It’s the little things…

I picked up a new (old) vintage machine today and boy does it have a story! As well as some beautiful provenance to match it’s beautiful cabinet. I haven’t even really had a chance to look at the actual machine but if the outside is anything to go by…

It’s still in the boot of my car because I need a second person to help me get it upstairs and that will have to wait until tomorrow….which reminded me that I was going to try and catch up on blogging about my (apparently ever expanding) machine collection.

That’s going well isn’t it? 😉

So here’s my lucky find from November 2015 (see, I told you guys I seriously needed to catch up!)

Obviously no vintage sewing machine collection is complete without a Singer Featherweight…actually no vintage sewing machine collection is ever complete…but now my little collection includes one.

They are a little hard to find in New Zealand, even harder to find in Wellington. More often they pop up in Christchurch and Auckland but cost a fortune to send my way due to their weight*. It only recently dawned on me that Fashionable Younger Sister lives in Auckland and so I altered my TradeMe search settings and then coaxed her into being my mule.

Three popped up for sale at the same time so I had my pick of the bunch and I think this was what kept the cost from getting too crazy. I know that sentence doesn’t make much sense if you don’t know what I paid for mine…but let’s just say they can go for in excess of NZD$350, regardless of condition, and I paid a lot less than that for an almost pristine machine complete with accessories, original case (with key!) and original manual.

I liked two out of the three the best. One of these was slightly older – without checking serial numbers the face plate is a good giveaway: In general you’ll find the Egyptian-like scroll work on the older machines. Newer machines have the more basic looking vertical striations. I ended up pursuing the more modern machine because it looked in much better condition.

Early Scroll Pattern v. Later Striated Faceplates from Singer Sewing Info

After I won the auction FYS was the best sister ever and braved a drive into a less-than-desirable suburb to pick it up for me. Don’t worry, she took her new beau with her for protection (I think he’s a keeper, just sayin’). She arrived in Welly for Christmas 2015, carrying it onto the plane as hand luggage in such a way as to make it look light…as a feather.

I picked FYS and the Featherweight up a few days later on my way to pick up my next vintage sewing machine purchase. For a short while (and not for the last time – see April 2016’s yet to be blogged Brother 190 and Pfaff 332-260) my boot contained TWO vintage sewing machines…more on what’s in the other case later…

Like usual I took lots of photos of the featherweight so if you are interested in seeing more you can find them here.

Check out my entire collection on my Weapons of Choice page.

*While the Singer 211 does indeed weight less than many of my other vintage machines, it’s still much heavier than a feather…

#weddingguestdressoption1

This year is just zooming by and a few weeks ago I realised my Fashionable Younger Sister’s wedding was fast approaching and I would need a new dress!

Not being part of the official wedding party meant I could wear whatever I wanted. So I stash dived and floundered around with way too many ideas until Hawes & Freer contacted me about sewing something with their fabric to celebrate the launch of their new website.

Perfect. Timing!

I said yes because I buy from Hawes and Freer already and I love supporting Kiwi businesses, especially the sewing kind!

Instantly I was envisioning a gorgeous floaty Papercut La Sylphide (because what I really need in my life is more La Sylphide dresses…) in a silk georgette or chiffon…and guess what fabric Hawes and Freer sell?

Oh yes! Along with amazing wool coating, cottons, linings and more.

So I picked a yummy red chiffon and when it arrived I got cutting. Unfortunately I was a bit unlucky and received a batch of fabric with some weird black dots through it. When I checked with H&F the whole bolt had the same flaw so I picked out a raspberry silk chiffon as a replacement. Way to take it up a notch! Yeah! 😀

In the end I decided that since I had already cut out the chiffon I could use it as lining/underlining which had the extra bonus of really bringing out the raspberry red of the georgette.

French seams require much thread!

All my seams are French seamed and I used my amazing Merchant & Mills Entomology pins for the first time. I won these pins from H&F in a little competition they ran last year. They are perfect for silk and fine fabrics. I didn’t have any snags or runs at all plus black just looks so much more professional (and photographic!)

