Bag lady

One of my bucket-list items was selling something handmade at a Christmas market. Check! Now I’ve done it.

pack

I made these little fruit-and-veggie bags out of some mesh curtains from Spotlight, and some cotton cord. There were three sizes, and each pack had one biggie, two middle-sized ones, and one littlie.

big

big

middle

middle

small

little

I’m pleased to report that all 20 sets sold out by midday. It’s kind of boring sewing, but all the same I love that they’re out in the world preventing plastic bag usage. I haven’t spotted any at the farmers’ markets yet, but I’m keeping a look out…

set

We’re lucky in Wellington to have several weekend farmers’ markets, with great seasonal produce at a bargain price. Lately I’ve been eating so much corn that I’m expecting to turn into a giant corn cob at any moment. Or possibly a giant cherry, it could go either way.

Anyway my next bucket list item is staying in an over-water bungalow on a tropical island. Bring it on!

Here comes another one – New Look 6968

new look 6968 3

And this one wasn’t made in a day. It’s version A this time, but without sleeves.

6968

The fabric is a cotton sateen from the Fabric Warehouse, which I bought when Penny (from Dressesandme) was in town.  Actually I think she’s now better known as Penny (formerly from Dressesandme) – I’m not sure where else she’s found these days. Anyway for me this fabric has a memory attached to it, which is the best kind of fabric really.

pattern

I just love the neck detail, and obviously with this print I had to sew it VERY VERY carefully so the darts were symmetrical.

pleats

I wasn’t sure if it’d end up looking like a Magic Eye print, causing passers-by to gaze at me crosseyed and shout “I’ve got it!”. But no-one has (yet), so I think it’s OK. Did Magic Eye even make it out of 1993? Let’s move on, quickly.

You may have noticed the zip at the top there – I attached some ribbon to either side of it, and it’s the loveliest way to make it a bit special. I machine-stitched it to the facing and lining on one side (right side of facing to wrong side of ribbon), and slip-stitched the other side to the zip by hand.

tape

There’s a blind hem, and a kick-pleat at the back (or a vent? I always wonder if kick-pleat is the right term. It isn’t a pleat).

new look 6968 2

And you’ll be seeing this one again, I’m afraid. In fact, I already have fabric purchased for iteration 3. I really need to branch out and make some new patterns.

new look 6968 6

A slightly out of season jacket – Simplicity 2209

Only slightly out of season… today is summer but it’s officially “gloomy” according to the Met Service. Gloomy is not something Wellington does very often, so I had to look it up in the dictionary. One of the definitions was “a good day for blogging”*, so I got right into it.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 9.50.13 pm

Here’s a jacket I made a little while ago, with fabric from last year’s Fabric-a-brac.

simplicity 2209 a

The pattern is Simplicity 2209.

Simplicity 2209

It’s a sweet little jacket, with three quarter sleeves and a single button closure. The collar can be ruffled or flat.

I had a few fitting dramas with this one, but I think I got close enough in the end. I also made a few alterations as you can see – full length sleeves, added lining, and made regular buttonholes. All of these were done because my fabric was winter-weight and I wanted the jacket to be a bit more weather-proof.

simplicity 2209 d

Next time I’ll make the original version, maybe in a heavy cotton if I can find a good one. I do like the single-button closure and shorter sleeves; it would be great for the warmer parts of the year.**

simplicity 2209 e

*Results not guaranteed in all dictionaries.
** By which I mean January to March.

Vintage sheet quilt

“Oh Pinterest,” I cried at 11pm the week before Christmas, “Pinterest, you are a tease and a heartbreaker. Year after year I am lured in by a pixellated promise of a stylish frock, a delicious meal or a piece of homeware that will take no more than a single hour to construct! Yet every year I am left toiling into the wee hours. How short our memories and fickle our desires.”

I give you, a quilt.

sheet quilt 1

The inspiration for this was this gorgeous thing, as seen on Pinterest. All year I’ve been collecting old cotton sheets from op-shops (and honestly, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop, I love them so).

sheet quilt 3

The batting is an old woollen blanket, also from an op shop. And the backing is a stripy sheet which must be like one my grandmother had, because it sure seems familiar.

sheet quilt 5

sheet quilt 6

The only new materials are the mouse-coloured squares used for contrast, and the thread used to quilt it. (Maryanne told me it was important to use cotton thread, so I did).

I pieced the binding from leftover bits of sheets, and used this method to machine bind it (because it’s a lot quicker than nearly nine metres of hand stitching, it looks perfectly good, and honestly, it was nearly midnight). If you are using this method, I do think it’s worth using an edge-stitch foot to get the line of stitching perfectly even.

sheet quilt 7

 

sheet quilt 2

Been busy, baby (or, you’ll never guess what my new year’s resolution was)

Yep, it’s a classic early-January post, guess who made a new year’s resolution to do more blogging? I have several things to show you, but here’s the first (and the second to the twenty-fourth, if you want to be pedantic). If you’re not into cute, look away now. My two scallywag nieces have been the best scrap-busters ever.

