Friday, 31 January 2014

Holiday Vibes: Hanging with Adey

Our holiday began in Singapore, so Husbie Darling could meet a work colleague but it was also a great excuse for us Sewing Besties to hang too!

If you're new to my blog, Sewing BFF Adey blogs at The Sew Convert, and we met via The Sew Weekly blog as original contributors in 2011. Later that year, on my way to a bike riding tour of Cambodia, I stopped in to Singapore and met Adey for the first time... which was amazing & fun! Now I had the Darling Family with me, we had a gorgeous family catch up in the new Gardens By The Bay, with a delicious afternoon tea first and then a big wander around the garden's 2 domes!

Have a look at how gorgeous & amazing this place is! (And how sweet Baby Darling & Adey are too:)

 The waterfall is at least 7 storeys high, and the whole place is a surreal temperature with amazing plantlife and such interesting garden designs! We loved it!

You'll see I'm wearing the green dress I made from the fabric Adey gifted me... which is a designer stretch silk blouse-weight fabric. Thank you Adey! I have all the details of putting the dress together with the Vogue Pattern in case you're curious! I also made Baby Darling's tshirt, but the neckline was sooooooo soooo baggy, it kinda looked funny after he wore it all day!

Here are some more photos of the garden, it was just amazing!


Thank you Adey & your family! We loved spending time with you all! xoxo How wonderful that sewing and blogging can lead to international unique catch ups?! I love & appreciate this community so much!


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Australia Day Thanks

We had a wonderful start to the year, visiting Thailand and celebrating our good friend's wedding with loads of other great friends. Such positive energy, great focus on love and friendship and it felt like a great kickstart to 2014. Things are going so well, and it's great to be outside of your everyday life to see how well things are. There's so much to be thankful for really.

Today (being Australia Day), I'd love to send a big thank you out to every single gorgeous person. We don't have a Thanksgiving type day here. But today's 'Australia Day' has so many meanings for Australians. It's sad day, it's a happy day, it's a celebration and it's memorial. But overall, it's a day for looking forward for all Australians. I'm thankful to be Australian, I'm thankful for all my friends & family, I'm thankful our country has a long history of Indigenous people and their stories, I'm thankful we are able to live such beautiful lives.

There's a wonderful Australian of the Year today as well, Adam Goodes, and I'm with happy tears reading his thoughts on today and being Australian. What a freaking legend. Totally thankful there's such gorgeous people in this country.

My photo above is from a children's park in Singapore. What a beautiful place to be a toddler and a Mama of a toddler.


Monday, 20 January 2014

Voila: The Anna Frankensteined Romper!

YAY, we're back from holidays in Singapore and Thailand and I've just been reading through all your lovely notes from my 31/31 pieces from my personal sewing marathon in December. LOVED that you loved my little things (the exciting ones and the boring ones alike! Boring is still good, right!?) and thought you'd like to see the Romper I made for the wedding!

I outlined the sewing construction details (By Hand London's Anna top, vintage 1970s pattern for the shorts) in the blog post but here's me in it with my darling friend Jo (and cousin of the bride) who is from the amazingly gorgeous Melbourne band Big Scary! Aren't we vintage pastel fabric queens:

We loved being away and just adored Thailand, such a beautiful spot for a wedding! I'll post some scenic shots soon, there was just really gorgeous landscapes with the water, huge cliff faces and bush land, jungle spaces! Anyways, I loved wearing my romper, it was really comfy and good for crouching down with the children at the wedding or running around taking photos here and there. It was also great for dancing in later!

The fabric wasn't as see-through as I first thought when sewing it, and the only downside (not that anyone noticed) was that later on in the night after excessive dancing/jumping around (who knew I can still remember all the words to De La Soul?) the facing would flip out the front... so next time I'll stitch or glue/fuse that down... but all in all a successful Frankensteined outfit!

Here's me with my bestie Amy, and I gave her my Red Christmas Anna Dress for her birthday, and it fitted PERFECT! The FBA I did on the bodice was just right for Amy, as it was a little loose for me. Love being on holidays with my bestie! What a stunner!

