Friday, 10 March 2017

Puppy Sized Pockets - Vogue 8813

Way back last summer I had the intention of making a Marcy Tilton knit dress...

Over a year later I've finally made it, in a woven fabric instead, and I've been wearing it almost non stop ever since.

It's not a flattering or a sexy garment, but damn if it isn't incredibly comfortable, and kind of stylish in it's own way.

Flipper's reaction was to say that I looked "like an art teacher". Cryptic sure, but since I've always quite admired the way art teachers dress I'm taking that as a compliment.

When I showed my new dress to the kids and pointed out the enormous pockets, P's eyes went wide and he breathlessly spurted out "You could fit a puppy in there!" I suspect he's right.

I'd traced off the enormous pattern pieces and cut and sewn a muslin of this dress last year, in a dreadful cheap knit fabric of no real redeeming qualities. I wasn't excited about it. It hung, and sagged and just looked blah. I even purchased the next size down pattern thinking I'd go smaller, but I just couldn't get back to it.

With our January holiday looming I decided to sew it up in a nice, cool, washed cotton and have it as my lounging round the motel dress. Sewing it in a woven, I thought I'd stick with the L size I'd traced and the fit across the shoulders is perfect. The rest is so oversized it hardly seems to matter.

The dress comes together quite quickly and is an enjoyable sew. The instructions for the gathering on the bodice were fun as they involved zig zag stitching over a thread of perle cotton (or dental floss in my case). Then, to fix the gathers, a row of straight stitching is done above and below the zig zag. The effect is kind of faux smocking and looks quite nice. I found my gathering got pushed out a bit by the straight stitching and I probably gained a centimetre and a half but since the seam lines now fall exactly on my bust like princess seams, I guess that's not a bad thing.

With all my negativity about my first test run, I've been surprised by how much I've liked wearing this final version. I have to say thanks to Thornberry Lara who encouraged me to stick with it and let me square up against her at Frocktails recently in order to convince myself I really was a large size after all!
(that's how precise my size selection is folks - find someone who's made the pattern in size "x", stand next to them and go "yeah, I'm bigger than you" and select size "x+1")

My mum came to visit recently and I suggested she tried it on. Man does it look good on her! So, maybe I've made a grandma art teacher dress, but I don't care. :)

And then mum and I found some fabulous printed linen covered in fish and the plan is she gets a fishy version for herself.  

The buttons that I've used here have little starfish/flower type things carved on them and will also be perfect for the fishy version - I'll be sure to get a close up picture then.

So, it's enjoyable to sew, comfy to wear, possibly stylish, certainly gets compliments from the other hot and bothered mums at school pick up, but...'re hanging out for the burning question  in this pattern review to be answered, aren't you...

Can you fit a puppy in those pockets?

It turns out you sort of can.

You just might have to pick a smaller breed. :)

Size: L/XL (the smallest size in the second size packet) . No alterations. I'm keeping the smaller sizes as I would definitely size down if I made a knit version.
Fabric: French navy, washed cotton from The Cloth Shop
Notions: 2 buttons from Buttonmania

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

One Out Of the Box

What was the dress that I hid in the gift box instead of that over the top ballet costume?

My new favourite: an everyday knit dress made using the Building Block Dress Book pattern

This is the most perfect fitting, easy to wear knit dress for my kid. For me, it's a delight to sew.

I'm no speedster when it comes to sewing, and I won't talk about hours or minutes spent sewing as it just doesn't translate to anyone else's sewing experience. But, I'm happy to say that once cut out, this dress is a "one evening sew". That is, if I start after the kid's are in bed and all the chores done then I can finish the dress while it's still reasonable to refer to the time as "late at night" rather than "early the next morning".

The dress is exactly the same as the first one I made, which was done in order to put the Building Block Dress pattern to the test in a knit - it's designed for woven fabrics.

The pocket openings are bound using a strip of ribbing. I've used a long, straight stitch to stitch in the ditch catching the serged edge of the binding on the inside. The neckline is finished in the same way. Otherwise the whole dress is constructed on the overlocker. The skirt is nice and twirly and a little gathered, but not so much as to need gathering stitches - a welcome relief after all those metres of gathered chiffon! The twin needle* comes out for hemming and it's done.

