In February my Sewjo got up and left and I never saw it. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I actually sat down at my sewing machine for the first time in the month. Summer in Sydney is always warm (hello it is summer!) but this February has been really humid and the last thing I want to do is sit down at my sewing machine. I don’t have air con which I don’t mind but I don’t want the sewing machine to overheat. Also towards the end of January I had a couple of projects that didn’t work out properly so my motivation and sewing confidence also took a hit. I’m re-thinking a couple of my sewing projects now. February I spent a lot of time crocheting and knitting so it wasn’t entirely wasted time.
For March I want to get back on the Janome and get a few things done so my list is
- Make the dinosaur tail
- Make a wearable toile of a top
- Finish hand sewing secret April gift
- Attend the ASG birthday luncheon
- Block my Sunny Log Cabin Squares
- Make my Quilts of Hope Block
I now have blocking pins and have researched how to block items so I have no excuse now not to block the squares, I have other blankets I wish to start but am being strong and not starting them until I finish the Log Cabin otherwise I know the Log Cabin will never get finished. The April gift I have just a small amount of hand sewing to do from memory. The dinosaur tail I’m hoping to get started on this coming weekend, I still need to cut out some spikes for it. The top is the Sew DIY pattern I chose. I want to test out the sizing on a top that I can wear around the house in some stretch knit I have in my stash. For the Quilts of Hope block I have everything planned out in my head it is now just a matter of getting everything cut and start working on it.
I’m looking more forward to March now. I want to get back to my sewing more. I’ve enjoyed my knitting and crochet but sitting doing that isn’t going to get my gifts made…
This year I am going away a couple of times to different things so decided to make myself up a toiletry bag.
For this bag I used the same enlarged Dog Under My Desk Essential Wristlet pattern I used when I made my rose bag. To recap I enlarged the original pattern to 150% when I printed it out and used a longer zipper (12″ not 8″) Both the exterior and interior is made from ripstop which is a waterproof nylon fabric.
The inside of the bag is very large. I can easily fit a full size bottle of body wash in there plus all the other bits and bobs I’ll need for a weekend away. As I found out at the Frocktails event you can fit a lot in this size bag whether it be as a handbag or a toiletry.
Last year when I worked with ripstop and when I was making the Activity Go Case I had issues with the ripstop and the vinyl sticking to my machine and the presser foot. In January I was able to pick up in a half price sale a 8 Feet Accessory Kit from Spotlight. I wasn’t sure if the feet would fit my machine or not but luckily the feet just snap on to the shank already on my machine so I am able to use them. I’m not sure about the ruffler foot (that kind of scares me) but I have both high and low shank machines so it should fit at least one of them. I used the Teflon foot from the set for the first time on this project.
The Teflon foot worked really well. The fabric feed through the machine easily. The only thing I perhaps would’ve done differently had I know is use pins in the seam allowance not clips. Because I am used to using a walking foot and having the fabric feed through the machine evenly but with the Teflon foot no downward movement to hold it in place and move it through the top piece slipped a little bit. It I had pinned more and not clipped I think it may have kept it more in line. Overall it wasn’t that much of a big of deal. The most important thing was the foot didn’t stick to the fabric.
To prevent the ripstop from sticking to the sewing bed and the extension table next to my machine I placed my Teflon applique mat under my work. I um perhaps may of had it a bit too close to the presser foot at one stage and stitch my mat in the seam. I didn’t want to undo the seam and it was tiny little piece so I did cut the mat away from it and now I have a tiny crescent shape in my applique mat edge….
The only sticking issue I had was with the zipper. Someone needs to invent a Teflon zipper foot. I haven’t checked maybe there is one out there…. Ok I just did a quick Google search and yes you can actually get a Teflon zipper foot. I am putting it on my wishlist now!
I woke up one morning and decided I was going to make this. All the fabric and supplies came from my stash so it was a real sew my stash project.
Last Saturday night the Sydney Spoolettes had their first ever Frocktail party.
So what is a Frocktail party? It is an event where those who love to sew get together for a night of fashion and fun. Many people made outfits for the night, some wore items they had previously made, some people made bags to match their outfit and one very talented person even made her own shoes! I would not even know where to begin to make a pair of shoes. Originally I wasn’t going to be able to make Frocktails so I never made anything for event specifically. At the start of the year I made my blue rose skirt for an event in March so I decided to wear that and I had made the handbag to match. I had never seen the rose fabric before I picked it up at the swap day last year as normally it isn’t fabric I normally look at to wear. Can you believe some had an outfit on made from the exact same fabric! When I got talking to the wonderful Alison I discovered she had only decided that week to go to Frocktails and the dress was something she had already made so wore that. Fabric fate that fabric was meant to make a Frocktails appearance.