And I did my hair myself (who knew I've turned into a hairstylist?) by twisting and pinning bits of hair around a topknot... but I bought a little fan from one of the local shops to use as a fascinating fascinator! It stayed in all night as well, even with the dancing!

And my friend snapped a little family photo as well:

Baby Darling wore a little vest & shorts suit I bought at the Salvos Op Shop on King Street in Newtown when I last visited Sydney. He couldn't leave his motorbike out of the wedding party! Plus it matches his sandals, accessorise people!

xoxo thank you again for all your love & gush with my sewing last month! Loved doing a little mini marathon on the machine... for this year (as always) I'm not really setting sewing or personal goals. Being away with my family has made a beautiful start to the year, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to love all the things I do personally and with my friends and family. Now that we're back in the house, we've always got little odd jobs to do, but I'm feeling very low-stress & carefree and plan to keep that vibe going in all aspects of 2014!

Wishing you a wonderful year ahead though, and hope you are loving the year as much as I am. Sew Forth and conquer queen sewing bees!


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

31/31 The Full Circle Skirt

Thanks to By Hand London's new (to me) online app, I made a ridiculously good full circle skirt!

I haven't made a circle skirt for ages, I think since maybe Sew Weekly days, and this fabric was also a Sew Weekly creation as I made a lovely little 1960s number from it in 2011. It wasn't hard to follow the By Hand London instructions (you fill in your measurements and length and it calculates the waistband radius - SOOOOO helpful... ) and the whole skirt came together in about an hour I reckon. There's just a simple waistband and a side zipper (also thrifted) for this one... and a simple folded hem... 

The fabric is very swishy and as I made a straight skirt last time, I fully didn't realise how gorgeous the fabric hangs. I still have over 2 metres of it as well! Go op shopping in Ballarat!

Hooray! So that's 31 things made in 31 days! 

Monday, 13 January 2014

30/31 Hot Weather Hat

Ooh, I've almost finished showing you all my December creations! I made 31 things last month, so I'd get a feeling for sewing a lot again and overall I think I've learnt how to sew with scraps (especially in the last few weeks) which helped clean up the sewing room as well.

We're away on holidays this week, so have been catching up on blogging my things, and it's another holiday thing: a Toddler Hat. In November I made an Oliver + S sunhat  from the free Reversible Bucket Hat pattern and it's been great, but the interlining that I used to stiffen it out makes the 3 layers of fabric quite thick and hot for my BD. He's a hot boy anyways, so wearing a hat and playing in the sun gets him very warm indeed! So I've used super cool fabric, super cool colours with no interlining and hoping that this will be cool for him in Singapore & Thailand.

The fabric is stash fabric again, leftover from a work party where I made heaps of bunting (surprise surprise) and it's just cotton from Spotlight but has a cool feel to both the stripes and spots!

I made it reversible (and didn't use the instructions, it's now my third hat, so I've already lost the instructions) but instead of attaching a necktie/spaghetti strap like last time, I used the sewing machine magic button hole to make two button holes on either side and threaded the ties through, so it can be reversible ... with the chin strap tide around the back of the hat like above while the other chin strap is doing its job. BD is quite happy leaving his hat on when it's tied on... but always takes it off if there's no strap.

Anyways, hope you've had a lovely weekend! We'll be back soon from holidays, so can't wait to catch up then.


Sunday, 12 January 2014

29/31 A Button Snake

OK, Mamalyf just got real.

I've made a learning toy for my child, and yes I saw it on a Montessori page that my friend shared on Facebook and yes I'm a learning nerd (my mother was an early learning educator for her entire career) for children's things and yes... I'm showing this to you because once again, I'm blogging every project I make in December and have made 31 projects and whilst I'm a bit behind in my blogging, I'm being honest and real and maybe a bit boring...

But HEY.

I have always wanted to be real life Mama here, real life seamstress and real life babe (self confident today, obviously!) and this 'no frills' stuff I keep talking about is quite important to me. Especially since I really looked at what I was writing about last year and what aspects I enjoy in blogging and sewing and creating and blah blah blah.

