27 Sep. 2008

Upgraded dress

DD was sick last week and I was sick this week so not much has been done. Today we had a wedding to go to so I had to make DD's dress right for the wedding. Lucky it was only a simple fix. I made this dress for DD to wear at the wedding but I couldn't get the bow right. When I was sick I thought I had to sew it on instead of tying it. So this morning before I made the Mei Tai I made sure I fixed the bow. I sewed it on but it looked very .... empty. So I found out a scrap of the fabric using which I made the bias tape for the neck elastics and made a yo-yo. I sewed the yo-yo on and ... hmmm... looks alright.

It's the first time I've really USED a yo-yo. I've made like a hundred but never used them.

Mei Tai made!

Finally this big task before our overseas trip next month is finished! It only took me about 2-3 hours this morning. As I made one before (which I gave away to my friend who's got a new baby) so I kind of know what I needed: fabrics, sizes, etc. I got up early in the morning so I could concentrate on designing the pattern and cutting. I've been contemplating this for weeks so it took me no time to pick out the fabrics. The only problem is the denim fabric was so creased that I couldn't iron it flat! Well I'll make sure I never use dryer on my fabrics any more!

Anyway I used exactly the same website that I used last time to make this Mei Tai. But I used my own sizes as last time the straps were too wide. And I made the body narrower and longer. The specifics are as follows:

Body: pretty fabric and denim, both 40cm x 60cm plus seam allowances.
Top straps: denim 5cm x 121cm, cut 12cm x 123cm including allowances then fold and sew into 5cm wide straps. BUT, this time I padded the shoulders, so I used a piece of scrap polar fleece to add the pads.
Bottom straps: denim 5cm x 255cm. I wanted to make a long strap but the denim wasn't long enough so I had to make two straps and sew them together to make up the length. I believe one continuous strap is stronger than 2 separate ones.

So I halfly followed the instructions on Jan Andrea's website to sew the top straps onto the body pieces, when I sewed the seam allowances of the body pieces, leaving two 7cm opening on each side very close to the bottom. Then I turned right sides out and ironed the whole thing. Then I threaded the bottom strap through the bottom openings and sewed it on. Then I ran some topstitches to secure/reinforce everywhere. You can clearly see the stitches on the denim side. (sorry for the shabby looking. I ironed and ironed and ironed and really don't know how I can get rid of the creases!)

17 Sep. 2008

Interim mats

It's been hectic recently. Booking flights for our overseas trip to visit our families in China, applying for visa, mom got sick and DD got sick etc... So I haven't got time to post the mats I made last weekend.

It was sunny on Sunday so I decided to wash all the mats around the house. We put a mat at almost each door around the living room and they're 100% cotton so I can wash them like clothes. Now I washed them, and it started to rain. It was raining and raining and I wouldn't bother to go downstairs to get them and spin them and dry them in the dryer (No I'm so against using dryers). So I decided it might be quicker for me just to make some 'interim' mats from some thrifty materials.

So I cut out the remaining of the bedspreads after many projects, into rectangulars, The wrong side:I cut the side ruffles of the bed spread, length being the length of the rectangulars plus some allowance. I need two of these pieces to cover the whole area of the rectangular.The ruffles right side together, put on the wrong side of the bedspread rectangular, pinned along the middle line of the rectangular: Then sewed the two layers of the ruffles, now flat, along the centre line of the rectangular:Turn the top layer of the ruffles right side up, I got this:
Then pinned the allowances onto the right side of the rectangular
And sew, then the original right side becomes the wrong side now:
And the original wrong side becomes the new right side, which is covered by the original ruffles, with DD sitting on it in
I made three of these.

11 Sep. 2008

DD's tops

I feel so tired recently. I guess it's because I've been trying to use every second of my time to do things I need to do. Apart from my full time work which takes me out of home from 6:50am to 6pm, I want to do sewing, sometimes laundry, cooking, and arranging our overseas trip to see our families in China etc etc. Tonight I finished these two tops and decide that's it for the day. I'm gonna go to bed earlier, maybe go to sleep before 10pm.

Below are the two tops I finished tonight for DD.

I spent a few nights to trace the pattern and cut out the fabrics. Below is one of my tops which I don't want to wear any more, and I cut it to make the neckband and the ruffles for one of the tops.
Below is some fabrics cut out:

I still used the same pattern as before. It's not my favourite pattern for a top because I find it quite hard to follow, and one step was even wrong. But it's my only pattern for toddler's tops so I'll just use it before I have any more.

Embroidery on the train

I've been trying to utilize the time on the train to work every day to do something useful, instead of staring at one point for the whole 38 minutes or sleeping. So I've been looking for projects I can do on the train.

The first one is the embroidery project I started months ago, which I wanted to give DH's cousin as a birthday gift, but never got time to finish. It's amazing how much you can do on the train: I finished the embroidery in ONE day! It's about 75 minutes in total that I spend on the train every day. Imagine how many projects I can accomplish every week!

