Saturday, 27 September 2014

{Operation Handmade Wardrobe} Tribal Leggings


It’s official! I have finally started dressing myself to match my children. Correction. I have finally started sewing myself clothes to match my children! That’s some next level Mum craziness, right there!

I awoke yesterday to discover that Isabelle had dressed herself in this ensemble, naturally I decided to match her and wore my Liberty Maritime Shorts and my chambray Wiksten tank

Obviously I didn’t think that was quite enough matchy-matchyness, so I decided to draft myself a pair of leggings and thus match Noah's harem pants. (Well my intention wasn’t really to match, I just thought the fabric would make cool leggings, but you know!)

The fabric is a nice and stretchy cotton-lycra knit with good 2 way stretch from Ixat. In my opinion, some lycra content is pretty useful in a pair of leggings … especially when you are inexperienced at pattern drafting and make them possibly a little on the smaller side! Streeeetch! They were a little lower on the waist than I’d hoped so I just added a generous waist band!

I was keen for a bit of quick instant gratification sewing and this is what I got – I think in the future I would take a bit more time drafting them – and possibly follow this tutorial; but all in all I’m pretty happy with the result. Thank goodness knit is very forgiving!

Joining in with Selfish Sewing Week (just!)

What are you sewing at the moment?

Jen x

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

{Operation Handmade Wardrobe} 2x Maritime Shorts (in Liberty and Linen)

liberty shortstan shortstan shorts back viewLiberty shorts 2 What kind of madness is this? Two sewing blog posts in two days!?!? After a week or two of silence! I know!

Yesterday I enjoyed sharing the Pixie Shorts that I’d made for my girls so much that I couldn’t wait to show you a couple of pairs of shorts that I made for meeee! (You might remember these being included in my list of sewing plans.)

The pattern is Maritime Shorts from Grainline Studio which I’d won as a spot prize during last years Selfish Sewing Week. (Also, SSW Fall 2014 begins soon – 22 September…. Are you going to join in? I might … oh that’s next week! Eeek!)


I really enjoyed sewing this pattern. I used to shy away from zips and buttons, but now I’m embracing the whole learning/ improving new skills thing. I’d sewn an invisable zip twice before, and one zip on a top for Noah but this was my first go at front fly.

I sewed the tan pair a few weeks ago (the fabric is a tan and cream linen cotton from Miss Matatabi – and it’s REVERSIBLE!!!  More on that later!) For this pair the sew went really well and I found it really useful to follow along with this tutorial (I think I just prefer photos than illustrations?) The sizing is in US sizes and based on the measurements I made a size 4. As I was finishing them I was a little worried about the fit, how they might fit around the hips/ butt or whether they might be too short. But they are just perfect on me! I’m so happy with them.

For the second pair I used this gorgeous Liberty of London Twill. You might recognise this print from Isabelle's peasant top – except of course the fabric from her top is a much more lightweight cotton lawn. I was having difficulty finding ‘bottom weight’ (heavier fabric) that this pattern called for and then I discovered that I could get Liberty in a twill. Knowing that I already loved that print I bought it and decided we could be twins!

You’d think having already sewn one pair the next pair would be easy peasy – well they would have been if I hadn’t got over confident and sewed in the zip UPSIDE DOWN! Fortunately I realised in time before it was two late, and after spending some quality time with my quick unpick/ seam ripper, crisis was narrowly averted!


Above: Camouflaged back pockets; Below: A finally completed fly!


It seems to be all the rage these days to show the insides of your handmade garments. I guess this has something to do with the idea that as your sewing skills improve so does the neatness of your finishing and the insides? At any event here mine are in all their glory – I’m pretty happy with how they look inside and out. The reversible tan and cream linen is fun with the checks on the inside. You might have noticed that I also used that as a feature on the back pockets.


So yeah, I made some shorts, they fit and I like ‘em … and I’ll leave you with this pic of my gorgeous baby and a cute story:

Pipi has recently started saying ‘hhhhot! hot!” while pointing to the oven and fire. Last week when I was pinning the pattern pieces to the fabric, she went straight to grab the colourful pins (could they make these things look any more fun looking for kids?!?) Anyway, I said “No Pipi – sssharp! Sharp! Owwee!” So now Pipi points at pins and says “hhhhot! hot!” too! Such a cutie!


What are sewing at the moment? What’s in your sewing to do list?


