22 May 2014

140522 Recorder Case

I have not updated my blog for a long time but it doesn't mean that I have not made anything. Actually I have made a lot but just have not got time to take photos or upload or blog about them....

Now I need to work harder!

So my DD1 has started learning recorder this year. She is very fascinated about it. Although she has been learning piano, she still likes this new music toy that can make noises.

This morning when I dropped her off at OOSH, her friend was crying because she couldn't find her recorder. Her mom found it. It WAS in her school bag. But because the recorder case that came with the recorder was black, and the inside of their school bags is also black, she thought it wasn't in there.

So tonight, DD1 came home asking if we saw her recorder. She said she couldn't find it. I said it was in your bag when I dropped you off this morning! So I searched her bag, and of course, the recorder was in there, hiding in the black recorder case!

So I decided that she has to have a new case, which is not black. I had a look at the black case. It looks very easy to make. So I let her pick the fabric, and in less than half an hour, I made her a new case:

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Now hopefully it doesn't get camouflaged any more!

In case her friends ask me to make it (I can already hear all the "I want one"s), the cut of the fabric is 7cm x 80cm, sew the casings for the string first (this string is too thick), then fold it in half and sew it up to make the case, then thread in the strings (remember they are two Us so you can pull and close the opening) and tie up the ends of the strings.

I then googled "handmade recorder case" and found some interesting ones which remind me that I can crochet a case! I think that will be my project tomorrow on the train!

20 Apr 2013

130420 Superman pyjama/outfit

I cannot seem to find any posts about the old superman pyjama set I made for DD1. This set has been VERY well worn by DD1 since she was around 3-4yo as she loves being a "superman". She also asked me to make a few superman capes and masks. 

Recently she asked me to make a new superman cape because she couldn't find the old one. So I made her a very big new one out of the purple shiny sequin type of fabric. Then she kept on wearing her old superman pyjama which was so worn out and small that I kept saying she needed to stop wearing it. She said she didn't care and she just wanted to be a superman. So I promised her that I would make her a new set. 

So today I finally found some time to make something. I looked through my fabric stash with her and she insisted she still wanted the same fabric as the old superman pyjama/outfit. Ok, fine. It's 100% cotton, my favourite. So I made a much longer set. The old set was out of a size 4 pattern. Now I used the same pattern (because she is not wider) but made everything much longer, the sleeves, the body and the pants' legs. The finished set looked like size 7.

Then to make the superman pattern, I decided to make a paper pattern first so that I wouldn't ruin my hard work. And then I put the paper pattern on the finished top and used a brush and some fabric paint to make the superman label to the front of the body:
Gee this looks exactly the same as the old one!
DD1 wore it straight away, even to her piano lesson.And she got so excited about her new "superman outfit" that she kept jumping and running and shouting like crazy....

27 Sep 2012

Crochet girl's hat

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I used the same yarn (different colour) that I used for the camera bag. This is how I discovered this yarn is not suitable for clothing garments. It's too rough. The hat is ok. But not soft enough for DD1 to like it. But I still leave a record here so I can learn my lesson!

Crochet camera bag

I cannot live without my hands being busy. They can either type or make, but can't be idle. LOL.

This morning I woke up feeling I had to be busy making something. The hat and scarf set was finished. The 2nd baby cocoon and hat set was finished. I suddenly didn't have any projects going on.

I decided to make a camera bag. The last one was made over three years ago, and I'm still using it. Now that I can crochet, I can make a crocheted one!

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I even chained in the end to make it a draw string one. I used the very cheap 100% cotton yarn that I bought through http://www.yarn-paradise.com/. I feel that the yarn is not soft enough to make clothing garments. But they can be perfect to make accessories, such as a hard-wearing camera bag. I cannot use my camera to pose for pictures because I need it to TAKE the pictures. But I have tried and it fits in there perfectly.

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Finally some sewing - 4 bibs

I haven't given up sewing! I just do only small ones like mending and altering and I don't have time to take photos. But I finally made some new things last weekend:

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Due to a lot of babies are being born recently and in the next few months, the bibs I made years ago to give out as gifts were runing out, especially boys' bibs.  So I finally made some more so that I can continue giving them out as gifts. My homemade bibs have become very famous and popular among our relatives and friends. Every time we have a get together party I can see a lot of them popping up. LOL.

