Saturday, September 13, 2014

A 'wintery' Sunday best dress and CALL FOR PATTERN TESTERS (CLOSED)

Here is the third Sunday best dress I have made - this time with no buttons, and with three quarter length sleeves.  You can see the summery version I made here, and the original dress here.

I am really pleased with how this one turned out.  I had been on the lookout for a cool butterfly (specimen style) print for a while and was really excited to find this one at Spotlight a couple of weeks ago.  I paired it with some watermelon cotton collar and piping. I love how wintery this dress can look with tights and the longer sleeves (there is also a full length sleeve option in the pattern). 

I wasn't sure Juliette would co-operate for photos today. As I finished up the dress I showed it to her and she said,"I don't like that dress".  I bribed her with extra pocket money and some chocolate and she decided I could twist her arm to try it on.  Then she checked herself out in the mirror and decided the dress was "beautiful". Phew.

Juliette insisted on using flowers as props so I just had to go with that.

Can you spot Juliette in this photo? If is was not for the red shoes, she could be mistaken for leaf mulch!

I must say that putting this pattern together has been an altogether more calm and enjoyable experience than making my cosi pattern.  I put myself under pressure with dates with cosi which was unnecessary.  This pattern has also come along so much more quickly and methodically with the great help of Lauren Dahl's pattern workshop course.  I love it!

My pattern will be ready for testing by the end of the weekend and I would love to know if you would like to test my new pattern? Testing will run for one week (from Monday 15 - Monday 22 September) and will take place via a facebook group.  I will notify testers by the end of the weekend via email and then testers will be invited to the tester group where they will find the test pattern and can ask questions, share photos and give feedback. Please only apply if you can fulfil these requirements and also if your child fits closely into one of the age/size bracket listed below.

If you would like to test, please fill out the application form HERE.  

Thank you!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Flip this pattern: SEPTEMBER SHOWCASE

Hi there! A couple of months ago, I was asked by Emily and Ashley (the sisters who write the blog Frances Suzanne and Flip this pattern), if I would like to take part in a spin on the monthly flip this pattern series. This month Ashley and Emily are hosting September Showcase.  The idea behind this month is to promote small indie pattern designers (with five or less patterns) and to share what you have sewn (flipped or not) over at Frances Suzanne (all the details are in the link above).  There will also be bloggers showcasing a heap of patterns from indie designers (my cosi pattern included).  This is not a competition, more a sharing month...but here are prizes!! Until September 20th you can receive 20% off my patterns with the code: SHOWCASE20.  You can also enter the rafflecopter widget below to be in the winning for a tonne of free patterns!!!

Good luck! And thank you Ashley and Emily for inviting me to take part!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sewing for kindergarten

Today I am joining in with Mie from Sewing Like Mad's series, Sewing for kindergarten.  Now, a bit on Australia, or Victoria at least, kindergarten refers to 'pre-school' - the one to two years prior to school where children attend kindergarten for 3 - 15 hours per week, depending on their age.  Children generally start school aged five.  So 'kindergarten' in the US relates to the first year of school in Australia which is usually called 'prep' here, although this year they have started a new term for the first year of school (which I don't like) - 'foundation'.  

Anyway, this year my eldest daugher Isabella started school!  In Australia, the school year begins in the final week of January or first week of February - after the six week summer holidays.  A logical time to start a school year I think!  So Issie has been at school for seven months the time has flown!  

Now onto the sewing...In the vast majority of schools in Australia (both primary and secondary), children wear a school uniform.  Isabella's school sports a very common gingham summer dress for girls and the colour scheme for the uniforms is green and white with a bit of bright yellow (for t-shirts).  I actually began this school dress in February when I was like, "I can make Issie a nicer dress than that!" looking at the summer dresses available.   Oops, I only finished this dress two days ago!!  Thanks Mie for hosting this series to make me finish my unfinished project!  The pattern is An from StraightGrain's tinny dress - the skirt is a big longer. I modified the sleeve cuffs to look more like the generic uniform.  The perfect pattern for a school uniform! I found the gingham at my local fabric store.  

My Mum is contributing to this post too!! She knitted Isabella's lovely school cardigan which has kept her warm all through winter.  Thank you Mum!!

