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Monday, 30 June 2014

Sewing for a wedding - part 4 (my dress)

Now I am getting to our clothes, and I'll begin with my dress. If you remember I started with this burda pattern and those two fabrics (one light cotton and one lace):
I started working on it on a weekend at my in-laws. They have a larger diner table and the children were a little less in my way. It is actually quite amazing how much you can get done when your two little ones aren't running around ;)
In just a couple of hours I had everything cut, and the first layer pinned, ready to be tried on:
I was very nervous about cutting the lace. It is rather expensive fabric, so I didn't want to make a false move. In the end I had way more than enough of it, I could almost have cut two dressed in it!
It was an early summer wedding and my sister kept saying that she had "ordered" sunshine for the day, so I chose to leave out the sleeves, the cut looked good enough without.
The lace was surprisingly uncomplicated and nice to sew. It is almost impossible to separate two pieces again though. The thread was of the perfect shade and it was extremely difficult to make out which thread was part of the lace and which was part of the seam!
 Everything seemed to fall right into place. And I got to use my sewing-mannequin for the first time. And then... well, I've got a dress that I simply love! 
It is very light and comfortable. Bonus point: I don't need to iron so carefully the underskirt, we hardly see it under the lace.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Sewing for a wedding - part 3 (hairclips)

For the wedding I wanted to make N. some hairclips. She does not have locks, her hair is pretty thin and I keep it short, so a little decoration was a lovely option to add to her dress. I first made those very simple ones with the fabric I used for her dress:
But I found them a little to plain. Now I have been following a blog for some time now: "Les Trouvailles de Joséphine" and I rather like what I read there. In April the author published an article about hairclips from "Tout Silo". Small butterflies. Now I love butterflies and they were also one of the themes for my sister's wedding. So I first emailed Silo to ask her permission to use her concept. After exchanging some emails, she agreed to my giving it a try. Here is the result:
 I used blue felt underneath to give it a bit of volume effect. N. really liked it. It was quite far from Silo's butterflies, but I thought it looked ok-ish. I was by then still exchanging emails with Silo, who offered to make some butterflies with my own fabric. All I had to do was to send it quickly enough - it was mid-May by then! I did it, I really liked the look of her hairclips. About a week later: tadaaaaam! My sister had received the letter with two lovely butterflies!
I was really pleased and wanted N. to wear them at the wedding. Unfortunately this young lady is starting to decide what she want to wear or not. She let me put the clip on but refused to keep it, she said it was pulling her hair and hurting her. She insisted on wearing the big one I had made.
Still on the next day, I managed to make her wear it long enough to take this picture:
I hope N. will accept to wear them at some point - I am definitely keeping them, and who knows, maybe I'll even wear them myself ;) 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Presents for new-borns

I've reached that time in life when a lot of your friends are settling down and starting a family. I am blessed with two lovely children, and I always feel thrilled when I hear somebody else is going to know the same joys (let's be positive and leave a side the down sides :-p ).

Several of my friends got babies earlier this year and I tried to make a little something for each of them. The size and complexity always depended - unfortunately - on the time I had available...

It started in January in Germany, see the link. I made a small toy with ribbons for a little boy.

Then again in January but this time in France. I made this play/changing mat, it was again for a boy:
I loved the fabrics the minute I saw them online. They were a little thin, but all the better to pack the mat in a hand-bag!

Then in March brought us a spanish little girl, for her I tried something very different. Felt, as usual, with beads to make it brighter. Three layers of felt, a bit of wading in the middle, and then cutting at different length. I love the result and I will surely make new patterns on the same principle in the future. It just takes absolute ages to put the beads on ;)

April brought two little boys, one in France, one in Spain. One got a cushion in the shape of a B, the first letter of his name - it was a very simple idea but proved a lot more complicated to sew than I had expected.
I made it without pattern nor instructions and the difficulty was to do the holes... my solution was to hand-sew one side. For the fabric I used an old man shirt, I liked the idea of keeping the buttons.

For the second boy, nephew of a friend of mine this time, I had next to no time at all. I was busy making the decorations for my sister's wedding... I managed this tiny decoration, hoping it will find a nice place in the baby's room:

Now still in April, the population of the Netherlands grew a little more, a little girl this time!
I wanted something colourful and pretty. I love felt and I cannot paint, so cutting out the letters was a great compromise. I used a cookbook of mine as inspiration for the lettering and a nappy box as painting chamber. The golden paint was sprayed by means of scratching an old toothbrush, so I needed side-walls ;)

I am rather proud of the final result and again, I think I'll make different versions of that canvas.

