Saturday, 31 December 2016

Christmas sewing

The lack of blog entries since late October is down to one factor (pretty much!) - Christmas sewing. As usual, I had LOTS of plans and ideas, which kept growing in complexity and number right up to early December. That's when I realised I'd better reign it in a bit...we were leaving for the UK for the holidays on December 18th and everything had to be finished by then. Of course I then had to throw in some extra little pouches the day before we left, just, well, because!  So here's the results of my Christmas sewing...

Zipped pouches for teacher gifts (x3)

Dumpling pouches (from the Michelle Patterns tutorial)

Christmas coasters

Fat quarter bags - perfect for little girls who love bags!

The Morehouse Merino Baby Alligator scarf (pattern here)
Stockings for my children, my niece and my nephew

The inspiration for the stockings came from Cluck Cluck Sew, but then I decided to add an initial in cross stitch on each stocking (because it's good to ADD more work when you're already under time pressure...). I didn't want to use Aida cloth for the cuff, so I used waste canvas on quilting cotton. Using waste canvas isn't difficult, but definitely not something to try if you've never done cross stitch before. And I realised after the 'L' that I really dislike using metallic embroidery floss. REALLY. So the other letters weren't quite as sparkly, but definitely less painful to complete! And experienced quilters shouldn't look too closely at my stockings. My half-square triangles were a 'learn as you go' experience, so the first couple of stockings weren't quite as perfect as they should be. But then, hey, most toddlers care more about what's inside the stocking than the perfection of the quilting, right?!

There was also a quilted advent calendar that didn't get photographed but hopefully I will do that soon. 

So that's it for this year. Being on holiday means I can't sew, but I am knitting a cowl from some wool I bought this summer. With any luck, I'll actually manage to finish it in time so my aunt can wear it this winter. Oh yes...and I've indulged in a bit of fabric buying while in London...more on that later!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Indie patterns, controversies and losing myself in the blogosphere...

It was late. I was tired of sewing Halloween costumes (eagle wings, eagle mask, turtle shell). So I thought I'd do a bit of reading. An hour and a half later (and well past midnight)...

It started with this entry on the Colette blog about their new Rue pattern. I don't own the pattern, nor do I intend to buy it - not my style, really, and not a dress I can see myself wearing. And given my ongoing issues with Colette and Seamwork patterns and how they fit (briefly discussed here), I wasn't too keen anyway. So reading the blog post and, of course, ALL the comments that followed, led me to this wonderful post from Carolyn at Allspice Abounds. Wow...clearly I haven't been following along on the development of this controversy, or reading the right blogs. But all this reading was enlightening.

So what did I learn? First, I am not alone in my frustrations with how Colette patterns fit me. I keep thinking that I need to learn how to do more pattern alterations, and it'll be okay. Well yes, it would be a good skill to have, but maybe I also need to find another pattern company that suits me better and is drafted differently.

Second, this belief that an independent pattern company must be better in their pattern and design quality, simply because they are independent and not churning out large numbers of patterns is misguided. As many an astute blogger and sewist pointed out, they are, after all, businesses who are looking to make money, and not necessarily error-free because they are independent.

Third, that as much as I feel sometimes like I'm sewing/knitting/making in a void, there are LOTS of like-minded, sympathetic people out there who have similar frustrations and issues. I'd love to have an 'in-person' sewing/crafting group where I live, but until I find something to join, it's nice to know that there are virtual groups with whom I can share ideas.

So what now? I have a few Seamwork patterns printed that, simply because I spent the time and money printing them, I feel obligated to try. But moving forward, I think I really need to focus on some other pattern companies that seem to have a huge following. I recently purchased the Grainline Alder Shirtdress pattern, and don't think I've read one negative review of the pattern. I've also bought the Thread Theory Fairfield Shirt pattern for my husband, and am excited to stretch my sewing skills to a fitted man's shirt. And let's not forget, I use Oliver + S patterns almost exclusively for my children and cannot recommend them highly enough. I've also made a skirt and dress for myself from the Liesl + Co pattern collection, and love both of them.

Amazing how an hour of late night reading can lead to a day's worth of such deep thinking...

