Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Winter dress in corduroy

Another pattern from Girls Style Book: an unlined A-line dress with straps. The pattern is intended to be loose-fitting with no opening at the back, but I adapted it by taking in the sides a couple of centimetres, adding an invisible zip and lining the whole dress. The dress in the book is in linen, which would be stunning, but as much as I wanted to, I couldn't justify making a linen dress at such a chilly time of year. So I went for corduroy instead, with cotton lining, and it's nice and cosy.

When we had a bit of sun today I rushed out to get some photos but R was not terribly cooperative - she seems to really dislike being photographed lately. Then she started being silly and the shoot degenerated into a gigglefest... and I ended up without a photo that shows the dress in its entirety. It is seriously cute though!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A blouse for R

I have no idea why R chose to hold a spade for this photo..

There are a couple of Japanese pattern books I've been coveting for ages, but things are a bit tight financially and I have displayed an amazing amount of restraint (so far) by not buying them. Happily, both the books have recently appeared in our local library and are currently in my possession, where they will remain for at least three weeks - at which point I'll probably have to buy them for myself anyway because they're so fantastic.

I chose a blouse pattern from the fabulous Girls Style Book but had no idea what size to trace for R. She's very petite - so wouldn't a Japanese pattern fit her better than, say, an American one? Turns out that would have been a very bad assumption to make. I did a bit of research and found this great French website where you can click on various Japanese pattern books and see (and read about, if you speak French) what different people have sewn from them. I soon established that the sizes in Girls Style Book are huge, which is good to know as I would have been very annoyed had I sewn up a gigantic, tent-like garment.

In keeping with my no-budget approach to sewing (which will probably not last the week, given that I now have two books full of great patterns), I used some fabric my mum gave me a couple of years ago. And although I wasn't that keen on the fabric at first, I have grown to like it a lot.

So here it is, pattern L made in size 2 with size 4 length for my 5-year-old daughter. Simple to sew and very sweet.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Playgroup art and craft: Autumn leaves

We are well into Autumn now, and many trees around Melbourne are turning glorious shades of yellow, orange, red and brown. Among Autumn's great pleasures are admiring the changing colours, finding especially beautiful leaves on the ground and enjoying the wonderful crunch of dry leaves underfoot (when it hasn't been raining. The sludgy, slimy feeling of walking on wet leaves is not so pleasant).

R and I collected some Autumn leaves and a bag of gumnuts to take to playgroup and found that they made interesting patterns when dipped in paint and pressed onto paper. The leaf patterns soon disappeared as the children discovered the joys of fingerpainting and handprints!

Today R and I came across some irresistible leaves at the park and brought them home. I asked her to arrange them on a piece of greaseproof (waxed) paper, put another piece on top and ironed it. She was delighted to see her leaves sealed inside the paper! I have fond memories of making these leaf pictures in kindergarten (or perhaps school?) as a young child. When put up on a window they  have a lovely translucence.

Two things to remember: make sure the waxed sides of the greaseproof paper are facing each other so the wax can melt and seal the picture, and put a tea-towel or cloth over the paper before you iron it, or you may end up with a waxy iron.