I’m Back with a Super Simple Skirt

Simple skirt jumpIt’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!

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Simple skirt

 

Fabrics… My Idea of Heaven!

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Happy New Year! I’ve been laying low of late, what with Christmas festivities followed straight after with Boxing Day and then the New Year it’s been pretty busy at our house and really no time to sew.

For Christmas my wonderful husband gave me my very first overlocker. I was so excited I wanted to get it out and give it a go on Christmas morning but he didn’t realise that he needed to buy thread so I can actually use it…bless. So whilst I was away on holidays I got on line and sourced some lovely fabrics from eQuilter along with some overlocking threads and today it arrived in the post! Such lovely fabrics… this really is my idea of heaven. I just can’t wait to get started on lots of cute clothing for my kids.

Then from my Dad I was given a gift voucher to The Bronte Sewing Room which was very thoughtful. My Mum told me he came up with the idea all on his own, he then searched the internet for a suitable sewing course that he thought I would really like and found this! Love you Dad xxx. So I thought I would book myself into their adults sewing class and take along with me my pattern to make Dad a night shirt…. he’ll love it I’m sure.

So what with the night shirt for Dad plus all the cute clothes I have planned to make for the kids I think I’m going to be very busy for the next few months. Then finally once all that is done I am going to try working with silk; a tie for my husband and a shirt for my sister and me. This might be a little ambitious but I figure ‘What the heck, lets just give it a go’.

Can’t wait to see what 2014 brings! Hopefully a lot of success and very few disasters!

Happy NY.001

Boy Shorts

Boy shorts

Wow! Success! Thank god after a few disasters in the past week….(the wedding garter and then the pouch).

For the first time I have used a pattern; and it was a digital pattern! I didn’t realise that you don’t have to go into a store, flip through hundreds of pages from pattern books until you decide on the pattern, then go to the checkout and purchase it, get it home and then start cutting it up, just like my mother used to do when I was a child. I used to get so bored sitting in those haberdashery shops for hours on end waiting for her to find the perfect pattern for her next outfit. Now all you need to do is download them from the net! So I picked up this super cute short pattern from Dana’s website MADE for only US$6.00; I used her KID SHORTS pattern – it was super easy and I’ve finished them already – complete with pockets as well.

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There are no fabric shops close by to where I live so it requires getting my three kids in the car and dragging them to the shop, hoping (and praying) that they actually behave so I needed to find an alternative! So, the alternative is to walk up the road to the local Salvo’s and pick up some second hand t-shirts and shirts. For these shorts I picked up a large mens seersucker short sleeved shirt and I think it has worked out really well. There’s enough fabric left to make another pair and the shirt cost me AUD$4.00!

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This was a really easy pattern to follow so I can highly recommend it to anyone wanting something easy to sew. In the pattern there are a number of different styles so your US$6.00 goes a very long way! With the pockets I have them lined in red which adds a bit of interest as you can see a bit of the red on the edging of the pockets. I also added my new labels to them which was a bit of fun…and it makes them look a lot less home made which is always nice.                                                            IMG_7032

My little man is pretty pleased with himself in his new shorts! He has already put in an order for another pair – in navy I’ve been told. I’ll try and get a second pair done before the weekend. You really will be surprised how easy they are to whip up!

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The Wedding Garter…. Disaster!

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Oh dear! I have a disaster on my hands! My sister gave me the task of making a garter for her wedding day (which is tomorrow!!!!).

She bought a few bits & pieces from Lindcraft (all blue to cover off the ‘something blue’ thing). So she gave me them and asked me to make her a garter…. I measured her thigh and got to work. When I finished it I was so proud of what I’d made, (because it looked so pretty) but then realised that I’d somehow sewn out all of the stretch in the elastic so there is no way that my sister will ever be able to keep it on her thigh!

The bad part is that because I had finished it I had cut all the lace so I couldn’t fix it (unless I went back to Lindcraft, bought all the stuff and started all over again – which I wasn’t about to do!!!!).

Oh well, I can’t always have a win…if my BFF ever walks the aisle I’ll give it another go.

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(Sewing the elastic to the lace – this is where I completely stuffed up! Oh well…)

The Wedding Tasks

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My sister gets married this Saturday and I have been given the daunting task of sewing 40 meters of bunting and the garter! I was quite surprised my sister even wanted a garter but she seems pretty hell bent on having one; she picked up a few bits and pieces at Lindcraft for me to put together so here’s hoping I can achieve what she is after! Should be a bit of fun!

Unlike my previous attempt at making bunting this time I am just doing it with a single piece of fabric and using pinking shears instead of sewing the edges and turning each flag inside out. Pinking shears are great to help prevent fabric from fraying and when you are making bunting on mass this is a lot easier and quicker than doing it the other way.

My mum was taught how to sew as a child at school, in those days I think it was compulsory for all young girls to learn to sew (amongst other sexist things like cooking) so she has a pair of pinking shears from when she was about six years of age…. she very kindly handed them to me the other day when she found out about my latest wedding task – they are even in their original box with the original name tag on them. I gave them a bit of a test run but they are actually quite short (5.5 cm) so it means a lot of cutting per flag so I ended up picking up a pair from IKEA for ten dollars and they are 3cm longer which makes the world of difference – the quality is no where near as nice but they both do the same job.

1. What you will need

– Twill tape; I am using 40 meters of tape

– Fabric for the flags; heavier weighted fabric works better – it makes the flags sturdier. I’m using linen from IKEA for this project.

