Friday, 22 August 2014

Owly fun

Every now and then I go on a knit bender.  My recent knit pattern testing for E+M Patterns (so far a top, dress, leggings and tank top) has had me itching for some new, fun, knit fabrics.  Unfortunately it pretty limited around here, but I decided to splurge one evening with some Crafty Mamas online shopping!  

 I have this sudden attachment to Lillestoff - but it is so expensive, especially when your kids aren't babies anymore and you need more than a 50cm cut for most things!  However during a flick through my Ottobre magazines (well, I was meant to be reorganising them but I got distracted!) I found a top that needed only a 50cm cut of print for the front, and the sleeves needed less than 50cm too.  I thought I could utilise a solid for the back (since they are easy enough to come by and not nearly as expensive).

So I quickly added a half a metre of these bright and funky Lillestoff owls plus the stripes to my cart and checked out before I could think twice about how much one t-shirt was going to cost me.  When I went to cut the top out, I was delighted that I could actually fit the back piece across the cut too!  

The pattern is number 28 from Ottobre 4/2012 (lots of cute knits in that one!).  And the fluff ball had to get involved in this shoot too...

Book week snuck up again!

 Of course it comes awfully quick when you're working 4 days a week and running around with OT appointments and such on the 5th.  Madelyn wanted to wear the Alice in Wonderland costume I made her last year, when she was 4 and the size 6 I made her seemed to have plenty of room for two years running... Well no, not really, she's well into a size 8 now, after a big winter growth spurt.

So a new costume idea had to be generated! Every time she goes up a reading level at school (which happens often, sometimes skipping a level or going up three weeks running!) we head off to the book shop and buy her a new book, just as we did with her big brother.  "The Amelia Jane Collection" was one such book, and a big favourite for my cheeky little girl.  When she was disappointed about her Alice costume being too small, the mention of Amelia made her giggle and grin, and I had to remind her that Amelia is good sometimes too, usually when the toys teach her a lesson, so she'd have to be Amelia on a good day!

Silly me though - I had thought this will be easy, red dress, white tee, cardboard blue button and some make-up.  Not so easy.  Miss GrowsTooMuch has a very bare wardrobe at present  and not a single red dress!  Luckily Rabbit Rabbit Creations came to the rescue with their Hummingbird Dress pattern.  It was soooo quick and easy, and by luck, I happened to walk into spotlight on a 30% off day and just about fell over this bolt of the perfect red floral fabric with a slight vintage style.  I loved making this easy and well fitting dress, and look forward to doing one with ruffles on the straps as a more fancy sundress for summer.  

The button (which I realised after the fact I drew the wrong type!) was simply a few layers of card, with a piece of watercolour paper stuck on top, and I had fun shading and blending with my little artist girl's aquarelles.  I made a couple of blue ties for her hair bows, and grabbed a pair of striped tights from her drawer (lots of black and white striped tops in shops right now but no tights!).  In my haste to start work by 8am (and the kids needing to be dropped off at OSCH) I forgot her stitching lines on her face, but she didn't notice, luckily!  She's normally a stickler for detail.

Austin was going to go as Joshua Dread, from teh second book where he gets his super hero suit, so I bought spandex in black red and grey, all set to make it the night before dress up day, when he suddenly decided he wanted to be Timmy Failure.  Timmy wears a white tee and black shorts and sneakers.  That's it.  Soooo easy!  But not good for a wet, gloomy 15C day.

I had a think, and came up with Ben from Gangster Granny - since there was very little time to organise a new outfit by then and no shops open!  (By the way, if you have an 8yr old, who hasn't read any David Walliams, get to it - the kid will be in stitches!). Thankfully he was happy with that (after lots of arguing about being Timmy).  So I quickly whipped up a mask and sack, pulled gloves from the dress up box and an easy outfit from the wardrobe.

I had the giggles dropping them off before school - he was acting the part perfectly - tiptoe walking with his knees bent exactly like on the cover, his right hand holding the sack (filled with polyfil) and his left hand reaching out twitchy fingers.  It was like the book cover came to life.  They had a fantastic day, and that is what counts!

Wedding bells...

So it's the middle of winter, my Mum was about to remarry (a small family wedding with the grand kids invited), and my daughter had grown considerably in just a month or two!  I knew I could manage to throw together an outfit for the little man who hasn't really grown in ages (who is still drowning in the size 8's I bought him at the end of summer in preparation for the cooler months!) but the girl hardly has anything in the wardrobe that fits her.  It's a good thing she's at school and wearing uniforms, as I can (just) manage to keep her clothed and warm for the weekends!

I had a quick look around the shops (hard to do with a boy who often screams at the idea of leaving the comfort of home, and is a nightmare to go clothes shopping with - those clothes racks are too tempting for him to go hide under!).  However it's really tricky to buy warm things in the middle of winter (the shops seem to change seasons to spring earlier every year!), and now that she is well into an 8 (sometimes a 9 or 10 due to a broad chest, but then they are too long) she is in the "teenager" category, which is often not suitable for my sweet (not so) little 5 year old girl.

