Feb 28, 2012

A new home for my rainbow

My rainbow zig-zag has gone to bigger and better things! I've donated it to my big boy's school to raffle off at some stage this year. It's kind of nice to think that it will have a new home with one of the children and raise some much needed money for the school. R had thought of it as his quilt and was a little disappointed I gave it away, until I promised him one for his bed too. I've never given a quilt away before and it felt a little weird. The greedy part of me wants to keep everything I make and buy, but it's a good lesson for me: Must remember not to get too attached to fabric and quilts.....they don't matter in the end.

Feb 26, 2012

My rainbow zig-zag quilt

She is complete and I love zig-zags!

This quilt started off as a way to get rid of fabric from my stash.  Each zig-zag is made from a fat quarter (with a little left over).  I was being a little bit snooty with my stash and decided to use up some fabric from Spotlight (of which I have an abundance), but now I think - who needs fancy designer brand quilting fabric?  (ok, I do, especially when it's on sale).  I forgot to take a photo of the backing - it's rainbow striped cotton also from Spotlight.

Crazy spots gave me vision problems while quilting!

I've had thoughts of another zig-zag quilt, this time for little N's single bed.  I'm going for a red, white/off white and blue theme of random fabrics.  I might take my time and start it when it gets cooler.  Time for some more clothes sewing perhaps.

Feb 23, 2012

Ready to quilt

Wow, this quilt has been fun to put together.  After all the initial cutting out, triangle making (ok, this was done months ago) and squaring off,  it came together really quickly.  The colours are so cheery it makes me smile whenever I look at it, especially on a grey and rainy day like today.

Pinned and ready to quilt
I think I'm going to do a large stipple again.  As much as I love straight line quilting, I don't love the idea of changing direction every 4 inches for the zig zag.

In more exciting news, I've been spending most of my mornings this week helping out the Grade 1's with their reading and fine motor skills.  It's been great to spend time with my son and his class mates, but it can be difficult with my littlest there with me, thankfully no one seems to mind him being there (or the lollipop I had to bribe him with this morning).  After a chaotic (yes, that's a good word) hour and half helping 15 six year olds do a computer tutorial about a lost dog called Honey, I arrived home to some of these:

The boys thought they would make great Frisbees at first (of course I joined in) and then my cooking obsessed toddler put one in his IKEA mini kitchen oven to make a cake.  I thought it looked a little like the cushion my husband bought me after delivering my first baby.  These Bobbinsavers would have to be one of the best things I have ever bought sewing notions-wise.  Those bobbins just fit in so snugly and won't fall out even when you balance them on your head and walk down the hallway like you're in a deportment class (no I never did one of those, but maybe should have).  And it's RED.

No more tangled bobbin threads
I bought a few to fit my Janome, Singers and Industrial Toyota ( I must do a post about the beast that lives in my garage) and one for each of my sisters and mum (aren't I thoughtful?).  I just need to wind a few bobbins for the quilt and I'll be ready to go!

Feb 18, 2012

My first pin cushion

After I saw this tutorial, I just had to make one.  I didn't have a pincushion before, just a magnetic plastic thing that the kids like to play with (without the pins of course).  I have to say, it was really easy to follow the tutorial and a great way to use up scraps.  I can see myself making more in the future for gifts.

Modeled by a 6 year old
OK, I know it's not the best button, but it does look better in real life.  Good excuse to go button shopping hey?

Feb 17, 2012

Mr Pants

Another pair of chambray pants, this time for my little N.  I didn't use any pattern for this, just sort of winged it (and copied a pair he has at the moment).  These were supposed to be long shorts but they're a bit longer than I thought - lucky he'll grow!

I was lazy and just overlocked it together and topstitched in brown upholstery thread.  I have to say I did try Gutermann topstitch thread but it was a disaster.  None of my four (yes that's a little too many) sewing machines liked it, so I tried the upholstery thread (which is still a nice weight ) and it worked wonderfully.  I was also able to use normal navy thread in the bobbin (saves on thread cost I guess) with no problems.

Same pockets as last time
I added a separate waistband as I really didn't cut them high enough for a nappy.  The fabric was a leftover vertical strip and somehow it's really soft, different grain I guess.

I even added a faux stitched on fly
I love making shorts, so quick and much softer to wear than the ones you buy.  This pair probably cost about $1 plus the very expensive labour.

Long pants
Off to do some mowing
Work those muscles

You can't beat an IKEA clothes line for entertainment.

Feb 13, 2012

First quilt of the year!

After a lot of wrangling with my non-vintage sewing machine (a Janome DC2101 for all those who are interested) and some bad thread which kept breaking, it is complete.

Not much space there.
Introducing my Neptune Hidden Wells quilt.  Here she is all quilted and bound.

Finished size 59 inches square.
I used Hobbs Heirloom Cotton/Poly as my batting.  I've only used Warm and White/Natural before so it was a little different, more puffy I guess.  I quilted it in the usual large stipple (so as to mask some of the dodgy seams hee hee) with aqua thread.  It's a little stiff, and I have to say I prefer the feel of straight line quilting, but I wanted it to look a little like seaweed, going with the underwater theme.

Backing and borders are made from Organic Quilters Cotton from Spotlight in Aqua.  Scrappy binding from the left over strips of jelly roll.

