Friday, 19 May 2017

{Sewn} Two bunny-themed projects

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As I neared the end of my pregnancy with Sophie, I seemed to lack energy to both sew and blog – but when I went overdue, I regained a bit of my sewing strength (after all, I needed to do something to pass the time and take my mind off the weeks of persistent braxton hicks contractions that I was experiencing!)

In the lead up to Easter I was inspired to make a couple of bunny themed projects. In our house, being Christians, our focus during Easter is the cross and the empty tomb, rather than bunnies and chocolate, however I’ll take any excuse to sew a theme (especially a cute animal one) and I’m not one to turn down chocolate, either!

Anyhow, I made these cute bunny baby shoes for my new niece who was born about 3 weeks before Sophie and just in time for Easter. (I already have visions of sewing matching outfits for our two girls, whom I’m sure will be firm friends as well as cousins.)

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The pattern I used was the Wild Things Baby Shoes by Twig & Tail and the fabric was bits and pieces from my stash, including some vintage embroidered linen that I’d been given (for the ears, insides and backs – see above photos); and some blush pink corduroy which I’d picked up from a Facebook destash page at some point (and previously used to sew the girls these dresses.)

This is my second time making this pattern, having previously made these shoes here.

The second bunny themed project that I made was this mustard yellow top for Isabelle. Doesn’t she look delightful in that colour? I think it really brings out her sunny disposition… but then again, I think this girl would look lovely in anything.

The pattern I used is one that I’m very familiar with, having sewn it many, many times before: The Street Smart Sweatshirt, by Little Kiwi's Closet and the beautiful fabric was gifted to me by my friend Elza. Thank you!

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Right, that’s another couple of previously unblogged projects that I’ve now managed to catch up – now I feel that I can move on to making and blogging new projects…. including a little something that I finished the other day using this fabric…

More soon!

Jen x

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Sewing for Sophie

Sewing for Sophie

As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t do as much sewing whilst pregnant for Sophie as I did when pregnant with Pipi… actually, correction – I sewed a HEAP of undie orders, but not that much baby sewing.

But I did manage to sew a handful of things, including the little whales romper below.

The pattern I used is the Summer Romper by Brindille & Twig and the whales fabric is from Elvelyckan Design. I made the size 3-6 month size for some reason (Sophie will fit this when we are still in Winter), however with a merino and tights underneath it will still work well. I also plan to make heaps more of these in a slightly bigger size for Summer!

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The next couple of things that I ‘made’ both involve fabric from Miss Matatabi and kind of cheating! … As in all that I did was edging! I ‘made’ this gorgeous Nani Iro play mat/ quilt by just simply sewing bias binding around the edges of this pre-quilted fabric. (I did this project whilst a few days overdue with strong braxton hicks!)

Secondly, I ‘made’ the wrap that Sophie is wrapped in below by sewing first hemming and then sewing a delicate pom pom trim (from Spotlight) on the top and bottom edges of a gorgeous piece of cream triple guaze fabric  (I left the side selvedges au naturale).

Incidentally, do you like my birth announcement photo? Here a few tips if you’re thinking of doing something similar:

  1. Make sure you spell your new child’s name correctly before you excitedly post the photo to all your social media accounts! Ops! (Clearly the below was my second and corrected attempt!)
  2. If, like me you’ve chosen a name for your child with an extremely large number of vowels and you run of the letter blocks with the ‘i’ on them, not to worry – just get creative and use a ‘j’ for one of them, sneakily hiding the tail of the j under a soft toy rabbit’s ear! Problem solved!

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Although when pregnant with Sophie we weren’t 100% sure of her gender, we did have some inkling that she might be a girl – so I did sew a couple of more feminine things, including the swan playsuit below.

I used the Little Kiwis Closet Flutterby Playsuit Pattern (3-6 month old size) and the beautiful swan fabric is from Art Gallery Fabrics, which was a small scrap that I had leftover from the Twig & Tale blog tour that I participated in last year. I had some cream swiss dot fabric in my stash that I used for the flutterby sleeves.

