Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Another shirt transformation

I got this shirt from a relative and at first I tried to wear it as is. However, it was way too big for me and since the colour was not good for my skin tone either, I decided to transform it to a shirt for Emma. I tried to keep the original idea and just make it smaller, a LOT smaller, but it did not work out that well. I had some problems with the collar, even though it really does not show well in this picture. It is still wearable, though.

Oh, by the way, she is also wearing the capri pants I made her earlier.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

More nightwear

I know, too many pyjamas and such, but these I have been making lately, since Emma needs new ones. This one I actually made before Christmas already, but since I was not blogging at that time, I could not show this then : ) The fabric is again leftovers from bead linen set my mother made Emma, but this time there was not enough fabric to make full lenght pants. I did not like the Moomin fabric, or actually the colour, but it seems that lace can do wonders. I actually liked the end result very much! The tee is store bought, I just added some ruffles to the front.

The pictures are a bit dark, but I took the pictures after dark (Emma's bedtime...) and my camera is not the greatest. Emma's poses are once again her own, I really don't understand where she gets those!

Friday, 26 March 2010


I made this hobby horse for Emma over a year ago and she still likes it. I guess a princess needs her horse : ) I just wish that the horse sounds she makes would be a bit more subdued...

My husband drew the horse head ( he is better at drawing) and I came up with the ears and mane. and drew the patterns. Emma actually had found the stick from nearby woods earlier and was quite happy to let me use it for the hobby horse. I used quite thick wool yarn for the mane, so that it would not get tangled easily. Sewing the head was a bit difficult because of the thick wool yarn, but in the end I managed to sew it without breaking my sewing machine.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

A tutu lamp

One day I was cleaning Emma's room and found her tutu in the middle of the floor. I picked it up and it reminded me of something... A lamp shade! I immeadiately realized that I needed a tutu lamp in our bedroom. My husband was a bit hesitant at first, since he is very safety-concious and wanted to make sure I was not going to burn our home down. Haha, very funny. Naturally burning down anyone's home was not my plan here, so I asked for his help in figuring out the fire safety issues. He then helped me to find a suitable lamp frame to use as a base for the tutu lamp and naturally we bought energy-efficient light bulbs for the lamp itself. In addition to being environmentally friendly, those light bulbs do not heat so much, so the risk of setting some tulle alight was even lower. I know, boring... But ever so safety-concious!

Anyway. Here is the lamp.

It was quite difficult to take pictures of it, but I can assure you that we all love it very much. It adds some fun and romance to our bedroom and I think everyone could always use a bit more of those :)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Ruffles - my entry to Disney's lovely competition!

I got very excited a few weeks ago: Disney at the Ruffles And Stuff is hosting a competition with amazing prizes and I knew I just had to take part. My head has been buzzing with ideas, but unfortunately, I have not had so much time to create anything. Finally I decided on making a simple ruffle top for Emma. The competition is all about ruffles, so to make the top a bit more ruffly, I also made a ruffle brooch to go with the top. I have seen some entries in Disney's blog and there are some really amazing stuff being created. So, what do you think? Is this ruffly enough?

I had a hard time choosing what picture to post here, so I added all I took (minus one with a big cheesy fake smile...). I know the outfit is a bit ridiculous at this time of the year, but Emma refused to take off the tights, and the shorts were the only item in her wardrobe I could think of matching with the top, and I do realize they are not the best combinaison.  I think I must sew something a bit nicer to wear with the top!

Oh, and could someone please tell my four-year-old that she does not need to try look so grown up in photos??  Her only reply to me was that she is not four but four and a half! Right.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Nightgown for Emma

Time for a book review again :) This time I grabbed one of my newest finds, Happy homemade wardrobe vol. 2 Kids, since I think it has all the basic clothes a child needs for a summer.  As all the other books I have, this one is mainly concentrated on girls' clothes, but it does have some unisex clothes in it.


Happy homemade wardrobe, vol. 2
ISBN 978-4-579-11243-2
Paperback: 55 pages
Publisher: Bunka Shuppan Kyoku (May 2009)
Language: Japanese
Clothes for sizes 100-130cm

There are dresses, shirts, pants and shorts, and the patterns are very simple and instructive pictures are very clear. As always, the pictures in this Japanese sewing book are lovely. I decided to make a dress for Emma, but since we are still in the middle of the winter, I decided to use flannel and make it a night gown instead. The dress looks a bit like a night gown, so just changing the fabric was enough.


