Pow, pow pyjama pants!

Week two at my sewing class has seen me finish off Michael’s pyjama pants. I seem to have cut way too much elastic so the waist band needs further adjustment but Michael has said that they are the most comfortable pyjama pants he has ever worn (yay flannelette!) and he wore them to pick up pizza the other night and people wanted to know where he got them from as the fabric is obviously suitably cool!

Here’s a photo of the finished product – guest starring Sushi Cat!

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The hems are quite untidy so I need to work on this somehow. Any hints on how to make my hems meet back up together are greatly appreciated!

Next is a pair of pyjamas including a top for my niece and then some in a stretch fabric for me!

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First sewing lesson

When I bought my sewing machine a month or so ago, I enquired at the store about sewing lessons. The Janome Sewing Centre in Balcatta runs beginner classes on Friday and Saturday mornings for anyone with a Janome sewing machine. It costs $25 for the two hours and the premise of the class is merely that you bring your project along and Kathy will help you.

I asked for a suggestion for my first project and Pyjamas were recommended because they don’t need to be seen outside the house. Off I went to Spotlight to find a pattern and some fabric. I decided on flannel as a starting point because it is easy to sew with. Once I have mastered flannel, I will find some jersey cotton and do a second pair with that as I find that the most comfortable fabric for sleeping in.

There are some seriously hideous patterns for pyjamas in existence. I decided that I will just make pants for my husband as every full pattern I have found so far for men’s pyjamas was just too awful. I plan to then make some pyjamas for my nieces as practice for a top and pants. This way I should learn a few techniques such as waistbands, hems, collars, pockets and buttonholes.

I found some pretty cool flannelette and a very easy pyjama pants pattern, packed up my sewing machine and overlocker and reported to my sewing class.

Kathy introduced me to tracing fabric that you can put over a paper pattern, trace out your shape and then cut out so that you can keep your paper pattern intact and use it for other sizes later. She also introduced me to Frixion pens which can be used to mark your fabric as required and when you want to remove the texta, you just iron the fabric and it disappears! Pretty cool!

I cut out my pattern in the fabric I had bought and decided that I really like their tables. They are at the perfect height for pinning and cutting out!
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I then learnt to overlock my fabric pieces and have so far sewn the two individual legs, complete with pocket. Next Saturday I will assemble the pants and commence my nieces’ pairs. I will get the kids pyjamas to the same point and have all the top pieces cut out and ready to be sewn.

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Thanks must go to my husband for taking care of baby girl so that I can go to these classes. Of course she slept for the whole time for him, despite only giving me 45 mins during the daytime when I have her!

I got mail!

In my initial search for blogs and tutorials on how to sew, I stumbled across Tilly and the Buttons. This is a great blog with really clear, simple instructions and patterns. I really like her style which is vintage inspired.

Tilly has written a book called “Love at First Stitch” which goes through the absolute basics of sewing and includes small projects graduating in difficulty. If you purchase it direct from her website you get a signed copy.

Mine arrived in the post today and I am going to get working on something straight away!

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Dummy Clip

Preparing myself for opinions about parenthood as I write this… Here goes!

My daughter is 4 months old and when she is really upset or I am settling her to sleep, nothing will calm her like a dummy. She instantly relaxes once she starts sucking on something and to ensure that I can get more than arms length away from her throughout the day to do such things as shower and use the bathroom, I substituted my finger for a dummy pretty early on.

When she doesn’t want it, however, she really doesn’t want it. The other night I awoke at 2am to the sound of it thumping on the floor as she threw it out of the cot.

I quickly built up a stash of dummies so that as one was thrown fell on the floor, I could quickly have another at hand. I found a little clip at the local supermarket that had a ribbon and some Velcro for holding the dummy and this has become my lifesaver and prevented our entire disposable income being spent on dummies but the clip is pretty ugly…

At the baby expo on the weekend I saw one stall selling dummy clips that used suspender clips and I thought “I could make that”. So off to Spotlight I went this morning and I discovered that they sold suspender clips! I started another project which meant that I had some scrap fabric and my husband has been working on a little project of his own which meant that he purchased a serious quantity of plastic press studs from eBay.

