Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Where are the earplugs?

Today I braved the shops.

With my kids.

For school supplies.

Now when you put together kids, shopping, heat and boredom it has the potential to be less than pleasant. Then add in the crowds of similarly stressed mums with children in tow and it really becomes interesting. To put it mildly. But we made it out alive although my wallet was considerably lighter. Oh well, I'll console myself that next week they'll all be back at school. ;-)
I was saying this to my hubby and he thinks that I don't like having him and the kids at home. That's not entirely true. But how do you explain to a man who likes music on (preferably loudly) every waking moment that it can be nice to come home to a quiet house. No music, no tv, no squabbles discussions. Just a nice quiet house all to yourself. I mean, not all the time, just occasionally. After 6 weeks, I'm ready for a few occasions.

Right - off to add to the noise level and bang in some snaps!

Monday, January 28, 2008

I've created another UFO!

I thought I really better get onto my nieces' (rather belated) birthday present. Originally, I had been thinking of a wee jacket and trousers from a pink embroidered drill. But, Em has grown lately and there was no way I could fit the size she needed onto the fabric I had, no matter which way I turned my head and held my tongue. Hmmm, what to do?

I thought a pinafore might be nice, so I went hunting through my patterns and my collection of old Topkids and Burda Kids magazines. It was an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon I admit, but at the end I had it down to two patterns, neither of which seemed right for the drill.

I was in a dilemma. I consulted my hubby - he diagnosed procrastination. No help there. I umm-ed a bit longer. (As I told hubby, this was creative development NOT procrastination. If I was procrastinating I'd have been cleaning the pantry. ;-) ) Then, as I leafed through one of my fabric folders, I found the inspiration I needed. Back to the cupboard went the pink drill and out came a piece of navy drill, a red heart motif and red topstitching thread. I cut, I started sewing. And.......... it's been sitting on my desk half-finished for 2 nights. Sigh.

Hi, I'm Keely and I'm a procrastinator.....

Friday, January 25, 2008


The end of another working week - well, ok, I only work 2 days a week, but the kids are still home on holidays so it's felt like 5 days work and then a working weekend. ;-) Still, only one more week before school. I think. (I should probably check that. )

The top/dress has been worn. It has been ooh-ed and aah-ed over and now it is sitting back on my sewing desk. Not because of any problem with E's (DD2) sewing I'll hasten to add. Nope, yet again, this is a bit low. I could unpick and replace the entire front inset, but that would involve remaking about half the top (shudder!). I know E was keen to sew but I don't think she's quite ready for frog-stitching, and neither am I. After talking it over with E, a solution has been reached. I'm going to add a band of the same fabric across the top. When that's all done I'll add a photo.

Also awaiting a photo op is the fluoro orange tee. S (DD1) came back from her friends house badly sunburned. Parental nagging and scare-tactic advertising campaigns on television obviously don't work. Sheesh! (shaking head) So, instead a photo sans daughter and her peeling skin....

In person this is a bright top. Apparently S can see this in her wardrobe even with the lights off, lol. Roll on school disco with the UV lights! :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Passing on the sewing bug

Today I spent the afternoon helping my 7 yo daughter sew. She has been begging all week to sew herself a top and when I came home with the Butterick pattern (4970) she was ecstatic.

Unfortunately, I'd bought the 12-16 sizing for DD1. When we went back to Spotlight this morning they were all out of the smaller size. Sigh, no being lazy. So, I sized the 12 down to an 8 while my daughter shopped my stash folder. Then came the adventure of extricating the chosen fabrics from the depths of the stash cupboard. (All my stash is boxed with the box number and a sample of fabric in a ringbinder. Plus, I have a map of where each box is in the cupboard. My bestfriend laughed at me for that (yes, Judy, you) but it sure does make it easier. )

DD2 chose a pink rayon/spandex knit for the top with a white mystery knit for the inset. She did really well. She pinned, help cut and did all the straight sewing herself. While she helped with the overlocking, I retained control. ;-) I was very surprised at the determination and perseverance she showed. At bedtime, all that was needed to be finished was the hem on the ruffle and the ruffle to be gathered onto the top. DD2 was torn between wanting to do it all herself and wanting to wear it in the morning. Because of work commitments, we wouldn't be able to get back to it for a few days, so she has gone to bed and I'm going to do the last bit for her. That way she can wear it (and show it off) tomorrow, lol.

I am so proud of her!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another one down...

Phew, I finished the last outstanding UFO last night.

