Saturday, December 14, 2013

And The Winner Is...

I would definitely turn them into a beautiful messenger bag

I had grand plans to make a pretty announcement for the blog, but didn't get around to it. So congratulations Brittney, I'm sending an email your way to get your postal details! Thanks so much to everyone who entered, I've loved reading all your comments and my little blog has loved the attention!  I wish I could send you all some fabric but stay tuned for the next installment of SMS Giveaway Day in a few months time!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Are you a lover of Pinterest?  A dedicated pinner like me?  Such a wonderful site for procrastinating keeping track of kids party ideas, design and decorating trends, recipes to try, anything really!  But so hard to keep up with all the great ideas flowing around the blogosphere, which is why, when I finally try something I've pinned, I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops!

This is rosemary wreath, made with rosemary from our garden, but slightly wilted from the summer heat. At least I can add to it if it starts looking too withered. It was too hard to centre on the ugly screen door and the peephole, which drives me crazy.  But it smells so amazing, every time the door is opened you get a whiff of rosemary!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Giveaway Day! NOW CLOSED

Hello!! Welcome if you're here visiting from the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day, hi to all the regulars! I'm so glad you came by and hope you'll stay awhile.  This is my first time participating in Giveaway Day despite many years of clicking around blogland being introduced to new, creative blogs.

Having a little girl in the family this last year and a bit has seen a huge influx of girly fabric to my stash, not necessarily pinks and the like but for this giveaway it certainly is!  I'm totally crushing on geometric prints at the moment and these fabrics tick so many boxes. From the Simpatico range by Michelle Engel Bencsko for Cloud 9 fabrics, these organic cottons are great for a range of uses. I'm offering up half a metre (20 inches) of each fabric pictured above.

Here's how to enter:
* leave a comment on this post letting me know how you'd use this fabric.
* get a second bonus entry - in a separate comment let me know that you follow this blog, or become a follower and let me know.

Please be sure to have a current email address either in your comment or attached to your profile!

Giveaway open internationally!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Three Months Later...

And I'm baaaack... again! When life gets busy, blogging just gets pushed aside.  Things have definitely been busier than ever around here. Over the last few months we've celebrated two kids birthdays, my birthday, done a couple of local markets, made what feels like a tonne of stock for Shop Handmade and more recently been flat out with end of year shenanigans!

The cake from Miss J's first birthday!

Can you believe that Christmas is just a few short (and busy) weeks away?  As usual I have a huge list of sewing to accomplish in that time.  They're mostly gifts, though I'm really hoping to squeeze in a little selfish sewing too, perhaps a little ambitious!  Plus there's all the food gifts to make and the last few school functions to attend, oh and a short break to the beach for some rest and relaxation pre-Christmas!  I'm hoping to share some of my makes over the next few weeks, as they're gifted, though true to form one has already been given and I haven't taken any pictures of it!

Hope you're enjoying your lead-up to Christmas, do you have a huge list of things to do as well? Please share and make me feel a bit better about my list!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Winter Begone...

It's been a long painful winter around these parts, not that it's been particularly cold, but because since mid-June at least one of the five of us has had a bad cold with four weeks of flu shared around as well. We're well and truly over it and looking forward to all being back to normal soon.  The silver lining is the break from all my regular busyness has allowed me to learn new things and improve old skills! One of which was learning to crochet!

Some weeks ago I was encouraged by one of my wonderful friends to try learning to crochet (thanks Lucy!). It has been on my list of things to try for ages and I've been following a few bloggers who crochet and admiring their work.  If you're after some inspiration go and check out Dover & Madden, Vicki is so so clever and her work is meticulous.  Definitely great for inspiration.

Head over and check out the Dover & Madden blog 

We're fortunate enough to own some of Vicki's knitted hats, they really are objects of beauty, extremely well made, and incredibly stylish. Jemima has been kept warm on crisp morning walks to school and windy afternoon pick ups with her Hilary hat. Vicki also crochets stunning baby blankets, with tips shared on her blog, which is full of inspiring photography.

Jemima rocks her Hilary!

Anyway, all the time spent cuddling sick kids on the lounge was put to good use and armed with a stack of youtube tutorials I set to work learning to crochet.  I'm by no means an accomplished crochet-er but love being able to work on something creative while unwinding at the end of a busy day, as well as the gratification of completing even a tiny part of something.  I've set myself the task of making a throw to keep us warm and toasty on the lounge, and the work in progress has become a favourite of our eldest as seen below!

