Browsing Category

Sewing

Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Kitty Kitty Photography Sewing

Hello Kitty {handmade for Kitty}

20/05/2016

You’ll never guess what I made this week. Just as second socks have to be knit immediately after the first sock or the pair will never ever be finished, it makes perfect sense to me to keep on going and make the second dress after I’ve finished the first, while I can still remember all the tips and tricks that I either used or more importantly, wish I’d used, with the first.  And so this week I made Kitty her Susanne.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Hello Kitty Wonderland Liberty Tana Lawn

The fabric is more Liberty print, this time Hello Kitty Wonderland, bought from the sale bin in Liberty’s long before I realised how prized and treasured Hello Kitty Liberty print is – had I known I might have bought the other two lengths as well.   Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Hello Kitty Wonderland Liberty Tana Lawn

For my quite spectacularly tall 5 year old, whose age 8 dresses are looking decidedly too short I went for the age 10 size – and added an extra three inches to the bottom.  And it looks like it might just last longer than a month before she grows out of it.  At the moment it reaches just about past her knee, while Elma’s equivalent dress came just to the knee, but I like the way it looks, there’s a slightly 70’s kaftan vibe to it, especially as I went with deep orange thread for the topstitching (thank you Instagram and Facebook friends for the straw poll!). Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Hello Kitty Wonderland Liberty Tana Lawn

The construction is obviously exactly the same as Elma’s; I didn’t use the elastic on the shoulders this time and I’m in two minds as to whether it needs it, the yoke is just a little bit big on Kitty right now, but she loves it as it is and vehemently protested the mere idea of any alterations so for now it stays without elastic.  I also found that knowing how it fitted together meant that I could use the seam allowances at the side of the yoke to tuck around each other and pin them in place so that they were held in place by the waist seam.  I’d love to show you a photo of what I mean but ever since I finished the dress it’s either been on Kitty or folded up on her pillow so you’ll have to trust me when I say that it looks a lot neater and tidier than the inside of the previous incarnation.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Hello Kitty Wonderland Liberty Tana Lawn

Despite much watching of YouTube videos on different seam finishes the easiest thing still seemed to be to use a sort of all in one French seam clipped to let it go around the corners for the sides and the sleeves and so far it seems to be holding up on both versions.  The final touch on the construction was to make a little more bias binding to cover up the waist seam as before and then it was all ready to be hung up on the curtain rail to wait for Kitty to come down the next morning.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Hello Kitty Wonderland Liberty Tana Lawn

I love seeing how much she loves it. I’m always happy when the children like the things I make for them because there’s more than just fabric and stitches in the making, but this fabric has been intended for Kitty for a while and I’m glad I could make something for her before she grew out of every pattern anywhere that would make her her Hello Kitty dress.  And as Elma will be all but adult by the time it fits her as a handmedown I can only hope that it stays Kitty’s dress for a good while to come!

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Hello Kitty Wonderland Liberty Tana Lawn

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On and Make Do and Push for Funky Kid Friday

And if you would lend me a couple of minutes of your time (and you haven’t already voted), I am blown away over the moon happy to be a MADs Finalist for the Best Craft Blog category this year, and I would love your vote.  Anyone, anywhere is eligible to vote, just click on the banner below and look for Space for the Butterflies in the drop down menu for Best Craft Blog – thank you x

MADS-VOTE-NOW-copy-768x169

 

Elma Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Elma Photography Sewing

Ma petite theriere {handmade for Elma}

13/05/2016

Having a pile of gorgeous fabric stacked up on my desk has proved irresistible. It’s been very pretty to look at on my working from home days but it’s been even more fun to dive in and start sewing. And even though I’m not in the market to fully participate in May is for Makers, mostly because I have half a hundredweight of indie designer patterns already that I really need to put to good use, I love the concept and it seemed the perfect nudge to get me started on my summer sewing, and to start with a pattern I’ve never made before.

