I get so much wear out of the first black Turner skirt with pockets I made I decided to make another one.
The fabric I used this time was velvet stretch knit that I picked up at The Fabric Store during the Sydney Spoolettes VIP shopping night last year. It was on sale for about $6/m from memory so the skirt is like $12, this is one of those occasions where you couldn’t buy it at the shop for that price.
I made this in January and have worn it a lot, maybe once a week. It has become a new favourite. It is a little bit longer than my other black one so it falls around calf length. I wear it to work with a black store brought hoodie and I get a 90’s grunge vibe and it puts me in my comfort zone.
If you haven’t seen my other posts on Turner skirts. This skirt is a pattern hack of the Cashmerette Turner dress. This is now skirt number 6 if I have kept count correctly. It really is my go to knit skirt pattern. It is really easy to make and super comfortable. The pocket version does take a little bit longer than the regular version but not a great deal.
I had a week off work last month as a summer holiday. Unlike in 2019 when I went away this year I stayed home and mostly packed the unit up as it was the only real packing time I had ahead of the big move (still no date yet) I don’t often take time off work and I didn’t want to spend the entire week packing as I wanted to enjoy my summer holiday and not have it feel like a chore – who wants to feel like they have been sent to clean their room for a week? So I made sure I fitted some sewing into my week.
Whilst packing up my fabrics in the garage I had the pattern pieces for the pillows I was intending to make for Christmas with me. I picked out fabrics from my stash suitable for the pillows as I went through all my boxes and over a couple of afternoons I got all the pillows cut and sewn. All I need to do now is stuff them with hobby fill and hand sew the openings shut which will be a tv job later in the year. For now I will pack these away knowing I have 6 Christmas presents almost done. This year one of my big aims is to enjoy my sewing and I enjoyed making these. In these pillows I have memories of finding the fabrics in my stash. The time spent sewing gave me a break from all the packing. Getting these done so early in the year also means I feel organised and in control of my sewing. These a bright happy cheery pillows which were fun to sew and hopefully will look cute in the kids rooms they are for.
I first heard about bat wraps a number of years ago but I never got around to actually making them until earlier this month when I had some flannelette lying around on my lounge chair and I didn’t feel like packing it so I thought perfect time to use it up and make them.
Bat wraps are used by wildlife carers to care for young bats (pups) who come into their care. The wrap is made from flannelette which is soft and cuddly for the pups. Each wrap has a pillow section which the pups are placed on and then a length of fabric which is rolled around the pups to keep them tight, kind of like a bat burrito.
Sewing wise these were very easy to do. I must admit I did struggle a little with top stitching around the edge of the stuffed pillow section. If I make these again I think I will top stitch around it all except for section that the stuffing is placed in before I stuff it and then just hand top stitch the stuffing section. It will be quicker for me and a lot neater. On my Sewing Bingo 2020 card I was able to tick off A First from my list as I mentioned this was my first time making these.
Lakebed In Parramatta Park
Pups can come into care due to the death or injury of the mother or be abandoned due to weather conditions such as drought. Sadly along the east coast of Australia this summer due to the drought not just in regional areas but also in metropolitan areas such as Sydney a lot of pups have been abandoned due to the lack of water supply. I live near a major park in Western Sydney which contains a large bat colony and I have seen first hand a lake in the park dry up completely due to the drought conditions. It is heartbreaking to see the lake like this. It will take a lot of rain for the lake to reform and I really do hope it does for all the animals who use it as their water supply.
In 2019 I had a few issues with my gifts. As I mentioned in a post last year I kept changing my mind on what I would make or I would leave things to the last minute. In 2020 I am getting back to being more organised with my gifts. I have decided on all the gifts I am going to make and I am not going to change me mind so I have a clear plan. A couple I was aiming to make for Christmas last year so they will be given as birthday gifts instead and one I cut out yesterday. Following the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) below is what I am going to make and what I need to have finished by each month.
March – Cockatoo (cut out)
April – Crocodile (half sewn)
May – Toiletry bag (cut out)
June – Book pillows (make size to match pillow inserts already in stash)
July – Superhero doll (use DDD pattern), crochet superhero mask
August – Tea set
W – Bucket hats, heart pillows
H – Flower pillow, star pillow, crochet footballs (all blacks)
The good news is that I only have to buy a zipper and maybe some boning for the handles of the tea set aside from those all the other items I already have on hand. This will keep the costs of gifts down but more importantly mean I’m using my stash. I’m actually feeling really relaxed about my gift making this year.
