16 June 2017

Mermaid baby dress and leggings set


What little girl doesn't need a mermaid dress? Especially at the moment, is it just me or are mermaids definitely the on trend print right now? Not that I mind, Ariel always was my favorite Disney princess anyway.

This amazing fabric was from LLFab who design custom digital print jersey fabrics. Most of their stuff is done in 'runs' for pre-order so is only available for a limited period. To be honest I find that a little annoying, but I can understand from a home business owner thats the practical way to do things as you don't have the means to store endless runs of custom printed fabrics. This does however mean that sadly there isn't any more of this fabric to buy, though they have been known to do re-runs so do join the facebook group if you are interested.


The pattern is another one from Ottobre issue 4/2016. It is a lovely jersey tunic length dress with an integrated vest top underneath. I also made the matching leggings to go with it to make it a complete outfit. I really like tunic style dresses for babies as I never really liked the idea of babies in dresses (despite having sewn a few) as I always think by the time they get to crawling a dress must really get in the way under their knees.

My hope is that this dress will fit Miss Fox once the weather starts to get a bit cooler, though to be honest I'm finding it really hard to sew for her at the moment as I have no idea how big she is going to be. Having said that though I know I won't have any time to sew once she arrives so I am just trying to make the most of it and wing it a bit.


My binding went a lot better on this make as opposed to the kitty romper I last made. I made a couple of adjustments to the way I attached them this time. The first thing was to make sure I didn't stretch the fabric when overlocking and the second was to release the tension in my sewing machine when doing the top stitching, I think this made the biggest difference. Its very nice to have found the biggest cause of the problem though as it will vastly improve future projects. the neck isn't ideal but its ok. I definitely prefer adding a neck band as opposed to binding a neck, something to bear in mind.


I am not 100% sold on the mauve colour of the vest and leggings, It was an online purchase and I was hoping for more of a cadbury purple like the binding. The vest is less of an issue as once its on with some trousers you won't see it. I am hoping though that the colour grows on me more once its actually being worn by a tiny human. I'm sure she will be plenty cute enough to pull it off.

Have you ever bought any fabric from a custom designer? I would love to hear about them and how you found the fabric/service. Its definitely a perk of the digital age, especially in the UK where nice prints have historically been much harder to come by.

9 June 2017

New Look 6216 - Striped baggy tshirts


Its ok that all my clothes for the next 6 months are stripey isn't it, or do I maybe need to start branching out a bit? :)

Following on from my earlier post where I talked about my personal sewing being all about the breastfeeding at the moment these are no exception to that. What with summer approaching and everything I thought I better sew a couple of short sleeved tops to see me through the warmer weather. I kept with the same theme of nice and baggy so there is room to lift up for feeding and also plenty of room to hide my post baby belly.


These tops are both made using the New Look 6216 sewing pattern which I bought form Sew Essential again. The grey stripe and pink version is made in view B which includes these extra sleeve bands and the black and white version is in view C which has slightly shorter sleeves. I actually haven't made a decision on which version I prefer as yet, they both look and feel great, but as I haven't managed to get the wear out of them you will have to watch this space for my final verdict.


These tops were ridiculously easy to sew. I have always shyed away from making any jersey basics, for a couple of reasons really; firstly they are usually so cheap to buy, why go to the effort of making them and secondly it always seemed really fiddly and not the easiest fabric to sew with. I was really wrong! I knocked both these up in about 4 hours total (including tracing and cutting the pieces) which is really fast and they look great. I have to say I am really pleased with the way I have been managing knit neckbands lately which makes me happy.

Again I have mostly just been experimenting by using up some of my stash jersey which was getting a bit out of hand. These were both made out of polyester jersey which I bought from local markets. I have a nice mix of poly and cotton jerseys in my stash but the reason I picked the polys for this project was because they have a much more flowing drape. They are a bit more lightweight that cotton jerseys tend to be so they lend themselves much better to this sort of baggy top. A definite consideration if you are thinking of making a top like this.


The fit seems to be pretty ok (as much as you can tell with a massive baby in your tummy!). I made this version in a more true to size size than the last top I made which I think was a much better idea, its less like a tent and seems to fit a lot better. I like the neckline on this top, its wide enough but not too massive to fall off your shoulders and the length seems pretty good.

All in all i'm really happy with how these have come out, a couple of quick satisfying makes. Again, its a shame I can't model them for you but I will make sure to pop some pics on instagram once they are in action.


