Showing posts with label upcycle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label upcycle. Show all posts

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Poncho love

My Mum recently gave me some gorgeous cashmere jumpers that had been nibbled away at by moths to see if I could make use of the remaining material.  I had a little think and thought I would try to make something out of the two jumpers that she could still way - I came up with the idea of a poncho (following a good sweep of pinterest of course!)

This is what I started with - you can just about see a few holes where the moths have had a good go at the cashmere.



I decided to make things easy for myself and stick with the shape of the roll neck jumper as a bit of a template.  I lay the jumper out flat and cut a straight line just about where the side seam and are seam joined up.


Then came the tricky bit.  I had a limited amount of fabric due to dodging holes and seams so I trimmed everything down to use able sections and this is what I was left with.


I sat down and sketched out a rough idea of what I wanted things to look like - originally I started with the idea of smaller patches but due to the limited fabric I ended up deciding on bigger chunkier sections.  I measured and cut out the blocks and then stitched them together to create this.  You can see I have also used the edging that was on the original jumper and cardigan to make the finish very easy to do.


Although this was a poncho it wasn't going to be really long so it needed to be able to sit properly while still allowing arm movement.  I decided to create holes for the arms to slip through and close the side seams of the poncho.  I used bias binding to bond the seams and then stitched the seams down to the base of the poncho.  The idea is that the arms will be through the poncho from about the elbow so it will still have that loose relaxed effect.


And there you have it a finished poncho ready to be sent back to my Mum.  Now I have to be honest at this point that I am not entirely convinced that she will wear this - it does have a bit of a funky 80's feel to it that may not fit in with her usual attire.  If I had made it had been a bigger size then I on the other hand would have been highly likely to sport an item of clothing like this.  Anyway whether it gets worn by Mum or not I am convinced someone will be able to enjoy it and I have to say it was a lot of fun to make.  I wasn't sure how it would be to sew cashmere but it is actually quite simple to work with and so soft to the touch!
My next project is likely to take a bit longer.  I plan to make some curtains for one of my sisters which will be a first for me and a wedding dress keepsake bear for my other sister.  I think those projects will keep me busy for a fair while but I'll be sure to keep checking in and let you know how I am getting on.
Do send in your pictures of your makes!


x

Friday, 20 December 2013

To make or not to make?!?


Everyone has different criteria for what makes a perfect gift and some people are really hard to buy for.  There is a challenge when it comes to handmade gifts – for many people handmade reminds them of those gorgeous little crafts that small children bring home to their parents dripping glue and glitter.  People love to receive those gifts from children but as we grow up we become concerned about anything we make turning out to be an explosion of random craft materials and that it won’t really turn into anything useful.  Handmade is tricky but when it is done right those gifts can be the best.  For me handmade gifts sum up what giving is all about – not just money but something of you has gone into the gift.  So how do you get it right? 
I think the key is not over complicating things – simple gifts can be the most perfect.  A gift I love to receive is pretty things for around my home – things I see every day and remind me of the person who gave them.  So I have decided to share a tutorial on how to make bunting.  This is perfect for any time of year but with some clever fabric choices and colour selection bunting can make a country chic style Christmas home.
You will need
-          Fabric of your choice
-          Bias binding to match your fabric
-          Ruler, pencil and card/paper
-          Pins
-          Needle and thread or sewing machine
-          Iron

1    1.    Measure out a triangle on paper.  This can be done by measuring the base and then marking the half way point all the way up to how high you want your triangle to be.  Then draw the lines.  You can fold in half to ensure it is even

2.       Trace out the triangle onto your fabric as many times as you want.  I made 6 triangles for my bunting so I cut out 12 triangles of fabric.  You can make your bunting as long or as short as you need

3.       Place your triangles with the right sides of the fabric facing each other in pairs.  Sew from the base up to the point and leaving your needle down lift the foot and turn the fabric.  Then sew the line along the other edge of the triangle back to the base.  Leave the base unstitched.

