A Diversion

I went to visit my beautiful friend Kaz and her daughter Tilly last week. Tilly is only 8 months younger than Bubble, but the difference is huge. I didn’t realise how much I missed the giggles, gummy (or not so gummy in Tilly’s case) smiles and lovely snuggles. I’m not sure how long I got to snuggle Tilly for, but it seemed like ages and was definitely not long enough.

Kaz has been sewing some nautical themed bunting for Tilly’s room. The chevron fabric I used for Bubble’s Starboard Skirt came in a few other colour ways, so I bought a few centimetres in red, white and blue, and gave it to Kaz with the bunting in mind.

And then I stole it back.

While I was working up the courage to attempt the bias facing on my scout, I made another Starboard Skirt for Tilly, this time with two pleats.

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Having learnt a bit from my first go, this time I was able to think ahead and match the pattern at the seams:

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And I sewed further down the pleats to keep them secure at the waistband:

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Now working on conquering my fear of knits so I can make some coordinating Beachy Boatneck tees…

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…and maybe another surprise with the chevron leftovers that I haven’t told Kaz about yet, so shhh. 🙂

DYB, DYB, DYB

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So, I actually was a scout. And a Guide. And an overachieving Brownie:

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I managed to avoid studying Textiles at both of my high schools, but somehow stayed in the Guiding and Scouting movement until I was about 15. At which point British bulldogs got a bit too touchy-feely for the only girl in the troop, so I left.*

When I saw Anna’s first Scout Woven Tee, it looked like something I a) might be able to handle, and b) definitely would wear.

This week, I’ve finally found time to actually finish one, and I am sooooo excited. I know it’s super easy and everyone in the world has made one by now, but it’s the first thing in years I’ve made for myself, the first thing I’ve ever made for myself from a pattern, and the first thing I’ll actually get heaps of wear out of.

Because my measurements are all over the place, and I’d never inserted a sleeve before, I made a muslin from some not-at-all-my-style cotton from the $2 table at Darn Cheap (if that shop didn’t live up to its name, I’d be ruined by now).

Fit satisfactory, stitches in a straight line, I then grabbed the pretty cotton (not sure what exactly, it’s maybe a bit heavier than lawn, but not quite quilting weight) I got at Spotlight a while ago. Almost panicked when I thought I didn’t have enough, but I worked out how to lay the pattern out so there’s actually plenty left over. Hopefully enough for a pair of Bubble Shorts for the Bubble.

Another first for me was the use of a pressing ham. However, in my case, I don’t actually have a ham. Instead, I used old (not too stained) cloth nappies, home made from op shop sheets (the thrifty went out the window a bit after Bubble arrived, but I had good intentions…).

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You may be able to see from that photo that I did something a wee bit crazy. I used Grainline Studio‘s French all your seams tutorial. I thought I might be a bit mad when my sister-in-law, a very experienced seamstress, says she had never tried to French seam sleeves. But I had a go, and behold:

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I’m really proud of the finished product. I faced the neckline and sleeves with red bias tape, using Haby Goddess’ Bias Binding Guide to get it right, and it sits lovely and flat. Next time, I’ll try the Grainline tutorial.

All in all, I learnt heaps and am pretty much squealing with excitement.

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(Please excuse the selfie in my grubby bathroom mirror)

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*The actual reason I left had more to do with the hour long commute to school after finishing Scouts at about 10pm the night before. It was all pretty chaste, really.

A Grown-Up Project

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This might be the beginnings of a grown-up project just for meeeee! I’m intrigued to see how it fits, since my bust, waist and hip measurements are wildly different sizes (my hips are the smallest by 3 sizes!). A muslin in a not particularly attractive, lightish cotton from the $2 at Darn Cheap Fabrics should help though.

Meanwhile, I am a bit in love with Sanae Ishida’s colour blocked Debbie Birthday Dress. I always love the drape of the fabrics she uses, the comfortable look of the garments and especially her colour palette. I love the way she’s used strong, but muted colours in this frock:

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Love. Clearly K has an excellent eye for colour too. I think I will be stealing this in the future…

Knits

This afternoon, I had an hour to kill before an appointment, so I decided to ‘whip up’ Bubble’s dressing gown that had been sitting beside the machine for a week or so, ready to stitch.

This is my first experience sewing with a knit fabric (a cheap polar fleece), and… well, turns out I can’t sew in a straight line any more. Or manage to attach the correct pieces together. And unpicking a tiny zig-zag is more than a pain.

