Wednesday, January 27, 2010


So my mum cut out some pants at some time, we think it was fairly recently in history because of where they were located, though one can never really tell. They will fit my niece right now, so they were a lucky find!

They are pretty uneventful pants, they were already cut out. All I did was overlock and sew them up, blind hemmed them, shoved some elastic in, and Voila! pants. They took all of one episode of  a Seinfeld  rerun and an episode of Stargate Atlantis to finish off. I even managed to clean and oil the overlocker and sewing machine and rethread both during that time too.
So you say, why am I showing you the uneventful pants, well it's because of the fabric. I am totally in love with the fabric and because there was no more of it located at mums, not even scraps from cutting out, I thought I should show someone who may recognise it.

It's a chocolate brown with lilac dragonflies and red, yellow and white tulips within a lilac circle. If anyone knows/has this fabric, even if it is in a different colour I'd dearly love to get more of it. Please let me know!

A skirt made from another skirt

While my niece is here we've been making her lot's of clothes, and heres another one! At some point during the 90's my mum made herself a very large long skirt. Then after having made the skirt she cut a good 30 cm's off the bottom of the skirt before she wore it. The left over piece of skirt was hemmed and had 8 curved panels in it, because there was so much fabric, I cut along the hem and seams (instead of unpicking - I hate unpicking!) and overlocked and stitched 5 of the pieces back together again. Technically I could have saved myself time and just left the seams as they were, but I prefer the look of overlocked edges to zigzag, and this way all the parts will look the same. I used the remaining panels to cut out pieces of frill and sewed them together. I then began using a gathering stitch on my overlocker along the entire frill, which looked really long but gathered up almost perfectly to the size of the skirt (after fiddling around for hours with the settings to get it to do semi decently gathered stitch). It turns out the manual apparently has the wrong settings for the needle tensions for the gathering instructions. grrr!
Luckily it turned out great, it's one of those projects that could have gone either way but would have probably ended up in the "Later pile"if I hadn't persisted.

Again I made a fabric flower using a tutorial from Wise Craft because my niece really loved the last one. I again added a vintage button from my mums button jar and this time, some new organza ribbons. I love these fabric flowers. After they've been washed a few times and start to fray and curl they get a whole lot more character that I love!

If it weren't for Police Academy being the late night movie last night I may not have spent so much time trying to work out how to gather with my overlocker. Police Academy is an oldie that's for sure, but it still has the ability to make me laugh out loud and throughout all the fiddling and test stitching with the overlocker I needed some laughing! For those with this overlocker, Janome Harmony 9102D The settings I finally used were : Left Needle Thread Tension Dial set to 9. The Right Needle Thread Tension Dial set to 9. Upper and Lower Looper Thread Tension Dials set to 3. The stitch length dial set to 4. The Differential feed dial set to the next mark past the 2 (the book calls it 2.2) and the Needle plate setting knob set to S. But please if anyone knows if there is a more correct way to gather using this overlocker please let me know!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Blue polka dot frilly dress

We made my little 4 year old niece the yellow t-shirt and skirt for last week and today we made a new dress.  We made it from some vintage 80's polka dot my mum still had in her cupboard and at the last minute decided it should be a raa raa skirt (extremely 80's!) I didn't have a pattern so I used the T-shirt pattern from the yellow T-shirt and made it longer, cut two strips off the bottom of the long t-shirt and then cut 3 frills. I gathered them on the overlocker, but it just wouldn't gather properly! grr! I eventually gathered them using a long stitch on the sewing machine and pulling it - old style. Better than hand gathering, but i cannot for the life of me work  out why the overlocker wont gather. I know I've done it before, and I used the settings from the manual.(double grrr!)

Anyway at the last minute I decided it needed something and I made a fabric flower using a tutorial from Wise Craft Fabric Flowers The button is vintage from my mums button jar.

I think it looks pretty cute!

Another cute Softie from my favourite book

In the Softies book he is named Mad Dog, but my nephew calls this one Bluey. We think he has a bit of a blue heeler look. I made some slight changes, gave him a collar and used the embroidery stitches to make him some teeth instead of using felt. The stitch is continuous triangles. I used white thread to look like teeth and then used red thread and a satin stitch to create a mouth and smile. He's a little ant-eater like but the kids love him :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Made some stuff

Well after a bit of a hard week trying to sew but not really getting into it, I made a little skirt and t-shirt for my little niece. The skirt was made using pieces of this beautiful print fabric that someone had cut into pants sometime in the 80's for some kid who probably had an enormous bulging nappy butt and skinny legs. I'd liken them to that weird jodhpur fashion trend all that time ago..hope that one never returns! They just looked so wrong even in their unsewn condition (I'd assume thats why they were still in the bottom of a plastic bag hidden away all this time) and the fabric was so pretty I didn't want it to be wasted.
Mum at various points in time, had given me all this vintage lace and ribbon and trims, some of it on original cardboard reels, priced using "the old money" before Australia went decimal currency!!(1966) Theres also a tonne of little bits of trims and lace, not big enough to do any large projects with. So, here's what I made:

The skirt is made of 8 panels. Each panel has a Ribbon Bow of either Blue, yellow, Green or White to tie in with the flower colours in the fabric and 2 pieces of trim, either lace, ric-rac braid or other trim. I put the trim in random places on each panel but in pairs together. The skirt is slightly elastic at the waist to get a bit more wear out of it.

I made the T-Shirt out of some yellow ribbed stretch. I used the stretch double needle on the hem and around the neck and a narrow rolled overlock hem on the sleeves. I edged the pocket with a fabric scrap leftover from the skirt. There's a couple of things I'm not happy with. The neck and the pocket in particular just doesn't sit right, I think the pocket is also a little big. But... on the most part I think it looks cute.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A bit more organised

The drawers are all together, in their final location and filled to the brim with Fabric. To aid in knowing what's in each draw, I sewed up some calico tags and used the sewing machines alphabet to label them. I then pinned them through holes drilled into the plastic draw handles (thanks drill wielding husband). I still have one large plastic storage box of fabric under the desk, but it's all such a huge improvement on the room already.

We also managed to pack away the Christmas tree. Bye Bye Christmas! It's only the 16th January this all time record.
Still I feel bad for our poor tree, it's looking sadder every year. Might be time for a new one next Christmas and some new home made decorations. Theres a year long bit-by-bit project I think.

Friday, January 1, 2010



I'm off for a while to get the Sewing room sorted out, Clean my house, Eat Mangoes and spend some time with my husband, family and catch up with friends. I'll be back around the 16th January.