Monday, 31 March 2014

Strawberries at the Country Fair

I made this dress firstly to show that one pattern could be made in many different ways. I also wanted to enter it in the Project Run and Play sew a long contest, something I have been meaning to do for a while.   

The challenge this week on Project Run and Play is:
 "Design a look for your little one to wear that is inspired by your favourite vacation spot"

Our perfect holiday destination would be to go back to West Country in the UK  and I think this dress would be perfect at a lovely English Country Fair (perhaps worn with a cardigan) It would have been great to get some outdoor pictures complete with grass that is actually green and some cute animals to cuddle; alas  we live in Australia and we have had a very hot dry summer, the grass is patchy and not very green and to make matters worse it rained on the day I was planning to take photos; all the photos were taken in my (very cheap) Photography studio in my garage.   

The Feliz Dress (From "Sewing Clothes Kids Love" by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn)  is a great pattern because it is really simple and gives you a blank slate on which to place your own personal style (or your kids style). The dress is made up of two layers: an overdress and an under-dress. the overdress is open at the back to show off the fabric of the under dress. the back of the under dress is cinched in with rows of elastic. 

This dress was tricky, not because it was technically difficult, but rather because I found it hard to tone down my usual style.  I have had this cute strawberry printed poplin in my stash for a while now and it never seemed to work with whatever design I had in mind; I was glad when at last I had found just the right project for it. The pink fabric of the overdress is a cotton homespun I bought on sale; both fabrics came from Spotlight here in Australia. 

I Finished the hem of the overdress with a polka-dot bias binding and some super cute strawberry ribbon.
The hem of the under dress is finished with some delicate pink lace

I decided that the dress would look great with a simple sash to complete the look. I decided to run the sash over the top of the overdress and create more of an impact with it. 

As you can see Miss Loofie had an absolute ball taking these pictures and she loves this dress. I will be back really soon to share the second Feliz dress.

Farbenmix Fun!

I have mentioned Farbenmix in previous posts and I suppose it may need some explanation.  I first encountered Farbenmix after buying “Sewing Clothes Kids Love” by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn; little did I know the effect this pretty book would have on my sewing.  Farbenmix is a German company that publishes the most amazing sewing patterns, makes beautiful fabric and gorgeous ribbon; I have been in love with their work since buying this book. 
My copy of this book has been well loved!
I though it would be fun, not only to show my approach to a Farbenmix patterns, but also challenge myself by making not two very different dresses from the same pattern, the pattern in question being the Feliz Party dress.  I have loved the Farbenmix style ever since I first saw it; the ruffles, the colour, all the surface decoration and ribbons!  However I can understand that this style doesn’t appeal to everyone so I will be making one dress in my typical over the top style and one in an understated style (or at least what I call understated.) 
Feliz Party Dress

I have made this dress about seven or eight times now and it is one of Miss Loofie’s favorite dresses ever!  It is such a girly girly dress and it has the “twirl factor” that every girly girl loves.  
The “Seraphina”: This will be the over-the-top dress complete with rainbows, ribbons, ruffles and unicorns!  
The “So Sweet Strawberry”: This will be the toned down version, A pretty pink dress just right for a day at the country fair (with strawberries and cream for tea)
I really hope  that I can show that one pattern can produce very different outcomes.  

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Isn't it funny how sometimes life seems to speed up and every spare second seems to be sucked up with extra "stuff" that just has to be done? Or perhaps sucked into the black hole of procrastination?

Having both my kids in school I find that my days flash by and it is very easy to waste too much time looking at Pintrest, watching You Tube or reading rubbish online and then wondering where my day has gone.  I  also like planning things, be it sewing projects, blog posts or even starting a business but only a small number of these plans ever happen.  I am reminded that of the quote attributed to John Lennon  
"Life is what Happens when you busy making other plans"  

This is a good quote to remind myself,  not only enjoy the little moments when life gets in the way of my plans,  but to keep the plans and just set (or reset) the time line for the plan in question; rather than letting the interruptions derail things completely. 

I have been working on the Farbenmix dresses and the posts to go along with them.  The dresses (yes two of them) are done and with any luck I will be able to photograph them tomorrow because I am super excited to share the end results with all of you.
 I will leave you with another picture of Miss Loofie, she is pictured here wearing Farbenmix Roberta trousers and Farbenmix Imke T-shirt

Monday, 10 March 2014

Sneak Peek

I am busy sewing up a a whole heap of Farbenmix Fun


Here is a sneak peek at the fabric I a playing with.

Now back to the sewing machine for me!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

My Favourite Sewing Tools

I have a confession to make: I am a serious notion junkie! I have a pile of different sewing gadgets, some useful and some less useful. In this post I want to share some of my favourite sewing notions.

