How to make a half apron

As I’m forever losing things during a sewing session such as my measuring tape, pin box, scissors etc, I decided to make a half apron with a large front pocket so that I have somewhere to store my bits and pieces whilst I’m working.

In my fabric stash I have a beautiful piece of the Parisian inspired material ‘Mademoiselle’ by Lisa Bengtsson which I bought a few years ago from Northern Lights in Oxford. As the style of the material was inspired by Paris I decided to make the Parisian madame and the Eiffel Tower the focal points of my apron.

This is how I made the apron:

Step 1

Gather your materials.

You will need two pieces of fabric  one large enough to make the body of the apron and a smaller piece to make the pocket. I measured the fabric around my body before I began so that I could get the perfect fit, my measurements were: body 23″ x  13″, pocket 9.5″ x 11.5″. You will also need two pieces of material measuring 17″ long to make the apron string – I upcycled a material bag strap for my apron strings.

Step 2

Press (iron) all of the pieces  -this will help to prevent creases when sewing

Step 3

Fold and pin tan 1/2 inch seam around every edge of the material pieces. Press each edge as you finish it to help to keep it in place and makes it easier to sew.

Step 4

Using a straight stitch sew around the seams. Only stich around the top seam of the pocket as you will sew the other edges when you secure the pocket to the apron.

Step 5

Position the pocket on the apron and pin in place. I kept my pocket to one side as I wanted it to be positioned over my hip – you can place it where ever’s best for you.

Step 6

Keeping the straight stitch sew the remaining three edges of the pocket to the apron. I sewed two lines on each edge as not only did this add a decorative feature to the pocket it also added strength to the join.

Step 7

Position and pin the apron straps to the inside top edge of either side of the material.

Step 8

Continuing with the straight stitch sew the straps to the apron. Reverse over the stitch in order to provide additional strength and security to the straps.

Step 9

Wear your apron with pride!

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Getting better

This weekend I decided to have a go at making another iPad cover. The reason I’ve made a few in the last couple of weeks is that I’d like to set up my own business selling them. As a sewing novice the quality of my work isn’t good enough yet to sell the covers but I’m getting better and better every time I make one. This time I inserted a bag inside of the cover to hide the covers seams and I successfully added an elastic fastner (the fastner was too loose on the last bag I made). Unfortunately after I added the inside bag one of the cover’s outer seams burst so I had to patch the cover up from the outside which has dragged the covers quality and overall look down. To say it’s only my fourth major piece of sewing I’m still impressed with it.

On Thursday I met up with a friend for a day of shopping in Leeds. We visited the craft and fashion boutique Birds Yard where I spotted a fantastic necklace made out of zips, it was similar to the item below.

Lisa Mair – Upcycled Black Zipper and Bead Statement Necklace (Folksy)

This weekend I started to make my own version of the necklace. I bought 18inch zips for this but I’ve found that they’re too small as I want more petals on each flower. I’m going to buy some larger zips next week so hopefully I’ll be able to finish this project soon. A new academic year starts at college next week so I could do with a new necklace to banish away those back to work blues.

My attempt

If you’d like to have a go at making your own zipper flower the tutorial on Want 2 Scrap is really clear and easy to follow

Alexia Claire – Russian Dolls’ fabric basket

When I discoverd Alexia’s work a few weeks ago I fell in love with her hand designed, screen printed storage baskets and after including her butterfly print basket in Monday’s moodboard I couldn’t resist any longer and purchased the small ‘Russian Dolls’ basket from Moonko.

The basket arrived this morning and I am delighted with my purchase and the surprise card that Moonko had included.

As soon as the bag arrived I couldn’t wait to use it. As I am forever loosing things when I’m crafting I’ve decided to use the basket to store my sewing stash and it is now in pride of place on my sewing table.

What I love about the bag is how bright and cheery it is. It’s a dull, grey morning here in Wakefield yet the basket is still managing to light up my room.

How to make a pin cushion

After making a sewing machine cover on Wednesday I had a strip of fabric left over so I decided to turn it into a matching pin cushion.

Haberdashery themed pin cushion

Making a pin cushion is a great project for a novice sewer as it will help you to practice sewing in a straight line and you’ll learn how to seal an object on all 4 sides.

To make your own pin cushion you will need:

  • A strip of fabric (large enough to make a pin cushion when folded in half)
  • Matching thread
  • Toy stuffing
  • A sewing machine

Step 1 – Gather your materials

Step 2 – Iron (press) the material

Iron the material in order to smooth out any lumps or creases. As my strip of material was fairly long I decided to fold the material in half so that I could press both sides at once. I then cut along the seam to produce two pieces of fabric

As this was such a small project I didn’t fancy getting the ironing board out so I laid a towel on the breakfast bar and ironed the material on that.

Step 3 – Pin the piece together

Line both pieces of fabric together and pin along three sides. You need to leave one side open so that you can insert the toy stuffing later.

Leave enough space between the pins and the edge of the fabric so that you can sew the seam without the pins getting in the way of the sewing machines needle – 2cm should be enough. The pins are needed to hold the material together so that it doesn’t slip during sewing.

Step 4 – Sew along three of the edges

Sew a line approximately 1cm from the edge of all the three sides in order to create the seams. Turn the material inside out and fill with toy stuffing making sure that the stuffing goes into the corners of the cushion.

Step 5 – Close the remaining side

To close the bag turn the remaining sides of the material about 1 cm inwards and join the sides together. Again leaving enough room so that you can sew with out the pins getting in the way.

Once the seam has been secured sew along the edge. Reverse the stitch in order to strengthen the seam. Your pin cushion is now finished!

