Thursday, 23 February 2017

{Sewn} Isabelle’s Art Deco Dress

Here in the beautiful Hawke’s Bay of New Zealand we celebrate an annual ‘Art Deco’ festival. This festival commemorating the 1931 Napier Earthquake in which 256 people lost their lives, and many of the damaged buildings were rebuilt in accordance with the distinctive ‘Art Deco’ style of the time – thus giving Napier a real Deco flavour that still lives on today.

The festival is a pretty big event in our community with a lot of people travelling to attend and many people dressing up. Our kids’ school does a dress up day too, and when I spotted this fabric in my local fabric store (Spotlight) I decided to sew Isabelle a dress!

Art Deco Isabelle

At some point during this blog post I had planned to make a hilarious joke about how I’d painstakingly stitched every sequin on, but unfortunately I’ve already revealed that I bought it like this from Spotlight, so that joke won’t fly! In fact, the whole sewing process was rather pain free – I just used my old staple, the Blank Tank pattern from Melly Sews, with a few modifications – the obviously one being that I lengthened it to be a dress and I also lined it with a soft grey marle cotton/lycra knit blend (because the back of the sequin fabric would have been a little itchy if left exposed against the skin.) Because I was sewing with sequined fabric (my first time), I used special needles called ‘sharps’ as recommended by my fabric store and a small zig zag stitch due to the stretchiness of the fabric.

The only trouble I encountered during the sew was trying to get my mind about how to line it and still be able to turn it in the right way. As the original pattern isn’t lined I had to work it out for myself and in the end I put the call out for advice in a couple of facebook sewing groups I belong to. From there the ‘Burrito roll method’ was suggested (as demonstrated by this video) , but in the end I followed this method which gave the same end result. (All in all it was a very quick sew and I probably spent more time trying to get my head around this issue rather than anything else.)

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Honestly, how gorgeous is this girl!? She shines with or with out sequins!

To complete the look, Isabelle and Pipi both made the flapper style headbands (with some assistance from me.) We just used stretchy black lace that I already had in my stash and tied it at the back and the girls attached the feathers and plastic jewels with the hot glue gun. They are big fans of the glue gun!

I would have got some photos of them making them, but I was too busy supervising two eager girls dealing with hot glue, so that didn’t happen!

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Pipi, never one to be left out, decided she needed some photos as well – she’s not in full costume, but you get the picture… and I think these pics reflect her personality rather well!

Pipi Grace

No words!

I’ve been on a bit of a sewing kick recently, with heaps of things I want to sew (once I finish custom orders of course – nearly there!) … and also with a couple of unblogged projects/ works in progress that I hope to share with you soon!

Do you have any projects on the go/ in the pipeline?

Jen x

Saturday, 28 January 2017

{Sewn} Gingham Ruffle Dress

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On New Year’s Day, on a whim, I sewed myself a dress! Spotlight was having a sale and I needed to get some fabric for something else anyway, so I grabbed this super cheap gingham at the same time and away I went!

To be honest, it wasn’t completely on a whim as I’d the basic idea in my head for a while – essentially a lightweight sack cinched in above my growing baby bump with a tie and a cute elasticated ruffle neckline that could be either be worn trendily off the shoulder, or not (as I prefer especially with these maternity bra straps to hide!) ;)

It was super quick and easy to sew, I didn’t follow a pattern but had a top of a similar style which I loosely followed, of course lengthening it a bit and adding a bit of width to accommodate my ever increasing girth! Hemming and making the elastic casing was super easy too because I could just cut out and follow the line of the stripes which kept it nice and even with little need for a measuring tape. I bound the arm holes.

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It’s a lovely comfortable dress to wear and nice and light and breezy, perfect for some of hot days we’ve been experiencing and it fits my currently 29 week bump rather well (with room to grow).

I have worn it a number of times since making it almost a month ago, but have only just managed to get some photos now. Unfortunately, most of the photos I got the ‘Instagram husband’ to take didn’t turn out so well, they were overexposed and washed me out! Honestly, I’m not that pale at the moment, I just got a little bit of a tan – although I do have a prescription for iron tablets that I need to fill! It’s really saying something when a mannequin is more photogenic with you!