4.       Once you have done this turn the triangles so you have the right side of the fabric facing you.  Push the point out using anything that isn’t too sharp ie the end of a pencil or crochet hook.  At this point it is really important to iron the bunting to ensure it is sitting correctly.

5.       Now you need to work out how wide apart you want the triangles on your binding.  I left a 10cm gap between each flag.  Place the triangles into the binding and fold it over hiding all the raw edges.  Pin in place and sew neatly along the edge of the binding.  I used a zig zag stitch as it looks nice but also ensures you don’t miss any of the bias binding when it is folded.

6.       Now trim your edges and display or wrap up for that perfect gift!

The fabric I have used was gifted to me by a friend and it has previously belonged to her Nan who didn’t have the opportunity to use it.  Hanging this bunting up I think honors her and the special person she was in my friend’s life.
If you have something special that belonged to someone who was important to you why not incorporate it into a gift for someone or for you so that it becomes a part of your home on a daily basis.
I hope you have fun making the bunting – do send me pictures of how you get on!

x

Thursday, 5 December 2013

A little bit of assistance!

Doing this blogging thing is opening my eyes to a whole world of technology that I had no idea existed!  With the help of the lovely Emma from It's Emma Made I now have a blog button and know how to add in other fantastic blogs that I find in my wanderings around crafty internet world.  I'm going to start gathering a few of my favorite blogs and posting their buttons along the side.  I'm working on the theory that if you enjoy what I write about you might also enjoy the things I read about!  So pop across and get to know some of the blogs I add over the next few weeks and if you want to grab my blog button the script is just below it!

The other achievement of the week also came from a fellow blogger Irene over at sergerpepper
With some advice from Irene and some time invested on my part my sewing machine is back!  To be fair it remains towards the end of its life but it has been given a new lease of life for now at least which buys me the time to start saving and dreaming about the next one I get!

It turned out the main issue was a hugely embarrassing amount of lint build up in the machine.  I unscrewed everything that appeared to be detachable and armed with cottons buds eradicated every last piece of fluff.  Some fiddling around with tension and putting the machine back together and I can feel and hear the difference!  I had been under the impression that I was cleaning my machine regularly but clearly I needed to go to a whole new level to keep the machine in tip top condition.

Well a massive thank you to those who have helped me out this week!  Hopefully I can return the favour in a different context in the future!

I'll post over the weekend a gorgeous backpack that I'm making out of some truly bright fabric that used to be a bed sheet! :)


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Bunny doorstops

Now I have finished my craft fair and a few other bits and pieces it leaves me open to concentrate on projects that I have promised to friends for a long time.
 A friend asked me a month or so ago about making my bunny softies in to doorstops.  We agreed some fabric and off I went to forget about it for ages until finally today I found some time to have a play!  Luckily I had half done this one already so no need for my sewing machine!
 So how did I do it?  I took the template that can be found here and cut out the fabric of my choice and a lining fabric.  I then made an oval out of both my lining and my choice fabric.  The oval needs to be the length of the base of the bunny from toe to tale :)

Then I simply placed the choice fabric right sides together and stitched round placing the oval between the toe and the tale.  I left a full line between the toe and the tale open on one side.  I repeated with the lining.

Then I had a bit of a fiddle - first filling the lining with rice, giving up on that and attempting to skip the lining and then going back to my original plan. So I put some rice into my choice fabric right up to the ears to maintain the shape and then slotted the lining inside. I poured in rice until it was pretty full and then I had stitched the lining closed.  I then added some extra rice into the cheeks of the bunny and around the neck to stop it from slouching down when the rice in the lining shifted position.  I lined the base of the bunny with pennies and then folded over the fabric and stitched tightly together.
This is the finished product.

To be honest once I have fiddled around some more I may well end up making my friend a new one as this is by no means perfect but as a first doorstop attempt I am pretty happy with it.  I can see why so many doorstops are one block like shape with an image sewn on rather than a shape as it is pretty tricky to shape it correctly.

