Monday, 20 October 2014

KCW October 2014: Day 1 {Simple Liberty Tunic}

The sudden realisation that Kid's Clothes Week started yesterday resulted in the making of this simple little peasant tunic/dress.

This little dress has been on my sewing ‘to do’ for a while. It was the reason I bought the beautiful Liberty of London fabric (inspired in part by the lovely yet simple floral tops and tunics that the gorgeous Poet often wears.)

I could have added pockets, cinched the waist or added other details; but I preferred to keep it simple and flowy – letting the beautiful fabric take centre stage and I only added the trim at the bottom to give it extra length, on the the hope that Isabelle can wear it in the Winter too, with tights and merino underneath.


I took the photos this morning and the overcast day we are experiencing just do not do the fabric justice, it is so much nicer in real life! But I guess you’ll have to take my word for it!

KCW Oct2014 day1(7)KCW Oct2014 day1(5)KCW Oct2014 day1(6)

The pattern I used was once again this free pattern and tutorial, and once again I made the 4/6 size, but I narrowed it slightly.

I can’t promise that I’ll make quite as much as I did last KCW, but I have got a couple of things planned, so we’ll see…

Are you joining in?

Jen x

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A kiddie catch-up


The tagline of this blog currently reads: “Collector of Small Children & Fine Fabric”, but you would be forgiven in thinking it’s only the fabric I’m hoarding because the children haven’t featured on here that much recently. (And yes, I have well and truly fallen off the portrait project bandwagon. Ah well, I did a year and a half!)

Actually not much has featured on here recently – I haven’t blogged in almost month! *gasp*

Not to worry! I’m still collecting adorable small children and the hoarding of fabric hasn’t subsided! I’ve just been spending so much time with these small people that I haven’t had a chance to blog! (And I can assure that there are heaps of things getting sewn in the background that I haven’t had a chance to share here yet!)

I’m resolved to never be one of those Mums who hates the school holidays – and we’ve just emerged from 2 weeks of them and we had a blast! I’m also proud to say that apart from one rainy day where we watched a DVD I didn’t turn on cartoons for them once – we were just too busy! There was one day where which we spent playing board games, doing paper craft and baking that ended with Noah saying “this was my favourite day ever!” that just melted my heart! It was my attempt at free fun on a rainy day and he reminded me that time is more important than anything.

Speaking of the weather, I’m glad to report that we’re enjoying some lovely Spring days and I’m really enjoying getting outside a bit more and especially enjoying meals outdoors. Most of these photos were taken a couple of weeks ago (I haven’t been picking up my DSLR quite as much lately either); and we definitely don’t need the extra layers of clothing most days now.

Noah and Isabelle enjoyed a couple of days away from us last week, staying down with their grandparents in Otaki. We went to collect them at the end of last week, stayed a couple of nights ourselves and enjoyed a nice morning at the beach… I took a few photos on my phone – including Isabelle being buried alive and Noah doing sand angels.


So I hope for those of you getting Noah, Isy and Pipi withdrawls this post has helped with that somewhat?? (I’m looking at YOU- Holly, Mum, Dad and other out of town family members!)

Noah is still being thoughtful and sweet and still gets tired and hangry after a long day at school.

Isabelle’s still my little fire cracker – fiery and full of life and she fizzle out suddenly (and YES she did fall asleep in her doll’s cot in that top photo – I think I need an entire blog post dedicated to Isabelle’s funny sleeping positions/ habits!)

Pipi is growing in leaps and bounds and is shedding her baby-ness quickly. She daily has new words like ‘tank-too’ (thank you); a very whispered ‘hhhhot’ in exactly the same tone I use when pointing at the fire/ oven or other hot thing; she came out with ‘cu-cumber’ which shocked me the other day, and she started calling Nana’s cat ‘gentle’ because that’s what I said when she was patting it!

So that’s that really. I can’t wait to share some of the sewing stuff I’ve been doing to – but that will have to wait for another day!

Jen x

P.S. What funny/ cute things are your kids doing/saying at the mo? My kids crack me up pretty much on a daily basis!

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