Nancy Zieman Clover 5-in-1 Seam Gauge: I use this to add seam allowance to the many European patterns; Euro patterns do not have any seam allowance added so you have to add it yourself. This handy gauge not only makes this job a whole lot easier, but it is also great for marking buttonholes, marking hems and spacing different trims.
Luarastar Iron: To achieve professional results in sewing you have to do a whole lot of pressing, sometimes I think I do more pressing than sewing! A good steam iron is a must; this one has a nice weight and it produces a nice amount of steam.
Aquarium Cleaning Magnets: I use these to hold the big pattern sheets from Ottobre and Farbenmix on to my glass sliding door for easy tracing
Frixon Pens: I read this piece of advice on  The Cottage Mama these really are the best pens for marking fabric, they glide on nicely and iron off easily.
Pressing Tools: (sleeve board, sleeve roll and tailors ham) As I said pressing really makes the difference between an ok garment and a wow garment. These tools make it easy to press curves, to press inside tight spots and shape garments.
Stylefix Tape: This tape is magic! It is a double-sided tape that becomes more adhesive with pressure. I use it to hold ribbons, embroidered patches and even zips in place before sewing. It is repositionable and I love being able to move the ribbon about until I am happy with the results, then I just apply more pressure and the ribbon is secured and ready to sew. I buy it from the most wonderful store  Crafty Mamas Fabric and at $12.00AUD for 50M it is pretty inexpensive.
Wide Format Printer Paper: I use this to trace out my patterns, I like the weight of this and the wide format means I don’t have to tape bits of paper together. When used with my Aquarium Magnet tracing set up, it is fairly easy to trace off even the most confusing Ottobre patterns.
i-magicut ribbon cutter and sealer from Imaginisce: My lovely Hubby bought this for me for Christmas last year, it cuts and seals the ribbon so it won’t fray- yay for that!
Thread Heaven: I stumbled upon this product fairly recently and used it while hand sewing the headdress (it is called a French hood) for the Princess Elizabeth dress I have been working on. Thread Heaven is a thread conditioner and it really makes the thread behave itself.
Fashionary: These handy little note pads have a faintly dotted croqui for fashion sketching, perfect for when inspiration strikes!

So that is some of my favourite sewing notions, I hope the slightly odd notions are interesting to others.

In the next few posts you will get to see some of these goodies and some of my favourite feet in action as I make Miss Loofie yet another rainbow dress. Look forward to seeing you then

Sunday, 2 March 2014

My Sewing Machines

When I am reading other blogs I am always curious about what the blogger is working with, especially when it come to sewing machines; so I thought I would play “show and tell” with my tools.

I struggled with awful sewing machines for many, many years; machines so bad that even a small job resulted in a tangled mess and much cursing and swearing, ugh, if you have been there you know how frustrating and just plain stressful this can be. I am now very happy with my current set up and with good maintenance I hope it will last me many years. So without further a-do here is my “team”

My sewing machine!
Bernina 550QE: I Have owned this machine for almost two years now and I have been very happy with her (yes this machine is a girl) I bought this machine as an upgrade to my old Janome CS995 as I was struggling to achieve the results I wanted on this machine.
Things I love about this machine:
  • Knee lift! It is so handy
  • Needle threader good and pretty solid- I broke the one on my Janome (oops)
  • Bright LED lights and lots of them.
  • I love the Bernina Feet, I have developed something of a “foot fetish” (will talk more about feet in my next post)
  • It is pretty quiet.
Things I don’t love about this machine
  • I wish it had a automatic thread cutter
My Overlocker

Elna 845 Overlocker (serger): I bought this machine two years ago and I have been so impressed with it as an overlocker.
Things I love about this machine:
  • The threading is actually pretty easy; for an overlocker
  • The basic stitches work perfectly every time
  • It has both four and five thread safety stitch
  • The rolled hem looks great
  • It has auto tension, no fiddling with tension knobs to get the perfect stitch
Things I don’t love about this machine:
  • The coverstitch function is a pain in the neck
  • It can be hard to clean
  • The thread stand is really unstable and needs to be tightened almost every time I use the machine
  • The thread cutter is too blunt.
Coverstitch Machine
Janome Coverpro 1000CPX(coverstitch machine): This machine is a bit of a luxury; I bought it last year after cursing the coverstitch function on my Elna. I love that this machine “just works” it makes it so easy to hem all my knit items- the machine gives you that great double row of stitching you see on ready to wear garments.
What I love about this machine:
  • It is so easy to thread
  • It makes hemming knits super easy
  • It just works
What I don’t love about this machine:
  • Nothing!
Embroidery Machine
Bernette Deco 340 (Embroidery Machine): This is an embroidery only machine and I am really happy with it. I fell in love with Machine embroidery because it is so easy to make an otherwise boring item both personalised and fun.
  • What I love about this machine
  • It has automatic thread cutters (yay!)
  • It is faster than my 300E
  • The stitch quality is fantastic
What I don’t love about this machine
  • I have to “baby sit” it
  • It is tricky to “hoop up” the fabric for embroidery

If you are new to sewing and are looking for a machine rather than recommend any one brand I would only suggest buying the best machine you can afford and that may mean buying second hand. Buy a machine that is slightly more advanced than your needs so that you can "grow into it"

Although it is possible to have only two machines and still have the same capabilities, I find it is less time consuming to have separate machine set up and ready to go- for example my overlocker can perform the same function as my Coverpro, but I would have to convert and re-thread each time I hemmed a garment. I Think the only change I may make to this line up in the coming years is to leap into the big bad world of multi-needle embroidery machines, but this is a big investment and will have to wait for now.

In my next post I will be talking about my favourite sewing notions and other fun gadgets; hope to see you then.