Thursday, 30 June 2016

A New Project: Noah’s Lightning Bolt Quilt

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I have a new project on the go, and I have to say – I’m rather excited about it! It’s nice, first of all to be sewing something for my boy! It really does feel like it’s been a while! It’s also nice to be quilting again. I haven’t done that in a while. Lastly it’s nice to be trying new techniques and learning new skills – the new skill here being ‘foundation paper piecing.’

I have used ‘English paper piecing’ before when I made Pipi's hexi quilt; but that involved a whole lot of hand stitching, and I’ve now discovered that foundation paper piecing is quite a different kettle of fish (but equally as fun!)

The pattern I’m using is this one by SLOstudio that I bought off Etsy. I was initially planning on using a free pattern, but because I was new to this skill and wanted a bit of a better tutorial, plus I really wanted a square block, I decided to pay the couple of dollars for the pattern. And I’m so glad that I did.

For fabric, I was intending on buying a new cool fabrics I’d seen online, but one day, all of a sudden a bit of inspiration hit and I just wanted to get started so I grabbed a few fat quarters from Spotlight. Luckily for me they were half price that day to so it worked out well!

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Noah is very excited and also eager for it to be finished already. When I first started and had completed a few blocks he woke up and saw it and informed me that he liked it but thought it was a little small! Haha! There’s still a bit to go son, still a bit to go!

Although it is a bit of a slow burn project, I’m enjoying it so expect it to grow quickly – it already has grown a bit since I took these photos. I plan to post photo updates here from time to time. I’m aiming for just slightly bigger than a standard single size, maybe king single. (Borders will be added at the end.)

Also, I normally quilt in rows and am not sure how I came about doing columns, but never mind it wont make any difference to the end result.

What is your current WIP (work in progress)?

Jen x

Friday, 17 June 2016

Pipi’s Liberty Vest

Pipi's Liberty Vest

A quick glance at my blog would lead most to believe that I only sew for Pipi, or perhaps, even that I only have one child! And yes, while most of my recent makes have been for this little button, first let me justify that fact by stating that a) the other 2 have less need given that they wear school uniform a lot of the time, and b) Pipi has had a growth spurt and is still in desperate need of a few more warm Winter layers (despite receiving Isabelle’s lightly worn hand-me-downs!) I guess this happens when your children are born in different seasons!

Of course, this little vest is one of a number of handmade birthday presents that I’m still milking for blog posts! ;) (See more about Pipi's birthday here and about her bunny hat here.)

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The pattern for this little vest is  The free woollen vest pattern by Little Kiwis Closet. I’ve previously sewn it before here, it’s such a quick and easy sew and I already have an old woollen blanket cut out ready to make Pipi another one. That one will be her rough kindy one, however I’m a bit more protective of this one with it’s gorgeous Liberty of London fabric!

The lining is a vintage wool (most likely poly) blend with a kind of waffle texture to it. I scored it free along with a bunch of other vintage fabrics from a friend’s grandma a few years back. (Thanks Kirsten’s grandma!) I used kam snaps in place of buttons, which make it reversible too, although I’m reluctant to hide that Liberty fabric, if yannowhatimean?!

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It’s such a beautiful vest for my beautiful girl!

Until next time (aka the next addition to Pipi’s Winter wardrobe!) Seeya later and happy sewing!

Jen x

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

{Sewn} Merino Singlets

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After experiencing a pretty mild Autumn here in the Hawkes Bay (NZ), we have recently been hit with a bit of a cold snap. It’s official, Winter has definitely arrived!

My Mother-in-law had kindly nabbed me this grey merino fabric (along with others) at a Levana sale sometime last year. Right away I knew that it was destined for little singlets/ vests – there’s nothing better as a sewing Mama knowing that you’re making something to keep your little ones safe from the Winter cold and potentially bugs and all those things that come with the cooler weather. (It kind of makes you feel like some kind of Winter battling super hero! ;)

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For a pattern I used the FREE 'tank' pattern by Fish Sticks Designs. I made a size 3 for my little, just turned 3 year old and although they are a little roomy, they fit well enough under layers and should last for next Winter too. Bonus!

