Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Romantic Vivienne

You might have noticed I've been making quite a few baby garments in the past few months. Am I having a baby? No, or at least not yet... I just really like to make them. I love the cotton fabrics, the designs and the whole cuteness about it. Dresses, shirts, soft toys... I love to make them all.

One of my favorite patterns must be the Vivienne dress. You might remember I made a cute vintage lacy dress just a few months back. It looked so adorable I had to make another one. The pattern is very easy and downloadable from Burdastyle .

This time I went for a flowery cotton. I lined the dress with pink gingham to complement the romantic look.

 Now let's find a home for it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dania's dress

Oliver+S make one of my favorite children patterns. As there's nothing as rewarding as making a friend happy with a handmade gift I jumped on my friends request to make her a dress for her 3 year old daughter Dania. 

Dania loves pink so I was asked to make her a pink dress for an special occasion as they were invited to an engagement party.

I decided to make her Oliver+S's Seashore dress as I think it looks so adorable. I also thought that as the seashore dress is a nice sundress she would be able to wear it a lot.

I used a pink cotton with tiny white dots. I also added some pink decoration as a personal touch

My friend loved the dress and Dania looks adorable in her new pink frock...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Strawberry Champagne cupcakes

Two years ago on my wedding my husband and I chose for cupcakes instead of a big wedding cake. I think they look so much cuter than a plain old wedding cake and on top of the ease of not having to cut a cake for over 100 people made us to opt for delicious and oh so cute pink cupcakes. They ended up being a huge success and perfect for our party wedding.

Last week my friends Steve and Jo invited us to their house warming party. They had just moved into a brand new home and hosted a lovely dinner for a bunch of friends. We do feel kind of sad they sort of left us as they used to live just down the road. Now it's a 20 minute drive away...

So I wanted to make them a small home made present to congratulate them with their new house. And which sweet tooth out there doesn't like a nice cupcake?

I went with Peggy Porschen's Strawberry cupcakes as I'm very fond of her books. Actually, Peggy's Strawberry cupcakes are made with strawberry jam. When I found a jar of Fortnum and Mason's strawberry Champagne jam in my kitchen cupboard I knew exactely what I was going to make...

The cupcakes are very easy to make and you can find hundreds of recipes out there on the internet. The buttercream is what make these cupcakes so special.

You'll need: 250g of butter
                    250g of icing sugar
                    2 tablespoons of jam
                    foodcoloring (optional)

Mix the whole lot in a bowl on low speed until you get a smooth paste. Then continue to mix on high speed for a further 2 minutes.
As there are no eggs in the cream you can easily keep it in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

The finishing touch of my homemade gift must definitely be the box... I found these adorable cupcake boxes a while ago back home and I think they're actually as yummy as the cakes themselves!

The cupcakes, and especially the box were a instant success and we had a splendid time...

Monday, January 16, 2012

What car do you drive?

Yes, another sailboat top! This time I made a boys top. How can you not fall in love with this cotton?

You might remember I made the Oliver+S sailboat top about six months ago... I thought the top was so cute I wanted to make one for a boy too. 

All I need to do now is make a matching pair of trousers. I think a blue pair of sailboat trousers would look super cute...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Citronille sleeping bag

OK, time for another present! I found this Michael Miller fabric a while ago in the fabric souk in Dubai (Yes I did, can you believe it!).It's unbelievable what you can sometimes find in the textile markets of Dubai... I love Michael Miller and the fact that they only ask 10 dirhams for a meter (yes that's less than 2 euros!) only adds to my excitement.
Last year I discovered Citronille patterns. And they have been my favorite patterns ever since. I completely fell in love with their kids patterns as they beyond cute. I thought the Michael Miller fabric was perfect for their sleeping bag pattern.

I lined the sleeping bag with a super soft red colored cotton for a good night sleep...

Sweet dreams!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Le nouveau Brother est arrivé!

What was the last time you felt so excited you just wanted to scream, run around the house and kiss anyone withing a proximity of 10 meters? I just could not contain myself when 2 days ago this box arrived for me...

