31 December 2014

2014 Review

So I've had a lot of things going on this year. Sewing has taken a bit of a backseat, and blogging fell out of the car a while ago! But I've been working a way in the background, making bits and bobs when I can. These are mostly for Bubbaboo, but more recently I've started sewing for me again now I'm coming to terms with my post-partum body!

I'm going to do the usual (all over the blogosphere) round up for a bit of insight into whats been under my presser foot and how its worked out. It wont be a top 5 and its not very specific, but here goes nothing...

Maybe we should start with the misses:

Baby shoes
So fiddly, so cute, so never worn.
He came out too big for the cute pair I made for his Daddys first "I'm nearly a" Daddys Day, And by the time I'd finished these uber cute boots from an old wool skirt he didnt fit them either. Bad planning? Maybe, but I dont think I'll bother for future babies.

Baby shirts
I had great hopes, and they did look very cute on, but they weren't practical on a little one and I don't reach for them still. Maybe I should make an effort now the weather is warming up so he can be breezy but covered. I'll still make him a first birthday shirt as I got a lovely blue paisley Liberty remnant from Tessuti for only $7, but thats more for me than him.

Crochet hats
I had the most fabulous alpaca/wool blend yarn to make a little hat. I even lined it with jersey to stop any potential prickles, even though it felt yummy to me. But it was too big for our trip to the motherland, and Perth doesn't really get cold enough for fully lined alpaca blend bobble hats. I did get a few people asking me to make them one, so maybe I'll contribute it to a fund raising raffle for one of the groups I'm part of next year. Or I could just hoard it for ever and cuddle it.
He did get a couple of other acrylic ones that got a bit more wear, but I think I'll admit he didn't need 4 of them...

Actually, Crochet in general
I started trying to crochet him a winter cardigan/jacket. I found it was something I could do when I was under a sleeping baby and neither of us really wanted to move. But when I got to the end of the first sleeve I lost momentum. Maybe I'll frog it back and add a few more rows to widen the back/should (its raglan style) and give it a go for next year.

Most things for me
Meh. I tried doing FBA, I tried new patterns. But with limited sewing time I havn't had time to faff around adjusting things to fit and preferably still allow me to feed. I had plans to make shorts but I havnt quite got around to printing the pattern out. I will admit I still wear a few of my dodgy bust dart sorbettos and laurels around and about, because they're cool and comfy, but they're not the best. And I just finished a Tesuti Alice top, which is nice and light and breezy. Now the need to feed at any given moment is starting to end though, and I've got a new more fitted pattern muslined that will hopefully break me out of this bad streak!

And the hits:

Most things for Bubbaboo
I'm really proud to say that in just about every photo of my little man and just about every day he is wearing/using something I made. From shorts to pram liners and onsies to suck pads for the ergo. And hats and toys and jeans and playmats... I love that we aren't restricted by the pretty limited boys wear selection. We can do bright colours and non skinny jeans. We can do anything (and he can't complain yet!). Here are some of my favourites:

Purl Soho baby pants, KwickSew Romper, Sirocco dress for a friend, BBBPants with wrap scrap panel, half birthday Oliver+S Sunny Day shirt, Lion shirt for the City to Surf,
Matching Sunny Day and Negroni shirts. Suck pads and my fav (self drafted) pants of all yet rarely photo'd, upcycled onsie, shirt and upcycled lined jeans, Surfing Space Robot cargos, upcycled Tshirts into raglan t and pants,
Upcycled T to track pants- Daddys favourite, christmas shorts, second fav pants- green babycord BBBPants, Yellow cord overalls, red polo from scrap of op shopped red jersey used for maternity dress plus MoVember shorts, Haloween/dress-up box dinosaur/dragon reversible cape.

Megan Neilson Nursing tops
I wear these all the time, though have surprisingly few photos. I love that its easy to feed in but also draws in around the waist and skims the tummy. I found the neckline bagged out, so I sew elastic in the hem to stop that. I also found the modesty panel made it really hard to actually feed  through and the opening also stretched out, so I just wear it with a cut off singlet underneath instead.

Upcycling for baby clothes
I've been saving up old Tshirts and pants for a while. I have maybe also been buying things of varying states of newness to make into different things.  My favourite is this combo- Daddys well worn in tshirt with Daddys well worn in jeans, but as you can see in the above collage, there has been lots of recycling and reusing going on.

So yep, lots of sewing, just not much blogging. Not even much Flickr-ing!