So, yes! Here's a learning toy and here are the instructions for you to make your own via this Montessori on a Budget blog (my FAVE kind of blog is always about thriftiness), and if you have an automatic buttonhole function on your sewing machine this takes no time to make. Because it's a learning thing as well, it doesn't have to be super perfect and matchy-matchy... it has to function as a button snake!

I've NEVER heard of a button snake before, and now... it makes sense! I've seen my child spend half an hour (sometimes longer) putting a lid on and off on a container... so why wouldn't he love buttons (he calls them 'ball') and threading them through buttonholes. I'm hoping this would be a great project on the aeroplane. We'll see.

Friday, 10 January 2014

28/31 Baby Darling's Harem Shorts

Harem shorts just don't really sound right for a child, now that I'm really thinking about it. These are low crutch shorts, poopy pants (don't they call them that on Project Runway?) or drop crotched pants. For Baby Darling I've made these really quickly out of scrap fabric (it was probably 30 cm by 50 cm - two pieces... so kind of two rectangles).

If you look at the rectangle with the longest side towards you, I chopped off the top two corners, that became the side seams, then chopped off the bottom two corners just slightly, and they became the leg holes... and the bottom bit of the rectangle became the crotch seam... so it's kinda looking more like a flattened triangle now instead of the rectangle. I'll have to draw it up sometime, let me know if you're desperate for the pattern!

Then I sew-ed up the seams, attached the red ribbed waistband (with a low stretched wide elastic inside) and the cuffs. I honestly guessed the measurements (just checked the elastic length around BD) and they turned out great. Again, I'm getting an eye for scraps and drafting and yay for sewing regularly because now I'm quick to make stuff up for children!

If these last well, they'll probably still fit him when he's 3, and be proper shorts instead of genie length now. Husbie and I were trying to remember the songs from Aladdin to sing to him, but BD just wanted to mop the floor. SO BORING AND DOMESTIC. We parents are prancing and dancing around making up songs about magic carpets and BD just wants to get on with the cleaning. Children are the worst (they are the best) I tell you.


Thursday, 9 January 2014

27/31 Little Simple T

Yup, it's simple and it's little for BD to wear while we're on holidays... I made a singlet the other week but thought I'd try to get his little arms and shoulders covered up in case he needs to stay out of the sun.

So since I've been making so many little simple Tshirts, I've made this one slightly different, and tried a raw overlocked hem and neckline... this fabric was seriously just a scrap and not enough for binding. It's leftover material from this gorgeous dress from 2009 (I'm seriously cleaning out my stash of scraps, right?), and was originally from the Fabric Store in Sydney.

Of course when I needed my overlocker to make a tidy edge it kept fucking up, the red thread might have been a mistake... probably would have looked better on the inside instead of on top of the right side of the fabric, but the red thread was also cut in several places. It was thrifted overlocker thread and I remember a whole bunch of glue had stuck to it, so of course I snipped off all the glue but every 2-3 metres or so the thread runs out, so you have to rethread that thread. Now I'm just getting into boring sewing details, but you know what I mean if you're an overlocker fiend. Grrrr.

Anyways, again, anything looks sweet on BD, and he gets away with lots of my sewing mistakes and mishaps! Plus, childrenswear gets WORN, and often worn out or outgrown, so a few mistakes here or there isn't going to worry anyone.


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

26/31 A Kitchen Curtain

Some more practical sewing, but in a month of daily sewing there's got to be practical sewing. I used to sew a lot, and quickly and just anything, but in a month of my life now, there's got to be the projects that are completely practical and TOTALLY useful to everyday life.

This is a curtain for a child's kitchen cupboard... you know how fun it is as a little child to pretend cook and pretend wash up? My friend made her little girl a small kitchen from a second hand bedside table! They attached a back bit so that pots and pans can hang, painted it all white and removed the drawers so this little curtain can fit along hiding the bigger pieces of play cookware! I love the rainbow candy stripes!

