Thursday, 19 December 2013

Personalised T-shirts

I suddenly realised I hadn't got several of our younger friends their Christmas gifts. The perfect solution? A personalised t-shirt. H&M have some lovely organic cotton long sleeve tops and I searched through my fabric stash to find the perfect match for each little person!

I sketched out the letter templates and then simply zig zag stitched the letters to the tops, keeping my needle in the down position to manoeuvre round corners and bends.

I think they worked out well! I just hope the recipients like them as much as I do!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Sneaky Peek!

I don't think I'm spoiling the festive spirit by sharing a gift I've made for Sophie - she has yet to work out how to browse blogs yet (play games on the iPad - yes!). I also wanted to share something as its been so long since last time, mainly as I've been busy on another Christmas gift that I'm not sharing until its been opened and my other projects have been curtains - not that exciting!

So this is one of Sophie's gifts - a lovely dress-up tutu!

I followed the instructions in the wonderful 'Little Things to Sew' from Oliver + S - a book i've been waiting to use for ages!

I know these tutus often retail for £30 - £40 in frou frou shops but a first ever trip to Goldhawk Road resulted in all the tulle and ribbon i needed with change from a tenner!

I chose a mix of tulle in gold, yellow and pinks with the gold being the top layer so that it has a warm, soft pink haze effect. The grosgrain ribbon is 1 1/2in wide and draws it together perfectly.

The best thing, it took no time at all to make and will last for a while - and then I'll just make another one!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Kimono Pyjamas

My visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace saw me being remarkably restrained in my fabric buying but I couldn't resist a metre of this lovely, pink, mustard and brown floral fabric for just £4. It was quite clearly destined as pyjamas for Sophie and after a flick through my books I settled on Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. I choose the Kimono top and Huck Finn Pants to make Sophie's Pyjamas but as the pattern didn't go up to her size I needed to adapt them. 

I started by drawing out the pattern pieces onto wallpaper lining paper (cheap and strong!). I then took a top and measured it and added the necessary extra width and length to the pattern pieces. I did the same for the trousers.

Once cut out the sewing together only took a short while. I made my own bias binding using some soft brown and white dot fabric.

I adapted the trousers to have a tie waist and so sewed two horizontal button holes in the middles of the waistband before making a double channel for the tie. The tie was made from left over bias binding.

They were so easy to do and took less than a metre of the main fabric that I shall be making more soon and increasing the pattern as she grows!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Captain Findlay

I seem to have started a tradition of making Finn a dressing up costume for his birthday, when he was two he got the epic dinosaur and the last year it was the super hero cape and mask. This year I went light touch with this pirate ensemble...

I bought some lovely thick black felt from eBay and found a template on Pinterest. A quick sketch and embroider of a skull and crossed cutlass and it was done. The eye patch has a simple, hand stitched pleat to create a 3D shape and the some thin elastic - I would have preferred black elastic but had none in!

The lovely cutlass is from Cox & Cox - there are cheaper out there but this is good quality and hopefully will last more than one swashbuckle!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Books and Blooms

Last week was the wedding of my dear friend Judy to the lovely Stuart and obviously my gift needed to be a quilt! Using their love of books as inspiration, I designed a simple bookshelf pattern and attacked my scraps. I 'knocked over' a couple of the books and had some lying in piles to resemble the higgledy-piggledy collect of books I own rather than Jude's more disciplined approach to her library!

I matched the binding to the backing - just a single piece of fabric to suggest the structure of the shelf itself. I hand quilted using white perle cotton and sewed swirls, loops and zig zags to suggest book titles.

Although I'd made the top before the big house move I ended up sewing the binding on at 1am the night before the flowers....

Judy had been very clear at the start of the wedding planning process, that this was to be a simple, easy and fun wedding. She set herself a short (in wedding world terms) timeframe and looked at what she felt was really important - not favours and bows on chairs, but the right people around and the chance to make some special memories.

Her approach to the flowers reflected this. We'd talked a few months previously about how much I'd like to help her and set the morning of the day before to make bouquets, table settings and button-holes.

Judy made a flying visit to a supermarket on the way to my house and purchased about £100 of flowers (along with some rescue remedy to calm the nerves!). She had already ordered some small cube shaped vases, floral tape and wire. With a cuppa, the radio on and pinterest for inspiration we were ready!

We started with her bouquet, stripping the thorns and additional leaves and putting one flower at a time into her hand until the perfect bouquet was there! We wrapped it in the floral wire and then the tape - perfect!

These are the six table arrangements we made.

And finally the centre piece with lots of tree from my new garden to add some structure and green.

The day itself was full of dancing, good food & drink and the chance to chat with old and new friends. I can't wait to plan mine now....

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Bird of a Feather

'Feathers' is the challenge - at least the bit of the party invitation I've grasped hold of with some hope of producing passable costumes for Finn and Sophie. I headed straight to my 'kids costume' pinterest board to see what inspiration and how-to tips I could find.

This is what I came up with for Sophie.

I wanted something simple to make and something that she might actually wear - this cape of feathers was perfect! 

