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19 Feb '19

Project Run and Play - Week 3 - Botanical Beauty

Posted by Ellies Handmade
Vote for you fave designer HERE

Our theme for week 3, Botanical Beauty, had me dreaming up whimsical, floral inspired dresses, something I could imagine that little girls would just love to wear! I decided to create two dresses and a headpiece this week, for Ellie, and her very best friend, Lily. They are both such girly, sweet little ladies, constantly lost in the world of butterflies, fairies, flowers and unicorns... so of course I had to work some of those things into this weeks creations.

I've always loved working with tulle, and decided, it was now or never - I was going to sew a flower and butterfly filled skirt. Every flower and butterfly was hand stitched on, I think in the end I sewed around 85 flowers.
I put some thought into how it would be possible to make this dress really wearable, as the flowers and butterflies definitely can't be washed. So I designed it so that the portion of the dress with the flowers and butterflies is actually a skirt with a waistband, making it completely removable. The dress can be worn as a simple pink tulle dress, or with the butterfly skirt over the top, sitting beautifully as though it is ''attached'' to the bodice. It even sits beautifully over a leotard worn as a midi skirt! on, alternating colours and sizes.
 I drafted this dress pattern to have a neckline centred at the base of the neck, with straps that crossed over, and looped through the sides, creating a feature open back. The bodice and waistband are linen, and the tulle skirt was also lined with a satin with all the seams enclosed.
For Miss Lily, I used a silk georgette fabric I had been hoarding for some time. I drafted to her dress to have a centre bib, with side panels and elastic back. After sewing up my test bodice, I decided it needed a little something extra and added in some ruffles between the bib and side panels. For the skirt, I cut a slightly gathered circle skirt - the twirl factor is fantastic!
Since the girls love to match in lots of ways - I decided to create a similar back, that crossed over and tied in a bow.  I also made Lily a headpiece using some of the left over flowers and butterflies, which the girls promptly swapped every 5 minutes while we were taking pics.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog this week, head over the Project Run and Play Blog to cast your vote! 

12 Feb '19

Sand and Surf - Week 2 Project Run and Play

Posted by Ellies Handmade

To Vote for your favourite entry this week - click HERE

Surf, Sand... and lets just add in Sun too - all the things that make summer in Australia so great! This was such a fun week to create for, our family are beach lovers so the kids absolutely jumped at the chance to take the boards down and have an evening of fun while I took some pics (trust me, getting them to stand still and smile was difficult when all they wanted to was jump in and swim!). Once the photos were all said and done the kids dived right in, and we kicked back with a bottle of vino and chicken rolls with our friends... the perfect summer night! This week I designed two versions of a ruffled swimsuit, a bikini and a one piece for Ellie and her friend Soph, and for Jack, a rashie (rash gaurd) and some boardies! For some extra fun I sewed up the Santa Cruz Beach Ball pattern, instead of using a woven fabric I used Lycra and got a really big balloon to inflate it to max size - quick to make and hours of fun!
When thinking of the design for the swimsuits, I wanted to do something that was really pretty, but still cool enough for a 7 year old to wear. I ruled out butt ruffles, but somehow had to get some sweet ruffle goodness into the style. I liked the concept of using the London Leotard by Little Lizard King as a base, splicing the leo and adding a ruffle through both the front and back, creating a nice girly ruffle over the shoulder. I had to redraft the arms and neck shape, however I was really pleased to see that it worked for both a bikini style and one piece. The bikini bottoms are based off the Little Lizard King Laguna swimsuit, I loved the bottoms and that they are a vintage fit, and with the addition of a little leg frill these turned out to be fun bikini set, not too skimpy and really cute! The one piece I took the ruffle right down to the hip, up over the shoulder and down the back. I think the one piece turned out to be my favourite of all! It has a deeper scoop which added a nice feature to the style and made it a little different to the bikini! Both the girls suits are lined with a white swimsuit lining - the beautiful water colour greenery swim Lycra was from Sems Fabrics.
For my little guy, I designed a rashie using the pattern I created for the fitted t-shirt in last week, but increased the ease to give a looser fit and lengthened the sleeve. Instead of binding the neckline I added a wider band, and it came up great! I even busted out my twin needle for finishing the hem and sleeves. I will have to make a few more of these this summer, so practical for both swimming lessons and fun at the beach, and great sun protection. The solid green Lycra was from The Remnant Warehouse. 
For Jacks boardies, I designed a basic shorts pattern and used an elastic drawstring cord - I've never used this stuff before and its simple to use, and really awesome to be able to adjust the waist once the kids are wet. I sewed two buttonholes in the front of the waistband, pulled the ties through and enclosed the elastic. I added three rows of top stitching through the elastic to give it a nice finish. Dont forget to vote for you fave designer for this week - HERE.

05 Feb '19

Project Run and Play - Patriotic Parade

Posted by Ellies Handmade

(scroll to the bottom of the Project and Run and Play site to vote!)

Oh how fun it was to create our look for the kids for Week 1 of Project Run and Play - Patriotic Parade! Our brief to create something that showcased our wonderful country got me thinking about things I truly love. I love our landscape, big wide open spaces, dry and hot summers, our native plants and of course, our unique animals. It was also important to me to find a way to incorporate some amazing Australian talent too, as far as fabrics and accessories go. With those things in mind I set off to design each pattern to create these three outfits for Ellie, Zara and Jack. 