You can read more about the actual sewing of the French seams on the Singer Simple 3223 in my Singer blog post.

I sewed this (my 5th) version of the La Sylphide pattern the same as my zebra version.

The bodice is underlined with the chiffon but the skirt is lined, both fabrics are only caught at the waist seam and button placket so the side seams are free from each other.

I buy all my interlining from Hawes and Freer – like 10 meters at a time. I have a few different weights and colours so I always have something on hand. I bought their Guide to Interlining in…2013 apparently 😉 I’ve collected a few other samples H&F have sent me when I was looking for a particular product and I just staple them in for future reference.Along with some great tips (types of fusing, how and where to fuse, etc) it also contains samples of all the different interlining options both raw and fused to an example piece of fabric. It’s absolutely worth it.

I used FF Shirt (M902) to stabilise my button placket. I needed enough stiffness to support the weight of the buttons but still keep the placket looking soft.

For the first time I made this dress sleeveless (I was channeling Kate’s amazing Viscose version) so I had to finish the armholes with bias binding. I had the perfect red cotton in my stash. I have no idea where it came from!

I’ve never actually bought pre-made bias, not even a pretty vintage packet from a thrift shop. Mostly because I’ve never seen pristine vintage bias at a thrift shop…I’m usually looking for machines 😉 So I always make my own.

I have a set of Clover bias tape makers and cut my own strips of fabric. It’s really easy and you can have pretty bias tape in whatever colour (or pattern) you want.

My buttons are wooden with printed flowers. I’m not entirely sure where I got them but they were soft! I sew all my buttons on by machine and I may have accidentally stitched through one of them…oops.

I hung this dress for three days before leveling the hem. The fabric is light but it dropped a lot.

And that’s it. Nikki and I caught up for photos on a very cold winter day but we found some awesome graffiti for ourbackdrop. Check out how great Nikki’s Linen Quart Coat turned out!

I’m hiding the shivers well!

As the post title suggests in the end I made two dresses to wear to the wedding but you’ll have to wait for the next post to see the other option and which one I finally wore 🙂

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Papercut La Sylphide, size M

Fabric –

Other notions – FF Shirt (M902) from Hawes and Freer, buttons

I was given the fabric in this post by Hawes & Freer for free to help promote their new website. I freely chose to use and review the fabric, talk about H&F and mention other quality products I have purchased myself because I genuinely support Hawes & Freer as a Kiwi owned, sewing focused company. My views are my own but they’ve been around almost 100 years so they know what they’re doing. I’d love you to join me in supporting H&F so that we can continue to buy quality sewing products right here in NZ.

My new NEW Singer machine and one for you too!

Hi everyone! Guess what? I have a new sewing machine!

And it’s actually new!

So obviously it’s from Singer and it’s mine until they give me something else.

But don’t get too green with envy ok?

(Hehe, see what I did there?)

Because guess what? My machine is green and you’ll be tickled pink when you see the raspberry version I have to give away to one lucky NZ reader!

Keep reading… 🙂

So what’s this machine all about? It’s a Singer Simple 3223, an entry level mechanical sewing machine aimed at beginners and here in NZ it comes in green (ok, aqua) and raspberry.

So pretty.

Now let’s address the elephant in the room. I am not a beginner sewist. At the most you might catch me calling myself advanced intermediate. So you might be thinking, why did they give you this machine? Good question!

When I think about my current machine (it’s not a Singer, so we won’t talk about it in too much detail, you understand…) it’s not particularly fancy either. It has a lot more stitches than the Simple but really what stitches do you actually use for garment sewing? I use straight stitch, zig zag, blind hem, I insert zippers, I sew on buttons (because I hate hand sewing) and I make button holes.

That’s pretty much it.

So what can the Simple do? Well, it does straight stitch, zig zag and blind hem. It can insert zippers, sew on buttons and make button holes!

Tick, tick, tick…tick!

I’m going to give you a quick review because I’ll be sewing my next Singer Sewing project solely on this machine and then I’ll be able to give you a better idea of what it’s like to “live” with in a future post. Fluffing around on fabric scraps is fun but sewing an entire garment? That’s a real test of endurance!

