Annie Sews

Learning to sew and having fun doing it!

Just a little update…

I’ve been very busy lately and my sewing has been neglected but I have a great excuse! Meet Thomas –

Photo by Margan Photography.

Photo by Margan Photography.

He was born on the 29th March, a very healthy 4.394kg!

I was sewing up until the last weeks of my pregnancy but woefully neglected to show any of it in here. I’m hoping that life settles a bit more soon and I can start some projects that I’m yearning to do.

I have a number of patterns I’m eager to try so hopefully I can get to it soon.

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‘Tis the Season.

I have been a busy little BIG bee the last couple of weeks. Trying to make the most of the time and little bit of energy I have! With Christmas coming fast I decided to sew gifts for some lovely little girls. Many of my friends have daughters so it’s the perfect excuse to make some cute skirts or outfits.

These cupcake skirts are super easy and I can now complete one in under 45 minutes (including pressing time). I made two of the same for sisters who are 2.5 and 4. I used this cute cupcake cotton fabric from Lincraft and the Easy-Peasy Skirt tutorial from Punkin Patterns .
I used the french seam option as it looks tidy and without an overlocker (serger), it is a great option to stop fraying mess.

Cupcake skirt.

Cupcake skirt.


Seam

Seam

The next little outfit is also a skirt using the above tutorial but I have added a little fun applique to the spotted cotton fabric – a ladybird and flowers, cut from some cute corduroy fabric scraps. I am still working on my applique technique but I think it looks pretty good. To add to the outfit I made white leggings, from a lightweight stretch knit, to wear with the skirt. I used the legging pattern from Simplicity New Look 6016 (I have made 3 pairs so far and plan on more!)

Ladybird skirt with leggings.

Ladybird skirt with leggings.

Last night I completed another Christmas outfit for Lucy using the Let’s Go Fly a Kite tutorial from Jess, at Craftiness is Not Optional (She is amazing). It’s my second attempt and first success! The shoulder straps are too wide but it fits perfectly otherwise. I used self covered buttons for the front bodice, using the same cord fabric from my ladybird applique. Adds a nice pop of colour don’t you think? The main fabric is cotton and the dress trim is a Christmas themed quilters cotton.

"Let's Fly a Kite" Christmas dress.

“Let’s Fly a Kite”
Christmas dress.

Haha, don’t look at my toes peeking out in the photo!
Lucy wouldn’t model for me today so I will try to get some photos of her wearing this dress as soon as I am able.

Edited to add this:

My little model showing off her new dress.

My little model showing off her new dress.

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A Few Bits and Pieces

It’s been a few weeks since my last post but I promise I have been busy! I have had lots of fun sewing little items for children. Some for mine and some for others.

The first item I made was a little tummy time mat for our new addition, due in March. I had The Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt squares already in my stash so it seemed the perfect time to use them. This is not a traditional quilt. I have never made a quilt in my life but I love the sewn squares and patterns that can be created. There’s something quite therapeutic about sewing all the little squares together! As it is a floor mat I chose to back the squares with fleece. Rather cheaply I might add. We have at least a dozen fleece blankets hanging around our house so I chose a lovely green one (originally bought from Ikea) that I thought went well with TVHC colour scheme. As you can see I didn’t add a border to the mat and I rather like it without one. I think bubs will love to have tummy time on this comfy mat.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar squares

The Very Hungry Catterpillar squares

Fleece backing

Fleece backing

I also made one for a friend who is having a little boy. The only issue with this one is the pattern got a bit wobbly and I will blame baby brain for that haha! I used a cotton batting with calico backing already sewn on to back this little blanket. It’s very comfy and warm.

Baby Blues

Baby Blues

Lastly, to show is this cute little toddler dress – Simplicity New Look 6016. I made this for a friend’s daughter and although I had to redo the yoke due to me misinterpreting the patterns instructions (baby brain ;) ).
I did machine sew buttons on for the first time for this dress which is a bit exciting, as I normally just hand sew them on. I was pleased with how neat the button holes turned out too. It’s nice to see proof of my skills slowly improving.

Simplicity New Look 6016

Simplicity New Look 6016

Up close yoke and buttons.

