Saturday, 20 September 2014

.The first Tova.

The Tova. 
This pattern has been sitting in my "to sew" pile for years. I know I am probably one of the last people on the earth to make this top, but sometimes I like to wait until the fad has passed so that I can have a good look at what everyone else has made - read reviews, suss out fabric choices, etc. The blogging world is great like that, usually before I start sewing any pattern I'll do a few searches (Google, Flickr, Pinterest, Kollabora) for others who have made it, it really helps when choosing fabrics and making alterations.
So, a couple of weeks ago I started to have wardrobe crisis. Wardrobe crisis seems to happen with the change of every season, doesn't it? Everything seems old and boring and you just want to freshen things up a bit. I used to turn to the shops when wardrobe crisis crept in, but now I turn to my sewing room! I haven't bought new clothes forever and I like it like that (kind of helps to justify my fabric buying addiction!)

We are starting to have some warmer days (just a few, but enough to give hope for Summer's arrival!) and I knew that the Tova would be great for in between seasons. The cropped sleeves and open neckline are just right for those warmish-coolish days when you're not sure if you should be wearing a tshirt or cardi.

My measurements placed me exactly in a size small for everything, so I pulled out some of my favourite Nani IRO and got sewing. The Tova was a lovely sew, quite fast and easy and everything came together beautifully...
...but the fit is not good on me! I don't think these photos really give a great indication of how tight the top is across my bust and upper back, but it is...really so uncomfortable that I only wore the top for a morning and then had to take it off because my underarms were so sore!! I haven't read of other people having this problem before though, and I do have wide shoulders (thanks Dad!), so think that the fit issue is probably just unfortunate for me that my body shape doesn't quite suit this particular pattern. And that's the beauty about sewing for yourself, you can chop and change and alter away until you have something you are completely happy with!

You can see how tight the fabric is pulling from my underarm to bust in the photos below:
And across the back, when I stand up straight, there actually isn't any bagginess across the upper back like you can see below:
Fit issues aside, let's talk a bit about this amazing fabric though. I'm a little bit sad that it has ended up being used on a top that I will rarely wear but it is just gorgeous, isn't it? This Nani IRO double gauze is a lovely silvery grey with a subtle pencil stroke herringbone print all over it. The fabric had a metallic pearl border strip that I placed on the hems of top and sleeves - and I managed to cut the whole thing out of 1.5m of fabric with just a few little scraps to spare!
As much as I love everything about it, I'm sad to say that this top will probably be given to one of the sisters with narrower shoulders in the future - when I am ready to part with it! After all this I was determined to make a Tova that actually fit me so next I made a muslin (yep, should have done that first!) - will be back to share that soon!

Wiksten Tova sewing pattern
Nani IRO double gauze, Herring Bone Pencil in Feather purchased from Miss Matatabi

Thursday, 11 September 2014

.Skippy & Joey Hop.

I'm back with some more great dresses (and a top!) in the Skippy & Joey Hop! 
Renee from Nearest the Pin was one of my pattern testers and I love the simplicity of the grey with emerald green trim she used in her daughter's Joey dress.
Kirsten from Skirt As Top sewed her little cutie a Joey dress to wear to her first day at school! The polka dots are pretty awesome and you can't help but feeling happy when you see her daughter's crazy funniness in the photoshoot!
Sisko by Mieke made herself a Skippy top. She started out sewing a dress, but ended up leaving the skirt part off and I'm feeling inspired to do the same! Oh, and the cool thumb holes in the sleeves - awesome!
And I came across these little beauties from Kaya's Kloset on Instagram and just had to share. When Johanna isn't sewing clothes for herself and her daughter she keeps herself busy making the cutest baby shoes and slippers.
I hope you are feeling inspired! I'll be back with more soon and in the meantime, if you would like sew these dresses for yourself you can purchase them here:

{For more inspiration, visit the first Hop post here!}

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

.Sew Box Subscriptions.

