Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nappy Clutch

This morning I completed my study plan for the week which meant I could have my sewing fix. Yesss! I wanted to make an insert nappy bag that I could pop into my other bags to save all the repacking when I feel the urge to swap (which happens a lot as I have a bag thing; I don’t care much for shoes but bags are a different story). I had a couple of patterns in mind, happily made my choice and hit print only to realise I’m out of printer ink. Noooo! But then I thought hang on maybe I can just draw it myself, so I did. I changed the shape a little, and the orientation, cut my fabric and got to it. I designed the curve of the flap to match the curve on the bottom of the clutch but alas it was not to be - next time things need to be turned right side out I won’t leave the gap on a curve! Apart from that I’m happy with the result although I have to confess I’ve cheated with the Velcro - I bought stick-on instead of sew-on. Time will tell!

Thanks to Danni for putting the idea into my head, and to Trish for sharing the original pattern & tutorial by A Lemon Squeezy Home

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ugly Bug

Hmmmm. The pattern was for a “lovely ladybug” and it did indeed look quite lovely in the photo, but I seem to have ended up with a rather sinister looking beetle instead. My husband came home and said oh cool, is it a spider? My daughter seems to like him quite a lot though - those legs are nice to chew and he does a good roll.  But then my daughter likes most anything I do, she even likes my singing. Enough said! Not my favourite little project outcome but I did learn a good lesson about stuffing: use a safety pin to hold the stuffing down inside the head, limb or similar and then stitch the opening shut before attaching the stuffed piece to the body. Makes things a little easier!

My ugly bug is also special because he's made from fabric remnants I found earlier this month while rummaging in boxes in a dark corner of the Old Church Boutique in Nundle, which has raised thousands of dollars for the local community selling second hand clothes. So, he may not be the prettiest bug, but he's a very happy reminder of our first family holiday!
Pattern: Small Stash Sewing, Melissa Averinos, 2010, p99

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sewing Machine Cover

I used a heavier weight fabric than that suggested in the instructions, as I had some lined curtain remnant that I'd been longing to use because it's such a fun print. I also think it's more practical for this purpose than a light- or medium-weight cotton. Once all the pieces are assembled there's a slightly nerve-wracking moment where a square is sliced out of each sewn top corner. I couldn't quite get my head around what this would achieve and knew that getting it wrong at this point would mean completely wasted time and fabric. Fortunately the next step came together easily in the doing, and I had made my first box corners! Up until this point, however, everything was still inside out so I had no idea until the last moment what my efforts of the afternoon had produced. When I had finished poking everything right way out with my trusty chopstick I was pleasantly surprised!

Pattern: 101 Great Ways to Sew a Metre, Rebecca Yaker & Patricia Hoskins, 2010, p83

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kreativ Blogger Award

We’re now back home having clocked over 1,000k through beautiful New England. It was our first family holiday and we had a blast! I’m happy to share that while we were away I was given the Kreativ Blogger Award  by Tat at Mum in search. What a lovely surprise! Thank you Tat.

According to the conditions of the award I must tell you 10 things about myself and also share the blog love by passing the award on to 10 more blogs. Here goes!

  • I married my backpacking romance (to those that thought it wouldn’t
  • I didn’t learn to drive until I was 36 (*blush* but I did pass first time!)
  • I love to sing but my voice is “like red hot needles in the ears” (quote, husband)
  • I absolutely adore Jon Bon Jovi!
  • I’ve lived in Spain, UK and Australia
  • I plan to breastfeed my baby until she’s 2+ (if she wants to)
  • My favourite book is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • I’m a feminist
  • I have an MA Honours degree in Hispanic Studies
  • I can’t wait to take my daughter backpacking in Southeast Asia (soon I hope!)
Sharing the blog love with:
Finally, I must say that New England country towns are full of sewing inspiration and I'm happy to be reunited with my machine! Today I got my fix and made it a cover, which I'll be sharing next time :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From the road