In my house rice and a few coins are plenty heavy enough but if you lived in a house that had self closing fire doors I think it may not quite be enough and you would need to use something like sand that had more weight in it.

Have you got any unusual doorstops?  Or ideas for the next one I make?  Let me know :)
x

Sunday, 24 November 2013

SO how did it go???

When I set out to write this blog I spoke about a running, crafting and gardening combined with less time in front of the TV and more positive activity.  Looking back I feel pretty happy with how it has all gone!
 I planted some successful and some unsuccessful veg in the garden - spinach and butternuts failed but had crops of runner beans right up until last week.
 The running went great - I did the race for life and then staggered through the great south run.  Since then I have to confess I have not stepped outside for a run but I have joined a gym and have been going along and enjoying exercising in the less freezing temperatures - combined with a warm pool and working hairdryers makes me very happy.  I do like to be warm!
 The crafting has been wonderful - I have been stitching with quite some dedication and managed to gather a whole table full of stock to take along to the craft fair yesterday.

 Financially the craft fair was not a success for me to be honest - I sold a few pieces but not lots so returned home with nearly all my bits and pieces.  So what has been good?
 - Since sharing more of what I sew I have been in contact with a variety of crafty types and upcyclers from all over the world via various social media sites.  I've learnt from them, marveled at their achievements, shared some of their struggles and loved looking at all their gorgeous crafts.
 - I've made sewing a part of my life in a way that it wasn't before which means I make more things for more friends because they see me sewing things and I love doing this!
 - I met fantastic people at the craft fair
 - Doing the craft fair has given me time to think about and realize what my USP is - upcycling - and to consider how to make this appealing to others.
 - The time I spend in front of my sewing machine is simply wonderful - I sit and think, I sing along to songs, I listen to stories and generally just take time out for me to process and deal with various things going on in my head.

I think in summary it has been wonderful to move through my life in the last few months with a bit more purpose than simply ticking days off of a calendar.  By setting goals and working towards them I have used my time more wisely and done more than I had in the previous months.  By sharing my goals I feel somehow driven to achieve them by my own desire to do well.  By sharing my moments that aren't quite as successful as I would like them to be I feel I am able to hold my head higher - not keep secrets and pretend that everything went exactly as planned but instead embrace the reality of where things are at and get excited about moving forwards with input from others.  These things are all on a very small level - after all the goals I set were really just about spare time - but for me the lessons I have learnt have been so very applicable to every part of my life.

So where next?  I definitely plan to set myself more goals in the future - I think I will begin with some new years resolutions in January (more on that in a future blog).  I definitely plan to keep crafting, exercising and I have to say I have fallen in love with blogging.  It is evolving slowly into a type of crafty journal with anything I experience thrown in - but anyone who knows me will verify it never was going to be a hugely focused blog on one single topic as that just isn't how I operate!

So watch this space for a few bits in my etsy shop and some new adventures coming up!  Thanks for coming along on my journey - its ace having you on board!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Slippers!

As the weather has started to turn colder I realized that my slippers are well and truly worn through.  So I decided to make my own.  They turned into more lined slipper socks than actual slippers with a sole but to be honest I'm pretty happy with them!  I realize more and more that I love turning something that is previously useless into something cute and useful.  I bought a cardigan from a charity shop for £2 some time ago.  I loved it but despite taking care to put it on a woolen cycle at a low temperature I managed to shrink it to the point of looking ridiculous when I attempted to wear it.  The shrinking had made the wool kind of felt like so I decided this was my perfect slipper material.

So this is where I started and where I ended up.


So how can you make your own?  To be honest this really was a simple project - I didn't measure anything and simply used the shape of my foot as a guide - not so helpful if you want to make them as gifts but for this project it was perfect for me.


1. I chose a lining fabric - I used a stretchy t-shirt fabric that I had - and fold over your foot pinning along the bottom.  The fit should be comfy and not too tight so as to make it restrictive.

2. Once you have pinned lining for both feet remove your foot and trim along the line of pins.  Then sew this line with a neat running stitch.

