Saturday, 29 December 2012

Tess' Kinder Doll


This happy, smiley Ric-Rac Kinder Doll was made for Tess for Christmas.


Instead of the fabric and ribbon combination for the shoes, I made them from felt this time. In pink instead of the usual black.


I used a stem stitch to sew the mouth and nose this time, instead of the usual back stitch. I used more strands of embroidery floss than the other times, too. This gave the mouth more definition. I made her eyes blue instead of black, too.


You might notice that the fabric matches what I used for Tess, last year.

If you are interested, you can see the other kinder dolls I have made:
Amélie's Kinder Doll
Lima's and Noah's Kinder Dolls
Ellie's Kinder Doll
Adara's Kinder Doll

***Update: The Kinder Doll pattern is now available as a downloadable pattern from Craftsy. Get it Now!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Maxx's Flat Cap


This is Maxx's new favourite hat. I made it for him for Christmas, using Nicole Mallalieu's Flat Cap pattern. I had been thinking about making it, and whilst chatting with Amy (Badskirt) last Friday afternon, we decided to have a little (virtual) sew-along and immediately downloaded the pattern.


Amy was a little lot faster at getting her hat together than me. I had three little ones to contend with and they were happily spilling things and having little disputes and wanting snacks and bandaids and doing the usual kid stuff. I did manage to get it all cut out and my mess cleaned up before Maxx got home from work. Because it was a secret Christmas gift, it was Sunday night before I got back to it (and finish it), after he went to bed.


The hat is actually made from some furnishing fabric of some kind. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I wouldn't recommend using it for a project like this again. The weave is actually quite loose, so it frayed really easily, which made for difficult sewing at times. My sewing machine even tried to eat it at one point!

Other than the fabric issues (oh, and the kids-being-around-issue) the hat came together fairly quickly. I think the next hat will probably only take me a couple of hours, now that I know what I am doing and since I will use some proper fabric that doesn't fall apart!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!


I hope you all have a wonderful day, surrounded by loved ones.


If you are traveling, stay safe on the roads.


Pattern: Rudy by Melly & Me

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Teacher Gifts


Please excuse me, I'm running a little behind on the blog!

I made these purses for the boys' kindergarten teachers. Actually, these were just the ones I made for Liam's kindergarten teachers. I actually made seven purses, for six teachers and a kris kringle gift for a friend in my mum's group, but this is the only photo I took.

The purse on the left is made from Ink & Spindle Wrens in inky blue, lined with the same fabric. I chose that fabric for that teacher as she said nice things about my Wren City Bag on several occassions.

The purse on the far right is made from red leather from my leather city bag for the same reasons. I was unable to find my scraps from the panel from that bag, but whilst I was hunting, I found this American Jane print that I purchased from Badskirt many years ago. The lining in that purse is the flower print from the American Jane fabric. Obviously, that kindergarten teacher's name begins with S.

The purse at the centre back is Birch, by Ink & Spindle and the one at the centre front was a remnant from Retromummy (when she had her shop), it's a cheater quilt pattern - I think a Kokka Modern Kimono? I made three more using pieces from the same fabric.

The pattern I used was Nicole Mallalieu's 90mm purse frame pattern. I have made (at least) nineteen of these now, so the pattern was well worth the investment. They make great little gifts.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Antique Leather Hobo


The other day, I set myself a twenty-four hour challenge to make Nicole Malllalieu's Hobo bag, using some beautiful antiqued, lambskin leather I had from NSW Leather Co. I had been thinking about making this bag for a while, and with a Christmas "do" to attend with a new dress that all my current bags clash with, it was at the front of my mind. Someone had said on Facebook, that they managed to put one together in about three hours, and although they hadn't used leather, I thought I should at least have a go. I mean, I had 24 hours and who needs to sleep? (Me! I do!)


Well, it wasn't to be. I managed to get most of the outer bag constructed and then ran into some trouble inserting the zip. Trouble included some problems with leather that is a little stretchy, and some thread-matching and tension issues. In hind-sight, if I was making this particular bag again, I would make the zip gusset entirely from leather.

Something that I have learned about my machine is that it really does like the upholstery thread. I can't seem to be able to adjust bobbin tension enough to cope with other thread thicknesses, and even so, it is difficult to balance the tension so that there is no top thread showing on the bottom or bottom thread showing on the top. So I headed to a nearby store to get some upholstery thread in a lighter colour so it wasn't too dominant on the underside of the fabric.


I also found that the leather liked to stretch out a bit, so, combined with a non-stretchy lining fabric, it was a bit of work to get a nice, non-twisty zipper gusset going on. I found that going really slowly and carefully and using my new Clover clips, I was able to construct something that was acceptable. Switching from the zipper foot to the proper teflon foot, just for the stay stitching along the hidden edge of the gusset really helped. Actually, looking at the finished product, I am more than happy with it.


I used both of the pocket options for the lining. There is a zippered pocket and also another pocket with a pleated mobile phone slot. I did this pocket back to front to Nikki's pattern so that the phone pocket was easily accessible. (I had the zipper pocket closest to my body and the phone pocket further away). If I was only doing this pocket, then I would do it exactly as per the pattern. I am really fussy about the direction of zips too. I like my zipper head at the front when the bag is closed, both for internal and external pockets.

Another little grievance I have with my industrial machine is the feed dogs are a little harsh on soft, lambskin leather and can leave nasty track marks. I learned this when practicing making straps when I made my Red Leather City Bag. When making the City Bag, I used tear-away stabiliser to protect the leather from the feed-dogs. I think it works fairly well, though I don't like the way the thread gets pulled when tearing away the tear-away. I thought this time I would use paper towel. I don't think I will do this again, as it is really tricky to remove paper towel fibres from under stitches. I have another idea that I might try next time.


I love the wide strap on the bag. I made it exactly to the pattern piece, although I only did minimal top-stitching, just along each edge as I think it worked really well with the leather I was using and the over-all slouchiness of the bag. I didn't use any o-rings for this bag. If I did, I would have preferred brass ones and I didn't have any in my stash. I think this was a good decision for this particular bag, there would have been a lot of extra bulk where the straps are attached, which I don't think would have suited the relaxed style of this bag.

Over-all, I am pretty happy with this bag. Could I have made the bag in twenty-four hours? Possibly. I'm not really sure? I am guessing that I actually spent about twelve hours making this bag. Maybe more? I have little kids though, so finding twelve hours out of a twenty-four hour period of time is nearly impossible. Realistically, I would give myself a week, or at a bare minimum, a weekend to make this bag again out of leather. I could make it a lot quicker in quilter's cotton, but I cannot see myself making the entire bag in three hours.
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