Friday, October 28, 2011

First-time on a Friday

I've been wanting to try some screen printing for a while now, and have read lots of blog references to simple printing using freezer paper.  I'd never heard of freezer paper before, and kept forgetting to check if they had it at the supermarket.  I finally got around to asking at Spotlight last week though, and at less than $2 a metre I figured that I should 'just do it'.

Today I quit procrastinating and tried it on some tops I bought as pyjama tops for the boys.  I used my Creative Memories cutting system to cut some ovals, then traced numbers (up there for creativity I know!  I'm so original that the numbers even correspond to the size of the tops they're on - '68' = '6-8').  Not perfect, and certainly not the height of originality, but I'm pretty happy with the result.  Next on the agenda is a long-sleeved version for the schoolboy with a 'Star Wars' logo, and maybe some fabric for a cushion.

I found this tutorial to be quite thorough, although I only left the paint to dry for about 3 hours.  My paint also said to iron it for 5 minutes to set it.

I used Setacolor Opaque paint in Indigo, and with a single coat found that it was lighter than I expected.  A second coat may have darkened it up more perhaps (I'll let you know after round two!).  I bought the paper from Spotlight (less than $2 a metre), but should have also checked the supermarket I guess.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

[Nearly] wordless Wednesday

A bag for the Kinderboy's collections...

Not sure why it took me so long to get around to the 10 minutes it took to make it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

On a roll...

Three posts in four days.  What's come over me?!?

Last night the Cyclist was away, and tradition dictates that no matter how tired I am I'll stay up way too late instead of taking the opportunity for an early night.  Last night was no exception, and here's what I have to show for it:

I've been wanting to make a wrap to carry the Newbie around in, as the one I made when the Kinderboy was a baby was too long and bulky.  I also hadn't done anything to mark the centre of it, and I always had trouble putting it on as a result.  It was really comfortable to carry him with though, even given his size (he was 4.6kg at birth).

Yesterday I found a beautiful knit at Darn Cheap Fabrics that fit the bill (only $3 per metre but its so lovely that I could almost be convinced to go back for more and try my hand at making some clothes out of it, knitphobia or not).  Last night I teamed it up with some Yardage Design 'Swizzle' fabric plus bits from my stash.  I'm really happy with the result, and you never know in a year or so the centre panel may make its way into a cushion cover as originally intended!

If you're thinking of making a wrap for your little one you'll need 5 - 5.5m of fabric, cut to around 50cm wide.  This one's obviously knit, but my previous was a woven fabric.  If you're after a tutorial (including how to put it on) - then try here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thanks everyone for your comments on my previous post!  In the light of a new day I thought I'd give you the run-down on the how and why for the changes I made to the top half of the 'ruffle-less Spring Ruffle Top'.

From the outset, can I say that these changes in no way reflect a deficiency in Rae's original design.  I really liked the look of this top from the tutorial, but I'm not much into ruffles, and did like the 'ruffle-less' versions better than the original.  The changes were really as a result of this preference.

I planned from the outset to make two tops, and I cut the rectangles for the top of the bodice as per the instructions as a first step.  I sewed the top band, ironed the straps as instructed and pinned on the front of the straps.  I then had the Cyclist pin the back straps for me, with the instruction to cover my bra straps with the straps of the top (I hate having them show).  What I noticed was that:

  • Even though they looked right to the naked eye (as far as I could tell looking over my shoulder in the mirror any way!), they weren't lined up properly.  You can see this on the photo below.
  • The straps weren't wide enough to cover up the structure of my maternity bra unless I added the ruffle,
  • The horizontal strap gaped a bit at the underarm seam, and would fit better if it was a little narrower at the top than the bottom.

I also decided that I'd like to add a bit of a curve to the neckline, because I plan to make both of the tops with a white top half, and thought that some difference between them would be nice.  The result was that I used the straps to draft myself a 'bodice top' pattern.  Here's how I did it:

I traced the outline of the front onto tracing paper.  I also traced the back, but instead of only tracing the back half of the straps, I traced around both the front and back straps, so that the strap section was wider at the bottom - I figured that this and the curve I was adding at the underarm would cover my bra sufficiently.  I took care to mark where the original fabric was folded, as I would need to add seam allowance to these pieces.

Back pattern piece

I then folded the front in half, and made sure that the pattern piece was symmetrical.  Where it wasn't I adjusted it to the mid-point between each side, and thickened up the lines.

I then added in the curves.

I did the same to the back, also making sure that the straps for the front and back were the same distance apart at the shoulder.

Back pattern piece on top of front pattern piece (both folded)
I cut two of each piece, so that the bodice was fully lined, adding a 1.5cm seam allowance where I'd marked the need to do so on the pattern.

I didn't worry about sloping the side seams on the pattern, I just stitched them on an angle (my seam allowance was 1.5cm at the underarm and 1.0cm at the bottom of the bodice piece).

To sew, I sewed along the necklines and underarm/outside strap seams (pinned on the photo below).  Next I joined the side seams.  Lastly, I folded the seam allowance on the back straps inside at the shoulder, slotted the front straps into the back straps, and topstitched in place.

In hindsight, an added bonus of this approach is that I'll be able to use some of Grandma's ric-rac on the neck and armhole edges of the second top (strange that I've not used any of the trim in the 20+ years I've had it, and now I'm thinking of using two different colours within a week!).