The Singer Simple 3223 is a fun, retro looking mechanical sewing machine aimed at beginner sewists. It would also make an excellent backup or travel machine, it’s got a great price tag and it’s pretty colours really stand out among all the white and grey machine options.

I got to choose what colour I wanted and I really struggled. I can tell you what I think of this machine but I am afraid you’re on your own when it comes to choosing which colour!

It arrived in a colour matched box (squee!) and was very well protected, snuggled in a polystyrene inner and plastic bag. Immediately inside the box was the instruction manual and DVD, a dust cover and the electronic foot.

First impressions: It looks like a typical mechanical sewing machine but very pretty. The knobs and machine markings are colour coordinated, there is a thread cutter on the side of the machine and it has a front loading bobbin. The standard presser foot is attached (snap on) and the front sewing bed is nice and deep.

Inside the accessory compartment was a nice selection of standard accessories. There were a couple I didn’t recognise so I had to look them up! They turned out to be a fancy shaped screw driver, a darning plate (to cover the feed dogs in place of being able to lower them) and two different thread spool caps.

The full list of standard accessories is:

  • All purpose foot
  • Zipper foot
  • Buttonhole foot
  • Button sewing foot
  • Seam ripper/brush
  • Edge/quilting guide
  • Needles
  • 2x Spool holder caps
  • 3x Bobbins
  • Screwdriver
  • Darning plate

Ok, Harriet has approved the new addition, now let’s sew!

First thing I noticed was that the thread spool sits sideways and that’s what the caps are for! It might seem strange for me to point that out but this is new for me.

Secondly, I didn’t even need to glance at the manual to start filling the bobbin (in Singer red, of course!). Threading and bobbin winding threading sequence is nicely indicated on the top of the machine with arrows and numbers without being too “Fisher Price” obvious.

I did check about declutching! Unlike most machines I’ve used you don’t need to pull the handwheel to declutch, it’s automatic once you push the bobbin over against the bumper. With a full bobbin I threaded up following the markings, it’s all pretty conventional.

If you do need the instructions they are filled with lots of great diagrams and there is even a DVD if you learn better that way.

I started out sewing on some calico and went through each stitch option before trying out the 4-step buttonhole. Apart from the zig-zag stitch, you can change the stitch length but not the width. All the stitches were really neat and straight and there are 23 of them to choose from including the stretch stitches.

I posted a pic of my first sewing trial on Instagram and was immediately asked if the machine could sew denim. That sounded like a good test to me! I dug out some denim and changed to a jeans needle.

I folded the denim so I had a section each two and three layers thick (because who sews just one layer?!) and started with standard thread for straight stitch and triple straight stitch. It looked good, no complaints from the Simple so far and this denim is fairly thick, I use it for patching. Next I switched out the top thread for a heavy duty top-stitching thread and repeated the process.

Single and triple straight stitch looked great and even the decorative stitches sewed fine! The Simple didn’t sound like it was under any duress and I only had to tweak the tension a little.

I was on a role now so I switched back to standard thread and changed the needle to stretch. I found some cotton knit and tested out the zig-zag and stretch stitch options. No problems again and the fabric stayed nice and stretchy without popping any stitches.

This little machine actually really impressed me! I honestly didn’t think it would eat the denim so easily and if I am brutally honest I did not have particularly high hopes for stretch sewing…but it proved me wrong and lives up to the long standing Singer name.

Ok but it can’t be all roses right? No, it cannot. But they aren’t total deal breakers as you will see. Remember this machine sells for only a little over NZD$300 (on special until the end of May for just NZD$299) and as we’ve already seen it’s pretty capable….and also really pretty.

So, what don’t I like?

First thing I noticed: No number markings on the needle plate. It’s broken down into 1/8th lines  but they aren’t numbered. I was quite surprised when I first noticed this because seam allowance is a really important thing to keep track of as a beginner…and always. Plus I would expect a machine marketed to NZ/Aus would have both metric and imperial markings. Needle plates are removable and therefore replaceable…and that’s the subtle hint I dropped at Singer.

