Saturday, 29 March 2014

Another Shirred Dress

Amélie Shirred Dress

One of my favourite things to make for Amélie is a shirred dress. They are relatively quick and easy to make, and fit for a long time. A couple of her older ones have been worn as tops as they got too small to be dresses anymore.

Shirred dress - full length

You don't need a pattern, just a rectangle of fabric. There is very little wastage as I use the whole width of the fabric and just square it up. This particular dress was extra thrifty as I purchased the fabric (poly-cotton) which was already cheap, on sale and I used (Spotlight) vouchers as well.

Do you have any easy things that you like to make over and over for your kids? Particularly pattern-free things?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Embroidery Design Websites

Stitching out the Deer

When I first bought my embroidery machine, I had no idea where to get embroidery designs. I had the disc of designs that came with my machine and Mum hooked me up with Embroidery Library, Anne the Gran, Secrets of and Sue Box. I still buy most of my designs from Embroidery Library, and think that Sue Box is the most exquisite embroidery designer I have seen (just watch one of her free designs stitch out, I guarantee you will be impressed). Since then I have gathered a list of links to other embroidery designs. Some of them I probably will never purchase from, but they all have their own style and it is always nice to have a list of sites to browse when you are looking for something a bit different.

Here is a list of websites where you can buy embroidery designs. It's in no way conclusive. I will probably come back and add some to the list and maybe even do a few little reviews and link from here. Let's consider it a jumping off point;

Anja Rieger Design

Ann The Gran

A Stitch and a Half

Designs By Juju

Divas Doodles

Embroidery Library

EmiOli Design

Five Star Fonts Embroidery

GG Designs Embroidery


Kunterbunt Design

Newfound Applique

Nobbie Neez Kids

Secrets of Machine Embroidery

Stitch On Time

Sue Box Creations


Urban Threads


Have you bought any designs from the above websites? What was your experience like? Do you have a favourite site that I haven't listed? I would love it if you could link me up with any blog posts that you may have done that show machine embroidery that is from these (or other) websites.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Doe, A Deer

Doe, a Deer

From the moment I saw them, I knew I had to have this embroidery design pack from Embroidery Library. The embroidery pack is called Springtime Frolicking Friends and comes in three different sizes. I chose to go with the medium size which I think is quite large, as it turns out. It's the perfect design to pretty up a cheap, plain t-shirt. The design pack has the deer featured with a bunch of other little forest friends, including a rabbit and a skunk (remind you of anyone?). The design I used stitched out beautifully, without any problems.

A female deer

I hooped the t-shirt and the stabiliser together - I used a cut-away stabiliser, rather than a tear-away. The tricky part for me, was trying to keep the rest of the t-shirt out of the way, which I did using safety pins, bulldog clips and Clover Wonder Clips. The t-shirt I used was a size 3, I don't think I would attempt to do this on a smaller t-shirt, it was really quite fiddly, but I got it to work.

Stitching out the Deer

Have you got an embroidery machine? Purchased any good designs lately? Any suggestions as to easier ways to hoop up a small child's t-shirt?

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Win a Craftsy Class!

This competition is now closed

Craftsy Logo

I was recently asked if I would like to host a giveaway on my blog for Craftsy. Of course I would! I enjoy giving awesome prizes to my readers and I've done a few Craftsy Classes and I love them.

Craftsy is an online facility that provides hundreds of different classes in heaps of craft categories including (just to name a few)
Craftsy topics
The interactive classes are presented in video format with downloadable notes and patterns, and you can discuss the class with your classmates, upload images of your finished work and even ask your tutor questions. Some of the tutors include Camille Roskelley, Sandra Betzina, Leah Day and Angela Wolf. The classes are there forever, for you to come back to and you can do them at your own pace at a time that suits you.

It costs nothing to join Craftsy. You might also be interested in checking out some of their free mini sewing, quilting or photography classes. The free classes are not quite as extensive as the paid classes, but will help to give you an idea of how it all works.

Would you like to win a Craftsy class? 

Entering is really easy,
just click on the link below
and enter your details.

This competition is now closed

The competition will remain open until the 30th of March. 
The prize is a Craftsy Class of your choice, up to the value of $59.99. 
Craftsy will draw the winner and 
I will announce the winner, here on the blog in April.

Have you taken any Craftsy Classes?
Which classes have you taken?
Which class would you like to try if you win?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

A Simple Stretchy Skirt

Stretchy Skirt

This is by far the most comfortable item in my wardrobe at the moment. Actually, if I am honest, it is not making it to the wardrobe and is perpetually in the wear-wash-dry-wear cycle. The fabric has been in my stash for quite some time. I am not really sure how it got there, I am pretty sure it was given to me, so free fabric. I have known for some time that it was going to be a skirt and when I first laid my eyes on the Everyday Skirt Tutorial, by iCandy Handmade. I knew it was going to be THAT skirt.

I had a few reservations about the straight bottom edge on the skirt in the tutorial, though. I think if you are making a skirt with horizontal lines, then a straight edge along the bottom is probably not a bad look. But when you are making an A-line skirt, those bottom corners are just a little bit funny to me. I don't mean to criticize the tutorial. I think it is a fabulous tutorial, and the skirt looks great on, it is just me being a bit fussy.

Stretchy Skirt close up

So, rather than set about drafting myself a pattern for the skirt, I thought I would take a short cut and use a skirt pattern that I already have drafted myself from the book "Sew What Skirts". I traced my original pattern, adjusting the length to allow for the bigger waistband,and put a diagonal line across the pattern to line up the stripes on to get the chevron effect. Even though I could have used the same pattern for the back as I did for the front, I traced a second pattern piece to make it easier for me to lay out my pattern pieces on my fabric and ensure it was all going to fit. When I cut the skirt out, I very carefully folded my fabric in half, lining up the stripes, and instead of placing the centre front/back on the fold, I added seam allowance, and cut it out fully .

Stretchy A-line skirt

Of course, this skirt pattern was going to be too big. Far too big. I knew this, but it was bigger(er?) than I thought it was going to be. In the end, I just kept shaving fabric off the edges until I was happy with the fit. I would sew it, try it on, cut off my seams and re-sew it until the fit was right. Trial and Error. Once I was happy with the fit of the skirt, I set about making the waistband.

I didn't have enough fabric to make the full-sized yoga band in the pattern, so I cut myself a waistband that was half the width, and then cut it horizontally to make a front and back waistband - so my waistband is half the height of the waistband in the tutorial. I ended up cutting a fair bit from the sides of the waistband, in much the same way I did with the skirt. I then also trimmed this several times until I felt that it was tight enough to support the weight of the skirt. This was based on instinct, so I am unsure how I could tell someone else how to make that judgement, other than to try it and know that you can always pull it apart and sew it back together until you are happy with it.

Stretchy Chevron Striped Skirt

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this skirt? Seriously, I want half a dozen of these. Not only is it comfortable, but I don't even need to iron it. When the weather turns cold I will wear it with tights. I was on tenterhooks the first time I washed it as I couldn't remember ever pre-washing the fabric before I made it, but it all turned out fine (phew!). I do need to organise myself to trace the skirt off to make a more accurate pattern for the next skirt. I do think the ideal size is going to vary according to the fabric and how much stretch it has and how heavy it is too, so probably will still need to do a fair bit of trial and error.

My goal this year is to make at least one item for me each month. This was my "Made For Me - February" item. In case you missed it, you can see my January item here.
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