It's about a metre by 30 cms and just folded over and stitched for the casing (for a rod or elastic I think!)... simple and practical. I'm sure it'll look gorgeous!


Monday, 6 January 2014

25/31 Romping in Thailand

Hi! This looks interesting! It's an amazing fabric from Japan that I was gifted by a good friend & colleague... her mum was moving and had oodles of fabric collected over the years, and they were both so gorgeous to share some darling bits and bobs with me. I know nothing really about the print except the edges said 'Kanedo print Made in Japan' (see my twitter photo) and it's a soft floaty cotton but feels rough and borderline synthetic. Great mix for summer holidays, I thought!

What gorgeous and unusual colours mixed up... and hey, this looks like a By Hand London Anna front, and an Anna back...


It's an Anna JUMPSUIT! Yup, I frankensteined (that's a word right?) By Hand London's Anna with Simplicity's 7491 from 1976 using the tennis shorts (without the waistband) and it matched up pretty much perfect! 

YAY! Wish I had time before holidays to photog myself in it, but hoping I'll wear this in Thailand so you can see it for reals in an ideal location!

I tried a normal size 10 UK front bodice piece this time (instead of the Full Bust Adjustment I gave my first Anna attempt) and it's spot on. So weird, as I'm using my measurements (at the moment) of 36/27/36 so I'm really inbetween sizes all round. Oh well, it works here, so why question it!?

The Anna bodice is just so quick to make up, and the V Neck super flattering for the larger chest I'm sporting. I hadn't sewn the shorts before, but they were pretty straight forward... I chose the Simplicity pattern because the back zipper matched up with the Anna bodice's back zipper. Anyways, I plan to wear a little brown belt with my tan wedges and pretty much romp around the holiday whenever we need to wear proper clothing instead of bikinis!

And my new outfits waiting to be packed in the suitcase!


Sunday, 5 January 2014

24/31 A Sweetpea Refashion

A girl's T is now a (long) toddler T, thanks to a quickly overlocked refashion.

It's a special thrifted tshirt from San Diego, and we often call Baby Darling Sweetpea from Popeye. I watched the film again while I was pregnant on a huge nostalgic kick and couldn't get my mind off little Sweetpea.

I turned it inside out, pinned the neckline binding together and pinned a line to sew along and just overlocked like crazy. It's hard to do curves with the overlocker, so you can see one underarm hole looks different to the other, but for dear old Baby Darling, he looks sweet in anything ... I made it as long as the existing T because I though he might sleep in it like a nightie while we are travelling. It's super soft vintagey feel cotton, so might be comfy for him.

xoxo to you and happy weekend!

Friday, 3 January 2014

23/31 A Little Girl's Card

I'm keeping way too many fabric scraps, what about you?

We all know I'd like to try new things like quilting and scrap blanket making etc etc etc but when you're stacks busy living life and being a fucking legend all the time, it's hard to order scrap fabric into colour coded draws, thinking that one day I'll cut them into squares or triangles and do things with them.

So, I'm busting my stash of scraps and just going with the flow ... and making cards.

A busy seamstress Mama makes a lot of cards for children and now we have BeeDee, he gets invited to birthday parties, and he loves little friends and parties. So here's an example of what I stitched together quickly for 4 year old Ela...

1. Find cardboard & cut
2. Find scraps from sewing projects (Anna Christmas Dress & Kat's Pink Dress from yonkers ago)
3. Cut letter for child's name
4. Sew haphazardly straight onto cardboard (Yup, I'm reckless and probably dull my needles this way, but I'm CRAZY)
5. Write message from your child on the back.

My other scrap buster is the good old bunting, so now I have two little cupbards, one with small scraps for cards and the other for bunting. No more hoarding for never to be realised quilter and embroidering etc.


Thursday, 2 January 2014

22/31 Refashioned Toddler Dress

Pretty boring photos today, sorry! We are leaving tomorrow for our holiday, and I'm running around with Mum and Baby Darling trying to get packed and buy stupid last minute things and get my sandals fixed, but I didn't want to leave without getting all my photos taken of my projects from December.

