Thursday, 29 December 2011

Lingering Layers Skirt

So, I made it through Christmas, without an early baby. You have no idea how many jokes I have heard about whether it/he/she would come early on the 25th and I would have to call it/he/she, Noel or Holly.

Christmas day was knackering due in part to the 2am wake up...yes, 2am, from T age 8 and half. "I woke up and saw Santa has filled my stocking, I can't go back to sleep" This went on for an hour....till Mr Minnado took the unusual but slightly desperate step of taking T out for a walk, giving me an hour's much needed sleep and trying to wear T out. So then at 4.30am he came back and woke me up to tell me he had had a walk and now hot. Then of course he woke his little sister up. What can I say other than it.was.a.test. of.maternal.devotion. (Not sure I passed, as at breakfast T said "You did say some swear words when I couldn't sleep") We held out till 6am and then let them open the stockings....looking back I am happy he still believes in Santa, and keep wondering if this will be the last year?
Anyway enough festive ramblings, last week I was able to reconnect the camera with a new usb cord. (thankyou ebay ) I am catching up on the last few FOs. The Lingering Layers maternity skirt sewn back in late September.

Here is the photo from Handmade Beginnings. The skirt has kind of petal shapes at the top and a jersey panel for the bump. There is also a version without the jersey panel for non-maternity wear. Ideally you can alter the panels so the skirt's life is extended after pregnancy.
As you can see my version is much less feminine and floaty.
I made a few changes to the pattern:

  • I obviously left off the ruffle.

  • I also added inseam pockets which have slightly spoiled the side line of the skirt but are so comfortable and useful that I don't mind.

  • I added a centre front and back seams instead of cutting on the fold, in order to make my chevron stripes.
I used some stash fabric that started out as white with a duck-egg green stripe, found in a remnant bin. I had dyed it grey about 18 months ago.
I had a small piece of this stripey fabric to work with and had to play around with the pattern placement to get enough pieces out and also to play with the stripe placement.
The grey jersey panel was an remnant from t shirt making last year.
I ran out of fabric for the back yoke and so used a grey spotty piece instead. The back view shows how this fabric does crease through the day. Once I had put the skirt together I realised it needed lining as it was too see-through. I had to attach the lining from the curved seams as I couldn't line the stretchy tummy panel, if I had it wouldn't be stretchy anymore! Tricky and fiddly - I sewed it first it on the inside and then sewed it from the right side with a stitch in the ditch.

Back in September when I made this skirt it was too big and kept falling down, but it fits okay now. I am annoyed at the creasing issue of the fabric but I can live with that for a casual everyday skirt.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

FESA /maternity round up

Looking back and uploading these photos, I realised I have sewn more maternity clothes than I realised. I also have still got one skirt and a dress to show you but the camera is currently awaiting a new cable. Plus I refashioned a pair of brown velvet jeans found at the back of a cupboard at my mum's house and never photographed them.
Making these maternity clothes has been an exercise in making myself a little capsule wardrobe, something I have thought and read about but never managed to do.
The most used item? It has to be the mariposa jersey dress - it has accomodated my growing bump and can be layered over long sleeved tees and leggings as the weather has got colder. Dresses are so comfortable at this stage. Interestingly, the mariposa dress is one item friends have seemed surprised is home made. I think it is meant as a compliment when they say "You made that??!!"
The trousers have been good but tend to fall down a bit, a problem I have found with many maternity trousers. The grey trousers were being worn a lot but it is now too cold for them. I have also worn my shorts a lot, I love them, most recently I have been wearing them over leggings as I cannot be comfortable in tights anymore. I also love my pyjamas.

Now to work out the cost:

Purple cords for refashioning: £2

Green trouser fabric: £2

White tunic top : £4

Mariposa dress: £6

Navy blue knit: £6 (for unblogged dress)

Black tee for refashioning:£ 1.50

Burda 8376: £8.00
Handmade Beginnings Book: £8.50

Total £32. Not bad, when the cost on the high street of one pair of maternity jeans is about £29. I also hope some of these clothes I will be wearing after the baby, and I can alter them to fit eventually.

All other fabric and notions were already in my stash. I reused old tee shirts for stretchy panels.

I now feel like I am on a wind down with maternity sewing. I was sorely tempted to make a jacket but just didn't have time. It has been a journey for me. In my previous pregnancies I was given lots of maternity clothes so never made any. Then I gave them all away and started this pregnancy with no maternity clothes stash. In fact, I thought you couldn't really make maternity clothes. I thought you needed some special techniques, special fabrics and special measurements. Sewing maternity clothes has been liberating and super speedy in some ways as I have largely given up on zips, button holes etc. Elastic becomes the maternity sewers friend instead. It has been fun to think in a different way to my usual train of sewing thought and I have enjoyed using up so much of my stash fabric.

I found the Burda 8376 pattern became my basic trouser block used for refashioning as well as making from scratch. I also like the Anna Maria Horner book, her patterns are well written and easy to follow. The book has a lot of things in it that are for baby which I haven't made but would use for present making in the future. I am however, tempted to make a changing bag from it now.

Now, once my camera is fixed I can show you the final two items.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Apples for teacher

I have not made many home made gifts this year but here are the few that I have done.

As well as Christmas on the horizon this is Little I's last week at her nursery before she starts primary school after Christmas.

I know I will cry when she has her last day, I cried when her brother left the same nursery! (Maybe I can blame it on hormones.) It feels like the end of a special time and even more so because after Christmas everything will change again. (I am not great with change, can you tell?)

