Sunday, February 28, 2010

tie tee

Check out this little shirt!
I found the tutorial on Saltwater kids via 'Celebrate the boy' on Made, and knew I had to make one for my boy. 
You could make so many fun variations with this simple pattern.
I am thinking a few long sleeved ones for winter would be really cute too.
The t-shirt pattern is one from Ottobre 3/08.

wordless weekend


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

just for fun

A few weeks back when I was tossing up ideas for the baby boy's onesie, I came up with this logo of 'the boy', which my brother helped me to polish up- thanks Tim! To cut a long story short, I decided to go with the striped onesie instead. Then later I thought some of you might like it to use it. Maybe its more your style, bold and out there rather than subtle and sweet?

You can stencil it with freezer paper (Dana's tutorial here). Or,  I have even reversed the images on the second page of PDF so it can be printed onto Iron on Transfer paper, cut out and ironed directly onto garment. 
I found that ironing it onto stretch wasn't the best idea, the imaged seemed to crack a little as the fabric stretched. So, one solution might be ironing it onto plain white woven fabric, then stitching it to the garment. Or you can try the reverse applique technique (which is what I've done on this outfit... don't look too close, very rough!).

don't you just want to squeeze the boy!


ok ok, enough of the photo's mum. My eyes are blinded by the light!

And a side note for those of you that live in Australia:
I have found that Spotlight now sells Freezer Paper for stenciling at the cutting counter. You can buy it by the meter, instead of having to purchase the whole roll which is just brilliant if you are only wanting to do one or two stencils!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

shopping for stretch

Well, thank you all for the lovely comments on the baby boy onesie tutorial (which of course can be made for little girls too!). I am so overwhelmed with the response! Please let me know if you make one. I would love to see how it turned out and hear how you went sewing with stretch.

A few of you have asked where to buy quality knits from, so I will do my best to answer.
Remember to buy knits that are mostly cotton (or bamboo) with a small percentage of lycra (or spandex, or elastometric). The lycra helps the cotton to hold its shape and wash and wear well, which is what we want for kids clothing. It also has more stretch to it and stretches in all four directions. That makes it comfy to play in, and perfect for growing in.

For those of you that live in Australia,
I have managed to find the odd decent knit at Spotlight or Lincraft, but I am finding it harder and harder recently. There are a few shops online which are great:
For the US ladies,
I cant recommend any of these stores personally, but they look like they have a fantastic range of knits:
Hopefully that's a start anyway.
Happy sewing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

baby boy onesie with binding tutorial

The lovely Dana from MADE contacted me recently to see if I would help out with ‘Celebrate the boy’ month by coming up with a boy-ish sewing tutorial, and of course I said yes! Because really, there isn’t much out there in the crafty world for our wee men folk is there? So if anything I hope this tutorial and all the other amazing ones over at MADE and Made by Rae inspire you to sew and lovingly create things for your boy, nephew, grandson or friend.

A few people have asked recently how to make T-shirts and other stretch items for their children, and especially how to get the binding looking so nice. This tutorial will show you how to sew confidently with stretch fabric and hopefully you can then branch out and sew many comfy and super cute clothes for your little man. The good news is you don’t need an overlocker (serger), just a few essential tips on how to maximise the potential of your regular home sewing machine!

This summer Jude has lived in two sleeveless onesie’s that I made for him. Such a practical item of clothing for our hot Australian summer, yet so hard to buy one that fits well and luckily, so easy to sew one (or two or three) yourself! So here it is:

This pattern has been designed to fit my son who is about 7 months old, and quite a solid build). It is a slim fit on him, but looks great. So I would say it’s about a 6-month size (with growing room) to be safe. You will have to adjust to fit if you need it in a different size, based on outfits that fit your baby at home. Click here to download the free 6 month sized pattern.

Gather your supplies:

70cm good quality cotton knit with a very small percent of lycra/spandex*
4 small wooden buttons
washable marker/pins
3 sets of snaps
ball point needles for your machine- this is important!

*Wash and preshrink fabric. I always dry fabric in dryer before cutting to make sure it has fully shrunk (often by about 10%) so the finished garment will retain is shape when washed in future.