3.  Check that your lining sock fits your foot once it has been sewn and all pins removed. Repeat steps 1 & 2 with your outer layer of fabric ie felt, wool or something that will keep you warm.  Because I was using a cardigan I simply used the sleeves as the top of the slipper sock. I inserted my foot into the sleeve and pinned the shoulder area of the arm round my foot using the pre-formed sleeve edge as a neat top to my slipper.

4. Now you want to turn the outer sock so that the seam is inwards and leave the inner sock so the seam is facing outwards.  Now insert the inner sock into the outer sock.  Fold the top of the inner sock down so that all raw edges are hidden and stitch along this edge.  My socks sat neatly at the top but if yours are too loose you can add a stretch of elastic around the top of your sock to hold them up.

5.  I used wool and simply did some stitches to create a face.  This is an area where I'm sure every one of you can out do me on free hand creative skills but I have to admit I am quite fond of my little faces.  I'm considering adding some ears!

6. Now the next step is where I discovered a new product
According to google this works perfectly to enable you to create non-stick treads - so yesterday I popped off to John Lewis and spent £2.40 on a bottle of this.  It takes a long time to dry and I would recommend allowing a little longer than the specified 24 hours - particularly now that the weather is so cold.  But its pretty effective and has turned my quick slipper sock upcycle into a much more finished and less slippy project.

With some practice I think you could get quite fancy with the designs you used as treads - I played it safe on this occasion and just went for splodges focused on the toes, ball of the foot and heel.

All in all this project has been a fun one and I enjoyed pinning my feet into fabric and stitching to create slippers out of a ruined cardigan.  I'm now trying to decide what to do with the rest of it!

Have fun stitching and please do share your adventures with me!  If you send in some pics I'll do a section featuring all of your designs.
x




Friday, 25 October 2013

Pillow case to skirt


My love of making clothes/bags/gifts or anything really out of other abandoned things came more from a love of beautiful and unusual fabric than anything else.  My passion grew into a desire to see less waste and a choice to try to dress in more ethically sourced clothes.  On a tight budget and working for a small agency having just returned to the UK from a few years away I began to find treasures tucked in charity shops.  I realized what great outfits could be conjured up from a scrap of fabric, an old bed sheet or a discarded dress being sold off extra cheap because of the gaping hole in the shoulder.  And so my love of colours, sewing, fabric and clothes grew – and I spent many a weekend  nestled away cutting, pinning, gathering and sewing to make all sorts of creations.

So today I’m setting you a challenge.  Delve into the depths of your linen cupboard, head to your nans to rummage through hers or go on a charity shop/jumble/car boot sale rummage in search of the funkiest pillow case you can find.  I usually find you can pick one up for about 50p sometimes a bit more for a pair.   Today I found a matching pair for 60p – bargain!

And out of this you’re going to make a cute, gathered skirt!

What you need . . .
  • A pillowcase (2 for sizes more than UK14) in a pattern you love
  • A plain pillowcase or piece of fabric of similar size for the waistband (because I am using a pair I used the other side of the pillowcase)
  • A ribbon or strip of fabric that is about 15cm wide and 30cm longer than your hip measurement
  • Dressmakers pins
  • A sewing machine or a needle
  • Thread
  • An un-picker (not essential but helpful in any task involving salvaging fabric)

SIZING
Measure around your hips (or waist if you prefer to wear your skirts there)
Take that number and make a note of it.  We will call that number X.  Now follow the formula below.
X ÷2 = Y
Y + X = T or the total length of fabric you will need
T ÷ 2 = F or the length your two pieces from step 2 need to be.

So let's go . . .

1. U npick the stitches that are holding the pillowcase together and pull
out all loose threads. Trim the edges that are unusable from
 previous stitching but try to only cut off what you have to.




4. Now set your machine (if you’re using one) so it is set to sew the longest stitch.  Using this setting sew along the top of the fabric two parallel lines ensuring they do not touch and are around 1 cm apart.  Ensure you leave threads at the start and end of your line of stitching that you will be able to get hold of. 




