Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bringing Back the Pinafore

In between some new softie designs and custom orders, I've continued to sew for my girls. Having enjoyed making the Boo! Designs Twirly Skirts recently, I purchased the Design your own Pinny pattern. It was a little step-up in terms of complexity from the skirts; some top stitching, the addition of interfacing and exact pinning and stitching of the straps, but not difficult to handle. Once again, the instructions were clear with lots of pictures and as someone who still considers themselves a beginner, I appreciate the basics being explained well.

I fell in love with the fabric (from Spotlight) a couple of months ago and I'm glad I didn't waste it on a skirt and created an (almost) complete outfit with it. Heading into the cooler months addition of a long sleeve top and tights will be perfect. Thankfully I do have some fabric left which might stretch to a skirt with a coordinating trim for Miss H.

Cute little bow addition in the centre bodice
Check out my top stitching!! Neatie neat!
Nearly five hours later but ready for the hem.

Does it pass the twirling test?
Yep! Officially passed


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

There's A Mouse About The House

Melly & Me is one of my favourite softie designers. Their designs are so quirky and fun and from a softie making perspective, have helped to develop my sewing skills immensely.

I found this pattern online recently and was asked to make one for a customer using some bright and bold fabrics. After an initial glitch with the printing of the pattern (I didn't enlarge it enough and didn't realise until making the teeny tiny limbs) this curious mouse came to fruition. Enormous ears, a curly tail and inquisitive eyes, such a little cutie. Or not so little actually as you can see along side my machine. This softie did take a few hours to make but as always I choose to hand stitch the details like the tummy patch and sew around the ears three times which requires a bit more time.

Want to make Mabelle the adorable Mouse? Pop over here for the free pdf where you also receive three other Melly & Me softie patterns.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Needle Books

Hi! Long time, no see. Sorry about that but I've been spending a lot of time in my craft room completing orders, playing around with new patterns and watching episodes of Grand Designs and The Great British Sewing Bee. I have, however, been taking photos of my newest creations which I plan to share over the next few days.

What are your thoughts on needle books? daggy? old fashioned? I think not, and after making this one a couple of months ago, I refuse to stick a needle in a pin cushion or tin again! So I recently decided to create my own couple of designs. The structure is relatively simple, an outside cover featuring a design and a felt sheet in the centre to secure your needles and pins. I am enjoying designing the covers and, of course, I love hand stitching. They also add a decorative touch to a craft space.

The babushka and owl designs are both available in my madeit store and the chook was a custom order. 



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Product Styling


Unfortunately I have very limited photography skills. I bought a digital SLR camera last year in an attempt to improve my skills and be more proactive with taking photos, and to date this has happened. Enrolling in a course is on my list along with reading the 'how to' books on my shelf. But the reality is that I will just play around with my camera, the settings, light and composition myself when I can.

A light box arrived this week so I've started to play around with it and a couple of items. I will need to add another lamp to the setup and again, to do some reading about to get the best out of it. The main reason behind purchasing the light box is to be able to capture the small details in my work, ie the stitching. Quite clearly the 'styling' also needs some work but I have to start somewhere. I love seeing pictures of beautifully and creatively arranged items, hopefully I'll learn to take some myself.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's live!

I finally got around to purchasing two domain names for my business a couple of months ago. After the kerfuffle with my business name registration, I realised that I needed to purchase these before they too became unavailable. My initial plan was to have a simple landing page that directed people to my madeit store, Facebook page and this blog. However, a couple of weeks ago I came across a 4 page web design package on special and within a few short days of working with the designer, went live.

I am overjoyed with the final result; the colours, the design elements and layout, all of which make it an easy and colourful site to navigate. The multiple emails and design tweaks were carried out effortlessly by Wendy, the designer, making the process quick and very easy. (Site Fresh Web Design) I will be able to update the site with new designs and future market details.

I'm in love with it and am hoping that it will be a wonderful tool to help me build my future business. What do you think of the site?

This post was not sponsored by site fresh web designs.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

And the winner is.....

This giveaway was fun! So much fun that I'll definitely be doing it again in the not too distant future.

Thank you to all of the lovely people who left comments, each one made me smile and I truly appreciate the continued support from so many of you. This handmade community is really something special so it is nice to stop and say thank you.

My trusty assistant did the random draw.

The winner is......Becca Lavery who left the comment:

Hi there, I am a FB fan and have shared your post. Congrats on all your milestones, 20,000 blog visits - shoot! I would ♡ a new pin cushion! My current one is about a decade old... it was my first hexagon patch project - it's so thin now I stab myself and curse it all the time!

Becca, I hope your new pin cushion means no more stabbing incidents! Happy sewing

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Skirt Making

I made a promise to myself in January that I was going to make birthday presents this year for Michaela's friends. And so far, so good. I've made two girls dresses and more recently, three twirly skirts using the Boo! Designs pattern. The bunny fabric skirt is for Michaela and is awaiting a matching Easter T-shirt for this Sunday. I'm still getting the hang of the gathering, might look into purchasing a gathering foot or just get in some more practice. This design is the Twirly skirt.

I also recently ordered some wooden buttons from etsy which make a lovely addition to my clothing items.

Don't forget to visit the previous post to enter my pin cushion giveaway. Just leave a comment to be in the running with the draw taking place next Wednesday.

Until then, wishing you a chocolate and fun filled Easter. Hope you get to relax with your loved ones and enjoy the Easter break.

Penelope x

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Giveaway!

Once again, I have neglected my little ol' blog. It's been a busy few weeks with market prep for Perth Upmarket, followed up with lots of custom orders and present making for friends' birthdays. I also have some new ideas and patterns which I'm making my way through slowly and am planning a Market Night on Facebook for next month so unfortunately blog posts have taken the hit.

