31 December 2012

Lessons Learned and Inspiration

I'm not sure I'm going to have these as a top 5... more just some reflections and a shout out to my favourite bloggers...

Reflections on the last year:

So.. 2012 was the year that I really started sewing clothes with the idea of wearing them out of the house every day. I've made lots of PJs, and lots of fancy dress, but up until this year I rarely sewed straight up clothes. I joined in with Me-Made-May for the first time, and that showed that most of what I've made I didn't wear much. I do wear more dresses than I used to (living in Australian does that to you) but I don't wear them daily. So next year will be more separates- tops, skirts, trousers and short. And from looking at my misses list, in less bright colour combinations.

I said that this year I would focus more on the internal finishing. Thats been a bit hit and miss. Though probably more miss than hit, though there have been plenty of french seams and nicely lined dresses. 

I've loved learning new skills this year, things like binding openings and invisible zippers, and I think the quality of what I've been producing has slowly been going up when I want to apply them. However quite often I get impatient and want to make the dress thats in my head *now* and that all does out the window. BAD!

I've quite enjoyed the non clothing crafting too. The wilmas and bags and pouches. And learning to crochet, though still not an established skill, has opened up new windows too.


Bimble and Pimble - Always reliable to produce witty blog posts about the kind of clothes that I would love to be making!

Sew Hopefull - Always such beautifully made clothes in a style she pulls of so well!

Dinosaur Girl Fashion - Coming to you all the way from Israel, Kessem makes some wonderful clothes which would be perfect for my ideas of sewing the person I want to be.

HandmadeByCarolyn - If she can make so many beautifully finished clothes, surely I can make a few? Aim higher, Ellen :D

Tilly and the Buttons - and -  So Zo... - You've probably hear of both of these, but while they have very different styles to me I love the clothes they produce and how much they add to the sewing community with MMM and OWOP and the like. Looking forward to the next rounds!

30 December 2012

Top 5 Hits and Misses of 2012

I jumping on Crafting a Rainbows Top 5 of 2012 wagon, because it seems like a great way to sum up the year. Here are my hits and misses of 2012!
If youre doing the same, leave me a link and we can compare notes!

Top 5 Favourite Creations 
(most worn, or most loved!)

5 - These Itty Bitty Baby Dresses were my first attempts at kids clothes. I had lots of fun making them, and later made a set of Boys clothes too, for another little one.

4- Tough Mudder Outfits- I had a great time thinking up how to make these, and they made the day so much more fun, if much harder in my case!

3- Kimono Sleeve Sorbetto. I wear this one all the time! I love the way the fabric works perfectly with the pattern, and the slightly rounded hem, the cap sleeves. It looks ready to wear, but in a good way :)

2- My Christmas party dress. I think one of the best things about this dress is that I actually followed a plan through and did what I said I would do!

1- My Stoner Caterpillar dress. Its only been worn once, obviously, but Maybe someone else will have a fancy dress party soon and I can pull it out again! I love the fit, I love the stylisation of the caterpillar into a dress, I love the overall look with the hair and make up, and I loved all the "really? you made it? really? wow"'s

Honourable Mentions:
Wonky Wilma and William - My first softies

Top 5 Sewing Fails 
(UFOs, worn once, or complete disasters!) 
Why was it easier to think of these?

5 - Herman Sorbetto - too short, too green. Worn once, now deliberating what to do with it... I don't think theyd have much use for it at the Op-shop either!

4- Spring top - Never worn out of the house. I think its the bib. It just doesn't work. I might unpick it and shir the back maybe?

3- 70's dress - This one was a bit of a miss from the start. I cut out two left hand backs, so I had to fix that. Then it came out really short, and kind of tight. It split just after the photos!  I've already cut it shorter, into just a top. I still havn't worn it though...

2- Blue and yellow polkadot dress. 
This was planned for our citizenship ceremony. In my head it was going to be great. In reality I felt like an oversized toddler, and the bias neckline and arm holes distorted beyond repair. I have plans to make a sorbetto out of the what I can salvage, with a black or white collar to balance out the colour, as they fabric itself is a gorgeous soft drapy rayon(?).

1- Blue and white polkadot stripe dress. So bad it never even made it as far as pictures. I tried to match the print into a v on the front bodice. It just disn't work no matter how many times I tried. I can't even take a picture because I through it away when I was rearranging the sewing room!