For my next selfish sew I have been looking at tank top patterns, I think I like the look of the Rumi tank, though I worry it might be a bit short length wise. I will have another look around to see if I can see anything else that fits the bill, but if you know of any patterns please shout up.

Lastly, as a rather random final word; I have had my eye on this sewing pattern for a while now, the reason being that I have been hankering after making a top which Veronica Mars wears in the Veronica Mars movie. Ever since seeing this movie in 2014 I have had this make in the back of my mind but just haven't ever got around to it, mostly because of my fear of tackling a jersey basic I think. The top is this black burnout stripe one (I can't find a better picture on the internets). From my recollection it has a sort of faux leather binding which I would love to pull off. Watch this space, I now have the means!



2 June 2017

Pink and Orange Triangle Cot Bed Quilt


Also known as the sew I have both hated with a fire in my belly and adored at the same time! Anyone who has me on instagram will have seen me whinging about this thing as I have been going along in the last few weeks. 

Seriously, I have HATED sewing every inch of this quilt, it was long, boring, repetitive and monotonous, all those damn straight lines. I seriously don't know how avid quilters do it, though maybe I do, the whole thing felt like such a slog. But lets not be that down about shall we, because look at it! Its bloody stunning! 


I'm just going to keep going; I LOVE it! The finished thing has just been so worth all that effort that maybe I can see how quilters do it, they just probably have more time and patience than me, patience is not a thing I am known for. 

So, about the quilt. The pattern is a free pattern from See Kate Sew's website which includes full instructions and a pattern piece, so I will let you go read her post to find out how to make it. Her site was great at giving me all the details I needed, and the quilt comes out as a good cotbed size. Mine came out in slightly odd proportions to the bed, but its definitely big enough to function as a working full quilt as Miss Fox grows. 


The main pattern and flamingo fabric is a fat quarter bundle from Emma's Fabric Studio. I have used her bundles before and I love them. You get a nice amount of fabric and they come in some lovely combinations. The plain white, pink and orange are just sheeting cotton which I got from Dunelm and ebay. 

I adore the colour combo of this quilt. Pink and Orange are my absolute favourite. It sort of goes with the nursery, I maybe should have added more yellow, but it works. Its so vibrant and the colours really 'pop'. I have a friend to thank via instagram for adding more of the pink and orange, it definitely was a good plan, so thank you to her. 


The quilt batting is a lovely cotton batting which quilted brilliantly. It was an iron fix one which meant I could secure all the layers together before sewing to stop it sliding around. This is by far my preferred option than all the pinning, it just takes a lot of the worry out of the layers moving and sliding around. 

I also got to use some special quilting machine equipment on this quilt. I got a free quilting kit with my machine from Sew Essential so I made good use of the 1/4 seam foot, the extra large sewing plate table and of course the walking foot. All these things definitely eased the blow on this make and made things a little easier. But don't worry if you don't have all this, the only thing I would say is a must is the walking foot, but I think everyone should own one of these regardless, they have so many uses. 


So after all that hate will I make another? Well I am already thinking about making Master Fox one now he is in his big boy bed! I must be insane! 

Do you have any experience quilting? How do you find it? I'm desperate to hear from someone who does this a lot and enjoys it so can hopefully explain why they love it. Again, its probably just down to my lack of patience. 


26 May 2017

Kwik Sew 4041 - Coral striped slouched raglan top


Isn't this fabric beautiful :) I love the huge coral stripes and I think it lends itself really well to this lovely draped top.

I have switched my focus of personal sewing now from maternity on to postpartum so the next few posts from me will 100% have breastfeeding in mind. From my experience last time, and from talking to fellow breastfeeding mums I have been advised that using the one up one down method of clothing is by far the best for feeding. This basically means wearing a  vest top to cover your tummy with a baggier top over the top which you can lift up to feed. I love this idea for so many reasons: 1. You can wear regular clothes (with the exception of nursing bras) 2. Nursing clothing can be really overpriced for what it is and 3. I always really hated putting a cloth over Master Fox's head, it felt so rude, and this method is discreet enough to not need to do this.



So anyway, on to the make itself. The fabric is a gorgeous lightweight polyester jersey from Guthrie and Ghani. I am a little annoyed at myself because whilst I followed the pattern guidelines for the amount of fabric (which I only just pulled off) I didn't have anywhere near enough to match the stripes across the raglan sleeves. It looks ok thankfully but it would have been nice to have them running across the top properly.