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Puppet Show Tunic

After making 3 pairs of Puppet Show bloomer shorts, I thought it was time to delve into the Puppet Show Tunic by Oliver + S. After cutting the Birthday Party Dress for M, there was enough fabric to make A the tunic with a contrasting bodice (leftover Japanese cotton from the Badminton Skort and top!).

This is a more time-consuming top than the Class Picnic top but in my bid to challenge myself more, and make 'fancier' things for A (for my own sake - she prefers grotty t-shirts most days), this was a good choice. I love the Oliver + S hem facings for the finish they provide, and as always, the instructions are clear and well-written. I top-stitched the collar, as instructed, but I think next time I might leave it without the top-stitching. It doesn't seem to lie as flat as I like, but maybe one wash will help it settle down. I think it might also look cute with elastic around the sleeve cuff instead of the button closure. 

I just ordered the Oliver + S Building Block Dress book and cannot WAIT to get it (arriving via V's parents from the US, which was much cheaper than paying the costs of shipping to Singapore). I am really excited to push myself beyond just using patterns as they are written, and do some simple design modifications myself. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Birthday Party Dress from Oliver + S

A while back, I went on a fabric buying expedition with my friend V to get fabric for her daughter, M. The last piece of fabric from that collection to be sewn was a lovely rosy-pink polka dot cotton. We bought it without a specific pattern in mind, but then decided the Birthday Party Dress from Oliver + S was perfect.

This is definitely the most involved dress of the four that I've made for M, but worth every minute. As with every Oliver + S pattern, the instructions are clear and detailed, and it was fun sewing something a bit more detailed than the usual simple dresses I've been making. 

Birthday Party Dress - Front View
Birthday Party Dress - Back View
Birthday Party Dress - button band detail
I was quite pleased that my button hoarding (including random buttons on clothing tags) was useful - the floral button on the front band was saved from a tag on a T-shirt I bought years ago!

Some handy tips:
1) There was some discussion on the oliver + s blog about how to attach the facing. You need to make sure you open up the folded button placket all the way before attaching the facing piece.

2) The fabric I used wasn't very light-weight, and I cut the facing out of the same fabric. Since the facing gets folded into the pleats, I think maybe next time I would use a lighter weight fabric for the facing, just so the top of the dress isn't quite as heavy.

There was enough fabric left so that I could cut out a Puppet Show tunic for A...more on that soon!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Badminton Top and Skort

My sewing machine has been in the shop for servicing (after 4 years...bit overdue!), so I've been feeling a bit lost without any sewing. The upside is that I have been knitting, and have finished the back and left front of a hoodie (the Wien pattern from Berroco) requested by my son. It has to be finished by December for a trip to the UK, so I need to persevere. And of course little sister can't be left out so I need to make her a cardigan for the same trip.

Before the sewing hiatus, I finished the Badminton Top and Skort from Oliver + S.

A skort is perfect for little girls this age who love skirts, but also love lifting them up constantly, hanging upside down or rolling around on the ground. This one is particularly cute with the scalloped hem facing. I used a Japanese quilting cotton which is really soft, with a coordinating piece for the top. I wish I'd made the top a little longer - given her rate of growth, it might not last that long. But now that we're (almost) out of diapers, the skort fits really well! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this pattern from Oliver + S?!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Seamwork Addison

FINALLY! I can finally blog about a successful creation from Seamwork/Colette patterns! While I do like the style of the patterns, the clarity of the instructions, and the handy tips on the Colette website, until this most recent top, I've had multiple issues with the finished product.

1) Colette Dahlia dress - I made the sleeveless version, and although I did make a muslin, the bodice length is  still about 3cm too long. It's wearable after adjusting the straps, but will need more adjustments next time.

2) Taffy blouse (from the Colette Sewing Handbook) - the neck was HUGE and it's only wearable after taking a pleat in the front.

3) Seamwork Mojave dress - the neck and shoulders are, again, huge and due to the construction of the dress, there's no way to really modify it and make it wearable. Sad, since I used a lovely Liberty tana lawn. I'm trying to see if I can refashion it into something else...

4) Seamwork Akita - neck was too big. I cut a size 6 everywhere else, but used the size 2 guide for the neck and it's still too wide. I used a cotton cheesecloth-type fabric, which stretches out after a few hours of wear, so it's okay to wear around the house, but I can't really wear it out for very long.

