Some unselfish sewing

I'm thrilled to report that our first glamping experience in Sunny was a marvellous success. After a very stressful week of registering, repairing alternators, breaking window winders, replacing window winders, losing hubcaps, finding hubcaps, being unable to start him up by myself, a triumphant commute to work, a husband with a week-long paracetomol-depedent fever and a zillion other preparations we headed off to Cape Patterson for a long weekend with some good friends. We had a super time, and I will post some pics as we get them from everyone, but todays post is all about unselfish sewing, including some projects that a great at using up little stash scraps. 

Sunny has taken over so much of my spare time lately that I've neglected a few gifts, including some bebe's and some birthdays. Today, being another 40 degree day, was the perfect time to finish a few of these off, in between the mountains of laundry after 3 days of glamping (strangely glamping is still a fairly grotty way to live - who'd have thought!). 

First up is a little dress for my cousin's new baby girl, born just before Christmas. This is a great little pattern and only uses a 1/2 metre (or yard) of woven fabric. I believe it is generally known as a pillow case dress, and it's simple to make and very cute. Obviously this will be too big for a newborn, but I don't doubt she'll have received many newborn things - I think it will fit her once she's about 8-10 months old, as a dress, and as she grows it can be worn as a top. I make it with french seams, bind the armholes and just make a simple casing for a neck tie - I suggest to the parents to sew a press-stud on the neck tie so it is never tied too tight against the child's neck. Another option would be to bind the arms holes in bias binding and leave the ends long to tie over the shoulders. I actually made this pattern off a dress belonging to a friend's little girl so I have no pattern to direct you to - I'd be happy to post some dimensions if anyone is interested. 

A very good friend of mine had her second baby boy last week, so I made one of these crazy little rabbits for him, and for my cousin's baby girl too. These are based on the Blossum Bunny softie, out of the book Softies. You can check out these Blossums by the original designer at this Flickr link. I think I've lent my copy of the book to someone so I had to make mine from memory/using pics online. 

My ears are slightly different, and I chose to curve the heads a little rather than being square across (they're weird enough as it is, without having square heads like Frankenstein). They're pretty cute, don't take too long and are great little bebe toys as they are narrow and have no bits to fall off and create choking hazards. I chose to finish the bases slightly differently - I didn't want to hand stitch the bottom on, so I made a little casing and drew it tight with some fine ribbon, then placed a little piece of denim in over the hole before stuffing and sewing them up:

These little bunnies are great at using up small little bits of fabric, as long as your friends don't mind slightly weird little things in their kids rooms. My friends and relatives are pretty used to me making odd looking, borderline creepy toys for their children now. 

Have you seen Lula Louise's blog? I like it a lot. She has an interesting mix of DIY projects, fashion inspiration mood boards, sewing projects, recipe links and some graphics projects. I like her style, and I like that she doesn't follow the trends of the sewing blogosphere - she finds and makes things that she loves, and suits her, and I admire that. Last week she posted a bag tutorial, inspired by another tutorial she found, for a slouchy triangle bag and I knew I had to try one. It's my friend's birthday today, so I whipped one up today as a bit of a trial run with some heavy printed Ikea cotton canvas in my stash. This pattern uses a bit of ingenious folding and as long as you stick to the ratio of 3:1 in terms of fabric length to width you can't go wrong. The only thing I did differently to Lula's tutorial, and the one she referenced, is to sew the bottom corners to add a little bit of structure to the base of the bag. I think this is a great bag to make as a gift. It would be awesome lined and in different sizes (would make a perfect knitting project bag too I think!). 

I used a little left over denim to make a handle. The most time was taken up hemming the fabric, and then arranging the folds to best set off the printed design - it's got 2 different sides:

My final unselfish project was actually finished before Christmas, but didn't really warrant a post by itself, so it gets tacked on at the end here. My aunt turned 60 just before Christmas, and she deserved something a bit special. I knew she'd love an Amy Butler Gum Drop pillow. I've made a few of these for friends over the years - they're not a cheap project, or light on materials, but they are spectacular.

I'd only ever made the smaller 18 inch size, but for my aunt lashed out on a 24 inch pillow. I used some fabric in my stash, alternating with calico which I strengthened with iron on interfacing before cutting out. This thing used about 5kg of stuffing - it's got to be stuffed firmly to get a nice shape, and the bulk of the cost is in the stuffing (about $40 worth). She was thrilled, and so was my cat who thought it the best thing to snooze on in the lead up to Christmas:

So that's it for unselfish sewing for the moment! My last two selfish makes have been disappointing, time wasting failures, and it was nice to finish a couple of successful makes today. I'm ready to get back into the selfish saddle and crack on with my glamping wardrobe! 


  1. Such beautiful gifts! That bag is spectacular - I especially love the way you positioned the print so differently on both sides, it's so striking. I haven't come across that blog before but I'll have to check it out.
    I bet your aunt felt very spoilt...and your cat looks very much like s/he'd like one of his/her own!
    Glad to hear you had such a great time away with Sunny :) Good luck with the laundry pile - at least it'll dry quickly at the moment...

    1. Thanks Danielle - I'm really pleased with the bag. Oh the laundry - all done thanks to the heat, I shudder to think what the laundry would be like after camping with kids!

  2. What lovely gifts. I'm with your cat: I especially like the pillow! Congrats on a successful glamping trip - looking forward to the photos.

    1. Thanks Andrea! She was a bit sad when I gave it away. Not enough padded surfaces in the house apparently.....

  3. Oh my gosh! I'm blushing. What sweet things to say about my blog. :) The perfect thing to read on Valentine's Day. Thank you! Your bag looks great! I love the yellow fabric.


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