Each morning I drive the girls to school and Isabella and Juliette always insist on escorting Issie into the classroom and they love saying hello to all the big girls! Emily has become a celebrity at Issie's school with her vocal talents and cheeky personality!  She loves joining in with the national anthem at assembly on a Monday morning, "golden soil" and "girt by sea" are the only words she knows.  Aussie's will know what I mean!

Mie asked me to answer a few questions about Issie starting school and about my own first day of school...

Is this your first time sending a child to Kindergarten/ school? Yes!

Do you feel like crying or celebrating?  I didn't just feel like crying, I cried.  I missed Issie for the first couple of weeks!!

And what about your child? Isabella cried too. She was a little unsettled for the first week.  We moved a few weeks prior, and Isabella had only visited the school once the day before starting.  Luckily she made some sweet friends right away and now she loves it!

What type of school (public, private, homeschool) does your child attend?  Isabella attends the local state school.  If is a four minute drive from home and has about 160 children. 

What was your own first day of school like (if you remember ;-)?  I do remember my first day of school, mostly because (as far as my memory tells me), I got a fly stuck up my nose.  Yep, that's right!!  I had to pick it out!!  I was pretty nervous for a the first few weeks of school and I remember telling Mum I had a tummy ache.  Luckily I had two big sisters and a big brother at the school already to look after me!!

Issie loves school now and she loves learning.  She can read simple books and her writing is coming along. She has lots of lovely friends and her teachers are all great.

Thanks for having me Mie!! Head over to Mie's blog to see what everyone else is making their kids!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A vintage floral Sunday best dress

Here is the sleeveless, no collar but nice piping, version of my new pattern - Sunday best dress. You can see the first version in my previous post here.

This one is made from a vintage floral sheet that I have been holding on to for a while.  I paired it with baby pink piping for a very 'spring' dress (spring starts tomorrow in Australia - yay!!!).

This dress was made for one of Juliette's little friends who celebrated her fourth birthday today. Poppy graciously gave us back the dress so that I could photograph it today as I ran out of time before her birthday. Thank you Poppy! And I hope you like your dress!!

I am having heaps of fun creating this pattern and it is a really rewarding dress to put together.

I have the 'winter' version cut out and ready to sew this week - three quarter sleeve in a brown butterfly print with watermelon pink collar and piping. The only downfall is I have to keep popping out to the shops to pick up more invisible zips! 

The pattern is almost completely drafted and then it is on to constructing the photo tutorial.

Do you like the lighter spring version?  I will see you in a few days...I will be joining in with Mie's 'sewing for kindergarten' (I call it school), series with something I made for Isabella.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sunday best dress

I am SO excited about this is the latest design I am working on and it has morphed from my original idea into something I love even more.  I am calling it the "Sunday best" dress. I will be adding it to my sewpony vintage shop (which will switch from etsy to my blog shortly)!!

I first drew up this design a couple of months ago but it looked a little different. You may have seen the original version here.  I was planning on offering to lengths of bodice and a gathered skirt with or without collar and with/without two lengths of sleeves.  However, I really wanted to use this beautiful fabric - wooden houses (not currently available in the pink colourway but the green version is just as gorgeous) that I purchased recently from fellow Aussie, Frances from Miss Matatabi (I am her latest fan...), but I only had one metre.  I decided to eliminate the gathered skirt option and instead drafted a simple A-line skirt. 

The dress needed something else to tie in the chartreuse colour of the collar (which was intended to pick up the hint of chartreuse in the houses fabric - the little trees).  So I added little curved pockets to the skirt with a piped edge. And also three covered buttons for a bit of pop! The collar fabric is from my local fabric shop and seems to be like a shot silk of some variety... please don't look too closely at my hand stitching along the diagonal bodice line - I was doing it late last night under dim light and should have chosen a different colour thread!!

Our garden is looking beautiful at the moment, and we have one tree in full blossom as you can see! We are not sure what fruit it will produce yet, but it is a stunning backdrop I think!

The bodice is lined and closes with an invisible zip.... no hand sewing the lining into the zip on the inside...I figured out how to sew it in with the machine really simply.

You can see the back detail here - the half collar is sewn into the shoulder seam.

