Echino love birds and give-away!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

It was Kids Clothes Week last week - and what did I sew?
A cushion!

Yes, but believe me Missy has attempted to wear cushions before, climbing right inside the cover and calling it a hat.

But not this cushion cover - no chance. I love it too much

And it's also a little indication of how I sew. Which is, very quickly, impulsive, a bit 'feet first' if that is at all possible with a sewing machine.

I found myself with a peaceful daytime hour spare. This is a rarity. Missy was at nursery and my son was at home, but playing quietly with his lego men. I seized the moment and in that hour this cushion was created. I didn't have a full fat quarter of this stunning Echino cherry fabric. Readers may remember I used a triangle for this dress.
 So I knew I'd have to make up the shape somehow. Which made it more interesting. I teamed the Echino with some oatmeal coloured cotton, purple bias trim for piping, and cherry pink cotton.  My original plan had been to put the purple bias round the whole square, but it made the cushion look too boxy. So I added it just too the ends. 

And then I wanted some kind of textural interest, so put pleated tucks in the oatmeal and the pink. And an extra line of purple piping on the back. I wanted something a little geometric, a little art deco, perhaps Charles Rennie Mackintosh style...(google him.... famous Scottish designer).

I must admit I whizzed through the tucks.  They kind of open up a bit, but I don't mind that either. They look like origami to me. I could sense that any minute my son's peaceful playing afternoon might end, and I had a deadline to pick up Missy. But I also know that if I don't sew like crazy, I don't finish stuff.
So here it is - my one hour cushion! 

Now that giveaway.

I've got a Kokka fat quarter that I daren't let myself ruin in another crazy one-hour sewing mission. It would make the sweetest trim or bodice or pockets on a little girl's dress! 

I'd love to see it pop up elsewhere on the blogosphere! 
To enter you need to follow this blog on bloglovin' , blogger or facebook,  - AND leave me a comment below or on the facebook page, to let me know you're a follower and  would like to be in the draw. 
If you're already a follower you can enter too , just leave me a comment below or on Facebook.
I don't mind posting anywhere in the world! And the really good news (for me) is that next week I'll be in New York, with my Echino fat quarter with me in my case, so postage in the US is really easy (but don't feel left out if you're in the rest of the globe!)  Did I say I'll be in New York....can you tell I'm excited! Closing date November 8

KCW: From pillowcase to nightdress

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

It's Kids Clothes Week and I'm missing the party. If KCW means nothing to you, all you need to know is that right now, right across the globe a load of crazy sewing addict women are manically stitching, photographing and blogging. Sadly I'm not one of them.
The KCW challenge involves sewing for one hour every day this week. And right now I just don't have that spare hour. Next week I'm having my first ever child-free trip. I'm going to New York to visit my brother! This is The Most Exciting Thing EVER. But it means that I really can't neglect my family in favour of my sewing machine this week. However...
... I did manage to finish off this little project! 
Can this count for KCW? Please?

I'm trying to be a bit savvy about sewing and fabric. So when I saw a pretty embroidered pillowcase in a local charity shop for 20p (!) I grabbed it.
It's fine cotton in the softest blue almost lilac colour. And the circles on the hem were striking. So I cut it up and set about making  a nightdress for Missy.

The pattern is another 'make-it-up-as-you-go'. It's very loosely based on a Burda blouse pattern (bodices flipped round to create a back opening) and the modified square neckline as already seen in the Sunshine blouse and the Secret Squirrel July outfit. 

The bodice is lined with a finely striped old cot sheet. And the back opening and yoke are, of course, piped! Could not resist a little piping. I self drafted 'flutter sleeves' but they're not very fluttery. Still live and learn...And added broidery anglaise to the hem.


 I really love this little night dress. It's so simple and pretty and a little vintage. And I love the fact that it cost me all of 20 pence! 

Secret Squirrel - Beware those pretty shark teeth!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Squirrels might look cute and fluffy. But this one cost me blood and tears. (And that's before I wrestled with a shark  an elephant and a boa constrictor).