Up close yoke and buttons.

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Finished toddler pinafore.

I completed my daughter’s pinafore last night and I am really happy with how it turned out. I tried it on her this morning and it is a little big but I’d rather it be too big, than too small. Lucy loved trying it on, which is unusual for her. She even posed properly for me so I didn’t have to chase her around, madly clicking the camera button. She wanted to wear it for the rest of the day but unfortunately it’s a bit too delicate for everyday wear. I can’t wait for her to wear it on Christmas Day!

Last night’s tasks were fairly straight forward. The back left and right pieces had to be folded over 1cm, then another 2cm and stitched.

Sewing the back sides.

Sewing the back sides.

Next, I added two button holes – 12cm apart (still a bit dodgy with button holes).

Buttonhole

Buttonhole

and hand stitched the buttons on…

Buttons

Buttons (front)

Buttons (back)

Buttons (back)

All finished and worn by my little model at 7am this morning (before her hair was brushed!)

Front view.

Front view.

Back view.

Back view.

It is a little big but I am very happy with the results.

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The Fraying Fiasco.

I began sewing Lucy’s Christmas dress last night and it nearly turned into a disaster! I could not believe how much the fabric frayed with so little handling. I felt like it would turn into a fistful of cotton threads within minutes of pinning and sewing.

Everything started off well. I had already cut the main fabric and lining out so I was ready for the next step, which was sewing the back and front pieces together at the shoulders. This is when I first realised how slippery and delicate the fabric was. I can’t believe I didn’t notice it before! I then moved on to joining the main fabric to the lining by pinning, then sewing at the neck and arms.

Pinning fabric and lining together.

Pinning fabric and lining together.

Sewing the lining to fabric.

Sewing the lining to fabric.

At this point I started to worry about the state of the brocade. As it moved around and stretched as I was sewing. It also frayed heavily.

Frayed edge.

Frayed edge.

Realising my predicament I made the mistake of rushing my sewing. After I pulled the fabric through the shoulders, to be around the right way, I quickly moved on to the next stage – sewing the fabric and lining sides together (as separate pieces). I found sewing the lining a breeze but of course had trouble with the slippery brocade. It kept moving and fraying horribly but I managed to do a semi decent job of it. I only had to redo a tiny section after I found it had folded over and I had sewn over it.

Pinning the main dress and lining separately, ready to sew the sides together.

Pinning the main dress and lining seperately, ready to sew the sides together.

By this stage I was starting to get tangled in frayed threads from the bottom of the dress. I don’t have an overlocker at the moment so I zig zag stitched all the way around the hem. It amazed me how much it frayed as I was sewing it!

Zig zag stitch to prevent more fraying.

Zig zag stitch to prevent more fraying.

I was then able to hem the dress successfully, which was a big relief. I decided to call it a night after that but the majority of the dress is complete. I have made matching fabric covered buttons for this dress too (what can I say? I love them!) and will add them on in the next couple of days and will hopefully complete the dress over the weekend.

Hem.

Hem.

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A dress to wear for Christmas Day.

I just love Christmas, as it is the time the Mr, Lucy and I go back to Tasmania to visit our families. It’s always a nice long visit, where we spend time between the two families and meet up with old friends. Christmas Day is divided between both sides, with Christmas Eve and Christmas morning spent with my family and then Christmas lunch/night spent with the in-laws. It’s a lovely day, made even more special now there are little ones again. As it is a special occasion, I have decided to make Lucy a special dress to wear on the day.

The pattern I have chosen is a simple pinafore from “Making Children’s Clothes”, a lovely book which has 25 sewing projects for young children 0-5 years old.

Making Children's Clothes

Making Children’s Clothes

I have made this pinafore before with corduroy but this time I am using a brocade, with cotton as the lining (I’m not too worried about it being too hot to wear, as Tasmania doesn’t quite reach the same temperatures as here in New South Wales).

I have decided to take my time with this project so I have only cut out the main fabric and lining fabric tonight.

Main fabric for Pinafore

Main fabric for Pinafore

Tomorrow I can get started putting it all together.

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Pleated Toddler Top

I have decided to concentrate on sewing for Lucy for the next few months, until after I have had the baby and can fit into non maternity clothes again!