* Have you seen my Twin Needle Hemming Tips & Tricks? It's a blog post that gets a lot of traffic over at Oliver + S and I've been delighted to see so many new converts to the twin needle cause!

Sorry to interrupt your reading but could you give me a few more pictures? Please?

Pattern: Oliver + S Building Block Dress Book. Basic dress block  - omitted back closure. Below waist pockets. See here for more details on modifications.
Size: 5 with length of 6
Fabric: Leftover metallic dot grey t-shirt knit from Clearit (used previously here for me!). Merle grey knit ribbing

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Ten Times Her Age Tutu - Simplicity 7160

Sometimes, something just has to be made, no matter how impractical....

Well over a year ago now, I was fossicking in the back room of Buttonmania during one of the Monday open warehouse sales (boy am I going to miss those being in town) when I found this vintage sewing pattern:

It was size 6, and dated from the year that I turned 6 (hence it's vintage-ness is verified!) and I thought it would be fun to make for A when she turned 6. I put it away on the shelf.

Then, Buttonmania was up for sale. Kate Boulton was selling up and the business was bought and was due to move out of town. The last ever Nicholas Building back room fossicking session was in my calendar and nothing would keep me from attending. Of course I didn't really need any buttons, but you just never know what treasures you might find.

I found this:

In the corner of the room was a bolt of this amazing pale, coral pink silk chiffon with a windowpane, silver metallic check. Being the mother of a soon-to-be-six-year-old daughter I knew I could find a use for it. Next to the chiffon was a bolt of the perfect matching coral pink silk shantung. I hesitantly asked if the fabric was for sale and the young man who was watching over the storeroom went to check with Kate.

The answer was that the fabrics were vintage - either 60 years old, or from the '60s, I didn't quite catch which but they're almost the same thing these days - the silk chiffon would cost me $30 but then I could have the matching shantung for free. Done. You can just see Kate's initials on the little tag that was attached to the bolt. I wonder what plans she had had for it.

The bottom half of the outer most layer of chiffon was faded and had some holes, but there looked to be about five metres on the roll so I figured there would be plenty to work with. It was only when I got home and unrolled it all that I discovered that underneath the chiffon was a few metres of a very pale, perfectly crisp and stiff, cream-pink coloured silk taffeta. Bonus! I definitely had a tutu in the making.

I decided on making the longer skirt of View 3 as those vintage short skirt lengths are pretty crazy short, and the shoulder ruffles of View 1. Mostly cause I couldn't be bothered handsewing on all the trims and thought the shoulder ruffles would bring it up to over-the-top costume level. Then, of course I decided I needed the crown, star wand and matching knickers, so I did end up handsewing a lot of sequin trim after all.

The bodice of the dress is lined, and I used the cream silk taffeta. This turned out to be perfect as it gave nice structure to the bodice. The skirt is then attached to a skirt yoke of about 4 inches depth. I cut that out of a layer of cream silk taffeta and a layer of the pink silk shantung which I stuck together with fusible web.

The skirt is made of three layers, each attached to the skirt yoke about 1" above the layer beneath it. I didn't take a photo of the finished zipper, but it goes down into the skirt layers and requires breaking the stitching line at each tulle layer. Then, by pulling all that tulle through the sewing machine you stitch an inch or so until you get to the next tulle layer and break the stitching again. I had to laugh looking at my sewing machine completely smothered under pink froth!

Of the three skirt layers I only had enough of the silk chiffon to cut the outer two layers. Luckily I could do that using the selvedge of the fabric as the hem so that I didn't need to hem the skirt. The undermost skirt layer is American tulle that I bought from GJ's, along with the zipper and thread.

Each of those skirt layers is made up of three panels of fabric joined together. The pattern piece is a little over a metre long and is cut on the fold, so I make that six metres of skirt to be gathered and attached at each layer! I went with the technique of sewing a zigzag over a thread of dental floss within the seam allowance. The chiffon and tulle slid really easily along the dental floss and gathered perfectly. A line of straight stitching is then sewn at the top and bottom edges of the zig zag to secure the gathers. Where all the gathering is buried by another layer of skirt, or inside the bodice, this works perfectly and is quite neat and tidy.

