Monday, 23 February 2015

Snippets of Summer


We enjoyed some great Summer holidays, got away for a fun family camp, have had a few visits from family, and now we’re firmly back in the grasp of the school (and Kindy) routine. In true Jenny style I managed to forgo photographing our holiday, family visits and pretty much anything else really of note, but I did manage to pull my camera out on those quiet / ‘ordinary’ at home moments – moments of sibling love, backyard paddling, a back-to-school-Mum-done hair cut, Lego play, and some special Mother-daughter cookie baking and eating time. I just love those ordinarily extra-ordinary moments with my kids, and my childhood memories consist of many of the same things.

As this blog has grown it’s become more and more of a place to share ‘things I’ve sewn’; but I always love sharing snippets of everyday life with my kids. It’s great to reflect back on my sewing projects and developing skills but I love to use this blog to document the growth of my kids too! So, you can expect more ‘Snippets of the Everyday’ here in 2015.

I just have to remember to wipe off that cookie dough and grab the camera!


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

LKC Fancy Flounce Skirt

Pipi Lace SkirtDSC_0004-002DSC_0002-002DSC_0002-001

OK, true confession time; I’m not normally overly into frills and ruffles. Normally, I’m more of a less is more kinda girl. But I really do have to make an exception for Lydia of Little Kiwi's Closet’s latest triumph in pattern design – the Fancy Flounce Skirt.

I’ve just finished testing this newly launched pattern and despite the fact that it is very fancy and flouncy, it isn’t OTT. It’s perfect. Perfect for a tea party or a good bounce on the tramp, as demonstrated by my very active model!

This pattern ranges from 6-12 months size all the way through to 12 years and looks great on all. I love how the 2 year old size I made for Pipi looks so darling with it’s lace and light pink knit flounces and vintage floral lining; yet on a tween in different fabrics it almost looks like a different skirt, with the cascade of the flounces even more obvious. I really enjoyed seeing some of the other testers photos, everyone did such a great job – click through to the pattern to see what I mean!


As Lydia puts it, this skirt definitely is a ‘labour of love’ – (well mainly just the cutting out and rolling the hems of the flounces); but it is most definitely worth it. I found the construction of it fascinating and unlike anything I’ve made before. So quite enjoyable really. Because of the rolled hems this is a pattern that you do need a serger/ overlocker in order to make it.

Apart from the end result, which I’m just so happy with, probably my other favourite part of the pattern was that I didn’t have to print too many pages off! I LOVE PDF patterns, but one thing I like least about them is printing screeds of paper (grrrr expensive printer ink) and all the taping and cutting of pattern pieces! However with this pattern and making the size 2 I only had to print 4 pages (I don’t print the tutorial out to save paper). Lydia also helpfully includes a little guide near the beginning of the tutorial telling which pattern piece pages you need to print out depending on which size you are doing! So helpful! This might not sound like a big thing, but if you’re experienced with PDF patterns, I know you understand where I’m coming from!

So, yeah I love my little fancy flounce skirt… in fact I would go so far to say that I’m frilled with it (sorry couldn’t help myself!) Make sure you grab your own copy of this pattern while it is on sale! (An already applied 15% discount is available for a limited time!)

Happy Sewing!

Jen x

Monday, 16 February 2015

Flower Boots–a new pattern by Big Little


I’ve recently tested another pattern for Lisa of Big Little. This time it was Lisa’s beautifully cosy Flower boots pattern (available in both Baby and Children-Youth sizes). The size I made was children’s size 8 (for Isabelle) in grey wool with Liberty of London lining. The sole is a black swede and they have elastic around the back of the ankle to stay on little wiggly feet.

The Baby sized pattern includes 5 sizes from 0-3 months through to 12-18+ months and the Children-Youth sized pattern includes 12 (!) sizes; Children's sizes 6-13 and Youth 1-4. Both of these patterns are currently 30% off at the special price of $5 (USD) each for a limited time, so get in quick!

These are a pretty easy sew and as always Lisa does a great job of simplifying each step with her clear instructions. I enjoyed making the flowers especially and have plans to embellish a few other things with them – maybe I’ll make the girls some hair clips, brooches with them. My flowers look a little different than Lisa’s and some of the other testers, I think because I used a very lightweight wool. I still like them, but next time I make this pattern I think I’ll try a thicker wool! Good thing I have a few woollen blankets to recycle!

Thanks Lisa, for producing another quality sewing pattern!

Jen x

Want to read more? Check out the other Big Little patterns I’ve made:

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Meeting Eli

On Tuesday we met Eli, our new nephew and the kids’ new cousin. He is squishy and delicious.


It was so cute seeing the kids interact with him, especially Isabelle who was totally besotted! It made me think about how great it is to have cousins, and remember something Franny of Breastmates said on her Facebook page recently. She had been to China for a work trip and found it very hard to explain the concept of cousins to her hosts. A sad Reality of one child policy. I had never thought about that, and I’m so glad that both I and my kids get to experience the joy of cousins.

