Skip to content
July 16, 2013 / silvernswan

Pocket Nappy

I’ve been struggling for sewing time recently. I felt really productive in the first part of the year, but since May my two littlies have stopped napping at the same time. In June, I started providing inhome childcare to another little one 3 days a week, further cutting down on sewing time (oh, but hey, I’m earning money :-)).

I had grand plans of making a beautiful vintage style coat this winter, I have both the fabric and the pattern and have even made a muslin. I had hoped to cut it out when we had a social sewing afternoon at Made on Marion a few weeks back (June 23rd to be precise). Sadly I realised that there is no way I would have time to complete a coat this winter and I’ve deferred it to next winter. So I took along my mending pile (not so big) and one pocket nappy to sew up.

Back in early 2011 I did a huge bulk sewing mission and made 16 of these things, so I am puzzled as to why I had a single one left cut out but not sewn. I had intended to take photos to document the process of sewing this together, however I was frustrated with my lack of sewing time and just went ahead and whipped this up.


I drafted this pattern from a borrowed pre-made one, but I don’t remember the brand. This style has fitted my boys from around 6 months and still fits my getting-close-to-3 year old (both tall and slender babies though).


The particular nappy I copied had an opening in the front as well as the back, and I am really glad I included this feature in my nappies, it makes it much less fiddly to get the liners in and out.


All my nappy supplies have come from GreenBeans, and they are great. They are a New Zealand company so postage is good and they have free patterns and lots of helpful information on their site. I think the cost of the nappies worked out at around $5 each, and at the time this kind of nappy in the shop was around $20.

July 10, 2013 / silvernswan

Yet another curtain (keeping out the winter cold)

As I mentioned in my previous post about curtains, I am a big fan of them for their insulating properties. Both our front and back doors are mostly glass and a bit drafty, so I want to put curtains over them in winter. After purchasing the last of the roll to make my dining room curtains and kitchen blind, I was pleasantly surprised to find more of it recently, and bought enough for one full length drop to go over our back door (which is at the end of the kitchen along with a laundry alcove, hence the laundry bucket in the picture).


The curtain rail is small and attached just below the ceiling moulding so it won’t be very noticeable in summer if we choose not have a curtain up then.


I was really glad we had this up during the severely stormy weather a couple of weeks ago. There was a strong draft coming through the door (and water blowing in under it) but the curtain stopped it completely.

Opps, you can see the lining is longer than the curtain here; I was waiting to see whether the fabric would drop at all before trimming the lining. The lining doesn’t need hemming, so I will just cut it in situ when I get around to it. . .

July 8, 2013 / silvernswan

WSBN Burda Sew Along – maroon corduroy pants


Pattern: Burda Magazine, October 2012, number 139

Fabric: 2.5m

Cut:  Early May

Sewn: Early – 18th May, and then reworked a week later. . .

Alterations made:

  • Took in side & inseams by about 3mm

Successful: No, oh and yes because I have actually been wearing them. I’ve really struggled to write this post as I have been so unenthused about how these pants turned out. I have been wearing them because I love the fabric, but I am careful to wear them with tops as long as I can find to cover the waist/hips/bottom!

DSC02806I DSC02807initially basted them together as I was worried about them fitting. Bet they seemed rather on the big side and so I decided to take in the side seams a little when sewing them properly.

You can tell from the basting pictures that the front pleats are not a great look on me – or the cord. I wish as this stage I had drafted them out or turned them into darts, but instead I opted just to sew them down. A mistake I’ll learn from, I’ll never make pants with front pleats again!

DSC02842DSC02843There is one small feature of these pants that I do like. I used teal satin to line the pockets and them also to face the hems. It was one thing that made me smile when I was sewing them up.

For your amusement, here is the waistband front & back on the first outing of these pants. The section at the back with the gathers in the waistband was supposed to be elasticated, but I had cut the waistband too short, so I gathered the back into the waistband. I crotch adjustment I had done was obviously wrong so I got the weird bulge in the back.

   DSC02840 DSC02841

A day or so later I realised that the pants were overall to long in the crotch and I didn’t like where they were sitting. I cut the waistband off and sewed another on a bit lower. I also cut off the extra fabric making the bulge at the back. This time I added in the elastic.

OK, so now the pants feel better and so I got my partner to take a photo of them for me. But no, sadly they looked even worse from the back than the first photos. **sad, sad face**

So after working on these pants for about a month, and taking over a month to write a post on them, thats about all I want to say. May this chapter of my sewing life be considered over!

May 27, 2013 / silvernswan

WSBN Burda Sew Along – Wrap top


Pattern: Burda Magazine, January 2013, number 130

Fabric: 1.5m firm/heavy cotton knit (originally purchased with the intention to make a t-shirt)

Cut: 17th May

Sewn: 18th May

Alterations made:

  • Full bust adjustment
  • Made short sleeve as I didn’t have enough fabric for long sleeves

Successful: OK, so it turns out that I like the look of wrap tops a bit more than I actually like wearing them, but the sewing was successful and I am happy with how it looks. The tops works quite well for breastfeeding, but I do need to re-think the bow in the front when changing pooey nappies.

Hard as it was for me to adjust to the pattern not including seam allowances (don’t cut to the pattern, don’t cut to the pattern, don’t cut to the pattern!), it is quite handy when coming to doing pattern alterations. As was having the pattern on interfacing. See, here is the full bust adjustment pinned in place which is how it was when I cut my fabric out. After the top came together OK I went back and sewed the inserts to the pattern – much easier than paper and tape.


I was in a bit of a hurry when I made this, my self-imposed deadline was the 19th of May to wear to the WSBN meet-up (and yum cha!). In the week previous my kids had stopped napping at the same time, and I had been un-joyfully slogging away at my corduroy pants (to be blogged about soon). So this got whipped together in one evening mostly on the overlocker, I only used the sewing machine for the darts and hem.

DSC02870 I also neglected to leave the gap to thread the ties through and added it a few days later. Here’s my quick and lazy fix, don’t unpick the seam, just add a slightly re-inforced hole next to it!

I had left it out partly because of the time issue, and partly because I wasn’t sure which side it should be on. I’m strongly left-handed and tend to do things in the opposite direction to most people. Turns out I did want it on the “wrong” side. Hmm, I just checked and mine is crossed the same direction as the one on the Burda website, so when their instructions say to put the hole on the right, they mean the right of garment when you are looking at it, not where the right is when you are wearing it? Ack! I struggle enough with left & right as it is.


Thanks to FlossieFT for the fun photos!

May 24, 2013 / silvernswan

Cherry shirt

This is my third incarnation of Simplicity 1941, the first was my 70′s shirt and the second my polka dot shirt.


Pattern: Simplicity 1941, view B

Fabric: Cotton 2m @ $8/m

Cut: 1st April

Sewn: 23rd – 26th April

Alterations made:

  • Wide shoulder adjustment 15-20mm
  • Folded pleats out of sleeve when cutting out
  • Added 3-4cm length in waist
  • Added interfacing in placket
  • Used snaps instead of buttons

Successful: Yes.

I cut this shirt out at the same time as the red polka dot one, which at the time was efficient, but turned out to be unfortunate as there were some more alterations I would have liked to have done around the shoulder, bust and arm scythe.

I sewed the shoulder seam with a narrow allowance which gave me an extra 15mm and lowered the bust point sufficiently (I had only realised it was too high after I finished my last version of this shirt). I then had to sew narrow seams for the ends of the collar giving me an extra 15mm and luckily the collar eased on OK (as I had added 30mm in total to the neckline). There was already a bit of ease in the sleeve cap, so adding length to the arm scythe didn’t matter.

To get the sleeves sitting better as I knew I had cut them a slightly odd shape, I pin basted and tried on, then hand basted and tried on, and then finally sewed.


Here you can see the clear snaps I used on the front. I had to use white snaps on the underside as clear snaps all the way through create a small clear peep hole where the studs go through the fabric.


And I used self covered fabric buttons for the sleeve detail. And, yes, I did carefully consider the colour combination when covering them 🙂  IMG_3411Thanks to Kat for the lovely photo shoot! (Taken up at Massey Memorial Hall)

May 11, 2013 / silvernswan

Navy hoodie


Pattern: McCalls 6614, view D

Fabric: Navy cotton sweatshirting (purchased for $10/m off trademe)

Cut: 7th April

Sewn: 20th – 23rd April

Alterations made:

As you can see from the pictures, Mr R is tall and of slender build. He normally buys a size large in tops to get enough length and they end up looking too big for him and are still not long enough anyway. This hoodie is made up in a medium, with 7cm length added to the body and 5cm to the sleeves.

Successful: Very. Mr R is very pleased with this hoodie and loves wearing it. He was quite sad when it had to go through the wash the other day as he didn’t get to wear it that day. He has received several compliments on it and people express surprise at it being home made. Apart from a bit of hand sewing on the zip facing, this is a really quick and simple pattern – so I’ve got a really good feel-good return on this top.

I might have enough fabric left over to make him view C as well (maybe without the hood). I’m going to be on the lookout for good quality sweatshirting from now on, as this is a really good basic wardrobe staple, and I would like to make him more.

I did make one minor boo-boo – the neck has stretched and is much?/somewhat larger than it should be. The instructions to stay stitch the neck line were just before the hood is sewn on, and after the body has been constructed so the garment had already been handled alot by that stage. Next time I will stay stitch right away and maybe add tape to hold the neckline too.


May 9, 2013 / silvernswan

One hour kids pants

As the weather is turning colder, I wrangled little Master F (2 1/2) into some long pants the other day. Only they turned out to be about capri length or less on him. We have been the very lucky recipients of a generous amount of hand-me-downs from my extended family and I went through our stash and discovered that we do have enough pants for him in size 3, so I don’t really need to make any. However I had already found and downloaded this lovely kids pants pattern from Dana made it which I wanted to try out. I was also hoping that if I made some pants in fabric he picked he would be more likely to wear them. This is the boy would says he would rather be cold than wear clothes. . . and he can take them off by himself.

The first & test pair and was made from some soft stretch cord in tan/brown (stash busting). I timed myself when I made the second pair and from cutting out to completely finished took under an hour. I have the feeling I’m a bit of a slow sewer, so they could be quicker.


It was quite hard to get a decent photo of him wearing them as they are all action shots!


Oh, how I wish I could squat like that!


You may be able to make out the hems is this shot, they are a good 6 or 7 cm long which is great! I haven’t managed to get any shots of him wearing the second pair, here is a picture of the fabric which we picked together. Another light corduroy with monkeys on it (monkeys!).