We are very fortunate that our local nursery provision for 3 - 5 year olds is an outstanding Reggio based nursery where she has had an amazing time. Her brother also went there so we feel connected. He still remarks that he feels it is unfair that he cannot spend time there. I have to prise him out somedays when he comes to collect his sister as he quickly gets busy working with magnets or lights and mirrors.

So we have been making some leaving presents for the nursery teachers. It is hard to think what to make, they do get lots of tins of biscuits and chocolates at this time of year. There is an unspoken tradition there of giving a picture or storybook when you leave so it is a present to the nursery. We are doing that but also made some personal gifts.

We made a fabric covered journal for her headteacher. Little I drew on some calico and then I tortuously sewed it into a cover for an A5 notebook. It was quite quick to sew up but was a bit fiddly to insert the book at the end. The cover is fully lined with some scrap William Morris fabric, I tried unsuccessfully to get a picture of this.

Then I knitted a scarf for her main teacher. The variagated yarn is ribbon-like rather than wool. I bought it four years ago and can only remember that it was italian and from a lovely knitting shop. I trimmed the ends with some velvet ribbon. As the yarn is graduated in colours I decided to keep the actual knitting simple and plain to hopefully show off the colour changes. The embarassing truth here is that I bought the yarn four years ago when T was due to leave the nursery with the intention of making the self same teacher a scarf. Needless to say I ran out of time and never did make it. During my November declutter I emptied and sorted my knitting supplies and found this yarn. I decided it was too good to waste. The fact that I actually did make it this time means maybe I have become better at time management?

A recent obsession with Little I has been drawing her teacher's picture. I keep finding these pictures. She recently started drawing them on fabric with some fabric felt pens. I took a small one and sewed it up, filled with some wadding and added a brooch pin to the back as an extra present for her main teacher.

Finally T was set to work on saturday....her made this coaster for his class teacher from Ikea Pyssla beads. This is his teacher's first year of teaching so we decided she probably doesn't have a large enough collection of child-made gifts yet. He decided upon the pattern himself. I think it is reminiscent of a granny square. At age he can sit and do this kind of fine motor skills task (though not for too long) while his little sister tried for about ten minutes to copy him but then ended up having much more fun running her hands through the beads, spilling them everywhere to the point where I had to take her into another room.

That's about it apart from bulbs in a pot for the lady who provides snacks at the nursery...a very, very important person in Little I's world for the past year. Oh no, I mustn't cry on friday, I try and remember I am British, we don't do that kind of we?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Pyjamas and Scrooge-fest

I have the distinct feeling that I am on a sliding scale of time, or maybe one of those airport moving walkways which is speeding up, first stop end of term, second stop Christmas, third stop start of school, fourth stop new baby...eeeek....can't someone stop this moving walkway? I have decided I want to get off. I have recently been having some good days (plenty of energy) and some bad days. On a bad day I lie down a lot...on the sofa, or even when it's really bad on the hall floor. Then I follow my bump to stagger to the school and nursery for pick up time.
Anyone else live in a family where Christmas preparations fall mainly to women? We set ourselves ludicrous goals, rush around getting everything sorted...I keep hearing and having conversations that revolve around "Are you ready yet?" "Have you bought everything for Christmas?" Do you want to put your fingers in your ears and stick out your tongue when you meet someone who has had all her presents bought and wrapped since October?
I decided to drop a few christmas activities this year in the interest of saving my sanity and retaining some energy and a bit of money. Plus cut down on waste. First for the chop is Christmas cards, I am just not doing them, except the mandatory half a dozen for elderly relatives who will ring and complain if they don't get one. (yes, they will and/or sulk...seriously). Second, I contacted various friends a few months ago and asked if we could just not do presents for children or ourselves this year...everyone said yes and seemed relieved, lots of people are feeling a lack of money this year. I am still doing presents for family and a couple of friends, but I feel so glad I don't have to have a long list this year. Am I now an offical killjoy? I have to say I do love Christmas normally but what I love is the lights, trees, advent, decorations, food, and most importantly seeing family...not the grind of hard work and over consumerism. As I am going to be only three weeks off the due date for this baby I cannot go to visit my family this year, they live 200 miles away and I don't think I can manage that car journey! So I plan a simple Christmas meal here just me, Mr Minnado and the children and lots of sitting on the sofa. We have a "Christmas box" which recently came out of hibernation, in it live Christmas and wintery story books and a small collection of festive dvds. It caused great excitement when we opened it on 2nd December. We are currently reading one book a night from the box and plan to watch the dvds nearer the big day. So, I am not completely mean. Anyone else have mixed feelings about Christmas?
Now then, deep breaths....camomile tea....and back to some blogging about sewing.
I've made some super-comfortable maternity pyjama trousers. At the end of the day it is a pleasure to put these on. I am doubly pleased with these as I have used some some stash fabric and every little bit of decluttering gives more space, plus I didn't have to spend anything on them!
The first pair are from an Ikea duvet cover found in the charity shop quite a while ago. I made a skirt in the summer from the matching pillowcase. You can see the big bump panel which I used the scraps from my mariposa dress for.
The second pair in greens and blues are made from a duvet cover I bought in the summer. I had used a large piece of the duvet cover for a skirt I am also just in the process of finishing off a maternity dress. I had other maternity clothes to sew but that running-out-of time feeling means I may just stop here, put my feet up and knit till the baby comes.