Monday, March 16, 2015

When we were young: Tasha from Glitter and Wit

It's When we were young time again!  Today I have my lovely friend Tasha from Glitter and Wit guest posting. If you are not familiar with Tasha's blog and her sewing, you will be inspired.  She is extremely talented and always makes something a bit different.  I love her fun style and I'm very excited to have her guest post here today. Tasha is the youngest guest I have had here for my series and today she is sharing some early 90's fashion!!


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Where were you born/where did you spend your childhood? I was born in Western Nebraska, but grew up in the Ozarks (Southwest Missouri).
Who did you grow up with? It was just me,
my younger brother, and our parents. We spent most of our time with cousins, who all lived nearby.
Did you have a childhood ambition? No particular ambition that I can recall, except perhaps to be the best at everything (except athletics, bleh!). Not much has changed, really. ;)
What did you like doing when you were little? I loved to read and swim. I loved The Little Mermaid. And I also apparently went through a cat phase (like, I literally pretended to be a cat. Often.). (Psst -  Tasha, Issie has been in the same cat phase for a couple of years!! - Suz)
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Do you see any similarities between yourself and your child/children? Physically, not really. My children both look more like my husband, I think. The kids and I all have great fine motor skills and love to eat. Both my son and daughter exercise extreme caution around dangerous objects or activities. My husband had previously believed I MUST have suffered some traumatic event to behave this way. I told him he was wrong. He believes me now. All three of us also have small heads. Ha!
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Do you live far from where you grew up? Not at all; about 25 miles away.
Where do you live now and who with? I currently live in Springfield, Missouri with my husband, Chris, and two children: Emerson (3 years) and Felix (18 months). As a young girl I was spoiled by a grandma who loved to sew for me (the first photo above shows my cousin, my grandma, and me--in a dress she sewed). As a kid, I didn't realize all the time and thought that went into each lovingly-made dress. Eventually she stopped sewing for me, but she saved the most precious pieces and gifted them to me at my baby shower for Emerson. E is just now starting to grow into my old handmade clothing. For this series, I knew I wanted to recreate a handmade outfit. But I also didn't want it to be exactly the same (since I already have the originals!).
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The dress I chose is the same shown in the photo at the top of this post, though I assume it must have been sewn specifically for this photo. This is me at age three (?) with my cousin, in 1991 (I think). For Emerson's dress I wanted to mimic the style lines and fabric, but modernize it a bit. I used the Debbie's Birthday Dress pattern as my starting point, added the sleeves from the Sunki pattern (Figgy's Patterns), a simple gathered rectangle for the skirt, and modifying the bodice to accommodate a button-front closure.

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The dress turned out to be a little big for Emerson. Though I think for comparison's sake it's not too far off from my own 1991 dress. I love the modern floral (in fact, I've used this same fabric in another colorway many times) and simple twill tape trim combined with the loose fit and puffy sleeves.

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My 1991 dress's sleeves were even more accentuated by a single pleat bringing the sleeve hem in close to the arm. I wanted a more relaxed look for E's dress, and instead chose to add a narrow cuff trimmed with twill tape.

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The neckline here is way off from the original, but only because my machine completely ate up the fabric when I tried to put in the top buttonhole. I improvised (okay...disguised my mistake) by folding the bodice over and tacking it down.

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I could've put in regular buttons here, but I wanted this dress to be the-same-but-different, remember? And I've been experimenting with button alternatives lately. These tiny twill tape bows sure hit the spot.

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I honestly wasn't sure how I felt about this dress at first. Even now, I'm not 100% sure I love it as a stand-alone thing-I've-made. I do think it is a great ode to my own 1991 handmade dress. Emerson loves it (it's so spinny!). Even though it isn't my favorite, I think I'll hold on to this one and add it to the collection my grandmother made for me. Maybe in 25 years E will be making a 2040-inspired-by-2015-inspired-by-1991 dress.

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Thanks so much Tasha!  I love E's dress and it looks like it will fit her for a while. I LOVE the twill bows!! I am definitely going to give that a go!!  Your Grandma looks too young to be a Grandma!  I hope you enjoyed this experience. It was lovely to have you!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Unfinished project # 5: A vintage Sunday picnic (pillow case) dress for Emily

Today I am sharing Emily's pillow case dress.  The floral component of the dress is made from a vintage pillow case.  

