Category Archives: Pieces of Us Project

Little Bitty Crazy Houses

Remember the Pieces of Us Project that I was working on? Where I’d make a little soft toy from scraps left over each time I completed a project?

Yeah, well, I’m not quite sure what happened or why, but I kinda dropped the ball on that. Which makes me rather sad. 😦

But all is not lost! It’s time to kick back into it, and get those little softies heading out into the world, making new friends and bringing smiles to strangers!

And to start off, here’s two I finished tonight – Red House and Blue House.

House Softies | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I used a pattern from the book Softies (which now seems to be called “Softies only a mother could love“?) Nice and fast and easy and one I enjoy making, have made before, and almost certainly will make again.

Red House Softie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The black-and-white linen/cotton blend that I used for their “roof”, arms and legs is leftover from my Corporate Hipster blazer. The blue with white print is from my Melissa dress. Heck knows where the red poplin is from, I just pulled it from my scraps box.

Blue House Softie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

If the sun comes out again this weekend, I have plans to add their introduction notes and release them into the wild in a couple of the playgrounds near where we live. Here’s hoping they’ll find nice caring new homes!

(They do need better names, though…. What should I call them?)

Catchin’ up with Pieces of Us Project

Yikes! I’m running a bit behind with my little friends for the Pieces of Us project!!! Time to do a bit of catching up and make some little creatures, I think. 🙂

Here’s a couple I’ve just finished. Allow me to introduce you to two little house sisters – Molly and Mandy.





Molly is the Pieces of Us project “friend” that goes with my Johanna shirt. (The black floral fabric on her roof/head and the heart are scraps left over from the shirt.)

Mandy is the “friend” that goes with my Anne blouse. (Her arms and legs are made from scraps left over from that creation.)

Molly is heading out into the world tomorrow – she’ll be collected by the local Plunket nurse (along with some things my mother has knitted) to be given out to a (higher need) child in our area. (Just like the baby trousers I made recently. My mother heard about them and knitted some super-cute little striped jerseys and a hat to be given out to babies that need them, so I’ve made Molly to keep them company while they all find new homes.)

Mandy will be venturing out this weekend – we’re going away for the weekend so on our trip I’ll find a playground and leave her there to find a new friend.

Been a while since I’ve released one of these little guys into the wild – it’s always kind of exciting, and makes me nervous at the same time – will they find a new home? Will they be loved? I hope so!

Pieces of Us project catch-up

Some of you may have noticed that the last couple of things I’ve made haven’t had Pieces Of Us project softies included. Oops, I got a little behind in my softie making! But never fear, the plan is still to make one for every project I complete. 🙂

So here’s the next two, that I made this week. They’re waiting patiently to be released, either into the wild for new owners to find, or to be given to the Plunket nurse when she visits next week so that she can pass them on to other children. (What do you think I should do with these two? Release them somewhere (where?) or give them to Plunket?? Help me decide, I’m having an indecisive week! Argh!!)

First up, I’d like to introduce you to Shane


Shane’s the softie that goes with my Beatrice dress. His back is the same fabric that I used for the dress:


Next up, here’s his twin sister, Sammy:


Sammy goes with the Amelia shirt. Both her front and Shane’s are from the scraps from the Amelia shirt. Sammy’s back is a fun bright polka-dot red:


I used this tutorial for making this pair of softies. They were super easy to make, except for stuffing the ears and arms. Dratted stuffing just did not want to stay in those little points! But then I realised they’d be easier for little babies to grab and chew on if they had little soft bits to grab hold of, so I left them mostly stuffing-free for baby hand-holds. So that all worked out ok. 🙂 I like these little guys, even if they are kinda wonky and stuff. Hah.

Fly, my pretties! Fly!

Guess what? It’s another update-on-my-first-quilt post. (It’s not all quilting today though, there are a couple of non-quilting things right at the bottom, in case quilting ain’t your thing feel free to just skip down there.)

This week’s assignment for the Starburst Quilt-a-long was to make flying geese. (Which, as it turned out, took nowhere near as long to do as the last two assignments!)

When they were halfway done, I noticed they looked a bit like cute cat faces. Don’t you think so? (So naturally they had to be photographed lying in the grass, just like real cats.)

cat faces

Got to practice my chain stitching again. And can I just say – chain stitching is fabulous! It makes me want to production-line my garment sewing, just so I can utilise it more. (Mmmm…. production line of circle skirts….) I’ve also discovered that when chain stitching on both sides of a centre line, there’s no need to clip the threads between doing the left side and doing the right side. Instead, just pull that pile of chain stitched items around from the back of the sewing machine, turn it 180 degrees clockwise, and you’re ready to do the other side. Nice and easy, saves time as you can then clip both lines of stitching at once, and as an added bonus the first line of stitching pulls the rest of the pieces through so you don’t need to fiddle around with feeding them in quite as much. Win all ’round!

chain stitching

Here are my finished flying geese. I paired them up so you can see some of the combinations that will be going together (from left to right).