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Big Little Pixie Shorts


Today I'm proudly joining in with the Pixie Pants/Shorts blog hop celebrating the release of 2 new exciting patterns by Lisa of Big Little.

I was so excited when I heard that Lisa from Big Little had put the call out for pattern testers – I’ve long been a fan of Lisa’s blog and beautiful design aesthetic. So I eagerly put my hand up and said “Pick me, pick me!”

And lucky for me Lisa did and I was given the opportunity to test these Pixie Shorts. The shorts are a delightful bubble/ bloomer style, they have optional pockets and the pattern ranges from teeny-tiny newborn size to 10 years!

For Isabelle's I sewed a size 4 years from spotty chambray fabric with contrasting floral pockets. For Pipi I made size 2 in a mustard yellow corduroy with a couple of buttons on the waistband for show. I love both pairs and am especially happy that Pipi's pair fit over her big cloth nappy so well!

Lisa's pattern is great with good instructions and pictures and the sew is pretty quick and simple.

(Lisa has also designed this Pixie Pants pattern which a slightly longer style and equally as cute; and something I can't wait to try.)

Great news! Lisa is offering 15% of the Pixie Pants Pattern here and the Pixie Shorts pattern here for the duration of the blog tour. All you need is the coupon code PIXIEPANTS15, valid until Tuesday 23 September.
Be sure to check back in on the Big Little blog on Tuesday for a giveaway too!

Mon 15 Lisa @ Big Little
Tues 16 Leanne @ Paper Moon
Wed 17 Jenny @ Mend & Make New
Thurs 18 Leonie @ Sunshine x 3
Fri 19 Aimee @ Small Steps Big Noises
Mon 22 Orsolya @ Borsoo
Tues 23 Viki - posted by Big Little and a GIVEAWAY!

Thanks so much Lisa for creating such a great pattern and for giving me the opportunity to test it!

Jenny x

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

{Operation Handmade Wardrobe} Thoughts, Plans & Inspiration

This blog post is kind of a two birds with one stone thing – It’s part 2 of my last blog post  listing my favourite kid's sewing patterns (except this of course is for Women’s sewing) and also it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – to get all my (so called) ‘selfish’ sewing plans down on ‘paper’ – so to speak.

I have 2 Pinterest boards that I stash my selfish sewing plans to - My style/ fashion board; and Sewing for MEEE. The first used to be images of clothes/ styles I wanted to buy – but as my sewing skills have increased it’s just turned into another sewing inspiration board.

So, anyway here are few of my sewing plans/ inspirations (mainly for Summer sewing):

1) Shorts

I love me some shorts and I find that a slightly dressy and mid thigh length seems to suit me best. (Actually I like pretty much all clothes that can best dressed up or down).

Last year I made these sweet scalloped shorts in cream linen – the pattern is here from Pattern Runway. I wore them heaps last Summer, but it I made them using my I’ve just had a baby measurements and are little more on the larger size now (although still wearable – just less high waisted). So I thought it would be nice to make more shorts for this Summer.

Keen to try out a new pattern, I recently gave the Maritime Shorts from Grainline Studio a whirl – I’d won this PDF pattern as a spot prize during last year’s Selfish Sewing Week (when I sewed the scalloped shorts, ironically!)

For my first pair I used some of the tan and cream linen cotton fabric pictured below right. (It’s double sided/ reversible spot and checks and is from Miss Matatabi).

maritime shortsgrey linen

I’m really happy with the result (which I  will hopefully share with you soon), so I decided to plan a second pair. It’s no secret that I love Liberty of London fabric so I’ve bought some of this Liberty twill (the same design – yet a much heavier weight fabric than what I used on this outfit of Isabelle's). After purchasing it I searched google images for ‘Liberty Shorts’ and discovered the pic below in the right (image source). It turns out American Clothing Company JCrew make shorts like this – I hope mine turn out half as good!

Liberty Twillecf149031711b7a967b8044f6b8c0178

I’d also love to make tap shorts at some point – maybe a pair in either lace or linen? But I think I should use the patterns I already own first.

Speaking of which, ages ago I won this playsuit pattern by Salme Patterns some time ago (a shorts on the line sewalong, a couple of years I think). Yes, I know – I have good pattern winning skills/luck … and I’ve been meaning to make it ever since!