Friday, October 21, 2011

{note to self} / a learning experience

In some ways I'm proud of myself this week.  In others somewhat frustrated!

On the upside, I bought some fabric on Monday, and have now finished making a top from it using this tutorial.  Record breaking speed for someone who has numerous fabrics in her stash that started out with good intentions more than a decade ago!  I also managed to use some vintage ric rac that I inherited from my grandma more than 20 years ago (love the packaging too... I suspect it comes from pre-metric days in Australia, rather than the UK/US more recently).

On the downside, this project has been frustrating from the first scissor cut, and none of it's Rae's fault!  My muck-ups have cost me a lot of time (I could have actually made the top two or three times in the time this one's taken me), and as a result missed wearing the top when it was hot yesterday, and am now having difficulty getting any photos on a cool and dark Melbourne Friday!

I plan to make another top, this time also using this tutorial, so here's my 'notes to self' to ensure that the next experience runs a little more smoothly:

  • If a pattern calls for cutting rectangles to your own measurements make sure that you still plan your cutting - there's no point in buying more than sufficient fabric if your layout means that you can only cut out the front half of the top!
  • If, in rectifying your layout errors you decide to cut down the centre back of your top to add in a piece, make sure that its the back that you're cutting down, not the middle of the front.
  • When choosing a fabric that's going to be highly visible check to see how transparent it is, and work out how you're going to deal with the subsequent issue of highly visible seam allowances.
  • If using French seams to keep your edges neat, trim away the frayed edges before you sew the second half of the seam so that they're not left permanently sticking out on the right side of the top.
  • When you make a feature of the centre front of your top, make sure that its actually in the centre, not 1/2 an inch to one side.

Hmmm.  Hope things are a little more professional in your creative neck of the woods!  Check out some others who would surely not make any of these mistakes over here and here.

Oh, and if you look at the tutorials, you'll see I did make the top half of this top differently to the tutorial.  When I'm feeling a bit more positive about the experience I'll tell you what I did and why!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mother and son PJs

The Kinderboy and I are both in need of new pyjama pants.  He's grown too tall for most of his clothes, and for some reason there was only one long pair of pyjamas amongst the size 4 clothes his brother's grown out of.

I've had some linen fabric in the cupboard for a number of years now.  I can't remember what I bought it for, but its check, and I've always steered away from it for daytime clothes for myself.  There was a mountain of it (I suspect it was only around $2 a metre at Darn Cheap Fabrics at the time, and I remember coming home and realising that I'd over-bought as its 150cm wide).  Anyway, over the weekend I've managed to carve out matching pyjama pants for us, with some left over.

I used McCalls 3019 for myself, and another 99c secondhand pattern (Burda 9769) for the Kinderboy.  He's going through an 'I don't like girls phase', so please don't let him know that this's a girl pattern!  In both cases omitted the pockets, and for his I actually made a size 6 and shortened it.

I was impressed by how quickly they came together, and it made me wonder why I hadn't made pyjamas for the boys before now.  Today I went to Kmart and they had thermal T-shirts and long sleeve tops on special for $2 each, so with a little bit of applique that's us sorted for now.  All I need to do now is work out if there's enough fabric left for the Schoolboy, who's feeling a little left out...

While I'm thinking of it, the Burda pattern had been used to make a Size 6 top/dress by the previous owner, and they'd cut the pattern along that line.  To start off with I was horrified - it felt a bit like vandalism as I always either trace off the size that I want onto separate paper, or try to cut along the correct line without damaging the pattern pieces at all, both of which add considerably to the time I take to make a garment.  Am I alone, does the other person's approach make sense if you're only wanting to use a particular size (this pattern covers sizes 3-8)?  How do you deal with multi-size patterns?  Have you used tracing paper before?

I'm linking up here and here, then checking out what others have been up to...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A finished project and one yet to be started

This week I can't resist showing you my first 'go' at baby sewing - I made the Schoolboy and Kinderboy quilts when they were babies, but I didn't make any clothing.  This time round I'm encouraged by those in the blogsphere who regularly sew clothes for their kids, and I'm planning to use up some of the stash to make some new clothes for No. 3.  This is my first attempt:

The pattern is Simplicity 7017 (printed in 1990, and 99c from one of my Savers trips), and the only change that I made was to use two straps tied together at the shoulder, rather than a single strap and button.  The fabric is some that I bought when the Schoolboy was a baby, when I was planning to make something similar for him.  I was pleased with how quickly it came together, and have some ideas for a slightly different version in the next couple of weeks.

In between time, I have some furniture transformation in mind - I have two of these bookcases, which are due to be shortened, turned upside down and painted for a 'hutch' above my new desk once I can find somewhere to offload their contents and some assistance to move them to the garage.

The plan is to cover the doors in some of Yardage Design's new Verano 'petals' fabric (I bought a metre from Nic when she had a sale last week, but now I'm worried that I should have bought more - there are several more places I want to use it!).

I'm trying to work out whether I should be washing the fabric before I glue it down or not - any ideas?  I've only ever done this sort of thing on a very small scale before, and I don't want to ruin the finished job!!

Of course, before I do any of that, I'm heading over to Kirsty's 'Our Creative Spaces' page to put in my link and look at what other people are up to.  Hope to see you there!


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