27 February 2015

Superman washbag and some selfish sewing

It feels like an age since I wrote a blog post, I think because I have been pretty good for a change at blogging in advance, where as this one is coming straight at you from my lap! 

So this week one of the projects on my sewing list was to make Master Fox a washing bag. Until I had a child I never even contemplated how much washing a baby creates! Our machine has been going non stop ever since his arrival. Because of the amount of clothes he goes through it felt like a sensible idea to make a washing bag which we can keep in his room to quickly dump everything into to make doing the washing with one hand a little easier! It's a very simple rectangular bag which includes a drawstring channel, a drawstring (of course) and a fabric loop to hang it up by.

Of course to make this I use a bit of the leftover superman fabric in a bit of a stash busting effort. I think there might be a slight chance we overdid the use of the superman fabric in his room! What do you think? Mr Fox would disagree though, apparently you can never get enough superman, at at least it all matches though right? Functionally the washing bag is working a treat, though the drawstring is a little thick making it a little hard to pull on. I will probably thin it out at some point but for now it serves it's purpose beautifully. 

So, what else have I been up too? Well despite me saying that I wasn't going to sew for myself until I had lost a bit of the baby weight I decided I'm also fed up of not actually fitting in any of my clothes and not having anything nice or flattering to wear (hello leggings and oversized cardigans). So I have started to make up a dress in some of the cheaper cotton sateen fabric which I got off eBay. This stuff was less than £5 per meter so one dress is not going to break the bank, and I can always repurpose the zip etc when I have finished. 

I will of course give you more details on this dress once I have it finished, though with only an odd hour here and there to spend it might take me a little while. I am really enjoying getting back on the horse and doing some selfish garment sewing. I was however a little shocked when I saw the size I needed to cut out to get this to fit! 

Finally, just because it's really cute, I did a print of Master Fox's tiny little feet! I used a non toxic ink pad, as paint can be a little too thick for something so delicate. It worked really well and I have this cute little print of his cute little toes to remember when he was so small. I would definitely say this is worth a go as a really cheap moments of your little ones. 

20 February 2015

New Look 6235:Baby Shark Dressing Gown

How adorable is this! I'm not sure Master Fox needs a dressing gown quiet yet but why would he not want this adorable shark one?!?

The pattern is New Look 6235 and it comes with two dressing gown variations as well as knit Jersey pants and top. Of course I chose the pattern for the shark dressing gown, but the jersey pants will no doubt come in very handy, especially as Mr Fox has donated a couple more t-shirts to the sewing cause! 

Because he can't even sit up yet I decided to make the dressing gown in one of the larger sizes so he can wear it whilst sitting about the house. It's about 18lb which roughly equates to 3-6 months, but I anticipate us fitting in this by autumn. It does feel a bit on the large side though but it will give him plenty of room to wrap himself up and grow into. 

I didn't want to spend a whole lot of extra money making this up so I decided to use this project as a bit of a stash buster. I used some grey fleece (formally a blanket) and some plain white cotton to line (formally a bedsheet!) which I already had cluttering up the craft room. They are great for the project, the fleece is warm and snugly and the cotton perfect for next to the skin, warm in the winter, cooler in the summer. However if I was to purchase fabric to make this it would be great with a soft toweling lining to dry off after a lovely warm bath.

I only made a couple of very minor amends to the pattern. I stitched black fleece circles to the hood before attaching the lining instead of using buttons - babies and buttons are not the best combo in my opinion. I also omitted stuffing the teeth as the fleece fabric is pretty sturdy already. 

The pattern was very simple and easy to follow. As others have mentioned the sleeves are a little complex when finishing off but if you read the instructions clearly it makes sense. There are minimal pieces to this, they go together well and as its loose fitting there is no need to get a perfect size. Even the tie was easy to do. I will definitely make this again either in a bigger size or as a gift for any future mums to be that I know. 

I was inspired to make this by seeing That's Sew Amy's version on the Minerva blogger network Blog post. I love it though, it's definitely my kind of sewing :) 

Mr Fox has a fear of sharks but he surely can't be scared of the cute little Master Fox when he is wearing this!

13 February 2015

Marvin the Sock Monkey

Meet Marvin the Sock Monkey! You will probably already know that I have been making cuddly toys for years (take a look at my Monster Magic page if you didn't already know) but I have never ventured into the world of sock creations. There are two reasons for this, firstly that I much prefer the idea of using plain fabric, I think I decided it was less restrictive. Secondly, and more importantly, I have a good friend who makes sock creatures and is much better at it than I will ever be. She does make them to sell so if you are interested in purchasing a sock creature, or just want to have a nose at her brilliant work check out her Socksy Beasts page on Facebook.

Anyway, back to Marvin, why did I made a sock monkey? well because I was gifted a sock monkey kit of course! A great excuse to take a sneak peak into the world of sock creations. The kit is from www.sockcreatures.co.uk and contains everything you need to make your very own sock monkey. Of course they don't just do monkeys. there is a huge range of sock creature kits from a sock fox to a sockasaurus, you really need to take a look to really appreciate how many different kits there are.

