Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The handmade gifts from granny and grandad

I have always loved handmade gifts. How dear is to receive something in which much thought and love and effort has been put in.
I wished my children realized that and appreciated the lovely handmade toys their granny and grandad hade made for them this year. For now such appreciation is not seen, as I they are too young, but hopefully with time they will learn to.
I remember that a few weeks ago I mentioned to my dad that the kids liked playing with playdough, always "cooking" something with it - a pizza, spaghetti, cakes and much more and I was wondering whether to get them a little play kitchen for Christmas. That's when my dad decided to make one for them. That was going to be his surprise for them when they come to stay for Christmas.
So here it is. Ready for them to play.

No need to say that they love it. They haven't said it but you could see it from their being around it most of the time. It never looks that tidy of course, they are really messy cooks!
I forgot to mention that the kitchen didn't cost a penny as my dad used some wooden boards he had left from something else.
In addition he made a little doll's bed.

My mum made a little mattress, a pillow and two sheets for it. She even found the time to stitch a little applique.
I can't say I was suprised to see the wooden toys they had made. When I was a child they often used to make stuff for us - little wooden chairs and a table, a doll's bed, my mum had sewn clothes for my dolls and even knitted jumpers for them. Most of our pillowcases and duvet covers were decorated with beautiful appliques. That's where my interest in sewing and crafting must have come from.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Ready for a party

The party season is here and we are ready for it. With Christmas, New Year and Eva's birthday and another birthday in line I couldn't resist making something special for her. Here it is - a taffeta dress in a princess style with a full skirt, pleat detail on the front, capped sleeves and full back button fastening.

I used the taffeta fabric and the black lace that I bought in Bulgaria not long ago (I wrote about them in my previous post). The taffeta fabric is amazing. It is 'chameleon' fabric as it changes its colour according  to the light. Just check how different it looks on these two photos.

"cool" purple 

''warm'' purple

I wanted to use the lace in the dress but wasn't sure where to attach it. It took me a week or two to decide what the design to be - the cute detail on the front, sleeveless or not, with zipper or with buttons.

This is the first time I sew a fully lined garment. When I finished the dress I realized that I should have used facings on the back openning. Everytime I finish something I see that I could have done it better. Then I get that right in my next project, but something new comes up.

Instead of making the classic capped sleeves I came up with the idea of these two piece sleeves.

The Buttons. Well, they compliment the dress well, but the downside is that they cost almost as much as the dress fabric itself. I didn't have time to wait for delivery from a webshop and headed to my nearest Hobby Craft store. There wasn't a great choice and I picked these ones. I like them but I think five pounds for 8 buttons is a bit too expensive.

It was fun watching my daughter wearing the dress as she kept playing with the skirt, lifting it and twisting it. Now I plan to sew a black jersey blouse for her to wear underneath.

I made a matching bow hairclip as well

This dress was definitely not a quick sew, but I really enjoy making it.

Thanks for reading and come back again!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

My new fabrics

I got myself some new fabrics. And although sewing could hardly make its way into my daily routine recently, I still dreamed of fabribs and what I could possibly make with them.
I went back to Bulgaria for a week and I couldn't imagine not going to a fabric shop to stock on some new dressmaking fabrics, which were much cheaper than buying in UK.
So I came back with this little bundle. And I feel happy just by looking at it...

I forgot to add that beautiful polyester taffeta fabric to the bundle. Lustrous and crisp it would make a great skirt.

And now a closer look at the fabris in the bundle.

This is polyester taffeta in beautiful plum tone that changes according to the light. I love it. I plan to make it into a dress for my little girl. I bought some matching lining for it as well.

Here is a piece of beautiful black lace. It 's a small piece (app 50/50 cm ), which was left over from a dress the shop owner had made for a client. Most of the fabric shops were in fact little dressmaking and amending ateliers, which also stocked some fabrics. So when I asked the shop owner how much it cost, she kindly offered to give it to me.

