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

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!!!

What now?!?

I’ve had my new Phaff Ambition sitting on my work desk now for a few days, I look at it every time I go into the study and wonder ‘What the hell now?!?’.

Exactly where does one start when one has no idea what to do with such a machine? I’ve decided today that I am going to sit down and try and teach myself how to at least thread the thing so that I can give myself even the slightest chance of being able to sew something. I figure the best bet is to open up the manual and see if it gives good enough step-by-step instructions on what one needs to do in order to get the machine ready to start sewing.

Finally once I get my head around all the new jargon I realise it’s really not that difficult at all. The machine looks so much more complicated that what it really is. The manual provides great instructions and before I knew it I had the machine threaded (bobbin and all) in no time.

The few people I knew that can actually sew have told me to just play around on the machine a bit; meaning get some off cuts and attempt to sew in a straight line, sew around a bend and even turn a corner. I decide to hell with that; let’s just get sewing straight away!!!! I’m far from afraid of making mistakes, I figure if I make a mistake I can either unpick the work or just buy some more fabric and start all over again.

I decide that I’ll give bunting a try…. I’ve absolutely no idea how to do it but I figure if I go to a fabric shop and ask for some instructions no doubt someone will be able to help. I’ve been told bunting is Sewing 101.

Off to the fabric shop I go!!!

Bunting

The Beginning…

I know some of my friends think I’m crazy; starting a blog that is, with three kids three years and under, a husband that works six days and four nights a week and trying to work part time on top of all this….. But since the birth of my first child I have become very aware of the huge network of mothers out there that I wanted to become a part of. For the last three years I have been umming and arrhing on what I could do. I’ve seriously considered starting up a children’s clothing brand and taken steps in the right direction to get it up and running but when I sit down and really analyze the situation I keep coming back to the realization that at this point in my life I probably just don’t have enough time to really give it my all. Then there was the thought of a blog – ‘That seems like a bit of fun’ I kept thinking but what the hell would I talk about? I don’t really want to talk about my kids all day everyday – I see/live/breath them every minute of the day until 7pm comes around (ok sometimes this blows out to 8pm) and they all finally fall asleep – I need a break from them, I need to do something for me, something that I get a lot of enjoyment from.

For the past ten or so years I have wanted to learn to sew, more than just sewing on a button and taking up a hem. It’s been a secret goal that I’ve never really shared with anyone. I want to be able to make myself clothes that fit, make gifts for my best friends with love and of course groovy, edgy clothes for my own kids. So finally, after ten years I ventured off to Chatswood Sewing Centre and enquired about the purchase of a sewing machine. An hour later I walked out of the shop having purchased a Phaff Ambition 1.0. I decided (with the absolute bare minimum prior knowledge) that this was a good middle of the range machine that I wouldn’t grow out of for several years, but with the understanding that I’d be back before the end of the year for my second big purchase; an overlocker (unless my Mum wants to pass hers onto me – hint hint!).

This is my first sewing machine!

This is my first sewing machine!

So here I am, sitting, staring at this machine thinking ‘Now what?!?!’. It’s daunting – I’ve never sewed in my life, I’ve spent many a time watching my very clever mother sew up all sorts of wonderful things but I’ve never sat behind the machine and given it a go.

Where to start? What to do? How the hell do I even thread this thing!

Wish me luck!!!