Author Archives: machineandadream

Necklace Top

So after about 2 hours of rummaging through fabrics and patterns and the mess that is my sewing space I finally settled for a basic top from McCalls pattern M6519. I bought this black ikat print silk Country Road top (below) some months ago and I absolutely love it.  It is just a simple pattern design with a cute print and so easy to wear. The kind of top that you can throw on with some casual shorts or dress it up in the evening with skinny jeans and some pretty accessories.  I adore this sleeve length and it makes a nice change from the tank style that is so popular … Not that I want to diss my beloved Wiksten Tanks!

With this said I was looking to recreate this style in some other pretty prints.  Obviously I could have quite easily drafted the pattern straight from the top as there isn’t a great deal to it, but I decided to try one of my newer patterns for a very similar look.  McCalls M6519 has a slightly higher neckline at the front and no panel on the back. I love the high neckline with this particular print because it looks as though the top has it’s own built in necklace … which is why I have named it the ‘Necklace Top’.

I will definitely be making this style again. The most difficult part about the top was having to make my own neck and arm binding. Not usually a super skilled task with my clover binding maker but with the silky rayon fabric this lot challenged me. I made twice as much as I needed and I am glad I did because it meant I could be selective and only use the nice straight bits 🙂

Midnight Madness

Turns out I am my mothers daughter … funny that.  I always remember as a kid my mum being up in what seemed like the middle of the night working away at her sewing machine.  As it turns it out it actually was the middle of the night not just my childhood imagination.
I am a night owl, there is no two ways about it, always have been and probably always will be.  It is hard to explain the feeling of wanting to ‘hit the sack’ (as my dad would say) at 8pm, but then suddenly finding a flurry of energy when the carriage threatens to turn to a pumpkin … but thats me.
So last night at 12:30am I decided I would re-cover a foot stool … ok so it certainly wasn’t as complicated as it sounds, quite a simple task really but none-the-less quite productive for such a late or early hour.  I found this retro footstool several years ago at an op-shop, it was crying out to be de-robed of its dirty white fur coat and dressed in something pretty. Over the years I have had all sorts of fabrics draped over this simple stool whilst trying to decide what I would dress it in.  As it turns out I had some retro chairs re-covered last year in this ikea fabric and so the solution now was easy, a matching stool.
I wonder what I will make tonight …?

Bunny Love

For quite a while now I have made these adorable little bunnies, usually out of vintage fabrics, for family and friends. On Saturday I met my lovely girlfriends for lunch and gifted some of these cute bunnies to a couple of beautiful bouncing baby boys.
It is nice to know that the recipients love the bunnies as much as I do 🙂

This one was made with fabric from a vintage Sheridan beadspread, and I dare say Isaac looks pretty pleased with it.

Wiksten Tanks Times Three

Ok so as I mentioned I did happen to squeeze in a spot of sewing during April.  In fact I actually only did one night of sewing all month yet managed to produce three cute Wiksten tanks. I discovered this pattern online a while ago and have been itching to try it out. As I was packing for my holiday to Bali last month I suddenly realised how handy it would be to have a couple of cute little basic cotton tanks to take with me. Some easy tops that I don’t need to worry about ironing and can throw on with anything…but of course they had to be über cute to boot! So in true ‘all or nothing’ sewing fashion I made these 3 tanks the night before I flew out on holidays … Yes 3 tanks in one night!

I love this tank! Such a simple design that looks so effective on and works in so many fabrics. As you can see I used contrast binding on the arm holes and neckline, this was both for added cuteness factor as well as a time saving method. The contrast binding I used was pre-made and bought from the local fabric store. I should really sit down and make my own but for this last minute project the store bought variety worked wonderfully.

I must admit that I did ‘tweak’ the pattern ever so slightly, back in March I made one of these as a toile out of some cheap cotton. I am glad I did because as a result of my ‘mock-up’ I sized down from what the sizing recommended and I also scooped the back neck a bit. You can see from the photos that the red one was scooped even more than the other two.

This adorable orange Wiksten Tank was made using some floral folk print quilting fabric. I picked this doozy up in the clearance bin at my local fabric store while I was in there looking for the contrast binding.  At $2 per metre I am not complaining! Although the quilting cottons can be a little stiff when you first purchase them, after a couple of washes this one has softened up nicely. I tried to make them all slightly different so with this orange tank I added some of the contrast binding to the pocket edge.

The Red Wiksten Tank was made using a floral print Rayon that I picked up about a year ago … this fabric has been waiting for just the right project and I think I nailed it!  This top is the lightest and breeziest of the lot and an absolute dream to wear.   (sorry it looks a little creased in the photos) I decided to make this tank sans-pocket, for no other reason than just to change it up a little – definitely happy with my choice. I also extended the back of this one a tad, it works well with the soft way in which this rayon falls.