I’m proud of the jewellery I wore as it was all items I had made over the years. My metallic necklace that doubles as a bracelet when you wrap it around your wrist a few times, the pendant I made at Urban Stitches and of course my latest make my viking knit bracelet. Can you see a theme in the colours. Someone jokingly asked me if I wore blue on the night after a previous conversation we had last year… Of course I wore blue if I don’t get to wear blue I’m going to cry.
Caz (Useful Box) organised the event and did an amazing job. Lots of different companies sponsored the event donating some amazing lucky door prizes. There were gift vouchers, fabric, sewing packs, patterns. I was lucky to win a pattern by Sew DIY. I can choose any pattern I want and they will email it to me. Naturally my first thought was I make skirts I’ll get a skirt but I’m actually going to get the top pattern as it looks very comfortable. On the night even if you weren’t lucky enough to win one of the fantastic prizes you still didn’t go home empty handed, each person took home a “lolly bag” full of discount vouchers to use at the various sponsors stores. I’m declaring it the best lolly bag ever. Sew DIY is among one of the vouchers so I will be able to get a skirt pattern after all….
Leading up to the night everyone had been sharing the makes on the Spoolette Facebook page and Instagram #sydneyfrocktails It was interesting seeing all the items up close in real life as you watched many of them get constructed over time. You spent the entire night walking around touching peoples fabrics without asking because everyone loves the feel of fabric. People were recognising different patterns and talking sewing. It was a lot of fun. I’m sure everyone is in agreement the night was a huge success. There is talk of another one again next and I hope there is as I’m already planning my outfit….
Stitch Castle Hill by Craft Alive is currently on again for its 3rd year and I went a long yesterday. Each year I go I find it a little different but in a good way not a bad way. Across Australia Craft Alive hold their shows in regional town centres, the shows are a little bit smaller but just as good. Also at the smaller shows you get a lot of shops that don’t go to the larger shows so it always nice to see different shops if you attend regular craft shows like I do. This year there was a good mixture of fabric and yarn shops so I was in my element.
This year I picked up a few items. If you have seen my Instagram feed lately you can see I am going through a bit of a yarn phase, I just want to sit and crochet and knit. I picked up some cottons from The Australian Wool Store. They are a little bit thicker (10ply, 12ply) than I normally work with so I can’t wait to try them out. The blues I have a scarf planned for myself I just haven’t decided on a pattern yet, the purple and green I’m thinking either a dishcloth or maybe even a pot stand trivet as they are thick and if do it double they will be even thicker.
I picked up the knitting pattern books after seeing them last year. The author is a fellow NSW Knitter’s Guild member but at a different group to the one I attend. I would really like to make a sampler blanket to develop my knitting skills. When I got home and sat down with the books the knee rug sampler has confused me a little so I think at this stage it may be a little advanced (but something to work towards) The lace patterns I think I could do and am considering maybe even doing for my scarf. The stripes pattern book I felt most comfortable with and I may even do my dishcloth / pot trivet with one of the patterns. I have a small problem this year I keep buying slipper patterns. I am yet to make any but now I own about 3. I will really need to make a pair for this winter. The “Purple Thang” is a little gadget I have seen online before. It is like a multipurpose tool you can use to poke things with, measure quarter inch, stuff toys. Basically it s one of those useful gadgets for your stash.
This year Craft Alive is support the charity Quilts For Hope, part of your ticket entry goes towards the charity. Members of the public can support the charity even further by donating a quilt block to the charity with a twist. Riley Blake fabrics have kindly donated fabric squares to be used within the block, the only requirement for the blocks you make it that they must be a 9.5″ finished size, contain at least 50% of the supplied fabric and be in the theme of “Future Stars” You can choose any other fabric you want to go with it and the block can be in assembled in any way you want (pieced, appliqued, machine embroidery) The blocks will then be made into finished quilts for the actually patients it supports or the quilts may be raffled off to raise funds for the charity. I love this idea and have decided to take up the challenge. Ideas started ticking immediately and I found a nice fat quarter in light blue to use as my base block and by chance some Riley Blake star fabric at another shop to use as well. It should turn out well.
I did a free workshop by Stick To Your Knitting which is a community group of Knitters who are local to the Castle Hill area. I actually read a knitting chart for the first time and it was easier than I realised. I had a play around with textured knitting which I have done before (excuse the bad photo) but I have never read it from a chart. Now my mind is ticking on how to create a pattern on my own from grid paper.