For Ellie, I designed a pattern for a sweet baby doll style sundress. The dress has 3 gathered tiers, elastic back and flutter sleeves. Ellie is all about comfort, so I made this using a super soft double gauze - the native Golden Wattle floral print was just perfect. In a former life this was a muslin wrap from an Aussie mums baby bedding business, One Harper Lane.  

For Jack I decided to design a fitted retro style t-shirt, with raglan sleeves and a Henley placket. I'm fairly new to sewing knits, so this was my first raglan, and first Henley placket and I gotta say, I am hooked on making this style! I opted to finish the sleeve and neckline with binding, adding to the retro feel! How cute is the kangaroo knit????
I loved the quality of this Elvelyckan knit, and the co-ord for the sleeves and placket matched up beautifully - this was from Sems Fabrics. 
His shorts were a true challenge... I was aiming for a nice slim fit, and wanted to make sure they had all the features in shorts to make them boyish and tailored. All the seams were reinforced, front pockets and welt pockets on the butt, and a fly! I used a linen to make these, and even though they wrinkle like nobody's business they turned out pretty cute!

For Zara, I designed a two piece outfit, consisting of a cotton blend tank top (with a Henley packet too because at this point, I think I have an addiction to this style) but also with a lovely deep scoop on the back. I finished the arms and neckline with a self made bias binding. To match the top, I created a midi skirt with waistband and waist ruffle.
The skirt was made from a really gorgeous cotton linen blend, designed by an Australian textile designer Annette from Thats Graphic Design. She designs some of the most stunning native Australian floral prints I have seen, and I'm so pleased she now has a fabric line about to release! I added in some belt loops to house the gorgeous bovine leather belt I made. Yes... I made the belt.. and the ties are kangaroo leather!!! Never in a million years did I ever imagine to be working with leather.
In January I did a leather making workshop with someone I admired greatly - Annie Zorzo - and learned how to cut, sew and plait with leather. Annie is a leather master, her bags are like no other, and spending some time in her studio was a huge learning experience and a tonne of fun! 

Week 1 of Project Run and Play has just been incredible, I have truly enjoyed creating these outfits from scratch and hope that you guys like them too! Don't forget to vote for you fave designer HERE.

19 Jan '19

Project Run and Play - Season 19 - This is Me

Posted by Ellies Handmade

Eek I can finally share! I am so excited to be part of Project Run and Play’s Around the World Tour - Season 19 Australia & New Zealand! I thought i would share a little about myself...

Im Natasha (Tash as most people know me) and I live in Sydney, Australia with my hubby Mike, 3 children Jordy, Ellie and Jack, and our cat, Harry. I’m originally from country NSW, growing up in a rural town called Wagga Wagga

My love of sewing stemmed from spending a lot of time in my late grandmothers sewing room as a child. I would constantly be ‘’helping’’ her, which lets face it, meant I was begging her to help me make rah rah skirts and all that good 80's fashion.

I rediscovered sewing when my daughter Ellie was born. I started by making her little toys while I was pregnant, and then moved onto dresses and then ....boy oh boy… I was hooked. For the next five years I built a handmade business, Ellie's Handmade. Over that time I sewed thousands of dresses for little girls all over the world, and found true happiness in creating outfits, forming wonderful friendships in the sewing community and of course, I became completely addicted to fabrics. I am a floral girl, I always have been, so my natural style always revolved around gorgeous floral prints and really feminine designs.

At the end of 2017 I joined the design team at Little Lizard King Patterns, and every day I feel truly thankful that my sewing journey led me to find a group of wonderful women that encouraged me to take the next steps on my sewing journey. Designing patterns and seeing them made by such talented seamstresses worldwide is the best feeling – it’s incredible to see what people can do with a pattern to make it truly unique!

I’ve followed along with Project Run and Play for several years, and have admired how talented the contestants are. I hope that my contribution to this season will be fun and inspiring! I am aiming to draft each pattern and cant wait to see the other designers wonderful sews too - I am in complete awe of the other amazing ladies in this season.  You can find me on Instagram here @natashachrismas or see detailed pics my entries for Project Run and Play on my blog - here.

07 Dec '18

Christmas Baking

Posted by Ellies Handmade

Sometimes starting out with a simple sewing project is only the very beginning of what fun can lay ahead. I recently bought some inexpensive tea towels from Kmart, and after looking at them, thought, these would be so cute as little Aprons. With that in mind I set out to make a brother and sister set of aprons using the Sugar Plum Apron pattern.

To create the boys apron, I omitted the ruffled section of the ‘skirt’, and simply cut the width of the apron 2’’ wider than the bodice width, and did not gather it. No other changes to the pattern, it was really straightforward and the result was great!

They came together so quickly and easily, and after telling my friend what fun I had transforming the tea towels to aprons, she decided to make some for her girls too. We of course decided we must have a Christmas baking afternoon, and the plan was hatched to do some cupcake and biscuit baking.


Cue Mariah Carey, Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra Christmas songs, and a whole lot of dipping fingers in mixture and fun in general – a simple sewing idea turned into an afternoon of fun, Christmas spirit and wonderful memories.