I recycled my old sweater to make the inner water resisitent layer. The outside is still flannel. The dots fabric is kind of terry. I like to make two sides in different fabrics so that it feels like there are two bibs in one.

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2nd set of baby cocoon and hat

There has been quite a few pregnant mums around me recently. I made my first baby cocoon and hat set for one of my colleagues. She was very happy to receive it. And I continued on making the second set. This set is for another one of my colleagues who's due early December.

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The cocoon is about 27cm across and 45cm in length.
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Crochet old man's hat and scarf

My father-in-law is turning 80 in January. We won't be able to be there when he celebrate his 80th birthday as he lives overseas. So I made this crocheted hat and scarf set for him as birthday present. It will be winter when his birthday arrives so will be perfect to keep him warm.

It cost me 250 grams of 100% Alpaca yarn for the scarf and about 100 grams for the hat. Alpaca yarn feels really soft and warm and smooth. I like it. 

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crochet to extend the skeleton baby top

Remember this refashioned skeleton top?  I recycled the skeleton design and applique'ed it onto a plain top. Now almost a year later, the top is too short for my DD2 (after it already went through DD1), I still love the skeleton design and don't want to throw it out. So I hang on to it: Photobucket Cut the sleeves off to make it short sleeves: Photobucket And then I crocheted trims to extend it to a desired length, and my 2yo DD2 can still wear it for another summer! Photobucket

21 Sep 2012

Crochet trims for tops

One thing I like about crocheting is its versatility. It can do so many things easily that other means cannot do or cannot do so easily. And the result is so beautiful.

I bought this plain top for $2 I think. It was so plain that I never really wanted to wear it. But I still bought it because I thought my crafting skills can do some modification on it to make it better looking. It stayed in my "to modify" box for months and months, until a few days ago when I was looking for some black fabric and found it again. With my improved crochet skills now I'm quite confident about making some trims on it. I used 100% cotton yarn which is very comfortable. Photobucket
I like how it turned out. I wore it to work on the next day and felt very confident wearing it and really liked how it fitted me. I'm expecting to wear it on a regular basis.

I also crocheted trims on this other top as well, also using 100% cotton yarn. I like cotton yarns as they feel so nice on my skin and I don't need to worry about getting itchy from it.
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This top of DD2's has a very wide neckline. I wanted to make it narrower so I crocheted some trims and now it fits perfectly.
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8 Sep 2012

crochet baby cocoon

I know I started this as a sewing blog. But working full time with two little kids makes no time to sew at all. So I was smart enough (LOL) to take up crochet as my new hobby, which means I can do it anywhere at any time and can drop off and pick up my projects all the time.

I've been thinking of making one of these for a long time because I have so many friends/colleagues/relatives having babies lately, and baby cocoons are just sooooo cute!

I did some research online trying to find a pattern that I like but haven't found any free ones. And I'm running out of time (babies are being born!) and decided to figure out my own pattern.

I found this video which became the base of my pattern. I didn't follow exactly what she did but she gave me a very good guide. Roughly my pattern is as follows:

8mm crochet hook
4ply(?) yarn

I started with 4 chains and sl st to form a ring. Then ch 2, and did 10 dc into the ring, sl st. Then ch 2, did 1 dc, 2 dc until sl st. Then chained 2, did 1 dc 1dc 2dc so it should be 40 dc by the time I sl st. Then I just keep 1dc each round, sl st ...until the whole thing reached about 45cm long. So the end product should be about 25cm wide and 45cm long.

I ran out of the white yarn so I continued with a yellowish yarn to finish the length. I don't want the baby to feel cold in the shoulder...
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I will give this one to my colleague who's due early November.

crochet items in the last 3 months

I can't belive I haven't posted any of my crochet items since 29/4/12. I did post some in my family blog so here are the photos to keep my craft blog updated!

Some decorations on a pair of pants I made for DD2:
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A vest for DD2. It was difficult to make the curves. I need to learn...I can't remember if I posted the skirt. I first made the skirt, then this.
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Extension of some winter jackets for DD2:
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Fixing up the collar of one of my tops:
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Lots and lots of hair clips for DD1:
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A scarf for myself:
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29 Apr 2012

Crocheted Hats - my first crocheted wearables

This is my first big projects. By "big" I mean bigger than little flowers, bows and butterflies which are purely for decorating. And it's wearable.
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I followed this Olivia's Butterfly tutorial. It was quick and easy. Only took me 1.5 hours. I planned to make it for DD2 who's 19 months, but it turned out big, perfect for DD1 who's 5yo. Lucky I've got two girls in the house.
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I was excited that I finally crocheted something someone could wear. So I started trying another tutorial: Crochet Sun Hat (Granny Stitch), and made a brimmed hat for DD2. It took me 2.5 hours, and it turned out too small for her. :( I gave it away to a friend's 1yo.