So Citronille’s Susanne it was.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Liberty Print Tana Lawn Elevenses

It’s a very simple pattern, just six pieces, but the construction is really clever and it all comes together to make a lightweight billowy dress that’s perfect for the hot weather we had last week before I’d finished making it and probably won’t see again until September.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Liberty Print Tana Lawn Elevenses

Most of the children’s clothes I’ve made have been from Oliver + S patterns which have rather spoiled me both in terms of holding my hand step by step and in producing clothes with a beautiful finish inside and out. Citronille’s Susanne isn’t hard to make by any stretch of the imagination, but it does expect you to know how to put a dress together, and how to do a hem without too much help, and the internal finishing is left up to you.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Liberty Print Tana Lawn Elevenses

 

I like things to look as tidy on the inside as the outside, and I want things to be able to withstand daily life as a dress for a three year old so I’ve tried to be as tidy as I can. On the sides of the yoke I wrapped the seam allowance around on itself and sewed it together, and on the side seams and the sleeves I used French seams, though I still haven’t quite figured out how to do French seams that go around a corner or involve a corner in some way – I sewed the French seam and then clipped the curve as if it were an ordinary seam which isn’t perfect but works ok – if you’ve got any top tips then let me know! And finally for the waist seam I made some bias binding out of the leftover fabric using the continuous bias binding method and used that to tuck away the gathers. I’d does add a little bulk, especially using double fold bias binding, but in Tana Lawn that’s barely noticeable, and I suspect it makes it much more comfortable to wear.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Liberty Print Tana Lawn Elevenses

The fabric is from my stash of bought on sale Liberty print, it’s Tana Lawn, which makes it all sorts of heavenly soft and floaty and the pattern is Elevenses, which Liberty itself only seems to have in the equally pretty red.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Liberty Print Tana Lawn Elevenses

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Liberty Print Tana Lawn Elevenses

And as for the small wearer? Well I know Elma always seems incredibly dainty and petite next to her siblings but she is actually also above average height for her age, just not off the charts tall. This is the age 4, cut exactly to the pattern and it’s a perfect fit. I did add in the optional elastic in the shoulders just to help it stay up, though I don’t think I’ll need to when I get to Kitty’s. In length it reaches to just above Elma’s knee; it reminds me of some of her Spanish dresses both in the cut and the length and it’s perfect for running around in the sunshine without tripping over yourself, which is exactly what this dress is for.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Liberty Print Tana Lawn Elevenses

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronelle Patterns in Liberty Print Tana Lawn Elevenses

I finished it on Wednesday night and hung it on the curtain rail in the lounge and from the moment Elma got down in the morning she was jumping up trying to reach it and desperate to try it on.  I’m told she wore it all day to go for a walk on a new nature trail, to do some pond dipping and to have an ice cream- the height of praise indeed!

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On and Make Do and Push for Funky Kid Friday

And if you would lend me a couple of minutes of your time (and you haven’t already voted), I am blown away over the moon happy to be a MADs Finalist for the Best Craft Blog category this year, and I would love your vote.  Anyone, anywhere is eligible to vote, just click on the banner below and look for Space for the Butterflies in the drop down menu for Best Craft Blog – thank you x

MADS-VOTE-NOW-copy-768x169

Crochet Elma Family Handmade Inspiration Kitty Knitting Photography Pip Sewing Work in Progress

Progress and Planning

29/04/2016

This week I have been plotting.  I’ve been making as well but I’m having one of those phases where I flit between projects depending on mood and concentration levels and while some things have got a little bigger since the last time you saw it, none of them are anywhere near finishing.  The backing and wadding and binding for the Fishing Net quilt are still in their bag, as is the background fabric for my next quilt, mostly waiting for me to tidy my desk up even just a teeny tiny bit to make room for what will be a quite gargantuan quilting effort.

Space for the Butterflies - Cottage ripple Space for the Butterflies - Cottage ripple  I picked up my crochet again when the weather turned cold, mostly because it’s so cozy to work on while it’s all spread over my lap.  I have now finished the first third of the central section, although given that that has taken me a year and a quarter I can only hope that the rest won’t take as long to finish.  I’m definitely getting faster, and my trebles are getting more fluid, so I have high hopes.  I’d say maybe by Christmas but it turns out that after all these years I am actually learning that given that the last third of the year has all three children’s birthdays and Christmas, I might want to rethink what I’m going to be able to do on top of all of the deadlines for birthday jumpers.  Maybe a year from now – what do you think?

