Monday, 6 July 2015

Skirty Sophie

I expect most three year old girls are very single-minded about what they wear - trying to encourage them into something that's not on their favourite list can be a red rag to a bull. Sophie insists on wearing skirts or dresses ('princess') nine days out of ten - hence the need for a couple of new options in her wardrobe.

The first follows a tutorial I found on Pinterest - it's a Japanese design with lovely piping pockets.

In my version I've used a precious piece of Charlie Harper's 'Cardinal Stagger' canvas from Birch Fabrics. I used black with tiny white dots for the piping.

The second is a simple design of two long tubes sewn together with a channel for some elastic around the waist. The Liberty fabric moves so lovely when gathered together like this.

I use a simple strip cotton for the underskirt.

Needless to say Sophie is pleased with her new clothes, but dressing hasn't got any easier now there is more choice!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Tutorials Tested: Simplicity 1158

More sewing for me this month. I've been thinking about my holiday and have decided short jumpsuits are what I need for the beach. There are lots of these playsuits in the shops but most are a little too skimpy for me!

After a rummage through the pattern books in my local shop I found the Simplicity 1158 pattern - perfect with it's cap sleeves and flattering cross body option. I also found the perfect remnant piece for just £4.

I made a quick trial version to test the sizes and from this I decided to make the shorts a little longer - at 5'8" I'm a taller than most.

I'm really pleased with the final version. The little details, like the gathering at the collar on the front and the tie back give the whole outfit a sense of complexity that you would expect from something more difficult to sew together.

The most fiddly bit was making sure I had the correct facing sections sewn together and added onto the right front pieces - this took a couple of goes, I shall be marking future versions more clearly

The inserted pockets and long sash belt are the perfect finishing touches.

Roll on beach-time!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Tutorial Tested: Purl Bee's Boxy Tee

The patterns and tutorials on the Purl Bee site are fabulous! There is something for everyone, or if you're like me - you'll want to do all of them!

This is the latest of theirs I've tried - their 'Boxy Tee'. They have three different versions, I went for B - mid length arms with the contrast fabric along the bottom.

 I use a mid-weight navy jersey and a piece of silky fabric I had in my stash.

I made a couple of changes to the pattern:
  • I used the front neckline template on the back so that it was more scooped. 
  • I also made the sleeves a little wider after reading the comments but Purl Bee have since made this change to the pattern.
  • Finally I took further advice from the comments by adding the bias binding to the neckline before I sewed the sleeves in - this made the fabric more maneuverable.

The silky fabric was difficult to use - it frayed and so the finished hem was shorter than planned and the french seams at the armholes were a little bulky - next time I will only do this on finer fabric.

Overall it was really straightforward, the directions were easy to follow and the final top is great. I've had complements when I've worn it, so I shall be making more!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

1, 2, 3 Quilt

This is the third year I've made Sophie a quilt for her birthday and this one was my own design.

I wanted to combine the technique of using freezer paper to 'piece' my patchwork design, I wanted to use up some of the special scraps of fabric (lots of rare Heather Ross and Liberty) I've been saving and I wanted to do numbers - something I'd not seen in many other quilts.

I drew out my design, copied onto squares of freezer paper and then split this into sections to piece together. I ironed the templates onto my scrap or white fabric, cutting a cm border for seam allowance. I started with the easier numbers that were angular first - one, four, seven before trying the curves.

I found that matching the two curved section together needed lots of pins, using the needle in the down position to maneuver and determination! There are slightly iffy bits in the 'six'!

I found that using a slightly smaller stitch length enabled me to pull the paper pattern off more easily.

The back was a simple giant zero with an elongated middle on an angle. I like finding interesting mixes of fabrics - favourite knocking up against each other in unusal ways. Although it took such a lot of time it took to make the larger sections of scrap to cut out the template pieces that I'm not sure I'll be replicating this any time soon.

Findlay helped me take these photos with some reluctance - I must make something for him!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

A Medieval Headdress!

After a recent trip to Lewes Castle  and much fun dressing up in their tower I decided to create my own headdress to add to Sophie's growing dressing up box.

These images of headwear from the middle ages helped my design.

I started with by making a tube, sewing one end closed with a ribbon attached. After pulling this the right way I then stuffed with toy filling and sewed the other end closed with a second ribbon embedded into the seam. These two ribbons tied to make my circle.

I decorated with a veil of fabric and netting which I gathered and hand-sewed to the back of the circle. I hand-sewed matching ribbon around to cover the veil. 

 Next time (!) I'll add a band of elastic that will tuck under the chin to keep it in place.

Monday, 11 May 2015


Sophie continues to feature heavily in my blog and in my making, the next few posts will be the same as she's turning three and I've used the opportunity for more projects.

 For her new dressing up box I've made this lovely vintage-style nurse outfit.

I designed it without the aid of a pattern. Although you can tell it's homemade because of some of the wobbles, but I think this just adds some genuine 'make-do-and-mend' qualities from the war-time era!

I'm really pleased with the cape. It was simple to construct and the tiny blue apple button is the perfect finishing touch.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Leather Pencil Case

I've had this bargain scrap of soft leather for years and not know how or what to make.

After searching unprofessionally for a pen mid-meeting I've decided it's obvious - a pencil case. So after some pinterest searching I felt equipped to have a go.The main lessons seem to be that you can't use pins or re-do stitching as you'll leave holes. As the pencil case is only dealing with short runs of stitches this wasn't going to be a problem.

I added some Liberty and vintage fabric and found a lovely chunky bronze and black zip. I decided to go for a box style case.

My wonderful Pfaff and its IDT system powered through the bulky seams.

 I'm pretty pleased with the result.