This is the same pattern as the hot pink hoody (KS3101) but I made a few changes. I made this one from "Cheesecake" 100% unbrushed sweatshirting in the shade of "Lipstick" and matching ribbing. It was another bargain buy from the Spotlight sale tables at $2m. When the sales assistant went to cut, there was a mysterious hole in the centre (the fabric equivalent of crop circles?) so I actually got 2 metres for $2. :-)

Changes I made: DD wanted a sporty look so, on the jacket, I cut 5cm off the sleeve length and added a ribbing cuff. I also added a ribbing band on the pocket openings. I finally tried using the flatlocking stitch on my Brother 1034D. I flatlocked in white down the centre of the sleeves, on the pocket opening and down the centre back seam of the hood. On the pants, I cut 5cm off the top of the waistline and added an 8cm deep ribbing band - 3cm for the elastic casing and a 5cm foldover. (Next time I would make this a deeper foldover.) I flatlocked the outer side seams with my o/locker set at: Left needle (yellow) = 1; Upper Looper (green) = 5; Lower Looper (blue) = 8.
The pants seem very baggy in the leg and quite deep in the crotch. This may be because they're a bit big on DD but by the time she grows into the seat they're only going to be capri length on her!

I have the fluoro orange stripe tee cut out and sitting on my desk awaiting it's turn. It's bright. Very bright. :-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

More fabric, oops...

Well, another day at work and yet again I came home with fabric. I'm just not going to look at the stats in the sidebar. :-)

Today's purchases were....

a printed mesh fabric that I've liked for awhile. It's now 50% off so I had to have it didn't I? I think this will become an Ottobre Tee.

a polycotton knit for DD1. We're thinking a tank top.

and another pattern for DD1, Butterick 4970. She wants the centre top (the blue) in red with the insert from the skulls knit above. This is to wear over her new black skinny jeans.

Yikes! I better get sewing!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yet another pattern...

I have over 400 patterns. Okay, okay, todays purchase puts me at 494. Plus magazines. Sheesh, you'd think I'd sew more than I do wouldn't ya?

I was surprised last night to find I didn't have a pattern that fitted all DD1's requirements. Sure, I could have used a basic tee pattern and remodelled it but Spotlight had patterns at half-price so I figured why re-invent the wheel if I didn't have to. (See why I have 494 patterns? ) I went straight to the Simplicity book to look at the Lizzie McGuire and So Raven patterns. This is what I ended up with Simplicity 3811:

I have some fluoro orange striped tee-shirt knit that I acquired from my mothers stash recently. This is a genuine 1980's piece of fabric (does that qualify as retro? ;-) ) and it's been quite funny to see similar fabrics in some stores this summer. I'm going to make the shorter striped top.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Yayyy, it's Tuesday!

I love Tuesdays! Especially every second Tuesday when at least 2 other friends also have time off work and we have "girly day". Today we all got together at Bestfriend2's house for a chat and supposedly some work on craft/sewing projects. BF2 was looking after BF1's kids as well, so in the one house we had 4 adults (incl BF2's hubby) and 9 kids! Chaos was averted by the downstairs rumpus room coming into play, phew. It was great fun and even nicer getting a brief chat with BF1 when she arrived to pick up her kids.

I'd taken along a top I'd bought for the princely sum of $2.70 in a clearance sale. As a casual top it's great but (and there has to be a but) it was a little lower than I liked. I don't really think there's any need for everyone to see which bra I'm wearing underneath my clothes. I plan on unpicking the white insert in the V and cutting a higher (longer?) insert to sew back in. Needless to say it didn't get touched today. ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Two down....

Back in, ahem, November, I had a cutting out binge. I had this vague theory that, if I only had to pick up a project to sew, it might actually speed up my sewing (hahaha). Well, some did get sewn but I'd been left with a couple of bags sitting on the shelf and they were starting to bug me, so I decided to clear up the UFO's. Of course, the whole best laid plans etc... I really should know better by now. Last week disappeared in a whirl of work, activities with the kids and DS breaking his arm.

Finally, on the weekend, I managed to get near my sewing machine. I finished up a pink hoody jacket for DD2, did a bit of mending (blech! I hate mending!) that was sitting around and finally finished putting the elastic in the waistband of a pair of capris, also for DD2. Plus... I gave hubby a haircut and made fudge with my 11yo DD1. The haircut went well, the fudge failed to set properly. That's what happens when you try a new recipe and don't follow instructions, oops. It did however seem to pass the taste test as it was all eaten before I got a photo :)

The hoody jacket is Kwik Sew 3101. I have lined the hood with a butterfly print knit and there is enough left over to make DD2 a t-shirt to go under.