This is the result!

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I think I will make a few in different colour schemes so that they can match baby girl’s outfits each day.

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A geeky satchel

My next bag project is going to be “Melly’s Messenger Bag” for my husband.
It looks like this will fit his essential items that he takes to work each day into it pretty well – namely, his iPad.

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Even though my husband is not averse to hot pink, I would love to use a fabric that is something a bit more unique and appropriate to him. Being an IT consultant with a science degree and a love of science fiction, I have been looking for appropriately geeky fabric to use on this bag.

I have found this great site called Spoonflower which will create fabric for you and that I can choose from other people’s designs! There is actually a “Geek” category on the site. The problem I am having is that I can’t decide which to go with!

Help me out here, dear readers! I put it to your vote.

Should I go with Dr Who, Star Wars, StarTrek, Lego or Tetris?

Comment a link to any particular designs that stand out to you that I should consider. It needs to be a home decor weight fabric like canvas.

My first bag

You may remember that I purchased “Sew Cute to Carry” at the WA Craft Fair a few weeks ago. I had great fun heading to the Spotlight sale the following weekend when they had 40% off all fabric and I bought all that I needed to make my first bag.

All of the patterns in the book rated for their simplicity or lack thereof. Having learnt my lesson from high school sewing class, I chose one of the simplest in the book to start off with. It’s called the “Shopaholic Shopper”.

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I found this Parisian themed red fabric at Spotlight so I then decided to stay with the French theme and have navy and white stripes instead of the yellow and red pattern. I chose canvas as my fabric as it should give the bag some strength.

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The bag pattern called for the taupe pattern fabric to be used as the bag lining but I really like bag linings to be made of light colours so that you can see what is inside. There is nothing worse than black bag lining when you have a black wallet, black phone case, black glasses case and so on and so forth! I was devastated when Oroton changed their bag linings from cream to brown. For this reason, I decided to make my lining from more white canvas instead of the red Parisian print. It also seemed a waste of the nice red fabric!

I found making this bag to be relatively easy. I used baking paper to trace the pattern out of the book and then made a more permanent pattern out of calico. Then I did all my cutting out.

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Then I simply constructed it as per the instructions and it started to look like it was supposed to pretty quickly! Excuse me in the photo – I do all my sewing after baby girl goes to bed each night so pyjamas are the order of the day!

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As you can see, I had some assistance from Sushi!

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I am almost finished but I bought polyester webbing instead of cotton as Spotlight didn’t have any cotton webbing in stock. Now that I have seen my almost finished product, I just can’t use the polyester webbing as it doesn’t feel right with the cotton canvas. I have ordered some cotton webbing from eBay so I will wait until it comes to finish the bag but here is where I am currently at.

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Lessons learned from this project:

My top stitching is quite wobbly – I will be googling to find out the secret for sewing in a straight line.
I love my walking foot! A walking foot is something originally used for quilting but these days is often used for thick or difficult fabric. I had multiple layers and a fleece interface and it made sewing through that a breeze.
I really enjoyed making this!

Proper attire for a tuxedo cat

I fear that I may be about to peak on this blog and it is only my sixth post… Having managed the calico bow tie with some level of success, I asked my husband to choose from my fat quarters. For the non-sewers out there, these are small cuts of fabric – usually a quarter of a meter or so – sold pre-cut so you don’t have to spend a lot per meter if you only need little bits of fabric. Given that our first children were fur children, it was no surprise that he chose the fabric with cats printed on it. 20140803-220822-79702111.jpg  20140803-220820-79700209.jpg

A cat bow tie. Wait a minute… A CAT BOW TIE! One of our cats is a tuxedo cat and we have always said he needs a bow tie. So… Cat bow ties had to be made immediately! We have everything blue and red for our boys so that we can tell what belongs to who (with regards food bowls, harnesses for walking etc…) so it was fitting that they had blue and red ties made respectively.20140803-221537-80137954.jpg

I followed a tutorial at Instructables but modified it a little using the information gained from making the bow ties for my husband. Sushi and Theodore already wear collars so I skipped that step and I added interfacing to give the ties a bit of structure but otherwise I largely followed the tutorial. 20140803-221536-80136642.jpg  20140803-221539-80139550.jpg

It would be great if my cats sat still long enough to tie a real bow tie on them but I think this is a pretty good substitute. From here, Theodore, the tuxedo cat, must have a black silk one made for black tie events – it’s only proper!

