Saturday, December 13, 2008

Barbie Pants

I made the first Barbie outfit yesterday, a pair of pants. I used offcuts of a fabric that I had cut for a dress, but not sewn yet. Its nice to learn a fabric's bad points before you sew a proper outfit.

For instance, this fabric burns really easily, which is why one leg is now shorter than the other. Good thing they only took 30mins to make.

Now I know that Barbie is quite old now, but elasticized pants? Surely not! So today I am making her a pair from Simplicity 4702 with a proper waist band and even tiny little patch pockets.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The mailman came

Is it shameful to admit that I ran out to the letterbox as soon as I the postman's motorbike this morning? Well I did and I am so glad, all my patterns arrived!

Two new patterns from Simplicity. The second one is a reissue of an old pattern. I was just finishing up the bodice sloper for Barbie when they came, but it will be nice to do some straight forward patterns.

This pattern I got off Ebay. I couldn't resist. I have no immediate plans to sew it. But hopefully one day will.

Okay, I'm off to get busy on the Barbie clothes. Not long until Christmas now!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

UFO's, Barbie and a growing obsession

My darling sister has been pressuring me to write a blog post. Trouble is she wants me to post because she wants to see what I have sewn. Well, I'm too ashamed to take a picture of my pile of Unfinished Objects, suffice to say its nearing the 10 item mark and there is no good reason why any of them aren't completed! :o(

So onto item two, Barbie. I love Barbie, I pressure Ava to love Barbie and finally she is coming around. So now I want to make Barbie clothes. But nice ones, not the dartless tent dresses we made when we were ten. Ohhh, I thought, what a great way to practice drafting, I'll make my own patterns! Well at some point I realised that I may get the slopers done by Christmas, but certainly not a whole wardrobe, so I ordered two Simplicity patterns. While waiting for said patterns, I did manage to get Barbie's skirt sloper done. Drafting instructions are from

I did start by using the instructions from Helen Armstrong's book, but I soon discovered 4 darts at the front and 4 at the back was just too fiddly for Barbie. These instructions from the 40's suit Barbie's tiny waisted figure a lot better too.

The uneven hip seams are due to my questionable sewing rather than the pattern. My machine just didn't want to behave this morning, might be time for a service. This skirt has just two darts at the back which give it a lovely shape.

And there is a picture of the pattern with enormous seam allowance (just to be safe). I have tried and tried, but I cannot draft on paper, I must use a computer! The best bit is when I want to test a pattern. I just tack some polytrace onto a sheet of A4 paper and print straight onto it. Its great for making sure what I am sewing is exactly what the pattern says.

Lastly, my growing obsession, patterns. I realise I might never sew the patterns I am accumulating, but I love them all the same. We went down to the local Op Shop yesterday and these ones are my favourites out of the ones I came home with.

I think they are all from the 70's, except the last one, which is from 1951. Now I know the 70's aren't very exciting for most people, but I was born in 1984, so I consider them quite cool. Plus at 10c each, sometimes I wonder why I don't just bring the entire basket home from the shop!

In the mail I am waiting for a pattern off ebay and my Barbie patterns. But the mailman doesn't love me today...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Patterns - Old and New

I have been busy accumulating patterns this week. I am getting ready for a big Spring/Summer of sewing. In another 8 weeks or so I will be at my goal weight (I hope) and an entirely new wardrobe will be in order! We'll start with the new patterns

The first dress will be made with this fabric (mail order from spotlight)

And here are some patterns I picked up op-shopping.

I am making the cape and pleated skirt for Ava as we speak. I will put up some photos when I am finished. Resisting the urge to maker a matching vest!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Do I need a Steam Press?

I was browsing through the junk mail on the weekend when I noticed that Aldi have a steam press that starts selling this Thursday. For $179 (Australian, which is practically the same as American now anyway) this can be mine. But questions remain;
  • Do I need it?
  • Where would I put it?
  • Would the money be better spent on something else? (like fabric)
I would love to hear from anyone who has one and uses it regularly. Personally, I hate ironing. I meticulously press everything when sewing, but whether my Husband gets an ironed work shirt depends entirely on the day! He does know where the iron lives...