The shorts are Burda 9898, view B. I changed the hip pockets to a patch pocket and topstitched with pink. I used a pink biasbinding to face the pocket openings and left a tiny edge to show as a kind of faux piping.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Little Red Dress

My youngest daughter (7yo) has been begging me to make her a dress for at least the last year. She is a very girly, girl and loves frills, flounces, pink, you name it. (I have no idea where she got those genes from!) Until now, I've gotten away with simple 3-tiered ruffle skirts. They only take about an hour max to whip up and they're harder to grow out of. ;) Well, before Christmas I finally caved. The stash was raided and DD chose a pattern. The first piece of fabric was abandoned because there wasn't enough and the stash was raided again. As it was the holiday season, red with white spots seemed the natural choice. I used McCalls 5089, view C which is the blue dress in the top right-hand corner.

This dress is very easy and quick to sew. There are just a few things to watch. It's short! My DD is 7. I made a size 8 (although she could have got away with a 7 in width) and lengthened it to a size 10 length. This brings it just below her knees. I also had to shorten the shoulder straps. I ended up cutting off 5 cm and sewing in about another 5cm. Much to DD's disgust both her parents still think she needs a t-shirt underneath in public. Isn't it funny - I wore similar dresses when I was young and thought nothing of it. Yet now, as a mother, I want my daughter covered up, and not just to avoid sunburn.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


After a night's sleep I finished the jacket/cardy today.
In the end, I kept the easing in the side seam. I also left the neckline shape as drafted. The velvet tends to fold back quite softly so I think this will be fine. Instead of a 1.5cm hem, I overlocked the raw edges and decided to leave them as is. While this jacket doesn't wow me, I think it's wearable as a casual throw on cardy. Better still, it means I can wear the teal Tee I had in the wardrobe. I had made this T-shirt from a lightweight poly knit (Manhattan knit from Spotlight) and unfortunately it was just a bit clingier than I liked. This jacket hides that. :) I played around with the ribbon placement and then decided to leave it off. A waist placement was not a good look. DH did think it looked nice with ribbon under the bustline but there's a limit to how much emphasis I want to put on that area! Instead I've settled for a pin to hold it closed.

(What a terrible photo - I look like I'm falling over... or drunk!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Taking the Plunge

After debating this for awhile, I've decided to take the plunge and start a blog as a way of keeping track of my sewing. Hopefully this will also motivate me to sew a bit more as well. That, or I'll spend so much time reading about other peoples sewing on PatternReview that this blog will dry up. Really the title should probably read "Keelysews.....sometimes"

In the spirit of starting off as I mean to go on, I'll talk about my latest sewing attempt.

I have decided I really need to start tackling my own wardrobe issues. Perhaps, that should be more my lack-of-wardrobe issues. :)

Anyway, a few weeks ago I decided I needed a cardigan for throwing on over T's. After the success I've had with the Ottobre gathered-neck Tee, I thought I'd try another Ottobre pattern, the knit jacket from Ottobre 2/2006. This is shown on the cover of the magazine and had caught my eye.

There were a few obvious changes needed. Firstly, the pattern only went to a size 48. While this will fit me quite nicely in the shoulders, I need a bit more around the rest of me. So I added 1 cm to each side seam to give me an extra 4cm width. Secondly, unlike the Tee pattern, the jacket pattern does not have extra fabric eased in for the bust. I hummed and haa-ed for a bit as I considered whether to just add the easing as per the Ottobre Tee or to do an FBA (full bust adjustment). I decided to go ahead with an FBA of an inch. As per the instructions in Fit For Real People, I slashed and spread and then closed the horizontal dart by rotating it out at the side seam. This left the inevitable bump out just below the armhole to be eased in to the side seam. Then I lengthened the front and back by 5cm as the jacket/cardy is quite short.

At that point I developed a form of 'analysis paralysis' as I spent an evening contemplating which of the numerous fabrics in my stash I should use as a muslin. It's the cheapskate in me I admit. :) I wanted to use a piece I wouldn't miss if it looked awful but at the same time I wanted it to match the rest of my limited wardrobe if it did work. Decisions, decisions, lol.

After sleeping on it for a night, I decided to use some black Panné velvet that has been aging in my stash for 2 or so years. It wasn't exactly screaming to be this jacket but it also wasn't suggesting anything else.

I probably shouldn't have bothered with an FBA. The easing in the bust area is just a bit much and has added quite a bit of "poofing" in the side seam. If I was going to wear this jacket fastened right up this might not show as the excess fabric would be pulled towards the front to cover my bust. I've played around and I'm thinking my best bet would be to actually sew out the dart at this point. I also think I should perhaps change the neckline shape to a v-neck. So, more playing to do.