Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Sewing Complete.

I have finally finished my Christmas sewing as of today.  I only had a few things left to do on outfits for my kids and most of it was hand sewing.  I hate hand sewing!  Luckily I was able to sneak in half and hour today to do button holes and sew on buttons whilst hubby was home for lunch and now everything is finished.  This is what I have ended up with for my kids.  (Please excuse the pictures, I took them underneath some lovely green shade cloth so everything is looking slightly ill.)

For those interested, here are some individual pictures with details of each item.  Firstly, Mr. J's presents.
Two shirts made using the trusty Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt.  I'm sure you have worked out by now I love this pattern.  The only fault I have found with it so far is the bulk in the hem where the front plackets fold up.  I have to use my walking foot to get through all the layers.  I think next time I will just overlock the hem and turn it up once.

A pair of flat front shorts using this tutorial from the 'Made' blog and a simple applique t-shirt to match.  The tutorial for these shorts is great.  I highly recommend it, in fact I recommend the whole blog for those of you who haven't already seen it.

Finally for Mr. J, a magnetic fishing game, complete with fishing rod and rather odd looking worm.  I was originally inspired by this blog post but wanted to use magnets rather than velcro and I hate the way velcro sticks to everything!  I was lucky enough to find some pretty strong magnets in a local store and the fish almost jump onto the rod.  This is the 3rd one of these I have made.  The other two are gifts for a friend of Mr. J and one of my nephews.

Now onto Miss E's gifts.

A simple knit dress made using this tutorial.  Very simple to follow and quick to make.  I will make this one again but next time I won't do the elastic casing with ribbing on the inside, I will cut the dress in two pieces with extra for the casing and stitch them together.

A simple skirt and applique t-shirt.  Very similar to this one I made for my niece.  I think I prefer the applique on my niece's t-shirt but this one is still cute.

A dress made using a vintage pattern.  However, I made a few modifications as I decided the original pattern wasn't quite right.  I decreased the size of the sleeve as they were far too big and frilly and added in some pin tucks and buttons for detail.  Thanks mum for the tip of sewing the pin tucks before I cut out the pattern, it worked really well and was very simple.

Here is a close up of the front detail.  It's a bit hard to see but you get the idea.

Finally, a Magoo monkey (which you will have seen before) using the pattern by the talented Melly and Me and a simple no sew tutu.

Hopefully I'll get some shots of the kids modeling their outfits after Christmas day but I can't promise anything.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you have a happy holiday.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stripes and Circles Plus an Early Christmas Present.

A good friends baby turned 1 yesterday and for his gift I turned to the fabulous Oliver + S and whipped up this sketchbook shirt.  I fall in love with this pattern more every time I make it.  (I promise the bottom of the shirt is even, the leaves were making it stick out!)

Here it is folded up and ready to be wrapped.  I used snaps instead of buttons to make it easier to get on and off.  It also meant I didn't have to bother with button holes;-)

For a different perspective, here's a picture Mr. J took.  It must be frustrating being a 3yr old and viewing the world like this.

Now, what's the early Christmas present you ask?  Well this one's for me.  I was browsing a local online buy and sell page the other day when I stumbled across this.
I have been wanting one of these for a while now and this one is a great brand and in excellent condition.  The price was right and hubby said he would be happy to get it for me as a Christmas present.  I'm one very happy lady here at the moment.  Now to get sewing for myself.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Three Cheeky Monkeys.

I have found a new favourite pattern!  It's Magoo by Melly and Me.  Aren't they just the cutest little things?  Two of these already have homes and the brown one on the right is part of Miss E's Christmas present.  I think she's going to LOVE it!

I will definitely be buying more of the Melly and Me patterns.  These were pretty simple to make and super cute.  A great pattern all round.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Gifts

This is the first of a few posts to show the Christmas gifts I have been working on.

First is a skirt and top for my nearly 2yr old niece.  I used fabric from the Denise Schmidt range at Spotlight for this one and am very happy with how it all came together.  I'm really pleased with the appliqué on the top as I drew little pictures for hours before I settled on this one.

I also whipped up a car roll using my tutorial for a friend to send to her nephew in Ireland.  I have obviously made a couple of changes to the road since my original tutorial.  I have changed it to a simple oval shape instead of a figure 8 and added in white lines to make it look more like a road.  For those playing at home, I used a stitch width of 2 and length of about 0.5 to create the lines.