This is the second poncho I made from A Beginner’s Guide To Dressmaking magazine. I really fell in love with the poncho is this magazine, it is a really simple project to make it.
The fabric I used on this one is a french terry which I purchased with my discount voucher from February Frocktails from the Fabric Store. One side of the fabric has the french terry and the other side is like velour so it is very plush. It is a thicker fabric than my Brickwork poncho so doesn’t have the same drape but I still think has a nice shape.
I did cut the neckline smaller on this one. Perhaps a tad bit too small as I have to be careful if I’m taking it on and off at work that I don’t mess up my hair (yes I’m vain at times) The neckline isn’t strangling me and is giving me more coverage across my shoulders and back.
Instead of adding bands to the bottoms and side of this poncho I just extended the width and length to the poncho before cutting it. I knew both my overlocker and sewing machine would go into meltdown with such bulky seams that the bands would create. Also adding the extra width meant it was faster sew as there were less construction steps.
On the shoulders I just overlocked the edges before I stitched them together then topstitched them down. To cover all my other raw edges I used leftover bias tape from my Black Dolman top. I stitched the raw edges of the tape and the poncho together then folded it under and top stitched down. Super simple but more machine friendly.
This was one of those projects where I actually spent an entire day sewing on it. I’d cut out the pieces the weekend before then the following Saturday started sewing. Normally I sew for only a short period of time then I get bored or I get sore. My attention span can be very short sometimes. I just kept going back and doing another step on this or sewing another seam and before I knew it poncho was done in the day.
It is too hot to wear this now that it is summer but I did get a couple of wears of it this year. One thing I discovered is that ponchos don’t sit under backpacks easily. I just have to keep that in mind when I’m going to wear one. Most days for work I just have a shoulder bag which easily fits under the side of the poncho. I love this poncho. When I wear it with my velvet York I’m very textural. I walk up to work colleagues and say “Go on pat me I know you want too” because people love the feel of both fabrics, I certainly do. I’m not normally a touchy feely person but I don’t mind in this poncho.
Normally in December I do recap or review of my year in Crafting. This year I have decided to take part in The Sewcialists Sewing Top 5.
Here are my 2019 Top 5’s
Top 5 Hits
- Sesame Street skirt
- Blue Velvet pinafore
- Denim pinafore
- Lego skirt
- Charity bags
In 2019 unfortunately I never did as much a sewing as I did in 2018 but I managed to make things both clothing wise and gift wise. My most worn items which get worn almost on a weekly basis are my Lego skirt which I made in 2018 and my Sesame Street skirt which I did make this year. They are fun skirts which bring smiles to peoples faces. I enjoy wearing them. My denim pinafore which I made following my trip to Melbourne this year is another highly worn piece, again almost weekly. With the pocket on the front it is really functional and the fabric means I can wear it with dress shoes or sneakers. I am really proud of the bags I made for charity this year so they have made my list. I like using my sewing skills in a practical way to help others. I think these bags turned out really cute this year. I’m proud of my blue velvet pinafore, I loved the fabric as soon as I saw it and it turned out just the way I imagined.
Top 5 Highlights
- February Frocktails
- I love My Fabric Party
- Spring Frocktails
- Fabric Swap Day
- Melbourne Fabric Crawl
Winning a $150 shopping voucher for The Fabric Store at February Frocktails has to be the highlight of the year. I had the so much fun at both Frocktail events this year. It is fun to be around fellow sewing people talking all things patterns and fabric. The fabric swap day where I decluttered so much sewing related items was also a really good day. I came home with empty bags and a weight off my shoulders. Going to Melbourne this year and spending the day on a fabric crawl is an adventure I’m never going to forget. It was relaxing and I was doing my own thing. I met interesting people, touched lots of fabric. You don’t have to leave the house to have fun, the weekend I spent at home for the “I love my fabric Party” was fantastic. It really allowed me to connect to the fabric I had. I sorted my fabrics, culled a lot, saw pieces that were missing. I found fabrics I’d forgotten I had. I was sharing pics on Instagram with others but you could spend the weekend in your stash and not do that and still have fun.
Top 5 Reflections
- One Step, Two Steps
- Missing Pieces
- Do I Really Need It?
