Sunday, October 21, 2012

Teaching a child to use a sewing machine

 What could be better than teaching your child your own hobby, especially when she shows an interest in it.  My daughters are currently 5 and 9 years old and definitely have an interest in sewing. Part of this comes from me making them so much clothing and also from them watching me sew several days a week.  My oldest has been sewing by hand for about a year and now it is time to teach her to use a machine. We have been waiting for a desk upon which to put my old sewing machine. Call me selfish, but, at 46 years of age, I have never had as nice a gift as my Janome MD5200, which was my Christmas present last year. I kinda want to keep it to myself, at least until she gets to be better at sewing.  So, for now, she is using my old Singer machine. It is not a great machine but it is definitely good enough for a 9 year old!

 So, how do you teach a child to use a sewing machine? I hemmed and hawed about this for the week that I was sick and decided that she needed to have some basic stitching lessons first and then a basic rectangular project to begin.

First off, I drew geometrical shapes on squares of muslin and had her sew along those lines.   If you click and enlarge, you can see she did pretty well!


 Next up, she hand sewn a rectangle of muslin into a pillow and wanted to make a standard-style pillow case for it.  I did the cutting and ironing and she sewed it up.  
So cute!


Here is the in finished product.

She was very proud of herself!

These are her reading glasses, if you are family.  You may not have seen a pic of her in them yet!  She can wear them for sewing, too. 

Next weekend, new project!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cold care, petting fabric, and a winner!

 For the last week, I have been longing to sew, having plans to sew, even have dresses cut out to sew, but I have been stymied by a bad sinus infection! I have the worst sinuses known to mankind, seriously, and get a bad sinus infection at least once a year. This is an improvement over my college years where I would get them every other month. After a long road of health improvement, including seeing chiropractors, naturopaths, osteopaths, our family doctor, and finally one very very good otolaryngology specialist (ear, nose, throat), I finally have a good routine in place to keep them manageable. Along with a neti pot for sinus rinsing, here is my routine: Gypsy cold care tea, Alka-seltzer plus cold day and night, Flonase sinus spray, Sambucol elderberry, no refined flour or sugar products, no alcohol, probiotics, lots of rest, and Augmentin antibiotic if it gets really bad, like now.  Seriously, I have the worst sinuses in the world!  I could have surgery but as that is only 50% effective, I decided against it. Anyway, this means my kids clothing week challenge sewing is delayed until my head stops feeling like a vice is crushing my brain.

 In the meantime, I got some lovely fabrics from Europe that I have sitting on my sewing work area so I can pet them occasionally! Here they are!  They are so soft and pretty!  I am super lucky to have some wonderful friends who are able to import this stuff to the USA at a reasonable price.  Sewing friends are the nicest people in the world!!

And speaking of sewing friends, the winner of the halloween fabric giveaway is Connie! She just so happens to be a friend. Seriously, randon number generator generated number 3!  So, congrats to Connie and stay tuned for more sewing from me soon!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

KCWC2: The American Mama Store Dresses

This is quickly becoming my favorite pattern: Jocole's Crossover Tunic or Dress. This is such a versatile dress/top/tunic. So, for day #2 of Kids Clothing Week Challenge, I made my youngest daughter this great dress. Because the pattern comes with a doll version, I whipped that one out, too. She was very excited to see them and told her father that these are not from the American Girl Doll store but from the American Mama store! 

This fabric, which is absolutely amazing, is Valori Wells Karavan knit. It is a lovely, and I do mean lovely, cotton interlock with a slight amount of stretch to it.  This is the Kashmir print in Indigo.  I have been sewing with knits for a few years now and, while I am no expert, this is among my all time favorite knit fabric. 

Here is the doll version. This is an 18 inch Madame Alexander doll, but she has the same measurements as an American Girl doll. The pattern was easy to sew for my daughter but the doll dress was a tiny bit complicated. The first go round, the binding was too narrow for her hand to fit through!  Her hand is open wide and it would not fit through. So, I had to start over and made the sleeve a tiny bit longer and wider and did not use binding at all.  I did bind the neckline as one would for a girl.  Very pretty, I think.

Here is my oldest in her tunic I made her a few weeks ago.

Kids Clothing Challenge Week #1 (plus giveaway!)

It's kid's clothes week challenge time.  This year, I am participating. This all starts at the elsiemarley blog, linked above, and happens every year around this time.  The goal is to spend an hour a day for 7 days in a row sewing only for kids. Sewing, not yarn work. 

So, here is my first day's work. I finished up this skirt and applique top for my youngest daughter.

This is the Monkeysbug Festive skirt pattern, but I made it with elastic in the casings instead of ribbon.  That was a bit of a challenge to do but I think it turned out cute. This is Riley Blake trick or treat fabric that I was gifted a year ago.  The trim fabric is Black Mini Dot fabric.  All from Treasure Bay on Etsy. 

This top is a Picture of a Great Tee from Hanna Andersson. They don't make these anymore but occasionally I find them on Ebay. This was bought new off Ebay a year ago. Lucky me! These tops are thick and soft and wonderful.  The applique pattern is from the Riley Blake website. They have a cute skirt and applique tutorial you can download. This was my first ever attempt at an applique using my Janome MC5200D.  I had several stitches to choose from but liked #65 best.

Yes, if you made it this far in the reading, you have a chance to win the set of Halloween fat quarters shown below!  Just leave a comment here AND post on the HDH group page that you left a comment AND be sure to be a follower of this blog.  I will choose one winner this weekend, at the end of the Kids Clothing Week Challenge.


