Tuesday 27 May 2014

The anywhere dress

diy girls knit dress

For the longest time when I first began sewing, I had this weird phobia of stretch knits. I somehow thought that it was something that was super hard to work with and required a much more advanced sewing ability. Then one day a few years back I took a stretch knit sewing class and quickly learned it's super easy and now it's probably one of my favorite things to sew with.

I always have my eye out for a good knit pattern now and one of my favorites is the Anywhere dress by Gotopatterns. I bought this one online a few years ago and it has got a good work out in this household. As B is growing like crazy at the moment I have just packed away a big pile of her clothes including some dresses that were more passable as t-shirts and thought she could do with a few new things.

Over the weekend (because I am totally wild) I sewed up these two cuties for B. The first one is just a straight up anywhere dress in a gorgeously silky soft cotton jersey spandex. The fabric in this one is so unbelievably soft and comfortable that despite B not wanting to wear it because it wasn't in "girl colours" she didn't mind keeping it on in the end as it felt nice.

This particular knit is out of stock but you can find alternate colourways at girlcharlee - it's probably the best place I have found for a great range of stretch knits in cool prints. The postage to Australia is a bit of a killer but the knits are cheaper than I have found anywhere else so it kinda balances itself out.

I made a quick little top knot headband to go with it but she decided that it worked better as a belt, and I will have to agree it looks pretty cute.

Somehow B interpreted this dress as something princess Elsa (from the movie frozen) might wear and is gathering her ice powers together to shoot me with ice

B is probably the worlds worst model, while it may look like she is posing to show the back of the dress, she was just licking the fence.. she's a special kind of kid...
Yup that's my kids spit on the fence, like I said she's special..

The second dress is a bit of a basic pattern hack. Knowing that B loves a twirly dress, I cut the main body of the dress down to about a third of the original length and added in a skirt  to make up the remaining two thirds that is made from 2 pieces cut to 2.5 x top width (width) and used the measurement of the remaining 2/3rds of the dress pattern plus an inch for the extra seam (length).

This one was made from a cotton Jersey blend for the printed fabric (also from girlcharlee) and I am only guessing the same goes for the bodice as I was given that piece as a off cut from the hubs grandma so I didn't buy it but it has the same stretch, weight and feel to it.

Some details on the pattern for those who are interested. I really like all the gotopatterns I have bought so far with no exception for the Anywhere dress. The instructions are very clear and of a high quality. They use illustrations rather than photos which is common place in online PDF patterns. I personally prefer illustrations as I often find pattern instructions distracting when they pattern maker uses photos with overly loud fabric choices or fail to use a contrasting thread to make stitching lines clear.

The pattern itself is a beautifully simple one which comes with several different sleeve options and a huge size range from 12 months to 12 years which for me makes it great value as I will be able to continue using it until both girls are much much older.

As for the fit, both versions shown are a 3T on B who turned three in March (she usually wears age 4 shop bought tops). She is really quite tall for her age but also slim so this fits her pretty nicely with some room to grow. I do need to add an extra inch to the sleeves if I make the full sleeve option (they are bunched up in the second dress photo) but I assume that's more because she has long arms than a pattern issue.

I would suggest being careful with your knit fabric choices and the neck seams. I have made the mistake in the past of sewing the neck seam a little too small  with a knit that only had a 30% stretch and had trouble fitting it over B's head. Again I think that's more my dodgy sewing skillz rather than a pattern fault but I thought it's worth mentioning so you might learn from my mistakes.

All in all I really love this pattern. B has at least 6 of these little dresses now plus two I have made as nighties for her plus she really likes wearing them. I have found it is a reasonably quick sew and is a great versatile pattern that can be worn year round. I especially like that it lends to so many opportunities to mix it up. I am thinking the next one I will make her will have ribbing for the arm cuffs and hemline to make it more of a winter sweater style tunic.

So if you have made it this far down reading my ramblings I would totally LOVE it if you left a comment!! Love the fabric? Hate it? Want to learn how to sew knits? Or have you made an anywhere dress yourself?

