Totoro appliqué skirt – with mini freezer paper stencil tutorial

I am so excited today! I have finally finished the Totoro skirt that my daughter has been asking for. We looove both Totoro and Ponyo, such lovely movies, we end up watching them over and over, we’ll probably check out other Studio Ghibli ones too soon.

My neighbor Totoro poster

Back to the skirt! I was actually planning on doing a stitched on appliqué (would have loved to make it with super soft minky!) but then I realised that doing the little details, eyes, nose, patches on the belly, would have made it quite tricky and potentially end up with me continuously swearing at the sewing machine until finally giving up. Not a good plan.

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I made the skirt a couple of weeks ago, and the little lady was ever so pleased when I let her help me trace the pattern on the fabric. She seems to be quickly turning into a fabric addict like mummy, I won’t go into details about the love affair she had with some organza I bought to  make her a birthday dress – they literally became friends for a few days.

Today, while agonising again over the thought of stitching tiny things onto that skirt, I had a lightbulb moment and remembered it would have been much easier and quicker to use fabric paint and freezer paper stencils instead!

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With Aida being at nursery and Max having a nap, I got to work and printed out an easy image that I liked on normal paper, then traced it on the freezer paper (it’s slightly see through so easy to do), remember to keep the waxy side down!

Then starts a very tedious job: cutting the shapes out. I use a paper craft knife but if your design is not full of little details you could have a go at just using normal scissors. Remember to keep any bits you might need – for example, I had to keep eyes, nose, mouth and the big belly part. Done? Great, stick it to your chosen fabric by putting it on waxy side down (in contact with the fabric) then passing a hot iron on it.

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The hard part is over now! All  you need is some fabric paint (I used Dylon Fabric Paint in metallic silver), dab it only gently, ideally with a foam brush, making sure not to overwet the paper thus making it peel off. When I finish I like to wait a few minutes and then carefully peel off the paper, using tweezers to remove the little details inside – once I tried letting the paint dry completely before removing the paper and it was a bit of a disaster as it had created a film which stuck to both the fabric and paper! Learn from my mistakes.

Eek, I forgot the details in the mouth! Quick fix with a matchstick…

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Now, patience my friend. Wait until it’s fully dry, the put a cloth on it and iron it over to set the paint. Done! That was easy, wasn’t it? I hope to get pictures of the the little girl modelling it very soon, she’s very pleased with it – and so am I.

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Friday night skirt – for me!

Over the past couple of years I’ve made (both knitted and sewn) so many clothes and little things for my children that I totally neglected myself. This was due to a number of reasons, children’s clothes are cuter (that’s a fact), they take less time and fabric to make, there are less lumps and bumps to accommodate and last but not least my shape has changed so much between pregnancy – postpartum body – pregnancy again that I knew it wasn’t really worth making something that would fit me only for a couple of months or so.

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I lost almost a stone in the past couple of months and my wardrobe desperately needs an update, so it seemed like the right time to get going again – and for once I don’t fear having to measure myself to pick the right size! I have quite a few projects in mind but I must remember that I only have limited spare time (and funds to buy pretty fabrics) so I’d best not get too excited.

First proper project, a linen skirt! I’d like to wear skirts more often so I guess the first thing to do would be to have a few. I used the Simplicity 2451 pattern, I wanted something fairly simple and this seemed to do the trick although I was very tempted by the Simplicity 1717 pattern, I think I may try that too soon.

The fabric is a pale blue linen I picked up from Ditto Fabrics, their shop is quite close to my house so I pass by there quite often, how tempting!

Pale blue linen fabric

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I don’t really have any complaints about the pattern. I did the view D, it was only a few pieces so quite quick to cut, instructions were ok – a bit confusing as there was a bit of back and forth between the steps for the different views – and it only took me an evening to sew up (ok, I still have to hem it, but that doesn’t really count!).

I’m quite pleased with it. It’s a tad short but not too much, the only thing that needs working on is the zip as it sticks out a bit at the base but I think it’s one of those things that is only glaringly noticeable to me. I may get round it by putting it on the side rather than the back next time!  I will also need to give up on it not having crinkles, I forgot how evil linen can be.

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I will make it again, very soon in fact. I had one of my babywearing wraps shortened last month and I have enough leftover fabric to make a skrit with it! I’m debating using this pattern or the other skirt pattern I mentioned above, either way I’m really looking forward to it!

Lenny Lamb Cherry Lace

Sunday night project: top and skirt toddler set

I had a productive weekend for once (amazing what you can accomplish when you stop wasting all your time on facebook, pinterest & co!), I’ve started sewing again at last and I’m so engrossed in it I have to make a huge effort not to buy tons of fabric! So many pretty things out there… but I’m being good and only buying a little bit at a time, and try to stick to only one or two projects at a time.

A friend mentioned Craftsy, I had heard of it before but didn’t think much of it. How wrong was I! It’s awesome, I’ve been on it for a week and I’m already addicted. Classes, patterns, other people’s projects to look at… I only wish there was a forum too (or maybe there is one and I’ve missed it?). This is my page/profile, though there’s nothing yet as I haven’t had the time to add anything. Will do soon.

I got an email shortly after joining with a hefty discount on my next purchase so I took the plunge and enrolled in a Beginner Serging class, or overlocker for us living across the pond. I will report later on how it’s going, I really look forward to learning to use my overlocker a bit better!

Back to yesterday’s project. I made a top with the Fishsticks Designs Charlie Tee & Hoodie pattern, it’s a great easy pattern which I’ve used a lot both for hoodies and tops.
Lillestoff Vikings blue fabricI haven’t used a pattern for the skirt, it was simply two rectangles around 20″x9″, sewn up the sides and gathered the top (it needed quite a bit of gathering!), while the waistband was a 19″x5″ strip of ribbing – I measured this to fit my 2.5 year old, her waist is about 20″ – folded over and stitched on.

The main fabric is an oldish Lillestoff print, the stripey one is some jersey I picked up in the sale from a local fabric shop over the weekend. I looove Lillestoff, if only it was a bit less expensive! But it’s soft, good quality and the prettiest designs, I will probably get more soon, I especially like the Vikings print…

Without further ado, here’s the set!

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I hope to get a better action shot when we’re out this afternoon! So so pleased with it – which is unlike me as I’m usually very picky and unhappy about things I make just after I’ve finished them.