Monday, December 24, 2012

Second Sue Kim Pencil Case, All Done

Here is the second pencil case I made using the Sue Kim pattern. Details about the pattern are here and the first pencil case I made is shown here. This one is for my niece.

The only 'gripe' I have about Sue Kim's book is that she does not give the seam allowances that should be used. I thought they were a 1/4 inch, but I think they were 5/8 ths of an inch. I am glad I got it wrong because these pencil cases are very small, so an extra half inch in the width is not a problem. It is a glorious book though, and I have had a 'zillion' compliments about the messenger bag that I made using the pattern from her book. And there are quite a few more I would like to try.

I have a new follower! Go and have a look at Maria's blog about the Spanish doll Chabel which was made in the 80's and 90's. She has a marvellous collection of these dolls and their accessories. I can't believe you could get so many things for these dolls. Just click on the google translate button to select English.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and happy sewing too!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Dolls! Prairie Dress for an American Girl Doll, All Finished.

This is the dress that I made for my American Girl doll using McCalls 6327. I am going to make the bonnet and matching bloomers, but I have to make the pencil case for my niece's christmas present first. Especially as it is Christmas in a week's time!

I am not sure if I will put the lace trims on the dress as they did in the pattern. As I went to some effort to get the white flowers in the centre of the neckline, I think that lace would be too busy. I might just put it around the hem.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dolls! Prairie Style Dress for an American Girl Doll

I tried to blame my American Girl 'dolly fever' on Audra's blog, but of course I am quite capable of generating my own. I have gone from really disliking these dolls to really liking them. Audra had the same experience.

This is My American Girl number 32. She initially came with her hair done in pig-tails, but I took them out as they looked a bit thin and scrappy. You can see how they have cut the hair to make it easier to form the two pigtails.

I just moved her hair over the 'bald spot' and it doesn't look too bad:

Here she is modelling her half finished dress. I think the blue matches her eyes beautifully. The outfit she came in is a bit boring and I love the historical American Girl dolls, so I thought I would see how she looked in an old fashioned dress.

This is the pattern I am using - McCalls 3627. I am making the dress in the top right corner which comes with a matching prairie style bonnet and bloomers. I didn't have enough of the blue fabric so I found some white fabric for the sleeves which will give it a pinafore look. All of this fabric came out of my stash, so I am quite proud of that! I have to make the pencil case for my niece before christmas, so I will have to leave sewing up the bonnet and bloomers until later.

Thankyou Claudia for becoming a follower on my blog. It is always so flattering when someone goes to that effort.

Happy Sewing Everyone!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Birds 'n Blossom Messenger Bag Finished

My messenger bag is all finished, and I quite like it, except for the very wide strap. I guess I will get used to it. I went out this morning to do some errands, and took the bag with me. It is very floppy, even though I interfaced it with Pelon. I will use the bag some more this week, and see how it holds up. The pattern that I used is blogged about here.

I sewed a sweet little heart shaped button made from wood on to the front flap with bright red thread. The button is just for show as the bag closes with velcro.

Look! No black lining! You should be able to see the pockets in this photo.

Velcro used to close bag

Those dolls always try to steal the lime-light! Naughty Bleuette.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Musical Instruments Fabric Pencil Case Finished

This is the pencil case that I made for my nephew as part of his christmas present.

I lined it with a fireworks design fabric - when he opens the pencil case he will see lots of Boom!

It is a little small for big kids, but it does fit pencils in it. I have already cut out the pieces for the pencil case for my niece and just need to sew it up. Details of the book by Sue Kim that I got the pattern from are in a previous post.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Messenger Bag & Pencil Cases

This is the fabric I am using for my messenger bag. The lining fabric is on the left, and the outer fabric is on the right. While it is not wonderful quality fabric, I just fell in love with the birds in blossom fabric and could see it made up in a bag. Did I tell you I hate black lining fabric in bags? I am sure I did, and that is why this lining is not black! I don't care if it gets dirty, I just can't see anything in a bag lined with black fabric.

