Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Self-drafted: A-line skirt

I participated in my very first sew-along this month! It was organised by a member of a sewing forum I frequent (in my native Norwegian) called Sykroken.net

The purpose of the sew-along was to construct our own patterns for an A-line skirt (starting with a basic skirt block based on our own measurements) and then sew a skirt from the pattern.

I really enjoyed the process, and learned a lot!

I  started out making a muslin, but then I decided to add a zipper to it, so I could practice installing a lapped zipper, which I'd never done before. After doing all that work, it felt so wrong to rip apart the skirt to adjust the pattern, so at first I didn't. That was a big mistake! After cutting and basting my "real" skirt from a really blingy Wax print, I realised it was way too big, and I had to go back to the muslin, cut it apart at the seams, and redo the pattern by cutting off a lot of excess in the side seams.

I added a center back zipper (lapped)

and side pockets in a coordinating teal cotton fabric. I also added a simple waistband after lowering the waist about 6 cms

In the picture on top, I am showing the skirt with my daughter, who is wearing a dress I sewed for her about a year ago.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yet another adventure in the art of shopping in the dusty streets of a West African town

This afternoon I took my bike downtown to the market to see if I could find some string. I was a woman on a mission. I needed some sort of string that I could use to stuff my bias tape with to make piping. I didn't feel like risking all my needles by sewing across the metal center of the clothes line I used last time. But alas, it was not easy. I went to several little shops, and all they had was this rough, thin rope used for clothes lines and what not. I looked and looked, but started to feel a little discouraged. So I asked myself: What can I use that looks like string, but is probably something else. Then I had a light bulb moment. Shoe laces! That's it! The round kind of shoe laces would be perfect to make piping with. It's not too rough, its pliable, and it does not have metal in the middle. Perfect! So I found a shoe shop with lots of shoe laces hanging from rusty nails up in the roof, and bought me four pairs of shoe laces. At 400 CFA a pair(almost a dollar) , it felt like I was being taken advantage off, but Tabaski (Islamic holiday) is only two days away, and everything is more expensive in the days right before it. All the shop keepers want some extra cash for the holiday, I guess. Now I'm happy, I have the supplies to make piping for more Toddler backpacks!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Toddler backpack

After I suddenly found out my friend's daughter was turning two last week, I finally had a great excuse to purchase Rae Hoekstra's awesome toddler backpack pattern. I mean... I'm sure there are backpack patterns to be found for free all over the sewing blogosphere, but why get free milk when you can buy a whole cow? Ahem..

(please excuse the crappy iPod pictures.... I finished hand stitching the lining to the inside of the pack in the car on our way there, so I didn't have time to take any pictures with my nice camera first. And I totally forgot to take a picture of the awesome lining and inside pocket!) 

Anyway... I'm a sucker for things that are already thought out that I don't have to measure and guesstimate, so this pattern was a find.

Where we live, there is no Toys-R-Us or anything even remotely similar. The only toys available for sale are crazy expensive, crappy "made in fill-in-the-blank" things that last my toddlers an average of 1/4 day before loosing pieces and parts that really matter, such as the wings on planes, wheels on cars and so on. SO.... whenever I can, I try to make presents instead of supporting the crappy-toys industry.

Here's my daughter modelling the backpack. Gotta love how much it makes her look like a "big girl"!

So I made this backpack for little Savannah. The pattern calls for about two yards of piping, and Ay! There's the rub. Because where do you get piping in Guinea-Bissau?  Answer? No, I haven't found any yet. But I did find a string formerly used to tie a mosquito net in place, and it seemed the appropriate thickness to make some piping. Trouble was, it was only about a yard long. So once I'd finished making the first yard, I had to go looking for more string. And found none.  Then it ocurred to me that my clothes line (with metal wire inside) is about the same thickness, so there I went, cutting down a yard of clothes line to make more piping. When sewing the piping to the fabric I had to watch carefully not to sew into the metal wire and break the needle. Ah, the adventures of living off the JoAnn grid!

Linking up to "What I wore Sunday"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Finished: Self-drafted Toddler PJs

I found this ugly green top at the thrift market almost a year ago, thinking "gee, that fabric looks cute, but the top is hideous". So I negotiated the price and brought the thing home, and there it sat, for a long time. It was an adult size top, quite a wide one at that, so there was plenty of material to cut from to make a size 2T pyjama.

 Inspiration only struck this week, though, I had been eying some hand-me-down pj pants of my daughter's that looked darn cute but a little, well, tired. So I traced a pj bottom that fits her to make a pattern, and sewed up a cute little PJ pant for her. Then I remembered this image I'd seen of one of the Oliver & S patterns. It was a crossover front top, (while quite different from what I made) and I thought it would make a cute coordinating top for the PJ bottoms. So I found some tracing paper and a ruler and played around a little with a tank top pattern I made earlier, and came up with this.
Here's Princess K and her brother having fun with some pre-bed-time train track engineering.

These PJs were featured by Crafty Cousins! In the very first linky party I attended. How cool is that?