Friday, 9 October 2015

Isabelle Sews

Over the last 2 weeks it’s been the school holidays here in New Zealand. This time they’ve flown past because we’ve been quite busy. The kid’s firstly had three nights away with my Mum and Step-Dad (and we had 3 kid free days!)… And then they returned for a couple of days and then we all headed down to visit Andrew’s parents for the first half of this week.

Before we’d laid down our holiday plans, and possibly in anticipation of more down time at home and occasional restless/ bored children; I planned a few activities to do with the kids. I haven’t needed to draw upon many of these ideas because we’ve been quite busy, but I did manage to carve a couple of hours last Saturday to do one of them. I helped Isabelle sew a simple skirt.


Isabelle was very excited about the whole idea and couldn’t wait to get started. She said she wanted something colourful, so jointly we decided that this little scrap beautiful floral fabric which from Miss Matatabi order fit the bill. (Isabelle was quite excited that the fabric came all the way from Japan… or “Pa-jan” as she put it!)

I wanted to loosely follow the Oliver & S Lazy Day's Skirt Tutorial, which I’ve committed to memory having made so many myself when a beginner sewer. I choose a simple skirt like this as Isabelle’s first project because of just that, it’s so simple – perfect for a beginner. Essentially you just need a rectangle of fabric that runs selvage to selvage, you sew a simple elastic waist and finish the hem with a ribbon in a really easy way that gives a nice neat finish. Although our piece of fabric ran selvage to selvage I was concerned that I didn’t quite have enough length and that the skirt would be a little short, or that she’d grow out of it too quickly. To counteract this I departed from the tutorial slightly adding a bias binding waist (and thus avoided loosing any length by folding over the fabric to make an elastic casing.) This part I did myself, being a little more fiddly; but Isabelle did the rest with my machine on her little table so her foot could reach the pedal and my hands there helping guide the fabric through the machine and straighten up if necessary.

She loved the process and the result and has hardly taken the skirt off since!

While we were away in Otaki at the in-laws this week, my Mother-in-law, while I slept in helped both Noah and Isabelle sew soft toy fish. I’ll have to share a photo of these and other moments from the school holidays here soon.

Have you taught your kids to sew? What other sewing projects are fun for kids to try?

Jenny x

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Medieval Day: A Homemade Knight’s Costume


The week before last Noah had a medieval day at his school. The kids in the junior school were encouraged to come dressed as knights, peasants, crusaders, kings and noblewoman or anything else that they could think of that fitted within the medieval theme. Noah seemed happy to go as either a king or knight, so when I spotted a handmade knight top in the op shop, it was decided: Noah was going as a knight.


I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty proud of this helmet. Cardboard is not my normal medium, fabric is – so this was an achievement for me.

I largely based it’s construction on this tutorial that I found on Pinterest. I cut 7 petal shapes from an old cardboard box that were triangular on one end and rectangular on the other (if that makes sense?) I glued them together with the hot glue gun but found that my joins were no where as neat as the tutorial, so I decided to paper mache them on the outside to strengthen them. Then I covered the whole thing in tinfoil with Mod Podge (PVA glue would work just as fine). I then gave it a good coating with wide clear cellotape (I basically laminated the thing) to give it more durability. I made the visor in the same way and attached it using a split pin so it could be moved up and down easily.

It was a fun day at school. In the morning each class did a little parade (this is Noah’s class below.) Everyone went to a big effort with their costumes!

Noah's medieval day

It was pretty fun searching Pinterest for ideas! As well as tutorials for cardboard helmets, they also had some made of polar fleece and even crochet!

… And I can’t write a post about all things medieval without including this little guy! I mean, come on look at him! This guinea pig suit of armour was sold on ebay a few year ago and I saw it went viral. I found it hilarious and thought you might get a giggle from it too!


So there you go, knights and guinea pigs in shining armour. I never did imagine that I’d be writing a blog post about that!

Have you DIY’d any costumes lately?


Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Jukebox Hits Collection by Flosstyle

Last month, because we were moving I made the conscious decision not to sign up for any sewalongs or pattern tests. I resisted and I resisted… and then I saw that Jess from Flosstyle had put out a call for bloggers who were interested in trying her new pattern, the Jukebox Hits Collection. This collection is like nothing else I’d ever seen. It essentially has 6 base styles, but then it gives you tips on how to modify each style and ideas on how to mix the styles together – the result of which means that the possibilities literally are endless. Oh and it goes from girls size 1-16/ ladies size 6-10D, plus there’s a bonus doll pattern! Awesome! AND (best of all) you only have to print 20 A4 pages of pattern pieces to be able to make all. of. this! (I know!)

So of course once I saw this resistance was futile, I threw my name in the hat and was very lucky to be selected, so here we are.


I decided to begin with a couple of the base styles, with plans to experiment with mixing styles later on. I made the ‘Lyric’ on the left and the ‘Rhythm’ on the right (above) for Isabelle, both in size 4. (She is a very petite almost 5 year old.) The Lyric is a lovely little shirt with a placket (yay no buttons or zips), a gathered waist and bias binding on the neckline, hem and sleeves with adjustable ties. I used a lovely cotton linen blend fabric that I found at Spotlight and blue and white striped binding. During construction I was feeling regretful of my binding choice, wishing that instead I had used something a bit plainer; I voiced this on Instagram but received such a positive response that I began to love it too! I’m especially pleased with the combination now that it’s all sewn up and I see it on my daughter. Although I think this girl would make even a paper bag look good!


