The first sewing job I wanted to do at the new place was make a new cover for my ironing board. It was meant to be a quick project but took longer than expected when I discovered my spare sewing machine wasn’t working and my main sewing machine was off getting serviced.
A new cover is something I had been meaning to make for a long time. From Bunnings (a hardware chain store in Australia) I brought felt to go under my top fabric, that was November 2018. I never got around to making the cover last year then once we decided we were moving I put off the task until afterwards so the cover wouldn’t get ruined during the move.
For the pattern I used the same one I made when I previously recovered it. I found a tutorial in magazine years ago. The template I made covered just the board and you added extra inches around it to account for the fabric that would go over the sides and your seam allowance. The felt wasn’t that much wider than my template so I only really cut the curves on the ends of the felt and left the sides as is. I was happy for the felt to go over the sides. The sides were the areas that my previous cover had really worn thin so extra protection over them would make the cover last longer. Previously I only did a layer of batting and my top cover. This time I used a base layer of calico, the felt layer and my top fabric. I hand basted all the layers together in the centre before machine stitching around the outside to hold all the layers together and make the drawstring casing. Once it was on the board in place I removed the stitches.
The fabrics were some I found in my stash. Actually both were used prior or during the move. The calico was used to wrap sewing supplies and the blue fabric was our temporary table runner under the tv prior to the move when I washed our other one. I do like the blue fabric as the leaves are heart shaped and I am a sucker for ♥ This cover is nice and thick so I am pretty happy with it.
Last week I got my big sewing machine back from its service which meant I was able to get back sewing again for the first time since early March when I packed up for the big move.
My plan was to be sewing Saturday and Sunday after I finished off a quick project Friday night. Saturday I did a few errands and by the time I got home I wasn’t in a sewing mood so I didn’t push myself to sit at my machine. I wanted my sewing time to be fun and not a chore. Sunday I had my ‘sewjo’ so I set out working on several projects. The set up I had for the day was all in our lounge area but it wasn’t really ideal. There really isn’t the space for a sewing machine, ironing board and cutting table. There was lots of shuffling around things as you walked through from the lounge to the kitchen. I could only leave my craft table half up otherwise you couldn’t access the fridge. My sewing machine will live in the lounge room but once I sort out the spare room I’ll set up my craft table and ironing board in there. It will only be for projects which require a lot of pressing between each step that I might move the ironing board out to the lounge. Actually my ironing board isn’t use to being folded down and put away. It jammed when I put it up and Mr StitchNSew had to fix it for me (and almost jammed his fingers in the mechanism) Even though it was a tight squeeze it still allowed me to work on my projects for the day and get sewing again.
In terms of projects I was a little naughty. I do have 2 gifts that really should be finished this month but I didn’t work on them instead I worked on a combination of 2 new born gifts, my charity bags and a birthday gift due next month. I had to use white thread for one of the projects and decided whist it was in my machine to do any sewing jobs needing white thread so not to waste it. It allowed me to chain my work as I was sewing so I was wasting less thread between each item. It made me more conscious of what I was doing as I was stopping and thinking about each item and the steps I needed to do. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to finish anything totally. I just did steps of each project that I could. It was actually a really enjoyable sewing day. I think I needed my first time back sewing to be enjoyable to encourage to me keep going. Had I made myself sew on Saturday I know it would have felt like a chore.
I’m hoping to be sewing again next weekend or who knows maybe even during the week if I feel like it. I’ll look through the projects I need to do, maybe pick another colour thread and do all that needs doing with that colour. I want to keep my sewing stress free and enjoyable.
Back in January I started to get organised with my Christmas gifts. January 1st I traced the patterns out for these pillows (thanks Instagram for dating my photo as I wouldn’t have had a clue otherwise) When I was on my January holidays I found the fabrics as I was packing and stitched the forms up.
Originally I thought stuffing them would be a tv job (something I do whilst watching tv) but as I had no sewing machine over my long weekend I decided to get in and stuff these so it was one job off my list. I did them over a few days so it wouldn’t be boring (I have a short attention span) They didn’t take that long to do but I think when I did 3 at once it felt like a chore and not a fun sewing task.