Now, I cannot make presents for every baby that comes around me, but I like to try to make at least a little something. At the moment the next ones are planned for december and january, so that will leave me some time ;)

PS: in case you are wondering about the names. I have asked permission to the parents before showing the full names. I do not want to identify my close family and friends, but giving two names without other way to identify them is fine I guess.

Update on my summer hats

For summer I made N. and T. two hats. They are great and usually people notice them in the streets. Two weeks ago we had a guy on a motorbike complimenting the children on their hats. That was rather funny.
Anyway, when I made them I respected the measurements the lady had given on her pattern and instructions. I was afterwards rather unhappy about one little detail: the ribbons were too short to make a nice knot under the children's chins. It was becoming loose all the time.

So when we had the "Stoffmarkt Holland" (big fabric market) in my town in May, I bought two stoppers and added them to the hats:

 These made our lives much easier. The children can put their hats on and off without help and they can also just let them hang on their backs. N. is even able to push the stopper properly to adjust it.

Now, just for the fun of showing you, this what I bought on the market :)
The three fabrics will end up being hats ... again! This time there will be one for myself and hopefully I have gotten enough fabric to make a loop as well.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Sewing for a wedding - part 2 (felt decorations)

Sewing for a wedding, here we go again. Still no clothes to show you, I need to blur some of the pictures and also to see if anyone took a picture of my family on the wedding day ;)

Today, I'm showing you more "felt art" among other things!

My sister who got married, M., wanted a photo-booth. She asked her three sisters to be in charge. That was a lot of work, team work, but I think we rocked it.

M. (I have two sisters whose name starts with M :-p ) has always been good with drawing and painting. Look at what she made:
 She painted on table oil cloth. Iron Man is stapled to a wooden frame (he is about 2m tall), and Marilyn is attached to a photo-screen support (she is about 1m70 tall).
The frames were painted with small white butterflies. Butterflies and the colour blue were the theme of this wedding. M. made the frames herself, giving them different shapes and sizes.

B. is a lot into small DIY at the moment, she made the props:
I need to ask her for a better picture, or to link you to her blog if she puts the pictures up. This one was taken at night, so the colours do not strike out.
She used small wooden sticks and thin DIY foam. The picture really does not do her work justice, so I'll have to replace it as soon as possible!
 [Edit: Found a picture B. had sent me while making the props. It looks a lot better than mine.]

And I am more at ease with a needle, so here is my contribution:
 People seemed to rather like our ideas and work, but mostly what was most rewarding was the groom's reaction to the Iron Man prop ;)

Monday, 23 June 2014

Sewing for a wedding - part 1 (sleeping mat)

Do you remember this post? In April I had my patterns and fabrics to make clothes for my children and myself for my sister's wedding that took place on the 7th of June.

It took me a while to complete everything I wanted to make, some things I gave up on the way, some others I managed, and for some my mother-in-law helped me.

I made myself a dress, for N. I made a dress and hairclips, for T. I made trousers and a bow tie. His Oma made him a shirt.

While doing all this I also kept sewing some felt food, preparing some traveling toys etc. Unfortunately, all of this took so much of my time that with planning our holiday and then packing for three weeks, I did not find the time to publish any article!

For this first article on "Sewing for a wedding", I will show you the sleeping mat that I made for little N. 

I used KAM snaps, one cotton fabric (nice and soft), one sort of cotton oil cloth, straps, a 40x80cm pillow, a 140x200cm duvet and a thin fleece blanket (all three elements being from IKEA).

Originally I had planned the blanket to be sewn in the side seam, but the blanket was not the right size. So instead I just roll it with the mat.

 N. will be able to use that mat for a looooong time. It is 180cm long! and about 70/80cm wide. I fold the duvet in three before inserting it in the mat. It does not make a very thick mattress, but for some days it is fine. Little N. really loved sleeping on it.
There is, as per usual, a lot of room for improvements. I had a rough plan and had made a couple of drawings with measurements, but I did not follow a pattern or a tutorial. I just inspired myself from what I had seen on the web.

The final result is ok, but the roll is a little too bulky for my taste. I do not see how I could make it less big so I will not try to change that.
When I get to make one for T. though, I will do the sewing a little differently: sewing everything in one piece, and then only doing the separation between pillow and duvet. This time I could not do it because I had miscalculated how much fabric I needed. So I had to cut extra pieces for the pillow case.

*sigh* will I ever learn to think more and better before ordering my fabrics and before starting a project? ;)

What do you think of the mat? Do you like the colours?

PS: the oil cloth has a point: it should prevent humidity from the ground to get to the sleeper.