I make no apologies some of my sewing is ugly, I cut corners and I don’t follow the rules.
After the past 2 summers I vowed I would dust make covers for 2 pedestal fans that I own to protect them in the winter months. This morning when I was doing a bit of a clean up in my fabric stash I came across a piece of fabric that I picked up at my local op shop (charity shop) a few years ago. I never find fabric at this shop so when I found this I brought it just because it was there. At the time I thought maybe I would make sewing machine covers with it, I washed it and there it sat. I never actually measured how long the piece was I’m guessing 2.5m. The fabric is a thick drill or upholstery cotton.
Ok time for ugly rule breaking sewing. I literally folded this fabric in half and cut it with pinking shears to get the pieces for the 2 bags. I folded the fabric selvage to selvage (leaving the selvages on) Using the overlocker I stitched along one short end for a top seam and down the side for the side seam. Whilst the fabric was still flat I went around the edge with the overlocker to finish the edging. You can actually see where the selvages are marked with the colours used in the fabric. Ironically it has kind of pattern matched around the seam. Sewing was made easier with the fabric being heavy as you could just hold it together without pins and feed it through the overlocker.
This project was all about practicality not style or technique. My main aim was to cover the blade sections of the fans as you can’t dust these easily. The fabric half covers the base but the base is easy to wipe over before use. It was a quick project. I could have spent a lot of time doing precise measurements and straight edges all the way around but to be perfectly honest had I done this with this project the fabric would still be sitting in my spare room and my fans would still be naked collecting dust. Spend lots of time and effort on special projects and remember it is ok just to run a few seams through an overlocker to construct projects that you don’t give a second thought to once their done.
I have made more pillows using McCalls 3274. These make quick and easy gifts.
The L pillow was very easy to do and I would say the easiest letter in the alphabet to make as you really don’t have that many angles to push stuffing around into. With some of the letters I had to modify the shape a little but with the L it is very clear so perfect.
On this M pillow I did change the shape around a little. The letters are all in a bubble font style so they are meant to be curvy and puffy but on some letters it means you can’t really tell what they are. On this M I made it is so the middle point was more prominent allowing you to see the shape more. I also changed the position of the turning gap which is your stuffing gap so that made stuffing the angles easier, alternatively you could do 2 stuffing gaps (one on each straight side) to make stuffing easier.
The I pillow I modified a lot. The original pattern is just a long centre piece with a rounded top and bottom that is it. I didn’t like the shape you couldn’t tell straight away it was a letter so I added to the top and bottom bar. In hindsight perhaps I should have made the 2 ends wider as it does look a bit anchorish but you can still easily tell it is a letter I.
The fabrics used was some leftovers I found in my stash. From a distance it looks stripy but when you get closer you can see a white floral pattern on it so it is child like but can see be teenageish as the kids get older. I still have more of these to make later this year. It is a great pattern for the stash even if you do modify some of it.
The Lou Box Top by Sew DIY was the free pattern I chose as my Frocktails prize. It isn’t a style that I would normally choose as it is very floaty and not fitted so that is why I picked it, to get out of my comfort zone and try new styles. I had some cotton knit fabric in my stash that I brought at our Sydney Spoolette Spotlight outing earlier this year so last month I tried it out.
I adjusted the length by 6″ to make it a little longer. The pattern has a number of hem options but I went with a straight hem. I used the front hem pattern piece for both the front and the back as it was straight across and added to my extra inches to that instead of adding in the area marked to adjust the pattern. It was just easier for me to trace out, I don’t know much about pattern construction so I am not sure why the back hem piece had a slight curve to it but the front didn’t. The pattern comes with 2 options for the neck line I did the crew version. I am very pleased that it didn’t stretch out. I hand tacked it in place and then stitched it on with the overlocker. By going slow I discovered you can remove your hand tacking stitches before they get to the overlocker blade, it is the same as doing it with pins but you are removing basting stitches not metal pins. After the neckline was stitched on I didn’t do the stay stitching. If it starts to annoy me I can always go back and add that.
I’m happy with the finished top, however next time I will add further length to what I have already added. I prefer a longer tunic style top as I like coverage over my lower back almost to my hips. I don’t like drafts so I tuck my tops in to my skirts/pants if I am wearing a jacket or jumper which is most times. The reason this top looks crushed is that I had it tucked in all day as I wore it.