You might wondering what was in the box that got me so excited... Well, it's my brand new Brother 1500D sewing/ embroidery machine!!!!! Finally it arrived and gosh, did I have to wait for it! The sewing machine I owned was my very first sewing machine (Singer) which was basically falling apart. When I first started sewing my husband treated me to a sewing machine.But what do you buy... For someone without much experience it's hard to choose between all the different brands and models. And the Indian salesman didn't help much either. I mean the poor bloke didn't even know the difference between an overlock and a sewing machine! 
As a first sewing machine the singer did the job... it sewed! But that was about it. Nothing else. Nada.
So after a few quite productive years of sewing I was yearning for a "real" sewing machine. First I did my research. Which brand is good, what do I want from it, what functions do I like... the list is endless. I finally found what I was looking for... The Brother 1500D was what I wanted!

Basic Features
LCD Size (Horizontal x Vertical) inches    3.5 x 4.6
Display (Number of Colors)    Monochrome
Stitch Select    Touch panel
Screensaver    No
Opening Screen    Yes
On-Screen Help    Yes
Built-in Languages    Yes
On-Screen Editing    Yes
Realistic Preview    No
Lighting    5 LEDs
Number of Needles    1
Needle Threading System    Advanced
Thread Tension    Automatic
Easy Bobbin Winding    Yes
Adjustable Bobbin Winding Speed    Yes
Thread Sensor    Upper and Bobbin
Thread Sensor On/Off    No
Automatic Thread Cutter    Yes
Quick Set™ Bobbin    Yes
Full USB    No
Computer Connectivity with Update Capability    Yes
Mouse Capability by USB    No
Media Type    Embroidery Card

Sewing Features
Bed Area (depth x width) inches    6.8 x 11.4
Work Space (height & width) inches    4.5 x 8.2
Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute)    1,000
Knee Lifter    Yes
Feed Dog    7
Back to Beginning Key    No
Standard Presser Feet Included with Machine    11
Built-in Sewing Stitches (Includes Buttonhole Styles)    283
Buttonhole Styles    12 One-step
Built-in Sewing Lettering Fonts    3
Stitch Width    7mm
Stitch Length    5mm
My Custom Stitch™ Feature    Yes
Side Feeding    Yes
Start/Stop Button    Yes
Speed Controller    Yes
Twin Needle Setting Key    Yes
Needle Position Key (Up/Down)    Yes
Automatic Height Adjuster™ AHA® Feature    No
Presser Foot Pressure Adjustment    Yes
Presser Foot Leveling    Yes
Automatic Presser Foot Lifter    Yes
Pivot Function    No
Drop Feed/Free Motion    Yes
Free Motion Quilting Foot    Yes
Built-in Quilting Stitches    No
Included Quilting Feet    No
Free Arm    Yes
Table    Yes
Specialty Feet Included    Yes (Additional specialty feet may be available. See Optional Accessories)

Embroidery Features
Maximum Embroidery Area (X x Y)    6.25 x 10.25
Maximum Embroidery Speed (stitches per minute)    800
Built-in Embroidery Designs (non-license)    72
Built-in Embroidery Designs featuring Disney/Pixar® Characters    91
Built-in Frame Designs    10 Shapes x 12 Stitch Patterns
Trial Position/Layout Function    Yes
Pattern Rotating    1, 10, or 90 Degrees
Compatible with Brother Embroidery Software    Yes
Software Upgrades    Yes
iBroidery®.com - Ready    Yes. See for compatible designs

Carton Contents
Accessory Storage    Yes
Carrying Case    Hard cover
Included Accessory Feet    Walking foot, Side cutter foot, Quilting foot, Buttonhole foot, Blind Stitch foot, Button fitting foot, Monogramming foot, Embroidery foot, Zipper foot, Overcasting foot
Table    Yes
Other Included Accessories    Knee lifter, embroidery unit, accessory kit with needle set, twin needle, needle plate, extra spool pin, spool caps (3), spool net, bobbins (4), embroidery bobbin thread, screwdrivers (3), touch pen, bobbin case, eyelet punch, scissors, chalk pen, USB cable, power cord, Operation Manual
Included Embroidery Hoops    2 (10.25" x 6.25", 5" x 7") Additional hoops may be available, see Optional Accessories.
Foot Controller    Yes

Warranty    25 year limited warranty
UPC Code    012502613701
Machine Dimensions (H x W x D)    20.8" x 12" x 10.8"
Machine Weight    24.7 lbs
UL/CSA Listed    Yes, 110v
Compatible Media (requires separate purchase)    Direct link to IBM compatible computer

This machine really ticked all the boxes. Except from one... price! Even though the price-quality was quite reasonable, I just couldn't justify spending more than 2000 euros on a sewing machine... 
So I started looking on eBay. And I looked and looked and looked... It took me about 8 months to find the perfect secondhand machine!