Here I have some cotton jersey in dark pink. It's very soft and stretchy. I could make a dress or tunic for my Eva with it.

Another knit fabric in grey. Very soft and drapey, I think it was made from rayon. Still not sure what I would do with it as it was the end of the bolt and measured app 1.20 m, but I just loved the way it hung.

And lastly, this gorgeous woven fabric which has some cashmere in it. It is quite thick and would be perfect for a little coat. I got some lining, as well.

All I need now is to find some spare time to get sewing...


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A little baby gift

A friend of mine had a baby girl recently. She has always liked my creations so I thought I could surprise her with a little stitched up gift.
My first idea was to make a little baby dress. But then.... I remembered how tiny newborns were. How on earth I was going to sew such a tiny outfit. And the fact that babies grew so quickly meant that it would probably end up being worn once or twice.
For these reasons I decided to go for something more practical - fabric storage bin. Who doesn't need one?!

In the past I had made one fabric bin with baby feet applique in blue (here) so this time I could make one in pink (or coral in fact) for a girl.

I wanted to add something else to the present so I stitched up a hanging ornament for the baby room. The idea about this came when I saw a hanging moon ornament from An from Straight Grain.

To make the ornaments, I laid two layers of fabric with some polyester waddling in between and followed the shapes I had drawn on the fabric with a decorative machine stitch. Then I trimmed the excess fabric and waddling. It worked better than I thought it would.

I attached strings and some beads. I added the beads in an attempt to take the attention away from the little knots I had to make on the strings. I hope that they are not so noticeable.

Baby gift mission completed!

Now I am in a process of sewing a duvet cover and a pillowcase for my son's bed. Half an year ago I bought some cotton fabric(I wrote about it here) with the clear idea to make it into a bedding set and I finally got to do that. But I do it with a really slow pace. Today, all I managed to do was to machine stitch the buttonholes. Tomorrow I hope to get the chance to sew the buttons.

And before finishing the post I would like to share with you some beautiful words I read tonight in a book given to my son at school for home reading. It is about a mummy monster who goes to the little monster's bed and thinking it was sleeping whispered to him :
 " I love you my darling,
     I love you my Small,
       But there's so much to do in the day
  That it's hard to sit down and to make enough time
       To say all of the things I should say.
  And it's funny, but now that you're sleeping
       And everything's quiet and calm
  The words seem to be much more easy to speak.
       You're everything I always dreamed of
         You've got so much beauty inside
  The way that you smile, that you laugh, that you dance
      Makes my heart want to sing out with pride.
  You live as though life's one huge present
       Unwrapping a bit every day
  That's just how we should be living, my love
      And look at you showing the way!
  And sometimes I know when I scold you
       You feel that I'm being unfair
  But please understand that it's just out of love.
    There are things in this life that can hurt you
         They come to us all - that I know.
  But they all give us chances to learn, darling Small
        And they all give us chances to grow.
  So when you get knocked down, my sweetheart
       Look up at the sky without fear
  For sometimes we need to be flat on our backs
        Before starlight begins to appear.
     And please, above all else remember
      Keep love in your heart, little one
  Reach out to the world like a beautiful flower
      Stretches out to the warmth of the sun.
  It's the only sure way to be happy
        The only sure way to be free.
  Believe in yourself and believe in your dreams
    And you'll be what you dream you can be.
  My beautiful, wonderful, glorious child
  You light up my world. "
The little monster heard it all and drifted to sleep with a big smile.

Very touching and heart-warming tale (at least for me). Unfortunatelly, my son who is four and a half couldn't get to the point of it. Partly because english is not his first language and partly because it probably sounds boring to him. He was more interested in the illustrations and kept interrupting my reading asking me other questions.

By the way the book is called "I love you, little monster" by Giles Andreae and Jess Mikhail.