– Stanley knife & quilt cutter

– A thick piece of cardboard

– Ruler & cutting board

– Tape measure

– Cutting board

– Marking pencil

– Pins

– Pinking shears

2. Instructions

1. The first step is to work out what size and shape flag you want. My sister is after a standard flag shape, 14cm wide (but you might want to do a scallop shape, a square, a heart etc).

Start with a square piece of cardboard, cut it to the correct height; in my case 16 cm. Now cut it to the correct wide; 14 cm. You should now see a perfect rectangle. On the bottom of the rectangle mark out the half way point; 7cm. Using a ruler and a stanley knife cut from the top corners down to the center point and then you will have a perfect triangle/flag template

2. You now need to work out how many flags you need. My sister wants each flag to be placed 6cm apart and she wants 40m (4000 cm) of bunting. Each flag is 14cm wide so every repeat is 20cm (6 cm + 14 cm = 20 cm). You then divide the total length into the repeat figure; 4000 cm ÷ 20 cm = 200.(God have I just totally confused you?!?!). So I need to prepare 200 flags! My god I wasn’t expecting it to be quite that many! What the hell have I signed up to do hear?!?!

So using your cutting board and quilting cutter, cut the fabric into strips the same measurement as the height of the flags; 16 cm. Then use your template to mark out the triangle shapes, pick up your pinking shears and start cutting!

4. Now start cutting! I have to cut 200 flags so this takes some time!!!

5. Fold the twill tape in half and press it with an iron.

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6. Place the flags in between the twill tape and pin in place.

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7. Sew along the twill tape from one end to the other – this will then secure the flags in place.

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And there you have it – 40 meters of bunting for my sisters wedding day. I’ll make sure I post a photo once it’s in situ! As for the garter – I’ll get onto this in the morning and come back to you about it.

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P.S. Can you see the little tag with my logo on it? They were delivered earlier this week – I love them! Couldn’t resist adding my little touch to the bunting – hopefully the bride won’t mind!

Sewing Paper


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The house is a complete disaster; what I should really be doing right now is getting the house in order but I’ve decided I need some time-out so I’m just going to leave it for the moment to try something new on my machine.

An update on my last idea; sewing my husbands initials on one of his good shirts didn’t work out. I worked out how to do it on the machine and did a few test runs on a scrap piece of fabric. The quality wasn’t good enough so I decided to just leave it. I have used the machine feature though to name the kids clothing and cot sheets for daycare which is really handy; no more iron on name tags that keep falling off!

Anyway back to todays little idea. As a kid one of my favourite books was Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley. My Mum very kindly kept the book so I could hand it down to my kids which I did but they have now destroyed it so I thought maybe I could make something with the pages by sewing the paper with my machine – I figured it would at least be worth trying ….. so here’s my crafty little idea that came up quite nicely I think.

1. What You Will Need

– Pair of scissors

– Piece of paper or cardboard

– Double sided tape

– Paper clip or dog clip

– Old book

– Nice colourful paper; I’ve chosen a scrapbooking piece of paper that I picked up at Eckersleys

– Box frame; you can find them cheap at IKEA

2. Instructions

– Cut out a heart on the cardboard or plain piece of paper (I just used a piece of paper). This will be your heart template so that all the hearts are the same size and shape.

– Take out four pages from your book and clip it together with a dog clip so that the pages stay together when you start to cut.

Trace & Cut

– Place the heart shape on the top of the pages and cut around it. Repeat this three times.

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– Now repeat the step above but this time do it with the colourful paper you have chosen.

– Using your sewing machine and some extra spare pages from the book test the tension of the machine on the paper. I had a tension of 3 which worked perfectly.

Check tension

– Once you are happy with the tension sew down the centre of heart. Repeat this four times.

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– Put some double sided tape on the back of each heart bundle and then stick to the backing board of the frame. (Originally I attached the hearts to a white piece of paper that just came with the box frame but after hanging it I decided it was a bit dull so I replaced the paper with some more lovely scrapbooking paper).

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– Close up the frame and you’re done! Easy!

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When I was discussing my idea with a few friends that sew they all said that you couldn’t sew on paper; well ladies I can tell you now that you can… and it’s very easy too! You should give it a try. I think all up it took me about 20 minutes to make and would make a lovely gift for my daughters friends… we have a party to go to this weekend so I might just sit down now and make up a second one to take as a gift to the party.

Best Friends

Sew La Tea DoI’m not really sure what I’d do without my bestie. We’ve been best of friends since high school, nowadays we are separated by distance but we remain the absolute best of friends. It’s our birthdays in July and today I received an early gift! (I have to admit I haven’t started thinking about what I could buy her because I’m hoping I can find something lovely on my holidays). I could tell by the feel of the present that it was a book – and she usually gives me a good book but this was bigger and heavier than normal. When I opened it I was so touched, she had bought me the most gorgeous book called ‘Sew La Tea Do’ by Pip Lincolne. So much thought had gone into her gift, I’ve only just discovered this big world of sewing and she can tell that I’m really enjoying it so has thought of something that relates to my new found hobby.

Sew La Tea Do is a fabulous book that has 25 different things to make; most of it sewing related but there is the odd sneaky little recipe in there too! The book comes with really clear step-by-step instructions backed up with photos and also all the patterns! I can highly recommend it to anyone, beginner or not – I think it would appeal to all.

When I called to thank her she told me that Pip (the author) has a great shop in Melbourne called Meet Me At Mikes, and also has a blog (some of you no doubt will be interested in her blog!)