Twisted Tuesdays.

I was contacted by the lovely Laura of Titchy Threads several weeks ago, asking if I'd like to participate in her upcoming Twisted Tuesdays blog series.  At first I turned her down (albeit disappointedly) - this year has been just crazy so far, and I regrettably replied that I didn't think I'd have the time to join in the fun.  I was a bit sad after sending off my RSVP-in-the-negative; Laura's patterns are awesome!  A little while later however, she sent me a second email explaining that things were changed up a bit and her blog series was going to span seven weeks instead of just one, and without too much more coaxing, I was happily on board!

I chose to make her Twisted Tank, because although I now had more time up my sleeve, my schedule is pretty hectic and unpredictable at the moment, and this tank top is an absolute breeze to whip up!  The way Laura has designed this is so clever - the top is cut from two pieces without side seams, so rather than having a back and front piece, you have a top and bottom which joins diagonally.  The spliced pocket adds extra interest again.  There are so many ways you could put this together, mixing all sorts of prints and colours.  I actually spent more time choosing fabrics than sewing it together!

I went for a sort of show-time theme when making it up, the grey and the pink were pieces I already had in my stash.

I added the hem frill and second striped pocket (the black and white striped fabric came from an old t-shirt) to give it a sort of circus girl look.

Still in keeping with the circus thing, I made another top without the frill and extra pocket.  I have had this odd-shaped remnant of black and white harlequin print in my possession forever, and teamed with white, it was perfect for this top.

Just a plain pink pocket here, I cut it a size bigger than I should have so the corners don't line up with the diagonal seam, but that's okay.  I like a big pocket.

(Just a quick note:  Astute observers will notice that this is not my daughter.  This is my friend Lauren and she's helping me out with modelling duties today.  Sophie has been going through all sorts of growth spurts and the the fabric I chose unfortunately didn't afford enough stretch to fit over her belly.  Oops.)

The Twisted Tank pattern also includes instructions for a basic tank with the traditional seams running down the sides, so if you're not feeling confident with the twisty version, have a practice and you can make up a standard version instead.  In fact, the basic tank pattern is perfect for up-cycling old t-shirts, which is something I just love to do.  All Titchy Threads patterns have clearly illustrated instructions and handy tips, and this one is no exception.  And, as the Tank pattern spans all sizes from 0 through to 12 years, it will last you years and years and years.  What's not to love?

The Twisted Tuesdays blog series has been run over seven weeks so there are lots of other versions of this tank top to check out!  There is also a fantastic Twisted Trousers pattern which is next on my to-do list.  Visit Laura's blog, be inspired by all the amazing outfits other bloggers have made from the tanks or trousers, or both - and then give it a go yourself!  You won't regret it.  



 Today, I've been mucking about with some vintage fabric and home-made binding.  I've come to the conclusion that red and white striped seersucker binding goes with absolutely everything <3


Thank you blouses.

I made two of these blouses (using the same pattern I used here) as thank you gifts for the Nevaeh and Taylah, who were the little girls who helped me out when photographing my projects for Handmade for Baby.  It's funny, isn't it, that when you desperately need to photograph a baby under twelve months old, you don't know of a single one.  Sophie would have gotten the gig, but she was way past one and therefore not young enough for this.  My poor daughter was already a has-been at the age of nearly three.

I really was lucky to find two of the most delightful and well-behaved models, both of whom had parents who were so accommodating at such short notice.  Nevaeh's parents in particular, as they didn't know me from a ball of string and travelled twenty minutes to my home when a mutual friend put us in touch with each other.  She was gorgeous and petite and wriggly with big blue eyes.

I'd never met Taylah before either, although I have known her mother, Michelle, since my late teens.  I messaged Michelle to see if Taylah would be able to help me out.  They were on holiday at the time but came to my rescue as soon as they returned home.  Taylah photographed like a seasoned professional and made my party hats look a whole lot cuter.

I ordered a book for each of them as a thank you to go along with their little blouses, wrapped up together with a box of chocolates for the Mums' and Dads'.

And of course, now that the desperation for tots one and under is no longer an issue, I personally know about a dozen kids who fit the criteria, which is typical.  However, I'm so happy with the way the photos and everything turned out, I can't imagine the end result any other way.   Cheers to my adorable little helpers and their parents...


Handmade for Baby

It seems like forever ago that the very lovely and talented Charlotte Rivers contacted me about contributing to her new book.  Aside from feeling incredibly flattered that I had been asked, I initially felt quite overwhelmed.  The festive season was fast approaching, meaning not only were the kids on holidays and wrecking my house, but extra and later shifts at work were frequently popping up.  We had scheduled for the kitchen to be ripped out straight after Christmas in anticipation of renovations and had started ripping up our floors.  Coupled with the fact that I had had zilch experience with anything to do with publishing and no idea what was expected from me, I thought long and hard.  But only for about two minutes.  Of course I would!  How often do these opportunities come by?  Jump in!

It meant a few late nights, lots of emailing back and forth, wrangling children I had never met for photos and a couple of afternoon naps while my husband took charge of keeping the kids out of my way.  With everything else happening about the place at that particular time, I did at least at one point, wonder if I had perhaps bitten off more than I could swallow, and whether my kids would still love me when it was all done.  One-o'clock-in-the-morning finishes at work, followed by two hours of editing photos and writing instructions, only to be woken early in the morning by excited children ("What are we doing TODAY??!") doesn't make for happy times at my house.

BUT....the finished product arrived at the door yesterday, and all that has been long forgotten.

'Handmade for Baby' is an absolutely delightful book with contributions from crafters all over the world.  All the projects are for babies aged 0 through to one year old, but I think many of the crafts can be used to make gifts for older children, too.  Easy-to-make projects which use knitting, crochet, papercrafts, printing on fabric, photography and of course, sewing, are all included in the book which is full of gorgeous photos and illustrated step-by-step instructions.