So, what do you get in the kit? Well, the bag contained a pair of socks (doh!), I have to admit the colour put me off making this for a while but never mind. You also get some printed instructions on how to make the sock creature, stuffing, thread, needle, accessories to decorate your creature and some sweeties (which really do help the creative process!).

The instructions were very easy to follow and the kit was a doddle to use so I would recommend this. It would be a brilliant gift for a young child to help them learn to sew, but is also a bit of fun for adults too. There are however a couple of comments I would like to make about this particular kit. Firstly, why they sent neon orange/black socks with lilac thread I will never know, the stitching is really obvious. Secondly the pattern shows the arm being cut the wrong way round. The diagram implies you cut the arms with the ribbing close to the body, I did this and it looked really daft as the ribbing on the legs and tail are all at the opposite end to the body. So I had to chop the end open and re-sew to make it look less daft. Apart from that a very lovely kit.

After following the instructions to make the sock monkey you are then left with the option of customising your creation. Now as he is a very dapper monkey, and orange and pink are one of my favourite colour combos I made him this lovely giant pink felt bow tie <3. I think it makes him look very sophisticated!

So what do you think to Marvin? I hope you like him, even if hes not the most perfectly sewn.

If anyone would like to adopt him he is free to a good home, I will happily cover postage, just leave me a comment at the end of the post expressing an interest. If I get more than one response we will do a random number generator by the following week. Please don't post your address details in the comments I will get in touch with you for more details. I should point out though he is not brilliantly sewn so should not be given as a toy to very small children as he is not CE tested for safety.

6 February 2015

Sewing inspiration on a more personal front

 New fabrics, I need to take notes of Alex's faux pas cherry print matching on GBSB this week

I have been doing a bit of DIY this week but instead of posting about that I wanted to write something a bit more personal instead.

I'm not sure whether its the New Year, giving birth, thoughts of spring or the return of things like sewing bee but my drive to want to get some garment sewing done is really overwhelming at the moment. I am feeling so inspired and have so many ideas and things I want to make.

The issue I have is that I am feeling quiet down about my figure at the moment. I realise its only been 8 weeks since giving birth and I cant expect to be back to my old self immediately but I just don't feel overly comfortable in my own skin right now. I am doing everything I can now to try and get back to my old self again; the diet is on and I am snatching as much exercise as I can between naps.

More new fabrics, mostly knits, I love the chevron
Now I can cope with this, it's a fact of life, but it does hamper my sewing drive somewhat. The great thing about sewing clothes for yourself is so that you can have something which is a truly great fit. However, as the time I have to spare to do sewing is minimal now I really need to make the most of it. This means that I don't particularly want to sew clothes for my current shape, as its a shape I don't intend to be in for long, as a result sewing isn't really a productive use of my time. It's great to make stuff, but not if you put your heart and sole into something which ultimately turns out to be of no use as you can never wear it.

 Not completely selfish sewing, you can clearly see a baby pattern here :)

So, how am I challenging this inspiration that I can't put to any use? Well I'm stocking up my fabric and pattern stashes of course (I may be going a bit overboard!) so that once I am back to my fighting weight I can jump straight in at the deep end and starting making stuff ASAP. The problem is the more I buy the less decisive I get on what I actually want to sew! 

Can we class 90's grunge era as 'vintage' sewing? I hope so! I got this pattern from ebay showing its age by the celeb styles of Pheobe from Friends and Frasier's wife!

So I think you can see the theme of my inspiration is dresses, dresses and more dresses. I never used to wear them as being an extreme hourglass figure store bought dresses either fit in the bust/hips but drown my waist or fit in the waist and I bulge out of everywhere else. I am looking forward to tackling this later in the year to try and get some more dresses into my wardrobe. Sadly the girls are not any smaller after this adventure, which was not something I needed, so I am going to have to be brave and tackle all form of full bust adjustments head on. Hopefully once I conquer it there will be no stopping me.

On a side note about dresses I loved the fabric of Deborah's dress on GBSB this week. I need to put it on re-run so I can check the writing on the weft! Not sure its my style put it was a very pretty print.

Do you have any ways of channeling your inspiration when you can't make things when you wanted, or have you been inspired to do some sewing since the return of sewing bee? Tell me all about it. 

30 January 2015

DIY baby pants tutorial

With the GBSB starting again this week its the perfect opportunity for me to show you how to make a pair of fabulous little boy (or girl) pants from an old t-shirt (or some new jersey fabric, we aren't fussy).

You will need:
A old jersey shirt or fabric
Paper and Pen
Fabric Scissors
Overlocker or Sewing machine with zigzag stitch
A pair of baby trousers to use as a template (I have included my pattern for 0-3m which you can download for free here).

Start by washing an ironing your old shirt, we don't want the pants to include any sweaty pits, or left over baked beans do we.

Take a pair of trousers that you already own for your little monkey and fold them in half. Lay the half on top of a piece of paper and draw around the outside but stop where the waistband and ankle sections are as we need to make separate pieces for these. you will need to add seam allowance to all sides except the outside leg which you will cut on the fold so no seam is required here.

