maandag 29 september 2014

Autumn has arrived!

And I'm not a fan. I love summer and spring, autumn is already the road to the dreaded & gray winter. It's just not my cup of tea. I also live in a country that has never heard of Halloween nor Thanksgiving (they only have a rather depressing memorial, no offence, but even my  fellow band players dislike it...), so apart from Christmas there's not much to look forward to.

That's a bit too depressing... The upside is that autumn still has some sunny days (short sunny days, way too short, but gotta love the sun!) and those short evenings did get me back in the sewing mood.

So, on a cold, cold day, what's best to do? Read blogs, get inspired and decide to get in the car and just visit the fabric store again. To discover that the store has moved over like... a year ago. I don't go shopping very often, sure, there are more towns, but still... And just before I found this free pattern in a Facebook group. And I love the sheep. It also reminded me instantly of this scarf. And the fact that it was getting cold (it was freezing the other morning!) that my son's hat already had to be crammed onto his head last year so I decided just to check if they'd have any sheep fabric. And maybe plaid like the fox-scarf... And they did! Sort of. Somehow with their new location (it's next door to where it used to be) it seems to have gotten a more "modern" feeling... And they had what I wanted, that's a rare thing. So that resulted into:

A foxy scarf...
And an upsized lumber jack hat. And look at the other side!!!
Not entirely planned, but who knows? I love this! /nerd The fleece plaid was actually not very special, But I bought some more to be able to cut it on the bias. All lines & plaids look immediately more interesting when cut on the bias. Total fact! In my opinion at least...

So now I have a bowl with a new hat & scarf. And I really like them! Irony of it all, the day I finished the hat, it suddenly was above 20C again... Not complaining, I love this, but somehow I still have the feeling that Autumn and I will never be able to get along very well... But if it helps, I'm going to make everyone hats, I could use a good after-summer! Any orders? ;-)

zaterdag 9 augustus 2014

Baby dress

I've been out of my sewing mojo. I've planned to blog some older projects if this would happen, but I guess I've been out of my blogging mojo as well...

No longer though! :)

Recently I found a pretty baby dress tutorial on See Kate Sew and when we got a phone call that our brand new niece arrived, I decided I just needed to dust off my sewing machine and make a tiny dress.

Over here I styled it with a tiny onesie, one I did not make, but I like the combination of the two, so will gift them together.

Still learning to work with my new camera, but loving it so far (Nikon D3200). Crisp pictures and it is SO fast compared to my no-zoom old point & shoot camera. That one definitely was more a miss than a hit.

Some detail photo's (decided to not follow the instructions entirely):

And this is the part that shows a bit where I changed up the construction, the inside:
I kept the side seams of the bodice open and sewed them shut right sides together. After that I took the lining piece (white here) and sewed that right side of lining to the to the wrong side of the skirt. I then ironed over the right side of the bodice and topstitched it to the skirt from the right side. This way the not-pretty part of the skirt is hidden inside the lined bodice. I also felt when finishing something nicely, french seaming the skirt is way too easy to pass over, so all raw sides are hidden nicely. 

Hope our niece will enjoy wearing it, it's very likely that she'll wear this fabric sooner than me, I kinda finished my own dress, but still am no 100% satisfied with it... Did I mention I'm picky?

Fabric: Ikea
Pattern: See Kate Sew

vrijdag 6 juni 2014

Quick sew baby gifts ~ With free template

I think something's in the air lately. Or it's just due to my age, but it seems like babies all of my friends are having babies all at once! Only last month I received announcements of 3 cute baby boys. This was too much for my sewing machine to handle at once, but in general I do like to send out something "more" than just a postcard to congratulate the parents.