As it is heading towards Summer (and with the already hot weather) here in Australia, I am building up Lucy’s Summer wardrobe with some cute little pieces. I started with the birdie circle skirt and I have just completed a sleeveless pleated toddler top, using a tutorial from Craftiness is Not Optional.

It was pretty simple to follow: using an existing top in Lucy’s wardrobe as my pattern, I traced around it on to some paper and making it into a more A-line shape. I also made sure I had my front and back necklines too.

Traced pattern.

Traced pattern.

The fabric is a gorgeous pink cotton with deep pink roses. Technically it’s a quilting cotton but I don’t let that worry me. It was too lovely to leave in the shop!

The front’s main features are the pleats but I wanted to add something to the back so I used the same fabric to cover the buttons.

iPhone 044

I still need to work on my button placing skills but it looks ok. I was most disappointed with the right side (back) turned out longer than the left. I’m not sure how it happened but I attempted to shorten the length by just rolling up the hem and re sewing but it’s still a little long. I’m not going to play around with it anymore and I think, whilst being worn, it won’t be so noticeable (I hope :D ).

Here are some photos of the finished top:

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

On my little model.

On my little model.

The Craftiness is Not Optional tutorial can be found here.

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Little Birdie Toddler Circle Skirt

I love circle skirts. They’re very simple to make and always look gorgeous. I have made a few now but the one I made yesterday is a little different, as this time I added a cute sparkly net ruffle to the hem.

Hem and gathers

Hem and gathers

Hem close up

Hem close up

I have had the sparkly netting for years, ever since I bought it ro make a costume for Book Week at a school I used to teach at. The bird fabric is from Spotlight and I bought that a quite a few months ago, when they had a big sale. All in all a very cheap skirt to make.

My 2-year-old daughter loves to wear skirts (she calls them “girts”) and this one was no exception. I took her to a local park for a bit of a photo session.

Miss L in her circle skirt.

Miss L in her circle skirt.

Little Miss Cool

Little Miss Cool

Playing is easy in a cute skirt!

Playing is easy in a cute skirt!

This is a great circle skirt tutorial to use if you’ve never made one before.

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Sundress up close – Simplicity 2884.

I decided to share more photos of the sundress I have made for my sister. I am quite pleased with how it has turned out. This is only the second zipper I have sewn in a garment and I can see it doesn’t look the best but not too bad for a novice ;) .

I love how neat and tidy the inside looks when lined. Makes it look really “finished”. Fingers crossed it fits my sister! (She lives in a different state to me so I have sewed by measurements only.)

Bodice

Bodice – front

Bodice - back

Bodice – back

Side - wonky zipper

Side – wonky zipper

Halter neck - side view

Halter neck – side view

Inside viewing - lining

Inside viewing – lining

Bodice lining

Bodice lining

Side view - lining/zipper

Side view – lining/zipper

Side view - lining

Side view – lining/boning

Back and boning view

Back and boning view

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Long time no sew!

It’s been quite awhile since I have written on here but I have a good reason, I promise! I had a couple of months off, as I found out I am expecting my second child. I was so sick/tired that it is only the last couple of weeks that I have finally got my energy and mojo back.

I have worked on a few different projects lately but this one has been the most fun and important (please ignore the mess in the picture!):

Cherry Sundress

Simplicity 2884

It’s so easy Simplicity 2884 is such a cute pattern. I made view B, which is the shorter version with a button up halter neck (A is longer and has a tie up halter neck). This lovely dress is for my sister, Jess. She chose the cotton cherry fabric and I have loved every part of the construction – even when I had to unpick the skirt from the bodice to redo the gathers more evenly.

I have also been working on a few maternity items for myself. My favourite and most successful so far has been this circle skirt, with a black belly band fashioned from a pair of old leggings. It is super comfy and will stretch to accommodate my growing belly. I love the taffeta fabric as it’s all swishy when I wear it and the little black flower details are made of velvet.

Maternity circle skirt

Maternity circle skirt

I am going to make a few nice summer dresses and skirts for Lucy soon. It’s getting so hot already here in Sydney!

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