The pattern is Kwik Sew 4041 which I bought from Sew Essential (the lovely ladies that helped me choose my sewing machine). This pattern is so ridiculously easy! The whole thing was made in one evening and the results are brilliant. Its a lovely loose fitting top with a very wide neckline.


The pattern actually has a regular sleeve which is just turned under and stitched with a twin needle like the hem but sadly as mentioned above I was struggling to get the whole top cut out of the amount of fabric I had. I decided the best thing to get around this would be to cut the sleeves short and then add a folded cuff to the bottom cut from some of the leftover smaller sections of fabric. This worked brilliantly and I love the finish of it. It makes it feel a bit more sweat top like which I don't mind one bit.

I made the top up in a size medium (I am usually a small) without doing any measurements because I wanted to make sure it would go over my postpartum tummy and still be nice and drapey. I think in hindsight, given as the pattern is supposed to be baggy, I could probably have got away with a small. It is a bit like a tent but it is wearable and will fit the desired purpose, even if I just end up slobbing at home in it.


Its a real shame I can't 'model' this for you, but it just looks a bit silly over my rather large growing bump. The hang of the top really doesn't work with that obstruction! I'll be sure to stick a picture up on instagram once I get around to wearing it.

19 May 2017

Baby dribble bibs (including pattern)


Can you ever have enough dribble bibs? There is a possibility I might have gone a bit overboard on the bibs here but personally the answer to this question is no, you definitely can't have too many of these things. I know from the experience of my own little dribbler these things are a must for pretty much any baby (unless you are lucky and manage to get a dribble free one, but I am not convinced they exist). Master Fox was known to go through at least 3 a day some days so unless you want a constant wash on the more the merrier.

The best thing about these though is that they have all been made out of fabric I already had, so not only are they amazing and super useful but they were also free!

But even better than that, I have included my pattern and the instructions for these bibs in this post. Aren't I good to you :)

See below for my instructions as well as the downloadable pattern.


A note about the pattern: I made this pattern by tracing from a shop bought bib left over from when Master Fox was little. I love this size and shape for a bib, but the ones from the shops come in so many different sizes you might find you prefer a different type. In which case, just fold the bib in half, draw around it and add a small seam allowance, it really is as easy as that.

Click here to download my DIY Fox Dibble Bib pattern

Make sure you print the document at 100% size so that you know your final bibs will fit your little ones.

Materials: main fabric, backing fabric, poppers/snaps

I used a variety of different fabrics for these bibs:
For the main fabric I used quilting cotton and knit/jersey (some cotton, some poly). Cottons are easier to sew but are more rigid. Knit/Jersey are harder to sew with but they are nice and soft on babys skin
For the backing I used either flannel or knit/jersey, you could also use toweling, minky, fleece or cotton.
For the poppers I used Kam snaps but you can also use sew in press studs or no sew studs. You could even use velcro if you preferred.

Bibs made from quilting cotton

Instructions:

  1. Using the pattern above cut 1 piece main fabric and one piece backing fabric. Make sure to cut the pattern on the fold.
  2. With wrong sides together pin the front and back pieces together and sew around the edge leaving a 2 inch gap along one edge to turn the bib the right way around.
  3. Trim the seams as close to the stitching as possible
  4. Turn the bib so the right sides are now on the outside through the hole you left in the step above
  5. Make sure that the seam allowance for the gap you left for turning is folded to the inside of the bib, it helps to iron these seams so that they stay flat
  6. Sew all the way around the outside of the bib making sure you catch the seams over the turning hole
  7. Attach a snap to the ends of the bib according to your snap instructions. 
  8. Admire your work :)


Bibs made from Knit/Jersey

So you see they really are that easy there is little point in buying any at all.

12 May 2017

2 nap times, 2 maternity dresses - part 2


In this second installment of the 2 nap times, 2 maternity dresses posts I am happy to show off the second version of my Megan Nielsen maternity pattern hack dress with this beautiful pale pink number.

Last week I showed you my stunning snow leopard version of the dress and talked more about the pattern and why I decided that it was still ok to sew maternity dresses into your 3rd trimester! Well this week we are going to talk all about the fabric.



Both of these dresses are made from Jersey fabric which I bought from Stoff & Stil. Stoff & Stil are actually a Danish fabric company who have a few other shops in the EU and ship to the UK. Their shipping costs are quiet pricey (I blame you Brexit!!) but the fabric isn't too dear and its such good quality I highly recommend. Plus their range of fabrics are stunning, for me much better than a lot of the stuff you can find in the UK, so if you do a bulk order it makes the shipping more reasonable.