5) Colette Crepe - this one is okay (just), but the waist keeps riding up when I wear it, and the neck is again a bit too wide, so I find myself adjusting it constantly. That, and the armhole facings keep popping out, despite understitching them. I used a great Japanese lawn, but don't find myself wearing it as often as I thought I would.

So clearly I need to make some major adjustments to the neck and shoulder widths the next time I make one of these patterns, but I'm just not confident enough to do it without some help.

But, here's one that FINALLY worked. Yay! The Seamwork Addison is meant to have a collar, but I opted to do it without (not a big collar fan).

Seamwork Addison (without the collar)
The hem is straight (really!) but it's probably the way I'm standing that makes it look wonky. I'm especially happy because I managed to get this out of just 1 1/2 yards of fabric, instead of the 2+ yards indicated on the instructions. I bought this lovely Art Gallery Fabrics print a while back, without a specific garment in mind, and when this pattern came out earlier this year in the Seamwork Magazine, I thought it would be perfect. I cut a size 4 at the bust and graded it out to a size 6, although next time I might just do a straight size 6 for a little more ease through the shoulders.

The style is great for the Singapore weather, and after a day of wearing it, including an impromptu game of badminton, it's stood up quite well! After my previous not-so-successful makes from Colette/Seamwork, I'm quite pleased to have one that fits, and was quick too...

Monday, 29 August 2016

Flutter Sleeve Top (Take 2)

After finishing the yellow Badminton Dress, I had so much of the white fabric leftover I thought I needed to make another top for M. Anyone with small children knows that white isn't the most practical colour, but it just looks so pretty! And I had some lovely red and white striped ribbon (bought on impulse) that was crying out to be used. I had just enough fabric to make a Flutter Sleeve top (free pattern from It's Always Autumn).

Slightly wonky photo!

It matches perfectly with some shorts that M already had

I found a flower button that matched the ribbon perfectly for the front bow detail. My son and I played around with all the embroidery stitches on my Pfaff, but in the end, I decided to edge the sleeve with a simple three-step top stitch. I made the size 4 provided in the free pattern without any modifications, but I put a shorter length of elastic around the neck to make it a bit smaller on the shoulders. Now, when A stops spilling so much food while she eats, I might be brave enough to make her a white top!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Back to sewing

It's been a while since I updated this blog, and a while since I did much sewing. Instead, I was enjoying views like this one! We spent a glorious month in Canada visiting family and friends, and exploring the west coast. After two weeks of lovely weather and relaxing on the coast, I was ready to move there forever.

Although I didn't do any sewing, I did find a lovely little wool shop in Victoria, BC. The Beehive Wool Shop carries a large selection of wool, a lot of it from Canada. I had to resist the temptation to buy a skein of the most wonderful, soft yarn by Handmaiden called Sea Silk. Handmaiden yarns are made in Nova Scotia, Canada, and Sea Silk is 70% silk and 30% Seacell, a fibre made from seaweed! Luckily, I 'dragged' my mother there, and she bought a skein, so I can see what it looks like when it's knitted up. I did not leave empty-handed, though, and have a skein of another Canadian-made yarn called Serenity Silk by Zen Yarn Garden. I also have cotton and a fingering weight wool to make each of the kids a cardigan (for those rare occasions in Singapore when you actually need more than a T-shirt!). So plenty of knitting to keep me busy...

But since it's back to sewing again, here are a couple of things I finished before we left on holiday.

First, the oliver + s Class Picnic Shorts, made from the left-over fabric from the diaper bag, and a small piece of fabric left from the oliver + s Ice Cream Dress I made last year. pays to horde even the smallest scraps!

The shorts were quick to sew and look cute. I made a size 2, based on A's measurements, but either she's got a longer inseam than I expected or the diaper takes up more room than it should, so they are a bit snug in the crotch. I think next time I'll make the size 3, seeing as how the elastic back can compensate for the increase in the waist measurement. Otherwise, they are cute and great for the Singapore weather.

Once her brother got a stuffed pig, of course A wanted something too. So now Daisy the Dinosaur (courtesy of the Melly & Me pattern) lives in our house...

She was supposed to have horns, but I was told very specifically that this dinosaur could NOT have 'teeth'. I was secretly relieved...the horns are the most fiddly part of this little creature. 