I really love sewing presents and have just a few more to finish before I am all done for Christmas.  Although Mr. J keeps going through my fabric telling me he would like a shirt in this and some shorts in that!  I think I'm going to be busy keeping up with his requests.

Summer Bottoms.

Coming into the warmer weather, there is nothing better for a baby or toddler than wearing just a nappy and singlet (actually I'm sure they would much prefer to have nothing on at all).  Unfortunately, a nappy and singlet don't look too good when you have to go out to the shops or visit friends.  That's where nappy covers are a great little item you can whip up in next to no time.  This week I made two of these for a friend and her gorgeous new little baby boy.  I used my own pattern for these but was stumped as to where to put my label.  That was until I stumbled across this tutorial and saw her label on the back, it's the perfect place.  (This tutorial looks great too and easy to follow.)

In the end, I only gave one of the nappy covers to my friend but put it in a parcel with a bib, shoes and toy I had previously made.  She was very happy when she opened the gift and loved everything in it.  I just love it when people appreciate the effort that goes into handmade clothes and presents.  (I'll be sending the other nappy cover her way when I eventually make something to go with it.)

Summer Skirt and Top.

I said I would be back with more sewing and I am.  This is a little outfit I made for miss E a couple of weeks ago, just to try out a simple skirt and t-shirt combination.  I used some fabric I had in my stash and because it's quite light weight, it was perfect for two layers.  The t-shirt is one I picked up last summer and just added a few fabric yo yo's to jazz it up a bit.  (Please excuse the photo's, I think someone may have been rubbing their fingers on the lens of my camera!)

It's the perfect length to show of her gorgeous legs.

But still long enough to cover her nappy when it's time to play!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Been a While.

My poor little blog has been neglected for far to long, it's time for me to get back on here and start writing some posts again.  I have actually been quite busy whilst I have been away.  In fact my sewing area has been getting a good work out lately as I have been trying to get presents finished in time for Christmas.  Here is proof that I have actually been quite productive.
Note the clothes hanging above the overlocker (all finished for Christmas) and the items piled up on my cutting mat.  There has been lots going on in here so stay tuned for detailed blog posts over the next few days.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I went for a quick visit to my local Spotlight store yesterday to pick up some curtains for my freshly painted kitchen.  Whilst I was there, the fabric section seemed to be calling my name.  I'm certain I could hear the bolts of newly reduced fabrics almost singing in chorus as I tried my hardest to steer clear of them.  Obviously I couldn't resist the beautiful music they made and ended up following the tune like a rat to the Pied Piper.

Strangely enough, when I came home with these, hubby didn't believe my story!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Another Purse.

I recently blogged about a purse I had made myself here and I mentioned that I wanted to make myself another one.  I  was able to make this one a day or so after the first one but haven't had the chance to blog it until now.  Obviously I used the same tutorial and added the zip pocket in the back again.  My only problem this time is that I can't decide if I like it now it's all together.  I think I should have used the inside pocket fabric for the outside and I may have been happier with it.  Oh well, it seems to be growing on me so I may eventually use it.

I really do like this fabric, I'm just not sure it works as a purse.

Slightly wonky on the zip.  Ooops.

Inside pockets, I think this fabric would have been better on the outside but not very practical whilst I cart two messy kids around with me.

Wheat Bags.

This week I have made a couple of wheat bags for the kids to use when we go camping.  I want to avoid them waking up when they get cold, so hopefully a couple of wheat bags will help with this.  Mr. J chose his own fabric and I picked one of my favourites for miss E.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed these will keep them nice and cosy and in their own beds!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Can Knit!

Several posts back I wrote about my plan to get into knitting.  It has taken me a while, but I have finally made something.  Whilst it's only fairly small and very simple, I am happy to say that it has shown me that I can knit.

I got the pattern from a creative knitting magazine (not sure which one sorry) and decided it was a good starting project.  It's only very small (premmie size hat) but I will be making another one to rectify a couple of mistakes I made.  

It's just the perfect size for 'Connor' and he clearly doesn't care about the couple of little faults!