I've talked before about my love for Danish fabric stores. One day I will make it back to Denmark to see friends and next time I'm saving up for months in advance and taking an entire empty suitcase!


The fabric for this dress is some gorgeous pale pink heart cotton jersey. As I mentioned above the quality of this stuff is amazing, it has great stretch recovery and its nice and thick, perfect for this type of project. I made a version of this dress in a cheap poly jersey from the market and you can really tell the difference with this. I think the great quality helped these two dresses come along so perfectly. They just behaved and the finished outcome really does speak louder than words.



The fabric I used for last weeks Snow leopard dress is this absolutely stunning cream leopard jersey which has a very subtle pale pink in the centre of some of the prints. This is probably the most amazing fabric I have ever purchased! I mean we all know I love a leopard print but again the quality is stunning, it was so easy to sew, the finished item looks amazing I really can't fault it.

I would say these jerseys are a medium weight though, they make perfect bodycon dresses, would be good for skater skirts/dresses and more fitted tops (like Tilly's Agnes top, in fact this is now on my to do list!), but they are definitely not lightweight so wouldnt suit something which needed more drape like a floaty, baggy top.



I purposefully picked light colours for these dresses for 2 reasons; a) summer is hopefully on its way and b) I have decided I have become too lazy to keep up with my hair dying and am considering growing out my natural colours. The lighter clothing much better complements my ever fading locks than darker ones do, so watch this space to see how this terrible hair saga goes (it will probably end in me crying from bad hair and dying it pink again!).

So I hope you liked these dresses, I finally managed to get a couple of outfits I am happy to show off my pregnant figure in and that give me some confidence, for me that is a massive thumbs up. I hope I have inspired you to do some selfish sewing just to cheer yourself up, its definitely worth it.

x

5 May 2017

2 nap times, 2 maternity dresses - part 1


Its probably a little late to start sewing more maternity clothes in my 3rd trimester but I got so fed up of hating all my clothes and how I look in them I had had enough and decided I might as well just do something about it to cheer myself up.

I mean I probably only have about 12 weeks left, which when you think about home sewing doesn't really seem worth the effort. That being said I know I will get a lot of wear out of these in the coming weeks and as the title of the post implies these dresses really didn't take me very long at all (2 nap times in fact!).


The first one I am going to show to you in this post is this amazing white leopard print version which as you can see I appropriately wore for a recent trip to the zoo. Thankfully I wasn't attacked by a lion or adopted by the snow leopards.


The main reasons why these two dresses were so quick is firstly they are both the same pattern, meaning I could sew them simultaneously and secondly they are a dress I have made before so I already know it fits and the construction method - bonus.  The pattern is the Cara top and Erin skirt from the Megan Nielsen Maternity survival pack. I made another leopard version of this dress a month or so ago which I blogged about here. For this version I used the ruching placement for the top rather than the skirt which I think I did last time and its sitting a little higher this time giving a much better fit around the bump. I also made these versions ever so slightly longer as its getting warmer meaning I could wear them without tights if needed. The technique for this hack couldn't be simpler, just cut the two patterns out in your size and then overlay them following the contours. You will likely find the skirt is slimmer than the top. When cutting I decided to keep the bottom of the skirt the same size, graded up to the top size in the hips. because I am a very curvy figure, then follow the shape of the top up to the shoulder.

This pattern hack really is so easy to do and its super quick to sew, I really recommend it.

(It's actually snowing in this picture, I mean its April and its snowing!)

I have basically decided that this type of dress is the only type of thing I am comfortable wearing during pregnancy and its completely pointless trying to wear anything else. It fits easily, pulls on, grows with you and is not in any way restrictive so its just so comfortable. Its definitely the type of clothing I reach for every morning as long as I have a clean version so I am really happy to have two more in my rotation of clothing hence my decision that this was not going to be a waste of sewing.


I love this dress, i'm so pleased with it. I think its the fabric that really makes it so amazing and it brings my total count of leopard maternity dresses to 3!

Next week I will post the second version of this dress and talk about the fabric in more detail so I look forward to seeing you then.

How do you feel about sewing for the short term? Is it worth it? I suppose a lot of us sew for special occasions, items which might be quiet costly but only get a very small amount of wears? Is the value in the longevity of an item or the amount of pleasure you get from it? I've often previously thought it was about it only being worthwhile if it was going to get a lot of use, but maybe I have been looking at it all wrong?