And my first, post-vacation dress:

A modified oliver + s Badminton Dress. This one's for A's friend M, whose mum didn't want the ribbon band across the front, but it still looks pretty cute without the extra detail. I think this might be my current favourite oliver + s dress! Next up, I'm going to make the Badminton Skort with matching top (with fabric I've had for a year!). 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Amy Butler Reversible Sunday Sling Hack

My favourite kinds of bags to make are simple, quick bags that aren't too big, but big enough to grab when you're running to the store for a few things, or don't want to carry a purse. I made LOTS of shopping totes at Christmas, loosely based on the Purl Soho Railroad Tote. And I've made a few Amy Butler Swing Bags for friends (a pattern that seems to be out of print). But as I've mentioned before, I like the Amy Butler Sunday Sling for something a bit roomier and more substantial.

I've made it once before as a diaper bag, and when a friend told us she was expecting her first baby in May, I immediately thought of making a diaper bag. But this time, I decided to hack the pattern a bit. First, I thought a cover flap would be handy, since the bag doesn't have any closures at the top. Second, I'm not a huge fan of the tied handles (having had mine come untied as I was carrying my bag a couple of times), so I decided to change the strap. Instead of coming from the front of the bag, I put the handle at the sides (also to accommodate the cover). And finally, after seeing a few ideas for courier bags/satchels online, I decided to put elastic across the top of one of the inner pockets, just to hold the contents in a bit more securely.

So the results? Well, I'm not completely happy with some parts of it, but I'm trying hard to be less of a perfectionist, and accept things with flaws. The flaws are only really visible to me (and probably to my mother, who's even more of a perfectionist when it comes to sewing!). My friend was thrilled with the bag, which is the most important thing.

The elasticated pocket was trickier than I thought, and my fusible fleece didn't fuse as well as it should have (apparently if it sits around for a long time, it's less 'sticky' and in this humidity, that process is probably escalated). 

But, I LOVE the fabric. It's the new denim collection from Art Gallery Fabrics, and the lining is from Cloud 9. I love it so much, I had enough to make my daughter a pair of shorts...more on that later! The cover flap on the bag is definitely a good addition, and I really do prefer the one strap coming from the sides of the bag. If I make this bag again (and I do have a request from another friend who recently had a baby!), I'll do it the same way. Next time, I might even venture into putting magnetic closures on the front flap...

Simple sewing

Recently, my friend D saw the pillowcase dress I made for my daughter's friend M, and asked if I could make one for her. I hesitated slightly...I wasn't sure that a pillowcase dress would look as great on an adult (with curves) compared to a toddler. After some 'research' on Pinterest and other websites, I found a few tutorials and pictures. Thank you to Melly Sews for a straightforward tutorial on how to draft a basic pattern. D also sent me a few pictures she found, mostly from high-end children's clothing websites from France, of lovely, unusual pillowcase style dresses in linen. The end result? Not one, but TWO 'pillowcase' dresses for D!

The first was meant to be a sample/practise using a navy broadcloth I had at home, but she liked it so much I finished the seams and used home-made bias for the armholes and drawstring casing. The second was with a lovely khaki linen I bought 2 years ago to make myself pants. The pants didn't materialise, so D suggested the cloth was meant to be used for her dress!

She's very pleased with her new dresses, and they are perfect for the hot and humid weather here. And she proves that you can pull off a pillowcase dress, even if you do have curves!

Monday, 30 May 2016

oliver + s sketchbook shirt

When my parents visited in March, my mum made my son a Sketchbook Shirt from oliver + s. He wanted a black and white shirt ('like a zebra') with a pocket. Luckily for us, we found a lovely Japanese cotton lawn in black and white. He also wanted the band collar.

 The shirt fits really well - we made a size 5 - except for the length, which my mum felt was a bit short. It's fine for now, but given that my son's growing in length but not in width, if the shirt had been a bit longer, it probably would last a few more months.

On a recent fabric buying spree, I picked up a cute cream cotton with small red bicycles. I intended to make myself a skirt, but realised after I got home that the very nice saleslady had cut 1/2 a yard too little. Luckily, it was just enough for another Sketchbook shirt! After sewing so much for my daughter and her friend, I admit I felt a bit guilty that I wasn't sewing anything for my son.

