Monday, 23 December 2013

Sailor Slacks and Offset Warehouse Free Thread Code

First up: you may or may not have heard of the Offset Warehouse, but if you are interested in making some more socially and environmentally sustainable fabric purchases, they are your dudes (/dudettes). I'll be coming back to this topic and this company in the New Year, but in the meantime I am able to offer you a check out code that will entitle you to a free organic cotton thread when you spend over £30. Valid until 31st Jan 2014, the code is: SoZoLovesEco

So, currently I am trying to crawl commando-soldier style out of the heaven/hell of the three months since the baby-tornado landed squarely on my life. And as I metaphorically pick myself up and dust myself off, I've discovered that, lo and behold, I have a body! It's a bit of a mess, and different from the pre-preggers times with its larger, leaky boobs and its looser, slightly crinkly belly skin. But it's familiar none the less. My post-birth wardrobe now consists of three pairs of pre-pregnancy leggings/jeggings and on top I'm wearing layers of vests, jersey tops and cardigans, the combo I've found to be the easiest for 'gaining access' to breast feed without freezing. And whilst I'm pinned to the sofa feeding Dolores or being used as her bed, my thoughts often wander to my long-lost bezzie: sewing.

I'm getting a little fed up of my limited selection of clothing and am longing to add a little stylistic variety for getting out and about in. Sewing woven dresses or tops is pointless as my bust has grown and I don't want to waste precious time and fabric when I don't know what I'll be 'left with' when I stop breast feeding and deflate. I have more than enough jersey tops to keep me going even with a couple of vom-incidents (her not me, usually) each day, so there's no need to make any of those either. I can't begin to imagine ever having enough time again to spend on a large project like a coat or jacket so that leaves bottoms to consider sewing next. I wear skirts so infrequently (particularly in Winter/Spring) plus I already have some awesome ones, so I'm planning trousers. Will you help me?

Over a year later, I am still lamenting the death of my black and denim pairs of sailor trousers. Plus the wide legged style would be a really different silhouette to my current be-jegginged one, so that's what we are looking at here people. So let's talk pattern-options, I'd appreciate your opinions...

Firstly, there's the old 'If it ain't broke don't fix it' option of using the same pattern (Burda 8488, pictured above) that I used for my previous two pairs of sailor trousers. Using this would make sense because A) I already own the pattern, B) am confident of the construction process, and C) know the fit issues. But it's a bit boring using the same pattern, isn't it?!

Then there's this Sailor Style Pants pattern that is available for download on the Burdastyle website, but I think I may also own the copy of the Burda mag that originally featured this pattern. I like the variation in style where the front pleats are trapped down by the buttons. I think this would look great in a fabric that has quite a bit of drape, so possibly not the most appropriate garment for a shitty Winter like the one we are currently looking down the barrel at. 

Whilst we are mining the wealth of patterns on Burdastyle, check out these bad boys pictured above. I'm not too sure about the waistband element as those tend to give me trapped wind (TMI?! Another result of having given birth is that I no longer have any shame!) but they are mighty handsome strides, let's make no mistake! Obvs I wouldn't bother with the back pocket coz I'm a lazy-arse. 

And then there's the Hot Patterns Riviera Hello, Sailor! Pants pattern. I like the leg shape of these but my current sewing machine does not have a one-step button hole function so I'm kind of baulking at the prospects of all those buttons! If I did go for this one I'd omit the tie-back feature. 

My final offering for your perusal is the Kwik Sew 3854 pictured above. Technically a shorts pattern, I'm sure these could be elongated with little bother. A somewhat subtler version which also has an added benefit in that I already own this pattern having bought it just before I became pregnant and therefore has yet to be used.

So there we have it peops, what are your thoughts? Which should I use to form the basis of my next sewing project? Has anyone used any of these and feel it could be recommended or should be avoided? Or do you know of any other sailor trousers/pants/shorts patterns that you think I should use? Thanks in advance! 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Labour in Labour

I was wondering earlier today if I am merely naive, or actually slightly touched by madness. The reason being that, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to organise the biggest craft market that I've created to date at EXACTLY the point when I become a mother of a tiny baby for the first time. I had already booked the usual venue for not one but two weekends of festive contemporary crafty goodness before I became pregnant but instead of either cancelling the dates or passing the organisation over to someone else, I decided to go ahead with organising them myself. I thought that I'd be easily able to check my emails here and update the blog there during my final weeks of pregnancy and whilst wrangling a tiny infant. Pat has a photo of me answering Craftaganza emails during the 17 hours of labour that I spent at home before my contractions were close together enough to be allowed to head to the hospital (33 hours from breaking waters to baby, in case you were wondering!).