The creative knitting magazine I got the pattern from, had an address you can send the completed hats to for use in special care nurseries.  I will definitely be making a few more and sending them off.  Once I saw the size of the finished hat, my heart went out to those people who have premmie babies.  I couldn't believe how tiny it was.  If I can make a few hats to send off to those tiny little babies, I'm at least helping in some small way.  For those who are also interested in knitting a couple of these, I will try and find the details of the charity and put it up here ASAP.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dinosaur Birthday Cake Tutorial

Let me start by saying I am NOT a cake decorator, nor do I claim to be, but I recently made a dinosaur cake for my sons birthday and decided to create a tutorial for all those out there like me who couldn't find anything suitable on the net.

Here is the finished cake.  Read on if you're interested in the tutorial, otherwise you may want to stop now as I am know for my rambling!

Dinosaur Cake Tutorial

You will need
-  2 round cakes (or one tall square one like I used in the tutorial)
-  Some spare cake for the head (can come from off cuts of the square ones or a couple of extra about cupcake size)
-  Icing in the colour of your choice (I made butter icing)  
-  Small amount of white icing
-  Royal icing (I think this is also known as fondant.  It's the ready made stuff you can roll out flat)
-  Knives, spatulas etc

Start by getting your two cakes ready.  If like me you have made a square cake then you will need to cut it into two circles as follows. 

I started by trimming a small amount of the round top off.  Using a tip my mother gave me, I placed toothpicks into the cake at the same height and used these as my knife guide so I knew the cake would be level when I cut it.

You then need to cut your square cake into a circle (ish) shape.  I did this by using a bowl and cutting around it.  Make sure you keep all the bits you cut off.

Once you have a circle, you will need to cut it into two cakes using the toothpick method to ensure they are level.  You will notice one of the cakes is slightly rounded still, but that doesn't matter as you can use this for the body.  Also note my off cuts kept aside on the plate.

Now you have 2 circles, you need to cut them into the body parts.  Below shows you how to cut each cake.  There will be a small piece from the cake on the right that isn't used, put this aside for the head.  (Please excuse my wonky computer drawing!)

Here are my pieces all cut and ready to be put together.  (The two half circles have already been turned up on their side and stuck together with jam and icing.  These pieces become the dinosaur's body.)

  Now it's time to put your dinosaur together.   Start with the body.  I stuck everything down with a big of icing.

Now add the tail and neck.

And all the pieces for the legs.

Now comes the tricky part.  Using your extra pieces, you will need to piece together a head shape.  This is a close up of mine, not pretty but it works!

At the moment, your dinosaur looks a little squarish.  To correct this, you need to round the edges of his neck, tail, head and legs.  I did this by using a small sharp knife and shaving off the corners until I was happy with the way it looked.  (I ended up taking a bit more off than what the picture below shows.)

Now you have your dinosaur in the shape you like, remove any extra crumbs from the board and give the whole thing a crumb coat.  This is just a thin layer of icing to hold all the crumbs together.  It makes your final coat nice and smooth.  Once you have don't the crumb coat, place it in the fridge for an hour or so to set the icing.

Now you can do your final coat.  If you're clever, you may like to do fancy piped icing or use the spatula to make marks like scales but I wasn't going to attempt that.

Time for decorating.  You can pipe icing toes onto the dinosaur but if you want something a little easier, tic tacs (and Australian lolly) would work just as well.  The spines I made using rolled out royal icing that I coloured blue, cut into triangles and left out to dry and go hard.  His eyes are made with small circles of royal icing with a dot of black, non toxic texta for the pupils.  His nose was made using the handle of a spoon pressed into the icing and I just cut a long slit for the mouth.

Here he is from the front.

And from the back.

That's it.  One completed dinosaur cake.  Feel free to ask any questions if I haven't been clear at any stage.  If you do make your own cake, add a link to the photo so I can have a look.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Purse.

The other day, I went looking for something quick and easy to sew just to get my machine going again after a few days sitting idle.  I stumbled across this tutorial and decided I wanted to give it a go.  Using some scraps from my fabric stash, I put together this practice version and I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  I've actually filled it with my cards etc and intend on using it until I get time to make another (although it didn't really take long to put together).

 As you can see from the picture, I added a zippered coin pocket on the outside as I felt this was missing from the original tutorial.

Here are a few more pictures so you get the idea of where everything fits.

There is one little thread hanging out the side I need to cut off but otherwise it's all finished and doing its job.  I did go and buy more fabric today to make another one but it might take me a couple of days to get that finished.  I no longer have the luxury of my children sleeping at the same time in the afternoon, Mr. J has given day time sleeps up all together!