Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas Clothes for the Girls



The girls had a couple of days where they were allowed to wear "holiday colours" to school.  After trawling through their wardrobe, I realised that they don't have any clothes in holiday colours.  I decided that the easiest thing would be to make them some 30 Minute Skirts in Christmas colours.

I found some lovely red and white mini polkadot fabric at Spotlight (Plaza Singapura, Orchard Road, Singapore), as well as some white bias tape and wide elastic.  You can read about how these skirts are constructed in my original 30 Minute Skirt tutorial.  They are as easy as the name suggests, and I can easily make one in 30 minutes.



To complete the look, my wonderful Mother-in-law also made the girls some matching fabric headbands.  She used this great tutorial and free pattern from Happy Together:

Happy Together

The finished headbands were a perfect size for Olivia and Samantha.  The girls wouldn't stand still for a photo, so the headband has been kindly modelled by teddy:



The finished skirts and headbands were worn to school a couple of times, and again at home a couple more.



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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Mathilde Version Two




After the success of my first Tilly & The Buttons' Mathilde blouse I was keen to make a new version.  I saw this lovely version made by Jolie of Jolies Bobines:

Mathilde by Jolies Bobines

I checked with Jolie if it was OK to copy her version before I started.  I bought a flocked mini polkadot net and a black crepe fabric from Rolls and Rems in Holloway.  Like Jolie I took 4" of fullness out of the sleeves to make them a slimmer fit.  This was the only change I made to the original pattern.

I made a big mistake was choosing crepe.  I've never sewn with it before and had no idea how difficult it was to sew with.  I chose it because it has a lovely drape.  Unfortunately it is very slippery and keeps moving as you try to sew it.  I had to unpick and resew the tucks on the front to get them neat and even.  It also frays terribly.  Just incase you thought that wasn't bad enough, it was also very bulky and didn't iron well.  It was very hard to achieve a neat seam when there were layers of fabric (particularly around those tucks).

I've also never sewn with a sheer fabric before.  I didn't realise how much hand sewing would be required to get a neat finish.  I hand basted all the sheer seams before sewing them.  I hand sewed flat felled seams on all the sheer seams in the sleeves and shoulders.  I hand sewed the facing and button plackets.  I also completely hand sewed all the bias tape edges on the neckline and sleeve cuffs.  It took HOURS to make this blouse.  Half-way though I was convinced I would hate it, but it worked out really well.





I've already worn this top a couple of times and it looks fabulous.  Unlike Jolie's version, this blouse feels very dressy - perfect for a night out.  I really like the narrower sleeves and would definitely make another blouse using a day-wear fabric.
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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Sewing Disasters - The Dress That Nearly Went in the Bin



Recently I've been experiencing a run of really frustrating sewing.  I'm sure we've all been there.  You see a lovely pattern, and think you'd really like to have a go at making it yourself.  You buy (or draft) a pattern, choose your materials, spend ages carefully sewing your garment, then the big moment arrives. You put it on and … you don't like it, or it doesn't fit.  Aaaargh!

I experienced this recently.  Check out this beautiful dress by Adey at The Sew Convert:

The 3 Red Cats Dress by The Sew Convert

Everything about this is so beautiful.  The simple pattern and the adorable fabric combine to make an elegant, beautiful dress.  I bought my own copy of Rin Gomura-Elkan’s “Easy Japanese Sewing Patterns” for the pattern.

Easy Japanese Sewing Patterns by Rin Gomura-Elkan


I then visited my favourite fabric shop - Desai in Cricklewood Lane, West Hampstead.  I found this really special Liberty Tana Lawn.



I love Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics.  They are so light and beautiful, and the fabric is such lovely quality. The dress was a very easy make.  I did have a little trouble with the cutting out.  I followed the pattern placement guide, but didn't seem to have enough fabric.  I ended up making the bodice back in two sections, and joining them with a centre back seam.  After a bit of messing around with the Japanese instructions, and sending a question to Rin (which she very quickly answered) I managed to sew my dress in one day.  I used french seams and my best, careful sewing.

Once I was finished I carefully pressed it, then tried it on and … it looked weird.  Aaargh!  The front bodice seemed too baggy and puffy, the shoulders sat strangely and the skirt wasn't the right length.



I think I just chose the wrong fabric.  It really needs to be made in a very drapey fabric, or it just won't look right.

This dress sat in my cupboard for about six months, while I tried to figure out what to do with it.  It's such lovely (and expensive) fabric, that I didn't want to waste it.  I saw this really sweet dress on Guthrie and Ghani, and thought about about reusing the fabric to make something similar.