I realise now that the unattractive green hanger isn't showing the shirt off well, but I am quite pleased with the results. I also managed to use only 1 1/4 yards (not the 1 1/2 yards indicated on the pattern). Some people commented on the oliver + s website that the yoke construction was a bit confusing, but I found it fine, as long as you follow the instructions and work carefully. I made this a size 5, but used the size 7 for length, and it fits better and hopefully will last a little longer! Next up - the Sketchbook Shorts!

The Olivia Cardigan

As a true sewer (sewist?), knitter, crafter, I have about 3 projects on the go at one time. That is probably a conservative estimate. I just cannot seem to stick to the 'don't start one until the other is finished' approach to creating things. Maybe it's the need to add variety to my life. I'd like to think it's that, and not a short attention span...

That said, I actually finished not one, not two but THREE projects this weekend. Yay me!

First up, the Olivia Cardigan from What To Knit - The Toddler Years.

I started this when A was ill with a fever that meant all I could do was sit beside her on the sofa. I think I managed to finish more than half the sweater this way. The rest knitted up quickly, even the lace pattern on the bottom. I love that the only finishing required is under the sleeves. Knitting from the top-down is GREAT! I used Malabrigo Arroyo yarn in Archangel - it's so nice to knit with, and drapes well when finished. It's supposed to be blocked, but I'm afraid to do it in Singapore where wet sweaters just start smelling funky instead of drying properly. I think it's actually fine as it is, so might just skip the blocking on this one.

My next knitting project is for me - much more complicated and requires far more attention to the instructions. I have a feeling I won't finish that one for a while...

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Purl Soho Summer Romper

On a recent fabric buying expedition, I picked up a yard of a very cute print in cotton from Art Gallery Fabrics (the Capped Biome pattern from the Forest Floor collection). I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but couldn't resist buying it. The pattern goes perpendicular to the grain (so the mushrooms are sideways), but I was sure I'd find something to make with it.

And sure enough, a few days later I discovered the Purl Soho free summer romper pattern! The mushroom fabric didn't come to mind immediately, but when I was going through my stash looking for something else, I saw it, and realised it had to be made into the romper.

I made a Size 2 based on the measurements provided in the instructions, but I think now I should have made a larger size. I don't think the pattern makes allowances for diapers! I also think my 2-year old has a long torso, so a size 3 would probably have lasted a few more months. 

I reduced the hem from 1" to just under 3/4". The larger hem was going right up into the crotch seam and I wanted a bit more room between the legs. The instructions say to sew the waistband casing into a loop before attaching it, and I personally don't think that works. I ended up taking the seam out, and then attaching it the same way you attach a bias. The instructions don't say to cut the waistband casing on the bias, but, in fact, if you're going to make your own bias for this romper (as I did), I'd just make more bias and use some for the inner waistband casing. 

Otherwise, it's a simple pattern that sews up quickly (if you actually get uninterrupted sewing time!), and the fabric is a dream. I'm hooked on Art Gallery Fabrics now...

Monday, 16 May 2016

Flutter Sleeve Dress

Thank you to It's Always Autumn for a great, simple pattern for a little girl's dress! The Flutter Sleeve dress/top was requested by my friend for her daughter M, and they found a fabric they loved on our most recent shopping expedition.

I did a trial version for my daughter a few weeks ago, and made it into a top. I modified the pattern slightly, since the free pattern online is for a 4-year old, so I thought it might be too big for my 2 1/2 year old. This time around, for M, I used the original pattern so she can use it for a long time to come.

The fabric is from Cloud 9 Fabrics, the Aubade Collection in Morn's Rays Silver. It's lovely to work with, and I am in the middle of making a diaper bag for a good friend using the Citron colourway in the same pattern as the lining. More on that soon! 

Friday, 13 May 2016

Meet Wilbur

When I bought the Sewn Toy Tales book a year ago, my son insisted that he wanted the pig, because it was pink, and at the time, that was his favourite colour. I bought the fabric (his choices) last July in the UK, and sadly it's taken me until now to finish the pig. Although pink is no longer his favourite colour (because 'it's not a colour in the rainbow!'), we're reading Charlotte's Web right now, and he's quite taken with the story and with Wilbur. So here's our version of Wilbur the pig!

My daughter insisted on the dinosaur, until she saw Wilbur. Now she wants a dinosaur AND a pig. Of course...

