Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Little things for Little people

My mother and I have been considering and working for a while on the idea of making vintage inspired clothing for children.  We have a ways to go before we can do our first market stall and much planning but in the mean time I find sewing children's clothes to be fun and fast - a great deviation from the more involved projects I am working on.

There won't be to much information about the how's and why's of these few things I have made for friends but I thought I may as well share these with the world.

I am going to start with this one, which I call beach baby.  It was made for a friend who was pregnant at the time (that little girl is about to turn one) and I used a cotton spot that my friend had bought for me to make her a costume for stage.  I knew she loved the fabric, the stage, the show and the costume and so kept all the scraps to make her daughter an outfit.  Gave it to her at the baby shower and she cried.  Got to love pregnancy hormones.  I really liked the hat in this one - its a basic tulip pattern finished off with a matching daisy button and some crossgrain ribbon.

Also for the same friend, this one was using a quilting cotton (what a dream to work with good quality cotton) in a vintage blue striped floral print.  The lace was used to decorate the costume I had in the show.  I think this one turned out with the most vintage feel.  You will also see a pattern emerge of nappy covers, nothing cuter than some little matching pants.

This one is the most beautiful delicate pink fabric with a sweet bunny print, also a quilting cotton and finished with a cotton lace.  All the above are lined in lawn.  The Hat for this one didn't turn out as well as I would have hoped.  I love the gathered brim but I must have misjudged the seam allowance on the crown because it was tiny.  I think the very tiny baby only ever fit it once.  Again same friend but no special meaning other than I liked this pink.

This one was started for a friends child's first birthday, but I accidentally made it 18mth size and then didn't finish in time anyway.  These friends a huge supers fans so I knew Wonder Woman would be a hit.  The birthday was last December, the friends received the finished piece a few months ago.  Basically when my sewing stuff was packed away it ended up a UFO and I only got it back out when doing some more stuff for a workmate.

I love this pattern.  I found with my son that there was very little sweet, vintage baby stuff appropriate for a boy.  I made this for another friends baby shower, she was having a boy and I felt the colours and style would work without being too out there.  Quilting cotton with lawn lining and simple brown buttons.

Also for my friends boy, overalls because who doesn't love overalls.  This fabric has a kitten drinking on it and I am especially proud of the button closures I did on the leg inseams.  I ended up using simple clear buttons here because I hate working with press studs and coloured buttons looked too busy.  The clear blends perfectly whist still being functional.

This is from an actual 1950's girls pattern.  I am yet to see this dress on someone and I would really like to because from here it is a little meh.  I think I am so used to seeing the shaping in women's 50's that I see a box with an unflattering skirt but on it would probably be very cute.  I also think it needs a ribbon which I still have not gotten round to getting.  I had this cotton in my stash for years, I bought it when I went through a phase making small things.  The post exists here somewhere and maybe I will even link it one day.  It is a cheaper quilting cotton from spotlight that was on sale for probably $5 and I don't think this even took a meter to make.

 This psychedelic spot number is so cute.  One of my workmates was going to be a second time grandma and so I made three outfits for her.  She has told me this is her favourite.  I can't remember but I think I also added the lace to the bottom of the tunic in the end but didn't get a photo.  Again quilting cotton and lawn, I kind of want to get this fabric again and make myself a shift dress.

This bunny fabric was so cute.  I used a white cotton to do the bust stripe and added some lace I had hanging around for literally over 15 years.  Still have some left too.  Instead of gathering as I did on the blue vintage one above I pleated to keep bunnies looking neater and it worked a treat.  I believe it was my first foray into pleating with a fork but I stand by the method 100%.  In the end I think it may have ended up a bit stark but at the same time I did photograph it on my work desk which is also white so I doubt that helped matters.

And lastly, of cause my pregnant workmate saw the bunny dress and being rabbit crazy was very jealous.  As I had some fabric left over (I bought 1m and got all this out of it) I decided to use up the excess on her.  I actually prefer this fabric in this more modern tunic style.  Not that the last one wasn't cute but I think the blue shorties break up the starkness of the white and black beautifully.  This one does still need buttons though.

I am sure there will be more to come in this category as I have about 5 more outfits already cut out.

When Heaven is only a few doors away

There was a sewing shop that I was informed of sometime ago.  It must have been in 2016 because I am sure I was on maternity leave.  In any case word had gotten around that a sort of sewing charity shop existed in a far flung non event suburb of Sydney that had terrible parking options and next to no public transport. 

The idea behind this shop is that it took donations of anything sewing and sew craft related and then on-sold it - like a sewing op shop, with proceeds going to Achieve Australia Disability support.

Anyway on hearing of its existence my mother, a friend and I decided to pay it a visit.  After all both my friend and I were on maternity leave so what else did we have to do with our time but trek into random Sydney suburb in search of a sewing op shop in the industrial area.  The place had a lot of pro's - things were different to the more traditional sewing shops like spotlight.  Everything was hit and miss but you could pick up a bargain in terms of fabric or patterns if you were willing to search.  Years of it being at premises meant that there was some level of mess to contend with and everything is basically a one off. 

I think I bought a pattern, My Friend who quilts found a few pieces she liked and I don't recall what mum walked away with but we clutched our treasures vowed to return and then, well didn't.  Basically nothing against the shop but it was out of the way.