I enjoyed putting little pops of colour around the arm and necklines, and something like this is a great way to get good mileage out of your fancy/ favourite/ expensive knit fabrics. The black and white ‘stroke’ fabric is from Elvelyckan design and the pink fabric (with little snowflakes that are hard to see here), is something I got from a fabric destash group on Facebook.

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I still have a bit of this merino left as well as a couple of other colours. When I find the time, I hope to make Noah and Isabelle some to wear under their school uniform, plus a bunch of other merino things.

Happy Sewing all!

Jen x

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Pipi’s Bunny Hat

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As I mentioned in my last post about Pipi's birthday, I made her a few homemade presents this year. One of these handmade gifts was this bunny hat/ rabbit bonnet which I made using this pattern from 'Sewing in No Man's Land'.

Last Winter I made Pipi this matching coat in a nice roomy size, and I was happy that I had saved the scraps of left over fabric when I saw that Kelly from SINML was offering the bonnet pattern for free for a limited time just before Easter this year. Just as I had when making the coat, I used a wool blend fabric in soft pink for the outer and a vintage sheet for the lining.

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I think Pipi looks so cute as a rabbit and the first time she tried it on, on her birthday she let out an almighty “roaaaarrr!” (Obviously she hasn’t spent too much time around pet rabbits!)

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Apologies for the 5 gazillion photos, but this girl is just too cute, how could I resist sharing them?

Pipi is such a busy wee girl, it can be quite difficult getting a good shot. Therefore one has to be creative… resorting to taking photos of her in action, while she’s picking flowers, or bouncing on the trampoline…

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… or fast asleep!!!

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… Us Sewing Mum bloggers we do what we need to do to get a good shot!

I didn’t have the spare time to join in with Kid’s Clothes Week this time around, but I still have a few Winter sewing plans that I hope to get through in the next few weeks. So far our Winter here has been pretty mild, so if the lovely weather could just stick around a little longer (until I manage to get my sew on) that would be great.

Have you been doing any sewing lately?

Jen x

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Pipi Turns 3!

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On the 9th of May, my little baby turned three! OK, OK …so I know technically she’s not a baby anymore, but it honestly only feels like yesterday that this happened! Where have those 3 years gone?!?

To celebrate we had a casual little morning tea on her birthday which fell on a Monday. The kids all just played together whilst the Mum’s caught up over a cuppa and slice of cake. Speaking of cake… I had  a lot of fun trying out a new new cake recipe (and my new cake mixer which I’d gotten with birthday vouchers about a week before.) I made a basic vanilla layered cake in that ‘naked cake’ style with vanilla buttercream and my first attempt at a chocolate ganache drizzle. It’s not perfect (a little wonky) but I was pretty happy with how it turned out. The awesome personalised cake topper is from Love From Seventeen.

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Pipi was orginally wearing the cute little star outfit (as pictured above, left) which was a gift from my Dad and Step Mum, and of course, once she spilt a bit of orange juice on herself, she decided that she now needed to strip down to her birthday suit! Typical Pipi!

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Pipi’s presents from us included more handmade items that previous years and that is something that I’m trying to incorporate into every gift, where time allows. I made her a little hooded vest, 2 pairs of undies and a little rabbit bonnet that matches the coat that I made her last year. Further blog posts to come…

Pipi was also very spoilt with lots of lovely gifts from family and friends, mainly according to the themes of play kitchen or craft, both of which kept her occupied for hours after the party and beyond!

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The other exciting thing that came along with turning 3 was that Pipi got to start Kindy, something that she has been eagerly awaiting for some time now!

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Happiest of birthdays to our sweet Pipi Grace and thank you so much to everyone who helped her day be so special! xx

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Homemade Lego Storage Bag/ Mats

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We are in the midst of school holidays around here and the favourite toy by far is Lego/ Duplo.

I have kind of a love/ hate relationship with the stuff. On one hand, I love that it stimulates both the left and ride sides of their brains, both logic and creativity… and lets be honest, I love that it can lead to hours of independent play time (hello extra sewing time!) BUT…. I don’t like finding bits of Lego E V E R Y W H E R E … and I definitely don’t like accidently standing on a piece! Ouch!

