Saturday, 14 February 2015
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!
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Here are my lovely patches all laid out in their sizes ready to be stitched together.
And then continued to make it into this bag which is totally my new bag of choice for the summer! I had a little facebook discussion about the best handles to use and finally settled on this bright blue which I'm really happy with! What do you think?
Thursday, 27 March 2014
Friday, 25 October 2013
- A pillowcase (2 for sizes more than UK14) in a pattern you love
- A plain pillowcase or piece of fabric of similar size for the waistband (because I am using a pair I used the other side of the pillowcase)
- A ribbon or strip of fabric that is about 15cm wide and 30cm longer than your hip measurement
- Dressmakers pins
- A sewing machine or a needle
- An un-picker (not essential but helpful in any task involving salvaging fabric)
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Sunday, 13 October 2013
What a rainy weekend it has turned out to be! I have spent much of my time at work so am hoping it will rain itself out as I head towards some much needed time off! Though I would take some time this morning to blog my tutorial on pleats.
I love pleats - they are cute and look gorgeous when done right. I love the shape they add to clothes and as you saw in my last post I've started to use them in bags as well. They can be adapted to any style you like and any shape or size so for me it is a must in your stash of sewing skills.
So what will you need - your fabric of choice, dress pins, a tape measure, tailors chalk, iron and a needle/sewing machine and thread.
1. You need to measure the length of your fabric and decide how big your pleats will be. I chose 2cm pleats to be every 4cms. This means that in total I will need 10cm per pleat because the fold uses 3x2cm of fabric. To work this out for your pleats take the size you chose for your pleat, times it by 3 and then add this figure to the gap you want between pleats. I marked this out along the top of the fabric using pen so you can see it but you will want to use tailors chalk that won't mark or run ink over your fabric.
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
Well I've been back at the machine again - I think it was cross about being neglected for all those days last week as today it played up like crazy. Broken needles, broken threads, light bulbs going but I took a break for lunch and all seemed to return to normal. I have come to the conclusion that machinery objects to me being hungry and I must remember to squirrel snacks up into the attic with me when I start a sewing session.
I've been making bags this week and have been experimenting with creating different shapes. I've got a bit bored of making rectangle tote bags so thought I'd try a few new things. Or new to me anyway.
The first one was pretty simple but I just love the blue of the fabric and the flowers and felt it fitted a rectangular shape so I went with it.
Saturday, 5 October 2013
Vintage dress on and I was ready to go. This dress is always a particular favorite of mine as it started off as a size 20 and a bit of snipping later - teamed with my chunky belt - and there you have it a light and easy to wear vintage style dress.
The Love Southsea market was on in Palmerston Road and as always it was filled with wonderful people making wonderful things.
One stall in particular stood out and it was run by Busy Bees who work at The Beneficial Foundation. They are creating fantastically professional and creative products and working really hard to create jobs through social enterprise. The stall was friendly and bright and I honestly could have bought a whole load of things but haven't really organised myself to think of Christmas presents just yet. So I bought a hand printed card that will be a thank you to someone. A bargain of a price and I love it.
So if you see the Busy Bees anywhere else do make the time to check out their stall as it was definitely the one that stood out for me today.
On from the market and we did the wander of the charity shops where I picked up some gorgeous floral fabric. Hopefully soon to be made into something gorgeous.
All that wandering has truly worn me out today but what a lovely wander it was. Hopefully I will get my stitch on in the week and have plenty of little projects to share with you all. Enjoy your weekends everyone!
Saturday, 28 September 2013
This week I've been busy stitching various bits and pieces for Christmas. Some mini stockings and a few gifty pieces. All of the thought to winter inspired me to turn my attention to my living room.
All of my furniture is second hand and starting to look somewhat tired. I decided to attempt a bit of a dye job on the sofas to add some colour. We live in a rental property so the walls are neutral and when we moved in the biggest and most comfortable sofa we could find was cream. I love it - space for two to stretch out, just the right amount of squish and the right height - generally it's a great sofa. That said there's only so much cream one person can take.
So I embarked on upgrading my sofa. I bought dylons burlesque red which is a deep purple-red and looks gorgeous on the box. Armed with a few boxes and lots of salt I stripped the fabric off the sofa.
I have to admit it was a bit of a mission. Dividing the covers into roughly equal loads. Washing with dye. Washing without dye and then drying all the covers. I didn't dare to put them in the dryer in case they shrank so for a few days we had sofa covers draped from chairs and clothes horses all over the place.