You might remember me sharing some photos of Toby & Tash’s (Eli’s parents) wedding a couple of years ago,  here and here; and more recently I blogged about Natasha's baby shower and a quilt I made for wee Eli.

It’s great to now have a baby boy to sew for, anyone have any suggestions or links to share for cute things to make for baby boys?

Jen x

Sunday, 25 January 2015

{Operation Handmade Wardrobe} A Vintage Tea Dress

my summer dress 3Summer dressMy Summer dressSummer dress

I’m pretty sure this is my first make for the year… yup, in fact it is. With plans to sew a few more things for my wardrobe this year (including, but not limited to this list), I thought that it was fitting that I start with something for me.

I originally planned to use this this gorgeous Joel Dewberry Bungalow Rayon Challis fabric for a different dress. But I really love the vintage style and instead decided to make New Look 6262, (my first paper/ non-PDF pattern in quite a while); which I purchased from Pattern Postie. I liked that it was a simple pattern with many different sleeve and neckline variations, and I also liked the versions others had made that I discovered when I did a Google image search of the pattern.

After mulling over a few pre-sewing concerns I had about fit/ cutting the right size, I chose to make the size 12 Misses based on my measurements and I’m pretty happy with how the fit turned out. The front is perfect, I’m so happy with my darts and invisible zipper installation and hot pink binding around the arm holes; but I do have a slight gape at the top of the back neckline, which only became obvious after I’d completed the dress. (It turns out that I should have done a narrow shoulders adjustment.) Ah well, live and learn – and I’m going to try and put some small darts in the back to rectify this (I’m not taking that zip out for anyone!)

I can’t wait to make more of these dresses. Next time I might shorten the torso a touch to make the waist a little higher, and of course I’ll do a narrow back adjustment.



Have you been doing any sewing so far this year? What are your sewing plans? I’d love to know!

Jen x

Thursday, 8 January 2015

2014: A Year of Sewing in Review

2014 sewing

Happy New Year to you all!

I have just been reflecting back on all the sewing I’ve done during 2014. A quick browse through my blog archives over the last year made me almost put me off writing this post – there was just so much sewing! Argghhh the hyperlinks! (Lame blogger joke.)

If 2013 was the year of baby sewing, then 2014 was one of much pattern testing and blog tours for me. (See collage above!)

My first leap into the world of pattern testing was in April, when I made the Lua Sleep Sack, a pattern designed by An of Straight Grain, (this and other Straight Grain patterns can be found here.)

July was a bumper sewing month for me, during which I began pattern testing for my friend and fellow Kiwi, Lydia of Little Kiwis Closet – first with the Street Smart Sweatshirt Collection, then the Hip Hop Harems, and more recently I tested the updated peekaboo pocket vest pattern, making this Bambi inspired version … oh and I also joined in with a few of Lydia’s blog tours; for the Scalloped Princess Dress, Woollen Vest and Playsuit, to be exact. … Plus during that month I wrapped up the Handmade Kid's Clothing Swap which I had hosted (maybe another this year, if there is enough interest?) … aaannd I went pretty hard out at the July Kid's Clothes Week (see below!!)

KCW-wrap-up July

Having become hooked to pattern testing (gosh it makes you get stuff done) I also started testing for another Kiwi designer, Lisa from Big Little Handmade – and so far have tested her Pixie Shorts, Anna Cape and Fleur - 'a handmade doll' patterns. (These and other Big Little Patterns are available here.)

Sewing Fleur was enjoyable for many reasons, but especially because it was something a bit different and taught me new skills. Near the beginning of last year I expressed a desire to make more handmade, meaningful gifts. While I managed a couple, including Fleur and the things below; I’d really love to up my game in this area, this year.

Handmade Gifts

It is quite satisfying being able to (provided you have the time and stash), make a gift, decorate your house (eg: new cushions, recovered furniture, wall hangings, bedding, bunting), and put clothes on yours and your children’s backs.

map wall artcushions

Speaking of clothing one’s self, apart from a pair of jeans, I didn’t buy any new clothing for myself or the kids all year. That is until I was doing some Christmas shopping at Kmart and I shouted myself a cute $12 T-shirt dress, which promptly shrunk to more of a T-shirt on it’s first (cold) wash!

Moral of the story? Generally speaking, if I want nice, good quality clothes that fit me well I either need to pay top dollar, OR make them myself … and I don’t know about you, but (I hope) 2015 is going to be a year of more sewing for meee!

In my head I thought I did a lot more ‘selfish sewing’ in 2014, but in reality, not quite so much. Still, two pairs of shorts some leggings, a dress, a kimono top and a sweatshirt (not pictured), is nothing to sneeze at! And this Summer I’ve basically been living in my handmade clothes (especially those shorts!)


leggingsColette MonetaFloral Kimono[4]

What were your sewing highlights of 2014 and do you have any grand sewing plans for 2015?

Thanks for following along with me on my sewing journey, your encouraging comments and inspiration. I wish you a happy and safe 2015 with perfect machine tension, beautiful fabrics and perfect piles of handmade clothes.

Jen x

a pile of tees