Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas- Christmas Tree Pyjamas!

Just a quick post... We've had a busy Christmas Eve today (of course!)... a lot of which I've spent sewing up these Christmas tree pyjamas.  They were kind of a rush job (with it being Christmas Eve and all), but they're still pretty cute.

The trousers pattern is the Christmas Shorts pattern by TigerLily patterns.  TigerLily are in Australia, so I'm guessing they never have any need to make Christmas trousers from polar fleece, but it works well!  I added a fleece waistband for comfort and ankle bands to stop the legs from riding up when the boys are wriggling about in bed.

The top is a mash up of the Recess Raglan (for speed of sewing up) and the Anytime At All Tee (for the size of the neck, which is really teeny tiny on the Recess Raglan).   The tree was appliqued on (the shape was drawn by hand, by long-suffering husband). 



The boys chose their own ribbons for decoration, from a collection of bits and bobs I found in a drawer (if you sew, you have some little bits of shiny ric rac somewhere... you may not know from whence they came, but they're there, somewhere...).  Originally I had little squares of velcro all over it, with the intention of making little decorations which the boys could decorate themselves with.  But they were too small, and didn't stick, so I sewed felt baubles over them.  The star attaches with velcro, though, which is cute!  Little cub keeps putting the star on and off his tree. 

Sleep tight, fleecy cubs, and a Merry Christmas to you all!


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Looking smart: Ethan shirts, Classic Chinos and ten-minute ties

The Cubs needed some smart clothes to wear to a friend's baby's Christening, and here's what we ended up with!

I managed to complete 6 garments in the space of a week, which I'm pretty pleased with.  On Saturday I bought fabric, printed and traced patterns.  On Sunday I did cutting out.  Oh good grief, the cutting out.  It took for ever.  There are a lot of pieces involved in making a shirt- A LOT.  Some of them are crazy, complicated shapes (sleeve plackets, I'm talking about you!).  Fabric, interfacing.... then do it all again for a second shirt.  That meant I could do bits and pieces of sewing as the week went on.

The shirt pattern is the Ethan Shirt by Sis Boom patterns.  Despite having a lot of pieces, it sewed up surprisingly easily.  The only tricky bit was the sleeve plackets. I just couldn't get my head around the instructions, and ended up watching a few videos on YouTube to try to work out what was supposed to be going on.  In the end I had to cut the slits in a Y-shape instead of just a straight slit, which wasn't clear from the instructions, and everything was simple from then on.  They look so professional!

The pattern recommends using a washable glue stick (I used a Pritt Stick) to hold a lot of the folds in place, and it's a brilliant tip.   It definitely made it easier to make the shirt look really neat and tidy.

Little Cub's shirt is made from a fabric I found in Fabric World, Kingston.  The pattern said I'd need 1.5 yards, so I got a metre and a half and had over half of it left.  I used red buttons and red stitching throughout, which looks very effective since there is a lot of edgestitching and topstitching.

I was going to order some Star Wars fabric for Big Cub's shirt but I was sorting through my stash and found 1.5m of this fox fabric.  It was half price in the John Lewis sale over a year ago, and I thought it would be perfect for a smart shirt.  I'm not sure what fabric it is, actually- it's got more drape than a quilting cotton, though, so it has a lovely feel.  Big Cub got pale blue stitching and dark blue buttons.

I hemmed the bottoms of the shirts with bias tape, because it's easy and looks great.

The trousers are the Classic Chinos by Peekaboo Pattern Shop.  I had boys' trouser patterns already but wanted something smarter and this pattern looked perfect.  I wasn't disappointed- quick and easy to sew, and a perfect fit.  I sewed up sizes 3 and 6 for the cubs, who are just about to turn 3 and 6 respectively.  Usually when I make them trousers they are baggy around the waist, and way too long, but these fitted perfectly.  Hooray!  They are very cute, with a faux fly and teeny tiny belt loops which make them look like proper grown-up trousers.

The welt pockets were supposed to be cut from the main fabric, but I used leftover fabric from the shirts so it would peek through the welts and look super cute.  I've made 'proper' welt pockets before, but these are some sort of magical, cheating welts which take no time at all, and look great.  You could make double welts with this magical folding-over method, too- I will definitely try that some time.

