Sunday, 30 March 2014

Travel - Sewing Kit

Good evening/morning readers! I have a whole heap of these DIY travel accessories posts to share with you so let's get started!

I've been sewing like I have needles for fingers lately, in a mad dash to get everything ticked off my list of things to make before we go away in May. One of these items was a travel sewing kit.

I found a great tutorial from Lots of Pink Here and, taking my inspiration from a great version of the kit on Dispatches From Whitcomb Street, set out to re-create one of my own. The outer fabric is a lovely cotton/linen blend by Anna Maria Horner and the inside is a combination of linen, a quirky McCall's patterns fabric and some brown paper-clip patterned binding.

Eunny Yang's version features a mini pin cushion and a lined zipper pouch between two of the sections. I added Velcro to the pin cushion so it can be removed for ease of use. I also added some rows of stitching on the left-hand pocket to slip in my quick un-pick, chalk pencil, tape measure etc.

I love the spool tab: it's going to be great for carrying around mini spools of thread to sew on buttons and mend rips. The zipper pouch is definitely going to come in handy for storing odd buttons and transportable projects. 

I've also been trying to quickly throw together a couple of handmade garment ensembles for our city stops. More on that to come...I have a few hems to finish!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Fairy Dust & Kisses

Last night, I attended a very special 21st birthday party for a very special lady in my life - Miss Renee Carver. It's been a rough couple of months and Renee has been a rock for us all in these hard times. She is so full of sparkle and sunshine...and her birthday celebrations were no different!

With fairy and elf fancy dress as a necessity, we celebrated with bubbles, copious amounts of glitter (that stuff is never coming off!) and giggles. Renee did an amazing job of decorating her pad to reflect her personality - good job sweetie!

I made a flower crown for the occasion, something I've been wanting to do forever! I feel more will be coming soon...

And I also created a one-off handmade gift (I've been sewing in my sleep by the way!) Renee is an amazing artist so I thought I'd make her a paintbrush roll to keep her watercolour brushes safe.

I hope you had an amazing evening last night chick and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Wednesday!!! Love you lots xxxxxxx

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Commissions

After my last post when I shared pictures of the travel wallets I'd made for Martin and I, I received a couple of requests to make more for friends and family to use on their travels this year.

Here are the results! As you can see, they are two very distinctly different styles. The one on the left is for Martin's Auntie Sandra who lives in Melbourne (Au) and wanted a travel wallet for her trip to the US, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii at the end of May. 

Sandra asked me to chose the fabrics from the Flower Sugar range by Lecien. I went for a delicate floral print with a clean white background for the main fabric, with a co-ordinating pink polka dot for the interior. Super Pretty!

The second purse is for my good friend Abi, who travels a lot and gave me free rein with choosing fabrics from my stash (brave girl!) 

I went for this Japanese Linen which I bought from a seller on Etsy last year when purchasing a piece of lace for my wedding dress. In true quirky Japanese style, it features a mix of cat motifs and classic British emblems, like London Bridge and little Union Jacks. 

It also features miniature rainbows, which I thought was perfect as Abi has this wonderful knack of always looking on the bright side of life :)

I thoroughly enjoyed producing these two commission pieces and I very much hope their recipients will enjoy using them!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Travel Wallets

I'm very excited to share my latest project with you today. On Sunday, Martin and I sat down to breakfast together and trawled Pinterest for neat ideas to organise our stuff and keep important things together while we're travelling. We've never travelled with backpacks before and I'm a bit worried I'm going to lose things if they're all in one big compartment, which I have a tendency to do with any bag really!

Our main focus was to find something to carry all our documents in which we could wear under our clothes or attach to ourselves somehow. I came across this great tutorial on Craftster and decided to give it a go!

I've never made any kind of wallet before and felt a bit intimidated by all the different elements. But once I had all my pieces cut out - which was by far the most time-consuming part of the process - it all seems to come together fairly easily. Just lots of corner clipping, top-stitching and pressing. 

This wallet has compartments for just about everything! There's a pocket for your boarding passes, one for your passport, another for your driver's license, a coin pouch, compartments for your cards and a lined zipper pouch for cash. It even includes somewhere to keep a pen safe for when you're filling out immigration slips - perfect!