I had another WONDERFUL experience at this month's Perth Upmarket, my new softies were well received, I met lots of new people, saw some familiar faces and I came away with new ideas to implement next time. I'll put together a little recap post of the market shortly ;)

With all this production going on behind the scenes, I'm so excited to see that little cloud factory is reaching some very cool milestones~ almost 1200 Facebook likers, 20,000 blog visits and I received the exciting news yesterday that little cloud factory will be appearing at the June Perth Upmarket. So, to celebrate and say Thank you, someone will receive this cute apple pin cushion (made from a pattern by Retro Mama). To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is be a liker of LCF's Facebook page and leave a comment below. To receive an extra entry and increase your chances of winning, please share this post or the Facebook Giveaway post on Facebook or Twitter and let me know you've done so in the comments below.

This giveaway is only open to Australian residents and will remain open until 6pm WST Wednesday 3rd April 2013. Giveaway includes postage.


Good Luck!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mushroom Central

There appears to be a small fascination with all things fungi in my craft room at the moment.

I purchased Gnomeville by Michael Miller recently from Modes 4 U, a great online store for gorgeous prints and unique Japanese fabrics. Again I chose to use the brownie goose Nelle pattern and using the 4-5T size, made this little number for Michaela. It is a little shorter than I would have liked (despite adding an extra inch and a half to the pattern suggestion) but as a tunic style dress, it fits well everywhere and will look especially sweet with leggings in the cooler months. I also love that you don't have to make bias tape on the bias for this dress, bonus!


My mind is obviously working over time at the moment with ideas. The other night I woke with the idea of making a cupcake shaped needle book. The idea came out of nowhere and kept me awake thinking about a design, materials and practicalities. Yesterday, by coincidence, I found this pattern and tutorial and as you can see, I couldn't resist making myself one.

I'm not sure whether I will have the time to design and make a few cupcake needle books in time for the next Upmarket, but maybe in time for Mothers' Day. Can't believe I'm thinking about May already!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Valentine's Handmade Gift

My husband asked me yesterday whether we were going to do something to celebrate Valentine's Day. "When is Valentine's Day?" was my response. I have never really considered the 14th Feb to be an important occasion mainly because my birthday (9th Feb) closely follows Christmas and is already an expensive and present-filled few weeks. Nevertheless I made a little something to give my husband tomorrow and if you have a spare twenty minutes, have a book reading hubby and a few craft items lying around, you can follow this tutorial and make your own too.

A love-ly bookmark

  • A piece of linen measuring 2" x 6"
  • A piece of wool felt measuring 2" x 6"
  • Crochet heart (I purchased mine from C Percy Designs)
  • Stamp kit
  • Needle and thread (sewing machine optional)
  1. Cut your felt and linen to the measurements indicated. The felt is to provide some stability to your bookmark. I use a rotary cutter for ease and a neat line.
  2. Using your stamp kit, stamp a word/phrase/love message on your piece of linen. In a previous life I was an Italian teacher hence the 'ti amo'. To ensure that your letters stamp cleanly on to your linen, wipe the ink off from the edge of the stamp pad so that it doesn't transfer to the fabric and put an ugly square around the letter. I used a cotton tip to clean away the ink.
  3. Pin your felt and linen together. Take it to your sewing machine and stitch (or hand stitch) together. I sewed two straight lines around the edges.
  4. Nearly finished. Hand stitched your crocheted heart to the top of your bookmark.
These cute crocheted hearts make a sweet embellishment to many things. Glue them to alligator hair clips, create a mini bunting for a cake or cupcake or attach them to a gift tag or card. I'm thinking of digging out a pair of old dangly earrings and replacing the beads with a pair of these hearts to wear tomorrow as well.

I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day .

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Creative Tuesday

I'm very lucky today to have a whole child-free day in which to sew. While I haven't stopped since about 7:30 this morning, I don't have any finished softies in front of me. With market preparation it is all about the assembly line so these seven half finished hedgehogs should in theory be seven finished hedgehogs by late tomorrow. I'm taking my time to make sure my sewing is perfect and to prevent the need to do any unpicking. Unpicking stitches in faux fur is definitely a form of torture.


And here's my little collection of soon to be completed pears. Assembly lines everywhere!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Weekend Projects

The Perth Upmarket is only four weeks away and with a couple of committed to projects, I wanted to finish these this weekend to allow me to focus solely on market prep.

The first project completed was my contribution to the Handmade Cooperative's Pillowcases for Oncology. I used Heather Bailey Lindy Leaf for the main fabric and a bright pink trim for the ruffle. My focus was to create a colourful pillowcase suitable for a girl of any age. This pillowcase, along with many others, will be passed on to the charity, Pillowcases for Oncology, at the end of the month.

This weekend's second project is part of a Facebook showcase with a Circus theme. I used the Retro Mama pattern, changed the embroidered eyes and added a pom pom trim hat. I love the fabric too, perfect for this showcase theme.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Another Dress

I have a few softies on the go at the moment but I'm really enjoying this dress making stuff too. This piece of fabric (unfortunately I don't remember the designer and I cut off selvedge) has been in my stash for about two years. I originally intended to make a dress for Michaela with it but now that she's so tall, Harper is the lucky one to wear it. The pattern is the brownie goose Nelle pattern mentioned in a previous post and it's a size 2. (Harper is almost 19 months) It is a little gapey under her arms but this means it should last her the rest of the year and that's always good. The pattern and instructions were great, easy to follow and such a gorgeous design. You can add a trim to the sleeves, under the bodice or along the hem, or some decorative buttons. It is such a good feeling when you finally decide to cut into a piece of fabric you've been holding to for ages, and you absolutely love the final result.
Amazingly my darling girl stood still for a few seconds (with her beloved Paloma Penguin) to model her new dress.