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 “raaaaw!” (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…

Pipi rabbit

… 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!

Pipi's first day of KindyPipi's first day o kindy (2)

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

Lego play mats

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.]

Friday, 18 March 2016

The Clementine Dress Sew-a-Long

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How adorable are my girls, right? They really do look so sweet in vintage style clothing, and this was what first drew me to The Clementine Dress by Amelie and Atticus, with it’s dear little peter pan collar and delightful A-line shape.

I was very excited to be selected as a tester of this lovely dress and set about making not one but two of them. Because every sibling needs at least one matchy matchy outfit in their closet.

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The pattern comes in 7 sizes (Newborn, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 & 10). I made petite 5 year old Isabelle a size 4 and 2.5 year old Pipi a size 2 but I added a small bit of length to both, so they will fit them for longer. For the main fabric I used a delicate soft pink baby corduroy that I had in my stash and for the collar and facing I used a lovely vintage floral. Instead of buttons I opted for metal snaps down the back.

The sew went really well, it was nice and simple and I’m very happy with the fit. As the weather gets colder I plan to layer these with tights a merino underneath, and I have plans to sew many, many more! I guess you’re only limited by your imagination, time … and fabric stash (although my stash is rather healthy so that last one isn’t really an issue for me!) A friend just recently gave me some vintage embroidered linens which I can picture being made into a really lovely collar.

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If you want to sew your very own Clementine Dress, then there is no time like the present. Beginning next Monday, the 21st; Thouraya of Amelie and Atticus will each day be sharing a step of the pattern along with mine and the other tester’s creations over on her blog!

So, hop to it! Purchase the pattern from here (if you haven’t already), select your fabric and get ready to join in the fun!

You can also find Amelie and Atticus on Facebook / Pinterest / Twitter and Instagram #theclementinedress

Jen x

The Clementine Dress Sew A Long

Sunday, 13 March 2016

{Sewn} Woman’s Take Flight Dolman Top

After having the sad realisation that I hadn’t managed to sew anything for myself this Summer, I bit the bullet and signed up to pattern test ‘'Women's Take Flight Dolman'’ top -  the latest  PDF pattern designed by Lydia of Little Kiwi’s Closet.

This pattern (XS-5X) has just launched today with the discounted price of USD$7 until Friday 18th March!

If you’re a loyal follower of my blog, or already familiar with Little Kiwi’s Closet, then you might know at least 1 of two things: 1) I’m a long time lover (and sometimes pattern tester) of Lydia’s patterns; and 2) Lydia (of LKC) is already a prolific kid’s PDF pattern designer, but THIS pattern is her first foray into the world of adult patterns. (Personally, I’m hoping that it’s just the start, with more to come!)

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I really love this top! (I hope you’re able to look past my dorky facials and bad posture [pull your shoulder’s back, woman!] to see the beauty in this top too.)

I love the relaxed style and particularly the sleeve/ shoulder detail, that is characteristic of a dolman type top. As well as being comfortable and flattering (in a relaxed kind of way), this style makes for an extremely quick and easy sew, since you don’t have to faff about setting in sleeves or anything.

Lydia’s easy to follow instructions with lot’s of helpful photos make it a breeze too and I think even a beginner sewer (perhaps with just a small bit of experience with knits, or good willingness to learn) could give this a go!

In terms of fabric I used a cotton/rayon/spandex blend for the front (floral) panel – one of my favourite fabrics that I got from Girl Charlee a while back. It’s reasonably thin with good drape and just perfect for this project. Plus I had just enough for the front with only scraps to spare, so it was meant to be! The back and bands (neck, arms and waist) are all made of cotton/ lycra fabric that I purchased from Levana. I chose to do the bound neckline option and to include the waist and arm bands. (There are other neckline options included in the pattern and you can choose to omit the bands on the sleeves and waist if you prefer too, or opt to add long sleeves if you wish.)

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I’m looking forward to sewing this pattern again, I can already tell it’s going to be one of my ‘go to’s’

Make sure you nab it for yourself while it’s still on sale!

Thanks for letting me test, Lydia!

Happy Sewing,

Jenny x

Monday, 29 February 2016

Art Deco Weekend 2016

Every February our region hosts a massive Art Deco Weekend. This year, my kids’ school joined in by having a dress up day. I considered sewing Isabelle an elaborate dress at quite likely great expense and time to me, however in the end I decided to make do with bits and pieces we had around the house. Noah also looked rather dapper, but was not as keen to pose for quite as many photos as Isabelle!

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We went over to Napier on the Friday evening and joined in with some of the festivities. It was fun watching the air show and having dinner, but the parking blocks away and walking with tired children – notsomuch! Next year I’d love to get all glammed up and go out some of the evening events, just me and Andrew – we’ll see!

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All in all, it was a nice weekend and it was a lot of fun dressing up, something I probably enjoy even more than the kids!

Jen x