Mama’s not in the sewing room at the moment - we’ve been on a road trip in beautiful New England for the last week, staying in Armidale, Inverell & now Glen Innes. My husband and I have both travelled a lot but this is our first time on the road with our baby girl and we were a little apprehensive! Turns out, however, that just taking it a little slower and planning one step ahead is all it takes to incorporate 8 month old Miss M into our travel adventures, and despite one very big top front tooth working its way down a little more each day, she’s having a ball. In fact, sometimes I think she might burst with sheer delight! We’d planned to be home in a couple of days but we’re having such a good time we’ve decided to let the wind carry us a little further and we’re heading for Nundle tomorrow. This means the diving is once again postponed, but as my husband has pointed out, it’s probably not a bad thing given that the arm my GP referred for physio before we left is getting worse and hefting tanks around right now would probably not be wise. So, it’s mighty chilly here in Celtic Country but the sun is shining, baby is sleeping, husband has gone fossicking and this mama is free to curl up warm and snug on the sofa with a mug of tea and a good book. Bliss! Plus, guess what? Mama’s Sewing Room has been given an award! I’m so chuffed!! Net access drops constantly here at our little cottage in the trees and I’m on a tiny notebook too, so I’ll share more about this lovely news when we get back home. As it is I’ll have to venture outside and stand on a giant boulder out front to try and get a signal to post this. I know I have a few comments, if signal strength allows I’ll respond to those too, if not thanks so much for stopping by and I’ll respond as soon as Optus allows. For now, warmest wishes from New England in all its Autumn glory!

Friday, May 6, 2011

5 more things I have learned

  1. Always put your foot down. Otherwise bad things will happen and maddeningly you won’t know why, until the realisation slowly dawns that it's because the stupid foot wasn’t down.
  2. When stuffing the limbs of dolls, a melamine chopstick is an excellent tool.
  3. Particularly when making small or fiddly things, there's a neater way of securing the threads than using the reverse-sewing lever. Instead, at the beginning and end pull gently on the top thread and you’ll see a tiny loop. Gently pull on the loop and the back thread (from the bobbin) will come out on the front too, and you can secure the threads by tying them together (The Sewing Book by Alison Smith, p92).
  4. Masking tape is useful for securing baking paper on top of a pattern or piece of fabric when tracing.
  5. There will never again be enough hours in the day (or night) now that the sewing bug has bit me on the ass!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bias trimmed bib

I decided to have a go at applying bias binding and chose this small project for my first attempt. The pattern calls for iron-on vinyl which sounded interesting, but they don’t sell it at Spotlight (OMG there’s something they don’t sell at Spotlight!) and I wasn’t intrigued enough to try and source it online so I did without. The pattern itself is very easy to follow although I needed to use the more detailed instructions from Jane Bolsover’s book to learn to apply bias binding. It was sooo tricky! I did make the mistake of buying a pre-cut bias binding that was slightly too narrow which made for much harder sewing, and the edges came loose in a couple of places because my stitches didn’t all catch the fabric between the bias. I think a wider bias strip and perhaps a less curvy project would have been better for a first attempt at this skill! I had to unpick and redo a little which was incredibly tricky, as was the part where the ends of the bias strip join. Fortunately I’d heeded the pattern instructions to start and finish around the neck piece, so the flaws are less noticeable when worn. In hindsight I think a Velcro circle or a press stud instead of a Velcro strip piece would look a little nicer.  This was a difficult little project for me but I learned a lot!

Pattern: Oliver + S Little Things to Sew, Liesl Gibson, 2011, p71

Monday, May 2, 2011

Scuba update

So I’m all psyched up for tomorrow’s scheduled dives. I’m up for it! I’ve also come to terms with the prospect of publicly squeezing my post-baby body into a wetsuit whilst trying to keep my balance on deck - not the most elegant activity at the best of times and my body’s been through quite a bit since I was last on a dive boat.  I’ve expressed and frozen enough mama milk. I’ve even dealt with my Motherguilt regarding leaving my baby on dry land and strapping a tank of oxygen onto my back before descending into an ocean full of sharks (one hopes anyway, that’s the whole point of diving here, grey nurse sharks). And then late this afternoon I get a call from Jetty Dive to tell me it’s all off because conditions are too rough!! Rescheduled for week after next. Fingers crossed for calmer seas!