Sunday, November 29, 2009

Productive day

I finished the rest of the christmas decorations at 8pm tonight.  Later than I wanted, but all ready for tomorrow.  Have photographed them for pattern/instruction writing, but sadly didn't get around to doing the next pattern for tonight.  Will do my best to get it online by Tuesday night.

Hubby was also productive, building a 'boardwalk' from the footpath to the front door so we don't have to put on our gumboots just to get from the car to the house.

Now it's off to bed!

Not much crafting this week but....

I now have keys to our new house!!  It will be a couple of weeks before we start to move in and then a few  more before we can fully unpack and settle because the carpet is being held up (because the bank took so long to pay the bill, the handover was delayed and we lost our carpet booking so we have to wait till they can fit us in).

I bought those two patterns I wanted, and am scheming on colours for the apron so I can make it before Christmas.  Just have to hope that I can find a fabric that fits my 'vision'.

Must spend today finishing Christmas decorations for the Amitie Christmas Challenge tomorrow night.  I think that will be my whole day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pattern sale!

Clegs in Melbourne currently have 1/2 price McCalls patterns.  Sadly it's not the Simplicity sale that Mrs Beckinsale wants but since it was Butterick last week maybe it will be Simplicity soon.

I intend to buy this:

I think it's so cute!!  More summer clothes for me YAY.

And this:

I've been thinking about making an apron, would really like it for when I get crafting in the kitchen.  Now seemed like a good time because we're having 18 people over for Christmas and I don't want to spill food on my clothes during prep.  I  just love this pattern, it's got the perfect retro shape without being frilly.

I feel a bit pathetic buying a pattern for such a simple apron when I could draft it myself, but sometimes it's nice to let someone else do the hard work and just have fun with the sewing part.  Now I just have to decide what fabrics to use and whether I want the apron with the bow or not.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Free Pattern - Christmas Decoration 2 - Gingerbread Man

One week closer to Christmas, and here is my next free pattern for a decoration.

Click here for the pattern (pdf)

I've cut out the rest of the decorations today, for the next four weeks.  I'm rather excited about them.  They are so simple yet there is so much room for creativity.

I'll be donating all the finished decorations to the Amitie Charity Challenge on Monday 30th November.  Guess this means that I have to have them all finished and photographed next weekend so I can donate them, and then get the patterns online afterwards.

My Mod Dress

Don't know if it's really "Mod" style, but that's what it makes me think of.

So I finished my dress today and wore it to the party tonight.

I was going to make dress B (the blue one) but along the way decided to add the band around the hem, the same as the one pictured.  Turns out that the black/white and the gold coloured dresses are actually shorted than the two blue ones.

Good thing I wanted the shorter one, because when I went to lay out my fabric I realised that I didn't have enough to match the pattern if I wanted the longer one.

True to my habit of not making anything the way it was desgined, I had already decided not to do facings around the neck and arms because I hate facings. Instead I was going to bag it out with a lining since I had to back the lacey fabric anyway.

I realised once I'd started the dress that if I did this, you'd actually be able to see the seem allowance through the lacey fabric, and at the bust seem this would be most notable because of including the purple/grey fabric in the seam.  In the end I decided to bag out the lining around the neck edge, making a nice neat finish, and then treat the rest of the lining as an underlining, so it was sewn into the bust and armhole seems along with the lace.

This then meant that I still had to do something about facing the armholes.  I just made a bias binding out of the black fabric and ran that around.  It is machine sewn under the arms (where the purple fabric is) and whip stitched to the lining around the black yoke.

Apart from that I think everything else followed the pattern pretty much.

Oh, and I had to add some back darts because otherwise it looked like I was wearing a potato sack. I've never just drawn on darts like that before. I got hubby to help me pin it and then just drew in some lines and sewed it. Came out really well first go!

As for sizing....according to the back of the pattern I was a size 18 bust and a size 22 hips or something.  When I pulled out the pattern pieces and read the finished garment measurements, this allowed for 12.5cm ease.  This is a LOOSE fitting!!  I like my clothes to be a bit more snug.  Decided on the size 16 for the bust and at the waist tapered it out to the size 20 for over the hips (and my tummy).  I figured I could always take it in a little more at the bust if need be.

Turned out pretty spot on for the sizing, and the sudden curve from 16 to 20 gives it a little bit more defined shape, which is nice.  YAY for multi-sized patterns (although I hate going around all the morse code lines for the neck and sleeve edges).

I decided to cut around the circles of the lace on the sleeve edge to make a fancy finish, but after wearing it out tonight, it's already starting to get threads and look messy, so I think I'll go back and do a regular hem before I wear it again.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out and I love the fabric, I think it was perfect!  I haven't made a garment in ages and I'd forgotten how fun it was to make something that you can fit to yourself and be exactly what you want!  Although 5/8" seam allowances seem huge after doing so much quilt and softie work with 1/4" seams.

