Tag Archives: Sewing

Clothing for the grandbub

Well, dear reader, another long silence has passed. Occasionally someone says they have been worried about me because of the silence on this blog. Please don’t worry, I am not ill. I just don’t seem to be feeling to urge to write for the blog. World events (and those closer to home) sometimes have me feeling that I should write about something more important, and at a loss as to what to say without extended ranting… And my lifelong efforts to warp the space/time continuum seem to be continuing, meaning that I am destined always to be a busy person. Anyway, here I am today, In Brisbane under lockdown, sharing an apartment with my beloved and her elderly parents, and suddenly everyone is sleeping, and here am I looking at something I drafted in about October. Maybe this blog is destined to end sometime this year, but let’s see how things unfold for now… with this months-old post. For those outside Australia, we are now in our autumn and this post was written before our summer began in all its heat.

My daughter has turned down almost all offers to make things for the beloved grandbub, until very recently, when she said she wasn’t able to find cool, sun protective clothing (long sleeves, pants with long legs), and the grandbub is on the tall and slim side for much store bought (and hand me down) clothing. So, I started with a pattern I already had, and a pillowcase that came my way via a Buy Nothing group interaction.

These were the same kind of thing: a pattern I had, and some fabric I’d been given. I sent them over, and the shirt pretty clearly was not ideal, while the pants were “perfect” (with maybe a bit less elastic). This was stash elastic too–an elderly friend who died left me some of her stash and each time I use her seam binding or elastic, I send Joyce a thank you, wherever she may be.

As the pants worked out well, I knocked out some more. The top two pairs are made from the edge of a high quality doona cover I was given by someone on Buy Nothing–we were talking about something else when she offered me fabric scraps for Boomerang Bags. I think she would approve of some of it going to this! But the two on top. Well. I do not need more fabric, and I was interested to see that I felt ungenerous making all the grandbub’s clothes from what I already have. None of it is especially cute. None calls out “small child”. So I, um, bought some more. Not rational. But there it is, I invested in some more fabric in small quantities because I want my daughter to know I think she is special and her child is special. Even though, if she does not know that already–it seems unlikely this purchase will solve the problem!

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Recycled Jeans

In 2020 I began to receive what I have been laughingly calling “commissions”. It began with some socks and some mending, but it seems to be increasing in a rather interesting and pleasing way!

It is a rare kind of person who asks if you will reproduce their favourite cotton shirt, but in denim from old jeans. Yet, this happened! I admit, I was a bit intimidated at the thought of constructing plackets from denim, for a start. But I called to ask the questions I needed to reassure myself about attempting the task, and then I began. I ripped a LOT of jeans into component parts. I ran out of those I had been given and called out on the local Buy Nothing group, and got a pile of someone’s husband’s cast off jeans.

Step 1: draft a pattern. This is not my first attempt to draft a pattern from a finished garment, but it is always instructive to make things for other people. It tells me about the limits of my confidence, for a start. And, it is fair to say I don’t make perfect things! After a lot of checking and re checking (I love how I’ve written my reasoning on the pattern as I go here), I had a pattern. Step 2: cut out the component parts from jeans, and then patchwork jeans together to create pieces big enough for the bigger components. This is not a small shirt, it’s a really big one.

Eventually it started to come together. One of the big design decisions was settling on how to finish seams inside, to prevent fraying and ensure strength–but also, given the huge number of seams–to ensure they would not be too bulky. Solution: zigzag the layers of the seam allowance together, then topstitch flat. Honestly, another design decision was taking the person whose shirt this was to become seriously. Taking seriously what they wanted and what they cared about. Surely this is at the heart of a bespoke garment…?

Then began the construction process. I have never made a shirt with this kind of front placket, but I figured it was essentially just like the one on a cuff, only larger. Reverse engineering the plackets gave me a lot of pause (by which I mean, anxiety!) But succeeding in generating the pattern and then creating them made me feel highly competent. Just as well I’m not too convinced my emotions should be in the drivers’ seat of my life, or I’d stay in bed every day and sew only simple stuff forever, apparently.

I warmed up on the sleeve plackets.

Then the front placket and the pocket and such…

On with the sleeves… then on with the cuffs. And pretty soon, it was all done. The time consuming jeans-acquiring and -ripping part was a significant part of the entire time I spent making this garment.

I can’t say that I managed a good image of the whole thing. I’ve struggled with images at times on this blog: the things that take most time and effort to create in sewing and knitting are the hardest to photograph well. But here are attempts. I have to say that I admire the grunt of my machine (and the effectiveness of a jeans needle) in getting through pleats set into a cuff in denim and other similar feats.

Happiest moment of all was the review from the recipient, however! What a grin.

And I am all the more confident… because he wanted a second one. Here it is from the back…

And from the front.

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Other things

Dear readers, here is a little post I wrote and overlooked weeks ago, while I try to create some new posts 🙂

This is just a little round up of things at my house in the last few weeks, that aren’t especially crafty. I pruned the lime tree. Also the nectarine and the peach, but they are not fruiting! I used the sugar I had and made marmalade. Then later my parents were shopping and brought me more so I made a second batch!

I got a crisis call for support from someone new to town who needed seeds. Into the post!

Our suburb is showing the love and solidarity with rainbows. So I made this. The last two triangles are made from a friend’s dead jeans, given to me for reuse!

I opted out of the toilet paper drama in this country for the most part, with a reused squirt bottle and some dead t shirts. Thanks to the friends who posted about this and inspired me.

The slow conversion of indigo dyed fabric to hankies continues and was massively assisted by new ‘fine’ needles and a service of my sewing machine.

I mail ordered prepaid postage satchels when it became clear that I wouldn’t be seeing some people for a long while. I could not resist this Australia Post postcard. Although it depicts the biggest open cut mine in the hemisphere (apologies if some other horrible project has since overtaken it)–it has been made to look like a work of art. Many years ago I went there (Kalgoorlie, WA) with a friend on our way to Perth. I had not really understood what the SuperPit was even though I’d known many open pit mines, and when my friend asked where we used to live–I had to point into the hole that had swallowed the entire town, many other mines, the house we used to live in, and so much more…

Finally, success with (dwarf) dyer’s coreopsis!

And there you have my little photographic round-up…

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A book for the grandbub

There is a thing that’s happening a lot lately. Like the day I thought I’d work on a quilt, and then I constructed most of this book. And the next day, when I thought I’d finish the book, but actually made a yoga bolster out of old jeans. Go figure.

But in the end, things get made and it’s all good and no one else cares about what order things happen in, most days!

I think it was just that a memory of a book a little bit like this from my own childhood came floating through my mind, and I’m the kind of person who acts on those thoughts!

So I got choosing and cutting and ripping up old pillowcases and stitching, and ended up with this, which I hope will brighten some days and be impossible to pull apart!

And there you have it, a book for the grandbub, who is way too little to be learning to count. At the moment!

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Beloved trees

This tree has had several beloved tree banners in the last few years. This one is well and truly eucalypt dyed at this stage, and the fact that it is made of biodegradable fabrics is showing too.

I had been planning a new banner for a bit, and found companions for the ceremony one fine evening. So we added a new one.

So now it has two banners!

And the tree is as glorious as ever. Long may it stand.

river red gum

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Filed under Craftivism, Eucalypts, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures, Sewing