Little Peoples Belts

IMG_7793 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!

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Twill and ribbon belts

Belt

Virgin Jersey

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I picked up some fun jersey (or stretch) material the other weekend when I went to the Southern Highlands. At the Bong Bong Race Track there was a big sign saying ‘FABRIC SALE’ so I thought “Great, lets get the kids home and get back here”.

So half and hour later I was back at Bong Bong sorting through masses and masses of fabrics. It turns out a lovely old lady had hoarded fabric for the last fifty years and she was about to down-size to a smaller home so it all needed to go. Anyway I found this cute daisy print but it was in jersey –  so I thought well I’m still a virgin when it comes to jersey and there’s no time like the present so why not give it a go!

I’m using this great tutorial by Dana to guide me in the right direction. Everyone says that working with jersey is quite tricky but if you read what Dana says she says it’s really not that difficult at all – so here goes! I figure what have I got to lose? The worse thing that can happen is that it’s a disaster and it gets turned into bunting.

I’ve decided to just do a single layered skirt for my first attempt – if it’s a success I’ll try the double layered skirt that Dana has on her site.

The first step is to measure my daughter, then cut the fabric and start sewing it together, trim the bottom with some bias tape, (this part isn’t necessary but it just adds a bit more interest to a very simple skirt), add the elastic waist band and it should be done!

I’m really quite pleased how it has turned out. Just like the Maxi I did the other day I didn’t use a pattern as there was no real need. I even made my own bias binding which was a bit of fun and meant that I could trim the hem in what ever fabric I wanted. My daughter was thrilled with the result and has been wearing it ever since I made it! There’s a real sense of achievement when you have a happy customer!

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Shirring

Verb: to gather (an area of fabric or part of a garment) by means of drawn or elasticized threads in parallel rows (Oxford Dictionary)

My four year old daughter has been at me for months now to make her a shirred dress. I’ve tried many times to explain to her that it’s probably a bit beyond my capabilities at this early stage of learning to sew but she just won’t give up. So over the past couple of days I have done some research on how one shirrs. I had a good look over the internet and also went to Tessuti Fabrics for some guidance (the ladies there are always more than happy to offer advice!). I worked out all I needed was some elastic thread, (sometimes called Shirring Elastic) that you can pick up for about three dollars (for 20 meters) and of course your sewing machine. You hand wind the elastic thread onto your bobbin head applying a little tension as you wind, thread your machine with normal cotton thread and then start sewing. In theory it sounds very easy; but I’ll reserve my opinion on this until I actually try it in just a moment.

The first line:

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The second line:

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The third line:

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And a final touch; a good hit of steam from the iron to get the final effect:

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Well I have to admit that really was quite easy to do! Really the machine did it all for me. So now for the real challenge… can I make my daughter a cute maxi dress with a shirred top? I’ll give it a go over the next few days (or maybe a week knowing my capabilities). Wish me luck! I’ll need it!!!

I’m Back at the Machine

Well I’ve finally arrived home from over a months holiday in Italy, a truly wonderful experience to be able to take so much time off with all of my family (yes three children now 4 years and under in tow!). Before I left I had thought that I would post a blog at least once a week on something interesting I would find on my travels; lets face it I was going to one of the fashion hubs of the world… but I was surprised by the lack of content along the way until I arrived for our final day in Milan and stumbled across this very strange sculpture outside a tram stop in the centre of the city….. I just had enough time to get a quick snap before my tram came so I sat down today and had a look on the net what it was all about.

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It’s called ‘Needle, Thread & Knot’ or in Italian, ‘Ago, Filo e Nodo’ by Claes Oldenburg (a Swed) and Coosje van Bruggen (a Dutchman). It is located outside the Cardona Rail Station where the Ferrovie Nord railway system meets with the city centre. The needle and thread represent Milan’s work in the fashion industry while the tri-coloured thread represents the three colours of Milan’s metro system. I thought it was an odd sculpture but rather fitting for my current interest in the word of sewing!

Later that same day, whilst spending precious time with our lovely Milanese friends Francesca and Mauro, I noticed a tiny little stitching of ML on Mauro’s shirt, sort of half way down on the right hand side…. I figured it must have been some sort of fancy brand I had no idea about. Anyhow I racked my brain for hours trying to think what it could be, finally I asked him and he laughed – it was his initials. He then went on to tell me that in big Italian families it’s common practice to sew the initials of each child on their shirts so you can decipher who’s shirt is who’s…. makes sense right?!?! Well many trendy Italian men to this day still do this, more as a fashion statement though. I liked it – I thought it was pretty quirky really.

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(You have to look pretty closely at this photo but you can just see it on the right hand side about half way down the shirt)

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I remember reading that my machine has the capability of sewing letters so I might just steal a shirt from my husbands wardrobe later this week and sew his initials on it in a random place and see what he thinks when he goes to wear it next…. what’s the worse thing that can happen? He hates it and I have to quickly unpick it as we are in the taxi on the way out for dinner one night! Oh, he’ll probably kill me but who cares; it’s all in the name of this great new hobby I’ve found so he can’t get that cross can he??

I’ll report back in when I give it a go!!

(On another note: I’m really hoping to get 100 likes before the end of the year and so far I’m at 28 so if you feel like liking me I’d love it!)