I guess you would describe the sleeves as dolman, they are baggy but don’t look too baggy. Upon wearing this I discovered that if worn under my fitted jacket the sleeves can be a little uncomfortable. There is very little room between the side seam and underarm so it pulled, I had to ruched them up to the shoulders almost like a tank top. I’ll try it under other jackets to see if it was just that particular jacket as I know that one is a snug fit. For the hems I used my hot hemmer to iron them in place. To secure all the hems I did a stepped zig zag stitch. I am pleased how they turned out.
I am glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and gave this top a try. I normally don’t do floaty tops. I have one style of tops I wear all the time and it is a fitted knitted t-shirt style which I brought in a heap of colours many years ago and I can no longer get so I need to start looking at tops. This pattern was a great way to get used to top making. Years ago I did make a pj top which I never wear as it is too big and I have avoided making tops since but making this pattern was fun so I’m going to make a few more tops like this and other styles. This was also a very quick pattern to whip up.
Normally I am so on top of things but I’ll admit one child who was having a birthday had crept up on me. I was planning on making the child a different toy but the materials I had weren’t suitable and before I knew things it was nearing time to post the gift off and I had nothing done so Plattie came to the rescue.
Plattie is a Funky Friends Factory pattern. This pattern had been in my stash for some time to make. When I realised my impending deadline I remembered this pattern and knew it was perfect, the toy was going to a child not living in Australia. What a cute little native animal to make them. Construction wise it is a really easy and quick pattern to make – providing you cut out all the pattern pieces! In my rush to get the pattern traced out and pieces cut so I could take it to my sewing group meeting to stitch up that day I missed a piece and didn’t take the leftover fabric with me so I had to come home early to finish him off in time. There is an online tutorial you can follow for this pattern but I didn’t need to. The only way I differed from the pattern was I ironed on pellon on each of the paw pieces (double thickness in each finished paw) Unlike a lot of toy limbs you don’t stuff the paws on him so I used the pellon to make them a little bit more fluffy and cuddly rather than just straight thin cotton in the paws.
The fabric used were caramel fabric leftover from the Activity Go Case and some brown spots from the Kids Messenger Bag. Confession I have a basket of fabric in my lounge room waiting to be put away downstairs in my stash which comes in handy when I am wanting fabric at odd hours or last minute as you never know what you will find in it and generally the fabrics in it have been pre-washed and ready to use. Plattie has turned out to one of my all time my favourite toys. I don’t say this often but he is totally adorable, it was hard to give him away. In my gift stash I found a cotton crocheted blanket I made as a test piece a couple of years ago which was perfect to wrap around Plattie as toys do like to snuggle in blankets.
So my theory is that you learn something from each project you make. From this project I learnt the value of being organised so that your aren’t in position of rushing to make a deadline. When you rush you make mistakes like forgetting to trace out a pattern piece. I also learnt that what seems the most simplest project can also be the best looking if you do it correctly, the old principle of Keep It Simple works.
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.
Using some of the leftover blue roses fabric I decided to make a bag to match my skirt. There are so many bag patterns out there and I have a few in my stash but I’m a creature of habit and decided to make a pattern I knew but put a spin on it. I used the box corner version of the Essential Wristlet pattern by DUMD. I made a bunch of these as Christmas gifts last year and they are pretty quick to make up.
The pattern is a PDF so it very simple to enlarge. I played around with the printer settings a couple of times and was most happiest when I printed it at 150% which was my original plan when I thought of doing this. Your basically making it 50% bigger than the standard pattern piece. I used a 12″ zipper. Added two D ring tabs instead of one, I cut them 4″ x 4″ I made a cross body strap which was approximately 4″ x 60″ I used the technique I learnt in making the Activity Go Case to finish the raw ends of the strap neatly.
The lining in black cotton. This will hold all the basics I need for a night out – Wallet, keys, phone. It is a simple bag I can throw across my shoulder and I know I have everything I need.
This was the last of the birthday gifts I made for 2016.
The pattern is Art Caddy by Miquita of Damaya Designs and can be found in One Thimble magazine Issue 5 It was one of those patterns I was instantly drawn too. You can buy back issues of One Thimble and I actually brought this issue just for this pattern as it was published before I discovered the fantastic magazine. The pattern has spots for both crayons and pencils as well as 2 extra pockets, perfect for putting some accessories and a notebook. It is smaller than most art caddy patterns I have seen but the compactness makes it more portable and perfect for travel.
The alphabet fabric I used came from a Sew Box. The peach colour fabric is one I painted myself, originally I was going to use it in another project but the colour was too light but by chance it matches in with the alphabet fabric. The red fabric is some scraps I had which again worked in with the alphabet fabric. Instead of snaps you can use Velcro as closures but since I got my snap press I want to put snaps on everything.