Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sewing With Kids - A How To

Cheap Flights by House Of Travel

Yesterday while I was sewing a dress for myself, Milla, in 4 year old fashion, asked what age she would be allowed to sew. 

She took me by surprise, and I suggested that she could learn any time. 

And so, capturing the moment, today we sewed up some fabric that I had purchased for her, with the idea of making her and Katie a matching skirt and dress.

My 4 year old is a concentrator and a rule follower, so I knew that she would ace this. My aim wasn't for her to sew the whole skirt herself, but to introduce her to the machine, how it works, and for her to feel respect, and also a healthy fear, towards the needles, pins, scissors etc.

Here are some easy tips on sewing with Little People for the first time::

Sewing with Little People:
  • Keep it simple! A project that can be completed in an hour will bring instant satisfaction, and something they can wear or play with is an added bonus. 
    • Think easy: Skirts, shorts, tote bags, peasant dress, pillow cases, head bands, PJ pants. Are you feeling inspired yet?
  • Have everything you need prepared before you begin, I had my measuring and pattern piece already cut out and ready to go, along with my sewing machine all set up before I even mentioned sewing.
  • If your person is really little, like mine (only 4 years old!) set them up at a smaller table so they can have the joy of pressing the presser foot with their feet!
  • Explain different parts of the machine to them, let them have a go at lifting up the presser foot, doing the back stitch button and the foot pedal. Try them out on a large piece of spare fabric first. 
  • Breathe and encourage. You may suddenly realise just what you have gotten into! 
  • If your Little Person is older and you are leaving all the sewing to them, use little pegs on the edge of the fabric in lieu of pins.
  • Change it up at each step. For one part I asked my daughter to be the presser foot controller, another time she was in charge of back stitching, then she had a go at the foot pedal, another time she helped me feed the fabric through, and then she was in charge of taking out all the pins. 
  • You'll know based on your own child how to keep them interested, safe and learning. 

We made a circle skirt for our Intro to Sewing 101. Milla had a go at all parts of it, and she tells me her favourite was pushing it down with her foot. 

I clued myself up on the Dana Made It Circle Skirt Tutorial so that when it came time to sew, I knew exactly what I was doing. 

The maths (pi and radius, yikes!) checks out, and fits perfectly! 

Instead of using the wide exposed elastic band like in the tutorial, I made a little casing with some extra fabric and the same waist measurements, and used 3/4" elastic inside it. 

To finish it off we used pre-made bias binding along the edge, which I let Milla choose the colour of. She was thrilled to have some choice and control in a process which is completely new to her. 

As binding is quite tricky for little fingers, I pinned it all in place and sewed very slowly around. I noticed half way through that Milla also had her foot on the foot pedal, ever so gently, just feeling for how I was pushing it down. During the binding step, Millas job was to pull each pin out before I sewed over it. 

She was so careful, and was a real delight to work with! 

We will definitely be sewing together again soon. 

Her twirly skirt is SO whirly! She loves it! 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog, your encouragement spurs me on! x


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cinderella Dress DIY

When I saw the new Cinderella Movie from 2015 I was over come with a need to sew a beautiful princess dress. Aside from a wonderful story line about "have courage and be kind", the costumes in the movie were absolutely stunning!!

With my little girls 4th birthday approaching, I showed her 4 dress options on my phone and said that I could make one of them for her (1950's cinderella (which is her favourite), Elsa, New 2015 Cinderella and a pretty purple princess dress). She choose this blue number and so I went out and bought metres and metres of blue satin and tulle. 

In fact there is about 10 metres of fabric to her dress!

I drafted the dress all by myself, using a dress that she already fitted as a guide for the bodice size. I included bodice lining, princess seams down each size, a triangular dip at the front and an invisible zipper at the back. 

And this poofy thing that wraps around the shoulders and tucks into the zipper seam, which is tacked on at the shoulders to keep it in place. 

And the butterflies. Of course. They required their own shopping trip as I had forgotten all about them. When my daughter saw it half complete she enquired as to where I was going to put the butterflies, so we popped out then and there to get some! 