Armed with tissues and less than half a throw, what more does a sick boy need?

I'm just hoping to get it finished before Summer begins, and with Spring just around the corner I need to get busy!

Just to make it clear this isn't a sponsored post, I haven't been paid for my opinions of Dover & Madden products, I just genuinely love Vicki's work!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Heading Back To Market!

If you're one of our facebook friends, you would've heard that we're dipping our toes into the market scene again, albeit slowly and in a small way!  So, this Friday, Sydney peeps can find us at a great initiative run by a local cafe...

Did you hear Air Coffee is going to be open on a Friday night for a special event? We're hosting Makers' Pop-Up on Friday June 28 (7pm to late).
Entry is free to all, just come along and:

PARTICIPATE: Bring your own small craft projects to work on in a creative space with like-minded people

APPRECIATE: Check out the pop-up stalls by local artisans selling a range of beautiful handmade clothes and products

EAT CAKE: In addition to our great coffee, our chef is also planning a special snack menu featuring winter comfort food and some of our favourite cakes

There's something for everyone, so make sure to tell all your friends. Hope to see you on the night!

So if you're looking for something to do this coming Friday, grab some friends, your needles, hooks, sketchbook etc and get yourselves to AIR Coffee 1/10 Salisbury Road, Castle Hill. Hope to see you there, I'm particularly looking forward to the 'eat cake' part of the night!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

KCW Day 7 :: And on the seventh day she crashed!

Oh it's been a long week... The baby and I have been sick for most of it, with my antibiotics only just kicking in! So today was a bit of a fizzer in terms of sewing. There was lots to do to get the family ready for the return to school as well so all that was made is this last minute Oliver + s Lazy Days Skirt.

It doesn't use the full width of fabric so it isn't as gathered as it could be, but probably doesn't need to be for a baby.  Made using the same fabrics as the second Ice Cream Blouse, grey as main fabric though and the floral made into some binding for the hem. This was another one of those insanely easy and gratifying projects, and there will definitely be many more of these in our baby's future wardrobes!

Apart from sewing this skirt up, Day 7 was spent taking up hems on the big boy's winter school trousers. Needless to say, halfway through the term I had to let them down again. That kid is growing like a weed - but waay cuter!

KCW Day 6 :: Another Ice Cream.

During my break with knits on Day Two I decided to cut out another Ice Cream top! Yes before the first was even made, but my faith in Oliver + s patterns is so great that I knew it wouldn't be a waste! I started making it along with the first one but stopped part way in as I wanted to add some piping between the yoke and bodice.  Of course the fabric for the piping hadn't been pre-washed, so the top was put on hold while the piping was made!

Really happy with how this turned out despite having the same issues as the last one with the yoke attachment.  It was planned for the autumn weather,  to be layered with a long sleeve tee and worn with long pants or a skirt and tights, but we've had some really stunning days, with temps in the mid to high 20s (celcius), so shorts it was!  Now I'm hoping she'll still be wearing it come summer!

KCW Day 5 :: Pyjama Day!

The boys always seem to need more pyjama pants and each year I feel like I add a bigger hem , and each year they outgrow them. So this time I added even more length to the hem in the hope that these will last them just that bit longer.

Pyjama pants are so gratifying to make because they come together super fast, especially is you use a one piece pattern!  These were made with the pattern in Sewing For Boys, omitting the faux fly for even speedier sewing, but adding about 5cm extra to the length.

The fabrics are from Spotlight, sold as a cotton poplin but feels more like a quilting cotton. The boys love the fabrics and there's enough left to make them some pyjama shorts for Summer! Win!!

KCW Day 4 :: Apple Picking.

Day Four was all about the Ice Cream Blouse by Oliver + s.  Another easy to understand pattern with great results... Though I did struggle with one part! 

Those of you who've made an Ice Cream Dress will know the bit I mean, it's right at the end where you're trying to attach the back yoke to the bodice and it all gets a bit tricky. It didn't matter how many tips on blogs or forums I read, it just wouldn't work. So in the end I did it as best I could and then hand finished around the join to neaten it all up

Don't you think the French seams are beautiful! Love how neat and tidy they look!! Just need to work out what to pair this with, maybe we need some new pants?  I think the fabric selection was subconciously influenced by our recent apple picking adventure, we brought home kilos of apples and loved eating them!

Fabric: Sandi Henderson for Michael Miller Farmers Market Apple Dot.
Pattern: Ice Cream Blouse - Oliver + S, size 6-12mth.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

KCW Days 2 & 3 :: Skinny Tees Galore!