A couple of years go by and Facebook lights up with a notice.  This shop is undergoing a name change to The Sewing Basket and it is moving premises.  One block down from my work no less. 

With business hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I was happy and my husband worried but either way I had a place to visit at lunch that meant I could be on task for any of those real bargain finds that pop up from time to time. 

In support of their opening day I headed down and whilst it is apparent that they are still sorting through, setting up and finding their feet I did manage to find a few things to take with me.  The staff were lovely, helpful and friendly.  The shop much more organised and clean though with all fabric shops how long that lasts is debatable.

My first find was actually a suggestion by the woman who worked there, a double edge broderie for $10.50 and there is about 2.5m which my research says is a bargain.

Secondly I got this vintage kids fabric - 3m for $15.  Plan is to make something for a friend who is pregnant and rabbit crazy!! but with 3m I am sure mum and I can come up with a whole bunch of things.

Anyway - watch this space as I am sure to find more fun things as time goes on.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Petty Petticoat

As I outlined in my last post I have been planning how to strategically create my petticoat using the fabric that I had in my stash.  I methodically ran and re-ran the math, I was sure it could be done.  Then the first hiccup - when i took the material out of the bag marked 4.5m of 150cm I discovered about 2.5m of 150cm, which is confusing to say the least as I know that the only thing I have made from it was done before those labels.  I put it down to the fact that at time of labeling I had over 3km of material to catagorise.  In any case I pushed on.

Lesson one: Don't count your meters before you unfold.  I really should have checked this and planned for what I had not planned for what 2012 Heather said she had.

I decided to cut the first tier at 30cm then the bottom two at 40cm.  The benefit of two tiers being the same was that I could sew and gather one full strip and then just sew on however much it took to attach to the full circumference of the preceding tier.  I was going to get out my gatherfoot and it was going to be so fast breezy and dreamy.  That was my second hiccup - pride goeth before the fall.

Unperturbed I pressed on with one 30x150cm strip and less 40x150cm strips than I had hoped but assumed with less gather I should be fine.  After all I only needed a hem of about 4m to go around the hoop.

Lesson two: the gatherfoot says it can gather and attach easily in one seam is the biggest lie since the cheques in the mail.  I watched the tutorials I have seen it done but attempting myself was a hellish trespass that I won't be quick to try again.  Instead I selected the rate of gather I wanted, used that to simply gather single layer of fabric and then pinned and attached a second layer in another step.  This seemed to work well and with practice I feel I can say I even became proficient.

Lesson three: One can not gather material that has already been gathered, or has any sort of thread left in it from a previous gather.  I would even consider fabric with slubs a risk the foot was that touchy.  I broke two needles on that.

So with those two things in mind the project is coming along very nicely.  I was however about to learn another valuable lesson in planning;

Lesson four: there is more than one hoop in a three hoop skirt, and you should know the circumference of all of them as well as their distance from each other and the waistline.

As you can see this outcome is not really what was in my head when I pictured it.  So I had to move into the how the hell do I fix this mode.  Thus  I took my overtired butt to bed.  When I woke up my plan was simple - get more fabric and make the same thing again and use one as a front and the other as the back.  By Lunchtime I had decided to tackle in a different way - one which was mirrored by another sewing friend.

Step one: The first tier is obviously too long, to combat this I halved the distance by self facing the top tier.  The self facing would allow for a strong support for the rest of the skirt (reasons to follow) and the sewing of a channel to put a drawstring through.

Step two: add pin-tucks to the obviously also too long and too tight second tier.  this would allow the first tier seam some room to breathe and also put some added bulk over that first hoop better disguising it under a skirt.

The result

Now it was looking more like I wanted.  In fact I would almost call it pretty.  Short but pretty.  There was no escaping it I knew I would need more fabric and as luck would have it Spotlight was selling there cotton linen at some sort of markdown.  I took 3 more meters because I didn't want to end up short again.

Not really learning from the above I cut 4 more 40cm strips for a total of 5.4m (this was a shorter bolt).  When attaching to the above tier I was short and cut another "40cm" strip that ended up being 35cm but in the end that didn't matter to much as I was able to hem out more than what I had missed.  Final hem is over 6m.

For decorative reasons and to create a more ideal length I added two more pin-tucks on the second tier.  The whole thing sits beautifully but weighs a fair bit.  When they say use lightweight material they mean it.  The lightest you can work with because this fabric economical design has still got 4m ish fabric in it and it all adds up.  It does mean that the extra fabric on the waist adds weight but it also anchors well.

Finally because I am trying to use finishes on all my pieces I moved to decoration.  I contemplated covering the pin-tucks as I don't think they are neat enough but was convinced otherwise by various strangers and friends on the internet. 

In the end I am glad I did because I planned to do 4 rows plus ribbon row on the bottom hem - and ended up with just two.  It literally took 20 minutes easy to pin the trim on and sew it round.  Not all the trim that is 20 minutes for each row.  Not to mention the time it took to thread the golden orange ribbon (I know orange is an odd choice it is a nod to my sons favourite colour), only to discover I was under a meter shy of a full run

So another day, another spotlight trip and 20 more minutes and I have a finished and final petty petticoat.

Apparently I should be wearing at least two so I have plans for  pin-tuck petticoat sometime in the future but today is not that day.