Lessons learned. I started using rulers and existing hats to ensure I get the right size. So the second brimmed hat I made turned out quite good.
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It would be perfect if DD2 would allow me to put it on so I could take a photo of it in action. :(

Crochet hooks holder

I bought a set of crochet hooks and have used them frequently. The hooks came with a plastic holder which is very handy. But as with all plastic products, the holder starts to tear and can't really hold some of the hooks any more. I find myself having to look for lost hooks from time to time.

So I decided to make a crochet hooks holder. I have seen crayons holders online before, and thought it's a good idea to make a similar one for the crochet hooks. So had a quick google, and found a quick tutorial, and had a quick look, and grabbed a piece of fabric that I was going to make something else but never got the motive to contine, and after over an hour on the sewing machine, I got a very pretty crochet hooks holder:

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It's a thick velvety upholstery fabric that (I think) I got from the bargain bin in Spotlight years ago. The fabric feels very nice and strong and I think I can make very nice items out of it. It's been laying around having done various jobs such as covering the table when we played majong, covering the floor when DD2 had dinner in the dinning room which is covered by carpet, all sorts of things. I finally cut a piece off it the other day hoping to make a bag but gave up soon after I started. But today when I was trying to find a piece of fabric to make the crochet hooks holder, I fount the cut piece the perfect size for the project. So a piece all ready to sew!

The fabric is so thick, strong and tight that it's very hard to sew. I had to slow down the speed of the stitches so that I don't have accidents on the sewing machine. The last few stitches was a struggle and I don't think the machine could handle any more sewing on this fabric.
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The strap on the side is from a bag of scrap trims that I bought from the Remanent Warehouse earlier this year. This is the whole length of the scrap trim. I was looking for a ribbon or something to sew on to the holder as a fastener once it's rolled up, and saw this piece and thought the colour would go with the holder, and it looks quite unique. The good thing about it is that it's easy to fasten with this piece.

The small black piece to hold the scissors was actually cut off a bra's shoulder strap. I was hoping to find a dark coloured elastic piece and going through my scrap box I found this maternity bra which is perfect for a pieces of black elastic.
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It was a difficult project in terms of sewing, and the product turned out quite thick, but I think it's strong and will last a long time. I like the details of the project, the feeling of the velvety fabric, the strong and pretty fastening strap...

The start of my crocheting

I haven't sewn a lot of things lately. Mostly because I've been too busy. In the last couple of months I was working 4 days a week, looking for jobs, preparing applications and attending interviews, and when at home I still need to look after housework and my two little girls. I wouldn't say it was the busiest time of my life, as I've often had busy times since I had my first daughter, and I can't really remember which is the busiest, but the last couple months I found it really hard to cope and I kept forgetting things and finding things undone.

Good thing is that period finally ended with a new job, full time, about 40 minutes drive away from home. At least I don't have to look for jobs any more which took a huge load of pressure off me. I'm yet to see if I can cope with working full time though...

Anyway, before I started looking for jobs, I started my new hobby: crocheting. I had a very small amount of yarn from some of my crafting activities, then I was given some balls of yarns by a friend who left for overseas. I didn't think about what to do with them. Then one day I started thinking about learning to crochet. I was never interested in working with yarn before, but things like this happen, when suddenly you feel you want to get your hands on this. It's just about the right time, the right trigger. And I can't remember what triggered me. Maybe it's the frustration that I couldn't find time to sew but I still wanted to create things. Anyway I bought a set of hooks on Ebay from China. At that time I had no idea what kind of hook I would need to crochet, so I just bought the whole set, which cost me...I can't remember, maybe a couple dollars. Then it took them very long to arrive, maybe a month. During that time I read a lot of things about crocheting, including some books borrowed from our local library. As I spent over 1 hour each day on train commuting to and from work, I read the books on the train every day, so in my head I had a rough idea how crocheting works, which made it very easy when I started practicing later.

