Multi-Layered Skirt

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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.

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Screen Printing

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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.

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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!!)

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(Above: the beginning of my print coming together)

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(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)

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(Above: and here is the final product)

Get-together

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At the end of last year my good friend and I decided that (1) we need more time to sew and (2) we need some time for us without the kids around so we came up with an idea…

We decided that once a month we would meet up for a days worth of sewing and a long, very long chat. So yesterday was day one of our get-togethers for 2014. We had such a nice day, (and very quiet without the kids I have to tell you!).
I picked up some lovely jersey material from Tessuti and made a modern version of the pillow case dress. It turned out so well! And it really was super easy to make, especially because I now have my overlocker to finish off all the edges nicely.
My girlfriend worked on some appliqué designs, oh and we also organised for our beautician to come over for some treatments just to top the day off.
So all in all it was a great day – can’t wait to do it again!

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Camping leads to more material

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Who would have thought that camping in the middle of no where would lead to me finding a very cute little sewing shop which then lead to a few little purchases! (I tried to hold myself back but I couldn’t help it).

On the first night of sleeping in the tent all five of us froze to death – it was 40 degrees during the day and then at night the temperature plummeted into single figures so that spurred me to go for a ‘quick’ trip into town in search of winter woollens which was a one and a half hour drive! A bit different to our two minute drive to the nearest shops in Sydney!

I found this cute little shop on a back street in the middle of Scone called Sew Scone. It has a lovely choice of fabrics, one in particular that I really liked was ‘Ring a Roses‘ by Gutermann. I also found a lovely textured floral print and bought a few meters of it to make a dress for my daughter (yes another dress…) and I thought I might attempt a top for myself… the same style that I would like to do in silk, so this can be the test run before I use expensive material just in case it’s a disaster!

I also came across this interesting thread which changes colour along the thread. I thought it was a bit of fun so I bought two of them in different colour ways and we’ll see what it looks like on my next little project.

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Mission Accomplished

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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

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– 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.

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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.

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Pillow Talk

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So far so good! I can’t believe I’ve managed to get half way through this with not one issue! There is hope for me after all.

I think the Hello Birdie pillows are starting to look really fantastic. I’ve cut out both front and back pieces, cut out six wings for each pillow and placed them using fusible web. Now I have to blanket stitch the edges… I have to admit that I had to look up on the web how to blanket stitch; it’s really very easy so that’s the job for tomorrow: get all the wings stitched. At this rate I will have the two birds completed before the weekend is over! 
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Too Many Things to Make…

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I think I am losing the plot… I’ve got so many ideas of what I’d like to make running around in my head that I keep buying buying buying but can’t find time to actually sit down and sew so this morning I promised myself that I would get to it.

Yesterday I went back to my favourite shop; The Remnant Warehouse to pick up some beautiful designer fabric to make a few things. A pillow case for my baby boys cot, a tee for my little man (the one wearing my shorts I  made last month) and then for my little girl I had planned to make her a new pillow case but came across this gorgeous Hello Birdie Pattern by The Red Thread so decided on this instead – far more interesting than a rectangular pillow case, lets face it.

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Hello Birdie Pattern by The Red Thread

So with all the amazing fabrics in hand I went home and pre-shrunk all the material so I could get started this morning as promised. The lovely lady who served me at the shop told me that there was no need to wash the fabrics in the machine (which until now is exactly what I have been doing!) – she said it’s unnecessary and takes up too much time – she is also a mum so she understands the time frame we deal with…. or lack thereof! She told me that all you need to do is soak the fabric in some warm water for two minutes and then hang it up to dry. Amazing – it saved me sooo much time last night! (Those that know me know that I love a good tip, especially a time saver one!)

So here I am at the sewing machine about to start on the Hello Birdie pillow; I’m going to make two with the plan being to have at least one completed by the weekend.