Has it stopped me sewing? No. I’ve started my next project already and I’m using my magnetic seam guide to keep my stitching in the right spot. Another option would be to use pretty washi tape, you can relocate it as needed and I‘d be lying if I said I’ve never done that myself on my other machine. Several times I’ve had tape markings on the plastic bed halfway between the needle plate and the upright arm!

Secondly, the bobbin door is spring loaded and opens just short of completely flat. You can’t fold it much further down because it gets hung up a piece of plastic that sticks out. It’s not a big deal but at first I found it a little awkward to put the bobbin in. This is also possibly a result of the extra deep sewing bed which is a good feature for new sewists. Hey, you can’t please everyone! I do have pretty big hands and I’m just used to a bit more room on my other machine, anyone else might not even notice 😉

That’s kind of it…so what’s next? Well I’m currently sewing a dress out of very naughty slippery fabric so that’ll be a good challenge for the Simple and then a new coat for winter…that’s a big ask right? But I think she’ll be ok…watch this space…


Now, to thank you for reading my little Singer Simple 3223 review I have the pleasure of giving away a raspberry version of this machine to one lucky NZ reader. So exciting!

To enter jump on over to the Singer NZ Simple 3223R product page to learn more about the machine, check out the description (big hint drop). While you’re there look out for the special competition code (you’ll need it to fill out the entry form – it is not the sewing machine’s model code!) then just hit the button below!


Sorry this competition is now closed.
What do you think of the new colourful Singer machines? I’d love to hear all about your current machine (or lack of…), tell me in the comments below 🙂

Good luck everyone!

footer_machine-string-kitten

I was given the Singer 3223G Simple Sewing Machine you see me using in this post to review as part of my work with Singer Sewing Company Australia New Zealand. All opinions expressed in this post are honest and my own. I freely chose to review this product because I genuinely believe it is a good product, I enjoyed using it and will continue to use it in the future. My samples were stitched on calico, denim and cotton knit using Singer Universal, Jeans and Ball Point needles, Gütermann 100% Polyester Sew All and 100% Polyester Extra Strong M782 thread.

Merry Grinchmas, have some Christmas cats…

Well it’s April now so I guess I better blog my Christmas sewing from 2016 😉

I decided I wanted to make a Christmas themed dress this year, to wear to my work Christmas party and on Christmas day. I spent way too long trying to find the perfect Christmas fabric online and suddenly it was mid-November and way too late to order anything.

While in Spotlight for something unrelated I noticed all the Christmas themed fabric was on special. There were a lot of options but nothing really jumped out at me. I eventually spotted some ridiculously “me” crazy cat themed Christmas Fabric and I decided that would do. I grabbed 2 meters which was not enough for the dress pattern I eventually decided on (another Sew Over It Betty Dress) and so I had to go back later in the week for more.

Nerdy Husband accompanied me on my second trip and I while I was frantically digging for more Christmas cats he was quietly deciding he needed a Christmas shirt and handed me a bolt of Grinch fabric. I finally found the cats and another meter came home with the Grinches.

For NH’s shirt I dug out an old Vogue pattern I’d made about 10 years ago.

Super trendy! It required many alterations.

The super huge collar is one piece so I drafted a new two-piece collar from that. After comparing the body pieces to a favourite shirt I removed 1.5cm width from both front and back pieces and added 6.5cm in length.

I didn’t buy enough fabric…again. The envelope said 2.6m of 115cm and I only bought 2.0m of 112cm so I played the hardest game of Pattern Tetris ever which included adding 3cm to the front piece so that I could self-face the button placket instead of cutting a separate piece. I also had to find room for a pocket piece  reshaped to be more pointy in place of the original late-90s curvy one.

Front…

Back + first attempt at sleeve placement…

Rotated sleeve is more efficient…

Second sleeve – yay for non-directional fabric…

Last fabric scrap left! Collar…

Aaaand pocket! Phew!