I used some super-soft cotton with a simple pattern as the wing shape and then gathered scraps to make the feathers. I drew a template of 5 feathers and spent an evening cutting out. After giving them a quick iron I lay them out until I got an order that worked well and then got stitching. I bound the two sides with some hot pink bias binding. 

I then used the same bias binding to cover the top edge and attach the two wings together. Finally I added smaller lengths of the binding to make ties to keep the wings in place around the wrists.

Although I'm not sure how much Sophie enjoyed being a bird - she has started to like having her photos taken! Cheese!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Belle and Boo!

I won a competition! I never win anything, so it was a lovely surprise to have an email telling me over the bank holiday weekend!

I'd entered the Made Peachy competition and then promptly forgotten all about it. The prize is the lovely Belle and Boo Book of Craft another addition to my growing library of craft books.

Watch this space for inspiration and projects - maybe even this super cute bunny!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Liberty Seals

This pair of lovely seals are for my Sophie and god daughter Cara. Both will soon be moving into brand new bedrooms so need a friendly seal to make them feel at home and safe. 

These seals are extra special as they are made from Liberty fabric refashioned from a Zara blouse that Cara first wore to Sophie's Naming Ceremony and (being the older by about 7 weeks) passed onto Sophie to wear.

Since the blouse is too small for both girls I thought keepsake seals was a perfect reminder of some special days.

I like these two characters so much I feel many more will be made soon!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Vintage PJ Shorts

A quick pair of pj shorts made from lovely vintage sheets. I used a pair of shorts I love wearing as my pattern - drawing around them,  onto grease proof paper. They took an hour or two to put together!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Noughts and Crosses Quilt

This is the (long awaited!) Nought and Crosses Quilt I've been making for Finn. I wanted to make a crosses quilt as I've seen lots of quilts using this design and thought they looked fab. I've used a mix of earthy colours - green, orange and brown alongside some dark navy and tomato red.


Many of the fabrics have been donations of old sheeting which has been washed lots so the finsihed quilt is now super soft. The edging is also from an old duvet, the way its been cut means the dots spiral round the edge, adding interest.

The back is yet more sheeting! This lovely pin stripe of moss green and a soft navy blue on a white background. The piece I had left wasn't quite large enough so I added another scrap piece and some of the orange patterned fabric, i like the scrappiness! 

Although it needs a good iron you can make out the hand quilted circles - each circle frames a cross. I used a mix of dark olive green, red and white thread.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Maximum Chrysanthemums!

Yesterday I spent the day at the wonderful Sew Over It in Clapham. I had a whole day to make a maxi dress, learn new skills, meet other like minded folk and be inspired by the wonderful Lisa Comfort herself!

A few weeks ago I visited Fabrics Galore and found the perfect material, a beautiful cotton lawn from Liberty called 'Meandering Chrysanthemums'

Our lesson started with a quick measure - gulp - size determined, we set about cutting out our pattern then pinning and cutting out the fabric.

Alongside being given thorough instructions, Lisa led us through each step - explaining why and how. With just three of us in the class we got loads of attention, especially with fiddly bits and it didn't take long for the dress to come together. One of the most satisfying bits was using an overlocker (serger in the US!). It was ace! It managed to make short work of even the most shabby seams resulting in a professional effect - I want one.

And here it is, the finished product. A beautiful, perfectly fitting new frock that I made myself! All I need now is a skinny red belt to cinch in the waist and some matching red shoes. My outfit for a September wedding - sorted. Now I possess a tailored pattern it won't be long until other versions are knocked up!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Summer Shirt

I was given the Great British Sewing Bee book for my birthday and was keen to attempt to make something. Like many I really wanted to sew the button back blouse but its the one pattern not included, a little disappointed I went for the boyfriend shirt instead. After printing, taping and finally cutting out the pattern pieces I was ready.

The only fabric I had enough of was this green floral fabric - not my first choice for a shirt but I was happy to use it for a test. It didn't take long to pin and cut out the pieces ready for a day of sewing.

The first few steps were straight forward attaching a fake yoke and pocket then joining the front panels to the back at the shoulder seams. If I was going to do this again I would think about adding a contrast hem of fabric under my yokes and along the top of the pocket.

The sleeves do not have cuffs but have ties that button up. I misread the instruction and sewed the tie on the front rather than the reverse.

The collar was pretty straightforward - perhaps a little bigger than necessary but it looks fine. My first big learning curve was finally using the buttonhole setting on my machine. Having lost the instruction booklet I found a film on YouTube that gave a little insight into what I should be doing and after several practices I had it cracked and was confident enough to sew buttonholes along the bias binding edge. I tried it on before deciding where to place the buttonholes to make sure I had them in the right places.

My other big learning curve was sleeves. The instructions showed how to use easing stitches to draw the fabric in so it fits the armhole. With a little more practice I think they'll be perfect, luckily the pattern stops the imperfection from standing out.

The finished product! I'm pretty pleased with it, not perfect, but I learnt lots and have made lots of notes for tweaks i'll make on my next attempt!