Oh, and of course kitty had to help:

Thanks You SEW Girl for the inspiration to make a dress!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I've been inspired

After seeing You SEW Girl's great summer dress, I wanted something that was as cool and comfy as her dress looked.  As much as I loved the simple shape on her dress, I knew that style doesn't look as great on me so I went hunting for patterns.  Of course all the patterns that I have spent my life collecting and I love are... all in storage... so that meant I had to buy a new one (oh dear, what a shame).

I've found about half a dozen patterns that I want now.  Most of them are around the $18 mark so I'll be waiting till someone has a pattern special for those.  For this weekend I settled on New Look 6779.  It has a fairly simple shape, but hopefully enough shape to look decent over my "shapely" bust and spare tyre.

So then the hunt was on for fabric.  Shorting after getting into Lincraft I found an awesome retro style purple/black/light grey print. Then I was stuck as to what to use as a contrast.  I would have loved to use purple but of course getting exactly the right shade of purple was never going to happen.  There was always black but I felt bad choosing black because I'm still trying to get over my "everything must be black" mindset.  So I sat and looked at pattern books and waited for my Creative Consultant (my hubby) to arrive.

He agreed that black was probably the best option, then found a lovely cotton lace style fabric (I'm sure it has a proper name but I can't remember now).  Then we had to decide what to back it with, since I didn't really want the peek-a-boo effect when bra straps were involved.  We settled on plain black so it gives more of a texture look rather than a lace look, but the black isn't quite as deep so it will show up the lace quite nicely.

The lacey fabric was a bit dearer than I'd planned to spend, but it will be a good dress that looks funky, that I can wear to work on hot days.... and if I finish it today then I can also wear it to the party we have tonight which is a purple and black theme!

On a mostly unrelated note, I can't wait to move into the new house and actually be able to get enough light to take a photograph without needing the flash!  Looks like we might get the keys this week though, so almost there!  Just have to wait till carpets etc are done before we can actually move house.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Charity Chrismtas Challenge

Thanks to the link from Audrey and Maude  I will be attending the Amitie Christmas Charity Challenge

Now I just have to get busy making some more decorations!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Free Pattern - Christmas Decoration 1 - Holly

Finally I have fought technology into submission and managed to put together the pattern I wanted to share.  It is for a felt christmas decoration.

I intend to do one every weekend until Christmas.

Click here for the pattern (pdf)

In other craft news I have finished one christmas present and am close to finishing a second (just a small amount of hand sewing to do).  Unfortunately I don't feel safe posting pictures as the recipents might find them!  I will have lots to share after christmas.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hindered by technology

I have been working on a pattern that I'd like to share, but our scanner isn't set up at the moment, and I need help from hubby with graphic things... so it's taking longer than I'd like.  Hopefully will have it ready by the end of the weekend.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dolls and Bears

So here are the photos I promised:

Tiny Teddy from the book Sewing Tiny Toys.  The satin stitch on the nose didn't go quite that well, I've never been good at that.  But otherwise he's rather cute.  He has sewn joints (no buttons or anything, just thread) which I hadn't done before.  And he's tiny, about 2 inches tall when sitting.

And here is the doll from the Kate Greenaway Doll Book.  She is rather tanned because when I decided to make her that was the only vaguely skin coloured felt that I had enough of.  Her eyes are closer together than they were supposed to be, but it still works and I think this is the first time I've done a doll with yarn hair like that so I'm rather pleased with how it came out.

The dress isn't hemmed yet because that requires the iron and I wasn't going to turn the iron on today, what with it being 30 degrees and all!

On a separate note, I went to the Werribee Craft Festival today.  Was a little disappointing, but then I guess I don't really know what I was expecting to begin with.  It was a lot of "granny" crafts and things that weren't very exciting.  For example, there was three stalls of Cabbage Patch clothes and they are clothes that I probably would have thought were boring when I was a kid playing with my doll.  There were some gems there though.  There was a lady with dolls and bears who is currently featured in Australian Dolls Bears and Collectables magazine, with a doll I'd like to have a go at making, so it was nice to see some of her things close up.

Fabric Discovery

Thanks to a post by Mrs Beckinsale I have just discovered Spoonflower. I think somewhere inside me a monster has just been released.

Spotlight Adventures

I had a bit of a wander around Spotlight yesterday and picked up lots of interesting things. I got a small bonus in my pay and hubby said it was my money so I should spend it!

I got some sculpy and push moulds of art doll faces so I can have a play with that, haven't done any art dolls before. Got a few different sorts of toy eyes for experimenting, as well as some teddy bear pellets to give toys some weight and a different feel. There is three balls of wool and some wool for felting to experiment with hair styles/types. Plus a few other bits and pieces for dolls.

I also bought supplies for a christmas project I have in mind. I intend to get into that tomorrow as well.

Borders had an online special which ended last night. 20% off and free delivery for books ordered online. I ordered Crafting Cloth Dolls by Miriam Gourley and Doll Fashionistas by Ellen Lumpkin Brown.  Both look like they've got really in depth and details techniques.  Doll Fashionistas I had a flick through at a book shop, and Crafting Cloth Dolls I found someone you'd posted some pictures of the pages so got to see the inside.  Really looking forward to getting both of them!