I did it! And as tough as it was there is something quite satisfying about tiny scraps of expensive fabric. Now please enjoy these two obviously not-modeled finished photos.

And now for my dress and it’s much less dramatic sewing journey:

It went much easier since I’ve made a million Betty Dresses (1, 2, 3) and so to lift the excitement I also ordered a new red frou frou from my favorite swing dance store in Napier, Let’s Jive, a mere 2 days before the party…spoiler: it arrived in time.

This version is fully lined in a lemon poplin and has the all important and endlessly useful pockets.

Oh and do you like my cardigan? I realised I would need one for when it got chilly later in the evening…did you think I could find a red cardi in my size in any of the 20 odd shops near my work? Nope.

So the day before it was required, with my dress still needing to be hemmed, I lunched with Nikki and Kat who told me to stop my complaining and just make one. So we cut lunch short and wandered up to The Fabric Store where I bought the perfect red merino for a cropped Muse Jenna.

I washed and dried the merino while I hemmed my dress and then I cut and overlocked my heart out! There’s nothing quite like a tight deadline…

You might have noticed the lack of closures and if not I’m pointing that out right now…I might add some hammer-on snaps sometime…or maybe not 😉

I wore my dress to our work festivities, on the last day at work for 2017, on Christmas day with my in-laws, and to my families late Christmas. The Grinchmas shirt was worn on the last day of work (I potentially have orders but good luck with that guys!) and on Christmas day as well.

But my dress wasn’t the only cat sewn up for Christmas Day – I also made a cushion for S, my cat-mad sister-in-law, from this huge cat panel I found on the Spotlight clearance table. There were three identical cat heads across the width so the cushion is double-sided and I have absolutely no idea what to do with the remaining cat…look out for it on mu table at the next Fabric-a-brac 😀

S loved it but Tora isn’t too impressed…

Phew, Christmas sewing blogged!

THE DEETS:

Patterns – 

Fabric –

From Spotlight, Porirua

  • X16 Merry Grinchmas Cotton, $29.99/meter (-40% on sale),
  • X16 Kitty Xmas All Over Cotton, $19.99/meter (-40% on sale)
  • Lemon Poplin Cotton, $5.99/meter
  • Random cat panel fabric, $4.00/meter clearance

From The Fabric Store

  • 100% New Zealand Merino

Other notions – Buttons, invisible zipper, interfacing

#notmycat

 

Nobody puts Ami in a box…

I really need to catch up on introducing all my sewing machine acquisitions from the last little while (read: two years!) and that’s a good blogging goal for 2017. I promise not to bombard you with machine post after machine post, I’ll mix them in with sewing posts.

You can see them all here and while some of them come with a simple story many of them deserve full posts.

Today I’m jumping ahead to show you my most recent purchase: Ami, a handheld battery operated “freearm” sewing machine.

img_1588

img_1591

Some of you would have seen the video of her on Instagram already.

I found this little sweetie where I find most of my vintage machines…TradeMe. She was only $15.00 and I’d never seen anything like it. While one potential buyer was busy asking if it would hem jeans I just hit the “buy now” button 😉

You snooze, you lose.

img_1603Here it is with my Elna 2130 for scale. It was made in Japan and I have no idea how old it is. At this stage I couldn’t even take a guess…but feel free to suggest away in the comments!

She runs on two ‘C’ sized batteries and with no bobbin she sews a tidy chain stitch. There is an on/off switch on top and the little dial at the front right is the hand wheel (thumb wheel?). After switching it on this helps it get started and speeds up the stitching too.

img_1607Top: Top stitch
Bottom: Chain stitch (underside)

img_1596

The little extension table slides and clips on and after I made my little video I discovered the wind out foot underneath the needle plate that adds more stability.

img_1595

It came in the original box, for which the seller apologised profusely for the damaged lid, and original instructions. It’s nice to have the box but let’s get real, she isn’t going to be living in there 🙂

img_1585

img_1586

But speaking of the box, on the outside it looks like Ami also came in a dark colour scheme.

img_1582

It sits nicely on the table but according to the name you can operate it while being held in the hand, hence the ergonomic grip shaping under the arm.

img_1597

I’m not convinced but I still love her. And that’s my little Ami handheld battery operated “freearm” sewing machine.