6. Now you have your gathering you need to take the measurement you took earlier-figure X - and ease out the fabric to equal that measurement.  Leave 4cm extra as this is where you will sew your seam.  Use your fingers to spread the gathering out so that it is even and the correct size for you.





9.  Now choose your fastening – I have done mine with a tie at the top to finish and a zip but you can add a button, zip or hook and eye – whichever suits you.  If you choose a tie just extend the waistband to a length that means you can tie a cute bow.
Take the open seam and put right sides together – do a straight stitch right up to where your fastening is.  If you have put in a zip this is where you would add it.  I will add a tutorial on how to insert a zip next week.


So there you have it a skirt sewn from a pair of pillow cases for only 60p!  Plus a happy day spent sewing!




Next week I'll do a tutorial on how to add in a zip so that if anyone chose this to be their fastening there won't be any confusion!

Happy sewing :)
x







Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Putting yourself out there

So this week I have taken the opportunity to finish some patchwork products that I have been working on.  I love the finished effect of patchwork but it is time consuming and my machine has fought against the quilting it at every turn.  But I have battled on and here are some of the pieces I have made.



The stocking is fully lined so it can be used for filling with fabulous surprises for someone this Christmas and the other two pieces are purely decorations.  
  It has been fun to try something different and continue with new techniques and approaches to try to create things that are always changing and evolving -reflecting mood, seasons, weather or a theme.  For this week that technique was patchwork.  
 I have seen many inspirational patchwork pieces by people who have clearly spent hours and hours perfecting this skill.  They use a perfect maze of fabrics and shapes and bring them together to create something that is just mind-boggling.  I know a few people who are experimenting successfully with making hexagon quilts and it looks fabulous.  But for me - for now - I stuck with squares - also very effective - but not quite a tricky as some of the other shapes that people opt for.  Overall I'm really happy with how they have all turned out and particularly love the stocking!
  These three pieces will be the first that I have put out there for public scrutiny.  I've signed up for a facebook showcase called A winter Wonderland where crafters show 3 products that they are selling. 
 I didn't really start sewing to sell things and I didn't start blogging to get loads of followers.  I love sewing and I love writing - the two seem to have fitted together nicely to be honest and I really enjoy sharing the things that I have made.  I've signed up to a charity craft fair and this showcase because it seemed the natural next step to continue sharing my love of creating (and talking ).  But putting yourself out there is scary - it's inviting criticism and judgement.  Inviting people to choose not to like the things that you have spent time creating.  Of course it also invites recognition and praise and all the things that make putting yourself out there worth it.  So I have shared my pictures on the showcase with a mixture of excitement and nervousness - not really sure if this is the right step but at the same time not having lost anything by trying.  I'll continue crafting and blogging whatever happens because I love it and that is what I have to remember!
 I'll keep you posted on how it goes and please do leave me your feedback!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pleats tutorial

Hi all
What a rainy weekend it has turned out to be!  I have spent much of my time at work so am hoping it will rain itself out as I head towards some much needed time off!  Though I would take some time this morning to blog my tutorial on pleats.

I love pleats - they are cute and look gorgeous when done right.  I love the shape they add to clothes and as you saw in my last post I've started to use them in bags as well.  They can be adapted to any style you like and any shape or size so for me it is a must in your stash of sewing skills.

So what will you need - your fabric of choice, dress pins, a tape measure, tailors chalk, iron and a needle/sewing machine and thread.

1.  You need to measure the length of your fabric and decide how big your pleats will be.  I chose 2cm pleats to be every 4cms.  This means that in total I will need 10cm per pleat because the fold uses 3x2cm of fabric.  To work this out for your pleats take the size you chose for your pleat, times it by 3 and then add this figure to the gap you want between pleats.  I marked this out along the top of the fabric using pen so you can see it but you will want to use tailors chalk that won't mark or run ink over your fabric.
So I have marked 0cm then 4cm then 8cm then 10cm.  Then I repeat this again until I reach the end of the fabric.