My postie knows me pretty well...he seems to drop in every couple of days, beeping his horn as he pulls into the driveway, with a parcel to drop off. I'm a massive online shopper, actually I can't remember the last time I went to the shops just for a look around. It could have something to do with where I live and the lack of a big shopping centre, but I have become so accustomed to shopping online - the convenience of shopping around from store to store at any time of the day or night and having my orders delivered to my door.
Usually when the postie arrives I know exactly what is going to be inside the box, but last week a mysterious box arrived in the mail and I was so excited to see what was inside!
Leesa from Sew Box Subscriptions recently contacted me to see if I would like to receive an exclusive preview Sew Box in the mail before the first official box is sent out - yes please! And it did not disappoint...the box was beautifully packaged and choc-a-block full of a fantastic assortment of sewing products and vouchers.
When you subscribe to Sew Box Subscriptions you will receive a monthly box full of unique and interesting sewing products for you to add to your collection and try out. The box is not a kit to make a specific project, but more a selection of hand-picked products for you to sample that can be incorporated into your sewing time. You can read more about what to expect in your box here, as well as a list of everything included in the preview box I received.
Whether you are new to the world of sewing and looking for a way to increase your supplies or simply want to be inspired by something new each month, Sew Box Subscriptions is the perfect way to get motivated to do some sewing! 
To take out a subscription to Sew Box Subscriptions, go here and sign yourself up - you won't be disappointed! 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

.Three Zippered Pouches.

I'm a mega list-maker...I've got lists of things to do today, this week, this month, lists of dinner ideas, lists of things to sew, lists of things to blog name it, I've got a list for it! One of my most useful lists though is a list of presents to give people for their birthdays. Family members each have their own lists, but I also keep a list of ideas for presents to give to friends. It helps with the last minute "not sure what to get them" rush as I have lots of ideas at my fingertips...

...Like these Open-Wide Zip Pouches (a free tutorial from Anna of Noodlehead.) I hadn't made Anna's Zip Pouches before, but have seen them made dozens of times so knew they would be perfect as a handmade gift for friends. I accompanied these pouches with a bag full of gourmet homemade trail mix (with lots of yummy treaty bits mixed through!)
There are three different sizes given in the tutorial (although you could easily adjust the dimensions to suit yourself) and I knew that a trio of pouches would look great together. I actually stuffed up the dimensions a little so the finished pouches ended up a little taller and not as wide as they are supposed to be, no big deal though!
I really like the two-toned zippered pouches, on the bottom part of mine I cut up an old denim skirt that I haven't worn for ages. Its a really light, washed denim and looks lovely paired with the bright coloured fabrics. I think I've come up with a use for all of the old pairs of jeans I have saved up for repurposing now!
 It was fun digging through my big stash of quilting cotton and choosing some fun prints. Now that most of my clothing sewing is using knit fabric and there are so many more apparel fabrics avaliable I don't turn to my quilting cottons as much anymore. I forgot how fun they are!
Noodlehead, Open-Wide Zippered Pouch tutorial
Repurposed denim skirt
Erin McMorris, Moxie Talk Talk in Grass
Erin McMorris, Moxie Buttercup in Grass
Erin McMorris, Moxie Chatroom in Royal

Friday, 5 September 2014

.Thermomix Cooking: Birdseed Bars with NO refined sugar.

Sharing a recipe for Birdseed Bars today - with no refined sugar! And they can be nut, dairy and gluten free too if you make some simple changes. These homemade muesli bars are sweet and chewy with tonnes of flavour. I can even manage to get my pickiest kids to have a little piece with afternoon tea so that makes it an instant winner in my books! 

There are lots of recipes for homemade muesli bars out there, but most of them are laden with sugar, honey and peanut butter. Probably better than a store-bought bar, but still not ideal. These are much tastier and filling than anything you will buy in a box! The best thing about them is that you can make them with pretty much any dry ingredient you have around or want to add in...leave the oats out and replace with lots of chopped nuts, increase or decrease quantities of seeds, etc. Work with what you like to eat and what you have in the pantry!

