Archive | September, 2013

Finished: The CUTEST baby dungarees

29 Sep

Recently, two of my cousins became dads for the first time, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to try my hand at making some baby clothes. They both had boys, so cute little dresses weren’t an option, and I decided dungarees were the way to go. I found a few really cute patterns on Etsy, and with the help of my colleague Anthony (I promised him a mention in this post!), who is an avid reader of my blog (he likes the posts where I have adventures like going fabric shopping! I’m trying to get him to take up sewing, but so far have been unsuccessful!), settled on this pattern by Pupurita.

Baby dungareers

This isn’t a good reflection of the colour – the brighter blue further down is much more accurate!

I had some lovely blue and white striped seersucker (I think!) fabric from my freecycle stash which I wanted to use for the lining – I really like the fabric, but I thought that if I used it to make something for myself, it would end up either looking like a school dress or a nurse’s uniform! I chose some really nice royal blue corduroy from Mason’s to go with it. I love this fabric so much that I’m going to make myself a Kelly skirt with it. I think there just have enough from the 2.5m I bought to eek it out from what I have left.

baby dungarees pattern

In hindsight, should have gone for a better background than the bookcase, but it was early…

Although both the babies are currently only a month or two old, I made the pattern up in the 1 year size. I wanted to make a size that hopefully they could still wear even if it was a bit big, and that they might fit into for more than a couple of weeks! The pattern has 4 sizes, from 6 months to two years. Thee pattern has  4 button closures, and really cute patch pockets on the front, and the back. I used a strip of the lining fabric to accentuate the front pocket. I also topstitched the top edge of the back pockets as well, to give a bit more definition.

baby dungarees

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The buttons I got turned out to match the lining fabric almost perfectly – I didn’t even realise this when I bought them, it wasn’t until I sewed them on that I realised how good they looked! They are slightly smaller than the buttons the pattern specifies, but they work fine. Too much smaller and they’d probably end up a bit fiddly, but these are just right :)

baby dungarees

This is more like the true colour – it’s gorgeous!

The pattern instructions were generally pretty easy to follow – the only bit I struggled with was attaching the legs bands on the bottom – I could just NOT work out how it was meant to be done. I thought originally that the fabric for the band was meant to sit on top of the main fabric, and the instructions just didn’t seem to work like this. I eventually worked out that, actually, the bands are an extension of the leg, and attach onto the bottom. Worth bearing in mind if you choose a really lightweight fabric for this part, although it is interfaced. The legs bands did cause me a bit of an issue – once I’d put the rest of the dungarees together, it looked like they were going to be too short to go round. At this point, I got really fed up and abandoned the project for a day or so. But once I looked again, they did just about fit, if I used a really scant seam allowance to join the bands. Also, when the instructions said to stitch the leg bands on from the outside, you really ought to do it from the outside, otherwise you turn them the right way out, realise that your stitching is really wonky, and have to rip it all out and do it again!

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One of the pairs ended up with two rows of stitching inside…I call it a feature!

The top half of the dungarees are sewn as you would normally sew a lining and main fabric together – sewn together inside out, and then turned. The legs however don’t have the lining and main fabric sewn together first – you just pin all 4 layers together and then overlock/zigzag stitch the side seams.

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This was my first attempt at sewing buttons and buttonholes. I did both of them on my machine. There seems to be a thing against sewing on buttons using a machine, but I did because a) every time I sew a button on by hand, it falls off and b) I was running a little short on time. The machine actually did a beautiful job. The buttons holes also generally behaved themselves, other than a couple of occasions where the bit that pulls down on the machine so that it stops the buttonhole at the right place, slipped slightly so that it wasn’t ALL the way down. Even though it was only a mm or 2 up, that prevented it from working, so that’s something I’ll have to keep an eye out for. And man do I love having a machine that does automatic buttonholes! So glad I have that and not a 4-step one. I did end up ripping a few buttonholes out, but mainly because I’d got them in slightly the wrong place. When slicing them, I also managed to accidentally slice the threads on one of them, so I had to go over and reinforce that one by hand. It doesn’t look the neatest, but it does the job!

