Saturday 22 November 2014

I'm in a Mag ... and there's a freebie for you!

A few weeks ago, I received an email from an Editor at an online e-zine called DIY Lifestyle Magazine, asking if they could feature a couple of my posts in an upcoming issue ... um, YES!!

Have you seen this mag? I have to admit that I hadn't, but I like it ... there are tonnes of project ideas in it each month.  Have an iPad or iPhone and looking for some DIY inspiration? The lovely magazine people at DIY LifeStyle have kindly made this offer for my beautiful readers.  Just follow this link to Issue 20-November: for your free download. But wait, there’s more! Use the promo code decdiy14 and receive one free month of the magazine!  DIY projects were contributed by many talented bloggers and I am one of the chosen few that is a featured contributor in this month’s issue! 

Anyway after I agreed, they contacted me again to ask for a head-shot and a bio (ha ha ... seems so glamorous, huh!) and then the wait for this month's issue was on!

So you can imagine my excitement when I bought this month's new issue today to find this ...

Yep, that says "Wen from What's Mummy Up To" in the list of Contributors ... *waving arms and dancing excitedly* and then I found this ... 

and this ...

In fact, they reprinted my whole Matching Scraps tutorial and the Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe too!  So much excitement!  So I wanted to do something to celebrate.

Now I can't really share an actual pumpkin cheesecake with you ... although if I could I'd happily make one for you and have cheesecake, coffee and a chat.  I think it could get a bit messy in the mail to you though!  You can however find my recipe here ...

But I can share the love a little with my Matching Scraps game, and for this special occasion I've worked hard this week to get a couple of sets together and listed them on my Etsy Shop for what I think is a very reasonable price, and definitely in time for shipping to you by Christmas (remember though that Australia is a long way from the rest-of-the-world, and international shipping can take up to 3 weeks or more, so if you are one of my lovely international readers, and you'd like a set ... get in quick!)

I've made a blue-toned and more boyish-themed version ...  

...and a pink-toned, more girly version similar to the one in my tutorial from so many moons ago.  You will likely recognise lots of the fabrics from my projects.  I hoard every decent-sized piece of left-over fabric, and this is still a great way to use some of those scraps!!

You know this was my first ever tutorial, and is still by far my most popular.  It's still usually in the top 2-3 posts in my blog stats each week, and has been pinned many many times.  I'm sure that says something about beginner's luck!  Anyway, it's available for free as a tutorial, so head over and have a go at making your own ... if not, there's 2 lovely sets in the shop just for you!

PS. I just love the flower button on this pink set!

Monday 10 November 2014

The Eloise Dress (get in quick for a Sale Price)

Well, I've been at it again ... more pattern-testing ... I'm TOTALLY addicted, I tell ya!

If you follow me on Facebook you would have seen my sneak-peek at some fabrics I was playing with a couple of weekends ago.  Well, here's what I was testing.  It's the Eloise Dress from Nikki of Bubby and Me Creations, and I LOVE it.  I can see a whole lot more of these little dresses in my future, and I can honestly say this has been my absolute favourite pattern-test to date.  This dress is complex enough to challenge me, but not so hard that I would steer away from it.  It came together in just a couple of hours, so it's a nice quick sew and what's even better is that my model adores it.

My favourite part is the back detail with the buttons ... love a button-up bodice.

I also adore the cap-sleeves, and it's ingenious how the bodice is constructed.  My tip would be to absolutely iron the heck out of everything each step of the way ... I just set my iron up close-by on a mini ironing board so it's not a hassle to get up and press those seams.  It really does make a world of difference to the finished product!

Now, I tested the size 7, but really ... as If I was ever going to stop at 1.  So, I pulled out this adorable giraffe print I've had in my stash for eons, and made up a size 3 as well.

Hannah loves her giraffe-dress ... apparently it's perfect for swinging!

... and I love those little curls that are finally getting long enough to look like real little-girl hair!

Oh, and I had to laugh after I posted the following pic to Nikki ... oops ... yep, that would be an ice-block hanging from Hannah's mouth ... really, whatever it takes ... ha ha!

As far as PDF patterns go, this one was super easy to print and cut out, and Nikki even modified it further during the testing process making it possible to print ONLY THE SIZE YOU WANT!  Very clever, and really does make such a difference!!  The tutorial instructions and pics were great.  I actually used the pictures more than anything, being the visual learner that I am.  The original version was a little short.  Bethany is not at all tall for her age, and she felt the dress was a little short on her (which I have totally fixed by adding a row of 2-inch-wide lace to the bottom of the dress ... she loves it!)  It seemed like lots of the other testers also found it to be a little short, so Nikki re-worked the pattern to lengthen it (and made a couple of other subtle changes).

So of course .... 
... I just had to volunteer to make another.  I'm a lost cause ... seriously!