The skirt part has 4 layers to it; Satin, white tulle and 2 soft drapey tulle layers.

While I was making the dress the girls Nana looked after them for the afternoon so I could get some serious sewing time in. When it was completed, Nana arrived to gift these "glass slippers", crown and jewellery. Camilla and I were delighted, it was such a thoughtful gift :)

I am very happy with this dress, and so is our Little Princess.

We took her and her cousin to Disney on Ice for the first time that week and she was allowed to wear her Cinderella Dress, and then it was put away for her birthday later that month. Here she is at both events:

And now she wears it any chance she gets! 

It fills me with so much joy to see Milla spinning around without a care in the world, we really are so blessed! x

Ps, I found this beautiful free Cinderella printable that we framed and put above Millas bed for her birthday.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tribal Print Knit Dress

When I was recovering from the flu this winter, my walking foot arrived in the post so I decided to tackle this super stretchy spandex-ey knit that was waiting for it. 

Don't even get me started about that Flu by the way. It was one of the darkest weeks of my life so far. I still feel anxious and shakey just thinking about it. 

So anyways, I put my sewing machine in the sunshine, put the kid to bed and sewed up this dress, which is the second time I have made this pattern. Happy!

That walking foot was magical! I first purchased one from Spotlight for $60, but returned it when it didn't fit on my low shank sewing machine. Then I bought one for $9 on aliexpress, and its perfectly fine, so, bargain! Money well spent.

The great thing about a walking foot is that it "walks" over your fabric, so if you're sewing slippery fabric like this then it jumps over it rather that squishes it out of shape between your foot and feed dogs. Ya get me?  Great $9 investment anyway.

So I love this patterned fabric, I love the cling of it, it makes me feel smaller than I usually feel in clothing, and its bright and fun (pinks, emeralds, royal blues, reds, yellows, oranges!) ! I sense more spandex being in my future.

And like I mentioned in my post about the first time I made this pattern, I lifted the waist line up by 3cm which made a huge difference to how the dress sits on my body.

And my pattern matching is preeeeetty close, check out that underarm:

This is my second time making this pattern, the first was this green knit dress (which I also love!) and I highly recommend the pattern, and sewing knits for anyone game enough! How great is it to be able to make your own CLOTHES!? Incredible! I love the process of turning a pile of fabric into something, it's such a thrill for me to say "ta-da!" at the end of it!

I'm still getting the hang of my new camera remote, so for now I have photos with heads and feet chopped off, eek! I'm hoping this will allow me to take more fun and silly photos of myself, and not rely on my 4 year old so much. 

Fabric: Tribal print spandex knit
Green Knit version here

Thanks for stopping by to read! If you'd like to see more of my sewing you can click here.

Green Knit Dress

Happy Spring Time! Today was 22 degrees, and after this photo shoot I took off my tights and let my winter legs breathe! 

It's hard to believe but I actually made this dress all the way back in Autumn! And I'm only just blogging about it now! It's been a winter staple of mine, paired with leggings and boots and layered with merino cardis, I've worn it every week since I made it. I can see this dress taking me all the way to summer.

Sewing this was a learning curve for me, I was learning as I went to sew knits (with zig zag, no serger in sight!), use a double pointed needle and clear elastic for the waist. Aside from a little frustration at the beginning (I stretched the neckline and had to restart!), it was smooth sailing and not nearly as scary and the internet made it seem! I shall go forth and sew knits with confidence from now on.

The waist is actually a little below my natural waist line which irks me, but as I'm no perfectionist I move on and will never fix it. I've since made another dress in this pattern and have lifted the waist line up 3cm which makes such a difference, and have made the same adjustment on other clothing items I have made since.

I have just got a phone tripod and remote for my camera so I can take my blog photos by myself now! I had lots of fun today playing around with it and being a bit silly for the camera! Hopefully this will help me record all the things I've been making, and not rely on my 4 year old to take my photos.

Fabric: Cotton Jersey Knit in lime green

Thanks for stopping by to read! If you'd like to see more of my sewing you can click here.

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