Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The LONG knit

A long time ago (so long that it's embarrassing), I started to knit my son a sweater. His specifications? Blue (dark), with a hood and a zip. I tried to convince him to go with stripes, or no hood, or a cool pattern (i.e. anything to make it more interesting for me to knit) but he knew what he wanted. Blue, hood, zip. I added 'lightweight yarn' to that list, because in Singapore, nothing heavier will EVER get worn. 

After a bit of searching, I happened to find the Wien pattern in the Berroco Sox book 'Playground Stripes'. We were in Victoria, BC at the time, and I found the pattern book and some suitable yarn in the Beehive Wool Shop. I used DROPS Fabel superwash sock yarn for the body and another sock yarn for the hood lining. 

I FINALLY finished the cardigan last month. Like I said, embarrassing. And because of my procrastination, I'm really hoping my son gets at least a few months of wear out of this sweater before he outgrows it (mostly in length). Oh, and his extra request - a red zipper! It was the first time I had ever installed a zipper in a sweater, but it was surprisingly easy. I wish I could remember which blog I used for the technique, but there are a few different methods. I basically treated it like I would a zipper installation in a sewn garment, except that I sewed it in by hand after basting it first. 

Now we have to go somewhere cool so he can actually wear it!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Another pair of pajamas

My love for sewing with knits continues to does help that a) it's easier and easier to find nice knit fabric in Singapore and b) my hems and seams are looking better, which means I'm happier with the final product, and thus more likely to sew with knits!

This set of pajamas was for my daughter's friend M (the recipient of the Dino Dress!).

The top was made using the Oliver + S field trip raglan t-shirt pattern, and the pajama pants were from the Oliver + S Nature Walk pants pattern. I recently got the Nature Walk yoga pants pattern and love how quickly it comes together. I particularly like the elastic insertion technique in the waistband. Now I just wish it came in adult sizes! 

The fabric is a Cloud 9 organic cotton knit from Sing Mui Heng, and is lovely and soft to the touch.  

I finished all the hems (pants, top and sleeves) by serging first, then turning them up 1/4" and using a narrow zig-zag stitch to finish. It's not as pretty as a twin-needle finish, but I am not yet brave enough to try that! I made a test pair of the yoga pants for A, and found that they were just the right length with a 1/4" hem, so perhaps I'll lengthen the next pair a bit to leave some room for growth. 

M loved her pajamas - and I have so much fabric leftover that I think I'll make her another set for when these are in the wash! 

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Hopscotch Skirt

After making 2 dresses and 2 tops from the Oliver + S Hopscotch Top/Dress/Skirt pattern, I finally got around to making the skirt as part of my early January sewing spree.

It was a bit hard to photograph this well (the model was not in a cooperative mood, so the plant stand had to fill in...). I had a lot of fun sewing this skirt! I really enjoyed the precise details of the pockets (how cute are they?!), the front button placket and the waistband. A loves orange, and when I saw this fabric (probably a quilting cotton, but it's really soft), I had to buy it. 

I had to adjust the elastic in the back twice. The first day she wore the skirt to school, it kept slipping off, so I unpicked the casing side seam, lost the elastic in the casing, had to unpick the other side, pull the elastic out, re-insert it, tried it on her multiple times (hard when she claimed I was tickling her and was also scared of the pin!) and finally finished the side seam a few days later. Phew. Now hopefully she can wear it without losing it around her knees.

I suspect I might have to convince myself that she needs a navy Hopscotch knit t-shirt to go with it. ;)

Dinosaurs are not just for boys - the Building Block Dress!

My daughter's friend turns 5 today! And what are some things that M likes? Dinosaurs, twirly skirts and the colour yellow. So how do you combine that?

Take 1.5m of some great dinosaur fabric (found with the assistance of M's mum), use the Building Block Dress book to create a fabulous sleeveless dress with a flared, extra 'twirly' skirt, and use leftover yellow fabric from a Badminton Dress made for M a few years ago ( pays to hoard small bits of fabric!), and finish with yellow buttons. Et voila...

