gal - I grew up camping by lakes and the whole buffet breakfast with 800 people eating in the dining room each morning was just not me.Neither is just lounging by the pool, but it was partly a work related trip for me so the holiday add on was a bonus. It does have it's good points - Georgie found lots of kids to play with her age and it was easy holidaying with just one parent there.
We got to do a bit of exploring too and went to a couple of wild life parks:

We even got to have a photo holding a baby crocodile
(only hardcopy so no photo here sorry, so here is one of G holding a pink Koala)
Now we are home, school holidays, poor G has a temp and cough so we are lying low at home, doing some craft and sewing - more to come.