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

oliver + s class picnic blouse

When I finally got around to organising my fabric stash recently, I found some fun floral fabric I bought on sale at John Lewis last summer. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it at the time (just giving in to my inability to resist pretty fabric!). When I found it again, it seemed perfect for a top for my daughter. I had already made A some oliver + s puppet show shorts and thought the class picnic blouse would be perfect with it.

She loves it, and the cotton fabric is light enough for the weather here. Several hours after I took this picture, she spilled cold tea on herself, so I have now been trying to take tea stains out of the blouse! Good thing the fabric is extra wide and I have enough left for another one should my stain removing attempts fail...

Colette Sorbetto Top

One of the first things I sewed for myself here in Singapore was the Colette patterns Sorbetto top. It's a free pattern and a simple top to sew. I used a light blue Belgian linen and followed the pattern as instructed. For my second one, I made a few changes. First, I lengthened the top by a couple of inches. Second, I made bias tape with some leftover Japanese lawn but turned the bias to the inside rather than having it on the outside of the top. And finally, I inverted the box pleat and created a faux button placket at the top. I found some beautiful mother-pearl-buttons at the Button Queen in London when we were there last summer and they've been waiting to be used ever since.  I used dark navy linen I found in Chinatown - hopefully it'll go well with my Everyday Skirt!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Sewing frustrations

I've hit a bit of a speed-bump in my sewing...sort of. I still have a LONG list of projects on my to-do board, and I'm chipping away at them when I can sneak in a seam or two between domestic responsibilities! But the last couple of things I've made for myself have left me feeling a bit frustrated. I bought some beautiful tana lawn to make myself the Seamwork Mojave dress, thinking it would be perfect for the Singapore weather. It was pretty quick to sew (as promised), but the shoulders were SO wide that it's sadly unwearable. I guess I should have made a muslin first, but didn't think it would be too bad, judging by the pattern. Apart from ripping out all the seams and trying to salvage it, I'm not sure what to do with it. My mother suggested keeping it intact and cutting out a dress for my daughter, which might just be the best use for it now.

Then I decided to make the Akita top, again from Seamwork Magazine. This promised to be really fast, since it's only 1 pattern piece! This time, I made a muslin. The neck and shoulders were still quite big on the size 6, but I thought it would work if I cut out a size 6 and used the size 2 marking for the neck. Well, it mostly worked, except the shoulders are still really wide and it keeps slipping off and exposing bra straps (not a look I like!). Maybe it's because I used a really fine cotton cheesecloth fabric which does stretch a bit, but even so, I'm not thrilled with the shoulders. This is the third item of clothing I've made from Colette/Seamwork where the shoulders were too big. Ugh...except for seriously modifying the pattern pieces, it doesn't seem as though there's much else to do...

So what do you do when you hit a sewing low? Why, go fabric shopping of course! My friend wanted me to sew her daughter a few things, so what better excuse to add to my ever-growing stash?! My daughter spotted fabric with Knuffle Bunny on it (from the books by Mo Willems), so of course I couldn't leave without a metre of that one...probably for a cushion!

M perusing the choices for her in exchange for babysitting, I get to sew!
On a successful sewing note, I did finish the Everyday Skirt by Liesl + Co. with a fabulous Cloud 9 fabric I found. The skirt fits well and is great for the weather here. I even convinced myself that I needed more fabric for another one, this time with bicycles on it!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Finally finished!

It's back to knitting! I finally finished the cardigan I started for my niece several months ago (let's not say how many!). It's Saskia's Lace Detail Cardigan from the Debbie Bliss book Eco Family.

I used Sirdar Baby Bamboo yarn and made the 12-18 month size. I used 4 balls, plus just enough of a 5th one to finish the last 2 rows of the edging, and I used 3.5mm needles. I actually did a tension swatch, which I admit that I never used to do, but it was worth it for this sweater. Baby Bamboo is a lovely yarn to knit with, but it is quite heavy, and you need more than you'd expect.

There are errors in the published pattern, but you can find the corrections on Ravelry or elsewhere. I would normally write them here, but an enthusiastic toddler got to my pattern with a pencil and it seems my hand-written corrections have been scribbled over! 

I seem to have a tendency to flit between projects, between knitting and sewing, so I need to force myself to finish things! I made a 'to-do' list of my sewing and knitting projects, and the length of each list is slightly daunting, but definitely helps me focus on getting projects finished, if only so I can check things off the list!