For the shoulder ruffles I did need to hem the silk chiffon. I decided to just sew a straight stitch about 1/8" in from the edge and used tissue paper underneath to allow my machine to go neatly along the edge without chewing the chiffon down into the feed dogs. I'm not anticipating this ever being washed, so I think that will suffice.

You can see in the image above that the bodice is pretty big on her. I wasn't about to make a muslin for a costume, although obviously it would be dead easy to make a muslin of the bodice only. She'll grow, and I'm just glad I didn't make the short skirt version as by the time she fills that bodice out she'll be at least a foot taller.

The matching knickers (which are endearingly called "panties" in the pattern) are kinda funny big too. But they sure are cute as part of the whole costume.

I didn't manage to make the costume as a birthday surprise as she spotted the fabrics up on the top of the bookshelf and guessed what I was up to. So, on the morning of her birthday I presented her with a giant box: the knickers, crown and star wand were on the top of the box.

"I know what's in there" she confidently declared - but of course I'd made a different birthday dress that I'll share next and hidden that in the box! Gotcha!

She doesn't actually "do" ballet, isn't ever one to get up on a stage, and only has the shoes for dancing round the kitchen (thanks Granny for those). But, being 6 is all about imagining who or what you could be (I think I wanted to be a horse) and I might just have made her dream feel a bit more real.

Pattern: Simplicity 7160, size 6 (c1980)
Fabrics: Silk chiffon, shantung and taffeta from Buttonmania. Tulle and notions from GJ's
Star and crown are made with two layers of the silk shantung bonded to a middle layer of silk taffeta using fusible web. The star's "stick" is two pieces of flower stem wire wrapped around each other then wrapped in metallic grey bias binding.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Secret Valentine Exchange 2017 - Giving and receiving

Keeping up the happy feeling that came from giving away copies of Sewing Happiness in the last blog post, this one is also all about gifts.

In its fourth year the Secret Valentine Exchange was very, very big (I can't bring myself to use the word "huge" anymore). I followed the #2017sve hashtag on Instagram and everyday there were more, and more, beautiful things being made. Then, the excitement as packages started arriving on doorsteps all over the world.....

My gift came from Shana ( in the U.S.A. It arrived the day before Valentine's day but as I was having a mopey sort of evening I opened it up to cheer myself. And it did!

One of the things I love most about the gift exchange is we all have our own skills or talents (or ambitions to have skills, but more on that later) and so the gifts are varied in their media.

Shana had drawn some lovely note cards and envelopes and handstitched a little Bike Me Valentine heart as the card (I love that it reads as bite me at first glance!). But the main piece was this gorgeous mini canvas of me, in my See You At Six dress and with my old 1980 steel singlespeed bike. I LOVE it. - thank you Shana.

The distribution of Valentine swap partners is meant to be random, but I had found a project that I desperately wanted to make, and had an idea of just who I would make it for...

After I'd filled in my own details for my swap partner (obviously I mentioned bicycles and my pet goldfish!) I fired off a begging email to Ute asking if she couldn't play Cupid and set me up with my Valentine of choice. You see I wanted to make this: (warning: Blog post saga approaching)

And I was pretty sure I had the right target in mind for Cupid's arrow: Pips, aka @magdalenesmuse or The Girl In A Teacup.

I already had some 1mm (or so I thought) khaki macrame cord, and so I bought a reel of black and then hit up Maria's Beads & Trims for the red jasper cabochons and the smaller beads. The stones she had to hand where close to perfect but didn't measure exactly the same - her casual suggestion that I "just change the number of knots" had me breaking out in a cold sweat. I had no idea what I was doing and I sure wasn't going to start improvising!

We set off for a late January holiday and took everything with me, and a little bit of linen and some embroidery thread just in case I needed a plan B.

The first step was wrapping the stones. And above, my first attempts were looking pretty good. Then, the instructions were to insert knotting threads and here was where it all started to go awry. The instruction was to insert a thread at the top of the stone from left to right, then another of the same length below it. Then insert three longer threads then ten shorter threads, in the same manner, on each side.