I have done the internal pockets and here you can see I have attached the velcro. I interfaced the outer fabric with a very light weight iron on Pelon. I hope it is not too thick as I have to be able to turn the bag through to the right side after I have attached the lining.

Below are the pieces of fabric cut out and interfaced and waiting to be sewn up into pencil cases for my niece and nephew. The hearts and the musical instrument fabric will be the outside of the pencil cases and the lining fabrics are the 'rockets and bam' fabric to the left and the pale pink fabric on the right. Very gender specific aren't they!

All of these patterns came from the book by Sue Kim called Bags : The Modern Classics. It is a lovely book and I really love her pattern for a wallet - that is one I will be trying at a later date.

Bags: The Modern Classics: Clutches, Hobos, Satchels & More [With Pattern(s)]
Photo from
So I will be working on these 2 projects over the next little while, and then I have to do some sewing for my dressmaking course.

My craft room great-clean-up is finished and I am oh so pleased, but it is not worthy or stylish enough for a photo on this blog.

Happy sewing and creating everyone!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Colour Wash Quilting

I have been having a bit of a clean out at home lately. My storage, fabric, doll supplies, ironing etc room is looking quite lovely, but still not stylish enough to show a picture of. At least I can walk around in the room and find things. I even got busy with the labelling machine so I could tell what was in all the boxes.  When I was cleaning out some old books and magazines, I came across this photo of a cushion worked in a style called colour wash. According to the instructions, you choose patterned fabrics, arrange them from dark to light and then sew them all up for this effect. I love it - it reminds me of watercolour painting, which is my painting medium (when I get to paint, that is). I am not mad about patchwork, but if I was going to do it, having a go at colour wash, crazy patchwork and applique.

Happy Sewing!

P.s. I still have to clean out my computer, sewing machine, storage, craft supplies etc room. Yikes!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dolls! Rebecca, A Homeart Store Porcelain Doll

I was out op-shopping recently and came across this porcelain doll. She was very dusty and dirty and had cobwebs and a bit of light mould on the edge of her dress. You might be able to see the dust and dirt in the photo below where she is posing with my Ruby Red Galleria Bleuette doll. The little bear is sewn on to her dress and has a matching ribbon. I washed everything she is wearing in mild soapy water except for the shoes and hat. I almost didn't buy her because I thought she was a bit too expensive and maybe a bit too 'sugar and spice' sweet, so I put her back on the shelf and walked off. When I went up to the counter to buy some sewing patterns, I took another look at her and decided to buy her.

Before her clean-up

Here is a close up of her face after I washed her. I got most of the marks off.

This photo shows her body construction. She can only sit in this one position.

Homeart stores used to be called Copperart and sold a wide range of porcelain dolls which were made in China. There is a really good write up about the stores on Wikipedia. I don't think they sell the porcelain dolls anymore. They must have sold loads of them so I don't think their re-sale price is very high at all. I do think Rebecca is quite a good quality and well made example of a Homeart doll and now that I have cleaned her up, I really like her.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mystery Fabric from Japanese Fabric Pack - "Tabigi 1960"

This is a close-up of a fabric remnant that I got in a Japanese Fabric Pack from a Made in Japan store. Who or what is Tabigi?? I looked it up on the internet, and found it is a Japanese manufacturer, a species of tree or plant and a place in America! You can see on the front of the train the date 1960. To further add to the mystery, this fabric is printed right way up on one panel, and then upside down:

The fabric from these packs is from vintage Kimonos and Obis and can include a range of fabric types and dying techniques such as Shibori, Kasuri and Yuzen. Don't expect pristine pieces of fabric all the same size from these packs. Some of them have yellowish age marks on them and most of them have been cut straight from a garment, so you will get some with original hems still intact. I actually love this because I can see some of the construction techniques. One of the pieces had gorgeous small hand stitching running along the cuff hem. These fabric packs are a fabric-aholic's dream.

This looks like a picture of Mount Fuji:

The children on this Tabigi fabric look like they are hiking. The little boy in the middle of this picture looks like he is wearing a traditional Japanese hat.

