Saturday, 25 July 2015

Paper Doll Sweater

Kate Davies Paper Doll Sweater is the main reason I decided that I needed to learn to knit.  A few years ago these sweaters kept popping up all over the net and I would spend hours drooling over all the different versions.

I thought that I would need to start learning to knit on a much easier project though, so my first ever knitting project was making up this blanket for my son.

Yes, they were meant to be squares, and they were meant to be all the same size, but all the same I was pretty chuffed with myself when it was all finished.  So, with one wonky blanket under my belt, I decided I could now cope with the Paper Doll Sweater.

I eagerly trotted off and got all my supplies and started my knitting, thinking that it would be ready for the winter season that was only a few short months away.  Well, I missed that winter.  It turns out that I am a  ridiculously slow knitter.  

My next huge disappointment is that it also turns out that I am not very good at measuring and selecting the right size pattern.  The problem I have with knitting, well with this pattern anyway, is that you can't try it on as you knit.  Each night as I sat there knitting and I got closer to finishing I started to get more and more panicky that it was not going to fit.  And sure enough the day finally arrived (14 months after I started) when I finally got the project off the needles and could try it on.  Although I could get it on it was definitely a lot more snug than I was hoping.  Defiantly, I decided I would still wear it the next day but I did not have much feeling left in my arms by the end of the day.

Shortly after, I found out I was pregnant with our second child and there was simply no way it was going to fit  so it found its way into the bottom of my duchess.  And there it stayed until this winter when  I rediscovered it.  I was super stoked to find it fit me finally and I have worn it with glee all winter.

I am also feeling re-inspired about starting to knit again.  I am thinking that I should probably find some online classes.  Does anyone know of any good ones that they can recommend?


Thursday, 23 July 2015

NZ Holiday done for another year

This time next week we'll be boarding the plane to take us back to Tanzania.  As always we've had a great time here in NZ catching up with family and friends.  Having a large amount of babysitters on call has made it very easy to get a lot of sewing done. Going back to full time work in August and having a baby who thinks sleeping is for sissy's will mean that my productivity is about to seriously slow down.

Holiday Sewing
 I'm writing this blog to really avoid the horrendous job of packing up our suitcases.  After organising the kiddies toys, clothes and other necessities, packing our favourite NZ foods that we can't do without (Onion dip, Whittakers Peanut Butter Chocolate and Perky Nanas always make there way into our bags), there really isn't much room left for me to take any sewing supplies.  It is near on impossible for me to ever find what I need in Tanzania so for the next few months I will be finding projects that will use up what stash I have over there.  Never fear though, I have a trip planned to South Africa in October without the kiddies, so will be filling up my suitcase there with all sorts of sewing and crafting goodies.

This morning I packed up my small sewing space I had found for myself at my Mums.  Again it was another job I had been avoiding but it had to be done.  Thankfully both kiddies managed to find ways to keep themselves entertained whilst I was doing this.

Tamati making necklaces with Nana's buttons

Arahia playing with the fabric scraps

One of the best things about tidying up is finding long forgotten goodies.  When I found out I was pregnant with a girl my mum dug out some of her old toddler patterns.  At the time I put them away and promptly forgot about them.  I was super pleased today to find them and will definitely find a space in my luggage to get them back to Tanzania. I love that I can make clothes for my daughter from the same patterns that my mum used to make clothes for me.

Monday, 20 July 2015

New Look 6145

Up until now I have avoided blogging about anything I've made for myself as I was so uncomfortable getting any photos taken.  However, my favourite part of other sewing blogs is seeing the clothes they have made.  In fact, before selecting a new pattern I always do a quick google search to see how the clothes look on real women.  So here it is, my first blog post featuring me.

As I'm starting back at work this August I have been busy sewing up work clothes.  I love this pattern and this is the second dress I have made from it.  This time I chose to make up view A, with the sleeves from D.  I used a chevron navy and white knit.  (I love sewing with knit, as there is no messing around finishing off seams)

So here we go, photos of me wearing the finished dress.

Lessons I learnt making this dress.

  • Always iron your invisible zipper first.  It really does make it so much easier.  I also learnt that I may have to revisit some online tutorials.  My zips are getting better and I was quite proud of this one but I'm stuffed if I can figure out the top of them.
Looking pretty good, until ...

... you zip it all the way up.

  • Always measure yourself first and check your measurements against the pattern.  I ended up having to take in the side seams a lot, which of course then played havoc with me fitting in the sleeves.  Nevermind, we'll pretend that those pleats under the sleeve were meant to be there.

  • Don't try and sew when the baby is awake.  She may have enjoyed sitting on the sewing machine pedal but I didn't enjoy unpicking all the extra sewing I did because of it.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Crochet Baby Doll Clothes

We recently went through some old boxes of ours and I found some old dolls clothes of mine that my Mum had made.  They were the perfect fit for Arahia's new baby doll.  I have been planning to make some clothes for this doll but I knew if I was after anything crocheted or knitted then the person to ask would be my mum.

After searching Pinterest for free patterns, Mum ended up just developing her own patterns.  She also made up a blanket and pillow for the babies basket.

A big thanks to Nana for making the following dolly clothes for Arahia.  

My old dolly clothes, also made by my mum.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Make Your Own Children's Pajamas

Making P.Js is a great beginners sewing project.  Especially if you're sewing for children.  Kids can be easily pleased with a cool fabric and will never notice your wonky hems and bunched up seams.

Here is how I made my son's pjs.


Using a pair of his shorts for my pattern I cut the pieces above.  The back pieces need to be slightly larger to allow for the bottom.

Place the two front pieces right sides together and the two back pieces right together.  On both, sew a  seam on the curved line, stopping at the leg piece.

Place both pieces right sides together and sew side seams.  (On a side note, does anyone know how to rotate photos on blogger.)

Sew together the legs.  Start at the bottom and pivot when you reach the centre seam, and then sew down other leg.

Create a casement for your elastic around the waist.  Remember to check that it is wide enough for the elastic to fit through.  Also remember to leave a gap to thread the elastic through.  I made three pairs of pajamas for my son today, and had to unpick two of them because I forgot this gap.

Thread your elastic and sew the waistband closed.

Hem the legs.


For the T-Shirts I brought some cheap tops from The Warehouse and appliqued on a character from each piece of fabric.


Friday, 3 July 2015

Wheat bags

I have been sewing for about four years now and today marks the first time my husband has ever asked me to sew him anything.   He has a bad back and his old wheat bag has seen better days. Using his old one as my pattern I was quickly able to make him a new one. I was surprised how quick and cheap they  were to make, so while I was at it I decided to make one for Tamati and I as well. 

All you need is a small amount of fabric and your wheat. I like to use contrasting fabric for the front and back, and the fleece makes it especially snuggly. 

Cut two rectangles the same size and with right sides together sew around three edges, leaving one of the short edges open. 

Turn in right way and press with iron. 

Divide the length into thirds and sew along these lines to make three long pockets. Fill these pockets with wheat and then sew your final edge closed 

And that's it. Simple!