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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First stitch – simple zipper pouch

As a new mummy, there are a million and one products out there that every new mum seems to desperately “need” (according to the advertisers that is) and yet, I still find that there are things that I have from my own childhood that I don’t seem to be able to find anywhere. Necessity being the mother of all invention, I decided that I need to learn how to sew in order to be able to make some of the things I want.

After discussion with my husband about the types of things I want to make eventually, we agreed that we could access some of our rainy day funds to buy a pretty nice machine that should do me for a long time to come. The machine comes with lessons but I can’t wait until then to test out the new machine. IT consultant that I am, I turned to the internet for some sewing tutorials. I wanted something that I could make without a pattern and with just some scraps of fabric and notions that I picked up to just mess around with.

I came across this tutorial from Sew Minty to create zipper pouches.

My journey into sewing nearly got abandoned before I began when I realised that I had to get the iron out of hibernation. We moved into our house in December and it hasn’t been set up once. I buy my husband the non-iron business shirts because I really do not enjoy ironing one bit. Given I had spent a not insignificant sum on my fancy sewing machine though, I sucked it up and got the iron and ironing board out of the laundry.

I’m not going to recreate that tutorial step by step as that is silly when the tutorial is so good already. I’m just going to show you my finished product and tell you the lessons I have learned!

1. Sewing requires a lot of attention to detail. This is something I am not naturally blessed with but I am looking forward to my sewing journey helping me to learn to pay attention to some of the little things to slow down and to take time to get things just right as it will be worth it in the end.

2. Pay attention to the right side/wrong side of fabrics and what side you are sewing a seam on to prevent numerous unpicking attempts! I ended up with my seam on the outside of my zip – see point 1 regarding attention to detail!

3. I am still not too sure why my zip tabs have not lined up properly. Potentially my seam allowance. More details on seam allowances in a later post!

So tell me what you think! Where to from here?

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Hello world!

I’m Courtney. Nice to meet you.

Until recently I was a full time IT Consultant who also sang most evenings and weekends in a semi-professional capacity. Needless to say, domestic duties were often left behind and, being the youngest in a family of three girls, I had most things done for me when I was growing up so most domestic tasks don’t come easily to me or I may never have learnt them in the first place.

Just over three months ago, life changed dramatically as my first child was born. Abigail is a beautiful, happy, healthy girl and I am so lucky to have her and a fabulously supportive husband but dropping all of that work and becoming a full time mum has meant that I have to pick up some of those domestic duties that previously didn’t seem so important. Additionally, I am keen for Abigail not to learn that TV is an activity so I have to lead by example on that one!

So this is my journey from corporate minion to domestic goddess – but I’m keeping the cleaning lady…