Friday, 15 August 2014

Pintucks and lace: a Sunny top

I'm thrilled to be part of the sewVery Sunny Pattern tour! The Sunny is an A-line dress or top which can be made with or without a ruffle at the neck. Both versions have an elasticised, low back and ties which fasten in a bow, courtesy of some ingenious loops. This is an easy-to-sew pattern that offers a lot of bang for something that can be sewn up so quickly. The PDF comes with very comprehensive instructions accompanied by photographs, making it suitable for beginning sewists as well as those with more experience.

Unlike some PDF patterns this one is a breeze to print and tile, with only 8 pattern pages. I really appreciated this when putting it together! (I once bought a Burda pattern online, which had - I kid you not - close to 100 pages. Needless to say, I never even printed it.)


Having already made a Sunny dress for the testing phase of the pattern, I thought I'd jazz things up a bit by adding pintucks. Were I not so mathematically-challenged this would have been a simple alteration, but it took much scratching of the head, chalking and re-chalking, sewing and resewing, before I finally achieved what I was hoping for: four neat(ish) pintucks down the centre of the front. I like the effect.

In my last post I wrote about the difficulty of getting R to wear shorts. Because she won't wear shorts or pants, many of her looser-fitting tops - the ones that don't look good with skirts - have sat unloved in the wardrobe, including some of my favourite sews - such as this and this. Too sad. I didn't want the same fate to befall her new Sunny top, so I used a secret weapon: lace. I already know she loves the crossover straps and the bow at the back - as do I - but I'm hoping an extra bit of frilliness will provide enough incentive for her to wear the top. And now that I think of it, a little straightish skirt would go really nicely with this style of top - maybe that will be my next project.

R loves her Sunny top. She wore it all day after I photographed it, even though it's winter and the maximum temperature that day was 13 degrees. I call that a success.

Oh, and because I got impatient and sewed the elastic in without doing a fitting first, you might notice that the top is a little looser around the chest than intended, but it will be easily fixed. And come summer, I know this little gingham-and-lace number won't be languishing in the wardrobe with the other tops!

This is the second-last day of the Sunny Dress & Top blog tour, but if you'd like to check out some wonderful versions of Veronica's pattern, here's the list of participants:

To celebrate the launch of the Sunny pattern, Veronica is giving away two copies to two lucky winners. You can enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also get 20% off the pattern until the end of the tour using the code SUNNY20. So get in quick! You can buy the pattern here.

Thanks for having me on your blog tour, Veronica!

Friday, 8 August 2014


No, it's not a short skirt... it's a shortskirt! Shorts that look like a skirt. Why would anyone make such a thing, you may wonder? Well, for a start, they are cute in a frilly kind of way. And, most importantly, the cunning trick of hiding the shorts under layers of ruffly skirt makes the garment more palatable to my shorts-averse daughter, in much the same way that disguising kale as 'chips' might persuade a child to enjoy their leafy greens (note the word 'might).

This is one pair of shorts that R has really taken to. As you can see I've pulled out all the stops with these: pretty, girlish fabric; ruffles; ribbon and bow. Short of encrusting them with sequins, surrounding them with My Little Ponies and having them modelled by Princess Anna of Arendelle, I don't think they could be any more appealing to a girly girl like my daughter.

The pattern is from the fabulous Sweet Clothes for Girls and has the sensible inclusion of an opening in the waistband, enabling late-night sewists to take a stab at the amount of elastic required, knowing it can easily be altered later (or expanded as the child grows older). 

I'll be adding these shorts to Shorts on the Line on Kollabora - assuming I can work out how to :)

(I did work it out! The link is here, in case you want to check it out!)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A Sunny Dress in winter

I recently tested a new pattern for Veronica of sewVery: the Sunny Dress and Top (available in her pattern shop here). This was my first time pattern testing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and all the discussion and communication between the testers that went along with it.

Both options A and B of this pattern feature a low back with straps that are tied at the back, either crossed or straight. Dress/top A has a ruffle at the neck; dress/top B has a plain front. I sewed up the option B dress in some lovely light voile which had been waiting in my cupboard to become a summery dress.

R's dress is size 4 (based on her chest measurements) with size 6 length (based on her height). I sewed the dress exactly as per the pattern, with one exception: I added in-seam pockets, using the same tutorial I've previously linked to. Without the addition of pockets you could probably sew this dress up in an hour or so, depending, of course, on whether or not you have young children at home, in which case you will be constantly interrupted by demands for food/conflict resolution/computer troubleshooting etc etc, until your one hour stretches into several and you feel like screaming. Or is that just me?