This one is actually my favourite of all three dresses.  Apart from being an absolutely perfect length on Bethany, I think this fabric choice just worked so well with the design.  Super spring-like and fun. I had originally planned to make this one as a gift for another little girl, but when Bethany tried it on there was absolutely no prying this dress off her ... I think she's inherited my love of fabrics, and she fell hard for this one!

I especially like the navy-blue buttons that I reclaimed from an old pair of pyjamas a long time ago ... just happened to have 3 left ... meant-to-be I'd say!
So, if you like the look of this dress, I'd highly recommend it....and if you get in quick, Nikki's selling it at a special price until tomorrow, so head over and have a look!

Sunday 2 November 2014

Tutorial: 1920's style Flapper Dress

You can tell it's getting close to the end of the year when you start receiving notes from school telling you to put dates in your diaries for end-of-year activities, and asking you to provide specific items for costumes for end-of-year performances ... and boy-o-boy has this years costume request caused some widespread hysteria among the Grade 1 and 2 Mums.  We received a very detailed note informing us that girls need a 1920's style "flapper dress" with sparkly fabric and/or fringing for a dance item they're preparing.

Now to be fair, we have been given over a month of notice.  Still, the Mums have been in an absolute "flap" about this.  Where would one find a Flapper Dress for a 6 year old anyway?  My first thought was "Yay, I get to make a dress!", then I panicked slightly because I really had no idea what I was s'posed to be making.  But after a little googling, I went back to "Yay, I get to make a dress!"

And here's what Bethany will be wearing ... she's a little excited and would really like to wear this dress EVERYWHERE (you know, to ride her bike, to play on the swings, to feed the chickens!), but I'm forcing her to keep it hanging up to stay clean before her performance!  Mean Mummy!!  And I can't wait to see this performance which is all very top secret apparently.  She's got that 1920s dance style going on for sure!

So, the fabric for this dress is a white lycra with shiny gold spots printed on it.  I bought this in the "dance costume" section of my local fabric store eons ago when I had another project in mind (which I never got around to ... you totally do that too, don't you?)  But it was perfect for this little dress.  I also added 2 rows of gold fringing for added "wow" and a little fabric flower made out of the same fabric as the dress.
The best part about this fabric was that it doesn't fray, so I didn't bother to finish any seams with the overlocker, or do any hemming at the bottom.  It made this project so much quicker.  Also, because of the good stretch in the fabric, I was able to get away with a simple tube-like dress ... yay for no shaping required.  All I did was a quick measure of my little dancer before she went to bed, then whipped this up in about an hour while she slept.  Too easy! 

And here's how to do it ... 

You'll need:
- 1 yard/metre Lycra
- 1 1/2 yards/metres fringing (my fringing is approximately 3 inches wide, but any width would work just great.  Go for the flowy ones, rather than the stiff ones so that the fringing moves well.
- Sewing machine and coordinating thread.

Step 1: Measure your dancer's chest circumference - right at the armpits.  Bethany's was about 24 inches I think.  Then add 1 inch to this to allow for seam allowance.  Also measure the length on your dancer from the armpit to the top of the knee, then add 1 inch to allow for hemming at the top.  Cut  your fabric at these dimensions, then cut your rectangle in half length-ways to create a front and a back.

Step 2. Place your rectangles right-side-together and sew the side seams, allowing a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  BUT, stop 3 inches from the bottom to make some little side splits for extra style.  Open the side seams out at the splits and sew the seam allowance down to finish the edges of the splits. Then sew a little row of stitching (and backstitching) at the top of the split across the seam to reinforce it and stop it from "splitting" any more ... like so .... (note: you won't have your fringing on yet, so just ignore that horizontal row of stitching in the pic below!!)

Step 3: Fold the top edge down 1/2 inch, then another half inch, pin and sew to make a nice finished edge for the top of the dress ... like so ... 

Step 4:  For the straps, I cut fabric strips 2 1/2 inches by 10 inches (you could make the straps longer or shorter based on the size of your munchkin), sewed them along the long edge (right sides together) and used a safety pin to turn them through.  I then folded the ends over to hide the raw edges and stitched evenly at the front and back to the inside of the top edge.  For extra strength, I sewed these by stitching a square with a diagonal line.  You can just see it in the pic below.

Step 5: Sew your fringing around the bottom of the dress, about 1/4 inch from the edge, then sew a second row of fringing above this, with just enough space to avoid overlapping.  At the beginning and ends of the fringing rows, I simply tucked about 1/4 inch of the fringing under and made sure I backstitched a few times to hold it firmly.

Step 6:  For the flower, I found this tutorial, and simply hand-stitched the flower to cover the strap join on one side.

And there you have it ... No hysteria required, only minimal "flapping" of arms, and one very happy little flapper-dress wearing munchkin.