A chance to test a lovely new cardi from Little Kiwi’s Closet came up recently. I adore the designer and the patterns so couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to apply. The Koro Cardi (koro is Māori for grandfather) is a grandpa style cardi.

Very easy to sew up and a lovely relaxed fit it is perfect for our current spring weather and I can see it being a go to for pulling on as the temperature dips as the sun goes down or the wind picks up.

The pattern is, as expected, beautifully drafted and written and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. I actually made two cardi’s are I had a couple of different material types I wanted to try out. You will need knit for this, but anything with a bit of stretch works brilliantly. It will be amazing in winter in a fleece or brushed back jersey or in a delicious merino.

Its currently on sale so pop by and grab a copy of this pattern – it really make up a staple in the wardrobe. All seasons, all colours and an enormous size range form baby to tween! My daughters lived in hers since it came off the machine. It really is a simple sew, even for someone like me who is still a bit wary sewing with knits. And I got a love sense of achievement when I finished!

October 22, 2016 Crafting, Homelife, Sewing

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Sewing for my daughter is a big part of crafting for me. And anyone who has followed my blog will know that Big Little Patterns have been a staple for not only coats and vests but also trousers and hats and other accessories.

Big Little has changed! It has rebranded to become Twig and Tale.

The new look brand is full of the same great patterns, updated and remastered. Each pattern comes loaded with awesome features, more options and helpful additions like fully linked contents, easy to follow guides, added inspiration pictures, up-cycling guides and loads more.

To celebrate the new look and name Art Gallery Fabrics kindly sponsored some awesome sewing for this blog tour. Thank you Art Gallery!

There is an amazing group of ladies all sewing their favourite Twig and Tale patterns to celebrate. Check out the bottom of this post to see all the other contributors! Seriously there are some inspiring creations. I decided (with the kids help/instruction/dictator like demands) that a Pathfinder Vest was the best sew.

Vests get a LOT of use in this family. I used a wool outer quilted with batting and a beautifully soft and pretty Art Gallery lining fabric. Look at that beautiful cotton lining.

I even drafted a very basic peasant style top to go under the vest. The fabric was just so yummy! Its from Pat Bravo’s Heartland line, Liten Ditsy in Whisper.

I decided to make a home sewn, special Twig and Tale version of the ubiquitous ‘Kathmandu Vest’ that you see so much where I live. It needed to be warm, stylish, puffy and look really special. The vest itself was a cinch to sew. The great step by step instructions and easy to assemble pattern (using layers! go me!) meant I got the whole vest done in one evening.

I chose a synthetic batting and use basic horizontal lines to quilt it to the wool (please ignore the slightly wonky quilt lines) I think it would be even more luxurious if you used a wool or bamboo batting like those used for baby quilts.

The only slight snag I hit was pulling the front through the shoulders when turning it the right way round. It came through .. but I’m not sure I’d want to try it with a size much smaller than the 6 I made. At least, not with batting as thick as I used. I adore the dropped back that ensures not drafts and the hood which fits perfectly. The toggles weren’t the easiest to sew on and I backed them with small mother of pearl buttons to stabilise the lining side. I really adore how they look. Worth the extra effort.

This is not the first or only Pathfinder Vest I’ve sewn up from the pattern. We adore up-cycled blankets for coats, capes and vests etc. But for this tour I wanted to show that these patterns aren’t just for repurposing blankets and quirky clothing. They are also great for making a more mainstream look. This vest is home sewn and special, and has bundles of mumma love wrapped into its making, but fits in well in the playground when eveyone else is wearing Kathmandu or Country Road.

Link to the first blog tour annoucenment page: http://www.twigandtale.com/blogs/twig-and-tale-blog/blog-tour-announcement

 

What would a Blog Tour be without a giveaway!

Art Gallery Fabrics is kindly sponsoring 2 yards of Art Gallery fabric of your choice. To make the prize extra sweet, we are also adding a collection of 5 Twig + Tale patterns of your choice.

International entries are very welcome. Our bloggers come from every corner of the world to celebrate the global nature of Twig +Tale too.

Enter using the rafflecopter below.

(The winning entry will be checked to ensure all criteria are met).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Blog tour overview page
Monday: Falafel and the BeeHandmade BoySew A Little SeamSew Shelly Sew
Tuesday: N�h-connectionKhadetjesPaisley RootsVera LunaInspinration
Wednesday: Skirt FixationMend and Make NewIdle SunshineNZ Green buttons – Candice Ayala
Thursday: Vaahtokarkkimonsteri Lulu & CelesteSprouting Jube Jube
Life in our busy householdElephant Dimples
Friday: Pattern RevolutionMilk Monster MommaSmall Steps Big NoisesFliegfederfrei
Saturday: – Made by Sara – So Popo Sew – Big Little Tales – Needle and Ted

October 14, 2016 Crafting, Sewing

4 Comments

There is no secret that I love to sew for the kid. Her appreciation for what I make is mixed. Which I hear is totally normal for 5yr olds. But still feels rather like being slapped in the chops when a slaved over garment gets the old ‘no, I don’t like it’.

