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

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The making has been in short supply recently. Well, more accurately the blogging about the making. Actually I’ve churned out a few harem pants and a couple of dresses. I have just epically failed to photograph them!
The kid has shown a renewed interest in skirts recently and to celebrate (possibly prematurely) I decided that was ample excuse to get sewing.

 

 

 

The black and the blue are a mod of the VFT Lottie skirt pattern – I changed up the waistband and added inseam pockets. The white is a VFT Gemma skirt, also with added inseam pockets and a lining. Predictably the white is her favourite as it ‘twirls’ so well. Although colour wise her preference is the black.

In the words of the kid .. “if only you had made the white one in the black fabric mumma, then it would have been perfect
Yes, thanks kiddo.

Styling on the pics done by the kid – don’t ask me why today she felt the need to give Roald Dahl the publicity 😉

September 7, 2016 Sewing

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As the kid has got older the amount of stuff I sew for her has ebbed and flowed and changed. She no longer desires twirly dresses and blouses.

One item I have been making for her religiously since she was little is outwear. Warm outdoor wear that lasts through the seasons and allows her to play freely while keeping her core warm as toast.

I bought the original Big Little Pixie Vest years ago now and have made a number of them as she has grown. It’s a go to pattern for me, always an easy to follow, straightforward pattern that fitted nicely.

There is a new pattern from Big Little – The Pathfinder Vest is something just fabulous. I wasn’t a tester on this. Just a happy seamstress!
The pathfinder vest has many brilliant options, the pieces have been re-drafted and the fit is fabulous. I really do love the longer length option and also the dropped back you can add on.

For this one I did a pixie hood as the kid is fond of them. But there are options for a rounded hood, collar or v-necked waistcoat look. I also added the optional button panel that comes with the pattern on the front so it does up with a full overlap to prevent draughts round her tummy.

It sews up in the same way as the Pixie vest and only took me an easy morning sewing between homeschool and cups of tea and bites of cake. This one is upcycled blanket and some ikea cotton for the lining. It fits beautifully – it’s not baggy and doesn’t gape at all – but you can get a jumper under it no trouble at all to keep the kid super snuggly.

Even more exciting is that when re-drafting the vest has been made to fit the Wild Thing coat hood. So if you have that pattern you can create all 14 animals in vest form!!
Check out the pattern at Big Little. It’s on sale at the moment.
And as a bonus extra for subscribing to the Big Little newsletter there is an additional crossover front option – the Crossroad Vest. I signed up for the newsletter and got that extra for free! Whoop.

July 12, 2016 Sewing

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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

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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

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I made my little lady a cape recently. Lisa from Big Little has updated her classic children’s cape! Adding a rounded hood and also a collar. 3 lengths and enough inspiration to keep anyone going for years. Seriously the ideas and options are huge. Madam chose some simply awful (to sew, and apparently photograph!) minky. Ok, in fairness its super soft and snuggly. Like wearing a big hug. And – it did turn out super cute – so I’ll over look all the pin sticks I got sewing the slippery mind-of-its-own minky and try and forget the swearwords I invented.

The cape itself is a super easy sew. The pattern is easy to print and the tutorial is easy to follow and has lots of pictures (a necessity for me!) Which was great as I needed a easy, quick sew as my enthusiasm for the sewing machine has been lacking recently. This cape delivered in spades. Fast, check. Simple, check. Beautifully finished, check! 

It has the perfect combination of whimsey and fairytale with function and a great fit. This cape has had SO much use .. from the second it came off the machine. And not just for play either, madam has been wearing it instead of her usual coat or body warmer!

Lisa is currently promoting the cape and its on offer! Pop by Etsy and grab it. If you use the code CHILDCAPE until sunday is only $7!! And in time for Halloween too 😉

If you pop to the Big Little Facebook page there are some amazing examples of what other people have done with this pattern, it’s fabulous.

October 15, 2015 Sewing

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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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Recently I wrote about the Sew What Club and the 2 patterns that they launched in their first month. The Annecy and the Lyon.

Well obviously since I cannot resist fiddling with things it was inevitable that I would have a bash at hacking the Lyon after I tested the original. And this is what I came up with. Its not perfect and there are things I will do differently on my mods when I make the next one – there will definitely be more! Both the original and the hack.

Its all a cotton jersey fabric, but not super stretchy and doesn’t have the best rebound so my mods took this into account. I cut about 6 inches off the length, added that back with the hem band which I cut narrower than the hem by about 20% and rather than doing the neckline and armholes with bias I did chunky bands instead.

I made the arm and neck bands the same measurement as the holes – which next time I would change and do about 5% shorter and cut them so that the top fold is marginally narrower than the base. The hem band I adore as is. The top of the dress part has a small pleat as I cut the front the same width as the back and just pleated in the extra. I liked that way it made the front hang. Also I omitted the waist elastic.
The original pattern is wonderful and comes together so well. All the bits I will tweak are from my modifications – not the original pattern. Just so we’re clear!

July 15, 2015 Sewing

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Kelly behind Sewing in No Mans Land and some of her co-conspirators have launched a wonderful subscription club for sewing enthusiasts. The Sew What Club. Seriously if you love sewing clothes for kids please check it out! 

The dress above is the Lyon – a super slip dress that can be made in either knit or woven fabric.
My first version was a woven with our holiday next month in mind. Obviously I didn’t really allow for the fact that when taking pics of it it was going to be -3 and requite madam to have multiple layers on! 

It was lovely and simple to sew up but very stylish when worn – the perfect combination! It really does look lovely and summery when its not layered with wool and tights! The knit version is also great. Very comfy and easy to wear for little lady. I finished a Lyon hack that I’d had in mind and it only took an hour to sew up. Even in knit and thats usually takes me ages as I’m super slow sewing knit. I’ve done my hack as a short tunic with a thick hem band and chunky neck and sleeve bands. Pics are on my Instagram. I cannot wait to make more and I do think this will become a stable summer knit/jersey dress.

The other pattern released this month is the Annecy Dress. Oh my, this is a doozy of the dress. Its summery, and strappy and gorgeous. There are delightful little details like piping on the sides and straps, a thick hem band and options to do some creative colour blocking. A perfect combination of pretty party dress if you want to go wild with fabrics. Or a casual everyday summer dress if you keep it simple.

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As you can see, in the month between making the dresses and taking immediate pics of the Annecy but waiting a few weeks before photographing the Lyon – the weather somewhat changed! 

I am not at all affiliated to The Sew What Club or Sewing In No Mans Land. Just an admirer of the patterns they produce and lucky enough to get to test some of them out 🙂

July 9, 2015 Sewing

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