 

The chief distraction from the crochet has been Christmas knitting. Of the 2015 variety.  I was doing so well with H’s Christmas present balls of yarn; he had his January socks in January and his February socks in February and his March socks are ….

20160429-DSC_0073 two inches of the first sock that keep falling off the needles as soon as Pip even looks in their direction.  I do like the pattern but I think it’s my least favourite of all four yarns and when I was looking for something to grab for car knitting while we were travelling last weekend I’m afraid I glanced in their direction, and then went to pick up the loveliness that is Socks that Rock medium weight to make a start on April’s socks.    Space for the Butterflies - handknit socks

It’s proof that lovely yarn practically knits itself because by the time we arrived back on Sunday night I’d got to the toe shaping.  Forgive me for my sock infidelity lovely March socks, I promise I’ll get back to you just as soon as I’ve finished the second April.

But I mentioned plotting.  I picked up one of my stash of Oliver + S patterns the other day and realised that not only has Kitty grown out of the sizing (that’s not that much of a surprise, she may be five but she wears age 8 and 9 clothes) but Elma is on the cusp of being too grown up for them too.  Well that will never do.  And so on a rainy wet evening this week that felt entirely borrowed from February, I pulled out a good chunk of my dressmaking fabric stash, divided the patterns into Kitty and Elma sizes and asked them to do some choosing.  And so I have a summer sewing list of sorts.

I’ve done this before; make lists and lined up fabric and pattern and then that seems to have satisfied that particular creative itch and I’ve never actually got around to doing the cutting and sewing, a sort of textile equivalent to joining a gym making you think that you’ve actually done some exercise.  So lets just say that this is the intention, even if we have to wait a little bit for the reality.

So what do we have?

Space for the Butterflies - campervan skirts

Well probably first on the list is going to be the girls’ souvenir from our weekend away – H and I both fell in love with this camper van print, to the point that even a similar print but with beach huts couldn’t distract us from the vision of two little girls running around in camper van skirts with dotty pockets.  My plan is to make more (yet more) of the Purl Bee’s Skirt for All Ages, it’s a great pattern and the previous incarnations have been top of the wardrobe picks all year round.

Space for the Butterflies - Susanne from Citronille

After that, and in the spirit of fairness and the slightly more important spirit of dressing them as near to matching as I can get away with while they’re still small enough to find it fun, I have the Citronille pattern for Susanne, in sizes to cover both girls.  It’s a beautiful floaty gathered smock dress, which will be perfect for the hot days I’m convincing myself are coming (even if we have to go travelling in Europe to find them), and work well with leggings underneath for the rest of a British summer or when Kitty grows 10 inches overnight.

I can easily imagine that this is as far as I will actually get, but if I indulge myself for a second and press on, both girls have chosen a skirt from my stash of Oliver + S patterns;

Space for the Butterflies - Oliver + S skirts

Kitty’s is the Badminton Skort to be made out of a blue quilting cotton (Toy Box II by Sara Morgan for Blue Hill Fabrics), with possibly something of a contrast for the shorts underneath depending on how far I can make the fabric stretch, and Elma chose the Hopscotch Skirt and a pile of fat quarters from a seaside print. It’s crazy to think that when I bought that fabric it would have made her a dress. Oh well!

And last, but by no means least, we have the challenges;

20160429-DSC_0141

a Fairytale dress for Kitty from fabric from the weekend’s haul, a beautiful albeit nameless quilting cotton, and for Elma an Ice Cream Dress from two of the oldest lengths of fabric in my stash.

20160429-DSC_0110

They’re both Liberty Tana lawn, one a birthday present from the days before the children arrived, and the other bought while I was on maternity leave with Kitty.  Liberty print is far too special not to be treasured and held onto until exactly the right project comes along, and I think this might just be it – always assuming I can get around to making it before Miss Elma grows again.