28 December 2012

Santa was very kind

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, bit even a....*wait!*

OK< so everyone was stirring, and we had two dogs running round like maniacs.
We watched the Wallace and Gromit marathon on UKTV, and our DVD of "Father Christmas: Another Blooming Christmas" and felt like we were kids again. The Wrong Trousers has to be the best short film ever made! 

Christmas day was a scorcher (nearly 40oc/104 F) so we were up early to take the hounds out for a walk. Polgara really wasn't up for walking though, and The Boy had a hard job on his hands dragging the stubborn thing home again when she decided she was over it!

We weren't expecting Polgara, so she didn't have a stocking, but she still had lots of treats.
Juggling balls are really hard to wrap, so Santa hid them around the lounge instead.

 But the rest of the presents were under the tree.

The Boys loved their presents (yup, thats 5 balls!)
And I loved mine. They included my dress form and Ice Age from my christmas list. The binding foot is apparently still on route, so maybe Mother New Year will bring it.

I also was lucky enough to receive the Cath Kidson "SEW!" book as well as a rainbow of lovely thread and some other notions from my mother in law, and a lot of baking supplies from my sister in law; glitter gels and quality food colouring and some gift boxes for delivery of prettified baked goods.

From my parents we got a pile of Poo each :)
Ever since we used Oxfam Unwrapped for our wedding list, we have tended to get these instead of presents. It means someone gets what they need, and we save on postage and waste. Perfect!

As the day was a scorcher, we hung out inside and played trivial persuit and monopoly, drinking Pimms and nibbling on goodies. We had a big Pork roast late in the evening, complete with the best crackiling thats ever come out of my oven. 

Merry Christmas!

27 December 2012

Another softie - Another christmas gift

Can you guess what it is yet?!
How about now:?

I drafted my own platypus pattern for a friend I knew would be appreciative.
I love his Biggles style eyes!

He is made from about 2 half fat quarters, though I will need to check that. I'm also going to attempt another one where the underbelly is narrower, so he sits a bit flatter. At the moment he is more of a platypus shaped sausage... so maybe with less stuffing too.

I do like how the flipper tail came out though- its a felt sandwich with the details quilted in. It just needs to be bigger in the next generation!

His recipient loves him, so thats the main thing!
I have two baby gifts to make soon (one is already late...) so I was thinking of another couple of these, maybe a little smaller, nice bright colours, embroidered eyes and with a safe rattle insert...
Lets see if I can manage it!

25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Buon Natale, 
Geseënde Kersfees, 
Krismasi Njema, 
Joyeux Noël, 
Nadolig Llawen, 
Feliĉa Kristnasko, 
Merry Christmas, 
Jwayeu Nwèl, 
Feliz Navidad, 
Gelukkig kerstfeest, 
عيد ميلاد مجيد, 
Frohe Weihnachten, 
Selamat Hari Natal

And from our Christmas guests!

20 December 2012

Meet Wonky Wilma II - or is it William?

I finished my second Wilma
Though I think this one is a William...
He is made in a much more grown up colour way and all ready to go and meet his new owner on Christmas Eve.

Did I mention that Wilma gave a walking tour of Perth?

He is a lot more sturdy, though despite having thicker fabric and heaps more stuffing, he still has some weak points that developed after a few days. He stands up well on her own though. His ears are a bit different  as I was doing the cutting outside and the wind blew the piece away. Maybe thats why cutting is generally done indoors ;) So I just guessed...

The fabric was a pain to work with- thick threads and loosely woven. I used fray stop on the edges of key pieces, which made things easier. I do love the fabric though, and in my favourite colour combination!

I used the selvedge to make a little stubby tail:

Fabric was $1 from the Salvos,
Pattern... charity donation.


19 December 2012

Crochet Bunting

So... our christmas colours are a somewhat unconventional teal, purple and hot pink. with some white/silver in there for good measure. I find that the traditional colours look lovely and festive on cold dark winters nights, but seem quite dull in Perths bright (if unusually stormy) summer days.

If you've been reading for a while, you may remember the wreath I made for the door (which is now on the mirror after I spent my days pinking up felt circles from the drive, and has been replaced by our old purple tinsel and bauble homemade wreath on the front door) and the cushions (which have a matching table cloth and coordinating table runner).

This year I added a couple of extra bits to drape over our picture shelves.

 The top one is simply felt circles sewn together in a chain.

