Monday, 27 February 2012

Inspiration all around - and a touch of thriftiness

 One of my new favourite blogs is Handmade by Carolyn, which is a joy to read and has an appealing and sensible ethos, all about making things which are both beautiful and necessary, with minimal waste. It's clean, green and elegant: just what I aspire to on runcibledays. So why do I have a huge trunk full of fabric remnants? When I look at it, I feel the need to use up some of my hoarded fabrics and scraps before even contemplating any more shopping.

On the other hand, sometimes the hoarded-fabric-trunk-of-shame just doesn't contain the right material for the task in hand. Baby girl needed a hooded towel to keep her warm after swimming, and it seemed like one of those win-win situations where the cost of the materials really would be less than the cost of buying one ready make.  So, I went out and bought a metre of off-white towelling.  I felt the good intentions had slipped a little, but promised myself that I would put every inch to good use.

Here's my hooded towel - sweet and simple. It has ears, of course. It might have been a sheep, or possibly a polar bear, but in fact the children identified it immediately as a panda. They must have been seeing the subtler details that I'd missed!

There wasn't much towelling left, but certainly enough that I'd usually have stashed it away. Instead I turned to Amy's bib tutorial at Lots of Pink Here, as my last batch of home-made bibs have been in constant rotation for over a year and are looking a bit tired. The new ones are much more fun.

I used scraps for the fronts, and backed them with the left-over towelling. Quick, stash-busting  fun! I made two small changes: one was to draft my own bib with a side fastening, so as to avoid getting hair caught in the back fastening; and the other was that I left off the trim as I didn't have any ric-rac in appropriate colours. I'll be coming back to Amy's pattern, though, and will do it properly next time - it would make a lovely gift for a new baby.

There were only a few tiny snippets of towelling remaining, and oddments of the apple fabric. Doesn't apple fabric just cry out to be made into an i-pod case? I followed a tutorial from Dog under my Desk, which had been flagged up by another sewing friend. 

Everything about this little case is intrinsically pleasing, from the clever construction (oh, that zip!), to the clever storage solution (I was constantly fiddling with tangled wires before, but miraculously, they don't tangle inside the case) to the oh-so-satisfied feeling of having put all that towelling to good use. There's no time to feel smug about using my scraps, though, whilst there are so many more still waiting. Some sort of good resolution is needed... I just need to work on the details.

Oh, and one other thought, from another favourite blog of the moment... I'm tempted to suggest that this was not only efficient, but also economical use of fabric, at £4.50 for the towelling, plus a few scraps and a zip from way-back-when. But then I think of the (inspirational) Selfish Seamstress, and her notional hourly rate of $85. If I adopted that (in £, of course) then the costs would soar to the point where I might as well have spun the towel out of gold.

Off to work on that good resolution now - it might take some time! Meanwhile, thank you to all the talented people whose patterns I followed and whose ideas I've borrowed for this post.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Mummy-and-me sewing (by stealth)

This book was a Christmas present, and it's been in the bed-time reading pile ever since. It's a Japanese book of patterns, all with matching mother-daughter options - and the photographs are so elegant and charming that I'm very, very tempted to give it a go.

Then the voice of reason whispers in my ear, and reminds me that these are photos of very glamorous and carefully styled models - and the matchy-matchy look might be harder to pull off on the school run.  So I'm dipping my toe into the water with some minimalist matchiness:

Here's the Colette meringue skirt (minus scallops as before) for me...

... and the O+S Family reunion dress for baby girl.
Not too matchy-matchy? But the inside stories are a little more co-ordinated:

This is mummy-and-me dressing by stealth (that is to say, for cowards). Maybe when I feel comfortable with this then I can move on to the fully co-ordinated look on the book cover.

But I'll have to do it quickly, before my little girl gets big enough to voice objections.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

It was so much fun to make and eat that it needs another outing - maybe supper tonight?

Happy Valentine's Day.