The instructions are so clear and the sew went really well. The biggest issue I had with this project was only choosing on a couple of photos!


The Rhythm pattern makes a lovely little knit dress with a cowl neck. It’s a super fast sew with an effective result. I really like this tribal print on Isabelle and can see it being a mainstay this Summer. I’m thinking that I might have to make myself a Rhythm using some stripey fabric.


OK Jenny, enough with the photos already! Fair enough, here’s just one more to show you just how versatile the Flosstyle Jukebox Hits Collection really is…


See? I told you - the possible combinations are limited only by your imagination. Be prepared to see many more makes from this collection here in the future. (You have been warned.)

Thanks so much to Jess from Flosstyle for letting me sew this awesome pattern collection!

Jen x

Monday, 14 September 2015

Daffodil Picking

You may remember that I mentioned in this blog post that we went daffodil picking a couple of weekend’s ago. It’s just the beginning of Spring over here in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s been lovely to see a few signs of it’s arrival – daffodils, blossom and a few Spring lambs, plus a bit more sunshine of course! (Although it’s still early days for that, layering is still required!)

Such was the case when we went daffodil picking. It was a beautifully sunny day which I convinced myself was warm enough for shorts. Fortunately I had the good sense to pack the kid’s coats because it was a little chilly in the shade and there was a bit of a cool wind. We packed a picnic and drove down to Taniwha fields. It’s a privately owned, working farm that the family open up to the public for a few weeks each Spring for the purpose of daffodil picking. You can pick 30 flowers for $5 and the money raised goes to Plunket – such a great cause!


All in all it was a fun family day out! (And they sell good espresso coffee too!)

Jen x

P.S. And while we’re on the topic, if you want to do a little daffodil craft then check out this old blog post (which is incidentally the most popular post ever on this little blog! #funfact)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Handmade Baby Gifts for a New Nephew


It’s pretty exciting around here because we have 2 new nephews that are arriving this year. One due in less than 2 weeks and another in December (that makes a total of THREE little nephews this year, including little Eli who was born at the beginning of the year.)

Earlier last month, I road tripped down to Milly’s baby shower in Otaki (she’s the one due this month), with my other pregnant sister-in-law Alisha. These are the little gifts I made her, a couple of pairs of harem pants (my go-to baby gift) and a little pair of baby shoes. I didn’t make the little jacket though, I scored that from an op shop in mint condition, it’s just so cute so I had to include it.

I used to make shoes like this all the time. (They were one of the first free patterns I discovered when I first got into sewing, and I kind of went crazy making them! You can find the pattern here.) But this was the first time I’d made some in a while. They’re really snuggly because the sole is a fleece bonded faux suede.


For the harems I made the 0-3 month size of the Hip Hop Harems pattern by Little Kiwi's Closet. The white and black pair are cotton while the greyish green are merino with little arrows on the cuffs and waistband.


It was pretty cool at the baby shower because there were a lot of handmade presents… lots of lovely knitting, a nice art work/ print and another sister-in-law sewed a bunch of things. Yay for handmade gifts!

I can’t wait to meet this little guy … and I can’t wait to get started on some more handmade gifts for the other baby due later this year… any ideas on what else I could make?

Jen x

Saturday, 5 September 2015



Well hello there, poor neglected blog, it’s been a while!

Sorry for being a bit absent from these parts, over the last month. We moved house about 2 weeks ago (hence the pile of boxes in that second photo) and I’m just starting to find my feet (and still awaiting our WIFI connection… grrr!)

I still have been sewing, mainly filling an order for 25 pairs of undies! Yes! 25! (That’s them all piled up in the third photo.) This order was for Freedom Kid's Clothing, a new online store specializing in gender neutral and ethically produced children’s wear – and it’s launching soon.

I’m also looking forward to sewing a bunch of things for myself and my kids. The change of seasons seems to inspire me in that way – what’s that, a little bit of sunshine? Quick, lets sew all the warmer weather things!

The last two photos are from today. We spent a lovely afternoon picnic-ing and frolicking amongst the daffodils at Taniwha fields (you can pick 30 flowers for $5) … and this afternoon the kids made Father’s day cards. Noah, in particular wrote some very sweet messages to his Dad.

Anyway, I must run (mobile internet and all), but I’ll be back to share some sewing I did last month, perhaps more details on the undies I made and some more photos from today’s daffodil picking expedition.

What’s new with you?

Jenny x

Monday, 10 August 2015

My Interview with Holli from ‘Hello Holli’

hello holli picture

As part of my duties as a Kid’s Clothes Week contributor I had to interview one my fellow KCW participants. I decided to interview Holli. I only just ‘discovered’ Holli, during the latest KCW by browsing the project page. I’m not sure how I hadn’t happened upon her before, because I just love her design aesthetic – but that’s one of the great things about KCW, isn’t it – you are continually discovering more and more talent and inspiration!

Talking about talent and inspiration, check out this couple of collages I created with just some of Holli’s amazing projects … and if you want to read more (and see the links to all these projects) you’ll have to check out my interview on the KCW blog.

Hello Holli introPhotography tips

Pretty inspirational, huh?

Jen x