With over 110 sellers over the two weekends it's been a real challenge, and in hindsight I would not have taken it on, but I am proud of myself for having achieved this and goodness knows we could use the money at the moment. But I guess my actions do show the extent that self-employed people and those who work from home have trouble stepping away from their work. There's probably a more in-depth point to make from all this but I'm too tired to extract it at the moment.

So if you happen to be in the Brighton area, or at least South-East England and looking for something to check out this weekend and/or the following, you'll find some incredible designer-makers selling their wares at the Fabrica Gallery in Central Brighton. You'll be able to scoop up some phenom unique Christmas presents and with different sellers each weekend there's no reason not to visit twice! And there'll be mulled wine. Unless I drink it all.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Dolores's Baby Quilt!

This is the fourth baby's floor quilt I've made now, and it felt pretty surreal making one for a baby that I was going to be giving birth to! It would be a bit embarrassing if I didn't make one for Lola, wouldn't it?! Considering I went to the trouble of making the baby and all. 

It might not surprise you to find this one has a nautical theme! The fabrics have a variety of sources: a gift from a friend, a couple of old men's shirts, the scrap basket at Sew Over It and even some left overs from some sleeping shorts my mum made my dad! 

I made this in the exact same way as the others and at the same time as making Theo's quilt as it made sense to buy the wadding and backing fleece for both at the same time. I actually started cutting out the squares for the patchwork before we knew if the baby was going to be a boy or girl, but as I've mentioned before, I'm not a massive fan of gender-specific colours for babies/children anyway so something more unisex suited us better anyhow. 

We've been using it fairly regularly to place her on her belly for 'tummy time' to help her to start developing her neck muscles and head control. Hopefully it's also developing a fixation for anchors and boats as well! 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Refashion Friday: Interview with Eddie from Refashion Co-op

(all images sourced from Eddie's Room except where stated)

After the awesome refashionistas I've interviewed so far, you might have been wondering where I was going to go next to find more thought-provoking and inspiring interviewing. Well, I'm very pleased to announce that today's Refashion Friday interview features a heavy-hitter on the refashioning scene: Eddie from Eddie's Room blog and the creator of the influential Refashion Co-op.

Z: What appeals to you about refashioning and can you remember how you begun?

E: Looking back to my very first refashion I can see that I was inspired by Oxfam’s DIY Fashion shops. At least that’s what I said back then, but when I look at my first refashion I seem to remember something else. My first two refashions were of linen trousers which had become worn but I still loved them dearly and the top part with the pockets and zip still fit nicely. I just wasn’t ready to part with them and refashioning them into skirts, thus removing the worn part, brought them back to life.

Z: You are the creator of the popular Refashion Co-op community blog. What inspired you to set it up? What were your aims in doing so?

E: At the time I began refashioning the community blog Wardrobe Refashion was the place to be. I got on there and started blogging, and I loved the community it gave. Then after a month the owner of the blog announced that she was closing the blog and keeping it as an archive. She mentioned that she had for a while been looking for people to help out and that the pressure of running the blog on her own had become too much. Together with a couple of other refashion bloggers I started discussions about setting up a new blog. At that point I was also getting enough of running the Historic Crafts blog on my own. So I had already decided that there was no way I wanted to start up a new refashion blog on my own. Actually I wanted to have a setup that was completely independent from myself and any other editor. That’s when I came up with the idea of having a group of equal editors, none of who had more say than the others. The blog would run on a multi-contributor blog where none of the editors would be hosting it and where none of us could pull the plug either. So in one sentence I guess you could say that the aim was to create a refashioning community blog that wasn’t dependent on one person.  

Z: How has it developed during the two and a half years of its life? How do you feel about it now? Have there been any surprises?