01 April 2014

Me Made May '14 - Its on!

I, Ellen, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to dress myself and/or my BubbaBoo in at least one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2014

Its done. I'm in. Me-Made-May!

Not so many of my me-mades fit me particularly well at the moment so my personal wardrobe is much reduced. I've managed to squeeze in a few feeding friendly tops which may or may not turn up here prior to May. They whip up really fast (gotta love knits for that!) so they can be made up in a couple of nap times. Who wants to clean the kitchen when theres sewing to be done?!

So my challenge is split between me and bubs. He's not one of natures spewy babies, so up until recently he's generally worn the same summer onesie for 24 hours. Now we are needing a bit more warmth day and night, so I can actually get a bit more creative with his wardrobe before he grows out of everything! 

I think between us we should get every day covered, and I can reassess my wardrobe going forward too. Thats definitely been a benefit in the past. Bring on May!

25 March 2014

Baby Trousers - One Pattern, many ways

Baby stuff again! But I do have grown up sewing in the pipeline...

So despite the fact that we're still sweltering through one of the hottest summers in Perths recorded history (the rains coming! yey! but now its just warm and humid...) Bubbaboo has many many pairs of pants that he occasionally wears for best or our morning walks, because 22 oC is cold, right?

The ones I'm showing today were all based on Rae's free newborn pants pattern. Its not as newborn as some of her stuff, so with some mods they still fit my 7.2kg/15lb 9 week old who is generally in 3-6m or bigger RTW.

I made a couple of pairs of the straight pattern from woven fabric for true newborn. These never really got worn-Too fiddly and too warm to really bother- but they were very cute.

The next way was out of stretch fabrics, mostly refashioned Tshirts. Sometimes I used the existing hem, sometimes that wouldn't work so I hemmed them myself, sometimes I added a cuff:

I made a matching hat out of the owl tshirt. Bubbaboo wore it lots in the hospital, though the trousers didn't fit yet. In all the commotion of being allowed to finally leave the hospital and make sure he was properly in the baby seat and things, the hat got left behind. I was gutted. I loved that hat and all the memories. But I still have the memories... And maybe someone else got to love it too. How much he's changed already! Now the pants fit, and they're nice and thin so they'll make a good slightly-cool weather layer.

The pink Koala pair are for Bubbaboos second cousin who is about 2 months older (and about 3lb lighter!). We're going a visiting soon, so these were made as a souvenir out of a Tshirt I bought years and years ago on my first visit to what is now my home city. I rarely wore it but I knew it would come in useful some day! Bubbaboo has a matching pair made out of a t-shirt I picked up in Cairns a couple of years ago.

These have ribbing waist and cuffs, and longer but narrower legs. The cuff means they can be longer without overhanging, and the soft waist means they'll be nice and comfy for long term wear, not to mention that the other baby struggles with reflux so a gentle waist is supposed to be better for that.

If you're adding a waist cuff, you can cut away the extra fabric for the elastic casing and just leave a seam allowance for adding the ribbing. But for these I sewed the basic trouser shape then dipped the waist at the front to give them a bit less rise there, then attached the waist band. It just gives them a bit more rise for a bigger baby. In some pairs I also added a bit more width by putting the pattern piece away from the fold slightly prior to cutting.

Then we started getting into the proper winter clothes:

Refashioned from a fleecy sweatshirt, with extra width and length to hopefully last us through the winter.
And my biggest step away from the original idea:

(my old) Jeans fully lined with flannel. These took a bit of imagining and some un picking, but I got there in the end! They have extra width and length, hence the turn ups. And a fake fly (maybe on the wrong side...) and back pocket. If I get time to make another pair I'll do a tutorial, mostly for my own remembering!

Such a quick pattern to make, and so easy to make different every time!
I love patterns like that! Especially when they're free.
Do you have a "quick fix" pattern?

04 March 2014

Little Shoesies!

Bubbaboo is wearing size 2 shoes already! It means the hippo shoes I made to give his daddy for Fathers Day squish his toes. *Sad Face*

Cameron Seakers (IThinkSew)

We're headed back to the Motherland before too long, which will be a shock to the system for this summer baby who seems cold if it drops below 30oC. So I decided a new pair of shoes were needed to keep his toesies toasty.