I know this style of storage mat/ bag has been around for a while, usually made by someone’s clever grandma, but recently I’ve seen a bit of a revival of them advertised online, made with really cool fabrics! The cool thing about them as they are both a play mat and a bag all in one – once you’ve finished playing you simply pull the drawstring to turn it into a bag, and you’re done!

I’d intended buying one but I’m a bit of a scrooge and in the end I decided to sew one.  (Which turned into two, one for the older kid’s lego and one for Pipi’s duplo – which still came in cheaper than buying one store bought one!)

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I found a free tutorial here which was really helpful. In the tutorial she suggests measuring around the perimeter of the circle, however I used a bit of 3rd form maths … ‘circumference = pi x diameter’ to work that out. Yay for using high school maths in the real world!

For fabric I found a cool monochrome star wars fabric for Noah and Isabelle’s Lego and a brightly coloured chevron fabric for Pipi’s. Both are reasonably heavy weight drill fabric and for that reason I didn’t bother strengthening with interfacing as suggested. I used a cheap calico for the inside.

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I’m really pleased with how they turned out and the kid’s love them too! (I heard Noah telling Pipi one morning “See it’s a bag and a mat… isn’t Mum clever?” – So that’s a bonus!) We still use our cool Lego storage bricks too, now they house all those ‘special creations’ that the kids don’t quite feel like dismantling yet.

I can definitely see myself making more, and can imagine something making something similar to use as a picnic bag/ mat too.

For those of you also living in NZ with kids, how are your school holidays going? Stood on much Lego recently?

Jen x

Monday, 28 March 2016

The Katie-Pie Play Dress

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I have some exciting news - the Katie-Pie play dress, the latest PDF to be designed by Lydia of Little Kiwis Closet is here! It’s a gorgeous knit dress that while it’s very pretty, as that it’s made out of comfortable knit fabric - is practical for play too!

I made this littel ‘deer dress’ for Pipi during the pattern testing process. I should note that it was made rather early in the process (as I was so eager to get sewing) and Lydia, being the pattern designing professional/ perfectionist that she is,  has since refined the neckband, meaning that if you make a dress with the finished pattern your neckband will sit nicer than mine. (I still like my dress, but isn’t it good to know when buying a pattern that the designer has taken the time to get everything exactly right?)

Based on Pipi’s measurements I chose to sew a size 2 and made the short sleeve option with a plain back (see the side on pic further down, but try to ignore my overgrown lawn!).There are a couple of snaps on one shoulder for ease of dressing, but I believe there is also an option for no snaps. Likewise, this pattern also provides for a long-sleeved option as well as an option whereby the bodice continues around the back as well. It caters for sizes NB – 12 years, so there truly is something for everyone!

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The sew went really well, and came together pretty quickly. As always, Lydia’s instructions were great and I’d say even an adventurous beginner could handle this (PS knits aren’t as scary as people make them out to be, be brave people!) I normally detest gathering (I never seem to get my gathers even), but this time I tried out the gathering by serger method (following this craftsy tutorial) and it worked a treat! I definitely will be doing that again!

I was hoping to make another dress while testing (and I have the perfect fabric too), but a bit of kiddie sickness and general busyness put an end to that for now (the kiddie sickness also put an end to a camping holiday, but that’s another story!) Also, in case you’re wondering why Miss Pip is not super smiley in these photos, that would be because she’d just recovered from hand, foot and mouth only to come down with a tummy bug, poor thing. All things considering, I think she did pretty good!

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So hop along and snag your copy of this versatile little dress. I certainly see myself sewing many more of these bad boys, that’s for sure and I’m sure it’s a pattern you’ll love too*! (Also it’s on sale for a very limited time, so go, go go!)

Jen x

* [disclaimer: that is, if sewing little girls’ dresses is your thing. And don’t worry, Dad I know you’re only here to see photos of your grandbabies and sewing dresses is probably not really your thing.]