The lower one is a range of stars I crocheted... loosely following a pattern the first time to understand the process involved in making the tip of the star and then freestyling :D
Hence they are all different- some look more like starfish, with wavy arms, some have 6 points (must have missed/added stitches somewhere!)
Then just threaded onto some white sparkly yarn thats too thick and fluffy for me to be able to crochet with yet!

17 December 2012

2012 Christmas Party Dress 2

Well, I did it!
Christmas party cocktail dress:

I left it til the last minute, so the insides aren't as nicely finished as I might have liked, but I did like the end result. Sadly it was an outdoor party and the weather has been pretty cool and there was a strong breeze, so I wore my jacket over it for most of the night

So, its the bodice for Style 1157, with a pleated skirt instead of flared. I pleated the midriff section (I ironed it into pleats onto fusible interfacing and then cut out the piece. Worked really well, and added some extra form to the midriff, which had a habit of sagging.

I also added ruffles around the neck and pleats on the arms. I liked the way the different textures worked with the fabric, which was a kind of shot taffeta, with hot pink warp and black weft, ending up this lovely festive dark pink. It was lovely to sew with, but creased up really easily!

I sewed the bodice halves to the skirt front and back panels, then sewed the side seams. Most of my dresses have side zips, but I think I'm converted- this made any last minute fitting adjustments a breeze!
I think the only thing I would change is to make the "straps" slightly narrower at the back, and lower the back further ( and maybe see if that centre seam is really wonky or if its just how I'm stood?!)

The invisible zipper worked pretty well for my second attempt at one, though I need to get they stitching closer to the teeth without going through the teeth! (which may or may not have happened with this one)

Total cost:
Pattern: $5 (third time used but fanciest dress)
Fabric: $25 (on sale but still fairly expensive)
Zip: $2.50

$32.50? I'll take that. 

16 December 2012

Christmas Pudding Treats - 2012

We went to a christmassy gathering yesterday afternoon.
I took one of my stockings filled with small mainly chocolate based treats, plus some extras for their dog. (liver treat reindeer poo, anyone?)
Plus I made some more of my favourite easy christmas treats - recipe here - that look pretty cool but are sooo quick to throw together.

This time they have gummy lollies chopped up on top, and some of them had a splash of amaretto mixed in with the orange juice. 10 minutes work, but they look pretty fancy!

Also- last night was The Boys work christmas party. My 1 real time to dress up for the year :D
And *shock horror* I actually made my dress! Following up on a plan? me?!
Heres a teaser :)

11 December 2012

All I want for christmas is...

On offer at Lincraft.- half price! I kind of know that Santa will be bringing me one of these because its already sat in my garage waiting to be wrapped. 
Welcome to the world of grown-up christmas: Buy the present from your husband, wrap it yourself and put it under the tree :D

I also asked Santa for a binding foot. Just to add to the collection.

I love the IceAge movies, but we rarely actually go to the cinema.
Iceage 4 was on my birthday list, but it hadn't actually been released then, s
o now hopefully Santa will bring it.

I loved this fabric from the first time I set eyes on it back in October. But I can't find any of it here in Australia. I was thinking it would be a great fabric to make some stockings for the girls.
Kind of like these I spied when I was searching for a picture, made by Quirkie Craft
Maybe I'll order some ready for next year... because they are just too cool!

Whats on your list?

09 December 2012

Christmas Stocking stuffers

I made stockings :) Getting presents in stockings seems much nicer than just unwrapping cheapo paper and throwing it away. These were so quick to sew too. There are tutorials all over the web, so I won't go into detail.
I just cut out a rough fat sock shape with pinking shears, sewed them together with a small seam allowance, and sewed a white band to the top which hid most of the seams. For an extra touch I'm writing each persons name on the top. If I wanted these to be heirlooms for kids to use year after year I would finish the seams nicely, but these are task appropriate!

It took about an hour to make 9 of these start to finish, and they're made from some fabric I bought a few years ago that has just sat in my stash because it doesn't fit with our colour scheme anymore. (free? no recent expenditure any way!)

With the scraps I made some christmas-y flowers to add to some of the stockings as little extra presents. The flowers are very quick and easy. There are tutes all over the web for these as well, but basically they are circles folded into quarters (top flower) or half (bottom flower) then gathered along the cut edge to form each petal, finished with some stitches to hold it together, add a button on the front and an attachment method on the back (these are hair bands, but I have similar ones as head bands, broaches and rings)

How cute is the gingerbread lady button :)