Do the same thing again for the waistband and ankle sections. You will then need to double the height of these pieces as they will be folded in half. For the waist section add a seam allowance to all sides once you have doubled it. For the ankle sections add a seam allowance to the top, bottom and right sides but not the left, you will cut the left piece on the fold.

Cut your t-shirt open along the seam lines so you have a flat section of fabric. Cut 2 leg sections on the fold, 2 ankle bands on the fold and then cut 2 waistbands. The waistband is not cut on the fold because I found that a t-shirt did not have enough fabric left to enable you to do this. Instead cut two and we will join at both sides.

Open up the two leg pieces and with right sides together. Pin the outer top sections only and sew these together. I used an overlocker for neat edges but you can do this just as easily on a regular sewing machine, just make sure to use a zigzag stitch to allow for some stretch when you pull these on and off your baby.

Open up the leg sections again and lay right sides together with the two seams on top of each other in the centre, they should now look like a pair of trousers. Pin the inside leg sections and sew a continuous line from the bottom of one leg to the bottom of the other.

Now you are going to make the waist and ankle sections. With right sides together place the two waistband sections together and pin at either end, sew the two ends together. For the ankle sections, with the fabric still folded as cut sew the open edge together as you did with the waistband.

Now fold all these sections in half hight wise with the wrong sides together so the join seams are on the inside and press.

With the leg sections still right side together place the waistband section inside the top of the leg section with the raw edge at the top and pin all the way around. Sew round this top raw edge making sure you have placed your side seams sensibly and be careful not to get the bottom of the band stuck in the machine. I placed my seams at the sides, but you can line them up with the seams on the leg sections if you prefer.

Using the same technique as for the waistband do the same for the ankle sections.

Now you can turn you pants the right side out and press.

And your done :) These awesome little pants only take about 30 minutes if not less once you have the hang of them. Your little ones will have a new wardrobe in no time!

23 January 2015

Felt Finger Puppet Gang

Come and meet the gang.... Percy the Polar Bear, Henry the Hedgehog, Leo the Lion, Mr Fox, Kitty Mew Mew and Mr Dinosaur. I don't know why but all my soft toys have always been male, I'm not sure what this says about me? Do your soft toys (I would say did, but come on you know you still own some) have a gender? I would love to know I'm not the only odd one out there.

So anyway, it's been a while since I have played with finger puppets, but how cute are these little felt guys? You might be wondering then why I made them? Well now that Master Fox is 6 weeks with every day he is getting more awake and more inquisitive. To help him learn about his new world I have been looking for activities to do with him to stimulate and help his mental development. There are lots of great ideas from simply showing him things around the house to smells but of course my favourite activity was the one which featured finger puppets! I probably could have gone with a theme, say woodland or zoo animals or something but he doesn't know the difference. I just made up my favourite animals ;)

Little Felt finger puppets are so easy to make. All you need is some felt, scissors, needle and thread. Draw roughly around your finger onto a piece of paper but add about 1cm all the way around. Once you have done this cut it out and this is your finger template. From that you just need to cut shapes from felt to make little faces and features and sew them on with co-ordinating thread. Once you have finished with the features you then sew around the edge and top of the puppet leaving the bottom open. You can of course use glue if you don't want to sew them.

They took about 15 minutes per puppet which makes this another awesome project for making during baby naps. It took me about 3 naps to make these 6 little guys, not bad at all.

Have you ever made any toys for your little newborns? I am continuously hunting for ideas for playtime so would love to hear about them.

16 January 2015

We are Knitters North Snood

I said quick and easy didn't I? Well it doesn't get much quicker and easier than a massive chunky knit snood does it.

I have a confession to make though that I really didn't need any more scarves/snoods. I probably have about 30 already, but well I don't have a chunky pink snood do I so that's a perfect justification right there.

This pattern was a free download from the lovely people at Love Knitting which is where I get most of my wool from online. They provide a super service, deliver quickly, do great offers and also give away free patters all the time. I would definitely recommend taking a look at their website if you are in the UK and after some knitting supplies.

The pattern itself comes from designers We are Knitters and is made using their 100% Peruvian chunky wool. The snood only takes one ball, so whilst it's not the cheapest wool to buy the project won't break the bank. I choose this fabulous pink colour which is pretty similar to my hair yes, but I don't ever wear clothes this pink so it nicely brightens up an outfit without clashing too much. 

The pattern was not complex, made in a simple basket weave, but it comes out a lovely texture which is also reversible, something I find very important in a scarf or snood. It is also perfect for my sleep deprived baby brain as a bit of mindless knitting which I could pick up and put down in the 10 minutes between feeding, sleeping and changing nappies. 

I am really pleased with how the snood came out. As the wool is 100% it's incredibly soft and so snugly warm which is perfectly timed for this time of year, it's also not in the slightest bit itchy. It's also great as I currently can't actually button up my coats so need something  whilst out for a walk that won't blow away in the wind, I can see me getting a lot of wear out of this in the next few weeks. 

If anyone has any ideas for quick and easy craft projects I can take on please let me know!!