At our new place we have this great roof top garden that anyone in the building can go and enjoy. It is a great space with loads of seating and a bbq area. With gyms being shut due to Covid I have done a lot of my personal training sessions up there. I thought it would make a great photography area for some of my makes for the blog. It even has bathroom which I can use as a change room if I have multiple outfits that I wish to photograph (it is easier for Mr StitchNSew to do batch photography) Who would have guessed it was so hard to photograph 6 pillows up there. Ok so it was my fault as I wanted to get my photos done early in the day as I had other things to do. The night before it had rained so a lot of the areas were wet. I tried to be as creative as I could without photographing the pillows with shadows or myself in them. I even tried to place them in the garden but they got mud on them so that didn’t work. Oh well now I know for next time to try later in the day.
If nothing else at least I have 6 gifts ready for Christmas. I have also used up some fabrics from my stash. Every little bit counts as I try to sew my way through it all.
Earlier this year I made some reusable paper towels to use at the new place.
I didn’t follow a pattern for these I just used up the scraps I had leftover from making my bat wraps. The scraps were a rectangle shape so I just stitched two pieces together and top stitched around the outside, super quick and simple. I didn’t care what my thread colour was either so I used up half bobbins.
I did have a batch of reusable cloths that I was using at the old place. They were old jumpers, tea towels and towel offcuts I had. Most of them were very shabby and were binned when we moved. These are a larger size. I use them to wipe up spills but also protect the bench when I’m cooking as I will put my stirring spoon/utensil on them. This saves getting out a dish for this. I just toss them in the wash with my tea towels and they take little time to dry.
I like to make practical items. Not only are these better for the environment than single use paper towels but more economical. I want to cut back on spending money on items we can do without or reduce our usage of. Yes we still do have paper towels in the house but if we can reduce how many we use then it will reduce the frequency we have to buy them.
Book pillows were on my gift this year but I must admit not for the child who got this one. I had planned on making them a stuffed toy but I just wasn’t happy with it so I scrapped the toy and the stress and decided a book pillow. It did mean I had to go buy the fabric and zipper but it was worth it to save my stress levels.
The way I’m making my book pillows this year is really simple. I’m just doing 2 squares the size of the pillow inserts I have then a contrasting pocking on the front which is just one square folded over so the fold is the top of the pocket. I did hand embroider the front to add a bit of interest. I didn’t follow a pattern at all. The inside seams are all done with a zig zag stitch to try to prevent them from fraying.
I made a simple bookmark to go with it. The front has the child’s name embroidered on it. It was just made from scraps of the fabrics and some interfacing scraps I had in my stash. By this stage I had packed away most of my craft area so I was lucky to have found the interfacing scrap.
I’m pleased with how this last minute gift turned out. Sometimes the more simple gifts are the nicest.
A few years ago I made myself a toiletry bag and I decided to make another one as a gift for my niece. Once again I used my TNT zipper pouch pattern which is the box corner version of the Essentials Wristlet by Dog Under My Desk which I enlarged to 150%
If you ware wanting a decent size toiletry bag that you can fit a couple of bottles in this size is great. When I go away for weekends I collect all the mini bottles that hotels have in the bathrooms for my charity bags. They all get stashed in my toiletry bag so I can tell you it holds a lot. The fabric used for both interior and exterior is the ripstop nylon I have in my stash. I have used it on a few projects so I’m slowly starting to run out of it. I did have to buy the zipper but I brought it from my local small material shop so I did support local.
Sewing Bingo 2020
I was able to √ Print off my sewing bingo card with this project. I’m hoping my niece can use this for many years. I wanted a gift which was a bit mature for Miss 12 but not too adult so I think this funky print fits. My niece is a practical person who likes storage so this gift is perfect for her.
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.
Let me set the picture in Sydney for you today. Saturday 8th February 2020 after weeks and months of heat we have a wet weekend with rain falling since Thursday. Perfect weather to bunker down in the house in your pj’s with your sewing machine.
