Saturday, 18 April 2015

Sewing Tutorials - Learn Something New!

Sewing has had a welcome renaissance in the last few years, mainly due to the popularity of programmes such as The Great British Sewing Bee and the make-do-and-mend approach to life.

Learning to sew and craft has equally benefited from the do-it-yourself method. The internet is full of wonderful blogs to follow and tutorials to master new techniques. Here are a couple I really enjoy following:

Colette patterns have a weekly sewing tip called Snippets which is well worth signing up for.

The Purl Bee from NYC's Purl Soho is amazing and I've made many of their wonderful patterns - I promise it will keep you busy for hours!
Sewing Bee's Tilly & The Button continues to be a star with both her wonderful pattens and great step-by-step tutorials - perfect for beginners.

Sew Mama Sew has everything you could want to make - many of the pins below come from this site.

A UK site for both tutorials and stockists is The Sewing Directory.

Pinterest is full to the brim of tutorials that can talk you through every possible new skill you would like to master. Here are some of my boards I've collected:

Sewing patterns and projects for me - dresses, bags and tops.
Children's clothes - mainly girl's dresses
General sewing tips - including bias binding and sleeve de-mystfiying!
Working with leather - a new challenge I'm looking to conquer
Quilts - inspiration and block tutorials
Overlocker tips
Kids Costumes - ideas I might try to recreate plus lots of great step by step guides
Sewing Projects for home
And using the rather wonderful 'Freezer Paper'

This is just the tip of the iceberg - I've not covered YouTube or the numerous shops and evening classes that offer wonderful workshops - so really there is no excuse to have a go!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Sew Mag

How exciting - I'm in a magazine!

I responded to a twitter request for handmade wedding stories from Sew Magazine - sending them a link to this blog and my wedding story - I wasn't expecting the final story.

I can't wait to get hold of my own copy - another thing to do before 40 ticked!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Bird of Paradise

Another beautiful bird to add to the growing flock...


 The latest versions have useful elastic hoops for arms and thumbs to enable maximum flapping!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Doctor in the house

My costume making continues with the challenge of a doctor's white lab coat for Cara's third birthday present. Pinterest let me down - with no easy to copy tutorials - so I had to start from scratch.

I used a top of Sophie's that had an open collar as my starting point to draft pattern pieces. My first attempt showed me where I was going wrong.

The second version was much better as I had worked out that the facing needed to hide the collar.

I added pockets - one of which was personalised using my sewing machine's fancy writing programme.Then just finished with an easy cap!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Skater Skirt Tutorial

I love the little skater skirts that Boden do for girls but they're pricey. Sophie is lucky to have one we got her with a gift of vouchers and so I decided to use it to make my own version.

I started with this soft tartan fabric. I knew I wanted it very full so made a loop of about 25 cm wide and 2 metres long. I had to sew together four 50 cm panels to make this loop due to the size of fabric I had.

I did the same with some blue lining fabric.

I them ironed and hemmed the lining bottom edge and overlocked the tartan bottom edge.

I them sewed two rows of long, basting stitches on both the 'back' and 'front' of both the tartan and the lining, leaving long thread tails. Pulling one pair of tails I gathered the fabric up.

I then made the waistband. I made 7 cm wide loop of about 60cm. I made two button holes a couple of cms apart at the  bottom half of the front, these will be the gaps for my ribbon and elastic. I then ironed it lengthways.

Checking that my  skirt gathers fitted the waistband I sewed the tartan skirt to the waistband's bottom edge - right sides together. I then did the same with the lining. I then overlocked this seam to neaten and strengthen.

I then folded the waistband over - ironed a hem and sewed the rough edges in-between the waistband. All the gathers are now hidden. I finished off by top-stitching the waistband.

I cut a piece of elastic (about 1 cm thick) that fitted Sophie's tummy and a longer piece of red velvet ribbon and using a safety pin, threaded them both through the button holes. I sewed the end of the elastic together, pushing it back into the waistband and then tied the ribbon into a bow.

Finally a made two patch pockets to go on the front at slight angles. I like the finish of the over-locked hem on the skirt and that the lining is just a little longer than the skirt. The amount of material means that it moves well - like a ballerina - according to Sophie!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

World Book Day Snail and the Whale

Finn was quite adamant that Julie Donaldson's ' Snail and the Whale' was his book fo choice for this year's World Book Day celebration. I'm always up for a challenge. It's perhaps not a classic costume but I think it captures the book well!

I started with the book to draft the whale. I used jogging trouser jersey for the body and machine appliqued it to the front with a tight zig zag stitch.

I added a contrast section and a felt eye

I made a 3D snail starting with a long tube that was rolled to make the shell then added to a body. Felt eyes and a smile finished him off! He was attached to the shoulder with Velcro so it was easy to take off.

Finally an embroidered message stated 'Save the Whale' on the back!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bunting for Ardan

A new baby and a handmade gift! As i've already made Baby Ardan's brothers their own personalised bunting I knew he had to have some too.

I had some lovely bug in jar fabric I knew would be perfect for this little boy. The soft purple and cream dot and the green geometric and the turquoise elephants all worked well together.

 I used my purple bias binding to link the flags together.

And a pop of orange with the felt letters.

Welcome to the world Ardan, looking forward to my first cuddle!