E: I wouldn’t say surprises but more confirmation of that the idea of having a group of editors is a good one. I took a whole year off on maternity leave and then I came back to my editors duties last summer. It worked. The blog kept going even though I wasn’t around. Out of the original 7 editors only a few of us are still around. New editors have joined, and different editors have been primus motor for a period. Because of the structure it also gives different editors the opportunity to take a more leading role when they have the time and when they feel a bit burned out or other things in their life gets in the way then they can step back and just do the minimum of editing or quit altogether. The refashion Co-op survives.

Z: What role does refashioning play in your life?

E: I have never been into shopping. However, since I was a teenager I always loved visiting charity shops. Over the years I discovered refashioning and it gave me the opportunity to rework old clothes from my own wardrobe also and create unique clothing items that suited me. I think it’s the joy of creating something unique that drives my refashions - also when it comes to homewear.

Z: You've made some fabulous refashions for both yourself and your family. How much of what you/they 
wear has been refashioned or made by you?

E: Well thank you :-) The truth is, surprisingly little, really! At least when it comes to my daughter. I made a funny discovery recently when washing her knitwear. Out of 15 or so items only 1 was actually knit by me. Despite the fact that I knit, a lot, and even design my own knitting patterns, it turned out that many of her sweaters and cardigans were either gifts from my amazing knitting friends, Granny knits from her lovely Grandmothers or items I had bought in charity shops. Most of her clothes are sewn by my fabulous sister. I did prep a load of refashioned items for harem pants for her - but in the end it was my mother and sister who sewed 
them together and brought them to Munich, while we lived there.

I guess when it comes to myself around ⅓ of what I wear is pre-used, ⅓ is refashioned and ⅓ is new and preferably organic cotton.

(my favourite of Eddie's refashions: old adult's T-shirts into children's harem pants)

Z: Where do you find your inspiration for refashioning?

E: Well on Refashion Co-op of course :-) and Pinterest. I have set up group boards for sharing refashions on Pinterest recently and am hoping more and more people will join. Sometimes Pinterest can be such a crazy place to find anything. That’s why I’ve decided to create the subsection groups from dresses, etc. And because a few people like myself also rework other items for the home or garden I created a Recycle Co-op as a Pinterest group board, just for that.

But coming back to the Refashion Co-op, one of the things that has been bothering me lately is that it is so difficult to find things on the Refashion Co-op too. Say I want to find great ideas for refashioning dresses - it’s near impossible at the moment and the search function is not great either. So I set out to change this and I am working on it - however slowly. I do this through the edited Pinterest boards such as this one for dresses. There is still a lot of work to be done on dresses alone as I have approx 1500 posts potentially about dresses to go through yet. So the more people engage with and use these boards the more motivated I become to get this work done!

Finally, I also get a lot of inspiration from more established refashionistas such as yourself, Zoe, whose style I absolutely adore.

Z: What would you say is the Danish attitude towards 'DIY' culture and practices? Does your homeland have a history of doing such things?

E: My feeling is that historically we have a similar history to the UK when it comes to DIY and Make Do and Mend but perhaps without the posters and public campaign. I think that many Danes come to DIY naturally and generally speaking Danes are a very creative bunch with a great tradition for DIY. But it’s not something we talk so much about yet and I think that many Danes are not aware that there is a world wide DIY revolution (so to speak) going on through the internet.

Z: What would you say are your three favourite refashions you've completed?

E: Number one is without doubt the men’s shirt to women’s blouse I made last autumn. I have just begun to work on something along the same lines again. My husband used to wear shirts a lot so there is plenty of material to get cracking with, even though I used most of the shirts for a pair of curtains (which if you are interested - I made a tutorial for). This is not technically a refashion in Refashion Co-op terms as I can’t wear them (unless I do a Scarlet O’Hara of course), so I won’t count it as one of my 3. Then there are the harem pants I made for my daughter out of my mother’s old t-shirts from Swaziland. I love the motifs on the t-shirts but we finally came to the realisation that no-one was ever going to wear these t-shirts again. 

Finally, I want to talk about one of my early refashions which is a knitting project. A couple of years ago I was really into thrifting knitted sweaters, unravelling them and reknitting them. For me this is also refashioning and a way of putting my knitting skills to good use. My first ever knitted shawl project was one of these. I still have some of this recycled yarn left which I am using to knit a pair of Rosie’s Firestarter Socks that have come out with a wonderful young adult book by Heather Ordover called Grounded. I am very excited about this knitted sock refashion as well as the book.