Last year I started a toy cockatoo which I never got finished. I’d cut out all the pieces and started sewing the crest (yellow comb on head) when I first made the crest from felt it looked awful. I put the toy away and decided I would finish it for a birthday this March. Even then I just wasn’t feeling the toy, some toys I’m excited to make this one I wasn’t. My plan for today was to stop procrastinating and to finish the toy as my deadline is looming. When I started preparing it this morning for sewing I was getting really negative vibes and I just didn’t want to sew it. I again stitched the comb using a cotton I found in my stash a few weeks ago and I wasn’t happy with it. As I was pinning the next lot of pieces I kept thinking I really don’t want to make this. I have never actually felt this negative about sewing before I’m thinking this is silly it is just a toy, you have all the stuff there just sew it. This year I said I wasn’t going to change my mind last minute with the gifts I was making. Part of my brain was saying just stick at it and make it, you’re being silly it is just a toy. Then I started thinking about other things I have told myself like “sew because you want to not because you have to” I continued on sewing the toy making part of the foot which again I thought looked awful and I decided no I’m not going to continue with this toy. I don’t care if today is perfect sewing weather, I don’t care if I have all the pieces cut out already I don’t want to force myself to sew something that I feel so strongly against. I have never felt this way before about sewing. I am already not liking this toy I know I won’t like the finish product and I don’t want to make it just because I decided at the start of 2019 I would make this toy as a gift. I want the gifts I make to have love from the heart in them. This toy has no love. This toy is full of negative vibes and I don’t think that is right to continue making it.
Plan B for the gift will be a book pillow. I will have to see if I have enough supplies from the remaining things which are yet to be packed so I may need to buy a couple of things. A book pillow is going to be more relaxing for me to make. I know I can still get it done before my deadline. I’m going to have fun making this gift. Sewing is something I want to regularly do but I want it to be fun.
I don’t know why this toy made me feel like it did. It wasn’t a reflection on the toy designer as I have made some other great toys from this designer. This entire project just didn’t feel right. I’ll keep the pattern in my stash who knows maybe one day I will attempt it again but not this time.
Wendy Ward has a new book out which I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. Last week I finally got my copy. This is Wendy’s fourth book and I have them all in my stash now.
In her last 2 books Wendy focused on a particular fabric or style of clothing (knits and skirts) In this book she has 5 basic patterns which are not gender exclusive. They are functional every day pieces that anyone can use in their wardrobe. Like in her other books she offers a basic version of each pattern then gives variations on how it can be made differently for individual tastes or skill level. If you are a beginner you could make just the basic version or if you are adventurous or wishing to expand your skills you could try one of the more complicated versions.
Like her other books you receive all the patterns for the different pieces. There are 3 sheets printed double sided. The book has listed which pattern pieces are on which sheet. To be honest I do find her pattern sheets a little cluttered. Before you start tracing out your pieces you need to just take a minute to see fully where you are going to be tracing and make a note if you have to flip the sheet over and continue tracing from another part. Once you get your head around the pattern sheets they are ok but they can be a bit daunting at first.
Ok so lets talk about the actual patterns in the book. The 5 basic patterns are
- Felix Sweatshirt
- Harper Pants
- Rowan Shirt
- Kim Jumpsuit
- Dylan Coat
5 wardrobe pieces which are a bit on trend that you have the ability to make 20 variations of. I like 4 out of the 5 patterns. I am not a jumpsuit person, sorry but I use the bathroom too much to be fussing with a jumpsuit all day (too much information) The jumpsuits in the book look nice but not for me.
So what would I make from the book? I like the sweatshirt but it is raglan sleeve which I don’t like. The diagonal seam annoys me for some reason. I can wear it if it is in a jacket so there is a jacket version which I’m considering making. I like the pants and might try those as I have never made anything with a fly. I’m undecided about the coat and shirt. I have never made a coat but there is a basic unlined version which I could try but to be honest I don’t know if I would wear it. I’m not a shirt person so again I doubt I would wear it.
Although I’m not rushing to make every item in it I still think the book is good to have in my stash. Reading about different techniques or picking up the little hints that are in the book will help me with my sewing skills. I’m at a point now where I making clothing on a needs basis and not as a challenge or on trend basis (not that I have ever followed sewing trends) After giving so much me made clothing away I have come to know what I like and will actually wear and what I won’t wear.
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.