The Library Blouse

Thursday, 20 November 2014

As soon as I saw the Library Blouse pattern from Tadah Patterns pop up in my newsfeed, I knew I had to have it.  It includes design features that I love...pleats, little puff sleeves and a Peter Pan collar.  I didn't even need to think hard on what fabric to use. 


This is a beautiful voile called Lunada Bay in Coral, and although I bought mine from my local Spotlight it is available online as well.  (Hawthorne Threads)

The pattern was very easy to follow and the blouse came together quite easily.  I did add some top stitching around the top of the yoke to help hold the collar down a little better, but other than that, I followed the pattern precisely.


And what a beautiful result. 

I can already see many more of these appearing in Emily's wardrobe, considering the number of options included in the pattern...sleeveless, short or long sleeves, blouse or dress and collar or no collar.





Coming Soon - The Eloise PDF Pattern

Saturday, 8 November 2014

It really has been a labour of love drafting this pattern.  While it's quite simple in its design, getting the sleeves just right when creating the pattern has really pushed me, but it was well worth it, don't you think?  I'm so happy with the end result.








And one exciting feature of this pattern is that I have layered the pattern pieces which means you can choose to print only the size or sizes you need or print all of the sizes - how awesome is that?  Very awesome and worthy of applause ;)



Pattern Testing - The Queen Street Dress

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

I recently had the pleasure of working with Darcy from Ginger House Designs on her latest pattern release, the Queen Street Dress PDF Pattern.

The pattern comes with a variety of options.  It can be made as a top or a dress.  It has both long and short sleeves and the front can either have a centre pleat or be gathered.

I chose to make a short sleeve top version with gathers across the front.  As we are heading into summer, I think my little miss will get more wear out of a short sleeve top which I can easily pair with some cute shorts (another project to add to the list!).


The pattern is very straightforward and easy to follow.  The only tricky part I found was the back placket, but that was mainly because I hadn't sewn a placket this way before.  I did really like, however, the use of interfacing when making the placket...I love learning new little tricks!

The pattern calls for buttons as a closure, but I used a snap instead as I didn't have any matching buttons on hand (it was school holidays and not the ideal time to take three kids to Spotlight...actually, there is no ideal time to take three kids to Spotlight, is there?).


It's a bit tricky to get good shots of a 20 month old when her brothers are on the trampoline and she insists on joining them!





Where's Summer?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

It's a bit deceiving this time of year.  Every now and then we get a warm day (or two), thrown in between some cool weather.  It means I need to make sure the kids have some summer clothes ready for these odd warm days and that we aren't relying on last summer's clothes which, inevitably, will be too small for someone!

While my little Miss looks lovely in a dress, I don't think she'll wear many this summer as dresses aren't very practical for climbing and is she a climber!  At this stage, we might have to have a good stash of shorts instead!

I've had this gorgeous Pam Kitty fabric in my cupboard since last year and decided to make the Elegance and Elephants bubble shorts as I love this pattern for it's simplicity and stunning result. 


I measured Miss Em's waist and chose to make the size 1 as these don't have adjustable elastic, but silly me didn't think about the fact she's still in a nappy so the size 1 is a little snug around her butt.  So I then made the next size up.

I had a dig through my tshirt box and found a short sleeve tshirt that coordinated nicely with the shorts and embroidered two little birds on it...for something that was meant to be a quick design, it took me 2 hours and a lot of cursing! 


And while I would love to show you how it looks on...the weather has turned cool again so I'm not sure when Miss Em will get to wear this outfit.  In the meantime, you'll have to live with a size 2 outfit squeezed on to my size 3/4 mannequin :)



Book Week Costumes {Part One}

Saturday, 13 September 2014

We recently had Book Week at school and then at kindergarten.  When the note came home from school that the kids could dress up as their favourite book character, I have to say, I was a little excited.  I haven't actually made any costumes for my boys...apart from super hero capes and masks...so I leapt at this opportunity.

I asked Daniel what he would like to dress up as and, after agreeing that a Skylander is not a book character, he settled on Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.  We Googled Jack costumes and even checked on Pinterest for ideas.

It was very simple and easy to put together.  I found a tutorial for the hat and added a feather.


For the vest, I roughly traced around one of his shirts to give me the shape of a vest.  I didn't hem the edges of the vest, giving it a more peasant/rustic look.  Ok, to be honest, I was being lazy (and maaaayyyyy have left it till the night before, which wouldn't surprise anyone that knows me) and thought a slightly frayed look would add to the asthetic, which it did.