And here’s Paula! She’s the Pieces of Us project creation for this sewing post.


(Think she looks familiar? That’s because she’s the sister of Peter, who was in a blog post yesterday.)

Want to see what I’m going to be working on next? It involves this fabric (from the lovely TJ at The Perfect Nose):


And a pattern from this book:

Burdastyle book

And it’s going to be posted next Thursday as part of Sew Grateful Week.

(Or that’s the plan, anyway!)

For lazing around on summer days

Something I’ve been meaning to make for ages (and ages, like around 3 years now) is a picnic blanket. In theory, it’s one of those things that I won’t need all that often. But when you need one, and don’t have one, it’s a bit of an annoyance.

Finally, I corrected this lack! I am now the proud owner of one picnic blanket. And not just any picnic blanket – one I made from tea towels and a single bed sheet. Yes indeed. Here ’tis:


Ain’t it purty? I spent a while deciding which tea towels to use on it. (Yes, I raided my tea towel drawer. I briefly contemplated going and buying some tea towels, then remembered I have far more than I need so sacrificed some of them to the picnic blanket cause.) (I did need to go and buy a single sheet to use on the back though, for the princely sum of $3 from the second hand shop on the corner.)

I’m really pleased with how this turned out – I like how it looks, it’s nicely functional (I added pockets to the corners on the underneath so we can put stones or the link in them to weigh the corners down on windy days. Which is pretty much every day around these parts), and it’s super easy to wash and dry. Win all round!


It’s already had a couple of outings in the half-a-week since I finished it, which is far more than I was expecting. It’s turning into one of those things that you don’t think you have much need for, then when you get one, you use it all the time. Funny how that happens sometimes.

It’s also the perfect size for our tiny little front garden. Which makes it perfect for hanging out in on warm summer evenings with a baby. (Please ‘scuse the state of that lawn – it’s horrendous. I must admit that I have done virtually no gardening for about a year now, and it shows. Pregnancy, baby, well, you get the picture. *sigh* Just as well we now have a picnic blanket to cover it with, isn’t it?!)


And here’s my Pieces of Us project contribution for this make – I’m please to introduce you to Peter.


Yes, he’s a rabbit. Peter rabbit. I couldn’t resist the name, cheesy though it may be. 😉

Geese and corners and triangles and stuff

Quilting has funny names for things. Many of which seem to revolve around geese. (Why geese? Does anyone know?)

Anyway, I’ve been carrying on with the Starburst Quilt-along over at Happy Quilting Melissa, sewing various squares that I cut last week into new configurations. This week’s tasks were to make “goose in the corner” and “half square triangles” sections.

(I totally have an image in my head right now of a goose sitting in the corner wearing a dunce hat and feeling sorry for itself. This probably indicates I really should go to bed soon…. Speaking of which, my apologies for the rather crappy lighting on the photos today – I ended up having to take them at night, which never shows things all that well.)

In typical fashion, I started with the half square triangles, even though they were the last of the two things in this week’s tutorial. Must subvert the order, after all.

I got to chain stitch them all together, creating a nice pile at the back of the sewing machine as they went through.

chain stitching

And look – you could even use them as bunting of sorts if you felt like it!

chain two

Here they are, all done and pressed and ready to go. Aren’t they pretty? (I still need to trim them down, that’s a task for tomorrow.)


(And yes, there are a heck of a lot of them. 64, in fact.)

Next up were the goose in the corner blocks. Nothing much to say about these – I chain stitched as with the half square triangles. I also went with Melissa’s suggestion of making extra half square triangles with the bits that were going to get cut off the goose in the corner blocks, so I now have a pretty little pile of extra half square triangle pieces. Not sure what I’ll do with those, make a patchwork bag perhaps?


And here are the goose in the corner blocks, looking nothing at all like geese. (Nor are they wearing dunce hats.)


We’re getting the next week’s task tomorrow – more geese, this time flying ones! (Honk, honk!)

Check it out – I suffered for my craft this week. Iron burn from four days ago. (Clumsy moments around hot things – never a good idea.)


Since I was on a roll, I also made this lovely little girl-with-ears, Brenda:


Her ears, arms and legs are from scraps left over from the scraps I cut quilt pieces out of. (How’s that for using-up-scraps?!)

I set her loose on the world today, leaving her in the children’s section of our local library with a note attached. Another Pieces of Us Project toy, out to spread some happiness and creativity around the world!

The “Abigail” baby dress


It was Steve’s niece’s first birthday yesterday, so I made her a dress. (Because, let’s face it – making dresses for little girls is fun!)

