Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Twisted Tuesday

Big thanks to Laura (from Titchy Threads/Craftstorming) for inviting me to participate in her fun series Twisted Tuesdays. The series is to showcase and review the Twisted Trousers and Twisted Tank Patterns. I think I may have mentioned once or twice how much I love Titchy Threads Patterns. They are quality patterns that I sew over and over. I think my all time favourite is still the Small Fry Skinny Jeans but these Twisted Trousers are a close runner up. The Titchy Threads patterns are all made with layers, so you can select one size and just print that size or you can select 1/2/3/all of them for mixing sizes. It is an awesome feature!

The Twisted Trousers... What can I say? They are well drafted, the sizing is accurate using the measurement chart, there are options (don't we love those), good size range and they can be a quick sew. For this pair I chose to do piping, front pockets, non-piped back pockets, non-reversible and I left off the coin pocket. And for a bit of fun I added in some bias strips, made of the same fabric, for texture, to the knees, ankles and back pockets.

The Twisted Trousers have fun side seams that twist around to the front, and inner seams that twist around to the back. They look great all in one fabric but I have seen some great ones made with different front and back fabric to really highlight the twist. They have a lovely easy wear knit waistband. I would like to try making them with a woven waistband so I may get around to working that out one day soon.

For the bias strips I cut 1" strips and made them into 1/2" double fold bias and topstitched them down 1/2" apart. I stitched them to the pieces before I constructed the pants. The knee ones I added to the front leg pieces and the ankle ones I added to the back leg pieces. For the pockets I added the strips before folding and then attaching the pocket. I think they add some definition to the twist.

I made the Twisted Tank as per the directions. It is a super quick sew and looks so cool. Again it is well drafted, has a good range of sizes and fit according to the size chart. A great wardrobe staple.

For the puffer vest I used the Hawthorne Sweatshirt Pattern. I used the front, back and collar pieces. The main fabric is prequilted fabric which just happened to have blue thread in the quilting...perfect for this outfit! I made it fully lined by cutting the same again from the lining fabric. I also added little welt pockets in the blue. I obviously left the sleeves off. Seth was a bit unsure at first, and asked me to attach sleeves but once it was done and he tried it on he didn't want to take it off...win! I constructed it a little differently to the pattern given I made it fully lined and sleeveless. I have made a few Hawthornes as per the pattern too and again, this is a go to pattern for keeping the little ones warm, in style.

Love my middle sized man!

It was actually quite chilly when we took the photos, so Seth didn't wear the Twisted Tank by itself for long. The long sleeved top he is wearing is The Rise and Shine Raglan Pattern that is in testing at present. I tested the regular long sleeved version but the full pattern is going to be full of options... I can't wait for it to be released! 

I was so happy with this outfit :)

Who can resist this little monkey? He was full of "cool poses" :/

Pop over to Craftstorming to see all of the linked up Twisted Tuesday blog posts.

I would love to hear what you think of my outfit. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Kerry xx

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

February "Free For All" on Frances Suzanne - The Eloise Top

I was very excited to be invited to contribute to the Februrary "Free For All" on Frances Suzanne. These clever ladies have changed up the format of the Flip This Pattern Series to have a month that celebrates and highlights all of the free patterns available all over blogland. Look at the line up of contributors!

Initially I searched and searched for which free pattern to use (there are so many great ones). Then it dawned on me that this was the perfect opportunity to turn a little pattern I had drafted for Eloise into a free pattern to share with others. 

Click HERE to get to the pattern tutorial

The Eloise Top is a simple A-line top with a pleated front and high-low hem. But more than that, I designed it with flexibility in mind. Before I had even put pen to paper, I had imagined and planned a multitude of possible variations. So I have started with the idea as it came to me but will keep adding to it with additional tutorials to mix it up into many different styles. 

I wanted to be sure my tutorial made sense to others and asked my closest sewing friends to test it for me. I am very thankful to them for not only sewing it and sharing pics of their beautiful girls but also for the valuable feedback they gave that allowed me to improve the tutorial. 

Amanda made two versions, the high-low version and the shirred hem version. She modified her shirred hem top to add in a heart cut out at the back!! It looks very, very sweet and is exactly what I wanted, a pattern that has options and scope for individual creativity :)
This is her beautiful little Lucy in her two Eloise Tops...

Renee also made two versions for her adorable Quinn and I truly can't decide which one I prefer. Renee is the talented seamstress behind Charli-Q Tutus. (A pic of Eloise in her Charli-Q Tutu is here) Here is Quinn in her two Eloise Tops...

Ashlii was generous enough to make up an Eloise Top despite her nearly 3 year old being a little boy :) I'm sure it will make a cute gift for one of his little friends. Such a cute fabric that Ashlii chose to make her top out of...

So again, a HUGE thank you to these great ladies for risking their pretty fabric and time on my little pattern!!!

Some pics of one of the versions I made for Eloise...

