Friday, 21 June 2013

Parsley Shorts

Shorts are on my to-do list so as soon as Rae posted her Parsley pants-to-shorts tutorial I dived straight in!

I used a nice soft linen with a fun Red Riding hood print. I followed the instructions for adjusting the pattern from the post and measured a 5" crotch length so that they were quite short (but long enough to last the summer).

 I chose the flat front option from the Parsley pattern same as when I made the pants, it is the look I prefer the most. The pattern calls for 1"-1.5" elastic and mine was 1" so I made my top stitch line a bit further down to hold the narrower elastic in place.

I have a diva on my hands at times. Here she is doing her very best impression of Daphne from Scooby Doo. I think she has it nailed!

I also tried the Flashback Tee (also of Made by Rae fame). What a great pattern! It was so simple to put together and the finish is really nice on it with the collar and wide cuffs. Alas this size is too small for my daughter. I thought it might be as I was making it. This is the size 6 so will cut another one out in a 7 to see the difference.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

Juggling Balls - Little Things to Sew

I tried out another of the tempting patterns from the Little Things to Sew book by Liesl Gibson. This is about my third pattern from the book and it has (as usual) great, easy to follow instructions.

I made 6 balls in total. Two sets in different colour combinations. 
I really like the red, blue and green ones, they are my favourites. 

The red and yellow ones remind me of little beach balls!

The juggling balls themselves come in two sizes; small or large. The small size is recommended for a younger child and this is the size I made up. I dived straight into my scraps tub and managed to make a small dent in it. This is such a good project for using up those itty bitty pieces you're hanging onto - just incase?

The pattern includes the drawstring bag which as you can see is very roomy. My little pile of balls fit at the bottom of the bag, room for many more!

The balls sew up really quickly and after you have done about three in a row, you start to get in your stride. I sewed, stuffed and pinned the little gap shut on all of them and then settled down with a needle and thread to hand sew all of them shut. My hand sewing leaves a lot to be desired, I don't do it enough to master it. But each ball got neater and neater as I went on and it was nice to sit down in a half hours peace on the sofa for a change.

I stuffed my balls with a mixture of toy stuffing and rice grains. They needed a good amount of rice (you could use any grains for this) to add sufficient weight to stop them moving through the air too slowly. After all, that would be cheating wouldn't it?

The bag is a nice touch and makes it a good gift. It is lined so has a professional finish and the different panels means you can really co-ordinate it to the colours of the balls.
The pattern said to use twill tape for the drawstring but I only had white so made my own out of the same red as the bag lining and the balls.

This is all packaged and ready to be given to a boy from my daughters class as a birthday present. I included some basic instructions on how to juggle, but I think Mum and Dad will have to give him a few lessons first. 

I wish I could juggle, I never quite mastered it!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Goodbye Old Friend

This handsome fellow is Chuckles. Our tough little alleycat passed away today and we will miss him terribly.

Named for his long curved mouth that always stayed in a smile. Rescued by my husband from a cattery along with his daughter Flower. They were rehomed together after being trapped inside a high rise flat along with far far too many other cats. When he came to my husband the vet said he was suffering from depression. In time he became himself again, a loving, friendly scamp.

In the past Jay nursed him through a bad case of cat flu, wrapping him up in a blanket and putting him near a hot water bottle until he was better.

He was our very own Slinky Malinki. I don't know of any other cat that could stand down an Alsatian with a slow stalk and a penetrating stare.

So to take a quote from one of our favorite books....

'He was cheeky and cheerful,
friendly and fun,
he'd chase after leaves
and he'd roll in the sun.'

(Slinky Malinky by Lynley Dodd)

You will be remembered with love Chuckles. Sleep tight xx

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank

Another pattern ticked off my list! This is the perfect time of year to try a few new tank top patterns and this one has been waiting patiently for a while now.

I also have the Grainline Scout Tee pattern and have tried it, unsuccessfully I might add. However, having already got a handle on the sizing of the Grainline patterns, I used that to my advantage while making this one. The reason the Scout was discarded to the upcycle pile is because it was ENORMOUS. Seriously, it even looked huge on the hanger and I couldn't bring myself to wear or alter it. This time I made sure to size down. The fit on this is roomy but I didn't want enough room for an entire village, so went down 2 sizes from my norm (made a size 10). It worked!

I am a sucker for pretty white tops for the summer and you can never have too many white tanks in your wardrobe. I deferred from the pattern ever so slightly to pretty things up a bit.

Instead of folding and hemming the top edge of the pocket I trimmed it with some cotton lace.

Then did the same with the bottom hemline. 

Now I tried and tried to get a decent modelled shot but couldn't. There was no extra pair of hands to help me out so this is the best I could get on self timer.

If I were to make this again I would need to lower the darts by about an inch along the side seam, they hit just a bit too high. Also, the pocket looks wonky even though I positioned it correctly. Maybe that is something to do with the darts not fitting right, either way I would attach the pocket at a different stage to get it straight next time. I think if I sewed the shoulder seams first, tried it on (so to speak) and then pinned the pocket on, it would look straighter.

As you can see, the top is still nice and loose around the body, I really like it and it looks great with a cardigan thrown over the top.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Kids Undies Pattern by That Darn Kat

I have given myself a little challenge. That is to work my way through all my unused patterns. I will admit that there are more patterns for me than for the children but I am taking it in turns to pattern bust. One for me, one for the little ones.

I started with the Washi dress pattern for me. Then I cheated and slipped another vest top in for me before moving on to this child's underwear pattern.

These undies are so quick to make and they use up scraps of knit fabric - perfect! My daughter has now moved out of her 18 - 24 month clothes and I have little piles of tops, leggings and bodysuits that are still in great condition. I could give them to charity but wanted to try and upcycle them. 

The pattern consists of two pieces plus leg and waist binding strips. The front panel is the smallest piece as it isn't cut on the fold. This made it the easiest option for me to use up smaller clothes sizes.

We will (fingers crossed) be moving on to potty training soon. So while the size 2 looks a bit full on her here, take away the nappy and the fit will be perfect. After all, while potty training, you can NEVER have too many changes of underwear!

I experimented a bit with the fabric I used for waist and leg bindings. The pattern says that while you can use any normal jersey fabric for the main panels, the bindings do need a bit of stretch. Lycra content is good here. There is no elastic so in order to have some grip the bindings need to have adequate stretch.

I used grey ribbing with a bit more weight to it for my first pair, stepped down a notch for my second pair and used a thinner ribbing (from the leg cuffs of a sleepsuit), and for the third pair I used an orange fabric from a pair of super stretchy leggings. This last one was my preferred option. The fabric had brilliant stretch and was smooth to touch. The thicker ribbed look would suit boys more than girls in my opinion.

Eldest daughter has requested a pair of 'fancy pants' too. I would be more than happy to sit at my machine churning a few more of these out. They are quick, easy and give you instant gratification. I wasn't sure whether they would look a bit tacky and homemade but I can tell you that the moment the first leg binding went on and I could see what the end result would be, I was in love! My husband is less than enthusiastic about them . He is of the opinion that you shouldn't make your own undies. Some things have to be bought. This got us into a debate about why he thinks sweatshop undies feel more like 'real' clothes than homemade versions. Lets just say we agreed to disagree on the subject!