Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Storyboard for Wardrobe Contest Winter 2010

It has taken me 45 minutes to do this this time around.

I referred to Angie's Mac Storyboard Tutorial again, and it went really fast.

That is the good news.

The bad news, seeing it all on screen, as opposed to in my head, I am not so sure. The problem with the storyboard method IMO, is that they don't allow you to downsize the print of your fabric to correspond with the size of your line drawing. So the odd proportions give a very disjointed viewing.

Having said that, I am sure I will fiddle with the final choices anyway. Being what it is, I am still happy to forge ahead for the mmt, and see what happens. If all else fails, and it is a disaster, hopefully I shall still have some wearable garments for my daughter, and will always have RTW to match the garments with.

Let's see what happens!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wardrobe Contest Winter 2010

I am hoping to join the Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest that will be on from June 1st until August 31st. Hope being the operative word.

DD2 needs a new wardrobe. She always takes her sisters hand-me-downs cheerfully and hardly ever gets new clothes. Even the stuff I sew, I usually make for DD1 first, and sometimes only her.

So this time, I figured, she was due some pampering. And, because of the big difference in body habitus, and the sixteen month age difference, they are almost in the same size RTW clothes.

So I mustered up the nerve to think about the wardrobe contest. 10 items in 14 weeks; sounds eminently doable, doesn't it? If you dont' factor in sleepless nights, parenting, and childminding as well as working.

Still, I want to have a go.

The rules are:
4 tops
4 bottoms
1 topper (cardi, shrug, jacket etc)
1 free choice/ RTW item

All tops must go with all bottoms. The topper must go with all 9 items, unless the free choice item is another topper.

I thought initially of going with 4 plain bottoms and 4 printed tops. But then I got to thinking, children's clothes are often so colourful, and there is a riotous display of prints, colours and even textures. It is the one time in life they don't have to worry about looking conservative/ appropriate.

And then I began doing a search on mixing prints, and what do you know, that is apparently in season NOW. So I have some tutorials, and I got some fabrics together, but I don't know...what do you think, if you are reading this?

I bumped into a design student, and asked her, and she was of the opinion that I should go for it, and liked my choices, but then I am not 20...

So what do I do?

These are my choices: I have uploaded the combinations on my flickr account

And here are some examples:

This is the collection of fabric I want to use to make the tops, including the topper, which is the deep purple at the top.

The fabrics for the bottoms - 2 florals for the skirts, and 2 denims for the pants.

Put together : opinions? Good, bad, crazy good, crazy bad? Insane?
Combination #1

Combination #2

Combination #3

Combination #4

Combination #5
Combination #6
Combination #7
Combination #8
Combination #9
Combination #10
Combination #11
Combination #12
Combination #13
Combination #14
Combination #15
Alternate Combination 
Alternate combination using gingham
Combination #16

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jalie 2567 - Toddler Bathrobe

My second child, and second daughter, almost 3 years old, was in need of a warm bathrobe for the coming winter.

Sydney, being what it is, has relatively mild winters compared to our Northern neighbours, with lovely warm days (average 17-18 degrees Celsius/ 65 degrees Farenheit), but out in the west especially, the nights and mornings can be pretty cold, often down to -1 degrees Celsius or lower, with frost.

Not having central heating, nights and mornings can be hard, especially on kids. So warm nightgear is essential.

I decided to get Jalie 2567 out of stash and to sew it up for my little girl. She will be 3 in July, but was big from birth (4.1kg), and continues to be stocky, so even though her height is 92cm, I made the 98cm, to allow for room to grow.

It was my first time sewing with fleece entirely, and it was a bit fiddly. It was also my first Jalie pattern, and while I have heard great things about this company, and mostly agree, they are not Kwik Sew. I struggled with the instructions for sewing on the facings, but in the end, got there without any unpicking. My sewing skills must be improving, in spite of me!