Thanks for stopping by!

Dani xo

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Project ownerbuild - kitchen planning

modern kitchen inspiration

While we are oh so patiently waiting on our steel fabrication, I have been making slow but steady progress on planning out our laundry bathroom and most importantly kitchen.  Key word here is SLOW

It turns out it is so much easier to sit back looking at photos of beautiful homes and thinking "oh I love that kitchen/bathroom/floor tile! I would definitely have that in my home" to actually making a decision. Un-fun things like practicality and the B word (budget) mean that sometimes my grandiose amazing plans have to be scaled back to something a little more modest.

If you follow me on Facebook (and if you don't you should ;p) I posted the other day about my kitchen dilemmas. Looking at high end expensive kitchens and working your way down IS NOT the right way to go. Unless your cool with disappointment that is.

The hubs Mr DD is a bit of tight a*** when it comes to spending on our kitchen and seems to think that we can get an amazing kitchen with stone benchtops for under 20K (you pretty much can't). This has resulted in a fair few heated arguments discussions lately. Ok- we could go down the Ikea kitchen route and probably keep under the 20k but I am not too crazy about the cabinet door colours and am worried about the longevity.

I think the hubs and I have come to an agreement however that while I plan on spending up a little more on the kitchen, we will look at a more budget option for the laundry. Clearly we both love cooking (and eating) much more than laundry so I think it's a pretty fair compromise.

My plans for the kitchen area is to do pretty much this for the layout, now its just a matter of deciding on the finishing and how I want it all to look.

project owner build, kitchen layout

As we have polished concrete flooring, I really wanted to add in some wood to soften the look. After getting a ballpark for real wood I picked my jaw up of the floor and started looking around at more economical options. Laminex and Polytech have some nice textured wood looks but I don't know if I am completely sold on them yet. Particulaly when I keep cutting out kitchens like these...

modern eclectic kitchen

These are two of the wood look samples from Polytec I have been considering, they are nice and textural and the most authentic wood look I have found so far. Although I haven't given up entirely on my wooden cabinets so plan on keeping up the hunt for something amazing.

wood look cabinet laminate

I have never made it a secret that I am not a fan of the high gloss white kitchen. Yes it does look slick and modern but it's not kind with mucky little people running around so I plan on going for a more understated satin finish which hopefully will not mark up as badly.

The biggest ticket item in the kitchen will certainly be our bench tops. After seeing the new range from Caesarstone I fell madly in love with the Calcutta marble look stone I just couldn't get it out of my head. I have compromised a little here and opted for the Stellastone version which is here. It's still excellent quality but is a newer company on the market and comes in a little cheaper. Then because we can't help ourselves we have opted for 40mm stone over the 20mm. This adds a whole lot more again but in our opinion totally worth it.

Stellastone in White marble Quartz

stellastone white marble, calcutta marble

Just as a side note if you are looking for an great catalog of stylish contemporary kitchens for inspiration for your own kitchen reno the Caesar stone website is amazing.

As for lighting, I am planning on roping Mr DD into installing 2 or 3 big over sized industrial pendants over the island bench. I have seen a big price difference in these from these in Masters for $99 (which don't seem to be listed online anymore) or these in Ikea to these ones from Sokol for $249. I will probably go with the cheaper option and possibly spray in the inside with Rustoleum aged copper (not sure if I can even do that) to make them a little less mass produced looking.

industrial pendant lighting
1. Masters
2. Ikea
3. Sokol
4. Solol

That's about as far as I have got in my planning stages. I am a little torn between glass spash backs, pressed tin or tile right now so I can't even begin to contemplate the colours they might end up. I will probably decide on the spashbacks once we are actually in the extension and the kitchen has been installed and I have angst about it for weeks on end.

We got the call last week that our steel frames are ready for collection so once Mr DD gets back from work in a fortnight we will be back onto the build eeek! **by we I mean the hubs (Mr DD) I however will be hard at work making the teas, toasted sandwiches and keeping the littles under control.

Have you planned out a kitchen recently? If you have any advise for me please feel free to share!

Dani xo

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