Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Happy Halloween Cookies

Here in Oz Halloween is not really a big deal, although it seems to be getting bigger each year and the retailers are pushing it more than ever this year.  However, I think it is a kind of fun celebration and when I saw these cookies on Pinterest I had to give them a go.  How cute and fun are they?!!


If you are interested, the recipe I used is as follows:

125g (4 1/2 oz) butter
1/2c firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2c plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2c treacle or golden syrup

1 egg white
1 1/2c icing sugar

- preheat oven to 180C (350F)
- beat butter & sugar together
- add egg yolk and beat until combined
- sift dry ingredients & stir into butter mixture with the treacle/syrup
- mix to a light dough and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth
- roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper until approx 3mm thick
- cut gingerbread men from dough and place on baking trays
- bake for 1- minutes or until golden
- decorate in the funnest way you can


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Springtime Banksia


Still on the Spring/Summer wardrobe and I am making good progress so far with this addition.

This is my first top for the Banksia Sewalong, I have another two planned but have no idea when I might finish them as my head and sewing table are overflowing with sewing idea and plans right now!


This is my first dip into the Megan Nielsen pool and I loved it! Okay I know I am a bit slow as everyone seems to have made this top as well as many other Megan Nielsen patterns, but I am a relative newbie to the independent designers.

I loved the cute packaging the pattern came in, from the little Velcro dot to the sturdy paper the pattern is printed on.  This is one well thought out pattern company!

The pattern was so easy to use and the instructions were super clear. I am not normally so good with reading and following instructions, I tend to just sew things together the way I know things normally go together.
I had one small issue with the placket, but suspect this may have been a "user issue". When I first sewed it up and folded it in half, it was too wide for the opening. Easy fix, I just folded the seam allowance in a little more to take up the difference! I used Method 2 from the instructions for the placket as I wanted that perfect clean look.  (this method involves fully enclosing all the raw seams so results in a super tidy finish)


Sorry, this is my only picture of the back, it was such a windy day I had a job getting any good pics at all!

I used a light cotton which was a dream to work with. I didn't have to make any adjustments to the pattern, not even an FBA! This is very unusual for me. I cut an 8 at the shoulders and graded to a 12 at the hips and I am very happy with the fit. I shortened the sleeves and the length.
It is already a billion degrees here so I think a sleeveless version will be next!
I love how versatile the pattern is and have plans for lots of other versions, I can see this becoming my "go to" pattern for tops as I can just sew it without loads of alterations.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A pincushion of convenience

I recently made this handy little pincushion as I was sick of hunting everywhere for mine and I need something super close to my workspace without getting buried underneath all the garment pieces from whatever I happen to be making at the time. Plus look at my sad cushion I had before.

I thought I would share with you how I made it in case you want your very own handy pincushion:

First cut out two pieces of fabric to desired size, plus seam allowances and allow some room for "puffing up" once filled.  Mine were 12cm x 9cm (or 4"x3").  I pinked the edges of mine to avoid fraying.

On the right side of one piece, sew a length of ribbon in place taking care to leave space for the seam allowance.  The ribbon needs to be long enough to reach around the sewing machine and tie in a bow (approx .5m or 1/2 yard).


Then place the two fabric pieces right sides together and stitch around the outside leaving an opening for turning and taking care not to catch the ribbon in the sewing.

Trim the corners to remove bulk and turn the pincushion the correct way out.


Stuff the cushion with toy stuffing, or kapock or fabric scraps and sew the opening closed.

Tie the cushion on with a lovely bow (so it can be removed if necessary) and voila - your pins are super handy when you need them!  I would love you to let me know if you make one of these too, or if you have any other handy tips to share about making your own sewing area just right.  Happy sewing!


Sunday, 14 October 2012

I heart NYC

The fabric I purchased on my recent trip to NYC. Mika of Savory Stitches bought the same fabric and I have the end of the roll she didn't buy!  I am pretty sure she is making a winter top, it will be interesting seeing it made for different season! 
There was only one yard left - just enough to eek out this sleeveless top, pattern New Look 6026.
The fabric is silk and has gorgeous tiny hearts all over it - super cute!


Please excuse the wrinkles, I wore the top all day, I think the creases are from the seatbelt!!

I wasn't the biggest fan of this pattern, I made the mistake of following the instructions which to me have a very cumbersome way to put together the arm facings. It required you to put the main arm pieces on, then sew the facings at the outside seam, then to hand stitch the facing down at the same time as tidying up the neck edges.  (sorry for the poor explanation)  I didn't hand sew, I attached the facing down with a neat top stitch.