This make is a teeny tiny size 1 for a friends little girl. It is a Pixie coat from the genius of Big Little. It’s a pattern that I’ve sewn a number of times now and one I really love. Its simple, well written and comes together beautifully

One thing that comes up quite a lot is how to make garments look ‘handmade’ rather than ‘homemade’. Neither is wrong, obviously. And there are a fair number of clothes in the kids closets that I’d rather you didn’t look to closely at. That are very definitely ‘homemade’, and we love them for that.
But there are a few things that can really make the difference (I cannot, hand on heart, say I always do these thing .. truth) but they really do help.

Iron as you go. Actually, steam the s&*t out of every seam and fold. Seriously, iron that thing.
TOP STITCH. Top stitch.
There are instances where you wont need or want to – for example the hem of this coat isn’t topstitched. But round the hood, the front – where you want a crisp clean line. Dress bodices, skirt waistbands. Top stitch – if your feeling really adventurous invest in a double needle

Thread match … actually I’m horric at this – I’m lazy. But do it. Spend 5 minutes winding a bobbin with matching thread. Dig through that box to find the closest match. You’ll be so pleased you did afterwards. Spend time choosing the right buttons/trim/lining. Often its the little details that give it away. Or make it amazing.

Did I mention ironing? Steam that sucker.

Sleeves with hidden or inner seams (often known as the drainpipe method) can make the garment look great. Some coats look so nice with a little underfold of the outer fabric into the sleeve. When you fold them up it’s a lovely detail.

I am really pedantic on clipping my corners and curves too, it just really helps things to lie nicely, sit well.
Preparation. Cut slowly and carefully.

French seams take a super easy skirt from average to amazing. The same for a good chunky hem. Don’t scrimp on the turn up, nothing helps a skirt or trouser hang better than a little weight at the bottom.

A little tag at the neck is functional for hanging and also for little people to recognise the back from the front. The kid gets extremely cross if I don’t tag skirts and trousers.

For me a part of keeping on sewing things the kid loves has been making sure that what I sew has a purpose. Making things that she needs as well as wants. The truth is that our lifestyle doesn’t really suit multiple pretty dresses made from amazing woven cottons. One or two will do.

And thats where patterns like the Pixie Coat come in, I prefer to sew one coat that gets lots of wear and love. Also biting the bullet and learning (rather under duress) how to sew knit and jersey fabric has opened up a world of comfy and easy to wear clothes for a picky 5 yr old.

Look at whats in trend in the shops. What are the kids wanting. How close can you get to that while still maintaining that individuality.

And Topstitching where the instructions say to? … It’s been added in there for a reason 😉

April 16, 2016 Crafting, Sewing

2 Comments



Anyone who has read this blog will know that I have a bit of a love affair with Big Little Patterns. The Wild Things hooded scarf was an absolute favourite over the winter.

Well, now Lisa has upped the game and create a Wild Things coat!! Yup, a coat! There is a huge variety of animals. Cat, bunny, dog, bear, horse, dino. giraffe and more. In fact I think with the fabulous array of pattern pieces provided and a bit of imagination, pretty much any animal you can dream up, you could make.

I know that I’m hardly unbiased in my love of Big Little but seriously. This one is a great.
The kid decided she needed a ‘kitty’ coat .. and although I had grand ideas of a hello kitty inspired face. Time and my lack of embroidery skills meant she got basic cat.



I did the front loops with crocheted chained chunky wool as my sewing machine threw a tantrum trying button holes (first time ever) and its a roaring success. The lining is Heather Ross TigerLily and works perfectly.

It was a quiet evening sew – nothing complicated and a great set of instructions and tips. The tutorial has pictures and guides for every step. An extensive inspiration guide and step by step pages for all the different animal details. Plus the loveliest pages of up-cycling details and suggestions. There is also a condensed single page of steps for anyone who’s confident sewing the coats (or has made the base pattern multiple times … ahummm)

Anxious to start your own version? Visit the Big Little Pattern shop and purchase your pattern during the launch sale with a 30% discount for only $8.40 (regular price $12) until Sunday. If you already own the pixie or pea coat patterns then you can buy the hood elements as an add on.

Lisa has organised a fabulous blog tour so you can follow and see all the other testers marvellous creations.

Tuesday: Big Little Tales and Miss Castelinhos and So Popo sew
Wednesday: Sew a Little Seam and Life With a Milk Monster and Inspinration
Thursday: Max California and Small Steps Big Noises and Sew Shelly sew
Friday: Kate and Crew and Squishy Face Collection and Tea Dust and Stitches
Saturday: Adventures with Bubba and Bug and Blessed x Five

You can find the daily blog tour overview link here, there you will also find several non-blog tour tester pics.

