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).

New shoes

Experimentation in progress:

Harriet is in need of shoes now she’;s been walking for over a month, and she’s keen to try walking on pavements and rough ground. I thought I’d try to make a sandal, as it’s been so warm here. These are on the right track…

…but now quite there yet. They tend to slip around her feet a bit, and I think I need to re-think the back strap.
On the up side, they were very easy to make and the lovely think leather came from Hands in Christchurch for only $10/kg, so I definitely have enough for a few more attempts!

Summer shirts

Harriet and I have just come back from a week in Christchurch. It was absurdly hot down there for two girls who have thoroughly acclimatised to Wellington. Good thing I made these before we left:

Knowing it would be hot, I made up some little peasant tops, using the tutorial from indietutes again. One is in what I suspect is a coral cotton/silk (but was purchased in a grab bag from a Plunket fundraiser, so who knows?) and the other is a very graphic light cotton from Global Fabrics. I flared the bottom of the tops out into an A-line, and left off the elastic on the slightly-longer-than-last-time sleeves.

They’re comfortable and light and were in constant use in the hot sun, protecting fair little arms (that were also slathered in suncream). Also, H seems very happy in them…

…mostly…

(Notice the very fun props she has. They spend far more time being played with than worn!)

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)

Tricky Beasts

Buttons. They can completely change the flavour of a garment, they can make of break your knitting. And it’s really hard to find good ones. They’re all plastic, and they are either old lady-ish, a rugby ball, something pink and cheap looking or faaaaar too expensive for the likes of me. Tracking down a goody is hard.

Anyway, I’ve finally finished the finishing of the cable cardigan from Drops.

My plan all along had been to go with red buttons and to sew a red and white striped ribbon up the edge where the buttons sat. But somehow I left Goldings with orange buttons instead. When I laid them out, they were great, but really orange. In the centre of each one, I’ve sewn in a white and a turquoise bead from a mini-stash my aunt sent me.

It seems to tone down the orange, without reducing its effectiveness. I’m very pleased with the result! And when Harriet finally gets to wear it (in 6 months time, it’s photograph over a size 1 year tee… I think my blocking worked), hopefully she’ll have grown out of eating small choke-able objects!

Frogging


Not my day knitting-wise today… This vest from Drops is the largest project I’ve tried, and although I’m a pretty competent knitter, I’m pretty terrible at reading charted knitting patterns. I much prefer words, which may be why/because I was an English teacher. If a patten says ‘slip two stitches onto a needle behind the piece, then…’, I am far more likely to not spend my afternoon frogging my knitting. There’s nothing more demoralising when you’re using 3 ply.

But.. what do you think of the colours? The slate-ly navy for a vest and the moss green (it’s less lime in real life) for the hat/scarf combo. I had originally thought the other way round, but thought Harriet might become Friar Tuck if I put her in a Band of Merry Men style jerkin.
Also not my day for mail…

The baby got it. And then the whole thing was too cute to stop… so I grabbed the camera instead. Hoping the letter from the bank was a statement, and nothing important, ‘cos it’s just one slobbery mass now.
I am pleased to report though, there is now only half a sleeve left to do on my burgundy jersey, and I’ve found some awesome ribbon for the closure in Magnolia on College St. Getting quite excited about my idea, but clearly not excited enough to finish the damn thing!

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!