This recipe is for Thermomix cooking, but you can easily make it on the stove too by toasting the dry ingredients in a dry pan (stir often and check that it doesn't burn!) and then bring the wet ingredients to boil for 4 or 5 minutes in another pan.
Birdseed Bars
100g rolled oats
60g sunflower seeds
60g pumpkin seeds
40g sesame seeds
20g chia seeds
80g coconut
40g wheatgerm
120g butter or coconut oil
120g rice malt syrup
160g dried fruit, chopped (sultanas, apricots, dates, cranberries, goji berries, etc.)

Place dry ingredients (not fruit) into Thermomix bowl and toast for 5 minutes on varoma temperature, reverse speed 1. Remove from bowl and set aside.
Place butter or oil and rice malt syrup into Thermomix bowl and cook for 6 minutes on varoma temperature, speed 4.
Add toasted dry ingredients and dried fruit into bowl. Mix together for 20 seconds, reverse speed 3.
Spread mixture into a square cake tin lined with baking paper. Press down firmly.
Place in the fridge to set and cool completely. Slice. 
Best kept stored in a container in the fridge.

To make gluten-free, leave out the oats and replace with more seeds, nuts, puffed rice, quinoa flakes, etc.
As long as your dry ingredients measure about 400g, you can pretty much add anything you like to the mix!
A small handful of cacao nibs are a delicious addition.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

.Skippy & Joey Hop.

It's SPRING - yay! Although our Winter actually wasn't that bad this year, it's nice to look forward to sunshine and warmer days.

Over the month of September we are going to be celebrating the release of the two newest Make It Perfect patterns, Skippy & Joey with a blog tour...hopping our way around the world to check out some dresses made by talented sewers. First up in the Skippy & Joey Hop are a few of my pattern testers (click on the links to read and see more from each person)...

Teresa from Dandelion Drift sewed a Big Joey for her daughter who loves to wear anything sewn from knit fabric. I LOVE her fabric pairing - bright floral + skinny stripes are a winner!
Marnie from Horris & Deedle sewed her two year old a few Joey dresses - this lemon print?....awesome! And she modified the pattern slightly to add a hood for extra warmth.

I laugh everytime I see the pics of Marnie's daughter with her pink sunnies, pushing her hands deep into the kangaroo pouch pockets of this striped Joey dress!!
Justine's daughter was feeling a little camera-shy but looks adorable in her Joey dress. I love how Justine managed to cut the pocket from a scrap of knit fabric - what a great way to use up those little bits of knit fabrics you have lying around! See more at JustMeJay.
Peta from Etcetera or Whatever used this fabulous European knit to sew a Joey dress for her daughter. Doesn't it look great?!
And finally, back to Marnie from Horris & Deedle with some more amazing dresses - this time for herself! I think this Skippy dress is my personal fave...such a lovely combination of blues and a very wearable everyday dress.
This dress is made from a combination of stretch lace with jersey lining - such a pretty dress and that scalloped hem creates a much more formal look.
And another one, this time sewn from merino wool (loooooove) with a lace applique detail around the neckline.
I hope you've loved seeing all of these dresses as much as I have! I'll be back with more soon and in the meantime, if you would like sew these dresses for yourself you can purchase them here:

Saturday, 30 August 2014

.Feathered Skippy for Filly.

I have sewn a ridiculous amount of Skippy dresses. Way too many for myself, so I started giving a few away.
I made this Skippy dress for my little Sister when it was her birthday earlier this year. Fil is the kind of person who can get away with wearing absolutely anything, in fact her style is very eclectic, so I love being able to pull out fabric combinations that are a little more wild than I would usually wear!
Isn't she a cutie?!
For Filipa's Skippy dress I sewed the front and back of the top as well as the pouch pocket out of this feathered print jersey, then used a solid royal blue for everything else. Another way to use "out there" prints in a more subtle way.
Fil is a shortie, so I shortened the length of the top by 1 1/2", I didn't have to adjust the height of the pocket at all but if you shortened the top any more you would have to make the pocket height a little shorter to keep everything in proportion.
The feathered fabric is another Girl Charlee print that I wasn't thrilled with the quality of. However, it works really well when it is completely surrounded with a better quality fabric, like I have here. Notice how the feathered fabric doesn't sit directly on the outside edge of any part of the dress? The blue jersey works as a bandaid for the thin, minimal stretch feathered fabric and holds everything in place really well.
And I think that's all I have to say about this one! Have a great Saturday!!
Make It Perfect, Skippy sewing pattern
Robert Kaufman, Laguna stretch jersey in royal blue
Girl Charlee cotton jersey blend, feathers on white

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

.Zippy Jacket for Perfect Pattern Parcel #4.