That confused me. To do it "in the same manner" would have the threads going from left to right across the back of the stone. How then do I correlate that with the instruction to do it "on each side". I went with the "in the same manner" interpretation and blithely stumbled on. Only after I had done the row of khaki knots that came afterwards did I get to the next step and realise I had nowhere near the right number of knotting threads.

Oh, and by now I had a pretty mean blister! I was typing some rather vitriolic emails to the author of the book and becoming more hysterical by the minute as the really bad Wifi at the motel kept timing out on my email before it could be sent (you're guessing right if you think that was a blessing in disguise!).

With a deep sigh, I unpicked it all and went back to the beginning. This time I did the first two threads "across" the stone, but then next thirteen threads on "each side". That gave me the right number of threads and I now see there is no error as such in the pattern (check that outbox and phew the email never did get sent), although I maintain it is not absolutely clear as an instruction. :)

I was getting it right now, but it was becoming obvious that my thread was too thick and it was just not going to work. The scale was all wrong and it was impossible to fit all those knots around the stone's perimeter. Set it aside and give up time...

Plan B: A cup of tea and some handstitching...

I had thought that I might make the Forget-Me-Not Jewelry Pouch pattern from the Straight Stitch Society

There was no doubt that anything with Liesl's instructions would be a joy to sew and I thought if I did the embellishing while on holidays I could sew it up quickly once I got home. - When I opened the pattern and saw point 6 from the Manifesto: "Sometimes a glass of wine really does improve your sewing. Or at least your attitude. Same difference." I knew I'd come home!

the pattern is an absolute delight to sew. After the instruction is given as to how to create a petal, instead of something as dry as "repeat for all other petals" the instruction tells you to do the same thing again, and again, and again, and again, and again.  A laborious step made funny.

The bottom of the pouch has a little circle of quilt batting sewn in to give it a proper little base.

The fabrics were from my stash and were as close as I could get to Pips' declared love of black, cream, purple and dark florals. Since it was my stash after all, she got grey, beige and murky green florals :)

The inside of the pouch has a large, central compartment and then these little ring or earring holding pockets around the edge.

I was wondering what to do for a drawcord when I rummaged through my ribbon-y things bag and found this little sample of cord that was included as a gift with a fabric order (thank you Mamzelle Fourmi) and what do you know, it's kind of purple!

I was delighted with the jewelry pouch, but the unfinished macrame necklace was bugging me... I had no other use for the cabochons if I didn't make the necklace, and I knew the necklace was not something that would suit me - it had to be for Pips.

Back to Feeling Inspired for thinner macrame cord. I found some that certainly looked thinner but had no numbers anywhere (in English at least) on the packaging. I asked the shop attendant and he told me it was 1mm cord. But that's what I bought lat time I said... Ah the difference is in whether it's measured as 1mm diameter (the too thick stuff) or 1mm circumference. How one is to ever know that is beyond me. Sadly there was no bronze, khaki, beige, cream or neutral colour in the right thickness, so I bought a red for the section around the stone. In hindsight I think it was the wrong choice, but I wasn't risking buying cord off the net and getting a third interpretation of 1mm.

With the right number of knotting cords and the right cord thickness it started to become enjoyable again. I worked on it most evenings in that week. There were still plenty of mistakes and a fair bit of unpicking of knots.

I seriously botched one side of the choker, but when I considered out loud whether I should do it over again the family looked ready to take out an intervention on me. it was time to say near enough is good enough and get it packaged up and in the post.

Threading the beads was quite tricky and I found the only way to do it was to use a cigarette lighter* to melt the end, then quickly grab the melted end with a pair of tweezers and pull it out into a thin, stiff thread. If only I could have wrangled the camera phone while doing it I would have taken a video as my cut and melt technique for the thread ends got quite proficient by the end. The backside of the necklace is a little scratchy due to the melted ends, but I imagine it would be even worse if I had used a cotton thread and had to superglue all the cut ends in place.

*I now have a purpose bought cigarette lighter in my craft supplies toolbox

Well, what better excuse to try something completely new, out of my depth and potentially disastrous, than in order to give it away! As I'd hoped, Pips was delighted with her gift and I supsect is about to fashion a gamrent specifically to go with her new necklace. What a sweetheart!