Days Two and Three have been all about the 10 - 15 minute bursts of sewing here and there and I'm ready to hurl these Tees in the bin!

The sleeves were set fine,  definitely getting better at pinning and sewing them in. Fixing the binding around the neck opening of one beat me for the rest of Day Two.  For a reason I'm yet to work out, the machine kept chewing up the fabric and not feeding it along, and after unpicking the first attempt I didn't have the energy to unpick the second. My long held dislike for knits curling up, stretching and basically not playing nicely has been lived out over the last two days but I'm determined to conquer these shirts. 

Version 1 :: made using an old maternity dress for the main body and some red ponte from the stash. He loves it, so a win there!

Version 2 :: another make from an old dress. The attempt to turn it into a dress wasn't too successful, the neckline is a mess and with a bubba who is still commando crawling the front is already pilling.  This one was definitely a learning experience!

Version 3 :: using up some more fabric from the stash, the most roll-y annoying fabric ever. Added a band at the hem for a bit of extra length (and because I couldn't get the hem to sit flat long enough to sew it!)!

Version 4 :: this cotton jersey was much easier to work with in that it didn't roll up but it also doesn't have as much stretch to it so the neck was a challenge. Appliqued some paper aeroplanes on it because who doesn't love paper aeroplanes? May need to make another  because the middle child has worked out that the eldest got two shirts!

All in all a huge learning experience for me. Still haven't come around to enjoying working with knits but I'll be back and work on some more {one day}... they will not get the better of me!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Umbrella Prints Trimmings Comp.


Above is what I started with and below is my entry into the Umbrella Prints Trimmings Comp. And as the saying goes, there's nothing like the last minute for getting things done... or something like that, and I'm still hoping I get it submitted in time!  The post might be a bit of a photo overload so apologies in advance.

I received my Trimmings ages ago and had an idea for what to make with them but the fear of messing it all up kept me from starting it till quite recently.  In fact, quite a few times through the process I was tempted to bin the whole thing, but persevered to get it done.  Of course as soon as I decided to push on, everything seemed to conspire against me finishing! And despite some sleepless nights with a sick bubba it was completed stopped being worked on so I could submit - reminds of uni in so many ways!!

From the beginning my ideas revolved around making a collage with something related to our family and some text. From that starting point it developed to what you see here. Everything is stitched by machine or hand onto a linen base cloth, though in hindsight I should have used something a little thicker and perhaps darker than this.  The people represent us, though we don't quite look like that exactly!

The text is classic Beatles, and something to hold onto through life.  I also loved finding a way to squeeze in a whole elephant into the type, you all know how much I love me some elephants!

The fabric is stretched over an 16" x 12" canvas, and it may one day make it's way to one of our walls. I'm more than a little tempted to cut it up to improve the layout, but haven't decided yet. Now it's finished I can think of so many alternative ways to have done this, different compositions, different text, maybe even a different pack of Trimmings... perhaps next year!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Little Fun!

I have been a sideline follower of the Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition for the last couple of rounds, wishing I had the time and energy to take part, but due to the busyness of market prep and sewing stock for retailers and customer orders it never happened.  So this year, with not doing markets due to life with a baby, and having so much extra time on my hands {!!} I decided to give it a go.  I have a basic idea of what I want to make, so we'll just have to wait and see if it turns out how I hope.  I really just want to create something I'd be happy to have on one of our walls that desperately needs an update!  Below is the pack I was sent, hope I can make it work!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

KCW Day 1 :: Battles With Knits

image from here

I decided to kick off KCW by attempting a new {for me} pattern, Made By Rae's Flashback Skinny Tee.  Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm much more comfortable working with cottons, all those stretchy fabrics scare me, their endless rolling up, the puckering, the stretchiness of it all! But this year has been about improving technique and conquering sewing fears, so it was a great pattern to do just that!

I'd cut out the pieces before my cold hit over the weekend, the plans were to make two for the eldest (he needs more, and they'll be handed down), one for the middle and one for the baby. Ambitious much? With a pattern I hadn't tried before?  I had every confidence in the pattern, after my experience with the Geranium Dress, but my skills were another issue!  