Stretch stitches to use:

For sewing your seams together, the stitch in the photo below is the one I would use. It looks like a straight stitch, but has a small amount of zig zag so the fabric will stretch when worn and pulled over little heads repeatedly.

The walking foot:

If you don’t have one, don’t panic! You will still be able to make the garment. However, if you do have a walking foot it is fantastic for sewing great seams with stretch. The picture shows two fabric samples. On the right a regular foot was used and you can see the seam is bubbled or rippled looking. The sample on the left was using the walking foot and it really helps seams to sit flat (photo doesn’t do it justice). However, if you only have a regular foot, a good steam iron should sort most the wrinkles out.

Lets get started!

1. Open the PDF and print off pattern pieces making sure the pattern is to scale. Check by measuring the square, it should be 5cm x 5cm. Join the two pattern pieces together at the line where it says ‘Join here’, and trace off your front piece and back piece onto separate pieces of paper

2. Cut out your front and back pieces taking care to match up stripes (see picture), and cut on the fold.

3. Transfer markings from pattern onto fabric with a washable marker, all X’s along bottom edge and shoulder markings.

4. Cut binding pieces as measured on PDF pattern. You may want to cut them a little longer if you are concerned about your fabric not being stretchy enough.

If you are cutting the binding from garment fabric and it is striped, decide which colour in the stripe you want as binding before cutting. For example, I chose white for the binding so made sure white was showing 1-2cm from the edge of binding.

5. Pin the front neck binding to onesie front, right sides together.
Stitch about 1cm from edge (using the stitch shown at beginning of tutorial) stretching to fit as you go.
Repeat step for onesie back, joining back neck binding to onesie back.

6. Press binding flat with a light steam iron on both front and back pieces.

7. Turn binding under to wrong side of garment. I don’t bother pinning, but if you think it will help keep your binding an even width, go for it!

8. Topstitch binding in place with a medium zig zag stitch (good old regular zig zag, not the type we are sewing seams with) on right side of garment. Again, stretch slightly as you sew.

The trick here is to sew as slowly as you need to keep the topstitching straight, while folding the binding under so it looks uniformed the whole way along the edge. With practice, you will get much quicker at this!

9. Trim excess binding off back of garment, not to close to stitching though!

10. Give pieces a light steam press.

11. Join front and back pieces together at shoulder seam, matching up markings. The back piece should overlap the front.

12. Stitch them together about 1/2cm from edge to hold in place.

13. Now its time to stitch the side seams together, taking care to match stripes as you sew as well as stretch fabric slightly.

14. Take one sleeve binding and stitch ends together to form a circle.
Repeat with other sleeve binding.
Repeat with bottom edge binding.

15. Mark sleeve binding circles into ¼’s with marker, and armhole into ¼’s as well.
Mark bottom edge binding circle into 1/8’s with marker.

16. Slide the armhole onto sewing machine bed (or is that called the arm too?), and the binding over that (right sides together). See photo below.

17. Stitch together 1cm from edge, taking care to match markings as you sew.
Repeat for other armhole.
18. Follow steps 6-10 for finishing off armhole binding in the same way you finished neck bindings.

19. Stitch the bottom edge binding to bottom edge of garment matching up markings on binding with X’s along garment edge, right sides together.
Follow steps 6-10 for finishing off bottom edge binding in the same way you finished neck bindings.

20. Insert snaps in bottom edge about 3cm apart. I have a snap press, but you can use the snaps you hammer in or even buy snap tape, which you sew on.

21. Sew on your 4 wooden buttons taking care to sew them to the binding only, not the fabric underneath.

Well done, you are now finished!!
One last step.

22. Take one beautiful chubby baby boy, dress him in his comfortable new onesie and admire those gorgeous rolls and milky skin!

and remember, boy will be boys.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Some Valentines love,
from our house to yours.

Lovely red felt, a piece of ric rac and a few pink buttons.
I did want to hand stitch around the hearts but you know how it goes, baby throws up, oven timer rings, phone rings, someone falls off the bike and then its school pick up time (I could go on).
Machine zig zag will have to do.

