what’s been happening – an update & spoonflower review

A tumble weed rolls through the Made by Mitty blog… I am very conscious, and annoyed by that tumble weed.

As I write this, I am currently 31 weeks pregnant! 31 weeks has absolutely flown by at an alarming rate. It feels like only a few weeks ago that I was sewing and blogging my Frankenshirt. That little top was the last bit of sewing I’ve done for myself since falling pregnant. For me, the first few weeks were horrendous. I felt so sick, had a constant feeling of nausea, coupled with extreme tiredness, which meant that I could barely function at work, let alone go shopping for fabric.

I started to feel human again around week 14, and found myself wanting to sew. But not for me, for our little Peanut (baby has to have a nickname!). I took this opportunity to try out Spoonflower. For a long time I’d wanted to order something from them, but I just never got around to it. Now I had a solid project in mind, I started to search through the masses of patterns and designs.

I finally settled on this gorgeous peanut pattern by katherinecodega, printed on Spoonflowers Cotton Spandex Jersey. I knew it would take a while to arrive but I wasn’t too worried. In the end, it took a few weeks to turn up, so I wouldn’t recommend Spoonflower if you’re in need of something super quick.

Initially, I thought the fabric was a little stiff, but it softened up quite a lot after washing. I had 1 meter to play with, and I didn’t want to waste a single scrap of it.

I started by making the footie coverall from Brindille & Twig. It’s a great little pattern with well written, clear instructions. I did, however, have a bit of a moment when cutting the fabric, and somehow ended up with the front opening being backwards. All my fault, nothing to do with the pattern!

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All in all, I think this is a wonderful pattern. Once completed, I held up a store bought jumpsuit to compare sizes. I found the the Brindille & Twig newborn size runs a little larger than the store bought one, but I think it’s better for it to be a little bigger than a little smaller.

Seeing as Peanut will be born in Winter, I wanted to make a little beanie to go with the jumpsuit. I used the Coral & Co DIY Baby Hat pattern, and made both the small newborn, and the large newborn sizes.

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I had a decent amount of fabric left over, so I decided to make a bib next. I used this simple pattern from Dana Made It. I decided to make a double layer bib as I thought the jersey wouldn’t stand up to much dribble or puke. I found the softest, most beautiful bamboo double terry from Bamboo Fabric Store to use for the underside of the bib.

Still, there was more fabric to use! I cut out a pair of Just Hatched Leggings and sewed them up.

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While I think this is a brilliant pattern, I also wanted some leggings that didn’t have elastic around the waist. I jigged the pattern a little, and using some grey jersey from my stash, made another pair with a peanut waist band and cuffs.

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With my Spoonflower fabric now resembling scraps more than anything, I managed to squeeze out one more pair of leggings. I made these using my jigged version of the Just Hatched Leggins, but made the waistband and cuffs longer than normal. I can fold these over to fit bub early on, and unfold them when those growth spurts kick in. I think this is called a “grow with me” style.

Folded down…

And folded up…

I’m so happy with all these little makes, baby clothes are so satisfying and quick to make. I’d recommend all these patterns for beginners, except for the jumpsuit, there are a few fiddly elements to it (like the adorable little feet) that are probably a bit advanced for a beginner. But if you’re feeling adventurous, give it a go!

I hope to clean out those pesky tumble weeds and start blogging more. I’ve got a few other projects ticking along that I’ll share with you over the coming weeks.

Mitty xox

when things don’t work out – frankenshirt

Not all of my sewing plans turn out how I’d imagined. It doesn’t seem to happen as much as when I first started sewing, but I still manage to have a #FAIL every now and then. This is how I tried to turn a fail, into a win!

Quite a while ago, I purchased a remnant of 100% cotton chambray from The Remnant Warehouse. It was beautiful and soft, very light weight, and well priced. I noticed a few areas that had faded light damage, but I wasn’t overly concerned about it.

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My first thoughts for this chambray were to turn it into a casual, spring-time dress, with a gathered skirt, semi-fitted bodice, and little sleeves. In my head, it was a thing of beauty. In reality, it was a disaster. I’d put little to no effort into drafting a proper pattern, the neckline stretched out horribly, and the whole thing had a rather unflattering silhouette. Needless to say, I didn’t take any pictures of it.

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This is all that remains of fail #1

After FAIL #1, my next idea was to turn the chambray into a pair of shorts. Light, breezy, spring/summer time shorts. I used a pattern I’d used before, and sewed them up! I was about 80% done, and decided to try them on. Well, I tried to try them on.. they were too small! I couldn’t get them up over my thighs.