January 21, 2016 Crafting, Sewing

1 Comment

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Christmas clothes, christmas ornaments. A little pattern testing that ive combined into Christmas clothes making. Her own ornaments. The easiest, fastest most fuss free pizza Ive ever made. Seriously. I make pizza pretty often and make the dough myself. Im no novice in that respect. But. This. Was live changing.

Two ingredients. No rise! And yes I will share. 2 cups of self raising flour + 2 cups of natural or greek yoghurt. Mix into a very wet and sticky dough. divide into 4 (or 3 in our case) and plop onto floured baking parchment. Sprinkle with flour and flatten. beware its *sticky*. Add topping. Slide onto a preheated tray. Cook. I did mine at 250 (or the hottest my oven would go – so probably a bit above 250) for about 10 mins or until it looked cooked.

The kid decorated hers herself. Child cooking for a win.

Thank me later 😉

November 15, 2015 Crafting, Food

4 Comments

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We made a super simple hobby horse this week, hand drawn pattern, some flannel form my stash and some yarn that madam chose herself. Its a little seahorse-y looking but meh, she loves it!

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I was lucky enough recently to test Lisa from Big Little‘s most recent release. The Wild Thing Hooded Scarf. We are huge fans of this in our house. HUGE fans.

Me, because the patterns is super easy to follow and sews up in no time at all (it would be the most awesome wintery gift for Christmas or cooler season birthdays) and isn’t too fabric hungry. Madam because, well. Look at it. Pony hat!!
From cutting to completion its about a 40 minute sew up – probably less if your not trying to drink tea and eat biscuits while doing it! You don’t need anything fancy for the pattern and can mix and match the fabrics to your hearts content.

The pattern comes with a enormous variety of options, cowl, cross over or scarf. Pockets should you want them, little claws or paw pads. I chose a poly cotton outer for this pony version as it was in my stash needing used up and a soft minky fleece for the lining (and ears). The mane is rainbow felt cut from the wonderful parcel I received from the creative inspiration behind Wonky Patchwork. I couldn’t think of a more perfect project to start cutting into that precious stash than this.

We headed up to Castle Hill on a cool damp morning to try it out. We started out in down jackets and ended up in shirtsleeves as you can see – it got warm. But the hat. That stayed on madams head – no prompting at all. For me that was the biggest win of all. Smallest madam has pulled out this hat time and again since I made it – its her go-to hat.

Head off to Big Little on Facebook and check out some of the amazing hats that Lisa’s testers made .. they are wonderful! Then don’t forget to swing by and grab that pattern wile its on offer! Use the code WILDTHING to get it for $5

June 9, 2015 Crafting, Sewing

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This dress has been a wee while in the coming. It is the Sew Sweet Brooklyn dress. At the first pass it didn’t go together at all as I wanted and I all but threw in the towel. But the pattern kept calling to me. That neckline, those ties. The sleeves. the whole style of this pattern is a delight.

So I persevered. The pockets are an addition of my own, because. you know. Kids and pockets. It is a sz5 and pretty big on her. I altered the gathering a little, pushing more gathers to the back and front and leaving the sides only lightly gathered as the ties gather it themselves. It will last for ages yet looks good now – which is an awesome win win.

Madam got home from kindy today and her first words were ‘is my dress finished?’ She was delighted and wore it straight away. So that’s a bonus. There will certainly be more of those. Perhaps a shorter sleeved version for our holiday?

June 4, 2015 Crafting, Sewing

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I made up my second Lottie Skirt from Brownie Goose this week. Well, I finished the one I cut out about a month and a bit ago. What can I say, my work in progress pile is large and slow moving.

Its a lovely pattern – I think the pleated version is actually better looking on plainer fabrics that really show off and hold the pleats in. Madam is not 100% sold on it as she prefers elastic to buttons. I think my next till be to do a gathered version with an elasticated back. I love the fitted look but usability is where its at in this house.

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Its a versatile pattern though, great fit and easy to follow with multiple options and instructions. Its also pretty light on fabrics which is delightful as now madame is getting bigger things like dresses -particularly long sleeved ones – use a surprising amount of yardage. A skirt for under a yard, yes please.

May 27, 2015 Crafting, Sewing

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This past week we have had a few new activities. Sidewalk chalk has been an amazing hit in the sunny afternoons. A Tangram activity set. Her pony watches her. Double skirt crafting – the wool one is the VioletteFieldThreads Gemma pattern and the one still cut is the BrownieGoose Lottie which gave me some trouble sewing up. The pattern is awesome and the instructions are flawless. But pleats and a placket – that was a challenge for me. The finished article is wonderful though, and I have another cut and ready to go.
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March 25, 2015 Crafting, Homelife

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