This sort of style is not something I’ve worn much before, but I think it’s cute and I reckon I could brave enough to pull it off. (First two inspiration pics from here; last pic from here.)

salme playsuitromper


2) Summer Tops

tank4Nani Iro

I also to make at least one more Wiksten tank – they are so easy to make and I like the fit. I have the above Nani Iro fabric in my stash (also from Miss Matatabi which is likely going to turn into one of these tops!)

It would also be quite fun to try the FREE Colette Sorbetto pattern – and maybe make another kimono (here's the first one I made using this free tutorial) and see below for an inspiration image (image source)


I wouldn’t mind a dress like that either!

3) Dresses

Speaking of dresses the main thing on my dress to sew list is The Clover Dress – a collaboration between Papercut Patterns and Brooke Tyson. I plan to make this in This gorgeous Joel Dewberry Bungalow Rayon Challis fabric.

clover dressRayon Challis

Also, I’d really love to make the papercut anima pants.

4) Warmer tops

Cali Faye pullover


I’ve been planning making the Cali Faye Perri Pullover, the Parisian Top and the Julia cardigan for a while. I own the first 2 patterns, but not the Julia cardigan yet.

… Well that’s pretty much it. I could add more but ya know, this blog post has to end somewhere!

Make sure you check out more patterns from the designers I’ve featured here they all have heaps of other awesome designs.

Have you got any selfish sewing plans? Or any other patterns you want to share with me?

Jen x

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Some of my favourite kid’s sewing patterns (and some I’d like to try!)

Recently Sophie put out a call for everyone's favourite sewing patterns both on her blog and facebook page.

I’d been planning on doing a post detailing my favourite kid’s patterns during the whole Handmade Kid's Clothing Swap madness but I have sooo many favourite patterns and the thought of linking to all them stressed me out a tad, but I’m in the mood now, and Sophie’s put the call out so here I go! (I warn you, this post is gonna be loooonng!)

I am rather a fan of the PDF pattern thing – the printing and taping them together not so much, but the accessibility and instant downloading – yes please!

There are a few things I look for when buying a pattern – style, versatility and ease/ skill level required.

Style is an obvious one really – I mean you’re not going to buy a pattern if you don’t like the style/ look it produces! Duh! Sometimes the clincher for me when buying a PDF pattern is doing a google search of the pattern name – have other people made awesome things using it? Have I got fabric/ can I easily get fabric that would work and look awesome for this pattern?

Versatility is a pretty big factor for me when buying a pattern. What is the size range of this pattern/ what variations can I make/ is it unisex? (In other words, is it good value for money?)

When thinking of versatility I immediately think of The Street Smart Sweatshirt Collection by Lydia of Little Kiwis Closet. Lydia is a friend so of course I’d say nice things, but I truly love this pattern. It is unisex, can be made with a hood or not, other embellishments such as a kangaroo pocket (or whatever your imagination decrees) and a dress or high low hem version can be made. And the size range is an amazing NB- 12 years!!! (Heck, I even made myself one by extending the 12 year old pattern a bit!)


This versatility (and great instructions) are kind of a trademark of all LKC patterns. I really love the Scalloped Princess Dress too which despite being a bit more work is super versatile and will definitely be my standby “Mum, make me a frozen/tangled/snow white etc… Princess dress”

In terms of versatility Go to Patterns also tick the boxes for me (please be warned that that is an affiliate link so if you purchase using that link I will gain some more pattern/fabric money! You have been warned!)

Go To Patterns Screenshot

 Go to Patterns is a curated online modern sewing pattern store which was started by Andrea Pannell (the designer behind the Go To Patterns brand); but also includes other amazing designers too. I have and love the Go To Signature Dress a little knit dress which can be sewn SO many different ways! And I also own a lot of the Blank Slate Patterns which I find great for the sometimes elusive boy’s patterns. I particularly love the blank tank and basic's blazer. I also would love to try some of the designer’s on that site’s patterns – most particularly See Kate Sew and Figgy's because I really love their design aesthetic!

SeeKateSew screenshotFiggys Screenshot

The Go to Patterns site is also really great to navigate – you can search by pattern type or season; as well as by designer, skill level or size. … And they often have great bundle deals and sales … speaking of sales there is one on now use coupon code “LABORDAY” (US spelling ;) ) to get 20% off your order of $10 or more.

