It’s been over four months since I last sat in front of my sewing machine! Life just gets hectic sometimes. Leading up to Christmas was crazy, followed by a fabulous family holiday to the USA (our first time to the States), my Dad’s 70th birthday; which included my first ever public speaking engagement (very daunting!!) and then a truck load of work emails to deal with meant there was no time left to sew.
My crazy husband is away this weekend competing in a half Ironman race in preparation for a full Ironman race at the end of next month; so after getting the kids dinner, bathed and to bed I decided why not get back to the machine? A year ago I had bought a stack of fabric from the States so I decided to make a simple little skirt for my daughter to wear to a party today.
The skirt takes me about 40 minutes to whip up. It’s very easy to make, in fact I think the second thing I ever attempted to sew when I started this ‘learn to sew’ adventure was this skirt. The difficult part was trying to get her measurements at 9pm (in the dark) when she was fast asleep; I managed to do it without waking her! Either she was super tired or I was a genius…
I think the result is pretty good, and by the looks of things she’s pretty chuffed too!
Now I have to try and make some headway on the quilt I started 5 months ago!
I’ve always thought quilting to be something that my Nan would do and up until the other day I had absolutely no interest in it what so ever. And lets face it you can only make so many quilts. We have four beds in our house, so to me that equates to four quilts. I know people who just sew quilt after quilt after quilt…. and end up giving the large majority of they hard earned work away. So to me it’s never really been of any great interest until I saw a lovely photo of a chevron patterned quilt and I thought “Perfect, just perfect” for my daughters new bedroom. We are planning to go for a white room with splashes of neon, or very bright colours.
So today I went to my favourite shop, The Remnant Warehouse and sourced these four colours which I plan to start this week. I’m going to make 80, 10 inch squares and then I have to admit I am going to pay someone to do the top stitching for me; I can’t think of anything more tedious than doing the final stitching part – it’s way too time consuming for me at this point in my life.
So the plan is to cut out the 80 squares this week and then get started on turning them into half square triangles…. ahhh I’m picking up on the quilting lingo already! Classic. Then next week I’ll work on finishing off the half square triangles and maybe even start to sew some lines together, time permitting.
Do you quilt?
So the weekend away was most eventful! I really surprised myself with how much I actually achieved! I went with great intentions but having three children (now 5 and under) I didn’t really believe that I would get much done; if anything to be really honest.
My husband decided that he was going to take the two big kids into town to get some ingredients to cook up a lovely casserole for dinner so I stayed at home and got going on the sewing whilst our baby boy slept. I powered through heaps of belts; the ones using twill tape took no time at all; about ten minutes each, the ones I made with ribbon took a little longer only because I ironed some interfacing in-between two strips of ribbon just to give it a bit more rigidity. I think they have come up really nicely so I’m now working on a tutorial to add to my site for anyone that’s interested in making a few. You certainly don’t have to have any experience in sewing to be able to make them, and you could even just hand stitch them if you don’t own a sewing machine. (Obviously it might take you a bit longer though).
The belt my son is wearing in these photos is the ribbon version. I have to say it was a lot more difficult to get him to pose than my daughter; it comes pretty naturally to her, this one didn’t enjoy it as much so when I asked him to then model the twill tape belt it all went horribly pear shaped so I just gave up – I figured it wasn’t a fight worth having. I like to pick my battles wisely!
This weekend my husband and I are off to the Southern Highlands for a few nights R-&-R (my husband especially needs it after his efforts on the town last night…. but hay what’s new!).
It is suppose to be tops of six degrees whilst we are there so I can’t imagine we will be getting out of the house all the much – I think we will spend the few days inside by the fire reading books and doing some craft or cooking with the kids. So to save me from going completely gaga I have decided to take down my machine and whip up a few belts for the kids. Don’t you love the use of the word ‘whip’ – I make it sound like I’m a professional on the sewing machine but the reality of it is that a twenty minute task will probably take me about an hour…and that’s per belt!
If there is one thing I always find difficult to buy, it’s small sized belts. Yes there is the odd shop that sells children’s belts but they are still miles too big for my kids. This is especially true for my middle child whose waist is five centimetres (two inches) smaller than our third child who is 22 months younger! (Poor kid – he’s super skinny).