It’s a good thing that beautiful Isabelle decided to crash my “photoshoot” with her dazzling albeit food covered smile!

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Next on the sewing agenda, I have a couple of custom orders to get through and then hopefully, a little bit of sewing for this new baby!

What are you sewing at the moment?

Jen x

Monday, 2 January 2017

Handmade Christmas: Personalised ‘Guess Who’ Game

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This year for Christmas we did ‘Secret Santa’ for Andrew’s very large family (he is one of 7 siblings). As you can imagine that buying for everyone can prove rather expensive, so the secret santa idea where you buy for just one person/ family is perfect. We were allocated Andrew’s brother Toby, his wife Tash and their two kids and I wanted to think of something a bit unique and personal to give.

I saw this personalised Guess Who idea online somewhere earlier in the year (I think originally on Instagram?) … and thought it was just perfect – especially with a big family, I knew that we’d have no trouble whatsoever in getting enough faces! In fact we had too many faces! In just the immediate extended family (Andrew’s parents, their kids, their wives/ husbands and kids) we have 25 people (… and counting… 3 of us sister-in-laws are currently pregnant too!) So I just left myself off to make the 24 places required.

Getting the photos was pretty easy (mainly thanks to Facebook!) As it turns out sourcing the old school Guess Who board game to use as a base was probably the hardest part (well, that and the fiddly task of sticking the little photos in their little plastic frames.) I didn’t have much luck at op shops and I seemed to be up against a bit of competition on trademe (maybe other people had the same idea as me) and it seems that in recent times the game has been a bit modernised making the original game a little rare. But eventually I was able to get one off trademe and we went from there.

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I found a couple of tutorials on Pinterest, including this one that included templates that you could use in Photoshop. I was considering using this because the hubs is a photoshop whizz, but ended up taking the simpler route of just measuring the size of the original cards, re-sizing photos to this size, adding names printing them out, attaching them to coloured card for the back and laminating them.

We also had a bit of fun subtlely personalising the box too. Can you spot the new faces and words (below)?

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All in all it was a bit of fun to make, and I hope it proves a bit of fun to play too!

Did you make any of your Christmas presents this year?

Jen x

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Festive Things

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Christmas day fun!

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Handmade Christmas gifts for the teachers. (Featuring this Angel printable from Caravan Shoppe and homemade gingerbread.)

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Soaking up the boxing day sunshine at Waimarama

Christmas day this year for us was a pretty subdued affair. In the aftermath of a busy last few months with kids’ birthdays and school and other break ups; a quiet celebration was just what we needed. We’d also just returned from a brief trip to Wellington for my brother’s 30th, so we’d managed to catch up with family members pre-Christmas anyway.

On Christmas day we unwrapped gifts, went to church and had a simple yet delicious lunch at home with roast lamb, new potatoes and lots of Summer fruit and sweet treats. We spent the next day, Boxing day, at one of our local beaches Waimarama, testing out the girls’ new saltwater sandals and building sandcastles, and have spent the last few days in the same relaxed manner, catching up with family and friends and with me stealing a few moments to sew!

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Wishing all of you a very blessed 2017 and wonderful holiday season!

Jenny (and family) xx

Friday, 23 December 2016

My year in Sewing {2016}

Yes, yes I know today is Christmas Eve, not New Years Eve… but I’m feeling a bit nostalgic and with a little free time to spare, being on holiday mode and all … so I’ve decided to post my annual sewing round-up now – hope that’s ok with you?!

2016 for me, definitely has been the year of less blogging and perhaps less sewing (although there are about 25 gazillion pairs of undies and a whole bunch of market sewing that would testify otherwise), but definitely less blogged projects than previous years – heck, in other years I’ve struggled to decide which of my numerous projects to choose for a couple of 9 square grids, whilst this time, I’ve struggled to fill them!