It is hard to say which of the three Wiksten Tanks is my favourite but if I had to choose I think this one would be it! This is a vintage piece if fabric that I picked up from the op-shop a few years ago now … the price tag still attached said $1.00. I love love love this print, at first glance it looks like a bit of a mish-mash of muted tones but on closer inspection it is full of the rich earthy hues that are so popular at the moment.  I can’t even count how many times I have pulled this little piece of fabric from my stash in the hope of being inspired to create something fabulous with it … I must say I am not disappointed with the result of this one. The cute polka-dot binding adds an obvious contrast to the tropical print yet ties in nicely. This version does have a pocket if you look closely but it blends in so well that it is hardly noticeable.

Final verdict … I think there will be a few (dozen) more of these in my wardrobe before the year is out. My next projects with the Wiksten Tank pattern will include a silk version  and maybe even a dress.

Happy Sewing!

Ps Thanks sister-in-law for the use of the cute coat hanger that I found in your wardrobe while house-sitting 🙂

5 months overdue but I made it …

… and I’m not talking about a baby either!

Well it has certainly been a while since my last post but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. Ok well admittedly the months of February and March are nothing to write home about but I don’t think I did too badly for December, January and maybe even a little of April. But first let’s go back to December …

So My goal for 2011 was to try and MAKE all my gifts that year … for the most part I think I did pretty well, no doubt there were a few that slipped through when I was short on time but overall I tried my best.

So with Christmas fast approaching, 5 nieces and 5 nephews to organise gifts for, a tight budget and an even tighter schedule I had to come up with an idea for ‘bulk’ gifting. Racking my brain for something that I could make that was the same but different for ALL the kids ranging in age from 0-12yrs I then thought hmm why don’t I get them to make their own gift this year!  Without further ado I got to work on creating a gift card that entitled each of them to a day of screen printing at aunty Pip’s place. I trawled stores trying to find blank t-shits in the correct sizes, and attempted to do the ‘right thing’ by purchasing different colours for each. Well the resulting gifts looked like this …

Yep it’s true … I think most of the time I enjoy wrapping the gifts more than the gifts themselves 🙂 I always told my mum when I was little that I wanted to be one of those people who wraps all the christmas presents for people in the shopping malls. I find it oddly therapeutic.  So anyway onto the Screen printing, the kids came around one sunny Saturday morning and we got right to it. They had their pictures all picked out and we had a fun albeit hectic morning of tracing, cutting and printing their t-shirts and bags. Unfortunately I was so busy helping that I didn’t even get a chance to take photos of them hard at work or of their beautiful creations! Bad blogger! My dear mum and my housemate helped out on the day, which was greatly appreciated and I think my mum took a few happy snaps so I will get hold of a few and post them when I can.

Meanwhile further on the screen printing front, I have 3 nephews in Sydney and a wee baby niece so the ‘make your own present’ idea wasn’t really going to cut it for them. Keeping with the theme I whipped up some creations especially for them …. I remembered to take pictures of these ones 🙂

 Space invader T-shirts for the twins ….

Double trouble in their t-shirts!

A J for James …

… and a flower onsie for the lovely Laila!

I always find screen printing such a satisfying feeling and the results are generally better then I expect, definitely something I need to spend more time on.

So that was December …. Now on to the New year!

Amongst other things I spent the most wonderful NYE at home with a bunch of close friends for a delightful degustation dinner!  Each couple and/or single was in charge of one course for the night and the drink to match. So 9 courses and 7 hours later … yes that is 7 hours of eating we rang in the new year, well actually I think 12pm was at around the 7th course and 5.5 hour mark. Everyone agreed it was possibly one of the best meals and New Years Eve’s any of us had experienced. It is certainly going to be hard to top that this year, but I am thinking maybe it needs to be a new tradition. Well I just wanted to share a quick pic of the set up on the night ….

…. Now on to January ….

So with renewed energy for the new year ahead, I got straight into my first sewing projects for the year. My Lovely Niece Sadie has her birthday in January, so just after I have thought of a Christmas present I need to think of one for her birthday. After some google searching and blog hopping I decided I would make her her very own little picnic/play blanket. Sadie and her siblings spend everyday over summer in and around their pool, so I thought this could be a great alternative to the humble towel. Once the idea popped into my head I remembered that her little sister Adele’s birthday was last November, she was one of the ‘slipped through the cracks’ birthdays that I never had time to make anything for. So it was decided, I would make 2 pretty picnic blankets for 2 gorgeous little ladies.

I just used a basic 12 square block of bright colours. There was no lining or batting added to these to keep them light weight and useable for the little girls. I used some coloured denim for backing – these pieces of denim have been hanging around mine and my mum’s fabric cupboards for about 10 years now so we were both glad to see them finally put to use.  This was also a great use of the fabric stash, some of these favourites, vintage and new have been lurking around for years and it was fun to mix and match them. I was absolutely thrilled with the results and secretly wished I could have kept them all for myself.

