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.
Saturday, 18 January 2014
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.
Friday, 20 December 2013
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!
Thursday, 5 December 2013
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
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 :)
Sunday, 24 November 2013
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
Friday, 25 October 2013
- 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
- An un-picker (not essential but helpful in any task involving salvaging fabric)
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Sunday, 13 October 2013
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.
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
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.
Saturday, 28 September 2013
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
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 :)
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
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.
Saturday, 14 September 2013
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.
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!