Macrame Necklace:
Pattern: Red Jasper Choker pattern from Bohemian Macrame
Materials: Red Jasper cabochons and bronze beads from Maria's Beads and Trims. 1mm polyester cords from Feeling Inspired
Jewelry Pouch:
Pattern: Forget-Me-Not Jewelry Pouch from Straight Stitch Society
Materials: Linen (beige and grey), floral cotton, quilt batting, drawcord and beads all from my stash.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Sewing Happiness Winter Tour - and double giveaway!

Every now and then a crafty, internet event comes along that I am really happy to take part in.

A long time ago I was asked (or possibly I begged, let's not split hairs) to help pattern test for Sanae Ishida's upcoming book - Sewing Happiness

I'm not going to kid myself that I'm "introducing" Sanae to anyone. You already know who she is. You may have already seen her books, or followed the American launch for Sewing Happiness, or maybe you're a Secret Valentine Exchange devotee. In short, if you read my blog and don't know Sanae, you simply haven't been paying attention!

But here I am, and I'm super excited to take you inside the book, oh, and to give you the chance to win a copy for yourself!

Sewing Happiness is unique among craft books that I've seen to date, in that it is as much a biographical tale as it is an instructional sewing pattern book. In the same way that really good travel writers can tell a great story at the same time as making you desirous of travelling to wherever it was they found themselves, Sanae gives us the tale of how she arrived in sewing-land and makes us want to join her there.

Ok, so how she got there wasn't entirely pretty, but that's often the case with travel writing too, and I found her story to be very honest and quite gripping. I read the story parts of the book in one evening, curled up on the couch and the feeling was very much that of having a companion there, telling you their story.

What are these little cushions? This was my pattern test for Sanae, back when the book was in its infancy. They are little tooth fairy pillows, and my brief was to sew one and check the instructions for the others. Of course, as soon as I saw the patterns I couldn't decide which to make, so I made the four of them.

One of the over-riding tenets of Sanae's book is that things you make don't have to be perfect; so when her wolf looked a little like a fox, and quite a bit like a dog, it didn't get redesigned, it got renamed! The Dwox (dog/wolf/fox) tooth fairy pillow is my son's favourite, and kids totally get that kind of logic!

Of course I had to test them for an international audience, so out came the left-over-foreign-currency money bag:

The Australian 50cent coin was the only one that didn't fit, so with my brief note to Sanae that tightarse Aussie parents might be disappointed, my pattern test was complete and I eagerly awaited the book's completion...

The book is divided into four seasons (my tooth pillows are from the Summer chapter), and while the story shifts focus with the seasons so do the projects. I suspected I would enjoy reading Sanae's story, but I'll confess I was unsure about just how much I would use the patterns in the book. We've all been there, right? Thumbed a book, decided there's one or two projects of interest, but we could probably make them without guidance anyway, then put it back on the shelf...

Fast forward a year and Christmas was fast approaching. I had my new copy of the final book (and a spare for you! - hang in there) and I thought Sewing Happiness might give me some inspiration for making gifts.

As if to prove to myself that sometimes the seemingly simple project is exactly the one that you do want a pattern for I chose to make the Triangle Eco Bag (also a Summer project).

This is a delightful tote bag that's perfect for taking to the market. It's infinitely more stylish than those green supermarket branded things I carry and I think I need to make one for myself now! This was a gift for P's teacher - the first of the teachers to declare their love of purple which sent me scurrying to the fabric shop to fill a purple coloured hole in my stash.

The bag is cleverly folded and sewn from a rectangle. The maths is all laid out to give you the correct dimensions before adding seam allowances. That meant my fabric, which was slightly too narrow for the proposed bag size, could be easily measured and cut to produce a bag about 90% of the intended size.

The absence of a pattern sheet and strict rules works well here. Whatever your fabric allowance, it's easy to measure up the right rectangle to fold the bag and have it come together perfectly. My fabric had a horrid, plastick-y backing and so I simply sewed a lining face to face with the outer fabric, turned the rectangle through a small hole, then continued as per the instructions. The hemming allowance was already included so I didn't need to make any changes to my fabric dimensions in order to have my Eco bag lined.

Here it is next to the Genoa Tote:

While it's a simple concept, the bag really is lovely and P and I were both delighted with the gift.

