Friday, 24 October 2014

Kids Clothes Week: Pierre top

There once was a boy named Pierre
who only would say "I don't care!"
Read his story, my friend
For you'll find at the end
that a suitable moral lies there.

That, for those who don't know, is the prologue to Maurice Sendak's tiny book Pierre. Pierre is part of the Nutshell Library, a  collection of four miniature books (and the other three are pretty cool too). I had these books when I was growing up, and my sister bought a copy for my kids a few years ago.

Since Pierre is a favourite at our house, and since my son K shares some of Pierre's lack of respect for parental authority, I thought it would be appropriate to use Pierre's catchphrase on a top for him. Originally I was just going to use the words, but I thought they might seem a little less harsh if combined with Pierre's image - less 'ten-year-old ratbag' and more 'clever literary reference'. Those who find the phrase a little negative will be heartened to know that at the end of the story the moral is 'care' (but what would be the fun of putting that on a kids' top?).

While K is not short of attitude, I get plenty of smiles as well. And gosh he's a ham - most of the photos I got were of ridiculous faces and silly Michael Jackson-like crotch-grabbing dance moves.

Anyway, on to the details: the singlet is made from brushed cotton jersey and instead of ribbing I used a very stretchy cotton jersey in a different colour. I drafted the pattern based on one of K's tops and the sewing was very straightforward. I printed the image and text onto T-shirt transfer paper and ironed it onto the top. It seems to have adhered well but there are some slightly whitish bits that feel like they may be residue from the paper. Either they'll come off in the wash, or else I overcooked the whole thing and... well, I've never used these transfers before, so I'm a little scared to wash it and find out!

My next KCW project, which I will attempt to photograph tomorrow, is - coincidentally - also blue and green. Back very soon, I hope!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

A tutorial

Something different today - I'm posting a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew. Click on over and have a look!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

It's Kid's Clothes Week, but... the time I finish sewing, photographing and blogging my KCW stuff it'll probably be the weekend. So in the meantime I'm just going to post about a gift I made for my nephew R a couple of weeks ago, when he turned 7: a cubby-house kit!

I saw these things online a few years ago and loved the idea of making one, then forgot about it until R's birthday this month, when it struck me that it would be the kind of thing he'd appreciate. My kids are always trying to build cubbies (what you in the US seem to call 'forts') and getting frustrated when their sheets and blankets don't stay put. Clothes pegs and bulldog clips will only get you so far, unfortunately. This kit solves that problem by including the following:

* 2 sheets with loops and ties at each corner and in the middle of each edge
* 2 sets of nice big clamps for attaching sheets to chairs etc
* a torch and some glow-sticks for use inside the cubby

Other kits I've seen include rope as well, but for safety reasons I'm not comfortable with that and I wanted the cubby to be something R could play with unsupervised, so I didn't include it.

I used op-shop sheets and attached the loops and ties using strips of cotton jersey. All the other things I bought at a two-dollar shop. I was thrilled to find the perfect fabric at Spotlight for making the bag: a cotton drill with a cool camping print. I made a simple two-tone drawstring bag based on this tutorial, sized to fit the contents of the kit, and attached a label so R would know what it was (otherwise imagine the disappointment of thinking you'd been given sheets for your birthday! He'd think I was the worst aunt ever!).

I wish I had managed to take photos of the contents, but alas, it was a bit of a busy week and all I could manage was the bag... but apparently R has already built a giant cubby with his kit (apologies to my sister for encouraging her children to take over the lounge room) and it worked brilliantly.

Back soon with some Kid's Clothes Week sewing, provided my model is cooperative!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Monday, 6 October 2014

Hooray for marble runs

Whenever I hit on something that captures the imaginations of both my 6-year-old and my 10-year-old, it's like I've struck gold. And today I'm sharing that gold with you!

School holidays have just ended, and unfortunately almost every day of them involved what felt like hours of squabbling between K and R, to the point that I thought there must be something seriously wrong with my parenting (which there may well be)... BUT then I remembered that I'd been saving toilet rolls and cardboard rolls for months so we could make marble runs. And this turned out to be the best holiday activity ever.

Some giant sheets of cardboard (found in the shed, left over from our cardboard Christmas tree), my carefully hoarded cardboard tubes and a roll of masking tape resulted in a happy and productive morning. Marble runs provide a lot of opportunities for problem-solving: the marbles get stuck, they fly out at the wrong spot, they fail to do what you expect them to. But because the whole construction is held together with masking tape, it's easy to alter things, experiment, try again til you get it right. Educational and fun - so perhaps I'm not such a crappy parent after all.

K and R are so proud of their marble runs, and so am I. I'm also proud of myself for thinking up an activity that was so engaging they forgot to fight. Hooray for marble runs!

Friday, 26 September 2014

The short story of a long nightie

R loves her pink flannel nightie so much, it's been difficult getting it into the laundry basket. Clearly a second one was needed, and clearly - as our cold weather is just about over - I've been rather slow in making it (despite having bought this Anna Maria Horner fabric a couple of months ago). But hey, I got there in the end, didn't I? And I've made this one super long, with extra long sleeves so it will still fit her next winter.

This is the third time I've sewn dress pattern J from Girly Style Wardrobe, and as I did with nightie number 1, I moved the placket to the front, lengthened the dress and added a frill.

I used 'diamond' buttons to add some sparkle.

And I'm pleased to report that tonight the pink nightie is (finally) in the laundry basket, and - as I write this - a little someone is sleeping sweetly in the blue one.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Kids Clothes Week blog


I'm posting over at the Kids Clothes Week blog today - go check it out! 

And now that I've got that first KCW post done and dusted I can start planning my own storybook-inspired kids' clothes. I have a couple of ideas, but gee it's hard applying this theme to my older child, ten-year-old boys not being all that fond of storybooks. I'm going to have to think outside the square for this one...

Back soon with a bit of pre-KCW sewing - as soon as I can persuade R to model it, that is :)