DSC_0043-001DSC_0047-001 The first baby project that I sewed while pregnant (and one that I've already blogged) was these little bunny shoes (pattern: Wild Things Baby Shoes, fabric: assorted vintage stuff from my stash). See original post for more details, if you are interested.)

I’ve since made a pink pair of these shoes for my new little niece, which I’m sure will get blogged in due course.

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The last bit of ‘Sewing for Sophie’ that I’ve done; and the only bit (yet) that I’ve done since having her (honestly, I’m already having sewing withdrawals and have a growing ‘to sew’ list, so I can’t see this hiatus lasting long)… is these baby washcloths. (Spot the polar bears??!?)

They were made using a double gauze by simply cutting and overlocking the edges in a manner of around 20 minutes or so. (I made 6.) A quick, easy and practical sew.

I used to have this fabric in a pink colourway (from Miss Matatabi), but this scrap was scored from a facebook destash group I belong to.

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I can’t wait to get back behind my sewing machine soon and sew floral dresses, bloomers and lots of other things too!

What are you sewing at the moment!?

Jen x

Monday, 8 May 2017

Glasses Review for Optically.co.nz

Recently, (in a stroke of perfect timing) I received an email from Optically.co.nz (an online glasses retailer) asking if I’d be interested in reviewing a pair of their lovely glasses. The timing was perfect because I’d just broken a pair of glasses and learnt first hand that it is NOT at all ideal to not have a back up pair! (Let’s just say that going to the movies and driving at night is not the best in your prescription sunglasses while you wait for new pair of normal glasses to arrive!)

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Anyway! I was pleasantly surprised by huge range of products that Optically.co.nz have! (Over 3000 products in stock!) There are so many different styles in both prescription sunglasses / standard eyeglasses and they cater to all price points. Their website boasts of “New Zealand’s lowest price. Guaranteed!” and prices start as low as $9 including your prescription lenses. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, you could choose to splash out on one of their still competitively priced, designer frames (including Dior, Benneton or Gucci – just to name a few!) There really is something for everyone.

The website is very professional and super easy to navigate. I simply searched under 'Womens glasses' styles, narrowed my selection down to a few styles I liked (this was easier said than done, because I liked a LOT of the frames) and then I was able to virtually ‘try them on’ my using a handy feature on the website which super imposed my selected frames over a photo of myself! After much deliberation I chose the Jorgio JO1302 C4, as pictured below. I provided my prescription details and the process was finished as easy as that!

My new glasses arrived very promptly in the mail and I absolutely love them! The quality is great and overall I had a very positive experience with Optically.co.nz. Their service was faultless!

Jenny glasses

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So if you’re in the market for some eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses then perhaps take a look at Optically.co.nz! They also have a 100% money back guarantee, which means you can shop in confidence, knowing that if they’re not quite what you were after then you can return them no worries!

Thank you to Optically.co.nz for kindly providing me with these lovely frames! (And thanks also to my 8 year old, Noah for kindly taking these photos!)

Jen x

*This content was sponsored by Optically.co.nz and the frames were provided to me for the purpose of this review – however all views and opinions expressed are completely my own.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Sophie Evangeline

Long time no blog, eh? Yeah, I’m all about quality over quantity these days, and I’ll think you’ll agree that this is a rather special blog post.

Let me introduce you to the newest member of our family, Sophie Evangeline! She arrived at 6am, 2 weeks ago today on 22 April 2017, weighing 7 pounds 10.

She has slotted right into our family and we all are quite besotted with her!

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I sewed a few things while pregnant with Sophie (which I hope to post about soon), but much less than I did when pregnant with Pipi. However, I hope to make up for that in the next few months (time willing of course!) I already have so many sewing plans that I can’t wait to undertake… but for now I’ve been easing into being a Mum of 4 (!) and have been soaking up newborn snuggles and snapping LOTS of photos (as you can see!)

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…And if baby spam is your thing … then you can find heaps more of it on my Instagram page … @mendandmakenew !

Jen x

Thursday, 23 February 2017

{Sewn} Isabelle’s Art Deco Dress

Here in the beautiful Hawke’s Bay of New Zealand we celebrate an annual ‘Art Deco’ festival. This festival commemorating the 1931 Napier Earthquake in which 256 people lost their lives, and many of the damaged buildings were rebuilt in accordance with the distinctive ‘Art Deco’ style of the time – thus giving Napier a real Deco flavour that still lives on today.