2. You now want to start folding the fabric to create the pleats.  You want to take the 8cm marking and bring it over the the 4cm marking
This should mean that the 10 cm marking sits just on the fold leaving you with a neat 2cm pleat.  Pin this with the pin pointing up towards the edge of your fabric.  Then you repeat the step taking the 8cm back to the 4cm and pinning until you reach the end of your fabric. You should be left with something a little like this.
As you can see it creates a nice curve to the fabric which is why pleating is often used for skirts - it perfectly sets up the waist band.

3. Now you want to press this out.  This is a really important step if you want your pleats to sit nicely.  The fabric should naturally show you how long the pleats fall - if you want a full pleat all the way to the bottom of your fabric you need to ensure you measure the pleats all the way down otherwise they will loose some of their shape.

4. Finally you run a straight stitch along the top of the fabric and remove your pins.  While you are sewing check that the pleats aren't folding up under your machine foot (if your using a machine) and adjust as you got to ensure they are going through the machine perfectly flat.

Now you add this to your skirt or bag or whatever it is that you are using it for.  This is a skirt that I made a year of so ago out of round table cloth.  I used pleats to bring it in to fit me at the waist and it gives the skirt such  a full feel - perfect for twirling I have to say :)

If you decide you want to do box pleats you follow the same idea except you turn the folds round.  SO the first fold you would bring the 8cm to the 4cm mark.  Then you would swap and bring the 4cm to the 8cm and continue alternating to create a boxed look on your product.

Have fun experimenting and as always give me a post of anything you produce!






Wednesday, 9 October 2013

This week it's all about the bags


Well I've been back at the machine again - I think it was cross about being neglected for all those days last week as today it played up like crazy.  Broken needles, broken threads, light bulbs going but I took a break for lunch and all seemed to return to normal.  I have come to the conclusion that machinery objects to me being hungry and I must remember to squirrel snacks up into the attic with me when I start a sewing session.
 I've been making bags this week and have been experimenting with creating different shapes.  I've got a bit bored of making rectangle tote bags so thought I'd try a few new things.  Or new to me anyway.
 The first one was pretty simple but I just love the blue of the fabric and the flowers and felt it fitted a rectangular shape so I went with it.

The second one is probably my favourite - I made it from fabric that my sister found for me a few years ago.  I really love it which is probably why I haven't had the heart to cut it up till now.  I'm happy I did though - believe it or not this is from a duvet cover!  Upcycling at its best! A few pleats really made the difference with this one making it look much more complicated than it actually was to make.

The final bag so far is from a fabric that you would have seen plenty of already.  That fabulous vintage floral fabric I got from Sue Ryder a month or so ago.  I have nearly used it all up so this is likely to be the last you see of it!  I've done really well with it making mini stockings, a skirt, an apron and this bag as well as a few little purses and hanging hearts.  

I really like using pleats in bags as they add so much extra shape to it as well as the extra space.  Pleating is really simple to do you just need to be prepared to take a bit of time to measure each fold.  I will do a tutorial on how to pleat over the weekend so watch this space.

And for the last photo here is a sneak preview of a piece I'm preparing for a winter wonderland showcase that I'm involved in on Facebook in November.  I've been digging out all my blue, grey and silver fabrics for the winter theme and what better way to use all those odds and ends than a bit of patchwork!  Any ideas what it will be in the end?