These are up-cycled from a wool skirt from the op shop, which barely fit at the time and which I cannot imagine fitting anytime soon, even if I had occasion to wear it! But I loved the weave, so I knew they'd make some smart baby clothes. Its a bit poofy, and that made the pleated front panel much harder, but I'm liking the finished look:

Jaden Sneakers ((IThinkSew)

They are lined with black jersey, with black drill cotton for the sole, interfaced with fleece for comfort and warmth. I cant imagine a lack of non-slip soles being an issue at 6 weeks!

This one is finished (after a week of stolen moments), and I have a second that needs hand finishing (the hole to turn out sewing up and the front panel and closures attaching). 
We'll get there soon!

In the meantime, its all about crochet while bubs is being needy and not napping away from my chest!

13 February 2014

The start of a modelling career!

BubbaBoo is 4 weeks old! 
And we're starting to phase in some clothes beyond onsies.
Being a monster baby he's pretty much into the 3-6 month sizes already!
Here are some of the outfits we've been rocking:

I'm especially loving the Big Butt Baby Pants and the PurlSoho Baby Pants. I foresee more of those in our sewing future! I also foresee a Plantain T shirt to hide the fact that BubbaBoo killed my tummy muscles. 
If I can ever force myself to switch newborn cuddles for naptime sewing...

26 January 2014

Australia Day 2014

Our first as a little Aussie family!
But probably the quietest since we've been here.

We went to our local Australia Day ceremony to re-make our pledge, catch up with a few friends and celebrate our new little Australian. And you can't get much more Australian than a gathering under the gumtrees with the Kookaburras laughing throughout!

To celebrate the day, I made BubbaBoo most of a shirt before he arrived (10 days ago) and just fit the side seams in the last few days (the plan was a shirt onsie, but that was way to much for this new mummy).
How fabulous is this fabric for Australia Day:

And how fabulous is this pattern matching for a first attempt, even if it was fudged slightly:

It still ended up a bit big for him, especially around the shoulders, but he is only 10 days old and it was a 0-3m ish pattern. He still looked super cute though (I'm biased)

Now were home and recovering, and planning a little BBQ for three this evening.
And for future reference, the only time BubbaBoo cried was through both verses of the National Anthem.
Where is the national pride?!

08 January 2014

Extra Baby Sewing

Despite all my pattern sampling even I think theres a limit to how much of a huge baby wardrobe its reasonable to sew in advance... Got to give myself something to look forward to in the future, right?!

So some time has been spent on other baby related sewing, mainly for the nursery:

Cot Ruffle, change mat cover and lamp shade are all "thrifted" from a K-mart bedding set. The change mat covers are made from the pillow cases, which magically fit nicely over our mat once the edges were squared off. 
The ruffled skirt can hide any extra storage we need, and is simply 2 long strips of fabric (its only present on the two visible sides) the same height as the drop, ruffled/pleated using my pleat foot and sewn onto a rectangle the same size as the base board. I figure once we need to drop the base down I can quickly tack the hem up again so it doesn't pool.

The cot sheets are made from some heavily reduced kids bedding sheets, using Danas tutorial. While buying them would be easy enough, I could never really find any plain and cheap. Being time rich this was the best option!

The curtains were an Ikea doona cover... Seeing a trend here?! Made into hidden tab top curtains using a similar method as described here. The lining I picked up doesn't do much to block the light (though these are unlined in this pic, and what we have does help a bit), so for the time being we've left the vertical blinds up too. Next summer we'll look into proper blackout...

Fabric baskets for keeping all those extra bits.
It still needs some finishing touches and neatening up, but I think we're ready!

I've also finally just got my act together to finish a liner for the pram. I've loved this Spotlight whale print for ages, and this way I get to show it off! Its 100% draped, using lots of pins and air-disappear markers to get all the openings in place. I think I'll trace it now though, as it will make the next generation a bit easier! Its nice and soft thanks to some polyester wadding, and should be a bit nicer to sit on than the black plasticy seat!

Valco Snap 4 pram liner

Being modelled by one of many rattle/squeak/taggy toys I've been making out of scraps as inspiration has taken hold.

Its also crazy on the other side, should we fancy a change!

Whenever you're ready, Baby!

