Kangaroos

17351.JPGTwo babies, two kangaroos.

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These were baby shower gifts; I thought even Kiwi babies could do with a toy kangaroo.

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This was the pattern. If you make it, be careful because the two pages aren’t to scale (the printing directions are on the pattern, but did I pay attention, oh no, why would I do a silly thing like that when they had to be finished the same day?).

Also be careful stuffing it, you really have to get the stuffing right down into the arms and tail.

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I thought they were adorable. I hope the babies like them. I’d like to try making a bigger one sometime. Or a huge one! Maybe I could stuff it with fabric scraps and see how long it takes to fill.

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)…

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

and overalls, using McCalls 2372 …

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and two versions of the adorable Penny Playsuit

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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):

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

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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).

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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.

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Two blue dresses

A confession. I am not afraid of flying. I am not afraid of spiders. But I’ve been suffering from a bad case of knits-o-phobia. However this month the Monthly Stitch ran a Sew Stretchy challenge, and I decided that it was high time for some exposure therapy. The first exposure was a disaster. I’ll EASE into this post by making it EASE-y for you to guess what the problem was.

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Oh, is that a br-EASE blowing through the tr-EASE?

New Look 6097 blue stripe 1

Pl-EASE shut the door or I’ll fr-EASE.

New Look 6097 blue stripe side

I dutifully cut the pattern as directed for my measurements. Five inches of ease in the hips? Yeah, sounds about right. The pattern is New Look 6097. The fabric is a nylon/cotton blend from Levana (love that place).

New Look 6097

Now, there is nothing wrong with this pattern… IF you cut the size that has your bust measurement as the finished garment size (ie, zero ease).

New Look 6097 blue stripe back

I ended up having to take it in twice at the side seams, and lift the shoulders by an inch, and narrow the shoulders by half an inch. The first time I sewed the side seams I was careful to match all the stripes. By the third time… let’s just say they’re not perfect. Honestly, it was kind of a blitz and I’m lucky it turned out so well.

New Look 6097 blue stripe bodice

The other change I made (obviously) was to put a band around the neckline, and to cut elbow length sleeves. I also left the pockets off this version. Oh, and left the elastic out of the waist seam, and just fitted it a bit more snugly instead (it’s stretch fabric, after all). Final product: 9/10. The journey: 0/10. Version 2 was much simpler. This one is in a divine wool/silk/nylon blend from The Fabric Warehouse (their 40% off sale made it about $17/m).

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I had an ‘oh no’ moment when I first tried it on, as it was a bit itchy, but I’ve washed it in conditioner and now it’s fine.

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This one has long sleeves and pockets, and also has a band around the neckline. Next time I make this pattern (and I will make it again, we’re friends now) I’ll make the band shorter, so that it pulls the neckline in a bit more firmly.

New Look 6097 blue wool bodice

So, no more knits-o-phobia! And the rumours are true, sewing with knits is QUICK. To prove it, here are two baby hats that took half an hour to make. Half an hour each? Nope, total!

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Made using the lovely top knot baby hat tutorial. If you know a lot of new babies like I do, this is a great tutorial to add to your repertoire: you can make four hats from 40cm of 150cm-wide fabric.

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The pink-and-white stripe is courtesy of Fabric-a-brac, and the red is from Johanna (thanks Jo!).

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I kind of feel like I need another month of knits, to get them out of my system.

Baby love

To finish part 1 of the story…

Here is my sister in another maternity top I made, once again using the (free! awesome!) Turn About The Room pattern. The fabric is from the Queen Victoria markets in Melbourne.

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Here are some pictures of burp cloths for her baby shower (she said “what are these?” but I assume she’s figured it out by now)

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I think I used this tutorial. One side is quilting cotton, the other side is flannelette. They’re about 47 x 32 cm (roughly 18 x 13″).

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The horses and ducks are the flannelette, in case it’s not clear in the photos.

And finally… the moment we’d all been waiting for… after FORTY TWO weeks, people! (My sister deserves a prize)…

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This cutie arrived.

Under the wire

Happy new year, all. I really hope 2014 is a good one and brings growth and happiness.

On a personal level, 2013 has been quite an adventurous one for me, with an international move. But then, I am kind of a floozy with removal companies. I sleep around. This is the ninth city I’ve lived in, so far, and the third country. No wonder I don’t form a sentimental attachment to heavy items. But Wellington, you sure do make a good first impression. Maybe you’re the one.

Thanks to those tireless WSBN ladies, I’ve been sewing my little fingers off,  trying to keep up. The biggest project has been a mini maternity wardrobe for my sister, who’s expecting in early May. I made her three tops and the comfiest pair of lounge pants I have ever tried on and been tempted to keep for myself. Stretchy wide waistbands for all! But photos will have to wait til she gets around to taking some.

I also sewed a couple of things for a fundraiser day at the races in November. My horse is still running but it was an otherwise perfect day. They held a giant raffle and I donated a Christmas table runner and napkin set, and a baby quilt. The back of the quilt was a mixture of blue spots and hungry caterpillar. It kind of defeated the purpose of using up my scraps, as I had to buy a whole lot of extra linen and calico, but at least it’s for a good cause. And after eight napkins and two quilts, I’m ace at mitred corners.

RA fundraiser

A work trip to Palmerston North meant a quick detour to the Arthur Toye closing down sale, and two lovely cotton sateens and a cotton/linen stripe. None made it into the stash! They are all summer dresses. I only have photos of the striped dress so far, modelled on my Christmas break.

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This is Simplicity 2591, which is possibly the pattern most let down by its cover art, of all time. (Actually, wouldn’t that be a sensational competition? Please enter below! Winner gets a great dress and a big laugh). Here it is, in all its shiny mustardy glory:

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It is great for lots of reasons. Three neckline variations, including raglan cap sleeves, which I love. Princess bodice = a good fit. Gathers in front and back, to make room for the Christmas pudding. POCKETS (great big ones).

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It’s a fantastic pattern for stripes, as the side panels are on the bias.

linen dress 3

A couple of years ago I made the sleeveless V-neck version. Totally different dress. I love that.

Three hours of 2013 to go! Have fun, everyone!

Recognise this pattern?

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Yes, it’s from the Very Hungry Caterpillar. The minute I saw it I knew what it had to become…

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This beautiful little sunhat is from The Purl Bee, a site I frequently bookmark. I made it with six cap panels instead of four, and made the brim in one piece rather than two. I also used some semi-stiff interfacing (sold for handbags, I think) to make the brim a bit less floppy. It worked a treat!

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In fact it worked so well I made four of them.

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One will be heading for Zimbabwe, one for Orange NSW, one staying here in Wellington… and one is an extra, for the next little baby that comes along. Naturally I had to buy four copies of this as well, to go with them…

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