Monday, 29 April 2013

Roots, beer, clothes for the boy

On the road into G's hometown is this. This is the Primus brewery.

Where they make, among other things, Primus beer: 
Among the other things they make is apparently promotional t-shirts. Remember this? :

G's dad still lives in G's hometown, and every now and again he'll go to some sort of social event / fundraiser and buy a tombola ticket. If he wins, which he seems to do with great frequency, he may well donate his prize to us. I must say here that the prizes are often less good than this one. But this XXL men's t-shirt - well I saw G about to politely refuse it, and had to intervene.

I mean, couldn't he see the potential?

It had toddler rock star potential!



Is he not adorably, absolutely, mini Jon Bon Jovi? I'm probably biased or something, but seriously - I could actually EAT him.
(Pattern is the sleeveless skater dress bodice, size 3-4, lengthened).


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Skunks! Hedgehogs! Tightrope-cycling monkeys!

What is this place and what are all those animals doing here??

It can only be the land of Lillestoff! And a beautiful neckline finish like that can only mean that I managed to follow without a hitch the excellent and comprehensive instructions that come with the Kitschy Coo Skater dress pattern. This one's a real winner, folks. Its so easy and so comfy and so absolutely just right for little girls.

This dress manages to look twirly and tomboy, cute and no-nonsense, pretty and practical all at once. And the organic knit fabric is absolutely beautiful to behold, handle and wear. It was a splurge, which is something I rarely do on fabrics and especially not for the kids - they grow so fast! They scrape holes in things! But I had good reason to decide that this spring's wardrobe for my daughter was worth an exception to the rule, and when I can formulate my thoughts I shall tell you about it - I'd really like to see what others think. But I won't get ahead of myself; that's for when it isn't midnight, midweek.

Show me your moves, L!

And tonight was more cutting and prepping, ready for sewing again on KCW Day 4 tomorrow. Back soon (I hope...)

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  • Fabric: Lillestoff organic cotton knit and coordinating ribbing from Miss Tiggr.
  • Helpful hints and brilliantly massive details on sewing with knits here on Amanda's blog.


Monday, 22 April 2013

I am a soft-spined weakling

Who is utterly unable to resist the lure of Kids Clothes Week. I have a horrible horrible cold, I'm busy, there's plenty of other stuff I could be getting on with. 
But, you know, it's fun. It's a bit of a challenge and a lot of community, and I'm kind of a sucker for both of those things, especially if there's sewing involved.
Thus, we have here an explosion of activity and brightly printed fabric.

Because also, L needs dresses. Lots of dresses. She'd rather wear dresses than anything else, and as she's grown out of everything again, it seemed futile to fight it. Under these circumstances I think you'll agree that I was practically obliged to buy the patterns - the fact that I'd been eyeing them both anyway has nothing to do with it.

The roller skate dress I've mentioned already. There will be another. There will also be skater dresses. Oh yes, there will be many. I've already made up this pattern once (but failed to photograph the results) and it's another total corker. I'll write more about it when I've got a finished one to show you; for now I'll just say: thank you Amanda! You evil genius with your fabulous patterns and shop full of wondrous knits.
For girl-boy balance I'll be upcycling a top for T from this XL men's t-shirt, generously given to me by my father-in-law who won it on a tombola.

I doesn't look like much, but I have a Secret Plan that hopefully will turn out well (or I'll just totally regret ever having mentioned it and we'll never speak of it again, ok?) He also wants a Red Indians t-shirt from the fabric below, so I've been cutting a skater dress very carefully out of my precious metre of it and should be able to oblige.

And that's the sum total of my ambitions. It think it'll be plenty, given I can only breathe through my mouth right now (where am I going to put my pins??)

I hope to be back soon with some actual makes!

Who all else is sewing along with KCW? What're you planning, and how's progress? I'd love to see!


Thursday, 18 April 2013

In which spring gets its skates on

Look! We've been playing outside!

And someone's got a new dress...

As for me, I've fallen a little bit in love with the pattern. It's been a while since I felt the urge to sew kids' clothes, but this one's got me back into it with a bang. It's the Roller Skate dress, one of the new Oliver & S patterns, and I ADORES it. I sort of knew I would as soon as I saw it (and the speediest mail order-er ever obliged, as promptly as always).


It's just my and L's style, and while I must admit to having struggled a little with the fiddliness of the Ice Cream dress (which by the way is now, already, massively too small and hardly covers her bum), it was immediately obvious that this one is more straightforward. It was a joy to sew, even having opted for the yoke/facing option.

I still managed to mess up slightly (of course), trimming the seam allowance at the neckline point a bit too closely. In its first wash it came loose and frayed a bit, so I edgedstitched the whole neckline and it seems to be keeping things in place OK.