Tomorrow will be a crafting day so I intend to have interesting things to share at the end of the day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Not so much craft

Nothing been happening at my house the last few days other than gym and sleeping, so no time for craft (or photographing finished craft).

I have however found a few new books at the library of interest so have a few more projects on my to-do list.

We had walk through on the house yesterday afternoon. We should be moving in 2-3 weeks if the bank doesn't hold us up again! Then I'll have a REAL sewing room again!! WHEEEEEEEE

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cup Day

Spent the whole day sewing, was rather nice really.

Did the hair for my new doll, and the face. Have spent the rest of the day doing her dress. Nearly finished but I need pink thread now and can't be bothered to get up (also nearly bed time).

Entirely hand sewing. It's rather novel and interesting. There is imperfection, uneven stitches, little knots and you can see the stitches on the inside! A great challenge for my OCD ;) Although I think next time I will mark the seam allowances before I start sewing because apparently I can't sew in a straight line.

I did finish the little teddy on Sunday but then the lighting was not good for photos. I'll get the big camera out when I finish the doll and get them both.

Best turnng method ever!

I just read this post from Melly and Me about turning small softie parts.  What an AWESOME idea!

I didn't think that I needed help with turning small parts but that looks so much easier that what I end up doing.  From years of making hair scrunchies for profit I thought I was an old hand at turning tubes.  I think I might have to try different widths of pipes/straws for different pieces.  Something wider than a drinking straw could make arms/legs/bunny ears/etc a lot easier too.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Clegs Success!!

Well mostly... I got my ribbon, but they didn't have black sequins so in my tradition of buying too much I bought a pack of gunmetel, a pack of "moonlight" (black with shimmery colours like fly wings), and a multi coloured pack which contained some black ones.  Now I can try out the different looks and see which I like better.

Also picked up some flesh coloured felt so I can have more fun with making softies tomorrow.  The doll I made yesterday is rather tanned because that's the only colour I had enough felt of without going to the shops.

I managed to get the craft magazines I was after, and because they mostly come in multi packs these days I've ended up with 8 new magazines, and so a whole list of things I want to buy and make.  Maybe I can get a subscription from Santa for Christmas....

Lincraft frustrations

A frustrating day at Lincraft. The store was already crowded because of the 30% off sale, but I was expecting that. The frustrating part was that they didn't have half the stuff I wanted.

No cotton voile at all, no hot pink ribbon in multiple sizes (they had the perfect colour in one size, then lots of the wrong colour in various sizes), no black domed 8mm sequins (only had big hologram type ones... not suitable for doll's eyes), and to get the size press studs I wanted in silver I had to buy a big multi pack (they had them on their own in black but not silver).

I did get the wool I need for doll's hair, and some pretty lace for her dress.

And now I've got blue finger tips from carrying the bag as I power walked it back to work to try and get back from lunch on time.

So looks like I'm going to Clegs after work in the hunt for ribbon and sequins. Would be nice to get everything I want so I can do more relaxing sewing tomorrow.

On the plus side, their magazines were also covered by the 30% off everything sale so I managed to get the current copy of Australian Homespun magazine at a discount, so I can read the bit on Audrey and Maude. Now I just have to grab a copy of Patchwork and Stitching.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

So here I am...

...with my craft blog.

I've started this as eventually I'd like to have some sort of craft business, so it's a place to get my stuff out there and see what people think I guess.

For now I'm having fun experimenting and making things for myself. It's a nice distraction from life to be using my hands and creating something.

At the moment I seem to be leaning in the direction of dolls and soft toys. I'm making up from other people's patterns to get an idea of shapes, techniques etc. See what I like, what I don't like, what works, what I don't think works, how different shapes on paper translate to 3D etc.

I had done some experimenting earlier this year with my own patterns, but currently we are between houses and most of my stuff is in storage so I can't work on them right now.

I also thought this blog would be as good a place as any to keep track of what I have made recently, where the pattern came from, what fabric and stitches I used, and what I thought of it.

Today I am working on a tiny felt teddy bear, if I finish it before bed I'll post it tonight.

Last weekend I completed Baby Bea

She was made using a kit from Katkins Designs. A friend and I made one each so I could help her along the way (she's not as confident at sewing as I am). The doll, bloomers and top was sewn by machine, but the pinafore and lace collar was done by hand (because my friend go frustrated with the sewing machine so we stopped using it).

It was quite rewarding doing the hand sewing. I really love the more country look of the running stitch hem and it was so relaxing just sitting with a needle and thread rather than being back and forth to a sewing machine.

The pattern is rather good. She comes out rather floppy (which I guess is the point of a rag doll!) because her upper arms and legs have no stuffing in them. You sew the arms/legs togeter, stuff up to the elbow/knee and then sew across the limb and leave the rest empty. Her head is a bit flat, it's just two flat bits of fabric sewn together with no specific shaping, but I think I could have stuffed it a bit more which might have helped. And her hair insists on falling over her face and being flat on top. I guess she needs some strong hair spray ;)

So that's it for my first craft blog post!


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