Sew Must Go On: Saltspring in Blue

While it may look like I have only been sewing and crafting baby stuff, I have in fact managed to eek out a few projects for myself. As cute as the baby gear is, one has to make a few selfish projects every now and then and I know that as a blog reader if you’re not in the same baby stage as me, the baby stuff gets exceedingly boring. So here we have the first of me trying to showcase the non-baby projects I’ve been working on. The biggest challenge I have found is actually getting pictures of the projects because inevitably a baby will be escaping from a stroller or screaming her lungs out right in the middle of the photo shoot. I’m also working 4 days a week now so time is very limited and the household is chaotic. But the ‘Sew Must Go On!’.

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For a while now I have been really impressed with Sewaholic’s patterns and really enjoyed the Renfrew tops that I made here and here. I was also inspired by all the gorgeous Saltspring dresses that I saw around (like Amy from Sew Well’s Blooming Saltspring in Blue). So I ordered the Saltspring pattern a while ago but needless to say it remained untouched for a long time until now.

The fabric I got on a trip to San Francisco a few years ago and I think I bought it under the illusion that it was silk but I’m pretty sure it’s not (given the price and the establishment where I found it). I did also try the burn test to check if it burned or melted – is this a conclusive silk vs acrylic test?  Any way, I liked the big bold blue print and it feels lovely and silky.

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I took a it of time trying to get the pattern placement right – note ‘heart’ on my chest and centered patterns on the skirt – that’s no accident and I’m amazed it turned out! Cutting out the pattern in a silky fabric is never easy and always a bit fiddly but i got it done in the end and my sewing machine seemed to handle the fabric like a star. I did assist in using a microtex sharp needle.

I like how the dress came together and I love that it has pockets! The billowy bodice is also better than I expected and the neckline is a nice cut without being too revealing. One thing I should’ve done (and I wish I had reread Amy’s post before I started the dress as she suggested it) was to leave out the back zipper. I can get into the dress without the zipper (the waist is elasticized) and I think it makes the back sit weirdly and not lie nicely. I suppose I could remove it and just sew up the seam but that will have to be a project for another day.

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(I think this photo is where I noticed Twin B launching herself out of the stroller and the photo shoot came to an abrupt end).

I am hoping to get some wear out of this dress before the weather turns too cold although I have realised that maxi dresses are not that conducive to having small children because they grab the dress and you have no hands to hold up the bottom when you’re climbing stairs etc. And grubby paws don’t go well with silky fabrics. All these things I never knew!

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Pattern: Sewaholic’s Saltspring

Fabric: Silky satin from a store in San Francisco

Alterations: None; but I should’ve left the back zipper out

Do it again: Hopefully. Maybe a short one next summer…

Nappy factory

For a long time (ie many years before the girls were born), I had thinking about, researching and even buying supplies to make my own modern cloth nappies (MCNs) – diapers for you yanks out there.     

 
I know it’s a bit of a weird thing to have dedicated so much creative energy to way before I could even use such things, but I was intrigued and quickly became committed to the idea for environmental, cost and health benefits. Also I think the modern cloth nappies you can get these days are so much cuter than disposables. When I discovered I was having twins I still wasn’t deterred even though people thought I was crazy and made comments like:  “You must really love doing laundry!”. But the challenge was set and I embraced it whole heartedly. 

I did lots of online research on patterns and fabrics and made a bunch of prototypes before the girls arrived. Then once I had actual models I could tweak designs and figure out what worked best for us. Once I had a pattern that I liked I spurge do on some awesome outer fabrics (waterproof PUL) and made about 12 nappies that are still in every day use. 

   

Each time I hang up a load of clean nappies I think: “Another pile of nappies that didn’t go to landfill – yay!”.  

Ps I realise that I may need to do another post on nappies with more of the technical details…for now just enjoy the pics! 

Aussie Christmas dresses

Not only is Christmas a time of friends, family and too much food; but when there are two babies in the house it’s a time for ridiculous Christmas themed outfits! Besides the essential Father Christmas and Elf store bought onesie, I managed to carve out some time to make Aussie Christmas dresses for the girls. 

   
 
The fabric is a cotton that I found at Lincraft and I just love the Aussie animals on the red one. The pattern is simple self-drafted pattern based in another dress. It’s just a lined bodice that ties at the shoulders and a gathered skirt. The fit around the chest isn’t amazing but it was definitely fine for a dress that sadly will only get a few wears. I did max out the dresses’ exposure by making sure the girls wore them 4 times over the holidays!