And lest you be worried that poor Master Pip Squeak is missing out in all of this, (a) his birthday comes first, (b) he needs a new jumper before then and (c) I have some truly amazing navy blue fabric with a white lobster print that needs to be something for him, I just can’t quite decide what – any suggestions for sewing patterns for little boys?

Joining Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On.

If you like talking about sewing, and knitting and making things both with and for the children, please would you vote for me? I’m a finalist in the MADs blog awards and I need your vote to win – to vote click here.  You have to give an email address, presumably to stop us spamming the results and then look for Space for the Butterflies on the drop down menu for Best Craft Blog.  You don’t have to be a blogger, or based in the UK, just be someone who enjoys reading and can spare a couple of minute to vote sometime between now and 27 May – thank you so much x

 

 

Elma Family Finished Handmade Photography Quilting Sewing Work in Progress

A finished fishing net {handmade}

08/04/2016

The blessing and curse of blogging is that you tend to have an exact and rather precisely dated record of things. And so it is that I know that I first started making my fishing net quilt in March. Of 2015. Yes my friends, such is the life of a mother of three with lots of other hobbies that it’s taken me a whole year and a bit to make a quilt top.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

I think I started with energy, then did the maths on just how many triangles I was going to have to cut out (600 and something, yes really) and then I stalled, and tucked it all away in my project box.

I had a little sewing flurry in the autumn and I could start to see how it was going to come together but then the Christmas making started up and I stalled again.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

But starting the Sugarblock Block of the Month club reminded me just how much I love making the big projects, and how all you need to do is break things down piece by piece. And so I picked it up again and sewed and sewed, and then spent whole evenings listening to podcasts and ironing seams, and when we went north for the Easter weekend I had a box full of little square blocks and an eye on my parents-in-law’s lounge floor, it being much bigger and less covered in Duplo than mine!

H and I sat down one morning and laid it all out completely randomly, made a few tweaks and then I stacked up each row, pinned it together and labelled everything with post-it notes, and when I got home I started to sew.

First the blocks into rows and then the rows into sections and then finally there was just one seam to go and it was finished, and I have a quilt top.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

And more importantly, a quilt top that I love. This is the first time I’ve ever really ‘designed’ a quilt rather than followed a pattern. I’m not sure how much you can really call it designing when it was mostly using the Tri-Recs ruler and sewing it all together but it was my vision and now it’s my reality.

The fabric is Dan Stiles ‘Marine’ line (from Birch Fabrics) that I first saw advertised as a ‘coming soon’ line on Fabricworm, set an alert for, and ordered the fat quarter bundle as soon as it landed. It is everything I love; the sea, whales, dolphins, mini yellow submarines and blue and gold is one of my favourite colour combinations of all time. The two shades of Kona cotton (Mediterranean and Ultramarine I think) were bought with a different plan in mind, but the more I thought about it, the clearer I was in my mind; this quilt was going to be a highly stylised version of a fishing net, with the Kona for the net and pretty triangles at the centre.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

The two blues of the triangles give it a bit more depth than a single solid would, and there’s not rhyme or reason to the placement; I matched triangles quite randomly and laid them out however the patterned triangles looked best and let the blues fall where they may.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

Not knowing exactly the dimensions I was aiming for means that I’ve got a few blocks leftover either to piece into the back or to play around with while I work out the quilting pattern. When we were laying it out I started with what I thought I could cope with as the minimum width and then just kept adding rows and columns until we ran out of enough blocks for another row and ran out of carpet to put it on.  The result is that it’s huge. Properly huge.  Usually I peg my quilts to the fence or the washing line to photograph them but with this one the only way to get the bottom of it off the ground and out of the mud was to enlist H and Elma as quilt holders.  H is 6’1″ and has nice long arms – this is going to be a quilt to snuggle the whole family.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

It’s a slightly strange feeling to have finished. This has been the work in progress sat on the back of my desk for a whole year, which means that it feels like I’ve been working on it forever, and so if I think about sewing now I find I’m automatically thinking in triangles.  But fear not; the latest instalment for the Sugar Block Club arrived in my inbox last Friday so I have a couple of blocks to build, and an increasingly solid idea about the next plan!