The finished effect? Well it certainly isn't completely progressional. I think a larger machine would have allowed more movement in the fabric. My tiny machine has left a bit of mottling and crease lines across the covers where it couldn't move enough. I was concerned that I had ruined the sofa but once the covers were on I think it looks pretty funky. It has a bit of an aged effect to it and I think the mottling blends in with the age of the sofa. All in all I'm happy plus I've learnt some good lessons about dye and fabric.
I feel inspired to play about more with colour and try to experiment with dye a little bit more - here's to some more experimental upcycling! :-) who knows maybe a little bit of art coming up.
Watch this space.
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
It is one of the reasons that I love having the attic room - I can go up there, start a project, allow chaos to have its way and then when I have run out of time pop downstairs and close the hatch. No one sees it and I can just re-start exactly where I left off. Of course this does have its downfall when my husband pops up to the attic to find something and I jump up in horror - 'don't look up there'
But as much as chaos seems to be attracted to me while I am creating there is something truly wonderful about having a good clear out. Tidying everything away - clearing up the scraps from the last project and packing up elastic, ribbons and threads. There is definitely truth in the saying 'tidy house, tidy mind' or in this case 'tidy room, tidy mind'
So this morning I decided that before heading off to work I would avoid the temptation to start another new project and instead I would have a re-organize. I headed up and started sorting. I have to confess I really enjoyed myself - it was definitely much overdue and I can't believe that one person can drop so many pins on the floor - but all in all I loved it.
I found some odds and ends of fabric that had been buried by new purchases - I'm now excited to try to make something with them.
Sunday, 8 September 2013
Here is what I started with
What a cute face! :)
The issue I had with this project was just how big the face actually was. Removing any part of the face distorted the photo so I knew the bag was going to have to be pretty big. I decided to add some t-shirt fabric in a neutral colour that I already had and curved the edges to reduce the size a little bit.
This is the finished product
I embraced the size and went with it in the end with some chunky handles and side panels to make it have a bit of depth. This bag will be a perfect companion on days out to the beach or heading to the shops. As I was creating for http://www.pinkhot.co.uk/ I reckon this could be a perfect bag to carry her beads and projects around in! Check out her site there are some wonderful pieces on it!
I'm pretty happy with it and think it totally proves you can always make something usable from the things in your wardrobe!
Thursday, 5 September 2013
I love sitting down and sewing! I think anyone who knows me or read this blog once or twice would realize that pretty quickly! Fabric - colour - prints - new projects - ideas - finished projects - I love it all! I started doing the blog because it was mentioned by a number of people and I thought it might be fun - what I didn't realize was quite how much I would enjoy it.
I try to write once or twice a week and other than a little blip seem to be having reasonable success in this area. I actually look forward to putting everything to one side and sitting down to write. I was concerned at first that blogging would become another thing on a never ending to-do list, just a chore to tick off but it has turned into the opposite.
How rarely do I stop and take time to reflect on what I am doing? How little time do I spend considering my next step? I fly quickly from thing to thing and suddenly I am making time to sit and think - to write about what I'm thinking or what I've made this week. I'm finding that time out energises me and gives me space to enjoy the things that are going on around me.
I've also been amazed at the sudden connection with other like minded people spread out over the web. Sharing their skills, questions and advice with one another. Celebrating the skill and talent that each one brings. It's been brilliant! Social networking - when used to celebrate one another - is really good fun!
So what am I saying? I guess I'm just writing today to express my realisation that I'm loving blogging. So thank you to all of you who read, comment, like and share the things I've been putting up! It really does put a smile on my face and I love hearing from you all!
This weekend I'm planning to take some time to craft with the new fabric I got yesterday and as the weather's meant to turn I'm imagining being tucked up in my attic with the rain beating down on the windows. Whatever I make though I'll be sure to blog about it!
Wednesday, 21 August 2013
I love someone complimenting a skirt I have made and being able to say 'this? thanks - I made it from a pillow case, duvet, shirt, scrap etc etc'
This week I did some alterations for a friend and took up the hem of her dress. This left me with a strip of fabric too thin for much to be honest so I decided to turn the leftovers into a hair band. Simple but something I wear often on those days when an outfit needs that extra touch or when my hair just decides to be disastrous and covering up is the safer option!
So how did I do it? Simple, quick and easy as can be.
You will need;
- a long scrap of fabric - mine was about 5cm wide but you can make yours much wider to create a thicker band.
1. Cut your fabric to the length and width you require. The final band width will be half of the fabric minus about 1.5cm seam allowance on both sides of the fabric. It is important that you try to keep this as straight as possible so if you can use a ruler or measure to get straight lines.
You can see that mine still had the hem of the dress on it which I made sure didn't show in the final product by sewing to the left of the stitching.