R loves her new dress, especially the bow at the back. Unfortunately it's not exactly summery weather around here, so she's going to have to wait a few months before she can put it on again (I had to crank up the heating for this photoshoot!).

Stay tuned for another 'Sunny' later this month as part of Veronica's blog tour!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

I made bathers!

Having finally persuaded R to give the school swimming program a go, I realised I'd provided myself with the perfect excuse to try out the new Cosi Swimsuit pattern from sewpony. And sewing these up wasn't half as difficult as I thought it would be!

Finding swimsuit fabric, however, was not all that easy - I ended up buying some 'scuba knit' on special from Spotlight and hoping it would do the trick. And, while they certainly look and feel like a pair of bathers, I must confess I have no idea what this fabric will do in the water and how it will respond to chlorine. These concerns aside, I am thrilled with the way the bathers turned out and the way they fit R so beautifully.

I made size 4 with size 5 length, also taking in the sides of the bottom section a little, as they somehow wound up being a little wider than the top part. Oh, and it was hard to figure out how the elastic was meant to be distributed around the legs and top section, but I just winged it and it seems to have worked out fine.

I'll be looking out for more swimsuit fabric and sewing up some more of these in the future - such a cute pattern with so many options.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

KCW - It's all about the pom-poms

For a quick and easy project you can't go past the infinity scarf - and when I saw these pom-poms in the shop I knew R would love them. Although it's winter I made the scarf in a thin cotton voile, hoping this would make it trans-seasonal.

R wasn't in the mood for modelling - the sun had come out and she was in a hurry to get outside and get on her scooter. But she did like the coloured pom-poms and was keen to show me her favourite one.

Anyone squeezing in any last-minute KCW items?

Friday, 25 July 2014

KCW - Jersey & cotton dress, and a long cardigan

I've been sewing in little bits and pieces all this week, but - so frustrating! - haven't been able to finish up, photograph and post til now. At least I have the satisfaction of having made two things that go well together, and that I think will get a lot of wear.

The dress:
Pattern: Dress E-9 from A Sunny Spot
Size: 110, with 120 length
Fabric: cotton jersey, quilting cotton, silver ric-rac

Not much to say about this. Lovely pattern, easy sew, added the silver ric-rac to pick up the little dots of silver on the skirt part, and because I knew R would love it. A nice loose-fitting, comfy dress with a cute bias-binding tie at the back (hard to photograph, as R's hair covers it).

The cardigan:
Pattern: Long cardigan F-14 from A Sunny Spot
Size: 110, with 120 length
Fabric: cotton sweatshirt fabric

I really love the style of this cardigan, which has buttons down the top section and a slightly gathered lower section that sits open. The gathering didn't work all that well with the thickish fabric, and my machine did not like making buttonholes in it either, but the result is very pleasing nevertheless. As this is the second grey top I've made for R this winter, and as she is not exactly a huge fan of grey (what six-year-old is?) I used buttons in various shades of blue/purple. Finding identical buttons in four different colours was probably the most difficult (and time-consuming) part of making this! Luckily the staff at Darn Cheap are used to seeing me crouching in the button aisle for hours on end.

I have one more very small project planned, which I hope I can finish by tomorrow. I'm so enjoying seeing everyone's fabulous creations on the Kids Clothes week website. Keep 'em coming!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

And now for something completely different...

The second-last day of school holidays and our arrangements fell through, leaving us with no plans for what promised to be a cold and wet day. Terrified at the prospect of a day at home with two children who do nothing but fight, I came up with a solution that would require both a shopping mission (takes up time that might otherwise be spent bickering) and a hands-on activity (distracts children from annoying each other): TERRARIUMS.

I did a bit of research here before we embarked on a nice long shopping expedition to our local strip (which seems to have more two-dollar shops per capita than anywhere else in the world) and found a pair of fishbowl-shaped vases. Then came a leisurely stroll around Bunnings, where we picked up potting mix and sphagnum moss, and where the kids chose some shade-loving plants. I already had activated charcoal at home, and figured we could scrape up some gravel or little rocks from the garden, so we didn't have to buy those.

K and R filled up their fishbowls with the first three layers (little rocks, charcoal, sphagnum moss) and I added the potting mix and helped them with the plants. Then came the fun bit - adding decorations. K used some smooth stones from our last seaside holiday; R used the stones, plus shells, plus glass 'jewels', plus a small plastic animal whose species is hard to ascertain (is it a cat? a dog? a fox?). Both terrariums look beautiful and I really hope they will thrive. And now that I have all the gear I can hardly wait to go buy a giant fishbowl and make my own one!

Oh yeah, would anyone like to offer an opinion as to what this animal is intended to be? R is calling it a fox, but its tail would suggest otherwise... its face is distinctly un-catlike, though.