Stitched Together for Rachel - A little fish

Monday, 28 July 2014

This is a  little fish who is about to go on a big journey. He's on his way across the Atlantic to welcome Rachel at Stitched Together's new baby!

Did you see my post last week? My little nostalgic story about groups of friends creating a special mobile for a new baby.  
Now eight of us from across the globe have come together for one of our blogging friends, to create something special for the imminent arrival of a baby. 
And of course the baby that's brought us all together is Rachel who blogs at Stitched Together. Rachel, this little fish is for you, and your baby girl who will be here soon. I
 love Rachel's blog. Her sewing is always gorgeous, and she also offers a little window on her world, with her four (soon to be five) children in sunny Texas. Like many of her readers I feel like I've got to know Rachel over the last year or so. And now her newest baby is about to arrive.
This little fish is made of a scrap of Nani Iro double gauze. The herringbone print just begged to become a fish. The double gauze is so fine and soft that it was a tricky thing to sew, being so small. 
I reinforced it with interfacing, then used the very technical process of 'fiddling about.' A little bit of embroidery in silver thread, to  sparkle to catch a baby's eye, adds a bit of a 'scales' effect. I didn't think about the technicalities of this too carefully, the loop is (oops) sewn at a funny angle, which means this fish will forever be swimming upwards. That's ok though? He can symbolise optimism.
Little fish won't be swimming alone! 
He'll be joined by creations from:

Take a tour round their blogs to see what will be joining him on this mobile frame hoop.

I've covered a wooden embroidery hoop in cotton tape, which sounds like it should be easy, but is a fiddle. I've kept the colours subtle and neutral to let the fish and the other surprises shine. The only adornment are four mother of pearl buttons.

And this is a little fish with a message; Rachel, I love  new babies, I love that special moment when their dark eyes struggle to focus on you, and the way soft little heads nestle into your shoulder. I know that you know how fast and precious it all is. I hope that you spend this summer resting, and being well loved and cared for to enjoy and get to know a new personality in your lives. And whenever you're ready, we'll love to read about it!

A gift for a baby, and a nostalgic tale

Friday, 18 July 2014

It's only when I turn and look back over my shoulder that I realise that I've moved to a different stage. Which is how I really feel right now. 
My son is about to finish another year of school, and in September Missy will be joining him. I will have two school children! No more little pre-school toddlers, or babies even...And it might be this nostalgia which has prompted me to share this story with you.

This is my dear friend Alexci, and her beautiful boy River. And this is the gift that Alexci's friends made to welcome River into the world.
Around the time that I had my son Torin, then later my daughter Missy, all my friends seemed to be having babies too. And in the-time-of-many-babies we evolved a little tradition to welcome these new lives. Now that I'm not surrounded by babies so much, I thought I'd pass on our 'tradition.'

Around a week or so before the baby was due, we would gather at the mother-to-be's house, armed with chocolate. 
There might also be some gifts for the mother-to-be (that would help her to feel special, and pampered. Bath oil, fragrant candles, chocolate and, um chocolate... And we would all bring something handmade to hang on a mobile for the new baby. I saw many of these mobiles created at lovely sociable evenings. They were all different, and all reflected the different group who had gathered together, and their talents.
I made many coloured felt birds, resurrecting the embroidery skills I learnt as a child. And we would add our creations to the mobile, and share a few words of encouragement for the birth and excitement about the baby.
It was a really beautiful thing to do. Somehow by creating a mobile together, we created a space for the new baby.
This is Alexci's mobile. Sadly I couldn't make her 'gathering'. Mr As-it-Seams is a musician, and I think he was performing that night. So none of the creations hanging here are mine. And this is much more nature-based than many of them. Others were more about sewing and crafts. But this is perfect for Alexci, it perfectly reflects her and her friends. And these photos were taken for a magazine article that I wrote at the time, about our tradition - so I have a good record!

Missy has a mobile - and it has a little silk fairy, a pine-cone pixie, a felted star. It is also looking a little tatty. It has scraps of paper drawings added by my son, who was four at the time of her birth, and wanted to get involved, as well as seashells that we picked on the beach and strung together. It's not very stylish now, but it is a special piece of our family's history. 
Now the-time-of-many-babies has passed for me, but I like to think that the creativity will continue!

Take One Dress 7; C'est la Vie

Saturday, 5 July 2014

July's Take One Dress blogger is here - and I'm so thrilled to introduce French blogger, Sophie from C'est la Vie.
I have a serious blog-crush on Sophie. She is the epitome of French fact, I now know why French seams are, well, 'French'. Everything Sophie sews is impeccably finished. And she can REALLY sew! Everything from quilts to stunning bags, to gorgeous children's clothes, to elegant grown-up clothes. This dress is gorgeous, but the back is even more stunning!  She sews beautiful boy's clothes, as well as lovely dresses...oooh I could go on....

Altered Stepford Dress

Hi there As-It-Seams readers! 
I am so so honored to be part of this series.
Ever since the day I read Heidi's post and found out which dress she had chosen for me as a source of inspiration, I have been looking forward to sew and share my take on it!

Here is the dress I was given as an inspiration:

I love the dots, the pleats and the big bow. This dress is a party dress for sure! I also like the neutral color of this dress and wanted to translate it onto my own version.
So I decided to sew a party dress for my girl. 
Right now my favorite pattern is the Hanami Dress by Straight Grain : perfect fit, cute sleeves and a lot of room for possible alterations.

I dig into my fabric stash and chose this print by Tamara Kate: Helens Garden, Pollen in Creme bought from Hawthorne Threads. I love that it looks like confetti and the colors are just perfect for a party dress: a mixture of soft pink , peach, green and the black I wanted to use as a neutral on my dress.
I coordinated it with some Michael Miller cotton couture in peach.
 I replaced the pleats with some black glitter piping on the bodice and sleeves. Altering the bodice was so easy, and alterations are my new addiction! 

And then I made this big bow out of some black lawn, so soft!
It was my first attempt at a bow and it is definitly worth the try. It is very easy and it really provides the "couture" look I was after.

I like details, I think that's because I am french!!:) So I lined the flutter sleeves with the same fabric as the skirt's:
We do love this dress in our home and my girl is looking forward to her next birthday party to wear it! I called it Liquorice Party Dress!!

 Thank you so much Heidi for providing this inspiration that kept my mind and hands busy for quite a while!!:) And Thank you Victoria for inviting me over to your blog! Creativity is fuelled by challenges and I sure loved this one!!

Now it is my turn to inspire the next seamstress: Renee who blogs and shares her beautiful creations at Nearest the pin.

Here is the dress I chose:

I am crazy about the neutral colors and structured shoulder line on this dress.

Thank you Sophie! I'm so incredibly grateful to you for taking so much time to produce something so beautiful and, as always, finished so perfectly. All those little details are so perfectly done, and your daughter looks so pretty! And I'm looking forward to August already!
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