I went to my go-to pattern for 1 year old girls – Butterick 4752. I have no idea when this is from, and I don’t have any images of the pattern cover either – I traced it off my mother’s copy of the pattern about 2-3 years ago after she recommended it to me as a good one for little girls.

It’s a nice and easy pattern to make – both front and back are the same. (After all, it’s not as though one year old girls need much in the way of shaping, is it?!) The skirt pieces gather onto the top bands, and the dress pops over the head and fastens with ties on either shoulder.


All the seams are overlocked. I turned under the hem again on the inside to make a nice, clean finish so that little fingers and toes wouldn’t accidently pull on the overlocking thread.


The inside is finished (front and back) with a facing that hides all the gathers and makes it nice and smooth against baby skin. Just like with the hem, I finished the bottom of the facing so that the overlocking is hidden away from little fingers. I then top-stitched all around the neck and armholes so everything stays down nicely (even on days when it gets worn without being ironed, because, c’mon, baby clothes).


The great thing about this style is that even though it’s sized for a one year old, it can fit a much larger child – as they grow, it just becomes more like a top rather than a dress, as it can be adjusted over the shoulders with the ties.

The other great thing about this is the fabric! It’s lightweight cotton, stripy, and has images of animals in vehicles all over it. Cats in trains, bears in planes, dogs in cars, and bunnies in boats. I love it! My mother gave it to me a while back – I’ve got quite a bit left, and some is definitely earmarked for shirts for Drake when he’s a little older.


Carrying on with the Pieces of Us project I also made a soft toy, using some of the scraps from the dress for the arms and legs.

Meet Abigail, who the dress is named after:


Isn’t she cute? I tried out a pattern I hadn’t used before, the “Polly” doll from the Softies book. (I love that book – every softie I’ve tried making from it has worked out beautifully, and they’re all so cute and quirky!) Abigail is currently waiting for Friday, when I’ll give her to the Plunket nurse when she comes to give Drake his check-up. She’ll then find a new home for Abigail, with one of the poorer families in the area. Hopefully she’ll be loved and find a new friend! It’s always a bit scary, sending one of these guys out into the world alone – will they be found? Will they be loved? Fingers crossed!

The “Zoo Team” Shirt

Check it out – my first creation of 2013!


I’m not sure if this will fit in with Jungle January or not – after all, it’s not in animal print. It does have animals printed on it, though…. Hmmmm…. What the heck, I’m calling it a Jungle January make! It’s got lions and monkeys, crocodiles and elephants. And bumble bees, butterflies, pigs and whales. This fabric ain’t particular about where it draws it’s animal inspirations from, no it ain’t!

I won this fabric ages ago (far too long ago – I have been very slack in making it up, even though it’s been hovering right near the top of my to-make list ever since I got it! What can I say – it took me until now to decide what to make out of it.) in a giveaway the lovely Kat ran. (Thanks, Kat!) So it’s well-traveled animal print fabric. Yep, those little whales and chickens have traveled across the oceans to make their way into a shirt for me.


Since I had Drake, I’ve been finding myself wearing shirts a lot – they’ve got a bit more structure than knit fabric tops so they make me feel a bit prettier (even when sporting the inevitable ‘baby badge’ or three), and they’re convenient. And yet, before three months ago, I’d hardly ever tackled making shirts! How times change…. Anyway, I made this pattern a couple of years ago as a Sew Weekly challenge – I think it was the first time I’d made a shirt. My shirt-making skills (and confidence) have come a fair way since then! Last time, I added sleeves from another pattern. This time, I decided to be brave and go with the sleeveless version. (I figured I could always add sleeves later if I needed to.) Turns out I love sleeveless shirts! So useful for summer. 🙂 You may see another one (or two) appearing here in the not-too-distant future….

Blackmore 8907

I made a couple of small adjustments to the shirt – firstly, I did a rough grading up since I’m a bit bigger at the moment, and added some more ease around the waist and hips. It’s nice and comfy, and will also be easy to take in in the future when it gets too big. I also lowered the main dart in the front by about 2 cm. A while back, I started keeping track of my patterns and what I’ve made with them, and what I’d do differently next time – luckily, the last shirt I made using this pattern was recorded, and the notes told me to lower the dart by 3cm. (I only half listened and lowered it by 2cm. Should have gone with 3cm. Oh well, next time.)

To honor the shirt’s first outing, we went for a walk around the zoo, with the aim to visit all the animals they had there that were featured on my shirt.

We went to see the monkeys.


And the tigers. (Technically, there are no tigers on the shirt, but I’m sure that was just an oversight on the part of the fabric maker. A shirt like this should have tigers, so I’m just pretending they’re there.)


Stopped off at the lions, but they were hiding and no photo op was to be found.