Then there was Laila … As I mentioned a little earlier there was a new addition to the family late last year. My ultra edible little niece named Laila!  Laila made her entrance into the world during that busy time last year when I had a small lapse in my ‘Make all my gifts this year’ mantra. So it was time to play catch up. Feeling all inspired by the picnic blankets I decided to make a play mat for Laila. After some more googling and blog hopping I discovered this adorable pattern for a Baby Bunting Play Mat by Sarah Fielke. Admittedly I didn’t buy the pattern as I wanted to make the blanket that same day, so I recreated it myself. With a bit of measuring and planning I managed to get the rough design sorted and got on with the job.

I used pre-bought bias binding for the ‘string’ of the bunting – not only did this add a nice touch but it was one less thing to cut out. The little bunting flags are attached at the top and then hang loose, something for Laila to grab and hold and play with. I used a neutral background print to compliment the bright array of vintage and new fabrics that make up the flags. Again I was thrilled with the results of this play mat …  cute enough to hang on the wall 🙂

Till next post … Enjoy! (April Post to follow)

408 Collective

Our friends at Church Freo held their inaugural ‘408 Collective’ market last saturday in the sunny town of Fremantle. As a way of supporting those who support our own craft markets as well as an opportunity to sell our wares, my good friend Bex and I held our very own stall … ‘WE LIKE STUFF’ … thanks for the name Bex 🙂
Having just come back from nearly 3 weeks on holidays I didn’t have a lot of new items to show, but it was a good opportunity to sell some things I have had sitting around for a while.

Thanks to all the girls at Church Freo for a wonderful day and we wish you blessings for many more great market days in the future!

Here is just a snippet of what we had on offer …

Vintage Fabric Mirrors

Cute little letter T-shirts and Onesies by Bex

Vintage Bunnies & Pippy Dolls

Bright Baby Bandana Bibs by Bex were definitely the buy of the day ... and a tongue twister too!

Vintage Fabric Brooches & Magnets ...

Same But Different

Since my jacket for Mia turned out so well I decided to try my hand at a version for my gorgeous twin nephews Austin & Lewis who turn one next week. Using the same modified pattern from last time I widened and lengthened the sleeves on this version so they could be cuffed up to show the contrast lining. I also added toggle buttons for a bit more ‘masculine’ look.

Made for Mia

I wanted to share my latest project with you … This is a little jacket that I adapted from a quite frankly ugly looking pattern into what I think is an absolutely gorgeous wrap style version.

I was pretty chuffed with my choice of fabrics and overall super happy with the results. A cute jacket for an even cuter little girl … Hope you enjoy it Mia x

Some Photos of the super cute Mia wearing her jacket! I must say I was extremely pleased to see her wearing it on the couple of times I ‘hung out’ with her on the weekend 🙂 Another bonus is that Mia’s ever so clever mum realised the jacket could be worn reversible … another button added to the inside & hey presto now she has 2 new jackets!

For those of you who are interested the pattern was loosely based on the two below. I added lining to mine, removed the zip and extended the fronts to give it the cross over effect. I also removed the elastic from the cuffs and just tapered the arms so it sis like a traditional sleeve.  You could use any basic hooded, raglan sleeve pattern as your base.

Printed presents …

So lacking a whole lot of inspiration the other day for my niece’s birthday present I spent 3 hours on the lounge room floor sifting though patterns and books and magazines hoping for something to jump out and hit me … it didn’t. And lets be clear I definitely don’t blame the books, and patterns and magazines for that, it may however had something to do with the night before … if you know what I mean.
Anyway as the hours crept on and my window of creativity was slowly closing I stumbled across ‘Printing By Hand’ in my bookshelf. This gorgeous book by Lena Corwin was given to me by my sister in law last year, and although I fell in love at first sight I hadn’t got around to actually doing any of the projects in it yet. Surprise surprise!

So this was it, my challenge was set … was it possible to go out to the store on a Saturday afternoon, buy some blank shirts, cut out stencils and screen print my dear niece a birthday present in 3 hours? Turns out yes it was!

As well as providing you with all the tips, tricks and hints on creating beautiful printed items at home with minimal fuss, this book also provides you with a whole bunch of really cute designs to use yourself. Since this day was a bit of an inspirational black hole for me I opted to use some of Lena’s designs, when normally I would be inclined to create my own.

I was really pleased with the results. Although perhaps a little more rushed than I would have liked I realised great things are achievable in short spaces of time … even screen printing.

Think this has inspired me for a whole other bunch of projects to add to my never ending ‘To Do’ list.

Top and Bottom Left: Transferring and cutting my stencils out of contact paper to apply to my screen. Top right: The blank t-shirts before printing. Bottom right: Lena Corwin’s gorgeous book ‘Printing By Hand’.

The finished designs! And I even managed to make a little bag to wrap them all in out of my test print 🙂 My favourite is definitely the pink bunnies on the army green shirt.  Hope you enjoy them Paige!