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And fail #2

Totally dismayed, FAIL #2 and the scraps sat in my sewing room for weeks. I’d see it every now and then, and felt a stab of disappointment for wasting perfectly good fabric. One day, it got too much, and I decided to fix my fails.

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I seam ripped all the bits apart, ironed them all, and spread them out on my table to see what I had to work with. Not much, is what I was looking at. I decided to sew all the bits together, in a patchwork kind of way, so I once again had enough fabric to make a simple shell top.

Keeping the grain as straight as possible, I started sewing all the bits together, overlocking the seams, and pressing. Sew, overlock, press. Repeat. After a few hours, this is what I had.

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I drafted a simple shell top from my bodice block, made a toile so I didn’t screw up this fabric again, made alterations to the pattern, then cut out from the chambray. The only thing I had to keep an eye on, was the placement of the front, which has bust darts. I managed to avoid having any extra seams going into the darts.

Sewing it together was very easy. I made sure to overlock all my seams to keep everything from fraying. I finished the neck and arm holes with the same chambray bias-binding I used on this stripy top.

After a final press, it was ready to wear!

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As you can see, I added a button closer to the back. I think it works really well, I don’t have to undo it to get it on, however, my binding finish on the split isn’t my best work. Something to practice!

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I just love all the different shades in this top, and the angels of the patchwork seams. All the little bits patched together really reminded me of Frankenstein’s monster, so this project has fondly been named, the Frankenshirt.

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So, what do you think? Did I turn my fail into a #WIN? I think I did, I see the Frankentop becoming a real staple in my summer wardrobe!

Mitty x

sewing basics – wiggle skirt

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Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a 100% handmade wardrobe? Or as close to 100% as you can get! I am a long way away from this dream, and while we all need exciting things to wear (and sew), like party dresses, loud shirts, and coats, we also need basics. I decided to start building my “basics” collection with a plain, unoffensive, goes-with-everything skirt.

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There was a decent amount of Ponti left over from my sleeveless jacket, so I decided to make a wiggle skirt from it. I drafted a pattern from my skirt block, keeping the single darts in the front, and the four in the back. I’ve used a straight waistband that sits on my natural waistline. I find this type of waistband really comfortable, and it nips me in nicely.

Even though this fabric has a decent amount of give, I added a vent in the back, just to make walking a little easier.

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For a really clean hemline, I whipped out a hand needle and thread. This is a great technique to use on Ponti, as you don’t have to finish the raw edged first, there is no way it will fray!

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The skirt is great, it’s very comfortable, and the Ponti is so soft and smooth. However, it is a little boring on it’s own, so we found this amazing rainbow-painted monster roller door backdrop for our photoshoot. Isn’t it great?!

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There are many more basics that I need to sew, but I need to quench my thirst for something fun and patterned first!

Until next time,

Mitty x

A big thanks to hubby, for the impromptu video!

box pleat skirt with netting

Here’s a project that was finished months ago, has been worn several times, but hasn’t made it onto the blog. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long, but here it is!

This skirt started, as many do, while browsing Pinterest. I love a high waisted silhouette, and my “SKIRT” board can vouch for me when I said I’d pinned several versions. I’d noticed that I’d actually pinned a few that had sheer or lacy panels, and so this skirt went from being a vague idea, to “This needs to be in my wardrobe NOW”.

I wanted my skirt to have a lot of volume without the need of a tulle layer or padding underneath. I decided to make a box pleat skirt from a thick Ponti di Roma, which would hold its shape well, and be strong enough to support the sheer panel.

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I bought a swatch of a Ponti that I thought would do the job from Knitwit. I must say, I was super impressed with what turned up. It had a decent amount of body, it was really smooth, and I could just feel that it was a high quality fabric. I bought a meter of it as soon as I could.

Then the hunt began for something sheer to use, and honestly it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I found this beautiful netting fabric with ribbon detail at The Remnant Warehouse. They must be sold out of it now because I can’t find it on the website, but I remember the tag saying that it was a Nicola Finetti remnant.

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 I drafted a quick box pleat pattern that would sit right on my natural waist. The top portion using the Ponti ends just above my knee, with the netting flowing down to a “midi” length. I think this is a really versatile length, as it looks great with flats, or really classy with heels.

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I used a 20cm invisible zipper down one side seam, so the box pleat pattern wasn’t interrupted.

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The only part of this skirt that was a bit of a struggle, was hemming the netting. I had to hand sew it,  the ribbon sections were too thick for my sewing machine, so pushing a needle through it for 2 hours was a little painful in the end, but well worth it.

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I absolutely love it! It looks great with a casual tee for a dressed-down look, I’ve worn it with a close fitting jumper and tights when the weather was cooler, and I can dress it up with a silk cami and heels. It’s become a real workhorse in my wardrobe!