So I did a call out in my favourite facebook group for inspiration - PDF Sales and Promotions.  The specs were: has to be comfy, formal but could be worn to a not quite so fancy event without looking over the top, warm,  and a pattern that goes up to at least 10 (since she keeps on growing and some 8's have small chest measurements).  The top contenders were both from My Childhood Treasures - the Elke dress, and the Colorblock Dress. The decision was tough but I went with the latter.  It was perfect!

The pattern is designed for sweater knits, but I chose good quality (read expensive!) Ponte instead to make it a little more fancy, and so it would fall nicely, lighter for twirling etc.  I worried afterward that perhaps I should have sized down to account for the thinner fabric but glad I didn't.  There was plenty of room for a long sleeved top underneath for the cool, wet day, without it looking too big, plus I know she'll get to wear it again before she grows out of it in the blink of an eye like she does!

I topped it off with a headband (just used a hand drafted pattern for a basic headband with elastic in the back) and fabric flower (free tutorial here).  The flower was meant to be made from t-shirt fabric but I used the leftover grey Ponte to make it match.  It stuck up a little bit more that I wanted but still looked cute.  I was going to edge the petals in silver glitter glue but forgot to buy it in my dash through Spotlight.

Then the night before the wedding I decided that Austy couldn't just wear any old shirt, but he had to match her.  Of course! This was my Mum's wedding we are talking about, they needed to look special!  So I sat down to sew him up a new long sleeved shirt (Lenni from Ottobre 6/12).  Let's just say I have learned my lesson - a shirt may be ambitious for one after work evening of sewing - especially when it has sleeve plackets!  I have made him short sleeved shirts before (and think I may have made him a long sleeved shirt years ago for his uncle's wedding but have no recollection of it - in my baby brained half asleep state!) but the sleeve plackets on this one drove me insane!  It took me an hour and a half just to work out the pictures. Once I got it though, it was an "ah ha!" moment and the second one took me 5 minutes. I had also regretted my decision to use a contrast top-stitching thread several times - it shows up wonky lines (from being tired) and took time to keep changing threads, but in the end I am glad I went with the charcoal stitching. It matched the buttons perfectly. I used just a plain shot cotton for the main fabric and some leftover charcoal spotted fabric from the baby quilt for the inside collar stand, sleeve cuffs and front placket.  Looks so cute with the top button undone and the contrast peeking through.

Then there was still the tie to make (a free download from Ottobre - designed for 5-7yr olds).  I whipped it up, rather rushed and bleary eyed as my bed was calling me, and finally hit the pillow at 4am!  The tie was a bit short, I had thought I could get away with it with my small 8yr old, but not quite.  The tension issues I was having in the early hours of the morning (too tired to fix - I just sewed it up anyway) meant that the tie twisted easily, but it still looked cute, and helped coordinate the two kids' outfits.

The kids were adorable, and it was well worth the late night (although I need to remember how long that shirt took so I don't put myself through that again!). We made it to the wedding on time (just!) and the kids were very well behaved through the long, catholic ceremony. A few people from my new Step-Dad's family thought they were twins! The wedding was an early one, with a lunch reception, which meant there was time for a much needed nap at the end of the day while the kids watched a movie next to me on the couch. Aaahhhh....

Thursday, 7 August 2014

And the winner is


Who wrote:
Afternoons lazing the hours away down at the lake :-) the kids love it, its relaxing and a great at to spend a sunny day

Congratulations - I hope you enjoy sewing up this top as much as I did.

I held open my drawing an extra day due to a slow response, giving the ladies who responded by the original close date an extra entry for fairness. Even then I didn't draw it on time because I was madly working on this.

This was where I was at on Saturday afternoon, with the baby shower it was for, just hours away! No, I didn't make my deadline, but took it anyway to show the new mum.

You see, the day I bought my fabrics, I brought them home, made the first cut and my phone buzzed, of course it was the announcement that my good friend's baby had decided to come early - just over 6w!

So he turned my plans upside down. Instead of whipping up an outfit the weekend before the baby shower, I whipped up a preemie outfit the following Friday night, took a quick snap and dropped it off at the hospital the next day hoping it would cheer the new mum up a little after she had to leave without him on the Wednesday.

(Patterns are from my extensive Ottobre Design collection- an itsy bitsy size  45cm!)

Then it was a drop everything kind of experience as I rushed on with the quilt, aiming to make it for the baby shower instead of the expected due date. Alas, I didn't get there, but I came close. Just a few lines of quilting to go before I can get that binding on.

And a final note: Apologies for such a very late post - blogger has been playing games with me and not letting me post pictures... and then I couldn't get into my account.  But I am here now.  Congrats again Marimba!