Tuesday, September 20, 2011

from Lothlorien to the 21st century in a day.....

I do realise it has been an unforgivably long time since I have blogged. My excuses abound. And I'm not quite sure where to start. Maybe I'll just start with today. Today I had a day at home with Arlo, where I finished off two projects. It strikes me as very funny that one of these projects was to recreate something from Middle Earth (whenever that was) and the other was for an object that is the height of modernity. From quivers to kindles. Voila.

A quiver (you know, slung over the back to carry arrows right? When fighting orcs and such) for my nephew's birthday. It is a Lord of the Rings party and he is, most appropriately, dressing as Legolas.

The quiver is made of leather-look vinyl and leather thong criss crossing up the seam. It is a rough job, but I think it'll do. This photo makes it look like the detail on an s&m costume. It really doesn't in real life (I hope).

I found this glass pendant in Spotlight and it looked appropriately Elvish to me. The sortof thing that Legolas would have had tucked away in case of Evil or to conjure up some of lembas. It is tied into the s&m-ish leather string.

And then I finished off two kindle covers for my twin niece's birthdays a few weeks ago.

They individually chose their favourite fabrics from my stash, and both ended up with orange birds. So twins.

I do love the inners they chose:

And now I feel able to move backwards from today, and try and cover the last 4 weeks. So many things have happened. All absolutely lovely things really. I went to Bali for a week, with my brother, sister, and bestie. Those of you who have been to Bali know what bliss it is. Here is  bit of  taste. (And I do literally mean taste. I Could Not Stop Eating the entire time I was there. This seems to be a bit of  theme for me on holidays. It confirms my suspicion that I do not actually have a small appetite, I am just lazy and will gladly pig out if someone else is doing the cooking....)

Oh masakan padang, how I miss thee.

Then straight after Bali I went to Timor Leste with my little family. The first few days were for a conference and the launch of the new Working Women's Centre Timor Leste. Extremely inspiring. The next few days were just pure family holiday on Atauro Island. Bliss.

We visited a doll factory,  a women worker's sewing co-op where the women work on pedal-powered vintage Singers, as electricity is so unreliable there. I met a woman who raises money to buy these machines and start off women's sewing co-ops with them - more on that in  later post.

Then we returned and it was back to normal life, which included unpacking, washing, new work days for me, new childcare for Arlo, visitors, a goofy wobbly tooth for Jarrah, losing the 'a' on our laptop keyboard (trgedy), and somewhere in there trying my hardest to find my sewing mojo.

And in the midst of all that I turned (ahem) 40 (I know. 40! Weird. I keep forgetting it is true. Even though every day Arlo wears the "I am 40!" badge my mother-in-law kindly sent me....). But I was quite overwhelmed with the love and presents I received from so many incredible people I am lucky to have in my life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Something a little bit special

I have met a lovely woman in Darwin who makes her own nappies - they are veritable works of art, with ruffles and applique and all sorts of bells and whistles. We decided to collaborate on a special set for September, and this is what we came up with.

An exquisite pocket nappy by Zoo!Baby

And a matching peasant dress (size 1) by mangolime:

And matchy matchy clips. Could not help myself.

Coordinating echino fabrics, don't you just love it?

To be in the running to nab these, you will need to check out the Zoo!Baby website on Sunday September 4th. They will be previewing soon and then they will go "live" to purchase mode on the set time.

In the meantime, I am off to Bali and then East Timor for a couple of weeks, so jalan jalan to you all my friends!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

keep 'em coming

And another custom order completed this week. I am on a roll!

This one is for Ruth.

One cherry nappy wallet:

And one pair of Seaside Fickle shorts:

Winging their way to you today, Ruth.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

more customs

I am churning out customs right now.

These ones are for Stacey:

And these are for Naomi, going all the way to Thailand! (Surely I need to hand deliver them....?)


This skirt took me a lot longer to create than it should have. But in the end, I am glad. Because I love it. So much so that I had to make another one for myself. This one is for Melly.

In the process of making this skirt, I have perfected my double seam inset pockets (which, as you may already know, I am a strong advocate for), and have also managed to take my love of piping to a new level. Have I told you how much I love piping? I haven't? It is so much fun to make, and so easy. Perhaps a piping tutorial will be on the cards in the future. And I just love the finish it gives. Very 40's.