Another pattern designer who I really love is Elegance and Elephants (Another affiliate link). If you followed my KCW sewing you will have also seen me thrash The Bubble Pocket Shorts Pattern (see my versions below), but I’d also love to try the Bohemian Babydoll and the Spring Showers Jacket.


I know this post is super long! But I couldn’t not include writing a little something about Straightgrain. I have long been in love with An’s style and colour choices and I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for her Lua Sleep Sac pattern and I’ve made a bubble skirt using her FREE Bubble Skirt pattern and tutorial; but I’d also to The Bubble Dress and The Hanami Top/ Dress.

This brings me to my last thing I look for when buying patterns – ease/ skill level.

Obviously you want to buy a pattern you think you can successfully make – BUT at the same time I think it’s great to challenge yourself too! Please don’t be scared of knit fabric, zips and buttons! These things are NOT AS SCARY as you think – and there are heaps of online tutorials and even youtube clips to guide you through such things. Having said that, if you are a complete beginner I think it’s best to perhaps try out a few free tutorials before buying a pattern. There are a heap of free peasant tops and dresses online which are a great place to start, as well as a simple skirt and I love these free shorts patterns: The Sunny Day Shorts pattern from Oliver & S and the Sycamore Shorts pattern. Of course, I also think you should try out Little Kiwi's Closet FREE woollen vest pattern!

For knits – perhaps try Go To Sew's  Free Leggings Pattern – leggings are a great place for a newbie knit sewer to start!

I really love sewing with knits and plan to post something here in the near future with helpful hints and other good patterns to start on – but I think the biggest hint is not to be scared and just to dive in on something like these leggings!

Phew! I think I’ll have to wrap things up now! I’ll probably be back at some stage with a post on my favourite Women’s patterns and general selfish sewing inspiration! But I think that’s enough from me for now!

I hope that’s answered your question, Sophie?

…And now, I want to buy a whole lot more patterns – thanks for that ;)

What’s your favourite kid’s pattern of the moment – post a link below

Jen x

Friday, 29 August 2014

{My Handmade Wardrobe} Sweatshirt with Lace Shoulder Panels

First of all, apologies for the unscheduled blogging break. After sewing and blogging up a storm during the last Kid's Clothing Week, truth be told I felt like I needed a bit of a breather. Also we had a bit of sickness and other busyness that comes with Wintertime, running a family and life in general. I haven’t really taken that much of a break from sewing (just from blogging) and I still need to spend time tidying my sewing space; BUT I’ve been focusing a bit of my sewing time on ME which is a nice change.

Recently, I made myself a pair of shorts, which I haven’t had a chance to photograph properly yet (bring on Spring and Summer) … but if you follow me on Instagram (@mendandmakenew) you may have seen a couple of sneak peeks.

And then last night I made myself this sweatshirt!


I’m really happy with how this top turned out, particularly given the fact that I used a kid’s pattern! Yes! The pattern I used was the Streetsmart Sweatshirt Collection  from Little Kiwi’s Closet, which I was lucky enough to pattern test early last month. I clearly LOVE this pattern because counting the 4 versions I made when testing, 3 I made during KCW and this one now I have made this pattern 8 times in the space of a couple of months and all versions have been quite different than each other!!! … And I haven’t even tried the high low hem or other variations yet!

I’ve been dreaming of a top like this ever since I made Isabelle’s lace front one (below) but I didn’t quite have enough of the lace (from a thrifted top) to do a whole front – hence the shoulder panels. The grey sweat-shirting fabric was also thrifted so this top was as cheap as chips. (Bonus!)

I used the size 12 years kid’s pattern as a starting point (this pattern goes from size NB- 12years and is unisex – super versatile, right?) I altered it slightly by adding 2.5cm on the fold line on both the back and front pieces (thus adding 5cm to each of those pieces width) and I also added 5cm extra to the bottom of all pieces including the sleeves. I also added a further 5cm to the length of the neckline ribbing to allow for the increased width. (I’m a size NZ women’s 8-10 normally, in case you wondered.) It was kind of a fluke that the size turned ok, and when I asked Isabelle if making a size 12 was a good idea she said “No Mum, I think you need a size hundred” (the biggest size she can imagine) – well, gee thanks, Sweetie!


Now I can’t wait to make a whole bunch more … along with a whole of other things!

(I have a selfish sewing plans and inspiration post half started in my drafts folder – so hopefully I publish that before everything is already made! It seems I can sew faster than I can blog these days!)

What have you sewed lately!