Monday, 24 October 2011

Sewing for others - part 2

Bags, bags, bags...I know I am pregnant due to the recent frantic bouts of nesting activity and organising. If I had an appropriate cupboard or set of drawers I would use it but instead I am making bags to rein in the winter stuff I recently pulled out from under the bed.

See exhibit 1:
A combat bag for T and alphabet bag for Little I from stash fabrics. The straps are from my collection of belts...a really easy and effective way of making bag straps. My genius plan? Each family member is to have their own tote bag with their winter gloves, scarves and hats in. Each family member is therefore able to find said gloves, scarves and hats by themselves without recourse to shouting at me. Of course this plan relies on everyone putting their hats, scarves, gloves back in their own bag... I need to train everyone to do this. I am not going to be placing bets on this working in mid-winter.
Mr Minnado has a combat fabric bag for his winter things and I made one for myself from the left over duvet cover fabric used for a summer skirt.

A wrinkly washbag for T fromstash fabric, lined with the stripey blue and white. I made this for him to take to cub camp. "What's a toiletries bag?" he asked me, reading the equipment list.

Finally a P.E. (sports) bag for Little I to take to school in January (yep, forward planning inaction here). Made from rag market fabric and I used some embroidered trim also fromthe rag market to make the strap.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Oh no, more maternity sewing: Mariposa Jersey Dress

When I bought my stripey jersey at the Ragmarket I was originally thinking of t shirts but changed my mind and decided to have a go at a mariposa-based dress. I saw Mad Mim's jersey version of this pattern and decided to have a go at using a non-stretch fabric pattern with stretch fabric. I can't carry off long skirts and also have a tendency to trip over the hems so I made it to the knees.

The Mariposa pattern by Anna Maria Horner is from this book and can be made into a tunic or dress. The picture above shows the dress version illustrated in the book.

I like the fact that the maternity patterns in the book all have non-maternity options or are adaptable for after you have had the baby. I had started making a Mariposa tunic back in September from stash fabric. When I came to try it on I had quite a few fit issues. There is an insert called the "modesty panel" which was much too big on me and was very very immodest! So I have taken the panel out and still haven't finished the tunic.

My half finished tunic

The pattern calls for the front bodice pieces to be lined and the back piece to have a neck facing. I decided to line the backpiece fully so in effect made two bodices and then put them together. This works well with jersey and eliminates any flapping facing. I also cut the sleeves slightly longer then the pattern piece. I decided to leave out the modesty panel on this dress and just wear it over a vest. Then when it came to making the skirt I decied to just wing it with a rectangle of my remaining jersey, sewn up the side seam and then ran a gathering stitch round the top before pinning it onto the bodice.

The jersey was much more forgiving of this approach then a woven fabric may have been.
The dress fastens with ties which currently meet behind my back. It is designed so you can undo the ties for easy breast feeding once you have had the baby.

What do I think? I like this dress. It is so comfortable and so wearable and I do love stripes. How can you not be happy wearing a stripey dress???? But the stripes highlight any wonkiness in the belt and I did botch it together. I hope to be able to adjust it after having the baby so I can keep on wearing it. It was a pleasure to sew with some good quality cotton jersey after having sewn with not so good jersey before. It just sewed up so much better, no snagging or terrible holes with the needle. The jersey was £3 per metre from Rag Market. I used about 1.75m for this dress. The stall holder told us it was "best Marks and Spencers Jersey", maybe this was true... I should have bought some more for t shirts! I don't want to go back to sewing with crappy jersey again.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

FESA happiness

Happiness, happiness this a pair of maternity winter shorts. I used Burda 8376 again and the fabric was a grey wool mix with a tiny blue stripe left over from my Uniform Project dress. (I am planning to post the dread details of that dress soon, it didn't exactly turn out well, and it feels like a mammoth post to write). As you can see the pattern photo shows a summery sort of pair of shorts worn by the lovely sporty looking blonde amazon. Hmmm.... I changed all that and made some wintery nerdy shorts.