I'm feeling really happy it's done and I really quite like the look of it.  So complex looking yet easy to sew.  I'm still amazed how large a quilt I got out of just one jelly roll!

Ready to be abused by the kids.
I think I'll be keeping this one as MY quilt come winter, lucky I'm short.

Feb 8, 2012

Faux Cuff it!

After a nifty cuff for your kids pants or a way to sew ALL of your knit pants on the overlocker?  Look no further as I present my Faux Cuff tutorial.

It looks like 2 separate pieces but it's just the one!
Now, being the blog newbie that I am, I got so excited making the pants that I forgot to take photos of the cuffs being made.  I did however remember to photograph the waistband which is done in exactly the same way.

When I cut out the pants I added just a little extra length to the top and bottom (just the width of the overlocker seam).  As I'm making these pants for a 21 month old with short legs, I have plenty of length spare for a cuff.

Let's start, so with your pants wrong side out and all seams completed, fold over your waist band (generous enough to put your elastic through and a little more for the seam).
I do this by eye.  You could iron it and measure if you wanted.
Next, tuck the fold inwards as if you were folding a paper fan (only way I could think of) and pin.  I don't usually pin the legs as they're pretty small and I hate pinning.
Waist band folded inward and pinned through all three layers.  Feel free to iron again if you like (I never do).
Then, get your trusty overlocker and sew along the edge.  It's a good idea to get rid of the cutting blade if you can or you can slice the edge of the band (not a big deal though as it's getting overlocked anyway).  I'm using all 4 threads so it sews as well.
Ignore the bit of overlocking at the front of the photo as I ran out of fabric and that's a join for the crotch piece.
When I'm doing the waist band I like to start in the centre back and finish a few centimetres before the start so I can insert my elastic.
A gap left to add elastic.
After you add your elastic and sew the ends together (I do this on the overlocker but with a shorter stitch length), add a bit of ribbon to mark the back, fold it over again and overlock that hole shut.  Turn it inside out and be amazed!

Waist band finished with ribbon, so mummy knows which way to put them on.
With the leg cuffs, I just do the same but sew all the way round back to the beginning.  This is how neat it looks on the inside:
Cute little finish inside.
And this on the outside:
Nice and neat on the outside.

You could in fact do this without an overlocker, on your sewing machine with just a straight stitch as well, but it wouldn't look as nice from the inside.  Go ahead, I know you want to add it to all your edges.

In case you are wondering, the pants are from Ottobre Spring 2009 and the fabric is the lovely Stella in Citrus from Crafty Mamas.

Feb 6, 2012

Some BOY sewing

Just a pair of shorts for my big boy (or shall I call him R?) Bet you're wondering what his name is now...

Anyway, these are another pattern from the great designers of the Ottobre magazine.  It's from Spring 2009 design 21.  They're meant to be long pants but I  made them shorter and with less pockets.  I also did flat felled seams (like on jeans) on the sides and crotch.  I really wished I topstitched them in reddish brown thread so they looked like jeans.  Next time.

Pockets are fun!
Red spotty tag made with scraps - nice and soft.
They're made from 100% cotton chambray fabric (purchased at Spotlight) and you guessed it - from the remnants bin.  So thrifty.  I did actually go back and buy more of it (from the bolt) because it felt so nice and barely shrank during a prewash.  The pattern and fit (as usual) are great and very easy to sew and change like I did with the seam finishes.

I've also been busy cutting out six pairs of knit pants for my little one (shall I call him N?  hee hee) during his nap.  They are all the same style (like I made last week) - no branching out around here when there's only a short day sleep.  They'll hopefully be done on the overlocker soon - assembly line style.

Feb 5, 2012

The Rainbow Zig-Zag

Last year I decided to do a little stash clearing and create something quick and fun.  I thought I'd get out some of those fabrics that didn't get used and lots of spots to make a rainbow hued zig-zag quilt.  I started off well, cutting out all those 5 inch squares and sewing them up, but then I stopped when I realised every single one had to be trimmed down to size just a little.  So they just sat there and were covered by other projects and ideas, until yesterday.  

I gave the kids a baking tray full of water, ice cubes and some kitchen things (which entertained them for a whole hour!) and did a little cleanup of my sewing space (ok, dining room) and I found them.  So with some renewed enthusiasm they were all trimmed late into the night and now wait to be sewn together.

I obviously like spots.

All lined up.
I'll admit, there are some not so nice fabrics there and not all exactly perfect colours and patterns, but the whole point was to use what I had.  It will be a nice project for when I have a little spare time at night.

Feb 2, 2012

It's looking better

I've put all the pieces together and it's not too bad (as long as you don't look too close).  I just have to find some fabric for a border (or maybe just white or grey?) and something for the back.  

Neptune quilt top fluttering in the breeze.
In more exciting news, my sewing machine belt has arrived along with a few exciting extra bits like rubber feet, bobbins and quarter inch foot (which I really needed for this).  I'm hoping to do some BOY sewing  here over the next few weeks, plenty of shorts and long pajama pants, some zip up tracksuit jackets for school and I might try my hand at a few t-shirts (that will be a laugh and possibly a waste of fabric).  I might have to speak nicely to my overlocker.