This is another of my unfinished projects from 2014 - sewn, worn, photographed and now blogged! The pattern is my Sunday picnic dress with a rounded collar.  



The bodice and pocket linings are a soft blue chambray I bought at Spotlight.



Although the weather is getting cooler here now, Emily wore this all day on Saturday while we explored the rugged beach near our house wearing tights and a cardi. 

I'm really glad I got this dress finished.  We don't have any more girls to hand the dress down to so I had to finish it in time for Emily to get some wear out of it!

My now updated 'to finish' list are:

  • Emily's quilt
  • The second version of my new design for Issie
  • A knit dress version of my Little Betty pattern with cool pockets for Juliette
  • A coral stretch dress for Issie


It really feels good to get some of these projects finished. They were kind of hanging over my sewing head and when they are all done I will feel like I have not wasted time or fabric and the kids and I can enjoy them.  I still have two lovely dresses I made last year that I have not blogged. One is a Nani iro dress (to pretty to wear - I need to be weary of that!) and the other is a lovely cotton and steel dress that I designed that Isabella has worn heaps.  I might photograph them together this week and share them too:)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Our baby is three!!


This time three years ago I was taking sideways glances at our third and final child in her plastic crib as I lay stilled by an emergency caeserean. Our little Emily was born at 4pm on March 4th and has been a joy in our lives every day since then.


Issie and Juliette loved their little sister from the start.  Issie was just over three and half and Juliette at 21 months was my 'wet nurse' which was very handy when I'd had a rough night.

Today Emily turned 'free'.



Emily was very excited to turn free and we spent the morning down at the breakwater cafe where Emily wore her newly opened birthday dress and took her new dolly out for a milkshake!



I made Emily a Louisa dress by Compagnie M from a vintage floral sheet and she had to have a Poppy doll (pattern by HopSkipJump) to match her sisters.  I actually made one of these dolls for Emily for her first Christmas but it disappeared into thin air so I made her a new one.



As you can see, dolly has a dress made of the same fabric as Emily's. The waitresses at the cafe made a fuss over Emily and delivered her a little cake with a candle on it.  Emily loved it.





What a sweetheart. We love this girl so much.



Happy Birthday Emily!!!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

An Antoinette dress


I am determined to keep plugging away with finishing unfinished projects.  This dress was a bodice with no zip and just the skirt cut out when my sister delivered it to me in a bag.  We planned the dress together for her daughter Lucy and cut out the fabrics from the lovely Antoinette pattern by Nele from Spiegelstiksels (no longer available).  My sister ran out of steam with the dress and had too much on her plate.  I didn't actually have this on my 'to finish' list, but I dug deep into the basket and found this dress in pieces and decided to finish it.


I am really glad I did. I love how it turned out.  The light bodice and bright skirt and bow collar look really sweet, I think.


I don't know the names of the fabrics as they came from my sister and she has had them a while.


I really do love this pattern. It is so pretty and also unique.  I made one for Juliette last year in stripes which she wore all year and it always look beautiful on her - a very feminine design.  The back has a lovely 'v' but I did not get a good photo of Issie in this dress so you can check out Juliette's dress if you want to see.


I think my girls are pretty lucky.  Isabella came home from school today and I showed her this dress and told her it was hers.  "Thanks Mum!" She put it on right away and declared that she liked it. She played around in it in our backyard and wore it off to her swimming lessons this evening. I was satisfied to pile our three girls in the car headed to the pool and all three of them were wearing Mum made dresses.  I like that!


Thank you Nele for sharing your lovely pattern!


Are you as bad as me at starting and not finishing projects?  I am determined to put an end to my 'start a project, get excited about another project and not finish the first project'style sewing!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Lotta skirt for me


In December last year, my friend Marte from Compagnie M, asked if I would like to sew up one of her newer patterns (Thank you Marte!!).  I love Marte's designs and I decided I would like to make something for myself, so I chose the lovely Lotta skirt. This skirt sat half made in my overflowing 'to finish' basket, until a few days ago when I finally finished it off.


If you have not already seen this pattern, the Lotta skirt features a gathered front and back with a thick waistband, sweet turnover pockets and closes with an invisible zip at the back.  The pattern includes instructions to fully line the skirt or to leave it unlined, depending on your fabric and season.  This skirt is not lined.