Even the bag the fabric came in is cute, with very Westernised paintings of Japanese ladies:

And here is the fabric pack in all it's packaged-up glory:

Finally, here is a picture of the whole "Tabigi" panel. I am thinking I could make a cushion from this fabric so that I preserve the whole panel, or it would be wonderful made into a vintage doll's outfit. I could just keep the fabric intact and not use it, but then I will never see it if it is shut up in a drawer, and I am not a museum so I should not feel obliged to act as a curator. What do you think I should make out of it?

I am working on my messenger style bag this weekend, and hope to have it finished soon as my current "black-hole" bag is driving me nuts.

My other news is that I have started a distance course in basic dressmaking and pattern drafting. It looks like there is a bit of work to do in the course, but I am still going to try and fit in some garments that I want to make for summer. There are some set garments that need to be made for the course, but I am not sure what they are yet as I have not received my course materials yet. I have never taken a sewing course and thought it was time to learn a bit more and get a certificate in the process.

Happy sewing everyone!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Finished - Vogue 8597 Cowl Neck Stretch Top

Here is my finished top Vogue 8597. This fabric and I fought our way through the overlocker just about every step of the way.

 I begun by trying to sew it using the cutter blade, but the cut fabric bunched up over the seam marker, so I couldn't tell what seam width I was sewing. Then the fabric jumped at the start of one of the shoulder seams, and cut a small hole in the fabric. I had to make the seam allowance a bit wider on that shoulder, but you can't really notice it because the fabric is so busy. I ditched the seam cutter and changed over to just a regular 5/8 seam allowance. This time, the three thread seam was not enough to catch both seams as they moved about when I was sewing, so I switched to a four thread seam.

Once I sorted that out, the top sewed up quite well, and I think it is a fairly good result for my third go at sewing a stretch garment and only the second one sewn up completely on an overlocker.

This is a close up of the cowl collar. I agree with all the reviews of this pattern on that mentioned the cowl does not sit very well. If I made this again, I would extend the cowl facing by at least 2 inches so that you cannot see the wrong side of your fabric. To re-cap, this is the pattern cover, and I made view B, which is the red top. I also have this fabric in the blue colour-way, and I am considering making up top C in this pattern.

And here is the back of the collar. It is high at the back, so it can keep all the winter breezes away from you neck.

I don't have a cover stitch machine, so I just sewed the hems using stabilising tape and a double needle in my regular sewing machine. That worked for the lower hem, but the sleeve hems are a bit puckered. I remember reading somewhere that you should loosen the tension, and when I did that, it sewed up quite nicely on the hem. When I showed the finished top to my sewing club ladies recently, one of them asked if I had done the hems on a cover stitch machine, and then we got to talking about whether we had one and if not, would be consider buying one. I guess I would if I did a lot of stretch sewing, but at the moment I am not.

I am pleased with this project and would certainly consider sewing this pattern again, but I will be putting it away in the closet for next winter as it is starting to warm up here. Next up on the sewing list is a messenger style fabric bag, which I hope to start on today.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vogue Stretch Fabric Top V8597

Audra over at Dolly Fever has been asking where I have been. I have been a lazy blogger as well as being away interstate for work in Brisbane. I stayed in Brisbane over the weekend to go and see the museums there. One of the exhibitions was of the Prado masterpieces from Spain. I really enjoyed this exhibition. It was well arranged with all the paintings on a topic such as religious, portraits, sketches all grouped together.

I have been working on this top, Vogue V8597 for the last 6 or so weeks. Sewing it got interrupted by some trouser hemming. This is a job that I hate, but I don't like to pay to get it done because I would rather buy fabric with that money. I will do some more work on this top tomorrow, and I hope to get it just about finished. This is the pattern cover - I am making style B which is the red cowl neck top. The pattern got good reviews on Pattern Review, except some people had trouble with arranging the cowl neck once they had it on. I won't know about that until I finish it and start wearing it. I might not be wearing it until next winter as it is starting to warm up here. The fabric was from Spotlight.