A few other projects in  Sewing Happiness were starting to catch my eye, but I knew that my daughter would adore a felt flower crown...

I found the perfect little flower centre thingies at L'Uccello where I also bought a couple more squares of nice, wool felt. In the floral crown instructions (Fall chapter), Sanae says that the feel of wool felt is so lovely that the synthetic stuff is just never worth troubling with, and I completely agree.

This one is a hand sewing and glueing type of project. The examples in the book are stunning, but every floral crown will be different. The colours can be bright or subtle, the flowers sparse or thickly clustered. The pattern gives the petal and leaf shapes and then instructions on how to create the flowers and the twisted wire headband. The exact design is left entirely up to you, but the images are wonderful inspiration and could be copied if you want the perfectly tasteful versions shown.

I wish I'd taken a photo that showed the back of the crown as it's bare of flowers and I covered the wires in some leftover, metallic grey bias binding from my Koos jacket. It gives it a fabulous magic-twig appearance!

While I could recommend Sewing Happiness just as a pleasant tale to read, I can also put my hand on my heart and say that it is a really good craft book too. All of the projects would be achievable by people with some sewing experience, and most of them by people with absolutely none. But more importantly, the cynical page thumbing type (me, and maybe you?) will also find plenty of projects to make, to gift and to cherish.

Ok, So here's the thanks for your blogpost reading persistence, and a chance to win not just a signed copy of Sewing Happiness, but also a 45 Euro gift card from 1000Stoff  (seriously great fabric!)

Sewing Happiness - 2017 Winter Tour Giveaway

Enter to win using the Gleam widget above, and then check out all the other blog tour participants listed at the bottom of this post, as there will be multiple giveaways running throughout the Winter Tour.
...As you read that sentence, I'm off on vacation for the end of summer school holidays. I probably have a beer in one hand, sausage in bread in the other (it is Australia Day after all, barbecues are compulsory today) and my feet in the river. It's definitely not winter here. Sanae was going to call it her World Tour, but predictably, humility won over and she renamed it. I'm claiming it back for her. It's a World Blog Tour alright!

And because today is Australia Day I have a second giveaway of a copy of Sewing Happiness which will be posted from my place to a lucky Aus/NZ resident. If you're resident in this little bottom half of the world then you can enter both the international giveaway above and this next one as well.

Sewing Happiness - Downunder Bonus Giveaway

I've been very flattered to be in such great sewing company and I strongly encourage you to check out all the other Sewing Happiness tour participants.
January 23 - Ute + Lara
January 24 - An of StraightGrain // Instagram
January 25 - Trine of Groovy Baby and Mama  // Instagram
January 26 - Shelley of Bartacks and Singletrack // Instagram
January 30 - Annika of Näh Connection // Instagram
January 31 - Olu of Needle and Ted // Instagram
February 1 - Emi of Just Add Fabric // Instagram
February 2 - Eva of With Love - by Eva // Instagram
Thanks to Sanae for involving me in her book right from the beginning, it's a real gem, and to both Sanae and Lara (of 1000Stoff) for their generosity in making these great giveaways available. Good luck everyone!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Christmas craftiness

Leading up to Christmas I kicked up a gear and started making things as gifts. Mostly because I find it easier, and far more pleasant, to make gifts in the evening than to devote my few free daylight hours to trawling shopping malls looking for gifts! Yep, selfish Christmas crafting is totally my bag!

Speaking of bag(s), let's start with one...

Following Blogless Anna's inspirational lead, I made a Genoa tote bag as a teacher gift. It was the gift that kept on giving, as Anna gifted me the strap and rivet set, then I bought the pattern, then gifted the bag to A's teacher. In turn she has given us the wonderful gift of a year in which my little girl has delighted in starting school. She absolutely adores her teacher.

tooling around with my backdrops and not quite getting that floor/wall line convincing :)
A's teacher had been absent from school for a few weeks towards the end of the year and the kids were desperately hoping she'd come back for the last week. As was I, as I needed to know her favourite colour.

Turns out it's purple. Now that's not a colour that I ever have in my fabric stash, but as it happened I'd bought some purple fabric for P's teacher gift as that was her favourite colour. Luckily there was just enough left over for a Genoa tote!