And here she is...

Cool he! I've been very busy reading the operation manual inside out and I'm very excited about all the features of the machine. In particular the embroidery part is very intriguing as I'm new to it.I think I will take some classes though to get me started.
My first sewing project was meant to be a shirt for my husband but due to a last minute request of my friend it will be a dress for her little girl. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Treasure Trove

Bangkok, Bangkok... I love you so much! I've just come back from another holiday in Thailand. I love Thailand and Thailand loves me, what can I say... I just never get bored of this city. The food, the massages and pampering and, of course, the treasure hunting! Bangkok is such a paradise for sewers! And Pahurat is "the" place to be. It's very busy in the fabric heaven of Bangkok and I usually can't stay there for too long (thank God for my wallet) but I never leave disappointed... Whether you need fabric or notions, the place is packed with hot stuff. Let me show you what I found this time...

Kokka fabric
Cotton with birds
Thai silk
Handmade silk flower
Vintage style buttons

The buttons cost me about 8 euros for the whole lot. Silk is sold for about 5 to 10 euros, depending on the quality. Ribbon, rickrack and lace comes in hundreds of colors and costs about 2 euros for a pack of 36 yards! They certainly don't rip you off...

Now lets get started!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pattern party

Living in the Middle East has been a lovely experience for the past 10 years. It has its ups and down like any other place I guess but I've been pretty content with my life here in Dubai I must say.

Actually, as I've mentioned in the past, it's quite a sewing paradise! I don't know any other place in the world (and believe me, I've been to many!) with as many fabric and sewing shops in the world. There is such a wide selection of fabrics and haberdashery, mostly coming from India and the prices are incredibly cheap.

It's not always easy to get your hands on nice patterns though. Kinokuniya has a big selection of Japanese pattern books but apart from that it's quite hard to get your hands on sewing patterns. 
You can order them but it takes about 2-3 weeks to arrive and it usually costs you about twice the price you pay back home.

Needless to say how excited I was last week when I received an envelope with my order of patterns...

Colette's Clover trousers and Peony dress. Like many fellow vintage loving sewers I'm a great Colette fan. And I love dresses... The Peony dress looks very me so I can't wait to start on that one. The Clover trousers I chose because I've never made any trousers yet. I usually prefer wearing skirts and dresses for some reason and it's probably also the fear of the unknown that usually draws me away from trousers. I'm excited tough to give them a try!

I'm embarrassed  to admit that after all the stuff I've made myself I've never tried anything for my husband yet... I was going to make him something for Christmas this year however. That was until my sewing machine gave up... A new one is on the way so hopefully he will soon be glowing in a brand new Colette Negroni shirt!

Last but not least. I found this photo of a Marc Jacobs top which has been hanging on my mood board for the past 12 months. I really wanted to make something similar. When I spotted Sewaholic's Pendrell top I got really excited. It actually looks very similar and I reckon that with a few minor changes I can make it look pretty much the same!

To be continued...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Felt flower pillow

The festive season is nearly over and I'm still full of eggnog, turkey and cheese mixed with lots of Champagne. It's been a great time of celebration, joy and reflection on a fantastic year 2011 and I'm very curious about what 2012 has bring... It's definitely time to hit the gym again and burn those calories off!

As you might have read on my blog, this year I gave friends and family most of all homemade presents. I just think they're  more personal and so much fun to make.

I also received a few homemade pressies I want to share with you...

My friend Dharini made me this beautiful 3D felt flower pillow. I immediately fell in love with it! She told me she was inspired by a pillow she saw from The Pottery Barn...  The tutorial for the pillow came from Some day crafts ...

I really love edible presents too. Nothing nicer than biscuits or relish made with love. My friend Jo made me these yummy Italian biscottis and beetroot relish...

Thank you dear friends for a perfect Christmas!


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