02 January 2014

Top 5 of 2013

So... its 2014 already. Last years review is here. If all goes to plan my life will change forever in less than 3 weeks, hopefully sooner, as I really want to avoid the overdue and pregnant tantrums and eventual induction. So, my biggest hit of the year:

But making people has drastically reduced my sewing output... or at least adapted it and changed my goals for the year! Only a few months into the year we found out about the new addition and all sewing stopped- I didn't want to jinx anything; there was no point making fitted clothes if I couldn't wear them, or maternity clothes if things went wrong early.
So just to change the order around:

My goals set last year were:
  1. Sew for the person you want to be
  2. Take part in MMM 
  3. Go beyond your comfort zone.
    • 1 Pair of shorts/trousers 
    • 1 coat/jacket
    • 1 set of undies.
  4. More separates. 
  5. Less is more- join the slow sewing movement and make sure that you're proud of what you are making. 
In general I have been sewing for the person I want to be. Maybe thats because I can use all my crazy fabrics on actual child clothes... but the things I have made have been mostly "more grown up". With a few exceptions, but if you cant sew for comfort during pregnancy, when can you?! And prior to bubs interfering there were plenty of separates, so I was definitely onto a good start on that front.

Me-Made-May fell right in the middle of the first tri and I failed from the start. I wasn't in the mood, I was bloated, tired and stressing. Ah well. Maybe it can spur me on to fit back into my me-mades for this May so I can join in!

Going beyond my comfort zone was a wash out. I did make knickers. And I even made some maternity ones with a dipped front and a banded waist rather than elastic. But pants and a coat... No comment.

My Hits:

Maternity Tshirts - Having the overlocker has really increased my confidence with knits, and my creations have mostly lasted the full duration and been worn on a regular basis, especially the Moustache and the dinosaurs.

And while I'm on maternity wear, my most worn items this year have been shorts I hacked into maternity shorts by chopping out a lot of the front and replacing it with really stretchy jersey. Not hugely pretty if you look closely, but very comfy and a lifesaver. And a money saver since the shorts were ones I owned already and the jersey was salvaged from singlets in matching colours. 

Laurels - I made 3 tops in the end, and still managed to wear one of them up to about 20 weeks. I think there will be more. My favourite never even made it to the blog somehow! Navy blue with a bird print. I wore it at least once a week. Maybe I should dig it out and take a pic!

Rocky Horror Outfits - I loved the whole process of creating these, and I'm very proud of how they turned out. Rocky is coming to Perth but bubs will be too small for us to realistically even consider going, despite the temptation of a tiny golden nappy cover

Meringues - I loved these skirts. Especially this black moleskin one. And I wore the chevron version a lot considering I only made it a week before those two little lines appeared. I used the pattern for my little red dress skirt too, and while that project wasn't a huge hit (worn once) it was a fun make. 

Baby Shirts - So I can't confirm if these are a total win yet, as obviously they are yet to be worn. But when they fit (they're supposedly a 0-3) he's going to be a very cool little man :D
I traced the pattern from a RTW shirt and I've now lost count of how many he has. I even made The Boy a shirt to match (or is it the other way around?!) for a cutesy photo opportunity. My current favourite is the blue and yellow seersucker shirt, though I have one as finished as possible in the most fabulous Australiana surrealist fabric, featuring the highlights of Sydney tourist attractions. Once he's here I'm hoping to find the time/motivation to sew the side seams up to fit whatever tiny newborn size is right so he can wear it on his first Australia Day.
I've had lots of fun making a large volume of tiny clothes. I fully accept that many of them wont get worn, but the process of making them has kept me sane! And hopefully will give me an idea of what works and doesn't once I find time to get sewing again.

The Misses

I'm not going to go into the failures too much. Most of what I've sewn this year has worked for its purpose. Even if I wouldnt wear it out of the house. Examples are hugely bright baggy dresses. Not flattering, but they are cool and unintrusive and keep me covered on the off chance that someone knocks on the door or the neighbours kids are spying over the fence on their trampoline ;) And they removed these fabrics from the stash!

The main miss has been trying to get the Washi Dress to work. One version worked out OK, but tight across the bust. It was wearable right up until recently, when it became too short:

But others have failed-
Cotton Sateen- not enough drape.
FBA attempt - Hard to get smooth with the way the darts are drafted.
Front placket for feeding- without fixing the FBA issue it just gapes and pulls.
Maybe I'll try again at a later date, but for now I'm done!

Goals for 2014

I'm trying not to load too much on my plate this year. I think adapting to life with a baby will be quite enough!
I would love to be able to keep sewing as much as possible once things are feeling a bit more under control, so I might see about setting some more specific goals later in the year.
I think I will try and partake in MMM, even if its simply wearing one item (including accessories) on either me or bubs ;)
But otherwise my plan is just to try and see the positives in the hard times and enjoy this new challenge as much as possible!