We finished off the outfit with a pair of black track suit pants and a white long sleeve tshirt that we already had and tied the whole look together with a beanstalk, which was just a length of green fleece sewed together in a stalk kinda way.  I then stuffed it and added a tie that slipped over Daniel's shoulders to help him hold onto it.  The bean stalk then had large ivy leaves weaved into the stalk by just cutting holes and threading through because it was late by this stage and I didn't really fancy hand sewing ivy leaves (needless to say, there were no leaves left by the end of the day!).

Daniel was very happy with his costume and was immediatley recoganisable at school...he even made the school newsletter :)


* Big apologies for the quality of this photo...it was taken really quickly before we raced out the door for school!

The Polly Dress

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

I'm doing it again. 
Neglecting my blog. 
After I came back and promised to keep it up to date. 
It just seems that it's the easiest thing to let go when your busy creating, looking after kids and trying to keep your house clean or in some sort of order at least!  And as I sit here typing I'm looking at my washing that needs to be folded and put away and wondering how much longer I can leave it before someone starts to comment on it!

But enough of boring housework.  I haven't told you about how I came to the recent release of my very first pattern, The Polly Dress!   


I have dabbled in pattern drafting for years...ever since I left school actually (I won't say how long ago that was!!) and its always been something I love.  I love the complexities it can offer; as you put to paper your design then try to work out how to construct your design.  I love the whole process but one thing I don't enjoy is drafting on paper.  You need big sheets of paper, a large clear space (which can be limiting if you want to feed your family at the dining table each night) and loads of time for cutting and pasting to create your design.

For years, I have looked at my options and really wanted the ability to draft patterns on my computer but thought the only way I was going to do this was by using CAD but just kept putting it off thinking it would be too complex for a little home sewer like me.

Then I discovered Lauren Dahl. She is amazing and has created the most amazing course, Pattern Workshop where she teaches you how to use Adobe Illustrator for drafting patterns...Illustrator!!  I know!  So much easier considering I have dabbled with this program over the years. So with my new found knowledge securely under my belt, I set about creating my very first commercial pattern, the Polly dress.

After a few trials and plenty of behind the scenes work, I was ready to ask for people to help me test for sizing and to make sure my instructions were clear and easy to follow.   What a fabulous group of testers I had and I am very grateful for their kind words and constructive feedback! 

Below, you'll find some of their gorgeous creations - enjoy!  Oh, and if you're looking for the pattern, you'll find it in my SHOP.


Bec from Little Toot Creations has created a stunning contrast using a coordinating fabric for the ruffle.



And again, Elisa from Mamacosesola has used a contrasting fabric for the ruffle...and look at that cheeky smile!


Jodie from Three Little Chickens has used the same fabric for the entire dress, which looks so pretty!





And lastly, Sara from Made By Sara has really stepped it up.  She's used faux piping across the chest and neckline...what a lovely result!








Sewing Tips and Tricks

Monday, 16 June 2014

One thing I love about trying out a new PDF pattern, is learning a new way of doing something that works better and is EASIER!

On my recent post of the Tshirt Dress tutorial, I showed you how to sew bias binding a slightly different way, which I thought was a super easy way. 

By sewing it to the back first then folding it over to the front and sewing, this saves the slight panic you might have (or is it only me that holds my breath?!?) when you pull your item off the machine and check the reverse to make sure the stitching has caught the underneath properly.



Is there something you are currently doing, that you think there might be an easier way?  Let me know and I'll try to find out for you.

Tshirt Dress Tutorial

Thursday, 12 June 2014


My little Miss is now walking....and walking...and walking.  In fact she spends most of her time walking...around the house, outside and wherever she can (perhaps making up for lost time?!?).  As she is no longer crawling, she can start wearing dresses again - yay!

This style of dress is quite simple but one I've had on my mind for quite awhile.  I've drafted the pattern myself and after making this first sample, have altered it slightly to give it more of a gathered sleeve and lower front neckline.

You can find a free copy of this pattern HERE.  It's sized for an 18 month old or 20" chest.


To make this dress I have used -

COTTON JERSEY - this is what was in my stash and doesn't really have that much stretch to it (oh, and I didn't prewash it as I didn't want to wait, but you should prewash your fabric!)
THREAD
4mm ELASTIC
BUTTON

{All seams are 1cm}

Let's get started!

STEP 1
Print out your pattern, tape it together and cut it out.  Then cut out your fabric pieces.


STEP 2
I have inserted a placket in the back to make it easier to take on and off.  (When I first made the green dress I didn't have this and couldn't get it over Miss E's head so quickly had to add one).
For this, just grab a scrap piece of fabric about 1" wide and 3" long.  Mark a line down the middle (about 2.5") and then draw a second line very close to the centre line with a V shape at the bottom.


Line up the centre line of the placket with the centre back, matching the top.


Stitch down the outside line, pivoting at the bottom then stitching back up.  As you can see, I kinda eyeballed it when sewing and realised that my markings would be too long so just shortened it as I sewed...you can do this too.

