Sunday, 24 March 2013

"Two Blue Wonder" Laptop Sleeve

"Two blue Wonder" fabric from Italy has, amongst other great uses, been the perfect thing to make a great laptop sleeve.  It has an almost wetsuit type feel on the aqua side and a beautiful soft cushioned feel on the navy side of the fabric.  The fabric is $29/m and it took a mighty 25cm of fabric so $7.25 later and 15 minutes of sewing and adding a skirt hook/eye (wide version) by hand, we had a fantastic laptop cover for one of casual staff who has just begun uni.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Bloomin' Brilliant Bamboo Boxers

If Jamie Oliver can create 15 minute meals, so too we can create 15 minute clothes.  But like Jamie, you just need to be prepared a little.  So have the fabric and the pattern ready to go and yes, you can make this in 15 minutes, providing the phone doesn't ring, the water pipes don't suddenly burst, the kids rearrange your sewing table for you and nick off with the right coloured thread, or whatever!

Our 12 yr old son is at that age when he is too big for kids sized clothes and too small for adults.  Know what I'm talking about?  Its a pain.  So last week I thought I'd pop and buy him a batch of boxer shorts since he has grown out of the others since Xmas.  No luck, short of having Pooh bear, Ben Ten and whatever else plastered on them and he's "way past all that, Mum"!

So I've made him some boxer shorts and they are so easy its ridiculous.  I made a pattern by tracing a larger, wider, deeper version of his existing boxers.  Below I am showing you the third pair.  I made 2 earlier pairs of boxers in woven/non-stretch fabric and the pattern suits both non-stretch and stretch knit.

We have a gorgeous array of plain but colourful bamboo jersey knit fabrics which are the ultimate for comfy pj's and everything else.

Ok so here is how the boxers were made.  Cut out the pattern - cut 2, both on the fold.  Our range of stretch fabrics are very wide so for this size and below, you can make the whole lot with 1/2 metre or less.

Unfold and putting right sides together, stitch down both long curved sides.  This is the seam that runs down the front centre and back centre from waist.

Lift half way along and lay so sewn seams now line up front and back centre and folds are to the sides.

Stitch around the bottom curve that is now lined up, to join front to back and this encloses the crutch area.

Join the right length of elastic (I used 70 cm) in a circle.
 Turn shorts right way out and fold waist edge inwards and insert elastic under the edge.
 Pin 4 equal points on elastic and pin 4 equal distant points on shorts (i.e.. front and back seam and fold where side seams would normally be).  Join the elastic pinned points to fabric pinned points.  Elastic will be shorter between each section.
 Zig zag stitch (stitch width 2 and stitch length 2) on both fold and including elastic.  Stretch the elastic and fold over waist out until fabric is flat and hold firmly as you stitch.  It will create a natural gather once it is stitched and the elastic rebounds.  This is probably the slowest part but get it right and neat and tidy and you will be happy!
Hem the leg cuffs by turning up about 1.5cm.  No need for overlocking or edging as stretch knit wont fray.  I just used a straight stitch as the legs are baggy enough not to have any side stretch pressure applied when wearing.  Normally for horizontal seams in stretch, I would zig zag or use a twin needle so the stitching will give/stretch under pressure.

Finish with the secret of success for all stretch sewing - iron/press the seams!

And here are the Bloomin' Brilliant Bamboo Boxers - so soft and comfy!  This pattern would work for long pj pants as well, or shorts to use as day wear and more!

"Water Islands" Winter Skirt

Our daughter Ebony turned 14 last Saturday and as usual, she falls in love with just about all the fabrics in our shop.  One of her favourites is a new fabric called "Water Islands" which is an Italian winter wool blend.
So birthdays have suddenly become easy.  I've made her a skirt!  Its so simple and doesn't require a pattern.  For the record, I'm not that clever.  I do get some of these idea's from clothes I have bought over the years.
It takes 50cm of fabric, a 10cm metal zip or any zip for that matter, and I used a bit of piping to add a dimension to it.  Last but not least a fabulous buckle to finish it off and hold the zip closed.  Zips can sometimes have a habit of sneaking open when under pressure.
Step 1: Fold the fabric over - selvage to selvage.  This fabric had a nice selvage I could leave exposed.  I overlocked top and bottom edges.

Step 2: Working from fold (which will be the centre back of the skirt, I created 4 darts.  2 darts to define the "side seams" and 2 darts between them to make the back of the skirt sit right as a normal skirt would.  I had to work out the measurements to place the side darts.
Step 3: Lining it up with our tape measure area on counter, I folded the front flaps in using the 2 side darts as a guide for the sides.  This should then sit to roughly the right waist measurement.  I angled it slightly so that the zip and stitching down the front was not straight but tapering out to create a slight A-line affect.  The darts are on the inside so skirt is right side out as you would wear it.
Step 4: Next I laid the zip down to mark where I start a seam to sew the two front flaps together.  I sewed down to about 4 or 5 inches above hem line, on a slight angle.

Step 5: Double fold the top and bottom edges of skirt adding choc brown piping with it.  This neatened the edges that fell at front of skirt.  I stopped the piping for back edge between the darts as the fabric was so thick and just turned it over once rather than doubled, as it is unseen.
Stitch zip in working on right side, with seam allowances tucked under already.  I added a buckle at the top of the zip to do 2 things.  One was to give it a finishing touch, second to secure the zip from undoing itself at a most inconvenient moment.