The festival is a pretty big event in our community with a lot of people travelling to attend and many people dressing up. Our kids’ school does a dress up day too, and when I spotted this fabric in my local fabric store (Spotlight) I decided to sew Isabelle a dress!

Art Deco Isabelle

At some point during this blog post I had planned to make a hilarious joke about how I’d painstakingly stitched every sequin on, but unfortunately I’ve already revealed that I bought it like this from Spotlight, so that joke won’t fly! In fact, the whole sewing process was rather pain free – I just used my old staple, the Blank Tank pattern from Melly Sews, with a few modifications – the obviously one being that I lengthened it to be a dress and I also lined it with a soft grey marle cotton/lycra knit blend (because the back of the sequin fabric would have been a little itchy if left exposed against the skin.) Because I was sewing with sequined fabric (my first time), I used special needles called ‘sharps’ as recommended by my fabric store and a small zig zag stitch due to the stretchiness of the fabric.

The only trouble I encountered during the sew was trying to get my mind about how to line it and still be able to turn it in the right way. As the original pattern isn’t lined I had to work it out for myself and in the end I put the call out for advice in a couple of facebook sewing groups I belong to. From there the ‘Burrito roll method’ was suggested (as demonstrated by this video) , but in the end I followed this method which gave the same end result. (All in all it was a very quick sew and I probably spent more time trying to get my head around this issue rather than anything else.)

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Honestly, how gorgeous is this girl!? She shines with or with out sequins!

To complete the look, Isabelle and Pipi both made the flapper style headbands (with some assistance from me.) We just used stretchy black lace that I already had in my stash and tied it at the back and the girls attached the feathers and plastic jewels with the hot glue gun. They are big fans of the glue gun!

I would have got some photos of them making them, but I was too busy supervising two eager girls dealing with hot glue, so that didn’t happen!

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Pipi, never one to be left out, decided she needed some photos as well – she’s not in full costume, but you get the picture… and I think these pics reflect her personality rather well!

Pipi Grace

No words!

I’ve been on a bit of a sewing kick recently, with heaps of things I want to sew (once I finish custom orders of course – nearly there!) … and also with a couple of unblogged projects/ works in progress that I hope to share with you soon!

Do you have any projects on the go/ in the pipeline?

Jen x

Saturday, 28 January 2017

{Sewn} Gingham Ruffle Dress

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On New Year’s Day, on a whim, I sewed myself a dress! Spotlight was having a sale and I needed to get some fabric for something else anyway, so I grabbed this super cheap gingham at the same time and away I went!

To be honest, it wasn’t completely on a whim as I’d the basic idea in my head for a while – essentially a lightweight sack cinched in above my growing baby bump with a tie and a cute elasticated ruffle neckline that could be either be worn trendily off the shoulder, or not (as I prefer especially with these maternity bra straps to hide!) ;)

It was super quick and easy to sew, I didn’t follow a pattern but had a top of a similar style which I loosely followed, of course lengthening it a bit and adding a bit of width to accommodate my ever increasing girth! Hemming and making the elastic casing was super easy too because I could just cut out and follow the line of the stripes which kept it nice and even with little need for a measuring tape. I bound the arm holes.

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It’s a lovely comfortable dress to wear and nice and light and breezy, perfect for some of hot days we’ve been experiencing and it fits my currently 29 week bump rather well (with room to grow).

I have worn it a number of times since making it almost a month ago, but have only just managed to get some photos now. Unfortunately, most of the photos I got the ‘Instagram husband’ to take didn’t turn out so well, they were overexposed and washed me out! Honestly, I’m not that pale at the moment, I just got a little bit of a tan – although I do have a prescription for iron tablets that I need to fill! It’s really saying something when a mannequin is more photogenic with you!

It’s a good thing that beautiful Isabelle decided to crash my “photoshoot” with her dazzling albeit food covered smile!

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Next on the sewing agenda, I have a couple of custom orders to get through and then hopefully, a little bit of sewing for this new baby!

What are you sewing at the moment?

Jen x