One of the quick gifts I've made a few times is this crinkley elephant. It has ribbons to fiddle with, add an extra ribbon so you can attach the toy to a stroller or a pacifier and most important, find fun fabrics to show off! Read on to find out how to make them! :)

~ Fabric, approx 16" x 11" (40cm x 27,5cm) and some scraps
~ Ribbon, I used 5 on each ear, each about 3" (7,5 cm) long
~ An old "crispy" bag, make sure it's clean! For that reason I used empty "diaper whipes" packages. It should be big enough so the elephant body fits on it.
~ The usual notions, tread & sewing machine
~ Pattern (Page 1 and Page 2)

* I did not include seam allowances, so add 1/4" or 0,5cm on all sides. In this case it won't be a big problem if you leave that step out.

* Cut fabric according to instructions, for my elephants I like to use 2 fabrics for each ear, like this (it's the same one as the red-eared pictured above):

Just for fun, I tried to pick soft or different textured fabrics as well.

~ Mark ear & eye placement on the fabric

~ Take one piece of ear, put it in front of you right side up. Fold the ribbons in half and place & pin them around the outside of the ear, but faced inwards; nothing should stick out. Place the other half of the ear on top, pin together and sew the long curve closed and just around the corners, keeping on the short side a hole for turning. Make sure you make one right and one left ear!
~ Notch the seam allowance and turn the ear right side out. Press if needed and iron the seam allowance of the turning hole inside.

~ Pick how you want to sew an eye, it's easiest to do that first. I cut a circle from fabric and appliqued it on with a small & short zigzag stitch (satin stitch). You could also hand sew an eye on. A button would be another option, but make sure it won't come off or otherwise don't give it to small babies. Repeat for the other body piece

~ Second, the ear. To ensure the ear is attached very well, I've sewn it on twice:
First I pinned the ear on my lines, wrong side up (flapped back over the face, ribbons on the snout side instead of tail side) and sewed it in a slight curve. I always put one stitch over the end of the ear, before backstitching. I use a tiny seam allowance for this, like 1/8" or 3mm
After this, I flapped the ear back in place and topstitched right over it again. The turning gap should definitely be closed now and I don't think any baby will manage to tear an ear off. ;) Repeat steps for other body piece.

~ For the tail, cut a piece of 2 1/2" x 4" (6x10cm), fold outsides to the middle and then in half (like bias tape) so you end up with a 2 1/2" x 1" (6x2,5cm) strip and sew it shut.
~ Next, take the 2 tail pieces, right sides together, sew the curve and just around the corners and leave a gap for turning. Notch & turn, put seam allowance in, stick the tail in and topstitch around the tail.

Check where you want your tail, pin it to one side of the body, tail facing inwards (snout direction!) and sew in place.


The ear pokes out, first thing you do is fold it towards the belly and pin in place, on both sides. Then lay both body pieces on top of each other, making sure NOTHING sticks out (ear/tail). Put the plastic on top and pin in place. For my sewing machine it was easiest to sew this way as well, with the plastic on top. Slowly, sew all around and make sure to leave a turning hole, easiest to do that in the back, just under the tail.

Clip & notch around the elephant, turn & topstitch once more all around. Beware for sticky pins that are still holding your ears.

You could also skip all topstitching and use ladded stitches instead to close all turning gaps.

Enjoy the gift! :) Let me know if you have any questions and if it works to download the pattern like this. I have no idea yet what other way there'd be to share it... Thanks for reading!

maandag 2 juni 2014

Bag contest voting!

My bag I posted before has been selected for the last round, but I could really use some more votes ;) I think I might lack good pics though and competition is very, very good.

Voting can be done here!

I'm #4, Jolien.

Thanks so much!

vrijdag 30 mei 2014

What do you do...

When your son mysteriously loses his sunhat?


You just sew a new one!

And make it reversible, so the little guy has a fancy match for every outfit.

I used the free Reversible Bucket Hat pattern by Oliver & S. The size "small" is perfect for my 9-month old.

It's just one of those quick, lazy-sunday-afternoon sews. And a great way to use fancy pencil fabric and fluo yellow thread!

dinsdag 27 mei 2014

Scrap busting

I have a confession to make. 