 

Crochet Blankets for the Twincesses

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These two crochet blankets have been LOOOOONG term projects that were started years ago before the twincesses were even twinkles in our eyes.  But the girls are here and the blankets are done!  Amazingly the blankets were actually completed before the girls arrived but have just been slow on the blogging side.

The first blanket is a Rainbow ripple that I mentioned in my Mile High Crochet club post back in 2014. The pattern is based on Attic 24’s awesome tutorial. It’s a great pattern that comes together relatively fast (if you don’t have crochet hiatus’s for years on end!).

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The second blanket is a granny square blanket that is made up of a bunch of granny squares that are then crocheted together.  The granny squares were quite fun to make but I didn’t enjoy the stitching together or tucking in of loose threads as much.

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Both blankets were made with a cotton yarn that felt really good to work with and has a great weight to it now in the completed project. As mentioned they took a LONG time to come together and have been worked on mainly during holidays or hospital stays.  I’m quite proud that they did actually get finished thanks to my confinement to the couch during my last few weeks of pregnancy. Needless to say, the blankets aren’t getting much use as covers in these sweltering summer days but they make great play mats too!

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Textured Play Mat

IMG_1697This was a fun project I managed to squeeze in before the girls were born (but have clearly taken an age to post about it!). It’s a play mat using all sorts of scraps and textures that are fun to feel and play with. The idea is that during tummy time the babies have interesting things to feel and their sensory perception develops. And of course with all the bright colours it’s visually stimulating as well.

You may recognise some of the scraps from projects like the Ziggi Jacket, the Charlie Dress, the Big (wedding) dress, The Pearl coat, Moo PJ pants, Baby bunnies etc etc.

IMG_1699For the back I just used some blue fleece I had in my stash. I was going to try to do a batting/quilting thing but went for the quick and easy route and am glad I did because it’s much easier to wash this way – an important consideration with all the baby spew around the place!

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And one last pic showing the play mat in action 🙂

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Two peas in a Pod

Our twin girls have arrived! Two gorgeous bundles of pure joy. We are over the moon and in awe of their perfect features and their little personalities that are already so different and distinct.

Needless to say sewing, crochet and all things craft have gone out the window as we get to know our precious daughters. I did however, manage to commission their granny to make the most wonderful knitted pea pod for a little photo shoot at home.  The picture was taken by their other granny – what talented women we have in the family!

Before the twins arrived, I did manage to get some very utilitarian sewing done. For example these flannel wipes were made from an old sheet based on the idea from Meagan Nielsen’s DIY Maternity.  I even had the luck that the squares on the fabric meant I didn’t need to measure or use a template, I could just cut along the squares and then whizz the edges through the overlocker.

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A few more pics of our angels:

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Floral Turn About the Room Dress

In a final burst of maternity sewing energy (and a serious need for bigger clothes), I had a go at Miriam of Mad Mim’s Turn About the Room Dress. I really like how Miriam’s version turned out and thought it would be a great addition to my maternity wardrobe.

IMG_1974For my version I used a red and black floral knit from Remnant Warehouse. My first try had the empire band in floral too but it was a bit much so I tried it in black and I think it works much better.  The black band at the bottom was also not in the original plan but I ran out of fabric to make the dress a decent length.  So in the spirit of Amy from Sew Well’s Twisted dress, I added a band along the hem line for extra length but I think it also adds to the dress by framing the crazy floral outburst.

I made the sleeves shorter on account of the sweltering weather we were having in Sydney at the time. I also added extra volume over the bump area because my double bump just seemed way larger than life. Even though I cut the medium bodice it seemed a bit big (even for my expanded bust line) so I had to take it in on the sides.

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I was pretty happy with the final product although I still think the floral might be a bit much especially with all that extra real estate out the front!  Oh well.  It’s a fun summer maternity dress.

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The front hemline still rides up over to compensate for the bump.  I’m not sure if I should take this into account by scooping the front hemline or just saying “Hey it’s gotta go over a large bump – of course it will ride up!”.

I think that’s the last of the maternity sewing for me!!

Pattern: Miriam’s Turn About the Room Dress

Fabric: Floral knit and Black Ponti from Remnant Warehouse

Do it again: Not this time round!