I traced, cut out, and sewed up this pattern in about 3 hours. My husband was good enough to babysit, so that once I had the house chores done, and lunch made by 9am, I sewed. I must admit though, it was a bit like learning to do Caesarean Sections when I was first a trainee in 2004. After a while, the excitement wore off, and I just felt tired and just wanted to get it over and done with. Probably because it all still took mental effort, and was not ...on automatic.

Still, here is the finished product.

She was playing outside with her siblings, as the day was close to an end.

The fabric isn't the nicest, print or otherwise. Clearance fleece from Spotlight about 2 years ago, brown, with cats on it. Still, it is functional enough and she loves it, so much so that she has gone to bed with it on tonight.

It is large on her, I made a sizeG, which is for 98cm, for her 92cm frame, but I figured, it'd be great if it lasts her 2 years! (I love Jalie for this BTW. Now I have a robe pattern for the kids that I can use and use and use...27 sizes!!!).

The sleeves are waaaaay too big, but I don't really think it matters, it's not like she will be eating in this. Mainly for use after baths, before/at bed, and in the mornings, so...she'll deal with it!

From the back...

I like the way the facings turned out. I left one patch pocket, and left out the other, for fear of them not matching up...

All up, I think it was a good learning lesson, and another fear conquered,
1. sewing fleece
2. sewing a bathrobe, facings, patch pockets and all
3. sewing belt loops, my first
4. sewing a belt! Also a first.

Great pattern, and completely worth the money, for the years and years and years of use that I will get out of this!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Recycling with a purpose - Denim bibs

I have been away longer than I had intended.

Many more patterns traced, and ready to cut, but not much sewing happening. We have all been sick. My 10 month old FINALLY has a tooth, but is still really clingy and needy at night...and the sleep deprivation is driving me batty.

Anyways, 3 of the 6 friends who were pregnant back in January have now had babies. The idea for a sling and swaddler for each of their babies went pear shaped after, seeing one set for the first of them that I made, they began criticising the fabric pattern and began making demands requests for specific patterns/ fabrics after I had already bought the fabric.

I completely lost the sewing mojo, since I guess to me, gifts are about choosing what you think is worth wearing, so much more if you are MAKING said gift(s), not just buying them. So...

I have been somewhat lax about gifts for these women. I have even bought the requisite clothes for these babies, but I still would like to make something they are not likely to object to.

Enter recycling denim to make bibs at this site.

What's not to love? Recycling, babies, making on one's own, AND not labour intensive, so that if recipients do not like them, not too much time and effort wasted.

I tried to make one last night, purely for stress relief

It's not great, and it looks uneven above, but is not actually; and I need to fiddle with the bottom a bit to get it to look right, but it's not bad for a first attempt. At my level of sewing (non existent/ beginner), I find that the first attempt at just about anything is pretty awful...and then take #2 is generally much better.

I made a strip of embellishment on the front that I matched at the back, as lining.

This cotton I used is probably too lightweight, so I'll probably try this again with some quilting cotton as backing and embellishment. I figure I'll use darker prints for the boys, and floral/ pinks for the girls from this quilting fabric I bought here when I was still planning to sew the swaddlers and slings . Even if they 
don't like them, I hope they'll use them anyway! 

My husband's suggestion was to make a few in one hit, and then give them (3 each or so) to them, all at once, so they can't make further requests for specific patterns/ fabric etc. :-)

I'll be putting snaps on to tie the bibs on with my snap setter that I got from here.

Maybe I am just struggling with all of this because sewing is a bit like putting your heart on your sleeve. It is personal, it says, for me at least, "I thought of you, and what you might like, and what would look nice on (your baby). " and so when it is met with criticism, it stings.

Or maybe I just need to cut these women some slack because none of them sews, and so they can't possibly understand that it takes effort and time. As one of them joked when I said I had made my daughter some underpants, "I'll buy you some, they are a dollar each!"

Clearly, that is not the point.

Ah well, actions can only be judged by their intention, and mine is to make something personal, that I hope will be personal, ethical, and involve a bit more effort than just going to a store and putting down some money to buy something on sale.