The strawberry jacket is coming along well. I am setting in the sleeves right now, which I hate. Its not like I've never done it before, I just don't enjoy it. I know the more I do it, the better they will get. Its a shame really. Ava was wearing an adorable navy and red outfit today and the jacket would have looked perfect with it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

New Look 6239 - Bah!

I am annoyed with this pattern. It is an easy pattern, the construction is easy, but the pattern is atrocious. (Harsh words I know, but I'm in a bad mood) I wanted to get this pattern done before Mixie got here, but I have now I have to wait to fit it on her. As you can see in the photo the band of the top is meant to sit snuggly under the arms. But like the last New Look pattern the ease is way too much, so that when I try it on (and I am bigger than her) It gapes under the arm. On top of that, if you follow the guide for where to place the strap you would end up with them falling off your shoulders every two seconds. Basically I am having the same problems as the two people who have reviewed this over at Pattern Review. Once I have finished this, I am done with New Look patterns. No wonder they were on a two-for-one sale at Spotlight!

**End Rant

Monday, June 30, 2008

Strawberry Pockets

Progress is coming along slowly on Ava's coat. The pieces are all cut and the stay stitching is done. I would have been further along except for the fact that I spent three hours deciding how I would do the pockets!

The original pattern called for an unlined pocket, turned inwards, with a strip of ribbon across the front. I played around with pocket piece and ribbon. Finally I decided to line the pocket and flip the lining forward so it shows on the outside of the coat. I really don't think I have constructed this in the most effective way, but I am happy.

First I sewed the pocket to the lining, right sides together, then used pinking shears around the edge.

Next I turned the pocket round the right way and *tried* to smooth out the rounded corners

Then I folded the facing allowance forward and edge stitched it down. It does look straighter than this...

I was going to put the pockets on the coat (they will be edge stitched down) before I posted, but when I went to double check that I had the pocket placement right with the pattern, I realised that I had done something really strange when cutting out the front piece. It seems to be a size 3 in some places and a size 8 in others. No idea how it happened, must remember to mix more water with my gin (joking!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What happened to Ava?

I know this is meant to be a sewing and crafting blog, but people have been asking me what happened to Ava. This seems the most effective place to put it. So if you only want to read about sewing, I'd skip over this post.

As Mixie mentioned Ava was very sick a couple of weeks ago. On Friday the 6th June she was having a bad day. She was short of breath and wheezing, but she wasn't actually having an asthma attack. She was still running around the house playing, despite out best efforts to keep her still. I was giving her Ventolin, but it didn't seem to be having any effect, so at midday I took her to the Doctor. He diagnosed her with Bronchitis and said she could have Ventolin hourly to get her breathing under control. I put her to bed at 7pm, but was concerned that she was grunting in her sleep. We decided to take her to the hospital just to make sure she was okay. They took her straight through and put her on oxygen. She seemed to recover really quickly, but they wanted to keep her overnight for observation. We went to the ward to settle in for the night.

Unfortunately Ava's little body wasn't getting better. They kept increasing her oxygen and she kept getting worse. At 2am they transferred her to Intensive care and put her on a BiPac (sp?) machine. At 10am the Doctors arrived from Brisbane, Ava was intubated and we were flown in a helicopter to Royal Children's hospital in Brisbane. She spent another 24 hours in intensive care before she was transferred to the ward. We then spent another 7 days in hospital, because she was slow to come off the oxygen. It was strange because every time they tried to turn the oxygen down, her oxygen saturation levels would drop too low, but her breathing would be fine. It was hard work trying to entertain a 3 year old that felt and looked fine, but wasn't allowed to leave the bed!
Ava on her second day on the ward

We're back home now and it is honestly like nothing happened. She has been fine at all her follow up appointments. Its a little confusing because we are still not quite sure what was wrong with her. The paediatrician that treated when she was sick at the local hospital sent a letter to our GP saying that nothing about her breathing, chest sounds or xray suggested asthma, yet she tested negative for all bacterial infections. They are thinking Asthma combined with a viral chest infection now. She is on an asthma preventor twice a day for now. The important thing is she is better.