Did you hear? The Perfect Pattern Parcel #4 is now avaliable and the theme this time around is BOYS! Boys can sometimes be challenging to sew for, but this Pattern Parcel includes six great boys patterns that will be sure to fill your boy sewing space with lots of inspiration?
After having my Poppy Tunic included in the last Pattern Parcel, I thought it would be fun to be a part of the blog tour and sew something to share with you all this time. It was a hard choice, but I settled on the Zippy Jacket for Harvey. I try really hard to only sew what clothes the kids actually need at the time to make sure they actually will be worn! Harvey is growing out of all of his warm jackets so this filled the spot perfectly.
The Zippy Jacket is a great pattern, a lot faster than it looks and the end result is a trendy jacket that looks just as good (maybe better?!) than something you will buy at the shops. I made the size 18 months-2 years for Harvey who is just 15 months and expected it to be really big on him but the fit is spot on, a tiny bit of growing room but definitley not too big to start wearing now.
I recently bought this fabric from Spoonflower when they had a free shipping offer happening. I have bought Spoonflower knits in the past and although they have a lovely feel, the print fades terribly. Still wearable but a bit disappointing if you are after brighter colours. As far as I am aware, Spoonflower have stopped producing the older knit and one of the replacements is this Modern Jersey fabric. To be honest, I am still not 100% happy with this jersey either. It is suuuuuper stretchy, a bit flimsy and synthetic feeling. (Scroll down and read more about it on this page if you are interested, it is 96% polyester so I guess that explains the synthetic feel after working with cotton jersey knits.) Anyway, I think this fabric would suit girl's or women's clothing better than boys, simply because it is so drapey and looks more feminine but I bought this particular print with the boys in mind so wanted to work out a way to use it for them.
And I did! You can really see in any of the photos, but I completely lined the jacket with a layer of polar fleece. So the outer fabric is really just acting as a decorative shell with the fleece providing stability to the jacket. Not to mention extra warmth, adding the layer of fleece has turned the jacket from light-weight to super duper warm!
I didn't do anything tricky to line it, just used the "flat lining" method of cutting all of the pattern pieces from both the exterior fabric and the fleece (in this case, the fleece is the lining fabric) and then placing them wrong sides together and sewing with them as if they were one piece of fabric. I took a shortcut and didn't bother basting the pieces together, just held them together with pins so it was even faster! I did only use one layer of polar fleece in the collar though as I wanted it to end up a similar thickness as the rest of the jacket.
The only thing I did different to the pattern was to cut the waistband piece 1 1/2" shorter than specified because I thought it looked a little loose on other jackets that I have seen made. Anyway, enough rambling - it's a cute jacket, huh?! And a cute baby...
 So, have I convinced you yet? Go and buy the Parcel! SIX amazing patterns and YOU CHOOSE HOW MUCH TO PAY! But make your payment over $26 to unlock the sixth bonus pattern!

About Pattern Parcel:
Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel.  We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we've raised $9,800 towards eliminating educational inequality.

Pattern Parcel #4
Pattern Parcel #4 includes:
Maxwell Top by Shwin Designs
Zippy Jacket by Blank Slate Patterns
Schoolboy Vest by Sew Much Ado
Small Fry Jeans by Titchy Threads
Jet Pack Bag by Betz White

Zippy Jacket pattern by Blank Slate Patterns (avaliable in PPP4)
Natitys, Geo Boys Blues Modern Jersey fabric from Spoonflower
Charcoal polar fleece from Lincraft
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