See You at Six French Terry Groove Dress

I thought all of my dreams had come true when Maaike from MaaiDesign contacted me and asked if I'd like to play with some of her beautiful, beautiful fabrics!  I was completely spoiled for choice but eventually chose to make this amazingly soft, completely adorable, beach / swim cover up from the fish print of this See You at Six french terry

I'm sharing lots more photos and a few more ramblings over at MaaiDesign today. Go and take a look and say 'hello'!

Groove Dress See You at Six French Terry Fish 1.JPG

It's Giveaway Day!

Sew mama Sew giveaway day
Sew Mama Sew giveaway day
sew mama sew giveaway day

Rooooaaar!  I'm so excited!  It's Sew Mama Sew's annual Giveaway day!  I love Giveaway day and This time I have 2 prizes up for grabs.  Winners can take their pick from any of my PDF felt mask sewing patterns.  They are perfect stocking fillers and make a wonderfully quick and easy last minute handmade birthday prezzie (I should know - pretty much all of the kids in my daughter's class got these for their birthdays this year...!)

Enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Entries close at midnight Sunday American Eastern time. Winners will be notified via email.  

Follow @willow_and_stitch on Instagram HERE:

Great! Good luck!  

If you don't win, want to peruse all my sewing patterns or simply can't wait then you can head over to my Etsy shop to take a look.

Now head back to Sew Mama Sew to enter more wonderful competitions!

Wild Things - A New Safari Mask Sewing Pattern

Wild Things - Safari Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

Are you ready for the kids to go totally wild?  Want to take a safari without ever leaving home?  Watch your backyard become the African savannah or turn the living room into a water hole with these lovely dress up masks.

This Wild Things Mask Sewing Pattern features patterns for Lion, Tiger, Giraffe, Zebra and Leopard masks.  You can even make the Leopard into a Snow Leopard for a mountain adventure. 

Wild Things - Leopard Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

I'm so pleased with this pattern.  I think the designs are my favourites so far and I've put a lot of extra effort into the pattern and tutorials.  I've come up with a better (and easier) way of sewing the eye holes, and added whole sections explaining each technique used to make the masks.  There's information on how to resize them to fit dolls (or newborns), printing guides and notes on materials to use.

Wild Things - Snow Leopard Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch
Wild Things - Tiger Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

The patterns are just as easy to follow as ever and are perfect for beginners.  They're quick to sew and make a perfect gift or stocking filler.  I think that practically all of the children Ella's class have gotten a couple of these masks for their birthday this year!  I had a particularly amusing / gratifying experience this last weekend when I took Ella to a 'Superheroes' party for one of her school friends (you can see pictures of her freezer paper stencilled Wonder Woman costume here) - I looked around the room and realised that about half of the kids were wearing masks that I had sewn and Ella had chosen to give to them for their birthday's.  It made me giggle and warmed my heart!

Wild Things - Lion and Zebra Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

Anyway, back to these little wild things; we had so much fun shooting these pictures.  I can tell that these masks are going to get a lot of play time.  The leopard and snow leopard were particular favourites with my little testers. Anything that ROARs was a big hit too of course!  (Any excuse to make a lot of noise really!)

 Roooooaaaar!

Roooooaaaar!

Wild Things - Giraffe Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

As with all of my other PDF Mask Sewing Patterns this one contains bonus printables of all of the masks.  You can print these at home onto card then let the kids colour, paint or decorate them however they like.  Whey they're finished you simply cut them out and thread them with elastic.  It's one of our favourite rainy day activities and is also great as a birthday party craft activity.

 Colour...

Colour...

 Cut...

Cut...

 Play!

Play!

To celebrate the pattern release, I'm offering free copies of not only this pattern but the ENTIRE collection of Willow & Stitch mask patterns to two lucky readers.  One here and one over on Instagram.  You are welcome to enter both giveaways as many times as you like.  Good luck!

A Free Batman Mask Pattern for you!

Free Batman Felt Mask Pattern | Willow & Stitch

Bam! Pow! Kaboom!  There have been a lot of superheroes racing around my house recently, rescuing dolls and dinosaurs in distress and generally causing well intentioned chaos.

I've been sewing an AWFUL lot of masks in the last month or so, stocking up my Etsy shop and preparing for the Christmas markets, and silly season in general.  I'm working on getting my second set of superhero mask patterns up in the Etsy shop soon, but in the meantime I thought you might like a little freebie!

Click here to download your FREE Batman felt mask sewing pattern.

The pattern can also be printed onto cardstock, painted, coloured or decorated and cut out - perfect for entertaining the kids on a rainy day or for children's parties.  Be sure to print the pattern at actual size - do not select scaling in your print options.

It's super easy this one; I don't have any photo illustrations for you but you won't need them! This mask should fit most children from around age 2.

You will need:

21 x 30cm (9 x 12") of high quality black felt

Approximately 31cm (12") of 8mm (3/8") wide woven elastic

Black thread

1.  Print the pattern piece and cut 2 mask shapes from your black felt.  TIP:  Draw around the insides of the eyes (with a white pencil or chalk) but do not cut them out yet. 

2.  Lay the 2 pieces one on top of the other, right sides together.  Pin in place.  Use a pin to mark the placement of the elastic on each side of the mask.  