Little Cub's trousers are made of a suiting fabric I had in my stash.  I know it came from but I can't remember exactly what it is.  I do know a) it frays like crazy and b) it feels so soft.  It has a very short, velvetty pile.  He calls them 'My softsoft trousers'.

Big Cub's trousers are made of navy blue cotton corduroy from Fabricland.  When you have two little boys, you can never have too much blue corduroy.  It's a fine wale cord- not baby cord but not much thicker.

The pocket welts are upside down.  I had already worked out that I would need to put the fabric upside down in order to make the pattern the right way up, but I forgot.  And once you've cut a welt, there's really no going back.  It's not too noticeable- otherwise I would've had to start over.

The ties were a last-minute addition.  I wanted to do them, but wasn't sure if I would have time.  I started them on Saturday evening at around 8pm and was finished within half an hour.  They are from a free pattern by Vanilla Joy, and they really finish off the outfits beautifully.  I made Big Cub's neck band from a piece of grosgrain ribbon, and Little Cub's from a piece of elastic- both with velcro sewn on to the ends.  The tutorial shows how to tie them but boy, did we struggle!  I couldn't work out how to get the short bit round to the back of the knot.  Long-suffering husband was drafted in to help, and he tied while I held the bands taut, which seemed to help make a nice knot shape.

So there you have it!  And here's Little Cub doing his 'can't you just be normal?' faces...

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

A bit of paper craft... R2-D2 party invitations- hand made (sort of)!

The cubs' birthdays are fast approaching and it was time to get invitations sent out for Big Cub's party.  The theme is, of course, Star Wars.  It was time to fire up my lovely new Cricut explore!

Making these invitations was a lot of fun.  I cut out the main piece from white card, and drew the lines on in metallic pens.  I say I- I mean the machine.  The head pieces were cut from blue sticky vinyl, which we stuck onto foil before cutting around them and sticking them down.  When I ran out of vinyl, I cut the rest of the heads from blue card.

We printed out the party details on paper and stuck them onto squares of card.  Big cub was thrilled with the results!

Watch this space for more Star Wars party bits and pieces!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Cricut Explore- the first week

It was my birthday last week, and Long-Suffering husband had asked, 'Is there anything big you want?'... and I had mentioned that I would love a cutting machine.  I specifically mentioned a Cricut Explore, since I've been reading up on what's available and this seemed like the best option for what I need it to do.  It just so happens that he does a lot of cutting out of little letters etc, so I guess he had a bit of an ulterior motive but... he bought me one!  Hooray!

I haven't actually used it for cutting fabric, yet, because I've been having too much fun playing with iron-on vinyl.  The machine comes with a little piece, and I'm a bit addicted.  You can upload your own images to the Cricut design space, and both Big and Little cubs have been super keen to tell me what they want putting onto blank t-shirts.

Firstly, Little Cub wanted A Fast Train.  So we chose a clipart together, loaded it into the Design space, and got cutting.  Sadly I don't have a picture, because he has worn it so many times, it always seems to be in the wash.

Obviously Big Cub wanted Star Wars. This was more of a challenge- I wanted to do several images in one and do a sort of white-on-black/black-on-white effect.  It came out pretty good!  I'm so impressed with the precision of the cutting, even on those teeny tiny bits on the AT-AT's legs.

Next up was this stripy hoody:

He really likes it!

I wanted to try an Octonauts shirt for Little Cub.  Somehow, though, there were a few imperfections in the cutting, especially around the Octoalert's eyes.  Oh and I ironed it for too long, and kind of melted some bits onto the ironing board.  But hey, I'm still learning!  I also did a row of seaweed along the bottom.  Unfortunately Little Cub wouldn't sit still long enough for a decent photo, but you kind of get the idea...

I tell a lie.  He did sit still for a while, on a giant Duplo dog.  Still not a good photo though:
No, Little Cub.  Don't do that winking thing.  Just do a normal face.
OK.  I give up.

Here's one just to prove he can do a normal face!