I hope you are all having a fabulous week - don't forget to share your pics of the things you've been making - you never know you might get a share in the blog.  Thanks for reading.
x



Saturday, 28 September 2013

Adding a little something

This week I've been busy stitching various bits and pieces for Christmas.  Some mini stockings and a few gifty pieces.  All of the thought to winter inspired me to turn my attention to my living room.
All of my furniture is second hand and starting to look somewhat tired.  I decided to attempt a bit of a dye job on the sofas to add some colour.  We live in a rental property so the walls are neutral and when we moved in the biggest and most comfortable sofa we could find was cream.  I love it - space for two to stretch out, just the right amount of squish and the right height - generally it's a great sofa.  That said there's only so much cream one person can take. 
  So I embarked on upgrading my sofa.  I bought dylons burlesque red which is a deep purple-red and looks gorgeous on the box.  Armed with a few boxes and lots of salt I stripped the fabric off the sofa.
  I have to admit it was a bit of a mission.  Dividing the covers into roughly equal loads.  Washing with dye.  Washing without dye and then drying all the covers.  I didn't dare to put them in the dryer in case they shrank so for a few days we had sofa covers draped from chairs and clothes horses all over the place.
The finished effect?  Well it certainly isn't completely progressional.  I think a larger machine would have allowed more movement in the fabric.  My tiny machine has left a bit of mottling and crease lines across the covers where it couldn't move enough.  I was concerned that I had ruined the sofa but once the covers were on I think it looks pretty funky.  It has a bit of an aged effect to it and I think the mottling blends in with the age of the sofa.  All in all I'm happy plus I've learnt some good lessons about dye and fabric.
  I feel inspired to play about more with colour and try to experiment with dye a little bit more - here's to some more experimental upcycling! :-) who knows maybe a little bit of art coming up.
Watch this space.

 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

oven mitt tutorial

This week I have been trying out a new pattern for me and making some oven mitts/pot holders.  It was all a bit of an experiment to be honest but I did a very wonky test run - got positive feedback so thought I would run a few up to sit on the table at an upcoming craft fair.

I got myself completely organised and set up a little production line so that I would - in theory - be super duper time efficient.  Unfortunately I wasn't as organised as I had thought and only had enough wadding for my test run and 2 more mitts.  So I did that many and will have to return to make the others later.  I'm proud of my good intentions but may have to work a bit harder on the pre-planning bit :)

If your going to do this project you will need

thread, patterned fabric, plain backing fabric, wadding, shape templates (can be printed out from internet), scissors, bias binding that compliments your patterned fabric and some pins.  I think this one is easier if you have a sewing machine but certainly doable without!

So this is how I did it:

I printed out templates of the shapes I had chosen - heart, star and flower onto plain paper.  I only have an A4 printer so made the shapes into halves and printed it this way.  I laid the straight edge onto the fold in the fabric, pinned and cut out.


I then repeated this step for backing fabric and wadding.  I then cut the backing fabric out a second time but this time cut the shapes in half along the fold line.

I laid the fabric in the order I wanted baking fabric then wadding and then pattered fabric and ironed. This is an important step as it causes the wadding to compress which makes it much easier to manage when sewing and cutting a fiddly shape.

Then take the two halves of the backing fabric and edge the straight seam.  I did this by over locking it and then folding over and running a straight line stitch along it.  When you do this ensure that you fold over on both halves the same side.  When you lay the two halves onto the back of your shape you should see no raw edges on either side.

Now pin together and run a straight line stitch all the way around the edge of your shape trying to ensure you catch all the layers into your stitch.

Once you have done this trim with scissors as close as you can to your line of stitching.  Remove any excess threads or pieces of wadding that are sticking out around the edges.

Now take your bias binding and fold around your shape.  This is the trickiest bit and requires you to take it slowly and ensure the binding is tucked tightly around the shape.

It should look something like this now.


As you can see I added a loop of fabric to the corner of each so that the mit could be hung up in the kitchen.  The idea of these is that they fold in half and your hand slips into the pockets.
 Trim all your edges and check carefully for if there are any sections of bias binding that you have missed with your line of stitching.  If there are you need to neaten that section up otherwise the mit will begin to look untidy very quickly when used.

So there you have it - a cute mit for handling those hot pots and pans.  I think it would brighten up a kitchen but is also a cute idea for a gift.

I found that the flower became very tricky because of the tight curves so I kept sewing the bias binding without all of the layers in it when I hit the corners.  I'll keep trying but didn't end up with a neat enough product to photograph this time.  Maybe next week!