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 I think I got pretty close to my “pin-spiration”, don’t you?

Mitty x

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unselfish making: crochet market bag

As much as I enjoy sewing and knitting for myself, I also love making things for others. I get a real kick out of the reactions people have when they open up a little parcel full of handmade Mitty goodness.

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I decided to make this crochet bag for a lovely friend of mine, Nicole, that I met at work. Well, truth be told, I haven’t physically met her, as she works in the Melbourne office, while I’m up in Sydney. An afternoon of chatting moved to the topic of the lack of space I have at home and how I miss growing veggies. Nicole happens to be an enthusiastic grower of all things organic. She has given me so much advice on growing, she’s sent me tones of seeds to get started, and she’s also sent me some of the most delicious home made preserves I have ever tasted.

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Nicole is so generous, she passes it off as her evil plan to get more people growing for themselves, but I couldn’t accept all her gifts without feeling like I had to repay her.

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I had to make her something. I knew she would really appreciate something sturdy to harvest all her veggies in, so I used a pattern from makercrate.com to crochet a market bag. It’s a simple, yet effective pattern, and makes a wonderful bag that is both stretchy and roomy, but folds up quite small, easy to shove into a pocket when not in use.

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I made it from 100% cotton that I bought from Bendigo Woollen Mills years ago. I think it’s perfect, strong and sturdy, and can be thrown in the washing machine if it gets too dirty. I only had wool on hand to try and show it off, but Nicole has informed me that it works wonderfully with fruit!

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Look at those happy little chickens! I love that she is finding it so useful, she’s been gushing about it ever since she received it!

Mitty x

striped boxy tee

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As much as I love taking my time with an intricate pattern, I also love the instant satisfaction I get from a really quick sew. This boxy tee happens to be the latter.

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You may remember this striped fabric from my haul last week, and how I said I was going to make a “Molly Top” from Sew Over It. I’m still going to do that, but I was able to squeeze another top out of the fabric with only a few compromises.

This is a self drafted pattern, normally used with woven fabrics, but I thought it would work just as well in a knit. First off, matching these stripes was a real pain! I washed the fabric first, and it must have warped when I hung it out to dry.

Can you add “modifications” to your own pattern..? I turned the straight hem into a curved hem, with the back dipping down a little further than the front. I also added little sleeve cuffs (cut off grain), instead of using a binding.

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As this neckline leans toward a boat neckline, I wanted it to be as stable as possible, and not stretch out over time. I used tear-a-way to secure the neckline, then used a chambray binding that I cut from some scraps. I really wanted to use a patterned cotton for the binding, but the jersey wasn’t opaque enough and it showed through. I do like the chambray though!

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I have only just bought myself a twin needle (can you believe it?), and it’s my favourite thing at the moment! I used it to give the hemline a really professional finish.

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From cutting to wearing, this boxy tee only took me a few hours. I’m really happy with how it turned out, it’s comfy and easy to throw on, but I think the stripes make it look a little more fancy than it probably is.

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Until next time,

Mitty x

fabric haul

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Do you have a predictable style when fabric shopping? I do. I walk around the entire store first, patting fabrics, reading the tags, making a mental note of patterns and colours that interest me. On my second lap, I return to the things that really stick in my memory. Sometimes I walk away with nothing, other times, I strike gold!

All of the following fabrics come from a favourite haunt of mine, The Remnant Warehouse in Alexandria.

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First up, I bought 2 meters of this “Amalfi Coast” Poly/Spandex jersey. It’s 150cm wide, medium weight, opaque, matte finish with a 1 way stretch. At $6.95 p/m, it was a bargain. The fabric is very soft, with a beautiful drape. This needs to be made into something comfy!

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I recently purchased the ebook “My Capsule Wardrobe – City Break” from Sew Over It, and I was specifically on the hunt for a striped jersey so I could make my very own Molly Top. I wasn’t disappointed! I found this cotton spandex with a 5mm x 10mm stripe for $9.95 p/m. It’s 150cm wide, medium weight, opaque, matte finish with a 2 way stretch. As you can see in the pictures, it’s a little stiff, I’m hoping it will soften up after a few washes.

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As soon as I ran my hand over this beautiful 100% silk crepe de chine, I knew I had to have it. It’s a Bec & Bridge remnant, 135cm wide, very light weight, semi opaque with a delustered finish. The best thing about this silk? It was only $14.95 p/m! I can see it sewn up into a lovely, airy blouse, maybe with a neck tie, maybe with long sleeves, I’m not too sure just yet.

What do you think of my haul? I think I came away with some really lovely fabric, and I’m excited to start sewing!

Mitty x