Friday, February 12, 2010

girly sewing

My girls have been begging me to teach them how to sew, to let them use my real machine. 
And understandably so. Their cheap little chain stitching machine chews the fabric and cant even sew a straight line without getting jammed up.
So I mustered up a whole lot of patience and prepared myself for one stressful sewing session, only to be pleasantly surprised at the fun we ended up having together!  

We picked the simplest pattern I could think of, hooray for headbands.
I cut the pieces out and then they each had a turn sitting on my lap at the sewing machine.
They guided the fabric through (with a little assistance. Didn't want punctured fingers in the first lesson), lifted levers, pressed buttons, and most importantly felt like they were really sewing.
It was wonderful!


All in all, a huge success. Not too long a project, something simple, but also rewarding.
Now they each have their own headband and are thrilled to tell people they made it themselves!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

for me

Shirt for myself, made out of Kaffe Fassett's Planets.
I completed this one months ago, but was never entirely happy with it.
Loved the fabric, but not so sure about the style of the top.
The pattern is Simplicity 5552.
I totally reshaped the neckline trying to make it look more flattering and not so boxy, but not sure that I achieved my outcome.
I also added piping around the edge of the white yoke, which all ended up rather fiddly.
Never mind, I will have to try again.
I find it so disappointing sewing for myself!
The kids are so cute and easy to sew for, and the cut/fit is really not that essential.
I am thinking I may need to buy a few new pattern to help me along.
How about this one or maybe this one?
Pretty sure they would look great in the Autumn wardrobe.
Now to find the time...

Saturday, February 6, 2010


anyone else partial to a bit of red?

I finally got around to covering the piano stool with a gorgeous piece of vintage red, given to me by the very creative Claire. And yes, it does entice me to sit down and play more often. Much more inviting than the grotty piece of fabric that was on there previously.
Staple guns are so much fun!

And some stunning vintage fabrics sent to me by my sister in law Amanda.
I cant wait to get-a-sewing with these!

wordless weekend

(handmade food by love it!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the boy

Here's something of interest for all you crafty mamas with boys!

The lovely Dana of MADE has teamed up with Rae from made by rae to make February a special month to celebrate the boy!
And here's a peek as to what the month ahead holds:

tons of Boy tutorials
Boy clothing ideas
twelve guest bloggers (one of them being me, yikes...better get my act together!)
Boy crafts
Boy bags
Baby Boy stuff
Boy giveaways
Boy design tips

So if you are wanting some great ideas for the little man in your life, head on over daily to MADE and made by rae for all the action.
To give you an idea of the boy goodness to come check out today's bag tutorial from Anna of noodlehead!
And be sure to check back here in the second half of the month for my clothing tutorial.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

there she goes

Off to school for the first day of many more to come, my beautiful Grace.
Everything they say about that new born baby is so true 'before you know it they will be off to school', and then they are.
30 long hour a week without my girl. I don't think it has all really sunk in yet.

She however has been counting down the sleeps, and was already dressed when I woke this morning right down to the shoes and socks, bag packed with sports uniform shoved in and the joggers on top with laces neatly tied!
And apparently the best part of the day was not having me there...I didn't quiet know whether to laugh or cry at that one, so I just had a good laugh! Hello independence.

If you had have talked to me about schooling two years ago, I would have been adamant that we were going to home school. As you can see we have somewhat changed our tune, not to say that there wont come a day when it will happen.
At the moment I am struggling to keep any order with three children, let alone get the shopping done, or the washing for that matter. So I think it would have been a poor option for my children at this time in our lives. I admire more than anything the families that can home school, I think you people are amazing (and yes, I am somewhat envious!).

We are so happy that the teachers have put Grace and all her other preschool friends from last year in the one class! Couldn't be happier for her. It will make the transition so much easier.

And these two...
Well I didn't let a tear out all day, but the thought of these two (best sisters, best friends they call themselves) spending those 30 hours apart a week, does make my heart sob.

Have I told you lately how amazing my children are?
These kids totally rock my world.

Anyway, back to the school talk...
Grace tells me she had trouble eating her lunch because the playground was too noisy!?
This may take a bit of getting use too.
Pleased to say however, she cant wait to get back there in the morning.
I am off to pack the lunchbox, contact the textbooks...and by the sounds of it, feed the baby.

Monday, February 1, 2010