Here's the photo of the finished embroidery:I know it doesn't look perfect. I'm a beginner embroiderier too...But I still like it!

I've got a few projects in my mind but just need time to prepare them before I can start doing them on the train. They include: Tshirt braid mat, more embroideries etc. Knitting will be good on the train as well but I got too many sewing projects on my to do list I don't want to start knitting....

7 Sep. 2008

Cloth pads part 1

I've had a VERY busy weekend. I did a lot of sewing, as well as many many other things. One of the projects I'm working on is cloth pads. I made some trial ones before and felt they're great. But I've never had time to make more. I was using panty liners to compensate but I had to change very often as they're not designed for menstrual periods. This weekend I decided to start sewing more so I have enough to rotate.

Here're the day pads all cut out and pinned:I used the '11 inch pad' pattern from Adahy's cloth pad patterns website, where I got the panty liner pattern I've been using all the time. I love her designs. But for these cloth pads I didn't use her tutorial, because I wanted to have a snap-on design, which adds more layers, but still easy to dry.

The ones with wings are made of three layers: pretty cotton, microfibre, and polar fleece. The ones without wings are made of four layers: pretty cotton, two layers of microfibre, and pretty cotton.

Polar fleece and some of the pretty cottons are from my scrap fabric stash. Microfibre is from DD's cloth nappies (She's got too many and we're not using cloth nappies a lot atm so I decided to make the better use than lying in her nappy stash.). Some other pretty cotton are cut from the pants I made for DD which are too small for her now, see below. So I'm not using any new fabrics.The night pads cut and pinned:Their compositions are similar to the day pads. It's only the design of the pattern is different. I used the pattern I designed for my trial night pads, which was successful for me.

I planned to sew bias binding instead of turn-and-top-stitch to reduce bulk and work.

I managed to sew up two pads without wings tonight. Then DD was going to sleep and I didn't want to make any noise so I had to stop. Plus I got a big headache today because of the weather. So I decided that's it for the day.

6 Sep. 2008

DD's dresses for two weddings

DH's cousin's youngest daughter's weddings are coming in this month. I don't know why they have two weddings. I guess both families were too traditional to accommodate each other's wedding so they decided to have a wedding for each tradition.

Anyway as we'll have to go to two weddings, we have to prepare two sets of outfits for the weddings. So I hurried up these two dresses today. They literally took me a whole day. It's been raining whole day so I had a very good excuse to stay in the sewing room from 7am to 9pm. Of course I did some other things too.

This yellow background flowery fabric was given to me by a Freecycler
And this red flowery fabric was from Spotty's clearance table. They are both very nice cotton fabrics.
I used this pattern, which is from another Freecycler for the yellowish dress:

I copied a bit of ideas from this pattern, from the same Freecycler, for the red flowery dress. It's actually more like a jumper. The straps are too long I think.

I think they're quite big and will last DD for quite a few years....

updated 080928 DD wearing the red-white dress:

5 Sep. 2008

Notes for Generation T

(These are the notes I took on the train when I was reading Generation T for the 4th or maybe 5th time. It's for my future reference when I want to try the projects. If you're wondering what Generation T is, it's a GREAT book I'm reading, borrowed from my local library. Here's the website about the book: http://www.generation-t.com/book.html)

no. 97 thread a mat
1. cut a t-shirt square/rectangular or any shape you want
2. cut holes with even spaces
3. thread t-shirt tape through holes continuously to cover the whole patch/shape
4. hem the edges or bias tape the edge to fix the ends of the tape.
no. 96 braid a mat
1. cut cotton t-shirts and sew patches
2. cut strips off patches to make a tape
3. braid 3 tapes
4. sew braid into a circle mat
no. 76 make a poncho for k for wedding.
no. 75 braid a belt/string for my big tops or jeans
no. 74 make a wine bag

1 Sep. 2008

Bias tapes

I hate buying bias tapes because I hate spending money if I can save it. I always tought I could make bias tapes.

The other day I was reading a sewing book and was interested to see a simple tutorial about how to make bias tapes. I decided to give it a go. Here's a similar tutorial on the web.

I chose two of my favourite colours: pink and green. For each fabric, I cut a square off, fold the square along the bias, cut in half, then sew the two pieces together like indicated in the tutorial, making a slightly twisted tube. I know I should draw the parallel lines but I don't have a long ruler and I was impatient as I had to look after DD at the same time, so I just measured the rough width and started cutting. I use the first cut as a guide as I cut (actually I guess I would spend less time cutting if I drawed the lines!) and it took me about 1 hour each to finish cutting. They're gonna be really long bias tapes and will last me for some time.

They're really ugly as some areas are too wide and some are too narrow. I guess next time I'll draw the lines.

Can't wait to use them!