Sunday, January 26, 2014

Premmie Baby Gowns

I got involved in making premmie baby gowns through facebook when a local lady organised a sewing bee to make them. It was definitely an eye opener talking to some of the mum's who've had premmie babies, I was lucky enough to have full term healthy babies so I never realised what it was like to have a baby in the NCIU. 

So onto the gowns, they are bright and very practical, they open at the neck and shoulders with a plastic press stud so they don't have to be removed for x-rays (like they would if they were metal studs). Made out of cotton so they can be washed and dried in the industrial hospital dryers.
I make them very similar to this tutorial here except that I leave on the seam allowances and cut around the pattern.

A couple of tips; I cut them out double layered with the lining and the main fabric right sides together, use a rotary cutter on the straight parts and then trace the curves with either chalk or a pen and cut the curves with scissors.Make sure your topstitching is nice and close to the edge and also make sure you clip well (I use pinking shears on the curves) and pull each corner out with a needle so its nice and crisp.
Its been really fun making them, I've been trying to do a few in-between projects and they add up really quickly!

A couple of quick links;

The original pattern and instructions at Miracle babies

A great tutorial at Badskirt

You can buy the KAM snap pliers on ebay or from Snaps Australia and I recommend buying the smaller size 16 studs so they fit on the small and medium gowns as the sz20's are a tad too big. I've bought the studs from ebay and Snaps Australia with no problem.

The gowns can be sent to Miracle babies if you live in Australia or they can be given directly to some hospitals with a NICU unit (you are welcome to email me if you are in Australia and I can help to link you up with one if you are interested in making any).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

StyleArc: Monica Pants and Jess Polo Top

Jess Polo Top

I've had the fabric and pattern for this sitting around for nearly a year and finally sewed it up.
I cut a sz20 with a 1.5" upper arm adjustment but otherwise the fit is out of the envelope. I'm not really happy with it I have to admit, I'm counting this as a muslin as it doesn't fit quite right - I can see the pulling at the bust, its too short and it needs a forward shoulder adjustment as it keeps tugging itself backwards. I will sew it again, the StyleArc patterns are a bit too expensive to only sew up once and I really do need a couple of nice fitting polo tops!
Fabric is a waffle knit from The Fabric Store and the buttons are shell ones.

So the good: I think the sizing is pretty good, it fits just like a sz20 RTW polo does and it doesn't worry me that I need to do a couple of adjustments before I'm really happy with the fit.

The bad: The placket instructions are awful, I know they are always a bit sparse but this pattern has some illustrated ones as well. I've sewn a few plackets now (3 or 4 of the Banskia Top MN 2102) and even though the StyleArc instructions were different I thought I'd go with them. At the bottom of the placket where you sew through all layers to finish it off there are 9 layers of fabric to sew through and it just doesn't look neat.

I highly recommend the Banksia top placket instructions, there is a lot less layers and a lot nicer finish to it compared to the StyleArc instructions (and I'll be using it instead next time!)
I'm not really happy with the finish of the collar stand either but I haven't sewn enough shirts to know any tricks to finishing it neatly (it has you topstitch it down and my stitching looks really wonky, maybe I should have hand stitched it down instead to make it neater?).

Monica Pants

 I have to admit I don't like sewing exercise clothes. I struggle to find the right type of fabric locally and I tend to either add way too much ease or not enough. However, I am so picky about fit now and after trying on that many pairs of RTW leggings looking for a decent fit I had to give in and make some!

This is the Monica pant by StyleArc. Its a sz20 graded in at the waist by a couple of inches. Fabric is leftover grey Supplex and the purple is dance lycra from Lincraft.

They went together pretty easily, I did do a bit of head scratching over the gusset though. I actually emailed StyleArc to check if I had sewn it in right and I have!

I found a couple of mistakes on the pattern, the gusset says to cut 2 but the instructions say to cut 1 - you are meant to only cut one. Plus the notches are back to front on the knee and lower leg piece. Otherwise they went together fine.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

McCalls 6828: Owl Jacket

I'm calling this an Owl jacket but I actually think its meant to be a fox!

Lots easier to sew the second time around, I followed my own tips from last time plus used the accufeed foot/walking foot on my machine to make it sew up even easier!

One thing I didn't really notice last time it that the front button band is a bit offset, its meant to be topstitched onto the front as a separate piece of fabric but I like the look and neatness (plus the ease to bag out the lining) of a proper sewn on band. I unpicked and changed this one and have adjusted the pattern for next time (taken some off the fronts and added a front band on both sides instead of just the left side.....Hope that makes sense!)

This is another gift, its for the 1st birthday of a little girl whose Grandma I work with. Happy birthday Rubee!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sewing room update

Its been awhile since I did a sewing room update and I have a couple new finds to share!

My Janome D├ęcor Excel is nearly 15 years old now, the bobbin winder barely works plus the stitch selector doesn't show up properly either. I did upgrade to a Janome 6030 back in the middle of the year but was quite honestly underwhelmed and a bit disappointed. Its a nice basic machine but it just wasn't the workhorse that I wanted. So I bit the bullet and have had a Janome MC8900 on layby for months now and finally picked it up!

Its a lovely machine, massive and strong. I bought from the local Janome dealer and got to trial it first and fell in love with it. It wasn't worth trading the 6030 in but I can use it as a travel/sewing bee machine.

Other additions to the sewing room is the zipper stand and zippers and a pattern drawer I picked up at a deceased estate sale, I also got a proper clapper and a wooden sleeve board (so fancy after using a lump of timber for the last couple of years!) plus a couple of books and about 8 years worth of Burda magazines (she had every magazine from the 1950's through to 2010!)

I didn't get much fabric (it was all polyester, honestly I went through about 40 plastic containers and loads of bolts of fabric and didn't spot a scrap of cotton/wool/rayon) but am really happy with what I have and I doubt I will need to buy a zipper for the next couple of decades!!

The cutting table is an old cupboard that my Dad made me years ago.I put caster wheels under it and a door on the top. It's so nice to be able to stand up and cut instead of leaning over. 

This is all in the other side of my shed (which is mostly storage and usually a huge bit of a mess!).

(Its a hard life being a kitten!)