Sunday, 7 September 2014

A casual summer wrap skirt

About two months ago I sewed this top for my mum as part of the birthday present. While rummaging into her wardrobe I found out that none of her skirts made a good match with the top. That's how I decided to sew a skirt. I had some orangish fabric left over from the top. It is light and drapey polycotton fabric.
So here is the outcome.

It's a wrap skirt with longer waistband which continues into ties.

My aim was to create a skirt that would fit snugly and at the same time wouldn't require great precision and a lot of fittings when making it. All my pattern making and cutting tools were left behind at my home and all I had were pins, a pair of scissors and 30cm long ruler. I missed my cutting mat, rotary cutter and drafting ruler.

What I like most about this skirt, is that it could be worn in more than one way. The ties could be on the side, on the front or even on the back. I personally prefer 'ties on the side' look. I wish I had got the different looks photographed, but it didn't come to my mind at that time. I was lucky to get even these photos done as my little one was clinging to my arm, constantly moaning.

The funny thing was that after I made the skirt and paired it with the top, it didn't turn up the way I expected. The blouse was way too wide for the skirt and when tucked in, it created bulk. So in the end, I had to pair it with another blouse.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Pretty owls summer dress

Hello! Summer is not over yet, so I have taken the opportunity to sew another summer dress for Eva. Dresses have always been my favourite garments to design and sew.

It all started with two fabrics in mind - the pretty owl fabric from "Nested Owls" collection by Addornit (I wrote about it here) and the red mini polka-dot fabric by Sevenberry. I thought they would go well together so I started planning what I could turn them into. They both are 100% cotton and have a little a bit stiffness which is great for adding some volume to a garment.
For a week or so I couldn't decide on the style. I envisaged a little dress, coquette and with an interesting

For some reason my daughter didn't want to try the dress while still in the making. I would try to persuade her to wear it so I could do some measurements but she wouldn't try. What if she refused to wear the dress once it was all sewn up and ready. It would be a shame to have spent so much time designing, drafting, cutting and sewing something that could never be worn.

Luckily, once the dress was completed, washed and ironed, she willingly let me dress her in it. I was more than happy as believe it or not that little girl could be very stubborn and picky.

To make the dress hang nicely I opted for a decorative finish of the hemline. That was the best I could achieve with my mum's sewing machine (which to put it mildly could be unmanageable at times).

I used snaps to close the side of the dress. They are so practical and easy to sew that I wonder why I haven't used any before. For me one of the most important things to consider when sewing for the kids is the easy wearing of the garment. Because if wearing is complicated, kids quickly get annoyed and they might never want to wear that garment again. I remember when a few years ago my boy couldn't take one of his jumpers off and got panicked so I had to cut through it. After that for a period of time, he was scared everytime he was wearing something through his head.

Monday, 4 August 2014

An easy summer dress

Time to blog my next project - a summer dress for Eva.

She already has so many summer clothes but that didn't stop me from making another one. What better than a light and comfortable dress that allows enough ease for running and jumping on the hot summer days. And you know, a girl could never have too many dresses!

In fact I sewed the dress a few weeks ago, but just couldn't sit down and blog it.
It is a very simple dress with two asymetric pleats on the front which meet just at the neckline. For this dress I actually drew a simple A-line dress with no pleats. Then I made two asymetric pleats on a piece of the chosen fabric (the piece had to be big enough to cut the front piece from it). I placed the front pattern onto the pleated fabric, adjusting it a bit and cut out the front piece.

 The fabric I have used is pure cotton from "Dainty Blossoms" collection by Carina Gardner for Riley Blake. It is the same print but in different colour which I used for this summer hat.

I even made a button loop on the back of the dress, using this tutorial from Oliver + S.

 If I had to give this dress a name that had to be "Lara" dress :) I like having some music on when I sew and while making this dress I was hooked on Lara Fabian' songs. Listening to some music and sewing - my perfect spending of leisure time! What is yours?