Z: Can you share with us three of your favourite refashions by other people?

E: This is why, even though it is hard work and so many posts to go through, I love looking through the Refashion Co-op posts and sorting them for the dress Pinterest board. I found so many amazing dress refashions. Ones I had forgotten about, ones I had never seen before, old ideas and totally new and wacky ideas. I have long been thinking about making a dress out of a pair of trousers and then I spotted that Dairy of a Mad Mama had done just that. It’s a crazy idea but it works.

I love lace and when I saw Jacqui from Birds of a Thread’s dress with lace refashion I was blown away. It’s an easy refashion but I sure can’t wait to try it.

Finally, you probably realised that I love men’s shirts refashions and dindin does did this fab little black skirt out of a men’s shirt. dindin does is also the same person who made the fun social media icons I use on my own blog.

Z: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to try refashioning but aren’t sure where to start?

E: Come visit us on Refashion Co-op - both the blog and the Pinterest boards and have a look around for some inspiration and then just jump in. Try stuff out - it may work, it may not. Try again :-) When you make something you like, share it with us. Share it on our Facebook page, join one of our groups on Pinterest and if you feel up to the challenge of posting a refashion a month, do sign up as a contributor on Refashion Co-op. We would so love to meet you and see your fabulous style.

Thanks so much Eddie for both taking the time to participate in this interview AND for creating awesome resources for inspiring garment refashioning! Good luck with organising those Pinterest boards...

Friday, 11 October 2013

She's Here!!!!! Introducing....

DOLORES!!!!! (AKA Lola.) This is what I was busy trying to push out of me last week: the sweetest little baby ever! I cannot tell you how much Pat and I adore our new daughter. There really aren't sufficient words to describe how precious she is to us.

You'll be seeing much more of my little muse in the future but I'll just share these three pics from her first few days of life for now. 

Oh, and I'll leave you with this awesome song that, for obvious reasons, I can't stop singing!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Refashion Friday Inspiration: Shirt Detail T-shirt Top

Today's Refashion Friday post is about a garment that, in a similar vein to the frill hem denim shirt remake, has a few different elements going. But maybe a feature or two might provide some inspiration even if the whole thing doesn't work for you! 

So what IS going on here? Well the base of this top is an unwanted grey marl dude's T-shirt that had the sleeves removed and the hem chopped off. An equally neglected men's button-up shirt was then ransacked for pieces to apply to the T-shirt/tank basis. The button stand was cut away and top-stitched down the front. Sections of the sleeves were harvested to make new slightly puffy sleeves (with cuff bands made from the hem part of the original T-shirt).  

The new top also features a waist band/tie made from harvested shirt fabric. Overall, this top is fairly cropped and quite boxy. Personally I think my favourite element is the applied button stand: such a simple feature that could add an unexpected design element to a variety of makes. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Theo's Baby Quilt!

First there was Surayya's. Then there was Samuel's. Now comes the hat-trick! You remember my mate Anna for whom I made a couple of maternity garments recently? Well she had her little baby!!!! A little boy called Theo who, if the photo on Facebook is to believed, is CUTE! Sadly, Theo and his folks live in Madrid so it's going to be a while until I get to meet that little chap in the flesh, by which point I'll have my own new little person for Theo to hang with.

I actually finished this quilt back in May to take with me when we went to Madrid to visit. Anna and her husband Marcus chose not to find out the gender of their baby before the birth, so I had to make it gender-neutral. I also wanted to give this one a fairly fun, contemporary look so I kept that in mind when hunting out fabric scraps to make it from.

Technique-wise, it's made in more or less EXACTLY the same way as the previous two. If it ain't broke... It's backed with red fleece which, along with the wadding, were the only bits that I needed to actually buy. The patchwork fabric pieces came from a combination of my own fabric stash and the scraps hamper at Sew Over It. I think the only thing I did differently with the construction of this quilt is that I hand-stitched the second edge of the binding rather than using my sewing machine as I did with the previous two. This red bias binding is narrower than the other two's self-made binding so I decided it would be less of a headache to stitch it down by hand. I'm actually really pleased with how neat I was able to stitch it.