Here is the end result. Pink flannel was very nice to work with and I think this gown is warm enough to use in winter time. Emma was not very cooperative (putting on sleepwear in the daytime, what was I thinking?), but I managed to take one picture. I bribed her with liquorice :)

Friday, 19 March 2010

Two from one

Initially, I was only planning to make capri pants to Emma from a grey shirt that I got from my mother-in-law. I made the pants from the body of the shirt and since there was so much fabric left in the sleeves, I decided to make a mini skirt as well. Boring shirt, not so boring skirt! I appliqued both the pants and the skirt, since otherwise Emma would not have worn them. The apliquees are from an Ikea fabric, that I bought when Emma was a baby and made some sheets for her crib from it. Apologies for the bad pictures, Emma wanted to wear the skirt immediately and I got to take a picture of it only after a whole day's use. I could have ironed it, though... Sorry!

Oh, one more thing. I did not use any pattern for the skirt and the pattern for the pants is the same that I used to make Emma's pyjama pants (basicly an old pair of Emma's pants cut to pieces..).

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Crocheted necklace

Marche Special Crochet Goods
Paperback: 79 pages
Publisher: Nihon Vogue Sha (October 2009)
Language: Japanese
24 Crochet projects (brooches, hair accessories, bags, collars, etc)

I bought this Japanese crochet book, Marche Special Crochet Goods, in a whim and when I received it, found it a bit boring. It did not have that many ideas and the crochet patterns were a bit difficult to grasp. At least the pictures were pretty and inspirational, as always, and I decided to try making something from it. I settled to the easiest project: making a necklace from crocheted beads. I used leftover yarns from Hello Kitty bag and dishcloths so I did not have a lot of colours to choose from. I did okay anyway, didn't I? :)

Next time I will use a bit more stuffing in the beads. Now the are a bit too soft and don't hold their shape that well. Making crocheted beads was so easy that I might just have to make several necklaces!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Tutus everywhere

The blogospshere is full of tutus and Emma loves ballet. Therefore, I needed to make her a tutu. Simple as that :) I found simple instructions and nice pictures from ambrosialove's Flickr photostream and bought a lot of tulle to make the tutu.

I involved Emma in the project and let her choose colours. She was so happy! Surprisingly, she did not pick pinks and reds, but instead opted for mint green, lilac and white. Nice combinaison of colours! She also decided that the tutu would be a part of her fairy costume, so she also wanted mint green fairy wings. I could not find mint green wings anywhere, but luckily lilac ones were easier to find and I bought those. Actually, I probably should have made those mint green wings myself, but I felt a bit lazy...

Here she is, very happy with her new fairy costume!



Saturday, 13 March 2010

Once upon a time...

My daughter has been asking me to buy her a princess dress. Since I absolutely hate spending any money on those shiny polyester dresses that are available in stores, I decided to make one myself. I mean, how hard can it be? Some tulle, some fabric and probably some lace and sparkly bits, that's what princess dresses are made of.

Since the dress was for my lovely Princess Emma, I involved her in the design process. We borrowed some books from the library for inspiration and set to work. We especially liked this book by Lenée Grue and Line Watt, Prinsessakirja.

Emma definitely knew what she wanted. She wanted puff sleeves, a flowing skirt and some sparkly bits, preferably in pink. That was the easy part. I also had my own vision of the dress in my mind and selfishly chose the fabrics. I chose green fabric for the bottom part of the dress and Emma protested. Pink, pink, pink she argued. Then I remembered that her favourite princess of all times is Princess Fiona from Shrek and that helped: Princess Fiona wears green! She also IS green, but I did not want to give Emma any ideas and did not mention that :)

Here she is, Princess Emma!

The dress in made entirely of repurposed fabrics. The green skirt is an old sheet, the pink fabric is from an 80's shirt my mother gave me and the white crown is made from leftovers of a shirt I used to make Emma a shirt dress. Oh, and the waist is made from an old linen napkin. I did not use any particular pattern for the dress, but I did use some different top patterns to make the sleeves and the body. I bought the crown from a craft fair, but I cannot remember the name of the maker and there is no label on the crown. 

Thursday, 11 March 2010

From a granny shirt to a sweet dress

I like rummaging through stuff at fleamarkets, but I only buy things, if I can really justify the purchase. At one time, I kept buying lots of men's shirts to make dresses for Emma, but then I realised that I already had too many and the piles of shirts are still in my closet, waiting to be used. So I stopped. But then I saw this quite ugly shirt and I immediately knew it had some potential. It cost me two euros, so not the cheapest of finds, but I decided to buy it anyway. I had been planning to make a dress for Emma's friend as a birthday present and this was going to be it.

Here is the shirt, isn't it depressing! There is one, slightly bigger flower embroidery in the back and I decided to use the back side as the front of the dress.

I used a pattern I had for the top part of the dress and the bottom half was made from a fabric scrap my mother had given me. It was barely enough, but I think this dress is still kind of sweet, just like the girl who got it. Oh, and the pockets are aligned nicely, they just seem a bit warped in this picture.


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Japanese craft books, part 2

My plan is to feature all my Japanese craft books, one by one, with examples of the clothes and crochet works that I have made. This is now the second post on the books and - surprise, surprise - the second book! I know, I am not very funny, but at least I am trying very hard... Or not. Sigh.

This time I am featuring a book that I was a bit disappointed with at first, but learnt to love. The patterns, although there are only a few, work and have something extra in all of them.


Shirley Temple Handmade Clothes
ISBN 978-4-7661-1778-3
Paperback: 79 pages
Publisher: Graphic Sha (March 2007)
Language: Japanese
Clothes for sizes 100-130 cm

The book has only a handful of clothes patterns and the rest of the pages are filled with accessories. The theme is obviously Alice's adventures in Wonderland, even though the book title suggests something Shirley Temple themed. I Googled a bit and it seems that Shirley Temple is a children's clothing brand and is not actually meant to define the content of this book, except that the clothes are definitely cute. It also has a sister line, Emily Temple Cute , which is meant for grown ups.  The latest Shirley Temple collection was introduced in the shortcoco. magazine (You gotta love the name!), vol. 13. That's an interesting looking magazine and I might just have to order one from Amazon.  Oh, the dangers of Google - You end up spending money on stuff you didn't even know existed! Anyway, back to the book. To my dismay, some of the nicest garments in the book are not included in the patterns, but luckily they can still be used for inspiration. For example, there is no pattern for the dress in the cover, only the top hat hair piece is featured.


I made a pair of capri pants for Emma. The fabric is actually an old pillow cover and the rest are also repurposed cloth pieces. These are a bit small for her, so for next summer I will need to make a bigger pair. I loved these!

By the way, that was Emma's favourite pose last summer. I have no idea where it came from!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Crocheted dish cloths

Bamboo is a very trendy material, it seems. I have seen many articles praising bamboo's excellent qualities and also heard that bamboo yarn makes excellent dish cloths. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial and it also dries fairly quickly. I bought a few really nice bamboo dishcloths from Pino, but they were outrageously expensive! That got me thinking... After some research I realized that I could crochet them myself, I bought some yarn and here are the end results:


The yellow yarn is Sublime Bamboo & Pearls with 70% bamboo and 30% pearls. Lovely yarn, although a bit pricey. The dish cloth works very well, but the cloth shrank quite a bit in the wash. Next one I make needs to be bigger, so that there is room for shrinkage. The green yarn is Novita Bamboo (68 % bamboo/ 32 % cotton). Also very nice and works well. The yarn is also a couple of euros cheaper than Sublime yarn, so I think we have a winner :)

I have now made several dishcloths: pink, white, green and yellow. They are very quick to make and really usable! The pattern is very simple and very basic, that's all I can do :)

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Pyjama pants

My mother made new bed linen for Emma from a pink Hello Kitty fabric. Emma loved the sheets (Um, Hello Kitty AND pink, how can one go wrong with those?) and I took the fabric scraps even though I didn't have any idea what to make from them. To be completely honest, I do not like to use fabrics that have cartoon (or tv or whatever) characters in them, I kind of feel like they take all the attention from the actual garment or it's wearer away. Or that they block my creativity. I don't know... Pretty stupid, I know!

Bearing that in mind, I did not like to see that fabric in my scrap pile. Emma was in desperate need of new pyjamas, so I decided to use the Hello Kitty fabric to make her a pair of jammies. They actually turned out quite nice!

