Monday, 31 August 2015

Purple Trousers!

I finally finished off my trousers!  I was gifted a pattern and some fabric for my birthday and started sewing at the beginning of the summer!  A couple of months later and other projects seem to have taken over so they were still sitting there.  But now they are done I'm pretty pleased.

I used a vogue pattern and the trousers are quite fitted which was a first for me.  Usually I go for baggy clothes to sew that have plenty of gathers of pleats which makes fitting easier.  All was reasonably simple until I got to the crotch and the zip.  That stage required a few unpicking sessions to break through it but I made it out the other end.

I did make it a bit more difficult for myself by using a strong and clear striped fabric.  My pattern matching is far from perfect and I found myself thinking of May and Patrick on the Sewing Bee when I spotted my errors.  If there was a camera in my sewing room it would have been zooming in on my mis-matching but luckily for me there isn't and overall the mistakes don't look to glaringly obvious.

A bit of under stitching
I learnt to do under-stitching which was a great for me and I was so happy with how easily the pockets lay flat against the trousers afterwards.

I really enjoyed following a pattern again although it did take me a little while to get into it.  I have become so used to making things up myself that I had to remind myself to slow down and do things step by step.

I really like the fit and I am glad I added the extra fabric for the flare - it just gives them a little something extra and especially with the purple!

 So what do you think?

I love the shape and love the fact I can add or take away from the flare.  I also haven't had a pair of trousers that fits me so well in a long time. Do share your trouser makes below!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Having a little sort out

I can be quite a chaotic person - I blame it on being vaguely creative - but my sewing room tends to become a focus for my chaos and every now and again needs a really good sort out.  Having just finished a crazy long week I decided to take my days off as opportunities to hibernate and nest a little bit.  So I found myself digging through all of my boxes and organizing everything.  I was quite proud of my sensible head that I had on as I even managed to throw away scraps of fabric that I know I will not be able to use!

All of the organizing left me with a lovely spare room with neatly hanging fabrics and lots of space to cut out.  Now that I have a dog I find myself sewing downstairs with him a lot more so even though I use the spare room as my holding room for fabric my machine is more often than not sitting on the dining room table.  Inspire by my tidy room I set to work to make a cover for my machine.  I wanted something that makes the machine look less abandoned when I leave it downstairs but also can hold little bits and pieces that I need when I'm sewing.

I was recently given this fab fabric which seemed perfect for a sewing machine cover!

So here it is - I didn't quilt it like some of the amazing covers you see on pinterest but for my purpose it really is good enough. 

The pockets on the sides are really handy for scissors, thread, tape measure and pins - all those bits that would just lie on the table looking untidy otherwise.

And there you have it - much tidier and tucked away without any obvious wires or bits and pieces hanging around.
I'll never be a minimalist but hopefully this will look just a little more like it belongs!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Liebster Award

What on earth I hear you ask?  Well I have been nominated for a Liebster Award which is basically a nod from a fellow blogger to your blog.  It kind of reminds me of a massive chain letter of bloggers passing on a big thumbs up to their favourite bloggers.

So this post is going to be a little less about my projects and a little more about some other bloggers that I enjoy.  So thanks to Budget Food Mummy for my nomination.

For a bit of fun I have to answer some questions suggested by the nominator as part of the blog post.
Here goes . . .

Why did you start a blog?
Because I love sewing and I love writing and I love talking - put it all together and you have a good idea of why it makes me tick!
What is your dream job? 
It involves people, talking, maybe some writing - it changes regularly but I love seeing resolution - problems solved, conflicts reduced and people free to move on and live their lives - chuck some sewing in and I'm super happy.
If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go? 
South Africa to visit friends and family
What is something people would be surprised to know about you? 
I actually think most people know most things about me - as I mentioned already I like talking!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hmm I struggle to plan consistently for five minutes!?! With my husband and adventuring our way through life I think probably sums it up as neatly as I can when it comes to plans.
Who is your inspiration?
Too many people - I have an amazing family and some awesome friends who inspire me day by day to stay strong, dream big and love with all I have.
Top 3 films? 
I can't choose - I like everything on different days - is this post starting to demonstrate I'm not good at being pinned down? 
What is your most prized possession? 
What is your favourite post you have written?
Because I still love that skirt! 
What advice would you give to a fellow blogger who has just started? 
Only do it because you love it - don't watch your follower numbers too closely - use it like a journal of who you are and how you feel.  Your blog has to be first and foremost for you!

Well that is quite enough questions for me to be honest! Here are some bloggers who I enjoy!

Well that's 10 - so if you fancy it carry on and nominate some of your favourite blogs as a shout out to all the work they put in.  
10 questions felt a bit long for me so here are 5 for you to answer

1 - Why do you blog?
2 - Favourite Sunday afternoon pass time
3 - Dinner party meal of choice
4 - Best Crafting tip
5 - Favourite blog post

Have fun :)  

Friday, 12 June 2015

Stitching gifts

Life seems to be super busy right now!  I have to admit I love it but sometimes you just need to STOP!  I think sewing is the perfect thing for that!
Shut away in whichever corner you choose to sew in and happily crafting and creating.  And then at the end of your YOU time you have a finished product to show for it!  Seriously what could be better.

Recently my projects seem to be going in bits as I just have snippets of time to work on each one.  My trousers are all cut out and ready to go but no actual sewing has happened on them yet.  I've done a little bit of repair on the dog bed (eeek my new puppy is super strong!) not that you would tell it from this cute pic!

And finally I sat down to make someone a little thank you gift - nothing massive but something small.  I used two things that I have made before but adapted them slightly.
For the eye mask I followed the instructions here but just added an extra layer in.  Instead of just using two layers of fabric and a layer of felt I added in some wadding.  I then quilted lines across the mask before continuing with the steps where you add the bias binding.  I have to say it certainly adds a bit more luxury and comfort to the finished product.
 Then I continued to make a slightly larger scale rice warming pack than this one here.  You follow the basic instructions that you find on that post but increase the size of the pack.  Once I had added a third of the rice I stitched it into a little pocket and then repeated.  Then I edged in bias binding which just finished it off neatly and gave a bit of continuity to the gift as it matches the eye mask,
All in all I was pretty happy with the finished look and really enjoyed the time out I got to make it in the midst of a busy week!
 Let me know the projects you have been relaxing with recently too! Just share in the comments and I will pop across and check out what you have been up to!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Upcycled Jeans

I am a great lover of charity shops but every now and then the bargain price tag and time constraints add together to equal hasty decisions.  I bought a pair of jeans over a year ago in a charity shop for about £3.  I jumped at them because they were flares and I can't resist a good pair of flairs.  Only problem was they were a bit short and when I washed them they got a bit shorter! So after a year of never wearing them I finally decided that skinny jeans don't have to be floor length so a bit of a conversion was in order.

So this is where I started - a fab pair of jeans but way too short for me!
 I turned them inside out and unpicked the hems of each leg.  This is really important as skipping this step leaves an untidy finish.
Once I did that I marked out where I wanted the trouser leg to be.  At this point I measured so that I took the same amount of fabric off on the inside leg of both legs and then again the outside leg of both legs.

And then comes the moment of being incredibly grateful for my overlocker.  On jobs like this it makes things so simple and so much more professional but in half the time.  If you don't have an overlocker you will need to use an overlock stitch on your machine.  A french seam is not going to work on heavy denim and certainly not for skinny jeans.
At this point I tried them on and made a couple of adjustments.  
 Then re-fold the hems back up exactly as they were.  The denim here held the creases perfectly so not measuring required I just followed the lines that were already drawn out for me,  Then I sealed off the overlocked stitch at the top of each seam.
And there you have it a new pair of jeans that I can actually wear!  Perfect with some ballet pumps . . 

 or a chunky pair of Doc Martens.

 As much as I hate to let a good pair of flares go I know that there are plenty more charity shop treasures to be had and these trousers will get much more use.
 I love a good upcycle :) 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Cardigan upcycled from a skirt!

This week has been a slow sewing week for me - filled with good intentions after a lovely birthday weekend I came down with a cold and resigned myself to making it through work and settling on the sofa when I was at home.  That said I did continue to work on the project using my Grandmas' old skirt.
 She didn't want it anymore and kindly gave it to me to use as fabric.  I loved the swirls and the general print and originally thought I would just make it into a skirt that fitted me.  But then I saw someone sporting a fabulous jacket made from a similar pattern and was immediately inspired.

I lay out my fabric - trimming the edges and the waist band to see how much use-able fabric I had left.  Despite my grand ambitions to do something structured I realised fast that I needed to change that plan because skirts actually aren't that big.

I decided instead to go for a smaller version of the slouch cardigan that you can check out here

I followed the pattern from my original cardigan but made it about 25" by 35".  Once I tried it on I realised I needed to take out some of the length because the sleeves had way too much fabric in them for being such a cropped cardigan.  I snipped away and ended up with this!

So easy - so slouchy and so comfy - which if I am really honest is super important for me when it comes to clothes.  I've already worn it to work, out for a coffee and just as a quick throw on jacket as I head out the door when the suns out.