So, you may be wondering, is there a fourth quilt in the pipeline....?!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Refashion Friday: Knitwear Baby Trousers

Now this of course is not a new idea. Heaps of peops have turned unwanted knitwear into cosy baby trousers before (in fact I've done it before myself) because it's just such a blooming good idea! I decided to make some for our imminent Missy after buying a baby carrier at a nearly-new sale last weekend. I swiftly realised that her little legs might get mighty chilly hanging out the bottom of the carrier during Winter. See? It's not all pretty-and-everything-but-potentially-not-going-to-get-used-much baby sewing round here!   

Probably much to Pat's annoyance, I've been carting round a large bin bag full of old jumpers and scraps of knitwear during the last couple of flat moves we've made. Some of the knitwear was harvested from the embers of the TRAIDremade studio, and then when friends found out I was collecting unwanted knitwear I also got donated a fair bit. Last Christmas I was using it to make lots of pairs of mittens to sell at craft fairs, which was a great success. Then I gave most of the leftover stock as Christmas presents (genius, no?!). I had every intention of making and selling more mittens again this Christmas, but with Missy on her way and the loss of the 'thrill of the new' means that I know I probably won't. Plus all the women I know already have a pair of my mittens now so all the left over stock would end up sitting around at the end of this Christmas's selling season! 

So I delved into my knitwear stash and found a few garments to have a whirl at turning into baby trousers. The wool jumper pictured above, for example, used to be Pat's. It finally lost the battle against moths and I put it in a hot wash to felt it up in preparation for making mittens. Instead it's become the warmest of the pairs of baby trousers! 

I decided to use the same pattern as the recent jersey trouser making marathon I went on. The pattern is so easy to construct and I prefer the narrower leg than the previous baby trousers I've made in the past. I had to restrain myself to only cutting out three pairs to see how they went (cut out pieces pictured above). When I come across a quick project like this, my natural inclination is to go mental and MAKE ALL THE THINGS, but until I know how useful they'll be to us, it seemed a bit pointless to make more. 

When I made the jumper trousers for baby Joe, his mama Sophie requested that I make them extra long. Her thinking was that the trousers could be rolled up at the bottom and last a long time. Apparently, those trousers are still going strong nearly two years later (although she did have to replace the waist elastic to make them more accommodating a year in). I took that into account when making these for our Missy and made the size bigger than she'll probably need this Winter, plus added extra length to the leg. That way we can roll them up this year (see above) but hopefully she'll get two years worth of wear from them. Hurrah for potentially-practical baby sewing! 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

An Army of Knitting Ninjas

I'm not sure how it's happened but I'm very pleased that it has. An army of knitting ninjas has appeared seemingly from nowhere and created an Autumn/Winter selection of wooly delights for our Missy! As you may know, although I try and make as much of my own wardrobe as possible, my lack of knitting skills means I rely on charity shop finds for my own knitwear provisions. I thought that I would need to do the same for our baby: hoovering up charity shop jersey and knit things and making the wovens (plus some simple jersey trousers) where necessary. This was concerning me a little because, whilst good quality jersey items have been abundant secondhand, I hadn't found much nice baby knitwear when out 'hunting'. I needn't have worried because a mountain of warm loveliness has appeared! I'm so grateful to the talented and generous women who have made these things, that I'd like to share them with you here...

This gorgeous and super-soft limey-green cardi with heart motif has been made by Mumma E! What you are witnessing above is the outfit I've packed in my hospital bag to bring Missy back home in. C.U.T.E. 

But that isn't the only item hot off her knitting needles: she has also created this other gorgeous green 'rig out' (pictured above) that's a bit bigger. Green items seem to be a theme with my mum because she's convinced that our little lady is going to have ginger hair. I have explained to her twice now that both parents need to carry the ginger gene for that to be possible and there are no gingers in our family, but anyway, these are lovely greens she's picked. Allegedly a knitted coral hoodie is in the pipeline... she's on fire is Mumma E!   

And then... This glorious set of cuteness appeared from my mum's mate Kate who lives in Scotland! Despite the fact that I have never actually met Kate, her generosity is so deep that she made us this phenomenal little set and bought us further cuteness for lucky little Missy.

And then we need to talk about Brenda. Brenda is my mum and dad's next door neighbour. She used to be mine as well between the ages of 11 and 19 (me, not Brenda). Well, Brenda could clearly clothe whole nations if sufficiently sorted for wool! She made both little lemon sets pictured above (along with some matching mittens that I forgot to photograph) PLUS the blue dress and cardi set and pink buggy blanket pictured below AS WELL as another pink dress and brown buggy blanket not pictured. Damn that lady has skills AND speed!!!

