Tuesday, 16 August 2016

{Sewn} Isabelle’s Ballet Cross-Over Top (and ballet bag)


Isabelle recently started ballet lessons, something I, myself enjoyed as a child from ages 4-13. Naturally, this is something that I’m pretty excited about - my little girl is a ballerina!

Also, I was rather excited as to the prospect of more sewing. After all, we can’t have my little ballerina getting cold after her lesson can we? Armed with gorgeous blush pink merino that I already had in my stash (a generous gift from my husband last year from The Fabric Store, that I already used to make these toasty PJs), I was amped and ready to make a ballet cross-over top … apart from the fact that I didn’t have a pattern.

I searched online and found 2 PDF patterns, one had a hood (not what I was after) and the other was a faux cross-over that your had to pull over your head. What is the point of a faux cross-over??? The whole point of a cross-over is so the precious ballerina does not have to mess up her immaculate ballet bun, getting on or off her top over her head, thus the cross-over! So of course that would not do! So back to the drawing board – literally! Instead of buying a new pattern I decided to use my favourite tee pattern - 4 seasons tank & tee as a base and modify it to have the cross over front, different binding and ties. I made a size 6 for my little 5 year old, hoping to make it last for next year too, but I shortened it a bit in keeping with the look I wanted.

It was a bit of gamble (especially using that lovely merino, and no muslin), but I’m so glad it paid off!


I also made Isabelle a simple draw-string ballet bag, just like my Mama made for me when I was a little girl. All up, both the bag and the top took about 2 hours sewing time, plus about another 30 mins of me faffing about modifying the pattern.


With all this thinking about ballet, I decided to dig up some of my old ballet photos – see below. Usually when I look Isy I see her Father, but when I look these photos me, and then her … I see a little similarity, don’t you think?


Have you got any sewing projects on the go at the moment?

I’m still chipping away at this in the background, but am also hoping to get a start on some Summer sewing, and a few baby gifts.

Happy Sewing!

Jen x

Thursday, 30 June 2016

A New Project: Noah’s Lightning Bolt Quilt


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!


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.)


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?!


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


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! ;)


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.


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


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.

bunny hat

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!)


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!!!


… 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!


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.


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!


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!


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


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!)

Lego mat 3

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.

Pipi Duplo matPipi's duplo mat 3

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