Thursday, May 31, 2012

My First Quilt

I have no idea the correct process for making a quilt. My first attempt involved sewing two pieces of material right sides together along with the cotton batting on one side and then turning it right sides out. Dah da. A quilt! The cotton batting moved and the whole thing warped a bit, and then my hand stitching at the top fell apart.  So, last week I took to it with the scissors. 

I still have no idea of the correct process for making a quilt. This one has seams down the centre to help secure the batting inside. I really need to take a class. It's on my to-do list.

I ran out of material so it doesn't tuck down the sides. I did buy the fabric with nothing in mind. When I do that, I never seem to have enough. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Baby in the Hood Jacket

I found the Baby-in-the-Hood Jacket from a (library) book called Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner. I photocopied the pattern and the instructions and put it on my to-make list. There are 46 steps so possibly a little daunting for the beginner sewer. Thankfully I had my Mum to answer my questions when I screamed HELP on a couple of the steps.

The jacket is fully lined with contrasting fabrics for the lining, button placket and hood. I decided to just use one fabric as my contrast, but with the "darling details" there are lots of opportunities to experiment with fabrics and colours. "Seeing sweet baby eyes and cheeks peek out of the hood is just irresistible" - a definite selling point!

The pattern sizes are quite small. I made a nine to 12 months. Alyssa is nine months old and its tight when she has layers underneath.

I have the green version of this fabric so when I make the next size here are a couple of things I will do differently:
  • Add extra length. It's too short, especially when she is crawling it sits half way up her back
  • Reconsider options for fastening the jacket. The buttons slip out of the loops, so possibly the loops are too long. I might try velcro to better secure the button placket
  • Use a warmer fabric for the lining
Here are my favourite pics:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dress with Embroidered Front from Girls Style Book

I found the Girls Style Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori and H.H. at our local library. It has 24 gorgeous outfits for girls and includes pattern sheets with sizes  two to 10.  I admired the book for the two week loan period and then had to return it, having made nothing. It is a bit intimidating for a learner sewer. It has step-by-step instructions but nothing like the picture-by-picture instructions I have been relying on up until now. I ended up asking for it (along with another fantastic book Growing Up Sew Liberated - also discovered at the library) for my birthday and took it to New Zealand for our four week holiday, with the intention of this time making something.

My Mother in law meet us at the airport and surprised me with a large supply of fabrics bought on her recent trip to Korea and my mum picked the most time consuming dress in the book for me to make.

I have to be honest and say that I didn't enjoy making this dress. I go so frustrated and tired and it just felt like a chore in the end. Here are a few of my experiences:
  • One sewing class to get me started resulted in terrible sewing machine envy
  • My quick unpick was my best friend - almost every seam was sewn twice. My mum inspected every step and kindly suggested I fix my mistakes
  • The fabric, beautiful and soft, was fiddly
  • The smocking incredibly time consuming and although not perfect does add a nice element to the dress
  • It took me the entire four weeks of our holiday to complete (It's still needs hemming, some flowers for the front and the hook & eye sewn on)
  • The pattern pieces don't include seam allowances. So I assumed that if I cut a size two, skipped the seam allowance, it would fit a size one to 18 months. In practise I really needed to scale it down and add the suggested seam allowances as the pieces didn't match up exactly in places
  • Mum insisted on sewing in the zip for me so I still haven't attempted one myself
All the negatives are really just my learning experiences. I am very proud of myself for not giving up. I realise too that something so time consuming to create actually looks 'expensive' and makes it just a little more special than something whipped up in an hour or so.

We cranked up the fire and Alyssa did her best to model her dress:

The Girls Style Book was purchased from Fishpond for $26. Here are a few of my favourite outfits including the one I made: