Saturday, 8 May 2010

Oliver + s birthday party dress

Have you popped over to Backstitch yet? It's Alice of Fancy Elastic's new venture, her online shop filled with gorgeous fabrics and patterns. When Alice got in touch to ask me if I'd be willing to do a pattern review, I jumped at the chance, as I've had my eye on some of the lovely Oliver + S patterns for ages (had I not been endowed with a 9-month bump, I would have been sorely tempted by the Colette patterns, but I think I'll wait until my body is back to its normal shape!).

oliver + s birthday party dress - front

I chose the birthday party dress for the big sister, making it in a pretty purple and green polka dot fabric with her choice of buttons from my stash (a self cover button with a teacup motif cut from some Japanese fabric and some green and white polka dot buttons for the back). If you'd like to see the full review, pop over to the Backstitch website. I'd love to make another of these dresses for the baby and have matchy matchy sisters, but as the smallest size is 6months, that at least gives me a bit of time to get thinking about it!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Dereliction of duties

I'm finding it ever so tempting to just hide away now and do nothing until the new baby is born (I'm increasingly thinking that the Victorians had the right idea about confinement). This week I have weathered a full moon, a birthday and a bank holiday, none of which have triggered labour as I so confidently predicted!

My husband, with some amusement, reported to me that the boy had suggested my birthday cake be hidden in the kitchen 'because mummy doesn't often go in there'. Clearly, my children have noticed that mummy is not her usual self - I can't say that I'm feeling a surge of domestic energy at the moment! I did think that it would be nice this weekend to do something with them though, before life gets hectic, so we got out the fabric paints kindly sent to me by dylon a while ago to decorate some t-shirts (my April destashing make).


The t-shirts are some plain organic cotton ones from H&M (thanks, Florence for the tip-off), cheap enough to justify painting on, but nice enough quality to stand up to a bit of washing. I then got the children to come up with a design for their t-shirts, which we finalised after a bit of negotiation out of the more complicated elements! The girl went for a series of freehand hearts, whereas the boy wanted to design a teddyland flag. The designs were drawn onto the reverse, non-shiny side, of some Reynolds freezer paper (from Cottonpatch) then cut out on my cutting mat with a craft knife.

The place where I wished I hadn't scrimped was with the 45p craft knife I bought, which wasn't keen on cutting curves into the freezer paper without leaving a jagged edge, but even so the stencils came out nice and crisply once the shiny side of the freezer paper was fused to the t-shirts with a hot dry iron.


Next on to the fun bit, cracking open the brightly coloured paints. A little bit really does go a long way and the paints really do seem to be superior quality to others I've tried, so worth the money even at £2.99 a pot in my local craft shop, they'll last for ages. The go on smoothly and evenly, then you just have to fix them in place with a hot iron once dry.


I definitely think stencils are the way to go for small people, as I can only imagine the mess we would have got ourselves in with a free-for-all approach! The most satisfying bit is peeling away the freezer paper for the final reveal.

before the final reveal
can you tell what it is yet?

Ta da!

boy t-shirt - teddyland flag
girl t-shirt - hearts

They can't wait to wear their creations. The girl is thinking of adding a necklace of buttons stitched around the neckline of the t-shirt, and maybe some sequins for a bit of razzle dazzle. The boy is planning his next t-shirt, teddy-themed once more, this time with a teddy on bicycle shooting a bow and arrow in space. Might be needing a better craft knife for that one!
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