 Watch for more KCWC posts every day this week and more giveaways!!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to sewing! First up, Nelle goes to sea!

After a lovely summer of travelling around, with my girls, visiting family, it is nice to be home and back into a routine. That includes sewing!  School has already started for my nine year old, and I have made some things for her to wear out of some beautiful Free Spirit Karavan Knits. I will share that later. 

First up for sharing, I am excited to finally try the Brownie Goose Nelle pattern.  Amy, of Brownie Goose, is a sewing friend from Facebook and I have been waiting for the perfect thing to use for this feminine little dress.  I found it in the Out to Sea Fabrics from Sarah Jane.  I particularly love the Ship Flowers in Navy.   This was an easy pattern to sew and the directions are great. I highly recommend it.  I plan on making more of these!  I hope my cutie pie wears this tomorrow for her first day of kindergarten!  It is a bit cool here in the Pacific Northwest so she added a white tee underneath.


Yes, indeed, I also made a doll version! The pattern does not come with a doll version but I succeeded in figuring it out myself. I shrunk the pattern to 25% of scale. On my Mac, I did this by going to page setup and substituting 25% where it used to say 100%.  This turned out to be too small so I tried again with 35%.  Cutting out the pattern pieces and holding them up to Baby Pearl helped me figure this out.  I used the 6 mos size from the 35% scale pattern.  This worked great, except it was a tad too short.  No worries!  My 5 year old suggested an underskirt. Voila! This was a kinda fun thing to do except for the bias tape under the arms.  That was really really not fun at all!  If I do this pattern again for this doll, I will figure something else out. My tired hands!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Patterns!

I love buying new patterns and reading them and looking at them and thinking about them. LOL I don't sew from them as much as I do all the former activities!  But, I am planning for fall school clothes, so these will get used.

First of all, I decided to try some Mamu Designs patterns. I bought Nike and Arabella from Dotsnstripes on Etsy.   I chose the Arabella and Nike patterns.   They both arrived from the UK quite quickly! Faster than my order!  (laughing)  I was so pleased to see each one has 20+ design options in just one pattern, plus numerous sizes! Considering the cost, that makes it worthwhile.

Nike looks to be a very useful pattern from which one can make numerous skirts, tops, and dresses. I love that the pattern can work with woven fabrics or knits and there are short sleeve, long sleeve, and no sleeve options, plus long and short skirts.  Very useful!

Arabella made me swoon!  The choices! Long and short ruffly dresses and tops.  28 variations. Plus, and wait for it........ doll patterns!  What could be better.  And, again, each design can be made with knits or wovens.

Mamu Designs are made in Germany but each pattern comes with English directions as well as a pattern map for tracing whatever size pattern you need.

Next up, new Ottobre! I love Ottobre. Such a wonderful resource.  If you have never bought one, here is some information about them. Ottobre is a pattern magazine designed in Finland. You can order a subscription from them directly and pay via payal.  You get a free issue when you do. They make four children's magazines a year and two women's collections. Each magazine comes with many patterns.  The current Fall 2012 children's issue has 40 patterns in it, for boys and girls, babies up to tweens, each one in a variety of sizes.  So, for about $15 an issue, you get a lot! You cannot sell the items you make from them (long story) but you can make a great deal of clothing for your children and grandchildren. Since they are ahead of the fashion styles in Europe, compared to us in the USA, I still sew from older Ottobres. In fact, my favorite year is 2006!

Here are some details.  This is the new issue:

You get a nice thick magazine with glossy pictures in inside, full of multiple photos for each pattern.  There are 5-10 patterns each for babies, girls, and boys, and tweens.

This is a diagram of each pattern included in this issue. Each one shows the size ranges for each pattern.  They are Euro sizes, but you can easily learn how to measure. Flip your measuring tape over to centimeters!

This is the scary part - the pattern map!  You get 2-4 of these, double-sided.  They have outlines of each pattern, multiple sizes. You trace the size you need. Each pattern has a different color so you can find it easily. It takes a bit of practice but once you get the hang of it, it is very easy. I use Swedish Tracing Paper to trace mine, which you can find on Amazon or Ebay.  
 Here is an up-close of a pocket.   You see how it shows each size, just like a standard pattern. You just trace it and cut it out. Very easy.

So, now to wait for my fabric to get here and figure out what to make with it. Stay tuned!

New patterns, new school, new year!

Back from vacation and now it is time to think about the next school year!  Yes, school has  been out for three weeks but it is time to start sewing for next year. My soon-to-be kindergartner is going to have a lot of mama-made clothes to wear and my soon-to-be fourth grader will have some, so I need to plan.  

In preparation, I have ordered some lovely fabrics!  

From my lovely friend Melissa's shop, Treasure Bay, on Etsy, I ordered a bunch of pin dots to use as blenders with other fun fabrics I have bought from her in the past. Aren't these fun!  These will mostly be for the kindergartner.

From, I ordered some Valori Wells Karavan knits. These look gorgeous and will be lovely tops for my 9 year old.  These are a knit jersey with 4% spandex, so I have high hopes they will make nice comfy clothing. 

I next chose some 21 Wale cord from Robert Kaufman. This is a great, light-weight cord, perfect for dresses and tops.  

 Lovely stuff,  huh?   I really do love sewing with these cords, they are easy to use and drape perfectly for girl's wear.

And, finally, a big hunk of Laguna Stretch Cotton Jersey Knit in Navy. 

I think this is all going to make a pretty wardrobe for my girls! Now, what to do with it?