I used the basic Building Block Dress pattern (size 4 lengthened to a size 5), and finished the neck and armholes with a bias binding. I closed the placket on the skirt, and flared the front and back to the entire width (42") of the fabric for maximum twirl factor. I intended to finish the hem with a hidden yellow facing, but forgot to use the bottom of the skirt as my guide for the facing, and cut a 2" bias instead. So, I attached the bias to the bottom hem, and made a narrow hem on the bias to finish it. In retrospect, I prefer the external finish as it gives the dress a bit of colour at the bottom. 

The birthday girl hasn't seen it yet, but hopefully it's a hit!  Update: she has seen it and loves it!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Quilt time!

It's finally finished! The quilt that I've been slowly working away on finishing for the last few months can now be given to the baby for whom it was intended (who is now 4 months old!).

I saw the pattern/design online last summer in my Pinterest feed. I don't know whose lovely quilt I saw, but I loved the simple yet striking pattern of smaller and larger squares. The friend who will receive the quilt told me her favourite colour was yellow, so I was on the hunt for a child-friendly and pleasing (to the eye) yellow fabric. Not as easy as it sounds...

I hit the jackpot at Effiloché in Montréal, Canada. This fabulous little shop is on St. Hubert on a street that was once lined with fabric shops. There aren't quite as many places for fabric now, but this shop is a treat. An lo and behold, they had some of the David Walker Raining Cats and Dogs collection, which had a beautiful print on a yellow background! It was nice to be able to get 4 different fabrics from the same collection, knowing they'd all look good together.

That was just 7 months later, the quilt is finished! This is just my second 'real' quilt, and I think I can see myself getting into making quilts. I did straight line quilting to finish it (not perfect, but only the most critical eye can see it!).

Despite my long list of sewing projects to finish, I'm already thinking of my next quilt...

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Pajama time!

There are times when I feel as if my children grow several centimetres overnight. It's most obvious when I realise that the clothes they've been wearing day in and day out suddenly look ridiculously short or small. Maybe I'm just not very observant and should pay more attention to what they're wearing! Either way, it was around November when I noticed how small ALL of my son's pajamas were for him, particularly the shorts/pants. I asked him what he'd like, and of course, he wanted the Oliver+S Sleepover Pajamas. Clearly he didn't ask for them by name, just, "You know, those pajamas with the buttons, with long sleeves and long pants?"

During one of my many trips to a favourite fabric store while my mother was visiting, we found some lovely seersucker with a small boat print. My son had only specified that he wanted blue pajamas, so I hoped this would suit his tastes. I got some of the same print on a white background for the facings and cuffs. Luckily he was quite pleased, especially when he realised he could ask for buttons in both blue and red!

Despite having sewn this pattern on at least 3 previous occasions, I still managed to make what some might call 'rookie' mistakes. I chalk this up to cutting the pieces out on a day when I cut out 4 other patterns. It's probably also because I wasn't paying enough attention (sigh). There was a recent post on the Oliver + S blog about these very pajamas (read it here), with some beautiful pictures of perfect pattern matching for the patch pockets. The ones I made recently were, *ahem*, perfectly unmatched. You'll notice that the front facing was also upside down (oops). And I somehow managed to cut 2 of the same leg, which meant I had to make an unexpected trip to the fabric store to get more fabric to cut out another leg. And believe me, I quadruple-checked that I was cutting it out the right way!!

My son was very sweet about the upside down parts. He told me that it looked like the reflection in the water, which was great because there were boats on the pajamas! Thank goodness for children who see the positive side to our mistakes.

But I am particularly proud of my homemade piping, which I think is a nice addition. This was also a special request from my son (who initially wanted rickrack like his sister's pajamas have, but I managed to talk him into piping instead!). My son is tall and slim, so I made the pajamas in a size 6, but with the length of size 7. They are a tad on the long side, but hopefully this means more wear!