Now I know very little about knitting, but check out the amazingness of the stitch pattern of the blue dress (close-up pictured below). That can not be easy. 

What's up next?: NAUTICAL BOOTIES!!!!!!!!! These are the fruits of knitting needles belonging to Christina, an assistant/teacher at Sew Over It. Christina is quite frankly one of the nicest parts about working at Sew Over It at the weekends and I miss her now I'm on maternity leave. Can we just spend a minute looking at these!?: 

And last (in terms of most recently received, i.e. today!) but of course not least: a GORGEOUS crocheted pixie hat from the seriously multi-talented Emily. Look how well this hat is going to go with the nautical booties?! 

As I have mentioned, I am super grateful to all these knitting legends for their amazing gifts for Missy. She hasn't even got a clue right now just how lucky she is, or how cosy she will soon be! 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Refashion Friday: Refashion Your Own Nursing Bras

I'm not going to lie, today's Refashion Friday post features an idea that will interest a very limited demographic. However, it's one of those ideas that is so genius that even those that are not likely to deploy it in the immediate future might hang on to it for use in the future, or to pass on to someone else for whom it may become relevant.

This is not my idea. It is an idea I found on Pinterest that has been devised (or at least explained) by Valeri on her blog 'Keeping Up With Us Jones''. As soon as I saw it I clocked it as a genius way to avoid buying any more new stuff and spending any more money than is necessary on this whole 'being pregnant and having a baby' scenario.

Some time ago I received a comment from the lovely Jen on my Eight Month Maternity Wardrobe post that included the following tip:

"Just make sure you invest in some good nursing bras - they can really be the best thing for making you feel better about your body afterwards, when you feel as though your pre-pregnancy figure is gone forever, especially since now there are some lovely options out there for nursing bras."

I totally took that suggestion to heart. I thought that, seeing as I've saved quite a bit of money maternity clothing by making, repurposing and borrowing all I've needed, I would treat myself to one or two nice nursing bras. So I went into a couple of fancy maternity shops but two things became apparent: A) my boobs are currently too big for all the nice nursing bras I saw on my attempted shopping trip, only the less attractive ones seemed to come in my size, and B) DAMN, posh bras are EXPENSIVE!!!!! I'm way too skint right now to justify spending that kind of money on bras that should only realistically see six months use and will be covered in milk or be in the laundry most of the time anyway.

So as much as I'm sure that after the baby is born I'd like to set fire to the unsexy maternity bras I currently own, instead I'm going to apply this nifty little trick of Valeri's and keep my maternity bras in rotation until either my boobs change shape/size or I give up breast feeding (assuming I'll be able to breast feed ok in the first place). Actually, I'm not sure I'll do the step that Valeri suggests of making the loop of fabric so that they are still adjustable. I may just apply the hooks and eyes and tether the straps at the length that they fit well at.

Anyways, apologies for going on about nursing bras and my recent deliberations for longer than was probably necessary. I hope that Valeri's post saves you or someone you know some money at some point in the future!

Monday, 16 September 2013

The Bloomsbury Dress Set

I'm a firm advocate of the phrase 'Make hay whilst the sun shines'. Though my own interpretation right now is probably more like 'If you're on maternity leave and finally have a functioning sewing machine, get some flippin' sewing done whilst you can!'. So that is what I have been doing. Even though our little lady is still just about in utero right now, both elements of this outfit are actually for a 1 year old. As I mentioned in my nappy-cover blog post, I plan to dress her mostly in jersey until that point. 


If memory serves, I bought this vintage Style 1106 pattern (published 1975, Size 1) from the awesome Snooper's Paradise in Brighton not long after we moved here a few years ago. How frustrating must it have been trying to sew for children before multi-sized sewing patterns became the norm? Such a small window of opportunity for each pattern to be of any use to you! This is actually the second time I've used this myself, the first being for my friend's daughter Surayya that I made in Africa wax fabric. When I made that first version I wouldn't have guessed that the second time I'd use it would be for my own little Missy! I also recently leant this pattern to my friend Kate so she could rustle up a birthday present for a mate of her's daughter, thus getting more use from this than it possibly ever got from its original owner!

