Thursday, August 26, 2010

Green voile Citronille top

I found Citronille via Amanda at Soulemama a few weeks ago, and ordered a few of their delicious patterns. I fell totally in love with a square-necked smock shirt and a pointy-hooded coat that both boasted simple construction methods, and picked up a third hippy-style shirt that looked like something my partner would wear in a larger size.
Whilst the shipping wasn't cheap it WAS fast, and the patterns themselves were very inexpensive and covered a wide range of sizes - not to mention beautiful and unusual compared to the poor selection available without flounces or skirts in Australia.

After whipping up a toile in calico I thought the first shirt pattern looked a bit wide and short for my long, skinny pixie (who refused to try it on for me to double check after eyeballing) so I attempted to adjust it when it came time to cut out my actual first attempt.

Lesson learned; don't eyeball changes. Especially ones that make it difficult for the shoulders to fit a garment. I ended up having to add triangular gores back into the side-seams, thus rendering my years in the Medieval Society useful in modern life, after all!

I used a gorgeous green voile that snagged with very little provocation, and was originally another Medieval Society garment. It seems to be my month for remaking old garments into wildly new ones.

And then Pixieface wouldn't try the actual garment on until I'd added the buttons (which were then cause for excitement, celebration, and definite donning). I found these two delicious little red apple buttons at a church market stall and bought them for twenty cents, knowing I'd find the right project sometime.

Unfortunately, Two seems to be a difficult age for getting nice shots of this child of mine. A combination of camera-shy and inability to stand still made these about the best I could do.
BUT the final verdict is that I will be making one of these in every colour, for the warmer months. With longer sleeves and body length than suggested by the pattern (but not narrower!). Just too gorgeous for words. And so very European looking!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fatuous reasons to become a Mum

To show somebody how fun it can be to step in a puddle of paint, feel it ooze between your toes, and then march across paper, leaving a trail behind you, feeling it stick to your feet and giggling at the mess.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Recently seen on my sewing machine

A grey vest, lined in maroon, with three large black buttons reaching from the neck to the bottom of what would be the wearer's chest. It is hanging in front of a brick wall.Early this year I found a sleeveless fleece vest for my son's wardrobe. It's been really useful on cooler days this winter, when we've gone out to playgrounds where it's very cool when you stand still, but running around like a two year old makes it a bit warm for a jumper.
I didn't quite trust myself to fit a zip to stretchy fleece fabric so planned to do a double-breasted button thing for my homemade version. This turned out not to be as practical as I'd hoped, since a sudden growth spurt meant he was filling out his clothes an inch or two more than when I first began cutting. So the resulting garment looks slightly lopsided, but was still a big hit - the minute I added the buttons and rediscovered my machine's buttonholing capabilities that is (he didn't want a bar of it, pre-buttons).

The outside is a gorgeous grey minky fleece, and I cut around the fading on an old cotton garment for the lining, that was retired from the Medieval Society when I was in charge of the loaner gear (so the local group heads offered me the spoils!). I patterned it off a (slightly A-line) shirt, allowing a few centimetres extra on each seam, so a few layers could be comfortably worn beneath. (To do this, turn your garment inside out, pull the sleeves inside the body of the garment and lay it as flat as you can. Potential tute to follow. Eventually.)

I think next time I'll try finishing the edges with a contrasting rib knit and not bother lining it. I'd also curve the front edges rather than leaving them as right angles, one of which inevitably flips up.
But not bad for a first go. With the skivvy and embroidered flares the Tiny Tyrant was definitely channelling the 70s the other day!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bag of Swag

Went to visit the Out-laws last week, and came home with these lovelies, which my Mother-Out-Law was planning to toss out. They're all genuinely vintage, from the 70s or 80s (and gosh, doesn't that make ME feel old)! Most of them have a little fading or wear, but if I make them into Small People things that will be easy enough to avoid. I'm really chuffed, even though I'm meant to be cutting down the amount of stuff in my craft room - I twisted my ankle in there this morning, when I tripped over some of the piles.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Food Pr0n

Round here, winter is for baking!
Here's a peek at some of the baking I've been doing lately, because when stuff goes right in the kitchen it's worth celebrating, for me.

First, a chocolate zucchini cupcake with peppermint and choc-fudge icing. It's got vegetables in, it's healthy, right? Without the icing it's actually been a huge toddler hit and I'll be doing them again.