First there are these two little dresses, one from red wool and the other from green fleece. I think I found a free kids’ t-shirt pattern somewhere, and improvised the rest. Win!

Next is a teddy bear onesie, which was a giveaway from Nordic Patterns via Sew Mama Sew… strangely I can’t find any trace of Nordic Patterns any more. The pattern’s still there for download, though.

furry onesie

Then there are leggings (another freebie, from ToddAh)…

leggings

and shorts, using the “panties” pattern from Style 3699…

and overalls, using McCalls 2372 …

McCalls 2372.jpg

and two versions of the adorable Penny Playsuit

penny playsuit 2

One has a lovely zipper which came from Stitchbird:

And I had enough fabric left over to make matching t-shirts for their mummies (using the Deer & Doe Plantain pattern):

penny 7

Lastly, for Christmas presents I whizzed up a few pairs each of the Oliver & S sunny day shorts.

shorts

These were a hit, even the size 3 ones (which looked a bit hip-hop to me, but then the recipient is pretty cool herself).

shorts2

I didn’t realise I’d made so many things til I put them all together like this! Anyway, girls, if you’re reading this from the future, don’t forget, I have an ulterior motive.

niece eecard

 

0 Degrees of Separation – the goldfish dress

Another WSBN blog tour, 2015 style! This one was Leimomi‘s great idea, to hop from pattern to fabric to pattern to fabric until we’re all connected in one long colourful conga-line of sewing. As with any good conga line, there have been a few mis-turns and branchings-off and people going AWOL (including me!) but the band’s still playing and we’re all having a great time.

I’m in between FlossieFT and Two Random Words. Coincidentally they have both been moving house lately, so their links aren’t up yet. FlossieFT and I are both making dresses out of some fabulous goldfish-print cotton that I found at Ikea in 2013, and Two Random Words and I are both making Simplicity 1880s (sadly out of print, because this is a terrific pattern).

Simplicity 1880It’s a dress that can either have a shirtwaist or a crossover bodice. It’s a great pattern to feature a big print like this one. I cut the skirt on the fold, to avoid disrupting the print with a seam. And did some nifty pattern matching on the front! This took way more fabric than I expected, but luckily I had plenty.

Simplicity 1880

There are yokes at the front and back, and pleats at the waist. This gives it plenty of room at the back and makes it very comfortable to wear. The yoke is only a single thickness of fabric which is a bit unusual.

Simplicity 1880

Simplicity 1880

I topstitched round the front opening and collar, which wasn’t in the instructions but I prefer it.

Simplicity 1880

It looks super with a Jenna cardi! (and thanks to Kat, Jenna-cardi mastermind, for the photos outside Fabric-a-brac)

Simplicity 1880

No kidding, I made a dress in a day (New Look 6968)

My sewing speed can be – is often – glacial. I’ve become a religious pattern tracer (think of the children! What else are they going to look for in the op shops of the future, when they’re full of clothes from Glassons/Primark/KMart?). It takes ages. I have – let’s see – seven projects currently under way, the first started in 2008 (and none that I’ve touched for at least a fortnight). Is “under way” even the correct term in these circumstances?

Anyway I do find that a trip or upcoming event is the best way to turbocharge some sewing action. A few weeks ago I had both, in the form of a conference. I had found some gorgeous floral cotton sateen at The Fabric Warehouse the previous week and decided to make a new work dress.

(Can I just interrupt myself to tell a story that illustrates my love for The Fabric Warehouse? My first stop that day was Spotlight. I can’t remember what I bought but I can remember that the girl who served me was wearing a trainee badge, had the bluntest scissors in existence, and insisted on cutting – if that’s even the correct word with those scissors – my purchase TO THE PRECISE CENTIMETRE. Then I went next door to TFW, where the lovely assistant measured a very generous 1.5 metres WITHOUT A TAPE MEASURE and cut it with the biggest sharpest scissors in the world, in one swoop. And that’s how to do business. Spotlight, we are never ever ever getting back together. Sorry for putting Taylor Swift into your head.)

So here’s the dress.

New Look 6968

This is New Look 6968, view C.

This dress has in the past been made using a single metre of fabric, but if you want the fancy collar (and why wouldn’t you, it’s awesome) then you’ll need more.

New Look 6968 front1

The collar is in two pieces, and one side has a little gap that the other side fits through. Better to show you:

New Look 6968 front3

I cut this dress out in the morning before work, whipped it up in about four hours that evening, and was even in bed early enough to have a decent amount of sleep before an ungodly flight the next morning.

New Look 6968 back

Some things had to be sacrificed, like any sort of invisible hem treatment…

kick pleat

… or darts that match …

seam matching

… but the print is very forgiving and it’s fabulous to have another work dress. All I need to make it an outfit is a cardigan, and luckily I’m up to four Jenna cardis and counting!