This is why I love upcycling - an old skirt that is no longer wanted and doesn't fit turned into something useful, wearable and funky.  

Next project has to be something more ambitious but I have to fearing ruining some of my gorgeous fabric.  Watch this space to see what happens next . . .

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Birthday Love . . .

I have become another year older and in celebration of that fact so many friends and family have showered me with love.  Some of that love came in the form of gifts and I have to admit that if I didn't know it already I certainly know now that sewing must occupy a fair amount of my conversations.  There was a certain sewing theme around many of the gifts I received so I thought I would do a little show case of the loveliness.  I also gave the blog a little spruce up to mark the occasion - what do you think?
First off are the lovely patterns that I was given this year - so exciting to be able to use these for many years to come!

 I now have such a super array of patterns to choose from I am really not sure where to start.  The sewing bee was absolutely right up there in the best programmes to watch for me and I am just as impressed with the book.  A huge amount of patterns from the very simple to quite complex is crammed into the book - in fact the only thing missing was a pair of woman's trousers.  How very convenient to have also been gifted a lovely pattern for them!  I have the Prima pattern for trousers already but really wanted to make a more fitted pair as well.  This pattern is perfect for just that.

The shirt dress

So after posting a dress out of a old shirt that I made on facebook a lot of people commented so I thought I'd share the process.  The idea came from seeing a similar picture on the page below.

So I started off with a mans shirt - this idea works great for recycling as all the parts of a shirt that wear and look old like neck and sleeves you cut off leaving behind perfectly good fabric.  As I'm quite tall (5ft8")  I would wear mine as a tunic rather than a full dress so you want to ensure the shirt you choose is a size that means it is as long as you want it.  If its too long that's easy as you just turn it up but too short is harder to fix!

For this you will need a shirt, a measuring tape, pins, thread, scissors and a sewing machine/needle.  A machine will make it a lot quicker but there is no reason why you can't do this by hand.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Slouch cardigan

A lovely afternoon spent wandering resulted in me discovering some fantastically blue fabric in a charity shop.  It was reduced to only a pound so I went for it and began to plan the fabulous things I would make from it.  Pinterest to the ready and off I went.  I found this fantastic pattern for a super comfy slouch cardigan. If you decide you fancy giving it a go you can find the pattern here from True Bias.

The pattern seemed pretty straight forward so off I went - 2 simple rectangles, a bit of shaping and I find myself already at the sewing machine.

It really was nice to just have to cut this much out before sewing.
As I got to work I realised how much this fabric would fray and actually a much more complex pattern might have been a nightmare to work with.  This is what my overlocker looked like after a few seams being done. Super fluffy!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

First pair of trousers!!!

Finally I found some lovely light fabric that  I could use to create a pair of trousers.  Now I have to be honest trousers are kinda scary for me.  Skirts are so easily adjustable - tops can be fitted or loose and flowing but trousers have all sorts of funny complexities that have scared me off for a long time.

I decided to follow a pattern because although I love the idea of folding a pair of trousers I love in half and going from there I just wasn't convinced that my understanding of trouser construction was solid enough to go with that method.  I used the March Prima pattern which was for a loose pair of culotte style trousers.  I used to own a pair of denim ones and lived in them so happily set to cutting and pinning.

I found that once I had cut all of the pieces out everything made a lot more sense - when I look at the paper pattern it is hard for me to envisage how it will fit together - once in fabric I can see it much more clearly.  I was actually surprised by how simply I found the whole pattern.  Don't get me wrong my finished product is not perfect but in terms of understanding what I was doing the majority of making trousers is about matching seams and sewing neatly.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Weekender bag from a duvet cover!

I was recently lent a pattern to make a weekender bag.  Now I have a sewing machine that works I am finding my enthusiasm for trying more challenging projects is growing.  So I sat down a few weeks ago to begin the challenge.

I decided to use the same striped fabric that I had used for my cushions earlier in the month - basically because I just loved it so much!  The whole bag is quilted including the straps which made it a lot more time consuming than I had originally anticipated.  But I got my walking foot set up on the machine and after a bit of you tubing to understand how a walking foot actually works I set off on the quilting.

I am super impressed with how much easier it is to do quilting with the correct set up on the machine.  I was sewing fabric, wadding and another layer of fabric and it was pleasingly obedient.  After a good block of time quilting I was able to start on the construction.  I over locked everything using the stitches on the machine rather than my over locker (just to try them out :) ) and then was able to use straight stitches to join the pieces together.  The actual construction of the bag was pretty straight forward.  Lots of straight lines and the instructions I had borrowed as well as being able to see what someone else had made led to a pretty straight forward sewing job.