And here are some Very Naughty gingerbread men that I sent to my sister, after a silly discussion about me mailing her "hot naked men". Well, except for the one of them who got shy and donned a posing pouch!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Toddler Tuesday: pants from bunny rug

A tiny newborn wrapped in a saffron blanket, face pink & creased, mouth open, head tilted up to the top of the photoI enlisted the Tiny Tyrant's help in making him some new PJ pants (which he needed desperately, since the past month's growth spurt has added an extra two inches to his legs, seemingly).
Digging through my stash of flannelette material lead to the discovery of the rug we wrapped him in for his first Mama-Baby photos, the first day we were home from the hospital. Since he was in the NICU for a week he was already eight days old. I remember asking my partner to take the two photos, so I'd have something to send to the family; apart from a fuzzy, long distance view of the plastic crib he was in, all our photos so far had included wires, heat lamps and machines that went PING.
Finding that blanket made me feel very nostalgic, and I remembered how exhausted, relieved and overjoyed I was that I finally had him home with my partner and I, and we had the opportunity to begin enjoying being the new family that we all were, together.

A toddler standing in front of a babygate or fence, side on to the camera. his face is turned towards the viewer, his eyes are closed and his face is screwed up in a similar expression to the newborn above. he wears a long-sleeved, white top and a long pair of loose pants of the same material as the blanket the newborn is wrapped in.Tyrant seemed to be drawn to it too, because it was the material he chose to have his new pants made from.
I've been getting him a bit more involved in my sewing, lately; he likes to sit on my lap when I'm not sewing fiddly things, and watch the fabric move through the machine (thank goodness he's such a careful child). He works the presser foot for me, and I pause to let him pull pins out and stick them on my magnetic mushroom, which he loves to do.
So we sewed up his new pants in around fifteen minutes, and for the first night in some time he wanted to get into his pyjamas early!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Rags for the Bag

In case you haven't yet realised it, I am seriously enamoured of clothes. Not "fashion" as in what the magazines are telling me the designers like right now, but fashion; the great, enormous scale of designs, colours, fabrics and accessories human beings have used in all cultures, for centuries, to decorate and protect themselves.

Clothes are amazing, and I'm not sure I could ever get tired of thinking about and playing with ideas for ways to be dressed. Sure, I have my favourite eras and styles, my own tastes and preferences, but I still enjoy mixing it up and thinking about others and what might suit or excite them, too.

Clothing drive-by by Esther17 on flickr; a white business shirt on a ahnger, dirty, torn and stained.This is why I never thought I would ever meet my match. Enter my partner; a man who loves thrift shopping even more than me, who- when I met him - had more clothes than me!
Part of this is becase he loves the thrill of finding that perfect item that suits as much as I do. But some of it is certainly also because he's gotten emotionally attached to a lot of his clothes. A bit like those supposed women who hang onto that dress for "when I'm a size 10 again", he had pants whose waistband would now just close around a single thigh still lurking in the depths of his wardrobe.
That he'd last worn twenty years ago.
That had a bleach stain on one leg from when his Mum had dropped it, in the laundry.

Because of the emotional investment in his clothes, I've been using a mixture of gentle and more aggressive tactics to get rid of some of his dinosaurs (my own wardrobe tends to get purged of the unworn and unfit every few years).
The bane of my existence has actually turned out to be the Terribly Comfortable (Moth-Eaten) Hole Transportation System, the sort of shirt that's hanging together with goodwill and a few bits of thread and fond memories.
I'm not denying that you need a shirt or two like this in your wardrobe. For the memories, for yardwork, for moving furniture or to spatter in red paint to wear as a zombie costume for a birthday party (no, really). But a dozen or more?
So I've been ditching them, slowly, taking what I can use again and doing so, but trying to be really ruthless if the fabric is too worn or there are just too many holes.

Here are a couple of things I do when I find a fresh victim shirt:
  • Cut off (and keep)the buttons. These are always reusable on sewn garments or items that are missing one. They make great game counters or eyes for toys. Toddlers, kids AND adults love playing with and arranging buttons (it can be v therapeutic and soothing). Plus, they're usually plastic and thus most likely the last thing to break down at the tip.
    buttons by Laineys Repertoire on flickr
  • Assess the sleeves. Sleeves make nifty hats for small babies, and two sewn together (with a bit of shaping and elastic) can make baby shorts or bloomers.
    Small, drooly baby wearing a viking-style horned hat made form soft materials, in navy and cream.
    This totally used to be two old t-shirts.

  • Check out the rest of the shirt for patches not too worn or holey. Small squares and rectanges are practical as pieces for baby and toddler tunics, pants and shirts or for cleaning cloths - worn clothes are usually soft and especially good for glass cleaning.
    Small boy wearing green tunic with apple print over stripey, long-sleeves shirt, kneels on the floor, staring solemnly at the camera.

So those are my tips for Hol(e)y Old Relics of the Wardrobe. Got any of your own?