I have two sewing projects in the book - this star wand rattle...

....and this dress-up party crown.

However, even if I weren't a contributor, this is exactly the sort of book I would buy if I found it at a bookstore.  So many of the designers and bloggers that I have stalked followed for years took part - Sanae Ishida, Pink Brutus Knits, Aunty Cookie, Delia Creates, StraightGrain and Paper + Cup Design, just to name a few.  I really do feel quite humbled to be included in such a talented bunch of people - like I'm one of the cool kids, finally.  Wow.

So, whether you're pregnant yourself, or looking to make something for an up-the-duff friend, seeking out a baby-shower gift for a crafty mother-to be, or you just like looking at little hand-crafted things and cute kids, you should definitely check out this lovely book of crafts made especially for babies - I don't even have a baby, and I want to make them ALL.

(A big thanks to Charlotte and all involved at Rotovision, my adorable models Nevaeh and Taylah, and my awesome and always-supportive husband, who kept the children out of my hair and therefore alive, for which I'm guessing they will be forever thankful.)


Work in progress - winged romper.

I'm working on this little romper with optional wings. I'm hoping to set up shop later in the year, selling a few bits and pieces. That's why things around here have been so quiet - sorry. This little suit is still in development, but I'm liking it so far.


A romper from shirt sleeves.

I found an awesome men's shirt from the op-shop in my most favourite shade of grey.  I had in mind that I was going to make Sophie a blouse and after I sliced the shirt up every which way, I somehow burnt a big hole in the back with my crappy excuse of an iron.  Oops.  My fault, I should have bought a new iron weeks ago.  The thermostat on this one is a bit emotional - sometimes barely warming up a couple of degrees after being switched on, and at other times it's over-enthusiastic and agitated for no good reason.  If it were human, it would be my twin.

The leftover sleeves gave me enough fabric to make this baby romper.  I made this using Simplicity  3508, which is a reprint from a 1950s pattern (I'm not sure if this is still available, but you could try your luck on eBay or Etsy). This will remain unworn for the foresee-able future as I don't know anybody who is pregnant nor small.  Which is probably just as well because although this is tiny and cute, it's not perfect.  I'm going to practise this one a bit more and make some changes.  Especially to all those buttons.  And buttonholes.  Moan.   Making buttonholes is like the worst thing ever.

I have another similar sized shirt in my stash and I'm thinking I might have another go.  Maybe I could get two rompers out of the next one?  I might try that on a day I'm feeling a bit clever, but not before I buy a new iron with a better attitude, I think.


Shoulder button top.

This top is a sample from a pattern I drew up based on something I saw in a children's fashion magazine.  I figure this is a great design for summer or in winter to layer over a long sleeved tee.  This one is actually made from cotton sheeting and is prone to a bit of wrinkling.  I'm thinking next time I'll try a light denim or a light wool check for cooler months.

The bloomers were made from some fabric leftover after I made this.

I've been thinking a bit more lately about putting together a small collection of clothes and selling them online.  Even though I have a husband who runs his own business, I have remained blissfully unaware of the requirements and responsibilities of running a small business.  I'm kind of regretting that now and doing some research on the inter-web, and asking friends in small business what to do.  But, they don't seem to have any idea either.  Etsy?  Big Cartel?  I'm definitely not one to sit at a market stall all day, so online's the preference.  Any suggestions, tips, do's and don'ts would be very helpful and much appreciated :)

I'll have a bit more time for sewing now this one is starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks.  Can you believe it?  She turned four about a week ago. 

She has been working those dimples of late and spends ages in front of the bathroom mirror watching them appear and disappear by moving her 'magic face'.  That's good, because she is going to require a truckload of cuteness if she thinks the behaviour she's been exhibiting at home of late is going to swing with the Department of Education.  The school holidays and the excitement of having her brother at home to play with (whether he likes it or not) has been making her just a tad over the top.

I will miss her terribly, but I'm so excited for her.  My big girl.  *blub*


Clownie romper.

More projects from the scrap pile.  I ran up this little romper from a piece of floral fabric I had left over from this dress  that I made some time ago.  There wasn't quite enough to make something for Sophie, but still a substantial enough remnant to make something.  I'm not sure who this is for yet, but I'm sure somebody I know will be having a baby at some point in the future, or know of someone else who will.  Not me, though.  No way!  That horse has well and truly and gladly bolted.  Phew.

My obsession with all things circus-like is an influence here.  The clownish frill around the neck is made of a grey and white cotton seersucker, bound with self bias and left with a raw hem.  I was sort of experimenting at the start  and didn't have the inclination for time consuming niceties such as hemming ruffles.   But as I was making my way through it, I was having fun watching it all come together, and did in fact start paying more attention to detail toward the end.  Too late for the neck ruffle, though.

It buttons at the back with two vintage buttons  (the top one is concealed by the frill), and opens at the crotch with snap fasteners.  The type you hammer on. That was a first for me, and I was surprised how easy it was.  Noisy though.  I was hammering away and my husband yelled, "What ARE you doing in there??"  "I'm making a baby romper!  Derrrrrrrr...!"

This is such a light little suit, it would be just fine on it's own in the summer months, but I can see it worn over tights in the cooler weather and topped with a cosy cardigan and cute knit hat.  I really wish I had a little baby to put this on and photograph - awwww,  too cute!  I really miss being able to dress Sophie in teeny, sweet clothes (not that she's ever been that teeny).

 And I really love this autumn-ish floral and am quite disappointed that I'm almost completely out of it.   I possibly have enough left to make a doll and some scrunchies, but that's it.  That's sad.
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