Hanami Top

An amazing mum from playgroup keeps giving me fantastic fabrics. And this one was so special – an off-cut of vintage handkerchief linen. I returned to the source of my previous sewing success and set about on the next pattern (also from Straight Grain).

I had JUST enough to cut out the pattern (thanks for the help, Mum!) and used the natural edge of the linen for the bottom edge so I didn’t need to hem it.

It was also my first sewing adventure with lining, but the instructions were so clear that I didn’t struggle at all! It looks good with lining too, because of the lacy holes through the fabric. I love the shape of the the top and the flexibility of the pattern. There are other options for the sleeves and the length of the bottom ruffle.

My only real stuff-up was the button holes. The buttons were small and my button hole foot just kept slipping on the lining, so I decided to do ‘manual’ button holes. Not a good idea. Well, not without time to practise, that is – I finished this off the day before we went on holiday! This is definitely something I need to rehearse. If you have any tips, please let me know.

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IMG_4084Thankyou to my cute little model!

And it was showcased on Christmas Day with a pair of black leggings.

Tinny Dress

I’ve been waiting to make this pattern for a while… I bought it from Straight Grain patterns on etsy and it caught my eye with it’s assymetrical collar and retro design.

I’d been a bit scared of doing an invisible zip by myself, so I waited for Mum to visit and give me a hand! In the end, the instructions were so clear and well-written, that I probably would’ve coped ok, but it was great to have a more experienced hand in the room!!

The spotty fabric was from my Beijing collection, and Mum had the lovely yellow lying around in her stocks.

It was really fun to make, and perfectly manageable with a few 20 minute blocks of time here and there.

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Back view – including invisible zip!

I would highly recommend the patterns – I’ve bought two more and I can’t wait to get started on the next one!

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!

Big decisions

I decided to have a change of heart today. I’m sick of waiting. I’m tired of spending my days thinking about my contracting uterus (yes, it’s been working away for two weeks now). I’m frustrated with my body’s desire to sleep all the time. And all these false labour alarms are just emotionally draining.

A friend posted this on my facebook wall, and it keeps making me giggle… and I think it has helped switch my mindset.

New tack today. No nap and do things for me!

Thanks to some fabulous ladies in my life, the dishes and shopping have been done, so there are no chores waiting.

I baked scones and I shared them…. then ate the rest. Go carbo-loading!

I made a “mug rug” (does that sound dodgy to you?? It kinda does to me…) from this fabulous pattern that I’ve been putting off for weeks. Pretty, huh?

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I’m drinking the tea that I want to drink.

I put on some loud music and danced around a bit.

I’m going to post this and watch a girly movie.

And I’m going to paint my toenails… with one last big decision… which colour?

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!)

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!!