After all this I just have to say I am so glad they we live in Australia and that we have the free health system that we do. I can't imagine that helicopter flights and intensive care stays are cheap. I will definitely be making donations to the hospital during their annual appeals.

Back to sewing now...

Fun New Things

Okay, so I haven't been doing a whole lot of sewing/posting lately. But that hasn't stopped me from buying sewing related things.

I finally found some strawberry buttons for Ava's Coat

And some strawberry fabric for the lining

I got a new pattern to make a top for Mixie

I got a new overlocker/serger!! So excited, it was $200 off, how could I resist? I used this to sew the majority of the seams on the top I made yesterday.

And I got this book for a price I was willing to pay. I have read it through and can't wait to start actually drafting. But I managed to lose my French Curve when I was cleaning up, so I need to find that first!

Some other things I got were:
  • A second copy of the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (awesome book)
  • A Yo-yo maker
  • Lots of fabric
  • Threads magazines
  • Stitches magazines (second hand)
  • Top Kids Magazines (second hand)

New Look 6731

Pattern Description:
Misses Knit Top or Tunic

Pattern Sizing:
8 - 18

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I made view B and it looked exactly like the pattern picture

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were very easy to follow. If you lost the instruction sheet in a freak storm, you'd be able to figure it out with relative ease.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I really disliked the sizing/ease in the pattern. According to the pattern envelope, based on my measurements I should have made an 18. However, the amount of ease in this top (especially considering its for stretch fabrics) is ridiculous. I would have had to make this top in a size 14 for it to fit properly. Luckily for my Mum though, it will fit her perfectly!

What I liked about this pattern is that if it fit it would look really cute. It was really quick and easy to put together.

Fabric Used:
Stretch knit. I was unsure whether this fabric would be too busy to make an entire top out of. But once it was all put together it seems to work.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I will definitely cut this pattern smaller and sew it again. I can't wait to try out some of the other views.

A quick and easy sew for a nice result. Just watch out for the sizing.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Crafting around our house

This week has been another hectic one, the lowlight of which was Ava having to spend a night in hospital. Thankfully it turned out to be just asthma (not the originally suspected pneumonia) and she is back home again in very good spirits.

With all that going on it has definitely been all about Ava lately and we have been doing fun and crafty things to keep her busy (and still, gosh does that child like to run!)

Gran bought Ava some plasticine and so we all had fun playing with that for a few hours.

Grandad (FIL) made piglet's head

Mummy (me) made a pig

Gran (MIL) made a duck and Grandad made a snowman

We let Ava play too, she made this cave/tent to go with Gran's worm

She also made her own worm, a bridge and I think the one in the middle is a backpack for the duck (it later went to the moon in a rocket ship)

Gran also bought Ava this cute little egg painting centre.

We painted paper when we ran out of eggs

One day we had to go to the transport centre to register the cars. The lady gave Ava a large stack of paper. When we got home we used to make origami and cut outs. Grandad's silhouette of Ava was the only one that I seem to have captured.

In our house (of 4 adults and one child) we all love cartoons. My parents in law used to work in animation, so they have an excuse. Ava is 2, so she has an excuse. My husband and I are just big kids at heart though! A series that we all love is Avatar. Our favourite character is Appa, the flying byson.

Unfortunately you can't seem to buy the Appa plush in Australia. No problem for my father in law though, he'll make his own for us! So far he has finished Appa's head wich you can see below.

The pattern is made just from looking at the drawings and he is made from mainly recycled soft toys.

I have also finished the pattern for my sloper, but I haven't cut or fit it yet. I bought some fabrics which will hopefully end up turning into something soon!