Yes really, I stitched my finger with my sewing machine sewing this number...
For those not familiar with Secret Squirrel, he's skipping around sewing blogs on his way to Straight Grain's blog,  offering a monthly challenge. The official Secret Squirrel stop is over at Amos El blog, and this is my 'sew along' version. It's my second  Secret Squirrel outfit, the first is here and you can see all the outfits at the flickr group.

Secret Squirrel had hooked me in with his September themes, suggested by I Seam Stressed the Little Prince, Green, Bias, Great White Shark and Zooey Deschanel.

My sewing brain went into overdrive with shark's teeth and this illustration from the Little Prince forming the basis for my vision.

Grown-ups looking at this picture see a hat, says The Little Prince, but this is actually a picture of a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant. 

The vision materialised into this white blouse, adorned with a yoke of 'shark's teeth' pintucks and green bias hand-made piping (Kerching... that's shark, green and bias all ticked off, phew). But getting this blouse to fit, and realising that this required some serious ironing, led me to question my sanity!

Of course the blouse had to be white. I just couldn't bring myself NOT to have white shark's teeth. 
But it was a nightmare to photograph. I hope you can make out the detail. 

AND this blouse has only been worn for five minutes for the very first time in these photographs, and it ALREADY has a smudge on it...What was I doing to myself with this idea?

But doesn't it look pretty!
Mr As-it-seams said it's a bit 'flouncy choirboy'. I was aiming for more 'cute peasant'. Like everything I make, it's big on Missy, particularly the bouffant sleeves. If I can find a last ounce of emotional strength I may refashion them. But overall I'm chuffed. I love the structural effect of the sharks teeth.

Basically they are pintucks, snipped and ironed in place as alternate triangles, then over-stitched with a zig-zag. It was simple but required  industrial style ironing and every pin in my tin. 
I stumbled on this tutorial, and I've done my first ever tutorial over here! The pattern for the blouse is loosely based on the Sunshine Blouse, which in turn is adapted from a Burda pattern. The yoke is lined in muslin, and it closes with a single mother-of-pearl star button ( a bit Little Prince?) and a hidden press-stud. The button loop is handmade in matching green embroidery thread.

This blouse was actually pretty straight-forward, but I made it late at night and kept messing up, particularly the fit. Because of the shark-teeth yoke, the neckline couldn't sit too high, or too low and I kept stuffing up. My seamripper has been hard at work unpicking and re-doing this bodice twice! If I thought more carefully about fit at the beginning this would have been easy. Doh...

Now. What about that elephant in the boa constrictor? Well this shark's blouse is teamed with a pair of bubble shorts which could not have been a more different sewing experience. I whipped them up in a couple of hours using Do Guincho's bubble short pattern

 After my blood-sweat-and-tears blouse, this was A BREEZE. It felt like Marta from Do Guincho was practically threading my sewing machine, with her detailed instructions! I made them in the softest brown corduroy, and lined them in - ta dah - elephant print cotton lawn! 

Missy LOVED this print, so much that it was almost a shame to hide, so I added pockets to the pattern. 
blouse might have been the most ludicrous garment to have sewn for a three year old, but the bubble shorts were the opposite. 
Wearable, fun, so cute and yet practical. As you can barely see them under that flouncy blouse, I took some extra pictures on an autumn walk, to give the shorts the show they deserve!

Phew - you have made it to the end of this post, nearly! 

Well, Secret Squirrel, I failed to include Zooey Deschanel, (I was going to make a fringed scarf, because she has a fringe, or bangs). 

But a shark, an elephant and a boa constrictor, not to mention a scheming squirrel all sapped my "sew-jo." *
So, if I mention again that I'm ever going to sew a white blouse - please redirect me to this post!
* sew-jo, a sewing term passed to me from Jenya at While She was Sleeping!  Love it Jenya...

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