Not to be left out, my daughter wanted new pajamas from a knit fabric she saw with an owl print. I used the Oliver+S Raglan t-shirt for the top and the Sleepover Pajama pattern for the bottom (not sure that was the best plan, but it seemed to work). I'm still learning how to hem knit fabrics properly, and am not thrilled with how the hems turned out on these pieces, but luckily they're not visible on the outside! The raglan t-shirt pattern is GREAT! So fast to sew and by all reports, very comfortable to wear. Smiles all around!

Monday, 8 January 2018

After a long absence...

It would seem, at least for me, that going back to paid employment and being productive in the sewing department is a tricky balance. I am still trying to find a way to stay on top of all the 'required' things, and still keep my sanity by sewing or knitting once in a while. Hence the lack of blog posts, and overall lack of activity in my sewing room.

Yes, there have been a few projects here and there (a tree skirt for the Christmas tree, some dumpling pouches for gifts, and couple of gift bags), but unfortunately the bigger projects didn't get photographed before they were given away. There was a quillow for my son's friend who moved away from Singapore - nine of his friends each drew a personalised square using fabric markers on a square of cotton fabric, all of which were then incorporated into the quillow. It turned out really well, and was a nice goodbye gift for a dear friend. I have it on good authority that he is making good use of it this winter, but sadly I didn't get any pictures of the finished product.

However, a new year brings with it a resolution to try to sew as much as I can to take a break from work and housework (occasionally this does mean forgoing sleep!). So, with that in mind, I spent the better part of an afternoon recently cutting out 2 pairs of pajamas (1 for each of my children), a top for my daughter and a skirt for her as well. The sewing...well, let's just say that last week, I spent more time with my seam ripper in my hand than my foot on the sewing machine pedal. But I'm happy to report that all's well that (mostly) ends well, and I just have the skirt to finish.

First up, the Puppet Show shorts from Oliver + S and a top from the Japanese sewing book Sew Chic Kids. The shorts are a favourite in our house, and this is the 4th or 5th pair my daughter has worn. I used a great Robert Kaufman Indikon Indigo for the shorts, and a Japanese lawn for the top. The instructions for the top were minimal (par for the course with this book), and I admit being quite confused about how to do their front placket. I muddled my way through, and know it's not quite right, but my daughter LOVES the shirt (flowers! long sleeves!), so in my books, it's a win.

The shirt is supposed to have buttons but for some reason, my machine decided that making buttonholes in cotton lawn was not going to happen that day. So it has snaps, which oddly also made my daughter very happy.

So that's project 1 of 4. Next up...two pairs of pajamas, one with homemade piping! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Sew Over It Lulu Dress (version 1)

Shortly after coming back from summer holidays, my favourite fabric store in Singapore (Sing Mui Heng) had a big sale...this coincided perfectly with my fingers itching to get back to sewing, and a friend who asked if I'd sew a few things for her. So off we went...and came back a little lighter in our wallets and weighed down with MUCH more than we intended to get. Isn't that always the way?!

My first finished item from this spree was the Sew Over It Lulu Dress.

It was a fun and relatively straightforward project, taking about 2 hours of sewing time in total (maybe less). I made a size 10 at the bust, moving out to a 12 at the waist and hips. Overall the fit is fine, but there's a strange 'bubble' just above my bust, below the neck notch. I can't quite determine why I have this bubble, but will keep trying to solve the problem before my next one. The sleeves are also a tiny bit snug just at the top of the armhole, so I might reduce the seam allowance a bit around the sleeves to see if that solves the issues. Otherwise, it's really comfortable to wear and looks great with a belt. 

My next Lulu top is for a friend. I should make a muslin, but I think I'll forge ahead with the first top and keep my fingers crossed that there aren't any major fit issues!

Pattern: Sew Over It Lulu Dress
Size: 10-12
Fabric: Art Gallery Fabrics (cotton)