As always I have made these out of reclaimed fabrics so they are ethical and environmentally friendly.

Happy stitching :) 


ps. it was lovely to climb up into my organized craft room this weekend so I have many good intentions to become an organised crafter - watch this space :) 



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Clutter and chaos

I am a messy person - it is something I wish I wasn't but I have grown to accept that mess follows me and grows around me!  I keep on top of it nowadays unlike in my teenage years when my bedroom was a bit of an explosion but in the areas I craft in chaos is highly likely at all times.

It is one of the reasons that I love having the attic room - I can go up there, start a project, allow chaos to have its way and then when I have run out of time pop downstairs and close the hatch.  No one sees it and I can just re-start exactly where I left off.  Of course this does have its downfall when my husband pops up to the attic to find something and I jump up in horror - 'don't look up there'

But as much as chaos seems to be attracted to me while I am creating there is something truly wonderful about having a good clear out.  Tidying everything away - clearing up the scraps from the last project and packing up elastic, ribbons and threads.  There is definitely truth in the saying 'tidy house, tidy mind' or in this case 'tidy room, tidy mind'

So this morning I decided that before heading off to work I would avoid the temptation to start another new project and instead I would have a re-organize.  I headed up and started sorting.  I have to confess I really enjoyed myself - it was definitely much overdue and I can't believe that one person can drop so many pins on the floor - but all in all I loved it.

  I found some odds and ends of fabric that had been buried by new purchases - I'm now excited to try to make something with them.

I discovered a half finished skirt that I had begun to make from a pillowcase I rescued from a house clearance a year or so ago.  This is now part of my to do list for this week to complete!

Plus I am fully set up with a clean and clear attic room and hopefully next time I arrive to sit down and sew my mind will be flooded with inspiration.  
This tidy up has also made me realize I need to invest in some low shelves or crates to store my crafty books and ever growing stash of fabric as my few boxes just aren't cutting it anymore.  I shall keep my eyes peeled on free cycle and the charity shops for a bargain.


All in all a productive and happy day so far :) 


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Back to it!

In recent weeks I have been busy making all sorts of bits and pieces in preparation for an upcoming craft fair.  It's been fun and I have loved how productive I can be when I am making such small thing.  But with London Fashion Week going on and watching what some people have been up to creating outfits out of donated clothes I realized I miss making clothes!

  Oxfam Fashion and Back of the Wardrobe collaborated today to recreate the styles that were being sent out on the runways.  All their styles were made from pieces in the charity shop!  It is inspiring and shows that it can be done - we don't have to spend huge amounts of money or accept un-ethical shops to wear clothes of a certain style or trend. Here is a link to a picture of one of the styles they re-created but check out the full story on twitter.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BUIehf0CAAIuQ1i.jpg:large

I love clothes but I hate so much of what clothes represent in our society - exploitation of others, disposable society and pressure to conform.  That is just one of the reasons I love charity shop shopping so much.  But I'm also creative and I love to change things to fit who I am.  So back to it I went today.

A lovely chat over tea and cake with a friend, a speedy peddle home on my trusty bike just beating the rain and I headed up to my attic - let the fun begin!

This was my starting piece - something I got well over a year ago and intended to re-create it for a friend.  It has sat buried in my sewing pile for ages - finally it was time to get stitching and give it some life again!


A cute vintage fabric with a nice skirt and button down top.  Unfortunately for the person this dress is intended for the large size is too big and I generally wanted it to be given a bit of an edge.

I cut the sleeves and edged them to create a slight shoulder - adding a cute button on each one to finish it off.
I then added the fabric I had removed from the sleeve to the collar to give it a neater look.  I took the sides in and added a fabric belt to be tied round the waist.

Here is the transformation!

A fitted dress which maintains its vintage style while showing off a bit of body shape and complimenting the figure!  I'm happy with it and really enjoyed my afternoon crafting clothes again!  Once I give this dress away I will try to get pictures of it being worn by a real person! :)

Let me know what you think and send me your upcycle projects!