If you recall, I'm making a thing a day in December, but as always with life, mamalyf, work, blogging and celebrations, I'm out of whack for blog posts, but all my projects are 'sewn' up and I'll post them here over the next week while I'm away. Hooray! A GREAT way to kickstart to the sewing hobby, I can tell you!

Here's the leftover fabric from this project, and using some stashed red fabric for the bodice, it's now a dress! For a toddler! I am loving how easy it is to make childrenswear from scraps in the sewing room... and I'm getting a good radar now of what to keep (ie. what will be actually useful) and what to chuck. A good system for a messy seamstress like myself!

As usual, I made the neckline and armhole binding from strips of stretch knit (making the stretchier bit of the fabric run parallel to the binding means you can stretch it out a bit while you sew to attach, so the neckline/armhole isn't gapey - if that makes sense), and for this dress I used the existing hemline from Mum's tshirt and just gathered it a bit to attach to the red bodice pieces. It was the quickest project and I gave it to my friend yesterday and she LOVED it! Her little girl will be just gorgeous in it!

Maybe as happy as Baby here... this is my Baby's Baby.. a lovely dolly that we call Baby... BD carries her around and kisses and cuddles her. Oh so sweet.

She's borderline creepy though, sometimes if she's just sitting somewhere and I walk into the room, I get a bit of a fright!


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

21/31 Holiday Dress for a Happy 2014

Happy 2014 sewing and blogging friends! How futurist of us to be here now, in this year! WOW.

I pulled together this dress to wear on New Year's Eve last night, which was a very low key occasion at our place with my parents. Baby Darling had a great last day of 2013, as he'd napped for a massive 3 hours and was feeling very good about staying up for dinner with us, and 'cheers-ing' the new year ahead. We had some sparklers for him and they made him stay very still with his hands behind his back in wonderment. So sweet.

But, this week we also got a new car. A Smart Car. Our business has been going well, and needs expenses so Husbie sold the scooter, and leased this little bubble rollerskater thing, and we are officially in the future with our red rocket raygun of a car! Um, hilarious!

The dress fabric is thrifted (and a little see through - above! - when backlit!) and maybe from the 1970s, but I honestly can't remember if it's new or old to the stash... but that's where it's from, my gorgeous and falling down all over the sewing room floor fabric stash. It's a polyester light fabric, and with a slight stretch, I thought a maxi dress (were they always called maxi's? I think not but it's not really a muu muu like my Dad thinks?) would be good for our holiday (we leave on Friday!) as it'll be HOT.

I once again drafted up this pattern, by lying a dress that does fit well, on the fabric pieces... I measured the fabric into two long rectangles (front & back), and then cut a front bodice piece & a back bodice piece but kept the underarm side/seam bits very wide... so that I could try it on and see whether the fabric suited a snug fit or a baggy fit. With strips of binding I did the neckline and the armholes like the Built By Wendy instructions say... the way I always make stretch clothing, really!

Then I overlocked the side seams, leaving them very wide across, but after a few fittings for the length, I decided it would be more flattering as a closer fit... but not too close, as the fabric doesn't have that much stretch... so loose and kinda fitting it is!

I don't usually wear long dresses because of my frame & size (petite 4 foot eleven, but with larger bust size, means most fabrics hang like a bag off the boobs) but since this is a comfy beachy holiday, I thought something soft and different would be great. That's why I made it a little snug fitting around the waist, so you can still see a bit of my hourglass (I'm sewing with 36/27/36 measurements at the moment!) figure here. Or I hope you can!

Hope you're enjoying the new year so far, and I wish that all your dreams come true in 2014... if you are a dreamer... but if you're practical like me, just go do stuff and I bet if you keep your positive frame of mind, stuff will always be amazing.


Dongmen Lu Fabric Market

Happy Wednesday! Time to get some fabric inspiration from the Dongmen Lu Fabric Market here in Shanghai! Can't believe how quickly 201...