So the other day I laid my eyes on this really bright coloured twill tape and thought, “If I just buy a couple of D-rings I could whip up a few belts in no time”. So this weekend that’s the plan – I’ll see if I can make some belts for all the kids in these great rainbow colours…. and if it turns out to be a success I’ll add it as a tutorial. I’ll keep you posted.
For the first time in a very long time I found that I had the whole afternoon with nothing to do. All the house chores were done, the kids didn’t need entertaining because they were exhausted from the mornings activities and my husband wanted to just sit and watch sport on Foxtel so I decided to have a date with my sewing machine and also give my overlocker its first run.
At the end of last year I bought a meter of gorgeous multi-coloured polko-dot material and decided today to attempt to make a multi-layered skirt for my little girl. I love frills on young girls clothes. I think it can add some real interest without it being too girly-girly (if you know what I mean). As I’ve never made anything like this to date I researched via my mentor ‘Professor Google’ to work out the best way to achieve the look I was after. (The amount of information you can find on the internet is astounding). I also had to work out how to use my overlocker which I have to admit took me several hours! (Just on a side note: I’ve learnt that in some parts of the world, in particular the USA an overlocker is called a serger).
I have to admit that I made many mistakes along the way, I think I spent the large majority of the time unpicking overlocking mistakes but I’m hopeful that the second time round it will all be a lot clearer and it should take me one and a half hours instead of a whopping eleven hours! Yes, it took me 11 hours from beginning to end to make this simple little skirt! I think it was well worth the effort though because it’s super cute and I learnt a lot along the way.
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in doing a screen printing course with her. To be totally honest I wasn’t really interested because I once did it at uni (back in 1997) and hated every moment of it but for some reason I decided to say ‘yes’ and give it a second chance. I have to admit that I loved every minute of it! Lucy and I took Saffron Craig’s course held at Material Obsession in Drummoyne. From the minute I walked into the room I had a good feeling about the day. Saffron was a delightful teacher, full of knowledge on the techniques of screen printing, colour and fabrics. She certainly was a wealth of information!
I turned up to the class very unprepared. Partly from lack of time and partly because we weren’t told to bring anything with us or do any prior research. Ten minutes into the class we were asked what we might like to screen print! My girlfriend Lucy had come prepared with an image she wanted to print – I had no idea what to do. I decided to do something for my baby girls room. She seems to have a bird theme going on so I came up with a simple bird & tree motif to screen print. So I grabbed a pencil and a piece of paper and sketched it up quickly, (and I have to say surprised myself and how quickly I came up with something not too bad…. am I allowed to admit that???!!). Below are a few shots of the process.
I have to admit that I was thrilled with the final product. I am going to turn it into a cushion and embellish the design with felt & stitching…. but this will happen over the course of the next month or two so you might have to wait a few weeks to see the final product!
If anyone is interested in attending Saffrons class I can highly recommend it! Saffron travels all over Australia offering her classes from the big cities right out to little country towns. Grab a group of friends and give it a go – I’ll guarentee you’ll thoroughly enjoy every minute of it! Thanks Saffron – a nice way to spend a day! (Oh and thanks Luc for the inspiration to give it a second go!!)
(Above: the beginning of my print coming together)
(Above: firstly I decided to do the trunk as an outline but didn’t like it so on the next piece of cloth I blocked out the trunk)
(Above: and here is the final product)
Finished! Just after midnight last night I managed to finally finish the Hello Birdie Pillow. I think it has come up very well – the pattern is very easy to understand, it’s by no means difficult; even for beginner sewers like myself. I made a few minor changes:
– The pattern calls for the same material front and back; I did different fabrics to add to the interest
– I put an eye on the back of the pillow as well; again for added interest and it means that it looks nice whichever way it is left by my little girl.
Blanket stitching around the six wings is time consuming but the pattern does give you other options (i.e. using your sewing machine and use a zig-zag stitch) but I thought the blanket stitch is nice as it adds a real sense that it is a hand crafted piece. I am half way through making a second one which I am going to gift to my god daughter for her upcoming christening and I wanted it to have a real sense that I had made it by hand, I think it adds to the meaning of the gift.
So that’s it for a week now, the family and I are off camping. When I get back I will make two pillow cases, one for each of my boys.