20130715-155142.jpgBest I keep practising, though. There is an order in for at least two more dressing gowns (they tend to get very messy over breakfast), and it’s not getting any warmer. Especially since our chimney is blocked, ruling out the wood heater which is the only thing that heats the whole house. And surprise, surprise, the chimney sweep has a 3+ week waiting list.

Starboard Skirt

I bought this chevron cotton drill at Spotlight a while back, purely for the colour combo. This was before I had dragged the machine out again, and before I had started to learn about how fabrics behave. I think I had this in mind for a Laurel top originally, but the print is so big I doubt I would’ve worn it. Plus, the drill is a bit heavy.

Then I came across Simple Simon & co’s Starboard Skirt tutorial. I wanted to make a skirt for myself, but thought it best I practise on the Bubble first.

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I took my time with the skirt, making sure my measurements were correct and my stitching was nice and neat, but it was so darn easy to put together, I doubt it took much more than an hour.

There are very few things I’d change about it and I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. I matched the chevrons at the pleat, which looks pretty cool, but next time I’d make the pleat bigger. The tutorial recommends a bigger pleat, but I went with a smaller one because Bubble is tiny. But looking at it on her, there is definitely room for more skirt.

I also used a woven elastic, which was a mistake. It’s too strong and broad, and even though I topstitched around the casing, it still twists and folds (probably because I used 25mm instead of 20mm elastic). Next time, I’ll use knitted elastic, a bit gentler for a short person.

One other minor detail I’ll look at when I make it again is to stitch the pleat at the waistband. The tutorial recommends stitching the pleat down, but it’s lost when you fold it under. I think it would help to stitch it a bit further to stabilise it.

Sadly, when the ball pit isn’t in action, Bubble doesn’t like to pose:

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She prefers to steal the phone to take selfies:

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PJs

So, I signed up to an online sewing class via the Haby Goddess. Things have been a bit hectic around here, so I have pretty much ignored all the amazing lessons and dived straight into making.

Project #1 was meant to be a drawstring bag, with quilting cotton lovingly selected from Spotlight to complement the cheap waterproof polka dots from Ikea. So naturally, I instead put together a pair of purple PJ pants for Bubble, using a pattern from this here book. With top stitching around the elastic casing. And French seams. Because you can’t be too over-the-top when sewing for a 1-year-old.

In my defence, the flannelette was on sale (probably for a reason, it’s pretty crappy) and I thought it a good idea to practise new skills on actual garments rather than scraps of fabric (boring).

French seams on size 1 trousers are b-u-l-k-y. I think they’d be too much for a grown-up lady in the crotch area, but with a nice, cushy nappy underneath, I don’t think there will be any complaints.

The legs are a bit long for Bubble at the minute (she’s a shorty), but the waist fits her perfectly. Hopefully her legs will grow faster than her little belly!

I had tried to face the legs/cuffs with scraps of a cute flannelette I bought to make a fitted cot sheet, so the contrasting fabric peeks out when I roll them up, but I couldn’t quite work out how to fit the legs around the machine to hem them higher. I think I have worked it out now though, so in the next couple of days I think I’ll unpick them and give it another go.

I’d like to give the hems another go anyway, as one is about a centimetre longer than the other, not that it’s noticeable. I think I was a bit fed up by the end of the session, plus it was bed time and Bubble wanted to wear them (and didn’t that feel ace!).

Behold, a Bubble in purple and white star PJ pants:

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I have a bit of blue flannelette with Vespas on it to make another pair and hopefully there will be enough scraps from the purple for more, too.

Other projects completed/in progress include a couple of woollen mattress underlays, up-cycled from a double bed size to fit the cot (again, you can’t be too OTT for a 1-year-old); pink matryoshka doll fitted sheet (from this My Poppet tutorial); and the above-aforementioned drawstring bags, which I am lining with waterproof fabric as wet bags for daycare accidents.

The quilting cotton I picked out for the wet bags is a bit too fabulous though, so I might attempt an Oliver + S Popover Sundress from it first, and see if there’s enough left for the bag.

I had been banned from purchasing more fabric until I completed five things from the existing stash, but there may have been a small (sister-in-law enabled) slip, so now I feel guilty and am aiming for 12 small projects before I let myself off the chain again.

Wish me luck…

The Stash

It would appear that my fabric stash is somewhat more extensive than I had realised. And given my recent binge of fabric and pattern buying, I’d better get sewing. Best I learn how to first…

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