WA Craft & Wood Fair

The WA Craft and Wood Show was on at the Claremont Showgrounds today. The very helpful ladies at the Janome Sewing Centre in Balcatta where I bought my machine mentioned it so we thought we would check it out. The lovely husband was happy to accompany because the wood show meant that there would be power tools there – and he is very supportive of me anyway!

The show was not very big. I think once I have more experience and interest in quilting and other such things it may appeal to me a little more. I guess I was hoping to find more things for beginners but maybe I was just overwhelmed with the choice?

I did come across one stall that I really loved. It is an online business called Sew Creative Supplies. I bought this book of bag patterns which I am excited to get stuck into but I will need a few supplies before I can get started – thankfully the Spotlight sale is still on tomorrow!

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The girls at the stall also pointed me towards Boo Designs for some clothes patterns for baby girl. They had some samples made up and they looked so pretty. The girls assured me that many of them would suit a beginner so I’ll be giving some of these a try for sure!

Now – hubby is out for the night, baby girl is in bed and a promised to make my husband a bow tie out of real fabric so see you next time.

Real Bow Ties

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Nearly three years ago, I met the most amazing man when I was walking to the bus station. We started talking about the book I was reading and have been together ever since! My husband likes to dress up – even for every day things and he can pull off some looks that other guys can’t because he is 6’4″ and no one would dare mess with him.

He takes pride in dressing properly and for him, that means that a bow tie, braces and a three piece suit are the only appropriate attire for an office job. Shortly after we met, I introduced him to “real” bow ties – the ones you have to tie yourself. He was hooked! But it is a struggle to find them in the shops as most people opt for the pre-tied variety these days.

I found a tutorial at Sew Like My Mom for real bow ties and just had to try it out!

I decided to make it from calico as a first time just to test the pattern out and make sure the length was correct for my husband. Lucky that I did as I had to start from scratch after learning a pretty big lesson!

1. The markings on the plate at the bottom of my sewing machine tell me what size seam I need. What I had thought was a “1/4 inch seam” was actually a 1/2 inch. When I studied my sewing machine properly, I noticed that there are markings on the plastic and if you line them up, you can’t go wrong! It is actually the one between 1/8 inch and 3/8 inch on the feed dog (a feed dog being that bit of the machine which the fabric is fed through).

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Take a look at the difference between my seams and those at Sew Like My Mom – mine is the bottom.

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This meant that when I tried to push the bow tie through the right way around, it got stuck and because I had cut the curves, I had to start again from scratch.

2. I’ve forgotten how to hand stitch neatly. Mental note to look this up for the real project!

Well, here is the finished product on my lovely husband.

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Guess what all the men I know are getting for Christmas?

 

Zipping around the corner

One of my long term projects is going to require that I can sew a zip around the perimeter of some fabric. How on earth do I make something straight go around a corner?

Back to the internet!

I found this very helpful tutorial from Stitchy which teaches about curved zippers. I made up my own dimensions to use up more scrap fabric but I think that the design would work well for a device cover so I might measure up my ipad for one!

Lessons learnt:

1. Even though this was a bit harder, it didn’t take as long as my plain zip pouch. Already I am getting better at cutting, sewing and reading patterns because I am starting to understand terminology etc… Yay! Achieving something gives me confidence to keep trying!

2. Use lots of pins around the corner!

3. Keep the side of the fabric you are not sewing out of the way of the bit you are sewing so that you don’t accidentally sew them together!!! More unpicking….

Next time I make this I am going to add some batting, interfacing and a softer internal fabric to make it more protective for a device or a pair of glasses!

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