Visited the cheetahs.


And went past the Kunekune (NZ wild pigs) on the way out. (The sun was too bright for a good photo there, though, and the pigs were hiding in the shade so I can’t show them off to you. They’re pretty cute, though.)

And then, I had just enough fabric left to make a pair of shorts for Drake.


(Not enough for the v-insert at the back though, so I used some scraps of white cotton for that, and put a lion on his butt instead.)


(Steve isn’t a fan of these. When I told him I was making trousers for Drake out of this fabric, his words were something along the lines of “if you want to dress yourself vaguely clown-like, that’s fine. But you’re not allowed to do it to our son.” My justification is, I’ve only got a couple of years before Drake fights back with his wardrobe choices, so I’m making the most of it while I can. Mwahahahaha!)

In keeping with one of my goals for the year, I also made a toy for the Pieces of Us project. Meet Harold:


He’s going to go and find a lovely new home with the help of our friendly Plunket nurse.

(Also, I forgot to introduce you to Malcolm in my last post – he was made from scraps from the baby trousers I just made, also for the Pieces of Us project. This is Malcolm:


If you’d like to make a Malcolm of your very own, I used the Mooshy Belly Bunny tutorial from Chez Beeper Bebe. I’ve used it before, it’s cute and easy and fun to make. 🙂 )

And now, the details.

The Zoo Team shirt:

Fabric: printed cotton, courtesy of Kat
Notions: three buttons from my stash
Pattern: Blackmore 8907
Year: 1950s
Verdict: a nice, easy to make and easy to wear shirt pattern
Make again: yep, for sure! (This is the second time making it already!)

The Zoo Team shorts:

Fabric: the same printed cotton, and some scraps of white cotton for over the bum
Notions: 42cm of elastic for the waistband
Pattern: self-drafted
Year: modern
Verdict: who care’s what Steve says, I’m so putting Drake in these again! They’ll be even cuter in another month, as they’re slightly too big for him at the moment. I’m also pleased to note that this pattern works just as well with woven fabric as it does with knit fabric.
Make again: yep, this is already the fourth time I’ve made this size in the pattern

The “Strawberry Sundae” Shirt


This may be the last thing I make intentionally as part of the Sew Weekly sew alongs. (Or it might not – I’m debating whether or not I feel like making a ‘happy holidays’ dress this weekend. The jury is still out on that one, but I’m not feeling the inspiration for it if I’m honest with ya. Anyone want to hit me with some inspiring ideas for it? All ideas welcome!)

Anyway, this was made for the ‘favourites’ challenge – to remake a pattern that was our favourite this year. Admittedly, this isn’t my favourite (that would be the 1940’s dress pattern I used in my All Buttoned Up dress) but it made my top 5 list for this year and is a bit of a winner as far as the whole easy-access-for-small-baby thing goes. So, Home Journal 11553 got made once again!


Just like last time, this pattern came together quite well. (And unlike last time, I already knew that the seam allowance isn’t included, so I didn’t have to spend 10 minutes reading all the different areas of instructions multiple times to try and figure out if it is or isn’t included. Clarity is somewhat missing from this pattern in that regard.) And it turns out that one really good thing about re-making a pattern very soon after your last make of it is that you remember all the things that you weren’t as happy with, and can change them! (Such as having the collar finishing a good 1-2cm in from the front of the shirt – last time, I thought it was meant to be eased onto the entire neckline so I didn’t end up with that little pointed bit from the front facing. This time, I knew to not ease it as much – something the pattern doesn’t tell you and you have to figure out purely from the envelope illustration.)

I’m happy with how this one came out – I made it in a lightweight cotton, getting a chance to satisfy my curiousity as to how those pleats at the neckline would work out in a crisper fabric. Quite well, as it turns out! (Although my gosh those pleats make my bust look bigger than it really is in this photo! Eek!! I assure you it doesn’t look quite like that “in real life”.)


Isn’t this fabric adorable? It’s got little strawberries and a check pattern made of little dots all over it! I got it at Fabric-a-brac a while ago, on the Hospice fundraiser stall. I had just enough to squeeze out this pattern (don’t look too closely – I had to cut the underside of the collar as two pieces and the front facing is cut on the semi-bias so I could get it all cut out! There was very little of this fabric left when I was done with it!)

It’s nice and lightweight, and with those little cap sleeves to keep the sun off my (pale-as-pale) shoulders, I think it’ll be on regular rotation in my wardrobe this summer.


Also, I completed my first Pieces of Us Project toy-made-using-scraps-of-latest-project! I had enough leftover strawberry fabric to make the body of this cute little bug. I named her Strawberry Sundae as well. We went for a walk in the evening on Christmas Day and “released” her into a nearby playground. Hopefully some child has found her and given her a loving new home!