Leini Dress by Guthrie & Ghani

In the end I decided to have a go at remaking the bodice using the Sorbetto top by Colette Patterns, and adding a shortened skirt.

Sorbetto Top by Colette Patterns

I've made one Sorbetto top in a very light cotton shirting fabric, and I regularly wear it.  I like the simple silhouette and the comfortable fit.  I began by carefully unpicking the seams.  I unpicked the entire bodice (except that centre back seam) and carefully snipped off the skirt.  I then ironed the pieces and laid out the pattern.  No matter how I placed the bodice pieces, there just wasn't enough length in the fabric to cut the bodice.

After mulling the problem for a couple of days, I decided to patch in a piece of white fabric on the shoulders.  I stupidly added fabric to the front section and the back section, then joined them together.  That seam on the top shoulder looked terrible, so I unpicked the sections again, cut a new piece and sewed it between the front and back bodice pieces.

As an aside, I think I sewed those shoulder pieces in about 8 times.  I kept sewing them in upside down and back-to-front.  It was so immensely frustrating.  If it hadn't been such expensive fabric I think I would have thrown the dress out several times.

Once the bodice was finished I cut about 3" off the waist of the skirt (I hadn't unpicked the side seams or hem of the original skirt) and attached it to the bodice.  I folded the seam allowance over, sewed an elastic casing and inserted the elastic waistband.  The very last step was sewing belt loops on each side of the waistband and adding the sash.




Can you see that big smile on my face?  I LOVE this dress.  It is so pretty and comfortable.  That lovely Tana Lawn fabric by Liberty is absolutely perfect for sticky Singapore heat.  I can't wait to wear it out and about.
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More Christmas Crafts - Christmas Bookmarks



Woah … two posts in one day, after a nearly six month break.  What is going on??  I thought I better get this one out quickly, or Christmas will already be gone.

We have been getting into the Christmas spirit with some holiday crafts.  I was asked to come into Olivia's class and run a couple of craft activities.  I needed to come up with activities that were not too messy, could be easily done by a group of nine year olds with varying skill levels, and would produce nice results.  One of the first activities I thought of was the laminated bookmarks created by LiEr of Ikatbag.

Image Source - Ikatbag


I just needed to create some Christmas themed ones.  I'm not very good at drawing so I searched the internet for suitable Christmas images, printed them the right size and traced them.  This is my finished colouring sheet. (As always, I'm happy to email this to anyone who wants it.  Just send me a message.)



Each child coloured in a sheet of bookmarks using felt pens and pencils.



They then cut them out and laminated them.  They turned out beautifully and were a big hit with the class.





If anyone would like a copy of the bookmark PDF, please leave me a message below or email me at randomcraftingadventures [at] gmail.com.

Merry Christmas and happy crafting.
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Friday, 19 December 2014

Origami Christmas Ornament




Hi Friends.  It's been a very long time.  We are now settled into our new house in Singapore, and I'm getting into the groove of school runs, activities, and also making new friends.  It's been a very busy time and I've been seriously neglecting the blog.

I have been pondering a post on organising an international move (or any move for that matter), and it will be appearing at some time in the future.  For now, let me share with you something that has been keeping me busy.

I was wandering through IKEA's Christmas display, when I spotted this cute little origami star:

Origami Star from IKEA display


When I got home I did a google search and found two terrific tutorials for folding German Paper Stars (also known as Moravian Stars).  There was a really excellent video tutorial by Lorraine Hebler and a photographic tutorial by Origami Resource Centre.  Using both these tutorials I have mastered the German Paper Star.    It's really very easy and makes incredibly cute Christmas ornaments.

With Christmas approaching, I wanted to make a cute (and inexpensive) gift for each of my girls classmates.  I decided to make each classmate a German Paper Star ornament.  The only supplies needed to make the stars were a pack of A3 paper, and some gold string.  I bought both of these from a local stationer for under $10.  I also needed some cellophane bags and some gift labels for packaging.

I started by cutting 1.5cm strips from the long edge of the A3 paper.


Once I had the strips, I randomly selected two colours for each star and started folding.


Slowly I made a pile of stars.


Eventually I had 50 stars.




I used my Cropadile to punch a hole in each star, threaded a gold string through each and knotted the ends.



Each star was packaged into a cellophane bag with a printed gift tag attached.



The girls have told me they were a big hit with their classmates.
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