I love fabric and I cannot part with it. There are pieces of fabric I like less, but I cannot throw them out. And I have pieces I love to death and I just cannot cut into it, afraid to ruin the flawless piece. Those are getting more rare I'm happy to report, somehow I'm getting more confidence that I won't ruin the piece or that I at least will find a way to fix it.

For the bag I posted before I bought fabric I loved and I had a few tiny scraps I couldn't just part with. One reason I have 2 scrap piles, one with useable and one with "too big to throw out, might find a project for it, but otherwise it'll be great stuffing for a pouf one day". I also read about Quilt As You Go, seriously, I don't get it entirely, but I found a way to make it work. 

So again, I took a piece of floor cloth, stitched strips of several types of fabric to it and behold, a belated mother's day gift! :) I do like how this one turned out.

I boxed the bottom as you'd do with a regular tote bag and made a lining. This way the shape isn't entirely square when closed, but you can open the top entirely and see everything you put into it. Also, the floor cloth makes the bag sturdy, great for lots of small essentials I'd say! :)

The continuous zip was quite a challenge, but with help from Youtube and the husband I (or actually the amazing husband) managed to get the slider on. I do think this will be the last time that I'll buy continuous zips though, I prefer shortening zips... Anyway the most important is that the recipient told me she liked the bag a lot as well and I managed to use some more tiny scraps, so mission accomplished I'd say!

Thanks for stopping by! :) 

dinsdag 6 mei 2014

A finish!

Finished something again AND managed to make some photo's of it! That's a double yay for me.

Anyway, to start of the story, I'm a musician. Not as a profession, no way, just as a hobby. I just carry around a French horn and sheets of music for fun. :) Before, I always used a nice bag my orchestra provided me with, but ever since we moved here, I've been using whatever I found around the house. Nasty part is that I have a heavy, pointy, iron "music stand" that does not seem to cooperate well with bags. I started off with a (relatively sturdy and more important, purple!) plastic bag, which held up for almost a year, not even that bad. Then I got another sturdy shopping bag, but the handle broke after a few months. The bag is still sturdy, the handle not so. After that I switched to one of those ugly, free, cotton bags, this one:

There's even advertising on it, which I have hidden now. And not very noticeable in this picture, but it´s holey too, I've already lost a few pencils on the way.

So when Sew Natural came with a bag sewing contest and when shortly after that Selfish Sewing Week appeared in my blog reader, I knew it was meant to be. I was in desperate need of a new bag! At least, that's what I told myself.

I thought of the suede coat which my gran gifted me for making toddler slippers, but cutting into a neat coat, JUST for a tiny piece of leather seemed like a waste to me. A bag is way better! :) When stopping by the fabric store, I found the cutest piece of fabric, added a red fabric from my stash and found later an old green blouse, which turned out to be a great match and just enough for the lining. To interface the handles and the cotton for the outside of the bag, I used a floor cloth. The cheap, stiff one's you can buy in every store. I had a few on hand and found that they're much better for interfacing bags than for actually soaking up liquids. Add that all in the mix and behold! A new bag magically appeared!

Well, in a perfect world it would. ;) I used Sew Naturals guide to making a shopper, but also referred to Izzy MeimSaab's Youtube where she explained how to add a zipper to a bag. I also cut the lining longer and folded it like a harmonica, that way I could make several pockets on the inside over the entire length. As usual, I think I've sewn almost every seam twice, changed my plans throughout (my sewing machine does not do pretty zigzag, nor straight stitches on this leather/fabric combination) and also fuse-hem-tape isn't a great idea either when applying the cotton to the floor cloth, next time, I should immediately start with quilting. Also, I think I'm going to add some sort of sturdy bottom, so the bag will handle the weight better and will be a bit sturdier. Otherwise, I think I'm done and happy. I have a bag, large enough to carry all my stuff so I can finally bring just one bag. And oh yeah, the instrument of course... I did not make it to fit that one as well...