Sunday, 26 April 2015

KCW: Baby geranium

Just when I thought my Kids Clothes Week sewing was done, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend had a baby girl, for whom, of course, I wanted to sew something. Yes, it's another geranium dress, this time in the mimosa double-gauze that Shino sent me from her Etsy shop. I had just enough left over from R's mimosa dress to make a sweet little dress for beautiful baby E in size 6-12 months, and as this fabric is so baby-soft it seemed the perfect choice. I did the same little trick as last time to make the back skirt opening line up nicely.

And that's it for another Kids Clothes Week. A couple of wild things and a not-at-all-wild thing. I'm not usually that into the themes, but this one had pretty broad appeal, I think. How about you? Do you like sewing to a theme, or do you prefer to do your own thing?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

KCW: forest friends dress

Another hastily-photographed garment on an unwilling model, this time a simple dress from Kids' Clothes Sewing Lesson Book. The star here is the fabric, a beautifully soft Birch knit from their 'Acorn Trail' range.

The fabric is utterly divine, from the unusual bluey-green hue to the sweet little girl and forest animals pictured on it. When I chose it I thought R would probably welcome a change from the plainish fabrics I tend to use, and I imagined her closely examining each little creature on her dress and making up stories about where the girl is going. To go with the dress I made some leggings which match far better in real life than they do in these photos (I promise!) using a corally-pink cotton jersery which had been waiting in my cupboard for this very purpose. They didn't get modelled but they do fit wonderfully, which is more than I can say for most of the leggings I've made in the past!

I've made a dress from this pattern before - see here - and although the neckline of that one is slightly too large (it slips off her shoulder) the fit is otherwise pretty good. So with this version I kept to the same size, adding a bit of extra length, sewing in-seam pockets instead of patch ones, omitting the back closure and using a neckband made of the same fabric. I hoped this last modification would make the neck a little smaller, and while it doesn't slip off R's shoulders like the other dress, it seems a little baggy around the neck and chest - in fact, it hangs quite differently from dress number one. Never mind; the colour is stunning on R, it's had compliments already and - who knows - it may change a bit once it's been through the wash. Oh, and if you're wondering why I'm making a t-shirt dress in late autumn, it's because I didn't have enough fabric to make the long-sleeved tunic I was planning to make!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

KCW: a faux fur hood with ears

Never mind the sewing - the most challenging thing about Kids Clothes Week is getting things photographed. And I don't mean just draping them over a chair - it's having your child put them on and model, knowing that it needs to be done NOW (quick! before it gets dark!) if it's going to get blogged in time. So please forgive the hurried nature of these photos and the (mostly) sullen and irritated expressions on R's face. I basically just stuck this hood on her head while we were at my son's footy training session and snapped away while attempting to distract her with knock-knock jokes (an unsuccessful technique, as it turned out - despite my being the inventor of the world's best knock-knock joke*).

OK, preamble over - now for the details. This is the Faux Fur Hood from Lemon Squeezy Home. The 'fur' is a precut piece from Spotlight, of the less genuine-looking variety, as some of the others were a bit too realistic for my animal-loving tastes. I love the way this hood turned out, and I think it will be wonderful for R to wear throughout footy season when we are forced to spend long hours standing around a windswept oval in all kinds of hideous weather conditions. I'm not sure if R likes the hood or not - she was noncommittal - but I think it looks very cute and I'm tempted to make them for the whole family (except for K, who can't believe anyone would choose to wear anything so ridiculous, and who has specifically requested that R not wear it to his football matches).

A hit or a miss? Only time will tell. But if R doesn't wear it I'll take it for myself, because it's damn cold outside!

Lastly, I should acknowledge the inspiration for this hood: our own little wild thing, Zindzi. Who is much more pleasant to photograph than my daughter.

* Warning: it's puerile. As all knock-knock jokes should be.

Knock knock.
Who's there? 
Europe who? 
I'm a WHAT??
(Equally puerile variations: replace 'Europe' with 'I'm up', 'You're up', 'Dad's up' etc.)

Thursday, 9 April 2015

A hide and seek dress

I've been wanting to sew the Oliver + S 'Hide and Seek' dress for quite a while, and here - at last - is my first. I have to say, this dress does not disappoint. I love the way it looks and I love the fit on R. That said, the construction involved a bit more effort than I had anticipated, with several pattern pieces and the added work (although really, it's minimal) of the welt pockets. Maybe I'm just getting lazy... or maybe it's because I've been short of time lately... but it was definitely worth it as the result is so beautiful. 

The yoke is from the same Cloud 9 collection I raved about when I made R's yoke panel skirt, and the rest of the dress is linen-cotton. Not exactly winter-weight, but I think it will look great with tights and a long-sleeved top underneath as the weather gets colder. A big thank you to Leslie of Rosemary Mornings, on whose blog I happened to see a post about how to pattern-match the back yoke pieces. Her method was so quick and easy and I reckon the back of my yoke is just about perfect!

Having read somewhere that the sizing of this pattern is quite generous, I made size 5 with size 6 length (R is about to turn 7) and it worked out very well.

The hide and seek dress looks so stunning on R, my photos really don't do it justice. It didn't help that while I was taking pictures all she wanted to do was muck around with a fibre-optic lamp, nor was it good that the sun went behind a cloud just as I began photographing (only to reemerge the moment after R decided she'd had enough and bolted, which is what she is doing in the photo on the bottom right, above). But never mind - R has a new dress, and I got to sew the pattern I've long wanted to try.

Now I can move on to preparing for R's birthday party on the weekend, when 15 little mermaid friends are coming to celebrate with her...

Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter baskets

A little while back I came across a tutorial for rope baskets, so I bought some cotton sash cord, gave it a go and wow - these things are so quick and easy to sew.

For my first basket I dribbled home-made liquid watercolours on the sash cord (if you want to know how to make paint from dried-up markers, click here) and left it to dry before sewing the basket. Then I experimented a bit with ways of finishing the tops of the baskets - I made one with two little handles, and some with one loop - and looked for best way to stop the end of the cord from fraying (I discovered that dipping it in melted candle wax works well).

I used different colour thread for each basket and some showed up better than others, which led me to think about dyeing some of them. Of course for a basket one needs only a small amount, which is why Greek Easter egg dye seemed the perfect solution. And since it's in all the Greek delis at the moment I picked up a couple of colours and went to work.

Instead of boiling the basket in the dye as per the egg instructions, I just soaked it for a few hours in a mix of dye and boiled water. The classic red dye produced a nice matte red shade, a little more subdued than I'd hoped, but I quite like it. The yellow dye worked well too, and I think I'll go grab myself a few more colours to try before stocks disappear from the shelves. 

Now I have a lovely little collection of baskets for keeping hair ties, small change, jewellery and chocolates!