I liked the idea of putting on the large side pockets with flaps which are more meant for a casual combat trouser look but I like to play around with ideas of suitability within fabric types. I thought about addding giant buttons to the flaps but decided to restrain myself.

The pockets and flaps are lined with some blue floral scraps from my stash.

Like the trousers already made from this pattern the shorts have an insert for the bump made from an old tee shirt. This type I followed the pattern instruction and used buttonhole elastic (bought on ebay) in the casing. What genius invented buttonhole elastic?

So I wore them on wednesday with a charity shop top and again on thursday with my me made nautical top. This thursday photo is especially for Ali, after she had asked about favourite jackets in her recent post, I was spurned on to wear one of my favourites, this red 60s style Zara jacket (via charity shop again).

The shorts are super comfortable, use up some stash, tick another item off the FESA list, and they go with lots of different colours, kind of obviously I guess.
I just wanted to add a note to say sorry if you cannot comment here - I am hoping this is a temporary blogger hitch as I cannot see what to change in my settings. I also wanted to thank everyone who left congratulations - for a week or more I couldn't respond to comments on blogger but I am trying to catch up now.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Birmingham Bloggers Meet Up

"What?? " shrieked my friend on the phone "I can't believe you are six months pregnant and went running round the Ragmarket on Saturday".

Yes, instead of spending saturday lying on a couch being fed grapes as befits a woman in my position, I went off to Birmingham and met up with five lovely bloggers. You have probably already seen Scruffybadger's superior account. (If not, go and have a read).

This was my first blogger meet-up and I was a little nervous. ("What if they are, like, really old?" said my sister when I first mentioned a blogger meet- up to her last summer. Hmmm, she is in her forties, not fourteen by the way).

Well they were lovely, and very good company. As for the Ragmarket...I thought it was great and am ashamed to say I have lived 45 minutes away for 8 years and have never been before. We had a good look round the inside and outside stalls, trying not to get too muddled in my case. Then a late lunch. Cafe Soya looks like not very much from the outside but the food was fab, especially for a vegetarian like me, and generous portions. Rachel had the never-ending bowl of soup. I wish had taken a food blogger type photo now.

Then back to shopping:

Lots of prints

So many trims, with so many colours - even the zips were embellished.

And onto my haul, some looky-likey swiss dotted cotton in white, £2 a metre, for a top. Some dark denim with a bit of stretch. I bought this thinking of trousers but I am not so sure now - I think it would make a better skirt. A darkish blue mystery blend that looks like linen but isn't. Probably trousers. A yellowey green, I think this was £1 a metre. It has a silky feeling reverse so won't need any lining. Some stripey cotton jersey knit. I was very happy to find this as knits were high on my shopping list.

You can read Melizza's account of our day over at
pincushion treats

and Sarah's is here at Not Found

Their blogs are both new to me so an added bonus was to discover them and be able to add them to my reading list.

You can see a better picture of the green fabric hanging on the line.

If you live near to Birmingham I would definitely recommend a trip to the Ragmarket (a return trip next year has already been suggested) but a word of caution - check what days the markets are open - I am not certain if all the outdoor stalls we visited on saturday are there every day.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Ch-ch-changes and Finished FESA item

Sit down... I have a confession to make...

I made the first pair of trousers on my Fall Essentials Sewalong list a few weeks ago. They are a grey chambray cotton with 5% linen blend. And now it is time to confess a little something... I have given myself an extra challenge in my FESA sewalong as I am expecting a baby! He or she is due in January. So I am about 25 weeks now. This was an unplanned surprise, so much so that I had given my maternity clothes away. To someone who lives in Poland - too far away and costly to post them back. I had also given away the cot, moses basket, car seat, highchair attachment, most of the baby clothes...etc, etc, are you seeing the situation? The only big item I still had was the pram.

So recently I have been thrifting and buying second hand things for baby. I managed to buy a beautiful cot bed (actually much nicer than our old one) from a friend of a friend, and a first stage car seat from another friend. I have been buying bits and pieces of baby clothes in the charity shops.
I cannot afford to be buying maternity clothes though. I just allowed myself one pair of second hand maternity jeans on ebay. They are at that stage where tend to fall down all day resulting in me permanently hoiking them up. I keep reminding myself that soon they will fit.

