Thursday, 19 June 2008

How to...appliqué (part one)

I thought I would write a little tutorial on appliquéing as I have had a few questions lately on how I do it, how I choose the fabrics etc. This is by no means a definitive set of instructions for the 'correct' way to appliqué - this is just how I do it.
I have included a design for you to use if you are stuck for ideas! I am more than happy for you to use the 'Red Delicious Apple' design on any of your non-commercial sewing projects. I am not sure how to include cool PDFs to this blog so you can just print the apple drawing if you wish to use it. This tutorial is going to be in a few parts as I am again parenting alone and have to spend more time on housework than I would like…

Things you will need
Tee-shirt or onesie
Fabrics for the appliqué
Vliesofix (Wonder-Under) or similar iron on fusible webbing
Fusible Tear-away (if required)
Baking paper or one of those iron mat things
Thread – either plain white or contrasting or colours that match your appliqué
Scissors, pencil, tracing paper
Sewing Machine (that has a zigzag stitch)

Step 1: Choose a garment for your appliqué. This can either be purchased new, a used one you have on hand, one with a big raspberry stain that needs covering or one from an op shop/thrift store. You can use a ‘base garment’ that is any thickness as later I will show you how to use a fabric stabiliser. Thicker garments don't need fabric stabilisers if you want to avoid that future step. 100% cotton tee-shirts are of course the ideal but I use some with a little elastane/Lycra for stretch. Wash and dry your tee-shirt or onesie before you are ready to use it.

Step 2: Choose your fabrics. Sometimes I chose the fabric because the of the appliqué design or the pattern or colour of the fabric may make me think of a design. When choosing your fabrics you can use new or vintage natural fabrics – cottons, linen, or light weight cotton corduroy. For appliqué on tee-shirts, I would stick with light to medium weight cottons. I love using quilting weight fabrics and cannot go past fabrics by ‘Free Spirit’ – of course the home of Heather Bailey and a host of other talented fabric designers. Don’t be restricted in your search by only looking at new fabrics – when I am at the op shop I am always looking at clothes, linens, and sheeting not for use as was originally intended but to be re purposed into fabric for appliqués. And because you only need a small amount for an appliqué, you can splurge on more expensive fabrics! Some great Australian fabric designers (including this one) sell small pieces of their wonderful prints that could be included in your work. Of course all new or used fabrics need to be washed and dried prior to use.

3: Choosing your design. This is where you get creative! Making your own design is easy or if its not, don't be put off. You can get ideas from anywhere including children's books or special appliqué pattern books. Just remember that if you are using an existing design, please don't use it to make garments to then sell. If this is your first attempt at appliquéing, I would start with a simple design. The 'Red Delicious Apple' design I have included above is fairly simple and can be made out of one piece of fabric if you wish. Of course you can use different fabrics for the apple, leaves and stem. If you are drawing your own design, keep in mind that small detail does not always lend itself to this type of appliqué – its very hard to do lots of tight curves for example. Print out the apple picture, trace the design onto paper or tracing paper and cut it out so it's a template.

Next part will cover getting your fabric ready, fusing the cut design to the garment, and applying a fabric stabilizer. This little tutorial series will end with setting your machine and appliquéing!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

sometimes we forget how lucky we are...

I came to this blog via the blog of the darling Jackie, who lost her husband in March this year. They share something that neither of them would have ever wanted to think about and probably never did - they both lost their partners on the same day from the same thing. Matt's wife Liz gave birth one day and died the next. Jackie's husband was fine one day and then died the next.

Sometimes I forget how perfect my life is. Sometimes I forget that I should inhale every minute with the people I love. Sometimes I forget that it doesn't matter if the house is mess. Sometimes I forget that most of it doesn't matter. I need to remember that my family is the only thing that really matters.

Friday, 13 June 2008

her favourite things...three

Dressing up has to be up there as possibly number 1. She loves it. This is a creation I made when sick with that long lasting cold. One day she decided that she wanted to be a cowboy and she wanted the outfit she had seen on a pattern I have in my great pattern stash. Given how I was feeling I, A; wanted to make her happy to keep peace in the house and B; sew it in record time. The pants in the pattern are chaps - way to tricky in my feverish state and a little bit Mardi Gras for a 2 year old...