Ripping out multiple buttonholes not so much fun...

Third time lucky…ripping out multiple buttonholes not so much fun!

I have to say, I think these are my favourite thing that I’ve sewn. They are just SO. DAMN. CUTE! I am absolutely in love with them! They make me want to have children now just so that I can dress them in these (I’m not actually going to, but still!). And the photos really don’t do them justice, they are so much cuter in real life! For some reason, I struggled to get decent photos of them as well, I’m a bit disappointed with how the photos turned out.

baby dungarees

Just how cute are these?!

I went down to visit one of my cousins and his little family on a couple of weeks ago. The dungarees were a big hit (quote “I’ve never been so impressed by an item of clothing”), so I am delighted. The baby was also a big hit with me, he’s adorable! And Royal Mail tells me that the second pair have now been delivered (it took me a little while to get round to reinforcing that buttonhole!), so I’m safe to publish the post now without ruining the surprise!

baby dungarees

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In case you hadn’t gathered already, I absolutely LOVE these! They are simply adorable. The pattern was pretty straightforward to follow, and I am beyond delighted with the results. I managed to get the two pairs out of 1.5m of the main fabric, and probably the same of the lining. Baby clothes are so economical! These are also the first selfless sewing I’ve done since I started making clothes! I can definitely see more of these in my future should other people I know start producing little people!

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A bit of a latecomer to Pinterest…

24 Sep

I am a very new user of Pinterest. I have to admit, I never really understood the point. Sure, I like to look at photos of cute baby animals and tasty cakes as much as the next person, but I just didn’t get it. With all the things there are already to keep up with, it just seemed that it would be adding one more to the list, and I wasn’t sure what it would add to my life. Until I started sewing. Although even then it took me a while.

At some point, when I was first trying to decide on a pattern for my dressmaking course, I came across a blog post of a simplicity dress that I really liked the look of. For some reason or another, I decided not to buy it at the time (I was probably trying to restrain myself and only buy the one pattern I was going to make on the course. But a few weeks later, when was making good progress on my dress, and starting to think about what else I might like to make, I decided that I really did want that pattern. Except now, I couldn’t remember the pattern number. I usually email myself useful links that I find online. So I checked my email inbox. I looked at every link for a Simplicity pattern that I’d sent myself. Twice. No joy. I check my inbox on my work email, I checked my sent items, still nothing. At this point I was surprised, I have a tendency of emailing myself anything that I think is remotely useful or interesting. Half the time I never look at the links again. No problem I thought, I’ll just look for it online. But with only the knowledge that it was a Simplicity dress pattern, this was harder than I thought.

I knew I’d seen it on a blog. I couldn’t rememebr the name of the blog. I remembered various comments about the dress from the blog post, like the fact that the pattern apparantly included a lot of ease, and that the person who’d made it was going to wear it to work. Surprisingly, searching for ‘Simplicity dress pattern lots of ease work dress’ did not produce any results (or rather, it produced many results, but not the one I wanted!). By this time, finding this pattern had become a bit all consuming. The more you can’t have something, the more you want it etc. Having already spent a bit of time trying to find it online, I spent my entire lunch hour at work on the mission. I looked on the Simplicity website, but couldn’t find it there. I looked at the search results for various simplicity patterns that came up as suggested search terms, in the hope that it would suggest ones I’d searched before.

Simplicity 3673

Just when I had pretty much given up any hope of ever finding out what this pattern was, I saw it! It was there, in the image search results…of a completely different pattern number! I have no idea why, but I’m so glad it was. The pattern was Simplicity 3673, and the blog I found it on was Molly’s sewing and garage sale adventures. Even after working out which pattern it was, I had a hell of a time trying to find it anywhere! I eventually managed to track down a copy on eBay. Incidentally, if you like this pattern, it’s one that Sewing World Magazine have in their pattern special this issues, for the princely sum of £2.95. I’ve got some lovely teal suiting type material to make view B up in – I didn’t really think it was suitable for the summer, but now we’re moving into winter, I’d better get a move on!