I have been lucky in that I happened to have made quite a lot of loose tops like Simplicity 3835 and my portfolio dress - these have been great to wear in this mid stage. BUT I am aware that at some point I may need a little extra space in my clothes.
So, I decided to start with maternity trousers. My trusty gap charity shop jeans saw me through to 22 weeks but just are too tight now. I searched for maternity patterns and to be honest the big pattern companies don't have many. I read some reviews of Easy Burda 8376 and decided to use this one as a good basic trouser pattern. Any pregnant readers out there, believe me, these are so easy to make. Only five pieces.

Seriously, this maternity sewing is zips, no buttonholes, no waistbands. I loves it.

The trousers have a jersey panel that goes over the bump and they have a simple casing and elastic waist. I used an old t shirt to make the panel. The panel looks to me like a teddy bear's stomach but it is super comfortable. When it came to cutting out the trousers, being the meanie that I am, I tried to squeeze the 2 metres required from 1 metre of stash fabric. It worked but only just and I had to make an extra casing for the back from another piece of spotty scrap fabric. To give them a bit more length. They are just, just long enough but only because I have short legs! My only concern is that they won't be warm enough in a month or two. So I am thinking of making another pair in some winterish fabric, I am also thinking of using the jersey panel pattern piece to refashion some pre-made trousers into maternity but I just haven't seen any charity shop trousers I like recently.

However I liked making the trousers so much that I made some grey wool mix winter shorts from the same pattern. I have almost finished these. The photo shows the side pocket detail. I used the left over fabric from making my Uniform Project dress last year.

I am in love with these shorts even if I will look like a strange gender-mix of pregnant woman and school boy. That is weird I know. But they do look a bit like my son's school shorts. I will just have to make sure I don't wear them with a school jumper and satchel.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

More sewing for others

I have been doing a fair amount of sewing but no blogging recently. I have several items almost finished to share but most recently I have been doing more sewing for others:

A birthday tee shirt for Little I's friend whose favourite colour is green and a bag for her to keep treasures in.

The teeshirt I did at the last minute, well an hour before the party. A new sewing shop opened near me and I really wanted to like it. I live in a sewing shop desert. The owner was lovely and helpful BUT she sold me fusible interfacing that was ironable-fusible on one side when I had asked for fusible on 2 sides- bondaweb type stuff. Eeeek.

I didn't have time to go back and change it before the party, and so I just used the interfacing for the tee shirt applique. I think it is going to fray more now though than it would have done with the double sided stuff.

The new shop is five minutes drive from my house, located on the edge of a small industrial estate, and has loads of patterns and fabrics and a bit of haberdashery. There were lots of useful lining fabric (I bought some grey for a skirt I am in the middle of making) and some pretty floral cottons (didn't buy any, thinking of the stash I already have). There was quite a bit of fabric that was not my kind of taste but which made Little I gasp and say things like
" Ooohh, look shiny rainbow, glittery,stars material...ooohh pink princesses material....! " (Can you imagine a world styled by four year old girls?)

I did buy a length of fake suede in emerald green and some brown fake suede off cuts. Don't worry, this is not the latest FESA wardrobe plan. Nor am I going to the Birmingham Bloggers meet up in fancy dress. I'm making T a Robin Hood costume for friday night's cub camp. We googled Robin Hood costumes (found a strange flickr group devoted to men who like to dress up as Robin Hood, let's just not go any further) and found a simple one that met with T's approval (he is not keen on dressing up) so I am spending my sewing time making it now. It is basically a tunic to wear over his normal khaki green trousers - no way this boy would wear green tights! But I have had a request for a pointy hat as well.

We only had one week's notice about the costume which is a little short don't you think?? T is very excited as this one night and one day camp is his first cub camp. I can't believe he is old enough and brave enough to go. I may cry into my cocoa on friday night - this is my just desserts as before I had children I used to be so unsentimental and laugh at soft-hearted parents.