Tag Archives: DIY

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.

Beanies

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

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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cult hit: white russian

Whoa. Where did the time go? Is it really June already? It’s safe to say that I failed MeMadeMay2016 in regards to blogging about it, and sewing a new item each week (what was I thinking?!), however, I did manage to wear 2 me-made items for the weeks of May. Let’s chalk MMMay2016 up as 45/100, so much room for improvement!

I did actually get one “make” finished during May, and have finally taken a few photos of it. I made the Capital Chic White Russian! The weather in May was actually too warm to wear it (Global warming, I’m telling you!), but now that it’s finally started to cool down, I’ve been able to throw it on a few times.

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First, the fabric. I went to The Remnant Warehouse in Alexandria searching for a lovely fleece-backed fabric. They have a few styles of fleece, but I was really drawn to this beautiful navy. Another plus, is that it is 100% organic cotton! YES! I love fabric that can breath during the winter, but also keep you toasty warm! Be on notice, however, like all other fleece fabrics, navy blue fuzz was everywhere after cutting. I used a sticky roller to pick most of it up, but I’m still finding small pockets of fuzz in my sewing room…

The pattern is simple and easy to follow, however I did grade the seam allowances from 1.5cm down to 1cm. Everything else was put together as instructed. I spent a few hours sewing a subtle diamond pattern onto the front and back pieces. It doesn’t stand out as much as I thought it would, but I like the slight change in texture.

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I’m very happy with my new jumper, it will certainly get a lot of wear over winter. The fabric washes really well (no extra shedding after it’s initial wash), but it does need a quick press with a warm iron before wearing.

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Have you made the White Russian, or any other Capital Chic patterns? I’d love to hear your success stories!

Mitty x

a russian blue called leia

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This is what has been distracting me during the MMMay16 challenge, our new little Russian Blue kitten! She is my birthday present, and I just love her! She is 10 weeks old and was a bit shy at first, but now she is very playful!

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To try and direct her playfulness away from our hands (and the lounge), I decided to make her a few little toys.

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I drew out a very simply pattern in the shape of a mouse, and gathered my materials.

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I gave my mouse a furry tummy for a different texture. Then, I picked out two buttons for the eyes.

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I added a bit of calico behind the eyes for stabilization, then firmly hand stitched the buttons on.

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Next, I took some kitchen twine and made a platted tail.

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I made sure to place the knotted end of the tail outside the stitching line, so if Leia gives the tail a good tug, it won’t slip out.

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I’m anticipating lots of play time with this mouse, so I chose a small zigzag stitch (number 5) instead of a regular straight stitch. The zigzag will be much stronger, meaning less chance of a blow-out.

Once stitched and turned the right way out, I moved onto the stuffing.

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I added a wad of dried catnip inside the mouse. To me, it smells like a herbal tea, but I’m hoping that Leia finds it irresistible!

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I filled the rest of the mouse with stuffing pulled from a cushion, hand sewed the opening up, and added the ears.

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For something different, I put a bell-ball in the pink spotted mouse so it jingles when she plays with it.

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And here she is, killing it! Sorry for the blurry pictures, she just moves so fast! I love having her around the house, she is a never ending source of entertainment and joy! She’ll be making the odd appearance on the blog, so keep an eye out!

Mitty x

all the other bits

I’ve gone through the majority of decor items I (and a team of people) made for my wedding in previous posts. Today, I wanted to go through the other little bits and pieces that made the day warm and fuzzy.

I have to say a massive thank you to my green-thumbed mother, who cultivated and grew 120 tiny succulents to serve as place markers, and gifts for our guests. A week before the wedding, we wrapped each little pot in some hessian. I also tied them up with scraps of silk, left over from my dress.

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Once on the tables, we stuck small paper flags on toothpicks into the pots. They looked so adorable, and were a real hit with our guests.

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Another big thank you to mum, who cooked and assembled our wonderful wedding cake! I love “naked cakes”, and I think mum’s version was simply perfect! You’ll also notice a little BB-8 perched on top of the cake.. Mum made that as a surprise for Reags, who is completely obsessed with Star Wars.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

I made the “How Sweet It Is” cake topper from some paper, stamps, twine and skewers. Who doesn’t love bunting?!

I wanted to give my bridesmaids a gift that they would be able to use all the time. I decided on personalized leather make-up bags from Mon Purse. I was really impressed with the quality of the leather and zippers used, I’m going to have to get one for myself at some stage.

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If you know of our photographer, James Day, you’ll know that he has an obsessions with bow ties. I’m talking, a real, full on collecting obsession. Plenty of his clients have given him bow ties as a gift, but I decided to go a step further, and knit him a one. I knew I’d done the right thing when he opened the box and stammered “…whaaaat? What!?” and gestured me for to put it on him.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

From James Day's Instagram

From James Day’s Instagram

Yeah, I think he was pleased.

To go with the gifts we gave out on the day, I made some really basic cards from grey cardboard from the newsagents. To pretty them up, I cut rectangles out of the left over lace from my dress, and attached it using gold brads.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Going back to the flower topic, the girls and I had so much fun sitting around making the boutonnieres for the boys. One or two of them may have been a tad too big, but it didn’t matter that much.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

I tried so hard to make my flower crown the day before the wedding, but my mind was on so many other things, I just didn’t have the time to sit down and concentrate on something so delicate. So, I made it the morning of the wedding, after the arch was decorated!

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

The final bit of decoration I’d like to show you, is how we presented the seating plan. Each table arrangement was printed on brown paper (with a little bit of gold foiling, which we added later), and stuck onto a huge gold framed mirror. We propped it up on an easel, and sat it on a sturdy table. Nicole then attacked it decorated with greenery.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the inside of the marquee.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Mitty x

frames, and a gold back drop

Photo booths seem to go hand in hand with weddings these days, and although we didn’t have one, I still wanted a few simple props that people could pick up and pose with. Picture frames were the obvious choice, they are light, and didn’t take up too much room.

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We picked up these second hand frames from a shop in Alexandria. I think we got the lot for $40. Even though the majority of them aren’t the right colours, there were quite a few gold ones that we didn’t have to touch.

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A drop sheet and a bit of paint had the frames looking like they were supposed to be at our wedding.

We strung a few up between two trees, had some beside the lounge, and the rest went in the marquee.

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For the back drop, I looked a a few different ideas, but settled on this design quite quickly.

I painted a stick white, then tied on about 20 lengths of fishing line. Using a large hole punch, I punched out close to 900 gold circles from cardboard. I then strung these onto the fishing line, and secured with double sided tape. I stuck another gold dot to the back, so that when they moved around, you mostly saw gold. I did leave some white, to add a bit of a difference.

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Time consuming? Yes. Involved climbing on a ladder? Yes. Difficult to store? Yes. All those bits of backing tape annoying to remove? Yes.

Pay off? Totally worth it!

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Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

The back drop sparkled and twinkled all night! It looked so beautiful! Our photographer, James Day, fell in love with it the moment he saw it. He wanted to take it down and use it was a prop. In doing so, we got some of the most amazing pictures I’ve ever seen!

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Photo by James Day

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Photo by James Day

And here’s how he did it, with help from two of my cousins (who were obviously loving the experience!)

I have one more post on our DIY decorations (I know, there were heaps!), then we move onto the fun stuff, AKA shoes and dresses!

Mitty x