2016 in sewing (1)

Left to Right: (Top row:) Take Flight Dolman Top, The Clementine Dress (Middle row): Katie-pie Play Dress, Homemade Lego Storage Bag/Mats (Bottom row): Pipi's Bunny Hat, Pipi's Liberty Vest, Merino Singlets.

2016 in sewing (2)

(Top row): Noah's Lightning Bolt Quilt (still a work in progress), Isabelle's Ballet Cross Over Top and Ballet Bag, Wayfearer Shoes (Middle row): Isabelle's Solis Dress, Wild Things Bunny Shoes and Swan Pixie Shorts (Bottom row): A couple of unblogged projects, including far left a cushion cover collab between Noah and me and also (centre and right) Isabelle’s Ruemi Raglan (I tested this pattern for Little Kiwis Closet).

So that’s that! Not so much sewing for Noah or myself this year, but I’ve definitely put a few hours into that quilt of his, with plenty more to come! I have a few things I want to make for myself, perhaps a few maternity things and things for after – we’ll see.

Despite the significantly fewer items sewn this year, my passion for sewing still hasn’t waned! I’ve just found myself busy with family life, the admin work I do for my husband and the exhaustion of early pregnancy (which I’m glad to say has now passed!) And I also really tried to pick quality and need over quantity this year.

I plan to enter 2017 armed with beautiful fabric and lots of ideas (including a bit of new baby sewing) – So watch this space!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, one and all!

Happy Sewing,

Jen x

Want to read more? Here's the link to my 2015 year in sewing round-up!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Noah’s 8th Birthday!

I can’t quite believe that my firstborn is now eight! Noah celebrated his birthday on the 13th of December and I’ve just been reminded by my Dad that this blog is how he keeps up with our happenings, so I thought I better post about it before Christmas is upon us!

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We had a simple party for Noah on the Friday night before his ‘actual’ birthday with a few of his school friends. It’s such a busy time of year, so we kept it pretty low key with pizza, a DVD and DIY ice cream sundaes. I had a bit of a cake disaster, in that I’d intended for it to be 2 layers but hadn’t quite let them cool properly resulting in the destruction of the top layer… good thing the bottom was unscathed though, so it wasn’t a complete disaster! It still turned out pretty yummy, if not a little rustic! And Noah didn’t care!

The gift we gave Noah was a big Star Wars Lego set, perfect for our star wars and Lego loving guy! He spent most of the next day building it, with only a little help from me…. and that was only because I really wanted to help. (I guess as an adult you forget how much fun Lego building can be!)

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Happy birthday Mr Noah, we love you so!

Mum / Jenny xx

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Lately… Isabelle turns 6 and other things…

Somehow another year has flown by and my (not so) little girl, my middle child, Isabelle is now SIX!

I mean, how has it been a whole year since her beauty & the beast/ Belle party!? Because I’d thrown her that big party last year, and because this time of year is always a busy time, I hadn’t originally planned to do a party for her this year, however somehow managed to wrangle one anyway!

We kept it pretty simple, 6 little friends, no theme this time, a basic cake and  DIY decorate your own waffles (because our waffle iron is still a bit of a novelty ‘round here.) It was a super hot day and we all had a lot of fun!

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You might be able to guess from that last photo what the ‘other things’ mentioned in the post title is…. yes, we are having baby number 4! I’m now 20 weeks along with baby due April next year. We are all very excited – especially the kids!

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This little baby seems to be a very wiggly one! We had made the decision to find out gender this time (Pipi was a suprise but we found out with the oldest too), only to have our plans foiled by an unco-operative fetus! So, for now at least, the mystery remains!

I did however, manage to get the 3 babes on the outside to stay still and look at the camera for the announcement photo above (no mean feat!) So I call that a win!

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… It did take a couple of shots though! ^

So that’s what’s new around here! I’m still sewing away and will probably back here soon enough to blog about another project, or Noah’s 8th birthday in a couple of weeks!

What is happening in your neck of the woods? Doing any Christmas crafting?

Jen x