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A little while after this traumatic experience, I read this post on Tilly and the Buttons about using Pinterest for sewing inspiration, and to keep track of things you want to sew. I realised that I need never ‘lose’ a sewing pattern again. I promptly signed up, went through all those other links I’d emailed myself, found images of them online, and pinned those ones which I wanted to make to a ‘things to sew‘ board on Pinterest. It’s so nice to be able to keep track of them in one place, not only the patterns themselves, but also the blog posts about them, and different versions that I’ve seen online which have made me want to make the patterns. I’m going to try and make sure that every time I see something I want to make, I pin it there straight away (unless it’s on my work computer where Pinterest, along with other useful things, is blocked, in which case I have to hope I remember later!) before I lose track of it. (Although in the time it’s taken me to actually get this blog post finished and published, I’ve realised I’m not quite as good at it as I would like to be, but I’m getting better!)

I’ve also created myself another board, with sewing tips and tutorials on when I’ve had to look things up, and have thought of a few other uses. Instead of emailing myself and Clare links to about 15 different blogs about Walthamstow market before our trip there, I should have just created a board for that. Something to remember for next time. Similarly for advice and tips on particular patterns.

I’m still not a massive user of Pinterest for browsing – although I would love to spend time looking at everyone else’s inspiration boards on Pinterest, I just don’t have time, what with keeping up with facebook, twitter, blog reading etc. But I find it a really good place to keep track of things.

What do you use Pinterest for – sewing or otherwise?

How do you fit in time to sew?

22 Sep

Or, more to the point, how do you fit in time to sew, AND do other things?

I have been struggling a lot with this recently, and failing to come up with a solution. I am finding that there are just not enough hours in the day/week/month to get everything done that I want to do, and I end up compromising on things, and then feeling really disappointed, both that I haven’t been able to commit the time to do everything properly, and that I haven’t been able to do as much as I’d like of the things I want to do. I’m starting to think that maybe it’s only really feasible to have one hobby, and that there just isn’t time for more than that, and that makes me sad.

Other than sewing, I also do capoeira (a Brazilian martial art), and climbing. Both of these are things that I’ve taken up in the last couple of years (since I met Marcus, and he got me into them) and I really enjoy both of them. But over the past 2-3 months or so, I’ve hardly been to either. I’ve maybe managed capoeira 3-4 times in the last 2 months (I used to go three times a week), and we went climbing today for the first time in months. I’ve just been finding that, in order to have any time to sew, I’ve had to sacrifice doing other things. And because sewing is my newest hobby, and I really really enjoy it, I end up resenting the other activities a bit when I do do them, because it’s time I could be spending sewing, rather than making the most of the times that I can make it along to capoeira/the climbing wall. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them once I’m there, I just find it hard to make myself actually go, when there are so many other things that I want to be doing as well.

Even when I do have time to sew in the evenings and at weekends, I then feel bad for neglecting Marcus! He assures me that I’m not, but it’s hard not to feel a bit guilty when I know that, if I wasn’t sewing, we’d be doing something together, even if it was just watching a movie or something. And if I’m sewing in the living room, he inevitably ends up in front of the computer in his study, where he’s spent all day working anyway!

All this means that I’m just not really happy with anything that I’m doing – I feel like I’m not going to capoeira enough, not climbing often enough, and still not spending as much time sewing as I would like. And that just gets me down. I try to fit things in whenever I can – e.g. spending my lunchtimes at work doing a bit of hand sewing, or knitting, catching up on my blog reading or writing blog posts, so I can spend the time I do have at home doing other things, but that just means my lunch breaks feel a bit stressful too, as I’m constantly trying to fit too much in, and all the things I want/need to do are competing with each other.

So, do you have any tips on how you fit sewing in around your life and existing hobbies? Or am I really just trying to fit too much in? How do you manage guilt free sewing without feeling like you are neglecting partners, kids etc? I’d really appreciate some thoughts/advice on the subject!

And just to provide you with some visual entertainment, and brighten up a bit of a heavy Sunday afternoon post, here is a sneak peak of what’s going to be appearing on the blog soon:

sneak peak

 

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