The finished product

Handmade sewing machine cover

I’m still working short hours due to the summer holidays so today is the first day of a five day weekend! I’m determined to make the most of my time off by getting crafty and improving my sewing skills. Inspired by the list of sewing tutorials on Alina’s blog I decided to make use of some of the fabric I received as a birthday present by making a cover for my sewing machine. I wanted to produce a cover that would be simple and quick to make so instead of following the tutorial on Alina’s blog I decided to use google images for inspiration. I really liked the simplicity of the design below so I decided to use that as the base for my own design.

I created a case like the one above using a plain cream fabric, I then added a feature piece of fabric. Instead of closing my case with ribbon I added two strips of the cream material to each side – not only did this produce a secure fastening it also helps the cover to hold it’s shape whilst on the machine.

The cover took about two hours to make and I’m really pleased with the result.

How to add social media buttons to your blog

Over the past few months, since I’ve started to get into craft blogging, I became frustrated by and really jealous of the blogs that contained social media buttons. I wanted  buttons on my blog but I couldn’t figure out how to do it! Over loaded at work I couldn’t think straight. I tried updating my layout to templates that contained social media buttons in their preview but the icons disappeared once I converted my layout. How did other people do it?

Well last week I found out. A few weeks in to my summer holidays my brain had de-fuzzed and I finally googled the right phrase ‘html coding for adding social media buttons to my wordpress blog’. The search revealed Michelle Sheafer’s fantastically clear and straight forward instructions and within an hour my blog contained a series of shiny blog buttons/icons.

I wanted to share my breakthrough with my lovely followers so here are Michelle’s instructions:

Step 1: Choose the Icons You Like and Download Them

Your first step is to pick the icons that go well with the vibe/theme of your blog.  Here are some I like: http://michelleshaeffer.com/get-followed-cute-icons/2011/02/25/ And some more really creative ones: http://smileyhelper.com/inspiration/30-most-creative-social-network-icons/

For this tutorial I’ll be using the icons here: http://webtoolkit4.me/2010/04/17/21-free-social-vintage-icons/ (I love the coffee cups but I want to include LinkedIn and YouTube, so had to go for a set with all of the networks I post on.)

Once you’ve chosen your icons, you’ll want to check the license (some require a link back to their website), and save them to your computer.  They’ll probably be in a .zip file which you’ll unzip after you download.

Note: If you aren’t using WordPress, or aren’t using a blog, you can still add your social networking icons to your site with similar steps.  Just upload to your website in whatever way your website builder works, then get the URLs, and add in the appropriate code at the appropriate spot in your blog template or your HTML website’s code.

Step 2: Upload the Icons to Your Blog

To upload your icons, login to your WordPress blog then go to “Media” and “Add New”

Next click the “Select Files” button.

This will open a small window where you can browse to the social icons you just downloaded and select them all to upload.  Choose your icons (hold the control key down and click to each one to choose more than one), then click “Open” to upload them.

Now you’ll see the confirmation that they’ve uploaded successfully.

Now you need to get the URL for each of these image.  I recommend opening note pad or wordpad to copy and paste them into so that the next part is easier.

To get your URLs, click that “Show” link to the right of each image and look for the URL field as shown below.  Copy the *entire* URL and paste it into note pad.  Repeat for each image.

Here’s what my URLs look like:

Step 3: Create a New Text Widget to Hold Your Social Networking Icons

Under “Appearance” on the left menu in WordPress, click “Widgets.”

Next find the “Text” Widget, grab it and drag it into your side bar where you want the social networking links to show.

This is where you’ll be adding your HTML code for your profile links and images.  Give your widget a title if you’d like, and then you’ll add your code, like this:

IMPORTANT NOTE!!  These quotes are straight quotes, not curly (fancy) quotes.  If you copy and paste they may try to turn themselves into fancy ones.  If you get an error when you try to add this code, that’s probably why.  You can also try this same code but remove all of the quotes and it works.  (Thank you, Diana, for alerting me to this!)

<a href=”LINK”><img src=”IMAGE URL” border=”0″></a>

LINK is where you put the link to your profile, like:

<a href=”http://twitter.com/MichelleShaeffr”&gt;

IMAGE URL is where you put the URL for the image you just uploaded (and copied it’s URL into note pad):

<img src=”http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/twitter.png&#8221; border=”0″>

And the </a> at the end is important, it says to end the link after that image.

So your code will look something like this (below).  Click the “Save” button to save your code.

Now you’ll have a sidebar widget on your website something like this:

You might want to adjust the sizing/spacing of your icons.  To do that you can add this snippet into your image code:

<img src=”http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/twitter.png&#8221; border=”0″ width=”XXX” hspace=”XXX”>

In width=”XXX” you can tell it how wide to make the image.

In hspace=”XXX” you can tell it how many pixels of padding to put around the image.

Also, if you want to center your images, just add <center> at the very beginning of all your code, and then </center> at the very end of all your code.

For example:

And your final images will look something like this:

The big two eight

Today is my twenty eighth birthday. Since my early twenties I’ve found birthdays to be a strange affair. I know I’m getting older, it’s evident in how my face is changing, yet I still don’t feel more mature or wiser espescially as I am only two years away from turning 30!

As my birthday has fallen on a Sunday this year and is the day before I go back to work after a five week break (boo) I decided to opt for a chilled out affair. A lie in was followed by a trip to our local carvery (a veg only plate for me as I’m vegetarian) then a stroll around the local park.

As I was lucky enough to be given lots of material for my birthday this afternoon will be spent browsing craft blogs for  inspiration.