The button, I was astonished to discover, was the only one in a not inconsiderable stash of the right size. Luckily it matched.

The lining peeks out of the sleeves, despite great care to keep everything smooth in the right place.Why? WHY?? *

* I don't actually care.

Anyway, the main thing I wanted to say about this dress is that it made me realise why Oliver & S patterns inspire devotion (yes, apparently they do). The instructions are absolutely impeccable - you are literally hand-held through the entire thing. I can hardly recall the details of making this because I just switched off and let the pattern do the thinking. L chose the fabrics out of my stash so it was a no-effort thing from start to finish.

She's been doing a lot of growing out of her clothes this winter, so there'll likely be a slew of posts soon featuring a new wardrobe for her; happily, this may well coincide with Kids' Clothes Week. Either way, to redress the girl-boy balance in this one, here's T in his current favourite get-up:

I was trying to get him to pose like he was catching those red fish embellishing the floor, but all he was interested in was stretching the fishing rod and pinging it. It frustrates me much and often, but actually I'm rather proud that no-one makes either of my kids do what they've decided not to.


Monday, 8 April 2013

Bias-bound bibs

For a much longed-for baby boy. Making presents like these is the best.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Marie Claire Idées N° 94

How about we flick through some crafty French eye candy today?

At Christmas I was given a year's subscription to Marie Claire Idées. It's basically the same as the 'normal' Marie Claire, but for crafts. I like it not just because of the pretty pictures and the things to make, but also because it's a little window into the French-speaking world of DIY, which to my eyes is a bit different to the Anglophone world I usually live in.

Want to see what I mean? Let's take a look.

The first few pages are filled with bonnes idées - good ideas. Which in this case means, shopping. Nice pretty things to inspire and, if you have pots of money, buy. I'm always pleased to see Belgians featuring, of course: that's Magritte on the mugs, for those who wouldn't know :-)

But let's move on to the crafts.

Some kid sewing patterns: cute enough, and I'd be tempted to use their gilet pattern if I didn't already know about the extremely similar free download from Mme Zsazsa.

Things with sticks. The first is an idée masking tape, the second a jewellery hanger. I have to say that both these are far too homemade for me, but each to his or her own. It's democratic :-)

There are some decent knitting ideas. I like this blanket quite a lot:

This snood is one of the relatively few things in the magazine that deliberately links crafting with the catwalk:

Along with a spread on how to shop stylishly from your local Parisian thrift shop:

But some of the other features, I have to say, well - I raised my eyebrows. I mean, there's the aspirational feature on people who live in a house like this:

I don't know about you, but I can't imagine there being a lot of common ground between them and the demographic who might make this:

That's a hand-sewn jacket with hand-knit sleeves and pockets. Is it just me, or is that a bit insane?

I think that's what I find a little bit strange about this magazine. It looks chic, just as I want to expect from the French. But much of the content is an awful lot more frumpy than what the modern Anglophone crafting world looks like. Or am I out of step? I don't really read craft magazines in English so I wouldn't know about them - maybe it's the online crafting community, whatever the language, that's a few steps ahead in terms of functional and fashionable crafting. Is there a cultural/linguistic divide here - or am I just wrong? It's always possible ;-)

This article seems like another example, though - an info piece on yarn bombing. There are so many incredible knitters and hookers in the French-speaking world, it hardly seems possible that this hasn't hit their towns and cities yet. 

Although I suspect that attitudes to public space are rather different in France; perhaps that explains it.

Anyway, apart from that, we move on to articles in those classic women's magazine territories: beauty and cooking.

The recettes maison for home beauty treatments look pretty good in fact, and are one of the few things from this edition I'm likely to actually make.

The food looks good too, and I may well try some of these if the mag makes it from craft room to kitchen at any point.

 Sadly though, the cover picture is not about how to cook the cakes but how to sew the tablecloth.

I was a bit gutted by that to be honest.

There's also a travel feature on Angkor Wat and pretty things to bring back. This seemed a bit out of place to me in a crafts magazine - but it does reflect the structure of non-crafting women's monthly mags.

Sorry for the small pic - click to enlarge if interested!

And finally, at the end there's the cahier d'explications - instructions for how to make everything shown in the previous pages. Which is the point at which I think, nah - not actually going to bother.

Click for the bigger picture...

But I do enjoy looking at it. I've rarely made anything from Marie Claire Idées, but it always makes me explode with my own ideas, a bit like French Pinterest on paper.

Any other readers out there? What do you think? Does something like this exist in English? What other crafty magazines should I be reading?

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And with that, I'm off to watch Tilly in episode one of the Great British Sewing Bee. Isn't this the most exciting thing on television ever???!!!!