Now off to finish the next knitting project!

Thursday, 25 February 2016


More fun from Oliver + S! This time, pajamas. The first set I made for my son were the Sleepover Pajamas, largely because he wanted pajamas with pockets and buttons down the front (very specific!). The fabric became another challenge...I was tasked with finding fabric that not only had turtles, but also fish, because 'Fish and turtles live together in the sea, so my pajamas need to have both'. Yikes! Thank goodness that I happened to discover just the right fabric at Sing Mui Heng. Yes, I was a super-star mother that day!! And as an added bonus, I found matching fish buttons.

I loved sewing these pajamas, and my son loves wearing them. I did learn, though, that funky shaped buttons, while very cute, are not easy for little fingers to manipulate, especially when they're just learning how to do buttons. I've had to re-sew 2 buttons already, and a third looks like it's on it's last thread! Next time, round buttons only! And judging by the success of this pattern, I think I'll have to invest in the next size up, since he's almost outgrown the size 4 I made a few months ago.

I couldn't leave my daughter out of the pajama frenzy, of course, so I decided to make her the Bedtime Story Pajamas.

The great thing about these is that there are no buttons! I replaced the ties with ribbon I found at VV Rouleaux in London (what a great place!!), largely because I couldn't be bothered to make my own ties. But the ribbon matches and looks cute. Let's see how long until my daughter figures out how to untie her pajama top!

Well, it seems that I started this entry a while back, so updates...I made a very ROOKIE mistake and didn't realise that the fabric I used for the Bedtime Story Pajamas wasn't preshrunk. Oops. After one wash, the fit wasn't quite, well, right. Also, while I love the ribbon, it's slippery and when a toddler moves around in her sleep, by morning the ribbons have undone themselves and the top has come open. Hmm...

So take two...I made my daughter the Sleepover Pajamas, making sure I washed and dried the fabric first (!), and used ROUND buttons instead of anything cute and impossible to do up. And since I didn't feel like trekking across town to find buttons, I luckily managed to find the right size buttons in my stash of leftover buttons.


I'm pleased to say that these don't come undone at night, and there's plenty of room to grow in both the sleeve cuffs and the leg cuffs. Now I have to make another pair for my son!

Fat quarter bag

My two-year old daughter seems to have inherited my love of bags. All shapes, sizes, colours...and if she can somehow wrangle the handles across her shoulders so it looks like a backpack, then that's even better! Her little friend M also seems to have a love of it a girl thing?!

Today is M's birthday, and I've already made her the oliver + s popover sundress in the same organic cotton butterfly print from Cloud 9 fabrics that I've used before. But I thought a little bag to put it in would be fun. The bag takes just one fat quarter of fabric (or two if you want a contrasting lining) and a bit of webbing (or you can make your own handles).

Step 1: Cut each fat quarter in half lengthways. I straightened my edges so each piece was about 22" long and 9" wide. The picture shows the selvedge still on, but I ended up trimming it off. The webbing was leftover from a Christmas tote bag project. Using my 2-year old as my size guide, I cut each handle 17" long (allowing for 1/2" seam allowance at each end). The webbing I used is 1-inch wide, but slightly narrower would be fine.

Step 2: Pin the raw edge of one handle approximately 1" away from the long edge of the right side of the outer piece. Making sure it's not twisted, pin the other end of the strap 1" away from the other long edge. Place the lining fabric right-side down to sandwich the straps between the layers and readjust your pins. Sew across the top using a 1/2" seam allowance. Repeat at the other end.

Step 3: Press the seam allowances towards the lining. Fold the bag in half with the right side out, matching the top edges and press to create a crease on the bottom of the bag. 

Step 4: Fold one half of the bag back over itself, creating a 1" fold at the bottom. Press and repeat with the other half. The lining should be showing now and you should have a small pleat at the bottom. 

Step 5: Sew the long edges using a 1/2" seam allowance. Trim and finish using a zig-zag stitch or a serger (still on my wish list!!). 

Turn your bag right side out, et voila! A cute little bag made from just 1 fat quarter (or two half pieces). Just big enough for a little girl to carry her worldly possessions. You could get pretty creative with ribbons and different fabrics...but my sewing window today wasn't long enough to get too crazy!