Summer-Mumma-mades

Recycled dress using my favourite pattern, again. It used to be an old nighty from the Gap, but the smocking elastic went and then it was just a shapeless pile of pretty fabric. Not any more!

One of Harriet’s grandfather’s shirts, cut down into a summery tunic. Shown here with no pants, ahem, but ordinarily, I’d suggest something more. I used a great free pattern from babyccinokids.com, although it’s super hard to find on their website. I think this would work well on a boy as well… probably turned around and maybe with a collar? I’ll definitely use it again, maybe even with some fancy twists (and some pants).

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Quilt for EK

In Christchurch, every baby is given a small black and white board book to help with their eye development and, hopefully, an early love of reading. A very good friend of mine is pregnant for the second time, but the new baby will not be born in Christchurch, so I wanted to make something to fill the gap.

The front is made from a black and white charm pack by Moda, mixed with a turquoise cotton I bought in a Plunket fundraiser grab bag. It’s backed with a black and white check/spot, and filled with a cotton flannel.

I’m super proud of making the binding myself, and for the hours of blindstitch I actually did. I was tempted to resort to topstitching with the machine, but resisted.

Sewing leather shoes, part 2


A very basic shoe, but a much needed one. The mary-janes are very similar to a pair I was given when Harriet was newborn. I made a cloth pair based on the originals about 6 months ago, and she has now outgrown both sets.
These were made from a knee length pink suede skirt. I’ve stepped up my game with the transition from cloth to suede, and added a few little details, like the bunched backs to help keep them on.

They’re so easy to make… a foot tracing for the lower piece and horseshoe shape for the top, with arms long enough to meet at the back.
The model has recently discovered velcro, so shoe-on shots are hard to come by!

Here’s our best attempt:

Tips for sewing with leather:
– Leather needles, leather needles, leather needles
– Go slow
– Use cheap leather to begin with (reused is the best kind)

Firsts

First quilt:

First monogram:

First reuse of old linens:

First birthday present:

Less than a month til H turns one. I loved making this for her… it’s primarily old table linens, including the back which is one beautiful botanical embroidered cloth. The batting is an old woollen blanket and the prints on the front are mostly Heather Ross.

New chair

Well… a new-to-me chair cos there’s no way this puppy could be mistaken for something fresh off the line.

Who knew the lovely Sallies on Taranaki St would deliver for ten smackers? Bargain. And they carried it up my two flights of stairs (weirdly) on their heads. Go them.

So after my unfortunate, but very comfy chair was delivered, I set to work. Four meters of piping and some creative pinning later, I discovered that I was not very good at this. I kept at it though, I’d already hacked into my lovely 5 meter length of ticking and there was no way through this, but to sew it up. Some of it made it to the machine, but a lot of it was hand sewn.

I intended on loosely basting it together then running the seams under the machine, but I found hand stitching oddly absorbing and compulsive and my stitches got smaller and smaller until finally the machine was quite redundant. It took forever though, and I found out why thimbles were invented, not that I have any, but I bear the scars.

It was worth it though. Final result… something I can let the baby touch!

Blocked at every turn


So my gauge was a little bit off. Only a little bit, or that’s what I thought. Being the kind of knitter who looks disdainfully on tension squares, I only discover at the end of a project if it’s worked or not. Not sensible, I know, but tension squares are boring. I know that makes me sound like a petulant teenager, but really, who has the time or willpower to knock out ten square centimeters of wasted wool? I do take precautions though… I used a 4 ply wool and size 3 needles for this pattern. I cast it off, rustled up the baby and whacked it on… just to see how much too big it would be.

It wasn’t too big. Thank goodness it wasn’t too small either, but all that work for something she’ll get a month’s wear out of… hmmm, don’t think so. As you can see, I tried blocking it (another thing I’m too much of a lazy knitter to usually do), and it’s stretched out a little, but I’m going to have to size up my needles when I start on this.

As a consolation though, a present came in the mail from my mother in law. A felted Country Road fine knit jersey, some beautiful cotton and pleather! I’m thinking tunic and peasant top for H and a tote for me.

How to sew soft soled leather boots for a baby…

… or something like that. Let me just say first off, I’m not a great seamstress. In fact, I’m pretty awful. BUT sewing with leather actually seemed really easy. Who would have thought?

First of all, you need a pattern. I didn’t have one, so I made it up. Also a lot easier than anyone knew, anyone being me.
I drew around Harriet’s foot (and on it), then added a seam allowance. I realised later that I was waaay too generous with it, as leather doesn’t fray and doesn’t need to be edged the way cotton would. That shape is the bottom of the shoe. The upper has the same shape at the toe, then flares into little wings. This could be as long as you want. It is rounded at the top where it meets the ankle. The ankle part is trickier. Basically I made a tube that was round enough to attach to the heel seam, go across the top of the foot and overlap slightly at the back for velcro-ing, then I cut the decorative top and the bridge of the upper into it. Also you need four little tabs for the tops of the boots. Here are my pattern shapes:

Before attaching the main pieces together, you need to do any decoration you intended. I was going to have some decorative stitching, but I forgot. I did, though, sew the tabs to the peaks of each ankle, and do two lines of stitching at the top in case the leather stretches.
The next part is where you sew the ankle to the upper. This is hard because you can’t pin it together. I sewed really slowly, piecing and turning the parts as I went. You need to get the curves to align so that the shoe has some shape. It will look lumpy when flat, but hold it up and it’ll look much better:

The next thing I did, but I think that this maybe isn’t necessary if you don’t like the look, was to elasticise the ankle, as Harriet kicks her shoes off all the time.
I sewed a felt casing on the inside of the ankle by sewing down one long side:

then securing some elastic at one end:

then sewing dwon the other long side, carefully avoiding the elastic hidden inside. It should look a bit like this:
Pull the elastic as tight as you think it needs to be, then secure and cut off the remainder.

Now you need to sew the top parts to the base. Tricky because my sewing machine moves quite fast, ,and again, no pinning. I tacked the pieces together in places:

then sewed the upper to the base:

Then all you need to to is turn it inside out, attach the velcro (cutting off the sharp edges):

and voila… a boot. Maybe a little more Peter Pan than Buffalo Bill, but still, a boot!