And another thank you to the lovely ladies at Frances Suzanne for inviting me to contribute to this series. There have already been some great posts linked up and there are more added each day. Pop over to this post to see how you can link up your own creations made with a free pattern for a chance to win prizes!!

And I am excited to share that I will be joining in with Frances Suzanne again in April for the April Flip This Pattern. I am excited and nervous about that one!

Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment to let me know what you think :)

Kerry xx

Eloise Top - Free Pattern and Tutorial

This top is a loose fitting summery A-line top with a few fun features including front pleats, keyhole back opening and high-low hem. 

Disclaimer: I am not a pattern designer, I'm a mum who likes sewing and who does some drafting here and there for personal use. So please, please, please don't try my first little pattern out using your OOP super expensive fabric. If you try it with cheaper fabric and love it (I hope so!!) then go nuts with whatever fabric you like :)

This top is one of those ideas that came to me just as I was about to go to sleep and then I lay there thinking up all the different variations I could make with it. I really wanted a basic summery top with lots of room for adding changes.
I will start off explaining one option and then hopefully pop back and link up more posts with ways of varying the top using the same pattern pieces. If I get all clever or decide to pay someone to grade it for me so it has other sizes, then I'll pop back and update that too (or if any of my designer friends want to make it into a real pattern?? that would be great too).  So we will start with the high-low hem option with keyhole back closure. 
It was drafted to fit Eloise who is wearing size 3 in store bought and home sewn clothing. She is approximately 98cm (approx 3ft 2.5") tall and her chest is approx 53cm (21"). It has a loose fit across the chest so it may fit a slightly bigger child but you might want a deeper keyhole at the back to get it on or to wait for the full button up back option


- 0.5m of fabric (outer) and approx 0.25m lining fabric (I designed this for woven fabric)
- general sewing supplies (sewingmachine, threads, pins, fabric marking pens)
- a button (or if you want, pop over to my polymer clay button post and make up your own)
- a small piece of hat elastic


1. Make your pattern pieces. 

Click HERE to download PDF of pattern pieces. They are hand drawn as I lack the technology to make them on the computer. 
Print them out "actual size" not fit to page or with any scaling. There are 8 pages. The first three go together to make the front piece and then next three go together to make the back piece. The front lining and back lining are on separate pages. There is a 2.5cm (1") test square which should measure spot on when it is printed out correctly.

2. Cut your fabric.

You should end up with one front piece, two back pieces (mirror images of each other), one front lining piece and two back lining pieces (mirror images).

3. Transfer markings

The front pleats need to be marked. I do it by poking a pin through the pattern piece at the top and bottom to make a tiny hole, and then drawing a dot with my fabric marker at those points. I don't draw the whole line. I just mark the top and bottom, but feel free to do it however works for you. Mark the little star at the top of the back (elastic loop marking). The other mark is on the back piece. It marks where sewing starts and finishes when sewing the neckline. 

4. Finish edges. 

The following edges should be finished with your preferred finishing technique. I use my overlocker but you can use a zigzag stitch or overcasting stitch on your sewing machine if you like. 
 - centre back seams of outer pieces and lining
 - side seams of outer fabric and lining
 - lower edge of bodice lining (or if you prefer you can create a narrow hem after completing the side and back seams)

5.  Sew the pleats

Each of the pleat lines becomes a fold line to make the adorable front pleats. Start with the one furthest away from the centre. Fold the line by grabbing the top and bottom (where you marked) and folding, the rest of the line then folds by default. Give it a good iron to make a sharp fold. Then take it to your machine and start sewing. Sew 6mm (1/4") from the fold line. Sew from the neck line until you are level with the bottom mark. [This stitching will be visible on the front of the finished top so it is a good idea to choose a thread you are happy to see on it (so either a matching thread or a pretty contrast).]

Once the first line is stitched iron it away from the centre and fold the next one and iron it and repeat the process until all of your pleats are sewn.

I find now is a good time to stop and look at how pretty it is going to look and congratulate yourself with a little sip of your favourite beverage (I'm a bit of a diet coke addict and can't function without a cold one beside me).

** I am a bit lazy, I don't iron then sew then iron then sew. I just iron all of the pleats, then sew all of the pleats, then iron them all down. You can obviously do this too if you prefer. I think there is a little more risk of it ending up looking messy, but who am I to tell you how to sew ;)**

Now if you are allergic to pleats... you could chose to gather this part instead...but try the pleats, they are easy and very, very cute!

The rest is very much like any bodice construction you have ever done so, if you are confident ignore the rest of my ramblings and construct it your own way.

6. Sew the shoulder seams.

Place with right sides facing (make sure the back seam is in the middle), pin and sew using a 1cm (3/8" seam allowance). Repeat for the lining fabric. Iron the seams open.

7. Loop closure. 

Pin a little loop of hat elastic into the seam at the point marked with a star. Stitch it in place.

8. Neckline and armscyes.

Place your outer pieces on your table with right side facing up. Then align the lining pieces right side facing down on top as shown. Pin them together at the arm openings and around the neckline stopping at the centre back mark.