So I got the cow print fabric on sale at Spotlight (the only fabric store on the Coast), made the pants using the same technique for the 'lounge pants from sheets' craze that has hit the blogging world. I am sure you have seen them - I have made some great ones out of vintage sheets found at the op shop (thrift stores). If you haven't seen them or the instructions, you just 'trace' around a pair you have (adding a seam allowance) and sew them up. It is really that simple. Let me know if you want some instructions as I can post mine here. Soule Mama also gives instructions in her fab book (get it if you have not already) of how to make babies trousers out of old adult sized tee-shirts.

Then I made the vest hacked roughly from the pattern I had. As you will see from the photo, I have not even sewed in the serged ends before she wanted to wear it. (I serged the entire thing in a matter of minutes). She loves it. She really does.

We are being left alone again for 2 long weeks. Minnie misses her Daddy terribly when he is gone, as do I. Sometimes I wish I married to the guy at the corner store - he never seems to go anywhere. Perhaps out the back occasionally when he is re-stocking the fridge but not much further than that. But I do get duty free and exciting things from stores we don't have here. And honestly I don't think the guy at the corner shop would be able to keep me happy, even with an endless supply of chocolate and salt and vinegar crisps...

Have a lovely weekend.

Monday, 9 June 2008

her favourite things...two

Yesterday Minnie declared (at 6.00am) that she wanted to go to a museum to see a dinosaur. According to Minnie, museums are only about dinosaurs - one of her favourite things. So off we went to the Australian Museum here in Sydney for the last day of the special dinosaur exhibition. Although a bit scary in places, Minnie really enjoyed it. She also loved the Skeleton Room and found the display with the skeleton reading the newspaper, skeletal dog by his side with the cat chasing the rat (both skeletons) of particular interest. When we left the lines were out the door and around the corner. Of course we felt very smug for getting there super early - there are advantages to having a toddler that thinks 5.30am is a sleep in...

Then Minnie requested one of her other favourite things - Yum Cha! We never argue with this request. Love it, love it and Marigold is fabulous. Who doesn't love all those gorgeous little parcels filled with delights. We ate our own weight in dim sum last year in Hong Kong (as Minnie is demonstrating in the photo). When we where in Melbourne last month we practically lived at the Shanghai Dumpling House - so cheap and really very good. When I am feeling full of spare time, I make our own at home. My attempts never look as good but still taste great. My husband is off to China next week - I am very envious...

I love hearing about your little people and their favourite things - don't you love how they get fixated on something new for a while? Minnie can keep dim sum on the favourites list forever...

Thursday, 5 June 2008

her favourite things...

Following my earlier series of my favourite things (I think I managed 2 in that series), I thought I would post of few of Minnie's favourite things. The 1952 musical 'story' of the life of 'Hans Christian Anderson' is the number one obsession at the moment. This film is requested every waking moment. You see this 1952 Danny Kaye 'family musical' has numerous scenes featuring beautiful ballerinas and Minnie told us that she wants to be a ballerina. She asks repeatedly when daddy is taking her to see a ballet. She is not quite 2 and 1/2. It is an enjoyable movie if you like musicals and if you can reconcile the fact that this is not really based on a whole lot of fact. But as they say, why let the facts get in the way of a great story. So we have watched the ballet scenes over and over. She knows them now and dances them. I have to play Hans Christian Anderson in some scenes as she requires a partner. I am afraid I don't have any photos as I am too busy remembering my steps...
What are some favourite things of your little ones?

Monday, 2 June 2008

on the mend...

thank you all for your lovely comments during my sick days. I am almost over it now - just the annoying nose and chest to clear up. My mother-in-law was a great help while my husband, S, was overseas. He is back (lovely) but off again in 2 weeks for 2 weeks (not lovely)... My mother is also overseas at the moment but will be jetting into keep us company during his absence. Yes, my family are always somewhere. You see my siblings are spread out over 3 continents so we get around a bit.

Had to close my Etsy shop for a while as I need to catch up with some orders and teach a 2 year old to go to sleep on their own in the day... At night she is fine (now) but in the day will not go to sleep in her cot or anywhere other than the car. I feel like a nutter driving around the Coast trying to get her to sleep. Do you think the room needs to be darker? Today she has not slept and is a maniac. I am counting down the minutes until my husband walks in the door (48 minutes to go).

On a cheery note a friend of mine had her second baby on the weekend - an as yet unnamed baby girl delivered safely at home. I don't think I have the confidence in my self to ever contemplate a home birth. I admire her terribly for doing it. She is a nurse and has delivered babies when she was working way up in the remote north of Australia. It was a long day but the midwife says it was all perfect and she was never worried... Well done A and welcome to this big, big world little baby girl.