Rather than use piping on the hem I opted for a flat finish. I'm, not sure what this is called in sewing-speak, but its basically a piece of bias binding sewn down on the front side and ironed to the back so it peeps out at the front. Anyone know the proper term?

And then on the back, I did some applique. I love this goose. Something both cute and spooky about that profile, and the dangly legs.

The facing is from Jessica Jones fabric.

The magpie goose fabric is hand screen-printed by the women of Maningrida (an Aboriginal community in East Arnhem land). It is pricey, but so it should be. Stunning designs and colours and prints. Can't wait to get more of this.

I am getting more into making adult's skirts now, especially with these beautiful fabrics. The one I made for mum is still going strong:

And my last-minute conference skirt:

Ok. Time to get back to work and stop showing photos of champagne.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Long time no blog

Its been quiet here, I know. School holidays hey? Do they do your head in too? Loved the routineless days, late nights, camping, trips, friends, family. Hated the early mornings (despite the late nights), the need for Constant Entertainment, and the time away from mangolime. I tell you, I have been yearning for some intimacy with just me and my sewing machine.

I managed to squeeze a bit of sewing in. Some customs:

A pair of pants for my little friend Luka's 2nd birthday. I adapted the pattern from MADE's flat front pants pattern - if you don't yet know her blog you must check it out. I used the last of my very precious Far Far Away unicorns fabric. Ach, the sacrifices....

The highlight of our holidays had to have bee a trip to Luna Park (Sydney) with my oldest. Just me and him. Quality time. Slightly vomitous (the rides, not the company). But the beauty of that place gets me. Especially Coney Island and its genuine olde-worlde charm.

Thinking about adopting that one for my blog header. A bit misleading though....

I'll be back soon with a heap of customs, a new creation that I am in love with, a possible exciting collaboration or two, and of course a stocking, At some point. Missed you! Hope your school holidays have not left you slightly insane.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And the winner is.....

The winner of the patchy cot sheet (drawn by random.org, though I can't for the life of me get the little widgetty thing to show up here) is Tania. I have just checked out Tania's blog too and it is beautiful - Ivy Nest - yet another gorgeous blog to add to my reader!

Tania I hope it is that lovely little baby of yours that will be snuggling on this sheet - what a chocolate box baby!

Thank you all for entering, and I truly do hope some of you follow the tute and make a cot sheet - please let me know if you do!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Patchy Cot Sheet Tutorial and a giveaway!

So the stars all aliged yesterday, with sewing mojo in abundance, 'helpful' 3 year old and nothing major scheduled, to enable me to do this tutorial. This is a tutorial for the cot sheet I showed the other day, which I made for my friend's new little baby girl, and I had such fun making it, and it was so super easy, and such a fabulous way to use up scraps, that I thought I would share the secret with you all. Now this is my first ever tutorial so I hope it is ok! Its picture heavy, but that is how I learn best so hopefully it works for you too.

Oh, and because I am feeling generous today, I will make this a giveaway too. Are you excited? To win the sheet in this tutorial, you simply have to comment under this blogpost in the next week.

You can get up to 2 additional entries by:
1. becoming a follower (or add me to your reader, I'm not fussy) and leave a second comment letting me know, and/or
2. Share this giveaway on your facebook or blog page, and leave a 3rd comment here letting me know you have done this

A winner will be picked randomly on 28th June. Good luck!The winner will be announced here on my blog and also on my facebook page.

So, on with the show:

Patchy Cot Tutorial (so easy even a 3 year old can (think they can) make it)

What you need:

  • (Note: this is to fit a standard cot mattress, 70 cm wide x 130 cm long x 10 cm deep)
  • Scraps of wonderful fabric (enough to make a strip that is 114cm long and about 20 cm high)
  • 2 pieces of cream (or whatever takes your fancy) flanellette, 114cm x 88cm and 114cm x68cm (annoyingly, the flanellette at Spotlight (insert swear word here) comes in 110 cm widths, 112 cm widths and 88 cm widths, making for some quick Year 10 maths conniptions at the counter....)
  • Around 150cm of elastic, 6-8mm width
  • Coordinating Thread
Now I must admit I did most of this on an overlocker. It makes it so much easier and cuts out heaps of steps. BUT you could easily do this whole thing on a standard sewing machine. You would just need to add 2 cms all round for extra seam allowance and hemming.