Then when I got the hooks I started learning. The first item I learned was crocheting a flower. I just went youtube, seached "crochet flower" and picked a video and followed the video. I think this one is the one I started with. The first flower I made had only four pedals. I must have done something wrong. But later on I got better and better. I made a few five-pedal flowers, then I started learning to make bows, butterflies etc. I attached them onto plain hair clips. I gave some of them to DD1 who loved them, and some to my boss at work who also had two girls about the same age range of my DDs. I think they make very good little gifts.

After some small projects, and my job stuff got settled, I started making bigger projects, which I will mention in other posts.

At the moment I put all my crochet stuff in a handbag. Most of the stuff are yarns, some are leftover cotton yarns from a freecycler, some are leftover from my projects. I don't have big amount of same yarns as I haven't started big projects that need a few balls of the same yarns yet. But I think I soon will need to buy some as a small collections of a big variety cannot satisfy the need for a big project such as a scarf, shawl, or a top.

In the crochet handbag there's also the roll of the crochet hooks, ranging from 2mm to 8mm. There's also a small pair of scissors, and some bits and pieces of small craft stuff such as plain hair clips that I can attach some final products on.

The hand bag is very handy as I can take it anywhere and crochet away whenever I want. I find crocheting better than sewing as it is mobile, needs minimum amount of supply and equipment, and I can use small amounts of time here and there. I often crochet in my bed before sleep, or on the train commuting to work, or in the train station waiting for the train.

So stay tuned, I will soon have some new posts about my crochet projects!

4 Mar 2012

120301 - kids' clean-up gloves

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On Thursday night we had to find a pair of gloves for my 5yo DD1 to take to school for "clean up Australia" Day. All the gloves at home were for adults and they were just wayyyyy too big for her. So I had to go downstairs at 7:30pm to make a pair of gloves for her. And the deadline was 8pm when the girls should go to bed.

I wish I had taken more photos or even a video to demonstrate what I did but making a pair of gloves in half an hour was a tough enough task...

So here's a description of what I did and hope it makes sense:

1. I got DD1 to get pen and paper, put her hands on the paper and using the pen to draw the shape of her hands. (I only needed one hand but she insisted I draw both...)

2. I cut out the shape of the hand, and placed it on a pair of DD2's pants (which she grew out of but had just enough fabric to make gloves from) and cut out a pair of 'mittens'. (Note I cut out the shape with the four fingers not cut open, because I failed in my first attempt when I sewed around the fingers after cutting them open but then the fingers were too small for DD1 to put her fingers in. )

3. Then I used a pen to draw on the cut fabric three lines where I should cut so that there would be 4 fingers, but I didn't actually cut them, because I would sew very close to the lines and then cut them.

4. Then I sewed around the mitten, following the lines when I get there and actually sewed 5 fingers with 4 of the still not cut. This way I can easily sew very close to the lines without having to worry about missing out because the seam allowance would be too narrow.

5. I cut along the three lines, clipping the corners. Now I have 5 fingers, with very narrow seam allowance. I don't worry about fraying because the pants were made of knit fabric so even a very narrow seam allowance won't make it fray and torn.

6. I turned the inside out using the pen (very useful pen I know!) to poke out the fingers and I got a pair of kids' gloves!

I know the gloves look dirty - DD2 used to crawl wearing the pants - but isn't it perfect for a Clean Up Day? Their destiny is to get dirty enough to be thrown out....

2 Feb 2012

a summer pyjama set for DD1

I had a couple of days off to prepare DD1 for starting school. During one of the days I made this set of summer pyjama for DD1 upon her request after her seeing me wearing this set and found out I made them myself. She always finds it fascinating to wear exactly the same thing as me. She always asks me to make a smaller version for her too.

So I took one of her pants that suits her well at the moment and drew a pattern on a piece of scrap paper:
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Then I cut the pattern off and placed it on the fabric that I used to make my pyjamas (lucky I still have plenty left!):
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and cut two pieces on fold:
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Because she asked me for the full set, I had to cut two rectangulars to make a top too. I used her existing well-fitted top as a guide for size/measurement:
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The pants:
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The full set:
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I'm really happy about the result.

It was a very easy project. It took me 70 minutes in total from start to finish. I used elastic at top of the top to gather the fabric so that it fits her well. That's also what I did with my top. So DD1 is now a smaller version of me. LOL.

I find making my own patterns is so much easier than using commercial ones for these simple projects. And my homemade patterns fit perfectly while the commercial ones always has some parts that don't fit well.