My only real concern with them is that they turned out to be massive, which may make wearing them under our clothes a bit tricky! If I made one again (which I'd very much like to - present anyone?) I'd skip the boarding pass holder to make it shorter and only add one credit card compartment. But overall, I think they'll do the job beautifully!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Today I made a dress

Today I have mostly been making this dress. Well, finishing this dress really.

I bought the fabric from the Salvation Army op-shop next door to my work for about 50c! Probably the cheapest thing I've ever made. The pattern was The Staple Dress by April Rhodes (which you may remember me mentioning in my last post). This design was a bit of an internet sensation when it was first released; I kept seeing it popping up on all of my favourite sewing blogs. I ordered the pattern from an online shop in the UK before it was available as a PDF download - doh!

This was also my first attempt at a bound neckline and I was a bit worried about it not sitting flat - which seems to be a constant problem for the contestants on The Great British Sewing Bee! But I found a really good tutorial on Grainline Studio (which also has some awesome downloadable patterns too, by the way!) and it was way easier than I thought it would be. When in doubt, iron it to death!

I also picked up some cool tribal rayon fabric in the Spotlight sale today so I can make another. I might go for the size down next time so it's a little less blousey. We'll see.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Studio Re-Jig

"Time on our hands. We'll while away the day. So much time on our hands."

This has been the sound-track to my life for the past week. Due to a reduction in hours at work, I have a lot more time to play with in the mornings these days. I hope to spend a big portion of this extra time in my studio, being productive and ticking off a few things on my 'I could so make that myself' wish-list. 

However, lately I've found myself feeling restless in this space. I was finding the way everything was laid out decidedly counter-productive and not efficiency inducing in the slightest! It was time for a shift around.

I wanted to be able to have my cutting table fully extended at all times, with an area which could be used as a desk to sit and sketch new designs. One of my new roles at Make is as a Product Designer, so it was important for me to have a clear space to do my work.

I'm working on the Staple Dress at the moment, a very basic April Rhodes pattern. But for some reason, it's taking me forever to get it finished! I'm the kind of crafter who has a million different projects on the go at any one time so I tend to work quite slowly!

You may have also seen on the news that we've had a whole lot of rain recently! Since the forecast was so dismal and many areas of Christchurch were underwater, people were being advised to stay inside wherever possible. This being the case, I thought I'd make the most of it and do something I've been dying to do since we moved a den inside my studio's wardrobe!

So, here's how it looked before:

And after the nesting process:

Perfect for snuggling up to do some stitching with a brew on a rainy day. Oh, and would you look at that, it's raining again today. Thanks Mr Weatherman :)

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Lovely Little Nelli

In the early hours of the morning on 26th February, a very teeny tiny addition to our extended family came into the world! Meet Nelli June Lo-Ngok who is the lovely daughter of Martin's cousin Marc and his fiance Kylah. 

We spent Christmas 2012 in Melbourne with Mart's family and not long after we returned to NZ, we heard the news that Marc and Kylah were going to be parents! 

Of course, I immediately wanted to make them something. Little miniature quilts were the first thing to spring to mind, but as Martin's Auntie Sandra is a very talented and accomplished quilter, I knew she'd be in her element making a baby quilt for her first grandchild (ahhh, I'm so excited for you Sandra!! Big hugs!)

So I set my mind on clothes because, y'know, that's kinda my 'speciality' (I wish)! I've never made anything for kids yet so it was a whole new ball-game for me. But it was so much fun working in miniature!

I ended up making two little wee twirly skirts with pom-pom trim and piece of hoop art for Mum and Dad. We also found these adorable hand-knitted baby booties on our trip to Akaroa with Martin's parents back in November. Marts took some talking round as he couldn't see why a newborn would need woollen booties during a heat wave in Aus (a fair point) but the cute factor won him over!

A few days before Nelli was born, Marc also proposed so we are looking forward to another family wedding too!

Hope you guys are enjoying life as a family of three so far and really hope to get to see you later this year!