Sew these seams with a 1cm (3/8" seam allowance). Once sewn, clip all of the curves. I use pinking shears to do this really quickly but if you don't have any you can just clip them as you normally do. Then turn the whole thing to be out the right way and iron the seams flat.

This is another moment to stop and admire your handiwork (and have some more of your drink). Feel free to run over to your significant other and say "look at this cute top I'm making!!" But in my experience your diet coke will be more enthusiastic about it than he/she will be ;)

9. Side seams. 

Line up the lining pieces with right sides facing and the outer fabric pieces with right sides facing. Make sure the middle seam is neatly aligned and then the rest should be too. Pin this and sew it with a 1cm (3/8") seam allowance. Press this seam open and repeat on the other side. 

10. Back seam.

To sew the back seam, pin the outer fabric with right sides facing, right up to the point of the neck line stitching, then sew with a 1cm (3/8") seam allowance. Then line up the lining fabric with right sides facing and sew up to the point of the neck line stitching. Iron these seams open.

Once this is sewn, it is a good idea to tack down the lining. You can do this by hand or machine stitch a few stitches in the ditch of  the side seam. It will stop your lining moving around.

Nearly finished now...

11. Top stitching (optional).

If you are a fan of topstitching now would be a good time to topstitch around the neckline and keyhole and even the armscyes. 

** I didn't do this because I prefer the look without the topstitching but this is up to your personal preference**

12. Hem.

I like a narrow hem line despite the risk of burning my fingerprints off. For this, fold over 6mm (1/4") then about 6mm (1/4") again press and sew. If you prefer to keep your finger prints intact you may chose to hem using bias tape. 

13. Button.

Last but not least, attach your button at the star marking on the side without the elastic loop. 

And... finish your beverage while patting yourself on the back and then try it on your little miss. Then PLEASE take some pics and either share them on our facebook page or tag me in your pic or link up your own blog post in the comments here so I can see.

Visit this post for a few pics of my miss E and some of my best sewing friends little misses in their Eloise Pleated Tops. Huge thanks to them for risking their time and fabric on my first little pattern and for their valuable feedback!

Some of the other options I have done/planned are:
- shirred hem
- bias finishing for armscyes/neck opening in place of lining
- closed back with loop and button closure
- fully opening back with buttons/buttonholes 
- and more :)

If you love it or hate it or have troubles with it please feel free to comment here or message me on facebook. As I said I'm not a designer so there may be errors and I'm happy to hear about them and change what I can. I cannot guarantee I will respond straight away, as I have a job and three little kidlets to keep me hopping all day everyday but I will try to respond. 

Thanks for popping by. Feel free to tell your sewing friends about this pattern if you like it, and direct them here to grab their own copy :)

Kerry xx

Monday, 19 January 2015

Sewing for charity - A Snuggle Quilt from Echidna

I know I have been the world's slackest blogger so I thought instead of working out what to catch up on, I would do a super quick post about the Snuggle Quilt I made over the weekend.

As I have mentioned before I got an embroidery machine for Christmas in 2013. It is a lot of fun but I must say my sewing machine gets far more use. I recently heard of an initiative from Echidna Club to make Snuggle Quilts that are then donated to sick kids in Lady Cilento  Children's Hospital.

I'm on holidays with the kids so I thought it is the perfect time for me to do something like this.

So I bought the kit on Friday and stitched out all the embroideries (that came for free when I bought the kit!!!). Then did the patchwork assembly on Saturday, the machine quilting on Sunday and then bound it this morning and the kids and I delivered it back to Echidna to donate it today :)

I liked the idea of my crafting brightening up a sick child in hospital and also like the lesson it helped me illustrate to my own kids over the weekend. A message about giving and helping others in less fortunate situations.

This is a crappy nighttime mobile pic of it, before I did the quilting

I learned a new skill while I made it: Embroidery machine quilting. I have only ever done quilting using my sewing machine so doing it on the emby was a fun new challenge. 

A pic showing how I centred and lined up the emby quilting.

I like the squiggles and stars I ended up choosing and can see myself using that to quilt another quilt in the future. It is a bit yellow on yellow for my taste really, but my kids loved it and so I'm sure someone who's favourite colour is yellow will be happy to have it... well I hope so :)

 a slightly better pic after it was complete

Echidna are my local sewing and embroidery store and I have always had great service from them. I bought both my emby and my sewing machine from Echidna. I am not affiliated with them in any way. I just heard about these Snuggle Quilts through an embroidery group and jumped in. You don't even have to have an embroidery machine to join in. There are some specifications regarding the size and components of the quilts but that's it and the kit was very affordable :)

I will endeavor to pop in and share little bits and pieces more often. I have some fun blogging things on the horizon and lots of patterns I have tested that I'd love to write reviews for.

Oh, and I am playing along with the #FMSphotoaday and having a ball challenging myself to take a pic a day using the prompts from FatMumSlim. You can follow me on instagram if you like, my link is HERE.

Thanks for stopping by, let me know what you think...or any tips for next time :)

Kerry xx