I bought the fabric for this skirt about three and a half years ago and first intended it for Isabella's 'big girl' quilt.  I didn't end up using it in her quilt and thought it would be perfect in a skirt for me! It is "innocent crush" by Anna Maria Horner. Her prints are beautifully bright and big. The pocket linings are just a pink cotton and the buttons I covered with cream calico.


The skirt is very flattering I think and I love the fit and the big waistband.  I don't remember which size I cut but it fits me well!

Isabella took these photos of me and asked me to do some silly poses hence the gem below (clothes hanging in the background in case you didn't see).


If you are not familiar with Marte's blog and patterns, please head over to Compagnie M to be inspired.  Marte lives in Belgium and has just launched her patterns in paper also.  They look amazing!! Did you hear that she will be transforming her gorgeous girls' Louisa dress pattern into womens' sizes too? How cool - I can't wait to make one and my sister has also put in an order based on Juliette's Louisa dress!

Here is my now updated 'to finish' list:
  • A Lotta skirt for me from some bold Anna Maria Horner floral
  • A Nani Iro summer dress for Juliette (finished but not blogged)
  • A teddy for a new baby here
  • A three quarter sleeve version of this design
  • An artistic representation of this top
  • A dress adaptation of my Little Betty top pattern
  • A recycled Sunday picnic dress for Emily
  • A bed quilt for Emily
Meanwhile, I have added two more things to my to sew list - a dress and doll for Emily's third birthday this week!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

A sweet bear for Gia


A good friend I have known since I was 12 had her third baby last week and I had to make her a softie!  She is crafty herself and I knew she would appreciate it.


I made this sweet bear from a woolen skirt given to me by my sister.  The pattern is adorable and is by the very talented soft toy maker and pattern designer, Fiona Dalton of HopSkipJump.  Fiona is Australian too and I just LOVE all the toys she makes.  I have her HopSkipJump book and I have used it heaps already. I have made the mouse, cat, monkey, fox, bunny and now bear!  If you are into making soft toys, this is such a good book to have.  Fiona promotes sustainable sewing using lots of recycled fabrics and organics. 

This pattern is called "Louis".  I planned on making this bear if Emily was born a boy as we planned on naming her/him Louis!  


So I finally made a Louis for gorgeous baby Gia Scarlett - what a lovely name!  And she is so sweet!!  The photo below was taken with my phone so is not super clear but you get an idea of how cute Gia is and how she stacks up against her new bear!!


I highly recommend Fiona's book - it has so many adorable patterns in it. You can see all the other toys I  have made using Fiona's patterns by clicking here. Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hello 2015 and a little yellow dress


Hello there! It has been a while since I have been around here! I blame Christmas/school holidays, a room renovation, house painting and feeling a bit overwhelmed with how many unfinished projects Ihave piled in my sewing room!  Time to tick some off....


This is another Blake dress, pattern by mingo and grace.  You can see three more I made more true to the original pattern here. For this dress, I gathered the skirt instead of pleating it and added a peter pan collar. This is size five on Juliette who sits between a 4-5 size wise. I used some recycled fabric that I found at the op shop. It is a lovely soft cotton shirting.  The collar and little pocket (hidden by folds in the pic above) are a lovely double gauze I bought from miss matatabi.

I really love buying second hand fabric.  I get so much satisfaction from making a dress for a few dollars and also from making something pretty from something that someone didn't want (and supporting charity at the same time!) In fact, I am putting it out there now that my sewing resolution for the year is that I am not buying any new fabrics this year. I will be using fabrics I already have and any I find at the op shop.  That said, if someone happens to buy me some Cloud 9 fabric that is currently in stock and looking lovely at Spotlight, or I happen to receive lovely fabric in the mail from a secret admirer, I am not going to refuse them. 


I love her gapped teeth smile! Emily totally photo bombed this one!




The back of this dress is very feminine I think with a slightly cut away arm scye.


I realise now after editing these photos that the one below is the only one where you can see the little pocket.


Juliette loves her new 'party dress' and I am glad she still loves wearing dresses. 



I hope to show you the rest of my half made projects soon -

  • A Lotta skirt for me from some bold Anna Maria Horner floral
  • A Nani Iro summer dress for Juliette
  • A teddy for a new baby 
  • A three quarter sleeve version of this design
  • An artistic representation of this dress
  • A dress adaptation of my Little Betty top pattern
  • A recycled Sunday picnic dress for Emily
  • A bed quilt for Emily

Yes I am very naughty at starting new projects.  I WILL not start a new project until this list is done!!