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On

And I promise this is the last time of asking – if you enjoy seeing what I make, or reading about the crazy adventures of our little family, I would truly love a nomination in the MADs and the BiBs blogging awards for writer, craft, or family/school days (all the details are here – short version: anyone can vote, you don’t have to blog or be in the UK and I will be eternally grateful if you do x).

Elma Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Elma Kitty Knitting Photography Sewing

My Knitting Bag {handmade for Elma}

26/02/2016

I did say there might be a slight sense of deja vu to anything I made this week, and that’s probably because at the time of writing my post about Kitty’s project bag I was already being petitioned by a three year old for something similar – and when I was cutting out the butterflies for Kitty I’d realised that I had just enough fabric to make another butterfly bag, and cut out two extra panels.

And as sewing things up the second time is so much quicker than the first because you don’t have to keep referring back to the instructions, and in this case the instructions are so very nice and simple that I pretty much had them memorised, one evening of cutting out the other pieces and a murmured, “I’ll just go and start the first couple of seams”, turned into a finished project bag sat on Elma’s dining room chair the next morning.

Space for the Butterflies - handmade knitting bag

The accent fabric you might recognise, it’s the very last little bit of one of my Laura Ashley fat quarters from Elma’s twirly skirt. I didn’t have quite enough to cut it all out of one section so it’s pieced, but I figured that for the accent, which will usually be all scrunched up when the bag’s closed, that would be barely noticeable, and in all of my pictures you can only see it when the bag is stretched out open and empty.

Space for the Butterflies - handmade knitting bag

Space for the Butterflies - handmade knitting bag

The lining is a batik print fat quarter that I found in the stash, in all of Elma’s favourite pinks and purples. I used it for the lining and then pieced together three 2 inch widths to make the ties. They are a little bit shorter than the pattern calls for, but they’re just long enough that the bag can be opened up completely and laid flat, and as Elma is only three I think it works in her favour too when she uses the ties to wear it as a backpack (which happens a lot); the bag sits nicely at her lower back, not dangling around her knees. Space for the Butterflies - handmade knitting bag

When I made Kitty’s the motivation was to give her somewhere lovely to keep her finger knitting (and apparently now her camera – all the important things together!), and with Elma it was to make sure that she didn’t feel left out.  Elma has watched us try finger knitting, and even played around with looping big chunky wool over her still tiny fingers but she doesn’t have any knitting of her own to speak of.  Instead her bag has played home to Orlan and Rain-or-Shine (her little dolls), a toy car, and a small plastic pony, which all sounds very sensible to me.

But what really makes me smile, is that when she refers to it, it’s always “my knitting bag”: she may be too little to do more than play but she knows that when the time comes she’s all set up to go!

Space for the Butterflies - handmade knitting bag

And because it was a week of finishing, or more acurately, because we drove two hours up to my in-laws in Yorkshire on Saturday, and by “we” I mean H, I had lots of lovely knitting time in which to finish not only Kitty’s latest cardigan (more on which another time because it’s still blocking) but also make some serious progress on H’s February Christmas socks.

Space for the Butterflies - hand knit socks

These ones are just my standard recipe for socks for H; 72 sts on 2.5mm needles with a heel flap heel (I love the way the slipped stitches mix up the colours on the heel). It’s nice easy, knit without thinking knitting, and it lets all the beautiful colours in the yarn shine front and centre.  This is Wollmeise Twin in Pfauenauge which apparently means peacock, which makes perfect sense when you look at the colours.

Space for the Butterflies - hand knit socks

And so on Sunday morning, while he went for a run, and Pip delighted and exhausted his grandparents in equal measure, I spent a very decadent hour curled up in bed with the girls tucked up next to me and knit and knit and knit until they were done. Space for the Butterflies - hand knit socks

H arrived home before I’d quite finished but they were done before he finished his shower so I’m claiming that as a draw.  And with that, I’m half way through his Christmas present knitting. Two pairs down, two to go, and then I can start on the Birthday knitting – maybe I need a new knitting bag for me?

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On