Pattern changes:

Kate and I both came to the conclusion that the neck opening seemed a little tight, so we both made that a little wider on our respective versions. I also added a couple of cms to the length, plus only used 3cms of the suggested 5.7cms (!) hem allowance to make it a bit longer. What is up with those crazy-short hems on kiddie dresses of the 1950's/60's/70's?! I'm hoping that Missy will be able to wear it for a longer period of time if the length is a bit more generous. Kate and I also decided to opt for small poppers to fasten the top back opening instead of buttons because we'd narrowed the neck yoke and creating button holes would have been a bit of a faff on the new reduced dimension. 

Also, I created a slightly different sleeve shape pattern for this version. I wanted something less frilly or puffy than most of the sleeved versions included in this pattern already so that this dress can be worn with a cardigan over the top (seeing as this outfit should be coming into use next Autumn/Winter). 

The matching nappy cover pants are made using the same Newlook 6818 pattern that I blogged about last week. I'm not sure how seasonally appropriate they will be for when this outfit comes into use, it's possible that wooly tights might be in order at that point, but who can say?! Making these nappy covers is so quick and so much fun, and I'm sure she'll get some use from these ones even if it isn't with the dress. 


I am one hella lucky mama-to-be because a few weeks ago the super-lovely owner of offered to send me some fabric to make something for our Missy. As you probably know by now, I try to avoid buying new fabric for my sewing projects, particularly when sewing for myself, but I'm not a crazy person! If offered some lovely new fabric to sew something special for our little baby, I'm not about to pass up that opportunity!

So I told Susan from Sewbox the meterage I'd need for this dress pattern plus some nappy cover pants. I also sent her a couple of links to fabric that she stocked (Liberty Bloomsbury Collection - Woolfe and Liberty Bloomsbury Collection - Dance) that I really liked so she'd get the idea of what kind of colouring I was into, and left it to her to select me something. Susan only went and sent me BOTH of them AND some amazingly cute matching buttons! I really can't thank her enough. 


I may have slightly undermined the classiness of this Liberty fabric with the application of some white bobble trim that I found in my stash. I wanted to add something so that the neck yoke and pocket details didn't get lost in the ditsy print. I think the outcome is somewhat more Mexicana/fiesta-time than the fabric designer probably originally envisioned! Maybe Missy can wear this for her first birthday. Jeez that's a mental thought...

Friday, 13 September 2013

Refashion Friday: Autumnal Inspiration

I don't know about you, but where I live Autumn has arrived with a bang. As lovely as Summer has been, I LOVE the 'Back to School' refocusing on plans and head-clearing freshness that early Autumn brings. And being a heavily pregnant lady this time round, I'm vastly appreciative of the slight new coolness in the air.

The change in season from Summer to Autumn also brings the need to rediscover some warmer garments. Maybe you feel the desire for some new wardrobes additions but haven't got the cash, time or inclination to make something from scratch? Umm, then let's get our refashion on! Refashioning existing garments is almost always cheaper AND quicker than embarking on a from-scratch sewing project, and if you are stuck for inspiration then take a look below at some ideas from the archives of my 'Refashion Resource' page:

The Leather Moustache Appliqué Jumper remake combines a knitwear re-hash with a super-simple appliquéd design. Whatever design imagery you are into at the moment (narwhals? elks? garden gnomes?) could be easily translated in this manner. 

Does anything say Autumn like a checked/plaid shirt?! Then how about taking an expected tack by combining one with a denim shirt and trowing in a cute collar detail for added interest? Check out the Contrast Yoke Shirt with Petal Collar project for more details. 

Oh wait, actually maybe a denim skirt with opaque tights and boots says Autumn more. You decide. Anyways, this project might not be much quicker time-wise than a from-scratch sewing project, but by playing with the different tones and faded elements of old jeans the results are arguably more interesting! Or you could simply adopt the front tab detail from this denim skirt project to add interest at at the waist, front or back, to a high-waisted garment. 

This Lace Yoke Sweatshirt Dress would probably be the easiest and snuggliest garment you'd find yourself wearing all season! The idea behind the remake could obviously have the lace element omitted for a more utilitarian, sporty look. 

So what about you? Do you have any Autumnal (or Vernal if you live in the Southern Hemisphere) refashioning projects up your crafty sleeves? 
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