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Welcome to my Blog

I am a grandmother to 4 little girls. I blog about the things I make for them, review patterns, provide tutorials on how I've dealt with techniques or problems, which I hope may help others, and give links to the (mostly) free patterns I use. Every so often, I do a 'Best of..' post listing the best free patterns I've found under specific headings - babies, girls, boys etc. Enjoy the Blog!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Needle case project - ideal gift! A tutorial

A while ago, I wrote a post about how to make an easy sewing kit case. As I was writing it, I thought the needle case within it might merit a post, too, but it's taken me a while to get round to it.

Before you dismiss the offering below as like the work of a child - it is the work of a child, namely yours truly age 7 or 8. We were required at school to make these needle cases as a Christmas present for Mummy. That is one reason why this is such a nice project - even a child can do it, and it's a great idea for getting your kids sewing. As long as they can hold a needle without stabbing themselves - they can do it.

In this post, I'll tell you how to make a needle case like this, or, if you or your children don't like this little Dutch Doll design, I have several other suggestions for you.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Vietnamese style trousers - a tutorial

I'm breaking my rule here, that most of my posts are about clothes for my grand-children. These wraparound trousers can be used to make similar for a child, but as I originally wrote it up, the tutorial assumes these are being made for a woman. 

These are wonderfully cool, and very easy to make.  I bought two pairs in Vietnam, one black and one white, and was so impressed with the simple design that I plan to make more. It would also be very simple to scale this down for a child. You need no buttons, zips etc. If you are a confident / experienced dressmaker, the basic instructions will probably do, but for more precise details, read the longer version below.

Basic instructions (for confident / experienced dress maker)

These basic instructions will work for a small to medium size frame (UK sizes 10-12) of c. 152-165cm (5’0” – 5’5”) and may well work for someone a bit bigger. They are sold as ‘one size fits all’ in Indochina.  If you are a lot different from this, suggest you read the fuller instructions. And do so if these ‘ basic instructions’ are not clear enough. They are intended for someone who is prepared to do a bit of trial and error.

  • Cut two squares of material of about 1m x 1m (39” x 39”). A light cotton is fine.  I think the ones in Vietnam are just very simply cut from material of this width off the roll. Cut two long strings about 2 metres x 7cm (78” x 2¾“) for the narrow waistband and ties. If you have to have joins in the ties, suggest that rather than joining in the middle, you join a piece either end. You could use ribbon instead if preferred.
  • Fold the two squares in half. Measure down from the top and cut out a ‘J’ shape down each fold – for dimensions of this, see the more detailed instructions or just use trial and error. But start with smaller – you can always increase the amount you cut out but you can’t put it back! This ‘ J’ will form the crutch seam. Open the two pieces out again and lay on top of each other.  The ‘ J’ is now a ‘U’. Stitch the two pieces together around this ‘U’. Hem the side edges neatly. Press.
  • Now fold both halves back as you had them when you cut out the ‘J’.  You’ll have a baggy trouser shape open at the sides' like this sketch.

  • Make your strings inside out, sewing the ends, and the string parts, leaving open the middle part (waist band) that will attach to the top of the waist, and turn right side out. (Diagram 1 below not to scale – drawn so you can see the idea.)
  •  Attach your strings to the top of each half, front and back. Try them on as explained in the last section below, and decide where you want the lower hems, and turn up accordingly. Voila! The finished article.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Two children's garments out of a metre? (Part 3 and 4 - Flutter top and skirt)

In Alaska recently, I found two fabrics I loved. I could only bring back about a metre of each - probably a yard, as this was America - becauses I was flying home with limited luggage allowance. So I was determined to maximise what I could make, and went for two garments out of each fabric. That way, none of my grand-daughters could say I brought them nothing back from my holiday.

I wrote up the first two, from a fabric called Bear Mountain, a few days ago. If you 'd like to see those, too, they are here and here. Those were for the oldest and youngest grand-children. Now, here is the second fabric. 

This fabric is One of the Aunt Grace range, # 6257, by Judie Rothermel for Marcus fabrics, for which I bought 4 fat quarters. Unfortunately it's now out of print. Why do they always do this to me? I just find a lovely fabric I want to buy more of, when it's finished! I could list them - no, stop, it's painful!

Out of the second fabric, I would make two things for the middle two grand-daughters: a top for Rose, age 3, and a skirt for Jane, age 4. Each of these used two of the fat quarters, the skirt with a band of additional fabric.

To find out more, read on.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Two pieces of children's clothing from a metre of fabric? (Part 2 - Playsuit)

In my last post, I started telling you about the first piece of children's clothing I made from one of the fabrics I bought from  a lovely fabric shop called Quilted Raven, while travelling through Anchorage, Alaska. This fabric is called Bear Mountain.

The first, in my earlier post, was the toddler shorts shown on the left, made for baby Ada.  In this post, I'll tell you about the playsuit for Ada's cousin Fleur. The challenge was to get them both out of this one piece, which was actually fractionally over a metre in length, as it was the bolt end.

Two pieces of children's clothing from a metre of fabric? (Part 1 - Toddler shorts)

Travelling through Anchorage, Alaska, I found a lovely fabric shop called Quilted Raven. (Lucky folk in Anchorage! 7 fabric stores in town and two more up at Eagle River.) I picked up two pieces of fabric, one an offcut just over a metre long (by the standard 114cm wide - or 44-45 inches), and the other, I just bought a metre. (Come to think of it, as it was US, it was probably a yard they sold me.) I could have bought so many more pieces, I loved the fabrics, but I was limited as to the amount of extras I could bring home to the UK. Thank goodness I didn't have time to visit all the other shops, or I'd have been seriously overweight on my luggage!

Once home, I had to plan out what I could make for the girls. As I'd only managed to bring home two pieces of fabric, I had to get two garments out of each. Here are the first two, from fabric 1, called Bear Mountain.

Long shorts for the toddler, Ada, and a playsuit for Fleur. To find out more, read on.