Flower Pants!

I finally started on my fabric stash that I bought in China!

This pattern is from the wonderful website Dana Made It. It’s a super fast pattern… though it took me a while as I only had a short window of opportunity each day!

The first pair I made (pink pair) looked great, but were a little lowcut because we wear cloth nappies. So, with the second ones (blue) I added a higher waist. And a little bit of extra creativity!

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My little model wouldn’t smile until she put a lion on her head! 

The corduroy fabric is such a great weight for the autumn weather, and I imagine leggings or tights will fit nicely under these when it gets cold!

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Sewing tutorial: Car organiser

Grandma collected a GREAT set of mini books from an Advertiser promotion earlier in the year. There are a lot of favourites in there, like Hairy Maclary, and they are a perfect size to hold for little hands. We quickly adopted them as entertainment for long car journeys, as we did a few trips between Melbourne and Adelaide in quick succession. They came in a little bag which we hung over the passenger headrest, so she could help herself. Which was great, in theory. The books often got caught on the internal hem of the bag, so one of us had to stretch our arm around and pull out each one. And, of course, the bag itself soon fell apart, despite being reinforced by my sewing machine a couple of times!

So, since I well and truly had my sewing machine and sewing supplies unpacked from our China shipment (including gorgeous Chinese fabric), I decided it was time to fix this problem myself! I’ve set this up as a kind of tutorial, in case anyone is inspired and would like to follow suit. I, of course, started by scrounging on pinterest, and was particularly inspired by this Grab and Go Traveler. I followed some basic ideas from these, but designed it to suit the things that we play with in the car.

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I measured our passenger seat and headrest and these were the measurements that I came up with. I have included a 1.5cm seam allowance for each side, so 3cm has been added to my original measurements.

  • Main piece (cut 2) – 36cm x 53cm
  • Strap (cut 2) – 36cm x 6cmIMG_3262

Then, I measured the items that I wanted to put in specific pockets. I wanted a pocket for the books, her sunnies, her toy phone and then a general pocket for snacks, clothing and extras. In the end, there was also space for an extra one, so I added another little pocket. I wanted all the pockets to be “seamless”, as in, I didn’t want any seams that could catch things as she pulled things out. So, every piece is doubled, so it can be folded over. W = width, H = height.

  • Book pocket (cut 1) – 36cmW x 51cmH
  • Phone pocket (cut 1) – 17cmW x 25cmH
  • Sunnies pocket (cut 1) – 26cmH x 7cmW
  • Large pocket (cut 1) – 41cmW x 45cmH
  • Extra pocket (cut 1) – 19cmW x 25cmHIMG_3275

For each pocket I followed the same directions. I “crimped” the pockets to give them depth. For example, for the book pocket, I crimped it until it was only 17cm across, to allow 8cm depth for the pile of books.

For each pocket:

  • fold in half, right sides together, and iron
  • stitch the sides together (with about a 1cm seam)
  • turn inside out (now the right way) and iron
  • sew a top seam to look neatIMG_3265
  • fold the bottom seam up and iron
  • (I also folded in the corners like triangles and tacked them in place to make the sewing easier)IMG_3266
  • pin to the right side of your main piece, and crimp to give each pocket depthIMG_3267 IMG_3268
  • sew in place (with about a 0.5cm seam)
  • (I also did a double seam for strength)IMG_3270

Once you have attached all of your pockets, attach the strap at the top using a 1cm seam allowance. Then, sew your second main piece to your first using a 1.5 cm seam allowance, leaving a 10cm gap at the bottom for turning.IMG_3286 IMG_3289

Turn it the right way out, hand sew up that gap and it’s done! Yay!IMG_3292 IMG_3294

I had some other ideas that could definitely be incorporated:

  • a specific pocket for a drink bottle – perhaps with elastic?
  • a loop to attach snack cups
  • elastic to put around the the whole chair to hold the organiser in place (I was worried with the shape of our seats that this would be uncomfy for the front passenger though)
  • like the Grab and Go Traveler, having a way to close it up and transport it would be great for older kids, especially for taking art things around

Have you made something similar? Or do you have other fun car activities to share?

Playgroup sewing

Following Isabelle’s awesome tag toy sewing project for our playgroup, I thought I’d find some other simple tutorials that we can complete despite a short period of time, one sewing machine among many Mums and, of course, a lot of attention-grabbing children!

I had already made Adella this polka dot headband from this tutorial. And then I helped the other ladies make some for their gorgeous little ones. We also made baby ties from this tutorial. But I don’t have any photos of them on our models… yet.

Here is our fashion parade:

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(Thanks to Kate for some of the photos! And thanks little ones for being such cute models!)

Womad pants

How else to describe them? If I was taking her to Womad, these would be the pants she would wear! And she even has her maraca  on standby.

I followed this tutorial, though I wasn’t particularly precise… I just kept testing them along the way. The tie to do them up is quite long, so if I feel energised, I’ll unpick that part and shorten them a bit. But for now, I’ll make do with a double bow.

The elastic ankles are great for someone who is just learning to crawl.

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For those of you living in Beijing, the fabric was bought at the Dongsi fabric market. Details here and here. There’s a lady upstairs, in the corner, who has all sorts of Yunnan-style fabrics.

Summery tiered ruffled dress

It finally got warm in Beijing yesterday. We went out last night and it was shirt and cardigan weather… bliss!! It’s been a long winter. And to celebrate, I finished this little dress today. The pattern and tutorial was from here, and it is a perfect size for my little tubby ten-month-old. I did adjust the width of the panels to match her height. I like how it’s quite long, and it’s a lovely wide circle of fabric at the bottom. It swirls out beautifully when she sits down.

I’d been dying to try out combining different fabric prints, as I’ve always been very conservative in fabric choice. I’m not saying that this is outrageous, but it’s the most mixing I’ve done!! And I’m pretty happy with the result.

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For those of you living in Beijing, the fabric was bought at the Dongsi fabric market. Details here and here.

Polka dots and pretty pinafores!

I’ve been really getting my ‘sew’ on in the last couple of weeks.

I made another skirt (this time for my own daughter!) from this awesome skirt pattern. If you’re interested, you can see the others that I made here.

With the leftover fabric, I thought it would be so nice to have a little headband. I mostly followed this tutorial. We’re going to make these in playgroup soon!

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Ok, I know that’s quite a few pictures… but just call me a proud mummy.

Another fantastic tutorial I found was for this pinafore. I love it. It’s so easy to throw over leggings and a plain onesie to brighten up this little girl! I took Adella back to the fabric market the other day, wearing the blue pinafore, and showed the lady from whom I’d bought the material. She loved it!

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For those of you living in Beijing, the blue fabric, as well as both linings was bought at the Dongsi fabric market. Details here and here. I much prefer this one over Muxiyuan – to save both time and stress. It is, of course, much smaller, but they have a great range of things.

The owl fabric was bought from this taobao shop. They also have a great range of oilcloth (my next project).

Thankyou again to all the clever people out there who provide me with cool projects, patterns and tutorials from the interweb!!