 

Very carefully cut down the centre line trying to get as close to the bottom V without cutting your stitching.  Turn the placket in towards the back, press down and top stitch around to hold it down.

STEP 3
Sew the front and back shoulder seams together.  Trim and press towards the back.  As I am using a jersey, it won't fray so I haven't worried about overlocking any edges.

\

STEP 4
Mark the centre at the top of each sleeve.  Stitch a gathering stitch around the sleeve head using a 5mm seam.


Pin the sleeve to the armhole, gathering the sleeve to fit and matching the shoulder seam with the centre marking on the sleeve head.  Most of the gathers will be towards the top of the sleeve.  Stitch in place.
Trim seam and press towards the sleeve.


STEP 5
Fold each sleeve hem up approx 1.5cm, iron and stitch in place (trust me when I tell you that it's much easier to do the hem at this point then when the sleeve is sewn together!)


STEP 6
Pin the sleeve and front and back sections together, matching the armhole seam.  Stitch.  Trim seam and press towards the back.


STEP 7
Grab the skirt panels and stitch the sides together.  Trim seams.  Mark up the hem approximately 1.5cm, press and stitch in place.  On the top of the skirt, stitch a gathering stitch using a 5mm seam.


Gather skirt and pin right side to dress right side. Stitch and carefully trim seam.  Press seam upwards towards dress.
*Before gathering, I find it easier to mark the centres on all pieces, so the skirt back/front and the dress back/front.  If you then match up these centre markings and the side seams when pinning, you'll find your gathering will be a lot more even.


STEP 8
Fold and press your neck binding in half.  Open up and fold and press each side to meet the centre fold and press.  Now fold your original fold which should now enclose the two sides - press well.
I've only recently discovered this technique of adding bias binding and I love it!  
First you need to open up one side of your binding.  You will then attach the right side of the binding to the WRONG side of the neckline, leaving no more than a 1cm over hang at the opening. (You can see I misjudged one end and it's less than 1cm, but that's ok).  Stitch in place.
 


Now you need to fold the ends down, right sides together and stitch just on the outside of the opening.


Flip the binding through to the right side, pushing out the corners of the ends you just stitched.  You'll see your first stitching line on the right side of the neckline.  Making sure your folded binding covers this stitching line, pin in place then edge stitch around the binding to encase the neckline.


STEP 9
Using about a 2" piece of 4mm elastic, fold over and stitch one end to hold in place (I used 6mm elastic as that's all I had, but I think 4mm would be better).


Place your folded elastic loop under the back of the left opening and stitch in place, making sure to go back and forth a few times for extra strength (you can then trim the ends of the elastic if needed)


Sew your button in place and you're all done!  

Time to get some pictures of your little Miss wearing your newest creation...That's of course, if you can get her to stand still long enough...and this kid just doesn't stand still!!






Just a couple of things to note...this dress is a probably a size too big for my little miss, but it will give her plenty of wear as she grows into it.  Also, I didn't prewash my fabric, so it may shrink a little and be a little snugger (is that a word?!?) next wear.
I also made the skirt about 3cm shorter than I did in the green, original version.  When doing the pattern, I forgot what size I used for the green dress and just winged it, but have now adjusted the pattern to the longer length...you can adjust to whatever length you would like.

Phew!  Thanks for staying with me till the end :)

The Perfect Dress!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

When I first saw this design about 6 months ago I immediately knew that i wanted to incorporate it somehow in a dress.

The colours just jumped out at me, especially on the white background. 


My first attempt was this little pinnafore dress.  I stitched a contrasting red rolled hem on the sleeve ruffles to give the dress a bit more colour. 

I also had to play around with the front yoke to make it big enough to fit the embroidery, which made the armholes quite low....so, while pretty, it just wasnt't quite right.



The design fit perfectly on the next dress pattern I tried and I really liked the outcome, even though I didn't add the contrasting red on the ruffle edges.  But still I felt something wasn't quite right.  I think using white fabric for a little girl's dress was really putting me off. 


Then I found this dress pattern, and after staring into my fabric cupboard wondering what to make with it, I remembered this embroidery design and and my eyes rested on two shades of blue cotton I had.  I knew I had to try it to see if it would work, but this time, I softened the thread colours slightly so they would work better with the blue. 


I am SO happy with how this has turned out and I think I have finally found the best dress pattern to highlight this beautiful embroidery design.  Would you agree?


Floral Embroidered Dress on Etsy
Floral Embroidered Dress on Madeit



Personalised Cushions

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

These cushions make a beautiful keepsake for a new baby or even as a birthday present.


There are so many variations that are available...this one has a patchwork border.


A little sparkle for a little Princess...