 The outer fabric is a synthetic something or other that has a sort of plastic backing. I suspect it will be semi-waterproof and perfect for a tote bag. The lining fabric is a poly something or other. Both came from Super Cheap Fabrics on Sydney Rd, and the two bags were made from about $6 worth of fabric - just don't tell the teachers that. :)

I underlined the outer fabric of the bag with some of the stiff, sew in interfacing that feels like a sort of paper-felt. It gives this tote bag just enough structure (it can almost stand up on it's own) but isn't rigid or prickly at the seams like a horsehair interfacing. Thinking I had a big collection of "purse" length zippers I didn't buy one. Turns out this aqua one was the only one in the stash, but I like the happy accident of a pop of colour.

I love the key fob, and using the rivets and setting tool that Anna supplied was a breeze. Nothing like the frustrating, bound to fail, crappy rivets I've tried previously.

The pattern (realised through Pattern Fantastique) is a delight and I'm sure it will get plenty of use. I'll have to try and keep notes on who gets gifted one for fear of repeating myself!

I'll show you the other teacher gift bag next week, but now, another Pattern Fantastique gift. I made my mother in law the Lucent Visor. Here's me trying to model it:

Again, I bought the Lucent Visor Kit along with the pattern so that i would have all the correct notions. The main thing to source is the milliners plastic wire and little ferrules. I'm sure I'll find them easily enough when I have time, but buying the kit was a great time saver. The good stiff interfacing was also included in the kit.

All I had to supply was the fabric, and I'll confess it was all from the stash. The one seam that could end up being seen is on the inside where the brim meets the front hat, and my overlocker was really struggling with both the curve and the thickness. So I used some self adhesive cotton tape from Daiso to bind the seam allowance.

This was my first attempt at the pattern, and I suspect my next one will be neater. But, my mother in law loved it, and to prove that it is much more her thing than mine, here she is in her natural habitat (a chair on a balcony overlooking the beach) modelling it perfectly!

Then, quickly, before we headed out to the country I sewed a pair of pyjamas for my nephew. When I saw the fabric in Spotlight I knew I had to do it - they're heading up to Queensland to live by the beach for a while and I thought a knowledge of what might eat them in the water was essential! Hence, shark pyjamas:

He's about six months older than A, so i went up a size from the shorty pyjamas I made her recently. These turned out a bit big (he's almost exactly A's size) but they'll fit him for this Australian summer, and again through the European summer when they go home.

Leaving a big mess of fabrics piled up and cotton reels on the shelves, we headed out to the country for Christmas.

We got there about 4 days before my brother, sister in law and nephew, and so I made my sister in laws gift while we were there. Second Christmas is the one that atheists get to have when not everyone is around for the first one, and there's still food to eat and fun to be had. I don't know that it's really her thing at all, but she was very polite about it, wore it, and it really did suit her. Anyway, I enjoyed making it and that's what Selfish Christmas Crafting is all about. Right?

Oh, and if you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I also made a mini macrame wall hanging for Rodger. :)

He pitched his tent in the garden as the "inn" was full and joined us for our second Christmas. I thought a little macrame wall hanging might make his tent more homely, but he seemed genuinely delighted with my "joke" gift and I suspect it might get a hanging in the real house. What a sweetheart!

A couple more things were made as gifts, but they came from a very beautiful book that I'm going to share with you next week. Stay tuned as there will be a copy to give away. 'Til then.

Genoa tote:
Pattern: Genoa Tote by BloglessAnna
Size: Medium
Fabric:  Cheap stuff from SuperCheap Fabrics
Notions: Interfacing and zipper (stash). Genoa tote kit - clips, leather straps and rivets from BloglessAnna

Lucent Visor:
Pattern: Lucent Visor by Pattern Fantastique
Size: Medium brim width
Fabric: Spotty cotton and aqua quilting cotton from stash (via Spotlight)
Notions: Lucent Visor kit

Patterns: Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt and Oliver + S Playtime Leggings
Size: Size 6
Modifications: Shortened leggings and cuffs as per my cuff tutorial on the Oliver + S blog
Fabric: Spotlight printed cotton/elastane knit. Grey ribbing from stash

Macrame necklace:
Pattern: Bohemian Macrame book
Notions: All from Feeling Inspired