Work in progress

The fabrics were a couple I had lying around the stash, you know the ones you buy when they're on the clearance table and there's a 40% off marked price sale, and you think you'll face your knit fears and make something, but then they sit in the stash for TWO years because you keep putting off using them... Or is that just me!!  I also cut up a couple of my knit dresses that make me still look six months pregnant, because I really don't need strangers asking when I'm due.  Green stripe was leftover from the lining of an Urban Hoodie, black & white stripe was a maternity dress and the navy with birds was not a maternity dress but the cut of it doesn't work with my body right now!

Unfortunately I didn't get to the sewing machine till about 8:30 last night, and then spent ages trying to work out the right stitch to use on the sewing machine so all I have to show for the 1.5hrs devoted to KCW is four shirt fronts sewn to backs, and five out of eight sleeves set.  Note to self: 9 is the Super Stretchy stitch on my machine and #17 is the stretch overlock stitch!

Sleeve 6 of 8 to set today. Eleventy billion pins have been used in an attempt to hold it all together!  Hoping for a more productive day today, would love to get something finished and on a child!   How are you going? Did you achieve what you set out to on Day 1??

Monday, April 22, 2013

KCW is about to begin...

And I've picked up a horrid cold! I was preparing for it really well, with lists written, patterns traced, fabrics washed & ironed, and some even cut... This cold has me wishing I could take some decent cold and flu meds, but breastfeeding means I'm relying on ginger tea to soothe the throat (an old friend suggested apple cider vinegar in warm water, but I struggled to get that down!!), hot showers to clear the sinuses and more than one box of extra soft tissues for the drippy nose.

I snatched half an hour yesterday to sit in my favourite spot on a sunny autumn day, with my pot of tea and the first Geranium, to hand stitch the lining to the bodice. I also managed to sew on a few buttons that had fallen off the boy's pyjamas too. It was a relaxing way to ease into KCW, but now I'm hoping to find enough clear headedness and motivation to sew up the items planned for the week.
Are you taking part in KCW? Let me know in the comments and I'd love to follow along with what you're making too!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

School Holidays & Sewing.

We are in the middle of school holidays here, and it's wonderful to have a break from getting out the door each day, washing and ironing uniforms and making lunches. Not loving so much the occasional arguments between the kids, but I guess you take the good with the bad!

This week has also seen me sewing a couple of things for myself! Photos to come at another time, but I was the fortunate winner of a giveaway being run by Toni Coward at Make It Perfect, and I made myself a Waterfall Blouse. I already owned the pattern but having it all right there spurred me on to finish the top I'd cut out!

My prize... image from here

Next week, apart from being the second week of school holidays, is also Kids Clothes Week. Formerly known as Kids Clothes Week Challenge, the aim is for participants to spend an hour each day sewing for their kids. The KCW site has heaps more info about it, I love the motivation that comes from knowing that literally hundreds of other sewists around the world are also spending part of their day sewing, as well as seeing all the photos of finished items.

I'm already cutting up fabric ready to spend next week sewing. As always the list of what I'd like to get done is probably longer than what time will permit, though I'm looking forward to a break from IndigoElephant sewing to focus on things for our kids. Now I just have to get the balance right, or those who can count won't be happy if one gets more than the other!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Another Geranium, Another Lesson Learned.

Yes there has been another Geranium Dress made! This time round it was for a little friend who just turned 3, so I took the opportunity to make her something I hope she'll like. It's now in her possession so I feel okay with sharing here {not that I have many 3yo readers} but I'm hoping it was a pleasant surprise for her Mum!

This time it's the cut out neckline and, obviously, a contrast fabric for the bodice and skirt (with pockets), and bodice lined with the same skirt fabric. Also used some white piping between the bodice and skirt for definition and love the difference it makes.  Using piping also made me complete the alterations to the first Geranium so I could practice piping before using it on the gift. The lining is hand stitched this time around, which was not what I'd call fun, but it does provide a much neater finish as the piping made things a bit tricky with machine stitching it all together.

And so what was the lesson learned with this project? Well, the piping was definitely a great lesson but the reminder to not select fabrics at night was an even greater lesson! It's difficult to spot in the photos but the darkest flower, which looked to match the pink cotton perfectly at night, in daylight is actually red. Oops!

 Apologies for the dull photos, but we've had a miserably rainy week here!  

Pattern :: Geranium Dress
Fabric  :: From the stash! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pattern Testing

I was fortunate to be able to test out a new pattern for Heidi & Finn Modern Wears for Kids recently. For those who've been here for awhile, you'll remember I made some Heidi & Finn Urban Hoodies a couple of years ago for the boys. This time around it was a dress for Jem... aren't they both adorable?!