3. Pin together and sew a straight line from one side to the other ensuring your seam allowance remains the same from start to finish
4. Now take your safety pin and attach it to one side of the tube you have created. Push the saftey pin into the tube and gently ease it through teasing the fabric out as you go. Once the safety pin is through the other end of the tube the fabric should pull through easily so you can now see the right side of the fabric in a tube.
5. Fold the raw edges into the tube at each end of the hair band. This can be done to create a straight edge or you can create a slant so that the band naturally slants towards a point at each edge.
6. Now stitch each end and trim all loose threads. Press the band and pair it with an outfit of your choice!
And there you have it the finished product! Nothing needs to be wasted especially not fabric! The whole project should take no longer than half an hour if you are stitching with a machine and it creates a great accessory out of something that otherwise might have gone in the bin! It makes a cute gift too!
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
This blog post just proves that these days you can find anything you want on the internet. I had been wanting to make some cute stuffed animals but due to my terrible drawing skills I needed a template. A quick flick through Google images and I found one!
This wonderful blogger has also shared a ready written how to guide so I'm not going to repeat her good work but just share it for you all to follow. So please check it out!
I plan to add some little eyes to the bunny with some buttons on some and on others a little cross made out of embroidery thread.
As always I have made these bunnies from fabric that has been sourced from charity shops, ebay and other up-cycling projects. I've been amazed at the luck I have had recently in finding beautiful fabrics that are in amazing condition being sold off for pennies.
Here is a selection of my recent finds - any suggestions of what you think I should do with them???
Hope your all enjoying your week - will post again soon :)
Thursday, 8 August 2013
I recently signed up to do a craft fair for the first time. It's all a bit of an experiment to be honest but it has got me thinking of new things that I can make that people would enjoy owning or giving as gifts. This morning I made an eye mask which was surprisingly simple, reasonably quick and gives a good professional finish which is always very satisfying.
To do this project you will need:
- Fabric in the pattern of your choice
- A sheet of thin foam ( I used craft foam for kids)
- A backing fabric
- Paper for the stencil, pencil and scissors
- Bias binding
- The usual needle and thread :)
Now take your bias binding and elastic. You need to mark with a pin where you want your elastic to sit on either side of the mask. It needs to be placed at an equal distance on both sides from the top and the bottom to ensure you don't end up with a wonky mask.
Begin to fold the bias binding round the edge of the mask and pin in place. As you reach the points for your elastic insert the elastic into the fold at the back of the mask. The elastic should just lie flat against the mask.
Now you need to choose a thread that matches the bias binding or choose an appropriate contrast. You now need to sew round the edge of the bias binding adjusting as you go to avoid any creases. At this point it is worth going slow and steady and staying close to the edge of the binding. This line of stitching will show and makes part of the finished product so it is important the stitching is neat and steady.
Now trim any loose threads and there you have it - a perfect gift for yourself or someone else! Enjoy and don't forget to send me pics of your progress - you can tweet me @jenniwessels
Monday, 8 July 2013
Summer for me brings a spattering of birthdays and celebrations. Being in the middle of this time again got me to thinking about presents. Most people love giving and receiving a good gift - it truly warms the heart to realise someone has considered what you would love and who you are. At the same time there is something wonderful about watching a friend or family member get that feeling after opening something you gave.
I've been thinking about what really makes a great gift - is it having something you really wanted or is it knowing that someone put in some time to make or choose that gift rather than grabbing it at the end of a weekly food shop?
One of the best gifts my parents got me was my sewing machine - 15years old I think and over a decade later it's still with me! They knew I would love it - I think I actually asked for one - and it has truly been a useful gift :-). At the same time other much smaller gifts have left great impressions on me - knowing that person really knows me well.
A few years ago I was flat broke and started making presents. I wanted to still be able to give things but really couldn't afford great shop bought gifts. I have to admit that some of my early attempts at gifts have probably been discarded at the back of a cupboard somewhere. I like to think that my home made gifts have improved in their quality but the heart intention is still the same- to make that individual aware that I have been thinking of them and how special they are. Home made presents do have the risk of being useless and tacky- things you would actually never pay money for.
Spending a bit more money and heading to the shops doesn't of course guarantee you won't be still giving something useless and tacky but the risk is probably reduced somewhat!
All that considered I think my moto now is if I'm inspired to make something then that's what I go with - if not I head to the shops and hope I find some inspiration there. I am trying not to automatically make everything for the sake of it instead trying to maintain some authenticity to my crafting.
So what do you prefer to give/receive?
Is it home made or shop bought?
Let me know :-)