Have you seen an Ami sewing machine before?

If you’d like to see some more photos check out the overflow page here.

footer_tugofwar

Put a pin in that…

…and then forget all about it! 😉

That’s pretty much every single one of my Pinterest boards.

Except that recently I pinned a dress that I couldn’t get out of my head.

I was shoulder surfing my work colleague A as she was scrolling through an online clothing store called The Iconic. I spotted a blue and pink striped dress and I wanted it immediately.
I went fabric shopping that weekend to find blue and pink striped fabric but that didn’t exist so I grabbed bolts of pink and blue cotton instead. Later I noticed that the dress is actually described as black and pink but it’s also pretty horribly made (look closely at the arm hole and back zipper…) so yeah, I’ll do what I want 😉

For my pattern I decided to mash up the pleated skirt from Vogue 1353 and bodice from the Sew Over It Betty Dress. The Vogue bodice is princess seamed and that was going to ruin my stripes. I’ve made the Vogue dress twice and the Betty dress three times, both of which the most recent version is still waiting to be blogged about…
But first I had to “make” my fabric!

I decided 15cms plus seam allowance looked about right for the stripes began cutting my two fabrics into strips. Then the “fun” began, lots and lots of overlocking followed by lots and lots of straight stitching and then lots and lots of pressing!
I think I spent longer making my fabric than sewing up the dress!

I placed my bodice pieces on the fabric using the Iconic dress as a guide and then carefully matched the the stripes for the back bodice too.
I also finally got around to lengthening my generic pocket piece. No more peeking cell phone 🙂

Samsung Galaxy S5 for scale

I wrote a little tutorial on how to add inseam pockets to a dress or skirt over on the Singer blog. You can check it out here.

When I tried the finished dress on I was really surprised to discover it was a bit tighter than I was expecting. I know both the base patterns fit me perfectly and I had a bit of a panic moment trying to work out how I’d suddenly put on a few excess kilograms while training over Christmas for an upcoming 10km run! It was not possible!

And then it clicked. Despite writing myself a note I completely forgot to compare the lengths of the Vogue and Sew Over It bodices. Of course the Sew Over It bodice is longer so the skirt is now sitting lower than it should. Finished photos are coming up next and you can see it’s a bit tight across my stomach and hips because of this.

In the interests of honest blogging I’m currently is unpicking the skirt so that I can reattach it 2cms higher. The lining will be next and the bottom part of the zipper. This will also bring the hem up 2cms which is fine because I hemmed it as per my first version of Vogue 1353 and it’s a little long.

Ok let’s get on with it then…the finished dress!

The whole time I was making this dress NH kept coming into my sewing room and saying, “that fabric combo reminds me of something but I can’t quite put my finger on it…” And then while I was hemming it he proudly declared, “It’s James May’s jumper!”

Yes, it has its own tumblr, of course.

Besides that, my own realisation that it’s also a little bit Cheshire cat, and the tight tummy issue, I’m really happy with it!

Pockets!

THE DEETS:

Patterns – 

Fabric – Pink and blue broadcloth and cotton lining from Spotlight, Porirua.

Other notions – Invisible zipper, interfacing

PS: I have a Facebook page for my blog now. A couple of people emailed me to say that they use Facebook to keep track of their favourite blogs so that’s what my page is for, links to new posts if you prefer to follow that way 😉

footer_kiwi-kitten-follows

Sewing for many good causes…

When I mentioned the Five Unblogged recently I forgot about The Other Seven which are all the same pattern so we’ll be able to get through them quick 😉

When my super awesome nerdy Perth friends Mr Owns-a-Subaru-AND-a-Mitsubishi and Miss Insert-Metal-Sign-of-the-Horns-Here announced they were expecting I  decided to sew something special.

