Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oliver + S Birthday Party Dress

A few months ago I discovered some money in a PayPal account that I'd forgotten about, and decided to spend my 'free' (ie, husband won't miss it) money on some fabric and patterns.

I bought a heap of fabric but my favourite by far was Verbena in pink, by Kaffe Fassett. I'm not normally a huge Kaffe Fassett fan but I just fell in love with this fabric. I think because the print reminded me of my favourite flowers - hydrangeas - but also because I just love the use of colour.

I also bought a few patterns by Oliver + S, including the especially fabulous Birthday Party dress pattern.

I've wanted to make up the Birthday Party dress in the Verbena fabric for some time now, and with a few special occasions coming up I had the perfect excuse to whip one up for my daughter.

I'm pretty happy with the results. The process itself was hassle-free too. The pattern is so easy to follow - it has lots of pictures that help explain each step and I found it easy to follow, even though I am a novice sewer.

Even though I love the dress, I think the pattern lends itself more to a less 'busy' print, so next time I make it I will use a less fussy fabric. I can picture the next incarnation of this dress in a simple cornflower blue fabric with ribbons instead of the tabs across the pleats... Now I just need to find the fabric.

Detail of the tabs and box pleats

The back: I really love the cloth buttons I found

Pyjama pants

I went Christmas shopping early this December and it was H.E.L.L. Seriously. It was 39 degrees, I had a crying 3 month old and whiny toddler in the back of the car and it took 25 minutes to find a car park.

After an unsuccessful shopping trip I vowed I would buy all of this year's present online, or make them.

My brother and his wife live in a very cold environment, so I decided to make them some cosy PJ pants for Christmas. I found some gorgeous flannel by Valori Wells and snapped it up right away. The flannel is deliciously soft and nice and thick.

It took a bit longer to find a good pattern as I wanted to use it for my ultra-tiny friend as well as my brother and sister-in-law. In the end I decided on the Sleep Well pattern by Favourite Things. I couldn't find it in Australia though, which is a pain in the neck.

The pattern itself was great, very simple. The pants are nice and generous, as PJ pants should be.

A close up of the fabric

I now have my eye on some of the other VW flannels and the ultra cute Little Sleep Well pyjama pants pattern to make my two cuties some warm jammies next winter.

Hairclip holder

I reckon my little girl have somewhere in the region of 150 hairclips and ties... It's excessive, I know, but I just can't help myself, especially now that I have started making button clips (and anyway, she loses them so often that I can kind of justify it).

Anyway, I have been thinking about making her a hairclip holder for a while now, to keep things organised and pretty up her room a bit. I still haven't gotten around to making my daughter one but I did whip up one for my friend's daughter's first birthday this weekend.

The design and construction was very simple. I trimmed a scrap of fabric from Sandi Henderson's Farmer's Market collection (just love the colourful stripes) into a plaque with rounded corners. I then found a font that I liked (I think it's called Harrington) and sketched it directly from the computer screen onto some aqua polka dot fabric. After ironing on some vliesofix I cut out the letters and fused them to the fabric plaque. I finished it off by back-stitching around it using fine silver embroidery thread.

The plaque is backed with the same aqua polka dot fabric and has a medium fusible fleece inside to give it a bit of structure (otherwise the weight of the clips would cause it to sag). It's finished with a topstitch around the edges.

I used pale pink grosgrain ribbon to attach the clips to and sewed a button and buttonhole at the bottom to attach the hair elastics.

Of course I made a dozen or so button clips and ties too!

Now I just need to make one for my little girl.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hairclip heaven

I have been oohing and ahhing over button hairclips on Etsy for a while now, and last month finally got around to making my own. My 22 month old daughter is now the proud owner of about 30 new clips as I had so much gorgeous fabric to use. I suspect she may well add several more to her collection as I find more cute fabric.

I also intend to make her matching button clips and ties whenever I make her a new dress or skirt.

Mrs Perkins

I bought a couple of Melly & Me patterns last year to make for my daughter and as baby shower gifts. I never got around to using the giraffe pattern (Mrs Perkins) so pulled it out this year when pregnant with my second child.

I didn't know the baby's sex (he turned out to be a little boy!) so chose a fairly neutral fabric - one of Kaffe Fasset's prints in blue with pink, purple and green accents. I found the co-ordinating green fabric in my stash and bought the buttons to match.

The pattern was easy to follow and construct, although making the little horns drove me bonkers. They're so tiny and turning them inside out took me weeks - yes, weeks. I had so many attempts but just could not make it work! Suffice to say I got there in the end and the result is a cute little toy that sits proudly on my son's dresser.

More booties and accessories

Thought I would blog some of the other booties I have made - this is such a quick pattern to stitch that I usually make a pair for every new baby. I also have lots of fun choosing the fabric to use.

This pair was made using the Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric based on Eric Carle's book. I adore this fabric and bought a heap of it, as it you can turn it into a nice unisex baby gift. I cut out and blanket-stitched the fruit pieces onto a plain white Bonds top to match the booties.

The next pair of booties were made using vintage Japanese kimono silk, so they're truly a one off. They were for a little girl so i also made a pair of matching covered button clips. Cute!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I received Amy Butler's book Little Stitches for Little Ones for xmas 08 and fell in love with it. So many gorgeous fabrics and so many beautiful patterns.

In April 09 my first nephew was born so I decided to put the book to use and make him something. As I didn't have a machine at the time I needed something small I could handsew relatively quickly. I chose the 'cutie booties' pattern.

I think it worked out pretty well - my sister in law was happy to receive them! The pattern itself wasn't too difficult, although like all of Amy's patterns could have benefitted from more pictures. I also found the instructions a bit cumbersome. For example, it said to cut out the main pattern piece in the main fabric, fleece and interfacing, then fuse them together. It's *so* much quicker to fuse them together then cut them out.

I have made these booties several times for gifts since this first pair, and have altered the pattern and method to suit me. Nothing too major, just little changes that I feel work better.