3. Sandwich the elastic between the two layers of felt, pinning it in place so that it extends approximately 1.5cm (1/2") into the mask at each side.

4. Sew right around the outside of the mask, sewing through both layers of felt, and sewing 5mm (1/4") from the edge.  When you reach the spots where the elastic enters the mask sew backwards and forwards a few times to really secure it.

5.  Sew around the eye hole markings, sewing at least 5mm (1/4") from the white lines that you have drawn and keeping the lines INSIDE the circle that you are sewing. Take care not to catch the elastic in your stitches.

6. Cut along the white lines to reveal the eye holes. Again; take care with the elastic, this time making sure you don't cut through it! Cutting the eye holes out after you have sewn around them will give you a much neater finish.

Hope you and your little superheroes enjoy this tutorial.  I always love to see your creations if you feel like sharing them!

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Our Favourite Playdough Recipe

playdough

Today was a playdough kind of day.  Everyone was a little bit grumpy, everything was turning into an argument and we were on a downwards spiral.  So we made playdough, and as is often the case, everything began to turn around.  The kids love measuring out the ingredients, choosing colours and scents and kneeding the warm dough.  The kneeding is like a kind of therapy, It slows your heart and deepens your breathing. And then of course there are the endless play possibilities.  

This is our favourite playdough recipe.  It's quick and easy and makes beautiful silky soft playdough which will keep for months in an airtight container.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups plain flour

1 cup salt

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon of oil

2 cups of water

Add all the dry ingredients to a saucepan.  Add the water and heat, stirring continuously until the mixture begins to thicken and pull away from the sides of the pan.  It can get to be a pretty good arm workout but continue to heat and stir for another minute or so.

Tip contents out onto the work surface, allow to cool a little and kneed until smooth.

playdough

Variations

Colour:  If you want to make only one colour, you can add a few drops of colouring to the water at the start.  If you want to make a couple of different colours then add the colouring to the dough once it has cooked and you have portioned it.

Scent:  I love adding essences to playdough to make it a truly sensory experience.  This time we added a teaspoon of coconut essence, but try adding lavender oil for a calming experience, or a tablespoon of coco powder (although that does increase the chance that the little ones are going to try to eat it!)

Sparkles:  Add a tablespoon of glitter to the dough.  Ella's favourite version of playdough is blue with silver sparkles - unsurprisingly she calls it 'Elsa playdough'.

Do you have a favourite playdough recipe?  Do you go for a cooked or no cook recipe?  Have any fun variations?

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Three Years Old

Octonauts Cake

My little boy is three.  Three! Growing up so fast - even though he still maintains that he is - in his own words - "tiny".

He had such a wonderful day.  His request for his birthday was to ‘go swimming and to go under the water and have an octonauts cake with blue on the bottom and orange on top.”  Which, of course, is exactly what he got.  (How could we say no to such a modest request!)

He had so much fun a the pool and did indeed go under the water.  It is so amazing to watch his confidence grow and see his joy as he discovers he can do new things.  He was also very pleased with his gifts (the mama-made elephant has been christened 'Ice Age' (I think after the wooly mammoth in Ice Age...) there were also lots of Octonauts, Dinosaurs, and Dragons.  Win.

For me though the best moment of the day was when he was sitting quietly at the table, after all of our guest had gone had gone, when he quietly observed to himself ‘That was a lovely birthday’.  (Heart melts)

Birthdays have taken on a whole new meaning for me since our children were born.  It is impossible to celebrate their birthdays with out remembering the day they were born and all the emotions that went along with that.  It is impossible not to remember the newborn baby they once were and the way our world changed in an instant when they arrived.  It is impossible to imagine our world without these amazing little people, without the happiness and the love and the laughter that they bring.

I love that birthdays give us the opportunity and perhaps a reminder to stop and appreciate the people we love for who they are.  A whole day in which we focus on all the amazing things that make them who they are.  

Happy Birthday Jacob.  You are the dearest little boy.  I love your cuddles and your smile.  I love your enthusiasm, I love the way you talk and the way you gesture with your arms when you do.  I love watching you grow and learn but I wish could bottle you, just as you are, so that I might always be able to hold onto the gorgeous little boy that you are in this instant.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart.

Xxx

A Handmade Birthday

My little boy, my baby, turns 3 on Saturday.  I almost literally cannot believe it. So I have been trying to distract myself this week by pouring my love for this little man into some handmade birthday presents for him.

I've been meaning to make a duffel coat ever since I found these amazing wool remnants in the bargain bin at my favourite fabric store on Brunswick Street.  I struggled to find a pattern for a while but settled on this Oliver & S one in the end.  It's their Schooldays Jacket / Coat.  I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.  It's going to be much too big of course - as everything I make generally is - I seem to live in fear of spending lots of time and effort making something only to find that it's too small.  I'd much rather it was too big and could be grown into.  In this case I had to make a size 4 because the pattern is sold in 2 sizes and I opted for the 4+ size so that I would be able to make more in the future.  

I originally had my heart set on lining it with a brown fabric with big white polka dots, but of course I couldn't find exactly what I had imagined so went with this Rupert Bear fabric which is actually really cute and Jacob will probably love it more than he would have liked brown anyway!

The Elephant is from a RicRac pattern that I spotted in my local fabric store.  I think he's rather lovely don't you?