And here it is - stripey and proud.  I love the way the handles go right underneath the bag making it super secure.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Sewing storage

As you might have guessed I am currently making attempts to sew at every opportunity and explore the loveliness that is my new machine.

That said it is still new and I am taking things slow and steady so as not to confuse myself.  So lots of little simple projects it is!

So while practicing on the machine I found myself irritated by the many charger wires gathering next to our computer.  So I decided to sew some little storage pots to hold all those annoying things that have no place to go. I learnt this technique from a sewing evening I go along to on Wednesdays.

I needed a reasonably strong fabric and a lovely friend recently gave me her old flared jeans.  Fabulously wide and fabulously funky!  A true ode to our 15 year old selves and the fabric is perfect for what I needed.

Now the jean leg is already a tube so I just cut it to the length I wanted.  I then did the same with the lining fabric.  I then sewed down the two edge seams of the lining to create the same tube as with the denim,

On the base of your fabric cut two squares out from each corner as below.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

My new sewing machine!

As many of you know I have been waiting for a long time to replace my old sewing machine.  It has served me well having been bought as a present when I was 15 for me by my parents.  It has sewn my my wedding dress, prom dress, some bridesmaids dresses, a quilt for my nephew, a dress for my sisters 21st birthday and so many other things.  But it was reaching a point of no return when the enjoyable part of sewing was taken away because I had to fix the machine every ten minutes.

So ... finally after much debate I bought a new one!  I have to confess to finding it quite a stressful purchase - I am amazed at the amount of choices there are.

This is what I chose

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Deckchair Sunshine

After a glorious day of sunshine on Friday it seems that winter has returned with grey skies and lots of rain!  When will summer arrive?  Admittedly I am being slightly unrealistic expecting it to show up in February but one can hope!

To beat my winter blues I pulled out this fabric that I have had for months and months and not been too sure how to use it.  I love the stripe but haven't felt quite confident that I can turn it into something that I would wear.

SO instead I chose to turn it into something my house could wear - or my sofa to be specific!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Kimono Top

I am continuing to love the crochet but this weekend had a bit of free time and was given some patterns.  I had a good look through and saw a kimono style top.

I have always stuck to quite plain tops leaning towards brighter patterns in skirts.  Recently though I am travelling around mainly via scooter so find myself in jeans.  This has left me feeling a bit dull in the clothes that I wear.  Jeans and plain-ish tops are the style for me at the minute so a cute kimono top might just brighten things up a little bit.

I had some bright peachy-orange fabric that was the under side from a reclaimed duvet cover I was gifted.  The top side was used to make this funky dress.
Now the underside is being used to make a jacket.  It actually excites me when I find a way to use up some fabric that otherwise might have gone to waste.  Plus when I make something out of the fabric I already own without buying anything I get an extra buzz!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Getting my crochet on!

So I kinda fell into this one - hanging out at the sewing cafe I try to get to when I can a friend of mine re-taught me to crochet.  My Mum and You-Tube have taught me on a few occasions however I never seemed to quite get going.
 I think this time round the cold weather and desire for a calm and peaceful pastime spurred me on.  I set off and practiced a few stitches eventually resulting in me simply stitching round and round in circles.

This didn't exactly turn into anything but it got me going and got me used to how I manage the tension - little fingers are key for this one for me!

Then I found this super simple tutorial on you-tube.  Simple and slow really is exactly what was required for me at this stage I'm afraid. If you fancy a go this is the link I used Crochet Blanket

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Stitching challenge

So I am shamelessly on the scrounge for inspiration!
I fancy sewing something new and different, maybe that involves learning some new techniques and skills.  It could be for me or to give away.  It could be useful or just for fun.
What have you wanted to try but never found the time or not quite sure how? Send them through to me on the comments or via facebook and I'll take a look.
If you send me something I'll blog my way through making it - my failures and successes.  Hopefully in the end it will be something filled with fabulousness!
So what do you reckon? Let me know your thoughts and hopefully I'll be busy stitching soon!
Don't forget if it involves upcycling I'm likely to be up for it!
Thanks everyone - can't wait to see the challenges you send me! :-)

Monday, 12 January 2015

A bit of an update of my recent projects!

As Christmas approaches suddenly blogging from my end becomes very quiet! Everything I was making is a secret and ready to be packaged off and sent away to friends and family. So I thought I would do a little summary of the things I made in the run up to 2015.

I was asked to make some bunting for an advent calendar.  It was a really fun project - and quite simple once I got going.  The triangles were just made from 2 squares of fabric sewn together and then turned inside out before being folded into the bunting flags.