I have been bursting with ideas lately with two other dress designs swimming around in my head.  This is thanks a lot to the incredibly skilled and talented blogger, Lauren Dahl.  Her pattern workshop course is sooooo helpful and although I am only a little of the way through it so far, it has really taken a lot of the headache out of pattern drafting and compiling a PDF pattern.  I know as I learn more through creating this pattern, the ones that follow will become even easier! Thank you Lauren!


I am hoping this pattern will be ready for testing in around 3 weeks.  It will offer collar or no collar and instead a piped neckline, A-line skirt with piped pockets, buttons for front detail, sleeveless, elbow length sleeves (see here) and three quarter length sleeves. It will be sized 12 months - 10 years.

So what do you think? Will you be making a Sunday best dress this September??

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When we were young: Elegance and Elephants

I am excited to have another lovely instalment in my When we were young series.  Today's guest is the talented pattern maker and blogger, Heidi from Elegance and Elephants. I first found Heidi's blog after seeing her adorable bubble pocket shorts (a pattern I will be making up for the first time this summer).  In all, Heidi has created seven successful sewing patterns for children.  All of which are lovely!  Heidi is hosting her fun series presently -Knock it off - a series where sewers recreate a designer outfit and share their interpretation. I love this series! Heidi has two sweet children - Tobias and Anja.  She lives in Canada and I am very happy to share her post with you today!!!


Where were you born/where did you spend your childhood?
I was born in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada and spent my childhood living in the Lower Mainland area (near Vancouver).  We moved around A LOT (like once a year or more), but generally stayed in the same area of southern BC.

Who did you grow up with?
I grew up with my parents and have three brothers, although one of my brothers is 15 years younger than me, so I was almost grown by the time he was born.

Did you have a childhood ambition?

I wanted to be a zoologist and/or ornithologist and study birds and animals.  I was the kid who would read encyclopedias about animals for fun and was fascinated by National Geographic nature programs.

What did you like doing when you were little?
I loved anything to do with animals, creating things (through sewing and crafts), reading, drawing, and singing.

Do you see any similarities between yourself and your child/children?
I do see a few similarities.  Both my children love drawing and crafts, like I did.  My daughter is also a little singer and reminds me of how I would often burst into song as a kid.  Tobias is big time into animals and birds right now, devouring any info he can find about them, much like I did.  Personality-wise, Tobias is more like me.  He's more of an introvert who really savours his down time, but enjoys spending time with loved ones, too.   

Do you live far from where you grew up?
No, I'm right in the same area.

Where do you live now and who with?
I live in Abbotsford, BC with my husband, Michael, son, Tobias (6), and daughter, Anja (3).

When I was young, I loved wearing dresses, so it seemed very fitting to replicate one of them for Anja.  As I think back, I remember having many of the same type of sundress, the kind with the shirring on the top.  I had so many different colours and seeing them, reminds me of spending summer days running around outside.  So, when I came across this photo, I knew that was the dress I wanted to make.  To be honest, I didn't have very many photos to choose from, as my childhood photo albums are missing at the moment.  My mom and I searched her house, but it seems they must be in storage somewhere.  Luckily, this photo was in a frame at her house, and it's just the style I was wanting to make.  

And here's how it looks on my daughter...

In case you're wanting to make one of these sweet dresses, I took a few photos during the process.  It's so easy, I really should make a bunch of them!  After measuring, and then cutting a rectangular piece of fabric, I sewed a rolled hem along one edge.  Next, I wound elastic thread around my bobbin, sewed seven lines of stitching, and stitched up the centre back seam.  Then, I made four straps, sewed them on, hemmed the bottom, and I was done!  Super easy!

And one last shot with a side-by-side re-enactment without the cars.  Not sure why those cars are parked so close together, nor the reason why I'm standing between them with flowers.  It will remain a mystery!

It's so fun to see her wearing this dress that reminds me so much of my childhood!  In hindsight, I should've made it a little wider, but it still looks so cute on her, and there are plenty of sunny summer days left for her to wear it.

Thank you so much, Suz, for inviting me to participate in your series!


Thank you so much Heidi!! It really is a joy to see my sewing blogger friends as children and to see the old photos and to imagine your enjoyment searching through your photos, then deciding on a photo and searching for the fabric, the pattern and recreating the scene!! I am so glad you enjoyed the experience!