I did not use any particular pattern but used an old pair of pants that I cut to pieces as the pattern.

I made one mistake, though. I didn't wash the fabric before I made the pants. I bet you can guess what happened... Yep. They shrank! Luckily I made them extra long, so even after the shrinking, the pants were still usable. I will never make the same mistake again!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Japanese craft books

I don't remember when I first set my eyes on Japanese sewing books but ever since I have been hooked. I am always looking for a new one, something with new ideas and - above all - lovely pictures. The books are so simple and stylish, and the patterns so very easy and beautiful.

This is the first one I bought.

 Girls Style book
ISBN-10: 4579111818
    ISBN-13: 978-4579111817
Paperback: 87 pages
Publisher: Bunka Shuppan Kyoku (March 2008)
Language: Japanese
24 Full-size patterns of girls' clothes (sizes 100 - 140cm tall) 

The book has lovely images and very easy sewing projects: dresses, tunics, blouses, pants and accessories. I made this top (model M) for Emma from a vintage fabric I found from my mother's fabric stash.


It was really simple and still I managed to get something wrong: I forgot to attach the sleeves... Luckily it did not really matter, I like this top anyway. Oh, by the way, the hanger is from the time I was a baby. A long time ago.... I got a set of those when I was a baby and love them still. I would like to get more of them, so if anyone knows where to find these, let me know.

Emma liked the top but did not want to model in a picture. Here are some shots I took when we were waiting for a bus - I felt like a spy, since I did not want her to see that I was photographing her!


Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Hello Kitty bag

A year ago I would not have even dreamed of crocheting anything and did not even want to. I am very impatient, so I want to see results immediately and crocheting takes time. But then I won the box of doilies from an auction and my creative juices got the better of me. I started to search ideas for using the doilies in craft projects. I found very nice and inspiring crocheting blogs and many Flickr groups full of crocheted goodness. Then I realized that my doilies were not enough, I wanted something else. I was especially smitten by some really cute Hello Kitty accessories and I wanted to make those for Emma. After a long search I finally found what I was looking for and ordered a crafts book called Hello Kitty Pompom and Knit Goods  from eBay, bought some yarn from a Finnish yarn shop, Lankaidea, and got to work.

It took me almost three months to finish this one, since I only made a few squares here and then, and never seemed to have the time to actually concentrate on this. Then one day I realized that I had more than enough Hello Kitty squares ready and it was time to assemble the bag.

This is the end result. I am very happy and proud that I managed to make this. My friends couldn't believe that it was handmade and by me :) The lining and handles are my own design, since I did not like the original design.

The yarn I used is Mandarin Petit (from Sandnes), colours 1001 white, 2004 yellow, 4505 pink and 4301 light pink. The lining is light pink flannel, leftovers from a night gown I made for Emma.

Here is a close up of a Kitty square:

Since I had more squares than I needed for the bag, I decided to make some coin purses as well. A while ago I ordered some zippers from an Etsy seller and even though the colours are lovely, I had a little mishap with unit conversions. I ordered zippers that were too short to use in any of my clothes-making projects. After making these two coin purses, I only have 48 short zippers left... Any ideas what to make with those?

Monday, 1 March 2010

A little skirt - with a bird!

I am a big fan of Marimekko, especially their fabrics. I cannot pass their sales, it is quite impossible and I get this urge to buy a few meters of fabric every time. I never seem to be able to make anything from them, since they are so precious to me. Silly me! This time I decided to make a skirt for Emma and was determined to make a dent to my fabric stash by using one of my Marimekko finds. Her favourite shirt at the moment is green ( a welcome aversion from pink) and that shirt definitely needed a pretty skirt to match.

I did not use any patterns, since most skirts are so simple to make anyway. Just cut a rectangular shap of fabric, sew it together from sides and add elastic to the waist. Done! 

I chose Karmiini fabric in red, pink and green. I love the fabric, it is so versatile! I am planning to use it in other projects as well.


I also bought the fabric in turquoise and love that too. Very fresh, I think I am going to make a dress for Emma, I have the perfect pattern for that.

I liked the basic skirt but somehow it lacked something. I added some ric-rac to the hem and appliqued a white birdie to the skirt as well. Here it is, very simple and very cute :)

I also made the little brooch she is wearing. It is made from an old button and some fabric scraps.


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