Follow Heidi & Finn on facebook if you'd like to keep up to date with new patterns, the Colorblock Dress is now available, and you have heard it here that this is a very easy make and there are endless possibilities for personalising this pattern. Clearly I chose the simple option this time, using up my stash and appealing to my love of simple, plus I think Jem rocks the colour blue!

It does up at the back with a button and loop, so there are no buttonholes or zips to wrangle, which always helps! I have used a favourite red & white button but of course everytime I tried to take a pic, our subject moved, or rolled away! I made the 12 month size knowing that the length would be a touch long but the chest would fit well with hopefully a little room to grow. The dress is fully lined and will be great layered with a cardigan and tights through winter, and fingers crossed she can get some wear out of it in spring too? Maybe that's just a bit too hopeful with the speed this one is growing!!

And here's a pic of her charming us all as she rolls her way around the yard!

Pattern :: Heidi & Finn Colorblock Dress
Fabric :: Quilting cottons from my stash. The bottom section is Kona Marine, not sure what the other two colours are. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lessons in Measuring.

Have you heard the old saying 'measure twice, cut once'?  I have... lots... particularly when I was at uni and making models for various projects, usually late into the night, the night before it was due, and incorrectly cut up the last piece of foam core / card / balsa whatever the material was that we were supposed to be using.  And one would think that after my very recent experience with the slightly tight Geranium Dress I would've thought to measure my child before going to the trouble of making them something.  But no, I decided to finally try my first Oliver + S make after hoarding a few patterns for a couple of years. I made the Oliver + S Sailboat Top and assumed the size 5 would fit the 4 year old. 

Not sure what the sad face is about!

Yes I know he's tall for his age, and has been all his life, but surely the 5 would fit!! Ha, wrong again!  Thankfully, it was the sleeve length that was too short and I didn't hem the sleeves before trying it on him, though I was sorely tempted to finish it while he was sleeping! Anyway, the sleeves were easily fixed with a cuff, and I am now an Oliver + S groupie/fan girl/whatever you want to call it! Not sure what he's doing with his hands below but you get a pic of the added band on the sleeves.

The buttons may be changed as it has been suggested that they are a tad feminine, and I've had too many experiences of random strangers asking if my son is a girl so really want to discourage that... He does not look like a girl in my opinion! He loves the shirt so half the battle is won!!  The print is hand stamped using Yellow Owl Workshop stamps brought over from San Francisco by besties who live there. Love these stamps so so much and will definitely have to get more one day.

So I have a new resolution. To measure my kids, and record their measurements on these cards available from Oliver + S so I stop making the same mistakes over and over again!!  And then I'll be able to get into sewing from all the delicious Oliver + S patterns I've been hoarding for the last couple of years!

image from here

Pattern: Oliver + S Sailboat Top (in size 5 with added sleeve cuff)
Fabric: Cotton Jersey 
Print: Yellow Owl Workshop Sea Stamp Set

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Pretty Geranium.

I have officially jumped on the Geranium Dress bandwagon! This pattern is so well written that the making of this dress was definitely a pleasure. Doesn't our baby look adorable in it too? Love little girls in pretty dresses!!

My only issue with it, is nothing to do with the pattern, more my own impatience in not waiting till our bub woke to measure her. I figured that being almost seven months old at the time of making that the 6-12 month size would surely fit. I didn't take into account the fact that our bubba is a chubba, and on buttoning it up, realised that it's  a teeny bit tight.  So I tried pulling it apart to remake the bodice with smaller seams, but think I'll just remake it now and attach a bigger bodice to the current skirt... *sigh*... Better get onto that soon so she can get at least a little more wear from it!

Those faux cap sleeves are adorable and it'll be hard to try the sleeveless version when these are so cute! The options chosen for this dress were the cap sleeves and the pleated skirt, I think it could've done with some black piping or a sash between the bodice and skirt for a littler definition, but that's only if I'm being really picky about it. Can't wait to make the next one...

The Details:
Dress Pattern: The Geranium Dress
Main Fabric: Ed Emberley Happy Drawing Owls in Multi
Lining Fabric: Ed Emberley Happy Drawing Squiggle in Green

Nappy Cover: The Perfect Diaper Cover (though I did add an extra inch to the top of the pattern so it fit for a bit longer!) 
Fabric:  Ed Emberley Happy Drawing Squiggle in Green

The quilt was made by my mumma as a house warming gift when we bought our house - she's a clever lady my mum!