So it looks like those pesky dollies of mine will have to wait for their new summer frocks as I have a keen desire (and need) to sew up some summer tops for myself. I am even getting quite ambitious about making some bags using some of my beautiful craft fabric stash and making some pencil cases for my niece and nephew. Pencil cases are a good task for my sewing club day as it does not take too much effort, and we are usually talking a lot so my concentration levels are usually fairly low.

I have some stories coming up on a crazy googly eyed Scottish souvenir doll, and a gorgeous bag making book that has inspired me to have a go at making some bags. The bag I am using at the moment is like a black hole. There are only 2 small pockets inside, so things fall to the bottom of the bag and I can't see much because the lining is black. I know black for bag linings is practical, but there are so many pretty alternatives, I don't know why manufacturers are so keen on using black.

Happy sewing until next time.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dolls! Mum Made Jacket for my Australian 1940's Emil Bear

Here is my Australian made Emil brand bear from the 1940's wearing a knitted jacket made by my Mum! He does not have a lot of fur, and I felt he needed a jacket. I found this pattern for a baby's jacket in one of my Australian Doll Bear and Collectables magazines. It is actually a jacket for a baby, but they used it in the magazine. This is their version:

If you want the details for the magazine and the issue it is in, click here.

And here he is showing the back view:

Good job Mum! I am not a very good knitter, and it would have taken a lot of teeth gnashing and probably a couple of years to get it done - Mum did it in about a week!

Finally, I have a new follower - Larchik from Russia (I think). Thankyou for signing up Larchik, your little bears that you make (I think you do because I can't read Russian) are very cute.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dolls! 1995 Fashions for Barbie from Handmade Magazine

Fossicking in the op-shop last week, I came across a 1995 edition of the Australian Women's Weekly Handmade magazine, volume 11 number 4. Advertised on the front of the magazine was 'Barbie dazzler - complete teen-doll wardrobe to knit and sew'. With my 1960's Pedigree Sindy doll in mind, I paid the grand sum of 20 cents and the mag was mine.

It is an 8 page fashion spread of fashions to make:

I got this wool on sale at Lincraft to have a go at knitting the jumper. It is 4 ply and uses tiny needles. Goodness. The jumper has an 80's picture jumper look about it. That fashion might still have been going strong in the mid 90's, but I can't remember. The evening dress at the top of the above photo has a 1980's look to it, don't you think?

I will have to do some adapting because Barbie and Sindy have quite different body dimensions. Barbie is a slimmer doll with a smaller waist and large bust. Sindy looks bigger around the hips, with shorter arms. I have not done the actual measurements yet, but will before I start making the outfit.

Original Sindy doll

Reproduction 1960's Barbie


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dolls! All About 1950's Sweet Sue With the Flexible Foot

This is my 20 inch American Character Sweet Sue with the Flexible Foot, made from 1957 to 1958. She originally came with a plastic model's case that had extra shoes, ballet slippers (I think they are her ballet slippers that she is wearing) and a leotard. She is wearing her original outfit called Collegiate.

The quality of this doll is exceptional in my opinion. She is heavy (probably not that good for play though) and the attention to detail is amazing. Because I do dressmaking, the construction of the clothes for these 1950's dolls never ceases to amaze me. The cut, style and fit is as good as anything made for a real person.

According to Judith Izen's book American Character Dolls Identification and Value Guide, the vinyl used for these dolls heads was made with a creamy vinyl unique to American Character. The saran hair is full and of good quality.

She even has red tulle on her matching petticoat or crinoline:

And just because she can, here she is modelling a vintage red straw hat and a Sweet Sue walker's blue handbag.

When I purchased another doll recently, I got this little pamphlet for American Character dolls, with instructions on how to make their fashion dolls walk!

Sweet Sue With the Flexible Foot could wear flat shoes or high heels, simply by tilting her ankle. She also had a twist waist. I keep her in a pair of flat shoes as her ankles are a bit wobbly and I don't want to put pressure on them causing a crack or split in the plastic.
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