- Relax and Enjoy The Process
Things I have learnt this year that pockets are awesome and they should be on everything. If I’m wearing something and it doesn’t have pockets I’m lost. Which brings me on to missing pieces, I need more skirts that have pockets. At this point that is probably the biggest missing piece from my wardrobe particularly in Summer but I do need to look at my wardrobe before I write my next To Sew List and see what is missing. From now on I want to make items which are missing from my wardrobe rather than making a pattern just for the sake of it or to complete a self imposed challenge. In terms of making things I have learnt that things don’t need to be made in quick amount of time. I need to relax and enjoy the process of making an item. By just doing one step and then the next step I can get things done. It doesn’t matter what I am making whether it be clothing or a gift doing little steps one at a time means the item gets completed in the end and remember if I am not enjoying it then why I am doing it? The last thing I have learnt this year is that I need to stop and think if I really need something before I get it. This year I saw how much stuff I had that I wasn’t using. Not only did it cost me money in the first place, it was taking up space and causing me stress.
Top 5 Goals
- Be Realistic
- Get Organised
- Plan Ahead
- Shop My Stash
- Sew Because You Want Too
Since I started sewing back in 2011 this year was the year I really felt pressure from myself to sew things. I felt really unorganised and I changed kept changing my mind at the last minute on gifts I was making which often resulted in me running to the shops or buying supplies last minute so I could make them. In 2020 I know I’m going to have less sewing time so it is essential that I plan projects for myself and gifts ahead of time. I need to write things out clearly, shop my stash for supplies and give myself enough time to make them and be realistic about it. I have to remember to sew because I want too and not because I have too which is something I have felt this year. I know these are vague goals but they things I need to keep in mind. I might even write them in my diary to remind myself.
So this morning I was inspired to share my Top 5’s for the year. What are yours?
Last weekend I donated bags to Share The Dignity for their “It’s In The Bag” campaign. If don’t live in Australia or are not familiar with Share The Dignity they are a charity who support woman and girls across Australia who are in crisis. Each year they encourage people to fill a handbag with essentials that we all take for granted (toiletries, sanitary items, etc) The bags are distributed through local community groups to woman and girls who need them. I made up 3 bags this year. I make my bags as I don’t own any old handbags plus it is a way for me to use my sewing skills and fabric stash.
I used the same pattern I used last year which is McCalls M6338 View D. This pattern is a picnic tote bag but makes a great size handbag. I don’t include the extra pockets on the inside or outside. You make it a little differently to your average tote bag due to the drawstring top section but it still super easy to make.
The fabric I used was some I found in my stash during my “I love My Fabric Party” Unfortunately due to the way I stored my fabric previously the fabric had fade marks on it. I couldn’t use it for clothing but it was perfect for bag making. It is a flocked denim fabric that I fell in love with when I brought it. I played pattern tetris tracing out all the outer bag and tops from the piece. I just fitted them all on it. As the pattern pieces are straight edges it was easy to place the pattern piece on the fabric and trace around it with my quilting ruler and chalk pen. It didn’t take long at all to do them. Once the bags were finished you couldn’t see the fade marks at all. The fabric is sturdy too which helped the bags hold their shape.
For the handles and inner lining bags I used some blue rose fabric I brought a few months ago. This was fabric I only brought due to my obsession with blue roses. It is a quilting cotton more than a dressmaking cotton. It would have been too stiff for me to wear but was perfect for these bags. I was originally hoping to the handles in the denim but I didn’t have enough. I actually like how I have done the handles and the inner bags the same as it doesn’t look like I ran out of fabric for the handles, design feature! The drawstring is some ribbon from my stash. I needed to use a narrower drawstring than I used last year as the denim is rigid and the wider drawstring I originally inserted make it hard to pull the bags closed. These are my favourite bags yet. I love the colour, the fabrics. They fill up as a nice size.
I start collecting for my bags each year pretty much after I have donated the last lot. I have a box I stash everything in. I filled my bags with toiletries I had salvaged from hotel stays throughout the year, hair accessories/makeup I have brought on sale, socks, stockings, a few things I have made, face washers I have been given. When it come to filling the bags I empty out my collection box and divide it amongst the amount of bags I have.
I already have fabric set aside to make for next years bags. Next year I’m setting myself the $20 challenge. In 2020 I’m not going to be staying in as many hotels as I did this year which means I’m going to have to buy more of the items which I fill the bags with. Frugal me is up for the challenge and will be on the lookout for bargains and freebies throughout the year. I’m going to make a few things from my stash too. I really like supporting this charity and wish to continue for many years.