I have a theory that I stick to when buying or making presents for expectant parents. I’ve not been told it’s wrong so I’ll stick with it until told otherwise. My theory is that you get lots and lots of brand new baby sized items but babies grow petty fast and one day baby will be too big for all those nice presents. So generally I buy/make items to fit 24 months or older.

I decided a hoodie pattern would be a fun make and inspired by their little cutie of a dog, Nippet, I found some “Dogs in Space” sweat-shirting at myfabrics.co.uk.

Stolen FB photo follows:

It ticked both the dog and nerd theme check boxes and was all kinds of awesome . Plus I already had some coordinating green ribbing left over from another nerdy hoodie. It was meant to be.

I bought a PDF pattern from Brindille and Twig, Hoodie: 014.

Designed for year-round layering, our long-sleeve hoodie makes for a cute and cozy any-weather staple. Select one fabric for the arms and hood, while another for the bodice to create your own cool mash-up of prints.

It is sized from 0M to 6T and is recommended for a confident beginner and as explained above I cut out the size bracket 18-24 months. I have no idea if my maths is right but I was aiming for babies second winter.

I’ve bought a few children’s PDF patterns before and they all seem to suffer from the same issues. The pages almost never have a border so it’s difficult to trim them and they often have weird or no alignment marks for joining. In this case each piece had 2 small numbered squares near the edges that you are supposed to overlap. Yep, overlap, you know, through solid paper…x-ray glasses at the ready…

It sounds a bit nit picky and on basic pieces it’s not really an issue but it gets a bit difficult when joining three pieces especially when parts of them are placed on the page at an angle.

With so many sizes the coloured lines are nice (although I tend to print in black and white) and all the pattern markings were clear and correct. I just find it really interesting that almost every single children’s PDF pattern I’ve seen chooses to copy this style and no one seems to have investigated how adult pattern houses publish their PDFs or have thought about why boarders and split diamonds are such good referencing techniques.

On a positive note the instructions were excellent. All nicely photographed on a white background and sewn with a good choice of contrasting fabric for clarity.

I really like how the hood is shaped and on an overlocker this is really quick and easy to throw together. I cut and sewed this up in 30 minutes.

I used green thread to match the ribbing and the only thing I might do next time is line the hood.

I posted this off with a couple of books by NZ authors, classic Harry Maclary by Linley Dodd and a counting book of NZ birds that had amazing illustrations.

A few days after I finished this there was a big donation drive for Te Puea Memorial Marae organised by A+W-NZ and our Studio sewing group thought it would be nice to follow their example and use our collective sewing talents to give back locally to those in need. After a bit of investigation we decided to make some warm items for small children and we decided we would donate them to Women’s Refuge who do so much amazing work here in Wellington.

I contacted Levana Textiles in Levin to see if they had some small off cuts we could use for sewing childrens clothing and they kindly offered to fill a box with merino scraps and send them down if we covered the courier fee. I was really excited to hear that but you should have seen my face when I saw the size of the box that arrived! It was huge and stuffed full with so many colours! We were overwhelmed by their generosity.

I made 6 more hoodies mixing and matching pieces from the box and thread colours. It was so much fun!

I sent the Levana team a photo of the finished hoodies and they really appreciated seeing the merino scraps sewn up for a good cause.

They were so generous and wonderful to communicate with. If you are ever near Levin please pop in and see them at their factory shop and treat yourself to some beautiful merino. If you can’t make it you can check out their new online shop.

We added to my six hoodies:

  • Five more hoodies sewn by L
  • Another hoodie sewn by P who also stitched some tops, leggings and a pair of booties
  • Five super cute cardigans knitted in scraps of wool by another work colleague’s mum
  • Two teddy bears donated by G

And we still have heaps of merino left over!

We boxed everything up and walked them up town to the Women’s Refuge office. The ladies there were really excited to look at what we’d made. They were starting to make up Christmas parcels for the current and past families in their care and so our timing was perfect. Before we left some of the items were already allocated to parcels and it’s nice to think we’ll be helping to keep some little ones warm this coming winter.

Warm fuzzy tummy feeling xx

footer_kiwi-kitten-follows