I had a nice morning at Stitch. I hope they hold it again next year.
I first made Lego Man at the end of 2014. Lego man is a softie I designed myself from a free colouring in page I found online. I have made him again but I changed things around this time a little.
Lego Man 2017 is little larger. I photocopies my pattern pieces from last time but this time increased the size to 150% which basically means he is 50% bigger than last time. I than added extra seam allowances to the pieces which I can’t remember if I did last time. This what I was trying to use my seam allowance guide on but unfortunately couldn’t. The larger pieces made it a little bit easier to sew around the tight curves and angles. Also this time I have changed him from an all in one jumpsuit to pants and a top.
I love both versions and don’t have a favourite. I have had fun designing both. Each one has its own personality. Both were fun to make and I enjoyed the process of working out pattern sizing and fabrics. Sewing them was fun. Both are unique. I’ll possibly make Lego Man again next year but for that one again I will change it around somehow so he is different to these two.
Corner to corner crochet (C2C) was a crochet stitch that always fascinated me but it looked some complicated when you read the instructions for it that I never gave it a try. I have mentioned before I am a visual leaner so I watched a couple of YouTube clips and found it much easier once I saw the stitch in action. Of all the clips I saw I found the Bella Coco C2C clip the most useful. She uses UK terms which is what I am most familiar with. She goes through in detail several times how to increase and decrease the stitches and also how to finish off the ends. Early Christmas morning I decided it was time to learn the stitch so I set myself up in front of YouTube with crochet hook and yarn in hand and began a simple dishcloth, within a few rows I already knew the perfect project for this new stitch.
I had 8 balls of pinks leftover from a project I started last year that is a WIP (work in progress) I knew I wouldn’t need these excess yarns so I decided to turn them into this blanket. I had no intended size for this blanket I just increased until I had used up half the balls (4 balls) than decreased it to use the remaining balls. I didn’t bother with a border as I want the stitches to be the focus. The yarn is an acrylic Stylecraft Aran. It is a little bit thicker than I normally work with but it is so soft and squishy. The finished sizes measures 40″ x 40″
I am loving C2C it works up so quickly and in these colours is so striking. Geometric designs appeal to me and I love the look of this. Excluding weaving in the ends this took me about a month.
A big thank you to VP Quilter from Instagram who inspired me to name this blanket.
My nieces watched me work on this on Christmas day so this will go to them, they all love pink so this is perfect for their lounge room.
I found this great hair accessories pattern in One Thimble Issue 12 and thought it would be perfect to make as gifts this year so I added it to my ideas list.
I had 4 girls I thought this would be perfect for so I cut all the fabric out and made one of my “kits” containing all the fabric and notions that I needed for the project. Although there are 4 each one is slightly different so I noted down the fabric combination for each child. When it came to sewing I thought why make 1 when you can make 2 so started and on them and then thought why make 2 when you can make 4 and stitched the 4 of them up a once. It might seem tiresome and you would think it would take longer but I think it was actually much quicker. You use the same equipment on each one so you only need to take out that equipment once. Your brain in remembering each step in the process and how your actually doing it (even if you are following a pattern) so you don’t have to re-think back. At your sewing machine you only need to change your stitch length once for the same step you do on all 4 so it does make sense to batch sew if you can.
The front and back fabrics for these I got last year from a sewing magazine. They are fun and pretty but not childish so as the child grows and feels they are a grown up (even though they may only be 8 or 9) they don’t feel they have something babyish in their rooms. For the long lengths of ribbons that run down the front of each the pattern called for gross grain ribbon which I didn’t have large amounts in my stash but what I did have was a large roll of jacquard ribbon so I used that, the tiny hearts on it are so sweet. The ribbon is stitched down in sections so you can hold large amounts of clips in each of the lengths of ribbon.
The organiser has a pocket to hold all the hair ties that you can’t clip on to the ribbon. It expands out so you can fit a lot of hair ties in there and we know little girls have heaps.
At the bottom are hanging loops that you can place headbands in. Headbands never really went out of fashion but I think they are becoming popular again.
This organiser makes a great gift, it is an all one hair station to keep all hair accessories in one spot. You could make it for a child of any age. Like any homemade gift you can personalise the fabrics to suit the child. The pattern has some embellishment on the top where the hanging loop is but I didn’t bother, I left more space for clips. On each gift I added the clips and bobby pins I made and of course a headband. I think the girls would like it. My inner 9 year old would like it so I think they will too.