Step 1 - creating your patchwork strip
Cut out 20cm long strips from your scrap stash. You can choose to coordinate, or be radical and just go for it. Whatever. I chose a basic theme of red and just picked out stuff that went well together. Each strip should be 20 cm long. The width is less important, and I quite like the look of varying widths. You will need enough scraps to make a strip that is 114cm wide when they are all sewn together. So to be safe, make it about 120cm. (A tip: put the strips from fabric you don't LOVE the most (I know you love all your fabrics equally) on the ends, as these will be tucked under the mattress on the finished sheet).

Join all your strips together into a loooong strip. You can either overlock or sew them. I chose overlocking.

Arlo pressed the pedal for me. He is good at stopping and starting on command. Does rev a bit too much though....

Then press down the seams so they all face the same way.

 ("This is the boring part", says Arlo, knowingly.)

Could not agree more little fella....ironing sux.

Step 2 - attaching the patchwork strip to the sheet body
Now you are attaching your long patchwork strip to your two pieces of flanellette. If you are now cutting out your two flanellette pieces, you can make sure you get a 'true' (ie straight) edge by ripping rather than cutting. 3 year olds are good at this.

(Look at that face. "You mean, I'm allowed to rip this? Awesome! What else can I rip Mama???")

Place one long side of the patchwork strip against the long side of the first piece of flanellette (it doesn't matter which one you start with). Make sure both pieces of fabric are right sides together. Line them up edge to edge and overlock them (or sew). Repeat for the other side of the patchwork strip.

Press both seams down and topstitch them - I used a contrasting thread (red) and a decorative stitch.

(Man! Check out that dust....!)

Step 3 - creating corners
Now lay the whole sheet down and fold it in half lengthways. Measure a 20cm x 20cm square from each corner and cut out (so you are cutting through two layers of the flanellette in one hit).

Now take the two cut sides of each corner, and overlock or sew them right sides together. Repeat for all four corners. (Sorry I didn't get a shot of this step).

Step 4 - elasticising
Overlock around the entire perimeter of the sheet (or, if using a sewing machine, hem by folding in half a centimetre, press, and then fold in another half a centimetre and sew).

OK slightly tricky step here. (But this'll be a breeze if you've ever made a cloth nappy!) Change your sewing machine stitch to the elastic stitch, aka the 3 step zig-zag stitch. On mine it looks like this (number 6 stitch):

Now measure 30cm from either side of the corner seam, at the perimeter of the sheet. Use your fabric marker to put a little dot at each point (on the wrong side). Place the elastic slightly to the left of the edge (on the wrong side), and tack it in place at the first dot. (Don't precut your elastic, just feed it off the roll as you sew). Now stitch the elastic down all the way to the second dot, pulling it as tight as you possibly can with your left hand, and using your right hand to pull it fairly taut behind the needle. (or vice versa if you are left handed). When you get to the second dot, tack it down again, and cut. Repeat with all four corners.

Sewing the elastic a bit to the left of the overlocked (or hemmed) edge gives it a nice little ruffle. You can just see it in the blurry back part of this picture:

Add a  label, if you are so inclined. Trim all your threads. Admire your work. Congratulate your 3 year old helper, and put it on his cot to model. Then patiently explain that actually after all that it is not for him after all but for some kind stranger on the internet....(a small chocolate biscuit works well here).

I hope this all makes sense. And I would love to see if any of you make one.

So, once again, you wanna win this? here's how:

Leave a comment under this blogpost in the next week.

You can get up to 2 additional entries by:
1. becoming a follower (or add me to your reader, I'm not fussy) and leave a second comment letting me know, and/or
2. Share this giveaway on your facebook or blog page, and leave a 3rd comment here letting me know you have done this

A winner will be picked randomly on 28th June. The winner will be announced here on my blog and also on my facebook page. Good luck!