If I make it again I will construct it my own way.

I really like the version that has the frill on the shoulder, sadly I didn't have enough fabric.
It was about 30 degrees (celcius) today and this was comfortable and cool to wear.  The silk was lovely to sew and very cooperative. I used french seams throughout, mostly because I wasn't sure how my overlocker would cope with the fabric and I didn't want to risk it chewing the fabric.


Other projects I have in the pipeline include a Banksia top (one of 3 planned), a dress and some capris. Plus I just successfully dyed some fabric this week, more on that soon!

Monday, 8 October 2012

My Debonair Little Jumper

I really think I must be the slowest knitter in the world, I have finally finished the jumper I was supposed to finish for the Ravellenic Games.  Apparently slow and steady wins the race...i am not so sure about that, but at least I finished.  Perhaps I should have joined the Apathetic Team that didn't care if they finished or not, might have been more realistic! 


Question - do you call it a jumper or a sweater?  Seems to depend which part of the world you come from.  I neither jump nor sweat in this so I am not sure.  Shall we go with 'top'?


The pattern is the Such a Debonair Little Jumper from A Stitch In Time Vol 1: (ha, jumper again)

Such A Debonair Little Jumper

The only amendment I made to the pattern was to add another pattern repeat to give it a bit more length. I also omitted the ribbons but I guess I could put different ribbons on depending on what I am wearing.

I love the books by Susan Crawford and have several knits planned from each of the books. I really wish I could knit faster as my queue in Ravelry is growing much faster than I can knit.  Methinks I would be more productive if I spent more time knitting and less time browsing.  BTW you can find me on Ravelry here.

This actually was quite easy and fast to knit up, it's just that I don't seem to make time to do it.  The worst part for me was all that ribbing at the bottom and the top - I am not a fan of ribbing and did wonder why I chose this pattern, but anyway job done now!


My other question is...why did I choose this colour?  It goes with nothing in my wardrobe except black or white.  Did it seem a different colour online?  Did I think it was pink? Was it the best they had to offer at the time? I have no idea, which now means I need to do some sewing so I have some skirts to go with it. 

Do you ever start knitting something and get half way through and then start questioning your choice of colour or style?  I did that with this jumper top, perhaps that is why it took me so long to finish.  Although the fact that I have two other cardigans on the go probably didn't help.

End result - I am very happy with this top, I like the colour and once I have made some more skirts I know it will get a lot of wear!

So...is it a jumper or sweater? 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Spring/Summer Plan

Sorry I have been off the blogosphere for a few days, it has been a hectic time.  I may not have shared previously, but in one of my other lives I judge ice skating competitions and the last couple of weeks have commandeered all my sewing/creative time!  Not to say I haven't been thinking and planning.

On the back of StephC's and Sunni's blogs regarding wearable wardrobes, they really got me thinking about my wardrobe for the upcoming Spring and Summer. 

Now I have quite a few clothes and there is nothing in my wardrobe I don't wear, however there are a few things that are either getting tired or that don't have much to go with them, so this is where I started my plan from.  Also, as of last year I now work from home 2 days a week and the other 3 days from a home office, not really any reason to get dressed up, however I do wish to avoid looking like a complete slob as is quite easy to do when you don't have to leave the house.

Last year I didn't buy anything and wasn't sewing much either as my work situation was up in the air and I didn't know if we would be moving to an office, so I just made do with my wardrobe from the year before.  Now all these items are at least 2 years old and have been worn to death, so are looking pretty sad now.

This will be my basic palette: 

However I am sure I will add some other patterned dresses in for variety and if I feel like wearing something a bit brighter!  Red will also be a definite feature as it is so cheerful!!

So far I have worked out I will make following basics:
- black capris
- taupe shorts
- beige shorts
(see above palette, so far so good!)

Now I am not super excited about making basics as of course they aren't nearly as fun to sew, so I have some prints planned too for some tops.  I think I will try to alter between making one basic (cake), one pretty (frosting). 

I am also participating in Megan's Banksia sewalong, so you will see at least two of these soon, and Didyoumakethat's Apronalong.  Plus I have nearly finished my jumper that I was supposed to finish for the Ravellenic Games (oops) and have two more jumpers that I have started.  Hmmm, wonder if I am taking on too much?